KOF 2017 - Act 3: Mission 11) Which Witch Will

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Description: Like Makai, Eadni is far darker one may consider for the servants of Raiden. And yet, she lends her support to the thunder god, respecting the divine forces and using her black magic to bind allies to his cause. She has many preparations in place for the inevitable warriors that will come to her doorstep. But does not expect the strange wanderings of Axl Low, who has come to change the future.

It seemed unusual to outsiders that the witch was assisting Raiden.

The bony, craggy hag was infamous for her cruel, coarse nature. Ancient past written history, the motherly hag was a predator first. Was it up to the Thunder God, she would be banished along with her cruel summons. And yet, the woman clad in rags and woad, clutching a satchel bound in human leather, had thrown herself along with the Ainu to oppose the Gears. Not out of compassion, no. But because of a little known secret about the witch known as Eadni.

She considered herself a guardian of the Earthrealm.

The site in the Manji Valley was upon a bluff, overseeing the rocky valley. A high place, as the old rituals demanded. It normally would be snowing, with this time of year. But divine presence brought the hammering, sleet-like rain. Lightning cracked overhead, illuminating the arcane symbols burning green against the exposed rock. Pyres filled with incense were stacked around the eldritch circles, where the old woman hunched over the strange scratchings and burnt offerings. Her hut sat quickly nearby, the children hidden safely within, watching quietly. The site was not chosen for it's sacred nature, or it's clearing.

But for it's defensibility.

Peppering the winding switchbacks and narrow trails up to the ridge was the burning skulls of the witch. Impaled on stakes, the emerald flamed skulls would serve as not only warnings to interlopers, but a slow and dangerous march. Her traps were intertwined all over the bluff; only those with wings could approach her, was her reasoning, which the thundergod's wrath would deal with. She would be safe up here.

And able to focus on her rituals, to assist the Thundergod.

"Holy servant of Emperors' yore~" She whispers, into the stinking circle of incense and fire. A billowing shape rises from the censer, the smoke rising up around around into the shape of a deer. "Join together for battle once more~" Scales pour away like salt, as the writhing shape takes a draconic shape. Tracing gnarled figures against the creature, it instinctually lashes out, nearly ripping her arm from it's socket. Golden eyes burn from the smoke, as antlers rise up... along with the neck of the creature, raising higher and higher. "The God of Thunder hear your cry, protect the world from hellish fei~" The creature seems to take corporeal form, looking upon the hag in disgust. And yet, with the rain and thunder crackling over head, its eyes cast upwards. She lifts her arms in the air. "I beg you, creature of light...~"

"Take Flight~"

And there is the sound booming over the mountains, as the Kirin flies up high.

Stoking the coals with her scared rake, the hag begins to refresh the summoning pit. She understood her accursed state, and the needs of the God of Thunder. She would not corrupt the gods, only provide them what they needed. She may not serve any god, but she respected the ones defending earth.

As long as they weren't Buddhist.

Each new era brings new monsters, but few have been so fearsome or unnatural as those most recent. The Gears stand as blasphemy against nature; they are mankind overstepping his boundaries into the realm of god. The blend of science and sorcery that gave them life stands in defiance of natural law, and now the adjudicators have come to pass judgment on those that would trespass in the realms of the gods.

But the Gears are hardly the only unnatural beings wandering the earth. Specifically there is another--or two others--who stand outside of time itself. Their existence here is foreign; they are strangers to the timeline itself. One of them has already made her presence known by doing battle with the coming diaster, throwing her will against the Ikari Warriors and others...

The second has appeared here, to confront the Old Witch in her quest to assist the Thunder God.

Axl Low, admittedly, does not look or act the part of a would-be savior of humanity when he makes his presence known, having carefully navigated the hazards of the mountain path to stand in the shadows of Eadni's ritual fire.

"Heeeey," Axl says, tugging at the red bandana on his head. "Jeez, windy up here and enough rain to soak a bloke to his bones."

"I said 'heeey', Granny!" he calls, louder this time. "I hate to interrupt your evening tea, but that looks some bad juju you've got cooking there."

The witch stops her raking.

The hunched over figure takes pause at the plucky voice, the twang. An illusion? A vision? A visitor. Eadni could scarcely believe such a thing was even possible. And yet, the voice hangs in the air, real and heavy. Her wards were intact. The sounds of their spirits were bound. Something had danced through her wards, her barriers, her guardians, her boundaries, a figure eluding without nary a trip or a wire. The wind dances over her, as the smoke and stench hangs around.

Perhaps it was another offering for the pyre.

"Child..." The witch whispers, turning from her summoning pit. Her craggy, long nose nearly reached to the ground, as her hollow eyes peer lightlessly over at the intruder. "Don't you know it's dangerous to be out on a stormy night... like... this?~" The muttering took a tone somewhere between incredulous surprise and matronly scolding. "You should not be up here. You can't be up here~" She prattles on, shuffling her toe-less feet across the stone as she slowly approaches Axl Low. "How did you get here? How did you come? Please, tell me."

"You shouldn't keep secrets from mother~"

The blond man in the gaudy clothing shivers when he's addressed. Perhaps, for a moment, he realizes exactly what he's gotten himself into. The bony fingers, the sinister flames, the dancing spirits. It'd be enough to terrify a normal man.

For better or for worse, Axl Low is not a normal man.

"To be honest with you, Granny, I shouldn't be anywhere from what I'm told, but here I am. Eheh heh heh," he laughs nervously. "But I can definitely say that you ain't me mum, even if you're a bit familiar."

Axl narrows his eyes. "You're going to Southtown to assist the ol' boss god himself, and when you do, it's not gonna be good for anybody."

A threat?

How delightful.

Eadni smirks, the corner of her lips stretching too far on her craggy face. She toys with the tip of her nose, pulling at it. "Mischievious little boy~" She sing-songs softly. "You should learn to respect your elders." She steps back, shuffling away from Axl, patting at the side of her rags. "I am everyone's mother; a fact you will learn soon enough. And naughty children deserve to be punished... most... severely~" The words were hostile. The tone was soft and elderly, gently touching on Axl. In the hammering chill of the rain, it might be noticed that her clothing wasn't wet; she didn't even seem chilled by the storm.

Perhaps the fires were keeping her warm.

"Child..." Eadni croons, as she reaches into her satchel, lifting a writhing face flap off the top. Delicately, she grips a fistful of bones, scattering it like seed on the ground around her. The smoke thickens, growing heavier. Shapes, shadows of creatures and humanoids drift behind the veil of smog, contorting and reaching. There is a tingling sensation in the air. The stone groans underfoot, as she tosses another fist-full of bones. The remains land with a clatter on the stone... but that is the only sign, as they seem to wink from sight upon landing. The smoke wraps around her knotted legs, clinging to her hungrily. "It is not going to good for you, I'm afraid. As for me..." She lifts up a single deer skull, inspecting it at eye level. "I believe you will be a suitable sacrifice, my darling boy. The rest of you will be a fine offering for the Thunder God. But I think I will pickle your tongue as a souvenir, my dear~"

And the skull erupts into flames.

Emerald fire surges over the skull, as she clutches the flaming bones tightly. Leveling it at Axl, the fires swirl and worms its way through the endless nooks and boreholes. Finally, shuddering, jets of eldritch energy explode out at Axl Low, consuming the skull into ash. The blast comes not at Axl, but just short, into the stones. The earth shudders on impact, as the fires deflect off and upwards, rebounding like a ray to snap back. The bones reappear, rising up into pillars, entwined with vines, peppering across the stones erratically. A wild strike, a chaotic strike. Already, the magic was being unleashed, as the area begins to saturate with eldritch magic.

It was delighting the hag, certainly.

COMBATSYS: Eadni has started a fight here.

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Eadni            0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Axl Low has joined the fight here.

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Eadni            0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0          Axl Low

COMBATSYS: Axl Low blocks Eadni's Shut Your Eyes.

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Eadni            0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Axl Low

As the hag moves, Axl moves as well. She moves forward, he moves back. He slides the two baton-like staves off his belt and snaps them together on the ends, forming a longer pole. The faced bag is opened, and bones are strewn. Axl swallows.

"Don't worry, Megumi," he mutters under his breath. "I'll make it through this to make it back to you."

Axl tightens the grip on his staff as the smoke churns and gathers. The earth bends to the hag's will, and Axl's boots slide through the mud as he adjusts his stance. Think of Southtown, he tells himself. Think of Justice and Raiden and--Axl shakes his head.

Roots and fresh earth shoot out toward Axl, but he brings up his staff to guard. It drives him backward as he presses against them, shifting back at force against the wild flurry of bony strikes. No, Axl tells himself, don't think of those things. Think about the threat in front of you. There are enough monsters already here.

With a metallic click and the rattle of chains, Axl snaps his staff back in half, drawing out a length in chain in-between the two sections. Scythe blades pop out of each end as he draws his kusarigama, the Brit shifting his grip into a proper fighting stance. It's an old style, one that's as far from Axl's appearance and accent as the east is from the west.

"Sorry again, Granny, but I'm not much of a fan of pickles!" Axl leaps toward Eadni, launching up over the tide of bones. He whips his chains around him in a great circle, then pulls the sickles back into his hands as he spins downward toward the old witch.

COMBATSYS: Eadni counters Thunder Shadow Chain from Axl Low with Before I Wake.

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Eadni            1/-----==/=======|==-----\-------\0          Axl Low

The nature of the assault was growing elusive.

Fire and bone and root and magic was boiling together. Axl moved to guard against bones, and was singed by flame. The roiling nature madness was spreading across the slab. Spiritual lights flicker within the smoke, the spiritual awakening setting the ridge alive with mystic energy. The ghostly flames drift in and out, descending upon the bone pillars, as more rise from below. The rain seemed to fade as the warmth of the magical energy glows over. Eadni's ground was a sanctuary of spirits, they would be protected by her spells.

But she would need her own wards for Axl.

The british man survives the blast of flames. Letting the ash fall to the ground, her smile stretches further, drawing lines long across her face. "I enjoy pickling, child~" She coos, as she snatches one of the ghostly lights from midair. Pinching it between an index finger and thumb, the spiritual essence writhes and shudders. Dangling it from side to side, she watches as the blades are unleashed. How fascinating, she's never seen a weapon like that in so long. East and West had it's own character, naturally, but all society blended together before the witch. As he whips the chains in a great circle, she lunges low, surging forward at staggering speed. It would do no good on the rebound; if anything she was more exposed to be closer to Axl than further. But with a flick of the wrist, she suddenly hurls the spirit forward.

And it buries straight into Axl Low.

The spiritual essence is over 700 years old. A long time ago, a samurai went out for a walk with his wife. The wife was approached by a bandit, and the samurai believed that he had forced himself upon her. As his wife insufficiently defended herself, the samurai struck out to find the bandit. In a brief fight, he was stabbed with a pearl-laden dagger, and died ignobly. Time passed into memory, soul into essence, only to be collected and harvested into leylines. A shadow of a memory, an emotion, a pain.

The feeling of shame runs deep.

Of loss, of helpless, of despair. The possessing spirit rattles within Axl Low as it struggles to force itself into something. A possession, in the lowest sense of the word. Axl Low could fight it off; it wasn't difficult to fight off a panicked memory clinging on to the closest shape of life. But for the witch, its purpose was growing more clear. As the spiritual lights around began to brighten, eldritch runes flared. All the witch needed was for Axl to stay put, to writhe on the ground, to be stunned for a moment. Already, she was looming over Axl, the smile growing by the second. Already, the encircling runes were spreading around the british national, as the witch begins her chant.

The smoke tendrils begin to wrap around Axl.

Fire is not unfamiliar to Axl Low. The magic of bones and roots is...not. This whole place feels off, somewhat, but Axl can't really describe how or why past "spooky."

It only gets worse.

The spirit buries itself in Axl's chest, passing into him--weightless, yet heavy. For a moment, the weight of another man's sins and all his failures bear heavily upon Axl's soul. He drops like a stone, digging at his chest to try and pull whatever that was back out. Even as he does, smoke and root creep around him, drawing ever closer.

Axl grasps his chains, snapping the sickles back up from the ground. He swings them swiftly in a threshing circle, struggling to get momentum with the smoke tying him down.

He exhales deeply as he does, drawing deeply on internal reserves. The chains grow hot and burst into flame, becoming a great wheel of fire to try and ward the spirits away.

"Gaaah," Axl protests, "I knew this was going to be spooky business! Give me a break here, Granny!" he protests, less jovially than before.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low successfully hits Eadni with Artemis Hunter.

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Eadni            1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0          Axl Low


The boy had fire. As the witch readies to pour the rest of the eldritch force into him, the surge of flame erupts over him. Smoke and light recoil as the witch averts her eyes, stumbling back. The fire itself was not so dangerous to the witch. But as the wheel of fire whips out, augmented by the chains, the lashing tears into the witch's craggy flesh, tearing off the pieces like flakes, as her rags smolder and smoke. She hisses, the smile still burned out her face, as the skin... continues to burn, as black blood oozes out.

And the stench of turpentine fills the air.

"It's too late child~" The witch growls, voice low. "The ritual has already begun. You will make a fine offering to the Thunder God. Embrace your fate, as the world prepares to be washed away. It is the natural order of things." The hag growls. Already, the bone pillars peppered the area. Skull begin to burst from the stone, taking flight as fiery spirits possess them. THe roots were writhing underfoot. And now, the rain was swirling, swirling with the clouds, as the smoke almost seizes Axl himself. "Tell me, child~"

"Are you afraid yet?"

And she pounces.

The witch lunges at Axl, as the ritual continues to manifest. The very arena felt like it was changing, as the hag moves in. Still smoldering and stinking of pine tar, she hurls herself at Axl with impossible speed. Arms hanging overhead, she whips them around to slam them violently into Axl, attempting to overwhelm him with bone-snapping power. The witch had incredible speed and strength, far beyond her meager appearance. And her limbs... her limbs would prove to be too sturdy, almost like a bar of viney baseball bats, to smash into Axl. Should he fail to respond in time.

He might not live to see the ritual to completion.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low fails to counter Fierce Punch from Eadni with Heaven Can Wait Low.

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Eadni            1/-======/=======|=======\-------\1          Axl Low

Axl has fire. It may not be enough, but he has fire. The chains whip around in a full circle before the flames flicker out and Axl drags the chains back. He loops them over themselves, his expert hands folding them back into a manageable length.

"That's the thing," Axl says between heavy breaths. "I've seen how the whole flood thing turns out and--well, trust me, Granny, it's not good." Axl grits his teeth, saying each word with deliberate breaths: "Not good at all."

The pillars rise up around Axl, surrounding him with skull and bones. He sniffs, his face distorting with disgust at the overwhelming stench of tar and turpentine. "Well, to be honest, Granny," Axl pulls the chains taut. He steps back, turning them to intercept the fist.

He does not intercept the fist. The witch's strength is deceptive. Frightening. The blow simply knockings the chain block aside and slams into Axl's chest, launching him backward with a heave. He rebounds off the walls, landing on his hands and knees and coughing. "--yeah, you got me a little rattled now."


The witch whispers, as the smoke of the incense wrap around them both. The whole craig surface was consumed by the smoke, but the true power could be seen in the lights, in the shadows. The outline of trees were bursting up behind the smoke. The shadows of figures were drifting between the illusions. And finally, ultimately, three men, clad in ancient armor, drift between the smoke, their shadowy forms belying strength. What new summons were coming? How soon would Axl be outnumbered? The power of RAiden was awe-inspiring. But this witch... was still frail, as the stench of turpentine showed.

She could still be stopped.

Eadni's limbs, having smashed down, grow distended. Stretched nearly a meter, the limbs whip and writhe as she continues to prowl after Axl Low. Crawling on all fours, she skitters low and fast, her neck rolling with the charge. "Fear is an excellent seasoning, child~" She coos. Her limbs grow longer and longer, legs now, as she seems to stretch. The movement was too fast, a blur of arms and legs. The smoke growing thicker and thicker. As she finally closes in on Axl, she twists, turning her own body around to unleash a mule kick into Axl, to hammer him back into the wall, to pin him there.

Before she shows her true form to the Englishman.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low blocks Eadni's Medium Kick.

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Eadni            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1          Axl Low

"You know," Axl says between coughs. "You might me a bit of this chap I met once," Axl pauses. "It's not a flattering comparison." He groans and struggles to his feet, first on one knee, then upright with a hunch. Eadni crawls toward him with an unnatural, four-legged stretch of a movement. Axl's eyes widen with ghastly terror at the sight. He twitches, flicking his wrist as he does. The chain in his right hand when he does. The sickle is still on the ground from where he dropped it in the chaos. The one in his left hand drops as well. Is he overwhelmed with terror?

His resolve steels as Axl catches sickle on the fall. He slaps his left forearm under it, whipping the kusarigama sickle into a spin to bind the chains tightly around his forearm. The mulekick comes, but Axl is ready to bring up the chain-wrapped arm as a defense. The mulekick slams into it heavily, but Axl rides the impact into the wall and pushes back against Eadni.

"You know," Axl says in a half-cower. "Big boss thunder god picks some real spooky pals to hang around with." Chains rattle again.

Axl pulls back suddenly with his right hand, violently tugging the length of chain. The sickle end, left sitting Eadni threatens her underbelly as Axl yanks it back beneath her leveraging himself with the wall and her own threatening strength.

COMBATSYS: Eadni fails to counter Random Strike from Axl Low with When The Bough Breaks.

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Eadni            1/-----<</<<<<<<<|=======\=------\1          Axl Low

Eadni rises over Axl.

As the mule kick finishes, she turns into a rise. The witch's body was distended, stretched and thin. Gone was her hunch over form, but a steadily lengthening form. She was nearly 7 feet tall now, lean and towering over Axl Low. Her limbs, her body, her legs were too thin, viney limbs that were winding and boneless. Unware of the sickle, unaware of it's position, her long, gnarled fingers come close to Axl Low. "Ssssh, child~" She whispers softly, her face stretching longer and longer as her head twists, the maw opening wide. "It's time for sleep~" And she lurches in to wrap her viney limbs around Axl's torso-

And she is jerked off her feet.

The rending sickle tears across her exposed torso, her belly torn open. By now, the wooden hide of the witch was flayed off. Black tar pours from her body like blood, the stetch of turpentine coming back again. She is stunned, groaning in pain as she leans forward, placing her hands across the wall. She was growing, still growing, as the smoke was beginning to fade. A moment, an opening. Axl Low had the witch stunned, as the fiery eyes burn in the thinning smoke. "Wretched child~" She coos softly.

"Did you trick your mother?~"

A cold sweat beads on Axl's forehead as Eadni rises up over him, stretching like a long shadow given twisted, earthy form. He shrinks as she rises, backpedaling under his back is pressed firmly against the wall. Cornered with nowhere else to run. A drop of sweat falls to the ground, lost in the smoke and rain.

And then, Axl smiles. It's the sort of smile a man takes on a glimmer of hope appears in the face of death, when he sees a lighthouse for a storm-tossed ship or an oasis in the desert. The chain coils slithers like a snap in Axl's nimble hands, hooking the back of Eadni's knee and scraping across her belly. He threads the chain between his fingers, continuing to pull until he's rolling the handle of the sickle from finger to finger, adjusting his grip before flicking off the tar-like blood from the blade.

"Me mum always called me a cheeky brat, Granny," Axl says, his gallows humor tumbling out despite still being well within reach of the noose.

The kusarigama flashes out as Axl swings it into a spin, blade flickering faintly as it spins. Heat gathers around him again, fiery, unnatural chi--magic?--welling up around him again. He steps to the side, trying to widen the gap between him and the Old Witch by circling, the spinning chain acting as weak--possibly desperate ward.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low gathers his will.

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Eadni            1/-----<</<<<<<<<|=======\======-\1          Axl Low

Eadni's patience was enduring.

The transformation was nearly complete, as the eldritch energy pulses around. Eadni shape was blurring in the fire light. Nine feet tall, the witch's shape shape was incredibly lean. Her limbs, her body, were all too thin, stretched unnaturally into impossible shapes. the hag's human expression was all but gone. In it's place, was a withered stump of a face, craggy and barked, with a broken split in the middle. It's maw opens, showing row after row of jagged teeth, with pieces of iron capping some of them. "Child~" It says just as softly as before, it's voice betraying it's monstrous form.

"I will be your only mother soon~"

And she reaches for Axl.

The long limbs lash out, snapping like branches for the brit. Should they connect, they would coil like snakes around the figure, constricting him tightly as she draws in. And there, her legs would lash around, all four limbs binding tighter and tighter... as the stump of a head would move in. And there, Eadni would satisfy her little taste, as the spiritual forces all around swim and float, all closing in on Axl Low.

To drag him screaming into the world of the supernatural.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low counters Don't Say A Word from Eadni with Shiranami no Homura.

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Eadni            1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0          Axl Low

Sweat continues to bead on Axl's brow despite his bandana while heat continues to build. He brushes it back with the back of his fist, his other hand still steadily spinning the kusarigama by its chain. As he lowers his hand back down he swings the other end nervously. Expectantly. His fingers curl around the chain-links, gripping it tightly with a faint grinding of iron on iron. He does not make the first move, not yet. The long, root-like limbs come. The Old Witch beckons.

Axl suddenly stops spinning the chains. They retract like lightning, the steel of the chains disappearing like water down a drain. In a moment they are compact, collapsed back into a staff. Axl brings it around toward Eadni's limbs, leveraging the pole to push his way in, closer, closer. He snaps up sharply, bringing the butt of the staff up toward Eadni's chin with jarring, vaulting force. The blow is intended to stagger her upward and back, driving her into position of the follow-up.

The staff is separate again. Sickles flash and ignite as Axl lashes out once, twice, many times. Each lash is a whip-like strike a cobra, the sickles ignited with chi flames as Axl throws them forward, then jerks them back in a volley of rapid, fiery slashes.

"Sorry Granny," Axl mutters under his breath. "I have enough trouble with women already..."

Another counter attack.

The rites and the rituals of the witch was grinding down; she had expected fear the seize the heart of the intruder. Instead, it was the bane of the witch throughout the annals of time: courage when it matters. As the limbs lash out, the only thing she catches is the sharp steel to the 'chin,' staggering and -snapping- her neck audibly. The second wave of flames come, coming with the lash of the chains, raking across her hide. She stumbles backwards.

And her neck remains broken.

The black tar boils over her body, oozing from the snapped limb. She struggles to right her head, the oversized stump dangling loosing into her own torso. "Trouble with women? Fertility, love, or perhaps a love too far away?~" Eadni's bargaining bursts out, before it devolves to muttering. "Bah, child, another time, another life. I have no use for bargains now. You've gotten my attention, child, as more than a wry tongue and a bemusement. The wrath of a Thunder God must be appealed; whether through sacrifice or by service!" Recoiling back, the witch raises one hand. "The Thunder God, Raiden, will not be interfered with!"

And all eyes are on Axl.

The skulls upon bone pillars all turn towards Axl, their glowing eyes transfixed. High above, the flying skulls, flitting and dancing, all move through the air, staring down at Axl with malevolent presence. The whole bear of the field descends upon Axl, to trap him between Eadni and the wall of stone, as the witch struggles to steady its head. Down comes a single wolf skull, burning with a spiritual flame, flaring into ash as it attempts to explode into Axl with ghostly fire.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low blocks Eadni's Soul To Keep.

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Eadni            1/------</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0          Axl Low

Axl Low often asks himself how he gets into these situations. At one time, he was just a man trying to live a peaceful life in London, but rowdy gangers put a stop to that. Since then, it seems that trouble just has a way of finding him, and that trouble has no regard for time or for space.

Or maybe Axl just can't leave well enough alone.

Some men--sane men--would look at what Axl's seen, the fate of another world, or another time and know nothing but dread. To have seen a world on a brink and know, that in another time, it has, would fill many men with crippling despair.

For Axl, it meant that he had to do something.

He yanks the chain back as the fires subside. Eadni's neck breaks--and doesn't recover--leaving Axl a little green. The chains rattle as Axl winds them up again, folding them in his grip and shifting his footing. His boots sink in the mud slightly.

"Far away is one way to think about it," Axl mutters. He seems about ready to say something else, but Eadni resolves that a bargain is out of the question. The Witch tables the discussion with a flaming skull descending upon Axl's head, no less.

The Brit winds a chain around his arm and braces himself, shielding his face with his sickles as the skull crashes into him with a fiery explosion. It throws him back through the wet earth, but he steels his resolve once more.

"He sounds like a pretty demanding boss if you ask me, Granny. Must be a pretty tough customer if he's got you working for him though," Axl says, tossing his kusarigama out again, He throws it low, aiming to hook the back of Eadni's leg using the blade. If he does, he pulls sharply forward again, trying to flip the Witch and keep her off balance.

COMBATSYS: Eadni counters Armed Combo from Axl Low with Gave My Love.

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Eadni            1/------</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\0          Axl Low

"Oh, I'm volunteering child~"

"If he had his way, I would be destroyed into dust~" The witch says softly. "But he has made his wrath clear. These abominations must be purged, lest a greater disaster come. He must be appeased. And I must let him release his anguish, and guard him against you arrogant children, who think you can quell his rage? He will grow more desperate as you attack him. And then... he will unleash the last resort." Eadni's skulls continue to circle overhead, as her head continues to swing and dangle. It tilts to the side, as the chain goes for her legs.

And she interrupts with a mother's touch.

The entire bear of her limb ignites in eldritch magic. The hook never completes its cycle. The pull never finishes. Eadni disrupts the attempting with a skeleton-shattering backhand of her long, tree-like limb. Unleashing the full force of the long limbs in, there is an audible snap of the assault as she breaks her full power into Axl's jaw. The writhing, vine-like limbs actually are snapped on impact, broken, as she continues to move forward, her neck slowly supporting her head again. She was regenerating. She was reforming, healing herself. "The wrath of a god must be appeased, child. Or else it will scour the world forever."

"Do you understand~?"

The chain is extended to its full length and, for a dire moment, Axl leaves himself vulnerable. It is only for a moment, but that moment of weakness is all that Eadni needs.

The chain clanks when it's stopped, but it's a sound that's lost in the roar and moan of the branch-like arm. It smashes into Axl with bone-shattering force--enough force that it launches him across the ritual grounds, bouncing him into a tumble from which he doesn't rise immediately.

Axl draws his chain back again, but much more weakly than his earlier sneak attacks. It's practically a crawl as he winds it back up, drawing it close to himself. He brushes blood and spittle away from his mouth, working his jaw with the cup of his hand to try and get it back in place. For the first time since the fight started, he doesn't have a witty comment to make.

Instead his sickle flashes out in a bright, chi-infused green. It shoots low toward Eadni's feet, the blade amplified with a sheath of raw power. It doesn't stop there, as Axl sweeps the blade up into a spinning sweep, swinging it around once more as a desperate ward against the Witch's continued pressure.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low successfully hits Eadni with Melody Chain.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Eadni            1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1          Axl Low

She was closing in.

The fire pits were exhausting. The latent magic was beginning to fade. But Eadni found her offering. The chain returns, and the witch is unaware. She closes in, closer and closer, moving like a shadow. She is over him as the sickle glows green. And as it shoots low, she chooses to step over with her long legs, to rush in...

And the witch is warded off again.

The cleaving blade rips into her torso, raking open her torso. Black blood ooze out, as the whole frame of Eadni begins to sway, struggling under her own form. She could handle blows beyond any mortal... but such endurance had a price. Already, she was lolling from side to side. Falling upon all fours, her head distend, entangled in the chains. She is silent herself.

And the ground breaks open.

Rising from below, is the shape of a small wooden hut. Breaking through the stone like a whale rising from the sea, Eadni mounts upon the roof. Bearing long, trunk legs, in the style of bird legs, the hut strides up, charging forward, straight at Axl, the chains growing more and more entangled with every step. The witch stares silently, as the hut rampages, attempting to stomp down the brit...

Before sinking back into the earth.

COMBATSYS: Axl Low fails to counter All Fall Down from Eadni with Heaven Can Wait High.
- Power fail! -

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  <
Eadni            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Axl Low can no longer fight.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  <
Eadni            0/-------/-------|

Axl is on the ropes. Though the Brit may be crafty, his stamina only goes so far. His tricks, likewise, only work so well against The Witch's magic and experience. He staggers back, barely able to stand, when Eadni advances again.

Or something advances. A hut. A terrible, bird-legged hut that defies anything Axl might have expected. It steps wide, stomping down on him with rib-cracking force. Axl groans, unable able to get back up after that. He grasps at his sickle weakly as the Witch likely continues her advance. The ritual approaches completion...

And then something fundamental unravels. The whole world seems to skip, like a VHS tape with a bad magnetic field. It sputters and hiccups, and then...

"Not again--" Axl mutters, and then, he loses consistency. He fades once, then returns, then fades again, and then with a staticky pop, he's gone.

He was hers.

The thought rattles in the mind of the witch as the hut tramples, it's tree-trunk legs stomp, stomp, stomping. It finally descends into the earth, it's rampaging done with a final punt. And Eadni, in her broken, wooden form, rises into a stand, her long arms reaching for...


She pauses, staring with hollow eyes. She recoils, staring, searching. She begins to wring her hands, her form shrinking. It was a trick. It had to be a trick. Her guardian skulls had to sense it. They had to see him. She had her offering, she had her sacrifice, she had her child, she had her tongue. She had her skin, her meat, her bones. She had everything prepared. He was broken, she had broken him.

And he was gone.

The witch falls silent, her body bleeding. A witches rage was eternal. Axl Low had left the final insult. Defying the perception of eons of mystic power... by accident. She claws the rocks, digging, reaching, as the spirtual light fades.

"I will find you boy." She croaks, as she stares up into the rain. "I will find you, and pluck out your eyes. I will torment you for centuries. I'll put curses upon curses, rotting you within and without, till there is not even enough for the maggots to peel away. A mother's patience can be worn thin. And I promise you this, boy." And she shakes a knotted fist into the sky.

"I will collect payment layer by layer, from your wretched hide!"

COMBATSYS: Eadni has ended the fight here.

Log created on 18:14:21 11/13/2017 by Axl Low, and last modified on 01:47:37 12/01/2017.