Description: Fights are a war of the soul. Fights define one's existence. Everything that made you 'you' until that moment. Refusing to show everything is a disgrace. An insult. THUS IS THE MIGHT OF STROLHEIM.
It's a bright but cool day in Yokohama. People going about business dressed for the slightly chilly weather. Nothing really seems off aside from the presence of the NOL, which is becoming increasingly customary. People generally know about the gaijin who owns the samurai manor, and generally have nice things to say about the man. He's a regular fixture of late, seen walking about the town and doing business with the locals. Regular donations to local charities have ingratiated him a little further, but his reputation puts him a bit at odds with the locals.
He sees visitors at odd hours, is gone for strange stretches of time only to return with injuries. Then again, Zach Glenn is also known as a professional fighter, so that might explain some of it.
The man is home, working on a small stack of papers relating to his various projects. The outer door is unguarded, but closed. The occassional *DONK!* of the deer scare echos across the yard.
What a lovely day to test a fellow warrior!
Towards the manor of Zach Glenn strides an individual who seems oddly out-of-place in the area... then again, the country has been beset by countless bizarre strangers of late, so the arrival of Laurence Blood - Spanish matador and servant to House Strolheim - is hardly worthy of note. Perhaps a few citizens have noticed him from his activities in the past, representing the mysterious, shadowy Wolfgang Krauser whenever the man deems something 'beneath' his own attention.
Which is... rather often.
As Zach works away on his paperwork, there is a loud, firm KNOCK-KNOCK on the main entrance to his abode. He is fortunate in this regard; that other, /classless/ lackie of Krauser - Eiji the ninja - would likely have snuck in and attempted to slit the man's throat as some kind of 'test of his worthiness'. Blood - regardless of his sinister last name - is nothing if not polite and proper in these regards.
There would be no honour in such a thing, no true test of the man's skills... to say Zach Glenn has been noticed for his talents with a sword, and his impressive record in the professional circuit, would be speaking lightly. He did not merit an immediate invitation, as only the very /best/ in the world were sent those without prompting.
He does, however, deserve the chance to earn such a thing, on the field of battle. And who better to challenge the sword-wielding man than Laurence Blood, so skilled with his own bladed weapon?
If the man within the manor moves to open the front door, his eyes will fall upon the frame of Laurence Blood milling about his front yard after the initial two knocks made to draw his attention. He seems calm, relaxed, casual - red cape folded over one forearm and the sword held at his side; the shining, sharpened tip of the weapon pointed down towards the ground. A satisfied smile plays across his face, should he notice Zach answer the door... good, he wasn't one to stand around and wait, not to bestow such a prestigious honour upon an individual.
Likely, he'd move on to the next potential candidate, were Zach not prompt in his reply... if he /is/, only a few words will be spoken by the goateed Spanish man standing several paces back from the door.
"Your skill has been noticed, Mr. Glenn. Have you a moment?"
Zach's head perked up from the paperwork once Blood got near enough to the manor. Another visitor. He was already at the door before the sounds of the first knock had time to die down, and open before the sound of the last. Zach glances up and down at Blood, guarded skepticism on his face.
"Maybe," he says carefully. "Mind if I know who you are, and who you represent?" He doesn't let Blood in just yet, before recognition dawns on his face. "Wait. I know who you are. You work for Wolfgang Krauser." Zach tilts his head to one side, weighing things carefully.
"Perhaps you should come inside," he says politely. "No need for the NOL agents watching my place to learn everything about why you are here, no? Let's make them work for it."
Zach's initial comments simply bring a wider smile to Blood's lips, as though he were in some way pleased by the man's hesitation. Truly, he respects preparedness and discreteness above most other traits - and the man's response hits both those marks wonderfully. A slight inclination of his head seems to motion to the affirmative, and he tucks the forearm upon which his cape is draped up against his chest... the sword, noticeably, remains clear of the loop on his belt that he would usually rest it in.
Friendly and cordial as they both may be, but Laurence Blood is still here on business - and the man in front of him is no one to be trifled with. Perhaps if he were here on his /own/ affairs, he'd be more likely to drop his guard completely... but representing House Strolheim, well... it would be a dishonour to his Master, Wolfgang Krauser, to be caught unawares in such a situation.
He steps through the entryway and into the candidate's lovely, samurai-themed manor, turning his head to speak to Zach as he does so.
"Skepticism is healthy, in such times - I might be disappointed if you didn't display /enough/ of it..." he begins, following Zach to whichever part of his manor he might be inclined to lead the matador to... or remaining in the lobby, whatever the case may be. Regardless, his tone is polite as always, smooth voice seeming oddly out of place on a man who has come to test another in battle. He seems almost /too/ casual about the entire affair - a flair to his every movement, every step falling silent and graceful on the floor underfoot.
"Who /I/ am is unimportant... This meeting is about you, Mr. Glenn, and your true potential. As I mentioned, you've been noticed - your skill with a blade, your record as a fighter, your... other activities. All of these have earned you a /chance/, to rise to even greater heights in the halls of House Strolheim. I'm merely here to offer you the opportunity..."
A pause, then, to sweep his forearm about the confines of the room - bottom of the red cape whoooshing in the air as he does so.
"Should I find your skills suitably impressive, in-person, of course. Have you the time, or the desire, to entertain me with a brief test? Or would you rather return to... whatever it was you were /doing/, prior to my arrival?"
"You're not my first visitor since things died down," Zach says evenly. "The NOL dropped by with a recruitment offer of sorts a couple of days ago." The decor is not strictly samurai-themed. There is some of that, of course, but there are also nods to Zach's American sensibilities along with some nods to Scotland of all places.
Well, with a name like Glenn, it might be safe to say his family is not exactly from Cleveland.
Zach listens carefully. "Your timing's outstanding," he admits, "I was about ready to go for a jog." He looks over Blood carefully, "But I think you'll provide a better workout." He fishes a smartphone out of his pocket, and after two quick taps and a muttered conversation, pockets the device. He nods towards the back of the property.
"I've got just the place." Zach leads his guest, unsurprisingly, to a small training hall. There are plenty of practice weapons ranging from knives to polearms to airsoft guns. Zach apparently believes in knowing not only which tool is right for a task but how to properly use said tools when the need arises. He strides to the place where a master would sit, and takes a wooden claymore off of the rack sitting behind the pillow seats.
He turns to face Laurence Blood, sword in his right hand as a gauntlet comprised of psychic energy ripples into existence around his left hand. The gauntlet frays and chips at the edge of the sleeve, only to be replaced by more energy. The sword moves like its non-practice counterpart, depsite its seeming construction. Weighted, perhaps? Golden light slides along the blade of the sword, highlighting Celtic knotwork carved into its surface.
"I stand ready," Zach says, gesturing with his left hand.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn has started a fight here.
Zach Glenn 0/-------/-------|
COMBATSYS: Blood has joined the fight here.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
"I will endeavor to do so," states Blood in his almost eerily calm, cordial tone of voice, in response to 'providing a better workout' for his opponent. As a servant of House Strolheim, he has a certain reputation and sense of decorum to uphold when out and about on business for Krauser...
...no doubt the cause of some of the enmity he feels towards his fellow 'Lieutenant', Eiji. Part of him is glad that he was selected to approach Mr. Glenn - he would so hate for a polite individual to be forced into battle against that ruthless ninja Kisaragi... who /knows/ what /he'll/ be doing with those who fail the test, after all.
Indeed, a skilled and considerate warrior deserves nothing but the same in return; and so, here stands Laurence Blood - without a doubt the most refined of Wolfgang's numerous underlings.
He follows silently behind Zach, not another word leaving his lips, as he is led down into the training area. His right eyebrow rises noticeably as the man grabs a wooden claymore off the rack, somewhat surprised that the man would elect to utilize a non-edged weapon in this confrontation.
"A surprise, that," he enunciates calmly, glancing at the practice weapons arrayed along the wall... before eventually deciding that the man in front of him deserves a /true/ test - and so, that shorter, sharp, pointed weapon remains clenched in his right hand...
"You've chosen your weapon; I hope it does not prove a mistake. House Strolheim is not known for second chances, even for a warrior of your skill and experience."
That warning given, the Spanish man suddenly lunges into action - swift, long strides carrying him across the smooth floor of the manor... before reaching striking distance, he ceases his steps and sliiiiides across the smooth surface towards Zach. That sharp-tipped weapon is suddenly lifted up, as the momentum - and a forward thrust with his right arm - aims to plant it straight into the man's upper torso.
"Show me you're worthy of Krauser's attention!"
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Blood's Bloody Saber.
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Blood 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach drives the gauntleted hand forward, catching the tip of the blade in the open palm. The blade sinks through the construct just enough to pink Glenn's hand. "Don't misunderstand, sir," Zach says as he forces the weapon out and away from him. "It's just that the blade you might be thinking of has a purpose." He shakes his hand loosely, sending a droplet of crimson flying to the mats.
"And despite the reputation of your master," Zachs says as he examines Blood as if for the first time, "You are not what the blade was meant to be used against."
Zach charges, bringing the wooden construct around in a two handed grip, aimed sharply at Blood's flank in an upward swing!
COMBATSYS: Blood blocks Zach Glenn's Sweeping Strike.
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Blood 0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Purpose. It's something Laurence Blood understands; while some of his fellow underlings within House Strolheim may have accepted Krauser's offer of employment for purposes of prestige or wealth, the Spanish man did so simply to be given a purpose in life - a Master /worthy/ of serving, with his life if necessary.
He's certain that even /if/ Mr. Glenn should fail to impress in this spar, the man's spirit is that of a truly honourable warrior. He will not utilize his /real/ blade without it being a suitable occasion to do so. That alone is worthy of praise from the matador-turned-warrior - although he does not speak it aloud, not while the battle between the two is still in it's early stages.
Pulling the tip of his own weapon back as soon as it strikes the gauntlet covering Zach's hand, a short, shouted "OLE!" leaves his throat as he begins to spin in preparation for the inevitable counter-attack. That red cape flows from the motion of his movements, as he moves that hand behind him just in time to meet the swipe of that wooden sword.
Despite the fine cloth the cape appears to be constructed of, it is layer with thin links of chainmail underneath the fabric - a nasty surprise for many opponents, who assume it to simply be for appearances only. Zach's weapon strikes Blood in the back, certainly, but it's movement and velocity is slowed noticeably as it is intercepted in the air - before hitting him - by that red material.
"I advise you, do not speak ill of Sir Krauser's reputation," he warns sternly - sounding something other than utterly proper for the first time in this brief exchange - already whirling back around to face Mr. Glenn with a flourish, spinning on his heels and coming to a sudden stop.
"You will not receive another warning, in this regard!" he says, voice firm and determined, as the tip of his short sword once again lunges out - at the last moment, he aims to not for the man's midsection, but downwards... attempting to strike him in the thigh, just above the knee, a sudden shift in the direction of the attack attempting to break through his fellow swordsman's defenses!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn just-defends Blood's Random Strike!
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Blood 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach's left hand snakes out, catching the blade well before it strikes its intended target. "All I meant, sir, is that your master's words of late could be construed in any number of ways. Not all of them would be considered favorably. Krauser is strong; he will do as he wishes." Zach shoves the blade away again.
"For all of that," he says as he shoulders his blade, "Neither of you are particularly monsterous. Nor are you darkstalkers. That blade is not meant for you. This one is suitable for this exercise. I've no ill will against your master. He has not forced his will upon others needlessly, nor has he done so harshly." There is, however, an unspoken 'yet', suggesting that there are situations where Zach /would/ raise his hand against the house of Strolheim.
Zach takes the weapon in both hands, hefting the weapon once more before bringing it down in a heavy overhead strike, powered by more of that strange power Zach wields!
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Blood with Heavy Swing.
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Blood 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
"Ah!" shouts the Spanish servant to House Strolheim, as Mr. Glenn's response clarifies his previous comment - truly, he'd always been... overly defensive of the reputation his Master has held among some of the rabble. Not that it ever seemed to bother Wolfgang himself, but for Laurence any questioning of Sir Krauser's motives was a grievous insult; not just towards the greatness of the German man, but any and all who have pledged themselves to his service.
To hear that his opponent bears no /real/ ill will towards Blood's employer is reassuring, to say the least, and removes that certain edge from his tone - smoothing it over in an instant to be replaced with the same lilting, relaxed tones he previously displayed.
"My apologies, then. You must know, some of the peasants view Sir Krauser as something he is /not/. The man is great, and being noticed by him is an even /greater/ honour - yes, even for one such as yourself."
Perhaps he's spent too long defending the name of the /only/ man that he answers to; for as Blood hefts his sword again to press the attack, he finds that Zach is already mid-swing with a heavy, downwards strike... the matador moves swiftly, ducking and rolling to the side...
...alas, not quickly enough, as the end of the sword comes crashing down heavily upon his /own/ kneecap, just shy of evading the strike entirely. It causes a momentary grimace to cover Blood's face - but that is swiftly replaced by an impressed smirk.
Yes, indeed, his time was not wasted in coming here today. It is, after all, rare enough to face another sword-user in honourable combat - even rarer to find someone able to keep pace with Laurence in such a duel. Wonderful!
"Now, let us continue the test!" he says loudly, as he rolls to a stop - still crouching down low to the ground - some distance away from Zach.
A flash of movement, and he's leaping upwards; the forearm upon which his red cape is draped moves down, hand gripping suddenly at something tucked away inside a compartment of his belt...
...and then, reaching the apex of his jump, a hidden blade is unleashed in a downwards angle - tossed towards Zach from on high, as Blood begins to descend back towards the ground underneath him. Perhaps not the most honourable of moves, but he must test this man thoroughly - and he is /certain/ that those who are being put through the wringer by Eiji are not receiving any mercy on /their/ end.
He does, after all, have to be /thorough/ in these affairs.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn negates Bloody Shooter from Blood with Quick Shot EX.
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Blood 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach recognizes the outfit, and some of the fighting style. Matadors use the cape as much to get the bull's attention as much as it is to hide the blade. One such weapon comes flying in, and Zach's eye snaps to it.
His left hand drops to his hip, and a slender blade emerges from the ether and composed of the same power Zach has been wielding during the fight. A flick of the wrist, and the spectral blade collides with the one thrown. His own blade does not survive the encounter. Blood's blade, however, jams harmlessly into the mat next to Zach's right foot.
"Let's," Zach agrees.
A small exclamation of something approximating joy, as his blade is deflected with another projectile in a deft, graceful manner that seems to please the Spanish man. At last, someone with skill to test himself against - Krauser was unsure if Mr. Glenn would be capable of suitably impressing his Lieutenant, despite the man's impressive record as a fighter. Blood had argued /on/ Zach's behalf; having seen footage of him in action, heard stories told...
...it is good, then, that vouching for this individual was not something he came to regret. Even if it were not for his official duties at present - here to weed out those who do not /deserve/ an invitaiton - it is likely he would have enjoyed this spar, on it's own merits.
In these troubled times, it is oh-so-difficult to find a man of both skill and honour, strength and grace. By all appearances, Zach possesses all these traits. Perhaps he /is/ worthy to visit Castle Strolheim... but time shall tell!
Landing back in a crouch, Blood straightens his body upright and lets out a short, sharp laugh that echoes through the hall. Not of mockery or self-amusement, but polite, pleased, happy to find himself in a duel with a worthwhile opponent. That red cape is twirled through the air, as he spins the handle of his short, sharp sword around with one deft, well-practiced hand.
"Well, well. You do not disappoint! But I believe, it is time to see you do something /other/ than react!"
As he speaks, the air around him begins to twist and turn - not with any noticeable chi or flow of energy, but something else... a steely determination seeming to move from the metal point of that blade, radiating throughout the man's entire frame as he claps his heels together and lunges the point of his sword out into the open-air.
"Your move, Mr. Glenn!"
COMBATSYS: Blood gathers his will.
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Blood 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
"Okay," Zach says for a moment as he regards Blood carefully. The man seems to be holding back, but not by much. Glenn charges in, psychic energy flaring around him as he closes the gap, tossing the wooden weapon aside as he does so.
Zach's aim is to grapple with Blood...
COMBATSYS: Blood fails to reflect Fragarach from Zach Glenn with Bloody Mixer.
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Blood 0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach grabs the front of Blood's shirt, before planting his feet and turning to heave the man over one shoulder. The sound of the impact echos thunderously in the otherwise empty dojo.
Zach, however, does not seem to be done there. His right hand is open, fingers spread, and sheathed in brilliant golden light that grows brighter with each passing moment.
Before it detonates in the center of Blood's chest!
The wooden blade scatters on the ground to the side, momentarily wresting Blood's distraction as his eyes follow it's path along the floor...
When his gaze returns to Mr. Glenn, he is closer - /too/ close - and reaching out with both hands... Laurence's left arm lashes out, attempting to spin the red fabric of that reinforced matador's cape in front of the man's attack.
It seems, however, that taking his attention away from his opponent, even for a second, seemed to be a grievous error on the Spanish man's part. He's begun his counter too slow to make any difference, and the front of his vest is gripped firmly by Zach.
"Tsk," comes the single utterance from the lips of Krauser's underling - no doubt scolding himself for being tricked by such an obvious feint - before he's flung to the floor in a harsh shoulder-toss...
...one hand comes up, as he notices the brilliant light... too late, again, as the explosion rocks throughout his body and sends him careening away from his skilled foe.
This time, it takes a moment for Blood to recover; eventually, he rolls backwards on the ground before coming up to rest in another crouching position. Oddly enough, he's smiling across the hall at Mr. Glenn as one hand rubs at the wound left on his chest.
His time spent travelling here was /not/ in vain. Should the rest of the match go as it has thus far, there's little doubt this man will merit an invitation to Castle Strolheim itself... and, perhaps, a meeting with a man far, far greater than Laurence himself.
Blood remains in a crouch, cape draped across his left forearm, right hand clutching that short sword firmly... and then, another sudden laugh - obviously mirthful and holding no malice in it whatsoever.
"Most impressive!" he shouts, voice prim and proper despite the increased volume, showing Zach the respect he so obviously deserves, "But I don't believe we're finished... do you?"
Zach circles Blood warily as the man regains his footing. The path, not at all a coincidence, takes Zach by the practice weapon. He slips his foot underneath the weapon, kicking it upward enough that he can catch the hilt. "Nah," he says with a slight exhale. That was a bit of a rush.
Once more, Zach charges in. He goes low, throwing an elbow at Blood's midsection.
COMBATSYS: Blood blocks Zach Glenn's Medium Strike.
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Blood 0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
With the added distance between the two men gives Blood plenty of time to prepare for the attack to come... although, noticably, he remains in a crouching position - perhaps trying to lull Mr. Glenn into some kind of overconfidence, perhaps catching his breath just a /bit/ more, perhaps simply to defend with more of a flourish!
As Zach charges in and aims an elbow down towards Laurence's midsection, the matador stands up suddenly and moves his left forearm slightly above the path of the strike. That red material of the cape - lined with some form of light metal - moves into the path of the attack and robs it of the majority of it's momentum and velocity...
...the impact, when it /does/ strike the midsection of Krauser's Lieutenant, is noticeably less than it otherwise might have been. Even so, it does cause the Spanish man to shuffle back a half-step...
But only for a moment! Quickly, his left arm moves back to his side, pulling the cape away to reveal the sword held in his right hand, directly behind the material. With a sudden lunge forward, he aims again to plant the pointed end of that weapon towards Zach's torso. For perhaps the first time in the fight, there are no words leaving his mouth.
The man has proven himself worthy thus far... not it is left to Laurence to show that Krauser's faith in /him/ has not been misplaced. Best to make this competitive, before the end... and that requires a certain level of focus...
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Blood's Medium Strike.
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Blood 0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach twists, catching the incoming blade with his own weapon, grunting with the force of the strike. He shoves the strike away, and skips lightly back a couple of steps. Blood seems to be pushing himself for his own reasons now.
"Good," Zach half-whispers. "Show me /your/ fight, Laurence Blood. Show me why you wield your blade!"
The ether around Zach erupts in golden light, as another gauntlet forms around his right hand.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn gathers his will.
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Blood 0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Another deft manuever by his opponent turns Blood's blade to the side before it can land cleanly on it's target... another reminder that his trip here was not in vain... another validation of him vouching for the skill of this man to his employer Wolfgang Krauser...
Without a doubt, that's why - despite being unable to land a firm strike during this brief encounter - Laurence is still smiling in a rather satisfied manner. All he's ever wanted out of life since taking up service with House Strolheim was to fulfill his duty to his Master, and to lock swords with worthy, honourable foes in the heat of battle.
Today, he is able to do both at the same time; a wondrous thing, to meet such a competent opponent blade-to-blade.
Zach skips back several steps, and the words that come out of his mouth... they're met with a chuckle of mirth from the Spanish matador...
"Perhaps..." he begins, that right hand moving up and placing his razor-sharp short-sword in a loop attached to his belt - where it hangs firmly as he pulls his now-empty hand away. He claps it together with his left, up near his head - two sharp slaps echoing out from between his palms as his red cape sways back and forth.
"Or perhaps I will show you, that I don't /need/ my blade."
That's all the warning that Mr. Glenn receives, as Laurence suddenly launches himself forward - feet leaving the air, his body suddenly wreathed in blue chi as he spins forward... a horizontally-aimed missle, his entire body covered in that energy as he leads towards his opponent, both palms pressed outwards to try and catch him dead in the chest.
It seems he has more tricks up his sleeve, than simply wielding a blade!
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Zach Glenn with Bloody Spin.
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Blood 1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1 Zach Glenn
Zach thrusts his hands in front of him, trying to use the blade of the weapon to catch and deflect the human projectile. The weapon /shatters/ under the force of impact, and Zach is slammed across the room and into a wall. A number of polarms fall on Glenn unceremoniously. Zach grunts and pushes his way out of the pile of weaponry, dusting himself off. His shirt is in tatters, and his bare chest is burnt and bruised. He lets out a hoarse chuckle.
"That's what I get for being metaphorical, I guess," he says before spitting a glob of blood on the floor.
Then Zach charges in for nothing more refined than a tackle, which would be followed by several punches about the head and shoulders with those psychic gauntlets of his!
COMBATSYS: Blood dodges Zach Glenn's Rough and Tumble.
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Blood 1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Zach Glenn
"Well, you know," states Blood - almost apologetically - as his feet touch the floor once again and the chi dissapates rapidly from around his entire body... in a flash, he stands entirely casual, as though all of this were simply business as usual, "I /do/ have my own reputation to uphold."
No sense of irony and humour in those words; given how the encounter was playing out, he owed it not just to House Strolheim, but to /himself/ to show the highly capable Mr. Glenn precisely why he was under the employ of Wolfgang Krauser. The purple-haired German would not want one of his own Lieutenants giving anything /but/ a sterling performance, after all.
Already, that sharpened short-sword is slid back out the loop of his belt - resting lightly in the grip of his right hand, as he does a half-turn on his heels and spins his cape with a graceful flourish. Hardly showing off, but his former career as matador has imprinted certain... eccentricities upon the man's fighting style.
Zach charges back in with a savage tackle that causes a simple "Tsk, tsk" to leave the mouth of Laurence Blood. For an opponent who has had such a... refined bearing prior to this, it's almost disappointing to see him reduced to the style of a mere brawler. Alas, one can hardly blame the man - in the heat of battle, /many/ great fighters can lose their cool.
And certainly, the fact that his practice sword was shattered might not leave him with many other options in terms of attacks.
Laurence's left forearm moves in front of his body, placing that red cape between Mr. Glenn's charge and himself... for a moment, it looks like he might let himself be struck dead-on by the lunging tackle...
...at the last possible second, Blood's feet - carrying out a twirl on his heels - send him spinning to the left of the attack. His opponent has the cape pulled away from his vision at the last second, to reveal empty air where the Spanish man once stood. Yet another deft manuever carried over from his days fighting bulls in his homeland.
"Keep a cool head, Mr. Glenn," says the servant of House Strolheim, in an almost reproachful tone of voice, "We're not through yet!"
As if to emphasize this point, he dashes forward again; the tip of his razor-sharp sword, suddenly covered from hilt to tip in bluish chi, lashes out in a series of 8 rapid slashes... as he strikes, it seems like he moves quicker and quicker with each movement of his sabre - as though the attacks were, in some way, aiding him in regaining his energy after the brief but intense battle they've been fighting.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn fails to interrupt Bloody Slash from Blood with Storm of Blades EX.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|=======\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach staggers from the missed tackle, spinning quickly to see Blood charging in. Zach grits his teeth; no time to mount much of a defense. He reaches into that well of psychic might, that has been churning and burning at his core. He backpedals as he summons a blade, which is hurled at Blood. Then a second, then a third. Then a fourth. All of them miss, some of them by narrow margins.
Blood's attacks hit home, drawing... well... blood. Zach sprawls to the mats with a yelp of pain. The wounds are nothing major, certainly not life threatening. But they are already closing even as Zach tries to regain his footing.
Though he makes no real utterance, the surprise on Laurence's face is an almost audible thing as he finds himself lunging /towards/ a shower of blades hurled in his direction. Even as he slashes, he finds himself forced to twist on his heels, twirl his body to-and-fro, spin that red, metal-lined cape in front of him - all to either dodge, or deflect the projectiles thrown his way.
Truly, he was not expecting /that/. As he moves, the smile playing over his lips simply widens; this man really /is/ full of surprises. In his mind, he's already earned his invitation to Krauser's tournament, though he makes no move to speak these words aloud. Best not to reward the man, until the fight is properly over!
All the same, the look of satisfaction and vague admiration is visible, even as the tip of his blade cuts into Mr. Glenn and sends him sprawling backwards... nothing is aimed for anything vital - the man /must/ be in fighting condition to answer the call of House Strolheim, after all!
But neither does he go /too/ easy on Zach; each slash and stab is intended to hurt, all the same. Calm eyes fall upon the form on the man at his feet, and swift flick of his right wrist sends the blood flying off the tip of his sword to splatter on the wall beside him.
"A noble effort," he says calmly - but if his opponent thinks that signals the end to the match, he will be shown how wrong he is... one step towards the recovering individual, and Laurence sends a vicious, downwards stab towards the man...
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Zach Glenn with Power Strike.
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Blood 0/-------/------=|=======\====---\1 Zach Glenn
Zach strangles another shout of pain as the blade strikes home. He scowls as he rolls to the side and gets to his feet. He's not certain, but he feels like Blood is toying with him now.
That may be unwise.
Zach thrusts his right hand out, and from one of the wall racks comes another wooden claymore. Aside from a white tape hilt, it more or less resembles the one Blood broke earlier, but instead of golden light? This one flares purple, even as the same color rushes up Zach's frame. He lets out a sharp kiai, and aims the blade at Laurence's collarbone. This strike seems far heavier, far more /there/ than the earlier overhead strike.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Blood with Dyrnwyn.
[ \\\\ < > ///// ]
Blood 0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0 Zach Glenn
The tip of that blade is imbedded into Zach's recovering body, and pulled back just as quickly as it was thrust forward; just a jab, but a deep one... whether it's to toy with the man, or to prove a point about his own prowess with a blade, is left to his opponent to figure out.
Whatever it is, it seems to drive Mr. Glenn forward, rolling to the side and grabbing another wooden claymore from it's space resting upon the wall of his training area.
"Well, we-" comes the beginnings of some comment from the lips of Laurence Blood, but then his eyes open is surprise at the speed and ferocity of the incoming attack. In a flash, he raises the blade of his own sword, moving it up into the path of that vicious downward slash...
It's too late; Zach's assault is too quick, too savage... even if he was able to place his own sword in it's path, it's doubtful if it would've done /anything/ to slow the momentum of his opponent's attack.
The wooden weapon strikes him dead in the collarbone, a savage *CRACK* echoing out through the hall as it forces Blood - immediately - down onto one knee. A grimace of pain covers up his usually composed features, gaping eyes revealing just a fraction of the agony and shock that are coursing through his body.
There's a moment where it looks like he might actually collapse, completely, to the ground... but a sudden gritting of teeth seems to refocus the mind of Krauser's Lieutenant, and his grip on the sword in his right hand tightens suddenly... rising from a crouch, he aims to stab the tip of that blade - no chi, no technique, just vicious lunges forward - up and into the man's midsection in a brutal combination of thrusts.
No words. They're far past that... it almost looks... like Laurence is /angry/.
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn blocks Blood's Armed Combo.
[ \\\\\ < > /// ]
Blood 0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Zach's arms move quickly, parrying the worst of the strikes. At least all but that last one, which goes right into the shoulder. Zach lets the claymore fall out of his hand again, gripping the blade of Blood's sword to hold it there for one moment.
So that Zach can drive a three-quarters uppercut with his left to launch Blood across the room with explosive force!
COMBATSYS: Blood dodges Zach Glenn's Explosive Strike.
[ \\\\\ < > /// ]
Blood 0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0 Zach Glenn
Though his face seems to be as neutral and impassive as ever, the look of building frustration and anger in Blood's eyes is very noticeable - particular in such close quarters.
When Zach grabs the blade of his sword, there's no look of shock at this unexpected block - instead, his eyes just narrow in concentration... his primary weapon disabled for the time being, he seems to have no other choice. As much as he hates to allow himself to be disarmed, he knows a vicious counter-strike is surely headed his way.
So, that right hand slips off the grip of his short-sword, and his heels twist to carry him - spinning and twirling that cape to confuse his opponent - to the right of that savage uppercut aimed where he was previously standing.
Left without his blade, there's only one option here... he can tell Mr. Glenn is on his last legs, but then... so is he. He's got one opportunity here to make this work, to complete the match with a victory (albeit an unofficial one, honour still demands it) in the column of House Strolheim.
A rush of movement, and he completes a twirl of his body with a vicious elbow-strike aimed directly at the side of Zach's head, aiming to jar him and knock him down... hopefully, for good.
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Zach Glenn with Bloody Elbow.
-+- CALCULATED HIT -+-
[ \\\\ < > ]
Blood 0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1 Zach Glenn
Zach sees the move, he knows what's coming. Blood no doubt sees the half-twitch-not-quite-a-lurch, and can tell Zach was trying to dodge that one. But no. There is a wet *thump* sound, and Zach's resistance crumples. The psion goes to the mat in an almost boneless slump. For a moment there is nothing but a hoarse breathing.
""M done," Zach mumbles, raising a hand to wave weakly. "Legs aren't talkin' to me right now." He doesn't sound all that great, but again, the wounds are closing and the bruises fading already. "So," he says, rotating his head to regard Blood for a moment. "Did I pass whatever test this was?"
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn takes no action.
[ \\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn can no longer fight.
[ \\\\ <
The entire length of Blood's arm rattles with the shock of the impact as his elbow slams harshly into Zach's head, the force behind it almost knocking the swaying matador off his /own/ feet in the process...
His opponent goes falling to the side, sprawled in a heap on the floor, and Laurence manages to keep his balance despite the cloudiness of his own vision. A graceful twirl - all the more impressive considering his own condition after that savage 'test' - takes him out of the range of any potential final attacks on the part of his fallen foe.
And yet... nothing comes. For a moment, as the words come tumbling out of the floor-strewn man's mouth, there's a look of genuine disgust that crosses over Laurence's face...
...he's... giving up? For a moment, he is sorely tempted to spin on his heels and walk right out of the man's manor, leaving that invitation tucked safely inside his vest to be given to the next fighter - hopefully, someone willing to fight to the bitter end.
Reaching down to grab his discarded sword and secure it tightly in the loop on his belt, Krauser's Lieutenant scoffs audibly as he turns back to face Mr. Glenn's body... when he speaks, his voice is lacking the tone of respect he had offered throughout the entirety of the duel.
"You have. But only on the strength of your past performance, Mr. Glenn, and the fact that I have already /vouched/ for you once with Sir Krauser..."
He turns, then, and begins to walk towards the exit leading out of the training hall and back towards the main door out of the man's abode... he pauses, just shy of the door, and turns his head back to speak over his shoulder.
"Be warned, if you lay down in Castle Strolheim as you have here today, you will have offended /my/ honour - as well as your own. Consider these words wisely, and ignore them at your /own/ peril..."
Then, a single hand snakes inside his vest and pulls out an invitation... to Wolfgang Krauser's prestigious tournament... rather than place it on a table, or hand it to Zach himself, he tosses it over his shoulder and lets it flutter to the ground. As he walks away, to leave the manor and go find his next candidate for such a 'test', he seems to /spit/ the words that follow"
"Remember what I've said."
COMBATSYS: Blood has ended the fight here.
At this point, Zach is able to sit up. He still looks a bit wobbly, but there is something in his eye when he regards Blood.
"It would have been ignoble indeed if my guest were unable to leave under his own power. Doubly so if I, as a host, had made him that way." Zach says, a frown clear upon his face. "This was a fight, not blood sport. Not a fight to the death. Not Mortal Kombat." Then a grin breaks out on his face. "Besides, Sir Blood, you know as well as I do that this situation could have easily been reversed. That was an excellent fight."
"But," he says after a moment to retrieve the envelope, "I will bear your advice in mind."
Log created on 13:31:54 01/06/2018 by Blood, and last modified on 22:40:37 01/09/2018.