Description: So I have found the Mad Dog, the little accident Kokonoe had let out of his cage. While Terumi was intentional, I am interested at the arrival of Azrael. How many more of these beings are locked away in the Boundary, outside space and time? Perhaps there are other opportunities to unlock from the depths of the Boundary....
Escaping Sector Seven is one thing. The Mad Dog managed to track down someone likely to get an invitation, and had a surprisingly good meal; but the problem since then has been 'Strolheim'. He's got no idea where it is, and the sheer scale of distance makes aggressive interrogation useless. Eventually he located a map, and began just... marching. In short order the direction was entirely lost, and he's currently standing atop a freezing cold mountain. It would have taken days to get here, far within the barren expanses of Russia, and a normal individual would have died ten times over from exhaustion, starvation, and the elements even properly dressed up.
Azrael wears nothing but a jacket upon his shoulders, however; chest bare, hands stuffed into pants pockets, expression heavily annoyed. The collar on his neck has been aggravating from the onset, and with his own belly despairingly empty, he finally decides to deal with matters.
Fingers snap up and grasp the metal contraption. Muscles flex and the feedback immediately builds around him, inverting the physical force. As expected, it's fully capable of restricting his power...
At least, the power he's ever displayed.
"Enchant Dragunov... Level Three!!"
There's a great burst of power that roars across the mountains, sending clouds billowing away. Ice and snow sloughs down in wild avalanches as the very core of the earth below seems to quake. Many of his intricate tattoos have vanished, those that remain shining blindingly bright crimson.
The collar resists for a second, before suddenly snapping. A moment later it explodes, siphoning the resisted force into a point-blank eruption of force. The entire top of the mountain vanishes in a great roar of flame and force, likely felt in seismic readings for hundreds of miles. Large chunks rain smoking all around, some near the horizon.
Amidst the smoke and fires, Azrael sweeps out a hand, great billow of air dismissing the assault as clear skies bear down once more. "Tch. That was all she had...?"
This place was inhospitable. NOL special forces would be exhausted before they could even get anywhere near here; to say the least of the cost of life if the mountain would detonate, Azrael's power was immeasurable. The risk? Equally immeasurable. No normal individual could survive in this place.
Relius Clover was no normal individual.
The arrival, in the aftermath of the mountain, was almost uncharacteristic. A single figure, dressed in white and gold, strides in the wake of the cleared air, far too close, approaching too casually. His purple cape blows with the sweep of Azrael's hand. How long was he there? Before the destruction of the mountain? After? Walking through the rubble of the debris, he stares with glowing white eyes from behind a mask, his head held high.
Giving the lightest pattering of applause.
"A fascinating specimen...." Relius idles, ceasing his applause as he strokes his chin. "Is this the mad dog that has broken from his chain..." He stares deeper for only a moment longer, before averting his eyes. "Your power is.... incredible! But introductions, of course. I am Relius Clover. And you, sir..." He glances around, narrowing his eyes slightly.
"Are lost, I hope."
Analysis would indicate the device that was on Azrael's neck was quite impressive. It shifted kinetic force in a stasis locked manner, transfering it to an attempt to pop off the user's head. However, Azrael's durability was much higher than expected, and when the item was overloaded the explosion was some final failsafe... impressive, if not sufficient to take the Mad Dog down. His clothing is badly singed and torn from the event, but such aesthetics matter little.
"Who are you?" Azrael comments, still showing his back towards Relius fearlessly. A glimpse of his power might be exhilerating, but slowly it begins to retract, tattoos starting to stretch back over his form as the bright crimson glow gradually abates to a dark charcoal. Once fully manifested, the measure of his strength feels below Relius' himself by a fair amount. However... until then, it had been well above.
"Relius Clover...? I don't know you." He twists around to face the man, neck slowly cracking. Above is a great void, the clouds having dispersed nearly a mile away, leaving the angry storm whirling on the adjacent undamaged mountains.
"But right now... I'm starving. If you can get up here..." Fingers curl slowly, grin baring vampire-like canines as his crimson eyes flash. "...Then maybe you'd make a good meal...!"
Impressive, if ultimately crude.
A mere head popping collar? Kokonoe might have well gone with an electric shock, for the finesse. Direct, and in theory effective... but Kokonoe limited her theories to the here and nows on realities. Looking up into the eyes of the man, Relius does not lose his composure. The power was waning, which was... even more curious. Not enough for Relius to snatch this man right now. But in due time, it was a consideration. "Oh, I'm not surprised you are hungry. And yet, I hardly think I would be a meal to you." Relius Clover says idly. "That's your problem, not mine of course. But it raises the question."
"Why are you here, instead of the nearest city, I wonder?"
Relius asks that question aloud, gesturing around him. "There is no meat, no spirit here. No challenge, except what meager offerings nature can provide. You are nothing but a stray dog, wandering the wilderness. Perhaps you are so starving, that you would stop to my level to feed, to eat." Relius smirks, shaking his head. "Really, you break free, and I have to find you on a mountain?" And the scientist gives a final, decisive point at Azrael.
"Tell me, you ravenous animal, what scent are you trying to follow?"
"You sure talk a lot." Azrael says, sticking his pinky into his ear. Twisting it about left and right, eyes shut as he sloughs his weight to a single foot. "I didn't think you were the talkative sort, when I laid eyes on you..." There's many curiosities. It's easy to tell from his clothing just how long Azrael has been in freezing environments. Dozens of hours, obviously. But his skin has absolutely no reaction to the cold, as if he's outright immune to it as opposed to merely tough. His breath huffs out in mist like normal, however. But it's clear he is sustained by those great wells of internal power, and he has no need for eating, drinking, perhaps even sleeping. Hungry? That seems absurd. He's not lacking in anything visible in the slightest.
"But you look like someone who might be able to answer my question..."
One moment, Azrael is a good four meters away. Then the air displaces, and he seems to almost manifest in front of the puppetmaster. The force of his movement sends stone pebbles flying and his own coat billowing. This was no special move. There was no technique to it, no training. Merely him lifting all restraints for a split second to move, at a level beyond what even a specialized fighter might be able to follow.
"Tell me where this 'Strolheim' is...!!"
His hand shifts above Relius. Transparent. Basic. Indeed, he moves like a simple brute with no refinement. But when it descends, all such calculations go out the door. The speed and force offset the myriad flaws, literally compensating for his shortcomings using nothing but his wild power and innate speed, housing enough force in the subdued motion to even send the mountain quaking lightly...
And, clearly, he's restraining himself greatly.
COMBATSYS: Azrael has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Relius has joined the fight here.
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Azrael 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Relius
COMBATSYS: Azrael successfully hits Relius with Palm Smash.
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Azrael 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Relius
In turn, Relius gives his own restraint.
Relius knows the bounty, he knows the report, and he knows the risk. And yet, the scientist has his own experiments to make. The strings of which to bind someone like Azrael seem to be more than a mere collar. His ambitions only wanted to make sure that Azrael returns to his cage; perhaps even in his own NOL lab, to pry and pick apart. And yet, for the alien, almost demi-godly figure... he seemed not even affected by the cold.
Then again, even Relius himself was blow clouds of breath in the icy cold.
"Indeed I am!" Relius answers, as he continues to speak. "Strolheim is some ways west of here. You have made good progress, if you have indeed escaped from Sector Seven; almost uncannily so. See, where you are right now-"
In a flash, Azrael is upon him Relius is sent hurtling through the air. The impact the earth bears is -nothing- that rattles through Relius; the only reaction seems to be a few mechanical arms dipping forward, to seize him. Arcing meters, away, it looks like he would just keep on going. And yet, for a moment, he seems to collide with -something.- Or rather, -something- catches him, stopping his momentum in an easing slow. Relius is lowered to the ground, as the humanoid shape disappears. For a moment, there is silence. And then, in a flicker of time, Relius raises a hand up. Pushing himself up, he gestures at Azrael, showing that he was, in fact, alive.
And that voice raises up again, calling across the distance.
"Ahem, The Ural Mountains are what separate western and eastern Russian, so you have not gotten too far off course!" Relius eases himself into a stand, as he shakes his cloak. From within, the pieces of machinery and gears collapse from within. Relius tries to straighten himself upright, but... remains doubled over. "Nnnrgh... Of course, you are too far north; you are on track for Finland but hardly anywhere en route for Strolheim. You are following the 60th Longitude, hrngh... really, it would be much faster if I just don't explain it."
"Is it too much to assume that you don't have a map?"
COMBATSYS: Relius doesn't seem to stop talking.
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Azrael 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Relius
Azrael looks at his hand after slamming into Relius, flexing his fingers with obvious disappointment. "Tch. You're not even a snack." Disappointed boredom immediately floods on his face, not seeming to consider Relius an interesting target anymore. Such seems independent of the fact he endured that blow without significant injury, something few people can shrug off to such a degree.
"Just tell me where it is." Azrael snaps out, impatient as he stuffs his hands back within his pockets. The cold wind still blows hard, whirling behind and pattering that well-singed white coat against his legs and body. Crimson eyes have lost that spark, but still glare with an ominous intensity.
"Or I'll rip you into pieces anyway, and tear what satisfaction I can from your marrow...!!"
"Tell you where it is?"
Relius replies, almost incredulously. Certainly, belittling the intelligence of a barbarian that could smash you into the planet a hundred ways, without even a challenge, was a fool's errand. But Relius was carefully pulling at what this man's strings were. "Why, it's that way." Relius points in a direction. "But really, you've been following that instinct of yours to get there. You have 1,900 miles to go; hardly impossible for you. But as you've well demonstrated, you could be wandering all over Europe before you stumble on Strolheim. You could crush me in both of your hands, and you would be no more closer. "
"But, if I can't satisfy you physically, perhaps I can provide you something mentally."
Relius traces in the air, as sigils and shapes begin to form. "Come closer!" Relius invites with the air of a professor, as a stretch of green pours in front of him. "And if you can keep your attention, I can detail just how exactly you can get to Strolheim.... and maybe, perhaps, in time to meet the countless fighters there." He chuckles lightly, sweetening the invitation.
"Maybe I could whet your appetite with some descriptions of them..."
"..." There's a rather lazy expression from Azrael, still seeming to eyeball Relius like a piece of meat. Although one overcooked and badly seasoned, perhaps, yet to a starving man that still possesses some merits. But that doesn't change the fact he wandered into a mountain range because someone assured him it was the right direction, and has found himself aggravatingly lost.
There's no fear. No hesitation. Just the lazy footsteps of the large man brushing through the rubble remaining atop the mountain from Kokonoe's little explosive trap. "I don't care what kind of people they are." he snaps out, sneering down towards Relius with open disinterest. "All I care about is if they'll be a good meal or not. That's what that damn specter promised me while I was sleeping... if escaping turns out to be a waste of time, I'll just feast on her instead!!"
"You are here." Relius doesn't waste time, as he keeps the bare interest of the unstoppable fighting machine. He points northward on the map. "And Strolheim is here" He touches on another point, right in the heart of Germany. He traces a line from one point to another. "Seems simple enough, correct? You only have to follow a straight line. But, the trouble is, one false step, one wrong direction, and you are all over." He scratches his fingers across the path, letting the arrows scatter all over Europe. "What you need are landmarks." Several points light up on the map. And Relius seems about ready to explain what those landmarks are..
And he presses another subject.
"Ghosts can be very troublesome." He begins, as mountains, cities, and buildings spread around. "You wouldn't happen to know which ghost was pulling at you? Any descriptions? I hope it isn't the Raging Demon, the most powerful fighter of legend." A troll? A tease? Or maybe, another string for him to pull on.
"It sounds someone you cannot trust, after all~"
"..." Azrael isn't stupid. This is a mistake many people have made when interacting with him. Thinking he's nothing more than a force of nature who cannot fathom anything but the next battle. This isn't inaccurate, but he's quite above average in intelligence regardless of this fact. Capable of self-control and restraint, if it fits his needs or ambitions. He follows the instructions without comment, merely standing patiently nearby until the questions come forth.
"Some woman. Felt cold. Whispered promises about fun if I escaped my cage. Smelled like something unfamiliar." Death; something he's got no familiarity with. "I'm not looking for her, right now. Tell me how to get there...!"
He escapes the string.
Relius was careful not to press his luck. If that was the answer that was given? Then that is all he would work with, for now. Relius traces the lines piece to piece to piece. Six points, and a direction path on it. "Perm, Kazan, Moscow, Minsk, Warsaw... Strolheim." He says aloud. "I know you proably would prefer to avoid cities, but they are the most important landmarks in this land. Find the cities, and you can find the next city. You do not need to be in them, just need them. But just in case you meet any more bad directions..."
And he flicks his wrist.
In his hand, was a single, shining silver compass. Passing his hand over it, the compass spins and spins, before settling on a direction. Relius walks around Azrael, demonstrating the fixed point on the arrow. Not North... but to Azrael's next direction.
"Perm, Kazan, Moscow, Minsk, Warsaw... Strolheim."
Relius says, as he taps the compass. "This compass will direct you to each of the outskirts of the city. "It's magic will be... questionable. But if you follow the compass, you will find yourself close enough, before it guides you to the next location. If you find yourself lost, or off the path? Perm, Kazan, Moscow, Minsk, Warsaw.... Strolheim." Relius repeats, holding out the compass for Azrael.
"Do you have any more questions?"
"...I get it." Azrael finally comments after the third repeat of locations, seeming vaguely insulted that Relius found the need to say it so many times in succession. He reaches out to snap up the compass, holding it still between two fingers before stuffing it into his pocket. He seems utterly open, no concern for traps, manipulations, or other untoward actions. This is purposeful, Relius would guess. He simply is not worried, and beyond such seems to almost welcome something to break the monotony. "Hmph. Fine. I won't try to break you now. I don't know why you are helping me..." Slowly his grin spreads, crimson eyes seeming to sizzle with light for a few moments. "...And I don't really care. If it gets me where I'll find a feast, then the devil himself can trace me a path in blood!! I'll just owe you one... Mr. Clover." He twists, in the direction that the compass initially pointed, taking a couple steps before pausing. "Hmm...? Don't you have a son?" he remarks, cracking his chin to the left. "Carl, right? He was registered as a vigilante for that Library... but I heard he's got a bounty himself now."
Why would he fear ?
He had broken out of the most impossible of prisons. Nothing could contain him, nothing could hold him. Relius's kindness was selfish, of course. But unlike his counterpart, he had a perspective on this issue. He was missing information still. Why was something like Azrael... real? And yet, that's what makes him all the more fascinating to Relius. He So why was he helping him?
Because he wanted him in Strolheim.
In Strolheim, it would be an all you can eat buffet of violence. Challengers. Opponents. And all the while, Azrael will stay in the same place. Relius can figure out what comes next, as Azrael ignores the strings tying around his limbs. Relius had a plan. And all Azrael needed to do... is whatever he wanted. Almost everything was in place.
And then he mentions his son.
"I have many children," Relius says directly, a frown on his lips. It was his first reaction, somewhat... taken aback that his son would be so specifically. An infinity of possibilities, and it was this one? Slowly, he continues to speak. "But I must confess, that Carl is my son." He sizes up Azrael, considering. This man would rip Carl to pieces. That would not be useful. And yet, the offer is so interesting, that Relius can't help but rub his chin. "He is very... delicate, you understand. But there is a construct that follows him, a doll, nearly your size..." He gestures at Azrael. "That has a link to him. I would consider anything against him to be a test of your restraint. But against that construct..." And Relius Clover gives a smirk. "... I wonder how much punishment it can take. If you would, could you see if you can break the doll?"
"It would be a most generous gift to me."
"...Mmm?" Azrael twists around, sniffing the air lightly, as if finding something new to the situation that interests him. His grin remains, a predatory cunning to his eyes as they narrow down into slits. "A doll?" After a few moments, the massive figure lifts his chin to peer down it. "I'm not interested in a damn toy. ...But if he might fight to the death, that's another story entirely." Relius would understand more now, from the myriad analysis. He's a vampire, of sorts. Yet not in any traditional sense. Relius' slight acknowledgement drew his attention, and like some strange black hole, is tugging at the puppetmaster's very soul. Like some great parasite, tasting it curiously to see how edible it might be. "But fine... deal. Since you helped me find my way? I'll devour him and his little doll." He then turns away, beginning to march across the broken mountaintop once more.
COMBATSYS: Azrael has left the fight here.
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Relius watches him as he turns away.
Carl would be having his own adventures soon. Of course, if Relius needed to rescue him, so be it. It was a way for Carl to understand how vital it was to learn how to out think your opponent. Still, Relius was apprehensive. He would need to watch Azrael carefully... and he could, now that he was right in his place. Azrael was dancing on his strings now; the strings would be taut yet, they could not be taut. But when the time was right... well, it was soon needed for the time to be right. Relius strokes his chin. "It seems I will need to speak with a certain young scientist, on how recklessly she's been conducting experiments..." RElius turns around, and walks in the opposite direction, striding with his head held high.
It only takes a moment, before Relius is gone from sight, vanished.
Log created on 16:19:07 02/03/2018 by Relius, and last modified on 14:04:18 02/05/2018.