Illyria - Illyria Act 2 - Knights Of The Bear Republic

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Description: Like the armies of antiquity, the Bear Army has its own champions to match those of the enemy army. In the midst of the chaos in the camp, Marduk quickly realizes that the martial arts of the Bearfolk are all too familiar to him: professional wrestling. Enraged at the wrestling bears, he begins to unleash Vale Tudo, demanding one such champion to dispose of the angry NOL recruit. Masked and mysterious, the champion descends on behalf of Bearkind to deal with Marduk... and perhaps teach him a lesson about himself all the while.

"*bear noises*"

Wojtek, the commander of the Shadow Bear Army, clings to the binoculars, staring out through them at the fires spreading through the camp. They had once belonged to a wayward birdwatcher. He was compensated for his loss in bearkind currency of fruit, grubs, and berries. The commander looks solemnly at the chaos unfolding over the camp. Already, his raiders, garbed in ceremonial horned helmets, was unleashing bedlam. Some of these soldiers would not be returning home to their cubs. But he was under orders from the strongest to stop these invaders.

But what were invaders?

For Wojtek, it was clear that this was neither his territory, nor his lady's territory. In many ways, they were the invaders. And these humans were simply defending their lands. He knew too well what the ambitions would take them. How many more camps would Wojtek be ordered to torch? How many more humans would fall before his forces? The bear focuses through the lens, growling silently.

"*bear noises*"


"Holy shit these are Bears!"

Marduk suddenly explodes out from a tent, hastily dressed in his NOL uniform of blue and white. The hairy, towering Australian quickly adjusts his slacks, he immediately punches the nearest helmeted bear right in his gut. The bear doubles over in pain, as Marduk tackles him, punching him in the head. One more punch comes, and the bear falls silent. Marduk stands up, looking around him. "Holy shit everything is on fire too! This is bad news! I am not good at fighting fires! I-"

Marduk pauses in horror.

Not too far away, he watches a NOL soldier get snatched in the paws of a massive shadowy bear. But not to get ripped apart or mauled. No, to be -powerbombed- straight into a nearby table, which was also on fire. Marduk turns his head to the side, and sees, just in time, a bear moonsault off a fence, unleashing a staggering bodyslam on a downed Sacred Order knight. And finally, he turns to look, as a pair of bears catch a single NOL victim between them, lifting him up to unleash a combination slam down. Marduk's mouth babbles wordlessly, before a rage overtakes him.



Wojtek narrows his eyes through the binoculars. From what he could see, a single, massive human was... savagely attacking his bears. And another human too, was mobilizing and striking out. Champions. Damn. Wojtek should have known the humans would still believe in honor. The majestic bear lowers the binoculars, and turns to his lieutenant. He points at Marduk in the distance.

"*questioning bear noises*"

The lieutenant looks out, using a paw to shield his eyes.

"*affirming bear noises*"

Wojtek shakes his shaggy head, and brings his paws behind his back. He stares out at Marduk. And then, raises a paw towards him.

"*decisive bear noises*" R%

"OH NO!"

The shout is bass, gruff, and tinted with a Russian accent. It comes from slightly behind Wojtek and his lieutenant. It is swiftly followed by the appearance of the man himself.

The figure that emerges from the treeline is a giant of a man: seven feet tall and four-hundred pounds of muscle. He is wearing an ornate bear mask and long, flowing cape made of shedded bear hair, painstakingly collected and hewn together by the noble Shadow Bear Army.

"The fighting has already begun!" Zangief says through his heavy mask. "Perhaps there is still time to end this battle without needless bloodshed! HERE I COOOOME!"

And with that, Zangief bounds forward. With a mighty flexing of muscle, his legs bend and he launches himself in a great, bounding leap toward the tides of battle.


And in a few moments, something starts falling from the sky toward Marduk.

"INCOOOOOMING!" comes the yell, shortly before the mighty BEAR CHAMPION craters into the ground with a big splash shaped like his frame. He does not immediately emerge from the hole.


That was the cry from Marduk as he throws another unconscious bear on top of the pile of bears. "THIS IS WRONG, AND EVIL, AND THE WORST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN!" He explains, as he looks around angrily, trying to find another bear. He was breathing hard, gasping for air. And for a moment... there are no more bears. Well, not nearby. They were busy with the OTHER champion. For now, Marduk seems ready to assist the blonde haired dude.

Until ANOTHER bear comes roaring in.

Marduk roars back as from up on high, a great figure of what was clearly a bear comes smashing straight into the earth. "A BAD BEAR!" Marduk exclaims. "MORE WRESTLING BEARS! I AM SO MAD! I CAN'T BREATH! I CAN'T SLEEP! I CAN'T EAT! ALL THESE WRESTLING BEARS! I CAN'T STOP UNTIL I DESTROY EVERY WRESTLING! I MUST PROTECT THE HOMOSEXUALS! I MUST STOP HOMOPHOBIA!" Marduk stomps his heavy feet towards the crater, eyes wide, mouth frothing with spittle.



Staring after the legendary ally as he goes airborne, the lieutenant looks severely uncomfortable. Humankind was... an enemy of bearkind. Even in the new progressive era of Bear rulership could not hide the undercurrent of bear supremacy over the hairless apes. The lieutenant could only check his bear privilege for so long, as the human, garbed in the wear of a bear, descends on the camp. Almost outrageous, he challenges Wojtek.

"*inquisitive bear noises*"

Wojtek is silent a moment, watching as the greatest champion and ally of Bearkind comes colliding into the earth. And then, clearing his throat, he doesn't even look at his lieutenant, and he begins to explain.

"*explaining bear noises*"


Wojtek and his bearkin were deep into the forests of Russia. Armed with only their bear hands, they were starving, desperately hungry. The rescue mission had gone horribly wrong; they managed to locate their target, the supposed only survivor of the ambush. He was posed in a hunting lodge. His commanding officer demanded a retaliation; that was against the instructions of the high bear, who explicitly stated no attacks against the humankind. There was a fight. An incident, that Wojtek may be bear court martialed for.

And now, they were 500 miles in human territory, with every bear hunter on their trail.

They covered their trails. Avoided upturned garbage cans, open streams, and various trails. It almost worked, but starvation was afflicting the six-bear team. Morale was at a low, especially after the fight within the ranks. IT would not take much more before Wojtek's command would come into question next. ANd then, they would all scatter. And then, they all would fall. Weaving between the trees stealthily, Wojtek raises a paw.

And then they saw him.

The earth erupts suddenly where the vaguely-man-shaped hole was just a moment ago. From it comes the man himself, garbed in great flowing cape and mighty bear mask. He lands with a mighty "hup" and bends his knees when he does. He slowly rises up to his full height, pieces of rock falling out of his mighty mane of chest hair.

"This will stand! Such words! Such hatred! I --" The Bear Champion causes, looking at Marduk for a long moment. He stares, as though he recognizes the Australian from underneath his bear mask.

"Oh! You are Craig Marduk! I remember you from the King of Fighters tournament! I have been looking for you!"


In the clearing stands a towering giant of a man clad in nothing but red wrestling trunks, wristbands, and bright red wrestling boots. At seven feet tall he is almost the height of a bear, and he seems to be just as hairy. Tucked under one armpit is an enormous cooler. Under the other is a barrel with an iron spout on one end. His breath seeps out in clouds due to the Siberian cold. Next to him is a much smaller man glad in heavy winter coat with a long rifle.

When Zangief sees the bears, the man raises his rifle. Zangief moves in his way, nudging it up and away.

"No no, shooting is not good. No more violence here. Now is time for talk." He steps forward a few times, feet falling heavily in the snow, and sets the cooler and the barrel down.

"Come closer my hairy friends! Is gift!"


"Tell me why so much hate in heart about wrestling, comrade! Wrestling should be beautiful competition between friends and rivals!" Zangief flexes mightily, his muscles bulging. "Let Zangief ease your troubled heart with the power of MUSCLE SPIRIT!"

Marduk instinctively thrusts his own chest hair at the attacking mysterious champion.

For all he knew, this was a bear. A bear who spoke words. And as he hups up, Marduk doesn't back down. He stares down in his uniform, teeth gritted, body tenses. And when his name is spoken? Marduk pounds a fist into his palm. "Oh you've been looking for me? Well that doesn't make sense! Nothing make sense. I mean-" And then, the champion reveals his true nature.


Marduk jaw drops.% R
"I -KNEW- IT!" Marduk says, not actually knewing it, as he shakes a finger. "YOU are the one who framed me. And for good reason. WRESTLING IS WRONG AND EVIL!" Marduk declares, as he strides forward. He makes an aggressive shove at Zangief, not in the manner of an actual attack, but in a manner of aggressive declaratives. "WRESTLING IS BAD, WORSE THAN HITLER! IT BULLIES THE GAYS, AND RUINS INNOCENT WOMEN! AND YOU WORST OF ALL! YOU BROKE RAINBOW MIKA OR SOME SHIT! AND IF YOU ARE WITH THESE BEARS..." Marduk considers. He ponders. He think think thinks. ANd then he snaps his fingers.

"Then I better capture you for my NOL friends!"


An ambush?

The arrival of the men comes with a roar of the soldier bears. Each rise up on their hind legs, and for a moment, it was time for a mauling. But Wojtek was familiar with the ways of men, the language of men. Standing between his troop and the men, he raises a paw on each side. He turns his head to his bears, already on the edge of starvation and anger, to the humans. Specifically the one with the gun. Looking over the pair, he understands Zangief's words, his intentions. And yet, for all his optimism... was this just a trap? He stares at the barrel, the cooler. A gift? A trap? Diplomacy. The bear stares hard. ANd he responds.

"*bear sounds*"

And yet, there is no meaning. No language. Wojtek knew that in this state, bears could not speak the language of men. Understand it? Yes. But speech was beyond them. He wanted to know what was in it, what was the gift, what was the intentions, who was this man? But there was nothing.

What language could there be, to bridge the gap between man and bear?


"Da! It is me!" Zangief works his arms, swinging them left and right in a stretching motion. He moves up and down in some more stretches, working out the stiffness and shaking some last bits of dirt and rock out of his bear and cape.

"No no! Wrestling is not evil! Why do you say such things? Did some wrestler bring harm to you, Craig Marduk? Shame on him!" While his face remains concealed by the mask, the shock is palpable.

"No! Not for bullying or ruining of women! Mika is good girl with strong MUSCLE SPIRIT! She will be mighty wrestler someday! Is already making much progress!"

Zangief thumps his chest. "But I cannot join your and your friends in the NOL! No! My mission is here, making peace between man and bear! Perhaps you need a demonstration of proper MUSCLE SPIRIT! We will settle this dispute like men, with our feelings conveyed through strength! HOO-AH!"

And with that, Zangief drops into a wide wrestler's stance.


"I do not understand, furry friend! But I have brought food, food and good vodka!" Zangief cracks open the cooler, revealing cuts of steak as he lifts it up for the bears to see. But the roar is confusing. Zangief scratches his beard.

And then he suddenly claps his hand together. "Perhaps we need a different language!" says Zangief, dropping into a wrestling stance. "Come and see the truth in my intentions!"

Wojtek understands.

In tandem with Zangief, the soldier bear falls into the sacred wrestling stance of the bears. Wrestling was the one thing that both man and bear could share in unity. His troop, seeing the stances, immediately relaxes. Peacefully, they spread out to form the circle. Wojtek gives a bow of respect to Zangief. And then, throws himself at the Russian, for TRUE MUSCLE SPIRIT WRESTLING.

And the wrestling continues.

And continues.

All through the day into the night, Wojtek and Zangief wrestle, struggling in the grips of the sacred arts of Shadow Bear Martial Warfare. The rest of the troop watch with the smaller human, eating of the steaks, and partaking in the barrel in solemn audience to the display.

Until finally, Wojtek yields.

Struggling under the pin of Zangief, the bear finally taps out, to the cries of the bears. By Bear Law, he was now at mercy of the human from his egregious surrender. Him and his bears. It was an act of trust, of brotherhood, of unity. The question was now. Zangief would know this well, through the cultural exchange and intimidate understanding only gained through prolonged wrestling. The question was.

What would Zangief do with this knowledge?


Marduk for his purposes, could not understand these feelings he had.

He hated Wrestling. And yet, Zangief was not fueling his hate. No, he was giving him passion? Joy? The heart of wrestling? "Some WRESTLER brought HARM on ME?!" Marduk belts out. "Only that COMPLETE TRASH ARMOR KING!" Marduk gloats, throwing his arms in the air. "Who I -KILLED- accidentally! Cause he was some PUSSY CAT in a MASK who couldn't handle his drink, who TALKED BIG, and couldn't... COULDN'T WRESTLE AS HARD AS ME!" Marduk has a glimmer of pain, of hesitation. That quickly turns into full-throated rage.

"I HATE ALL WRESTLERS!" Marduk roars.

Throwing himself in his own wrestling stance- Vale Tudo stance, he struggles to keep his composure. "WRESTLERS ARE TRASH! THEY ARE GARBAGE! I HATE ALL OF THEM! AND I HATE YOU, ZANGIEF! WHEN I AM THROUGH WITH YOU, YOU KNOW WHAT I AM GONNA DO?" Marduk makes a miming gesture with his hands, as the camp burns. "I'M GONNA TURN YOU INSIDE OUT! AND THEN TEAR YOU INTO LITTLE PIECES OF PAPER! AND THEN TOSS YOU AT THE BEARS, AS A REAL HATE GLITTER! AND THEN I AM GONNA PUNCH THE HELL OUT OF THOSE BEARS!" Marduk was screaming, as he pounds his uniformed chest.


COMBATSYS: Marduk has started a fight here.

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Marduk           0/-------/-------|

After days of wrestling, Zangief sits on the ground breathing heavily. After all that, even his perfect body must rest and recover. When it does, he reaches out to offer Wojtek his hand--not in command, but in camaraderie.

What follows in the coming days is a time of learning. Zangief works with the bears to recover their losses. To be compensated for the loss of their kind. To develop a fair system of trade with the farmers and workers afflicted by their pillaging. To do the Cossack dance. With time, they become allies, even friends.

And when they are in need? Zangief comes to their aid.


"No!" Zangief says. "These things are untrue! Something must have been wrong...something...unspoken!" Zangief seems incredulous. Perhaps he knows Armor King well enough to perceive something strange about the ordeal.

"I do not believe you do these things with malice, Craig Marduk! You are conflicted! Let me show the way!"

"But for now, you are too angry! Too excited! Perhaps you need a humbling so that the healing can begin! Let us go, but beware, my iron body is invincible!!!"

Flexing, Zangief's muscles tighten and suddenly he powers forward. He reaches for Marduk, but then slips around, aiming to slide behind him!

COMBATSYS: Zangief has joined the fight here.

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Zangief          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Marduk

COMBATSYS: Marduk blocks Zangief's Atomic Suplex.

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Zangief          0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Marduk

As Zangief winds around Marduk, he tries to hoist the large man up, flip backwards with him, and then suplex him into the ground. Marduk knows wrestling, however, as much as he hates it--so he may be ready with a swift countermove to Zangief's surprise belly-to-back suplex!

Something unspoken.

Marduk only finds his anger fueled even more. He did not care about his past with the bears, to work together, to cossack dance. He only hated the wrestlers, and the bears, and especially the bear wrestlers. And Armor King, and Jaguar King, and all the wrestlers. They were just too SOFT and HATEFUL. And every time Marduk feels that strange itching feeling about the old Armor King, it just made him madder. And Zangief being all friendly and bouncy and chipper? It made him so mad, that he almost throws up. And when he says the word? Which word?


That was the word. When Zangief says that word, Marduk actually throws himself straight at Zangief. The wrestler tries to grab Zangief, just to kind of tussle around a bit, but quickly has the massive man on his back. Marduk roars in fury, as he reaches a back around.

"The only MALICE that Marduk knows is MALICE IN WONDERLAND, BITCH!"

The Australian roars as he manages to go with the suplex. Lifted up and over, the massive weight of the wrestler shifts. Marduk is slammed -hard- on his feet as he gets control, evening himself out as he reaches out to seize the burly wrestler. "I gone followed a FUCKING WHITE RABBIT and it's ALL UP IN WONDERLAND RIGHT NOW! Marduk is gonna get like the MAD HATTER and just FUTTERWACKEN this SHIT UP, like in that REALLY GOOD WONDERLAND MOVIE by the DUDE who did CHARLIE in the CHOCOLATE FACTORY!" Marduk would then go right into the countermove of lifting up Zangief by his knees, and -slamming- him right on top of a whole stack of bears.

"Like have you ever heard of Tim Burton, Zangief?"

COMBATSYS: Zangief interrupts Strong Throw from Marduk with Tundra Storm ES.

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Zangief          1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0           Marduk

Zangief rolls into the suplex as Marduk adjusts and lands on his feet. The Russian twists out of the backdrop and lands on his hands before springing back to his feet.

"KHOROSHO!" he exclaims, "Very good! But still so much anger!"

Marduk hefts up Zangief, lifting the massive wrestler toward the stack of bears, but what happens next is a demonstration of the MUSCLE SPIRIT (and superior wrestling technique). Even as Marduk gets his grip, Zangief flexes, his muscles going to taut--even turning red, briefly? With a fierce flex of his shoulders he pushes out against Marduk's hold briefly, freeing himself from the grip just long enough to counter-grab and twist the Australian around mid throw. The two go into a barrel spin, crashing into the stack of bears with a heavy thump.

"Oh, yes!" Zangief says. "Good movie! Excellent dance number! And cute kitty cat, with big smile!"

The collision of two incredible men send the bears flying.

The Bearsplosion scatters through the tents ,as marduk is caught down in the staggering slam. Groaning under the impact, he struggles, dazed and confused. "I gotta say though, I was not feeling the sequel. The Looking glass one. LIke time travel? What is up with that? It's just dumb. Like what's the point of the Chronosphere? I am a big fan of the original novels, so I gotta say-"

"Wait a minute."


"OOOOAGH!" Marduk bellows, as he attempts to rise up. The staggering brawler charges upright with wildly, flailing punches, a strong right, an intricate left, and then a bellowing uppercut, trying to hurl some momentum back at Zangief. "DON'T YOU START MAKING ME FALL FOR YOU ZANGIEF! I DO NOT LIKE WRESTLERS!"


COMBATSYS: Marduk successfully hits Zangief with Raging Beast.
- Power hit! -

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Zangief          1/---====/=======|====---\-------\0           Marduk

"There was sequel?!" Zangief answers, shocked. "Oh no, but time travel! Time travel is terrible way to handle plot!" But then Marduk interrupts, and Zangief obliges. "So be it! We will focus on fighting!"

Zangief flexes again, tightening his muscles against the onslaught. He wears the first right head on, then the left, but the uppercut smashes through his guard and staggers him back.

Zangief looks back at Marduk with a wide grin as her rubs his chin. "Oh ho! Very good punch! But no, we are brothers in muscle, Craig Marduk!"

And so, Zangief stampedes forward, raising his arms high over his head. As he gets close, he slames down with both fists, trying to axe-handle Marduk forward.

COMBATSYS: Marduk endures Zangief's Flying Power Bomb.

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Zangief          1/--=====/=======|=======\-------\1           Marduk

Zangief drives both hands down upon Marduk, slamming him foreword. Once he does, he wraps his arms around Marduk's waist. With a mighty heave, the Russian lifts the Marduk up over his head, turning him upside down in the process. With the Australian in tow, he leaps forward into a flying powerbomb, crashing through a nearby supply table in the process.

Marduk was enraged.

Having pounded back at Zangief with a frightful fury, he staggers back at Zangief. And Zangief was... complimenting him? Marduk was getting more and more distraught. No, nobody thanks him for his sportsmanship. He hated wrestling, so wrestling had to hate him. It was flawless logic. And the Red Cyclone was flawing his logic. As the towering wrestler comes back at him with the axe handles, forcing through it.

All while screaming.

"HOLY SHIT" Marduk bellows. "STOP BEING SO FUCKING HAPPY AND NICE! IT IS REALLY FUCKING PISSING ME OFF THAT YOU ARE SO NICE AND FRIENDLY LIKE WRESTLING IS HOW YOU HANDSHAKE OR MAKE FRIENDS OR SOME SHIT!" Marduk was only getting meaner, as he -forces- through the powerbomb, forces through. And when he gets smashed through the table?

Marduk goes for the reversal.

He would cling on Zangief, getting his arm into a legbar. And once he could get there? He would -wrench- the arm from it's socket in a clear, MMA execution. "I WOULD NEVER WRESTLE! I NEVER EVER WRESTLE! VALE TUDO IS NOT WRESTLER! WE ARE NOT BROTHERS! WE ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THAT!" There were -tears- in Marduk's eyes, as he gets more and more emotional. And hell, you know what Marduk would do after the bar?

He would just lash out, attempting to pull off some of Zangief's chest hair!

COMBATSYS: Zangief fails to interrupt Grounding Throw from Marduk with Russian Aerial Slam ES.
~ Cruel hit! ~

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Zangief          0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Marduk

"I am sorry comrade, but wrestling makes me feel ALIVE!" Zangief answers with a mad grin. When Marduk goes for the reversal, Zangief shifts and reaches for his face. The armbar wrenches his arm, putting strain on the socket. The Russian pounds the ground in pain, but his demeanor remains the same.

"Oh ho, Vale Tudo is good style! Strong grapples, like arm lock!" And then Marduk goes for the chest hair.

Zangief grits his teeth from the pain, but he staggers out of grapple with a bald spot on his chest.

"Oh no! Hair pulling is unsportsmanlike, but I will let it go! You are dealing with much anger. Is forgivable offense, but just this time!" Zangief works his arm, popping it back into socket with a mighty flex of muscle--but it keeps him occupied while Marduk is open to continue his offensive pressure.

Marduk couldn't just stop.

But tears were coming down his cheeks, as he rips the hair off. That was supposed to be it. That was supposed to be the moment that Zangief gave up the facade and started snapping back. But it never comes. It still never comes. Marduk was so used to the hate that... that there was no hate. Just friendly encouragement. Marduk felt so sick, that he didn't know what do to anymore. He looked around like a dazed cow, trying to... trying to not let off but- but as Zangief pops his arm in, Marduk was screaming himself hoarse.





COMBATSYS: Zangief blocks Marduk's Strong Kick.

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Zangief          1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1           Marduk

"It is not! They have similarities, but there are many styles!" Zangief says, clearly struggling against the discomfort of his injuries, but keeping his demeanor nonetheless. The kicks slam against Zangief's tight guard, each kick slamming against his well-muscled arms and driving his boots through the dirt. Even so, he stands his ground.

"Alcohol and anger do many things, but this is not the first time this is happened! Let out all your frustration, it is first step to healing!"

Zangief tilts his head. "What? No no, bears are not for such things!" The stout Russian plants his feet, his body steaming as he focuses his chi with a mighty flex. "But you still speak in angry! Let it all your anger go! Come at me!"

COMBATSYS: Zangief gathers his will.

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Zangief          1/=======/=======|=======\=------\1           Marduk

Marduk starts collapsing into his anger.

Zangief was not feeding his anger. And it was only getting worse and worse. Unable to find an outlet, even with his tantrum inducing kick assault, he wanted Zangief to hit back. And instead, he tells him to be angerier?


"I GOTTA KEEP BEING ANGRY! I GOTTA KEEP DOING IT! I MEAN, I DIDN'T EVEN HATE ARMOR KING! I THOUGHT HE WAS TOUGH AND WE HAD A FEW DRINKS!" Marduk was pouring out his heart and soul. He grips his uniform, and begins ripping it off his body. Peeling away the layers, he pulls and pulls, tearing it off him. "IF I ONLY LEARNED TO STOP WHEN I GOT ON HIM, HE WOULD BE ALIVE NOW! I WOULDN'T HAVE GONE TO JAIL, I WOULDN'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE FACT I KILLED SOMEONE! BUT IF I ACT LIKE A BIG TOUGH GUY, IT DOESN'T MATTER! BECAUSE NOBODY CARES IF YOU ARE A BIG DUMB JERK!" Tears run down Marduk's face, as his chest becomes exposed, naked in the feral tearing. And finally, he roars out.


Marduk pauses, catching his breath again. Marduk breathes hard, standing amongst the flames of the camp. He stares at Zangief, looking... looking a bit calmer.

"I gotta say, Zangief, did you know that Johnny Depp would beat his wife like an asshole?"

COMBATSYS: Marduk gathers his will.

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Zangief          1/=======/=======|=======\====---\1           Marduk

"Come on, talk to Zangief! He will forgive you, and help you forgive yourself! This is good!!"

And then the Russian sets himself, bending his knees. He charges forward, stomping toward Marduk steadily, each footfall like the chugging of a steam locomotive. He goes in low, reaching to grab hold of the Australian and hoist him up into a powerful bear hug.

"No! I did not know this! He should not do such things! Was she all right?"

COMBATSYS: Marduk blocks Zangief's Choke Hold.

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Zangief          1/=======/=======|=======\======-\1           Marduk

"Well I think so."

Marduk's tone is a lot more even now. Not exhausted, per say, but all his anger just kind of burned off around him. As Zangief builds up speed, he doesn't even lash out in a hot rage. "I mean, maybe I can't forgive myself." He starts in, as he flexes his arms. Caught in a great big hug by Zangief, he grunts in the lock.

"But like, take Johnny Depp."

"I mean, you got crazy bitches, who need to be slapped around a bit, but only cause they just won't stop yap, yap, yapping, you know? But what if she isn't yapping, and is just like, making a sandwich too slow. You can't just slap a bitch for making sandwiches too slow, that's just cruel. I mean, I don't think he's an asshole, but he's just so kooky and weird so I don't know! I am feeling a lot better about this, Zangief!" Marduk says. "I mean it! I mean, I don't get why wrestlers make me so pissed off. Oh, hang on."

Marduk immediately attempts to smash his forehead into Zangief, to break the hold.

COMBATSYS: Zangief fails to interrupt Fierce Punch from Marduk with Bolshoi Russian Suplex.

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Zangief          0/-------/=======|=======\======-\1           Marduk

"Forgiving one's self can be hardest job of all, comrade!" Zangief says, hoisting Marduk off the ground. He applies pressure, but Marduk maintains his own block the entire time.

"I am not especially good with women, but I think I understand. Sometimes people will not listen to reason!" Zangief starts to shift his grip, moving to throw Marduk with a surprise suplex.

But before he can, Marduk clocks Zangief with a powerful headbutt. Caught off guard, Zangief stumbles back and drops the Australian. He holds his forehead, dizzied for a moment.

A stunning headbutt was almost as bad for Marduk as it was for Zangief.

Shaking his head, he slaps his bald head. "Yeah! You really understand it, Zangief! You are a good guy. As you are a bad guy, who totally are with the bears, you have made a REAL DUMB FUCK mistake! Cause it's Marduk, you are all stunned and shit. And buddy?"

Marduk slaps his hands together.


Marduk, in the firelight of the camp, stampedes towards Zangief. "Oh man, here it comes! Here it COMES, HOLY SHIT!" Marduk starts getting excited, body surging with energy as he rubs his hands eagerly. He moves in and-

And he pauses.

Something seems wrong. It's on his body, on his face. He kind of has a forced smile of force cruelty on his face, like he's about to unleash a whole can of whiplash on Zangief. And He kind of dips down a bit, getting ready to lift up Zangief by the back of his knees, to lift him straight. But if he gets a grip...

COMBATSYS: Zangief blocks Marduk's Medium Throw.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Zangief          1/-------/=======|=======\======-\1           Marduk

And Marduk lifts Zangief up halfway, uncertain.

"I.... I can't do it!" He gasps, struggling with Zangief.

"I just can't fucking Skull Crush you, dude!"

Zangief, still staggered, is suddenly lifted up into the air.

"Oh ho!" he exclaims, shifting his balance. He goes on the defense again, balling up with his arms near his chest to repel the inevitable blows. Instead, he is held halfway as Marduk loses steam.

And so, Zangief plants his hands on Marduk's shoulders.

"Da! I know how is! You are just working for NOL to be respectable! To send part of paycheck home to dear family! Is this not true?" Zangief says, gripping Marduk's shoulders firmly.

"Is tough sometimes, when you are big guy. Everyone assumes worst, but you know in heart is not true! This is why I want to help bears make peace with men, so they do not need to waste blood and sweat on hate!"

COMBATSYS: Zangief takes no action.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Zangief          1/-------/=======|=======\======-\1           Marduk

Marduk didn't understand it.

As Zangief puts his hands on Marduk's shoulders, he... he loses it. He loses the moment. This wasn't like with Oswald, where he knew he was punching an asshole. This guy was just too NICE. Even as the beardlam is all around, he just... just shouts out. "What's... WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH ME?" He fully tears away from Zangief, and staggers around, dazed. "What the fuck is wrong with me? I've busted fucking assholes like you before. I make a job out of it. It's like I can't even get it up and shit!" Marduk looks around, pacing around, looking for SOMETHING else to fight.

And nothing.

"It's just..." Marduk takes a seat on a pile of unconscious bears. "I don't want to be the bad guy all the time, you know? I mean, I'm bad. And that's good. I will never be good. And that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me. I get that. I mean, what am I, Zangief? With all these bears, and NOL, and mountain expeditions, I just wanna do good stuff and get paid." Marduk sighs, exhaling hard. "But I'm only good at busting asses. That's how I earn my money. I can't be a doctor, or like, work on cars and shit. I just punch people until they fall asleep. That's all I can fucking do, Zangief. And if I stop doing that, like now? Like right fucking now?"

"I got nothing."

Marduk hangs his head low, rubbing his temples between his thumb and index finger.

"I mean, have you ever been a bad guy and shit?"

Zangief lands with a mighty "Hup," bending his knees on landing before rising upright and dusting himself off. He works his muscles with a careful hand, loosening up the tightness a bit.

"Da. Sometimes make mistake, get into situation that is not good, but in time learn from mistake, try better next time. No?" He walks up and plants a hand on Marduk's shoulder. "Just because you are 'bad guy' does not mean you are bad guy? Sometimes big man needs to hit things that need hitting. Sometimes big man hits things he shouldn't. Is way of life!"

'Yeah, I guess you are right, Zangief."

Marduk seems to relaxing. "I never really thought about it, but maybe I got a lot of anger issues to work out. Like, what if instead of me being angry at wrestlers beating up the gays and shit, it's really me who is the homophobe? These are some pretty heavy thoughts. I am not sure I can make them. But it is a lot of perspective to have right now. Thank you, Zangief! I appreciate that you have given me the time to reflect on myself as a person and that fucking emotional crap." Marduk falls into deep introspection for a moment, adjusting his seat on the bear as Zangief keeps his hand on his shoulder. The gears are turning. And something clicks.

"But there is something I don't understand."

Marduk looks at his pile of bears, and the whole bear assault. "Why are the bears setting fire to the camp? Like these are some pretty fucked up bears. And why are you on their side?" Marduk eases off the bear, shaking a finger at Zangief, pointing right at him. "Cause it sounds like you aren't tryign to help the good people of the NOL. Wait a minute, Zangief." Marduk punches himself in the head a bit, rapping his own skull. "You better have some explaining to do. Cause I am thinking with my heart and my head, and I got something stirring. This is all an attack! And if you are buttering me up like some kind of lobster, you are gonna get fucking SNIPPED Zangief? Cause if you don't got a good reason?" Marduk makes claw gestures with his fingers.

"You gonna get FUCKING SNIPPED!"

"Oh," Zangief removes his hand from Marduk's shoulder and slams his fist into his open palm in a moment of realization. "That is why I came here!" And with that, the Russian stands up straight, resting his fists on his hips.

"I befriend these bears in Siberia when they were causing trouble. I try to teach them peaceful ways, how to be diplomat, trade and not take, but it is slow going! They have old ways, like viking! Big strong raiders who speak with their MUSCLE SPIRIT!"

"I tell them this is not good. War with NOL is bad for everyone, bears and men. They do not listen, so I join in fight to try and bring peace. Is hard job, you know?"

Marduk holds for a moment, trying to understand Zangief.

He thinks and thinks, his face scrunching up as he ponders powerfully. Gradually, he lowers his snipping fingers, nodding hard. "I think I get you. You are punching the stupid out of them! Because Bears only understand violence! But instead of punches, it is professional wrestling! But Zangief, if you are joining in a war, then you are a pawn in a great big like chess game or some shit. You cannot answer violence with violence unless you like, are really strong and crap. But I am NOL! I cannot let these bears dick around! So if we gotta get peace..." Marduk pauses, trying to connect the neurons in his brains.

There is a look on his face for a minute, like there is an electrical short.

"Wait a minute." Marduk says, rubbing his face. "Yeah... yeah. Holy shit Zangief. Maybe I got something. These bears like wrestling, right? Well I mean, like you are a wrestler, they are wrestlers, it's some kind of wrestling thing going on, right?" Marduk taps the side of his head. "Yeah, yeah, I got it. Zangief, you gotta hear me out." He holds his hands in front of him, trying so hard to focus. And he manages it, with grunt.

"What if we had a wrestling tournament or some shit, and settle it like that instead of attacking the camp?"

Zangief listens patiently as Marduk puts his ideas together. He does not interrupt, or interject, or try to rush things. The man is many things, but among them all, he is patient. And then Marduk puts forward his idea.

Zangief strokes his beard. He runs his fingers from the sides of his cheek toward to the tip of the beard on his chin several times as he pores over the idea.

"KHOROSHO! This is wonderful idea! Will be like summit, where negotiations are handled through big tournament. Bears should understand that, no trouble! Will turn into agreement of honor, like big treaty!"

"You are wise man, Craig Marduk! See? You are not so bad as you think! You just sell self short!"

Marduk actually grins.

"Nah, see, fighting isn't just about physical, it's about your mind, you know?" He taps his head. "You gotta out think your opponent, not just smash them. It's why I couldn't Skull Crusher you, you know? Cause you weren't a god damn asshole. The NOL is good people, you know? Maybe you can join up! Shit!" Marduk rubs his hands together. "Then we better go find the president of the bears and stuff, and tell them about the tournament!" The entire camp continues to burn around them. "We will call it..."%
And Marduk hooks his arm forward, inviting Zangief to hook it as well.


"OH HO HO HO!" Zangief belly laughs. "KHOROSHO! IS GOOD! LET US GO!"

And so he slaps Marduk on the back, throwing an arm around him for some kind of bro-hug before leading the way toward the woods.

Surely nothing will go wrong...?

Log created on 13:48:22 04/02/2018 by Marduk, and last modified on 00:12:28 04/14/2018.