Description: Atop a courtyard high within Strolheim Castle, Rugal Bernstein and Geese Howard face each other in the loser's final of World Warrior 2018. A clash of titans follows, as the two crime lords bring demonstrate why they have the power to be here. But one bears wounds from a previous battle that may just make the difference here...
Many of the battles in World Warrior took place in the Exhibition Yard of Castle Strolheim.
That yard was once an austere but functional enclosure of ancient stone walls and a floor of dirt and dust that had soaked up the blood of countless combatants over the centuries.
Now, it is barely recognizable as anything more than a field of ruin. The walls were shattered, the ground cratered, scorched, or melted. It was no longer fit to be the venue of kings and warriors and it would not serve to host this match there.
Instead, the location is high up within the castle, an elevated courtyard several stories above ground. An elegant location surrounded on three sides by castle towers that stretch even higher toward the ashen gray skies overhead. The fourth side bears a waist-high stone railing then opens out into the open air toward the front of Krauser's castle.
Stonework fountains spill water into pools and causeways, filling the air with a gentle gurgle of ever moving streams. Planters filled with greenery just now coming back into its own as the seasons move beyond the stark severity of Winter into the more inviting warmth of Spring provide a pleasant contrast to the imposing dark stone of the ancient castle.
The air is crisp, cool, but not cold. The sky overcast and the looming clouds could possibly portend rain though the weather in this region is fickle and unpredictable.
In the center of the courtyard is a square free of the planters, streams, and fountains that otherwise decorate this open area.
Rugal Bernstein stands at one end of this square. How he came to even be here is unclear. There was no recorded match, no streamed video of his battle against the so-called Mad Dog by which to judge, yet somehow he is here, in the loser's bracket. The world wide audience of this incredible tournament must be wondering what circumstances have brought him here, the man who seemed beyond even the mere thought of defeat in his prior bouts...
The confidence with which he stands, dressed to the nines in an exquisite red suit, white shirt, black ribbon tie does not look like the poise of a loser. Blond, shoulder length hair is driven by the wind that rushes through this elevated courtyard and his mien is one of a man deeply focused on the battle to come.
His hands lift, left clenching into a fist, his right hand slamming over it, a small puff of air compressed into the visible spectrum escapes between his powerful fingers. His inhuman cyber-eye begins to feed him a constant stream of data. To a mind not honed to such input, it would be useless. But to him, every detail will matter. The friction coefficient of the stone he stands on. The humidity and pressure of the air around him. The direction of the wind moves around him and the angle of the sun and impending shadows as it continues its journey through the sky. And of course, every single detail about his opponent, Geese Howard.
All this, and more, pipes into the Lord of War's mind as his perfected killing machine of a body prepares for the battle ahead.
COMBATSYS: Rugal has started a fight here.
For Geese Howard, this was more than the tournament. No, the tournament itself was secondary. The leader of the Southtown Syndicate's pride has been wounded by all that had lead up to it. A man who had once dominated the fighting circuit seemed as though he were getting long in the tooth after a string of defeats. A challenge by Krauser--his half brother--was something that tested even Geese's resolve.
And then, he had been tossed into the loser's bracket. He had quashed Duke's rebellion--at least for now--but it was a brief victory before Jubei humbled him in the tournament proper. Even so, Geese had risen up. He had risen as he always had, like when he had lifted himself out of the gutters of Southtown to become its king. He did not surrender, and he had defeated all comers since then. Even that damn cat, Legendary Hero or whatever he may be called, was unable to defeat Geese Howard a second time.
But as Geese steps across the old stone toward the battleground, even his indomitable skill and power is tested. This is Rugal Bernstein, Master of R and Lord of War. This man is one of the narrow few who even Geese would have to acknowledge as an equal, not just in martial skill but in power and influence.
And yet, Geese crosses his arms over his chest, his white gi lifting slightly in the gentle breeze. His mouth curls into a subdued smirk.
"So we meet at last, Lord of War. I never expected to find you here. Perhaps that 'Mad Dog' is more of a contender than I anticipated."
Geese uncrosses his arms, stepping slowly toward Rugal. His own eyes traces the mechanical one, perhaps wondering what secrets it holds.
"I faced your son on my way here," Geese says, rolling his neck. "He was not enough to stop me." Howard slides his feet across the ground, his sandals clicking against the stone as he widens and grounds his stance.
"Let's see how far he has to go to match his father!"
And then Geese powers forward, stepping into a stomp. As he steps he throws a grounded palm strike, blue-white chi erupting into a sphere as the strike reaches its end.
COMBATSYS: Geese has joined the fight here. You cannot escape wrong death.
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Geese 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Rugal
COMBATSYS: Rugal just-defends Geese's Explosion Ball!
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Geese 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Rugal
Geese Howard, the pinnacle at the top of the corrupted cartel known as the Southtown Syndicate, does not go ignored by the global arms dealer when he speaks. Both of the men are veterans, both in fighting and in moving and shaping the flow of crime throughout most of the world. In fact, in terms of sheer man power, the Syndicate likely even has the enigmatic 'R' Organization beat.
Both men are clearly strong, possessing a commanding presence and reputation that is without any question absolutely earned. Rugal may stand half a foot taller and possess more in the way of broad shoulders, but Geese is no small man either, and the power behind his mastery of holds and kinetic control in a fight may very well be the best in the world. For now, the two crime bosses see eye to eye, each no doubt having their motives for dancing on the strings controlled by the old wolf of Strolheim.
Unclasping his hands, Rugal grips the lapels of his suit coat and adjusts the heft of the garment upon his shoulders. At the mention of the inhuman creature known as Azrael and the loss that must have sent Bernstein to the lower bracket of World Warrior, Rugal doesn't look perturbed in the slightest, answering with a deep chuckle of one who is keeping a secret to himself.
"To face that thing is to know that otherworldly forces battle amongst us. I do hope, Mister Howard, that you someday have the opportunity to experience its marvel yourself." To fight something that can absorb the kind of punishment this man can put out and come away unbroken... but surely he beat him once before, in the qualifying rounds. Did something change since then?
"Adelheid," Rugal then continues, thinking on the mention of Geese's encounter with the youth, "Is in possession of unfathomable potential. He is a sword still yet being forged." His right hand clenches, the man standing up straighter then, the end of his thin, black scarf draped over his left arm. "To face him now," there is a contemplative edge to his voice, "Is to bear the privilege of seeing the masterwork in progress. The day is not long when the world will bow before him as it does I."
He doesn't shift his stance from there, appearing incredibly relaxed for facing one of the most dangerous men alive. "But yes, come." His voice is deep, his expression hardening as conversation gives way to a dialog of fists, explosions, and power - becoming the purest form of communication. "And experience the gulf personally."
Blue-white chi so bright as to illuminate the courtyard even in the overcast afternoon explodes out toward him and the man responds by slamming his own hand forward into it, projecting unseen aura reinforced by sheer will to scatter the power before it manages to strike him. It was clear he was confident in the defense, for he made no further effort - failure would have yielded a clean hit to be sure.
But he is on the offense almost immediately, surging in on the crimelord with a crushing side kick before planting his foot and stepping into a second, devastating roundhouse aimed at smashing his dress shoe-clad foot into the side of Geese's head by way of greeting. Each swing of his leg is accompanied by a blade of rust-red chi threatening to slash into and through any flesh he might strike in his attempt.
COMBATSYS: Geese blocks Rugal's Medium Kick.
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Geese 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Rugal
"Hm," Geese says. "High praise from the Lord of War, but I can't let him stand in my way." The sphere crashes against Rugal's guard, and in a moment it vanishes. The crimelord sneers, which is the closest he comes to a compliment for the moment.
And in a moment, Geese is put on the defensive instead. The flash of red appears in the corner of his eye and he snaps up with a tight forearm block, curling his bicep to intercept the blow against his forearm and shoulder. He holds the block for a moment, matching Rugal's immense strength with his own.
"I saw some of that potential...but he has a ways to go. He needs the drive to win. Pride alone will only take him so far!"
Geese's hands snap forward as he reaches to try and plant one hand against Rugal's thigh then slip his blocking arm under and around to take hold of the man's leg. From there, Geese would turn into a circular aikido throw aimed at tossing the larger man overhead and away from Geese.
COMBATSYS: Rugal attempts to counter Shinkuu Nage from Geese with Scorpion Blow.
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Geese 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Rugal
COMBATSYS: Geese reverses Scorpion Blow from Rugal with Chuudan Atemi Nage.
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Geese 0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0 Rugal
"Indeed," Rugal rumbles concerning the future of his gifted off spring. In this world, there are many who number among what one could consider the prodigies - those who achieve great levels of power with seemingly far less effort compared to their inferiors. But innate gifts alone will not carry one to the heights upon which men like Geese and Rugal battle now, literal titans of combat clashing beneath the eye of their unseen host.
"Perhaps his lost to you can serve as a fitting catalyst." The German arms dealer continues, his foot planting out of his roundhouse kick, his footing adjusting just slightly, necessary adjustments for the attack he seems to perfectly anticipate.
"After all," the man continues as the Hakkyokuseiken master makes his move, attempting to catch the tall man in one of his perfected legendary holds. His lips draw back, a slight sneer of his own as his arms move in perfect timing to intercept and redirect the reach with perfect fluidity.
"Wasn't that what forged your own conviction?" A crushing defeat at the hands of the very man who has now invited him back to Strolheim?
As his left hand finishes sweeping aside Geese's arm with a backhanded smack to the wrist, his right arm snaps out from its previously relaxed place at his side, moving with the speed of a scorpion's stinger as he goes for Geese's throat, leaning in, a storm of chi surging into his left hand in preparation for the assault clearly intended...!
Geese bares with his teeth with an expression that can't quite be called a smile. It is filled with lofty arrogance. Even against an opponent as formidable as Rugal, Geese refuses to let go of his pride.
"Hm," his chest rises sharply in a brief snort. "Perhaps it will." Geese's hold is intercepted by Rugal's own movements, but the Hakkyokuseiken master's movements are instantaneous as he corrects. Fortunate, for in another moment Rugal's hand snaps toward his throat.
Geese's reaction is a practical blur, but both of the men are titans of speed and power. A backfist sweeps for the scorpion-like strike, crashing into the blow mid-movement. Geese's other hand shoots for the Rugal's right armpit, striking out a pressure point there as Geese turns, plants his back against the larger man, and pivots into a sweeping shoulder throw.
"It seems your agents serve you well," Geese says, his tone dripping with venom. "But I was a different man then. Young and foolish. I lacked the resolve and the skill needed to overcome!"
And just like that, Rugal Bernstein is slammed to the ground, his back smashing against ancient stone as he bounces once and then, before even landing out of the second bounce, flips into a roll, landing in a half crouch, one hand planted against the ground.
Geese's timing had been beyond reproach. Even the Lord of War himself would have struggled to match its speed. His human eye narrows as he rises up to his full height, as if studying his opponent more warily now. How had he pulled that off in that instant? Are his instincts that well honed, or is there a greater secret to it?
Either way, the arms tyrant finds himself forced to re-evaluate what it is he's up against as he has yet to land a clean blow against the other man. Again his hands lift, straightening his jacket on his shoulders before lowering his arms and assuming his ready stance once more.
"It has been a long time, hasn't it," the man muses. Both crime lords are in their forty's now. By fighter standards, they're practically fossils. Performance fights is the world of the young, vigorous, and naturally gifted. Yet here they stand, after all of the youth have been weened out of the tournament of World Warrior, still more dangerous than them all.
He never takes his eyes off Geese, the man has already proven to be a legitimate threat, there will be no condescension in Rugal's actions, no dropping of his nearly perfected guard. Skill must be answered with skill.
"Then let your resolve be put to the test," he growls, finally moving in on the other man. His long reach will be put to use here, weaving in for a swing with his right only to feint, leaning to his left and twisting into a crushing body blow from that side after clearly intending to direct Geese's guard the wrong direction.
If his body blow lands, however, his right fist will flare to life with burning orange flame, Bernstein stepping in hard to deliver a smashing hook into the other man's center of mass and try to dislodge him from his well-rooted stance!
COMBATSYS: Rugal successfully hits Geese with Fierce Punch.
- Power hit! -
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Geese 1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Rugal
"Heh," Geese stands up straight, squaring his shoulders and rolling the right after coming out of the throw. Rugal's swift recovery leaves Geese little time to gloat, but it doesn't stop the Syndicate leader from taking a moment to speak.
"It has," Geese continues, crossing his arms. "But as they say, youth is wasted on the young."
Geese uncrosses his arms as Rugal moves in, keeping them to his sides and readied for a swift reaction. The man's eyes narrow as Rugal goes for the right hook. Geese's arm goes up to block, but the left body blow slips in. For an instant, Geese's arm is moving to intercept, but the fist slides underneath his guard in the narrow window.
But it's the crippling chi-driven right that bears the worst of the assault. The fist slams into Geese's chest with enough force to send the man reeling backward in a slide. His red hakama ripple in the sudden movement before Geese drops into a crouch, steadying himself with his open palm. His cough splatters red on the worn stone.
"Ah," Geese says, rising back up and wiping his mouth with the back of his left hand. "There's the power and skill of the Lord of War. I was worried you'd lost your edge!"
And Geese suddenly powers forward, swiping out with a swift right palm. He aims it toward Rugal's diaphragm, but in truth the palm is only a feint.
If Rugal aims to block, Geese shifts from palm to hold, aiming to grip Rugal's arm, twist, then shift into a joint-lock throw by pulling Rugal forward against the elbow joint.
COMBATSYS: Rugal blocks Geese's Medium Throw.
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Geese 1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0 Rugal
Both men are absolutely devastating in close quarters combat. In Geese is the perfection of an art that excels in turning opponent's strengths against them, sweeping even monsters of men off their feet with impossible ease. In Rugal, a genius of combat, exposed to all manner of fighting, every variant of martial arts, and processed them through a mind that seemed to comprehend the ebb and flow of battle on a level beyond human.
Knowing this, Geese makes the bold decision to close in against Bernstein all the same, willing to put his offenses to the greatest test in facing the monster head on. A laugh escapes Rugal's throat, deep yet not entirely mirthless.
"You will know when you have felt my edge!!"
The taller man's feet shift, arms sweeping up to intercept Howard's reach again. The feint seems to work on him not at all - perhaps it was one of the millions of variables fed to him by his cybernetic eye, a clue that true destructive intent was not behind the muscles moving in Geese's palm strike.
In the end, he feeds the other man the grip he sought, but at a less ideal and far less sure angle. A deliberate choice or the only option he saw available to him in the instant? Though his arm does get wrenched toward a painful hyper-extension, Rugal's last second adjustment has denied his skilled opponent the grip necessary to fully execute on it, and the suit-clad martial artist is able to wrest his arm free at the last minute, pivoting his whole body into the escape.
But his escape is also his attack, his right leg stomping down, his left leg hooking into a reverse kick, more of that rust-red bladed chi slicing its way through the air as he aims to drive his heel into Geese's side and leave the man vulnerable to the subsequent chi slash.
He would come out of the attack next, right hand raised and then lowered, fingers extended in a knife-hand second slice through the air, followed by a second blade of that Bernstein family chi.
The two attacks, executed almost instantly fast, would cut a cross into the air, directly over the Syndicate crime boss.
Perhaps this is the edge he warned of!
COMBATSYS: Geese counters B's Destruction from Rugal with Oni Hanmon.
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Geese 0/-------/------=|=======\===----\1 Rugal
Between the two Geese likely has the disadvantage in breadth of knowledge and raw technical skill. To Rugal, the martial arts have likely come easy, his uncanny mind giving him a dire edge against all but the strongest opponents and granting him the ability to conquer almost any foe through a precise, surgical deconstruction of their fighting style utilizing his superior technique--and even turning the techniques of some against them.
But for Geese, has fighting has been the honing of a singular fine edge. As opposed to Rugal's encyclopedic knowledge of fighting, Geese took the tenets of Hakkyokuseiken and blended it with his own preference toward Aiki-Jujutsu to create his perfect style. Not a perfect style, if such a thing exists, but a style perfectly polished and honed to match Geese's own tastes and strengths.
This finely-honed edge surfaces again during the coming confrontation. Geese's eyes follow the movement preceding the kick, but his body moves without his mind needing to process the reaction. He ducks in low, aiming to slide under the sweeping leg as much as he can. As he goes low he thrusts up once with a measured, precise motion. Just enough to off-set the incoming blow away from himself.
He does not give the knife-hand a chance to strike, blindingly fast as it is. As Geese slips under the leg, he pushes in close to Rugal and thrusts up with a suddenly, iron-hard tiger claw strike aimed for Rugal's throat. With a great heave and a turn of his whole body, he lifts the man up and over his head in one smooth motion, slamming him downward into the stone of the arena.
Without pausing, Geese backsteps, sweeping his arms out and exhaling sharply in a martial artist's kiai, his mind briefly lost in the discipline of the technique.
"It seems our blades have clashed, Lord of War," Geese says, an arrogant smirk crossing his face.
To call the six foot tall Geese Howard the shorter man may seem to do him discredit, but the German he faces is a towering man, evenly, yet powerfully built, and in this instant, the height disparity between the two gives the Syndicate crimelord the slightest edge necessary to slip beneath the scything kick and not only escape harm, but press the offense in the same motion.
Undaunted, Bernstein attempts to bisect the man for his audacity, his knife-hand imbued by bladed chi slashing a path down through the air as dangerous as any steel weapon, leaning into the strike, his tall form folding forward as he puts all his weight and torso power behind the intended blow.
Once more, however, Geese Howard's own precision skill prevails, his muscled arm thrusting up past Rugal's strike, catching the other man in his downward momentum, hauling him up and over to slam his larger opponent down hard against the elevated courtyard. The impact is bone jarring, spiderweb cracks spreading out from beneath where Bernstein hit, the sound of flesh against stone echoing throughout the mostly enclosed, fancy arena.
Unlike the last time he took control of the 'R' cartel tyrant, Rugal does not recover quite so quickly as before. A groan escapes the man's lips as he pushes to a seated position. Grimacing, his right hand lifts, pressing against his chest over the region where his evil heart presumably beats. A shudder courses through him as he leans forward, rising to his feet all the same, albeit moving slower than he had thus far in the battle between titans.
He turns, leaning forward slightly, a man in agony, his jaw set, human eye glaring with no small amount of pent up wrath. As he pulls his right hand away from his chest to return to his ready stance, blood can be seen staining the white cloth of his once pristine dress shirt, pushing into and through the fabric as if seeping from multiple small locations on the man's flesh, evidence to a wound unrelated to the blows exchanged thus far in this furious bout.
He has no words to say then, simply surging into ruthless aggression directly toward Geese, aiming to hook his arm around the man and, momentum willing, carrying him across the courtyard to smash him against the castle wall with enough power to reduce stone to powder. A roar escapes his lips as he launches himself, propelled by incredible power.
For almost anyone else alive, simply charging Geese Howard with so direct an attack would be tantamount to suicide. But Rugal is unlike almost anyone else alive... and either he is confident in his ability to overpower the other man's skill with simple brute force, or, following the last attack, he has somehow ceased to think things through all together?!
COMBATSYS: Rugal successfully hits Geese with God Press.
- Power hit! -
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Geese 0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1 Rugal
This clash is titans is almost as literal as it is metaphorical. Save for a rare few competitors such as Abigail, Geese and Rugal are both able to tower over many of the contestants here.
And their blows echo that as well. Geese stands over Rugal, but he is only allowed to admire his handiwork in the spiderweb cracks and Rugal's slow rise temporarily. In another moment, he is put on the defensive. Geese shifts to block, sliding one foot backward to guard against Rugal's oncoming charge.
It is not enough.
Rugal's God Press manages to bodily lift Geese from the ground, knocking the wind out of his lungs as she's charged across the courtyard like a runaway train. They crash into the stonework with a earth-shaking slam that sends up a cloud of dust and loose stone. Blood and spit spray forth from Geese's mouth on impact, but he is swiftly lost in the chaos of the crash.
Several more stones tumble away from the wall, but he does not rise immediately. With a cough, Geese steps forward, sweeping some of the dust away. He is holding his ribs, which are likely fractured from the last impact. Even so, Geese steps forward, lowering himself into a readied stance once more with arms at his fists clenched at his sides.
And then he puts the tips of his fingers together in front of him in a small triangle, focusing his chi with a whip of wind around him. His muscles stretch and his bones creak with the strain, but he does not bow. Instead, he raises a hand and curls his fingers toward Rugal, becoming him to charge him once again.
COMBATSYS: Geese issues a challenge!!
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Geese 0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1 Rugal
COMBATSYS: Geese enters a trance-like state.
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Geese 0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1 Rugal
Following the collision of slamming the crimelord against the wall of the castle, leaving another scar in the stonework of the ancient edifice, Rugal Bernstein staggers back a few steps. His breaths are coming harder now, his expression twisted into a grimace. In spite landing the blow, the tyrant of 'R' seems to have taken no pleasure in his success, taking no opportunity to gloat or sneer back at the Syndicate boss.
His right hand tightens, fingers bent and splayed, lifting as if en route to close over the bloodstain on his shirt once again, but he resists the motion of weakness, the sign of actually feeling pain, forcing his arm away.
The brief hesitation buys Howard all the time he needs to extricate himself from the rubble created from the last collision and begin to exercise the ebb and flow of chi within himself in a self-destructive yet empowering way. Surely, Rugal can see it, the damage changing his inner chi does, yet even more so, he must be aware of the power such sacrifice entitles Krauser's half-brother to.
The prudent man might hold back, consider forcing Geese to come at him instead perhaps. But little by little, Bernstein seems to be losing reason or rational control over this fight. Blood seeps between his teeth, his human eye suddenly widening as he answers Geese's challenge by surging in once more, just as recklessly as the last attack. Rugal's left hand extends out palm first as if to secure Geese, his right arm bending back, lightning crackling along his forearm as he prepares to grapple the man and unleash a point blank storm of hurt upon him.
There is an aggressive rush to his assault, as if he was starting to frantically fight against time itself!
COMBATSYS: Geese blocks Rugal's Scorpion Blow.
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Geese 0/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1 Rugal
Clenching his fists, Geese maintains his focus. That chi wind continues to whip about as he concentrates his power, redoubling his efforts at the expense of his body. He works his fingers, popping the knuckles as he tightens his grip. His head tilts to the side slightly, as if to further challenge Rugal--or perhaps in mute contemplation of the sudden desperation in the Lord of War.
And when Rugal rushes back in, Geese is prepared this time. Fist meets fist as Geese intercepts the death grip, forcing back against Rugal. He holds with a straining of muscle against Rugal's monstrous strength, but when the lightning comes Geese's own aura seems to push back against it. In a moment, then separate, Geese sliding back slightly.
And then Geese swipes underhanded, chi gathering in his palm. It ripples out in a blade-like wave of wind that cuts along the ground toward Rugal.
COMBATSYS: Geese successfully hits Rugal with Reppuken.
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Geese 1/-------/=======|=======\=======\1 Rugal
His latest charge rebuffed, Rugal is shoved back, creating a narrow space between Geese and himself, his arms driven out at his sides as he slides, feet finally finding purchase on the stone beneath them. Once more, on reflex this time, his hand grips at his chest, perspiration rolling down his cheeks. Whatever secret the man is keeping to himself, it's clearly tearing him apart on the inside. The blood that stains his shirt has grown thick now, as if whatever wound exists beneath is only worsening with each passing exchange of attacks.
A 'gift' from one of his previous matches? From the Mad Dog? Or the Demon of the Fist?
Bernstein growls, stepping forward, recklessly and without making any effort to guard himself. If he is thinking at all, it must have been his intent to close in on the crimelord before he could muster a worthwhile attack. Though given the careless way he steps into the explosion of wind chi, it's questionable if he's thinking at all. The blast rocks him back, delaying his advance even longer as the tyrant of 'R' reels.
Blood seeps from his neck and coats his hand where he had covered his chest a second time, but his eye fixes on Geese with unwavering resolve in spite whatever might be going on inside his chest. Finally, he launches himself back at Geese again, throwing caution to the wind. From where he starts, he leaps, aiming to smash feet first into the Syndicate boss. No detonation of chi, no creative, fancy high end martial arts. Just a pure, simple, brutal drop kick, intended to drive the other man to the ground.
If successful, of course, he won't pass up the opportunity to kick the man away, punctuating his attack with spiteful disrespect.
Of course, he has to hit first!
COMBATSYS: Geese counters Dead End Screamer from Rugal with Gedan Atemi Nage.
# Disabling hit! #
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Geese 1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1 Rugal
As the battle intensifies, something is clearly wrong. Whatever is amiss with Rugal is transparent now. The fact that Geese can tell it is there but not perceive the nature of it feels him with fury. Not the sort that makes a man yell from the rooftop, but the sort which burns like smoldering coals. The kind of anger which has driven Geese for much of his adult life.
"Tch," Geese says, almost sharply enough to spit. "Is this a present for me from the Mad Dog or the Demon? Fighting the Lord of War when he isn't at his best...it's insulting!!!"
Geese steps forward with determination, even as Rugal bears down on him. It's a foolish move, even for the Syndicate leader. Or at least so it seems as the drop kick comes out like a cannon shot.
Geese's hands have snapped out in an instant to catch Rugal's legs. His muscles tense and strain as he resists the impact, twisting sharply to wrench the larger man's legs and turn him into a spinning takedown. His arms sweep out of it with the fluidity of aikido, Geese looking onward with disdain.
"To think that some of these monsters could humble even you...does Krauser even know what he's unleashed...?"
Committed to his reckless dive into Geese's dangerous mastery of momentum reversal, Rugal is once more rolled to the ground with a hard landing. The Hakkyokuseiken master almost makes the redirection of force seem almost easy if one ignores the tensing of his toned, powerful muscles, and the precision timing with which he applies the perfect amount of pressure at the perfect moment to turn certain catastrophe into another well-executed defense.
Rugal rolls with the momentum of the takedown, coming up on one knee. His breaths are coming even more haggardly now, but there is something else. A power radiates around him, black fire rippling along his arms and swirling about his legs as he rises up to his feet.
There is rage in the man's face, a fury born of frustration, to be held back from his full potential menace and unstoppable execution by whatever it is that plagues the man's body. Rising up to his full six and a half feet height, his hands lift and clench over the bloodstained fabric of his shirt, powerful muscles bulging beneath his sleeves as with a roar, he rips both shirt and coat from off his body in a single, violent motion. His arms and torso are exposed, sculpted, bulging muscle, the byproduct of a life of intense, unforgiving training and genetic gifts most men could only dream of.
The truth of the man's damage becomes evident - a wound right over his heart, bleeding and, now that it has been exposed to the air, burning with a red-black fire that almost seems a living thing, fueled by the fury that surges through the tyrant's corrupted soul. Spitting blood to the side, he fixes his eye back on Geese then. The cybernetic eye flares to life with a bold red LED, but in this moment, his human eye seems to mirror it, burning with crimson fire.
Stretching his arms out at his sides, sanguine fluid begins to spill through his outstretched fingers. At first, it looks like blood, until it begins to splash against the stonework of the ancient courtyard and the smell of acrid burning rises up along with several tendrils of smoke. Stone melts away beneath the vile fluid, but there is only an instant to contemplate it before suddenly, Rugal leans forward, and charges Geese, his arms outstretched out at his sides, crimson droplets of acidic chi spraying out behind his splayed fingers.
Comparing this charge to his earlier efforts to overpower Geese Howard with pure force over would be like comparing a charging goat with a stampeding elephant. All of the man's physical power is caught up in the moment, ebony flames left in his wake as he aims to smash into the only target in sight and carry him all the way back against the rear wall of the courtyard, smashing into it with all his power.
Upon impact, should he manage, a torrent of that same blood red foreign power would explode up from beneath Geese while Rugal tries to keep him pinned. The power would even affect the now bare arms of the 'R' tyrant, burning flesh with its caustic power.
Only once the fount ebbed would he turn, attempting to take Geese with him, charging in the opposite direction, toward the one side of the courtyard that bears no wall. Blinded by pain and rage, it's possible he would never realize in the moment that he is about to take the both of them clean over the edge into the open sky and the long, long plunge toward the lake far below!
COMBATSYS: Rugal can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Geese fails to counter Gigantic Pressure EX from Rugal with Joudan Atemi Nage.
COMBATSYS: Geese can no longer fight.
Despite the arrogance with which Geese carries himself, his battle with Rugal has been a dance on the knife's edge. Geese possesses the power and stamina to take on the Lord of War, but even then the clash of titans seems to linger on the edge of the destruction. Either of them can unleash blows with devastating power, and each strike Rugal has landed on Geese has been enough to bring him to his knees---at least, if Geese were not so doggedly determined to not yield.
So when Rugal flares with power, even Geese must take notice. His eyes widen with surprise, but he steels his will and sets himself against the coming onslaught. His sandals slide across the old stone and he tears away his own torn and bloodied gi, baring his own wounds as well. His ribs are dreadfully bruised from the impact before, and while he lacks any wounds quite as fierce as Rugal's Howard's intense battles throughout the years---especially through the events leading up to and through World Warrrior---have certainly left their marks.
As Rugal begins his deadly charge, Geese steps himself with the intent to intercept the blow with another deadly counter. His muscles tense and his fingers are curled taut. When Rugal nears him, Geese snaps out to try and intercept the raging tyrant.
It is not enough. Geese's arms give out on impact and the crimelord is caught and pulled along the battlefield, a great gout of blood and spittle spraying from his mouth even from the initial impact. He is carried across the stage as Rugal charges headlong toward the edge, threatening to send them both to their doom.
But in the last moment, Geese manages to get enough footing to twist and turn Rugal aside. Howard slips from Rugal's grip narrowly, barely able to remain standing as the man careens toward the lake. He staggers a few steps, resting a hand on the stone as he leans precariously forward, battered, bruised, and bloodied. His side has been split open from the impact, and his skin smokes slightly from the upsurge of demonic red chi.
And then, Geese staggers, moving back toward the roof. It is there that he collapses backward, his back slamming against the battlement as his legs give out. He coughs several times, each bringing with it more blood.
But then he begins to laugh, wickedly but wetly. It echoes across the castle below.
Log created on 15:14:42 04/14/2018 by Rugal, and last modified on 14:24:40 04/18/2018.