The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 1 - Contract Negotiation

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Description: With Daniel having been broken out of imprisonment by Rei, the ex-detective is lying low in Southtown, a veritable den of enemies. A fugitive to the law, a monster to the outlaws, the shade is soon tracked down, and even sooner made to choose. NOL? Syndicate? Akatsuki? Where will the loyalties of Daniel Jack fall, and more importantly, what does the assassin Oswald want with him? Worse, what does this card-carrying professional killer know about a mysterious green-haired dame from Daniel's past, and what is her goal as Southtown falls into chaos?

It's dark out on the streets of Southtown.

In the North Outskirts of the city, it was more remote and isolated than the main city, more suburban. At a dim intersection, there was not even traffic at this late hour. Four lamp posts, with a traffic light near them. The illumination was robust, giving yellow light from the three of them. But a fourth carries white light, built much more recently than the others.

It's under this one, a small shrine was crafted.

A small picture is framed, where a boy is smiling up by a birthday cake. Around it, are withered flowers, bundled around. A weathered Totoro stuffed animal is sitting by the picture; in it's hands are a pair of baby shoes, red. There is a burned out incense stick sitting in a water-filled container; it has been used up a long time ago. There doesn't seem to be any activity for the shrine recently at all, in fact. Nobody comes around here anymore. Not since the ghost

"Where's my family?"

The child lingers in the shadows, just outside the range of the lamp post. The boy is... indistinct. He is a local Japanese boy, but impossibly pale in the light. There are stains around him, on the ground, that seem to only appear near where he steps. He is sobbing, crying, calling out occasionally for a 'momma' and a 'dadda." The area is deserted, of course, except for clinging shadows. One was rushing toawrds him, faster and faster.

Another shadow pulls up.

Stepping into the light, a dark skinned man in a purple zoot suit strides forward. He wasn't outside of the light before; he just appeared. The man has a thin mustache over his lip. His yellow eyes burn in the darkness, while he gives a smile to the kid. Bending over a bit, the man nods a bit, looking the boy more on an even level. "You okay kid?"

"Who are you mister? I want my mommy, and I don't know where I am."

"Hey, hey, it's okay." Daniel says, awkwardly. "I'm Daniel Jack. I want to help you out, kid. Why don't you, uh, why don't tell me about them? You parents?"

The boy shakes his head, his neck popping slightly. "I don't think I should, I shouldn't talk to strangers."

"Well, I mean, yes, that's good advice. But I'm a cop. Well, used to be a cop."

"You used to be mister? What happened?

"It's a long story."

"Did you do something bad?"

Daniel pauses, unsure of how to best answer. "Yeah, but it's okay now, I try and help people." Daniel gestures at the shrine. "Can you come closer into the light? I want you to look at that."

The boy shakes his head. "I don't think I can, mister, it really hurts."

Daniel sticks his tongue in his cheek, looking up at the lamppost. "Hang on a sec, kid." There is a swirling shadow, as the light goes dim. Suppressed, the child moves closer to the shrine, what Daniel was talking about. He bends over into a squat, looking closer at the shrine. And he mutters, gasping aloud. %
"That... that looks like me, mister? Why is there a picture of me on this." The child points at the shrine, pointing at the smiling boy at amongst the withered flowers.

Daniel's grin becomes a grimace. "... Well, how long have you been here kid?"

"I don't know mister, I just really want to see my mommy and daddy, I don't-."

"I... I don't know if they'll come around here for a while, um." Daniel scratches the back of his neck.

"What's going on mister, what did you do to them?"

Daniel gives a pause. "I didn't do anything kid, it's... well.. I..." The kid looks at him with big eyes, as tears build up. "They won't be... I mean..."

"Well you're dead kid."

Daniel winces at his statement. At the moment, the kid starts to panic. Lashing out, he beats a fist on Daniel's leg, as a light begins to glow around him. "No, no, you're wrong! Help! Help! I want my mommy! I want my daddy! Somebody help." Daniel sucks in a breath, and snaps his fingers. The shadows pull away from the lamp post, bringing a surge of light.

There is a scream of pain, as the kid whisks out of sight.

The only sign left of him is the ethereal sobbing, the ever present misery of the dead. Daniel leans over, tapping his forehead on the lamp post. He mutters something under his breath, as he holds up the small lantern talisman. On it, the light glows faintly red. In the other hand, he brings up a small news article, discussion a haunting at a car accident site. Daniel inspects both carefully, and gives another louder mutter, a small profanity. Crumpling up the paper, he chucks it down the sidewalk. With that, he kicks the lamp post. The whole post rattles, shuddering, and the reverberations comes down to the shrine. The impact knocks over the baby shoes. Daniel winds back another frustrated kick, before halting. Drawing in a heavy breath, he bends down, picking them up carefully. There is a chill in the air, before Daniel moves them back carefully, replacing them on the small shrine.

"Dammit, Daniel." The shadow tells himself.

"The strangest things come out at night."

The voice that speaks those words is an unfamiliar one to Daniel. While he thought himself and the ghost were the only ones around the area it seems someone else has been silently watching the events unfold. A bit of a glint comes off the glasses of an older man that steps out from the shadows himself. Not a ghost or a Darkstalker, but a monster in his own right. "Daniel Jack. You should be careful going out at night. You never know what you might run into.

A gloved hand reaches into the pocket of his suit jacket and produces a deck of cards. Oswald cants his head to the side as he looks over Daniel and he begins to idly shuffle the cards. "It seems you are a popular man these days. A few want to see you dead. Others prefer you to live." he explains and pauses in the shuffling. He draws the top card and idly twirls it about in his fingers. "Luck is on your side tonight. It seems the one that bid the highest for my my services wants to see you alive.

He eyes the card for a few moments before placing it back down onto the top of the deck. "Morrigan Aensland wishes me to bring you to her. I would have preferred dead, but she paid me extra to bring you in alive. The question is are you going to come willingly or are we going to have to exchange more than words?"

"Aaaaaaaagh jeeze."

Daniel's long groan comes as the statement comes. It's not hard to pull together the pieces. Turning around in the light, the ex-detectives frustration with the evening was apparent on his face. First he misses out helping the kid and basically screws up the whole process. And when anybody shows up to cause trouble after that, it's gonna be worse. HE just barely stopped the process.

And damn dapper dresser, though .

"Like aaaaagh. Aaaagh. I don't want to deal with that dame right now." Daniel gives a toothy grimace frown, looking limp and loose at the prospects. "I mean, I'm grateful that she didn't want me... dead... but uh, you prefer me dead? Oh, because then you could have jumped me, and killed me, or tried to, Oh jesus christ, what a shitty night. I should have just done the graveyards." Daniel sighs, keeping under the lamp post.

"Now I know this is gonna be a hard sell, but tonight's not a great night for me. Maybe we can rain check the whole 'Morgan wants to see you' deal? I know, long shot, you -look- like a professional. In fact..." Daniel holds up the lantern, peering at the light. Delicately, the crimson light begins to fade, the corrupted energy dissipating. Daniel nods his head positively. "Well, uh. You don't -seem- hostile to me. Or angry at me. Uh, lets work this out a bit, maybe, we can talk this out a bit. Maybe this is worth my time. You get paid, I don't get... whatever you do, and we don't have an ugly fight at this kid's grave." Daniel pops his suit jacket a bit, showing his fangs a bit as he grins.

"So you know what's she's on about, scuzzy?"

The face my might something Daniel might recognize. As a former Interpol member there was probably least SOME info on Oswald given how long he has been active. He also must be very good at what he does, because that information was probably threadbare and those that tried to investigate probably ended up missing or ending up dead themselves.

"I am paid to do a job, Mister Jack. I was paid to bring you to her alive and that is my intention." He does give a bit of a pause. "At the same time she did not give a specific time frame for you to arrive. I just tend to finish the job quickly so I can move on. I do not ask questions as to what she wants from you. I could care less."

His tone remains calm and he doesn't look ready to attack just yet, but he has started to shuffle the cards again as he movs a step closer. "As for you. I doubt you have any sort of money so I am not sure what you could offer me as a deal to delay your little visit to Morrigan. You mentioned I am not angry at you, but that may change rather quickly if you are wasting my time, Mr. Jack."

Daniel's knowledge on Oswald... was passive.


"What the hell."

Daniel's words elects a sigh from his cubicle neighbor. He leans over, as he looks at the INterpol detective surrounded by paperwork. The agent was in his interpol greys, dealing with another round of punishment from Da Chief. The detective motions at his co-worker, holding a file. "Is this serious? Listen to this. Ahem."

"Shrewd and formal, the man known only as Oswald harbors many secrets beneath his consummate poker face. He may wear rose-colored glasses, but his view of the world is colored through experience and cynicism, not the hopeless idealism which amuses him so. Terse and soft-spoken, he might seem like a grandfather to those who aren't aware of his darker reputation. Those few who have heard of Oswald know better, though: beneath the quiet, unassuming facade beats the heart of a killer. Ruthless and determined, he makes his living as a mercenary with the reputation of leaving no task unfinished. Oswald's unorthodox fighting style centers upon his love of card games, employing a specially-designed deck of trump cards to lethal effect. ANd his style is Karnoffel? What's Karnoffel?"

The coworker stares at Daniel in silence, frowning intensely. Daniel clears his throat. "S-sorry."

The coworker leans back out of sight.


"Take it easy, take it easy! Jeeze." Daniel Jack glances around. Now he -could- make his escape, but, Daniel doesn't really shut up. "Now I got some history with that dame, and if she's not talking to you about it, I'm not gonna dick around with it too much. God, this is just my time. You know what's gonna happen if I fight you, you know. She's gonna show up herself, and it's gonna be -worse- than whatever you do. I guess coming with with you might work, but, ass, if I run, you're gonna earn your money. So how about we do this properly." Daniel Jack tips his hat.

"I'm talking about a fight, you dig?"

He sweeps his arm to the street. "Come on out here, scuzzy. We'll make this quick. You want to bring me in, you're gonna have to earn it. I can't knock a hard working professional; I'm gonna fight, you're gonna beat the shit out of me, or like, not. Maybe I'll kick your ass, and you'll have to tell her 'oh no he's too much trouble' and you get some pity cash for the effort. Lets do this respectable like. You gave me the sweet diginity of not taking me out while I was dealing with the kid, I'm not gonna wrap a lamp post around your neck while your distracted." The lamp post suddenly flickers, and Daniel is not there. The shadow reforms out of the street, the detective's hands in his pockets. The shade was still forcing a terse smile, motioning Oswald to take his place, before he falls into his own fighting stance; Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu. Palms up, he gives a friendly nod. "But before we begin, uh."

"What's Karnoffel?"

This is why Oswald prefers to just kill his targets.

There is sometimes struggle, but there is no need to hold back and often he can easily get the drop on his opponents without giving away his presence beforehand. Morrigan did warn that Daniel wouldn't likely come easily and it honestly feels like he isn't taking things seriously. "Feel free to run. I don't believe you would get very far. If you really wish to delay things then very well."

If anything he can at least subdue Daniel to get him to shut up. Having to carry him once subdued isn't exactly something he wants to do, but Morrigan is paying him good money so minor inconviences are something he is fine with. "Karnoffel? Mr. Jack, you will find out very soon."

It is a quick flick of the wrist. A card from the top of the deck flinging away and sailing quickly through the air right at Daniel. If he is too slow to catch the card or get out of the way he will soon find it is no ordinary playing card, but instead being made of some very light metal. Not only light, but sharp around the edges which may explain why the old man is wearing those thick, leather gloves. THe rest of the cards just seem to disappear while Oswald slips into his own stance.

COMBATSYS: Oswald has started a fight here.

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Oswald           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Daniel has joined the fight here.

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Oswald           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Daniel

COMBATSYS: Daniel dodges Oswald's Jack.

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Oswald           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Daniel

"See, I agree with you on that."

Somewhere between Marduk and Relius, there was Daniel Jack on chattiness. Unlike Marduk, which was clearly on a lack of social awareness, or Relius, which was a sheer delight in the sound of his own voice, Daniel was nervous. It was clear he was nervous; despite confidently making this a 'fair delay' he had gotten out of one prison, and into another prison? Sure, it was a prison with the kind of rack he could deal with, but prison was prison. Daniel was just ready to explain that to Oswald, as the flick of the wrist comes. "The thing is-"

And Daniel shifts.

As the card comes shooting out, the shade's instincts take over. The shape of Daniel flows and twists, for a moment going amorphous as he slips under the cards. Shadowy tendrils are caught admist the card, which neatly cuts through them. Daniel reforms several feet closer to Oswald, partially, the shapes of the Daniel in a brisk approach at Oswald. He's not all there; the cut seems to have peeled away some of the remains. But not enough for real damage. Orange energy floods his arms, as the shape keeps ebbing and flowing, like it had it's own breath. Shark-like teeth now are bared in a wild grin. But his tone?


Almost praising the professional. "You know I think I touched on your file before, when I was Interpol. It said that it was inspired on your love of card games. A classy guy like you, playing cards and everything. Now I don't want to sully your professionalism, but you know I can dig card games myself. I gotta ask, was it the killing first, or the gambling?" A sincere question? A mind game? Daniel Jack may not sound like he's taking it seriously. But that nervous visage betrays a certain fear. That, and a slash of energy he unleashes with a suppressive swipe of one hand. The attack leaves a lingering slice of black and orange chi, as he pulls away from Oswald, attempting to circle around him with the common cry.


COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Oswald with Mikansei Kasane Ate.

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Oswald           0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0           Daniel

The lack of talking from Oswald is a stark contrast to Daniel. He is nervous and chatty, but Oswald is relaxed and silent as he just listens to what Daniel has to say. He doesn't even seem too bothered by the fact the card doesn't hit its mark this time around. Not all of them find their mark, but when they do? The chattiness tends to stop.

He does at least entertain some of the questions that Daniel fields. "I learned card tricks at a young age. The gambling has never truly held sway over me. Killing was necessity. From a poor young street performer to a man that never has to worry about money. A good game of solitaire and a glass of fine Scotch is all I need in life. The killing is simple. Darkstalkers are considered monsters, but perhaps humans create the best ones, Mr. Jack."

He watches Daniel's movements and seems to be studying him. Morrigan gave him a brief mention of what Daniel can do, but seeing a man in action is the best way to know how to handle the situation. Oswald is a patient man and he waits for his opening for now.

COMBATSYS: Oswald focuses on his next action.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Oswald           0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0           Daniel

Pulling back, Daniel seems content to -give- Oswald his chance to focus.

"Well, you're retiring soon, right?" Daniel adds helpfully. His movements were a blend of the natural and the supernatural; the obvious pieces was the almost amorphous shifting that the ex-detective was swaying on. Lose focus for a moment, and he'd fade into shadows, before repositioning several feet away. The edges were the most indistinct, but the center? Very solid, for the moment. Grazing hits were a real danger. But focusing more and more on Daniel, there was a second layer around the monster.

The man.

"I mean, at some point you have enough money. Well, I guess if you had less -assholes- who resisted getting snatched, you'd be able to retire to a life of scotch and solitaire. Sorry about that." Daniel almost sounds -sincere-. Here, between the shadow shifting and almost liquid flow, the core motions could be seen: the aikido stance, the palms, the positioning. It was a defensive style, as expected from Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu. Steady, stable, and reactionary. Instigating attacks should be awkward, but Daniel almost seems comfortable with doing it. Almost. And that was the crux, the weakness. The shadow shifting seemed to constantly disrupt the stances, the defensive holds; when Daniel was holding still, he seemed confident. But he was constantly moving, constantly flowing, constantly shifting. And every motion seems, for a split-second, to break that confidence, and that stability. The Darkstalker had dangerous shadow powers, and excellent martial art skill. But both together were in conflict with each other.

And was the opening, as Daniel slips forward.

His approach is low and fast, a flicker, a surge. Fading out of shape, he reforms before Oswald, lunging in with a palm strike. "I mean, I'd ask about family, that's way too personal." A hand chop comes, as orange and black energy begins to wreath around him. Thrusting in with an elbow jab, he adds on. "You know, if you're holding back, you shouldn't worry about it. I'm not kidding. I've died like three times so far, kinda, and if you're a professional, I kinda wanna know my limits." The shade whirls to unleash a frenzied duo of chi slashes, two more like the first Kasane Ate, before lunging in for the pivot throw, to finish the combination by hurling him towards one of the lamp posts.

"You dig me?"

COMBATSYS: Oswald reflects Harlem Sunset from Daniel with Four Suits.

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Oswald           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Daniel

It seems safe to assume there is little more Oswald wishes to say at the moment. He may be old, but he looks like he can still fight without too much issue. His movements quick and the way he handled the initial attack did push him back, but he didn't exactly go down like a sack of bricks. It makes one wonder just how dangerous the man was in his prime or have his skills diminished at all as he has aged.

There is a glint that plays off the assassin's shades when Daniel rushes in. It is only going to be a few moments before he realizes Oswald is not holding back at all, but seems to be picking his time to strike. The movements are quick and almost ninja like. That palm strike touching only air with the follow up chop missing as well. He seems to almost teleport at the last moment with each of thoe strikes along with the jab.

It is when he looks to unleash the slashed of chi that Oswald chooses to strike. A flick of each wrist and a card ending up in hand as he uses them to actually slice through the attackes in a spinning motion and continues forward. Several quick and precise strikes cutting up Daniel in various places before a final one comes downwards across the chest of the former Interpol operative before seemingly becoming one with the shadows himself and reappearing a few feet away.

Oh no.

When the glint comes, Daniel realizes what he's in. He -isn't- holding back. He's just waiting. The shadow's yellow eyes go wide, as he suddenly finds that the man was reading his reactions perfectly. The attacks catch nothing; by the time the zoot suit riot reaches the chi slashes, the assassin -rips- through his chi, and to the very essence of Daniel himself. The shadow takes deep lacerations, as the cuts go all the way through, just like the opening card. Daniel's eyes melt away, as the pieces of shadow collapses into pools on the ground. For a moment there is near silence, only the distant sobbing of a child in the air.

"Jesus -christ-"

The merciful quiet is broken from the sounds of Daniel, as the pools consolidate, the pieces of shadow forcing together. Daniel rises up, not quite all together, ragged and jagged at the deep cuts into his shape. It's like someone worked over him with a pair of scissors, and in a way, exactly that. Oswald might feel the shadow he reappeared from pulling at him. The very shadows outside of Daniel were twisting and pulling, the darkness feeling the demands of a new master. "Yeah, okay, you are the real deal, shit. I'm loving it, I'm really loving this. You might even be able to kill me, scuzzy! Alright, here's I come!"

And Daniel charges in.

It's not different from last time, at least at first. The surging palm strike has a little more energy, the follow up hand chop is burning as well with the blend of shadows and chi. The detective however extends the combination, repeating the palm strike and hand chop combination, mixing up the balance. It finally finishes up with a straight kick, a rare kick from the ex-detective to send Oswald backwards. For all the shadow, it lacks flash. In substance, however? The shadow was throwing more and more attacks at the assassin, building overwhelming pressure.

And building in strength, as the shadows continue to pull at Oswald.

COMBATSYS: Oswald counters Zoot Suit Riot from Daniel with King.

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Oswald           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Daniel

"You wish to die?"

It isn't often that Oswald comes across a target that apparently wants death. Most if they see him before he strikes plead for mercy or try to offer him more money not to kill them. "I tend to oblige on such things, Mr. Jack. This time I was paid not to kill you so if you die it won't be at my hands. For this evening at least." The strange pull of the shadows can be felt and it does require some adjustment on the part of the assassin. Almost as if they just want to draw him in closer to the ex-detective to where he might have a better chance of landing a strike.

The palm strike comes forward and Oswald raises a card up almost as if to intercept the strike. Turning about Daniel sees the Suicide King revealed before his hand impacts against it and nothing else. Then there is a pain as he is cut once more. Another slash this time along his right side as Oswald stands behind Daniel by a few feet as he takes back up his fighting position.

"Well you make it sound so grim."

Daniel keeps on the pressure, but the sheer skill of his opponent was flummoxing him. He was talking fast, throwing out the palm strike. The slice comes in a clean, efficient counter, slicing all the way through the detective, breaking the combo almost immediately. Daniel stops dead, giving only a brief response on that.

"God -damn!-"

He tries to turn around; but the very act almost threatens to collapse the shade. Oswald's assault was keeping him mostly intact, the precision was so good, that Daniel -couldn't- get control. And the shadow energy was only glowing out more and more. Daniel was in pain, he showed the pain in every movement. And while he was reforming so faintly... it wasn't enough to reverse the pure penetration that Oswald was providing.

And yet, he doesn't stop talking.

"Think of it like this: If you were supposed to have died, but didn't, you'd wanna know why, right? It's more as to see if I can die; like the closest I -think- was Ryu Hayabusa, he sealed me down into the local afterlife I -think-. But Honoka- Dahlia- whatever the shit she calls herself now apparently eradicated me down to -atoms!- I'm kind of a spiritual essence now, you know? I gotta ask though, were you always this good? Have you only gotten better?" Daniel was taking the blows piece by piece, section by section. IT was almost easy to miss the pull of the shadows.

Until a pair of eyes look out from the shadow.

For a brief moment, the shapes change, shift. Illusions, or perceptions? From the shadows are pieces of... an apartment? Dim reflections of empty whiskey bottles on the floor, a wasted couch, dim lights, and old bureau desk. The shadows were like a window, peer within and see the shapes. Laying on the couch seemed to be a woman in white, her form monochrome, the deathly pale woman seeming to recline elegantly on the trashy couch. She was garbed in a white kimono, peering at the fight through the window. She writhes curiously, a smirk on her lips. There is the sound of footsteps on boards, as someone, something, is apparently striding through the bottles. A shadow play? A glimpse to the other side?

It might to miss Daniel sweeping his arms around.

Away from the shadow space, the detective was sweeping his arms around, building up power as he channels. Black and orange chi whirls around the detective, as he winds up. He doesn't... seem aware of the stuff happening in the shadows, as he continues to pratter on. "I've always enjoyed good fighting, but I've never really thought about my own mortality, you know, been aware of it not being the same as I always been. I always assumed some day, I'd die. And now... I don't know. I've met someone like me, Oswald, and he's hundreds of years old. I'm young, I don't understand any of this. You know, you're a great listener; real shame this is a professional job, I think I'd split a bottle of Scotch with you on better terms." Daniel -slams- his arms his arms down, a massive wave of chi and shadow. Boiling forward like a tsunami, he moves to sweep up the assassin in the wave. And yet, as the shadow energy mingles, it pours out from the nearby shadows; flooding randomly as it flashes out, all with a very familiar cry. "


COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Oswald with Chou Kasane Ate EX.

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Oswald           1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Daniel

Daniel does enough talking for the both of them and it is hard to tell if Oswald is really even listening to the ex-detective at this point while he rambles on.

His focus is more on the moving shadows and how Daniel seems to manipulate them. Or is it the shadows just move on their own and Daniel rolls with it? Even as perceptive as Oswald is he is in the end a human and human's make mistakes. His movements are quick, but his timing is off so when the Kasane Ate comes hurtling his way he is just a second too slow. It plows into the old man and sends him into a backwards roll that he pops out of. He only verbal response giving is the grunt of pain when being hit.

He remains at a distance for now while a hand reaches up to adjust his tie a bit. His suit is starting to see better days. Something always bothersome, but he knew he might have some resistance and anticipated it might not be the most clean of jobs. It looks lke he is willing to let Daniel dictate the pace too and instead remains where he is standing to see what the ex-detective might do next.

COMBATSYS: Oswald gains composure.

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Oswald           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Daniel

Daniel breathes hard, as the wave disappates.

Back in the day, he could Kasane Ate all day long. But now... it's a little more tiring. The shadows though, were bleeding over and around, the released energy flowing around. The flow of energy cascades outward, filling into the shadows. The shapes grow more distinct, as the sound of footsteps show the root of it: more people. Peering in, scarred by chemical burns, they stare as the reach the couch. A man urges the kimino-clad woman to scoot over, to take a seat. One of them has a bottle of whiskey. And all peer out. Now, Daniel looks over, looking at the shadows. Staring in, he looks back at Oswald as he adjusts his tie.

"They with you?"

Daniel asks, not quite focusing on the figures in the darkness any more than that. The haunting shapes of men and women, peering out from the darkness within, a window to dim shadows. Illusions? Figments. Daniel doesn't let it distract him -too- much. If he looked a bit longer, he might realize who they are. "Maybe it's just locals. This place is haunted, you dig? I try and find haunts; it keeps me sane. Sorry about the suit though; believe me, I know what it's like to lose a good suit." Stabilizing his breath, the detective finally comes harrying towards Oswald, struggling for air. Making his beeline, he falls into a long line of shadow stuff, nearly -body slamming- into Oswald before he reforms just before him. There, he emerges by throwing out a jumping kick, attempting to knock the man off balanced with the full force of the impact. "One of the nice things about the whole transformation is making this suit."

"Would you believe this suit is basically my skin?"

COMBATSYS: Oswald dodges Daniel's Light Kick.

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Oswald           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Daniel

"I work alone."

It is safe to say whatever Daniel sees the assassin cannot. Even if he could it is probably a good guess to say he wouldn't be bothered by their presence. He doesn't seem easily shaken and despite being roughed up decently he has remained calm and not letting himself get carried away with Daniel's unique style combining the use of shadows along with martial arts. "Do you talk like this all the time? I wonder how no one else that is looking for you have not found you given how you just keep talking nonstop."

Daniel surges forward and looks to deliver that kick, but Oswald seems to have taken that short breather to refocus on the movements of the ex-detective. The kick finds nothing but air and Oswald almost seems to move through the shadows himself as he remains at a distance. What Daniel may fail to notice is while he was moving away he had tossed a card in the air. The Queen of Spades just twirls in the air above Daniel and then suddenly gives a downward surge look to slam right into the top of Daniel's head.

COMBATSYS: Oswald successfully hits Daniel with Queen.

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Oswald           1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1           Daniel

"Well, I've always been a talker."

"I mean, gosh, I had dreams, ambitions." The shapes in the shadows stride forward, staring out with smug, mocking glares. All upon Daniel, not Oswald. As the kick whiffs, there is silent applause, silent jeering from the audience, staring out from the shadows in building interest. Pivoting, he tracks his yellow eyes on the flipping card. Daniel actually mouths silently a moment, as he shifts, attempting to slip around it. The surge, however, is tracking, and the queen of spades -rends- apart the detective, splitting his shadow form in twain as he scatters. "Oh -jesus!"- He groans, as the shapes comes into two pools. It doesn't take long before it is reforming, though he doesn't... seem all there, his head still awfully split, his two halves not quite lined up. Unstable, the shade eases back into his Todoh-Ryuu Stance.

And he keeps talking.

"Understand I had a bad phase. Lost my mind, couldn't talk, or think, just could kill, feed. I didn't take to this transformation well, and I... hurt a lot of friends or people. It's not great to be an animal." Daniel Jack keeps his shape enough, his edges indistinct, as he hurls in a palm strike with the left, a hand chop with the right.

Once again, with feeling.

"You know, so this? All this? This is being people. I -want- to be people, it's important to be people." Daniel Jack turns on the elbow jab, infusing his palm with energy. "Plus, uh, I've been in prison for a bit. Want a piece of advice? Don't work with the NOL." Daniel Jack attempts to slam the palm -hard- into a driving carry, to bring himself along with Oswald to slam them both into... a couch? The shades suddenly scramble as Daniel attempts to carry himself and Oswald into the midst of the illusion. Should he success, he would lift Oswald up, and -spike- him straight into the couch, splitting it apart into an eruption of shadow and orange chi as the apartment spreads around them.

"They are -dicks-."

COMBATSYS: Oswald counters Skiffle Drop from Daniel with Royal Flush.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Oswald           0/-------/-------|=======\=======\1           Daniel

Daniel talks and Oswald stays more focused on the strikes. Though though all the talking it does seem he must be listening, because the mention of NOL does seem to get something of a reaction from the stone faced assassin. Daniel may have even seen a bit of a frown form there for a moment. It is hard to tell because things go bad really quick soon after.

Can Oswald himself manipulate shadows? Or is it just his timing that make it look like he steps into the darkness after avoiding the first few blows from the ex-detective. There is a moment where only the glint of his glasses can be seen among the shadow when Daniel looks to land his final blow. It doesn't whiff like many of the others, but there is a strange impact then things seem to explode and cards whirl about cutting along the detective and blasting him away.

"I have dealt with NOL. A lot that does not understand what trust is and very unprofessional. An organization I will not work for again and one I will deal with when I feel the time is right. As for now...." The old assassin seems to step from the shadows and into the light again as he tugs at a glove to adjust. "I still have a job to take care of, Mr. Jack. Are you ready to come along?"

Daniel slams his palm to carry along with Oswald-

And is backfired, straight into the wall near the intersection.

His form is a smear against the shadows, blasted into pieces. Slowly, much slower than before, he comes reforming into a rise. The shadows around him shift, bringing the apartment scene around him. The images staring at him, the ripples of shapes. The reality was closer now, as yellow eyes float on top of the mire. They look upon them.... and he realizes them, recognizes, them, remembers. Pain rushes through him, as he finally raises up, a pillar of pitch.

And Daniel seems to be done playing around.

His fangs bared; his features just yellow eyes and a maw full of teeth, the shade feels the pain of rage, of anger, of hunger. The weight of darkness builds, tendrils slithering long pieces towards Oswald. There is a hearty breath, as the amorphous shape of Daniel begins to fade at the edges, a single mass. The men and women all stand up, rubbing their hands. The lights of the lampposts begin to flicker, as the tendrils touch on them. The sobbing of a child builds, as the ex-detective feels the pull, the hunger. The audience watches, waiting for the moment that Daniel snaps. The ex-detective reaches for his neck, where the talisman lantern hangs...

"I yield!"

Daniel throws his palms up, as the shadowy presence dissipates. Still half-formed, still barely standing, Daniel Jack bared fangs fades into a smooth grin. "I yield. If I take another one of your cards, you'll need a bucket to get me to Morgan. And I rather -not- be a slurry to her whims, you dig. You've entertained me enough, scuzzy, you've earned it." You could almost -feel- the boos from the audience, as the shadows begin to fade away. "And besides, I don't wanna mess up your suit too much. I'm cooperating, I'm cooperating." Almost uselessly, he extends his wrists. He didn't know how Oswald wanted to do this, or how he's supposed to do this. Sheepishly, he asks.

"So uh... how are you supposed to bring me to her now?"

COMBATSYS: Daniel has left the fight here.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Oswald           0/-------/-------|

Oswald was more than ready to continue the fight, but surprisingly Daniel was ready to yield and comply.

There is a few moments when Oswald wasn't sure that he thought Daniel was being genuine, but eventually he eases out of his own fighting stance. HIs suit is mussed, but not torn apart in the way Daniel's would have been if he were still human. Even so the assassin adjusts is tie and then his torn up jacket before stepping closer.

"I am not going to cuff you. I believe you understand trying to escape will do you no good. What you and Lady Morrigan need to discuss is not my problem." he comments and waits for Daniel to stand on his own. All there is to be now is probably a long and quiet, if Oswald can help it, journey as the assassin brings Daniel to Morrigan.

COMBATSYS: Oswald has ended the fight here.

Log created on 12:52:19 07/01/2018 by Daniel, and last modified on 20:18:44 07/09/2018.