The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 2 - Once a Wise Man, Twice a Fool

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Description: During the events of King of Fighters 2017, the wards around Mt Fuji were devastated, paving the way for hordes of monsters to sweep through. Several ninja clans were able to band together, re-establishing many of these wards, though they weren't able to protect them forever. Recent weather disasters have damaged the wards, creating weaknesses that a certain Dark Messiah was able to capitalize upon. The sacred mountain is now being used as a staging area for an impending assault, with darkstalkers crawling in and amongst the trees. Luckily for Southtown, demon-hunter Donovan has sensed the impending darkness and arrives to cast it back into the void. But he is not the only one sensing this darkness. Eliza, the mysterious vampiress, has found herself drawn to the overwhelming darkness boiling up from the mountain. And unlike the demon-hunter, her curiosity has less innocent intentions, as she's eager to claim Jedah's monsters for her own purposes.

Donovan takes his time as he makes his way along the old winding trail, moving confidently but slowly through the heavy gloom. The sky is black as tar, heavy masses of thick churlish clouds blotting out what little light might have been provided by the faint twinkle of the stars. Fat droplets of frigid rain pour down in driving sheets, a ceaseless cataract that renders the unpaved path into a gummy mess of sodden mud and tangled overgrowth that seems eager to devour his bare feet and drag him down, as if some silent murky abyss awaits just below the surface.

A brilliant flash of light tears across the darkened backdrop, illuminating the jagged line of trees and mountains that compose the horizon for a brief instant. Moments later the sky bellows with fury, a rip-roaring explosion of noise that chases the faded finger of lightning across the heavens in an epic and unwinnable battle for dominance. A harsh wind rushes down to greet him as he draws close to his destination, biting mountain air whipping across the surface of his mostly exposed flesh with cruel glee.

The monk pauses, shifting his gaze up towards Mt. Fuji, or what is left of it. The one proud peak of the great mountain lies shattered, brought low by the terrible power unleashed through the folly of men, short-sighted if not outright evil. Even now, several months after the fact, he can still sense the turmoil lingering in the air. The very land itself seethes with outrage and resentment, raw primal fury seeping out of the earth like poison weeping from an open wound.

It will take a great many years to quell the spirits of this land, though he can sense that some temporary measures have been put in place to ensure that the darkness contained within cannot escape. No doubt the famous ninja clans and shrine maidens of this country have already done what they can in the short term. However, while their seals and prayers can contain the threat from within the ancient mountain, they offer little defense from the darkness that threatens the land from without.

A soft splash fills his ears. Turning slightly to peer behind him, Donovan spots the source of the disturbance easily enough. A young girl, perhaps ten years old by the looks of her, sits half submerged in a particularly large puddle, the murky water still sloshing noisily around her legs. It doesn't take much guess-work to figure out what happened - he'd avoided that particular pitfall himself only barely, but his young companion lacked his intense training and ability to see in the dark, both of which made this downpour little more than a nuisance.

Anita stares down at the cold water with her usual expression of disinterest for a moment before pushing herself back to her feet, clutching the headless doll in her arms to her chest as she sloshes her way to the edge and casually pulls herself back onto the muddy path. Her simple dress gains a fresh layer of grime in the process but it only takes a few seconds before the driving rain has all but washed her clean again.

Though she lacks an umbrella or the protection of the wide kasa which currently sits on the vampire hunter's head, the small child pays little heed to the weather, seeming as equally unimpressed by its efforts to drive her back as Donovan, if not equally unhindered. The monk sighs softly through his nose at this, restraining his usual urge to step to her aid. She would not acknowledge it even if he tried and while he has no need of praise to do a good deed, it is his firm belief that exposing her to a little hardship and unpleasantness from time to time might help loosen the lid of the small box into which she has hidden away her emotions. At worst, she'd catch a cold from this, and despite his monastic training, he's not above accepting the help of modern medical science to keep someone healthy.

"Our destination is not far now," Donovan says, as she draws near, waiting until she is close so that he doesn't have to try and shout to be heard over the rain. "A few more miles and we will be at the edge of the forest."

Anita's wide blue eyes peer up at him in silence as he speaks, her gaze drifting out towards the distance shattered peak of Mt. Fuji when he turns to begin walking once more. The sound of her tiny footsteps dutifully falls into line behind him a few seconds later and together they make their way forward along the path, guided by his vampiric sight and the powerful feeling of darkness which had drawn him here to begin with.

At the slow pace he sets, the duo don't reach the edge of the outlying forests around the mountain for another hour. By now the storm's fury has started to abate, begrudgingly relenting on its war-like campaign to dissuade the two wanderers from their journey as it becomes clear that such efforts are futile. The hammering downpour and screaming thunder has all but vanished becoming little more than a steady drizzle interspersed by discontent rumblings from above. Even the moon has managed to shake itself free from the concealing cloud cover, pushing back the oppressive gloom with a soft silvery light, driving the darkness back to lurk in long shadows.

He has not stepped more than ten paces into the forest when the first attack comes. A shrill howl of animalistic rage erupts from the air to his left moments before the heavy foliage disgorges a pair of misshapen beasts, twin bundles of ragged mangy fur sporting wicked claws and razor sharp fangs. They howl and snarl in challenge, hurling themselves across the muddy ground in long loping strides that clear half a dozen feet with every hungry bound, eager to rip into the soft morsels that have foolishly wandered into their domain.

The first beast falls before it can even realize its mistake. A quick gesture of Donovan's hand sends the massive blade hanging from his back hurtling towards the monstrous shape, whirling like a buzz-saw through the air. It slices into the demon's hide with murderous glee, splitting it in twain without even slowing down.

A startled yelp fills the night as the mortally wounded creature's upper half falls to the ground, offering its companion a brief moment of warning before the deadly blade reverses course and comes whizzing back towards its exposed flank. It flings itself to the side at the last moment, dark yellow eyes wide with fear and rage, but the demonic blade simply follows it, cutting it down with one massive vertical stroke. The remains of the monster slump to the forest floor, little more than a pile of meat and offal.

Donovan motions once more and the vampiric blade heeds his beckoning call, quickly returning to take its place upon his wide back. The fresh blood of its kills glistens in the darkness upon its dark surface, glowing faintly red as the hungry spirit within feeds upon the life essence of its victims.

The monk slowly casts his gaze out into the darkness, narrowed eyes glowing with an inner light as he scans for other threats. Anita shuffles quietly closer, huddling near his muscular leg as she watches the death throes of the bisected monster with an impassive stare.

"It would seem that my premonitions were correct. The darkness in this place is quite strong. I fear this will only be the beginning of our troubles here."

As Donovan makes short work of the creatures that assail him, something else seems to take notice. It's presence is strangely small considering what it's birthed from. There is also very little movement from this other, much more sinister creature. All that seems to reveal it's position, is it's bright yellow eyes. These eyes only seem to shine as more blood is spilled from the other creature, as it's relentlessly chased down by Donovan's blade.

Once the blade has returned to it's owner, does the darkness itself seem to stir. It's almost as if the very shadows have a life of their own, it could be that the moonlight has caused them to play tricks on anyone that seems to observe. Though in a strange coincidence, or possibly by fate, the darkness seems to follow a silhouette as it moves from the side of the trees.

"How....very cruel..." Comes a sickly sweet voice. It seems to have a tone that is both otherworldy, and yet familiar in it's tone. It's tone is that of the temptations of the darkness, something that is far more than most would ever encounter on this world.

"You could have simply...." The voice stops, and a small sigh follows. Though as soon as it stops it begins again. "Simply let them go..." Finally emerging from the shadows is a woman clad in crimson. She would look rather normal, if just out of place in her garb. That is, until the undeniable truth that she has horns on the sides of her head.

She raises her hands up, "Yet...." She sniffs lightly. "The smell of blood, it's.....intoxicating..." A small smile plays along her lips. "Wouldn't you agree?" Her lips then curl up to reveal those dreaded white fangs.

While she speaks, all sounds seem to come to a stop. Something is very different with her compared to the other creatures that inhabit this mountain.

Donovan's wary gaze snaps towards the strangely dense bit of shadows as it detaches itself from the surroundings, his vampiric sight having little difficulty ferreting out the source of the dark energy that he could sense nearby now that it has revealed itself.


The word drips from his mouth like a foul curse, the monk's typically serene face hardening into a stony mask. Eliza's dark honied voice pollutes the air like a cloying perfume, wafting towards him to ensnare the man in its siren song, yet it breaks upon the craggy surface of his hearted heart like a wave upon a cliff.

Behind him, Anita moves slightly, shifting her position so that Donovan is between her and the slowly encroaching predator. It is not fear that motivates her to do this but an innate ability to feel the flow of the battlefield, almost like she can sense his intentions and move accordingly so as to never be in the way or impede him through her presence. Were she any less capable of watching out for herself he would have left her in the care of a monastery long ago - but the power that lies dormant within her is something he cannot ignore for it has driven her to suffer a cursed fate not unlike his own.

"It is my divine mission to rid this world of every last shred of darkness," he retorts, his deep baritone voice calm and measured but clearly laden with the implied threat of impending violence. He lifts a single hand, holding it vertically in front of him in the mudra of Abhaya, a gesture of protection that symbolizes his desire to ward evil away from humanity. "I will offer no mercy to monsters who would do harm to humanity nor will I allow evil to flourish and spread suffering to this world."

Her fanged smile is met with a scowl and the sudden change in the atmosphere does not go unnoticed. This creature has power, terrible power. It is good that he has come here first so that others do not fall prey to her hunger. Yet it is not she who is responsible for the ominous sensation that he feels filling the air around them, infusing the very ground upon which they stand. No, she is but a symptom of that sickness, an opportunist drawn by the scent of death and decay.

"I shall drive you back to the darkness from whence you were spawned, demon. Prepare yourself for oblivion!"

The monk suddenly thrusts his hand forward, slamming his palm at the air in Eliza's direction. Dhylec, the demonic sword upon his back, springs to life once again at his command, rising up to his side. The air grows unnaturally cold in an instant, the already biting temperature plunging to near arctic levels as a shimmering blue form materializes around the weapon. The frigid energy quickly manifests into the shape of a beautiful young woman, her pale blue skin wreathed in slightly darker cerulean robes of flowing cloth while long elegant hair billows out behind her in the cold wind that births her.

The ice spirit smiles faintly as she turns her gaze upon Eliza. One long arm snaps out in the vampire's direction and from her delicate hand springs forth a single massive crystalline snowflake. The blast of spiritual energy tears towards the blood sucker like a tiny comet, sparkling motes of blue drifting to the ground as it passes, which blossom into wide patches of frost the moment they strike the earth. Should she be caught in that cold projectile, the vampire would find herself frozen solid, encased in a block of ice if but only for a moment. But a moment is all that's needed for a deadly hunter like Donovan to do his work.

COMBATSYS: Donovan has started a fight here.

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Donovan          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Eliza has joined the fight here.

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Donovan          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0            Eliza

COMBATSYS: Eliza blocks Donovan's Blizzard Sword.

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Donovan          0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Eliza

Eliza continues to just smile, even as Donovan draws his weapon at her. "Oh...." She huffs a bit, "Is that any way to talk to someone..?" Her voice trails off once again, seeming to sound as if she was in a state of dreaming. Though even as Donovan make his claim, the woman bobs forward and is asleep! She huffs out in soft snores, as her head and arms just hang uselessly below her. It may even seem comical to the stalwart hunter!

Strangely though, she slips back into the realm of the living. Her eyes locking on the strange frozen projectil coming at her, that smile never once leaving her beautiful lips. "That was so -cold- of you..." She giggles out at the attack. To her, the world is in slow motion as she begins to channel her own dread powers. Raising her hand up she smacks at the snowflake, and it bursts into millions of tiny specks of ice in the atmosphere. Her hand does freeze as she does this, trailing all the way up her arm. Her breath can be seen just by the sheer cold it had produced.

Waving her hand to shake the ice, she just looks to Donovan. "Such a naughty child. I guess Ill have to teach you a lesson..."

Within seconds, her form becomes a blur of speed. Most humans can't even track her when she moves like this, but Donovan probably can. There isn't much time to think, as she descends on him like a -bat- out of /hell/. Her fingers curling into claws, as she swings her right hand at the Hunter.

COMBATSYS: Donovan blocks Eliza's Noble Slash.

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Donovan          0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0            Eliza

Indeed, Donovan is more than capable of keeping track of the vampire's beautiful form as she dashes towards him with claws outstretched. Even if he were not specially trained to combat threats such as this, his vampiric lineage offers him far greater alacrity and perception than any normal human could hope to achieve without special means. Together, they have forged him into a deadly warrior, one which has dedicated his life to destruction of creatures just like her.

The wicked claws find purchase as they slash forward; not in the soft flesh of the monk's exposed muscular body but on the surface of his wide circular hat. Sparks and bits of straw fly as her fingernails are turned away by the metallic armored plating hidden underneath the surface, though the force of the blow drives him backwards a step regardless, his young ward shifting out of the way as he does so.

"There is no lesson of worth I can learn from a wicked creature such as yourself. But I have a thing or two to show you, demon."

The heavy string of beads resting around Donovan's torso suddenly begin to glow with a faint blue light before suddenly splitting apart, apparently held together by nothing more than his will. The fat metal balls rush forward like a swarm of insects, encircling Eliza's body before snapping together once more. The band of prayer beads shrinks tightly together with crushing strength, attempting to pin her arms to her side and leave her at their mercy.

A swift motion of Donovan's hand towards the sky causes the string of restricting beads to suddenly fly up and then slam back to the ground, tossing the vampire about like a doll, should she be caught by the swift and sudden restraints.

COMBATSYS: Eliza interrupts Sharirum Luna EX from Donovan with Rose Thorn.
? Strange Hit! ?

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Donovan          0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0            Eliza

Unlike Donovan's partial vampiric lineage, Eliza is a true beast of the night. For all the power that this hunter of the dark can muster, she's seen much more powerful. "How cute...." She muses out as the large beads begin to circle about her form. Her form begins to lazily bob back and forth, as she fights the sudden urge to fall asleep. It's ultimately futile as she slips back into the realm of slumber as the beads begin to make their way towards her.

As they begin to constrict, it was at this moment that she suddenly propelled herself into action. Her form a blur as she smashed through the makeshift trap, and right into Donovan. Her hand outstretched like a knife, looking to cleave right into his chest.

She can't help but lean forward, and whisper into his ear. "You have so much more power..." Her words carry no warmth, both of the physical and metaphorical variety. "Instead of drawing from the vast ocean, you choose a puddle..." It's almost as if Eliza can see into his very soul. "I could teach you...." She offers.

Eliza quickly withdraws from Donovan's form, making sure he can't strike back too quickly. The blood that she drew in the assault covers her hand, which she then raises above her hand and allows to drip into her mouth. "Oh, such a rare delicacy..."


Donovan's face morphs into a grimace as the vampire's claws dig into his chest. For a human, such a wound would likely be crippling or atleast painful enough to an impediment; to him, it's little more than a sting. Even so, her speed is surprising, managing to catch him off-guard momentarily to deliver this wound. She must be even older and more powerful than he'd assumed - a mistake he won't make again.

"Do not make me repeat myself, demon."

The monk frowns at Eliza as she withdraws, taking a step back himself to give them both a bit of space for the moment. Already the bloody wound in his chest has begun to heal, the torn muscles knitting back together as his blood seems to flow in reverse, dribbling back into his both rather than down to the ground. That sight alone gives him away as something less than human, though it would seem that the vampiress has already deduced the nature of his dual existence.

"I have no intention of giving in to that darkness. I will fight it, to my dying breath."

A surge of energy wells up from within the monk as if reinforcing his words with a display of raw determination. The unnatural light in his eyes shines more brightly for a moment as he steps forward, lunging across the gap between them to strike out at the creature in woman's form. His hand swings down in a swift but powerful chop, delivering enough raw force to shatter stone with his supernatural strength, but it is the follow-through of his blade that is truly dangerous. Dhylec carves a similar path through the air, slicing at the vampire with an eagerness that seems intentional, its soul-stealing edge glimmering even in the pale light of the moon.

COMBATSYS: Eliza fails to interrupt Power Strike from Donovan with Dark Blade.
# Disabling hit! #

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Donovan          1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0            Eliza

Eliza leans low lapping up the rest of the blood from her hand, her yellow eyes centering back on Donovan. "You speak as if the darkness is something to be feared and culled." She lowers her hand back to her side, "It's as much necessary as any other element of nature. Human's fear the unknown, and what is more unknown than the darkness?" The Vampiress doesn't really seem to care for those hunter speeches all too much. She's heard many in her days, and it gets quite old after awhile.

Regardless, the woman watches as Donovan bring his hand down in a chopping motion. Surprisingly it brings the blade with it. Eliza finds the symbiotic relationship of the two very interesting. Interesting enough that she is thrown off guard for but the briefest of moments, and in the moment, she is struck by both attacks. She attempted to muster a last minute reprisal but it failed spectaculary.

While the woman may be empowered by the darkness, she is still bound to the laws of physics. Donovan's strike was enough to send her tiny form flying into a tree. It splinters from the sheer force of striking it, and she hangs lamely from the concave.

" so much more to you..." She says, and looks up to Donovan once again. "Why do you hunt the dark so feverishly? It borders on mania....

Donovan draws himself back into a defensive stance, one hand raised and the other lowered, keeping his body protected from both angles. Even this apparent moment of weakness could be little more than a ruse for the denizens of the dark enjoy nothing more than preying upon the human qualities of empathy and compassion. It had been that very same hunger that had driven his father, a demon wearing the skin of a man, to take his mother and leave her with the curse of his eventual existence; a curse that would claim not only her life but those of the entire village.

"My reasons are my own, demon. Know only that I have vowed to rid this world of every last dark stalker so that humans no longer need live in fear of the night."

Donovan's eyes flare again as he holds his hands out above him, summoning Dylec to action once again. The sword happily zips around to float before him and the monk grips its handle with both hands, driving the massive blade into the soft muddy earth at his feet. His hands come together to create a diamond between his fingertips and thumbs as he concentrates, focusing some of his spiritual energy into the vampiric sword. The weapon sinks swiftly into the ground, vanishing from sight for a brief moment.

Without warning, the tree upon which Eliza hangs suddenly bursts apart behind her, the greatsword exploding from its surface to drive into her back. A searing aura of shimmering divine light bathes the weapon as it emerges, flowing out from the split tree like the rays of the sun. Crackling waves of heavenly electricity disgorges from Dylec's surface, the unholy blade serving as a conduit for Donovan's spiritual power.

COMBATSYS: Eliza blocks Donovan's Killshred - Plant ES.

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Donovan          1/---====/=======|===----\-------\0            Eliza

Even as the tree splits and the blade appears behind her, Eliza is able to quickly lean back and grab the weapon between her hands. The compromising position she is in restricts her just enough that she is unable to keep the blade of the weapon from digging into her skin. Her own blood running down towards the ground. "That is a coward's answer...." She whispers out and playfully tosses the blade aside. "Only the weak minded would seek to destroy something they dont understand...." She raises her hands up, and laps again at the crimson bounty pooling up in them. Her eyes gaze up, and that smile returns to her lips. "I do not wish to really harm those that share my dark ties."

"I however, can't allow you to simply going around and -murdering- innocent creatures of the dark."

Pulling herself free of the tree, Eliza runs at Donovan. It isn't nearly as quick as she exhibited earlier, but it's still quite quick. She jumps upwards and begins to throw out a flurry of attacks at Donovan! Punches with her fists, and kicks with her red heels! Oddly enough, these movements seem more like a test of seeing how this Hunter will react to her.

COMBATSYS: Donovan blocks Eliza's Charged Combo.

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Donovan          1/--=====/=======|====---\-------\0            Eliza

"I understand it..."

Donovan's face darkens for a moment, his expression becoming a grimace of loathing directed both at the twisted creature before him and at the darkness within. How many years had he wandered, consumed by the blood lust, unable to control his sinister cravings? How many more had he studied with the monks of his order just to be able to function without being tempted by those foul urges? No matter how much time passes the blood he spilled will never wash away and despite all of his efforts, all of his vows and discipline, he can still feel the beast lurking inside of his soul, waiting for a moment of weakness to claw its way to the surface once more.

"I know it all too well!"

Dhylec lies dormant for the moment, its twisted hungry maw grinning evilly from the ground where it was cast aside as if smirking at his inner strife. Donovan ignores its mocking stare and focuses upon the vampire as she unleashes a flurry of preternaturally swift attacks at him. Each of them is met with equal speed, his forearms, elbows, and knees deflecting each blow skillfully with the martial prowess of a master.

Seeing that his foe is probing for some sort of gap in his defenses, the monk responds in kind, turning the flow against her with a sudden surge in aggression once an opening presents itself. He takes a quick step forward, his arm lancing forward to slam the heel of a palm towards the base of her jaw, once more channeling his inhuman strength into the strike. It won't do much more than give her a bloody nose but it might offer him a better tactical position to work with.

COMBATSYS: Eliza endures Donovan's Random Strike.

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Donovan          1/-======/=======|=====--\-------\0            Eliza

Eliza doesn't budge a single bit, as Donovan strikes her right in the jaw. This is not exactly the best position for the hunter as he eyes shift and lock directly on him. It becomes completely apparent that she had allowed him to move in that close to her. A dark smile stretches across her features and her gaze becomes as sharp as a blade. "You understand nothing, child. You have yet to live a millenia, have yet to truly experience what your powers can offer. As I told you earlier, I can teach you."

That's when Eliza moves into a crouching position, as her body begins to glow in a cascade of colors. It's almost as if the darkess becomes a cloak that she wears. These colors become a -Rainbow in The Dark-. "There is beauty in the darkness!" This was the first time she had revealed some actual passion in her tone. Too bad she would not allow Donovan to ponder on it for too long.

Quickly the woman launches upwards, twisting in a circle as she rises up. A clenched fist sent flying right into the Hunter's jaw.

COMBATSYS: Donovan endures Eliza's Rising Chaos.

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Donovan          2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1            Eliza

The rising punch swings like a hammer towards Donovan's jugged jawline, threatening to take his head clean off with its fury. However, it quickly becomes obvious that the vampire isn't the only one who has allowed their opponent to gain a momentary advantage in order to lure them into a trap. The monk's head tilts to the side as Eliza's uppercut smashes into his chest, sacrificing the wide target of his pecs to save himself from being brained.

Having failed to deck the Hunter like she planned, the deadly damsel finds that she has exposed herself to his reprisal, over-extending greatly by leaping into the air to get that extra bit of power for her strike.

Donovan's arms move quickly, his hand snapping up to summon the demonic blade to his side once again from its resting place nearby. The massive sword hovers horizontally as it comes to a stop, just in time for the monk's spiritual powers to manifest once more as a powerful spirit.

A heavily armored male figure rises up from his body, its head adorned with a jagged golden horn that resembles a bolt of lightning. Both the dhampir and the spirit move as one, each thrusting their palm towards Eliza as the building power within them explodes forward in a frenetic burst of motion. Dhylec becomes a blur of crackling energy, thrusting at the vampire with repeated jabs so fast that even her supernatural senses would struggle to keep up, even if she wasn't hanging in mid-air. Spider-webs of biting lightning shoot out from the spirit's body with each strike, adding yet another source of danger for her to somehow deal with.

"I do not need to experience the depths of Naraka to understand the misery it brings! You shall not tempt me, demon!"

COMBATSYS: Donovan successfully hits Eliza with Thunder Sword.
# Disabling hit! #

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Donovan          1/-<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\====---\1            Eliza

Eliza is assaulted with a devastating flurry of blows. This deadly lightning avatar that Donovan has summoned is quite a deadly creation, as it rips up the vampiress' clothing with each strike. the woman calling out in pain as Donovan directs it's fury. Blood splatters all about, and electricity crackles all about Eliza's form. The woman tries to manage the damage, but she is unable to really do much against the hunter's fury. She falls back with each devastating strike and each electrical web that is created. Her eyes narrow at Donovan, as she's unable to do much more than wait for an opportunity.

Then comes the moment she needed, even in this fusillade of blows, she is able to see a small opening that she is able to exploit. That small aura that had enveloped her quickly EXPLODES about her, and she moves to the offensive. Her earlier cool seems to have completely dried up as she draws from her inner depths of power. While normally she would save her energy, the Hunter has pushed her to this breaking point.

"Enough, you will not treat me in this manner!"

Pushing through, she attempts to lay into Donovan with as many kicks and punches as possible. She's moving so -fast- that she is creating after images of herself. Literally warping about Donovan, and attempting to end it in a deadly bite of her fangs!

COMBATSYS: Eliza knocks away Donovan with Deep Shadow.

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Donovan          2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0            Eliza


Donovan's eyes widen as he senses what is about to happen, feeling the oppressive darkness bubbling up from within his foe. Whirling around, he grabs the girl and tosses her aside, throwing her into a thick section of the foliage lining the forest path. The girl's eyes screw shut as she sails through the air, her tiny arms clutched tightly about her doll as she tumbles into the leaves and vanishes from sight.

Having expended those precious few instants to protect his ward, the monk simply doesn't have enough time to mount his own defense. The dark lady plows into him with the monstrous fury of a demon, her punches and kicks ferociously powerful despite her rather unassuming outwards appearance. However, even caught at such a disadvantage, the hunter is not completely helpless. His arms move to shield him from the worst of the strikes, warding off the odd punch here and there. It's not much of a defense but it's enough to keep him from being completely overwhelmed.

The last of Eliza's enraged blows smashes square into the side of his head, knocking it to the side and giving her free access to the meaty prize she seeks. He lets out a growl of pain as her fangs sink into his vein drawing briefly but deeply from his life force before she casts him aside. His body bounces once or twice off the cold surface of the mud, leaving deep imprints followed by a long trail when he skids to a halt some twenty feet away.

A grimace of pain overcomes his features for a moment, but he quickly replaces it with his perpetual faint scowl, centering his mind and his emotions to a place of harmony. He cannot afford to become angry at this creature and he's worked far too hard to be riled up by something as simple as taking a nasty hit.

Pushing himself out of the grime, Donovan rises to his feet and casually sweeps off the thick layer of muck which came along for the ride, striding boldly towards the vampire without any signs of fear in his gait nor malice in his eyes. Destroying this creature is a sacred duty, not an act of vengeance or petty hatred. He will not be cowed by her strength or her poisonous lies.

"You show your true self at last, leech. Enjoy the task of blood while you can. It shall be the last time you dine upon mortal life."

Fresh spiritual power surges up from within the monk as he raises his hands, swirling around his muscular mud-stained form in an aura of constantly shifting rainbow hues. Donovan's hands shift rapidly through a series of mudras, calling forth the symbolic power behind their meaning and turning it into tangible force through sheer will. Though he would be loathe to admit it, this manifestation is possible only due to his vampiric nature, a dark energy turned to pure and wholesome purposes.

Thrusting his hand towards Eliza yet again, a gesture that has done nothing but herald unpleasant things for the vampiress, the hunter summons the fury of the skies themselves to strike her down. A swirling maelstrom of clouds manifests directly above Eliza in the span of only a few moments. A massively muscled giant man emerges from the top of this unnatural formation, his body a hazy shimmering construct of the same blue-ish spectral clouds. Though the sheer size of this specter's swollen biceps might indicate that getting punched by it would be incredibly bad, it not his fists that come down to savage the angry demon, but rather his foot.

The bottom of the swirling nimbus distends downwards in a flash, the cloud-like substance forming into a gigantic leg. This massive limb slams down upon Eliza with a vicious stomp, attempting to crush her underfoot as if she were little more than a troublesome bug. The impact sends tremors throughout the ground, shuddering the land so hard that the trees nearby eject leaves and acorns in all directions, showering everything in the forest for miles with bits of detritus.

COMBATSYS: Donovan successfully hits Eliza with Press of Death.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Donovan          0/-------/<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0            Eliza

Eliza lets loose a shriek as she continues to drive at Donovan, diving at him with reckless abandon. Her inner beast driving her to consume his life force without much concern for her own well being. The darkness continues to shimmer about her form, granting her incredible powers beyond that of most of her kin. It empowers her as it feeds upon the vitae she had consumed!

"I've never hidden my true self, child! I merely show you what happens when you anger me!" She isn't lying, as she continues to warp about Donovan with deadly accuracy. It would almost seem like she has lost herself to the bloodlust, but it's quite the opposite at this point. She is able to direct all this dark strength with unnerving precision! Any other creature of the dark would be consumed by this power, but not her, she is resilient to it's entropic effects.

However, this surge of power does make her much more prone to mistakes. It's evidenced by yet another summon of Donovan's, this giant foot descends upon her without hesitation. While she continues to press the attack, she's unable to dodge the rather unorthodox attack. It catches her arm quite hard, but it's hard to tell if her screams are that of pain or anger!

Regardless, she continues to barrel on through. The pain only fueling her to redouble her attacks with even more force. Her arm just bleeds from the impact and her simply pulling it out from underneath. This is quite a feat considering her appearance, but, even the most seasoned of hunter knows not to underestimate based on looks.

"Dark Wave CHAOS!" She bellows.

Draggining her lame arm along the ground, the vampiress sends a eruption of darkness at Donovan!

COMBATSYS: Donovan blocks Eliza's Dark Wave Chaos.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Donovan          1/-------/<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0            Eliza

Donovan meets the oncoming tidal wave of darkness without hesitation, rushing forward to clash with the fel energies. He's fought many vampires before but few have had such mastery over the dark curse which had created them as this one. His arms cross defensively across his chest as he crashes into the blast of energy, dispersing with a quick expenditure of his own vampiric might.

"Hmph. You speak of baseless fears one moment then reveal yourself to be a short-tempered fiend the next. It is twisted creatures like you that haunt this world, taking innocent lives at your whim."

Some strange starts to happen then. As the monk speaks, his mouth begins to contort, his teeth growing into long pointed fangs. His body tenses with obvious pain and effort, arms flexed tightly at his side as he hunches forward, growling menacingly. The skin upon his body bubbles and stretches outwards like diseased pustules only to erupt moments later giving birth to a pair of demonic bat-like wings tipped with twisted bony claws. The sickly color around these newly born appendages quickly starts to spread to the rest of his body, painting his swelling muscles with a black tar-like sheen.

Though he had suffered long under the curse of his vampiric blood, it had been through careful study of his limits and intense meditation that Donovan had learned how to control his demonic spirit, for a time at least. In so doing he had turned the most hated aspect of himself into a deadly, if unsavory, weapon, one which he can wield when the need for such destructive power arises. It's a gamble, but he has confidence that he can pull himself back from the brink.

"You wish to see what I can do with my darkness? By all means, accept your ticket to Hell!"

With a bestial roar that shakes the trees around them yet again, Donovan, now the very image of a vampiric monster, bellows his challenge to the night sky. Brightly glowing golden eyes narrow on Eliza, letting her stare into the face of the darkness she wanted to see. He comes at her then, his great wings lifting his monstrous bulk into the air with a couple of powerful flaps before hurtling him at the vampiress with reckless fury.

Long wicked claws where once he had fingers rake at her, slashing at her dead flesh with incredible power. However, it not the physical might that he brings to bear alone which threatens her, for as he draws near, a blazing aura of raw terrible power explodes from his twisted flesh, rending the very essence of life from her body to feed his newly awakened dark hunger.

Whether this berserker-like strike is successful or not, the transformation fades almost as quickly as it had come. Donovan's body reverts to its former appearance, all traces of his demonic nature quickly subdued and buried beneath the surface once again, save for the ominous glow of his eyes in the dim light.

COMBATSYS: Donovan successfully hits Eliza with Change Immortal EX.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /                             ]
Donovan          0/-------/------=|=======\=------\1            Eliza

What a terrible sight to behold, as Donovan reveals his own vampiric form.

"Such a beautiful thing!" Eliza roars, her lips curling into a wicked smile even as she hisses these words out like venom.

However, she is not deterred from Donovan whatsoever. She meets him head one herself, as her dark energies begin to ebb. Claw meets curled fingers, teeth meet teeth, and energy between the two just explodes. The area crackles with lightning and thunder. It's almost as if the heaven weeps as the two strike out at each other in hellish fury.

The engagement between the two isn't long, and it becomes apparent that Donovan has the upper hand, Eliza having used up too much of her own powers throughout the battle. Summoning up the last remaining bits of power she can muster, he charges Donovan for a last time! He right arm swinging back and bringing forth TERRIBLE amounts of the dreaded darkness. It all condenses down into her hand, and she seeks to ram it straight into Donovan's heart!

COMBATSYS: Eliza can no longer fight.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Donovan          0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Eliza knocks away Donovan with Soul Rend.

[                         \\\\\  <
Donovan          1/-------/=======|

Donovan falls to his knees, breathing heavily as the darkness recedes from him. It takes a great deal of effort to keep his beast at bay, a constant vigilance from which there can be no reprieve. No mortal could ever hope to maintain the level of discipline that he has achieved through mastering his own soul but even with all of the power granted to him by his blood, he struggles constantly, always at war with himself despite his placid demeanor.

Containing that evil once unleashed is even harder. He unleashes that aspect of himself rarely, saving it only for a last resort or as a weapon to use against creatures he might not normally be strong enough to destroy. Though Eliza may think the his destructive nature a thing of beauty, to him it is naught but a manifestation of his eternal curse, a reminder that there can be no rest until every last dark stalker is slain.

The final desperate strike from the stricken vampire finds purchase in Donovan's chest as he struggles to regain his composure, leaving him briefly exposed. A guttural cry of pain explodes from his lips as the darkness-infused claws tear into his flesh, rending muscle, bone, and sinew with a grotesque crack of ribs. The dhampir's eyes open wide, his face twitching with the effort to keep control as his beast roars, challenging his discipline in that moment of unexpected interference.

"I... shall not... fall yet!"

With a Herculean effort, he grabs Eliza by the wrist and yanks her hand free from his chest, hurling the foul creature aside with a snarl. Blood pours freely from the gaping wound, spilling down the front of his holy garments to stain the mud a dark blackish-red at his feet. Donovan's fingers curl up and his jaw tightens, muscles clenching and unclenching repeatedly as he fights for dominance against the primal instinct to lash out at everything around him in a bloody murderous frenzy. His muscles bulge, fingernails growing long and pointed even as a pair of wicked fangs begin to extend past his lip.

A sudden presence scythes through the haze of darkness and rage, a single powerful point of calm amidst the storm. Its touch acts as a balm to his wounded soul from that healing well springs forth a wave of calm that rapidly washes over him, quelling the rising tide within.

Donovan lets out a long gasp as his body relaxes and falls to one knee, his fingers digging into the soft earth. Before his eyes the terrible black claws start to fade away and within a few seconds he has returned to normal once again, his mind healed, if not his body. Glancing down to his side, he finds a pair of large blue eyes gazing up at him from within a rounded youthful face. Anita stares at her protector with the same quiet detachment, though he can see the faint traces of worry behind her empty expression.

"Anita... thank you."

A quick inspection of his chest reveals the terrible damage done. Though his heart was pierced and much of his blood lost, the wound is not fatal for a nigh-immortal such as himself. Within a few hours it would be mended leaving not even a scar behind to mark the occasion, just one more forgotten near-death experience amidst an ocean of similar encounters. No one ever said the life of a Dark Hunter was boring, at least.

Now, as for that vampire...

COMBATSYS: Donovan takes no action.

[                        \\\\\\  <
Donovan          1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Donovan prepares to take his last stand against Eliza!

[                        \\\\\\  <
Donovan          1/-------/=======|

Donovan's grab is met with but a single blood curdling scream, as he rips Eliza from his chest. Her hand clawing up to do as much damage as possible to the Dark Hunter. Her eyes are but daggers and Donovan is the target! Yet, he's able to toss the vampiress aside even with his injuries. Her body just twisting unnaturally through the air, and slamming to the ground with a sickening -thud-. Her lifeless form just dragging a trail through the mud as well.

There wasn't much the dark creature could do, as she had exhausted all of her own unnatural powers. The shadows however, were a different story. As Donovan tended to his own demons, the darkness began to contort and change in a most unusual manner. They began to blanket the unconscious woman, swaddling her like an infant in a parent's embrace. Slowly, they pulled Eliza back into the forest. For she was unlike the other creatures that lurked through the tenebrous shadows. She was a queen, and an empire protects their royalty. Even if it is one of the dead.


Donovan lets out a long sigh but stifles the edge of annoyance that he detected in his own voice. Best not to dwell on the missed opportunity. The demon has been driven away for now and there will always be more chances to send it back to the depths of Hell. For now, with this major obstacle cleared away, he is free to investigate the real reason for coming here.

The monk's softly glowing eyes turn up towards the shattered peak of Mt. Fuji, its jagged crags only partially visible through the canopy and lingering clouds. Whatever darkness had drawn him here, it would be found on that mountain. Though he can sense its foul presence pulsing in the distance, he feels there is yet time remaining to him before the dark premonition he had dream will come to pass.

Anita takes a step back as he rises to his feet, her eyes shifting to the gaping hole in his chest. Like the other wounds inflicted upon him, it has already begun to heal, though the process will take longer for such a deep and deadly injury. It will slow him down for a time but it won't stop him. However, there will likely be other creatures lurking deeper in the forest and in even greater numbers as he draws close to the darkness which has drawn them like a beacon.

"We will make camp here tonight," he announces, after a bit of deliberation. While his young ward is tougher than any normal child, she is ultimately, still a ten-year old girl and her stamina has its limits. He'd already pushed her pretty hard by making a forced march through the rain and they could both use a bit of rest after the events of the evening. If she's grateful for his consideration, Anita makes no effort to show it, other than to wander along behind him without a word of complaint as he finds a nice big tree amongst the crowd.

He spends some time gathering leaves and sticks to build a small mat for them to sit up, something more comfortable and less wet than the rain-drenched grass. A few branches and a small blanket from their supplies provide the structure for a basic tent and together they sit beneath the modest shelter to wait out the dawn.

"I will keep watch. Recover your strength for tomorrow brings another long march towards the mountain."

Having no need for sleep, Donovan props himself up against the wide surface of the tree's trunk and folds his legs into the lotus position, preparing for an evening of light meditation to reflect upon his encounter and ensure that his inner darkness has been properly contained. His eyes have only just closed when something small and wet crawls into his lap. Glancing down, he finds Anita there, her tiny body nestled in the nook of his muscular legs, her eyes already drifting closed as exhaustion overwhelms her.

"Rest well, young one," he murmurs softly, "and dream of a better future."

Log created on 23:38:13 08/04/2018 by Donovan, and last modified on 15:45:04 08/05/2018.