The Black Dragon - Black Dragon R2 - Black Wind Howls

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Description: After the Raven Guard's disastrous attempt to capture Lotus was thwarted by the Darkstalker, their commander, Szabolc, makes his last stand to force a duel at Sound Beach. The outcome, however, takes a shocking swerve as it seems honey is more attractive than vinegar...

A black wind blows from the sea upon Sound Beach.

The Boardwalk and Dream Amusement have been a place of blood. A monster was hunted. The hunters had become its prey. And now, the Raven Guard was irreversably humilated. After the disaster at the Gilded Tomato, Szabolc found nearly a fifth of his forces in Southtown disabled. Casualties, in a sense. He had reported the loss to the Patriarch. He successfully got a reaction out of Bela for it; and the declaration had not changed. Now, Szabolc's own reputation was on the line.

After the second day, Szabolc went out upon the sands.

The silver-haired, middle-aged man stands there, waiting. He body is narrow and fit, his shoulders broad, and stands at a clean two meters tall. He is garbed in the commanders garb of the Raven Guard, a teal-blue armored coat covering his whole body, all the way to his heeled boots of gold and steel straps. His arms are peppered in scaled plate, the feathered motif typical of Raven Guardsmen. His legs are similarly armored, though only the faintest hints of this can been seen with the longcoat in place. A singular black tie hangs from his neck, with the white collared shirt giving a formal air to his armor. A massive cloak, studded with gold buttons, carries around him, the exterior silver white, while the interior is rich crimson.

His face is lean and narrow, with a long chin, high cheekbones, and cold blue-steel eyes. A silver mustache garbs over his red lips, which never so much as hint a smile. He is armed with a plain broadsword. A clear cast work, it seems forged in a single piece of steel. The pommel, the handle, the blade, and the hilt all are part the same piece of metal. Bandages are wrapped around the handle, giving a grip for the man's gloved hands. Despite it's simple appearance, it seems to boil with an inner life; blue-purple energy run through it, and even the blade itself seems to struggle to keep its shape, twisting as it rests in the comparatively simple strap of a scabbard. He refuses water. He refuses sleep. He has stood outside, practically in a trance. The guardsmen refuse to say it's madness. But Szabolc's iron-blue resolve latches on, as he waits into the third day, as the midnight hour comes close at hand. The monster was a hunter.

She would come for her prey.

Gotta give the man credit, he is persistant, committed, and dedicated to his objective.....

This dedication pays off.

From the sea before him, a shape slowly rises from the water. Red hair coupled with tattered and bloodsoaked clothing adorn the figure, and intense yellowish catlike eyes staaaaaaare eerily, reflecting the light like an animal in the darkness. The figure eventually closes enough to clarify into the form of Lotus, grinning like the lunatic she is. Her hand, shorn at the wrist by him prior, has regrown and she at some point reclaimed her lost weapon, both now held loosly with keen edges.

She stands there a moment, staring at him with her manic amusement, attempting to lock gazes. She speaks no words, unusual for one such as her, but then none are needed. They both know why he's been standing there so long, and they both know why she's walked into what very well could be a trap.

For a moment, the only thing heard is the rythmic sound of the waves upon the beach.......

Szabolc's locking gaze comes very slowly.

It may be him coming out of his trance. Or it may be him carefully transitioning himself into the combat frenzy of the House of Podiebrad. But as the tide ebbs and flows, he finally casts his gaze upon the monster bathed in the moonlight. His expression builds to a mixture of both disgust and contempt, though it fades quickly to focus hard on the battle that would soon unfold. He gives a nod.

He unsheaths his blade.

Leveling out the cold iron out towards Lotus, he doesn't make any words. No taunting, no more declarations. He made his oath. He made his promise. And with his long blade out, without his soldiers around, he makes it clear, that he had brought a duel between himself and the monster. It would end here. His honor demanded it.

The same honor that demanded even Lotus prepare herself for battle.

The nod is returned, in a rare moment of.... what? Lucidity? Sanity? Maybe even respect? This group has hunted her down and given her trouble for over a week now, enough trouble for even her addled mind to have developed some sort of respect for them?

This answer remains a myster. What is NOT a mystery is Lotus' preparedness. Muscles tense beneath regenerated flesh. All her prior injuries have healed courtesy of her monsterous regeneration capabilites. She slooooooowly draws the edge of one knife along the other, filling the silence with the familiar sound of metal sharpening metal.

A single leaf drifts along on the wind, blown from a tree on the shoreline nearby. It flutters in between the pair by simple coincidence. Flying back and forth on the currents of air until finally landing silently on the sand.....

In that moment, Lotus blurs forwards, an unspoken signal for the battle at hand!

COMBATSYS: Lotus has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Lotus            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Szabolc has joined the fight here.

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Lotus            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Szabolc

And in turn, Szabolc is a blur as well.

THe commander of the Raven Guard lacked the speed of Zsa Zsa, and the acrobatics of his guardsmen. But as he descends upon Lotus, an indigo light boils forth from within. His steel-blue eyes were locked in, his legs pumping as he rushes across the sands. His sword behind him, following rather than leading as he makes his charge. His mind is a trap. And like that, in a cloud of sand, he stops dead, turning to slash.

And the sword changes.

Slashing out towards Lotus, he comes short of reaching her. Giving a wide, horizontal swipe with both hands, it suddenly extends. Stretching out at Lotus, it twists into a kind of half-formed poleaxe of sorts, the blade shifting to give the heavy 'oomph' of the two-handed weapon. All with the iron of the sword; but as it shifts and twists with that inner light, Szabolc fixes his footwork down. He was already drawing it back.

And the blade was already changing.

COMBATSYS: Lotus parries Szabolc's Power Strike!

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Lotus            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Szabolc

The moment of transition, as the weapon changes form, is a split second of time that Lotus can, and does, capitilize upon! She crosses her daggers, and catches the tip of the weapon above the bladed edge! She pushes it down into the sand, and flips forwards overtop, rapidly closing the distance!

As she rockets towards Szabolc, she rights in the air with momentum of her flip, and uses that to plunge both daggers downwards towards his abdoman, intending to impale him with both of them before TWISTING the weapons to cause deep, bleeding wounds!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc blocks Lotus' Exsanguinate EX.

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Lotus            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Szabolc

As Lotus parries, Szabolc corrects.

Already, the sword turns into a shield, ready to meet Lotus's twin daggers with iron blocking. Twisting with the monster, he deflects the pair, the duo of blades slipping around to his pauldrons, drawing piercing wounds. He brings his other arm around, as he keeps his shield arm up. It seems that while it was flexible, the weapon could only do offense, or defense.

And that's why Szabolc kept a reserve.

Bringing his other arm around, he suddenly flings out a silver cross. The weapon is bladed, and he chucks, letting it spin and whirl to drive back Lotus. Should it hit or miss, however, it would travel out a bit... before boomeranging back, slashing past Szabolc and landing out upon the sands. It wasn't a strong weapon. But it was a Podiebrad core tool for vampire hunting.

It might work for whatever Lotus was.

COMBATSYS: Lotus blocks Szabolc's Cross Your Heart.

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Lotus            0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0          Szabolc

After the attack is stopped by the shield, Lotus uses Szbolc as a springboard, backflipping off him and into the air! As she spins, she sees the incoming weapon, and is unable to dodge due to being in mid-air. She deflects it with her arm, knocking it off course and leaving a gash in her arm that stops bleeding as quickly as it starts.

Reaching back, she decides to play that game, too! She pulls out a small, very narrow-tipped stiletto, hollow through its core, and throws it at him, aiming for one of the joints in his armor where it might better bypass his defenses!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc dodges Lotus' Pinprick.

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Lotus            0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0          Szabolc

But for Szabolc, there was no game.

Just a careful, calculating offense designed to dismantle the most elusive defenses. She makes her block against the spinning cross? Let it wound her, let it begin to heal. As she slips out her throwing knife? The commander weaves, letting his shield transform as he narrowly moves his knee out of the way of the knife. Cold steel eyes were dead focused on Lotus. She was much stronger than the last time they met.

But he was the strongest of his men.

The command slashes out his sword again at the monster. This time, it takes a long, narrow shape like a whip; at the tip is a blade, ready to slash at the same arm as she defended. He was building up his momentum, building his power. Should he manage to land the whip, however? It wouldn't just cut: it would wrap around Lotus's arm, and with a pivot, the commander would jerk Lotus right to his feet, trapping her into the sand before him!

COMBATSYS: Lotus dodges Szabolc's Wicked Child.

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Lotus            0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0          Szabolc

Once more, it is only the weapons transformation time that gives Lotus a fighting chance. She sees it coming for just a split second, but it's enough for her inhuman reflexes to step sideways and duck under the whip, moving in fast to engage at close range again. His offense at range is better than hers, and she knows it, so better to play to her strengths!

Within a split second she has closed the gap once more, sending a three-shot combo of knife slashes at him, aiming for chinks in his armor as well as his unarmored face and head when able!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc counters Armed Combo from Lotus with Moonlight Nocturne.

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Lotus            0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0          Szabolc

It should have been an opening.

In the split second, before the whip could return back, Lotus is upon Szabolc. The commander's cold glare locks at her, as she prepares the slashes. The whip coils back, morphing back towards him. But now, Szabolc was caught without his weapon to defend him.

All the more trouble for Lotus.

The first two slashes are met with instinctive deflections with his armored bracers, brought by decades of martial experience. There are no bracers for the face stab, however. When it comes, the commander snatches Lotus by the wrist, and lets her aggression be her momentum: he pivots, performing a deft hip throw to slam Lotus back-first into the sand. By that time, the sword had returned, a needle-like epee in his hands as he wastes no time to follow up the counter attack:

By stabbing and withdrawing his blade straight into her back.

Lotus makes an audible "OOF!" as she impacts the sand, followed by a twitch of her body, soundlessly, as she is impaled with his blade! Blood pools in the sand, mixing with the water. Luckily, it misses her spine, but only barely.

As he pulls back the weapon, her hands lash out and get enough grip to pull herself up despite her injury!

Being this close, she leaps sideways, grabbing at the other arm and making an attempted stab at the inside of the elbow joint in the armor before ducking underneath to try to move around him for a followup.

COMBATSYS: Szabolc endures Lotus' Power Strike.

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Lotus            0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0          Szabolc

It was her fortune, for the moment.

As Szabolc withdraws his blade, he was already raising it up over his head. It exposed him; but that was part of the calculation. As she grabs his wrist, the commander almost lets her. Taking the stab into his elbow joint, he groans in pain, as his sword reaches its apex. It widens, flattening and broadened into a flamberge shape; the wavy blade requiring two hands. Wit ha swift shove back, the blood oozing from his armor, he tries to knock Lotus staggering with a kick of his leg, before he leaps up. Indigo energy floods through the almost impossibly stretched blade, as he descends to unleash a cleaving two-handed slash down at Lotus. It was a horse killing blow.

And it would dare to sever another limb of Lotus!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc successfully hits Lotus with Vampire Killer.

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Lotus            1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0          Szabolc

The kick strikes true, Lotus too busy repositioning to move in time. She recovers rather quickly, just in time to look up and see him incoming! Her eyes widen in suprise as she sees just how big the blade is, and a vain attempt at evasion is made, the wet sand slowing her just enough....

She saves her neck, but not her left arm, which is removed just above the elbow! A wheezing laugh is heard from her as the pain hits her and blood spurts from the stump! However, her frenzy only increases as she catches the severed arm in her teeth, swinging around and leaping again at Szabolc, attempting to strike him with the blade still clutched in the severed hand!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc blocks Lotus' Random Weapon.

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Lotus            1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1          Szabolc


The monster's endurance was on full display now; as Szabolc lands the legendary Vampire Killer strike upon Lotus, she not only manages to survive it, but turn the very severed limb against him. That even surprises the stoic swordsman, who is forced to block against the blade with his bracers, barely deflecting it. Steadying himself, his morphic blade reforms back into it's simple shape. Szabolc is forced backwards, stunned by the frenzy.

But not frightened by it.

Standing fast in the sand, he touches the cut at his collar. Any closer, and he might has had his throat slit. Gazing at the monster, he draws in a deep breath, and holds his blade before him. Indigo energy flows through the broadsword, and back into Szabolc. He draws back the sword, body growing taut, as he builds in power. Almost daring Lotus to make the next move.

As the violet-blue energy cascades around him.

COMBATSYS: Szabolc gathers his will.

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Lotus            1/----===/=======|=======\====---\1          Szabolc

Lotus leaps to the side after the attack, spitting out her severed limb with an intentionally loud "PTOOY!".

Turning to stare at him, she griiiiins, breath hot, blood pouring from her missing arm, eyes feral and rabid. Greenish mist drifts from the corners of her mouth moments before she belches a large cloud of acidic green poison, right towards her armored target!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc blocks Lotus' Toxic Miasma.

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Lotus            1/---====/=======|=======\======-\1          Szabolc

And the sword transforms again.

Turning into a pole of iron, Szabolc waits for the spittle to come out. Twirling it, he begins to blow back the surging mist as it comes. It's not perfect; but Indigo energy flashes and flows around the commander as he coughs savagely; blood coming from his lips as at last, the last of the mist is blown back by the pole. Leveling it out like a staff, he rolls his neck. He was moving slower now, the suppressive effect having done it's work. But as he moves in at Lotus, he swings his quarter staff in a probing, testing style; he was keeping his distance from the creature as well, using the staff to drive her and him away from each other.

In order to set up the next combination.

COMBATSYS: Lotus blocks Szabolc's Evasive Strike.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Lotus            1/--=====/=======|=======\======-\1          Szabolc

Even without a limb, Lotus is a vicious creature. She ducks, dodges, weaves, and blocks the staff strikes as he makes them, doing her best to minimize the damage, though her still good arm is covered in bruises. The bloodflow from the severed arm has already started to seal, the leaking red fluid having gone from gushing to a small trickle.

She makes a feint to the side, slashing up near his face inside the guard in an attempt to make him flinch, before dropping low and sending a stab near the plates of his leg armor. She aims specificly for near the artery in the upper leg!

COMBATSYS: Lotus successfully hits Szabolc with Random Strike.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Lotus            1/-======/=======|=======\=======\1          Szabolc

All it takes is a nick.

As Szabolc keeps his distance, Lotus's sudden burst of speed finally catches a gap in his defenses. But a gap is all she needs to catch. As she makes her feint, Szabolc takes it, and leaves a gap in his leg armor. She nicks the leg; and Szabolc doesn't even feel the depth of the cut. A splash of blood comes out dark and heavy from his leg, as he howls in anger. Gripping his staff, it begins to disjoint as he grips it in one hand. Rattling like on chains, he flails the spike flail it had become, attempting to not only wrap it around Lotus's neck, but dig it deep into her rib cage!

COMBATSYS: Lotus dodges Szabolc's Medium Strike.

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Lotus            1/-======/=======|=======\=======\1          Szabolc

A giggle comes from Lotus' throat as she leaps back from the stab, noting the gush of red from his armor "Oh, look! You sprung a leak! HEEEEEEEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!". Her glee is short lived as his chained attack comes at her. With a leap, she jumps through the weapon before it can wrap around her...... right towards Szabolc, a manic grin of insanity on her face! She aims to bring the knife down near where the side of his neck meets the armor!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc blocks Lotus' Catch the Prey.

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Lotus            1/=======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Szabolc

But this time, Szabolc is ready.

Drawing back the flail, Lotus is at his side, ready to shank his neck. The commander scowls, as the blood dribbles out more and more. Gripping his fist, he is forced to catch the blade with his free hand, another cut building on a battle of cuts. The monster was very much risking to take him down with a thousand cuts. And yet, an indigo light floods over him. Drawing in a heavy breath, the sword return back, this time as a thick dirk.


Finally, a reaction. But as he brings the dirk around, he attempts to thrust it into the woman's temple. And then, with a shake of the wrist, it becomes a claw, as he attempts three rakes, trying to slice up Lotus in close quarters. The assault comes to a halt as he twirls, the weapon now coming into a two-handed mace, as he attempts to blow Lotus back with a hefty iron-clad body smash!

As the indigo energy continues to cascade around him.

COMBATSYS: Szabolc successfully hits Lotus with Bloody Tears.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Lotus            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\0          Szabolc

Lotus laughs as he calls her an abomination "Sticks and stones, love!". When the point of the lance comes at her, she moves her head sideways to evade it.....

Completely missing it change at the last minute!

The now-claw weapon slashes her face, shoulder, and chest, leaving deep, bleeding gouges. This stuns her long enough for the mace to connect, sending her small form flying a distance away onto the sand. Blood is everywhere at this point, turning the sand an orange-reddish color. She is still.....

Then there is a stir of life! With a hacking laugh, made through clenched teeth of agony, she pushes herself back up. Wobbly on her feet for a moment, one eye clashed and unseeing for the moment, she stares at him with a half-cheshire grin, the slash to the face slitting her jaw up to the corner of the bone "HoW DeLiGhTfUl!". Her voice is croaky, but her intent is not....

"WhAt A rUsH!".

COMBATSYS: Lotus takes no action.

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Lotus            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\-------\0          Szabolc

It was like disciplining Zsa Zsa.

All of Lotus's best was a reflection of what Szabolc saw in Zsa Zsa's worst. The commander hated the gypsy bastard, and that hatred could easily be channeled into the monster here. Drawing back the mace, he glares across at the downed, gibbering monster, nose turning up in disgust. He begins to pick up speed. He shouldn't be attacking a downed opponent like this. He should be letting her rise. But no.

Not after what she did to his men.

Swinging the mace, it stretches into a long, narrow spear. Building up speed, he digs it down into the sand, and uses it to vault forward. Launching himself forward, he unleashes a staggering drop kick, aiming it straight in the center of the babbling baboon. He was building towards his finale here.

And he would make sure to kill this abomination here on the sands.

COMBATSYS: Lotus dodges Szabolc's Nothing To Lose.

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Lotus            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0          Szabolc

This abomination may be..... well, an abomination and entirely off her rocker, but her insanity and bloodlust isn't enough to blind her ALL the time!

She sees the kick coming from such a distance, and leaps up and over it, using his own leg to launcher herself even closer to him!

Her eyes, even the mess up one, flashes with yellow light, and for a split second, she seems to move with even more incredible speed than usual! Almost faster than even he might be able to follow! Even with only one arm, she slashes and stabs at Szabolc in multiple places seemingly all in one instant!

Then, the moment has passed, just as they pass.....

COMBATSYS: Szabolc fails to counter #Drawn and Quartered# from Lotus with Iron-Blue Intentions.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Lotus            0/-------/-------|=====--\-------\0          Szabolc

A loud *CLASH* can be heard as they cross, attacks meeting for a split second, and Lotus continues to fly forwards with momentum to land on the sand in a shoulder roll, coming up to her feet and taking a minute to right her balance.... Her entire sense of balance is off a bit with the lack of her arm....

A trick like Zsa Zsa's.

Unfortunately for Szabolc, he had never figured out how to defend against the bastard's flash step either. As the flash comes, Szabolc almost seemed sluggish, moving through mollases as the rapid fire slicing rips through him, tearing all around him. The cuts were many now. He was bleeding heavy now. He gives a pained groan, as he sinks to his knees. His light was beginning to fade. The sands were wet with their blood. He couldn't fall here. There must be death tonight.

His, or hers.

Walking over to the hunched-over and bloody warrior, Lotus' battle lust wanes a bit. Even SHE gets tired eventually, and shes taken a LOT of injuries.

Even still, she knows he isn't down and out yet. She knows that demeanor. "At this point, your either going to fall over and pass out, or suddenly turn around with a big attack that blows up the world for two Ach-Pee of damage. Wonder which it is.....". As she approaches, she tries to plant a foot on his back, and kick him forwards!

COMBATSYS: Szabolc counters Medium Strike from Lotus with Iron-Blue Intentions.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Lotus            0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0          Szabolc


Not like this.

Szabolc grips his blade, as it narrows into a rapier. When Lotus makes her final executing kick? Szabolc moves like lightning. Turning around, he suddenly parries the kick, sending the foot right down into the blood-soaked sand. The bleeding Szabolc glares with a facade of wrath, as he draws back the blade. And there, he makes his riposte, giving two sharp piercing stabs, right into the monster's chest.


It doesn't take Lotus by suprise, but in her current state she's too injured to respond fast enough.

Two stabs impale her chest, the second sticking in as she grabs his hand and puuuuuuulls herself close, the blade going deeper so they're face to sliced grinning face, her venomous breath stinking up his air "HaS iT bEeN aS gOoD fOr yOu?". She pulls herself back, the weapon sliding out of the wound, blood spurting as she brings up her knee right towards his chin! She almost blacks out, the edges of vision dimming.....

COMBATSYS: Lotus successfully hits Szabolc with Crushing Strike.
- Power hit! -

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Lotus            0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0          Szabolc

Szabolc himself had very little left.

As he unleashes the two stabs, he thinks she is dead. But no. No, she was grapping his hand now. As she pulls up to his face, instinct comes out, as he tries to shove her off. And instead, he takes a knee ot the head, shattering his jaw. Blood comes out of his mouth from splintered teeth. And he falls back on the sand, on one knee, sword in the sand. It was over. He was finish-


Szabolc's roar comes out, as he lets out his final attack. "You will not LIVE! You will not ENJOY THIS! I WILL AVENGE MY SOLDIERS, PATRIARCH BE DAMNED!" And the commander flings himself at Lotus, his sword now barely concrete, just a swaying sheet of iron. He swipes once, twice, and then, as his final attempt, gripping the handle with both hands, he unleashes a coup de grace, to drive the blade straight into the chest of Lotus.

Before collapsing into unconsciousness upon the sands.

COMBATSYS: Szabolc can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Lotus dodges Szabolc's Black Night.

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

Both are in bad shape.... Lotus' regeneration is literally the only thing keeping her on her feet. It's an advantage her opponent doesn't have, and it's all thats saving her.

He's slowed down drasticly though. She swerves to the right to dodge the first, to the left to dodge the second, and is able to read his final attempt when he pauses. As the final thurst comes, she steps in and around, letting him fall past her.

Once he's down and out, she bends down and pulls him onto his side. "YoU aLmOsT gOt Me..... i WoN't FoRgEt YoUuUuUu......". SHe leans in, intent on making a deep dry-bite on the side of his neck, away from any important arteries or veins. The intent isn't to kill, just to give him something to remember her by, after all!

Close, but not close enough.

There was no resistance left from Szabolc. He had given his last, his everything. And in the end, it wasn't enough to topple the fierce monster. He not only failed his men, but his Patriarch, and himself. And now, Lotus bends over him, ready to give the final kiss.




For the heightened senses of hearing, smell, and sight, the first thing to notice of an intruder shouldn't be them slow clapping. And yet, in the bloodsoaked sands of Sound Beach, one such slow clapper was there, almost 50 meters away. Slowly making his way through the sand in heels.

Applauding the finale, as it is presented before him.

He is a man with white hair, his face is cut sharp, long and stony with a distant, aloof facade. He wears a headdress of black feathers around his hair, and has hazel eyes that almost seem to change color in the light. His hair is stylized in bangs in the front, with a long ponytail behind him over his cloak. He is deathly pale, and is on the shorter and skinnier side. With his little legs, a pair of stiletto heeled gold-plated purple boots dangle over the edge. He is garbed in ornate robes of purple and rose. His raised collar meets with purple and red striped pauldrons sit upon his shoulders, setting a mantle for his flowing purple cloak. A ornamental plate of gold-pressed leaf is set over his robes, setting against his legs, arms, and abdomen. Each section is embossed with the feathered scale pattern, common in the lower ranked soldiers of the Raven Guard. Silver and gold earrings, bracelets, bangles, and a ring for each finger adorn him, with not a single gemstone amongst his jewelry. A gold and silver circlet sits upon his forehead, above his eyes. His hands are exposed, and his long fingernails are painted beetle shell gold and silver, shining with every movement. His hands are empty, outside of the countless gold and silver rings. His gold painted lips are pursed in a sort of mocking smirk, as he looks distantly at the pair.

But especially the commander.

"Oh Szabolc. Even at your greatest, you are eternally doomed to the most pathetic failures." He gestures at Lotus, hastily waving at her. "Oh! Oh! Please don't let me interrupt. You have such a unique passion in your art; I want to see you at work. I want to... Enjoy this, as you would enjoy this." The stranger tilts his head in inviting anticipation, as he is over the pair.

Which is strange, because he was just 50 meters away.

Lotus stops, eyeing the newcomer..... her first thought is (WOW that's gaudy.....). She also smiles as he speaks, evoking a response that she may or may not remember from an internet meme "Aah, i see you are a person of substance as well!". She looks back down, and leans down to make her mark in Szabolcs neck with her teeth, while still leaving him alive.

In the shape she's in, she knows he might likely take her down, particularly if he moved THAT fast. However....


As she comes down for her bite, the stranger watches, with rapt attention.

"No, no, only style, no substance." He corrects, musing as he studies. As she makes her mark, while leaving him alive, the man(?) observes, then considers, and then mulls. Until finally, he reacts. "So you choose to let them live?" He mewls, covering his mouth.

"How bizarre!"

He circles around Szabolc and Lotus, moving elegantly with great flourished steps of his legs. "And yet, how tantalizing; father was always eager to leave his mark on his prey; there is an incredible thrill in the sadistic amusement in forcing your victims to endure and relive their moment of failure and weakness, again and again and again." He twists his wrist, and snaps. "Still, you've made a mess of yourself, and poor little Sza Sza. I have to say, there is passion in your work, an animal, feral madness. But yet, that spark of cruel humanity, of darkness that separates man from beast." The stranger claps his hands together, his jewelry rattling as he is behind Lotus. He gives a look over, two fingers out to lift a single hair up from Lotus's head. "Oh, by the way, could you humor me for a moment..."

"... Did you notice your arm is off?"

Lotus leans back up, her 'mark' made, blood dribbling from her lips..... Her own as well as that of Szabolc. "I don't like breaking my toys so much i can't play with them again! PARTICULARLY the fun ones!". Her head tilts to the side as she grins.

Even now, her healing factor is in full swing, some of the damage visibly repaired already though with a long way to go. She stops and looks at the stump of her arm. Then she shrugs and looks back at him(?) "Eh! It'll grow back!". Looking over where her severed arm was, there is now only a puddle of red mess, her removed limbs seeming to lose coherance once no longer attached. She scoops up the dagger that had been dropped, retuning it to it's holding spot on her belt with the other. Unusual for Lotus, her tone becomes almost whistful, with a hint of affection "Sza Sza.... was that by chance the lovely from the hall of mirrors? SHE was definately fun!".

"Mo Ho Ho Ho!"

He gives a haughty laugh at Lotus's comment. "Oh no no, That was precious Zsa Zsa... this little toy is called Szabolc." The stranger sweeps his hands around in an arcane manner, as an indigo light flows from his body into the bloodied commander. Slowly, the limp figure begins to rise up, bathed in an indigo light. The man asides to Lotus. "He absolutely hates to be called Sza Sza, you see. Old men like himself positively detest pet names, it makes them feel young again." He almost seemed amused at the torment of the commander of the Raven Guard. "And to be compared to her... Amongst his many other shortcomings, poor Szabolc cannot stand the sweet and submissive Zsa Zsa..." This stranger must have a different experience with Zsa Zsa than Lotus did. And then, it seems as if a light comes over the stranger. He steeples his fingers together, a brightness overflowing his face. "Why, that gives me an idea..."

"How would you like to play with Zsa Zsa again?"

"HA!" comes Lotus' response. "Oh, that is a tempting offer. We had quite a pleasant understanding of one another, after all.... buuuuuuut...." and it's a BIG butt! "..... that doesn't change nor answer exactly why your little cabal of avian-aligned attackers have been after me for over a week now. The Vorlon and Shadow questions apply here: Who are you? What do you want? Most get the message after the first time i stab them in the face".

"Who am I?"

The stranger draws his hand across the bloodied form of Szabolc, inspecting each cut and injury as one would a piece of fine art. "I am Bela von Podiebrad, Patriarch of the House of Podiebrad, High Commander of the Raven Guard, and Representative of the Twelve Originators. I am the leader of those who have pursued you." Bela turns back away from Szabolc, focusing straight on Lotus, tracing his chin with his finger. "As for what I want?" Bela smirks at that question, taking a step. He's very close to Lotus now, as he leans in, his eyes meeting with the catlike pair of Lotus's

"I think it's obvious I want you, Lotus.

He leans back, gesturing to the boardwalk. There are lights; as Lotus would know, the Raven Guard had set up a camp there to deal with her. "Come. You need to rest and recover, and I consider it unforgivable that you spend it a moment more on the run like an animal. You need... is it two days? Three? We will make it three. I will let my caretakers tend to you. Zsa Zsa can... frolic with you as a playdate, once you feel ready. And when you are all recovered, we can celebrate with a little tea party, before we send you on your way." Bela glances at Lotus, his force of personality bearing heavily on her. It was almost easy to forget this was the man who had put up so much blood after Lotus. He just was so friendly. "We are holding a little celebration, after all."

"It'll be my Unbirthday~"

Lotus tilts her head, eyeing the bright moon in the sky, clearly in thought..... A chuckle escapes her lips "Let me be the first to wish you a merry merry unbirthday then! I'll admit it's an interesting offer...... and one i'm not entirely uninclined to accept. After all, it's been a merry chase! If you'll do me the honor of indulging me one last question......" She peers at him, eyes locking his as best she is able "Why? What is it you want me FOR? Sex-appeal aside, that is. Be honest! I won't be offended if im not your type and it's something else!" she snickers at her own small joke "Just enough to know what i'd be getting into, as it were. I'm not so droll as to ask someone, especially the head honcho, to reveal all their plans, after all". Her grin returns "That would spoil the fun!"

Bela spins Szabolc around a bit, that smirk just hiding in the corner of his lips now.

"Such a devious wit you have. No wonder my men had so much trouble with you. As for appeal... well." Bela sways his hips as he strides around in a half circle, his heels just falling short of sinking in the sand now.

"I don't mind a little shrew I can tame."

Bela was laying it on thick. If he laid it on any thicker, Zsa Zsa would very likely cease to be Lotus's slaymate. "I'm afraid if anything, I'm not your type. No, I want you because I need to ask you some things about you and Lord Dohma; and as Szabolc failed to understand, it is better to ladle honey to the hungry, than to season with vinegar." He kisses his fingertips, savoring the taste for a moment. "Some things you know, and more importantly, some things you don't know. And then, when I am satisfied, you can make on your merry way." He plants his hands on his hips, looking directly at Lotus now, as Szabolc hangs in the air beside him. "Now I won't take no for an answer, you see, so I hope that is acceptable for you." He shakes his head.

"Even I have only so much honey~"

Lotus blinks in a bit of suprise, then slowly smiles, then starts to laugh.

It's not an evil laugh, it's actually an honest laugh. Can't make comedy gold like this just anywhere!

She puts up her hand after a moment as her laughter subsides "You know what, after all that effort your folks gave and the fun i had, SURE! All i ask is a few days to heal up, and one other thing.....". her good eye gets that intense look from earlier "I want a one-on-one match with you! Don't care who wins! Just for the giggles! Then i'll willingly answer any questions you have about Senior Dumb-a.

Bela didn't reveal his sinister motives just yet.

No, all the blood was spent for something so silly as this. Lotus should laugh. "Well tra la la" Bela sing songs, beckoning for Lotus to take the crook of his arm. "Then it shall so be, as the fine wishes of a fair lady. Shall I escort you then?" Bela invites the crook of his arm. He did expect several days for Lotus to be treated as a princess. A charmed guest. And he would get what answers he could.

All before the surprise reveal

"Very well, Sir".

Lotus steps over to him, figuring 'what the hell'. If they betray her, she's already taken her pound of flesh. If they don't, it could be an amusing venture for the future.

She links her arm around his, and off they go!

Log created on 09:05:53 04/30/2020 by Duke, and last modified on 14:44:45 05/02/2020.