Description: Wielding a surge of new power, Alexis seeks an opportunity to enter what she suspects is Outworld's latest machinations on Earthrealm, but must go through the towering shokan Sheeva to earn it.
A few days ago, Alexis Lovell was a well-adjusted person.
Well-adjusted, of course, being a relative term. Considering where she'd started from, though, she had adjusted well - she'd gone from being an orphan to being part of a family, from being a miserable degenerate celebrity washout to being a happily degenerate celebrity washout.
In time, she'd gone from death to life.
And in three days, things have changed.
She's incognito - a black pair of track pants and a hooded sweatshirt over a black tank top, a bandana with a skull wrapped around the lower half of her face to give some sense of anonymity, her bangs hiding another quarter of her visage, leaving only a single aquamarine eye's worth of evidence for identification.
There's little chance of being recognized by any of the unsavoury elements that have congregated in the rail yard, especially by the light of the burning barrels. Lexi lurks on the periphery as the sound of meat and bone crunching filters through the reactions of the crowd, the underground fight drawing a crowd of those in the know for the spectacle and experience of bloodsport.
A roar from the crowd announces the end of the match, and Alexis chooses that as her signal. She steps forward, five-and-a-half-foot frame shouldering through bigger, broader, and deadlier men and women than her.
She tosses a shining silver coin onto the blood-stained gravel patch.
"I want to fight."
At night, a nigh-labyrinthian railyard becomes a howling thicket of dark turns and heavy metal. Thrumming and crackling in its secret heart, a circle of men and women congregate beneath the notice of polite society for a taste of raw, rending reality and the kinds of lessons one only learns while slipping towards the edge of oblivion.
'I want to fight,' a woman in black broken up by a single blue gem announces.
In reply, she receives a chorus of unsheathed blades, rattling chains, snarls, grunts, howls--
-- and then nothing.
One of the long-dead trains which forms a loose ring around this part of the 'yard releases a resonant shiver as the woman seated in the black wood and purple velvet throne which rises from the roof stands, right arm outstretched with her palm turned towards the audience-- and for the next three seconds, not a single sound is heard save for the fading ring of shining silver settling against gravel.
Black and gray hair billows up behind her as she steps from wreathing shadows, revealing a full figure draped in an elegant purple and black, silk and lace gown; and a black lace veil which hides her face, but not the violet glow of her eyes. As those twin beads of light fix upon Alexis and shrink into radiant slits, even the decaying echo of metal on rock falls away.
It's hard to say how long this lasts-- a few moments? Seconds?
Hours of deafening silence and barely-hidden eyes peeling back inconspicuous layers for a glimpse of Alexis Lovell's brave, beating heart?
Her hand twists.
It clenches the moment her palm's towards the sky, scattering wisps of purple energy to the winds.
"... very well."
The ground shudders.
"There is /always/ room for another body, another life to feed the Pit."
The crowd parts amidst excited whispers.
"Another soul hungry to learn what lies beyond rock bottom."
Directly across from Alexis, three fighters are outright /shoved/ aside to make way for nearly seven and a half feet of thundering, red-eyed, draconic brutality clad in red and black armor.
"I wish you luck in the battle which lies before you," declares the woman atop the train, stepping back into the shadows to sink-- drape-- back into her throne.
"Whom/ever/ you are," rings with a distinctly playful lilt despite its gravity-- despite the savage smile and calculated sweep of Shokan eyes over the musician, "win if you /can/--"
Blood-specked gravel leaps with each step the gigantic woman takes until she plants herself just a few feet away from Alexis.
"-- and survive if Sheeva /lets/ you."
At which point Sheeva pulls her hands behind her back --
-- all four of them --
-- and pushes her chest forward, offering Alexis an opportunity to seize.
COMBATSYS: Sheeva has started a fight here.
Alexis' obscured features sharpen as she hears the voice cut through the silence, her eyes turning toward the sight of the elegant figure seated on her throne, somehow making the punk feel like she's the one out of place amongst the urban decay and savagery on display in the forgotten reaches of the train yard.
Quiet is not Alexis' natural state when confronted by figures of authority, but somehow, it's the one that she finds herself in. The only part of her making a sound is her heart, and even that is pounding only in her own ears - though it feels somehow more exposed than that.
Still, she refuses to show her hand - and she holds her poker face, even as the gargantuan Shokan is revealed, and her amygdala triggers her heart to beat harder.
But Darwinian fear is not an unfamiliar thing for Alexis, and if there is something below rock bottom, she's already sold her soul for a shovel.
As her right hand balls surreptitiously into a fist at her side, her response to the woman's challenge is a simple word:
Then, with a sudden violent speed that one could be forgiven for failing to expect of the young woman, Alexis is pivoting into Sheeva, a strange and sudden void of sound filling the air around both fighters as the Canadian's clenched fist powers in a hard straight at the Shokan warrior's presented chest. It would only be if and when the fist's course would be interrupted - by its intended target or otherwise - that a howl of sonic energy would erupt from the impact, sending violent vibrations and a wretched noise free to scatter gravel from around their feet as the gathered chi is released.
COMBATSYS: Alexis has joined the fight here.
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Alexis 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Sheeva
COMBATSYS: Alexis knocks away Sheeva with Strong Punch.
- Power hit! -
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Alexis 0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0 Sheeva
After a spell of uncanny silence, the howl of Alexis' impact is more of a ROAR. Alongside the thunder of an explosive punch, supernatural sonics carve a channel through gravel and fill the 'yard with rattling steel. Sheeva herself is sent skidding all the way back into the arms of the crowd she just broke through-- and in the breathless second before she's SHOVED back into the arena, the savage slash of her smile grows wider, baring sharp teeth.
"That..." rumbles from thick, blood-red lips as the Shokan warrior steadies herself and drags three fingers down the freshly flowering splotch on her chest.
"... was a FINE start."
Her palm goes flat. It /presses/ inwards, triggering a sharp intake of air.
"For an /ape/."
The last threads of her snarl linger in the air as the warrior herself takes to the air, soaring beyond the tallest train cars in a matter of moments. The shadow of her presence rapidly expands just a couple feet to Alexis' right; there is SOME warning, then, but as to whether it's /enough/--
Whether rolling through the landing to lunge into a chain of three rapid punches followed by a swipe from her remaining arm meant to sweep Alexis' legs is enough to burst right through whatever defenses the musician might mount--
"You soul vibrates in harmony with another's," the Revenant Queen observes from atop her throne.
Whether it's enough or not is up to Alexis, isn't it?
"The desperate rhythm of your heart screams urgency..."
"You whose fists would compose unruly anthems upon the bodies of your foes:"
"Tell me your story," resonates through arena.
"Tell me your story," whispers intimately in the punk princess' ear.
"Tell me your story," coils through the riotous cacophony of violence, clear as a bell.
COMBATSYS: Alexis blocks Sheeva's Sheeva Rush.
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Alexis 0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0 Sheeva
There's a brief exhalation from Lexi's lips as the four-armed fighter is sent sliding back into the throng on the periphery, the ground under her black boots smoothed by the blast of air. The single aquamarine eye that was visible flashes red in the darkness, a signal of some unnatural force possessed by Alexis - or by which she is possessed. Perhaps some present may even recognize the soul-magic at play, sourced from Outworld, but transmuted into something unfamiliar and corrupt.
Holding her nerve and quiet as Sheeva takes flight, Alexis brings her arms back up in a loose grappler's guard. Even with years of experience as a fighter, there's something unrefined and improvisational about her stance, and whatever windfall of puissance may have befallen her, that, at least, hasn't changed.
The speed with which she pivots again, though, is new. Her forearms shift swiftly to block each punch in turn, force that could probably break the bones challenging it somehow withstood. There's a faint glint of silver seemingly tattooed along Alexis' wrists as her sleeves slip revealingly with the speed of her reactions.
The sweep, though, manages to catch Lexi out by the legs, and moments later - *whump* - her butt hits the bared ground audibly.
Her hood fallen back, the words sounding in her head, Alexis shakes out her shoulder-length brown hair, momentarily revealing that her other eye is gleaming a heterochromic yellow.
Her tone is audacious.
"Not bad... for a bug."
She doesn't speak her story to the Revenant Queen. The focus of her defiance is still, after all, looming over her. But she crouches, then lunges from the ground with that same unnatural speed, aiming to crash into the Shokan's stomach and insinuate herself up and around behind her, attempting to slither and swing herself through Sheeva's arms until she can loop her own arm around the giant's neck. If she succeeds, she'd use her momentum to continue throwing herself in a circle around Sheeva before dropping back to try and drive the Shokan head-first into the dirt - and unleash a shockwave of sonic chi in the process that would sound like the shriek of an electric guitar being violently abused, somehow laced with pain and damnation.
She is, after all, a musician, and it's her way to try and play a story rather than speak it.
COMBATSYS: Sheeva blocks Alexis' Stage Dive EX.
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Alexis 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Sheeva
Ever so slowly, the Shokan's lips twist towards a smirk.
One of Sheeva's lower hands snaps towards the musician, swift as a gunshot--
-- only to linger just shy of contact, offering a hand up.
"And it's CLEVER too," the golden-skinned warrior purrs. Hunching low mostly serves to broaden the shadow she casts over Alexis; the delicate wave of fingers as thick as eggplants invites the defiant woman to take her help.
To admit she NEEDS help.
To demure from standing firm before a towering challenge--
Meanwhile, the smirk that's lingered all this time mostly just invites what happens next:
A blur of motion leaves Alexis swinging around the Shokan's massive body. Two hands slamming against the earth barely keep Sheeva's skull from hitting it too; this does nothing whatsoever for the ultrasonic shockwave which follows, snapping Sheeva upright and sending her staggering several steps backwards.
"There's something OFF about you," the Shokan exhales after several heavy breaths. Immediately afterwards, she shakes her head several brisk times, hoping to knock the sirens screaming between her ears loose.
"... your stance-- the way you carry yourself--..." she muses. Edging backwards, she keeps narrowing eyes fixed on Alexis, sweeping, weighing-- considering the strange gleam in her eye.
"Are we joyriding tonight...?"
COMBATSYS: Sheeva focuses on her next action.
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Alexis 0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0 Sheeva
It takes a lot to get Alexis to admit that she needs help - usually a near death experience, if not a full-on death experience. The hand up, of course, goes unaccepted, a hand down offered in its stead.
Alexis rolls away from the encounter, propping herself on her elbows for a moment and inhaling as the Shokan speaks to her. The runic tattoos on her forearms are exposed for another lingering moment in what light may fall on the dark arena.
"There's always been something 'off' about me," Alexis admits with a voice that doesn't sound quite hers - more distant and sabulous than usual - 'off' even to someone unfamiliar with the punk. She rolls backward onto her feet in an unpracticed, but careless manner, filling her lungs as she draws breath into her core.
Then, with preternatural violence, she expels it.
Even without the soundsmithing nature of Alexis' chi affinity, her ability to produce noise from her lungs is borderline legendary in the scene - even if whether or not that noise qualifies as 'music' is a debated topic. With that command of chi, though, the burst of sound coming from her becomes a barely-visible shockwave of force - here magnified beyond anything that has been seen from the singer save, perhaps, in glimpses by those who watched over her battles in the last Mortal Kombat tournament. Her visible red eye flashes as the sonic blast emanates toward Sheeva, sweeping and scattering aside debris on the floor as it travels.
COMBATSYS: Alexis successfully hits Sheeva with Power Chord.
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Alexis 0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0 Sheeva
Diving sideways, Sheeva's struck head-on by explosive sound and sent careening into the crowd, bowling several over until fighters begin locking bodies to stop her-- catch her--
Send her springing /back/ into the ring to tumble and roll and /snarl/ her way back to her feet. Even then, she remains crouched for a few seconds, lower hands braced against the ground while she gathers her breath.
"What's this costing you, girl?" rumbles across the arena floor, punctuated by the Shokan leaving the arena floor so quickly-- so /forcefully/ that her leap blows out a ring of gravel.
Notably: the boom that comes with it is nowhere near the violent scream Alexis conjured.
Yet again, there's a shadow looming over Alexis; this time, it steadily darkens /her/.
This time, the warrior woman means to use Alexis as a crash pad.
This time, she means to visit the collected force of an explosive leap into an equally explosive landing, complete with burning, blossoming bursts of chi surrounding her impact point.
COMBATSYS: Alexis endures Sheeva's Demolish.
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Alexis 1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1 Sheeva
Alexis's chest is heaving with each rapid breath as she recovers from the outburst of unnatural aural essence that she's just released, her eyes flitting upward as they follow the ascent of the Shokan into the air.
"Nothing I haven't already paid befo-"
The Canadian kombatant is caught beneath the falling giant, engulfed in the blossoming burst of energy unleashed with the impact. Her hoodie and tights are shredded in places by the explosion, revealing more of the silvery markings along with rivulets of red running from cuts in the aftermath of the destructive descent.
Alexis herself is driven flat into the ground on her front, her teeth clenching as she lets out a growl of pain and frustration - yet, as devastated as she is by the attack, she is not as devastated as she ought to be.
In point of fact, she actually uses the position to strike back from a difficult vantage to guard against - throwing herself up from the ground with a vicious, shrieking elbow shot toward the Shokan's abdomen from below. The initial strike is intended to open her opponent up to what follows - an attempt to hook her arm around Sheeva's neck, secure the Shokan's chin against her shooulder, swing her own legs up, and throw herself down to the ground, delivering a wrestling stunner infused with a potentially jaw-rattling sonic burst!
COMBATSYS: Alexis successfully hits Sheeva with Shoulder to Cry On EX.
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Alexis 1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1 Sheeva
After sinking her elbow into Sheeva's shoulder, Alexis smoothly swings around the giantess' body only to jerk Sheeva's chin downwards, clacking her jaw forcefully closed and inundating her with explosive supersonics. The Shokan's left doubled over, bottom two hands braced against her knees--
-- and then she snaps straight upright, beaming murderously down at the punk warrior.
"Hope you're not runnin' outta steam, princess--"
When Sheeva reaches to offer help this time, there's nothing the least bit mocking about it: the way she seeks to seize Alexis' shoulders and haul the other woman to her feet is ENTIRELY sincere; ditto the gutpunches she means to follow them with. In fact, she means it SO much that if she can get and keep a hold of Alexis, Sheeva will ultimately hurl the musician back to the ground, giving her a chance to show off her self-sufficiency after all.
COMBATSYS: Sheeva successfully hits Alexis with Four-Way.
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Alexis 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\===----\1 Sheeva
As Sheeva reaches down for Alexis, the punk rocker tries to push the grasping limbs away - but even with the augmentation of whatever she's dosed with at the moment, the brunette battler can't contest the Shokan in a matter of sheer force. She's hoisted up to her feet, blows landing harshly against her gut. There's a faint animal whine from behind the Canadian's clenched teeth with the first punch, followed by a moist, muffled gagging sound - before she spits, spraying fresh blood and saliva with the intent of adding insult to her own injury.
It doesn't do her any favours, of course, as she's thrown down into the dirt with a crunching sound. Her back arches in pain as she rolls over to her side and gasps for air.
"Not... outta steam, yet..." she rasps out as she staggers back to her feet. Her jewel-hued eyes flit between the pairs of limbs looming threateningly over her - then return back to Sheeva herself as she rushes forward.
Focusing her attentions on the Shokan's lower left arm, she aims to wrap both of hers around it in order to bypass Sheeva's guard with a sonic knee strike to the gut intended to try and double her over. If she succeeds, she'd then swing her leg up and over the Shokan's arm while keeping it trapped and hyperextended with her hands - before slamming her weight down with her hips in an effort to force it to the ground with a devastating impact that would reverberate like a dissonant, wavering chord through the arm and out to the body. She'd then endeavour to keep her held such while pulling the limb back in an attempt to apply painful pressure, if not outright break it.
COMBATSYS: Alexis successfully hits Sheeva with Whammy Bar.
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Alexis 0/-------/---<<<<|=======\-------\0 Sheeva
In a deafening flash, Sheeva's driven into the dirt with one arm captured and the rest scrambling for some semblance of purchase as she thrashes in Alexis' grip. Amber fire boils from her eyes and wreathes her body with heat; it isn't enough to push back the overwhelming sonic forces battering her body into the ground, though. Just like raw strength isn't enough, for all she strains and struggles--
"Enough," rolls through the arena. It doesn't stop Sheeva from fighting - not until she's released, it won't - but it does jerk her eyes upwards for a bemused squint towards the Queen who's begun to hover from her perch.
"You who sought so dearly to Descend that you claimed power beyond your own," reverberates amidst the sharp, crystalline keening filling the air. Rippling bands of violet eldritch energy unfurl from the Revenant Queen, snaking through the crowd to converge upon - swirl /around/ - Alexis.
"The Hidden Scream who desired my notice, and now has it in full:" emanates, doubling and redoubling upon itself into a pitchshifted chorus of one.
"Tell me your story."
COMBATSYS: Sheeva takes no action.
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Alexis 0/-------/---<<<<|=======\===----\1 Sheeva
There's something savage and almost desperate about the brutality with which Alexis attempts to disable her opponent's ability to fight back against her. As the voice of the Revenant Queen cuts through the vicious noise emanating from the clashing kombatants, though, she hesitates - then, she relinquishes her grip on Sheeva's arm, pushing herself up to a standing position as the red and yellow gleams fade from her eyes to leave them a cold aquamarine.
She pulls her hoodie, soiled with blood and sweat and grime, over her head, revealing the tank top she's wearing beneath - and more fully exposing the metallic inkwork scrawled in ritualistic markings across her flesh.
"My name's Lexi. I always fought like I had nothin' to lose, 'cause as far as I was concerned, I didn't. Then I got forced into a tournament - by you people - and I found out just how much I /did/ have to lose, 'cause I lost it all. My friends. My life. My free will."
She tightens her fist at her side.
"Then when I finally built it back up to half what I used to be, the dreams come back. My little mystic memento wakes up. And I decided that I had to do this, because if it's happening again, I'll give up my life a hundred times before I'll give up my friends, eh?"
COMBATSYS: Alexis takes no action.
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Alexis 0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1 Sheeva
A glowering Sheeva doesn't take her eyes off of Alexis as she hauls herself upright and slinks away, gripping her wrenched arm with two hands. The way her eyes rove - deliberate and intent - over every detail the musician reveals speaks a thousand bloody words; just the same, seeing those tattoos in full prompts a sharp and thoughtful peak in her eyebrow and a lingering spell spent studying those gleaming lines.
Meanwhile, the Revenant Queen merely smiles. The veil's long enough, dark enough to shroud every detail but the persistent - and intensifying - glow of her eyes, and yet--
She is /smiling/.
It's one of those things a person /feels/ more than sees.
"And what is it that you think you know of 'my people'...?"
Before Alexis can answer, the air's split by an invisible explosion that sends those violet tendrils into a lashing flurry as they form a canopy of sorts above the arena, knitting with a sea of black and gray tresses. As her arms spread, sorcerous energies weave outwards from the Revenant Queen's center, wreathing her-- framing her-- tracing her every line and detail into a jittering, distorted frame of a woman reaching hungrily from her chest.
/Grasping/ at Alexis with sparking, spindly claws-- falling inches short, just close enough to come eye to eye.
"And what do you hope to GAIN by entering into a reflection of your past torment, Lexi?" booms--
-- from the Revenant Queen's lips.
In the narrow space between the wraith and Alexis, a glowing pearl of eldritch energy blooms into existence, warm to the touch and ready for taking.
COMBATSYS: Sheeva takes no action.
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Alexis 0/-------/---====|=======\=======\1 Sheeva
Alexis recoils minutely as the tendrils of sorcerous essence lash and claw, exhaling sharply through her nostrils. The questions echo in her mind as she steadies herself, fighting internally to keep her nerve as the rush of whatever energy was fuelling her in the violence moments before starts to die down.
"I don't know much. Just that you guys picked me of all people to fight for Earth - probably because you knew I'd lose. And I did, but I got further than I should've."
As the pearl of energy blooms into existence, Alexis' eyes linger on it, before turning back to the veiled hostess.
"I don't know if I didn't get an invite because I was too much of a threat, or not strong enough, or maybe out of mercy, but - either way - I don't give a shit. I just want another shot - to bury it, win, or lose."
She reaches for the pearl hovering in the air before her...
COMBATSYS: Alexis takes no action.
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Alexis 0/-------/---====|=======\=======\1 Sheeva
It seethes in Alexis' grasp, pulsating and writhing for several seconds before it begins to congeal, cool-- /harden/ into something more.
"You were chosen," the Queen states. Reminds. "There is a difference." Corrects, drawing her arms achingly inwards.
"Nor would I /bother/ with a soul so soft, so unsure as to project failure upon herself," she notes. "'I knew you'd lose'..." follows, lower-- chiding, as her painstakingly seized self-embrace reins the thrashing spirit in-- shrinks it, pulls it back into the corner of her where it belongs.
"One bold enough to beat down the door-- to scrounge up a ram mighty enough to steal the entry you were denied, however...?"
The heat of the Revenant Queen's gift settles into something gentle, hearth-like; scintillating ribbons and endless tresses vanish between blinks, leaving the floating woman framed by rippling locks and glowing ever so gently.
"That's /interesting/," comes with a right-eyed flare behind the veil.
"It deserves a reward-- and a reward you shall /have/. You /have/ the opportunity you seek -- I bid you good fortune as you make the most of it."
Between blinks, the Queen isn't hovering so much as she's standing.
Near enough for myrrh and orchid to permeate the air.
Near enough for a flash of porcelain-white through the veil.
"Hold your outrage -- your spine -- your unruly spirit close as you Descend, and pray they soften the fall," she offers, low and lilting as her token settles in Alexis' grasp.
COMBATSYS: Sheeva takes no action.
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Alexis 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Sheeva
As that trinket becomes tangible in Alexis' hand, the punk lowers her eyes to it, then clasps it tight, lowering it to her side. Her heart is still pounding in her chest - but slowly, the reality of her success - be it a monkey's paw wish at best - settles into her, draining the adrenaline from her bloodstream and replacing it with icewater.
It's probably the closest that a stranger has gotten to an expression of gratitude from Alexis. She looks up at the Revenant Queen, then around herself - raising the hoodie up under her arm, then nodding once before she turns to go. She stops for a moment, turning her head to Sheeva, giving a nod of respect.
"Four arms is metal as fuck," she declares casually - which, as compliments go, is as vanishing as the punk's thanks. She turns away and starts to tread her way to disappear into the crowd on the periphery.
COMBATSYS: Sheeva has left the fight here.
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COMBATSYS: Alexis has ended the fight here.
Log created on 19:11:15 07/02/2022 by Sheeva, and last modified on 09:03:27 07/16/2022.