Description: Nestled in the pristine heart of an otherwise ravaged pyramid, the burial chamber of a Forgotten Tomb in Egypt sees its first visitors in decades as two men too ambitious or stubborn to be swayed by curses - the Brilliant Flame Kain Heinlein and the Riotous Blaze Iori Yagami - have been called to entertain a long-dead king with their prowess.
The plundering of its pyramids is an intriguing, disgusting chapter in history all its own-- from the dangerous expeditions of treasure hunters and scavengers, to the bizarre drive for medicines derived from the remains of mummies. In the midst of such ruins, however, remain rare sealed chambers-- unfound, or well protected.
The threat of curse does not forestall Kain Heinlein's descent into one such chamber, a hoard of ritualized riches surrounding a facsimile of a long fallen throneroom. Beside an unsealed sarcophagus, a desiccated Emperor sits astride that dusty throne, amidst the sundry relics and wealth of his reign.
With the unsteady conduits of chi flow worldwide, with the mystical trappings of this particular context, with the //tangible// essence of Death, Entropy, and Change reverberating through this place even for one not possessed of Kain's particularly attuned sensory capacity, the statuesque blonde is only subtly surprise by the audience that awaits him at the end of that trek.
Heinlein takes a long, steady drink from a waterskin, and politely bows before the wraithlike entity, already keenly aware of the purpose here. Of demonstrating heavenly powers before a heavenbound monarch. Of reuniting with the chaotic agent torn between malevolence and stewardship bound to meet him here, today.
Dressed in stark white and stunning cerulean in one of many carefully, custom tailored three-piece ensembles, Kain turns sidelong between entry and the vision of an undead king, awaiting Yagami's arrival in inscrutable, calm consideration.
Iori had been on a walking trip to some hot springs in the wilds of Japan. He had been given a business card and sent off to investigate who had hired Burr to hunt him down and set him on a path. Possibly to beat them half to death if their reasoning wasn't sound. Even as terrifying as he is, Iori Yagami is still but a man, and a man must sleep.
In the dark, his dreams were strange. Not exactly troubled, but full of desertscapes and the unquiet dead. Riches and lordly things mixed with the taint of death. When he woke, he was not in the place he took his rest. The darkness of the tomb was cut with the flickering of torchlight, tiny flames lining the hall in the dark. Lighting a path.
Kain can hear bootsteps echoing through the halls, growing closer. An even and rhythmic thudding on the stone that gets louder until Yagami enters the tomb-throne. He's dressed in his usual dark jeans, deep red boots and the short trenchcoat with the crescent of the moon on the back. He at least manages not to sneer at Kain. Yet.
"So. We meet again, Heinlein."
Called by the soft strains of notes reverberating through a shining web of spider's silk, to Kain's eyes. Chi dissonance spreads wildly through the fighting community, at once diverse and unpredictable and playing the same catchy sting; tones of universal, primal chaos. Elemental distortion. Decay and rebirth.
How strangely akin to the refrains that sing a disturbing vibrato through Yagami's very bloodline; through every flash of those darkly tainted flames. It all seems interwoven on a loom that Heinlein only partially perceives; hypothesizes about. The statuesque blonde less knows far more than he lets on-- and more sees, senses far more than most.
"Like a moth to a flame, Yagami." Kain observes with a small smile, turning crimson eyes to regard Iori more directly. It's easy to assume the utterance one of hubris; that Heinlein himself believes he draws the tainted scion forth. It is, however, a far less obvious glimmer that he witnesses pulling many into its orbit; a deceptively tempestuous furnace that the two have spoken of in riddles before.
"But are you now better prepared to douse the corrupted flame of darkness amid creation-- or precisely where your greatest monster wishes you to be?" Again, it's easy to read the words as a taunt; but Kain takes no pleasure in what unfolds, now. No cultist, far from enough of a maniac to see power and rule as worth the surrender of agency demanded by //some// cosmic forces. "Are you tempered, Iori Yagami? Strong yet flexible enough to cut through the foe ahead of you?" (Still not himself Kain worries about!)
"Such malevolence is neither considerate -nor- fair. Death does not wait for you to be //ready//!" From his too casual, loose stance, Kain whirls a single rotation; his right leg extends, flickering the darkest of light through the tomb in hues of purple and indigo. His entire mass is thrown behind, but as much propelled -by- that torchlike pyre suffusing his attacking foot, soaring scarcely above the ground to align that kick with Iori's midsection.
"On this path you face //worse// than death!" Such is the loss of purpose, the corruption of self to a "greater" will to Kain Heinlein; such is the siren song of facing the Cult... of stopping, or being sickly seduced and goaded by a being such as Orochi and its heralds.
COMBATSYS: Kain has started a fight here on the right meter side.
COMBATSYS: Iori has joined the fight here.
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Iori 0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0 Kain
COMBATSYS: Kain knocks away Iori with Schwarzer Stob.
- Power hit! -
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Iori 0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0 Kain
Iori is always surly. Always angry. Everything hurts at a low level constantly. The Orochi taint flowing through his veins ''burns''. It's tainted his flames, it's twisted his blood and it hurts enough to make him angry at all waking hours. It's enough to make him spit derisively, but not dismissively. Iori knows how strong Kain is, to dismiss him would be the height of folly.
"It's always about that damn ''thing'', isn't it? The foolishness of my ancestors will haunt me to the grave." He sneers, but that's not too far from his usual expression. "I can feel it, touching the world again. I will find it, and I will kill it. Kusanagi or no, Kagura or no. I'll fight it alone if I must and drag that snake god to hell where it belongs!"
Kain comes, and Iori is ready. Mostly. He brings his arms up, crossing them to take the impact, but he's not prepared for the ''power'' behind it. The opening gambit from Kain strikes him much, much harder than he expects. His boots scrape on ancient stone as he slides back with the raw force of it, impacting the wall hard enough to send dust flying. He lowers his arms, rolling his neck to loosen up.
"If you get in my way, I'll kill you too!"
Iori charges Kain, his hands low enough to almost drag on the floor. He moves like a feral animal, his fingertips sparking violet. He lunges, trying to get past Kain's defenses and surging upwards. He reaches for the other man's collar, and should he connect, he will wrench to the side, pivoting at his hips to send Kain stumbling, to get him off balance.
COMBATSYS: Kain just-defends Iori's Kuzukaze!!
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Iori 0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0 Kain
"Such doom is most likely." The tainted blood will be the death of Iori. The corrupt pact with Orochi will follow him into his grave; perhaps even find a way to be his legacy beyond it, whether the angry young man fathers an heir or not. These things are insidious; unrelenting; uncompromising; unfair. Kain has sympathy for the other firebrand, even without full perspective on that struggle. "Do you desire an end to your suffering so direly that you would sacrifice even the chance of victory, Yagami?"
It's an important question; with its own notable heft. Iori lunges in, and white-gloved hands intercept the tainted treasure's wrists in a viselike grasp. The gathered flames surge, coursing down Kain's arms, along his fingertips, spiralling like a swiftly draining pool as the energy is drawn into the starfire heart burning deep within the statuesque blonde... and dramatically purified by Heinlein's own fiery will, at least in microcosm.
".... It is not a fight you can win, not alone." Kain's grip releases, but in the same instant, it reverses, and Heinlein seeks to abuse Iori's forward momentum to lift the corrupted firebrand by his throat, to jack him up by his proverbial or literal lapels, to suddenly release that celestial forge back around Iori in a flaring black-edged torrent of dark fire; enough to subsume his upper body, enough to potentially launch Yagami right back into that wall.
"-I- am not an obstacle to that quest; but perhaps an essential ally who would see that ancient evil vanquished-- or at least banished anew. Your greatest hurdle is being shackled to corrupted instinct; a long dormant tool of rage and violence for the -last- cause you would //choose// to fight for!" And choice, actualization, purpose are paramount.
COMBATSYS: Kain successfully hits Iori with Schwarze Schleife.
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Iori 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Kain
This happens all the time. The fury fills Iori's mind. His blood boils and -DEMANDS- violence. Demands and orders him to lash out at whoever is in range. Whoever is threatening him. It wants him to kill and maim and brutalize. To revel in the riot of blood and violence. This is why he keeps to himself. Why, after gigs, he just leaves instead of taking advantage of his status as a musician. He hates giving in, and yet it's the only thing that makes the hurting stop.
Kain grabs him and feeds the fire back, immolating Iori for a moment before he's simply just launched across the room again. This time, the stone splinters under his spine and he nearly slumps to the ground. His coat smoulders, smoking under the aftermath of the assault as he struggles to mostly upright. He sways like a drunken man, eyes unfocused as the pain from the mighty blows first sets in and then is completely subsumed by the pain of his own arms igniting in violet.
He comes for Kain again, weaving and bobbing like an aggressive serpent, his hands clawed. As he closes, his right arm lifts and bends, aiming to drive his elbow into Kain's sternum with crushing force. Should that strike home, he twists his hips to throw the man into the ground.
Those are annoying, but the true meat, the real violence comes when a pillar of violet chi-fueled flame erupts from below.
COMBATSYS: Iori successfully hits Kain with Kototsuki In.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////// ]
Iori 1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1 Kain
Did Kain say 'show me'? Kain does not recall saying 'show me'. Nonetheless: Iori demonstrates the exact problem that Heinlein raises, coming forth like a cornered predator, savaging his adversary; in this case, admittedly, for more than being the closest target. The lunging strike steals Kain's breath, his realigning step off the necessary timing to avoid impact, and the blonde pyromancer staggers.
Restrained, slammed, Kain is then subsumed by the corrupted flame of the Yagami, erupting painfully forth from the pillar of punishment. "Pre-- precisely." Heinlein utters, rolling violently into a three-point crouch, his glimmering red eyes snapping back to his tournament opponent.
"Your ancestors traded their real power to another for the illusion of strength ages ago, Yagami-- but still you rely on that slickened well. You feed it violence, you reach greedily within, coating your limbs, your entire being with its crude black sheen."
As he rises, Kain thrust a palm outwards, twin plumes of dark fire swirling a meteoric orbit down the outstretched limb and beyond in less than the blink of an eye. The twin flames coruscate about a ragged, fiery heart as their torrential fervour threatens to plunge Iori into the metaphorical cosmic forge once more, with a maddening, preternatural ease.
"You are bound to your own subversion and demise; and treat it as -your- might!" It's a fundamental problem, to Kain's eye; an inexorable trap laid by Orochi and its servants long ago. An agonizing delicacy the Yagami have been symbiotically-- or parasitically-- subservient to ever since.
COMBATSYS: Kain knocks away Iori with Schwarze Flamme.
-+- CALCULATED HIT -+-
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Iori 1/--=====/=======|=======\=======\1 Kain
Kain keeps speaking, but Iori isn't listening. Though it's probably more that he ''can't'' listen. The tainted power roars in his eard. Rages in his mind. It drowns out the tiny voice in his head that is telling him that Kain is being reasonable. Even more than that, the voice is saying that Kain is right and that he should probably listen to what he's saying.
The problem is that he can't. There's a giant purple fire serpent in his mind, wrapped around his soul that demands blood. He stiffens briefly as Kain's fire builds, and he brings his arms up across his face, the tainted fires engulfing him. Kain's fire impacts his arms, and the infernos mingle, building higher and higher as they struggle. The air ripples as the temperature skyrockets, even the golden treasures beginning to soften in the heat. Soon enough, the powers explode violently, hurling Iori through the air to crash into a wall where he crumples to the floor. He's still for a moment. Is it over?
Bonelessly, Iori rises to his feet, boots scraping on stone. Like an enraged animal, he bellows, hurling himself at Kain, almost galloping on all fours. When he reaches the other man, his fingers alone burst into fire as he lashes out in a berserk series of claw strikes, punctuated with headbutts, careless for his own well being. Should Kain fall, well, the claws don't stop, but the unhinged laughing starts.
It doesn't last long, though. Mid-cackle, Yagami seems to choke and crumple to the floor.
COMBATSYS: Iori can no longer fight.
> //////////////////// ]
COMBATSYS: Kain just-defends Iori's Yaotome!!
> ////////////////////// ]
The Beast of Flame rages. The Blood rushes behind Iori's ears, the scandalous deal with a devil drowning out all protest to its doom spiral of a causal path, its hijacked, repurposed Destiny. Like a malevolent marionette, Yagami rises, Yagami strikes, lashing out with that endless din; that nearly inexhaustible fury. Savage claws and plumes of flame meet channeled chi in a remarkable display of defensive skill, of energy mastery on Heinlein's behalf.
The flame does not touch his arms, does not scorch his fine suit (farther than the damage left by the prior eruption of the bloodline flame pillar, at least!), instead meeting in a clash of rageflame and starlight, drawn by unseen, inexorable gravity into a bottomless, all-consuming abyss. The building gleam all but obscures that final onslaught, Kain's footfalls retreating at a steady, measured pace with each lunging stroke.
Clawed hands sweep across resilient guard, but the fury itself seems to translocate across the most distant void, devoured within a star, dispersed across the seemingly endless, vast cold between. The rage, the din, it may not burn out, may not be designed to EVER abate, but Heinlein draws it forth nonetheless, like venom from a wound. He purifies the unleashed flame in his own celestial furnace, rebuilding apparently nigh-endless reserves with every ounce of unrestrained rampage within Yagami.
Rather than headbutting Kain to the ground, it is with an elastic, but firm hand that Heinlein clasps a single palm against Iori's brow, a flexing wall against that final assault, an abatement that comes before further violence, before full-on, cackling madness. "This is not //your// power, Yagami. Your bloodline's purpose is already twisted; it is on your shoulders to rise above it... you will never seize it back from its otherworldly pact." The consternation, the warning comes with ample undertones of sympathy. The touch shifts to one that is gentle, reaffirming.
"Your will is strong, your time is now; your path branches before you. Will you be the weapon you have inherited, twisted to the purposes of an ancient tyrant? Or will you close your hands instead around a blade that serves //your own// fathomless spirit?" Kain does not know; Iori likely even less so. The other hand rises, to support the teetering Yagami by both shoulders, Kain's gaze locked upon his. "Whatever the case, I will fight the battle ahead; and put a stop to the Other's will should it subsume your own."
It is a weighty offer, a firm decree, a deceptively merciful stance that, perhaps, even Iori can appreciate. In another timeline, where bootleg video of their bout existed, after-effects would be displaying heartwarming displays of ~FRIENDSHIP~. Such as it is between men who's paths, regardless of their future branches, are filled with inevitable, volatile, brutal conflict.
Log created on 14:42:08 07/11/2022 by Kain, and last modified on 09:01:19 07/16/2022.