The Descent - Round 2 - Terminal Line[Toggle Names]
Description: Somewhere beneath Metro City lies a once-beautiful, buried subway station deemed best forgotten after a string of horrific tragedies... and yet, in the post-midnight hours when the "Rebellious Flame" Ash Crimson meets the "King-Killer" Craig Marduk, the station's alive with eerie, flickering lights and a phantom train-- but mostly the sounds of a bit of the old ultraviolence, and the endless rage of the inferno.
Subway Station #9 was forgotten since the Makai incident.
When Jedah drew Metro City into his clutches, portions of the city were partitioned away. Some of it was returned. Some of it wasn't. And some of it was lost in between. The place still had the dark stains of rotten blood smeared on it; the victims of the merge being twisted and compressed in their horrible final moments. THere were no corpses, at least, anything that could be still identified as a corpse. Only grisly shapes and tumorous bulges in the walls and floor of the moldy dank subway. The remains of old urban campsites still endure, more recent additions. There are no sign of current human life however. And yet, every 10 minutes, on schedule, a subway train speeds down the rails.
It never stops at the station.
"Holy cow this tournament is great!" Comes a roar from the tunnel. Swaggering along the side of the rail area was Craig Marduk. The towering hulk of a brawler was in a kind of half-tattered setup of a NOL uniform, with the slacks almost completely torn and a charming little beret on his head. Instead of a jacket, however, he wore a jersey with a flaming C on it. He was done up in his green and purple knee pads and elbow pads, and of course he was barefoot. His cries echo down the subway tunnel, as he strides up to the station. Marduk was hugging a Harvey the Hound stuffed animal in one arm, and a giant disembodied felt tongue in the other, hips wiggling eagerly with every step. "I met new friends, got to work on a new diet, and best of all, I'm now a fan of the Calgary Flames! WOO!"
"Hashtag Never Quit!"
He heaves up the two stuffed companions, and then himself up to the ghastly remains of the abandoned station. "Now I gotta find some kind of Rebellious flame or some shit. An Ash Crimson, god damn, I guess Dirt Brown was busy." Marduk starts openly guffawing at his joke. "Oh my god, holy shit, Dirt Brown. Oh my god, that's so funny. Isn't that funny Harvey? Holy cow I'm a fucking genius." Marduk looks at the stuffed hound, and continues to explain the joke to his furry companion as he picks him up. "Because Ash is like the dirt from a fire, and crimson is a color, and so is dirt and brown! God damn I must have become a fucking genius." Marduk gives both the tongue and the stuffed animal a little squeeze, nuzzling them as he focuses hard on his thoughts in the dark, dank tunnel. "God damn, I can't wait to tell my commander about this, and how smart I've gotten." He looks at the stuffed animal, and grins.
"Maybe I can take him to the Saddledrome some time!"
From the shadows of a clown motel to a buried subway station in Metro City, it's all so... supernaturally depressing. A glorified exhibition of haunted houses and tumorous crypts, because Ash Crimson would suppose the organiser of this event has a gruesome love for the macabre. Not a single arena yet suits his personal taste and aesthetics, but the Sneering Blaze prefers lights, glitz, and glamour...
You know, a cheerful, frivolous spectacle.
He's so out of place here, Ash's presence makes literally no sense at all.
But he has a reason to participate, and in flippant, flouncing, and flamboyant fashion, the flamewielding Frenchman is late.
Minutes drag by without the appearance of a rebellious inferno, allowing the likes of Craig Marduk to exhaust all of his wealth of stupidity to, in the words of the French, 'peter plus haut que son cul.' What purpose does the stuffed hound serve exactly? Did the NOL suddenly start mandating sensitivity training? Is that why the hulking brawler is talking to it?
Soft footfalls are lost to the tumultuous racket of the train, rolling through on schedule. Ash finally saunters in, casually placing a hand on the generous curve of his hip, regarding his opponent with eyes as clear as the morning sky. "Don't I know you...?" he asks not of Marduk specifically, but his own memory, brain cells fielding calls to the appropriate receptors until a connection is established that makes him giggle.
Long fingers lay across his lips and muffle the sound. Admittedly, Hitomi was the last person Crimson thought he'd think about today. He absently wonders how the karateka is doing.
"Je m'appelle Ash. Ash Crimson," The melodic measure of his cadence is... deeper than expected, but insufferably smug and decidedly male. It contradicts the European's delicate features, his feminine build, and the length of platinum blonde hair tied up in a messy bun.
Fit to his slender form, Ash's fighting attire is red and black with enough zippers to give Tetsuya Nomura ideas. Adjusting each glove, the aged leather creaking under stress, fluorescents flickering overhead earns an adjustment of his gaze, directing it above him. C'mon, the restless spirits will need to try harder than that, feh.
As the sound of Ash comes out, Marduk glances over.
Briefly, he processes what he is looking at. Licking his lips a bit, the gears turn until... the deeper voice comes out. The tongue comes back in, but Marduk gives a firm, steady head shake. "Sure! I'm Craig Marduk of the NOL! It's real good to meet you!" Marduk says in an awfully chipper voice. "You probably, uh, know me from the news and TV and stuff. I'm the biggest fucking name in Vale Tudo, I'm on the Terry Rogers show ALL the time! He's kind of an asshole to me now, but you know, that'll change! You're probably wondering why I'm carrying some stuffed animals like a jackass! Well here's Harvey The Hound!"
He makes Harvey wave his paw.
"I met Harvey in the basement of the Saddledrome! Well, actually it's not him! But the spirit of the mascot came into this vessel, and now he is following me to guide me into satisifying my bloodlust in the tournament, and also support the Calgary Flames. I think they are a soccer team or something, but you know, I like the Flaming C! This is Harvey tongue!" He raises up the strip of felt. "It was ripped out of Harvey in 2003, by an angry coach! Harvey was telling me to kill people and shit, you know, with the crazy ass murders that's in this tournament and shit, but you know, Harvey's tongue has a different opinion. I mean, god damn, you probably think all this shit is retar- is stupid and shit." Marduk grunts, as he comes to a bench littered with tiny animal and human bones. Sweeping the materials off, he carefully sits up Harvey and places the tongue across his lap.
"But you know, every tournament is an adventure!"
Marduk moves back over to the edge of the station. In the distance, there is a click clack sound, a rhythmic clatter of a train car. "Anyways it's nice to meet you... Ash Crimson." He gives a snort. "Sorry, it's a kind of inside joke and shit. Dirt Brown! God damn." He grunts, and starts to stretch a bit, going into his grapplers stance in preperation. "Anyways, god damn am I talking a lot. Anyways take your time getting ready. You look like a nice kid. But I'm not gonna underestimate a girlie guy like you, nope!" Marduk brushes his hands together, smirking rudely.
"You probably are one of those fuckers with the tricks."
COMBATSYS: Marduk has started a fight here.
Throughout his life, Ash has encountered several individuals who he would describe as loquacious...
But that was before he met Craig Marduk.
The man is a veritable force of supreme idiocy, prone to erupting with verbal diarrhoea and unable to restrain himself. It's more useless information than the flamewielder can process, and initially when it's dumped in his lap without warning, Ash isn't certain whether to shit or go blind. Is both an option?
See, Crimson would still be gazing at the haemorrhaging walls or the twisting veins above, each the end result of ripping away reality unnaturally and it ultimately returning, if it weren't so fascinating to listen to this human garbage pile take a minute to tell Ash literally everything he knows.
Unable to find a place to interject, the lackadaisical European also doesn't want to. There's something satisfying about a hulking mess of a meathead putting his entire foot in his mouth and swallowing it all the way until his knee hits the back of his throat. Ash plays with his hair while angling provocatively towards his opponent, but soon Marduk steers them back toward their mutual purpose here today...
Aw. That was almost fun.
Another train rolls past the station.
Despite the nagging feeling that he'll return to Duo Lon empty-handed, all will be forgiven if Ash advances in the tournament, and he would be thrilled to mash this bloodthirsty misogynist into paste for his own personal entertainment rather than because it's the Right Thing to Do. The effeminate, flashy pyrokinetic is far from noble.
Between thumb and forefinger, previously trapped strands of platinum are brushed up against his freckled cheek. Ash's smile becomes saccharine sweet. He asks innocently, "Tricks?"
Then he laughs.
Blue eyes lid halfway, Ash releasing the coiled threads of blonde, assessing his painted nails at a glance before he extends his hand to show Marduk the palm.
"Bete comme ses pieds, mon ami. You have no idea~"
Wielding his emerald birthright is as natural to him as breathing, and it justifies the Revenant Queen's nickname. Crimson now has a 'loose grip' on a dancing plume of green bubbling fire where none previously existed. It wreaths his arm, imploring him, but the Frenchman cannot sate its hunger...
"Because I imagine that being anywhere near you would go poorly for me..." He throws it, the raging inferno PEELING off him, sent on a collision course with the grappler, Ash hoping to keep him at bay. Definitely a long shot, should Marduk prove to have the same kind of momentum as Shen.
COMBATSYS: Ash has joined the fight here.
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Ash 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Marduk
COMBATSYS: Marduk blocks Ash's Ventose.
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Ash 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Marduk
Marduk actually grits his teeth when the verdant flames begins to rise up.
He was -kind- of hoping it wasn't going to be fire. He hated that fire shit. He was hoping that, well, maybe he would inflate with a bunch of muscles. Or like, did pressure point shit. But nope, it was fire. He doesn't look -mad- though, just a lot more intense. He holds his ground as the flames are tossed off Ash, and he steadies himself with impact. When they are about to connect, Marduk lunges, slamming his arms into the fires. The emerald flames rips across his flesh like hot butter; his arms do little to actually -stop- the fire. But Marduk has experience with this; energy attacks like this weren't really a thing in Vale Tudo but his experience outside the Free For All style, especially with the NOL, gave him -some- insight on what to do. So as the conflaguration comes roaring in? Marduk only staves it off for a little bit, the raw energy actually sliding his heels backwards as he turns, pressing against the wall next to the bench. And with that point of leverage, he tears his arms across the flames, disintegrating them with raw, savage force. Arms burnt and blackened, he gives a fierce grin. "God -damn!-"
"It's just like those purple flames from that Kyo asshole!" Marduk blurts out. "Or like, that guy who basically fights the same as Kyo. God damn I can't tell them apart and my supervisor is REALLY pissed at me about it. That's why I'm here instead of stopping that other end of the world shit. You're a hell lot prettier than those two though, I think. But you are gonna have to turn up the HEAT if you are gonna cook this FUCKING HAM! I mean SOYLOAF! I'm trying out some VEGETARIAN SHIT! Okay, here comes the MARDUK EXPRESS, roaring into the station! CHOO CHOO!" Marduk shoves off the wall, and begins a lumbering charge. Whatever a Shen Woo was, Marduk was going to be infinitely slower, though possibly just as headstrong. But as he picks up speed, it almost looks like he was going to out and go and run over Ash like a bull rush. Ole! But as he closes in, he begins to change his foot work, twisting as he leanings back, flailing his arms behind him. It's almost adorable how the towering titan tosses out a thrusting straight kick, aiming right for the blonde hair boy's pelvis.
Until he uses the backswing momentum to hurl out a follow up punch.
The assault from the right is followed up with a quick punch with the left, as the freight train of momentum continues to roar forward. "YEAH! YEAH! God DAMN this feels great!" He bellows before launching out a brisk, low body blow aiming for the gut. The assault doesn't even stop there, as the momentum continues to keep lurching forward, keep thundering ahead as the battering combination keeps rolling along, daring to stampede over Ash unless he can break it in the brief opening there was.
COMBATSYS: Marduk successfully hits Ash with Raging Beast.
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Ash 0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0 Marduk
Everything seems to be going according to plan. With Marduk burning merrily like a sad bachelor's Christmas dinner, Ash knows he can't expect a large slab of meat to be thoroughly cooked with just that...
The hulking idiot is tough, resistant. He'd need some tenderising and seasoning--
You know, I think you get the idea.
Misled initially by his own assumptions when the force of the blaze knocks the hideous man backwards, it's a feat that Marduk rejects it outright. Tearing apart the fires of the flamewielder's birthright, Crimson's blue eyes spy a toothy grin gleaming in the ashen aftermath.
Ash pauses as the giant halfwit lumbers into the next stream of continuous babble, which is unfortunate since the freckle-faced fighter was nearly impressed. Concerns are raised by casual mentions of Kyo and the grappler's vague recollection of their rivals stretching back to antiquity. He once reasoned that rather than focus on what the majority of people would consider to be esoteric nonsense, the Library just cared about the bigger picture...
But his theory is proven incorrect, forgetting and remembering that this is a separate timeline. What does he actually know about NOL?
Apparently, not a lot. It's worrisome.
Cerulean pools shrewdly examine Marduk, as if they might peel back the covering of his brain and discover anything else of value. There's got to be more in that head than just bullshit and rampant sexism, right?
However, the man pushes off from the wall with his bulk and becomes an engine gathering steam. The moron is built for strength over speed, but Ash feels confident in his ability to endure the momentum of the charge...
After all, he has done this before.
Up until the fey Frenchman is kicked, he anticipated a wrestler coming at him would, I don't know, WRESTLE. It's all based on the fact that Shen's a bare-fisted, self-taught brawler who'd rarely throw anything besides a punch, but Ash will need to stop comparing them. As his pelvis crunches under pressure, knocking him off his balance, it's clear they are more different from one another than they are similar.
He's subjected to a brutal assault, the lower body blow knocking the wind from his sails while a hit to the face fractures his orbital bone.
Ow. So much for Ash being prettier.
There is a single window of opportunity for him to escape the whirlwind onslaught of fists, but it only lasts for a heartbeat. He withdraws and staggers, his willowy frame trembling throughout as he gasps for oxygen in desperation, regretting that there isn't more time to catch his breath. Taking another step in tactical retreat, a gloved hand slides beneath the obscuring locks of Ash's platinum blonde hair, presumably feeling the swelling as he gingerly prods it with the pads of his fingers. While clenching his teeth into perfectly aligned rows, Crimson hisses, "Merde, fils de pute."
No matter how severely injured he is, all of his wounds will heal in a small matter of a day, if not sooner. That doesn't mean Ash is thrilled about the painful experience, though. To gather his bearings and refocus, the European uses deep, meditative breathing. Has the brute stopped swinging for the fences? Or in this case, the French? It's a silent promise that Marduk WILL pay for this...
COMBATSYS: Ash focuses on his next action.
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Ash 0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0 Marduk
Marduk, for all his ignorance, was blissfully unaware of any malice.
Marduk was now getting into the part that Ash was predicting before: the grappling portion. As the French teen does his meditation, Marduk was rushing in now, surging with a sneer. The grappler might have a well deserved reputation of being a blundering, bloviating buffoon who brashly and brutally bullies his opponents. But as he completes the fast and carefully honed combination, the Vale Tudo demonstrates what he dedicated his two braincells to: fighting. The carefully and precisely executed assault demonstrated that despite Marduk being treated as just another big dumb guy in the world of fighting, his fighting style was a deadly combination of experience, technical execution, and bone snapping power.
And it wasn't stopping, even if Ash was.
The opening gives Ash a means to retreat, and Marduk pursues. Even with his size, every movement comes with furious exertions of power. Not even out of rage though, no, Marduk was having -fun-. "MERDE MEANS SHIT!" Marduk bellows excitedly as he hurls himself in recklessly. "Sounds like I'm getting under your skin and INSIDE YOUR HEAD! CHOOO WOOO!" Marduk was arrogantly declaring himself rather preemptively, but the towering titan was now bringing those massive arms around to grab Ash over his neck. Should he manage to get a grip, he would bring his whole body down to drag Ash's head down into a kneel, smashing it on the filthy subway ground. Should he manage to wrench him down that far? He would follow up by -driving- his knee savagely into the top of Ash's head, breaking the release to send him into a crumpled heap.
That is, if he could even -catch- the blonde one.
COMBATSYS: Ash interrupts Ultimate Knee from Marduk with Pluviose.
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Ash 0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0 Marduk
As if this was some bizarre game of chase, Marduk is relentless in his pursuit. Gleefully bounding after him like a dopey-looking dog whose idea of play is the equivalent of a mauling, Ash retreats a step further. The stereotypes make bold claims when they say the French are supposed to be good at running away...
He can't even see, let alone much else in the heartbeats that pass...
Until he suddenly can.
His hand slips from the burgeoning, bulging bruise, and there has already been noticeable improvement. Crimson's right eye opens slowly but fully, when it should be quite the opposite, swollen shut for the remainder of the fight...
But then the grappler is nearly on top of Ash, and his entire focus is disrupted. The slighter fighter's arms become entangled in the process to prevent Marduk from overwhelming him, used as a barrier between the aggression and his neck...
However, having sausage fingers near his head is problematic because they strum the primary elastic that holds his messy bun in place. Moments later, it audibly snaps under pressure. Silken threads are set free, while others most painfully part ways with Ash's scalp. Blood immediately bubbles up in the absence of the hairs before completely ceasing to flow.
Ash isn't pushed down with as much force as intended, or rather, he's not pushed down at all. His mounting resistance strains his neck, but bowed just enough to gaze through his dishevelled locks, the strands as they frame his finely crafted, feminine features, the smirk that ensues means someone is due for a comeuppance. Marduk drops a savage knee, yet the flamewielder handles it, cartwheeling over as it serves as a fulcrum. He crashes his foot into the side of that meat-padded skull, presumably giving the man's ear a nice clap like it's Fight Club.
When Crimson lands in a crouch, the big lunk surely loses balance and pitches in his direction, causing Ash to pivot on the spot. The flamboyant Frenchman launches into what may be the strangest set of kick-flips which should, in theory, be impossible. His heel ignites with the flames of his inheritance, and there's no tearing them to pieces in this exchange. A trailing green blaze sears up the front or back of the rabid mutt of NOL; he doesn't discriminate, nor does he care.
It's still not hot enough to cook anyone's goose, but if the pyrokinetic's fire manages to burn off that unsightly chest hair, even what's concealed beneath the jersey's horrible fit, that's a victory for everyone...
... Except for Marduk, maybe.
Marduk was, as a matter of fact, unaware of the subtle nuances of hair stuff.
For the brute, as he tussles with Ash's bun, the slam comes down -eventually-. The lead in was messy, but when it comes to forcing his opponent to get into place, Marduk was peerless. The returning shot, however, was a much more serious problem. As the kick comes to the head, he takes it reasonably well. It's not like the head was the most important part of Marduk's swollen body. It's the flames that become a problem. Without any guard there to rip them apart, the emerald flames pour over him, ripping on his front as he instinctively, and mistakenly -turns- towards the fire. Raking across him from his thigh to this bitten ear, a long, radiated burn is left in the wake. Marduk audibly gasps, stumbling backwards. His chest hair burns; thanks to the thick oils of his body, it wicks like a candle, the green flames still smoking and dancing on his thick chest hairs as they burn down -slowly-. It is even scented.
I, the narrator, will not describe what the scent is for the reason I am eating right now.
Almost blinded by pain, instincts continue to take over. Violent instincts. Groaning in a deep hoarse bellow, he attempts to scoop up Ash and swing him around like a rag doll. Skill was falling away into blind fury, clumsiness. The careful technical execution was now replaced by the crude, brutish strength that Marduk looks for. Should he manage to get Ash in his clutches, he would out and toss the French boy into the subway walls, right next to the watchful eyes of Harvey.
It's felt tongue somehow returned upon it's mouth in the most haunted of recoveries.
COMBATSYS: Marduk successfully hits Ash with Strong Throw.
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Ash 0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0 Marduk
In light of the diversity of personalities that make up the Novus Orbis Librarium, it's somewhat of a blessing that Ash Crimson has not only encountered one of their most idiotic enforcers, but he couldn't be convinced that this guy's direct superior gives a single microscopic shit what Marduk has to say. As he's aware of the organisation's desire to study ancient bloodlines and mystical artefacts, the pyrokinetic believes they would undoubtedly find him fascinating...
And he deliberately has been avoiding attracting the attention of people /just like that/.
Really, Ash can't thank the brawler enough for being a fool. A mouthy one, but a fool all the same.
Whether Marduk produces enough childish reports documenting his experience here or not, should it even earn a passing nod of acknowledgement, he's overlooked something crucial: Ash is recovering from his injuries far faster than is humanly possible...
However, Mr. Vale Tudo hasn't tried to kill the flamewielder... yet. There's still time to understand that expedited healing is merely the tip of the iceberg.
The European recoils in alarm, the bridge of his delicately freckled nose wrinkling with disgust. Since hair is a collection of dead skin cells, he anticipated the smells of charred, burnt flesh, but not the persistently nauseating fragrance of an unidentified stench. Ash exclaims, the flared end of his sleeve carefully slipped over his mouth, "Mon dieu, va t'en!"
He presents an unintended opportunity for the beast of a grappler to anchor his wrist, yanking him forward and hoisting Ash into the air before he realises the error. The young man fights a good fight to be freed despite the fact that his world has been turned upside down and is spinning right round, yet anything that seems to connect only does negligible damage. Hardly worth the effort of all that thrashing around...
Colliding with the wall, he stops.
It's not pleasant. His entire body reacts to the violent impact, and a tumorous growth bounces against the back of his skull, emitting an offensive squelching sound. There are low moans of agony, bodiless and lost behind him. Ash slides limply to sit on the floor, eyes like the clear sky unfocused and faintly crossed, visited by visions of brand new universes born only to perish. Crimson's heartbeat resonates through him, a building crescendo attempting to rouse him...
What it actually does is make his head ache. If the wrestler starts whooping and shouting again, that might be Ash's complete undoing.
..? Stuffed Harvey turns to look at him...
You know, Ash decides he'd prefer to not be near that freaky possessed hound. Struggling to rise, the flamboyant, feminine fighter clings to the only thing that can support him until the brick starts warping, at which point he forges ahead on his own. It's a stagger, barely able to remain upright. Long sheets of platinum blonde swing into his view, hung like curtains on either side of his attractive face, the bruising obscured. "Ahaha, this is terrible..." he laughs and wheezes, "What a bother..."
His aura flares impressively as he draws upon the emerald fires of his inheritance and channels the world's natural energies, recharging himself like a battery. Ash straightens gracefully but gradually...
Is that a broken nail? Sigh.
COMBATSYS: Ash gathers his will.
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Ash 1/-----==/=======|======-\-------\0 Marduk
Once the close clinch breaks, Marduk gradually regains his senses.
I mean, it helps that Ash isn't immediately in grabbing range. But the searing pain on his chest wasn't dying down, and it was matching with the same wretched pain on his limbs. He even brings a hand up to his ear, where he feels a pulsating throbbing. But the brief grimace of pain becomes a grin, as he gradually can see. He looks to Ash, and he actually -holds back-, letting the frenchman recover. Harvey of course rejects, but Marduk just -rolls- his eyes. "Come on, Harvey, I'm not going to kill him! He's just a kid!" He says outloud, placing his hands on his knees, as he waits until those flames surge up. As the blaze up, Marduk shoots a finger in the air, and does a spin. Punching the air, he then proceeds to do what he does, well, it's not best but it's like a distant third or fourth place.
The wrestler starts whooping and shouting again.
"WOOO! YEAH! GO FLAMES! WOOO! NEVER GIVE UP!" Marduk starts applauding himself, the wrestler actually using a different sort of method to build energy. Taking a break from his clapping, he begins ripping off the remains of his sports jersey. The act lets the flames build on him too. The smoldering, stinking flames. "God DAMN! Don't feel bad or bothered or any kind of that WINNIE THE POOH BUSINESS! This is some hot shit! You know I almost thought you were some kind of girly ponce who goes over fru fru broken nail shit, but HOLY SHIT you are fucking me up!" Marduk continues to smolder, the green flames putting off a thick, greasy black smoke. Marduk pats pats the flames, making them grow a bit, but he keeps grinning. "This hurts SO FUCKING MUCH, and I LOVE IT! And you're still GOING! I can't wait to take you to your breaking point, hot DAMN! It's so WONDERFUL to MEET and FIGHT such a DIVERSE and INTERESTING scope of FIGHTERS!" Marduk clenches his smoldering chest hairs, and with a burst of raw raging passion, tears off the hairs. Bringing them up to his nose, he -snorts- the burning hairs, snuffing them hard and deep before throwing them in the air. "The MARDUK EXPRESS is IN THE STATION! It's REVVED UP and READY TO ROAR!" Marduk unleashes a bellowing roar that rips through the abandoned subway station, before falling back into his grappling stance, giving a hoarse, thin whisper.
"Are you ready to Ketchum, Ash?"
COMBATSYS: Marduk gathers his will.
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Ash 1/-----==/=======|=======\===----\1 Marduk
Much to Crimson's dismay, the hooting and hollering begins anew, and while the decibel level initially appears to be tolerable... it ascends to greater heights. This abandoned, crumbling subway station has some incredible -- and by that, I mean deafening -- acoustics. Marduk's every unpleasant note is echoed back at them like a chorus of harpies shrieking horribly in unison.
Ash hates that, cringing at the source. He's nearly about to cover his ears, but the sheer amount of hair in the way triggers the fickle Frenchman's dislike for it in particular. Sweeping an arm around his head, he gathers all of the fair blonde falls and brings them to one side, his fingers dividing them into smaller pieces for swift braiding.
His mind is free to ruminate on less significant topics, such as why is he consistently treated like a child? Whether it's dealing with the woman the flamewielder would rather avoid or this mongoloid, they're just the same...
However, Ash reached the age of eighteen many years ago...
And his time was frozen there. Forever.
The flamboyant pyrokinetic has his reservations regarding Marduk's ability to comprehend the truth short of presenting a personal identification card, which the red outfit lacks the necessary pockets to hold. Ultimately, it's a matter given up for lost.
C'est la vie.
What's the deal with Winnie the Pooh? Is that some kind of special idiot's code? Too country bumpkin to understand, Ash merely arches his brow while finishing off the braid with the snapped elastic found in the tangles, knotting it neatly.
Despite his ineffective attempts to defend himself, the broken nail he has to show for his efforts and the lack of means to fix it, Crimson stubbornly maintains distance from the grappler because, well, look at him. He knew the guy would hit hard enough to break bones, but he's also utterly repulsive. Dude, are you SNIFFING those sizzling chest hairs?
That's so nasty.
Regurgitating pop culture references, the wrestler announces all aboard the Marduk Express. Instead, the next train drowns him out mid-speech. It's right on schedule but never arrives, and once the heavy clattering ceases, the captive (confused) audience has moved on. Now Ash wants to be the very best like no one ever was...
Except not. I'm kidding.
He simply yawns.
"Mon ami, if you're interested in something to catch, I believe I have just the thing."
No, it's nothing inappropriate.
To tease at the meaning, the European draws a shape with a single digit, extending his hand in anticipation...
It fills with flames, a blazing conflagration twisting and writhing within the burgeoning sphere. His freckled face is eclipsed, the green lighting every protruding feature and forcing the pale blue of his eyes to assimilate. Ash delights in his creation, admiring it, but the roiling ball must be unleashed to do as it will, hopefully to crush the larger man. "Be careful. When you play with fire, you run the risk of getting burned."
Or burned MORE, since Marduk is still smouldering away like a soggy match.
"Are you even worth everything I'm capable of? Let's find out~"
COMBATSYS: Marduk blocks Ash's Thermidor.
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Ash 0/-------/-----==|=======\===----\1 Marduk
Oh that's a lot of fire.
Marduk braces himself in place as the response to the Marduk Express comes. The answer: fire. Lots and lots of that awful green fire. Still riding on the high of his burnt hair, he brings his already burnt arms at the ready. The orb of shimmering flame comes splashing down, and Marduk actually -grabs- it. Well, 'grab'. You can't actually grapple a fireball. As the conflaguration surges over him, however, the titan leans in hard. With a charge, he -rips- apart the fireball, tearing it over him. The flames wash over his body, singing him from from head to toe, ripping through his clothing. A smoldering man, neatly covered with 1st and 2nd degree burns. Staggering backwards from the flames, one thing was certain. He might be slowed down.
But he wasn't stopped.
"Shit, I guess, cause you're worth the MARDUK EXPRESS!" Getting his footing again, he begins a lumbering charge towards Ash. Stomp, stomp, stomp. Closing in, body still burning, he hurls himself at Ash and- turns. Dipping low, he actually shifts to Ash's flank at the last second. Sweeping his arms, he attempts to scoop up Ash by his knees and slam him on his back. Should he get that far, he would attempt a ground mount, to sit on the frenchman's chest to pin him down. And there, up close and personal, he would begin to punch him. No huffing banter, no chortling. Just the grinning face of a towering brute leering down as he alternates lefts and rights, aiming right into that face once more. Before finishing by grabbing by that strange hair, and -slamming- the back of his head into the subway tiles with spine-wrenching force, into a dismount.
But only if he managed that first step.
COMBATSYS: Ash blocks Marduk's Skull Crusher.
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Ash 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Marduk
Although Ash may be loath to admit it, and does so with great trepidation, the living neanderthal's ability to rip his birthright in half astounds him at long last.
Crimson cannot whistle since he never learned how, but the effeminate fighter puts his hands together and claps politely while Marduk... burns. Again. Flames spill over the grappler as if he emptied a pot of them on his head. Rancid smells of oil, scorched hair and clothing, and fried sweat cling to the man like an acrid aura of stench. It's nauseating, bad enough to put one off their dinner...
And it is about to become Ash's problem.
Because he's worth the Marduk Express.
The flippant, lackadaisical Frenchman isn't especially motivated to perform at a level above average; his opponents must devise the means to threaten him, his freedom, or his plans.
On the other side, Craig Marduk, an idiotic wrecking ball of a human being, determines Ash's value based solely on his physical prowess. What an honour, if it weren't so simple, so predictable.
They represent two extremely different types of individuals. The Sneering Blaze would cut a magnanimous bow at such a crow of approval, his mouth slashed with mockery, except the hulking wrestler bears down on him instantly. Compared to Ash, who is only five feet ten inches tall and scarcely intimidating, Marduk is a veritable colossus...
He's also FAST, grabbing the European before Ash can spin around and swing for the fences. "Putain--!!"
Consider the lift a success, and as the ground greets him, each of his vertebrae are cruelly aligned against the concrete of the station platform. He narrowly avoids knocking himself stupid, but instead his breath is driven from his lungs in an audible whoosh and Crimson lies there prone, dazed, regaining his composure. Mr. Vale Tudo hops on like it's open season. The pyrokinetic's ribs struggle to prevent the overbearing weight from crushing his entire chest, but he's so much lighter and delicate -- Ash is gradually pressed into the cracked floor.
Four miniature battering rams position themselves next to each other, Marduk reeling back his fist...
Pursed lips peel away from perfect rows of flawless white teeth. Ash's expression is smarmy as all get out. Time cannot wait, although it almost appears to, because there's a nanosecond for him to whisper, "Having fun?"
Then Marduk strikes air. The flamewielder leaves a rippling distortion in his wake, along with a few floating bubbles of the strange, waxy energy.
Through a tear in the fabric of reality, he emerges behind the smoking beast, sealing it shut. Intending to capitalise on any confusion or uncertainty, since Ash is ever the opportunist, his attractive face hovers in close to Marduk's previously boxed ear. "Make sure to scream in a nice voice for me," he says, the musical cadence giving way to a softer, more sinister purr...
From there, everything goes straight to hell.
Triggered not by the thrum of mystical powers converging on his location, but by a thin green line that is unremarkable, slowly tracing a circle around them, the conflagration bursts from the centre like a lava-spewing volcano. Its roar suppresses the senses, and his braided blonde hair is swept up in the rushing draught of heat. He abandons Marduk where the dumbass might be at the mercy of the inferno, Ash embracing himself as if entranced by the phenomenon all around. The colour of his irises shift from blue to crimson, matching his attire, before they lid gently.
Finally, a bright flare and a plume of smoke, the whole explosion expertly controlled by the French 'teen', who... hopefully can just comb out his bangs here in peace. They're a touch messier than Ash would prefer.
COMBATSYS: Ash successfully hits Marduk with Sans Culottes.
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Ash 0/-------/------<|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Marduk
As Marduk scoops up Ash, he was almost in Nirvana.
Peacefulness crosses his face a moment, as he slams Ash down, and makes his mount. Briefly, Marduk gets an expression like he is about to unwrap a Nintendo 64 for Christmas, right before he unleashes a staggering right on his prey. Except, however, he only catches nothing but tile. Smashing it down, he looks wide eyed. On an instinctual level, he knew what was coming. But on an intellectual level? Well, it's about this much as he states out loud, as Ash suddenly catches him from behind.
"What the f-"
Marduk's curse comes short as the green flames whirl around him. Whether by Ash's instruction or by the sheer, all consuming pain, Marduk does scream. He howls, growling with it. He doesn't stop moving though. Even in the epicenter of the whirling inferno, he was struggling, fighting, knocking away what flames he could as he is released. IT doesn't do much, at least physically. The smell of burnt hair fades away to the smell of roasted hams, as the screams go from growls into a hoarse falsetto. It should, for all purposes leave him stunned. But as Ash was moving the bangs out of the way, there would be movement. The moment that fire stops?
Marduk was on the offense again.
Like a technician toiling on the assembly line, Marduk movements were wrote, even trite. It was as automatic as breathing. He didn't even -seem- fully aware of what he was doing. But once he got Ash in a clinch, once -he- got in a clinch, the response was straight forward. The flailing in the flames, he was -fighting- the flames. And now, he was hunting a physical version. Eyes singed shut, body a single, uniform burn, even his clothing was barely held together. But he was dipping down, almost like a toddler, almost sliding in. The grappler would move swift and precise. He would bring his full legs around to wrap around the Frenchman's leg, bringing the weight of leverage to take Ash to ground once again. Shen Woo would have come in with a swaggering, enraged punch. Duo Lon would have used the very shadows and spirits of the dead. And Betty, well, that's another subject all together. But Marduk, the heaping hulk of a man who drove Hitomi to tears, who managed to coast through life like a fish-tailing motorboat on the highway, was going for Ash's right leg. And should he manage to get a leverage on it? He would precisely and deftly wrench the shin right out the knee socket.
Aiming to stop Ash's mobility cold.
COMBATSYS: Marduk successfully hits Ash with Knee Breaker.
[ \\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Ash 0/-------/---<<<<|=======\======-\1 Marduk
There is no fairness in this life, and just as you might toast to the gods of victory, so can the cup be spirited from your grasp. Ash Crimson understands it better than most; he once epitomised it. When the bruiser reappears baked and crispy, the flamewielder smiles vaguely in resignation, looking considerably older than his apparent age of eighteen. He had hopes, because who wouldn't, but the outcome is not beyond expectation...
Just a thought occurs, like trying to imagine what's coming...
Releasing the strands of platinum blonde hair that had been the source of fleeting fascination, the coils gently spring off his fingers to freedom. The Frenchman's posture is very obviously languid, not due to laziness -- although that was previously the case -- but rather because the struggle is taking its toll and he realises he's feeling worn out. Doesn't help that the brawler hits harder than a truck and then some, but doubtful was Ash's flammable inheritance a gesture of kindness in return.
Marduk's deceptively docile ambling leaves Ash wondering where he's going, turning glaringly clear at the first indication of a low lean. Crimson hears the bells, klaxons, and alarms in his mind, but the body is unable to keep pace. As a result, he trips over his own feet... or was it because the tangle of limbs that gathers his right leg catches him up? Balance robbed, the pyrokinetic's slender frame spills out on concrete, skidding on his side. The moment he chambers a kick, even if it's just the means to wedge his shoe somewhere in the locking hold, the dynamic completely shifts.
Pale blue eyes widen to their limits in horrible understanding.
Without a chance to object, Ash wants to. He wants to with every fibre of his being, but the anguish lancing through him smothers the notion. His knee is forcibly dislocated, his ligaments distended as they desperately cling to the bone to keep it from separating entirely...
It is a new world of pain, coming in sharp, severe, like a spike torturously prying apart his kneecap and tibia. Ash involuntarily spasms, gasping loudly before covering his mouth to stifle the broken sound that he shrieks until he's hoarse and hiccoughing. Eventually, it's reduced to shallow whimpers as the pressure releases. Sweat beads on the freckled fighter's brow as much as he feels it on his skin beneath the scarlet attire.
Combing his fringe out of his face, Ash removes the threads from sticking to his lips. Hands tremble from the adrenaline crash and more of his precious nails are casualties of the fall, but he's unable to get up...
"Nom de dieu... de putain de bordel de merde... d'enculer ta mere." O..oh.
Will Marduk spot the orbital bone that he broke earlier, mended, a scant few traces of the bruising remaining? Can he even see, roasted ham that he is?
The European concedes a miserable defeat by draping his arms across his forehead, blocking out the bloated, twisted light, the broad slash of his mouth left visible and his melodic cadence tinged with a rueful note. "I guess that is that, and the exit is that way, oui?" Unless, of course, the grappler plans to murder him? Ash chuckles softly.
He's done, at least for however long it takes to reverse the damage. If Craig Marduk doesn't try anything, then Ash might as well ask him a legitimate question. "Mon ami, you wouldn't happen to know anything about any ancient clans of assassins from China, would you?"
COMBATSYS: Ash takes no action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Ash can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Marduk finish the twist, and rolls off.
Tumbling up from the ground into a stand, he rises up. And immediately, he slams both arms into the air, finishing with a hefty sharp knee. Against the air. After he unleashes the brutal combo into nothing, he lets out a hideous roar. And he stands fast, breathing hard. He looks at his arms, and then lets out a hideous moan. A moan roar. A moar, or a roan. "Why is my skin so red! The fire is GREEN! I should look like the hulk or some kind of shit." Marduk roans again, before looking down at Ash. He vaguely sees the orbital bone he snapped, but doesn't really register the implications. BEsides he got some first degree burns on the eyeballs and that has some hellish cataracts with it. For a moment, he hangs there. ANd then, the heavy footsteps come, as he closes in on the Frenchman.
"What, like Chinese ninja clans?"
Marduk grunts, as he thunders in. "I mean I know Fei Long and Kung Lao, and there might be a Chinese ninja clan getting involved but like, that shit isn't what matters now." Marduk looms over Ash, a harrowing aura boiling off him. Like a hungry wolf, with a trapped fawn? "What matters now, kid, is how we are going to finish this." Marduk scoops up Ash and-
Heaves him over his shoulder.
Giving a tender pat on ASh's back, to make sure he is secure. "You did really well fighting, and I'll be happy to critique you along the way! We're gonna get you put together okay! And in the mean time, I need to talk about your diet! I have a friend, and I bought all of his DVDs with NOL dollars, which are like real dollars but I have to use a special NOL card to do it, and we've been talking a lot about a vegetarian diet. I've been really interested in getting my proteins in with like beans and shit. Do you like vegetables? I bet a kid like you hated eating broccoli growing up! That reminds me of the movie Inside Out-" Marduk prattles on, as he heads to the exit that Ash helpfully pointed out.
Leaving Harvey behind on the bench, lost and forgotten as Marduk finds his new friend.
COMBATSYS: Marduk has ended the fight here.
Log created on 07:02:39 07/19/2022 by Ash, and last modified on 08:44:18 08/09/2022.