Description: What little remained of an abandoned, Remote Village in the depths of the wilderness after its trampling beneath the engines of war was practically plowed into the dust by titans, demons, and more-- and yet, it still hums with the faint, uncanny timbre of spectral potency necessary to play host to the Air Force Ace William Guile and the Mad Engineer Relius Clover as they fight for the right to Descend.
It was a ghost town.
The rotted out village was somewhere far in the desert, across the wasteland. It was always twilight. No, just past twilight, with the faintest suggestion of a hot red sun just below the horizon. It never came. The stench of dust and cedar hung in the air, as the dry wind blew through it. Past the saloon and the stables was the undertaker. Standing there was a pair of coffins sitting upright. And beside them?
The effigy of a widow.
It was an automation, a doll. The iron maiden is clad in the general shape of a dress and a large black headress. She was garbed in black, with a veil over her face, her claw like hands folded in front of her. She was waiting, head lowered by the coffin. There was nobody here, not a spark of life anywhere. How long was she here? What was she waiting for?
Almost as if to answer that question, the lid of one of the coffins swing open.
The Engineer was in his funeral best. He was a blonde-haired man, dressed in a gaudy black and gold ensemble, trimmed with white in case it didn't look loud enough. Billowy black pants tucked over gold boots, with a billowy gold shirt over it. His cloak was black and grey, and upon his face is a bone-white mask. Where his eyes would be were covered by the mask, where a faint white glow flickered out of the eye holes. He takes in a breath, gasping aloud as he pulls himself out from the coffin. The first breath, he realizes, since his death. His death. He strokes his chin, as he looks around, gazing at his gloves briefly.
William Guile doesn't put much stock in ghosts.
Perhaps it's time that he should.
The soldier is dressed in his more uniform today, button up shirt and a tie as well as large aviator shades covering his eyes from the haze all around. As he approaches the coffin, the creak of its opening makes the presence of its occupant known, and yet.
"Wish I could I was surprised in this place." Guile rolls his shoulder. "Relius Clover. From the NOL. Is that right?" A pause. "Your organization sure is investing time and personnel into this tournament." It is not really a question, but neither does it sound especially accusatory.
Relius was brushing off his clothing, when Guile comes.
The scientist purses his lips dismissively at first. Bringing a finger to his temple, he pauses a moment. Gradually, the scowl fades into a grin of understanding, or recognition. "Bill... no, Guile. Yes, yes, it is coming to me." The relationship between the US government and the NOL was strained, though it was hardly any concern of Relius. AS he mentions about the -others- in there, he mirthlessly chuckles. "It's merely a coincidence, I assure you. I came to find a companion for my son." He walks up to his doll, inspecting her, pulling back her veil much like he had at their wedding.
"Instead I found death."
He replaces the veil. "Did you die too, Lieutenant or Master Sergeant or- or whatever your rank is. I was killed by a god, it's all very fascinating." Relius gestures dismissively, as the automation follows along, her head lowered in mock grief. He strides out in the middle of street, taking his positions as if there was going to be a shootout. "And it's in my head that you aren't here to rescue me, but that we are to -fight!- So this is how she intends to run a double elimination." Relius gives a clucking of his tongue as he stops in the street. He looks at the desolate ghost town.
"Doesn't this place even seem like it's out of this world, Guile?"
Guile's brow furrows when Relius speaks up. He purses his lips. His teeth slide across each other briefly, and then he speaks in return.
"Seems like a strange place for a family man."
He found death. Guile's eyes narrow. "I'm not looking to die anytime soon." Guile says, perhaps forebodingly. He straightens his tie, draws his fists up, and assumes a slightly defensive posture.
"This whole tourney seems like a jog into a horror movie."
"Oh, so you haven't experienced death yet, have you."
Relius gives a rather cruel looking smirk on his lips. "I have heard your friend had. Before he came back of course. It's all so... variable, isn't it. Haven't you thought about sharing in that experience?" Relius seems almost teasing. He averts his face, looking away, as he pulls up his mask. The light of his eyes dims, and then, clearly glows brighter, even as he looks away. Replacing his mask, he turns back towards Guile. IN his hand, he holds up two bloody coins. With a flick of the wrist, he leaves only the one.
"It seems the undertaker left those in for the afterlife, hmm mmm."
Holding up the coin, he nods. "Lets call it. Heads, I go first. Tails. You go first. That is one, and two respectively. Oh, I supposed you wouldn't understand what I mean, would you? And yet, it will make sense all the same." He tosses it towards Guile. "I will allow you the flip. A magician never reveals his tricks." A rim of blood oozes from around the eyeholes of his mask.
"But it would seem more fair if we rely on your tricks instead, hm?"
COMBATSYS: Relius has started a fight here.
"I've got better ways to spend my time," Guile answers. "I can't speak for Charlie." The soldier's fists clench tightly at the mention of what happened, but he doesn't speak further. Instead, his attention goes to the matter at hand. A coin is tossed, and Guile catches it in his open palm. He turns it over, holding it up the light and sliding his sunglasses off and into his pocket.
"...seems fair enough, Copperfield," Guile answers, tossing the coin up into the air, then letting it drop back into his hand.
The coin is tossed back into the air, and even as it is, Guile is on the move. Launching himself forward, Guile throws a sharp, sudden knee toward Relius's midsection.
"I fought Kisaragi," he says, flatly.
COMBATSYS: Guile has joined the fight here.
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Guile 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Relius
COMBATSYS: Relius blocks Guile's Knee Bazooka.
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Guile 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Relius
As the coin takes to the air, everything moves in a flash.
Guile makes the first move. The automation remains stationary, unresponsive. Relius's eye gleams, a scowl spreading across his face. Sweeping his cape, a mechanical limb thrusts out from behind his back. Tracing his other hand forward, the mechanical limb barely connects with the surging knee. Slamming into Relius's torso, it breaks the spell before it finishes. Gasping, he glares aside at his automation. Giving a snap, there is... nothing. "You barbarian!" Relius huffs, much with the tone one might give when scolding your young boy. Stepping back, he tears his hand through the air, mystic symbols and runes scattering in the air. Wrapping the cloak around himself, it begins to tighten, constricting him. "How deviously rude! Are you already fighting for your life?" In a flash, Relius surges forward. Before he connects with the soldier, the Engineer's cloak would finally wrap itself up entirely, making him disappear... as the sigils with -rip- through Guile like a beam of light, blasting through the sand like some kind of thermobaric thrashing. "How was he doing, by the way?" An ethereal voice rattles out as Relius attempts to reappear some distance away, up on the second floor balcony overlooking the street. "The Yukainesa has been weighing heavily on his mind, I'm afraid."
"I hope he was acting in a manner becoming of the NOL!"
COMBATSYS: Guile blocks Relius' Led Ley.
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Guile 0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0 Relius
"You already set a dangerous precedent here," Guile answers, back foot grinding into the dirt to keep his balance as he pulls back off the knee. The soldier's eyes dart, following the movement toward the puppet, the appearance of the runes, the tightening of the cloak. Having seen firsthand the power of the NOL through Jin Kisaragi, Guile proceeds with a distinct caution, raising his fists in a defensive boxer's guard as he gradually backsteps away from the man.
And then there the movement, the beam of light. The blond pulls his arms in and guards against it just as he might a fist or a boot, moving into a crouch to better soften the blow.
"He's a soldier, isn't he?" Guile says more than asks. "He did his job, I presume. Blunt. Cold. Maybe a little full of himself, but I hear he has a reputation." The winds whip up around Guile, the soldier gathering power around him. They curl and wind around his fists, power gathering until he punches inward in simultaneous hooks that whip the wind together and turn it into a whirlwind of yellow cutting power that spins toward Relius's perch atop the balcony.
"What's becoming of the NOL, anyway?" Guile asks, flatly.
COMBATSYS: Relius dodges Guile's Sonic Boom.
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Guile 0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0 Relius
Upon the balcony, Relius makes another snap of his fingers.
The automation remains in her mock grieving status. For a moment, there is a flicker of white hot anger under his mask, as he curls his fingers. Whatever he was about to do, or did, is quickly interrupted as Guile neatly sends a sonic boom his way. Sweeping his cloak, it curls aorund him just as the blast obliterates the balcony. Swirling around, he reappears on the ground, staggered slightly as he lands. Two mechanical jacks jut out, as he seems to alternate his focus between Guile and the automation.
"A general superiority, if anything."
He keeps snapping his fingers, over and over, as he shifts his focus between Guile and the doll. The jacks seem to screw in slightly, digging in. "After our enormously successful campaign at stopping that wretched, that wretched... something or another, we saved Southtown, and drove out that hideous vampire. What have the Americans done recently, other than dig up cryptids in a national park." He tries to laugh. But there was a glowing -fury- radiating off the Engineer as he ceases his snapping. He should be focusing on Guile now, but he was transfixed on his disobedient doll. "The NOL has total control over this little tournament. There is nothing you need to worry about. Unless. You've tampered with my Ignis." Wormsign bursts from the dusty trail as tendrils begin to roll along. Claws burst from around Guile's legs, attempting to dig into him. Should they succeed, they would clench tightly, attempting to drag the soldier straight to the glowering Relius. He adjusts his gloves.
Seeming to prepare an more personal interrogation.
COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Guile with Geara Dessico.
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Guile 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
"Tch," Guile says, spreading his feet further apart. He adjusts his footing again, but Relius is on the move. The soldier drives his boot into the ground and spins, turning to face his opponent at a new angle.
"Your what." Guile says, just in time for the claws to bite into his legs and pull him painfully toward the other man. He grits his teeth, swears under his breath, and clenches a fist. The retort is swift and sure, a low hook toward the solar plexus.
"Of course," Guile mutters under his breath. "Trains on time and everything."
COMBATSYS: Relius blocks Guile's Medium Punch.
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Guile 0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
"The Detonator, the doll, I- Nrrgh!"
Relius is in the midst of a lecture as Guile tears in. By his own assistance, in fact. Sweeping his cloak, a mechanical gauntlet surges out, the jacks bracing him in place as the hook shatters the mechanical device. Splinters driving into his body, he leans backwards, a hand across his chest. Drawing it back out, he is holding a small vial of what looks like swirling energy. Scowling furiously, he glowers at Guile. "There is a matter of control that the NOL requires. It needs control to carry out it's mission. And someone has taken away a portion of that control." There is a chill in the air, as he holds up the vial between his index finger and thumb. "I am finding that bug, and eliminating it."
Relius crushes the vial in his hand.
For a second, a choking black mist fills around them. Taking in a deep breath, Relius inhales the thick, coiling vapors, sucking them into him. There is a growl, as he thrusts his hand straight for Guile's neck. Should he manage a grip, he would raise him up, and promptly -drive- a fist squarely into the man's face. Once, twice, three times, before hurling him at the swinging saloon doors. Striding after as the black ichor boils from over his lips, mingled with blood. "Anything that takes our absolute control-"
"-Must be neutralized, for the greater good."
COMBATSYS: Guile fails to interrupt Fierce Punch from Relius with Double Flash EX.
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Guile 0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0 Relius
Guile slips into a crouch, changing his angle of approach. Power gathers again as he waits, looking for an opportunity to counterattack even as Relius changes his position to put Guile at the disadvantage. For a moment, it seems Guile may strike in an opening and push an advantage, aiming to kick through the incoming strike even as Relius prepares himself with alchemical vapors.
But it is too slow, underprepared. The sorcerer's hand grasps his neck and lifts Guile before he can strike, and the chi gathered around his feet disperses. Lifted and slammed, Guile impacts the ground once, twice, three times before he's tossed back into a ragdoll-like tumble.
"It's all about control, isn't it?" Guile wheezes, battered and bloodied. "But what's lost to maintain it?"
Relius's words cut through the air as he strides into the dark, dirty saloon. Blood and black ichor pours from the eyeholes of his mouth; every opening on his body begins to ooze that black poison he inhales. His body swells, muscles surging over his body as the raw strength boils over him. Every breath is soggy and wet. He lets out a whooping cough, nearly solid, tarlike sputum throwing out as he growls over Guile, finally reaching him. He lowers down.
And attempts to lift him back up.
The mad Alchemist, should he succeed in picking up Guile, would begin to press his thumbs into the soldier's throat, at the blood vessels. And there, he would fight and struggle to -squeeze- him by the neck with both hands. To strangle him with his bare, well, gloved hands. All while rasping with choking breath. "What is lost is vestigial. Degenerate, rudimentary, and atrophied pieces; functionless in the course of evolution. An appendix. Pieces that can be replaced and enhanced. Humanity is made to be improved, to be made perfect. To make a perfect and peaceful world." Relius would give up his strangling efforts by trying to slam Guile face down into the bar, holding him there with pure strength. "You know the evil in this world, the unbridled chaos. Why wouldn't you do anything to end it?"
"Why wouldn't you allow it to be bridled?"
COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Guile with Medium Throw.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
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Guile 1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0 Relius
Before Guile can react, Relius is about him again. Blood runs from his forehead to his eyes. Every move seems to be outwitted, or perhaps overpowered, by the alchemist. The soldier's chest rises and falls heavily, but with grim determination he rises back to his feet and gathers power once again. Even as he does, Relius seizes the stray variable by the throat, clutching the man's neck tightly, and raising him up off his feet.
Guile's muscles tense, his neck straining against the grip. He works to get a breath, to focus his power. Yellow, wind-like chi begins to whip around his body, but gradually, like the beginnings of a dust devil in adverse conditions.
"Spoken like a proper tyrant," Guile spits, immediately before snapping out with a leg aimed for Relius's ribs. The kick surges with gathered power, erupting with a slashing, wave-like surge of power as he does. If it creates the opening he delivers another, and a third, before whipping his fist around in another slicing, chi-infused blow to try and free him from the Relius's terrifying, alchemically-infused strength.
COMBATSYS: Guile successfully hits Relius with Knife Edge.
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Guile 0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0 Relius
"Oh how droll!"
Relius's tone was mocking, bemused even as the foul power was corroding his body and soul. And yet, when the kick comes, it actually surprises the scientist. Staggering back, mechanical limbs instinctively begin to jut and flail out, just in time for the surge of power to wash over him. When the fist comes, it knocks Relius sideways, spinning, sending him collapsing into the table. He screams, black bile pouring from his mouth as he slams his fists on the floor.
He gets up, his shirt now leaking that black tar.
"Damn! The seithr is wearing off! And naturally meat head has the briefest glimmer of the absolute working of the universe, the central need for control to stave off against the inevitable entropy, and he blathers balanty! I thought the Air Force was supposed to be where soldiers who could actually -finish- a GED would end up, but it seems every branch of the armed forces has their own idiots."
"You should be slaving yourself for the opportunity to learn from myself!"
He roars, spreading his cloak wide. Two scythe-like blades explode from under his cloak, attempting to carve Guile up like a savage mantis. Cut cut, slice slice, flense flense. Relius snarls as he -rips- them from his body, the mechanical portions oozing that same black ichor. Gripping them like whips, he swings them savagely, brutally, wildly. They extend and slice and dice, the rending storm attempting to drive Guile into an ancient piano as he releases them, hurling them at the soldier. "Yes, yes, I think this would be a perfect opportunity for an experiment!"
"It might even help me get to the bottom of why Ignis is refusing to OBEY!"
COMBATSYS: Guile blocks Relius' Geara Lugia.
[ \\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Guile 0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1 Relius
Guile scowls. "I'm a different kind of specialist, professor," Guile wheezes. It's a bloody, ragged, worn down. He struggles to keep his footing, instead resting on a knee after he lands. The pilot rubs the back of his fist across his jaw, dabbing up blood and spittle as he works up the strength to rise to his feet again.
And yet, almost as soon as he does, the Mad Magician as assaulting him again with an array of spider-like claws lancing into his body, ripping at muscle and flesh and bone. Guile bites down mid-howl to regain his composure as the blades withdraw again.
"An experiment? Is that what you've done to yourself?" Guile leers at Ignis, then spits out more blood. "Or is it the spoils of your earlier loss?" Keep your cool, soldier, he tells himself, even as his mind and heart are pounding. He can hear Charlie Nash chiding him in his head.
The soldier almost seems to hobble toward Relius before springing up in a kick, lashing out with a flare of yellow-chi from his boots as he does, desperate, grasping for a hit.
COMBATSYS: Relius interrupts Flash Kick EX from Guile with Id Lauger.
-+- CALCULATED HIT -+-
[ \ < > ////////////////// ]
Guile 1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1 Relius
No, not impossible. Merely improbable. Even as he recovers from the seithr poisoning his body, Relius keeps his mind keen. As the claws rips and tear at the defenses of Guile, it ultimately fails to pierce his guard. Relius stands fast, staggering backwards, calculating the infinite potentials and outcomes as Guile somehow regains his composure. As Guile hobbles towards him, he braces himself, turning away. As the kick comes, it rips across Relius's flank. Tearing away through the cloak, through the funeral best, it finally slices through to flesh. Blood. Black bile and white ooze, boiling out like a mechanical fluid. Relius hisses in pain. But there is a gleam in those tar-lined sockets. A smirk on those blood-smeared lips.
And a large round portal manifesting, right above his shoulder.
The fist explodes out, a large mechanical gauntlet nearly the size of Guile. Fingers out and extended, it snaps out and -clenches- Guile, trembling as it squeezes brutally on the soldier, before -slamming- him down through the rotten counter of the saloon. The gauntlet continues to keep pressing Guile down, as the wounded Relius approaches. Smug smile on his lips.
"You are done."
The engineer arrogantly declares. "I won't need Ignis for this." The cloak falls away, and several spindly limbs begin to extend from behind him. Long, narrow mechanical limbs, each with a narrow knife at the tip. Scalpels. Needles. Tiny saws, purring softly. "No, no. An experiment. A test of your limits. A -real- test. A real... study." He says cooly, with bedside He gestures his arm, and finally, the gauntlet pulls back through the portal. He leans in, looming over the soldier...
"Let the experiment begi-"
In that moment, the soldier screams. It's a howl of pain and anger as the hand squeezes him, making him feel like every bone and muscle is being squeezed, popped, crushed, jellied. Guile's breathing is labored, strained. He struggles to get enough energy to even move, much less put up a resistance to Relius's machinations. It seems that the engineer is left to his own arcane devices until...
The chi rises like a bolt from the blue. A gathering storm over a once cloudless American prairie. One moment there is nothing, and then...
"HURRICANE!" The words are wheezed, wet. The wind-like chi erupts into a vortex of swirling power that forms a desperate, rippling tornado of power.
COMBATSYS: Guile prepares to take his last stand against Relius!
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Guile 0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1 Relius
COMBATSYS: Guile successfully hits Relius with Sonic Hurricane.
[ \\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Guile 0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1 Relius
Relius is interrupted as the energy of the primal scream tears through him. Instinctively, his operating limbs curl over him as the Sonic energy builds. As the chi rips through, the storm howls over him, the whirling cyclone of power washing across him. Scattering the mechanical limbs to pieces, the Alchemist is send flying up, smashing rudely in a chandilier before collapsing to the floor. Moaning in agony, he smashes a fist on the floorboards. There is coughing, as he grabs at his throat. And as he grips his own throat, his arm trembles.
"How -dare- you."
Pushing himself up on the ground unsteadily, he touches for his spindly limbs. Limbs that were broken, unsusable. His words were firm, cold. And barely containing the rage rippling under the surface. "How dare you break my delicate instruments." He begins touching on the air around him. Sigils start to flare to life. Was he teleporting away? No. As the energy runes burn in the air, his fingers dance, his expression blank. "It seems I will need to seperate the good from the bad, down to your fundemental elements. Your- nnrgh!" He groans, grabbing his throat a moment, the hot wound on his neck oozing white. He struggles to breath now, his larynx damaged. He was unable to speak. To gloat. Cheeks turning red, he drags all ten of his fingers across the sigils, forming a sphere. And with a smooth sweep of both hands, he hurls it straight for Guile. Should it strike him, it would pull him into a small, pocket subspace.
Not the hot sexy kind.
The churning, bladed gears, that would begin to catch and grind into him.
That would keep grinding him, unless he found a way to escape out from the sphere.
COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Guile with Vol Tedo.
- Power hit! -
[ < > ///////////// ]
Guile 1/---====/=======|=------\-------\0 Relius
The attack is desperate, strained, and barely managed--and yet, it fins surprising succeed as chi batters gears and mechanical limbs. Guile breathes heavily, blood and sweat mixing together and running down his face as Relius is, however briefly, driven backward. Guile, for one moment, manages a smile. A grit-teethed, strained smile.
The sphere hits Guile solidly in the chest. There is no room to dodge, to guard, to do anything but to take the attack head on as it explodes in a burst of dark purple-and-black energy. The soldier disappears into a realm of gears.
For a moment, the man is gone, lost in a sea of brass and blood, surrounded by endless, shifting gears. It seems as though the battle has come to an end.
That is, until a final three Flash Kicks rip through time and space and back toward Relius. The soldier himself does not reappear.
COMBATSYS: Guile can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Relius blocks Guile's Flash Explosion.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
Relius waits this time.
He waits. Not in fear, no, not because he is -afraid- of Guile. It would be ridiculous, just as ridiculous as if Guile could manage to come out of that portal. Relius approaches the portal, his hand extended. Watching. Studying. It was impossible. IT should be impossible. But everything up to this point, the cheated death, the disobediance of Ignis, and Guile resisting his control- the lack of control was impossible. He had absolute control. Guile would fall into the mill, and be churned away. He wouldn't come back.
The but, the hesitation, was enough. It was just barely enough. Like an explosion, the flash kick rips out from the portal. Relius brings his arm over his face. Tearing across his arm, the second charges out, knocking him off balanced. He tries to groan, but his throat won't even allow that with dignity. The third comes out, and it tears into his abdomen... where a last, flimsy metal limb is smashed to pieces, shards digging into his chest. Relius staggers back, black and white blood oozing from his body. He stares into the portal, expression blank.
One could almost feel the rage boiling off his stoic features.
When the portal ejects Guile properly, he will be bloodied, torn up with the grace of a man bellyflopping into a wood chipper. Immediately, Relius opens another portal as he enters. Another portal into the gear dimension, another portal into the mill. In a few moments, Guile is ejected again. Bloodier. Bonier. ALmost hamburger in consistency. There is not much opportunity to explore the extent of the damage.
For another portal opens up the moment he comes in.
Guile was falling, he would be falling from the churning gears back into the beginning. Over and over. And every time, Relius would wait and think. Reflect, on every insult, every mistake. And who to blame. And how to blame. By the fourth time, there isn't any loose blood, just organs mashed with flesh and bone. By the seventh, there isn't any meat, only tendons, hair, and fractured bone. By the ninth, Relius extends his bloodied, broken hand out. A single skull, half broken comes tumbling out, bearing the tattered and torn remains of the scalp, with the iconic hairdo of the soldier. Relius catches it, and stares at it. Frowning. And he shakes his head.
Before tossing it back into the portal for a tenth and final time.
COMBATSYS: Relius has ended the fight here.
Log created on 20:39:50 08/16/2022 by Relius, and last modified on 11:34:08 08/25/2022.