The Descent - Round 4 - This Burning Land

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Description: Parts of Japan's Chubu-Sangaku National Park have been all but quarantined for months due to sightings of strange creatures, an uptick in wildlife attacks, and a number of strange accidents occurring in the region. Something as silly as a police cordon is unlikely to prevent the World's Most Wanted, Ragna the Bloodedge and Iori Yagami, the Tainted Flame from seeking the site of their opportunity to Descend, however. Deep in the forbidden reaches of Chubu-Sangaku lies the Garden of Shells, an idyllic patch of untouched wild that thirsts for blood-- a gorgeous grove of flora and fauna precision-engineered for violence. It's here - beset by cruel, beautiful nature and bestial urges - that the two outlaws will meet.

Chubu-Sangaku National Park, closed to the public over concerns of strange creatures, accidents and vicious animal attacks. This has not stopped Iori Yagami, heir to the ancient Yakasani, from coming here. It's apparently for two reasons. The hot spring he was sent to by proxy is in this area, and his next fight on the path of Descension is here.

He stands in a clearing, his face twisted into a grimacing scowl. He can feel it, the touch of Orochi. The same touch that burns in his blood and has tainted his fire violet. It's thick and cloying and already has his hackles up as far as they'll go. The taint in his blood loves it, craves it and wants more. The rest of him is furious, full of bile and hate for this place and the foul miasma that flows through it.

Thusly, in the clearing he's chosen as a fighting stage, he paces like a wounded, caged big cat. He looks like he's ready to tear the hand off of the next person to touch him, and to go for the throat if given the chance.

Is there much point to prowling through this tournament anymore?

Each place he goes, the less fruit he walks out with, so to speak. Nothing is wielding much result beyond his encounter with Hazama, and... well. That didn't go smoothly whatsoever. The endeavour to track down NOL operatives and bases and destroy them is yielding zip.

So yeah. Ragna is a little pissed when he comes strolling into the mysterious park, shrouded in a thick aura of taint and misery that keeps the average person from just wandering in willy nilly.

Of course, he has to be fighting someone in another dingy, creepy-ass place. At the very least, he may potentially have to deal with the odd rabid animal or two. No supernatural entities are here to rob him of his wits.


As far as any of that goes, though, he is in the clear. Creatures haven't come crawling out of the blue, waiting to surprise him at every turn. What does garner his attention as he approaches a wide-spread field is a prowler of sorts, skulking about in the dreary, downtrodden sprigs of grass.

The Grim Reaper quirks an eyebrow curiously but advances nonetheless, meeting his opponent with a level heterochromatic stare.

Looks like he'll be fighting a different type of animal today.

Fingers curling into tight fists, he holds them steady at his sides while his feet pad to a stop beside a wilting lone flower. The red-cladded renegade regards the challenger with a moment's quiet, then starts with, "You look about as ready to get this over with as I feel. Sooner I beat you, the sooner I get the fresh hell outta here. Let's get started, then?" The broadsword attached to his back hostler is unfastened, the tip pointed towards his adversary with intention.

The resonance and dissonance of his own chi to this place is maddening. Half of him wants to throw up in disgust, the other half wants to bathe in blood. It's not hard to guess which side will win. As Ragna enters the field, Iori spits on the ground, trying to get the foul taste from his mouth, but it just won't go. Even the crescent moon on the back of his jacket looks sickly somehow. When the most wanted man in the world speaks, Yagami turns, his dark eyes glinting a sickly, reflective yellow for an instant.

"Yeah. Fine. This place is tainted by Orochi. I don't care how strong you are, he can get his claws in you."

Clearly he's afflicted. Regardless, he moves closer as Ragna unsheathes his massive sword, bringing his hands up to the ready. Violet embers lick at his fingertips as he meets the Bloodedge's stare without flinching, his eyes showing the barest hint of ... panic? This is a hard man who finds himself feeling like a trapped animal and is ready to fight his way out with whatever brutality it takes.

COMBATSYS: Iori has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Iori             0/-------/-------|

Well, this guy certainly looks... uh. Pleasant.

Not unlike anyone else he's had to fight in this god forsaken tournament thus far, honestly. What else is new?

"Whatever you say, buddy." Though he says this, there is something entirely off-putting about this location. Like a sickly aura is tainting the place, and apparently, it seems to be affecting his opponent in a way that Ragna can't quite comprehend. There is an animalistic presence at large, something he can sense might utterly rip him apart - as Iori has just informed him.

All he has to do is avoid those claw-like fingers, sparking with bright purple chi... right?


COMBATSYS: Ragna has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Iori             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0            Ragna

With that, the Grim Reaper kicks off from the ground, massive greatsword swinging around about part way and then, quite suddenly, he spins. As a result, the sword begins curving upwards from the ground with a broad slash of energy bursting off the metal edge that barrels towards the Violet Flame, tearing up grass on its merry way over.

COMBATSYS: Iori blocks Ragna's Dark Edge.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Iori             0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0            Ragna

Ragna is clueless to the danger that Orochi taint gives. It's a blessing and a curse. A blessing because the less he knows of the sealed(?) dark god, the better. The worse because he will not be prepared for the effects of his touch. Though he's probably about to get a secondhand taste of it.

The Bloodedge barrels in swinging that massive sword in one hand, dragging it upwards, the edge bursting into an anti-brilliant blaze of energy. Iori, adgitated as he is, seems focused. The edge comes, and he crosses his arms in front of him, both arms bursting into brilliant violet fire. The energies mix and meet, cancelling out, but the physical strike itself impacts and sends Yagami sliding backwards on the balls of his feet, digging furrows into the tainted earth. Somehow his jacket remains intact.

His eyes narrow slightly and he moves, long and quick strides bringing him close (hopefully) before Ragna can recover from the momentum of the swing. He rakes out to grasp the other man's collar, and with a wicked twist of his hips, hurl him forcefully into a nearby stump.

COMBATSYS: Iori successfully hits Ragna with Kuzukaze.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Iori             0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0            Ragna

Yeah, well, an outlaw can't keep up with everything, now can he?

Besides, NOL is the apple of his eye. Not some tainty, mysterious God that bestows bizarre and unyielding damaging energy. It is true, however, that he has no idea what to expect regarding being in the atmosphere of such a power, but surely he is about to find out.

Maybe. Probably.

Swiftly, Ragna attempts to set the pace, bringing down that sword with the intention of blasting his adversary away. This isn't quite accomplished, only pushing him back some short feet and likely creating leverage for him to stride in closer with those lanky limbs. The distance between them is rapidly closed.

And now exactly how he wanted things to go.

The Grim Reaper awkwardly swivels his torso, attempting to come between himself and Iori before that claw-like grip secures itself around the collar encasing the column of his neck. Unfortunately, he can't quite get himself in the way, which allows that brief interlude in which digits fasten around the fabric, tightly.

A funny sight, really, for witnesses to behold, should they see a man heaving up another man - one that is taller than him, no less - and outright slamming him into a nearby wooden stump. The jagged edges splinter into his body, impaling on the surface and scraping along as he slumps over the edge of the trunk. Heterochromatic eyes spin in a light daze, unable to register immediately that he is somewhat enfeebled by Yagami in this position.

How unfortunate for him.

Getting his wits about him, the renegade remains briefly rooted where he's hovering, only to suddenly back up a half-step and thrust an elbow backwards with the intent of slamming squarely in the Violet Flame's sternum.

COMBATSYS: Iori interrupts Quick Strike from Ragna with Yumebiki.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Iori             0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1            Ragna

Iori releases Ragna immediately after the twist. He takes a couple short steps back, seemingly already breathing hard. It can't be that he's winded already, can it? No, it has to be about the spiritual miasma in the air. His eyes flicker yellow briefly as Ragna gets back up and shakes the splinters off. It's probably good that the other man is not at all talkative. Iori wouldn't be much of a conversationalist right now anyway.

Ragna comes again, this time with an elbow. It strikes and something in his chest audibly pops, but his reaction is swift and brutal. As the elbow strikes, Iori raises both of his hands high, fingers clawed, and he rakes them violently downward. At the bottom of his strike, he pivots, swinging a backfist at the other man's face.

It seems like the longer this goes, the more brutal, the closer -something- is to happening. Whatever it is probably won't be good.

Well, this isn't going in his favour.

In truth, Ragna probably should have anticipated that he needed to show up to the fight already with his Grimoire fully activated, and here he is, facing the consequences of that choice.

Brutalised by fiercely intended claws, the outlaw barely has time to respond to their impact before a fist meets with his cheek. The combination of such an onslaught burns, hot blood pooling to where he's been sliced and punched. A fresh purple bruise already rises to the surface of his cheek bone in the shape of Iori's fist, and his backside aches dully from being pierced through.

Just how much of an animal IS this guy?

"God dammit," the renegade grits through the pain, having stumbled a few paces forward from the hit to his face. Refusing to waste time, the blackened glove of his right hand shoots out in front of him. A glistening red orb shimmers with otherworldly power as he announces himself.

"Restriction 666 released!" Heterochromatics glisten suddenly with that strange power, as if he's tapped into it and opened the gates for it to come through. "Dimensional interference field deployed." A rush of violet chi surges at his feet, whirling like a small tornado around him. Speckles of blood spray out as his jacket rustles, silver strands from his bang trickle across his forehead.

"Azure Grimoire activate!" The Black Beast roars within, the strength unleashing from within the Boundary, igniting the renegade in dark oozy energy that emits from him in thick, pulsating waves.

Animal versus animal. Let's go.

COMBATSYS: Ragna returns to his normal state.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Iori             0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1            Ragna

As Ragna stumbles back and activates his ... Whatever that is, Iori shakes his head like he's trying to clear it. He breathes sharply and shallow through his nose, trying to keep it together. He seems to be off, but managing, until the power from the Boundary begins to radiate. Whether it interacts with the Orochi taint in some way, or the feel of it messes with Yagami's head enough that he just can't focus anymore. He can't stop the inevitable.

He rears back, splaying his arms and howls wordlessly to the sky. When he straightens, it's not very straight. He's hunched forward, animalistic, and when he looks at Ragna again, his eyes glow an unholy yellow. His hands burst into violet flames, casting harsh and unearthly shadows around him.

With no fanfare and absolutely no guile (or Guile), Iori charges Ragna, almost going to all fours like some kind of beast. He tries to get in close, ramming those clawed fingers for the Bloodedge's torso to rake them upwards, trailing flames.

Up close, he's a sight. His expression is maddened, like a wounded animal cornered by fire. It's not quite terror, but the raw brutality of survival at any cost and the fury of that survival being in jeopardy. Is Iori even in there anymore?

COMBATSYS: Ragna interrupts Sakahagi from Iori with Gauntlet Hades EX.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Iori             0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>-\1            Ragna

Perhaps if Iori was sane of mind - or even cared in the first place - he'd likely notice how similar he is to Ragna.

It's not like the outlaw likes to fight. His desire to do so stems out of a great need to protect those he cares about, while satisfying the issue of ensuring no one else at NOL could hurt people the way he has. Deep within, he's cursed with this maniacal beast, and although it may not be some mysterious and elusive God that bound his way to Yagami through bloodline pacts, it still is something that gnaws at him. Seeps life from him, and from whomever he challenges.

Blessings and curses. Surely, the Bloodedge could speak tenfold to this.

With his Grimoire activated, however, the mind is flooded with the power of the Black Beast, which surges forth almost as aggressively as the Violet Flame's approach in some attempt to brutalise him further.

Refusing to withstand another onslaught of deadly fiery claws which are absolutely intent on ripping him to shredded meat, the Grim Reaper hunches his torso in order to leverage himself and his massive sword up from the ground as he leaps rather grandly into Iori's advancement. When close enough, his Aramasa uppercuts with an aerial-infused energy slice, the blackened chi exploding all around during the impact.

In the aftermath of that, a surprise comes for Yagami as Ragna's leg juts out into a fierce kick, smacking into his opponent's ribcage. Swiftly, he descends to the earth, dirt kicking up on impact.

Iori is in full, unhinged Riot of the Blood. The Orochi taint is warring with his nature as a bearer of a Sacred Treasure, and it's driving him mad. His breath is a raspy growl as he goes for Ragna, and he's not... -human- enough to adjust his tactics. The massive blade swings up, the energy wave catching him hard. It's not enough to stop him, just slow him. Without the kick, he honestly might have gotten through. The swinging foot catches him in the chest, more or less where the elbow got him before, and he goes reeling to the ground.

Iori scrambles back to his feet, his shirt burned open. His arms burst into fire as he races back at Ragna, leaping into the air and clasping his hands. He swings both arms down in a violent smash at the Bloodedge's head. He roars like some kind of hellbeast. A demon. The Tainted Flame.

COMBATSYS: Ragna blocks Iori's Tsumagushi.

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Iori             0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Ragna

"The hell are you?" The Grim Reaper has to wonder out loud. All sense of what is human is completely gone from his opponent, and now that he's had a proper chance to look, the physical changes to Iori's appearance are a tad bit more noticeable.

That doesn't mean he understands what is going on...

Although... does this strange miasma in the air have anything to do with it?

Ragna can speculate until he turns blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that none of it is incredibly important at this exact second. What he needs to focus on is this unhinged violent man that is determined to ensure his suffering and destruction.

Not today, buddy.

Deep within, the Black Beast roars to life. The tremendous power coursing thickly through his veins moves his Grimoire arm up as if he were to slash into Yagami, but something else occurs instead. A nightmare of a claw extends up from his own hand, shielding the crown of his head from the impact that could have taken him earthbound just from force alone.

Whatever he is dealing with now, it ain't pretty.

Whether the Tainted Flame returns to the ground or not, Ragna pays no mind. Instead, he swaps grips on Aramasa and launches into his next attack. The metal shines despite the dingy and dark atmosphere that surrounds them as it swings around, scraping the dirt and slicing blades of grass on its way up. Trickling down from his hand is that raven-coloured chi, infusing the sword with the power from the Boundary...

And shoots it in a massive blast off the weapon the second it parts from the earth, fully intent on barreling right into the bearer of the Sacred Treasure!

COMBATSYS: Ragna successfully hits Iori with Inferno Eradicator.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Iori             1/----===/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0            Ragna

Iori does hit the ground after the blow, bouncing off the chi construct and hitting the dirt on his feet. His boots scrape the ground as he hunches, panting like a labored animal. Flames still lick up his arms, pulsing withthe vile heartbeat of the miasma in this area. Whoever decided that Iori Yagami, tainted of blood, should fight in an area boiling with Orochi chi is a fiend. Were Ragna not as potent as he is, this could be a lot worse for whoever else he may have fought.

But it isn't over yet.

The wave of black power that bursts from the Aramasa is huge and destructive. Iori, in his Riot of the Blood, barrels right into it, flaring his flames higher to combat it, but all that seems to do is let him get through the wave without being thrown by it. As he comes through the other side, as if he wasn't ghoulish before, his appearance is now ghastly. His sallow skin is burnt in places, and blood seeps from his eyes, ears and nose, trailing down his face in a macabre display.

He rushes the Bloodedge down, skimming low to the earth before he throws himself skywards, flames trailing from his fingers as he spirals up. He somehow seems to force himself to the ground, roaring wordlessly before he strikes again.

He moves faster than humanly possible, spinning to drive an elbow at Ragna, continuing the spin to lash out with his other arm to throw him to the ground. Regardless of whether the outlaw hits the ground, a pillar of violet chi and fire erupts from below, rising to the sky and resonating with the miasma.

COMBATSYS: Iori blitzes into action and acts again!

[                         \\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Iori             1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0            Ragna

COMBATSYS: Iori successfully hits Ragna with Oniyaki.

[                         \\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Iori             1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>----\1            Ragna

COMBATSYS: Ragna interrupts Kototsuki In from Iori with Devoured by Darkness EX.

[                                < >  ///////////                   ]
Iori             1/--=====/=======|>>>----\-------\0            Ragna

It's kind of hard to judge the recklessness Iori is displaying in this fight. Clearly, the guy is under some strange influence that is beyond the understanding of the Grim Reaper, but whatever it is, it certainly is escalating things further and further as they go along.

Almost as though with each passing second pushed Yagami into a dangerous realm of something unspeakable...

Oh, the parallels.

As his opponent emerges from the summoned blast of chi, the Tainted Flame's state of affairs actually surprises Ragna. The last thing he could have expected out of that is absolutely not what he's seeing, with blood trickling out of the orifices and creating a rather disturbing crimson mess.

It doesn't even stop there.

Once more, the demonic presence is upon him. The Shinigami sees the attack before it's coming, determining that his chances for avoiding it outright or knocking it away aren't all that fruitful. In his attempt to wade through the blow, guard fiercely up, the elbow drives deep. His sternum immediately speckles with deep purple bruises upon impact, the breath stolen from him and leaving him wholly winded as he skids and tumbles back slightly, nearly landing square in the dirt.

He doesn't have time to focus on it. Iori is moving quickly, so Ragna regains his footing enough to position himself in a fully offensive stance. The red gem glistens on his right hand, enveloping the corresponding arm in dark chi that transforms the entirety of the limb into a ginormous animal-like claw. The tendril-like digits slice down across Yagami's front in order to stun and completely halt any advancement for juuuust a moment...

That is, for enough time for him to secure a grip over that red head, tightening so that the outlaw is able to lift all of the shorter man's body weightlessly off the ground. For however long he is able to do this, the Black Beast leeches subtly the life force within the raging beast...

And then? Iori is blasted away in an explosion that forces him to let go.

This combat has been nothing but sheer brutality from both sides. One because he has no choice, and the other because he must to survive. This area is vile, twisted with the chi of an old, sealed god. A god that desires nothing but the end of humanity, one whose nature is incompatable with that of humans. The mixing of the overwhelming power of Orochi and the power of the bearer of the Jewel has driven Iori mad. So mad that he cannot, will not, stop until his body gives up entirely.

His blindingly fast strikes, more or less, do what they are supposed to. Until Ragna grabs him by the head and lifts him. (This is a bit weird because Iori is only an inch shorter than the outlaw.) Life force leeches directly from Yagami and it's in this moment that, even filtered through the Grimoire, Ragna can feel the sickness of the Orochi taint. The maddening slide of scales on scales. The fingers that leech into the mind. The Grimoire saves him from the taint, but not the knowledge of how it feels.

With a mighty roar, Iori frees himself by pulling fingers from around his head, and he hops back. He is a ruin of a man. Gaunt, bloody and the yellow glow of his eyes guttering like a candle. How he is still upright is anyone's guess. He breathes heavily, drawing in a terrible breath of the miasma, likely ruining his life further, but it seems to give him a little more energy to move.

His hands erupt in fire once again as he pours all he has into this last shot. He throws himself at Ragna, lashing out in a blinding flurry of claw strikes, throwing his head at the other man's nose repeatedly. It's a berserk, last stand, flurry.

All the while, he laughs like a madman.

Soon enough, his energy is spent. With little fanfare on his end, Iori collapses bonelessly, utterly spent, breathing shallowly. He's alive. ... Mostly.

COMBATSYS: Iori can no longer fight.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ragna            0/-------/----<<<|

COMBATSYS: Ragna blocks Iori's Yaotome.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Ragna            0/-------/--<<<<<|

Admittedly, it's a bit unsettling, this newfound sensation that seeps from Yagami as Ragna forcefully takes the life from him. Such a feeling is unlike anything he's ever experienced, and although it doesn't seem to be affecting him in the same manner as it does his opponent, the understanding that this is perhaps what drives the man to madness.

... Totally fair, honestly. This power feels tainted as fuck, and rightfully so, from a god that simply wants the destruction of all.

Sigh. Why does he keep attracting and fighting these crazed weirdos? Having a brother with an insane streak is enough as it is!

... But at least he's not been kicked in the junk so far (thanks, Jin). Probably shouldn't complain.

This estranged power subtly disappears from the Grim Reaper, but it does no such thing for Iori. The miasma feeds the craze, pushing the jewel-bearer forth in a final attempt at taking him down. In a last ditch effort to avoid taking the blows, he acts a little recklessly in his defense, in that he ends up ditching Aramasa to free up both hands. Each palm is used to deliberately push and shove Iori's forearms from him, occasionally catching a sharpened nail that splits the fabric of his gloves and bites into supple skin underneath.

Somehow, he manages to bypass most of the headbutting by craning his neck somewhat extensively, which might ache later but well worth it to avoid a concussion... and when Iori is done?

Ragna still stands, although barely so, and becomes first-hand witness to the animalistic man collapsing wholly to the earth, unmoving.

"... Welp," he sighs, itching his cheek as the high of the Black Beast begins to ebb away and the clarity of the moment trickles back into his consciousness in the aftermath of the fight. "Poor bastard."

COMBATSYS: Ragna takes no action.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Ragna            0/-------/--<<<<<|

COMBATSYS: Ragna has left the fight here.

Log created on 22:11:34 09/01/2022 by Ragna, and last modified on 06:34:28 09/07/2022.