The Descent - Round 4 - Soylent Red

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Description: Kain and Raiden clash in a oubliette touched by death and blood in a test of masterful, terrifying power, combat capacity, and-- ... philosophy? (Winner: Kain)

So much blood.

So much pain.

Yet the tournament continues. Every warrior in this tournament is fighting for something - glory, skill, their realm, their position...or to simply be the best in the world. Yet, amid that number, there were a select few that was there purely for the sake of saving the world. The realms must remain in perfect balance - there must be no risk to that balance.

So the Thunderer once more marches to battle.

Dressed in his robes of white, blue, black, and gold, Raiden descends from the heavens with the storm's fury and vengeance, landing firmly upon the ground with his hand raised, as if he rode the lightning itself. Yet, when he arrives, he arrives in a room filled with meat hooks, a scent of blood and gore.

Eyes like thunder search for his opponent, the Thunderer standing strong, even if the remains of the dead call for peace...there will be no peace.

Glory. Skill. Wild ambition. Even the defense of realms reined by entropy, a slow, long spiral in dogmatic service to a status quo that is, for all its faults, preferable to many of the malignant alternatives on offer.

Kain Heinlein discussed it at some length with Liu Kang-- though the White Lotus was not precisely amenable to the idea that he was a sacrifice, a safeguard, when he might become a revolutionary; an engineer of something greater. And now, a force of nature, a different kind of guardian, an ancient variant of these safeguards and shepherds.

When Kain steps from around a dangling, disturbing meat hook in the wake of Raiden's thunderous arrival, one's first question might be how such a man could have concealed himself in this space at all, the firestorm within him tied to the cosmic might of distant stars; to the overwhelming shadowed chill of the vast spaces between.

Dressed in black, accented by silver-gray and royal blue, the finely suited blonde pyromancer surveys the thunder god with no air of reverence or awe-- but instead the quiet respect of one who considers himself a peer, one here to judge as well as be judged. One here to fight for his own purposes, veiled in philosophy and patient agenda.

"Raiden." The name is spoken with a degree of that subtle enigma, "Welcome once more to the realm of the mortal; to the trials of combat. I am honored by this meeting, and the conflict it heralds." Straightforward politesse is also colored by the oblique, by the unspoken details of just //what// Kain might mean by that.

Two entities far greater than the earth itself meet. Yet, the blonde pyromancer greets him in a sort of deference, though at the same time, it may be seen as blatant challenge. Yet, Raiden's eyes turn to face him with some regard - it's a difficult feat to hide here at all, more or less be covered by the scent of blood that not even Raiden could pick him out immediately.

Given time, that may yet be a different story.

He approaches his opponent. "Kain Heinlein." Raiden speaks his voice - through his guardianship, he knows every human alive. They say Raiden is Omniscient and while that may or may not yet be true, he still knows Kain's name.

He's a potential threat.

"It is a shame perhaps, that I must face you. We could speak at length about the nature of this world and thte battles it must endure."

COMBATSYS: Raiden has started a fight here.

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Raiden           0/-------/-------|

Few beings in any realm rival Kain's mastery of the flows of chi, whether it be sensing, guiding, or wielding-- but surely, Raiden is in that number. Given a moment longer, it is unlikely the masterful pyromancer's aura could be hidden; assuming he was, indeed, hiding in the first place. Rather than simply sending a softly spoken message in subtle action. "Indeed." Heinlein readily agrees-- the projected baritone coming only in tones of sincerity over flattery or accommodation. The thunder god is something of an enigma.

"Most with your power seek to rule whatever they might seize-- to mould all those they can defeat to their own vision, by violence, coersion, or dogmatic indoctrination." Concepts that certainly overlap-- and far too often. Interestingly, while not an ancient deity himself, the words could most definitely be echoed right back at Heinlein, and accurately. Yet here they both are. "You see something in humanity, beyond the preservation of our dimensional bounds." Kain hypothesizes openly. Or perhaps declares, again, into a mirror.

"The fondness for one's pets, or something greater?" Perhaps meeting in conflict does not entirely preclude the other pursuits, the philosophical; perhaps such combat only aids in truly assessing the measure of one another. Kain's hair rushes upwards, outwards of its own accord even before he moves, as if a conduit to those stellar furnaces had opened within him, a circuit roaring both ways-- inward, outward. The meat hooks sway. The sudden, surging breeze is at once warm, and chill.

It lasts only until Kain twists about, launching forward parallel with the ground in a flying kick aligned with Raiden's center mass. Then, the currents of chi flow inwards like an abrupt, immediate whirlpool, suffusing him. A plume of indigo flame, glowing intensely despite its darkness does less to illuminate the room-- and more to seize what dim lighting existed before to its singular existence. It strikes like a warhead, a brilliant eruption of celestial flame; the kind of weapon with which humankind has always fought the gods.

Always forged new branches to its destiny.

COMBATSYS: Kain has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

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Raiden           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Kain

COMBATSYS: Kain successfully hits Raiden with Schwarzer Stob.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Raiden           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0             Kain

Raiden stares down his opponent, a step neither taken nor given. Yet, Kain has a measure about him as he hypothesizes openly about Raiden's intentions for humanity. "Humanity is a much beloved creation. Neither pet nor master, a completely unique design. I would protect them from the dangers of other worlds and danger from themselves. I have done so since before immemorial, yet..."

"I must do so again."

The celestial firebird of a strike finds purchase in Raiden's chest, knocking him back into a far wall which immediately encases the Thunderer in stone. After a moment, the Elder God removes himself from the hardened rock. "You are aware of the old ways." A true challenge.

Raiden must respond. His hand stretches out and lightning rips free from his hand, charging towards Kain as if to return the well-strike!

COMBATSYS: Kain blocks Raiden's Lightning.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Raiden           0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0             Kain

"Seems such a mandate would require attention and action nearly every moment of every day across those eons." Kain observes, somewhere between sympathetic and dubious. Humanity has hardly thrived free of threats from within, or without, in that time. But the world does love its champions.

The answer to the kick comes in the form of a crackling bolt of lightning, one Heinlein intercepts prematurely, willfully, with an outstretched hand, clenching violently, painfully from the current. The spasming impact surges up that limb, but not through the rest of him, its chi dispersed, nullified after that initial bruising contact to ground itself out unexpectedly in the pyromancer's tensed arm.

"Only some of the old ways, I'm afraid." A degree of humility-- or simply further awareness, a statement of fact. Heinlein is far from ageless, and far from omniscient, though the unusual crimelord has his own ways of projecting both, in certain instances.

"Over the years, new struggles compound old trials, mutations of avarice and the same failed strictures, time and again; corrupt and weak. Does the Realm stand ready, Thunder God? Outside the promise and potential, the self-sacrifice of a chosen few?" Both honed intentionally for that purpose-- and arising in spite of the world's cyclical descent around them. Rich, crimson eyes study Raiden intently-- both discerning the god's own emotions and core, and the being's next, dangerous actions.

COMBATSYS: Kain calculates his next move.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Raiden           0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0             Kain

Kain blocked the lightning!

That hasn't happened yet with any of his opponents.n Kain is strong. Though strangely, he well-defines Raiden's duty as the God of Thunder, the Elder God tasked with protecting Earthrealm from dangers beyond it and within. His love o humans keeps the planet from imploding on itself. Yet, Raiden stands tall, looking at his opponent as he mentions that he only knows /some/ of the old ways...from when humanity attempted to overthrow the Gods. They largely failed, but not before many lesser deities were slain.

"Time will tell."

Raiden comments, though suddenly, he charges Kain, his fists stretched outward as he flies towards him! His intent? To tackle this man through the back wall and the one behind it if he's lucky!

COMBATSYS: Raiden successfully hits Kain with Divine Power EX.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Raiden           0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1             Kain

"One might argue... time has already told much on the subject." It's a fair position to take, given the trends of human history, and the somewhat rickety structures of even the most modern civilizations.

Kain has little time to broach such an argument, however, as his mastery of energy and battle is put to a more direct test-- and the superman-striking embodiment of the maelstrom drives the pyromancer into the opposite stone wall in turn, a reverberating crack sounding, showing through the stonework.

It forces air from Heinlein's lungs-- but rather than being stunned, he defiantly gulps for more. It threatens to knock his footing out from under him, but Kain is scarcely knelt. Pushing past the pain, he answers Raiden's renewed offensive with a deceptively simple thrust of one arm, fingertips curling, clenching.

From along that arm twin tendrils of celestial fire orbit in diametric opposition, clashing-- nay, merging-- between the statuesque blonde's clasping fingertips in a sudden, surging bloom of flaring flame of purple and indigo mingled to midnight.

Twin comets circle wildly about the fused miniaturized star-heart as the blast is projected forward, intent on consuming the ancient deity in conflagration; exploding Raiden right back the way he came.

COMBATSYS: Kain knocks away Raiden with Schwarze Flamme.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Raiden           0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1             Kain


Raiden successfully tackled Kain right into that wall with Raiden now standing over him, though hardly knelt, Kain manages to push some kind of celestial fire from the orbit of a dying star between him and Raiden, managing to blast the God right back from whence he came, causing Raiden to roll along the ground until he rises to his feet, his hand moving for his chest to inspect the fire damage.


He hums as he clenches his fist. The flame of purple and indigo. Curious.

Suddenly, he clenches his fist and from behind Kain, as if it travelled through the metal, lightning so hot as if to appear white comes to strike him at his side! It would buy the God some time to recover. Cosmic flames are not to be trifled with.

COMBATSYS: Kain blocks Raiden's White Lightning EX.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Raiden           0/-------/=======|=======\====---\1             Kain

The Art of the Dark Void. Unlike many weapons, literal and metaphorical, on such a tier, Kain's power owes its existence to no singular entity. No fang of an ancient, long dead god. No well of demonic or celestial strength. No bloodline tied to the cyclical whims of any particular, nigh-unfathomable being.

It comes instead from not only discipline and prodigious talent-- but unusual grasp and understanding of the deep lore. That the distance between the uncountable suns burning all around them, the vastness of the cold expanse between, is an illusion of matter and the limited perceptions of a human. All of it is connected; and Kain Heinlein its capable conduit.

Lightning surges from the ground, and Heinlein twists to meet it, bracing his arms against the striking bolts. As before, his muscles tense to the point of threatening to tear-- his suit is singed-- his flesh beneath, thoroughly bruised. But he endures, diffuses, deflects the majority of the massive current as if swallowed within that hungry expanse, leaving localized control of the coalescent chi in Kain's expert grip.

"Impressive-- and worthy of your reputation." Kain observes matter-of-factly. His hands come together before him as he twists to face Raiden anew, spreading as a searing sphere of dark flame erupts in the space left vacant-- and then occupied by Heinlein's leading elbow as the pyromancer rides the resultant wave-- or rather, drives it forward.

An erupting, explosive impact threatens Raiden's ribcage as his opponent closes the gap between them in less than the blink of an eye. "But simple stewardship has long failed; the Earth must build something better, stronger, with our own will and potential!"

COMBATSYS: Kain successfully hits Raiden with Schwarze Panzer.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Raiden           1/-----==/=======|=======\=======\1             Kain


Kain had blocked the lightning that seered at his clothes and the skin on his arm, but did little damage elsewise. He endured the pain of divine lightning that smited so many others before him. Strangely enough, Raiden rises to his full height, his eyes narrowing as he prepares himself for the response. With his words of humans needing to learn how to build and survive and thrive without the existence of Gods, Raiden's eyes widen.

The explosive impact strikes Raiden clean, tearing his robes down to the skin and searing the flesh underneath, knocking him far back through multiple walls until he finally hits the ground. He remains still for a moment before he rises to his feet. With a clench of his fists, he rises to his feet, long white hair exposed thanks to the sudden removal of his hat, and blood dripping from his lip.

"....You are strong, human."

Lightning gathers above and below, all being drawn to Raiden as the heavens quite literally explode to life. Raiden has not needed to use this in three lifetimes. Lightning collects and strikes continuously into Raiden's hands until a full dragon appears around him, shattering the environment around him.

The energy dragon around him is suddenly thrown forward as the energy that is the living storm itself rampages towards Kain, threatening to devour him!

COMBATSYS: Kain blocks Raiden's #Godly Essence#.

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Raiden           0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Kain

'Little damage' is relative. To being scorched and electrified bodily by Raiden's lightning? Yes, Kain gets off light. Compared to swatting aside lesser fireballs and waves of energy? Well. The agony to muscle and sinew is, to put it mildly, tangible even without discounting such relative scales. Particularly when the Stormbringer summons forth exponentially more current, channels a dragon of angriest sky and darkest cloud to strike at Heinlein as purest electricity.

"//Many// are strong." It's less a humble deflection of his own unusual acumen... and more further argument to the core of his point. Amid a shower of sparks and stone, amid the sublimation of metal hooks, the escalation of iron tang in the air from that vaporization, from the bloodstains surrounding them, Heinlein stands defiant. An aura of ragged-edged blue chi surrounds him as he seeks to rein control of the more than substantive voltage roaring through him, tearing at his toned musculature, threatening once more to bring him to his knees.

Again, the pyromancer refuses to break. "It behooves the powers and authorities in play to oppress that potential-- to temper and hone only the living weapons crafted to their own purposes, rather than to seek such actualization of their own wills. The lying metaphor of prophecy; of legacy; of right to rule what cannot be contained, only curtailed."

Gold and platinum plays in wild frizzes across Kain's mane as he turns to face Raiden fully, arms outstretched to his sides. The flaring aura around him centers on his hands, all the light from the room stolen to those twin points. "For all its champions, Earth teeters on a precipice; a deadly fall waiting within, another without, and more beyond that."

Twin suns become one, and coalescent blue and cerulean burn brighter, forging into a golden star, a miniaturized sun forged in Heinlein's grasp, a surging sphere suddenly taller, broader than either man by a noteworthy margin. The sundered stone, the columns that stand, they are sundered in its gravity, in its celestial fire as the golden star travels inexorably forward, threatening to similarly consume even a god in its stellar wake.

"We //must// evolve."

COMBATSYS: Raiden blocks Kain's Himmlische Seele+.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Raiden           0/-------/------<|>>>>---\-------\0             Kain


THat lightning dragon strikes true to the enemy before him, tearing through toned musculature, shattering against the ragged-edged blue chi that surrounds the man. Though very suddenly, Kain powers through that pain, that vengeance, with gnashing of teeth, somehow surviving through that onslought of an Elder God, a major deity. Though Raiden begins to approach then, his white hair comes down to his shoulders as his eyes manifest that lightning ever still, the Stormbringer's power remaining and standing despite the test of time this battle forces upon him.

Then Kain makes his next move.

The pyromancer summons gol and platinum as his hands extend on either side of him, twin suns brighten and flare all around him, only to become one int oa golden star. A full power of a /sun/ emboldening in his hands. Suddenly the sphere is surging towards him, where his hand suddenly reaches out to /catch/ the orb as it explodes all around him, exploding in a blast for the ages as a star reborn soon dies in a supernova.

There is a silence as the smoke begins to clear...yet...there is a figure still standing, body crackling with power as Raiden watches Kain with an even-eyed stare. It was his turn once again. His upper robes were all but destroyed, revealing the ultimate body of a god, muscles built beyond measure.

His hand raises up into the air, and the storm crackles once again, this time from above. A lightning bolt comes straight down, trying to strike Kain directly!

COMBATSYS: Kain dodges Raiden's Supercell.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Raiden           0/-------/------=|>>>>---\-------\0             Kain

In the wake of the stellar onslaught, Raiden may smoulder-- but he does not burn. It is something of a surprise, perhaps... but Kain is a man who values a Plan B, and perhaps a C, D, and E in its wake. Particularly when the conundrum in question is direct conflict with an Elder God. So it is that as the Stormbringer weathers the intensity of that paramount fireball, he does not find Heinlein exhausted and out of cards to play-- but calmly laying one more upon their shared, macabre table.

Lightning scorches from above, as if a stormcloud could penetrate this sanctum, and akin to that bolt from beyond, the pyromancer all but glides aside in a graceful, nigh-translocational blur. His suit and frazzled mane trail the momentum subtly, a streak of color to his afterimages as footing is found once more upon fine leather.

Readily, with its own agile grace, Kain's weave turns into a lunge, a charge that transitions the space between Raiden and himself in an instant. Kain leads with a braced arm in a classic shoulder tackle, though it's one that pushes before it a wave of furious dark flame, a ragged-edged plume of superheated fury intent on adding to the body-checking impact he intends to impart upon the God of Thunder.

In the punctuating clashes of this bout, Kain's ferocity does not abate-- it redoubles. More of his remaining reserves are poured into the conflict; more power drawn from the vastness of the Cosmic Void to replace that which has been expended. Unhesitating, Heinlein presses Raiden once more-- with clear ambition to do so again, and again, and perhaps one more time after that if the fervour does not yield his desired results.

COMBATSYS: Kain successfully hits Raiden with Schwarze Rakete.

[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Raiden           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0             Kain

Raiden stands.

Against all onsloughts and attacks, some miracle or another, still stands. He watches as Kain manages to somehow move out of the way of that sudden impact from the lightning bolt overhead, and strangely enough, that /power/ still comes after Raiden, a conversion of kinetic energy into furious dark flame, body-checking the Thunder God heartily!

Yet, somehow, once the smoke clears and the impact of the shoulder check hits Raiden again and again and again and again....the Thunderer stares into Kain's eyes, the lightning starting to dissipate into that cold blue stare.

Raiden yet lives.

His hand on his shoulder. He inhales, sharply, yet Kain may discover that strangely, the Thunderer does not attack. He merely looks upon him.

"Is that all?"

COMBATSYS: Raiden enters a meditative state.

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Raiden           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0             Kain

"Is that not enough?" Once again, the simple query comes in layers. Much has been said, many volatile blows traded-- but does Raiden understand Heinlein's stance any more fully than Liu Kang does? At its most obvious-- clearly, no, it is not enough.

Raiden stands. Raiden marshalls his strength. The Stormbringer has his own resolve to fight on; to finish this bout in his favor. "You are a powerful champion; and your care for humankind admirable. The cycle you are a part of, however? We must rise above it; harness the potential too often squandered, or left to languish by the Chosen, or the Tyrant."

The Thunder God bides his time, channels his might, but Heinlein acts once more. The pyromancer crosses the distance Raiden had been knocked back in a single, graceful leap, black gloved hands seeking the Elder's throat, in lieu of his tattered garments.

Should that vise-like purchase be found, a sharp twist of his waist, a harsh heave of arms and shoulders, and Raiden would find himself launched towards the side wall of the abattoir, accelerated by a ragged wave of brilliant blue energy, a surge of cosmic wrath fit for the Divine; but grasped by a human. "No Gods -- No Masters."

COMBATSYS: Raiden blocks Kain's Quick Throw.

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Raiden           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0             Kain

The look in Raiden's eyes imply a single answer.


Though suddenly, Kain reaches to grab Raiden by the throat, though strangely, while that vice like purchase is indeed found, Raiden doesn't move from his position, his feet digging into the ground as he reaches for Kain's arm to grip it tightly. "Humans left to their own devices will always lead to their own destruction. While you may defeat me here, I can sense the mortal shell I have taken is failing me, the magic holding it is dispersing." He frowns.

Yet, his suddenly reaches to grip Kain by his own throat in immediate retaliation.

A sudden, quick palm strike lifts to try and strike Kain across his face, followed by a much stronger right palm strike to strike at him, lastly, a kick surges forward to strike Kain in the chest, if he should be so lucky!

COMBATSYS: Kain blocks Raiden's Sudden Energy.

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Raiden           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1             Kain

"Yes, the Old Ways have been -so- very effective at preventing self-destructive tendencies." The sarcasm drips. Even so, Raiden's showing his remarkable; his history, his efforts, legendary. Kain is not so arrogant as to dismiss the Elder's value; or to want the destruction of such beings simply for their existence. The Thunder God is not Vega, is not Orochi, is not the Black Beast.

Any further commentary is choked out by the Stormbringer's grasp, stalled by the palm-strike that staggers Heinlein backwards, by the jolt of electricity that surges through him. His defenses are immediately aligned, however, mirroring Raiden's momentum-stalling footwork as braced limbs align with the second, stronger strike... and with the rushing kick that follows it. A bent, tensed arm, a precisely intercepting shoulder, and Kain is skidded back a bit farther, rather than felled. His opposite arm reaches towards the sky, fingers outstretched, as a miniaturized black hole swirls within his grasp.

From above, the sky opens up at the pyromancer's summons, once more a dark reflection of the Thunder God's own techniques-- though from on high, inexorably emerging from the ceiling, his offer is not lightning. From the metaphorical or literal heavens falls a brilliant mass of light and dark blue energy, descending abruptly in a ragged-edged, shearing wave that threatens to consume their position entirely like roaring, star-fueled napalm, centered on the Elder God as its incanted ground zero.

COMBATSYS: Raiden blocks Kain's Himmlischer Atem.

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Raiden           1/------=/=======|-------\-------\0             Kain

A strike well-struck!

But Kain is unfelled by the mighty blow. Though Raiden suddenly stands his ground as something hails from the sky....that giant mass of fire and abyssal energy descends upon him, his hand lifting as the energy explodes like temperamental napalm or a nuclear bomb. Both Raiden and Kain are caught in the blast.


A brilliant light blasts forth from Raiden as he leaps through the smoke and ash, his fist alight with powerful electricity, the light of the storm for one last blow against Kain, with words that makes the blood curl:

"God Fist."

It threatens to level what little remains of their surroundings, his target? Kain's head. Strike or miss....Raiden will drop to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Raiden can no longer fight.

                                  >  ///////////                   ]
                                  |-------\-------\0             Kain

COMBATSYS: Kain blocks Raiden's God Fist+.

                                  >  /////////                     ]
                                  |=------\-------\0             Kain

In a resounding, reverberating rumble of thunder, an eruption of godly lightning crackles outwards. For a moment, the darkness is lit so brightly that all sight is, paradoxically, stolen from any onlooker, from the fighters themselves.

All that exists is power, current, a clashing climax in a collision of wills; a trial of masters, of their skills, of their philosophies, of their resolve. Raiden's fist finds Kain's braced forearm, crossed across his features, shielding his crimson gaze from the worst of the flaring maelstrom. Bolts surge outwards, and stonework shatters.

The ceiling shifts as walls are cracked outwards, as veins creep through the tone, as daylight casts luminescent rays into the abattoir for the first time in gods only know how long. The electrical potency sears Heinlein's fine suit-sleeves, courses up his limb, tears into his musculature... but is abated there, painful but not incapacitating, leaving the statuesque blonde standing over the Elder God as Raiden-- finally-- falls.

"A brighter future is not built on even the most revered traditions and cycles, I fear. It will be the innovation and will of mankind on which this planet ascends-- or spirals. Our capacity for sacrifice, for change; for -evolution-. Or our incessant, hungry consumption, avarice, and apathy." No move is made to Finish Him. No malice rumbles in Kain's rich baritone intonations.

"It is all around us; we teeter on a critical moment of transition, hunger for the true epiphany of revelation. Can you hear it? Feel the crescendo build? No one knows the shape of this future, or where it will take us. I know only that it is always born in pain... and fire."

And that is where Heinlein leaves the issue as he turns to stride gracefully, stalwart in his own agony, away from Raiden... the culmination of their Descent.

COMBATSYS: Kain has ended the fight here.

Log created on 17:47:01 09/08/2022 by Kain, and last modified on 22:23:25 09/01/2023.