Description: Take a look, it's in a book(store), Reading Painboooooow o/~
Amber Riley (the Sunshine City Dragons cheerleader, not her much more famous namesake from Glee and Dream Girls) was in shock when she got the call from the organisers of the New Fighting Generation. She thought she'd heard the last of them, since her dramatic flounce off at the post tournament party in Southtown. Her closing comment had been "If I wanted to be this degraded, I could've stayed in Sunshine City and got a job in the adult film industry."
Since then she'd been back working for the Dragons on match days and attending dance classes inbetween. She sometimes felt sad when she thought about what might have been and she missed the whole excitement of the tournament. It was even worse when their circus showed up in her home city. There'd even been a match between Hawksley and Ayala held at the football stadium.
As a cheerful sort, Amber pushed this from her head however and tried to focus on the bad bits she'd endured. There'd been that vampire nurse who wanted to suck her blood and stick needles into her and the sumo wrestler who almost peed on her. No, she was quite sure she was best out of it.
The call had come early evening three days ago, when she was getting ready to go out for cocktails with some of the other women on the squad. She'd smeared her mascara with the shock! Apparently Nixie Greene, the star performer on Team Metal was unable to compete due to mystery circumstances. Since Amber had already passed the audition previously and was right here in town, they'd wondered if she'd be willing to step in as a replacement. It didn't mean a permanent comeback of course and if Nixie returned, she'd be out on her ear, but still, it was a chance.
Something inside her, some deep down instinct told her to say yes, so that was the word she found coming out of her mouth. Which is how she comes to be here today, standing inside Dragon Books.
The store is a place she has spent many happy times growing up. Her mom would bring her here to browse the books as a teenager and she never left without at least one purchase. Her brother Brandon, now a quarterback for The Sunshine City Dragons, always favoured the dragon figurines. He'd built up a collection in double figures last time she'd visited his apartment.
She offers a smile to the store owner Katy as she exits the premises commenting "Try not to break anything, but if you do, don't worry because I'm well insured. Once she's gone, Amber is left alone in the bookshop, waiting for her Team Blaze opponent to make their entrance.
A FEW DAYS AGO:
The thin, vampire-like form of Oglesby, butler to the Osterlund family, stood in the doorway of the common area of the suite that Iris had been staying in during this trip to the US for the inaugural NFG tournament. The wizardess in question looked up from her laptop curiously.
"A letter from the... fighting people, Young Miss," he drawled, putting what was -- from a posh British butler POV -- a magnanimously small amount of disdain into the ellipsis in that sentence. "It was delivered just now."
Getting up and walking over, Iris snatched the envelope from him, tore it open, and scanned the letter inside. "Huh. This 'Nixie' person can't be at the match for this round, so they've paired me with someone else."
Oglesby frowned. "I didn't know incarnated elementals took part in this... fighting business." The longer the conversation goes on, the more disdain seems to be seeping into those ellipses.
Sighing, Iris sets the letter down. "I don't think she's a literal water elemental," she replies, with what feels like infinite patience (to her). "Pretty sure it was just a name. She was green, though, in the promo footage. I was wondering what that was about. Shame I won't get to find out. Anyhow, don't you have somewhere to be?"
With a sigh, the butler bowed. "I promise to have Nanny back in good order, Miss," the butler replied. "I cannot imagine what she was thinking."
ELSEWHERE, AT THE SAME TIME:
Nanny, a fridge of a woman, sits tied to a chair in a dark warehouse, blindfolded. "Tell us the secrets of the girl's methods!" hisses a voice from the darkness.
"Lawks," replies Nanny, unfazed. "You lads ain't half cleaned this rag, 'ave you? Standards fallin' everywhere, they are."
Thus does Iris arrive at Dragon Books without her usual entourage, which is putting her in a much better mood than normal as she steps into the store, looking for her opponent and taking in the... well. It's called Dragon Books and there's dragons everywhere, but this IS a wizard you're talking about. "This is just like Mr. Hendershott's old place out in Orkney," she observes, mostly to herself as she glances aroud the shelves. "Mind, he was just a lizardman, not a real dragon. Real dragon wouldn't fit in a book shop."
There goes the ring of the little golden bell and this must be Iris. What a charming accent she has! Amber gives the girl with the colourful hair a smile and a little wave as she arrives in the bookshop.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge of fighting you." The cheerleader's voice sounds chirpy and upbeat, but there's a slight tremor in it betraying the nerves she's feeling.
"Have you been enjoying your time in the en ef gee so far? How's things on Team Blaze?" She has a habit of chattering when she's on edge and she doesn't wait for an answer to a question before jumping to the next one.
"I guess we should make a start?" She tugs on her pom poms and straightens her cheerleading outfit. "I'm good to go whenever you are!"
Oh... wow. For a second, Iris is taken aback by this bubbly southern California girl, and it shows, but thankfully she reins most of the obvious signs and manages to put a smile on her face. Plus, you know, she got asked a question, so that helps. Focus on the answer. The brutally honest answer. "I have yet to meet a single one of them," Iris says truthfully, and with perhaps a degree of obvious chagrin. "I was a bit of a last minute entry, after all, and everyone's been busy with the... well, you know." Did Amber even hear any of that? Who knows!
There's a moment as the Brit looks around the venue a little more, head craning a bit to take in the obvious children's area out through the arch. "Mental note: don't stray into the kiddie's zone. I'm sure they've offered these people a bloody ridiculous amount of money to let us beat each other to death in here," Iris adds, turning back to Amber with a grin, "but that doesn't meant I want to accidentally put an axe through Paddington Bear or something of that nature." Death? An AXE? Amber, are you sure you want to be here right now?!
And then the pompoms come out, and it looks like we're getting started. "Alright then, I suppose we should get started, indeed." Limbering up a little -- more like she's about to do some aerobic stretching than actual combat -- Iris shakes out her hands and squares off with Amber. "Good luck, miss," are her last words, before she takes the initiative and rushes the girl, swinging one arm (and empty hand) around toward the cheerleader's midsection. This is misleading, because appearing in Iris's hand mid-swing is a one-handed mace straight out of a D&D campaign, and that's gonna hurt considerably more than getting hit with nothing at all!
COMBATSYS: Iris has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Amber has joined the fight here.
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Iris 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Amber
COMBATSYS: Amber blocks Iris' Power Strike.
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Iris 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Amber
"Really?" Amber is awed by Iris' admission. "I thought it would be all team spirit, sleepovers and training montages. You even have that other British girl with the bright hair on your team don't you?"
"Katy the owner of this place is real nice. She said she's well insured so..." She shrugs her slim shoulders and then spares a glance through the arch herself before looking back towards Iris and watching her warm up. It's something she's done many times herself and she nods with approval at the woman's wiseness at readying her body. "Good luck to you too!"
The words are barely out of her mouth when the mace comes swinging towards her stomach. "Oh my!" Amber gasps. Pushing her pom poms out in front of her she fends off the weapon but her wrists are bent backwards, causing her to cry out in pain.
Shaking out her pom poms, she starts to bounce up and down on the spot and then lifts her arms high above her head, gathering glowing golden yellow energy around them before bringing them down to crash into Iris.
COMBATSYS: Iris parries Amber's Touchdown!
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Iris 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Amber
So she's a local girl, like REALLY local? At least, knowing the owner of the store by name sure suggests this would be the case to Iris. Well, that makes... some amount of sense. After all, in her head, the line from 'professional wizard' to 'professional fighter' is an easier line to draw than from 'cheerleader', which just goes to show that Iris has yet to go to Japan or meet any students from Taiyo or Gorin High Schools.
On the other hand, said cheerleader just failed to get maced into oblivion AND now she's using cheer tools to deliver an energy-empowered smackdown, so maybe this is all more likely than you'd think regardless. Iris, however, appears to be on top of her game today; despite coming out of the backswing from the hammer (mace) blow at a disadvantage, some instinct kicks in, so that when she starts rising into a standing position to deal with the incoming a-pom-calypse, she's already summoning a new tool for the situation: specifically, a shield across her trailing arm, which catches the glowing strike harmlessly with a loud *CLANG* sound before disappearing.
The benefit to this, however, is that Iris didn't have to give any ground to defend herself; if anything, she's actually able to then instantly surge forward into the now quite small distance between herself and Amber, looking to grab the cheerleader's arm. If she gets her grip, both Iris and Amber vanish in a flash of prismatic light, before appearing *in midair* together, just in time for Iris to effectively shove Amber back toward the ground at high speed and teleport back down herself safely. Of course, lot of moving parts in this technique that a clever Amber could exploit on the defensive...
COMBATSYS: Iris successfully hits Amber with Nauthiz - Ominous Rainfall EX.
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Iris 0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0 Amber
As the wizard moves towards her in a whirl of activity, Amber's hazel eyes go wide. She's quite clearly scared at what exactly she's taking on here with Iris. Her fear is only amplified when she is grabbed to be taken to...who knows where?
"What's happening?" she wails, her heart pounding in her chest. As she falls to the ground, she hits it hard, her back taking the brunt of the impact. For the next few seconds she just stays there, her expression stunned behind her perfectly applied makeup.
Ever so slowly she gets back up, her movements graceful despite the beating her body has been taking. Is she going to go back on the attack? Nope! Apparently she's starting a cheer chant.
"One, two, three, four, Amber's gonna show you more! Five, six, seven, eight. Who do they appreciate? Go Amber!"
Perhaps she hit her head pretty hard.
COMBATSYS: Amber builds her spirit!
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Iris 0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1 Amber
Well... she's cheering for herself, now. In a metaphysical way, seeing a young woman self-actualize by taking the skills she's perfected as part of the masculine-dominated sports industrial complex and turning them into a mantra to empower herself is actually quite inspiring, or would be, if Iris herself had as much sociological knowledge as the person narrating this does. As it is, the sorcerous Brit just kinda watches Amber's display and mutters, "Did she hit her head?"
A little more loudly, and perhaps a little more KINDLY, Iris calls out, "You alright, love?" to her opponent. After all, in Iris's eyes, this IS a sport (YOU ARE USING LIVE WEAPONS IN A SPORT), so it's not as if showing some concern for the other side is unwarranted. "Because, ah, here I come, then?"
Maybe don't warn her you're about to attack her again, though, next time, Iris.
Extending her hand to the side, palm open, Iris summons a spear with which to launch her next attack! Reaching back, she hurls it, javelin-like, into the air... above Amber? Where are you even aiming?! UNTIL: disappearing in another burst of rainbow light, Iris appears in midair above Amber, catching her own thrown weapon and preparing to straight up use the Dragoon "Jump" command on the cheerleader!
It's on the way DOWN that Iris realizes this is not a spear.
This is a mop.
"Oh, COME ON--"
COMBATSYS: Amber blocks Iris' Weakened Raido - Solstice Journey.
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Iris 0/-------/-----==|=======\====---\1 Amber
"Yeah, I'm fine" Amber replies with a forced smile. "I'm okay to carry on now!"
Whatever she was up to with the chanting seems to at least have given her the will to continue. Then once again she's under attack...by a mop?
At first Amber thinks she's hallucinating. Maybe that hit on the head again? But nope, it is infact a mop appearing in a burst of rainbow light above her head. Thrusting her arms up, she tries to bat it away, which sends it soaring through the cabinet playing host to the dragon figurines.
There's an almighty crash as glass shatters around the area and a curse of "Shit" as Amber realises the movement knocked her pom pom off her hand, broke some nails and possibly a couple of fingers in the process.
Replacing her pom pom and then holding both of them aloft, Amber starts to shake them as she steps from side to side. As she moves, bright yellow chi starts to circle her feet, before forming a ball which she kicks towards her Iris at full force!
COMBATSYS: Iris blocks Amber's Sunshine City Spirit EX.
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Iris 0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0 Amber
The mop thing wasn't exactly a highlight, but at the very least, it wasn't a TOTAL disaster. It's not like the cheerleader suddenly started glowing red and talking with crazy reverb or something and knocked her out of the sky. On the other hand, how is that gonna look on the highlight reel afterwards? These and many more thoughts are swirling in Iris's head as she lands back on the ground, bouncing backwards. At least the summoned weapons vanish afterwards so she's not left holding the proverbial, or literal, mop.
On the other hand, this is when Amber starts glowing like a tiny little sun, which gets a raised eyebrow from the Brit. How do you handle this? She knew, LOGICALLY speaking, that fighters used something they called 'chi' to perform feats that Iris herself learned as 'magic'. However, the emphasis here is LEARNED: it took most of her childhood for Iris to master this stuff and well into early adulthood. This kid is like... what, twelve? And she's alrOH GOD GIANT ENERGY BALL
The curse of thinking too hard: not having enough time to react. Iris mostly just... crosses her arms in front of her beautiful, beautiful face and tries not to instantly die. This, at the very least, is mostly successful; some defense against a giant energy ball is merely instinctive and metaphysical, which is good, because two crossed forearms ain't gonna cut it on their own.
"Ow," Iris opines, once the smoke has cleared.
But she's NOT going to let this dissuade her! Instead she's going to -- whoa there, dizzy -- rush in (alright, rush-slash-stumble in) and swing a punch for Amber's sunny mug, a pair of brass knuckles flashing into existence on her hand in the process.
COMBATSYS: Amber dodges Iris' Weakened Quick Strike.
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Iris 0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0 Amber
Amber looks rather pleased with herself when she manages to produce an "Ow" from Iris.
Okay, so her golden ball didn't have quite the impact she'd hoped but she's at least caused the British woman some pain.
As the pimped up punch comes pummeling towards her, she uses her dancer's agility to dodge out of its reach, arriving at the safety of the Young Adult section unscathed.
Squatting down into a sitting position, she then clasps her hands together in front of her chest. From this position she jumps upwards and forwards with the intention of crashing into Iris with her full weight of a hundred and fifteen pounds.
COMBATSYS: Amber successfully hits Iris with Cone Motion.
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Iris 1/-------/=======|=------\-------\0 Amber
You really shouldn't underestimate cheerleaders, all things considered. They're much more athletic than people give them credit for. Also 115 lbs. doesn't seem like a lot, but let's do a little science experiment where we go out back and I drop a one hundred fifteen-pound weight on you from a height of around 3 feet. Just saying.
Iris is cagey about this situation, however; her arms are still numb and shaky from fending off the giant energy orb, and she knows as she ducks back from her attempted punch that whatever Amber follows up with, she's not going to be able to just casually fend it off. Thus, as the sunny chi-erleader comes in for her flying dash, Iris mutters a word under her breath; on her wrist, one of the runes in the tattoo circling around it glows bright blue, and the same light flows around her body, even as she attempts to duck backwards out of Amber's reach and misjudges by a mile, getting slammed into a nearby bookshelf and going down in a torrent of... who even are some of these authors, anyway?
Emerging like a sea monster from a pile of books a few seconds later, Iris trains her gaze on Amber, eyes narrowed, and then just... extends a hand, palm out, another rune glowing a faint purple color.
Right before a lightning bolt literally drops out of the sky and attempts to zap the cheerleader right in the proverbial mush.
COMBATSYS: Iris successfully hits Amber with Thurisaz - Mjolnir's Echo.
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Iris 1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0 Amber
The British babe is bashed into the bookcase, sending its contents scattering everywhere. "Oh cool! Barbara Woster" Amber enthuses, picking up a copy of a book with a black and bright green cover and a sinister looking gas mask on it. "Maybe I'll get this before I leave."
As the emerging Iris rises from the volumes of books, Amber sees the expression on her face and swallows hard. When the palm comes out, powering up the purple rune, she tries to do a forward roll out of the path of potential destruction. Only to be hit by a lightning bolt to the face.
She brings up her pom poms to cover her eyes. Too late to lessen the impact but it at least gives her a refuge from her fighting foe for a precious few seconds.
"Winners never quit and quitters never win!" she yells. This seems ironic after her previous exit from the New Fighting Generation but whatever helps. Apparently it has some effect, as suddenly Amber leaps into the air! Bending at the hips in order to bring her chest to her knees, whilst keeping her legs straight, she then folds her body into a piked position, pointing her toes and angling her legs at ninety degrees. Arching her back on the descent, she'll aim to land on top of Iris in a cradle position with her whole body covering her and facing away from the other fighter.
COMBATSYS: Iris fails to interrupt Pike Basket from Amber with Isa - Fimbulwinter.
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Iris 0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0 Amber
Hopefully Iris isn't mic'ed, because she definitely mutters to herself, "That may be, girl, but I wouldn't mind you quitting the inspirational speeches." Really, compared to her fight with Genie, things are definitely not going Iris's way this time, and considering she's new to the whole fighting thing... well, can you blame her for being a little grumbly? Plus let's be real, cheerleader chanting can be obnoxiously cloying even in IDEAL situations.
Still, no reason to be mean to Amber because of it, right?
By now, the Brit understands Amber's rhythm, as it were; the likelihood of either another big glowy energy ball OR some sort of flying attack coming her way is pretty good, all told. The lightning bolt earned her a little time, and so Iris decides to try something flashy this time: she braces herself, legs apart, hands out. Runes on both wrists suddenly glow blue-white, like the horizon on a winter day. The air chills, ice crystals sparkling in the a--
And then Amber lands on her because Iris did not time this properly or think through how much time invoking a higher level of power would require.
Presumably, Amber does not sit there and go all Streets of Rage, pummeling her downed foe or anything, meaning that eventually Iris gets to her feet, trying to make some sense of things through the pain. "I'm going back to like, doing exorcisms and stuff," she says, with a slightly ataxic sway to her step as she gets back into stance. "Easier. Ow."
If not mic'ed then Iris is at least likely to be standing close to a microphone since this match is being recorded for FightTube. Later, viewers will study her lip movements and argue over whether she was being mean or not. For now though, it seems like she hasn't been overheard by Amber.
The California cheerleader is too busy crashing down on the wizard, covering her body with her own and looking very much like she'd be trying to pin her if this was a wrestling match. As suspected, she doesn't try to pummel her pom poms into Iris's pretty face repeatedley. She does however try and aim a single punch there to seal the damage deal.
COMBATSYS: Iris blocks Amber's Fierce Punch.
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Iris 0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0 Amber
The question Iris is gonna be asking herself later is: lord, why did the tiny girl hit so bloody hard?
Certainly that's what's going through her head as she strives to defend herself from Amber's attempt to bring the fight to a close. Thankfully, while that still really stings, there's still some fight left in the British wizard, who shakes out her increasingly numb arms after defending against that blow. "Well... not everything can go your way," she says reflectively, getting to her feet, trying to put on a smile for the cameras and mostly succeeding.
"Is this because I didn't bring Ogles and Nanny?" she wonders, aloud, like a crazy person. "Maybe I'm so determined to prove to them that I'm not wasting my life that I was overperforming to show them up?" Why are you having a heart-to-heart with Amber mid-fight about your life problems, Iris. This is a bad idea. It's not like the cheerleader will have any answers! She probably has a very negative impression of anyone you just called 'Ogles', by the way!
"But it's not over yet," she says, ignoring that these are the words Genie was saying in her position in her last fight. Extending an arm, Iris swipes it down in a scything motion from her upper left... and appearing in her hand, rather than the more traditional medieval weapons she's summoned before, is a vine-like thorny whip, which she attempts to lash out and snag Amber with. If she can get that grip? A rune on her wrist glows purple, and lightning courses from her hand down the whip to add an extremely shocking twist to this little technique!
COMBATSYS: Amber blocks Iris' Inguz - Druid's Ritual ES.
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Iris 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Amber
"That's true Iris. Not everything -can- go your way." That's pretty easy for the happy, healthy and pretty privileged daughter of a famous football star to say, but still, the sentiment is there.
"Are Ogles and Nanny stuffed toys?" she questions. "They have some toy dragons here for sale if you'd like one" she suggests, gesturing towards a shelf with some cute green creatures on. They're definitely not the fierce kind of dragons.
She gives her best sympathetic look to Iris. She too has questioned the direction of her life at times, which is how she came to be involved with the New Fighting Generation in the first place.
When the whip comes her way, Amber seems better prepared for it. True, she does find the thorny weapon wrapping itself around her wrist, enough to leave an angry red mark but she manages to breakaway before the lightning can reach her.
Spinning on the spot to face away from Iris, Amber grabs hold of her own foot and bends her leg upwards till it's behind her body with her toes close to the back of her head, in a position resembling a scorpion's tail.
Her foot starts to glow with golden yellow energy before she snaps it down in an inverse axe kick toward the wizard woman's head.
COMBATSYS: Amber successfully hits Iris with Scorpion Sting EX.
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Iris 1/---====/=======|====---\-------\0 Amber
You know... even the nicest person in the world will, if you say something astonishingly stupid to them, probably get real annoyed.
As we're about to find out, Iris is not the nicest person in the world.
She's exhausted, in pain, and a bunch of other stuff. This fight has not gone her way, at all, basically. She definitely cannot soak another one of those hits on her aching forearms, and so she attempts to get out of the way of whatever this porn star kick thing Amber's doing it, and absolutely does not succeed in any meaningful way.
When she gets back up -- and she DOES manage to get back up, even if it looks like that should be theoretically impossible -- Iris wipes a trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth, and grins a little at Amber. "A little advice, miss," the Brit says, taking breaths that make her whole torso visibly move. "If you're thinking of doing this fighting thing full time, I'd really consider hiring someone to write your bloody BANTER."
She surges forward, somehow... and it's definitely a 'somehow'. Amber has shown considerable agility so far, so when Iris suddenly lunges forward, looking to press her blue-white glowing index and middle fingers to Amber's collarbone, the cheerleader can probably avoid it.
If she doesn't, though...
COMBATSYS: Iris can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Amber dodges Iris' Hagalaz - Ragnarok.
[ \\\\\\\\\ <
And then Iris falls forward and has a little nap. ~ FIN ~
"Go you! You got back up!" Amber claps Iris. She's not doing this to be intentionally annoying. Let's just say the woman is somewhat lacking in self awareness.
As the Team Blaze British Battle Babe bleeds before her, there's a confused look on the cheerleader's face. "I just wanna be me though! Why would I hire a writer?"
As the chaotic Cambridge conjurer comes after her, Amber is fast on her feet. She does a dramatic dive through the archway and lands on a playmat in the children's area of the book shop. When she dares to peek back around the corner, she is greeted with the sight of a soundly sleeping Iris.
"Oh cool! I win! Go me! Give me an A, give me a M..."
You get the idea.
Was quiet for most of the fight listening to what was going on, but when she realizes Amber won the fight. She has a newfound respect for the cheerleader. "Great Job Amber!!" Why shouldn't she be happy with all her teammates doing well, even if she had a bad one?
After that, she just leaves quietly, she still has some healing to do.
Log created on 12:39:32 07/03/2023 by Iris, and last modified on 14:22:14 07/05/2023.