Zan was in no rush to initiate combat or, really, make use of the whole reason Nulus and himself were there in the first place - to train. It seemed suddenly too much work amidst the beauty of Raine's work...too...unfortunate. That such a place had to be disturbed with violence was a pity. No, that Zan had to eventually leave there was the real pity. The monsters seemed just as content to roam in the distance between the shelters of blue-tinted, crumbled buildings. Was training and, thus, using the Training Room for its purpose really so necessary when it could be used as genuine relaxation instead? Sure, he could just go off and do that in an actual, non-simulated field and not take up valuable space that someone else could be using but...well, the logic seemed so distant and so meaningless right then. Despite what he knew to be the right course of action, the lycanthrope simply came to sit on the hill he had 'gated in' on. Raine had done exactly as he asked, of course, so the temperature was numbing even to his boiling Lycan blood. Not a second after finding a semi-comfortable position that allowed him perfect vantage of the purple-pink, cloudy skies and already he was beginning to shiver. God damn; she was good. Almost too good. The player could only be happy she was on their side. What an ally the Elites would gain from her loyalty...
Shaking that off, the werewolf looking up to his right where Nulus still floated on...loyal. He suddenly felt like he had a sentinel over his shoulder rather than just a friend. Friend? Were they really that now? Something about the Shade's conversion to the Wave of Darkness had actually made him...tolerable. No, that wasn't fair. It had made him admirable, if only in presence. There was a nobility in the way he hovered there above Zan, head straight, glowing green flames that served as his wolven eyes scanning the horizon not for beauty, but threats. A quick, curious look into Nulus' mind let the werewolf know that it wasn't simply concern for his own life, but for Zan's in turn. The surface of his thoughts were too superficial to discern whether this is because he'd, theoretically, cease existing if anything detrimental were to happen to the Heavy Blade or if he really cared. Though it was mildly hard to believe, knowing what kind of entity the First had been and how he had first adapted to his humanity, the player found himself inclined to believe the latter option. Connected as he was to the Shade, his core wouldn't allow him to accept another degree, another angle of possibility. He could lie to himself, blanket his inner knowledge with deceit and doubt, but in the end it would be a masquerade that wasn't worth putting on.
For a second, just a second, Nulus glanced down at his friend and Zan felt the smile underneath the hood. Just as soon as the look was there, as the two understood each other, the seven-foot and some odd inch being looked again to the horizon. The sudden acceptance of his good half had Zan wondering something about the Merged, however. Though the lycanthrope was fully aware that some of its malice came from him, he also knew the nasty, eroding darkness that made up a lot of its outward personality was because of the Shade. What, then, would the Merged me like now? Would Nulus' shift be significant enough to effect the personality of that creature? Would he not smell Phoenix's fear the next time the shift became necessary? The potential, the possibility of it made him want to test the theory now, but...no. Giving the Merged any unnecessary opportunities to decide he was there to stay seemed foolish. Maybe it had a time limit or damage limit that Zan wasn't aware of, but it was feasible that time would grant it a strength and a fortitude to never again split into its parent components. Parents. Uck. The Lycan realllllly needed to come up with a better phrase to describe what Nulus and him were considered in relation to the Merged. Fragments seemed a sufficient term. Yeah; fragments.
Though the mental distraction had served to make him forget about the God damn cold, the sensation became steadily more apparent when he coughed. The plume of visible air and the following inhalation was like swallowing ice. Ugh. Clearing his throat, trying to ignore the pain, Zan came to a pretty obvious decision; it was time to move around. That would heat him up and make breathing and swallowing not agonizing tasks. Nulus had no plumes of breath so, that brought up an interesting point. Apparently...he didn't breathe. Or he did in a way that was really fucking subtle. Deciding it was something to address later, the werewolf rubbed his arms and came to stand once more, the scenery seeming much less attractive in his current state of pain. Time to do a little violence. Glacial eyes came to settle on the vision of parting Temple Knight and he knew, because Raine was excellent at following specifications, that it wasn't going to be easy for him to take down. Even with Nulus there'd be a struggle and that, that was exactly what this whole training session was about. Learning to fight things superior to him more efficiently was a skill he didn't exactly excel at. No, he wasn't terrible in the field, but there was definite room for improvement. Instead of speaking his intentions verbally, Zan used what he had became a reflexive skill, his mind bonding and synchronizing with the Shade's on a level that allowed them to communicate through emotion and concept rather than time-consuming speech.
They were suddenly launching forward, Zan thundering his footsteps through the sturdy snow and Nulus flying expertly beside him. The Temple Knight stopped and turned around almost robotically, its interest peaked at the sudden presence of sound and apparent motion. Just as soon as the lycanthrope had been staring at a monster, however, he was suddenly in a maelstrom of ice and sleet that only made the environment harder to handle. What was apparently a Rue Rom spell, or perhaps its second level counterpart MeRue Rom, had trapped him and his partner in a haze. Though the Lycan was able to use his hefty Ghostdancer to knock aside the occasional crag, still more struck him upside the head, on his shoulders, his back and his knees. It was like getting jostled around in one of those cranked Bingo reels. When it ended, needless to say, the werewolf could have been happier with his HP. The Temple Knight, upon request, had been made to be magically proficient while still physically guarded. The physical assaults it was capable of with its twin swords were formidable, but fairly standard. It was its Rue spells and stamina that Nulus and him would have to surpass. Momentarily equipping the Scarab Earrings, Zan mumbled a, "La Repth..." and regained his footing. The Temple Knight didn't move...much. No, it stayed there, waiting for their next move.
Always happy to deliver, Zan charged forward...and suddenly flipped forward in the air, eyes remaining on the monster the whole time as he turned in mid-air and landed on the other side of the Temple Knight, still facing it. It did as it was supposed to, of course, and immediately drew the ire of the creature, spinning it around to bring down the wrath of its weapons upon the Heavy Blade. Shuffling through the snow and away from the fall of the first blade, Zan heaved all of his strength into a repose of the other with his Ghostdancer, clashing it and sliding it through one of the weapon's many steel branches until it dug harmlessly in the slush. The Lycan and the Shade converged on their paused foe in the same instant, the Vak Skill 'Kannon' initiated on the Ghostdancer a heartbeat before the first strike was made. With the odd-shaped steel alight with dancing flames, flames that were immensely effective against a Rue-based opponent, the Heavy Blade made the first thrust above the Temple Knight's waist as the skill called for, a web of red-glowing cracks splintering across the armor upon impact and sending the monster swaying - right into Nulus' eager hands. Vicious claws scraped with metallic, grating noises along the Knight's massive back, shuddering it with pain. No time was allowed for reaction, of course, as Kannon had yet to ride out its fury. The second, below-the-waist stab dug a similar, flame-cracked hole in the beast's thick and armored hide, but it was still standing. Even when Zan completed the move with a forward flip that brought down the Ghostdancer with devastating force and even more flame, the Temple Knight was not felled.
Oh, sure, the seared line down its middle wasn't going out and flames were casually intruding upon its guard, but it was not defeated. Raine had really gone all out. The werewolf felt his partner's mild frustration at the lack of power he had to inflict a similar skill, that only claws were at its call...but it realized: Wryneck. It had the summon, had the power to bring it to power and through the ether of 'The World.' He held back, however. Zan knew that he wanted to wait, wanted to prolong that revelation until the Third Hub. That such a significant spell, both in power and to him, would be used its first time on a simple monster was...laughable at best. Instead, Nulus once again grew satisfied with his flurried swipes, the stats of a Twin Blade (SP and HP aside) granting him the efficiently to make each weak blow add up...count. Stupidly, fumbling for a way to salvage its life, the Temple Knight turned to its current assailant and attempted to fend the Shade away with a swipe of its duel swords. And succeeded. Nulus had been unprepared for the sudden turn and proceeding attack, his face and his cloak batted at with razor edge until he was soaring back and rolling across the tundra floor. The 'stupidly', however, came in the Knight turning its back to an opponent that was wielding a jagged, six-foot long blade. A charged hack, battle cry shouted through the sudden rush of adrenaline through Zan's blood, he put all of the strength available to him in human form in a single swoop that landed with a clang.
The impact rebounded his weapon across the armored back (one littered with Nulus' scratches), but made sure it left behind a note of its presence beside the painful ringing in Zan's bones. Though it lacked the dark majesty of the flames the splintered armor on the Temple Knight's front possessed, a significant network of jagged cracks became prominent along the surface. Before the monster could turn around, Zan used the momentum and the weapon's backswing to lay another blow along the same spot. It widened the radius of the cracks until a piece of the armor actually thunked to the snow floor. Barely living, all the panicked Temple Knight had the time to do was turn around and watch as a third fall of the Ghostdancer in less than a few seconds ended its life and reduced it to dissipated data. Panting, glancing over at the slowly-recovering Shade, Zan could only smile, reequipping his Stormlord Helm and swapping out the Ghostdancer for his Life Sword.
"Ol Repth." Directed, of course, at Nulus.
This was going to be fun.
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Special: Levels, GR Sendai, PL Sakai, Darklore.
W: Tonosama Sword, Mineuchi, Jundachi.
A: Samurai Helm, Able Hands, Rare Greaves.
I: Holy Sap, Treebane, Cooked Bile, Nightbane.
EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).