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 Post subject: The Wolf and The Cub
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:07 am 
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(( OOC: Though I'm posting in here, Zan hasn't left the Main Thread to this point yet, but feel free to continue to talk to him for now.

--Terrain Type: Alternating; Dense forest, open plains and castle dungeon.
--Weather: Alternating; Sunny, moonlit night and a rainy night.
--Element: Juk up until the would-be dungeon where it turns into Gan.
--Monsters You Want: Customized Swordmanoids (some have rapid fire crossbows and others use their fists) and Valkyries.
--Where Those Monsters Are: Wandering.
--Who Is In The Thread: Zan and Nulus.
--Raine: No healing, no resurrecting. ))

After a conversation or two with some of the returning Freedom Fighters, Zan had grown bored and restless idly waiting on one of the common room couches. The lycanthrope knew that he should go to the training center, that he needed to get in as much practice with Nulus as he could before they headed off into whatever insanity the next hub would bring, but the Heavy Blade was finding his determination to do so oddly lacking. By all rights he should be concerned about honing this new tool to his advantage; learning the combinations him and his new...friend could do against foes before actually forced into a more life-threatening situation. Knowing Raine, of course, Zan would still be able to die in the simulation, but at least this way it would be within the confines of their relatively safe Hideout. Yet here he was, slouched and reluctant, a lazy groan crawling up his throat as his legs tried to move on without him. The fact of it didn't come down to him being a sloth, really. No, Zan was simply afraid to unleash Nulus in any manner that would allow it to physically harm anything, digitally false enemy or not. The sensation of feeling Xael die both in The World and in the real world was disturbing to put it horridly mildly. It wasn't something that was leaving his thoughts as quickly as he had hoped.

Almost every other time Zan had been at the hands of someone’s demise or their imprisonment (i.e. Lowen's friends or Dien's infection), he had always been able to shrug it off as something to deal with when he wasn't in any immediate danger. Now that he actually wasn't, Zan was having an incredibly difficult time finding an excuse to put off the exile's death from his guiltmeter. Technically he'd be doing the group more good if he just got off his ass and stopped moaning and groaning about things that had been more or less out of his hands, but it simply wasn't his way. Oh no, the Heavy Blade loved driving himself into the ground over issues like this, issues that could make him wallow and hate himself. Though he would like to believe he didn't know why he was so emotionally battering and masochistic, Zan knew such reasoning like he knew the sun was hot and the moon was beautiful; it was easier than liking himself. When an individual is treated like Zan was throughout his life, like a kid who isn't worth anything but his father's abuse and his peers' mockery, actually liking who you are and having confidence in yourself as a human being comes with mind-boggling difficulty. Dramatic? Probably. But again, it was Zan's way.

After another moment or two of arguing with his body and his mind's unwillingness to unleash Nulus in even a training room controlled by an amazingly powerful woman, Zan managed to languidly rise, swaying a hint as he stifled an approaching yawn. Seeing as the Heavy Blade had actually decided upon a soon-to-come (albeit temporary) release of the First, Nulus was like a little kid inside of him, giddily awaiting the trip to the amusement park or the toy store...something that just happened to be a place that would teach him to fight with Zan in more than a verbal and witty sense. The lycanthrope wasn't even entirely sure such a thing was possible, half convinced that the First would scamper off and run away at the first opportunity, but something in his Instinct told him it wasn't possible. That Instinct, that subconscious mind that was both his Oversoul and his primal reflexes, informed him that the black bracers on his arms allowed full domination over anything abusive that Nulus might try to pull. The word domination earned him a scoff and an irritated laugh within his skull, but it fit. More or less. Zan would always be able to use the threat of never letting Nulus ever go again, of keeping him as tightly sealed in his own mind as he could; leaving the First isolated like he had been when Zan found him with intelligence and an agonizing perception of time that Nulus had locked during his first 'sentence.'

That earned him an oddly frightened mental silence as he made his way down to the training room and in front of Raine, the lycanthrope offering her a pleasant smile (something she couldn't even see through the thick shadows of his hood), quickly ranting off the nonsense of a field plan he had formulated on his way over. It took a few minutes to explain but, after nodding more often than was probably polite, she seemed to find his request doable in her span of abilities. Zan hadn't doubted her. If both her and Sheena could free them from the clutches of the Elites and fix Nall's dumbass on a daily basis, well, they could basically do anything. While he waited for the woman to program what she needed to into the system (if that was even what she was doing), Zan approached the closed doors, a slight hum sifting trough his black cuffs as he allowed Nulus to project beside him. The seven-foot-something Shade simply billowed in its obfuscating shroud, the entity still physically unable to interact with anything while Zan kept said shroud around him. Most might think it was something the Lycan did for added effect, but it was more or less a cage for his 'companion', something to keep it visibility to others while still keeping its freedoms to a minimal.

"You know, I could break out of this thing anytime I wanted to." The echo of a deep, eerie, inhuman voice overlapping with Zan's was something the Heavy Blade would never get used to.

"Like hell you could." Zan said, coupling his words with a sarcastic laugh.

To Raine it might seem a little...off. If the fact that his voice mingled in with both of their quips wasn't enough, then surely Nulus being forced to project its words through the Heavy Blade's own vocal cords (what with not having any of its own and all) would put her off. Then again, knowing the Freedom Fighters, she had undoubtedly seen worse. When the doors to his field finally and opened and he took an anxious step forward, the world sealing behind him and his forward-floating partner, Zan felt something he usually liked to squash down begin to rise within him; the bloodlust. The prospect of mostly-safe combat and the knowledge of soon-to-come bloodshed had his Beast ancy, the wolf practically pacing in the metaphorical cage of his chest as he scanned the area, curious to see just how well Raine had gone with his specifications. Almost blindly bright sunlight lanced through the thick canopy of leaves and branches above, illuminating the open patch of mud and dirt that the duo had brought themselves onto (the break in the otherwise dense collection of trees somewhere between twenty-five and thirty feet in diameter). Where there wasn't ground or trunk there was a bush, none of them seeming exactly the same, curious alterations to each making them seem...unique. The trees themselves hung between thirty and sixty feet up, the rare few stretching somewhere past a hundred and acting more like sentry stations than a forest at all.

Probably the most notable detail about it all were the wooden, poorly suspended, thin bridges that seemed to crisscross in every which combination, connecting all of the trees together in the process. Zan had requested such as a way to give them some scenery to work with as they made their way into the first challenge he had set up. It was only then, waiting for the confrontation, that the Heavy Blade loosed the First Beast. The shroud dropped, revealing what had looked like a mystically tattered cloak to be...just a really tattered bundle of obscenely dark green fibers. What would grow more impressive, however, was the stature of his companion, Nulus not only standing (well, floating) to over seven feet in height, but its muscled girth...or that was the way the cloak concealing its actual body made it seem...would make a professional wrestler cry. Shit. Zan already thought he saw his first problem; the Oldest Wolf was going to be slow as hell. God damn it. Had it taken the attributes of a Heavy Axeman when it transferred over into The World? So not what Zan had been looking forward to. Their separation in body was the only thing keeping Nulus from reading his mind and, in that moment, he was happy for it. Sure, they could still telepathically communicate, but since Zan hadn't quite learned to shield himself from Nulus' prying completely yet, this was as good as it got.

And that's when the world around them began to rustle.

"Ready?" Zan's voice was flat, focused.

"Ready when you are, pretty boy." Nulus responded, the steady, still clawing of each individual finger at its sides increasing in eagerness as time went on.

Yea. The mood was set.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Wishlist
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).


Last edited by Zan on Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:03 pm 
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Posts: 1260
Location: ...Tracking...please wait...
(OOC: One thing; there is no dungeon capability in the Simulation. You can have a big thing that looks like it would be a dungeon, but you can't actually go into it. That's more work than she was able to do in the time she had, and it's much harder to keep track of. Not to mention taking up more time if other people wanted in.

The only other question is, what's customized about the monsters? Edit that and you're good to go. So long as they're not too excessive or anything, anyways.)

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Wishlist: Any Armor or Weapons under level 50, Any Scrolls (prefer level 2+)

EXP 500/1000


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:46 am 
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The bushes rustled with movement, a cliché moment that one always saw in cartoons and old movies that signaled the emerging of something dastardly. The ten Swordmanoids that came into view, circling them as they appeared, were far from dastardly. Contrary to their names, there were no implicated swords to be found. They all held up their fists in the basic 'come and get me' fashion, the look in their eyes (heads lacking the helmets most of their kind sported) focused and eager. Zan had requested them to be level twenty at this portion of the fight and, thus, wasn't too frightened at the prospect of defeat. As long as he and Nulus stuck together and fought as partners they'd be fine. Which was where the Lycan had had a fit of idiocy. As anyone with a half-functioning brain might have expected, the Shade burst into action, flying into the center of the bottom half of the circle. Either Nulus simply hadn't anticipated those five would circle and surround him or he was too arrogant to care; Zan opted to believe the latter option. Abandoned by someone he had hoped to learn to fight with, the Heavy Blade found himself in the same five-manned circle not a moment later, the altered Swordmanoids slowly edging in closer.

Zan indulged himself in some of his own arrogance, fists lofting up (the lycanthrope having requested swords be inaccessible in this portion of the field) with a smirk that plainly said, "You, sir, aren't so tough." It was surprising just how tough a group of five monsters only ten levels below you, all attacking at once, could be. Skilled, quick blocks knocked away a punch from one Swordmanoid with an outside sweep of his forearm and another by a second attacker by an upward sweep of his other arm in turn. Sadly, there were three more assaults coming in at exactly the same time. One fist knocked him in the side of his head, white spots erupting over his right eye as his temple was struck. A double-punch cracked behind him in the kidneys next, assuring Zan he'd pee blood...if he needed to pee. Glad for the lack of such an urge, the lycanthrope tried to hang onto that positivity as a third attack, this one a lash of a foot he couldn't even see, slammed into his gut and doubled him over with an audible release of all the air in this lungs. The moment he fell onto his hands and knees, gasping for oxygen, a flurry of kicks exploding over his exposed abdomen while a smash of knuckles into the back of his head bounced his cheek over the ground and had his vision tunneling. Shit. Shitshitshit. He was going to black out. Already. First thing was first, though. He needed to get these assholes off of him.

"MeRue Rom!" A coughing voice, his own apparently, wheezed out.

At the heart of the spell, Zan was safe from the swirling crags of jagged ice and freezing claws of cold water. The Swordmanoids, though still alive, were swept up into the tornado of Rue and tossed this way and that, giving Zan a quick moment of peace to collect his thoughts. The damage the strike to the side of his face had done was already gone, his vision corrected and stable. While he no longer thought he was going to faint, the back of his head and his sides still pulsed with pain, making standing up all that much more difficult. A moment of dizziness struck him as he did, but settled in time for his eyes to fall upon the waning strength of his partner, Nulus having fallen to a similar fate as he had...without the escape spell. Sighing, giving a glance to those he had attacked to make sure they were still rousing from their injuries, Zan launched himself towards the downed Shade and its enemies. The two closest to him immediately turned around, the lycanthrope jerking his body to the side as he lofted up a leg and slammed the sole of his boot into the face of the first of them, that same side kick drawn back and snapped out again a handful of feet to the right and into the face of a second awaiting Swordmanoid. Both snapped back at the impact, reeling for a moment before they tripped over their original target.

This, rightly so, got the attention of their three other comrades. Zan took a quick duo of steps towards the next of them as they all rushed in, ducking under a hooked punch and coming back up with an uppercut that connected with the underside of the monster's jaw. The strength that had been fueled into the punch launched the Swordmanoid back, sending the thing into a victim of his spell that had just gotten to its feet. Zan hardly had the time to laugh, his lips barely twitching into a smile before they were split open with a sling of clenched knuckles, blood dribbling out from the cut as he rolled through the dirt and the mud. The Lycan came to a stop on his back, eyes blinking away the light of the overhanging sun with a groan. Glancing up past his head, Zan was drawn to the movement of an approaching enemy, its dinged armor letting him know it was one of the Swordmanoids he had temporarily taken out of commission with his spell. A second later and he was somersaulting back, rolling backwards onto his hands before he pushed his body back, both of his feet crunching into the chest of his would-be assailant and sending him flying and collapsing against the sturdy presence of nearby tree. It had killed the monster, which was good, but it wasn't enough. Nulus had gotten up but was again fending off the advances of another three, the remaining six buzzing in around Zan for a reason the man couldn't grasp (outside of the fact that he was the only one tossing around their people). It was time to talk to his...friend.

Nulus! Nulus, listen to me damn it!

What the hell do you want?! Can't you see I'm busy?! There was a hint of panic and shock in the First's voice.

Exactly! Let's stop dancing around the fact that we need each other to get through this without too much damage. We need to- Zan paused, dipping under a charging Swordmanoid and tossing him up and over his back. -synchronize our thoughts, our tactics. Think of it this way: it'll help you look badass.

Nulus didn't respond immediately; too busy flipping its tattered cloak through the air before coming to land on its face. Fine. Deal. Let's just rip these shits apart.

And just like that they're minds clicked, the two suddenly communicating with images and emotions rather than words. A second later and Zan was looking at Nulus' back as it flew towards the cluster of three Swordmanoids that had just attacked it, Zan knowing to run discreetly behind the large figure. A thought and suddenly Nulus was flying up and over the three, twin claws lashing out in attack. The tactic was beautifully executed, Nulus having hidden Zan in its charge and compelled the three to block with armor-covered forwards against the assaults above...leaving them wide open. Just as soon as the Heavy Blade's fingers had been capped in nails they were ended in lethal, two inch curved claws. The claws on his right hand tore a quad team of horizontal lines across the thin metal of the middle monster's gut, his left hand arched back before it flung forward and turned the face of the same creature into dog meat. The teammate to its left barely had the time to blink down at Zan as his left hand simply turned around and did the same thing to its face as its friend had experience, his right hand swiping upward to sink the long, wicked nails into the Swordmanoid's throat, blood pooling down his fingers before he wrenched them free.

The remaining monster of the three had decided it was smarter to attack Zan and, as the back up plan had went, Nulus stabbed his (its...ug, Zan didn't know what he wanted to consider the First anymore) reasonably longer claws into the monster's back and out its chest the moment it turned around. Messily yanking them free, the Swordmanoid crumpling lifelessly to the dirt, the two were given the opportunity to smile over at one another as another three kills were added to their list (though both of their faces were hidden, their connection was all that was needed to know that indeed the grins were there). The ones that remained seemed to reconsider their opponents with more caution now, Zan eyeing all five of them as they began to edge in yet again. Wait. Five? Weren't there--an image of an approaching monster at Zan's back whirled the lycanthrope around, arm looping in and pinning the lashed arm to his side before slamming his head forward in a trio of attacks that blurred with speed, all three headbutts smashing in with sickening success. With the monster's eyes fighting not to roll into the back of its head, Zan drew his head back once again, a crystalline pause halting time before all of his strength was forced into a final collision of forehead against forehead. Like all of his friends before him, the Swordmanoid simply collapsed onto the ground. Blood flowed freely onto the ground from the jagged hole of protruding skull pieces between the creature's eyes, Zan plucking away the piece of foreign gray matter from his forehead and tossing it back to its owner.

Now the five that he had originally counted were all that actually were left. Better. Four of them continued the slow but steady pace inward while the moronic fifth lost its patience and rushed Zan head-on. A plan was formulated in a matter of thoughts between him and Nulus, the lycanthrope grabbing the arms of the Swordmanoid before it had an option to move them, yanking the monster around so it rested between him and the Shade. Smirking, Zan took a quick step back and, like he had to the same monster before, uppercutted it. This time, however, he had angled the attack to send the Swordmanoid higher into the air, Nulus quickly flying up to catch the target by the back of the neck. Now hanging in the air, too dizzied from the punch to resist, it could do nothing as Zan kicked up to join the two, Nulus letting the monster go and flying higher the moment Zan connected with it. All the way down the Heavy Blade slashed at the helpless monster with flurried motions of his claws until, when they finally hit the ground and Zan's knees crushed its sternum, it was unidentifiable from a hunk of bloodied meat. Good, that was just about right. Or wrong, depending on how you morally viewed things, he supposed.

Something in that attack had urged the remaining Swordmanoids to come together for one last attempt at victory, all but one of them (the last still hanging back, seeming to be gauging the perfect time to lash out) zipping in from the edge of the natural arena. In a single second of synchronized thought Nulus had agreed to take on two while Zan took down the third in a combination of punches that had his avatar image lagging and leaving glitching after-images with the speed of his assault. With another bludgeoned to death (Zan's claws having been retracted before his attacks), the lycanthrope turned to face his partner, blinking at the butchered corpses of Nulus' targets, thick chunks of flesh...and what appeared to be intestines...dripping from its claws to collect awkwardly on the ground. Before Zan could even begin to appreciate Nulus' 'artwork', he couldn't help but notice that one of the bodies...well...didn't seem to have a torso. The Lycan opened his mouth to question where it had gone, but the rapidly moving image in his peripheral had him turning to find the answer. Somehow, someway, Nulus had forced the upper body of one of his victims over the remaining Swordmanoid like some kind of perverse suit and the monster had decided it had no other choice but to attempt to flee blind. A sick part of Zan found the sight hilarious, such a thing only encouraged further when the Swordmanoid run into a tree and fell on its back.

"Nulus! The hell?!" Were there really any other words?

The First Wolf shifted its eyes between Zan and the fallen monster a time or two before it finally shrugged. "...what?"

If Zan wasn't trying to get through this training program before the group left, he would have gone into a long-winded speech about how you don't force people, even monsters, to wear the torsos of their fallen friends. It just wasn't kosher. Coming up to slam his boot into what part of the Swordmanoid's own armor that was still showing, effectively killing it in the process, he turned towards the crisscrossing bridges above. He knew what was next. One of the thin bridges dropped a rope of glowing data down not a second after, showing them the way towards their next goal.

And their next victory.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Wishlist
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).


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:30 am 
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The trip up the bridge was rather disquieting, a stillness present in the air that felt far too surreal. The atmosphere seemed to promise a sneak attack at any moment, seemed to whisper at their fated deaths if they kept progressing the way they had. Wow, for a field Zan had thrown together all at once, it was coming out impressively ominous. Well, from his stand point, anyway. Giving a glance back at Nulus who hovered forward, looking side to side with a paranoia Zan could sense matched his own, the lycanthrope couldn't help but wonder what exactly had happened in the first area. Sure, the basics of it were simple; synchronization of their already-bonded thoughts to make lightning-fast teamwork. But how had it pieced together so...so efficiently? Their agendas should have been polar opposites. Cooperation, even with a honed connection, should have taken at least a few seconds longer than it did, right? But it didn't. It didn't. Zan was simply unwilling, at that particular moment in time anyway, to accept they were that similar when it came down to unmitigated, unfiltered reflexive thought. The Shade was an animal. Zan had humanity in him. Didn't that matter?

Their thoughts still mingling, Zan wasn't surprised when Nulus began to laugh, the sound hoarse and cynical in its dribbling composition. Ha ha, little Zan is fighting the duel aspects of his nature. Again. Eh, okay, so maybe that was a little humorous. It was a problem the lycanthrope seemed to have to deal with far too often and, once he had finally believed the Beast was in control and his human side was on top...shit hit the fan and proved him wrong. Thank you, fate. Thank you, God. Thank you, World. Now in an oddly good mood, laughing with his partner at the sheer absurdity of the situation (while Nulus laughed because he was a sadistic sociopath), Zan was ready to fight once more. The nerves that had been bundling up - the nerves that might have warned him at the subtle sound of tearing leaves in every which direction - were blissfully gone. Everything was going to be okay. Now was time for some ass kick--PAIN. OWPAIN. WOAPAIN. PAINPAIN. Staggering in shock, Zan blinked down at the handful of kunais that had taken up residence in his body in pleasant little stabs. Pulling them out, one by one, hissing with each jerk, he turned to see just how his friend was holding up. Like Zan, Nulus finished plucking the last from his cloak and tossed it aside.

"Well that felt awesome." Sarcasm, shocking.

"La Repth." The Heavy Blade spoke a second after slapping on the right piece of armor and taking it off the second after. "Right, the ones in the trees. I was wondering where she'd have them come across us." A pause. "Their range is pretty far, so they shouldn't be upon us for a few seconds. Don't know about their flying knife things, though. You have any magic that can pluck these fuckers at a distance with me?"

That question prompted a rather confused (again, not something Zan could see, but he could feel) look from his partner. A second later and a metaphorical light bulb blinked on above his head. He did have magic, didn't he? Zan watched as he reached into his cloak and pulled out a trio of spheres about half the size of baseballs, each glowing a unique color; a vague pink, a pulsing yellow, and a dull green. Nulus seemed just as intrigued as Zan, but for different reasons that only occurred to Zan when he mentally prompted for them. While the Heavy Blade was shocked to see them period, unsure of what they were, Nulus was shocked that he had forgotten he had them in his possession. There was something vaguely familiar about them that, for a second, the Lycan couldn't place. Colored orbs? While one could easily derive a joke from his predicament, Zan was too busy trying to decipher where he had seen them when another wave of the kunais came. These were prepared for, however distracted they may have been, and a simple jump and change of elevation onto another bridge (hands catching on it before he pulled himself up in a swing) prevented any real damage. They were only a minute or so away now.

They had to wrap this up. That moment of adrenaline had cleared away Zan's cobwebs and, removing the glove from his left hand, he stared at the pulsing orb embedded under his flesh and into the top of his hand. Over the spots where it glowed (both over his hand and his palm, under where the orb would be) were six rings of code comprised of ones, zeroes, and glyphs, each smaller and closer in than the last. The rings and the orb itself (the spot where the orb would be if it were outside or even present as a bump on his flesh acting as the center of the rings) glowed a reasonably bright blue...which was off. It had been green back in the war in Mac Anu, hadn't it? Eh, semantics. Right now? Well, right now he needed to ask Nulus what the hell he could do with his. That question too, acting as only a curiosity and a mental prompt, was answered. They were his source of magic as...whatever he was to Zan. Nulus couldn't act as a player, but whatever program he was still granted him access to skills through an entirely alien system that the lycanthrope hadn't even been aware was present in the game at all. Huh, well, what spells did the things even have? Before that same, nigh-clairvoyant information could be given, the Shade explained.

"The pink one, as unmanly as it looks, allows me to drudge up treachery and betrayal in the hearts of my foes and turn them against their friends. The yellow one allows me to instill fear that freezes my enemies in their tracks. The green one instills a fatigue in their muscles and slows the poor bastards down." Nulus was so proud.

Zan had to stop breathing to keep from laughing. "So you mean Suvi Lei, Miu Lei, and Dek Do?"

Nulus scowled in the blackness of his hood. "You're so unpoetic."

Again, Zan laughed. "And you're so purple."

The lycanthrope could feel his partner try and grab what 'purple' referenced and had almost blocked him out when another wave of kunais brought his attention to the here-and-now. The First Wolf had only a second to get angry about the comment before they were both leaping (in Nulus' case, flying) across the bridges to another in a frantic-leap. They were here. Zan could here a number of rustles around them, variations in the trees, and knew (by how Raine seemed to do this so far) that there'd be ten. Okay then. To his left and to his right he fired off twin MeRue Roms, the duel spells exploding outward in a maelstrom of ice and sickle-chilled ice. Even being near the attacks made the air frigid, but bearable just the same. Zan watched as four fell, one after another, from their perches and landed with a THUMP a dozen or two yards down. That was enough to slay them, the bodies twitching for a moment before giving their last breaths. Good, only six more to go. Nulus had blurred off behind him when the spells had been cast and when two more bodies hit the ground, Zan counted four left in their circus of forest vagabonds. It was like some backwards Robin Hood scenario.

When Nulus returned by him, the Shade still had the pink orb out and in his hand, a moment of hesitation felt by both of them before he clenched it, branded the rune of Charm on his hand as the sphere melted into his flesh. Without words Zan knew, by Nulus' odd knowledge of the program he had become, that at his current strength he could only infuse one of those things into him. So now he was suck with Charm for the rest of the training session and, well, it wasn't a bad spell to be stuck with. Curiosity had the spell successfully launched at the first Swordmanoid that landed on their bridge, palm lofted in its direction, the rune glowing the same pink as the orb as the spell activated. The monster blinked for a second and gave them each a nod before it simply cast itself back out into the trees. Another wave of Kunai (only three this time) had the pair on the defensive again, Zan sidestepping one and deflecting the other with one of his bracers while Nulus simply caught the last one in between his scissor hands. A breath, less than, later and another fell...and another...all at the hands of their enemy-turned-ally before he was finally brought down by the remaining monster. One left.

That same one burst through the trees in a panic, flailing his fists (fists that Zan noted were capped with metallic claws between the knuckles) at the pair in hopes of magically taking them down and becoming victorious where nineteen others had failed. A grab of the monster's head midair, a twist and a crack of its neck, and Nulus tossed it down to the ground below.

"Twenty." He corrected.

Laughing despite himself, Zan nodded and leaped back down to the biggest, central bridge with Nulus in tow. A hapless handful of minutes and the bridge dipped back down to the earth. When the duo left the bridge and the forest behind them, the night darkened in an eerie instant, the moon showing full and bright a little ways from where the sun had been moments ago. A field stretched on for miles, leading to what seemed like a giant, ruined fortress with some sort of statue in its center (the whole thing a mere object in the distance). Grass up to his toes waved in a chill, midnight wind, rustling the coats both of them sported in a gentle whipping sound.

They were one step closer.

_________________
Lv. 50 Heavy Blade
Wishlist
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).


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:14 am 
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The open, midnight air was a refreshing relief from the humid, sun-imbued air of the forest they had just vacated. A curious thought had Zan turning back, attempting to walk up the bridge he had just moments ago stepped off of to see if it would shift back into day. That little detail hadn't been covered between him and Raine, so the result was anyone's guess. However, like in so many video games, Zan found himself unable to push past some invisible barrier at the base of the thin, wooden structure. Damn it. Oh well, it would have only been stalling anyway. The lycanthrope knew how close the duo was the real challenge ahead and, though they had about another round or two of combat to go through to get to it, he wanted to put it off as long as he could. Zan had designed it to be the hardest part, obviously, and difficult would more than likely require some new show of power between him and the First. Though the Heavy Blade had insisted that he wouldn't test the possibility of merging their data together, something in his gut was telling him he would have no choice. It was an add sensation, really; like God having a sit down with you about something in your future. Unavoidable, horrible, but completely necessary.

"So you're finally giving into my merging idea, eh?" Shit, the shielding. Let it slip for one second...

"I'm sorry, did you say something? I couldn't hear over the sound of your being my slave." A very mature remark indeed.

"You son of a bitch! You know that isn't how this wo-HRKS!"

Zan was just as happy as he was annoyed at the sudden presence of a sword pointed out of his partner's chest. So they had arrived. The two had been too busy trying to make potshots at one another during their walk to notice the flanked assault that had been rather beautifully executed. Go Raine. Or fuck Raine, whichever. With Nulus apparently choking on its own blood, Zan couldn't help but want to choose the former. When the weapon had been wrenched free, however, the last of his light-hearted mood was gone. It was, once again, time to show these bastards what was what. The mental synchronization came back in a flash, the two suddenly wired to the other, knowing moves and plans before they could be executed. There was power in that bond, power that Zan's Beast craved for him to indulge in further. So much awaited a Merging of their data into a single entity. So much. Only the Heavy Blade's persistent wishes against such a union kept that happening as their minds found a middle ground, a place just this side of completion. The weapon that had been used against Nulus was no bigger than that of a Blademaster and, thus, pointed Zan in the direction of more Swordmanoids. Instead of being armed with nothing more than their fists or kunai this time, the monsters at this stage of the fight were armed with actual weapons.

Which meant Zan could give himself the same advantage.

Holding his right hand out before him, the lycanthrope watched with mounting excitement at the prospect of bloodshed as the High Forger digitalized into existence. Although Zan, because of his Twilight abilities, could wield the six-foot blades in one hand, using two like the rest of his class allowed him to move with the swiftness of a Blademaster and the strength of the mighty Heavy Blades. It was a rather nice perk. One hand just an inch below the hilt and the other at the base of the grip, Zan launched himself at his companion, Nulus forcibly freeing himself from the skewer in time for a hefty and quick lop of his blade to separate the Swordmanoid into two diagonal halves. With a wet, meaty thump they toppled to the ground, the Shade and the Lycan back-to-back as they took in their surrounding challengers. The basic set up of the fight was similar to his first engagement with the Swordmanoids, but aside from the blades they held skillfully outward, the Heavy Blade knew they had access to magics. Gan magics. Zan had specifically chosen Nulus' weakness as another challenge, another brand of motivation to keep going and keep on his toes. At this point in Zan's career, the lycanthrope had no affiliations like most of his friends, no elements that were more effective than any other. Instinct told him that thought was false, but there was no time to delve deeper. It was time to fight.

A full moon illuminated the armor of nine remaining Swordmanoids, such a thing coming as no surprise to the duo. For one reason or another, Raine liked the spawn the bastards in packs of ten. Either she really didn't like Zan (something he had no explanation for) or she was simply trying to give them the most out of their time in the training room. Here's for hoping for the latter. The thought was exclaimated by a bellow that was half-human, half-something-else-entirely and the rather effortless parry of the strike against him from one of three monsters that had decided to charge in as the first wave. Zan could hear Nulus clashing with the sword, his dagger-like fingers as hard as metal but often quicker in turn. He knocked away an overhead strike that was surprisingly well planned and watched with mounting enjoyment as the Swordmanoid stumbled back from the impact of the retaliation. Before he could hope to gain his grounding, Zan was already not an inch from him, the High Forger buried deeply into the heart of the monster before him. Instead of cringing at the sudden cough of blood in his face, the connection with Nulus structured enough at the moment to dismiss some of his inhibitions against the Beast, Zan simply ran his tongue around the edge of his mouth, collecting the stray crimson drops with notable hunger. Savoring the copper-like candy for a moment, the lycanthrope dislodged his opponent with a thumped boot to its gut.

The connection with Nulus granted him the knowledge that another was dead on his side and another made into an ally, something Zan was glad to have in their current situation. He almost checked to see the condition of their new companion when a loft of earth beneath his feet shot him into the air with one spire and impaled his shoulder with another. A howl of pain left his lips as he fell awkwardly back to the ground, the surprise factor of the attack leaving him to drop and land without any edge of animal grace. Shit, that hurt. Even as his metabolism began to clot his wound, tissue slowly but surely knitting and reforming, Zan could feel the damage. Even as Nulus beheaded another, the thing flying like a rock through the air and over Zan's head (proceeding to dribble blood through Zan's hair as it went), the lycanthrope was too distracted and off-balance to avoid the Gan Rom that hit him the moment he got to his feet, rocks cracking him in the back, in the ribs, and upside the head more times than he could count. The last thought he had came as an 'Ol Repth' from his lips. The spell saved him from blacking out, but it didn't save him from the rush in of his opponents. The connection with Nulus didn't seem to be doing quite as much good this time around, something made obvious by the vulture swarm of Swordmanoids.

A rather valiant skull-impalement by their Charmed ally reduced the number to four that were heading towards him. A moment later and it was three, one veering off course to take care of the 'traitor.' A thought to Nulus and the Shade was tackling yet another, leaving the approaching two much less intimidating to handle. On his feet for a second time, white spots still decorating parts of his vision, Zan listened to a last-minute gut decision and went with an imitation of a move he had seen in countless kung fu movies. One arm thrusted the High Forger forward, catching the charging opponent off guard with its sudden presence as it dug into the meat of its throat while Zan's leg snapped back at the second and clashed roughly with its guarded face. The pose was almost artful, the scene itself with two of Nulus' fingers through the eyes of his target while his other hand wrenched free a long line of intestines only adding to the comically macabre feeling the battle had taken on. Their Suvi Lei infected partner had been taken down, but the whole thing left them with only two more to deal with. High Forger pulled from the corpse and body turned to the one he had bootfaced, Zan lazily knocked away the diagonal slash the Swordmanoid had attempted, both his strength and the size of his weapon forcing his opponent to drop the blade in the process. Hand drawn across his face like he was going to backhand the monster, Zan unfolded the arm in a rough jerk, separating head from body in a thought.

With a move that was just as fast, Zan speared the falling head on his blade and tossed the hunk of flesh and bone behind him, choosing to ignore the meaty slurps and crunching sound of sinew and bone snapped and pried apart. Oddly, the Swordmanoid's body in front of him didn't drop, simply standing there like some awkward chicken. Rather than topple it over like he was oh-so-tempted to, Zan chose instead to let it simply be, turning to face the Shade as it dropped the remains of the body's head to the ground next to the corpse of the monster it had finished off not seconds before. An arm drawn across wherever its mouth was inside of the darkness of the hood, Zan could feel Nulus smiling.

"You done?" To the point, as always.

"Aye aye, captain." A smartass, as always.

"Good." He paused, turning to face forward once more, eyes serious while his smile was wide. "'Because we're not done yet."

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EX: Elemental Summon (Lv. 2), Overdrive (Lv.1), Elemental Attacks (Lv. 2), Enhance Dark, Elemental Breath (Lv. 2).


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:01 pm 
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The continued journey with Nulus found itself devoid of any further conversation, both on their toes for the final step they knew was coming; the dungeon remains. Zan had asked for this part to be programmed with several opponents and, remembering the number, he was beginning to regret it. Being a simulation, Zan hadn't cared how much danger he placed himself in, how far he went with it. Having actually been inside of it, however, he knew the truth and reality of the matter to be something that deserved a bit more seriousness, a bit more attention. Again the lycanthrope found himself mulling over Nulus' proposition of merging, of allowing that subconscious wall between them crumble down. There would be obvious power in it, that much Zan could feel. It was like a whisper on the back of his neck, the press of peer pressure that was just tempting enough to indulge in. Would it be good to single their numbers down against the near-army of foes they'd be facing soon enough? Finally emerging in the ruins of the dungeon amidst a clearing, the dozens of Swordmanoids (with all sorts of weapons, making them notably versatile) spread out in waiting, Zan didn't care. It was time to see where this could go.

And so the wall came down.

To say that the next few minutes were violent or obscene would be like calling the Holocaust a little tragic or rape just a little horrible. Though Zan was no longer present during the mass murder, during the slaughter that brought armor and flesh alike to be rent asunder, the memories of it would be something to follow him for the quest to come. What happened next had no explanation, nothing the lycanthrope could hope to peace together as he came to himself and Nulus floated away from him. The 'why' of the separation, seeing as the two had no control of when it occurred, was the true mystery. They could both feel echoes of the Merged and his sadomasochism, of the true horror wielded in his very capable hands. Why had he been so willing to relinquish his power to them, to subsequently delete himself until they decided he was needed once more? Was it simply that he had run out of play things and chew toys? No, that put the Merged too close to some lovable canine when, obviously, he was something entirely different. The combination of human thoughts and bestial pull had made an entity Zan was almost ashamed of. Ashamed, perhaps, but he just as soon recognized the necessity of its creation, of its call in future battles. With it he could do what him and Nulus couldn't hope to do alone; with it, he could truly be a weapon of the Freedom Fighters.

The defeat of his last objective and last enemy in turn had melted the simulation around him and elicited his exit from the training facility, black coat pulled tightly to him as he walked. Zan felt colder for it all, distanced for much the same reason Nulus had filled the cuffs again and remained silent. It was going to be hard to get past the memory of being no more, of being nothing but stupefied blackness until some stranger had decided they could come back. The lack of control was unsettling for them both, no doubt, but more so for the Heavy Blade. He had control over the Shade, whether said Shade liked to admit it or not. Everything under his purview of power, to the extent he knew it, was under his thumb. Until then. Until now. Perhaps the reaction was silly, maybe even childish, but Zan still couldn't shake the personal megalomania. It made him feel like a kid again, like a toddler in dire need of a dirty blanket to feel whole. His one salvation came with the knowledge that he could still choose when the Merged came into being, when it was summoned forth. That was control. It wasn't all gone.

So why did the fear still linger?

[FIN]

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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).


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:10 am 
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Rewards will be included in the current thread. Closed.

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