July 3, 2016 at 8:39 pm #1869
The almost inaudible whisper of a stealthy silken slipper on the hard wood floor of their bedroom awakens a life time of warrior training. Mighty Hrothgar spins to his feet perfectly balanced massive bastard sword in one heavy hand and shinning shield in the other, before he is even cognizant of the situation. Over the edge of his shield, held defensively up before him, he sees a very elegantly garbed and slightly bemused Void floating before him at the threshold to the room he shares with Grognak, Caris and Tealia.
“You are summoned Hrothgar Skaldurr, Son of Howarden. Gear yourself for battle. You are awaited out back.” Void whispers telepathically before fading away into the darkness of the great manor.
Slowly lowering his weapons, Hrothgar sighs in exasperation, realizing for the hundredth time that he will never get used to this strange companion Grey and this even stranger land. Glancing around at their empty room, Hrothgar feels suddenly more alone than he has in many years. With Grognak Studying at the Pacified Shadow, Caris staying with Evan and Tealia out in the wilds, he had never slept alone here in this strange house and wouldn’t you know it the first time he does something strange has to happen.
With ease of countless repetitions and experience Hrothgar girds himself for battle. First his padded under robes and heavy boots. Then His greaves and tassets, followed by the magnificent breastplate, pauldrons and bracers. Sliding his twin swords into their sheaths on his broad back and attaching his new shield over those before reaching out for his glorious helmet. He holds the helm in his hands for a moment admiring its craftsman ship which, like the rest of his great armor, is almost more a work of art than an accoutrement of war. It is not until this moment that he realizes that he was awoken by the sound of a slippered footfall? but Void is a spirit that hovers a few inches above the ground?
Rolling his massive shoulders and shaking his head, Hrothgar tucks the helm under his arm spins about and heads out of their room onto the darkened second floor landing of the faintly lit eerily quiet mansion. Trudging down the great stair case, boots echoing loudly, he passes an immobile Neff, Giving the crystalline construct a wide berth.
Through the somber foyer and out through the kitchen Hrothgar strides, armor clacking pleasantly, from the entrance of the kitchen he pauses looking through the gloom to the deeper black of the open back door. He can feel the cool night air gently flowing in, the looming darkness of the estate at night ominous before him, knowing that to step from this place will be to step from absolute safety in to the semi sinister unknown of a Yun Shan evening.
Step he does pushing aside the creaky screen door with his left hand and stepping out boldly onto the back porch, letting the door creak slowly closed behind him as he breathes in the night, the calming scent of the great trees, the aromatic gardenia blossoms,… caustic smoke? A flicker of dull ember slowly brightening to his left, just inside of his peripheral vision, Hrothgar turns quick as cat hands reaching for his weapons.
“Easy Senshi. It is only me.” A figure resolves itself from the shadows before Hrothgar, not to tall but not short, dressed in muted grays under a black long coat, close cropped white hair flaring to a muted red and his Yun Shanian features faintly revealed with every drag of his cigarrete. It is Slayte, Grey’s lieutenant and sometimes leader of the Black Jackets.
“I know better than to dance with men such as you, Senshi. Besides I believe that your dance card is full for this evening and I am pretty sure that you are going to need all the energy you have for your partner tonight.” Slayte says ominously, slowly gesturing with his cigarrete out beyond the porch, Hrothgar turns to look, to see the great stygian woods beyond and the indistinct light wavering just inside the tree line. When Hrothgar looks back, Slayte the Spy, is gone. Nothing but a faint whiff of acrid smoke curling in the wind.
Squaring his shoulders, determined not to let Slayte’s disappearing act get to him, Hrothgar brazenly tromps down the old porch steps and strides through the dewy grass and into the misty dark woods towards the light. Through the gloomy void He traveled, giant shadowtop trees even more immense in the darkness looming over and around him all but blotting out the brilliantly starry sky above.
At length Hrothgar reached the origin of the light or lights as the case became. Here in a large clearing he found a large octagonal shape marked out in the wet grass of the irregular clearing with what looked like brick dust. At each point of the large octagon a copper torch holder was embed into the soft earth, the strange torches of a unknown material giving off the strange light, more red than gold the light was. Very similar to a normal torch but just different enough to be unsettling. Scattered around the interior of the octagon in no apparent pattern lay a variety of faintly glowing green rocks of various sizes, their purpose another in a long line of mysteries.
Standing closest to the edge where Hrothgar emerged was as small man of advanced age, chanting softly to himself.
Across the octagon at the far edge, just outside of the octagon are two familiar figures, speaking to as yet unseen third.
Stern’s ivory robes a subdued red in the strange crimson light, the holy sigil of Krom on his breast shimmers as if the fires within the sigil were real. Stern glances back towards Hrothgar as he emerges from the woods and nods before turning back to the third figure,
Reaching out Stern shakes the third figures hand and leaves skirting the edge of the octagon, away from Hrothgar towards the chanting man, hands in his sleeves and unreadable look on his stoic features.
As Stern steps away the third figure at the edge of the firelight is slightly revealed, a Shade amongst shadows.
Shortly thereafter, Grey nods towards the shadowy figure and stalks away opposite Stern towards Hrothgar.
At arm’s length Grey stops before Hrothgar, pulling of his wide brimmed hat and running a hand through his hair. “Good evening Hroth.” Grey begins with a sly smile. “I knew that after your spectacle in the arena you would attract more attention and not all of it good. I knew that the time would come for a challenger, I just didn’t think it would be……Him.” Grey finishes with a nod of his chin towards the figure waiting beyond the firelight.
“I am not even going to ask if you are ready for this because I know you are. Ahead of you is a straight duel. Once inside the octagon, it will be just the two of you without assistance from the outside. Within, it will be just the two of you battling it out for supremacy. The Ritual enacted by Brother Zun over there,” Grey point’s one slender, gauntleted, hand at the chanting monk. “,will ensure that the damage you do to each other will not kill you. It will also render all spirit powers inert whilst within the octagon. The only caveat your challenger has.” Grey shrugs at this, “He wishes to face you man to man without gods or spirits to sway the outcome. He is eccentric like that.” With that Grey replaces his hat atop his head and bows to Hroth before taking his place next to Brother Zun.
Addressing the shadowy figure Grey proclaims loudly “I give you Hrothgar Skaldurr, Champion Supreme, Slayer of the wretched Slag and countless other black hearted bastards, Favored of Chu Jung( add other cool stuff here )
Grey motions for Hroth to step into the octagon, slowly proudly Hroth strides forward careful not to break the brick dust border.
Addressing Hrothgar, Grey proclaims loudly “I give you Brother K’ni of the Undivided.”
The shadowy figure steps into the light throwing off its dark robes exposing an expressionless man of indeterminate age, shaven headed, a strip of dirty linen tied across his eyes, bare to the waist. A wide intricate belt of leather and steel catching the fire light above ragged breaches of faded black. His sandaled gait is smooth and sure, his lithe body a patch work of pale scars on tanned flesh.
(Combine these pictures with a healthy dose of Bruce Lee)
Grey “Gentleman, the stones will determine your starting position. When the stones light goes out, combat begins…….July 5, 2016 at 4:57 pm #1870
The combatants squared up across the octagon, deathly still for moments. Nothing but the flickering of the firelight and the gentle breeze. Clouds swirled overhead, fire flies buzzed brightly by. The chanting of Brother Zun blending in and around and through the natural world.
With a mighty roar, unsheathing both gleaming blades in one magnificent sweep Hrothgar hurtled across the clearing, Brother K’ni impassive. Settles and balanced as Hrothgar hurtled with the might of an approaching avalanche towards him. Hrothgar the wind rushing by swords balanced lightly in his strong hands despite their size, every step balanced and precisely timed to bring him perfectly to his foe.
His foe who stepped within the reach of Hroth’s giant blades and punched him in the sternum cracking armor. K’ni flipping his Sai’s, previously held close against his inner forearms out to swivel left and right. Effortlessly disarming the dumbfounded Hrothgar, leaving Hroth’s magnificent blades clattering across the ground. Before with a swift precision kick to the Warriors leading right knee K’ni knocked the charging warrior to the ground. With contemptuous ease he spun around again and brought one swift fist down onto prone Hroth’s chest again with a resounding crack, before stepping back perfectly poised again.
Determinedly, Hroth reached out for his precious blades, enduring the ferocious onslaught of kicks, punches and disarming Sai’s. Even when the shadowy K’ni burst into a frenetic pace far beyond a normal man’s abilities raining attacks down upon the struggling Hroth cracking armor and battering the great Hroth.
Keeping a firm grip upon his weapons Hroth endured, push on rising to one knee, heroically he began to swing, bringing the fight back to the powerful dark monk, scoring powerful but glancing hits upon the swift monk. Glacially reversing the Monk’s almost insurmountable advantage, battered and bloody despite Brother Zun’s powers Hrothgar persevered, with a wordless cry he managed to sweep the dominant Brother K’ni up in a desperate but glorious wall of blades, barely laying the ferociously focused monk low as Hrothgar stood. Beaten but victorious!
There is silence in the clearing for a moment, broken only by the heavy breathing of the stilled combatants. There is faint clapping from the side lines and roars of Krom’s approval but the two fighters hear none of it over their own breathing and the rush of blood throughout their bodies.
Hrothgard twirls his huge blades above his head and sheaths them upon his broad back, never breaking eye contact with the kneeling monk. Hroth then extended one hand, still shaky from battle and the after effects of adrenaline surge, to K’ni to help the battered monk to his feet, both knowing that K’ni does not need the help but both respecting the gesture.
K’ni took Hroth’s hand and rose, a little cautious, keeping eye contact with the southerner the whole time. Still he was caught off guard when Hroth swept the gangly monk up in a huge bear hug of appreciation.
“That was the hardest fought dual I have ever participated in. Gratitude. My respects to you, Brother.” Hrothgard softly said, His deep voice heavy with sincerity, to the apprehensive monk as Hroth released his grasp, then placed a fist against his palm in front of him, and bowed before the great monk.
“Thank you Hrothgard. That was the finest duel I have had. I have learned much from our battle.” The Dark monk whispers slowly. Turning his head to look over to Grey and Stern for a moment or two, before bowing low and long to Hrothgard. Straightening He whispers “Good night, Warrior.” And steps backwards out of the octagon into the shadows and simply vanishes.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.