Treading New Waters

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Qarinah
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Treading New Waters

Post by Qarinah »

( Continued)

Several days had passed since Qarinah's encounter with Zeik, during which the two of them smeared blood, metal and grit just outside the boarders of the Astral. She'd been possessed by her bloodlust at the time, blotting out her short term memory of the event but the wounds she endured could tell stories of that day. The sting of Hellfire was unique that way. Even for an immortal whose body was literally an unbreakable tome of murder and carnage, the damage the cursed flame could unleash were beyond comprehension.

Fortunately, their battle lasted long enough for Qarinah to regain her wits and ended before either of them sustained any permanent injuries. But the chances of that happening again were slim to none. She was still sohungry.. hungrier than she could remember in recent memory. Soon that blood lust would consume every necrotic cell in her body and her hunger would roll over the allied territories like a plague.

There were probably a handful of beings on Vescrutia formidable enough to survive an hour against her, and she knew none of them to be as powerful as Zeik. So she left the Astral immediately after their battle, not even leaving time her body to properly mend her injuries. Cutting through hundreds of miles of land in seconds all before sunrise, touring the planet for something big, or strong enough to sate her hunger. She found the former.

Her newly forged armstice with the Astral required Qarinah to be more selective of who or what she chose to ingest, which shrunk the scope of her diet considerably. But her dark tour lead her to a collective of Dyre Elves; a once fabled race and guild of sorcerers, now perverted into a Coven of occult practitioners. On the same night, they were performing an ancient ritual designed to bestow each of them with the unlimited power of an Anima.

They heeded the scribes of a dead language thought to belong to one of The Great XIII; the likes of which instructed the power hungry Coven of elves to accrew thirteen sacrifices from thirteen different clans. Upon their success, the horde of ruby skinned wizards were granted power beyond their wildest dreams. But the magnitude of the mysterious ceremony attracted Qarinah's attention and brought their brief godlike bravado to an end. Before sunrise, she colored the bricks of their unground court with buckets of elven viscera.

--

Qarinah returned to the allied territories a day or so later, with her belly full and her mind weeded with questions. She took her time within the underground tunnels of the Dyre Elves and used it answer some questions of her own. One of those being, "Who or What were they praying too?" She drained the blood of plenty of them, but no one she managed to kill possessed any valuable memories. She did however, manage to leave with the antiquity that drove the horde of devilish sages. And she brought it with her on her journey across the Astral shore.

She arrived just outside of Zero's beautiful beach house, standing on the still waters of the Freshwater Sea without even creating a ripple. Her battle with Zeik destroyed her armor and his Hellfire burned away everything else that wouldn't regenerate. So she was wearing an ivory robe she stole from one of the Dyre Elves who was far to dead to need it anymore. The massive garb fit around her like a gown and the hood was big enough to conceal her entire face from the sun should she need it too.

Luckily, dusk was approaching, which meant she had all the time in the world to meet the man behind the fables. Zero's legends akinned him to The Wizard King of the Astral, but Q had never crossed paths with him. Naturally, her old age created gaps where memories belonged, but the Venkage surname resonated with her. And she wasn't entirely sure why.
Last edited by Qarinah on Fri Jul 02, 2021 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Zero Venkage
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Re: Treading New Water

Post by Zero Venkage »

Zero had just returned from his expedition to Uran, a lovely adventure he’d sooner want to forget. Sure, it ended in his exile from the beautiful nation, but that was probably for the best. His reputation that followed him from the Fall of Arcturus now preceded him in more places than he liked. He wore a mask while he terrorized the pirate seas to avoid the same kind of attention.

“Can’t wait to get into those jura berries,” he says, alighting a bluster of wind dropping him onto the roof of his home. Two steps into the rafters had him hanging upside down in front of the window to his bedroom. It faced east to catch the sunlight in the mornings. Wake up bright, wake up right, right

Returning home just at dusk had its own charms. Though he preferred the morning light drenching the front and all its foliage, the growing streak of darkness cast out into the Freshwater Sea let the shores glow a few minutes sooner than the rest of the beaches on the Jade Shores. He took a moment to see if any of the creatures had responded to the shade yet.

“We got all nigh-- Oh.”

A white figure stood out on the surface of the water. Upside down, Zero couldn’t tell if it was coming or going but he paid it no mind. He opened his window and climbed in scoffing. No way I’m dealing with a siren tonight.

Zero threw himself onto his bed and kicked his shoes off in a single motion. The downy pillows broke his fall, letting his muscles and mind unwind. He might have been worried it was another assassinaton attempt, but there was a treaty banning any violence from befalling the Neo. Sirens were also not usually an issue unless he wanted to play their games for a chance at some fun. He waved his finger and a gust of wind closed his window. That silly song wasn’t gonna spoil his night.

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Qarinah
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Re: Treading New Water

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"Can’t wait to get into those jura berries,” he says, alighting a bluster of wind dropping him onto the roof of his home. Two steps into the rafters had him hanging upside down in front of the window to his bedroom.

"..is that him?"

She pouted as her sullen gaze tracked the slender figure surfing turbulent winds. What Qarinah knew of the Neovian could be scribbled on the palm of her hand; stories and tales about a man who could bend the sky to his will were the only clues of context she possessed. The Fall of Arcturus proceeded her relationship with the Astral, but from what she learned about the events in Kemet, Zero was one of the few to beings to survive the sundering of the Apocalypse.

Qarinah also learned however, that legends often dwarfed the man behind them. And a passing glance through the shifting shadows did her no favors.. So, she decided to she needed a closer look.
Zero opened his window and climbed in scoffing. "No way I’m dealing with a siren tonight..." He waved his finger and a gust of wind closed his window. That silly song wasn’t gonna spoil his night.

The shadows grew longer as dusk melded into moonlight. A euphoric sensation for Qarinah that never seemed to get old. Even when she donned protection, bathing in sunlight wilted every cell in her body. But her frame, kept and clad in her white gown, seemed to warp and distort beneath the cover of night. She flickered from the middle of the sparkling sea, unto the side of Zero's beach house like an apparition. Without sound or friction. Her nails worked like anchors while she scaled its surface, silent as death's grip creeping up to Zero's window.
Zero threw himself onto his bed and kicked his shoes off in a single motion. The downy pillows broke his fall, letting his muscles and mind unwind.

Her chilling gaze bled boldly through the black of night , surveying what they could through the tiny glass portal.

"Tiny thing, isn't he?"

She murmured beneath petty snickers. She made a point to reserve all judgement considering how her perilous first encounter with Zeik began with her criminally underestimating him, but she couldn't help but feel a little underwhelmed by what she saw. Save for his hair, nothing jumped out to her about him. He was a lean and unassuming man, smaller than Zeik though not by much. He certainly didn't fit the fable of a man who could command the heavens. Cozy and snug in his bundle of threads and linen. Not until she smelled what could only be described as potency spilling from his pores.

Save for the undead, every sentient creature possessess their own unique scent stemming from the cocktails of their intricate innards. No organism, despite how similar, favored the other. Qarinah could hunt down a fly from across the globe if she wanted, using her sense of smell alone. Blood, tissue, bone structure, cellular integrity, empirical traumas, and spiritual experiences were among hundreds of components that comprised an organisms scent. But what she picked up from Zero curled her nostrils like it stung. And melted any doubts she may have had behind a down right haunting smile.

..well, well.. is there more to you after all?

Qarinah's hands, clinging to the face of Zero's home, began to glow icy blue until runes and shapes of the hexagonal nature etched along the bricks of his abode, crept along the jade coast and into the Freshwater sea before disappearing just as quickly as they were drawn. This caused the temperature in and around his home to drop exponentially. Quick enough to freeze Zero's next breath into an arctic mist, but not so much that Qarinah couldn't enjoy watching him from her original position upon the Freshwater Sea. From the inside out the windows were the first to chill over. Then spread like a living disease to the very foundation of the building. The entire mount it was forged upon would soon freeze into an enormous glacier with him inside.

Wakey, wakey.

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Zero Venkage
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Re: Treading New Water

Post by Zero Venkage »

The crackling of frozen sheets creeping into his home shattered the peace he so desperately craved. His eyes shot open, locked directly on the window through which this frigid breeze blew. The same window an ambitious Atlantean crept through some time prior. The same window through which he sent her flying back to her brethren. The same window it seemed he needed to get a lock for. His understanding demeanor allowed him to take the first assassination attempt in stride, the aftermath of which garnered him and his stoic, elder friend a new tag team moniker and fear throughout the Jade Shores. Had he known the culture of the territory before he settled, they might have approached the situation more diplomatically back then. All it took was a sarcastic cry for help to turn the tides in his own favor and make enemies out of a whole species of Atlanteans.

On the other side of the rehabilitation and reeducation to introduce himself and Atra to the ways of this part of the world, Zero knew where he should stand with the surrounding tribes. The Neo Atlantean Treaty guaranteed him and his compatriots safe passage. So this new, chilling assault wouldn’t be met with wonton carnage such as before, but he felt a frigid chill course through his veins. Not from the cold of the weather, from his own disgust.

As the frost crept through his room, immortalized the walls of his handcrafted home, he stared in ire at the empty window. The ice crept up into his bed while Zero seethed. It didn’t have enough time to reach the young diplomat, he’d reflexively charged his skin with what he liked to call a film, just because he liked the way it sounded. A naked eye just saw a frozen room full of fog, but through the haze, the current under his skin gave Zero softly glowing aura.

All I wanted was a nap. All he wanted was a nap. But someone wanted to give him a bigger chill out than he planned for. With the film on his skin, he rolled out of bed and quickly out of the door into his hallway. His room froze over completely by his next breath. The ice didn’t stop at his room, though. It followed Zero into the hallway, forcing him casually over his banister gently onto the first floor, freezing just as quickly as the rest of his house. Zero had the prodigal gift of swift movement and it kept him a step ahead of the cold front. The whole house turned into a crystalline monument following Zero out of the back door and into the open grassland he called a backyard.

Zero and his house on the shore have been through so much lately. Someone broke in twice, attempted to assassinate him once before now, and the house, which is an innocent bystander in all of this, always caught the worst of it.

“This isn’t really like you, is it, Fenri?” he asked to the glacier housing his lovely home. In a second of risk assessment, he realized how unlikely the possibility of a Siren coming to the Jade shores and an old nemesis knocking on his windowpane. “You literally JUST tried to off me, now you sneak attack me in bed? I must have really upset you this time.” Zero thought Fenri’s strength of character kept him from attacking while the traveler was unprepared. If he really needed to settle things immediately, Zero didn’t think he could get away easily anyway, not when the attack started already. So he stood there, half marveling, half stewing over the next moments. Siren? Wolf guy? Who’s gonna come bursting through my baby? he pondered while making a single Silvan Charm with his right. The sunset at his back gave a haunting glow to the ice sculpture he just evicted himself from. Zero donned his own signature shine to match.

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Qarinah
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Re: Treading New Water

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Qarinah casually waltzed out of the enormous crystal totem (Zero's home) through a circular doorway that manifested just as mysteriously as she did. The ice didn't melt, but her presence shifted the interior of the glacier into corridors she could pass through, that ultimately lead her face to face with Zero. Who, gauging from his apathetic dispoisition toward sudden chaos, didn't seem too disturbed about almost being cryogenically petrified in his sleep.
“This isn’t really like you, is it, Fenri?.. You literally JUST tried to off me, now you sneak attack me in bed? I must have really upset you this time!"

"Hm?"

Was all she said as she stepped into view, dispelling whatever preconceived narratives Zero may have anticipated with her haughty, unfamiliar voice. Her robe concealed every fiber of her 6" build from the dying sunlight save for her face, which was twisted into a devilish smirk after laying eyes on who she hoped was the man in charge around here.

".. I think you have me confused with someone else."

She whispered softly, like someone who cared. But her still hallowed gaze, sizing him up from head to toe, conveyed far more malicious intent than any weapon ever could. Clearly she and whoever Fenri was shared an affinity for impulsive surges of violence along with a talent for ice magic. But it was apparent he could benefit from some advice in preemptive combat and tactical advantages.

A few thousand years ago, Qarinah spent her "youth" creating her own protocols in the art of war. Griots and bards immortalized her as a shogun of death with a gnashing sea of fiends at her beck and call. And a vast majority of her enemies were slaughtered in the comfort of their homes by her ravenous hordes. Be them eating, sleeping, fucking or hiding. There was a truly gratifying feeling behind stalking and storming her prey in the dead of night, and cornering them within their own walls, that enriched the thrill of the hunt that much more. Honor and integrity had no place in the realm they roamed, one ruled by warefare and bloodshed. Anyone found in her cross hairs could testify to that.

"But don't worry little guy, you'll see that I'm far more fun to play with."

Among a litany of other things, Q intended to tally Zero to that list as well. Her haunting stare swelled into two yawning voids of swirling ivory that burned brighter as the shadows stretched. Until suddenly, Qarinah fired the first shot of the encounter. The attack bared little to no warning at all, she simply needed to fixate her gaze on her target and concentrate. A sigil carved itself unto her forehead before it happened, but in flash of light, everything in Qarinah's line of sight was swallowed by an arctic storm. (Think gorgon meets heat vision, but ice.)

About a mile of earth, soil, and foliage was frozen solid in a matter of seconds. Even the air was crystalized into razor sharp stalagmites that pierced the clouds and anything else caught in the wave.

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Zero Venkage
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Re: Treading New Waters

Post by Zero Venkage »

“I’m so good,” he muttered under his breath. This wispy creature stepping straight through his house wearing nothing but malice and a nightgown had nothing else to do but bother a guy trying to nap. Every time he thought he could catch a break, someone else burst through the door bearing, by their own standard, formidable weapons against him. Anyone from his life before the Neo who would have a score to settle would come themselves at the break of dawn on a holy day. Why? Because, theatrics. This specter, clearly not a Siren, clad in a white robe wanted some play time and didn’t even begin with her name. How rude. Her eyes said come hither, but everything else about her screamed perish. But without getting a good look at her face, Zero had trouble sizing up how much they would need to play. She was strong, but he hoped she wasn’t also uncharacteristically fast. For a Siren, anyway. Then her eyes started to glow.

A twitch of his toes launched him forward and to the ghost’s right, out of sight just behind the corner of his newly frozen home. He turned and saw the swath of land flash frozen into a polar hellscape, the air misty from the immediate temperature drop. He was floored.

“Who in the gorgonical hell sent you?!” he screamed, backing out of sight silently. Zero hated fighting gorgons more than he hated fighting sirens. You can’t be in their line of sight, you also don’t want to get in close because they can have multiple arms. And they can have other strange abilities on top of the previous two. Vescrutia is home to a myriad of creatures and ways, some of them just bummed Zero out. Gorgon… Gorgon… Who has a gorgon? Who knows a gorgon?

Regardless of his small compared to the overall number of people on Vescrutia but not necessarily in the scope of his peers number of people who he could legitimately call an enemy, Zero rarely ran into gorgons. They were part of a culture of treasures he took no interest in because the effort rarely paid off the effort it took to dodge their line of sight completely. At least out here on his new home turf, there was more cover than in underground caverns. What good would all the cover do if she could literally freeze everything in her sight. With the damage he got a glance at, Zero knew he needed to keep this fight local.

It’d only be a few moments before the specter would oppress him again, guaranteeing some form of chase. She wanted to play some games and the speedster knew no other way to live. He made another gesture with his hands, then gave them a wiggle, sending lavender sparks of electricity dancing up and down his glistening form. His palms were charged to glowing with the same electrical energy, Naten soaking them through. Zero kept an eye on his assailant just out of view a few meters away from the icy globe of his humble home. Fortune favors the bold and Zero wasted no time prepping for the worst.

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Qarinah
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Re: Treading New Waters

Post by Qarinah »

Qarinah was known to bask in the aftermath of her deadly assaults. Even on the battlefield, where steel and sorrecery was rending life from flesh in every direction, she could be seen letting the carnage wash over her like warm steam against her skin.

She'd looked statuesque. Enthralled by the wails of cracking bones and shattered earth, wet with pride at the caliber of destruction she could amass at a moments notice. This attack in particular had been used before to petrify an entire armada of crusaders in the seconds it took them to hoist their weapons. To this day, they remained perfectly poised and ready to engage the greatest evil they'd ever known. Frozen in time in a far off land that Qarinah had long forgotten.

But now, here.. Qarinah's eyes, still blistering with frosted wisps of vapor, knived through the smothering crystal haze like lasers. She needn't glance at the jagged jungle of artic sapphire to know she missed her mark. A feat she figured to be impossible before today.

"..."

The shockwaves generated from Zero's sonic movements kicked up a modest gale of icy mist that fluttered her gown like a leaf. But her long legs, both stained with sleeves of ancient tomes, were still rooted in what remained of the front yard. Her stance shifted as her nostrils dialated only slightly--
“Who in the gorgonical hell sent you?!” 

Qarinah gleaned to her right just as his voice howled over her shoulder, but she had found him long before then. She could hear his hushed breathing beneath the roaring drum of his heartbeat and the crackling jolts dancing along his wrist. More melodies of the hunt. And though they enticed her, she didn't pounce just yet. No, instead Qarinah drew a heavy sigh before loosening her shoulders one by one. And in seconds that arrogant twist in her lips collapsed into a pensive trance.

..ugh.

Qarinah absolutely hated dealing with speedsters..

"You're fast.. He told me you would be strong, nothing about being fast."

..which she conveyed whether she realized it or not. Her tone darkened dramatically. Her coy, inviting disposition became cold, calm, and assertive. Witnessing Zero's mind blowing agility had immediately exhausted the novelty of this encounter. She absoultely STRUGGLED clocking his movements, and from what she saw of the ivory blur, he barely flexed any muscles at all. This was a reflex. The man hadn't even hit his stride, but trying to keep up with him gave Qarinah a headache.

Her most recent encounter with a speedster was with an exceptional, religious zealot who developed a spell powerful enough  to manipulate the cosmic radiation of the sun. It emboldened him with celestial capabilities, granting him might and speed that unraveled relativity. That battle ended in a gory stalemate; one of them nearly decapitated, the other barely clinging to life through fleeting prayer. They clashed for hours, Qarinah never landing a decisive blow while her "unkillable" body laid vulnerable to his every attack. She relied on her instincts and her immeasurable strength from beginning to end, while the zealot struck from angles she couldn't see. It was one of the most jarring experiences in her life.

"..are you a coward, too?"

Qarinah harped, projecting her voice so that Zero could hear her subtle disdain wherever he may have been hiding and hopefully be goaded into battle. She lifted her left hand from her gown and began to harness the ambient crystal fog into a palm sized vortex. A flash of light molded it into a spear large enough to clear her 6" frame, but she handled it as if it were weightless. One handed, with flair and finesse. Her eyes returned to their natural hue as she awaited his response.

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Zero Venkage
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Re: Treading New Waters

Post by Zero Venkage »

"Coward?" he asked himself still just out of sight of the gorgon. HE peered his reflection in the frosted mirror, illuminated by his own swirling energy. Zero checked his face and his body, making a few model poses as he sauntered along the outside of his glistening home. He didn't think he came off as a coward, not just because he didn't want to be frozen into a Zero-sicle. This towering, female-ish creature had already been briefed on Zero, he heard her mumble to herself. He still had no idea who sent her, but it didn't matter at this point. The gauntlet was thrown.

"You know... You don't seem like you know who you're dealing with," Zero projected from opposite his assailant. At his back door, between the Neo and the Sea, he could sense the gorgon on the other side. She hadn't moved, save for some flair an flourish from brandishing a weapon. He felt the shift in the air from her brandishing and was eager to see what toy she whipped out. But, any more time and he'd lose the element of surprise. While she thought him a coward, Zero just maintained a tactical advantage. Home field advantage accounted for a lot more than just lay of the land.

Zero assumed the stance his Elgin Style Martial Arts and the space around him went alight with glistening white orbs and dancing lavender electricity. The wind whipped from the frozen ground in a spiral around him, a beacon in the falling twilight. The ambient fog lifting off the frozen ground gave him a stage to begin his performance, a deadly dance on the cusp of evening. When the light of the suns dipped beneath the trees and the sky began to shimmer like pit of diamonds, he lifted his leg to chamber a roundhouse kick. It held an arc of electricity stretching from the center of his back, thick and wildly saturated with Naten.

"I'll fight you AT my house, IN my house, WITH my house!"

As quick as lightning, Zero fired off a roundhouse - hook kick combo, the round sending a blade of lightning underneath his whole house, his opponent's feet, the surface of the Freshwater Sea, slicing, burning through the frost and foundation, making a fog of the battlefield. The hook came right after, coupled with a massive gale of wind from the depths of the forest and the heart of Neovia, sending the whole of his frozen home barreling toward the gorgon at its other side. She'd better be ready for what comes next. He just started to get heated up.

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Re: Treading New Waters

Post by Qarinah »

"You know... You don't seem like you know who you're dealing with," Zero projected from opposite his assailant."
"I just have low expectations."

Qarinah retorted as she loosened her shoulders. Soon after she could feel the earth tremoring before being jolted by a roaring wave of voltage that crawled from her toes to her scalp. The electrical quake passed quickly, but it vaporized the frost covered lawn she stood on. The experience was far from painless, but she didn't flinch at all. She'd been struck by lightning before, so she was no stranger to its destructive capabilities. She shrugged off a few ambient lavender bolts and turned her body toward Zero's location. Which had been currently  obstructed by a flying, glacial obilisk barreling toward her.

As stated, Qarinah's accute senses had already clocked the speedsters whereabouts. His pungent scent of coagulated bloodlust aside, she had been listening to the atypical rhythm of his heartbeat the second she laid eyes on him. But the collective of her sensory capabilites synthesized into her own unique biological sonar more precise than echolocation. There was no "tactical positioning" when battling something like her. She may as well have been standing behind him, watching Zero pamper his reflection before performing his elegant dance and unearthing his home. From what she'd seen, Q acknowledged his expertise in martial arts. His skills spoke for themselves, but she couldn't keep from cringing at how pretentious she thought he looked doing them.

But chuckles aside, Qarinah was never someone to be out done. She had every intention of matching his intensity and she'd emphasize that with her counter attack. Where he would get his first glimpse at the devils might.

She tossed her spear toward Zero and the frozen obilisk with a swift cross body swipe that carried abominable metrics of strength behind it. Her throw looked like there was no effort put into it at all, but the deadly instrument gliding like a disc thundered at velocities that sliced the air infront of it, generating a powerful vacuum as the air rushed back into place in its wake. It moved too fast to resemble anything other than a vector of destruction; literally pulverizing Zero's terrestrial comet upon contact and throttling onward through the floating plume of shimmering dust and debris, in pursuit of its flesh covered bullseye.

She anticipated Zero's reflexes would make responding to the attack a trivial matter, still.. she was interested to see how he responded to the crushing vacuum drawing him toward the deadly vorpal vortex. She waited on not so baited breath, for another display of hypersonic agility. She imagined he'd use the chaos as a smoke screen and close the distance.. but Zeik made a point to say that the Venkage was much smarter than he seemed.

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Zero Venkage
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Re: Treading New Waters

Post by Zero Venkage »

His striking foot barely reached the ground before his frozen home turned into a fine ground cloud of debris pulverized by the single swing of a spear. He already resigned to having to rebuild after this battle, the whole fame being frozen would wreak havoc on his hardwood as it thawed. With the whole building ground to dust, at least he already cleared the land for the foundation.

The spear pulverized his petrified home and barreled through to hack Zero in two. The air pressure still remained thick in the quick moment the gorgon snapped her wrist in his direction. The stormy gale he used to barrel his home into the fray bent inward toward the disc of destruction along with the finely ground bits of happy home. The vorpal vortex's sheer magnitude of pressure made his heart jump with joy.
"I just have low expectations."
"Everyone always does. "

Zero's aura maintained its own pocket of space keeping him from being swept up in his own gales, and also buffering him from the whirlwind of frozen violence before him. He rarely found himself facing such powerful entities without seeking them out himself and this particular foe already took him on a rollercoaster of emotions. From disdain to rage to genuine excitement, Zero grew to appreciate the challenge laid at his doorstep. She seemed to be more than just a twilight assassin.

A twitch of his toes sent him into a somersault towards the vortex while the air around his body became glossy, saturated with Naten. In a flash of light, he brought down an axe kick toward the destructive disc, accompanied by a bolt of lightning from the night sky. The lightning scorched the earth of his home’s foundation, vaporizing what moisture might have been left there. The force of his kick created a wave that cratered the sand just behind his opponent’s body and forced the tides to recede hundreds of feet back into the sea. Zero’s glossy body landed light as a feather, strutting forward into the aftermath of his strike against the gorgon’s blade. Electricity danced around him, up and down his body, across his limbs and down to his finger and toetips. He was charged up and ready to roll.

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