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Taras Slums The Taras slums are the home of the poor, the homeless, and those who wish to be forgotten. This district is well known for its shoddy architecture; buildings are often piled on top of another without paying heed to any existing organization or architectural practices. Gang violence and crime are rife in the slums, as the Taras Guard finds it nearly impossible to patrol the ever-changing alleyways and streets. The levee that kept the Moonsea at bay before the invasion has yet to be rebuilt, so the neighborhoods nearest the shore are flooded. Despite the squalid conditions, squatters still live in the decaying structures. Beneath the slums are the ruins of the old city, a web of tunnels and sunken ruins that are routinely filled by the rising tide. The labyrinthine passageways are rarely lit and host gangs, monsters, and worse things. Only the foolish willingly venture into the underground. The Taras Guard will seal off any entrances they find that lead to the catacombs, but there are still plenty of undiscovered openings scattered through the slums.

The Honor of the Fight

Joined: 5:25 PM - Apr 15, 2018

11:56 AM - Jun 01, 2018 #1

The Slums of Taras were some of the most wretched things one may ever see. In a city full of decadence one only needed to look here to see the divide between Have and Have Not. The soul crushing despair of failure and unrealized dreams permeated the whole area like a miasma. Leonidas shook his head in disgust. How could any people just ignore the plight of others right there with them? The more he wandered outside of the commune and the more he saw the more he questioned his decision to leave. The outside world was a place where others never cared for the people next to them. The outside world was a place where honor seemed non-existent. Maybe the elders of the Densha were correct to section themselves off from the world.

His thoughts flashed back as he wandered the slums. His last match had been unsatisfying. Completely unsatisfying as Arven was an illusion/necromancer. He had run from Leonidas and used necromancy and illusion magic to keep Leonidas running in circles. In the end time had been called and the fight had ended without a conclusive finish. What a horrid way for a fight to end. He really hoped to meet Alex again. That had been a good fight. He would love to get special dispensation to take Alex to the commune and train with him. Of course he would need the same and without some special new knowledge he doubted he would get it. His only other option would be to challenge The Prefect. He would need much more training before that was possible.

His mind snapped back to the here and now. Still no sign of his opponent anywhere. He hoped that he hadn't been so overwhelming to watch in his first two rounds that they had decided to run from him. That would be a shame. There is no shame in defeat. The greatest shame is in failing to stand your ground and fight. Looking to his left he saw a free clinic. The sign outside said "Morgoth is in". He wondered who that was but was happy to see that at least SOMEONE had some compassion for these people. The clinic itself was outside the fight zone but still visible to him. He remembered the challenge of NOT breaking buildings.

Still he began to wonder what had happened to his opponent. With that thought he continued wandering through the slums in an attempt to find his opponent.

[OCC: Sorry couldn't resist a shoutout to a different topic I am in considering it is in the Slums.]
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Joined: 12:02 AM - Sep 05, 2013

12:17 AM - Jun 03, 2018 #2

Alasie would never forget the look on the old man's face after he informed her that he'd already signed her up. Not only that, but he'd also gone ahead and bought them a nonstop airship flight from Cascadia to Taras.

"It's a great opportunity," he had said, "to expose yourself to fights that will not kill you. You'll strengthen your ability to work with Cinga in the heat of battle."

The tournament crossed jurisdictions and featured unusual battlefields, no doubt for the enjoyment of anyone on the continent rich enough to afford a scrying crystal or metamana.

"Their emphasis is on creating battles that entertain the bloodthirsty. This will be your secondary goal."

"What's my primary?" Alasie had asked.

"To stare plainly at your martial shortcomings, and to take your first steps at addressing them. Same goes for your god."

Back near the old man's fireplace, his own god -- a wolverine -- treated her to an unsettling grin. Her eyes were drawn to the ornate pieces of steel grafted to each claw, glimmering in the light of the hearth.

Once they'd arrived in Taras, she'd met with the old man and his god again on the way to the battle site. Cinga didn't say much, preferring to keep an eye on the armored wolverine who liked to linger a few paces behind his mortal. He briefed her on the battlefield for the round and its unique restriction.

Only once they were awaiting their turn to fight did the massive bear next to her finally pipe up. "Alasie, why are we fighting in the middle of people's homes?"

"Complex terrain, lots of cover, and a little dramatic flair -- that's my guess." Alasie pressed the unscarred corner of her mouth down at the sight of it. "The hope is that it'll make things more interesting than a flat arena."

"I don't want to hurt anyone's home." Cinga looked down at herself. She was massive even for a brown bear, both in height and bulk: one of the subspecies unique to the remote arctic islands off the coast of the Dragonspines. "I also don't want you to get hurt."

"I will, but they'll heal me. I won't die from any of this. Neither will you, if you get hurt."

"Okay."

Tournament officials informed them that it was time to begin her fight against a man named Leonidas Borgalion. Other than the name, Alasie had received no information on her first opponent. Visibility was poor throughout the battlefield, so she began to climb. Cinga watched her clamber up a stone half-wall and onto the makeshift remains of an old external staircase, unable to follow.

"Listen to your metamana," Alasie said. "Let's find him and flush him out into the open."

The bear nodded and began to trot down the alley at a steady pace, sniffing.

The woman pulled herself onto one of the flatter rooftops of the slums. Steadying herself, she pulled her bow into one hand and set an arrow from her hip quiver against the string. Alasie crept to the edge of the building, crouching low and scanning the area for signs of movement. Her god would struggle in this environment, even without the property damage restriction. Several of the paths through the urban jungle were simply too narrow or precarious. But at the very least, Cinga could maybe deny Leonidas some ground.

After a while, she spotted a man moving around the confines of the battlefield, seemingly looking in every direction. Since it was unlikely they'd allow civilians to remain in this area, she had to assume this was her opponent. Alasie spoke into her metamana earring. "He's up ahead. Make a lot of noise."

"[Got it!]" Cinga's mana-distorted voice rang into her ear.

A few seconds later, the bear unleashed a near-deafening roar.

If Leonidas was located in the same narrow street as Cinga, the god would charge as fast as she could at the man, aiming to swing her claws up at him mid-gait. If it connected, it would gouge his flesh from hip to shoulder.

Meanwhile, Alasie struggled to catch Leonidas in a clear shot. She waited, recurve bow raised up horizontal, and drew it back as soon as he moved further into her line of sight. Rather than holding the bow back, she aimed at his chest and loosed the projectile in a single smooth motion.

[+] Spoiler
Cinga:
Quick
Armor Piercing, if applicable

Alasie:
Journeyman Acrobatics
Expert Marksman
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Joined: 5:25 PM - Apr 15, 2018

2:38 PM - Jun 04, 2018 #3

A large echoing bellow brought Leonidas spinning around to see a charging bear. Allowing himself no time to think he reacted to the charge in the too narrow alley the only way he could. He timed out the claw swipe and executed a combat slide clearing underneath the bear and giving himself more room to move. It was then that something thudded off his back. A quick glance told him it was an arrow. Thankfully the hardened leather breastplate had taken the hit well. With a quick track of the angle of impact Leonidas spotted the shooter.

Leonidas smiled and as he had times before this, thrust the butt of his spear to the ground and extended his left arm slightly away from his body and brought it across his chest with the back of the palm facing the shooter.

"I am Leonidas Borgalion out of Alexandra by Charlamange of the Densha peoples! Let us engage in combat and find out if you and your friend are worthy of Ak'Shat!"

That being said Leonidas weighed his options. In honesty they were not very pleasant. Fighting two on one was a disadvantage and the fact was the other was a bear. While he was occupied with the bear, the sniper would have ample enough time to line up a head shot. Also while the prospect of fighting a bear hand to hand was exhilarating to him, he knew that was also risky and silly. So the best strategy then was to wound the bear early and slow it so he would have more time to deal with the sniper.

Strategy decided Leonidas smiled and snapped the spear to attack position. With a combat bellow of his own he swiftly charged at the bear hoping to take it off balance and off guard. Hoping his spears aim would be true the target of his attack would be the bears front right shoulder. The quicker he could render a limb useless the quicker he could turn the fight to his favor.

[occ: Master Defense to avoid the claw swipe. Master Athletics for the combat slide. Hardened Leather Breastplate to deflect the arrow. Master Athletics plus Rapid Assault for the charge. Adept Polearms for the potential hit. Starter Spear with Brilliant Energy and Wounding for the potential damage.]
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Joined: 12:02 AM - Sep 05, 2013

3:46 PM - Jun 04, 2018 #4

Cinga's claws passed through empty air and scoured the road. Having watched him move deftly out of her way and slide under her, she dropped onto all four paws again and tried to squirm around in the tight confines of the alley. By rearing up again and pressing her claws gently against the nearest building, she managed to slide herself over -- and it helped that their shared opponent gave her the time by pausing to speak. As she fell back onto all fours, Cinga's brow furrowed in confusion and her ears pulled back. "Alasie, the man is using special words."

"[I can hear him too, you know,]" she replied over the metamana.

The bear huffed and gave her head a good shake, shifting her weight between her front paws as she watched him. From the rooftops, Alasie frowned. Their opponent was armed with a spear, further restricting her god's movements in such tight quarters and giving him good reach.

He charged, spearhead lowered. Cinga crouched as low as she could, throwing her bulk sideways into the wall so hard that the foundation shook dust off the eaves above. Higher up in the alley, some laundry fluttered harmlessly off the clotheslines. Even in her attempt to "dodge" the attack, there was no completely avoiding damage. The spear didn't plunge into her shoulder joint, but it still carved a wide, nasty gash all the way from her shoulder to her flank. She roared, instinctively backing off to get away from the spear. Blood matted her fur within seconds.

"Alasie! Help!" Cinga shouted. "What does Ak'Shat even mean?!"

From her perch, the ranger swallowed hard. Her opening strike hadn't penetrated his breastplate. Worse, every attempt to line up a shot to the limb or head after that was confounded by his constant movements and now his close proximity to Cinga. She couldn't afford friendly fire in this kind of fight.

Alasie broke into a run, hurtling from rooftop to rooftop. She sprinted fearlessly across precarious building materials, free hand steadying herself and her bow hand kept at her side. All the while, she barked orders at her god through her metamana. "[Whatever you do, don't rear up! He can run you through the stomach that way!]" Her eyes strained for a good angle to attack Leonidas in all this mess of urban decay. "[Stand your ground. Push him back if you can. I'm on my way.]"

Without a word Cinga obeyed, walking forward on all fours in an attempt to gain the ground she lost. She hoped to use her size to her advantage by simply overpowering his ability to stop her. The bear shouldered on, head low so that her throat was less of an easy target. Her wound left a massive smear of fresh blood across the alley's wall as she moved.

Cinga aimed a bite at the handle of Leonidas' spear -- or one of his arms, if there was an opportunity to reach them. Her goal was to grab hold of his weapon or limb, denying him more opportunities to stab and buying Alasie some time to get in position.

"What is Ak'Shat?" she demanded through clenched teeth, meeting Leonidas' gaze. If her ability to speak wasn't enough to prove that she was more than a bear, the unmistakable look of humanity in her eyes likely helped.
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Joined: 5:25 PM - Apr 15, 2018

5:15 PM - Jun 04, 2018 #5

Leonidas felt a surge of satisfaction as he felt his spear strike home. He felt a wash of disappointment to see that he had not hit his target. The bear had rolled it's shoulder just right so he missed the joint and the spear head had slid down to the flank opening up a gash. The wounding property of the spear would make that worse over time but it meant that he hadn't achieved his goal of actually taking the bear out of the fight.

That's when things began to take a turn Leonidas had not anticipated. First the bear planted and came hard at him. Leonidas planted himself and leveled the spear. The bear however was more than animal and showed it here. It's head snaked around the head of the spear to grab the shaft and yank with power. Leonidas, stunned by the intelligence of the animal, felt the shaft of the spear slip from his hands as the bear yanked. The spear went flying and now there was a bear between him and it.

Another bellow from the bear shook the alleyway and the bear came right at him in an attempt to bowl over him. Setting himself he smiled. This was the fight he really wanted and the bear was about the be in for a surprise. So was it's owner. As the bear collided with him Leonidas bulked forward and set himself. His muscles stood out from his frame like corded steel and someone with a knowledge of anatomy and a pointer could have picked out each muscle in turn. Leonidas felt the bear's momentum halt and that's when everything took a right angle turn he couldn't keep up with.

"What is Ak'Shat?"

Unaware for the moment of where the question had come from Leonidas answered in a strained voice.

"Ak'.....Shat is the......formal fighting sytle......of the Densha. Once invoked.....I cannot surrender......or quit! Only.....unonciousness or.......death....shall STAY MY HAND!"

Suddenly he realized the person wasn't around. That meant the only place the feminine voice could possibly have come from was......the BEAR? The shock hit him worse than any attack and he felt himself begin to let off trying to push back against the bear. That was a problem because now the bear had a chance to take advantage. By the time he realized what he was doing he knew it was going to be too late.

[OCC: Edit I forgot again. Master athletics plus Brawn to hold the bear. Master unarmed to know the weight distrabution to stop the bear.]
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Joined: 12:02 AM - Sep 05, 2013

1:54 PM - Jun 06, 2018 #6

Alasie hurtled over the next gap between buildings and landed in a run, scrambling up the sloped side of a building to reach a flat-topped roof overlooking the alleyway where Cinga was taking care of Leonidas' spear. As the weapon clattered to the street, Alasie took a textbook archery stance and readied another arrow on the string. There was no attempt to hide herself -- she didn't consider herself particularly stealthy -- but she hoped that being directly above the fight would make her presence somewhat unexpected.

Man and bear were in a gridlock, both struggling to overpower the other through brute force. Definitely not human, she thought, peeking down over a sort of parapet made of brick pieces.

Cinga, the idiot, thought this was a good time to ask what Ak'Shat was.

At the tail-end of Leonidas' response, realization clearly reflected in his tone and stance. Alasie's eyes widened. "He's open!"

With a great grunt of exertion, Cinga pushed every ounce of strength and finesse into a quick attempt at an overrun. She suddenly dropped and then surged forward, head and front paws as low as they could go, trying to sweep into his much smaller body with better leverage and bowl him over -- hopefully sending him tumbling up over her head. Then she exploded upward. Using her head, neck and forepaws all in unison, she tried to launch Leonidas straight up into the air. Alasie already had her bow drawn back, ready to shoot him mid-air.

If Cinga's attempt to fling Leonidas upward didn't work, Alasie planned to loose her arrow on him regardless, careful to aim for his head from above. Her upper body, including her bow arm, was bent over the edge of the alleyway from straight above them in order to give her a clear shot; there was no hiding where she was at this point.

[+] Spoiler
Alasie:
No levels in Stealth.
Expert Marksman

Cinga:
Quick
Resilient
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Joined: 5:25 PM - Apr 15, 2018

5:34 PM - Jun 06, 2018 #7

With a shock Leonidas found himself flying up into the air. As he had let off due to shock of a talking bear the bear itself straightened up explosively and launched him upward. That was only the beginning of his problem however. As he flew upward he saw the woman. It was impossible to miss her and she wasn't making an attempt to hide. The woman loosed an arrow and it flew straight for his head. Thankfully for him Leonidas was more than up to the task to block it. Unfortunately that meant his forearm had to take the blow. The arrow penetrated all the way through his forearm and stung badly. He had no time to think about that as he descent began. Landing with a hard Thud on the ground Leonidas knew the next steps to take.

Grabbing the head of the arrow he snapped it off and pulled the shaft from his arm. Gritting his teeth he knew that he had no time to feel the pain that now screamed through his body. Now was the time to win. He had a few things in his favor. First while she was good with a bow she clearly had no skill in hiding. Second her arrows were not enchanted. Third neither her nor her seemingly intelligent bear knew his strength. This meant they hadn't studied his movements. Even if they had he knew he still had one trick up his sleeve that no one had seen yet. Smiling wildly he worked out his next moves. Then with a quick flick of his hand and wrist he said the archaic words.

"ALAK'SHA'KTH'NBASTER!"

Streaks of light shot from his hand and toward the woman on the rooftop. He hadn't used his Magic Missile spell yet in the tournament so she had no way of knowing that he could do it. Using what he felt sure was a distraction he bolted forward toward the bear. Reaching his target while it still stood on his hind legs he crouched low wrapping his arms around it's lower midsection. With a quick levering jerk upward he lifted the whole bear off the ground and with a twist attempted to land it on it's back with a Belly to Belly Suplex. The lift was strenuous but all the remained was to see if the bear were agile enough to roll out of the impact.

[OCC: Master Defense to block the Arrow. Endurance to shake off the fall and the arrow wound. Magic Missile spell. Master Unarmed to grab the bear along with Rapid Assault to close the distance. Master Athletics and Brawn to lift the bear. Master Unarmed for the Belly to belly Suplex.]
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Joined: 12:02 AM - Sep 05, 2013

2:26 AM - Jun 07, 2018 #8

Alasie followed through with her shot, keeping her arm up and her upper body looming over the alleyway. That proved to be a mistake.

Although she managed to finally draw blood, piercing him through the arm, it wasn't enough of an injury to shock him or slow him down. Cinga had backed up on her hind legs a bit to give Leonidas room to hit the ground, hoping that the fall would hurt him, but she lowered herself to the ground too slowly.

A burst of energy rocketed upward, and Alasie wasn't fast enough to duck out of the way. Raw magical energy splashed against her arm and chest, filling her view with dazzling light and a sickly sweet smell -- and pain. She recoiled backward, but kept her grip on her weapon. Mild scorchmarks ran up and down her armored greatcoat and singed the tips of her hair.

Growling, she tugged another arrow from her hip quiver as soon as she could. When she popped back out over the alleyway, however, Alasie hesitated.

"Cinga!"

Leonidas had the bear by the waist. She watched in horror as he, with inhuman strength, lifted the enormous beast off the ground and whipped her sideways. They both went careening back-over-back -- but Cinga, the larger of the two, couldn't fit in the tight confines of the alley.

The bear's mass crashed into the side of the slum building like a wrecking ball, ripping makeshift building materials apart and sending a shower of stone and metal scraps cascading across the filthy road. Destruction from the bottom sent cracks and faults radiating up the height of the multi-story shanty, groaning like a chorus of demons. Cinga hit the floor back-first in a shower of her own destruction, but Alasie could no longer hear anything but her own screams of rage.

She didn't even care that the building Cinga had destroyed was the very same one that she was currently standing on.

A hurting Cinga roared and wrapped Leonidas in her paws, fighting to dig in her claws or bite or at least throw him off of her as she laid on her back. In the midst of this struggle, the collapse began. With a gaping hole in its lower supports, the building the god had destroyed began to slide into the other side of the alley, snapping laundry lines and ripping apart any makeshift attempts at structural reinforcement.

Alasie didn't move even as the roof she was standing on began to slide out from under her. She held on, focusing primarily on the man who was hurting her god, making the occasional leap to a safer-looking piece of shifting building. The alley closed up, leaving nothing but wood and rubble folded like a collapsed house of cards in a tight pile running halfway up the narrow corridor.

Rubble had crashed over Cinga's body, too, partially burying her. She squirmed her way out of it, kicking away pieces of building. If Leonidas had jumped away to escape the collapse, Cinga would be back on all fours as well.

Alasie perched on the top of the pile of rubble, covered in minor bruises and scrapes from the ordeal, leveling her pitch-black gaze on Leonidas.

"My name is Alasie Qilak," she said, trembling with rage. Her face was oddly mild compared to the rest of her body language: an obvious attempt at self-suppression. Her fingers gripped the fletching of an arrow, setting the nock against the string. "I will bring you the unconsciousness or death you seek through Ak'Shat."

She aimed and fired at his head. Cinga, limping a little, charged at him soon after and swiped her claws. Rather than going for his center of mass, the bear aimed for the straps that kept his breastpiece in place.
[+] Spoiler
Alasie:
Novice Defense
Journeyman Acrobatics
Expert Marksman

Cinga:
Resilient
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Joined: 5:25 PM - Apr 15, 2018

6:32 PM - Jun 07, 2018 #9

The Suplex went off better than he expected however he had forgotten one thing. The bear was a bit to big for the alleyway and Leonidas suplexed her through a building instead. Also on the way down she hadn't tried to break her fall instead opting to claw at Leonidas. The claws really hurt and raked down his arms causing Leonidas to let go of the suplex to early. Even still the building began to collapse around him and Leonidas sprang back to avoid becoming trapped under the collapse. He knew the bear had time to roll free as well. However the collapse would buy him a few precious seconds.

"Mal'alash'uk'to."

The arcane words rolled off his tongue and his wounds began to knit back together. Thankfully Charlamange out of Arissa by Mikhail had INSISTED he learn the Heal spell. Now he understood why. The wisdom of a fighter of his caliber was undeniable. As that truth entered his mind he noticed the archer had hit the ground and the Bear was back up. The archer spoke introducing herself and then invoking Ak'Shat. She couldn't possibly know what she was asking but Leonidas forgave her. She almost seemed enraged that he had hurt the bear. So she was a child. Maybe some education would stick.

"Have I made you angry by attacking your bear?"

An arrow flew at his head and with a skill that was preternatural he dodged it, mostly. The arrow did nick the side of his head but the pain of physical injury was something one was used to dealing with on the field of combat.

"This is combat. In combat people and others are hurt."

The bear charged at him while he was dodging and ripped his breastplate off. However while caught off guard by the intelligent move he spun with it allowing the force of the pull to spin him in place. Using the momentum of the spin he slammed his left hand into the bears arm, hopefully the elbow joint, and was hoping his strength would do two things. First he hoped it would push the bear a bit off balance and second he hoped it would dislocate the bears shoulder.

"The only way to keep them safe is to NOT BRING THEM AT ALL!"

As a follow up to his palm smash he drove his right fist into the bears ribs on the left side and then smashed his left forearm in a cross body back across the bears face hoping to spike it and maybe take it out of the fight all together. Without the bear he knew that this Alasie didn't have a prayer of holding him back. So in the end there were two strategies left. One take the bear out of commission or two use the bear as a shield and use Alasies emotions against her.

[OCC: Spell heal. Master defense to mostly dodge the arrow. Endurance to ignore the hit. Master unarmed for all strikes. Brawn and master athletics for all damage.]
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