Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Vordak
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This trip bode trouble the very moment his sponsors ceased their support.

His ascension in power slow, but steady, Quebra Carolos, the reigning champion of his country's sport - Pankration - decided it was time to move on to something bigger. News of the Gaian Combat League's second season caught his eye, and the footage from its first iteration only sparked his interest further. The wrestler was adamant to go; his sponsors no less determined to have him stay in the local scene, where his dominance brought them large and reliable income, career planned out already for the next couple years.

After being stripped of almost all his earnings through court - petty revenge for breaking the contract - he was now left with barely enough money to make the trip, and only a matter of months to do so, crossing multiple borders and trekking through empires of planetary scale. The means to do so were there, but without anyone backing this trip, he had to pay, plan and and do all the paperwork himself.

And naturally, he found at times that it was easier to deal with on the illegal side of things.

So far, so good, however - even the occasional altercation, he managed to resolve. One particularly bad and still recent instance of messing with the crime involved Quebra punching, suplexing and putting face down into glass a group of border pass forgers, then proceeding to run off with a heap of incriminating paperwork.

How did that happen? Simple enough: it only took so long until his pocket started running dry on money, which exposed the vulnerable underbelly of his ego to snark and jeering on topic of his failed career and withdrawn sponsorship at a most crucially inconvenient time. He had endured it for long enough, and was even certain at the time he could take more, just for the sake of getting done with it sooner, but when suggested by one of the forgers that he do some 'wet work' for their boss and 'put the muscle to use', as means for paying for the favor, the only reply even possible form him was, of course, that he would never let himself be "subordinate to a mere criminal".

Word for word, action for action, and he ended up fleeing, partial evidence of their extensive illegal activity on hands so that they would consider twice before filing charges for assault against him, engaging the law in an attempt to prevent Quebra crossing the border. Whatever other underhanded methods they may employ, he was certain it'd be nothing he couldn't handle - and by the time they got desperate enough to put him through some real trouble, he would have slipped out of their grasp already.

And so it happened, for the most part, the wrestler by now closer to Khaerros than ever, with said documents having been dumped just a couple minutes away from a border checkpoint, Quebra unwilling and finding no need to trouble himself with somehow carrying them through.

However, the snotty forger chap had been right about one thing: Quebra needed to do work and earn some change. With this in mind, he took a detour, having weighed his options and picked out of them all the city of Mekkina: the local haven and melting pot for all kind of cutthroats, mercenaries, private quasi-military organizations and the like, it's position near a cosmic transport nexus guaranteeing a crowd pieced together from a myriad places.

And where there were mercs, there was underground fighting: a long-lived tradition and flashy way to advertise oneself for the mercenaries and a way to make a quick buck for Quebra himself. Not that any of his opponents would refuse money, but a heavy pocket is all the wrestler wanted from this endavor, the reputation earned being a moot point for him.

Though reluctant to admit it, he knew that he was a nobody to the locals, so he wouldn't squeeze himself into the big leagues if he were a greased wedge. This meant having to resort to some of the more shady places, one of which Quebra was already on his way towards. Late evening, air chilly against his nigh naked body, his path was barely lit by the couple lampposts dotted here and there - those were fewer in the city's outskirts. Ahead of him he was a stone-paved square, one of the landmarks he was looking out for on his way. A couple dozen more yards, and he'd get the full view, squat and huddled houses out of his vision's way.

The wrestler walked onward, dry clapping of crystalline feet against cobblestone marking his approach; absentmindedly adjusting the strap of his sling-bag with all the documents and money left from his travels, he watched the house opposite him inch closer and closer with every step, anticipation of battle welling up in his chest as boiling milk running out the pot, nurturing a nervous excitement.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by MelonHead
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Down one of the many side streets in the bustling city of Mekkina there was a very large man over-dressed for an ordinary stroll. The mask sat up on his head allowed easy access for the mango he was currently devouring with strong white teeth, while his mixed Afro-Caribbean-Caucasian heritage was plain on his rather unattractive face. One look at him and you’d think ‘bruiser’ or maybe ‘merc’ and you’d be right on the money both times. He was obviously ready for something, because his large six foot two form was donned in Kevlar vest and army fatigues, he had a pistol over his chest, a shotty at his hip, and a baton on the other. Not to mention, he was carrying a damn riot shield for some reason.

The gruesome slurping sound echoed through the otherwise empty side street, passer-by’s giving him a wide berth. He dropped the husk of the fruit to the ground and looked around, sunken eyes staring down the street at an individual who had just crossed the main road. Unmistakable, in his lack of attire and his marked hands and forearms, it was Quebra Carolos. The armoured man began moving, tipping his mask back down across his face, revealing the red motif on the otherwise black exterior, the Rook. His shield bore the same mark, as did he.

Rook began walking down the side street at a leisurely pace. He didn’t feel any need to hurry, after all, he could always call the wrestler back if he got too far ahead. This was not a man inclined to run from a fight, even if it were one he was not expecting. The better question was whether his so-called powers would be a match for strength of arms and some modern explosives, flash and rubber-balls to be exact. That was what Rook was interested to find out, of a sort. Though honestly, this work was small-fry, more of an appetiser before the main course. GCL was his goal.

“Oi, mate.” He called in his thick British baritone. He was stood in the centre of the main street behind Quebra and the plaza, his feet set, the mask concealing his features. “Quebra, you’ve pissed off the wrong people. I’m here to teach you a lesson.” His shield at his side, the shotty was in plain view as he hefted it out of its holster and onto his shoulder, revealing it to be a sawn-off. “Nothing personal mate, but I’m gunna be beating you up, don’t worry though I won’t kill you or nothin.”
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Vordak
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Not once in the two months of his travel had he fought for an audience, and returning back to the scene had him consumed by anticipation since he set his foot out the motel's door. Reminiscing his past fights in the ring and cherry-picking the moves he wanted most to perform on his opponents tonight - preferably, something with an oomph, a high-octane bone-busting crowd pleaser - Quebra failed to notice his would be assailant, up until the point when his train of thought was rudely interrupted by the bellowing rumble of Rook's voice.

Rather than stopping immediately, he gradually slowed his steps down from his brisk powerwalk towards a halt. Within the few moments this took him, Quebra snapped himself out of the sudden stupor, and the next second, was already diving into action: the distance from which the voice came was grounds enough to make the first few decisions of the fight.

It'd be far more rational to avoid the conflict, perhaps even run. Nobody was going to pay him to fight Rook, but the risk of being injured - well, it was directly implied in his assailant's words. With a dire need for money and time running short thanks to him taking this detour to Mekkina after all, all efforts were best saved for brawling in the ring, earning a quick buck and proceeding on towards his goal, all for the price of gagging pride just on this one occasion.

Such reasoning only seemed natural in Quebra's position; his thinking was different, however. Seeing this as a string of foul fate woven into the thread of his life by the Moirai, the champion took it not an aggregate of unfortunate circumstances, but as a spit in the face from the higher forces themselves - a challenge to overcome in order to once again triumph as a man of his own will. The man calling out to him, threatening to ruin any chance the wrestler had left in getting to Khaerros in time - he was but the inherent malice of the world given physical form, same as any other mortal, becoming a puppet to its laws. Quebra would be defiant in standing his ground.

Turning in Rook's direction, the wrestler took a bladed stance, left side to the fore, narrowing his profile to provide a smaller target, should an exchange of projectiles occur, and started pumping out his liquid armor, covering all but lower arms and face, the transparent ooze bleeding over even onto his clean-shaved scalp, compensating for his current lack of head gear. Afterwards, he'd start preparing his offense too - attached to the inside of his right forearm, a few sprouts of crystal would begin forming into a sharp-edged disc, Quebra picking second-grade quality for a balance between mass and timeliness.

As he performed all of the above, his eyes locked onto the man cockily promising him punishment, Quebra curious to see what made him so confident about beating down a master of the craft. Unfortunately, what he saw wasn't reassuring: a hulk of a man taller and bulkier than him - which would be a nuisance of its own already - wielding a shield, paired, worst of all, with a firearm. Familiar with the concept, he responded with snark to the mercenary's words: "Not here to kill me? Fancy hearing that from a man with a gun." It wasn't to just exchange banter, however - the response he was trying to illicit could clarify whether it was lead loaded in the barrel, or something a notch less lethal. If not, then there was one more thing that could be telling: someone who only needs to bruise their target up would only even aim a gunshot for the feet if it has the potential to kill; if the merc aimed higher, then either he was lying about his intent, or the rounds weren't metal after all.

The battle hadn't started just yet, tension slowly edged towards an adrenaline-pumped plummet; and the breaking point Quebra was waiting for would be the moment the Rook dropped the gun off his shoulder. Then, they'd both be safe to say it had begun.

Hidden 1 yr ago Post by MelonHead
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Rook would have grinned at the man if he wasn’t wearing a mask, in fact, he still did anyway. The man was going to get his wish, in a sense, because by-passers were starting to give the duo a wide berth, and many more were stopping to watch the show. They seemed visibly nervous, as was Quebra though he concealed it better, about the weapon Rook had hoisted onto his shoulder.

“What’s the problem, you never seen beanbag rounds before?” He ribbed the wrestler for his remarks, but his call was as much to inform the people around them that a lethal gunfight wasn’t about to ensue. He wanted them to watch, it was good for business. “Alright everyone, you better be watchin’ and listenin’, my name’s Rook, I represent the Kingdom Merc Group, tell your mates about us!”

And without further ado, he flipped the shotty off his shoulder and fired, as quick as that, a one two motion that caused one of the barrels of his weapon to fire and expunge a non-lethal projectile at wicked speed towards the wrestler’s centre of mass. It wasn’t so fast as a bullet, not even close really, but at around three hundred feet per second the impact could break a rib or put a fully-grown man on his ass. Not to mention it’d cover the scant thirty feet between them in a tenth of a second, not bad at all. The only chance the wrestler had was recognising the round was coming before Rook pulled the trigger.

Then, Rook’s demeanour shifted significantly. Gone was the almost casual stance, replaced with a dangerous focus. His left leg led as he presented the riot shield forward, holding the shotty to the right of the obstruction and leaving only the very top of his head and the bottom of his legs exposed other than that. That was about all he had to do, for now.
Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Vordak
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Beanbag? The two words slapped together made for something Quebra was ignorant of, but he reckoned that as long as the 'bag' part of it held true, a soft projectile splaying out on impact would be an easy catch for his liquid shock-absorptive coating.

With Rook introducing himself, the wrestler too, prepared himself for a round of banter, eager to both chafe his opponent's spirits with an abrasive taunt and reinforce his own confidence by play to the crowd - but this train of thought was abruptly derailed as an alarm sounded off in his head, eyes capturing the rapid motion of the descending two barrels.

Almost a knee-jerk reaction, Quebra pulled his body away from line of fire, hind foot sliding backwards and torso leaning away. He was only so fast, however: with a loud snap, the bullet whipped against his stomach, tearing up an inch wide gap in his armor just to the right of his navel and ricocheting off, having met its target at a steep angle. The area surrounding its impact went hazy with fractures, his defense slightly compromised already, and lest he wanted to waste all his resources early, he'd have to be patient with patching it up.

Without even looking down, he made a quick assessment of the damage by momentarily flexing his stomach - and the mellow prickling his muscle responded with told him that the damage was superficial, making for a faint bruise at worst. Still, another hit to the same spot would make for tenfold the pain, now that it was stripped of protection, so first things first, he moved the discus-wielding arm to cover it up.

Thing seemed to be looking up for Quebra: the threat of getting gunned on spot was gone, and instead, an opportunity to shake the rust off appeared; one with an audience to to awe, no less. In which case, it'd be unbecoming of him to hesitate. All cards were laid out for him to start off strong and keep rushing in - until Rook somehow proved it'd be a bad idea to do so.

A brief second of hesitation, during which the wrestler further turtled up with a thick layer of porous glass bleeding out to cover the outside of his forearms, together with the back of the hand. Leading arm's fingers were raised up to cheekbone level; right arm stayed guarding its side of the stomach. With this final touche added, Quebra set himself into motion, quickly picking up to a brisk jogging pace as he dashed towards his opponent, keeping the same bladed stance, right foot staying behind the left. Focusing on nothing in particular, but keeping an eye out for any signs of Rook adjusting his aim; light on his feet and holding back from kicking into high gear.

It was a cautious, yet sternly bold approach at the same time, the wrestler's action boastfully implying he found no reason to fear his opponent yet.

Hidden 12 mos ago Post by MelonHead
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Good to see how a foe will deal with a threat. In a world where magic exists, it is an awful crutch not to have any of your own. A lesson Rook learned early in his career. Magic is like any weapon, except when it’s not, because the main threat in magic is that it can manifest itself in so many forms, and unlike a gun, you don’t know what it’s going to do until it does it. By which point, it’s sometimes too late. So, it was good to see how his foe would deal with a threat. He avoided it, partially, so he evidently felt he needed to. But was he harmed by the graze? Not discernibly, something around his torso seemed to mar, almost like dry glue flaking away. So, he had some defence against physical impact.

The guy still had a lot to learn about fighting for real, anyway. He just stood there looking dumb for a moment after impact, probably showing off some more magic, and then he had the audacity to run straight at Rook. The Mercenary had to bite back the urge to tell him how bad a plan that was, but he figured it was best not to look a gift horse in the mouth and frankly, he had a reputation to maintain. At least until it was convenient to reveal that he was more than met the eye.

The second barrel of the shotgun, primed and aimed directly at his incoming foe, as it had been since the first shot, erupted as another beanbag hurtled towards Quebra. This time, he was certainly ready for it, but his action didn’t really suggest he had considered the fact that running right towards a projectile significantly reduces your options. Especially when said projectile is aimed right for the same spot as before, where the armour is weak and your guard is too, the lower torso.

That was it for gun-play, at least for now, though it would have been over even sooner if Quebra learned to use his environment to his advantage. Success or failure, it was irrelevant, Rook had gotten his digs in cost-free, save a couple bean-bag rounds. He slid the shotty back into its holster with a practised flourish, presenting the shield toward the charging Greek, and then calmly braced against it with his right hand wrapping around the side handle. Two hands on his shield, and a lot of bulk, the Rook was ready for whatever Quebra could manage when he finally got into range.
Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by Vordak
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All in all, it was a matter of perspective: what seemed to Rook as an appallingly bad move came off as a negligible risk for Quebra. The first shot failed to impress with its impact, and he was certain he'd shrug off a second just as easily - as long as he kept the situation under control.

Judging by the end result, one could say he did a satisfactory job of it: a spray of crystalline shards once more spouted from atop his abdomen, imparting a momentary prick of pain in his gut and a slightly more permanent ache in the muscle, along with stripping away completely the weakened portion of his armor, leaving the lower quarter of his torso with a large gap in its protection. It didn't fold him over, nor did it halt his approach. Deliberately holding back from sprinting at his foe, the energy his own body contributed to the impact was minimized, and without any adjustment in aim from Rook, the beanbag hit at the same oblique angle as the shot before, slipping off before it could impart its full force and bumping into the discus fused with Quebra's right arm.

Even then, it still hit hard - but Quebra's armor too, performed its function despite being damaged.

If there was one thing he could fault himself for, it was failing to account for his damaged armor, resulting a little more damage than he should've taken: the few seconds between the shots was enough for the substance to revert back into liquid form, but not enough for it to mend back into one piece, tampering with the dissipating properties and simply compromising its integrity, allowing the shot to break through and tag its target with what felt like a solid, quick jab in the stomach.

Rook had him softened up, armor chipped away and abs bruised, a notch more sensitive to further strikes than they would be otherwise. Worse yet, he did so for free, Quebra having nothing to retaliate with at range - at least, nothing that could make the walking fridge of a man as much as flinch. Having no answer to his opponent's offensive was in fact the main motivation behind the wrestler's bullheaded charge. He hated being the underdog in a fight, the one with the odds stacked against him, struggling to turn the tables around. It wasn't the role he was yearned to be known for, and the sooner he was in the driver's seat, dictating the fight's flow, the more it'd please him. Frankly, it'd be hard to boss around a man almost two heads higher and with a tower shield in hand, but even as a passive player, the wrestler wouldn't settle for a game where his only option was to defend.

Thus, teeth clenched, a pained frown cutting creases into his forehead, he carried on fueled by pride and maintained the same pace as before. The same reason behind his sloppy guard also served to rid him of any hesitation: his focus the whole time was on the opponent, rather than himself, and the moment Rook lowered his shotgun, Quebra knew this was his chance to seize the initiative.

The method would be rather simple: rush in and get a good grip on the riot shield. With the way Rook presented it to him, it seemed like the merc wasn't going go anywhere, confident that he could easily weather anything thrown his way - rightfully so. And it was this exactly that Quebra decided to bank in on, reckoning that his opponent wouldn't acknowledge the grapple as a threat enough to avoid it - or perhaps, they'd even welcome it, seeing as the man was noticeably larger than Quebra himself.

Running in, he burnt through the last specks of his crystalbending charge to crack the discus and makeshift braces fused to his forearms, shards of ruptured glass crunching under his feet as they dropped, ridding him of excess weight. When no more than a yard and a half would be left between them, the wrestler would go in for his grapple, both arms snaking out ahead of his body, fingers seeking to wrap themselves around the shield's rim at just above his own shoulder height. If they found purchase, Quebra would then follow through with the rest of his weight, slamming his forearms against the plastic and leaning against it, as if to rest as he patiently awaited a response.



EDIT: added Ki counter
Hidden 12 mos ago Post by MelonHead
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Rook’s gloved right hand wrapped around the side handle of the shield, bracing it, allowing the brawler to bring all his strength to bear. Quebra would get a taste of that strength as he stepped within range, his arms outstretched, hands reaching for the rim of the shield. With a surprising speed for someone so burly and heavily equipped, Rook darted forward, dipping lower into a half crouch, and thrusting his shield forward and up to meet Quebra’s momentum. The weight of his shield would collide with Quebra’s arms, putting strain on the joints and potentially knocking him off balance. Rook, for his part, simply set his feet into the ground on impact, and with his greater weight it was simple enough to negate any backwards motion.

Rook followed with his body of course, for a moment he led with his right foot, but as Quebra was no doubt forced to give ground his left returned to prime position. Quebra would likely manage to wrap his tricky hands around the rim of the shield, for what it was worth, but a wrestling contest would serve him poorly. He could not stop the shield’s forward motion with his hands alone, and if he was not careful he’d get smacked straight in the chops. Of course, that wasn’t even the end of his initial woes, as the shield first sparked, revealing its electrical nature, and then buzzed as a current passed through the face and rim of the object. Quebra was no doubt protected by his crystalline armour, in some places, but Rook intended to have his shield pushed flush against the man’s body. He could easily make skin to shield contact around his face, neck, even his lower torso where the armour was penetrated. The moment he did, the shock would run through his body.

Hidden 7 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Vordak
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