Eodyth breathed deeply, slowly, gripping her two weapons firmly, but not forcefully. Through the circular opening ahead of her, she could see flashing white lights like gunfire in front of the night sky, and a huge structure which was barely visible, a silhouette, black on black. An immense sound was audible, too: screams and roars. Those screams and roars were not born out of aggression, but excitement. Thousands and thousands of them, above her and to sides and straight ahead, as well. She steeled herself for a moment longer, before walking powerfully up the slight incline of the darkened tunnel, into the great space outside.
She was in a circular arena. The flashing lights were cameras, they were fireworks, they were screens, and they were the bolts of lightning just a few dozen meters above the top of the circular stands, which themselves were colossal. Above, just outside the dome of calm, blue energy where the border of Order was visible, there was Chaos. Lightning, fire, and energy. All the elements reacting in myriad and unpredictable ways.
It was impossible to see anything clearly. The lights were too bright, but each was gone a moment later, so Eodyth's eyes could never adjust. Instead, everything was too dark except for the handful of instants when it was too bright. It was disorienting.
The crowd saw her entering, and slowly, they grew quiet in anticipation. This was not her first battle, though she wondered if it would be her last. Once, she had been a great hero, someone who fought in order to protect her homeland, her people, and her honour. Her homeland was now a ruin, her people were now scattered, and her honour was now in question. Now, she fought for things as common and worthless as money. But there was little fighting to be done. Were she not to fight for money, she would not have the opportunity to fight at all. And fighting was all she knew.
One thing was for sure: she needed a cause.
Perhaps Eodyth would give up arena fighting, perhaps not. At the end of the day, she was in that arena right now, and she would soon have to defend herself. Her opponent was now visible - a man, in that strange mix of traditional garb and modern gadgetry typical of a Hisogawan street samurai. Of course, no street samurai would ever stoop so low as to fight in an arena, not when their bosses had work for them - clearly, he had either defected and managed to escape punishment, or had never been a street samurai in the first place, instead simply expropriating their famous appearance and fighting style. It didn't really matter which this one was - either had the capacity to be dangerous.
In a flash, he was on her, cybernetically-enhanced arms driving his two-handed sword with impressive power - for a human. Eodyth deflected his rising attack with Neskin
, knocking it off course enough that the downwards strike that would have followed was out of reach, and so instead he twirled the blade around into a guard position and prepared to defend against an attack from Eodyth.
Though the samurai was not as strong as Eodyth, the difference was small. He was also faster; she'd been right to take him seriously.
He was still waiting for Eodyth's attack. She was happy to oblige. She swung Irasjon
around in a wide arc, hoping to bludgeon him with the handle of the weapon close to its tip. He swayed back easily, wasting no energy blocking an attack he didn't need to. However, he did not account for the fact that Eodyth did not have to dedicate herself fully to the swing, as most would with that kind of attack. Her strength let her stop the spear mid-swing regardless of its momentum. She caught him off-guard in that moment and thrust with the spear, stepping in to increase her power. The short movement of the attack denied it significant speed and therefore power, so it could not pierce his armour, but the force knocked him off his feet and onto his back.
Eodyth then rushed in to finish the samurai with a blow to the head from Neskin
, but - astonishingly - he discarded his own blade and caught Eodyth's as it swung down towards him. He twisted, and before Eodyth knew what was happening, her knees had been taken out from under her, her weapons were five feet away, and she was lying on her stomach with punches raining down on the back of her head. Karate gimmicks. Perhaps the most frustrating thing in the history of human combat, but you can't argue with results.
It was at this moment the samurai remembered he was fighting a god, and what that entailed. Firstly, his punches weren't affecting Eodyth all that much. Secondly, he wouldn't be able to keep her pinned for long. She got her arms under her and started pushing, literally performing a push-up with him on her back. After a moment he was off, and Eodyth rapidly got to her feet, retrieving her weapons, and then her crown, which had rolled off during the grapple. His sword had also fallen this way, so she had intended to throw it back to him, so she could kill him fairly, when she turned to see him drawing a sawn-off shotgun from a compartment hidden in his mechanical left arm. Before she could react, she heard a gunshot, glimpsed for the tiniest fraction of a second a lethal shot directed at her head, and then there was blue light, taking her somewhere... else.
Eodyth fell into the chamber, weapons clattering to the ground, gasping for breath as she realised she wasn't dead.
"So who's with me?" she heard someone say. It was a good, simple phrase, perfect for inspiring a group of people into action. She'd used it in speeches herself, on a few occasions.
It sounded awfully like what Eodyth had just been thinking she needed a few minutes ago; a cause to fight for. She was still shocked from her near-death experience, but her actual injuries were very lacking, so she simply said, between deep, heavy breaths "Alright, who... do I need to kill... where... and when?"