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Hello!

I'm Pollen, hope you're not allergic. I like writing a myriad of characters in all kinds of genres, so I'm pretty much down for anything. Also have a soft spot for Arena stuff, because coming up with insane powersets and abusing the heck out of them is fun.

Come talk to me if you want! I'm friendly.

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There! Tekla #2 spied an opening as Catskull dodged to her right. He hadn’t been entirely ready for her attack, and while it wasn’t enough to make him lose his balance, it was a sign that he was cracking. Her retreat was slightly slower than his advance, putting them at a little less than her maximum range, and that would close more if she wasn’t careful. She needed to hit him now, before he could recover his focus.

She guided her weapon even as it swung down where Catskull had been, controlling its descent. When the falling weight bounced violently off the road, she immediately flicked the chain rightwards, so that the rebound swung towards her opponent's legs to entangle him. With the attack coming so soon after her previous one, and from a likely unexpected angle, she’d have a better shot at snagging him this time.

In an adjacent timeline, however, there was no opening.

Any good fighter could try and anticipate their enemy’s moves, to some extent, but Catskull seemed to have predictive abilities Tekla #4 could only dream of. Could this be sorcery? Or was he just a prodigy? What little she’d heard about him suggested the former, but right now she didn’t have time to ponder- he was closing too fast, her attacks barely slowing him down as he sprinted forwards.

The sight filled her with a mixture of excitement and fear, and she let it show. Her eyes narrowed, worry flickering across her features, and her right hand fumbled and dropped the chain before she could fully draw it in.

He predicted correctly: she did try and take him by surprise as he came within two meters of her arm’s reach. Her retreat suddenly stopped, her back leg bent and her right arm hanging low near her side while her left hand swung upwards, throwing the weight she’d held and a few loops of chain at his head. Abandoning her weapon entirely, in a wild act of desperation.

Emphasis on ‘act.’

Tekla #3 frowned at Catskull’s strange use of the rapier and started retreating - but more slowly than the others had, letting him come closer without quite giving him full control over their distance. Rather than immediately striking again with her chain, she began to loop it loosely around her left arm. For some reason this one had changed tactics, though what her plan might be now remained to be seen.

Tekla #1, however, was feeling less patient. With her first strike missing him just barely, she whipped her chain efficiently back and stepped forwards with her left foot. “Why do you even carry a sword-" She swung it overhead, slamming it down at him from above as she stepped forwards with her right. “-if you only fight with your tongue?”
@Doc Doctor

Tekla #2 raised an eyebrow as Catskull’s sword came down and stopped her chain short of ensnaring its intended target. Not bad. The man came forwards, and she backed away, pushing off her right foot and transitioning from there into a quick series of retreating steps. The distance between them would close slightly, but not enough to bring her within reach of his sword. As things stood, she had the range advantage, and she wasn’t going to let go of it so easily.

The slack meant she couldn’t bring her chain rushing back for an immediate follow-up, but she still had her hands, and they worked quickly to draw it in. Once it was free of the sword she’d pull it back, spinning it once to build up momentum before letting its length loose again, this time in a wide overhead arc that would bring it hurtling down towards Catskull’s head from above.

Tekla #4, meanwhile, was lagging slightly behind #2, though her eyebrow rose slightly higher as Catskull defended, and she seemed to smile a little. This one’s movements are masterful. She retreated in much the same manner as her counterpart #2, before proceeding with the same attack, though there was a slight difference- she moved just a little faster, filled with adrenaline by the thrill of meeting such a skilled opponent.

The other two Teklas were just making their opening strikes. Tekla #1, unimpressed by a man who seemed to be nothing but talk, would stride into range before attacking with a similar movement to #2 and #4’s initial attempts to entangle their opponent’s leg. This one, however, was aimed higher: roughly at chest level, meant to strike him hard in the ribs with the weight at the end of the chain, bringing his rant to a premature end.

Tekla #3 diverged the most, reacting strongly to Catskull’s change of armaments. She made no attempt to rush him, but struck before #1 on account of her opponent’s own forward movement. Rather than lunge, she swung her right arm gently forwards, a movement too slow to be an attack in and of itself. Then her grip loosened, and she snapped out with a crisp, powerful kick from her right leg. She was much too far away for this to hit Catskull, but he wasn’t the intended target- rather, she kicked the dangling weight on the end of her chain, shooting it straight towards Catskull’s head, aiming to smack him with a concussive blow before he could bring his shield up.
@Doc Doctor

Original timeline (#1):

The man stopped, introducing himself, and Tekla Pavlovna raised an eyebrow. Either this one was far pettier than he appeared, or he was stalling for time, trying to get her guard down. Perhaps he meant to take her by surprise? Or perhaps he was just waiting for the right moment to try and run. Pride demanded she answer him, but common sense kept her from getting wrapped up in conversation.

“In these lands, I do not have a name. They do not know me here.” She stepped forwards with her left foot, fiddling with the chain in her hands. “But since you ask very nicely, I can tell you what my name will be.” She gripped one weighted end with her left, letting the other dangle about three feet down from her right. “After today, Cat Skull, they will call me Skull Breaker.”

With that, she began to amble towards him, slowly closing the distance between them. If he didn’t react or interrupt her, she’d come within fifteen feet.

A dangerous distance, as Catskull would already be learning elsewhere.

Alternate timeline (#2):

The man drew his weapon, carrying on implacably towards her. As she’d thought, he wasn’t one for words. Tekla stepped forwards with her left foot, fiddling with the chain in her hands. She gripped one weighted end with her left, letting the other dangle about three feet down from her right. In this manner she waited, letting her opponent come to her.

At least, until he began the stride that would bring them within fifteen feet of one another.

It was then that she pushed off her left foot and lunged forwards with her right. Her right arm snapped out, right elbow swinging ahead of her before fully extending, throwing the free end of the chain forwards her opponent. Her left arm came forwards as the weapon flew, keeping the chain from going taut before it reached its target.

It was like a striking snake, so smooth and swift the eye could barely track it. Nine feet long, moving forwards and slightly leftwards so that the weight and the last foot of chain spun around Catskull’s leading right leg as it came down, wrapping it tight. Before he came anywhere near close enough to use his sword, he’d be ensnared- and Tekla would waste no time in yanking the chain back, pushing off her bent right leg and using her whole body’s strength to try and haul his right foot forwards and upwards, ruining his balance and bringing him crashing to the ground.
...and she was leaning against a wall, arms folded in front of her, narrowed eyes watching the dark silhouette steadily make its way up the road.

The villagers did not know why the foreign woman had appeared in their hamlet, nor did they ask. True, she was female, unarmed, and armored only in wool and silk- but her thick, tattooed arms and cold stare were answer enough for most. A strange kind of thug, alright, but the rule remained the same: stay away, mind your own business, and you probably won't get hurt.

Probably.

As with any rule, there are exceptions. Like that big man in black, walking up just now. He was only passing through, not even stopping on the way, and yet his arrival triggered a change in the muscular woman. She had been still, solid as a rock, but now her burly arms unfolded. One reached behind her, and emerged holding a long loop of steel chain weighted with a small block of metal at either end. The other swung at her side as she stepped out from her resting place, her eyes never leaving the man in black. As he came within thirty feet, she planted her feet in the middle of the street, straight in his path.

"You are the Cat Skull?" Her voice was deep, her tone bored. The chain in her hands clinked as she unwound it, one weighted end now dangling from her right hand. If her expression was any indication, she didn't much care whether her question was answered one way or another, or even at all. He looked tough enough. He would do.
Name: Tekla Pavlovna



Physical parameters:
Height: 6 feet 3 inches
Weight: 217 lbs
Max Lift: 1000 lbs (from the ground)
Max Sprint: 25 mph (unarmored)
Visual Reaction Time: 120 ms

Abilities & Skills:
Armament: Tekla can summon weapons and armor out of nowhere, quickly equipping herself with whatever tools are most appropriate for the situation. She can customize the details of objects she creates (ex: if she conjured up a sword she could decide the shape and length of the blade, and whether it was made of steel, iron, wood, etc), but her ability can't produce gunpowder or complex mechanisms, preventing her from summoning firearms or tech-based weaponry. Additionally, she cannot create anything weighing more than 100 lbs. A vague, blurry outline of whatever she is summoning will appear for about a third of a second before the object comes fully into existence.
She can have a maximum of two weapons or armor pieces summoned at a time- if she already has two and wants to create something else, then one of those two will disappear. Additionally, after she summons an item she cannot summon another until three seconds have passed.

Training:
As one might expect, her fighting style is built around mastery of arms. A jack-of-all-trades, she can fight at a proficient level with almost any weapon under the sun, or forgo them entirely and hold her own in hand-to-hand. In terms of skill she can't match a specialist in any one style, but she's extremely adaptable and a very fast learner.

Background:
Tekla is the daughter of a powerful Russian mobster, whose criminal empire had allowed him to accumulate vast wealth and prestige. Initially he planned to pass on the 'family business' to a male heir, and largely ignored Tekla during her early years. She was raised by her mother, a surprisingly gentle woman, and lived mostly in happiness.

When her parents failed to produce a son, however, Tekla's father decided that she would have to be his successor, and set about grooming her for the role. He pushed her to get smarter, stronger, more ruthless by the day, and punished her harshly when she failed to meet his expectations, forcing the young girl to quickly adapt into the fierce, controlled, physically powerful machine she is today.

Early on there was little Tekla could do about her situation. No matter how hard she pushed herself, her father always seemed to want her to do more, better, more quickly. As one might expect, she eventually began to rebel. Deliberately failing him wouldn't have done much but earn her more punishment, but inwardly she swore that she would never take up the mantle he intended for her. Rather than being a person who trampled and exploited others, she would be a champion, someone with no need to rely on petty cruelties to maintain her strength.

By her teen years, she was already a capable young woman, and considering her options for the future. She couldn't stay in Russia, so would have to move overseas- the moment came sooner than she'd expected, however. Soon after she turned fifteen, her father fell ill and died.

There was no time to waste. With only a short goodbye to her mother, Tekla immediately fled the country, leaving her father's organization to crumble into a mess of squabbling factions. Although the old man had hardly treated her well, he did leave her with a significant amount of wealth and some useful, if shady, connections. It was these she used to secure herself a place at the pretigious Seirin Private Academy, a school devoted to physical conditioning and martial arts where rumored supernatural occurrences were common. After being plunged into a nightmare realm one night and fighting her way out, Tekla gained the ability to conjure up weapons and armor she visualized in her mind. Over the course of her time at Seirin, she honed this ability to its limit, and built a fighting style around it.

Since graduating, she’s earned money as a prizefighter, while also seeking out powerful and dangerous opponents from other realms to further test her skill.
All right- maybe this weirdo was a little creepy, but he didn't seem to have any malignant intentions. Could be that this was just a meeting of happenstance, and he really was only a curious foreigner like he said. Jill still eyed the boy warily, but she lowered her gun, letting it hang lightly in one hand, pointed towards the ground.

"All right," she said slowly, "I barely understood half of what you just said, but from what I can tell you're either lyin' or you don't mean any harm. And I'm damn good at sniffing out liars." She sniffed at the air, as if she'd meant it literally, then nodded her head in satisfaction. "All right, I'm just gonna call you Orphy. And this here is-"

She jumped in surprise as another voice piped up, whipping her flintlock towards the source of the noise and then lowering it again with a sigh when the speaker turned out to be a harmless-looking... kid? Goat? Damn it, weren't there any normal people in this place?

"It's not magic," she snapped back, sounding a little like an irritated teacher, "it's Alchemistry." She looked back and forth between Orphy and the newcomer, having a hard time believing they couldn't recognize such a simple weapon. "Do they not teach you landlubbers this stuff in school?" Maybe they didn't, if they came from places where people sat around and ate leaves. Seemed the other worlds might be more different than Jill had thought.

@Gentlemanvaultboy @Rai
It wasn't long before Jill caught wind of people moving around nearby, passing through the castle in their own strange ways. Most of them didn't come near- or at least, not near enough to be a threat -but she kept an eye out, partly out of curiosity and partly so she'd be ready if anyone tried to fuck with her.

Sure enough, someone soon drifted a little too close for comfort. Drifted in the literal sense, since the boy was apparently floating a foot or more clear of the ground. Jill blinked a few times at that. How did it work? Was he some kind of ghost, or just harnessing the wind in such a way as to keep himself aloft? No, it couldn't be: there wasn't much of a breeze about, and he'd be tossing and turning this way and that if he were using the air. Whatever made him float, it was like nothing Jill had ever seen. She frowned, all the more aware of just how little she knew about her situation.

Very slowly and calmly, taking care not to look directly at the newcomer, she set a flask down at the edge of the fountain. No need to be rash. Maybe the ghost-boy was just curious. Maybe he'd go away-

She heard something, a sharp pop, and burst into motion without even thinking. In a single motion she'd drawn her pistol and whipped around to face the floating boy, aiming the barrel directly at his head.

So much for passing unnoticed.

"You got business with me?" she growled, turning the flintlock to one side whilst keeping her aim level. "Out with it. Did someone send you?"

@Gentlemanvaultboy
Aiyanna Price

For someone meant to be supervising a massive throwdown between a bunch of psycho mages, Church Girl sure didn't look very tough. Aiyanna cocked her head to one side, sizing the Executor up, wondering what would happen if she attacked this Vatican chick here and now. She could blow the girl's head off, burn down the church, stick up a giant middle finger to all those smug-ass mage families and their stupid rules-

She stopped herself, biting her lip. Easy, girl. Being a little bloodthirsty was handy in a fight, but she couldn't let herself get too eager. Like it or not, she had to play along for now, or they'd all gang up on her before she had a chance to gain momentum.

Well, with Berserker on her side, fighting them all wasn't out of the question. She spared a sidealong glance at cute little Scylla, and smiled. Soooon...

"Aiyanna Price," she said after a moment of silence, "Master of Berserker. You need photo ID? Driver's license? I can give you my number, if you ask nicely." She raised one golden eyebrow, grinning lasciviously, then burst out laughing and turned on her heel, heading for the doors. "All right, we're done here. Come on, Berserker."

Her awareness exploded outwards, flooding through the church and hundreds of meters beyond and picking up warmth, heat, wherever it radiated out in the cool night. Living beings resolved themselves into vaguely glowing forms: herself, Scylla, Church Girl, and further out...

"By the way, we might be about to have company," she added without slowing down. "Sorry you don't get much time to rest, but I'll be counting on you."

@Crusader Lord@VitaVitaAR
Apparently not everyone had been around for the little chat in the throne room- or at least, one particular guest hadn't seen fit to show up where she was supposed to. It was a simple fact of life that pirates rarely did as they were told.

Instead, Jillian McAnn had somehow made her way to the palace garden, where she was happily tearing up flowers by the dozen and grinding them to paste with a mortar and pestle.

Honestly, how the flying fuck had they been dumb enough to leave a jackpot like this unguarded? There were all sorts of strange weeds here, including some Jill couldn't even name, and she'd been around the world at least twice in her lifetime. All that multiple-universes shit the Moogles had tried to explain to her didn't make much sense, but if it meant there were bounties like this lying about, she wasn't about to complain. Exotic plants were valuable where she was from: many produced compounds you couldn't get through any other means, and that made them valuable Alchemical components.

Having mashed a pile of purple blossoms to pieces, she dug a hand in one pocket and retrieved a small vial, uncorking it and sprinkling just the barest hint of red dust out onto the ruined flowers. Almost immediately, they caught fire, sending up streams of dark smoke that Jill quickly inhaled.

Smelled sweet. Ionone? She could work with ionone...

For the moment, however, she moved on, pulling up more flowers and destroying them in a similar manner. Before long, she was mixing them too, dissolving them in solvents then filtering each solution for different compounds. This place was her laboratory, now, and she'd doubtless be able to cook up some handy brews before the time came to fuck up the Heartless. Let the talky people do their talking, she'd be making weapons.
"Goddamn town is too quiet."

The rickety car tore along a cracked and bumpy road, rumbling and rattling as it sped through a half-dozen red lights and two empty intersections, slowing only as it slid past a lonely cop car waiting by the side of the road. Soon as it was out of sight, Aiyanna started picking up speed again, rolling down the windows to let the cool night air rush over her skin.

"A girl can live her whole life here and have nothing actually happen, you know? Like being stuck in a fucking snowglobe, 'cept without the snow."

The church loomed up ahead, a pointy shadow stretching up against the stars. Aiyanna rushed on towards it, showing no signs of slowing down- until at the very last moment she slammed the brakes and brought her run-down ride to a screeching halt, not a few feet from the church's front doors.

"Way I see it, we're doing this place a favor." She twisted her keys, pulled them out, threw open a door and hopped out, pulling a heavy black duffel bag with her. Wouldn't make sense to leave her gear unattended. "For once, this town is gonna mean something. Whether it knows it or not, Redrock is going down in history from this night onwards." She glanced at the empty air beside her, cracking a smile. "And who knows? With a bit of luck, maybe we will too."

She strode up to the church doors, pausing, drawing in a breath. Rambling helped when she was nervous, let her get her thoughts in order. Hopefully Berserker wouldn't mind, though it was honestly hard to tell with that girl. Things'd be easier once the war got underway. Once she knew which targets to go after, who she needed to burn. They could have a jolly old time smashing things up together and trying not to die. For now, though? Formalities. Ugh.

Kicking open the door, she walked her way on in, raising a hand in greeting to the blue-haired figure within.

"Church person! We're here to sign up for the murder party."

@VitaVitaAR@Crusader Lord
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