Blood and sand

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Blood and sand

Post by UncleVanya on Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:09 pm

Upon arriving to one of the few safe houses he owned around Seraph, Kiril got to work getting rid of all that made him Svitomir. He pulled the fake beard off, washed his face, got rid of the furs and the armor and changed into his usual clothing. Sitting down on a chair in front of his work desk, Kiril lit up his pipe. The letter he received at the Duke's manor was laying in front of him, he already had a chance to read it, now came the time for contemplation.

"That fool and his flair for the dramatic....as if he couldn't simply knock on the door and tell me with clear words, what exactly it is he wants."

Kiril exhaled, a cloud of smoke rose up to the ceiling.

"Well...I can't leave Seraph until the matter is settled, and I do not know whether he will find me again himself, or he expects me to go looking for him."

Kiril took another puff.

"Good news is that Duke Curwen's death concluded without issue, no suspicion of assassination, no investigation, no one is looking for me. I'll rest for a day, if he doesn't reach out himself, I'll go to the docks and talk to some of my contacts, see if anyone heard anything. That is as good a plan as I am going to get at this point in time."

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by Dragonis on Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:31 pm

In a run down part of Seraph, an aged man in a ragged, battered crimson wool long coat examined his surroundings, closing his green eyes as he inhaled the night air. He knew his time was coming to a close soon, his reflexes not as quick as they were a decade prior, his footwork was not as sure, but he still moved with a fluid, efficient grace despite all of that. This body hasn't failed me yet. Euryens Cambridge mused to himself with a small smile as he practiced his combat forms.

Despite his bedraggled and ragged appearance, with his graying brown hair, thick beard of salted brown hair, and his general attire in its state of weathered but well maintained dress, his weapons were the only part of him that were impeccably maintained. Senzo, his heavy cavalry sabre was still as shiny and sharp as the day he first wielded it 20 years ago. His Falcata off-hand weapon was just as sharp, just as well maintained. His swords whirled and weaved through the air, a deadly dance of spinning blades.

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by UncleVanya on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:16 pm

Next day Kiril woke up just before sunrise. He got out of bed and went to the corner of the room, picked up his sword with his right hand, his dagger with his left and spent a an hour practicing his movements against a wooden post with a roll of thick rope tied around it. After finishing he grabbed a bucket of water he prepared the day before and dumped it on his head to wash off the sweat. Upon getting dressed he left his safe house and started walking in the direction of the docks.

Even this early in the morning the docks were as alive as ever, with sounds and smells of thousands of souls going about their business. Kiril walked passed the crowds, and past the shipyard stopping at a run down pub hidden away in a dark alley. The sign was half-way rotten away but a perceptive eye could still make out the silhouette of a coiled up snake and words "Serpent's Stop" written under it. Kiril walked through the front door, entering a windowless small room lit with dim light of a few torches hanging on the walls. Aside from the counter, there was just three tables and only one other patron dozing off over a mug of ale. Wasting no time Kiril walked up to the counter, a short, one-eyed bartender with boils covering most of his face gritted the assassin with a grin of crooked, yellow teeth.

"Heh, didn't think I'd see 'the Wolf' ever wander in here again....I thought you were done with Seraph."

Kiril stared him in the eye and replied in a neutral tone.

"I thought I was as well, but I happened upon a venture I couldn't pass up."


The bartender continued to grin.

"Ah yes, that Curwen business....shame really, but all the same, congratulations on a job well done, your Lordship..."

Kiril's eyes narrowed slightly.

"I should have expected that if anyone would have information about my dealings in this town it would be you. Now, Korbo, I hope you don't misinterpret my meaning then I say that for your safety it would be best if this knowledge stays with you, and ONLY with you. Otherwise it would be very unprofessional of me to leave you alive....nothing personal."

Korbo wasn't phased in the slightest.

"Of course, of course....no one to buy it from me anyway, everyone who might have is convinced that it was a regular duel between nobles, there is nothing for them to look into....I'll do you one better, you're probably wondering who hired you."

Kiril raised an eyebrow.

"Who?"

"The Krev Assassin's guild, Curwen was lobbying for a war between Seraphane and Krev, and that would be bad for everyone's business. Don't know who hired them, though I suspect a few of the Tsar's ministers who could have. They used you as a subcontractor so if you got caught there would be no link to them...it would certainly aid the cause of war if an assassin working for Krev army's off the books shadow operations regiment got captured trying to assassinate a Seraphane noble. You get caught, and you're just some nobody...no offense....Hold your coin, this one's free, let's say I just repaid you that favor from before."

Kiril nodded.

"So what are you here for?"

"Euryens Cambridge"

Korbo feigned surprise.

"You're in business of chasing after ghosts now a days, are ya?"

Kiril looked Korbo directly in the eye.

"He is in town, I've seen him. Shouldn't be too hard for your urchins to spot, Crimson coat and all."

"Heh, half the theater district wears Crimson coats, not exactly much to go on."

"Not like the one he has...I trust your informants can tell the difference between a warrior and a play actor."

Korbo scratched his head.

"True enough, true enough...alright, regular search fee on this one. I'll have one of my people come find you once we have something."

Kiril pulled a bag of coins out of his coat pocket and put it on the counter, got up and walked away. He spent the better part of the day wandering the docks, finally sitting down on a bench overlooking the sea. The sun was going down. Suddenly a young child quickly ran in front of him without stopping, after the urchin passed, Kiril noticed an envelope laying on the bench, one that wasn't there a moment prior. He opened the letter and peered over its contents.

What an interesting location.

The Wolf got up and started walking. It took him several hours until he finally ended up on the main street running through Seraph's slums. He went into an alleyway, in between two abandoned buildings. At the end of the alley was an opening....Kiril's eyes narrowed, he spotted a familiar figure dressed in a coat of crimson lit up by the moonlight.

"And here we are."


Last edited by UncleVanya on Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by Dragonis on Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:55 pm

Euryens had finished practicing and sheathed his weapons. His dark eyes scanned the moonlit street leading to the alley he was occupying. Sure enough, there showed up his apprentice, Kiril. He smiled a small, humorless smirk. "Good to see you again, Wolf. It has been some time." He greeted the mercenary.

He recalled the years he spent honing the skills of the street urchin he took under his wing. The endless gruelling hours on both of them, but he never once regretted his decision to mold the young man into his successor. Today perhaps, would be the last day he would see in this world. He looked up at the moon in the sky. "Yes... here we are at last. You've grown in strength, but do you feel you are ready to claim the title of Crimson Wolf?" his eyes shifted over to Kiril's direction while his head remained tilted upward. He had that dangerous glint in his eyes, measuring Kiril.

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by UncleVanya on Sat Mar 05, 2016 4:29 pm

Kiril cast an analyzing gaze at Euryens.

"Years have not been kind, old man"

He thought, catching himself with a fleeting feeling of something resembling regret.

After a brief moment, he replied calmly, his face expressionless.

"I would not be here if I wasn't...that said, I do not care for titles, in fact I actively try to avoid them...comes with the job. However the way I see it you've done me more than a solid, not just because you spared my life in our first duel, but more so because I've seen how men in my situation usually end up and its seldom pleasant. I never told you, but I was on the run from some powerful people all those years ago. As capable a killer as I thought myself back then, I realize now that I would have ended up laying in a ditch with my throat slit, it was only a matter of time. Your guidance gave me the skills to elevate myself beyond their reach. I don't claim to know you, but I understand that legacy is important to you. If so, I will repay my debt, I will earn your legacy."

Kiril looked around the alley.

"Do you want to do this here? Its as fine a place as any for me, but I would think that someone like you would prefer a locale with a somewhat different ambiance. In fact I just so happen to know that there is an illegal fighting ring being ran out of a basement not too far from here. The owner happens to owe me. Its by no means the Grand Arena, but its blood-soaked sand and the roaring crowd has a similar sort of character to it. It is certainly the closest we're going to get to your old stage in this part of town. Seems proper in some way that we would do this there instead of this shit-stained alley. The choice, of course, is yours."

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by Dragonis on Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:59 pm

The old man smiled darkly at his apprentice, he could read the boy's thoughts through his gaze alone, but he made no visible indication this was so. All told, he was rather tickled by the fact that Kiril was so steadfastly determined. He nodded, listening to Kiril's suggestion for a change of locale. He couldn't help but smile a more genuine smile, remembering the roar of the crowds, the blood-stained dirt under his boots and the clash of steel upon steel. The alcohol, the women, the prestige... he did miss that. "Yes...a fitting location for my finale if I do not end up killing you." He walked with Kiril to this underground fighting ring. It reminded him of his early pit fighting days, before the public spectacle of the grand arenas. Very nostalgic. The smell of blood, sweat and beer filled the air, as did the acrid scents of piss and vomit and rot. Almost like coming home.

Euryens watched the combatants currently in the ring. No technique, no grace, just wildly swinging their weapons. The amateur hour, apparently. He rolled his eyes and then hopped into the ring. "It seems we have a new challenger! Red Stranger, the rules are simple, there are none!" The announcer chortled. Euryens smirked and rolled his shoulders. He wouldn't need either Senzo or Falcata in this battle. His fists would do fine.

Three big men ran at him, their swords and axes held high. Euryens clasped his hands behind his back and ducked and weaved through their swings as if he had never lost his stride. One man's axe swing meant for Euryens went wide and lopped the head off the second combatant. Euryens then put himself between the two remaining combatants, hand still clasped behind him with a bored expression on his face as both men charged him from opposite ends.

He made an inhuman jump upward, bouncing off the shoulders of the biggest man and the two fighters ran each other through with their swords. The announcer was dumbstruck. "Wha- how? Uhh..the winner of this round is...the Red Stranger!" the crowd booed and hissed at Euryens for putting little effort into the fighting. He shrugged his shoulders. "Euryens Cambridge, the Crimson Champion." He introduced himself to the crowd and there was a collective gasp, and silence fell.

He sneered at them. "Do not believe everything the plays tell you. I do not wear a long silk red and gold coat. What you see here is what I have always worn." he motioned to his battered wool and leather ensemble. He then tore open the shirt under his coat, revealing his sturdy musculature, and the very distinct cross-shaped scar on his chest, the souvenir he received from Kiril when they met. He smiled. "Yes, I have returned to fight that man." he pointed to Kiril, settling into his theatric arena persona again. "The rematch against the man who wounded me ten years ago!"

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by UncleVanya on Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:32 pm

Kiril jumped over the barrier with the grace of a natural predator. His boots hit the sand of the ring sending up a small cloud of dust, and he walked towards the center, stopping ten meters away from Euryens. The Wolf calmly looked at the crowd around him, faces filled with bloodlust and anticipation. The cheers that erupted upon Crimson Swordman's announcement were deafening.  Kiril remained expressionless as the aroma of blood, sweat, piss and cheap alcohol filled his nostrils.

Last of the combatants beaten by Euryens were carried out of the arena, only two men were standing upon the sand, the stage was set.

"I am learning once again that all of this is not for me to understand and appreciate. I have walked these sands, and others in the past then a bit of coin was needed....but still this whole idea seems so barbaric and unnecessary. For me killing has never been a sport but a profession. Men must die because their own ambitions interfere with ambitions of other men. That's the world I live in, and although it is often brutal I always found some sense of civility in the rules that govern it. It is a game of chess being played there ones wits are often more deadly than any blade. This however...is more akin to animals fighting in a cage for amusement of even lesser animals. There is no purpose other than the act itself, and nothing outside the sand will be affected by the fall of one man and triumph of the other. No matter, this place isn't for me, but it is my duty to be here."

He calmly set his gaze upon his opponent and spoke in his usual neutral tone.

"I may be a bit rusty on my rules of arena combat, but since I am the challenger and you are being challenged, I believe it is you who shall have the honor of first strike."

With this Kiril pulled out his saber and dagger and assumed a defensive stance.

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by Dragonis on Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:37 pm

Euryens smiled slightly as he watched his apprentice enter the arena, he twirled Senzo and Falcata in his hands idly as the two swordsmen circled around each other like two sharks stalking their prey. The bearded champion's gaze never wavered, no fear in his eyes. He enjoyed the roar of the crowd, and using his showmanship skills, he built up their fervor while he and Kiril paced. Euryens was aware he was too old now to walk out of this unscathed, and was in fact fully expecting to perish in the duel.

We'll dance the dance of death, he will succeed me and carve his own path in the world. Unfortunate that I will not live to see it. he mused to himself silently before suddenly charging towards Kiril. His speed was so blindingly fast, that to the untrained eye, there seemed to be two of the Crimson Champion, mirrored, on their way towards Kiril. This was one of his signature attacks during his arena days, a definite crowd pleaser to those who remembered his battles.

The two Euryens swiped their double blades at Kiril, followed by a third Euryens coming up from behind with two upward strikes of his blades, again at blinding speeds. He wasn't going to make this easy on Kiril, by any means.

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by UncleVanya on Sun Apr 17, 2016 5:15 pm

"Fast"

Was the only thought that managed to resound within Kiril's mind. Even as quick as he was at analyzing and adapting to the situation around him, with an opponent like Euryens there was no time for that. It had to be left to reflex and instinct.

The Wolf's muscle memory took over, the fibers tensed and released. His movements were incredibly fast in their own right, but less flashy, more direct and to the point. He lounged forward in a half-spin low to the ground. As he moved upwards with his right hand holding the saber he slashed across the first figure, his blade passed right through it, it was a mirage. Following through with the spin he tossed the dagger in his left hand at the neck of the second attacker, it passed through as well and stuck itself in the barrier. Finally completing his semi-circular movement, he faced the last Euryens, raising his saber parallel to the ground and pushing the backside of the blade forward with his free hand. Metal struck metal, and sparks flew, as the Crimson's Swordsman's attack was narrowly deflected.

Using the force of the strike, the Wolf rolled backwards and sprung up to his feet putting a few meters distance between himself and his opponent. It was time for a counter attack. The fibers tensed and released, one step, a leap, and a forward slash at such a speed that the air screamed at a high-pitched tone as the blade moved through it.

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by Dragonis on Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:41 pm

The boy was keeping pace, that was good. Unfortunately he looked like he was barely able to track Euryens' movements. "You're slipping, boy." he growled then braced himself for Kiril's high-speed attack. He closed his eyes and time slowed down for him. Every heartbeat advanced time a little bit, and he stepped to the side, away from Kiril's slash and brought his swords up to deflect it.

His heart stopped from the strain on his body. He was not young anymore and could not do his best techniques often. But he knew he was going to die tonight, and thus pulled out all the stops. Every movement was lightning quick, every strike caused the air to scream, and he maintained the calm exterior of a veteran.

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by UncleVanya on Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:52 pm

"I haven't fought anyone of this skill in ten years....lately combat has been a trivial thing, my opponents mediocre...must concentrate....must remember."

A warm breeze hit Kiril in the face, something that could not possibly exist within the damp basement he found himself in. He was at another place in another time, the sun was shining, there was still sand beneath his feet, and the smell of blood....his own blood, he looked at the palm of his right hand, it was red. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in the abdomen, his right thigh and his forehead. His legs were shaking from exertion, he propped himself up by plunging the blade of his saber into the ground and resting on the hilt. With the last of his strength he looked at his opponent, a crimson coat, and a fresh crimson scar across his chest, of Kiril's own making. Even as he failed, he felt joy at being able to have an opponent he could fight at his full potential even for just a few fleeting minutes. He was nobody from nowhere and he wounded a living legend. Now would come an end to all his troubles, he has earned a good death.

"A good death."

Kiril was back in the present, and Euryens was again in front him, the crimson coat, the scar...ten years later, the story has come full circle. The Wolf remembered, his muscles used to perceiving fighting as a manual labor, remembered the joy of battle once again. His eyes focused on Euryens, the old man's lightning fast movements were now perceptible.

A block, another, and a strike, create distance, counter-attack, another block, another strike and on and on.
The sand around the two opponents began to rise in a whirlwind, to those watching from the sidelines it looked as if the two men were jumping in and out of another plane of existence, sparks flying in the air each time their blades clashed.

"No weakness in his defense....there is only one way forward....a good death."

Kiril purposely left a fatal opening, it was a gamble, if Euryens saw it and struck the Wolf would attempt to deflect his opponent's blade just a hair's width and let it plunge into his flesh avoiding the vital organs. This would open Euryens to a counter attack, but the smallest mistake and Kiril would simply be run through. They both deserved a good death, they both deserved to see each other's blood one last time.

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Re: Blood and sand

Post by Dragonis on Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:20 pm

The world was completely still around the two combatants to the old man. Their deadly dance was moving so blindingly fast that everything around them may as well have been a matte painting. The boy was remembering the steps of the dance, the tempo, finally. The old man smiled despite himself. His heart had long ago stopped, but he fought on, as his vision began to blur. He too found himself back in the arena facing the young wolf.

He had been at his best back then, and Kiril had scored two successive hits right above Euryens' heart. A single misstep would have been fatal. But time had eroded both men's skills. Euryens' body could not keep up with what his mind knew subconsciously. His dance steps were slightly off-time to the pace. A half-step too late.

One final clash, mirroring that fateful day in the arena, though there would be no draw this time. Kiril's blade struck home, plunging into the old man's chest right where his scars were. He smiled to his pupil, swords dropping to the ground, dust settling around them in a sickening tableau. The audience were struck completely silent as they had witnessed the fall of a legend. Summoning the last of his strength, Euryens' voice came out in a hoarse whisper. "Well done...boy... you are.... the Crimson Wolf..." he smiled, placing a hand on Kiril's shoulder affectionately, proudly, before the lights left his hazel eyes and he slumped and moved no more.

The crowd then went wild with applause, it was the last thing the old man heard before everything went black. His corpse was still smiling.

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Re: Blood and sand

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