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Round 5: Ash vs Herc Keido

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  • Darker
    Also close for me, both very well-written as said above but even though I'm as big a noob as you can get when it comes to wrestling, and despite that both Tinny and Ash were the underdogs here, since they were out of their element, in general enjoyment I have to commend Dae since he's more familiar with wrestling and its tropes, and the overall environment, he's been a fan for several years and it shows. Just a personal thing as I feel writing-wise they were roughly even, the edge goes to Dae who I feel had more fun writing this.

    Tinny/Ash: 1

    Dae/Herc: 2

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  • Sam
    Loved it! Started off super campy and weird with the WWE announcer stuff and I loved it haha. Very strange though. However, when things got really deep I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative change it provided and the strange resolution it provided along with an interesting story segway.

    I could go on for paragraphs about who went what way and when in this one as it honestly was pretty close and I flip-flopped back and forth every few posts, but, Tinny narrowly takes this for me. The story of the Little Rat becoming Ash was well written and the entire direction Tinny took into making the story from a 1v1 brawl in a WWE ring into a really deep character exploration was a bold and decisive move imo, and executed well. Jesse did not have a bad performance whatsoever and I liked Malal's menacing role however, it was quite close.

    Tinny: 1
    Jesse: 1

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  • Vitalista
    This fight is...certainly unique. What went from a "simple" wrestling match to a delve in the thoughts of both characters, which I say, was an excellent and enjoyable scene. I was going to give it to Ash since they seemed more of the underdog and I love those kind of characters but in the end Herc's memories made me switch the vote to him, his speech was very moving. It was also refreshing to see that Ash themselves weren't moved by it rather than the usual alternative.

    It was extremely close, Great battle you two.

    Herc Keido/Daemon Keido: 1
    Ash/Tinny: 0

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  • Goddess Ultimecia
    Match Ended: Voting Has Begun.

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  • Daemon Keido
    As Herc rose from the mat, Ash's final words echoed in his mind. Their allies were simple enough to understand, it was reasonable to assume Ash had left 40K with people allied with them. But betraying those HE specifically called friend........that seemed an odd choice of words.

    but then he remembered Aariv asking him if Ash was part of Equilibrium. Ash obviously wasn't. But apparently acted as if they were. By the asking, Aariv was making it clear he was not allied with Ash either. So Ash apparently joined an alliance with someone Ash believes Herc betrayed that acts like Equilibrium.

    And while Herc was not as educated as Marcus, he was far from foolish.

    "....Shit. Did he survive somehow after all? Abbey never did say he was confirmed dead......."

    Herc reached for his Omni-Device, sending a quick message back to Equilibrium in text format. It was labeled High Priority so his family and Faeris would be the automatic recepients of the message.

    Investigate recent concluded casefiles that appeared completed by unknown or unreported Equilibrium activity. Kaishi may be alive, and I may have interacted with one of his allies. RE: 40K file, Subject Ash.
    Last edited by Daemon Keido; 22-10-2020, 03:43 PM.

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  • Tinny
    Their eyes flickered at Malal again, and back to Herc. The opened their mouth in this mindscape, filled with circulating memories. What hey saw was confusing, frightening, and as he made his offer.

    "Go to hell" A roar erupted as the memories began to fall away, their memories disappearing from Herc's mind and vice versa, becoming little more than knowledge gained during this encounter. "Don't give me that shit while you hunt down my allies and betray those you call friend!" The world gave way to blackness at a sudden speed, almost giving whiplash back into reality.

    And they were back, with the announcers puzzled, the crowd booing them as they slept for several minutes now in approximately the same position, only to be interrupted as an explosion of psychic power caused the lights and screens in the entire building to crack and shatter, and the power to shut down.

    Ash awoke with a headache from pulling out the way they did, with such suddenness and hostility, pulling on the tendons of their minds. They looked at Herc...

    And faded away, their psychic powers making the psyker both invisible and intangible as they fled the scene, the announcers, about to report that Ash was nowhere to be found and had fled the match, found it impossible to, drowned out by the sudden uproar of a very confused crowd, and left without their microphones operational.

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  • Daemon Keido
    Herc looked to Ash. "What am I? Herc Keido, nothing more. Whatever else people may claim I am, I am simply Herc Keido."

    Malal laughed harshly at the comment. "What ELSE though? You are the son of Daemon Keido, the man who sought to shatter Ash's rebellion where it began."

    Herc turned to Malal once again. "Did he though? If that was what he was ordered or meant to do, why does Ash's rebellion still exist? All of us know what my father can do if he wanted to. Ash saw for themself what the Horseman within my father can do with just a single gesture. If Ash was TRULY meant to be removed to ensure the status quo, why does Ash stand here now?"

    Herc turned to Ash once more. "My father didn't go there to hunt you. He went to 40K to understand what had happened when Cadia fell. If he hunted you, it was merely because he knew that Chaos was dangerous. And as a human-looking entity in 40K, he was obligated to blend in. You know we aren't humans, we were NEVER humans. If the Imperium truly knew what we were, what would they do to us?"

    Herc smiled sadly. "I don't blame you for your choices. I understand them. I have had this thing," he said, pointing to Malal, "inside my head for three hundred years, a memory that has not come to pass, promising me more power than even I had as God of Reality if I but say yes to it. I understand why you made your choice. But I can tell you are not the same as him. As did my father. Sometimes, we must wear the shroud of the villain to do a hero's work. You were needed to survive for The Balance to continue. That doesn't mean you are trapped by fate. It means you are important to existence being allowed to continue. As was the Space Marine that hunted you with my father. He has his own part to play."

    Malal scratched across the shield leisurely again, always testing Herc's limits even now. But Herc's focus was absolute. Even here, where Malal's influence would be strongest, Herc would not budge. "You may see The Balance as a status quo, one that should be upset. Perhaps you are correct in many ways. But THIS thing is one of the dangers of choosing your path. If you upset the status quo, it won't just be you who determines how things change. That is why Equilibrium exists. We cannot do it alone, and we shouldn't. We are all flawed, and so our single visions are too. Would you not agree, Ash?"
    Last edited by Daemon Keido; 20-10-2020, 06:59 AM.

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  • Tinny
    "...What are you?" Ash had again asked. Not to Malal this time however, but Herc.

    As extreme as Daemon was, it made sense intuitively. Stronger people meant to protect the status quo (no matter how vile it was).

    This though? Someone who had been a God amongst mortals...

    And then this. Malal was... Nothing like the Chaos they knew. Chaos was a source of liberation, a fire to strike against the oppressor. Rage and hatred and violence were there of course, but so was hope and change and alliances... Looking at this however, one could never see anything like that.

    It was simply... Malice. And to see someone as dedicated to the status quo as one of the Keidos also be this... Monster reveling in it's hideous nature.

    And yet that question still raised more. Ash was a tzeentchian, and liked to think themselves proficient in it... And yet nothing they knew could have lead them to this.

    Ash was confused, a feeling they'd not felt since... Since before they became Ash.

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  • Daemon Keido
    Malal leaned in through his "screen" grinning as he now appeared on their side of the mindscape. "What am I? You, so ignorant of the powers you wield, dare ask me? HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I AM Chaos! I am the purity of it all! That which rebels against everything, even itself! I am Chaos personified as it TRULY should be! I AM YOUR FATE MADE MANIFEST!!!!!!"

    Herc stepped between them, calling the memories of his God of Reality to act as a shroud around them. Though the power they represented was no longer his, they were as powerful an entity as Malal was. They acted well as a shield for both himself and Ash. "You are nothing but a future that doesn't occur. It has been a dozen cycles since you became manifest. The future you represent has not come to pass and NEVER will now that I no longer stand as God of Reality. Even if you corrupted me like you once planned, all you will have is a powerful but otherwise still limited entity. You already lost, Malal."

    Malal giggled madly again, and stretched a hand out to test their shield Herc had created, dragging a clawed finger across it in a slow scratch. "You think too small, Herc. You always did. But then, immortal though you are, you were not born a God. How can you truly understand Eternity without me? Equilibrium has noted how much of the 40K realm has leaked out by now I'm sure. Single entities, like Faeris and our dear Ash here. Artifacts, weapons, iconography from everywhere in the Galaxy of the Grim Dark Future. All of it because I COMMAND it! You could never seal me up no matter how hard you wanted to. After all, I hid in your shadows too well for you to do so....."

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  • Tinny
    Ash witnessed his life, from the steppes throughout his life, eventually into the larger world. And then his work as a God of Gods...

    Against Tzeentch, against Slaanesh. Ash did not pick up on their meaning so soon, Slaanesh often bribed others to join Chaos, even if it was strange to see Chaos... Not subservient, but nothing like the dominance they knew of, even simply wading through their realms.

    And then it appeared. Ash could feel it.

    It was foreign in so many ways, beyond their understanding...

    And yet a part of it seemed oh so familiar to them.

    Ash took a step back as if to preemptively defend themselves from this creature, a creature they knew nothing about, all they could hope was that it wasn't like the horseman in Daemon's mind. His weapon against intrusion they thought... And then, that very man who's mind they invaded stepped between them.

    To do so like this... the mindscape between them was ever shifting and flowing, but irregular with the influence of... Malal. That was the term. The name.

    The laugh echoed across, and through Ash's own a word echoed outward.

    When as joined, it was for liberation, Chaos was freedom, Chaos was to fight against the very beings burning worlds with such contempt. Ash came to Chaos because they were abandoned by all else to rot, or burn, or suffer.

    "Burning beneath your hands?" Ash said, it was quiet, and yet echoed across the mindscape. Secrets were not nearly as easy to keep in such intimate spaces. "What are you?" Ash asked without asking.

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  • Daemon Keido
    Just as Herc began to move for his followup to the slam, before utter blackness filled his vision.

    There was darkness, absolute darkness. And a silence that was as deafening as the loudest thunderclap. And for minutes, or maybe hours that was all that Herc perceived.

    And then came the visage of Ash, their wings filling the not-air around them. And then the darkness was filled by the memories of the two nonhumans.

    In swirling masses around Ash came their memories of life in the realm of 40K. None of it all that surprising to Herc. After all, Ash had become an entity of interest of Equilibrium. There was an entire file on Ash now.

    But that wasn't what Herc focused on. He saw his own memories, filling the mindscape even more than Ash's. Of course, he had lived so much longer, he would have more memories anyway. His first years as a young man in Kelevra, learning his powers, his place in the world. There, when he first summoned the Hammer of Hephaistos, Forge-Fire. The men that had been his lovers as he grew of age.

    And then the days he had spent as God of Reality. All the memories of that power. When he had thrown Darkseid back into his world when he tried to pierce the Source Wall and shattered the mind of the Master of Apokolips for his insolence. And all the times he had faced against the Chaos Gods, how he had completely terorrised them each time they had tried to personally pierce the veil of Reality. He remembered their words then, even now. He didn't need this memory playing to remind him.

    "You aid the Anathema. You are his ally!" hissed the voice of Tzeentch. To which Herc remembers his own words, speaking them quietly even as the memory thundered at full volume around them.

    "The God-Emperor bend his knee to MY command in this matter. Not even he will be allowed beyond the barriers that hold your realm in check. I give no aid to either him nor any of you. You are corrupting beasts who would shatter the minds of all. And you cannot deny it."

    "Oh, but denial of our existence never helped anyone, my dear Keido...." The almost moaned words of Slaanesh, echoed in female and male pitches in a doubling effect. ".....And I above all can feel your desires......Let us show you another path.....a more entertaining path!"

    "Keep it in your pants, Slaanesh. Get pants while you are at it. You will not get in my head like that and you know it too. Now, if you four will so kindly.......GET THE FUCK BACK IN YOUR HOLES!!!!"

    A flash of golden energy, and even in this memory the echo of it's infinite power could be felt.

    But then there was a murkier memory. And truly it wasn't a memory, for that required to have happened. Instead, it was a memory of a possible future. One where Herc was still God of Reality....and so much more besides. his flesh branded with black and white tattoos, filled with Warp energy beyond even the Four Chaos Gods. The Seireitei burned as his own daemons ran riot across the streets, corrupting or killing all souls they found. The maddened grin and crazed light in Herc's eyes completed the view. This was no longer Herc Keido, God of Reality and son of the legendary Daemon Keido. This was something else.

    And then the memory did the unexpected, turning to look at Herc and Ash directly, the crazed smile spilling forth just as insane a laughter. "Chaos corrupts everything......Nothing is truly safe from its touch. I have seen a thousand realities burn beneath my hands. Remember this: Malal comes, one way or another. Chaos turns inward.......I am inevitable, if not in this body.......Then in another. Perhaps.....YOURS, Ash.......Hehehehehe....."

    Herc stood before Ash, as if to protect them from the memory. "You are not inevitable. And even if you were, the Horsemen ride. You will fall just like all the rest of Chaos."

    Malal laughed as he held up the severed heads of each of the Keidos who were Horsemen, grinning madly. "THEY CAN RIDE WITH ME OR RIDE TO THEIR RUIN! THIS IS MY WORLD NOW!!! MY REALITY!!!! MY REALM STRETCHES ACROSS ALL!!!!! HAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!!!!!"

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  • Tinny
    Ash looked, staring for a moment. Breathing. They began to straighten up their jacket... Ash had to wonder what the Keidos were going to think after this... Well, if there was one thing Ash could do as a Tze-

    Raw rolling pain in Ash's back as concrete slammed into their back, flung into the air. Another pillar came up, pointed, and with high velocity it came to stab Ash in the ribs, almost did. Ash phased through it rather, the pillar passing through Ash, Ash could almost imagine the bloodstains on it as Ash fell, graceless, like a bird shot by a hunter.

    The wind had been knocked from Ash's chest, as they spent several seconds trying to get the oxygen back into their lungs. Unsteadily they stood, and looked at Herc closing in. Boastful as he was... Even mocking Ash about their going about it. Herc had the best arena he could hope for... Ash couldn't flood it in Chaos fire like in the open air. Ash couldn't shoot or throw doom bolts for fear they'd hit the audience. Ash couldn't tear the stadium down around them. Ash couldn't even fly away.

    Not unless Ash was willing to threaten them... And such an option looked very appealing at this moment, as Ash could barely stand, with Herc only a few feet away.

    Ash hadn't had their warp time activated, they were too busy trying to stand for that, so when Herc closed, there was naught Ash could do but prepare for the pain, the neck grasped, and their body slammed through the ring. They felt the wood splintering beneath their back, and at the end...

    Ash wasn't certain if Herc was just staying there or if their perception of time was off... They could barely hear the dull roar of the crowd.

    Blood on Herc's coat. This time ash's blood, as they coughed, more blood trailing from their mouth.

    "Nothing..." Ash repeated, a glint in their eye. Their body might be barely able to move, but the fight was still in their eyes. Telepathy he said... Fine... Herc heard the next words in his head.
    I don't need power.

    A telepathic attack. Ash wasn't going to hold back, their mind and soul attacked Herc's. Herc may be more powerful, but Ash's strength was never in their body.

    In their life as a slave they were scrawny. They were weaker than the enforcers who beat down disobedient slaves.

    Weaker than the inquisitors who hunted down all chaos.

    Weaker than the Astartes who came from the heavens to end their liberation.

    Ash was always nothing, a discarded slave in the forgotten bowels of the world. Always slammed down by the forces who thought themselves arbiters of holy and demonic. First the Imperium, now a Keido.

    The Chaos star, the only white in their eye, began to turn red, not from power, but blood again, their wound reopening as Ash might an attack on their mind, deep into their soul.

    Ash finally lost contact with the outside world, they were in Herc's soul now, and Herc in theirs.

    When Ash opened eyes that had not closed, they would see inside them the earliest memories and soul of Herc.

    And Herc may yet see Ash's own soul, though he may not recognize it as such yet. In Ash's childhood they did not have the name of Ash.

    Their name was Little Rat. Their own eyes not so different from how they were now, in that they were still black, now much more closely reminiscent of a rat without the sigil of Chaos.
    And yet they were entirely different, the defiance and confidence nowhere to be found. In it's place a nervousness and fear.

    But they loved their mother, the one who had raised them. But such time for that was precious little, forced to work from birth, they had helped to maintain machines from the inside, their own small stature working well to accommodate the working gears. Well, as long as they didn't get caught. Memories of cleaning the inside of blood and viscera from the less agile or less fortunate. Little Rat learned many things. How to make themselves unnoticeable for example. Looking down, speaking softly, quickly obeying. The less time spent in their presence the better, for Little Rat was ultimately a mutant.

    Much in contrast to Herc's own upbringing among the pack, he may notice something. The sky. Little Rat never knew of it. Never once venturing out of what seemed like a single gargantuan factory building. Machine omnipresent with a nary a plant to be seen. Rations constructed from grey blocks made of a substance that Little Rat only knew as food, never anything deeper or more knowable, only that it came from outside, to those who worked. Days, cycles really, Little Rat never knew the rotation of the sun, only the dim lights struggling to be seen above the smoke and smog.

    Not uniformly terrible, as a child, Little Rat could play with other kids. Sometimes they games were as simple as chasing each other. Sometimes it was fun, other times it was cruel. Little Rat hated the games of pretend, the xeno or mutant always lost, and Little Rat was a mutant, however 'minor'. They loved heir mother, often trying to stay awake long enough to see them come back from their responsibilities. When their mother was younger they had energy to sing to them, or tell them stories of... Elsewhere. Little Rat always wondered what such a place was like to be in. Of nomadic existences, of places were there was no ceiling, and what always captured their imagination was the clear air. Where people did not disappear into smoke if they got too far, merely growing smaller until they were dots in the vision.

    Such stories grew rarer as she got older. Less able. She was among the weaker ones, but it really came into sharper focus as they got old, and her hair started to gray. Until one day Little Rat came to see their mother, having grown old enough to help her. An accident. Their mother crushed under this massive machine. Nothing more than a smear of blood across the floor.


    It was life. Giving everything to them, she worked as much as she could to give enough for both to eat. A better worker than most despite their weak body.

    Nothing in the end.

    Though Little Rat had not yet taken their new name, it was here the change began. Why. Why. Why.

    What did she do to deserve this.


    A rage beginning to boil.

    Days later, they found a woman. A woman offering liberation from the factories. From this life. Not just for them under the promise of advancement and rations. An end of this, and all they needed was to pray to a new God. A God of Hope. A God of Change.
    A God of Chaos. Tzeentch.
    Vengeance against a system that threw away their mother after squeezing everything usable from her.
    Their name was not yet chosen, but their eyes.
    That defiance.

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  • Daemon Keido
    Herc was able to dodge most of the blades slashes this time. Though Ash was faster, Ash was also predictable. Herc knew now he was just being bled by their blades to make his ability to keep an eye on them harder. Of course by now a decent sized pool of blood had already soaked into the canvas of the mat, a fact that Herc was not focused on as his hands came low, fingers stretched out as he felt for the closest source of earth he could using the Ley. It was in that moment that he felt the electric charge course in the air as his fur stood on end, and could taste the coppery taste of ozone on his tongue right before the warp lightning struck him, making him roar out in pain even as his body jerked and shook from the pain. Once the charge was over he dropped to his knees, head drooped forward as his breathing became so much more shallow. Indeed, it was hard to tell he was breathing at all.

    "AS GOD AS MY WITNESS ASH JUST KILLED A MAN IN THIS RING!!!!" Jim Ross' voice was clearly heard even as far from the commentator's table as they were.

    For a good long moment, Herc was utterly still. his shoulders didn't move, his gut wasn't shifting from any apparent breathing. Indeed, it looked like Ash had killed him.

    And then a pillar of concrete made to slam into Ash's back, followed by a pointed pillar seeking to drive into their ribs. Herc's head rose slowly, and while his face was still curled in a grin, eyes alight with energy, it was a cold smile now. A predator's grin. "My brother throws bolts of lightning to shame gods of the storms. That hurt, alot. but unless you are willing to REALLY kill me, I'd say Tzeentch fucked you over on power. You will never break me. You can make me bleed but my body was never my weakness. I AM the Strongest Keido. Not even my father can match me in physical strength, nor in constitution. You? A Chaos Psyker? You will NEVER match the neccessary power to finish me. You couldn't even use your telepathy to hold me down. You are NOTHING to me!"

    Herc rose with sudden speed, clearing the distance between them so fast only the fastest reactions would see every motion and who can say that would be enough to stop him? His hand reached out to grab Ash by the throat, beginning to raise them up before roaring with power and exertion into a hellacious chokeslam all the way THROUGH the ring, seeking to splinter the thick wooden boards beneath the canvas.

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  • Tinny
    As Ash maneuvered, they had an idea of their speed... With the amount the had, they seemed to draw back the knife... But their psychic energy, using the blade as a conductor, shot forward, a blade on another blade, aimed right above Herc's eyes, with a hard swipe, the psychic blade would hopefully tear through the head, not deep enough to slice clean through, but enough to pierce the skin, and draw blood. The blood from then is either constantly wiped or dripping into the eyes. If it worked, Ash would get straight to work, jumping back from the blood pooling around him, as the blood from the head wound, though unlikely to be lethal, would almost certainly help to blind the lycan.

    From there, Ash's hands would clap together, before coming apart to reveal warp lightning, shooting forth from where the hands met, with an incredible amount of power and voltage at it, hitting the blood, jumping from small puddle to puddle onto Herc's wet fur itself, and from there deliver a powerful shock against him. Ash doubted it'd stop his heart... But they'd be lying if that wouldn't be the intention. "My god! I think Ash is actually trying to kill him!" "I know JR and it's a thing of beauty!" "Where's your heart you sick son of a bitch!?"

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  • Daemon Keido
    Herc felt his body move under his own power without Ash's restriction and readied himself. Ash was no doubt planning an new form of attack. And with Ash's sudden extra speed, relative to Herc's own, he had an idea what it was.

    Herc knew his family's history, and Ash did as well. his healing factor was obviously known between them. So Ash preparing to cut Herc apart to weaken Herc beyond his healing capability. Herc knew that.

    Of course, knowing and being able to prevent are two different things. Simply put, Herc wasn't the fastest of his family. He was still faster than most, but only Aethan could truly keep up with a Psyker using their powers to speed up as much as Ash was currently doing. Herc simply couldn't really get a good hit on Ash, being pushed all the way back to the corner turnbuckles. Herc grinned at Ash, his fur matted down by how bloody he now was, chuckling as his cuts and gashes healed even as Ash worked him over. "Really, you know you aren't doing much. May as well cut steel with a butter knife for all the advantage you earned now."

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