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Round 5: Aariv vs Half-Lord

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  • Round 5: Aariv vs Half-Lord

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  • #2
    Sleipnir's hooves dig into the desert floor, leaving its unmistakable presence etched into the desert sand. Atleast until the winds would sweep over the marks. Aariv rides on top, permanently windswept long white hair flowing with orbs circulating about him in an eternal dance. His eyes as peace filled as can be, almost in a dulled state of constant euphoria. Strolling through the desert, he didn't feel the hunger from before, the longing. He was at peace with himself. Little did he know, that in the time he had been travelling, the tournament had continued on without him. Like he was given an exemption from the previous round.

    On and on Aariv rode. He was in no rush, he would eventually find his next opponent, it had never failed to this point.

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    • #3
      And just like that, Ash and that world were gone. The Half-Lord was back in his standard shape, atop his steed Shade. He was confused, he was angry, but none of it mattered. If this was any indication, he had won. He should've known from the beginning that it wouldn't have been easy, but this whole journey had been quite amusing and revelatory. He had known great pain, rediscovered pity and love, he had even felt shame, and his eyes had been opened wider than ever before. Perhaps this experience really was what he had needed in all his millennia, that whatever he had sought from the beginning of this tournament was all this conflict, conflict that was worth the effort, worth the reward. Was he stuck in a loop of challenges? He couldn't die of old age, so he would find out eventually.

      But it wasn't the time for pondering. A new challenge was somewhere nearby, in this desert. The Half-Lord had never been to a desert, but he had seen all the ones in his world with his cosmic vision and had read about them as a kid. Scorching seas of soft earth, home to a plethora of strange creatures not seen anywhere else. There was a charm to them, these places where even the strongest men preferred not to travel through. It was almost like going through the throne room of the ever-present Sun, looking down on the specks beneath him. Myths and tales such as those were a farce, as the Half-Lord knew, but his visits on other worlds had made him wonder how else they would defy his beliefs, the knowledge of the one who is connected to the very Universe.

      His vision could never fail him, and he soon noticed the presence of another, a few dunes to the north. There was a godly air about this one, similar to the shapeshifter Herc Keido, and yet his appearance suggested the opposite. Horns, black, an overall intimidating appearance... And another horseman, no less. As he'd thought about before, this journey had been amusing, but he wasn't expecting it to be like this, facing off what looked like a warped reflection of himself. He had been using dark copies against some of his opponents, maybe this is what he deserved after all. With any luck, much like Herc, this would be a promising opponent.

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      • #4
        Aariv looked across the rolling sand hills, spotting in the distance a skeletal figure atop a horse nearly as ghastly and decayed as its rider. No question arose in Aariv's mind. He knew that this was his opponent. As his blood pulsed with excitement and curiosity, the world pulled in. Where he stayed, atop Sleipnir. The light focused on more than the rest of the desert. The winds focused their currents towards. Aariv's calm and doped expression remaining. High on his own apotheosis.

        "Do you still fight for the artifact?" Aariv asked calmly, the wind carrying his words towards Half-Lord as though he were speaking right next to him.

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        • #5
          The Half-Lord could tell this opponent was eager for battle, in a place as silent as a desert and with senses as cosmically acute as the Half-Lord's, the pulsating blood echoed throughout the sea of dunes. Though it hadn't worked the last few times, he decided to use the same trick by communicating through darkness. Just because he'd chosen to speak with the monk, the shapeshifter and the rat, that didn't mean this horseman didn't have to prove his worth. The wind changed direction, going back to the horseman and carrying the voice of spirits from those who had fallen prey to the desert.

          From the sand between the Half-Lord and the new challenger rose small humanlike figures, composed entirely of sand and bone.

          "The fighting continues... Will it ever end? Will we ever be free from this game of death? We'll remain here in the desert, but him..." - all the figures pointed directly at the Half-Lord. - "The Lord will forever be victorious. Darkness is absolute. Nature bows before him, this herald of the Universe. You are no match, stranger." - said the whispers of the sand to the Half-Lord's opponent.

          Perhaps by now it was a bit foolish to expect an opponent to simply surrender and give him his pieces of the artifact...

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          • #6
            "Is that so?" Aariv would say as he stared across the distance directly into the void where Half-Lord's would be. Gauging if there was any hint of reluctance, an ounce of trembling in the entity itself. A smirk creeped its way onto Aariv's face as he found none of either. An opponent able to summon the darkness itself, mold it with his hands like clay. Atleast so far if Aariv wasn't mistaken. Aariv wasn't going to take their word as lies, he fully well believed that this being across from him could control nature itself, a herald of the universe.

            Deep down, Aariv's very blood began to pulsate with his genetic calling as a warrior. His family's heritage. But whereas before the feeling would be confined to only himself. Now, ascended beyond the mortal barrier, Aariv's blood began to shape the feel of the air itself. The area surrounding Aariv slowly forming a transparent aura that looked like a lion in mid roar. Though Half-Lord likely had not figured yet, he was encroaching on Aariv's territory. If he was truly a god, then Aariv was hungry to showcase just exactly where he stood against one. To show exactly what divinity meant to one that wielded the all cutting blade not as a tool, but as an extension of one's self. To one who not only became a god, but slew one.

            "Let's not waste any further time then cataphract. Spare no effort on my behalf, I am ready and willing for anything a herald of the world can wield."

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            • #7
              And just as he had seen an extinct beast in his last match, now he saw another. The so-called king of the jungle himself, who had been reduced to a prisoner in zoological gardens and amphitheatres, very disrespectful to what was once a symbol of power and royalty. Thus, the image meant very little to the Half-Lord, these creatures were dead in the wild, though he respected the fact that, based on what he had once been taught as Abnar Plike, the males of this species were more often than not nocturnal hunters, thus beautiful children of the night and loyal to him. If this was meant to signify a challenge, then it could only be interpreted as an act of treason.

              The horseman continued to taunt, though it appeared that unlike the warrior woman, the shapeshifter, the monk or the abomination, this one was extremely eager to fight him.

              "Willing for anything, you say? You'll regret it, stranger. If there is darkness in your heart and mind, he already knows you from the inside out, and could pull your innards apart without your notice. But unlike us, you are free to choose how you die..." - the Half-Lord rose his fist as the sandy figures said this, making them disappear, summoning dark clouds to cover the sky and gathering a massive amount of darkness from the earth beneath him, in the shape of a black fist and arm emerging from the ground covered by sand which slowly fell back down, thousands of tonnes worth of sand. Following the Half-Lord's movements, the black arm aimed a colossal and mighty punch at the horseman. He'd yet to learn his opponent's name, but what did it matter? Dead men don't need names.

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              • #8
                Aariv watched the colossal fist pierce from the depths of the sands below and into the sky. Followed thereafter by the rest of the colossus. Standing so very tall. As the sand sloughed from its body, the ground shook from the sheer weight of it all. Aariv dropped from atop Sleipnir, patting the eight legged horse on its side as it phased from the realm. Leaving just himself, Half-Lord and this behemoth.

                Around Aariv formed a circle of arms. Spectral versions of some of his family's most coveted weapons, both given as birthright and those that had been found and kept in collection. Everything ranging from blades, to halberds, to bows and guns. The skies above had already been darkened, filled with clouds blackest as could be. For once, Aariv didn't need to actively bring this about. His opponent had already done most of the work already.

                And so with Aariv's hand, the sky began to pour torrents of rain down on the parched deserts surrounding them. Pressing the loose sand down and preventing a sandstorm from arising. Instead replaced by a disaster of roaring wet sand tides. Heavy and sturdy together. A counter to the incoming fist became easy as Aariv called back to his ability to control the very earth itself. Raising the sand and waters to rise above into the air and meet the fist head on forming a large barrier equal in size to the size of its arm. Though this barrier also would seek to try and form around the fist, attempting to trap its arm inside as Aariv put his hands together like he was attempting to crush something in between.

                Above the colossus an opening in the skies formed, a direct point that showcased the sun in all its glory as the light poured down, highlighting its target. Soon a beam from the star itself sought to crash down directly onto it. Looking to consume the colossus whole. Seeking to burn it in its white light. White fire. The hottest flame possible. Even just as the beam neared the colossus of shadow, the water would begin to vaporize, and the sand would turn molten glass.

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                • #9
                  The horseman had lost its horse. Was he even a horseman anymore? If one valued the life of the other this way, perhaps there was no point in calling him a horseman, without the connection between the human and the beast, it's just a man that rides a horse. Or maybe this was a ruse, and they had chosen the tactic of sneak attacking the Half-Lord, a foolish attempt against one whose eyes are everywhere, but they'd learn soon enough. This colossus wasn't even a figment of his true power, and this light show surely wasn't anywhere near his opponent's full potential either.

                  The giant had fallen, and the sea of sand had been turned into an ocean of glass. Very pretty, even the Half-Lord had to admit as he clapped his hands to respect and applaud his opponent's move, dissipating the wall of steam and smoke all the while. Not even the best smith, ironmaster or metallurgist in the land would've been able to pull off such a magnificent trick, but of course, this wasn't a battle between mortals, and the Half-Lord was certain of this. Even without the need of infiltrating his mind, this power just seemed godlike. And his weapon of choice was light, no less. Was this it? Had the tournament ended? Had his wish been granted at last? Had he finally found his other half? What he had been missing and searching for? He did recognize many of the weapons he had used against his massive dark construct... And then there was the appearance, the horse...

                  The Half-Lord spoke, and the sky darkened. The Sun had been shining a moment ago, but not anymore.

                  "You may be worthy of my voice after all." - His powerful voice echoed throughout the desert. He got off Shade and began walking towards his opponent, unseathing his blade. - "Let us see how much more worth there is to you." - Suddenly, the voice was much closer to Aariv. Right behind him, where his shadow was. The Half-Lord was in its place, taking on a stance.

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                  • #10
                    The circle of weapons surrounding Aariv immediately took a defensive stance, following Half-Lord's movements before Aariv even noticed where he had gone. And yet Aariv even after he knew where Half Lord was, didn't turn around. Instead holding his hand to the sky, a flurry of orbs rushing to his palm and forming a jade coloured Guandao. Though in Aariv's hand it seemed weightless as the wind, for others it'd be unruly to wield even with both hands. For Aariv, even one hand was sufficient to swing with the skill a master would have with a broadsword.

                    Aariv had overpowered the collective Odin, taken from them their knowledge, their skills, their weapons and armor. Floating in his mind was the sum of countless generations of the very best warriors that had ever stepped foot across the multiverse. With the return of his magic, Aariv was by far the closest thing this multiverse had to his Father. The Multiversal Disciple, and that fact wasn't lost on him. Even with a god at his back, Aariv smiled almost knowingly. This was less a fight to the death, and more him stretching his metaphorical divine limbs.

                    "What is your pedigree if I may ask? I'm curious if I should treat you as equal or below me." The euphoric sense of overwhelming power began sweeping Aariv's mental state like harsh winds in a tropical storm. A constant battering effort.

                    In a callback to his ancestors, lightning struck the blade of his guandao, followed by a sheathe of flame. His weapon now coursing with red lightning.

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                    • #11
                      The weapon his opponent had summoned seemed familiar, minus the green color. The Half-Lord remembered it from his studies as Abnar Plike, it was a weapon from a land that had been forgotten to time, raided and now part of his people's empire, with few surviving members of that land, but a bit distinct in appearance whenever they were seen. He'd never used this weapon, as he had never considered its use past the weapons he'd trained with, but it was an appealing weapon in design, and the Half-Lord could tell the horseless horseman wielded it with great skill. Even more impressive, the ring of blades that had attacked his titan and were surrounding him had also tracked him down as he moved there, so they couldn't be underestimated either. It would be easy to spawn a dark replica of his opponent and make him battle in his place while he destroyed the light weapons, but he'd already done this before, and he had plenty of more tricks up his sleeve.

                      Though his opponent still had his back turned to him, either a sign of disrespect, stupidity or extreme confidence, the Half-Lord would answer his question, relishing in the idea that he'd found another like the former God of Reality.

                      "Pedigree? You would consider me inferior after witnessing that colossus? Splendid! Then it means it was nothing to you! You must be no lesser than the strongest of challenges I've faced so far... And that means I can stop holding back... just a little, though. I wouldn't want to kill another god so soon."

                      In a move with intent even unknown to the Half-Lord, he decided to change his weapon to that of his opponent, but shining with silver decorations like much of his armor and a black blade. Was it a way to show fairness, since a sword was perhaps too advantageous against it? The Half-Lord wasn't sure. He'd been unable to control his emotions these past few matches, but he had to keep a cool head, the excitement for a worthy battle was consuming him. He got off his stance and walked around his opponent, testing to see if the weapons would follow, and indeed they did. From his body, trails of smoke shaped themselves like those weapons, made of darkness instead. Instead of tracking the opponent, they were aimed at the weapons, but remained above the Half-Lord.

                      "I can sense turmoil in you, darkness that was once there and isn't anymore yet you carry it still, without letting it control you. You've gone through the same game as me, I can tell, and things have changed you. I've gone through the same journey, and though I could easily extract all your knowledge from your mind, I'd like to know more about you through battle. With each opponent, I've learned more about the universes beyond mine and my curiosity must be satiated. As the sand scum have told you, I am the Half-Lord. I was once the Lord, the one true God of my realm, or so I believed, when I was less arrogant than I am today. I believe I am merely half of all the power in the Universe, and eagerly seek my other half." - he stopped right in front of his slightly shorter opponent, looking down on him. - "That is why I'm here. I've been looking for a way to find this other half, which could be why our paths have crossed, stranger."

                      The Half-Lord completely ignored the possibility that this was just a being from another Universe, distant from his own, with his own name, quest and story. He'd been looking for his other half for so long that now seeing something so close to that idea set him on a new quest: to never lose sight of it again.

                      "You might be the reason I exist, the answer to my quest. Feel free to challenge that idea, but prepare yourself for a universe collapsing upon itself if you do."

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                      • #12
                        "Your other half?" Aariv's euphoria addled eyes watched Half-Lord as he walked around him, investigating his weapons.

                        "You do look starved of life. Unless your chosen form is that of a corpse." Though he didn't mean it as an insult, his time working in Equillibrium had introduced him to deities of all shapes and sizes, forms, dimensions. It would hardly be the first time he had met one in the form of a rotting corpse. Very few however had the lack of humility that this one had. Was this one not worldly? Speaking of a universe but unaware of the bigger picture. Was this Half-Lord nothing more than a caged animal? Finally let out through this tournament?

                        The Half-Lord spoke of extracting knowledge from his mind, an act of invading his mind. Briefly Aariv's thoughts turn to his golden face mask, this would be a perfect opportunity to use it but...

                        Aariv turned to face Half-Lord, meeting his stance with his own. The form an uncanny resemblance to the man the weapon was named after, Guan Yu. Very well, if Half-Lord wished for a fight with someone of his stature, then Aariv wouldn't deny him. Aariv's advanced combat sense immediately picked up on the Half-Lord's mimickery. Those replicas were aimed at his own circle of weapons. Was he aiming to deny their usage?

                        Aariv sent out an orb flying towards Half-Lord, halfway in its flight path it would shatter and form into an intense fireball. From behind the fireball, Aariv would charge. Having sent the fireball towards the chest of Half-Lord, Aariv would be watching for several things to react to.

                        If Half-Lord dodged to the side, Aariv would look to slash horizontally for the legs, looking to catch Half-Lord.

                        If Half-Lord ducked he would simply drive forward with the tip of his Guandao.

                        If Half-Lord jumped over it, he would then rise in the air to meet him.

                        If Half-Lord simply disappeared, Aariv would stop and swing in a wide arc to catch anyone potentially behind him or to his sides.

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                        • #13
                          Somewhere, in the far reaches of the galaxy, a star had just been consumed by the empty darkness of space. That's what a glimpse of the Half-Lord's rage had done after being potentially denied the possibility that this was his other half, that he had been fooled into thinking he'd gotten so close yet was just as far away from his objective as he was at the start of his quest. But perhaps this opponent, if it really was his other half, merely desired to test him. Perhaps he wasn't aware he was the Half-Lord's half. - It's fine. - he thought, calming himself down. Even the aura of tranquility from the monk would not stop him this time, as it had done in his last battle.

                          The light show continued, now there was an orb which magically exploded into a fireball, coming his way, with his opponent charging shortly behind. None of what he had predicted actually happened, the stranger had simply missed, somehow.

                          "This form was given to me by the Universe itself. I am its avatar, I control its darkest aspects, and all whose hearts are filled with the slightest bit of darkness or reign in the dark are acolytes for me to manipulate. And that includes every world I've been in, for no matter how different a universe may be from the next, there'll always be darkness in it, it's the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, it was there before chaos and it'll be there long after each and every star in the cosmos dies, truly immortal and indomitable... And I'm no different. In my previous battle, I chose to study in-depth the darkness within the beings of that strange, ravenous world, and I discovered many useful abilities, this being one of them, and for one who alters reality at will, it was easy to master."

                          How had the stranger missed? His entire body was aiming at the Half-Lord's chest, ready to slice it or at least lethally wound it. But that was just what the vast majority of his body was thinking, and with "Minority World", the Half-Lord had reversed that. The vast minority of his body, the thoughts and atoms that pitied and might've even considered the Half-Lord a potential ally and didn't seek to harm or kill him, had become that vast majority, and thus, he had missed.

                          "What you have just witnessed was mostly your own fault, but don't fret, I won't use it again. As I've said, it would be a shame for me to end this so quickly. That being said... I've no reason to go easy on someone so powerful..."

                          Imitating the way his opponent had sent him that orb, the Half-Lord created a dark energy sphere and flicked it at the stranger, who stood especially close to him. It wasn't as fast as the previous projectile, but there was something special about this one: It was composed of dark matter.

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                          • #14
                            As the dark matter sphere closed in on Aariv. He closed his eyes and laughed to himself as Zantetsuken formed above him. Moving his Guandao to his other hand as he grabbed the exalted blade with his other. Slashing through the dark matter with the all-cutting blade and erasing it from existence. Aariv's eyes alit with a near instinctual anger at Half-Lord wanting to hold back. Aariv stayed in that position as he looked at Half-Lord.

                            "Watch how you tread." Zantetsuken then faded back to Aariv's treasury. Standing back to his stance as he ran a finger across the blade again.

                            "Let's see the extent of your ability." As Aariv says this, his weapon circle begins to zero down on Half-Lord. His guandao lighting up with glowing blue sigils. The blades of his weapon circle formed a defensive stance as the firearms and bows began to fire relentlessly at Half-Lord, all the meanwhile, Aariv began swinging his Guandao from distance. His movements forming arcane energy travelling the distance between the two, looking to cut Half Lord.
                            Last edited by Goddess Ultimecia; 15-10-2020, 12:23 AM.

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                            • #15
                              "Not the effect I was expecting..." was the Half-Lord's reaction upon seeing his dark matter attack vanish instead of explode upon coming into contact with matter. Either that blade was special or there was more power at play here than he had anticipated. As more attacks came his way, the Half-Lord's body was being riddled with holes, but he made sure his arm wasn't hit. What remained of him vanished, but the Half-Lord was still standing in the shadow of a dune nearby, behind the stranger, and could be perfectly be seen, still armed with the weapon he had copied from his opponent.

                              "I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that you can manipulate reality as well. Thank you for that, I have learned something new today."

                              From the Half-Lord's unarmed hand, another Zantetsuken appeared. - "Amazing, isn't it?"

                              In the previous world, beings had mastered every fiber of their being, including what their science called mirror neurons. One being in particular had trained and perfected these neurons so well they could imitate anything they saw. In truth, such abilities could only be accessed with Gourmet Cells, but the Half-Lord was made of the very fabric of the Universe, and instinctually, his body had been adapting and taking notes from each realm he had accessed. More and more, the Half-Lord had been becoming the herald of the Multiverse.

                              "It would be foolish for me to tell you how I've done this, you're likely intelligent enough to formulate an answer for yourself. Isn't he, Shade?" - The Half-Lord's mustang had suddenly appeared, and just as quickly as he had showed up just to get his muzzle rubbed, he was absorbed into the Half-Lord's body.

                              "However..." - in the outer ridge of the galaxy, a considerable amount of stars had just vanished, leaving no trace of ever being there. - "...as I've grown to understand your nature by copying your weapon... I've learned something that has made me very mad..." - In this desert, the gravity had started to get considerably heavier by the second, the glass desert shattering from the sheer pressure, but the Half-Lord was immune to these forces, and started walking towards Aariv.

                              "You are yet another pretender, like that so-called 'God of Reality', not my other half. You've betrayed your own kind, were birthed by a witch, and in God's eyes, your existence is utterly meaningless and pathetic." - Discovering the truth had changed the Half-Lord's tone of voice. From curious to furious.

                              The entire planet was covered by dark clouds, without a single ray of sunlight passing through. At least, that's what it looked like, eternal darkness. As if all the stars in the night sky had gone missing, devoured by an otherwordly entity.

                              "I've kindly blessed you with something called 'Food Luck', so you can survive longer against the rawest forces of nature, but today, Aariv... Your life comes to an end."

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