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Round 2: Half-Lord vs Shigo Seikatsu

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  • Round 2: Half-Lord vs Shigo Seikatsu

    Half-lord brings with him a piece of the artifact found in The Imperial City, one step closer to his desire. In his way stands a man of enlightenment, holding another piece of the artifact. They find themselves across each other, yet another piece of the artifact up for grabs.

    Location: Land of Waves


  • #2
    The Half-Lord put his piece of the artifact inside his clothes as he walked down a market, inspecting this new environment, a market place filled with people who looked at him as though he was some sort of specter, but Shade strangely amazed them and was more the center of attention, as if these people had never seen a horse. Some of the children halted the steed's movement, wanting to touch it. The Half-Lord wasn't against it, they were filthy but innocent little souls. Shade snorted and incidentally spooked them away, allowing the two to continue their journey.

    Who would be the new challenger, he wondered? These people were dirty, some poor and some sickly. None seemed like competent fighters, those who weren't afraid were begging for food and money. Being from another world, he wasn't aware of their currency, all he could offer were some gold coins he'd kept from before he'd become... what he was now. These coins served no purpose to him, and so he threw them away, and watched as men and women fought one another to get as many as possible. A very sad sight, and part of him pitied these people, but God created men and women so they could learn to help and love themselves, to survive and thrive. He wasn't their guardian. He had no choice but to ignore them from this point forward.

    He knew where the next piece of the artifact was, at least, in yet another tower not too far from where he was. But where was he, exactly? By manipulating the people's shadows, he managed to gather some info on them. This was apparently the Land of Waves, a nation secluded within an island, vulnerable and reliant on others to protect it. Unlike last time, no one would bother him this time, these people appeared to respect him just as much as they feared him. Until his opponent arrived, that is.

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    • #3
      The Cycle began anew.

      How many centuries had it been?

      And what was his name...? Ah, yes... Joshua Praedo. Shigo was never great with names but he remembered faces. And once he remembered the face, the name struck him like a hammer upon the forge. Joshua Praedo, so aptly named, was the first holy man to put a weapon in Shigo's hands and tell him they were at war.

      "You will take up arms, Shigo." He declared at the end of the fifth summer. The autumn air already swept through the land carrying the storms. Shigo remembers shuddering, both due to the chill and the idea of what was to lie ahead of them. Even now, the memories made his spirit clutch.

      An extreme overreaction, he had thought at the time. Shigo arched an eyebrow as his mouth went agape. "That is not ... we should not---"
      "It is not your place to decide what we should and should not do," Joshua's voice boomed, "this is a holy decree and the price of refusal is death."

      Shigo Seikatsu bit his tongue and accepted the blade, forged by flame and anointed by holy water. In the days to follow he had seen others refuse orders or try to defect and they were beheaded for their "treason". Seikatsu couldn't understand this radicalization but prayed in vain that it would resolve without conflict. But, if war was truly inevitable, it didn't matter what he chose to do. They would find him if he defected and execute him if he openly refused. He didn't want to die though, so he became a weapon of God. Weeks had passed, vicious campaigns had been waged. Blood and viscera defiled the holy weapon so many times and Shigo had forgotten why they were even fighting. In a sense, he didn't really understand why in the first place. He had argued with Joshua, Lucius and the others ad nauseam. Eventually, he gave up hope and fell into silence.

      The holy man become warrior was always the most skilled combatant in what he eventually realized was but a small corner of the world. The Faith crusaded across the countryside and Shigo found himself wavering on the many battlefields. He wasn't suicidal, but he wasn't fighting just to survive anymore: he had merely accepted this as the only alternative to death.

      Shigo progressively became more and more reckless in the bloodlust of battle, inviting numerous men and women who were unfortunate enough to follow the wrong religion to attack him simultaneously. The carnage he wrought was legendary as he devolved into a storm of steel and death. His survival seemed progressively implausible over time as the warrior subconsciously sought his own demise; his brothers and sisters oft giving him up for dead. And yet he would find himself very much alive - injured, but, alive - standing triumphant upon his fallen foes. Glorious cheers rung out among the increasingly overzealous masses. In response, Shigo Seikatsu had gripped his blade so hard as if to shatter the hilt, his face painted thick with blood which disguised salty tears. He slowly raised the holy weapon high against evening skies in a glorious facade as his comrades erupted in exultation. These triumphs only earned him further accolades, each more nauseating than the last. Was this when his aura started to manifest? The dark origins of his Nen? He couldn't be sure. It didn't matter.

      The only "victors" in this senseless war had been the crows.

      Several months passed. He found himself wearing a helm near constantly in addition to heavy armor, not for protection but to hide his face, no longer able to recognize himself. As his legend grew, the reason for this was misinterpreted by his commanding officers. The battle hardened warrior had been officially "awarded" a unique moniker from Lucius that was quickly embraced by the crusaders: "the Holy Revenant". A nickname he still despised. With it Lucius had gifted him a helm with accompanying facemask that reflected his title along with a matching suit of heavy armor. It was a frightening visage of a bloodthirsty crusader that would be the last thing the enemy would ever see.

      As the man Shigo Seikatsu once was shrunk within the persona that was the Revenant, he embraced the gift as it at least served the function of hiding his shame. This superficial prize allowed him to rationalize the beast he had become.

      His true name had been forgotten to all but those once closest to him. His mere presence inspired those around him to continue to fight despite being grossly outnumbered, often even in spite of Joshua's explicit orders to retreat. Those who fought beside the Revenant had become fanatics. The intense autumnal storms roared behind his towering figure in battle as the heavens wept from the slaughter. The devastation wrought by man and nature in unison scarred him deeper than the flesh. Shigo Seikatsu fell into almost complete silence as the war went on, his soul shattered under the weight of his sins. Lucius felt the ends justified the means and continued lavishing praise upon the monster Shigo had become, but, Joshua's hatred for Shigo festered to a breaking point. Shigo felt Joshua's ego was easily bruised and believed he probably didn't like his orders being undermined by the holy warrior's relentlessly reckless battle tactics. Joshua carefully calculated every move and Shigo imagined that this "Holy Revenant" felt like a wildcard that constantly made him look a fool over the years.

      Shigo felt Joshua intentionally began sending him into impossible scenarios in a paradoxical effort to get rid of him. Equally paradoxical, he cursed Joshua's name as he laid down for every sleepless night... until one fateful day - as fateful as the first - when Joshua and Lucius pushed the war too far. It wasn't even the near-certain death that the order would result in. Shigo had accepted that - wantedthat - for years now. No... it was more. Much more.

      "Revenant," Joshua said with a hint of mockery, "you are to lead your contingent of men towards Urbium, spare none."

      Urbium. The holy capital of the quadrant: Liberorum Terras... and I am to lead the charge?!

      Had it really gotten to that point? Shigo found himself hyperventilating in rage and desperation. He had done so many cruel things on the slippery slope of belief. Truths he thought to be universal - ideas worth fighting for - even if he didn't believe the fight to be necessary. The man who was once Shigo Seikatsu found himself shrinking, hiding within a corner of his own mind as the Revenant had taken over. Battle after battle as the bloody autumnal years raged onward and he lost himself in it. But this proposed Conquest of Urbium was a step too far and Shigo found his way out of the suffocating grasp of the Revenant. He had left his family many years ago in pursuit of answers to life's greatest questions. And now he would return home a bloodthirsty maniac seeking their complete annihilation, armed and armored by the very faith he had given himself to, an avatar of extremism and a harbinger of destruction? A murderous hypocrite guilty of the same crimes he felt Urbium had committed?

      He cleared his throat after a long, tense moment where Joshua and Lucius awaited some confirmation of the orders given. The sound of his voice had become unfamiliar even to himself, "...you spoke of peace with Urbium... of a treaty." He held another long pause, his mind in conflict as his words echoed through the halls of the chapel the faith militant had convened in. "I was under the impression your skill with words matched my skill with a weapon," the Revenant struck back at Joshua. He so rarely spoke behind the mask that all present were momentarily stunned.

      Joshua grit his teeth during another long pause and then shook his head. "They would not accept our terms, dear Shigo. I tried, believe me, I did try. As did Lucius." Joshua tried to hide his disdain for Shigo while he simultaneously assuring him. "They started this war with their religious persecution. We will take no concessions." Joshua's words dripped with condescension and were wrought with irritation. Shigo's questioning of orders was out of character in recent years and might make the other crusaders second guess the decision. Lucius' brow furrowed as he gave a measured stare at Shigo. Thinking back on it, it felt like Lucius knew what was about to happen. Lucius Callidus always carried a strange wisdom and levelheadedness that Joshua did not. Shigo had felt the tension between himself and Joshua growing over the bloody conquest. He wanted nothing more than to plunge his blade clean through Joshua's chest and in that moment he almost did. His sword hand flexed with a flash of anger before suddenly releasing all at once, a strange euphoria creeping up his spine. It was then that the realest truth he had set out to find so many years ago sundered his consciousness.

      He could see it all clearly now.

      He had thought the war inevitable from the beginning and his participation obligatory if he valued his life. But, he had slowly realized their rapid and improbable success in carving out victory after victory across the quadrant was in large part due to his own two hands. Shigo Seikatsu was no longer just one man following orders to save his own hide. He had managed to dismiss and rationalize the bloodshed on a personal level. War would have happened even if he had said no to Joshua and accepted execution as many others did that day... the day they decided to declare outright war on Urbium and all of Liberorum Terras following its religious laws that oppressed them. Time had gone by so quickly, it disturbed him to his core upon realizing it in the moment. That day at the end of the fifth year of summer; so long ago and yet feeling like yesterday. How had several years passed? Several years given to the atrocities of war. He was able to dismiss the men and women he cut down on the battlefield as something the next crusader would have done in his stead. Shigo had hid from his own truth and his once peaceful hands were now covered with the blood of his "enemies", scarred and calloused. No salvation.

      It was then that Shigo Seikatsu finally found himself. He stood, towering over them all as their gaze dragged upward with his intimidating form, then dropped as he knelt before Joshua. "I... refuse."

      Judgment.

      "...you what?" Joshua's words boomed, oozing malice and disgust. The look on his face did not match them though. He seemed nonplussed and there was a hint of fear as well. Maybe even Joshua had found terror in the depths of his soul from the spreading legends of the Holy Revenant, Shigo Seikatsu. However, Shigo also wondered if perhaps Joshua's expression was born from the idea of losing their greatest warrior on the eve of their greatest battle: the climax of a holy war. But if that wasn't the reason for Joshua, it probably was for Lucius, Vincent, Summa and the others in attendance. Silence fell like the weight of autumn's terror upon them all. Their silence spoke volumes towards that weight. Only Shigo seemed to feel a strange sense of peace. It was strange, he hadn't been this in-tune with himself or the feelings of others in... perhaps ever? The first time he had felt true peace in so many years...

      Shigo said nothing. He methodically drew his weapon while still remaining on one knee. Joshua's instinct was to recoil immediately and fall flat on his backfoot. Before Joshua and the others could even reach for their blades in self-defense, Shigo Seikatsu had forfeited his own, handing it to Joshua. Shigo sighed lightly, a small smile creeping onto his lips as he took off the helmet and mask. He hung his head low exposing the nape of his neck.

      "I will no longer be your weapon. Go on, do your duty." The former Revenant's last words rang out in the chapel as Joshua hesitated for several seconds. It felt like eternity. A strange feeling welled up inside of him when he felt the blade that killed thousands leave his hands and scrape across the stone as Joshua wielded it. Shigo heard them explode in feverish debate as Joshua raised the blade into the air. For hating one another, it sure took Joshua quite some time to do what his holy order required of him. A small peaceful smile had graced itself on Shigo's face as he closed his eyes.

      And then Shigo Seikatsu opened them again.

      The Land of Waves, eh?

      He floated while meditating in a cross-legged position in his black and white robes, no longer wearing the mask or armor of the Holy Revenant. The reality of what had happened in the previous tournament round hit him just as it had when he first entered the tournament and had been transported to Whiterun where he met Herc Keido. Herc Keido... I hope he is doing well for himself. Shigo took that moment to reflect on his new acquaintance, regretting that he did not get to converse more with him before the overseers of this tournament saw fit to end their discourse. Shigo is a methodical man, curious by nature but also takes things slowly. He could never get an accurate gauge of time, though, perhaps that is part of the universal truth in life that he sought out. The Land of Waves... a poor island nation, surrounded by and filled with a thick misty fog. It protected the poor nation, but, it also isolated them from the rest of the Great Nations. Shigo was surprised he knew all of this. Why didn't he know so much about Whiterun? Curious...

      He unfolded his legs and stopped floating. As was the case in Whiterun, this immediately drew some strange looks from the local populace. Not wanting to cause a scene, he walked on foot. Hopefully this "opponent" would be similar in disposition to Herc Keido. Shigo Seikatsu did not wish to inflict pain on anyone, nor have it inflicted on him. He was intensely curious as to the nature and history of them though. That was the greatest part of this "tournament" in his mind. Not the so-called artifact that was to be the "prize" of this venture. He distrusted that by nature. No, it was the insight he might gain on such dramatically different entities with origins far different from his own.

      If there is a universal truth, this was a great way to help isolate the variables and find it.

      As he did in Whiterun, he shielded his energy signature with a thin coat of aura around himself that also served to shield him from whatever elements might be at play in this new environment. Although, the only notably strange thing was this thick fog. He walked through this poor village, unable to give anything to the occasional begger. Even when they weren't asking for anything, the urge to give them something was quite strong. After seeing a particularly malnourished child, the pacifistic monk reached into the pocket of his robe on instinct alone and grasped the piece of the artifact. A sense of overwhelming power coursed through him. Not that he suddenly embodied said power, but... he could sense how powerful indeed this artifact must be if this was only one of several pieces. Why did I receive it though? I openly mocked and insulted the forces at work here. I doubted their intent openly. I did not even try to look for it. Herc Keido did not look for it either but he at least was willing to oblige the bloodlust of the tournament hosts. So, why...?

      He let go of the piece and returned his hand to his side. It was then that another major thing occurred to him.

      What... was all of that...?

      The strangest thing to happen so far wasn't the tournament itself, meeting Herc Keido a "former god of reality" of eccentric looks and of origins. Not of being transported to two different alien worlds now. Not of this strange artifact that, when completed, would hold a great deal of power. No, the strangest thing were the memories of the time he spent in the First Grand Crusade of the Holy Faith of the Quadrant. All those years, the pain he caused, it was so long ago... centuries, perhaps. So why would it come flooding back in such detail now?

      And then he realized it.

      Lifting his arms back up towards his face, he gazed at the markings once again just as he did when emerging in Whiterun. The symbolism of the Holy Faith was gone, replaced with different marks upon his flesh that denoted a great change in his abilities and his type of aura. The Samsara...?

      The Cycle... it actually changed...!?

      Shigo Seikatsu wasn't sure if he was amazed or horrified. He wasn't sure if he was to be elated or concerned. Paradoxically, he felt all of that at once.

      He couldn't be sure where his foe was, but, he knew that now more than ever he did not wish to fulfill these tournament hosts desire for bloodshed. He had agreed to the basic principles and idea of this tournament. But this? The power to control this...

      Once more he felt a chill rush up his spine.
      Brother! Your crusade IS OVER!!

      NO...!!

      Comment


      • #4
        The Half-Lord now sensed the presence of another in the vicinity, a new being that wasn't there before. He could see through every shadow, and thus knew where he was. Reaching him wasn't an issue, and he soon found himself in front of him. While atop his large steed, he towered over the man and his bright red eyes confronted his cold icy eyes, a complete contrast to the fiery woman he had faced before, and perhaps even deadlier.

        There were many things about this man that the Half-Lord did not approve of, even if this was his first time seeing him. Upon first glance, there was nothing special about him, but the Half-Lord had a special sight, and could see deeper than most. There was an unnatural feel to him, an inner peace that went against the natural flow of the universe. It was almost something to be envious about, a peace the Half-Lord had been unfamiliar with since his very creation. A peace he had sought and had yet to find. And yet, this wasn't envy, but rather, as a herald of the cosmos, the Half-Lord saw this man almost like an abherration in the fabric of time and space, defying them in a way that even the Half-Lord couldn't imagine, which naturally didn't please the godlike entity that once believed nothing existed outside his understanding and knowledge. But here he was, fascinated by an unimpressive male human who hadn't done anything of value yet.

        "Why are you here, Shigo Seikatsu?" said an echoy whisper that didn't come from the Half-Lord himself, but directly from behind this man. Through his shadow, the Half-Lord had gained a small amount of information on his opponent.

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        • #5
          Shigo Seikatsu was momentarily alarmed at this towering being of seemingly dark energies emerging in front of him. Unlike Herc Keido, this entity had found him very suddenly, probably through sensing him - not by Nen or an aura signature but perhaps from a general energy signature that didn't match the inhabitants of this world?

          Shigo knew what Cycle he had entered, unsurprising it went in this order but the abruptness of it was the truly astonishing part. His expression of shock and his eyes becoming cold at the realization probably showed to this "foe" as soon as he arrived. Shigo had processed it now though and he knew that, no matter what, this was the way of things and embraced it. He looked up at the being, ignored the fact that the voice came from behind him and came off as completely defenseless. Although his natural aura would protect him. He made no moves to defend himself, no effort to enter a defensive position and he radiated no ill-will. His smile would gently grace his face as his icy blue eyes would suddenly become warm as he bowed graciously. Everything about Shigo Seikatsu came off as fundamentally peaceful, warm, inviting and ... loving, even.

          "I am Shigo Seikatsu---" he paused, rubbing his chin. He had been about to bow but realized he stated the obvious and had been thrown off. "Though, obviously you know that already, I am sorry." He chuckled. He paused again, most of his arms and hands covered by his black and white robes despite the fact that he was rubbing his chin with his right hand. He always seemed to momentarily lapse into deep thought during every pause. "...As to why I am here? That is an excellent question. I admit, it is one I am not even certain of myself." He chuckled again, breathing deeply as if he were meditating. The humid, cool air is quite lovely here.

          "Primarily, I think my objective was to simply learn about different peoples, different lives that are much ... more ... than what I've experienced in the centuries I have been alive. Refining my perspective is an essential part of my core beliefs. To find that truth within us all, I must always seek new voices and new experiences, even if they are not my own. I have seen and done much, but there is so much more out there, I have already learned that. I was contacted and while I do not trust the powers that control this "tournament" of sorts, I still found curiosity getting the best of me. I do not seek power." he paused for a long moment again. "I also wanted to come and look for potential students. I have only had a few in my lifetime and not due to lack of trying!" He laughed heartily. "Some cannot take it or do not wish to seek it, which is fine too. My home world is chaotic."

          Shigo grinned, ear to ear, glancing back behind him as more of a gesture and a nod rather than him being actually curious as to the origin of the whisper, nor was he doing it out of fear or worry that he might be killed from behind. He then did the same to the being in front of him, as frightening and dominating of a visage as they were, Shigo wasn't in the least bit concerned. Contrary, actually, he was fascinated just as he had been with Herc Keido. Even if Herc hadn't been this visually imposing. What colorful characters in such a colorful experience. From Whiterun to the Land of Waves, I am sure to never forget it.

          "Please, would you like to talk? I would love to hear your story, if you would be so kind. Thank you for finding me and I sincerely thank you for asking me such a thought provoking question. If I may, why are you here and what is your name?" Shigo smiled with the warmth of the sun again, a warmth that threatened to pierce the very mists around the Land of Waves. He already felt the slight itch to find a comfortable place to sit, though, it was hard to see in this particularly dense fog. He wasn't used to seeing fog like this in his home world. At least, not in his home quadrant.
          Brother! Your crusade IS OVER!!

          NO...!!

          Comment


          • #6
            What a strange anomaly the Half-Lord had encountered...

            This creature held great power but was at constant peace, perhaps too much peace. Such tranquility in a man's heart felt wrong, even insulting to the Half-Lord. At first it appeared as though he wasn't taking him seriously, chuckling and making jokes, saying he wasn't too sure why he was there. Given his self-believed godlike status, disrespect wasn't something the Half-Lord appreciated, on top of everything else he disliked about this man. He kept talking and talking, with at least a little more respect, and catching the Half-Lord's interest. Like him, he was in this tournament out of curiosity, and not seeking power. Perhaps this man had reached godhood as well, and there was nowhere else to go for him now that he'd found a being's peak and limit and gone further beyond, but while his past opponent, the warrior woman Ysabel, had been easier to read, Shigo's mind was more blank and protected to the Half-Lord's attempts to break through for more information. He'd only uncovered bits and pieces, but not enough to perfectly know this man's intent and past. His mind seemed like that of a newborn, lacking in memories, but retaining some from a body and mind this man had possessed before, with much of it beyond the Half-Lord's understanding, since in his world the concept of reincarnation would seem ludicrous.

            The man was also looking for potential students. He didn't appear to be of noble origin, nor did he look like a priest, and the Half-Lord doubted he had a son either. Only fathers of noble families or priests could teach children like him in his world, but since he came from a reality unknown to him, questioning this was pointless. He said his main objective was to learn of others, and claimed he was centuries old, which the Half-Lord could relate to. He didn't appear that age, neither of them did, but they weren't normal beings either, the Half-Lord could tell that much about him.

            Shigo looked at him with fascination, and merely wanted to talk.

            This was a first for the Half-Lord. Even his previous opponent desired to battle him for the artifact, for her own needs, but this man, unlike any other warrior he'd encountered, didn't feel any fear. Even the drunk and the stupid felt shivers and ran upon nearing his presence, but his body didn't quake when looking directly into the Half-Lord's eyes, instead seeing him as someone he could have a friendly conversation with. The Half-Lord had never felt this way, but his former self, Abnar Plike, had, and this brought him good memories, of a long lost past. The only bit of remaining humanity in his hand had begun to affect the rest of his arm, but the Half-Lord subconsciously stopped this before it kept affecting him and made him more vulnerable. In his mind, he didn't want to go back. There was nothing to go back to.

            Putting all arrogance aside, he got off his steed Shade, and chose to treat this man as a potential friend. The fog didn't bother the Half-Lord, but perhaps it bothered Shigo. The Half-Lord couldn't move what the fog was composed, but winds could at specific instances cast shadows, and he only needed to put a small amount of effort to move this fog from intruding them both, so they could clearly see one another.

            A loud voice suddenly reverberated through the area.

            "Pay attention, 'Blackbird'. What you now hear is my voice, something even I haven't heard, for I have never spoken. No one has been worthy of direct conversation with me, and I have chosen you to be the first. I cannot delve past certain regions of your mind, so I will converse with you, but only for a moment."

            The Half-Lord unseathed his sword, and pierced the ground with it, leaving it there between them.

            "There will be a confrontation in this battle as dictated by this tournament, for chaos and conflict are the way of life in the universe, as you should be aware, 'Holy Revenant'. I already know where the artifact is and could easily make it appear in the palm of my hand, but for the better and not worse of your existence, you have made me curious, and I must force you to fight. Do you understand this?"

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            • #7
              After a few long moments of silence, the fog had appeared to lift a bit around this new foe and Shigo Seikatsu. He had gotten a decent idea of how this harbinger of darkness looked atop his similarly intimidating steed. Although, it was hard to say whether or not it was truly a technical steed anymore. Perhaps it had become something... more. This entire being felt of death and yet there was a slight paradox in it that hinted at light, too. The pacifist and philosopher in Shigo could not articulate his own inklings into cohesive thoughts, but his senses gave him the impression that this foe wasn't as monstrous as he or his seemingly undead steed might appear. His mount rivaled himself in its mastery of the shadows. Were they undead? The former holy man had witnessed beings whose existence was perhaps akin to that. Though nothing quite like this one.

              Shigo did not believe in such black-and-white concepts of light and dark. The absence of one provided strength to the other. Are they not both essential to the other's beauty and therefore fundamentally good? If truth granted such a concept then inherently its nature must be balance.

              Shigo had often pontificated such philosophical questions in his youth. He noticed this being found respite from an overwhelming mix of dark hues through a piercing glint of his blade and ornate silver steels that embossed his armor bestowing his form, it granted him an eerie graceful elegance that would haunt and amaze most men. Notable above all else: the smoldering red pits of his eyes that flared and burned with such intensity as if they were infinite in their depth and fuel. These alone stood as bare exceptions to the menacing pitched void that swallowed the world around him. A titan cloaked in shadow and yet Shigo believed that his wicked appearance belied his true nature. I do not think their heart clutches the same gloom as the leviathan surrounding it. They already may have tried to strike me down if that were true. A being that dances with the shade of a moonless night but alludes of something much more. Peculiar . . . extraordinary.

              As Shigo immersed himself in deep thought, his face peaceful and relaxed. He took deep breaths of the cool humid air. The idea of finding a place to sit and contemplate the nature of this being further had left him for the moment.

              It is lovely here.

              And then, without a word, the wraith descended his sacred mount and the teacher's icy eyes, striking yet soothing, filled with warmth and kindness coiled softly towards eyes alight with the twin ferocity of molten stars. A gentle smile crept back onto Shigo's face. Many other men would be stricken with terror and yet tranquility eased its way into his soul nonetheless like a winter rose in bloom. He had expanded his perception of life and the nature of existence in consecutive meetings. Perhaps there was a common truth among all life regardless of the shape it adapted. Shigo Seikatsu's expression was one of intrigue and of genuine humility that this being decided to indulge an old man's whimsical nature. He was truly grateful. Many other men would not have.

              Although Shigo had been able to make out his features fairly well despite the fog with his weathered but astute eyes, the misty climate took its leave in their immediate vicinity, courtesy of Shigo's counterpart, confirming what Shigo had observed in perfect detail. Shigo's aura had manifested lightly early on before the encounter, giving him insight towards his "foe's" state of being. Shigo had an innate understanding of all of the nearby life and took note of a unique feeling that grew for a moment and then recessed almost as quickly. Then, the man's voice then suddenly resounded, carrying with it a force and weight that seemed fitting to Shigo given his appearance and presence. The words he spoke did not change Shigo's look of warmth and intrigue, however his eyes became colored with a noticeable hint of surprise which surely indicated that the Blackbird was indeed listening. Oh ho...! I have not seen something like this in ages!

              His counterpart had somehow divined two of Shigo's former names. Hearing them did not bother him, however he was certainly confounded to hear them in this exchange. He had spoke and he spoke the truth. Shigo was doubly surprised at the revelation that he had been granted a unique privilege in direct conversation. Shigo arched an eyebrow curiously as his counterpart buried his sword partway into the moist earth beneath them. He then spoke of chaos, conflict, and the nature of this tournament. Shigo could not deny that it would have been a foolish expectation for all of his encounters to end akin to his experience with Herc Keido. Despite the calm nature in his own soul and the unwavering warm, gentle and appreciative eyes that studied his new "opponent" with a slight smile that tugged at the corners of his lips - especially since the dark being dismounted - the hint of surprise from this being's ability to learn some of Shigo's past had gradually faded into a hint of melancholy as he spoke of the inevitability of a confrontation. Shigo did indeed have a few things to say in response, both out of necessity and curiosity. He was quiet for a moment after the man finished speaking, a slight gust of wind passing through Shigo's salt-and-pepper hair, a light sigh on his lips that still carried a smile.

              "I do understand..." he paused briefly, not wanting to come to blows if he could help it, a note of apprehension in those three words. That apprehension faded back to benevolence. "I sense a dichotomy within you. Whatever it is you are searching for, I dearly hope you can find it." He paused. "I am humbled by and appreciate your gesture; allowing me to hear your true voice is profoundly decent of you and I wish I could adequately repay the favor. It is exceedingly rare for a stranger to show another stranger, especially in these circumstances, such... vulnerability." Shigo paused, rubbing his stubble, thinking on if that was the right word for a second.

              Regardless, he continued, voice steady and serene. "I must confess to finding an odd sort of love in that you deduced two of my old names. I haven't heard them from another in... so long... too long... I had thought them lost and forgotten to all but myself." His voice wavered slightly. "But... perhaps that was foolish of me to expect. I had not realized I did not want that to ever happen until now." Shigo Seikatsu broke eye contact for a long moment, tilted his head slightly upward and gazed at the sky in the Land of Waves. "The past is always with us, what we've done, where we came from, what we've gone through, how we went through it. All of it matters. What came first is forever part of who we are. I have learned to embrace the roads I have traversed no matter how wrought with peril, despite some being bloodier than others," he paused briefly, "to allow those names to fade into the annals of time would be to discard part of who I once was and therefore what made me who I am. Of all the things you could have shared with me in your true voice, the reminder of those names is a gift I did not expect to ever receive. Thank you for evoking my memory of them lest I fall victim to the same mistakes twice. Should it be the last gift I ever receive, it was indeed one worth dying for."

              He grinned, looked back down and bowed deeply in genuine appreciation, his eyes watering ever so slightly.

              What a clever and incredible ability.

              After another longer pause, he continued. "I believe you also ascertained from knowing the origin of those names that I've fought more than enough in my life. I do not seek power, nor this artifact. If you wish to have it, I offer it freely as a token of gratitude." He grinned, his expression beaming, elated that he could reciprocate the gift he had been given in some way. He produced it from a pocket of aura that was attached to his robe - despite there clearly being no actual pocket on said robe, causing the artifact to appear as if he had yanked it into reality. He extended it toward his counterpart as the power from merely making physical contact with it surged through Shigo. The initial surge from when he had first touched it earlier no longer affected or startled him. "Should its fate be with me, I suppose it will find a way back to my possession by the end of all of this. Though, that outcome is not what I desire. In this moment, I still only desire to converse."

              He paused again. "But... if you still insist on engaging in combat, I wish to know one thing, and I must know another. If you would be so kind as to assist me further, the first request: your name or what you'd prefer to be referred to as." Shigo's grin had faded into a melancholic smile. "That'd be especially helpful if we were to converse." He paused characteristically, "...and, if we must come to blows, I must know if you will battle with intent to end my life or not." Shigo Seikatsu's voice carried a gentle, articulate and measured throughout this entire conversation. His voice was never too soft or too loud, always in harmony with his spirit; it was considered soothing by most who heard him speak. However, with these two questions, the gentle nature faded somewhat to emphasize the importance of the answers. Especially the second question. The first was more of a formality - a genuine curiosity that really wasn't relevant to any potential confrontation. The second, on the contrary, was. Shigo felt slightly guilty at asking someone to declare intent before a battle had even begun, particularly one he did not wish to fight, but, he must ask it all the same.
              Brother! Your crusade IS OVER!!

              NO...!!

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              • #8
                Of all the opponents the Half-Lord had faced in his long life, this one was certainly the most pensive and talkative. This one really enjoyed making questions, and even more to think about them. Perhaps this is what made his mind so hard to read? Unlikely.

                "Normally I answer to no one, but you who walk alone like me, and with many lives, like me, are a very special case. So I will make it clear, I have decreed that you will not die today, even if you were to force me to do so. Not because you are a special case, but because even though your nature goes against the cosmos in my eyes, there is much more to you than I can't possibly uncover, and that has never happened to me, which makes you very important in the grander scheme of the universe, for which I am but a herald. As for your question, I have had many names and lives, much like you..."

                The Half-Lord closed his eyes for a second, as if trying to dig deeper into his own mind. - "Abnar Plike, yes... That child is familiar to me. My former self, I suppose you could call him. But unlike you, it is not a case of forgetting a past life. I am simply another entity, entirely. I am not mortal, I am not weak, and I am not a child of human descent. In the beginning, I didn't know who or what I was. My memories and the words of others gave me a new existence. Lord Shade, the people called me, due to my abilities and appearance, but that name felt small compared to me. The power I wield is nothing short of godlike, I still believe myself to be nothing short of a god. Call it arrogance if you may, I call it truth."

                The Half-Lord looked at his dark mustang-like steed and caressed his face. "I gave my fearless, brave and equally powerful companion here the name 'Shade', while I stayed with 'Lord'. What else could I be, but THE Lord himself?" - Realizing what he'd just said, to what was essentially a foreigner, the Half-Lord thought best to explain himself. - "You may not have said it yet, but perhaps you thought it... Indeed, it sounds arrogant now that I think about it. Perhaps I'm still just that child caught in the crossfire..." - the Half-Lord stayed silent for a moment, looking at his mortal hand, what little remained of his human side. - "I came to the realization calling myself the Lord didn't feel correct. I did not have control over all things as He would have. Recollecting the education my former self had received, I knew God would possess far greater power than what I can do. He would not be as lost as I am. I realized I was missing something. If day and night were the immortal cycle of a world and a shadowy dark being like I could only manipulate the night, where was my lightly, stellar half? My previous opponent knew me by this name but that's all she knew, you now know the reason I call myself the Half-Lord."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Shigo Seikatsu remained quiet for a moment, pausing? No. It was more than that. He was reflecting on every word that the Half-Lord, Abnar Plike, had said. He fulfilled his two major requests. Shigo would not need to become the Blackbird, not this day. He sighed in relief at this response. He listened intently, he studied each measured response. He took humility and appreciation in the observation that he was unable to be completely discerned. Although the Half-Lord slightly erred on one count. Shigo could technically remember the other Cycles in his life, it was simply that this one and the one before it had come more recently in it. The idea that he meant more in the grander scheme in the universe would have once made him laugh in mockery, but, he had long since grown from that being.

                  Shigo stroked his salt-and-pepper beard. His appearance had changed ever so slightly since he had visited Whiterun, although Shigo himself could barely detect the difference if he had seen himself in an opposing photographs. Certainly, more and varied scars marred his body underneath the robes he wore. Rounds had pierced his skin once and fried the flesh underneath. There was a reason he covered up his appearance, and it was more than simply aesthetics. Shigo allowed this thoughts to permeate his mind. If the Half-Lord - no, he knew the Half-Lord to be able to read his mind or at least his memory - he would be able to see what Shigo had allowed to enter his conscience.

                  "Truth comes for those who seek it. We are the ones who define it, and we have been searching for so long," Shigo was unusually quiet. He paused. He admired the love the Half-Lord had for his steed. Was this the humanity within him? Was even the anomaly he had become, a being of fierce night and insatiable darkness, still closer to humanity than he dared admit? Had the two beings become indistinguishable in the one? Shigo Seikatsu had noticed the humanity in his hand. Was that the hand that found itself lovingly caressing Shade?

                  The Lord himself? Shigo once believed in a single Lord and almighty God. However, that Cycle had ended. This one had began. Half-Lord already knew that though. In this Cycle he remembered being more akin to a God of sorts himself. Though if he were, he had been a monster of one. He certainly no longer considered himself as such, tranquility filling his mind and body so. Inner peace. "Arrogant...?" Shigo paused on that thought as the singular word left his lips with softness and slight surprise. It truly had not occurred to him. "If you believe yourself to be a God, then, that is your truth. It is not for me to judge your truth." Shigo smiled warmly. "The last being I encountered once considered himself a God - of reality itself no less. It seems that some of the strongest under the weight of the heavens that could shake the foundation of the great beyond itself have been amassed under one banner. Under a tournament. How queer..." Shigo paused again, his hands returning to waist-level and rejoined into one, grasping each other underneath his baggy sleeves.

                  "The definition of a God, of a Lord, is an enigma is it not? You may very well be correct in your initial assumption. You may be just as correct in your change of opinion as well. Who is to say? The truth is ever changing within us. There are objective truths and subjective truths I believe. The subjective are the ones we constantly find ourselves refining. They are the equation of existence; the variables constantly changing within to reflect who or what we have become. The equation that defines us today may be unrecognizable compared to one from the past." He paused again. "My education of what a greater being is always changed as well. What truth was correct, in all of the Cycles I experienced? Are any of them objectively true? Is it up to me to decide that? Would that venture not make it subjective?" Shigo shook his head, pausing again, positing a different set of questions. "Perhaps that is why I am here. Perhaps that is something I seek, or perhaps that is something I know I will never know. Perhaps the answer to these ideas is simply all I seek, not a definitive answer to who any universal God or Gods may or may not be."

                  The enigmatic "holy man" breathed deep, the tranquility within being morphed ever so slightly with the same melancholic mood from before. "God or not, the worlds are complicated places. Every living being I have encountered seem unsure of something. If God is true and infallible, if he crafted us in his image, then he must be confused as well. Who is to say?"

                  Shigo bowed deeply in appreciation at this intimate and personal knowledge that Half-Lord shared, thankful that a being such as the Half-Lord would open up to him when violence was a very easy alternative for most living beings. He knew that all too well. He imagined the Half-Lord did too, given his transformation. Shigo could relate to that very well. "In the absence of shadow there can be no light. Perhaps the light exists because you do - perhaps the true light is that which conflicts with your darkness and results in both. Who is to say?" He smiled once more. "I know nothing about the weight of your burdens, but, I will carry within my heart the hope that you will find those answers. Without monsters there can be no heroes, of which you are and which you are not, of which you might be redeemed from and which you fall from is up to you. Nothing is set in stone, the ink is not dry so long as we live - even if that life manifests in peculiar ways - our truth and our equations will always change."

                  And with that, Shigo let the memories of the Blackbird flood his mind for the Half-Lord to see should he so choose. He smiled sadly, not wanting to remember them but knowing he must just as he needed to hear someone speak those titles that were once bestowed.
                  THE GENOCIDE AT EKATA


                  Long since distanced himself from the Cycle of the Holy Faith of the First Quadrant. The Grand Crusade had ended. And yet, war still ravaged their lands. Religiopolitical war had broken out yet again. Shigo Seikatsu had lived in Ekata for years now, his father, his mother, his brothers and sisters slaughtered in the Bloodbath of Urbium. He had lost all and wanted to begin anew and eventually something new had indeed awoken within him. A man always seeking answers, Shigo found a new faith, possessing a simpler name: the Blackbirds.

                  They believed in a single avatar of Life and Death, a god that was an amalgamation of all gods that had a representation of death in some form. If there was to be a true God, Savior, a Lord - there was a facet of death in every religion, apart of every god. To Shigo, they had all promised salvation of some kind. True and just judgment. And yet, all the Blackbirds promised in their innumerable but small houses of worship filled with black roses and darkened windows depicting their bird, they preached a few basic things: wisdom, justice and love in life and the inevitable fate of all beings at the end of life, death. To appreciate it all as a part of their Cycle, as Shigo would interpret it much later in his "life".

                  The Blackbirds were a strange lot, the only true majority religion in Ekata, united under one banner of death. Before death came love, and with love came wisdom. Shigo's idea of truth within wisdom was found in a man named Praan. Seikatsu had not searched for a lover - however, he found one. He had his eye on a few different men and women in Urbium long ago, but, found no one definitive before the Grand Crusade swept them up and dragged him into the storm, transforming him into the Holy Revenant. His instincts had told him to run when he met Praan. He knew he risked a great loss again... but he listened to his heart.

                  Praan's kind and angelic voice kept Shigo kind, he tempered his worst impulses and made him forget about the Revenant he once was. Shigo had suffered enough, his spirit had broken and he grew desperate from the ravages of war. The melody of Praan had soothed his soul and kept him honest and content. Despite living in squalor together, they forged a life for many years in the peace of each other's arms and warm embrace. With the intimate of touch, the former crusader had found a true requiem within Praan for the song of slaughter that had embraced Shigo's existence. They found wisdom, they found justice, they had found love. They were happy. Praan too had washed himself clean of the sins of his father and salvation rested within the world that they comprehended as truth.

                  This was all Shigo Seikatsu needed until the inevitability of death that the Blackbirds reminded each other of so often, to keep themselves honest and to appreciate the little things. To find tranquility within oneself and in each other.

                  And one day, death had come.

                  The war ravaged lands of the Second Quadrant in which Ekata resided had been pillaged by the Barbed Tongue. They had been a nomadic tribe of barbarians and savages that lived in the Fourth Quadrant. Although Shigo heard they had thrown themselves against the walls of Urbium many years ago and were repelled from the First Quadrant, they had come for a new great city. Ekata spread beyond the horizons, millions of peaceful men, women and children resided in the sprawling city. It was not some great metropolis in the strictest sense, but, it was immeasurable in its scope. And yet, the Barbed Tongue had arrived. They had been scattered so thin around the Second Quadrant that they were not considered a threat, until somehow after pillaging the few smaller cities, they regrouped and besieged the city. Ekata had set up some defenses, but, it wasn't nearly enough for the Barbed Tongues and their war machines. The people of Ekata had underestimated them, considering them of lowly intellect. They possessed ingenuity and cunning in addition to their barbaric nature. They were truly dangerous. They carried with them banners of strange felines and creatures Shigo had never seen before. He had never seen the Fourth Quadrant. Few had and lived. Some great cataclysm had befallen it, he heard, but didn't pay the rumor any mind.

                  After all, what did it have to do with Ekata?

                  The cannon fire roared outside of Ekata's walls as the Barbed Tongue showered it with blasts of molten death. The Blackbirds were not defenseless, however, Ekata possessed few true warriors. Precious few of the Barbed Tongue made it to Ekata, escaping the Fourth Quadrant some years ago. But their own tongues had been cut out by their tribe and their hands severed. They were tough by nature, heavily resilient to injuries and the elements - seemingly an elevated and evolved type of humanoid. Their build was lean yet muscular, their shoulders broad and they carried themselves with pride. They were painted with elaborate markings that seemed to change based on the nature of their people's status. When at peace, they were much like the soft lines and colors that had arranged themselves on the few survivors of the Barbed Tongues that had defected for whatever reason and found their way across the desolate sands of the Second Quadrant to Ekata with nowhere else to go. This was the first time that Shigo saw their war paint as he and The Blackbirds stood upon the ramparts surrounding the city.

                  "When they come for us... we should go." Praan had said to Shigo quietly. He shook gently as he grabbed his lovers arm while the former Revenant stood with his Blackbirds, readying for war. The Barbed Tongues had slaughtered the villages that lived in the dry and mostly inhospitable land surrounding most of the Second Quadrant. Why had they come for Ekata? Because they were repelled from Urbium? What of the other Great Cities? Why Ekata... why? Why did Shigo have to live through this again? There was not enough love in the world; and there was so much death. The weight of the world kept him from running away with his lover. Compassion was not a flaw, he had learned that. He had let it show. He had once believed he hurt in a way that no one could ever know and yet... he found Praan and the Blackbirds. And now, death had finally come for them.

                  This time he was forced to fight. Shigo shook his head at Praan and his jaw clenched. "No..." he wanted to say yes, he wanted to flee. But Praan was not the only thing he loved about Ekata. It was home now. And the tides of war had arrived once again.

                  The leader of the Barbed Tongues, Shigo assumed - or at least some General, had approached and stood ahead of the rest of his mighty army that stretched beyond the western horizon, its mighty scope threatening Ekata's. How had they organized like this? Why?

                  His voice boomed loudly, supernaturally it seemed. Shigo and the other citizens of Ekata heard it clearly enough. "Hear the truth of your existence, wretches and foul creatures. The "animals" have come to feast on your hearts and take control. Your lands are forfeit. You have filled ours with orphans and widows from the ramparts you sit upon - your passiveness disgusts us... do nothing and die you disgusting peacekeepers! Your refusal of asylum has brought us to your front door. Your cult of death shall fall as we throw our bodies against the walls until they crumble!"

                  The Barbed Tongues erupted in a cacophony of fervent bloodlust and drugged on the blood they had spilled and would spill soon. Shigo could barely hear himself think through the roars, his entire being wracked with anxiety and fear for the first time in many years.

                  Shigo arched an eyebrow at these words. Asylum? Wretches? Cult of death? Have I missed something...?!

                  The gravity of empty space between the armies of the Barbed Tongues and the defenders of Ekata weighed all down with a palpable and mutual feeling of desperation. Shigo's mind had filled with silence as he held Praan's hand tightly.

                  That was the last kind moment he held dear in Ekata.

                  The Blackbirds turned out to be no match for the Barbed Tongues, that much was clear by the siege engines. There was so much more that Shigo had never seen, never even fathomed in his wildest bouts of imagination in the fields of the First Quadrant, the most vivid dreams and nightmares that followed his time in the Holy Faith. Massive weapons made of metal and wood and other things Shigo could not recognize that laid waste to the city walls and the battlefield. The skies burned and rained hellfire as an ocean of debris cried out in a furor of agony and despair. So many of the Barbed Tongues had died - but their armies seemed endless. Massive piles of bodies had amassed in areas as fires raged around them, the greatest warriors of the Blackbirds were the only ones that took down several Barbed Tongues at once. They Barbed Tongues proved they could survive multiple injuries that would incapacitate or kill a normal man.

                  Shigo swam through the smoke and devastation, the heartbreaking purgatory of screams, the stench and the rot of men, the atmosphere of slaughter he had grown so used to once upon a time and had now found him again. Praan had been lost in the beating of the storm and as it became more and more inevitable that they could not hope to rout their attackers, Shigo panicked. He wished he had taken Praan's request and left the city and braved the wastes. He wished he could take back so much. His past had caught up with him. He had let himself forget it as he waded through blackened bones as the sun was obscured by a rain of chaos.

                  It was then that he found the battalion led by Praan, decimated entirely to the last man. Shigo panicked and cut down swaths of Barbed Tongues in a frenzy to find him.

                  He might still be alive... I taught him... he could still be... he could still be... he could still be... he could still be... he could still be...!

                  It was then that, under the dying breaths of the innocents that mixed in the skies, he found Praan in his bright bronze armor that identified him from the rest of his patchwork unit. Shigo accelerated, cutting down all in his way as if the Holy Revenant was surging through him once again.

                  Except now, it had become something greater. The power within him welled up as he cut down numerous Barbed Tongues with a simple slash of his blade, their hulking forms and tough skin crashing to the floor of the battlefield. It grew, and grew, and grew, and grew, and grew.

                  Shigo crashed to his knees as his broken people laid dead underneath the siege of monsters. This time, he had been on the receiving end of a fanatical army of destruction that left all men in their wake bleeding until the skies reflected red. God save us... God save us... God save us... God save us... GOD SAVE HIM...

                  He held Praan's limp hand. He had lost what he didn't deserve. The blame was his, he had led the world to conflict in the first place. They had all forgotten the Holy Revenant and his atrocities, but, of course Shigo hadn't. Even with Praan warming his bed, the nightmares remained. Memories flickered through his mind as he closed his eyes to symphonies of blinding light. His memories decayed before him, Ekata, Praan, the Grand Crusade, Urbium, all of it. Was this the end? He saw oceans slamming into the skies, the ground tearing asunder, liquid magma exploding from the very foundation of the world, the north sun bursting into atoms, the world shattering in a mighty cataclysm, the heavens trembling until bursting into boiling stars that melted and dissolved into particles. He sobbed until he could no longer feel the tears, his mind transcending into the worlds beyond this one as the visions consumed it. His numbed body shook with the fury of an earthquake as the world around him began to implode, the pain of losing another loved one had emptied his mind into cold darkness.

                  And then in a flash of light that could blind every angel that the Holy Order had once preached, his armor exploded off of his steaming body like the chassis of one of these foreign war machines. Shigo Seikatsu gave into all his unhampered rage, lifted up by the horror of unfettered bloodlust, light fighting against him for control and fighting for balance within him. His aura radiated off of him in a clashing scream. His skin bubbled and contorted, flesh gnarling as it cracked and blackened, becoming hideously distorted with beams of silver and gold sunlight searing through like a supernova.

                  Every Barbed Tongue that charged him had been utterly eviscerated as projectiles instantly rained upon his body from alien weapons. Some managed to pierce his not yet fully formed stabilized aura and crushed his flesh in places. His ribs broke, his organs punctured. Yet, it couldn't match the pain within. The love that once kept him kind had drained as several disfigured arms broke out of his body, gnawing and grasping at the Barbed Tongues as desperation drove him mad. Shigo remembered his love, the sweetness of his memory as his mind was brought back to Urbium. A smile came to his face as darkness enveloped his being, the last bastion of light exploding into a screaming silence that deafened every man within a thousand kilometers.

                  "Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds."

                  The Blackbird was born.

                  The avatar of their beliefs - a veritable God born of hatred and immeasurable loss - his flesh marred with so many scars as it strangely began to heal, the chunks of metal that pierced it falling into the mighty hurricane of aura that enveloped his aura. His eyes had become burning hate that paralyzed Barbed Tongues when they met them. Even the last remaining fighters of Ekata - as few as they were - fell prey to his rampage. The blackout took him. He screamed in agony, he roared with laughter in the butchery, he succumbed to the ecstasy of death that he had worshiped. His malevolent aura terrified the Barbed Tongues into the essence of their souls, a fear they had probably never known before. The Blackbird, covered in blood and dripping with viscera,
                  began to slaughter millions and found himself alone within what fell like mere moments. Shigo towered above the grizzly, unrecognizable leader of the Barbed Tongues, his existence behind him now, his body contorted and hardened into steaming flesh that almost resembled stone.

                  The deafened city of Ekata stood silent, a memorial to the genocide that took place at the many hands of the Blackbird. His conscience returned to him as Shigo Seikatsu crashed to his knees once again, the blackened sands whirling around his aura as it dissipated, mixing with light dancing among the carnage in a strange beauty of hazy, rainbow colors. He gazed out past the veil, his eyes shaking with half-shut lids.

                  What now...?

                  On the edge of the unknown once again, his insides crying out to save him and yet finding no answer from any of his Gods, kneeling in the devastation, he remembered Praan one more time. He grinned ear-to-ear coldly, a devilish visage, his face plastered with crimson tears, pearl white teeth staining sanguine. Realizing the debt he had to collect, he traced the scar around his neck with one hand as plunged the other into his chest with a sickening crunch of bone and ripped his own heart out, viciously smashing it without hesitation in a final explosion of gore that obfuscated his features. Bitter coldness tore through the heat of the desert sun, the regurgitation of hell around him fading.

                  His consciousness filled with fields of flowers and skies paper white, a sweet melody carrying him back home.


                  Shigo Seikatsu knew that, if he wanted, the Half-Lord could have seen all of this. As much or as little as he wanted, down to the minutiae of his every day life for years with his lover. The siege, the decimation of most of an entire population's warriors, the silence of Ekata that followed his outburst. The birth of the Blackbird.

                  Shigo's tranquility had finally been disturbed a little, his peace more melancholic. He imagined it would probably be shocking to the Half-Lord that he could even maintain those feelings to such an overwhelming degree with all of those memories passing through his consciousness in this Cycle. Since the Half-Lord knew the name, he should know the story, just as the Half-Lord had given his.

                  This was his thank you to Abnar Plike.
                  Brother! Your crusade IS OVER!!

                  NO...!!

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                  • #10
                    While I can't say it's a fight, I did actually enjoy this conversation between the two of y'all! Learning more about Shigo was fun, and and it's genuinely fascinating to see Half-Lord in a much more conservative position than he was, but with that said I do feel Shigo was the most interesting here, in how he dealt with... Aaaaal that Half-Lord is. It was tought however as they both talked to and considered each other's words.
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                    Sam:1

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                    • #11
                      Images flashed through his opponent's head. A battlefield? No, a slaughter, so graphic the Half-Lord could almost see himself looking directly at this dead land, a familiar sight for one who had slain entire armies. Shigo had done this? That was certainly promising strength, and brought back some memories to the Half-Lord, of what had created him to begin with. If there was truly another deity to face in this tournament, then whatever he'd been taught did not matter anymore, but he could at least enjoy going all out against someone who could survive his best.

                      "You have described me well, Blackbird, former killer of many, I speak to you as one myself, but a grateful killer nonetheless. You've given me many roads, one of which I'll walk down someday, but I'll see to that on my own, if I don't find what I'm looking for. You spoke of another god... I've seen glimpses of his character. Some seeker of 'Balance', in a role similar to mine, though in a more authoritarian manner. I am eager to face him and show him what a god of reality can really do, he is powerful, as you are as well. Yet, whereas he understands the reality of conflict and how it is eternal and constant, you have a vow of peace. And I am afraid, my friend, that I am going to force you to break it."

                      Without warning, the Half-Lord launched a powerful hook with his right arm. He'd put enough strength to test someone of his caliber, but not to kill. He'd rarely held back, but did so in this instance, as hard as he found it.

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