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Round 2: Aariv vs Herc Keido

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  • #16
    "Many Odins have lived and died Hercules, if you fancy yourself a great wolf the likes of Fenrir, be wary then the hand of a dead god's son." Aariv said as the sandstorms intensified. He wondered only temporarily if the irony of Herc's situation dawned on him. Feeling that he was destined the victor in this encounter, and yet, the very beliefs he pulled from time and again proved that Fenrir would meet its end at the hands of the son whom's Father he had killed. To say nothing of Herc incriminating himself the son of a trickster. His kind unable to be trusted.

    Drop by drop of water fell onto Aariv's shoulders. The sand particles being bogged down in their increased weight to the ground. Bit by bit until there was only a near translucent layer of sand left over,soon to be gone as the water would take all. No doubt the water would then also cleanse Herc of whatever he had coated himself in. The rain would only intensify over time in intensity, leaving nothing but the sound of pelting raindrops, thunder and the two fighters. Aariv's eyes pierced through the darkened environment, staring daggers through Herc.

    "My only regret, is that I cannot cleanse you in fire. Perhaps you can beg your Father for that mercy, should you walk from here alive."
    Last edited by Goddess Ultimecia; 17-06-2020, 02:34 PM.


    • #17
      "I have begged of my father before, Aariv. I have made enough mistakes in my life to warrant it. But what of you? What sins did you ask of Rain to cleanse you of?" Herc looked into the stormclouds a moment as the lightning flashed across it, smiling a bit as he felt at total ease in the storm. This was like fighting against Aethan and his uncle Aleksandr together, in many ways. Perhaps just a bit more violent than usual, but it isn't like Herc was averse to getting rougher than usual in the field. It has been some time since he could do so, but that isn't what caught his attention.

      Aariv so far had been able to hard counter all of Herc's tactics. It would make sense, given Aariv's connection to Odin, that he would continue to have multiple ways to counter Herc in other ways yet. So Herc would need to test each of his limits, see where the man could be met instead of the god. And while there are many ways to test those limits most of them boil down to that which a mortal dies to, a god normally will not, unless it requires excessive amounts instead. Aariv also, perhaps purposely so, told Herc he could not control fire in any way. That information could be useful......

      But for the moment, Herc focused on the fight's more current status. He stomped the ground once, causing a foot wide chasm to open in the pool they stood in, causing the water to drain away fairly quickly and leaving the sediment of the ground open to view. "At any rate, Aariv, you should not be concerned with the end of the fight until it has approached us properly." Herc quickly raised both his hands in a gripping motion, and the muddied dirt and dust around them formed under his command, the muddied earth flowing in jerking, aggressive motions. Unlike Aleksandr, Herc's element is not generally meant to be flowing in this particular form, not in his control of it. It will work, but not as efficiently as perhaps Herc would prefer.

      But seeing as he is planning to surround Aariv in a bubble of mud to press into his every orifice to suffocate him as completely as possible, that is less of concern as it would normally be.
      A Shadow is merely Darkness in the presence of Light

      Thanks Kid Buu for this awesome sig!

      The Emperor Protects


      • #18
        "I could not even ask my Father to clean the dirt from my hair as a boy, you, and your family took that from me. Whatever sins I have committed will be repaid later, but that comes after I absolve you of yours."

        Aariv stepped to the side as Hercules stomped the ground, creating a rift in the earth that split apart. Deep down, the movement of something dark and viscous. Mud, atleast it was not magma, but mud. Before Herc could even get the mud to rise from the abyss, Aariv had already set in play his counter.

        As dark as the environment had been up to this point, it had only gotten worse. Now not that different from midnight, the rains became impossibly fierce. Striking down from the sky in such ferocity that, had it even been bright, seeing more than your arm length forward was impossible. Mud beginning to dissolve into murky water instead, even Herc's own attack was not safe from this, as much mud as he had. Being weathered down into nothing more than a handful of mud by the time it had exited the crevice. Lightning struck around them constantly, cratering the ground it struck on, and deafening any sound other than itself. The winds as well swept more ferociously than an F5 Tornado. Anything not directly embedded in the Earth found itself being ripped up and tossed into the distance, Surprisingly, the two statues of Madara and Hashirama still stood, stalwart to the elements.

        Storms of Saturn

        This was not only just a counter to Herc's mud. But it was also a counter to Herc's natural advantages, his sense of sight was obfuscated by the rain. His sense of sound was drowned out by the constant crack of lighting and the booming thunder, his sense of smell thrown off by the ungodly strong winds. And deep down, Aariv figured, Herc knew that Aariv's manipulation of water was only strengthened further. That newly made crevice was now quickly becoming something of a lake. Herc surely knew of what happened to Aethan when Aariv had managed to get access to a body of water that large.


        • #19
          Herc was impressed by the counter, smirking to himself despite everything. Like all Keidos, he enjoyed a fight. And even he could feel the need to note how good of a counter this was on an academic level if nothing else. This storm was wiping away every advantage his natural senses gave him, making him unable to even sense where Aariv now stood. "I need no absolution from you, Aariv! Nor do you need any of me! It does neither of us good using flowery lies to claim a moral high ground!"

          Herc reached up with both hands, then smashed down upon the ground, the quaking ground shattering more and more and letting the water that had built up filter away. It didn't completely counter the storm but it prevented the pooling of the water as heavily. And if all went wrong, Herc still had a panic button in his ability to quickly leave the area, but for the moment the storm was a disadvantage, not an immediate threat.
          A Shadow is merely Darkness in the presence of Light

          Thanks Kid Buu for this awesome sig!

          The Emperor Protects


          • #20
            Aariv hopped away from the widening gap, so it seemed that Herc planned on delaying the formation of the lake. Surprising that he was opting to do that, instead of continue to attack. He had opted to go on the defensive, bide his time and wait out the storm perhaps? At this point, Herc was incredibly vulnerable. All of his methods of sensing him out out were gone, it would be easy enough to call down Zantetsuken, walk up and end him. But... that would be too fast. Herc needed to suffer.

            Instead of Zantetsuken, what came from the rift now was a shade. Dropping down in front of Herc in the shape of Rain Leonheart. Herc's old friend, Aariv's father. For Aariv, this appeared as nothing more than a mass of shadows, shifting in and about. Aariv knew exactly what this was, for Herc, this instead would be exactly as he remembered him. Unless of course, he knew something that dispelled the illusion.

            Either way, the shade would waste no time in attempting to knee Herc in the belly.


            • #21
              Herc waited for the next attack. A shade of Rain was not the expected outcome, but it wasn't an attack Herc couldn't defend against. catching the knee in both his hands to prevent it from striking his gut, pushing back after the momentum of the blow was halted. Herc looked around quickly in the storm, shouting out loud so he could be heard. "An interesting choice of attack, Aariv! Not one I figured would happen!"

              Herc figured he couldn't simply slam a piece of of the land at the shade and break it's creation. It wouldn't be that easy. But perhaps breaking Aariv's concentration would do it.

              So he placed both hands on the ground beneath him, gripping it tight as his muscles tensed in preperation.

              And then he roared as he lifted his hands back up in a savage jerking lift.......and the entire valley rose with them, a mesa forming under his direction beneath him and presumably Aariv as well, rising high into the air, seeking to break the cloudcover of the storm. If he was lucky, maybe Aariv would be pinned by the sudden motion of the terrain beneath him like a superfast elevator.
              A Shadow is merely Darkness in the presence of Light

              Thanks Kid Buu for this awesome sig!

              The Emperor Protects


              • #22
                Nice battle, you two! The scenery was fitting for this battle, and I love how that fact got lampshaded in the match itself. I was surprised by both Aariv and Herc, and while I don't know much about the lore, I find their relation dynamic. It's as if they hate yet respect each other.

                I'd have to give the slight edge to Connor, though. But Dae's performance in this fight was solid. If I could give you both half a vote I would

                Goddess Ultimecia/Aariv: 1

                Daemon Keido/ Herc Keido: 0


                • #23
                  Gonna go with Dae, purely because I feel like he was more personally connected with his character, like Herc was an extension of himself, or part of his own personality, and that's a fun thing to do with characters. He was slightly more fun to read, imo, though the gap in that regard isn't too huge.

                  Goddess Ultimecia/Aariv: 1

                  Daemon Keido/ Herc Keido: 1


                  • #24
                    This was an extremely close match! And I think they were both pretty incredibly, though I think in the end I'm leaning Dae here.

                    Goddess Ultimecia/Aariv: 1

                    Daemon Keido/ Herc Keido: 2

                    Signature and Avatar by NinjaSushi


                    • #25
                      This was extremely close, as the last two said. I would not envy the tiebreaking vote if it were me. I tend to give these matches intense scrutiny as it is, even more so when it is this close. I'd probably have to re-read it to be honest. It's really close. On the one hand, I do think Connor was more overall descriptive and painted a neater picture with his writing and attacks. Jesse chose some odd vernacular in a couple of his exchanges like the wrestling takedown that made me confused and have to look elsewhere to figure out what the heck happened. I think that's a significant negative when anyone else is reading it.

                      I think it's more what Connor didn't do considering the big character move he made with Aariv. He had Aariv shed the mask and show his true identity to someone for the first time ever. And yet, it felt underwhelming. The weight of such a moment was seized only briefly it felt and then almost forgotten. I love the concept of masks and how we revolve them around our life and it's hard to find who we really are underneath them. This was huge and I was waiting to see the calamity or the emotional weight to this grand gesture. However, the banter between Aariv and Herc didn't change much before and after the mask came off. It only was for a moment that I really felt the significance of that.

                      And the dialogue... hm. It's a bit awkward for me on both sides at times. I feel like it's great for exposition and allowing a reader like myself to understand the characters, but, and I hate to be hypocritical with this since I'm so guilty of it myself, show and not tell? Connor did a couple of things I thought kinda brilliant but they were dampened by the fact that he revealed the payoff almost immediately, before even actually executing the attacks. Letting the reader piece this together would be more rewarding, I didn't feel like I was very attached or understanding of Aariv here as a character other than being arrogant in general. Like I said, he did rise to the face reveal in the moment where he was honest about the facade he carries in order to justify what he does.

                      But the rest of it felt a little disjointed in the middle of combat. I feel like a fight should signify something more emotionally significant besides just combat. It should have its own story within it. It's also why I had an issue with the strange vernacular Jesse used - it breaks the immersion. But I didn't really find a whole lot of emotional investment other than the ongoing verbal feud. I took a more... scholarly investment in this fight, often having to reread parts of the actual exchanges in order to understand what was happening.

                      Not because they were written poorly or without sufficient detail; no, it was because the dialogue was more interesting despite being a bit awkward and causing the fighting to be disjointed. The dialogue did capture my attention more than the fight itself. I found myself processing what it meant in the grander scheme, the little details, the nuance there. I actually felt like the story being told in the dialogue was far more important than the story being told through the combat. In a weird way, the combat was almost a disservice to the narrative in the dialogue.

                      However, rather than going all Gordon Ramsay on your entire battle as a whole (though I personally am lacking almost all of the equivalent writing talent in my analogy w/ Ramsay xD) I feel like, again, it's what Connor didn't do with the risks he took. Jesse did play it safe and played to his characters natural strengths. Had Connor executed on such a huge moment like the removal of the mask, I'd give this to him. It was ballsy. It didn't feel like Jesse really risked much. However, in this case, that wasn't much to Jesse's detriment with Herc. I felt Herc was more personalized, a little bit more three dimensional, there wasn't the chekhov's gun with Zantetsuken which was referenced multiple times but not used. Obviously, neither fighter went all out by any means. But with Herc, it felt like that was more an aspect of not wielding the arsenal already available to him while Aariv literally left his most powerful weapon in the ether somewhere.

                      I know I am irritatingly repetitive but I feel it needs repeating: by failing to capitalize on the massive symbolic significance of the removal of the mask, I feel like the opportunity was almost forgotten or, dare I say wasted?

                      Herc also struggled in this fight. This is a really good thing. I've criticized Jesse before since I've felt like he doesn't make his characters vulnerable enough and yet there were two or three times in this battle where I felt Herc was actually against the wall and forced to improvise. Not that he was in mortal peril or anything but it did allow me to be more compelled to the action happening to him. Aariv felt like he was just warming up and Herc never got much over on him. I think Connor didn't capitalize on the really cool aspects of this battle he had setup for Aariv from a literary and character development point-of-view especially against such a stalwart foe; there was just too much put into play with major narrative consequence at once for Aariv that none of it was properly developed in the time allotted. And I don't think Connor did enough with the time he did use. I think both guys really could have used about double the number of posts to really develop the elements they put into motion - especially Connor.

                      Jesse did play it safe but gave some peril to Herc, some stakes to distract me from the pure scholarly aspect of the dialogue and to actually focus on the combat itself. Jesse didn't set anything up that didn't get paid off in one way or another - mostly because he didn't take any huge risks. In another battle that might have been his Achilles Heel, but, not here.

                      Aariv did take advantage of the surrounding terrain better however and the elements in general. Though this was very close - I think both guys could have done better with such an iconic landmark in Naruto and using their surroundings even more considering they are depicted as two leviathans clashing.

                      Aariv did a number of really cool things including the bit with the storms and countering Herc's abilities that really screwed Herc's sensory perceptions and put him on the defensive. But, this also helped play into there being some stakes for Herc which did aid Jesse in a way as well.

                      It was close, and I am long-winded and probably repeated myself multiple times in various ways. I only critique for the purpose of improving writing and certainly am not great at any of this myself. Hand-to-hand combat is my weakest form of writing, in that, you both far surpass me. However the narrative as a whole felt lacking from Aariv due to multiple major setups that just didn't get paid off, partially due to the fight not blossoming to a proper climax but also because they felt forgotten. The mask bit is the most damning, as that can only happen once and yet I don't feel like it mattered much - which is harsh to say but it's also the hugest critique I can levy against Connor here. Aariv never really feeling like he was in any danger didn't help either. Herc certainly came off as dangerous enough though and I could feel his personality a bit more than Aariv's.

                      So, in short, I do give this one to Jesse, but, it was very close and I found myself hopping back and forth every post or two until a couple of posts into the second page. It may seem like I ragged on Connor too hard here for it to be considered very close but that's only because he took such monumental risks. It really was very close, I do not say that to coddle either of these guys, they know that's not my style lol. Props to both of you, from a dialogue standpoint (and bigger lore standpoint as well) this was pretty interesting. I give you major points for taking those huge risks, Connor, I just don't think they were properly dealt with though as I've stated many times which is the biggest difference maker in this round for me.

                      Daemon Keido/ Herc Keido: 3

                      Goddess Ultimecia/Aariv: 1
                      Brother! Your crusade IS OVER!!