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Nobody Leaves Alive; [P] Iris and Irena
Topic Started: Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:44 am (155 Views)
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She was giving this idiot one last chance to turn around.

"I told you." She said patiently, as if it was a 5 year old standing in front of her and not a full damn grown man. "I don't have any money. See?" At this she turned out her pockets. "Flat broke. Just like you, bud. Now get moving, I have places to go."

The man was hesitating, hand still hovering above the machete strapped to his hip. "You don't walk like you've got no money to spend." He insisted, confusion distorting his features. "I saw you pay for that pear with something." Having made his decision, he fumbled with the strap at his waist. "Now give me what's left-" He continued, looking up just in time to notice the dark haired girl was suddenly in his face.

"Gladly." Irena snarled, cramming the gnawed on core of her pear into his gaping mouth. As he sputtered, she grabbed one shoulder, sweeping his legs out from under him and shoving him to the ground on his back. His own arm swung forward, clawing at Irena's knees. She gracefully sidestepped the attempt, twisting his arm in the socket where she still had a strong hold. The remnants of her earlier snack muffled his scream of pain as it popped out of the joint with a loud snap.

Keeping her grip tight, she leveled a series of kicks at his exposed midsections, striking down with the heel of her foot. "[re] [dact] [ing] choke on it!" She chanted with each blow, before dragging him by the arm to the nearest wall. Roughly, she hauled him to a seated position, crouching down at eye level. Tears were running down his face, but she was unmoved by his pain. Typical. Willing to dish it out, can't take it.

"I'm leaving. Don't you dare follow me. Also, don't try a stunt like this again. You're laughably bad at it." She informed the thug, waiting til he gave a frightened nod before releasing her hold on his arm. "Good. Since we understand each other."

Rolling her eyes, she straightened up and looked around for the fastest exit. There was a sturdy looking drainpipe to her left, and when she shook it lightly it showed no signs of separating from the wall. This will do. She decided, and began to haul herself up, leaving the now openly weeping scumbag in her wake. Balefire. Everyones a badass. She mused as she climbed higher, eventually tipping herself onto the roof.

What she saw when she landed made her freeze, hands raised in a defensive stance. There were people here. A motley assembly, all in black. Of course. The man standing in the center was the only one without a hood covering his face, the other three remained featureless. "Evening." She called out hesitantly. "Don't let me interrupt whatever this is."

The uncovered man smiled. His springy blond curls and dimples clashed horribly with his tone once he opened his mouth, tone ominous. "We're actually waiting for you, Miss. Noticed your little escapade down there, and color us impressed."

Irena backed up slowly, edging closer to the rooftop's end. "Wasn't anything." She said curtly. "Just a couple lucky strikes. He musta been drunk or something, went down easy."

The blond man stayed motionless, making no attempt to follow her progress. His smile remained unchanged. "I think not. You seem like someone who's well trained. Someone with your skill set, you must have trouble making what most would consider an honest living. How would you like to come with us and change your luck for the better?"

"You see," He continued, taking one step forward, eyes never leaving Irena's face. "I have an opportunity for individuals like yourself. Some place you can truly shine"

"That's a hard pass." She answered, heels backed up to the ledges end. "No judgement here, you do you. But I don't think that's something I want to get involved it." As she trailed off, she twisted, hoping the fact she'd been talking normally would throw them off guard. She meant to lunge forward, grabbing the drainpipe once more as she fell, making her way back down to the alley floor. She meant to. But the moment her brain ordered her muscles to obey, an electric shock went down her spine.

I can't feel my legs. The back corner of her mind realized as she began to pitch forward in an entirely uncontrolled fall. A hand latched onto the fabric at the back of her shirt, hauling her backwards. It was the blond man, who must have moved impossibly fast to reach her in time. He spun her around, gripping her by the shoulders as her legs dangled uselessly.

"I don't think you understand." He said calmly. "You will come with us. Now will it be as a prisoner, or a participant?"

"[redacted] you." She snarled, spitting in his cherubic face. He merely nodded, then turned to look at the still hooded figure to his right.

"Prisoner it is." He said, and the world went dark.
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Cascadian holidays had not taken well to Balefire. Iris sat glumly outside the Sophie Marne Cielo store, the only one of its sort in Balefire. High fashion hadn't moved quickly enough, although Marne's outfit was the only one that produced jackets she appreciated. Inside the store was a something that resembled a brawl, and Iris was a good few inches too short to actually partake without forcing people aside. Ungolfin's horned cow head popped up over the crowd and he approached with a paper sack. "This is it, correct?" Ungolfin showed Iris the contents. She nodded.

"Thanks, really! I heard it would get dangerous in there and that, well, a bigger body gets you farther. The price was good, right?"

"The price was excellent! Simply the best. The rest of the jackets were ruined by a blood spill, but this one made it. And the other things you asked for. It is an...odd assortment I must admit." Ungolfin adjusted his minotaur sized suit. Iris went to take the bag but he snatched it away. "It would be improper for the smaller person to hold the bag!"

"It can't weigh more than a few pounds Ungolfin! Let me have my things!" Iris squeaked indignantly. The minotaur laughed as a frowning Iris rose from the bench. She went for it again but he simply lifted his arm three quarters of the way up and it was thoroughly out of her reach. "Ungolfin!" He carried on at a bit of a quick step. Iris ran after him.

Ungolfin turned back a minute later to discover the tiny hasenka was no longer pursuing him. He scowled and checked the alleys, then turned a previous corner. "Iris! Iris! Where are you?" He had heard about the kidnappings of arena fighters, but why her? A sheriff stopped him before he shouted again.

"Sir, sir, Ungolfin? Was there a disappearance?"

Iris awoke days later. The ground rumbled. The ethereal sprawled on into infinity. A nightmarish world of ice and strange monsters, blood and secrets. It shifted, changed. A human might have seen a more orderly realm, but to Iris it was wholly one of chaos. She saw the truth of the shifting mountains and the sinking stars. The waves of ice. A figure lay beside her. She shook the woman's shoulder.

"Hey. Hey. Human. This isn't a place for you." The rumbling stopped. The expanse had changed - a ring of ice. A few dozen pairs, humans, elves, probable ghouls and other awful creatures. They pulled and yanked at chains binding the pairs, and a chain binding each to the ground beside them. They flickered and shifted from monster to sentient to horror. A voice boomed out.

"Just another worthless scum first blood match! We don't charge much to see the lonely die but we didn't spare the expense on this couples round! Fighters, you'll notice the victims around you! Didn't you always love hurting people? weapons around you." Iris looked around quickly. Bones and ice surrounded them. A blizzard blew through. She leaned against the wind, although the monsters around them were not even budged by it. She exhaled sharply as her mind swam in delusion.

"Where the [removed] am I?" She muttered. A bell tolled. The chains restraining them to the ground snapped off and retracted into the arena. The humanoids began to move in. "What is going on?"

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Irena had been swimming in an ocean of darkness. The last thing she remembered, the man on the rooftop, seemed to have happened both minutes and years ago. A voice called out to her, a small hand roughly shaking her shoulder. Through the fog, she tried to concentrate on the woman's voice, like a buoy in a storm. Something to cling on to while she forced herself awake.


What? She desperately fought her way to consciousness, eyes cracking open. She was on the ground, a small woman crouched over her, hand still grasping Irena's shoulder. Another voice boomed above them, but Irena didn't have the mental energy to pay attention. Not when she saw where they were.

She was lying on a hard packed dirt floor, but she was no longer outside. There was no sky above them, only the iron bars of a gigantic domed cage. And above that, a low hanging ceiling barely skirted the top of the metal structure. They were in some kind of room, people crowded around in every corner, straining to see inside. The noise was deafening, bouncing off of the walls and echoing back. Are we..underground? She couldn't imagine where in Balefire a freestanding structure such as this could be hidden.

Too slowly, she also began to realize she wasn't alone in the ring. Irena didn't have time to stop and count, but there were other people, spread out an equal distance along the perimeter of the circular cage. Too many for her liking. With a sinking feeling, she realized everyone else was paired up and chained to a partner, and the rattle as she moved her wrist confirmed that she was in the same predicament. The small girl staggered to her feet, and noted that her reluctant partner wasn't any taller than herself. They, whoever they are, probably thought that was real [redacted]ing hilarious.

Irena finally realized, with all this context, what the girl had been saying to rouse her from her sleep.

This isn't the place for you.

What had the blond man on the roof said? Prisoner, or participant? Irena could only speak for herself, but none of the other figures in the ring looked particularly thrilled to be here. We're all prisoners. And now it looks like we're the show. Someone with her skills could find some luck, he had promised. She knew that meant the others here must have also impressed him in some way. Hopefully the fighter at her side had some impressive hidden talent as well. An array of shiny weapons glittered in the center of the ring, scattered haphazardly along the dirt floor. She could see some of the other fighters practically salivating, itching to get their hands on something choice.

Unfortunately for Irena, her own partner was staring into the middle distance as if in a daze, her eyes fixed on some hidden point. "Hey!" She snapped, yanking on the length of chain that trapped them together, breathing a sigh of relief as the girl's eyes slowly came back into focus. Irena jerked her head at the weapons stash just out of reach, as the bonds keeping them tied to the arena floor were broken. "Will you be useful without something from in there, or do we have to go in?"
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The world swirled as her ally pointed towards the bladed ice in the center. Iris blinked. It solidified into a mass of weapons. A pair of scarred and mistreated axes rested near the top. "I won't be as good. But..." She reached her hands out into the blowing ice and snow. It wrapped around her and a pair of voids sprouted from her hands. They lengthened into a pair of bearded hand axes. "This will do. Nobody has armor. This is more than enough." Everyone else was already moving. Dozens of shifting shapes. Iris thrust her shadow axes at a pair of larger men rushing straight for them instead. "Are you going to use those claws or will I have to do all this myself?" She stepped around Irena. They paused for a brief moment upon seeing her weapons but then rushed in all the more greedily.

The first clumsy punch came. Iris slipped past the heavy fist and into his body. Her axes followed as a pair and cracked into his ribs. The man stumbled. She followed up from the opposite side and cracked into his skull with a single weapon. The man spun and hit the dirt. Dirt. The world came into alarming clarity as the second man rushed her. Her off-hand ax moved instantly, taking the man in the gut. He lurched and emptied the contents of his lunch. Iris swung around both axes and smashed him, head first, into a puddle of his own vomit.

"They aren't sharp, but they can crush. Good enough for now."
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Looking more than a little impressed, Irena watched her new companion rip hand axes out a void in the air and proceed to wield them with blatant experience.
"Right." She stated, doing her best to provide the girl with slack on the chain while not being close enough to muddle her line of sight. "Not useless, then. Fantastic." For a brief moment, a glimmer of hope bloomed in her chest, the idea that maybe, maybe she would escape from this place unscathed.
That hope promptly died as a figure appeared in Irena's peripheral vision. She twisted, instinctively covering her companion's blind spot so the two were standing back to back. A hulking, human male who had managed to grab a two handed battle axe from the mayhem in the center of the ring. A wide grin split his face as he registered the two of them, her feisty partner a blur of otherwise occupied motion while Irena faced him alone, her hands empty. The length of chain from his own shackle dangled freely, dragging in the dirt, and when Irena briefly followed its path she saw a body on the ground, its hand separated from the corpse. So he had decided his "partner" was more a hindrance than a boon.
"Hey. Hey hey hey." She called over her shoulder, eyes fixed on the fighter stalking towards them. "We are going to have a problem shortly."
The man hefted his axe in the air, still in motion, is intent clear. He thinks we're just going to stand here while he mows us down. She thought incredulously, taking note of how heavy the weapon must be. Sparing one quick glance at the soft packed earth below them, her resolve strengthened.
Irena backed up quickly, her shoulder blades making contact with her companions. They needed to be close for this to work. "If you can drop those things, I'd suggest you do so." She whispered, just loud enough to be heard over the din. "If not...well, just keep em clear."
The combatant was in front of her now, the large axe poised over his shoulder, braced to strike. She waited til it entered into motion, the man pivoting towards her with his swing, then quickly laced her arms with the girl behind her, elbows locking together. Irena twisted to the side, throwing herself to the ground and taking her partner with her, the blade kissing the air where they had once stood. The two of them tumbled down, Irena at once extricating herself from the tangle of limbs and springing up. The fighter was already swinging his axe forward, aiming for the girl still sprawled on the ground. She gathered up the slack length of chain and yanked with all her strength, dragging the blue haired girl to safety, the axe blade sinking into the soft earth where she had once occupied space.
And there's my door.
Impossibly light on her feet, Irena darted forward, nimbly leaping onto the weapon handle and following it upwards, right up to the surprised face of her attacker. Swinging a leg forward, she straddled his shoulder while he was still busy trying to pry his buried weapon from the ground, apparently unable to comprehend how this had turned so badly against him.
With a fast, downward strike, Irena's small fist shattered his nose. Suddenly in pain, his eyes welling up with tears, she wrapped the remaining chain from her wrist around his neck, pulling it taut on her end. "Now's a mighty good time to use those things!" She called desperately to her companion, while the man slowly turned purple, fists flying to try to knock the girl from her perch.
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