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#21 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:38 pm

Saelien

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He carried no blades - instead, a cero charged in his hand and blue flames wrapped around it, forming a technique that mimicked the white orb he had used to block the first blast of flames appeared and Saelien thrust his hands forward, cero blasting out and freezing at the same time, crashing into the arrancar. The wind-enhanced fire struck Saelien like a lash, but he had extended the radius of his blue fire to encompass his entire body. It didn’t give him immunity from the attack, but it drastically cooled the flames as they struck, leaving him with only mildly singed. His black top - turned white by the release - was burned away in the attack, revealing his unscarred torso.

He left ice and lightning to their struggles, and turned upon their supports. As he used sonido to close the gap, wind blew a ferocious gale to suppress his movements, into which fire was fed, forming a torrent of destruction. Saelien slammed a foot into the ground below, melting ice beneath the surface to send a chunk flipping up from the ground with the force of the blow, which Saelien proceeded to melt down further and braced against himself to form an impromptu shield against the assault. He could hear power coalescing below as the trapped pair orchestrated their escape, and thus he had to act fast.

The ice was heating up from the fire, and Saelien’s blue flames would not resist the heat for much longer. Fortunately he was still for long enough to charge a Dreadstep - but he didn’t move far. He took two actions in a moment - moving only a few feet forward, he used the sheer momentum of the Dreadstep to help push forward his barrier, towards the wind elementalist. Once his barrier was launched free, he released a stream of blue flames from his hands, smothering the fire that assaulted him.

The reaction from wind was not nearly fast enough. An intensely hot chunk of ice slammed into them at high speeds, and much like fire before them they were carried off their feet and slammed into a wall. This time, however, they were pinned there by something dangerous, and their screams drowned out those from Caryth as they were burnt alive. The cries did not last long, and Saelien allowed the ice to melt to reveal a crushed and blackened corpse embedded in rock.

The Cold Lord stepped away, no longer restrained by wind, as the ground exploded and ice and lightning launched themselves free. They glanced over at the remains of wind, and fire backed away slowly, knowing they didn’t have any defence left against Saelien.

A cold laugh sent a chill down all their spines.
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#22 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:16 pm

Saelien

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Saelien appeared invincible. That was how he intended, and he could see in the eyes of those who defied him still that they wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else but before him now. They had lost one of their number, one of the souls that had stood by their side for decades, who had followed them into damnation and servitude under Seach. Together they had lived, and now they knew that together they would surely die. None of them spoke, none of them looked for a way out where there was none. They stood with grim determination, and reevaluated their strategy.

It was not quite so simple, once one looked past appearances. Saelien found his breath coming hard again, this time not because of cracked ribs but instead from sheer exertion. The flames from the burning arrancar were intensely hot, and holding as much ice as he had against it was costing him stunning amounts of reiatsu. Moreover he had not used his release form in a long, long time - he had slept for three years, power wasting away, yet even before that he had not needed his release in close to a century. This was a workout on a frail form, and it was starting to hit him. The previous fight with Caryth had been testing enough, but with this...he couldn't keep fighting for too much longer, especially when he had to deal with Nafliri after.

So Saelien went on the attack again.

The blue flames around him vanished, and another white orb appeared in one of his hands, pointing at the ice and lightning arrancar. They had wisely chosen to take ever so slightly to the air, no longer trusting the frozen ground. They scattered at once, forcing Saelien to choose his target rather than them trying to block his attack head on, but the act was a ruse from the Cold Lord. As he charged that orb, he prepared another Dreadstep, and this time he vanished and used the full scope of the technique to appear beside the arrancar of ice that he had previously wounded, dropping the orb slightly behind the arrancar as his free hand drew his remaining blade of ice at his side.

Separated from the wielder of lightning as he was, the ice arrancar had no protection beyond his armour. And with the speed of the Dreadstep, he did not realize Saelien stood in front of him until the Cold Lord was mid swing of his sword. His companions cried out - a futile gesture - as the quick reactions of the arrancar let him dodge back...slamming directly into a pillar of ice that had formed behind him, courtesy of the white orb being dropped. A flash of fear in their eyes, and a flash of the blade. Blood splashed across the pillar of ice as the arrancar's upper body parted from the lower, both crashing to the ground.
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#23 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:33 pm

Saelien

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The lightning wielder screamed as they approached, furious and wreathed in electricity. Saelien whipped around and swung his blade again, but he allowed the sword to melt near the guard, sending a loose blade of ice flying at the aggressor. They deflected it with their own blade with ease, and they let loose a thunderbolt of intense power, so bright that it hurt to look at. Saelien knew this attack, the trump card of his former student. His Fire and Ice would not be able to stop it entirely...which left one option.

Saelien held out a free hand, and the wind of his release ceased to be. What he was doing would take a moment, and thus a burst of sonido carried him from the air back to the ground, but his opponent simply turned their attack, the twisting stream moving back near Saelien. He had bought himself a moment with that sonido...but a moment was all that he needed.

In his hand, he held a glowing sword, and the air around them chilled to a point where it would hurt to breathe for anyone but Saelien.

The Cold Lord met the stream of lightning with that blade, and he leapt into the air, sword cleaving through the attack and no lightning touching Saelien, to the surprise and terror of his opponent. Where the blade touched, the lightning began indistinct and quickly petered out, a light turned off. But they could not back down, and would not stop the stream from flowing, standing their ground, expecting some different result any second. They didn't move as Saelien cleaved through their hands, arms and body with Silentium, one deadly stroke...but they moved after that, falling down even more brokenly than the ice wielder had.

In the background, Nafliri gasped. On the ground, the one-time lightning arrancar found their release instantly fade away, their soul too damaged to sustain it. They bore no sign of injury, and yet their life was fading away. They tried to breathe, but the essence of their lungs had been parted, and the organs would no longer work. They tried to move, but the essence of their spine was cut, and most of their nerves were thus as dead as if the spine had been truly cut.

Everyone watched in silence as the arrancar gasped for air, failing each time, before finally they suffocated. Unharmed. Body in perfect shape.

Dead.
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#24 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:34 pm

Saelien

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Only one left, but Saelien knew that of the four, this could be the most difficult challenge. Had Saelien killed him first, then they would have died just as easily as any of the others. But now, Saelien had pushed himself harder than he could currently handle, and the fatigue that had been rushing to hit him arrived in full force. He suspected he could only hold his release for a few more minutes, and in those minutes he would have to kill his enemy here, then Nafliri, and anyone else who got in his way. He had been confident coming here because he knew, even weakened, he had the strength and skill to pull off a confrontation like this. What he had not expected was for his body to start failing him near the end.

His enemy realised this, and they were increasing the heat of their flames. Ordinarily they could not have fought Saelien - they had no skill in close quarters and had to rely on overwhelming firepower from afar to claim their victories, and they didn't have the speed or techniques to prevent Saelien from closing the gap and making swift work of them. But if Saelien couldn't close the gap, or worse, if he couldn't fight properly even if he did, then it was over. For the first time, the burning arrancar stepped forward, fire pulsing from their form and spreading across the room. It was then that the arrancar attacked, doing something similar to what lightning had tried before them and sending a stream of flames towards Saelien.

The Cold Lord raised Silentium and parted the fire. The enemy smiled, and let the stream die.

"You always talked about having a weapon that could end anything. I assume this is it?" asked the traitor, still smiling.

Saelien didn't answer. He was considering his options, calculating the weaknesses of his opponent. Silentium could protect him against direct attacks, but things didn't have to play out that way. A battle of attrition would now end with him losing, and he didn't have the reiatsu left to simply cut through the fire. Which meant...he knew what the answer was. His opponent here had been well known to look down on the hollow arts, focusing only on making his flames more and more potent. Knowing that, there was a fitting way to make an end to him.

For just as Saelien was not perfectly immune to the cold, he knew his opponent was far from immune to heat.
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#25 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:35 pm

Saelien

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The Aura of Heat Death vanished, covering Saelien in a cold shroud as he launched himself forward. A blast of flame came in response, massive and wide - Silentium nullified what was directly ahead but could do nothing to the flames that curled around and behind Saelien. His intense cold aura protected him, but the flames still made their claim and left him burnt.

But importantly, he burst out from the fire alive, and above the traitor arrancar. He swung Silentium down, and at that moment, the arrancar panicked, forgetting their situation and dropping to the ground to avoid the attack. The icy floor gave way and they plunged entirely into liquid before they realised their folly, and before they could climb free that ice froze...and all the other ice in the room evaporated away. What had once been a grand room was now a mess of bodies and vaporised former stone.

Saelien leapt back, allowing Silentium to fade away as he observed the finale - the arrancar was caught in a large cube of ice that had already become incandescent yet grew brighter and more searingly hot with every moment. The trapped arrancar was in a situation they would quickly realise was hopeless - if they remained in the ice, they had to hope that Saelien's reiatsu was gone before the constantly accumulating heat destroyed them, and if they sealed to seal away the damning flames...they still had no way out, and would die to Saelien.

They chose to spite Saelien, and waste as much of his reiatsu as they could, burning away in the cube. It could not be looked at, but eventually, Saelien could no longer feel a living reiatsu from within the cube, and he allowed it to sublime.

There was nothing left of the arrancar that had defied Saelien, not even ash.
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#26 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:39 pm

Saelien

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With a sigh, Saelien quickly assessed his current state. His body was burnt - not so badly that it would kill him, but badly enough that he looked unpleasant - and he was tired, but beyond that his wounds were a non-factor. He looked towards the stage, where Caryth had long since stopped screaming, and Nafliri stood with a curious expression on her face. They stood in silence for a moment, before Nafliri barked a quick laugh and gracefully hopped down from the stage.

"Quite the performance, Cold Lord. But you don't seem to have much left in you."

Saelien didn't make any move to attack. His odds of killing Nafliri now were, in his eyes, around fifty fifty. Even if he killed her, he would definitely lose this form in the process, and that was not a risk he could take right now.

"You underestimated me once. I advise against doing it a second time."

Nafliri smiled wider at that, but it was not the empty smile she had once worn. No, there was respect there now, and genuine amusement.

"Nox Xorik has underestimated you more times than you know. I can see that look in your eyes. You look near finished, but you've got enough left for one more fight. Frankly? I'd rather not."

Nafliri clapped her hands, and at once one of her attendants was at her side.

"Heal the girl. Do what you must to restore her. A token of good will."
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#27 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:40 pm

Saelien

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Now Saelien was curious. Nox Xorik? He had not heard that name before, and he had heard most things. Clearly it was related to the Vahw's that Nafliri had previously mentioned, which was all tied back to Seach.

"Very well. Do we simply walk away then, Nafliri? You know I will return. We won't end on the same terms when I do."

Nafliri raised an eyebrow at that.

"We have not even spoken of the terms, dear Cold One."

At that, before normal eyes, Nafliri vanished. Saelien could see better, but even he had to admit that she was fast. She had used sonido to move to her cowering soldiers that had fled from Saelien, and with her hand covered by a light gauntlet she destroyed them. Some had their throats torn out. Others had their skulls caved in or chest cracked open. In seconds she darted between them all, and they all fell as one. In a blink she returned to where she had been, covered in blood and viscera.

"They failed anyway, even if they couldn't be trusted with what comes next. Cold Lord, I surrender to you. Do as you will."

Her gauntlet crashed to the ground at Saelien's feet, and there was silence in the room once more.
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#28 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:41 pm

Saelien

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What was this game, now? Surrender? Almost certainly a ploy of some sort, although what it was, Saelien could not tell for certain. Far too easy, either way. However, Saelien had come here for some answers, and now was as fine a time as any to get them.

"Answer me this, first. What is Nox Xorik?"

Nafliri's smile faded ever so slightly. Interesting.

"We are what every fearful being seeks when death comes near. We are those pledged to the Shadow That Is, eternal damnation in exchange for immortality. You've met some of our kind before, Cold Lord. En'dis Almas. Fjorsak Martial. I am told you were considered as a candidate, but were dismissed by Fjorsak."

Those were two names that Saelien had not expected to hear again. En'dis Almas. An old companion and lover, who had taught Saelien much about the nature of souls and had set him on the path to his own immortality. Fjorsak Martial. The greatest of his great enemies, who had crushed him and all that he had loved once, and transformed him into the fledgling Cold Lord.

He had killed them both, yet...immortals? It was not inconceivable that En'dis could have survived - she had known as much as he had - but...

"I can see the questions forming. En'dis lives. Fjorsak is long dead. They tell me he was the strongest Eternal that ever lived, and was starting to steal power from the Shadow itself. En'dis was to help you kill him and return him for punishment, but instead you gave him true death," said Nafliri, her voice dimming to a whisper. "And now I know how."

Nafliri had a haunted look about her for a moment, then snapped back to reality, although she was clearly no longer as focused as before.

"I'll tell you everything. You seem strong enough to put an end to Nox Xorik, with some help. Let me be that help. Let me..."

Without a word, Saelien stepped forward and plunged an icy blade into the unsuspecting Nafliri's chest. She gasped, looking at him with fear and betrayal in her eyes, but she found no hate or anger looking back.

"It's just ice, not the edge you fear. I already understand much," said Saelien, twisting the blade further and deeper. Nafliri's cries began to peter out, and at that moment the Cold Lord graced her with a brief kiss, speaking final words to her dying form.

"Immortal. If that is true, and you are true, we'll meet again."
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#29 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:41 pm

Saelien

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Saelien tore the blade free - it had left the ugliest of wounds - and let Nafliri fall, dead before she hit the ground.

But the power of Cessation's Emissary, activated first by the fatal blow Saelien had delivered to Nafliri, did not fade away after her apparent death. Her presence was rapidly moving away, pulled in a certain direction, but unmistakably still alive in some capacity. So it was true. There were others somewhat like Saelien. And for the longest time, Saelien had suspected that Silentium had the power to kill him truly, and now he knew that was the case.

Saelien stepped over the body of Nafliri. He meant his words, but he could not trust words alone from the girl. Now he left his mark on her, and he could find her, track her. If she truly wished to oppose her own organisation, she could when he found her again. The Cold Lord reached the platform where the attendants remained, working away, and leapt up to observe the unconscious form of Caryth.

She was whole. In better shape, even, than when Saelien had met her in this place - Nafliri's healers clearly knew their work. How much she had suffered before Nafliri had changed her mind was clear from the bits and pieces strewn across the platform - pieces of skin and muscle and more. It seemed the torturers also knew their profession well.

"She will live, although we cannot speak for her mind when she awakes," said one of them, head bowed.

Saelien nodded, and looked around. Carnage, and these were the last survivors. Breathing in, Saelien pulled his last knife from his side and cut through the attendants in a blink of an eye, leaving them all dead.

His gaze fell upon Caryth.

What had been done here was a step forward, an alliance worth much. He could not allow anyone to compromise it. Not even the most loyal of arrancar.

And so he cut once more with the blade.

No survivors.
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#30 Re: The Graveyard of Empires (Training Thread) on Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:51 pm

Saelien

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Saelien finally allowed his release to fade away, returning him to his normal state - although he ensured that two blades remained intact before he did, taking them and beginning his walk out of the ruined fortress. There were possibly still stragglers left alive, hiding in the walls like the attendants had, and he would not find himself mortally injured now that he had accomplished everything he had set out to do. Answers, he had found, aplenty. Nox Xorik, Seach Taraign...he knew more of his enemy now than he ever had. What was the secret to their immortality? Was it like his own, or something different? Either way he had the tools to destroy them, and he would. It was a challenge that genuinely excited him, restoring a sense of thrill that he had not felt in quite some time.

And he had tested his body and soul, too. Years spent wasting away had robbed him of much, and the fight today had proven that things he used to be able to do were no longer possible. But he would make them so, in time. He would take back what he had lost and more, once he knew all the secrets of Nox Xorik. His techniques were incredible, but not perfect - perhaps they held the knowledge he needed to advance further, to become truly immortal.

Interesting thoughts, but merely thoughts for now.

He would need to replace his current body. No matter how well he healed, he would have scars from this encounter. To think his own former subordinates could strike him in this day and age! It spoke a terrifying tale indeed, and Saelien would not allow the same to happen again. The Cold Lord was death itself because lesser souls could not touch him, unlike the mess that had happened here.

Saelien smiled. Injured, exhausted and harshly reminded of his current limits.

But alive, as always. The most important of them all.

Death prowled through empty hallways, finding nothing.

And, satisfied, the Cold Lord left the charnel house behind.

-Thread Complete-
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