• PM To Join • [Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Max and Mercedes receive a brutal lesson.

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• PM To Join • [Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Postby Max » Sun May 13, 2018 11:12 pm

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80 Ashan 718


So this was her task: kill the Ithecal. It was straight-forward at the very least. He only stood at nine feet and weighed roughly an entire ton. She'd have to mind his massive, crocodilian teeth and that tail she watched him use to put a defier through a stone wall. His scaly, reptilian skin likely could take some punishment, too. A couple bottles of rum in the trials she was a free woman and this was still a plausible fight she'd take. Now that she was a prisoner on Level 7 this challenge was a necessity. Down here it was do or die, and if she couldn't do this, the behemoth standing in front of her had promised she'd surely die. She promised Mercedes she'd be strong. She promised him she wouldn't be weak, not down here any more than she'd been above ground. Impossible undertaking or not, Max wasn't going to let him down. Not again.

The foolhardy Rusalka stormed toward the beast with her lip curled. Her quick steps evolved into an all-out run toward the Ithecal, and before she could talk herself out of it, she threw her foot directly into Ran'dar's chest. Her colossal adversary didn't budge. He didn't even raise his guard to prevent her attack. An initial failure didn't stop her onslaught. Not for a trill. The moment she had her feet back under her, she unleashed a fury of fists upon the creature. Her knuckles pummeled at his unprotected torso in rapid succession, one even daring to strike under his chin when she made a leap at his face. Body shots did nothing to disturb the massive creature. As she did her worst, he merely stared down at her with a profoundly bored stare. The only rise the chin-strike managed to earn from him was an irritated hiss from between his giant jaws.

After a half bit it finally dawned on her that her attempts at wounding the creature were futile. Her brow furrowed with frustration, chest rising and falling when she stepped backward to come up with a new strategy. Ran'dar would give her no opportunity to do so. Instead a wide, jarring grin spread across his maw.

"My turn now," he grunted ominously. He closed the small distance she'd made between them. He was far more agile and quick than he looked, and before she registered anything other than his looming shadow over her, his fists rained down upon her mercilessly. The first she managed to get beneath, the second she just barely redirected away from her body. The third proved the first two to be a set up, and his scaly knuckles cracked across her already battered cheek. Her head turned with the strike and she felt her world go fuzzy. She blinked her attempts at bringing everything back into focus, but before she could find success, Ran'dar had continued his ruthless assault. Head. Body. It didn't matter. If the Ithecal could hit her somewhere, she was hit by a whirlwind of punches. His exchange had likely only lasted a few trills, but by the Immortals did he make every one of them count. To finish his round, Ran'dar turned and swung his massive tail directly into her body.

The hit wasn't nearly as hard as the one the Ithecal used to bring the defier to his crushing end, but it was no less devastating. Thrown through the air, Max struck the near rock wall and immediately collapsed upon the ground. All she'd come to know now was pain, and at the moment, it was the only thing her brain could focus on. The Rusalka spat blood and slowly rolled onto her stomach. Her chest rose and fell rapidly, sweat beading across her forehead. The most she could do while she recovered was to find herself on all fours. Maxine hung her head, blood oozing down to drip out of her mouth again just as it had five trials ago when she'd nearly been killed.

“I can’t," she gasped on hands and knees, starting to hyperventilate with wide eyes. The realization was starting to drive her into an existential panic. “I can’t beat these people, Mercedes. I can’t kill them.”
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[Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Postby Mercedes » Tue May 15, 2018 10:46 pm

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Ran'dar relentlessly assaulted the dauntless woman, and proceeded to beat her down with what appeared to be no effort at all. The Sorcerer hardly had time to react before he met the same fate, and the Ithecal brought down a strike toward his cranial structure. The destructive duo had no choice other than to fight for survival. The seventh level of “Slags Deep” was created for the sole purpose of allowing all of the marked and mages to kill one another. The owner of this prison promoted such acts by failing to provide sufficient nourishment for those on the level. They lived on a diet primarily consistent of Rat, and very few flora. There were others that elected to eat humans; like Ran'dar who possessed the ability to devour them whole. If the pair failed to win in combat how could they expect to survive a single night without Ran'dar? If they lost a single battle they were likely to die, and Mercedes accepted defeat too. However, unlike his counterpart the sorcerer had been armed and well equipped with magic. With hardly any reaction time the sorcerer shuffled his feet, and positioned himself inside Ran'dar's guard. With an open maw Mercedes gathered ether as quickly as he could, and called forth the great inferno within the confides of his spark. With an exhalation a large amount of flame exited his esophagus, and he breathed fire in the direction of the Ithecals visage.

Ran'dar had been surprised by the sudden counter attack launched by Mercedes. Hopefully he bought enough time for his partner to recover and continue to move. However, as his counter attack had been launched one had been returned to him. The Ithecal whipped his tail around and swept the ground beneath the sorcerer. The attack succeeded, and as Mercedes lost balance his cranial structure flung toward the earth. The Sorcerer's legs were thrown into the air vertically, and as they swung Ran'dar caught him only to uplift the sorcerer and rotate his hips. The Ithecal used the forward motion in combination with his own weight and strength to throw the sorcerer toward the wall to the rear of the combatants.

The powerful combination attack resulted in Mercedes flying through the air. However, he could not afford to lose focus and called out to the only ally he had in that moment. Max could not catch him, and even if she could she would not be strong enough to stop him from flying. “Save me... Protect me.. Earth.. I need you now... I am sorry..” The Sorcerer whispered as he entered what was practically free-fall. The earth listened to the sorcerer's pleading, and softened the entirety of the wall. The wall shifted shapes, became more moist, and converted into what appeared to have been a clay-like state. When he landed; he did not die, but simply sunk into the stone wall, and had been allowed to fall toward the ground gently. The earth came to his aid during his time of need, but that certainly did not mean his relationship had been rekindled with the element. Previously, when he made the cowardly attempt to escape by using meld; earth answered the call.

However, he was thwarted by some strange force of nature which interrupted his connection to the spark. For some reason someone or something severed him from his connection to magic temporarily only to thwart his escape. Had that person not existed he certainly could have gotten away and been free. The sorcerer had an indefinite amount of information to gather, and weaknesses to learn in regard to survival.

“Was that all you two had? You are supposed to be unstoppable together. Have you not figured out what my weakness is yet? Fuck! You two will not last a trial here! I should kill you both myself and save the wasted time training you! Get the fuck up! Stop giving up so easily, cowards. Fight me together! Learn each-others movement patterns... Come up with some sort of strategy, and even if you have to announce to each other what you are going to do.. Do it!” The ithecal spoke
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[Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Postby Max » Tue May 15, 2018 11:47 pm

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It hurt. Everything hurt. Ran'dar was no kind master to his underlings, and he had no compassion for those weaker than him. In fact, Max was beginning to think that she and Mercedes weren't the first inferior inmates forced to serve him in Slags Deep. The reptilian man was sure of his brutal lesson plans and even more so of his own capabilities. It wasn't as though they were any to question him. He was no doubt a seasoned warrior forged from the fires of this merciless crucible that was The Beneath. While his strength was innate to what he was to begin with, the Rusalka knew that true skill like this came from experience. Lots of experience. Perhaps, she suspected, the massive Ithecal had been a slave to another just as they were to him now. Still, she couldn't help but wonder how many, if any, of his prior students had survived his teachings.

While Maxine remained on all fours, defeated, Mercedes led his charge. Fire poured from his mouth into the face of their cruel instructor. She'd seen plenty of foes fall and burn like kindling to his Defiance. Instead his attack was answered with a tail whip about as brutal as the one inflicted upon her. Her heart sunk as she watched his body fly like a weightless doll through the air toward the same wall she'd struck. Still reeling from the Ithecal's punishment, Max couldn't even convince her muscles to act even if it was in vain. Repeated failures in this prison were taking their toll. This was not The Buckle and Chain Taven or the Four in Hand. Every fight they'd pick down here was a death sentence. The Rusalka wanted to keep her word. She didn't want to be weak. Yet what was the point in continuing to suffer like this if only to perish for their efforts anyways?

Maxine was about to hang her head back toward the dirt before she watched the earth receive the defier. Rather than feel him smack against it, the stones swallowed him only to spit him safely upon the ground. Mild relief washed over her, but it was not enough to convince her to abandon her hopelessness. The weight of the darkness surrounding their dimly lit training area felt as though it were rushing in, the stone walls caving in toward her with crushing weight. She spit again into the dirt beneath her while Ran'dar began his furious tirade. He voiced what she'd been thinking aloud: the fact that the two of them together couldn't end him was a bad omen for their futures.

A coward? Is that what I am?

The panicked rising and falling of her chest began to slow. Her mind raced back, her soul searching itself for the answer to her own question. Memories passed across her mind's eye in hopes of presenting her some sort of evidence for a verdict. Bar brawls. Schoolyard scuffles. No one had ever been permitted to tell her what she was. Not the captain whose ship she sunk nor The Kennel owners she'd helped Mercedes betray. In the face of greater odds, she'd chosen the side of fellow women captives. She'd gone against her instincts and helped Vega escape the crumbling warehouse, rather than slip through the opening in the wall toward safety and freedom like she normally would've to save herself. She stood against the masked rebels she'd urged to insurgency at the Element Hall despite her handicap. Maxine had looked death square in the face long before she was left here to die. Up until the riot, she had never been intimidated into defeat. Coward? It wasn't in her blood.

The Rusalka pressed her knuckles into the dirt and forced herself to her feet with a grunt. She could feel more bruises blossoming beneath her robe and coloring her face. An ache was settling into her muscles, but like the pain of her brawling injuries, it was one she was becoming accustomed to. One she would be accustomed to. Her caramel eyes found Mercedes, and just a short gaze upon him alone was enough to turn her irises dark. She offered him a reassuring nod before turning her attention to their adversary. Ran'dar had one thing right: she hadn't figured out his weaknesses yet. Not by a long shot. Maxine did, however, know something Ran'dar didn't: Mercedes' and her own strengths.

"Mercedes?" she spoke calmly, almost alarmingly so to her companion. "Remember the ambush in the woods? With the cannibal?" It had been over a cycle since the pair had attacked the unsuspecting caravan. The battle had been hard won and the fruits of their labor small compared to the risks. In any case, their execution of the initial assault had been nearly flawless. With her ability to deceive and force attention onto herself, it was an easy thing for the mage to use the distance and distraction awarded to showcase his raw power. "I'm feeling nostalgic." Her expression darkened, and the next thing anyone knew, the small chamber was filled with the large, ominous storm clouds that rolled forth from her body.

"Now that's more like it," Ran'dar thrummed his praise. His reptilian eyes searched fruitlessly through the haze that had swallowed the three of them whole. A foot step sent him swinging his massive tail in hopes of catching his attacker before they reached him. He whipped only through empty air, only to feel a front kick sent directly into the side of his knee. The creature let out a wail as his leg snapped inward, balance disrupted right before it was destroyed altogether with the lit end of a torch swung directly into his snout. The behemoth fell onto all-fours, and while this posture was one of powerlessness for the Rusalka, it was one of advantage for the crocodile-like man. Rather than engage him, Max backed off to give Mercedes a chance to employ whatever idea he had in mind while all eyes were upon her.
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[Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Postby Mercedes » Wed May 16, 2018 9:02 pm

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After the earth spat him out,and allowed him to regain his balance the sorcerer had been given time to think. Ran'dar took a moment of pause after he so easily defeated both of his “Students” simultaneously. Mercedes listened carefully, and although he knew that he was no coward the words came off as being harsh. The Ithecal told no lies though, and without so much as a response; the sorcerer prepared his next set of attacks. He needed to perform multiple actions all at the same time, and make an attempt to overwhelm his opponent. The Sorcerer did notice a flaw in the style of combat Ran'dar made use of. He was a fighter who used brute force rather than tactics to destroy them both. Although he did not so much as flinch in the face of the sorcerer and his raw power; he knew something the both of them did not. The advantages and disadvantages of both sides were significantly different. Mercedes was no melee combatant, and he excelled at combat with distance and time to gather information. He was not physically strong, nor powerful enough to stand up in a fight against another human let alone Ran'dar.

The Ithecal spoke nothing but the truth; if they did not win they would die. If they died in the depths of Slags Deep; the opportunity for taking over the prison would be lost. However, one hundred percent of attacks that are not taken are missed opportunities. They had no choice, and he simply did not have any intention of stopping. Until they impressed the reptile, he would continue the onslaught of battle against them both until he grew fatigued. According to some of the other prisoners he could fight for multiple trials on end, against several opponents at once. His weakness was simply his inability to think; he acted based on instincts rather than tactical thought. Yet, an interesting point in his speech had been brought to life. Max and Mercedes had a downfall; they failed to communicate during their combat, and simply acted, and reacted to one another rather than the movements of the enemy.

Death could have been a consequence of their actions during this training session. Max had already been injured far beyond what he thought she could withstand. However, the sorcerer had a thought as the earth saved him once, right? The earth shifted beneath his feet as he stood, and in that moment he knew that the earth had returned to his side. They were surrounded by rock, stone, dirt, and everything else in between. The earth was the true king of this domain, and earth ruled it with an iron fist; everything that the prisoners worked so hard to mine came from the earth.

They took from the earth, and returned nothing in exchange for it upholding the facility. Why had they chosen to mistreat his friend in such a fashion? All of the elements were supposed to have a relationship with the defier in some fashion. While Mercedes did not speak to them often; when he did he tended to give orders rather than suggestions. However, when he made an attempt to escape; earth came to his side with no qualms.

The Sorcerer coated himself in a thick layer of ether, and willed the earth to direct itself onto him. In a split-trill he was coated with rock, and slithered beneath the confides of the ground only to have his cranial structure escape beneath Ran'dar. The tactic had been thought of on the fly, and although the reptile certainly could crush him in an instant. The sorcerer did not want to bring any further risk to his beloved woman. She reminded him of how they battled a swarm of enemies as a duo by using proper team-work.

“Now!” The Sorcerer exclaimed as his arms wrapped around the circumference of the reptiles left leg. The Earth rocketed upward, and surrounded the leg only to coat it in a soft layer of clay-like rock. The earth began the process of devouring the leg. His leg had been submerged partially, and then the rock solidified around the heel. The sorcerer sprang upward and came to stand upon his feet again as the reptile came to the realization he had been defeated.

“I bet not even you saw that one coming." The Sorcerer spoke as he grabbed hold of Maxine, only to pull her backward and away from his grasp. The rock that immobilized his foot had been quite heavy, and even with his level of strength and dexterity he would have a hard time getting to them. By the time he did that; The sorcerer could simply make the roof collapse on top of him.

“Now you know how to communicate, but in the future I want to see a combination of attacks from you two. Make a sequence of moves together that only you two can perform. In your situation; you are weak separately. Max you are the melee combatant, and obviously you have the endurance of an animal; Mercedes you should be the strategist. You should stay away from the inside of the fight for as long as you can. Unless you have the intention of changing that, you should not be directly involved with fighting an opponent.. What if your opponent is like me, and can use magic just as well as they can use their fists? You will have killed her, and yourself by getting involved.” Ran'dar spoke as he forced his heel out of the earth it had once been submerged in.
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[Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Postby Max » Thu May 17, 2018 3:10 pm

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Mercedes had vanished in time with the manifestation of clouds within the underground. The earth itself soon after reached up to ensnare the Ithecal by his leg, hardening into solid stone by the time the mage had returned from below. Max felt him tug her backward a safe distance from the reptilian man's reach. Ran'dar tugged and pulled against the trap, but alas the stones would not yield to his will. Her eyes widened and a surprised laugh slipped from her lips. She doubled over, rested her elbows on her knees in disbelief. For trials she'd seen nothing but anguish and defeat. She'd felt little else but torment and despair. Yet now she'd finally felt what it was like to rise victorious once more. The high from its single dose was more intoxicating and addictive than any ambrosia joint she'd smoked this cycle.

Have you not left me down here completely luckless after all, Chrien?

Maxine straightened up to listen to Ran'dar's soliloquy. Their win over him had only proved his teaching point: the pair desperately needed each other to survive. Their ability to rely on one another would literally make the different between life and death in The Beneath. Between the two of them, evidence indeed showed that Max had been better fit within close quarters. She could at least weather quite an impressive beating. Mercedes, alternatively, better served their pair as the mastermind. He wasn't so impulsive and ruled by his emotions as the Rusalka was. He could instead see through his feelings with logic and stoicism, making the best tactical decisions with a clear mind. Combined with his knack for Defiance, he also made a powerful enemy should he be forced to engage. Ran'dar was right. They needed to quit acting like unruly children and fall into better sync.

She didn't fool herself into believing this lesson meant the colossal creature cared for them. Maxine and Mercedes were just a package deal existing to diminish his tab. They couldn't procure precious gems and ore for him if they were dead. Ran'dar finally managed to pull his heel free with a huff.

"We beat you but you never used magic," Max pointed out suspiciously. It only occurred to her then that she hadn't a clue what discipline Mercedes' master even possessed. "I can't keep a Rupturer in close quarters any more than Mercedes can keep his distance from them. There's magic out there I don't even understand." There was less trounce in her voice, but the exasperation at their seemingly insurmountable odds remained. "You've survived down here alone. Even when you weren't alone, I bet you were taking on most of the work to kill other prisoners. We can't keep this up unless you tell us exactly what we're up against down here."

Max turned her gaze to Mercedes expectantly. Surely he must've agreed that it was imperative they were debriefed on the real monsters that would inevitably hunt them in Level Seven. There was so much of this place that neither of them understood. Survival was a trial-by-trial goal at this point. What she wanted was a long-term plan. Whatever the cost, she didn't just want to be a formidable entity like Ran'dar that other inmates worked to avoid. Down here, the wrath-ridden Rusalka wanted to become so much more: a resident apex predator.

"Teach us how to kill the ones down here that make even you tremble with fear."
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[Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Postby Mercedes » Thu May 17, 2018 7:47 pm

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During that skirmish several things took place simultaneously; not only did they fail together, but they were victorious together. Leadership was nothing to be taken lightly, and the head of an operation rose and fell alongside his or her comrades. Combat was invented for the sole purpose of reaching a common resolution. Murder could be used as a tool to display ones power, and battle was conducted for a single purpose. The purpose of battle was to win, and conquer the opponent with as little effort as possible. The horrors of “War” were the every-trial experience in these slums called by the name of “Slags Deep.” The only thing somewhat good about the small vicinity was the level of combat experience to be gained here. Although, more often than not the results were simply death, scarring, and injuries unlike any other. Ran'dar had been right about one thing; if they were ever at any point in time not victorious they would die. United they could battle against practically any foe, but what if a foe challenged their strategy? What if someone were capable of breaking their offensive formation with ease? Rupturers were wonderful and excelled at their ability to close gaps quickly, and efficiently.

Defiance mages had numerous ways to destroy their formation. If Mercedes had only been well versed in ranged combat; surely someone would kill him at a melee range. The sorcerer needed to excel at everything all at the same time. He needed to be quick, powerful, and cunning at a close range; while having the ability to rain down terror on opponents at a distance. The training undergone by Mercy, and Max had been rigorous. However, prior to their meeting he worked alongside Ran'dar to hone his skill in close quarters. His skill in leadership would never be what he wanted it to be, but if he wanted to overtake this prison he needed to start somewhere. The sorcerer listened to Max as she begun her series of questions, statements, and somewhat of a speech.

Mercy knew exactly who she referred to when she mentioned “Rupturers” and their ability to destroy a distance. Every word that poured from her lips had been read, and interpreted by Mercedes as they rolled off of her tongue. Gildres seemed equally as interested, and had information to offer in regard to Rupturers. Although the other two in the vicinity would think he spoke to himself; he listened and prepared to respond to Gildres as well. “Sir Mercy, In regard to magic I have seen some for myself. There are users like yourself, but there are others with an ability that can take apart magic. That magic is powerful, and can very easily make even you mundane for a time.” Gildres spoke only to Mercedes, no one other than him could hear her. She only manifested, and made herself known to him at any given time, and would never unveil her presence to anyone other than him for any reason.

“This magic, what is the name of it?” The sorcerer beckoned Gildres in response; however, it appeared as if he had spoken to the thin air. One would have assumed that the air itself spoke to him, considering the fact that he is indeed a Defier. However, he spoke to a phantom; something beyond the means of even those called “extraordinary” by the mundane.

“Abrogation.” Gildres spoke, and remained in his presence, but she concluded the conversation whilst Max carried on her own with Ran'dar. The Ithecal, however listened to each of her words carefully; if he were to teach her such valuable lessons she would pay. Ran'dar cleared his mucus filled throat, and let out an incredibly raspy response.

“How about this, Lass.. You will enter the same agreement as your Man.. Every ten trials, I want something of high quality from the mines.. You give me that.. you get your lessons, you get my protection.. do we have a deal? “ Ran'dar spoke
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[Slags Deep - The Beneath] A World of Hurt

Postby Max » Fri May 18, 2018 2:06 am

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She had a thought to question Mercedes when he mumbled to no one in particular, eyes focused on someone or something that wasn't there. Her brow furrowed. To even point out the nuance felt hypocritical. After all, if he was hallucinating a new conversation partner, she was the last that should've stepped forth to call him out. His vision hadn't led to the carnage and chaos that had landed them both here. Her attention was firmly returned to Ran'dar.

Max half expected the Ithecal to shake the underground with a booming laugh at her ambition. Instead his scaly expression was one that was surprisingly thoughtful. Slit irises looked her up and down before he relented to voice his offer: the very same Mercedes had evidently agreed to. It wasn't an unfair one at face value. All Ran'dar required was a dent in his tab in exchange for protection and lessons. Thus far she'd had little luck in finding anything of value to diminish her own, and she'd been down in this black hole for more than ten trials at least. Maxine had been raised a street rat first and a sailor second, the latter of which she'd been poor at. The last thing she was by any means was a miner. Then again, as she'd discovered in the most unpleasant of ways, there were more ways than chipping away at stone to gain possession of something of value.

"You have a deal," Maxine delivered herself willingly, lips pressed into a hard line. Ran'dar's chilling grin broadened in return. No doubt the clock in his head was ticking away already. The hunger for more knowledge and violent self-improvement was a lust that was just beginning to burn within the Rusalka. Fury remained as resolute as her stubbornness. A new focus had emerged this trial, and in its wake her spite had manifested with newfound vengeance. She'd been thrown down into this torturous abyss, and those that had done it must have known what a pitiful existence it was. To call it an existence at all was a cruel stretch of truth. This was a punishment most foul, and though she'd been beaten and abused to the point of giving up entirely, the Rusalka would not. Those that had condemned her to this place would not see the satisfaction of her demise down here. For this fate they would pay. The trial would come when they would see her rise from these ashes and despair over the moment they'd ever set the fire.

The promise she'd made to herself alone bubbled back to the forefront of her mind. It wasn't just Earth Mask she wished to learn to wholly oppose. He had proven himself a slippery enemy and a worthy opponent that had bested her before. Like Wind Mask, however, he was still a defier. Defiers were a breed she'd grasped how to eliminate. With Ran'dar as her trainer, she would not stop with Defiance. She would learn what other magical enemies awaited them in this deadly world she wished to assimilate into.

"Mages," Maxine started with a detached expression. Malice filled her gaze. "Teach me how to kill them, and I'll make you a rich man. Every. Last. One."
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