Adventure in the North The Great Caldera Tournament - RPLOG
The air is abuzz with excitement. Beings from all over Thera'Dor and from all over Promise have gathered here for the big tournament! The grand opening ceremonies are just finishing up as the delegations from each of the seven noble houses of Thera'Dor finish up their demonstrations on the seven raised fighting rings and all turn and bow low to Great Caldera, the huge volcano on whose slopes the tournament grounds lie. The gathered audience cheers as the athletes/combatants line up to sign in.
Among those signing up to fight is a huge blue reindeer wearing the blue and white of House Snowmark. His outfit consists of a pair of baggy trousers, wrapped above the ankle and at the waist with blue sashes marked with snowflakes, leaving his broad blue and white torso bear and revealing the deep blue snowflake pattern on his left pectoral. His face is covered in what seems to be a leather luchador mask. He looks around nervously as he waits to sign in. A puma in similar garb, minus the mask slaps him on the back. "Relax, cousin!" he cheers, "You will be fine!"
Having spent the days leading up to the tournament training and brushing up on her skills, Cassidy was more than eager for the event to finally arrive! Dressed in her warmer, thick leather long coat and top hat, the masked fennec wanders up with her hands folded behind her back. "Ahh! This is going to be exciting!" She chimes happily, tail twitching behind her.
Natska stays close to Cassidy as she goes through the line to sign up, eyeing the other competitors. "Yes, it will be. I look forward to it." The jaguar is wearing her lighter, duelling leathers today, with a broad sash in the colors of House Solacious tied around her waist and trailing in the breeze. "Oh! Hello, Lord Hartford! Lord Hugo!" she calls when she spots them. "Mmm. There are a lot of people here today."
Arimia makes her way through the line to sign up, maybe taking advantage of her short stature to get a bit closer to the front than she should be. She doesn't seem to be wearing any special armour, instead opting to wear some shorts and a vest. She also doesn't seem to belong to a clan, though she has two badges, one for clever folk and one for adaptable, but both are defaced with an 'A' etched over the seal. Apostate, perhaps? One of her arms has been replaced by one of polished metal.
Savi arrives last, as per usual. Her position in line allowing her a good look at the people signing in before her. While always dressed in multiple layers of armor, her suit today bares a striking modification above and beyond her normal attire. From her gauntlets, to her back and all along her ever-closed helm, the towering plant woman sports rows of moderate blades that bristle across her form. From the full plate armor to the wickedly barbed knuckles, it seems that the warrior sphinx plans to use her massive size as an advantage.
Having flown in on a merchant vessel Cirra is in Thera'dor to scout out new clients for her business. That doesn't mean, however, that she's not going to visit the tournament. Granted, she's probably the worst cheer section any of the entrants could ask for, since she can't shout. Or Speak. But she's mostly here to enjoy herself. She makes her way into the stands. smiling a bit to herself.
Hartford looks a little stunned and panicked when Natska calls out his name. "I don't know who you are talking to!" he says loudly and stiffly, "I am. . . uh. . . I am. . ." The reindeer stammers, then leans down to let Hugo whisper in his ear. "Oh, right," he says straightening, "I am Yegor Snowmark!" He appears lost for a moment, looking to a smirking Hugo for support. "Da," he adds as an afterthought.
The signup is not too difficult. There are several tables, each manned by a being wearing a badge marking them as an officiator. They ask only for each competitor's name and who they will be representing. The officiator looks up as Saviante walks up to the table and frowns. "I am sorry, Miss," she says, "But this is a martial arts tournament. No weapons or heavy armor are permitted in the ring. I will have to ask you to remove them or decline participation." The official at Arimia's table gives her prosthetic arm a glance, but shrugs and moves on. "Name?" the bored looking mole asks.
Cirra finds that there is quite a bit to enjoy here, as merchants hawk food and souvenirs in the packed grandstands around the fighting rings. There is truly a festival air about the place.
Despite her mask, Cassidy gives no problem in signing down both her name and the house she's representing as her own. No weapons on her person today, at least, none in plain sight that she intends to use. She was far to happy to be competing at all! She wasn't about to try cheating.
Natska Illyushkin, for House Solacious, she provides; then she moves on towards the waiting area and stretches out as she warms up. Her ears perk as she watches the crowd, tail swishing back and forth.
Arimia flicks an ear as her arm is stared at and replies, "Arimia. An' if that ain't enough then I'm sure you can figure somethin' else out to sign me up an' announce me as." Having signed up she moves away from the table, wandering a short distance away to study those that would be her competitors.
Nodding silently at the judge, Savi steps to the side and calmly strips down to her lowest level of armor. Light leather straps and padding crisscross her form, arms and legs covered like a boxer. While normally only worn to shore up weak spots found in the heavier suit, the padded undercoat comes across as almost undergarments, and wraps only across the more sensitive parts of the plants body. Knuckle to elbow, tow to knee, thigh to waist, chest to neck. While vital sopts are nicely covered, this layout it does have the drawback of exposing the majority of her body to the biting cold. As the final pice drops to the ground, her ever present helmet, the Fern wraps a piece of cloth over her nose and mouth leaving only her eyeless gaze and long hair exposed. Now Fully unarmed and encumbered, Saviante takes her place alongside the others combatants.
Cirra is definitely enjoying the view of the fighters gathered. It's not everyday one gets to watch fights like this, without the necessary distractions of meditation or bloodsport. She quietly orders a little something of everything from the vendor, wishing to try it all.
For the most part, signups go without a hitch, though Hugo does have to remind Hartford of his chosen pseudonym when the official asks.
There are benches and prep areas all around the fighting rings where the various participants are warming up. There seems to be a contingent from each noble house. The saurians of Caldera seem to be doing some kind of bizarre dance, each of them dressed in some sort of long sleeved vest, briefs and calf high boots. The varied members of the Conglomerate, all heavies by the look of them, are busy punching and slapping each other into a frenzy. In another corner a group of graceful snowy foxes are meditating, wrapped in coordinated Gis. Must be Schlaufuchs. A contingent of Underhill moles are going through a series of rigid forms in another area, while the Snowmarks cheer them on, the rowdy pumas making up a series of silly, rhyming cheers and jeers. The lanky wolves of the Dacha contingent are simply lounging around, chatting. A congenial gathering indeed.
The warm air of the valley is buzzing as an announcer climbs into the central ring. "Welcome all to our beautiful valley!" the saurian announcer calls, his voice augmented by air magic, "And to our competitors, good luck! I am here to remind all that this is a gathering for sport and for brotherhood! Matches will continue until one competitor gives up, is knocked unconscious, or falls from the ring! No weapons or mathemagic will be permitted! Anyone caught cheating will immediately forfeit and be ejected from the competition in shame!"
Cassidy rolls her shoulders and takes a deep breath as she snakes an arm around Natska, giving her a firm squeeze. "May we both do spectacular, even if neither of us wins the day! We will at least have fun, yeah? I am sure of it!"
Natska has finished her warm up and found her center; she smiles a relaxed, easy smile and slips out of her jacket, then puts an arm around Cassidy as well, giving her a hug in return. "Yes, best of luck in your fights, love. I will cheer you on, and I am sure it will be an exciting day." She inclines her head towarsd Saviante as she notices the fern. "And Savi! All the way up from Firmament. It is good to see you here too."
Arimia glances over the assembled fighters, shaking her head slightly. She crosses her arms as she listens to the announcer and shrugs her shoulders at the mention of cheating. As her eyes wander certain things draw a scowl from her, such as the colours of Solacious or other noble houses that some are sporting.
Taking up a spot on a nearby bench, Savi sits and calmly folds her hands in her lap. Body lightly twitching from muscles tensing and then releasing, she warms her body for combat in a more inward and relaxed way than shown by many of the compitition. Not choosing to socialize with the others gathered, she silently awaits word to indicate when the plant is to battle.
Cirra watches with great interest, idly eating the available foods. It's a bit odd, not having come with anyone she knows, but she recognizes Natska and Cassidy, and plans to follow their matches closely. She also notices a few others representing Sweetwater, but they all seem outnumbered compared to the home teams.
His speech made, the triceratops announcer opens his arms wide. "Let the tournament begin!" he calls, and his voice is echoed by the mountain shaking cheer of the crowd and the competitors!
The roster is posted around the arena and the fighters all crowd around to see the lineup. Looks like the foreigners have been drafted into the first round! Cassidy Solacious vs Zedik Stoneback (An oversized armadillo) of the Conglomerate, Natska Illyushkin for House Solacious vs Nod of the Dacha, Arimia vs Hugo Snowmark, Saviante for House Solacious vs Kristoff Schlaufuchs, Yegor Snowmark (obviously Brutus Blackback's manservant, Hartford) vs Davyd Underhill, and the last ring holds a bout between a Schlaufuchs and a hulking bear from the Conglomerate.
The competitors are invited to come to the prepared rings, painted in red white and black geometric patterns and given the signal to begin!
Cassidy steps into the ring and rubs her gloved hands together as she sizes up her opponent before flashing a smile. "Hello there! Let us have a good fight," she says, dipping into a grand bow before standing back upright. After looking for any kind of weakness to exploit, she starts to slowly stride forward, trying to bait her opponent into making the first move.
Natska gives Cassidy a quick kiss on the cheek before she splits off to her own ring. There, she gives her opponent a nod of her head and then takes her position; when the signal is given, she assumes a low, wide stance and circles her opponent; as soon as they get in range, the jaguar aggressively launches a flurry of strikes, seeking a quick finish to the first match.
Arimia makes her way to her own ring, studying her opponent. After a few seconds she settles into a fighting stance and waits, planning to dodge attacks as much as she can to let Hugo tire himself out.
Savi takes a more direct approach. Stepping into the ring, the tall female instantly takes three running steps and jumps, seeking to drive a fist directly between the eyes of her opponent with all the mass of her body, and gravity, packed behind her long reach to powering the strike home.
Cirra is honestly a little nervous when she sees the oversized armadillo, surprised by the uneven pairings. Did they think the lighter folks would have a chance against the larger ones?
Cassidy's opponent snorts at her polite salute and rushes the Solacious fox! He is a big fellow, and it looks like he plans to use it to his advantage!
Nod, the lanky maned wolf is caught off guard by Natska's furious rain of blows and takes a couple of good jabs before backing away and recovering. Her opponent gives a lupine grin as he shifts quickly forward, snapping a kick toward Natska's head!
Arimia's opponent saunters languidly around the ring with a grin on his face. "Come on little raccoon!" he chortles, "Let us give them a fight to remember!" The puma lunges suddenly forward, his fist blurring toward Arimia's face!
Saviante's foxy opponent's eyes widen as the fern launches straight into a brutal attack. He tries to dive aside, but is just a little too slow, taking a glancing blow just below the temple. He staggers back a bit before righting himself, just at the edge of the ring! Shaking his head, the dazed fox tries to dance away from the edge.
As it turns out, Cassidy was hoping he'd try to use that size to his advantage. They almost always do, it seems, and she's become quite adapted to fighting foes bigger than her. When he charges, she skirts around to the side with a duck and shuffle, and uses her powerful legs to gives a swift leaping kick aimed for the side of the head.
Natska uses her low stance to her advantage as she rolls under the kick; as she comes back up she lets out a loud snarling growl of a kiai and strikes at the back of the wolf's leg, trying to throw him off balance, although she is careful to not cause harm to the joint itself. She maintains her aggressive posture, trying to drive the wolf back and out of the ring.
Arimia uses her small size to avoid the larger foe's attacks, banded tail flicking as she dodges. Though as she dodges one strike she slips past and moves one of her fists, her natural one, in a blurring short range punch at Hugo's kidney.
Saviante presses her attack upon the Fox. Taking a half-step forward to close the distance, the plant flexes her left arm back to lead in to another strong punch, but instead allows the backward momentum to continue and spins around into a light hop, heel spinning in for solid downward strike.
The Nurse shark is pleasantly surprised to see the Fennec using her opponent's size to her advantage. The other fights are similarly interesting, but she can't watch all of them at once.
There is a roar from the crowd as one of the matches wraps up quickly! It seems that Yegor, aka Hartford in his silly mask, simply picked up his opponent and dropped him out of the ring! The smaller mole looks a little dazed as he finds himself seated on the ground, then bursts out laughing! Hartford joins in, jumping down from the ring and helping his opponent to his feet.
Stoneback slides to a halt, bringing up a thick arm to block Cassidy's kick. The armadillo isn't as much of a slouch as he appears! Dropping to a knee with the force of the fox's kick, he launches himself sideways in an attempt to get a hard shoulder check on Cassidy.
Natska's kick is perfectly timed, sweeping the wolf off his feet. After being driven so close to the edge by Natska's first flurry of blows, this is the last straw, tipping him off the edge of the low platform. Nod looks around in a daze, his feet over his head. Looks like Natska won this round!
Arimia's dodge is fast enough that she completely blindsides poor Hugo, sending him staggering for a moment. The puma rights himself with a rueful grin. "Wasn't expecting that from such a little lady!" he says, getting his feet back under him and carefully circling.
Saviante's opponent tries to block the incoming punch, only to be struck hard by her forceful kick! The little fox crashes to the stones of the ring with a yelp! After skidding to a stop, he lies still. An officiator hurries over and looks Kristoff over before waving to the Shlaufuch's contingent. Savi wins this fight!
Cassidy raises a brow behind her mask as the armadillo blocks her kick. "Oh ho. Nice one," she says as she dances out of the way of the incoming shoulder, striking out with another kick aimed for his ribs as he passes by.
Natska hops out of her ring as well, giving Nod a nod and a friendly smile as she helps the wolf up, then pats him on the shoulder. She does not stay long for pleasantries, though, eager to see how Cassidy is doing; when she gets to Cass' ring she claps her hands and cheers. "Nice, Cassidy! And you can do it, Hugo!"
Arimia flicks an ear as her opponent speaks and replies, with a rather obvious Cliffside accent, "You are misaken 'bout me bein' a lady." Then she's darting in, using her size and speed to attempt to land a flurry of blows on Hugo. And the small raccoon doesn't seem at all shy about fighting dirty and going for low blows.
With the fight over and any residual animosity instantly resolved, Savi moves over and assists the fox out of the ring. Taking a few moments to make sure her opponent makes it to their bench alright, the sphinx-who-looks-like-a-fern returns to her area and awaits the next rounds. She focuses on the fights still going like they were assigned homework from the scribes.
Cirra is impressed and frightened by the block, not having expected that at all. She pauses in her enjoyment of the food to watch closer, hoping this fight goes in the fennec's favor.
Stoneback is caught off balance as his shoulder check meets nothing but empty air. Cassidy's well placed kick does not help him regain that balance and the giant armadillo tumbles from the ring. He does not seem to be hurt at all as he rises and dusts himself off. "Eh," he grunts, offering a broad hand to Cassidy, "Not bad, girlie."
The crowd roars in approval as each fight concludes until everyone's eyes are on the last remaining fight of the first round. Hugo leaps acrobatically over his smaller opponent, grin still fixed in place as he lashes out with a vicious back kick at Arimia's head!
Cassidy reaches out to take the hand, nodding at the armadillo. "Thank you! You performed well, good sir. The organization is fortunate to have you among them," she says with a smile as she retreats from the ring to stand next to Natska once more, awaiting the next round.
Natska claps her hands as the fight concludes, then turns to watch Hugo and Arimia, relaxing and letting her tail swish back and forth as she turns her attention to the last match of the first round.
Arimia grunts and stumbles forward slightly as foot connects with her head. She scowls as she regains her footing and turns to face Hugo. Once again trying to use her speed to her advantage she attempts to grab the extended leg with one hand, while aiming to punch deliver a strong punch to it with her other, metal hand.
Savi claps with the others as the matches begin to finish. Watching the final battle closely, the plant begins charting the mental notes she is stacking up internally.
Cirra jumps up as Cassidy finishes off her opponent, glad to see her make it out unscathed. She looks around and is surprised to see Natska's fight over already.
While the final match of the first round continues, the officiators move to get the next round of combatants started. It looks like Hartford is in again, this time up against one of the Caldera wrestlers. It doesn't seem like he will be able to get away with his trick from the first round a second time. It looks like he is the only being from Sweetwater in this round, even if he is fighting for the Snowmark clan today.
Everyone else is given a brief respite. Pure, clean water from one of Caldera's many springs is offered to the combatants as they rest.
Meanwhile, things look bad for Hugo as Arimia whips about to deliver a brutal blow to his lower leg! There is a loud CRACK as she makes contact with her steel plated arm and the puma drops to the ground, his face going white beneath his fur as his eyes roll back in his head and he passes out. A cry rises from the Snowmarks as three of them hurry over to help carry off their fallen cousin. Arimia wins this round.
"Good job, Natska. But if we keep this up, we might just end up facing off against each other at some point after all!" Cassidy says with a soft laugh before catching sight of Cirra in the stands. She offers a cheery wave to the shark before turning her attention to Hartford's fight.
Natska winces, her ears flattening at the sound that ends Hugo's match. She smiles though at Cass' comment and puts an arm around her fennec, nodding. "We might. We'll have to see." She sees where Cassidy is waving and raises a hand to wave to Cirra as well, then moves to watch the other fights of the second round.
Arimia shows a complete lack of concern for the damage she may have done to Hugo, simply releasing the puma and letting his fellows carry him off." She steps out of the ring and stands to one side, waiting for her next match up, providng she's not disqualified for what she did, to be announced.
Savi glances towards the water, but elects to wait, prefering to focus on the matches currently. Happy to see everyone from sweetwater make it through, she concentrates on not Hartford in his costume, but the rows of challengers she doesn't know. Trying to size them up from their actions before their matches.
Cirra is glad to have been noticed in the stands. She gives a cheerful wave back before heading up to order some mulled wine, liking the idea of a hot sweet drink right now.
Hartford seems to be doing pretty well for himself. His opponent may be nearly as big as the skunk-striped stag, but he seems to be much slower, and Hartford is not getting in close enough long enough for the burly saurian to grapple with him. He manages to land a few hard blows under his opponent's ribs. His style is very different from what the others may have seen before. Looks like Evil Antler wasn't half the fighter that Yegor Snowmark is! The crowd cheers as the blue reindeer snaps a hard uppercut into his opponent's jaw that sends him staggering! The saurian grunts and holds up his hands. "I'm outmatched, he grumbles, rubbing his jaw, "I yield!" He holds out a hand and shakes with Hartford, the two of them leaving the ring.
The other fights seem to be wrapping up as well, one of the most exciting ones being a Schlaufuchs with her legs wrapped tightly around the neck of a huge Caldera triceratops. The Caldera wrestler seems to be turning red, his eyes bulging, though he has refused to yield so far.
Arimia, for her part, gets no more than a disapproving glare from the retreating Snowmarks as the rush Hugo away for treatment. The next round is announced as rings are cleared. Notable among the next matchups are Cassidy Solacious vs Arimia, Natska of House Solacious vs Hannah Schlaufuchs, and Saviante of House Solacious vs Knut Caldera.
Cassidy turns a glance towards Arimia and rubs the back of her head as she starts towards the ring. "Oh! My, my. I wasn't expecting to be fighting you," she says, adjusting her top hat as she takes her place. Hands are folded behind her back, and the smiling porcelain mask is turned towards her opponent to await the signal to begin.
Natska raises her eyebrows at the announcements, but she is sure that Cass can handle herself; she gives her a little squeeze, then moves to her own deignated ring, giving Hannh a bow of her head before she settles into her ready stance, tail going still but with her ears twitching.
Arimia ignores the glares she receives as she makes her way to the ring, tilting her head slightly at the foxes words. "An' why not? You have to fight someone." A feral grin crosses her features as she continues speaking. "I will do my best to keep my absolute hatred of nobility and Solacious from causin' you irreperable harm."
Stepping into the ring, Savi repeats her previous action. Without a pause she starts by taking three strong steps followed by a small jump... but as she jumps her action reveals itself as a completely new tactic as she spins her body to the left. Rather than going forward to strike, she spirals her form to the side, lands low and from her crouched position, lashes a foot out to intercept the knee of an enemy. An enemy hopefully braced for her implied forward assault.
Cirra was only able to catch the final blow of the raccoon's fight before it ended, and she's now a little worried, having been able to read the raccoon's lips from the distance, worrying that she would be more savage in her fight against the fennec.
As the rest if the combatants take their places and exchange salutes, the officiator raises his hand. "Begin!" he shouts!
Natska's opponent does not hesitate. The petite arctic fox instantly closes the distance between them and tries to draw the jaguar into a grapple.
Saviante's new opponent seems to be much more experienced than the last. Knut smiles, taking one, perfect step to the side, dodging the warrior's powerful, sweeping strike. Then he swings his leg forward in his own maneuver, trying to lock himself into position behind the fern for a full bodied throw!
"I suppose that's true. And yes, I've heard about you," the fennec says, bowing her head. "I don't know what you've got against us, but I appreciate the gesture! I'd rather not be crippled." At the signal to begin, she bends at the knees ever so slightly, but otherwise remains stationary on her end of the ring.
Natska starts to move forward, only to have her opponent rush at her; the jaguar sets herself and catches the attempted grab, jostling for leverage and control over the fox, before she attempts to use it to throw Hannah off towards the side of the ring.
Arimia flicks an ear slightly, and starts to pace around the ring at the signal o start, though far enough from the edge, she hopes, that it wouldn't be a trival matter to knock her out. She seems happy to not make the first move herself. "I don' care for nobles 'cause they are divorced from reality, an' pampered. Thinkin' they know enough to make blanket statements, an' judgements 'bout things they can't rightly do so, not havin' experienced 'em. I bear particular hatred for Solacious 'cause that division from reality seems stronger among you. Strong enough that many of those I met are actually insane. Ain't sayin' you're like that. But I'm gonna assume so until you prove otherwise."
Seeing her plow failed and feeling the hands slip lighty over her form, the plant doesn't wait for another narrow escape. Rolling with the attempted grab, instead of against it, Savi lets her mass fall directly at the outstretched leg. Hands grasping for purchase, she aims to twist the limb between her mass and the upward pull of her arms with the full intention of tearing it off. Trying to take this fight down to the floor as roughly as possible.
Cirra continues watching the Solacious and Apostate fight, kinda frustrated she can't see what Cassidy is saying in response.
The crowd is really starting to enjoy the matches, now that things are really starting to heat up! A tiny mouse next to Cirra cheers for her favorite fighter. "Come on Knut! Tear that houseplant to bits!" she shouts enthusiastically.
Hannah rolls with Natska's throw, coming to a stop on the very edge of the ring and teetering a bit as she rolls to her feet. The fox grins and lunges in again, this time diving at Natska's feet!
While Saviante has no luck in removing her opponent's limbs, she does manage to pull his leg out from underneath him, taking him to the ground with a bone jarring THUD! The saurian grunts, absorbing the blow well and lashing out with his raised feet, trying to drive the fern back so he can regain his feet!
Cassidy chuckles softly at that, nodding. "I see, I see. Yes, we do have that tendency, unfortunately. I don't think I'm like that, personally. Now, crazy? That's another matter. I may be the maddest of them all! I don't care much for the politics. I'm just another lass who happened to grow up in a bigger house," she says, starting her advance. "Hopefully I do nothing to earn your ire." It's the last she says before she deems herself to have walked close enough and kicks forward into a lunge, striking out with a kick aimed for center mass.
Natska crouches as Hannah comes in again, although when the fox goes for her legs she quickly kicks them out behind her, dropping onto the fox. She quickly tries grabbing at one of Hannah's legs, but gives up on that in favor of snagging an arm, trying to use it as leverage to force her opponent into a lock, the jaguar using her weight ot her advantage.
Arimia shakes her head slightly and replies, "Nothin' wrong with bein' crazy. I am too. It's jus' unlike most those I've met I don' try an' make them go along with my insanity. An' you're makin' assumptions. Bigger house... I ain't had a house." As the kick is launched at her she spins to the side, avoiding the strike before launching herself forward and up, attempting to use her, relatively lesser, weight to knock Cassidy to the ground.
Having lost the grip on the leg, Savi elects instead to punish the limb. Ignoring most of the body below her, she she throws her hands forward to deflect the incomming feet and trys to meet force with force, kicking outward at the source of the limb as it lashes out at her. Not to try and hit the limb itself, but rather a driving downward stomp aimed at the hip controlling the action.
Cirra continues focusing on the match between Cassidy and Arimia, but the cheering mouse beside her does get her to focus on the fern's match a bit, blinking as the plant has the upper hand, but doesn't quite have the match yet.
Natska finds herself the owner of a fine new arm twisted into a hammer lock! Hannah, her opponent squirms, trying to dislodge the jaguar and escape, but not having much success.
Saviante, on the other hand, has taken a more aggressive approach, her heavy stomp forcing a bellow of pain from her opponent as he rolls away. The triceratops tries to roll to his feet, but gets only half way before grunting and falling to his hands and knees. "I yield!" he gasps, holding up a hand, "I yield!"
"I was speaking generally! Bigger house than most," Cassidy replies as her kick goes off-target. She takes Arimia's tackle head on, falling to the ground with a gentle 'oof' as she rolls with it, a hand coming up to hold her hat to her head as she rises back up. "Got me with that one," she says with a click of her tongue before taking a short leap into the air, coming down with another kick.
Natska lifts up on her newly aquired arm, using her legs and her body as leverage to help push the head and shoulder of the fox the arm is attached to down into the ring. She pointedly applies enough pressure to make it sting, but again, keeps back from anything that would damage a joint as she tries to maintain the hold.
Arimia quickly recovers her balance afer her tackle, moving so she ducks under the leaping kick and darts forward. Trying not to let Cassidy get herself some solid footing again she swings her metal fist in a punch toward the fox's gut.
Again Savi drops all aggression and moves to her opponent, Assisting them out of the ring and to their seating area. With a final nod the silent combatant then makes her way back to her area and returns to her cross-legged position on the bench.
Cirra is impressed by the Fern's skill, hoping the mouse beside her isn't too upset by the development. She returns her attention to Cass's fight and is saddened to see Cassidy at a disadvantage.
Natska's opponent cries out in pain and beats her free hand on the ground. "Yield!" she chokes out!
Knut gratefully accepts Saviante's help, limping along on his injured leg. "They make 'em tougher than I thought, down south!" he says amiably, wincing a bit as he is passed to his compatriots. Meanwhile a new batch of fighters are getting ready in the wings while Cassidy and Arimia continue their fight.
Cassidy gives a disgruntled cough as she takes the fist to the stomach. "Urgh. I might feel that one later," she mumbles as she rolls to the side and back to her feet once more with a sweep of her legs. "I might have to mix up my strategy here. I don't think I can beat you without my hands!" But she's going to keep trying, this time as she keeps her feet on the ground, trying to knock Arimia off her feet with a low, sweeping kick.
Natska releases the hold and rises up to her feet, offering Hannah a hand up. She bows her head to the northern noble fox, and then the jaguar turns to look over at Cassidy's match, her ears starting to fold.
Arimia flicks her ears slightly, and replies, "You say that, an' yet you're still tryin' to jus' use your legs!" Seeing the fox duck low for a sweeping kick the raccoon jumps over that leg, lashing out with a snap kick toward Cassidy's head. "Not that your legs are bad, jus' they don' seem to be workin' for you."
Saviante watches the match with a light smile hidden under her face covering. It's seldom two meet who are so evenly matched up.
Cirra begins biting her fingers nervously, really wanting Cassidy to win, not eeeing any momentum change in the match.
"You're right," the fennec says as she bends in disturbing ways, swiveling under the leg. "I should stop that." Her hand comes up this time, trying to catch the inside of Arimia's thigh with a swift jab before she can withdraw from the kick.
Natska sees Hannah out of the ring, then steps down herself to join the spectators for the ongoing match. The jaguar folds her arms, patiently waiting, although the fast swishing of her tail speaks more to her state of mind.
Arimia manages to contort her body in the air, twisting her leg away from the jab at her thigh and landing lightly on her feet. She flashes a brief grin before pulling her metal hand back and aiming another punch at the fennec, again being less careful about keeping her punches above the belt, as it were.
New matches have begun in each of the remaining six rings, though it seems that most of the crowd is focused on the Sweetwater faceoff. This was worth the trip all by itself!
Cassidy takes a little hop to the side, furrowing her brow as she avoids the next blow. This wasn't looking good for her, admittedly, and she was already briefly scanning other competitors before she lunges forward for a grapple, as if trying to throw Arimia out of the ring.
Arimia grunts as Cassidy gets a hold of her and tosses her toward the edge of the ring. And the small 'coon almost flies out. Almost, managing to get her feet and dig her claws into the floor to stop herself just shy. She offers a fierce grin and says, "Almost." Then without another word she launches herself at Cassidy, aiming to put the entire force of her body and motion behind her clenched metal fist.
The crowd is going wild over the spectacle happening between the two Sweetwater women. This is what the tournament was all about! Most of the competitors have turned to watch the fox and racoon duke it out as well.
Cassidy leans forward ever so slightly, and as soon as Arimia comes charging at her, she decides to try to see if she can exploit the raccoon's momentum for herself. Stepping around the incoming blow, she tries to position herself behind Arimia to give her a kick to the back, hopefully adding to the momentum enough to send them for the edge. She knew ring-out was the only way she was going to possibly win this.
Arimia lets out a surprised yelp as her punch misses, and she ends up barreling past the fox. Letting out another yelp when she feels that kck hit her back she twists, trying to grab at the ground again to stop her inevitible tumble out of the ring. But it is indeed inevitible, and she ends up out of the ring, the breath knocked out of her as she hits the ground. Lying on the ground she starts to chuckle softly before slowly pushing herself upright.
Savi applauds loudly, taking great joy in the fusrious back and forth in the ring.
The crowd goes wild as the Arima vs Cassidy match finally concludes! A pair of rough looking toughs from the Conglomerate even come over and help Arimia to her feet, complimenting her performance. One of them, a shaggy water buffalo, holds up his own prosthetic, looking for tips on maintenance and improving reaction and dexterity.
Meanwhile, a whole new round of competitors are called to the rings. It looks like things are getting to the end, as the roster of competitors has shrunk significantly. Hartford is in again this round facing off with a gangly looking Dacha wolf named Caspar, Cassidy gets a break, but Natska is paired off against a familiar Polar bear, Heinrich of the Conglomerate! Saviante is also in this round, her opponent is a stout looking mole, Andre Underhill.
Cassidy reaches up to adjust her hat, letting out a sigh of relief. "Goodness. You really had me on the ropes there at the start. Wonderful job!" Her tone is sincere as she starts to step out of the ring. "I would've been disappointed if I had lost! I can't go having my love outpacing me -this- early, now," she says with a glance towards Natska. "But my hat is off to you all the same. I wasn't expecting such a challenge today." She folds her hands behind her back, then, and resumes her quiet waiting for the next match to begin.
Natska had gone still, watching the two fighters going at it; the jaguar even drew in a breath and tensed reflexively as she watched Arimia lining up the vicious lunge aimed at her love. She lets it out in a loud cheer as Cassidy dodges, then brings her hands together to applaud both of the competitors when the fight finishes. "Well done!" she calls out, "Well! DONE!"
Arimia climbs to her feet, waving off offers of help, and nods at Cassidy. "At least you know how to fight. Think the last time I was put to the test like that was when I spent time punchin' bone dragons into submission." She arches her back, trying to stretch out what will likely be a bruise from that kick before glancing at the buffalo and starting to discuss what would likely be a boring and technical conversation for anyone who doesn't have a prosthetic of her own. Though at one point she does... Something to her arm and causes it to fire small spikes out at the ground.
Cirra soundlessly cheers, jumping for joy as she is very excited at the conclusion of Cassidy's fight. She hugs the Mouse beside her. then breaks away, not sure if they appreciated it. She doesn't have much time to celebrate, as Natska has a fight coming up.
Hartford seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself as he dodges and weaves around his lupin opponent's fluid and obviously powerful kicks. He has not found an opening for his own strike yet, but he seems to be holding his own here at the beginning of the match.
Heinrich give Natska a predatory grin. "Hello spotty-kitten!" he says, "I did not expect to see you here!" The polar bear flaps his arms and rolls his neck a little bit before bringing his arms up into a tight boxer's stance. "Come! I will make this quick!" he says arrogantly.
It seems that Arimia has found her people out here! The rough and tumble members of the Conglomerate have taken an instant liking to the racoon, and the show of force and her clever prosthetic have certainly helped.
In the stands, Cirra's new mouse friend squeaks in protest, but then pats the nurse shark on the head, a little confused at the silent celebration.
Cassidy tilts her head to the side, watching Natska's fight carefully as she comes down from the combat rush. A gloved hand comes up to adjust her mask for a moment before she casts her eyes around the area for another brief moment, wondering who her next competitor might be.
Natska answers Heinrich's grin with a small, soft smile of her own, then bows her head to the bear before taking her stance. "I have been greatly enjoying Thera'Doran hospitality these last few weeks, and I couldn't pass up the festival! And you will? Great! I will go easy on you, yes." The jaguar tenses for a moment, then drives forward, opening with a few swift, sharp jabs.
Arimia continues her conversation with the Conglomerate, though she seems a bit wary about them, despite their liking of her. Not that she's letting that stop her from talking shop with them. While conversing she keeps an eye on the ongoing matches, though without the intensity of those who still have a stake in things. Pausing the conversation she pulls smoke out of an inner vest pocket, lighting it with a brief flare of fire mathemagic. That done she takes a moment to fiddle with her soul gems, which has the odd effect of the vibrant pink and purple of her fur becoming a bit faded and dull.
The nurse shark blinks, taking out her slate and chalk. She turns to the mouse, writing a quick message. <Sorry, Mute. Here from Sweetwater. You?>
Heinrich laughs richly as Natska attacks. "Good kitten, good!" he chuckles, easily taking her strikes on his thick arms, "Now it is my turn!" The bear's burly arms almost blur as he lashes out with a powerful haymaker. That will hurt if it lands!
"All of that math on your prosthetic?" the water buffalo asks, "How do you fit it all? Old gummer back home can't hardly keep these things working!" The rest of Arimia's little fan club is only half listening at this point, watching Heirich fight.
The mouse's hands fly to her mouth. "Oh!" she cries, "You can't talk? I am so sorry." The little rodent smiles and waves at the ring. "I'm local," she says, "Knut is an old friend of mine, I was sorry to see him lose."
Cassidy keeps her eyes on Natska's battle, even as she turns and starts to wander off, looking for a place to settle down to await the next match. And maybe a drink!
Although she tries to shed the heavy hit, Natska still takes the brunt of the bear's hit, and it knocks a grunt for the muscular jaguar. She recoils, dropping back from Heinrich as she focuses and tries to recover her wind, fully on the defensive for now.
Arimia moves her shoulders in a small shrug and says, "Steady hand, ability to compact it, an' a lens to magnify while carvin'. Also, mine ain't a single solid piece of metal. It's shaped an' formed, so there's layers, an' I've got more math on the interior layers. An' since it's metal it's treated to keep the passive humidity from rustin' it. An' I clean it regularly to get sand an' grit out." Her attention is pulled back to the ring, watching with interest as the bear lashes out with a haymaker, letting out an amused sound as the strike connects.
The nurse shark nods. <Jaguar and Fennec are my friends.> She points them out to the mouse. <Raccoon and Fennec good fight?> She's curious what the mouse thought of the fight. She winces at the hit Natska takes.
"Well done, kitten," Heinrich calls happily, still advancing, "Most would have fallen out of the ring!" The big polar bear lunges at the recovering jaguar, attempting to wrap her up in a literal bear hug.
Hartford is starting to struggle a bit. The wolf he is fighting is keeping him on the defensive with fast moving kicks and strikes with the knees and elbows. Even if they are not landing solidly, they are starting to take their toll. Suddenly, an opening! The wolf's foot skids on a bit of loose sand, putting him momentarily off balance and Hartford takes the shot, driving a fist into his opponent's solar plexus.
Saviante is not so lucky. Her opponent is just too slippery! Every time that it looks like she is about to knock him all the way to Hilrock, the mole manages to slip inside her guard and make a few well placed jabs. The mighty fern warrior may have met her match.
"Wasn't that something else!?" exclaims Cirra's mouse friend, "And I thought that Knut's bout was exciting! I'm glad you foreigners came to visit. It shakes things up a little!"
Cassidy grimaces at the blow Natska takes, tail flicking behind her. "You can do it!" She calls out, though this certainly did seem like quite the opponent.
Natska snarls. While she may have been perfectly willing to get up close and personal with foxes, her battle strategy for this match had actually centered around -not- being grabbed by the much larger bear. Still, Natska is a willful cat; She braces herself against just falling over under the avalanche of bear, then begins delivering blows with her knees, elbows, short punches with her fists - anything she can do to loosen the grip and slip away.
Arimia flicks an ear as she watches the bear and jaguar fight. "Mmm. He's big. Strong too. Opponent like that you don't fight head on. Heavy swings would tire him out so get him swinging and avoid it. Don't go in until you can see signs of wear." She shakes her head as the jaguar is grabbed and continues, "And that is almost certainly the match there. Never let them grab you. I did an' it almost cost me my match."
Cirra watches with interest, nodding. She writes on the slate. <It's interesting up here.> She watches with interest, wondering how the Jaguar will escape the hold.
Heinrich's chuckling is broken off abruptly as Natska's head snaps back into his nose, a spurt of blood staining his snow white muzzle. He drops the jaguar and staggers back a bit before touching a paw to his bloody nose. "Well," he grumbles, "Not so bad, kitten." The bear's eyes narrow and he lunges at Natska, not so playful as when he started.
Hartford seems to be making a comeback, taking advantage of the wolf's momentary slip up to really lay into him. Looks like Yegor Snowmark might make it into the semi-finals!
Saviante is not doing so well. Looks like her Underhill opponent took Arimia's advice. Savi looks worn out, while her smaller opponent is dancing circles around her. That match will likely be decided soon.
Natska draws in a ragged breath as Heinrich backs off, then gives the bear a grin. "No so bad yourself," she replies, settling into a proper stance again; she gathers her self, then darts to the side and aims a powerful, precise jab at what is hopefully a more vulnerable spot, if Heinrich wasn't some sort of fur-covered battle golem.
Unfortunately, Hienrich was ready for Natska's maneuver. The polar bear proves to be surprisingly agile, turning as he dives and welcoming Natska in with open arms. He grunts as he takes the hit, but wraps his arms around the jaguar before turning and landing on top of her, smashing her into the hard stone ground. "There," the polar bear pants, "Now we are done, kitten. I will buy you a drink later, eh? You and your pretty lady."
The other matches have finally finished, Hartford having knocked his opponent from the ring and Saviante having finally retired from the ring, realizing how she had been tricked by her opponent. A brief recess is called before the semi-final matches. Cassidy vs Heinrich of the Conglomerate and Hartford vs Andre Underhill.
Cassidy slowly pushes herself up and rubs the back of her head. "Are you alright, Natska?" She asks concerned as she moves towards the arena, her tail flicking behind her again. She sizes Heinrich up for a moment, frowning behind her smiling mask as she tries to formulate a plan. She's not got many, certainly. What she does do, however, is take up a position at the edge of the ring.
Natska has the wind knocked out of her as Heinrich flattens her; still, she manages a small grunt in response. When she gets up after the match she seems to be taking it in good spirits; she gives Heinrich a hearty pat on the shoulder and nods her head. "You had better! Usually, it's drink first, and -then- the hugs." She gives Cassidy a weak nod, although her smile is genuine, and she hugs the fennec before she takes her spot in the crowd. "Good luck, love!" she calls.
Arimia tilts her head slightly as she watches the end of the match, before making her way near to the ring Cassidy steps into. "You've had a short rest. He hasn't. He's going to use his size and strength so let him, just dodge the attacks. Then when you think he is worn out enough, get in close. Don't get grabbed, but don't let him use his reach to his advantage. You have a shorter reach, so you can get in closer without your own body getting in the way of your punches." That done she wanders back over to where she was.
The wind visibly leaves Cirra's sails as Natska loses to the bear. She is visibly surprised when Arimia gives good advice to the Fennec. She sits back in her seat, waiting for the match to start.
Heinrich sits quietly on the ground, taking off his tattered shirt and wiping the blood from his nose and muzzle before tossing it aside. "Your little raccoon friend gives good advice," he says, "But she does not know me." The polar bear grins and resumes a tight boxing stance as the officiator calls out "BEGIN!"
The various factions are all cheering on their champions, but none are quite so loud and rowdy as the Snowmarks. Hugo has even returned, his leg wrapped tightly in a brace. He looks a little pale and woozy, probably from pain killers, but he is cheering for 'Cousin Yegor' along with all the others. Cassidy has attracted her own little cheer squad as well, as a number of the LongTech crew has come to watch the tournament.
Cassidy nods politely at Arimia and grins. "I plan to," she says happily before turning to look up at the polar bear, showing a pointed lack of concern or fear at the prospect of going up against the larger opponent. True enough... She wasn't going to face him toe-to-toe very well, but maybe... There's a brief flick of her now-four tails as she straightens herself up, hands tucked in her pockets. "Let us do this, then."
Arimia nods her head slightly, head tilting when the bear speaks up before shrugging her shoulders. She resumes her idle chatter with the buffalo and others she was speaking with, though most of her attention is on the upcoming fight.
Natska takes a knee at the front of the crowd and smiles as she watches Cassidy, quietly recovering and taking stock of the fight. She calls out some encouargement to the fennec, her ears perked, and watches to see how she tries handling the bear.
Heinrich frowns at the bevy of tails, and advances carefully. "What is pretty fox up to?" he asks, though it is clear that he does not really expect an answer as he makes a few exploratory jabs, sharp, fast and tight.
Cassidy grimaces as she tries to avoid the blows, taking several glancing ones as she moves to the side. It's impossible to read her expression behind the porcelain, but one thing is clear: She's giggling. The bear was fast, but she still wasn't going to go head to head with him. Instead, she darts around and tries to climb -onto- the bear, so that she may get herself into a position to ensnare his head in the many tails.
Natska winces as Cassidy takes a few jabs from the bear, then blinks as she makes her move. Suddenly, the jaguar starts laughing, then quiets down and watches intently.
Heinrich splutters as Cassidy leaps up to his shoulders and plants those tails in his face! "What are you doing, crazy fox!?" he cries, reaching up a burly arm to throw her aside, "What kind of martial arts do you call this?" Laughter erupts from parts of the crowd, while others frown in disapproval. Cassidy's antics even draw the attention of some of the Snowmarks who seem to be singing a song someone has composed about Cousin Yegor while he fights.
Cassidy finds herself about to lose her seat when that arm reaches for her, but rather than surrender her position entirely, she clings tightly to his upper body and swings off his shoulders, treating the much larger bear as if he were some sort of climbing post. Of course, she's also using her momentum and swinging weight to try to imbalance him, all while continuing a disorienting flurry of tailbats towards the face.
Heinrich roars in frustration and anger as Cassidy taunts him with her wild antics. He staggers around the ring like a drunken bull, but finally, Cassidy's luck runs out and he manages to get a grip on one of her arms! With another roar, the polar bear spins in a tight circle and attempts to fling Cassidy from the ring!
Cassidy swears loudly as she's flung out of the ring, but as soon as she clears the edge she slows to a stop, righting herself in the air before settling down gracefully on her paws. Once she went out, she decided to let her magic come into play. She glares daggers towards the bear that had bested her before folding her arms and huffing.
Natska rises up to her feet and steps up next to Cassidy, putting a hand on the fennec's shoulder and giving her a little squeeze. "It was a valiant attempt, love. He is big and tough like... some big and tough thing."
Arimia shakes her head slightly as she watches the end of the match, banded tail flicking behind her. "It was a good attempt. I probably would have simply turned into a dragon an' traded blows." She looks at Natska, amused, and says, "Mountain. Big an' tough like a mountain. Think that works better, yeah?"
The crowd erupts into cheers as both matches end almost simultaneously. In the other ring, Hartford, er, Yegor seems to be sitting on Andre Underhill's chest, huffing and puffing while the mole strains to move the big reindeer. Heinrich, snorts loudly, shaking his head to clear it after being taunted so much by Cassidy. Looking down at his feet, he looks stunned to find how close he had come to falling from the ring. The polar bear hops down, landing heavily and walks over to Natska and Cassidy, picking both of them up in a huge, but gentle bear hug. "Such lovely ladies!" he rumbles, "You will join me for victory dinner tonight!" Then Heinrich drops the pair and makes his way to the center ring to face off with the newest member of the Snowmark clan.
"I did not win," Cassidy mutters bitterly as Natska squeezes her shoulder. She shakes her head and gives her a little pat before sighing. "But I will be over it. Someday, not even the creators themselves and all their might will be able to stop me." When she's wrapped up in the hug moments later, she doesn't say much in reply, and when let down only leans against Natska and reaches up to remove her mask. "A drink sounds fine, I suppose."
Natska frowns as she hears Cassidy, her ear twitching as she picks up on the fennec's tone. She doesn't move from her spot, although she does move her arm to wrap it around Cass' shoulders as the fennec leans against her. "Do not take it so hard, dearest. You were fighting handicapped, after all."
Arimia rolls her eyes and says, "An' there's a spoiled noble's attitude. You can't win every fight. Sometimes the opponent will be better. Sometimes the environment will turn against you. Sometimes you'll jus' be plain unlucky, an' the unexpected will happen. An' sometimes you're facin' someone willin' to do things you ain't, willin' to do whatever it takes to bring you down, no matter how underhanded. If you did your best then that is litterally the best you can do, at the risk of soundin' redunant. Ain' no use gettin' pissy 'cause of your loss. At least this was a fight you survived to learn from, kid."
Heinrich and Hartford face off for a moment, the two of them circling each other slowly, sizing up the other. Suddenly, Heinrich stops. "Yegor?" he asks, straightening and pointing at Hartford's mask, "What is that stupid thing you are wearing on your face?" Hartford looks a little embarrassed and reaches up a hand to touch his wrestling mask. "Uh," he stammers, "It's a fighting mask. It protects my identity. Uh. Da." His attempts at a false accent are rather pitiful. Heinrich stares at the reindeer for a moment, dumbfounded. "So, if you wear the mask, no one will notice that you are a seven foot tall reindeer with blue and white skunk stripes, a fluffy tail and a snowflake on your chest?" he rumbles in disbelief. "Um, nyet?" Hartford tries. Heinrich stares another moment more, the breaks into roaring peals of laughter. He laughs so hard that his nose starts bleeding again and he rolls to the ground, gasping for breath. Hartford just stands there looking embarrassed for a moment, while the crowd looks on, the walks over and gently rolls the polar bear from the center platform. Heinrich does not even seem to notice as his earth shaking guffaws continue.
For a moment, no one seems to know what to do. Then the crowd and competitors erupt into cheers, laughter and applause! "The winner is Yegor Snowmark!" cries the announcer, "Another Snowmark win!"
Cassidy glances over at Arimia and scowls. "Oh hush, I'll be over it when I've calmed. This has nothing to do with my being nobility. I'm just one of those people that doesn't like to lose, and will go to any lengths needed -not- to lose. I am composing myself much better than the time the Cliffsiders went against us in a magic competition."
Natska remains quiet, although the roaring laughter of Heinrich's draws her attention to the final match. Her ears fold a moment, then perk back up and she snickers, giving Cassidy a small nudge before she nods towards the spectacle.
Arimia makes as though to scratch the side of her muzzle, but in doing so displays a rather rude gesture. At the comment of Cliffside she snorts and shakes her head. "For all my first home was a crap heap, it's foolish to expect anythin' but a strong showin' in a magic compitition 'gainst them. The university there is the best around. I should know. I went there." She looks over toward the ring, ear twitching as she watches the... Unconvintional win. "That... Was not what I expected."
Hartford is welcomed with open arms by his Snowmark brethren and Heinrich is carefully led away by his followers. The polar bear turns back to call over his shoulder. "Do not forget, Kitten and Fox," he shouts, "You must come to my villa for drinks!" This was certainly an experience to remember!
Cassidy offers a little shrug towards Arimia. "I suppose so. I don't think they're anything too fancy. They cheated, and I almost took their lives for it. But... In the end, it didn't turn out so bad." She glances after the bear for a moment and nods before giving Natska a little squeeze. "There or elsewhere, I want a drink, yes. I'm ready to go home."
Natska beams happily and claps her hands. "Great! It should be a good a time, come on, love." She pauses, then smiles at Arimia and nods her head. "And you did well today, too." Then she takes Cassidy's arm, goes to reclaim her jacket, and then heads to the celebration.
Cirra is saddened by Cassidy's loss to the bear, and not sure what to make of the Reindeer's win. After all, she has no connection to him. She pats her mouse friend and moves to join Cassidy and Natska, hoping to share in the celebration.