@ashley_knightfall: LMAO with good reason but Santi'd be expecting it. He did kill her, and Zeon's too angry of a person to be calmed by "It was just a tournament, I meant no ill will!", LOL.
La_Espada's forum posts
The spectators, those curious enough, those with the stomach to remain and bear witness to a sight too graphic for most, gasped. They sought entertainment from these tournament fighters, they failed to expect death. Their faces, of men, elves, and plant-creatures, wore an expression of shock. Eyes widened, jaws dropped and mouths gaping open, their hearts fluttered and clamored in their chests as a somber mood seeped into the air, casting a cold and dark cloud over woody architecture of Clock Town. Hand clutching his chest, his breathing labored, his heart skipping beat after beat from the stress, the physical shock of his collapsed lung, Santiago too found himself on his knees, his eyes of mesmeric sapphire meeting those of Zeon's.
He felt his fingertips for a second, twitching and aching with a sensation that was unnatural and uncomfortable, the crescendo of pain from a swarming cramp leaving his hand a spasming, throbbing mess of an extremity. He winced, and he knew, oh he knew it was coming, the spasmodic throbs, the cramping fits of his hands that left him a teeth-gritting, wincing Spaniard heralded it, the migraine. It struck him like a truck and left his breathing jagged. He rasped and found his features, that visage of his, so mystifying and exotic in appeal, magnetic in its debonair edge and flair for danger, bidding welcome to facial tics, to twitches of pain. This was the price, of over-using his blood-bending. Against all three of his foes. It was his prized ability, and now for the remainder of the tournament, his body could endure the strain of it no more.
Still, he had ice running through his veins, Santiago. He composed himself, allowed his regeneration to do what was possible for his lung, for his wounds, before again his gaze met Zeon's. Oh he saw her rage then, the distaste and anger with which she met him, for his absent honor, his willingness to make use an esoteric technique too difficult for most to resist. Ah but this, this was the battlefield. The domain where every weapon, every advantage one could wield was used. It was do or die. Kill or be killed. And be that advantage a kick to an exposed sternum, the sharp edge of a curved blade, a push kick to the knee, a dipping jab, a takedown, a blade to the lung, a whip to the flesh, or blood-bending, it was there to be used. Honor, morality, ethics, on the battlefield, for Santiago, these were aimless ideals, social fabrications used only to hold back the few superior breed of warriors.
He certainly believed so. Santiago, he was a serpent. He was the Black Viper, the ultimate opportunist. The man who blood-bent his foes and tainted the edges of his blades with all manner of toxins and poisons. He was a killer. One who used every advantage in his arsenal to bring down those before him, be they man, woman, mutant or god. He knew no mercy, and he offered none. It was as the Kendrick Lamar lyric implied, 'I am a sinner, who's probably gonna sin again'. But the Black Viper, he did not beg the Lord for forgiveness. He didn't even believe in one. Though as his adversary drew closer to her death, she proved her worth, her stubborn willingness to remind all her foes of the fire that burns deep in all Liafador women. With rage born from her heart and harnessed by her power ring, she conjured a construct, a hand, gargantuan and glowing an ominous crimson.
With it, she seized the Clock Tower, coiling those fingers of luminous red around the structure before, as she collapsed, bringing it down on the vaunted Spaniard. He glanced upwards Santiago, feeling the cold gust of air from a structure that cast its shadow over him and smashed into the ground with the loudest of lumbers. The ground was cracked, debris was flung in every direction, some ramming into the stunned spectators, chunks of concrete and wood broke into the bank and structures nearby, chaos rained. And the Spaniard? He was bloodied, bruised, his bones broken, his frame smashed under the weight of a grand structure. And it seemed that a second following the Liafador Matriarch's last breath, the Black Viper's eyes rolled into the back of his head, and his consciousness forsook him. Unconscious, a collapsed long, broken bones, bruised flesh, and injuries galore, he clung to life Santiago, but only barely.
In and out, from a town conceived by an imagination of great fantasy, and into a bottomless pit of black, an oblivion and back. His mind was left to the woes of speculation as now, somehow, through some enigmatic mechanism, this femme fatale had shifted their positions. And whereas the hearts of others would clamor in their chests, their breaths gasp in their throats, and their eyes widen in surprise, Santiago found the experience, or rather, his foe's unorthodox ability to be beautiful, something worthy of wonderment. 'The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious', his thoughts insisted. Their positions had been reserved. Now it was the Liafador who loomed over him, a gelid intensity clear in her eyes.
One the Black Viper's eyes matched with the edge of danger in their hue of liquid sapphire. On the bottom, Santiago, ever aware and an inamorato (lover) of grappling, felt his back touch the concrete pavement with a bruising thud, his ears welcomed the resounding gasps, the audible 'Ooohs!' and 'Aaahs!' of the spectating crowd, and his eyes caught sight of the sky above. The blue sky, it was a sight that then and there, he promised his previous foe would see again one day. This tournament, his participation in it, would now be dedicated to a man whose fantasy was a dream of freedom. Back against the ground, the Spaniard's muscle fibers twitched with knowledge, with the technique of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as he sought to hook his legs around Zeon's waist, controlling her hips and preventing her from passing his full guard or mounting any offense on top while his hands then hoped to wrap themselves behind the Liafador's neck, pulling her into his guard with aggression.
So that he may control, recuperate, then with a quick pop of his hips and a bout of positional grappling, exit from beneath her and sweep to his feet. To his fortune however, his ground-fighting expertise was unneeded. Zeon was quick, her footwork was crisp, and her movement fluid. She moved with grace and oozed a cold confidence that left Santiago uncertain on whether her air was intimidating or entrancing. A thought that lent itself to an oft-repeated phrase in Madrid, a phrase, a question regarding the Liafador Matriarch herself. 'Scary or sexy?', many wondered, unsure of what to decide. He rose to his feet, Santiago, a wounded mess of a man as he panted, his exhaustion rising as his regeneration accelerated in a flurry, healing the bulk of wounds sustained from battles past but leaving him too tired, too spent of his energy to, in that moment, dodge as he would.
One side step was all his reserves had allowed to muster. By an inch, the first of the thrown blades had missed, blitzing through the air. The second however, struck home. Through skin and flesh, muscle tissue and fat, the second blade tore, before tearing away at the cartilage that suspended his right lung. The sharp sting of pain, its swarming heat shot through him and left his nerves screaming in agony. His hand clutched his chest, fingers digging into his flesh as he felt his breathing impair, his chest tighten, he felt as if he was going to die, as if he were drowning on dry land. His world was beginning to fade, the sky was no longer blue but gray. The spectators, on edge, screaming with excitement, others in horror, became no more than blurs. His vision was yielding, and he felt as though he could hear his own heartbeat echoing, louder and louder in the corridors of his mind. Then, weakly, he raised his hand and faced his palm towards her.
But he was not begging for mercy. For then, as he clutched his chest tighter, and felt his accelerated healing rush to his aid, he like her, smirked. And the fingers of his stretched hand began move in spasmodic throbs. His wrist turned, and his fingers moved rigidly. He would not close the distance now, not in this state, not yet. He maintained his distance, opted to recuperate, and instead harnessed the power of blood-bending. An ability, a technique of esoteric origins which despite its name, was not the mere manipulation of blood, but the manipulation of all the bodily fluids in the body. And inside his foe's body, the Black Viper sought to seize the water and acids that dwell within her, seize them and force them into contact with the calcium in her frame.
Why? Because the reaction between calcium and water and acids was a violent one. It generated heat that would burn her insides, and conjure calcium hydroxide, a compound that sought to saponify (turn into soap) the fats and liquefy the proteins in the femme fatale's mouth, esophagus and stomach with a fire born from within. All while he recuperates and heals, bit by bit from her knife's crippling blow, the most crippling blow he'd suffered throughout the entire tournament.
"Isis", Santiago began, smile fading, his features, exotic in their flair, softening at the sight of her, "Stop". His palms rested atop her shoulders now, and with a doting warmth, he pulled her into an embrace born of sweet intimacy. Wrapped around her petite frame, his arms were strong and affectionate. And as her head was rested against his chest, the rhythm of his heartbeat beneath, an energy, one that eased and calmed, seemed to seep into this comforting embrace between lovers of a relationship that was complicated and lacking in commitment. With her, he lingered in that embrace for several seconds longer than expected. Then as he spoke, the soft hum of his voice, its soothing vibrations, sent ripples, from his chest to Isis' frame.
"I know of the barriers you have set up as protection", the Spaniard paused, his voice, its timbre, gentle. "I know of the way you look at people and assess what threat they pose to you and your family", again he paused, feeling his lips curl closer to a sigh that he forced himself to restrain. "Tis the same way I look at most people", indeed Santiago was too an apex predator, the eyes and mind of a viper burned deep into his being, a state of consciousness that seemed eternally set in 'search and eliminate' mode. "But you are not most people, Isis". Gently, he broke away from their embrace, met her gaze, and with his eyes of liquid sapphire, so dashing and disarming with that thrilling edge of danger, he held it. "Please don't ask me if I know that you are who I want", he insisted.
"Why else would I be here? Why would I have come here? Dreamed of you in night and thought of you in day?", he questioned. He was certain, Santiago. Of course he was. He was certain of what his heart demanded, the sentiments it inspired. He became certain the night they'd danced together in the Hellfire Club. "Open your heart, bella. And as you do so, my eyes, take a glance at them and see what I feel. Know that it is real", he paused, reaching for her hand as he had earlier. "Do not be afraid", he smiled, "I am right here with you. You don't have to barricade yourself anymore". Steadily, he reached for another hand, holding them both with gentle adoration. "We can make this work. If you're willing to".
His breaths were labored. And from every word he spoke, every phrase he uttered, fatigue seemed to drip, and each time more evident than before. "Ay Dios mio", he panted, allowing himself a moment, a second. All about him, these men whose ears were lengthy and pointed, these creatures of wood and leaves, they stared, many in curiosity, some in pity, while others? Oh others focused their attention elsewhere. Again he panted, Santiago, the Black Viper of contemporary legend. A lusty charmer whose sensuous flair and silver tongue earned him his reputation just as well as his martial expertise and edge of danger have. His stamina, his physical reserves seemed to be waning.
For every effort his accelerated healing factor exerted towards regeneration, the greater the energetic costs, and it wore heavily on his liveliness, the sprightliness of a Spaniard whose legacy told of an ideal inamorato. Even then, as he strode, Santiago's features, suave and brimming with the air of European debonair, welcomed his cocky smirk. Ah how his stung, the sharp warmth of pain shooting through him with no concept of mercy, bones aching and teasing a fracture as he walked, took his steps and gazed all about, a wince here and there. But he uttered no sound, voiced no agony. 'In great silence, lies great arrogance', he told himself. Was he not arrogant? Prideful for refusing to acknowledge the wear and tear that his past foe had left him to suffer from? Perhaps.
But he was of a different breed of man, this Spaniard. It was said that dreams, aspirations were often conceived, born in one's youth, and that many men grew to either find their dreams shattered or grow tedious with age. It seemed inevitable then, that he, like many others, would find himself disappointed by this monotonous reality, this universe that seemed too deep in slumber to match his great and wondrous ideals. But Santiago, he thrived, he succeeded on broken dreams. Thrived on making possible what others often deemed unachievable fantasies. Even here when his armor, his vast array of technology would serve him well, he refused them. Why? Because the blood of a warrior boiled deep in his veins. And his heart, it longed for the thrill, the danger that came with the taking of risks. And so this warrior often confused for a great figure of female fantasy, he strode on.
And with an aesthetic sensibility, sought to conquer this King of the Vine tournament, so that once done, he may do as he'd promised, and save the soul, the mind of his former foe, the armored man who'd nearly doomed them both in his previous battle. With dust clinging to the air, his foe emerged, Zeon Liafador; the most feared of Liafador warriors, and a fighter held by the Black Viper in the highest opinion. Ah but he was ready, Santiago. 'I stay ready so that I do not need to get ready', his mind reminded him, and then, he felt his smirk widen. Quickly however, his smirk faded, the sole of his foe's foot ramming furiously into his chest, smashing the wind from his lungs, and threatening his sternum. But then, ah then came the Black Viper's saving grace, superhumanity. Though his frame, lacerated, bruised, bloodied and partially burnt was less than stellar, his durability remained extraordinary.
And with it, what would have otherwise been a crippling blow, was rendered less, and owing to his rapid healing, Santiago recuperated. But Zeon, ever the aggressor, pressed on, but Santiago, he responded with perfection. Zeon sought to strike, with a swing of her sword and a strike that followed. But here lied here error. She sought to engage him in a striking match. And standing at six feet, three inches tall, he towered over her. His reach advantage was clear, and it was prominent. The Black Viper? He was an expert at fighting tall. The taller of the two, he applied a Muay Thai brand of head movement, using his hips to move/lean his upper body back just beyond the range of both her sword swing and strike, playing off the advantage of his height; that he need only move back a subtle distance to avoid the strikes of a shorter opponent. And as he moved his upper body, he kept himself planted and ready for offense.
And it was offense that Santiago now employed. Zeon sought to strike. And to strike with any amount of power, one needs to shift their weight with their lead foot, transferring that weight into said strike. He responded, Santiago, thrusting his leg out in a push/oblique kick that targeted Zeon's lead knee and sought to, violently, snap her knee joint back. His intention was not simply to hyperextend her knee by snapping it back with a push kick, but to exercise his reach by pumping the oblique kick to the knee to keep her on the outside, simultaneously preventing her from transferring any weight into her strikes as well as forcing her to remain on the outside and unable to reach him by keeping her lead foot from closing the distance. With her on the outside, and with his superior reach, he could pick her apart where she could not reach him. Whether successful or not with his counter, Santiago followed his attack with another.
He searched, Santiago, for the takedown. Not however, without an attempted set-up. To commit to an attack absent of a set-up was the error of a novice. And he? He was a master. Hurt, his body begging for slumber, Santiago's mind remained clear. He sought to deceive her. With the oblique kick to the knee, successful or not, he'd make clear the danger of his reach advantage. A danger he sought to render even clearer by executing a series of dipping jabs to the pit of her gut. Why? The jab was a strike often used to control distance, to keep an opponent on the outside. None of his jabs however, were thrown with the intent to land. Then, the Spaniard dipped his frame, teasing another jab. Instead however, as his hand moved to strike, his rear hand sought to grip Zeon behind her lead knee, all while using his lead hand to secure a single-collar tie by grabbing the back of Zeon's neck, allowing him to disrupt her balance as he picked her leg up, and with a quick step to the left, dumped her to the right.
Should he fail in the attempted takedown? Santiago would back-step, covering his brief retreat with a spinning back-fist to deter the Liafador Matriarch from following into range. Should he succeed however, he'd find her on her back, and himself in her guard where he would post up over her, as if mirroring the posture of karate masters punching through boards of wood, and by driving down with the hips to put all his weight behind them, muscle fibers twitching with his superhuman strength, he would execute a series of vicious punches and elbows to the head, until either his foe was left unconscious, or his waning stamina forced him to slow down and back-step to create distance. Ah but it mattered little. He felt his breaths deepen, the Black Viper, and the sheen of sweat glisten on his wounded flesh.
He was an ideal inamorato, the Spaniard. Dreams were often born in youth, and many grew to either be shattered or exhausted with age. Men and women, they routinely found themselves disappointed by others, by a bleak reality, all things that seemed impossible to match with their sprightly ideals. Then came Santiago. He thrived on the broken dreams of others, dreams that were often forsaken and left to become lifelong fantasies. Whether one longed for romance, adventure, or danger, Santiago reflected the fantasies of others. He was an artist who painted the illusion that many desired. It was the core, the heart of his charm and suavity. In a world that was at times plagued by disenchantment and baseness, the Spaniard clung to his path, and on it he oozed a seductive power.
His reputation as a great figure of female fantasy was founded on truth. He had an aesthetic sensibility that he applied to romance. He adored the female form, and his desire was infectious. His gaze, the disarming and bold manner in which his eyes of sapphire met a woman's, it showered her with attention that another man is perhaps too distracted and unresponsive to offer. He'd spent his nights with Isis, frequented the Hellfire Club in her company, and toured the streets of Europe's most exotic cities as her inamorato. He'd desired then, and it seemed that his air of cool, his sensuous flair, his passion and edge of danger conjured an appeal that stirred the repressed longings of this golden goddess. He stood on her doorway, arms briefly bracing against the top of the door-frame as he smiled.
Smiled that mesmeric smile that seemed ease spirits and too, make them smile. "Hola", his smile widened, the romantic inflection of a Spaniard's accent echoing, voice speaking with a timbre smoother than silk, as if his was the most beautiful voice a man could have. He held her gaze, Santiago. Though the longer his eyes lingered on hers, he felt his features, shift from dashing to soft, head tilting subtly to the side as his smile too, softened. He'd desired before, his blood boiled with it once, but now, he believed himself in love with her. And he was. And his eyes, their expression, they told of a truth that could melt an eager heart; he'd follow her to the ends of this world and to the next to be with her. "Gracias, bella", he paused, issuing a cordial inclination of the head as she invited him in.
He set foot inside, and again met her eyes with a gaze of wordless intimacy. "No, tis fine. But thank you", he paused, smiling that smile that could make a woman believe any word he spoke. "Isis", he began, reaching for the hand with which she fiddled her gold necklace, holding it gently, and stroking the back of it with his thumb in affection, in attempted comfort, to soothe her spirit and relax her nerves. He lowered her hand, but his hold did not waver as he continued. "When I saw you for the first time at the Hellfire Club, it was a moment I will never forget. The jazz playing in the background, the people dancing. Still, they all seemed to be asleep. But I looked at you and you seemed to be awake. Nervous", he chuckled softly, "But awake", Santiago continued. "It was supposed to be just one night".
"And I have done what I could. I have tried to let you go but.. I can't. I cannot stop thinking about you. When I sleep, I cannot stop dreaming about you. Even my daughter asks me now who it is that I keep thinking about", his smile softened, the liquid hue of sapphire shimmering in his eyes. "But I see the look in your eyes, and I see that you're afraid. But I have to know, bella", he paused, allowing his words to hang in the air for a moment or two. "Do you want me? Or do we end this?".