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Dante

The Illusionist

0 · 369 views · located in Muspell

a character in “New Exodia: A City Divided”, as played by Exodyus

Description

Slender build and springy on his feet, Dante is the epitome of agility and acrobatics.

RP Affiliation: New Exodia
Full Name: Danton Edison Craven Jr.
Nickname|Friendly: Dan
Nickname|Public: Demon, Dante

Title: the Apparition
Clan: None.
Faction: Nifl Chemical Specializations and Laboratory, a seed of Xion Core
Race: Halfbreed | Arcane and Human
Relatives:
  • Father | Danton Edison Craven | Deceased
  • Mother | Lidia Marison Craven | Deceased

Age: 21
Date of Birth: October 29th
Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Hair: Brown
Eyes: Green
Skin color: Tan
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 119 lbs.

Personality

Sarcastic. Good-natured.
Friendly. Rude.
Energetic. Extroverted.
Cocky. Devilish.
Spunky. Stylish.

Equipment

Head: Nothing.
Chest: Scarf. Overcoat. Undershirt.
Arms: Leather gauntlets.
Legs: Leather greaves. Brown slacks.
Feet: Bracers.

Weapons: Two 1" thick metal poles with taped ends [ 13" long ]
Items: Just the usual things in my pockets...

  • Basic lock-picking essentials
  • Electronic lock bypassing essentials
  • A cool spy mask (epic ninja)
  • Gum. What? McGuyver always has gum...

Skills

Arcane Knowledge

  • Arcana Weaving - An accumulation of energy swells from birthmarked runes upon Dante's palms, pulling directly from his essence, to cast a myriad of effects.
    • Arcana Bolts, Blasts, & Waves
      • Short range | Rank II | [< 10'] Third degree burns are the minimum. Direct hits can melt through metals as strong as titanium.
      • Med. range | Rank III | [10'-20']Lethal enough to cause second degree burns and deal extensive damage.
      • Long range | Rank V | [20'-50'] First degree burns and powerful enough to knock someone unconscious.
    • Shielding and Defensive Measures
    • Ticks or Mischief
  • Arcana Permeation - Called by a great many things: jumping, shifting, and teleporting, Dante has the uncanny ability to pass himself through objects such as, but not limited to: walls, doors, metals, and even the ground. Honestly, Dante's energy swells to the point of catalystic combustion and the energy leaks from his body and for a brief moment, he is cast as an apparition within his own energy. Due to his demonic origins the runes scrawled across his entire body keep the arcane fabric-energies cinched together as one, lest he be lost in the universe.
    • Presently, Dante is able to phase up to three times with a post preparation[sup]1[/sup], and a cool-down post preceding[sub]1[/sub].
    • In urgent situations, Dante has been able to force-jump expelling the energy from his body that is usually dormant and waiting. Results of this are two cool-down posts[sub]2[/sub] and often disorientation, confusion, brief loss of memory, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and weakness. These symptoms wont last for more than twelve hours, usually...

Physical Knowledge

  • Aikido| Advanced| In my line of work, it sometimes requires me to take certain precautions. I've been studying and learning a self-defense martial art to not only better myself as a person, but to ward off attackers ... you know, in case shit gets real. Having been practicing with a full-time Sensei and my training has progressed excellently. A few more months and I'll be an expert.
  • Tonfas | Advanced| What I do know is -- that when self-defense fails, metal sticks don't. Ka~chow!
  • Pressure Points | Intermediate | Still getting the hang of where everything's located, but I've got most of the vital spots down for stunning and incompacitating someone.

History

Well, where would you like me to begin? I'm sure you want me to tell you that I had such a horrible childhood growing up as I am, but the truth of it is ... no one knows my secrets. The only people who knew are now passed away, Guild rest their souls, and I have picked up some where they have left off and made my mark on this world. My parents were great people, but they truthfully only held me back, I think...

When I was younger, the told me to hide my potential. To not do things in school, to not be myself, to not act out -- and now ... well, I suppose a loving church mother might say that I'm ... something of a hellion. Hahah... that's funny considering. Anyways. My dad had some ... genetic ailments that passed onto me through my mother's human DNA like a poor filter. And by genetic ailments, I mean that he was an Arcane. This world, the church, and all those other fucks label us demons -- born of magical essence. oOoOOo hocus pocus shit -- but it's all some taboo lie. Now I do what I want, when I want.

Not a soul can stop me. Thanks dad.

So begins...

Dante's Story

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#, as written by Exodyus
[Wrong forum, apparently?]

The setting changes from New Exodia to Muspell

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#, as written by Exodyus
The surface of Muspell was a tangible wasteland of smog and industry, pumping out an incredible amount of waste without even so much as a concern or thought. Thanks to Xion Corp on the Nifl side though, a lot of the smoke stacks and airborne waste had capping filters on them, which were antimicrobial and excellent at sifting out the wastes and expelling only clean, breathable oxygen on the other side. This kept the two cities working in decent unison. Resources went to Nifl. Technology went to Muspell. It was a coexistence that couldn't be one without the other. Plain and simple. Vanir stood between the two as something of a mediator, but ended up just being the rich fucks between the cracks, taking money that wasn't theirs for greedy, useless pleasures.

Those who were rich also had a sizable investment in something that wasn't even known about in common conversations, or if it was, it was absolutely hushed. It was never seen on the streets, but underground in bunkers, in large, unused subway stations, and other various underground arena-type places. Finals were said to be under Vanir tower, but only the final fighters and a select few ever made it that far and only a hundred thousand dollar buy in allowed the less fortunate to arrive unwanted...

These investments were known as the Fights. No rules. Most often to the death. Grudge matches. But what ended up being unique about a place like this was the ... talent ... that arose from the regular patrons. When the fights first started, it was thought to have been only human versus human. Then again, if humans were stupid enough to think that they were the only species on the planet, then they deserved the devastating beat-down's that came in the Fights when they found out that they were not. All sorts of abilities surfaced during the fights. People hiding their identities and others not even caring -- regardless, they were all competing for money and fame, which brought scoundrels to the surface as well...

The reigning champion was backed by someone inside Vanir Tower. He was literally branded on his chest with a V, as property of, but in turn -- could have had anything he wanted. A titan of a man known as Onyx. Not much was known about him, other than his fighting skills were incredible and his punch was lethal. It was rumors that he fought so brutally, that he hadn't been challenged in years, thus remaining the reigning champion. It was also rumored that he fought some altered version of Muay Thai, but even that was just talk.

The thing about the Fights was -- a lot of people revered them as being Sacred. If you weren't there, it was somewhat like church -- people wouldn't let you in on what you missed. You just had to be there for yourself. The prize fights that Onyx had been in were so expensive to get into, you could have counted the number of people watching the brawl on one hand and in the end, you were only told who won. Not how. No explanation. Just that Onyx had defeated another person.

----- ----- -----

The alleyway was dark. Garbage lined the walls and cans were heaped full -- a typical setting in Muspell that held a daring secret. The gate creaked at the end and I walked quietly down the dark pathway until I heard the low growling of a few abnormally large pitbulls standing next to an abnormally large man. He looked down over his barreled chest at me and I peered up from beneath the chocolate hoodie and nodded to him. He cocked a brow. I held out a Benjamin and he accepted it with a nod and then held out a scanner. The green light illuminated my thumb and it flashed once and beeped. He examined it and then opened the door. I was slowly becoming a regular, but these beastly door bitches never let anyone slide. Never.

Down the narrow stairs, I could hear the roar beyond me. The light at the end of the tunnel was a faded crimson hue and when I entered, it was a rave. Lights flashed all away from the fighting arenas, and the crowds roared. Three separate areas where fights were going on inside of this abandoned parking garage. The lines on the ground were all but faded away now of a time when they used to be used more by cars instead of feet. A DJ was spinning something that resembled some wild electronica dubstep in the middle of the room, surrounded by dancing people and wide rings of people, like bubbles that surrounded other fighters.

Beyond this which was happening clean in the middle, shops were on one side for drugs and beverages of all assortments and then fighters were all on the left, with something of a lounge set up for them to relax with bouncers standing guard. This is where I moved toward. I weaved and bobbed through the insane patrons with little effort and stood before the bouncer who looked down at me. I swore these fucks were all clones of Andre the Giant. He stared over a thick beard and glared through dark shades. "What."

"I'm here for my fight tonight."

"Your tiny ass?"

"Faster than your lard ass. Shut up and move."

"Fuck you, fairy. You aint fightin' ..." But before he could finish the word, I wasn't in front of him. He took a step forward and lifted his glasses to look around for me. It wheezed and waved a hand at the soft plume of ash and sulfur that whisked about his face and turned around slowly to see me already walking into the lounge. He snorted. Lowered his glasses. And looked big and mean, turning back around to his post without so much as a word spoken.

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#, as written by Exodyus
Ahh, the Fights.

They could make a man or break a man of more than just his worldly possessions, but also his life, family, and anything else he held dear should he step into the ring against a true villain with a penchant for blood, gore, and untimely death. I'd seen men be hauled away for placing bets larger than what they could afford and ended up paying with limbs. Namely fingers, toes, and ears -- for the especially whacked out bids.

The Fights -- a place where men could be gods in the eyes of many. You step into the ring. Money is bet and you even get to see a counter of how much is pitted on you outside the present ring. Though this rarely includes the millions bet from the big-wigs watching from VIP sections or by camera, but the rise of the dough on the other side aids and fuels your anxiety and combative skills when you realize people think you're the underdog...

It wasn't soon after I'd walked in that I saw a few people I knew. Hammer was being carried out on a stretcher, alive still, but barely and being that a lot of the players to this wild and crazy party were Vanir exclusives, they often had private medics on stand-by for most fighters. Specifically their own players, but deals were even made here as fighters would get repaired on someone else's dime and then be forced to throw fights or demanded to win them with the wave of a hand. Some fighters that got caught up in this mess ended up being thrashed in the end from a corrupt employer and not even a fight...

A loud speaker blared two names: "Illusion Versus Payn!"

I knew Payn. A monster of a man. A neanderthal with a cromagnum forehead and eyebrows that could have lifted cars by their bumpers if he'd have stooped to hook them up. I'd only seen him fight once before, but he wore a cross-bandoleer of leather with spikes coming out of it and a full head mask that I imagined to hide a perfectly squared chin and gorgeous, flawless features. Modesty -- my kind of man.

He was already in the arena when I arrived, pumping up the crowd. An announcer stood in the middle and grinned maliciously, "TREMENDOUS PAYN! He's a whopping seven foot, two inches and some say -- as solid as steel. A bone crushing Juggernaut born right here in Muspell!"

"He's AGAINST! ... Well, He's against someone named the Illusion? What is this shit? Where's this punk at?" The crowd laughed. This drove the prices up. Did I mention that I'd only been in one fight before this, and it wasn't exactly sanctioned, this one was. I stepped beyond the laughing mob and into the arena and the Boo's seemed to resound in my ears with an intense ringing as the man shook his head and looked at his cards again with less belief than before.

"Tell me kid -- how much to you weigh? You look about five foot, nine -- give or take."

"Hm. A buck twenty, straight out of the shower..." I grinned from beneath an olive-hoodie, which concealed my features, save for the brown-green hair that broke the dark pool. A green hoodie with a black jacket over that and corduroy pants that were darker than your typically khaki. I looked like a Berkley student fresh off the bus to college, and now stood in an arena to fight a mammoth who wanted to rip my head off and drink the blood from my spouting neck like some fucking chalice.

The man scoffed and covered the microphone, leaning in towards me with a serious face, "You sure about this kid? He wont stop until you're dead..." I took a moment and the crowd grew still. The could sense fear like a bloodhound sensed blood. They watched in anticipation as my head lifted toward the Bet Counter and cocked a brow with a sigh of disappointment.

Illusion [ $50 ]
Payn [ $28,500 ]

I turned my face back to the man and then spanned the crowd slowly with a thin, hidden grin and spoke, "Thanks to whoever bet fifty bucks on me. You're about to be fuckin' wealthy beyond your wildest dreams..." The crowd roared with laughter and cheers -- mainly that I was going to stick it out and they'd see my blood all over the pavement, but truthfully because this was a massive Payn following. I was going into this fight knowing that I might die, or I might have to kill someone, but I wasn't sure how the mercy-look would work in a place like this, if I wanted to have fun. But that reminded me -- I was just here to have fun.

Besides -- these Odds were Astronomical. Easier money than the IRS and taxes!

The announcer waved his hand and backed up out of the arena and the cheering crew hushed, but excited chatter and whooping for their player -- namely Payn -- ensued with ideas of what to do to me first. I decided to feel the man out and see what his weaknesses might be first, allowing him the initial attack, which he rushed into blindly. An attempted bear-hug into a spiked chest garment wasn't my way of going out, especially in the first round and I had rucked and sidestepped to the right, beneath his gripping arms which sent him lunging at the crowd who OOOoo'd in fear and anticipation.

By the time he'd regained his footing, I was already standing there looking at him. I lifted a hand to yawn and his anger boiled from his neck up, causing his head to fume nearly and glow a faint red tint. His fists were white-knuckled with fury and he stepped and began swinging wide hay-makers. I leaned to the left and right, keeping my balance, but without my key element exposed, my range of bending backwards was severely hampered. I reached behind my back, unzipping a rear fly while avoiding another onslaught of swinging and out popped a slender tail with a tuft at the end in a shade of chocolate being darker than my average skin tone. A hushed gasp crossed the crowds.

"Hold still, you little fuck!" He snarled.

Payn didn't seem to notice or care, barreling at me with my new-found agility. I saw my moment and in one of his fist-cocked motions, my tail snapped between my legs and grappled him about his right knee, and pulled, buckling his stance and he collapsed to the ground in an angered groan of pain, as his planted foot was reeled in toward his body. It looked painful from my position and I stepped up, avoiding a kick and then backed up. The crowd sudden became worried at the money they'd spent on Payn, only to realize that I was just toying with him...

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Character Portrait: Adara Vitalos Character Portrait: Dante Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Marlin
The Fights were in rare form tonight. Adara breezed past the giant bouncer of the week with a one-fingered wave. They rotated shifts every fight; new location, different bouncer than the week before. But they all knew her by now. She'd been fighting for a few months, making her way through the ranks and earning buckets of cash from all the poor losers who bet against a little girl.

"Benny, who am I up against tonight?" Benny was the fight coordinator, a hulking man just recently retired from the pro (legitimate) boxing circuit.

"You're not up tonight, Vitalos!" he shouted.

"What do you mean, I'm not up? Who the fuck IS up? "The crowd was getting rowdy. Adara stood on her toes, trying to see who was in the ring.

"Some new guy, callin' himself 'Illusion.'" Benny threw up a pair of finger quotes that would have Adara burning them right off his hands if they were directed at her. She swore. Looked at the bet counter, which was just gearing up for the fight. Nothin on the new guy yet.

Fuckin' new guy. What the hell, why not? She pulled a wad of cash out of her pocket and tossed it at Benny. "50 on 'Illusion'." She repeated the air quotes for good measure.

Pushing her way to the front of the crowd wasn't easy, but where an elbow or a dirty look didn't do the trick, a stomp to the foot with her heavy boots did. A few sore toes and ribs were left in her wake, but she was annoyed. Needed to work off some steam, especially after that tedious break-in job. Something to punch would have been perfect.

But no. New guy was the star attraction tonight. Maybe the audience was getting bored with watching Adara beat up guys twice her size. Nah, who could get sick of that? Maybe just leaving them in suspense for next week.

Illusion was facing off against Payn. Nasty son of a bitch. Textbook super-strength metahuman. Boring as shit. Adara leaned against the edge of the waist-high fence that separated the fighters from the crowd. The two of them entered the ring. Illusion was a small guy, but he looked like he was quick on his feet. Not unlike Adara herself.

She watched as he did exactly what she would have; toyed with Payne, dodged his attacks and tired the big man out. The raucous crowd slowly quieted until the room almost consisted of one communal held breath. Payn was pissed, and it was making him even clumsier than usual. Illusion still looked fresh. Boy probably hadn't even gone through half his bag of tricks yet.

Adara waited, eyeing that $28,500 bet for Payn. The end would come soon.

The setting changes from Muspell to New Exodia

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#, as written by Exodyus
[Wrong forum]

The setting changes from New Exodia to Nifl

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#, as written by Exodyus
Dark chocolate eyes scanned the monitors carefully. Had the building's defense been turned on, steel doors as thick as a man's shoulders would have shut off the first three floors, turning the entire building into a cage of steel. Then security doors would have begun to drop into place, one by one by sectors -- locking places down that seemed to be lynch pin crucial and so on, like trapping rats with pieces of cardboard. Gas might have crept into the rooms. Laser guided turrets and so forth. The building was spectacularly defended, but for some reason -- all had bee disarmed. And no, we're not just talking about the smoldering security guards. Fire prompted the sprinkler system to kick on with her exit and showered the men who were in flames into submission.

I stared with a bit of humor, wondering what it was that she'd stolen and with the tap of a few keys, I focused in on the technology within the drive that she'd stolen and choked on a bit of a laugh. It stifled from my lips for a moment before I shook my head and pressed a hand to my face, "Fuck... that's going to be a headache." The information on the drive wasn't technically mine, though it was stored in my files, on my servers, in my building -- however those file that were so specific were for a Xeno-suit with incredible capabilities. The cost on the market, with out plans was an incredible paycheck -- even I knew this.

So why were the defenses off?

I smirked. I saw competition. Whoever this girl was, she was quick with her hands and in this world -- this life, people who stepped out with their powers were noticed in a few places more-so than others. Specifically, doing more criminal acts because with powers like hers, fire is dangerous shit. Especially when it can consume the oxygen around her in seconds into a raging wildfire; these same wildfires take the outskirts weeks to put out, and here she wielded it as if it was merely another extension of herself. Tapping a few keys, I replayed her exit fight with the young man. He was quick. Dealt some damage. She looked overwhelmed. Stepped back. And Yoga Flamed the shit out of this guy. Sue me, I liked some Street Fighter.

Fighter. "Shit! The fights! I forgot I'm up tonight..." Mumbling to myself, I narrowed my eyes and tapped the keys again, replaying slowly while leaning into the large screen before me. She was getting her ass beat, but then ... pulled out ... "What is that ...?" I squinted and shook my head slowly. It was some sort of silver box, but ... "Ah! A lighter!?" It could have been, and as the wheels churned within me I walked into my closet touching a key on the wall and the alarms for the building went off and a voice answered, "Yes, sir?"

"Clean up the mess. Don't worry about the girl. Make sure those soldiers are briefed and reviewed. I want to know what they know and how she got passed the preliminary defenses. Someone would have had to have said something..."

"Roger that, sir."

I changed and left. The building would be taken care of for the remainder of the night by security. I simply ... vanished.

The setting changes from Nifl to Muspell

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#, as written by Exodyus
I gave the spiky fuck a little time to get up after his fall and noticed in that short time, his breathing was heavier and winded. He really wasn't used to someone putting up a fight without fighting and exerting himself was paying off for me. I wanted to make a show of it for the crowd though, so that they didn't feel like they'd lose their money horribly -- even though that's exactly what was happening. When he stood, the sounds of plinking metal whispered behind him and he turned to see that some of the spikes had been busted loose from the leather straps and this really, really pissed him off.

"Do you KNOW how much this shit COST ME?!" He roared, throwing his hands out in grief as he faced me. I shrugged, apathetically.

"It's not even a look, dude. It's straps of leather. I'm sure your mommy can repair it for you." I snickered.

Enraging people was something that I did best. As a simple and easy-going passive aggressive, I could lay back, relax and thump buttons all day long and in the end, probably still have a beer with this hulking, bondage-douche. Somehow though, I didn't think he felt the same way. He lifted into a boxer's stance and I saw what looked to be a bit of chi ebbing from his frame. I wasn't aware that he had any form of training in these arts, but being the new guy, I didn't know much. I was a bit of a dunce when it came to things like this.

I'd been in an alleyway after a gig in Muspell about two weeks ago when some fuckstick tried to jump me in an alley. Notice that a gig in my line of work wasn't easy, by any means -- and I'm surely not fucking talking about music. However, as classified as my work was, let's just say that I'd returned some stolen property to it's rightful owner when this fuck-nut approaches me with a knife in a shadier part of Muspell. A knife. I mean, seriously -- the fight wasn't anything drastic, but I'd also been training for the better part of my life, thanks to dear ole' dad, so when the time came -- I suspect it was brutal looking.
I wont get too much into this little side-note, but to simply say, when the fight ended, the man was unconscious and hanging by his boot laces from one of those metal and grate staircases that is mounted to the outside of a building. Apparently, this tickled someone's fancy and he drove up on me in a blacked out sedan and cracked the window, only handing me a bit of parchment with an address scribble on it, a time and date, and 'The Fights'. And here I am.


Payn had taken his precious time while I'd been reminiscing about how I ended up here and finally had conjured enough energy to form something of an attack. Now, call me arrogant, but the time it took him to accumulate such a small amount of potential, I'd nearly doubled it. "EAT THIS, FAIRYFUCK!" He roared and threw a fist toward me. The energy had swollen about his wrist and fanned out into something that looked like a cone of energy, with the point aimed right at me. Normally, someone would have been concerned with this sort of onslaught because of the man's overall size, assuming that his energy-gathering abilities might directly correlate. Wrong answer.

I didn't want to do what I did, but only because I liked this hoodie. With a raised right hand, the swamp of arcana expanded about lithe digits and essentially brick-walled his entire attack. The cone came into contact with my own arcana and simply nullified what he had sent toward me with a whoosh of wind from the heavy collision across the crowds. My dejection was that the trails of arcana crossed my arms, via runic tattoos that had been scribed along my flesh. When they'd heated up, it literally burned off the sleeve of my hoodie like a high-intensity laser.
The crowd flipped out. Their cheers of seeing such potentials drove them to insane antics and pointing. I sighed, deciding that it was time to end this stupidity. I grinned. The light from this angle illuminated my lower jaw and sharp canines, revealing a caramel olive toned skin and a nasty sneer, "My turn." Payn's eyes were widened, still in awe that his entire efforts had been put down like a rabid dog.

A snap echoed within the concrete room and I'd vanished. Such a trick would be confusing to some, but the arcana in my bloodline was incredibly powerful. Tracking me would be useless, because the moment I vanished, I wasn't really on the corporeal plane, but an alternate dimension. Throughout time, people have called it Purgatory, but I know better than that -- my demon side enjoys the travels and feels revitalized whenever I return. Seconds pass. I cannot ever remain in this limbo state, due to the laws of the universe. I, like my father before me, have learned to master and harness where I leave from, and where I re-enter. In this such case, I've projected myself out of the limbo state with a flying knee ... right to Payn's big ugly facemask. I can feel the crunching of cartilage beneath my bones. I can stare into his eyes, milliseconds before the impact and watch his pupils dilate with recognition. The beads of sweat on his massive, bald head -- I can count them individually. The very breath heaves from this ebony mask and it sounds like a typhoon with his inhalation of utter surprise. Crunch.

Riding his body like a stallion was a rather enjoyable experience. The gasp from the crowd sounded like it could have sucked the oxygen from the entire building. It was a collective understanding that they no longer had any money or investment in this fight. They'd lost everything, except for one luck person who bet right ... of course, this was my opinion. Avoiding the spikes, I pushed off of Payn in a launching or vaulting motion, performing a back flip, but using my own weight to rocket the man at the ground where the sickening thump of his skull against the hard concrete allowed a massive wince at once to act as a wave through the crowds. With perfect agility I landed, standing in the middle of the arena. Music blared. Other fights cheered and could be heard, but the oddity of silence around me felt odd. I exhaled quietly.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Adara Vitalos Character Portrait: Dante Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Marlin
The fight ended with the result Adara had expected, but not the methods. This Illusion was a powerful man. And a cocky son of a bitch. We'd either get along real well or kill each other... The crowd gathered around the arena fell silent as Illusion finished off Payn with style. The guy had a real flair for the dramatic.

The announcer finally broke the silence. "And Illusion wins it in a surprising blowout! Payn is down for the count. Damn that looks painful!" A few people started clapping; probably those that got there too late to place a bet. Adara joined in, clapping more enthusiastically than those around her. A few gave her dirty looks. She gave them the finger.

"And congratulations to the lucky person who bet $50 on Mr. Illusion! You're going home rich tonight!"

Fuck yeah! This had turned out to be a great day for Adara's bank account. She sauntered away as a few men trotted out to remove Payn from the ring. Guy was gonna have a major headache in the morning, a fact which made Adara laugh out loud. She searched for Benny. He had to be somewhere nearby, with a nice fat payout for her.

"Hey! It's not my problem! You bet, you lost. Get over it." Benny was surrounded by a mob of people demanding their money back. He didn't look the least bit flustered, though some of the men and women glared as if they could kill him with their minds. Hell, maybe some of them could.

"I believe that's mine," Adara said. She waved the tips of her fingers at Benny. With a shake of his head the big man handed over the cash.

"Lucky bitch. Be careful on your way home."

"Oh I will." She winked and stuffed the money in the pocket of her leggings.

Adara didn't get far before she found herself surrounded. It wasn't unusual for mini fights to break out in the crowd. People got out of hand, insulted one another's mothers, and blows were traded. These were usually short and didn't attract much attention. This confrontation, though, wasn't going to be a few amateurs trading blows.

A ring of angry men and women shouted and growled at Adara, demanding she return their money. Sore losers. She fished her lighter out of her pocket, flipped it open, and held her finger over the thumbwheel. That antsy feeling returned. She needed to punch something. How nice of these people to oblige.

"Oh, fuck with me. Please."

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#, as written by Exodyus
"Hey. Fucktards!"

The mob's angry rants hushed for a moment in the middle of all of the music blaring in the background and the other fights going on to turn and see this man known as Illusion standing within five feet from them. They separated leaving a direct line between me and Adara and I waved a hand with a frown, as if shooing them off... I sighed and kicked my hoodie back off my head. The light revealed a mob of brown hair that seemed an olive tint in the right lighting and a slender, handsome face on a young man. Of course I was handsome, what else would I be? Dusting a bit of unruly hair from my eyes, I spoke again, "You shouldn't have bet on that fuck if you didn't want to lose your money. You reacted based on my size and your pocketbook suffered. Now fuck off and leave her be, before we tag-team your asses..."

It was then that they saw who she was and realized that fighting a flame-eater and some freak show wouldn't be a good idea at all. Whispers of her being the one to control fire crawled across the crowd swiftly and they pointed with small fingers and bent arms, as if spying some celebrity and trying to remain hushed about it. They slowly dispersed and I took a look at the woman for the first time. She was sexy. Great athletic figure. A smirk crawled across my lips that was more devil than man and I snickered to myself. It slowly waned from my lips though as I saw what was in here hand: a lighter.

I lofted an unseen brow, buried beneath all of the hair that covered my eyes and I approached her with a bit of apprehension and caution as Benny approached me and tapped me on the shoulder with a chuckle, "Hey kid. This is yours." He handed me a rather fat roll and nodded, "Your first sanctioned fight, right?" I took the roll of money with a shrug and flipped out a grand and handed it back to the man who stared at me like I was crazy. "You won that. It's yours."

"I understand. And now I'm tipping you what I think you deserve for doing this." Benny looked at me skeptically and then looked at Adara with a bit of confusion, before apprehensively taking the money and pocketing it. "Thanks?"

"You're welcome. I'd like to set up another one. Weed out all of these people who are larger than life..." I gave the man a mischievous grin before looking to Adara, knowing she knew what I was talking about and then I nodded to her, "Wanna grab a bite to eat?"

Benny chuckled at patted me on the back, "You're just looking for trouble now, kid. Where you from?"

The question was so fucking loaded that the man would blow a gasket if he really knew. I smirked, "Hm. Everywhere, man. Everywhere."

That skeptical face came back, "What's your name?" He asked instead.

"Call me Dante."

"Benny."

"Pleasure." We shook before he nodded to Adara and walked off, leaving us to ourselves.

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#, as written by Eskay
Hugh scratched his dark brown hair as he entered the arena. His latest offer had just come from Waterson, one of his contacts, concerning the "eradication of one notorious gang 'Terror Engineers.' " Though he had handled cases as these in the past, getting inside the factions and taking the Engies out quietly was going to prove difficult on his own.

"Just my luck that Chum and Bramminond are out..." thought Hugh.

Hugh has always detested The Fights. Whether it be for the reason that it stole Ross away from his life or for the resentment of watching others stoop to killing themselves to obtain a living. However, desperate times called for desperate measures- the Engineers needed to be eradicated, and Hugh was running out of options for potential teammates before the op was to start. There were only two places to find desperate souls looking for work- the bar, or the Arena. Though he was no connisseur of the Fights per se, he keeps a solid record of some of the more renowned celebrities, and Adara Vitalos was a consistent winner. Since this was an impromptu visit, he wasn't quite sure if Adara was on the docket to fight, but if he could somehow catch her and persuade her to join in this op, it would make his job that much easier- and perhaps set her up to find a more "healthy" way of living.

Luckily for Hugh, as he entered the arena, who would be standing close by but the illustrious Adara Vitalos herself, accompanied by a shady man Hugh had never seen before. Making his way through the crowd, he finally stumbled upon Adara, making his presence known just loud enough to be heard over the crowd.

"Adara Vitalos, right? The name's Hugh Baselard. I know you're busy, so I'll cut to the chase- I have a business proposition for you. I think you'll find that it's tailored to your, erm, "talents" to a t."

As he extended a hand to shake Adaras, he took notice of her companion. He looked a little slender to be considered for this kind of work, but Hugh knew better than to let a first impression get the better of his judgement.

"I'm not sure how accustomed you are to getting your hands dirty, but I assume an acquaintance of Adara has to be able to hold his own as well. You're more than welcome to come along as well, Mr...?"

The setting changes from Muspell to New Exodia

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#, as written by Marlin
"Shit." Adara pointed at Dante. "That's two fights you've stolen from me tonight." Her fists tightened, and she had a strong urge to merely change the fight's participants. But the guy did just win her a huge payout. With a great effort, Adara pocketed her lighter. "You probably saved a couple lives though." She looked the stranger over. He was a small guy, but not without a certain charm.

"Food... okay. But your treat. To make it up to me." She glared, but there wasn't any real venom in it.

Before they could leave, another man approached. He was tall, well built, and unassuming. But his perfectly-styled blonde hair said he took a certain pride in his appearance. The polar opposite of Dante's careless good looks. I'm popular tonight, considering I didn't even knock anyone out.

"Adara Vitalos, right? The name's Hugh Baselard. I know you're busy, so I'll cut to the chase- I have a business proposition for you. I think you'll find that it's tailored to your, erm, "talents" to a t," the man said. This conversation was getting tedious already; Adara just wanted to hit something.

But. Baselard was offering a job ... and a job meant money. Can never have enough of that. She thought longingly of the punching bag back at her apartment, but it might be worth it to see what he had to say. He held out a hand for her to shake. Interesting. Not many people in Muspell bothered with niceties these days.

She gripped his hand, hating that she had to look up so far to meet Baselard's eyes. "I don't have the patience to stand around here any longer. Dante here just offered to treat me to dinner. I'm sure he won't mind one more." She eyed Dante, daring him to contradict her.

The setting changes from New Exodia to Muspell

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#, as written by Exodyus
She was certainly feisty, which was more of the reason she made it through Xion Core without much trouble -- skill was an excellent asset for her as well. Along with this ... charming personality. I was scolded, but with a boyishly cute and charismatic grin, she turned her attitude elsewhere before calming down some. She was attractive and this spit-fire spunk just was icing on the cake. I'd take a little pain with my pleasure, I smirked in thought.

She accepted to dinner and as they both made to move, some bombshell beauty showed up, except he was a fairy. His hair was way too perfectly placed and that strong jaw probably tackled the ladies emotional walls into submission. He was a bit charming, but he had a Keith-like flare about him that I shrugged off without much concern. He spoke of work to the woman and she looked to anger, but perked at the sound of financial motivation. So, she's a merc. Makes sense...

I stretched and shrugged. My tail wrapped about my waist like a belt, tucked beneath the ebony jacket and out of sight before giving a lithe, careless nod of approval. "I just made fourteen grand, along with Ms. Vitalos, here. So I'll be more than happy to spring for dinner for both of you. I made half the take and those who voted on me made the same. If one person bet on me, they'd make what I did. An extra five hundred was cut off the top for the set-up of each fight. They made a killing most nights. Know any good joints around here to eat at?" I asked in a random, aimless fashion that seemed to fit my personality well - at least for this withdrawn, rogue-sort that I was pretending to be. Besides, I never ate in a dump like Muspell, unless I prepared the food myself. I didn't want to catch anything nasty. You know -- like AIDS. The Clap. Or Gonnhaherpasyphilitis. Muspell wasn't exactly clean or known for their expertise in hygiene or cleanliness...

Stuffing my hands into bare pockets, I turned to see the other crowds slowly dissipating for the night and both the fights ending. A group of suits stood in the background, lingering in the darkness beyond the dense mob that had slowly began filtering out and I lofted a brow and turned by back toward them, whispering softly, "Behind me. Six o'clock. Friends of yours?" Dark chocolate eyes were focused on Adara's face, knowing that she could look over my shoulder and spy what I'd glimpsed and then with a bizarre change of attitude, I burst into laughter and lifted my hands, taking her and Hugh by the shoulder and spinning them toward the crowd. We'd be lost in them for sure and none would be the wiser.

Besides, dinner was on me and my acting career was just getting started!

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#, as written by Eskay
Matching Adara's grip, Hugh enthusiastically returned the handshake, pleased to have piqued her interest. Perhaps his trip to the accursed Arena had proved fruitful after all! In addition to obtaining two potential colleagues for this significan op, he was getting treated to a free meal! Though he had mixed feelings about taking advantage of someone's blood money, it had been quite some time since Hugh had had a decent meal.

"And the more I think about it, how much different these people than me?" Hugh reasoned, "Money seldom crosses my palms unless there's blood at it at the request of an employer..."

Before more niceties could be exchanged, however, Hugh noticed the peculiar mannerisms of an even more peculiar group of people from across the crowd. Hugh made an instinctual grab for Masks chain, but was stopped abruptly by Dante's observatory gesture.

"Behind me. Six o'clock. Friends of yours?" the stranger asked.

"I don't have any friends." Hugh answered, tightening the grip on Masks memento.

Before he could take any action, however, he found himself swept away by Dante's escape plan. Agreeing with the course of action, Hugh went along with it, joining in Dante's laughter. Unlike Dante, however, part of Hugh really was enjoying the moment. If even for a split second, he was feeling something of companionship- something he had not felt in a long, long time.

"I'm thinking this guy will prove useful as well." Hugh observed.

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#, as written by Marlin
Adara hadn't really processed what was going on yet when Dante grabbed her and steered her back into the crowd. There had been a rough-looking group coming their way. Tougher than the angry gamblers had been. Professionals, if Adara spotted the signs correctly.

She glanced back. The group of men split and fanned out into the crowd, pushing through the throngs of bystanders. That itch for violence returned, and Adara stopped short, planting her feet. One of the strangers was about fifty feet back and headed right for her and her companions. Just one little fight... This guy's getting way too close. She mentally justified her next action. Besides that practical reasoning, she also wasn't going to let Dante keep her from another fight tonight.

Adara dropped to her haunches, ducking out of Dante's grip and rolling past the legs of a few people nearby. She stayed down, knowing she'd be lost in the sea of people, until her target walked by. She popped up and slammed a punch straight into the man's kidney.

He spun around, pissed, and a crowd of onlookers instantly formed around them. A glint of recognition sparked in the man's eyes. He knew who she was. So did much of the crowd.

"Kick his ass, Adara!" someone shouted. Adara grinned. That's exactly what she planned to do.

Tha man went on the attack, attempting to use his height against her. Typical. He was obviously used to more academic fighting conditions—his movements were well-timed and well-executed, but mechanical. Adara waited until he was almost on top of her, then planted a boot in his groin almost casually. The guy fell like a dropped slab of concrete.

What the hell? That doesn't even count as getting to fight!

The setting changes from Muspell to New Exodia

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#, as written by Eskay
Hugh facepalmed- he had not anticipated a fight so out in the open like this. Weighing his options, he quickly decided that it was in his best interest not to leave his colleague-to-be out to herself. It was discourteous, not to mention very un-chivalrous.

"Let's test the waters a bit..." Hugh pondered, cracking his knuckles.

He casually spun out of Dante's hold, surveying the immediate perimeter. Though it appeared that the big boss had fallen to a rather nasty groin-punch, one of his cohorts was attempting to get the drop on her from behind. Though not near as trained as Adara's most recent victim, this one was concealing a knife, poised to plunge it into Adara's unsuspecting back.

Hugh briskly walked in the direction of Adara, abruptly abouting face just as he passed the assailant. Catching him off-guard, Hugh was able to land a resounding haymaker to the mans jaw. The crowd roared at this new development, completely drowning out the dissaproving groan from the mystery attacker.

Upon decking the mobster, Hugh took his position at Adara's 6 o'clock, facing opposite of her.

"I'm guessing that these weren't the only two thugs," Hugh observed, "Looks like we'll be working together sooner than we thought."

The setting changes from New Exodia to Muspell

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#, as written by Exodyus
"Well shit, Hugh..." I mumbled, spinning around to see the crowd which were leaving beginning to suddenly form up around the young woman. This suddenly altered the flow of any movement leaving the garage because of the amount of people dumping back into the construct. The flow had performed a perfect one-hundred and eighty degrees leaving the escapees to fight instead of merely meandering out of this challenge.

I turned to watch for a moment. She was hungry for combat more than food, meanwhile, my stomach gnawed on my backbone. Shifting burned a ton of calories in a short period of time and required me to eat more often than most others. It kept me lean and fit, but also left me starving more often than I really wanted to be. I mean, seriously -- what kind of bad-ass walks around with a Nutrigrain bar for some in-between meals snackage? Uh -- none. It surely was gay looking, and I wouldn't have any of that.

I stuffed a hand into my pocket and pulled out a stick of gum from a package of Stride and held the Wintergreen scented pack toward Hugh for an offering. Regardless of whether he wanted one, I stuffed it back in my pocket and unwrapped my piece and began chomping away. Anything is better than nothing. I slipped off around the crowds, watching what seemed to be like a legion of men in suits trying to fight their way into the middle of the crowds. As I passed, I decided to bring on the pain, unleashing the metallic tonfa sticks from their sheathing on my lower back and as I humbly sauntered by -- I gave them a crack in the side of their knee.

Ha.

Dick move; me, one. Them, none. One lunged and only found the ground, with me standing on top of his back, lifting a leg and stomping hard against the back of his skull. The splatter of blood looked like a Rorschach test from his broken nose and he cried, curling up into a fetal position on the ground. It forced a fake yawn and stifled laugh as I peered into the pit at Adara who seemed bored already with the lack of competition they provided.