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Adriaan Kavaki

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a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Tiko

Groups

A group of battle-hardened veterans. These legendary champions came from all walks of life before banding together in the defense of Terra.

Description

Image
*I did not create nor do I own this image, it belongs to heise of Deviantart.

Name: Adriaan Kavaki
Age: 27
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 160 lb.
Race/Species: Avorian
Place of Birth: Volary, Western Shintenchi of Terra
Current Residence: Wing City, Midlands of Terra
Nationality: Volarian
Occupation(s): Patronus, Street Fighter

A monk hailing from western Shintenchi, Adriaan is lithe and lightly built, as appropriate for his species, with a toned and muscled form. Though some might label his features effeminate as they toe that line somewhere between handsome and pretty, the lighter body build results in less body mass and bulky muscle tone which is more fitting for a species accustomed to flying. Though his skeletal structure is not as sturdy as that of a human, his rigorous training and use of Ki leaves him a capable fighter. He has grey eyes, slightly pointed ears, and long silver hair that he typically keeps braided. A pair of powerful and fully functional feathered wings can be seen sporting from his back.

Adriaan is rather good natured and a touch chivalric at times, though his chivalry can often be credited to his weak spot for the proverbial damsel in distress. Adriaan is apt to taking a somewhat dogmatic approach to the teachings of his order and often views his life as a scale of giving and receiving, and he's not afraid to play the scales a bit to enjoy himself while accepting the consequences that will arise at a later date for his indulgences. After all, what's the point of life if you don't live a little.

Equipment:
  • Gauntlets: These gauntlets cover the hands as well as extend upwards to the elbow and vicious spikes have been affixed to the knuckles. Though metallic, their exact origin is uncertain, but for their light build and nearly weightlessness they are extremely durable. They are capable of withstanding a great deal of blunt force as well as well as magical assaults upon them.
  • Prayer beads: Used to help focus his Ki. He generally wraps them around his fist and wrist during fights while keeping them in his pocket when not involved in combat.

So begins...

Adriaan Kavaki's Story

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#, as written by Tiko
Dropping down off from a nearby rock was a lithe looking man sporting a pair of feathery wings and a long braid of silvery white hair. His attire didn't offer much into his origins, though the make was that of a commoner or a traveler. Simple and unadorned with the wear and tear of its mileage. The only thing that set him apart from a simple traveler were the finely crafted metallic gauntlets that enclosed his hands and forearms, the knuckles of which sported a row of spikes.

“Afraid not travelers. Your only other route will take you three days off course, unless you want to swim for it. But I'll bet you five dinars the eels are picking your bones before you make it to the mid-point. Rest assured though, the bridge is quite safe.”

As if to emphasis that point, the man nimbly stepped out onto the bridge. “Of course, if you want to cross it, you're going to have to defeat me in combat. Why you ask? Well to be honest, there's no real reason other than I've sat here all day waiting for travelers to test my mettle against, and it would be a right waste of time if I just let you two go across now. So what say you? Face me? Or take the long way around?”

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#, as written by Tiko
“None taken, good Sir.” The man was rather amiable for a highwayman.

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#, as written by Tiko
"Why, what a brilliant idea!" Adriaan interlaced his fingers together and cracked his knuckles, followed by a crack of his neck to either side. "Shall we then?" Adriaan slipped into a guarded battle stance. "You should know, back in Virisia I am undefeated in hand-to-hand combat. May the best warrior win."

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#, as written by Tiko
Crossing his gauntlets before him, the magic missile struck the metallic surface of the man's gauntlets and dissipated in a spark of arcane magic. “Hah! You'll have to do better than -”

Before he could finish his sentence, the follow up color spray caught him up and he staggered backwards, dazed and momentarily blinded by the dancing lights. A simple misplaced step resulted in him taking an unfortunate tumble over the edge of the bridge.

“Oof.” The man grunted as the icy hand snatched him up mid fall just in time for the stars to start clearing from his eyes.

“Ahem. Well played Sir. Might you put me down now?”

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#, as written by Tiko
Seemingly a good enough sport about the whole matter, Adriaan returned the handshake with just as much enthusiasm as before his rather prompt defeat. “Of course, of course. If you must be on your way, you musn't delay. Though I must admit I'm not sure how this works. Normally such a blatant show of combat prowess and my subsequent defeat would leave me honor bound to seek tutelage under you.”

He scratched at his head as if perplexed by the situation. “But given your victory through the arts of mage-craft, I suppose we could wave that this time. But I must insist on accompanying you on your journey. My name is Adriaan by the way.”

As he talked he had moved aside to allow the pair to pass.

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#, as written by Tiko
“Robbed? My good sir, you have me all wrong. I humbly wished only to test my mettle and combat prowess against formidable travelers. I have technique and training down to a science, but both pale in comparison to the benefits of real world experience,” Adriaan replied to Tycho before addressing Alrion. “Graveyard? I can't say I know of any graveyards, though I did catch sight of some stone structures to the east of here, when I flew over. Crypts perhaps? I can show you if you wish.”

The setting changes from dark-woods to Dark Grove

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“Well, that sure is a fine piece of work. Beautiful craftsmanship. That what you two came all the way out here for?” Adriaan asked.

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#, as written by Tiko
Adriaan walked up with Tycho to peer at the blade, though he kept his hands to himself. Outside of appreciating the craftsmanship, he had little use for swords. “Say, does your friend often talk to himself?” Adriaan asked with a glance to Alrion. “Not that there's anything wrong with it, just idle conversation,” he added quickly.

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#, as written by Tiko
"Wench? On the contrary! I can understand how my effeminate looks might cause confusion, but I assure you I am most definitely a man," Adriaan replied before glancing back to Alrion. “Help him? It doesn't generally take two people to pull a sword out of some dead guys chest. Though there are typically unhealthy repercussions to robbing graveyar-” he was cut off by the sound of stone doors slamming shut. “What'd I tell you.”

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“Bitching? My good sir, you again seem to misunderstand me. However, it must be stated that if I end up with some curse or having to do penance for an untold span of time for this, you owe me one." Pulling a string of prayer beads from his pocket, he entwined them around his hand for a touch of good fortune to help counter the bad fortune of looting a graveyard.

With that accomplished, he moved over to assist Tycho. However, once again, his intentions were suitably disrupted, this time by the sword sinking into the ground. “Well, that was peculiar. Say, where did your friend go?”

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“Well, there doesn't look to be a lot of other options, eh?” Adriaan asked as he strode after Tycho. “Kind of surreal, huh?” he added with a look about their surroundings.

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“Oh boy. What I tell you. There's definitely going to be some penance paying to be done before this day is through,” Adriaan said as he shifted into a readied combat stance.

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“Right with you-” Adriaan began, but just like that Tycho was gone. “Well then, I guess it's just you and me,” Adriaan remarked with a crack of his neck. As the serpent lunged for him, Adriaan's coiled muscles sprang into action and he leaped forward to meet the skeleton head on, gaining lift and momentum with a deft stroke of his wings. Thrusting his spiked gauntlet towards the serpent's open jaws, the prayer beads entwined around his hand helped him to focus his ki into a single devastating blow.

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#, as written by Tiko
Adriaan blinked at the seeming lack of effect crushing the things skull had. “Well then,” he remarked as the serpent heads surged beneath him and towards Tycho. Twisting in mid air, Adriaan dove after the heads, skimming across the ground just above them as he raced them towards Tycho. As the man tripped and face planted, Adriaan spread his wings and skimmed to a halt, landing crouched beside him. Grabbing him by the back of the collar, Adriaan hoisted him back to his feet. “Time to go,” he said and half pushed Tycho back into a run.

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#, as written by Tiko
As a second serpent lunged across the first, fanged bared for Tycho's over extended arm, Adriaan brought his fist around to drive his gauntlet upwards into the jaw of the skeleton. Much as with the head of the creature earlier, the brittle bones of the serpent skull fragmented under the blow, but there were many more to contend with.

“Would love to, but you're a might bit heavy around the middle, if you catch my drift.”

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#, as written by Tiko
“Nice trick that,” Adriaan grunted as he jumped back to evade a strike for his legs, though as the serpents coiled about to constrict the pair, he was losing maneuverability. Another snake fell beneath his gauntlet, while another wound its way about his legs. Entrapped as he was, his athleticism could do him no good and he felt the sharp barbs of fangs sink into his thigh. With a grunt he grabbed the serpents head and pried its jaws open until the skull fragments crumbled within his grip.

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#, as written by Tiko
Coiling his legs for a jump, Adriaan shuttled skyward and clear of the writhing serpents. A quick survey of the situation had him in agreement with Tycho's line of thinking and he furled his wings, plummeting back into a dive, this time closing in on the crypt just behind Tycho. As the pair cleared the threshold, he alighted upon the floor dusting his clothes off.

“No problem man, it happens to everyone,” he replied to Alrion.

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“There see. Nothing out of the ordinary here,” Adriaan reaffirmed. “So, what's next? Hanging with you guys seems a recipe for adventure, so if it's all the same to you two, I'll stick around a while.”

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#, as written by Tiko
“Well then! Seven of these things you say? What are we waiting for?” Adriaan replied. Giving his knuckles a crack, the avorian seemed rearing to go.

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#, as written by Tiko
Leaning close to Alrion, Adriaan murmured something discretely behind one hand. “Your friend here seems a few cards shy of a full deck, if you catch my meaning.”

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#, as written by Tiko
“A whatsawho?” Adriaan murmured back, still watching the spectacle that was Tycho.

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#, as written by Tiko
"Perhaps I should give you two a moment?"

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#, as written by Tiko
Adriaan seemed rather put out by the disbandment of the group, but what's a guy to do. Surely there was adventure to be found somewhere else if he went looking. “Yeah, I guess. See you around.”

The setting changes from dark-grove to Terra

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Tiko and Patcharoo)

Adriaan lounged lazily in a crude but functional hammock strung up between two trees. It was early morning, and the sun had only just begin to peek over the horizon, but for a man used to rising before dawn, it was a slow start.

Stretching languidly he let out a loud yawn and sat up. His campsite was situated just outside of a nearby city, if one could call it that. His pointed lack of equipment or even a campfire left it substantially lacking, and the hammock itself was an oddity, though perhaps not for one who was unaccustomed to sleeping so low to the ground.

He had been nearby the entire time, completely invisible despite the canary yellow outfit he wore. But now he chose to reveal himself, dropping to the ground in a bright streak as his cloaking fizzled. "Good day," he said, taking an awkward pose next to a tree. He seemed to be leaning backwards, away from Adriaan, and tilting his head forward so he could still observe him.

Caught mid yawn, Adriaan blinked away the lingering traces of sleep from his eyes as he peered at the strange man. “Howdy hey, stranger,” Adriaan offered in greeting. "What can I do for you?"

The man tilted forward, as if desiring a closer look at Adriaan. As always, his flesh was utterly concealed by his full suit and mask combination, and his feet were silent as ever. His eyes trailed to the gauntlets and he gestured. "I'm seeking a challenge," he answered simply, "A challenge of might."

“A challenge you say?” Adriaan asked as he began to pull his gauntlets on. Swinging down from his hammock he arched his back as he gave it a stretch, followed up by lacing his fingers together and stretching them overhead. “Ah. Much better. Nothing like rolling out of bed with a crick in your neck,” he remarked as he put a hand to his neck and rolled his head with an audible pop. “So what's this challenge of might about?” Adriaan asked.

"A challenge of fist," the man answered simply, "You looked the type." He placed a hnd on his sword, a twisted and warped weapon that had obviously seen better days. "I would do away with this blade so that we can fight."

“Well, a challenge it will be then! But I assure you, there is no need to discard your weapons of choice,” Adriaan reassured the man. “Though I must ask, what is this name of the man who challenges me?”

"Balthazar. Shall we begin?"

“Nothing like the present. May the best warrior win,” Adriaan replied as he dropped into a readied battle stance.

Balthazar drew his sword and immediately thrust it into the wood of the tree nearest, specifically one of the trees that the hammock was attached to. Splinters exploded out from the tree as an open-handed jab was thrown upwards from his left hand to slap at Adriaan's face.

Adriaan brought his own arm up to intercept Balthazar's attack, catching it upon the forearm of his gauntlet while his own muscles coiled like a serpent and he lashed out with an open palmed strike for Balthazar's chest.

Balthazar's right hand was already returning from abandoning his sword, swiping inwards to slap away the strike aimed for his chest, as his left foot slid behind his right, turning his body to leave him side on. "I don't use my sword for a reason. I don't use it because it would make victory trivial."

“If you insist,” Adriaan replied as the spikes in his gauntlets retracted smoothly.

Shifting swiftly, Adriaan swung his other arm around for Balthazar's jaw, but a swift deflection knocked his blow wide. Smoothly flowing out of the deflection, Adriaan twisted about into a roundhouse kick through open air as Balthazar ducked. His back now to Balthazar, Adriaan brought an arm around in a back handed blow as he turned, but was swiftly intercepted by a block from Balthazar who seized the opening to land a strong open handed blow to Adriaan's ribs. With a grunt, Adriaan brought a foot up into an equally powerful kick to Balthazar's gut.

As the blows grew more heated, it seemed to blur together into a rapid exchange of impacts, flesh against steel, give and take - neither combatant yielding ground to the other. In a bold move, Adriaan jumped high and aimed a kick for Balthazar's chest while thowing himself backwards into the air where his wings could catch him and allow him to alight upon the ground a few paces away.

The momentary separation gave the combatants a moments respite to stance off once more. “Not bad,” Adriaan remarked approvingly. His breath was heavy but even.

Balthazar did not seem to breathe beneath his mask or suit. He remained unnervingly silent. However, it was obvious in his motions that there was fatigue weighing on his form. "Impressive," he agreed. "But while you could probably best me in martial prowess, my sword would more than even the scales." He non-chalantly wandered over to the tree where it rest and leant on an elbow.

Adriaan eased out of his combat stance with a perplexed look upon his face. “So what was all of this about then? If you don't mind me asking?”

"Other than wishing to test myself on combat skills, an offer to remove the blatant vulnerability in your combat style," he said, "It's a niche, I admit, but there are plenty of swords that are enchanted to overcome metal. Not to imply a lack of faith in your combat abilities..."

He drew his sword from the tree and return it to his belt.

“When one learns to listen to their body, it becomes in itself a living weapon. I haven't trained all these years to throw in the towel and take up arms,” Adriaan replied amiably enough. “The masters of my order can stop a sword blow upon their open palm. We do not permit the use of weapons, it creates a crutch and leads us to doubt what our bodies are capable of. Even a drop of doubt can make the difference between fracturing every bone in your hand and arm.”

Sarcasm was the first thought to come to Balthazar's mind, but he brushed it off. "I was of the understanding a weapon is a mere extension of the body. For example, I wield a sword, yet I can fight you with my hands. Not that I would suggest you pick up a sword. It takes training to do so."

“Training I am forbidden to pursue. I don't know what it is you want from me stranger, but you seem to mistake me for a common traveler. A disciple of the Shentei monks do not take up swords. It was an honor to do battle with you, but I have no need of weapons.”

Balthazar raised one hand near his own eye, pointing with one finger for Adriaan. "That is a respectable fact. I guess you wouldn't be interested in expanding your combat skills, then." This was going to take some lying, but it would secure a very worth-while individual.

Adriaan moved past Balthazar as he began unstringing his hammock from the trees while they conversed. “On the contrary, I am here to do exactly that. All of the training and technique in the world is a poor substitute for experience gained in real battle. But I do not need swords to learn what my body is capable of on its own. It would only serve as a detriment to expanding my skills.”

"Whyever would I suggest training in sword? From what I gathered your martial prowess is not mere fist, is it? You can use some sort of inner strength." He paused for a moment and stared distantly, if it was staring behind that mask. "I was wondering if you would be willing to test yourself. On all your learnings." He was familiar with monks, but then, he was familiar with most people. "Physical constitution, martial prowess, willpower."

“Ah, well then! Why didn't you say so! Sounds like a good spat of adventure. Though it does seem a bit peculiar, you showing up out of nowhere like this,” Adriaan replied.

"I hear that a lot," he answered calmly, before adding, "But its mostly because I seek individuals of specific talents. Maybe I've been following you?" It was left open ended, as to imply even he wasn't sure. "I am a treasure hunter. You are a man who's skills are perfect for the task at hand. It will also prove a worthy challenge."

"Well, that's good enough for me. So what's this challenge exactly?"

"As I said, I'm a treasure hunter, and there's a specific sword I would like to take. It's one of a collection of Seven incredibly rare and valuable swords. However, each is well guarded, and while I hold confident in my martial prowess, combatting that which guards the blade is not always a matter of combat, nor fists. There is little my sword could do against a foe much greater in size than myself." He was lying of course. His sword would tear to pieces anything it touched.

"Huh. It sure is a small world after all. Well, when an adventure comes knocking, twice over at that, it wouldn't do to pass it up.”

Balthazar stared for a moment. "Twice over?" he echoed, still standing with his awkward backwards-leaning stance.

Adriaan shrugged. “Another fellow was looking for swords also. Nice enough gentlemen with an addle brained comrade.”

Balthazar was caught off guard. "Can you tell me of them while we travel?" he asked, "Or more specifically, the swords they had? I would be... surprised to discover they were after the same weapons." This was unnerving. Where there others after the same thing he was?

"Sure, why not. Where we headed though?"

"Ah, hm, if I recall correctly," he said, staring distantly, "It was on the top of a very tall structure. An odd location, one would argue, but it was discovered somewhat recently, only ot be sealed away once more." By 'somewhat recently' he meant in the past thirty years.

"Sounds good. Shall we then?"

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written ty Tiko and Patcharoo)

“Think that's about it. Neat trick that, turning him all ghostly. Nice enough fellow, for being a few cards short of a full deck, if you catch my meaning.” As Adriaan and Balthazar finally arrived at their destination, the former had been quite jovially recounting his brief venture with Alrion and Tycho. They were back in Wing City on one of the many high rises.

"Definitely. The swords do seem to attract a perculiar sort," he said as he ascended the flight of stairs to the roof. He opened the door and inhaled loudly, smelling the city air. They were easily a dozen floors up off the ground, if not higher. "There," he said, simply gesturing. "The janitor closet."

Adriaan gave the closet a rather skeptical look. He was starting to wonder if all the people traipsing about for these swords were a bit rattled upstairs. “Seems a might strange place to be keeping old swords of untold value. So why haven't people come looking for these things before?” Adriaan asked as he reached to open the indicated door.

"People have. But every now and again one will resurface, then simply disappear once more, leaving a trail of paper as to its location. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the first time I seek the swords another does." Balthazar shrugged. "Ah, the janitors closet is bolted. The first of my problems. There is no key or way to open it and I lack the physical strength or tools to get through the door."

"I'm making an assumption that your physical strength combined with your gloves will allow you to potentially punch through the door."

Adriaan mulled it over as he checked the door frame before frowning. “That fanciful sword of yours can blow up a tree, but can't open the door?” he asked.

Balthazar looked disappointed. "It can," he said, "I was hoping you could do it. Could you turn around?" he asked calmly. "My sword is my own secret. I'd rather not share it."

Turning about to give Balthazar some privacy, Adriaan rocked back on his heels a bit as he waited Balthazar to do his thing. “So why are you looking for these swords again?”

"Treasure hunting, mostly." There was a cracking noise, followed by the loud crashing noise as the metal door fell to the floor. "You can turn around. And... Well, I'd suggest it be you who tries to take the sword."

"Me huh?" Adriaan asked. Even the jovial avorian was beginning to get the feeling that maybe Balthazar wasn't telling him everything. However, there was no point going back empty handed after trekking all the way here. Turning about he headed inside.

The sword floated jst a few steps inside the door, a pleasant looking blade, clearly finely crafted, a hilt of red and white with a small tassle dangling off the end. The sword was surprisingly narrow, but still clearly meant to clash with other blades. While hovering, it bobbed up and down on its own.

"Go ahead and grasp it."

“Well, if you're sure.” Adriaan stepped over to the sword and reached a hand out to firmly grasp the weapon around the hilt.

The world changed, everything vanishing, including the sword, leaving the two of them in a hall with the sword at one end and the two of them at the other. There were no windows, nor light, but it still was bright as day. The walls were a white brick of some sort and the chamber was maybe thirty meters long.

But scattered across the floor was a series of holes and slits. "Traps," Balthazar said, a pre-emptive warning.

Adriaan rubbed his chin as he studied the room and the apparent traps that lay along their path. After a moments contemplation he fished around in his pockets but turned up nothing of use but a few loose coins.

“Well, let's see if this will do the trick.” Flicking the coin into the air with his thumb, he sent the metallic object skittering down the hallway.

Two traps deployed on the coins path, the first spiking upwards from the floor, a sharpened spear tip jiggling for a moment from the force it was thrust upwards (which sent the coin tumbling further through the air) before it slowly reset into the floor. The second trap deployed was a circular saw, suddenly swiping upwards and slashing the coin in two.

Balthazar nodded. "Well done," he said, "Though I suspect there's more to these traps than their locations. Otherwise they would be too obvious."

He threw a glance over his shoulder cautiously at the back wall, but satisfied that there was nothing there he nodded. Before the two of them was a series of tightly positioned javelin traps, all pointing upwards. They seemed to form a solid wall and it was doubtful they could be passed without activation.

“Hm.” Adriaan replied before he looked at the coins in his palm. Only three more. In quick concession he flicked the remaining coins into the air to activate the traps further down.

Both the spear-traps and the saw blades activated in a futile effort to strike the coin, before they fell down. But as they passed the end section, the roof opened up, like upside down trap doors, but nothing came out. Balthazar leant forward.

"Alright," he said, "From what I can tell, if we can bypass the first set of traps, by activating them with an object then quickly breaking the spears or finding a safe path past the saw blades, we should only have to deal with whatever the last trap is." The sawblades only reached waist height anyway, and they seemed to take a long time to complete their full rotation of rising and falling.

Balthazar reached for his sword, only to find it wasn't there. Frowning, he glared forwards. "Well then..." he muttered. "Do you want to try your luck or shall I lead?"

“These things aren't just for aesthetics,” Adriaan remarked as he flexed his wings. “Here goes nothin'.”

Coiling his muscles, Adriaan sprang upwards and unfurled his wings before diving forward, making a beeline for the end of the hall. Both the spikes and the saws were of little consequence given his aerial nature, though the nature of the trapdoors was still uncertain. But past a point, you simply needed to take matters head on and deal with things as they come.

The sawblades and spikes were predictably passed, but the as the trap door opened, two bladed claws suddenly jerked down, reaching for both arms of Adriaan to try and pluck him from the air and drag him up into the ceiling. Should he look up he would see two gleaming eyes planted on top of a bird-like metal mouth. There were constructs in the ceiling.

Flaring his wings wide, Adriaan jerked jarringly from the wind resistance that struck him, but it threw his momentum off and caused the claws to close around the empty air before him. Without missing a beat, Adriaan furled his wings and dropped straight to the ground in a crouch before springing forward. It was hard to tell how much reach the arms had, but the further away from their source he was, the more time he would have to react to avoid them.

The arms dangled in the air for a moment, halfway down from the ceiling, before they curled back up and the entire thing dropped down. It was a large machination, robotic parts whirring and churning with precise revolutions contained inside of its body. Two legs had four-toed feet, which split into a cross shape for stability.

It looked almost like a robotic bird, what with the head leant forward and the arms curled up. Then, with no attempt to conceal its attack, both claws uncurled and launched outwards, arms unfolding once, then twice, then thrice, each unfolding causing the claws to swing for Adriaan's retreating self. A few feathers fluttered free and fell to the floor as the claws grazed by, narrowly missing the flighty monk.

Meanwhile, Adriaan skimmed towards the sword, his feet scarcely gracing the ground as his wings propelled him forward. As he closed in on the target, his hand closed around the sword and with a jarring jerk, he came to a rather abrupt stop that spun him about. Blinking in confusion from the sword to the robotic bird, he gave the sword another tug, but try as he might the thing wouldn't budge. “Well now, isn't that interesting,” he remarked as he rubbed his chin with his free hand and eyed the approaching construct.

The two claws retracted, folding back in on themselves to rest at the creature, like chicken wings. Balthazar stood at the opposite end of the room simply staring. "You might want to kill the creature first," he suggested. "That's just a small hint on how to make your life easier."

Yes, because destroying a metal creature was easy. The bird-construct began to step forward, four-pointed feet clanking against the floor, beak snapping at the air.

There wasn't much that Adriaan could physically do to a metal construct, but perhaps, he utilize the room itself. Though, that meant getting past the claws, but he hadn't met a metal yet that could cut through his gauntlets.

Cracking his knuckles, Adriaan stepped away from the sword to face off with the oversized metallic bird. “Okay. You may look like a bird, but I'm guessing you don't much fly like one,” Adriaan remarked as he flitted forward. Closing the gap swiftly, Adriaan anticipated and watched for the unfurling of the constructs claws once more.

The bird launched the two scythe-like claws out once more, unfolding in a clockwise direction towarda Adriaan, as if trying to force him down or latch onto him. The blades themselves seemed more for the purpose of grabbing than they were cutting, but they could still do some damage.

And if latched, the arms would begin to fold back up, dragging Adriaan towards him.

Rather than evade the claws this time, Adriaan met them in a grapple without losing a beat. Carried by his own momentum, and the constructs retracting arms, he descended upon it recklessly. However, at the last moment, he kicked off the ground and spread his wings as he tried to jerk the construct into the air. Unfortunately, Adriaan wasn't designed to fly with additional weight and he scarcely got the thing off ground, but his momentum carried it back, skidding across the floor before he released his hold on its claws to send the construct careening off towards the trapped portion of the tunnel.

The beak of the machine snapped at the air, trying to tear at Adriaan's flesh, but with only two legs and awkward feet, it couldn't carry itself. It slammed against the ground loudly, sliding a few steps before one of the circular saws swept up to slash it in two. The robotic body didn't twitch or move.

Balthazar slowly applauded from the other end. "Well done," he said, "Now you have to take the sword. I believe that's the final test."

Adriaan dusted his hands off, following by his rumpled shirt and a few loose feathers from his shoulders. “Well then,” Adriaan replied as he returned to the sword, grasping it around the hilt once more. A few pointed tugs offered no results though and he stepped back, rubbing at his chin while examining the object more thoroughly. There appeared to be no restraints or objects holding it in place. It was simply there. The construct was dead, so why wasn't it moving? He paced around the sword to examine it from all angles.

"You can't take it with your gloves," Balthazar said. "It was a sparring sword. It wasn't meant to be held. To claim ownership you must hold it with your bare hand for five seconds. But be careful. It will burn you."

"That was the purpose of the sword-" after it killed the first man who fought it "-It was meant to be a sign of the dedication and determination of the owner. If they were willing to have their own palm seared, they were worthy of owning it."

“No gloves you say?” Adriaan asked as he pulled one of his gauntlets free with a thoughtful frown. Tucking the object under his arm, he reached a hand out and closed it around the sword. Even expecting it, Adriaan couldn't have prepared for the sheer magnitude of agony that seared his hand. Jerking it away, the skin was scorched and blistered and he cast Balthazar a look as he gripped his wrist with his other hand. Mind over matter though, and a steadying breath eased Adriaan into an almost trance like state that left the burn feeling faded and distant.

After a few moments of rhythmic breathing, Adriaan reached out slowly for the sword once more. As his hand closed around the hilt, Adriaan's whole body stiffened and the veins along his jaw seemed to bulge out as he clenched it like a vice. This time though, he didn't release his hold over the weapon, even as his skin began to smolder.

Balthazar counted the seconds in his head. His judgement of character had been accurate, as always. He had found a man who could pass the test. He turned around casually, staring at the wall and folding his arms, waiting for the world to disappear and to have them return to the janitors closet.

When there, the burning would remain, though no other injuries would, and the sword was now sheathed and held up in Adriaan's hand.