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Cane Stark

"Death finds everyone eventually; I just like to give him directions."

0 · 375 views · located in The Belauricen Palace

a character in “The Tournament of Fools”, as played by The Illusionist

Description

Name: Cane Stark
Kingdom: Belauricen
Quote: "Death finds everyone eventually; I just like to give him directions."
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Love interest: Ivy Bronhilda
Rogue/knight: Rogue
Appearance: Cane is 6'1" and wiry, but enough muscle to move easily in his armor and swing his weapon with ease, the clothing he wears covering up for a suit of leather underneath. He hides his Senbon and Kasurigame hidden inside of his armor he only uses when he really thinks the combatant is giving him a really good fight. A tattoo is hidden underneath his clothing which he rarely reveals, wings on his back.
Image
Additional appearance features/power: "Sixth Sense"- While not having an actual power he has an uncanny ability to sense things around him. Whether he is able to see a projectiles path and dodge out of the way or know when something is amiss, he always seems to be aware of everything.
Weapon(s): Two handed katana, Three Senbon Needles, and a Kasurigama
History: Cane had a pretty normal life as a child, nothing to point towards what he would become later. His parents loved and provided for him as well as his sister and he was raised in high standards, an education, rare for one raised in as poor an environment as him but it had served him well in life. It changed when his sister became sick though, she suffered from a rare disease that killed most of the people whom it came in contact with and although his parents tried they couldn't make the money. At the age of 15 he took the first contract on another’s life, his swordplay and natural reflexes making it a rather easy task. He used the coin to secure medicine, it wasn't something that went away with a single dose though and Cane found himself killing again and although he knew it was twisted he enjoyed the thrill of combat. After his sister was cured he didn't stop, in fact he became sucked into the world of an assassin and he was a well known one, he was referred to as 'The Crow' but nobody knows what he looked like.
Reason for entering: He entered hoping to fight some worthy opponents and hopefully win the treasure. Of course he also is looking for a woman, wondering if he can find one who can fight well, not finding normal women exciting enough.
Theme song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4nx--JKLZ4&feature=related
[ant]

So begins...

Cane Stark's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Vincent II Vorgoule Character Portrait: Willow Reed
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Nikolai Geanovof

“It appears she’s safe and undisturbed.. luckily. I couldn’t bare her dealing with any more of this mess..” "Well that is good. She has had a very trying day already." A moment passed and then a sudden pulse of anger emanated from the young king. “Where is that fool of a man Bryden?!” Nikolai guessed he felt very betrayed with by the man's actions. It was not tough to understand why. "Your highness, I left him under the care of five palace guards in the guard outpost on the west side of the palace." The king confirmed his anger, saying, “Good man, please watch over my sister for the time being then afterwards.. I want that fool ready for me in the coronation room when all of this blows over.. I shall go sound the horns.” It spoke volumes about the man that he placed his sister before his desire for revenge against the man responsible for a great deal of his grief that day. It would serve Nikolai well to remember that. "Of course your majesty, and you may call me Nikolai if you wish. I assure you I will guard this door with my life and shall only depart after the horn has sounded and a significant number of guards have arrived to take my place. No harm shall come to her majesty while I am here to defend her." On that note, Nikolai turned and stabbed a mercenary who had just come running around the corner. The tanto plunged up underneath his sternum, forcing its way into his heart. Pulling the blade from the dead man's chest Nikolai turned to the king, saying, "Take care good king, not sure how many more rescues I have in me today." Giving his best approximation of a friendly laugh, still sounding strange through his mask, he watched Vincent depart. He then turned back to the corridor, ready for any bandit that might come. Sure he may not actually care about their well-being, but being in the good graces of the leaders of the Belauricen Kingdom would certainly have its benefits. And so to that end he would act with the respect friendliness expected of him in a roll as friend to the King and Princess.

A brief time and a few mercenaries later, the horns sounded throughout the castle. That should about wrap things up, Nikolai thought to himself. Over the clamor of the small fights that still seemed to be going on, he heard Ivy calling someone's name...Willow? Ah yes, the girl with the VERY interesting darkness manipulations. He would have loved to go see her during this battle, but Michaelis had been his mission and their just hadn't been time for anything extra. Oh well, she was a Belauricen knight, so he could always ask the good King Vincent about her whereabouts later. Still, it sounded as though Ivy was making her way closer, to both him and the late Sir Warm-Handed as Michaelis had taken to calling himself. And where there was Ivy, Cane inevitably followed, no doubt with lots of bothersome questions. It wouldn't surprise him at all if Cane had actually started letting Ivy in on things she had no business knowing about, things that would lead to some tough questions from her as well. Best to have answers ready to deal with any uncomfortable situations should they arise. He was saved from having to deal with that sort of encounter then by an arriving contingent of twenty guards. Using his status as a skilled combatant and his directive from the king, he ordered ten of the guards to remain and safeguard the princess. Six of the guards would stay in the hallway, the remaining four would barricade themselves in the room with the princess until the all-clear was given. This seemed somewhat excessive, but Nikolai wanted to take no chances of harm coming to the princess. Looking down the hallway, he saw a window that looked out towards the palace grounds. It gave a clear line of sight to the guard outpost where Bryden was being...detained. The drop to the ground was only ten feet, easy enough. He received a few skeptical looks from the guards as he sprung out the window, hit the ground with a roll, and continued on towards the guard outpost as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

Upon reaching the outpost he walked in and managed to alarm the guards, already on edge from the sound of the horn but unable to leave their dangerous prisoner unguarded, with his bloodstained clothing. He assured them that firstly, the crisis in the castle was under control, and secondly that none of the blood on his clothes was actually his. With that cleared up, he relayed the orders to transport Bryden to the coronation room. With little concern, Nikolai removed the knives and rope from Bryden's body, thought still left him chained up. The man still seemed to be unconscious. Getting him on a horse, Nikolai walked with the five guards back towards the castle, Bryden fairly swaddled in heavy chains. It turned out the guards recognized him from his occasional visits to the kingdom, he made a point of being cordial to the guards in the places he visited as their favor could be beneficial indeed. As it were, the guards seemed to admire his combat prowess, and the respect he gave them, so it seemed he was on good terms with this bunch. The guards, it turned out were rather observant, swapping news and details of what combatants had done what, who went where, bought what from what stores, frequented what bars, and a number of other innocuous bits of trivia and gossip. He even heard a rumor about Miss Willow's wild side, that was a surprise. Nikolai listened, chiming in here and there, getting familiar with the guards as they walked. When the group reached the palace, they made their way to the coronation room, two of the guards dragging the prisoner between them. In the coronation room, the guards secured Bryden's chain to a large, exceedingly heavy, sturdy oak table. Nikolai continued to make small talk with the group, passing the time and idly wondering what he would say in the hard conversations he saw coming in the future. However, once Bryden was secured, he realized he really felt quite tired. Seeing one of the guards sitting on a bench against a wall, Renault was his name, Nikolai went over and sat next to him. He leaned back and said, "My good man Renault, I am afraid I won't make it through the night if I don't catch a quick bit of shut-eye. Would you be so kind as to nudge me when the King Vincent or some other combatants drop by?" Renault was happy to oblige, clapping him on the shoulder and saying "Of course buddy! You've really earned it today, no doubt about it!" "Thank you, thank you so very much Renault." With that, Nikolai rested his head against the wall, closed his eyes, and was asleep in moments. It was a light sleep, he knew the others would be coming soon and that the guard would wake him on their arrival.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Nikolai Geanovof

"Nikolai... We need to talk..." Well that had been a short rest. Every little bit helped he supposed. Still...Renault nudged him and he stood up and rolled his neck a little to stretch it. He had really hoped Vincent would get here before Cane or Ivy. Well at least it was just one of them. Looking at Cane, it was clear he was hear to ask the hard questions. Unfortunately, he did not have answers, good or bad, for some questions he figured would be coming. Well, time to face this and hopefully bring the matter to a quick resolution. Maybe Cane would actually come around to his side.

And maybe pigs would spontaneously develop the power to levitate.

Nikolai walked towards Cane, standing ten feet in front of him. "Cane, my friend." He allowed weariness to tinge his voice. "It is good to see you alive and well. What of Ivy and King Vorgoule? Are they in good health too?" Glancing down briefly at his blood-soaked garments he continued, "This day has been entirely too long. As soon as this idiot" he gestured towards Bryden, "is dealt with, I plan to get some real sleep." Nikolai looked back towards Cane. "But you have no interest in that. I know that look. What did you come here to talk about?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Nikolai Geanovof

"Oh Nikolai how your lies taint the life of the man you slaughtered. Michaelis was obviously killed in his sleep and I could easily tell it was done by your hand with clear intent." Cane, while his fighting prowess may be exceptional, he was just too bullheaded at times. It was as though he was trying to make himself look like an idiot, or a psychotic nut job, in front of all the guards. Fine, it made things much easier for him. "Nikolai, your fucking lies will not stop my questions nor will it stop me from getting the truth. I know better than anyone your true relationship with Ragnarok, you know my past with them... So how about we just forgo that and agree that you don't have to let all these people know how little you actually care about the Nimoan government. Now tell me what you know about my family and no lying Nikolai! Did Ragnarok sell me out? The truth..." And so it continued, Cane really was playing right into Nikolai's hands. Now was the time to act angry, just like an officer of the court being accused of such things would be. "That is Sir Michaelis to you! And he was my friend!" Nikolai put special emphasis on sir and friend, continuing to play up the anger, the hate someone accused of murdering their friend would display. "How dare you accuse me of murdering him! I was the one who went to wake him! I was only seconds too late to stop that bitch from killing him!" Yes, that was good. These weren't even the things Cane really cared about, but they were the things that would seem most important to an outside observe, like one of the guards in the room.

But there was more. "And where do you get off downplaying my care for the Nimoan government? I swore an oath to protect the court with my life! To uphold justice! Don't you dare slander an oath that you know nothing about!" The guards would like that, they had taken similar oaths to the Belauricen rulers after all. And to seal the deal, "I see what you are doing here 'friend'. You are trying to paint me as the criminal!" Nikolai straightened up, assuming an air of the authority that came with his 'official' job. "I don't know what has happened to you, but I will not let you threaten myself, or the Nimoan nobility! Its not too late Cane, stop this madness! Don't chase away the one friend who has always been there for you!" "You know Nikolai I had truly wished that our friendship would always remain the same, that you would have remained the kind man whom I could trust with my life... My brother... But we changed, both of us did. You became a cold man driven by an evil purpose, hell I walked that path with you for a time... But then we diverged... You kept going, farther and farther down that path to the point where turning back is probably impossible... I managed to stop, I paused and took a few steps back and now I think I finally found my way to a better path. It may not be righteous and it most certainly isn't a pure path but I believe that if I really work hard that I can walk this path with someone I have come to care a great deal for, someone who, much like you use to, can really make me appreciate life. So I will walk this path, I will protect Ivy and live my life and neither you nor Ragnarok will ever stop me. So goodbye my old friend, let our blades finish what has been started countless times." So that is it then? Nikolai thought to himself. "Your hate cannot save you Cane. And it can not protect Ivy from Ragnarok either."

As the senbon soared towards him, Nikolai reached up and drew his tanto with his left hand, dodged the first senbon, and allowed the second to be deflected by his mask, drawing a deep gouge in the ceramic. As his tanto blocked the slash high, Nikolai said, audible only to Cane, "We are still very much alike Cane. The only difference between you and I..." He threw a rapid front kick at Cane's abdominal wound. "... Is I can save Ivy from Ragnarok." He continued to press towards Cane, refusing to give him the room to wield his weapons effectively. It was too bad the poison had worn off the weapons he had used in fighting that day.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Vincent II Vorgoule
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Nikolai Geanovof

Cane countered his kick more swiftly than Nikolai could react to. The two prior battles were wearing on Nikolai, he needed to rest. He dropped the leg back with the stab, taking the senbon in in the thigh. As Cane leaped back, the senbon embedded itself in his thigh. Fortunately, his leather armor kept it from going critically deep, it still hurt though. Hopping back, Nikolai evaded the upward slash and ducked underneath the left slash. Seeing the roundhouse, Nikolai brought his arm up, the armor and bracer absorbing some of the impact, but his arm stung from the impact.

Just as Nikolai was going to begin his counterattack, a voice called out, "Enough fighting please.." It was Vincent, he had finally shown up. He jumped back, disengaging from Cane. He did not stop looking at the man, he did not know whether or not the man would stop fighting just because Vincent asked him to. Still on edge he said to Vincent, "As per your order, I have delivered the criminal to the coronation room." The man was showing signs of battle wear from the day's events, blood and grime on his royal garments. "So tell me.. what is this Ragnarok you speak of?" Nikolai suppressed a sigh. Now was not the time he wanted to be dealing with these questions. "Well, long story short your honor, they are a criminal element currently under investigation by the Nimoan government." He reached down and firmly grasped the senbon, and pulled it straight out, making sure to cause no additional damage to the tissue. "My good King, what do you wish to do with the prisoner?" Nikolai wished to bring the day to a close quickly, he could really use some rest. And he didn't particularly want to discuss Ragnarok with the king, especially not now.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Vincent II Vorgoule
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Nikolai Geanovof

"He slights you prince with vague information, Ragnarok is the organization that no doubt sent these men to you castle, a sick and twisted group of powerful men and women who want nothing more than complete dominance... They are a group which this man works for currently..." Cane just couldn't seem to help himself. At every turn he continually overplayed his verbal attack. It was really too easy, gifted as Cane was, he was simply out of his depth in a fight like this. "That is a very heavy allegation.. do you have proof of this?"

The look on Vorgoule's face told Nikolai he already had the advantage. Cane just did a good job of landing himself on the reluctant king's blacklist. All he needed was a small nudge in the right direction. Nikolai was still cautious though, it was his to lose at this point, but he thought he knew a good angle to take here. After the king had disposed of the annoying kidnapper he made his own case. "You already know he has no proof your highness. I have never acted to the detriment of your kingdom. I've had numerous opportunities to cause great harm to your kingdom. Instead I took those great opportunities for such foulness and worked to preserve your kingdom." He turned towards Cane, he had a pretty big ace in the hole here. He supposed he owed it to the townspeople, and their celebrity status as tournament contenders. "Oh and Cane... How was your shopping expedition this evening? Not too strenuous I hope?" It probably didn't hurt to point out, indirectly, that he had saved Vorgoule's sister and Cane had spent the time shopping instead of aiding the search. Nikolai stayed on his toes. He didn't know for sure how Cane would react, but he hoped he would know to quit now before he got too far in the hole. He wanted words alone with Vincent, and he had nothing more to say to Cane. That guy just couldn't leave well enough alone.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Cane Stark

Cane kept his eyes closed until he felt himself on solid ground again, immediately sighing as once again he found himself surrounded by pure white nothingness. It was as unnerving as the last time and he had to remind himself that there was something solid beneath his feet as he took a few steps forward, mostly just testing to help reassure himself since there was nothing to be seen in any direction to walk towards. With those few steps he stopped moving, listening for anything such as another combatant or creature, ready for action and the very last round of the tournament. He took a deep breath, pulling out his Senbon and flipping them between his fingers, checking the tips to make sure they were sharp before he put them back away underneath his coat. He knew his Kasurigama and Katana were ready to go but he didn't draw either of them yet, instead he stayed vigilant and waited. He was a bit confused when he looked around and didn't see Willow, she had entered in to the portal before he had and he couldn't help but feel a bit worried immediately. Just the thought that she would be lost again right after she appeared freaked him out again, once again his concerns mostly for Ivy. He could have chalked it up to the wizard separating them if not for who came right through that portal, Nikolai. Cane had to stop himself from drawing his weapon right there and charging the bastard but instead he kept his cool and kept his eyes on the first arrival, giving Nikolai an opportunity would be a mistake. It still made him worry about Willow but he could think about multiple things, and besides, maybe this was some sort of sick joke, maybe she had just been split and he had been placed with Nikolai due to recent turn of events. That was until Ivy came through as well and then he could only sigh. "Well damn..." He muttered.

He continued to keep a close watch on Nikolai but he approached Ivy, "Long time no see beautiful." He laughed and tried to ignore the Willow situation until he knew the specifics, seeing that the Bryden character was missing as well helped him not to worry too much. He was a bit curious about what this next round would be but the fact that Ivy was around was something, at least it hadn't just been him and Nikolai because that would not have been pretty at all. Besides, it would be no fun if Ivy and him didn't get to complete their bet, this was a winning situation no matter how he looked at it. There was also the idea of the prize at the end and if he could take Nikolai out he still had a chance, because as happy as he would be just coming out of the tournament alive and with Ivy, a life altering prize didn't sound bad at all. Of course that meant defeating Nikolai with all his dirty tricks and skills but it wasn't impossible and he wanted to take his old friend down anyways. He just hoped it all ended alright because that wasn't even a certainty at this point. There were so many uncertainties, ever since the tournament started. He was beginning to think of different things at this point though, now that the round wouldn't end with going back to the castle he had other ideas in his head. First off was to see what Ivy decided but then the first thing on his list was to go back home and see what was left of his family, visit their graves and try and make his peace, and hopefully introduce a certain woman to them. Then of course he would go on vacation, somewhere remote and once again hopefully with a specific someone. Hell, he could just as easily die in this last round but in the spirit of positive thinking he just smiled and kept his eyes on Ivy, sticking as annoyingly close as always.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Nikolai Geanovof

Unfazed by both the necessity of portal travel and the journey itself, Nikolai looked about the new area he had arrived in. Another blank space, a void of some sorts. He found himself curious despite himself, wondering just where they were. Areas like this certainly didn't exist naturally, so where did the sorcerer keep sending them? The scenery wasn't the only thing that was the same as last time, the crowd was the same too. Cane and Ivy. Cane was already moving over to talk to Ivy, who had arrived momentarily after Nikolai. No surprises there.

What threw Nikolai was the absence of Bryden and Willow. They had both entered before he had, and yet they were nowhere to be found. It was possible they had been transported to a separate area, but that didn't really make sense. He had been expecting some sort of head to head competition, and the last round definitely wouldn't be team based like the last time they were here. Perhaps the combatants were just separated into groups to fight each other, with the victors from each area moving on to fight each other elsewhere, with Nikolai having the unfortunate luck to be paired with two people who would likely team up to kill him. Still, these theories were rather shaky. Could the missing pair have disappeared in the magical portal somehow? Unlikely but possible. Just his luck to lose his potential ally, Willow. He didn't care at all if Bryden was gone, but Willow would have been a valuable tool to use against Cane and Ivy, but it looked like that wasn't an option now. This was not a catastrophic loss though, Willow had been a bonus weapon, nothing more. Her loss was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Though he could still play this to his advantage. There was a chance Ivy could break down when she realized Willow was missing again, so soon after their reunion. It was a potential weakness worth exploring and capitalizing on.

As Nikolai stood by waiting either for further instructions or the arrival of the missing combatants, was content to passively observe Cane and Ivy while he planned out a way to best the both of them in the final round.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Bryden II of Nimoa
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Nikolai Geanovof

Nikolai looked on impassively as Ivy and Cane continued to converse. He couldn't really hear what they were saying, but they were doubtless engaging in pointless couple talk. That and how they were going to get rid of him. He found himself content to sit and wait. When Bryden was propelled their way by some strange force he braced himself, knowing the final round was about to begin.

As Bryden came closer to them, Nikolai found himself picked up and buffeted around by bizarre gusts of wind. The winds turned him around and sent him hurtling in the direction of the others. It didn't take long for him to realize that this was the sorcerer's doing. Though that went without saying, everything in this place was that man's doing. He finally came to a rest against the back of one of the other competitors. Turning to look, he found himself mask to face with Ivy, having turned to look at the same time she did. At this time he saw Cane was similarly back to back with Bryden. Ivy looked to tense, but the sorcerer spoke up before Ivy could do anything and before he could make a comment. "Well welcome back to the fun kiddies!""And so it begins..." Nikolai said, mostly to himself referring more to the madness that the sorcerer was bound to create rather than the combat itself. He doubted that they were meant to fight just yet, every other round had a lengthy buildup before the actual fighting. The sorcerer continued regardless, "Now then.. stay put while I set the stage.. or you can keep moving and die if you want to. Don't say I didn't warn you. It's not safe.." At least he didn't need to worry about Ivy attacking right off.

When the cracks began to form, Nikolai stood still against Ivy, impassive as the stage was formed. Nikolai remained impassive as they shot up into the air. As they continued to go higher and higher to who knew where he remarked to Ivy. "Well Ivy, I am glad you and Cane are so happy. Whatever end may come, I hope you won't hold any hard feelings. It's just business after all." Saying his piece he returned to silence. Contemplating how he would deal with Ivy and Cane. They made a good team, and they would most certainly be gunning for him, so his first order of business was to neutralize their numbers advantage.

As they finally came to a rest, the sorcerer started talking again. "Here's the goal... listen carefully because I won't repeat myself. If you recall the first round.. You had to eliminate the competition until only a few left... so in this round of mine.. there are too many of you." Always a catch. They weren't even to the final competition yet it seemed... Some of the others would have to go.

One of you must go.. and remember, if you don't want to do the dirty work yourself.. you could always push them against the edge of the platform." Only one hmm? Well, he would just have to make sure it wasn't him then. Though Nikolai was left to wonder what the old man meant by 'against the edge,' at least until the snowy white barrier flashed into existence before fading from view.

"There is a forcefield that when touched by even a finger will disintegrate any living thing from molecule to molecule until they are no longer...a thing... cruel but at least.. you won't have blood on your hands. Chop Chop.. time is a wasting!" Well that was an interesting twist. A deadly forcefield that would tear a competitor apart at a molecular level. A neat trick to be sure. Nikolai resolved to take care to avoid touching it, though it would probably be interesting to knock someone else into it...

As the sorcerer egged them into battle, Nikolai felt Ivy disengaging from his back and dived to the side away from the competitors and rolled to his feet in an attempt to preempt an early strike against him. As he was rolling to his feet, Nikolai drew his tanto and a dagger and moved to position himself on the other side of Ivy from Cane. He opted for a series of rapid strikes towards Ivy with the tanto, keeping his dagger back as a guard. His strikes were light and quick, more to feel out Ivy's skill than anything else. He knew it would be a mistake to let her get range and pull her bow, but he also knew from past battles that she was a incredibly swift and agile, making her dangerous close in. But then so was he.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Bryden II of Nimoa
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Bryden Whitefang


Bryden had originally been just roaming around the whiteness, trying to not get too far from him original starting position, but expanding his line of sight to see where everybody else had gone. That was until a massive wind blew in. Bryden yelped as his feet were nearly lifted off the ground, and he was flung in a direction he did not know, all the way towards Cane, Ivy and Nickolai. Still not comprehending everything, Bryden was suddenly halted from the wind gust unexpectedly. He quickly began to look around, until he felt the heat of another body on his back. Instead of flinging himself away or around, he simply used his peripheral vision to realize that he was now back to back with Cane, something he would have rather avoided. At least he wasn't Ivy with Nickolai, but that was besides the point: Bryden knew that if they decided to gang up on him, he would be screwed. With no sign of Willow anywhere, Cane and Ivy could team up against him and Nickolai and probably crush them. The reason? Bryden would be trying to take Nickolai out at the same time they were trying to take him out. He refused to become a partner with a man he couldn't see, let alone trust. Ivy also would kill him at long range if she had the chance, which was probably what Nickolai had already deduced. While his brain flung into battle mode, a familiar old voice rang through.

Well welcome back to the fun kiddies! Not sure if you can call this much fun anymore. Killing people should not be fun, its a necessity. Bryden's eyes narrowed at the thought, staying a little too stiff against Cane's back for his own liking, so he slowly and subtly began to relax himself. If he remembered the rules correctly, he could easily jump away from them all and plan from a little farther away, until the sorceror's voice stopped him before he moved. Now then.. stay put while I set the stage.. or you can keep moving and die if you want to. Don't say I didn't warn you. It's not safe.. Bryden's eyes once again narrowed at the thought of being killed by magic. It sounded absurd. What was worse was what the floor was doing next: It decided it was a bird and catapulted him along with the others straight upwards, making Bryden brace himself closer to the ground. He was already shorter than Cane, and getting lower to the ground made Cane seem like a massive tree. Bryden didn't like magic, not one bit, and this rising floor thing wasn't going over well for his mind, and Midnight sure wasn't enjoying himself either.

Here's the goal... listen carefully because I won't repeat myself. If you recall the first round.." "You had to eliminate the competition until only a few left... so in this round of mine.. there are too many of you. Bryden paused to listen to the damned old man's ramblings, and didn't like what he was hearing. In the first round, things were a little too chaotic and messy for his likings, and they were going to repeat it with four people? One of you must go.. and remember, if you don't want to do the dirty work yourself.. you could always push them against the edge of the platform. Only one huh? Bryden liked the sound of that, but hated what he heard afterwards. He gave a little snarl to emphasis his distaste for the idea of pushing people into a barrier to kill them. Not only was that cowardly, but to Bryden that was like the worst possible death imagined, besides death by dog. There is a forcefield that when touched by even a finger will disintegrate any living thing from molecule to molecule until they are no longer...a thing... cruel but at least.. you won't have blood on your hands. Chop Chop.. time is a wasting!" <Bah... damned man and his games> Bryden mumbled during his final speech, and then stared at where the barrier had been. He would seriously need to watch himself about that.

First thing Bryden did was get the hell away from everybody else. Before Cane swung around, Bryden was already low to the ground and jumped away from the other competitors. He landed what he assumed to be near the portal, and to find out just how close he quickly ripped off some heavy fabric from his shirt and threw it. A few feet later, it disappeared. He swore a little, and then quickly began to formulate a plan. Cane had nearly hit Bryden before he had gotten away, which wasn't good: Cane already had plans to take the Whitefang out early to end this round quickly. Bryden decided that he would play this round extremely smart, and very defensively. He would rather wait the round out for somebody else to getting killed or knocked into that infernal barrier than try to take somebody else out. Cane's fighting style was still an unknown from here, even though Bryden had watched him fight Nickolai. The same actually went with Nickolai and Ivy - there were too many unknown factors about their powers and such for him to make an accurate assumption about them, so he simply kept his mind blank and wary of the three other candidates. Midnight made a little growling noise, but Bryden kept him in the pouch. It was too risky to have him jump out and assist.

Bryden's eyes narrowed as he drew his 2 daggers and poised himself in his ready and defensive stance: For his luck, he would accidentally swing his claymore and half of it would 'disintegrate', or whatever that meant. <And so the games begin. I would rather call them the sick version of training.> He said to himself, loud enough for Cane to hear if he was really listening, but not loud enough for Ivy or Nickolai. Let the Crap begin.

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Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Bryden II of Nimoa
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Bryden Whitefang


Bryden could instantly tell that Cane didn't like him. The way he looked at him, almost like the guy thought he was superior in every way to him. Well, it was somewhat true in the vertical section, but that was besides the point: Bryden hated those eyes of his. That was all there was to it. When Cane smirked, Bryden simply seethed a little at him. It was as if Cane was predicting Bryden's own demise without truly letting him do anything about it. Like his father always had. That pissed Bryden off. So when Cane readied his own sword - Bryden did marvel at the sword however, for it looked quite majestic, yet deadly at the same time - Bryden instantly readied himself for anything. He knew that his back was only a few feet away from the barrier that could easily kill him in a second (somehow...) with his claymore being less than a foot away. He instantly started formulizing a plan to dispose of his claymore so that it wouldn't become a burden, but before he could continue thinking Cane rushed him.

Now, Bryden was quite surprised by the rush. Either Cane was being foolhardy, or he didn't think Bryden had any skill whatsoever and that this would be a simple match up. As he ran, Bryden shifted his feet to move himself slightly to the left as Cane came at him. What made Bryden completely sure to kill this man off was the arrogance in the comment he made as he got closer. There was even a pinch of hatred lurking in there somewhere, but Bryden hadn't a clue why. Nothing personal but I have to kill you before something bad happens to those two, I have a score to settle with one and a question to be answered by the other. Bryden snarled at the comment. How dare he assume that I would just let him win just because he has a score to settle. Bryden snarled as Cane slashed with two hands over head right down on top of him, but he was ready. Instead of blocking the attack, for that was too obvious, he shifted himself to the left completely and hit the sword with both of his daggers making it go past him. It was, in essence, a form of parry.

What Bryden couldn't see coming was the well placed kick to his stomach area. He had assumed that the man would be a little off balance from the maneuver that Bryden had performed, but he had underestimated Cane's abilities. Being now out of breath, Bryden narrowed his eyes and slashed at his leg before falling to the ground. Not wanting to know how close he was to the barrier, Bryden instantly rolled a little to evade Cane, pulled himself up and dove left. Not directly left, but behind where Cane was now to the left. Since Bryden assumed that the barrier was circular in shape, going directly left would be highly fatal. Once he regained his composure, he stood back up and noticed Ivy and Nickolai once more. Ivy didn't look like she was doing very well, so all Bryden had to do was simply hold Cane off until his opponent either decided to go assist his girl or one of them were to die.

"Nothing personal, but I have to live." He snarled out to Cane, using his own words against him.

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Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Nikolai Geanovof

The senbon caught Nikolai in the back, but did nothing to halt his attack. He saw with satisfaction that his dagger had struck home. His follow up strike failed, but he was in good position now. Ivy doubtless knew about his use of poisons, she had to know her time was limited with a wound like that. That effectively forced her to fight aggressively, and Nikolai planned to use that to his advantage. As their skirmish-style combat wore on, he landed a light hit to Ivy's cheek, and she finally seemed to go over the edge, laughing and shouting at him. Some people had interesting reactions to imminent death, Ivy seemed to be taking it well at least.

Briefly, Nikolai entertained the thought of putting her in a grapple and cutting her neck, then promising Cane to cure her and prevent her from dying of asphyxiation as her airway was paralyzed, so long as he killed himself first. It was a good plan, and it would take out his strongest competition here. Unfortunately with Ivy's newly enthusiastic assault, it just wasn't feasible.

As she swung at his face, he dropped to a crouch below her strike and as the blade passed over him he threw a side kick at her torso, putting all of his power into it. It was a risky move, but if it connected it would send her backwards, even if she anticipated it, all he needed was for her to dodge backwards a little bit. He had been paying careful attention to their surroundings and knew they were quite close to the nondescript barrier, but given Ivy's current state, he was willing to gamble on her being unaware of what could be called the fifth combatant immediately behind her. The barrier, enemy to all, ally to those with the wherewithal to use it.

Fortunately the kick hit her square in the chest, hurling her backwards.

"You will die like all the rest."

Ivy hit the barrier.

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Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Ivy Bronhilda


It was a heated battle as Ivy continued and struggled on against the odds, trying her absolute best not to reveal any signs of weakness to her current opponent and to whomever else was watching beyond the magical realm they were imprisoned in- not that it mattered what they thought. A slight smile curled it's way onto her face as she managed to dodge yet another attack from Nikolai although her wound was intensifying in pain. Under logical reasoning, there was no way Ivy could win although the biggest concern of all that she should have been focusing on was if she would at the very least survive. The only things that kept her going was a mix of stubbornness and having a reason to live. Before the tournament, she had fought for nothing but herself but now she had people to call friends, people to rely on, people she was willing to die for. Willow was still nowhere in sight leading her to think; I have to live.. I have to find her and next time, I'm not letting go! She gritted her teeth as her blade aiming for Nikolai's face missed it's target with the man crouching in good timing. Sadly, it was not just serving as a dodge. Ivy coughed up blood just as his shoe connected with her body. Which part of her body? She didn't even know with the poison in effect clouding up her senses. All she could feel was the force, the impact of the kick and how her body was hurling backwards.

I can't die..
..it doesn't end here!


Grasping her sword as tightly as she could while she tumbled in mid-air...in those few decisive seconds, she lowered her sword so the tip reached for the ground, desperately scratching along the ground in an attempt to stop hurling, swing around with her acrobatics practice and get back in gear but the pain was too much to bear and her sword failed to strike the ground deep enough to reach a halt. "Ugh.." The poison was working. She felt weak, barely breathing and her grasp gave way to the feeling, her sword released and abandoned from her hand as she slid a few more metres against the ground on her back in defeat. She coughed up more blood with a smile on her face thinking she had just managed to escape death as she had numerous times before. Ivy took her time, trying to appreciate that she was still alive and looking up above her as the barrier shined brightly but it was then her face became pale at the truth. She had hit the barrier, even just a little. The barrier in place had just continued on from the ground through her forehead. Is it broken? She thought with a glimpse of hope but slowly the magic took it's toll. The ends of her hair that had gone through the barrier were changing to the tips of her head onwards, molecules of Ivy changing into a beautiful display of little silver stars. It was hard to believe that something so beautiful was the death of her. "Well would you look at that.. be a good boy Cane." Ivy managed to say with a smile on her face before the mouth she used to speak had also been separated, joining the rest of the little stars along with her body. Soon enough, nothing of Ivy was left but a group of little stars distancing themselves from another as a strong gust of wind identical to the ones from the start of the round blew. Now nothing, not even the stars were left as the wind claimed her and her life.

Belauricen Sorcerer


"Congratulations, looks like we have three able combatants. Shame there are no females anymore.." The sorcerer talked casually, his voice showing no remorse as the barrier in place disappeared at the click of his fingers. The platform lowered downwards slowly so it rejoined the part of the white ground it had separated from. Once again, white nothingness was all that could be seen besides the combatants themselves. The marks of the platform's separation was also neatly sewing itself back into place.
"I'll give you some time to take care of any injuries you may have suffered or to rest if you want before the next round.. make good use of this time." he wagged his finger at the crystal ball despite the combatants being unable to see him before sitting back in his chair, entwining his fingers wondering who would be the next to go.

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Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Nikolai Geanovof

Nikolai watched impassively as Ivy began to...dissolve. The barrier appeared to work true to the sorcerer's word. As he watched, he broke the shaft of the damned arrow stuck in his side and tossed it at her feet, she could take it with her into the great beyond. It was unfortunate though, she was taking his dagger with her as well. As Ivy continued to disintegrate, he turned back to his competition, breaking off the arrow shaft and tossing it to the side. Cane seemed to be taking this turn of events in a predictably rough fashion. He gave his former...friend time, his last few seconds with that foolish girl.

In the meantime, he reached back and pulled Cane's senbon from his back, it hurt, but it was hardly a crippling injury. He then used the pointed senbon to remove the arrowhead still lodged in him, a process which hurt significantly more. Once that was done, he tossed both objects aside and set about putting a light dressing on his side to stem the blood flow.

"If you wanted me here I am... I will end this..."

Shaking his head, Nikolai replied, "You know I never wanted this, Cane. Her death was entirely preventable, all you had to do was leave well enough alone. Hell you could have even joined me, it could have been like old times. But you forced my hand. You had to know that this would be the result, that this would happen if you involved her in our business. And now," he paused. "Now neither of us wins."

He knew Cane, knew what would happen now. Whatever options had been on the table, they were gone. It would seem that the only options he had left were to end Cane, or be ended by him.

He waited for the tournament to continue on, readying himself for a fight with Cane and Bryden.

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Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Bryden II of Nimoa
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Bryden Whitefang


Bryden turned his gaze quickly as he heard something from a male voice - Nickolai's probably - that sounded something like You will die like all the rest. Bryden wasn't sure what that was supposed to mean, but he furrowed his eyes and turned his body to see what was going on, and stopped. All he saw was Nickolai's extended foot from a kick, and the girl Ivy struggling desperately with her sword to stop herself from touching the barrier. His eyes widened as he watched her simply... Bryden couldn't even tell what she was doing, it was so weird. Her body was slowly disappearing, starting at the point of contact with the barrier, and slowly making its way across her body. Bryden just stood their, his arms resting at his sides, an incredulous look struck across his face. Is this what the others called... disintegration?! It was truly horrifying to Bryden, that some invisible thing could slowly eat away at your body until there was literally nothing left: like the stories he had heard of these parasitic insects called 'war-ants' that would eat anything in their little path.

Bryden heard a clang as Cane's sword plummeted to the ground, the man looking destroyed in his emotions. Bryden swung his head over to inspect a little more, since Cane looked visably taken out by the invisble force known as 'love' or emotion, whatever you wanted to call it. Bryden had no intention of ever moving from that point, but the startling words of the Sorceror spooked him enough to make him jump back a step: Midnight mewed quite loudly in protest to the unexpected voice. Congratulations, looks like we have three able combatants. Shame there are no females anymore.. I'll give you some time to take care of any injuries you may have suffered or to rest if you want before the next round.. make good use of this time. It took a few seconds for Bryden to really understand the situation - he was up against two others that he knew virtually nothing about (except that Nickolai was pretty damn good with medicinal and poison stuff) and they probably considered him the inferior - the reason Bryden deduced that was because he had done virtually nothing this entire tournament. If he looked back really hard, he had just really been there, with nothing to really say that he did. It annoyed him to no end that he really could be inferior to both of them since he had yet to display anything.

Since Bryden hadn't suffered any real wounds, he sat down right where he was, crossing his legs as he did. Without wasting a second, he grabbed daggers and inspected them. When he made sure there were no knicks or bluntness in them, he moved onto his claymore, appearing completely preoccupied with himself as he listened to the impending conversation between Cane and Nickolai. Cane was obviously extremely pissed off at Nickolai, and spoke with the same coldness that Bryden remembered his voice always sounding. Nickolai seemed completely indifferent, talking about how her death was preventable, and that neither of them won now. Bryden had no clue what they were going on about, and frankly did not care: they had to deal with their own problems, as was how the world went. However, dragging Bryden into their problems would then make their problems his, and he really did not want to get between a grieving man and a complete jerk. Let the two of them fight it out, and then take out the winner: simple as that.

That thought gave Bryden a smirk as he started sharpening his blade with the whetstone he carried as Midnight purred softly in his pouch.

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Character Portrait: Nikolai Geanovof Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Meanwhile in Hell..

"Anybody home?"

Image
A pair of wings could be heard fluttering above but still relatively out of sight until a creature suddenly dropped on a platform in the most awkward of positions before the human (Nikolai) trespassing the hell realm. “A human, a human~ “The demon girl sang as her scythe’s length was squished against her stomach, her hands placed between her legs to cover what little there was left to cover. “Of flesh and bones still stuffed together!” She said enthusiastically as she stared up at the human in a childish manner. Her wings were proudly outstretched to her sides, appearing as smooth as silk that it was a wonder she could fly with them; appeared more like a decoration, rather than a means of transport. Her outfit was body hugging tight but sturdy, strange markings trailing down from her face to her very feet but none of it decipherable by a mortal. She licked her lips planning to make a meal of him. It wasn’t every day that a human visited the realm in one piece.

“What’s your name, what’s your name?” She repeated the question twice, the place they were in echoing her immature high pitched voice. “I want to be able to name my dinner, yes I do!” She stood up on the platform with her hands on her hips confidently with a smile that altered to a wicked smirk before her voice suddenly changed to a much older and low tone at her next words. “For I am Abadina; the demon of destruction. Shall we get this on with, and I kill you?” The demon’s English wasn’t the best. Her accent didn’t help either as it was most foreign and displaced but what she had said since the human’s arrival was perfectly clear of her intentions; to not allow him to leave alive.

In a matter of a split second, she was standing behind the human with the sharp edge of her scythe around his neck ready to separate head from body. She had done it many times before, just never in her own realm. It was very tempting. Instead of just making the quick slice though, she waited. Abadina wanted to know just how this human would react. Humans were such fun toys.


Meanwhile in Purgatory..

The man whom revealed himself as Cane Stark was very serious, straight forward and impatient. "I am here due to the Tournament being held right now. I chose the door of wisdom and it led me to you, something I am still confused about, though the damn sorcerer hasn't made sense yet..." The woman’s hands fitted together, fingers entwining and the palms brushing together to extinguish the fire she had been playing with as she resorted to listening to what Cane had to say. She was a very bad listener in most circumstances, but her curiosity was peaked at the vibe being emitted from the young man as he continued to explain why he had ended up here of all places; in her home. With an irritated mutter and gesture, he continued, all the while the woman remained silent.
"I just need whatever information you are supposed to bestow to me so I can move forward and get this over with, there is someone I need to get to on back at the tournament... I don't want to keep him waiting." Her eyes looked side to side as she thought over what he was saying, completely aware he wasn’t done talking but she had a lot to think over. She knew exactly what he was here for now but couldn’t believe her misfortune of getting involved in the tournament once more.

"So, do you even know what I am talking about or was this trip to this damn place a waste?" She patted the head of her beast as if to say ‘leave this to me’ before standing up from her chair and moving towards a shelf filled with books. Her slender fingers traced the covers as she searched for something in particular. “Oh, I know exactly what you are talking about dear. You wish to kill someone.” She decided being straight forward with a straight forward man to be the best approach in the end. Her preference was to beat around the bush and have a bit of unnecessary prolonged fun, but if this was about the tournament.. time was very much limited despite the illusion magic gave of having all the time in the world. “My name is Minerva, and I was the winner of the tournament 30 years ago. Not as young as I look boy, mind you..” Her hand paused on the shelf at a particular book, but she looked over her shoulder as her eyes turned into a sharp gaze. “Before I help you, you must answer this one question for me.” She kept the gaze steady, for once being pure serious which was a major difference from the woman she was minutes ago that liked to fool around. “If you could give something or take away something, anything at all… anything that you can possibly think about to give to anyone or to take from anyone at all, what would it be and who would it be?” She returned to her normal attitude adding in another detail to her question. “Dead or alive, it’s all the same in magic y’know.”

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Cane Stark

Cane was still in no mood to wait and he could barely hide his frustration, if he had a choice in the matter the conversation would be going much quicker. Unfortunately he didn't though, the strange woman had the ability to set the pace as she was the one with the answers, or at least that was what he had been led to believe. If she ended up being another one of the sorcerer's tricks or tests he would be ready, but unless that were the case he couldn't do anything but wait. “Oh, I know exactly what you are talking about dear. You wish to kill someone.” When she finally spoke it wasn't what he wanted to hear, sure he wanted to kill someone but that wasn't the only thing, he had much more important topics to discuss with her than Nikolai. Of course he simply kept his mouth shut, continuing to keep himself under control which was far from easy in his current mental state. “My name is Minerva, and I was the winner of the tournament 30 years ago. Not as young as I look boy, mind you..” It didn't help his efforts when the woman began to tell a story he wasn't all to interested to hear, just wanting to get the information she was to provide him and get out. He truthfully didn't care how old she was, perhaps he would have a week ago but the times were most certainly different. The only thing he could really think of useful was that she had been a victor in the tournament, which at least gave her some credibility that her previous words had, though he had been rather sure she had something after being sent to her home. He just hoped she would get things moving a bit, he would take the help if it allowed him an edge against Nikolai but it became more difficult to wait for by the second.

“Before I help you, you must answer this one question for me.” Her prolonging didn't help matters at all, and a small look of anger flashed on Cane's face, though he quickly hid it again. She wanted him to answer a question, not that it was an incredibly difficult task to answer a question, at least not on average. So he counted his blessings that all he had to do was answer her question and nodded his head, "Yes, go on and ask it." His voice made it obvious he was impatient but he didn't add any irritation, he kept himself in check and waited. “If you could give something or take away something, anything at all… anything that you can possibly think about to give to anyone or to take from anyone at all, what would it be and who would it be?” “Dead or alive, it’s all the same in magic y’know.” Cane's eyes narrowed when she finished asking her question, no hatred but a deep inner anger burning in his eyes, not directed at her but there regardless. Whether it was just something his mind was doing to him he couldn't help but think she was hinting at Ivy. No matter the reason he was thinking about her though, if he could give anything to anyone, dead or alive, he would give his life for Ivy's. His eyes softened momentarily as the the thought crossed his mind. As angry as he was, as much as he wanted to destroy Nikolai, he wanted Ivy back more. Then that made him angry, like the woman in front of him was poking at him, wanting him to say what he was trying to suppress. His voice eventually came out, the man having a feeling even if he lied and gave a quick nonsense answer she would know and choosing to answer honestly. "I would give my life for another..." He chose not to say Ivy's name, he didn't believe he would get what he wanted and his voice was shaking in proof of how it affected him. Perhaps it wasn't even what the woman meant, maybe she meant a message or item, but he didn't care, he had answered her question. "I've answered your question, now give me what I came here for..."

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Cane Stark

“You answered a question.. I also asked of whom yet you did not speak a name.” Cane just made a 'Tch' sound, he had been so caught up in his own mind he hadn't paid enough attention. Regardless, it apparently didn't matter, she continued and he didn't have to say her name, a name he knew would catch in his throat and bring emotions flooding over him. It was an unfortunate question really, it didn't only make Cane think of Ivy but also his little sister, she had been taken too young as well, stolen by what he still believed to be his old employer. So while the death of Nikolai and whoever else he found to be involved in the death of his loved ones was on his mind, getting them back was what he truly wanted. He stared at the woman, doing his best to keep the emotions and impatience under control. “Well, allow me to indulge you with some facts while I search for something.” It wasn't an easy task when the woman took her time searching for something he wasn't sure he should be waiting for but he did his best, she was supposed to be helping him and he had to trust that whatever she was searching for was to accomplish that. It didn't help that it was taking so much time for her time find whatever in the hell she was searching for. “If they didn’t already apply a name to this tournament round, then let me tell you what it should be called… The ‘Sympathy’ round.” “I say sympathy round, because it’s the one round where there is no fighting or bloodshed. You are rewarded for making it this far with one glimpse of hope..” Hope, it seemed laughable for Cane to have any hope at the current stage in his life. In the time of the tournament he had lost more than he believed possible, his carefree life being turned upside down as he fell in love with a woman who had just been murdered. He had lost the future they could have had together, as much work as it probably would have been to sway Ivy it would have been worth it. He had lost his family, his little sister and his parents all being snatched away. All Cane had was vengeance and that held no hope, no happiness or silver lining.

“One glimpse of hope before you are tortured and dead, outshined by a single combatant that becomes the tournament’s grand prize winner.“ Cane just grit his teeth, he realized what the end of the tournament brought to the loser but he didn't plan on losing, he had only two more combatants in his way and he had no doubt he would succeed. No, he didn't need to worry about the others, not in any other capacity than as obstacles. “This is a Tournament designed for fools.” It certainly was, his life would have been better without it, he could have gone on living the easy life, charming and fighting his way through every situation. That was a path he hadn't chosen though and now he had but one choice, to continue on. “Cane.” The impatience he had been feeling was suddenly replaced with confusion as she approached and took his hand. He winced slightly but made no sound as pain seared his hand, looking at the mark brought upon by the pain and then at the beast beside him, a quite intimidating creature similar to his hosts. “He is yours now and will be useful to you in the upcoming challenge. Do well to direct him.” He held the book shoved at him and watched as she disappeared, his eyes narrowing and wondering what he was supposed to do with the book. At first he thought he should put it back on the shelf but he shook his head, sliding it in his coat and then turning to the beast next to him. It was like some otherworldly dog and as he looked down at it, the beast looked back at him, almost mockingly.

As Cane stood there he began to think of how annoying it all was, how his answer to the question had led to exactly what he thought it would, nothing. The most annoying part was how just for a moment, despite telling himself not to and knowing nothing would come of it, he had hoped, it had given him hope that he would get to see Ivy, and yet it had quickly been taken away. So he took a deep breath, laughing pitifully to himself as he stood along with his new creature, just trying to keep himself from going a bit insane, if he hadn't already. After a moment he looked over at the beast, "I don't know what the hell you are so I am calling you Azrieal and you're to be known as a dog." The creature almost seemed to raise an eyebrow, obviously more intelligent than it looked, but it just stood there as if accepting its new masters mindset. "Good, since you don't disagree let's leave, I don't wish to be here any longer..." Cane then proceeded to walk through the portal, once again finding himself in the white empty space he had grown to hate so much. The only difference this time was his new dog was right beside him, walking around a bit casually, exploring the area he had been brought to by his owner. "Stay close Azrieal."

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Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Cane Stark

Cane was standing perfectly still and watching his new companion as he waited for the round to start or the other competitors to arrive. He was unsure of what to expect after receiving his gift, he wondered if the other two would have the same type of advantage or if they would have something different. Truthfully he wasn't that worried about Bryden, the man was obviously a decent fighter but Cane wasn't impressed, he was only worried about Nikolai. Not only did he know how deadly the bastard could be but the man had gone through the door of power, he would be back with some sort of advantage in combat. Cane's blood boiled once more when he thought about Nikolai, thought about what that bastard had taken from him, Ivy's image going through his head as his hands formed fists. His anger and thoughts of her clouded Cane's mind, so when she popped up in the endless white nothingness he believed it to be a trick of the mind. It angered him at first, the man gritting his teeth and cursing his mind or the sorcerer, whichever caused the illusion to appear. Then, as his new dog approached the woman curiously he began to wonder, his eyes widening and his gut clenching, a feeling of nervousness which caused his heart to skip beats spreading throughout his body. He swallowed hard as he took several steps forward, looking at the woman he had lost barely some hours ago, looking at what had been what he truly wanted, if he could have had anything. 'It can't be her Cane, she's dead...' the words repeated over and over in his head as if he was trying to prepare himself for disappointment when it turned out to be just another damn trick to crush his spirits. It wouldn't surprise him, the tournament had been a cursed event for Cane, it seemed to bring about bad things and never give anything in return.

It wasn't until he was only a few steps from her that he spoke, his voice shaky and his hand reaching over as he walked forward and touched her shoulder gently. "Ivy... Is it you?" He still couldn't believe it was her, even as his hand touched her solid form, even as his eyes looked upon the same beautiful face he had been admiring for the duration of the tournament. At the same time he wanted nothing more than the person in front of him to be real, for her to be alive, it would mean more than anything else he could imagine. Cane's emotional state was in shambles though, he had lost her and fallen apart and the rage that had been eating him was not gone, it was not such an easy switch to flip. Just seeing her again tore him up and his hand was shaking as it stayed on her shoulder, his voice not showing any signs of becoming more stable as he spoke again. "I... I thought I had lost you forever... I mean... I saw you die and..." He swallowed hard again, words becoming caught in his throat. His new companion Azrieal quickly realized what was going on, nudging Ivy once but then taking a few steps back and just watching, obviously curious at what was happening to his owner. All he had seen was the angry and rather solemn Cane he had been given to, now, so soon after, he was seeing an entirely different side of Cane, one that spoke towards what kind of man Cane truly was, what he really cared about. Sure vengeance was the main thing on his mind, but it had all been for Ivy, he wanted to kill Nikolai more than anything else because of what he had done to the woman now standing in front of Cane. It didn't make things better entirely but it made the need for vengeance soften dramatically, even if the anger and hatred were still present.

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Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Cane Stark
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Cane Stark

Cane's disbelief had shifted into a joy greater than he believed he would ever feel again, but something was off. Admittedly it had taken him a moment to wrap his head around seeing her again, he had to ensure she wasn't an illusion and while he still wasn't positive her wanted to believe enough to move past doubt. Yet Ivy didn't seem happy, even after it should have sunk in, even after he got close, it was odd. Was she not happy to see him? Had something happened since the time he had last seen her? Cane began to have major questions he knew he wouldn't get answers to right away, like what if it really was an illusion, or what if the incident had recreated the barriers he had worked so incredibly hard to get down. “Yeah.. I died but being dead is boring..” Cane wanted to smile when she said that, it was such an Ivy thing to say, charming in its own way how she acted when it came to something so serious. He couldn't though, something was still off and he could feel it so he wouldn't feel content or satisfied until he figured out what it was. The awkwardness didn't sting nearly as much as how she seemed to be uncomfortable at the mere touch of his hand. “By the way.. what the hell is your pet?” She changed the subject, then it hit him, she just didn't remember him or she would have said something else, anything else. He had started freaking out inside and he took his hand away from her. “Never seen such a…thing.” "It's a dog..." Cane blew off the question, sighing and looking over at her, locking his eyes with her. "You don't remember me..." His voice was still low but Ivy would be able to hear it, the disappointment. His emotions would be so strange if she didn't remember him, her original personality not one to enjoy someone being overly fond. Sure he had done it anyways but it had been quite a difficult task to win her over. It was worth it of course but that didn't make it easier.

He was about to say something else but after the knowledge of the situation really hit him he began to smile. It may have seemed odd but Ivy was alive and in the end that was the only thing that counted, it was more than he had hoped for and if all that had happened was that she didn't remember he could live with that. It wasn't that he had given up either but he could break those barriers again, he could do that, she was alive and that was enough. Cane was still shaking though, his body couldn't completely calm down from the shock even if he still thought favorably of the situation. His 'dog' had sensed the turmoil within and after it went up and pushed its nose against Ivy it went back over to Cane and pushed his body up against the man, his paw going up and touching the man's arm. Cane looked down and gave a semi-smile, turning to look at Ivy after giving the dog a reassuring pat on the head. "I'm sorry if this is all confusing, I can tell it doesn't make much sense to you. This pet is my 'dog', I don't know what he is but he is a gift to help me in the last round of the Tournament." He paused for a moment debating about whether he should tell her about what happened to her or not, he decided to be very vague. "We met during the tournament and became close even if it's hard to believe, but then you were killed and I thought I wouldn't see you again." A small smile appeared on his face, a real one even if it was short lived, "I'm glad you're alive Ivy Bronhilda, though I wish you remembered me..." His hand reached out and approached her cheek, a soft look on his face as he stopped himself short, he didn't want to push it, it wasn't the right time.

His hand retracted and he took a step away from her, perhaps the hardest step of his life. "I shouldn't bombard you though, if you do not remember anything it cannot be helped. If you wish to know anything I can try and help you, if you wish my help I will do what I can." He wasn't sure if she remembered anything but he hadn't know her for long enough to give her more than who she had been in the past days and without knowledge of their relationship his ability to explain things was even worse. It would be nice if she could remember everything, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt as much as any man, possibly more, but I want the Ivy I knew, I want her to remember what we already had together. Cane knew it wasn't the time to talk of course, if Ivy was in front of him he had a feeling Nikolai and Bryden would soon be joining them. Nikolai, the man wouldn't like Ivy being back but this time Cane wouldn't let the bastard anywhere near her, he would die before he lost her again. Whatever happened he would protect her, even if she didn't know why. For him that involved making sure Nikolai could never hurt her again, putting him into the ground with whoever else tried to take her from him again. Yes, vengeance and securing her safety followed the same path, one he was ready to take.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ivy Bronhilda Character Portrait: Cane Stark Character Portrait: Bryden II of Nimoa
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Bryden Whitefang


Once again, a blank sheet of white covered Bryden's vision from the moment that he stepped back through the portal. Barely a second later, however, Bryden felt a tug at his feet, and he realized that he was falling. A slight pang of fear shot through his nerves as his acute eyes had yet to readjust to the reality that the portal had thrown him into, but as the saying went: cat's always land on their feet. Naturally, Bryden gracefully landed on his feet and maneuvered into a crouch, regardless of how shaken he was mentally; after all, it's quite difficult to completely destroy habits.

When his eyesight finally recognized the fact that this emptiness was where he was headed to, and that he had essentially returned to the place where he had started this journey, Bryden came to the realization that many things had changed - more about himself than anything. He closed his eyes, staying in his crouch, as he finally noticed that his eyes were wet. Quickly, he brought a hand up to his eye and wiped it away, before staring at his thumb. Bryden hadn't truly shed tears since he watched Troy die, so seeing one again was a bit of a change. The real question is... what now? Truly, that was bugging Bryden more than anything: if all Bryden wanted to see in Heaven was his siblings, what did that mean about his motive? Did he even care about this tournament anymore? Better yet... did he even care about his own life?

As transfixed as he was in thought, Bryden easily picked up Midnight's soft mewl of annoyance at their lack of movement. Bryden instantly moved his head up to see Ivy and Cane finally catching up with each other, and yet... Bryden narrowed his eyes in their direction. Something wasn't entirely right about the two of them. They weren't that far away from him at all - annoyingly close, if he may add - and he instantly picked up the differences. Cane was in disbelief, while Ivy looked a little awkward with the entire situation. Perhaps... Perhaps that during her apparent death, her memory was destroyed? After all, she did not recognize me or our language when I found her. Hm... curious.

His wrist began to itch slightly as Bryden turned back to his thumb and gave a slight sigh. His entire life had been somewhat completed, and he was barely a quarter of a century. His childhood goal was blindly finished, and now he was facing the repercussions of his petty goal for revenge. So what did he do now? That was the question, was it not? Bryden stared at his thumb for a little bit longer, drawing back to the memory of Heaven and seeing little Cecile. He could return to them easily, simply by death - but what would that accomplish? He may not even be permitted into such a place of innocence if he did such a horrible act.

Bryden clenched his fist closed, and steeled his eyes once again. He would create a new goal for himself, one fitting enough to permit him into heaven - one that would shape him and change him into a better man hopefully, and one that could get him to see his siblings again. The only way to do such a thing was to survive this tournament - regardless of victory or not - and return home to find his new path. Slowly bringing his body back up, Bryden stared down at the wrist that was still stinging a little to see a swirling pattern locked onto his skin. While he was slightly confused, he dismissed it completely. He was on a different mission now, and where that tattoo came from or what it did meant nothing. His eyes were clear of all past problems, as if he were washed clean of his problems, as he walked forward to pass both Ivy and Cane. Once he reached them, however, words escaped his mouth.

"I forgot to thank you, Miss Bronhilda, for the assistance." He didn't even look at her, but he knew that Ivy would understand his message, and hopefully find the undertone of gratitude hidden within the raspy voice. To Cane, he simply gave a curt, respectful nod and muttered 'Cane' before walking past them both to experience the blankness of the room. He didn't care if Cane was confused by him, or if he was the underdog of this competition.

He now had a new goal, a new purpose and a new life to live - and nothing would restrain him until he was unable to move.

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