"With my less-than-impressive track record, it has become understandably easy for others to forget exactly who I am. Make no mistake, I may not be anything even remotely close to a badass, but I do have a breaking point. Do not push me beyond it." ~ Joshua 'The Triumvirate' Dsiorpov.FIGHT BACKGROUND FROM JOSH'S PERSPECTIVE:
There is a particularly annoying Technique within the Grim Renaissance called Lady Marah's Tether, named after the Legendary Class Artist who pioneered it. This Technique, which can be made into various Logos and sold, involves immediately sealing off a Grim Artist within an undisclosed, unknown prison where not even their most powerful Techniques may break them out. They will remain trapped unless they can free themselves using a Key. But as simple as that idea sounds, there is a cruel twist to it.
Lady Marah's Key is available for the Artist to use, and such a ray of hope is the drawback to making the rest of this Technique so absolute, otherwise it would be much too expensive for anyone who isn't Lady Marah herself to maintain; the more absolute something is, the more costly it naturally becomes. However, Lady Marah's Key is not a physical thing. It is a written password, one launched straight out of the Grim Renaissance itself. The trapped Grim Artist is completely unable to exit the prison, including going outside the Renaissance to pursue it in person. However, he/she/it is able to create a Manifestation that may controlled as if it really was the original, as if the original really did go wherever it went, and as if the original really perceived everything the Manifestation did. Since Grim Artists are still harrowingly-devastating, put as lightly as possible, even as non-Renaissance versions of their selves deprived of all quantities, qualities, and queries concerning their Prerogative, said Manifestation is further limited by a countless number of Techniques within Lady Marah's Tether, bound to the rules and realm mechanics of their destination, and only then is it allowed to go forth into non-Renaissance areas.
The prisoner must quest for Lady Marah's Key, aided only by the few abilities, attributes and allies it is allowed to have. When it finds the Key, it need only memorize the code, dissolve its manifestation, and then recite code to be freed. However, if it is killed before it can reach the Key, the current quest is reset, and it must venture forth again and again, until it finally succeeds in getting what it needs. This makes Lady Marah's Tether one of the most hated delay tactics ever conceived.
Joshua Dsiorpov had the misfortune to be hit with a Renaissance Token of Lady Marah's Tether on a mission not too long ago.
His very first quest for the Key led him to what seemed to be a completely unpopulated world. Josh set about finding the Key he needed, and his scouts were able to sense it deep within the bedrock of the general area. The Dsiorpov immediately commenced the obliteration of the terrain; he was in a terrible hurry, having grave matters to attend to back home. Unfortunately, his careless destruction caused a lot of collateral damage to a structure hidden underground, one that its maker was currently working on. The damage was significant enough to warrant immediate hostility, and it became apparent that Josh would have to fight before he could dig any further.FIGHT BACKGROUND FROM KATE'S PERSPECTIVE:
It was supposed to be just another ordinary day. Leave her abode, gather supplies, explore, build something, craft something, get home before dark. Maybe if she was feeling particularly adventurous, she could venture out of her home when night fell, when the more sinister wildlife began to stir, armed with a sturdy set of crafted armor and weapons so she could do a little hunting.
This time, for Kate, routine would have to be compromised.
She almost had her way, too. She had risen up early, and first on her list of chores was a little mending to her walls and fortifications. After that, Kate went over to a nearby clump of trees and hewed the whole lot down, crafting a lot of much needed tools, ranging from picks to shovels. She would need all of them to tunnel deeper into the network of mines she had carved into her primary dig site in search of rarer and more useful materials. Those tools were stored directly into her pockets, which had the ability to hold tons of resources, giving Kate access to raw materials at any given time.
Were Kate to reach her mining quota, her primary dig site would have to be tended to as well. Her neighbors, while sparse, had this nasty habit of looting her troves of resources, which was why her primary dig site was littered with traps. Over the years, it had grown into an immense fortress, disguised as a mountain. Only Kate knew the few secret entrances, and should anyone have discovered those through sheer luck, they would have been doomed to wandered through perilous corridors, unaware of the hidden shortcuts strategically planted by her. Once every now and then, some foolish soul would do just that, and Kate had to reload, rearm, or repair her traps in the messy aftermath.
There was usually enough time after her chores were done to go traveling. Kate had portals constructed in her primary dig site that led to many outposts. Those were not formal mines, and Kate didn't really mind if those were to be overrun. They were more like roots in far away places of this vast dimension, ones she could use to scout out potential dig sites, should she tire of her current one or it ran out resources, the former being more likely than the latter.
However, that day's chores took a little longer than expected. Oh well. Spending the night at home wasn't too big a deal.
And then loud din greeted as Kate exited her primary dig site.
A stranger loomed over a large hole just at the base of her mountain stronghold. A large group of what appeared to be mechanical scorpions were busy boring downwards. This did not bode well with Kate, understandably. The creepy-crawlies had dug deep enough to reach her outermost storage rooms. Many of Kate's hidden resource chests had been heavily damaged in the process, and what's more, the stranger didn't even seem interested in looting them.
This destruction was surely nothing but mindless.
Kate immediately crafted dozens of earthen blocks, raining the entire batch down upon the digging arachnids, burying them all. The stranger seemed to take insult to this, immediately retaliating by hurtling a bolt of light from the tip of a silver mechanical pencil at her, muttering something grumpily. Big mistake. As he would soon learn: out of all the people in this dimension only Kate had the ability to manifest her imaginary characters. Yelling out names, Kate immediately summoned three dragons to her side, ready to tear the stranger to shreds.
To her surprise, the stranger responded by unleashing creations of his own. Whoever he was, he was definitely not from around here.
Even worse, asking him nicely wasn't going to make him leave.THE CLASH AS PER THE SNAPSHOT ABOVE:
- The place where the duel takes place is a realm similar to Minecraft, where one has free reign to terraform. However, it also doubles as a place where Kate can summon her OC's.
- An age-old saying is being put to the test. We shall see if the Pen truly is mightier than the Sword, especially if that sword is made out of a bluish diamond.
- Fifteen minutes into the duel, Josh has initiated a Single Wing Domination, Crimson Variant. This allows Azrael Domination to take over, making him more aggressive. Strangely, his Costs have switched from what should have been Azrael's Blood Art to Michael's Soul Art. Specific expenses are targeted towards his memory.
- The above is why Kani is so large in the picture. Just moments ago, Josh had intended to target his Phantomwulf with a Size-Expansion Technique; doing so would have provided him with a more sturdier companion. Unfortunately, he had forgotten what he had wanted to do for an instant, and he lobbed the Technique at Kani instead. When it hit, what was once a cat-sized creature suddenly became a monster the size of a lion. And before he could right his mistake, Kate swooped in with her swords. Josh's Phantomwulf immediately took to guarding its master from behind, ready to intercept Kani if he pounced.
- The blocks of earth jutting out of the ground is reminiscent of what a player from Minecraft would have been able to do. In this case, Kate's ability to influence the terrain is a bit faster, more widespread, and can operate on multiple instances at once, as opposed to devoting one's attention to one block at a time. Remember, this place isn't exactly the Minecraft world, which is why Characters can be summoned. However, neither combatant has too big of an advantage. While Josh has a ton of tricks up his sleeves, despite his current predicament, Kate is fighting on home turf, meaning she knows, and can manipulate, the place better.
- And since we're on that topic, Kate, much like the usual Minecraft Players, can form her Diamond Swords very quickly from gathered minerals. Unlike the usual Minecraft player (since, again, this is not taking place directly within a Minecraft Server) Kate can dual-wield these blades or launch them at will, a new one replacing the old almost immediately. Her blades are single-edged variants, but they are no less sharper than the double-edged version.
- Just above the warring artists, Seth has engaged Awatif bin Hammad, a Bestia Tyranni, in her True Form. Josh's limits prevent him from manifesting her as anything too large, but that doesn't change the fact that their clash is quite literally a battle between Nature and Technology, and Seth is just about to unleash hell with his poison breath.
- Behind those two, Kayt Dragoness is inhaling in order to unleash an icy blast towards a 'Mouette Tempête'. In English, the name of that freakish bird means Storm Seagull. It is a cadaver that Mortimer du Noiregale, known as Mortimer Noirouge outside the Renaissance, is rather fond of making and selling to others for usage. Kayt Dragoness is undaunted by what appears to be a creature raised through necromantic means, as she herself possesses powerful Black Magic in her own right.
- At the top of the picture, Nilova is about to brawl with Gthnbnlu'xalxal. Josh's comedic take on the Lovecraftian Outer Gods may not be able to control his size at the moment, but rest assured, he still packs a wallop. Nilova herself, while normally a gentle soul, has no qualms with kicking butt for her mistress, or roasting it with her fiery jets. What Gthnbnlu'xalxal, or Josh for that matter, doesn't know is that this beautiful creature has a stealth ability that may just turn the tides towards Kate's favor in a few minutes or so.
- What Josh also doesn't know is that Kate has access to structures that she had built long before Josh ever arrived. She has the option of leading him to her primary dig site, which Josh had thought was just an odd mountain formation in the background. Within it are many traps, ranging from a thousand-foot drop into a cavern of magma, spring-loaded arrows, or pressure plates that trigger the release of armed dynamite, all via circuits made of a curious red stone.
- A team of anthropomorphic fighters surveys the scene just out of reach from collateral damage. One is a dingo, another a feline, the rest are bandicoots, but all are ready to strike with but a signal from their mistress.
- Above the waiting group of five, a massive Logo Array has formed. Exactly what is does is anyone's guess, but the amount of energy it is radiating is absurd.
- Furthermore, dusk is approaching quickly. It is the reason why Nilova will soon gain access to her stealth ability. However, with that pro comes an urgent con. Many dangerous creatures roam these lands when the sun goes down. If darkness catches the combatants, they risk a fatal mauling not only at the hands of each other, but by the deadly hordes that go bump in the night...CONTEST ENTRY FOR: conformalsquid.deviantart.com/…HOSTED BY
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