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(No trees were harmed in the making of this catfight.)
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Revision as of 20:01, 20 May 2020

Summary: In a stroke of terrible luck for all involved, Quintessa and Karasu cross paths in Cenril. Karasu has yet to uncover the limitations of Quintessa's involvement in her father's plans, but believes her to be a traitor regardless. Quintessa realizes how paranoid Karasu has become, but Karasu's harsh words spurns her into action. A clash ensues that requires the intervention of a mysterious figure. No trees were harmed in the making of this fight.

Cenril Town Square

The town square is a pleasing mixture of cobblestones, natural turf and quaint wooden benches placed strategically under the shadow of often blooming willow trees. Flowering plants of exotic variations and bushes trimmed strategically offer both privacy and relaxing views. Westward lies the famed Whalers' Bar, often frequented by the more gregarious and lively residents, while a man sits patiently beside a board to the east. Memorial Avenue continues as before, north and south.

A young spellblade sits neatly on a stack of disused crates before the Whaler’s Bar. Her legs are crossed one over the other as the sailors inside sing along with the nightly entertainment. Despite the creeping warm air of summer setting in, the spell blade still wears a deep red cloak over her head to conceal her face from those who wish to look a little too closely. Despite her learning how to morph fully between human and feline, there is not much of a noticeable difference as a human, save for a few added inches of height. As the song from the bar ends, only to be replaced with another one, Karasu suddenly shudders. For a moment, she can swear that she felt a surge of dread as well. Odd, perhaps it was nothing.

Quintessa hates Cenril. She mentions this often. If not for Khitti and her adorable giant-huntsman spider, the changeling would have no reason to come here at all. The Black Tides were always a troublesome art for the odd girl, but under the training of the Templar of Retribution she was improving. Drifting like a horrible shadow down the alleyways, Quintessa was turned around in the city again, her magical cloak tied snugly around her neck and shoulders as her left hand idly rest on the hilt of her katana. When the changeling heard the collection of voices coming from the Whaler’s Bar just up ahead she knew she had found a decent landmark. Besides, a Syndicate Representative would likely be here with information for her, the silver lining to getting lost in Cenril in the first place. Lingering at the mouth of the alley, Quintessa lowers her hood, her mismatched eyes scanning the area for trouble. Would the hex blade notice the woman resting on a stack of crates first or would the changeling be spotted standing out in the open?

Karasu audibly cracks her knuckles with a stifled yawn. Babysitting really did get boring after a while. Her mind wanders to the strange half-drow that offered to ride out with her to the middle of nowhere in the pursuit of knowledge. The spell blade was sure Futsuka had already surveyed the scene of the Swiftclaw fire multiple times; Karasu was sure there was really nothing worth looking into out there, but perhaps a day trip would put her nerves at ease. A pair of sailors stumble out, and one holds the other to keep from falling. "Ahoy, my leggy lassie--" The more drunken sailor begins to flirt, but is cut short with a dry heave. "Ugh!" The halfling yanks her cloak away before it gets ruined and walks around to the side of the building. As she turns the corner, she catches sight of another suspicious character. Huh, what were the odds of two hooded people in full armor in the start of summer running into each other. Having gone so long without a hint of Quintessa being around, the thought fails to register which hooded figure this is. Karasu immediately averts her gaze, turning back around to leave. "Excuse me."

Quintessa lingers longer still, her predatory gaze sizing up the pair of sailors that drew near, shouting cat calls at whatever woman was close enough to suffer them. Unfortunately Quintessa was about to become one of them. "Lookit here, a rather posh sort, duncha think?" The changeling rolls her eyes, "Not interested," She doesn't even give them a chance to begin, flipping her cloak over her left shoulder to show off her weapon. "Heartless bitch..." the other mumbles before they move on, almost bumping into Karasu as they leave. "That voice..." Quintessa spins on her heels, turning back to stalk after the hooded figure that had slipped past. "You there!" The changeling calls after her, pulling what looks to be a small coin purse from under her cloak. "You dropped something!"

Karasu looks back and locks eyes with the hex blade. Time stands still for a moment, and she's reminded of the excited girl that Dyraxdiin had sent Karasu to make up some kind of initiation test for. Then her mind flashes with false images of Quintessa reporting Karasu's movements to her father and leaning over his desk to gain attention, whispers of conspiracies where small achievements to the feline meant nothing so long as her murder of a single human was eventually carried out. Ruby eyes narrow into slits and she crouches slightly, hand moving to the hilt of her weapon. "What are you doing here?" The spell blade hisses, the hair on the back of her neck standing on end in alarm.

Quintessa experiences a similar flashback, of joining the guild being initiated by Karasu. Time flashes forward, they fight a fire elemental, or what they thought was one at the time, and Karasu narrowly saves Quintessa from certain doom. Then things get bittersweet. Quintessa competes for their teacher's attention against her, fights and poisons Karasu's then boyfriend, and then the moment she stabbed her in the side during a training spar. The hex blade holds the spot on her side, the scar suddenly hurting. "What am -I- doing here?" The coin purse hangs from her fingers out at her side, swaying to and fro as Quintessa glares from beneath black lashes. "You've been missing for months and that's how you address me?" The changeling doesn't know if she wants to scream or cry. Probably a little bit of both. "I'm in Cenril to study under Khitti Herzegler. Why are you here?" Quintessa wouldn't let on how much she knew about her and Kanna, not yet.

Karasu takes a step back to put distance between them. A tinge of guilt makes her falter. Her eyes flicker to where Quintessa holds and nearly shivers remembering how she fainted after realizing she was the cause of that injury. Guilt for Quintessa, and for the dragon hatchling she abandoned when she fled, flashes across her face for a moment, before her glare steels. "Doesn't matter why I'm here. I suppose it doesn't matter, since you'll be telling Kaaname about this once you pass by Xalious again, huh?" The bitterness in her tone is evident. "Go to your study session, then. I won't keep you."

Quintessa scoffs, "Kaaname?" Her hand moves away from the old wound, returning to the hilt of her blade as she steps forward just to spite the step taken back. "In a few years Kaaname will probably be answering to me, so I don't tell him anything I don't have to." The changeling chuckles, slowly piecing things together. "Wait a moment, is he the reason you left? Does this have something to do with that birthmark of yours?"

Karasu feels her blood boiling at what she assumes is playing dumb on Quintessa's part. "Him, and you, you goddamn snake." Despite her temper flaring, she keeps control just enough to slowly walk backwards, leading Quintessa away from the bar and towards the empty park. "You're the only one listed by name as an accomplice. Everything all so I could become a vessel for some grand plan involving Vakmatharas? All those years of training usurped by a girl with daddy issues so bad she has to jump on the dick of her best friend's dad and promise to keep tabs on me? You couldn't pick literally anyone else?!" Karasu draws her sword, months of pent up anger finally surfacing. The occasional tavern-goer that had tried to run away screaming hadn't done nearly enough to sate her sense of betrayal. The weapon is unlike anything Quintessa remembers: where Karasu once had twin katanas, she now has a single long sword, metal creased in irregular places as if ready to split apart.

Quintessa quirks a brow at the assertion that she was Kaaname's accomplish in all of this, and a condescending laugh begin to rumble in her chest. "You couldn't be more off point." The rumble became a mad cackle, one that causes Quintessa's aura to spread throughout the alleyway, choking the light from the street. "Your father and Larewen conspired long before I was even born, so your suggestion that I was in on it all along is impossible. Kaaname is the one with faith in Vakmatharas, not me." She draws her katana slowly, her lithe fingers tracing along the false edge of her sword as she threads her mana within the mundane alloys. "Gwisgo fflach," she utters, enchanting her sword as it pulses with a brilliant white glow before she pulls down her runic goggles. "And hopping on his dick?" Quintessa smirks, "You're gonna judge me for being into an older man? Pot, meet kettle." The hex blade held her blade up between them defensively, waiting for Karasu's attack. "I'm curious to see if you've improved any or if you've been left to stagnate."

Karasu glowers at her. "Couldn't be more off point, yet you just admitted you knew. Bitch. Sigillum maulum." Karasu touches her sword to the ground, from which a blue light traces forth through the cobblestones. The spell was similar to one Quintessa already knew from Karasu's playbook in form, yet produced a much different effect. The light makes a wide berth around the hexblade and attempts to follow her when she moves. So long as she remained still, the spell would catch up with her and stifle the power of her hexes. Civilians trying to enter the park catch witness of the scene unfolding and flee, some calling for the Cenrilian guard to intervene. "Seorsum." The pieces of her sword separate to reveal a bladed whip, held together by tethers of arcane magic and steel. Karasu does not answer the last taunt. Tinges of black are reflected on the edges of her eyes when the magic reflects on her face.

Quintessa brings her blade up into a high guard as she is shrouded in Karasu's light, the oppressive shadowing of her aura lifted like a bad storm clearing away. "Of course I know. I'm Lady Dragana now- All of Larewen's dirty secrets are mine, but you'd know this if you were smart enough to figure it out." Quintessa continues to follow after Karasu, entering the part as a small crowd gathers around them. "But you're not. You've never had to figure anything out before. You were handed everything by your daddy- But when -I- want something from him you suddenly have a problem with it?" The changeling plants her feet as her left hand leaves her katana and lifts to the sky, to point at Arh'Nuk as she chants in a low tone. "Lleuad gwaed, lleuad marwolaeth, caniatâ dy bwer imi..." As the words leave her lips the Moon of Death begins to shroud Quintessa in crimson light, making her appear almost purple in the shared light. The hex blade wouldn't wait for Karasu to make the first move, however, as this new weapon of hers looked like it had superior range. Being of a tactical mind, Quintessa knows she has to close the distance. The changeling drops from her high guard as she pushes off with her back foot, sprinting to close the distance as her blade swivels to gain momentum. Like a bladed cyclone, Quintessa swings the blade diagonally, hopping and spinning as a ballerina would to strike twice at the half-feline's torso. Charged with a sunburst spell, the first time her blade connects with something it'll set off the enchantment, creating a brilliant flash of light that surely might blind most of the onlookers, if not Karasu as well.

Karasu lifts her lip in a snarl to reveal one of her sharp canines. "Daddy dearest who killed almost every other family I had and actively worked to keep me out of the guild until someone else intervened. What a hero." Karasu thought she had seen everything she needed to in the Frostmaw battles. The feline utters an incantation as she flips back-- "Obscena stipitem egerunt." And tosses the whip-blade into the air. As the toe of her boot connects with the dull end of the blade, the light beams forth. Lucky for small blessings, Karasu's feline pupils shrink into slits as quickly as the light appears. The tossed sword remains in place for a hair of a moment before the individual blades separate. With a trained eye on them, Karasu gives the word and they disperse to surround Quintessa as she raises her sword for the second strike. "Paenitet." In rapid succession, the blades fly towards the center where Quintessa is. Karasu throws her cloak back and throws up an arm, deflecting the blade with a bracer of reinforced steel. "So flashy." The feline taunts as the blade is pushed out and away. In such close proximity, she swings for a simple uppercut before ducking to her knees and rolling off to the side to meet where her weapon reassembles. "Adolebitque." The sword resumes its default shape, but quickly glows to a bright orange, smoke rising from the metal and ready to melt through what it touches. Karasu bounces back a step before launching forward. The sword detaches again and she raises it above head to swing out and diagonal, aiming to cut the baroness before she can move away.

"Kaaname is a useful tool, nothing more." Quintessa remains stoic despite her attacks being deflected, and though she can't avoid it when the blades surround her and cut into her in rapid succession. Following through the entire attack the changeling only ducks slightly to avoid Karasu's gambit and Quintessa suffers a nasty gash near her right collarbone. A tough choice, but she had to have proper footing to withstand the upcoming onslaught. Instead of running, Quintessa stands her ground, bringing the edge of her katana up to gracefully deflect the diagonal attack. With Karasu's attack parried, she slides the edge of her blade down the other Stewardess' weapon, ignoring the pain in her right arm as she attempts to swordlock her. A trick she learned from the famed hero Lionel, she falsely loses the lock to close the distance before she abandoning it to aim a sneaky slice at Karasu's stomach. Even if her slight-of-hand fails the changeling dances around the feline, stopping her spin behind her before resuming her high guard. With just a meter of space to bring her sword back into a thrust, Quintessa calls out "Mellt!" and the magic words causes her katana to shimmer with electricity just before she aims an attack for the woman's spine.

Karasu grunts as Quintessa's katana barely grazes her own sword to deflect. Her own weapon loses color as the incantation fades. The spell blade moves to swivel on her heel when the katana grazes the metal plate between her shoulder blades. Electricity surges through the halfling's body, amplified by the steel armor she wears, and she lets out an involuntary scream. Once separated, she has to take a knee for a second to steady herself. Undeterred, Karasu lifts her sword and utters, "Ignem sacrum Xalious praesidio!" With a stab into the floor, the token fire spell launches, moving forward quicker than if a line of oil had been ignited. The sapphire flames rise up, but in a slip of concentration, the magical fire laps at the trees above them, setting the nearby scenery on fire as well. Karasu pants, struggling to fight a second battle: remain conscious or allow the entity that resided in her mark to take over and possibly kill Quintessa entirely, along with any other civilians it encountered. "Let... me fight." Karasu pleads under her breath, the black trying to encroach on her sclera.

Quintessa breaths heavily as her blood trickles down her her torso and arms, a little pool forming where it drips from her fingertips. "Fire." Of course Karasu would be wielding fire. Terror takes hold in the changeling's mind, flashbacks to the burning building full of Razurath younglings. Quintessa, you killed younglings. The changeling knows that there is only so much damage she can take, but she also knows how to falsely extend that limit. Drawing up the hood of her cloak Quintessa utters the word "Anweledig." knowing that the only way she can avoid Karasu's wrath is if she can't be seen or heard. Her invisibility cloak perfectly hides her form as she escapes from the flames, unknowingly leaving a small path of blood behind her. Panic still seizing her, she ducks behind a tree that hasn't caught fire yet as the screams of the townsfolk fill the night air along with the smoke and fire. As the invisibility spells fades, Quintessa is already casting another. "Bywyd ffug." the hex blade wheezes, her false life spell stitching together her wounds with lime green energy. The the bleeding stopped Quintessa takes one last second to steel herself before she raises to face her fears. "Fear... that's it..." Utilizing her new explorative study into fear magic, Quintessa taps into her own and projects her terror outward to anymore within four or five meters. "Rhedeg am eich bywyd chi tatws bach!" The changeling begins to shout, the odd girl's voice warbling and crackling with her unholy influence. As Quintessa searches for Karasu, her aura of fear following like a haze of insanity, her googles shield her mismatched eyes from the burning smoke all around her. "Just come out and fight," She shouts in every direction, "Show me what you are truly made of!" Quintessa knows full well the dangers of provoking the powers that possess the half-feline, but she seems to be intentionally calling them out. "Finish what you started in the Mage Tower when you tried to kill me!"

Karasu shudders as she rises to her feet, a primal growl escaping her lips as she throws her arm out. Though the feline's head remains lowered, the furthest blades of the swords bury themselves inches above Quintessa's fingertips on the tree. Karasu turns her head, panting as she surveys the targeted tree from her vantage point. In the bright light of the fire, Quintessa can see the mark spreading up from the back of her neck and enveloping her left cheek and up to her eye that is covered in the black sclera as though cradling it. "I'm... going to kill you." Karasu says, her voice distorted. "If I hadn't met you, I would have never known." She yanks her arm back, the sword snapping back to attention. With jerky movements, she steps closer to the tree, unwittingly breaching the barrier before her foot seems to catch on something that isn't there. Distracted by the hesitation in her step, the feline looks down to where the body of Berrentram lays vivisected and labelled for research purposes like a common garden frog. A few feet away lays her sister, part of her head crushed in with Quintessa standing over her, a demented smile on her face. Another figure of Quintessa also lays splayed out, a silver stake impaled through her chest from behind with the elder Provost standing over her. Karasu lets out a cry, throwing herself back, letting the sword clatter to the ground. "Don't provoke it! FIGHT -ME-, NOT THIS THING!" She half screams and half begs of her adversary. Having stumbled out of bounds, she blinks to find the corpses gone. The feline breathes in the smoke to remind herself of where she is and picks her sword back up before Quintessa can approach again. "Seorsum, obscena stipitem egerunt!" She chants quickly, letting the rapid-fire blades seek out her opponent for her to stab at again. Karasu retreats to behind another tree where she claws at the black material beneath her armor, revealing lightning-patterned burns from the earlier attack. She wasn’t going to last at this rate.

Drawn by the electricity of magic and the scent of blood, a lone figure traversed the rooftops to pause, crouched, at the edge of the Whaler's Bar. Silhouetted against the pale glow of moonlight overhead, a silver-haired enigma observed the fight below. Subtle movements caused the mythril of his katana, held in a reverse-grip behind him, to reflect that moonlight in occasional pervasion of the night, but otherwise he was still. While keeping 'tabs' on the battle below, the warrior attuned his senses to their surroundings in search of any Cenrili guardsmen who might have been nearby on patrol.

Quintessa steps through the burning park as she forces the visions onto Karasu, trying to weaken her psychologically so she could move in for the... what, the kill? The spell fades, fizzling out as her concentration falters. Quintessa didn't want to kill Karasu, it turned out. "If you'd never met me you'd still be a puppet. Ignorant. Complacent. The day I showed up at your little tower I set you free!" The changeling comes face to face with the feline, standing in the center of the inferno as the Cenril guards frantically organized an effort to combat the flames. "I don't want to fight you," Quintessa admits, her katana dragging behind her in the dirt, "That thing- It's done nothing but get between us- We were going to take the world by storm! But now? I have to take it all by myself." As Karasu begins to spout off the words to her spell, so does Quintessa. Bringing her katana up high into a Kirioroshi stance, the blade brought to a 45 degree angle above her head, the changeling plans her own incantation. "...mellt..." Quintessa begins, sticking with lightning magic to maximize her effectiveness against the metal armor, the changeling holding her sword here as she focuses her mana, sparks jumping all along the ground around her as the air becomes thick with static electricity. Uwchgwyrfai!" The changeling shouts, bringing her blade down as hard as she can as her evocation is completed. A deafening crack of thunder echoes through the park as bright blue lightning pierces the smoky night air and races right for the body of Karasu, seeking out the conductive properties of her metallic armor. Choosing to focus on her attack rather than dodge, Quintessa takes the full force of the blades, some penetrating her arms, some her legs, and others all over her torso. Blood pours from her wounds as she falls to one knee, her katana the only thing still keeping her propped up as the flames continue to swirl around her.

Karasu stumbles backwards to avoid the swing of the sword, starting her another incantation. She fumbles over one of the words and looks up in time to see the katana swing down. She instinctively moves out of the way, but not soon enough to avoid the lightning magic. A scream rings out through the park as she convulses, the lightning seeming to seep straight into her armor. With what strength remains, she forces herself upright and shakily withdraws a dagger, holding it out in front of her with both hands. "I w-w-won't... let you t-t-two h-hurt her..." Who she was speaking to or about is not answered, as her consciousness fades. Her eyes roll back and the black miasma recedes back into place as she falls backwards onto the hard stone. Any blades remaining fall to the ground as Karasu temporarily loses consciousness, her body jerking as the remaining lightning finishes its course. The Cenrilian guards begin to descend on the park, seeking to put out the flames and find the arsonists responsible for destroying the area.

Krice didn't previously harbour any desire to intervene in the battle below, perhaps in part because it seemed as though the women were familiar with each other - and perhaps also because they seemed... equal in some ways. Even as lightning sparked around him to pierce the darkness of the woods below, he waited atop the bar. Only once Karasu's consciousness faded did he step off the roof and fall to the ground next to its door, a controlled couch saving him from injury. As he stood, he kept his katana held behind him with the blade pointing upward, angled along his spine, and casually walked forward to observe Quintessa's behaviour in the aftermath of the battle - with intermittent glances spared the unconscious woman nearby. He paused before drawing too close, the slightest tilt of his head belying his focus on the females - for his sensitive hearing noted the approach of armoured feet. Soon enough, the guards would find this exact location. Silently, he locked his gaze on the conscious girl's face, red eyes turned purple by the ambiance of the moon, expression neutral.

With Karasu unconscious Quintessa finally relaxes and vomits all over the ground in front of her. Blood, saliva, and ashes all mix together as she fights the darkness that threatened to close in. Had she won? This didn't feel like a victory. Using her katana as a crutch, she pulls herself to her feet once more to descend upon Karasu, but she stops when see notices Krice. Her mismatched eyes struggle to focus as she stumbles to a halt, her body straightening rigidly. "You," Quintessa says, her voice weak and horse. "I can't let the authorities take us. You are an ally of the Warrior's Guild, no? If you make sure Karasu survives I will be in your debt..." The young spellcaster stifles a coughing fit, only allowing herself to spit out the bit of blood that has pooled in her mouth. "Please." The Baroness wasn't one to beg, but she was desperate to save her friend.

Krice regarded Quintessa through the flames, his expression mostly unchanging even as she locked eyes with his own. With the guards on the far side of the fire, they had a few seconds to spare to this unorthodox encounter. The fire was considerably lower on his side, so he had no difficulty hearing Quintessa, or seeing either woman. His gaze drifted to the fallen female upon her request that he assist her, though there was obvious skepticism in those gold-streaked eyes. Why couldn't they be taken by the authorities? Having failed to catch the initial moments of their encounter, Krice was left without the information required to find a potential answer. As such, he moved without obvious delay; the tip of his left boot dipped into the earth and he rushed forward, a casual flash-step shooting him harmlessly through the flames, past Quintessa, to pause unsinged by the fallen girl's side. Golden light cascaded over the curve of his katana as he drew it over his shoulder, sheathing the weapon against his back once more. With his senses attuned to his surroundings, the enigma took note of magic debris, the progress of the guards, and spoke to Quintessa as he slipped his arms beneath the bloodied form of Karasu. " Your concern is confusing." After all, weren't they just trying to cripple each other? " Normally I wouldn't care, but I'll come in search of answers." He'd be searching for Quintessa to explain this situation, now that he was semi-involved. Harbouring tenderness not often associated with warriors - especially stoic ones, Krice drew Karasu from the ground and cradled her against his chest, his strong arms protecting her from the whiplash of another flash-step that would transport them both through the fire quickly enough to avoid injury. He wouldn't continue, however, pausing to regard Quintessa over a shoulder. What was she going to do now?

Quintessa is a tiny bit envious of Karasu when Krice cradles her against his chest, but she does her best not to think about that. It was too late to trade places anyway. "I know how confusing it sounds," she admits, coming closer to look upon Karasu's face up close, "I promise to explain later," Quintessa wants to reach out to caress the feline, to brush the blood-flecked hair from her face but she refrains, the longing showing in her mismatched eyes. As Krice flash steps away, Quintessa attempts a similar technique, one learned from Khitti last time she witnessed her fight. With what was likely the last bit of her mana, the changeling utters the phrase "Cam cysgodol," and her body shifts into the shadows of the burning trees, carrying her further away eastward, in the direction of the wharf. She had to return to the Tranquility, Khitti and Brand's ship, much sooner than she expected to. Quintessa only hopes they have a good healer on board, cause when she got there and her false life spell expired, she'd be bleeding all over the place.

Krice didn't seem overly welcoming over Quintessa's closeness when she neared to regard her fallen frenemy, but he didn't shirk her either. Once they were both on the far side of the fire, obscured from view by darkness and smoke and thus spared questioning by the guardsmen at the opposite side, the warrior watched as Quintessa's figure teleported with the shadows, before he moved southward to deliver Karasu to the clinic. A visitor himself, and well known to more than a few of the nurses, he would explain that they needn't ask questions about the origins of her injuries. Just that 'magic' and 'katanas' were involved. 'Not his'.