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Old 09-01-2007, 10:36 PM
Sakume Sakume is offline
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[Round Two] Cursed Dancers of Colbeck

OoC: I thought it was pretty sweet that I used a title of a tale I recently read for the title of my thread. I’m going to try and make it a little twisted and it may seem strange at first. Wish I could have made it longer, but I was a bit afraid to do so, seeing as it’s already gained more length than I expected.

BiC: He glanced to the left and right, trying to define the way this environment made him feel. A sense of nervousness forced him to glance behind him every few moments. Although the flora (namely, a few scattered dead plants and a billowing oak tree) made him quite comfortable as Mark had seen such things back home, he didn’t agree with the sense that someone watched him. It was cliché, of course, but nonetheless a very possible statement. Any person seeing a sign for a traveling caravan of gypsies would have stopped what they were doing to inspect, and Mark was no exception.

He passed several old, crumbling building to match the nearby plant life, curious as to why the gypsy wagon would set up here of all places. After several buildings, he came upon a large structure with several wagons out front, the old-looking horses neighing a few times. He analyzed the carts, which had no people in them, and shrugged, stepping into the building. “Hello?”

“Welcome to our traveling show.” He was greeted by a rather greedy-looking man with a top hat and a sharp suit. His hair was slicked back, charcoal in color, and he looked somewhat young, in his mid-twenties. “May I ask your name, good sir?”

Mark made sure the man was speaking to him. “Me? Oh, my name is Mark. Mark Ilia Vandibrough.”

“Welcome to our humble show, Mark.” He said with a low, somewhat creepy smile. He gestured to several others, all wearing dancing shoes; the sort with the heels on the bottom that clicked as you walked to form a beat. There were several women, and one especially beautiful.

She was dressed in a long white gown, but it cut off easily into what looked like a few slits so that it appeared something clawed it. Her smooth brown hair was put into a ponytail, two strands dangling in front of her face, framing it. Her dark brown eyes pierced into Mark, a sad look interrupting his thoughts. Her shoes looked like ballerina’s more than the others, but each person’s seemed different.

“Thank you…” Mark said after a moment. “You look like you have a lot going on; may I ask what you are performing?” He surveyed the dusty stage, cocking his head.

“We are the dancers of Colbeck,” he said with a flourishing bow. “We journey from town to town performing and asking others to join us for a time. The name of our show is ‘The Carousel of Poison’.” Mark surveyed the other dancers, most of them men, and young men at that, most of them attractive. They had silky black shirts on, every one identical to the other.

“Ah. When will you be putting on your next show? I could use a break from working.” He tried not to sound suspicious, but it seemed strange that they were all so silent, and why perform in such a run-down place?

“Actually… we were going to perform again soon.” The man gestured to the broken-down stage and then to the people around him. “Will you join us for a show?”

“Sure. What will it cost me?” Mark asked, faintly smiling. The scientist never had, and he hoped never would have any struggles when it came to having enough or not enough money for something.

“Nothing at all. I will merely give you something, in fact. I’ll give you things you do not have currently and take only one thing you will never miss.” He stretched out a hand towards Mark, smiling through his oily-like mustache. “And I will even make you a star of the show.”

“Huh.” Mark had no interest in being a star, but the offer of things he did not have currently sounded juicy. There was Annabelle… could it be that this man offered something to do with her? If so, Mark surely would join. He would give anything up for her. “Very well. I accept your offer.” He grabbed the man’s hand, shaking it vigorously. What was the worst that could happen?

“Cheers!” The man walked over to a nearby table, snatching up two glasses of sparkling clear liquid. “Toast to our performance tonight!”

“Indeed!” Mark enjoyed it when others around him were happy, and so he suspected nothing. That is, until after he tasted the liquid. It seemed a little funny, but he had smelled it previously, and nothing seemed wrong. Suddenly, his vision began to grow blurry. He stumbled a bit, watching the man began to laugh a little.

“Too much to drink, my friend?” he asked, but to Mark, all the words jumbled together.

“I… what is this…” he murmured, falling to his knees, but not feeling anything. “You… drugged…” Everything went black…

“Are you ready?” Mark’s eyes snapped open and he looked at the man in front of him, one in a black shirt, but he was behind the curtains, and it looked entirely different, almost as if completely new.

“Pardon me? Ready for what?” Mark asked, taken aback.

“Ready for your part, of course. The show begins soon.” The man continued, turning Mark towards a mirror.

The scientist cringed visibly, raising a hand as if to strike the reflection in shock. He wore a pair of black shoes, and a white button-up shirt, a tan vast over it. His glasses were gone, but he could see perfectly as usual (since he wore the glasses for mere fun). “Where are my clothes?” He snapped.

“Welcome to our show.” The man that woke Mark up moved away, and the master of the show approached. “Mark.”

“What have you done?” The blonde snarled, rocketing to his feet. “I’m serious, now. I never said I wanted all this. I’m done.”

“We made a deal. It’s far too late for that. You are a part of ‘The Cursed Dancers of Colbeck.’” He smiled wryly. “I have given you everything you did not have. I have given you an immortal life, a future for yourself, a family in us, and fame. I have merely taken away your stubbornness to stay where you are put. You are forced from this moment on to remain a part of this group…”

“What the hell are you talking about? I don’t think so.” Mark began to walk away, shaking his head violently and trying to rid himself of the clothes, though they stuck like glue to his skin, almost as if they were a part of him. “What did you expect me to do, anyway?” He headed for the middle of the stage to depart.

“Dance.” The man whispered, as the curtains flung open. A violin began to play in the background, slowly and sweetly. Mark found himself in front of a crowd of people, none of whom he recognized. Just then, the music sped up, and along with it, so did Mark’s feet.

Mark glanced down for a split second, watching himself do a river dance sort of step, his heels clacking at breakneck speed as if he had trained for years to do this. Mark had taken a few years of the waltz and classical dance, but none of this. His hands, uncontrolled, flew to his hips. The clacking was directly in tune with the instruments in the background, and clapping came from the crowd.

From the background, several other dancers entered, all in rhythm with Mark. From the left corner, finally, as the music reached an even faster pace, came the vision of beauty, twirling and smiling for all the people. She took Mark’s arm, which he readily offered without control, and the two danced in time. Mark took a moment to realize that he was also beaming, without control of it. The speed of the dance became even faster, and Mark could hardly see the people through the lights beyond the stage and the fog that had so curiously entered on the wooden platform.

The music, despite its happiness, held a dread, as if it would go on forever. The second it ended, Mark expected to leave, and yet, it just grew again out of the silence. He panted; starting at a speed which he hoped would stop imminently. He feared if it continued to get much faster, he would spontaneously combust.

He twirled with the girl, both of them smiling as if they were the most blissful people in the world. They danced together, and she paused, moving to the side so that Mark could once again take the spotlight. They went back and forth for a few moments, and then, with a sudden movement on both their parts, Mark pulled her close and kissed her.

The crowd clapped, and the roaring applause continued even after the curtain fell. Just then, moments after the fabric touched the stage, she pushed him away, running off the side of the establishment.

“Five minutes until curtain call.” Mark heard someone say. He fell to his knees, shaking from exhaustion and sweating profusely. He panted in heaves of his chest, hands gripping the floor with a sincere thankfulness. “Hard, isn’t it? The first time is always hard.” The man commented after a moment of surveying the fallen scientist. “It gets easier.”

Mark looked at the man with disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?” he managed to gasp.

The girl returned, and Mark’s hand flew to hers as he vaulted up, bowing before the crowd, the same sick smile plastered on his lips. The moment after it was done, he twirled her to face him, the horrible music still revolving in the background. “Okay, what the hell is going on? You know, tell me!”

The girl remained quiet for a moment, and took his hand thoughtfully. “I guess since we’ll be partners… for a long while. I’m Sarah. I was a daughter of a mayor in a town far from here. I wandered away from home, and came here. I talked to him just as you did… he said the same things. Years have passed since then, and we’ve left multiple places. I was the first. He’s been looking for a partner for me for a while… there’s nothing you can do. You’re part of us now. You’ll dance here forever.”

“I can’t… I have someone.”

“You have no one now,” she interrupted. “You are part of us. You can only escape by doing something for the master… he enjoys watching others fight, and he likes nothing else but pain. And be careful! Whatever is not specified means that it’s your free game!”

Mark did just that. He approached the master, slamming his hand upon the man’s desk behind the stage. “How dare you do this to me and all those other people? I demand you release us all now!”

“Why would I do that? Have you something to offer?” The man lay his newspaper aside, a cocky sparkle in his eye.

“… Well…” Mark thought deeply. “If I were to do something a normal human would not do, would you be impressed? Tell me, how long has it been since you’ve seen a person fight? A person that did not feel a thing? I can even die, how’s that? If I win against a person of your choosing, any person at all, whether human or not, you will let all the others go. But! If I lose, dying or otherwise, you can keep me and all your lackeys. And I’ll never complain again.”

The master shrugged. “You won’t win, anyway. So yes, I agree. We’ll just see, won’t we?”

“Yes. I’ll wait here on the stage. You call me when you find this person I can battle… and I’ll be ready.” Mark grabbed The Screamer as it was thrown at him, trickles of blood dripping from his palm already. He narrowed his eyes, turning on heel. He would win this. He had to… for the people that counted on him... for Annabelle.
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  #2 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 09-02-2007, 12:31 PM
Kanraku Tenma United_States Kanraku Tenma is offline
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Re: [Round Two] Cursed Dancers of Colbeck

OoC: I am not sure how good this is, I am on like eight different alergy medicines right now. Stupid pollen. Good luck Sakume, *hands a tray of cookies*

BiC:I watched the stage, completely intoxicated by the fast paced music and the perfectly timed movements and rhythmic tapping of the dancers. I found myself clapping along with the rest of the audience and even began cheering with the others. Odd, I don’t even remember how I got here, I was just eating breakfast at the town’s inn a few minutes ago. I watched the dancers, all of them had something in common. Aside from their nearly identical dancing shoes, which clicked when they made contact with the stage, they all had the same look of sadness and regret in their eyes. One dancer out of all of them captured my attention, he wore a white shirt with a tan vest over it, but that wasn’t what captured my attention. Although his face and body reflected the happy tune in the background, his eyes wove a tale of deep emotion.

Sadness, longing, and what could only be described as a mixture of pure genius and insanity, all visible through his eyes. They all look sad, I need to help them. After the show ended I got up out of my seat and snuck backstage. I watched as the man fell to the ground, completely exhausted, and began talking to the woman he was dancing with moments ago. I listened in on their conversation and slowly put the pieces of the puzzle together in my mind.

As far as I could tell, there was a man behind all of this who took people and forced them into his performance group. Apparently, one could escape by doing something for the master. The woman said the leader of this group likes pain, and after that the man got up and walked away. I followed him to the leader’s desk and began to yell at him.

“How dare you do this to me and all those other people? I demand you release us all now!” the man screamed.

“Why would I do that? Have you something to offer?” the master of the dancers said with a look of cockiness in his eyes.

“… Well… if I were to do something a normal human would not do, would you be impressed? Tell me, how long has it been since you’ve seen a person fight? A person that did not feel a thing? I can even die, how’s that? If I win against a person of your choosing, any person at all, whether human or not, you will let all the others go. But! If I lose, dying or otherwise, you can keep me and all your lackeys. And I’ll never complain again,” the man said.

The master shrugged. “You won’t win, anyway. So yes, I agree. We’ll just see, won’t we?”

“Yes. I’ll wait here on the stage. You call me when you find this person I can battle… and I’ll be ready.” I watched as the man grabbed a large, painful looking whip as it was thrown at him, and blood immediately began to fall from his hand.

After the man left I walked over to the master’s desk. The leader of the dancers looked up at me and smiled.

“Hello there young man, would you like to join us?”

“No. What I want is some information and to help these people you have tricked and forced into joining you,” I said as I drew my katana and pointed it at his throat.

“Very well, just sign this contract and I will free them,” the man said as he handed me a large stack of paper.

“Fine then,” I said as I began reading the contract.

After a few minutes of reading I looked up at the man and handed the contract back.

“This contract is just the word “dance” written over and over again,” I asked him as I looked at my hands.

My hands were covered in ink from the contract, the word “dance” was smeared across my hands, dying them a light shade of black. I began to feel light headed and looked at the man as he laughed manically.

“What? Did you drug me?” I managed to say as I fell to the ground.

*********

I woke up a few minutes later; I stood up and looked at my surroundings. I was standing on a stage, there was someone else with me, he looked familiar, but I couldn’t seem to remember anything from the past few hours. I was eating one moment, and now I am here. The man was holding a menacing looking whip and was staring at me, most likely analyzing my strengths and weaknesses as best he could.

“Who are you?” I asked the person as I drew my katana, there would be a fight here today, and I was determined to win.

OoC: Keldar doesn't remember anything that just happened to make that perfectly clear. Please post soon, I need more chances to attempt to win. Because right now, you're winning lol.

EDIT: I just realized that sounds like I want you to post and then not post again. I meant that we should both post a lot. A lot of posts makes a good battle.
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Not only is it a bunny with a pancake on its head, it is also the link to my B.A Character: Bartholomew. Keldar has been moved over here until another breakfast based fuzzy animal can be found.

Proud Adopter of DodongoKing12. I can taste your jealousy.

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Last Edited by Kanraku Tenma; 09-08-2007 at 01:56 PM. Reason:
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Old 09-04-2007, 01:01 PM
Sakume Sakume is offline
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Re: [Round Two] Cursed Dancers of Colbeck

OoC: Thanks. : D That’s nice of you to say, but you were fine. ^-^ I hope I do alright. Sorry for the shortness compared to the opening. ^^

BiC: Mark didn’t answer the question at first. Instead, he took in the person’s appearance, searching here for weaknesses first as his fingers coiled around the sharp edges of the whip. Surprising that the “Master” would choose someone so young, in fact, the man could have passed for Mark’s age. He noticed a previously sheathed sword on the man’s left side, just below his hips and under the black robe he wore. This was probably the opponent’s main weapon. The scientist took careful mental notes not to attack directly using all of his strength, since the rival also had armor.

Too bad Mark couldn’t see the man’s face. This posed a somewhat flicker of anger within Mark. Did this rival think him not good enough to see his face? He growled softly under his breath, leaning the right side of his body back, flicking his wrist to loosen the whip a little. He would win, for the good of the people here, and for himself. If he didn’t, there was no chance. His feet began to tap anxiously back and forth, somewhat like he were fencing, although he supposed it was just the need to begin the battle. “I am…”

Snap! The whip flew through the air, inches from the opponent, releasing a loud, startling noise before returning to Mark’s side, like a snake poised to strike. “Mark Ilia Vandibough. I am your opponent, and I will defeat you,” spitting this statement, he began.

Snap! Crack! The whip scathed the floor as it slunk along seemingly with a life of its own. The lights flashed on, and the curtain parted. The man stood somewhere in the audience that surveyed the battle, the innocents never assuming that the battle was indeed not a part of the show. He turned once and with a sudden hurling motion, the whip’s dangerous shard-studded leather headed straight for Keldar.

Without a moment’s hesitation, as Mark expected of his opponent, the man dodged. He showed an excellent technique of agility by bending back and jumping just before the whip returned, missing the man’s feet by inches. Suddenly, a waving sort of energy began visible, formed about the figure himself.

A series of gasps emitted from the crowd. Mark tried to ignore the fact that he was being watched, and knew he had to focus more on the battle, since he was missing two crucial elements to his weaponry. The energy became clearer to reveal itself as what looked like darkness. Mark leaned forward, cocking an eyebrow in amusement and curiosity.

“What is that?” Mark knew what the idea of magic was, but he didn’t believe in the stuff. “What did you mix to make that? So… he gives me another scientist to go against, does he?” He glowered out towards the crowd; having a feeling the man was out there somewhere. “You coward!” he snapped, before turning his attention back towards Keldar.

“Listen, you. I don’t know who you are, and frankly, I don’t care. I have to win this battle, and if you’d rather walk out now and just fake defeat, I understand… but make your decision quickly, because if you chose to battle me, I’m giving it my all… and you won’t win.”
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:10 PM
Kanraku Tenma United_States Kanraku Tenma is offline
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Re: [Round Two] Cursed Dancers of Colbeck

IC: “Well, well, well," I said slowly, "you sure are confident in your abilities, that just makes it even better if you lose,” I said to Mark as I shot a blast of Shadow Energy at his feet.

I had only a few seconds to think while he dodged the blast. I quickly scanned the stage; it seemed to be a normal stage setup. An audience sat at in their seats, unaware that the battle taking place before them was real. I looked up and saw some spotlights, perfect. Alas, my perfect plan would have to wait.

Mark attacked me with his whip, an attack I easily dodged by jumping straight up into the air. I created several clones while in the air, the clones could move and talk just fine, but they are almost useless in a battle. The clones all attacked Mark, who was clearly surprised at the sudden appearance of another four Keldars.

“How did you manage to do that without a potion?” the man asked as I hit the floor and began to put my plan into action.

“Potions? This is all me, I call it Shadow Energy. It is like magic, but it is more like part of my body, it allows me to run completely off of shadows. Speaking of which, could we get those spotlights on over here?” I heard some brief scrambling above my head and saw the lights turn on, forming three perfect circles of light on the stage.

I let the shadows created from the lights feed me, making me stronger. I felt their power flowing through my veins and charged at Mark, my katana ready to strike. I focused my Shadow Energy on my hands and arms, making them stronger than ever before.

Mark countered with his whip, but not before getting a nice gash on his right leg. One of my clones jumped in front of his next attack, probably forgetting that it wouldn’t do anything. I moved my head to the side, dodging the attack and at the same time flipping my hood off with my quick head movement. Unfortunately, I wasn’t counting on him pulling back on his whip with such force that it shot back at my face, cutting it in several places.

I slashed at his arm, a blow that met with his whip, doing nothing but tangle the two weapons together. Mark pulled back on his whip, trying to take my katana away from me. I grabbed my hilt tightly and began to pull to towards me; if I was lucky I would end up with both my katana and a whip. That would make this fight much easier.

OoC: There you go, I think it is pretty good.
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Not only is it a bunny with a pancake on its head, it is also the link to my B.A Character: Bartholomew. Keldar has been moved over here until another breakfast based fuzzy animal can be found.

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Old 09-11-2007, 11:47 AM
Sakume Sakume is offline
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Re: [Round Two] Cursed Dancers of Colbeck

At first, Mark dodged the blows with an expertise he didn't know he had, probably due to the shoes he still wore from earlier. As he happened to look up at his foe, he became quite puzzled. Instead of one enemy, the man had split into several in little time. "How did you do manage to do that without a potion?" Mark demanded.

"Potions? This is all me, I call it Shadow Energy. It is like magic, but is more like part of my body; it allows me to run completely off of shadows..." Mark stopped listening at this point. Damn magic! I hate it! I hate it! Mark took a deep breath, controlling the spoiled child inside his mind just as a blinding light filled his eyes. The lights suspended over the wooden stage flashed on, causing him to lose sight temporarily. He blinked rapidly, just in time to see Keldar coming at him, katana ready to split him in half.

Mark jumped back, watching the enemy move at a faster speed than his eyes could follow. He cracked the whip angrily at Keldar hoping to slow him, a sneer upon his face. This wasn’t supposed to take this long.

The enemy had the full chance to inflict some damage, and yet he failed. Suddenly, the face of the opponent became revealed in a quick flip of the man's hood. Yes, Mark had been correct in age, the man certainly seemed young. Now, however; was not the time to think of such things.

Snap! Mark pulled back on the whip, ignoring the sinking feeling in his gut, blood spattering the floor from the multiple nicks on the man's face. "You should see what it does to your back," Mark said, grinning in spite of feeling slightly sorry.

The bleeding man came at Mark with a downwards slash, obviously angered at that comment. Thrusting his whip forward in a sudden desperate motion, Mark met the sword, the Screamer wrapping around the blade as if it were trying to choke off the air supply of the weapon. The scientist pulled hard on the Screamer, reeling in his opponent like a fish on a line. At the same time, Keldar began to pull as well, and it turned into match of strength.

He felt the whip being loosened from his grip. What? He’s taking it from me? No. I will not allow this! He reached a hand forward, grabbing his own weapon and heaving back, successfully unwrapping the two while sneaking a leg behind the opponent’s. It was easy enough, since they were closely bonded for a moment. Sweeping the leg back, he made Keldar fall; through when he tried to inflict the whip upon him, the man simply rolled aside, avoiding the stinging bite of the shards of glass by inches once more. The whip broke through the wooden stage with a crack, the wood beginning to groan.

“Why would you do that?” Keldar asked, eyeing Mark’s hand, which was now bleeding from the loss of small strips of flesh. In his eyes, it must have seemed a foolish act, actively wounding oneself for possible victory.

“No one takes my weapon. No one,” Mark replied, growing softly at the opponent. “The Screamer is mine, and mine alone. No one may ever wield it.” He noticed something, though. He felt an almost soggy substance in his right sock and when he examined it closer, he noticed a large gash in his leg. Damn it! He cursed silently. He wouldn’t have even noticed had it not been for the strange wet feeling. He had to finish this quickly before he grew too weak.
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Old 09-12-2007, 09:19 PM
Kanraku Tenma United_States Kanraku Tenma is offline
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Re: [Round Two] Cursed Dancers of Colbeck

OoC: Here it is, most likely my last post before the end of the round. I figured I would wrap it up a bit, but save some for you if you decide to post again.

BiC: I watched as Mark examined his leg where I had previously cut him, I could see a look of surprise and anger on his face as he looked back at me and attacked with his whip. I quickly threw up a shield to deflect the Screamer’s assault. I shot a blast of Shadow Energy at Mark and quickly jumped into the air, landing on my feet and lunged at him. The man managed to dodge the blast with a quick side jump to the right; I saw his whip coming straight toward me and put up my arm in an attempt to block it.

Had Mark’s whip been a normal whip then I would have been able to kill him, but his whip had shards of glass and other razor sharp things embedded in it. I screamed in pain as the whip’s sharp points went through the holes in my chainmail and into my skin. I pulled back on my arm in a foolish attempt at escape from the pain, but only succeeded in making the whip dig deeper into my skin. Tears of pain began to form in my eyes and blurred my vision.

I fell to my knees and tugged the whip loose with my bare hands, no longer caring about the pain that filled my body.

“Are you going to forfeit now?” Mark asked as he looked down at me, a wicked sneer across his face.

“Not in your life,” I said as I stood up and concentrated Shadow Energy into my wounds, healing them completely and leaving me slightly drained.

I looked at Mark with my newly healed face and put my hood back on. I threw my katana at his stomach, the blade going through the man’s body.

“Well then, it looks like I win. It was fun fighting you,” I said as my katana flew back into my hand.

Mark looked at his wound and screamed in anger, but I did not fear what his anger could do, he would be dead in minutes.

“I… have failed everyone… the dancers are doomed now. I hope you are happy with yourself you bastard,” he said as he began to bandage his wounds,

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“If I won this fight then the dancers and I would be free from the Master’s deal. Thanks to you we are all trapped here, forced to dance for eternity.”

“I can’t let that happen,” I said as I raised my hand to heal him.

I briefly considered the possibility that he was lying, but he would have no reason to do so. I walked over to him and healed his internal organs that were pierced by my katana. I placed my hand on his open stomach wound and used my Shadow Energy to fuse the skin and muscle back together.

“I hope you were not lying, killing you wouldn’t be as fun the second time,” I said with a grin as copied myself, using most of my remaining power to make this copy more solid.

I melted into the shadows and approached Mark.

“Go ahead, kill him. He is just a copy; you can have your victory in defeating him. I am going to leave this place, if you are set free meet me outside and explain what happened to you and the dancers,” I whispered to him.

I left the stage and went outside, floating a few feet in the air, trying to relax and regain my energy after the fight. After a few minutes of floating my eyelids began to grow heavy and I found myself drifting into a deep sleep, completely exhausted after the fight.

OoC: Although Mark is strong and could have probably defeated Keldar,
I decided Keldar to get a lucky shot in. Besides, I want people liking Keldar at least a little bit when the battle ends, just a little, everyone has enemies. Bye now, good luck.
__________________

Not only is it a bunny with a pancake on its head, it is also the link to my B.A Character: Bartholomew. Keldar has been moved over here until another breakfast based fuzzy animal can be found.

Proud Adopter of DodongoKing12. I can taste your jealousy.

Official member of the Honour Fanboy Association
Last Edited by Kanraku Tenma; 09-13-2007 at 02:38 PM. Reason:
  #7 (permalink)   [ ]
Old 09-14-2007, 12:00 PM
Sakume Sakume is offline
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Re: [Round Two] Cursed Dancers of Colbeck

OoC: This is the worst piece of crap I've ever written. Oh well. At least it ended the thread.

BiC:Mark's eyes glazed over as he looked down towards the deep stomach wound. Blood came freely, but it was nothing new to the man. Mark had been injured worse than this and had lived. Despite there being no pain, Mark shouted with an infuriated snarl as he fell to his knees. “I… have failed everyone… the dancers are doomed now. I hope you are happy with yourself, you bastard,” he said as he began to bandage his wounds, sneering at Keldar. Failed again... why... why did he have to fail at everything he tried? More anger and sadness built up in him.

“What do you mean?”

“If I won this fight then the dancers and I would be free from the Master’s deal. Thanks to you we are all trapped here, forced to dance for eternity.” The scientist stumbled to his feet, dark eyes snapping at Keldar.

“I can’t let that happen." He walked over to Mark and placed a hand on the wound, the blood streaming freely through it as piece by piece, the flesh rebuilt itself. “I hope you were not lying, killing you wouldn’t be as fun the second time,” he said with a grin, forming another copy. “Go ahead, kill him. He is just a copy; you can have your victory in defeating him. I am going to leave this place, if you are set free meet me outside and explain what happened to you and the dancers,” I whispered to him.

Mark watched Keldar leave and stared into the eyes of the copy. Something stirred within him. Why would he kill this being? Even if was only a copy, Mark had pity. He left the side of the copy, curling his whip about his arm.

"Well done." Mark turned to see the Master there. "Very well done. A good fight. Unfortunately for you, you didn't win. You, therefore, lose. You and the rest of the dancers are mine."

"Wrong." Mark narrowed his eyes. "It was a tie. You never specified what happens if we tied... I never gave up. I didn't lose." He threw the Screamer towards the man. "Now..." He curled the venemous weapon about the white flesh of the neck. "Are you going to let us go? Or not?"

"You're insane... at least give me a head start."

"Yes, old man, you are right on the mark when you say I am mad. I will not deny it." Mark said as the Screamer began to twist as if it had a life of its own, the sharp points puncturing wounds in the neck.

"... The Iliad?" The man said after a moment.

"Ah. You know classic literature well. Because of that... I will let you have your head start." In a swift motion, Mark tore the whip from the man's neck, and the screams gave evidence to the weapon doing what it did best.

A few moments later, Mark emerged from the building, followed by the rest of the company behind him. He was wiping a bit of blood from the leather when he came upon Keldar. "Oi."

He seemed to jolt awake, and turned towards Mark. "Well. Looks like you did it, didn't you? Now what happened? And what happened to him?"

Mark paused for a moment. "I'm not sure, but those shoes had some sort of control over us when he wanted it. We would have danced for all eternity." He smiled wryly. "As for him... it's up to him to do his show on his own... let's say I gave him the head start he wanted. Literally."

"You..."

"Yes." The strange thing was, Mark was entertained by this. "Yes, I made it short... and painless."

"Why would you do that? It wasn't worth it to kill him."

"Maybe not to you..." Mark pulled Keldar closer, narrowing his eyes as he ground out a final statement. "Stay out of my way." He pushed the man aside, parting from the company with a wave. Though the company soon left, rumors began to circulate, and it is now said that if a person enters the stage on a moonlit night, they can still hear the clacking of shoes.
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