OoC: Alrighty, this battle will be the EH debut of my character, Vorcas, and Abyss's character, Veran. Enjoy. :3
BiC: As the sounds of his large paws echoed on the moist dirt below, Vorcas raced through a dense forest, the songs of wild birds comforting his ears. He enjoyed running and exploring about in his tiger form, especially if it meant chasing a meal. The heat of the sun touching his white black striped fur and the breeze in his short dark mane were also a great pleasure.
Vorcas, despite being heavy in tiger form, had little trouble jumping across rocks in stream beds or up rigged sloped areas. The forest was hilly as well, and when Vorcas finally made it to the top of what he assumed was the forest's highest point, he leaped as high as his legs would allow him and within seconds, a mighty roar left his jaws.
Upon landing, Vorcas returned to his human form, having been transformed for quite some time prior to his arrival. His transformation ability deserved a rest. The view before him was quite fascinating, the forest spreading far and wide beyond what Vorcas's eyes could make out. It was indeed the highest elevation for miles around, Vorcas decided as he could see just about everything below him.
Suddenly, when he was about to turn around and resume his travels, a faint odor filled the air, causing Vorcas to halt in his tracks once again. His nose twitched as he attempted to make out exactly what it was.
"That smell..." Vorcas mumbled to himself. "It's armor..."
OoC: Just for clarification, Vorcas picked up the scent of Veran's armor. xP
In his long life, Veran had only ever encountered two laguz before - a beast laguz, and a dragon laguz. They had both been powerful foes. But unlike humans, they had animalistic traits. Traits that would hinder them to reach their full potential. The dragons preferred to remain neutral in conflicts, and the beasts were savage and ruthless, trusting strength above anything. A small match with the right tactics.
The shadows enveloped him as he watched the laguz look around. He had no doubt caught Veran's scent. His illusions could not mask the sense of smell, a weakness he would have to overcome soon. But right now, it didn't matter. This laguz would probably not realize what was going on before Veran revealed himself.
He looked down at his gloved hand. Sparks flew between his fingertips. Was this worth it? He had nothing to gain in killing a laguz... but the beast had noticed his presence already. There was no real way out.
Do you know who I am?
The telepathic message alerted the laguz immediately. His head twitched, and he looked around as though to search for the voice's source.
Vorcas frantically scrutinized his surroundings as a masculine voice suddenly spoke out of nowhere. However, there was not another soul to be found, at least from what Vorcas knew. Still, all the voice did was ask if the tiger laguz knew who he was and if he was going to kill him. Finding this strange, Vorcas raised an eyebrow in confusion, as he would never kill another unless they attempted to kill him or someone he cared about.
"Whoever this voice belongs to, I hope he has a reason for asking me questions out of the blue," Vorcas said to himself. "I wonder how he's even doing it in the first place if I can't see him..."
Perhaps someone was stalking Vorcas. Although if that were so, why would the stalker speak up like that? Usually a stalker kept his or her movements a secret. So if this mystery man wasn't doing that, exactly what was he after? Did he have some sort of grudge against laguz like the beorc living in Tellius once did? Vorcas had heard tales of such prejudice before, but never experienced any himself. He would have to keep his guard up.
"I think I'll play a little game of cat and mouse with this mystery guy, just to test his next move," Vorcas decided, and leaped into the air. He transformed back into a tiger once more, as he had been untransformed long enough to recharge his transformation ability, and disappeared into the trees. Either the voice's mysterious owner would follow him, or he wouldn't.
"What the heck is this weirdo trying to do?" Vorcas asked himself when he heard the mysterious voice speak once more. It spoke of hunting this time, but Vorcas already knew what it was talking about. As for the voice's question, Vorcas simply smiled even though he was curious about what would happen if he did answer. So he did.
"I'm a tiger. Which one do you think I'd be?" he replied aloud, figuring nothing except the voice's owner was around to hear him in the woods. It would be strange to see a tiger man appear to be talking to himself, after all. Since he was still in tiger form, Vorcas raced off once more through the woods, hoping to meet the voice's owner face to face soon and figure out what he or she was even planning in the first place.
"Oh, by the way, mystery guy, if you can still hear me," Vorcas added on after coming to another scorching halt. "If you're trying to mess with me, you've picked the wrong laguz!" And with that, he let out a mighty roar once more.
Veran became quiet. The wrong laguz? Hmph... pride was usually a tough thing to break, but to him it was only another obstacle to clear, another nuisance. The loudest of roars could easily be quelled by the right tactics.
To me, tigers can be both prey and hunters... to those who are weaker than you, you will always be a danger. To those who are stronger, you will always be an obstacle. Your life is nothing more than part of an endless, vicious cycle of survival. Hunters feast upon their prey without hesitation, for they know that this is how it will always be...
For a brief moment, Veran's masked head could be spotted among the trees, shrouded in the shadow of his cloak. He twirled, and was gone the very next second. It was not yet time... this illusion was not yet complete.
"I very well know that, thanks," Vorcas replied, his patience wearing thin. Whatever the voice's owner was planning, it couldn't be good if it kept going on about hunting. Suddenly, just as he had leaped over a boulder into a clearing, Vorcas could have sworn he spotted a cloaked figure dart through the trees nearby. Very curious about the identity of his pursuer, Vorcas took chase, but once he entered the woods again, the figure was gone.
"Okay...that was weird," Vorcas mumbled to himself in confusion. "That had to be him, though..." Deciding to keep going in that direction in case the figure was still nearby, the white tiger continued on as quickly as he could before his transformation time ran out, which was fairly soon.
"Oh, and I assure you, I've defeated foes stronger than myself," Vorcas added seconds later. "Strength is not the only thing that determines the victor in a battle. You must have skill as well. Brute force is useless if you cannot even hit your opponent."
Although he wasn't sure the figure could still hear him, Vorcas knew it was a proper response anyhow.
Skill... any man worth his salt would say the same thing as you say now. But power - true power - is so much more than sheer strength. You, a laguz of the beast tribe, would surely know better than perhaps anyone just how important such aspects as speed and skill are to the hunter...
A massive hand of shadow shot out from the darkness of the woods and crashed into the laguz, sending him into one of the trees with a grunt of surprise. The beast was quick on his feet as Veran's form appeared before him. The hood was pulled back, revealing that his entire head was covered by his white "mask", like a helmet. His arms were folded.
"I like that last thing you said... brute force is useless if you cannot even hit your opponent... a good statement, particularly considering that you're a laguz..."
So he does know what a laguz is, Vorcas thought after the voice spoke once more. Very interesting. I'd better keep a sharp eye out for this guy. However, before he could react, a shadowy hand emerged from between the trees and collided with Vorcas's tiger body, sending him right into a tree behind him.
"DAAAUGH!" he bellowed as his back made contact with the tree's trunk. Vorcas slid down to the ground in pain and in the next second he was forced to return to human form. Just moments later, the cloaked figure from before appeared in front of the still grounded Vorcas and threw off his hood, revealing that the white mask he wore covered his entire head.
"I like that last thing you said... brute force is useless if you cannot even hit your opponent... a good statement, particularly considering that you're a laguz..." he commented.
"Errg...while it's true many laguz ignore strategy and details, others pay attention to the essentials," Vorcas replied in his grimace. This is just not my day... he thought, noting the bad timing of his transformation rest period. I still need more practice before I can handle a guy like this with mere hand to hand combat. Looks like plan B is my only option.
"Look, I don't know who you are or what you want with me, but if it's a fight you want, then follow me!" Vorcas insisted. With that, the white tiger instantly zipped into the forest, much more agile on his feet in human form than tiger. Hopefully, the masked man would take the bait and really think Vorcas was leading him to a better battle site. All he had to do was get the man to follow him long enough to reignite his transformation and then perhaps launch a surprise attack of his own.
A lightning bolt struck right before the laguz, blocking his path. Veran had not moved an inch, keeping the same stance all the time.
"After all the time I spent luring you into this forest, it would be a great shame to just let you run off again," he said calmly. "I do not intend to battle you, only kill you. I have no need to take this to more... suitable battle grounds, I suppose you could say."
He lifted a hand, and the area around them began to distort. It was as though the forest itself began moving on its own. It was a simple and effective illusion - throw off the enemy's sense of direction and take them down while they are in a state of confusion.
...Crap, Vorcas thought after a lightning bolt struck the ground before he could get far, blocking his way forward. I should've known this guy would have other tricks up his sleeve besides ghost hands.
"After all the time I spent luring you into this forest, it would be a great shame to just let you run off again," the masked man said calmly. "I do not intend to battle you, only kill you. I have no need to take this to more... suitable battle grounds, I suppose you could say."
"And why do you want to kill me?" Vorcas asked as the area around him began to distort as if the trees had suddenly grown invisible legs. "What the--?!" Obviously backed into a tight spot, Vorcas pondered about what move to make next as the woods around him seemed to change its entire appearance. He had to come up with a plan soon or else he was finished. Frustrated by now, Vorcas grimaced angrily, his eyes closed. However, before things could potentially get worse, a familiar odor reached the skin of Vorcas's nose. It was the very same scent of armor he'd picked up earlier before. Moments later, the sizzling sound of electricity echoed throughout the area.
"Huh?" Vorcas muttered to himself. "...Hehehe. Looks like my new friend here forgot about my heightened senses. His tricks are merely illusions!" With that, he instantly sensed where the masked man stood and leaped into the air with a high flying kick. As quickly as it had appeared, the illusion instantly vanished as Vorcas's foot made contact with the masked man's body and sent him flying through some underbrush behind him.
"If you know what laguz are, you should have remembered that the beast tribes have great noses!" Vorcas proudly blurted upon completion of his attack. He instantly bolted back into the woods and this time made a successful escape.
"Well, smell ya later, sucker!" Vorcas called as he increased the distance between him and the masked man. "Get it? Smell ya later? Hahahaha!" The white tiger couldn't help but keep cackling at his joke for the next few seconds.
Good. I just need to wait a little longer... Vorcas thought as he began to slow his pace a few minutes later. Even if he does somehow manage to find me again that fast though, at least I've figured out his game now. He seems to create illusions to throw his opponents off. I need to be careful of that.
...Okay, this guy obviously has teleporting powers, Vorcas thought when the masked man instantly appeared before him once more.
"You are set on running, but you do not run to flee. It is as if you are merely stalling for time," he stated and then vanished once more. Vorcas merely scratched his head in confusion. If the man wanted to kill him, why would he just up and leave? Puzzled about this for the next few minutes, Vorcas walked on through the woods, the feeling of a fully energized transformation ability surging through his veins. He could finally transform again, but now his opponent was gone.
"No matter, I'll just try and pick up his scent again," Vorcas decided. "...Wait a minute." Upon stopping himself, the white tiger came to a realization. The last thing the masked man had said to Vorcas clearly implied that he figured out the laguz was indeed stalling for time. It was very possible that he knew something else as well.
"Aha. If he knows what laguz are, he probably knows I waited to transform," Vorcas concluded. "Which means he's expecting me to do just that. Well then, I'll surprise him and not transform at all. At least not yet anyway."
Electricity rained from the sky as Veran chased the laguz through the woods, never allowing himself to be spotted by his own scent by always keeping on the move, occassionally distracting his foe with visionary illusions to manipulate the way he was moving. The laguz could smell humans, that much was true, but it was much more difficult smelling inanimate objects like trees, cliffs, rocks and rivers. If he so pleased, Veran could make the forest around them look like a desert.
If you are to transform, do it fast, he said calmly. How long will we continue this hunt?
"Hunt, my paw!" Vorcas retorted, dodging the sudden falling lightning bolts dancing out of the sky. "And if you think little lightning bolts are going to finish me off, you know less about laguz than I gave you credit for!"
On that note, Vorcas swiftly leaped from rocks to tree branches to high ground and more as he dodged his foe's attacks. Cats were always good jumpers and that ability remained in the feline beast laguz whether they were transformed or not. Seconds later, Vorcas formed a punchy smile on his face.
"As for my transformation, I'm not quite able to do that yet," he fibbed. "Sorry to disappoint you. Oh, and your illusions won't work either. My nose is that good of a sniffer, I'm afraid."
It was true. Vorcas could merely follow the scents of the trees to figure out where his path was and continued on, as if the illusion was never there.
Suddenly one of the lightning bolts struck, electrifying the laguz. Veran stood before him, his arms folded.
"You can smell the trees, but not electric bolts. Therefore, you are unable to determine which of my attacks are real, and which are fake. Some you may not even see, because my illusions hide them."
He stepped aside as the laguz recovered, rather quickly, and attempted an attack.
"A perfect strategy, had it not been crippled by my lack of powerful magic and the fact that you are now more likely to successfully dodge my attacks, since you are aware of the illusion. You will probably be able to walk it off."
He clenched his hands.
"Which means that I will simply have to keep electrocuting you until your body cannot handle it anymore."
...Well, one thing's for sure. I'm damn lucky I'm not a dragon laguz, or I'd be toasted by now, Vorcas thought after a bolt was finally quick enough to strike him. However, due to his body being tough from travel and being active, he was able to stand it better than other beast laguz. Dragon laguz, however had a fatal weakness to electricity. The masked man had appeared before him again immediately after.
"You can smell the trees, but not electric bolts. Therefore, you are unable to determine which of my attacks are real, and which are fake. Some you may not even see, because my illusions hide them," he said. "A perfect strategy, had it not been crippled by my lack of powerful magic and the fact that you are now more likely to successfully dodge my attacks, since you are aware of the illusion. You will probably be able to walk it off."
The man clenched his hands.
"Which means that I will simply have to keep electrocuting you until your body cannot handle it anymore."
"I can't smell electricity, that much is true," Vorcas replied. "And your illusions can hide your attacks. However, a moving target is still more difficult to hit. I'm not surprised it took you that long to even strike me once."
So his magic isn't strong, eh? Well tough luck for him, because it'll take much more than that to wear me down. Still, I think I have an idea.
"But, since you can apparently make your attacks more accurate, you just might be able to get me after all," Vorcas continued. "So I guess you win. There's no way out of this, so maybe you ought to just kill me right now and spare yourself time."
"...What?" the masked man replied in a confused voice. Vorcas nodded and stepped forward, as if he were readying himself to be executed for real. He paused for a couple seconds once he stood a mere two feet away from the masked man, smiled deviously, and transformed. A roar escaped his jaws as he launched himself into the mask man for an attack.
"Hahaha! Did you really think I'd give up so easily?!" Vorcas cackled. "To be honest, your electric bolts barely hindered me any. What's more, I was lying when I said I wasn't ready to transform! Why would I transform right away if you were expecting me to? Now you must pay for your mistakes!"
With that, Vorcas raised a clawed paw and struck the man's cloak. After pulling him out from beneath his feet, Vorcas swung him around once and allowed his claws to rip right through the fabric, causing his foe to go soaring over a nearby cliff. Of course, a mere swipe of his paw into the man's chest would have definitely finished him off, but Vorcas was not that desperate and decided the let nature handle things. Would the man survive the fall? Or would he die?
No matter what the case, Vorcas thought it best to revert to human form once more and take off in the opposite direction.
The laguz ran straight into a rock wall. Out of nowhere, a cliff appeared before him. The illusion had masked it perfectly as just an empty space among the trees. Veran stood on top of it, seemingly untouched even though the laguz had just teared into him with his claws
"You should have noticed when my scent didn't disappear after I 'fell'," he said calmly. "Of course I knew that you were stalling for time. By just mentioning it, I tricked you into holding back your transformation by using your own cautiousness against you."
"But that you though I would fall for your... painfully obvious trick... that was pathetic in itself."
The masked man disappeared from the cliff, reappearing at the ground. The laguz was at his toes, tensely calculating the situation and making ready for a possibly attack. Veran crossed his arms.
"My powers have been evolving for centuries. Do you think you can kill me, let alone escape me?"