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    Svedka -- Year 212


    “He only knows home in his dreams and even those dreams do not mimic large, centuries-old redwoods. Lio doesn't remember the last time he laid his head down and truly felt comfortable.” --Elio, written by Phaetra

    ROUND ONE: Elio v. Tarian
    2 attacking posts each, 1 final defensive post – 3 days between posts.
    One 2-day extension per person if needed
    Attacks can be multiple things, i.e. Albert attempts to bite Rose's neck and then kicks at her knee. Counter-attacks and attacks are all counted as attacks.
    Complete dodges are allowed, but for the sake of realism, be careful when using these.
    Traits allowed.
    No editing posts.
    1,000 word limit.
    Elio posts first unless otherwise agreed upon.

    SETTING: Normal Plains grounds. Mid-day.

    Gender: Stallion
    Body Type & Height: 16 hh, warmblood-y
    Abilities: Empathic projection, invisibility, self-healing, wings


    Gender: Stallion
    Body Type & Height: Baroquish with a little bit of Arabian
    Abilities: Wings
    [Image: Leah.png]
    The hot summer sun beats down on the protruding pebbles and red clay of the Plains. Elio can feel the heat as it splashes carelessly against his golden hide, lighting him up as if he is his own sun. The stallion glances clear, gray eyes up at the blue sky, noting that the midday heat may exhaust any overtly strenuous attacks. Lio sighs as his gaze trails back down to Tarian, back legs shuffling energetically as he briefly smoothes over his pre-battle jitters with a washing of magical peace.

    Settled and peaceful for the most part, Elio remembers the smiling, proud face of his mother. Lepis would love seeing her sons in the Alliance and would chastise Lio for not sparring more with Pteron; but the time spent running from his father and studying the warriors of Loess has taught him plenty (and if anything, the scars from the attack of his father speak of a hardened fighter).

    Knowing nothing of Tarian other than he is a representative of Loess, Elio is quick to observe him before making a final decision on his first attack. His eyes trail over Tarian's regal wings to his well-muscled physique. He considers what advantages he may need being they are fairly well-matched in figure. He opts to take a magical route, pushing out tendrils of anxiety and nerves to tense and perturb Tarian in the hopes that it will leave him too distracted to defend himself well. At his magic's best, any attack Lio's opponent might respond with might be impulsive and rushed, leaving open space for Lio to drive in his own attacks. At its least, the magic might stutter Tarian's initial response and give Elio the time to escape a defense unscathed. The echoes might not work at all, too, or simply be too much of echoes to truly affect Tarian.

    With about thirty feet between them, Elio pushes into a measured canter. He adjusts his approach to however Tarian might turn so that they are facing head-on. When he has closed twenty of the thirty feet, Elio flares out his wings to kick up dust in Tarian's direction and potentially startle his opponent. He then slows his pace to a rapid trot, quickly tucking his wings back to his sides to attempt to avoid any counter-rear Tarian might try. Three feet now between the pair if Tarian does not move back, Elio cuts to Tarian's right, keeping his head low and right-favoring to avoid potential teeth or hooves. Uncertain if his empathic echoes earlier worked in stuttering his opponent, the stallion is quick to cut even sharper to the right at a ninety-degree angle. If Tarian has not moved, this will leave only a couple of feet between Elio's hindquarters and Tarian's side. Lio steadies his front legs and uses his back legs in a buck to lash out at Tarian's ribs with as much force as he can muster. Hopefully, the strike will land exactly as Elio intends, fracturing the grey stallion's ribs and potentially puncturing some of his organs. If Tarian is able to slightly dodge, perhaps Elio will strike Tarian's withers or hindquarters with enough force to cut or bruise, forcing Tarian to at least slightly favor one side.

    Once Lio's back hooves find the earth again, he renders himself invisible and pivots around on his back left leg to attempt to face Tarian again. His sides heave with heavy breaths from the force of his buck and the light focus it takes to hold his invisibility. With the thought that Tarian will attempt to keep his eyes on his opponent and turn to face Elio as he turns to face him, the golden stallion rears upward to strike his front hooves at Tarian's head, potentially stunning or blinding him, which might leave him open to another attack. If Tarian notices the dust Elio kicks up and rears to meet him, Elio's hooves might land on his throat or chest, potentially temporarily choking Tarian or bruising his descending or transverse pectorals (which might interrupt how well the gray stallion may maneuver his front legs). If Tarian does not turn to meet him, Lio's attack might land on his croup or loin, potentially hindering how well he can rely on the power of his hind legs. And, lastly, if Tarian darts away, Elio hopes his hooves will at least land enough to scrape or bruise skin, bringing enough pain to cause a loss of focus.

    Elio loses hold of his invisibility, opting to flare his wings and skitter about five feet backward as he draws in deep breaths to prepare for Tarian's attack.
    [Image: elio-by-dozymare-ddo34i6.png]

    What he knew of sparring came from his sire, Malachi; what Tarian knew of war came from the fields bled red (not unlike the clay ground of the Plains that the Alliance contenders stand upon). Watching the striped pegasus before him - one of late Lady Lepis' sons - Tarian's mind travels to that first battlefield. He remembers standing alongside warriors with bodies hardened for battle. There had been years worth of dedication muscling their physiques and scars that had marked them for the accomplished soldiers they were. He had been young then. A mere handful of inexperienced years next to decades (and perhaps centuries) of talented tacticians, seasoned generals, and grizzled infantrymen.

    Back then, back before Tarian learned that death looked the same on everyone. Seasoned generals or idolized sires, grizzled veterans, or beloved brothers alike. (And that thought twists his gut. It makes the Loessian momentarily uneasy.) It isn't like him to be so melancholy, especially in the moments before striking a hoof or rearing into a challenge. A frown twists against his dark mouth and Tarian holds the grey-blue gaze of his fellow competitor before continuing on to study the obvious physical attributes of the other stallion.

    The scars that decorate Elio's dunalino form tell a few stories. A battle or two (or so that is what Tarian assumes). Where his mother had been a regal blue, her son is a brilliant red. The younger pegasus bursts into battle and blazes towards him in a steady canter. Good, the silver one thinks. (He'd rather not dwell any longer on Loess or the tragedy of her Queen. He means to prove his worth to his new kingdom and to the memory of her leader. But the way that the Southern Empire burned was a tale that was almost too fantastic for Tarian. It seemed more like a story Aletta would have spun than an event the gray had actually endured.) It was the memory of what transpired that propelled the stallion forward, perhaps earlier than he otherwise would have.

    Normally, Tarian would have waited until he knew the other's most obvious course of action. But something spurs him into a matching canter to meet the red-winged Elio, almost appearing almost eager to get their contest started. The ground is uneven in places and Tarian manages as well as he's able but there is no easiness in his strides. Each step that propels him forward has to be deliberate and Tarian is careful enough so that when Elio's flares those vivid wings of his, the slightly taller pegasus attempts to shift his weight back on his haunches and stop as quickly as he can or at the very least, change the directness of their head-on trajectory.

    When the rocks that Elio had disrupted take to the air, a few fly towards Tarian causing the winged stallion to jerk his head back while the rest of his body rises up in a small rear. It's a risk to transfer all his weight to his haunches, but Tarian has no Magic. If Elio's aim had been to harm his eyesight, the match between them would have been over before it had begun. A blow to shatter a leg. An injury to the eye. These are both very real threats to a horse who has no ability to heal or restore themselves.

    While Tarian has lifted himself partially off the ground, Elio cuts abruptly to his right and turns his head away to keep from being injured by the gray's hooves. Noticing from the corner of his eye that the younger stallion is turning more sharply, he moves more of his bulk onto his hindquarters. Angling his body towards the left and away from Elio, the older stallion grunts when the impact of Elio's hooves strike his hindquarters. There is a white, hot-searing pain that momentarily engulfs his senses, and Tarian pins his ears into the dirtied-silver of his mane. At the very least, Elio has bruised his exposed haunch.

    Tarian decides (especially after the other stallion disappears from his sight) that this battle would be better taken to the skies. Leaping into the sky with a gait that shows him slightly-favoring his right side, the stallion widens his wings and then banks back towards Elio. What he sees of the red-and-gold pegasus is that he steps backward and flares those proud wings of his. Taking advantage of the opportunity (and actually being able to see his opponent), Tarian descends from his slightly-higher elevation with jagged hooves ready to strike out at Elio.

    He keeps his legs raised as he looms towards the younger stallion and if he can get close enough, Tarian intends to lash out with his hind ones. Several kicks intended for Elio's neck, his back, or even his hindquarters in repayment for the bruising that Tarian had received.

    It is with no surprise to Elio that his emotional projections don't seem to take any outward effect on Tarian. He is slightly caught off-guard when the gray stallion takes flight and curses himself for not preparing more for an aerial battle.

    With his wings swept out, Elio's stormy eyes stretch upward to watch Tarian wing closer. He has to think fast, for he only has a few moments before his opponent's hooves come close enough to strike his head. He does the obvious defense initially: lowering his head to fully avoid any blow that might concuss him. Lio's head is the only part of his body he is truly worried about protecting, for if he loses it he may not be able to gather the focus it takes to heal it.

    Elio hangs his nose low to the ground and snaps his wings back close to his side. He could distract the stallion by swinging his wings up and allowing Tarian's strikes to land on his wings but decides he would rather not risk a blow to them that might take too long to heal when Tarian has taken their battle to the skies. Instead, Elio loosens his muscles to better take any strikes, allowing his wings to hang low to avoid the incoming hooves. Head down, Lio bursts into an energetic canter, briefly coughing away the previously stirred up dust. His strides aim to meet Tarian's descent so that only his hindquarters will take any major hits. Blunt teeth grind painfully together when his opponent's hooves do meet their mark, certainly bruising his muscle and even splitting open a small portion of his right haunch.

    With a hiss, Elio lurches forward unsteadily, quietly crying out as he uses what muscle in his hindquarters he can to leap forward into the sky. His wings snap out and beat one, two, three times. In those three moments, he focuses his energy on sealing up the open wound he irritated more by leaping forward; then flaps upward once more before angling sharply around to his left. There is still an ache in his muscles that he doesn't want to risk energy on healing, enough of a pain that might make him favor his right side were they battling on the ground.

    Mildly irritated with the ache in his hindquarters and the rise to the skies, Elio sets his sights on wherever Tarian has maneuvered to, whether it be the earth or the air. He spreads his wings to hover for a moment, focusing his energy to attempt one last emotional attack. Waves upon waves of fear crash toward Lio's opponent, with more force than Elio has ever put behind his magic. Hoping that the fear will either freeze or stutter Tarian, Lio flaps upward once more to gain a substantial amount of height, then dips down to the earth. Suddenly bringing his wings to his sides and tucking his front legs while letting his back legs fly out behind him, Lio dive bombs headfirst in the gray stallion's direction.

    Moments before they can meet in a crash, assuming Tarian has not dashed off somewhere else in the few seconds it takes the gold stallion to fall, Elio swings his wings back out to halt his descension. Using the momentum of the front half of his body suddenly tilting upward, he swings his back legs and hooves down toward Tarian's neck, shoulder, and belly. With little time left for Elio's attacks, he is only aiming to completely inhibit his opponent. A well-aimed strike to Tarian's shoulder or belly might hinder how well he can attack with his hooves and legs, and a strike to his neck might limit the gray stallion's line-of-sight while mid-air.

    Whether his attack connects he is not sure in the moment, for Lio quickly beats his wings upward in an attempt to bring his back legs and stomach out of Tarian's range. Succumbing to the ache that using the injured muscles in his hindquarters caused, Elio spares a bit more of his energy to heal the bruising. His wings bat him just a bit upward, but he is now winded and can do little more than hover in the air while he catches his breath. Lio settles stormy, gray eyes on his opponent, saving his last reserve of energy for his defense.
    [Image: elio-by-dozymare-ddo34i6.png]
    As Tarian loomed closer, he had initially thought that his red-and-gold opponent might go invisible again.

    His blue eyes had stayed on Elio, watching as the other pegasus came striding forward to meet his descent. A rather bold move, and one that made the older stallion appreciate his competitor as he turned towards Tarian. The silver pegasus has always preferred most things this way: straightforward.

    The gray pegasus flies over the younger stallion and Elio ducks his head, avoiding any injury to the head and parts of his neck. Tarian's hind legs lash out in individual strikes, hoping that one blow will leave its mark. He isn't able to look behind him (doing so would be too risky - any pause could leave his underbelly or lower legs vulnerable to Elio should he decide to buck). The silver stallion keeps his focus ahead, finding little things to fix his concentration on (a small pile of red rocks that lays at the edge of their sparring field, clusters of saw grass that grow in various places around the Plains) in an attempt from looking back.

    When Tarian has reached the landmark he's imagined for himself, he dips his shoulder to the left. He grimaces with the motion and can feel the pain from Elio's earlier attack. It makes Tarian's drift towards the left a wider turn - almost 180 degrees - than he would have initially liked. Elio is already well in the air by the time that Tarian has come to face him again and the gray scowls. You're feeling your age, he thinks. When was the last time he had battled like this? He huffs again and though his body has remained from well-muscled and fit from his past life as a soldier, he silently berated himself for the weeks has he spent in Loess lounging in the thermal pools.

    He meets the stormy gaze of Elio as the striped pegasus comes closer. Tarian's mind is already thinking above and about staying higher than the younger stallion. He thinks-

    All it takes is a moment and Tarian suddenly feels like a green colt again. He does something that he has not done in years. He hesitates. Tarian can't explain it, why he is suddenly doubting every train of thought and why he can't seem to move from this spot in the sky. A second ago he had been planning to take advantage of his slightly-elevated angle above Elio and use the angle of the noonday sun for an attack that might have come from a blind spot created by blinding light. Now, all those thoughts are gone. He only thinks of the last time that he was afraid and that was years ago. Back when Tarian still had something to lose.

    He watches Elio rise and rise until -

    No. His sense of self comes back as Elio flies above Tarian and the gray reclaims his identity with each wingstroke. No. He will not play the coward and wait for Elio to come striking towards him. But by the time that he has realized exactly where the younger stallion is, Elio is already descending and Tarian only has moments before the two will collide. Hooves come thrashing at him from above and though tries to angle his body away from Elio, Tarian has waited too long to move away.

    Elio's hooves hit against his left shoulder and the gray bares his teeth at his attacker in a visible reaction (which is unusual for somber, stoic Tarian). His shifting weight causes Tarian to drift towards the right but as Elio begins to move away, the gray reaches out and attempts to grab the red tail that banners out behind the other stallion. If he had a better range of motion, Tarian would have tugged the tail hard enough to bring  Elio lower. It might not do much but if he could turn his head more sharply to the left, it might have caused enough of a delay while Elio propelled himself upward.

    Tarian can only move his neck slightly, though, and the gray stallion decides he'll do the next best thing. If his mouth can actually get a firm enough grip on Elio's fleeing tail, Tarian will tuck his wings back in and drag them both down with his weight. A wide snap back open of both wings and a release of the tail will no doubt be a jarring motion before they crash to the earth but Tarian hopes that if they descend fast enough, Elio will be more focused on not colliding with the ground than another attack.

    And if he is worried about the ground, he might not be as focused on Tarian. What he can do will be minimal at this point; if this ploy works at all, it will only be strikes aimed at Elio's underside from his forelegs (given that the stallion hasn't turned away). Perhaps a hoof will hit Elio's stomach or side, if they don't clash first with his striped legs (who knows with two pegasi - can precision coexist alongside such wild grace?). Tarian's motion is limited from his front left shoulder but he grunts as his wings pump and try to keep the stallion within striking distance of Elio.
    Hi I’m just gonna go ahead and say I’ll need my extension. Thank you!!
    elio, asphyxea, midsommar
    & way too many more
    Elio finds a strange, vicious delight in the realization that his emotion magic has worked on Tarian. It's clear in the gray stallion's hesitation and the firm collision of Elio's back hooves with the gray's shoulder. When Lio's attack finds its mark, he discovers a rather intrusive thought: Is this what Wolfbane felt? Did he revel in sickening yet consuming satisfaction every time his violent wiles met their mark? It is such an invasive thought process that it slows the beating upward of Lio's wings. He is lost for a moment, perhaps hesitant, and only finds reality again when Tarian's mouth finds purchase in a thick collection of his tail.

    "Aghhhh!" Elio screams as all of Tarian's weight dangles from a portion of his crimson tail. The sudden drop is enough to pause his wing beats, instead forcing him to flare his wings out at both sides to slow his descent. What Elio doesn't expect is the sudden drop to fully tear his tail from his flesh after about three seconds of falling. "What the fuck!" he screeches, incapable of holding in the searing pain where a quarter of his tail once was.

    Blood pools then drips to the waiting ground and all he can think is: Am I here? Rage rears its ugly, golden head and sneers at him. The force of Tarian's fall was enough to drag the lower half of Lio's body in front of his opponent's striking forelegs. The gray was right: the pain in the base of Lio's tail and his attempt to avoid the earth distracted him from a waiting attack. Lio fell in a straight line: when his flared wings finally catch him (his last and only defense against both hard ground and an eager opponent), his dangling back legs face Tarian's head. The face of Elio's father grins against the light of the blinding sun Elio is trying to escape to and suddenly he feels the forehooves of Tarian colliding viciously with his back legs. He successfully evaded a bone-breaking blow to his ribs but the pain he feels in the long pastern of his left back leg and the short pastern of his right leg is almost enough to make him wish he'd broken a rib.

    Knowing the battle is over with his last defense (and exhausted from dredged up memories of Wolfbane), Elio swears into the sky and banks away from Tarian. He lands quickly, winded from the pain, the use of his magic, and the sudden attempt to escape his opponent's attack. The earth is harsh on his lower back legs but all Elio can do is close his eyes and hope he'll muster the energy to heal them later.
    [Image: elio-by-dozymare-ddo34i6.png]
    Winner: Tarian

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