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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: Balto v. Warlight
    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.
    Balto posts first unless otherwise agreed upon.

    SETTING: Normal Plains grounds. Mid-day.

    Gender: Stallion
    Body Type and Height: Mustang hybrid, on the muscular side with a well defined and narrow chest, a shorter back. 15hh
    Abilities: Immortality


    Gender: Female
    Body Type & Height: strong arabian influence but -slightly- more solid than the classic arabian - 15.2
    Abilities: Antlers, Dream teleportation, Trait negation
    [Image: Leah.png]
    Others come for glory, for practice, for sport. Balto, however, comes for blood and blood alone.

    Bathe in it, they whisper to him, a haunting chorus that has drawn louder and louder with each hoof-beat into the plains. Their voices are enough to cause the blue stallion to appear physically disgruntled; he can feel them hovering above him and around him, pressed against him fervently to ensure that he makes it here, where he will spill blood in their name (in her name). The whites of his eyes are nearly bloodshot as he comes to a sharp halt in the noonday sun, throwing his head up wildly as his opponent draws near.

    He spies her antlers and, had Balto been in his right mind, he would have felt fear creep into the depth of his stomach.

    Thankfully for him, he is not (or will he ever be?) in his right mind.

    They press him forward, howling and cajoling until he finally breaks the silent stare between himself and the painted stranger that stands before him on the red dirt of the plains.

    He breaks away from his demons and they allow him; they watch with hungry mouths as he careens towards her as if he is set on running face-first into those powerful antlers that protrude from her proud face; a fate that, in different circumstances, Balto would have gladly succumbed to. And with that terrible glint in his eye, she may believe that it is a possible choice for him.

    However, the stallion doesn’t. He knows that she would not stand idly by while he gallops towards her and adjusts himself so that any pivot or movement to counter his barreling towards her would be near impossible unless she had the ability to fly. He is set on colliding with her, to feel their bodies thunder and for blood to fly. Though there is madness in every part of his body, Balto is methodical, collected, dedicated. He would not leave this fight without blood.

    His full out run falters ungracefully into a lope to slow himself, knowing the great possibility that she would lower her head to protect herself from a frontal attack. As he comes upon her, he instead now swerves to her right instead of hitting her head on, attempting a wide berth around her and her antlers if she decides to turn her head towards him. He aims the brunt of his chest and his right shoulder into her ribcage (he tries to aim there, at least - away from her face full of horns and her powerful flank and back legs - it is possible that their shoulders collide instead depending on her movement).

    Balto hopes that the sheer force of his weight is enough to put her off balance, even just a bit. He wants to see her stumble; to falter, lose her balance so that he would have the upper ground. The close contact was worth the first attack, despite the antlers that may tear into his abdomen or flank from doing so. He wants her to see his determination, that sheer rage and need for violence in his eyes. For her to realize that this is more than just a sparring match - that he would kill her if given the chance.

    Fear may be his best weapon.

    The stallion attempts to now scramble to his left, away from flying hooves and teeth and antlers. He shifts his weight quickly so that he pivots on his left foreleg immediately after his hopeful collision (away from Warlight). When he is able to support his weight on all four legs after pivoting, he puts as much force he can muster into his back legs to kick out in hopes that he would meet her again, hoping that his first attack now lends her face to him, depending on how she had reacted to his first attack. He hadn’t been able to gather enough force to buck in a way that he would have wanted; he had put much of his energy into what he would wish to be his first staggering blow. He only hopes that she had turned her head towards him and that one of his hooves had collided with the delicate bones of her face instead of the solidity of her shoulder or even her flank. Wounding her eyes would be his goal and would make it a hell of a lot easier to avoid the fierceness of her antlers and make him a harder target to find.

    However, his back hooves finding her abdomen once again (if he had been successful the first time) would perhaps steal her breath and crack her ribcage, if he was lucky, and give him a few extra seconds he may need so that he can lower her to the ground - where then his forehooves could dig easier into the more fragile parts of her (like her head) if he could just gain a higher angle.

    Dust now filters through them like a red fog, stirred from their vicious movement. He takes a few strides before turning to face her again, blowing heavily already - his eyes roll menacingly, searching her desperately for blood. Did she know how much he needed to see it?

    Bathe in it, whispers their voice to him again, quieter this time, more soothing - encouraging.

    Warlight had left Tephra in the steely grey dawn, alone. She had spent the night walking in unsettling dreams, but the Alliance had hardly crossed her mind. An argument with her mate, one with more weight than the rest, had kept her mind reeling, even while she slept. The concerns Raul voiced struck her hard, and much of his criticism she thought she didn't deserve, but the phrases that stuck with her were the ones with more than a little truth. Warlight is grateful when the sun rises, and she turns to battle like a soothing balm. When she locks eyes with her opponent, thoughts of home and all it's worries vanish.

    He barrels towards her, and she does not miss the glint of fury in his eye.

    "Good," she thinks, "let your rage call the shots. "

    Keeping the stronger, bulkier stallion at antlers-length would be essential, yet she does not move, waiting for the perfect moment to spring into action. Her hard, black eyes unflinchingly track Balto as he covers the stretch of red clay between them. His gallop falters; he slows to a lope and swings wide, avoiding the antlers he had the foresight to know would be there to meet him. Likewise, the leopard-skin mare has predictions of her own, and she anticipates that he will try to close the distance with any hint of an opening. Her antlers remain lowered as he searches for an opportunity, and when he cuts in, she is ready. The stallion moves quickly, but she moves quicker, her desert roots giving her natural agility. The lithe mare's footwork is swift and precise on the packed clay as she works to keep him back.

    But her defense is not perfect, and he sees his moment, diving in for what appears to be an attempted bodyslam. Instead of absorbing the hit full-on, Warlight arches her neck and turns on the forehand, keeping her head towards him, and antlers between them, as her body moves away. But she underestimated the sheer force of the stallion, and his chest collides with her shoulder, knocking her back breathlessly but not doing any lasting harm. Before he is past, she lowers her skull and brings her antlers to the height of his withers. Ideally, he would pay dearly for the hit, and the many prongs of her well-developed antlers would drag along the length of his side as he barreled past. They could leave a scratch, or they could open him from shoulder to flank. As his croup draws level with her face, she pulls her head back swiftly.

    Soon, he is giving up that hard-earned nearness, pivoting away and turning tail to her. Like an arrow from a bow, she springs after him. But by keeping herself close to his side, she is not able to avoid the hooves which are quickly flying towards her. His left hoof strikes the right side of her barrel, but as she is nearly parallel to his haunches, it bumps along the thick hide that covers her ribs. She inhales sharply through her teeth as the skin splits, but the burn of such a wound is much preferable to the dull thud and snap of breaking ribs.

    In the moment of unbalance any horse experiences after executing a high buck, she reaches her bared teeth for whatever part of him she can grab, letting her momentum carry her towards him. Warlight aims for the tender place above his stifle joint. A well-placed bite to this critical area could tear skin or even bruise, not enough to bring him down, but enough to weaken or irritate a part of him that would be the power source of leaps and quick maneuvers.

    He continues moving away, and Warlight lets him go, halting in the red cloud of dust they have created. Orange-red streaks run down her white sides, the floating particles of clay mixing with her sweat and now, blood. She'd used her two attacks while he was near, and the terms stipulated he was on the offensive again. Her breathing and heart rate are elevated, but she shows no signs of weariness. Instead, a faint smile dances on her freckled lips as the warriors again square up. Greedily, he searches her body with his eyes, but hers never leave his face.
    [Image: Warlightpageddoll1.png]
    Blind with rage and the necessity for blood to flow, there is no hesitation in his steps; no second-guessing, just pure impulse and instinct pulsing rampant through his veins. Perhaps that will hinder him eventually, but for now he does not care as to how the blood falls. For so long he had sought out his own death - it does not even phase him that he might be living his last moments; he had wished it for so long and he had failed, what is there to fear now?

    When he collides with her shoulder, there is a shudder of force that collapses between them. His forward momentum does not stop even though she had tried to move out of his way; those proud and perfect pronged antlers lace into him nearly immediately upon his closeness (a thing that he expected but did not care about; he had met his death so many times, nothing compares to the dastardly things he had done to mutilate himself). However, as her antlers dig into blue flesh that begins to split upon contact, a terrible sound erupts from his throat. Her defense to his attack did not open him as deeply (or as long down his body) as she had wished, but enough to cause him to pivot away from her sooner than he would have liked to get away from the piercing of his own flesh down the entire side of his body.

    She follows immediately after him, springing beside him with a quickness that he doesn’t quite have due to his heavier size. When his hooves collide with a dull sound against her ribs (he winces and gasps in pain at the weight on his wounded shoulder to do so), he is disappointed that no cry of pain escapes her. His ears fall flat into his mane as he becomes parallel to the ground again, landing on all fours with such force that even more dust is kicked up into her face. Her teeth pinch the meatier part of his flank as he falls to his four hooves, which causes an abrupt kick of that leg outwards to loosen her grip - there is no splicing of flesh, but he can already feel the stiffening of blood beneath the surface of his skin as he pulls free from her.

    He is furious that he cannot stay within close range of her; those antlers are no match for only the teeth and hooves he brings to this fight.

    Even so, there is no hesitation as he turns in the dust to face her again, eyes rolling and blowing heavily. The cloud of red sediment still spirals around them, not yet settled, and he attempts to use it to his advantage as he paws furiously into the packed clay with the leg that is not affected by his injured shoulder before he comes towards her again. There is not the same energy as before, of course, his shoulder is wounded and the dull throb on his haunch keeps him from doing so. Even the dust has left his own eyes watering, and he is hoping that the same irritation now plagues his opponent.

    There is anger within his entire expression, dark and malevolent, as he faces her the same way as before - with an ungraceful canter, that same flurry of clay dust continuing from his movement - as if aiming for another collision.

    This time, however, he hopes that the brandishing of her antlers towards him will work in his favor.  Those antlers pierced him without much pressure and they must carry more weight than he had initially assumed atop her crown.

    She had turned her head to meet him last time and he expects the same response so that she can keep him from colliding with her completely. He chooses to come to the other side of her this time (so that his afflicted shoulder and haunch would be away from her), but he does not attempt to cut in as he had done before. Instead, he hopes that her heavy antlers follow his movement and await for another close attack. He doesn’t cut in but remains close - nearly as close as he had before (before he had collided with her) - and stops for only a moment once his shoulder is parallel to her flank. He pivots as best he can on his uninjured shoulder and foreleg to turn his hindquarters towards her. In this moment, where there is merely a breath, if even that, he throws his back legs out from beneath him and upwards, hoping that her face (or even the antlers now stained with his blood) are nearer to him.

    The energy behind such a movement is not as graceful as he would have liked - his right shoulder seems inept at keeping him balanced enough to put his full force into the kick of his back hooves, and there is a new tightness in his flank as his right hindleg attempts to extend fully with the momentum of his attack. However, if she had turned her head towards him at all, it is his hope that she did not have enough time to swing her head away from him to completely miss the kick of his back hooves at her face.

    Balto lands with a thud, immediately shifting any of his weight from his injured shoulder and attempting to turn on his good leg so that he can be out of reach of her hind end and whatever she may retaliate with, but not so far that there would be room for momentum between them.
    I would like to use my extension!
    Ty <3
    Starsonder . Clegane . Warlight
    Solace . Levi . Firen . Skylight . Sibyl
    There is a sickening satisfaction, gruesome, but none the less pleasing as her antlers make contact. There is little resistance as the prongs break Balto's skin, a sign that she has not torn too deep into the musculature of his frame. But the weeping wound is enough to satisfy Warlight, and as her head rises up and away from any last-ditch kicks, she feels the lust for battle igniting in her core.

    They engage again, his next attack lands, her bite tears, the give and take is primal and exhilarating. 

    When he breaks away after their first volley, she doesn't mind the moment to breathe, adjusting to the pain where her side bleeds. But the break is not long, and soon he is lumbering towards her again. 

    This time she doesn't wait. The stallion begins to charge, and Warilight transitions into a ground-covering trot. Now that she had a moment to breathe, she realizes her shoulder is stiff from where he had slammed into her. But after a few paces, she compensates in her gait, and no signs of any discomfort are visible.

    She is lucky that his dark blue form contrasts with the rising storm of dust they are creating. Her own mottled, earth-tone pelt may not be as easy to see, especially now that a layer of the lung-clogging earth lays against her coat. On the defensive again, she keeps her antlers at the ready. Warlight collects her trot, her skull naturally lowering as her neck arches, and peers at him through the swirling dust. He makes his move, cantering close. For a moment, she wonders if he plans to slam her again, but then it appears he will pass her to avoid her antlers. She turns to pursue him just when she sees his weight shifting onto his fore for a double-barrel buck.  As he kicks out, Warlight jerks her head to the left, keeping her face away from those flying hooves, but her dodge is not completely successful. There is a clattering sound as his left hoof crashes into the heavy rack of bone, and then a crack as it connects with the main stem of her right antler. The force of the hit ricochets into her skull, her vision blurring for a second as she rips her head away violently.  It would be lucky for him if his hind leg remained unscathed; her branching antler-prongs could have easily damaged one of the many ligaments and tendons that wrap around the cannon bone and pastern, all critical for future movements. She hopes that the tangle will leave him with an injury of his own, one that may slow him for what she has planned.

    A dull ache settles below her skull, but a headache is easy to ignore in the heat of battle. The mature antler is no more than dead bone, and once the shock has passed, there is no pain at the site. She only spares a glance for the fallen branch of antler now that it is a hazard in their battlefield. Balto continues to move away, and Warlight extends her neck and swings her head right and left, still trotting, adjusting to the new weight distribution before her final offensive.

    Feeling confident with this change but a little lop-sided, she transitions into a collected canter to cover her lost ground. Warlight wants to use the stallion's wariness of her antlers against him, and she keeps her crown low as if she intends to strike again with them. She circles in on his left side, approaching at an angle from behind but leaving enough space between them that she should be able to avoid any future bucks. Once they are roughly parallel but a horse length apart, she leads in with her crown, collecting herself again if she had to extend her stride to catch him. With neck arched, and power coiled in her haunches, she feigns to his shoulder with her antlers before springing forward, rearing up and striking out with her fore-hooves. Warlight aims for the delicate bones around his eye with her hooves, but any part of his facial structure would do. A hard strike to his face could fracture the temporal bone or even his jaw if timed just right. But at the least, any connection could leave a bone-deep bruise with an ache that would be hard to forget, and with any hit strong enough to damage the skull, the blood would flow.

    Will doesn't linger once she strikes. As all four of her feet find the earth, she lets her momentum carry her out into the open. Clear of the cloying dust, the warrior breathes deeply of the free air. Blood still drips from her side, but her instincts won't allow her to let Balto out of her sigh to survey the damage she has taken.
    [Image: Warlightpageddoll1.png]
    The antlered mare comes to meet him with those cursed horns once again. The scowl on his face and displeasure at her advantage is apparent; he braces himself for their next collision, knowing that without a doubt he will be skewered if he does not tread carefully.

    Warlight turns the moment she realizes he does not mean to fully collide with her again - his assumption correct - and he feels something like elation as the shuddering sound of his hooves reverberate through him when he makes contact. Balto is not surprised when he feels the sharpness of those heavy antlers bite into his lower left leg. He whinnies (though it is eerily shriek-like) in frustration, pulling his hind end down with a slamming force that only spills more blood from that leg. His black-tipped ears are hidden beneath the thickness of his tangled mane, the smell of blood and sweat intermingling with the tang of red dust.

    The steady rumble of voices that deafen him become still, reminding him that the more pain he inflicts, the less they torture him.

    He continues, knowing she would follow him in pursuit. He is not sure of her own damage, but he cannot linger to find out. Neither does he attempt to even glance over his shoulder to see if blood blinds her eyesight - no matter how badly he wishes. However, his strike seems to have been enough to cause her to stagger and fall a bit behind him, as he had quickly noticed her lack of closeness once his back legs hit the ground once again. Despite the contact he had made, it only takes a few seconds for her to gain back the lost distance with purposeful strides. He feels slower now, the new pain in his left leg hindering him (as well as the still-fresh wound on his right shoulder) from moving at a steadier and quicker pace.

    She comes to him from behind and his eyes roll, attempting to see her through his periphery. He grinds his teeth at his inability to shake her or slow her with his previous attacks, the simmering rage beneath his skin now threatening to spill. He cannot see her well, but her form is large enough to know that it is with her antlers that she comes barreling towards him. He bares his teeth, a heated sound of warning escaping his champing mouth. His wariness of her antlers causes him to try and shift his canter to the right when she pretends to go for his shoulder. He would like to maintain the space between him and her antlers for as long as possible. The motion itself is not graceful at all; it is shuffled and slow due to his damage taken during the battle, not to mention the thickness of his build. But the motion happens simultaneously with his realization that she is instead now pulling herself upwards to aim her hooves at any part of his upper body that is available to her.

    Her hoof connects solidly with the upper muscle of his left shoulder as he attempts to turn away, lending his shuffle to the right more grace than he had originally expected. He grunts and then stumbles, thanks to the weakness from the open cut in his other shoulder already, and slows to a limping trot before he finally stops. She would be satisfied with the connection, he’s sure, as she breaks away from him and into the open. He can already feel the deep ache of bruising, blood welling beneath the surface of unbroken skin and muscle.

    The battle is done, but the fire in the stallion’s eyes would let the mare know that it is far from over. Malice and anger are seeping through every open wound on his body, left feeling unfulfilled as his crystal blue eyes scan her body and finding that there is not enough blood that has been spilled.

    They are not satisfied and in turn, neither is Balto.
    Winner: Balto

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