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About Zeal

  • Birthday 01/05/1998

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  1. IC: Sohmak - The Battle of Fort Garsi Had the forces of Fortress Razorfish;Vaa been permitted to engage at a closer range, Sohmak would feel rather more optimistic about his present circumstances. As they stood, the bruiser could've spent a thousand years in the ring and not one second of it could have prepared him for the carnage unfolding; the Spineless Slugger finally found himself in an arena of combat that rendered him almost perfectly useless. The old clubhouse may as well have been in another universe. His Sonics-attuned hearing found Gashril and Lookout above the cacophony of explosives, firearms and eye beams, and he anchored himself to their efforts. Sohmak was almost perfectly useless, and he loathed the ways he could be useful. Any ability of his that didn't involve his raw physical prowess hadn't been exercised in years, rather by choice. Given the current situation, he would have to forgive himself the stain on his honour later, assuming he was still alive to do so. The Bite of Irnakk's Tooth screwed his eyes tightly shut, trying to remember how to flex this particular muscle. At once a wave of nausea washed over him, his eyelids snapping open to reveal tones of deep dark blue, temperate yellow-greens and fiery reds. He looked up towards the ramparts, wavering on his feet, and saw at once why Zanakra's Cordak missiles had fallen short; blistering white-hot lines cut through the air, ending in puffs of crimson where the projectiles had been prematurely detonated. Tracing directly back to Krex. "THEY'VE GOT HEAT VISION!" Sohmak shouted sort of at Zanakra, sort of at Gashril, sort of almost in a panic. "SETTIN' OFF THE EXPLOSI-OH IRNAKK'S PIS—" The brawler about keeled over, throwing his body to the ground in Gashril's direction in a vague attempt to take cover from the onslaught, his vision fading from Thermal to regular spectrum as he fought and won to keep days of fruits and Miracle Cactus down. "Oi… Shrill Blade," he finally managed to heave out between breaths, unaware her perspective was elsewhere. "You're a noisy rotter too, eh? How's about we flush the heu:nii out?" OOC: @ARROW404 @good grief there's a lot of us huh?
  2. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Tahtorak Encampment T'harrak, as she often did, had a point. But for once it wasn't sitting quite right with Sohmak. She was unable to see the forest for the trees, or whatever he overheard some other geek saying. The brawler came to a stop and looked back at her. To a distant observer, to Zanakra, Sohmak cocking his head back in her direction would read as "Let's get a wriggle on, boss is waitin'." To someone who'd just had the conversation they'd had with the fighter, to T'harrak, it read as "Wanna talk about personal pride and how it impacts us all? She's right there." She knew about pride, but he knew pride, and at least his didn't kill people. With that, he started off towards the scouting boat again. And with each heavy footfall towards the fledgling conqueror's craft (attempting a casual salute with the hulking metal mass on his arm as he boarded) it sank deeper and deeper in how dangerous Zanakra's own pride, her unchecked ambition, was; for would-be rivals, thralls and allies alike. Sohmak still didn't quite realise how sheltered he was from fortress politics in the bosom of Zakaz's capital, but he was beginning to get the foul taste of it. Despite his prodigious talent for incredible and passionate violence, the Spineless Slugger had never killed before; Rule Two: keep your opponent alive. Again he wondered if he had the nerve if things went south. He'd have the boat ride south to figure it out. OOC: @Nato G @Snelly
  3. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Tahtorak Encampment Oh how badly Sohmak wanted to snipe at the upstart, something like "If you ain't ready for 'em you'll never be one of 'em." United front, he reminded himself, save it for the fort. Looked forward to the fort. Instead he approached Gashril, raising a colossal mech-gauntlet to her in respect for her performance. "Bloody good show, lass. Showed our newbie how it's done, eh?" he said, pretending he'd been one of Zanakra's longer than Jojax had. Sure to get under the wrestler's skin, couldn't help himself really. He was about to ask if the Shrill Blade had ever made it out to the circles and clubhouses in Irnakk's Tooth when-- Sohmak's shoulders sank a little and he looked to the circle with longing, so close yet so far. Seemed everything was on hold until they made it back to the fort. Looked forward to the fort even more now. In helping where he could making preparations to leave (which wasn't much considering he couldn't grab anything, darn these good-for-nothin'--) the Spineless Slugger ended up alongside Zanakra's favourite geek, who was looking a little bruised after Jojax's impudent display. Sohmak had little time or respect for tinkerers like T'harrak, but thought it may be best to mend some bridges and straighten things out before they set off again. Sohmak shuffled closer to the engineer, lowering his rowdy voice for once. "Don't take it personal. We were all like her once, back in the clubhouses. Nothin' in Zakaz or Kino-Ur could take us down. We all get our reality check some day though, that kick-in-the-guts'll do her good." He snuck a look at the wrestler, sulking in the Sarke circle. "Kid's got spirit, no one denyin' that. And if she's anything' like her dear ol' dad..." lowering his voice even further, Jojax could not hear this now "...she'll be a fighter for the ages." A brief, vulnerable pause. "You were right to stick by her. We all need mates, in there and out 'ere." Sohmak broke away, moving for the boat before quickly turning back to T'harrak, assuming something of a civil-if-gruff tone. "And 'scuse my words at young Jojax before, don't mean nothin' by 'em," he lied slightly, it did tickle Sohmak a little to get her riled up, "she can't back that spirit though and everyone in Zakaz and Kino-Ur will take her down. Got a lot to live up to." OOC: @Snelly @Nato G @Sparticus147 @Smudge8 @ARROW404 Feeling slightly honoured to fall in the scope of your 10,000th post, Snelly! Feels like yesterday we were posting in Le-Wahi ☺️
  4. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Tahtorak Encampment And there it was; the blind desperation of a novice. Sohmak shook his head, shaking loose the errant thought that had been his budding respect for the wrestler. The Shrill Blade had her on the ropes-- --oh COME ON. Sohmak's feeling on draws were complicated. On the one hand, any two combatants that can fight each other to a standstill after such a prolonged bout must be fierce opponents indeed. On the other, a draw's... kind of a boring outcome? Maybe it's more about the journey than the destination or whatever he overheard some geek say. Sohmak groaned in dissatisfaction all the same. Then again, the Slugger mused, that was most definitely Gashril's fight to lose. Sheer bad luck her foot landed outside the ring. Still, it was over. Sohmak's muscles relaxed, tense as though he'd been in the ring himself. Seeing proper Sarke for the first time in a long time made him all jittery. He'd almost forgotten about the Sluggers until the clank of the crush-jaws closing, his fists clenched around their triggers, reminded him with a sour sneer. Surely one of these goons could free him of the blasted things. OOC: @Snelly @Nato G @Sparticus147 @Smudge8 @ARROW404 Also I do not share Sohmak's views on draws, it was a great fight! 😁
  5. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Tahtorak Encampment The brawler's long trek across Zakaz had clouded his living moments in a dreamlike haze. Even meeting Zanakra and her crew felt like playing out a campfire adventure story, the disgraced fighter given a second chance as warlord's muscle. Watching Gashril and Jojax duke it out in the circle was the most real thing he'd experienced in weeks. The two fighters embodied very different schools of combat, both equally effective and equally admired by Sohmak. Gashril's body language betrayed a caution and reactionary style the untrained eye might mistake for cowardice, but the Shrill Blade wielded a mind keener than her sword, her conservative technique allowing her to deconstruct her opponent mentally before following through physically. Jojax's frightful vigour was no less deliberate, however. If Gashril's style was to think on her feet, then Jojax's was to never give her a moment to think. This "attack-attack-attack" rhythm was not the blind desperation of a novice; the overwhelming force was considered, her incredible violence calculated. Even without the ancestral mask, she would be a terrifying opponent indeed. Sohmak let a smile crack across his great jaw. Perhaps there was something of the Demon in her after all. His mind strayed from the fight for a moment to finally regard the... wrongness that lingered in the corner of his eye. While Sohmak didn't regard Ahuum as a threat per se, there was something about the hooded wretch that made his skin crawl. Still, adversity makes strange bedfellows. He thought best to save introductions for back at the Fortress though, can't be losing his nerve out here. His fingers itched against the Sluggers' crush-jaw triggers. Glorious combat within his iron reach once again. OOC: @Smudge8@ARROW404@Sparticus147
  6. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Tahtorak Encampment Sohmak's own ego would be his undoing one day, and already he'd crept dangerously close to the threshold. Jojax's beef with the Sonic Striker had thrust his mindset back towards the cosiness of the clubhouse in Irnakk's tooth, where a fight was a fight and nothing more. Vicious words and more vicious blows were traded but everyone came out alive and, more often than not, on friendly terms. But the clubhouse wasn't a fortress and, as T'harrak had promptly demonstrated, the dynamic was very different indeed. The dependibility of your clansmen could mean the difference between life and death. Big talk meant jack this far from the city, and Sohmak annihilating a rock hardly demonstrated any measure of trustworthiness. It seemed he was loathe to admit quite a few things out here, the latest being that T'harrak had a point. Sohmak scowled like a scolded child, and got out of the wrestler's face. If Fortress Razorfish;Vaa was to present a united front to Gashril's encampment, he'd have to abandon his newly-fired blood feud with her. For now, at least. The fort should have a decent Sarke-circle, or he'd have to rethink his membership altogether. He huffed in capitulation. "Go on then, Demon's Daughter." It was the most intro he was willing to offer Jojax presently. "Make 'em cry." OOC: @Smudge8 @Nato The Whisperer
  7. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Tahtorak Encampment The brawler sneered as Jojax's request. He'd seen dozens, hundreds maybe, eager to make a name for themselves in the pits; few so brazenly as the young wrestler. "Word of advice, upstart," Sohmak growled in a low tone. "If you're having to ask for a ring introduction, you don't get one. You don't deserve one." He leaned in close, about pressing his forehead to Jojax's. "You ain’t earned it. Just like I'm sure you ain't earned that Bloody mask yet." He turned to Zanakra, but stopped himself short of saying. "Put me in instead, boss. She ain’t ready," fighting down the urge to bash some heads. Best not to make too many waves so soon after being recruited. Instead he only nodded sagely, like some kind of Sarke-based advisor. He still thought Jojax wasn't ready, but reckoned her ego could use knocking down a few pegs. If only the Spineless Slugger were as capable of introspection as he was with his fists. OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8 @ARROW404
  8. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Tahtorak Encampment The brawler had positioned himself close-but-not-too-close to Zanakra and, though he reckoned it had been about ten minutes since Fortress Razorfish;Vaa picked him up, tried his best to look for all the world like a long-time enforcer of the warlord's. Again Sohmak's ego had retreated and he couldn't help but feel vulnerable. A Sarke circle meant Sarke-fighters, any of which could again recognise him if they'd ever passed through Irnakk's Tooth. But for once, sport was far from his mind. Gashril's associates were larger in number and for the most part stature. If things turned ugly, if negotiations broke down, the circle would afford no honour and provide no sanctuary. The scant rules of Sarke would be out the window. Mortal combat. This was new and, loathe to admit it, a little frightening. This was fortress politics in action. It made his stomach turn. Jojax's red war paint blazed in the corner of his eye and he welcomed the distraction, allowing himself a glance at the wrestler. Her ancestral mask sent a bolt through his brain and dealt a body blow to his composure as he finally joined the dots. Sohmak remained a firm presence at Zanakra's side, but his mind reeled from the revelation. Her father was no amateur. He was only the Bloody Demon. OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8 @ARROW404
  9. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Fortress Razorfish;Vaa Once more his hearing picked up Zanakra's intonation, the quotes around "greet" dripping with venomous implication. She was a warlord, and this was her territory. "Aye, ma'am." Sohmak grinned viciously and held up a clanking claw. While he still didn't entirely agree with acquiesing to another outside the ring, he rapidly began to see the sense in it. Until not two minutes ago he was an intruder right on Razorfish;Vaa's doorstep, after all. Sohmak joined Jojax at the boat, catching her scowl as she made preparations. He flashed her a sneer. "You'll get your fight, rotter. See if you do any better then your dad, eh?" OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8
  10. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Fortress Razorfish;Vaa Three years, blimey that's a way back... Sohmak tried to recall, he'd fought a few Skakdi on the older side during his time. Though humiliation was never the aim of the game, he could hardly help it if his opponents didn't bring all they had to the ring. Jojax's father had obviously been one of those amateurish few. Still, he couldn't help but admire the fire in her belly; that ferocity and fighter's spirit could very well be what broke Sohmak free of his shackles. He decided to stoke the flames a little. "Think your boss has final say on that, upstart." The brawler cracked a wry smile and looked past Jojax to the warlord. His grin widened, looking back to the wrestler. "Looks like you'll have to wriggle over, eh?" He disengaged from her, joining Zanakra and the rest of her crew. His Sonics-attuned hearing picked up the emphasis on Spineless; Sohmak was well-aware of its original meaning, calculated it in fact, to make his opponents underestimate him. Every one of them learned what a mistake it was to underestimate a Skakdi who could fight that hard without the stimulus of a Spine Slug. He clanged the Sluggers together, sparks flying off their Protosteel cowlings. "You lot were off somewhere, boss?" OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8 I really have issues with brevity huh lol
  11. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Fortress Razorfish;Vaa Sohmak completely missed the boredom-borderlining-disdain in T'harrak's voice, flashing her a grin. He knew what he was and he was bloody proud of it. Jojax gave him pause. A part of him was hoping to keep his infamy to the East under wraps for the timebeing, and this loudmouth heu:nii had just blown his cover wide open. Another, much louder, part of Sohmak was glad to finally get the recognition he deserved all the way out here. He couldn't help but beam with vainglory. "The Bite of Irnakk's Tooth himself," the prize-fighter proclaimed. "You been 'round my circles then, eh? Don't think we've met in the pit before." He sensed a Sarke-fighter's fury in her, and knew he was in good company. If Zanakra decided he was, at least. OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8
  12. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Fortress Razorfish;Vaa Already Zanakra was speaking his language. "With pleasure, ma'am." The prize-fighter grinned with violent delight. The half-submerged boat made landfall with a pathetic thunk, Sohmak stepping ashore and standing tall, stretching his arms; the exoskeleton made stretching something of a redundancy but he thought the sight and sound of it in action, the servo-buzz of the mighty armatures, might help his chances with the warlord and her entourage. He clanked the Sluggers' crush-jaws for good measure too, like an angry Manas. Looking over their immediate surroundings, Sohmak spotted a convenience; a large carved stone, presumably leftover from the fortress's construction. He strode over to it, carrying himself with well-practiced bravado. To the Spineless Slugger, being a champion fighter was only half of Sarke; you had to look the part too, you had to be a showman. He tapped his oversized mechanical knuckles against the stone, making a show of lining up his shot. In truth it didn't matter where he hit it. Finally Sohmak planted his feet and wound back his arm, the exoskeleton locking back with a satisfying ka-chunk. A pause. Sohmak breathed deep. And with a short sharp exhalation and a loud rising whirr, the Slugger burst forward and cleaved through the stone like it wasn't even there, shattering it into hundreds of disparate pieces. Sohmak let out an involuntary "Ha!" of surprise and awe, his limited practice in the scrapper's workshop meaning he was still discovering the upper limits of the device. He began to wonder if there were any. Sohmak reached for one of the larger chunks of debris, the crush-jaws clamping down hard on the stone and straining for barely a second before further annihilating it, dust pouring from between them as they opened. "They... they don't grab well, but..." The prize-fighter sheepishly gestured to the pile of rubble beside him. OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8
  13. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, Fortress Razorfish;Vaa The warlord's demand sliced through the gentle river ambiance. Sohmak didn't recognise the Cordak Blaster at Zanakra's side but saw it for what it was; large and lethal. For the briefest moment he considered paddling away, the next moment realising he'd be as good as dead if he tried. Can't show any weakness out here. In the next moment, he almost yelled out "I'm the Spineless Slugger, blockhead!" but caught himself. This far out from Irnakk's Tooth, he doubted he'd be recognised. And on the off-chance he was, he couldn't expose himself to humiliation so readily. Can't rely on reputation out here. It was a rare occasion indeed when Sohmak would show deference to another, and he pushed the scowl he felt beginning to form back down. Staring down the six barrels of a gun, however, he'd try anything once. Be useful. Sitting back up in the rapidly sinking rowboat and trying his best to ignore it, he waved a hulking Slugger and smiled in what he assumed was a cordial manner. "Muscle!!" Sohmak finally yelled back at Zanakra. "Need some?" OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8
  14. IC: Sohmak - Spineless Bay, middle of river Ancestors, I hope no one can see this. The brawler pawed pathetically at the river waters. The weight of the great gauntlets caging his arms made swimming out of the question, and meant the abandoned little boat he'd kicked from the shore barely kept him afloat, barely worthy of the classification "boat". He'd have used the oars but they snapped like twigs in his mighty crush-grip. For hardly the first time since wandering out this far, Sohmak cursed his luck. He cursed the Sluggers, and the scrapper that did this to him. It would hardly be the last time either. Sohmak sought battle. A warrior with power enough to destroy the Sluggers, to free him from the shackles that held his arms and ego in equal measure. He wondered if any such warrior existed in all of Zakaz. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Some Days Prior - Irnakk's Tooth, Sarke Clubhouse The smack of fist meeting temple. The thud of Skakdi meeting floor. The whayyyyy! of a crowd of onlookers. Sohmak panted for breath and rubbed his knuckles; a harder fight than he'd expected. He grinned down as his opponent, half out of respect, half out of well-placed pride. Every victory Sohmak earned in Sarke was all his own. He held a hand out to the downed Skakdi, pulling them up and into a one-armed hug, exchanging wishes to exchange blows again down the line. Another, slightly inebriated, Skakdi called out across the room, challenging Sohmak. But even champions had their limits, and it was time to retire for the night. "Tomorrow," Sohmak promised. Stepping out of the clubhouse, a little shack tucked away in the shadow of Irnakk's Tooth, Sohmak took a deep breath of the crisp air. His moment of peace did not last; he was suddenly aware of a presence behind him, a hooded shade lurking outside the door. Every time his fight-or-flight response kicked in, he'd never chosen flight. He spun around fast and grabbed the being by the throat, slamming their back against the wall. "I'm unarmed! I'm unarmed!" a feeble voice, but a Skakdi's voice no less, chirped from beneath the hood. "So am I," snarled Sohmak, his fierce grip tightening. "You've got nerve trying to jump anyone in there. Bad luck it was me, eh?" The hooded Skakdi could barely draw breath, clutching at Sohmak's arm uselessly. The brawler sighed disappointedly, seeing that they were pathetic and of no harm. Releasing his grip, the stranger dropped to the ground, sucking breath. "Beat it, heu:nii." The stranger panted and wheezed for a time before drawing himself to his feet, his hood falling back to reveal a purple face, though Sohmak couldn't tell if it was Gravity or asphyxiation. "I'm... Syntak..." Sohmak lowered his arms but kept them tense, his fists curled tightly. He'd been ambushed in the streets before, low-life Sarke-wannabes who fancied a go at the famed fighter, but no one had been so brazen to try and attack him right on the doorstep of the clubhouse. "Then beat it, Syntak. Ain't got time for rotters like you," he growled. "And you're... Sohmak..." the snivelling Syntak continued as though he hadn't been dismissed, raising his gaze to meet the brawler's. "...the Spineless Slugger." So Syntak was here for him. He wound up to clobber the pathetic Skakdi, who held out a hand in desperate protest. "No, please! I do not seek to quarrel! Though..." And here Syntak seemed to lost himself in thought. "...to be punched by the mighty Sohmak would be a high honour indeed! The Sonic Striker! The Bite of Irnakk's Tooth! He who forsakes all advantage! No weapon, no vision power, you deny even the rage borne of a Spine Slug! I-I've seen your handiwork, your dance oh-so-violent! From afar, of course, I wouldn't dare partake myself..." So he's a creep and a coward. Sohmak cut through Syntak's ramblings with a snap of his fingers, bringing the cloaked Skakdi back to the present moment. "My apologies, but much as you likely seek to visit violence upon my person, I do not come before you to fight; I wish instead to make an offer. One tailored just for you, Sohmak." The brawler rolled his eyes. The stranger was far too well-spoken to be another drunk. Heck, he was far too well-spoken full stop. The company Sohmak usually kept was far more blunt, or sharp depending on the weapons they brought to the ring. And yet, he'd caught Sohmak's interest. Syntak was aware of his reputation, and he hated to think that he was at least a little curious about the strange Skakdi's offer. Any funny business, and Syntak wouldn't last long anyways. Sohmak shrugged. "Screw it. What've you got for me?" >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Irnakk's Tooth, Syntak's Workshop "Hey, not so tight, yeah?!" The device's harness was tight, the myriad straps and buckles biting into Sohmak's shoulders and cutting in under his ribs. Mechanical armatures sprouted from a curious little engine on the harness's back and ran down along his arms, terminating in two altogether-too-big Protosteel gauntlets, themselves housing brutal three-fingered claws. Sohmak grunted in discomfort as Syntak almost skipped around him in excitement making final adjustments, and attempted to lift a heavy hand. "Not yet!" the scientist yelled in alarm, pushing the gauntlet back down. "You'll damage the exoskeleton!" "Then get a move on!" Sohmak roared back. "I could be having a nice little kip right now, instead I'm playing training dummy for some scrap-tinker geek who couldn't tell a shovel from a shovel hook!" "Test subject," Syntak corrected, missing the barb in Sohmak's stinging statement. "You're right, I don't have a fighting bone in my body. My technical prowess far outweighs my capacity for violence; your skill and brutality in unarmed combat make you far more suited to testing the apparatus than I." "And you reckon you should be proud of that?" Sohmak sneered contemptuously. "Surprised you still have all your teeth with that attitude, and if you don't hurry up I'll start playing dentist too." More silent fidgeting before Syntak finally stepped away. "There, how does that feel?" "Feels like you've strapped me up and weighed me down so you can have a pop at me." The brawler's patience was on a knife-edge. "The harness is a prototype, improvements to user comfort will be made in future iterations. Right now we're testing the gauntlets and exoskeletal support mechanisms. Allow me." Syntak went to step behind Sohmak, the fighter side-stepping and blocking his path. "No games, heu:nii." Syntak nodded, trying his best to suppress his frightful shaking. "N-no games." Allowed to move past, he started fiddling with various switches and knobs on the engine, a low humming rising in pitch until it became ultrasonic, ringing faintly in Sohmak's attuned ears. With a final dramatic flick of a big red switch, the device came to life. Instantly the weight that threated to pop Sohmak's shoulders from their sockets vanished. He looked back to Syntak in surprised, who was fastening a Protosteel shell over the engine. The scrapper beamed, returning a thumbs-up, and Sohmak cautiously lifted an arm. It moved as though the gauntlet wasn't there, the armature holding its weight steadfast and moving in sync with him. He raised the other gauntlet out in front, looking on them with bewilderment and a newfound appreciation. "What spell have you cast? Making Protosteel light as air?" Syntak grinned like an idiot, overflowing with glee at the initial success. "Not a spell, Sohmak. Not magic. Science. Engineering." "Call it what you want... it's a bit blooding brilliant." The fighter was starting to beam as well. Syntak became bashful. "I was wondering what to call them. The Exo-Fists, the Punch-Harders..." His eye lingered from the brawler. "I settled on a name in honour of you. I-I call them the Sluggers." This summoned a deep belly laugh from Sohmak, and he dared to think he was beginning to like the geek. Syntak joined in with a loud chuckle. "Go on then, throw a punch! A shovel hook or whatever you said! Show me how the Spineless Slugger does it!" The Spineless Slugger, still smiling with savage delight, cracked his neck and assumed a familiar fighting stance. "With pleasure." >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> All the materials Syntak had laid out for testing stood no chance. Rocks turned to dust between the Sluggers' mighty crush-jaws. A boulder, rolled with great difficulty into the workshop some days prior, reduced to rubble. Sheets of steel, dented and cracked and finally punched clean though. More impressive still was the speed and elegance with which Sohmak moved, in spite of the heavy Protosteel encasing his arms. He struggled initially with the cognitive disconnect; he could see them, he could feel the rudimentary padding against his forearms and his fingers gripping the crush-jaw triggers. But throwing a punch felt like he was bare-knuckle, the familiar fluidity giving way to brutish power like he'd never known. It truly seemed there was no limit to the Sluggers' power. Which was a problem. Much as he was enjoying himself, Sohmak heaved a reluctant sigh. "...not really my thing." Syntak, guffawing like a fool not moments before, froze. The brawler's disapproval cut like a knife. "They're... n-not to your liking?" Sohmak saw the scrapper begin to quiver and rolled his eyes. "Hey, hey, don't take it personally, geek. First, you came to me so you know how I do things. And you know that what I do is more than just punching and crushing, there's... nuance." The word felt unfamiliar in his mouth, and he was unsure if he was using it right at all. He raised a Slugger. "These don't have nua... nu... that. I can't grab, I can't grapple. They punch, and they crush, and they're very good at that, but only that." Syntak slumped against the wall of the workshop, defeated. "I understand. Fine motor control of the crush-jaws was to come in a later iteration, but I see now that they're not fit for purpose. Your purpose. It was foolish to me to approach a weaponless fighter and ask him to take one up. Blinded by my pride..." For about the first time in his life, a pang of sympathy for a weedy runt like Syntak entered the brawler's stony heart. He went to lay a hand on the scrapper's shoulder before realising he'd tear his arm off if he did, and withdrew. "I think we're done here, Syntak. Get these things off me, yeah?" "Right..." Syntak pulled himself back up and began working at the sturdy mechanisms clamping the Sluggers to Sohmak's arms. Entirely too long had passed and Sohmak felt the scrapper almost tugging at the locks on the contraption. "I can't get them off..." Were Sohmak not a Skakdi of Sonics, he would not have heard the barely audible admission. His response was immediate, and more of a command than a query. "What did you say?" "I-I-I-" "What did you SAY, ROTTER?!" "Ican'tgetthemoff!" Syntak spat out, scurrying away from Sohmak in a panic to hide behind his workbench. The bench provided no obstacle for the Spineless Slugger, his crush-jaws tearing into the steel slab like tinfoil before flinging it across the room. He threw a hook, stopping millimetres from Syntak's head. "What did you say. Slowly." "I can't get them off... I-I designed the mechanisms securing the harness and gauntlets to the user to be robust, impregnable even. I guess I forgot to... d-d-design a way for the user to open them again..." "You forgot?? You've TRAPPED me in these blasted things! Imagine if I rocked up to a Sarke pit in these! ME! I'd be laughed right into Kino-bloody-Ur!" The crush-jaws snapped open and closed with a heavy clank, the armature tensed and ready to fire. "You've ruined me. Tell me why I shouldn't take your head off right now." "B-because... because you need me to release you, right?" Syntak rose slowly to his feet, the Slugger following his head all the way up. "I designed the locking mechanisms, I'm the only one who knows how they work, I can... f-figure out a way to unlock them, to get you out!" "Then do it, geek. Now." "No!" He yelled without thinking, covering his mouth in horror. Slowly taking his hand away, he gambled on his life. "Not now... I-I need time to think... tomorrow! Tomorrow I'll have something. Come back here tomorrow, and I can unlock the Sluggers and free you, yes?" Sohmak's eyes narrowed. He didn't believe the scrapper for a second, but he had no other option. Killing him now meant zero chance of getting the Sluggers off. Waiting to kill him meant a non-zero chance. "Tomorrow", Sohmak promised. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> As morning sunlight flooded the streets of Irnakk's Tooth, a hacked off prize-fighter pounded on a workshop door. "Syntak! SYNTAK, YOU ROTTER!" His patience long since depleted, he threw a heavy metal fist through the door, smashing it to splinters. The workshop was derelict, every sign of the scrap-tinker geek having vanished with him as he fled into the night. Heu:nii... >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> And so Sohmak found himself here. In self-exile from Irnakk's Tooth in a desperate bid to preserve his reputation, trudging across the island for days and nights and sustaining himself on fruits and Miracle Cactus crushed in and summarily licked from the Sluggers' metallic maw, and finally paddling pathetically between the river deltas of the Spineless Bay in a leaky boat. He looked ahead, at his wit's end, and there in the distance stood a veritable fortress. A literal fortress, in fact. Fortress Razorfish;Vaa. No one so weak and snivelling as that scrapper could ever dream of having a fortress. Only the strong could take, could make, such a proud stronghold. Worth a shot. He paddled a little faster. OOC: @Snelly @Nato The Whisperer @Sparticus147 @Smudge8 and anyone else who's involved with Razorfish;Vaa, closing in.
  15. Sohmak Species: Skakdi Gender: Male Appearance: Athletic build, Sonics-grey armour bearing a few battle scars, lacking a Spine Slug. Abilities: Suppressed Elemental Power of Sonics Thermal Imaging vision power Skilled hand-to-hand combatant. Weapons/Equipment: Sluggers: A powered exoskeletal harness supporting two colossal Protosteel mech-gauntlets designed to punch and crush with devastating force. Foreign tech approved by @Haman Karn: A Magical Girl. Two metal vambraces for blocking melee weapons, currently unused. History: Sohmak made a name for himself as an exceptional Sarke fighter who forsook all advantage, infamous for using no weapons, no vision powers and even refusing to bond with a spine slug for its berserker rage; the latter of which earned him the moniker of the "Spineless Slugger". With only his cunning, brutality and bare fists, Sohmak came to dominate the sport. Approached one day by a rare Skakdi whose technical ingenuity far outweighed his capacity for violence, Sohmak became the first and only test subject for the inventor's latest creation; the Sluggers, named in honour of the bare-knuckle brawler. Quickly it became apparent that the clamps that secured its harness and great gauntlets to Sohmak's body were secure beyond reason, and quite impregnable; he was trapped inside the device. The cowardly engineer promised to find a way to release Sohmak from the Sluggers before fleeing for his life in the dead of night. Now in self-exile from Irnakk's Tooth to preserve his reputation, the Spineless Slugger seeks a warrior strong enough to break his shackles and return him to his former glory, before the exoskeleton inevitably breaks down from lack of maintenance and imprisons Sohmak in its cold, heavy clutches. Weaknesses: Big Meaty Claws: While the Sluggers make the already fearsome Sohmak an absolute nightmare in hand-to-hand combat, outside these circumstances they prove quite the burden; the great metal claws provide no fine motor control whatsoever, crushing anything Sohmak might care to grab. This makes basic tasks, including eating, far more difficult than usual. Pride Before The Fall: Due to his insistence on fighting in unarmed melee, he is utterly unskilled in the use of melee or ranged weaponry (a moot point as the Sluggers do not allow him to wield any kind of weaponry). Furthermore, due to the one-on-one nature of his Sarke bouts, he may find himself overwhelmed by more than one opponent.
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