|D- Needs Improvement|
All Chosen Warriors of mighty Huitzilopotchli must be experts of their craft, and a certain rainbow haired girl is no exception.
Kotal has been studying his officers lately, and from all of them Rayne is the only one that even passes for a warrior. Urus doesn't count obviously as he's a mercenary, and Morgana, well, she can't be really relied on since she's an out of control beast half the time.
This leaves Rayne as the only one that Kotal can really focus on to sharpen her techniques. Isn't she the lucky one?
Having noticed that Rayne seems like more a hobbyist fighter than a real warrior, the god of war has taken her out to the arena to see what can be done about her skills.
Kotal stands on the other side of the coliseum, his hands resting on the pommel of his monster of a macahuitl. "So, tell me something Rayne." He muses looking pensive. "Are all your techniques self taught?"
Rayne has her arms crossed in an almost defensive posture over her stomach, her weapons as yet undrawn. She would be the first to agree that her fighting is a bit more hobbyist... on account of before coming to Twisted, it really was more of a hobby, or at most fighting in pure self defense. "No. I've actually, uh, trained under a number of teachers. I've not really, um, advanced that highly in any particular field... so I guess my fighting style is a bit hodge-podge. I'd not really be able to say where one move comes from. Like, if it's Shan Vel or Mi Chkul. A little Aron Grai... even if the weapons are wrong for it, the forms kinda work and I slip into that sometimes."
"I see." Kotal Kahn rubs his chin in though as he listens to Rayne's experience. Those names, he is vaguely familiar with them. Across the universes and dimensions, Kotal has no doubt that there's nearly an infinite myriad of martial arts, and even if he is the god of fighting, he is only aware of the martial arts that exist in his dimension.
However, fighting is only as complicated as you make it to be. No matter the martial art or where it originates from, the end result is always the same. To defeat your opponent.
Kotal thinks that merely because he recognizes the origins of the name, that he knows what Rayne has studied in the past.
Still, its better to ask than to just assume.
"How then, would you define your style? Aggressive, defensive, a mix? Do you like to dart in and out, keep your opponent at bay, or get inside their guard and finish it quickly?"
"Your fight against Madorg was far too brief for me to truly study your fighting style. Hence why I suspected a lot of it might be self taught."
"It's..." Rayne closes her eyes, imagining herself fighting. "I don't have a lot of strength. I never will, since... My body resets if things go poorly. So I have learned to dart around in combat. I... I think I'm more defensive? Probably not by much. I guess when in melee, I try to keep my distance unless I think I see an opening." She opens her eyes again. "That's how I got through Cevernal, anyway... Prior to that it was mostly sporting forms, I think."
Interesting, Kotal continues to rub his chin looking puzzled. It's been a long time since he had an apprentice and considering last time said apprentice turned into the sword he's carrying, he's been purposely avoiding doing that. Its a long story.
At any rate, times demand now that Huitzilopotchli once again settles into the role of teacher. After listening to Rayne he concludes that she might favor a parry/counter style like those of the Lin Kuei ninja. Putting it into a category will help sharpen it, though Kotal still can't be completely certain until he experiences it.
Only one way to find out.
"Alright, Rayne." His eyes glow and lifts his macuahuitl to rest it on his shoulder. "Let us try to do some sparring so I can get feel of what you're capable."
"Come at me with all you got, don't worry about hurting me."
Rayne draws her twin swords with a flourish. She never can seem to avoid being just a little bit dramatic. "Ehehh... It's not you I'm worried about. I'll assume we're not working on my archery." She stands now without her heels touching the ground. Her left sword held in front of her defensively, she cautiously approaches. Judging Kotal's stance to be waiting for her move first, she darts in a few steps then pauses in a feint before committing fully into an upward diagonal slash with her right weapon. And she's whistling. A fast paced but unidentifiable tune seems to start as she strikes.
"I'm more partial to atl-atl darts." Answers Kotal in regards to Rayne's question about archery.
It's the only comment he makes before Rayne goes into the offensive, sure enough, given the Aztec's relaxed position he's waiting for an attack before reacting. It comes in the form of a feint, which causes Kotal to raise an eyebrow in recognition and doesn't react to it. The real attack comes in the form of an upwards slash to slice open his torso.
As Rayne brings her blade up, she'll find that Kotal is kicking her sword out of the way with his foot, pushing the sword's trajectory so it misses his body. Kotal's reaction time seems good enough that he can actually catch the sword right on the flat side as its swung at him, avoiding the blade entirely so he can whack it out of the way wearing nothing but sandals. "You are defending yourself even while attacking. That's a good sign." He commends her even though he still hasn't moved his sword at all.
"What's with the whistling?" Wonders the Aztec out loud.
Rayne clearly wasn't considering such a counter, and narrowly avoids fully losing her balance. Her left heel hits the ground, and she lets herself spin with the force, unfortunately leaving her back to Kotal in the middle of the spin. At the end of the spin she's in a much lower stance with her right foot and arm fairly far back and her swords held slightly differently, much more in line with her forearms than before. "Eheh... Sorry, it's just a habit I picked up somewhere." She quickly pivots her right foot forward, bringing her entire body around for a stab with that sword, followed almost instantly with a stab from the left as well.
As Rayne spins around on her heel leaving her back exposed, she'll feel a prod on the back of her as Kotal pokes her there.
It might feel like an odd thing for Kotal to do, unless Rayne is familiar with the tradition of Counting Coup. If she's not, well, then it'll feel like Kotal is just poking her and she'll have to ask him about it.
Moving on, Kotal tenses a little more when Rayne is facing him again. "Alright." He says in regards to her penchant to whistle. "Just be wary of getting hit on the jaw. It's better to keep your teeth clenched in a fight to avoid having your teeth shattered or biting your tongue." Despite his comments, he seems ready for the attack.
As the right stab is thrust forward, Kotal brings his defending arm up and bats the attacking sword upwards by hitting it with his metal bracer. It looks like that is not just for decoration, it's actually armor. "Good." He says, just as he brings his macahuitl down on the left sword to block that strike as well. "Better! You are well versed in dual wielding."
Even though he's complimenting her, Kotal is doing something now. The teeth of his macahuitl have trapped one of Rayne's swords and he's pulling on it, apparently trying to disarm her.
Rayne doesn't seem surprised by the poke. Just disappointed, likely in herself. "Noted," she says with a wince in responce to being wary of jaw hits. Is that a lesson she'd learned the hard way already? "I got a lot of that out of Aron Grai. Wrong weapons, but a lot translates." The trapped blade she reacts better to, with a light tug at first then a slight lowering of her hand to free the blade then a quick pull straight back to get it out of the way, twisting her body around again with an almost leap back with her left foot. Unfortunately for her, that first testing pull was too slow, and as she pulls back, it's already too late and she's lost her grip as both she and Kotal pull at the same time. "Kst," she says through gritted teeth, apparently a cut off curse.
Feeling Rayne's grip on the weapon falter, Kotal gives one last pull and yanks the sword right out of her hand. However, he looks disappointed that the technique worked and he shakes his head. "No, no. Don't fight against the grip. When someone traps your weapon you have to twist with it and then pull back in order to free yourself."
"This is essential if you are ever to fight Mileena. She is an expert with the sai and the art of disarming opponents."
Food for thought later, since now that Kotal has disarmed Rayne he seems ready to actually attack and take advantage she only has one weapon now.
He slides forward, his heel doesn't look like it leaves the ground, it's almost as if he were gliding across the ground. Rather than make a big swing as one might expect him to do with such a giant weapon, Kotal instead thrusts with his sword aiming to smash the blunt head of his macahuitl on Rayne's mouth. What was that about protecting your jaw again?
At first it looks like Rayne is going to try to retreat, rolling her weight back onto her already back extended left foot. But instead, this is to spring forward as she ducks low, her hair narrowly avoiding being brushed by the obsidian shards of the macahuitl as she passes by... passes by? It's not even a proper strike as she darts past, right for her fallen blade. Reaching her destination, she tumbles over the blades, coming up in a kneeling position, the blades now combined into a single weapon as her right hand moves back for an arrow.
There we go! Kotal would not have been pleased if that thrust smashed Rayne on the mouth. He knows that the girl has real innate skill, he can sense it! Almost as if it were in her blood.
The Aztec spins on his heel to face the girl who has just acquired her weapon again and nods approvingly. That was much better.
She's keeping him on his toes too as she fires an arrow at him. This causes the Aztec to bring his palm forward and stop the arrow in mid air. For a moment, it looks like it pierced right through Kotal's palm. The reality is that Kotal's hand is glowing gold and the arrow disintegrates as he burns it with the power of the sun.
Things are now getting really interesting if he's using his god powers.
Kotal isn't going to go totally gun ho yet. He continues to rely on his macahuitl and he glides over where Rayne is kneeling to swing an overhead strike at her. Thankfully, he's not planning on cleaving the girl in two. He's going to whack her on the top of the head using his macahuitl as a paddle.
Rayne blinks as he arrow is disintigrated. "Gah! I only have so many of- YA!" The kneeling position was a bad idea, and being thrown off by her destroyed arrow doesn't help. She tries to get out of the way, but no, her prior position makes it too akward to move quickly and she instead actually rises into the side of the macahuitl with an audible noise. "Kyon dez va!"
Well, this is exactly why Kotal went for the flat side of the weapon instead of trying to hit her with the teeth. Even the Aztec has to wince when the rainbow haired girl accidentally smashes herself against what is essentially a giant cricket bat and goes down, cursing all the way.
Kotal mercifully stops there rather than continue his assault. "Are you alright?" Getting smashed on the head by Huitzilopotchli's macahuitl can't possibly feel good, even if it was with the flat side.
"Gyeeeeeffff... I've been worse," Rayne mutters through clenched teeth and with only one eye open. "But I've been a hell of a lot better on all accounts, too. Even I can tell I'm worse than usual today." She seems to have a permanent wince on her face as she again tries to stand up, this time more successfully. At least she didn't lose her grip on her weapon this time.
Kotal Kahn isn't a cruel deity despite being a god of war. He extends his hand and showers Rayne in a ray of sunlight that heals her head wound. It may look like he's coddling a little but she still has patrols to take care of tomorrow and he can't have his only fighting officer down on the ground because she got injured practicing.
Once that's done, he rests his hands on the pommel of his macahuitl again. "You have much potential, Rayne." Concludes Kotal. "From what I understand, you seem to be a descendant of a warrior lineage. What can you tell me about that?"
Rayne visibly relaxes as she's healed, but the question seems to take her off guard. "Wha? Um, well, my dad's a bounty hunter. A very, very old one. He's where I get my phoenix side from... He's, like... Ten thousand years old, I think he said?" She seems a little unsure of that, herself. "But I know he's old. He still has his gladius from when he fought in the Roman Legion. If you sense something, it's probably from him. My mother's an admiral, she fights from the bridge of a battleship..." She seems at first to be leaving something out, but then she shakes her head. "She's a dragon, though. And that's NOT something I can pull from."
"Truly now?" This greatly interests Kotal. A fellow immortal then! He knew that Rayne was much older than she appeared though he didn't imagine by this much. "How intriguing. Had your father been in my realm we probably would know each other. I too fought with the Greeks, though knew me there as Ares." Kotal's name sort of changes with each century apparently.
And a dragon admiral to boot. Rayne keeps getting more and more interesting "I see now, that would explain why you are so proficient with advanced technology as well despite using medieval weapons." Hmm.. this definitely changes things. "Perhaps.. there is something that we can do to increase your power. Although I will require something first." What this something is? He doesn't say. "In the mean time, Rayne. Try not to die too much. If you live as much as I have I have no doubt you'll reach the status of a goddess yourself here in Twisted."
Rayne says, "Er, yeah, well... The penchant for the more medieval equipment comes from me being on Cevernal for the past decade or so... there's EMP storms in the upper atmosphere that knock out anything running on electricity, so the planet kinda relies on... not having electricity. It's a place people go to start over. And I start over a lot." But she's taken aback enough to actually take a step back by what Kotal says next, an actual blush coming to her face at it. "G-Goddess? I don't know about THAT. I'm a far, far cry off of THAT level. I'm just... me." She then looks down and to the side. "Have I really been that quiet on my past around you? I guess I say so much to Ren that I forget most of it isn't widespread knowledge."
"Nevertheless!" Kotal continues, this time his eyes glowing brighter, the tell tale sign that he's getting angry. "You have power within you that not everyone has, Rayne. You have been given an opportunity that most in the universes can never attain. Do not squander it."
He relaxes though, losing his glowing aura momentarily. "If there's anything I hate is to see people of great power do nothing productive with it. That is why I could not join Raiden and the other gods in the pantheon of Earthrealm. I wanted to mold humans into the greatness that I knew they could be, Raiden instead was content seeing them self-destruct." He shakes his head and watches Rayne closely. "At the very least, promise me that when the time comes to use your power, you will choose to do something good with it."
Kotal scoffs gently at the thought of staring over. "It seems Twisted is a place where one starts over as well. Forcefully or otherwise." But that's a matter best discussed for another time.
He glances to the side when Rayne questions why Kotal doesn't know much about her despite spending so much time together. "It is not your fault. I rarely go out of my way to question people about their origins and their background. That is why we have Serenity for." Was that a joke at Ren's expense? It sounded like it.
Rayne says, "Hey... that's what I'm here in TASK for, right? To do something good. At the very least, I'm twice as hard to kill. I shouldn't let that go to waste, right?" It seems she doesn't see being a phoenix as being especially powerful. "But yeah... I definitely feel like I started over again when I got here. Um if you want to know, I'm a little over four hundred years old. I was born back in..." She looks up, trying to figure something out. "In 2031, I think would be the Terran year? I'm not sure how similar our worlds would be in history, though."
"That old, hm?" The Aztec looks genuinely impressed, although not by a lot. In fact, he actually looks a little puzzled. "Strange, you are nearly as old as some of the lesser deities in Earthrealm. I'm surprised you haven't learned how to channel your chi by now or at least greater forms of magics. Hmm.." Maybe something has stunted her growth, guess he'll have to keep investigating. Oh, or he could ask Minu, there's other ideas. Kotal sets his macahuitl on his back. "When I left Earthrealm the recorded year was 2014. In Aztec terms this was a lot different but honestly I wasn't able to keep up, I left Earthrealm and lived in Outworld for quite a few centuries."
"Not that it matters here in Twisted. Time seems to have no meaning here."