IC: Drukarus (Fort Nektann)
Within the courtyard of the fort, Drukarus stood, his maul planted within the earth, his grip loose upon the handle, his face without a trace of worry. Across from him stood three Skakdi, a Ta-, Po-, and Ko-Skak. Within their hands they held their weapons in tight white-knuckle grips; a brass warhammer, its head ending in hexagonal points, an axe, crude and plain but no less deadly, and a flail, its chain hanging free as gravity pulled down upon the flanged head. Each one of these warriors were hungry, a seething lust for battle flaring in each of their eyes.
To the other Skakdi within the fort, they might have been called warriors. Out beyond, into the wastes of Zakaz, they would be known and called monsters. But here, now before Drukarus? They were to be made into soldiers...If they could prove they were at least worthy of even being considered warriors first.
Standing now, Drukarus allowed his gaze to pass over each of the Skakdi before him. He allowed his eyes to linger on each one, not just to size them up, but to also test their wills against his own. Though the Po- and Ko-Skak didn’t exhibit any distress, Drukarus took note of how the Ta-Skak shifted their grip on the hammer they held, their optics breaking quickly from Drukarus’ own. But even though the two on the right didn’t express it, Drukarus knew that unnerve and doubt were already being induced amongst them all. Over the past month, it has been like this on a nearly daily basis. Three Skakdi at a time, they came at Drukarus, and everytime, Drukarus still stood at the end.
But these duels of Drukarus weren’t simply him indulging in some fierce desire to fight. No. These were tests. Tests of these Skakdi’s skill, discipline, and ability to fight as a unit. If Drukarus was soon to lead these warriors into battle, he needed to know what he could work with, what he could teach them. From his initial surveys, he was foretold a general lack of quality, and after the month? He had yet to find any evidence to the contrary.
“You all know what the rules are?” Drukarus called out to the Skakdi before him, “You three against myself. Victory to whoe-”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, whoever can’t keep fighting. We get it old man.” Cried out the Ko-Skak on the right, arrogance and annoyance lining his words, “Now shut your trap so that we can get on with it! Gore is going to be done cooking soon and I’m famished.” A cruel grin upon their face as they met Drukarus’ optics, starting to spin-up their flail.
Drukarus met this Skakdi’s gaze, though he did not reassert his will to break this Skakdi’s arrogance. No, though it was his will dominating the will of another, it wouldn’t have been the same as what Drukarus was soon to do to them. Soon, Drukarus will break their arrogance, to humble them.
The Ta-Skakdi still stood uneasily on the left, the words of their companion certainly not easing them. They were right to be fearful, but fear inspires cowardice, and cowardice needs to be stamped out. Without impunity. The only one who didn’t show much emotion was the Po-Skakdi in the middle. Their eyes were cold, fierce. Barely a grin was on their face, as seemingly only they were taking Drukarus as a truly serious threat. Perhaps they had merit. But Drukarus will find out soon enough.
“Fair enough...Now then...Come at me! With all you got!” Drukarus cried out, an eagerness and excitement anointing each word, belying the apparent calm in his stance.
The first to come charging was the Ko-Skakdi, charging forth without even consulting the best course of action with his fellow kin. Swinging down viciously with their flail, Drukarus casually side-stepped and pedaled around, as his grasp on his maul shifted and struck the Ko-Skak across the back, knocking them away.
Turning back towards the other two, Drukarus was able to just raise his gauntlet up to catch the crushing hammer that was being swung down upon him by the Ta-Skak. This Skakdi fought with a belligerent stubbornness that Drukarus has seen before, as they simply just kept swinging down, harder and fiercer each time, trying desperately to break through Drukarus’ guard. But as each blow came crashing down, the force of the impact passing through the gauntlet and into Drukarus’ arm, the angle at which he held his arm lessened as his own size began to increase.
But as Drukarus allowed blow upon blow to continue from the frenzied brute, from his peripheral, he caught sight of the Po-Skakdi, as they came at him with a low stance, intent on taking a quick slash while Drukarus’ guard was down. Smart, but not good enough. Ramming his maul back onto the ground, the head of it warping and wrapping around itself as the gravity around Drukarus lessened, his own resilience to its effect and him bracing against the effect allowing him to maintain his footing. As the next hammer blow came, Drukarus dropped his guard just enough, so that instead of the hardened spike striking the gauntlet, it instead just struck over it, inches from meeting flesh and frame. With a hefty movement, and the lack of gravity aiding in his blow, the Ta-Skak was soon sent flying backwards by Drukarus. For the briefest of moments, they were completely weightless, before their mass took hold of them again, as they came crashing into their Po-Skak companion.
As Drukarus looked on as the two Skakdi scrambled out from under each other, a chain was thrown around his neck as the Ko-Skak attempted to choke out Drukarus, his iron collar creaking against the pressure.
“Got you now, old man.” The Skakdi hissed into Drukarus’ ear with a sinister grin.
It was...Honestly a pathetic attempt, one that Drukarus couldn’t help but scowl at. Reaching up with the Tahtorak’s Maw, Drukarus grasped at the Skakdi’s shoulder, their grip weakening as they let out a yelp of pain. Though he did not grab at them with enough force to crush frame, the maw’s claws still dug hungrily into flesh. And with the ambient gravity still being lessened around Drukarus, he tossed the Ko-Skak over his head and onto the other two Skakdi who had just stood back up, knocking them down all over again.
“I said come at me with all you got! Is this it? Is this all you have to bring me!” Fury was in full swing now, as each word held a sharpened edge of frustration at the inadequacy of the fight so far. These were Skakdi! They are meant to be more than just simple ruffians, yet they fought like such.
And so, the fight continued as such, with Drukarus standing still, addressing and squashing any assault the Skakdi attempted against him. Around the courtyard, cooled magma, shattered melting ice, and displaced stones ringed their arena. And within the center of it all, Drukarus stood amongst the destruction, his breathing heavy though controlled, not a single cut or bruise marking his form. The other three Skakdi though, were battered and beaten. Some had bleeding wounds from where he caught them with the Maw, others had bruises and limps from where Ruk’s fist had landed.
For three minutes, the back and forth continued, with around a dozen or so other Skakdi from the fort now watching the brawl from a safe distance. Throughout the fight, though Drukarus kept up his defenses and his repostes, he had also kept an eye on each of his opponents, reading and analyzing their movements and actions. The Ta-Skakdi was simply and brutish, his only montra seemingly being ‘hit it harder’. The Ko-Skakdi was not only arrogant, but he was also temperamental, his attacks growing more and more reckless and blind as the fight carried on. The only one who seemed competent was the Po-Skak, as they had at least attempted some sort of strategy, attempting to coordinate with his kin, but the Ta’s idiocy and the Ko’s arrogance made such attempts poor.
Drukarus could have kept the fight going for another three minutes, but the outcome was already decided and Drukarus had seen enough. The three Skakdi were currently circling Drukarus, a brief transfer of nods being passed between the three, or at least between the Ko- and Po-Skakdi. Then, all at once, they charged forth, attempting to overwhelm Drukarus. Grasping Ruk’s fist in both hands, Drukarus slammed the head of the maul into the ground, its sheer weight forcing it down several centimeters into the ground. And just as the three Skakdi were about to strike, they all collapsed harshly into the ground, pinned and incapable of rising once more, as the weight of their own bodies against such gravitonic pressures prevented them from continuing the fight.
But Drukarus knew Skakdi, and he knew they would hardly give up without a word. One-by-one Drukarus addressed the three; the Ta-Skak was quick to surrender, begging for Drukarus to not hurt him anymore, the Po-Skak, though didn’t say a word, did give a solemn nod in yielding. The Ko-Skak was a lot more reluctant, and it took Drukarus ‘lightly’ planting his the fist of Ruk onto the small of their back before they howled out a surrender, alongside a few less savory words.
Releasing his grip, the three Skakdi were quickly off, the Ko-Skak rubbing his backside as he muttered beneath his breath. As for the rest of the crowd, they soon dismissed themselves as well, as the clamber of Gore’s lunch bell rang out.
Drukarus let out a sigh as he looked around for any other Skakdi nearby who could see him, before he allowed himself to bend over, a gout of silver blood spilling out of his mouth. Wiping away the blood from his mouth, Drukarus had to admit. Though they were rough around the edges and needed some genuine training and discipline, they were still Skakdi, and Skakdi weren’t easy foes. More than once throughout the fight, Drukarus had to fall back onto his gift, his curse, from the demon Caedast. He reached up, as he gently brushed through the furs around his neck, outlining the empty heartlight within his chest.
But they still needed training. Drukarus left the ring, his own blood soaking into the sand where he once stood, as he entered the fort, searching for Barius.
OOC: @Burnmad The Warlord has made his mark.