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Fisticuffs 2: Avenger vs Lukos (IC)

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Avenger had arranged an arena full of ledges, walls, and traps, just the thing for a fighter who preferred close-in, stealthy fighting. His partner hadn't objected in the preliminary planning, something that had no doubt told both men much about each other. However, the fight started with the two men facing each other directly some thirty feet apart, as befit any good combat. Avenger met the werewolf's eyes, considering his previous fights with werewolves, and came to a rapid decision. "Dog-fighting's illegal." he taunted, a truly malevolent sound in his low, choking growl of a voice. "Let's see if you call a cop when I'm done." Hmm, didn't seem to phase him. Let's see if this will.

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Beneath the gas mask, Lukos sneered. He'd heard his fair share of canine puns from those that knew what he was. This one was clever, he had to admit, but it was no worse than anything else he had heard. "I've heard the stories. Same goes for you."

Lukos un-slung the fire axe from his back. "Still, I'm hoping I won't need my teeth to beat you." Surprisingly, Lukos dashed sideways. If Avenger was used to fighting werewolves, he would have been expecting at frontal attack. Lukos decided to give him the run around instead. Leaping behind one of the ledges that Avenger had set up, Lukos ducked down and hid. Not staying in one place for long, he circled around his opponent, staying to the shadows.

Deep inside him Wolf was eagerly clawing at his chest for a shot at the foul creature in the ring. Stalk, hunt, kill.

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"Or maybe not," Avenger conceded, still circling warily. Dealing with people who could sneak up on him always annoyed him. "I mean it's not really a fight, is it? You people cowering in darkness all the time, lamenting the beast inside you. It's really more of a mercy." Keep moving, keep moving, and be ready. "Must be one of Jack's people. Didn't recognize you without the collar. Maybe you'd look better stretched out on my-" When Lukos burst out of the shadows, Avenger was taken by surprise, but not so fast he couldn't act. Throwing a glass vial from his pocket on the ground, he yelled "Shazoom!" and the ground all around him exploded into mist as he vanished.

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The best of Lukos' training and planning had come together in that attack. He'd even flitted through the shadows to unnerve his opponent. Lukos swung the axe totally through his target, though the mist seemed to do what it was intended. A semi-solid Avenger stood where the real one used to be. Now there was a fake in its place, but the fake was enough to fool him.

Pay attention. Track your prey by scent. Don't let it get away.

Fight. Kill, maim.

A split second later, Lukos realized how unsuccessful the attack had been. That was one of his best tactics, and it had done nothing.

Tactics be damned. I am going to fix this problem my way! Lukos thought to himself after his earlier failure. He threw the axe aside. It embedded itself in one of the nearby bleachers. Standing before his prey, he decided to hold nothing back. If anything, this was a creature worth pursuing. Deer, and the occasional rabbit were nothing. Lukos was hunting vampire now...

Underneath the leather jacket and the ballistics jacket, his shirt tore. It was the result of his increased size and body mass. Lukos' left arm was covered by leather jacket, but his right arm had been almost completely overtaken by fur.

Lukos stood at the edge of the arena, shaking with fury and might. "Say it again," Lukos demanded furiously, "Demand it one more time. Because if you do, then I won't have any qualms about what I will do to you afterward! Remember that!"

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Avenger gave a terrible laugh, his body in the form of a drifting, all-encompassing cloud of mist drifted towards the furious werewolf. "Is that a dog barking in the nighttime? Why yes, I think it is!" Great billowing shrouds sprung up on both sides of Lukos, as if the night itself was turning against him. "Your threats mean nothing. Your power means nothing. You are a child playing in the dark, hoping the stuffed animal on your head will keep you safe from the monsters." People watching the fight by electronic means saw nothing but an increasingly wary lycanthrope, just as they'd seen nothing of Avenger since the fight began. A voice sounded roughly an inch from Lukos' left ear. "But nothing will keep you safe from me."

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Lukos rebounded from the noise quickly. He danced away from the sound, arms up in a traditional Muay Thai fighting stance. He hoped to fend off any incoming attacks. It wasn't worth him hiding against an opponent he really could not see. He simply waited, biding his time. until he could mount a significant offense.

"If you want me so bad, then come and get me. Show yourself and fight like a man!" Lukos growled at his opponent, and the ring, not knowing where to look.

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The mist suddenly coalesced into a human shape, a dark-clad figure moving quickly for Lukos! The werewolf snapped his mighty jaws and swiped his terrible claws, but Avenger moved with blinding speed, smashing his fist into Lukos' ribs with a blow that nearly doubled him over. "Very powerful wolf," conceded Avenger, his harsh, grating voice a scrape against sensitive ears. "Show you lesson I have taught many powerful werewolves." And with that, he smashed the heel of his hand directly against Lukos' sensitive snout, about as dirty a blow as you could use when fighting a werewolf. "Power is not your fangs. Or your rage. Power is." He met Lukos' eyes and risked something. "Ambassador of your people now. Show them how a werewolf fights." And with that, again, he vanished.

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Lukos was momentarily blinded by pain. He was in danger of letting Wolf take over. But he managed to keep his hold on things. He could already feel the organs in his stomach healing after the punch. Surely his broken nose would be next.

Wolf snarled in frustration, and so did Lukos. Coming through the gas mask, the sound was terrible and frightening. You have never failed to catch your prey yet. This is nothing more than a perverted game of cat and mouse. Don't be the mouse. Become the cat!

Lukos howled. He slashed at the air in frustration, but realized quickly that it wasn't working. Even an animal could see that.

Run, flee, attack. Wolf urged him.

Lukos did run. Straight for the side of the arena. He stopped before the wall of bleachers that had been pushed up to the wall and out of the way. Plunging his claws into the wood, Lukos tore a long jagged length of wood and metal from its surroundings. He turned to face the rest of the arena, not sure where his prey had gone. He sniffed at the air, some of the blood in his nose getting sucked up through it making him choke momentarily.

"What's the matter?!" Lukos demanded. "The lord of this city refuses to face an ambassador like a man?! Afraid of a little toothpick? Show yourself!!!"

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Still a cloud of drifting mist, Avenger rose high, just below where he thought Lukos was likely to be able to leap. He didn't know that for sure, of course, but he ad dealt with angry werewolves before. "Go on! Show them a werewolf's rage! Show them his hate!" He laughed, though he didn't really mean it. "Show them the ravening beast inside, the monster that forever tears you away from the heart and soul of man! Let every superhero in Freedom City know what you _really_ are!"

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"RAAHHH!" Lukos flung the spear at the ghost like gaseous shape of Avenger that floated high above him. "Come down here!" Lukos ripped another piece of wood from the bleachers. He hurled it once again at the ghost in the air.

"You don't know ANYTHING!" Lukos screamed, furious. "How can you know what it's like? You think its a curse. You think we're animals. But you are wrong!" Another piece of the bleachers fell victim to the werewolf's claws.

Lukos brandished the newly splintered piece of wood over his head. "You think you're so righteous! You think your so high and mighty! Look what your doing to this city! I've heard the horror stories of what your kind does. You want to make a point? Come down here and make it in front of me!" Lukos tossed the last spear into the air.

Lukos could feel his anger ebbing away. Beneath his mask he was sweating. He couldn't keep this up forever. His strength was fading and he couldn't stop it. He could feel his claws receding... He was about to be in a lot of trouble.

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Avenger landed before the panting werewolf, a dark god of the night as his cape billowed behind him. With blinding speed, he picked up Lukos' discarded fireax and seemed to rush towards him on a curtain of darkness. He raised the blade high, high over his head, and suddenly flipped it around, handing the weapon to Lukos handle-first. "Come." he growled. "Show the heroes of the city that you are stronger than your blood. Than your beast." This was by no means Avenger's usual style, but he couldn't help it. In Thomas' angry cries, he'd heard the voice of his own son. "You came for my head. I give you your pride. Put an end to the fight."

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Lukos was down on one knee. His fatigue had reduced him to panting like a hound on a hot summer day beneath the gas mask. He gazed upward at a creature of darkness through his mask. The smell of death and blood wafted past Lukos' nose and it made it wrinkle. "I do that," Lukos said slowly, "And it means I turn on my alpha. I turn on my pack."

There was a silence between them that seemed to stretch for an eternity.

The pack has been your life. They have been there for you since your first change, and with the exception of Steve, they have been everything to you. Especially Mia. The scars that Steve had left on Thomas' body throbbed.

Avenger felt the handle of the axe shake as Lukos' gloved hand closed over the end of it. Lukos pulled himself to a standing position in front of the Vampire. The smell still bothered him, but he supposed he should start getting used to it.

"Now what?" Lukos asked quietly, stripping away the gas mask. Thomas looked into Avenger's dead eyes with his green ones. "Am I supposed to thank you?" his tone was almost resentful.

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Avenger removed his own mask, and faced Thomas man to man. Well, as close as either of them were likely to get in this life. "No," he said, shaking his head. "No, you may not owe me thanks at all. I doubt you'll ever want to. But whatever you," he said, pointing from the werewolf, then back to where his own heart didn't beat, "owe me, you owe me. Not what a werewolf owes a vampire. And for that, you've won a victory bigger than beating me ever could have been." And with that, he turned and walked off the platform. Whew.

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Thomas' mind was racing a mile a minute. And Wolf wasn't helping. All he knew was the Pack. It would not be easy to remove himself from that. He couldn't even imagine what he would have to do on the next full moon. For the least part, he was glad that he wasn't going to be beholden to one of the walking dead. At least not in theory.

Now what? Thomas had a lot of thinking to do. His eyes followed Jack Farretti down from the platform. One of his gloved hands tightened around the axe handle. He squeezed hard, trying to get his pent up aggression and frustration out. Finally, Thomas siged, and slung the axe over his shoulder. He was tired, and he needed to think.

Hide. Sleep. Pack.

No, Thomas thought No more Pack.

Thomas stepped down from what was left of the ring after Jack did. I suppose I will stay for the rest of the festivities while I get my head in order. He quickly gazed around at the rest of the assembled heroes. "So, who is next?" Thomas smiled between short, exhausted breaths.

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