The Start of a Knight

Lena finds Alexis waging battle as Stahlritter, and after bailing him out, gives him one of the most important talks of his life.

Date: 2018-05-29
Pose Count: 23
Stahlritter 2018-05-29 14:44:38 91667
    By all accounts, the area where Lena lives *should* be more or less calm and quiet. Relatively speaking, anyhow.

    But on this particular evening, someone has formed a Barrier throughout it.

    Within the barrier, thus, the streets are... not exactly quiet. Several feet above the ground,an armored figure framed by a sleeveless longcoat flies througg the air. But not by his own volotion. That much becomes obvious when he slams against the pavement with enough force to shatter the asphalt and leave a long trench trailing behind where momentum dragged his large body.

    There's not enough room for the pile of armor to get up before something follows through, however. Something much largrer. A multi-legged creature of metal and lightning, an amalgation of steel pieces and wirings cobbled together into an eldtricth construct of death,stomping down right above the man. With one more limb speaeing down towards him, crackling with several million volts of electricity.

    The limb is caught, thankfully, by two gauntlet-bearing hands just above where the external channeling of energy begins. Managed to held up just enough to keep the overkill of a taser from making contact--but woth his back against the ground, there is very little else left in his ability to do.

    That is, up until a length of chain, as if thougg attached to the spider-machine itself, rapidly retracts to pull a signpost pole from a hundred or so meters from behind to slam and stab into the metal beast, throwing it off balance just enougg for the armores man beneath to send it toppling overhead.

    The man immediately rolls himself over to his feet upon being released of that burden, one steel-covered fist raised up before the fallen monstrosity-- and brouggt down with a bright, red glow of a collection of runes, all flashing out upon collision with the mass,with such force that the ground beneath craters abd buts and pieces of asphalt and stone alike are blown to flying upwards.

    But more are coming. From the same direction where the two fell, a crows of more human-like machines sprint after him. And there are already chinks in the armor.
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 01:04:21 91670
    She'd been taking a nap and didn't even notice the barrier go up. It isn't really her business anyway. However the moment the barrier reaches her apartment, Ascalon springs to life and wakes her with a loud warning.
    <Barriere entdeckt>
    Lena, with all the grace of a brick wall falling over opens one eye, looks toward the window with a half asleep stare, and then shrugs before trying to go back to sleep. "Wake me up when something important happens..." after all, barriers get thrown up every day around Tokyo with the amount of magic that's gathered. Even finding herself inside of one isn't too much cause for concern. No one that would be coming after her actually knows she's back in the city after all. She's not even able to get back to sleep before the sound of combat at last reaches her ears and both eyes open wide.
    <Etwas wichtiges ist passiert>
    Lena stares over at the bracer beside her and frowns before grabbing it and clasping it firmly onto her arm. "Thanks for the warning," she grumbles as she stands and stretches. Now what should she do about this? Looking at the window, Lena eventually walks over and takes a look outside, trying to assess the situation and whistling a little when she sees what she assumes is a hostile taken out and someone else not having a very good day. She looks down at Ascalon and the green gem on the bracer lights up as if in response to some unvoiced question.
    <Eingehende Feinde erkannt>
    Clicking her tongue, Lena shakes her head and turns to walk for the door. "In the end, I just can't have a normal life..." she whispers as she crosses into the hallway leading to her door. Eyes narrow as her fists clench. "Ascalon, Ritterruestung ausstatten."
    The door closes behind a figure in gleaming armor.
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 01:22:29 91673
    Someone's definitely having a bad day. The armored figure's already wobbling faintly on his feet for just a second or so as he turns about to facing the oncoming squadron of doombots. Somehow, a face-concealing helmet manages to emote frustration.

    The first bot leaps in, just to get punched down. The would-be Knight spins and flows through to wade his way into the combat without any further regard for his own safety-- and for whatever it's worth, it's a relatively smooth flow of motion, on his part. Impressive by Earth standards.

    That only gets him so far, though after... probably a whole night of fighting like this, judging from all the chinks formed in the armor and the tears in clothing. Soon enough, one of the droids manages to circle up behind him, and jab a hand glowing with energy against his back.


    He's immediately responding to it with a spin around to guide a steel-clad fist to shattering the offender's metallic face, only to end up opening himself up for a similiar assault from another bot.

    And another.

    And eventually, he finds himself dropping down to a knee, just trying to grapple his way back up before he's overwhelmed.
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 01:44:02 91676
    She's not exactly rushing to the rescue or anything. That's very clearly Belkan knight armor whoever it is is wearing, so she wants to get a feel for how the person fights as he's swarmed by multiple opponents. Lena's no fool, so she's quick to note all of the damage the armor has taken and the way the person's movements aren't as sharp as they probably should be. There are mistakes, the signs of fatigue and a body finally running out of the ability to push through exhaustion and damage. Just how long has this person been fighting this battle, she wonders.
    But it happens, and all of the errors and the fatigue catch up and he goes down. But overwhelmed doesn't happen. When the first of the mechanical men come in for the kill, it never comes. She lands in front of him, looks up through that visored helm, and then it's like a dance.
    A flurry of attacks against the first to come at her, punches and kicks punctuating purposeful and graceful movements as she weaves between attacks, evading as if she can see them coming before they happen and whenever an opening presents itself, a gauntleted fist meets. As more join the fray against her, simple evasion gives way to calculated blocks and counters, a punch here, a kick there, grappling an arm for leverage before using one as a club against another. All the while strikes are sometimes accompanied by small bursts of energy as runes briefly flare to life around her arms, releasing small but potent close-range bursts of magic to stagger and incapacitate.
    She isn't too worried about using lethal force, as it's fairly clear her enemies aren't alive, and so whoever is in that armor gets a good look at the unrestrained grace and brutality of an ancient Belkan art used as it was meant to be used--to maim and kill. She goes on such, taking a few hits every now and then but the trained eye would easily see that they are light and taken on purpose to slip into openings for more punishing counterattacks.
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 02:07:35 91678
    There's confusion and surprise. Not just on the part of the unidentified armored figure, but amongst the machines. A brief staggering and recalculation on response, while she brutally wades in on them without mercy or hesitation.

    Notably, the tactics they employ change quickly-- arcing energy channeled through metallic hands replaced with blades extending out. Kill as opposed to incapacitate?

    Not that it helps their case. One by many, they fall, shatter and tear into pieces.

    The respite provided by her intervention is enough for the male Knight to regain his own focus-- and perhaps the display of skill is what reinvigorates him, too, for returning into the fray.

    A fist covered in blackened steel with red highlights swings besides her, with the burst of energy provided by a Belkan rune, to shatter through one machine, before turning into a tearing and twisting grapple of seperating pieces from others. His fighting method is equally brutal-- but in the manner of Earthlings. Relentless, reckless, and unrefined, purely focusing on inflicting as much damage as possible in as short a time as possible. A trained eye would notice hints of motions gained from practicing martial styles of earth-borne regimens, but they are all mixed-and-matched without any real focus.

    Until, finally, the last of them falls.

    And when it does, the male Knight stomps his armored foot down against the ground-laid head of one of the numerous already-defeated droids, in a pure display of agitation. Shoulders shifting in a vague hint of heightened breathing, but without anything audible accompanying it.
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 02:24:39 91682
    There's a pause in her action as non-lethal means are switched out for more lethal means of dealing with her and for a moment that hesitation might be seen as fear, but in a moment's time she's right back into the battle, throwing herself at it with the sort of intensity that can only come from enjoying something to the fullest. There's nothing quite like fighting an opponent that isn't holding anything back; it makes her blood boil just thinking about it.
    But her fun is spoiled, or at least made easier when the other knight recovers and joins the battle again. Under that helmet, she frowns for a split second before the annoyance of an easier fight vanishes with the combat high. It is, however, an absolute pain in her backside to fight alongside a style that's so haphazard and reckless. More than once she finds herself breaking off from her own engagement to cover a blind spot for her ally, leaving herself open for attacks that she otherwise wouldn't have been concerned with. Even so, she has to admit that he isn't completely useless, far from it in fact. There's something special sitting in this unrefined ore.
    When it's finally over, when they stand in victory over their foes, she does nothing. Standing there, looking out over the battlefiend, her fists clench tight before finally relaxing. Slow, deep breaths help to calm down while she looks over her shoulder at the person she'd decided to help against her better judgment--this stunt was no doubt going to come back to bite her in the future. Lena sighs and begins to walk off; she'll put some distance between them before doubling back to her apartment. There's no sense in letting someone know where she lives.
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 02:31:06 91683
    For a good moment, the other Knight remains silent, with his back turned to her. Regathering his own mental state.

    But, it's when she turns away, and takes the first steps...

    "Thank you."

    If she looks back, she'll see that helmeted head turned enough to settle the golden, t-shaped visor staring back at her, curiously. And that voice-- it's unnaturally booming, likely as a result of the Knight Armor itself modulating it. But... there's something strangely familiar about it. Not immediately recognizable, but still.

    Inversely, he has much less to work on with her. He knows nearby is where a certain retired Knight lives, but he hasn't made the connection.
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 02:42:55 91685
    She should keep walking and ignore him. There's no reason to get involved in this more than she already has. Nothing good can come of this but she remains standing where she stops when he speaks up. Lena takes a deep breath and closes her eyes as thoughts race through her mind, trying to come to a decision that doesn't require her getting involved anymore, but when it becomes quite clear that the only way that's going to happen is for her to talk away and do nothing, her sigh sounds like one of defeat.
    At last she turns around to face him, a featureless helmet boring through him as she stares. A click of her tongue later and Lena's walking back towards him. "You're a pathetic excuse for a knight," she finally says. Her voice is feminine and not at all masked by her armor. It's obvious who is behind that helmet. "Too reckless and too full of openings to exploit. What were you planning on doing if help hadn't arrived?" She doesn't raise her voice, but the tone is obvious enough: she's annoyed at the display she'd just witnessed.
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 02:56:33 91689
    Alright, he didn't really expect *that* reaction. That much is obvious enough from the slight backward jitter of his helmet-clad head when she barks all that out.
    He considers her with direct eye contact for a good, silent moment -- or as much eye contact as they can manage with both their visors being see-through only from one side.
    "I didn't expect to go at it as long as I did," his voice eventually rumbles from beneath his helmet. "But I find a way to survive. That's what I do."
    ...But then, both of his heavy, bare shoulders slump slightly. "... I am too tired to argue."
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 03:23:08 91692
    A long sigh is all he gets out of her in response. "Well that makes two of us." She looks around for a while, taking in the sights and sounds around her until she's fairly confident there's nothing else that's going to be bothering them and then gives the man her full attention. "But not expecting to be in a battle for any length of time or that you somehow find a way to survive is no excuse for being sloppy. If this were Belka, you'd surely be dead in your first hour on the battlefield."
    Hands move up to her helmet as it releases a hissing burst of air, as if pressure were being released and soon it comes off, resting in her hands as red hair falls around her and blue eyes stare at the man in front of her. She's got an indifferent look, save for the slight furrowing of her brows that betrays her annoyance. "Lose the armor and take a break. You can stay at my place tonight." She sighs as her device gives a loud ping.
    <keine Feinde im Umkreis von 500 Metern. Soll ich die Barriere brechen?>
    A stern nod follows. "Do it." Ascalon goes silent, though the green gem on one of her gauntlets glows brighter as it begins working on tearing down the barrier. "I'm guessing they won't bother with another attack until they've properly assessed me as a new threat, so you should be safe for a day or two."
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 03:34:22 91695
    "I survive however I can, that's all," the man insists. But that's all the back-talk he gives before the insistence on losing the armor comes. He... well. He seems kind of dubious, somehow, over the offer of staying over, but he doesn't outright complain about it.
    There is a sigh before he complies, but after a brief glow along his gauntlets, a flash overtakes his body, and the armor and the coat both disperse into mana dust...
    ANd what's left is a certain german boy in his late teens, with a hoodie clinging to his large body... and green eyes staring back at the redhead, slightly lidded and bloodshot red. Obvious signs of fatigue, lack of sleep. Just how *long* has he been going at this without rest?
    "...Hello, Lena," he murmurs out. "That was... like nothing I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot." Even Hannah didn't fight like that, and she was by far the toughest opponent he ever fought one-on-one.
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 03:44:40 91697
    There's no surprise on her face when she finds out who the knight is. The idea had been in her head when she finally got a good look at how he fought--no proper knight would ever be so sloppy. So much potential sitting in front of her in the shape of a boy that seems more like he has a death wish than any desire to be a warrior, and it annoys her to no end.
    Lena takes a deep breath as her armor vanishes in a flash of light, leaving her in the shorts and hoodie she'd been napping in earlier. Hands slide into her pockets and she motions with a movement of her head for Alex to follow her as she turns and heads for her apartment. "Not how I ever wanted to meet you, Alex," she says with no small amount of irritation in her voice. She wants to it be very clear to him that her showing up like this has probably pulled her out of retirement. But then there's the compliment, such as it is and there's nothing happy about her voice.
    "That's because you're a kid playing that you're a warrior. I was trained for war from the moment I could walk."
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 03:56:46 91698
    "What the hell is that supposed to--" Alex starts, right before she starts saying the rest of it. His eyes squint shut-wards, and he clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth.
    "... Did you butt in just so you could talk down how I fight?" he growls out, spitting a glob of faintly red-stained saliva down at the street. "I might not have had some super-soldier training from an alien civilization, but I've still fought most my damn life. Not because I've been told to or trained for it, but because I've had to." Technically that's not true. His parents were conditioning him for most of his life, but he'd rather not mention that part right now.
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 04:09:48 91699
    She stops. She seems so calm, relaxed. But there's something about her, a feeling radiating off of her. Anyone with any experience on a battlefield would probably recognize it immediately--that oppressive urge to lash out with everything she has in a single instant; the desire to take a life. When she turns around to stare at him the feeling intensifies so much more, as if she's using it as a weapon in itself. But then it's gone and she shrugs.
    "It's exactly because you don't have training like that. There's this amazing misunderstanding that a lot of you people have about the situation facing this planet right now, exactly because the majority of you aren't soldiers." She begins walking again, a hand coming up to motion for him to follow again. "You're all just a bunch of kids who had no great destiny. You all just happened to have some talent for magic and were in the right place at the right time to become something more than you used to be. But like it or not, when you took that power, you ended up picking a side in a war; and make no mistake, you're at war right now."
    She heads up the stairs back to her apartment, fumbling in her pockets for her keys as she walks. "Everything you'd seen up to now? It's not the end. It'll get worse, and if you don't become proper warriors, the majority of you magical boys and magical girls are going to die, and you might not be afraid of that, but who's going to protect the people that need to be protected when you're all dead?" The key goes into the lock and the door opens soon after and now she looks back at Alex with a much softer expression. "I butted in so I could show you exactly how wide the gap between where you are and where you need to be is."
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 04:43:15 91700
    "You say that like I didn't come into this already knowing I'd be at war," mutters Alex, with another scoff of a sound. "Who are you to trash on all the sacrifices and risks everyone here has taken just because they didn't have official titles or whatever?"
    But, once they're inside-- the softer quality in the redhead's features visibly takes him off-guard. Whatever he knew of Lena already, it seemed to paint her in a way where nothing like that was to be expected. It catches him like that well enough that he ends up briefly averting his gaze from her, lips slightly pouted out.
    "...I am not strong," he murmurs. "Maybe by the standards of this planet, but not by the standards of the universe. Not even by the standards of the greatest enemy I have in my sights now. But that... that doesn't change my duty. It doesn't change the fact that I have to fight.
    A strange show of vulnerability, of hesitation, when his teeth worry at his lower lip, and when he admits...
    "Doesn't change how I was *made*."
Lena Reiniger 2018-05-30 05:02:57 91701
    Silence for a moment before she heads into the kitchen, the sound of glasses rattling around and then running water. when she finally comes back she's passing Alex a glass of water and proceeds in to the couch she'd been napping on not so long ago. "The past doesn't matter," she begins, smirking very slightly at the words. The irony of her saying something like that isn't losted to her. "The only important thing is the here and now, and the only good the past can serve is to inform your choices in the present." She sits down and motions for him to take a seat himself while Ascalon is unclasped from her arm and set aside. A quiet ping comes from the device before it goes silent.
    "I'm not saying you shouldn't fight or that you don't have a duty. I'm also not trashing on the sacrifices and risks anyone has taken." Lena leans forward, elbows resting on her knees so she can settle her chin on her hands. "All I'm saying is that how you fight right now is going to get you killed when the threats begin to escalate. You'll fall on a battlefield where that outcome could have been avoided." She worries on her lip for a moment, eyes closing. "If you're not strong, then it's time to become strong. It's time to learn the difference between a fight that doesn't require you to risk your life and a fight that does, because I promise you there will come a time when you will face an opponent that you will think you'll never have the power to beat even if you burn your life to ash." Her eyes open, staring at him with renewed intensity.
    "It's time for you to become a proper knight of Belka."
Stahlritter 2018-05-30 05:11:49 91702
    As uppity as Alex might be capable of being, he doesn't argue about settling in for the time being. Hell, the instant she gestures for him to sit down, he does just that, drawing out a seperate chair to drag it over and settle it where he can sit so that he faces her sitting on the couch. Maybe he's too tired to be arguing about that or anything she's saying.
    Or maybe there's just some strange sense of commanding that he gets from her. Anyone else who knows him would possibly think this wasn't even the same Alex they know.
    Don't misunderstand. He *wants* to argue. He wants to say she's wrong, to say that he will keep on fighting until he dies without any regrets.
    But he doesn't.
    Instead, he stays quiet. Quiet up until that last, intense statement from her. And all of the weight that it implies. His eyes widen slowly, and...
    "What the hell."
    His brows furrow down slightly, in confusion, and his head tilts ever so slightly to one side, a few degrees worth. "Last time I talked to you," he says, bluntly. "You were not at all eager to share the stories of Belka to me. And much less interested in the war I am in. And now... this. Why the change?"
Lena Reiniger 2018-06-01 06:25:04 91828
    Eyes roll and she shakes her head. "I still don't really want to. I'd still rather live a quiet life away from all of this," she says while motioning to Alex and then over to Ascalon and even out to the wider world beyond her window. Lena sighs and leans back on the couch, one leg crossing over the other. "And I want to tell you that you should do the same. I've seen what's at the end of this road, and it's never joy or satisfaction. It's nothing but sorrow and sacrifice and bodies behind you."
    Lena clears her throat after that and shrugs. "But tonight has shown me pretty clearly that you're not capable of stopping. You're going to keep fighting and if you keep at it the way you are now, you're going to walk into an early grave." She worries on her bottom lip for a moment, a hand reaching up to comb through her hair. Lena's brow furrows a bit and a frown tugs on the corners of her mouth. Her eyes close and a shaking sigh escapes her lips before she continues with that soul piercing stare leveled at him. "There are a lot of people I should have saved but couldn't, so you'll forgive me if I think not adding another body to that pile is more important than living a quiet life."
Stahlritter 2018-06-01 06:49:54 91829
    Alex's mouth opens and closes several times over during all that. At first, he truly wants to tell her she doesn't have to bother. The usual spiel he would give most people about how they have no obligation towards him. No responsibility regaeding his well being.
    Ni need to worry about wether he lives or dies.
    But that stoic expression - even if it was already fractured by signs of fatigue and sleep deprivation - gives away. Maybe it's just because of the words she gives alone,or maybe it's bevause of those subtle mannerisms in her own expression that cause it.
    It leaves Alex quiet for a long moment, and staring down at the glass of water in his hands. For whatever reason, he is unable to meet her gaze directly now.
    "... I promised you before," he says, eventually. "That I would not tell anyone about you. If you wish, I will keep maintaining that promise,regardless of what else comes now. You still don't need to involve yourself any more than you wish..."
    His green gaze finally braves sweeping up and meeting her eyes. "Even if I am to call you 'master'."
Lena Reiniger 2018-06-01 07:00:10 91830
    "Don't call me master. I will punch you so hard that you'll see the back of your face," she says with the very slightest hint of a smirk tugging at her lips. Lena stretches and stands before snagging Ascalon from where she had left him and clasps the device back onto her arm. "Honestly, you could probably tell whoever you wanted about me. I wouldn't be surprised if the sorts I wanted to hide from were watching when I pulled that stunt, and I can think of at least two people off the top of my head that will recognize my armor on sight." She shrugs and gives her device a tap, the green gem on it glowing for a moment before a flash of light turns it from its standby mode bracer into one of her twin gauntlets. "So it's probably only a matter of time before I get a visit from unwanted guests."
    The cylinder on the gauntlet's wrist spins and pulls back, revealing six chambers within and fron one of them she pulls out what looks very much like a bullet. "Catch," Lena says as she tosses the cartridge toward Alex while her device's cylinder cycles closed again. "First thing you need to know as a Belkan knight is that sometimes your own power isn't going to be enough, so you'll need an extra boost from time to time. That's what that is, one of the hallmarks of Ancient Belka's knights, a mana cartridge designed to fit into what the TSAB refers to as the CVK-792: the Ancient Belkan cartridge system. I'm assuming if your device is a Belkan armed device, it has one."
Stahlritter 2018-06-01 07:53:37 91831
    "... Not too fond of terms of respect, are you?"Mutmurs Alex, with the vaguest hint of bemusement in his tone. Nevermind that he wouldn't be particularly fons of being called something like that either.
    "We will... see," he offers on the matter of her presenve being potentially known soon. "I know the person behind those things will know I have a new slly and re-evaluate,but... I won't hurry breaking whatever quiet you have more than need be, alright?"
    When the gauntlet forms into being again, he eyes it with curiousity that grows all the more when the cylinder opens. The cartridge itself is easily snatched from the air, and he turns it experimentally within his fingers. "... It looks like a bullet," he observes the painfully obvious.

    His eyes lift back up to her with the end of her explanation, and his dark brows rise upwards slightly. "...Kriegsfauste was somewhat damaged when we first revovered him,"he says. "He is still going through self-repair, and he did mention some... 'capabilities' were unusable, but he never specified more than that." His eyes sweep down to his right wrist, wherr thr bracelet holding the Armed Device in question remains hidden under his sleeve. "... I saw someone else using a mechanism similiar to yours before, but it didn't click at the time. It must be how they got away from that fight in one piece."
Lena Reiniger 2018-06-01 08:15:45 91832
    She nods, turning to walk to the window. "If your device thinks its self-repair functions will be enough, that's good. You should really know how to do maintenance on your own device, but that's a lesson that can be skipped for now." Lena looks around at the world beyond her apartment with carefully scanning eyes. She clicks her tongue before turning around to face Alex, arms crossing while she leans against the wall. "I'm going to need that back, by the way. Those aren't exactly easy to make. But that's something I'm going to have to teach you to do." In response to his reasoning, Lena can only shrug, having no idea who he might be talking about with just that description. "It's possible, though the cartridge system isn't something you should use recklessly. Pushing more mana into your body than it's able to handle naturally puts a lot of strain on it. If you don't use it carefully, you could easily cripple yourself."
    Heading back to her seat, she sits and gives Ascalon a brief look over before settling her eyes back on Alex. "I need to let you know right now, what I'm going to teach you is an art of combat that was developed for the sole purpose of killing. It should be understood that Belkan knights, when they engaged in combat, did so with full intent to end a life unless ordered to capture someone alive. You're not only going to be learning my family's Saint Arts, you're going to need to learn how to make sure you don't kill someone when you use it."
Stahlritter 2018-06-01 08:42:08 91833
    "... I will keep that in mind," the comment on the dangers of using the cartridges comes, as he holds the bullet-like object back towards her. This probably doesn't help the impression of Alex being someone who is not hesitant enough at putting his wellbeing at risk.
    But then, the warning carried with the martial arts of Belkan use? That draws a much morr obvious reaction in the form of a wince in him. The full weight and implication of what Lena said, and what is to be teached to him slowly seeps through his being.
    A fighting style designed solely for the purpose of killing.
    Something he has never done. He knows techniques meant for taking someone down nonlethally... but granted, he has hurt some people a lot. Broken bones and left some crippled. Granted,he *knows* how to kill someone with his bare hands, given such an opening. But he never has.
    Finally,with an audible swalloe, hr lets out in all genuine solemnity he can muster, "I... understand." A brief pause taken, where he seems to steel himself before presenting his question to her.
    "Where do we start?"