Muddy Feelings [1v1]
It was still odd to Veil, to be back in the monthly sparring matches - her long break from the arena had changed her, and though she was back in what she would once have considered her element, she now felt somewhat out of place. The name she had made for herself in the matches before had been near forgotten as she hid herself away to train, to improve. Where once she had enjoyed being known, drawing a crowd, now some didn’t even know her name. Still, she had signed up for one of the matches this month and been assigned partner and location - the name of her opponent was one she was not familiar with, but that came as no surprise. While she had been away training not only had those in the matches forgotten her, but she had been out of touch with news of the battles and now there were many faces and names she had not encountered before. At least she was still able to find her way to the various sparring locations with ease, and being assigned Vaskar as her location this month came as somewhat of a relief. Spring was always a muddy mess for Ulfrheim, and while the caves would certainly be full of muck as well at least it would keep them out of the rain - it was far less distracting to fight within the confines of a cave instead of out in the middle of a storm.
Some things had not changed for her though, and as before she had arrived at her assigned location early to get a feel for the current footing and state of the arena there. Deep within the caves, the sounds of the rain and wind outside were barely noticeable but the murmur of running water prevailed along with the soft dripping as more water leaked in from cracks above. Her opponent was not here, which came as no surprise to her - as far as Veil knew, there were few like her that would arrive at their location early and wait for their match. Whomever this Iroh was, it seemed he preferred to arrive at the assigned time and take whatever footing and obstacles might be like there in stride. Veil paced the length of the cavern where her match was to be held, wincing at the feel of mud squishing between her paw pads. It would be slippery for her battle today but she had dealt with this kind of footing before. Pacing to pass the time now more than to get a feel for the area, she let her mind wander - perhaps she had made a mistake in going into this battle ‘blind’ - in the past she would have reached out to her various contacts that followed the matches and get information on the varg she had been assigned to battle, taking every advantage she could get to come out on top. It had turned into a weakness of hers though and when she had stepped away from the sparring scene to train she had promised herself to stop relying on information to help her through her battles. Putting it into practice was a totally different experience from simply promising herself that though, and she found herself doubting and worrying.
Clenching her jaw, she shoved those thoughts aside - worrying would do her no good, she had made her choices and would accept whatever consequences came of them. As she paused in her pacing, her ear twitched as it caught a sound - the squishing of pawsteps other than her own was coming closer… that would be her opponent. Quickly she paced over to the far wall and turned to watch the path that Iroh would soon appear from, setting her paws carefully and letting her body fall into a stalking pose. It was only moments before her opponent was in sight, stepping into the cavern and glancing around. His coat was dark, but not quite as dark as her own, and he moved with a careful pace as if he was constantly considering his movements. Definitely older, though the young female couldn’t put a number on it she knew he was many years her senior. It was odd to encounter any vargs that were older entering these matches - many of the regular fighters were youths or strong young adults. It took him a moment to pick out her form from the dark rock walls but he didn’t startle when he noticed her as most would have. Without a word he took up a position opposite her and dipped his maw low in a sign of readiness - Veil was quick to return the gesture and she began to stalk forward, expecting him to match her pace in a slow circle as was common in the sparring matches. Instead, the older male stood his ground and watched her, and so Veil found herself stalking along, weaving back and forth in front of him as his eyes followed her every step. How strange… chasing discomfort and confusion from her mind she met his gaze firmly as she stalked around him. This was to be an odd match indeed, it seemed.
Just as Veil began to draw close enough to lash out, Iroh began to move away from her, walking sideways with care and never letting his gaze stray from her or turning his back to her - ah, so she would need to face him head on, with quick movements. He was determined not to give her any accidental openings and he slowly moved along, keeping the same distance between them. Veil let her lips twitch upward in the beginnings of a snarl, watching his expression and his movements - maybe she could trick him… not letting herself take the time to plan it out, lest her expression give her away, Veil gathered the muscles in her rear legs and pushed forward in a small quick leap. Iroh side stepped quickly as she had expected, and she let her muscles gather as if she was going to lunge forward again, twitching just slightly and there - he moved aside and a flicker of surprise cut through his emotionless mask for a moment as instead of lunging forward as her movements had said, Veil pushed off and to the side, landing in front of him with a crooked smile of momentary victory and lashing out with a paw towards his face. Her trick had worked, but he was still not as thrown off as she had expected and instead of dodging away from her swipe he raised his own paw and let her blow land on his leg instead before he flicked out that same leg with a counter as if it hadn’t felt any pain at all, despite Veil having set enough force into the blow to have raked scratches down his leg.
Still, Veil managed to gather herself and duck under his blow though she felt the fur between her ears ruffle with the speed of it passing so close over her. Quick for an old man, indeed. Determined not to let him put distance between them again, as she ducked she lunged forward hoping to sink her teeth into his other front leg while one was raised above her, but no sooner had she moved to take the opening then Iroh had his paw that he had originally attacked with on the ground, and raised the one she had moved for, smacking her with a paw squarely across the face while her teeth closed on open air. There wasn’t enough force behind the quick blow to stagger her, but the fact that he had reacted so quickly and read her so well stung and she felt annoyance bubbling up inside. She would not lose to some old man! Snarling she shook her head to get rid of the feeling - it was like the scolding blow from an annoyed parent, not like a true attack, and Veil was not about to let some old male treat her like that. Setting her teeth, she met Iroh’s gaze with a glare and saw a flicker of something pass through his eyes - Concern? Surprise? - she didn’t know but she was done playing around. As he moved to put space between them once more, she followed and felt the fire of her old battle pride rising inside her once more. She would win this - or at least go down swinging! Taking a deep breath, she readied her next attack.
Official Import: Veil, the Gladiator 2300
Tracker: Veil, the Gladiator's Tracker
Location: Caves of Vaskar
Opponent: Iroh 3373
Preemptive Heal: N/A
Spooky Raccoon - Removes the ability for the Felvarg to sustain injuries when failing 1v1 encounters and provides a 10% chance to return a randomly rolled competition trait when failing any and all competitions. This companion comes with an import application possibility.
Iron Fist - Your thrill for the kill increases the chance you will succeed in any 1v1 competition by 5%.
Warmonger - Your ruthlessness and skill in the art of war grants you a 5% chance to succeed while participating in 1v1 interactions.