Making A Name

Participants:

ethan_icon.gif kain_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

manny_icon.gif kazimir_icon.gif vasya_icon.gif

Scene Title Making A Name
Synopsis They say that fame is the only true brand of immortality. Tavisha tests the waters of the underground fighting ring, and at least one man in attendance loses his money.
Date February 12, 2009

Pancratium


"Ladies un't Gentlemen!"

Life has a brutal way of reminding you that it is in charge, that free-will is a temporary alleviation of the permanent problem of fate. There are times where this is more true than others, and never so visceral when the threat of death looms so close.

""Wel'come to d'Bloodiest Show on Earth!"

The voice booming from the middle of a rusted iron cage is thick with Russian inflection, and it is this voice that is the one that heralds the choke-chain of reality being tugged tight once more, for that temporary freedom to be reined in, and the restless hand of fate to grab tightly by whatever it can, and twist.

"Prepar' yourselves for a night of unimaginable cruelty, un't spectacular showmanship!" The cheering screams of hundreds of sweaty and bloodthirsty spectators threatens to drown out the old Russian man's voice. Pacing around the middle of the caged arena, his hands raise wildly, gesturing as gaunt, bloodsoaked figures tear free from the ground, portions of their bodies missing or rotted away, blood staining pallid flesh. They move like jittery images from a silent movie, or awkward stop-motion animation, charging at one another like wild beasts.

"Tonight you vill see th' continued bloodlust un't fury of Rampage!"

The phantasmal corpses that have risen from the ground to fight tear into one another with tooth and claw, breaking limbs, ripping off strips of flesh. One grabs another's lower jaw, pulling it free with one foot pressed firmly to a chest, even as the other ghostly cadaver struggles and claws at the ground helplessly.

"Tonight, ve accept any un't all takers into zis ring! Who vill defeat d'man who cannot be harmed!

On the cue of the bespectacled Russian, two men in gray jumpsuits slide open one side of the enormous cage, allowing in a thin and remarkably wiry looking man with a crooked nose and rough stubble. He might stand five-foot eight if he wasn't slouching, and his weak chin and slouching posture only makes him look weaker than he really is. Removing his blood-stained white tanktop, he reveals a deceptive level of muscle tone to his thin frame, tattoos of barbed wire wrapped around his forearms, with a full panel depiction of Jesus on the cross marked on his back. Cracking his neck to one side, the small man looks around the arena, lips quirked into a smile as he watches the macabre illusory display of the Circus of Madness.

"Ladies un't Gentlemen, who here is brave enough? Who here is foolish enough? Who here is special enough to face the unbreakable man!" All around the cage are signs of previous fights, char marks on the first row of benches, slices in the metal bars. And spaced evenly around the cage are hooks on the rusted iron bars, hooks hung with simple props for the fighters — lead pipes, chains, a machete, a pair of bolt cutters — all of the finest things in life.

Pretty fucked up

He's seen many alarming things in his life, witnessed cold blooded killing, by the truckload. Even had a hand in it. But there was a reason for it. At least a little reason. But apparently the gladiators have returned. People will pay for blood, and the man sitting amongst the crowded masses is no exception. The Wolf has no intention of proving how big his dick is by beating the shit out of an Evolved tonight. He is here on a lead. Someone was looking for him. Why?

A black leather jacket and and a black baseball cap is pulled low over his brow. He remains fairly silent as the cries come up around him. Everyone's attention is on the ring with the unrbeakable man, but Ethan's attention is searchingcarefullyhis eyes move around for any points of interest. Anyone who looks like they might have sway here. The heavy hitters, the movers and shakers behind this operation.

Just another face in the crowd.

Yet another face in the crowd is here tonight, anonymous for now. He's not in the higher seats with the wealthier spectators tonight, having come on his own, and on his own, he's basically— well, a nobody. As he'd been so aptly titled for the first two days of what he can remember. No, Tavisha finds himself in the milling crowds, as close as people can dare to get to the cages without risking their own skin. Unlike many, he doesn't hold a fistful of money, he's only here to watch— and tonight, he wanted a closer look at the show.

And what a show.

Tavisha can feel people pressing in on his shoulders, but he stands tall enough to be able to see the spectacle, false light reflecting in his eyes, more attentive than most as to the illusions. Most men and women attending are here to make money, even as the holler in approval of the fireworks. Tavisha strains to see the mechanics behind it, but like most things, it's difficult to understand without a closer look.

As the opponent comes out, Tavisha studies him as well, evaluating. The next words don't come as a surprise, it's mostly what drew him tonight - the spontaneity of some unknown fighter stepping into the ring, a variable to break the monotony. Tavisha glances about the crowd, to see who presses forward. And all at once, things click into place— perhaps it's something said, some word that grabs his attention, perhaps this is exactly why Tavisha had come here tonight and he just didn't know it yet— and he finds himself pushing through the crowd himself, a tall figure dressed mostly in black, easily coming into view as he moves where the abandoned, ruined front row benches are kept, into dead man's zone.

It's a moment of bravery, although as soon as he can feel eyes on him, Tavisha momentarily forgets how to speak. Then, after a second, he says, "I am." Dark gaze sweeps from the Russian, towards the tattooed man in the ring. "I'll do it."

Tavisha's black-clad form isn't the only one pushing forward at the prospect of winning a slice of tonight's pot of bets, but Tavish'a persistance in moving through the crowd of thick necks and tough-talkers elicits looks of confusion and disbelief. This guy is going to fight the Rampage?

When he climbs up and into the cage on rattling metal stairs, the phantoms of broken corpses and dying fighters collapse to the ground, sinking back into the packed-earth floor of the cage as if they had never been. The hunched and white-haired old Russian turns towards Tavisha with one grayed brow raised over his black-lenses glasses. "My my." He intones quieter than the roar of the crowd, taking a step back with his fingers curled around his microphone, the cord trailing and snaking after him.

"Ladies un't Gentlemen, ve have our first body for d'evening!" His rough voice croaks out the words, and Vasya Grigorovich begins to make his way towards the opposite entrance to the cage, even as Rampage's wiry form starts to circle the periphery like some predatory animal.

"This nameless un't hopeless slug seeks th' glory of the ring, seeks the blood of't champions!" Vasya's voice rings through the high ceilings of the Pancratium, having so much more life and light to it in times like this. "If he survives tonight, per'aps he vill earn a name with us!" From behind Tavisha, ghostly and translucent female figures shrouded in diaphanous linens come to stand by his side, broken and bloodied wings behind their back twitching and hanging in some macabre display of helplessness. Behind their heads, halos formed of rusted and crimson-spattered barbed wire wobble and waver. Their veiled, gaunt faces stare out towards his opponent, then to Tavisha, brushing ephemeral and skeletal hands across his body, as if agents of the reaper were baptising him for his fall.

"Ladies un't Gentlemen, begin your bidding!"

If nervousness is finally kicking in, Tavisha doesn't let it show. With a raised eyebrow look to both of the deathly, illusionary nymphs at his side, he moves away, turning his back on the rest of the cage as he jerks off his coat, pushing it through the bars and letting it fall where it may. He's still dressed too nicely, and the tattoo now visible on his forearm is nothing like the elaborate designs on the body of his opponent. No scars, nothing that might indicate he isn't suddenly out of his depth, and there is certainly a pattern towards the direction bets will be placed tonight. He can easily hear that much.

Tavisha sincerely hopes he loses a lot of people their money.

Turning back to the ring, moving further towards the center of the cage, Tavisha stays still as the other man paces, the Rampage allowed to circle as he chooses, both men sizing the other up one with great uncertainty and the other with confidence. It's hot under bright lights forcibly illuminating the underground room, he can feel that now, and the mass of people surrounding them is almost too loud to believe, and louder still, to his sensitive ears, is his heartbeat, and that of the Rampage's. Tavisha'd imagined what this would be like. But it doesn't even come close.

For a moment, it seems as though the lights dim, relaxing their harsh spotlight of heat and light on the shoulders of those within the cage, but it snaps back into place in the time it takes to blink. Tavisha begins to pace. Begins to focus. Whatever is outside the cage can't matter anymore. He's mouth twists into a smile when he meets the Rampage's eyes.

Time to earn a name for himself.

"Sylar."

It's quiet, nigh a whisper that dances off his tongue. The people next to him don't hear it, but it's like a thunder strike in his ears. He's alive. If he's alive then, that must mean.. His head reels as his eyes search the crowd wildly. Before he was in control, and cool, now he's like a starving child searching frantically for bread crumbs. The yells of bets, the taking out of dollar bills coming out. Shouts of bets, mostly for the rampage. People trust in what they know.

"Two thousand. On the new comer." Comes the cockney vote, his words silencing many around him. His eyes slowly return back to the ring after he makes his bet. Make it quick, Sylar, get rid of him, get my money, survive, and show me where she is. A million different theories on why Ethan was being hunted run through his mind now, but none of it matters. The only thing that matters is the man stepping into the ring. People trust what they know.

The shuffling feet of Vasya carry the old Russian out of the cage, even as two event organizers with dirty gray jumpsuits swing the cages doors closed on both sides, and wrap them in padlocked chains. The men are quick to run from the direction of the fighting arena, hurrying past the first row of broken and battered seats, bounding up stairs to stand on the concrete steps between rows of benches, ready to watch the spectacle.

"Fighters!" Vasya cries out as a sparkling crackle of lights appears over the cage, like silent fireworks given voice by the roar of the crowd, "Kill!" At that command, the wiry Rampage slaps his palms together and a grin spreads from ear to ear as he circles Tavisha, bare feet scuffing the hard-packed dirt that serves as the ground. There's an unnerving level of eye-contact, and Rampage stops his circling and reaches out for the notched and rusted machete on the cage wall, whipping it around in one hand before gifing it a test of its heft.

The moment the cleaving blade is in his hands, the crowd rises up to their feet and begins chanting, "AM-PU-TATE!" This is insane, "AM-PU-TATE!"

Insane is a good word for it, for all of this. Tavisha's focus breaks for a moment, glancing towards where the heavy locks seal him inside the cage, and then towards where the machete cuts through the air, audible to his ears. Tavisha backs up several steps, gaze darting about the display of weapons, primitive and rusted metal monstrous things, blood spattered and worn from very, very good use.

His left arm goes out, wrenching free a blunt weapon nearest to him - a lead pipe with a good foot and three-quarters of reach, scratched in places. It won't break the unbreakable man, but it might defend him from—

"AM-PU-TATE! AM-PU-TATE!"

Christ.

Circling, Tavisha's lack of gameplan is clear, other than to concentrate, eyes on the man's hands rather than his gaze. It doesn't take long for them to circle within reach of each other, unknowingly winding the tension of the room higher with each step, and, living up to his name, the Rampage is the first to strike first, the machete arcing through the air. The metal clashes loudly with the metal pipe Tavisha brings up to defend himself with, drowned out by roars of encouragement from the crowd. He doesn't hesitate to bring his own weapon around in a swipe, a curving trajectory towards the Rampage's temple in a sudden and vicious move. Let the games begin.

A light frown tugs at his lips at Sylar's attack. Could have been better, Ethan should have spent more time teaching him lead pipe fighting. The emotions triggered in him are like a father watching a son, or a coach watching his star player. Though when the fight continues for a few seconds, Ethan starts to wonder why the man hasn't liqufied his insides or ripped his head off with telekinetics or something, Ethan's confidence is shaken for a moment. End it, Sylar. His eyes wander away distractedly from the fight… What's the chances of her being here?

"A fucking pipe?" Rampage asks over the roar of the crowd, his voice just as nasally and obnoxious looking as the short, wiry man seems to be. "You're coming at me with a fucking pipe!?" He steps in, bare footed, even as the pipe blocks another swing of the machette, and perhaps just for the crowd, the brawler brings an arm in and just slaps Tavisha across the face as if he was dealing with a little girl or a petulent kid.

A swing of the pipe comes down at him, and Rampage catches it with his hand, the impact smacking a few inches away from his palm as a crackling field of whit elight appears over his fingers. He makes a motion with his hand and then nods towards Sylar as a bubble of telekinetic force erupts around his body, shoving dirt away and causing one side of the cage to flex out as the forcefield rapidly expands in a sphere.

Tavisha is hit with the force of a bodyslam, sending him up off of his feet and down onto the hard dirt, wind knocked out of him and pipe rattling to the ground. In an instant that forcefield bubble flickers and fades away, and Rampage whirls the machette around in a showy florusih again, holding one hand to his ear as if to proclaim that he can't quite hear the crowd right.

"AM-PU-TATE!" They continue to chant, as if some mantra of the personalized type of destruction this overconfident man seems to exude from himself. "AM-PU-TATE!" Down on the ground, world spinning around him, Tavisha isn't alone in the daze of confusion. There's someone standing over him, brows lowered disapprovingly in a way that sags his wrinkled and creased face. One hand wrings the silvery head of a cane shaped like a snarling wolf, thumb tracing over a notch in it. For a moment, just a moment before disappearing in blurred vision, the weathered old man's piercing blue eyes seem to stare thorugh Tavisha.

Get up.

Not now. Fuck. Not now!

Tavisha takes a breath that's more of a choking pull of air, dust and oxygen both, floored quite literally by the man's display of power, a thin trail of blood making a line down his upper lip. This is more humiliating than he'd pictured it happening, the crowd calling for his blood as Rampage works the crowd with every showy swipe of his machete. They believe he's going to win. They believe Tavisha is so much canon fodder. That pisses him off.

"Get up," he murmurs, repeating the ghost's words, the image of the man's face burned into memory. Perhaps the most useful thing any of the voices have told him. Tavisha gets his knees under him, palms of his hands, and tries to draw air into recovering lungs. The lead pipe is abandoned for the time being, a hand out to grip a bar of the cage, other hand—

…his other hand reaches out, fingers splayed, and lines of light, piercing and bright and white-hot, shoot from his fingertips. They slice through the machete in three places, the metal falling away almost comically and leaving Rampage with only a handle holding a sharp, broken piece of metal. The lasers die, and with a furious wave of his hand— far more exaggerated gesture than the subtle movements the man Ethan's used to know would have made— Rampage is thrown back against the bars, left to fall on his own accord.

Tavisha, as advised, gets up.

The crowd breaks out into a roar when Tavisha launches the Rampage across the cage and into the bars. The sudden impact knocked the wind out of him, and as he struggles to get back up to his feet, his eyes upturn to Tavisha. Mouthing something, presumably some type of slurred curse, the Rampage pulls himself up as a sphere of force once more erupts around him, creating a concave divet in the hard packed earth. When he starts walking forward, the sphere moves with him, ploughing up soil as he walks, leavng a dragging trail around him. "You want to fuck with me with telekinesis, so ahead!" Slapping his bare chest, the Rampage starts running, picking up speed as he moves to cover that distance again, digging up a wall of earth in front of him as he moves, the bubble of force rippling like the surface of water away fron the forward-most point.

"CRUSH! CRUSH! CRUSH!" Suddenly the hooks where the weapons hang show their doubled purpose to Tavisha, and the crust of red on their sharp tips only indicates what grim secondary purpose they serve. "CRUSH! CRUSH! CRUSH!" The crowd demands blood.

His eyes are wide, not out of fear, but exhilaration, Tavisha backing up those few steps that make bars press against his back, the curving forcefield coming faster and faster and threatening to fairly push him through the gaps - one way or another. His own clothes are damp, not purely from sweat either, and it wouldn't be the first time such a reaction as occurred, water gathering thinly as if trying to help him in some way. It goes ignored, it can't help him now, he can only rely on what little training he has, what power even unknown to him he wields—

Tavisha flings a hand out, and hopes.

The forcefield is made up of such energy that telekinesis can't hook into it, like it can't control the smoke in the air, electrical pulses, or really even liquid. But beyond that, he can grab Rampage's throat, hooking him back from his charging run, the dirt he'd gathered sliding to a halt at Tavisha's feet. Up, up, a foot up in the air, the man is hung from his throat, and the move isn't familiar to him, but it should be. His jaw clenches, and so does his hand, cutting off airway, the forcefield flickering like a dying neon sign and soon it will be out—

Or explode.

All it takes is a thought for that bubble to rapidly increase in size, causing the roof of the cage to creak and groan as bars bend and buckle. Tavisha is sent off of his own feet, thrown back against the bars, but also against the hooks. One digs into his back, sliding under meat and between ribs, catching him a good foot off of the ground, all the weight of his body now suspended on one bending and cracking rib, even as the hook begins to tear through flesh and muscle.

The crowd goes absolutely insane as Tavisha is impaled on the hooks, people jumping up and down in their seats, hands and hats flailing in the air. Thousands of dollars are resting on this one fight.

In one of the balcony booths, Kain Zarek rises to his feet, moving to the edge of the balcony to stare down at the intense fight. The bend of the bars causes one dark brow to raise, and Zarek turns to the tall, bald man behind him. "Manny," he waves towards the stairs, "Go see what the pool's up to. Jesus fuck we're going to bring down the house." Lips curl up into a pleased smile as his blue eyes settle on the dark-haired man hooked to the wall of the cage. "Son of a bitch…"

The telekinetic stranglehold released, Rampage crashes to the ground, landing in a crouch as he chokes up blood, letting his tongue quickly flick over his lips to get a taste of what revenge will be like. Green eyes lift up to peer at Tavisha, and two spheres of telekinetic energy form around his clenched fists. "I'm going…" Rampage starts up, staggering towards the impaled man, "Fucking tear you apart."

Behind Tavisha, a voice comes thorugh the bars. An old man standing just behidn Tavisha's shoulder, reaching through the bars to lay a cold, clammy hand against his cheek. Don't give up. He urges, leaning in towards the barsd as his rich and thick, gravley voice whispers into Sylar's ear. You're too special to die.

He can't even scream as he finds himself dangling from the wicked hook, though a rough kind of howl is pushed from his throat, the world suddenly splitting into double from the shocking pain of it. His hands grasp at the curved spike piercing through him, as if trying to stop it sliding through his body as his own weight starts to drag him down, slowly, and his body jerks once as wet, dying coughs leave his throat, a horror-show spatter of dark red on his chin as he does, and tears blurring his vision as he struggles weakly, uselessly. The Rampage is coming at him again but it's not going to take any effort, any effort at all, to end Tavisha's very briefly lived life.

The hand on his cheek is almost more vivid than the pain in his torso, which is becoming simply surreal and numb, in a sense. Too special to die. He believes that, with all his soul, what's left of it from the rape of identity that is, head tilting back as he regards the lights that swim in his gaze. Under the lights, his skin seems to become pale, translucent to show veins which in contrast, turn black, and he lets loose a scream.

His hands suddenly grip the bars of the cage, and impossibly, he pushes himself up, up and off the hook, and blood doesn't pour out of the gaping wounds in his torso. Instead, it's a smoky, ashy substance, thin tendrils of it extending, reach out to, the Rampage, lending him the strength for such a move. Where the smoky blackness touches, his skin begins to dry, and crack, and it seems as though the spotlights beaming down on them is dramatically dimmed, throwing the corners of the fight house into shadow.

Tavisha leaps, almost animalistic, hands out, and both he and Rampage go crashing to the floor together. A cloud of dust goes up and catches in the thin lighting when they land, as if one of them were transforming into so much ash. In the cheers and shouts from the crowd, he can hear something from another memory, from another time and place, that isn't his own.

Moroi! Moroi!

What the- Ethan gets to his feet, as Tavisha is impaled. His hand going into his pocket, idly thumbing the knife there. Maybe he was too confident. Maybe Sylar has lost his edge. He might have to cut his way out of this place before bookies get the jump on him. His eyes watch Sylar with anticipation, and then—

He goes to sit back down, mouth slightly open. Kazimir. Did it work? Was Kazimir really defeated? Of course he was, Sylar was helping Eileen. But— The Rampage goes down, Sylar suddenly in control. His lips twitch into a slight smirk.

Amazed shouts fill the air as the audience witnesses Tavisha wrench himself up from hooked iron and onto the undefeatable Rampage. A man who can create forcefields at will, a man who can withstand the ballistic impact of a missile and walk away unscatched, has just found the one thing that his precious forcefields cannot protect him from.

Death itself.

Tavisha's hands grasp either side of Rampage's head, thumbs moving over the man's eye-sockets as a horrible, sickening suction fills his body. There is a scream, strangled and dry as his voice cracks and his limbs spasm in the dirt. Rampage's arms fracture at the shoulder, falling away to reveal pitch-black muscle burned on the inside of his body, ash and flakes of dried bone slouching off from the broken stumps. Tendrils of snaking darkness rise up from Tavisha's body, slithering around and penetrating the very life-force of the man he holds.

Eventually, under the pressure of his touch, the Rampage's skull crumbles like brittle, dry clay, spilling forth sandy gray ash that was once the man's brain. Clouds of choking dust swirl into the air and catch the yellow gloe of the floorlights overhead as a hazy darkness snakes around Tavisha's hunched form, his eyes swallowed by pits of blackness.

Then the shadows subside, the wounds on Tavisha's back have sewn themselves shut entirely. No sign that he was ever injured is present on his flesh, just the streaks of blood where he was hurt. There is a twinge, a feeling of absolute control in Tavisha's mind, an inner strength and power that revitalizes his body and leaves him feeling…

…Invincible.

It's glorious. For all of a moment, it's exactly what he had pictured. Many people aren't cheering, anger evident from a majority as they suddenly realise how much money they've lost, but that's fine. That's utterly okay. He won, they all saw him, and there's nothing any of them can do, and he will do it again. The ash of his victory is crumpled beneath his crouching form, the world a strange place through his eyes coloured pitch, and slowly, slowly, his wounds heal, and his vision clears, Tavisha tilting up his head to take a cleaner breath of air—

And he looks back down at what he's done.

With a choking gasp, he more clumsily crab walks away in a desperate and frantic motion, the ash covering him, clinging to damp skin and bloodied clothing, staring with horror at the smear of dust that was his opponent. "Moroi…" he murmurs, without comprehension. He can hear the locks to the cage being opened, the fight over, the events coming to a close, but all he can see is what he's done, half-lying on the ruined dirt floor of the cage.

Death shouldn't be this easy.

Swallowing, Tavisha looks up towards the opened cage doors, and he sees him, the silver-haired old man with a cane of a wolf's head, standing at the entrance and utterly stoic. He says nothing, his approval silent but palpable, and in the next moment as someone passes by, he vanishes again. Work done. Finally, Tavisha climbs to his feet, feeling, once more, the embers of victory and dreadful satisfaction.

Ethan is excited about the win, but the excitement doesn't show. His brows furrow, as he tilts his head. His lips pursing that's not Sylar. Sylar would split the man's head open. Sylar wouldn't be shocked at death. What happened to him? Again, theories enter and exit his mind. In this world of dopplegangers and human flamethrowers, there's no telling what could have happened. The man simply stares out after Tavisha. What happened?

Finally the man goes to stand, giving a triumphant and cocksure glance to the bookie nearby. His hand comes up in a simple gesture for the man to come forward. Time to collect.

"Son of a bitch!" Kain shouts out, knuckles turning white as he watches the man turned to ash in front of him. Then, he blinks, repeatedly. "Fuck." Kain whips around, rushing out of the spectator's box and down a flight of concrete stairs, catching up to Manny, who's standing stunned with a few other observers. "Jesus fuck did you see what that guy did?" Kain slurs out, one hand slapping down on Manny's shoulder.

"Yeah, he made us lose about fifteen grand." The astute thug mentions, looking back askance at Kain. Zarek's lips curl back into a snarl, and he slaps the side of Manny's head with his open palm.

"Not that you bananna-brained gorilla!" He points out towards the cage, "You remember when Danny had us bring that fucking creepy ass ash hand down to Spooky in the archives?" His eyes flick back to Manny, blue eyes wide and wild. Manny's brow lowers, mouth opening for a moment before closing again as he realizes it's a rhetorical question. "I want that fucker watched. Your eyes, on him," Kain takes a look up through the crowd, watching fat stacks of money being handed out to a man in a baseball cap, a snarl forming over his lips.

"Me? I'm gonna make sure that lucky prick wishes he hadn't taken money outta' Kain Zarek's pocket."


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February 12th: Playboy To Bad Boy
Previously in this storyline…
Old Ground

Next in this storyline…
Fight to Win

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February 12th: Die Trying
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