Red Sands of Paradise

From Magical Girl Noir Quest Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

She stepped into the light. Sand crunched under thick-soled boots. Uneven bumps and mounds dotted the floor of the arena - the sun-bleached and half-buried bones of the forgotten dead. Carrion birds still circled overhead and perched in the rafters, in hopes that the slaughter would begin anew. The scent of blood and sweat and tears and death still hung in the air. Perhaps not for most, but for her... For her, it was as if the killing had only ended yesterday.


She shushed the voice from the archway, taking another step forward. Wind howled through the deserted stands, carrying dust and trash as it blew. But when she closed her eyes, the crowd roared. She could hear them cheering. Still calling for blood. Always more blood.

A four foot machete materialized in either hand. She held one over her shoulder while the other rested with its squared tip in the sand. The wind picked up, catching in her jacket and running hot over her skin. Sand kicked at her shins. Each breath filled her nostrils with a familiar, stale coppery scent. Her machetes sang as she cut through the air, her muscles still remembering the last time they had shed blood in the sand...


Gavrill stepped into the light. The crowd roared for her as she hefted her twin machetes, Slaughter and Carnage, into the air, basking in the audience's attention. She closed her eyes as she strode forward, letting the cheering wash over her. It seemed she would be called out for one last battle. Summoned from the silent darkness of her cell for one final hurrah before being stashed away again and forgotten.

Far and away in the press box, Gavrill caught sight of the Doctor and her ever impassive face. It was the same one she always wore during matches. No enjoyment, no passion, only cold, calculating analysis. This time, however, Gavrill was determined to put on a show for the good Doctor.

She stopped five feet from the centre-point of the arena and snorted. Her opponent was nothing more than a child. Fair and frail, with long raven black hair and a wild, animal look to her eyes. Wires descended into her skull through oozing wounds amidst scarring and shaved patches of her beautiful ebony locks. Her face twitched with rage, despite the fight having yet to begin.

Another poor, ragged victim of the Nails.

The child gunned the engine of a gargantuan chainsword, opposing rows of teeth gnashing at thin air. It was nearly as tall as Gavrill and looked positively ridiculous in the clutches of the waif's black, fleshmetal hands.

Gavrill flashed the girl a snarling grin as the pair circled each other in the sand, baring her glimmering white teeth. It seemed this one had made it rather far through the Doctor's gauntlet of procedures.

"What's your name, girly?" Gavrill asked, her own lip twitching as the Nails began to bite into her consciousness.

The girl answered with only more ragged breaths and growls.

"Pretty little thing like you probably got a pretty little name," Gavrill continued, goading the kid on. "Tell me."

"I- I am," she growled, her nostrils flaring and spasming as she struggled to form words, "c-cur-called Ekkkaterina."

"Like I said," the older Maerorus said, her tongue running over her teeth, "pretty little name."

Something caught the smaller girl's attention, and Gavrill siezed the initiative. She kicked a clump of sand at the Russian's face, blinding her.

A hail of blows came next. Downstroke after downstroke. Slaughter, Carnage, Slaughter, Carnage, each one desperately blocked by the idle chainsword.

Gavrill kicked the girl in the ribs, savouring minute crunches of bone as Ekaterina fell to the ground. Carnage came down, dodged by a timely, panicked roll.

The seasoned gladiator stood aside, letting the fresh meat to scramble to her feet, her fleshmetal legs shaking with adrenaline.

Ekaterina charged. Skulltaker roared and screamed for blood as it met the twin machetes. The tiny Russian pressed on with all her might, but the older woman held firm as a brick wall, robbing her of any momentum. Gavrill pulled her head back, then skull met skull with a thunderous crack.

With the smaller girl reeling, Gavrill closed in. She batted the chainsword aside with Slaughter and the thick sole of her boot crashed into Ekaterina's sternum.

She could feel it now - the ticking of the metal buried deep in the meat of her brain. The pleasure shocks every time she struck the pitiful little Russian. Gavrill wiped the beginning of a nosebleed with her sleeve. Young Ekaterina scrabbled to her feet.

"Come on kid," Gavrill snarled, circling and eyeing her prey like a beast, "make me feel something. Show the good people that you're not worthless."

The child roared and rushed her opponent once more, her crimson eyes almost bulging out of her skull as spittle ran down her chin. Gavrill met it with a howling charge of her own. The hulking mass of the older Maerorus nearly bowled her smaller opponent over into the sand. Slaughter and Carnage met Skulltaker again and again, the weapons screeching with each clash as chainaxe teeth and flecks of metal came loose.

Clashing demigods bellowed with savage fury as the Nails bit into their skulls. Both struck harder and faster than any mortal man could ever hope to match. Ekaterina's movements grew more learned with each stroke of her chainsword, while Gavrill's every step was filled with the unwavering confidence of a veteran. She wouldn't lose, but the little wretch had made her bleed her own blood. At the very least, that was worthy of note.

Gavrill's strength and experience showed, however. She bit back the pain of the Nails. She channelled it, rather than letting the rage flow freely. Slaughter and Carnage beat down a constant onslaught, keeping Ekaterina ever on the defensive. She wasn't quite used to the massive bulk of Skulltaker, but Gavrill could see that she wielded it with the blackened, skeletal hands of a natural. A born killer.

The pair pulled back in the same instant. Ekaterina wiped blood and saliva from her panting, parched mouth - at some point she must have bitten her hulk of an opponent, though it was likely that neither of them had noticed. A pair of red streams trickled down from Gavrill's ear-coverings; she could feel the veins throbbing in her skull, beating a war drum's rhythm against the Nails.

"You're- Hrnnh- You're doin' pretty good, kid."

"I- Hm- I think that- Hah- I am winning," the Russian grinned beneath a mask of blood and sweat. "What- Hnnnh- What do you think?"

The Nails bit deep into Gavrill's skull at that. With her teeth bared, she let go of her machetes and rushed her opponent. Skulltaker kicked up a puff of dust as Ekaterina did the same. the larger woman took hold of the Russian's head and brought it down on her knee. Gavrill pulled her hands back in, taking hold of the girl's collar. A suddenly sensation of weightlessness took hold of Ekaterina as she was lifted off the ground with a gnarled, over-sized hand, then blinding pain as her face was broken against the ground.

"Cocky little shit," Gavrill growled, pulling the girl back to her feet.

The Russian was held up by her throat to look straight into Gavrill's manic, twitching grin while her bladed feet kicked uselessly at the air beneath them. It was only then that she noticed a hearty chunk of the other Maerorus' face had been torn away - likely where she had managed to sink her teeth in during the brawl.

The only sound Ekaterina could make was a rough "KHRN" as Gavrill felt... something... dig its way into her stomach. She looked down to find Ekaterina's fleshmetal arm elbow-deep inside of her chest, red fluid running down its contours.

It only seemed to make the Wolf more excited.

"So," she muttered through ragged, strained, "that- hrnh- that the noise you make when y- hrnnkh- when you take a life, HUH?" Her grip tightened around the smaller girl's neck. "Thought this- hnnh- would be the END of ol' Gavrill, huh? But- hrnnk- y'see," Gavrill's eyes widened, "there's one thing the good Doctor forgot to- hrnnh- to tell you."

Rows of jagged blades came down around Ekaterina's arm, as though the fresh hole in Gavrill's abdomen had turned into a giant mouth. The Russian screamed.


Gavrill released her grip, letting the smaller girl drop the ground in a battered heap. The arm that had once ended in twisted, ebony metal now ended at the elbow, black blood dribbling from the stump into the sand.

The Wolf, meanwhile, slowly picked up Ekaterina's fallen chainsword and gave it a few experimental swings and gunned the engine. "Khrrnn... Khaaarrrnnn," the muttered as she made her way back to the broken body, playing with the words. "I like the sound of that."

With all the dignity of a street thug, Gavrill kicked the Russian onto her back and placed a foot on her stomach. The Wolf licked her lips and hefted Skulltaker into the air, holding it just above Ekaterina's ribcage. The younger girl's face was an ugly, bloodied, contorted mess. Her nose was nearly pulp and crimson-painted sand stuck to her wounds in patches.

Gavrill wiped her mangled cheek on her shoulder as she stared down at her beaten opponent. She could already feel the adrenaline fading out of her system as the Nails grip weakened.

"You fought well," the Wolf said, her fingers drumming against Skulltaker's hilt. "Welcome to the pit, Kharn."

Skulltaker roared as it dropped. Baptized in the arena, Kharn Valnikov was maimed, killed and burned. And for the briefest of moments, out of the corner of her eye, Gavrill swore she saw the Doctor grinning above the carnage.


That was the last time Gavrill Madaraki saw the light of day until her release. She couldn't tell just how long ago it had been. A year? Months? Time had no meaning in her cell. Sedated and chained, everything had become blurred mess after blurred mess, only ever broken by the call to battle. She couldn't be entirely sure that half of her fights had even happened. The beasts she fought in the pit were the things of nightmares - the things that had no right existing in reality. Yet, that was what the Doctor did best; she made the impossible possible.

The wind picked up again, just as Gavrill turned her attention to the stands. Her gang had been pressed into cleaning duty earlier; some carried debris and rubble out, others carried out withered corpses that had been trampled or left behind in the panicked exodus a month earlier. Most of her crew had come to understand that they didn't simply work for her - she OWNED them. The Wolf did not ask. The Wolf demanded, and what the Wolf demanded was done.

A strange thought came to her mind as she stepped in circles, soaking in the sight of the grand coliseum. If the arena belonged to her, and it was the Blood God's Arena...

Gavrill snickered. She would have to do away with the skull decorations, though. They weren't exactly to her taste. If skulls were displayed, they ought to be REAL skulls, the kind that once held eyeballs and brains. No more of those goofy outfits, either. This time they would need real armour. And of course they would need monsters. The Wolf Pack would have to bring in all the horrid beasts they could find. Maybe use THEIR skulls for decorations.

For the first time since she was handed off to the Doctor, Gavrill Madaraki had hopes and dreams. Her life may have been confined to Varrigan City for the time being, but it sure as hell was better than a hundred foot wide circle of dirt and sand.

After completing a slow lap around the arena, Gavrill found herself almost in the exact centre. She bent down and scooped up a handful of sand, letting it run through her fingers as she stood again. Her nose sniffed at it, still picking up more than a hint of spilled blood.

She looked up into the evening sky. The sun had begun to dip below the arena's walls, painting the sand shades of orange and red. Slaughter and Carnage materialized in her hands as she held her arms out, blades splayed wide like the wings of an angel. The arena thirsted. The Nails pricked at her mind, whispering its will to her. She was its most loyal disciple, and it asked only the simplest of tributes.

"BLOOD," she roared. "FOR THE BLOOD GOD!"