Royal Road Rumble



Royal Road Rumble: Surrender or Die! Either is Fine! pt.1 (Son of Thorns vs Dark Hero)


A note from Gasmaskbro

Fighter #1

Name: Sorrel (Son of Thorns)

Location: [REDACTED] (Code name: Marwaithyr Rift)

Abilities: Cat I Magic (runic), Cat I Weapon Master, Cat III Fabric Manipulator

Threat Level: CRITICAL

Record: 0-1


Fighter #2

Name: Zed Thorne (Dark Hero)

Location: Universe # 39145 (Code Name: Strange Aeons)

Abilities: Cat I God Touched, Cat II Magic Channeler (Shadow)

Threat: Low

  Son of Thorns, no, Sorrel. He wasn't strutting around a stage like a peacock prize fighter at the moment, he was struggling not to piss himself as he tightly clung to his needle. His eyes dart about what to his senses seem like little more than a raw bleeding chunk of meat barely holding itself together that dwarfed cities, maybe even continents. Where was he even suppose to start with this!? He could clearly tell that what was still intact was worn so thin that trying to stitch this sickening mess back together would just result in fresh new tears. But he couldn't just keep standing there doing nothing could he? He could still feel that man's, no that demon's, gaze resting on his back like an executioner's blade. He didn't dare look but he felt certain that the monster hadn't so much as blinked since he'd dropped him before this travesty and instructed him to 'fix it'.

  But he couldn't fix this! There wasn't enough stable and intact material left to cover a city, much less these vast chasms of gore. Sorrel had never before believed any claims that worlds or their barriers could be sapient intelligent things before now but this living gore was making him second guess himself because the only reasons he could fathom that this thread bare travesty hadn't unwoven itself was raw pig headed stubbornness.

  "I," he swallowed, his mouth suddenly bone dry, "I don't think I can fix this." He didn't take his eyes off the mess, certainly because he was afraid it would all break if he looked away. Not at all because he didn't want to witness what his kidnapper was doing right now or that he doubted the control of his bowels if he saw said monster so much as frown. "I-it's just to thread bare, there's to many holes and not enough solid material with which to work with."

  "And if I moved you to a spot where there was more to work with?" the tone was disarmingly light, as if discussing a minor art project and not the waiting cataclysm of apocalyptic proportions that surrounded them, "Would you be able to fold the fresh material and stitch it to hold the weakened fabric together?"

  "Theoretically yes but the amount of power it would require-" Sorrel started struggling to even comprehend how much material would have to be folded to fix this and how much magical might would be needed to force said material to fold.

  "Would burn precisely thirty six point four billion human souls to nothing," a weary tired sigh tore itself from the waiting monster. Sorrel tensed as he heard the brute stand and casually stroll closer. The heavy callused hand resting on his shoulder feeling like it weighed sixteen tons as the young man began to tremble in fright. "Can't say I expected any differently, but sometimes you Outsider get to break the rules in your own delightful ways. Not your fault you weren't the jack pot I'd hoped you were." Sorrel nodded slowly as he broke out in a cold sweat and nervously turned his head to look at his tormentor. The man's ever present smile was gone, replaced by an annoyed yet contemplative frown. The six and a half foot man still seemed as towering and involatile as a mountain, but he seemed somehow older than before.

  Sorrel blinked and the smile was back. The terror stood beside him was once more flushed with a manic youthful energy as it flashed its pearly whites at him. "Ah well maybe you'll do better in the future."

  There was a slight *pop* and Sorrel thrashed in fright finding himself wrapped in fabric. He jerked and thrashed, toppling to the floor and discovering he was back in the room assigned to him, more specifically tangled in the sheets of his unfathomably soft and comfortable mattress. Had, had the entire last day been nothing but a vivid nightmare? Touching his magic needle and examining the threads once more, witnessing the massive shattered bleeding sore in reality stretch off in all directions as far as he could see he shook his head. No, it had been all to real.


  Once again the stadium was quickly filling with people as snacks were bought, signs were checked, cameras were smuggled in, and noise was made. The chatter slowly built up until people began to to take up a chant of, "RUMBLE! RUMBLE!" At the hour mark the lights went down, spot lights danced around the ring, and the crowd cheered as Randy and his co-host appeared at the announcer table. Randy sprang up with mic in hand and began crowing too the crowd, "W~elcome back everyone to our second week of the Royal Road Rumble: Multiverse Openwieght Beatdown Raw Mixed Gladiatorial Championships!" Randy held the microphone to the audience to let them roar their approval before continuing, "I'm your favorite of shout casters R~andy R~omeriez, as you know, and joining me tonight as my martial commentator is everyone's favorite specially designed machine of doom! M~urder Bot 2.0~!"

  The crowd cheered at the massive nine foot tall six foot wide at the shoulders skull faced machine made out of dull red metal stood and waved to the crowd, bowing as they roared out a chant of "BEST BOT!" and the hulking machine chortled and acted bashful before returning to its seat.

  "This week, as I'm sure you know if you watched our advertising, we're doing a special series of fights. If you didn't know, then I'm proud to enlighten you to our special event! Royal Road Rumble: Surrender or Die! Either is Fine!"

  Another roar of blood thirsty approval rolled through the stadium as chants of "RUMBLE!" mix with eager cries of "BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!"

  Randy forced his way through the deafening roar, "For those of you who don't know what that means, it means we are doing nothing but submission matches, no hold bars matches, and the ever popular 'I Quit' matches!" Randy continued on overwhelming the new round of cheering before it could properly begin, "This means there will be no ending the match with a pin or keeping your foe out of the ring until they are counted out! Our contestants want to win, they will have to force their foe to submit to their will! They will have to use any means necessary to make their fellow contestant say into the microphone that they quit! And to help them along with this forceful coercion tonight we are going weapons free!" The crowd go positively ballistic as the loud speakers play the sounds of rifles firing on full auto.

  "Now to introduce our fighters for the first match of the night. He's young and reckless and had the misfortune of getting knocked out first in his match last week due to a dirty blow and now he's back to try and prove his worth in the ring again tonight! He comes at you tonight armed with knives, magic, and youthful energy! Give the young man a hand! It's The So~n of Thorns~!"

  Again the cold wind and lonesome guitar started playing and the stringy young man walked onto the stage making a minor effort to look big and intimidating. He spreads his coat to show the knives on his belt and the crowd cheers the minor innovation as the boy discards the loose coat and advanced down the ramp. More than a few members of the crowd mock and jeer the man as he advances on the stage, but far more seem to be shouting encouragements to him. "Soul Lords," the music sang as he climbed the steps and slipped between the ropes, "Kings of Northern seas, brought us home again."

  "You're getting better Son of Thorns, but you're going to really have to put some pizzazz into your intro if you wish to be a crowd favorite," a shockingly human and friendly voice came from the towering beast of red metal.

  "Indeed he is Murder Bot, but will he be good enough for one of our newest contestants or is he due for another humiliating loss? For now he faces off against a demon of shadows and trickery! A fool who made dark deals with dark gods and now dances to the tug of their strings! Will Son of Thorns avoid being tangled up in this web of darkness or will tonight's winner be, Dark Hero~!?"

  A simple strum of an acoustic guitar was almost instantly joined by the words, "Don't hate me. Don't hate me. Don't hate me mo~re than I hate myself." A six foot tall man with black hair with two tiny white horn peeking out of the messy mane took a determined, borderline aggressive step out onto the stage and froze wide eyed as he saw the thousands of people filling the stands all roaring, cheering, hooting, and looking right at him. He wheels around almost comically and flees backstage with an utter lack of grace. "Don't hate me. I'm sad enough." With the sting of the rest of the bad joining the song Dark Hero was forcibly returned to the stage via being carried by the seat of his pants by the show runner who flings the young man to the ramp where he rolls halfway down before finally stopping. Dark Hero looks around in a near panic before straightening up with what little dignity he can muster. A fair amount of the crowd was laughing at this point which seemed to replace the man's fear with anger. He flips the crowd the bird with both hands as he storms the rest of the way to the ring.

  Coming up to the ring the horned man paused before seeming to be struck by inspiration. He spread his arms out to the side as long thin lines of solidified darkness rose from his own shadow and wrap around the limbs, lifting him up over the ropes and gently setting him in the ring where he offered a confident smile, points at Son of Thorns, before giving the man a fresh flip of the bird. This seemed to transition most of the crowd back from laughter to cheering.

  "A bit of a rough start, but he manages to stick the landing with his intro!" Randy declares happily.

  "Indeed he did Randy, now all that's left is for us to start this, say it with me everyone," and indeed the entire crowd roars along, "ROYAL ROAD RUMBLE!"

  Dark Hero opens things first immediately summoning dozens of hair thin wires of darkness and sent them out in arcs seeking to surround Son of Thorns with a wicked weave of shadows. What he had not expected was the other black haired young man to carve a rune in the air behind himself or the rune to fling his foe past his threads and into his face in the blink of an eye. Stumbling back in surprise he quickly summons a crystal katana from the air just to have it nearly smacked out of his hand with the first swing of Thorn's knives opens his guard and only a desperate dodge keeps him from getting gutted.

  Backpedaling further Dark Hero lets his ability fizzle out to summon his shadowy second, a dark double of himself which rushes forwards blade in hand aggressing Son of Thorns with all the skill, or lack there of, he possesses. Given the breathing room he begins to summon up new threads of darkness, only to see that Son of Thorns has managed to lock his double's sword in place and is carving a new rune in the air. Dark dives to the side as a burst of fire washes over his double and the space he'd just been standing.

  "Son of Thorns is off to an amazingly aggressive start that is almost the polar opposite of what we saw from the young man last Rumble!" Randy crows as Thorns is forced to break off carving a new rune by Dark Hero's shadow abandoning its sword and trying to grapple him.

  "It seems he has learned an important rule of combat," Murder Bot cheerfully stated with a wistful air. "BE AGGRESSIVE! B E AGGRESSIVE!"

  The crowd happily took up the chant as Son of Thorns drove both his knives in the shadow's back and uses the force to shove the stumbling figure out of the way. Several threads of ropy shadows lunged for his legs halting his charge and biting deep into his clothes and flesh. He barely manages to keep his feet as he swiftly carved a new rune which exploded in a dazzling burst of light that had many watchers cursing and rubbing their eyes.

  "Ha!" Dark Hero taunted as he tried to blink the massive blot out of his vision, "Light won't stop my shadows, they-hurk!"

  Dark felt something big slam into his guts plowing him off his feet and into the ropes. The elastic stretches and hurls the still half blind man into the center of the ring. He feel someone grab his hair, lifting his head off the mat. His vision clears just enough to see both the fist racing towards his face and a sparkling field of stars afterwards.

  Son of Thorns, now free from the shadows around his ankle holds his knife to the dazed man's throat, "Submit!"

  "Fuck you!" Dark Hero spat as his shadow came charging in from the side.

  Thorns rose quickly, parried the clumsy charge and with a shove sent the shadow tumbling out of the ring. He quickly delivers a swift kick to Dark Hero's rump, preventing the man from climbing to his feet, and slashes at him with his knives leaving shallow bleeding wounds. "The cutting doesn't stop until you say it!"

  "Oh no! Things are looking bad for Dark Hero!" Randy gasped, "Will he be able to withstand the cruel torture Son of Thorns is inflicting on him!?"

  "Worry not Randy," Murder Bot assured him cheerfully, "Because as you can see, IT AIN'T OVER YET!"

  Dark Hero's shadow from outside the ring reaches under the ropes and grab one of Thorn's legs. With a mighty heave followed by a startled yelp, the shadow construct hauls the young mage out of the ring and onto the hard concrete. Now with Thorns being the one on the ground the shadow leapt upon the young fighter and ignoring the stabbing blades begins to rain blows down on him like a common school yard bully.

  Dark Hero himself was quick to regain his feet and used this moment to think. It was blatantly obvious that this Thorn kid was way better than he was in close quarters combat, but while he could try to use his shadow garrotes to keep him at range, the guy had shown he was remarkable good at getting around them. What he really needed was something to help himself stay at range and wear this kid down, but he sadly lacked a lot of defensive and mobility skills. Wait, his class was called Soul Marionette, would he be able to? Would that even work as anything more than showing off?

  With a loud *thoom* a new runic explosion sent Dark Hero's shadow flying deep into the crowd. Son of Thorns, covered in bruises and a little unstable on his feet glared viciously up at Dark. Well then, guess there was no better time to try than now.

  Silken wraps of shadow sprang from the deep shadows on the ceiling overhead diving towards the ring, but instead of perusing Son of Thorns, they wrapped around their summoner twisting around his arms, legs, and torso. Son of Thorns quickly re-entered the ring and came in swinging, only to catch nothing but air as Dark Hero swiftly drifted away from the blows. He levitated slightly off the ground, held up by his own threads of darkness, looking all the world for a life-like puppet that had been dropped into the ring. He smiled as the cords of shadow lifted him higher in the air out of reach of Son of Thorns.

  "What you gonna do now kid?" Dark Hero taunted as he deployed a newer skill of his and tossed a mass of shadowy black flames down into the ring. Thorns dodged neatly as the flames ate into the ring effortlessly eating through the mat before being halted by an odd red mesh. Why was the mesh stopping it? His lesser obliterate should be able to eat through most things. Was he low on mana? That should be impossible. He tried to check his sheet and-








  Blinded and staggering by a flood of errors and a feeling like there was a grinding gearbox in his brain Hero staggers and cries out in agony blinking away tears of pain. There was another *thoom* and suddenly he found himself face to face with Son of Thorns again. The young man stabbed for his face, only for the long blade to bounce off a crystal shield that appeared between them. Thorns snarled as he tumbled back to the stadium below, but Hero froze.

  That skill was only activated to stop a fatal blow from killing an ally. It shouldn't have activated to save him, not only because it shouldn't work that way, but he was suppose to be immortal. Since it activated that meant he was mortal and he'd just nearly died!

  All the blood drained from his features as he saw Son of Thorns carving a new rune and could see his loyal puppet still bogged down in the crowd. There was only one reasonable thing to do in such an unexpected situation. Using his shadow silk supports he dove down towards the ring, aiming for a certain object. Thorns broke off his carving and danced back obviously expecting an attack. Instead Dark Hero grabbed the dangling microphone.

  "I quit! I forfeit! I concede defeat!"

  Suddenly you could hear a pin drop. Then the crowd spoke up, booing and jeering with gusto. Son of Thorns looked around as if he was trying to figure out if it was a joke or not. Dark Hero frankly didn't care, he was too busy freaking out as he looked at his many oozing wounds. He'd lost a lot of blood was he about to bleed out? Was he about to die anyways!? Was he too-? He was whisked away with a light popping sound as the jeers and boos didn't stop.

  "Well that was an unexpected ending there." Randy stated seemingly baffled.

  "Indeed Randy," Murder Bot nodded, "It seems something about that crystal shield that appeared filled the Dark Hero with fear. I wonder what that shield means as it seemed to act in his benefit."

  "Well either way it seems that Son of Thorns has managed to redeem his defeat for a victory!" Randy sang finding his balance again, "It might not have been the most glorious of victories, but a win is a win right kid?"

  The crowd seemed to disagree as they chanted, "BULLLSHIT! BULLLLSHIT!" which seemed to make the frown on Son of Thorns face grow deeper.

  "Now we're going to take a quick break to repair and re-enforce the ring, but don't be gone to long because our next fight involves a god and a monster from outside of time and space! Trust me when I say this folks you aren't going to want to miss a second of this one!"

A note from Gasmaskbro

Thanks to Anthony and Leisel Volski for letting me use Zed who's intro music was Badflower - Don't hate me

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