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If I’m a hypocrite I haven't noticed. I've never cared much for introspection. I've done my best to leave that to the bleakest of poets and the most self-pitying of vampires.
— Erskine Ravel

Erskine Ravel was one of the original four members of the Dead Men before they became an official unit. At one point he was captured by Mevolent's forces and tortured mercilessly eventually being saved by the Torment. Spending a year living with the Children of the Spider he was appalled to see the conditions they lived in and slowly began to come round to the view that sorcerers should rule over mortals. After the war with Mevolent he spent his time travelling the world with Corrival Deuce, the general in charge of the Dead Men, on diplomacy missions to convince sorcerers to further curtail magic usage. Secretly though these missions were a way for him to get in contact with sorcerers who shared his views and set the pieces for his plan.

Battle vs. Bruno Bucciarati (by Wassboss)[]

“Now hang on a second,” Ravel says, holding his hands out palms up as a sign of appeasement. The man he is gesturing to, Bruno Bucciarati, stops but keeps his Stand out just in case of a surprise attack. “There is no use in us fighting each other,” Ravel continues. “Our real enemy here is the mortals. They’re the ones who’ve screwed up this planet and we need to unite together to stop them, not squabble amongst ourselves.”

“You were snooping around and asking about the Boss’s activities,” Bruno retorts. “He doesn’t take kindly to people doing that.”

“That’s only because I know he agrees with my position. Arrange for him to speak with me and I’m sure we can straighten this whole thing out.”

“The Boss’s orders were very clear,” Bruno says and a zip opens under underneath him which he disappears into. Ravel starts scanning the ground a by-product of his many encounters with tunnellers. These instincts prove themselves useful immediately as Sticky Fingers emerges from a zipper in the ground and Ravel snaps his fingers, creating a fireball which he thrusts downwards at it. The flames lick against the Stand’s arms causing it to retreat back into the zipper but as it does Ravel is struck from behind, sending him smashing into the ground. He gets to his feet groaning and turns to see Bruno straightening up, a zipper in the wall above revealing where he had attacked from.

Flinging his palms out the air shimmers towards Bruno who leaps to the side to avoid it, coming up in a roll and launching Sticky Finger’s right hand towards Ravel as he rises. It doesn’t get anywhere near him however and it slams down hard into the ground, reflecting the attack on Bruno who falls face first on the ground. The pressure disappears as Ravel redirects the air flow, creating a vacuum around Bruno’s head in an attempt to suffocate him. His lungs burning from the lack of oxygen, Bruno manages to slip into another zipper, disappearing from sight once more.

Ravel uses the air to create a metre radius around himself to give him warning of any more attempted ambushes. He waits patiently for one minute, two minutes, three minutes but there is no sign of Bruno anywhere. As he wonders if his opponent has just decided to flee, he feels a pressure against his barrier from behind and he whirls around just in time to block a punch from Bruno as he emerges from the ground. He fires a quick-fire barrage of punches into Bruno’s gut, catching a flailing punch on the crook of his elbow and sends a column of air into his face at close range, bowling him off his feet.

Turning acrobatically in the air to land on his feet, Bruno lunges for Ravel again, sliding under another barrage of air to come up with an attempted uppercut but again Ravel blocks the attack with his forearms, swinging his leg up and booting Bruno in the groin which makes him drop to his knees in pain. Drawing his arm back, air shimmering around his fist for the final knock out blow, he feels something brush against his elbow and the next thing he knows the entirety of his lower arm plops to the floor. Glancing back over his shoulder he sees Sticky Fingers stood behind.

“Looks…like you…forgot about my Stand,” Bruno says through his gasps of pain. “I noticed you seem to control your powers via your hand movements so I figure with no arms, you can’t do anything to stop me.” As he says this Ravel’s other arm also detaches from his body. A sweat appears on Ravel’s brow and he and Bruno switch positions, he is now the one on his knees while Bruno looms above him.

“Please just let me go. I promise I won’t try and bother your Boss anymore,” Ravel says desperately. “Just reattach my arms for me and I swear you’ll never see me ever again.”

“If it were up to me, I’d let you go. But if the Boss finds out I’ve disobeyed him, then I’ll be the one who never gets seen again,” Bruno says coldly. With a cry of “ARI ARI ARI ARI ARI” he hits Ravel with a barrage of punches, splitting his body into chunks that splatter on the cobbled path.

Winner: Bruno Bucciarati

Epilogue[]

“No more inquisitions! No more inquisitions!”

Bruno turns his head towards the sound of the commotion as he walks on by. A group of protesters are stood outside the Alamein Military Library, holding pickets and chanting. The majority of them are Asian men dressed in camouflage but also amongst them is a giant of a man with an even bigger sword and a Mexican, holding a sign in one hand and a bottle of Tequila in the other (Miguel). High above them, stood on the balcony that juts out of the top of the library stands a masked figure with a beret, silently watching the gathered crowd.

“Another injustice we have to suffer in the place,” Bruno thinks to himself as he leaves the chanting behind. As he walks further and further the buildings around him slowly begin to look less run down and the houses, he passes are getting steadily bigger and bigger. Finally, on the boarder between the white-collar district and the wealthy district he reaches his destination. Stepping through the automatic doors he heads for the elevator, pressing the button for the top floor. As it glides silently up the building, Bruno can’t help but feel apprehensive, after all the last time he was riding an elevator to meet someone who has only communicated to him via messages it didn’t end well.

The doors slide open with a ping and he steps out into what looks to be an open plan office, although all the desks are empty. At the end of the room sits a large black door, guarded on either side by two men. One is heavily muscled with a metal mask covering most of his face, his red menacing eyes locked on Bruno as he approaches. The other is no less intimidating but in a different way, his bald head and broad shoulders an afterthought to the pale blue eyes that Bruno cannot look into without feeling a sense of dread. He shows none of his inner anxiety as he walks up to the door, pushing it gently open.

Up against the far wall sits a desk and at the desk sits a man, a holographic crown projecting out of the mask he is wearing. Typing something at a computer, he doesn’t look at Bruno initially as he enters. There are no other seats in the room and Bruno stands while he waits for the man to speak. After what seems like an eternity the man turns his gaze on Bruno, leaning back in his chair. “So,” he says his voice deep and reverbing “Bruno Bucciarati, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I take it you know who I am?”

“You’re the King, right?”

“I am. I’ve been here a long time. Longer than most. And in that time, I’ve been happy to sit back and watch. But I think it’s time that changed. I need to take a more active role in what goes on in this place. So, I sent out messages to those I believed could help me in achieving my goal. You were one of those people. So, I’m asking you, Bruno Bucciarati, will you join me?”

Bruno doesn’t answer immediately, his mind still whirling with all the revelations of the meeting. Part of him wants to reject the offer, after all this man is one of the users who oppresses the citizens of this city with his gleeful lust for violence. But on the other hand, having someone this powerful backing him is an alluring prospect.

“And what is in this for me, if I pledge myself to you?”

“You have already seen some of the ways I can help you. I used my influence to get you your battle and I can make sure nobody questions you allowing those other than yourself to live in your new apartment. And these are just some of my more mundane powers.”  

“And if I refuse?”

The man shrugs. “If you are not interested you will have your mind wiped and you’ll return back to your usual routine. I do not want warriors who are not committed.” A silence descends as Bruno weighs up the options before closing his eyes and giving a long sigh.

“I accept your offer.” The man rises from his seat, extending his arm to shake Bruno’s hand.

“Welcome to the King’s Guard”

Expert's Opinion[]

Bruno Bucciarati won this battle because of the versatility of his Stand the mobility options it gave him. Most voters agreed that in a straight fight Ravel's elemental magic meant he could keep Bruno at a distance and whittle him down but Sticky Fingers allowed him to easily close that gap. In close quarters he had an obvious edge as Ravel would have to keep track of two opponents at once and one punch from Sticky Fingers could open up zippers on his body. Some voters also pointed out that Ravel's magic requires the use of his hands and Bruno could easily disable them by detaching them with sticky fingers.

To see the original battle, weapons and votes, click here.

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