Kratos suspicions ring true when Asura bursts from within the pile of rubble with renewed fury and charges the Spartan in a headlong rush. Asura draws one arm back, balls a tight fist and lunges forward. Kratos defends with the Blades of Exile. The resounding clang stings his ears. Asura pushes hard. Kratos’ sandals grind against the ground as he fights to hold his opponent back. Cords of muscle knot in his back and arms. Kratos calls upon his preternatural strength and shoves back hard. Asura counters the resistance, digs his feet and shoves hard. He sends Kratos bowling across the ground. Devouring the ground with his stride, Asura grabs Kratos by his face just before he slams into the canyon wall. Asura does it himself instead. He then takes off running, carving a trench in the rock and dirt with Kratos’ head and body. After some distance, Asura digs his feet, tightens his shoulders and hurls the Spartan general into the opposite of the canyon. Asura leaps up after Kratos when he slams high into the wall. He thrusts forward a powerful punch. A loud clang resonates followed by a flash of gold. Asura looks to see that his fist struck the golden armor on his opponent’s right arm. Kratos glares back, his face twisted with anger. Finding purchase with his feet, he rams a curved blade into Asura. He can feel his strength being renewed as the Blade of Exile siphons Asura’s strength. The Golden Fleece on his arm added to this effect. Using the stolen power, Kratos shoves Asura’s fist aside with the Golden Fleece, grabs him by his throat and slams his face into the canyon wall while he pulled the blade free. He then stabs the blade into the rock, grabs a handful of white hair and repeatedly bashes Asura’s head into the wall, with each strike harder than the last. Kratos tosses Asura into the air. Bunching his legs under him, he shoots himself from the canyon wall. He wraps a burly hand around Asura’s neck, whips him around and hurls him to the ground.
Asura slams on his shoulders and rolls to a combative stance. He glares back at the man with the bone white skin. Kratos spreads his arms wide and a set of wings magically appear across his back and shoulders. The Icarus Wings, torn from the back of Icarus, the son of the architect Daedalus, have aided Kratos during his quest on the Island of Fate where he fought and killed the Sisters of Fate. He holds himself aloft for a moment and with a thrust of his mighty arms, he dives down like a falcon. In anger, Asura grinds his teeth. He does not know who this man is but, he is in the way of him rescuing his daughter. He must end this fight if he wants to save Mithra from any more suffering. Asura adjusts his stance and prepares to engage. He throws forward a punch. Seeing Kratos bring the Golden Fleece forth, Asura changes tactics. At the last second, he opens his hand and grabs the golden armor. Asura may not be the best tactician but he is able to catch onto a pattern when he sees one. Twice before Kratos has used this strange armor against him. He will not be fooled a third time. Asura then begins squeezing the armor. Since Kratos favors this armor so much, Asura will just crush it along with his arm. The moment after Kratos lands on his feet he attempts to plunge the blade in his left hand into Asura but Asura anticipates the attack and grabs Kratos by the arm guard by which the chains are attached to. He squeezes this arm as well. Without them, his opponent can no longer fight.
Kratos fights back. He moves and twists in an attempt to break Asura’s grasp. Asura counters and squeezes harder. The two men growl and snarl at each other as they fight each other’s strength. Asura tightens his grip, but Kratos needn’t worry too much. Asura can squeeze all he wants. The Golden Fleece is indestructible. It withstood the might of the King of Olympus. It is rumored that not even a Titan’s immense power can destroy it. As for the chains that bind the Blades of Exile to Kratos and the blades themselves, forged by the Smith God Hephaestus, they can withstand even the mightiest of godly might. Kratos flips the blade in his right hand so it points at Asura’s throat. The muscles in the Golden Fleece clad arm bulge as he pushes back. If Asura slips, the serrated blade will pierce his neck. When Asura resists, Kratos drives a knee into groin, forcing Asura to came eye to eye with the blade’s edge. Asura stands and again he is brought down with another knee to the groin. Kratos drives another knee and another and another until pain began to show on Asura’s face. Not he can hold out against such testicular torture. Kratos seizes the moment and thrusts the blade forward but Asura holds it back. The tip just grazes his nose. From this kneeling position, Asura no longer had the necessary leverage to overpower his opponent. However, he does improvise. He shoves Kratos left arm aside long enough for him to deliver a blow to his groin as well. A second shot has Kratos wincing with pain. Asura quickly stands, gets his footing, and slams Kratos on the ground with a shoulder toss. However, he makes one crucial error. Asura lets go of the Golden Fleece. He attempts to stomp him in his chest when Kratos uses the fleece to stop Asura’s foot. Kratos shoves the foot aside, rolls to his feet and delivers a punch that sends Asura bowling across the ground before he slams into the canyon wall.
It took a moment for the loud clang that rang out beforehand to register in Kratos’ mind. He looks at the end of his extended arm to see it clad in a large silver gauntlet. He brings up his other hand to see it’s donning its twin. Kratos examines the lion headed gauntlets. He immediately recognizes them. They are the Nemean Cestus, named so for the beast supposedly killed by the legendary hero Hercules. Last Kratos heard, the Nemean Cestus were in Hercules’ possession, fashioned from the impenetrable fur of the Nemean lion after felling the beast. How Kratos came into possession of them he is not sure, but he does suspect that Athena has something to do with it. Though he has angst toward her for her role in dethroning him as God of War, Athena has always taken a shine to him and still provides him aid. Kratos looks over the lion headed gauntlets, wondering what Athena is to gain from helping him in his quest to kill Zeus. He dismisses the question almost immediately. He has no time for trivial nonsense. If Kratos desires to murder the King of Olympus then he must complete Athena’s task. And these Nemean Cestus gauntlets, Kratos thinks as he drops into a battle stance and holds the lion gauntlets up with their mouths open in silent roar, will serve him well in that desire.
Rock and dirt shift as Asura stands to his feet and glowers at Kratos. He sees the lion headed gauntlets that now cover the forearm and fists of the man with the bone white skin. He doesn’t care where they came from or the fact that he has them. All that matters to him is saving his daughter Mithra and ending the reign of the Seven Deities and he’ll crush anyone who stands in his way, even this stranger with ash colored skin. Knotting the muscle in his legs, Asura crouches low and shoots himself at Kratos. He drives forward a fist and clashes with the Nemean Cestus gauntlets. Asura repels the one gauntlet and clashes with the other. Anger swells in Asura and he begins launching a barrage of flying fists. Kratos uses the impervious skin of the Nemean Cestus gauntlets to stave off Asura’s ferocious onslaught. The vibrations of each strike shook the Spartan to his core. His muscles pulsate as if he is being pounded by a waterfall. He holds his ground even though he is slowly being pushed back. Kratos has to wait out his opponent for a chance to counterstrike. Asura draws back for a blow that could break Kratos’ defenses. Kratos seizes the moment. He drops his right shoulder in time for the Golden Fleece to absorb the power of the blow and channel it into Kratos. Kratos drives a lion headed gauntlet into Asura’s gut and the other in across his jaw. As Asura bowls across the ground, Kratos draws one arm back and thrusts it forward. The lion’s head of the Nemean Cestus detaches from the rest of the gauntlet, tethered by a chain. The lion’s jaws chomp on Asura’s ankle and Kratos yanks him back, leaps, and drives Asura into the ground with the other gauntlet. The Spartan warrior sets about viciously pounding his opponent with the indestructible gauntlets, putting more power into each blow. After one more skull crushing bash, Kratos grabs Asura by his head with the lion jaws and casts him high into the air. He then leaps up afterward, uses the Icarus Wings for extra propulsion, musters up his strength as he draws an arm back and bashes Asura back to the ground. Using the Icarus Wings again, Kratos enters a power dive and drives Asura into the ground head first with a thunderous slam. He lifts the gauntlet from Asura’s face and stands over him for a moment. A finger on Asura’s left hand twitches and Kratos bashes his head in once more and waits again. This time there is no movement. He turns and walks away.
“I have completed your task Athena. Now return me to Olympus,” Kratos spoke, hoping she can hear him.
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