Completed The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

The caravan stops for the evening and prepares for a well earned rest.

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Nightmare on May 17th, 2014, 8:14 pm

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Timestamp: 30th of Spring, 514

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Syna's light settled into patterns in the night sky. Rays of light lit up her heavenly court with pinks, oranges and deep violets. Their raiments not of gold, silk and jewels but the ethereal, clouds, light and shadow. Such a display was perhaps lost on the men and women who were steadily making their way east. In their direction they saw only the deepening blue sky of dark blue, indigo and soon black. Such is the dawn of Leth.

The decision of the Master of the caravan, the lead driver, to stop for the evening was an easy one. They came along to a relatively flat clearing among the hilly terrain. It was nestled not unlike a valley between two tall hills and was large enough for the entire train. Off the road the travellers gathered and began to set up for the evening. Firewood was collected, watches were posted and dinner was started. The horses and oxen were picketed nearby and were rubbed down, checked for injury, fed and watered. The Master directed the wagons to be set in a large circle with the largest of the fires to be in the center. Truly the man was a tactician, for if they were to be attacked the caravan itself would provide cover from archers and obstacles to swordsmen. Though, fire could ruin their livelihood.

All had a job to do and all were expected to help with duties around the newly erected camp. For some gathering water from the nearby stream, others more combat oriented might guard from the tops of the hills, or protect those gathering supplies together from nearby. The Master's wife settled in to prepare food for the hungry members of her caravan.

It did not take long for the work to be done and the food to be served, a stew of beef and vegetables with travel bread. Those not assigned to watch settled down among their own fires and talked softly among themselves, telling stories or perhaps even gambling with the caravan's deck of cards. They were given free time, but they were also expected to be up for their watch in time and to stay awake for its duration. Many simply went to sleep, others more restless might do as they pleased however.

Haurence, a guard of the caravan watched over the cleft between the two valleys. He was not slated for watch until much later, but he wanted to keep his buddy company for the time being. He yawned disinterestedly as his friend yammered on about a love interest in Syliras. The man could talk boredom into stones and walls with his wailing over his affair. Give a woman your heart and she would gladly stomp it to bits, he thought as he rolled his eyes for the fifth time. But, by chance, he spotted a man apart from the caravan. What was that fellow doing?
Last edited by Nightmare on June 7th, 2014, 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Aoren on May 17th, 2014, 9:19 pm

Aoren had been traveling with the caravan for fifteen days at this point. The journey had not been an easy one but then again, treks across the vast wilderness of Mizahar never were. He had approached Leo Valini some days prior to his departure and booked passage to the coastal city of Zeltiva. Aoren was happy with that decision. It was only on the road that he realized just how ill prepared he was to face some of the dangers outside of the walls of Syliras. While they had not yet encountered any monstrosities, the land itself proved to be their greatest challenge. Wild, inhospitable and vastly unpopulated, the expanse of wilderness was a little overwhelming for someone who had scarcely ventured from the walls of the Fortress City.

Aoren had just finished pitching his tent and assembling his gear to be packed up at a moment’s notice if the need arose. He took a deep breath looking up into the dark sky amazed at all of the stars. The air was so much clearer there. It wasn’t weighted down with the presence of thousands of people all huddled together in a single structure. Running a hand through his hair he rolled his shoulders loosening them after spending a long day in the saddle. Aoren had some familiarity with horses but he certainly wasn’t the most skilled when it came to riding. He knew enough to stay in the saddle and get the horse moving forward but that was about it.

A tired huff caught his attention. Isikai, his growing companion, was huddled up inside of the Drykas man tent. The canine had spent the greater part of the day on foot keeping up with the long strides of the horses. Aoren smiled at his dog reaching over to pet him on the head fondly. The pup was growing. When Aoren had purchased him in the Great Bazaar in Syliras he’d been just big enough to stand above the young man’s ankles. Now the dog was a little bigger than that and with all of the exercise he was getting it showed. He was thankful for the hound’s companionship. Isikai proved to be rather quiet but loyal and attentive. It was something Aoren could appreciate.

Rising to his feet he looked around as the merchants, travelers, and mercenaries accompanying the caravan got settled in for the evening. Aoren would have joined them but he was feeling a bit restless after sitting immobile, stiff in the saddle for most of the day. He gave Isikai one more pat on the head which prompted the dog to glance up at him questioningly.

Just going to stretch my muscles, boy.” Grabbing his quarterstaff the Drykas man stood up walking through the encampment searching for a quiet place to practice. As he passed the groups of people he heard ghost stories. He heard a few children laughing as they clung to their parents amused at the tales. He heard merchants debating the price of goods from city to city. All around him the caravan was awash with some form of activity as people settled down for the evening. The mercenaries hired by Leo Valini to protect the travelers and his goods were setting up their watches. Aoren even received a few nods from people as he walked. Travel opened the door to injury and Aoren had used his gifts as Healer to mend what he could.

Before long Aoren had walked a small distance away from the encampment. The glow of the firelight formed a ring around the wagons. He stood just beyond it trekking up a small mound that could barely be called a hill. When he was atop it he took in the sight of the landscape. It was truly inspiring to bear witness to such grandeur. Though what he could see was limited as Leth and the stars only illuminated so much, he could appreciate what he did. Laying his quarterstaff on the ground not far out of reach he pulled off his boots resting his bare feet on the grass with a content sigh. The cool ground felt good and helped to ease the soreness of the day’s travel. Taking a deep breath he focused on the measure of his breathing.

He closed his eyes. He kept his shoulders relaxed. He straightened his back. He worked on slowly filtering out the unimportant din of noise that the echoed in the open terrain. He could hear the mercenaries chatting. He could hear the buzz of insects in the dark as they came to life. Slowly he worked on finding an inner calm where he heard all of those things without focusing on any of them. It took a few minutes of simply standing there with his eyes closed. To an observer he might have appeared strange but Aoren didn’t care. When finally he had cleared his head enough to be focused he spread his arms outward then raised them up toward the sky. Bringing the flat of his palms together he slowly lowered his arms then raised his right foot sliding it up his leg until the sole of his foot rested against his left knee.

There Aoren stood. He was a little wobbly at first as his body adjusted to the fact that he was now balancing on one foot. His form was far from perfect and he had to lean from one side to the other in order to keep himself from falling in small increments. When he’d balanced upon that foot for a good sixty seconds he switched to the other one. He worked on keeping his movements slow and fluid. He didn’t rush himself so that he could maintain his balance but even so he was little wobbly as he planted his foot having to step forward to keep from toppling over. When he was firmly situated on the ground and comfortable with his footing he repeated the motions this time balancing on the opposite leg.

He was learning that as he became more experienced in the use of the quarterstaff that the key to a disciplined technique was equal parts balance, flexibility and precision. He could only get there if he continually trained his body to maintain those levels of harmony. When he’d finished balancing on his right leg he lowered himself down reaching for his toes. Bending at the waist he grabbed his ankles feeling the muscles in his lower back, his calves and his thighs stretch. He held that position as long as it was comfortable then slowly rose back into a standing position. Finally he extended his right leg in a slow lunge raising his arms above his head doing his best to keep his body limber and balanced.


NoteRambling! Rambling for everyone!
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Nightmare on May 24th, 2014, 12:53 am

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The spirits were high that evening. Not quite a score of days a very little to be said for the journey. Uneventful even. Leo, the Master of the caravan, even went so far to boast that spring was easily the best time to travel. That their travels were blessed by Aqurias himself. So off duty guardsmen clumped together, joked, ate and enjoyed their free time. The wagon drivers spoke of omens on the road that foretold good tidings. As such most of the camp completely dismissed Aoren's exercises. It was not uncommon for guardsmen or travellers to do bits of warm up and practice on the road. Keeping one's skills in shape was often important to one's survival in lieu of civilization.

Haurence left his friend and made his way down to the camp. Moments later the guardsmen had a bowl of stew and was accompanied by a different friend to watch the unusual man and his unusual tactics for staying sharp. The food was always good, the misses had a way with spices and it complimented the flatbread nicely. The two, the man dressed in leathers and a bookish fellow chatted softly as they lounged against a wagon, watching Aoren.

There was a chance that Aoren could hear them, and if he did they would say things like: "So what do you think, Theo? Ex-squire? Mercenary?" or "Nah, I bet he is a courier. Those stretches are for limbs and stuff. I once knew a runner who was slippery as an eel, could hop through any hole and ledges, even 30 feet up and come out unscathed. That guy did those kinds of stretches. Keeps em limber ya know." Or perhaps even, "So do you want to or should I? I think you have a better chance, I am no good with a sword. Maybe he won't even if you asked."

The pair didn't seem to have any hostility in their stares, merely curiosity. Perhaps there was a tinge of eagerness, but that could easily be for their food. They were either patient or not bold enough to go through with what they were planning. They let Aoren finish his stretches before the taller of the two, the man in leathers strode up to the young man.

"Hail, friend." He smiled broadly, his teeth fairly straight and white, "Do you have a moment?" He paused a moment before continuing, "My buddy and I were wondering if you were up for a sparring match. You seem to be the sort to have some... experience." He looked Aoren up and down a moment, "We could even do a friendly wager or something. If you're interested." His buddy, the bookish fellow came up behind the guardsmen with a mousey smile as the two waited for Aoren's response.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Aoren on May 25th, 2014, 1:07 pm

Aoren could hear bits and pieces of the conversation going on not far behind him. He didn’t pay much of it any attention. Though he was moderately practiced at the art of meditation and focus he wasn’t so advanced that he could completely tune out the world around him. Then again as he thought about it he didn’t feel that tuning out the world of the wilderness would be such a good idea. As he stood upright he heard the pound of boots in the grass that told him someone was about to approach him. Turning slightly he came face to face with one of the men who was obviously a caravan guard.

Evening.” He gave a polite nod of his head then listened to the proposal. It had been quite some time since Aoren had entertained the idea of a sparring match. More often than not people preferred the use of a weapon over hand to hand combat. He supposed it made sense in a way. Why use your fists when you could use a weapon to cause far greater damage and end the conflict quicker? Aoren had never been one for violence and bloodshed. He was no stranger to fighting he merely did not seek them out. However, there was no harm in engaging in a little bit of friendly sport. He certainly was a little rusty when it came to putting what he knew into actual practice.

I think that sounds like a great way to pass the time.” The more he thought about it the more the idea of a sparring match sounded exactly like something he needed. It would be a good way to stretch his muscles. Not only that but it would also be an excellent way to put into practice his acrobatic skills as well. Aoren wasn’t much of a gambler. In all of his life he could count the number of times he’s made a wager on one hand. Rubbing his chin he took stock of the two men in front of him. Aoren didn’t consider himself anywhere near capable of taking on two opponents at once but he wasn’t completely without skill. But, what was the harm?

A wager? What sort of wager were you thinking of?” There were all sorts of bets that could be made. Most people preferred the route of money. It made sense. Money was tangible. It was something that held an intrinsic value. With enough it could open doors or lead to the purchase of something worthwhile. There was also the betting of favors, the notion of being indebted to someone else. That wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. Aoren had heard some of the mercenaries betting shifts or exchanging patrols for either more rest time, an evening with someone special, or more food. If there was a god who dealt in the realm of gambling and wagers he supposed that deity would be quite an entertaining being to behold.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Nightmare on June 7th, 2014, 9:47 am

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The large guardsman's smile widened, if that were possible, and gave a look to his companion. The bookish fellow nodded and took the lead, "Just some jink, you know, Mizas. Coppers, silvers, golds. If you are feeling cautious, we can start with coppers and test the waters, so's to speak, and if you can't match our bet we can bet other things. If ya will it young master I can cast a spell over the weapons that way Haurence here won't cut your pretty face and leave no handsome scars. Same goes for him." The man said with an earnest few could fake. The apparent mage did not seem your typical wizard. He was perhaps middle aged, short and balding with a thin frame and a stooped back. He wore plain clothes, clean and cut in the latest fashion, but fairly unremarkable.

Some of the nearest off duty guardsmen peered over at the three curiously. They made no move to leave their campfire nor abandon their drink, but a few watched with amused interest. It certainly was not out of the question that these two before Aoren had tried this proposal before. In any case the big man struck out a hand for him to shake, "Name's Haurence and this mystic man of the arcane arts" He said the last part with the exaggerated inflection of cheerful and gentle mocking, "Is called Theovan." The eager wizard did not offer to shake the other's hands, but smiled wide and bobbed his head.

Theovan continued explaining the game that they had in mind, "So what we do is draw a circle in the dirt and you two choose your weapons. I'll enchant them so that if you manage a blow it won't scrape or slice, nor get dull and dented. Just need a bit of hair s'all and to see each of your weapons then I can cast m'spell. Then whoever gets pushed out of the circle, loses their weapon or gets hit where it would make a wound if it weren't warded, you lose the wager. Two out of three o'course." Then the mage scratched his bare head thoughtfully, "Don't have to use a weapon, I suppose. But I'm not an Isur, don't need watching two grown men rolling in the dirt if its all the same to you young Master."

If Aoren gave any sort of assent to these plans the pair of odd men would shoo him away to get whatever he wanted to fight with and start clearing out a space for them to fight. In a quick couple ticks Haurence had a serviceable circle and Theovan was busy working on the big man's long sword. Any aurist would see a blue fabric like magic extruding from the man's palm, but to anyone else it looked like his hands were causing the sword to shimmer like the air over stone on a hot summer day.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Aoren on June 11th, 2014, 7:18 pm

I have no aversion to scars, Sir but I can see the sense in warding weapons. Especially out in the middle of the wilderness.” He gave the two men a nod as he folded his arms over his chest. Taking Haurence’s hand he shook it firmly then inclined his head to Theovan. A wizard. The whole of the trip Aoren hadn’t revealed to anyone that he was also a practitioner of the arcane and he aimed to keep it that way. He wasn’t necessarily a secretive man but there was no sense in revealing all that he knew and was capable of if he could avoid it. On that note he blinked at Theovan. The man certainly didn’t seem out of the ordinary or what one would expect for a mage, then again neither was Aoren.

You can call me, Aoren.” As he spoke he reached for his Djed pulling it to his eyes. With a blink he invoked his abilities with Auristics focusing on Theovan. Outwardly he seemed to be considering the two men’s proposed game when really he was studying the intricacies of this wizard’s aura. He focused for a few moments furrowing his brow looking as if he were considering the offer. All the while he was peering into the swirl of colors that wove around Theovan. Aoren was far from skilled enough with the Discipline of Sight to make any sound judgment calls from a simple cursory glance alone. He was brushed with feelings of sincerity, amusement and curiosity before he passed his gaze over to Haurence. The same feelings could be found rising up from the guardsman but Aoren could hardly be certain that anything he was gleaning from his second sight was genuine. He still needed a great deal of practice with the craft.

I will put down five silver mizas. That seems a fair way to gain a bit of excitement out of this sport.” He blinked and with that he released his hold on his Djed. Prolonged uses of Auristics were still well outside Aoren’s ability to do. He was still tentatively wading into the waters of the discipline. There was still much he needed to learn with it.

If it’s all the same to you I will be using a quarterstaff, other than my own two fists I don’t have much skill with other weapons.” He wasn’t an unlearned hand-to-hand fighter but he certainly could do with some improvement. With that he gave the two a slight nod then turned to jog back to his tent. It wasn’t too far but he did catch a few curios glances from others as he made his way there. No doubt word had already begun to circulate around this side of the encampment that a little bit of fun was about to go down. Aoren didn’t mind. The tedious monotony of travelling day in and day out undoubtedly weighed down on many people. It would do good to give them a bit of entertainment. Whether Aoren came out richer or poorer because of it, didn’t matter to him. Truth be told, he needed the change of pace as well.

Going inside his tent he pat his dog on the head. The canine peered at him curiously opening one eye with a slight raise of his ears before seemingly going back to sleep. Grabbing his pack he rummaged through it pulling out the pouch he kept his money in. Opening it he retrieved five silver mizas to start with. If he ended up owing the guardsman more he would retrieve the rest when the time came to pay up. Aoren grabbed his quarterstaff then jogged back to where Haurence and Theovan waited. Being a Shielder himself it wasn’t hard for Aoren to recognize when the discipline was being used. How else were they going to ward the weapons? He didn’t comment on what he saw choosing to let the wizard keep to his work.

I would ask that you not be so heavily armored during our bout. I have only the clothes on my back. It’s only fair we level that playing field, wouldn’t you say?” Aoren gave Haurence a friendly smile. He reached up plucking a hair from his head handing it to Theovan along with his quarterstaff. He then waited for the wizard to finish his Shielding before surveying the area where he and Haurence were going to spar.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Nightmare on June 20th, 2014, 9:22 am

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"Truley a pleasure, young master Aoren." Theovan said with another head bob. The balding man probably thought it was a serviceable bow or something. Aoren's modest auristic abilities did not seem to reveal all that much of the wizard. Like most living auras it was large and complex. Swirls of colors and sensations , of... presence and existence, and emotions and impressions. Such things would be overwhelming for any novice aurist, particularly if he delved to far into the aura.. This, like any mage's aura, was larger and more complicated still. One thing was apparent to even a novice aurist, that magic twisted the aura, grew it in some ways, but deformed it in others. Perhaps in time Aoren would learn just how each twist in the aura determined what sort of magic they practiced. This particular aura seemed... bloated, but squashed. Like something that was used to constraints, at least on a surface level. The aura seemed to skitter about with a bird like curiosity and had similar bird like tendencies.

Haurence on the other hand seemed to be like the most average humans. A dab smaller than Theovan, he made up for it with a layered structure. It was sturdy, the stuff of soldiers and mercenaries. Standard, average even, for one in his profession. The only thing truly apparent to his aura was the edge that ran beneath the surface; that, despite his jovial amusement, he was still there on the job.

But only so much could be gleaned from a surface level impression from a novice Aurist.

"Put down 5 for you to win, or for me?" Haurence asked with a mischievous grin. He said it in such a way that it came off as a tease, not an honest question. The man nodded to his opponent's decision and gave the man a calculating look before his smiling expression returned. "A fine weapon, takes skill to wield one properly. Anyone can swing a sword around after all." He chuckled as he waited on Theovan to use his own hair in the magic. And then he nodded back to Aoren and fixed up the fighting circle.

By the time Aoren returned Theovan was finished with the magic and was eager to work on the quarterstaff. He took the two proffered items and went to work, weaving the djed of Aoren into the shield. He then made another layer over it, only visible to an aurist or another mage, and seemed to... weave the djed of the weapons into it's opponent's shield. As the mage worked he chatted with another guardsman who wandered over to watch the proceedings. As Aoren walked up he could be heard saying, "...and so the tent fell over them both and the "Courtesan" comes crawling out madder than a cat wet from a bucket of ice water, turns out the Sunberthian girl was no girl at all! Think of it! He bought a boy dressed as some pretty lady, lipstick and all!" The two were laughing riotously, though this did not seem to impact his ability to weave his magic.

The guardsmen nodded, "Wise words, Aoren. But its a given." He smiled, perhaps a bit smugly at the request. Haurence tugged of his hide armor in a few quick motions and stood in a woolen shirt and pants. He then made a display of the locale of interest and made a finely executed bow with a flourish. The cleared area was not much to look at. Their valley was only sparsely occupied with trees, so it was no challenge to move windblown debris out of the way. In the dirt, grass and leaves Haurence had made very deep and obvious furrows in the shape of a circle. "So here we are....and it looks like ol' Theo is finished." He said as the balding wizard came up with the weapons. "Here ya, should keep you safe enough, but if you see notches on yer blades or stick give me a holler and I'll patch the ward right up." He handed the staff to Aoren and the longsword to the guard.

Haurence immediately took the sword and made a quick swing at Aoren's leg. If allowed to connect, the weapon would bounce off harmlessly, a blue light flashing around the edge of the shield that made contact. If the weapon is blocked, the two weapons would glow blue at the contact point briefly before fading away. "Theo does excellent work with warding. Never failed so far!" He said with another mischievous grin. "Alright, so here is my five silvers" He tossed the five silver rimmed mizas in the center of the circle and then stood opposite to Aoren, awaiting him in the circle.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Aoren on June 23rd, 2014, 12:12 am

Several thoughts passed through Aoren’s head as he pondered on the differences between Theovan and Haurence’s auras. There was certainly a significant amount of knowledge to be gleaned from just that simple observation. Aoren however was far from adept enough to really know what there was to be learned. It was one of the reasons he was venturing to Zeltiva. Aoren was now a practitioner of too many disciplines to continue on in so much ignorance. It was one of the reasons he was venturing to Zeltiva. There at the University lay his hopes for a proper education on the realm of magic. Through his work at that esteemed center of knowledge he hoped to better himself. Only time would tell whether or not it was a wise endeavor.

Everything seems in order.” Aoren examined his quarterstaff as it was handed to him by Theovan. He held it up with both hands looking over the wood. Calling upon his Djed once more he steadied himself as he focused his attention on the staff in front of him. With a blink of his eyes slowly the shimmering weave of the Shield that glistened around the wood of the staff came into view.

He did not concentrate so hard that he could discern the exact properties of the Shield. Regardless, such a feat would require time and concentration beyond what he was capable of giving at the moment. Structurally though the Shield appeared fine. He released his hold on his Djed just as the sword came swinging at his leg. Dropping one end of his staff Aoren planted it blocking the swing. He watched the Shield flare then gave an appreciative nod to Theovan. As a Shielder himself he could appreciate another mage’s work.

Taking his silver mizas he tossed them into the center of the circle alongside his opponents. Without hesitation he stepped into the circle. As he did he slid his hand to the center of the quarterstaff slanting his wrist so that the blunt weapon was angled diagonally at his side. He immediately dropped into a more defensive stance. The key to wielding a quarterstaff was to realize that it wasn’t a weapon made for dramatic offense. Through a combination of careful acrobatics and disciplined control it was designed more for blunt trauma, deflection and evasion as opposed to lethality.

Gods smile on you, Haurence.” He gave the man a bow of his head before zeroing in on his opponent’s stance. He began the slow trek around the circle keeping a measured pace even with Haurence. The Drykas man made a point to be on the lookout for what would be the mercenary’s first move. Would he charge? Would he feint left or right? Would he wait for Aoren to attempt the first strike. It wasn’t a move that Aoren chose often as he was more prone to gauge his opponent’s abilities first before moving into the thick of the conflict. However this spar turned out, he was glad he agreed to it. Already his senses were on alert and he was ready to go.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Nightmare on July 8th, 2014, 11:13 am

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At this point there was a handful of people watching on with interest. Diversions and entertainment were very important when the land itself conspired to destroy you. If one dwelled on it too much they might well suffer from paranoia and panic attacks. The danger was very real, but sometimes it took two been beating on each other to keep the people's minds off the oppressive threat of the wilderness.

Haurence returned the bow with another mischievous smile. The man seemed confident, his head and posture upright. He simply... stood there for a moment, his longsword in hand, watching Aoren. For a moment at least. He then set into a stance. The guard seemed completely focused on his opponent, looking at Aoren's little movements.

Then the guard went on the offensive.

His entire body seemed to shift focus, perhaps it was the stance or perhaps it was something far more innate. The man however did not charge, he edge closer instead, testing his opponent. He attempted to come in close to deliver a dramatic swipe, probably knowing full well that it would be blocked by his opponent's quick reflexes.

And then the crowd began to make noise. Enough people had gathered about that their shouts might have been distracting if one was not ready for them. Things like "Go for his legs!" Or "Stop stalling and attack!" or the ever helpful "Get him!". And Haurence was not one to disappoint his audience. He threw himself into another dramatic attack, a reckless one, but one that might have enough strength and speed to get through his opponent's defenses and land a strike on his legs. It seemed that for the most part, this sparring was not for the money, but the audience.

All the while Theovan watched with a big smile, acting as judge and referree at the edge of the circle.
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The Evening's Entertainment [Aoren]

Postby Aoren on July 10th, 2014, 4:45 pm

Haurence was no amateur. That much was obvious to Aoren the more he studied his movements. The way the mercenary assessed his own posture told Aoren that this man had seen more than his fair share of combat. The question remained whether or not he outstripped Aoren in his capabilities.

Not that he would have to be very skilled to do so…

Aoren was not the most pristine fighter in the world. There had been and likely always would be warriors capable of overpowering him simply by sheer mastery of their weaponry. He was not unskilled but there was certainly a lot that he needed to improve upon in the way of discipline. Aoren did his best to make no outward sign that he was watching Haurence like a hawk. As soon as the mercenary dropped into his stance Aoren braced himself. He moved to match his steps in tandem with Haurence’s. When the warrior stepped right, Aoren stepped left. When he stepped left, Aoren stepped right. It was the dance of two opponents gauging the strengths and weaknesses of each other.

Then Haurence went in for his first strike.

The blade of the longsword swung toward Aoren’s midsection. It was a straightforward assault that was relatively easy to see coming. Tightening his grip on his quarterstaff, Aoren braced one side of the staff bringing it up at an angle to block the attack. The sword bounced harmlessly off the Shield constructed by Theovan. Aoren was again impressed by the Shielder’s cleverness. Their cautious dance it seemed was not enough to satisfy the gathering crowd. Those who had begun to gather around their circle were eager to see the two locked in a fearsome struggle. It looked like Haurence was about to oblige them. Aoren naturally decided that he had best put on a good show as well.

Let’s make this fun instead of a chore.

The Drykas man smirked as Haurence charged him. His movement was reckless. He was running at Aoren head-on which meant that he could be easily side-stepped. Deciding against that course of action, Aoren instead grounded himself planting his feet and angling his body away from Haurence. He quickly slid the hand grasping his quarterstaff toward the upper end planting it into the ground directly in the path of the blade so that his and Haurence’s weapons would impact. The moment the mercenary’s blade struck his staff Aoren brought up a hand thrusting it forward to catch Haurence on the shoulder with a forceful shove using the flat of his palm.

Aoren would admit that this was a risky gambit. Depending on whether or not he managed to catch Haurence in an unbalanced enough stride he might be able to cause the mercenary to stumble backwards. Or Haurence could just charge right through Aoren’s attempt at a more grounded stance rendering his maneuver completely ineffectual.

This…is going to be interesting.
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