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A business deal goes awry

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Runaway Clams

Postby Noven on November 6th, 2014, 9:05 pm

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Nov watched as his unexpected student thought herself straight into a pit of frustration. She was struggling, the cook knew, as she was meant to. Had they been in a different time and place--somewhere safe, like Syliras perhaps, or Zeltiva--Nellie could afford taking the rest of the season, or whole years, even, to hone her self defense. To practice in the sanctity of trainee-ship, and to have experienced teachers guide her every step of the way through all the trials of mastering hand-to-hand combat. Hell, she could probably learn the finer points of sword fighting and axe juggling as well in that sort of environment, if she cared to.

But the here and now was neither a place of safety nor patience. This was the Berth, home of the lawless and the desperate. Life itself in these parts was a crash course, let alone all the other struggles it consisted of, and you either swam or you sank. The only charity to be given was a somewhat painful lesson today to prevent a much greater pain tomorrow.

Nellie seemed to understand that. She took Nov's brusque but honest methods well enough, and soon their little bet was quickly turning into a full blown drill.

This time, when Clam Girl tried to punch him, she had the anger to go with it. Which was good, even if her attack itself was a bit clumsy and predictable. The cook saw her left hand twitch before she shifted and ducked away from her right. Nellie's hand managed to graze his shoulder before he leaned completely out of the way. It wasn't the most potent of attempts, but she understood the concept and that was as good a start as any.

"Looks like you get the idea," Nov stated as he returned to center. "But if you want to pack more power in your punch, you're gonna need to rely on more than just your arms."

He pointed down at his feet, which were positioned similarly to Nellie's. They were planted shoulder width apart and one was slightly in front of the other. Between the two, he could easily shift his weight back and forth, ready to spring in any direction at a moment's notice. "When you're dealing with bigger blokes, you gotta take bigger steps. So it's important you know where and how much to move. Take too big a step and you leave yourself unbalanced. Take too little and you won't make it anywhere near."

Noven took a careful step back to lengthen the distance once more. "If you can't do anything else, the least you can bank on is moving. Don't let yourself be an easy target. Keeping moving, maintain distance, and think fast on your feet."

"If I were to take a step forward, like this," he demonstrated, planting one foot toward Nellie, "you might have to take two or three steps back, depending on how far I get and much longer my reach is. The last thing you want is to be caught by someone bigger, I'm sure you know. It's almost impossible to get out unless you've got a knife, or friends."

The cook retreated back to his former spot. "Now, if I take a step forward and attack, and you manage to get past my punch without taking damage, this would be your best chance to win." He demonstrated again, but this time in slow motion, taking one giant step first before gradually extending his arm past one side of Nellie's head. "Once you're in, you've got about a dozen ways to kill me. Especially if you have a knife but you can make do without."

Nov pointed to his eyes, nose, neck, heart, and stomach with his free hand. "All these are excellent and sometimes fatal places to land the one and only real attack you need to win. If you're using a dagger, stab away at any of these areas, nice and hard, to your heart's content. Though if you aim for the stomach, make sure to cut sideways if you can, or pull the knife back out. Makes it hurt more and leaves them to bleed out on their own."

Tilting his face a little upward, he continued his explanation while gesturing at the vein along his neck. "See the big vein there? That's the heart vein. Cut that, and your fight is good as won. If you don't have a weapon, gouge at the eyes, break the nose, or just a good old fashioned sock to the gut. All good options in the worst kinds of situations."

Oblivious to any and all discomfort the cook may have caused with such graphic descriptions, Nov returned to his regular stance again. "So, this time, use your fake and slips if you want, but we won't stop moving until either you've gotten past me, or I've caught you in a deadlock."

He didn't clarify whether this meant he was going to attack or not. That, he left up to Nellie to figure out. The last was to be kept on her toes, for this was no ordinary lesson to begin with.

"Ready, then?" Nov asked, extending at least that much courtesy before their next exercise began.

As soon as her consent was given, he would take a giant step forward with his right foot, the first of many more to come as the cook tried to force Nellie's hand. The bizarre dance would only end when he'd either herded her into a corner--a literal deadlock--or managed somehow to grab her. But he fully planned on saving physical contact from his end until he truly needed it.

Couldn't make this too easy for Clam Girl, now could he?


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Runaway Clams

Postby Nellie Hawkins on November 18th, 2014, 9:45 pm

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Nellie huffed in automatic irritation as Noven simply leaned out of the way of her lackluster attack. Though she'd been under no real illusions as to her chances of knocking him down or even out of the way, her ego would have appreciated at least a flicker of approval or admiration from her target. But even as she thought it, she realized that would have been a pointless act on his part, and would benefit neither of them.

Instead, her new instructor launched immediately into more details. Nellie did her best to follow along, mimicking his foot placement and rocking back and forth in an awkward sort of dance. Noven stepped forward, demonstrating his longer stride, and Nellie found that she did need two steps backward to match his one. He stepped back, and her brow furrowed as she tried to commit the rush of new information to memory.

He slowly closed the distance once more, pressing an arm toward her in mock-attack until his fist had reached the space next to her head. Nellie didn't flinch this time; knowing that the man was moving and also that he wasn't aiming to hit her allowed her to pay more attention to the mechanics of the move.

On the offensive, he had stepped in and moved to hit at the same time. If he'd been moving at speed, Nellie knew she'd have been surprised and probably unable to follow both actions at once. In fact, she'd been caught unawares like that before, to her own harm. In the moment, she hadn't spared much thought for the whys and hows, being more occupied with simply trying to break free. But if, as now, she'd been expecting the move, been able to keep herself out of arm's reach, the attack might never have reached a critical point.

A hand raised, absentmindedly, to touch the scar on her collarbone, now hidden beneath her shirt. The memory of her near-miss the night her parents died chased away any lingering trace of self-consciousness or reluctance. Eyes. Nose. Neck. Chest. Gut. She fixed the knowledge into her mind, feeling determined that it would be there the next time she needed it. Flinching slightly at the graphic injuries Noven suggested, she nevertheless had a very satisfying mental flash of her past attacker, his face bloodied and broken, lying in the alley writhing in pain as she made her escape.

She smiled tightly at Noven as he stepped back once more, not quite able to shake the vindictive image from her vision. "Ready."

But she wasn't, quite, and when he began to move a sliver of surprise ran through her. She scrambled a bit, finding her footing a step later and retreating back into the interior of the orphanage. Further from the door. Her mouth compressed into a grim line and she realized that, if all she managed to do was stay out of his reach, she'd end up clear on the other side of the room, nowhere near her target.

Noven hadn't gone into any detail about how to stay away from an attacker and get around them at the same time, other than to try to injure them, but Nellie thought fast. If she could increase the distance between them, she could try to circle around, maybe switch their positions and make a run for the door? It was disorienting, retreating fast enough to keep Noven a safe distance away, keeping her feet in unfamiliar surroundings, and trying to form a plan that would allow her to win without any potentially dangerous physical contact. Noven wasn't letting up, either, pursuing her with a single-minded speed that would have been unnerving enough by itself, if she'd had time to focus on it.

Without turning around, Nellie realized she was very close to being trapped, backed into a wall caught. Panicked, she stepped to the side, trying to keep ahead of Noven and maneuver herself closer to the door at the same time.

"Petch!" The word dripped from her mouth as she realized that her brilliant sideways move had been a stupid one, losing her precious distance; she was no longer backing toward the wall, but now found herself dangerously close to Noven's advancing form.

(oocFeel free to take reasonable liberties in the interest of moving this forward. I'm awful at combat threads and pacing them. Apologies.)
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Runaway Clams

Postby Noven on November 25th, 2014, 2:53 am

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He had noted the distant look of memory that swam briefly across her features, as well as the thoughtful brush against what he could only assume to be an old wound of some kind beneath her shirt. Though, nostalgia did little in terms of hindering her learning. The lass was attentive enough, and as soon as she absorbed whatever information Noven offered, her mind was awhir once more.

Which led to one, simple conclusion: Nellie the Clam Girl was a thinker.

The cook knew she had to be. Anyone in her position would. Mostly alone, it would seem, no partners in the trade. And, having chosen neither the path of violence, thievery, nor prostitution--not to his knowledge anyway--placed most of her hopes for survival in the finicky nature of business.

The girl had guts, Nov gave her that. She didn't try to weasel her way out of the situation by pleading and batting her lashes. And it seemed she was legitimately trying to run a business in a city that lived almost solely off of crime. Nellie may not have possessed the usual sort of brawn or venom required for staying alive in the Berth, but she did have brains. Brains tended to go well with guts in a place like this, where having too much of one over the other tended to get you killed.

Clam Girl proved as much when she took one look toward where Noven was gradually herding her and decided to step sideways. She'd been keeping as much distance as possible between them in such closely confined quarters, but had given that up to avoid a certain trap. It wasn't the most well planned of moves. Yet, not the worst either. Nellie still had plenty of options left, though the cook said nothing of it.

Instead, he showed her.

Still saving any physical confrontation for last, Nov decided to give Clam Girl a hint, briefly slowing his advance. He reached out mid-step to grip the edge of one of the mess hall benches. It was long and rectangular, coming up to about his knees and made of dark, worn wood. Then Noven yanked it behind him and moved on to grab another, effectively creating a part-barrier, part-obstacle course in his wake.

"Haven't got all day, Clam Girl," the cook grinned as he dragged another bench parallel to the first. "Best try to make it past me before my stomach makes me impatient."

If Nellie was the type to think, then it was time they pushed her to be more resourceful. Nine out of ten opponents she was most likely to face in the future were going to be bigger and stronger. Which meant that if the lass wanted any reasonable chance of either escaping or winning, she would need to be able to not only act under pressure, but think as well.

Nov had few doubts she could handle both. Nellie had survived this long on her own; she'd clearly made it out of scraps in one piece before. But he was no ordinary adversary. If she could get past him without being caught or brought down, the cook might be able to sleep a little easier later that night.

He had so much blood on his hands already...perhaps this simple act could wash away even just a tiny portion of it.

The furniture was her first hint. He'd never dictated that they were off limits, and he was making blatant use of them now, probably to no real effect other than showing her what was possible. Nov still had every intention of cornering her in a dead end, but his plan was by no means infallible. There were a dozen different ways Nellie could wriggle herself out of this, probably more for a non-thug, thinking type like herself, and he was continuing to withhold from using offensive measures.

For now, anyway. But, as her second hint suggested, there was something of a time limit. If Nellie didn't decide to act soon, Nov would free himself from his own restraints and come after her in earnest.


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Runaway Clams

Postby Nellie Hawkins on November 25th, 2014, 3:40 am

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It was a tense retreat; Nellie hated it. The idea of impending violence, even if it was only implied, was working on her nerves more than the actual thing ever had. Confronted with serious attackers, serious threat, reactions took over and kept her brain, thankfully, out of the equation. Noven's tactic was forcing her to think about what was happening, what could happen, and to plan on the fly. In her eyes, it was a test she was failing. Skirting the walls was getting her almost literally nowhere, and her would-be instructor was giving no quarter, closing the gap.

But slower. And then he was grabbing benches, sliding them out of place as he passed, taunting her. His mockery served dual purposes; the added pressure of time reared its head, obviously. Of course Noven wouldn't spend all evening pacing her around the room. That wasn't the point of this little exercise, though Nellie was fairly certain she still didn't understand just why he was bothering at all.

His words, the fact that he had both time and the arrogance to utter them showed her just how much he thought of her efforts so far. Though, in other circumstances, she wouldn't have given a flying pail of rat shyke for his opinion, it pricked her pride just now. Her jaw clenched, eyes flashing in temper, but she held her tongue, saving her breath and evaluating what she'd witnessed. The uneven placement of the benches Noven had dragged aside had sparked the beginnings of an idea. Clearly furnishings were not off-limits, and were, apparently, encouraged.

Alright.

Dark eyes flicked quickly around the room, searching for something she might use to her advantage. The tables were almost certainly going to be too heavy, and her race through the streets had proven she wasn't nearly as adept at Noven as hurdling things. So no sense trying to scramble over those. Benches? Maybe. They were smaller, and presumably lighter. But to throw them in her path, she'd have to turn her back on Noven, and she was loathe to do that. Mild panic rose as her options dwindled.

Orphans. There were a few small imps still playing spectator to her embarrassment, cleaning duties abandoned for the moment. Though she couldn't throw them at the man, their presence did inspire another idea. Buckets and rags lay mostly unattended, an old and shabby-looking broom leaned against the wall a few feet away. Nellie seized on the object, steps quickening until her hand snaked out to grab the errant cleaning tool and use it to her advantage.

Once she had her hands around the workworn handle, she suffered a moment's hesitation. As an obstacle, it was puny. Thrown to the floor, it would be all to easy to step over the slender length of wood, and Noven would be no more delayed than if she'd sneezed at him. A weapon, then, if one she was entirely unfamiliar with.

Swinging the broom around, Nellie gripped the handle tightly with both hands; she held it there, awkwardly, feet moving almost instinctively backward, shuffling her away from Noven. Indecision stayed her hand longer than it should have, but the earlier taunt still rang in her ears: haven't got all day, clam girl. It was no less infuriating for being only an echo in her mind, and Nellie swung the broom in the air, aiming for Noven, wanting to smash at the words, if not the man.

Midswing she realized her newest problem. The weight of the broom, twiggy bristles cutting the air before her, threw her off her balance. Her backward momentum carried her a step further away from her target before she corrected her stumble, breath catching in a quick gasp of surprised dismay.
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Runaway Clams

Postby Noven on November 26th, 2014, 5:22 am

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Flicker left, flicker right. Eyes darting back and forth and all around like a fly seeking some safe place to land.

Yep. Definitely a thinker.

For a moment, when Nellie's gaze landed on the orphans nearby, Noven felt a sliver of unease. Would she try to use one as a hostage? It certainly had been done before and he'd known the girl for less than a bell. Who knew was she was capable of, with or without the skills necessary to outmatch him?

But the lass proved herself to be made of cleaner stuff. Kind of...literally. Instead of nabbing a child, she moved to wrap her hands around a broom handle and brandished it before her like a flaming torch against hungry wolves.

Which, all things considered, wasn't a bad comparison. Even without directly attacking her, there was no doubt the cook was on the offense. He stopped himself from laughing out loud in surprise as she swung the broom at him. The reaction was purely one of being caught off guard by her unexpected aggression, not a tool to goad her further, but he decided it might be best to pace his taunts a little better. Nellie didn't seem to take too well to being called Clam Girl. And the cook's arrogance, partially feigned as it was, was only salt to an open wound.

It got her blood pumping, though. That alone was worth her temporary ire.

Fortunately for Nov, Nellie stumbled during her attack, allowing him a few extra ticks to react. If not, he might've gotten a face full of twigs. He managed to raise a hand and redirect the swipe barely in time, so preoccupied had he been with this unforeseen twist of events that Clam Girl almost succeeded in sweeping the amused look off his face.

It was a smart move to pick up a broom handle rather than, say, chucking plates or manhandling orphans. Both of which he'd seen done before. Since distance was key, the length of the sweeper worked to Nellie's advantage. Nov didn't exactly worry about being swept or prodded to death, but it made it just that much harder to reach her, effectively nullifying the bulk of his attempts at either cornering or grabbing her.

It did mean, however, he would be able to grab her makeshift weapon. If the cook managed to get a firm hold of it, he might be able to yank her toward him and return their little exercise back to mainly hand-to-hand combat.

With a spark of enthusiasm that wasn't there moments before glinting in his eyes, Noven stepped diagonally forward and to the right. And as he did, he placed a foot on one of the benches in front of him and slid it to the left. He repeated this process a couple more times to get within range of Nellie again and force her to move around a bit. Should she make to swipe at him a second time with the broom, Nov would make a blatant attempt at grabbing the tool. If not and the dance dragged on for too long, he would make the advance himself and lunge for the bristley end of her weapon, forcing the girl to either retreat even more or employ some form of counter measures.

Either way, he had to get use the broom to his advantage. Or get rid of it entirely.


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Runaway Clams

Postby Elias Caldera on April 22nd, 2015, 2:05 am


Behold, Your Just Reward!


Noven


Experience and Lore :
Skills
  • Running +1
  • Intimidation +2
  • Acrobatics +1
  • Rhetoric +3
  • Socialization +1
  • Leadership +1
  • Negotiation +1
  • Teaching +3
  • Tactics +1
  • Unarmed Combat +1
  • Brawling +2

Lores
  • The Cook Cooks What He Wants To Cook, Damn it!
  • Kids: Just Have To Know How To Treat Them
  • Nellie: The Clam Girl
  • Nellie: A Thinker With Potential
  • Chasing After Your Supper
  • Putting the Runts to Work
  • Size Matters in a Fight
  • You Gotta Walk the Talk
  • Unarmed Combat: All the Right Places to Attack
  • Fighting Dirty is Fighting to Win
  • Brawling: Using Your Environment


Miscellaneous :
Injuries
  • None

Loot and Expenses
  • None


Comments :
    A surprising variety of skills in each post, and I was sure it would have turned out to be an even better introduction for these two characters had it not fallen to the wayside.

    Now Noven, because I am a kind and merciful grader, I won't charge you for those clams you may or may not have bought in the end, especially after you may or may not have gone through all the trouble of having one of your own orphans disguised as an urchin steal them to orchestrate this entire thread.

    Bet you didn't think anyone would see right through your charade, did you!?




Nellie Hawkins


Nellie, if you ever come back to us, you're going to have to edit your Ledger to reflect payment for Winter's Living Expenses before you can receive anymore grades for your threads. When you do that, just shoot me a PM and i'll add your own grades into this as well.





Don't Forget


Now that your thread is graded, be sure to edit your grade request. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to send me a private message and we'll work it out together.
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Runaway Clams

Postby Kynier on July 21st, 2018, 6:51 pm

Grades!


Nellie
Skill Rewards
  • Brawling +1
  • Food Preservation +1
  • Negotiation +1
  • Observation +3
  • Rhetoric +1
  • Running +1
  • Socialization +1
  • Tactics +2
  • Unarmed Combat +2

Lores Learned
  • Negotiation: Using a Friendly Face
  • Negotiation: Expect lower prices later in the day
  • Noven: Cooks at the Orphanage
  • Noven: Intimidating yet generous
  • Noven: Calls her Clam Girl
  • Unarmed Combat: Fake and Slip
  • Unarmed Combat: More movement is required against taller opponents.
  • Unarmed Combat: Eye, nose, neck, chest, and gut are good targets.
  • Brawling: Furniture and items aren’t off limits

Rewards
  • 1 Gold Mizza


Not how I expected the story to go. It was an amusing read! If you have an questions or concerns about your grade please feel free to PM me.
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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