Solo [The Dragoon Training Grounds] To Kill a Courier

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

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[The Dragoon Training Grounds] To Kill a Courier

Postby Shakune on January 12th, 2015, 8:07 pm

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To Kill a Courier, 9th Winter, 514AV


Confidence was something that Shakune had always possessed. She laughed in the face of humility and enjoyed jokes that were made at her own expense as much as any other. Her ability to shrug off an insult was second only to her ability to down a pint.

Now, something had changed.

Slim fingers gripped the handle of her khopesh, and Shakune looked down at the slickly curved blade. She stared down at it warily, as if the weapon might jump up and slash her throat at any moment. Her free hand touched her neck gently and Shakune shuddered at the memory of cold metal pressed against her windpipe.

"May I see it?"

The half-breed glanced up to the older man opposite her. His bright eyes betrayed his race as a Benshira: something that would usually prickle Shakune's nerves. Any memory of the desert was unwelcome to her, even in the face of one who belonged to a different race.

Rigidly, she extended the blade to the man, who took it briskly from her. In his aged, practised hands, the khopesh came alive. His wrists turned and flicked as he tested its weight, then Mac raised the weapon up to his eye line to investigate it closer. Shakune watched, jealous that a stranger could so easily awaken a weapon that she should be well practised in. Guilt nibbled at her gut; the weapon had been her mother's and Shakune had not done it justice.

"A nice blade, if a little past it's best." After Mac had returned the weapon to Shakune, he retrieved his own gladius. The blade was short in comparison to the khopesh, but the black-eyed courier eyed it cautiously all the same. "Show me what you can do."

It was another chime before Shakune made a move. She had received no proper training in how to use the khopesh, only casual tips from half-drunk friends that she would then try to practise the next morning. They never ended well. She shuffled forward, aware of Mac's even gaze as she swept the khopesh horizontally. As her arm arced away from her body, Shakune lost her balance and had to stumble to the left to stop herself from tipping over. Her copper skin flushed pink on her cheeks, and she mentally chastised herself. "As you can see.... I have had little practise."

"Even that may be an exaggeration." Mac said bluntly, his lips smirking callously. "But never mind. Let's begin."

With a jolt of his hand, Mac motioned Shakune to follow him. They stood opposite each other, the half-breed resting her khopesh on the ground and Mac watching her critically. "The khopesh is a heavy weapon; slow but powerful. The inner curve of the blade is rarely sharpened and it used more for disarming enemies. It is the reverse the blade that you slash and cut with. That said; you lead with the curved side." Mac paused, as if to consider whether Shakune would understand this simple explanation.

When she nodded, the older Benshira continued. "I want you to swing your weapon horizontally, but when it contacts my blade, pull it back."

It sounded easy enough, so Shakune nodded once again and watched as he positioned himself. He stood slanted, almost sideways to her but not quite. His right arm held the gladius, pointing outwards and towards Shakune. She eyed it cautiously, the pit of her stomach twisting ever so slightly as she recalled the gang fight in the market place. She threw a questioning look to Old Mac: had he been there, killing people? He watched her back with an even gaze.

Shakune raised her Khopesh. The weapon was heavy, and it was only now that she was finally using it that she fully appreciated its weight. When she moved it towards Mac's gladius, she had to throw herself sideways to get the weapon moving.

The trainer was not impressed. He released a bellow and parried her slow, ambling attack. Metal clashed on metal and Shakune had no choice but to drop her weapon or fall down with it.
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[The Dragoon Training Grounds] To Kill a Courier

Postby Shakune on January 18th, 2015, 11:26 am

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"No!" He barked, waving his gladius wildly. "Are you stupid? If a weapon is too heavy for you, do you think you should sacrifice your position to use it?"

From his tone, the answer was obvious, but Shakune remained moodily silent. Her black eyes watched the man humourlessly.

Exasperated, Mac gripped the gladius with two hands. "You hold it with both hands, don't you?" Now his voice took on a patronising emphasis, which lowered Shakune's enthusiasm further.

She copied the Benshira, taking up the same sideways-on stance as before but gripping her khopesh with two hands. It certainly felt for promising, and when Mac gave her an exhausted nod to indicate that she should retry the move, Shakune could tell the difference almost immediately.

Holding the weapon with two hands required her to twist her upper body more, but the courier felt far more in control of the khopesh than before. She shifted her feet slightly as she swung, and when her khopesh bit into the gladius, Mac gave a tight nod. "Better. But don't move your feet so much. You need to stand strongly against your foe. Again."

They repeated the move three more times, Shakune increasing the speed of her swing with each attempt. When Mac raised his hand to suggest a pause, Shakune welcomed it. Sweat dampened her hairline and irritated the back of her neck. She scratched at it cantankerously, but no sooner had she relieved the itchiness was Mac giving out a new order. Now she was repeat the swing as before, but try to catch Mac's gladius in the crook of her khopesh and pull it backwards to disarm him.

"You'd need to be quick in a battle field to achieve this move, but for now we'll go slow."

When her khopesh clattered with the other blade, Shakune had to extend her elbow out from her body in order to then drag the curved blade back towards herself. Mac resisted feebly, but even so it was challenging for Shakune to line up her body and disarm the Benshira smoothly. Nevertheless, the khopesh's potential was obvious.

"This weapon must be deadly if used in the right hands." She murmured, inspecting the handle with a new found appreciation.
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[The Dragoon Training Grounds] To Kill a Courier

Postby Shakune on January 18th, 2015, 11:57 am

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"Yes. Few blades can disarm and kill with such efficiency. But as you saw yourself, the khopesh can also be a clumsy weapon. I would suggest you do not run into battle anytime soon."

Shakune gave a taut smile, not wanting to befriend her trainer anytime soon. His brutish, harsh tone was insulting to her - and she was no delicate flower. If her training was unimpressive, it was because of his teaching.

"Let's try something else, now." The Benshira wandered off, almost mid sentence, and Shakune had to trot to catch up. "You need to gain more confidence in using your weapon with more speed. Because I don't want to lose my arm just yet, I'll set you to attack something like no limbs to lose."

They had entered a shack-like building that was practically empty, save for a small selection of wooden shields and three smoothed down, wooden poles of varying thickness. Shakune guessed that the skinniest was almost twice the circumference of her waist, whilst she could wrap her arms around the thickest and her hands would not touch. Mac indicated to the largest pole, which upon closer inspection Shakune realised was a truck of a long-fallen tree. The surface was marked with hundreds of gashes and chips, from the lessons of Mac's other students.

"See these red lines? I want you to try and slice into them, or as close a possible. It will teach you how to balance and weigh yourself against the khopesh to get an accurate hit." His weathered fingers touched faint red painted lines on the wood. There were seven in total, varying in height and position along the circumference of the wood. The highest was level with the top of Shakune's eyes. Again, this sounded like an easy task, but Shakune noticed how only the odd one or two slices actually touched upon the red horizontal targets.
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[The Dragoon Training Grounds] To Kill a Courier

Postby Shakune on February 23rd, 2015, 5:42 pm

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She set herself up to use her weapon, bringing the khopesh down in a diagonal slice. The inner curve of the blade landed approximately five inches lower than the near solid red line that Shakune had aimed for. Mac snorted, and she threw the trainer a derisive look. "A practise." She muttered feebly, knowing that the poor excuse would not pass as an acceptable reason for her shitty skills.

"Oh of course." Mac replied, shrugging his shoulders and attempting to conceal his smile.

The courier attempted the strike again, hoping to slice into the same red mark as before. This time, she tried to counteract the weight of the weapon and the momentum of her swing, shifting her feet further apart to steady herself and keeping her muscles taut. Though the blade sunk into the wood closer to the red line than her previous attempt, Shakune was still far off. She gave a grunt of frustration. Her arm muscles ached. "Again?"

Mac nodded, his eyes narrowed as he drank in Shakune's position and movements. With a critical eye, he suggested alterations to her stance, how she swung her blade. Eventually, her khopesh met with her narrow target once, then twice. When Shakune gave a satisfied smile and sigh, Mac frowned. "Don't get cocky. If this place was stormed by warriors, you'd still be dead within five ticks." The harshness of his voice surprised Shakune. Yes, he was a hardened fighter, but there was no real reason to be quite so rude! "But yes, you can now successfully aim your blade onto a stationary target. Well done."

His sarcasm aside, Shakune felt rather pleased with herself.
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[The Dragoon Training Grounds] To Kill a Courier

Postby Matthew on April 5th, 2015, 12:29 am

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Shakune


Experience Points:

  • +1 Bodybuilding
  • +2 Socialization
  • +1 Teaching
  • +4 Weapon: Khopesh



Lores:

  • Weapon: Basic Combat Stance with a Khopesh
  • Weapon: Basic Disarming Techniques with a Khopesh
  • Weapon: Basic Striking with a Khopesh


Additional Notes :
I really enjoy reading your writing. Great job.


If you have any questions or concerns relevant to your grade, don't be afraid to send me a private message so that we can work it all out! Please remember to mark your Grading Request as Graded.

A shout-out to Ollic Rimesage, who was kind enough to make this template for me.
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