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Ashar's mood keeps him constrained to the Sasarans, even as the city is enjoying itself

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Postby Ashar on April 22nd, 2015, 5:36 am

10th of Spring, 515AV
The Kendoka Sasaran


Furiously sweeping his pracctice naginata one way and another, Ashar buried his opponent under a flurry of attacks without allowing any time to recover. The finesse of each independent strike was not very impressive, but the Akalak made sure that the individual quality of his attacks mattered not against the sheer quantity he was dishing out. Spinning his weapon in small arcs, Ashar brought both the butt and the blade of it on opposite sides of his opponent's stance, forcing the other Akalak to retreat slowly or be hit by one of the focused swings. A frown of concentration creased Ashar's brow, a thin layer of sweat coating his bare torso that made it glisten with each swing of his arms.



Endrykas had settled in its nearby position for the Spring, not far at all from Riverfall. There was much excitement running throughout the city, an energy that coursed through and ignited the causeways after a long winter. The guards of Riverfall, the Kavran, were also becoming energized upon word of the arrival of the Drykas, though their interest had much to do with the idea of security for the Riverians. Regardless, nearly the entire town was buzzing with excitement, especially the first tier which was physically closest to the visiting culture.

Many had turned out to welcome the Drykas nomads in their city of tents, all with various intents involving the visitors, but not Ashar. No, Ashar was not in the mood for festivities or visitors. Since his return from his Rite, he wanted only one thing: to train endlessly. The Sasarans called to him, and even more than his previous daily visits he was becoming obsessed with their lure. While countless Riverians wished to enjoy this unique event that occurred only once a year, Ashar shut himself in a place of war and pain so that he may better himself.

Or at least, so was his belief.



There was a great crack each time the two practice weapons met, which was frequent. Ashar kept up the furious assault, keeping both ends of his naginata swinging at his opponent. The red Akalak opposite him was deflecting the blows with regular ability, but only barely. He had no time to mount a counterattack to interrupt the flurry.

When Ashar's naginata swept up once more to the red Akalak's shoulder, it was accompanied with a quick followup attack - but not from his weapon. The strike was blocked by his opponent's blade, but already Ashar's foot was picking up off the mat of the Kendoka. A mere moment after the two weapons made contact, Ashar began to spin around the other way, pushing off with his kicking foot to make a clumsy but quickly executed roundhouse.

Not expecting an attack so soon so far, the red Akalak failed to bring his blade down in time to block and suffered a blow to his knee, knocking him off-balance. Although it took Ashar a moment to recover himself, the red Akalak needed far more than just a moment to bring himself back to center. This time, when Ashar's naginata was blocked, the red Akalak reeled backwards and allowed himself to fall as Ashar kept pushing onward, taking advantage of his opponent's instability to bring him down to the mat.

The red Akalak took a tumble and Ashar stood there panting, his focused frown gazing ahead into nothing as he held his stance. Silence ensued, for it was obvious Ashar's mind was elsewhere. Where that was, who could say?
Last edited by Ashar on May 2nd, 2015, 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ashar on April 23rd, 2015, 5:52 am

"Is something on your mind, Kavran?"

Ashar's eyes focused suddenly and he turned around to face whoever had asked him, completely ignoring the person he'd just shoved over. Before Ashar stood another Akalak holding a long wooden practice sword in his hand, purple just like him, with a shaved scalp and a balanced look in his eyes. Nothing particularly noteworthy that stood out to Ashar, but his attention was focused now.

"How did you know I was a Kavran?" Ashar asked in return, completely oblivious to the angry stare cast at his back from his former sparring partner. Not that he would have cared had he known.

The other Akalak smiled. "I've seen you around the lodge plenty of times," he answered, taking a few steps closer so that they weren't talking across the mat. "I'm Sonyr, a member of Squad Leader Carohan Garchaw. You looked as if you were trying to express something, the way you used that." When he said "that" he lifted his wooden longsword at Ashar's naginata.

Ashar looked to it as well, then back at Sonyr. His face was not as intense as it had been during his spar, but the crease of his brow refused to vanish. "What do you want?" he asked callously. He was not in the mood for conversation at the moment, though he recognized that had such an opportunity come later he would not be so against it.

To Ashar's surprise, Sonyr raised his longsword and pointed the tip at Ashar's chest. With a smirk, Sonyr nodded to Ashar's weapon. "I want to listen to what you're trying to say with that," Sonyr answered, then brought his longsword back and lowered himself into a defensive stance. His body lowered and feet spread apart, bending his knees and creating a stable foundation from which to move his practice sword.

Not expecting the sudden challenge, Ashar nonetheless lowered himself into a stance of his own from which he could launch an attack, with his weight placed on the balls of his feet and his center of gravity low so as to allow for quick movements. Giving his naginata a spin, Ashar brought the weapon's wooden blade down in front of him, pointing at Sonyr. His first attack came a couple seconds later.

Pushing off his back foot, Ashar struck not from above but from below, using his center of gravity to add more power. Sonyr's longsword moved easily down to block it, and a mighty crack resulted as the two wooden weapons forced themselves against each other. Ashar stepped back, then out to the side and lifted his naginata attacking from a diagonal. When that was blocked, he spun the weapon in the opposite direction, attacking with the staff rather than the blade. It was then when Sonyr spun his longsword as well to block the second attack as well that his competency was confirmed in Ashar's eyes.

Despite the crease in his brow, Ashar grinned.
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Postby Ashar on April 25th, 2015, 11:56 pm

The tactics Ashar had used against his previous opponent were now being employed against his new one, though he could tell quickly that such flurrying strikes would not be enough to outplay Sonyr. Each block by the swordsman had just enough force to counteract whatever force was behind Ashar's attack; then in flowed smoothly into the next without any wasted time or effort. Both weapons were of about equal range as well, and though Ashar kept up the offensive there was no pushing Sonyr back without getting too close to effectively use the naginata. Although there were very few openings for Sonyr to attack as well, he was not bending under Ashar's barrage. This strategy lead to nothing but a stalemate, a battle of attrition.

Duels were not meant to be about attrition, however. They were meant to be about skill. So before long, Ashar halted his onslaught and stepped back to give both duelists some space. Ashar was still breathing lightly from his last fight, but neither he nor Sonyr appeared terribly winded by the exchange of blows.

"You appear to be in a rage of sorts, Kavran," Sonyr observed, mildly infuriating Ashar. "That weapon cries of anger and seeks much-needed catharsis. What is troubling you?"

Without answering, Ashar lowered his stance and brought himself closer to the mat. His grin had been replaced with a look of concentration, and he spun his weapon around so that the blade was closer to his right hand. Both of his feet spread out into a position similar to a low lunge, with his left foot pointing forward and his right to the side. Bent knees brought his center of gravity closer to the mat, where it was easier to move and control.

Sonyr noticed Ashar's change in tactics and responded accordingly, getting into a defensive stance and preparing for harder strikes. Ashar didn't leave his opponent waiting; he lunged with his right foot, bringing his naginata around the side and giving a brutal attack with the wooden blade of the practice weapon. Sonyr's longsword came in time to block it, but Ashar had planned one step ahead. Planting his right foot in position, Ashar brought his left leg up and attempted a quick kick at Sonyr's exposed side. The swordsman saw the kick coming and managed to arc backwards to avoid it, but it left him slightly off balance as he teetered on the heels of his feet.

Pressing the advantage, Ashar brought the staff of his naginata around and struck with the butt of the weapon, causing Sonyr to stumble backwards. Though he did not fall, the swordsman had to backpedal for the first time in order to keep a comfortable distance with Ashar, who had returned to a barrage of quick strokes. Although it had the effect of keeping Sonyr off-balance, Ashar knew that if he remained in this same pattern the duel would slowly return to the even point it had been at previously. His attacks, though buffeting, would not bring an end to the duel, and Sonyr would recover in time to block them normally. Ashar tried to strategize how to deliver a final blow, coming to the conclusion that pushing over his already off-balance opponent would be a good way to end it.

As he advanced, Ashar found a split second with which he could change his grip on his naginata, holding it with both hands palms down so that he could offer more pushing force. Then, once Sonyr seemed to be in a position to be toppled over the backs of his feet, Ashar struck. He thrust both hands forward sharply and harshly, leaning into it with his legs so that when the weapon was blocked by the longsword it kept going, pushing Sonyr further and further off balance.

Then, just as Sonyr was about to take a tumble, he surprised Ashar by twisting his body mid-fall so that he could catch himself with his hands. Only he didn't catch himself. Instead, as he was falling backwards, he used his outstretched hand to vault away from Ashar.

Sonyr landed on his feet and twirled around to face Ashar once again, looking none the worse for wear and ready for another attack.

Recovering from his surprise, Ashar found himself grinning again despite himself. This duel was turning out to be far more interesting than he had anticipated.
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Postby Ashar on May 2nd, 2015, 7:52 am

There was a brief pause in the fighting after Sonyr's acrobatic feat, both Akalaks waiting for the other to act. Ashar was constantly re-evaluating Sonyr, and Sonyr - Ashar guessed - preferred to be on the defensive when 'listening to a weapon' or some such. Neither wanted to be the first to initiate the next exchange, not sure what to expect from the other.

Surprisingly, it was Sonyr rather than Ashar that broke the temporary lull. Wielding his practice longsword in front of him, Sonyr gripped the hilt strongly and made shallow strikes on either side of Ashar's center, particularly around both of his shoulders and ribs. The attacks did not take advantage of the full range of motion offered to Sonyr, sacrificing power for speed, much like Ashar's attacks had done. Only with Sonyr's hands both anchored on one end of the weapon, there was far less opportunity to strike with the same frequency that Ashar had done. Conversely, Ashar was able to use his polearm to block nearly every attack with barely any more effort than during a drill, able to bring any segment of the length of his practice weapon to bear with speed.

At first Ashar was disappointed in the tactics Sonyr had chosen to employ. It felt as if the only reason the other Akalak was attacking in such a way was because Ashar himself had used such tactics moments before. Honestly, he found it more than a little irritating.

Impatient for another development in the fight, Ashar tried to gain a significant upper hand and took a step back. Sonyr reached forward to strike with his longsword, but Ashar took another step back and withdrew out of his opponent's reach. Again, Sonyr moved forward to attack, but Ashar the distance between them at that point was just within the longsword's effective range, meaning that another mere step back meant the longsword had missed its target.

Rather than repeat this dance, however, Ashar took advantage of Sonyr's longsword being momentarily in an awkward position to suddenly push his own offensive. A shock attack, Ashar brought his back foot forward and advanced a step toward his opponent, bringing his naginata down across from him in a diagonal cut that let the butt of the polearm block the longsword of Sonyr decided to bring the weapon back. With all the power of a lifted approach, Ashar had more time and strength to put into this attack.

Since Sonyr's longsword was in no position to block the strike or counterattack, the only viable option that remained was to dodge the attack. It took an impressive feat of dexterity, but somehow Sonyr managed to duck below the blade of the practice naginata and bring his longsword down underneath Ashar's attack as well.

Only doing so left Sonyr in a very vulnerable position, one Ashar took advantage of. As the naginata was completing its arc, all Ashar had to do was shove his left elbow forward and have it connect with Sonyr's chest, which was just rising from the duck.

Sonyr was struck, and though the contact wasn't particularly damaging it disoriented the combatant enough for Ashar to bring his naginata back around with just as much if not even more force than before. The wooden blade of the practice weapon came crashing into Sonyr's wrist, which was hastily raised in defense as it was all the combatant could manage in such a short window of time presented to him. Ashar could see Sonyr wince in pain. In real battle he likely would have been more careful to block the staff rather than the blade, but as it stood had the fight been with real blades Sonyr might well have lost his left hand. Fortunately for both, this was not a real battle.

"I give," Sonyr acquiesced respectfully, holding up his right hand in mock surrender, the one that was carrying the longsword and had not been struck.

Nodding, Ashar straightened himself up atop the mat of the Kendoka Sasaran and bowed slightly, practice naginata held upright in his right arm. Sonyr returned the gentle bow, and when the formality was done Ashar was surprised to find himself in a slightly better mood than he had before. It could not be the feeling of victory or the struggle that had uplifted his spirits, for he had experienced both earlier that day and felt no such respite from his gentle anger afterwards. Curious as to what made this particular duel out of all unique in this way, Ashar resolved to keep this instance in mind and think about it in the coming days.
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Postby Ashar on May 2nd, 2015, 8:13 am

"Your weapon has quite a lot to say," Sonyr continued, resting his practice longsword against his shoulder. "Although I'm aware of just how eccentric that sounds, there is certainly a form of understanding that comes with fighting someone."

Ashar agreed that it did sound quite eccentric, but that did not stop him from exhibiting mild interest in the subject. "Oh? And what insights did you scry from our little duel now?"

Smiling modestly, Sonyr looked at the blade of his practice longsword and ran his fingers across it gently, as if actually listening to it. Or, perhaps, just admiring the idea of a real longsword. "I understood that you're frustrated as well as angry, which might seem trivial but in fact that distinction should be made. You're not just angry at something that happened, you're frustrated because you want something to change. I don't know what that is, though."

Before Ashar could properly respond, Sonyr returned his gaze. "What I do know is that you're someone who hates being stuck. You hate the feeling like there's nothing you can do but continue your everyday toil. You want progress and change to happen, but, moreover, you want to make it happen; you don't want to wait on the chance that it might happen."

To this, Ashar had nothing to say. It was not as if the fog had lifted from his vision and he could see clearly. He himself was not entirely sure what he was feeling in regards to the anger that seemed to bubble beneath his surface like a boiling kettle, blowing off steam but never managed to cool the raging fire beneath. All that he could think of in reaction was to perk his head to one side curiously and file Sonyr's examination away for later thought. That was sometime in the distant future though, as Ashar was not typically a contemplative person.

"Thank you for your... observation," Ashar replied, unsure of what else to say."I'm glad you had such an experience during our fight. It seems you got what you wanted out of it."

"That I did, and more so than you realize," Sonyr answered back. "While it is true I intended to understand you better, that was only the secondary goal. It grew out of a natural curiosity coupled with my true reason for seeking you out, which is to offer you an invitation into Garchaw's Glassbeaks?"

Ashar's head perked again, this time in confusion. "Invititation? Garchaw's Glassbeaks?" Had he been in a thinking frame of mind, the answer would have been glaringly obvious.

Sonyr offered another of his half-smiles. "It does sound like a silly name, said aloud. It's the name of a squad within the Cavalry Kuvay'Nas, led by Carohan Garchaw, hence Garchaw's Glassbeaks. Your zealous participation despite being unaffiliated with any squad has caught Carohan's notice, and he asked me to come test your competency before inviting you. Well, I've judged you competent enough to handle being in our squad."

For a moment, Ashar stood staring blankly. A little too much was happening today for him to process it all. "Could Carohan not have come himself?"

"Forgive him, Carohan is... easily agitated. He has no patience for people who turn out to be loners - considers them a waste of his time." Sonyr did a slight bow of apology. "I recognize it might come off as rude, but please understand that's not his intention. If you're truly interested, he would love to meet with you."

Almost a chime of awkward silence passed. "Well..." Sonyr continued after waiting a short while for Ashar's response, looking around almost nervously between the various other attendants of the Sasaran, "are you? Interested that is."

Ashar's first reaction was to look to the side, away from Sonyr, so that he could focus his thoughts on the matter for a while. Was he interested? Well, a year ago - even half a year ago - Ashar would have jumped on such an opportunity. Even Jek would have given his full support. That was a different time though, and now Jek was silent and Ashar was on his own for the time being. Not to mention whatever insanity had ensued for the last couple seasons, and all the many complications that it brought along. Ashar didn't think he was a loner, but at the same time he wasn't sure he wanted to go into a squad just yet, not with the way things were. How did he want things to be different? He had no idea, but he knew that until things were indeed different he would not be able to become a true part of any squad.

"I don't know," Ashar answered honestly. Looking back at Sonyr, Ashar saw that the other Akalak was nodding at him to continue. "Perhaps your assessment was correct, it feels as if I am wanting for something to change. I don't know what, but it's a feeling I have that if I were to join the squad now I would not be a very pleasant nor productive member. I am interested, at least, but... I don't know. If I decide to join, I'll come find Carohan myself."

Sonyr nodded again. "Understandable," he replied. "If you do decide to join, come find me. Or Carohan, as I know he's got some desk work he has to do. I await your answer."

Bowing once more, and with Ashar returning it, Sonyr turned and went for the entrance to the Kendoka Sasaran. Then a thought surfaced in the former's mind, one that had not occurred to him before. "Ashar."

Sonyr turned back to look. "Pardon?"

"My name is Ashar," he elaborated. "You introduced yourself, though I never told you my name before now. Though, it sounds as if you might have known it already."

This time, Sonyr's smile was much larger, fuller and with a brighter sense behind his eyes. "That I did, but I appreciate your gesture. I look forward to meeting you again, Ashar, regardless of whether you decide to join."

With that, the swordsman left, leaving the other to ponder so much.
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Postby Aoren on May 19th, 2015, 12:30 pm

Ashar

Experience
Skill XP Earned
Naginata + 5 EXP
Tactics + 5 EXP
Bodybuilding + 2 EXP
Endurance +3 EXP
Unarmed Combat +1 EXP
Acrobatics +4 EXP
Interrogation +1 EXP
Intimidation +1 EXP
Philosophy +3 EXP
Meditation +1 EXP
Planning +2 EXP
Rhetoric +1 EXP
Socialization +2 EXP
Observation +2 EXP









Lores
Lore Earned
Naginata: Rapid Flurry
Unarmed Combat: Roundhouse Kick
Philosophy: The Language of Weaponry
Observation: Reading Body Language




Notes :
If you have comments, questions or concerns please approach me at your earliest convenience. Don't forget to edit/delete your request in the request thread!
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