Solo Through Sheer Force Of Will

The drive to become better, faster, stronger, never falters.

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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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Through Sheer Force Of Will

Postby Timothy Mered on May 8th, 2015, 6:08 pm

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52nd of Spring 515AV


Before first light had awoken the denizens of Riverfall, a small figure ran through the semi-dark. The fresh morning air cleansed his lungs. His boots drummed the street to the rhythm of his heart. At his side was Scrapper, the flecked young pup Kavala had more or less given him.

His training with Mizra had continued and the giant Akalak had once too often commented on his small stature and slender build. Adults, he sighed inwardly as he took a sharp turn past a closed bakery, ready for the final lap. First people had complained he ate and grew too little, now he wasn’t strong enough. I’ll show them, he vowed, I am not weak.

Sweat glistened on his brow. He was thankful for the cooling air, freezing and gluing darkened strands of hair together. He could smell his own stink as it trickled down his neck and down his chest. I am not weak.. Puffing his cheeks he redoubled his efforts, pushing through the searing sensation shooting up his legs. Out in the distance he could already make out the hulking man-boar that was his mentor. Two practice longswords lay at his feet alongside a bulky bundle with Gods knew what in it.

Timothy skidded to a halt. Mizra awaited him with crossed arms. “You’re late.”
First light hadn’t yet awoken the rest of Riverfall, yet here he was, panting like a dog. “I’m sorry,” Timothy wheezed as he rested his hands on his kneecaps.
“You’re a slug. My grandmother could’ve ru-“

“I said I’m sorry!” he snapped, shooting daggers at his mentor. Always snide, always commenting, always dissatisfied with his efforts to become stronger, faster, better. A blur of motion. A kick registered in the hollow of his knee. Within a heartbeat his back hovered above the cobblestone. Mizra loomed over him, deep-blue hands clutching his collar, keeping him an inch from the ground.

“I thought you wanted to become a great warrior.”

“I do.”

“You're not succeeding.”

Timothy’s eyes narrowed. He could only soak up so many insults to his pride. “Maybe I need a better mentor-“

Mizra let him drop to the stone. “I take it you’ve tired of my services then? Very well. Good luck Timothy Mered-“ The Akalak began to turn away.

“-Wait!” He scrambled to his feet and sucked in a deep breath. “Wait, I am sorry, you’re right. Please don’t go…”

Mizra clicked his tongue, the veins in his neck were like ropes as he stared down at his young, desperate pupil. “Sorry, I didn't hear you. What did you say?”

Tiimothy gritted his teeth and attempted to keep his voice calm. “I said,” he breathed, “that I,” he pointed at himself, “am sorry.”

One of the toughest fighters in Riverfall had little patience for excuses. “Don’t tell me you’re sorry. Show me.”
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Last edited by Timothy Mered on May 10th, 2015, 1:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Timothy Mered
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Through Sheer Force Of Will

Postby Timothy Mered on May 8th, 2015, 9:14 pm

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Timothy hung his head in submission. At the end of the day, when all the exercises were over, Mizra was a kind and friendly man, supportive of his ambitions. But never during exercise. Jed Radacke had been an angelic altar boy with lily hands in comparison. Timothy flipped over, stomach facing down, palms pressed firmly into the grooves of the pavement.

“One,” Mizra counted as he pushed up.

“Two. Three. Four. Five. Six, don’t cheat, seven-” Electricity buzzed through his shaking arms. Hirem might consider him thin, but his weight strained his arms like a stretched rubber band.

“…Nine. Ten. Get up, don’t keep me waiting!”

Shaken, he scrambled to his full height which was altogether insignificant in the face of an eight foot tall Akalak. Biting sweat gushed down his spine. His legs were quivering like twigs underneath him and his heart threatened to leap out his chest.

“Good, you’ve warmed up. Now we will begin.”

“But the Sasaran is closed!” How are we just beginning? he added mentally. Half an hour of non-stop running had made him winded and he thought he’d be done by now. He kicked himself for even being surprised anymore. Unless you were covered in bruises, fainted, or dead, the training never ended. Not with Mizra Aqdas at least.

“We’re not going to the Sasaran.” A twinkle shone in Mizra’s eyes as he handed Timothy a dummy longsword. “We’re going up the cliff.”

Timothy’s jaw dropped. “All the way to the top? That’s…a thousand feet at least!”

"Oh it's more. Much, much more." The Akalak’s hand gently pushed against his back, urging him forward. “But we're not going all the way to the top, just about to that plateau there, close to the waterfall. Do you see it?"

Timothy squinted his eyes. Rooftops flanked the mighty waterfall yet somewhere at the very top there appeared to be a small open area.

We could go all the way,” Mizra grinned, “if you’re fond of snakes…”
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Last edited by Timothy Mered on May 10th, 2015, 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Timothy Mered
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Through Sheer Force Of Will

Postby Timothy Mered on May 9th, 2015, 4:41 pm

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They walked in silence for the largest part. Mizra with his back straight, clearly enjoying the casual walk. Timothy wasn’t far behind, soldiering on despite the grinding sound his kneecaps made every step. Even without any kind of armor to weigh him down it took them half a bell to reach the plateau. Mizra made him run the last bit.

Jagged rocks, like daggers, walled off the right. Most all of Riverfall was visible to the left and below. Ahead, the waterfall roared where the rectangular clearing lipped over a gnarly tree rooted in the cliff face.

“You can rest your legs for a bit,” Mizra called from behind as he dumped the knapsack he’d been carrying. Timothy plonked down near the edge.

The wind cleansed his lungs and scrubbed his hair with salt as he gazed into the Suvan. The scratchy warmth hugging his body was swept away by the cooling waterfall. Far down white sails billowed, sailors kissed their loved ones goodbye, slaves were loaded and unloaded. The shy morning sun crawled over the offing.

“It is quite the sight, isn’t it?”

Timothy sent a fleeting smile at Mizra. “It is,” he murmured. “But who knows for how long that’ll be?”

“What do you mean?” A hint of concern seeped through.

“The ships, the houses, the people. It will all be gone. One day, there won’t be anything left here.” A cavity grew between his ribs, ever expanding, swallowing all on its path. “It makes me sad.”

“You can’t know for certain. Maybe it will last.”

Timothy shrugged. “Even then, it won’t be the same.”

A hump of salty bread and a gulp of water later, Mizra stood opposite him. “This time we will focus more on technique. Your sword may not feel heavy now, but it will once you start swinging with it. First and foremost, you will have to hold it correctly, with both hands, like this.”

Mizra placed one hand above the other on the hilt. “There should be a slight space between your upper and lower hand. Then, when you strike, you can slide your upper arm down. It creates greater leverage and will make your strike more powerful without wasting energy.”

Timothy held his sword out, placing his hands exactly as instructed. “You’re still squeezing,” Mizra said. “Relax your fingers.”

Slackening his grip somewhat, Timothy watched as Mizra demonstrated a pose. “Now, hold your sword high and keep it straight. I’ll jab, you’ll try to deflect my blows by slashing down.”

Timothy stared his mentor down with an unfaltering gaze. His heart drummed in his ears as he waited for the inevitable attack to come.

Mizra jumped forward, thrusting the blunt sword forward. Like a lumberjack cleaving a log, Timothy slashed downward and deflected the blow. The dull thud resonated in his ears even as their swords broke contact. “Again,” his mentor demanded.

On the fifth attempt, Mizra did something unexpected. Instead of retreating after a successful parry, he followed up his jab with a strike. Timothy was too slow. Beaten wood slammed into his left upper arm. He cried out and leapt back a pace, rolling up his sleeve to check out the damage.

“That,” Mizra said darkly, “is like a girl’s kiss compared to what having your arm cut off would feel like.”

“It still hurts.”

“Nonsense, the blue is an improvement.”
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Last edited by Timothy Mered on May 10th, 2015, 1:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Through Sheer Force Of Will

Postby Timothy Mered on May 9th, 2015, 11:14 pm

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Timothy’s lip twitched in amusement. He disagreed of course. Bruises hurt in an annoying, dull throbbing kind of way that kept lingering for ages. To Mizra bruises and scrapes were reminders. Reminders not to make the same mistake again. Or so he had said. Timothy wasn’t so sure about that. Maybe he was right, but then he supposed not all reminders were good reminders per say. He remembered all too keenly the bruised rib Jed had caused him. That was a reminder too. A reminder to be quiet, clean, obedient, and attentive.

“Your reflexes are fine, but you’re too narrow-minded. Just because I say I will attempt a thrust doesn’t mean I won’t try anything else.”

“But,” Timothy bit his lip, “then you’re breaking the rules.” Why would he lie? It didn’t make sense. If they were going to practice one thing and Mizra did the other, then why wouldn’t he just say that?

“There are no rules in combat Timothy. There are those who will speak of honor, valor, sportsmanship even. They don’t tend to last very long.”

He immediately thought of Aoren and smirked. Aoren hadn’t liked his tactics, pretty much scolded him for it. He’s wrong, Timothy thought to himself, if Mizra says he’s wrong, he just has to be. His stomach sank a little. The healer-warrior was undoubtedly a kinder teacher and it felt like betrayal to dismiss him so. Not keen on keeping Mizra waiting, Timothy gave a small nod and prepared for another series of attacks.

None came. Like one of those old stone statues, Mizra remained completely frozen, his lazily blinking eyes the only sign of life. For a while they remained like that. Was he supposed to do something? To attack? Holding the longsword to his side, like he had seen Mizra do, Timothy took a probing step forward.

Nothing.

He took another.

And another.

Mizra clearly wanted him to take the initiative.

Like a falcon diving towards its prey he jumped forward. The sword whooshed through the air, banged against Mizra’s and-

His very soul was yanked from his frame. Like a hammer to an anvil Mizra had countered and slammed his elbow against his heart. Fear rolled over him like a thundercloud. He couldn’t breathe or feel his heart anymore. The exhaustion from before came crashing back over him as he stumbled backwards, tripping over his own feet and sagging down in miserable cloud of dust.
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Last edited by Timothy Mered on May 10th, 2015, 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Timothy Mered
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Through Sheer Force Of Will

Postby Timothy Mered on May 10th, 2015, 12:56 am

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The sight of Mizra’s hardened face hovering over him, making him feel even smaller than usual, was starting to get a bit too familiar. Strong blue arms hooked under his armpits and hoisted him up. For a tick his feet dangled limply in the air. Then he was put back on his pins again. It was hard to remain standing. His knees buckled underneath him, his head felt heavy and he couldn’t stop his legs from trembling. A firm pat on his back knocked the air back into him and he stopped wobbling on his heels.

“Go again?” Timothy sighed.

“Hmm,” Mizra grumbled. “We’ll do something easier.”

When the tall Akalak grumbled like that, Timothy could almost taste his bitter disappointment. There was no matching Mizra’s strength. Though he could no longer count his ribs in the mirror, the layer of muscle he’d been building still had to rise to the surface. It would take many seasons, according to Mizra, for him to grow strong enough to hold his own. He hadn’t liked hearing that, but the blue hulk of muscle could hardly be mistaken.

“If you’re going to use a longsword right, you’ll have to learn four basic poses. Ox, plow, fool, and falcon. The defense we just practiced is the last. Come stand next to me and do as I do.”

He dragged himself over to Mizra and looked up with bright eyes.

“This is the ox.” Mimicking his teacher, Timothy placed his left foot forward so it pointed outward. His right stood perpendicular to his left. Like the Akalak, he drew his weapon up so that his arms crossed near his face. The blunt tip aimed diagonally towards an imaginary foe's face.

“The ox is an attack position to stab your opponent’s face or throat. But you don’t just stab from all the way up here, or you wouldn’t be using the length of your arm. Instead, you move forward-“

He followed the Akalak’s example and stepped forward. “-and then you extended your arms out and downward and turn your wrists. Just try it. It will feel natural.”

He faltered at the first attempt, unsure whether to step forward first and then stab, or stab first.

“Try again,” Mizra encouraged.

The second attempt was more to the Akalak’s satisfaction though he mumbled something about sloppiness.

For another half bell they continued the exercise until Timothy knew it by heart. Much to his chagrin however, Mizra's comments only got worse. Eventually the Akalak gave up. "You're getting very sloppy."

Timothy blinked lazily at his instructor. He would give half a kingdom for some shut-eye by now.

"Alright then," the Akalak sighed, "you can trot off now. We'll do the other poses soon. Don't forget to practice!"

Somehow he found the energy to drag himself back to The Sanctuary. It was on his very last reserves that he limped into his room and, without changing, fell down on his bed, promptly falling asleep. When he awoke the next day, the sun had already passed its zenith.
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Timothy Mered
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Through Sheer Force Of Will

Postby Aoren on May 19th, 2015, 3:54 pm

Timothy

Experience
Skill XP Earned
Running +1 EXP
Intimidation +1 EXP
Rhetoric +2 EXP
Bodybuilding +2 EXP
Philosophy +1 EXP
Longsword +3 EXP
Endurance +3 EXP
Tactics +2 EXP




Lores
Lore Earned
Bodybuilding: Proper Push Ups
Longsword: Basic Parry
Longsword Theory: Ox, Plow, Fool and Falcon
Longsword: Basic Ox Form



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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