Solo [The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

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[The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

Postby Shakune on May 18th, 2015, 8:17 pm

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40th Spring, 515AV
"You are all here to learn how to better your skill in combat and weaponry."

The woman speaking was commanding, fierce. Shakune winced at every word she spat out to the grisly row of people facing the half-Myrian. Iztel the Swift marched slowly, her dark eyes scrutinizing each face of her students. Was it paranoia haunting Shakune, or did the trainer's gaze linger upon her own black-eyed face a tick longer than anyone else's?

"My sister and I will do our best to improve your skills in the short time we have." The woman cast a hand out to her sister, who stood soldier-like to her right. Eleuia the Strong, unlike her twin, stared blankly ahead, as if she was unaware of the row of students that stood before. Iztel continued: "It will be gruelling. Neither of us will be easy on you."

The young lad next to Shakune gulped loudly. The courier's attention broke away from her trainer and she glanced over to him. She guessed him to be fourteen: sixteen at the very most. His chin was covered in patchy, pube-like stubble. It was the stubble of a young man proudly displaying his recent step into manhood.

Iztel stretched her hand forward, dividing the row of students into two and indicating that the left-most people should join her sister. This included Shakune. Her almost-bearded companion remained with Iztel.

Eleuia appeared to be a woman of few words. She gestured to the pile of training weapons scattered behind her, and her group of eight students all trailed to make their selection. Shakune spotted a blunted khopesh amongst the pile, and grabbed it before any of her fellow students spotted it.

"Pair up."

For a tick, Shakune and her peers simply stood staring at their trainer. But then Eleuia's upper lip snarled upwards and they all scrambled into activity. Shakune ended up paired with a bald-headed man who matched several descriptions of a recent murderer and rapist. She threw him a crooked smile. It did not go down well.

The students lined up into two rows of eight, the pairs standing opposite each other. Their trainer stared down on them with blank eyes. Another chime passed, the silence stretched. Only when the other team of students began clattering their weapons together did Shakune's lot realise what they were expected.

Her partner came at her quickly and brutishly. He swung an axe, and though the courier knew it was as blunt as butter, she gasped and dived down the floor, landing in a heap and throwing her weight to the side. She stared up at the cloudy sky, already breathless and thoroughly regretting her decision to visit the Proving Grounds.

"Get up."

It was not the half-Myrian trainer who'd spoken to Shakune, but her partner. He looked down at her with a cold stare, his gaze full of dislike. She rolled about in the dry dirt with all the grace and finesse of a hog, standing up with a loud groan.

"Thanks for the help up, there." She muttered to the bald man, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

His reply was a horizontal swing of his axe. It was a slow, bulking movement that made the courier think her partner was going easy on her. She answered by raising her khopesh, lugging the weapon upwards with both hands so his hand axe bit into the curve of her weapon. It was a basic defence move for a basic attack move. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.
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Last edited by Shakune on May 19th, 2015, 7:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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[The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

Postby Shakune on May 18th, 2015, 8:53 pm

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"Watch your footing!"

The barking order startled Shakune; she turned instinctively to look at her trainer, surprised that the half-Myrian had actually spoken for once. Her bald rival took advantage of this, swiping the axe blade against her right thigh. The courier's knee buckled but she managed to hold herself steady, and trotted backwards out of the immediate danger of her companion. He snarled and crept closer.

This time, Shakune started with the offensive. Aiming for his gut, she reached forwards with her khopesh, imagining the blood and guts that would pour out of him if her blade were a real weapon.

He blocked the attack easily with the wooden handle of his axe. Even worse: the pig gave Shakune a smug grin. He was enjoying this; he saw her as an easy challenge. Nothing more than a mouse battling a cat: he'd bite off her head and gobble her up in no time.

Shakune fixed her jaw stubbornly. She would not let this bald man get the better of her, nor would she let him beat her down quite so easily. Trying to recall her previous combat lessons, the courier changed her position to show her companion her side, narrowing his target. He came forwards, but she scooted backwards, shifting on the balls of her feet.

The came at her yet again, quicker this time and with a wide swing of her axe. It caught her left arm. Shakune's khopesh clattered to the ground noisily. She stooped over to pick it up, hoping that her partner was decent enough to allow her this grace.

She was wrong.

He slammed a fist onto the Courier's back, raising his knee in her gut at the same time. Shakune was instantly winded and crumbled into the ground, gasping for breath and retching in pain.

"You... petchin' shyke-head!" She spat out in desperate splutters. This was a training session - a time for them both to learn and improve their skill. But this psychopath was just beating her up, without giving her enough time to recover to be able to retaliate.

"Yeah?" His voice was shaped by the ugly smirk on his thin lips, "well which one of us is eatin' shit down there?"

Shakune didn't answer. There was not enough breath in her lungs for her to voice what she honestly thought at that moment. Sunberth was a tough and ugly place, but this was just getting ridiculous. Throwing her trainer a hopeful glance, Shakune was further disheartened when she saw Eleuia glance briefly in her direction, then look away and spit onto the ground.
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Last edited by Shakune on May 19th, 2015, 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

Postby Shakune on May 19th, 2015, 9:58 am

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Her partner was looking bored now. He scanned the other fighting pairs, a look close to jealousy in his eyes. So he wished he had a better fighter? Shakune struggled to her feet, stretching her back out and flexing her arms. She picked up the khopesh and slapped the front of her curve against her opponent's chest, striking in the approximate location of his nipple.

He staggered backwards, looking more surprised than anything else. But then his expression hardened, that smirk came back. His eyes, a dark green colour, were shaped by his grin. He looked almost... impressed.

As Shakune retracted her khopesh away from him, the thug crouched low and shoved the butt of his handaxe hilt into her stomach. She contracted her abdominal muscles in preparation, but it still hurt nonetheless. No doubt she'd be covered in bruises by the time this training was done.

"Enough!"

The booming voice froze all those around her. The courier spotted her training partner with his handaxe held high above his head, a quizzical frown connecting his brows together as he and Shakune turned to the half-Myrian trainer. Eleuia's arms were folded, her expression sour. She began jabbing her fingers outwards, selecting what seemed to be a random collection of her students. Shakune, her partner, and a rat-faced young woman were the chosen few. "You three, come with me. The rest of you; join my sister."

The miserable group of students crowded around their teacher. From her tart expression, they had not been selected for their impressive abilities. The girl standing between Shakune and her partner looked barely out of childhood. Her nose was bleeding.

"I have decided the three of you require more supervision than the other students. Clearly none of you have had any formal training before." The half-Myrian's tone was bland, with no invitation of a comment from any of her students.

Baldy, however, seemed unaware of this. He wiped a dirty hand over his impressively shiny head and spat on the ground. "Bullshit. I were practically born holdin' a sword."

"A shame you weren't born with no common sense." His trainer deadpanned. She continued speaking, ignoring how the male bristled and swore under his breath. "To wave a shortsword around without thinking-" she stared at the young girl with an unblinking gaze before turning to Shakune with the same dead eyes, "-or to simply lack the ability to defend yourself, is frankly embarrassing. Should any of you find yourself face-to-face with a skilled rival, you'd all be dead."

"That just ain't petchin' true! I could kill a man!"

This time his interruption was ignored. Eleuia gestured to the space between Shakune and the other woman, "the two of you, pair up. You will work with me, seeing as you're so talented."
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Last edited by Shakune on May 19th, 2015, 7:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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[The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

Postby Shakune on May 19th, 2015, 10:50 am

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The students slowly came together in their pairs. Shakune threw her new partner a minute smile, praying to the Gods that this woman wouldn't be as much of a dick as Baldy had been. In return, the girl waved. A promising sign.

"Observe your opponent carefully. Consider where it would be best for you to stab, how efficiently you could kill them. None of you are wearing armour, so this shouldn't be difficult. You-" The half-Myrian pointed with the tip of her sword to Shakune before swiping it to into her partner, "how would you kill your foe?"

The courier glanced from the trainer to her companion. The girl was short, and as skinny as a rake. It was hard to imagine her surviving any physical combat. "Stab her gut?"

"Are you asking me, or telling me?"

"Ur--" The courier stumbled and stuttere, her cheeks flushing. Eventually, she managed to muster the words: "telling you."

From Eleuia's reaction, the answer had been neither right nor wrong. She gave a frustrated little groan and rolled her eyes before turning the question to Shakune's partner.

The other woman's answer was immediate and surprisingly bloodthirsty. "I'd slice 'er throat open. Watch 'er bleed to death." She snarled. Shakune blinked and stepped back, wishing she was paired with Baldy once again. At least that psychopath hadn't spoken quite so warmly about killing her.

"Whilst both of you are correct in that a stab to the gut or a slice to the throat would kil someone, both answers are optimistic. In most battles, he might not be a single slash or stab that kills the foe. It is a series of smaller wounds that accumulate and lead to death. Only is stories does the brave knight behead his foe in a single swing of his sword."

It was the longest sentence Shakune had heard Eleuia say, but still the half-Myrian had all the personality and emotional expression of a brick wall. She unsheathed her sword and swung it with impressive speed and skill, taking up various defensive and offensive stances. "A battle is not formed of a collection of single strikes, but of a fluid movement of defence and attack. During training, you will take turns of stabbing and defending, but real opponents are not always so polite." Was that the beginning of a smirk pulling at the trainer's thin lips? She stopped her demonstration, positioned the point of the sword into the earth and rested her left elbow upon it. She briefly gestured to her students before instructing, "Begin. Remember: fluid movements."

Shakune glanced to her partner, now unsure of what to make of the rat-like woman. Sunberth natives were a tough people, but it was a little extreme even by their standards to openly discuss someone else's blood leaking out of their slit throat. The courier in particular did not have the stomach for such grisly things. She was about to ask her partner how she'd like to go about their session - who would start defensively and who offensively, so on - when the decision was made for her.

The woman charged forward, her arms bent upwards and with her sword raised vertically above her head. So much for wanting to slit Shakune's throat open: at this rate, she'd crack her skull open first. But the courier jumped backwards, clumsily falling out of the woman's way and raising her khopesh horizontally at the same time. The shortsword clattered into Shakune's khopesh, but despite the speed with which the blade fell, there was little force or strength behind it.

Fluid movements. The words echoed in the back of Shakune's mind. Her trainer was, of course, absolutely correct. Of the few fights she'd witnessed, all of them had happened so quickly and smoothly that Shakune had been unable to keep up. Skilled swordsmen were able to turn a defensive stance into an offensive stab. By comparison, the courier could barely stand up whilst holding her khopesh.

She stole a glance in the direction of her former partner and their trainer, and was pleased with what she saw. Baldy was on the ground, looking incredibly uncomfortable and disgruntled whilst Eleuia towered above him, the point of her sword on his throat.

"You finished eye-boggling your boyfriend?"

"Oi, it's one thing to talk about killin' me." Shakune retorted grumpily, "but I like my men with more hair on their head." Nevertheless, she threw another peek towards him.
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[The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

Postby Shakune on May 19th, 2015, 6:35 pm

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Still, the courier managed to slide her attention back to her current training companion. Gripping the khopesh with both hands, she hauled the heavy weapon upwards and diagonally to the right, not truly aiming but more hoping that the weapon would contact the other woman. With a rather impressive jump to the side, Shakune's slash was easily avoided.

The short sword came up at the same time, biting into the khopesh and pushing it away. Shakune found herself almost toppling over, weighted down to the left as the khopesh slid out of her gasp and thudded dully to the ground.

"M'dad fights with summit like that." Her partner said, nodding with mild interest down to the curved blade, "reckons it can disarm a man better than any other sword."

"Apparently so. But it weighs a petchin' a tonne." Shakune's own khopesh was even heavier; she struggled to wield it longer for than five chimes in any one go. "It throws me around as much I throw it."

"The khopesh is a difficult weapon to balance." The two women turned to face their trainer, both surprised at her sudden appearance. Eleuia's eyes were focused on the training weapon in Shakune's hands, "but as you said, it can be used for both defensive and offensive moves. With the khopesh, you don't need a shield like you would use with other swords. Hence it's weight." Eleuia reached out to indicate Baldy's weapon, "axes and the like are particularly easy to disarm with the khopesh. The curve of the blade can hook under the axe itself, pulling it out of the user's arm. Swords, and other straight blades, are not so easy." The Myrian mimicked holding a two-handed weapon, her legs positioned just less than shoulder width apart. "It's important to balance yourself correctly with a heavy weapon, otherwise you will fall down too easily."

Shakune copied her trainer. The half-Myrian gave a solemn nod and continued to beat Baldy to a shiny-headed pulp. With the two others now gone, Shakune and her partner restarted.

With her wide-set position, the courier found herself far better balanced. When her training companion slid her blade horizontally towards her through the air, Shakune blocked it with a swipe of the outer curve of the khopesh. The blades clanged together before the two woman divorced away. Shakune remained stationary whilst the other woman prowled around her, apparently having forgotten about Eleuia's turn-taking rules. She gave a forward jab of her sword, the point poking Shakune right in the belly.

"Dead." The woman said the words with an annoying smugness. She smirked and dropped her arm back down to her side.

Shakune said nothing, smarting under her opponent's gaze. She was planning to retaliate with some witty comment about the other woman's crooked teeth, when--

"Enough!"
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[The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

Postby Shakune on May 19th, 2015, 6:54 pm

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The two Myrian sisters stood beside each other in the centre of their training ground. Iztel, as beforehand, did the talking.

"You have worked hard so far, but there is more to learn. Rest for the next half bell, and return here afterwards. We will then continue."

The students slowly wandered off, milling about in their pairs or smaller groups. Some drank out of water skins, others stretched their muscles and groaned loudly about how tired they were. Shakune stood awkward to the side, accompanied by her two previous training companions but not exactly wanting to start a conversation with either. The woman - she truly did look like rodent now Shakune managed to look at her - stalked off. But Baldy remained.

"Sorry fer beatin' you quite s'much earlier." He muttered, like some young lad being forced to apologise for kicking his grandmother's cat.

She turned to face him, her black eyes drinking that bald head, the brown stubble. He looked like every other bloke who wandered the streets to Sunberth; a little bit dirty, slightly unwashed and unshaven. Giving a shrug, she ignored the throbbing along her spine and in stomach from his previous blows. "It weren't that bad."

His deep-throated chuckle told Shakune that he hadn't believed her pride. Now it was his turn to give her the once over: he scanned her face, lingering over her foreign-looking eyes, before drinking in her body and breasts. So it was like that now, was it? Suddenly he seemed less entertained by beating her up and more interested in other activities. Coyly, Shakune lied: "I reckon I've seen you around." Men liked to hear that they'd caught a woman's attention before, she knew.

"Quite likely. I've been livin' here all m'life. You that courier?"

My reputation precedes me..

"Shakune." She extended a hand out to him, once again looking at that gloriously shiny bald head. There wasn't even a whisper of a hair upon his crown.

"Shaun." He accepted the gesture and enwrapped his own chiselled fingers around hers. Giving her hand brief shake, he broke the contact and rested his hand on the hilt of his axe. "You don't look like y'got much skill in the battfield, y'know." He seemed entertained by this fact.

The courier prickled with annoyance. She couldn't work out what he wanted from her: a sparring buddy, a punching bag, a quick shag? And I thought women were the difficult ones to understand.

"Last time I checked, you were in the beginners class as well."

This entertained him. Shaun laughed and shrugged his shoulders. He couldn't, after all, deny what she'd just said. "I figured it'd be good t'learn a new weapon. I'm more used to the crossbow or longsword. An axe is more... top heavy."

From the way his eyes lingered over her chest, Shakune could only assume that Shaun was a fan of top-heavy things. With a twitch of her eyebrows, the courier asked that age-old silent question: single, married, widowed, gay?

Shaun's faint smile confirmed what she hoped was true: single and straight.

Ledger-7GM for group lesson @ the Proving Grounds
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Shakune
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[The Proving Grounds] Do You Even Lift?

Postby Sayana on July 8th, 2015, 12:25 am

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Shakune

Skills:
Skill EXP
Observation +4
Endurance +4
Acrobatics +4
Weapon: Khopesh +5
Rhetoric +2
Socialization +2
Flirting +1


Lores:
  • Location: The Proving Grounds
  • Eleuia: Stern and quiet trainer at the Proving Grounds
  • Khopesh: Basic block
  • Khopesh: Sideways stance
  • Combat: Use fluid movements
  • Combat: Turn defensive moves into offensive moves
  • Khopesh: Proper stance
  • Khopesh: Can disarm weapons like axes
  • Flirting: Men like to know they had been seen before
  • Shaun: Bald beginner fighter at the Proving Grounds

Comments :
That was a fun read with lots of informative tid-bits that I turned into various lore. I also thought it was cute how Shakune reconciled with Shaun at the end and even flirted a little. And thanks for updating your ledger with the training costs.


Don't forget to edit/delete your grade request in the grade request thread.

If you have any questions or concerns about your grade please feel free to send me a message (like really, I’m all ears if you feel like I missed something).

Enjoy.
---

**Available via PM (generally) but looking to tie up loose ends. (Feb 15)

0/2 Solos ----- 1/2 Modded Quests ----- 3/5 PC Threads ----- 1/1 GST Thread (to grade)
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