Flashback Attack of the Flying Figs

Glaive Training (no really)

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

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Attack of the Flying Figs

Postby Lashander on June 20th, 2015, 7:07 pm

25th Day of Summer 512


"Master Lashander, Master Lashander, surely you must see the madness in this!" The eunuch's falsetto voice cut across the courtyard like a whistle out of tune. Lashander, the boy he was adressing, stood in the middle of the terracotta mosaic laid out on the ground, chuckling through a mouthful of grapes. His left hand held the rest of the fruit while his right rested on the pole of his glaive. Coming to a skittering halt that nearly knocked him out of his slippers, the eunuch interposed himself between the boy and his glaive on the one side and three household slaves on the other.

The three giggling girls, a kitchen helper, an entertainer and a chambermaid all had different fruit placed on their heads up until now. But the eunuch's arrival was such a spectacle that laughter made the melon roll right off the chambermaid's head and splatter against the tiles before she could catch it while the entertainer barely held on to the apple resting on the nest of braids that passed for her hair. The kitchen helper alone managed to deftly balance her grapefruit.

"Master Lashander!" the eunuch intoned again, "Do you really think this is a good idea?" The boy just nodded, tightening the grip on his glaive before he spat out a grape seed. "I'm sure neither you nor I have anything to fear from fruit." he replied, his voice raised in mockery of the eunuch. The reply moreso than the tone of it made the older man's eyes go wide. "Master... it's not the fruit I'm worried about, it's the girls!"

"Oh." the boy just replied before shoving the rest of the grapes in his mouth and taking his time chewing on them. He let the old eunuch stew as he diligently chewed through every grape, spat out the seeds and finally laid his left hand on the glaive as well. "But, old man, how am I supposed to learn finesse otherwise? If there's no appreciable risk involved, how am I under pressure to do it right? But if you worry about the girls... maybe you want to grab a grape off the table and volunteer?"

That shut the old man up. He was but a slave after all. He was a prized possession, but still a possession, as were the girls. If the boy harmed any of them he'd be reprimanded for the property damage caused... on the other hand, he was just a boy. A hedonist of a boy from a family of degenerates. Expecting reason or mercy was a fool's errand. The eunuch could do little but relent. When Lash saw his stance sag with resignation and his gaze sweep across the tiles, he couldn't help but add salt to the wound. "But since you're here, get... that girl there, whatever her name is, a new melon."

Lashander gestures the point of his glaive toward the chambermaid, as if it wasn't obvious that he meant the girl standing right next to the burst fruit cadaver. The old eunuch shrunk a little more and shuffled off to do as his master wished. As the boy waited, he made sure to stretch his limbs and loosen his muscles. Because he was a boy, but right now he was lucid enough to know as much.

But he also had a desire right now to prove that he could take a top-heavy hafted weapon and perform feats of finesse others needed a rapier or dagger for if only he set his mind to it. In theory he'd had the training. In practice he lacked the practice, but petch that to petching petch and back. And petch any old slave getting in his way.

He'd have none of it.
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Attack of the Flying Figs

Postby Lashander on June 20th, 2015, 9:29 pm

A few moments later, he had the girls lined up again. The chambermaid with a new melon on her head on the right, then the scantily clad 'entertainer' whose garb and sunny disposition were left over from the same orgy the remaining fruit came from. Her hairstyle made it easy to place the apple she bore in the nest of braids. Then came the freckled kitchen maid who nimbly kept shifting under the grapefruit threatening to roll off her head.

There was a new addition to the lineup now, though. Beyond the kitchen maid stood the old eunuch, robes and slippers and all... and a tiny fig laid on his head, bald and otherwise covered in nothing but sweat.

"Next time I'll cover my eyes." Lashander announced with a smirk. He'd found a stick of cinnamon in one of the leftover fruit bowls and kept chewing on that in the corner of his mouth as he spoke and smirked. "But for now you might be the ones who close their eyes. Don't want anyone getting scared at the last moment and hop right into the arc of the glaive, do we?" The smirk remained, but his body tensed up without waiting for the girls to somehow utter their assent.

The smirk became a mask as the boy recalled his lessons. Recalled every muscle in his body he would need, felt for it, mentally reaching out until he wasn't just aware of the tension but able to finely measure it. Like bending a spring with a light touch until it was just right. Legs, waist, back chest, shoulders, upper and lower arms... fingers... it was all there, all right.

Form follows function. He recalled that lesson well. The long, top-heavy weapon was a harsh mistress to dance with, but its long haft also at least allowed the illusion that she was easily controlled. The truth was that the necessary amount of control was only gained through endless repetition of the bodily mechanics involved in the basic sweeps and strokes, the cuts and thrusts.

Each of these attacks could connect. Strike flesh or bone or steel, and he needed to be ready for removing the glaive's blade from flesh or catching the weapon on the rebound from steel. Or it could miss, not an unlikely scenario since the weapon needed to travel in wider arcs than, say, an axe. Evading a sweep was a safer course of action for an accomplished fighter than trying to parry his attack with anything less than a steel shield. When the glaive got there, it got there wickedy hard. A miss being a likely scenario, Lash would also always have to be prepared to balance the weapon and bring it back into attack position again.

From his hips upward, nearly his entire body had to dedicate itself to being prepared to follow whichever function the end result of any given attack called for. After all, the next short and utterly generic but still true lesson was to always think two moves ahead: Attack, predict the result of the attack, predict the reaction of your enemy, be ready to act on that, too.

His muscles were ready. Now it was his head's turn. Fights the next lesson went are not won through strength, they're won in the mind. Thinking two steps ahead was a good start, but required a lot of additional observations and thoughts to work out so easily.

It would take him three steps to get within range of the melon, then two towards the apple. But three steps would put him on his right foot, forcing him into a backhand swing. Another two steps would leave him in the same predicament. So instead he would take four steps, turn into the upward swing towards the fruit on the chambermaid's head and carry the motion into a full turn, coming up behind the entertainer slave and raising his weapon to swing down at the apple in its nest of hair.

He'd have to draw back the glaive so as to not ruin the girl's hair, and that was the intent of this exercise after all, so there was no way around that. So one step back. Since Lash also intended to face the Eunuch when he went for the tiny little fig on his bald head, he'd need to step around the kitchen maid as he sliced the grapefruit on her head. That would work well. And then...

One truth of the matter was that the entire process of feeling his muscles and thinking through his pattern of attack took a mere few heartbeats. He knew what he was doing, and knowing was half the battle after all. The other half of it and the other truth was the fact that the fruit was unlikely to defend itself or seek to escape with a daring leap. In this, his task was easy.

Lashander bit down on the stick of cinnamon in his mouth. He was ready.
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Attack of the Flying Figs

Postby Lashander on June 21st, 2015, 5:52 am

Four steps forward took him past the chambermaid, a half turn clockwise as he raised the weapon until the blade was level with his own head, then his true enemy entered his field of vision from the right: the melon. There was no way he'd miss the bright green watermelon, so he prepared for a clean cut as he'd been taught. The glaive would carry through and need to be levelled again.

And so it happened. The melon was an easy victim, letting itself be cleaved in two without resisting. As it rolled off the chambermaid's head, it left a trail of juice that would soon turn sticky but other than that this was a very clean kill. But Lash had no time to admire his skill at murdering fruit, he knew. Form followed function, not inclination, he reminded himself and there was an apple just begging to be decimated.

Carrying the inertia of the glaive, Lashander transitioned into another half turn until he had the weapon steady above his head, then sidestepped behind the entertainer slave. The apple wasn't going anywhere, though the girl was shaking subtly with restrained giggling over the half melon that had rolled in front of her feet. He brought down the weapon, flexing arms and chest to slow it before impact. It was the apple he meant to split, not the girl's skull. As it went, he managed to cut about halfway into the apple, causing it to cling to the glaive's blade as he retracted it.

Once more, he couldn't allow himself to pay attention to the victims of his furious assault, so Lash didn't really notice much more than the fact that he indeed didn't hurt the girl. And there were two more victims on his list. Stepping forward between the slaves brought Lashander to the front of the line again, back to the kitchen maid as he moved into a widdershins half turn that would soon mature into a high sweep. In his mind, his weapon would deal with the grapefruit as it had with the melon. In reality, the apple still stuck to the blade blunted the weapon.

In fact, this became a battle fruit on fruit within a heartbeat as the apple impacted on the grapefruit. The latter fruit had enough weight to drive the apple all the way across the glaive and finally split it in two halves, one of which would come to rest on the kitchen slave's head while the other went flying. Also flying went the grapefruit, almost entirely unharmed but shooting towards the eunuch's head at terminal velocity.

The fruit struck the old man in the temple with a squishy sound, making the eunuch emit a ridiculously high-pitched groan. For his part, Lash set his feet to balance against the inertia of the glaive. The fig would require the most finesse of all, but he planned on artfully spinning into a wound-up diagonal downward slash. The old man would probably soil his pants at that.

However, said old man was stumbling forward from the grapefruit's impact at just that moment and tripped over the butt of the glaive's haft just as Lash was winding up for his grand finale. Eunuch and fig went sprawling onto the tiles, and so did the glaive.

It went without saying that this left Lash rather confused and nonplussed. It had been such a nice plan. Maybe not perfect but very nice, and that petching fruit had to go and spoil it. Worse, he hadn't even gotten to see the old man get bowled over by the flying grapefruit. Judging by the way the three girls were squirming with laughter it had to have been quite hilarious. In fact, the kitchen maid looked like she was about to choke on the half apple she was chewing on.

This wasn't working out.
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Attack of the Flying Figs

Postby Lashander on June 21st, 2015, 7:00 am

Incapable of doing anything else, Lash went with the rising madness and joined in the laughter. He at least had the glaive to brace on while he watched the eunuch clamber back to his feet, then fall to his knees again after he touched his cheek and felt something wet. "I'm bleeding! I'm bleeding!" he exclaimed even though the others all saw and knew that it was just pulp and juice from the grapefruit which had burst on impact.

More laughter ensued. What else could anyone do but laugh after all?

Investigating and eventually tasting his fingers, the old eunuch reassured himself that he was not bleeding. Trying to find a semblance of decorum in this mess, he found a slipper he hadn't even realized he'd fallen out of, even recovered the fig that had fallen from his head and straightened himself again. He sought to address the boy, plead with his master's son, but even old eunuchs have a line that could be crossed. And the boy had a talent for crossing lines.

Instead of a plea, what came out of his mouth was, "You no good rotten brat, four decades I've served your family. You've dumped soup on me, set my slippers alight and kicked me in the groin 'just to be sure' and all of that when you were just a child. But this takes the petching cake!" And then, as if to underscore his words, he threw the fig in his hand towards Lash.

Thus unwittingly making the boy aware of the true standard of his training. Utterly unconsciously, Lashander tilted the glaive just enough to intercept the projectile's path with the blade. The fig bounced off harmlessly and fell to the ground once more. Caught somewhere between continued amusement and utter amazement at what he'd just done, Lash still found the presence of mind to deadpan, "Now why would you go and do that to perfectly good fruit?"

The old man turned a fiery red at that comment.

Without a word he stalked off to a nearby table, grabbed a whole bowl of figs left over from last night's revel and advanced on Lash, throwing a fig or sometimes two at every step. The boy kept on laughing, blocking the first few figs easily by just leaning the glaive into their trajectory, ignoring others as they went wide by an arm's length or more. Household slaves being hardly warriors, the old man wasn't exactly a good thrower of fruit. After a dozen or so figs, one did eventually catch Lashander in the cheek.

He stopped laughing. The entire courtyard stopped laughing. The old man stopped doing what he did, fig still in hand and ready to throw. A tense silence settled all around.
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Attack of the Flying Figs

Postby Lashander on June 21st, 2015, 7:48 am

When Lashander suddenly burst out into laughter again, the four slaves all relaxed. His laughter dispelled the oppressive silence that had hung over the courtyard for these few tense moments. Properly gripping his weapon and raising it diagonally before his body, he called out to the eunuch, "Is this the best you've got? Bring it on, old man!"

And the eunuch wasn't about to argue with his young master. Even though, Lash's depredations aside, he was one of the more valued slaves in the household, he was a slave still. Throwing anything at his young master would be cathartic, and the boy was openly inviting it and enjoying himself, so there was a low risk of repercussions. Thus the figs went flying and flying.

Lash for his part spun the glaive's shaft like the spoke on a wheel, which looked flashy but seemed less effective than aiming to block the flying figs' path indivudally. It did however come in handy when the old man moved on to flinging handfuls. How many petching figs did they leave over from that party anyway?

Still wondering, the boy noticed something bright red entering his field of vision from the side. He swung the glaive about, ignoring the figs and ended up splattering himself in sweet sticky juice as he handily smashed half a melon into bits. The entertainment slave had joined the fight, using what she had available. While Lash was still debating whether to be proud of his reflexes or annoyed about the face full of melon juice -a consideration made harder by the figs occasionally bouncing off the side of his head- the girl ran off to a table, giggling, chains clinking.

The fig fight was about to turn into an all-out fracas. Soon, all three slavegirls would be flinging citrus fruit and grapes and whatever else they could find and Lash was struggling to deflect more projectiles than he got hit with. The grapes were the worst because they were so tiny. On the upside, they were meaty and didn't splatter when they hit him. Lashander much preferred the oranges and grapefruit though. They were a good size to defend against.

When they did unearth another melon, however, Lash chose to dive to the ground rather than face it head-on. It hit the tiles behind him with a nasty wet sound. The slaves took him dodging that particular projectile as a sign of defeat and began to hop and dance and cheer in an impromptu victory celebration. The boy for his part struggled back to his feet and sauntered over towards the slaves' side of the battlefield, grinning from ear to ear.

Finally spitting out the stick of cinammon he'd all but forgotten about but kept clenched between his teeth to the very end, he took position in front of the girls, resting on the glaive's pole. "Well that was fun." Lash remarked, his voice full of delight. "Now which of you girls is up for getting me cleaned up?"

Surprisingly it was the little kitchen maid who perked up first. Still grinning, Lash laid an arm around her and started leading her away. Halfway across the yard, he stopped and turned towards the still celebrating remaining slaves. "The rest of you get this mess cleaned up. I'm sure my parents are having another party tonight and we want this place to look like the home of respectable people, right? Off you go!"
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Attack of the Flying Figs

Postby Elias Caldera on July 2nd, 2015, 4:25 pm


Behold, Your Just Reward!


Lashander


Experience and Lore :
Skills
  • Rhetoric +4
  • Leadership +2
  • Intimidation +2
  • Persuasion +2
  • Observation +4
  • Planning +1
  • Weapon: Glaive +3
  • Flirting +1

Lores
  • Form Follows Function
  • Slaves and Their Place
  • Attacking With a Glaive
  • Defending With a Glaive
  • Fighting Figs Isn't Fruitless Training
  • Getting Out of a Sticky Situation
  • Combat: Footwork is Key
  • Combat: Letting Muscle Memory Guide The Way
  • Staying Focused on The Goal


Miscellaneous :
Injuries
  • None

Loot and Expenses
  • None


Comments :
    Well its official; I like this guy!

    I figured I would as soon as I saw him, but this just nails it. Training threads aren't usually the first thing I imagine new players enjoy diving into right away, but this was brilliantly fun and exciting to read. I enjoyed Lashander's character in particular and now I'm eagerly awaiting to read even more of him.

    Good job on this. You keep it up and I may just have to take back what I said about you and Babylon 5 out of sheer respect.


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