Completed Into the Arena

Sol takes up practicing with his shashka again

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This northernmost city is the home of Morwen, The Goddess of Winter, and her followers who dwell year round in a land of frozen wonder. [Lore]

Into the Arena

Postby Solemn Warborn on June 16th, 2016, 3:37 am


Summer, the 12th, 516 AV


Into the Arena


The intimidating, mish-mashed metal and icestone walls of the Tundra Stadium rose up in front of Solemn. Intimidation was something not easily lost on him. There was a prey instinct that stemmed from his animal side that underlay every moment, but having lived with it every day for his entire life, he knew how to easily override that sense. His mother had had the predatory instinct, and she had been the one to teach him how to master his fears.

She was the reason he was here today. Before they had parted all those years ago, his mother, Dasha, had given him her shashka, the graceful, wicked saber with which she had made a name for herself. When she had given it to him, she had asked him to keep it safe until they met each other again. To him, back then, that had sounded like a promise to return to him, but his faith in people had lessened of late. He had little trust to give, and he was selective of who he gave that little to. Still, he would hold up his end of the bargain.

Today, he had come to take up his training with the shashka again. Here, at the Stadium, members of the Icewatch were given priority, but all people were welcome and encouraged to train. There always seemed to be some Icewatch warriors present, current or retired, who were willing to impart knowledge, especially since this gave them a good way to evaluate potential recruits. Eyrwyn, of all the Icewatch, seemed to take the training of Avanthal’s people the most seriously. While her focus was on keeping the Icewatch the most formidable force in Taldera, if not all of Mizahar, she was proud to pass her knowledge and skills to any citizen of Avanthal. The Icewatch could not be everywhere all the time.

Walking through the imposing gates, Solemn become even more intimidated by the open space that made the arena grounds. There were stands surrounding the arena and, in them, were several senior members of the Icewatch who were watching some apprentices train, whispering to each other about what could be done to improve the many skills the rookies would need. Solemn didn’t like being in the way or being the center of attention, so he kept to the periphery of the arena and made his way to the side opposite the apprentices.

He selected a nearby wooden dummy and walked up to it, making sure to keep his back to those training. He hoped that would make him easier to ignore. One of the first things his mother had shown him with the shashka was the drawing slash. It was one of her favorite parts about the shashka. One could easily end a fight with the beginning strike. The saber’s design lent itself perfectly to the motion. While the curved blade allowed for a smooth draw, the forward curved pommel, if it could be called that, offered the appropriate grip to catch.

Standing with both hands hanging loosely by his side, Solemn relaxed and calmed himself, visualizing the movements required in his head. First, his left hand would find the scabbard at his hip and right it. All the while, his right hand would cross his body. His little finger would find the crook in the pommel and, with a twisting motion, loose the shashka in its sheath while his other fingers found their place on the grip. Then, his arm would shoot out and upward, pulling the blade in a similar arc. The arc could be placed anywhere on one’s opponent: across the gut, across the chest, or across the throat. Relaxation was key. This required a precise, fluid motion.

Suddenly, he moved. The hands swung to their appropriate positions on the sword and scabbard, but his arms were clumsy. They lacked the speed and efficiency that his mother had had. He knew what it was supposed to look like, and what he did was not it. He did not know what it was supposed to feel like, having never done it right, but what he had done felt wrong. The blade had struck the dummy at an angle and glanced off.

Resigning himself to the fact that this was going to take a lot of practice, Solemn moved the shashka to its sheath. This was something his mother had done without looking, as if she just remembered where it was. He had to watch the blade until it was secure in the scabbard. To his mother, the blade was just another part of her body, an extra limb with the same killing potential of her wolf jaws.

He rehearsed the action several times. Each time, it became a little smoother, a little quicker, but it had already started off so terrible that the result of all his improvement was still a slash that was useless in combat.

He was preparing to attempt the motion for the dozenth time when a voice came from behind him. “Warborn.”

He ignored the call to him. It was a name he had never accepted, one that spoke of his parentage, only one half of which he had claimed. His father had been a bear of the Icewatch but had disowned him when it was revealed that Solemn would not be some formidable beast of war. Solemn had never known who the man was and never wanted to know. His mother had raised him, and she was the only parent he needed.

“Warborn,” Eyrwyn called again.

Sol felt a calm from the rage that name made him feel. Ignoring Eyrwyn once more, he let the focus from his anger guide his hand. This time, the slash moved more rapidly, more smoothly, and with greater accuracy than it had before. It still lacked the beauty and viciousness that it had when his mother performed it.

He sheathed his sword once more.

“Solomon.” Eyrwyn sounded annoyed that she had been ignored.
Last edited by Solemn Warborn on April 5th, 2017, 9:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Into the Arena

Postby Solemn Warborn on July 15th, 2016, 6:57 pm


This time, Solemn responded. He turned to her. “Eyrwen. Sorry I didn’t hear you. I was focused on my training.”

She smiled and gave him an approving nod. “It’s about damned time, too. Your mother asked me to continue your training if you ever showed interest in it. Though I still don’t know why she wanted me to do saber training. I’m worth nothing with a blade.”

Solemn shrugged. “I’m sure you’re better than me. Everything I do feels wrong. I’m sure it looks even worse.”

Eyrwen took her turn to shrug. “I’ll never know if I don’t see. Show me.”

Solemn turned back to the practice dummy. Visualizing the motion in his head, he took the time to let his muscles relax. Then, he let the tethered muscles loose. His hand flew to the shashka, ripping it from the sheath and guiding it to its target. Once again, the blade skipped off the wooden dummy. Sighing, Solemn looked ruefully at Eyrwen.

She shrugged. Solemn appreciated that much. She didn’t belittle or humiliate him. Instead, she held out her hand in an obvious request to see his blade. Twisting it so he held the blunt side of the blade, he offered Eyrwen the handle.

She spoke to him as she took it. “I see at least one problem with what you’re doing.”

Holding up the blade, she inspected its edge. The kindness left her eyes and was replaced by something between disappointment and rage. “Here’s your problem. Your blade is all battered as can be. Gods, Solomon! How could you let it get this bad?”

Solemn cast his eyes to the ground. He was ashamed. That shashka had been his mother’s most valued possession.

Eyrwen went on. “This was not just hers. It was a part of her. The only thing she cared more about than this blade was you.”

The Icewatch veteran stopped suddenly, realizing what she had just said. She had been there the day Dasha had left and had seen the effect her departing had on Solemn. Her voice became gentle again, that of a teacher with a novice student. “I’m sorry, Solomon. That was insensitive.”

Solemn met her eyes with shame in his own and noticed the surprise in hers. Shame was not what she had been expecting from him. Perhaps she had been dealing with polar bears too long. She had been expecting something different. Rage, maybe.

Eyrwen remained gentle. “Here. Let me educate you on the proper care of a weapon.” She held the blade up so he could see its edge. “Look at your blade. See all the nicks? Those will reduce the efficiency of your weapon.”

He could see them as plain as day. Some of them were quite large. “What do I do about them?”

“Sharpen your blade regularly and don’t forget to give it a good polishing on a consistent basis.” Tilting the blade so she was peering down its length, she shook her head. “But this is going to need more than that. You’re going to need a smith to fix this. There’s a bend in your blade. Here. Look.”

She held it up for him to see, and sure enough, about two thirds of the way down the length of the blade, the metal curved to one side. Solemn groaned. He didn’t know how he could neglect his mother’s favorite possession as much as he had. He had promised to take care of it until she came back.

“Don’t worry, Solomon. There are a few good smiths in the Icewatch.”

Something came to his mind, a newcomer he had seen around the city lately. He shook his head. “No. I’ve got someone for that.”

Eyrwen just arched her eyebrow and shrugged. “Just make sure it’s taken care of. Your mother’d never forgive me if she knew I knew about this and did nothing.”

Solemn nodded. “So what was the other problem?”

Eyrwen smiled, glad to be brought back to the subject of war. “You need to harness your mother’s instinct.”

Solemn didn’t understand what she telling him, and his face must have said so.

She sighed and went on. “You have to have the predatory nature, the will to destroy your enemy. All you’re doing is guiding your blade to the target with no intent after it reaches there. That’s why your blade skips off. You have to drive your blade through your opponent. Observe.”

She faced the practice dummy, so Solemn stepped back, giving her room to demonstrate. With a grace only given by years of experience and honing one’s body athletically, Eyrwen put the sword at her side as if it were in a sheath and then swung it up suddenly. Sunlight glittered off the blade like it did so often with the snow as the blade arced upward, biting deep into the wood of the dummy. Eyrwen’s strike carried through, and as the blade swung up over her shoulder, she spun it, leveling the deadly point over her free arm at her target.

Solemn stepped forward and took in the damage Eyrwen’s blow had done. While his slices had just left small nicks in the wood, her single slash had left a deep gash in the wood that ran from one side to the other.

He whistled appreciatively. “Now that’s impressive.”

Eyrwen shrugged. “That was nothing. You should have seen how many of these stupid dummies your mother went through while she was practicing. I don’t think she realized how precious of a commodity wood is up here.”
Last edited by Solemn Warborn on August 27th, 2016, 3:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Into the Arena

Postby Solemn Warborn on July 28th, 2016, 3:51 am


Grasping the blade by its blunt edge, Eyrwen offered Solemn the handle. “Your turn. Try again. This time, drive the blade through the target.”

As he took the blade from her hands, Solemn trued to harness the inner predatory instinct, but it was too unfamiliar to him. He tried to think of someone he hated, but even that he couldn’t do. The best he could come up with was a few people he disliked, but thinking about them stirred no rage within him. He could only think of one time he had ever felt real rage; someone had received a broken jaw for it. From what Solemn remembered of that day, he hadn’t liked the feeling, but he had felt justified.

Giving up on that notion, Solemn instead focused on the theory of the thing he was trying to achieve. Drive the blade through the target. That he could do. Sheathing the sword, Solemn took a moment to let his muscles relax. Then, with the memory his muscles had been building that morning, he unsheathed the sword and slashed upward and across the dummy, this time not bothering to stop his swing. There was the jarring impact as his blade met the wood and continued through, and then the blade arced far over behind him until it bit into the hard packed ground of the Stadium.

“Careful, Solomon,” Eyrwen warned. “You don’t want to lay open your own leg.”

Solemn looked back and found the blade buried in the ground a hand’s breadth from his heel. “Oh, wow. That was fortunate.”

“Yeah. Even the best in Whitevine would have had trouble fixing that one. At least it was an improvement from before. Take a look at your work.”

Solemn stepped forward and let his eyes wander over the gash he had just made. While it was nowhere near as deep as Eyrwen’s, it was much deeper than anything he had made before. In his mind, it was a success, and he remembered to keep Eyrwen’s advice ready whenever he used his shashka again. Drive the blade through the target.

Eyrwen also leaned in to inspect what damage he had done. “Not bad. It still lacked the vehemence I’d like to see, but in a pinch, that would do the job. We’ll work on the motivation behind the blow another day. For now, we should work on controlling your blade after it strikes an opponent or any other obstacle in its way. Try again.”

This time, Solemn was more cautious. Breathing deeply, he filled every nook and cranny of his lungs he possibly could. Letting the breath out slowly, he felt any remaining stress flood out of his body with the air. With the stress, though, seemed to go any motivation he had to do the task before him.

Drive your blade through the target.

He repeated the advice over and over again like a mantra in his head, and finally, when repeating the mantra took too much effort, he did the thing he was thinking so much about. The blade seemed to know its way better than his arm did, and the weight of the weapon pulled his arm along with it. Metal met wood, and the reverberation of the steel traveled up his arm and into the bones of his shoulder. His caution tempered his strength, but the form and the technique were right. As his blade swung up behind him, he twisted it clumsily in his hand and spun in an inelegant half turn to control the path of his blade, ending with the shashka held in a guard up at shoulder level. Solemn and Eyrwen both stepped up to the dummy.

“Too cautious,” was Eyrwen’s evaluation.

Solemn had to agree. This cut wasn’t nearly as deep as the one before. He was about to pick apart his form a little more, but Eyrwen had more advice.

“That’s not a half bad guard, Solomon, but I don’t think your blade is much designed for guards. Dasha with that shashka was a beautiful sight to behold. One thing about her form, though, was that it was never still. The blade was always in motion, as was your mother. The amount of death and destruction she could cause with that thing was astounding. Why don’t you show me what you have?”
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Solemn Warborn
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Into the Arena

Postby Solemn Warborn on August 11th, 2016, 3:42 pm


Solemn hesitated at this. The best thing about being himself was that he was so slow his hesitation couldn’t be noticed, except by those who knew him best. The flowing motion of the shashka wasn’t something he had mastered. In fact, he couldn’t even call himself a novice at it. Basic slashes he could do, but melding one slash seamlessly into the, he could not. Still, there was no way to learn except through trying, so Solemn twisted the blade in a lazy twirl several times to get used to its weight. It was heavy ended, not balanced at the place the blade met the handle but farther out away from the hand, but it was a weight he understood. Once before, he had held a balanced blade, and the balance had confused him. It had made the blade clumsy and anything but formidable.

Slowly, he twisted the blade in his hand, letting the edge cut through the air with a thrum as its momentum built. It was a simple pattern with a downward slash to one side, a twist of the wrist, and a broader slash to the other side. His movements were inelegant. When his mother had done this, the blade had danced, and the air had been forced to sing by the cruelty of her saber. She would make a vast assortment of noises with the blade, from a dull thrumming and a sharp whine to the perfect whistle of air being split by steel. Solemn did not have enough command of the sword to make it sing, except on the rare occasion when the blade cut perfectly through the air by no power of his own. He continued the pattern for several minutes, but his arm quickly began to tire as the weight of the blade overcame the aid of its momentum.

Eyrwen stopped him. “You’re going to have to get a lot stronger and get your muscles more used to that weight if you want to keep up that motion for any length of time. I must say though, you do seem to be getting more comfortable with slashes the more you use it.”

“Thanks.” Solemn was happy for any compliment he could receive from someone so skilled and experienced, even if they were an Icewatch veteran.

Eyrwen shook her head. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s nothing pretty. In fact, it was completely inelegant, but you have to start somewhere, I suppose. There’s still a lot of improvement that needs to be done. Try varying the movements. Use both hands.”

Solemn stopped swinging the shashka for a moment and gathered his thoughts. His mother had tried to teach him a few basic hand transfers, but he had been too clumsy for most of them. One that he had managed, though only barely, was a simple twirl of the blade in front of his body. All he had to do was turn the back of his free hand to the handle of his sword, catch the bottom of it with his pinkie, and use his hand as a fulcrum to rotate the sword around until his free hand could grasp it.

He let the shashka whip in lazy arcs through the air, letting one hand take over from the other every so often, so that neither would tire. The transfers were slow affairs, muting the sword’s speed.

Several minutes in, Eyrwen lashed out suddenly with her staff. She didn’t hit Solemn’s hands. Instead, she went for the blade. The staff found the blade and knocked it from his hands.

Eyrwen shrugged. “You were looking too comfortable.”

“I thought that was the point of training. To get more comfortable.”

“It is.” Eyrwen smiled. “Take this as a lesson. Always have control of your blade. It doesn’t matter how fancy your swordplay is if you don’t have a sword to use. Without you, without your hand to guide it, your sword is useless, and without a weapon, you are useless in war. Remember that, Solemn. Never let go.”
Last edited by Solemn Warborn on August 27th, 2016, 4:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Into the Arena

Postby Solemn Warborn on August 23rd, 2016, 3:05 am


Solemn held on to that advice and repeated it in his mind like an oath. Without me, my weapon is useless.

Bending down, Solemn retrieved his shashka from where it had fallen and looked to Eyrwen for guidance. “What now?”

“Now, you continue practicing the things we’ve worked on today. There will be plenty more to teach you in sessions ahead. As long as you coming.” The last part was delivered as a question.

“I’ll continue coming,” Solemn promised, reassuring the veteran warrior.

“Good. Keep practicing. I have to get back to the apprentices, but I look forward to continuing your training. There is so much left for you to learn. See you can’t channel some vehemence. I’ll see you next time.” She started back toward her trainees but remembered something and called over her shoulder. “Get your blade fixed. And see if you can’t get yourself a wooden training sword. That’ll allow you to do some sparring.”

He waved farewell to the trainer, then turned back to the training dummy. Never let go. He had the advantage of his unbreakable sloth grip, but the shashka’s fighting style was not one designed to always have a firm grip on the handle. The blade was always supposed to be in motion, and in order for that to be the case, it would temporarily have to leave his full grip for twirls and hand transfers. The trick, he figured, would be reading his opponents well enough that he could know what motions he needed when and which opportunities were the best to use for those moments of limited control.

For now though, he need to be comfortable enough with the saber to perform these feats in a fight. Which he was not. So he continued to practice. Working with where Eyrwen had left him, he began to twirl the blade in arcs that caught the feeble sunlight on its dull edge and worked on making the transfers smoother, a little more rapid. Every so often, he would throw a slash in the direction of the dummy, taking another small chip of wood from its surface.

After a few minutes of that, his arms began to tire, and he moved on to something different. He tried vehemence. It didn’t suit him. Glaring at the practice dummy, he tried to imagine he hated it. The practice was a futile one. Solemn could not being himself to hate, not a living creature and certainly not an inanimate one. Inanimate objects gave one no reason to hate as they simply existed and did no more. Still, he beat the thing silly for a few minutes more with basic slashes, forgetting the continual motion the shashka was supposed to have.

Eventually, he gave up on that too. Sheathing his shashka, he turned away. Something in him stirred, and he spun back toward the dummy, drawing the saber and slashing the dummy in one fluid movement. Drive your blade through your opponent. He hadn’t forgotten that. A smile spread across his lips as the blade sang through the air. Already, his muscles were remembering the motion better.

He inspected the edge of his saber as he returned it to its sheath, all battered and bent. He’d have to get it fixed.
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If only it was worth the effort...

Solemn Warborn
Even the broken can hope.
 
Posts: 132
Words: 127237
Joined roleplay: April 22nd, 2014, 2:23 am
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Into the Arena

Postby Konrad Venger on September 24th, 2016, 8:58 am

Solemn :
XP:
Observation - 3
Shashka - 4
Tactics - 2
Socialization - 2

Lore:
Location: Tundra Stadium
My Shashka: A Mother's Gift
Shashka: Drawing Slash
Tactics: Thinking Through your Moves
Maintain Your Weapon, Keep Keen its Edge
Eyrwen: Wise, Calm, Helpful... and Deadly
The Deadliest Blade is One Always in Motion
Always have control of your blade


Click Me! :
As training threads go, this was pretty standard but I loved the level of detail you put into it, hence the rewards. I think you might be trying too much too quickly, but you had Eyrwen keeping Solemn grounded the whole time, which is good. Combined with some Bodybuilding and Acrobatics, you'll be a demon with that saber.

Just be careful yoiu aren't hacking apart training dummies too quickly. Even the sharpest swords can't cut through humans with ease; human-sized chunks of solid wood, even less so. ;)

Oh, and please make sure you go back and edit your post in the Request Thread to reflect the fact this one is now done and dusted. PM me with any questions and later 'tater!

||Common||Thoughts||Pavi||Fratava||Myrian||Other's Speaking||
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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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Konrad Venger
Long is The Way and Hard
 
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Into the Arena

Postby Jasmine Stormblood on October 26th, 2016, 11:58 pm

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REGRADE

Let me know if I missed anything dear

 
Solemn
XP
  • Weapon-Shashka: 4 XP
  • Socialization: 3 XP
  • Endurance: 2 XP
  • Observation: 2 XP
  • Tactics: 2 XP
Lores
  • Eyrwyn: trains Ice Watch and civilians
  • Drawing Slash: used to hit gut, chest, or throat
  • Kelvics have two main drives predator and prey
  • Solemn: hates to be the center of attention
  • Location: Tundra Stadium
  • Sharpen and Polish blade on a regular basis
  • A predatory instinct is needed in battle
  • "Drive the blade through the target"
  • Shashka: a mother's gift
  • Tactics: never let go of your weapon
  • Tactics: never look comfortable in battle
  • Shashka: should always be in motion
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The Clan is Strength, The Clan is Life
 
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