Solo (Antinous Training Ground) Let it Flow

In response to the attacks on the Kabrin, Eliza modifies Erick's reigmen.

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This shining population center is considered the jewel of The Sylira Region. Home of the vast majority of Mizahar's population, Syliras is nestled in a quiet, sprawling valley on the shores of the Suvan Sea. [Lore]

(Antinous Training Ground) Let it Flow

Postby Erick Barnett on October 10th, 2016, 7:54 am

40th of Fall, 516AV
The Antinous Training Grounds , Stormhold Castle, Syliras Region
7:38PM

”How you holding up, Erick?”

The squire glanced up at his patron from his hands and knees, trying his best to formulate a response between dogged gasps for air. ”Oh…You know…Dying slowly.”

”On your feet, then. You can die on your own time.”

”Aye, Sera.”With a grunt and a cascading series of ringing clicks from the layered set of armor he wore, Erick pushed himself back off the ground. The steel skin that pulled on him was bad enough, but it was a burden he had slowly begun to grow accustomed too. The fog that had rolled in weeks earlier, that had been smothering the city like a wet blanket, was something else entirely. Each breath that the squire took, even before they had begun training, felt heavier. He could feel the moisture locking up deep inside his lungs, rattling around inside of him like a caged animal with each breath.

”Show me your stance.”

Erick nodded curtly, and with a deep, controlled breath, squatted down at the knees. A lowered center of gravity was important to not getting toppled over, particularly with several hundred pounds of gear strapped to your body. The training sword in his right hand came up parallel to his torso, and the kite shield strapped to his left arm hovered just in front of his body. Eliza lifted her own wooded-coated practice sword and rapped it against the surface of the squire's shield a few times.

”Widen up, and tuck the shield in more. You’ll block strikes more effectively if you’re really engaging your core muscles.”

He did as he was told, and trembled slightly as he struggled to hold the stance against the weight of his fatigue. Eliza slowly walked around him in a circle, eyeing him slightly. At last she settled in front of him again, and took a mirror stance to his.

Wordlessly they began, wooden edges of their training blades cracking and scraping against one another as they clashed. Generally the Antinious Training Grounds was constantly ringing with the crescendo of steel against steel as others trained and sparred throughout the day. Today was no exception, but the mists muted the noise into a muffled murmur just slightly noticeable in the background. It made their sparring sessions, which Eliza had drastically increased the number of since the attacks had begun, feel much more intimate.

"Wake up, boy!” The squire let out a sharp gasp as he narrowly brought his practice sword around in an arc perpendicular to Eliza’s, an inch away from his throat.

Taking a quick step and twisting his wrist, he shrugged her weapon off to his left flank and came right with his weapon, hoping to catch her with her sword down. Instead, his weapon caught her shield, glancing off the angled side, and leaving him wide open as she lifted a boot and slammed it straight into his chest, driving him to the ground.
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(Antinous Training Ground) Let it Flow

Postby Erick Barnett on October 10th, 2016, 7:57 am

”Erick.” She took a more neutral stance as she stared down at him, tapping the point of her wooden weapon against the floor. ”Remind me again what we’re supposed to be focusing on today.”

”Shield technique, Sera.”

She nodded curtly, and reached over, grabbing Erick by the forearm and yanking him back up to his feet. ”Yes, Erick. Shield technique. So stop blocking with your sword. It just dulls the edge anyways.”

Erick nodded, setting his training gear down a moment as he leaned against his knees and struggled to catch his breath. Sera Goldmane had always been adamant about drilling better shield techniques into Erick, but this had turned somewhat obsessive since the attacks along the Kabrin had started. This new regimen, mixed with the nearly doubled amount of time Erick now had to spend patrolling, had left his mind in sort of a permanent haze. He never seemed to have enough time to even sleep. But then, he never felt really awake anymore, either.

”I know you’re tired. We’re all tired, and on edge.” Eliza nodded to Erick, which the Squire knew to be a signal indicating that his few moments of rest were over, and promptly snatched his sword and shield back off the ground, dropping back into his stance. The Knight-Sergeant continued speaking as she peered at him intensely, using her hands to manually adjust his stance a hair - dropping him a bit lower, moving his hips backwards just a hair. ”But if they’re gonna find any Squire’s mangled on the roads or in the countryside, it’s not going to be my Squire. You get me?”

The Squire nodded, staying still as a statue as Eliza took a step back from him, readying herself for another round. ”That shield is the most important part of a Knight’s toolkit. More than a sword, a bow, a horse, armor itself even. It shouldn’t just be some awkward piece of metal clinging to your arm. You need to make it a part of yourself, just as you’ve done with the sword.”

”Aye, Sera.”

She nodded at him, and with that que, he took a vaulting step toward her. She had been far more aggressive than usual these last weeks - which was impressive, given that Sera Goldmane already engaged her Squire with the ferocity of a lion each time they faced off against one another. But now it was akin to squaring off against a thunderstorm. The blows seemed to come from every direction, and Erick, who was much more accustomed to blocking with his sword, tried, as instructed, to focus on blocking with his shield. With only his shield, if he could. It was easier said than done. A feint left followed by a quick overhand right - several quick jabs to the core followed by a slash aimed for the midriff. Erick found himself turning his entire body with the swinging movements of his shield. His forearm jolted up above his head, his shoulder rolling to match the angle of his patrons swings and try to reflect her momentum off of the shield’s curved surface.
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(Antinous Training Ground) Let it Flow

Postby Erick Barnett on October 10th, 2016, 8:00 am

Success. Eliza cut hard from overhead, and with an arching backward swing from his shield-arm, the blade slipped the surface of his steel kite and threw all her momentum uselessly toward the ground. Erick quickly stepped in to capitalize with a quick tap to her breastplate, but instead caught a faceful of metal as she lunged forward and rammed her shield into his chest. Instead of falling to the ground, as he had many other times, Erick reflexively deepened the bend at his knees, leaning into her shield with his own as their blades interlocked with one another.

Eliza smiled, speaking in a soft airy voice between labored breaths. ”Break.”

Both combatants relaxed slightly, untangling their armaments as they pulled away from one another.

Erick spent a few moments draining the entirety of his waterskin into the arid expanse between his lips, letting out a contented grunt as he squeezed out the last drops. Leaning against one of the walls of the training ring, his patron watched idly.

”Sera… I have to ask you something.”

A soft smirk crossed her face. ”Trying to buy more time to catch your breath?”

He had taken a cue from her and was leaning against the opposite wall, but unlike her, was breathing in long, jagged gasps.”No. I mean, sort’ve but… My question is about that.” The squire paused a moment, letting his breathing even out a little more before continuing. ”You never seem all that phased by our little matches until they’re basically already over. What’s your secret?”

At this, Eliza Goldmane did something Erick rarely ever got the pleasure to see: Her head tilted back, and she began to bubble over with laughter. ”Erick, Erick, my boy, there’s no secret.”

”Elaborate.”

Sighing, she took a step forward. ”You’ve got to understand, Erick, the Knighthood is…. Me. Everything I am, everything I do, every day, is dedicated to it. I spend no less than two bells, each morning, just honing my physical form. After the years I’ve been at it, the armor doesn’t way quite so much. Neither do the weapons.”

Erick’s gaze fell contemplatively to the ground. ”Really?”

The Sergeant shrugged. ”It’s not complicated. It’s certainly not trickery or magic.”

He lifted his head, staring her intently in the eyes. ”Will you show me?”

”Show you...?” She trailed off, glaring at him expectantly.

”All of it!” Erick exclaimed, taking a few excited steps toward her. ”Whatever you do, every morning. I should be doing it too, shouldn’t I?”

”I suppose it couldn’t hurt.” She examined Erick a moment, a bemused twinkle in her eye. ”But you already seem pretty beat with these extra sparring sessions and patrols. You really want to start your day even earlier?”

”Absolutely.” He replied without an ounce of hesitation.

Eliza let out a wistful sigh, taking a step forward as began to re-buckle the straps that kept her shield fastened to her arm. ”Alright. But don’t expect me to start going easier in our matches just because you’re burning the candle at both ends, Erick.”
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(Antinous Training Ground) Let it Flow

Postby Erick Barnett on October 10th, 2016, 8:04 am

Grinning, the Squire fell back into his combat stance. ”I’d be disappointed if you did.”

”Good lad.” They squared off once again, and with a wordless nod from her head, took decisive steps towards each other, the arena reverberating with the dry snap of the wooden swords as they barreled into each other.

The Sergeant’s weaponed twisted, angling Erick away. He took a long step to her right, moving with her momentum as she swung upwards at the steel plates covering his ribs.

DONG!

Erick winced as he jerked his left arm up at the last possible minute, the monumental force of his patrons blow reverberating through the steel and up and down his entire arm. The same moment it connected he shoved his shield forward and through her attack, swiping right with the edge of the kite to knock her weapon aside at twisting his whole body to levy a lunging stab at her chest.

Her sword arm reeling, Eliza quickly swiped the squire’s attack with her own shield, and in the same movement had brought her sword back up, clearing right over the top of his shield as he desperately tried to yank it back up in time.

A tremendous crash echoed between the stone walls of the ring as the edge of his patrons sword slammed into him like a battering ram, and sent his caged frame once again sprawling out across the ground. Erick lay there a moment, letting out a low groan.
”A major problem I’m noticing recently is that you focus too much on your offense once the skirmish is in full swing.” She knelt by Erick as she spoke, offering him her waterskin, which he accepted eagerly, quaffing down the entirety of it’s contents as she went on. ”You guard well enough at first, but then it’s like your brain switches into attack mode, and you start letting that shield drop as you swing.”

Erick winced as his patron was suddenly grabbing a hearty handful of his blonde hair, yanking his head up just enough to force him to look her dead in the eyes. ”If you do that against a real opponent, they won't just knock you over, Erick. You’ll be dead. Now, thus far, not a single Knight in my family line has ever lost a Squire to combat. I won’t be remembered as the first. You hear me?”

”Yeah, yeah, I do!” Erick reflexively grabbed onto Eliza’s wrist to lessen the strain on his scalp, but was almost immediately release anyway, as his patron stood back up, and grabbed his forearm, hauling him back up to his feet.

”I want to mix things up a little. Try something a little different. Show me your stance.”

Though he failed to see how that would be any different, he did as he was told, bending at the knees as he brought his shield arm up to cover his core. Pacing just in front of him in a small arc, she eyed his stance a moment. Apparently content, she mirrored his position. ”We’re going to do a little One for One drill.”
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(Antinous Training Ground) Let it Flow

Postby Erick Barnett on October 10th, 2016, 8:08 am

”How’s that?”

”It’s simple. I’m going to attack, just once, as quick as I can. I want you to repel it,” She slowly twisted her left arm to pantomime reflecting a strike, and then quickly jabbed straight out with the tip of her longsword. ”Then I want you counter swing, just once, as quick as you can. We’ll go back and forth like that.”

He narrowed his eyes. ”Uhm… All due respect Sera, that seems kind of…”

She cut him off almost immediately, poking him in the chest with the point of her weapon. ”The trick here is that right after you attack me, I’m going to immediately be responding in kind. No holding back either, so, if you petch it up, you’re taking another trip for the floor. I want you to be mindful of both your arms as you engage. Keep that shield arm up and that elbow relaxed. Defense and Offense, at the same time.”

”I’ll give it a shot.”

”Relax. Let it flow. Remember, the shield is a part of your body, same as the sword. Let your body do the thinking for you and it should come naturally.” With that, she dropped back into her stance, and the two began to slowly encircle one another.
THWAK!

The first strike came without warning, and almost immediately there was a hurricane of wood and steel between them. The first strike was easy enough to deflect off the boss of the shield, and shifting his weight between his feet, rolled smoothly into a horizontal slash.

Eliza neatly caught his sword on the face of her shield, and instantly - with the exact same motion - delivered a jab back. The squire narrowly prevented the tip of her weapon from biting into his exposed throat, taking a shaky gasp for breath as he continued to circle her with another straight slash, which she knocked away as easy as the first, seamlessly hacking at his throat yet again as she did.

She keeps aiming high… The shield rang like a gong as the wood careened off the curved surface. He responded with a mirror of her attack, this time keeping his weight shifted onto his left-foot even as he attacked, his shield remaining up high and right in front of him as he did.

He could almost catch the smirk that manifested across her face before it happened. Her shield was poised perfectly so his attack just slid right over her left side without her even needing to move, and she twisted her swordarm down and dug into the side of Erick’s leg. Armored as he was, the force of the hit still caused him to reel, the squire desperately swinging his shield up to intercept another vicious jab from the weapon.

But it didn’t matter. He was still reeling, and allowing her weapon to glide cleanly off the surface of his shield, Eliza lunged forward with her own, and send Erick careening back to the ground.

And then there was a mutual stillness between them, the only noise other than the distant chattering of other training knights the uneven gasps coming from Erick with each breath he took.

”Nice… Shield-bash, Sera…”

The knight sighed, sitting on the half stone wall that separated them from another nearby, currently empty, training ring. ”Like I said Erick. Offense becomes Defense, and vice versa.” A moment later, she stood back up.

”I think I’m going to call it here. It’s late, and you’ve got an early morning ahead of you.”

Erick sat up to a normal sitting position, eyeing Eliza quizzically. ”I do?”

”Oh yeah.” She grinned. ”You’re joining me for some strength building, just before the crack of dawn. Don't tell me you forgot already?”

A fire burned in Erick's entire body. He gave his patron a bright smile. "Already looking forward too it."

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(Antinous Training Ground) Let it Flow

Postby Aladari Coolwater on March 7th, 2017, 5:06 pm

ImageGrades Ahoy!


Name: Erick Barnett

XP Award:
  • Endurance: + 3
  • Weapon (Shield): + 4
  • Weapon (Longsword): + 2
  • Acrobatics: +1
  • Observation: + 2
Lore:
  • Endurance: Harder to Breathe in Fog
  • Shielding: Blocking is Better with Core Muscles Engaged
  • Blocking With Swords Dulls the Edge
  • Shields: A Knight's Most Important Tool
  • Acrobatics: Maintain Balance By Bending the Knees
  • Endurance: There's No Secret to It
  • Observation: Fog Makes it Harder to Hear
  • Shields: A Part of Your Body
  • Sera Eliza Goldmane: Never Lost a Squire to Combat, Never Will

Penalties/Rewards :
Shield Points:
+ 3 for training thread
+ 1 for thread with patron
Total= + 4 Shield Points

Comments :
Please don't forget to edit out your grade request. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to PM me.
"The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure."
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