Solo [The Drunken Fish] Bite!

A fellow slave teaches Dovey the basics of brawling

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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[The Drunken Fish] Bite!

Postby Dovey on September 4th, 2018, 3:10 am

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30 Fall, 518 AV
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"Others"


Thunder shook the old tavern's walls and masked Dovey's footsteps as she slunk down the upstairs hall toward her dormitory. It had been raining since she'd woken up, and now at the end of the night, the dawn was masked by a storm that showed no signs of abating. Another streak of lightning flashed through the sky just as Dovey pulled open the door; the bolt shone bright through the window, illuminating the little room she shared with two other slaves.

Shaya's bed was empty, the girl already downstairs for her morning shift. Jane, though, was sitting awake on her mattress with her knees drawn up. She looked over when Dovey came in.

"Some rain, isn't it? I swear Sunberth'll be flooded out before Zulrav is through with us. At least those winds haven't come back, though - oh, your eye!"

Dovey had tried to slip past to her own bed while her fellow barmaid was speaking, but Jane's sharp gaze had spied something wrong. In a moment she had risen from her pallet and stood in the other girl’s way, inspecting the deep purple shadow encircling her left eye. Dovey lowered her gaze and began to edge around her, but Jane grasped her shoulders to stop her. "No you do not," she said firmly. "You’re hurt. Tell me what happened."

Dovey stood tight-lipped for a moment, then sighed. "They’re brawling downstairs and some petcher punched me – what does it look like?" she replied, a little testily. "Then he tried to grab me, but I ran and lost him."

"Petch." Jane brought a hand up to Dovey’s face, feeling gently round the edges of the bruise. "Wish I had some ice, girl. That’s going to ache for a while."

"Yes, thank you Jane, I had no idea," Dovey snapped, and ducked around the other girl, pushing her hand unceremoniously aside. At this point she only wanted to sleep, though she knew now by a season’s experience that life would not be better in the evening. At least she could fall unconscious for a few hours – if the storm would let her.

"Don’t be like that!" Jane pursued her to her pallet. "Look, I’m worried. Every time they brawl, you come up here all bruised."

"Not every time."

"My point is, you don’t keep yourself safe."

That was it. "And how the petch am I supposed to do that?" Dovey cried fiercely. "D’you want me to’ve punched him back? Build up some big muscles so all the sailors’re afraid of me? How well d’you think that’ll work?”

Jane was quiet for a few ticks. Then - "Yes, that’s what I want," she said.

Dovey went still with sheer surprise. "Um – what?"

"Well, obviously your muscles will never scare a sailor," Jane went on. "And I expect you did the smart thing tonight, running away. But – Dovey, honestly, what if someone does grab you? Father Manowar might help you, he likes you all right, but what if he doesn’t see? What are you going to do if you can’t fight back, just get your ribs cracked?"

Dovey looked up at her now. "What are you saying?"

"Get up," Jane replied, a playful smile lighting her face. "I'm going to teach you to brawl."


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
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Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
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Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
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[The Drunken Fish] Bite!

Postby Dovey on September 5th, 2018, 3:52 am

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30 Fall, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


Dovey took Jane's proffered hand, rising hesitantly to her feet. "Are you sure?"

Are you sure if that's a good idea, she meant, wondering if fighting back would only put her in more danger. But Jane squeezed her hand and replied a different way. "I'm a 'Berth rat just as much as any with four legs," she said. "I know how to survive here. Shouldn't I show you how?" And without waiting for an answer she let go of Dovey's hand and stepped back. "I say the first thing's when not to fight. If the fellow's got a weapon on you, run - and if you can't, surrender. Go limp. That's if he's not trying to stick you with it right that tick, of course."

Dovey nodded slowly, squinting in the dark at the animated hand gestures with which Jane accompanied her speech. This was not a comfortable topic, but she said nothing.

"Or if you're surrounded and you don't think they mean to kill you," Jane went on. "Just do what they want, then. No sense getting butchered instead of only petched."

That was too much for Dovey. "Gods, Jane," she interjected, her voice hard and annoyed to cover the tremor beneath. "You going to tell a fairy tale about my murder, next? What weapons will my killers use?"

Jane was silent for a moment. "Sorry," she said finally, her voice softer than before - only just audible over the driving rain. "I forgot for a tick you're foreign. I'll try and be - " She waved a hand in the air. "Look, should I just show you how to fight?"

"Yes, please." Dovey's tone wasn't really sarcastic, but it wasn't far from there either.

"Right." Jane took a single deep breath and seemed to collect herself entirely. "Right, then, I'll come at you, and you try to knock me away."

"How - " Dovey began, but Jane was already rushing forward, her arms extended wide. She covered the scant distance between them in a moment, and with Dovey off her guard, she knocked both of them down to land on Dovey's pallet.

Feeling herself falling, Dovey put out an arm to brace herself. The impact was hard, and her head bounced a little on the lumpy mattress, but she felt no real injury take place. She relaxed her body and pushed at Jane, expecting her to get up now that Dovey had lost the bout, but the other girl surprised her by resisting. "No!" she said, "the fight's still on!" and telegraphed a swing of her elbow at Dovey's neck.

The pressure of another person holding her body down reminded Dovey of her kidnapping. Anxiety gathered in her stomach, but she took a short breath - it's Jane, only Jane - and did her best to rein in the emotion as she fought. Rolling slightly to the side to free her far arm - a difficult task, considering that she was pinned down - she lifted both hands and caught Jane's arm before the blow could land. Then she shoved upwards, bringing her muscle to bear in an attempt to roll the girl off of her.

Jane was slender, but stronger than she looked; the two struggled for several moments before Jane let her arm go limp. Dovey was caught off balance when the resistance to her push suddenly vanished, but Jane, whose arm had flown willy-nilly upward, was more off-balance than she. Dovey shifted her push to the girl's torso and in a moment had enabled herself to squirm free.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
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"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
User avatar
Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
Words: 211281
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
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[The Drunken Fish] Bite!

Postby Dovey on September 8th, 2018, 10:34 pm

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30 Fall, 518 AV
"Speech"
"Others"


She might have counterattacked, but Jane had said "try to knock me away", and Dovey had done so - albeit with a bit of a delay. Besides, even that short tussle had tired her, as well as sending memories flashing through her mind that she did not enjoy reliving. So she stepped away, leaning against the near wall. Putting up a warning hand to tell Jane to hold off for the moment, she tipped her head back and listened in silence to the storm.

She thanked Makutsi for the rain. Zulrav might have brought the storm, as Jane had said, but Makutsi must have given him the water he needed for his clouds. And it was the rain that Dovey loved, not the thunder or the winds; it was in the rain that she heard home, and felt herself back in her childhood cottage, listening to the hard drops of water drumming on the tiled roof and the walls.

She could have learned to brawl, back in Kenash, but she always preferred to watch other people fight, and not to risk her health for no important purpose. Now - well, Jane was right, she had to find some way of defending herself. She was so tired of running away, of ducking behind anyone tall enough to hide her, of that sickening moment of stillness when she felt an unwelcome hand upon her and she could not tell whether this particular skirt-chaser was going to try anything more.

Her fear was twofold: that she would only ever be able to enrage, not dissuade, an attacker, or that she would actually injure one of the Fish's patrons, and Manowar would harm her in retaliation. But she was already afraid; her pulse always quickened at the start of a shift, her breath catching in her throat at every act of violence she saw, every angry drunk who called her over to serve him. She'd gotten a lot of practice being cautious, over the past season. Now she could be cautious in how she fought, instead of only how she ran.

So she straightened her spine, taking her weight fully onto her feet, and moved back towards Jane - who had remained still in the darkness while Dovey thought, only looking in her direction. "Are you all right?" the other girl asked now, and Dovey realized she must have worried her.

"Yes, I'm fine. Only thinking," she replied shortly. And forestalling any more specific questions Jane might have asked her, she added, "What's next?"

"We could try the same thing again," Jane offered. "You have to learn to react quicker. You shouldn't've let me tackle you. If it'd been real and you hadn't had a mattress to fall on, you would've been knocked silly."

"All right," said Dovey, accepting the critique with impassivity. She thought she could do better this time around, anyhow; she would not be caught by surprise again if Jane attacked suddenly, as she had done before. "Any other advice?"

Jane shrugged. "You'll learn as you go. That's how I did, 'cept I had to start when I was little. Ready?" And before the final word was off her lips, she darted forward once more, open palms lashing out to shove Dovey toward the wall.


Boxcode credit: Karin Ironyach
Image
"Common" "Fratava" "Pavi"
User avatar
Dovey
One unlucky girl
 
Posts: 258
Words: 211281
Joined roleplay: December 31st, 2016, 10:42 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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