Talon of a Woman

Lani practices with her Talon Sword.

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 3:48 am


47th of Fall, 518AV


When Lani stepped out into the crisp morning air, she felt a little silly. She had visiting with Val briefly before exiting the Sanikas gates, but this was to be the first time she had visited Val and not actually stayed to study with him. She would tomorrow, which he was fine with, but today she had something else she needed to practice: her talon sword. She hadn’t told the old man that was what she was doing, although he might have guessed, because she felt a little silly. Narth had taught her the other day to slash and how to measure her movements, but he couldn’t progress with her until she mastered these first steps. It wasn’t that they were hard or she had trouble grasping them, it simply came down to muscle memory. She would have to practice until she could do the eight strokes and ready stand in her sleep, then she would be ready for more.

So she started the descent down the long winding stairs. She didn’t actually want to go too far into the wilderness, but she remembered a small clearing off of the steps on her way up to Mt. Skyinarta the first time. She thought it was adequate enough room to practice her forms, and would be out of the way enough that anyone exiting the gates would not run into her blade. That and, anyone exiting the gates could not make fun of the foreigner trying to learn the Inartan weapon. She had a few reasons for getting a little more out of sight.

So she made her way down the steps, eyeing the trees surrounding her until she saw the reasonably sized clearing. She had to hop over the railing to enter it, and when she did so, her feet crunched on the leaves. She liked this crisp feeling of fall, and the slight chill to the air, but her mind wandered back to the concerns she had shared with the smithy Chiet when she first bought her Talon Sword. Was Morwen going to do her part this year?

It was a question that the mixed blood didn’t have time to waste thought on, nor the power to understand an answer. She hadn’t known why the winter Goddess had not participated the last year, she could not understand why she wouldn’t do so again, but the lack of winter had devastated the world, and it couldn’t happen again. She tried to shove it from her mind as she unsheathed her sword.

Last edited by Lani Stranger on December 12th, 2018, 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 3:49 am


Remembering what Narth ahd taught her, she had clipped her sheath to her left hip that morning, and now she grabbed it with her right, on the top of the hilt, and pulled it from her sheath. It came out it one swift movement, not requiring her to wiggle it out with both hands. It was a tiny progression but it made the mixed blood smile. Deciding not to waste time, she set into the ready stance that Narth had taught her. She squared her feet, slightly shoulder length apart and propped her dominant foot back so she created a forty-five degree angle towards her front, but still remained steady in her movements.

Now that she was out in the woods on her own, she had a little more confidence, and the mixed blood quickly hopped from one foot to the other, really feeling the effectiveness of the stance for the first time. She knew she would have to make sure this became such a habit she didn’t think about it, but in the meantime she would need to focus on making sure her footing was right.

Once her footing was sured, she adjusted her hands. Her right hand gripped the top of the long Talon Sword hilt firmly, and her left hand rest on the bottom, more useful for guiding than actually holding it. She didn’t know much about swords, but she guessed this might not be the regular way to do it, and Narth could be teaching her a Inartan style. It made sense since this was an Inartan sword, but it definitely took some getting used to. She was essentially feigning a two hand movement with only one hand. It took some getting used to. Once her positioning was right, the mixed blood slowly went through her motions.

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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 3:49 am


As she did this, she was not focused on power or intent, but accuracy. Starting from the ready position, Lani brought the sword up, and swept it down, stopping when she reached a certain point. She imagined an invisible circle in front of her, and was determined to keep her strokes inside of the line, so she did so slowly first. Once she touched the bottom of the invisible line with her blade, she adjusted her hands and brought the blade up slowly, arching it until it reached the top of the invisible circle then stopping. She returned to ready position, making sure her feet and hand placement, as well as her grip, where still what they were supposed to be.

She then twisted her hands so that she could swing the blade horizontally across the circle from her right to her left. She did not have to adjust her hands now, merely twist her wrists and arc it back from her left to her right. Again, Lani returned to ready position, adjusting accordingly. Now she lifted her Talon sword to the top right corner of the invisible circle. She shifted her wrists, making sure she did not grip too hard with her left hand, and then slashed it diagonally down the circle, making sure to stop in time. By loosening her left hand, she managed to keep the movement from wobbling, but she still expected it would go smoother with some speed and momentum. She adjusted her hands and then did the same motion upwards from the bottom left corner to the top right corner. This time she did not overshoot the circle, and a small smile flitted across her face.

Lani returned to ready position, adjusting her feet and pulling her left hand a little further down on the hilt, making sure it was relaxed and not gripping as tightly as her right hand which held most of the weight of the sword. She brought her sword up to the top left of the invisible circle and slashed it down towards the bottom right. Quicker than the last diagonal move, she adjusted her hands and then brought it back up from the bottom right to the top left. Again, she returned to ready position. Then the mixed blood did something she wasn’t taught, but associated with swords anyway. Bringing the hilt up by her shoulder, she used both hands to stab forward, imagining stabbing the center of the invisible circle, before returning to ready position.

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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 3:50 am


Lani took a breath to steady herself, barely needing to adjust her ready position to be correct, and then closed her eyes. She was going to do it again, but now with speed and purpose, and she was going to stay within the invisible circle. The Half-Eypharian visualized what she was about to do, anticipating the movements and force she would need to take. When she opened her eyes, she began.

Her ready position was good and she raised the sword up and brought it down with ease, staying within the invisible circle. With little thought to it, she adjusted her hands and then brought the sword up, making sure she controlled her motions so that she did not breach the invisible circle. Confident that she hadn’t she took a breath and returned to ready position, finding nothing needed adjustment. Flicking her wrists to the side, she horizontally slashed the circle towards the right and then back towards the left, before returning to ready position again. She balanced her weight on her feet and ensured her left hand was loose before slashing down from the top right to the bottom left. She swooped her sword back up in a similarly controlled but quick movement, and then returned to ready position. Her left hand was already loose, and she didn’t need to adjust anything to do the same from the top left to the bottom right, and back. Once again, Lani returned to the ready position, and then without thinking, brought the hilt up to her shoulder and stabbed into the center of the circle. She returned to ready position once more, making sure her stance was good, before allowing herself to relax. She sighed, taking a deep breath. She would have to focus on breathing as well, if such a small amount of work was going to start her breathing heavy like she was climbing stairs.

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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 3:51 am


Taking one more deep breath, the half-Eypharian returned to ready position, and this time did not need to take the time to visualize. She was going to focus on her breathing while she did it, seeing when she breathed out and when she breathed in. Adjusting her feet and hands one last time, Lani began. She breathed in before slashing down, and then breathed half of her lung full out while slashing out and then half of it out while slashing up. When she returned to ready position, she breathed in again, and then focused on copying what she had done with the first set of strokes. Lani breathed half of her lung-full out as she slashed to the left, and then half out as she slashed to the right. When she returned to ready position, she focused on refilling her lungs while adjusting her hands and feet, as well as grip. When she slashed down from the top right, she released half of her breath, and then the other half when she slashed up from the bottom left. Lani adjusted her hands before doing the exact same with the diagonal strokes on the other side.

Returning to ready position, she took one lung full before bringing her hilt to her shoulder and stabbing forward. This time she let the rest of her breath go, and when she returned to the ready position the last time, finding nothing that needed adjusting, she refilled her lungs.

Allowing her arms to relax as they were now growing a little bit sore, she found that this breathing technique had actually helped quite a bit. She was still breathing a little heavier than normal because of the exercise, but she was not wheezing, she was still breathing at a similar rate to what she was after the last set. She set her sword on the crunchy leaves, and swung her arms out a bit, forward and then backward. She would have to work on building some upper arms strength to keep up with the weapon. It was heavy, but not so much it concerned her when she bought it, but now that she was using it, it seemed to take on more weight. She was sure if she practiced with it enough her arms would get used to it though.

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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 3:52 am


She gave herself a bit longer of a break, but when she was breathing a little shallower again, she picked her sword back up. Without waiting, she returned to ready position this time. Again, in an effort to push herself for progression, Lani closed her eyes and visualized her next exercise. She was going to step with each slash. She had to take a few ticks and decide if she was going to step before, after, or during. She could not see a benefit in stepping forward after each slash, but before and during were at a tie. She ultimately decided to step beforehand, but if something else felt more natural she would allow that to happen.

Opening her eyes, Lani took a step forward so now her left foot was behind her right, and then she slashed down. It didn’t feel quite right doing this on her non dominant foot, and when she slashed back up she found herself stepping backwards. Frowning, she returned to ready position, but decided to continue with the set. She would finish it, and then reassess. Again Lani took a step forward and then twisted her wrists and arched the sword horizontally in front of her, again it felt wrong. This time she did not take another step forward before arcing the sword back horizontally, instead found herself stepping forward during the stroke. Somehow it felt a little more natural. She returned to ready position before starting the first set of diagonal strokes. She breathed in and adjusted her grip, but did not step forward. Instead, when she began the stroke, she found herself stepping forward as she breathed own. Then when she arced the sword back up, she took another step forward, releasing the last of her breathe. It felt significantly more fluid, and as she returned to ready position to start the next set of strokes, she found she wasn’t worrying about staying within the invisible circle anymore. She repeated the step with the other diagonal side, and then returned to ready position, bringing her hilt up to her shoulder and then taking a step forward as she plunged the talon sword into the center of the circle. This last step didn’t feel quite right, but she couldn’t quite understand why.

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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 3:52 am


She now understood when she was supposed to step while slashing, and so was eager to start the next exercise. Her arms were aching a bit, but the half-Chaktawe decided she could tough it out and make the last few strokes before her arms began to impact her performance and the exercises ended up having a negative impact on her. She just wanted to get this last set correct, staying inside the invisible circle, breathing right, and stepping right. Lani was confident she could do it. So she spun on her toes, facing back towards the stairs. She found her feet falling naturally into ready position, and her lungs began to fill with air. She did not take the time to visualize her work, instead she went for it. With a quick and fluid motion she slashed her talon sword downwards, while stepping forward and breathing out half of her lung full of air. She stepped forward while slashing up, and then found herself settling into ready position unconsciously. Lani then slashed from the right and then from the left, taking a step forward with each and retaining her balance.

She returned to ready position, breathed in, and then started slashing down and then up from the top right of the invisible circle, taking a step with each stroke. She did not need to adjust her left hand this time when she returned to ready position, breathing in again. She did the same diagonal set from the top left of the invisible circle, taking two more steps forward. She felt herself return to ready position again, and this time when she brought her hilt up to her shoulder to stab forward, she found herself lunging. It still propelled her forward, but her feet stayed in the same placement, which felt much more natural to her than trying to step while stabbing. One last time she returned to ready position, making sure everything was aligned and she got one more steady breath in. This time when she released her breathe, her shoulder’s sagged.

It was a lot of work throwing her talon sword around, and she now felt the weapon’s true weight, that which appeared once it was well used, and her muscles were tired of it. With a shaking hand, she took the talon sword in her right hand and positioned it above her sheathe, still managing to put the sword away with a steady movement. She knew that this would need to be practiced as well. She could be the best sword fighter, but if she did not know how to take her weapon out and put it away, she was useless. But now she was tired, and she was done practicing for the day. She thought she out to practice tomorrow before seeing Val for her Nari lessons, as Lani hopped back over the railing and began her steady hike up the winding staircase that lead back to the Sanikas Gates.

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Talon of a Woman

Postby Lani Stranger on November 24th, 2018, 4:07 am


It was once she was walking back up the stairs, that Lani finally noticed something strange about that day. In the dry fall air, there was no sound of birds chirping. It was morning time, although not too early like when she usually woke up, but the sun was not near noon yet. She expected to hear a clatter of birds singing to one another in the canopy of the tall Kalean trees that clung to this side of the mountain. The strangeness of this lack of background noise finally caught up to her as she silently scaled the steps back towards the Sanikas Gates.

As the realization dawned on her, she began to slow her steps, pausing. She was breathing moderately heavy, from the sword practice and then ten minutes of the twenty minute climb back to the gate. Still, she tried her best to slow her breathing and listen to the world around her. The star was still in her pocket, where it had made its home this season. And that reminded her that she did not have to stay in this human form if something was up. But did she want to be a Jackal if the thing that was setting her hairs up on the back of her neck was making the birds silent too?

After nearly three chimes of sitting and listening, Lani was able to begin to hear animal sounds in the trees above her. She looked up to see a squirrel hopping from branch to branch minding its own business, but she also could see the red tail of a Kalean bird flitting from branch to branch. Perhaps it was the only one, and that would make sense why it was not chirping, but it was so rarely the case at this time in the day that she grew concerned. Focusing on the canopy now, she searched for signs of other birds. The next one was harder to see but she could see the brown feathers of a female version of the same bird. Surely they would be chatting to one another, even in the fall season. But why weren’t they.

Still distracted by watching the canopy, Lani took a step up the stairs, and tripped. Her hands flew out of her pockets to catch the railing, but she forgot she was holding the star with one hand. She caught herself with her right hand, but her left hand clunked the wooden railing with her metallic-ish star. It was the loudest thin in the woods right now, and she heard the immediate flapping of wings as birds retreated from the sudden sound. When she looked back up she saw the canopy had exploded in significantly more birds than she had been able to see, all taking flight to the sky now that they were spooked by her noise. And still the woods remained completely silent.

She didn’t know why this made her fearful, but her heart began to pump with more vigor than the recent exercise had done. She forgot the tiredness at wore on her muscles, and stuffed the star back into her pocket. Grabbing the wooden railing to help pull herself up, the mixed blood began taking the stairs two at a time, and at a pace faster than her leisure stroll that she had been doing before the oddity. She wasn’t sure why the absolute silence from the birds and critters scared her, but she knew she would feel much safer once she was inside the volcano once again, where the constant chatter of domesticated birds was guaranteed.

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Lani Stranger
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Talon of a Woman

Postby Ssezzkero on December 5th, 2018, 4:49 am

Observation +2, Weapon: Talon Sword +5, Acrobatics +2, Planning +1, Endurance +3, Tactics +2, Practice makes perfect, Location: Mt.Skyinarta, Morwen’s Absence, Talon Sword: Practice accuracy first, Talon Sword: Practicing Speed, Talon Sword: Speed and Accuracy, Talon Sword: Measuring the power of one’s strokes, Planning: Visualization before action, Endurace: Talon Swords are heavy, Talon Sword: How to step and swing, Talon Sword: Lunge and stab, Fall 518AV: The animals around Wind Reach are acting weird, Observation: Silence in the forest is unusual
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