Closed [Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Kreig meets Baelin, Baelin seeks tutelage, will he find it?

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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Kreig Messer on September 5th, 2019, 5:23 pm

519 A.V. 7th of fall, 10th Bell.

Kreig wanted to punch Olav in the face sometimes, and sometimes was really just an understatement as he really wanted to punch the aging fighter a whole lot. The two of them had inadvertanly got drunk one night, or perhaps it was Kreig who was drunk and Olav simply had the tolerance to stay sober. Kreig didn’t know… but the brawler was sure it was simply he let slip that caused the mischevious creature living inside Olav’s head to take act.

Apparently, in his durnker stupor, Kreig admitted he’d have liked to train someone. It was just a simple admission, but apparently Olav took an interest and sort of…spread the word.

Not many were interested, but enough were that Kreig occasionally found himself pestered by someone who wanted to learn something from Kreig. Sometimes they would be street punks who thought they’d be kings of Sunberth if they learned a thing or two from him and sometimes it was someone who honestly admired Kreig a bit too much for the Brawler’s liking, but all of them so far didn’t really have the dedication.

And that’s what grinded Kreig’s teeth. Kreig’s fighting prowess was hard earned, but not many were willing to expend the effort to simply go that far…. It wasn’t like he was asking them to get thrown into brawls yet…..that came later the brawler thought ruefully, it was no better place to test your learned skills after all.

But when he tested them on their physical fitness none seemed to last long and quit halfway through.

That was the crux of the matter for him, in truth he didn’t care that they could do it….he cared they would attempt to finish it. Its easy to start something, but difficult to keep at it and fighting was no different.

The Brawler could only sigh mentally after he threw a jab in the air followed a by straight punch then a left hook. He was practicing his boxing drills while he had the fight pit to himself for the time being, more as a way to vent his frustration than to truly train. His fists flew in a rapid fluury but he knew it wasn’t as quick as what one of his opponents displayed. It was a long way to go before he could master that but he would get there.

Still the brawler felt some regret, it wasn’t the first time he had attempted to train someone after all…. But the future seemed to conspire against him that he would never have someone he could pass on training too.

He reckoned that would never change.
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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Baelin Holt on September 5th, 2019, 8:49 pm

Baelin had never been inside Tall Johnny’s before, and already he was wondering what the petch he was doing here. There was a golden statue a full head taller than him at the entrance, looking absolutely ostentatious and absurd. And shyke, Baelin didn’t think there was a single piece of furniture here that he could reasonably afford. Just stepping into the place made him feel like a miser. No matter how much he might make in his life, Baelin didn’t think he’d ever be comfortable in a place like this.

But he wasn’t here for the casino. No, he was here because there had been talk of a famed brawler offering lessons here. And, if Baelin’s track record was anything to go by, he was going to get himself killed if he didn’t figure out how the petch to actually fight. Charging at people in a blind rage and instinctively lashing out didn’t count. He’d never be able to serve Dira like that. As he was now, he was an embarrassment of an Eiyon.

Baelin instinctively rubbed his palm, tracing the bold, black curve of the scythe. He had to get better. If he couldn’t carry out her will, then what was he even doing with his life?

The grandeur of the casino gave way to the open expanse of an arena as Baelin worked his way left from the entrance. If rumors could be believed, the brawler would be in the pit during the morning, before the casino’s business really picked up. From where Baelin stood, up at the start of the amphitheater seating, he could see the form of a man moving through an exercise.

Baelin hesitated. For a tick he stood locked in place and wondered if this was really such a good idea. Maybe he could just…

No. He had to at least try. If this didn’t work―and if Baelin didn’t get himself killed here―then he would just be back where he started. Nothing came without risk; he had to try. Pulling in a deep breath, Baelin stepped down through the tiered seating until he was close enough to be heard. Wire fencing separated the dirt pit from Baelin, but it did nothing to obstruct the view of the brawler as he practiced.

Compact strength moved with well-practiced precision, his muscle contracting before shooting forth into a jab, then twisting into a punch and hook so fluidly that Baelin could barely believe they weren’t all one move. The prize fighter continued through his strikes, body seeming to move faster and faster until Baelin could barely even keep up. Even with a fence between them, Baelin could feel that instinctive thrill of danger that came from watching someone who solidly outclassed you.

The hesitation returned, but Baelin shoved it back down as quickly as it came. He would do this. All he had to do was interrupt the brawler’s practice, ask if he was available to train now or in the future, and then go from there.

Before he could talk himself out of it, Baelin called out, “Do you train newcomerss?” He had to figure the odds of this working out for him were slim. What sort of professional brawler would willingly spend time teaching a blacksmith to fight? He was prepared to pay a pretty penny, but still… Standing tall and squaring his shoulders, Baelin braced himself for rejection or worse.
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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Kreig Messer on September 6th, 2019, 2:45 pm

Kreig’s fists paused in the air, it had been so quiet Kreig didn’t notice the fellow till his voice hit his ears. He turned his head to gaze at the fellow standing behind the fence and part of him wondered cynically if he was another one who would try and give up. But part of him was also hopeful....... he had given everyone before him a chance so far didn’t he?

Kreig lowered his fists and silently approached the fence separating the two to get a closer look, hands tucked into his pockets. A part of Kreig’s old quirks made in the form of an eye twitch itself known as he realized the fellow was fairly taller than Kreig ‘Not this again’ came the thought, he hated how often he encountered people who were that taller than him.. It was inexplicable is what it was! 5’10” was a respectable height yet as if some philanthropist somebody kept giving random blokes inches in height and they frequently seemed to run into Kreig!

It was just annoying!

But as quickly as eye twitch came it went as Kreig continued his scrutiny. Other than height, Kreig could spot muscle on the guy who looked to be just a few years younger than Kreig himself. He let out a hum, most of the muscles seemed on the arms and the arms themselves looked scarred and burnt, he must’ve worked a very physically demanding job that shaped his build in this way.

“Hmmm… ya look ya got some form I’ll admit, ya might not tire yourself out right an’ quick” Kreig said with a nod but not quite one of approval “If yer wantin’ to be givin’ ya a shot though I need ya to come down here an’ show me, I’m gonna be givin’ ya few simple excercises an’ after that we’ll be seein’ if yer worth trainin’, now get yer hide down here, I’ll be waitin’” Kreig answered simply as he went back to the center of the fight pit, crossing his arms and closing his eyes as he waited expectantly.
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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Baelin Holt on September 6th, 2019, 7:23 pm

The brawler’s scrutiny put Baelin’s figurative hackles right up. Was that an eye twitch? Yes. Yes, that was definitely an eye twitch. The dude looked pissed. Baelin was so dead. See, now this was what happened when you relied on rumors: you wind up interrupting a professional fighter’s morning practice and the only thing saving your ass was a fence.

And then he spoke. And said he’d be willing to give Baelin a shot. Baelin’s brow rose in surprise as the brawler continued, inviting him into the ring and offering a “few simple exercises” to see if he was worth training.

Well that went better than he had expected. Was this a trap? It was probably a trap. Baelin didn’t quite know how it was a trap, but it was probably a trap. Maybe those “few simple exercises” would be playing as a punching bag. Which, in fairness, would perhaps be an appropriate response by the brawler after Baelin came in cold turkey and disturbed his morning practice. But Baelin wasn’t going to be able to properly serve his duty if he spent all his life avoiding could-be traps, so he went ahead and took the final steps down to the ground level and moved around the ring until he found the entrance.

Stepping into the caged pit was an odd experience. The arena was a massive affair, with tons of seating circling around. Baelin couldn’t even imagine how intense it must be when the stands were filled. To be the center of so much focused attention… The brawler must have nerves of steel, Baelin didn’t think he’d be able to stand it.

A square the size of his old Syliran apartment, the pit offered ample space to maneuver. Baelin wondered if they ever did melee style fights here, with multiple fighters all thrown together and told to go at it. He didn’t spend long on the thought; he had more pressing issues. Like the fact that, standing in the center of the pit, was the brawler with his arms crossed and eyes closed. He looked every bit the dangerous combatant, and Baelin again had to wonder what the petch was he thinking. This was such a bad idea.

Hovering near the entrance to the pit, Baelin again braced himself for anything. Only this time, there was no fence between them. Perhaps he could backpedal quickly enough if… No. Whatever happened, he’d deal with it. He could do this. He would do this. Taking in a deep breath, he lingered to hear what the “few simple exercises” would be.
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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Kreig Messer on September 8th, 2019, 6:37 am

While Baelin took his time to reach Kreig, Kreig had pondered a bit on just what sort of exercise the brawler could put him to. There was a fair slew of them Kreig knew, and a good number of them he reckoned that the fellow could do fairly well at…. But for Kreig the point wasn’t doing them well. The point was to persist and again that didn’t really his choices.

He shook his head and opened his eyes, in truth he was over thinking it. Any exercise could so long as he ramped it up that his potential student would reach the point of exhaustion and see if he would quit halfway through before that point. He saw that the tall fellow made it down here and Kreig could see that the fellow seemed to be panicking…probably, Kreig wasn’t entirely sure but Kreig definitely could tell that the fellow was nervous. Some of it seemed to be fear of Kreig himself which, if Kreig were honest, he couldn’t really fault him for that.

The fellow did interrupt a fighter in the midst of his training, that’s reason enough for to be irritated at him and for some to deck him. But Kreig was more reasonable than that although he didn’t remove the stern gaze from his eyes “Right, yer here then… either that says you’re serious ‘bout this or yer wits aren’t as tall you” Kreig remarked with a neutral tone.

“Right, this ain’t gonna be some complicated test…” Kreig began as he lowerd his arms and moved about the fellow, trying to geta better view of his build which seemed satisfactory but that was another reason he needed to test him; just cause you have some meat on you didn’t mean you could last long.

“I need to see where yer at which before yer imagination runs away with ya, don’t mean I’m jus’ gonna slap ya willy nilly” That came later the brawler admitted mentally to himself, mind flashing back to the time he did such a thing with Kelskis although with Kelski he knew she had experience somewhat “Jus’ give me two hundred push ups an’ if I like what I see we can go on to the next step”
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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Baelin Holt on September 8th, 2019, 6:29 pm

Baelin bristled at the jab to his wits, but before he could do something stupid like respond, the brawler launched into explaining what he was expecting from his test. He circled Baelin, continuing an appraisal that had the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. Holding still took all of his willpower, and the brawler’s assurance that he wasn’t going to slap Baelin willy nilly did nothing to allay him.

And then came the actual instruction: two hundred push-ups. Baelin blinked. That seemed…like a lot. He couldn’t remember ever having done so many push-ups. Fifty, maybe, when he was furious and really pushing himself. But two hundred?

Maybe that’s what professional fighters did. It could be a normal amount for them, Baelin wouldn’t know. He only worked out to keep himself in shape, not to pummel people to the ground. Slightly different priorities there.

Alright. Two hundred. He could do this. How hard could it be? Just…keep going. Baelin dropped down and dug the toes of his boots into hard-packed dirt. Easing himself into a high plank, he arranged his hands in a comfortable angle and began.

The first push-ups came easy. Holding his core tight, Baelin felt like his body was one giant, straight line and he could feel the familiar satisfaction of exercise push him on. Baelin kept his elbows close as he went down, seeking out strain in his arms from habit more than from any sort of properly thought out plan to reach two hundred. Once his chest brushed the ground, he burst back up. Then leveled back down, and up, and down, and up. Three.

Baelin settled into a rhythm. As he continued, his arms, core, and glutes all started to burn. He forced himself to breath more deeply and slowly, trying to counteract the impulse to both somehow simultaneously hold his breath and to breathe in fast, erratic gasps. No. Breath slowly. Inhale. Exhale. Just like that, keep going. Twenty.

Already, Baelin could feel exhaustion nip at him. As he continued to lower down and burst back up, that fatigue became a force to be reckoned with. His body trembled and urged him to stop. He’d done enough, it begged. It wasn’t prepared for any more. Thirty.

Baelin paused for a tick, steadying himself and getting his breathing back in order. He arched and eased back to try and give his body a moment to recover. It helped, but only until he leveled himself back down into a line. As soon as his core engaged, his body once again protested the exercise with tremors and the burn of exertion. No matter. He’d just push on. His body could deal. Baelin got another five in before he stopped trying to hold his elbows in tight. Another five until he stopped trying to explode upwards, and instead settled for hefting himself up more slowly. Forty.

He paused again. It felt like he was reaching a limit, but he wasn’t even a quarter of the way there. Baelin chanced a glance up to see the fighter still there. Watching. Probably thinking that Baelin was a wimp for struggling this early in. Well, petch him. Baelin would make him eat those doubts. With a snarl, Baelin repositioned his hands so that they were spread farther apart and dropped back down. He picked up speed as he went, pushing himself faster and faster in an effort to get more push-ups in before his body could register what he was doing. Baelin could feel his shoulders arch up a bit higher than they should, and his stomach dip a bit too low, but he was pretty sure his hips were still alright. So he pressed on. Fifty.

Just a hundred-fifty left, he tried to tell himself. His mind instantly recoiled at the idea. Impossible! it shouted back, Quit now! You’ll die!

Alright then. If his thoughts weren’t going to help, then he just wouldn’t think at all. Baelin took a moment to try and empty his mind, distracting himself from his current physical strain by drawing up an image of a bird flitting in and out of the mist overhead. In this mental happy place, Syna-warmed, black stone heated his back and the mist surrounding him was thinner than usual. Heat soaked him, and he watched the bird’s lazy spiral as it rode currents.

In reality, the heat soaking him had more to do with the anguishing burn of his muscles pushed beyond their limit. But Baelin did his best to keep his mind on the fantasy of a somewhat clear day in Black Rock, the bird a focal point for him to lock onto. The world around him disappeared. The dirt under his hands, the fighter’s presence and scrutiny, even the awareness of his body; he let it all fade. Just the bird in the mist. Baelin just had to follow the bird and the mist, and add to an incidental counter. Sixty.

This worked, right up until his body took matters into its own hands. Baelin’s knee dropped on him, striking the ground and breaking the line of tension going through his core. He blinked, crashing back to reality and the blaze of overexertion. Nausea took advantage of the break and swam up, almost making him gag with its sudden intensity.

No. He wasn’t done yet. Baelin jerked his knee back up, ignored the incessant throbbing in his arms and glues, and pushed on. C’mon, you giant sack of shyke, he goaded himself, Gonna be a petching baby about this? Gonna quit cause it hurts? Weak petching idiot. Go on. Quit. Prove how worthless you are. Petcher. Baelin grunted with each burst up, snarled when that wasn’t enough, and resorted to hissing through clenched teeth. He could do this. Petch limits. He had this. Seventy.
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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Kreig Messer on September 11th, 2019, 11:25 am

Kreig watched the look of surprise on the aspiring fellow’s face as he brought out the number, Kreig was amused by it really. In truth it wasn’t an impossible amount for those fairly seasoned in physical fitness, oh it was plenty but Kreig imagined he could push through it himself where he to try. But for someone new it was indeed an impossible amount simply because it would wear out their body should it be unused to such strain.

It was Kreig’s turn to be surprised as without a word the fellow simply dropped down and went right at. ‘Feller mus’ beright desperate or somethin’ ‘Came the thought as Kreig crossed his arms and watched. There wasn’t much to say about his form, there wasn’t anything wrong it. And for a brief few chimes Kreig watched as Baelin went at it, watching with the attention of a merchant looking for a new cart.

For the first few pushups he seemed to start of well but it quickly became apparent that he was struggling. At twenty it wasn’t even a a challenge for someone who kept basic upkeep for their body, in fact Olav who watched over the welps had them doing fitfty pushups as a minimum on the regular. Kreig himself had pegged the fellow could do around forty because he seemed to be in good shape, and he was reaching that number but it was evident there was strain.

Honestly Kreig was tempted to stop it right in now to prevent the fellow from hurting himself but part of him hoped Baelin would collapse in exhaustion as he no doubt was already feeling or call it quits.

But the bastard kept on going and Kreig was both impressed and silently thinking that the idiot was going to tear his muscles doing that; the body could only do so much and once he hit the seventy range the Brawler stepped in.

“Alright… that there’s ‘nuff of that” Kreig announced as he slipped his boot under the fellow’s abdomen as he went for another pusher and none-too-gently attempted to force him over.

“Yahal tan my hide yer lookn’ like if yer about to drop like a ragdoll”
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[Tall Johnny's] The Brawler and the Blacksmith

Postby Baelin Holt on September 12th, 2019, 6:01 pm

Baelin startled when he felt a boot hook under him. The brawler put some force into it and, for a moment, Baelin resisted. He wasn’t done yet. He could get to two hundred, he just needed a little more time. He wasn’t done.

But the brawler was saying that was “enough of that” and trying to get him to stop. As frustrating as quitting might be, finishing now would be an act of defiance, not compliance, and Baelin wasn’t keen on starting off as an unruly student right from the get-go. He would have to save the rest of his push-ups for when he got back to his room. Baelin would get to two hundred. Whether the brawler was there to witness it or not, by the gods, he’d get to two hundred.

But, for now, he acquiesced to being rolled over onto his back.

Baelin must have looked as bad as he felt, because the brawler both noticed and called him out on it. Blood pumped loudly in his ears and his limbs felt like they were made of lead, but wiith a force of will, Baelin fought to keep his breathing steady and deep. There’d be no rattling gasps as his body fought for more oxygen. Just nice, deep, calm breaths.

His head felt a bit light and he feared he might do something embarrassing like keel over and hurl if he moved too fast, so Baelin carefully eased himself back up to his feet. Nice and slowly, so his body could reacclimate to standing on two legs. It took a tick for the world to steady around him, but when it did he squared his shoulders and did his damn best to feign well-being.

Outside of his flared nostrils and obviously controlled breathing, Baelin thought he was doing a good job of faking it. He waited another tick until he thought he could speak clearly, and added, “I’m fine.”

The only thing that wasn’t fine was that he hadn’t even gotten half-way through his push-ups. The fighter had asked for one thing from him and already he’d failed it. One thing! He could practice push-ups at home until his face turned blue, but that wouldn’t change the fact that, right here and right now, he had already failed. He had an opportunity, and he blew it.

Big petching surprise, he thought, livid with himself.

Baelin gritted his teeth and braced for rejection. He didn’t see any other way for this to go. He was tested, he failed, got the literal boot, and now he’d get the figurative boot as well. Baelin went from gritting his teeth to grinding them, fully expecting a rebuff.
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