Solo Crack of the Whip (Part I)

Aster buys a weapon and tries to learn how to use it.

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Crack of the Whip (Part I)

Postby Asterope on July 27th, 2020, 1:46 am

12th of summer, 520 AV

Aster knew that she needed a weapon, and she needed to learn how to use one. Her time in Sunberth had taught her that harsh lesson, and with the threat of Alard finding her looming over her every day, seeming to grow larger and larger, she couldn't keep going around without knowing how to defend herself.

She had her claws now, those strange, translucent matte pink nails she had attached to her fingertips that she could flex into talons. But she wasn't sure if she was ready to learn how to use those; the thought of using them in a fight, the viciousness of those wicked points attached to her...it made her feel uneasy.

She needed to start small. Besides, she would need to get up close and personal to use them. Maybe she should focus on finding something that would give her a bit more distance. With that in mind, Aster found herself walking the marketplace, peering at the various weapon stalls.

It was overwhelming. Blades of all sizes and curves flashed at her, steel glinting in the afternoon sunlight. The sound of sharpening metal rang out through the air, and Aster distinctly felt out of place.

A particular stall that had a few impressive bows on display caught her eye, and she wandered over. A bow would certainly help her keep her distance. She tugged gently at the string of one, surprised by how resistant to the pulling of her finger it was. But they seemed large and unwieldy; would she really carry one on her back everywhere she went?

Beside the table of bows and arrows was a stand with a few whips on it. Curious, Aster walked over, examining them. They were of varying thickness and length with differing shades of leather. She pursed her lips thoughtfully, picking one up, testing the weight of it in her hand.

It felt...odd to hold. Awkward. But it was certainly more portable than a bow. It didn't give her as much range, but it offered a little bit, and...well, it was much less lethal than anything else she had seen so far today.

Did she want something less lethal? She wasn't sure. When she thought of Alard, she knew with a deep certainty that she wanted him dead. But picking up a weapon was for more than fulfilling the growing sense of revenge in the pit of her stomach; it was for practicality and defense across the board.

Aster put the whip back, looking at some of the others, when one in particular caught her eye. The handle was the smooth ivory of bone, and the braided leather was razor sharp along one edge, tapering to a much finer and more vicious point than any of the other whips.

As she reached a hand out towards it, the voice of the shopkeeper caught her off-guard. "You've got an eye for fine weaponry, miss," the man chuckled, as he approached. He'd been busy with another customer when she had approached, but he was seemingly free now, and his attention was focused on her.

"This here is a vicious thing. A bit exotic too, though not terribly rare," he explained, nodding his approval for Aster to pick the weapon up and look it over. The smooth bone handle felt more comfortable in her hand than the sturdy leather of the previous whip, though it still felt awkward to hold.

"What makes it so special compared to other whips?" Aster asked, turning it this way and that.

"This is called a Symenestran lash," the man explained. "A bit different from a normal whip. You can use it as one, no problem, but that razor edge packs an extra punch. And if you find yourself in a pinch, well, it's quite easy to use it up-close and personal, too." Aster glanced at him, and the man mimicked looping something around someone's neck and pulling.

"Makes for a fine garrote in a pinch because of how sharp it is," he explained further, when Aster still looked uncertain. "Though it takes quite a bit of skill to use, especially if you're trying to manipulate what edge lands where."

The Ethaefal hummed, looking down at the weapon in her hand. Perhaps it was the perfect compromise; largely not lethal, but could be used in such a way if she needed to. Perhaps if she got somewhat comfortable with using it, she would feel prepared to learn how to use her claws to defend herself.

My claws, she mused. It still sounded so strange to her. She really wasn't sure how to feel about having a weapon built into her hands. Deciding that the lash would suit her purposes for the time being, Aster nodded. "I'll take it," she finally agreed, and the man beamed at her.

"Wonderful! If you just come over here you can pay, and I'll fetch you a sack to carry that in," he motioned Aster back over to the main table. The lash was far more pricey than she would have thought for some braided leather and bone; but then again, the man had said it was exotic, and the name implied it as well. Aster forked over the gold for the weapon, thanked the man, and carefully bundled it into the sack he gave her, beginning to make her way back.

Now that she had a weapon, it was time to try and figure out how to actually use it. She needed to find somewhere quiet and secluded, where she wouldn't risk accidentally taking someone's eye out. The weight of the whip in the bag felt far heavier than it had in her hand as she carried it through the marketplace.

Word count: 951

Ledger :
Symenestran lash: -70 GM
Last edited by Asterope on July 27th, 2020, 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Crack of the Whip

Postby Asterope on July 27th, 2020, 2:41 am

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It was surprisingly difficult to find somewhere that Aster felt she could practice. The Outpost was so carefully cultivated that most of the private and secluded spots were meant for relaxation, and Aster was hardly about to disturb that with her clumsy first attempts at cracking a whip.

With a pit in her stomach, she resolved to wait until nightfall and then go through the dovecote. The entrance in Sunberth was on an empty, secluded hill, far from the city; there shouldn't be anyone there, let alone Alard. She would stay close by, practice for a little bit, and then return home.

It would be her first time setting foot in the city since she fled Alard. But if she was going to learn to use a weapon to defend herself, then she had to be able to confront Sunberth; it was the main reason she felt she had to do so.

When night came, Aster chose to take on her newest mortal form of the season, one that nobody in Sunberth had seen before, just to be safe. Then, whip in hand, she made her way to the dovecote, and stepped through.

She inhaled deeply as she turned around to face the door again. Steeling herself, Aster squared her shoulders and opened the door. Cool night air met her, the scent and sound of the nearby sea heavy in the air. Aster peered outside; there wasn't a soul in sight that she could see.

Tentatively, she took a step outside. Silence. Nothing but the crashing of waves. In the distance, she could make out Sunberth's silhouette. A few more hesitant steps brought her all the way out of the dovecote. Standing on the grass, inhaling the salt heavy air and looking up at the dark night sky, she almost felt silly to be so frightened.

But she knew the dirty chaos and darkness that lurked in the city nearby, whose shadow she could just barely make out against the dark sky, lit by the occasional glow of a light. Still, that wasn't what she was there for.

Taking a few steps away from the dovecote, away from where Sunberth lay in the distance, Aster carefully removed the whip from the bag, letting the sack fall to the ground. Glancing around, she realized she had no idea where or how to start. The glow of the moon above provided enough light to see by, but she had nobody to coach her or instruct her, no targets...she suddenly felt foolish. How did she expect to learn how to use a weapon all alone, especially one that required such skill?

Still, she was there. She might as well make use of her time. Scouring around the area, Aster managed to come up with a few glass bottles. Well, it was better than nothing. Setting them up on a crumbling stone fence that bordered the dovecote, she stepped back. She had no idea how far back she should be, so she just took a few steps until the distance felt right.

Perhaps she shouldn't have decided to try and practice at night. Surely there had to be somewhere in the Outpost for her to practice? Maybe she just hadn't looked hard enough.

"Enough excuses," she breathed out loud to herself, tightening her grip on the handle. Raising her arm above her head, whip in hand, Aster flung her arm down. The whip lashed forward, but it was weak, limp. Alard had never used a whip on her, but she'd seen them used plenty on other slaves; the strikes were always precise, powerful, echoing with a sharp crack. It felt like she was flailing around a particularly sharp wet noodle.

Word count: 616
Total: 1,567
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Asterope
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Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
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Crack of the Whip

Postby Asterope on July 27th, 2020, 2:43 am

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Aster frowned. She took a few steps closer to the wall, and flung her arm forward again as hard as she could, only to get the same result; it was like throwing a rope, the way it danced through the air vaguely in the direction she aimed, but loosely and with no real power or intent, flailing and coming nowhere close to the bottles she'd set up. Clearly, she was missing something. She stood, whip in hand, examining the length of the braided leather and trying to think back on her little experience with combat and fighting.

It mostly just involved slashing around wildly with a dagger, if she was going to be honest. But she knew there was more to fighting with a weapon, and a whip was no exception. Chewing her lower lip, Aster thought back to the many times she'd been forced to sit and wait while Alard trained at the arena near the barracks.

She'd rarely watched him, trying to find more interesting things to occupy her mind and time with; but sometimes certain sparring duels would catch her attention, or Alard would demand she watch so he could show off. It wasn't much to go off, and she certainly had never seen anyone use a whip, but perhaps it could help her figure things out.

The first thing that came to mind was stance. People who were fighting always seemed to adopt a sort of 'ready' stance, as if they were bracing themselves. She didn't know the specifics, though; did she bend her knees? How low? Should she keep the whip raised and ready, or at her side?

Clearly, there was going to be a lot of trial and error in this process. Adjusting the bone handle in her grip until it felt comfortable, Aster inhaled deeply, focusing. She squared her shoulders, standing straight; but no, that felt much too rigid. She needed to be able to move her arm fluidly, and if she was in combat, she'd need to be able to move herself quickly as well.

She dropped into a crouch. No, that was definitely too low, and she immediately felt silly; she'd never seen anyone adopt such a stance in order to fight. Rising back to her feet, she bent her knees slightly. It felt awkward and unnatural, but better than standing stiff and straight, and certainly better than crouching.

Pushing her weight back onto her heels next, Aster frowned. No, she was leaning away, that didn't feel right. Shifting her weight, Aster crouched slightly more and pushed onto the balls of her feet, and then her toes, but she immediately had to throw an arm out to keep her balance. That was no good either, then.

Adjusting the position of her feet and straightening just slightly, Aster played around with the exact degree of her crouch and her position until she felt comfortable. She was standing with her legs spread comfortably, not too wide, and her knees bent just ever so slightly, her weight mostly forward on the balls of her feet, but not so much that she felt like she was leaning or tipping forward.

It felt...mostly right? Maybe she should have her knees bent more, but that felt strange. Perhaps her weight should be more centered? She had no idea, and Aster was sure there were many, many things wrong with her position from a technical point of view; but she felt comfortable, and like she could move quickly if she had to, yet still grounded.

Word count: 587
Total: 2,154
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
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Medals: 5
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Crack of the Whip

Postby Asterope on July 27th, 2020, 3:02 am

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Steadying herself, Aster inhaled deeply, focusing on the bottle in front of her as she raised the whip again, bringing her arm down. There was a slight improvement; the whip arced through the air with slightly more direction, and she heard a faint whistling sound as it flung forward. But it was still loose, and she was still miles off her target.

Perhaps she should just focus on learning how to crack it properly before she started aiming for targets. Backing up and turning her back on the makeshift target practice she had set up, Aster settled back into the position she had found. It took a few moments to find it again, crouching and straightening until her knees felt bent the correct amount and swaying from her heels to her toes as she found the spot to balance her weight.

With no target this time, she once again raised her arm and threw it downwards with as much force as she could muster. But it felt like she was back where she had started, with the whip flopping through the air, vaguely reminiscent of a dangling and dancing snake swaying in the wind.

Was her stance that off? While she knew it was far from perfect, she had a feeling it was something else that was causing the issue. Aster repeated the motion of bringing her arm up and then flinging it down, but more slowly this time, feeling out the movement. Arm forward, arm up, elbow bent, arm forward, arm down. The whip dangled loosely as it followed along.

Something about the movement felt off, now that she was doing it more slowly. But what was she doing wrong? It wasn't that hard to just...raise your arm and then fling it downwards. She did it again, going step by step through the process as she remained perfectly still in the ready stance she had adopted.

She repeated the motion more quickly, accidentally putting too much weight behind the forward lash in her growing frustration, and stumbled forward a step as the whip came down. Straightening back up, Aster looked from her feet to the whip as something clicked in her head.

The issue wasn't with her arm movements; well, it probably was with that too. But the problem she was having was that she was being too stiff in her movements; she was staying perfectly still as she snapped the whip, which is why it felt off.

Aster could have groaned. It made sense thinking about it now; nobody she had seen sparring ever remained perfectly still while they slashed with their weapon. There was always movement, a shifting of weight, small steps. But it wasn't something she had ever considered, it was just...a part of fighting. Something that happened when you used a weapon. She would never have thought of it as a separate step.

She was beginning to realize using a weapon was much, much more complicated than she had even originally thought. At least her claws were a part of her; she didn't have to worry about ready stances, or shifting weight, or grip or balance...she just used her hands. But here, she was using something outside of her, yet trying to make it an extension of herself.

Perhaps that was how she had to treat it; an extension of herself. Every other time she had held a weapon, it had been just that. A weapon, something she didn't really want, something ugly and gross, used blindly and separate from herself. A tool, an object. Perhaps she should be trying to look at it as a part of herself, something she used and controlled as easily as her own fingers, without a second thought. It came naturally to her to move her body when she swung her arm to throw a punch or scratch; why was a whip any different?

Aster wasn't sure how to feel about that. Not only was using a weapon much more complex than she had thought, it was much more involved. If she really and truly wanted to learn to use the whip and use it well, she couldn't keep it at an arm's distance from herself. The same way her own fingers or a mortar and pestle felt natural and right and part of her to use...she had to apply that to her weapon as well.

(Continued in Crack of the Whip Part II*)

Word count: 727
Total: 2,881
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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