[Flashback] Kendoka Sasaran: Of Unnatural Grace

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

[Flashback] Kendoka Sasaran: Of Unnatural Grace

Postby Bandin Everdance on May 24th, 2021, 1:14 am

Timestamp: 3rd-9th of Winter, 520 A.V.

Bandin was doing his best. He really was, but the tall akalak was all but floating with his every movement. Artimal was well over seven feet tall, average for an Akalak and something that Bandin was only just beginning to get used to. This was the third time they'd dueled. Day three proved to be no more inspiring than one day one--Bandin just couldn't keep up.

The Kendoka Sasaran was the hub of armed combat training in Riverfall. The smith had come to learn, come to train his skills and to try and give himself an edge over where he was currently at. Most of all, he wanted to improve his connection to his glaive.

It was not his weapon that he currently held, however, rather his djed was flowing into an akalak-crafted practice glaive. He was getting the feel for the item. It had a little bit more personality than most run of the mill pieces of equipment.

He was still having trouble picking up on the specific histories of weapons; in fact, doing so was still beyond him, but he could almost feel the nature of a weapon, sometimes, which was close enough for the moment--as it was progress.

This particular practice glaive gave off an air of duty and aged use. He could smell and feel the wood as his djed fed through its length and back into him. It was distinctly tied to the same smell of the plains and that of the very same practice hall they were now in. Bandin could almost imagine himself outside the city, all over again, as he had been before arriving to the city some weeks ago. He also felt more grounded in the training environment, as if it was more familiar to him than it should've been, as he tapped into the weapon's familiarity with it.

Of course, his magic still did little to actually aid him in the use of his weapon of choice. He felt like it should, but he had yet to have the breakthrough he was looking for.

Meanwhile, Artimal was making him look slow, weak, and unskilled. Again.

The green-hued warrior simply appeared to slide across the ground. Every movement, every motion was done with an ease that bellied a much greater hidden strength. And, when Bandin tried to get close, when he though he might almost be ready to land a hit:

He swung the practice glaive, meaning to impact the thigh of the big, graceful akalak. He barely had time to catch himself as the man's bow staff slammed into his own shinbone.

Bandin was swept from his feet and hit the mat hard. Only a little air was left in his lungs.

"You broke fell that time," Artimal said. "Good."

It was one of the first corrections the akalak had given him: how to fall properly. For all the bruises, for whatever reason, the warrior was teaching him. Every day he'd find Bandin within the training house and every day he'd prove his almost supernatural grace.

"Now come again."

This time, the smith didn't. He'd done so every other time in the past days when prompted, but this time he hesitated.

Artimal seemed disappointed. He almost turned away, as if all of a sudden giving up on the human man and foreigner, just like that.

"How do you do that?" Bandin asked what he'd been meaning to for quite some time.

Artimal paused. "You're not ready to know that. Your body can become stronger on its own first."

Bandin made to stand. "Explain the concept then."

Artimal spun his bow staff. "When you're ready. If you ever become so."

Word Count: 614 Words
Last edited by Bandin Everdance on May 24th, 2021, 5:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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[Flashback] Kendoka Sasaran: Of Unnatural Grace

Postby Bandin Everdance on May 24th, 2021, 1:31 am

Bandin rose to his feet and came again. His glaive swung through the air and he attempted to hit same place on the akalak's thigh.

He continued to infuse the weapon with his djed, a practice that was quickly becoming second nature. He could slowly feel himself mapping the body of the weapon, but it was almost as if there was a block on how much of the information he could interpret from his djed flow. The secrets of the practice glaive's song, and his own glaive's, were there for him to see, he just couldn't understand what he was seeing--not yet, not entirely, but he was improving--and it seemed combat was the quickest route to do this.

Weapons revealed their nature through battle. It made sense.

"A question deserves an answer," the smith said.

"You hesitated," Arival replied.

Once again the akalak sidestepped, just as he had done before. This time, however, Bandin kept his eyes training on his strong thighs. He watched as the muscles swelled and grew, every so slightly, as if they were filling and bloating with something.

This time the blacksmith actually made move to black the akalak's hit. He barely withstood the force of it, but he remained anchored to the mat when the shaft of the staff and the glaive met at the moment of blocking.

"I had a question," Bandin said. "Not fear. Not weakness. Is that what you're about? Why you're teaching me? Because I keep coming back?"

Arival took a deep breath and came forward with the same attack as before.

"You barely blocked that blow when it was normal," he said.


Bandin brought his glaive, once again, to attempt to intercept the bo-staff. However, the akalak was much faster than before now. The glaive just barely managed to clip off the blow, but it was sent flying from Bandin's hands at an awkward angle.

Arival spun the bo-staff over his head and redirected the energy into once-again sweeping his sparring partner painfully off of his feet.

"You're watching me," Arrival said. "Learning, but you're not strong enough to match me for my strength. Even when it's only as it is."

Bandin was breathing hard now, flat on his back. His hands stung from the sheer vibrating forced that had ripped his weapon from his grasp.

"Tomorrow we spar again," Arival said and aimed the bo-staff at his impromptu student. "Today you are dead."

Bandin grunted and came to his fight. He half-limped to where his glaive had fallen.

"Not too dead to keep learning," he said.

"You'll be too sore for tomorrow," Arival observed. "Go home."

"As if I'm not already," Bandin said. "I need to get this."

"Too soon. Even if you did get it, you'd just be risking yourself and depriving yourself of a need for further skill and conditioning. To know how I beat you, beyond the basics, would be a crutch. Warriors do not avail themselves of handicaps."

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[Flashback] Kendoka Sasaran: Of Unnatural Grace

Postby Bandin Everdance on May 24th, 2021, 1:47 am

Bandin aimed once more for the same spot, but this time he alternated to aiming for it on the opposite thigh. He needed to see if he'd see the same thing he'd noticed during the last attack this time.

Arival seemed to be growing intrigued by the repeated aiming at his lower body.

"It would work," Arival said; his opposite thigh flexed and swelled much as the other one had. "Taking out my base would slow me down, if you could actually execute it and hit me."

The akalak made his same, familiar dodge, at his otherworldly seeming speed. Bandin didn't wait to see if the follow up blow would be given at a normal pace or not. He simply jumped back as quickly as he possibly could.

Sure enough, the akalak struck faster than what seemed to be his base setting of power and swiftness. It went just beyond what seemed to be a normal pushing of ones limits as well. And now, with not being instantly hit with the bo-staff and all, Bandin could observe the same swelling of muscles in Arival's forearms as had briefly been in his legs.

It was as if the akalak was quickly directing and redirecting some form of energy into his muscles.

It was actually somewhat similar to how... Bandin felt his own djed flowing into his weapon. He could almost sense the breakthrough he'd been looking for.

His djed was filling the glaive to the brim now. It felt like something was on the verge of happening, of blooming out from within the weapon, but that all of that magical energy was simply stuck in the dead wooden husk. It wasn't quite bonding with the wood as it felt like it should've been, not quite mixing right. Something was off, but he was almost there, and the connection between his vorilescence and the akalak's techniques made Bandin reach for a theory.

"You're using djed," he said. "Your filling parts of your body with it and then moving it somewhere else afterwards."

"Why? Does it make you faster, stronger? How?" he asked.

The akalak frowned. "That knowledge is early, yet you earned it through your pain and toil."

The warrior drove his foot's ball into the mat and drove forward; his bo-staff collided violently into the chest of the man and floored him.

No break-fall could save Bandin. He couldn't breathe; his air had been all but stolen.

He wheezed on the ground and rolled over to cradle himself on his side. It wasn't self-pity, merely an instinct of self-preservation. His lungs needed air.

"You hold you weapon as if you're closer to it than your skill should allow," Arival said. "That is why I spar you. To nurture that talent, not to teach you another one."

Arival looked down on him, not seeming to disapprove entirely. "What you learn, you learn. This is the way of battle."

"What you've taught yourself from your own eyes is now yours," he continued. "I will not deprive you of that. It is up to you to further develop it, if it is something that's mean to be a part of you."

Word Count: 530 Words
Last edited by Bandin Everdance on May 24th, 2021, 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[Flashback] Kendoka Sasaran: Of Unnatural Grace

Postby Bandin Everdance on May 24th, 2021, 2:03 am

Bandin stood before Arival once again. His body ached. His chest heaved and every time it did so he felt the remembered pain of impact after impact. Days more of sparring had led to this moment.

"I am leaving soon," Arival said. "There is trouble in the grasslands."

Bandin had come to learn that Arival was a member of the Kuvay'nas, Riverfal's volunteer quasi-standing militia. The smith hadn't been surprised by this at all. The man's skills bellied a warrior lifestyle, possibly even going beyond that of the average from-birth trained, even gifted, akalak.

Bandin felt his djed flowing into every pore of the practice glaive. It was almost as if it was becoming a part of his body now. A very sluggish, unresponsive, and uncoordinated part of his body. He was getting there, the connection was improving.

He jumped at Arival and once more attacked the man's legs. This time the akalak parried and came down with an overhead blow which Bandin deflected just barely--it was just at normal speed.

Bandin came again and spun his glaive quickly around to the opposite side of his body in a vertical strike; he didn't dare perform the great spinning motions that Arival employed to generate striking levels of power, in fear of leaving himself open to just the same sort of counterstrike.

"Where?" Bandin asked as his strike was blocked.

He quickly jumped back as he saw the pectoral muscles of the akalak flex and swell. The akalak's use of his djed seemed to be very methodical and well-thought out. Whatever he was doing went even beyond filling one single muscle group with energy; he used his body like a kinetic chain, filling each muscle in the chain with brimming power, causing the flexing and swelling, and then moving to the next muscle group that'd generate greater power in the strike.

Bandin didn't even come close to that level of djed manipulation when it came to his weapon. Still, it was greatly informative to watch. Arival was truly accomplished in manipulating the flow of his own body's energies.

Still, shirtless as he was, it was a tell. He almost always started his attacks in his core and legs, signaling to a wary Bandin that a strike was coming at a speed he'd have no choice of blocking, let alone the strength to block if he had been able to halt the akalak's bo-staff momentarily. So he didn't even try.

When he saw the muscles swell and flex just a little too much, he'd quickly jump backwards.

And that was just what he did. The bo-staff missed his chin just by a hair. It would've been a knockout blow; Arival was growing more intense in their duels.

"Your reflexes are getting better," Arival said, ignoring the question from before for military information. "Or your instincts for prediction."

But it wasn't enough, Bandin thought. Arival was leaving soon. He needed the studying to pay off now or never. He had to try it. To try and match the akalak's strength.

And there was only one way to do that.

Word Count: 518 Words
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[Flashback] Kendoka Sasaran: Of Unnatural Grace

Postby Bandin Everdance on May 24th, 2021, 2:22 am

He tried to draw out another similar strike from Arival. He went for a side-sweep of his glaive, but found that it was merely blocked. No over-natural flexing of any of the akalak's core muscle groups occurred, he merely swung his staff in return, hitting Bandin's thigh and sending him to that same knee.

Arival rotated and brought his staff up in a spin and then above his head. His core flexed and Bandin hesitated for a nano-second. Was it time? This was the worst possible moment for Bandin for the akalak to call upon his true strength; there was no way he could jump back in time to dodge.

The akalak's abs swelled with djed. Then his quads, then his calfs as his knee bent and his biceps as they slammed down the staff.

For a split-second, Bandin truly feared for his life. Wooden was the natural state for Arival's chosen weapon, one which the smith was quite sure the akalak was more than capable of killing with. There'd be no difference between being hit with it in the training studio than on the battlefield, save for the difference in the user's restraint.

Bandin didn't see any restraint.

He felt defenseless. Just for that split second.

The djed in his practice glaive and the humming of its humble tones brought him back to reality, catching his attention as if it was easier for it to do so when he was distracted. He wasn't defenseless. His weapon was a part of him, at least in some capacity--and that gave him a defense.

This was the best time to try what he'd been working up to for days now.

He felt the djed that flowed into his weapon. He had no real control over the flow itself. It ebbed in and out as if the glaive were just another body part. Still... Bandin concentrated on the interchange and tried to expand his sense of the flow to just his arms.

He could barely do it, but slowly he began to feel the same sort of interchange between his forearms and hands. He tried to expand the awareness to his shoulders and then his back. Already his mind began to feel stretched thin in its capacity for djed awareness; a feeling similar to when he'd first tried to start feeling weapons as an extension of his energy flow, but in a whole different sort of way.

He did all of this as he quickly threw his glaive up above his head.

Arival's bo-staff crashed down onto the glaive shaft.

Bandin almost buckled. His arms swelled, however. It was as if more blood filled them with greater strength, but Bandin didn't feel that physiologically, necessarily. The swelling was more electrical, like static. It was his djed, redirected from other parts of his body, in a similar, but much more sloppy way than he'd figured out Arival had been doing.

Arival's bo staff was halted against the glaive, but only barely. Just inches from Bandin's face.

The smith began to grow light-headed. Had he redirected too much djed? Why was he so dizzy? What would happen if he passed out.

Fear gripped him as darkness encroached..

The staff was removed from atop Bandin's practice weapon.

"You've learned to move your djed in a flux from one muscle to another," Arival said. "You learned it in the old way, through observation and study. Now it is yours to continue learning the same way."

Bandin thought he heard approval in the akalak's voice, before the human smith promptly fainted. He vaguely felt a hand touch his temple, as a cool flow of relief washed over him.

Then darkness.

Word Count: 613 Words
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Bandin Everdance
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