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II: A New Day
Wed Jan 4, 2006 20:35 (XFF:

OOC: Continued from Part One.

Another morning, and with it, the start of a new day. Though to tell the truth, it still felt like yesterday. Every day felt like the day before to Ulric – for two reasons. The first was that he seldom got the rest he needed at night, which made every day blend into the next like an unending nightmare. The second was that his life had grown so rote and monotonous. If nothing else, at least that bloody woman provided a respite from the routine.

More than anything, Ulric wished that he could put the woman behind him. Unfortunately, the man had a penchant for clinging to the past – but how else would he continue to survive? He was nothing in this life besides what he had once been in the past. He was made up of the memories, both good and bad, of events that he had endured. It didn’t help that he dwelled in the past anyway – between memories of his dead wife, Meera, and his life as a general in the Empress’s army, he was half ghost himself. If he had something to live for in the here and now, perhaps his life wouldn’t be the dream that it had become. But – no doubt to his apprentice’s chagrin – Jasper was not enough to live for.

Speaking of which, it was almost time to meet her. Ulric had asked his escorts to bring her earlier today, for this was when her training would begin to get more strenuous. If she had thought that her introduction to blademaster training had been rough, she would be sorely disappointed today. If nothing else, Jasper had proven that she was determined to see this through, for whatever reasons she chose. Though he wished he could tell himself otherwise, the reasons were important to Ulric – but he had neither right nor reason to question Jasper’s motivation. It wasn’t his decision to let the woman train; if he said that she had the grace of an elephant and the intelligence of a rat, it would make no matter to the Empress. But he couldn’t help but feel that he should know who – or what – he was unleashing upon the world before he transformed her into one of its deadliest weapons.

He paid no more attention to his appearance today than he did any other day. It was too frightful to attempt to look into the mirror. But he hoped that Jasper had taken his words to heart – he hoped she wouldn’t show up in another of her frivolous garments. She had no one to impress here; she would get nowhere with unnecessary exposure of flesh, at least not with him. Perhaps she had in the past, but hopefully, she had learned to put the past behind her. But he doubted it. Their conversation the night before hadn’t accomplished anything, and he would be a fool to hope otherwise.

Today, he grabbed his sword before exiting to the courtyard, where they usually met. They would not be sparring – not yet, anyway – but he would need it for demonstration purposes. The sword, long kept unused, gleamed in the dim light. Soon it would burn beneath the morning sun, its heron ablaze with the light of a new day. It would remind Jasper just how far she had to go before she could achieve the amount of skill necessary to obtain one of these blades – and it would spur her motivation as well. That was Ulric’s intention, at least.

He gave her a curt nod when she appeared, looking just as crisp and unfazed as always. Why did that spite him? Perhaps because he’d hoped that the words they had exchanged would have some effect on her. Obviously, he had been mistaken. But if Jasper expected that her criticisms and gruff reminders of reality would alter his treatment of her, then she was far mistaken. Ulric would continue treating her like the spoiled little girl she pretend she was – but he would teach her. Yes, he would teach her.

“You know something of the sword,” Ulric said, “which makes my job even more difficult, as that means I’m going to have to force you to unlearn all that you have already, as it was probably taught badly.” He had heard that there were blademasters in the far lands across the sea, but he doubted any of them really knew what they were about. How could they think to challenge the skill of the descendants of Artur Hawkwing? “So pick up that training sword,” he continued, “and we’ll start with the basics. Basic one, please,” he said dryly.

OOC: Okay... kind of short, but hey, I posted! Go me.

So for the next couple of posts, I want you to go over the basics, terminology, etc. Then write another post about some basic forms, another about intermediate, and another about advanced. I'll post then with some more forms for Jasper - assuming they're ones she hasn't learned - and you'll write one more post learning those. That'll conclude part two of your blademaster training, which leaves two more strings. The next string will be about... well, I don't know what, exactly. Some sparring, maybe a few tests of sorts. And the last... well, we've already worked that one out. *grins*

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