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Strike first, strike fast, and strike smart.
Sun Sep 10, 2006 13:20 (XFF:

Afailla was a bit disoriented after the trip through the Gateway. When their little group emerged, she recognized nothing of the terrain, but it didn’t seem as though anyone else did, either. She didn’t ask questions, though – she simply listened to instructions, and soon enough things were explained.

One by one, the initiates paired off and took up stances on opposite sides of the heron statue. Sometimes the shields held, and sometimes the attackers managed to get a hit on the statue. Afailla waited her turn, curious whether she’d be attacking or defending first. Finally, her name was called and she stepped forward, squaring off against a young man that she didn’t recognize. “Soldier Afailla will be defending in this round.” She nodded, not listening as the other Soldier was named and declared on the offensive. She Embraced, and on the signal to begin, immediately threw up a shield around the statue, doing her best to make it as small as possible so that it used less energy. Of course, she couldn’t let it be too small and leave any part of the statue exposed.

Shielding was not her strong suit. She’d known that to begin with, but as her shield was repeatedly battered and torn apart by her opponent, it sank in completely. At this rate, she stood to lose her defensive competition. Scowling and determined to at least put up a fight (harder to do when she couldn’t see what kind of weaves were coming at her and had no idea what to expect), she reinforced her shield around the statue for what felt like the millionth time, and then split her attention for a few brief moments, just a few beats of a heart, as she wove together a shield to cut the boy off from his power. She double-checked the edge to be sure that it was blunt – she didn’t want to win so badly that she would risk severing him from saidin - and then slammed it into place.

The rain of blows against her shield stopped abruptly, and Afailla could see that her opponent looked positively shocked. The benefit of being the defense against someone of the opposite gender was that he could no more examine the weave cutting him off from the Power than she had been able to recognize the weaves of his attacks. He battered blindly against the shield for a bit, but Afailla managed to hold it strong. Just as she was beginning to lose her grip on the shield, though, the match was declared over – time had expired. Afailla was declared the winner (she promptly removed the shield, rather stunned that she’d managed to pull it off), and then they had to clear the area for the next pair.

Several more pairs met on the field, and sometimes the attackers won, while other times the defense held strong. Finally, Afailla was called back onto the field, this time to try her hand at getting past the shields herself. She smiled slightly – attacking was a good deal more fun, not to mention infinitely easier for her – but before she had time to relish the opportunity much, they were told to prepare. Her opponent, strangely enough, seemed to be the same young man, and she stifled a groan. He’d be out for revenge, no doubt – she’d have to strike the bird quickly, before he had a chance to shield her. She Embraced quickly (that was getting to be much easier each time she did it), and then the match began. Not waiting to give the other Soldier an opportunity to throw up his own shield, Afailla wove a small fireball – the smaller ones were faster for her to weave, as she’d discovered during the earlier practice with sizes and different combinations of elements – and dropped it towards the heron.

The fire fizzled out mid-air, and Afailla scowled momentarily at the invisible shield. There was no way for her to find a hole in it, except to grope blindly, and she didn’t have the time (or the patience) for that. She hesitated just a moment to consider her options, and then decided to try a different approach. Instead of attacking the heron directly, the redhead attacked the shield itself, doing her best to tear it apart, feeling rather as though she was trying to tear apart a door in the middle of the night with her bare hands, when she couldn’t see as far as the end of her nose. After what seemed a horribly long time, she felt her “hands” gain purchase, and rather than rip the shield completely, she set her concentration to holding that small hole, and then, somewhat desperately (how much time did she have left?) hurled a ball of fire through the hole with all her might.

Afailla, anxious to win, didn’t wait to see if the attack found purchase. Instead, she began weaving the intricate mat that would explode the ground into which it settled. Again, she made the attack small (smaller was faster, and easier to fit into the gap besides), but though it found purchase in the ground, the flying debris fell well short of the statue, warded off by yet another invisible wall. She was just gathering the dregs of her energy for another assault when time was declared expired. That earned a gusty sigh from the Soldier, and she couldn’t help feeling severely disappointed, even if she had won the match that she had never expected to. But still, a clean sweep would have been nice . . ..

OOC: Sorry it's so short and.....well.....sucky. ^_^ But I did manage to eek out the requirement.

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    • Strike first, strike fast, and strike smart. — Soldier Afailla Dafrin, Sun Sep 10 13:20
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