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A precarious perch.
Wed Oct 4, 2006 15:20 (XFF:

The rhythm that Afailla had hit within the circle was becoming engrained in her head, but she really didn’t know what else to do. She couldn’t for the life of her make up any moves unique to herself, and was merely copying those she saw others doing. Far from original, but if it was enough to keep her alive in an emergency, she didn’t care. When at last Styr called a halt to their fumblings. Only then did she realize what the Dedicated had constructed while the rest of them were so distracted. Unfortunately she only had a few seconds to examine this new development before invisible hands grasped her and bound her.

She let out a shriek of outrage, not sure which of the men – for she would have been able to see the strands of saidar - was messing with her, she started to Embrace and slice the weaves without thinking. Unfortunately, she didn’t react quickly enough and by the time she was in a position to free herself, she was nearly to the top of the poles. At this point a fall would do serious damage, if it didn’t kill her first. She resigned herself to having to find her own way off of the platform (thank the Light that Air was one of her stronger elements), and then Styr’s voice drifted up to her. Only when his words registered did she realize that another Soldier – a young man she vaguely recognized – was perched precariously on a pole at the opposite end of the course from her.

When the “knives” drifted up to hover in front of her Afailla grabbed them reflexively, shifting so that her left held the defensive blade and her right the offensive, the way that she’d been practicing. She had only a few more seconds to let the situation sink in before they were instructed to begin. Her opponent began dashing forward and, not to be outdone, Afailla advanced herself. Balancing while trying to cross the poles with speed was not easy – she teetered several times, but managed not to topple over.

The two Soldiers met more-or-less in the middle of the course, and Afailla pressed the advantage of her momentum as best she could. The man was taller and broader than she was, and seemed far more confident on the poles than she did. Luckily, she was not so top-heavy, and being lower seemed to be an advantage at such a height. He was running forward too, but she ducked low and attempted to knock his feet from under him with a strike at his legs. He dodged – she wasn’t sure how – and the overbalanced move nearly sent her soaring to her death. Thankfully, though, the Soldier took pity on her and let her regain her balance, rather than pushing her over the side (which, she hated to admit, she would have done in his place, if only so that she could be let down that much sooner).

When both of them were balanced again, but essentially stuck in place, the other Soldier moved in for an attack. It was obvious that if they were to face in a head-on contest of brute force, she would come out behind. For this reason, as he pressed the attack, Afailla did her best to avoid such a contest, working to set him off-balance without compromising her own position.

Neither of them wanted to fall, and it was a desperate grappling match, but in the end neither of them emerged victorious. Perhaps they were simply too nice – neither wanted to die, but nor did they want a murder on their hands – or perhaps they were move evenly matched than Afailla had thought at the start. Either way, in the end both of them fell. Afailla stifled a scream, swallowing back her terror, and embraced. She started to weave a net of air to catch the two of them when, abruptly, she stopped. The wind was knocked out of her, and for a split second, when she saw the ground still far below, she thought herself dead.

After a few moments her situation registered – there had been a net all along. It was hardly fair, in her opinion. The male soldier had known all along that neither of them would be hurt if they fell. He had taken pity on her, gone easy so that she wouldn’t panic. She couldn’t have beaten him, no matter how hard she tried. She shot him a look, only to find him grinning over at her, watching her puzzle things out for herself.

When they were both safely back on the ground and the second pair had been lifted up to try, Afailla searched out the Soldier she had been against. He was standing with a knot of others, laughing at the clumsy balance of the pair now on the poles (though in reality, they looked to be doing better than the first pair). She reached up to tap him on the shoulder and managed to separate him from the herd amid much hooting and hollering from his companions. Once they were relatively alone, she frowned up at him. He was obviously a good bit younger than her, but she was short, even for a woman.

“Did you let me win?” He blinked, looking genuinely surprised, and quickly stammered out that no, he hadn’t. “I thought you were going easy on me,” he commented, and it was her turn to look shocked. He seemed sincere enough, after all . . .. Several more uncomfortable and jumbled words were exchanged, and Afailla retreated into the crowd feeling quite foolish. Not wanting to dwell on her stupidity, she focused her attention on the pair fighting atop the poles – different than the two that had been there a few minutes ago, which likely made them the third couple – and trying to figure out what she should have done differently to actually win the exchange.

OOC: Hope that's OK? ...Even though I kind of didn't talk about the knife work at all... ^_^

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    • A precarious perch. — Soldier Afailla Dafrin, Wed Oct 4 15:20
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