An Expected Loss
Wed Jun 14, 2006 13:55 (XFF:

Sparring, Riani thought, gritting her teeth, oh, that’s just great. Excellent. Her mouth should have been dripping with the sarcasm of her unspoken words, but Riani had had sixteen years of practise at keeping a cool exterior, and so despite being on the brink of exhaustion and despair she probably still looked quite collected to the outward eye.

Knowing that her height and otherwise tiny stature would do her no benefit in the up-coming spar – if she had been more adept she might have been able to use even that to her own advantage, but as someone who had never wielded a sword until this day that was unlikely by a long shot – the nobly born Aethan’Tar looked around for someone her own size. That mostly limited her hunt to girls, for which Riani Seruam was grateful; boys were for the most part far stronger as well as much taller.

“Hey,” came an unexpected voice as Riani looked around the grounds, “would you like to spar with me?”

Riani eyed the inquirer with cold, green eyes. The girl seemed to be…maybe Andoran? It was hard to be sure, even for a young woman of Riani’s upbringing, but her coloring, height and clothing at least hinted it might be so.

“Sure,” she replied at last, “we can spar. I am Riani Seruam, Aetan’Tar. Who are you?”

“Alise Najina. I am from Andor. Do you know where-“

“Of course I know where Andor is,” Riani interrupted, “I am not totally uneducated, you know.” Well, not when it comes from more theoretical knowledge, at least, the Aethan’Tar thought to herself; from the way the other girl – Alise – held her lathes Riani guessed that she had at least wielded a stick before, if not a proper sword – or lathe.

The other girl said nothing, but her blue eyes hardened, and she assumed the position their instructor had called Taer’Val, tip of lathes far closer to Riani’s vulnerable throat than what she really appreciated. “Then let’s go on with it,” she said, and reluctantly Riani lifted her own lathes and copied her position.

Almost before she had done so, the other Aethan’Tar attacked. The flurries of thrusts and slashes were far, far quicker than any Riani could’ve copied; she might recognize them to be part of the form their teacher had called Cat Dances on The Wall, but there was naught she could to but to put all she had into defending herself. She could understand why the form had been given its name; the girl really did look like she had the cat’s ability to twist around in the air and land neatly out of whichever situation.

Only seconds into the match, and Riani could already feel the strain! She gulped for air, tried to ignore the pain that cursed through her muscles and veins, just barely managing to avoid the sudden slash from the right that would, if lathes were steel and the stroke had hit, emboweled her. Knowing that the lathes were wood helped, but did not ease her humiliation; knowing that the woman was probably far more adept with the lathes than what she showed didn’t either.

“So, Riani,” Alise said in a conversational tone that made Riani look at her dumbfounded, “have you got a lot of experience with swords?” Riani incredulously shook her head, inexpertly warding yet an attack, this time a quick thrust towards her face. Hummingbird Kisses the Honeyrose, the back of her head whispered, started from and ending in Los’Val. Another form starting in Los’Val is-

“OUCH!” Riani yelled, staring murderously at the Andoran while using her left hand – the one not holding onto the sword – to nurse her aching knee. “Mother’s milk in a cup! What did you do that for?” Her words were silent enough it appeared no one had overheard – well, except from Alise, of course, for whom they were meant – which was most likely lucky; Riani had not yet found out if the people here took the same dim light on cursing as the adults in her former life had, and she really had no wish to find out.

“Well, Riani,” the Andoran said sweetly – too sweetly – “in a swordfight people get hurt. Why, they might even die you know.” She lowered her sword into an easy mosiev’val, tilting it up enough to touch Riani’s chin. “Remember what Sei’Tar said?” she added, and Riani nodded reluctantly. She did.

An uneven fight from the start, it was even more so now. Riani was forced to lower her left knee all the way to the ground, and for the most part moved from the stance the Sei’Tar had called rahien’val to attempt fending off the flurry of strikes that seemed to rain down from above. Her neck soon ached almost as much as her arms, and her usually so supple neck groaned as she looked up in a vain effort to see where the next quick-handed strike would come from.

Left, her mind said, but it was too late. The impact wasn’t really hard – Alise had too much control for that – but it was still hard enough to let Riani know that if this had been real steel…

She shuddered. Gratefully accepting the hand Alise extended, Riani rose, gingerly feeling the spot on her neck where the lathes had hit as if to make sure there was no blood, was no damage done.

Once they both stood, Alise smiled. “I hope you are alright, Riani.”

“Yes,” Riani replied, “I am alright. Beaten and bruised” – that knee still hurt! – “but alright. I am not even going to ask if you are, since I failed to hit you even once.”

Alise smiled, a rueful, nearly wicked grin. “My father is a swordsmaster, trained here in the Tower. He trained my brothers, but decided I was too much of a handful for him to take on all alone.” She smiled. “If you want, I can spar with you again, later.”

Riani returned the smile. “Thanks.” She rubbed her muscles. “I think I need some recovery time first, though.”

(OOC: I hope this is fair enough.

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    • Lesson ClosedRick, Tue Jun 20 04:13
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      Valla did not want a fair fight. She wanted someone with the grace and speed of a three legged pig. Half the intelligence; optional. It was not due to a desperation for victory, rather, not entirely... more
    • An Expected Loss — Riani Aethan'Tar, Wed Jun 14 13:55
    • Wood as SteelSarin Cordana - Aethan'Tar, Sun Jun 11 18:08
      Sarin scratched his chin as he listened to the Sei’Tar lay out the rules for their spars. He smirked when he heard that if you got hit in the leg you lost use of it, he couldn’t imagine himself... more
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