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Talaban Morenae, Gaidin
Blue on blue
Thu Dec 28, 2006 00:14 (XFF:

Into the forest both figures went, each dancing nimbly across the soft ground, the stranger picking a rapid path deep into the woods with Talaban hot in pursuit. On and on they went, until, finally, the figure stopped beside a pond and turned to face him. “Who are you?” Talaban asked again, staring into the clear blue orbs. The colour reminded him of Alisse Sedai but where hers were icy cold, this was a smoky, tempestuous blue.

“Why do you persist in trying to find out what you should not know?” returned the stranger, his voice a low blend tinged with fatigue.

“Who are you?” Talaban asked again, “You fight against trollocs with forces of the Tower and are still loathe revealing your name?”

“Do you want to die, child? Ever heard of the saying ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ ?” he hissed.

Talaban drew both blades in answer. The other man sighed, shaking his head. With a single stroke, he drove the naginata deep into the ground, the balancing spike biting deep into the earth to stand the weapon upright. The stranger stepped away from the weapon, drawing a long sword from his hip instead.

She breathed deeply, feeling the warmth of her own breath against the cotton veil. Dressed as she was, she held all the advantages. He thought she was male. Nothing could be further. Suppressing a chuckle, she studied the man before her. Lightly built, with a lean, muscular physique, the man possessed a pair of mesmerizing jade green eyes which stared out of a narrow face whose only distinctive feature was a shark, hawks beak nose. A katana sat loosely in either hand. From watching him earlier, she knew he was fully ambidextrous. There was a certain… recklessness about his movements and the way she had seen him fight earlier, she wondered whether it was deception or truth. Or was it layered deception?

Regardless, she had no time to toy with him. She should never have intervened in the first place. It was only by pure chance that she had seen him fight. Pure chance and the impetuousness that had led her to get herself involved. Best not to waste time. She thrust forward.

Talaban blinked as his opponent advanced. For someone who had been focused on running away, he certainly had not expected the man to take the initiative. Yet, the moment he saw the stroke, he was stumped. It was not part of any form he had ever seen. Weak and without purpose, it was tilted off to his right. Reacting, the Gaidin raised his own blade into a block to protect his upper body.

Without ado, the stroke transformed with seemingly fuss free flexibility, pointing to his waist. Talaban hesitated momentarily, backtracking before launching into Creeper Embracing the Oak. The stranger leaned to one side, moving out of range of one thrust while snapping his own long sword to stab at Talaban’s left eye. Though it seemed like an even situation, Talaban realized the opponent’s blade would touch pierce his eye moments before his own thrust could land. Taking the only course of action possible, the Gaidin redirected the force of his lunge into a stationary pirouette.

The stranger thrust forward with another seemingly random thrust, this time aiming at the upper left side of Talaban’s body. The Gaidin prepared to fend it off with a side swing of his right blade and then follow up with the left, but before the two swords even collided, he immediately realized that the opponent’s sword tip had shifted into a slanting angle pointing toward the lower right waist region, which was wide open, and if the opponent took advantage of this weakness in defence, the situation would be beyond redemption. That meant the block would be very unwise. In desperation, he changed his move instantly, dropping into a roll to his left. Recovering from the roll, Talaban sprang back to his feet. In rapid succession, he executed three consecutive moves which ended with the tip of his sword thrusting toward the stranger’s nose.

Seeing the approaching sword, she tilted her own blade and smacked gently, the flat side of her long sword pushing down against the middle portion of Talaban’s forward katana. The gentle smack was executed with such accuracy in its positioning and timing that at the exact moment when Talaban thrust his blade forward, his strength and energy were all concentrated on the tip of the weapon. As the middle section of his katanacarried no strength at all, a light clank echoed and the weapon sank ground-ward. Snapped her wrist gently, her long sword snaked forward, straight for his solar plexus.

Before he could evade, she retracted the sword and struck the back of his head with her dagger hilt. Smiling to herself, she turned his body around to check if he was still breathing. Since there was no bleeding, he ought to be fine once he regained consciousness. Dragging him upright, she leaned him against a tree. He groaned slightly as she moved him but was otherwise silent. Gently, fingers touched his cheek for a moment before she sprang back, shaking her head. Reaching out to grab her naginata, she took another backward glance as she walked into the trees.

Fog. The bleary numbness of semi-stupor. Drifting within the void halfway between wakefulness and oblivion, he struggled. Deep blue eyes swam in front of him, the smoky orbs floating in and out of existence, staring at him. He tried to reach out but his body did not seem to want to respond.

Greens and browns swam into his vision as the Gaidin blinked slowly, trying to regain his bearings. His head ached tremendously. Fighting the semi-consciousness, he dragged himself toward the sound of water.

Wakefulness returned with disturbing abruptness, information flow slamming back into his mind the moment he immersed his head in water. Gasping for breath, Talaban withdrew his head, water streaming down his cheeks and running through his hair. The sky was bright. Not noonday bright but sometime mid-morning, which meant he had been out a couple of hours.

Gingerly, he sat up. His mouth felt dry as sandpaper and his necked ached. That had been one well positioned blow. Details of the fight came flooding back. Talaban smiled slightly. All that trouble and he still had no idea who the stranger was. A Gaidin of the White Tower, soundly defeated by a mysterious individual.. it was almost too good a story. He did not have any illusions about the encounter though. If the stranger had been serious about leaving him dead, there would have been no contest. Talaban had never encountered anything like the stranger’s sword art. He seemed to be able to read every move, to force Talaban to react to him, dancing to the stranger’s beat rather than his own. He felt a twinge of fear. It was rare to meet a fighter more focused on offence then he himself was. In a fight, initiative often dictated the winner and in this instance, he had been wholly overmatched.

Standing, the Gaidin shook his head, clearing the last cobwebs from his mind. He looked around the clearing. While it was the same spot they had fought in last night, there was little evidence of the confrontation at all. In fact, nothing even hinted at the stranger’s presence except for the spike-shaped impression in the ground where the naginata had been lanced.

Shrugging, he left the forest, taking a slow trudge back to camp.

  • Strangers in the nightTalaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:13
    The thrum of galloping hooves ceased abruptly as the riders pulled up beneath the first real trees on Shienaran soil. For several minutes, there was no sound save for the wheezing of the horses.... more
    • Blue on blue — Talaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:14
      • Deja VuTalaban Morenae, Gaidin, Thu Dec 28 00:16
        Talaban hissed slightly at the sting of the antiseptic solution. Rael murmured something meaningless as he ran the swab across the scalp of his fellow Gaidin. He alone among the entire corps knew of... more
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