Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

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Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Menel on Fri May 22, 2015 3:01 am

The weather was beautiful, perfect for a day of practice really. He was in between jobs at the moment; on his way to the next village or city in the hopes that he might find someone who needed a bodyguard or a caravan that needed one. However with this fine weather... well the swordsman needed to practice now and again to keep his skills sharp. So he'd stopped in the middle of the plains, watching the birds in the distance chattering to one another for a moment before he'd stripped off his pack and his cloak.

Once he'd set them to the side he stepped forward, his boots digging into the dirt beneath him. The smell of wildflowers scenting the air. Weather like this... He could feel the warm sun on his skin like a comforting hand. The swordsman closed his eyes, drawing his swords with a ring of metal that carried in the air across the emptiness.

For a moment there was only that broken silence and then...

He began to move.

It was like a dance. Silver flashing through the air like lightning on a cloudless day. It hummed for him, arcing as an extension of his arms, of his will. There were no enemies, not here in the flesh around him nor even in his mind. Only the hum of his blades and the pulse of his beating heart to lead him through the motions that he practiced into art. It was beautiful, deadly if there had been anyone danger to face, but beautiful none the less.


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Valeria on Sun May 24, 2015 10:41 am

This was certainly not expected on the second day of her journey. It had started with the inn keeper giving her the directions for her next destination: continue north-west through the woods, to the grasslands then head further north.

A walk past the trees in the shade was eerily too quiet, even with the humming of wings through the canopy leaves. The earlier complaints about the long walk was forgotten as the plane beyond could be seen.  

At noticing a set of footsteps not of her own, she found herself crouching within the shadow of the trees, watching what appeared to be a lone figure who seemed to be dancing on the plane. Upon further observation, there were blurs of silver extended from his arms. Her hands reached further into her jacket pocket at realising they were weapons. The previous rural bandits encountered could not have been able to maintain such speed in swinging their weapon as if it was a continuous rhythm.

The worst case is, she concluded, he can probably move faster than me.

Taking a detour further up the woods would avoid the current area of potential trouble. The wind and birds could cover her footsteps by their whispering through the trees.

The other option would be to not give any reasons to attack.

As usual, she had been on her journey without a backpack a traveller would use store his many possessions. It was a choice of risking to reach the next inn, or forgetting about dinner for the evening in the woods.

Blue eyes slightly widened in interest, as she finally was able to catch better sight of the shadow of the sword. Thin, long, and twin swords. Even with little knowledge in combat, one can guess that not many can use weapons with such a rapid style as within the corrupted streets of Roa.

Although knowing making a decision the sooner the better, perhaps she could allow herself to watch a just little longer.


Last edited by Valeria on Mon May 25, 2015 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Menel on Sun May 24, 2015 4:26 pm

Time was meaningless in the midst of the dance he had begun. So he wasn't sure how long he had been standing there before he felt it. Another presence. It could have been an animal, but he didn't hear any sound to accompany the sensation that he was being watched, and that suggested either an intelligent predator, or a human. As his blade skimmed the top of the grass that rose nearly to his hips he discarded the thought that it could be his imagination. He trusted his instincts, and it was to persistent to be a passing flight of fancy.

Menel slid to a stop, the crunch of the dirt beneath his boots was loud to his ears, particularly with the last ringing hum of his blades dying out on the breeze.

He tilted his head, trying to determine where the sense that he was being watched was coming from. Somewhere fairly near? Those bushes? They seemed like a good place to hide if one was human, but if it was a lion or something like that... it could be anywhere. The swordsman held his weapons easily in his hands.


"Didn't anyone ever tell you that it's rude to sneak up on people? I don't mind if you watch, but you don't have to hide while you do." He was betting on it being a human watching him rather than something else. If it turned out a wild animal was watching him... well there wouldn't be anyone around to see him make a fool of himself by talking to it.


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Valeria on Mon May 25, 2015 11:19 am

When his movements had halted, under the blinding midday sun, she noted the white hair and the build like a male adult. The clothing looked foreign from this neighbourhood, most likely someone not from any nearby village, or perhaps this continent. Overall, it was nothing like a normal civilian, but more suited for a warrior. Though the grass covered his bottom half, judging by the earlier swordplay, he moved like a cyborg or human rather than a satyr.

He began to glance around him, as if searching for something. As his gaze stopped for a short moment at the bushes several metres away, her breath almost stopped in confusion and surprise.

“Didn't anyone ever tell you that it's rude to sneak up on people? I don't mind if you watch, but you don't have to hide while you do.”

It wasn’t a time to question why or how, but to act upon her new-made decision. The man took a glance back at the grasslands as she rose and put one hand on the tree as if to steady herself. Making sure to slide her foot more firmly on the tree root, the sound alerted him to turn.

“S-sorry, it was rather rude.”

Valeria, the now poor lost lass, raised her hands in a surrendering manner.

“I didn’t mean to disturb.”  

Blinking from the light of the blades glaring at her, she doubted nervousness was all part of an act.
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Menel on Mon May 25, 2015 7:00 pm

The sound of grass moving, and the deeper sound of wood being stepped upon drew Menel's eyes to the small corpse of shrubbery. It was a small, lanky girl, her clothing casual and her hair drawn back into a ponytail. She blinked in the light, her eyes flickering toward the blades he held as if uncertain if he might attack her.

Hastily he offered her a comforting smile, sheathing first his right-handed blade in the sheathe over his hip, and then his left-handed blade in the sheathe over his shoulder.
"It's alright."

There was nothing threatening about her, and though she could have been a front-runner for a bandit group, he suspected that if she had been she would have simply run off by now. Even alone Menel hardly looked like easy prey for a group of thieves.

"I don't mind the company actually, but I'd rather if you sat out in the open like I said."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Valeria on Wed May 27, 2015 1:17 am

The intensity of the glaring from the sunlight dimmed as the swords were sheathed, followed by his facial expressions relaxing into a smile. It was a response that indicated she wasn’t a threat, either convinced by her current acting or his confidence in his skills.

The panic of the earlier situation had died down, yet it wasn’t time to be relieved.
He could still be evaluating what I am.

Nodding quietly as any obedient child would, with a corner of her eyes focusing a trail on the cyan cape in the wind, she hopped on a boulder away from the refuge of the forest shadows, setting down in a military-styled squatting position. One hand retracted inside the pocket where her fingers brushed against the leather and edges of dog-eared paper, whilst the other was idly on her knee. With no other stranger on the field, a few moments could be spared for seeking answers for a few questions.

“How did you know I was there?”
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Menel on Thu May 28, 2015 3:46 pm

Even with his swords sheathed she seemed a bit uneasy, but he didn't blame her. He was entirely confidant that he could draw the blades in the same time it took her to draw a breath, and even unarmed he was still a tall, muscular man. The swordsman however was not going to allow her apparently unarmed appearance to let him underestimate her. The smallest animals could be deadly when prompted.

Menel offered her a smile, chuckling lightly.
"I don't really know how to explain it exactly, but I trust my instincts. I could feel you watching." He didn't admit that he hadn't been sure that it was a real person. That he could have been wrong and wrestling with a lion right now. Because really that didn't matter.

The swordsman glanced around, finally returning his blue eyes to the woman before him.
"So what are you doing all the way out here anyway? If you don't mind me asking."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Valeria on Sat May 30, 2015 1:51 pm

There was a display of a frown in confusion, masking the impatient and irritated drumming of fingers on her knee. Knowing that his carefree gesture was very unlikely to be an act, it was useless to press for a more satisfying answer.

Instinct, a word that could have been substituted by superstition. By his confident tone, it was no doubt he had put it to use many times. Perhaps it has been used to help him get by in a very unsafe neighbourhood or a job?

“So your instinct,” she remarked with an unmasked curiosity,” is something you had developed with your sword arts.”

From the very few warriors she encountered, instinct was very different from probability or game theory, yet it seemed to have potential for similar uses in predictions and psychology.  She watched him glance around briefly, as if he had no intention of taking out his swords anytime soon. Without his mind focusing on practicing, it was uncertain how much of his instinct could be applied in their current conversation.

His following question was not of a surprise. A girl, barely of age, wandering off the traffic roads without any proper travelling gear was questionable. One needed more than pure luck, to have travelled so far from any town without being attacked.

“I quit school, now on my way to find a job in the next town.” She shrugged while taking some sudden interest in her right glove. To convince him that she is of no threat, the usual story of childhood would have to be tailored. She would need to be careful in choosing what to lie, to illustrate a Valeria independent enough to travel to Tullin alone.

“And what about you?” her interested tone back. “You don’t seem to be from around here either.”
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Menel on Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:56 pm

Menel nodded. Her words were accurate. He'd sharpened his senses in the way that any other swordsman might have sharpened their weapon. He paid a lot more attention to the world around him than most people did, it was a necessity of his work which often included trying to protect others from the subtle attacks of assassins.

He disliked the idea of the young woman traveling the road alone. He knew from personal experience that there were any number of bandits and thieves that could crop up on these sorts of roads. Admittedly fewer bandits here on this continent, but what they lacked in bandits they made up for in gangs and kidnappers.


"No, I'm not." The swordsman flashed her a smile. "I work as a bodyguard. My last job ended at the city just to the south of us and I couldn't find anyone who really needed one there so I'm headed north to see if I can find some work there instead."

Menel was quiet a moment. "Since we're both headed in the same direction, how about we go together?" He smiled again, blue eyes sparkling with amusement. "I won't even charge you."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Valeria on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:43 am

His circumstance sounded realistic enough. With Marquina becoming increasingly reliant on technology, there was very little to spend more money in hiring people. From Roa, some were used more as an item to intimidate, or to show one’s wealth. It was doubtful he was from the city, as there was not such a bodyguard heard of with such a fighting stance.
In the midst of her thoughts, he broke her thoughts with an offer to travel together. Despite his friendly look, she couldn’t see his eyes smiling. Most likely out of concern?

“That is an unusual offer, I would have preferred to repay what I owe after we arrive at town.” The words were chosen carefully as if the offer was a test.

Changing to a warmer tone, his smile was answered, “However, I wouldn’t mind travelling together.”

She wasn’t fond of company with most people, yet the infinite possibilities of what he could demonstrate of his skill was very tempting.

It was doubtful there would need for a bodyguard, although there were several land structures perfect for an ambush. However, a swordsman engaging in the chaos of a fight would buy her additional time to slip away into the shadows to escape.

Changing back to a standing position, the open hand from the pocket was now extended towards him with some hesitance.

“Valeria. You are…?”
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Menel on Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:50 am

Menel quickly waved off her offer of paying him with his hand and a broad smile that now reached his bright blue eyes. "If you want to worry about paying me back I won't say no to lunch!" He laughed lightly. The swordsman could eat quite a lot actually, but he wouldn't ask the girl to manage all that. If she made him a small meal that would be repayment enough in his mind. "Besides, I'm headed that way myself so traveling with you isn't really taking me out of my way is it?"

He settled his sky blue eyes on her again. The swordsman was glad that she wasn't turning him down. He would have been worried if she went off on her own. Even if he would have respected that choice and let her go... he would have worried.

She opened a hand, offering it to him and Menel took it without an ounce of hesitation. He offered her a swift, firm, and friendly handshake. It was obvious that he had done so before, and he likely would again soon. A good handshake was important in an interview and Menel who's job changed often from client to client needed a good one.
"Menel. My name's Menel. Do you need to rest for a bit? Something to eat or drink or would you like to get there more quickly? Since I'm not practicing anymore I don't really have any reason to linger here any longer."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Valeria on Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:28 am

“It’s the same destination, but there are multiple routes.” The fastest and safest would have been by train. Though there were the unfortunate few were it would pose a risk of attracting attention of the station master; a forged ticket, or a false identification for a criminal, or an obligation to stop by a rural village.

His suggestion sounded practical enough. She had enough money in her pocket, to provide for another two days or so. There was little concern shown on her face, having confidence to earning more once reaching a non-deserted place with a roof to stay for the evening.

Having rarely seen much of the polite gesture, it was an unfamiliar feeling of shaking one’s hand. By his quick response, he seemed to have done this many times. She averted her eyes to his hand, with an unflinching face in seeing the long-healed scars marred on the hand. It was a relief to have the loosening of his grip, as a cue for her to retract her hand again.

She tested his name in muttering it once before nodding.
“I’m alright, nor am I in a hurry, but it will take a while to reach any nearby inn.” she replied simply to his questions.

There was pause momentarily, to peek at the analogue watch had indicated that it was close to noon. Fortunately, her figure had barely any hints of the previous years in the humid streets of dirt and mud. It was a life lacking security day by day, where temporary solutions arise by from gaining pitiful looks from a woman at a bar, or stealing from an unsuspecting traveller. Her body had long stopped its habit of growling about the lack of midday meals.
However, that it probably wouldn’t be in his favour of travelling on an empty stomach.

“The faster we get there, I can treat you to a meal,” she replied, before there was a flicker of amusement on her face. Pointing to a couple of birds soaring in the warm radiance of the sun, following with a harmless-intended joke, “Or if you’re really hungry, you could just try hunting.”
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Menel on Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:05 am

Menel watched her check her watch and flickered his own eyes skyward half out of habit. Even though he spent plenty of time on this side of the ocean it was a hard habit to break. Years of looking at the sky to tell what time of day it was meant that he had little need for a watch of his own. He could judge by the tilt of the sun in the sky and the distance he had to travel if he'd get where he was going before dark within a margin of an hour or so. Which was better than a watch really which couldn't tell him how far he had to go anyway.

The swordsman nodded once and grinned at her. It seemed that they'd come to an agreement at least, and he was glad that she was coming with him. It set him more at ease.
"Treating me to dinner?"

He made an amused noise and kept a weather eye out as they walked. There wasn't much to be found in any direction. Not even animals really, though he wouldn't have minded spotting a fat rabbit or grouse. Hunting as one walked was a game of hit or miss and it was mostly miss. "If you plan on paying I probably should try to find a snack along the way." He laughed gently in a self-deprecating sort of way. "I tend to eat quite a lot, and I wouldn't want to empty your wallet just for walking you into town."


-Elm

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for.

You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for.




You know it's true.

Daed * Kol * Salina * Samael * Shizin
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Re: Practice makes Perfect [Menel & Valeria]

Post by Valeria on Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:54 am

His response triggered a slight confusion from Valeria; she hadn’t been expecting such a response. She couldn’t really tell about if he was just playing along with her joke, or that he was used to the concept of hunting to eat. Either way, she decided to ignore it, as it wasn’t much of importance to their current objective.

He laughed gently, while speaking in a friendly manner. To her ears his words bordered the tone of disbelief. Even if it was for the sake of her facade, she hated being underestimated. There was a flicker of an annoyed cringe, before her face was neutral of emotions again.

“Is that so? You’d be a terrible merchant, nothing comes free in society.” She said absentminded as they walked, before hastily adding. “But if you insist. Though you never know, we may be lucky.”

Lucky enough to find a couple of travellers willing to bet in game, she mentally voiced to herself.

Though they were not in the desert, the air was steaming and humid like inside a pressure cooking pot. Glistening ripples water on her clear bottle’s looked tempting enough to open the bottle. She bit her lip before she gave in to such a temptation.

She glanced up at Menel to distract herself, “Would you know which areas are easy for outlaws to appear?”. It was her first time venturing this far from Roa. Though she had prepared her route and a safe escape plan, it would benefit to ask a professional fighter.
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