[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

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The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

3rd of Ashan, 716

The last two days had been eventful at the little Warrick farmstead outside of the village. Whether or not the events would prove to be better or worse for her standing with the Warrick family, time would only tell. Until then, Zvezdana withheld her judgment of the Baroness. Good marks did go to the young woman for allowing her to stay in the tiny home. That was truly a noble thing to do, especially for guests of the house. More quality accommodations would come with time and as she gained the financial wealth she was entitled to as Baroness. Zvezdana would not hold that against her, but she did need to get away from the little house for a breath of fresh air and city life.

Fort Warrick offered a little bit of this city-like atmosphere. It was significantly smaller than Andaris City, but it still had a cramped feel on the main streets. Strong horses pulled hefty carts and tradesmen were touting their wares. Little kids placed with sticks and balls in the gutters while mother’s shopped for the evening’s dinner. All were in their exact place by Zvezdana’s standards. She was the only one currently out of place.

She had no interest in buying anything at the moment, although a fleeting thought said she should consider a small trinket as a thank you gift for her host. Zvezdana made a mental note to get something later for Lazuli and her sister as a small memento of their time together. Right now, she had some stress to work out and taking it out on a stall worker was not what she had in mind.

Zvezdana finally ended up at a small training area for the city guard. A brief chat with the warden of the area and an exchange of names allowed her into the corner of the area where there was a column of wood for practicing. She hung up her rough cloak on the half wall nearby. The shortsword she was carrying waved against her thigh with each sway of her hips. Removing it from the leather bit that held it to her waist, she gripped it tightly in her hands.

Today was a day for training.

If she were at home, she probably would have looked for something more sensible to wear. Since she was in Fort Warrick and only had so much with her, she was going to fight in a skirt. Besides, it was highly fashionable and made her stand out. Although, being a woman in the ring probably didn’t help. In any case, she was not here to share pleasantries. She was here to work out that stress.

Zvezdana gracefully lifted her right elbow to the level of her ear, keeping her lower arm parallel with the ground. Her left arm crossed her chest and made an almost perfect right angle. This motion brought the sword parallel to the ground with the flat edge facing Zvezdana. She looked at her reflection in the smooth blade, smiling ever so slightly. The blade showed perfection in a reflection. The next move was not as fluid as she would have liked for her shoulders and body were stiff from sleeping on the terrible, not-formed-for-her-body bed. She pulled her right elbow down and forward, sweeping the blade over her head and pulling it in a giant curve before she lightly tapped the wooden column.

“Hmmph…”
Last edited by Zvezdana Venora on Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 581
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Vivian Shiryu
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[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

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Vivian yawned as she walked into the training grounds, tightening her gauntlets as she did so. She hadn't been sleeping well lately, not since she ran into Pythera in that little village. She worried what the rogue was up too, what trouble she would be causing. However, she couldn't do anything about Pythera at this point, so she instead went to the training grounds to work out her frustrations.

For a while, the noble worked in silence, the quick flashes of her blade making shallow cuts in the wooden post she was practicing on, each thrust as tight and controlled as she could make it. But while it helped blow off steam, she wasn't really getting any real practice out of this, just refining techniques she already knew well. After she began to feel the strain of the motions, Vivian stopped and looked around for a sparring partner, wishing Hector would arrive so she could train with him.

After only a second of looking around, Vivian noticed someone who stood out in the crowd. The quality of her clothes indicated noble, or at least wealth. Her technique, while not amateurish, was that of a student who hadn't actually fought with the sword before. The odds of her being nobility increased, and pampered nobility at that. Not that Vivian had been more than one real fight herself, but her trainers, both her teachers before she left home and Hector, believed that the best way to train was to act as if it was a real fight whenever possible.

After a moment, Vivian walked over to the other woman. "I haven't seen you here before. I'm Vivian Warrick." she said, giving a smile that, while somewhat cold, at least wasn't hostile. "Are you just now making your way to the training grounds, or are you new to the region?" she asked, her tone polite, but guarded. Vivian wasn't one to open herself to people she knew well and liked, much lest complete strangers.
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

Zvezdana was about to raise her blade and go through the motions again when she heard a female voice before her. She lowered the point of her sword into the ground and rotated her palm onto the pommel of her blade. Swiftly she rotated herself around to face the woman, blue gaze unwavering as she pursed her lips only to soften at the woman’s name.

Another Warrick. Maybe this day will not be a complete waste after all.

Swiftly she lowered her center of gravity into a polite curtsy. Not too low to signify complete respect or an extremely superior rank, but enough to provide the correct greeting to another of her standing. This woman could very well be above her, but Zvezdana was taking the risk they were of the same standing.

”I pleasure, Lady Warrick. You are correct. It has been a while since I have been to Fort Warrick. I assumed that it would be ok to train a bit while I was here on business. My name is Lady Zvezdana Venora.” She pulled herself up as she said all of this, placing the empty palm on top of the other so she was standing squarely behind her blade.

Vivian was pretty, with a tinge of wildness to her. The way she dressed suggested working or military. Much more appropriate for the training grounds than the rough spun traveling garb she was wearing. Politically speaking, Zvezdana was at a disadvantage on this playing field. In a ballroom, dressed in find things – that was her war room. Vivian was at a significant advantage here, surrounding by what Zvezdana would assume were her peers or at least subordinates. If there was a time to play nice, now would be it.

”Do you know of anyone that might be able to help me learn a few more moves or spar with me? I am sad to say I am not as great with a sword as I am with a fan.” She chuckled and smiled, trying to make it as warm as she possibly could to this noble stranger.
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Vivian Shiryu
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[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

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Vivian's smile chilled as Zvezdana introduced herself, a second Venora so soon after her run in with Valkyr putting her on edge a bit. Then she got herself back under control and relaxed a bit. She highly doubted if most of the Venora family had any relationship with Pythera at all, and this noble didn't seem like one who would be a friend to the traitor.

She returned Zvevdana's curtsy with a bow, an action more suited to her clothing than a curtsy was. Lady Venora was of equal rank, and her bow reflected that, though if one was familiar with Vivian, it also showed that it was an action born solely out of good manners, as she tended to salute people she truly respected rather than bow or curtsy. "Welcome to Warrick, Lady Venora. All are welcome to the training grounds, have they the desire to use it. As for sparring with you...well, I can fulfill that myself. Many here would be too nervous to be adequate sparring partners for non-military nobility." she said, a small, amused smile crossing her lips before a wingbeat sounded from above.

Skyriders were a relatively common sight in Warrick, but this particular Volareon was familiar. "At least, assuming I'm not about to be given other orders." she said quietly as the great winged beast descended. Once the Volareon had landed, Hector dismounted and took off his helmet, hooking it about the saddle before the Volareon took off again, presumably headed towards the stables.

Looking over at the two women, Hector smiled and gave a respectful bow towards Zvezdana, then turned and returned the salute Vivian gave. "Glad to see you're taking your training seriously, Airman Warrick." he said, his tone a gentle chiding for her chatter on the training grounds before he turned to Zvezdana as Vivian blushed. "Lady Venora, welcome to Warrick. I was told you were here to visit the new Baroness. If you've yet to meet her, perhaps Airman Warrick can introduce you at a later time. I understand that she is quite close to Baroness Lazuli Warrick. For now though, are you here seeking training?" he said, his tone polite, but professional, though her looked over at Vivian towards the end as she was trying to bottle down a laugh. "Something amusing, Airman?" he asked.

Finally getting her laugh stomped down, Vivian gave a slight nod. "After a fashion, Major Avern. I was just imaging Lazuli's reaction anyone actually calling her "Baroness". If she didn't retreat into a shy shell, she'd likely hit them over the head with whatever farming implement she has to hand." she said, smiling slightly before turning a bit towards Zvezdana. "Lady Venora, meet Major Hector Avern, my trainer. Major Avern, our fine guest, as you seem to know already, is Lady Zvezdana Lilliana Venora, current heir tertiary to the Venora Duchy." she said, her tone as calm as she could make it, though Hector gave her a sharp look of understanding.

"A pleasure, Lady Venora. If I may, might I ask where you are staying? You see, Pythera Venora was in Warrick not terribly recently, and as we believe she has designs upon the seat of House Warrick, she may attempt to have you eliminated from the succession." Hector said, his tone guarded and concerned.
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

There was a fleeting change in Vivian’s demeanor when she introduced herself, but Zvezdana was not able to pinpoint why the change occurred before it was gone. This Warrick was significantly more structured and controlled than her cousin. Her ability to show at least respect to a station was also better, for her bow was crisp and clean. Maybe she would have to suggest the Lazuli interact more with her cousin to build a thicker skin. She would need it for the royal court if ever she were to attend. Suddenly, her mind turned away from her political agenda to excitement as sparring. Oh, she would certainly lose against a trained soldier, but it would be invaluable and riveting. However, they were interrupted by another solder, one that had a flying mount.

Volareons were fearsome, majestic creatures in Zvezdana’s eyes. If she had been born anybody else, the call of the beast would have made her join as an Airwoman. The man mostly acknowledged Vivian, before turning his attention to her. Odd. There seemed to be some very knowledgeable little birds for a soldier to already know of her presence. A little bird, or a little worm, was running its song. Zvezdana did not particularly like that. She made her presence known. It was not to be done by someone else.

Vivian’s remarks about the Baroness was quite crass, and only the remarks a cousin or sibling could make without a true scolding. ”I would have you know Lady Vivian, that I referred to her as her rank not two days ago. I was not hit by such a weapon. She will have to get used to being called for what she is. You should learn to respect that.”

Again she went into a practiced curtsy, bending her knees a bit more for the Major than she had Vivian. She was impressed at how much Vivian knew about her. Title was a given, but her middle name was rarely used unless the person had been educated in histories and lineages. Props to her tutors and parents for encouraging those teachings. The sting of the ‘heir tertiary’ bit hard into her soul. Her brother did not deserve a title above her, for the things he had done. That, of course, was not something to bring to light in this particular setting.

”A pleasure to make your acquaintance as well, Major. I have been honored by Baroness Warrick to stay with her at the farm. She has opted to sleep with her sister and have given me a room to stay in during my stay.” Zvezdana purred, flitting her gaze between them. Pythera? The Pythera was out and about in the region of Warrick? Now, this was interesting. Zvezdana had only heard of her cousin. She had been in the military when Zvezdana was a little girl, and about the time they would have met, Pythera ran off and became a traitor. Zvezdana didn’t know what to think of her cousin. Part of her wanted to hold it against her for doing what she did. The other part thought it was brave and warranted.

”I can certainly handle my cousin is a reunion presents itself. If there is any way that I can help you deal with Pythera, please, do not be afraid to ask. I had not realized she had been spotted in the region. What is she up to? I hope she is not causing the Warrick family trouble.”
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At Zvezdana's scolding of her attitude, Vivian turned to survey Zvezdana with an icy cool gaze. "While I'm glad Lazuli isn't as resisting to her station as I'd have expected, it's not one she would have chosen, not so soon. Having it thrust on her in such a fashion would make most more irritable to being reminded of their loss than they might otherwise be." she said, her tone as cold as her eyes, though it chilled a fraction more as she continued. "And it's not the title that makes Lazuli worth respect, Lady Venora. It's Lazuli who will make the title worth respect. She works hard and cares for people, more than I can say for many nobles, myself included. She'll be good for Warrick, good for Rynmere." she said, causing Hector to give her an odd look.

"You work hard and care for the people under you, Airman Warrick." he said mildly, his tone more curious than anything.

Vivian turned to him and gave a slight shrug. "Yes, but I'm classist and I know it. It clouds my judgement, as you oh so forcefully pointed out when we met." she said, giving a wry half-grin at her commander.

Hector grinned and turned his attention back to Zvezdana. "Ah, so you've already met Baroness Lazuli Warrick. I'm glad to hear it. And that she's given you house-room." he said, though Vivian guessed the same thought that had crossed her mind had crossed his. More military headed around her cousins farm, to keep all three nobles safe.

Then Zvezdana spoke confidently about dealing with her cousin, Pythera, to which Hector just gave a small half smile. "I trust you mean verbally, not physically. My advice, Lady Venora, is to avoid Pythera all-together if possible. You're safer if she doesn't even know you're here, and she'd resort to hiring assassins if need be." he said calmly. "So, what brings you to our fair training ground, Lady Venora? Seeking training or just visiting. If it's training you're after, Airman Warrick would be a good sparring partner for you." he said, smiling gently at her.
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

Zvezdana could applaud the fact that Vivian was holding how Lazuli was feeling so close to her heart. Zvezdana, had she been brought up in a different setting, probably would have had that empathy as well. Instead, she saw Lazuli, as a strong woman that could make the Duchy she would inherit a great ally. Inheritance so soon was simply a benefit to Zvezdana. Solemnly, she lowered her head in recognition of this fact. ”It was forgetful of me to forget how young she is. She will make the title worthy of respect, as her father and mother before her. I look forward to working with her so she is prepared for the noble serpents in Andaris.”

The exchange between Hector and Vivian was almost cute. If Zvezdana had been more childish, she might have told them to get a room or started singing about the two lovebirds in the tree. It made her smile, wondering if such childish behavior would ever be within her grasp again. When Hector turned again to her, she smiled. ”I could not deny her offer, but if you feel it would be safer for her if I come to the inn while I am here, I won’t deny you that.” Not that she could see Hector defying the Baroness. Lazuli, at this point in time did not seem in any more danger than a basking cat. This was a time of peace, and even if Pythera were slinking around, Warrick would be hot on her cousin’s heels if she tried anything. Clearly, she needed to do more research on her cousin.

”I was hoping for some training. I believe Airman Warrick would be a great sparring partner. That is, if that is okay with you Lady Vivian.” Zvezdana smiled brightly. Now on to the fun for today. She was up against someone who would clearly have better skill and footwork. Absently, she looked down at her feet only to remember she was wearing a skirt. ”Oh bother. Major Avern, is there a bit of fighting equipment I could borrow. I feel I would be at a significant disadvantage fighting in a skirt against a trained soldier.”

After a brief exchange of words about the location of the changing rooms, Zvezdana whisked herself away to borrow some sparring equipment. After about 15 bits, Zvezdana came out in worn leather jerkin and wool trousers. The shirt she wore beneath the jerkin was white, and looked a little bit big for her body, especially in the arms. It was definitely odd for her legs to be so confined, wrapped entirely in fabric. It made her cringe to feel the wool chafing between her legs as she walked, the boots she wore a little tight around her pinky toes. Blister were in her near future and she was going to enjoy a lovely bath to wash this feeling from her skin this evening. The only part of her garb that belonged to her was the short sword she owned, it’s fine iron gleaming in the sunlight.

She poised herself a distance before Vivian, the blade gripped firmly in her right hand but held parallel to the ground in no specific stance. She had no idea how soldiers sparred or if there were rules. She did know, that having a sheathed sword was not going to help her in any situation. ”I am ready when you are, Lady Warrick.”
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Vivian didn't respond to Zvezdana's response to her scolding, though she privately felt the best way to deal with a serpent was to cut off its head. Though at Zvezdana's comment about being willing to stay at the inn if it was safer, both Vivian and Hector shook their heads. "No, it'll actually be safer for both you and Baroness Lazuli if you stay with her. Keeps you both in one spot until we know your cousin is gone, makes you both easier to defend." Hector said, his voice authoritative. Vivian knew that Zvezdana technically outranked him, but she had a feeling that if Zvezdana did something stupid, Hector might turn the noblewoman over his knee and spank her. After all, he hadn't hesitated even a moment before stomping Vivian herself into the dust.

When Zvezdana mentioned training, Hector merely nodded and directed her to the changing rooms. Once she was gone, Hector turned to Vivian. "Push her hard, Airman. I don't like her showing up so soon after her cousin. It was James Creed who told me Lady Venora was coming, and while he's notably paranoid about people who have even potential connections to bandits, a bit of caution never hurts. Let's see if any skills reveal themselves under pressure." he said, to which Vivian only nodded.

Once Zvezdana returned, Vivian shook her head at her claim to be ready, then took a padded training tunic, a plain version of her own squires tunic, off a rack and threw it to the other noble. "Put that on first. It'll help to pad any blows." she said calmly. Once Zvezdana had put the tunic on and was ready to begin, Vivian drew her rapier, the masterwork blade gleaming in the Ashan sunlight. After a moments hesitation, Vivian started the match, rushing Zvezdana and attempting to hit her in the shoulder with the point of the blade, knowing the padding would prevent the sword from actually damaging the Venora noble.
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Zvezdana Venora
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[Warrick] Sword Play [Vivian]

Zvezdana grimaced a little as she caught the padded jerkin, but ultimately had to agree with Lady Warrick. She was significantly more experienced, although Zvezdana was about to find out for herself. She weaseled into the padded tunic, adjusting herself as needed until the tunic fit somewhat well. It was awkward. Not her style to have her legs so confined and her skin so covered. ”Thank yo--”

Before she could start with pleasantries, she realized that the battle had begun. This was not a fight she was used to. Ballrooms and fights with words made significantly more sense to her. Instead, she felt the slap of the blade against her right shoulder against the padding. It still stung, like being hit across the knuckles with a fan. Actually, it mildly peeved her off. She twisted around on one foot like a pirouette, adjusting herself to face Vivian. The tip of her blade gouged the training grounds, kicking up sand as she arced it to a position square in front of her. Her body continued to shift so that she was sideways, like a formal fencing style. Less to hit when it was flattened out. Once in a stance she thought appropriate, Zvezdana skipped forward, dragging her back leg like a brake. In case she had to pull herself backwards in an instant.

The short sword was smaller than normal, make it easier for her to swing it. She kept her wrist strong, the blade outstretched upwards. Then she swung her arm up to her left shoulder and slashed down, attempting to catch Vivian's sword. She doubted she would get any closer than the metal, but making contact was a great start. If she did not find anything for her blade to catch, she would use the momentum to swing her body around. It was a vulnerable position, to expose ones back like that, but if she spun around quickly, there was little opportunity. The blade would have the momentum behind it to bring a substantial blow.
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Vivian grinned slightly as her rapier connected with Zvezdana's shoulder, then stepped back out of the reach of the other woman's shortsword just in time to avoid the blow. Blinking in surprise as Zvezdana let her momentum carry her into a circle, though it made more sense when she used the momentum to deliver what would be a crushing, if heavily telegraphed, blow. Stepping to the side, Vivian let the sword sail past her, then swung at Zvezdana's side. "A good technique against a heavily armored foe, that. But you can see it coming if you pay any attention at all, and most will be fast enough to avoid it, if not stab you in the back during your spin." she said, raising her shield to block any counterswing from Zvezdana.

The Venora noblewoman had a good foundation, Vivian could see that from her stance, so similar to Vivian's own. Though she did wonder at the choice of weapon, she'd have figured Zvezdana to favor something more ladylike and delicate. Or perhaps she was overthinking it and the other noble had simply gotten the first sword that came to hand, a not uncommon practice amongst those with no appreciation for the finer details in the differences between weapons.
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