• Memory • Age old cure

Franz

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Elyna
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80th Zi’da 715
It wasn’t easy for the skyrider to admit, but she was hungover. However, she’d still dragged herself out of a warm bed and down to the training grounds. Wrapped up in her warmer clothes she’d crunched over snow with her shield strapped to her arm and practise sword in hand. Although the breaks told her it was morning, the light was dim and the sky was still dark, faint stars twinkling behind the snow clouds that stretched across the distance like sheets of ice. The taste of the weather was sharp on her tongue and in her nose. So she’d wrapped a scarf around her neck and lower-face. Her own breath warmed her cheeks and she snuggled down.

Her steps were weighted though and the world tended to slip beneath her feet. But the best cure she knew to wake herself up, was to go a few rounds with a practise dummy. She’d drunk enough to forget and to fall asleep. But then she’d woken and known that the memories wouldn’t cease until she drowned them out again…and she wasn’t so absorbed in her grief that she was willing to lose her position as a Skyrider and spend the day at the bottom of a bottle. Not this arc anyway.

She spun the sword in her grip and circled the dummy. Before she struck though she re-adjusted the strap on her shield, tightening it against her arm. Feet planted in the snow she struck the shield on the dummy, sending it spinning on its post. The dummy’s sword spun and she lifted her shield to block, twisting the strike the shield again. The action was repetitive and without much challenge, hit the shield, block the sword, hit the shield, block the sword. But with a foggy mind, her attention soon drifted and she paused and inevitably the dummy swung around, faster than it had before and the shield caught her in the side, sending her sprawling into the snow.

She lay in the snow, looking up at the cloud and let out a slow sigh. Maybe this hadn’t been a good idea.
word count: 377
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Franz Messer
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Training, no matter the talent, was still the most basic and necessary task for one to keep and sharpen their skills. Even Franz, who was largely self-taught, needed to train else he’d never get anywhere in his job. The Iron Hand valued skill in its members and all the leaders held great martial skill alongside their ability to lead and inspire their subordinates.

So in a full set of his leather armor as well as gray coat, he marched to training grounds, cursing the cold weather all the way ‘ Seven stars… this isn’t even the coldest yet’ Indeed, the current cold would be considered a mere gentle breeze once the last 30 trials of the arc make themselves known. His hands tightened around the grips of the practice longsword and kite shield, not looking forward to that period at all.

Still, training would get his mind off it and perhaps even warm him up! The training dummies in particular seemed like a good focus at the moment although admittedly he’d rather a real opponent and not just a dummy with a fixed movement.

As his feet stepped upon the snow with a sloshy sound, he arrived to his destination to see that someone had already beaten him there on this cold day. From what he could guess it was a girl , hitting and blocking the dummy with her sword and shield. She wasn’t too bad if he had to admit but…

….He winced as he witnessed the spinning dummy knock the woman off her feet with its shield and sent her sprawling on the snow ‘ That’s going to leave a mark’ With that thought in mind he approached cautiously and replayed her movements in his mind.

…She fought good, but kinda sloppy’ Was the short summarization of it and really he could guess it was because the woman was either not a morning person or hit the bottle….. personally he thought it more the former than the latter although it was completely possible for it to be the latter. It was also possible that something was simply eating at her and thus it was affecting her performance.


Either, he thought he had a solution to her problem and his desire to spar; essentially it meant he was going to ask her to spar ‘ Still need to be polite first’ He though as he finally approached her form on the snowy earth, peeking in her view with a concerned look “Sooooo…..feelin’ all right down there?”
word count: 421
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Elyna
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Elyna groaned as the face came into view, embarrassed. It was bad enough to make a fool of herself, without witnesses; “oh it’s lovely,” she replied without thinking, “nice and cold, my favourite. Maybe you should join me?” She didn’t smile, but her voice was dry with humour and she patted the snow to her side, as though indicating and comfortable bed. The Skyrider shut red-tinged eyes and concentrated, hard on the effort needed to climb back to her feet. Already she felt the snow melting under her back and soaking into the fabric of her clothes.

It took effort, but she sat up first, resting her wrists on her knees and waited for the ringing in her ears to clear. Finally she rolled to the side, so her knees were pressed into the white powder and eventually pushed herself back up to her feet, swiping up her sword and stumbling as she did so. She gulped, the hit and landing not doing anything for her hangover. Her stomach gave a worrying gurgle and she paused, breathing carefully through her nose until confident that she wouldn’t throw up.

Straightening she turned the sword once more and pulled the shield back into place on her arm. Turning to inspect the man her gaze rose up from his boots to his face, sizing him up as a potential opponent. On a good day, he’d be a good match, if not a dangerous one. She swallowed, this was not a good day.

“You’ve come to train, and spar?” She lifted her sword, pointing it towards his in a small gesture. There was snow in her boots. How was there snow in her boots? Her ankles were cold.
word count: 298
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Franz Messer
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Franz let a smirk show at her sarcastic remark, showing that she was quite well aware of the embarrassment she just put herself through without meaning to especially infront of an unintended audience. Now that he got a good look at she was no older than he nor younger by much, he’d give it a year or so. Her features were tired, however and Franz could wager a solid guess that she likely didn’t get a good night sleep amongst other things….

……her attempts at carrying herself up were the most telling things, he himself having been hung over a few times to know and sympathize with what he saw ‘ still a funny sight to see, would have been tragic if it were on patrol duty though’ A hungover knight who still hadn’t caught their bearings was less bad than a drunk one and considering that Rynmere had a bandit problem it was certain an invite to peril.

Thankfully, this wasn’t patrol duty and it was a morning training, meaning plenty of chances to beat it out of the system. He found himself pleased to note that she carried a longsword and shield like he, well the latter was a round shield to his kite but the principal still stood. Then in a gesture she pointed the sword at Franz, pointing out his own apparel and equipment as a questioning guess if his intent were to train.

He rested the tip of his blade against his should and gave a nod, a smirk on his face “Aye, that I be on both accounts. Question is; ye up for it? Not I question your ability buuut….. the obvious bein’ that you ain’t looking so good and that whatever comes might be ringing more than a few bells in the head, savvy?” The offer was there, but he placed his points as well…. Sometimes the smart move was not to fight after all, especially if it might do harm than good.

In fact, if she accepted he had no intent on going easy; something he was trying to make abundantly clear.

“So what will it be, ma’am?”
word count: 361
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It took her a few bits to decipher his accent and the slang he used, but once she understood a slow and almost reckless grin spread over her features. It wasn’t a great idea, but if ended up with a few more bruises, then who cared? She didn’t, “well…” she lifted her shoulders in a shrug that showed little regard for her safety, “I’m not one to back away from a match,” she gestured to the square of ground set out for matches. With the blanket of snow, it was only visible because it was boarded by wooden sleepers to make out the snow.

Keeping an eye on the centre of the pitch, Ely tripped over the sleeper with a scowl before taking up her position in the centre of the court. She flexed her fingers in the shield hold and spun the sword slowly, kicked out on leg then the other and settled. Feet sinking into the white stuff. The melted snow in her boots trickled down the inside of her feet and pooled around her toes. She watched the man as he approached, sizing him up with greater care, “what is your name?” She called across the distance and took one step back, raising her shield as a defence and making his target as small as possible.

Look unthreatening, it was always her tactic. Look small, a little bit helpless, and let them tie themselves in knots trying to land a strike. The cold blast of wind was enough to clear her head for a moment and her eyes settled on the man, calm settling over her body and her features turning expressionless. She lived for these moments, the quiet before the storm where everything felt right with the world. Though the knawing in her chest reminded her that it wasn’t and shattered her focus.
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Franz Messer
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She had moxy, that was a certainty. He liked people with moxy, didn’t matter the temperament as long as they showed they had guts. As the made their way to the ring-square nearly hidden entirely by the snow, he had to stifle a laugh as he watched her trip. All it spelt out was that whatever is bothering her mind isn’t going to make her very prepared.

It’s like a deer that’s been tired out, except the hunter didn’t need to a damn thing to run it ragged’ came the thought as he made his way to his side of the battle ring. He walked not with the confidence of a soldier, but of a man who was about to partake in a fun sport except… the was a more feral air to it, perhaps a touch of the scarred face as will the grin enchancing. Franz was a man who had taken lives before, perhaps than the average knight or squire just starting out. From his brief examination prior to this, he could guess that the girl had more skill than he who was self-taught.

Indeed, perhaps if the girl were up to full health she would undoubtedly be the superior swordsman and Franz would have to rely more on trickery and his own brand of brute force to match her in skill. This moment? Her own ailment would be damning her.

He give a friendly little smirk, not as feral as before “Franz Messer of Krom, Miss. With that said might I be havin’ the honor of yours?” Franz asked as he raised his shield with the face pointing toward her, his form bent and hidden behind it although not entirely, his sword half raised and not pointed at her.

She looked like a fragile thing, although wether that was truth or a lie was highly debatable at this moment. It could be a ploy to drop his guard, but her earlier state said otherwise. A blast of wind touched them once more, colder and harsher…. It was if it was setting the stage of some tale.

At this point either one of them could start to attack, but Franz felt it would have been rather rude to not at least get her name….
word count: 383
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It wasn’t the first time Elyna had cause to wonder if she was simply reckless, or stupid in her approach to life; and she was certain it wouldn’t be the last. The man before her was gnarly, scarred and had a rawness that was almost uncivilised. A tiny voice in the back of her mind told her that she should be afraid, even if it was only a fear of pain. But she wasn’t. Maybe it came with the job, being a Skyrider was something she’d set her heart on and she accepted the bruises, cuts and aches that came with that. Maybe it was because, he, like the majority of opponents she faced was bigger than she was and stronger too. It wasn’t new; it was expected.

“A pleasure Franz,” she offered a smile, “They call my Elyna, or Ely” she didn’t divulge her surname, she wasn’t of a region. She was Elyna Burhan, a noble and she’d lost too many good opponents that were afraid of injuring a noblewoman and bringing on the wrath of her Mother. Her Father, Pavoo Burhan was a judge in the courts of Andaris, a respected man often called to council the King and few in her line of work wanted to offend him; so where possible, she kept her name to herself.

As was her habit, she spun the sword slowly in her grip and waited. She found that her opponents had a habit of trying to provoke her, but preferred to save her breath and energy. The unusual silence then tended to throw them off focus. She moved slowly to oneside, circling. As Franz didn’t make a reckless charge forward she took a turn to step up, bringing her sword down in a slow arc he could easily block, a test shot.

Taking stock of the force of his block she kept her shield ready to deflect a return and returned another strike, faster and with the intention of striking his collar bone.
word count: 349
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Franz Messer
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Elyna, but Elyna of where? That was a question worth asking. She gave no hint of family name so in his head she either just didn’t want to share it or had none. None of his business however, at the moment it was useless information that he could ask after the spar.

On the battlefield, you have no time to ask, hardly time to speak. A quip here and there was possible, but fights were generally over in a few seconds to minutes. You don’t know them, they don’t know you and the in all that counted was one thing that was assured; it was you or them.

Her movements were cautious, testing the waters before her and Franz noted and respected that, uncharted waters being what they were meant rushing into danger could easily kill. There was such a thing as being too cautious however, though there wasn’t any evidence of that here as far as he could tell. She circled him, his eyes following her movements.

Then came the slow, almost lazy swing of her sword. He met the blow the flat of his sword, the thud of wood against wood as he pushed the practice blade away. It was his turn to react and he did so with an overhead strike against her shield, the movement was rough and unpolished, as entirely unlike her own retaliatory strike that damn nearly would have put a wedge between his neck and left shoulder If it were an actual blade and if he hadn’t the instinct to shift his body away.

With his right shoulder presented to her, he stepped forward in a short charge that would have the entire weight of his body that would have given a sudden push against her shield, an attempt to push her off her balance. Of course there was always the chance she could use her smaller frame move away but that depended if she had the quick reactions for it.

If he’d successfully push her down he’d have tried to finish it there and stepped on her shield with the tip of his longsword waster against her neck. If he hadn’t then he would pushed hard and tried to stab at her legs with his longsword, either he was going full force in this spar
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He was stronger than she was, but that wasn’t a surprise. The impact of his waster meeting her own practice long sword and then shield caused reverberation through her arms. She loosened her grip enough to stop the sensation continuing, flexing her fingers in the shield grip. A brief grin flashed over her expression as his turn of speed removed him from the path of her attack.

She was unprepared for the quick retaliation, on a better day she would have stepped aside and she tried to. But with the fog of her hangover still clinging to her mind and body, the movement was delayed and he caught her in the side. She stumbled, but didn’t fall completely, dropping down on one knee in the snow and bringing her shield up to block what could have been a killing blow. Her arms strained beneath his attack. Essentially, she was cowering behind the defense.
Left with limited options, Elyna retaliated with a swipe at his legs in turn. With his attention hopefully on preventing a blow landing she took the moment to stand again, retreating back another step to gather herself, eyeing the man with respect, and a small smile. She was disappointed in herself, that a good opponent had been presented and she wasn’t on her best form.

“Almost got me,” she admitted and circled back in the other direction. Without much delay she stepped forward to exchange further blows, neither of them gaining much ground on the either; the wasters clashing with loud thwacks and thunks that echoed in the empty yard. With sweat pooling in the center of her back, Elyna finally disengaged and took another step back, lowering her sword and shield in an obvious gesture that the match was over. She wasn’t too proud to admit that she was tired quicker than she should have been and worn out. She was holding her own, but only just and if she carried on much longer, she would start making mistakes that would cause either herself or her opponent to be injured, unnecessarily. The Skyrider knew her limits.

“I’m happy to yield,” she admitted. She felt rough, her head was clear but her body ached. She was ravenous; stomach gurgling in the final effects of the night before. His style was different from her own, own but she was curious, there was always more to learn in their art form.
word count: 415
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Franz Messer
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It was a fun spar, he had to admit, the girl was getting over her ailment fast but vestiges of it still remained. He had hoped he would have instantly win with his previous attempt of pushing her down and though she fell to her knees she did not falter to his death blow, no she blocked and retaliated at his legs, forcing him to block and allow her to move back to regain her baring. She was quite good he had to admit again.

“Just paying back the favor” He grinned mischievously at her words, she’d almost got him prior after all. After that he braced himself for an exchange and so it set the pattern for the remainder of their spar. What advantages gained on the other went swiftly as they’d arrived. The sound of their wasters meeting the flat of their counterparts or the opposing shields rang throughout like two different songs with their singers showing just how different yet similar their skills were.

But all things came to an end and for Franz so did a good fight, after bits among bits passed, they found themselves panting and sweating whilst amongst the damnable cold. The Suns above showing vestiges of their light upon the young Trail. He grinned as she lowered her sword and shield in a gesture of the match ending and so did the same ‘Pity, but I suppose there is always next time’ And next time he hoped would be soon, he’d rather fight someone at their fullest and he had to admit he’d probably pick up quite a number of things about being a swordsman from her.

“More than happy to call it a draw” He said with full sincerity and it was only fair after all. His grin turning much more friendly, the let out a chuckle as he thought he heard the sound of a hungry stomach “Come on lass, lets stow the gear and grab some grub, eh?”
word count: 333
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