• Graded • Bending Over Backwards

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Darius Baer Bottom
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Bending Over Backwards

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Arc 720, 15th of Ashan
Darius could feel the heat in his shoulder muscles as he strained to hold himself in place. His bare hands were in the dirt - something he had regretted as soon as he'd had to place his body weight upon them as they pressed against the small stones of the path - and a bead of sweat crept up his chest and across the front of his neck until it nestled itself into his bearded chin for a few moments before escaping his body and leaping onto the dry earth and marking it with a splash of moisture. His feet were above him, heels resting against the stone wall of a building, as he attempted to hold his handstand position for as long as he could manage.

Just out of his vision, and requiring him to turn his head slightly to see it properly, sat his book. The Art Of Acrobatics: From Balance Basics To Tumbling And Everything In Between had captured his attention, ever since he had quite literally stumbled across it at the Scalvoris Town Library earlier that month. For the last few trials, he had studied its pages and read its words of wisdom, before finally deciding to attempt a few of the maneuvers contained therein. At first, he had focused on the recommended stretching. The author of the book, the acclaimed acrobat Demetria Safora, was adamant that readying the muscles for each movement was essential - especially for people like Darius who were just starting out. But then he'd decided to attempt a handstand hold, and now he was unsure of what to do next, and he didn't want to turn his head to steal a glance at the page that was held open by a stone and risk toppling over in the process, so he pushed with one heel in an attempt to shift the balance and pull himself safely out of the hold.

But he didn't push hard enough.

Instead of gracefully returning one foot and then the other to the ground, as the example showed in the book, he only managed to shove himself partway, before clumsily falling sideways, his legs landing in a nearby bush. The bearded blond lay there for a few moments, allowing his shoulders to get a short rest before he regathered himself and awkwardly clambered into a sitting position against the wall. He rubbed his upper arm, feeling the weight of his tumble, before reaching out to pick up his waterskin to quench his thirst. He allowed himself several moments to catch his breath before he leaned over to collect his book, and he began to thumb through it, looking for a less ambitious maneuver to attempt.
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Tue Sep 27, 2022 11:14 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 455
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: Bending Over Backwards

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After some more reading and a bit of soul searching, Darius decided to try a different movement, called a wall walk. It was from earlier in the book, and, he admonished himself as he re-read the passage, it was an important skill to learn before understanding how to hold himself in a handstand position against the wall.

He read the instructions several times. They were simple, and there were only a few to remember, but he didn't want to fall over again while attempting to read his book from an awkward position, so committing them to memory seemed like a good idea.

Before he attempted it, however, he also caught sight of another maneuever that was covered in the book, which indicated how to control a fall. Dark grey eyes studied the diagrams and the words that accompanied them, and he wondered if he could use the latter to help learn the former.

Darius stood to his feet and gently shook his arms in the hope that doing so might freshen his muscles, before wiping sweat from his brow with a forearm and taking another gulp of water.

Then he dropped to the ground once more, initially onto his hands and knees, before positioning the soles of his boots against the base of the wall and straightening his arms as if he was about to do a press up.

The next steps, though simple in their description, were difficult to execute. That was, in part, because of his fatigue, but the bearded blond was fairly sure that it had more to do with his mind than anything else. While holding himself upside down had been something of a thrill, it wasn't an experience he was used to, as it felt unnatural. He hoped that with enough practice and experience, the awkwardness would fade away.

His feet were the first to move, but only just. He shifted one foot, then the other, taking small backward steps up the wall. As he did, and the angle of his body steepened, his hands began to follow, moving his form closer to the vertical structure. The book had told him to tense his stomach muscles, and he tried to keep that in mind as he slowly inverted himself.

Each step was harder than the last. Gravity teased him, and his shoulder muscles complained of having to bear his weight in a way they wouldn't normally be expected to. But he persisted, instinctively and unconsciously holding his breath as his body strained with each movement.

Eventually, he was able to shift his body into a diagonal position. His form was far from perfect. He could feel that his back had begun to arch, and he only then remembered to breathe.

He was supposed to walk back down the wall, repeating the movement in reverse, until he returned to his pressup position on the ground. He doubted he could do so in a controlled manner, so rather than let his arms give way, causing his body to drop immediately to the ground, he opted to control his fall.

Tucking his head forward, his chin brushing against his collarbone, he slowly bent his arms and let his shoulders reach the ground. The momentum of his body enabled him to make a simple but safe forward roll, which placed him in a seated position not far from the wall. He felt a sense of dizziness, and his descent would not have impressed anyone, but it was better than falling into the bush again!
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: Bending Over Backwards

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Half a break had passed since Darius had attempted his first wall walk. He had spent much of that time resting, while reading up on other maneuvers that he hoped to be able to accomplish at some point in the future. Wall runs and wall flips looked impressive, but they seemed like distant achievements, and the process of becoming skilled enough to execute them would be slow and difficult. But it also meant there was more to aspire to. His journey into the world of acrobatics had only just begun.

When he wasn't studying the more complicated aspects of this new skill, he was stretching. The book was insistent that doing so would essentially wake up the muscles and help to prevent injuries.

Once Darius felt as though his arms were as refreshed as he could realistically expect them to be, he lowered himself back into the starting position for the wall walk. As soon as he straightened his arms, he was able to feel the heat in his shoulders, but he persisted.

He began to take small but careful backward steps up the wall, and his hands walked with him. His movements were deliberate, rather than rushed; controlled steps rather than eager leaps. He was mindful to ensure his arms only bent when each one was off the ground, and that it was locked into a straight position when it had to bear weight. His attention turned to each limb as he moved it, and to his core as he tried to keep his back from arching like it had before.

Darius could feel the increased pressure of his body weight upon his shoulders, but he kept moving. He was certain that if he paused for too long, he would lack the energy to continue, and so he could not afford to gift himself with even the briefest of rests.

Eventually, to his silent and internal elation, the bearded human was able to get into an almost vertical position. The soles of his feet were no longer against the wall; their positions had been taken up by the tips of his toes. A wave of adrenaline washed over him, and as much as he wanted to attempt to hold himself in that position for as long as possible, he knew his arms would simply not allow him to.

And so, little by little, he led himself back down the wall. His hands moved first, the slow shifts causing his toes to slide down the vertical surface, until he was eventually able to find purchase, and take small steps all the way down.

As soon as his feet returned to the ground, Darius' arms gave way. His lungs strained for air as he rolled onto his back, arm muscles twitching from their sustained use. His dark grey eyes stared up into the sky above, blinking away droplets of sweat. He was elated but exhausted, and he knew it would take several trills before he felt like getting up off the ground.
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Re: Bending Over Backwards

☠ Bending Over Backwards ☠

☠ ======== ☠ ======== ☠ ======== ☠ ======== ☠

Points awarded: 10

Knowledge: Acrobatics: Stretching can help to prevent injuries.
Acrobatics: How to use a forward roll to control a fall.
Acrobatics: How to perform a wall walk.
Acrobatics: How to perform a handstand hold.
Endurance: Pushing through the pain of fatigued muscles.
Strength: A good rest can help to regain strength.

Renown: None.

Injuries: Sore muscles for a trial and some scrapes from that darn bush.

Skill Play: Skills played to level.

Notes: This was a fun thread to read. I enjoyed Darius's efforts to learn a little acrobatics and I'm interested in seeing how he applies it in the future. One day Darius might even back-flip down the street instead of walk! I jest, he seems more the walking type, but it will certainly be interesting to see a more acrobatic Darius.

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Sesser Mark

  • Transformer's Toolbox [Minor]: Azrael can make superficial changes to his appearance (hair, nails, skin, eye, and voice.)
  • Ever Alluring I: Azrael seems to endure harsh conditions better than others and everyone, despite sexual orientation, is just a bit curious what he would be like in bed.

Spirit Impact

  • Darksight: Azrael's perception of light and dark have been flipped, allowing him to see more clearly in an absence of light than in the day.
  • Crow's Embla: So long as he doesn't mention proper names of people, either his own or that of others, he will be able to fit into any setting that he visits in Melrath. Once he uses a proper name of any person (even if it's made up) within another's hearing range, the effect is null until the next trial.

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