[Haven] Arming The Unarmed

Balthazar leads a training session.

A small island with an active volcano, Faldrass is the home to Saoire's school and to the Faldrass Induk.

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Balthazar Black
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed


18 Ashan 721
It was unfortunate that Elisabeth had said her plan aloud, even if she had kept parts to her self and even more unfortunate that she'd spent the majority of her training working on herself, not her ability to command others. Balder, a good listener and a level head, followed her instructions but just about everyone else thought they'd use her plan as an opportunity to shake things up and unbalance Balthazar. Silk put a little more force behind her blow by taking to the sky with one flap of her wings to give her the force of gravity as an aid while everyone else just moved in to attack... from the front. Elisabeth's instruction had them striking at the same time again but once more that limited number of ribbons seemed to turn the team against each other. Only two could win and they all knew it.

But in came the attacks and as a result, an impressive display of martial skill from their instructor. Not every fist moved in at the same time which naturally made defending against them a little easier. Balthazar could move faster than any of the other five and it showed. Balder reached Balthazar and struck at his stomach as Silk descended from above with her hands together like she was swinging an axe- making her swing a little slower. Balthazar blocked the first punch to the right, then pushed Balder off balance and into the young man before stepped back out of reach of both the blonde and Silk who landed and swung her fists at the air. Elisabeth moved in with a kick towards Balthazar's knee and the mage used that very knee to defend against it, bending it and bringing it up so that he was arguably kneeing her in the foot rather than being kicked in the knee.

Still, her hit had a little force that put Balthazar off balance when his leg came back down. He dropped to a kneeling position to stabilize himself, dodge her throat punch, and pull the ribbon out of Elisabeth's reach, catching her hand as she went out for it and pulling her over his shoulder to flip her onto the ground. Then Balthazar rolled across the sand away from them all, coming back up onto his feet again. "Better but maybe don't announce your attack." Balthazar pointed out as everyone readied themselves for a third go. "Planning is as important as teamwork but if your enemy knows what you plan on doing, what is the point?" Balthazar gestured for them to come again but he did not begin circling them. This time, he'd let one of them get a ribbon.

word count: 456

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed

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Arc 721, 18 Ashan

What Balthazar was failing to understand is that Elisabeth was used to sparring with him one on one. Her training in unarmed had nothing to do with group tactics. That didn't mean she didn't want to learn but sometimes it was helpful to have a jumping off point. She would argue that she wasn’t in it for herself. The young mage had tried to give everyone an advantage, not just herself…but as she landed on the ground, having been flipped over Balthazar’s shoulder, she quickly scrambled to her feet, not letting the hard landing dampen her desire to get one of those ribbons.

Elisabeth leveled her eyes at his midsection, mind whirling. She had already been admonished for calling out and it hadn’t worked so she was done with that. There was a minor streak of frustration under the surface, but she was disciplined enough not to let it show. Her annoyance didn’t stem from the exercise. Not really. It was something else that she wasn’t ready to acknowledge….

She quickly flipped through all the moves that she knew wouldn’t work. Elisabeth knew she would have to get creative but her playbook for ‘creative’ was limited. Instead of creative, she decided that her 'move' would have to be a string of moves, hoping that her increased speed and agility from their previous sparring matches would at least give her a chance of staying on her feet. To do that though, she was going to have to get inside his strike radius to limit his opportunity to defend or respond. It was risky but she didn’t see any alternatives. He could easily keep them all out of range. Someone had to try to break through.

Coming in at an angle instead of head-on, she attempted to deliver two swift strikes to the left side of his stomach, quickly followed by two to his right shoulder, in hopes of destabilizing him. The entire time, if her hands weren’t striking, they were defending. Turning quickly, she used her elbow, aiming for his stomach, stepping back to wrap her leg behind his front foot to mess with his balance. Only then did her hand reach out, trying to grab a ribbon.

In the meantime, Balder attempted to move behind Balthazar, changing up his attack with a series of strikes to his side. The young man from the settlement came from the opposite side, intent on waiting to hit Balthazar under the arm when he raised them to defend another’s attack. The blond woman came straight in, aiming for the stomach once and Silk opted for a torso strike. All tried to grab the ribbons.

word count: 457
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed


18 Ashan 721
Everyone moved in with direct attacks, Elisabeth moved in hoping her speed and agility would be enough to give her an edge, and Balthazar kept moving far faster than the lot of them. They were missing the point but he couldn't seem to get it across to them. It wasn't about attacking with overwhelming force, which might have worked in most circumstances, it was about attacking as a team, which worked in all circumstances. One of them, maybe three of them, should have been moving in to stop his arms. Pin them, try to tackle him, do anything to fully occupy his focus- but instead they all punched. The problem with punches being that he could deflect and counter them far faster than anyone there could throw them. Yet if someone were to just rush him, he'd have had to contend with their grappling and it would have bought the others time to move in.

But they had struck with arms and legs, allowing Balthazar to continue to display his impressive speed with his hands and feet. Elisabeth moved in for two swift strikes, keeping her defense up, and Balthazar tested it. He parried her strikes aside, left then right, and then he struck her in her defending arms, paralyzing those muscles to slow her down further while he dealt with the others. The unfortunate part for her being that the paralyzed muscle would stop her from grabbing for the ribbon. The mistake of the mass here was that they were all seeking a ribbon and Balthazar would only allow one of them to grab one this round. He moved his arms in a wide circle, trapping Balder's at his sides when the man went for his attacks. Then Balthazar's leg shot out to the side, kicking the young man back before the blonde and Silk moved in.

Balthazar managed to shift his striking leg enough to block Silk but the blonde hit him center mass and her hand ripped away one of the two ribbons. He didn't think much of it, having let it slip through, and then Balthazar swept Balder's legs from beneath him, knocking his guard to the floor. "Very good, Fiona, join the others." He gestured to the spectators and turned the the smaller number left to face him. "Now you are four and I am no more tired than before. How will you overcome me? Alone, using the same tactics as before, or together? A powerful enemy can only be beaten by a team's effort, but how do you coordinate an attack while your opponent can hear everything you're saying?"

word count: 447

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed

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Arc 721, 18 Ashan

Elisabeth was used to Balthazar’s training tactics, but the others…not so much. In her mind, the only way they would be able to overwhelm him is to surround him, but how do you communicate that to the others without giving things away?

One couldn’t. Not in their current circumstances.

So, she called it out, but she called it out to him, in answer to his question. “There isn’t a way – at least not that I see. But our best bet is to surround you and try to overwhelm at the same time.” It wasn’t perfect but none of them were extraordinarily skilled in unarmed combat. She had already been admonished for calling out things but this time, there was not an option. Hand signals meant nothing if the other people did not know what they meant. She gave everyone the solution she saw but left it up to them whether they wanted to follow or not. Elisabeth couldn’t make that call for them. Either they would or wouldn’t.

As for herself, she took up position at his side, letting her sapphire eyes narrow, thinking about the best course of action for her movements. She saw Balder move to the other side of Balthazar, Silk went up into the air and the young man was directly in front of him. Balder matched her position, both to the side and slightly behind, attempting to cover behind their target. Part of her wanted to tackle him – a brawler move she had seen him use before – but she knew she didn’t have enough strength to do that. None of what she had done yet had worked…except for the knee kick. It had at least a small impact on him and that’s really all she needed. She was also the only one that had progressed to using any sort of kicks at all…so if that was one route to take, it would have to be her.

Moving on an angle, slightly behind him, she aimed her foot strike towards his knee, but decided not to leave it there. It was followed up with three attempted strikes at the rib cage, which hopefully by then, others were attacking, allowing her strikes to hit. If she got that far, she would wedge her foot back behind his again and strike out at his shoulder, hoping to get him off balance so she could grab the last remaining ribbon.


word count: 416
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed


18 Ashan 721
Elisabeth took the verbal approach again which was a little disappointing. If it had not worked before, why would it work now? They'd surrounded him almost every time they attacked but they did not have the capacity to overwhelm him then and now they were down one person. They group did their best to take up the positions Elisabeth suggested but it would not matter, what would matter was the unorthodox approach taken by one of the more bold of the group. Silk pushed up into the air, Balder and the boy moved to the sides, and Elisabeth rushed in from slightly behind him. He would do what he had done every time before but this time he did it far less subtly. Disable the strongest, and work his way through the rest. He turned as she kicked with her foot, causing it to miss the target and slip passed as the young man moved in tentatively. Balder stayed back and Silk began to descend from above.

Elisabeth went for three strikes but wouldn't get through two of them. As her fist came in, Balthazar blocked it with one hand and struck her in the bicep with the other with the sharp force she'd be getting familiar with by now. The other arm came in for the next strike and suffered the same fate as the first. Then the boy and Silk reached him at the same time and Balthazar did the sensible thing- he got out of the way. A quick step backwards put him out of Silk's path as her wings flapped to slow her descent and struck the young man who'd moved in too close. It was then that Balthazar was surprised.

Perhaps he'd gotten a little too smug or maybe he just wasn't used to not having his mystical senses, but for a brief moment Balthazar forgot Balder was behind him and Balder tackled the former mage... sort of. Balder ran in and dove at Balthazar's legs, knocking them out from beneath him. Balthazar's eyes widened, he fell backwards and crashed onto the sand behind the rapidly scrambling Balder. Everyone seemed to realize it at the same moment- Balthazar was down. They all rushed in towards him and Balthazar crawled back slightly in the sand before kicking his legs above him and using the momentum to push himself up onto his feet. Silk and the young man fell back to avoid the strike but not Balder.

Balder kept moving in, taking the hit and being knocked off his feet as a result. Balthazar was stronger than most of them could power through. Balthazar got onto his feet and Elisabeth had a chance to strike again.

word count: 461

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed

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Arc 721, 18 Ashan

Elisabeth was being put into an impossible situation that she had tried to avoid, and it was tearing her apart inside. Of course, her mentor wouldn’t know that and quite possibly wouldn’t care, but a moral and emotional dilemma was waging war inside the young woman.

Balthazar was stopping them at every turn, which was his right as the instructor. She had thought they were learning unarmed combat, not brawling. In her mind, there was a clear difference. Brawling essentially was everything in, use what you have. The tackle Balder leveled on Balthazar was effective, but it hadn’t been the game plan in her mind. Taken slightly off guard, she had one of two options – concede or continue with the new rules.

The new rules were the ones that were hurting her. She had one trick left up her sleeve and it was not one she wanted to employ. In fact, every fiber of her being screamed at her not to…but she was being given no choice. She had tried everything she could think of in her limited unarmed playbook, and nothing worked.

It was time to work off a different playbook.

As he got to his feet, Elisabeth concentrated, moving into a forward stance. The disarray from the scuffle was still ongoing, people trying to regain their feet. Balder was still on the ground, possibly for the duration – she couldn’t really tell. Silk was flapping around, and the young man was getting his bearings again….so she took advantage of that as cover.

Focusing on the ground under Balthazar’s feet, she used an ability she was only just beginning to hone – dancing. Her sapphire gaze swirled with ribbons of gold, reaching out to the element she needed. Calling to earth, she willed the patches beneath his feet to rise, just enough, hopefully forcing him off-balance and allowing her to move in quickly, attempting to level a hard tackle at his waist from the side. Any lower or higher would have been folly for someone of her size and the timing had to be just right.

Successful or not, she would make one last grab for the ribbon, and hold back the tears that were trying to escape.

word count: 379
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed


18 Ashan 721
Unfortunately for Elisabeth, Balthazar saw little difference between the unarmed combat he was teaching them and the brawling Balder had initiated with his attack. His challenge was to get the ribbons and that was about the only guideline he'd given them so Balder's move was fair game, as was Elisabeth's, however there was an important difference between them. Elisabeth's attack was technically illegal. Mages were not allowed to use magic on unwilling individuals and she was not an Element. He didn't mind and he wouldn't have pressed charged but she couldn't make a habit of using her magic when her physical skills failed her, especially not while he was under constant watch. Her use of magic would be reported just as much as his own, especially if used illegally. He'd have to warn her at another time and hope that he'd been the only one to notice it.

Elisabeth came crashing into Balthazar and he, to his credit, remained upright when she did. His feet dug slightly into the uneven sand they stood on and he slid a little bit back as a result of the impact, but he seemed to endure it, wrapping two arms around Elisabeth's stomach and trying to hoist her into the air before he felt the tug at his side and realized what had happened. As he pulled Elisabeth off the ground, she pulled the red fabric from his belt. He let her go more suddenly than he intended to and dropped his initiate before stepping back and reaching down to his side to discover the ribbons gone. It was over. Balthazar held up both of his hands causing Silk, the young man, and the risen again Balder to stand down. "Congratulations, Elisabeth." Balthazar said, taking a few deep breaths as he looked around at the students who'd been watching. "For this time only, I'll give everyone who participated a personal lesson later. Think of it as a thank you for demonstrating the exercise. That's all for now, thank you all for coming. Elisabeth, Fiona, Balder, Silk, and Albert thank you again for participating."

With that, the class was dismissed. Balthazar stood on the beach while the students slowly scattered back up into the settlement, saying goodbyes to each other and pairing off to walk back with their friends. Balthazar folded his hands behind his back and looked towards Elisabeth. "Good job."

word count: 413

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed

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Arc 721, 18 Ashan

Elisabeth got the ribbon, but she wished she hadn’t. The exercise was over and as everyone departed, she moved away from the area quickly, watching the water and getting her breathing back under control. The effects of using her magic had changed recently. Her eyes reflected the elements she channeled, even for several bits after she had released the element. As well, it took a bit for her emotions to rebalance. It was something of a tightrope to walk, especially because she was already emotional at that time to begin with but she was learning to manage with meditation.

While she wasn’t especially tired from the training, the young mage felt emotionally drained. What had just occurred, she never wanted to happen again.

She heard his words, but Elisabeth refused to look at him, simply replying. “I feel differently…”

The tears no longer threatened to fall but that didn’t mean what she felt inside was any less torrential. She wasn’t upset that she had been forced to used magic. It was a tool at her disposal, and she didn’t see why it made any difference. The Elements knew she was a mage. No, that wasn’t the problem.

The problem…was that she had used magic against Balthazar. She had felt backed into a corner and used the one weapon she had left. And it hurt her inside. It was hard to explain why it felt so horrible, and she doubted she would ever be able to explain it. Yes, it had gotten the job done but she didn’t want to use magic against him…ever. Something about it felt wrong. Very wrong.

For once, words failed her. She had none for him, so her eyes simply scanned the water, searching for wisdom or something to bring peace back to her. Tearing the band out of her hair, she let the raven curls fall against her shoulders and back, running a hand through the strands, trying to make sense out of what she was feeling.

word count: 345
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed


18 Ashan 721
Was she pouting? Why? Balthazar didn't understand it but when Elisabeth refused to look at him he knew something was wrong. Maybe she was just trying to hide the color change in her eyes so she could play it off as if she hadn't manipulated the elements beneath him. No... it probably wasn't that. Elisabeth's efforts to hide things from Balthazar never went as planned. He always figured it out. Unfortunately he had no idea why she was so affected by using the elements in combat. Sure, he disapproved and it was a crime, but he didn't care. He and Praetorum hurled elements at each other time and time again despite the elements telling them that they'd rather not be turned against other friends... so why was Elisabeth having such a hard time with it?

He didn't know exactly what to say, words were never his strongest suit but she frequently forced him into positions where he needed to rely on them. He wasn't getting much better at it but there was one thing he'd aways been good at and so he leaned into that now when he did not know what to do. She'd let her hair down but that didn't matter, his hair had almost always been down when it was longer and he got on just fine in battle. "Go get your sword, time for that personal lesson you just won." Balthazar said as he crossed his arms over his chest. If she protested, he would insist she do as he'd said. She wanted to be sad so he'd give her something else to do.

word count: 284

Visible Mutations/ Marks

Mutations
Defiance: Skin always glows faintly and he is warm to the touch. His is also the center of a field of static electricity so people get shocked touching him on occasion.
Rupturing: Orange etheric cracks spider-web up his arms to his elbows. His eyes and the glowing cracks going down his cheeks glow dark blue.
Transmutation: He has a series of emerald, glowing cracks on his right pectoral.
Marks
Bellinos: His fingernails are always black. The color fades into his fingers.
Celarion: A dim glowing ring surrounds his left forearm.
Palenon: A silver lightning shaped mark about the size of a hand stretching up towards his torso.

Scars

  • Oops, Oops, Ouch: Balthazar Black has twenty scars across his back from a lashing as well as scars on his hands and arms from jagged rocks on Faldrass. There are two scars on the sides of his abdomen from being stabbed and a slash across his back which blends in with the whip scars.
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Elisabeth Black
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Renown: 1035
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Re: [Haven] Arming The Unarmed

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Arc 721, 18 Ashan

To be fair, Elisabeth didn’t hide things from Balthazar, and he knew that. Not being able to express something was completely different…but she didn’t even know how to start that conversation or even if he would understand.

The young mage was aware that the man she loved was not good with words. She never expected him to be, and he had become less so since gaining shadows. Whatever proficiency he had begun gaining in terms of expressing his thoughts and feelings to her was lost until the shadows left and she accepted that.

Instead, he turned to something that connected them, asking her to get her sword. He knew she wouldn’t turn down training, so it was an easy move for him to make that assured the outcome he wanted. Balthazar was smart like that. He was maneuvering her into something he could do as opposed to leaving her in the state she was in.

Elisabeth had started to suspect that her spark was responsible for some of the shifts in mood. She wasn’t entirely sure but the last few times she had used magic, for a few bits after, she felt….flat. Very unlike herself. When magic coursed through her body, she felt stronger, even euphoric. Well, not as much this time since she absolutely hated using magic against Balthazar, but before, yes. Euphoric. It made her want to keep using the magic. The longer she used the magic, the more ecstatic she felt…and the harder the letdown was after.

Without a word, she began walking across the sand to their tent, retrieving Iustitia, her adamantite longsword and coming back to him, waiting to see what he had planned for her, long dark curls a mass across her shoulders as she gazed at him, cerulean eyes having returned to those he knew.

word count: 313
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