Memory Shoreline Battle

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Shoreline Battle

Saun 6 720

A calm breeze made its way across the ocean water that carried the scent of spring. The sounds of the wind along with the flapping of wings from a flock overhead made for the perfect recipe for a nice nap on the beach. It would have been calming had it not been for the battle that had just begun Goku and a younger version of himself. He had only learned one thing since they had started; his opponent was not to be taken lightly. Goku had begun the fight with a bold first strike that had landed with a satisfactory punch and had followed that up with a couple reckless swings from his blade which ended up striking something hard. At first he had the horrifying thought that he had hit bone but that turned out to be false. Instead he had struck a small polearm that had been able to withstand the full might of Goku’s swings as if he were a weakling.

Goku thought, “I should have made more precise strikes,” when he saw that the polearm was coming back for revenge. He knew in that split second that he was about to get hit no matter what he did. He looked along the length of the weapon and did not see even the faintest trace of failure in the material. It was a smooth polearm without any blade or tip, just the most basic staff that one could imagine yet it looked beautiful in its own right. Then again anything looked good in comparison to Goku’s crappy sword that had never been used properly in its life. The sword he used was something he bought on a whim and a new year’s resolution of learning how to use it. As of yet he knew little about how to use it other than to do basic strikes with poor form. His strategy had always been to brute force his way through his problems which explained the many defects in the once unblemished blade.

“Here it comes!” Goku thought as the polearm got closer and closer to the center of his chest. The strike was expertly placed. Had it been aimed for his muscle he could have braced for impact but how could he brace his bone? He did his best to halt his breathing and got ready to exhale at the exact moment of contact to try lessening the damage but when the weapon actually hit him his efforts were more or less useless. The pain came and persisted as he was thrust backwards. “You fucker,” he wanted to say as his eyes bulged, wanting to stay behind as his body went soaring backwards. No sounds were actually emitted from his mouth since the wind was effectively knocked out of him.

Even as Goku’s body skidded across the shallow shore’s waters he tried to keep an eye on his opponent. There was no telling if the polearm was going to come back for more revenge or if he was going to be given some reprieve. Instead of his opponent, however, Goku only saw blue. Whether on accident or on purpose Goku’s younger self had managed to hide his position with cleverly placed orbs of energy that careened towards Goku. The orbs were blueish manifestation of energy that Goku knew spelled trouble for him if he did not do anything about them. Yet at the same time, was there anything he could do? He screamed and held his arms across his body as the energy erupted against his body propelling him further and further across the shore.

Goku was not out of the fight yet. Far from hit, actually. He had already formulated his counter attack. The thick smoke that followed the explosions made for a decent enough cover for Goku to use it as cover. He dug his limbs into the sandy waters to stop himself suddenly and with all his strength he threw his sword through the smoke right at where his younger self had been standing earlier. Goku’s bet was that the boy was still nearby or better yet, still standing in the same place. If not, it would still serve as a decent distraction as Goku was hoping to approach from a different angle. Goku ran across the shore in an arcing path hoping to flank his opponent.

“Surprise!” Goku shouted as his body cleared the smoke. He had little faith that his presence would be a surprise in and of itself because there was no way the smoke was dense enough to hide his whole body thoroughly especially when he was glowing with energy. If his opponent had any sort of detection capabilities then that would make him all the easier to pick up on.

In any case, Goku’s fist glowed with the energy he focused into it. It even shook as it attempted to contain the full might that Goku wanted to put into it. The punch was aimed right for his younger self’s shoulder and at the same time Goku’s eyes glowed with a brilliant red that fired a pair of energy beams that were intent on searing his opponent’s center of mass. Goku was interested to see if his strategy would make for a good one. If his punch was evaded then at least he could put some faith into his eye beam that might serve as a decent follow up.

Goku still needed something more. These were small fry attacks. He had the urge to pull out the big guns and unleash all he had to prove his superiority but he had to hold back for now. He needed a better set up before he tried anything bigger. For now he had to decide what he was going to do to finish off his attack. He had to do something while he was close to his opponent. There was really nothing he could think of other than a quick series of jabs from the same hand that had just released its energy. Those punches were much weaker and lacked the soul of his other attacks. He was sloppy, still trying to get warmed up to battle. There was still so much more fight left to experience!

When all was said and done Goku would have to gauge whether he was going too hard or not. He didn’t care about winning more than he cared about having a good time. Good times were not had when people got finished off too quickly. Goku did have a crowd to impress after all. His “crowd” was just a few women who had come by to watch his fight. They were on a vessel not too far into the ocean watching and cheering him on. There were some other spectators that had come out to watch the battle as well. They were happy to have some entertainment but at the same time they did not want things to get too rowdy or there would be collateral damage that would have to be paid for. People that knew Goku would probably know that he didn’t have any money to fund repairs.

“Did they have to pick here of all places to fight?” asked the owner of the home who was used to people getting into scrapes with his students but there was still a hint of annoyance in his voice that betrayed how frustrating it was for him. He did not want to break up the fight because he encouraged fighting to further one’s abilities so he would sit quietly and pray to the immortal beings of the universe that there wouldn’t be too much to clean up afterwards. He could not yet put a finger on who was going to win the fight quite yet. To him it looked fairly even but looks could be deceiving. Both of his students would likely have a few tricks up their sleeves that could drastically turn the tides of battle.

Goku’s hair blew in the wind after his last punches were performed. His face would bear an expression of pure joy from finally getting into a fight. His clothes which were in perfect condition at the start were already torn in some areas. The most damaged areas were the ones that had been torn from when he skid across the water. Goku’s body was also starting to show signs of wear albeit just barely. His skin looked singed along the arms which was where he took the brunt of the explosions. The center of his chest had a respectably sized circle from where the polearm had made contact with his sternum though at this point his clothes did not show any signs of damage in that spot. Goku did not think that his bone had fractured or else he would not have been able to move so quickly and fluidly. The pain was still there, but he needed to take a few more hits there before he would succumb to a fracture. Goku looked at his opponent expectantly and expected nothing but the best.

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Re: Shoreline Battle

Experience: +10 xp

None (non-lucid dream)

Skillplay: N/a

Loot: None.

Injuries/Overstepping: None.

Renown: None.

Comments: First, let me say that I like the idea of using non-lucid dreams as a platform for practicing stuff you might not yet be comfortable with. And don’t take the fact that I’m about to give you a lot of feedback to mean that I hated this thread; I didn’t.

You mentioned that you wanted to practice writing combat sequences and were looking for feedback accordingly. With that in mind, my three main suggestions are:

1) Set the scene more clearly.
2) Pare down descriptions to what is necessary.
3) Pick up the pace.

1) Set the scene more clearly.

This is a non-lucid dream, so things are allowed to be surreal. Situations don’t have to be set up; they just are. Objects and people appear out of nowhere or come suddenly into view that weren’t noticed before, etc. Just fine for dreams, but as a practice run for an actual combat sequence that doesn’t work so well.

You start the thread mentioning that Goku throws a punch and then attacks with a sword. Later you mention that his adversary has a polearm, so it’s hard to see how Goku could land a punch. It’s also hard to see why Goku would *want* to throw a punch against a guy he can see has a polearm. Maybe you meant that as a surreal-dreamy-come-out-of-nowhere thing, and it could work on that level. But you said in your request that you’re practicing for writing actual combat sequences, so this won’t help you with that.

You also don’t provide any setup of why they are fighting, or how they square up against each other before actually commencing attacks.

In describing an actual combat sequence, I would suggest setting stage more thoroughly, specifically, establish the stuff that’s going to matter to one’s understanding of the fight to come: who is fighting and why; what is at stake; what weapons they are wielding; what surroundings they are fighting in; where they are standing; what sort of stance they are adopting; what they do or say immediately before they start swinging.

A fight is easier to follow, not to mention more exciting, if the reader already has a clear image and understanding of who is swinging what at whom before the actual swinging starts. Don’t describe *everything*, as that will slow things down, but describe enough. And on that note:

2) Pare down descriptions to what is necessary.

This sounds like it contradicts the first point, but it doesn’t. Just as there is stuff the reader needs to know that you don’t tell them up front, there is stuff you tell them that they don’t really need. For example: “The pain was still there, but he needed to take a few more hits there before he would succumb to a fracture.” You don’t have to show me Goku’s health bar. “His chest seared in pain, yet nothing seemed broken.” Done. Fight on. Long descriptions slow down the action. Which segues ingeniously into:

3) Pick up the pace.

This is a fight scene. Combat’s supposed to be exciting, even climactic, right? There are moments of suspense, circling, feinting, looking for an opening. But the action itself happens fast, often explosively so, and it should feel that way. The second and third paragraphs of your post describe the fact that Goku’s initial attack failed and that his opponents riposte is going to strike him in a “split second.”

Two and a half paragraphs to describe a split-second exchange?! Again, from a dream sequence point of view, this can work. It has a sort of Matrix-esque, speedramp-ey feel. But it’s rubbish for helping your reader picture a real, exciting fight. How about something like this: “Goku felt his blade bite wood instead of bone. His inaccurate attack left him open to riposte. Before he could recover, the polearm flew in a blur to strike his chest, knocking the wind out of him. He was not even able to curse his frustration properly.”

You can describe things like technique, switching grips, and thinking about tactics in the in-betweeny parts, when the combatants are circling, juking, feinting, sizing each other up. Goku sees something, decides something, switches stance and tries the Purple Frog Cloud Dance attack or something. But then the actual exchange should go quick, like I suggested above.

*deep breath*

This is a lot, I know. Don’t get discouraged. Writing is hard. It takes practice. Keep at it. I want to read more Goku!

Let me know if either of you have any questions/feedback. Enjoy your rewards!
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