[Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

20th of Vhalar 721

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Zemos
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[Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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20th of Vhalar 721

Zemos endured the silence of the egg with surprising resilience. Although it'd been his constant companion in his head of the last few arcs, he found he didn't need it all that much when push came to shove. It was mostly an amusing commentator on his daily activities. Several times, since the Egg went silent, he'd encountered a few spiders even, and still nothing from the Egg. Not so much as a peep. It was an acceptable loss, but still a kind of loss. He almost missed it's cloying and buzzing voice in his ear.

As it was, he had his familiar, the Ose Bori, Motsi with him. The monkey with the wings and head of a horse fly could be felt in his soul. It's presence there was a comfort to the outlandish Sev'ryn he was. Today, he'd heard of the combat festival. And knowing there'd be people there, he jumped at the opportunity to participate. Zemos was nothing if not sociable.

"Hmmm." He hummed to himself, buzzing under his breath. He wore a sturdy linen gi, for the practice of athletics and martial arts. He wanted to try his skill at Da'Riya, and particularly his signature move... the Overhand Slap. It'd been a while since he had genuine human contact... Well living human contact. He'd handled plenty of undead in the intervening days. But undead didn't make the greatest opponents, especially when he was fighting his own thralls.

His thralls that he'd left buried in the snowfields of Viden, before departing to Scalvoris. He'd tried to adhere to his mentor's lessons, that necromancy was forbidden in civilized spaces, particularly those that abhored slavery. Viden as a slave state even shunned the use of necromancy. So it wasn't as if he had free reign there either. In any event, there were techniques beyond the control of thralls that might avail him in the new environs. And he did plan on making use of all his talents whil ehere.

Which brought him to the thought of Da'Riiya. His fighting skills left much to be desired, and he would find a way to improve his practice.

So that brought him to the Proving Grounds, during the Combat Festival where many hopefuls were lined up to learn from various masters. Zemos looked a bit gazelle-like, lost as it were in the field of people. He searched the faces of them, and couldn't help but wonder if any of them had interesting diseases or ailments running through them... But he suppressed the instinct to grab anyone, at least.

Instead, he clasped his hands behind his back, and waited for one of the masters to call him forth to spar with someone. Or for one of them to start choosing prospective students.

After a bit or so of not being selected, Zemos grew excited, and shot up his hand in the air when the next call for an opponent rang out. "Pick me! Pick Zemos! I can fight!"

He smiled broadly at the next person to approach.
word count: 526

Identity

Nzi'Fuma is going by the name Zemos until further notice

Marks

Yithnai: Nzi'Fuma has glowing green eyes.
Witchmarks and Mutations:
  • Dread Warpaint: Zemos' upper face has a darkened discoloration, like sticky tar to the touch. It resembles warpaint.
  • Flies and other insects tend to crawl over his body intermittently. Sometimes a maggot can be seen crawling over his skin.
  • He has a slight slowness to his speech, as if he struggles to keep his tongue low in his mandible.

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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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Arc 721, 20 Vhalar


It was her second trial at the combat festival, and Balthazar had sauntered off somewhere. While she was interested in everything the festival had to offer, the man she loved was fascinated, taking in all she could. That often left her on her own, searching for demonstrations and sparring that matched her skill level. She had skills - that was undeniable – but Balthazar was a grandmaster, and as such, there was only so much they could share.

Beyond that, one of the reasons Elisabeth came to the festival was to spar against people other than Balthazar. She needed to know what areas to work on, which was easier done against fighters she hadn’t fought before. Variety was a good thing.

People kept asking her what type of unarmed combat she trained in, which was something she really couldn’t answer. She had learned what Balthazar taught her, and Elisabeth didn’t recall him assigning it a name or discipline. It was just unarmed combat to her, but it was probably something she should ask Balthazar at some point.

Drifting from demonstration to demonstration, she looked for things that interested her, thinking about a conversation the Yari and she had at one point. He had told her that she was good at certain things because she studied them, practiced. Balthazar viewed fighting a bit differently than she did, but that was alright. In her opinion, their reasons didn’t need to be the same, and training with him was time well-spent.

Elisabeth had done a fair amount of work with blades the trial before, so she was looking to get in some unarmed practice when she happened along a sparring ring that seemed to be looking for volunteers. Arching her eyebrow gently, she thought it to be as good a place to practice as anywhere.

Stepping forward, she smiled, waiting to see if she would get picked. The master in the ring, someone she trained with the previous trial, waved her in, along with another from the other side. A man it appeared, although she had never seen him before. Smiling at him, she inclined her head in respect, waiting for the mentor to lay out the rules. “Alright, you two. Let’s see what you can do, shall we? Sometimes we learn things just by throwing two people into the ring and seeing what happens.” Elisabeth nodded, understanding, eyes glancing over at her opponent.

Stepping back a few steps, the young woman readied herself, quickly scanning the man to see what she could ascertain.


word count: 429
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Zemos
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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Zemos was elated when he was chosen to participate in the sparring session. While he was far from an expert, he'd come a long way from the clumsy slap fights he got into in the Fitness Center in Viden. Zemos bowed formally to Elisabeth, "I'm Zemos, from Viden." As far as Zemos knew, that was true. It was his home, and he didn't remember the times before he'd arrived in Viden, or out of the white void beneath the fortress. He barely remembered anything, and Motsi, who claimed to know Zemos for over a decade, was no help in that regard. He would not share. It was most peculiar.

Even so, Zemos wasn't one to wallow in the past. The present was as great a starting point as any other. He would deal with it. "I look forward to slapping you." Although Zemos was fluent in common, having learned it an arc ago, he hadn't quite caught up to the social mores and what one would call 'ordinary behavior'.

Zemos smiled at her, and then fell into a stance, relaxing his legs and keeping his feet pointed at a ninety degree angle. His stance was fluid, moving from one guard to another, and his fists were open. Da'riya didn't dedicate its practice to the closed fist, although there were times when such a technique could be used.

He moved his hands in a circular motion as he resumed the offensive. Then he made a tentative strike, to try and make contact. If he managed to make contact, whether by her intercepting his attack or he landing a light hit, he took in the general health of his opponent. She seemed very physically healthy, certainly not susceptible to physical illness. No, he thought if one wanted to attack her, either biologically or physically, they'd best aim for the head.

So that was where his hands went, Moving in a mill-like motion to slap her face with one hand, and if that strike failed to withdraw the hand and slap with the other hand, against her opposite temple. His feet moved in a smooth transition from favoring one side to switching it up, keeping his balance fluid and in motion.

This was a delicate approach, he was testing her defenses for the most part, not quite yet committed. Patience was important to Da'riya, even when making the first strike. As he used his wind-mill strikes to test her defenses, not expecting that any would actually land on her head, He tried to pay attention to her footwork, looking for signs that she would launch a counterattack.
word count: 446

Identity

Nzi'Fuma is going by the name Zemos until further notice

Marks

Yithnai: Nzi'Fuma has glowing green eyes.
Witchmarks and Mutations:
  • Dread Warpaint: Zemos' upper face has a darkened discoloration, like sticky tar to the touch. It resembles warpaint.
  • Flies and other insects tend to crawl over his body intermittently. Sometimes a maggot can be seen crawling over his skin.
  • He has a slight slowness to his speech, as if he struggles to keep his tongue low in his mandible.

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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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Arc 721, 20 Vhalar


Elisabeth offered a kind smile to the man, bowing in response. “Elisabeth, from Viden.” In contrast, the young woman was aware of where she was raised, although nothing before her first arc, give or take. That period was still a mystery to her, but Xiur had revealed she was born under the stars, so she had something at least.

Blinking a bit as her opponent stated that he looked forward to slapping her, the young mage quirked her eyebrow a bit, wondering if it was something of a joke she didn’t understand, but she didn’t have much of a chance to ponder what he meant. The man relaxed into his opening stance, prompting Elisabeth into the same, allowing her eyes to quickly assess her opponent and where her advantages and disadvantages lay.

He had several inches of height on her, meaning his arms were longer than hers. Not by much, but enough to roll some consideration into her tactics. Lowering into a resting guard, weight on her back foot, she knew that Balthazar would have already launched into an attack, but she wasn’t the Yari. He had many more arcs of experience, and things she actively considered were more second nature to him.

Her opponent was using a fluid style where the movement was necessary, so Elisabeth matched such. Her footwork in unarmed was not as good as blades, but she knew enough to understand that when an opponent was moving, one didn’t just stand still.

Batting away his first strike, she noted the pattern of his hands, understanding that it had been a test strike, something often employed to determine the skills of others. Locking her wrist underneath his swat, she pushed his arm outward, bringing her other hand in for an open hand strike to his core. Elisabeth didn’t expect the strike to hit, but like him, she needed to test him a bit before locking in on a strategy.

The windmill slaps, she did not expect at all. Momentarily confused, Elisabeth got hit with one in the face but quickly countered. Dropping as though she was aiming to maneuver a leg sweep, she instead balled up her fist and sent a punch straight towards his stomach, retracting quickly whether the blow hit or not. Being shorter gave Elisabeth one great advantage – a lower center of gravity. Early in her training, she often preferred launching into the air but quickly surmised that she was much better keeping her feet on the ground when she could.


word count: 426
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Zemos
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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"Also from Viden? Have you seen the white darkness underneath? Or are you from the fortress, the Prisms? A student?" Zemos asked swiftly during the opening blow he launched, which she easily blocked. He wasn't trying to distract her. He was genuinely curious and wanted to make friendly small talk. He was all about sharing and being friendly.

He almost let out an elated woop when one of his circular slaps with the motion of his hands. But his victory was short-lived, as she adeptly adjusted to the force of his slap, and dropped down. Zemos thought she would sweep his leg from under him, and lowered his own center of gravity some, but was too late to react as she delivered a quick and strong punch to his solar plexus.

Zemos felt the wind leave him, and his entire core seized up at that blow. He was knocked back. But remembering his training, he rolled a bit. With some clumsiness, he rose to his feet, clutching his gut and trying to regain his composure and breathe.

He looked up incredulously at Elisabeth, surprised that such a small woman could deliver such a strong punch. But then, stranger things had been seen. He relished the challenge of a superior opponent in truth. He approached the situation with maximum friendliness, as his hands circled, shifting stances as one foot went in front of the other. The hands were held well in front of him, ready to intercept any lower blows to his solar plexus, and deliver attacks upwards toward her face.

Once he was close enough to reach her, he lashed out with a quick feint of a slap to her chest, which he pulled before contact, and then extended with a left-handed slap toward her right cheek.
word count: 300

Identity

Nzi'Fuma is going by the name Zemos until further notice

Marks

Yithnai: Nzi'Fuma has glowing green eyes.
Witchmarks and Mutations:
  • Dread Warpaint: Zemos' upper face has a darkened discoloration, like sticky tar to the touch. It resembles warpaint.
  • Flies and other insects tend to crawl over his body intermittently. Sometimes a maggot can be seen crawling over his skin.
  • He has a slight slowness to his speech, as if he struggles to keep his tongue low in his mandible.

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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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Arc 721, 20 Vhalar


“The white darkness underneath?”
Her tone conveyed a bit of the confusion she felt over that term, but mostly it betrayed her curiosity. Viden had a lot of white, but darkness underneath? She had countered his opening and thought nothing of the conversation between the two. She and Balthazar often bantered back and forth during sparring, so it wasn’t unusual in her opinion, and the man genuinely seemed curious about her.

“I was an assistant researcher at the Academy. I miss the snow in Viden. Do you like the weather there?” The young woman was a true daughter of Viden in the sense that cold weather was her preferred environment. She was always curious what other people thought of it, and since they were on friendly terms, Elisabeth decided to ask.

Her blow to the stomach landed, causing her opponent to be knocked back and regroup. Elisabeth’s sharp eyes watched every move he made, committing them to memory, analyzing for patterns. Balthazar had once said that Elisabeth was good at things she wanted to be good at because she studied them. She had understood him saying that she wasn’t passionate about different forms of combat like he was, and it was a fair statement. For her, combat skills were tools she could use to defend herself or others, and to be good at them, one needed to study and practice.

His fighting technique was one she hadn’t encountered before, and as such, Elisabeth found it fascinating. She made it a point never to judge a book by its cover, taking all threats seriously. The young mage noted how he raised his hands to block her from trying the punch to his stomach again, which was good. He was trying to control how close she got to him – also good, but it might present issues the further into the fight they got.

Observing the feint coming in her direction, whether he pulled it or not, was irrelevant to her reaction – she would have countered the same either way.

Reaching out, she tried to grab for his wrist, trapping it for the moment. Side-stepping, Elisabeth reached out to strike his shoulder with an open hand, hoping that combining the two movements would cause him to sail past her, intending to use his momentum against him. The wrist would be released the moment she knew if the maneuver worked or not. When one was small like she was, every advantage helped, and an opponent’s force was certainly her friend - Praetorum had taught her that.


word count: 431
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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"Yes, the white nothing beneath." Zemos said cheerfully as he threw another slap, which was deftly blocked. "It's where I come from, before I was put in the slave market. I have no memory of not being a slave." Zemos frowned a bit at that, but as he took a breather in the space between blows, he shrugged. "Master was a kind one, who I earned my freedom from in time." Smiling again, he asked her, "Do you know it? The white nothing?" Zemos buzzed in the back of his throat, as he tried to calm himself. Thoughts of the white nothing were dredging up feelings of anxiety, for whatever reason.

"I was a student. I have a diploma in toxicology!"" Zemos said, and then twisted his face in doubt as she mentioned being a researcher, but not a student. "You need at least a diploma to be an assistant researcher, do you not? What did you research?"

But at this point, her blow to his stomach landed, and he was thrown backward. He rolled with the force of the blow, rather than fight it, which afforded him some give and softened the strike slightly. But it still hurt. He had to cough and catch his breath on the ground, waiting for a moment, before rising back shakily to his feet. "You punch... well."

And then he launched into his next set of attacks once he'd recovered, which she side-stepped, using his own momentum to carry him past, and beyond her. It was almost as if she were a seasoned expert of Da'riya! Certainly there were similarities in the style she was employing.

The maneuver, whatever the case, had the intended effect that Elisabeth wished for, and he sailed past her, carried along with his own momentum as well as the force of her chop to his shoulder. As he felt the light blow upon his shoulder, he twisted in the opposite direction, launching a rear-kick toward her midsection.


word count: 334

Identity

Nzi'Fuma is going by the name Zemos until further notice

Marks

Yithnai: Nzi'Fuma has glowing green eyes.
Witchmarks and Mutations:
  • Dread Warpaint: Zemos' upper face has a darkened discoloration, like sticky tar to the touch. It resembles warpaint.
  • Flies and other insects tend to crawl over his body intermittently. Sometimes a maggot can be seen crawling over his skin.
  • He has a slight slowness to his speech, as if he struggles to keep his tongue low in his mandible.

Text Code

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Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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Arc 721, 20 Vhalar


Elisabeth listened as he confirmed what he had said to her. His words, however, had a jarring effect on the young woman. She had dealt with the topic of slavery before and knew it was common in Viden, but the very thought of it still made her blood boil. Practiced in discipline, she focused, trying not to let an indication of her feelings become visible, but it wasn't easy.

He knew kindness – that was important to her. When the man asked her if she was familiar with the white beneath, the young woman shook her head gently. It wasn't a term she recognized, but the frown he wore clued her into something deeper regarding it. Elisabeth hadn't meant to analyze him, but it was something she had a hard time controlling sometimes.

Her punch landed, and the man complimented her on it. The mage inclined her head in gratitude to him, giving a bit of a smile. "Thank you. I could teach you some if you'd like…." She gave the offer genuinely, and it was the first of its kind. Elisabeth had never taught anyone outside the guards of Haven, but if her opponent wished to learn, she would share what she knew.

She had to admit that some of the mechanics of the moves being employed were similar. Very similar. People often asked what form of unarmed combat she studied, and honestly, Elisabeth never had a good answer. The young woman learned whatever Balthazar or Praetorum taught her and wasn't sure if either subscribed to a single discipline. Hopefully, after their sparring session, she would get the chance to discuss what discipline her opponent used.

The shove to the shoulder landed, but what she didn't expect was the fluid kick to the mid-section that followed. Elisabeth got her hands up to block but was a trill too late. She did, however, have enough time to prepare her core for the hit, which was forceful enough to cause her to stumble back. Pushing his leg away, she regained her footing under her and immediately bounced back towards him. Moving her hands into a high guard, she aggressively began a series of open-handed strikes, targeting his midsection and torso, with the intent to see what he would do when pushed a bit.


word count: 393
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Zemos
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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So Begins the Slappening!



She didn't answer his question about what she'd researched. However, they [i[were[/i] in the middle of a play fight, and thus engaged in strenuous activity. So it was expected that they wouldn't converse at length during the fight. Fortunately for Elisabeth, her silence ensured her awareness and defenses were sharp, and she was able to attack and defend effectively for the most part. But she hadn't been expecting his blow to get through beneath her defenses toward the end.

Zemos almost felt a compulsion to apologize, but then stuffed it down. She'd offered to teach him some of what she knew and that was tempting. "Yes! Teach us!"

"YES BROTHER-FATHER! Let the snow woman teach us to fight!"


The Egg had spoken! It hadn't done so for over a season! Zemos was so elated by this, that rather than peel back his defenses, he engaged full force with his slapping assault. One hand reached forward, slapping her punches out of the way, one after another. None of the slaps made it through her defenses, but he probably was effectively blocking most of her own attacks. Still, she did land a few jabs here or there through his flurry of slapping blocks.

Zemos's eyes flew wide as she continued her fast assault with the fists, and his defenses were occupied on his upper body. However, his footwork was somewhat awkward with all the activity taking place above, and it'd seem to be easy to take him down with a low-kick or something similar.

"Slap slap slap slap, slap all the punches slap. Flap slap slap slap buzz buzz, slap!"


The Egg kept its insistence in tune with Zemos' motions, as he blocked one hit after another. He was feeling rather confident, even as his lower body exposed the weakness in his defenses.

Image
word count: 317

Identity

Nzi'Fuma is going by the name Zemos until further notice

Marks

Yithnai: Nzi'Fuma has glowing green eyes.
Witchmarks and Mutations:
  • Dread Warpaint: Zemos' upper face has a darkened discoloration, like sticky tar to the touch. It resembles warpaint.
  • Flies and other insects tend to crawl over his body intermittently. Sometimes a maggot can be seen crawling over his skin.
  • He has a slight slowness to his speech, as if he struggles to keep his tongue low in his mandible.

Text Code

Yithnain Suggestions
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User avatar
Elisabeth Black
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Re: [Proving Grounds - Combat Festival] Revenge of the Slap Master

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Arc 721, 20 Vhalar


Unarmed combat, like almost all combat arts, was an art. There was give and take - a natural flow of movement. Such things were often lost on the masses, but the way Elisabeth moved had a certain grace and fluidity to them, born of breaks and breaks of hard work and training. Balthazar and Praetorum brought power to their art, yet their student brought a certain visual elegance to hers.

The match was one of the more unusual ones the spectators were treated to, but something Elisabeth knew for sure was unusual, in combat, was often a good thing. It was easy to fall into bad habits when confronted with the same thing repeatedly. Zemos gave her a different look, and learning from that was valuable.

He seemed excited by the opportunity to learn from her, but Elisabeth was more focused on what his body was doing and a renewed slapping attack. Completely unaware of what was inside his mind, she needed to find a new tactic. It took her a brief trill to ascertain where the weakness was, and since she couldn’t forever sustain defending against the slaps, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Turning quickly, Elisabeth ducked under the slaps and swiftly attempted to take the man’s legs out from underneath him with a graceful sweep. By controlling the rate of the sweep, the young woman could, to a certain degree, control certain factors of the man’s fall. A quick, powerful sweep could take people clean off their feet, resulting in a hard fall. She knew well, having been on the receiving end of Balthazar’s sweeps for several seasons. Falls had a dynamic all their own.

Having no desire for the man to hit hard, she intentionally slowed the rate of her sweep. She wanted him down, certainly, but not violently.


word count: 313
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