12/9 A Lesson in Hardness

Dec 13th, 2019
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  1. Task says, "If Soren's festivity is still going on, there's a fair probability that it is the next target."
  2. Amshel Endore asks, "Let me guess... Elections?"
  3. Amshel Endore says, "Oh.."
  4. Audree Iessia says, "... I think the elections aren't their focus to ruin."
  5. Audree Iessia says, "At least one of those in the running is likely their own."
  6. Task says, "Indeed. They're far more likely to target candidates they wouldn't support than the actual institution itself."
  7. Audree Iessia says, "Meddling would just create suspicion."
  8. Audree Iessia says, "And if the whole election is shut down, they have lost an opportunity."
  9. Task says, "Exactly so."
  10. Amshel Endore says, "Hmm.. Not a definetive way to know but if the election process remains.. clean it could be their candidate is the one winning."
  11. Task says, "Subtlety is their friend and our enemy in this case."
  12. Audree Iessia says, "Even if whoever comes into power is not theirs, there is still the chance they can influence whoever it is."
  13. Task says, "Indeed. To many, coin speaks volumes. "
  14. Audree Iessia says, "They can create an ally, rather than having one from the get-go."
  15. Task says, "They know they can't win an open war against the city's forces....but they can rot it from the inside where armies can't easily march."
  16. Audree Iessia says, "Mhm."
  17. Task says, "....Ugh."
  18. Task says, "It's all so frustrating."
  19. Amshel Endore says, "I don't fear them.. I fear the insecurity they cause."
  20. Task says, "Were that all these would-be anarchists, dissidents, and criminal scum bore a single shared wrist for shackles."
  21. Task says, "But I suppose it wouldn't be a worthy effort if it was easy."
  22. Amshel Endore asks, "Hmmm.. what is known about the 'Death Knight' and the 'Watch hunter'?"
  23. Task says, "I've heard vague rumors of that death knight nonsense, though nothing concrete."
  24. Amshel Endore asks, "Not a single reported victim?"
  25. Audree Iessia says, "... Mmh."
  26. Task says, "The watch hunter however, that rumor I've taken more seriously. If members of the watch are being targeted, that's a problem. No victims reported yet."
  27. Task says, "I'll have Cameo and Yuri on the pursuit."
  28. Amshel Endore asks, "What about Pearl attacker?"
  29. Petris says, "<... Watch hunter?>"
  30. Task says, "Still being looked for."
  31. Task says, "With my four captains now in place, I can organize the efforts of the constabulary far more easily. We will not let them catch one of us off guard."
  32. Task says, "We will keep this city's people safe."
  33. Amshel Endore asks, "Oh? Who is the new captain?"
  34. Task says, "There's four I've appointed. Captain Stein of the market district, Captain Soren of Community Outreach, Captain Lionel of Sudsbury, and Captain Flint of the outskirts."
  35. Amshel Endore says, "Soren and Lionel are now captains? Hmm.. good good."
  36. Task says, "I still need a good fit for the noble district before I promote any others."
  37. Amshel Endore says, "I've never seen Flint."
  38. Task says, "He's got blue hair, been a constable as long as I was."
  39. Task says, "Fought at the Rhoynish festival and defeated a dissident."
  40. Task says, "I've put him in charge of foresting duty, banditry, troubles outside the city."
  41. Task says, "Believe he's establish his own regiment of Constabulary Rangers to fit the task."
  42. Amshel Endore asks, "Going back to the previous topic briefly.. Its there a possibility certain nobles may be working with them?"
  43. Task says, "There is always such a possibility."
  44. Task says, "Anything in this city is possible."
  45. Task says, "It is determining which of the improbable and probable that are actually true that is the problem."
  46. Robin lei Queen says, "Pssh."
  47. Task says, "Maintain constant vigilance, always have your eyes open Initiate Endore."
  48. Amshel nods.
  49. (Amshel Endore)
  50. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  51. Amshel Endore says, "I've been patrolling , recently out of the city checking for the rumored two."
  52. Iorandis Endore says, "Good grief..."
  53. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  54. Task says, "I won't keep you then. A fine work ethic, stay on the patrol and keep an eye out for any suspicous activity."
  55. Amshel Endore says, "Hmm.. Yes."
  56. Task says, "Stay safe, and if you find yourself overwhelmed by a superior combatant, find help if you can."
  57. Amshel Endore says, ".... I will have it in mind."
  58. Amshel Endore says, "Later."
  59. Task says, "Safe travels."
  60. Amshel Endore says, "Don't let them take you down, Commander."
  61. Task says, "No promises."
  62. Task says, "But I'll try."
  63. Amshel chuckles and nods.
  64. (Amshel Endore)
  66. Task whispers: ...If that watch killer...does get the best of me...
  67. Task whispers: I'm glad I spent the time with you that I did, Audree.
  68. Audree Iessia whispers: Ah. Don't say such a thing, now...
  69. Task whispers: Heh. Dangerous times, you never know what comes on the morrow.
  70. Task whispers: I don't fear death...I made that choice the day I joined the constabulary...
  71. Task whispers: ...But I do fear leaving you alone to handle the city's problems without me...
  72. Task whispers: But even if I pass....I know you can do it. I believe in you...in your ability...and yes, in your heart.
  73. Task whispers: If anyone can save this city from itself, it's the legendary knight Dame Iessia after all. The stories wouldn't lie.
  74. Audree Iessia whispers: Tch.
  75. Task whispers: Heheheh...
  77. Task whispers: Well, don't worry. I have plenty of reasons to want to be alive, good motivators in truth.
  79. Task whispers: Your beauty and company high amongst them.
  81. Task whispers: Separate articles naturally, organization is key!
  83. Task whispers: Besides, we have plenty of adventures to go on, I'll have to reschedule my death to my late fourties at the least. Too busy until then.
  85. Task whispers: Still, if I had to choose where my last moments would be spent...I am content by your side. Excellent view.
  86. Audree Iessia whispers: ... You flatter me endlessly, Task...
  87. Task whispers: Of course. I can think of no one better to flatter.
  88. Task whispers: And yet, I don't speak empty praise. Honesty is a virtue after all.
  89. Task says, "Evening Lady Astor."
  90. Estellise ven Astor says, "Ah, good evening, Commander Task. "
  91. Audree Iessia says, "... Noble miss, there was a Syndicate attack in this very spot in attempts to kidnap another alleged Noble. I'd exercise caution wandering."
  92. Estellise ven Astor says, "...Ah- Excuse me, Ser Iessia- Oh, ah- ..."
  93. Estellise ven Astor says, "I am- ... a Knight of the Order, you know ..."
  94. Audree Iessia says, "Of course- but you are also a target."
  95. Audree Iessia says, "Moreso than say I of common birth would be."
  96. Task says, "That arguably makes you twice as large of a target, actually."
  97. Estellise ven Astor says, "Mm- that, I cannot argue against. "
  98. Audree Iessia says, "I also have the Legendary Bald Commander at my side on duty, currently."
  99. Audree Iessia says, "You are welcomed to join us, if you wish."
  100. Task says, "..."
  101. Estellise ven Astor says, "--However, 'tis not ... simple wandering that I am doing. I came here to seek you out, Ser Iessia. "
  102. Task would snort.
  103. (Task)
  104. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  105. Audree Iessia asks, "-Oh?"
  106. She was sure that Audree was used to this kind of thing - She was a very powerful Knight of high combat prowess, after all. Day in and day out, Estellise was sure that the felinae Knight had people approach her asking this question again and again and again, and -- If she were to be rejected, the Noble girl would all but understand.
  108. "...If this is a request you receive all too often, I understand completely if I am turned away, however..."
  110. Taking in a deep breath, she steels her expression, squaring her shoulders.
  112. "You are all but a master in the art of manipulating metal, are you not … ? Have you … not be overwhelmed with these requests again and again, I would ask you … if you could impart some of the knowledge of it's use on me. I wish for nothing to be but an ideal sword and shield for Osrona, and to have the ability to manipulate the makings of those would be all but a boon."
  113. (Estellise ven Astor)
  114. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  115. Oh. About that? Her ears perk a slight when she speaks first of metal, and they do not fall as she continues. The Knight remains resolute in front of her kin, and speaks softly and flat in tone, as alack as ever in inflection.
  117. "I would be happy to- and. Truthfully, you are the first to ask. I know others have learned, but it was from another who I'm not very familiar with. As it is- I would very much be willing to impart my own knowledge on the matter."
  119. She almost sounds... vaguely excited as she creeps towards the end of her reply, that somebody has finally asked her for tutoring on her magic.
  120. (Audree Iessia)
  121. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  122. Task would smile lightly as his brown eyed gaze passed over Audree's visage, the slight quirks in her demeanor and tone far more apparent to the bald commander after as much time spent with her as he had. It was good to see Audree in a form of good spirits.
  124. "You couldn't ask for a better tutor than Dame Iessia. I'm certain she'll have you giving people booboos in the distance with chains in no time at all."
  125. (Task)
  126. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  127. -Ah?
  129. That was --- easier than expected. Audree was very strong - she was a strong and reknown Knight of the Order that was hard to best in combat. She'd watched the felinae spar, taking down competition with ease. Surely, she had people lining up to learn how to use the abilities she easily felled foes with ---
  131. But … that does not seem to be the case.
  133. "T- truly?" She questions, stammering in something like shock. "Ah -- I would be more than honoured to be your first student, then. I have seen you in combat -- And, if I could become even a fraction as skilled as you, I would have no fear in wandering into Messaris on my own."
  134. (Estellise ven Astor)
  135. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  136. Somebody was poaching all her potential students, frustratingly enough...! And so the only proper teaching experience she had was teaching Task... to read...
  138. But she could change that now, and no doubt would Estellise get nothing but Audre's best!
  140. "Please. You flatter me. But it is a strong magic, and I'm certainly happy to spread it to an Order sister. Whenever you might like to seek me out, don't be shy."
  142. She pauses, and then glances around.
  144. There's... really not anything going on right now anyway. The watching out has been quiet. The Syndicate are probably too cautious to make another move after last night's attack...
  146. "Even if you might like a lesson now."
  147. (Audree Iessia)
  148. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  149. Task would smile a missing toothed grin as he crossed his sinewed arms over the purple plate of his cuirass and the navy wool of his watchman's cloak, puffing a light cloud of minty smoke up towards the distant horizon of the city outskirts as he flecked his gaze briefly between Audree and the Lady Astor. The mental image of frightening away uneducated criminal scum through sudden academic clearly amused the commander.
  151. "I wouldn't mind watching you teach Dame Iessia. If you need a practice dummy for any of your demonstrations, I volunteer wholeheartedly."
  152. (Task)
  153. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  154. It was appreciated that Task offered to be the training dummy for her lessons -- If she were to fight Audree, she surely would fall within seconds. Her prowess in combat was … lacking, and her only true skill was with the power of the cosmos that blessed her blood.
  156. Lips turning up into an excited smile, her squared shoulders relax just slightly, and she gives a curt nod.
  158. "If you are available to leave your post -- I would love to have a lesson now. Lead the way to where you would like to teach, and I will follow!"
  159. (Estellise ven Astor)
  160. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  161. Audree claps loudly, once- and then leads onwards!
  162. (Audree Iessia)
  163. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  165. Task says, "As scenic a place as any."
  166. The sparring grounds are quite full, and so she goes to another place that she most definitely knows about and doesn't have to be lead to at all...
  168. Into the castle, with a flash of badge to some idling guard and quick passage through into the sprawling castle.
  170. Their sparring grounds is much more neatly maintained anyway, with padding atop sand to allow much more rough exercise and less impactful raw damage to the surroundings. It is a fine place.
  172. "Wonderful." She flatly chimes, as they break into the well-lit open. It's so nice to not be totally in the dark in somewhere like this.
  174. "Now, of course. I begin by asking how intimate your earth knowledge and attunement is."
  176. Seemingly unrelated, there's an old and worn sheath she procures from beneath her cloak, and showly draws backwards, offering the handle to the fellow Knight.
  178. This blade... looks ancient. Kissed with rust, all inscription worn away, the blade dull and the point barely one at all.
  180. "And hold this."
  181. (Audree Iessia)
  182. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  183. Following her fellow Knight and the Commander into the barrack's sparring grounds, something like anxiety swirls in her stomach. ---She had just been promoted recently, had just shown something like worth to the Radiant. Still -- she was weak. She was not good at fighting. If she fell here and made a fool of herself . . . Would she just embarrass herself?
  185. Reaching out, she takes the old, rusted blade -- it was something that could barely be called a sword. Looking down at it, she nods.
  187. "I'm … somewhat of a beginner in the ways of Earth magic. I have been able to attune to the ground below -- It helps to think of myself as a conduit between the Heavens and the Earth. The stars above and the ground below … that is what I have been able to attune my mana towards. ...However, aside from that, as well as small bits of stone manipulation … that is as far as my abilities in Earth magic go."
  188. (Estellise ven Astor)
  189. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  191. [00:51] Task would follow along to the part of the castle that he definitely hadn't visited illegally with some of his cadet buddies a few years back. That would be ridiculous, unjust, and all around just plainly malevolent. No, best to not even think of such a notion, it would be entirely corruptive and offense to the mind of any just citizen.
  193. Stopping within the center of the expansive sparring grounds, Task would smile in light recognition to the rusted blade as he glanced over its form, taking a long, thoughtful puff from his corncob pipe as he mulled over the familiar sight.
  195. "Just like polishing the rust off that blade, anyone's attunement can be refined with enough due diligence and practice. That you have a connection to speak of at all is already an excellent step in the process, Lady Astor."
  196. (Task)
  197. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  198. "As good a start as any." She hums lightly as this sword is accepted, tucking the sheath somewhere back away into her belt. "This sword was where my affinity for the feeling of metal was born. It's a relic- given to my by my Knight, and given to him by his who recruited and tutored him. It may have an even longer lineage than that. But it's a gift, old and worn for generations of service."
  200. She fondly regards the old, rusted piece of shit for a moment longer before drawing her own, and stretching it to a comparable distance.
  202. "This sword is, by all accounts, better in every way. But even still, I cannot bend it, shape it, or harden and steady it so readily and suddenly as my old companion you hold- and that is the first lesson that came to me of my own understanding, using that rusty thing for so many years.
  204. Familiarity. Metal has very few shapes that work to both efficiency and function that you can swell up, and even in masteryyou'll find yourself leaning on familiar concepts and ideas rather than creating on the fly in a combat situation. The easiest thing to begin with is the idea of a spear, or a lance. A wide base, fine point- something of a massive, intimidating projectile. But in creation, it is a simple beast, like many rudimentary elemental spells.
  206. So this is where I would suggest you begin in two ways. Whatever you prioritize is your own choice. We'll tackle the other together in another lesson. One is to learn and refine the shape of a hurled lance first as an earthen object, and the second is the familiarity of where your mana feels to mesh with the feeling of this soft, worn blade, and begin to learn an affinity to metal as a whole through that."
  208. Finally, the Felinae provides an example! She turns to the side and hurls a metal lance into existence.
  210. It jabs into the nearest wall after spiraling a ways away.
  211. (Audree Iessia)
  212. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  213. It was somewhat overwhelming, being taught in this way with so many words and so many concepts. As a scion of House Astor, she was born with the power of the Stars. Lessons like this were never something that she had to take - She had never had to conceptualize the power of the stars, to bend and shape her mana into it's will. It simply was that way - Her blood alight with the blessing of the Rosegold star for generations and generations and generations.
  215. -- But, for those same generations and generations and generations, her family had been Knights. They were the swords and the shields of Osrona - guardians of blade and bulwark.
  217. Delicate fingertips brush at the ornate rapier at her side - an heirloom weapon of House Astor passed down to her upon her ascension to Knighthood.
  219. Azure eyes flit closed for a moment, and she focuses on the felinae's old, rusted blade. -- While the image of a lance as an earthen object was typical for understanding the manipulation of metal, she felt more familiarity with fusing her mana with the sword at her side.
  220. (Estellise ven Astor)
  221. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  222. Task would nod along thoughtfully to the lesson as his tired, brown eyed gaze flicked between Audree and Lady Astor, puffing away on his corncob pipe as minty smoke idly drifted from his form up towards the rafters of the barracks. The idea of familiarity with one's focus and catalyst was a universally beneficial topic of practice for growth, especially in any form of magic that shaped the physical, or non-physical, into solid shapes and stable forms.
  224. Sadly, he was not impaled by the demonstrative lance that would proceed to jab hardily into the nearby stone wall, the commander making an idle note to himself to ask the radiant if they had permits for such undocumented metal fixtures.
  226. Right, lesson.
  228. "As an energy magi myself, the fundamentals represented within these lessons were critical to my advancement. Think of the flow of your mana as countless malleable nodes, infinite and requiring an artisan's hand to shape. The ore that is smelted down tobecome the alloyed metals is much the same, countless bits forming a greater mass. When you learn to weave your mana much like cloth and a thread, grow attuned to that which you seek to mold, it will all come together."
  229. (Task)
  230. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  231. She speaks quite at length compared to her humble showing of the magic itself, but as they take a quiet moment to compartmentalize their thoughts and attend to the thoughtful and careful considerations that lead to a slow build of understanding that lead to the opening of this path.
  233. "Mhm. The fundamentals of magic rarely change, even as vastly different as each may be from the last. We understand the feel of mana coursing through an object, and the affinity that comes with the slow learning of the way in which it does. Metal is something, as an extension of earth, very much all around us in daily life. It's something easy to ignore, to mute yourself to the focused feeling of. We put strength into our bodies to wield weaponry, but we rarely take to heart those cheesy old saying like... 'allowing it to truly be an extension of yourself'.
  235. The flow of mana is the start of that. Finding the synergized shape to form it from your pure mana is many steps ahead of that, however."
  237. The Felinae pauses from another round of rambling to outstretch the same hand that had spawned a lance, and from her clutched fist swells a buffet of wispy pure mana that eventually coagulates like magnetized air into a link of chain, with another forming beneath it in quick succession until it spirals weightily on the ground at her feet and coils.
  239. "Something as simple as this chain is the intricate and powerful peak of basic metal magic's offensive capabilities. It is, in the hands of the learned, capable of binding any magi still, regardless of the power imbalance between the two. At least for a little while."
  240. (Audree Iessia)
  241. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  242. It was -- still, somewhat overwhelming. Audree spoke so many words with so much meaning, but Estellise listening to her with baited breath. She --- wasn't sure how much she understood, but the basics of the lesson were ringing through. She understood, somewhat, that the tempered metal of the blade was something that came from the Earth itself - if she could attune to the stone of the earth below, she could attune to the steel of a blade that was once that very stone.
  244. Nodding, her she clasps her hand around the hilt of her rapier, drawing it before letting her arm rest at her side.
  246. "I -- believe I understand the fundamentals of what you speak. Manipulating metal is … an extension of manipulating the ground. The metal comes from the ground -- and, can be returned to it with the right effort, yes … ?"
  248. She gives a hum of contemplation, corners of her eyes narrowing in thought.
  250. "And -- with that, manipulation of a sword or lance already formed … ah, should be the next logical step … ?"
  251. (Estellise ven Astor)
  252. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  254. [01:45] Task would give a thumbs up to Audree in the background, offering a supportive wink.
  255. (Task)
  256. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  258. [01:52] "Making it harder. Much harder."
  260. She raises a hand, and a finger, almost like a teacher about to instill a student with a vital answer to one of their questions.
  262. "Like when a fledgling magi first begins to feel in touch with the earth, their conjurations will be more like surface dirt, dust and such, than hard weaponized rock. The metal you will be able to work up at first will be much like the sword I handed you- soft, brittle, fundamentally incapable of functional use."
  264. And that, without having to clarify, explains why it is of better use to her for this demonstration than either of their much finer weaponry. Her better sword still rests at her hip, after all!
  266. "But unlike earth, the gap between soft and hard is much, much steeper here. Metal innately takes a much greater amount of focus and effort behind it to reach potential. The amount of concentration to normalize oneself, and familiarity one's manamust find in the element are far greater.
  268. But at it's core, it's still very much like earth."
  269. (Audree Iessia)
  270. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  272. [02:03] Task would smile warmly as he watched Dame Iessia explain in-depth to her impromptu noble student the depths and intricacies of her magical proficiency, a missing toothed grin spreading wide at the sight of the woman displaying such enthusiasm in her efforts. The felinae knight almost always had something on their plate determined to bug them, it was nice to see them able to expend their efforts in a positive manner that didn't require crippling depression or injured civilians.
  274. "One must learn to crawl before standing, to walk before learning to run. Each step is integral to the prior, and due to that, each successful leap will further familiarize you with the sense of attunement you require. Constant diligence and practice are key in all forms of mastery, all forms of magic, metal merely takes the terminology of sharpening one's abilities in a more literal sense."
  276. The bald commander would nod firmly, taking a long, thoughtful drag from his corncob pipe as he glanced over to Dame Iessia, thoroughly entranced by the lesson even if he didn't have any current ambition to master metalmancy. She was an excellent lecturer regardless!
  278. "Think of metal as shinier, stabbier dirt. It all comes from somewhere, and anything physical can be manipulated with enough effort."
  279. (Task)
  280. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  281. The manipulation of metal, a type of magic that is not often seen but he has experienced it courtesy of another brethren. It has always bothered him that there is such a magic that reminds him of the Rhoynur defeat, the one of metal that forges chains to bind his people.
  283. Arthmael turns and walks out of the arena, knowing that it will seem suspicious if he were to observe a noble's entire training routine from the safety of proper distance. There are eyes everywhere behind these walls of the city.
  284. (Arthmael Dioltas)
  285. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  286. Listening further, she nods. ...She's beginning to understand the basic concept of it, to take what she knows of the earth and take what she knows of using a blade as an extension of your body and to combine them - To pull the hardness, the sharpness of a sword and a shield from the ground itself, to use it as a weapon.
  288. Giving a step back, she looks over the Commander and the Knight.
  290. "...Would you mind, terribly, giving me an example? Commander Task had offered to be a partner in sparring, and seeing you use it in action will surely help in my understanding."
  291. (Estellise ven Astor)
  292. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  293. Audree passes a glance over to Task, and offers something blessedly short compared to her rambles of just a minute ago. "If you would?"
  294. (Audree Iessia)
  295. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  297. [02:26] Task would smile toothily, bowing his head respectfully to Lady Astor before turning his head to Audree with a firm nod.
  299. "Do you want me to just stand still in take it? Or actually fight back? I'm good with either, honestly. Offense and defense need some work if I'm going to avoid being shivved to death in the sewers."
  300. (Task)
  301. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  302. Estellise ven Astor says, "Ah - please, do your best."
  303. Audree Iessia says, "It probably would be a better lesson seen in motion."
  304. Estellise ven Astor says, "I'd like to see the manipulation of Metal in it's truest action. "
  305. Task says, "With certainty. Then I shall put forth an honest effort."
  306. Task says, "Do not be shocked when Audree beats the stuffing out of me though. She's quite something."
  307. Audree Iessia asks, "Tsk. Have you even seen me spar...?"
  308. Task says, "Of course. It's one of my new favorite pastimes."
  309. Audree Iessia says, "... Right."
  310. Task says, "Slightly above combat knitting."
  311. -
  312. Task says, "I think I quite like fighting you more than just watching."
  313. Audree Iessia says, "Most people seem to disagree."
  314. ask says, "Most people are sissies."
  315. Audree Iessia asks, "Fair, I guess... ?"
  317. Estellise watches with baited breath...!!
  318. (Estellise ven Astor)
  319. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  320. Estellise clap clap clap!
  321. (Estellise ven Astor)
  322. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  323. And so it is, then...! That Audree's horribly obnoxious ability to chain people down claims another victim. Rather that it is just her style, or an explicit effort to showcase the magic, Audree makes full use of wonderfully formed spears and a constant snapping array of almost snake-like chains that whip and grasp for Task's dangerous appendages, holding him still and vulnerable to the Felinae's none too underestimated martial prowess.
  325. A battle it is, back and forth, chains breaking as she flows from one magical effort into the next, but most of each found combining into a flow of constant interruption and aggression.
  327. It is quite the dangerous tool in learned hands- but even at her level of mastery, it's clear that chain link is only at it's strongest for those first few seconds of existence. The chaos of battle would make it far too draining to give some other effort while continuing to keep them unnaturally sturdy enough to hold an enemy magi.
  329. It is good insight into the understanding of it.
  331. Audree finishes up the fight with one last binding, catching Task in a desperation dash at her and tripping him flat on his face! Oof! But she is quick over to hook an arm under his and help him up.
  333. "Well fought, Commander. Thank you for the demonstration."
  334. (Audree Iessia)
  335. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  336. With the battle at hand, the clash of fist and blade begins with a glorious crescendo of clanking metal, resounding thuds, and the exchange of raw energy and hardened metal in a clash of physical and ethereal might. Task would not hold back against Audree; no, to do so would be to dishonor his closest companion. The bald commander would deliver concussive pugilism and barrages of raw kinetic energy in an combative exchange.
  338. Yet, it was clear Audree was the stronger of the pair. Each blow exchanged was returned with vicious strength, and more than a few times was Task required to harden his body to withstand the impressive strength of the felinae knight. His constitution was worn down progressively, and before long the battle was decided.
  340. Tripping to the ground unceremoniously from the chains, Task would only snort in laughter as his arm was hooked and he was risen to the ground, giving a theatric bow to Lady Astor before flashing a missing toothed, warm grin to Audree as he continued to laugh.
  342. "It was a pleasure Dame Iessia. Now that was a fight! Haven't had that much of a thrill since I started boxing with Cameo. It was exhilarating, feel slightly less dead than usual."
  345. (Task)
  346. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  347. Seeing the manipulation of metal in action solidified Audree's teachings. While it wasn't Estellise herself strengthening the sharpness and swiftness and hardness of the earth, she saw the felinae do so - She felt the surge of steel-cold mana with each javelin, with each slash of chains.
  349. ...The application was, still, somewhat overwhelming. Trying this hard to manipulate and change and utilize magic … it wasn't something that was easy for her. Again -- the Cosmos was a natural boon of her Noble blood.
  351. But --
  353. --- This was a start.
  355. "Thank you, Ser Issia -- That display was wonderful! If I could have a fraction of the prowess that you do, I'm sure that I never again would be in danger. ...I'm beginning to understand the fundamentals. Thank you, again -- for this lesson."
  356. (Estellise ven Astor)
  357. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  358. "Of course." She gives Task a slight of a bow, and then cuts some of the distance between her and her new student before she makes the same gesture, and then sheathes her blade, looking to trade back the old side-thing that she was offering earlier to hold as an example to find the feeling of it.
  360. "And I am glad to shed any light on the matter. Take your time in mulling over everything today, and come find me again when you think we might move onto something a little more hands-on. Another lesson for another time."
  362. She manages a small smile to trail off with. It would take quite a few, but Audree was confident- in herself as a teacher, and in Estellise as a student.
  363. (Audree Iessia)
  364. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  365. Estellise ven Astor exclaims, "Yes-!! I will!"
  366. Task says, "Were that all lessons so filled with action, I might have actually gone to school."
  368. ---
  369. Task would quietly return to patrol as he mulled over the lesson, and on the day's chatter in general. The streets were becoming more dangerous by the day with the syndicate menace abroad, and the bald commander knew he wasn't strong enough to defeat any criminal he came across. He could punch things pretty hard, and he was getting a grasp of energy magic, but against the resolve of hardened magi criminals he oft appeared like a novice.
  371. The bald commander would flatten his palm lightly on a whim as he curved the top and bottom, glancing at his callouses for a time with his tired, brown eyed gaze before humming to himself in contemplation. The lesson today on hardness, concentration of mana, perhaps it didn't need to purely be a nice way to spend time with Dame Iessia. The pugilist already knew how to harden his body through the concentration of spirit, to turn his calloused fists into brutal bludgeons of justice.
  373. But the technique was...clunky. Hardening the body made it unmalleable, an unmoving mass of iron with the perfect defense, but no offense to speak of. An immovable object that served as a doubled edged sword and last resort for martial artists. The iron body. Yet, the concepts of hardening aligned with Dame Iessia's tutelage on the weaving of metal, on the concentration of hardness in particular places to refine it as a tool.
  375. The bald commander was not a swordsmen, but his physique could compare. His hands were just as worn and calloused, if not moreso from his pugilism.
  377. Maintaining the curve of his palm, Task would whistle a thoughtful tune as he focused briefly, hardening his palm in that curvature, a more targeted application of muscle control and spiritual aura that still provided the perfect defense.
  379. And perhaps, the perfect offense.
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