Fable - Ask A Spectral Howl

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Fucking hell how had this girl even survived this long? When he knocked the blade away this time he did it with a touch more force than was necessary but maybe it would wake her up to have a sting in her wrist.

"Come on, Chas, get angry," the word was a bitten off snarl. Anger prowled constantly at the very edge of Davi's entire being ready to strike at any moment. Sometimes it got so vast he thought his skin would burst from it. Imagining others didn't have the same kind of thing was incomprehensible. Everybody had something.

"What would make you mad?" He stepped forward. Slash. "If I hit you?" Step. Slash. "One of your friends?" Another step. Slash. "What if I went and fetched a puppy and slit its little throat it in front of you?" Another step. Slash.
  • Stressed
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Chasmine wasn't entirely certain if she should be taken aback by Davi's aggression or not. Some part of her thought she'd seen this from him before - when he got picked on by others, but that made no sense here and now where she had merely come to him for help. Why was he lashing out at her?

To her credit, she didn't flinch. Chas had taken a lot of abuse - much more than most if it really came down to it - over the years here. She didn't especially fear pain or the threat thereof, but his biting words cut deeper than his sword ever would.

"I can't-" she frowned, having a near opposite problem from Davi. Anger was a constant simmer for him; but for her she needed her calm. His first slash was met with wide eyes and a quick dodge, her frown deepening as he continued to advance. Chasmine's footwork was perhaps the only exceptional part of her skill repertoire when it came to the duel, she was hard to hit.

Clang. Her sword caught his second slash and her foot stepped back as he continued his advance.

CLANG. Again.

This one glanced off her blade and skated across her lower arm, slicing through her shirt and quickly drawing blood. Chas gasped and took two more steps back, imposing space.

"Davi," she harped gently at him, saddened by his words but not yet near tears, "if cruelty made me mad, would I not be already?" Should have been a walking time bomb if it did. Few knew cruelty like the one that continued to disappoint. The one that didn't belong. She phased for a brief moment before him, a wispy sort of hiss hitting the air as her arm and blood dissipated into the ephemeral ether, her return to the corporeal leaving her sliced limb fully healed though the tear remained in her shirt.

Chas adjusted her grip on her sword, took a step forward, and resumed her ready stance. This time she did not dither, but instead moved swiftly into her strikes practiced in the twilight hours with an unseen mentor in a hidden graveyard in the forest.
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Well, she had a point there.

If the Proctors had failed to install that switch within her then Davi never would, especially not in a single sparring session. At least she was beginning to put a bit of force behind her swing now and they weren't clumsy things either, though they were certainly a different style to the usual Dreadlords he sparred.

"If it's not cruelty, if it's not anger, then what are you fighting for?" he asked simply, cocking his head to one side. "Because you're told to isn't enough. It won't save your life, and it won't save anyone elses."
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A question of questions. What was she fighting for?

Truth be told, Chasmine did not like fighting. She did not want to cause harm to anyone, but even Chas knew that at some point she would have no choice. It was harm or be harmed. If she had to protect her fellow students could she? Would she? Now that their lives were no longer on the line she'd had next to no opportunity to play hero. If not for the revolution, she very much doubted she'd be here to do so anyway.

"I...honestly Davi," Chas stopped her strikes, blinking at him in a naked show of uncertainty, "I never believed I'd live this long to have a reason to fight."
  • Stressed
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Davi fumbled a curse as his blade met no resistance and he had to pull the attack back from cleaving the girls head from her body. Her answer was in no way satisfying either, not least because she echoed his own deep rooted insecurities. Every day he was amazed he opened his eyes. With a grunt he abruptly put his blade away then folded his arms over his chest.

"You don't have to stay in the Academy you know. The... new government said. You're free to go,"
of course most initiates had thought this was just a trap, some kind of sick test and so had stayed, but a few had gone to pastures new. One had ever set up her own florist shop. "You won't improve until you find what makes you want to fight."
  • Bless
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Chas held her guard stance loosely, watching him as he put away his weapon. A level sense of dumbstruck confusion hit her - why was he putting his sword away? Was the spar over? She hadn't drawn blood - though she supposed she could do it now. He was off his guard, his sword was away, it would be so easy to swat at him and check off that box. Somehow that seemed very unsportsman-like and rude.

She blinked doe-y eyes the color of strained peaches at the boy and lowered her sword, "That's very kind of you..." Chas offer him a smile about as balanced as a tower of poorly stacked library books, wavering dangerously close to a full-blown mental cascade, "to think I will make it to graduation."

A sigh followed, smile disappearing as she contemplated her present failure at what had seemed such a simple task, "When I find it, will you help me again?"
Kress was she going to cry? He actually took a step back as though he imagined the sudden flood that was brewing in those dewy eyes might somehow gush out like a tsunami and catch him in it. He had enough difficulty dealing with the own fucked up state of his mind after years of torture, he wasn't sure he had the emotional growth to deal with another's. He offered a very nervous smile back and prayed it didn't set her off.

"There's only a few months left, less than a year," it was a mantra he repeated to himself when he stitched up this cut or iced that bruised rib. Once he had that piece of paper he was truly free. To her question however he turned more serious and gave a quick nod. "Of course." He went as it to turn away to get his things then paused and glanced back over at her with a thoughtful expression.

"Not everyone fights because they're broken or enjoy pain. Maybe your reason is something... new, for a Dreadlord."

He lingered a moment longer as if pondering on it himself then shook himself and went to grab his things and leave.
  • Cthuulove
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That was certainly a statement worth remembering, and Chasmine most assuredly would. It struck her with a profoundness that certainly had no recent equal to anything any Proctor had said to her. She blinked, alarmed at his receding form, "Davi!" and trotted after him until she caught up. Rounding to his front, bangs flying wildly around wide eyes, she dipped forward to wrap her free arm around his middle and gave him a firm but gentle hug.

"Thank you."

And then just as quickly withdrew, fixing him with a grateful smile.
  • Scared
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Davi stood dumbfounded and alarmed, his arms raised well away from her as she clutched at his middle. What the fuck was that? Panic began to swell along with confusion and... Kress was that some kind of... warmth towards her? He was relieved when she finally left go and he snatched up his things like there was a fire under him.

"Sure, no problem," he coughed, tying his best to sound cool despite the flood of heat to his cheeks. Quickly marching his way out of the arena he soon found a release for all these uncomfortable emotions by decking the first poor soul to cross his path with enough force to send them sprawling. Then, shaking out his bruised hand and muttering about hugs being sprung on him, he skulked back to his room.
  • Cthuulove
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Two days later (the WEEKEND)

Late afternoon, while the Academy halls were relatively quiet, Chasmine set off to the west wing of the complex ... precisely where girls weren't supposed to be. It was easy enough for her given the means in which she was able to travel, avoiding the Proctors on hall duty, walking through walls and doors that were meant to be locked against intrusion.

It was here that she stepped through the wall and into the dorm of what she thought belonged to Sable, only to find herself walking in on a much younger student she'd never met before. He jumped, yelped, and stumbled out of his chair pointing at her - "WHAT THE- FUCKING GHOST!?"

"Hi," Chas offered him brightly with a wave, "you're not Sable."


"I'm looking for Sable. He's...mm, very tall and smells faintly of pinecones."


"Barrier magic."

"D-down," the boy looked around wild-eyed at the strangeness of the conversation.


He nodded.

A few moments later Chasmine Grey phased through the ceiling of Sable Pembroke's dorm and plopped onto the floor in a heap with an "oof!"
  • Wonder
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Weekends were nice. They still took a level of getting used to after having things as they were for the last...well, always, but their introduction after the revolution was certainly not something Sable had turned his nose up to. It actually gave him time to catch up on his reading, after all.

Yes, as he sat atop his bed, book in hand and warm cup of cocoa to his side, he sighed contentedly. This was nice. Quiet. Peaceful.


"Gods--Lords and--what in the ever loving--" And other such half-baked attempts at expletives, sputtered in dumbfounded shock.

The book leapt from his hand, the cocoa sloshed every which way and nearly spilled, and Sable scrambled to figure out what in all of Arethil just--oh, it was Chasmine. Comprehension was still filing in.
"Oh! Chasmine, what..." She'd fallen through the ceiling. "...how..." Phasing powers. "...why?" Drawing blanks on that one. Reason was a nebulous concept with Chas, and it was never a dull moment when she was about.

Sable sighed, slightly exasperated. "...are you alright? Do I need to bandage anything?"
"Oh-" Chas awkwardly picked herself up off the floor, the loose hair from her braid a veritable feathery, poofy halo hanging about her face. She collected herself and gently cleared her throat, "ahm - hello Sable, may I bother you for a sword duel?"

Chas blinked, smiled, and held up her sword with a swish.
  • Smug
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Sable marked his book and closed it, set his cocoa and book on his end table, then hung his legs over the end of his bed. The sudden appearance of a sword briefly set him on edge once again, but he reminded himself that the person holding it was Chasmine. He reached forward and brushed some of the stray hair out of her eyes.

"A...sword duel? Is this a colichemarde? I didn't know any of the smiths made these anymore." Curiosity struck him. Chas wasn't usually the type to go looking for duels, and he imagined her new and mysteriously acquired weapon might've had something to do with it. "I will admit that the mace is more my speed, but I've never been one to turn down a sparring challenge. Were you thinking now, or...?"
  • Bless
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A bright smile lighted Chasmine's face when Sable recognized her sword, "Henk helped me find it in the armory. It is quite old and the only one we could find, so I think you are probably right." Didn't seem a popular style anymore so it would not have been surprising to find that most smiths didn't bother making them.

"Now would be an ideal time, it is a waxing gibbous," she nodded and looked thoughtful before glancing at his drink and book, "But if you can't right now, I'd be happy to drop in again tomorrow."
  • Popcorn
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Ah, Henk. One of the more helpful initiates, so far as Sable knew. Kind of him to aid Chas, though her motivation for all of this was still a mystery.

"A...'waxing gibbous.'" Right. Sable counted himself lucky to be a reader. "I don't know what the moon has to do with it, but now is fine! I think I've read this one already, anyways."

Sable downed the rest of his cocoa and dug under his bed to pull out a wooden case and a cloth-wrapped object. He opened each, the first revealing a well-made, but simple arming sword, meant to be wielded alongside a shield; the second contained a much larger claymore, a two handed weapon.
"I've got a bit of a collection, if you'd like to pick for me. Fair is fair, after all." He offered, pointing to each of the swords, as well as his flanged mace that sat atop a display rack on the wall of his room.
  • Bless
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Chasmine's brows raised slightly at the procured weapons and she smiled at the thought of Sable referring to them as a collection. The idea of collecting things struck her fondly and she rocked onto the balls of her feet as she leaned to peer at the options, "What a raven you are. That one, I think?" A pale hand pointed to the arming sword.

Fair wasn't the way of the world, this she knew, but Sable was now the second student to give her the opportunity at it. Strange how they did when not but several months ago it would never have been considered.
  • Popcorn
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A raven? Sable didn't quite catch the meaning, but he took it as a complement by Chas' tone and chose not to further engage with it. Instead, Sable simply grinned and took up the arming sword, as well as the familiar, thick slab of molded steel that was his shield.

"A fine choice," He noted, tucking the sword into a sheathe and strapping it to his waist. "'tis a noble weapon, and a good match for a smallsword like yours. Shall we make for the dueling grounds?"
  • Ctuhlu senpai
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"I think so," Chasmine replied brightly with a short look about the room, "I would prefer not to see your belongings ruined on account of an errant swing."

That would just be awful.

The sparing grounds.

As this was now her second duel, Chasmine felt slightly less unsure of herself and only a modicum more assured in what was expected of her. Davi had been a good place to start, she'd come to decide after some time to think on her duel with him. Though he'd caught her off-guard with his anger, it had the effect he'd hoped for. While she had yet to determine what it was she was fighting for, Chasmine felt more strongly than ever in doing right by Proctor Basmarc.

She wanted to make him proud, however unlikely that outcome was.

Chas stepped out onto the open arena, noting that there were several other Initiates milling about nearby and a few others embarked within their own duels or practice. They were drawing some curious glances, but nothing of an actual audience ... yet.

"I have not practiced with anyone using a shield," Chasmine admitted as she drew her colichemarde and made her ready stance, "but I suppose you are rather a larger target than Davi."
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"Ha! But of course." Sable concurred, ever a fan of Chasmine's antics and odd way of thinking. "I'll just need a moment to suit up."
With a bit of help, Sable would don some of his armor and be ready for their match. Not his full plate that he wore on missions, but some of the pieces at least.

A hop, skip, and a jump later, the familiar sight of the sparring rings were before the duo once again. Sable stepped proudly up to the far side of the ring that Chas had picked, rolling his shoulders and stretching his neck as he did.

He drew the short arming sword he'd brought along and clutched his shield, taking up a firm stance of his own.
"With the weapon you've got, you'll want to find a way around my shield and strike at the weak points between my armor. Agility is your greatest ally against a larger opponent." Sable advised with a confident grin. "On your ready, Chas!"
Chasmine turned a pale look to the much larger boy, blinking at his words of encouragement and advice.

"I appreciate your help Sable," she replied kindly, "do you always inform your opponent how best to combat you?"

A beat, a thought before gently adding: "That seems unwise."

At least for opponents that were not Chasmine Grey.

She gave him a once-over look, the customary sizing up her foe that looked more as if she might be about to ask him if he'd considered tying sprigs of thyme to his boots to make them lighter than giving the Initiate any real study of his form. But given that Davi had seemed quite perturbed that she had not volunteered the first strike in their duel, Chas thought it appropriate that this time she give that whole method a go.

Get around his shield and strike at the weak points.

Chas swished the tip of her blade to point at his shield, and then promptly took off at Sable at a brisk run. Instead of meeting him head-on with a charged strike, the girl evaporated from the tangible world at the last moment and ran straight through him, stopped upon crossing through his back, returned to her corporeal form and moved to give Sable a swift thwack across his buttocks with her sword.
  • Haha
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Sable nodded his acknowledgement of Chas' thanks.
"Hardly! I thought it unsporting not to give you at least a tip. I rarely see you at combat practice," he answered cheerfully. The titan loved a good fight, of course, and generally respected his opponents enough to never hold back. This was, however, a practice match, and there was no honor in crushing someone under those pretenses.

Of course, Chas would immediately surprise Sable with her opening strategy. Without warning she rushed him. Sable hoisted his shield and took a guarded stance, but rather than following through she simply continued on through him. Right, spectral powers. Before Sable could fully wheel about he felt--and heard--the smack across his backside. His whole body stiffened in shock for a moment, then he laughed. Ever the unpredictable one, she was.

"Very good! Proctor D'Amour would be proud!" Sable acknowledged the feat, recalling how their snowy haired teacher put such emphasis on mixing magic and swordplay. Chas would also need to know how to play defense, however. "Now, how's this?!"

The imposing initiate wheeled about, swinging the flat of his arming sword at Chasmine's head. Meanwhile, a thin wall of amber energy formed at ground level, no taller than her ankles, and rushed towards her feet. How would she respond to a one-man pincer attack?
In the moment, Chasmine's instinctual reaction was probably good. She lifted her colichemarde to block the incoming sword, but did not see the energy tripwire.

All at once her feet went out from under her and the two swords clashed. One second she was standing guarded, the next she was on the ground with pieces of her colichemarde sprinkled around her. The old sword had shattered upon impact.

Chas hung there, wide-eyed, for several moments as the stars continued to circle her vision.
  • Scared
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For a moment, Sable's brain struggled to realize exactly what had just happened. He'd only intended to attack with a mildly tricky opening to acclimate Chas to their spar, but in an instant he'd inadvertently laid her out and broken her weapon into fragments.

"Oh, blazes! Chas, are you alright?!"

Sable was kneeling next to her in only a second, assessing her for injuries and digging into his first aid pouches in his belt. His eyes caught the hilt Chas still clutched and a pang of guilt shot through him.

"Ah, Kress, I hadn't meant for that to happen!"
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Her pale hands were indeed clutching that hilt as though it were her single anchor to the living realm and should she loosen her grip for an instant ... well. Of course, no such reality existed in that moment, but that's how it felt to her. Proctor Basmarc had informed her on the old sword's tenuous relation with its own wholeness.

It will kill, once.

He'd known from the start the weapon would not last, but the fragility of its age represented something else that Chasmine could not properly put into words.

"Oh," she said, breathlessly, and blinked as she slowly righted herself to sit up. Raising the hilt and its short, jagged edge into view, Chasmine's gaze grew wider as she realized just what had happened, "that is most ...unfortunate."

Then she looked to Sable, no hint of trouble in her face as she swallowed down all those negative feelings just as she always did, "Am I bleeding?" she was not.

Sable Pembroke
Sable looked the girl over as best he could, reminding himself that no amount of frantic behavior would aid a wounded ally. His brow furrowed as he examined her, checking her head especially for any signs of trauma. He breathed at last, realizing that the willowy girl was no worse for wear.

"You're the picture of health," he replied, tucking his first aid supplies before idly beginning to pluck things from another pouch. In order: a butter knife, some bread slices wrapped in cloth, and a pair of opaque vials. "Your sword, though..."

The immense initiate looked over the fragments, scattered across the ground, as he popped one of the vials open. The knife was dunked in, and a smooth, yellow-brown substance--peanut butter--was brought out to be spread across the bread. The other vial followed, the unmistakable sight of golden-gooey honey produced from within, which soon joined its fellow ingredient. Sable cleaned the knife with the cloth, topped the newly made sandwich, and handed it off to Chasmine.

Then Sable began to gather some of the larger fragments of his friend's blade.
"You know, we could probably have this reforged! If it was so fragile as to break in a single strike, I'm sure it was probably cracked to bits. But the metal is still good, and the hilt is intact, so smithing it into something new could make it much better than it was!"
  • Bless
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