Private Tales Honing the Edge

Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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The Madrasa of War - Ragash

Uvogin raised his shoulder to wipe the sweat that had trickled down his cheek. The unforgiving sun shone down on the Madrasa's rectangular courtyard, wherein the center there was a square pit. The courtyard was large enough to fit one to two hundred people, though there weren't nearly that many training that afternoon. Around him in the pit were a group of lightly clothed boys, most of them were sitting in the dirt, catching their breath, rubbing their sore arms and ribs. Uvogin leaned on his training sword like a cane.

"Take this lesson to heart. Remember what I told you, ponder on my words, and put them to practice. Today is a victory over yourself from yesterday, and tomorrow will be a victory over lesser men. Catch your breath, gather your thoughts, and try again. You will be Immortals - you are the blood in your veins. You must flow uninterrupted, many of you must be one. Groups of two this time."

Uvogin took a few steps back and adopted a defensive stance. Before two trainees could step forth, a deep voice called from above the pit.

"Naqib!" Uvogin dropped his stance and turned to face the voice. He raised his hand to shade his eyes from the sun. "A visitor for you, sir."

He grumbled, and after a moment of hesitation, turned to the boys. "Pair up. Light sparring." He tucked the training sword under his arm as he made for the stairs to ascend from the pit. Before climbing the stairs, he dipped his hands into a water basin and rinsed them before splashing water onto his face. Wiping his face with his shirt, Uvogin walked up the stairs.

The captain wore black pants tucked into black boots and a simple linen shirt that, from the sweat and water he had just splashed over his face, tightly clung to his chest. With the training sword still tucked under his arm, Uvogin arrived in the upper courtyard. Scattered about were other trainees practicing repetitive strikes on dummies. Despite the guest there, they remained focused.

Uvogin strode across the courtyard to the visitor, a short woman that he had not seen for quite some time. His skin glistened under the sun, as did his warm smile.

"To what do I owe the pleasure, Princess?"
 
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Nymeasha

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Nym had quite the view, her fingers laced and her elbows rested on the balcony above the courtyard, her lips twitching into a smile as she listened to his words. She waited casually as he made his way up the stairs, and she kept her gaze on the sparring going on below until his voice called for her attention to shift. She instantly returned a warm smile and straightened herself, having to bite gently down on her lower lip as her light green eyes wandered over the man, trying to prevent herself from grinning too widely. Gods. He was a gift to her eyes.

"Captain.." she dipped her chin politely. "I was hoping to catch you for some training, but perhaps you've had enough for the day.." her gaze lowered again to his chest, and lingered.

Nym was dressed to train, other than a few unruly locks, her hair was pulled up away from her face, her black halter and leggings hugged her figure and an ornate silver pauldron decorated her shoulder with matching guards on her wrists. She stood up onto her bare tiptoes and spun around once to demonstrate the far better use of her legs with a flare of her arms and smirked..

"Hoped you could whip me back into shape." she shrugged a shoulder and turned to rest her back against the balcony, arms folding over her chest as she pursed her lips.. "If you can handle it, that is." she tested with a grin at the floor.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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227
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"Oh, please," he chuckled and did not miss her wandering eyes. Uvogin carefully watched as she twirled on her toes. He raked his fingers back through damp hair. "I've yet to have my fill."

Uvogin rested his hip against the railing above the pit and propped the sword that was tucked under his arm against the balcony. "Do not beg me for mercy if you find my training methods to be..." his voice trailed as he glanced over her figure, "too arduous."

Snatching the sword up, he turned and made for the stairs. "I must admit, I am rather curious about what you can do." He glanced over his shoulder at her with a smug, teasing smirk. "I hope you do not disappoint."

The pair went down the stairs into the pit. Along the wall were several racks holding training weapons of all kinds. If she had a favorite, she was sure to find it.
 
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Nymeasha

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Her face lit at his answer and she pushed away from the railing, eyes sparkling like a spoiled child clearly pleased to be getting her way. "Excellent!" she smiled brightly and walked slowly passed him as he leaned, her fingertips reaching to graze his stomach.

"If you knew anything about my father, you'd know I wasn't taught the meaning of the word mercy, Uvogin." she smirked playfully and accompanied him on to the courtyard, that grin of his making her legs feel suddenly weak again. Her jaw clenched. He could be an extremely dangerous distraction if she let him, and she'd have to put a little extra effort in to ignore it.

"I am not accustomed to disappointing, I don't intend on starting today. You have quite the reputation... My job was to have no reputation at all." she shrugged as her fingers trailed over the weapons. Nym's kills were generally silent and quick, for such she used knives and spikes and her whip if she felt like making it last a little longer. For training such as this however, she was particularly skilled with a double ended pole arm and so she picked the weapon most similar to her own and short enough to match her height.

Nym spun on her heels and turned to walk onto the pit, spinning the new weapon in her hands to get a feel for it, and a small dip of her chin would let him know she was ready..
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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The weight of her touch lingered over his stomach even as they faced each other in the pit. She was undoubtedly beautiful and, whether by intention or not, had caught his eye. Their relation, initially formed by mutual disdain and animosity, had been quickly rectified. When they last parted, it was on good terms and left Uvogin in anticipation of their next meeting. Despite his typical stoicism, the captain was overjoyed that she sought him out.

“Yes, well, a God-Emperor’s right hand should carry with it reputation.” He grimaced at her selection. Despite the obvious mismatch in their builds, the staff was something of an equalizer and gave her an advantage over his longsword. If he he had an absolute advantage over the Princess, it would be experience; the experience of countless battles, countless fights to the death, and technique with a sword foreign to Amol-Kalit.

As Nymeasha flourished the spear with evident comfort and ease, Uvogin subtly lowered his center of gravity and angled his sword somewhat behind him with the tip pointed down.

He returned the young woman’s nod and waited for her move.
 
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Nymeasha

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Her full lips twisted into a smile at his nod and she took a breath and replaced the expression with one of concentration. She studied him for a moment, the way he stood, his weapon, how he gripped it, a look at his feet..

Nym was far outmatched in terms of strength, but that wasn't new to her, she'd had countless similar training sessions with the best of her father's men, and they'd taught her well enough for her to hold a certain degree of confidence in the phrase 'strength isn't everything'. Nym used her height and weight to her advantage, always. She was exceptionally light on her feet, and seemed to alight the ground with an illusion of weightlessness as she made her run at him..

One end of the staff slammed into the ground and she used it to vault her, gaining height and momentum to throw the weapon back in front of her and force a blow at the side of Uvogin's neck. Straight in for the decapitation it was..
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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Nymeasha floated over the dirt with speed and fluidity that Uvogin couldn't replicate. Her unconventional use of the staff took him by surprise; the staff lashed at him from a sharp angle, but Uvogin took advantage of his low stance and narrowly ducked it with ostensible ease.

A target in the air could go nowhere but down, so the captain took advantage of that and closed the distance after slipping under Nymeasha's attack. As he rose from the duck, he brought the training sword up in a compact swing, aiming for her stomach as she came down from her vault.
 
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Nymeasha

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Nym pulled the staff down hard to block and it clattered down on his sword as she landed on her the balls of her feet, her stomach sucked in to avoid contact as she found her balance.

She took a quick step back to arc the staff around with a flourish, feinting an attack on his face whilst the other end took aim at sweeping his feet, hoping to catch him off balance if he stepped to defend.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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After missing his strike, Uvogin quickly brought his sword back. As she stepped back, he followed like a wolf pouncing on its prey. As she feinted up, Uvogin reacted by flinching, intending to dodge again. The move was sold well, but the captain was still able to respond with a parry, although he was barely able to react.

Wood clashed against wood, and Uvogin slid the edge of the training sword up the staff and gave Nymeasha a shove, intending to make her stumble back so he could pressure her once more.

Her technique was sound, her speed formidable. Uvogin rushed her with a flurry of swift, compact strikes to keep her busy.
 
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Nymeasha

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There was little she could do to prevent him from pushing her back, she stumbled slightly but regained composure quick enough to block his sword.

He was fast, and the strength of his blows rattled through her bones as she defended the onslaught of attacks, weapons clattering rampantly as he continued to push back. Her knuckles paled as she gripped hard at the staff, her feet dancing backwards toward the edge of the pit. She was glad of the weapon she’d chosen, and she made a mental note not to challenge the man in swordplay.

Her heart was pounding and she ignored the aching in her legs as she stayed low. He was too strong for her and she couldn’t find an opportunity to attack. She frowned and chose to press closer to him instead, her staff slamming down on his sword before she sprung at him, foot aimed to use his thigh as a step up to swing herself round onto his back and pull the weapon back against his throat with both hands. She growled as she pulled back with all she had, thighs clinging to his sides for dear life as she tried to choke him out.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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With the successive blows against her guard, and the ground she gave up merely defending the flurry, confidence grew in Uvogin. As her guard wavered, Uvogin delivered a heavy overhead strike, but the Princess swiftly parried it to the ground and, like a snake, maneuvered onto his back and began to choke him with the staff.

He struggled, first trying to pry the spear from his neck to no avail. He tried to pull her off his back, and when that failed he attempted to throw her off by swinging his body.

Finally, with no other options, he leapt backwards onto his back, intending to slam the princess into the dirt with his entire body weight.
 

Nymeasha

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Yes. The ones that were too heavy for her to bring down always had a way of bringing themselves down, this was a particular favourite. The moment she felt him leap, Nym's thighs released from his sides to straighten out and find the ground.

As soon as her bare feet touched the dirt she used released a hand from her staff, pulled her leg back and used his own momentum to slam him to the ground, hoping to do so quickly enough to drag the staff toward her where it already lay across his throat in a kill motion from her crouched position beside him.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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It wasn’t even a minute. The trainees in the Madrasa’s courtyard all silently looked down from above as their captain, the summit they aimed for, lay flat on his bad in defeat.

It was a spectacular move. While Uvogin had fought small, fast opponents before, none moved quite like the Princess.

The ever-composed captain hurried to his feet with a huff.

“Again,” a tone similar to their first meeting in the dungeons resurfaced. His demeanor, which had been inviting and warm since the night they talked and mended their relationship, was now cold and stoic.

He took the same stance as before.
 
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Nymeasha

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Nym stood, and dipped her chin in a nod at the cold demand, though her chest rose and fell quickly as she tried to regulate her breathing, the sun and sudden burst of action causing a fine sheen of sweat to glisten on her exposed skin. Fingers brushed the stray locks of dark hair from her face and she stood opposite him and composed herself.

She walked forward, flourished her weapon and pounced, the staff purposefully aiming to miss a stabbing blow to his ribs, and instead she'd attempt to drag it back across his side as she pulled it back toward her.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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Eyes glanced over her exposed skin. Her healthy, glowing complexion shimmered under the sun. Lovely.

Raising his shoulder, he wiped sweat and dirt from his cheek. When she lunged and attempted to tag his side, Uvogin strongly parried the staff away, intending to throw off her balance as she pulled the staff back. In the same motion, he followed through with the parry, and by using the momentum of the swing, compactly and swiftly spun to close the distance and deliver a strike to her shoulder.
 
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Nymeasha

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Nym faltered, thrown off balance by the weight behind his defence and her feet skidded in the dirt as she fought to regain her stance. She attempted to twist away from the strike to her shoulder but she was too late. Her jaw clenched at the impact, an instant bruise no doubt.

She lifted her staff up sharply, aiming an uppercut to his jaw, and whether or not it connected she followed with a swift elbow toward his cheek and tried to push back.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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By besting him in the first moments, Nymeasha forced Uvogin into a state of focus. He had expected an immediate response, and was able to sidestep the upward strike.

And into her elbow. Uvogin leaned back, but could not beat her speed. It was a light, but effective blow that cut and bruised his cheek.

Uvogin pressured her further, stepping closer and compactly swinging down from above. Whether she blocked, parried, or tried to evade the blow completely, Uvogin would immediately kick out at the closest ankle.
 
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Nymeasha

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She threw her staff up to block his sword as it came down toward her, her legs locked and feet planted firmly in the dirt to take the strain. It made it too difficult to move her feet away on time and the kick to her ankle caused her to buckle with a sharp gasp and she fell to her knee.

Nym pulled herself back as quickly as she could, anticipating another attack, and she swung her staff at his ankles from the ground.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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There!

She managed a swift strike in response. Whether it was to actually strike Uvogin or to force him to evade to give herself time, he didn’t know. It didn’t matter.

He swung his sword down with the intention of striking the staff. Wood clattered against wood, and immediately after parrying, Uvogin stepped on the staff, forcing all of his weight into his foot to keep the weapon pressed into the ground.

He thrusted the pommel of his training sword towards her face, but stopped short before it connected.
 
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Nymeasha

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No. The weight of him pressing down on her weapon rendered it useless, her knuckles pale and fingers tightened around it in attempt to pull it free. Her position on her knee didn’t give her much opportunity to move quickly. Jade hues widened on the intended strike and she turned her face and closed her eyes to accept the strike.

It never came. She let out a breath and opened her eyes slowly to look through a narrowed gaze up at him, panting hard and laughing under her breath as she let herself sit, defeated, wiping at her brow with the back of her wrist. “Well fuck.”
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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The captain lifted his foot off the staff and finally let out a heavy sigh. He smiled down at Nymeasha.

“That was good - you move well.” Uvogin offered a hand to her. “This makes us even, huh? How have you been?”

With the sparring set aside, he could afford to let his attention wander to matters of greater... importance. Stray locks of hair over the skin of her face that glistened with sweat. Her vibrant eyes, sun-kissed skin.

Uvogin didn’t care to even try and hide the way he looked at the Princess.
 
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Nymeasha

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Nym laughed softly as she reached for his hand and allowed him to pull her back to her feet. “I suppose it does.. I’ll take a draw.” she shrugged and glanced down at the pain in her shoulder and her lips twisted at the darkening bruise. Of course it would have been much worse had it been a real blade.. She’d learn from it. “I hope I didn’t disappoint too much. You certainly didn’t.” she commented and let her gaze wander over the cut bruise she’d left on his cheek.

“I’ve been well. Medja has been looking after me.. I’m getting a little too used to it.” she admitted with a small smirk, a brow arching at the way he looked at her. Days.

“Admittedly a little disappointed you didn’t find the time to visit of course..” she mused, dusting herself off.
 
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Uvogin

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“Of course not. Rather, I’m impressed with you.” He turned and, with his hand in the small of her back, eased her to walk with him. After the brief touch, he let his hand fall. “The vizier can be generous. But, she is a woman that always has a plan. I would be wary of her, else she will just dance circles around you.” Uvogin chuckled. She certainly had done so with him.

As they walked and talked, the captain left the training sword on the rack. Before heading up the stairs, he splashed water on his face from the basin and tenderly prodded the cut on his cheek.

“I was not aware you were expecting me,” he wolfishly glanced to the side at Nymeasha, “though, I am glad you sought me out.”
 

Nymeasha

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Nym felt her cheeks heat slightly and was glad that she was already flushed and sweaty from the workout. Her mind was particularly drawn to that touch, it seemed to resonate up her spine and tingle at the back of her neck and she suppressed a slight shudder. Nym turned on her heels and walked with him, smiling warmly at his words and nodding "Oh I'm aware.. I am always wary, Captain. I'm under no illusion that her generosity comes at a price. I'm hers to command." she frowned gently and leaned over the basin to splash her face and neck, her gaze lifting with a small smirk as he pressed at his wounded face.

She'd impressed him and she wasn't sorry for that, she wouldn't go apologising and ruining it. It would take a lot more to make that face unattractive.

"I enjoyed your company, my room simply isn't the same without you brooding in the corner and making me coffee." she grinned and shrugged, fingers running into her hair to let it fall loose around her shoulders. "But you see a girl naked and don't have the decency to check in on her from time to time?.." she pursed her lips and whistled with a shake of her head, her green eyes narrowed on his face.
 
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Uvogin

Captain of the Immortals
The Empire
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“Well, I didn’t get a good look while the healer tended to you.” His voice trailed. They climbed the stairs and crossed the courtyard to enter the Madrasa. The inside, while far from the beautiful, luxurious palace, was still comfortable and pleasing on the eyes. The trainees lived there, after all. It was almost like a villa. They walked through the airy halls, past open rooms were boys of all ages studied or trained.

“You should stay a while. For lunch.” He glanced over her figure, something he found himself doing often. “Should I get a bath drawn for you? Food would be better if we’re not smelling ourselves the whole time.” Uvogin chuckled.
 
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