Superhuman RPG

Un foro en base al sistema de juego de rol diseñado y desarrollado por Fernando Pajares, a.k.a. Hombre Concha.
 
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 [Working title]

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Zahariel
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Mensajes : 494
Fecha de inscripción : 30/12/2009

MensajeTema: [Working title]   Sáb Feb 12, 2011 1:04 am

Slipstream landed on the deck, and staggered briefly before regaining his footing. The ship was unexpectedly still, absolutely immobile. Eerily so. The sails were down, the ropings swaying loosely in the breeze. Quiet. Too quiet. Except for the unmistakable, rhytmic, clashing sound of a battle going on bellow deck. Turning around, he dashed towards the door, his hands flying to the asps on his belt. As he jumped across the doorway, he extended them with an expert flick of his wrists, and landed in the navigation room in a defensive crouch, expecting an ambush. There was none. The confrontation was closer now, however, and out of the windy deck he could more clearly distinguish the sound of four weapons clashing, and muted grunts following the thrusts. So at least one, possibly two attackers, were fighting Feelgood... Never having been inside the ship, he ran downstairs, past the kitchen and an empty storage room. In the end he came upon a closed door, and the fight could be heard clearly on the other side. Only two fighters, then. He could hear their lunges, the grunts when steel met steel. He had a choice. He could break down the door, phase through it, or teleport in the room, and take the opponent by surprise, but either way he risked distracting Feelgood in the middle of a fight he seemed to be having trouble with already. And he had no way of knowing if there was someone else in the room that might notice him if the tried to sneek a peak. 'Fortes fortuna javat', he thought, remembering something Feelgood had once said.

Moving back to get a running start, Slipstream phased out, dashed towards the door and jumped into the room, weapons ready. He landed in front of the two opponents, Feelgood had his arms up, swords crossed above his head to block a rapier swing from above, and his opponent's other rapier was already on a sideway arc towards his stomach. He'd made a mistake. Feelgood looked to his right at him, and his eyes opened in shock, but his opponent was facing the opposite direction and had failed to notice him. Feelgood missed the parry. It should have been simple to swing his left sword down and out and block the rapier, and that would have left him in a clear path to his opponent. But Slipstream's arrival changed that, and the rapier made a direct impact on his side. He saw the sudden flash of pain in Feelgood's eyes, and he saw him lower his arms as the swords fell to the floor, and he saw his mouth open but no words come out. With a roar of anger and challenge and denial, Slipstream phased back and, jumping, swung both his asps at Feelgood's attacker.

But just as he was about to connect, he was tackled and brought crashing down to the floor, and Feelgood was holding him down and shouting at him, but he could not make out the words. He could somehow sort of hear something that sounded like 'Slipstream! Stop! This is not what it looks like!', but in his mind that made no sense. And then Feelgood's opponent finally turned to face him, and he knew he should recognize the redhead staring at him. She smiled as she sheathed her rapiers, and she wiped the sweat off her brow.

- Oh, hi brother.

- Avery?

He could not believe what he was seeing. His little sister, whose existence he had only learned about a few months ago (or, chronologically speaking, was going to learn of in about a decade), and whom he was so happy to find still sheltered under numerous security protocols the last time he popped in for a visit... that same little sister was here, in 2012... on Feelgood's ship... wearing shorts and a sports bra.

- I don't think that really counts as a hit, since he interrupted. - She said, nonchalantly, addressing Feelgood.

- Nevertheless, it's a good time to stop. I believe you and your brother have something to talk about. - he answered, and seeing as it was no longer prudent to maintain his grip on the masked vigilante, he released it, and arranged himself in a more respectable position.

- Before you say anything... - Avery began.

- How... no... why? - Slipstream's voice had a growing edge of distress to it. - Wait... how long has she been here?

Feelgood looked somewhat apprehensive as he turned his eyes to the younger redhead and then back to Slipstream. He then offered the time traveler his hand.

- Three weeks.

- WHAT?

The reply coincided with Slipstream taking Feelgood's hand; the resulting pull was slightly more abrupt than what required him getting back on his feet. The captain, who no doubt was already sporting a fresh bruise on his ribs, couldn't help wincing.

- Owain! - Avery cried. Her brother watched her rush to Feelgood's side with a look of angry bewilderment mixed with awkward confusion. Luckily for him, his mask was still on. Then something else clicked into place, and he staggered back a step.

- Wait, you TOLD her? - He saw Feelgood's eyes dart from his to Avery's and back, but didn't give him time to answer. - You told her. - It was not a question, and yet he repeated it again. - You told her. With a trembling hand he removed his mask and crushed it in a closed fist. - You, Doctor Paranoid, Captain "I don't trust anyone", told her who you are. – Moving forward, he poked Feelgood in the chest. - She's been here all this time and you never told me. - He poked Feelgood again - You've had a 15-year old girl living with you, *poke* you... *poke* you...

Avery, who had finished storing the practice weapons in a rack by the wall, turned back to address him.

- It's not his fault, you know? I wanted to be here.

Slipstream turned to look at her, and his mouth opened and closed a few times, lost for words. Feelgood put a hand on his shoulder, reassuringly.

- Avery, go to your quarters and shower, then wait for us in the mess hall. I do owe your brother an explanation. You did good, your stance is definitely better.

- Thank you, Master. See you later, brother.- There was a sarcastic undertone in that last word, but then she was gone, her footsteps resounding up the stairs.

Slipstream was livid. Deathly slow, he turned to face Feelgood. His right eyelid was twitching, and as he stared at Feelgood, the only thing he could say was:

- "Master"?

- Please hear me out. One night, three weeks ago, I was sailing over northern Canada, and it was raining heavily. I was in the navigation cabin going over some maps, when out of the blue someone started knocking on my door. I rushed over to see who it was and I found a girl, shivering and soaking wet, and she called me by name and asked me to let her stay. I took her in, and she explained who she was and why she was here. She is my guest, and she is under my protection. No one knows she's here. She is safe here.

The young man remained rooted on the spot, staring into nothingness.

- Oliver... - Feelgood went on. His voice was enough to break the frail illusion that if Slipstream stood perfectly still, everything else would remain unchanged as well.

- Don't. - he said, shaking the captain's hand off his shoulder. - Don't "Oliver" me. I don't care what she told you, or what you think you're doing for her. You're not her family. - He turned around and started walking after his sibling.

- What are you going to do?

- Take her home, where she belongs.

- I'm very sorry, but you can't do that.

The vigilante stopped on his tracks.

- What are you talking about? - he demanded, facing Feelgood with a not so patient attitude.

- Oliver, your sister did not run away. Her mother sent her here, in hopes that you would protect her, but the timing was imprecise. She arrived before you had even met her. Understand, she had no choice...

- ... but to hide from me. - the bitter realization hit him. Avoiding temporal inconsistencies ... that was just another quirk in his solitary, attachment-free life. He never imagined how badly it could affect someone close to him. - It makes sense now - he said. - I saw her. About a month ago, before I actually knew who she was. She must've been waiting for me... - he smiled, longing for that missed memory - and I walked right past her.

- You didn't know. You had no way of knowing. And she understood that, eventually. She knew who I was because she had already met me in her timeline, and she knew I'd keep her safe. And she knew I was capable of keeping her presence in this time a secret. She was going to tell you, when the time was right.

Oliver simply let his back fall against the wall as he grabbed the sides of his head, as if trying to contain what was going in it. - She was here a whole month. I should have... I... I need to talk to her.

***

Avery sat on her bed, facing away from the bathroom door, where white clouds of steam rose up from the tub. The water had run down and reached her ideal temperature several minutes ago, but she didn't seem to notice. With a deep sigh, the teen reached down and opened the lower drawer in her red oak nightstand. Her hands were shaking. "It's the adrenaline from the fight", she assured herself, as she retrieved a palm sized metal box and scraped at the lid, almost breaking a nail before she finally managed to get it open. Inside it was a burned, torn piece of elastic cloth, covered in ash and dirt, with one roughly oval-shaped protuberance. It would've been hard to distinguish what it once was, but Avery's trained imagination was more than up to the task. She traced her finger along the lines of fabric, reconstructing the missing pieces of cloth into a shape she needed no help remembering. A silver and blue mask with two eyes of red glass stared up at her. In reality, only one of them remained, and the glass in it was shattered. Feeling an unwelcome burn in her eyes and a sudden difficulty to breathe, Avery hurried to put the memento back in its place and ran to the bathroom.

***

As he stoked the oven's fire, Feelgood considered the possible outcomes of the day's events. For one, he had a feeling Slipstream would be coming over to visit frequently, and while the vigilante was a good companion, and in a way even the closest thing he had to a friend, he also valued his own privacy highly. Not that he had much of that lately, though. Avery's arrival had turned his world upside down. The Navigator was no longer silent at all times, as when they weren't training or studying she would take to the deck to either read, sunbathe or listen to her music, but even then he could tell she was around. He actually enjoyed having her around. It was amusing, and strange, but her arrival had somehow lifted the cloud of gloom that had been hovering above him. She was witty and bright, could carry out a proper conversation, and unattached as she was she made a great travel companion for a wanderer like himself. Still, he wondered how the two humans would get along now that they had found each other. As he chopped the onions for a quick stew he wondered how their current conversation was going on, and what its outcome would be. He felt sorry for Slipstream, but he had been there to see the hurt in Avery's eyes and knew that her pain was no lesser. Measuring and adding the fennel and basil, he poured white wine in the pot and left it to simmer. While it did, he walked to his cabin and after closing the door took off his shirt. Just as he expected, it hurt as he did, and looking in the mirror he could see the shiny purple bruise running through his side. He ran a finger along its side, feeling the swollen tissue and considering how long it would take
to heal. With a light chuckle and shaking his head, he went into the bathroom to shower.

Whatever happened, interesting times were ahead.

***

Clutching his mask in one hand, Slipstream climbed the stairs up to Avery's cabin, counting them as he went along. It was a habit he had acquired shortly after discovering the power of altering time, and, having given up on wearing watches - counted steps, breaths, bus seats, hits dodged and delivered, and sometimes even his own heartbeats when they were loud enough to hear them. It provided him with a sense of continuity, fictious but soothing nevertheless. Which was why he also did it when he was nervous. Walking up those steps, he desperately tried to figure out what he was going to say...

"Avery, I..."

... but his mind was drawing a blank in filling in the rest. Their last encounter, mind-blowing as it had been, had also left him with more doubts than a Lost episode. He had solved the mystery of his birth and adoption, only to find out that his origin held an even deeper one, that a variation upon the same set of genes he came from was now present in 2022 in its 15-year-old incarnation, and that on top of that it had good reflexes and a keen ability to aim for the groin. He had just started getting used to the idea of having a little sister when he realized she had met him long ago. Met his future self, that is. How far into the future, he did not know, and pressing the matter was the kind of bad idea that led to paradoxes, and he definitely did not want to involve her in that. At least before now he had the comfort of knowing she was safe, and that she would remain so until she was old enough to take care of herself; or maybe, just maybe, until he was ready to take care of her. Needless to say, her sleeping, living, and training with a stranger before she was even old enough to vote did not fit into his plans.

He stopped himself at that thought. Feelgood was not a stranger, he was ... a comrade. A fellow brother in arms, someone he trusted. But what was the extend of that trust, he was no longer certain of.

It was this state of mental turmoil in which he finally reached the small hallway that led up to his sibling’s quarters, and just as he made the fourth step towards her door (and twenty-fourth counting from the bottom of the stairs), a board creaked under his foot. This fact registered in Slipstream's head, but he was too preoccupied to do anything about it until a soft 'woosh' announced to him that danger was imminent. Not knowing what to dodge, he phased out instinctively, and about a tenth of a second later, a white sack flew right through him, swinging on a rope that had been attached to and concealed under the ceiling.

- What the...

The bag swayed back and forth a couple of times before Oliver became tangible again and caught it. Its contents were soft and powdery. "Flour?" he thought. The trap was clearly not meant for him, unless they were aiming for his upper back, and Feelgood was even taller, which left Avery. "I'll ask her about it" Slipstream told himself "If I manage to get past the door."

- Avery? - he called. No one answered. He put his head closer to the door, trying to listen for any sign of movement, but there was none. All he could hear was the faint but constant creaking and moaning of a sailboat suspended several thousand feet above ground. Slowly, almost cautiously, he raised his hand and tapped his knuckles on the door. After a few seconds and no response, he repeated the motion with a little bit more insistence. - Everything ok... in there? - the vigilante asked, and after a third attempt with no results, he reached for the door handle. Turning it, Oliver pushed the door very slowly lest he ran into any more traps, and as it creaked open, a half-lit cabin came into view. It was modest, in terms both of space and furniture, but homely enough to show that its inhabitant had taken an interest in settling here; clothes hung off the bedboard, pictures decorated the lamp on the nightstand, and the bed itself was occupied by a grey plushy rabbit. Forgetting himself for a moment, the young man walked up to the toy and took it in his hands.

- Anderson, is that really you? – he whispered in a surprised tone.

- What are you doing here? – said a voice, that, surely enough, did not come from the rabbit. Slipstream turned in a hurry and found himself facing a wet, not-so-happy-looking Avery who was wearing nothing but a towel.

- I…

- Is that Jonas?

He looked down at the rabbit in his hands and automatically handed it to her. – I was just looking ... – he tried to explain himself. – I knocked, but no one answered, so…

- So you should’ve kept knocking. – she said, indignant. – Or tried the door down the hall, which is where I was. – She snatched the toy out of his hands and walked over to a small closet, opening it.

- I didn’t know. I just meant to talk to you. - He took a breath, trying to gather his thoughts, but his sister interrupted him.

- Now? Oh figures, you’ve probably looked through all my stuff anyway. Feel free to watch while I change. – she then turned and stared at him with her arms crossed.

They young man found himself unprepared for this kind of challenge.

- Oh. - he uttered. - Sorry.

And while still under Avery's unwavering glare, Oliver returned to the hall.

- So, - he heard behind him, once he had closed the door. - What did you want to talk about?

The vigilante opened his mouth but again nothing came out of it. 'Oh come on' he thought to himself. 'How hard can this be?'

- Hello? You still there?

- Yeah, I was just... - he put his back against the door, staring up at the beams on the ceiling. - ... I was wondering about Claire... I mean...

- Mom? She's ok. - said the voice behind the door. - They wouldn't have done anything to her, she's protected, remember?

- Right. - he replied, not fully convinced.

- Anyway, she would've let us know by now if anything had happened to her. The problem was her research. Those guys were pushing for results, you know, and when there weren't any they said they'd assign the project to someone else.

- You mean... You're the project, Avery.

- Yep. And she couldn't have that, so she decided, hey, maybe it's time you pay your brother a visit. So she sent me here, and I went and found you, but when I saw you it was pretty obvious you didn't know me yet, so....

- But you knew Feelgood.

He thought he heard a pause in the rumbling inside the cabin but no reply came from there.

- I didn't mean... I'm just saying, it was kind of a surprise. - he waited for her to say something, but she didn't, so he went on. - I haven't always been able to track him, and you finding the ship... well, it's impressive... unless you actually knew where it was going to be.

- I didn't - even with the door between them, he could perceive Avery's defensive tone.

- Again. Impressive... - Oliver half-mumbled, and immediately found himself falling into an awkward silence. Whether she was mad at him or couldn't find anything to say either, he couldn't tell. - Anyway... - he cleared his throat. - Are you... planning to stay here? On the ship? - he avoided saying "with Feelgood" mostly for his own sake.

- I don't think you'd want me to stay with you, would you?

- That... would be a really bad idea, I'm not... I mean, it's not...

- That's ok. I get it. I thought so too.

- You did?

- Yeah of course. Being up here, I would stay out of everybody's way. Avoid paradoxes and stuff.

- That's not what I mean. Well it kind of is, and you're right, but that's not the point. - he sighed, frustrated with himself for his own inadequacy. - I just... I wouldn't be able to take very good care of you, Avery. You'd be in a lot of danger, and...

- I know. - a soft gust of wind blew from under the door and the air assembled itself infront of him, turning into a very solid, fully clothed 15-year-old. - Don't worry, brother, I'll be safe. Besides, Feelgood can help me learn all I need to know.

And she turned, pushing aside the flour bag that still hung from the ceiling, and started walking. And Oliver's tightened jaw, and the mixture of anger and hurt in his eyes, and all the important things that he berated himself for not saying, went unseen and unheard.

The table was set by the time they got to the mess hall, and Feelgood was carrying a steaming bowl of stew towards it. Avery walked a few steps ahead of him, and following what seemed to be her routine, headed to a seat on Feelgood's right. He held the chair for her and helped her be seated, then turned and offered Slipstream a seat opposite her. The young man was a bit taken back by the gesture, even after he remembered Feelgood's ways were a bit... antiquated, but still he couldn't hide the scowl that it brought forth. It didn't look appropiate, that sort of attention...

Still, he sat down, and stared at his sister as she helped herself from the bowls arranged before her. He was burning inside, lost for words but needing to say something, anything...

He nearly jumped when Feelgood put a hand on his right shoulder, and turned to look at him. Feelgood was serious, but his friendly smile was genuine.

- Please, eat, and then we will talk. And we will talk, I promise.

Disarmed, Slipstream, turned his attention to the table, and finally noticed the smells that came from the bowls. His mouth watered, and his stomach growled. He didn't think he was that hungry, but the smell... he couldn't remember anything quite like it.

- You cooked all of this?

- I did. I do the cooking, she does the clean-up. But eat, help yourself, there's plenty and more if you are still hungry.

So he ate. And even troubled as he was, after a few bites he completely forgot himself, his attention turned to each bite. He had never tasted anything remotely as good, the meat was tender, juicy and mildly spicy, and there were other flavours as well, bolstering the taste of the vegetables, cooked to perfection. He cleaned his bowl, wiping off the last bit with the bread, the crispy crust right off the oven, and then looked up.

Avery was staring at him, smiling mischievously.

- He's a really good cook, isn't he?

Slipstream felt his ears burn. The food had been good, the best he'd ever had despite its simplicity, but that was another dagger twisting in his gut. He could never cook like that. He could follow a recipe as long as it was simple enough, but this was art. Score another point for Feelgood.

Feelgood reached across the table, grabbed a pitcher and filled Avery's and his glasses with water. He then filled his own, and sat back.

- And now we talk. All of us, since we are all involved. Now, Avery, have you told him why you are here?

She nodded as she answered with a "yes".

- And you, my friend, you understand why she came to be here?

Slipstream grunted a "yes", hurt still in his voice.

- So now we need to decide what will happen from now on. Avery, do you still wish to stay here?

- Yes, I do. I like it here - she looked at Slipstream's eyes when she said this - I really like it here, brother.

- I can see that. - the vigilante's tone was a bit more tense than he intended it to be. - But this... I don't mean to offend you, Feelgood, but this is no place for someone like her.

- Someone like me? - Avery's eyes flashed menacingly as she spoke.

- You're a 15-year-old girl... -her brother tried to explain. - You should be in school. With friends your age, and homework, and routine, and curfews, and preferrably a home that's not suspended ten thousand feet above the rest of the world. It's the least any kid deserves.

- First of all, I am *not* a kid. And second, how do you know what I should or shouldn't have? You didn't go to school either! You grew up on a military base, you were doing field ops at my age and all your friends were commandos. And they were twice as old as you were!

- And you think that makes it allright? -Slipstream let out a breath of exasperation. - I didn't have any choice in how I was brought up, Avery. You actually do. You can't just throw that away without considering what's best for you.

- I am considering! Do you think I would be here if I had a better place to go? - She stood up, her hands gripping the edge of the table. - No one's going to offer me that normal life, *brother*! Not when they have more important things to do.

Oliver suddenly remembered how it felt to be shot with high velocity rounds; that one time his phasing wasn't on when it should've been, and the lead went right through the kevlar. His sister's words caused a very similar effect, and Feelgood couldn't help but notice this.

- Avery, sit down. - he said firmly, though without raising his voice. - Your brother has every right to be concerned. Slipstream, I can imagine how you must be feeling. And I know the Navigator is not the best place for a young lady to live, but I think it is the best we could provide her. We could eventually get her a new identity and a better place to live in, but for now I think she should stay here. I'm mobile, hard to find, and even if someone knew she was in this time period I doubt they'd come looking for her here. And if the worse comes to pass, both myself and this very ship will defend her to the end. That I swear.

Despite the resentment he felt towards him, the vigilante knew he meant what he said, and that he was probably right. He turned his eyes to Avery but she avoided his gaze.

- Listen to me, Slipstream... Oliver... I know we can make this work. You mentioned homework and a routine, she can have that here. Your mechanical sciences may be a mistery to me, but nature and history? Ethics and philosophy? I will teach her myself. She will learn, I can promise you that. I know I'm asking for a lot, if she was my sister I would probably feel the same way, but please, you need to trust me. And you are welcome to come visit us as often as you want, we can set up times and locations where you'll be able to find us.

- Or you could simply get a cellphone.

- Wouldn't work. The Navigator is magic-powered, electronics don't work the way they should when we're around. Cellphones, computers, the magic interferes with them.

- A short-wave radio would probably work. - both Oliver and Feelgood turned to look at Avery, who smiled mischievously. - It's pretty obvious, once you think about it. Almost no one uses short-wave transmissions any more, they're pretty much impossible to trace, and the transmitter itself is simple enough to work around the magical interference. And getting an amateur radio operator license and call sign is really easy.

Despite himself, Oliver felt he was running out of arguments. He couldn't take her in himself, and if it came down to having her live on her own or with Feelgood... and he could come to check in on them...

- Oliver, listen, I do get it, you're trying to protect me and that's sweet and I do appreciate it, but mom sent me back here and *I* want to be here. I feel safe where I am. It doesn't feel like hiding.

That did it. With a sigh, Oliver sat back on his chair and rubbed his eyes. He looked at both of them, trying to read their expressions. Feelgood looked satisfied, but not smug. Avery, on the other hand... she looked triumphant. So if this is what she wanted...

- Okay. Okay, you win. You're right, this place is safe. And you, - he turned to address Feelgood - I'm going to trust you, for now. I'm holding you responsible if anything happens to her. I'll see about getting a pair of short-wave transmitters and you'll install one, I need to be able to contact you without having to look all over the world. She's going to study, I'll get you the curriculum and I'll test her to check on her progress. And if you're going to teach her to fight... - he paused for a moment, and then grinned - if you are going to teach her to fight, I want to make sure you're good enough to do it.

***

Avery stood in the middle of the training room with her arms crossed, looking mildly disapproving.

- Wicked idea, both of you, fighting after dinner. If either one of you pukes their guts out I am definetly not cleaning *that* up.

- There won't be any need for that -Feelgood said-. Rest assured neither of us will hold you responsible for whatever happens here. Besides, your brother can become intangible if he feels he's about to loose his lunch.

- And your *master* can always turn into a bucket -added Slipstream.

- No, actually, I cannot.

- Oh. Well, too bad for you.

Both Owain and Oliver had positioned themselves on the edge of the circle marked on the floor. They were facing each other, and the girl could see they were equally eager to start and were trying to be equally nonchalant about it.

- Boys -she complained, rolling her eyes-. Alright, knock yourselves out. Me and Ori will just sit back and see who's left standing. -She waved her arms a bit and turned, walking towards the edge of the "arena" herself.

Slipstream gave the fae an interrogating look.

- Who's Ori?

- Orias, -Feelgood corrected- is the ship's spirit. He's grown to enjoy your sister's company quite a lot in these past few weeks.

- Of course... magic powered ship has a mind of its own -the young man muttered uneasily-. Sure hope it's not partial, - he gave his asps a quick twirl - because it won't help.

There had been a few terms they had agreed on. First, no powers. It had to be a measure of combat skill, aquired through practice and knowledge. Something Avery could use. Second, the weapons. Slipstream agreed to replace his metal batons for a pair of short wooden canes, provided his opponent did the same. And last, but not least, Oliver's sister did not only get to watch, but to referee as well.

- Alright, you guys -she breathed in dramatically-. Get ready... -she lifted her arm, holding one of her brother's batons-... set.... go! - The baton hit a metal shield that hung on the wall, turning it into a makeshift gong.

Slipstream and Feelgood already had their weapons ready, but neither one charged. Instead, they began circling the arena, measuring each other and looking for an opening.

It was therefore a surprise when Feelgood lowered his guard completely, and stood straight facing Slipstream.

- Silly me. Before we begin, I must admit, I almost cheated.

Taken aback, Slipstream too lowered his guard.

- What do you mean by that?

- Well, we did say "no powers", didn't we? -Winking, and flashing a wolflike grin, Feelgood's frame rippled and changed, his features becoming more angular, stylized and blue, and his hair grew long and silvery white, flowing loose down his back. His eyes became wider and more slanted and the irises turned a blazing shade purple, and the growing tips of pointed ears became visible under the growing hair.

The transformation took only a couple of seconds, but while Slipstream watched frozen in surprise, Feelgood used it to position himself, and once the shift was complete, winked at Slipstream once more. Slipstream's guard was gone, and shouting a challenge Feelgood leapt at him, swinging both rapiers in circular inward slashes at his opponent's upper arms. Slipstream managed to raise his batons to block them, and the two loud cracks from the blows resounded across the chamber. Catching his breath, he ducked, leapt forth and swung his asps at his opponent's exposed midriff. His first attack was barely parried, and the second dodged, though it came close enough to connecting to force Feelgood to move out of reach. He collected himself quickly, preparing for further assaults, but Slipstream was keeping back in what seemed to be a guarded stance.

Once again they circled the arena, facing each other like wild cats about to pounce. Slipstream broke the silence this time.

- Cute trick. Got any more under your sleeve?

- Just the one, but my opening is usually the game breaker.

- And if that fails?

- Then I go for the direct approach. Like so.

Raising both sabres in a reverse grip, Feelgood aimed one like a lance at Slipstream's chest and held the other one aiming straight behind him. Slipstream shifted his guard, readying himself, his batons held sideways, parallel to each other in front of him.

This time there was no warning. Feelgood sprinted forward, and as he did he let the tip of the foremost sabre fall down, until it was nearly scraping the floor. Slipstream too moved forward, securing his footing and readying himself to parry and counter. The fae covered the distance between them in a heartbeat, and as he approached his upper body swung back, and added his weight and speed to the upward swing. The vigilante blocked with his batons and took a half a step forward, twirling one baton as he dropped into a roll to his right, lunging the baton to jab it into Feelgood's tigh, in a paralyzing blow.

Only the fae's leg wasn't there. Slipstream saw that the upward blow had been a ruse, and when he'd blocked it Feelgood had used the impact as a turning point, to flip over him as he brought his other blade in a slash straight at where his neck had been. Only he'd rolled to his left, and that gave him and opening. Swinging back, he connected a solid hit on Feelgood's chest, just as the downward swipe hit him squarely in his left shoulder. The jolt went right through Oliver's arm, and, had he not trained himself to hold on to his weapons for dear life, would've cost him one of them. He used the right asp instead to strike his opponent's upper arm. Feelgood was too close to pull away completely, so he turned his wrist, letting the hit fall on the outer side of his forearm. It hurt, but at least the rapier was still in his hand, and by the time the next two blows came he was able to spin out of reach. He then took a few small, careful breaths. And smiled. There was no need to let the vigilante know how close he had come to knocking the wind out of him.

To Slipstream, this was an invitation. He grinned back, his breaths short and heavy, his veins full of adrenaline and his batons ready.

- My turn - he breathed, and charged at the fae.

Avery winced. She knew both of them to be capable fighters. She also knew they were - probably - not going to kill each other over this. How close to it they would get before either of them decided to stop, she wasn't sure of.

And still, she could not turn her gaze away. It was somewhat hypnotic, watching them dodge and parry, twisting and turning to deftly deflect or redirect otherwise paralyzing blows. They were eavenly matched, despite the vast differences in their styles. Oliver was good; fast, efficient and direct. Owain, on the other hand... he was a storm, a whirlwind, striking and withdrawing just to strike again from a different direction.

She lost herself in the action, and wondered if they had done this before. Their movements, their timing, the way they read each other's intentions, and the speed at which they reacted, and adapted, was uncanny. They kept going, seemingly tirelessly, and again and again they struck.

A new feeling rose in her chest, as she saw the two of them fight. All these years she had wondered what her brother would be like, what would happen when they finally met. And even though their first encounter had not worked out like she had planned... seeing her brother fighting she realized it was not just his pride that fueled him. He was fighting for her, making sure that Owain was qualified to look after her. A shiver ran down her spine, and she shuddered. Why was Owain fighting, then? He had barely met her three weeks ago, and here he was, taking a beating (and dishing one out too, though) in order to prove himself a competent teacher. Yes, he had promised to look after her, but she was pretty much a total stranger. And yet he was fighting for her.

My heroes, she thought, and smiled despite herself.

Her attention returned to the fighters. Their breathing was heavy, and sweat ran down their foreheads and bare arms. Oliver's left ear and cheek were swollen and bright red were he'd been too late to completely deflect a blow, and Owain had a bright purple vertical bruise running down his forehead. They hadn't seriously injured each other, not yet anyway, but they were both almost done for; one good hit for either one of them and the fight would be over. And they both knew it. They squared off and readied themselves, and this time it was Oliver that charged, and this time Owain did not dodge but secured his footing. Six, seven, eight times they struck and parried, but on his sixth swipe Oliver managed to hit Owain square on the left wrist. Owain's eyes flashed open in pain and shock as he lost his grip on his sword and it fell, clattering against the floor. Oliver saw this as his opening and lunged, taking a step forward to increase his reach, as he aimed his asp at the fae's head. But Owain also took a step forward, completely lowering his guard with his remaining rapier, and let himself fall on his own back. This took the vigilante by surprise, and only realized that the fae had effectively swept him off his footing when he felt himself falling forward, and into -quite to his horror- the rising tip of the fae's blade.

Owain saw Oliver falling forward, and thrust his rapier forward and up to meet the vigilante's body. It wasn't meant to hurt him, quite the opposite. But it proved a point, and it catapulted his opponent overhead.

Oliver swung his asps as he fell forward, and watched his first swing cut the air three inches short of Owain's face. He shifted his weight, even as he pivoted over Owain's sword, and the second asp connected solidly against the fae's head as the other one gave his sword a final push, which sent him flying, and spinning, away. Shifting his weight had allowed him to land a direct hit, but it altered his position and he hit the floor headfirst, and everything went black.

Avery stared at the unconscious bodies, mouth agape. She hadn't quite decided which one she was rooting for, but she hadn't counted on a double knock-out either. She ran over to where Oliver laid first, since he'd been the one to fall on the floor headfirst, and checked on him. With relief she noted his neck was not broken, and it didn't look like he'd cracked his skull either. He'd have a nice bump tomorrow... but it served him right for being reckless, she thought. He left him sleeping soundly and went over to Owain, and made sure he wasn't dead or injured either. No, not dead, just unconscious. Huffing, she got back on her feet. She looked at both of them again, and chuckled. Walking over to the supply closet, she got a bucket, filled it with water, and carried it back to the training room. She dragged Oliver's body and placed it next to Owain's, stood back, and aimed the bucket.

Stopping herself, she put down the bucket and slowly kneeled before her unconscious brother. He looked so peaceful in his sleep. Avery's hand trembled as she ran it through his hair, and after a short pause bent down and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. This time, she promised herself, things would turn out well for all of them.

After a few seconds, she shrugged, stood up, and picked up the water-filled bucket. Looking at Owain's unconscious body, she muttered under her breath.

-This - she swung the bucket back - is for the flour sacks.


Coescrito por Tsailanza


Última edición por Zahariel el Sáb Feb 12, 2011 11:46 pm, editado 1 vez
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MensajeTema: Re: [Working title]   Sáb Feb 12, 2011 11:05 pm

Te olvidaste de añadir la co-autoria oe.
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MensajeTema: Re: [Working title]   Sáb Feb 12, 2011 11:54 pm

Hecha la correccion, con las disculpas del caso.
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