The lumbers creak above as the winds whistle through the abandoned manor. The footfalls of the knight echo through empty rooms and cold halls, derelict and unattended. For now, at least.. The manor has a purpose yet, but it will need time to renovate, to rebuild and, perhaps, redecorate. In the here and now, a lone knight walks through the long front hall, leaves crunching underfoot, before he exits the door out to the front of the house. Autumn has fallen, and with it much of the leaves on the trees. Where the green colours fade to brown and grey, other colours - vibrant reds, oranges and yellow - replace them.
The front of the entrance has exactly that scattered all around it, raked away only in parts, to make more room for piles of lumber, stacks of stone and other crates that would at some point hold more building materials. The knight, however, passes them all, approaching the low stone fence that rings the territory, and the solitary wooden box hung from it - the only piece of something 'new' out of the whole territory. He opens the lid and glances inside, much as he had every few days. Today, there's a letter.
The helmet tilts lightly and he picks up the letter, closing the box. The manor didn't get mail, in part because any prospective person seeking to throw around advertisements took one look at the place and generally thought better of it. In other part because the warning against soliciting on the lawn had a very specific fine print on potential infringements, and even in it's derelict state, the intricacy of the handwork on the sign made it clear the owner likely had the funds to go through with it (It was the finer part about knowing how hand-writing work, and more importantly, how to use someone else's).
Turning it around, there's a name written on the front, though the handwriting in this particular case isn't familiar. It's addressed to him - more specifically, the knight, so the options there aren't vast enough to cause him to puzzle for long. Starting the walk back into the manor, he pulls out a small knife and opens up the letter, reading it along the way. Now, he has assumed an invite would show up sooner or later, given some recent.. accidental events and strange acquaintances. Even so, he's surprised to find first a folded up flyer and then the letter itself, explaining it.
The doorway looms over him as he enters the manor, and pushes it closed behind him, latching with a beam built into it, letter still in hand and being read. The steps echo down the halls again, this time the other way around as the knight makes his way through the long hall and towards the back.
A masquerade, is it? A brow cranes, both surprised and impressed. The City has no shortage of celebrations, but both courier and knight tended to notice most of them revolved around partying in places called "clubs" or, more familiarly, in pubs. This seemed a little more old-fashioned than the City usually puts forth (Would they go so far as to think of hosting a joust next?) but it's an enticing notion - The parties back home were formal affairs, all pomp, circumstance and etiquette. Once the alcohol began to get on, they could get more wilder, but no-one of good standing would ever dare to make themselves a fool in greater measure than they could compensate for it.
Masquerades, however, were different.. The anonymity provided by one's own costume, and those of others, made some things more tempting than others, some people more bolder than others. True, the notion there was never tied to death and winter quite the same way this Vai Min Mur celebration was, but some states of mind transcend mere thematic restraints.
What an event this could be.. There's a smirk beneath the helmet, as he passes through another doorway, closing it behind him, and starts long unkempt grass towards the forest behind the manor. What a challenge.. All the different layers of the City come together to the same place, with the same goal of enjoying themselves. And not just that, but in costumes and masks on top of it all, like walking puzzles. The idea is very enticing, he has to admit.. He's been in crowds plenty of times so far, but it would be the first time he's be among what potentially the City offers as its best and brightest (Or, more accurately, its boldest and most influential. Or just whoever decides to show up, the City had no shortage of layers and surprises in store).
He reads both letter and invitation over again, brain working through the information. It's not a high-class event, as much is certain (But that didn't mean high class couldn't attend, openly so or otherwise, in the lady's case).. but all the same, if the lady was going, he could hardly afford to look shabby at her side. There would have to be an order put in with the tailors.
Fortunately, thanks to the helpful lady of the Loom, there's no shortage of them to source an attending outfit from. Oh, sure, it would be easy to simply show up dressed as a knight and call it a day.. But the knight's attire is worn. Well-kept and clean, but worn, from time and doubtless countless skirmishes the knight has been in. No, that's not something to bring to a social event, especially one with formality (Or a lovely escort). He taps the letter against the hand, thinking. Costumes here don't quite match up to what he remembers of masquerades (There's a lot more 'story' and a lot less 'fluff', a strive to portray some sort of narrative, rather than show the sheer ability to throw money into the wind while still looking aesthetically pleasing). He doesn't know much about witches (The home country has more a thing for "wizards", regardless of gender) so that's certainly more of a local inventions..
..But he has heard of another theme not too different from it. Hmm.. Yes, that could work. It would need a little bit more research in the local lore, and perhaps a bit more expense from the tailors, but it can work. And, really, who would he be if he didn't at least spend a little more on tailors?
The knight could afford one nice thing, every now and again, after all.
Far enough from any prying eyes (and ears), a clatter of metal against something not quite material echoes through the backwoods of the manor. Deep within, the old stone tower continues to stand lonesome and abandoned, but a short distance from it there's commotion in a small clearing overlooking a set of heavy doors leading to an old winery cellar. Or, at least, it used to. These days the basement is more filled with pens and things that bite, howl, claw and demand all sorts of attention.
In the clearing, two figures seem to face off - One, the man himself with glaive and light clothing. The other, a metallic contraption of science and tinkering skills, a droid brandishing ghostly versions of a sword and shield. Though the fight is fierce, it's less deadly and more practised. The strikes bouncing off harmless on the droid's body or projected shield, while the pale yellow-green plasma sword seems to strike, but never quite hit the target, as intended.
The two dance a circle for a spell, before the man lunges forward with a swing of the glaive, looking to cut through the gap in the droid's defence. No such luck, as the machine quickly reacts, bringing the shield to cover the upward strike, harmlessly bouncing off.
"Negative impact," it intones, in a synthetic voice. In turn, it suddenly advances, a downward swing from the shoulder and forcing the man to his backstep, raising the glaive up crossways to block it. At the last moment, the sword changes angle, proving to be nothing but a feint and aiming lower at the outstretched leg instead.
The blade stops an inch before, and he can feel the coldness of the not-quite-liquid even through the cloth, not that it would actually do harm even if it touched - The machine was built to avoid this. The wound to the pride is no less damaging, however, as the droid intones, "Confirmed hit. Advantage attacker." and retreats back into a default readiness stance.
His jaw tightens and the eyes narrow that much closer at the droid, as he breathes out with a grunt and takes steps back to resume his own readiness stance. An instructor once told him that anger was the bane of all warriors, and allowing it to control you would allow it control of the battle itself. That instructor was now long since dead. They weren't exactly heeding of their own advise either, as sore shoulders and bruises on his ribs back then attested to, so those words tended to run a little hollow in his ears.
It's also quite difficult to control something when the object of your ire is just so goddess-damned.. blank. A physical enemy he could goad, trick, feint, play with. But this machine has no emotions, and thus he has no affect on it, no way to turn the tides beyond just being better in arms. (And that was infuriating).
Once upon a time he could fight three men and fend them off with practised motions. The men were wielding waster swords, and they couldn't exactly do him any real harm, true (Not that they didn't try. "Accidentals happen in training all the time. It's just a part of the learning process."), but even compared to that form he was sluggish now. All the years between were more spend forging paths with words than swords. But there always comes a time when words fail, and swords are all you're left with.
He rolled his shoulder, another annoyed grunt as he grumbled, "Again!" and got ready.
This time the droid moved first, advancing slowly and cautiously. Shield up, sword forward, point up. The goblin creature had not lied - Whoever had trained these things to fight ('Programmed', whatever) certainly know what they were about. He circles to the droid's unshielded side, slowly and intently. The glaive has longer reach, but the shield offers better protection.
There's a tense moment where each of them are waiting for the other to blink first. The droid turns in turn with him, to cover for the attempt to flank, and so the two end up circling one another once more. Where the mechanism's steps are measured and calculated, his show a different sort of calculation - One where there's actual room for error. With no obvious ability to flank the machine, he changes tracks, suddenly sidestepping towards the shielded side. The glaive flips directions, swings low and the droid reacts immediately.
The shield lowers, to block the low blow, even as the droid is now spinning to meet him on its left, rather than right. There's no contact, for the glaive changes direction halfway through, a smooth motion switching from low to high, aiming for the head.
There's contact, another clatter echoing through the air. The droid's sword raised over its head blocked the swing, much to his further annoyance.
He's about to pull back and regroup the effort, when the droid suddenly lunges forward, underneath the glaive and shoves him backwards with the shield. The motion is quick enough that he doesn't have time to react, the backfoot goes off balance and suddenly he's on the ground, head hitting the soft earth, horns digging a small gouge in the soil.
"Advantage attacker, match point." the droid intones, and resumes a neutral stance, shield and sword at the side.
The world doesn't spend too much time spinning, but the back of his head aches for a while longer (Not to mention the base of the horns). With a growl, he sits up, glaring daggers at the blasted machine, just for a moment considering if it has any safety measures against being turned to scrap. But no.. He needs this (He needs to remember that). The droid is doing what it was built for (What he bought it for). With a grunt, he stands up and dusts himself off, slamming the glaive into the ground tip-first.
The summer days have been warm and even in the clearing the sun keeps beating down on them through the sparse canopy overhead. Heat's always been a comfortable familiarity to him, but right now even that annoys him. He reaches and pulls the pale white shirt off over the head, a little rougher than intended around the horns, and tosses it to the boulder nearby. It's this same reason he didn't bother with the armour to begin with - If he can't even face this mechanoid while light of foot, what hope was there while burdened down by armour?
He rolls the neck and shoulders once more, before yanking the glaive free and idly spinning it left-to-right in front of him. He's starting too high, too difficult. Even as a child, they never started you off with seasoned fighters. You had to learn from the ground-up, working your way through different skill sets (And at the same time, if you made it too easy, that just played to one's vanity than ability to learn).
He shoots it a baleful look. He knew it wasn't impatient, but it grates him all the same. No way through, but to try, it seemed.. Even though it had been three days with barely any progress. Surely he could eventually recall the skill he once had? Or perhaps he was just fighting a battle where the cards already started in the droid's favour.
"New equipment," he starts, the glaive still making lazy loops, "One-and-a-half hander, long point, Genevian style guard, balanced pommel." And then, after a short pause, "No shield."
Immediately, the yellow-greenish fluid emanating from the droid's hands begins to warp and shift. The shield disappears from it's left side, but the sword on it's right grows broader and longer, to the described specifications. The man pauses and the annoyance is briefly replaced with looking impressed. Looks like the 'programmers' here really did plan for every scenario with these things.
"Status, ready," the droid intones, and immediately takes a much more different stance to before. One of the most standard style of combat involve a sword-and-shield combination, which is easy enough to pick up, but tend to not impact as heavily. Longpoles and two-handers are styles with a lot more nuance by comparison (And generally a lot more danger too), which are less common.. but that much more familiar to him.
He stops the glaive's motion and readies it into a starting stance. The tail behind twitches in anticipation, as familiar memories slowly start to flood back. He's taller than then, and the opponent more metal throughout than merely an armoured guard, but the muscles need to remember how it was, before they can learn how it should be now. From the ground-up, from familiar to new, to stranger than he even anticipated.
"Begin," he rumbles, and launches forward with a thrust of the glaive.
The droid is quick to react, side-stepping as it angles the two-hander between itself and the glaive, blocking off any chance of a sudden swing to its side. The jab is quick and quicker still is the glaive to retreat, as the man steps back into safety, out of the sword's range. It is the droid then who advances, sword crossways towards the glaive to hook beneath it and close the distance towards its intended target.
As soon as the glaive's tip is hooked into the move, he side steps across to the opposite side of the sword-tip, shoving it away with the glaive's contact point. A move that can be dangerous if the opponent is faster than you, but a wooden shaft offers little defence against the full blunt force of a two-handed sword, so keep-away is better than outright risking a block. And given the range advantage, keep-away is how polearm wielders best survive..
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6