The droid is quicker to recover than anticipated, but the swords in its hands is slower than the one-handed from before. The arc of the swing is more a desperate backhand towards him, to the point the arc's end is done one-handed. He anticipated as much, since two-handed weapons need to play keep-away nearly as much as those with pikes and spears. He pulls back, raising the glaive out of the arc's path and letting the tip swing past him with a metre to spare, but pausing for only a second to regain footing before he dives into the gap left in it's wake.
The glaive point forward, two-hander long past in the backswing, the man rushes the droid and there's a clatter of metal-on-metal. The droid's foot dig into the earth behind it, even as its pushed backwards, and the momentum drags it a few feet, before the glaive's tip finally slides off the smooth metallic carapace of its form.
"Advantage.. defender." the droid intones, and stands up in a neutral stance. "Match point." It stares at the outstretched point of the glaive, which would have skewered a regular person made of flesh and blood, even ones in light- to medium armour. Of course, the droid's own carapace is an alloy that barely even shows a scratch, as per its design, but no one person could wear the weight of such armour to begin with. Thus, its calculation stands.
The man stares at the machine, breath quick from the fast motions, and a smile creeps onto his face, then a satisfied grin. He stands back, letting out a vindictive laugh, part-triumph, part-catharsis, and the culmination of three days' worth of effort, with several weeks of practise and warm-up to precede it. It's barely just a beginning, but within that moment, it doesn't matter - The machine lost. He finally beat it. With swords and not words alone.
His old instructors would shake their heads, call it luck, call it no real achievement, call it whatever made them feel more comfortable with the loss, the humiliation and the hate. But they were dead and he is not. And if he keeps at it, that specific chance has the probability to become an increasingly smaller percentage.
The sense of victory is quick to fade, as more sober senses take the reigns back (Perhaps the instructors would have been right to sneer at such an outburst, but he is alone and what other space is there for such, these days?). He regards the droid standing at attention, heavy two-hander held tip-up against the shoulder like the guards of home. It's familiar, so it brings comfort, but at the same time there's a concerning notion of such familiarity reaching all the way here, to so public an item. It brings to question a lot of things, of what people know, how much they know and what thoughts of their own they might have about it.
And the sobriety hits stronger, reminding him why he's doing this in the first place.
Understanding is a luxury that few allow, and even fewer can afford. Even the boldest, most perfect lies can come to light with enough time and scrutiny. And it's best to be prepared for when they do, for the eyes of this place are many, and some can even pierce mind and soul. It is not a place easily shaken off, not one you can disappear in or from. Not like the times before.
The smile fades, and the jaw tightens again. It's easy to forget that, when things are going well. As such, best enjoy the time while he can, but remember that a reckoning could be just behind the corner.. And he'll need to prepare for that, too.
"Again.." he rumbles low, lowering the glaive from the shoulder and taking up another combat stance. And again.. he thinks, as the droid responds, taking up its own respective combat stance, for yet another round.
The second round goes better than the first, as the droid launches into a similar attack as before. With the anticipation on hand, the man has little issue dodging away from it, to goad it into another attack that could leave it vulnerable. In effect, it is not too different to the first round in execution, except for the time and result - He manages to dig in under the sword's guard much faster, and manages to not only hit the droid with the glaive for a killing blow, but also to push further in enough to throw it off balance.
It is now the droid's turn to pick itself up from the ground, although it doesn't seem to be nearly as affected as he had been. There's simple a synthetic, "Advantage, defender. Match point." which is hardly as satisfying. He liked to think he wasn't a very vindictive person (But then that wouldn't entirely be true. All the same, there's a very important and fine line between vindictive and sadistic. Many have crossed it without even realizing it was there).
"Again," he calls to the droid, as soon as it's back up again. He's starting to learn its tricks and to recall all the lessons from so long ago. But it quickly appears the he's not the only one, as the droid readies itself and launches into an attack first, going for a downward strike from the shoulder. It catches him off guard initially, but he quickly backs up, glaive crossways to defend.
The strike hits the shaft, holomatter seeming to splatter to indicate wood splinters being broken off of it. A normal polearm would have likely been shattered entirely from the impact, for two-handers weren't built to cut so much as simply crush. But whatever enchantment ran through the glaive is likely taken into the droid's calculations, as it simulates only surface damage.
The realization brings comfort in terms of not having to make a purchase for another expensive weapon, but a more instinctual part of him feels the cold aura of the holomatter pass so close to his face, and discover a sudden longing for the safety of his armour.
He pushes against the blade, to close the distance between the droid. The mechanical seems to anticipate this and begins to back up, keeping the distance close to even. But space is limited on the small clearing, and eventually the underbrush will be at its back. The head doesn't move, as its sensors are well aware of this, and the droid instead makes a sudden step around to the side of the man, dislodging the sword to bring it into another swing from the shoulder.
The initial release cause him to lose balance for a second, but the eyes remain on the droid as it moves aside. He keeps the motion going forward, picking up the pace to outrun the swing from the now-stationary droid. The tail whips out of the way, just in time to avoid the strike, as it clatters holomatter against the ground. A swing avoided, but now with his back to the attacker.
He swings around, looking to thrust the glaive towards the exposed droid, but the two-hander is quick to pull up and deflect the blow. Many people erroneously assumed they only ever had to worry about the pointy ends of long weapons, forgetting that being hit with the middle is equal parts as concerning. Those who only kept an eye on the tip often also forgot that the middle could become as effective a defence in close quarters as shorter swords, if not more so.. (Not all warriors died to a thrust or slash of a blade. Some were defeated just as handily with the spokes of sword guards to their face.)
The block quickly turns into a thrust, and it is now his turn to side-step the blow, while keeping his balance from the deflected swing. With glaive brought back into a proper grip, he hits the extended blade with the butt of the polearm and rushes closer, to bring the glaive's blade down at the droids's head within the same motion.
The two-hander is flown wide, but the droid is not deterred - It regains the grip in time to bring it up, pommel-first and strike the man in the chest, throwing him off-balance and causing the second half of the strike to waver. For a moment he seems surprised, more at not feeling pain than the physical contact itself - Supposedly, these machines weren't supposed to deal direct contact, but for all that the shove was blindingly fast, it was also almost soft, just strong enough to stagger him without leaving so much as a bruise.
There's not enough time to stand there and think on this, as the droid immediately follows it up with an upward swing. He looks up from staring at his chest and quickly backtracks, regaining the grip on the glaive to put it between himself and the on-coming attack. The first strike misses, but it immediately continues into an overhead swing downward, part of the same, fluid motion. The glaive comes up crossways to deflect it, and there's a clatter of holomatter as the sword makes contact.
It nearly throws the glaive from his hands, as he's still backing up. The droid continues the motion again, a series of rapid strikes making use of the same arc of momentum - It's him now on the backfoot, being pushed closer and closer to the underbush, as he tries to dodge and deflect each swing. But the droid learns, and each one comes through at a slightly different arc, with a slightly different angle, and varying force. All things considered, he defends admirably, and eventually finds a small enough window to push back.
He takes one last step back, braces, and then charges forward at the gap in the aftermath of the swing. The droid's sword is nearly behind it, leaving it exposed at the front - Easy enough prey to thrust through with the glaive. There's a blur of motion, the droid moves, and suddenly he feels something cold brush against his neck, around it, and past it, as the clearing echoes with the sound of metal clashing against metal - The glaive hit the droid square in the middle of the chest, but it also had brought up the blade in a deflective swing aimed at his head.
It's just holomatter, it doesn't hurt. There's no damage, and he knows that, but all the same, he suddenly backs up with a shortness of breath and a sudden chill coursing through the entire body, involuntarily gasping for air. He leans up against the glaive for support, trying to regain composure, as the droid only cocks its head and intones, "Advantage.. unclear."
It takes him a minute, but eventually the sensation leaves, and he grimaces away the last shreds of it. "Enough for today.." he finally mutters, not looking at the droid as he stands. He collects the shirt from the boulder with a shaky hand and wordlessly walks back into the basement, leaving the droid standing alone in the clearing, looking almost puzzled, as it deactivates the holoweapon.
The road back ends up rougher than it should have been. Passing faces, presences, gazes and people, while so very focused on keeping one's self together. Some masks weigh less than others and the courier is easy enough to carry, for there is little complicated about him.. But even that ended up easier said than done, for the true weight on the shoulders lay behind it. How does one appear easy-going, when they're barely holding back a trembling hand? How to seem nonchalant, when the mind is noise and disruptions?
A lot of work, effort, energy and years upon years of practise. The pauses to lean up against a fence feigned to be picking something from the sole of the foot. An involuntary flinch or twitch made to be the beginnings of a sneeze. All the way from the manor, all the way to the tower, whatever failure to composure made to be masked with a failure of common botherance. People are always looking to see things, so it pays to put on a show, even if the stage is mouldy and the curtains torn - It wont matter so long as the acting remains on point.
The latch to the gate closes with a finality of the task, the foal returned to the pen and the whole of the ordeal over and done with.. There should be a sigh of relief, but the consequences of the events are stubborn to linger, even if it's been hours since it happened. A fact which would be annoying, infuriating even, if he didn't know the reason for it. After all, one can't exactly uproot a whole bog of carcasses and then complain of the stench that lingers in their wake. The mud stays clouded, for a time. That which is uprooted will leave it's mark on the world, as penance for its disturbance.
Both hands hold onto the edge of the fence, and there's a deeper sigh than most before, though still ragged and hoarse from the dust, as the head slumps forward. A sigh of exhaustion, even as one hand briefly twitches at a surfacing memory, bobbing like a dead fish to the surface of a lake. Carcasses.. Undead, hollow, figures of death. Goddess knows, it's not going to be an easy few days..
To his fortune, the pens are relatively quiet today, as if the beasts can sense the unease. To his misfortune, the rest of him has little trouble filling in the gaps. There's a deeper exhale as he straightens and makes his way over to a bench, taking the bucket from there and then to the basement's well. It's a small thing, too narrow for too much concern (And a far cry from the hungry monstrosity the manor sports), but sufficient to provide the tower with clean water from the wellspring below. The bucket goes down, empty, the bucket comes up, mostly full. He takes it, and places it on the table, considering the rippling reflection on the surface.
If he feels like hell, the appearance is worse - Caked in undead dust and dirt grime, scratches from wayward swipes and darker bruises welling up beneath the paint from where a hand had either grabbed or slammed when trying to grab. No wonder the eyes were easier to turn as they made their way back. Some probably assumed the courier had got into a fight at the mines, and horribly lost.
They would not be too wrong.. Out of the winners and losers of the event, the undead were certainly coming out on top in the long run, being turned to charred bits not withstanding. Sometimes a sacrificial pawn can see an opportunity made for another, to open a path for a bishop otherwise unseen. If someone had made a play for it, to test a boundary, they would have succeeded. Found a subtle crack. A deeper flaw. What lay beneath it all. And there's no greater danger in this game of faces and plays of words.
He reaches the hand into the water, feeling the cool sensation replace the soreness and itching pain. It's moments like this where everything seems almost too easy and simple, reduced down to simple sensations and acts of impulse. The other hand follows and brings up a cupped handful to splash the cold against the face, sending a shock down the mind. Simple does not suffice, and impulse is a two-edged sword (Of everyone, he should know this).
The head shakes away the loose water, and there's a frown as the mind still squabbles with itself, unable to make peace. Everything had been perfectly under control. The stage was set, the pieces doing their movements, parts assigned their roles, the curtain moving to hide what needs hiding.. Sure, a flub here or there needed some improvisation, but the best pieces are based on truest intentions, none more so when those intentions need to be drawn from the now - The synchrony of a well-oiled system, refined over years and years.
And then someone dug up a wasp nest from the depths of a basement, from a box under lock and key and buried for good measure.. Tossed it to the middle of the stage and gave it a kick on the way. The lights go dark, panic ensues, the stage falling apart while the best improvisers are left helpless to come up with anything as they're being stung to death by a hundred assailants. Everything brought low because of one, simple action. (One single secret).
The buzzing continues even now, as water drips from the face, a fault not from the dust stinging the lungs, or the hits taken to the head, or the dizziness of the adrenaline.. but the failure to conceal a weakness.
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