Great Sword (1)

Berra — Great Sword 1

????, Dark Season


Context

Mid Dark Season. When Rajar gave Berra her bison, he said it was, ‘for all the big swords’ and she does not want to let him down. [[[s02:session-21|Session 21]]]

Events

Dawn has come and gone several times. Freezedays and Claydays see Berra drilling with a great sword, and now – Clayday in midseason – she asks, “Would you give me a hand?” She is holding a rattan and cloth sword longer than she is tall.

Varanis grins. “Of course.”

Berra hoists the sword, with a grin. “I am really not good at this,” she says, “And I’m tempted to blame Rajar, but it is my decision.”

The Vingan is bundled against the cold, wearing Praxian style clothing beneath her hide armour. The bronze cuirass hasn’t seen light of day for weeks.

“I’ll practice broadsword,” she suggests. “Not sure rapier is a good idea against that.”

“I’m going to say that’s right,” Berra says, but then pauses. “In fact… I do want you to have control. Shield? One of us should know what we’re doing.”

Varanis considers, then nods.

“Shield is a good idea. I’d try to avoid going up against something that size without a shield anyway.”

She grabs her shield from its spot against the wall and a broadsword waster from the small pile of practice weapons.

Berra rolls her shoulders, and gets her feet under her properly, and checks, “Ready?” That is not a thing she feels she has to do with a broadsword.1Berra fails three Greatsword rolls, indicating phases of combat. Varanis passes one then fumbles one, then fails one.

Varanis steps into position, her feet more certain on the snow than the first few weeks. She takes a relaxed ready stance, the practice blade held out in front of her, point towards Berra. She’s just out of range of the Greatsword, which means she can’t reach the Humakti either. This does not seem to worry her.

Berra’s attack is an obvious one, straight in at the head, and it would be counted very clumsy but for the fact it’s such a big blade and all of it is dangerous – she is filling the air between them with the weight of her sword.

Ducking under the attack, Varanis deflects the massive sword with her smaller one. It’s a careful parry, designed to redirect Berra’s sword without taking the full force of it.

She has the strength for it, but her natural grace is being compressed to the service of something she cannot control properly. Berra’s blade is pushed aside by the good use of leverage, and she finds herself in a lowline, unable to recover.

At this point, the taller woman closes the gap to cut upwards with her waster towards Berra’s face.

“Yep,” Berra says. “Dead or dying.” She gives a beat pause before she converts her position in to something more appropriate, this time using her sword like a long spear, right hand on the blade to control it. A bad parry will probably jam it into her vambrace, but it might equally slice open her arm, if it goes ill.

Varanis steps back out of range, keeping the point of her blade between them. She cocks an eyebrow at Berra quizzically. “You sure about that?” She nods at the hand on the blade.

“Not really, but I have seen it done.” Berra returns to a more classical, less crazy grip. “By people a lot better than me, though. I think that maybe that bit can be blunted if you do it a lot.” Her huge sword comes around in a big lazy arc, heading for Varanis’ right arm.

Varanis voids the arm, pulling it out of the way so that the greatsword passes harmlessly through empty air. With her quicker weapon, she closes the distance with another attack.

Berra steps back, half off balance because of the huge, dangerous lever. She nearly manages to get the blade back on line before Varanis can get close enough to gut her, but the shield closes her out.

The shield connects with Berra’s arms, a little shove pushing her off balance. The Vingan grins at the Humakti, poking the smaller woman’s armour with the point of her practice sword, just below the armpit.

“Heh. I have to remember I am new to this.” Berra smiles, and steps forward instead of back, stops, and says, “Not a spear either. Alright. Different.” This time she start to work on filling the air between them with a dense pattern of movement, exhausting with a heavy blade, but a highly effective threat for the few moments she can keep it up.

Varanis stands back and watches, waiting for Berra to attack or wear herself out.

Berra stops rather than getting tired, but she stops with her blade far out to her left and then half jumps forwards, aiming for the thigh and not much caring how she gets there. Her face is half joy and half determination.

Startled, Varanis tries for a sword block. She gets the waster in the way of the bigger blade, but it only stays that way for a split second. There’s a crack and a yelp as the waster snaps on impact. The greatsword continues on its relentless path towards the Vingan’s leg.

Berra impacts, and the sword hits hard, and she says, “Wow,” as she realises what has happened. A moment later she is stepping back to check on her opponent.

“Ouch!” Varanis laughs even as she dances in pain. “Inside of the thigh!”

“I… wow.” Berra goes back to a vertical rest position. “Do you want another or do you want to take a moment?”

Varanis limps over to the pile of practice blades, dropping the broken one beside it and selecting another broadsword-shaped waster. She returns to Berra and gamely takes up her stance again, point of the blade between them.

Berra is inspecting her own blade, in the mean time. “Not splintered,” she says. “This reedy stuff they use is really tough.” Whatever rattan is, she likes it. She likes it enough to haul it up and around and come down in a floating cross body shot down from her right side to her left, where she is already braking before there is any danger of hitting the ground. She is obviously experimenting.

“Ready?” Grey eyes watch the movement of the blade warily now.

“Yeah.” Berra’s voice is happy, even though her stance is off. “It’s fun.” She manages to keep her hands far enough apart to give her leverage, her sword central and almost upright.

Varanis waits.

So does Berra.

The Vingan steps forward, just entering Berra’s range, then falls back out, maintaining her defensive position.

Berra reacts to the feint and then commits to it, coming for a centre-line blow as she steps forwards and right.

Varanis tries to side-step and manages to keep her sword between them, but the movement is clumsy, the throbbing in her leg seemingly distracting her.

After a few more swishes, without real understanding, Berra says, “Right. I think I should stop. I’ve half crippled you by accident and… um, that was actually quite a lot of good fun but I don’t want to get eager.”

Varanis looks like she is considering take the opening, but registers Berra’s words and lowers the blade. “I don’t think I’d give you a good fight right now anyway,” she says apologetically.

“Yeah. And I’m not really able to either. But wow. I… I’ve never been able to hit that hard.” Berra looks at the big sword she has, and at Varanis. “I was worried for a moment.”

Varanis laughs. “So was I!”

Berra’s laugh is happy, in no way victorious. “It was… I’ll have to think about it. But sort of funny once I knew you were fine, and really good fun. But I’m no good at it.”

She throws an arm over Berra’s shoulder. “C’mon. Let’s find some kumiss. I have a feeling I’m going to have a spectacular bruise and I’d like to take my mind off it!”

“Yeah, you should leave that one.” Berra winds an arm around Varanis’ waist, briefly. “Show it off. Look unworried by it.”

The Vingan grins. “It’s a bit high on the leg for showing off, but that will only increase demands to see it with this lot.”

“Lounge around in leg armour?” Berra suggests. “But first, we should tidy up the swords.”