VS 141 Crossing a Line

Varanis — 1626 0812 Crossing

????, Earth Season, Season/Fertility Week



Earth Season/Fertility Week/Wildday morning. [[[s02:session-9|Session 9]]]
House Saiciae, courtyard


It is late afternoon on Wildday by the time the adventurers return to the House. Berra peels off from the others, saying something about practice and an invitation to join her, and goes to exercise Wind Tooth. As always a few of the House Guard watch, with some going so far as to do their own drills, in the warm light of Yelm. Berra herself steps through a swift set of movements right-handed and then left, before looking about to see if anyone has in fact joined her.

Xenofos looks at the route to bath-house, his clothing mired on the chase and falling shack, shakes his head and walks to the training area.

Varanis is there, watching, hand resting lightly on her rapier hilt.

He throws his helmet off. Draws his rapier and with a clash to the edge of the shield starts going through drill of basic stances.

Berra, armour gleaming under dust now, and black feather intact, gives those watching her a smile of welcome, and then settles to go through a set of inter-related attacks in slow motion, while watching Xenofos.

He moves smoothly. Cut follows a thrust, followed by a cut.

Varanis divides her attention between her cousin and the Humakti.1Passes insight rolls on both, while both are too busy to get a read on her: Berra is upset or disappointed about something, and is working her way through it, and every time she stops thinking about it, she goes back and re-plays the movement where she lost concentration. It’s not pretty, but it does seem to be making her think.

Berra’s look of calm is almost absolute, but her arms shake a little with the effort of moving as slowly as she does, and from time to time she has to speed up or rest.

Hot, sweaty, Xenofos cuts, makes a passing step, guard of unicorn, slides into thrust, sidesteps. The sweat runs into his eyes. He disengages with a wrist cut, thrust…2 07 /71 on rapier – that might actually look pretty good, blade is in front of me and point points towards the imaginary enemy at all points, with crisp transitions from guard to another – it is also clear that some of the stuff Xenofos is doing is not so much about killing people but looking dazzling while doing so.

The guards in the background set up in pairs, sparring light-heartedly, adding some noise and movement around the place.

The Vingan watches them both with close intensity. She draws a deep breath in the same instant that she draws her rapier, and with no further warning, she launches herself at Xenofos. She’s coming in from the sword side, but deliberately puts herself into his line of sight with enough time for him to react.3Varanis gets a special on her attack. Xenofos passes scan.4 By way of explanation, I wasn’t certain what mood V was in when we started. I knew she’d been stewing over something since morning, but a lot happened during the day. So I rolled on her top four runes: Movement, Man, Air, and Water. The results were 12/80, 78/75, 05/75, and 01/62. I read that as impulsive, reckless, and capricious.

Berra stops dead when that happens, and steps back to give it room.

Xenofos is startled by sudden movement. Seeing the assailant he lets point of his rapier drop and turns to deflect the assault with shield. Too bad the attack came from swordside – he has no chance of being in time.598/75, failed but not fumbled.

She feints high, trying to draw his guard up, then drops the tip of her blade low in a quick, controlled slice towards Xenofos’ sword-side leg. The blade touches, but does not cut. She laughs in delight. “Be faster!”6Xenofos gets a special on insight. Varanis is in full mischief mode. Probably blowing off steam from the looks of her. Her eyes are sparkling with glee. Clearly, Berra isn’t in position to see her face.

Berra takes a deep, slow breath as she watches, and her empty shield hand comes up to gesture towards Xenofos, and a soft glow surrounds him.

Xenofos closes in as the blades sweep past and throws his weight behind his shield. Seeing him coming at her with his shield, Varanis dodges to his shield side, trying to get behind it.7Thus ensues a discussion about how this would work:
V: Can I try grabbing the top edge of the shield? Any rules about that? Grapple maybe?
X: attacking weapon was in earlier editions there it would have been grapple.
B: If you’re dodging, the grapple’s interesting. Take that as your attack at the next SR that is yours, sure, but remember you have a sword in your hand, so you may have to take strange measures.
V: What I want to do is try to grab the shield with my left hand, while punching with my right for a pommel bash. Which might just be beyond what we can do within the rules.
X: a bit on the edge – I’d say yes – but 3 strike ranks in between? ))
B: That’s two-weapon fighting, then. First, a grapple to grab left-handed. Then 5 SR to pommel-strike.
X’s stated intentions: Legsweep/kick and parry with rapier – 67/30 on sweep attempt; 59/71 for rapier parry
V’s roll: 003/45 on the grapple and a sad 68/35 on the punch
B: intends to cast Protection on Varanis, and to step in and probably throw herself into the way if things look bad, maybe with a shield spell to protect someone.
Stepping past him, she uses her empty hand to grab the edge of his shield and then tries to punch him with the pommel of her rapier. She doesn’t commit to the attack though, and misses.

Berra keeps muttering, this time gesturing towards Varanis, and the same soft golden glow begins around the Vingan.

“Let go, Varanis!”

“Make me!” she says, laughing, but she lets go and dances back, keeping her sword in a guard position between them. “You’re getting slow, cousin. Come on! Move faster!” Varanis shows no sign of stopping her attacks, circling closer, looking for an opening.

“Careful…” Berra says, her voice oddly urgent for someone speaking slow and low. “Xenofos, do you want to go on?”

Xenofos retreats in guard. “Give me a waster!”

Berra nods to one of the guards watching the fight, meaning she takes her eyes off the combat for only a moment.

“Why? Are you afraid you’ll hurt me? I’m not afraid, Xenofos. Come on!”

Xenofos holds his guard. Keeping his distance.

“Varanis. Take a wooden weapon.” Berra’s voice is flat, an order more than a suggestion.

“That is not necessary,” Xenofos says.

For a moment, it looks like she’s going to ignore Berra. She’s stalking Xenofos like an alynx trying to corner prey that might bite back. But then she laughs again and stops with a shrug.

“It bloody is,” Berra says, “Because otherwise I’m going to get irritated.” Wasters are brought, but the guard who does it pauses at the edge of the fight to offer them, rather than stepping in.

“Fine. I wouldn’t want to worry our little Death worshipper.” Varanis stalks over to the guard to take a waster and hand him her sword.

Berra gives Varanis a smile that has little love in it, and relaxes into a position that lets her watch the battle.

Xenofos keeps his guard relaxed but ready when making the switch, keeping the distance and watching Varanis at all times. At safe distance he drops the shield to the sand of courtyard, like freeing the Saiciae serpent. At the same distance he gives formal salute.

Following the steps of the Air rune Xenofos closes in. Varanis returns the salute and launches herself at him as soon as she’s returned to the ready position. Like a serpent, Xenofos lashes out, but he fails.8Xenofos rolled 98/71 not a fumble. Slipping past Xenofos’ blade, Varanis makes a lightning quick strike towards his sword-side leg. He attempts to dodge but she manages to lay the blade across his leg cleanly.9Varanis rolled 13/76 for the attack – it’s a special. Xenofos rolls 10/44 for the dodge. Varanis grins fiercely. “That would have drawn blood.”

He raises an eyebrow, but then counterattacks with a swift slice targeting her sword hand. She flicks his blade away casually.10Xenofos rolled 28/71, right arm. Varanis rolled 03 on the parry.

Berra has relaxed somewhat, and is now watching with the look of an interested coach or instructor.

Varanis strikes a sharp blow, aimed at Xenofos’ head, but he is no longer in the same place and her blade slashes through empty air.11Varanis rolled 16/76, target 19. Xenofos rolled 01 on the dodge.

Going from high guard inspired with Earth to get her down – there is power in that. Obvious power. He is putting his weight into the blade as he strikes a solid blow to the Vingan’s helmet.12 Xenofos inspired earth and its solidity – normal success. 62 /91 to the head. Varanis rolled 84 on her dodge.

“Oh… so it’s like that, is it?” She laughs, shaking off the ringing in her helmet.

“Careful!” Berra yells. There is sharpness to it this time.

Xenofos looks sideways to Berra for a moment, but then turns in time to casually evade Varanis’ sudden attack.13Varanis rolled a 16 on the attack, while Xenofos got 03 on dodge.

“If you strike like that, you walk off,” Berra tells Xenofos, but she takes a half step back, letting them get on with it.

Varanis keeps her sword between them. When Xenofos’ attack comes, it comes with power – it seems Xenofos wanted to have that noted despite Varanis leg armour. She refuses the blow to her leg, withdrawing just enough to avoid it.14Xenofos rolled 46/91 for the attack. Varanis rolled 59/60 for dodge As soon as her foot touches earth again, she lunges for him with a thrust aimed to puncture low in the belly if it had the force of her body behind it. It does not. She does not appear to be committing any power to her attacks.15Varanis rolled 23/76 to target 9.

Berra narrows her eyes as she concentrated on the fight now. Her lips move but when Xenofos strikes again she drops her spell, and then takes it up again, managing to cast that golden glow over herself now, after getting calm once more.

Xenofos easily parries the attack and once inside her guard, he makes a vicious thrust, driving the point of his wooden rapier at Varanis’ left thigh16Xenofos rolls 06 on the parry and 90/91 on his attack.. She parries it desperately, but the strength behind the blow is obvious and her eyes grow wide in response. She counters with an attack to Xenofos’ unprotected head, which he parries in turn.17Varanis rolls 35 on the parry and 17 on the attack. Xenofos rolls a 6 on his parry.

Berra is moving with the fight now, keeping at an angle that lets her see what is going on.

Xenofos follows with a wristcut – again grounded solidly.18normal to the head – parry – roll with false edge combo. Varanis fails her dodge roll. The blow to the Vingan’s head is solid, bringing her up short. Xenofos is not pulling his blows.

“And that’s enough,” Berra says, stepping forwards. Wind Tooth is sheathed and her hands are up. She steps between them, not hesitating; obviously, she trusts them to stop…

Varanis shakes her head, laughing as she does so, and steps back, keeping the point of her sword trained on Xenofos in spite of Berra standing between them. She makes no attempt to continue.

Xenofos steps back in low stance keeping the point towards the ground. He is taking several deep breaths and looking pretty stern.

Berra nods. “Good. Clothes off, oil on. Go wrestle to get this mood off you, both of you. Or take a run, if you don’t want to get dusty, but don’t let it escape through your weapon arms. You are both taking too many risks to call this sparring.”

Xenofos nods.

Varanis slides her helmet off and shakes her head, perhaps clearing the last of the ringing from her ears. She sets the helmet down and the waster beside it.19Xenofos and Berra both fail insight. The grin on her face is slightly feral as she studies Xenofos. She rolls her shoulders and watches to see what her cousin will do. She’s balanced on the balls of her feet.

“Varanis! Don’t. You. Ever. Pull. A. Stunt. Like. That. Again.” Xenofos bites each word off through gritted teeth.

Berra stands casually between the two, and rubs at her chin under her helmet. Casual, yes.

Varanis sidesteps around Berra, circling just a little closer to Xenofos as she does so.

“If you’re going to start this again, so help me, I’ll deck you,” Berra says with a smile.

“I had a sharp blade in my hands. You could have been hurt.” He is ignoring Berra.

The Vingan holds out her empty hands, showing Berra that she is unarmed. She doesn’t remove her gaze from Xenofos as she circles still closer.

Berra sighs, and says, “Xenofos, if she tries it without the oil on, feel free to hold her while I kick her.”

Xenofos blinks. Berra has clearly confused him again.

This finally gets Varanis’ attention. “You wouldn’t!” she says in complete disbelief.

“I would not,” says Xenofos quietly.

Berra turns to Varanis. “Almost certainly not, but you just drew a blade on someone, and I’m severely pissed off. So don’t ask me to be well behaved right now, if you cause more of a scene. I might just punch, although I wouldn’t have you held for that.” She turns to bow to Xenofos, in respect or thanks.

Xenofos nods back. Returns the battered waster, gets his helmet and sword and walks off.

Varanis shakes her head, the laughter finally fading. “You clearly didn’t train the way we did. And neither did he. In my temple days, you learned that an attack could come at any time and from anyone. It was always to be expected, especially when tired.”

“Mhm,” Berra says, and that’s all she says.20Varanis fails insight.

Varanis curses in Pure Horse Tongue as she watches Xenofos walk away. After a moment, she picks up her helmet, returns the waster, and collects her rapier. “I wasn’t going to hurt him,” she tells Berra defensively.

Berra says, “Later,” to Varanis, and walks off after Xenofos.

Varanis curses again and heads for the baths.