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No title.
(2013-04-29 - 2013-04-29)
No description.
Riku Riku just wasn't getting anything accomplished this morning.

It was with a sense of profound frustration that he ate the remains of his lunch that he'd tucked away while walking back to the training room. He barely acknowledged and or thought about what he was eating. The day had even started out with no memory of nightmare or the attendant weariness that keeps him in bed staring at the ceiling.

Riku darkly suspected this itself was the trick and he'd wake up at some point and have to do this entire morning over. He was not exactly a stranger to strange dreams and recursive ones were rare but not unknown. He fretted and chewed over the problem as he entered the training room and looked around. Simple combinations. /Simple/ combinations and he lost his balance.

Embarrassing was a charitable word. A very charitable and kind word. Riku just shoved it all aside. He was /going/ to complete an entire pattern properly if he had to sit here and do so the rest of the day. And then do it again when he woke up.

Being sloppy in practically the only thing he had all to himself /despite/ not being nearly as good at it as he had always thought he was was not something he could tolerate. Not today.
Riku Riku is not the only one training today. Far in the very back of the room is the Judge of Reason himself, sparring with what seems to be at least six of his men, though who knows how long they have been there. Zargabaath himself is unarmored, shirtless with only cloth pants and simple shoes, in sharp contrast with the varying states of armor that his soldiers wear. The men even seem to have their weapons in hand, while Zargabaath is using practice blades.

He is quite uninjured, but scuffs and very shallow dents in the armor of his men show that they would not nearly be so lucky had he been armed the same.

Its quite interesting to watch this dance of offense and defense, of the flow of battle no matter how harmless it seems. Judge Magister and soldier alike bob and weave around each other, everyone seeming to know where each other is and/or where they are going. From the cautious yet aggressive moves the soldiers make, they have been at this long enough that they can guess Zargabaaths next move.

Its like speed chess. With swords.
Riku Riku squashes the resentment and the jealousy that flare up as he is watching this go on. He crushes them so ruthlessly that for a moment he's left with a stinging numbness that leaves his head ringing. The teenager shakes it off, shrugging it off as the frustration of the morning trying to latch onto anything available.

He does /sorely/ want to punch something, but as hitting himself would be really counter-productive... he only approaches with practice sword over his shoulder. He watches quietly the dance between offense and defense and the impression of chess leaves him surprisingly with a memory of playing it. Boy that seemed.. very far away now.

"Well.. this seems about the right odds." he teases with a faint smile. "I'd hate to be the one who counts the bets /here/."
Riku Zargabaath grunts as he spins between three swords seeking to slip between his ribs. The crew-- He ducks under another blade seeking his neck, --did that once. He partially somersaults, planting one hand on the ground as two blades swipe at his ankles and back. I do believe-- He vaults back to his feet with an upwards swing of a sword held in reverse, knocking back one assailant into another, earning a momentary breather, --the whole crew lost their whole months earnings because of that.

The circle spreads out, four becoming six as the two knocked away rejoin the fight. They prowl around like wolves around a deer, seeking a hole in Zargabaaths guard, and the Judge of Reason simply breathes deeply in-and-out as he reads the situation. Hm. He shakes his head, sweat all but plastering his hair to his skull and keeping it from moving much. No, no. Not quite...

He motions for Riku to join them. Come on. He kicks up a rod semi-hidden under the dust at his feet and connects the two practice swords to the ends, evoking the look of a double-bladed spear. He sinks down to a ready stance, the makeshift spear resting over his shoulders behind the back of his neck canted downwards towards the front. The soldiers shift around the circle to accommodate another person as well as to react to the change in weaponry.
Riku Riku snorts.

Double bladed weapons.

What is it with Judge Magister and double bladed weapons.

He winces in sympathy to the lost earnings and suddenly twigs onto the implied test here (and this gives him pause because he usually only figures these things out /after/ the fact) and blinks to readjust his perception of the training area and the fight. He actually looks away from the Judge Magister for a moment to look at how the crew was moving.

"Alright." he walks into the circle and faces Zargabaath. "Well. Probably won't do /that/ again, I'm guessing." his eyes on the crew as they begin again to circle. This isn't a solo fight. This is a teamwork fight, and he doesn't know how that team fights yet, so he stays in the background and doesn't immediately initiate. Indeed letting some of the others advance. Watching how they coordinate and watching for an opportunity.

"Although I might be persuaded."
Riku Double bladed weapons. The official sponsorship of--wait, no, wrong program.

Zargabaath chuckles. Its not that he is testing Riku, per-se, but he didnt want to keep the boy on the outside looking in. Besides, his men could use the boon instead of risking them giving up. He is glad to see Riku accept all the same, however. We shall see. And those are the only words he gets out before the next wave of attacks begin.

Two lunge first, one high and one low, and the Judge Magister plants the spear into the ground to block both. Another charges, aiming for his back, only for all three to get their weapons knocked aside with a flourish of his spear. He ducks, weaving as another initiates a combo of stabs and slices, giving the first three time to recover and rejoin. The last two hang back, jumping in for a quick strike only to immediately pull back.

Once again the tactics have changed, and all without a word spoken. Can Riku find the rhythm?
Riku Yeah. Yeah. Rub the salt vigorously and with a clockwards motion into the wound equally. It makes better jerky that way.

Wait. What?

Riku grins in a tight and annoyed fashion, the same annoyance that has been seeping through all morning driving his actions as he watches and waits but can't.. seem to keep up. His eyes move and his brain knows the pattern but something was very annoyingly off about his timing.

Riku grits his teeth so hard his head starts to ache from the frustration. Pacing. Pacing back and forth. He almost ticks it off in his head, the clockwork nature of the movements. He can almost grasp an edge of it and.. then it falls away like sand and for a few seconds he's disoriented and his mind blank.

He bears through it with a stubborn will not to make a fool of himself. "Hell with it." he grumbles under his breath. He counts off.. Lunge, lunge, charge, hold, combo, harry, harry, and simply flips the order out of sheer frustration.

Joining those who jumped in for a quick strike, sword whistling down low towards the knees before literally flipping forwards and aiming a combination of strikes downwards as he twists in mid air and comes down with blade seeking shoulder and lower back and the back of one knee before he fades back to allow others the remainder of the sequence.
Riku Zargabaath shifts his weight as the incoming dull whistle of a practice blade seeks his knees, feeling the whistling wind in its wake as it just barely misses. He ducks his head and spins his spear at ankle level with a deft swing of his arm to clear some space, flowing into an upwards slash up at Riku--who twists out of the spears trajectory and comes back down to terra-firma with a downwards slash that leaves a pretty decent welt diagonally across his back.

A good thing Riku is not armed with an actual weapon.

The soldiers shift their attack to take advantage, harrying the Judge Magister with flashes of metal and even an occasional kick or shove to destabilize balance. The Judge Magister still does not fall, lashing out with an impressive spinning somersault clean off the ground with his practice spear whirling all around his form. Upon landing, he launches into another round, though a sword blade manages to nick him across a hand when it clashes against his spear a little too close for comfort.
Riku Riku huffs out a faint breath. A moment of satisfaction.

He stretches out his shoulder, watching the interplay between the rest of the crew and trying to pick up the count again. Hold, harry, comb... wait. No. Riku shakes his head, pacing several steps and watching the judge Magister. Not taking anything for granted. Not looking away.

Lunge, lunge, charge, hold, --and here he steps into the attacks again, attempting to pincer the Judge Magister between the one in front of him performing a combination as the others retreat. He slides forwards and down, driving the sword towards the Judge magister's ribs, the slice turned upwards to scrape into and bruise the underside of the arm if it hits and even if it does not, execute an arcing double slash towards the back of his knees hoping to drive the Judge Magister further into the advancing strikes of the others.

At a crucial moment as he comes down, retreating back into the group his footing goes wrong and tangles and he crashes down momentarily onto one knee with a bone jarring thump.
Riku Judge Magister Zargabaath is being noticeably pressed, but youd never know it by the expression on his face. Instead of the tense teeth-gritting frustration of someone being overwhelmed, there is a boyish glee with eyes bright and a perpetual grin on his face. Clearly, the Judge of Reason is enjoying the bout and not seeming to care.

The group scatters, leaving one in front to cross blades with alone--no, wait, two! In an instant, he shifts /into/ Rikus charge, avoiding the flashing blades of the one while suffering another welt stretching across his ribs and smacking the underside of his arm. This actually causes Zargabaath to wheeze a bit, his breathing destabilized for a moment, and he twists away as Riku aims for the back of his knees.

Then, Riku stumbles. The Judge of Reason whirls to capitalize, spear raised and crashing down with force--only to be blocked by two swords as two of the soldiers leap to Rikus aid. With his spear held, the Judge Magister levels a kick out to one trying to attack from behind, then initiates a stabbing motion at another that also frees his spear from the swords. Other soldiers harry, redirect, capture the attention to give Riku enough time to recover without overreaching their own abilities.
Riku Riku just feels like hitting something. This, during a sparring match is usually looked at as a good thing but he /shouldnt/ have done that. After awhile you just stop thinking and start doing and if you can't even trust yourself to do basic things then he had.. and then he gets a grip on himself, shaking himself almost visibly out of his gnashing frustration.

It's because of the way the Judge Magister is fighting more than anything else. He forgot that somewhere. That he had to /somewhere/ and at /sometime/ actually enjoy himself. This almost seems like an alien concept. He just.. lets go of it like a miasma that had been churning around him the entire morning. He'd done stupider things than look stupid in front of his allies, although it still nettled his pride as he forced himself to let it go.

Riku shakes in a deep breath and smirks at his defenders, nodding to them as he begins to laugh very softly. "Aww.. come on, your honor." he says with a grin as he regains his feet. "I've got to admit. You put on a good show." he grins openly and starts counting in his head. "Still holding back though." he takes in a deep breath and lets it out, hand tightening on the grip of the practice sword.

He pushes off after two quick strides, driving forwards and sliding to one side. Pushing as hard as he could against the double bladed spear as he slashes in quick, flashing arcs that go high twice and then low once and then high again.
Riku Deep rumbling chuckles from Zargabaath explode into a full laugh as he parries, weaves, bobs, and almost dances a deadly blade two-step. Light scratches mix with sweat on his body, but he doesnt seem to even care. No quarter received, none given. Then come!

The soldiers fall back as Riku takes the lead, Zargabaath whirling to meet the boys sliding charge off to the side. Blades meet shaft as the two lock proverbial horns, then the Judge Magister is pushed back a step. The double strike is blocked, though the spear tremors threateningly in the mans hands as if about to break, then he hops into the air as Riku slashes low.

He lands on the ground, swords clashing above him as soldier and Riku alike try mid or high range as if to try to catch him in midair. Unknowingly, this locks their blades into an almost solid mass above himself. He then explosively leaps high into the air like a dragoon, breaking through the unintended tangle of weapons above his head in the process, and twirls his spear above his head at the apex of the leap.

He lets gravity take hold and spins his spear in front of him as he descends head-first, like an upside-down helicopter. He waits until the absolute last moment to twist his body enough to land on his feet at a deep crouch, almost kneeling, with a sharp flourish of the spear sweeping around at about mid-range at its ultimate reach.

As he spins and whirls to meet more charges, more attempts, the center shaft falls free and drops to the ground uselessly. This frees the two practice blades once more, and turns the Judge Magister into a whirling dervish by proxy.
Riku And there is just a point in this debate of swirling swords that Riku isn't able to follow. Speed chess where the alarm of the clock jars you out of your thoughts and one of the sword attacks slides off his guard and slams into his chest hard enough to knock the breath out of him. He rolls backwards into a kneeling crouch, an arm holding his chest as he coughs out the little remaining air in his lungs and draws in a painful breath.

The count is irretrievable at this point, just a whirling sequence that he tries to pull from person to person and fails every time. He finds himself smiling though as he painfully gets up to his feet and watches the whirling moves, too quick to follow. Dancing light and storm battering people and weapons.

He goes back to circling, watching the people rather than the judge magister but the exchanges, the change offs, the subtle turns just mostly go over his head now. He had them, he had at least an edge of them and now.. There.

Riku bolts into the space that was just recently occupied by another soldier, putting both hands around the sword and putting all of his momentum into it as he drops to one knee and /swings/ the sword around in a 'feint' that at the last second surges upwards in a diagonal slash as he surges back to his feet.
Riku Finally, after this long, Judge Magister Zargabaath is caught flat-footed. Having not expected another to take a retreating combatants place so soon, the Judge of Reason semi-turns to face this new foe--but its too late. The strike comes in hard, the diagonal slash catching him square across the torso and knocking him down flat onto his back hard enough to send a dirt cloud up around him.

Truth be told, it was hard enough to knock the wind clean out of him as well.

This seems to be the signal to stop, as the soldiers back off and lower their weapons with varying degrees of concern on their faces as their commander coughs, hacks, and wheezes in a breath. Of course, it probably doesnt help that Zargabaath is /laughing/ despite having no air in his lungs.

Well done! He wheezes, leveraging himself up on one elbow, gasping for air and almost seeming a bit blue, but his smile is wide and genuine. That shall... leave a bruise... He looks at all of the soldiers in turn, pride strong in his gaze, even as he takes in Riku as well. Just... give me a moment...

He flops back down, intermittently coughing and chuckling all the while. Ah... that was fun.
Riku Riku's smile evaporates as the Judge Magister looks at him. The pride strikes him like the felling stroke of an axe, sword falling away to his side forgotten as he locks gazes with Zargabaath, eyes widening slightly.

The moment of happiness shatters with a blow of guilt so fiercesome that it nearly drives him to his knees. He looks away, unable to take it for more than a moment.

His fingers slowly tighten against the hilt of the practice sword. Tighten until every muscle stands out against his skin. He looks around at the surroundings as if for the first time.

The wonder stripped away by an even more terrifying comfort. Familiarity. The teenager takes in a few shallow, uncertain breaths and lets out a reedy, uncertain chuckle.

He nearly recovers himself, smirking lopsidedly. The expression shatters and suddenly he couldn't breathe. Riku looks back at the judge magister and then around at the crew as if he were drowning, not noticing that he's taking a slow step backwards as if in preparations to bolt.

He could close his eyes and almost picture it. Feel the sun. Hear the ocean and the rain and.. feel at home.

This was wrong.

It was all wrong.

Nothing was supposed to feel like that again. This shouldn't feel like home. Not after what he had done to his own. Was he that willing to forget?

It was just another place. Another place and another faceless host of people and another life he was simply wandering through... that had caught him.. and now he couldn't let go of it. The sword clattered to the ground, dropping from Riku's numbed fingers.

Almost his control holds. But the faint chuff of the sword hitting the sand catalyzes the terror inside him and he bolts, pushing others out of the way and lunging across the training area to escape it.
Riku The soldiers approach Riku to congratulate and praise him for a job well done are hastily shoved aside as the boy bolts out of the area. Some call after him, others shift to follow, but the Judge of Reason barks a sharp command that freezes them in place. But... Your Honor...? One soldier asks, looking trapped between duty and concern.

Let him go... Zargabaath inhales deeply, finally finding enough room in his aching ribcage to hold his breath. ...Let him breathe... He sits up, crossing his legs indian-style as he rests his arms on his knees. He has been alone for some time, lost after his world fell. He looks up at each man in turn. All of you remember Ivalices fall, how lost we were as a group. How then would you have handled the loss of all you have known if you were utterly alone?

This seems to drive understanding home to the men, who can find no words of rebuttal and simply nod. Zargabaath turns his gaze back to the doors, eyes narrowing briefly in concern. Someday... he will understand... He slowly gets up and appraises the many welts, bruises, and cuts covering his body from shoulders to waist. For now, we must simply be patient.

This scene contained 16 poses. The players who were present were: Riku.