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Let's get down to business!
(2013-08-04 - 2013-08-06)
Avira is ready to whip Mercade into a lean, mean, melee weapon-fighting machine!
Avira Now if Avira was being the tricky 'sensei' type, having Mercade find these woods in the first place would clearly be his first test of skill. Did he know of it already? Could he track Avira to these woods? Obviously if Mercade couldn't find the place, then no training would happen! This would be a sad thing since Avira really does like spending time with Mercade.

Given a recent /extremely awkward/ conversation with Maira, she wondered if she wasn't spending enough time with Mercade. Busy or not, Avira's always willing to change that.

Mercade's going to have to search for Avira even in these woods, which give off all kinds of interesting noises yet none of them sound remotely human. There's definitely a lot of wildlife here-though most importantly, the wolves. Mercade will see signs of them around-tracks, small trails, maybe even a glimpse of one through the trees, yet none will approach him. He will hear barks and the occasional howl off in the distance but eventually he'll get the feeling he's being watched by these creatures.

Avira can be found in a clearing with the remains of a large broken tree that had been splintered in half by some sort of force some time ago. She sits on the fallen trunk, surrounded by her wolves, who happily pile and paw around her, greeting her with licks and nudges.
Mercade Alexander Mercade is an experienced detective. The problem is, detectives usually operate in the city. He's no Sherlock Holmes, and is kind of lacking in wilderness survival skills.

However, Mercade has an advantage! He's been here before in his wandering and flailing around the worlds. Also, he has the map system Xanatos gave him a long, long time ago.

Mercade walks through the ominous forest, listening to the environment. A lot of unusual sounds are heard. Logically, the animals in the area won't just attack him without a reason. The tracks, however, get his attention. Wolves. Big ones. Mercade grimaces to himself. If they took exception to his presence, his situation could get very complicated.

Well then.

All he can do is move forward.

Eventually, a bramble-scratched, bruised Mercade stumbles into the clearing, looking at Avira the Wolf Queen in mild surprise and amusement. "Well then." He says to Avira, folding his arms. "I knew you were a wolf person, but I never knew how much." He chuckles.
Avira Some-but not all!-of the wolves look up when Mercade stumbles into the clearing like a drunken elk. None of them look terribly startled by this and only flick ears his way in a lazy manner. Mercade will find something brushing against his leg as another wolf nudges past him from behind. They certainly look dangerous enough yet none of them are attacking.

"They're my friends~" Avira grins, leaning down to take one of the wolves' heads between two hands, rubbing the thick fur of its jowls between her palms. "Aren't youuuuu~" she says directly to the wolf before nuzzling her own cheek against it. She releases the animal shortly afterwards and pushes off the giant log.

Walking over to Mercade, a flicker of concern passes over her face, "Wow, what happened to you?, wait, don't tell me. Man, you and Riku both could use some moving-through-forest lessons. That'll come later though."

The wolves circle around them both, though more than a few seem pretty curious about Mercade. They sniff at him, nudge, and tilt their heads in confusion at Avira, as if to say 'This is him? This is your mate?'

If Avira responds to these questions, she does so in an equally unspoken way. Her focus is entirely on Mercade, though, as she slips right up to him so she can steal a kiss.
Mercade Alexander Mercade looks a little less confident when the wolves brush up around him. Few people are so comfortable that they can just have wolves running around him and watching him, even with just confusion and laziness instead of anger.

Tenatively, he reaches down towards one of the wolves and tries to give it a pet. "Yeah, that's another thing I need practice with. I don't get out of the cities too much." Mercade smiles wanly, scratching the back of his head...

And then Avira slips in an gives him a kiss. Mercade blinks, surprised for a moment, and then he simply kisses her back. "What kind of training are you planning?" He says jokingly. "I could probably use some more work with my kissing technique too."
Avira The wolves might be picking up on that discomfort. Or Mercade might just be paranoid if he finds the wolves looking his way more often. Watching him. Waiting to strike if they need to. Even though Avira waves her arms back and the creatures retreat, they remain at the edges of the clearing, circling them both.

"We can work on that later~" Avira grins, "That needs it's own lesson. I think it's more important that you become more comfortable with swinging and attacking with the keyblade."

After the kiss, she grins, "Well, I was going to start with the basics. Then show you some katas. That is a set of fluid motions you can practice on your own once you got the pattern down. And..."

She doesn't move away, remaining 'invade your personal space'-close to Mercade. "Well we could practice that too. Practice makes perfect~" she giggles, tapping a finger against his nose before stepping away.

She hops on top of the log. "So first things first, let's see the keyblade!"
Mercade Alexander Mercade tries to leave the wolves be. He's here to pay attention to Avira. Their presence does, however, remind him to pay attention to his surroundings as well. Something something German Ninjutsu. Mercade gives a goofy grin, and then nods when she wants him to show her the weapon. He holds up a hand, and with a blink of intention, there is a flash of light in his hand.

The Keyblade itself is forged of burnished brass, the handle connected in a large square around a worn leather-wrapped core. The key 'handle' continues the theme with a flared, ornate look with curled flourishes. The central shaft is mostly plain, ending in a balled sphere on the tip. The keyhead is flared, looking much like a stylized north star. An etching upon the center of it looks much like an eye, resembling the TDA insignia. The center of the eye is a crystalline star lens.

"This is it." He waggles it in the air. "It's lighter than I expected, but it's a bit unwieldy sometimes."
Avira Avira waits patiently, knowing that flash of light is going to follow. The wolves, on the other hand, don't know what's coming and startle, squirming backwards with yips and yelps. Some even tuck their tails between their legs as they retreat. Talk about things that don't typically happen in this forest!

Avira steps forward to observe the keyblade, mostly because keyblades are friggin' cool and Avira definitely wants to look one over. Her fingers roam over the length but she doesn't attempt to take the weapon from Mercade. "Light, huh. Well, that's good, that means you'll have speed on your side. That also gives you the option of wielding it one handed or two handed. Me, I use both since it gives me more versatility."

She holds her hands out. "I'm actually right handed but when I trained to use a weapon with Angantyr, I trained like I was ambidexterous. Worked out pretty well. I suggest you do the same!"

Avira withdraws the Spine from the sheath on her back and holds it, one handed, in her left hand. "Now the basics. We'll start with offense. With a bladed weapon you really have three types of strikes based on the motion. You have your jabs, slashes, and cleaves. Highest speed to lowest speed, lowest power to highest power."

Like a fencer, Avira demonstrates a jab at the air, followed by a slash, then a powerful cleave. "Give each a try, Mercade."
Mercade Alexander Mercade feels kind of bad for the wolves. They wouldn't expect something like this to happen! The detective just stands there as Avira examines the weapon. "I helped hit a big bug in the arcade yesterday with it. It seems like it's being used as a focus for something... But it has to be directed properly. And that's why I need the help!" Having awesome power doesn't do anyone any good if you can't apply it properly!

"Ambidextrous?" Mercade nods. "Well, I use both hands a lot when I used my guns too, so that should be too hard!" He smiles. Hope springs eternal, right?

He nods, and turns to match Avira's stance. He experimentally begins working his way through the demonstrated maneuvers. Avira notices that Mercade is agile enough, at least. Given how much acrobatics he usually engages in, it probably stands to reason. However, will that work out with a weapon like a Keyblade? Who knows?!
Avira "A focus, huh." Avira rubs her chin, "Maybe a focus for magic? Mystic Knight-like abilities? I don't know all that much about keyblades so that's an area I can't really help with. But swinging and stabbing things..."

She motions to herself in an 'I'm your man!' sort of way.

Though she repeats her movements, Avira's eyes are on Mercade. Not just because it's Mercade and she likes oogling him, but as a teacher, she needed to get to know her students movements. He is agile, as she expected since she has seen him get pretty arobatic and dodgy. His aerobatics have been based around having some range to deal with his enemies. He doesn't get that luxury with a keyblade (so Avivra thinks).

"Good. Now let's think range. Even with a close quarters weapon like that, you need to know your range. Your keyblade is basically an extension of yourself. Once you start treating your weapon as a part of you, using it becomes natural. Just like walking."

She backs away just enough from the fallen log to demonstrate a lunge. Mercade will see that the very tip of the Spine makes contact with the log, leaving behind a neat puncture mark. "Target the log and play around with this."
Mercade Alexander He pauses in his practice as she addresses him again. "Yeah... Like magic." Mercade says, looking down at the Keyblade with a blank expression for several seconds. "It responds to how I think and feel sometimes. And yeah, most people don't seem to know much about Keyblades. But I'm here to learn how to use a weapon, not get all caught up in other things!"

Mercade set himself again "Just like walking, huh?" Mercade laughs. "Well, I'm glad I don't have problems with that, at least." He watches Avira, a small smile on his face as she performs a lunge. "All right. That looks doable..."

Mercade brings up the Keyblade, and holds it forward. "Aaaaaaand... HAH!" He darts forward, thrusting the weapon to strike out at the log. He falls... short. "Whoops." He says, and prepares to try again.
Avira "Yes! Exactly like that." Avira beams, feeling every bit the wise old master with each passing second. Of course, she didn't have anything near that kind of experience and both of them knew it. It was fun to pretend though.

Mercade gives ranging himself a shot and falls short. Approvingly, Avira nods. "Good. See, you were out of range for that. Also with a jab, twist your shoulders and rotate your trunk. It will help your arm extend its reach."

After this bit of advice, Avira falls silent again, observing Mercade's form. A slow smile starts to form on her face as she watches him, not because he's improving, but because she is a GENUIS! This way, she gets to stare at Mercade for hours. It was perfect.
Mercade Alexander Mercade is perfectly fine with Avira staring at him as /much as she wants/. He chuckles as he nods. "Right. I need to get used to this." He levels the Keyblade before him, and he experimentally thrusts a few times, rotating his body as described. He squints a little, and twists his wrist. The Keyblade moves like he's turning it in a lock. "Haha. Cute." He thrusts again, twisting again like so. "I know it's silly and I could probably break my wrist doing it, but it seems appropriate, don't you think?" He grins, spinning the weapon in his hand.

He then gets back to practicing his lunge. He stabs again, this time getting a crunch as the Keyblade punches into the log. "Whoo!" He says, hopping back, rearranging himself, and continuing to practice some more. Over the next few tries, he misses a couple, and then hits a couple more. Practice takes time!
Avira Avira half-expects that when Mercade jabs the keyblade like that and makes the turning motion that she'll hear an ethereal unlocking sound. No such sound follows and she can't help but feel a little disappointed on the inside-not that there was anything around to unlock. "It does seem appropriate! But I would be careful. You don't want to stick your keyblade in something and have it get stuck...then again..."

She pauses a moment to rub her chin with her free hand. "After a few seconds it'd reappear in your arm. Still, that's a few seconds too many. In melee combat, every second, every movement counts!"

Practice does take time. Lots of time. To reinforce this, Avira gives Mercade his first task. "Mercade, I want you to hit the log like that 0one hundred times." The gauntlet is thrown! The challenge is down! And Avira's going to stand here and count every single blow.

Mentally. As he gets started, Avira starts to hum. Humming gives way to...singing?

"The hour's approaching to give it your best and you've got to reach your prime~
"That's when you need to put yourself to the test and show us a passage of time!
"You're gonna need a MONTAGE!"
Mercade Alexander Sadly, the log has nothing to unlock. Mercade is not yet a Master of Unlocking, so dealing with the more... esoteric concepts that a Keyblade deals with is beyond him. For now.

"Right!" Mercade says as Avira gives him that advice. He has to make everything count, maximize what he's working with!

"One hundred!?" Mercade gulps, and looks over at the log as she gives her challenge. "Well, if that's what it takes... I'm going to make it happen!" He levels the Twilight Seeker Keyblade and begins lunging with the weapon, working on his footwork, his distance gauging, and his striking form.

When Avira begins singing, Mercade laughs, and sets to with redoubled efforts. Clearly, Mercade is getting into the spirit of things. "A MONTAGE!" Mercade sings in response.
Avira Unlocking things with the keyblade is not something Avira can really tutor anyway...being a non-keyblade user herself. As far as she knows, based on what she's seen Sora do, you just kind of point it at things and unlocking happens.

Though there was also something about the thought of stabbing a keyblade into someone and twistng it that felt...wrong. That keyblades should not be used for such brutal things. Because surely there would never be an /evil/ keyblade user, right?

"That's right!" Avira jabs a finger at him, "One hundred! Now get to it!" Music makes everything better, clearly, because Mercade will find himself simply flying through the exercise. Time passes. How much is a mystery, but once Mercade makes his successful 100th blow, he'll feel it in his shoulders and arms.

"Good, good. Next up-" she hops down and spins the Spine over by its handguard in her hand. Suddenly, she whirls and swipes her sword at the fallen trunk, producing a sawing noise and leaving a long slash in the rotting bark in her wake. The Spine is a serrated weapon so the blow is rough around the edges. "Slashes! This is a fast blow, usually meant to wound and wound quickly. There's light or medium power behind it and the same motion can be used to parry other weapons."

Avira lowers her own weapon, "Go give it a try, Mercade." a smirk forms on her face, "Or go right to the practice, which I'm sure you can guess what it'll be."
Mercade Alexander Mercade will probably be doomed to basically learn like Sora does, unless he can shake some KEYBLADER LORE out of Merlin or Yen Sid or Lucas 'Anti-Yoda' Sheridan.

Time passes, and the music helps make things fly by. Once he's lunged one hundred times, though, Mercade is feeling the burn. He huffs a bit, muscle groups he's rarely used screaming at him that they hate getting up out off of the sofa and doing work. "Blarg." Mercade says, his shoulders sagging a bit. "That's different." He reaches up and massages one shoulder. He takes the opportunity to rest a little when Avirs demonstrates another move. He grimaces slightly at the slash. He's seen a lot of those. "Huh." Mercade says, listening to her explanation. "There's a lot more than I thought to this."

At the mention of the peactice, Mercade deadpans. "Let me guess. One hundred slashes, huh?" He shakes his head and sighs, getting back into a fighting stance. "All right, I'm getting to it." He begins slashing out at the log, grunting with exertion as he attacks the log with sweeping arcs.
Avira Anyone with a keyblade these days is pretty much on their own, aren't they? Maybe Mickey had more experience, but the famous mouse was busy all the time!

No doubt, Mercade will now be sore in muscles he never knew he had. This is the kind of thing that Avira experienced /months/ ago. "Yep! The way of the blade is seen as an art in some circles. People devote their lives to mastering stuff like this~"

Avira's smile (sadistic smirk?) grows even further as Mercade successfully guesses what the next assignment will be. "Correct~!" she says, walking down the length of the log, getting out of Mercade's way. Once he's well into the exercise, she starts singing again and boy does it help pass the time.

"Show lots of things happening at once, remind everyone of what's going on~
"And with every shot you show a little improvement-
"To show it all would only take too long!
That's called a montage!"

Avira clenches her free hand into a fist, "Oooooh we wanna Montage!"
Mercade Alexander "I've got something more important to devote my life to, unfortunately." Mercade replies as he slashes, a grin on his face. "I'll just have to settle for competency and hope the rest falls into place."

Mercade gets slashing, chopping into the log. The weapon hits, creating low, dull thuds with each hit. The shape of the weapon, however, seems to make it lend almost axelike qualities in some situations, mostly seen when Mercade buries the tip of the key into the log. "Ooops." He pauses, and then wrenches the Keyblade out of the log.

Avira continues singing, and Mercade laughs, singing along in the backup parts as he works his way laboriously through the practice.
Avira "'Unfortunately'?" Avira laughs, unbothered by Mercade's different priorities. "Hey, it's alright. Some of us don't get lifetimes to practice this kind of stuff. Some of us gotta make do with what we've got!"

This second bout of practice takes longer than the first though Mercade w ill hardly be able to tell. The time just fflies by! "And finally, the third type of sttike I want to cover is the cleave. Like the name says, the intended objective is to splt your opponent in half! If thiat doesn't happen, it's fine, because ythe blow's usually heavy enough to do some serious damage."

Taking the Spine in two hands, she brings it down upon the log in an overhead chop. This leaves a very deep scoremark on it but doesn't split it-the log is far too big and thick for that.

"Though this is your strongest strike, it is also your slowest! It can be seen coming from afar so steps can be taken to block it, get out of the way, or worse, prepare a counterattack. Save these for those rare times you think you can pull off a finishing blow!"

Avira slings the Spine over a shoulder, careful to rest the flat side against her flesh. "Give it a try! And...well, you know the drill."

It isn't long before she's singing into the final leg that will take Mercade most of the time. "In anything that we want to go from just a beginner to a pro-
"You need a montage!
"Even Rocky had a montage!!
"Oooh it takes a montage~!"
Mercade Alexander "One lifetime is plenty for me!" Mercade laughs. "Who wants to live forever?"

Finally, the second phase is complete. Mercade. when done, sags against a tree to rest while Avira demonstrates the third basic maneuver. "I'm not going to be able to even move tomorrow." Mercade mutters to himself. He does, however, look up and watch Avira intently. The way she moves and strikes is observed and filed away. He thinks to himself. "You know, I'd never really had a chance to just watch you fight before. We'd always been in ridiculous situations." He chuckles, and then pushes off of the tree.

At the demand, Mercade's expression becomes grim. "One hundred cleaves, coming right up." Mercade throws himself forward, bringing the Keyblade down in a mighty two-handed blow.

THUNK. The log is struck with a mortal blow! Except not, because it's a log. IT IS ALREADY DEAD. "YEAH MONTAGE!" Mercade yells, as he chops away!
Avira "Yeah! ...who wants to...loive forever..." Uh oh, Avira looks rather distant for a second, thoughts of her family drifting in and out of her mind. A distant family she felt she could never really be a part of.

But those thoughts are discarded, "Yeeeah, you're going to be really sore. Make sure to get lots of rest for it too so you can get stronger." she advises, resting a hand on her hip.

He comments on just watching her fight and Avira blushes. "We really have, haven't we? SO much ridiculous. I'm so glad we're in this together, Mercade."

Much, much more time passes. Avira wasn't kidding that cleaves were the slowest and it literally takes twice as long compared to the first exercise to succssfully complete it. In the meantime, though>

"Always fade out in a montage~
"If you fade out it seems ike more time has passed in a montage!

It is OVER. "That's probably enough for today." Avira chirps cheerfully. "You need your rest after all. Funny, though." She sheathes her weapon and turns towards Mercade, "All that felt kind of...familiar."
Mercade Alexander Mercade looks over in the middle of his training to watch Avira, considering that expression for a moment. Huh. Was it something he said? She then continues on though, and he nods. "I'll be sure to rest after we're done... And yeah." He smiles. "I'm really glad too."


And finally Mercade chops one more time at the log. It's looking kind of beat up by now. "Ugh. Done." Mercade just falls forward, leaving the Keyblade in the log as he falls one his face.

Eventually, he flops over and looks up at the sky from his back, exhausted. "Maybe it was. You've been having a lot of visions and deja vu lately, haven't you?" Mercade asks. "Do you think it's because of the, uh..." He gestures. "Manhattan thing?"
Avira Avira sits on the forest floor now with her back against the log, motioning for Mercade to join her. The wolves, who had totally been completely quiet during this entire time, stir. Some come to curl up next to Avira.

"Well kind of. It feels like deja vu but I'm sure it's the...first time." she shrugs. "My mother says she also had weird dreams. Maybe it's a genetic thing." Helplessly, she shrugs, "And honestly, it doesn't change anything. It especially doesn't change /us/." Avira smiles gently at Mercade.

This scene contained 23 poses. The players who were present were: Mercade Alexander, Avira