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Training is Magic
(2013-01-26 - 2013-01-26)
Avira and Lavi learn and bond over a bit of close combat training.
Avira Miraculously, Avira seems to be in good condition now, slight sandburn aside. Her burns from her fight with a Gaudium Lord a week ago have fully healed. The rest of the week was oddly berfit of serious combat-no, the Hades Cup qualifying event she participated in could hardly be considered serious combat.

To Avira, serious combat was a fight for survival, either her own survival or the survival of another person. It was only more recently that the second subset had come into play, her inexperience making every battle a struggle for her. Slowly, her body was adapting to this prolonged trial-by-fire. There was still much improvement to be had.

Aware that the last time Lavi had beheld her she was in the furry form of a mutate, Avira's taken to waiting for her fellow VALKYRI with her Spine out and on display. She keeps it inverted before her, point resting gently against the hard-packed dirt outside the streets of Traverse Town. In her human form, her scarring throughout her body is far more obvious and is easily the first thing noticed when spotting her. The other aspect of note is her height.

Avira is tragically tiny. Runty, even-the sort of proportions that would have her thrown out of any respectable soldiering school. As a mutate, she had been a full foot taller at the head.

A long yawn escapes her as she awaits Lavi's return.
Lavi Just as she'd claimed, the monumental form of the armored warrior woman comes into view on the edge of the horizon a few hours after the end of their conversation on the radio, though with very little in the way of trees or landmarks to compare her to Lavi's size isn't very apparent from this distance. Only the shimmering white bulk of her magi-tek armor and the radiant golden sheen of her incredibly lustrous hair are recognizable as she crests the various hills that dot the distant landscape.

She moves at a casual pace, clearly taking her time though the sheer length of gait puts the miles behind her at a steady clip and in seemingly no time at all her broad grin is visible beneath the pale glow of the fading light.

As the giantess comes into clearer view, the state of her armor becomes more apparent to the casual observer. Fresh dents and scratches seem to cover it from top to bottom and a layer of dirt and black ichor are caked on at various places most noticably around the boots. Her face and hair appear rather messy as well, even her normally immaculate hair marred by spots of mud and oil. Wherever she has been since dropping out of contact, she seems to have foregone personal hygiene, atleast on the superficial level.

Making her way up the dusty trail, Lavi veers off at the point closest to where the young girl is standing in wait, raising an armored hand with a grin and the subtle hiss of venting steam.

"Well, it seems there was a shining pearl under all that fur and grime, after all. Though it looks like you tried to shave it off with that sword of yours. No wonder you asked for help."
Avira At this rate, Avira's nearly asleep on her feet. At least a random 'Shadow'-type Heartless had wandered along to make her wait interesting every now and then. Still, she began to wish that she pinned down some sort of time estimate before heading out to wait. At least Avira was accustomed to keeping her mind occupied while alone.

It's easy for Avira to spot her incoming friend thanks to her size and her unusual armor. Judging by the armor, it seems Lavi's been up to more than just a mere hike in the wilderness. Unsurprising, really, because based on their interactions she could tell that Lavi enjoyed hunting for challenges. Perhaps even moreso now that she was in unfamiliar terrain.

She doesn't wave or anything, feeling their words exchanged over the radio meant the giantess could spot her. Avira was actually quite curious as to what Lavi's reaction was going to be-relief, likely, that she no longer had to deal with a hideous mutate. "Hey!" she calls out, after Lavi hails her with a hand.

There's shock on her face for a few moments before Avira forces out a good natured-sounding laugh. "What, you didn't believe I was human to begin with?" Avira asks, "And for the record, I'm not a 'kid', I am an adult." No offer is given for Lavi to get cleaned up first before this-Avira assumes she wouldn't want to bother anyway.

Avira shifts her grip upon the Spine to one-handed with her right hand and lifts the weapon upwards just slightly. "Wild animals made these marks months ago." she grumbles. There were more recent ones too, but Lavi would have to spot Avira naked to see them.
Lavi The titan smirks down at the other woman, hand resting on her hip lightly. "Ofcourse, I did. Your bios were all over the place but the famailiar indicators were there. However, in my experience, things don't un-mutate. I will take this as a pleasant surprise."

The digital readout on her iris scrolls some fresh information as new readings and taken and recorded, locking the youth into her suit's memory banks for IFF purposes. The archaic runes projected by the gorget onto her eyes are invisible to all but her, though even if someone else could see them, the short-hand notation was that of a language that exists now only in her own memory. Security breaches were not very high on her list of concerns.

"What, you let a few critters get a hold of you? Tsk tsk, mortals."

Turning away, Lavi waves at Avira to follow and marches a fair distance off from the road to an open field that gives a commanding view of the area for atleast a mile in every direction. Though Heartless aren't really much of a threat, nor was really anything that she'd encountered thus far in this new world, the habit of keeping surveillance wasn't one she felt the need to break. Becoming lax had been the end of more than one company of knights.

"So, it will help if you give me some background on your swordsmanship education. I'd rather not take your arm off trying to find out if you know how to perform a basic parry."
Avira "I...see." Avira says uneasily, assuming that Lavi's advanced technology has a host of special sensors built in. It's still pretty impressive that it could identify her after being in such a wildly different form. Then again, maybe the mutate form of hers was much more a part of her than Avira wanted to admit.

At the very least, her eyes seem the same.

Avira is chided for her admitted source of the scars and her shoulders sink a little. For a few moments it seems like she's going to say something about that, but it passes.

Maybe that would be forgotten. Avira follows after Lavi, keeping a good eye on her surroundings in case she'd need to flee or, perhaps, fight off another Garland ambush. In a way, she too was keeping surveillance, though mostly for selfish reasons.

"Oh..." Fighting back a sigh, Avira speaks up. "Well, I'd say I'd been practicing for about four months now. Angantyr really got me started and has been training me since then. Angantyr has moved into the VALKYRI headquarters, by the way, just as a side note. I can parry, block, work with a variety of grips and angles, switch hands, that sort of thing."
Lavi At this, Lavi stops mid-stride and peers back over her shoulder at the mercenary incredulously. "Four... /months/?" A massive hand goes up to cover her face and slowly slides down dramatically. "Sweet mother of... ahahha, are you sure you even know which end goes in the target?"

Shaking her head with a laugh, the knight stomps off a few paces and turns to face her new pupil, eyes gleaming with amusement. "Taught you all that in four months, did he?" One of the massive crystal blades at her side is drawn forth with a sharp click as the magnetic locks disengage, its transluscent length glittering in the eternal twilight as she brings it up to rest on her shoulder.

"Very well. Let us see what you have learned so that I can find out how much work it is going to take to teach you properly." Her hand is held up and makes a 'come hither' motion, inviting Avira to make the first move.
Avira Lavi earns herself an angry, steely look from the scarred woman once she turns around to facepalm dramatically at her. Avira doesn't say anything, she just glares, and continues glaring after the giantess steps a few paces away from her. The leather of her fingerless glove creaks as her hand tightens around the hilt of the Spine.

"I'm a fast learner." Avira says coldly as Lavi withdraws her impressive-looking blade.

Indeed, people learn pretty quickly when faced with life or death situations rather frequently!

The small dig at Angantyr does not go unnoticed either and further anger brews in the back of her mind. Avira forces herself to ignore her irritation for a few seconds, spending a moment really studying the weapon she's facing right now. Lavi's clearly going to have superior reach, not just because of the crystal blade, but because she's HUGE, resulting in Avira deciding to have her first strike be fast and low. It is, in fact, a strange downward thrust aimed at the larger woman's inner thigh.

Lavi might get the impression that Avira's faced off against a few opponents that are MUCH larger than her before.
Lavi The annoyingly smug grin on the giant woman's face only grows wider at Avira's defensive comments. "We will see, won't we?"

The mercenary's threat assessment is rather accurate. Lavi's size grants her considerable advantage over smaller opponents when it comes to swinging blades around though she was always quite prepared to deal with ranged opponents on their own terms too. Not that her pupil needed to know that - yet. Aces in the sleeve were best saved for the appropriately dramatic moments.

Despite the very real threat of the oddly shaped sword, Lavi merely stands there stoically as the thrust comes in at her body, watching with unblinking eyes at every aspect of motion put into the attack. The muscles tensing, the blade extending, the tip swerving into her leg.


The Spine slams into the illustrious white surface of the thick armor and stops, the blade completely halted in its motion as if it were trying to push against a mountain. The downward motion along the curved surface causes it to slide to the side, leaving the barest of scratches along its polished surface, merely one of dozens visible on that portion of the plating already.

Lavi rubs her chin with her free hand appraisingly, giving a thoughtful hum outloud. "Well... it wasn't /completely/ terrible."
Avira In her experience, there would be a block or a parry-perhaps even moving out of the way to avoid her, if Lavi was fast enough given the large size and heavy armor. Usually, that was an advantage Avira had over bigger opponents: speed, manuverability, all that sort of thing. Maybe in this case, she was so fast that Lavi couldn't react but Avira doubts it.

On her end of the Spine, Avira rattles at the impact, which is a lot like trying to drive her weapon into a stone wall. It goes nowhere and the tip and several of the serrated spines are blunted a little as a result. Momentum carries her through against the curved surface and the blow slides inward, though to little effect.

"Ugh." Avira scowls and pulls back quickly, rapidly circling around to Lavi's flank, honestly expecting a counter of some kind. Except...there isn't one. "The Spine can't pierce armor like that." Avira points out neutrally, knowing this is the same problem she has against...many opponents, come to think of it.

Well, it wasn't as if she needed to pierce it at the moment anyway. This was just a training demonstration. Lavi could be a human-shaped rock for this particular demonstration.

Sidestepping again, Avira tries to slip behind the giant before she can turn, and swings a sideways swipe at the small of her back. The grip on the Spine's hilt has changed in this moment to a two-handed one. In a split second, it changes again, after the swing, to a follow-up upwards blow, raking diagonally across the back.
Lavi "Well, it wouldn't be very effective armor if every little girl with a sword could go punching holes in it, now would it?"

Lavi tilts her head to peer over her shoulder at the swordswoman. Most of her face is obscured by the bulk of her pauldrons but the smile is still visible in her eyes. Again, she fails to move or block the strikes as they come at her, now assaulting her from behind where most opponent's should be weak or atleast blind. If either of these things are true for the giantess, it doesn't show.

The clash of metal on metal rings out through the empty field, Avira's odd weapon putting off a hideous screech as it digs a tiny groove into rear-section of the armored carapace. Again the damage, if it can be called that, is superficial. The artificers from a world that knows only war were very thorough in their masterpiece's construction.

"Hmm, your speed is acceptable but unless you're goal is to vandalize my paintwork, I suggest you strike a little harder."

Suddenly, the giant turns, her body in motion. The massive leg sweeps out ponderously, clearly moving in such a way that Avira should see it coming. But how will she deal with that? Another test.
Avira Lavi will hear Avira snort out of view before she turns to peek over her shoulder. With those huge fancy pauldrons, Avira's assuming she's not going to see very much behind her at all. Shouldn't be too hard to figure out where the blind spot was back there, right?

At this point, Avira's come to expect superficial damage. Her blows and weapon are just not strong enough to get through mystical super-armor. After those pairs of screeching blows, she steps backwards and then sideways, testing for that blind spot. Then Lavi speaks again.

The anger returns and Avira's lips pull back into a sneer. A whuff of air is heard...then nothing. Seems whatever she was going to say was halted again. Once more, the anger is shoved away.

Though she sees the kick coming and, frankly, should have elected to dodge it instead anyway, Avira actually doesn't. This close in with that much of a reach, while she could pull it off, Avira cannot in time and actually throws herself forward a little bit, into the kick at Lavi's upper thigh.

This way, she was at least not struck with the fastest-moving part of the giantess's leg. At the same time, her hip and upper thigh meets the hard and unforgiving armor of the giantess. After that, it becomes a physics problem and the superior weight of Lavi sends Avira flying sideways.

She strikes the ground...and rolls over on her shoulders into a crouched position. Seems she's got a lot of experience in being thrown to the ground too-unsurprising, really, since she's so tiny.

The temptation to call upon her ice magic tugs at her, but Avira dismisses it. She came here for sword technique, nothing more. Faced with being unable to overcome with strength, Avira instead opts for precision.

The next time she springs up, she's going for the legs again, though this time aiming the tip of the spine at the seams of the armor around the knees where the heavy plates join together. She tries, three times, one on the right knee and two on the left, as she swiftly sidesteps around the much larger woman.
Lavi Unfortunately for Avira's pride, being as tall as she was had given Lavi plenty of time to learn how to deal with combatants aiming for her legs. It was the easiest target to reach, after all. This had also been taken into consideration by the armor's creators and the joints themselves are well protected, the seams too thin for much more than the tip of the sword to poke into the gaps between the unyielding plates.

The towering knight does not mock her this time, merely watches and takes mental notes about little details that few people besides herself are even capable of noticing or utilizing. She had tried to explain the nuances of micro muscle control to some of the knights back in her own world but even the brightest could never fully grasp the art. It would remain hers alone.

She bobs her head back and forth as the blade harmlessly bounces off her knees, nodding at the choice of targets. Joints were excellent weak points to exploit - when they weren't protected by armor that is. "Hmph, atleast this teacher of your taught you how to aim. Your footwork is sloppy, though."

Leaning foward, Lavi brings her empty fist down in a straight punch, driving it towards the smaller woman from above like a piston. Again, the strike is fairly easy to see coming and doesn't have any real power behind it; just enough to make her regret trying something foolish like last time.
Avira No go on the joints...Avira's quickly running out of effective options to strike. There was also the head, sure, but given the height difference that was a risky target for Avira. Leaping up would lend itself well to a lot of exposure.

Snorting, she pulls back and resumes circling, clearly trying to think of what to do next. Avira's certainly not the type to keep slamming into things that haven't proven to be effective previously. Her thoughts are interrupted when Lavi drives a fist downward in what would easily be a crushing blow. Only this time, Avira slips out of the way of the punch, stepping herself to the "outside" edge of the giantess. Her entire body continues twisting, a two handed grip assumed on the hilt of the spine.

Not unlike swinging a baseball bat, she drives the blade around her, swinging an unforgiving blow at the elbow of Lavi's extended arm.
Lavi Lavi's body moves with a serpentine grace that belies the bulk of her armor, the arm sliding fluidly away from the powerful swing by mere inches as it rises out of reach. She wiggles her fingers tauntingly at Avira, her grin as broad as ever. "Nice try, kid. But I think I've got a good measure of your skills - if you want to call them that."

The knight stands upright and crosses her arms, tapping the blade of her sword on her shoulder in a soft repeative fashion as she mulls something over. "This friend of yours clearly knows a thing or two but he's a lousy teacher. It's obvious from the way you're fighting that you're trying to emulate, not incorporate his methods. That'll carry you for a little while but there are limits."

Her grin fades a little, the blade of her sword planting tip first into the earth at her feet with a soft crunch. "So, the question I must pose to you now is this: A student cannot have more than one master in the arts of war. Atleast, not at your level. You still need to learn some crucial basics and to find your style. So you need to choose, which of us would you prefer to teach you?"
Avira Avira openly growls now.

"Yes, I think I've had about enough of this myself." she says angrily. Then Lavi goes on to insult Angantyr and his teaching methods /along/ with her own 'style', which, frankly, Avira believes she has. Typical swords didn't have the level of hilt-manipulation that she incorporates while using the Spine. "And don't you /dare/ judge Agantyr without having see him yourself! He has been practicing his art his whole life!!!"

Her patience for holding her tongue out of respect for this woman's skills has officially ended. "I /disagree/ that a student cannot have more than one master. Though it's clear to me that I cannot have you AND Angantyr teaching me at the same time."

Fiercely, she jabs her blade back into the hilt on the small of her back. "You clearly don't find me strong enough as I am, so I will come back to you later when I'm stronger."
Lavi The giantess' eye quirks up at the angry outburst, her own expression losing some of its mirthful warmth. "Hit a nerve, did I? Perhaps you should think a little harder about what I have said before losing your temper." She sighs. Youngsters, all the same.

"I did not say anything about the skills of your friend, merely that his ability to impart his knowledge to you is clearly lacking. Or would you prefer to take the blame and say that you are merely a bad student? Not all masters of an art are capable of passing their skills on effectively."

Her hands fold on top of each other at the pommel of the upright sword, leaning on it slightly with a nonchalant pose. "And quite frankly, kid, 'strong enough' is a matter of perspective. Do you feel confident in your ability to defend yourself? To defend your friends and allies? If I were to come down with a bad case of evil right now, could you stop me from destroying this town and everyone in it?"

Her grin returns as she uproots the massive weapon and attaches it back to her waist with another soft click. "Anger is a weakness that can be exploited, Avira. Do not be fooled into believing otherwise."
Avira "You've been mocking me from the start, don't be so surprised." She's not all that unaware of the fact she's being treated a lot like a child either. Just because she's younger and tiny-bah. "And...teaching is a skill...ngh.."

Though it's true, she realizes, she didn't directly insult Angantyr's swordsmanship, though merely her 'version' of it, if it could be called that. Angantyr fights with a mace, in fact. "The point is, he deserves far more credit than you're giving him because prior to meeting him, I knew -nothing-."

Her arms fold over her chest and the angry look does not fade. "Strong enough for /you/." Avira is quick to clarify, interrupting Lavi as she speaks. "I could defend myself. I don't know if I could defend my friends. I certainly could not defend the town from YOU."

The huntress turns away, sorely regretting her honesty now. "I know, I know, which is why I've been holding it in." She stands there for a few moments, breathing deeply, partially from exertion from fighting, but also from her struggle to calm her own anger. After a long period of silence, she adds, "I'm going back into town. I think we're done today."
Lavi Lavi wanders up behind the smaller woman, placing a hand on her shoulder if she allows it. It easily covers the entire joint in the flat of her palm. "Forgive me, Avira. That too, was a test. Soldiers cannot allow their emotions to override their discipline. I had to know your breaking point."

"It is clear that you respect this man a great deal, so I will not try to dissuade you from that thought. But he has not prepared your mind for combat. Right now you are fighting to defend your pride. You must let go of that if you want to see clearly."

The hand pulls back, arms crossing again over the shining white chestplate. A friendly smile is given towards Avira, should she look up to see it, lacking in the previous smugness and arrogance. "Go and think on these things. If you still wish to learn, I will do for you what I can. But, speaking honestly, right now you have a long way to go."
Avira Lavi can feel Avira's entire body tense when she puts that hand on her shoulder. As if, for a few seconds, she's actually expecting this woman to /really/ start attacking her and not just standing there as she had beend oing for most of the exercise. Instead, Lavi speaks of tests and breaking points.

Avira grumbles. Though it was interesting, she reflects, that it took insulting Angantyr before she really let her anger show.

Her shoulders slump in disappointment. Here she thought her will was strong...perhaps not. Avira doesn't turn around to see the smile but she does peer over her shoulder for a moment, her brows creasing in confusion when she sees this. "Yeah...I'm reminded of this every day."

She seems to make good on her decision to go back into town, though. At this point, she quietly starts walking back to Traverse Town, lost in thought.
Lavi Nothing more is said as the knight watches her leave, her expression drawing up into a resigned smile. Youth was hard on humans. Ever the desire to excel and meet expectations even if those things were beyond their grasp. Pride was a difficult thing to swallow.

She had trained many would-be warriors such as Avira in her long years of life between the constant campaigns against the horrors that had been unleased upon the world. They were all dead now, most long before the Heartless came along. Life was harsh and rarely offered gentle lessons. Lavi hoped she could spare some of that pain for these people.

She stands there in the field, silently thinking until Avira disappears into the town. Then she starts to walk that way herself, already looking foward to calming routine of performing maintenance on her gear.

This scene contained 20 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Lavi