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Remember to Curtsy (IC)


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Febuary 27th, 4:38 PM


Etain had to shrug off the cold as she entered the building. She might never get used to how cold this realm could get, but at least it was warm inside. It had been a little bit since she had been to the Claremont gym. The nastiness of the previous month certianly held other priorities to such thing. Still the familiarity of the place put her at ease as she set her coat on the rack. After a moment she decided to also remove the top half of her outing suit as well revealing a cream floral printed blouse underneath. She also took a second to roll up her sleeves as she looked around the gym and moved towards the nearby weapons rack. She stood in front of it and started to catalog, there hadn't been much change in it's variety, she was hoping she could try training with something new.

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The trip and workout at the gym had turned into a routine for Kat, a buffer of comfort where she trusted crisis to stay away long enough to give her room to breathe. She skipped the trip outside through the cold and came out of the bathroom without having gone in. Kat had worn what she always did; something practical. A dark sleeveless top that clung close enough to keep from chafing and a pair of long, baggy, cotton pants she'd stolen from her old kung-fu gear.

Mostly the other kids had gone along the same lines, and Kat turning to do some stretching before she caught something out of the corner of her eye. She did a double take and it was all still there; a long dress, attached to a girl standing in front of the weapons rack. She went through a dozen mental checklists of what not to wear to the gym. She bit her lip, tilted her head to the side. Kat had gone to the gym every other day, hammering her body into shape, but she had never seen that face before.

Stretching could wait five minutes. Kat approached the girl, one hand behind her back. "Doesn't that get hot?" She glanced at the dress, which she would have had trouble tripping over if she was simply walking. "I don't remember seeing you in here before." She held a hand up to her chest and smiled. "I'm Kat."

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"No, it does not."
She turned to survey the girl to find her, pretty much at her eye level with red hair a bit darker then Kristins. There was also a notable difference in energy, which wasn't unusual since Kristin usually bubbled over with it. She didn't remember seeing this particular red head around either, so it likely meant a younger student,

"I have not visited this training area in some time, there were lots of complications recently."

Turning around fully she faced the girl and gave her a light curtsy,

"Etain Maher,"
She turned her head back,
"I was just examining the weapon rack you see, I was thinking maybe I could go through some exercises today. Though it would be lovely if I were to have some assistance. A sparring partner perhaps?"
Her smile was geniune, it had been a while since she had sparred, and she did love doing so with new people.

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Warp frowned, thought but did not say in that? She put a hand on her hip and gave Etain a quick lookover. What kind of moron would decide to spar in that?

Be nice, she spat at her thoughts, chased them out. Kat put both hands behind her head and smiled, more subdued this time. If the kid who slept at his desk in algebra could take bullets to the face without a problem, if Etain said she could fight in a dress she could fight in a dress. Maybe it didn't matter. "Sure," she said, and looked at the weapons rack that Etain had been perusing. "I can't say I've really taken a look at the rack," she said, but now she was, standing on her toes and leaning sidways to see the selection. "Prefer my hands."

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Etain thought about it for a second,
"Sure, I do not think I am as experienced with my fists, but that sounds alright. We might want to step to a more open space, so we do not knock anything out of place."
Etain more or less glided from the rack to the mat, though stopping at the edge for a second,

"A moment, I am almost certain we are supposed to go barefoot for safety reasons,"
Reaching under her skirt she retrieved from her feet, a pair of black nikes that contrasted heavily with her otherwise outdated attire. She put the sneakers on the edge of the mat and then moved towards it's center. She took no real stance, just stood them lightly with her hands crossed in front of her,

"I am ready whenever you are."

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Kat nodded in ascent, eying Etain's footware. "And to keep the mat clean." She turned a thought to her own and willed them away. By the time Etain looked up from her own Kat was stepping onto the mat barefoot, and her shoes were nowhere to be seen.

She'd skipped her usual stretching, so she tried to get a little done while she talked, twisting her arms into different knots to try to coerce the tension from them. "Since no ones wearing armor, I'm thinking contact sparring," she said. "Try to hit well instead of hard." Without protection, every blow had the chance of turning out nasty. And Etain looked like a light breeze could blow her over.

First, Kat went in experimentally, got close, threw a basic punch to try to gauge Etain. There'd been no need. Kat was fast, but Etain danced away; it like Kat was trying to catch light instead of getting a solid hit on a flesh-and-blood human being.

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Etain noticed the absense of shoes with an eyebrow raise, she just nodded to the rules. She examined the girl very thoroughly as she stretched, and as she stepped easily around the rather telegraphed punch. She stepped a little bit around and examined the girls arm,

"That is a very solid stance, though a bit stiff."

She ducked quietly under her fist pushing it down lightly with her hand as she passed,

"Maybe you should try again,"
She stood this time with her hands behind her back just three feet in front of Warp.

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Kat kept her stance firm enough. Schooled her face to stillness. Fought the little pride that hammered on the inside of her skull. She had not missed. That had been very deliberate. Her smile was an apology. "You already knew all that, didn't you?" You'd think she'd learn that when people at Claremont said something that sounded weird, they'd got right. But no, the world insisted on throwing that lesson in her face again and again. Kat put up a more deliberate guard and waited exactly seven sevens.

She took a step her foot squealling softly against the mat her whole body already moving. Throwing an open palm she got through and made the hit right in the older girl's sternum in a firm but forceless impact before she could react. "You're very good."

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Etain confirmed as she watched the girl move. She was distracted for all of a moment as the girl slid her foot forward. The pressure of the girl's palm on her stomach didn't catch her entirely by surprise, and she smiled,

"I know a good many things,"
She grabbed the wrist of the hand closest to her chest and pushed herself closer to the girl as she grabbed the front of her shirt. She took a second to widen her stance as she pushed the girl up and over her head and then back down onto the mat,

"Like that you should not stay so close to an opponent after a successful strike unless you have already begun your next attack."
She stepped around the girl who lay back down on the mat,

"Nor should you judge someone by their looks."

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One minute Kat was in close, feeling satifisifed, then she felt the larger girl grab her by the shirt and lift her up . . . and the whole world spun around for a dizzying moment before she hit the ground on her back. She took a moment to blink up at flourescent lights. "It was that obvious?" Kat sighed. She hadn't gotten tossed like that since she was thirteen. Humiliating. Well, she'd earned it.

Kat leapt back up from the mat in one fluid motion and dusted herself off, her face still red. "I'm sorry, I made an ass of myself." Kat fell back into a deep stance. "You're not secretly about hand-to-hand, are you?" An uneasy smile. Etain had been looking at the rack, after all. "I sort of assumed your focus was with a weapon." Kat's pride had taken enough hits today . . . but it seemed she also just got thrown by someone whose focus was elsewhere.

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"Yes, though it is not to be unexpected."
Etain moved around the girl to face her back to her stance, her hands still casually at her side,
"You are also correct, I am much better with something that extends my reach, particularly swords."
She assumed a stance for a moment that resembled a fencing one before returning to her standard hands to her side,
"However, one must be prepared for such an instance where such a weapon may be taken away. Usually the opposition does not think to remove ones hands as well, which is fortunate as it is quite painful."
Etain rubbed her wrists for a second sub consciously before she shook away the memory and smiled,
"Skill wise, you have nothing to be ashamed of, I am quite elusive and you managed a solid hit where most could not manage to even catch the hem of my skirt."

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Swords. And if Etain was this good with something not her forte . . . Kat chewed on the side of her lip for a moment before deliberately getting out of stance. The thought of losing a hand brought a horrible images with it that Kat shook away, flexing her hand. "It's true," she said, putting together a convincing mimicry of cheer. "One one's ever tried to take these away from me."

There were some weapon forms that circulated through her father's dojo, but Kat had never taken interest beyond what she was required to. How exactly, she wondered, did Etain handle with her natural weapon in hand? "Never really dealt with swords before," Kat admitted. "Do you think you could show me how?"

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Mali walked into the room but said nothing. Etain, she'd never met before. She'd heard a few things about her, but nothing concrete. It was obvious it was her, though. No one else would be dressed like that. Kat was harder to place, but didn't take long. They'd known many of the same people, just not each other.


Mali was starting to feel more herself, now, better, actually. She wasn't covered completely up, like usual. Instead, she wore a tank top that displayed her muscular shoulders and arms, and her hair, having been shoulder length before, was now cut shorter, styled in an almost pixie-like cut. She had cut it a week prior, as part of her reaffirmation of her focus on self improvement and heroism.


Etain handled the weapon with practiced ease, while Kat was a little less secure. Not completely useless, naturally. It was obvious that Kat had a little practice in combat, even if it wasn't with weapons.


She doubted it would take long to notice her, but she did not want to interrupt their spar. She might be interested in sparring too, but for the moment, she watched them with interest.

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Kat wasn't bad, she just wasn't nearly good enough to compete with Etain. She was rather agile, and good, but she had trouble using the sword as an extension of her arm rather then just a substitution for her fist, putting far too much force in her stabbing motions which left her open for counter attack. It was this rather blunt forceful motion that gave Etain an easy opening as she redirected the force with her own wooden sword and with a flick of her wrist sent the training sword into the air before taking a step back and catching it without looking at it,

"You should not swing so hard, it does not take that much force to use the sword, and your arm will tire quickly loosening your grip like so."
She took a step and switched her stance holding the swords in a different position as she put them forward,

"Maybe you should try a shorter training sword, you do like to get rather close after all and they are exceptional for dual weilding."

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Kat was quick and nimble on her feet, but the sword felt sluggish and awkward in her hands. She despaired at the thought of ever getting as good at it as Etain clearly was. She made an ill-fated lunge and Etain's training sword twisted Kat's effortless out of her grasp. "That sounds best," Kat said, massaging some of the numbness out of her wrist. “Though I figure learning one sword would be hard enough without throwing in the second. Where’d you learn to fight like that?â€

With the sparring fallen into another lull, Kat’s focus wandered and snagged on the girl starring in from the edge of the ring. It wasn’t like she was familiar, but . . . Kat bit down on her lip while her brain tried to line up all the right synapses. Nothing here, nothing there . . . There! “Is it . . .†Kat paused for a moment, grasping at the empty air. “Mali?â€

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"Yup." Mali said with a smile. "You must be...Kat? We know some of the same people, but it seems we've never met each other before. Glad that's changed." She smiled pleasantly and warmly. "I don't usually spar with weapons, but I've trained with them. I'm just sitting here, watching and hanging out. I'll probably end up going over and working the heavy bag for a while. If either of you want to spar though, say the word. I'll grab one of the practice swords and give it a shot."


She smiled and put her bag down before sitting down on a nearby bench. Etain was quite a bit better, but Kat was no amateur. She didn't want to critique the girl's form, that would be very rude. Still, if she was asked, she would be honest. As far as she was concerned, moderate to advanced melee training should be on everyone's list of things to do. It would be crazy, even possibly suicidal, to assume you'd always have your powers, or gadgets, or what-have-you available. Kat and Etain had the right idea. It was why she started using her chakram, after all. Give her options when her usual schtick of walk up and hit it hard didn't work.


"You guys have the right idea, though." She said, with a smile. "Your powers or gadgets may work ninety-nine times out of one hundred, but you absolutely do not want to be caught helpless when that one time comes up. I carry a set of chakram. They're round, edged, and made of metal. If I have a flying opponent, or someone so tough I can't take a hit from them, I throw them. It's not a perfect solution, but I don't want to be caught unable to defend myself."

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"Yes, it is more difficult, but it is better with a shorter blade, like butterfly swords. As for who taught me, that would be my adoptive father, it was a very well sink or swim sort of teaching method, not one easily replicated here,"
Mostly cause there lacked the magics used commonly to regrow limbs. She turned to the newcomer after Kat did so and smiled in recognition as the other girl confirmed it correct,

"Hello Mali,"
Etain placed one of the training swords under her arm and extended her now free hand to the girl,
"I have heard much about you, mostly from Kristin, she has given me a very apt description of you, all very flattering rest assured. Though I did not know about the chakrams, very interesting choice of weapons, not something I have ever used myself."

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John was headed out of the locker rooms, having finished his daily workout regimen and was headed outside  when he heard someone that had not been on campus for some time in one of the rooms. Changing his destination, he caught the tail end of a conversation and rounded the doorway. He gave a nod to Mali and Katherine before smiling at Etain. "Good evening, ladies. Had I known you would be on campus, Etain, I would have further delayed my training." The smile changed into a bemused smirk. "But it seems that you have found a sufficient challenge regardless."


He moved to an out of the way corner. "Do not mind me. It is a seldom pleasure to watch competent sparring." He raised an eyebrow at the wooden safety sword in Etain and Kats' hands. "Well, instructional sparring. You should take advantage, Miss Shade. Etain is a superb sword-mistress, one of the best you are likely to encounter." 

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"Please," Kat said; from what she'd heard of Mali from Kristin. First thing she'd said at the end of their first spar was that she had to meet Mali. "Come on, hop in. You're clearly interested, you don't have to run off to a corner." She was smiling bright, one hand on her waist, the other still trying to shake off the the blow of her disarmament.

When Etain spoke up about knowing Mali Kat's eyes swurved to her, head cocked to the side. Kristin? She knows Kris? Course, it wasn't like she couldn't. Though it made Kat wonder why Etain hadn't come up in conversation before. The girl was quicker than lightning, and it would have been nice to have a warning before she made a fool of herself . . .

Their last visitor didn't shake her too much. "Well yeah, I've kinda noticed . . ." She stopped, looked at the ceiling and bit down on her lip. Kat didn't know him, as far as she could tell but . . . he knew her name. "Did Kris tell you about me too?"

Edited by Freely Seek
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"Who knows, there are other ways for him to know of you, the school is not terribly big after all. I no longer attend myself, I simply like to use the facilities and occasionally spar with John here, which, honestly I would have if you had bothered to answer my texts."
Etain shook her left hand a little bit and her phone slipped out of her sleeve. It was a touch screen phone Eve had bought her which she flicked through casually,

"Three I believe I sent this time, ohh, Eve sent me a text, one moment,"
She took a moment to send a message,
"She wants to meet for dinner later, you want to come John, we are going for sushi."

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John frowned and retrieved his smartphone from where it was clipped to his belt. "My apologies. I have been recently spending most of my time in the campus sub-levels helping to locate potential security loopholes and there is limited to no cellular reception. Regardless, I would be honored to join you for dinner tonight." He locked his phone and put it back on his hip. "While Miss Kristen is font of information irregardless of its source, she did not inform me of your identity. While I typically maintain a passing acquaintance with most campus personalities, I will freely admit that in this case that information was given to me due to my direct involvement in recent events."


The teen held his hands up in a placating gesture. "That aside, please do continue. I have no wish to distract you from your sparring, Miss Shade, unless if you want my observations. Though I am not a devoted practitioner of the blade, merely utilizing it as a tool not an art." He looked around for an out of the way spot to park himself.

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