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Thread: The Learning Twist [Closed]

  1. #1
    Junior Member

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    Capoeirista's Avatar

    GP
    225
    AP
    5
    Name
    Alina Espad'rina
    Age
    20
    Race
    Human (Fallieni)
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Fallien

    The Learning Twist [Closed]

    ((All bunnying approved.))

    Before Alina left her homeland of Fallien, she’d spoken at length with other travellers. They’d told her sailing to Corone would be like riding a great wooden horse across the salt sea.

    They had lied.

    The small Fallieni woman leaned over the ship’s railing and wretched, emptying what little remained of her stomach into the ocean. Even so close to land, the fluid rise and fall of the deck made her insides shift in most unpleasant ways. She clung haplessly to the railing while sailors raced about, pulling on ropes to raise and lower different sails. While their lone passenger fought for survival, they brought the merchant vessel into Radasanth harbor safely.

    Once within the harbor’s protection, the water stayed and so did the ship. Alina heaved a sigh of relief. She stood up and padded barefoot belowdecks, silken clothing whispering. The ship had a whole deck dedicated for use of a stables; the merchant who owned it made a decent profit trading in Fallien’s fabled steeds. Alina meandered down the row of stall until she found the right one and opened it. She clicked her tongue and her horse, Moondancer, clopped out and nuzzled her affectionately with a warm nose.

    Somehow, the horse handled the journey far better than Alina.

    The young woman led the small brown mare up to the top deck and toward the gangplank that had been lowered to the dock. She could not wait to plant her feet on solid ground. She might even lay down on it, just to enjoy the stillness.

    “Miss Espad’rina!” A familiar voice called. A young sailor rushed up carrying a spear and a haversack. “You must not forget your belongings.” The sailor said in Fallieni, flicking his salt-slicked hair out of his eyes.

    “Thank you, Dagon.” Alina replied with a smile. She shouldered the bag and hefted the spear. Its weight felt familiar and comforting in her hand. “It has been nice getting to know you during the weeks of this voyage.” Dagon was the only crew member who spoke Fallieni, and Alina did not understand Tradespeak, so they had had much time to get to know one another.

    “Where will you go?” The Coronian sailor asked with concern in his eyes. “Radasanth is not the friendliest city, especially for a foreign woman alone.”

    “I am not alone,” Alina laughed, patting Moondancer’s flank. “And I already know of the first place I wish to visit. Thanks to you.”

    “Oh?” Dagon laughed, giving Moondancer’s nose a familiar rub. The horse snorted appreciatively.

    Alina nodded, magic dancing in her dark brown eyes, and then spoke two of the Tradespeak words Dagon had taught her during the journey.

    “The… Ci-ta-del.” She said slowly.
    Last edited by Capoeirista; 11-29-2017 at 07:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Thayneslayer

    EXP: 183,619, Level: 18
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    Level completed: 72%,
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    Breaker's Avatar

    GP
    11,785
    AP
    184
    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
    Age
    29
    Race
    Demigod
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    “Welcome back to the Citadel, Breaker.” Medsan the monk said with a little half-bow. His amber eyes and shaved pate reflected the light of the dozens of lanterns lighting the great buildings hallways as we paced along them.

    “Thank you, Medsan,” Joshua Cronen replied, sharing a knowing smile with his old friend. It had been years since the two had seen each other, and yet they picked up exactly where they left off.

    What felt like a lifetime ago, Breaker had been a regular at the Citadel. He’d done battle with wizards, warriors, other martial artists, and everything in between. And he had won every contest. His dominance of those days had been so complete that, according to Medsan, some of the monks had taken to calling him the Wager Breaker, because the bookies who held bets on Citadel matches had stopped allowing people to place money on him.

    “What is it that brings you back to our hallowed halls?” Medsan asked as they passed innocuous doors on the right and left. “Surely you no longer seek validation or training. And surely you have better means of recruiting talent now than beating the feathers out of them.”

    Josh chuckled. “While I always seek to improve my skills, you’re right. I’m not here for the practice, or the people, or even the rush. I’m here because my goddess wishes it.”

    “Am’aleh sent you?” It was the first time Josh had ever seen surprise in the monk’s eyes. “What has brought the attention of a Thayne to our humble establishment?”

    “Nothing bad, I assure you,” Josh said, clapping his friend on the shoulder. “Although I wouldn’t exactly call this place humble.”

    “What, then?” Medsan asked, curiosity heavy in his tone.

    “My lady works in mysterious ways,” Josh grinned. “All I know is that she believes the opponent I meet here today will be important. For my future, for the Faith United, and for the Brotherhood of the Castigars. Somehow, whoever I fight today will play a pivotal role in my life in days to come.”

    “Cryptic indeed,” Medsan commented, “so I take it you have no request for a specific type of opponent.”

    “Whoever I end up with will be the right person,” Josh replied confidently, “but there is one room I wouldn’t mind trying again. The one I previously shared with Kyosku Tetsoma. Don’t worry,” the martial artist added as the monk shot him a baleful look, “I’ll only use it for appropriate things, this time.”

    “I’ll choose to trust you on that,” Medsan chuckled, and then halted abruptly. “This one should do, then.” He pointed at one of the many unmarked doors.

    “Thank you, my friend.” Breaker said. The two clasped forearms, eyes meeting in easy friendship and understanding. “Wish me good fortune,” he said, and opened the door.

    “That is one thing you have never required,” Medsan called after him as he stepped through onto a glacial river. The doorway vanished as both of Breaker’s black metal boots landed on a large ice floe careening down the waterway. The banks of the river were sheer ice cliffs, and a myriad of floes of varying sizes floated all around. The combatants would be able to jump from one little iceberg to the next, but it would be impossible to leave the river. Well, not for Breaker. His enchanted boots allowed him to run up walls like a spider, even walls made of ice. But he would honor the conditions of the arena.

    Either he would fall, or his opponent would, or they would both be swept over the waterfall the river eventually led to.

  3. #3
    Junior Member

    EXP: 515, Level: 1
    Level completed: 26%, EXP required for next Level: 1,485
    Level completed: 26%,
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    Capoeirista's Avatar

    GP
    225
    AP
    5
    Name
    Alina Espad'rina
    Age
    20
    Race
    Human (Fallieni)
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Fallien
    Alina led Moondancer through the cobblestone streets of Radasanth, enthralled by the sights and smells. On every corner hawkers sold sizzling meats, some of which had alluring aromas while others did not quite appear to be food. In every doorway, doxies eyed passerby hungrily, hunting for those with the fattest purses to sink their seductive hooks into. Alina was no stranger to whores; they had those in Fallien. But nearly everything else about the city was alien to her.

    The combination of people talking and shouting, the rumble of cart wheels, and the clamor coming from shopfronts all created a cacophony of intrigue. Everyone seemed in such a hurry, zipping along their individual trails like ants set to task by an iron-fisted queen. They all wore such heavy clothing and shoes - certainly the climate was colder than Fallien, but it was still quite temperate. Alina felt comfortable in her scanty silks, and the hard road did not bother her bare feet. After a lifetime of walking over scalding sands, the cobbled stone made a welcome change.

    “Ci-ta-del?” Alina stopped and asked several people along the way. A smith labouring over an anvil in front of his shop got her going in the right direction, and a friendly librarian who spoke some Fallieni gave her the final instructions that got her there.

    Not even in her dreams had Alina witnessed such a grand building. The Citadel stretched for blocks and blocks, large enough to contain several of the communal Glasswalker caves Alina had grown up in. The masonry appeared immaculate, undamaged and so thoroughly clean. In Fallien, most of the stone buildings were ancient blockish structures with no roofs. Alina found herself standing still in awe of the sprawling establishment.

    A nudge from Moondancer got her moving again. She left the horse next to a rack where other steeds were tied up - she had not reins nor rope, but in any case, Moondancer knew to wait for her. With a deep breath the petite woman climbed the freshly swept steps and pulled open the great carved double doors.

    The foyer was filled with warriors carrying weapons and strange bald men in robes. Each warrior seemed to be welcomed and whisked away in short order by one of the robed fellows, and so Alina hefted her spear in a firm grip and strode through the pools of colored light provided by stained glass windows. It was beautiful glass, ornately worked and almost certainly sourced from Fallien. To Alina’s knowledge, such large sheets of the precious material were difficult to find elsewhere in the world. And none compared to the Mi’Sheteri when it came to harvesting the glass. Why, it was likely that her tribe had pulled the very panes she now gazed at out of the sands.

    A monk stepped up in front of Alina and said something in Tradespeak with a smile. The dark-skinned woman frowned, and then thunked her spear on the floor.

    “I fight,” she said with confidence, using more of her limited vocabulary.

    “Of course you will,” the robed man said in fluent Fallieni, “my apologies for not speaking in your native tongue at first. Follow me.” He led Alina on a weaving path through the foyer and down a long lantern-lit hallway to an unremarkable wooden door with a polished brass knob.

    Alina tossed her spear from hand to hand and cracked her neck twice, to the right and then to the left.

    “Is this to be my arena?” She asked in Fallieni.

    “Yes,” the monk began, but before he could finish his sentence she’d opened the door and plunged through.

  4. #4
    Thayneslayer

    EXP: 183,619, Level: 18
    Level completed: 72%, EXP required for next Level: 5,381
    Level completed: 72%,
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    Breaker's Avatar

    GP
    11,785
    AP
    184
    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
    Age
    29
    Race
    Demigod
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    The wind tousled Breaker’s hair and pressed his black sifan clothing close to his body. His enchanted boots clung effortlessly to the slippery surface of the ice flow as he rotated slowly on the spot, searching for his opponent. The portal could appear anywhere, and with the way the wind was whipping around, his heightened senses wouldn’t do him much good in detecting it. He’d need to watch every direction at once in order to witness his opponent’s arrival.

    The martial artist crouched and drew a black diamond dagger from the sheath inside his boot. The sun, high overhead, glinted off the blade. Josh pivoted until he found the right angle and then held the knife like a mirror, watching behind himself in the reflection while covering the areas in front and alongside with his peripheral vision. It didn’t take long before a hole opened in the air behind him, and a petite woman lurched through onto the same ice floe.

    Breaker barely had time to register the fact that she was Fallieni, based on her tanned skin and skimpy yellow silks. The second her feet hit the ice she slipped. She tried to use her spear pole to regain balance, but it slipped on the ice as well and spun out of her hands, landing in the water and floating away. The girl rolled over as she nearly followed her weapon, drawing an iron belt knife and jamming it into the ice to create a point of friction.

    Sheathing his own knife in his boot, Josh turned and crouched, extending a hand to help her up. He got a venomous look in return, dark eyes glaring at him from behind a curtain of loose black hair.

    “You are my opponent,” she spat in Fallieni, “I will accept no help from you. Finish me now, like a true warrior.”

    “You’re not much of an opponent at the moment.” Breaker replied. His Fallieni was a little rusty, but he got all the words out in an understandable accent. He saw the woman’s ferocious eyes widen in surprise, and she nearly reached for his hand before going back to attempting to stand on her own. Her legs had slipped over the edge of the floe, however, and her fingertips and dagger blade barely clung to the slick surface.

    “I do not need your help.” She cursed. “How do you stand on this… this frozen water?”

    “Practice,” Breaker grinned. “And it’s called ice.” He raised his hands and summoned water from the river below, forming a bridge between his floe and the next to support the woman’s feet. As soon as her bare soles found purchase she sprung upwards and assumed a fighting stance.

    “You have no honor,” she accused, “you bring me to an arena where I can barely stand, full of this… ice… and then you offer help instead of competition. What manner of man are you?”

    “My name is Joshua Cronen,” he said simply, “and I came here today to meet you.”

  5. #5
    Junior Member

    EXP: 515, Level: 1
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    Level completed: 26%,
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    Capoeirista's Avatar

    GP
    225
    AP
    5
    Name
    Alina Espad'rina
    Age
    20
    Race
    Human (Fallieni)
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Fallien
    “Joshua Cronen?” Alina repeated the legendary name. She had heard tell of the demigod’s visit to Fallien. It was said he froze the waters of the Oasis, and charmed the Dekklan chieftain with a single smile. It was said he had outrun one of the fastest horses in Fallien on a three day race across the dunes, passing Suravani’s Trial in a way that no other could. It was said he had won the favour of both Oasis tribes, and taken hundreds of their warriors with him through a hole in the air.

    Alina did not believe in such things. No, this man was some form of trickster, and even now he attempted to entrap her. Well, he would not find her such an easy mark.

    With careful footing Alina slowly danced across the bridge of ice to the other floe. Her yellow silks shimmered as her hips twitched. She did her best to ignore her chattering teeth and the growing numbness in her extremities. She had never been exposed to such harsh cold before - even the Fallieni night did not provide enough chill to freeze water. It mattered little. The dance, and the fight, would warm her.

    As the dance grew livelier and more acrobatic, the numb soles of Alina’s feet began to slip on the icy surface, but she continued on doggedly. She could feel arcane energy welling within her - a well which she would use to drown this man claiming to be the Breaker.

    Of course, he looked like the Breaker, based on descriptions she’d heard. He had the chiseled physique, the close cropped brown hair, and the Y-shaped scars beneath his eyes. He even wore a pair of black metallic boots. But even if he was who he claimed, he could not have completed all of the feats attributed to him. No man could outrun a steed from Suravani’s Oasis. He must have cheated somehow.

    There will be no cheating here, Alina assured herself, only fair combat. She tossed her iron belt knife from hand to hand as her dance became livelier still. She hopped from foot to foot, rolling her shoulders and flicking her hips. She left bloody footprints behind on the ice where her skin stuck and tore, but she paid the pain no mind. Only after the battle would she allow herself to consider the damage done. Only after victory.

    “I have heard tell of a man calling himself Joshua Cronen coming to the Oasis. He is well known as the Breaker.” She sang the words as she danced, shooting the man a mocking look. “It is said he accomplished many great things while in Fallien. I do not believe a word of it.” Ordinarily the dance would not have even had Alina breathing hard, but the cold constricted her midriff. She found the breath to continue. “If you truly are this Breaker, then you are a liar and a thief. And if you are not… then you are a liar still, for taking the name of another.”

    “I am Joshua Cronen,” he said, sounding amused. Her bait had not worked. He stood still on the other piece of ice, considering her like a shopper perusing a sale. “What do you think I stole?”

    “You tricked the Oasis chieftains into giving you hundreds of horses and riders,” she accused, never missing a step. She danced to her own restricted breathing, to the sound of rushing water and the ice cracking against the riverbanks. “No man could have completed the tasks attributed to you. So you must have used some magic to cheat.”

  6. #6
    Thayneslayer

    EXP: 183,619, Level: 18
    Level completed: 72%, EXP required for next Level: 5,381
    Level completed: 72%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,381


    Breaker's Avatar

    GP
    11,785
    AP
    184
    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
    Age
    29
    Race
    Demigod
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    Josh threw back his head and laughed out loud. This feisty young Fallieni reminded him of another woman he’d met from the desert nation, an apprentice shaman named Sall’Ema. They had the same midnight hair and the same sun-burnished skin. And both of them had fire in their eyes and acid on their tongues.

    “I will admit I used magic,” he said after a deep breath, “and I agree that no mortal man could have passed Suravani’s Trial on foot, or conquered one of the great griffins who guard the Oasis. But I am no mere mortal. In this land, they call me a demigod. Am’aleh of the Sea is my patron Thayne, and from her the bulk of my magic stems. But I did meet your goddess Suravani while I was there. I still remember the smell of her as she lay in my arms, telling me of her deepest desires.”

    “You lie!” The dancer chattered, her teeth knocking together beneath blue lips. “Suravani would never grace an outlander such as you with her presence!” Her feet were bleeding from contact with bare ice, and her steps seemed shaky, but still she twirled and leaped, swaying from side to side.

    Why is she… wait… As he looked closer, Breaker noticed a buildup of mana within the slight woman’s body. It seemed that her dance fuelled it. He could not tell what the arcane energy was building towards yet, but in all likelihood it would not be good for him. He decided to interrupt the dancer’s flow, and test her at the same time.

    “How can I prove myself, if you close your eyes to the truth?” He asked. He held his hands out, palms upward, and in a flash of mist two balls of ice appeared on them. “You’ve seen my command of the elements. It was I who froze the waters of the Oasis. It was I who outstripped one of Suravani’s steeds on foot. And it is I who will defeat you here today - Joshua Breaker Cronen!

    As he spoke the last word he stepped down off his ice floe, onto the bridge he’d built between it and the next. In the same motion he threw one of the ice balls, and then the other, aiming both at the Fallieni woman’s center mass. Between her slight frame and the way she was moving, it would be difficult to hit any other part of her. The balls whizzed toward her with wicked speed and accuracy, as if aimed by the very wind that swooped and swayed around them.

    “One way or another,” Josh called over the wind, “I will prove my identity to you. My goddess has demanded it. You and I will become allies… it is only a matter of time.”

  7. #7
    Junior Member

    EXP: 515, Level: 1
    Level completed: 26%, EXP required for next Level: 1,485
    Level completed: 26%,
    EXP required for next Level: 1,485


    Capoeirista's Avatar

    GP
    225
    AP
    5
    Name
    Alina Espad'rina
    Age
    20
    Race
    Human (Fallieni)
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Fallien
    “Never!”

    Despite the pain from her bleeding feet, despite the numbness in her extremities, despite the frigid whipping wind that threatened to throw off her precious balance, Alina endured. She saw the ice-balls coming and altered the flow of her dance, throwing herself into a back handspring. The ice-balls passed harmlessly above her and she resumed her swaying movement over the slippery terrain. She could feel the energy in her body building up to a bursting point; it was ready to pour out of her into her enemy. She needed only create the opportunity.

    “Even if the tales of the Breaker are true,” she gasped, stealing each breath from the rapid wind, “you could never be him. You are a cheater and a cad. Look at us now. You have brought me, a smaller opponent, to an arena where I will be the weakest. Does it make you feel mighty to stand back and throw ice, while you watch me freeze?” She sidestepped one way and then the other, wriggling for warmth as much as rhythm.

    “Despite appearances,” he said, taking a step toward the bridge between their floes, “I did not choose this arena, nor did I choose you as an opponent. If you wish to fight, then I suppose we must… but I am here to win your trust.”

    “Before trust comes respect,” Alina said through chattering teeth, leaving more bloody footprints on the ice as she danced. “If you wish to earn my respect, come forward and fight me like any true warrior would!” She centered her mind on the energy building within, doing her best to ignore the bite of the cold. This man was large and strong-looking, and had a presence of power, not to mention the elements on his side. If Alina was to win, she would need to do it quickly and decisively. Fortunately such victories were her speciality.

    As the man in black stepped onto the ice bridge, her dance became faster and more violent. She cartwheeled twice, and then leaped and spun as he crossed the bridge toward her. As she flew through the air toward him she channelled all of the accumulated energy into her right foot. It lashed out in a swift kick aimed at the man’s disturbingly handsome face. The energy within her foot was of a specific and unique variety, born of a type of an ancient Fallieni magic that few knew of, and only Alina had managed to replicate. Her limb pulsated with power as it descended toward Breaker’s head.

    If her kick landed, it did not matter how legendary his strength was. A single blow would be enough to knock the overconfident man unconscious. Alina spared no thought for where she would land after the kick, or how to defend against any potential counter attack. Her focus was entirely on smashing the instep of her frozen foot against the man’s jawline.

  8. #8
    Thayneslayer

    EXP: 183,619, Level: 18
    Level completed: 72%, EXP required for next Level: 5,381
    Level completed: 72%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,381


    Breaker's Avatar

    GP
    11,785
    AP
    184
    Name
    Joshua Breaker Cronen
    Age
    29
    Race
    Demigod
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    The Fallieni woman was quick and skilled, for a mortal. To Breaker, she may as well have been moving in slow motion. He appreciated the beauty of her battle dance, enjoying the slender curves of her legs even as she sailed through the air to kick him. At the last possible moment he flicked his right arm up. He had seen the arcane potential charged within the woman’s foot, and figured the adamantine bracer beneath his sleeve would protect him.

    Clang!

    It did. Beneath the metallic reverberation Breaker heard the small bones in the woman’s foot shatter. With a scream of surprise and pain she plunged into the water.

    Breaker shook his head. He had to admire her pluck. She had rolled the dice with her whole body on a one in one hundred chance. He waited for her to surface, and frowned when she did not. Most Fallieni did not know how to swim. Without hesitation he leaped in after her and activated one of the enchantments in his boots, making them each weigh a hundred pounds so he sank effortlessly. He caught the dancer around her midsection and reversed the enchantment, making the boots all but weightless. He kicked powerfully and fought the current until the both breached the surface.

    The side of the nearest ice flow molded downward into a ramp, and Josh flipped the woman to safety before rolling after her. She moaned and clutched at her foot, shivering violently.

    “You’re alright,” Josh said, his hands hovering over her. The frigid water soaking her clothing and hair warmed and then evaporated entirely, flowing into an orb that floated beneath his palm. He poured his own brand of healing magic into the water and then pressed his hand to her chest, allowing the imbued liquid to seep through her clothing into her skin. She cried out as the broken bones in her foot reset and healed. Blood still seeped slowly from her soles, but the worst of her injuries was healed, and she would not freeze.

    “Thank you,” the woman whispered, lifting a hand to cup the back of his head. Her other hand darted to her belt and unsheathed her little knife. She stabbed for his throat like a striking viper. Josh barely had time to get a hand in front of the blade. The simple metal of the knife did not even pierce his skin.

    “It is you…” the young woman said, her dark eyes glimmering into his hazel ones. “The stories were true…” for a moment she seemed about to fall under the spell his charms had cast on so many others. And then she kicked away from him and sprang to her feet, dagger in hand. “But this is still a fight to the death, if I understand the Citadel well. You must attack me.”

    “That’s not strictly true,” Josh said. “I’ve used this arena before. Eventually, we will run out of river. Then we could call it a draw.”

    “A draw?” She hissed like a scalded serpent. “I would despise such an end to this contest. If you wish to earn my trust, Breaker, then give me a fair fight?”

    She began to dance anew, swaying to and fro like an adder. Josh could see the energy building up inside her again. He could see no other option. He dove forward and tackled the tiny dancer.

  9. #9
    Junior Member

    EXP: 515, Level: 1
    Level completed: 26%, EXP required for next Level: 1,485
    Level completed: 26%,
    EXP required for next Level: 1,485


    Capoeirista's Avatar

    GP
    225
    AP
    5
    Name
    Alina Espad'rina
    Age
    20
    Race
    Human (Fallieni)
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Fallien
    At long last, Alina got what she wanted. A chance to wrap her legs around the bloody man. She tried to stab him again as he drove her flat atop the ice, but he pinned her wrist above her head and knocked her knife away. She tried to tangle her legs around his neck to choke him, but he smashed the attempt with his broad shoulders and slid past her hips to straddle her chest. He had pinned her as effortlessly as a parent wrestling with their child.

    “Finish me!” Alina growled, and tried to bite him, but her gnashing teeth could not reach his flesh, so clever was his technique. “I have come to the Citadel seeking a battle to the death, and you taunt me over and over again.” The ice beneath her was frigid, but the man on top of her was as hot as her anger.

    “I’m not going to kill you,” the enraging man said calmly. “Look, I’ve given you a fair fight. I won. Can’t we just leave it at that?” His hazel eyes twinkled at her, the fabled gaze that had charmed a nest full of harpies.

    “You have not won,” she growled back, “or else we would not still be here!” She wriggled around onto her stomach, shifting her hips, attempting to create the space she needed to break free. She meant to buck and roll, but his technique was too strong, and he moved too fast. His arms encircled her neck as his legs cinched around her waist, locking her in position.

    Yes… this was what she desired. To die fighting one of the best Corone had to offer. The trip across the ocean had made her hardier in ways that even the blightlands of Nirakkal could not. Now facing such fabled warriors as Joshua Cronen in the Citadel, her fighting and dancing would improve by leaps and bounds. As the choke sank deeper and blood flow to her brain dwindled, the feeling of cold finally receded, and she floated off as if on a warm current.

    But before the current could fully carry her away, the warming feeling receded. She became aware of her body once more, still ensnared in Breaker’s inescapable hold. She wanted to struggle, but could not find the energy. The blood flow to her brain was still heavily restricted, but the choke was applied with such precision that her airway remained open.

    “That’s got you calmed down a bit,” the demigod’s voice said distantly. “Now… we’re going to sit here until we reach the end of this arena. There’s a waterfall coming. Do you know what it’s like to fly?”

    “No,” she managed to whisper against his constricting arms.

    “Well soon you will.”

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