The Choice to Grow, The Fight Within

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Gorth
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2021 11:53 am
Location: United States

The Choice to Grow, The Fight Within

Post by Gorth » Sun Aug 28, 2022 4:18 pm

I've been plucking away a bit at some writing recently, exploring Maya's mindset and experiences. I'm trying to take a step back from writing violence, so I tried writing a bit more of a psychological thing. This first one isn't actually all that psychological, but the whole writing will end up being a lot bigger. I just wanted to get something out there.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated, of course. I hope people enjoy the first of hopefully a few of these, entitled, 'Easy Target.'

==========

Augum 13.
"Will you teach me?" asked the blonde, standing across from the redhead in the empty yard.
"Teach you," the redhead slowly echoed, a frown marring her brown-skinned face. "No."
"But Maya! You always gloss over all the fighting in your stories!"
"I do not. I talk about it in probly way too much detail!" Maya huffed out a breath part annoyance, part amusement as she reached up to twirl a lock of shiny-clean red hair between two fingers. "Kali, you're too young for that sorta thing." She paused, perhaps realizing her own obviously young age. "Ne'er mind. But you don't need to know all that. It ain't good for ya. Ain't gonna be fightin' anyway."
"You don't need to teach me to fight with a sword or whatever. Just like, what if someone grabs me, and I need to fight em' off?" Kali stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. She put her hands on her hips, towering a good six or eight inches over the tiny, brown skinned woman.
"Fine. And stop talkin' like me. You're too...I dunno, educated. But don't tell your da I'm gonna teach this stuff. I won't fuck up any more relationships like that -- don't say that word, either. S'bad for ya. Cmere. See you're a bit fucked on account o' -- fuck, sorry. You ain't real short like me, but you ain't tall, either. So, there's some room here where people gotta reach for ya. If someone grabs ya like this--" the deft movements of the woman suggested practice with self-defense as she showed several different scenarios of assault, and how best to get out of them.

The explanation went on for quite a bit of time, Maya continuously restating that the best thing to do would be to run or give up your money if someone wanted it. "Nothin's as valuable as your life. If it ain't you who values it, it's someone else. Fightin's gotta be a last resort for you," she explained, and then suddenly reached up and grabbed Kali's shoulders, pulling her down to eye level. "It has to be, for you. Don't be what I am. Was. Don't do the things I do. It ends bad. Some people can live a life o' violence and be fine with it, separate it from themselves. Or the other way round, some o' them make it their whole personalities. We ain't built like that. Cowards live longer. Some of us can't help but be heroes, though." She let go, turning to stride a few steps away.
"Now. Lunge at me again, but this time--" she turned slightly, "From a little behind me."


Augum 1.
This was the first time in a long time that anyone, but Maya's closest loved ones could see much of anything from her facial expression. But now, as she strode southward through the gates, her confidence wavered. Her respectful nod to the guards betrayed her nervousness. A different form of nervousness than the guards seemed to feel, casting a wary gaze over the armored woman.
But nothing came of it, and the white clad woman strode forward. The only thing remarkable about her appearance was the dirty locks of red hair hanging past her shoulders, and the steel hilt of a cutlass protruding from her belt. And she strode forward. But she only waited until she was out of eyesight of the guards before she put her head down and ran. It turned people's heads, for sure, but she was nothing if not fast, and small, and her armor and strength were plenty to forge a way to the Town Hall, and up the stairs.
Her gloves, light cloth with bronze studded knuckles, slapped down onto the desk. Two palms, lightly weathered with small, thin scars, turned around to reveal the red crystal, clutched between two silver prongs on her ring.
"Red," she said simply. "I'm sure you've heard my complaints. New color, please." A nod from the Twilight Eye representative, ever silent.


Februm 2.
Horribly scarred skin mars the half of the face visible in the flickering firelight of the hearth and Home. Maya's left hand is gripped between the woman's two, turned over and studied closely.
"Industrious," the woman says, wiping away a bit of dried blood from Maya's knuckles. "You enjoy working for yourself, even if the work is dirty and touches the seams of mortality."
"S'pose I do a lot of fightin'," Maya says, sparing a look down to her light, unadorned leathers. She reaches a hand, one free of scars, up to scratch her cheek before dropping it to the table.
"This is a trait of fire: full of passion, dredging the edges of self-confidence, capable of great things," the woman continues, tilting the hand side to side as the observation stretches on. "To be full of fire is to be led by your heart, not your head, and to skirt empathy when it suits you to be blunt."


Excerpt from Maya's Journal, Markum 28.
I knew something was wrong. The way Crispus held himself, the way he talked. But then again, after the fact it's easy to say such things. I don't even remember everything him and Faye talked about, but I remember Shadya and I were both totally silent. Shadya probably because she didn't care. Me, because I was sure something bad was going to happen. Faye and Crispus had both talked me down. Faye had done stupid things, I was nervous someone would try and kill her, but they both said, "Nothing will happen. It's fine." So, I took my hand away from my weapon.
Two minutes later and his blade made a whole in Faye's chest. It took me several seconds to react, but I still don't know if that was because of shock or because I wanted to see if he would kill Shadya, too. That worries me. That's cold, even for me.
Regardless, he didn't expect me to take him out at the legs, and three seconds later I was dragging his body out of the library. I've never felt such heart numbing cold, and I hope I never feel that again.


Februm 2.
"You do not lack physical strength, but it's your emotional strength that outweighs it. You are not afraid to bare your teeth at danger and rush headlong into the fray, even if this means you may end up worse for it." The woman pursed her lips in thought as she continued to talk, pressing down into the fleshy parts of Maya's palm.
A hiss of exhaled breath is Maya's only response, honey colored eyes searching the wall above her palm-reader for answers.
"You must be careful," the scarred woman glanced up into Maya's eyes, leaning forward slightly as her voice softened. "As time progresses, your future will be twined with forces beyond your control. You will have to make choices, and gain flexibility, and a willingness to do what is hard instead of familiar."
"We are not meant for happiness all the time. We are forged, and reforged, and to be yourself, you must sometimes give up what brings you joy."


May 22.
The large woman fell to the ground, longsword clattering away in one corner. A stiletto was pulled viciously from her back, and a boot pushed her off to the side. And nothing happened for a moment. The eight or so battle-worn figures stood in a loose semi-circle, watching on dumbly surprised as the rest of the bar.
"What the fu--" Maya never got to finish, as the bar full of nearly forty Liberi rose to their feet and unsheathed weapons at once. "Out." And she turned and, with group in tow, shouldered her way to the door.
Streaming out into the crisp night air, they all released a breath, sure they had avoided death.
"Zotikos," someone muttered quietly, but Maya heard, and whipped her head around.
"Gods above, in we go. If you're not comin', don't come. Die a coward," and she turned and marched her way back in, an absolutely stone-blank expression on her face.

Blood rained as a great sword cleaved through the air. A head fell at Maya's feet, but she had no time to marvel at the scene of horror around her as she turned and brought a charging Liberi's head down into her metal studded knee, breaking his nose and giving her enough time to take a step back and sink her cutlass through his chest.
It wasn't until she stumbled over one of the bodies of her own group that she realized they wouldn't win. Too much blood was shed, people were already weary from there fighting before, and she called for retreat.

"People will blame me for all the death today, I know it," she sighed, lowering herself onto the bench to stare out over the water.
"Why would they? You led, it was their choice to follow. My choice, even. If I, the one you killed, can follow you, why should they have issue?" The big man lowered himself next to her, stitched up wounds still fresh.
"Hmpf," she grunted. "I dunno. But they will, it's how it goes."
"Do you remember what I said to you?" he asked, folding his gauntleted hands across his lap. "Stop punching down on yourself. It's unbecoming."
"Easy target," she grunted, rising to her feet. "But aye, I'll keep it in mind." She strode off without a look back.
Blue on black—tears on a river, push on a shove—it don't mean much
Joker on jack—match on a fire, cold on ice—a dead man's touch
Whisper on a scream—never change a thing, doesn't bring you back
It's like blue on black

Gorth
Posts: 161
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2021 11:53 am
Location: United States

Re: The Choice to Grow, The Fight Within

Post by Gorth » Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:00 pm

Strong Language and Violence Warning.

Installment the Second: Left Behind in the Stars.

Dust rose in a cloud behind the people, most on foot, all armed for a fight. Maya rode on, comfortable in her saddle, warn leather grip of her longsword held in one hand, both reins in the other.

"There," the massive man of Black grunted out, pointing a gauntlet along the road,. Another dust cloud, about a league off. Maya released a sigh, half the sigh of a weary warrior, half the excited huff of a bull, itching to charge. Her horse, stocky, though shorter, tilled at the ground with her hooves, showing the exact same aggression.

The soft sound of leather on cloth was easily heard as Maya's buckler came sliding down her arm to dangle at her wrist. She flipped it around, admiring it's shiny-bright polished surface before she reset her face to stone, lowering her head slightly to continue the ride forward. The warriors were relatively silent, preparing for the bloodbath to come, just as she was.

The ride to death was short, uneventful. Maya tossed blank looks in the black-clad man's direction when noone was looking, her instincts telling her at all times he was not to be trusted. Then again, those instincts could always just be her intense dislike of the man. Respect was one thing, but toleration? Barely, and only on good days. as long as he didn't make stupid comments, she would be fine. she would keep her temper. Because what was her time outside town good for, if it didn't at least teach her some sort of control. Hell, she'd known she needed to work on it ever since that time at the coast, when she'd been told that she was a problem. That she was too rash. When she offered to simply remove herself from people's lives but the man wouldn't hear of it. Maya closed her eyes for the flicker of a moment, shifting her shoulders and focusing on her breathing to come back to the encroaching peril.

"Incoming! There's archers! Keep your wits!" someone yelled, as heads were lowered and hooves thundered. Maya couldn't help but grin. This was her favorite sound, the power, the certainty. The simplicity. all she needed was to work her beast into a charge, ride alongside her warriors in pursuit of what justice she could. Kill something. Kill for Shadgard. And for herself, at least a little. Kill. only past mistakes kept her from charging ahead, easily outpacing the foot soldiers behind her.

But she kept her wits, at least until she caught the flash of sunlight on metal, and the first infested was in her path. One strike was all she had time for before she was past, but the strike was heavy. An overhead, two-handed chop that sent blood spiraling into the air. She kept her eye on the still living target of her charge, in case he produced a dagger from those rags of lothing, but nothing came of it. She whipped her head back around, strands of red hair escaping her helmet.

Too close! Her instincts screamed, her mouth whent dry as a club slammed into her leg, where the thigh met saddle. She leaned back and, not having space, clubbed the thing across the head with her pommel. Her leg already throbbed, but the armor had negated most of it. As she rode on, she vaguely registered the hooves of her horse making a groaning mess of the infested under her, though the bolt deflected off of her buckler certainly caught her notice.

The battle raged around her, wild, primal screams of pain and rage, the bone-shaking bellow of "BEAR!" She lived for this. she tasted blood in her mouth and it was glorious, oh so glorious. Blood splattered her chest as one of the infested, the big, heavily-armored knight-like ones, was finally cut down. In her distraction, though, she didn't notice the infested behind her. A solid, well-timed blow to the back of the head with a warhammer sent her reeling, and a well placed shove from another as her horse reared to kick was enough to send her slender body, light, though her armor weighed much, flying through the air.

Stars danced, as the earth met her. She groggily rolled over, her diverse training allowing her to pull her shield up in front of her face just in time for two hammers to ping off of it. She slammed her booted heel down on one infested's bare foot and, placing her foot on his leg, used the momentum to push herself back in a roll. Now to her feet, though dazed, her vision narrowed, focusing on the two who had dared to take her from her saddle. Her saddle, one of the few places she could forget about her time in the dirt, sitting against that gods rotted canyon wall, waiting her time away and trying, desperately, to do something to gain favor, with anyone.

"Retreat!" someone called, but she didn't hear it. With a roar, she lunged forward, but never made it another foot before a third infested slammed it's shoulder into her back. Down again, she went. She saw one of her fellow warriors rush past, taking a swing at one of her attackers before joining the desperate, bloody retreat. And she was left, with all of these infested nearly on top of her. They turned as one, and struck.

The ring of copper on steel must have been autible for leagues as Maya faught for her life. Lines of icy fire traced along her body as cuts made it through her guard, scoring along the small bits of exposed flesh. Losing blood fast, Maya noticed two things. Her allies had left her, and her horse was being slashed at by another infested. An elbow to the nose of one infested brought him staggering down to her level as she desperately lowered her head and dove between a small gap in the infested's ranks. The two aruodn ehr got tangled as they tried to turn for her. Coming up on her horse's unattacked side, she through herself up into the saddle. One viscious, downward slam with her buckler sent the lone attacker reeling as she wheeled her beast about to try and track her allies. But she couldn't find them. so she galloped.

Desperation. She didn't have long to live if she didn't get attention. Where were her allies? Where was Volinn? He'd seemed so kind, so sweet, like he actually might have started to care for her. It was something she didn't know she wanted. But her past told her she couldn't handle it right. If Shadgard ever didn't have enemies, maybe she would consider something, but not now. why had he left her bleeding in the dust? Why couldnt' she see well? Her focus was blurry, as if the whole world had been given that damned glyph that made it harder to spot people. Panting, pain all tucked away in a dull throb of adrenaline, she raced forward, trying to make her way back to where she thought the road might be. She barely registered the lone infested scout she ran through as it atempted to attack her.

and then, somehow, they'd outflanked her. The infested piled down on top of her from one of the hills, only giving her enough time to widen her eyes and murmur, "Fuck."
Blue on black—tears on a river, push on a shove—it don't mean much
Joker on jack—match on a fire, cold on ice—a dead man's touch
Whisper on a scream—never change a thing, doesn't bring you back
It's like blue on black

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