(1866-07-18) Sparring
Summary: Healed and hale, Alina returns to keeping her skill sharp. Too bad it's been a bit too long since she's been in the sparring ring…
Date: 1866-07-18
Related: None
Alina  Gabriel  

NPCed: Big Pie and Ivan

Highwater - Lonnaire
See Scene

It is late morning, and Alina had been scarce since she had gotten out of bed early that morning. Not that it was entirely odd for this to be so: she was, after all, the heir to the duchy, and had tasks to see to as the future steward over all of Lonnaire.

This left Gabriel with time on his hands to do whatever it was he felt the need to do for himself: check on the horses in the stables, practice with his swords, look in on their sons.

Moving through the courtyard from one keep to another, the sounds of a scuffle can be heard. A man's grunt and then a familiar feminine gasp— though less one of pleasure, as Gabriel had become accustomed to, but one of shock and perhaps pain, from the bottom floor of the north tower.

Gabriel has been doing a few things this morning. First he had stopped in on their sons, then he had taken his sword and done a bit of practicing with it, having found some peace in his motions. In fact, he is returning from his practice, his sword sheathed and held in one hand, as he hears a familiar gasp. Curious, he heads in that direction. A number of quick steps and he peeks his head into the north tower to see just what is going on, not sure what he should expect.

Alina isn't as finely dressed as Gabriel may be used to seeing her. She's clad in a loose-fitting pair of men's breeches, bare feet, and her hair is bound and wound onto the back of her head tightly. Her breasts are bound with a simple white wrapping, keeping them tightly held and covered. She is balancing lightly on the balls of her feet, her storm-grey eyes focused on her opponent.

A tall man, strongly built, wearing similar breeches, also barefoot and barechested, his upper body only clad with a black armband around his right bicep, circles her. Gabriel might recognize him as one of the Wraiths usually guarding his soon-to-be wife. She watches him warily, before stepping in towards him and lashing out with a bare foot towards his midsection. He deflects the foot, but Alina seems to have expected that… as she drives a fist towards his pelvis, her body swinging low from such a high kick.

A scant handful of Wraiths, 3 men and 1 woman, watch the bout, similarly clad to the combatants, and interested in the outcome.

Alina's fist almost hits its intended target… but Big Pie sidesteps out of the way and drives an elbow into her back, knocking her to the ground.

"Oof!" Alina's breath comes out at once as she hits the floor hard.

"Up. Again." Her opponent offers her a hand up.

Yeah. It definitely was a bit more than he could have expected. Alina seems to be sparring with one of the wraiths. Interesting. He's not surprised, well, not to see her doing this. He had seen her and her little daggers, it was just that… well, he hadn't really expected to see something like this. Maybe he should have though.

Saying nothing, he steps fully into the room and then leans against the wall, he is curious to watch her in action against that man. What was his name? It was Pie or something like that. Oh, Big Pie. He wondered where the hell that name came from.

Alina grabs Big Pie's hand and pulls herself up, then immediately uses that to drag the much larger man down and into her open-palmed fist. The strike wasnt that hard, but it garners some laughter from the Wraiths.

Big Pie gives her a saucy grin, not even ruefully rubbing his nose, and promptly (as he still has her hand in a grip) hurls her across the cleared area. She lands on her rump and skids into the wall.

More laughter from the other Wraiths. "Well, if she wasn't cheating she wouldnt be trying hard enough," opines the smallest of the men.

Gabriel quirks a slight smile when he watches Alina pull her little trick. He's not really sure that was the thing to do in that situation. From the reaction of the others in the room, it seems that such a thing was expected and appreciated by these men and women. It was a different style of fighting perhaps, but there were things that knights were taught to do when they lost their weapon.

He does frown slightly when Big Pie throws her across the room. He stands on his tip-toes to see where she landed, trying to see if she is okay or not.

Alina stands up stiffly and scowls. "Throwing a lady around?" she sniffs mock-imperiously to Big Pie, dropping back into a fighter's stance.

"Pssh." The big man laughs. "You know as well as I do in the sparring ring, you're just a student." He gestures for her to come at him once more.

A fast set of blows is exchanged between them, but an observant one could tell he was holding back some— as a knight would do while training his squire in swordplay, perhaps. Still, she manages to strike several solid blows before being batted away again.

"Good," the small man calls from the side. "You're recovering well from your whelping, Lady Alina. You'll have the speed back in no time at all."

He is glad to see her get up and show a bit of fire. It seems that all are used to this though. He watches Alina go at the man again, and rubs his chin in thought. He wondered if he could get her to learn how to use his hand cannons. She had made some noise about them being too noisy and messy, but if she could blow a hole in an attacker and use that to get away… well, it was worth some consideration.

He has to snort in amusement at the small man's comment. "Indeed, she is. She recovered far faster then I could have hoped for." He is proud of how far she has come since that night she gave birth.

Alina glances towards Gabriel, startled at the sound of his voice. Her opponent takes that opporotunity to grab her and hurl her again, and she lands hard against the floor. "Ughhhh," she groans. "Not fair."

"Fighting's not fair, Alina," the smaller man says again. It's apparent he has some sort of leadership over the others. "Up. No whining. UP."

Alina drags herself to her feet.

"Distractions will get you killed. Ignore them. The entire flaming court could be here naked and dancing: you focus on Big Pie, and nothing else. Again." A harsh taskmaster, this one, but a respected one if the glances from the others mean anything.

The shorter, wirier man looks to Gabriel. "You'll be one of the next students in here," he states dryly.

He had to agree with the man who said that fighting wasn't fair. That was true enough in any real fight, and he supposed that such a lesson was good for such sparring, still though, he hoped Alina would get back up on her feet and knock some sense into the man.

Gabriel glances over at the wirey man and shrugs slightly before looking back at Alina and Big Pie. Maybe the Duke would have him train with these men, maybe he wouldn't. From all that he had heard in his time here so far, he suspected he would find some solace in taking up arms and training with some of the men of House t'Maren more.

His gaze falls on Alina once again. He hoped she wasn't overdoing things. He trusted her to know her limitations, but that didn't mean he couldn't worry about her.

The smaller man looks back to Alina and Big Pie. "Pie, grab the Waster," he says with a shrug.

Alina almost flinches, but shifts on her feet to prepare herself as Big Pie grabs a blunted, wooden and rattan practice sword from the wall.

Ivan nods when they are both ready. "Defend youself, girl," he says simply. "Man has a sword, all you have is your body and wits."

The next couple minutes were brutal. Alina manages to dodge the first swing, but several others find her, cracking her across her arms, legs, and chest. Finally, Ivan calls the fight.

"You're dead, Alina. Four times over by my count." He sounds moderately disappointed. "You've been away too long. Consider yourself on strict training. Every day."

Big Pie looks almost apologetic at her. "Healoil?" he suggests.

She nods, grimly, stripes already forming across her bare flesh. "One's mercy," she spits. "I'll need it."

A waster? Ah, yes. It was useful to be able to defend yourself when your opponent was armed but you were not. He was curious, and so he watches. He watches Alina basically get her butt handed back to her. His heart went out to her, but he did not speak up or interrupt her. He knew that she would not want that. Watching her, the woman he had grown to care for and respect, get schooled by Big Pie was especially hard to watch.

When it is over and the two speak, he hears the mention of healoil. Yes, she would likely need some of that tonight. He made a mental note that he would return the favor that she has paid him several times already, he would apply it to her.

Alina looks over to Gabriel, her expression clearly embarrassed. She had expected to fare better than she did. Still, she huffs at Ivan. "Fine, fine. More ruddy practice. Now that I'm not dying or with child, I suppose I've no choice."

Ivan smirks. "Take it up with His Grace, m'lady. The Duke insists, and I'm not inclined to argue. You were better than this before…" he cuts himself off. Before she'd started shacking up with a Rivanan prince, getting herself shot or stabbed every other month, and then fat with child. He coughs. "Before the raid in Pacitta." There. More diplomatic. "Your training has been lax… and that means non-existant… since before then."

A reassuring smile is all that Gabriel returns to Alina when she looks in his direction. Still, he can't help but agree with Ivan that she needs some more practice. In fact, he turns to the man. "She will be here every morning at dawn, as will I." He turns back to Alina and meets her eyes. The thought runs through his mind, the promise he had made to keep her safe. This was all part of it. He would ensure that she could protect herself, and he would hone his own skills to be her last bastion of defense, her last guardian.

Alina moves towards Gabriel, and is stopped short by his promise. "Every other morning," she says. "And not at dawn… I can barely move then. But yes, fine, Master Ivan. I'll… well, we'll, be here to spar."

Ivan smirks. "See that you are. Go get some healoil on those stripes. I'm not supposed to have you damaged, you know."

Alina snorts, then slides her arm into Gabriel's. "Bath first. Then I need a nap. And healoil. And possibly wine."

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