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[5E IC] The Further Adventures of James and Illeana

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Tecumseh

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« Reply #195 on: <02-10-17/0115:46> »
"That is the Baron Krauss von Espy," Adelard says. "I know who he is, of course, but we are not personally acquainted."

"What do you know of him?" Illeana asks, doing her best to be coquettish enough to simultaneously irritate Maria-Theresa while also encouraging Adelard to answer.

"A man of station and rank," Adelard answers carefully. "Young, as you may seen for yourself. He does not care for the footwork of fencing, but he appreciates the brute physicality of mensur. Speaking of which, you should feel free to change at your convenience, Herr VanBrandt."

James nods and goes to retrieve his kit that had been delivered earlier in the day by a ponderous earth elemental summoned by Illeana for the task. "Try to work the room a bit," he suggests to Illeana before they part. "See if you can spot Marie, either in the flesh or in spirit."

Illeana nods and splits off. James finds an impromptu changing station created out of hanging sheets, with a bench to sit on. When he emerges, he finds that several rich-looking older gentlemen have taken it upon themselves to keep Illeana company in James' absence.

<<Try to get paid up front if any of them make an indecent proposal>> James comms her.

<<They're just being polite to an older woman>> she retorts.

James' comment gets her thinking though. Hmm, I wonder if that could work. A high-class escort who never touches her client. Start with Physical Mask to match their preferences. Continue with Control Emotions to get them hooked, then knock them out with a Euphoria preparation. While they are under, use Dream to plant a memory of what didn't happen. She tuts to herself, then does the math of what sort of fee she might be able to command.

There is a preliminary fencing duel between two fighters roughly the same skill level of the amateur that James bested at the club. While their swordsmanship is advanced and their footwork practiced, they lack James' raw physicality. He scans the conservatory for anyone who looks like a potential match for himself.

There's a crunch of gravel next to James. He looks over to see another man dressed the same way he is. The man is shorter than James and likely has less of a reach, but looks supremely confident. He has a fine head of black hair and rather broad eyebrows that look like they may have a hairdresser of their own.

"I understand we are to fight," the man says with an educated, nuanced accent. "It is rare to find someone to request a match, let alone accept one."

"Arthur VanBrandt," James says, extending a hand down to the man's level. "To whom do I owe the pleasure?"

"Wilhelm Eberhardt," he says, shaking warmly."But come now, Mr. Anderson, let us dispense with the deceptions. It will be a great pleasure for me to fence with the agent of a great dragon."

James' poker face holds. Wilhelm waves his hand airly. "Your association do not concern me. On the contrary, I am eager to gauge myself against a hand-selected representative of mighty Schwartzkopf."

"Gentlemen!"
Adelard calls out from a short distance. "Are we ready to begin?"

rednblack

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« Reply #196 on: <02-14-17/1721:07> »
Adelard helps James get kitted out and runs through the ceremony of a Mensur bout with James before handing him a sharpened epee with a beautifully swept hilt.  "I'll be acting as your second," he says, giving James chest rig a few final tugs to make sure his shoulders and neck are well-protected. 

As James emerges from the changing area to the stage cleared for the bout, a text comes in from Illeana.

<<@James [Illeana] He's awakened, an adept.  His sword is not a weapon focus, but his magic is strong.  Good luck.>>

James and Wilhelm climb the stairs to the stage on opposite sides, and Adelard hands James an ornately-crafted business card, embossed in white gold.  As he was told, James rips the card neatly in two, and hands it to his opponent who looks at the name, Arthur VanBrandt and winks to James.  "Herausforderung angenommen," he says, and the crowd applauds.  The pair squares off with Adelard to James' right and a yet unnamed gentleman of indeterminate age to his left, both with epees crossed between the combatants, with the judge further down the stage to James' left.

"En Garde," the judge says.  "Pręt" the seconds remove their blades from between James and Wilhem.  . . . Alle!"

James moves first, a quick outside cut to Wilhelm's left cheek, executed with a flick of his wrist and a turn of his palm, but as quick as James is off the mat, he's no match for the severe precision of Wilhem's parry which knocks James' blade harmlessly to the outside shoulder.  James doesn't even see the riposte coming, but he feels the electric burning sensation of the blade across his right temple a moment after the cut is delivered.

Deterred, James takes a moment to assess Wilhelm's style, making brief feinting attacks, and alternating between straight and circle parries, until he battles the blade closer and closer to Wilhelm's core before circling his blade under the guard and delivering an upward cut on the right side of his face, followed by another, which the adept easily displaces, despite being off-balance.

"Arręt," the judge calls out, and both seconds intercede their blades between the two men to stop the fighting.

James turns away from the piste and into the care of a doctor who sprays his cheek with liquid skin after examining the depth of the cut.  "Dieser wird keine Narbe, Außenseiter," the doctor says. 

James looks to Adelard who shrugs his shoulders and adds, "He says you will not have to worry about a scar."

"Did I get him?"
James asks.

"You gave him, how you say, hairscut?  No blood, but it's a good touch, no?  You're doing fine."

The men advance to the line again, and once more the judge calls out for them to begin, and the epees are swept from their gates.  This time both James and Wilhelm assess one another with testing blows and slight extensions before James whips his blade downward toward Wilhelm's forehead, only to be rebuffed again by a high saber parry.  He barely has time to withdraw his arm before a return strike is nearly across the top of his own scalp.
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #197 on: <02-16-17/0115:06> »
The two men clash, their blades a furious maelstrom of strokes and counterstrokes that only the enhanced members of the audience can truly follow and appreciate. Illeana watches passively, either confident in James or confident in her ability to put him back together again.

James overcommits, putting his weight too far forward in an effort to extend his reach advantage. Wilhelm easily parries the advancing sword aside and punishes James for his foolishness with a horizontal cut on James' chin just below his bottom lip.

"Arręt!" the judge calls out, but not before another pass and counterpass by the combatants. The seconds come crashing in and the audience applauds while Wilhelm registers them with a confident smile and wave. The fighters are escorted by their seconds a few steps back to their chairs while the surgeon steps forward to administer some SpraySkinTM to James' chin.

"Sie sollten ihm danken," the doctor tells James. Illeana's enhancing hearing picks it up and she smiles.

"'You should thank him,'" Adelard translates. "It will be a distinguished-looking scar."

The fight is the center of attention for most of the audience. Fräulein Heidkrüger smokes a cigarette languidly with a bored air, leaning against a post as she watches the room between rounds. She and Illeana don't speak, which seems to suit them both perfectly.

<<@James Is there fencing for claymores???>>

<<@Illeana Kunst des Fechtens>> he responds.

Oh, she thinks. She had been joking.

The treatment complete, both men stand and advance to their appointed positions. "En Garde," the judge says.  "Pręt" the seconds remove their blades from between James and Wilhelm. "Alle!"

James has the upper hand almost immediately, both figuratively and literally. His insane speed seems to catch Wilhelm off guard, and he uses it to push the smaller man's sword down and away. Before Wilhelm can raise it again, James has clipped the adept's earlobe and drawn blood. Wilhelm seems annoyed at his faulty defense and aggrieved at the wound. He responds with a fiery fusillade of blows, hoping to errode James' defenses before the judge can interrupt again.

rednblack

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« Reply #198 on: <02-20-17/1130:48> »
Wilhelm's flurry of blows get him nowhere; the man's style is not congruent with such barbarism, and James' speed knock blow after blow harmlessly into his chest rig.  I've got him now, James thinks.  He's losing his cool.

But then, in the next pass, James over-commits once the second's blades are pulled away, and he's stung with another surgical riposte, barely a millimeter below the last cut.  James follows up with a hard circle parry, knocking Wilhelm's blade wide to the outside and sending a spec of blood across the unnamed man's jerkin before delivering his own cut to the bridge of the adept's nose, and then the second's blades are between the pair again stopping any further action.

During the break, James centers himself.  Wilhelm's good off the line, his style, which relies heavily on blade contact, is hard to break through even if the man can't use the footwork he's most likely accustomed to, and his ripostes are too fast for even James' cyber eyes to keep up with. 

"He's too damned fast," James says to Adelard, as the surgeon tends to his new cut 

"No, no, James.  You are faster.  Make him pay for that, no?"

When the next pass begins, James thrusts his sword off target to the side of Wilhelm's head, but the adept parries it on target, and as James thrusts out his elbow to give more angle to the hilt of his epee, the oncoming riposte sticks against his guard, and not his face while James own cut lands just below his right eye.  For the first time in the match, James has the lead.

Both combatants take a moment to read the other.  James is still not used to the constant blade contact of Wilhelm's Spanish style, and allows his epee to be bound before a beautiful extension clips James just under the chin. 

Halt is called again, and the judge calls out, "Vier, und vier.  La belle!"

James and Wilhelm salute again, a show of respect to their opponent, and an acknowledgement that the next cut, whichever way it will go, shall define the bout.  James settles his feet, and balances his core, before raising his hand, and stepping off the line.  "Pardon," he says, and hands the epee to Adelard before shaking out his right hand.  He grabs the epee again, this time with his left hand, and approaches the piste as a southpaw, in UCAS vernacular.

"This is better, no?" he says with a wink, and the crowd first gasps, and then applauds.

"Alle!" the judge calls, and James attempts a beat attack followed by a coup, but Wilhelm's parry holds.  The left-on-right fencing creates a different set of parries and potential attacks, as now both combatants swords are on the same side, and as Wilhelm fights for blade positioning, James lashes out with another clean extension.  Wilhelm parries, or tries to at least, but the attack rings true, as does Wilhelm's riposte, which catches James' forehead. 

He has maybe a second before the judge and their seconds intercede again.  James wonders if that's enough time for another cut, as he attempts to bind Wilhelm's blade.
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #199 on: <02-25-17/1950:38> »
James' last thrust is turned away. The seconds come crashing in. James' hand is raised; Wilhelm bows solemnly and retreats in defeat. Abelard slaps James on the back as a small crowd of well-wishers form.

"A lot of them weren't sure that Wilhelm could be beat," Illeana says once the pack starts to break up a bit.

"I'm sure some of them aren't happy to see the local boy lose to a foreigner," James says as he sees a few older gentlemen turn away in disgust. He sees the Baron watching him. The Baron smokes a cigarette slowly as he stands his ground.

Women approach and coo over James' manly lacerations. He receives the compliments graciously, with Illeana translating his modest demurring and his commendations for Wilhelm's prowess.

"Should I clean up and change?" James asks as he looks over at the Baron, who once again is eyeing him at the same moment.

"No, the blood and sword are good reminders of what we can do," Illeana says, hooking James' free arm around hers as she marches him off to the Baron. He is still surrounded by three lithe women: a tall, Nordic red-head; a blonde who would fit in perfectly on the shores of California Free State; and a raven-haired woman of mixed Asian ancestry, perhaps Japanese or Korean or both or neither.

"Guten Abend, Baron," Illeana starts off directly, as the Baron's women physically recoil at her social affront. "Ich bin-"

"I know who you are," the Baron cuts her off abruptly in accented but understandable English. "I know why you are here."

"We are here to bring her sister home," James says, feeling confident in the lie.

The Baron blinks with a bored air. His eyes pass back and forth between James and Illeana at an unconcerned pace. "I see the resemblance," he says, "but she never mentioned a sister."

"Please take us to her,"
Illeana says.

The women don't seem to be following the conversation. Instead, they seem to instinctively close around the Baron, as if their bodies might shield him from the offending English.

"She does not want to go 'home'," the Baron says. "If she did, she would be there instead of here."

<<Truth>> Illeana comms. <<Looks like an extraction rather than a rescue.>>

rednblack

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« Reply #200 on: <02-28-17/2103:46> »
"She does not want to go 'home'," the Baron says. "If she did, she would be there instead of here."

James nods, and dabs some blood from his chin with his pocket square.  "With all due respect, Erlaucht," James says, conferring to the Baron Von Epsy an address which Illeana told him would be properly respectful, "Marie's wishes are not the only, or even the primary concern.  When she makes her own family, and even the great dragon Schwartzkopf worry as they are, her well-being is the primary concern, and to verify that we'll need to see her."  He flicks his pocket square into the breast pocket of his suit before continuing, "While we certainly appreciate the interest you've paid Miss Senio, I would personally appreciate it even more if you would arrange a meeting for us."
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Tecumseh

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« Reply #201 on: <03-05-17/1914:16> »
"I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to do so," the Baron says dismissively, his attitude making it clear that he considers the conversation over.

"Your response is unacceptable," Illeana says, stepping forward with (metaphorical) fire in her eyes. "Our employer made it exceedingly clear that we are not here to bargain or negotiate."

"Your employer has no dominion here," the Baron says haughtily. "The lion sends his lambs."

"It's a big world, Baron," Illeana presses on, undeterred. "And the astral world is even larger. Do you ever project? It wouldn't take but an instant for Schwartzkopf to find you on the astral. Just last month he projected to Detroit to rip apart a great form air spirit like ... what was the expression you used?"

"Wet toilet paper," James chimes in on cue.

The Baron gulps.

"And it doesn't have to be Schwartzkopf himself. It could be any of his free spirits or allies, or anyone else who wants to find themselves in the good graces of a great dragon. Or he could use more mundane methods. A bounty, for example, for your extraction. Four or five hundred thousand nuyen isn't a lot to a great dragon, but it's a wonderful motivator for professionals."

James doesn't know if any of this is true or not, but it sounds plausible. Evidently the Baron agrees. He swallows again, hard, and seems to be considering his options.

"Very well," the Baron says, his voice catching before he composes himself. "You may yet regret your persistence. I shall take you to your sister."