Sparring with the 'Enemy'

May 30, 2015:

Two unusual sparring partners have a bout or two.

Chinatown, NYC


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: Kung-Fu Fighting

Fade In…

Their meeting before was a chance encounter. The sound of conflict had drawn her attention to the young man known as Alexander Aaron. The Harpies, the blades, the flash and clash of steel. It was all a heady memory of wild intensity followed up by… pizza! Despite his initial read of Magdalena, the young Olympian found that the Scion was actually quite charming. His initial trepidation was defused, and he found that it was rather easy to be himself around her. Curious.

Of course immediately afterwards he sort of kicked himself mentally. Where did he get off thinking he could be just an ordinary sort of fellow and enjoy conversation with a lovely young woman? His father would be terribly disappointed.

Whatever the reason, however, he left her and took some time for himself. A visit to the club was unsatisfying, though that one kid that walked across the dancefloor and challenged him to a fight… that had been amusing. Why didn't he pop him in the nose? Is he going soft?

So the next day he spent it hunkered down in routine. When one flails about somewhat mentally, it's the well-known that can offer a sense of stability. Classes were first in the morning. Though he was a bit distracted during them. Then when he returned to Chinatown, to the building his father owned… he was able to focus on something that would take his mind off things.

It was an old three story building in that quiet neighborhood. It used to be a training hall, and the top floor was maintained for that purpose. It was a sweep of clear hard wood floor that provided a focal point for exercise. Some blades were hung upon a far wall, and at the near one there was a small shrine perhaps in memory of an old master. In the corner was a kitchenette, a cot, some screens. But the only thing of note was the depiction of a tiger and a dragon clashing upon the wall.

Yet it was here that Alexander found himself able to focus. To channel his efforts. He stood upon the wooden floor, wearing just a pair of loose grey sweatpants even as he held a precise stance. Bare feet seemed to press hard downwards, while his legs were held like subtly leaning pillars, taut and strong. A hand was held forward, palm open like a knife's edge. The other hand was held up and near his cheek, closed into a fist.

For a time he held that posture, the whipcord lines of his musculature powerfully defined. And then suddenly he is moving. To a trained eye it was a formal Okinawan Kata, executed cleanly. Each movement heralded by the snap of fabric and the whisper of wind over his limbs. He turned, one leg uncurling and lashing out in a smooth kick aimed high. Then his foot slammed down and he executed a short series of punches.

A few steps carried him to the side, moving almost with one foot sliding behind the other almost stealthily. Then he lashes out with a sharp punch and his voice lifts as he shouts, "TSEI!"

And what does that dramatic and exemplary kata get? Applause. "Very nice" remarks a woman's voice. And there she is. Walking into the training hall like she has done it a hundred times before. The Magdalena - though this time dressed in yoga pants and tank top rather than armour…or even casual pizza food. She is bare foot and there is a backpack over one shoulder that she deposits against the wall. Magdalena ties her hair back as she smiles over at him. "I hope you don't mind if I practice with you." How she knew he was here or how she got in…maybe she hopes that he will forget those questions.

Magdalena starts to stretch. Pushing her right leg against the wall, her foot rises and rises until it is vertical against the wood. "You fought well the other night…even if you eat pizza. How long have you been training?" A light smirk appears. "And don't tell me it is hundreds of years. That wouldn't be very fair." A few more bouncing stretches before she asks, "Shall we begin?"

At her entrance, Alexander turns and there's that momentary haze of confusion in his eyes, the surprise of such a curious arrival. But it's clear it's not an unwelcome intrusion. Instead of asking her how she got there, or how she followed him, instead he just sort of laughs and lowers his head, shaking it slowly.

When he looks back up those red eyes meet hers, gleaming with amusement as he opens a hand and sweeps it to the side, perhaps a formal gesture as he tells her, "Please. Join me." And with those three words she is given the run, and perhaps if she had a sense for the mystical… she could feel something of the spirit of the age-old dojo welcoming her. It's a distant feeling, sagacious, wise. It lingers along with the faint scent of the room, tinged with the sweat and exertion of thousands of old students.

The young man in the loose sweats watches her as she moves, those eyes sliding over the contours over her form, gauging. Oh not quite the way a man looks at a woman, though she is beautiful. His gaze is more precise, measuring her as an opponent. The taut musculature of her form, the reach of her arms and legs, the way she moves. It all goes into the way he observes a prospective enemy, his training making sure he is ready.

"Since I was four, so eighteen years?" A small smile is given and he steps out onto the wooden floor, a faint sheen of sweat upon the sides of his neck and brow from his earlier exertions. He settles comfortably into a cat stance, hands held before him. "At your leisure." He is ready.

"Eighteen years? Then we are well-matched" Magdalena replies before she moves to the center of the training floor and breathes in deep. She even pays her respects to the shrine and the room itself as well as her opponent - not all messengers of God refuse to acknowledge anything but their own. A flexing of her fingers as she bounces on her feet and then fists are formed. A polite nod for the Godson before she attacks.

Though it seems the Magdalena's form of attack is as much defence. She is obviously testing him. Studying him and his reactions like he is studying her. There is no wild jabs or determined attacks…merely a patient study of strike and counterstrike where most attacks are parried. She is obviously a great believer in using the strength of your opponent against them. Her entire body is a weapon; fists, feet, knees, elbows, even hips are thrown into the fray. Though since this is a friendly spar, the headbutts are kept in check.

When one trains for a long time in the martial arts, they develop a way of reading their opponent. Some of the older sanseis attribute this perception, this subtle feeling, as chi. A form of energy held between two artists of similar skill. Others would say it is a more practical thing. That it is muscle memory, experience, putting oneself into tune with how the body moves and conflict evolves.

Whatever it truly is, however, it is something that the two of them can feel between themselves. Even before the first blow is thrown they could sense subtle things about the other. She slightly favors her left leg, leading ever so slightly. He holds his right hand up a touch higher than he should, perhaps out of long habit. It's a roiling swirling thing between them, and when they clash it explodes with power.

She moves in and each movement is met with the precise counter. Strikes are slipped away from, turning his shoulders just so, easing to the side. Sometimes a forearm comes down in a smooth circular motion and brushes the strike away making the strength be spent upon naught.

He steps in and uncoils with a series of punches of his own, committing as little as she seems to be, each of them taking the measure of the other. He twists to the side, uncoiling around with a blurirngly fast backfist aimed at the side of her jaw followed by a twisting low-kick seeking to push her onto her back foot. She can tell he's moving fast enough that the strikes will hurt should they make it through, full contact as it is, but the way he reads her… she is good enough to keep up.

The blows aimed at Magdalena's face are parried…just. But that is all that is necessary out on the street. She does not have to win with flourish and style, she just has to win. Magdalena drops low, her leg sweeping out to try and catch him. It'll never work, they are too close in skills and almost even their mindsets. But at least that means lots of good practice.

After about twenty minutes, sweat dripping off her brow and her clothes darker than they were when they started, Magdalena pulls back and holds up her hands for a rest. "I have a feeling neither of us will get anywhere in a hurry" she smiles before jogging over to her bag to grab a bottle of water. "I hope this does not exhaust me too much for patrol" she laughs before drinking down a mouthful.

They'd each gotten a few strikes through at points, tagged the other. There's a small bit of blood at the corner of his mouth, but already what little tear there was has healed. He lowers his arms as she steps off, moving to the edge of the training area and getting the water. For a moment he sort of looks at her, head tilted just so. A small smile playing upon his lips. Then he shakes his head and walks towards her.

"You're not half bad." He offers that little bit, perhaps teasing her as he steps up and then casually quirks an eyebrow at her as he reaches for her water bottle, as if daring to presume to take a drink from hers. And should she let him he'll take a swallow of water, then hand it back. A faint grin plays about his features and for the first time in ages… he's actually breathing a little heavy, some small measure of fatigue entering his limbs from such an effort.

It's so strange though, there's a palpable warmth that comes from him, as if his core temperature was a few degrees higher than normal. And there's that blazing sheen of perspiration upon his chest, his abdomen, along the sides of his neck with a faint beadlet drifting down the curve of his jaw. When he drew close to take that water he had a distinct scent to him. Something akin to leather, steel… blood and sweat. Distinctly man.

"Careful. That water is blessed" Magdalena notes to Alexander as she lets him take it. "Wouldn't want you bursting into flames" she adds in perfect deadpan. Is she teasing? Who knows? She pulls out a towel from her bag and pats away some sweat as she starts some cool down stretches. "You're not too bad yourself" she replies, wincing as she realises she's going to have some nasty bruises on her blocking arms. "Well…this was certainly a worthy workout. I hope you won't go telling anyone about my moves."

Smirking at the comment about the water, he settles down smoothly into a cross-legged seat, then pulls his feet up into the lotus posture. Those faintly crimson eyes meet hers as he leans back on his hands and he casually watches her going through those steady stretches. "I promise not to. Scout's honor." Though it's probably a bit doubtful that he was ever a boy scout.

He tilts his head to the side, considering the training area, thoughts drifting back to the match. He recalls each point, each turn, each punch and grasp and kick. He'll go over it later, try to fix the mistakes he made. But for now decides just to enjoy her company. "I had just been thinking of you before you appeared."

"Perhaps God was warning you I was about to arrive" Magdalena replies, though she is definitely teasing this time. She finishes her standing stretches and sits on the ground to continue others…she does have her yoga pants on after all. "And what were you thinking about me, Alexander?" Scout's honour? That makes her snort with amusement. "Your word is enough."

A small snort comes from him as he remains where he is, leaning back upon his hands and watching her go through those stretches. She might feel the way he looks at her, the way his gaze drifts over each line, each contour. But then he looks away and smirks to himself as he answers her question. "How one can form an opinion of another so quickly, and then be shown how wrong it is just as fast."

Those faintly glowing eyes shift back to her and his lip curls upwards. "So tell me, are Scions allowed to date? Or are you perhaps already stuck in an engagement arranged by the church?" His tone is teasing, playful as if daring her to take offense.

"Ah…you judged a book by its cover?" Magdalena replies with a wry smile. "And when did you form this opinion of me? In the two seconds you first set eyes on me? After my first words? Or had you heard about me beforehand?" She swaps stretching legs. "You must remember that I was only called a month ago and so anything you had heard before then about the Magdalena was not me."

The next topic of conversation has Magdalena shaking her head with amusement. "I am not a nun, Alexander, remember? I am the latest in the bloodline of Christ…who married Magdalena to start it. And guess what, they had children. And if the bloodline is to continue, then I should have children too…don't you think?" Another swig of her water. "I am not the only one with this bloodline but since I have been called then He has thought me those most worthy of being Magdalena." She quirks a brow at the demi-God. "Do you want to ask me out on a date?"

"I did," He answers her first question. "Your garb, your stance, your choice of words." Alexander looks up at the ceiling. "I told myself, this is a woman of the church, devout. She will entirely hate me, find me to be this horrible creature that must be set flame to. Or some such." He lifts a hand to scritch at his chin thoughtfully, then looks back over at her and smiles easily enough. "So yes, I was guilty of such."

He then considers her latter question and gives a small nod, "I've considered it. But I do expect there to be trouble in the future. I am…" Alex seems to search for the right words. "I do not have a very good… dating history." He offers that at the last, and if she could read minds she might indeed be daunted by the amount of carnage and craziness left in his wake over the last few years.

"I /am/ a devout woman of the Church" Magdalena points out delicately, "But a true follower of Christ does not 'hate'. They never hate…I never hate. But I will apply justice to anything that corrupts. You are not a corruptor, Alexander. Not intentionally and not to the extent that those I punish are…believe me in that."

"Ah…so you are judging a new experience on what happened before? You still haven't learned that error?" Magdalena enjoys another drink of water before getting to her feet. "I must get back to work…my ley work" she smiles before digging out some shoes and socks from her pack. "And since I have not been asked, then I have no opinion on dating you."

A dull snort comes from him, Alexander pushes himself to his feet slowly then offers his hand to her should she seek help rising herself or perhaps wishes to offer it. "You know here I am trying to do the right thing for once and you're giving me a hard time about it." Those glowing eyes meet hers and his smirk is wry, terribly amused.

"But fine, I shall let you make your own decisions and mistakes." He lifts his chin, "My dear, Magdalena. I would be so terribly honored if you would deign to accompany me to an event hosted by my cousin this coming weekend. I would find it very enjoyable to have your presence there. Formal attire, but for some reason… I think you would look terribly beautiful in such."

Magdalena stops dressing to listen to the invitation. And then she nods. "I look forward to it" is her formal reply before she returns to putting on her shoes and socks. "I will have to confirm it with my great, great, great…well…a lot of greats…grandfather. And as long as there is no disruption that I must attend to. Would you care to pick me up from the cathedral?"

A smile, a small chuckle, then Alexander nods. "I would love to,"

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