Ways of the Blade

December 05, 2016:

Caitlin gets introduced to the concept of the Asgardian way of the blade.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

How often does one get to hang out with a goddess? There are superhumans aplenty but there's something about the warriors of Asgard— immortal, eternal, almost elemental— that's more reminiscent of the supernatural than the extraordinary. It makes them almost more akin to Themyscirans than humans, the way they straddle the worlds and travel without care or concern for mere mortal woes.

And, Catilin Fairchild's having coffee with one.

"No, I'm very excited to start my new job with Starr Labs," Caitlin tells Sif, continuing their conversation. The two women sit in a corner booth— Caitlin's orange hair carefully straightened and arrayed in flat sheets that just curl near the ends, and a beanie worn back on her head with her bangs exploding out from under the brim. Her scarf drapes over a light jacket and she wears leggings under a thin, flirty skirt and calf-high, warm boots with a short fur collar.

"Karen asked me if I really wanted to have a job, and— y'know, I think I do. I have a lot more ot learn about engineering and I can't necessarily do that in school, y'know? So working for her will go a long way towards improving my knowledge, especially 'cause Starr Labs is at the forefront of technology on Earth."

One of these days, someone will think to take Sif shopping and attempt to dress her in a more Midgardian style. As it is, the weapons and armor tend to garner a fair bit of attention. Good, bad and wtf. Behold Sif's field…

She sucks at the vanilla-caramel iced latte, of which she's become quite fond, while listening to Caitlin. The girl has a fresh sense of humor that is a blend between human and Asgardian and Sif finds it all very entertaining. She genuinely likes the Midgardian.

"Practical, first hand experience is often the best teacher, aye. Learning institutes and tutors are fine for etiquette, manners, politics, et cetera… Even the basics of more physical labors but there comes a time when such things are no longer useful and the only way to progress is by doing. Much like learning the sword."

All of this is a very long way of saying: Yep! Hands on experience is best.

Caitlin pours generous dollops of heavy cream and sugar into her coffee, which is already almost too sweet— Cait's caloric requirements mean an appetite that'd put Volstagg on his back and a need to eat almost constantly. She pays careful attention to Sif's words, nodding along unconsciously as the Asgardian warrior offers her thoughts on the matter.

"Well— I wouldn't have wanted to try and teach myself everything about electrical engineering," Caitlin admits. "I learned a lot by experimentation and stuff, but that was after I had a good grounding in the basics of how engines and motors and electronics work. I never could have built some of the things I did without my instructors giving me a running start."

She sips her coffee, considering Sif, then brightens. "Hey, speaking of swords— can you show me some swording techniques sometime? I learned about spears and shields from the Amazons, how to throw pilums and stuff, and some archery— but they mostly focus on group tactics, not individual combat. I would love to learn a little bit of actual dueling techniques."

Another drink of the latte is taken. Unlike Caitlin, Sif doesn't add anything to it. Chances are, it doesn't even cross her mind.

"Of course," Sif answers while her free hand reaches back and pulls her sword free. The sound of it leaving its sheath causes quite a few to tense which in turn causes the Goddess to roll her eyes. Really, if she were going to go on a rampage and destroy the place, no one in here short of Cait could stop her.

The blade is laid on the table. "Tell me what you know of the parts." Because an understanding of basics is required first. "You should have trained with the Valkyrior. They teach both." Gee, is someone a little biased?

"Um."

Caitlin turns a bit pink across the brow, examining the sword, and with an apologetic smile at the crowd, takes it from Sif and /carefully/ moves it out of the flow of traffic. "It's fine, folks, I'm with the Justice League," she says. "Just… entertaining a visitor to Earth." The other patrons visibly relax and Caitlin gives Sif a thoroughly apologetic look. "Earthlings have rules about unsheathed weapons in public, Sif," Caitlin murmurs, visibly chagrined that she has to offer any correction to her distinguished guest.

"Er, let's see. That's the, uh, hilt," she says, tapping the grip. "And… the guard, and that's the blade, and this is the .. point… -y end," she says, trying to suppress a giggle at her ignorance lest it be taken as an insult for Sif's instruction.

The correction makes Sif grin, the discomfort easily dismissed with a, "I'll remember that." Normally, she wouldn't let anyone touch her sword but it's not as if Caitlin is trying to run off with it, or even use it, so she sees no immediate issue. "Thank you for putting them at ease." She smirks. "Thor would be most cross, I think, if I gave the Midgardians reason to fear or doubt us."

As the girl across from her goes about pointing out the parts of the blade. A smile curves her lips. "Not bad at all."

She reaches out, "The hilt, yes." Sif taps a finger to the handle. "The guard, here, is also known as Quillions." She taps the cross guard. "You then have the Forte." A finger goes to the part of the blade nearest the handle. "Which is the strongest part of the sword. Here," she moves her finger to the area nearest the tip. "is the weakest and is called the Foible. The groove in the center, which I believe Midgardians have started calling the Blood Groove is actually called Fuller and is to help with the rigidity of the sword."

She gives Caitlin a moment to absorb it all, because it is a lot of information all at once, and sips her drink. "If you'd like, we will set up regular instruction times. However, before you accept, know that because you have the abilities you do, I will challenge and push you as much as I would any of my Valkyrior or my Einhenjar."

Caitlin echoes the name of each part as Sif goes, under her breath, then repeats them all again, twice more, before she nods at herself to commit it all to memory— stamping the names firmly to a mental image. "I think I've got all that," she tells Sif. She listens carefully, and nods eagerly at Sif's suggestion.

"I'd love to learn more," Caitlin tells Sif. "I don't mind training hard, either. If you don't mind, we could meet at the League?" she invites, gesturing vaguely in the direction of that illustrious ediface. "They've got a really good training setup there and I usually need to eat before and after I work out, or I start feeling grumpy. I'd love to learn to fight the way Asgardians do it, or at least understand the theory of it— I wouldn't bring any /nice/ swords, though," Caitlin tells Sif. "I break a lot of stuff."

Sif grins, lifting the sword and replacing it in the sheath. "I will train where you're most comfortable. In the beginning." And then she chuckles softly. "My blade is made of the same material as Mjolnir and has been enchanted by Odin himself. If you managed to break it, it'd be quite the feat. However, if it would make you feel better, I will retrieve the swords we start with when training in Asgard."

Cait shrugs. "I'm sure it's a super-nice sword," she tells Sif, completely sincerely. "I just know from experience I'm really, really hard on training gear. I broke three bows in a row on Themyscira before they moved me over to the pilum line," she sighs. "I can't help it sometimes— I don't mean to, but I grab it too hard or swing too hard, and next thing I know, I have to buy someone a new car door," Caitlin mutters darkly.

"So where d'you usually start when you're training swords? I mean, I know the joke, the pointy end goes in the other girl," she says, miming a swing of one hand. "I don't need to do much working out, at least, but I really don't understand much beyond chopping and pokin'."

Sif grins, sitting back in her seat and bringing her drink to her lips. She looks forward to see how the girl handles Asgardian metals.

"You'll different forms of parries and thrusts, timing and footwork. Balance and agility are key when using a blade." This is why Thor doesn't use a sword unless he must. "you must be able to move quickly and take advantage of your opponents openings."

"Is— geeze, no one's ever accused me of being really nimble, Sif," Caitlin admits, coloring a little. "I felt like I had three left feet the entire time I was on Themyscira. They're so /graceful/," Caitlin whines. "I was the tallest person there. I'm even taller than Diana, and she's big by their standards." She exhales upwards, bangs dancing in the wake of her sigh.

"Are you sure I can do this?"

A smirk curves Sif's lips and she nods her head. "We taught Thor to use a sword, didn't we?" She leans forward conspiratorially. "And as much as I love him, the man is as graceful as a bilgesnipe most times." She gives the girl a wink and sits back. "Do not fret, Caitlin. You'll be just fine. If it turns out it is something you are genuinely uncomfortable with, we will halt your training. Deal?"

"Deal," Caitlin says. "I'll give it my best, though," she promises Sif, resolutely. "I won't just quit if it gets hard. I just don't want to waste a bunch of your time." She giggles abruptly. "If Thor can do it, I bet I can at least learn the ins and outs," she tells Sif. "I've seen him fight— he's got my kinda style, big on the punching, a bit less on the dodging."

A bright laugh comes from the Goddess. "For all Thor may seem dense and blind, he knows his strengths and weaknesses and plays to them well. Oft, it seems as if he charges in without thought… Such couldn't be further from the truth."

She grins, finishing the latte. "And I get the feeling you're much the same way, my young friend."

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