Spring Training

May 18, 2018:

Donna and Witchdoctor spar at the Hall of Justice. J'onn offers some commentary.

Hall of Justice - Training Area

Weights, mats, many buff people doing buff people things.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wonder Woman

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

-

Super, mutant, meta, whatever term the members of the Justice League care to use for themselves individually, one of the universal constants was the need to train. To improve existing skills, but also to practice those particular skillsets that allowed team members to work together. It was simply too easy to fall into the trap of becoming accustomed to working with only a handful of members. It also did not go amiss to practice against the people you were working with, so that, as well as learning how to work with them, you also learned how to defend against them, should that unfortunate circumstance arise.

-

This seems to be the intent today, with Donna Troy in full armor, as usual, lasso, armbands and bracers. She carried no weapon, bearing neither sword nor shield. And just at the moment, she was in the middle of something of a contest of wills. Not a league member, persay, but one of the security team. Her lasso was wrapped around his massive shoulders, the glow of it a bright blue, rather than the gold which might be more familiar. The both stood immobile, and despite the difference in size, it did not appear to be a contest of strength between them.

-

Witchdoctor didn't exactly cut the most physically imposing figure. Between the Witch's choice of attire and the parasol in her hand, she hardly looked like someone who would physically 'throw down' in the slightest. Of course, magic existed where muscle might fail. As her steps draw her by, the blonde woman's path takes her past the training space's windows and she pauses in her path, curiosity drawing her in and across the threshold with her parasol closed and by her side.

-

J'onn J'onzz has his habits — some of which he's picked up since he's return, and some new ones, too. One of those is moving through the Watchtower and down through the Halls — not quite a patrol as a stroll, but the difference could be minor enough to be indistinguishable. He slows when he catches sight of Witchdoctor drawn by something in the training room, and alters his path to move in beside her, hands folding in behind him, clasped together. "Are you intending to join, Witchdoctor?" he asks, even as he's looking through the window at the battle-in-progress.

-

"Kneel." There's a weight and gravity to Donna's voice, that seems to ring with an extra layer of force. The guard held captive appears to be visibly straining to tear himself free of the lasso, but his strength is, well, frankly, only human. And to be fair, that seems the least of Donna's concerns.

-

A twist of her hand, drawing the lasso that much tighter, and the bigger man finally does take a knee, his face bearing a look now which is as much helpless as combative. The instant his knee hits the mat, Donna releases the lasso, the cord's light winking out, "It doesn't matter, that you didn't succeed, Peter." A quirk of her lips, as she begins again, "Yes, of course it would be wonderful to succeed, but what you did was more important. You bought your team time." Indeed, in the time that she had been occupied with Peter, the rest of his team had arrayed themselves around the pair of them. "Go and take a few minutes, we'll go again when you're ready."

-

Donna does not, however, remain where she was, instead stepping across the mat towards Witchdoctor and J'onn where they seem to have stalled in the observation room, "You're welcome to come in."

-

Alyse's gaze is drawn sideways and she smiles as J'onn approaches before there's a light shrug of her shoulder given. "Perhaps," she admits, watching the display of the lasso before smirking. "I fear I have not actually tested myself against any of the league's members…aside from Batman before I joined, but he was hardly prepared for a magician such as myself at the time." Her hands fold while she moves into the space closer to Donna with a glance towards J'onn before she bows to the other woman. "I would be honored to join in this practice, if you would allow me."

-

As appears to be normal for the Martian, J'onn's face is largely expressionless, though he does watch the exchange between the Amazon and the human security officer with a scrutiny that might indicate some care. The suggestion — invitation? — from Donna is met with a nod of acknowledgement, though he doesn't move until the Witchdoctor does. He, however — stays deliberately off to one side, clearly intent on merely watching. "It is interesting, I've found, to watch someone used to battling physically deal with magic — and vice versa. If there's no objections, I'd like to watch," he states.

-

Donna offers a smile, a nod of her head in greeting to the currently dusky-skinned man, "You are, of course, welcome to observe." She doesn't stand idle, as the pair come to join her, instead taking the time to recoil the lasso, her eyes moving from J'onn to Witchdoctor and settling there. When the blonde woman bows to her, she returns the gesture with equal respect, "You are more than welcome to join. We have no set agenda today, is there something in particular that you're interested in practicing?

-

"I confess to not being the most physical of combatants," Alyse comments, smiling a little as she takes hold of the skirts of her gown and gives them a little flicking motion that sends them seemingly rippling and warping until she's left wearing her shorter skirted 'practical' outfit rather than the one that made it seem she'd stepped off the floor o a ballroom. Her parasol remains at her side, held almost like it were a weapon to be drawn before she grins. "But I am not without a trick or two. One learns a little after being punched enough times."

-

J'onn seems comfortable standing — doesn't seek to take a seat on the bench that lines one wall — watching carefully. His head tips a little bit as Alyse's outfit changes — not unlike he can do himself — but otherwise he remains silent, clearly not intending to interrupt just yet.

-

Donna falls still only a few feet from Witchdoctor, eyes appraising the woman, waiting until she's finished changing her attire to something a bit more combat ready. "Then that should be what we work on, if you are interested. I have no doubt that you could defeat me handily with your magic." Magic, after all, really has few defenses, unless one is also a magic user. "A simple, succinct solution. Encase me in a magical prison, bind me with magical chains. The simplest of all. Stop my heart." She doesn't ask if Witchdoctor actually could do any of those things. She's seen enough of the other woman's power to believe that she could. "The real trick is twofold. Learning how to fight on, without the use of your abilities, and, possibly the most difficult, how to train your mind to know, not just believe, that you can succeed without the crutch that out powers often become. Donna doesn't press for J'onn to sit, rather, she allows the man to array himself near the mats in whatever way best suits him. "If you have any advise, or you wish to join in, you are most welcome."

-

A true enough point, Alyse gives a frown. Hurling magical blasts and enchantments was all well and good, and the Witch was uninjured and once more at her full strength…but she did keenly remember when she was recovering from being 'ripped to pieces' by her own magic and left like a trickle-charged mystic battery. Perhaps she did need to consider what it would be like to fight without the advantages her power gave her once more. "I will…limit myself, and I have no intention of stopping your heart." Her parasol is held extended now, its own shape rippling and warping for a moment before it disappears in a small flash. "After you Donna," she gestures with her hand for the woman to begin.

-

J'onn holds up a hand, then shakes his head in response to Donna's latter words. "It is probably best to start with one opponent, before overwhelming her with multiple," is all he says — perhaps intended as a joke, though his voice fails to convey the light tone that would make it obvious, as his hands clasp again at his back. "And I should like to see how the Witchdoctor fares before I provide any advice." He, too, saw the woman's power.

-

"A gentle heart," Comes Donna's even toned words, 'Will not win any battles. When we get onto that mat, I will not be your friend. I fully expect you to do whatever you need to to overpower me." Donna makes her way back to the mat, settling into the center and gesturing Witchdoctor over, "The most basic lesson is this. Never step into a battle thinking about your deficits. Only consider your strengths. If you find yourself up against say…someone who vastly outweighs you. Consider how your body compares to theirs. Their weight might make them slower, while your weight allows you to be more nimble, for example."

-

Sometime, a lifetime ago, such lessons had been spoken to Alyse while she was given her self-defense training, but it was a supplemental skill at best. She knew where her strengths lay after all, and they were mystical and mental. The fae-witch would far more prefer to throw some furious energies than a fist, but she simply remains silent and nods before shifting her stance and raising her hands in front of her. It was basic stuff, but the stance was correct and the guard practical. She had some training even if it paled compared to that of an amazon.

-

Donna stepped up as Witchdoctor did, making good on her promise at least of offering no quarter as she does not, after seeing Alyse prepare to engage her in hand to hand combat, offer the woman gloves, nor does she take any for herself. "When you enter into a battle with your magic, you focus on your enemies, perhaps attempt to anticipate what their actions might be, so that you can craft a suitable response? This is no different. Watch my body language, see where I am weakest, where you might be able to find an advantage." She steps into Alyse, not using her superhuman speed, but moving as a woman of her height and weight would. But she does not attempt to strike Alyse. Instead, she crouches lower, making the attempt to tackle the woman, aiming to turn her shoulder into Alyse's stomach.

-

Alyse's footwork? It was excellent, her defense surprisingly smooth as she twists, sidesteps and deflects in motion. Diverting the 'tackle' and slipping free before she might be snared. It creates a opening and yet…she doesn't strike. There's a moment to capitalize and instead she slips away with her hands raised. There was something missing here, a key component of what she'd been taught. Where one might have trained to trip, kick or otherwise strike someone in such a moment, her own training had been about creating distance to allow herself a chance to attack a foe with her powers or a weapon, both of which she was doing without.

-

Donna allowed her momentum to carry her past, adjusting as the smaller woman sidestepped the attack and came around behind her. She did not come to a stop, nor call the exercise to a halt, but instead came back to her feet, settling her weight as she returned to facing Alyse. "You had an opportunity to press the attack. You didn't." There's no accusation there, only curiosity. "What were you waiting for?" Part of training, was, in no small measure, finding out precisely what your partner did and did not know. Their strengths and weaknesses.

-

"I thought it poor form to blast you across the room with magic when I'd just said I wouldn't. Even if deception is a virtue in a fight," the blonde speaks, giving a little smile at the other woman. Her hands remain up, but she doesn't even attempt to initiate the attacking. Ever more the 'shield' than the 'sword'.

-

"Poor form yes, within the parameters of the exercise. But you had time enough to attempt to put me off balance with non-magical means. To attempt to sweep my feet out from under me, even to find something to hand to turn into a weapon, if you found yourself needing more than your fists." Donna steps sideways, moving over towards where a selection of free weights have been arranged. It isn't the weights, however, that she reaches for. Instead, it's the empty bar on one of the benches for herself, and the bar from the smith machine, pulled out of the pulley assembly on the other, which she tosses in Witchdoctor's direction. It's heavier than a normal short staff might be, probably about fifteen pounds, but it's not unwieldy.

-

The bar isn't caught by hand, not naturally anyway. Instead it seems to slow itself and righten before it slaps into the Witch's hand and she shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I see," she speaks slowly before making a few test swings with the weapon. It -was- heavier than she'd like, but it at least gave her a little more reach as she waits for Donna to move closer, only to thrust with a series of quick 'jabs' using the end of the bar.

-

"You're still depending on your magic. Not using it, but you know it's there, in the back of your mind waiting. Except that it won't always be there. I remember enough deaths to know that. Never trust that the things you take for granted will be there when you need them to be." This time, when Donna advances, she does not hold back, using that enhanced speed to accelerate her towards Witchdoctor, greater than human strength behind the sweep of the makeshift staff aimed at the other woman's feet.

-

Well…Witchdoctor almost holds out. Almost. The witch manages to sweep out and strike, but the other woman's sudden burst of speed and strength has her on the back foot and eventually she's snagged, swept of her feet and landing on her backside. There's a moment of a huff, but it's a bare breath before she kicks out with her heel, trying to aim for the other woman's ankle. It'd probably be enough to knock a normal human over, but Donna? Well…

-

Donna takes the hit. Pain is still pain, and she compensates by spinning back around, ending up down on her good knee, or at least the one not attached to a throbbing ankle. The staff she uses to support herself, studying Witchdoctor for a moment before she uses the staff as leverage to push herself back up to her feet. "Better. You were hit, but you reacted with enough presence of mind to use your body position to your advantage." She steps back, waiting for Alyse to return to her feet, "Battle is, in most of the cases I have experienced dirty, ruthless, and entirely dishonorable."

-

J'onn remains taciturn — not that this is unusual — merely watching the sparring back and forth for long moments. When he finally speaks, his voice is measured, thoughtful-seeming: "While that is true, Miss Troy — there are occasions where your enemy can be as honorable. Sometimes your foe is merely a person at ideological odds with you, but not necessary a bad person."

-

"Dirty, ruthless and dishonorable?" Alyse speaks as she pulls herself back to her feet, chuckling a little. Her staff? It simply zips back into her hand of its own accord. Maybe -not- using magic was a little harder than one might expect for the witch. "What does Diana think of such an idea?" With that? The woman shrugs and rushes forwards, twisting and bringing her weapon around for a swing before ducking low at the last moment and trying to drive the other end upwards towards Donna's stomach.

-

"While that might well be, J'onn, just as often, in those instances, the matter, between honourable adversaries can be resolved without the need for physical confrontation. But the very idea of a good or bad person is really relative. I would venture to say that a good many of the people I have fought, and likely both of you have fought in your time did not think of themselves as evil, or in the wrong, or a force that needed to be stopped." Donna settles her weight, settling onto the balls of her feet, as she saw Alyse prepare for her own attack, "I imagine she would not be best please." Donna, again offering no quarter, uses her speed and reflexes to avoid the strike, clearing the end of the bar with barely a few inches to spare, her grip on her own weapon down to a single hand as she reaches out with the other to grab the bar in Alyse's hand in an attempt to twist it out of the other woman's grip, "But I am not my sister."

-

J'onn goes quiet — not so much due to Donna's response as the mention of her sister, Diana. As always, his expression is taciturn, revealing little of what he might be thinking. After a few moments: "I shall leave you two to it," is all he says, giving a nod as he turns to resume his walkabout.

-

J'onn is gone and Alyse is left alone to deal with her sparring partner, but she can't really afford the concentration to try and farewell the martian. Instead her own lips pull into a grin. Donna's grasp on both weapons was actually exactly what she'd expected, but more what she'd hoped for. Donna might be surprised by the sudden ease with which the Witchdoctor releases the weapon, only for her own hands to lash out and grasp the woman's lasso, attempting to twist away with the new weapon in hand. "Dirty, ruthless and dishonorable?" she repeats. If she couldn't use her own magic? Well borrowing another's just made sense!

-

Donna's twist away allow Alyse enough room to tug the lasso free of where it's normally clasped at her waist, but she doesn't break her momentum, even as she feels its loss, instead allowing the bar she took from Alyse to slide down in her grip until she held one bar in each hand, turning back around to face the other woman, "Good. We're making progress." She presses in again, this time aiming a double strike; the larger bar aimed towards Alyse's left shoulder, the right towards the ribs on her right side.

-

It's probably suprising how deftly Alyse moves and twirls the lasso, even if her strikes are less snare-focused and more whiplike. Now? She had a weapon she could use to take advantage of her training. Retreat and sting, dodge and snare. Perhaps she needed to obtain a mystical lasso of her own! Of course, the weapon's enchantment was unknown to her, she merely judged it to be as sturdy as Diana's woan and that was enough. Odds are, she wasn't doing any real damage, but she was at least managing to try and keep Donna unable to reach her!

-

Donna was indeed being kept at arm's, er, lasso length. It might be that she could have pressed the issue. Likely she could manage the pain the now whip would have inflicted, if she elected to advance on Alyse, but she seems more than content to test, instead, the speed and dexterity with which Alyse used her new weapon. That seemed to be more of interest to her than 'winning'. "Perhaps we have found a weapon that would suit you, Witchdoctor. Something as flexible and quick as your mind."

-

Alyse was smart enough to know she was, at best, stalling. It was still the heart of her training to try and create space or opportunity for another to strike, but the complement did have her smiling for a moment before she shrugs her shoulders. "I had found that firearms were to my liking, though I am no expert. But there is truely only one weapon that comes naturally to me," she murmers with a smile before she gives a flick of her wrist and her form pulses with a gold light that shimmers down the lasso. For a moment it might be mistaken for the lasso of truth, but the witch's enchantment seems to give the silver cord a life of its own as it moves like a living snake, attempting to snare the other woman. She'd cheated and she knew it, but the blonde simply smiles as she hold the other end of the lasso. "So…what does this one do?"

-

"No one, not even an Amazon, is born an expert at weapons, even those we consider natural to our upbringing and nature. Any weapon, every weapon is mastered through continual practice, much like you magic, even though we all tend to favour one weapon over another. Diana prefers sword and shield. I prefer shield and spear." Alyse would have seen that, in some fashion during their battle with the Asgardian terror, though Donna's weapons had been made of force and were not metal and steel as Diana's were. "If ranged weapons are to your preference, we will focus on that area." As the lasso 'flared' to life, and wraps itself around Donna's torso, she allowed her hands to fall, though she did not drop the bars. "It compels obedience."

-

"Obedience?" the Witch repeats, still gripping the lasso curiously before she nods. She'd seen what it had done to the guard earlier she'd snared before, so it simply made sense. "Curious and curiouser…" she murmers before gripping the glowing cord tighter. "Drop your weapon," she speaks simply. She was testing, as much as anything the magic was of interest to the sorceress. She could weave and wield quite a few tricks of her own, but the work of the 'gods' was more than worth a little study. It took quite the will to wield the powers Alyse did, years of mental discipline to perform both the mystical and medical feats she did and even more to deal with her bloodline's nature…but then Donna's own will was said to be unbeatable.

-

"Yes. This is the Lasso of Persuasion. It's power differs from Diana's. Hers compels truth, mine obedience. The colour is the dead giveaway." Diana's was a bright shining gold when she uses it. This one was an equally brilliant blue. Donna released the bar in her right hand, reaching down, not to tug at the lasso, but rather, to twist it around her hand, much as Alyse was herself doing, so that it might appear that both women were playing at tug of war with the thing. The end result was the same. As Alyse was holding Donna captive by the lasso around her chest, Alyse was also bound by the lasso around her hands. "Both depend on will. If my will is greater than the will of the person who is caught by it, they must obey me." As Alyse gave the command, Donna could feel the force of the other woman's will. Could feel the attempt to compel her. But Donna's will was indeed iron, and she exercised it now, tightening her grip on the lasso and summoning its power with a tug, the lasso's usual blue flaring, swirling, mesmerically with Alyse's golden magic. "Drop the lasso."

-

Well this was certainly interesting, a contest of wills if ever there was one and neither seeming to wish to give. The mental and magical equivalent of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Alyse feels the pressure back, a wince given in response. She could feel it, just as much as Donna could. The question would be who would break first if they kept this up this way? Sure Donna had released the weapon as she'd commanded, but that may well have been willingly. Alyse was more in direct defiance. Still gripping the lasso as tight as she can, the woman bites her lip as she steps closer. "Surrender…" she attempts to command back, while she still has the fortitude to hold on.

-

It was indeed a contest of wills. A battle, but not to the death. There was nothing of malice in Donna's expression, nor in her intentions. But perhaps this was a lesson of another sort, a trial, that, in pitting the two women against each other, might allow them to take each other's measure. They had certainly fought well as a team, this could simply be another step along that path. Donna, however much she might feel the weight of Alyse's will, did not allow it to break her. Instead she allowed it to feed the force of her own will, bringing all of that considerable power to bear, "Never in life, Witchdoctor." Surrender was not in Donna Troy. "Now. Drop the lasso."

-

There was a chink in Alyse's armor, however slight, it was there. Perhaps a slight desire to let the other woman win, but it was enough that she was struggling. She wouldn't win this game if she kept it up like this, she simply couldn't play by Donna's rules and expect to come out on top. Instead the woman gives a grunt of effort and releases the lasso, only for her gaze to pulse with that same golden light and the lasso itself to tighten around the other woman and take into the air, seemingly lifting her suspended. Well…Donna had stated magical bindings was a way Alyse might defeat her. "Lets…call it a draw…" the blonde woman speaks with a flush to her face and heavier breathing than she'd like to admit before giving an embarrassed smile. "Perhaps that will require more practice."

-

Donna did not, strictly speaking, want to win herself, but she simply refused to allow the idea that she could be overmastered. To do that would have been to put the first chink into her own armor. As the lasso dropped, she released the hard hold she had had on it, shifting her grip to begin to recoil it, when it once again took on a life of her own and drew her up from the ground. "Very good. You took a weapon and made it your own." Not completely, but well enough for government work. "I cannot, of course, break or damage it, so I cannot free myself." But she can try to put herself into a slightly more comfortable position, and she begins to do so, reaching up to begin to climb the lasso, much as one might climb a length of aerial silk, twisting it around until she sat in it as if it were some odd swing. The look she offers down to Alyse is almost delighted. "A draw, and a good beginning." A beat, "Shall we go and see about something to eat?" Mind games are tiring work. So is swinging around long rods of metal.

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