|A Minor Scuffle
||[Jan. 18th, 2006|01:00 am]
Now, if someone told you that only fools and Keepers try to rush a man armed with a softblade with no weapons of their own, you may come to the conclusion that all Keepers are fools. That's not perfectly fair. To try anything but swift suicide by OIS, you need to be very fast, and very strong. This is to compensate for the fact that you have nothing to block the blade with. If you can also ignore things like going into shock, massive blood loss, pain, and its foul kin, then that helps. Healing wounds very quickly doesn't hurt. If you're a Keeper carried on the power of your Ancestors, you can have all those things.
The problem is, it's hard to compensate for a lack of technique. I could tell by the way he tried to jump me; his posture screamed "Watch! I think I know how to surprise you! See the bending in my knees?" The punch was sad, a melancholy clown's act; a roundhouse with enough space open in front of him to set up a concessions stand there. The man had obviously learned to fight with the advantage of speed and strength supernaturally bestowed, and did not know anything about reach or stance or follow through. I drew my softblade and cut his right arm off.
That's actually an exaggeration of my actions. He was moving too fast for his own reflexes. I merely had to draw the blade, hold it in front of me, and walk through his attack. Not even the slightest hint of resistance; it caught him a few inches above the elbow. At the speed we were going, I didn't even get a drop of blood on me; what little was on my softblade shimmered like oil on dirty water and came off in a subtle mist.
I turned to survey my handiwork and his left hook caught me on the side of my head. I was expecting it enough to react properly: a removed arm was only a speed bump to a Keeper in a combat frenzy. I turned just enough so that it didn't strike me right on the temple, and rolled with the blow, flipping into a breakfall that left me face up on the ground. It looked like he'd floored me so hard I somersaulted, and I played possum. The arm was just a test, a question; I was asking if he was willing to not force me to kill him, and it appeared the answer was "no". I waited for him to prepare a kick so I could take his leg off at the hip.
And then he did something really stupid.
He turned around - I still wonder what possessed him to have his back to me - and knelt to pick up his severed arm. He was reattaching it - his Ancestors' healing magic meant the muscles could reknit, and the bone join. The stupid part was not making sure I stayed down. I don't know if he heard me roll to my feat, or his Ancestors yelled at him to stop being stupid, but he was just able to turn around, holding his ruined arm to his side, for me to bury my softblade in his forehead.
Up to the hilt.
I hit him fast and moved right by, the blade coming out with not a hint of getting stuck. Grey matter didn't cling to the softblade any better than blood, and I had only a little on my sleeve. Healing magic only went so far. As I turned, I noticed that he had not fallen over yet, but stood in a slumped position.
Then he turned to me, and the fires of Reanimation danced from his eyes.
Now, I thought, the fight begins to get interesting.