Saturday, March 19, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 162: Duel in the Dark

FB: Musica is online!

Radar: You went to SPAIN??

Musica: Yes! Guess what I brought back from will be proud....

Radar: A Stetson? Wait, they don't have those, do they?

Musica: Try a sword!





Radar: AND HOW DID YOU GET IT BACK?? Aren't airlines pretty strict about that sort of thing?

Radar: Way to make me spazz, by the way.

Musica: It's really short because that was the cheapest. The hilt is really simple, but it's really sleek too. And I just packed it in a suitcase; as long as I didn't take it in the plane, I was fine. No, no shield, that would have put me way over the 50lb suitcase limit! Anyway, you totally need to teach me how to swordfight sometime! Also, you gotta help me name her!

Musica: *picture attached*

Radar: Actually, that's pretty close to the perfect length for you. Well done!

Radar: I'm thinking about coming down there this evening for a swing dance. Any chance I could see it....??

Musica: Yeah totally!


          I coasted into the parking lot outside Musica's dorm. To my annoyance, the weather had gotten cold again, the seventy degrees of but a few days ago giving way to something I like to call "too damn cold." I pulled my gloves on, shut the truck off, and bolted for the doors, skidding on an icy patch and almost slamming full tilt into the glass. 
          An exiting resident kindly pushed the door open before I actually hit it and stepped to the side to avoid my flailing attempts to stop. "Are you late for something?"
          I laughed. "No, it's just cold! Thanks!"
          Musica, who was waiting in the lobby, snickered. I didn't even stop to greet her before demanding, "Where??" 
          She outright laughed at that one. "It's in my car. You can't have swords on campus. You should know--you used to go here!"
          I shrugged. "I thought they might have changed the rules. Good thing I decided to check first--I almost brought my swords in with me."
          "You brought your own?"
          "Yeah, the split-blade ones. Where are you parked?"
          We walked back out the doors into the Arctic. She pointed. "Over there."
          "Too far. We're driving," I stated and made a beeline for my truck. Musica followed, laughing again. "Come on, it's not that far! It would be quicker to walk!"
          "Yeah, but this way, I'll be warm," I pointed out logically. 
          Musica conceded the point. A few minutes later (apparently, the college moved the entrance to the parking lot, a decision I thought was stupid), we arrived at her car and discovered a new problem. 
          "No parking spots?" I demanded, outraged.
          "There's one over there," Musica suggested.
          I gave her a look. "I don't wanna walk that far--that's the whole reason we drove in the first place." I checked the immediate area. No one was around, so I put my truck in park in the middle of the lane. "Perfect. Right here."
          "That is so illegal," she pointed out.
          "Only if you get caught. Wait! I have an idea!" I announced and turned my hazard lights on. "There. Park-anywhere-button activated!"
          Musica decided not to comment on my questionable relabeling of and flagrant misuse of the emergency gear and hopped out to get to her car. I followed, where she presented me with the sword.
          "Whoa, that is nice," I breathed, promptly forgetting the cold. I twirled it briefly. "Full tang, too. Sharpen this up, and you have a battle-ready sword."
          "Yepp." I handed her back the sword. "I prefer an hand-and-a-half grip, myself, though. More versatility."
          "'s kind of a hand-and-a-half for me," she pointed out, actually getting both hands on the grip. 
          "Good gravy, how small are your hands?" I demanded before looking at mine. "Okay, to be fair, mine are freakishly huge, but still."
          Musica adopted a fighting stance. "So, what are you going to teach me?"
          "The importance of not doing this in the campus parking lot," I said regretfully. "Campus PD would probably not take kindly to that. Let's get in the truck and try to find a place to fight."
          "Where are your swords?" Musica asked as we got back in the truck. 
          "Back seat," I said distractedly, reaching back to pull them out. "Careful, these are literally battle-ready."
          "No kidding. They look sharp."
          "They are sharp," I confirmed, leg twitching a little as I remembered a certain incident regarding the coffee table, a failed somersaulting attempt, and my knee. "Anyway, where can we go? Maybe..."
          "Skipper's apartment," we both said at the same time before laughing. 
          "That wouldn't be awkward at all," Musica snickered, glancing at the clock, which read 9:03 PM.
          I nodded. "Yeah, he's probably in bed by now. Let's not make him answer the door in his PJs because two insomniacs wanna spar."
          We finally decided on a park and set course, briefly debating the legalities of sword-fighting in the middle of town before deciding that there probably weren't any laws either for or against it. I brought both of my blades, long experience teaching me that it was best to have more than one available weapon when training novices. Professionals were predictable; novices tended to flail in some odd and surprising ways. My blades were both single-edged to Musica's dual-edge, so I flipped them both around to that the dull edge was my leading edge. Like I said before...flailing.
          "So what should I do first?" Musica asked.
          I grinned. "Glad you asked. Grab your sword with both hands and raise it over your head."
          "Like this?"
          I put one of my blades down and showed her. "No, like this."
          "This feels weird," Musica muttered.
          I nodded. "Yeah, but it's crazy versatile. You can do a straight downward chop, or come in from both sides, or--" I demonstrated, "sweep in from underneath and up."
          "Wow." She tried all the different strikes, frowning at the last one.
          "Yeah. Drop your shoulder into that a little more--it will help get you more power," I suggested.
          She tried it again, with much more success. "This is so cool! So how do you defend?" She raised her sword.
          I grinned. "Back up a little."
          "Here, go ahead and strike at me," I offered, picking up my second blade and assuming a ready stance.
          She came in with an overhead strike. I moved back just enough to let the blade pass harmlessly in front of me before sliding forward and flicking my right sword up to her shoulder. "Tag!"
          Musica blinked. "That was fast.
          "Yepp." I backed up and resumed my stance. "Most swordfights are decided in the first few seconds, as opposed to swordplay, which is strictly theatrical. That reminds me. You know any movie that has swordfighting in it?"
          I shrugged. "All bullcrap. You don't want to hit swords unless you absolutely have to."
          Musica frowned. "'ll damage them?"
          "Exactly. If you do have to block, use the flat of the blade, never the edge. Edge on edge will destroy your sword pretty fast."
          "How would you do that?"
          I grinned. "Here, stab at me."
          She thrust. I spun my blade in a circle, smacked the sword away, and continued the motion to tap the flat on top of her shoulder. "Like that." I did it a little slower this time. "Circle, flat to edge, then continue the motion."
          "Like this?"
          "Very close. Try not to stop your sword; just redirect the motion. Make it one fluid movement." I spun my sword for emphasis. 
          We continued working, with occasional breaks to retreat to the truck and warm up. (I was doing okay, despite having a body fat index that was seriously pushing the "ridiculously low" level.) We also relocated to a different park when the wind picked up. I showed Musica how to thrust properly, adjust sword angle mid-block, and how to use direction and force of incoming attacks to effectively foil them. She did better than I was expecting, given that it was kind of dark out and that my blades were black.
          There was also not as much flailing as I expected. I did, however, manage to get clobbered across the knuckles when I accidentally stepped into an echo spot, deafen myself, and lose track of her blade. I'd never really realized how much my hearing was tied into my combat skills. After figuring out that I was a literal version of Batman (I said Daredevil initially, but she didn't know who that was), we started playing with my hearing to see if I could effectively pick up attacks when I wasn't looking. Let's just say I did really well. 
          I kinda wished that I'd brought my nunchucks too, but unfortunately, I hadn't thought about that before leaving.
          When we were driving back (some of us finally got cold enough to decide to stop), Musica brought up something I'd completely forgotten about. "So, when are you doing to the dance?"
          I checked the clock. 10:44 PM. "Well, in theory...almost two hours ago."
          I grinned. "It started at nine."
          She shook her head. "I'm so sorry! When does it go until?"
          "One AM."
          "Oh, good, you've got time. When were you going to go back home?"
          "Um...fifteen minutes ago?"
          She stared at me. "RADAR!"
          "What?" I defended myself. "I was only going to go there for an hour and half anyway. I got work tomorrow. Besides, sword-fighting is more fun anyway. And..." I raised a finger for emphasis," I get to cross "sword-fighting at night in a park" off my bucket list."
          "That was on your bucket list?"
          "It was as soon as I thought of it. Hey, we should do this again, and get the twins in on it too!"

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