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World of Darkness: Attrition - Fulcrum [FIN]


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April 25, 2009

Cold water splashed him as he stirred, the chill of it stealing away the growl forming in his throat and replacing it with a splutter.

"Up you get." The voice was irritatingly calm, especially considering the source. Owns-The-Night growled again and stood, rubbing the visibly fading knot just above his temple. The man in front of him didn't flinch at the growl, merely nodded and, hooking a toe under the stave on the ground, flipped it up at the werewolf, who caught it easily. They were both clad in tracksuits, his grey and the other man's black. The human wore padding over vital areas, Dec wore none. The other physical differences were telling. The man calmly leaning on his Bo and watching a Rahu digest humble pie was probably a good 40 lbs lighter and a couple inches shorter, but he had just whupped Owns-The-Night in about ten seconds.

"You fight like a novice... Wait!" He held up a half-placatory, half-commanding hand. "With this, you are a novice. Were you to fight in a manner you are accustomed to, you would beat me easily. This we both know. We also both know that you are here to learn another way of fighting, one that will help you train to fight less from here," he pointed his staff at Dec's crotch, "and more from here." He levelled the tip at the werewolf's head.

Owns-The-Night, known more familiarly as Dec, nodded. That was why he was here, alright. Since pretty much giving up on being Alpha of a pack, judging himself as wildly unsuitable, he had turned instead to being the best goddamn warrior in a pack.

Hell, he privately wouldn't rest until he was the best goddamn warrior on the West Coast.

And that had led him, via a circuitous route, to this back-street dojo in Compton, where a Japanese-American man (who happened to be Wolfblooded kin to the Blood Talons) was to instruct him in a weapon that required thought, finesse, timing and strategy to use well. When the Cliffs-By-The-Sea pack had first suggested he learn to use a weapon, Dec had withheld a snort only with an act of will. After all, wasn't he a Full Moon uratha? What did he need a weapon for: he WAS a weapon.

With amazing restraint and patience, Nest-Burner had explained that learning the art of war was a Blood Talon's first and foremost duty, particularly those who sung the songs of Garm. Any uratha could be a ravening flailing fighter, but the Fangs of Garm were elite warriors who mastered the battlefield, and themselves.

Needless to say, Dec hadn't been too hard to convince with that logic. So here he was.

"Let's go again, and this time pay attention to where you place your feet. It's not too different to the boxing you do, but your footwork is very basic." The man was respectful, yet authoritative as a teacher. Dec liked that: he was reminded of his old shrink. He narrowed his silver eyes, paying attention to what he was told.

To be perfect in battle, that is Garm's way. And that is my path.

* * * * * * * *

August 28th, 2009

He moved better now, the flashing arc of steel all that was clear of the tip of his weapon as he spun it over, striking with the butt-end of the spear towards his opponent's masked face. Light, well-balanced and deadly, the naginata was Dec's chosen weapon, though he was more than competent with the yari and short spear as well. His sensei blocked high, and Owns-The-Night bore down with the haft, using his greater size and strength to shove the other man off to one side, where his balance would be weakest.

Always resourceful, the protectively-garbed wolfblood didn't even try to match strength with the burly werewolf, instead spinning away and back-stepping whilst weaving his spear around in an intricate web of metal and wood. Dec growled in the back of his throat, finding no way to press the attack for a second, by which time the moment for attack had passed.

"Enough!" the order was almost a plea, but not quite as the sensei removed his helmet, breathing heavily and with his hair drenched in sweat. "You have fought me to a standstill, Declan, and you are not even slightly weary. Another five minutes, perhaps ten, is all I have left before I slip or falter." The wolfblood grinned at him, proud of his student. "Nest-Burner was right. You ARE tough even for one of the People. Anyone you cannot out-fight, you can wear down, of that I am certain."

"Yeah, well I took some lumps there." Dec fingered the fading bruises on his cheek and ribs by way of illustration.

"And so did I." His instructor patted the inside of one thigh. "I'll be feeling that tomorrow." Dec frowned.

"Thought you blocked that." The sensei laughed.

"I did, but not quite firmly enough. Had it connected fully, the fight would have been over before now. A good strike, powerful and precise." He nodded approvingly. Dec restrained a grin with effort.

"I still want to train, sensei."

"That is fine. We will continue your tuition... next week. You no longer need daily instruction, Declan. Just practice. I'm not sure I could keep up with sparring like that every day." he smiled, a little wry envy creeping into his eyes. The instructor shrugged that away. He had trained a few werewolves in weapon forms, but none as relentless as this one. Owns-The-Night was, as Juilo had warned him, tough as a coffin nail.

Dec nodded, barely concealing his elation. The wolfblood had told him early in the training that it was necessary for a warrior to find his mental and emotional center, the point around which everything else spun and moved. Before, Dec had centered on false things: dreams of being an Alpha, dreams of a network of supernaturals that looked to him for leadership, dreams of romance and love. He had needed to set the dreams aside and focus on the reality of himself.

He was Rahu. He was Uratha.

Dreams were for sleeping moments, not for waking ones. One day he might have a mate, and children. One day he might have love to revolve around. He might have that network, or a pack of his own. But right now at his core, under all his various passions and desires and goals, Owns-The-Night loved best that red-hot, taut moment that came when the heart quickened and he was locked in combat. It was his purpose, his center of gravity.

His fulcrum.

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