A bit of downtime

Medieval Times - Secret Arena

A utilitarian sand arena. With darkly colored footing, both to aid and to hide any blood spilt, this area is dual purpose, one somewhat benign and one less so.
Martial training can be had here, as evidenced by the cylindrical, spiked pells that are placed against the wall when not in use. A rack of weapons, swords mostly ranging from foil and epee to scimitar and gladius, can be found at one end of the arena, for training purposes.
It's other purpose is not as obvious. The type and color of the sand gives a hint if any can read it. It is for the punishment and final death of those who break the few, very basic laws of vampire-kind. The sand hides the spilt blood quite well, and only the slightly darker spots offer any hint that a different sort of liquid has seeped into the grains.

The night outside has fallen for those few blissful hours it does so during this time of year. Bars are full, people are happy, and life is generally good. College students chatter drunkenly in bars, and people have started filtering towards the late night clubs, happy staggerers and even happier folks who've found themselves a late-night partner.

The arena within Medieval times is tranquil and still, and the old vampire that stands at one edge does so in a steady posture. Dressed in nothing but a pair of slim-fitting black shorts, the King of Texas holds a four foot long greatsword in one hand, deadly still and pointing down to one side. It's his practise sword, but still hardened and honed to a razor edge. After all, what's sparring without a certain element of danger? His hair is glossed back into a series of tousled spikes, to better keep it from his eyes. He stares forwards, the hint of predatory smile in place.

At the far side of the arena is the king's opponent standing seemingly casually, his sword at 'rest', a veteran of most of the very same wars as his 'opponent'. A practice blade is also chosen, though it is of his favoured sword; a gladius. While it doesn't have the reach of the greatsword that is wielded against him, his ability and familiarity with it more than makes up for the perceived imbalance.
Marius is dressed in his black t-shirt, jeans and boots. Street clothes. 'Ruining' them makes no difference to the Whip.
This evening, for this moment, the king is nothing more than a brother in arms, yet.. remains his Master and liege.
Lines. Always 'place'.
Looking at the brief distance between them, Marius' expression is one that echoes his brother's.. pleasure in the anticipation of battle.
But first, the taunts offered in heavy German accent, the words staccatoed, "Did you pull that sword because yours is so rusted from disuse, brother?"

When Will's voice comes, it is threaded with a gentle mockery, a taunt to match the other. "Perhaps I did not wish to damage it by chipping away at the bones of the naturally ungifted," he replies. The weapon, a good two-thirds the height of the wielder, is hefted into the air towards a classic Vom Tag position, the movement a flash of silver as the vampire uses his ancient strength and speed to bring it up. "Vestri permoveo," he murmurs, 'Your move' in Latin.

At the returned taunt, Marius is well pleased, and, as the adage goes, the fool rushes in where angels fear to tread. The angels would be right to fear, but the veteran recognizes immediately the stance.. and he grins a feral grin.
It is the twerhau, the traditional response to Will's raised sword, that Marius begins to execute once he's closed the distance with only a seeming step. Once he's near, the trick is to close quickly and accurately, his sword rises in a horizonal line to slice across Will's chest. Spinning around, allowing the sword to trail, the next important maneuver is to avoid the sword strike from above, and spinning the blade outward away from Will's body, he sets up the attack for the man's potentially exposed back.

Moving at human speed, and thus allowing the thoughts of the moves to come before their action, the whisper of a blade a fraction of an inch in front of his chest as Will shifts slightly back is followed by that inevitable, immediate downwards strike. However, it twists as it goes, and Will uses ancient and immortal strength to spin in a vicious sweep, feinting low before bringing the blade upwards towards Marius' blade.

Blade versus blade, the larger will win out with the press of strength behind it. Marius blocks the blow, though the maneuver also closes down the avenue of attack at Will's back. He has to dig out his sword from behind the greatsword, but the fact that it's smaller and single-wielded means he's got the balance and speed advantage.
It's with a low cutting blow, then.. nothing more than the move of a couple of inches worth of power behind it, to the leg. To a human adversary, it would be enough to hamstring the opponent. To a vampire, a mere scratch should it connect.
Of course, that means that he's invested in the action, and relies upon the fact the large sword is unwieldy enough to take at least that flash of a second to bring back to bear against him.

Will 's lips start to twist into a smile as peripheral vision catches Marius' move. Barely a scratch, but blood still begins to trickle, as the older vampire launches himself into the air towards a flip over his opponent's head. With a twist of a wrist and a jerk of arm, the greatsword flashes in a mighty vertical arc, the momentum of body following it around with inhuman grace. The trickle of blood down a leg is slowing already, as old blood starts to heal.

Marius feels the blade taste flesh, and the hint of blood comes up as a puff.. though it does nothing for the veteran. Vampire blood, in such little quantity, does nothing for hunger, but the presence of it in the air fuels his next attacks—
The leap into the air, up and over forces Marius to step out and around, in protecting his back. Blood for blood, however, and there's a line that is drawn from just atop his back left shoulder that follows movement in turning in an almost 90 degree move to the upper part of his arm.
Marius pauses for the briefest of moments in time before he pushes forward; in order to get another hit, he has to be able to close so the greatsword is useless.
Extending the sword in a fencer's feint towards Will's injured leg, he hops closer to swing the sword outside and away from any perceived block to strike at a shoulder.

Even as Will's swing continues his overhead momentum, the King is turning and twisting to regain his feet. Balls of those feet touch the floor, immediately used to push him further away, his own sword shifting into the fool, defensive as it is. It twitches down, then up, a crash of sparks flying from the edge as he reaches Marius' most recent assault, the huge weapon dancing like a rapier in the hands of such strength. It's almost like he's playing. It's also like he's speeding up a little, as though inviting his opponent to join him.

Marius increases speed in response to Will's; like for like. He knows how to be subtle about it to.. a slow arc that is sped up ever so slightly in the attack and is parried in a hanging defense that is so easily executed. If he was human, the veteran would be somewhat winded by the effort shown. There is no holding back, no pulling of a strike until he feels the biting of the flesh by sword, and even then, he is assured that healing will be swift and easy.
The feral grin remains as Marius' sword lowers, and a couple of steps are taken in circle as if he circles his prey. His shirt is cleanly cut, and even now, the drips of blood coming from the wound just beneath is ceasing.
In finesse, Will is certainly the better, and there, the whip can not and will not take him on that 'field'. It is more the brute push in and through that he excels. When that meets acrobatic finesse?
"Stay on the ground, brother.." is given with dry humour, "I would rather not sprout wings to give chase."
At the end of that, Marius does move in again with a long stride in, keeping his back leg out as an anchor, classic thrust that is easily enough parried if he keeps the blade there, of course.. but there is no doubt that it will move. Where, however..

Any mortal attempting to keep up with the battling pair would no doubt already be breathing hard, or more likely taking an eternal rest on the ground. The greatsword flicks up, again the blissful ring of steel against steel sounds out against the tranquility of the arena. "Very well," Will says to Marius, letting the taunt ride into his voice again, even as he sweeps forward with an assault of his own. "I will offer you a chance."

Thus it begins. Steels cries shrilly as blade lock, rings when they crunch and sparks fly out. Will keeps to his promise, staying to the ground, though his blade dances with an alacrity beyond any mortal dream. The pair do the dance of death, slowly but surely speeding up as they do. Eventually the pair are just a blur of silver movement, Marius' strength versus Will's finesse, though the King keeps to a speed not above and beyond what he should be capable of for his age; pushing himself to his limits costs him a lot, and it serves him well to avoid giving away every secret.

A series of rapid flurries from Marius finishes in a wide, sweeping arc of steel from Will, that slams against the gladius. The greatsword shivers for a fraction of a second before shattering into a rainbow of cascading steel. Barely two feet of steel with a jagged tip is left. Slivers fly out at high speed, more than one puncturing the flesh of the King. He flashes away from his opponent, suddenly stopping in place and offering up a smile, his sword lowered in the offer of a break.

"A draw?" he wonders, with amusement. "with an edge for the man bearing a still whole weapon." A few lines of blood - wounds healed - are scattered over his flesh, including a trickle where were it not for his vampiric hardiness, he would likely be lacking an ear.

The dance of death pushes Marius ever forward in motions and movements long dormant but not forgotten. It is what the early trainers had beaten into him; muscle memory— the one that does not forget, forgive, or give quarter.
It is when the great sword shatters upon striking of the onslaught were that is the most evident. While Will may have hidden and pulled some moves, the sheer .. brutality of Marius' approach leaves nothing behind. It is his strength and his ever pressing forward that made and makes the man an opponent of note. That, and his steadfastness of target.
The warding and guarding from attacks leaves Marius little option than to push forward in an all out— met remarkably by the blade. It is then when the battle-lust recedes, if only just a little and the vampire is left standing, the words first buzzing in his head with little meaning. It takes him a moment before he responds, and first is to toss his blade to the side, the gladius landing flat in the dark sand several feet away.
"It is a draw," is agreed quietly. Reason is seen returning, and with it, a little more animation. With a slight bow, Marius rises once more, "It was a welcome match, Valentinus. One that makes me wish there will be more."
Stepping forward, his expression shifts towards the bemused, "If were but men, it would be to the alehouse. If it were but another time, it would be to that same alehouse." To dine on the wenches, undoubtedly. "But sadly, it is not. However, I would speak with you of other things, perhaps not as pleasant a diversion as this."

A calmness in the face of any odds, any matter, is a point that Will has kept over the centuries; including now. His arm flashes movement, throwing the remnants of his sword to drive into the ground, sticking up and shivering in place as it is. The amused smile (if tempered by the predatory instinct) remains in place, as he matches Marius' bow, a measure of respect for a fellow warrior.

"Bloody Mary's is adequate for alehousing needs," he comments, letting his mask fall back into place for the latter. "What troubles you, Marius? Speak freely before me."

Marius has no political bone in his body. There is nothing that would alert him to this plan or that plot. He sees plainly, he speaks plainly. There are few truths, but with the Whip, it is truly 'What you see is what you get'.
"It is your toy, Valentinus." Still mortal.. still a lamb. "There is much that strikes a discordant note." There is no question that Marius ceases, the question of his choice of worthiness never receiving thought or utterance. If the man before wills it, so it will be. His concerns, however, he will raise. "She presumes a great deal." Inclining his head, he does give credit, scant though it may be, where it is due. "She has the capacity to learn, though with some difficulty."

The King is a much more political animal; a creature of manipulation and deal-brokering, a creature of negotiation, reconciliation and compromisation. He allows a nod. "You should not have struck her, though I will discuss that no further, good or ill," he begins, to get any thoughts of rebuke or revenge out of the way. After all, his property was damaged according to vampiric law. "She is wilful, strong-minded, and incredibly useful to me. If she does join us in immortality, the blood will calm her temper. I see potential for greatness in her, Marius." He does allow a nod, brief as it is. "Still, you are correct. My name carries great weight, and it is starting to become a priviledge for her rather than a responsibility. I have already discussed this with her. What other discord do you feel?" He's not likely to admit his feelings for her to Marius, after all.

Marius takes the rebuke without response, as ordered. His defense remains unspoken that he did, indeed, warn her verbally first. It was then that she'd taken her secondary action.
"That is precisely it. Priviledge and responsibility. As your servant, and the Lady's, all must be right and correct. She believes this idea and most of what we live by archaic."
Again, there is no question as to his decision. If Valentinus believes that he can control and mold the child into a respectful proper member of vampire society, then it is not his place to question it. He can only but bring his observations. After all, the King is not in all places, and Marius is part of the 'eyes and ears' network.
"My only concern is for you, and the Lady, Valentinus. As ever."

The King allows a single, further nod. "Perhaps I am yet to fully impress the nature and role of the youngling in society," he allows, his tone quiet but entirely level, utterly lacking in emotion. "I value your opinion, so I shall investigate it further." No definite either way, classic politics.

Lifting a hand to run a thumb along a trickle of blood, cleansing it from his arm, Will continues. "The girl, Susan Baker. Do you think she has potential to be a spy within the League, or is she too rebellious?"

It is the tacit closing of discussion regarding his toy that allows Marius to gather his practice sword quickly, and let it hang loosely in hand. He'll clean it and put it away, certainly.
"I believe that she may be of some small use to you. She learns, with the right motivations and lessons. Her behavior has steadily improved under my attention. The Lady instructed her bodyguard to turn her over to me when she misbehaves. Since then, I have had a hand in her education. She has spent several nights in my chamber." And no attempt against him has been made by her. "I woke to see her near the door, ready to exit. She will do as asked, when asked, I am certain.
"She is one with unbecoming vanity. A willing slave to the mirror."

"I doubt there is a finer teacher in the country," Will approves, with the hint of a smile touching once again at his lips. "My honey and your vinegar may well serve us admirably with this one."

He pauses, glancing down to the broken sword at his feet, discarded as any broken tool, where it will stay. "Vanity is a weakness easily exploited. I will use her against my enemies in the League, to see if she is worthy. If she proves competent, then I will see her sentence reduced and her debts paid, and gain an eternal follower if all goes well." Shameless, he is, though in the company of one who never needed such manipulation, he is comfortable with it.

And it is precisely for that reason that Marius mentions the weakness. He cares not for such details other than to strip her of such finery to punish, nothing more. Not that he considers it such. His preferences continue to lie in the passage of time.
Inclining his head in respect to his brother and liege, he adds, "May it be as you say." If things do not go that way, it is his job to step in. He knows his place.
It is to happier news, and the question rises, "Is His Majesty finished with his Servant so we may depart and raise our drinks as sword brothers once more?"

"If anything proves not as I say, then you have opportunity to have fun, neh?" Will responds, with great amusement filtering into his tone. "His Majesty certainly is," he tells the other, walking towards the spots where he left his clothing, and a towel to remove the final traces of blood from his body. "We shall find us a pair of beautiful young women, old friend."

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