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TVC II Chapter 8 - Stealth and Subterfuge

Bounce

Varghulf
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#76
Elanor did an elegant salute with her bastard sword. She was smiling with her lip but her eyes were calm as she tried to focus on the task at hand. It was heavily tempting to think about Helena whimpering in defeat, Elanor's sword pressed into her chest but she shouldn't get ahead of herself. Elanor turned and started walking away from Helena. Her back itched. Would the demon child actually walk the full ten steps? She only had tiny legs. Elanor was resolved to walk the full distance though. She couldn't afford to let Helena make any claims about foul play. After the tenth step she stopped and waited. She felt suddenly nervous. What if Helena's incompetence was just a massive act? She was sure Nicoletto would stop the duel before anyone got seriously hurt. At least she was pretty sure. Nicoletto was Helena's old master. Maybe this wasn't the best idea after all? It was too late to worry about that now however. With graceful poise she waited for Nicoletto's word to begin.
 

Get of W'soran

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#77
Nicoletto watched as Helena and then Elanor saluted each other and then moved back the required distance. The Lahmian's lips twisted slightly into a smile as he looked at their chosen weapons.

The vampire moved towards the edge of the hall to stand near the seats, still keeping the Estalian Greatsword at hand as he seemed to almost lean on it.

Nicoletto raised one arm and held it up for a moment before then swiftly bringing it down.

"Begin!"
 

MasterSpark

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#78
Helena sensed a slight hesitation in Elanor's resolve and seized the initiative right as Nicoletto gave the signal, wasting no time with meandering about outside of range. Without bothering to maintain a guard as she went she swiftly covered the distance between herself and Elanor, stopping when there was only a single step remaining before the two could strike one another. Here she resumed proper form with the point on her opponent, the rapier occupying the space between the two.

Fencing with the rapier was simple in theory; keep threatening the opponent with the point while looking for an opening to step in with a thrust. Elanor had raised her own sword to also bring the point to bear, the instinctive defense against the very same, but Helena knew this was to her own advantage. The point of the rapier was quicker.

With a short step and a feigned thrust to the midsection on Elanor's left side Helena got her opponent to move her own weapon to stop the attack. Extending the step she had taken, with but a small circular movement of the wrist Helena then maneuvered her point down and around Elanor's sword to come up and continue the thrusting attack on the right side which was now open.
 
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Bounce

Varghulf
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#79
Elanor spun around at Nicoletto's mark and was immediately under a whirlwind barrage from the tiny vampire. Elanor blocked the rapier as well as she could but her sword was slightly bigger and heavier. Seeing Helena slashing upwards Elanor abandoned her defence with a nimble backwards leap to try and get some space but Helena didn't give her a moment and attacked again. Elanor fought back furiously, their swords clashing with a grating squeal. It had been a long time since Elanor had needed to use any real finesse when fighting. So instead she struck hard trying to push Helena onto the defensive.
 

MasterSpark

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#80
Elanor's forceful strikes were met with evasion and speed of footwork, since Helena knew from experience that her rapier would be no match for the opposing sword in a bind. During the short period of time the duel had taken so far she had noticed how her skills had actually faded somewhat. Her steps were a touch too long, unbalancing her in both the attack and defense, and her angles with the sword were slightly off, making her cuts and thrust defeat themselves as Elanor managed to redirect them. Helena remembered many of the techniques well enough but the execution was lacking.

Ducking under a particularly heavy strike, Helena had deviced a plot to take advantage of the large and flashy movements that Elanor employed. Helena retaliated with the same technique as the one she had started with, drawing out a parry before turning her attack to the other side. That too was stopped just like before, and Helena followed up with a rising cut, again triggering a swift leaping movement from Elanor. This time, however, Helena did not give pursuit. She merely stood up straight, lowering her sword as Elanor landed. Grinning, Helena pointed with her free hand towards the floor at Elanor's feet, both of which were now well outside the boundaries of the ring.

"That's first point to me!" she exclaimed with a devilish little laugh.
 
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Get of W'soran

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#81
Nicoletto was frowning slightly as if annoyed by the duel and the annoyed expression only intensified as Helena achieved her first point.

"First point to Helena von Carstein." the Lahmian announced."Return to your starting positions and begin the next round."

The vampire had his two-handed sword at the ready in case he needed to interfere if either vampiress pushed too far.
 
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MasterSpark

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#82
As the duel re-commenced Helena again pushed for the initiative, eager to claim more points. She executed the same feigning technique again, thrusting to draw out a parry that was doomed to fail from the very start.
 
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Bounce

Varghulf
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#83
Elanor hissed furiously. Stepping out of bounds hardly qualified as losing in her books. This duel was quickly becoming frustrating. She just wanted to pummel Helena a bit. Elanor met Helena's blade with a slam of steel but it was just another feint as Helena drew back and attacked again. Knowing that any wounds she suffered would heal quickly. Elanor let Helena strike down at her leg without bothering to block and used the opening to smash her blade into Helena's shoulder. At the same time her sword hit Helena's rapier cut deep into her leg. Elanor winced as pain shot through her and she stumbled backwards breathing heavily. However Helena was also injured by Elanor's counterstrike.

"Point each." Elanor gritted between clenched teeth. If she was going to lose she ould at least wipe that smirk of Helena's face.
 

Get of W'soran

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#84
Nicoletto stared in shock at the Lahmian's graceless assault and shook his head slightly as she purposely left an opening so that she could score.

"Double hit"
Nicoletto announced to the duellists "Point cancellation, no points to the contestants."

The vampire gestured to Giovanni "Mr. Giovanni heal the Ladies please."

The Tilean Necromancer cast his necromantic healing spells on Elanor and Helena at a moments command.

Nicoletto clicked his tongue "And I shall remind the contestants to be careful with their strikes as not to cause unnecessary damage." he warned although in truth Nicoletto wouldn't punish anything unless it was delivered with undue aggression.

Once Giovanni was finished he returned to the seating area and sat down.

"The score is 1-0 to Lady Helena von Carstein. Please return to your positions and begin the third round."
 
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MasterSpark

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#85
Helena had let out a short scream of both pain, anger and shock as she was hit by Elanor's strike. As the two once more returned to the start position, Helena turned around and glared angrily at her opponent.

"You idiot!" she yelled. "You're supposed to defend yourself!"

With the commencement of the third round Helena decided on another approach and adopted a low stance with the rapier held out in front of her. If Elanor wanted them to maul each other without any thoughts to defense then she would not be obliged. She'd show her how to properly take advantage of an attacker's opening.

"Come then, you brute! Attack me!" she taunted.
 
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Bounce

Varghulf
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#86
What? Helena could get away with such trickery and she couldn't? Clearly Nicoletto was biased towards his pupil but Elanor was hardly going to start a fight with him. It was his house. She shuddered as the necromantic magic healed the cut on her leg. It was hardly pleasant and she would much rather avoid getting hurt again.

She turned to see Helena waiting for her to make a move. She ignored her barbed words. It was obvious enough to everyone who the brute was. She lashed out high at Helena's head, hoping to take her by surprise.
 

MasterSpark

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#87
Elanor’s attack was foiled as Helena intercepted the incoming cut towards her head, voiding it by ducking underneath and springing upwards after it had passed. With a quick thrust she opened a long bleeding wound across Elanor’s cheek. That would be the end of this so-called duel. It was all too easy… but then, a split moment after she had landed her cut, something impacted violently with the upper side of Helena’s face, causing her to shriek again and the two disengaged. Elanor had reversed the cut and brought it right back into the space where Helena had sprung forward. It caused blunt force damage more than anything else but it was enough to fracture the skull near the eye socket and to draw blood.

You scum!” Helena screamed, clutching the broken side of her head as blood ran from it. “How dare you strike my face?!
 
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Get of W'soran

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#88
Nicoletto seemed to take a few quick steps, somehow covering more distance than should have been possible however this was simply an optical illusion as he moved to quick for the on watchers eyesight to keep up with.

Within moments the two duelists found a greatsword blade dividing the space between them.

"The contestants will step back." he warned with a glance at Helena "Double hit, no points awarded."

Lowering his two-handed sword the Lahmian stood in the middle of the duelists and waved over the mortal Necromancer "Mr. Giovanni will see to your injuries." he told them "And then you will then move back to your starting positions and begin the next round."

As Giovanni began his spellcasting Nicoletto strode back to his spectator position, stopping momentarily to look back over his shoulder "And ladies I would suggest you pay more attention to your defenses, it makes little sense to strike an opponent if they manage to wound you in return." he noted before continuing back to the sidelines.
 

Bounce

Varghulf
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#89
Elanor giggled to see Helena's pretty little face covered in blood. Was completely worth it.

"The best defence is a good offence." Elanor mumbled to herself as she stepped back and prepared for another attack. When she saw that Helena was also ready, her face now back to normal albeit still with traces of dried blood, Elanor attacked again. Her blade sweeping slow. Helena blocked it easily and Elanor swapped to a mild higher strike. As Helena went to intercept this though Elanor brought her leg forward and knocked Helena off her feet.

Helena shrieked in anger and Elanor twirled to deliver a winning blow with both hands on the hilt of her sword but to her surprise Helena had already recovered from her fall and slashed at Elanor as she was preparing to drive her sword at Helena's chest. Helena's blade cut lightly across Elanor's thighs and Elanor missed Helena completely as her attack faltered in a mixture of pain and frustration.
 

MasterSpark

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#90
Helena skipped away from Elanor after having first avoided the attack and then countered it with her own. It was a very light and shallow cut, meant to humiliate more than anything else, but it had drawn blood nonetheless.

"You're a primitive fencer!" Helena mocked her opponent, laughing derisively at the same time. "A barbarian in the trappings of a little girl!"

She then looked over to Nicoletto, dropping her guard.

"Will you not call the point, Nicoletto?"
 

Bounce

Varghulf
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#91
Helena's mocking taunts hurt even more because they were fairly accurate. She may have carried a fancy sword for years but she had never bothered to learn how to use it properly. Just being a vampire was usually enough to slay any foe she faced and well her sword was magical, this bastard sword was just a lump of iron.

Seeing Helena drop her guard to speak to Nicoletto. Elanor lunged forward with a ferocious snarl, her sword point first to skewer Helena like a kebab.
 

Get of W'soran

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#92
Nicoletto was half way through calling the match in Helena's favour when Elanor began to attack despite the contest clearly being over.

The fencing master moved fast enough to make his previous display of speed pale in comparison.

Both Nicoletto and Elanor shared the same blood with all it's benefits and faults but in a contest of speed there was no competition.

The vampiress had only just managed to fully extend her arm in execution of the lunge when Nicoletto reached them, his huge blade blurred in an ascending strike as he beat the bastard sword with such power that it was wrenched from it's wielder's grasp.

With his two-hander above his head having reached the pinnacle it's arc the vampire stepped in-between the two duelists and turned to face Elanor, as he did so the sword now twisted into a circular arc above his head, luckily for Helena she was short enough that the sword's movement was never a threat to her at the height it was now swinging.

Once the blade was in-front of Nicoletto again he dropped his arms so he now cut straight at Elanor's head but at the last moment he turned his wrists so that when the huge blade of his sword connected with the Lahmian it was only the flat that struck her.

However the flat struck with all the weight of the weapon and the momentum of the large circular swings, the force would be enough to throw even a large man to the ground and the vampiress was certainly not large. The force of the strike would likely have caved in the skull of a mortal and killing them but it had absolutely no chance of killing any vampire, perhaps disorientating or possibly even causing them to loose conciousness, but not kill.

Nicoletto loomed over Elanor, his blade resting on his shoulder, his grey eyes now burned bright red. "The match is over. Lady Rosenburg..." he said coldly revealing he knew her full name "has both lost in skill of arms and forfeits due to an attempt to cause grievous wounds in violation of the rules and for not stepping back after clearly receiving a wound from her opponent." as the Tilean spoke elongated fangs could be seen.

Giovanni stepped forward to go heal the vampiress but Nicoletto gestured for him to sit back down.

Nicoletto leant down slightly "I expected better from a member this Council, I did not expect an uncontrolled beast." he said softly sounding faintly disgusted.

Straightening up "The duel is now over and Lady Helena von Carstein is the victor, the Lady Rosenburg shall not be punished further as her disgraceful loss and vulgar behaviour are shame enough..." he stopped and turned to Helena, when he did so his eyes were once again their normal hue and his fangs had reduced to human size "Unless the offended party would like to protest these results?"
 
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MasterSpark

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#93
Helena didn't have the time to even react before it was all over, with Elanor lying flat on the stone floor. While she was at first shocked by the display before her the sight of her disgraced opponent made Helena recover her wits quite swiftly, a wide smirk lighting up across her face.

"Not at all, Nicoletto. This is what I wished for all along, to reveal this harpy as the uncouth beast that she is" she said, echoing the fencing master's use of the word.
 
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#94
Igor was relatively surprised by Elanor's obvious incompetency in dueling, though Helena was also nothing to write home about.

All in all, a more entertaining duel. Normally duels bore me to death, but when you add in some actual malice it becomes far more interesting.
 

Bounce

Varghulf
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#95
Elanor blinked several times. Was that the roof? It looked like the roof. Which must mean she was lying on the ground. How had she got there? She tried to move and the memories came back in a flash of pain. Nicoletto's words blurred in her mind shameful, beast, vulgar . The words stung perhaps even more than being bashed in the chest with a sword. She had let her hatred of the little girl get the better of her and forgotten herself. She was supposed to be a lahmian not some strigoi. She would never win a fight by strength of arms.

Slowly she scrabbled to her knees and crawled towards Helena. She stopped by Helena's feet. It was hard to say the words but eventually she managed to speak.
My lady, you are clearly my superior. I offer you my apologies for my conduct in this duel. I have bought shame to this council. I offer to serve you until I can make recompense for my ignoble actions. Elanor said humbly, her eyes fixed to the floor.
 

MasterSpark

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#96
"Oh, so you do have some manners after all?" Helena said, both her face and voice smug as she looked down at the grovelling Elanor. "You can be gracious at least in defeat."

Helena considered the proposition. Having a new servant was always fun but this one was a Lahmian and they were deceitful trickers all... but then Helena thought of Nicoletto, one of the most trustworthy persons she had ever known, and that he was also of that same bloodline. And having won a vampire of a lesser bloodline as a servant would be a great symbol of the von Carstein family's superiority.

"I accept your offer" she declared to Elanor. "You will be my servant until we see it fit to be otherwise."

Helena, smiling, reached down to touch her new servant's hair much like Elanor had done to her before.

"You may rise."
 

Get of W'soran

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#97
Nicoletto smiled and bowed his head to Elanor, his previously cold manner seemingly vanishing in a blink of an eye.

"Very gracious Lady Rosenberg." he said politely "You are a credit to the Aristocracy of the Night, there is no shame in behaving poorly so long as the fact is recognised as you have just done."

As he spoke he made a gesture with one hand causing Giovanni to swiftly cross the room to being healing the vampiress.

The Tilean vampire strode over to the weapon racks and put the Greatsword away before turning back to the room.

"The night is still young and I imagine some of you might still be wishing for that training session I promised earlier. If anyone would like they make take one of the blunt training weapons and practice, I am available to assist anyone who wishes it."
 

The Dread King

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#98
A quiet sigh of relief escaped Morturion's lips as he witnessed the duel end and the subsequent threat of an outbreak of resentful violence dissolve.

There had been several moments in the duel where The necromancer had worried that disaster for the Council or, at least, some part of its membership was imminent. With this new and unexpected contract of servitude made by the two duelists, the turmoil had been resolved for the time being; the wizard wondered for how long Elanor - someone who had appeared to fall victim to vampiric pride - would tolerate serving under Helena, which was bound to be an annoying prospect, to say the least.

Morturion realised that he
might have been expected to say something, having sat in silence throughout the duel, (which had proved to be more eventful than Morturion had originally expected, although not as violent as he had feared). In a somewhat cautious tone, he said: "Erm...congratulations to both participants? I hope you can both demonstrate such skill and, ah, resourcefulness in the upcoming raid on the amethyst college."
 

Simon von Carstein

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#99
"Yes indeed. An excellent show." The Colonel clapped.

Turning to Morturion he continued "Though hopefully if all goes to plan we won't have to use that kind of skill and resourcefulness."
 

Bounce

Varghulf
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Elanor rose and stood silently behind Helena. Her eyes downcast and deep in thought. Her head still ringing from the blow she had received. It seemed she had been forgiven for her folly. She would not forget though and when she got the chance she would gladly orchestrate Helena's downfall. Till then she would bide her time.

Yes, Morturion. She thought to herself. I will use all my skills and resources. After all this was her city.
 
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