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Dec 02, 2022 2:16 AM
allegra is transported to the bronze orchard
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"Uh. I'd expect to have a fresh recruit with no armour on the floor in two blows, but I'm assuming that we're not talking about unarmoured magicians who are fresh out of their parents' tower here? Normally it's just, like, bruising and getting the breath knocked out of you, but it can crack a rib if someone's unlucky; as long as it doesn't do anything like that, a nice lie down for a couple of hours should sort them out?

I think I should at least sleep this off before we try any kind of standardised testing, but hopefully I'll be up for it some time tomorrow."

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"Oh, I see. That's very minor, then. We all have combat training, so we're more resilient. Even though I'm a wizard, I'm one of the most resilient people here, since I'm seventh-circle. It would take a lot to kill me. 

Do you require silence or concentration to rederive Repel? Or for me to fetch you a prop or a person to cast on – I know many spells require that you target a person specifically.

It would actually be better for you to be impaired, in a way, when we conduct the testing, since testing you requires that you willingly not resist the spell effects. But I don't want to compound the pain from your god-vision. I've had one before, so I know what how it feels. We can do it tomorrow."

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"Basically I need to spend some time remembering how to do it and practicing that. I probably won't get it today, at some point I'll need to actually be hitting something to improve, and at some point that'll need to be a person.

I'm not totally sure I'm going to make much progress on it like this anyway. I think I'd be better off either answering questions, doing something reactive, or doing something more physical."

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"Hm, you've used up...three out of four of your personal mana now, yes? Try using the pearl of power now. How much mana are you able to get from it?

As for other questions, I don't think I have many questions as of now. The people at the workshop would probably ask you more questions about item crafting, but it seems that you are not specialized in that, and you don't have any specimens for us to work on. Unless your buckler and rod are magical?"

 

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Oh yes, this object is something important! It's just as well she didn't have anything else to pick up or she'd have totally dropped it and forgotten it ever existed.

She tries to feel out the pearl's magic again, and tries to remember activating Crystaltender's Vestments. She'd only got to try them out the once, as she clearly wasn't a front line mage and nobody wanted to lose them behind the lines. It's kind of like, you tap into the mana like this, and you twist it up into your reserves like this...

oh, and apparently if you do that you get a blinding stab of pain from your stupid headache and have to catch yourself on one of the padded walls, which is not the most dignified thing ever.

"Uh," she says, pulling herself upright like nothing just happened, "I think I got it? Uh, the rod, the rod is kind of magical - not a proper magic item that bonds into the weapon slot, but it has to be made right to focus the magical energy, it's pretty simple and I can throw one together as long as there's wood and basically any kind of gemstone I can wedge in the end."

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She purses her lips at Allegra stumbling.

"Did you get any mana out of it? If you want to sit down, I can get a stool for you. Alternatively, we can call it a day. If you want to do something that doesn't require thinking, then we can go to the gymnasium so that we can make progress on your fitness test.

Ah, that's a potentially very interesting path to pursue. Our touch spells have to be delivered by touch. There are ways to enchant a weapon to permit it to store spells and cast them upon impact, or those than can permit certain effects to be channeled through the weapon. However, they are not versatile and require expensive spellsilver and delicate enchantment work. If, as you say, the rod can work as a casting focus with just a gem and a wooden stick, then it would revolutionize melee casting. Being able to cast through rods and staves would give melee wizards reach.

Although a part of me is thinking that it wouldn't work, and that this property is dependent on the particular way your magic works. Your magic seems more...freeform? In a way? Detect Magic gave that impression. For us, any deviation in the verbal, somatic, or material components in a spell will cause it to instantly fail, unless you deliberately construct it to negate the need for one of the three."

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"I.. think so? It feels like I can cast more than once and I only had one left." She's not all that enthused about the idea of trying it out.

"Yes, our magic is much more about - intentionality? Your intention's got to be compatible with one of the things which is possible, and expressed in the right kind of way, but once you've got a bit of practice then it's pretty easy to make almost anything have it fall into place. I know someone whose favourite vocal component for Repel was just, 'you, fuck right off!', and because she had the right underlying concepts in mind, it worked just fine.

I was pretty conservative with detect vocals because I wasn't sure most of it would work, but runes seem to be fine; I kind of expected those to be the most universal."

Ugh. She doesn't want to address anything else Conradia has said, that sounds like making a decision, she doesn't want to make a decision right now. Pretty much the only thing that would perk her up would be actually getting into a fight.

"...is there sparring going on? I'm going to suck at it, but it sounds like the most fun way of moving around that I can think of right now," she suggests. "It doesn't count as harm if we're using the special not injuring anyone weapons, right?"

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She laughs. "Oh, how I wish our magic worked like that! I would totally cast half my spells with that verbal component if I could. For us, magic is mathematical and deterministic. You can't be creative like that. Divine magic is more flexible with regard to internal intent, but only to a point. Their casting components must still be the same for everyone."

Right. She's a little annoyed, but also understanding. When Conradia got a god vision, she basically took the rest of the day off because her brain stopped working. She's not sure Allegra ought to be sparring right now, but whatever. She can do what she wants.

"Yes, there's always sparring going on, especially with the summer solstice incoming. It doesn't count as harm, yes. I can bring you to the training rooms if you want. What kind of sparring do you want to do? Presumably you want a weapons only with no spells type of sparring. Some people spar until one of them falls unconscious: mostly those who want to compete."

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"It's not like I'm going to wake up with a worse headache," she replies. That's probably not actually true, but being knocked over sounds really quite relaxing right now, to be honest. She's always strangely enjoyed those moments when everything's broken and there's nothing to do but gaze at the sky and hope someone shows up in time, as much as she fights desperately not to get there if she's not certain of rescue.

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She's a wizard, but she acts like one of the antipaladins she knows. 

"Alright, let me take you to the training rooms."

The two of them walk for several minutes, until they come to another large room. There are four large slightly raised square platforms measuring eighty feet on each side, where people are currently sparring, usually one on one. There's about thirty people milling about, or queuing for a turn. There's an opening in the wall where a much smaller armory is, where people are taking and putting back weapons from.

"Do you want to go looking for a sparring partner yourself, or should I try to match you up to someone maybe of your level? In what manner do you want to spar?"

In the meantime, she asks the person at the armory for a Merciful rapier. It looks basically the same as the rapier Allegra was given earlier. The armorer puts the blade on the table and asks Allegra to stamp the logbook.

"Remember to bring it back once you're done," the armorer says.

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She goes through the motions of nodding (that was a bit of a mistake) and stamping the logbook.

"It's probably best if you match me. Uh, ask them what they want? I don't want to try casting anything, so probably no magic." Allegra is no longer extremely sure that this is a great idea, but she's here now. She definitely doesn't want to actually talk to someone she doesn't know to try to arrange a bout, that sounds like an even worse idea. "Do you have any training armour? It'll probably be more entertaining for them if I don't immediately go down like a sack of potatoes. Uh, probably just a padded jacket or something, I still want to be able to move."

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"Do you have a padded jacket? Or light armor in general."

          "Yes, we have a padded jacket. Coming right up." They place the jacket on the table, and Conradia hands it to Allegra.

"There you go. They have medium and heavy armor if you want it too. I think, hm..." She looks at the crowd for a while.

"Ah! Agnes is here. She's about your level, I would think. And I think it would be a more even match if you use no magic." She beckons her over.

"Aside from Merciful weapons, we use Merciful rods – our rods are different from yours – when we're sparring with magic. The rod infuses the Merciful enchantment on the spell being cast so that it is similarly nonlethal.

Getting stabbed with a Merciful weapon feels the same as getting stabbed as a normal weapon, but the weapon doesn't break the skin. You only get a nasty bruise that resolves within a day or so, possibly sooner if you nap."

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She waves and runs to them.

"Hello, Conradia. Hello, Allegra. Nice to see you here. Are you here to spar? I'd love to spar with you, um, if you want." She clearly wants it.

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"That's what I'm here for," replies Allegra. She has an urge to abjectly overshare and tell Agnes that she has a terrible headache without a physical cause and is finding this very confusing and would thus like to actually be in pain for obvious reasons instead, but she stamps on it as utterly inappropriate. "I don't know what the local customs are, though; I've picked up the special weapon for it, I'm assuming there are conventions on where to start and so on?" Ugh, sparring is so complicated, if her old unit had had these kind of weapons that definitely wouldn't need a physick on hand - and was clearly out of danger - they'd absolutely just ambush each other and cut out the boring negotiation part.

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There is a cleric on hand for emergency healing, but they're basically just sitting in the corner doing nothing. They're there in case some freak accident happens, and will only start paying attention if someone calls for them.

"I'm currently sparring without using magic."

          "Yes, no magic, please," Conradia says.

"Right, no magic with you. We wait until one of the squares is free, and then we just go at it. Usually, people spar until they get several hits in and stop, but many go 'to the death', as in going until one of them in unconscious. Which do you prefer? You're new, so I'll let you pick."

 

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"I'll be impressed if you can actually make me lose consciousness, unless these things work very weirdly," replies Allegra. She knows some people black out when they're badly injured, but she's never been one of them, although she sometimes doesn't have the energy to scream. "How about, until one of us can't get back up - or chooses not to, I guess."

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"That's fine with me. The weapons can make you black out because they produce the same sensations as getting the injury, without actually injuring you. But maybe people work differently where you're from. Sure, you look human on the outside, but maybe your internals are all different."

She points to an empty square.

"Great! Those two finished just in time for us." She runs up into the middle of the square and waits for Allegra to follow.

"Let's begin. I won't hold back. Do the same for me." She holds her own rapier in front of her.

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Allegra takes her at her word, and doesn't wait a moment or put up a guard; she immediately ducks to one side and aggressively presses the attack. She's not good at this, but she generally makes up for it with unhesitating aggression and ideally a bit of surprise.

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Agnes decides to take the opposite approach, and waits for Allegra to make the first move. Then, she pivots on her front foot, twisting her body and leaning down and forward to try to hit Allegra in the leg. She's being a show-off, and there's a good chance it won't work. It almost doesn't, but she succeeds in driving the tip of the rapier into Allegra's thigh.

The rapier pierces through the cloth, but it doesn't penetrate the skin. Still, they weren't lying when they said it would feel like getting stabbed. There's a sharp pain, as well as a sensation similar to that of getting punched or clubbed in the area.

The rapiers have a base enchantment of +1 in order to have the Merciful enchantment placed on them. They feel like very high quality weapons, almost supernaturally easy to wield.

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Eh, Allegra's been stabbed before, and the great thing about being in pain in two different locations is they kind of trade off with each other; there's only so much capacity to pay attention to the signals before it all gets kind of saturated.

She instinctively starts to move to protect her leg arteries, but very quickly recalls that's actually unnecessary and also she's not actually limited in movement from being supposedly impaled; instead she continues to press the attack, following through in an attempt to get inside Agnes' reach and trying to deliver a slash right across her torso.

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Agnes leans back and successfully evades the brunt of the slash, but the tip of the rapier drags across her leather armor, making a long but shallow gash in it. She'll have to Mend that later. 

She's going to try another show-off-y move and push Allegra's rapier with her left forearm in the same direction as the blade's travel, and then thrust her own rapier into Allegra's right shoulder.

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