2019-04-14 - Tip of the Spear


There are some strange places to train in New York.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Apr 14 04:00:45 2019
Location: RP Room 1

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The kwoon is a place of peace and center of being, it's feng shui is masterfully crafted to offer a sense of dicipline and purpose without feeding aggression or anger. The floor is made of padded leather mats, soft enough to cusion a hard landing but not soft enough to hide that you did in fact smash into a floor. The walls are wood, presumably paneled, dark and smooth they add a warm to the place that a lot of modern martial arts training facilities lack. While modernity isn't entirely avoided here, there are some yoga mats rolled up in a corner and neatly stacked kettle bells and the like, it's clearly been pushed aside for a older asthetic. The smell of sweat and leather and wood polish lingers here in the air not unpleasently, and to Hod's nose at least, it's only accentuated with the coppery tang of old blood.

WHUMP! The spear impacts the mat hard enough for the smacking sound to echo in the small space a fraction of a second before the long weapon cuts the air in a whipping blur fast enough not to whistle so much as scream through the air. The glinting point jabs darts and stabs thin air in a staccato pattern that only a trained eye could see would have landed each blow in a vital area of an opponant. The man wielding the staff moves with a flowing grace that hides the power behind each block and blow worked into the pattern he weaves. The weapon is clearly as much a part of him as his own arm, it's edge darting more like a serpents head then a spear's, so fast and smooth are it's motions.

Someone knows their craft. Said someone crouches low to the ground in a long form stance, the spear running along the back of his shoulders, it's head quivering in the air after a sudden stop in it's arching curve, the metal humming with the stored energy of the checked blow. He wears loose black pants with a white belt around his waist and tape covers his feet and hands, leaving the rest of him bare. His torso is whip cord muscle, like twisted cables beneath his skin, ropey and sinewy, but without fat to spare. His skin sports more tattoo's then is likely fashionable, the looping whirls and glyphs on them from several cultures across the world, norse, Egyptian, Sumerian, Akkadian, Greecian, Chinese, Japanese, even a few far off the beaten paths from the deep hearts of South America and Africa. His skin glistens with a sheen of sweat, and he's breathing heavily, panting really, sucking in controlled lungfuls of air as if trying to exert his will on a percieved weakness.

As if this were not enough, there is a cloth tied around his head, not unlike Rand's own mask, only without spots for his eyes, a black covering that binds his hair and blinds his eyes in a single swoop.

Danielle Rand has a few places around town that she does her own solitary practicing. There's a room in her penthouse apartment devoted to practice. But when you engage in a martial art, practice can't always be solitary. And beating up muggers just doesn't count as real practice. Sometimes you have to go where you can practice against others - preferably others who at least approach your level of skill.

That's a hard thing for Danny to find these days. Leaving K'un-Lun was one thing, but finding sparring partners here is another. Luckily, the truly good places like this are respectful about privacy. They don't ask why the billionaire heiress is also a skilled fighter, and they don't go talking to the papers about it either.

Which is why, while Hod works with his spear, Danny is finishing up a spar with the master of the kwoon. In loose pants and a tank top, with her hair braided and wrapped around her head, she moves with utter confidence and grace. The sound of hands or feet on flesh is rare and perfectly measured, lacking the sound of painful force. The air around the pair is almost audible given the speed of arms and legs, sweeping motions that sway and redirect with incredible power.

Hod moves from split second speed to a hard change in tempo, pulling everything down to a crawl now. He lifts the back end of the spear high over his should, dipping the tip low, and with exaaaaaaagerated care, sends the edge sipping towards an invisible opponents foot making the motion last long seconds it would never take in a real fight. This increases the move's difficulty in execution geometrically in comparrison, and it shows, the man's hands just shy of trembling under the strain.

The kwoon (Chinese version of a dojo) is currently low on occupancy and for good reason. Across the leather padded floor Danny and the kwoon's master are finishing up a spar of their own, while a sweaty, shirtless, tattoo'd, winter wolf lean, and head wrapped (covering his 'eyes' of course) Hod moves slowly through a Chinese spear combat form as if he were fighting his way through molasses. The strain of maintaining proper form under the self impossed super slow speed is telling, the sinewy muscle under his skin twitching and bunching with the strain of maintaining his balance. It's also clear in the drop of sweat that falls from his elbow and the breath hissing through teeth clenched and bared teeth.

Loki arrives, very suddenly, with Sif in tow. There's a smell, like old ice, and a vertical line slits open and spits them right out onto the edge of the dojo mat. Loki appears to be on the paler side of pale from the effort of the transport and he drops down to one knee and leans over it. His dark hair veils his features on either side of him. His fingers reach out to pat Sif on the leg and he whispers, "I think the old man is on a date…"

In contrast to Hod's measured solo work, Danny and the master are picking up speed, engaged in an up and down, back and forth exchange of blows and sweeps. Any blows that land are just enough to count a point, the limit of strength almost as impressive as the speed at which they move. The sounds of feet and bodies against the mats gets louder as they move more powerfully, until Danny finally sees the opening she's looking for. Her elbow settles on the master's shoulder, arm straightening as she flows past to sweep an arm around his neck, pull, and twist in a move that - at full strength - could snap said neck. In this practice, there's just enough force combined with a carefully-placed heel to flip him head over heels and onto his back on the mat.

…Just in time for a portal to open up at the edge of the mat.

Danny settles into a way crouch as the others appear, hands in a guarding position in front of herself. "Boy, did you two pick a bad place to show up."

Sif knew that this method of transport was going to be unpleasant. She merely underestimated how much. Arriving in such a manner, she doesn't manage to retain some semblance of balance like the dark-haired prince manages, and hits the wooden floor hard enough to knock the wind from a human. She is immediately moving to stand, though, because even if she is still rather thoroughly disorented, she's a warrior, and will meet those that are here on her feet not her backside.

The pat on the leg makes her want even more to regain her feet, even if the whispered bit of mockery was not aimed at her. She looks around the room and sees Hodr practicing with a spear as well as the Midgardian woman in a combat stance, possibly protecting the other man behind her. "We are here to speak with Hod," she tells the woman as she clambers just a bit dizzily to her feet. She doesn't offer Loki a hand up, knowing he'd refuse even if she thought he needed it.

Hod's dropped all pretense of slowed speed the instant he felt the magic in the room, and the spear was whipping back around to point at the tear in reality even as Loki makes his quip. The only saving grace is that the spear is not /his/ spear, but rather a more mundane weapon, Chinese in style and origin and complete with red tassle just behind the blade. This does not make it any less deadly in Hod's hands. Five centuries they mocked him, they beat him, they humiliated him, but none could honestly question his skill with his father's weapon of choice. That didn't stop them from questioning it dishonestly however.

The tip of said spear quivers in the space between Loki and Sif as if undecided on a target, "Seriously brother?" he says, his wrapped head tilted a bit to far to the left to be 'looking' at Loki, "You waste your power to find me and decide to bring /her/ along with you?" What was practice before is now serious business, the spear no longer held in a fancy practice form so much as a 'stabbystabby' sort of grip. It's a lot less pretty.

Loki glances over to Sif, then to Danny and Hod. "Ahhh…well…I'm in the mood for a misunderstanding", and he reaches behind him and pulls out his two blue-toned daggers. Hod fights like dad? Loki fights like mom. He gives a little nod of his head from Sif to Danny. Bringing himself up to both feet, he takes on a fighter's posture. "Where's the scarab I gave you?"

"Look, I'm going to assume this fellow's the Hod you're looking for." Danny points a thumb in the direction of the man with the spear. "And hey, I'll even cut you some slack for clearly being from out of town. Been there. Done that." She straightens up, hands up and palms out in front of her. "But you've still come to the wrong place, because this is not a place for interrogations or unnecessary violence."

Despite the fact that she's taken up what's meant to be a relaxed and disarming stance, Loki and Sif have been warriors for long enough to recognize that she's every bit as coiled and ready as she was a moment ago, even as she takes a few slow steps forward.

"So how about you leave your cards at the desk and go wait outside the door like nice, normal, respectful people who understand the concept of boundaries?"

Sif straightens and turns to Danny as Loki faces off with his brother, her own sword and buckler still strapped to her back like an oddly configured metallic purse. At the blonde woman's words, she glances around the room again, mentally noting the complete lack of breakables or furniture. "This resembles a child's training hall. It would seem the ideal place for unnecessary violence."

But, this IS Midgard, and so many things are vastly different than what she expects. "Perhaps you are correct." She looks back to Loki and would sigh if it were something she'd learned to do. "Loki, perhaps drawing blades is not the best way to approach this. Hodr, the Midgardian sorcerers and I found more of those metal beetles. One had your name inscribed on it."

Hod's knuckles tighten around the shaft of the spear and he shifts his weight, sliding his feet around so that he's within diving distance of where his cane rests against his bag near the wall. The spear in hsi hands dosen't dip, "And?" he says flatly, as if this were nothing to be conserned about.

Loki lets out a dramatic sigh and relaxes his posture. "Now I have the same question as you, brother. Why did I bring her? Since when is talking things out the Asgardian way?" Finally to Danny he greets, "Hello…I'm Loki…" Back to Hod. "She just wanted to warn you that it might have been made to capture you. Some Midgardians are still working on the translation, though."

Danny arches a brow at Sif, lips twitching toward a smirk. "Yeah. Puny mortals. Cool. Still applies." She crosses her arms loosely over her chest, weight shifting to one hip as she looks between the various Asgardians. "Don't you people have a mead hall or something to do this in?"

Because, you know, the tiny blonde fits right in here too.

Sif nods her admittedly reluctant agreement with Loki's assessment. "The Midgardian sorcerers might wish to speak with you again. And I…" she hesitates, knowing that if what she's about to say gets back to Odin she might be in rather severe trouble, "I am pledging my sword to protect you until this matter is settled."

Then Danny tries to quip about a mead hall, and she frowns at the tiny blonde woman faintly. "Hodr was exiled from Asgard, I doubt he would be comfortable joining our mead hall for any reason."

Hod tilts his head slightly and the corner of his mouth twitches downward, as close as he comes to an eyenarrowing gaze, "You can't allow the exile into your mead hall." he informs the woman, "Not unless you wanna get spanked." because that explains everything oh so well. "Why would you," this directed at Sif, "warn me about anything? Not exactly any of your styles." he pauses, "Maybe Loki's," he admits with a begrudging nod, "but only if it set me up for some 'hilarious' humiliation afterward somehow."

Sif's words give him pause, then he breaks into a grin, followed by a guffaw of laughter. The spear is pulled back, but mostly so he can lean on it as he crosses a free arm over his stomach, letting loose the barks and even a snort or two of mirth.

There's a pause from the Prince while Hod laughs. "You should be flattered. She's certainly not pledged her sword to me in recent memory. What have you done with the beetle, by the way…not given it to some Midgardian sorceror, I hope." Loki aasks, looking over towards Danny again. "Do you want to see the mead hall?"

"Generations of vikings and you're telling me there's only one? That just seems like poor planning." Danny isn't necessarily known for her good decision-making skills. But Sif has made an oath, and Hod doesn't look like he's going to start a fight at the moment, so she lets out a slight breath. "Cool. You guys all good here now?"

Sif stares at Hod while he guffaws, her expression a mix of shock, indignation, and offense. "Do you dare mock me, Exile? I have no obligation to offer you protection. Quite the contrary. But. These attacks that seem to involve you somehow are starting to put Midgardians at risk. That I cannot allow. So if protecting your cursed self is what it takes, that is what I shall do."

She then turns her glare on Loki. "Of course I haven't pledged my sword to you. You still haven't apologized for ruining my hair."

Hod stands back upright, "Flattered." he says, and the word fairly drips wry humor before he turns Danny's direction, "I appologize. My family is known for many things, good etiquette is rarely among them." He then turns to the master of the kwoon and snaps the spear to his shoulder where it's tip is far from harming anyone. He then bows low, offering a sincere and somewhat embarassed appology in perfect Mandarin. He remains bowed until the master makes a small dismissive noise and offers the smallest of bows of his own, more an inclined head really.

Hod stands once more then and turns his back on the lot of them, beginning to make his way towards the wall where he can replace the spear upon a rack of similar weapons. The covering over his eyes seems to do little to hinder him, "What makes you think I would accept cab fare from any you, much less protection?" he asks with a tone caught somewhere between venom and legitimate curiosity. "I remember every petty cruelty, every lie, every humiliation, every beating, but you know what I don't remember? A whisper of protest from any of you but Baldur as I was hurled from my home for a crime I've not commited." he was so angry when he started talking, now he just seems sad. The lines on his face, the ones that can be seen beneath the edge of the face wrap, seem deeper as his shoulders slump slightly. He moves towards his own bag and cane against the wall, "But now I am to believe you are concerned for my well being. Funny. This young woman I've never met came to my aid sooner then my own family." he motions towards Danny with a hand as he picks up the bag, "If that doesn't just about sum up everything."

Loki eyes Sif at her comment about her dark hair…her /worse/ hair, hair like his. He sucks his cheeks in a bit and his lips purse. "Brother, I will expect you to return what I brought you. But for now…" Loki takes a few steps, putting himself out of the immediate reach of any of them. Then he flashes a rather quick and wickedly bent grin, his eyes narrowed and glinting. "I think, for the insults leveled my way…you two deserve ample /time/ to talk it out." A beat. Then he makes a curling motion with both hands…and unless someone throws a sword, a spear or a Danny through him, he disappears, abandoning Sif.

Danny quirks a brow as Hod repeats Loki's appearing act with a disappearing one of his own, lifting both hands with a shrug. "Thanks for playing, guys, but it looks like your princess is in another castle."

As is probably only too expected of her by Loki, Sif does not catch on that he's about to take off until he actually disappears… and she's been left behind. She gapes for a second at where Loki is no longer standing, then blurts out a few choice expletives in a language that only Hod will understand.

Speaking of, she then turns to the blind man. "I understand your bitterness, Hodr. But accept it or not, I WILL do my best to protect you when I can. I am not expecting your thanks." She didn't think she'd get one anyway.

She glances to Danny one last time before turning and trying to figure out which doorway to take her out of this building so si can try to employ a taxi to convey her back to the Embassy.

Hod shoulders the bag and stands still, listening to Sif heading for the door and her small speech. He doesn't say anything more on the matter, letting Sif walk out, her affirmations uncommented upon. There's a full twenty seconds after she'd gone that he merely stands there, waiting, head cocked to the side, listening for another shoe to drop. When none is incoming he seems to deflate a bit and turns to lean against the wall where his bag was resting a moment ago. He slowly slides down it onto the floor and rests with his back against the cool wood and his head hanging between his shoulders. He wearily pulls a pair of sunglasses from his bag and lifts them to his face even as he peels the mask off of his head, the trasition a flawless magicians trick of slieght of hand, leaving no moment where his eyes were not covered. "Well." he says to no one in particular. "Fuck." the single word carrying gravitational weight.

His head drops back against the wood with a thunk and he speaks up, knowing Danny's still there as he can hear her breathing, "Hey, I know it wasn't for my benefit, but uh… thanks. I'm gonna go now, but if you're around here often, remind me I owe you a slice or something." he's trying to sound nonchalant, almost cheery, but he's not fooling anyone.

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