(1310-06-25) A Lesson in Blades
Summary: Desarae goes to the Citadel to watch Augustin training some of the City Guard, and receives a lesson herself.
RL Date: June 26th, 2018
Related: None
augustin desarae 

The Citadel - Port of Marsilikos

High on a promontory on the southern peninsula of Marsilikos, the Citadel stands tall and firm against the winds whipping in from the sea. Its only approach is from the north, a set of stairs carved in a coil directly into the granite of the mount, wide enough for only two to pass shoulder to shoulder, rising to meet the single gate room between the inner and outer walls of the citadel, both of travertine, white against the dark grey bedrock that rises high over the port, studded with guardposts, each flying the billowing blue banner of Marsilikos.

Within the twin walls of the citadel the granite has been leveled into a flat rectangular surface, atop which a variety of buildings have been built. The most well-fortified of these is the great octagonal watchtower, crafted in grey granite blocks which match the terrain, rising ten stories higher than the top of the citadel itself, in the top belfry of which is kept a wide array of spyglasses, alarums and masive flags to haul aloft to warn the town below of the arrival of various ships from sea. On the other side of the courtyard are two shorter granite buildings with big bronze doors, under guard all day and all night: the Treasury and Armory, respectively, of Marsilikos. There is also a wooden barracks-building to house the troops which staff the citadel, and the bulk of the citadel floor is open and used for military drills and exercises.

It is mid-afternoon, and apparently part of the city guard are turned out for sword training—which is being conducted by Augustin. He is dressed in a simple gambeson and trousers, and is showing a group of apparently new recruits the basic movements of a standard longsword. His movements are easy and fluid, and the young men that he is training are..the oposite of that.

There's a few places that Desarae has taken to haunting of late, and one of them is the Citadel. Not for her the bustle of the city just yet, with its gaggle of chattering people with nothing else on their minds save the colour of the next ribbon they wish to buy, or how delightful the pastries at the master bakers are proving to be. No. She's still preferring places where she can lose herself in her thoughts, or indulge herself in scenes like the one taking place in the Citadel's courtyard right now. Her hair left down and subject to the wiles of the stiff sea breeze that whips over the top of the wall where she sits, she watches Augustin putting the guards through their paces, the black of her gown and the whip of her hair making her look altogether too much like an observant raven. About her waist she wears the dagger that her cousin had gifted her.

Augustin doesn't fail to notice the arrival of his cousin, but for the next several minutes he focuses on his students. "Be careful when you're striking with a longsword, because it absolutely will get stuck in your opponent's bones. It's hideous to think about, but it does happen—and I've seen men die because of it. Your best killing blows are the throat, the back of the neck, or the major arteries running through the legs. Striking for the heart is difficult with a larger blade because of the ribs, but can be done if careful. With a dagger you can also drive it in above the collar bone to an artery just below it on the right side," he explains. "Pair off with partners and work on the basic blows and parries," he orders them, while he wals toward the observant bird-like cousin.

Desarae lifts a hand to Augustin on his approach, and when he's closer still he'll be able to see the smile of greeting on her face. "Hello Augustin. That looked impressive. I hope you don't mind that I came to watch today." Beside her on the wall is a sketch pad, and charcoal figures litter the surface; dark lines boldly drawn that capture men in action with swords in hand. "It is good to see you again. Look. I have the dagger you gave me." A touch of her hand to the sheathed blade. "It feels good to have moved on a little, like a weight has been lifted. Myather has returned to Chavaise now, to see to the running of the marquisate, so I'm entirely at the mercy of my aunt."

Augustin shakes his head. "I don't mind in the slightest," Augustin says sinceely. "You're welcome to come watch any time you want. You can watch the fish learn how to fight," Augustin offers with a look over his shoulder. "Every year I'm constantly amazed new recruits can manage not to cut themselves to death," he sighs. He then nods at that. "Have you tried to practice with it at all?" He then nods again. "I wondered how it would feel. I watched, by the way…you did better than most of them would have," he offers with a wave to the practicing young men.

"It wasn't clean," Desarae says, mouth flattening as she speaks of the execution. "And, if I'm honest, I'm glad that it wasn't. She didn't deserve a quick death." She pulls the dagger from its scabbard and rotates her wrist, the sun flashing from it where it catches the edge of the blade. "Not really, no. The most I've done was to peel a peach with it. It's very sharp." A lopsided smile is offered her cousin. "You offered to train me with it, but there hasn't been time to come and pester you about it until now. Not that I expect a lesson now, of course. I can see that you're busy with other things." A glance to the guards who're practicing still. "Florent takes offence, by the way. He doesn't think that I need this."

Augustin shakes his head. "No, it wasn't," Augustin says, not planning on buttering her up on the matter it seems. "But even professionals don't always end up clean." He offers. "She did not. And either way it's done now." He snorts. "Why would I buy you a dull knife?" He shrugs, and sheaths hhis sword before drawing out his own dagger, with a lin head pommel. "I can walk you through the basics. And Flortent should be grateful you'll be able to protect yourself if they kill him first, because any reasonable assassin would go for the Cassiline first."

"Now?" Desarae's look is curious to her cousin, one brow slightly lifting as she turns the blade over in her hand. "Not that now isn't good, because clearly I have nothing better to do than to sit on this wall and watch you today." The hand not holding the dagger lifts to her face, and she takes a moment to capture back her hair from her face. "Me. Learning to defend myself with a blade. It's not something that I ever thought I would be doing. This is very far removed from my life in the salon." A quick twist is given her hair, and she knots it about itself, restraining it in the crudest of fashions at the nape of her neck. "Here?"

Augustin shrugs. "A good a time as any for the basics, although we'll have you wear a more plain dress in order to practice in. I don't want Her Grace sending me laundry bills," Augustin teases. He takes his dagger and holds you out to show you how he holds it. "Two very basic lessons for knife fighting. First is to hold it lightly—firm enough not to drop it when you attack, but loose enough to be able to move it around quickly. The second is to remember you have a second hand."

"My maids will happily clean and repair my gowns should they get spoiled," Desarae says, her nose crinkling with the smile that follows. "Black doesn't show the dirt too badly anyway." The tip of her tongue catches between her teeth as she finishes fixing her hair, and attention returns once more to her dagger. Fingers curl lightly about the handle and she swishes it before her. "Had you me in mind when choosing this blade? It seems to suit me tremendously well. Did you buy it, or was it one you already had?" A mock jab at Augustin's stomach. "I should get off this wall…"

Augustin snorts. "Your maids will do it because you pay them, and we can still try to minimize our impact on them. Why do you think I nearned the basics of mending holes in my own clothing?" He offers, before he reaches out to help her adjust her grip. "I went looking; mine tend to be a little more utilitarian, and the fancy ones people have given me didn't seem to match your aesthetic," he confesses. "But it is a good one. And yes, standing up off the wall is probably good." He reaches out to hold her wrist from the mock jab. "Given your size and strength, the best thing for you to do is react. You're faster, so move when they attack and then disable the limb. Cut te wrist and they'll lose motor contrl and risk bleeding out; cut the tendon inside the elbow and you'll disable the arm as well."

Desarae's skin is cool to the touch when Augustin adjusts her grip; her hand finely boned, and her fingers long and slim. She wears no rings, and neither do bracelets dangle on her wrists. Perhaps she'd hoped for this lesson all along and had thus come prepared. No effort is made to remove her hand from his, and brilliant green eyes search his face. "It's rather final, isn't it? I mean, it would have to be if someone meant to do me harm. There are no second chances when a blade is drawn after all." A tilt of her head, her eyes sliding from his to ground. "Will you help me off this wall, Augustin? I could jump, but it'd be easier by far if you lift me down."

"Sheath the blade, and then jump down. Very important life lesson, that," Augustin offers wryly as he holds his arms up to help her down once she has. "I can count on one hand the number of times I have fought to humiliate. I fight to win. It isn't always to kill, but it is always to win and win quickly unless it is in training. When someone pulls a knife on you, that's a pretty strong statement of intent."

Desarae sheathes the dagger, then lifts her arms so that Augustin can help her down. The toll of the last few weeks reveals itself in the fraility of her frame, and she's featherlight in the seconds it takes for him to set her safely on her feet. She smiles up at him. "Did you hear of the duel at the Night Court the other day? The Vicomte de Tonerre and my cousin Alexandre. Apparently it was over a novice, though I have no idea who. Knives were used, and it was my cousin whom claimed victory. I don't know whether the intent there was to kill or to humiliate, but I'm glad that there were no fatalities. There's been enough killing of late." She draws her blade once more. "You would have bested them both, I am sure."

Augustin helps her down carefully, and then nds at the question. "Yes, I heard about the duel. Knives on the street of the Night Court—how charming. Perhaps I shouldnt be so much of a snob about it, but it lacks a little bit of…panache, I suppose." He chuckles. "I'm glad that you're so confident in me, although I don't know. I've never crossed blades with Alexandre, it's entirely possible he's better than I am." He shrugs. "The important thing to remember is there is always someone better." He draws his knife again. "Under the arm is good, although if you can get under the arm just shove your blade in their armpit and puncture their lungs."

Desarae pulls a face. "Alexandre is very big." She takes a step backwards so that there's a modicum of distance between herself and Augustin. "And doesn't being big mean that there's a necessary handicapping of a person's speed? An elephant cannot move as quickly as a deer, no matter how hard it tries." A sweep of her arm as she tests the weight of the dagger in her hand. "But I agree with you about the duel, it was inelegant to hold it in the streets." A bite of her lip. There's something she's not quite saying, or allowing herself to, and she lifts her eyes back to her cousin's. "You'd have to allow yourself to get terribly close to strike beneath the arm. Surely at that point their own knife would be striking between your shoulders or pressed to your throat?"

"Some big men move very quickly," Augustin answers. "And sometimes they're even more dangerous because of your expectation that they won't be. Remember that an elepant necessarily takes much larger strides, and even if it is slower still covers great distances." He nods at her question. "You do, but you're not incredibly tall; you need to get in close if you can, inside their defenses. If I thrust," Augustin demonstrates by extending his arm, "You step to the side and jam the knife right under my arms." He points to the space where she could accomplish that.

And step to the side, Desarae does. "Like this?" A thrust of her own arm. There's no real intent with it though, and her blade naturally stops short of actually pricking that target that Augustin makes of himself. Her action does display her inheritent agility however, and there's a grace to her movements that tell of her Night Court training. There's such a determination in her face and in her eyes, that's it's almost endearing, her lower lip snagging between her teeth as she carries out the instructions she's given. "I am going to learn to ride too, Augustin. Did I tell you?" She continues to hold the point of her dagger to the pit of his arm whilst she speaks. "But I don't have a horse. I should get one."

Augustin watchees, and nods. "You're very quick. Swordsmanship, and knife fighting, is like dancing; if you have a talent for one, you'll have a talent for the other, at least in part," he explains, chuckling at the look of determination. "You didn't, but it's not surprisingunless you spend your wayward years in the Navy it's considered to be a basic skill among the nobility. And I'm sure we can find you a horseor rather, find you someone to find you a good one, since I know basically nothing about them."

Desarae's arm drops away, and there's a smile on her lips at the praise that's given. Her eyes find Augustin's and remain there. "I am good at dancing, Augustin. Perhaps in no small part due to the dance that we shared all those years ago." Her smile warms with her words and the memories invoked. "Anyway. Yes. I'm sure that the palace has many mounts that I could borrow, but it'd be nice to have one that's solely my own. The stablemaster would probably assist in that, if not my cousin Ashton, or even Alexandre. It isn't as if that side of my family are strangers to the breeding of horses, and I don't think I'd be wrong in saying that many of the finest horses in Terre d'Ange come from the Morhban stables." A wry smile. "Perhaps we could get you on a horse too?"

Augustin grins. "Well then I'll just have to have you stand on my feet if you're ever in serious danger," he teases, before he nods. "No, that is true, you have many connections on the other side of your heritage to help." He sighs a little bit at her wry smile. "I suppose I could get on one of the beasts and try not to fall off. I actually own a number of them just through inheritance, although I leave their care and breeding to others who know what they're doing." He shakes his head. "But I should go make sure the fish aren't gutting themselves. Watch what they're doing, if you can—the principles are similar, even if the size is different."

Desarae sheathes her knife, standing on the tips of her toes to press a kiss of affection to Augustine's cheek. "Thank you for this, Augustine. I didn't expect a lesson today, truly I didn't." She did. "I think that I shall sit up here for a while longer yet. I like it here. The Citadel suits by mood." One hand lifts to free her hair so that it can catch like a sombre weed in the wind as she turns to clamber back on her perch.

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