Monday, May 09, 2005



I come crashing through the first wall to stop suddenly on the second one, crumpling on the floor like a used napkin. Damn, she's tough.

"You're opening yourself too wide for too long. Try to never open so much, and if you have to, close up faster."

That's Lenneth again. She's been training me in the finer points of martial arts for a bit now. She says I'm a quick study, but she still berates me for every little detail.

Maybe someday I'll be thankful for it when it saves my life. If I survive her, that is.

I barely have time to stand, when she comes in with a quick dash, and tries to plant a roundhouse on my chest. I sidestep that one, and give her one in the ribs. She takes it gracefully, using it's momentum to aid her roll out of the building, right before it collapses from her kick to the last remaning structurally sound wall.

I think to get out, but there's no time. I summon the air around me, and force it out in a huge blast, clearing the debris from all around me, before it has a chance to crush me.

Lenneth yells at me, "Good! You're getting better at improvising during combat. And I'm very happy for that. " At least she's not all bark, she gives good advice as well. She continues, "Few things are more frustrating than looking for a way out that isn't there, to later figure out a far easier solution, when it's too late."

She suddenly gets serious, and I know what's coming. "Arilith, now practice your new creation. I think it has good potential, and if it doesn't, it will at least be a good first foray into the Perfected Lotus." There she goes, planting the seed of insecurity. She has that annoying tendency to encourage you and shoot you down at the same time. I think she feels herself to be intrinsically superior...

The fact that she is is a point for another time.

As instructed, I am to practice my new Martial Arts style, as soon as I get a name for it. She told me to focus on a theme, somethin akin to me, so I picked my flute and played. I figured "Sound" would be a good one, tied to air, my element, and to my flute, which I've played since being a child.

I play a few tones, to get things in place, and I signal Lenneth that I'm ready.

She begins by holding a big rock at arms length. "Try hitting this.", she says. I concentrate on the wind that flows around me, specifically the air flowing through my flute. I concentrate on the wind that resonates inside the flute's chamber, and I empower that resonance, channeling it to a target.

The sudden sonic resonance bursts in all directions, snapping the flute from my hands, and causing cracks to open up in the debris nearby. I failed, considering what I wanted to do, but the resulting effect was interesting nontheless. I'll try and purposefully do that later on.

Lenneth is already glaring at me, so let's change that. I again concentrate on the resonance the flute produces, and channel it with my essence into a target. This time I succeed.

The rock in her hand suddenly vibrates at the pitch I play, and then crumbles to small chunks. As impressive as this would be, she's still glaring at me. I did this yesterday, so she's expecting a change. So I quickly play a series of high-pitched notes, concentrating on the sound the pebbles make on the way to the ground, and I succeed. I carve up the ground beneath her in a perfect circle, bouncing the sounds of nearby objects, using the sounds of the falling pebbles as reference.

At this she looks impressed. But this is only training. This isn't the true purpose of this. This was only me calibrating my flute. Now the fun starts.

She throws a stone at me, and I press to intercept it's flight with a note. Predictably, the stone shatters, spraying me with dust. She throws a few more, each time at different parts of my body, which I mostly intercept without fail. And then she goes on and does something just to annoy me. She throws a handful of pebbles in my direction.

I remember my "mistake" a few moments before, and I try to replicate it, but holding onto the flute this time. The flute still escapes me, but the desired effect is done. The full handful snaps back at an invisible sound field, all of them crumbling. I even get to recover the flute from mid-air in such a way as to strike a pose at the end, making it look like it was part of the plan.

She smiles, her sweet smile that says "Well done" while at the same time saying "you're gonna regret what's next".

Here's today's exam. The way this art is supposed to be practiced, by both hers and my desires. She sprints to close range, and launches a roundhouse kick at my ribs. I snap back a step, and move my arm to block the blow. I channel the air with my essence through the flute, generating a tone, allowing me to use the sonic energy gathered in the flute to aid the block, effectively stopping her strength with minimal effort of my own.

She doesn't stop there, though. She spins the other way, aiming to kick my other side. Again I move to deflect with the flute's arm, and succed. Minimal effort. She rights herself, and sends a flurry of punches. Here, I just spin the flute in my hands in intricate motions, gathering air pressure inside the flute to generate that high-pitched tone I need to block her blows with brushes of my arms, or in one instance, with sound alone. That was particularly amazing.

Of course, whenever I end up looking too good, she brings me back down, snapping with some of her charms and completely obliterating my defense. I end up landing on my butt, having to hear her lectures again.

Geez, what's up with adults.

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