Kickoff written by cait.l1n



This was what she liked about combat, it was move and counter move and always moving faster than her opponent. It was a dance with no rests, no pauses, just a streamline of steady cadenzas that grew faster as she willed it. One step after another, she led her prey into an elegant waltz. As the symphony of heartbeats and pulses roared louder, there was nothing in her mind other than where she was going to land her next blow and whether her opponent was fast enough to predict her next move.
Well, that’s an obvious no.
The male opposite from her frowned with effort, fists clenched and trembling. They both knew if there were any fight left in him, it was none other than the insufferable pride that kept him standing. But that pride was going to kill him in a real battle. No honour ever graced the fields when men desperately clung to their lives, their dread made even the lowest of low a righteous attempt at living, she should know that better than anyone.
Valarie advanced
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with deadly precision, every hit aimed to kill. As her opponent’s calculated steps crumbled into a broken chain of movements, she pushed with elbows and knees without any means to hold back. Joint popped as the fae’s arm hung limp beside him in a revoltingly odd angle. The dance was getting ever so dull as her partner struggled to block her attacks that didn’t even give him a mere second to breathe.
The male panting before her braced himself for another deadly swing, cowering as he cradled his dislocated arm, reluctant to push it back into its socket. His moves were getting sloppy by the second, his stamina dropping faster than the autumn leaves outside the duelling hall. Valarie felt a smirk tugging on the corner of her lips as her long hair clung to her sweat-slicked back. she had almost beaten every single fae male in the academy, but it didn’t make hand-to-hand any less fun.
“Don’t you think that’s enough, Val?” a sweet voice chimed from the entrance, leaning on the rich dark wood
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with her arms crossed was her best friend who had a deadly way with daggers, and her body an even deadlier weapon. “Who are you going to date if you beat every single one of them into a bloody pulp?” She joked with an easy charm, Emery was everything Val ever wanted to be.
She leapt down the mats with a step, waving off her exhausted opponent who grunted his relief before staggering off. “You know I’m not about that.” she can feel the adrenaline from the rounds rushing back like fading tide. Valarie rebandaged her hands that were throbbing with pain, while she took in her friend dressed in no other than the uniform the academy assigned to every one of them, yet it looked as if it was specifically tailored for her.
“But I do, and I like faeries. Their face is literally a god blessing.”Emery whined, before winking at the male busy retreating towards the change rooms. She visibly winced when the fae turned around to return a flirtatious smile. “Look what you’ve done to him.” He did have a
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god-blessed face that’s for sure, until Valarie swung a fist right into his left eye.
She waved it off, it was combat, not a play, what was one expecting to step on the mats? Have tea?
“Faes heal in no time, that black eye would only be there for like an hour.” Valarie suggested casually while throwing on a windbreaker with the academy crest sewn on the front, “his face would look like a god-blessing by the time you invite him to bed.”
“That’s good to hear.” With perfect red curls bouncing on Emery’s shoulders, her friend didn’t even blush at the remark before stealing one or two glances at the fae male’s unharmed side of the face. Valarie chuckled despite herself, it was moments like this that kept her somewhat sane, that kept her distracted from what haunted her at every wake.
She swallowed two bluish pills as prescribed by the academy rehabilitators, who tracked her meds for what seemed like every hour of the day. Valarie was very tempted to peg the damned glass vial right
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