A Playful Duel

Dramatis Personae:

Una is a clothes-horse, but she was wearing a fairly typical outfit this day:

A slender young woman with short brown, curly hair. She is smiling cheerfully, as if amused at some jest, and the smile is also reflected in her brown eyes. She is wearing a black frock coat over narrow charcoal grey pants and a vest embroidered with a celtic knotwork pattern in green and silver. A platinum watch-chain crosses the vest, and a black silk cravat closes the collar of her white shirt. A sabre in a black lacquer scabbard is suspended from a belt worn underneath her waistcoat.

Constantine is a much more sober dresser than Una. His desc looked like this:

Constantine's hooded brown eyes contain calm resolution, which defines equally his clean-shaven face. His black curly hair is cropped close to his head. He wears a charcoal grey sweater, depending on the patterns of the weave rather than color for flair, over faded black denim pants. The sweater is most likely cotton, worn and comfortable. At his belt hangs a military saber, in scabbard, and a sleek automatic pistol. The buckle of his belt is a red square in a grey circle, ringed in gold.

This log has been edited. Extraneous background noise has been removed for clarity, and some lines have been rearranged to fit in a more natural order. One or two lines have been tampered with; these deal with scene changes, which scan poorly to people unfamiliar with MUDs. A few spelling errors in the original were corrected. Also, this log has been rendered in an impersonal third-person point of view for the most part, again for clarity.

[ The initial setting for this log is in the Worlds' End Bar, the social center of AmberMUSH. Una and Constantine are sitting at a small table; lines beginning with 'At the table' are only audible to those sitting at the table, not to the rest of the room. As tempers and voices rise, as is so common in the WEB, it is typical to switch from 'table-talk' to normal talking, so others can hear. ]

Constantine considers Una thoughtfully.

At the table, Una smiles.

At the table, Constantine says, with a very slight chuckle in his voice, "It occurs to me that I have perhaps grown rusty in my time away."

At the table, Una raises an eyebrow. "Rusty? Do go on..."

At the table, Constantine says "I think that perhaps two friends might spar where two generals should not."

At the table, Una says "True, I have considered that in the past, but have not wanted to appear to threaten the general of Chaos."
At the table, Una says "As you say, that obstacle is no longer between us."

At the table, Constantine says "So it is not. Una, I remember that you are a fan of my coffee."

At the table, Una says "I have enjoyed your Aspnes Kona, it is true."

At the table, Constantine says "There is a small pot which I had lent to the bar, here, for I found it made the best coffee."
At the table, Constantine says "When I asked, they said someone had borrowed it."

Una nods.

At the table, Una says "How careless..."
At the table, Una says "One must be careful who one lends things to..."

Constantine says, voice rich with regret, "I must ask if you have it, Una."

Una says "Me? I have not borrowed your pot, though I confess it makes excellent coffee."

Constantine looks a bit disappointed. "Ah well."

At the table, Una says "Unless... This pot was not green, perchance?"

At the table, Constantine says "It was, actually. Battered."

At the table, Una says "Well now, I do have such a pot in my possession, which I do use for making coffee, but I maintain that I did not borrow it from you."

At the table, Constantine says "Mmm. Hard to imagine who else you could have borrowed it from."
At the table, Constantine says "The coincidence is large."

At the table, Una smiles. "But, I maintain, merely a conincidence."

Constantine shakes his head.

At the table, Constantine says "I'd duel to regain my pot, you understand."

Una says "I am afraid, lord Constantine, that you are mistaken."

Constantine says "I do not think I am."

Daevros glances over his shoulder at Una.

Una winks at Daevros.
Una says "You would fight a duel over this, er, your pot? I am impressed. But the pot in question is, alas, mine."

Constantine says "Mmm. I don't think we'll settle this by words, Una."

Una says "Indeed, Constantine, we seem to have reached an impasse."

Glaif glances over in Una's direction.

Una says "There would appear to be only one way to settle this..."

Constantine says "It's a shame. I'm feeling fair tonight. Give me time to take off my armor?"

Una says "Certainly, my lord."

Constantine stands, graceful in armor. "I'll be back in a moment. Sabres?"

Una says "Sabres are acceptable."
Una grins.

Constantine grins back. "Good."
Constantine walks out through the door.
Constantine has left.

Cadence looks toward Constantine and Una for a moment and nods approvingly.
Cadence mutters to herself, "... way... should be."

Una sips her espresso, waiting.

[ Constantine leaves the Bar, returning shortly sans armour. ]

Constantine salutes Una, precise and crisp.

Una says "Well, where shall we begin?"

Constantine says "Here's a bit crowded, although not bad for footwork. There's a combat ground outside, though."

Una says "Then I think we had better retire to there, and leave these people to their drinks, while we settle weighty matters."

Constantine says "It's a weighty pot."
Constantine steps, backwards, outside.
Constantine walks out through the door.

Una walks out through the door.

[ Currently the Worlds' End Bar opens onto a muddy jousting field in The City of Black Bells. ]

Una draws her saber and salutes Constantine.

Constantine draws his, and salutes in return.
Constantine says "En garde."

Glaif walks out of a nearby door.
The animals scatter as Glaif appears.

Una drops en garde, low third position.

Constantine mirrors, effortless, finding himself position about five feet away.

Glaif stands silently near the door he has just come through.

Una smiles, then steps forwards agressively with a fleche.

Constantine passes back, parrying in fourth, and another pass back to bring himself ready again.

Una disengages her blade, bringing it up into second position and smoothly into and outside thrust.

Constantine sweeps his blade across Una's line, with a ring of steel, his footing a bit awkward on the wet ground as he steps back again; carefully, he drops back into a high sixth.

Una steps sideways and forwards, keeping the blades engaged.

Constantine pushes experimentally at Una's blade with his, trying to free the bind.

[ In the next few lines some game mechanics occurred; they demonstrated that Una and Constantine are extremely evenly matched. ]

Una continues sideways, circling, then disengages her blade and attempts a cut at Constantine's head.

Constantine pulls smoothly back, dodging, and in almost the same motion essays a thrust to Una's thigh, extending long.

Una brings her sabre down, parrying across her body.
Una foregoes a riposte to circle further to Constantine's left.

Constantine recovers himself again, with a grin, and circles to maintain his position. Three heartbeats into the circle, his blade flicks out towards her off arm, a cut.

Una parries the blow and ripostes!

Constantine parries in return, in good order, and continues the sequence with a cut at her off leg.

Una parries, stepping in and running her blade in coule, thrusting down at Constantine's knee while maintaining contact.

Constantine turns on his other foot, shifting his weight with a soft curse as the footing catches him again; he appears to be considering his off hand for a fraction of a second, but eschews its use.
Constantine slides a step or two further, heading behind Una.

Una keeps turning, passing Constantine, and returns to guard.
Una and Constantine end up face to face, at short range.
Una grins and pushes the locked hilts.

Constantine grins back, and muscles at the hilts, straining. With an almost casual air, he brings up his other hand, and tweaks at Una's nose.

Una exclaimes, "Why you..." and steps back to disengage, treading rather heavily on one of Constantines' feet.
Una cuts at the mired leg.

Constantine does not, quite, tug his leg out of the way in time; Una's blade slices slightly into the fleshy part of his leg.

Una smiles. "First blood, I believe. Do you wish to continue?"

Constantine shakes his leg, thoughtfully. "I think so. It's not a bad wound, and..."
Constantine considers Una a moment. "This is good; it's distracting me from problems. Do you mind?"

Una says "Anything to oblige...."
Una assumes the first position.
Una assumes the first position, blade pointed down.

Constantine reassesses the state of his leg, and drops neatly into en garde, watching Una closely, his back to the door of the bar.

Una cuts upward, at Constantine's elbow.

Constantine passes back and parries, returning to a wary third position, his footing still a bit unsure.

Una tries a few cautious thrusts, feeling out Constantine's defence.

Constantine maintains a nigh-impenetrable net of steel, playing strictly defensive for the time being.
Constantine backs, further, closer to the bar door, as he defends.

Una proceeds with a more complex series of jabs, trying to get his blade out of line.
Una thrusts at a possible opening.

Glaif moves a bit from the door so as not to cause any interference.

Constantine parries just barely, minimal effort, and ripostes with a grin.

Una parries, barely, and only by giving ground.

Constantine steps back, tests the door with the heel of his foot, and enters the bar backwards.
Constantine has left.

[ Constantine has reentered the Bar. Una follows him. It is, as usual, crowded. ]

Constantine comes in backwards, sabre drawn, facing Una. "You're good!"

Una advances through the door, sabre en guarde.

ThandaSien fishes around in her pockets and starts to pull something out. She looks up startled at Una and Constantine.

Constantine touches a slice on his leg with his off hand, and nods to himself. "Not quite good --"

Una says "Thank you, I hope to be even better with what I am learning tonight."

Constantine breaks off his sentence as he aims a strong cut upwards, suddenly, at Una's sword arm.

Una parries instantly, and almost sufficiently, deflecting the cut towards her shoulder.

ThandaSien smiles slightly at the pair and reaches into her pockets again. She pulls something out.

Una 's shoulder is cut, the black cloth parting to reveal the edges of a cut shirt.

Hugh says "Are you all right, Una?"

Una says "Quite well, thank you. I do not think it will bleed much, and I never scar."

Constantine grins, triumphant, and presses with another cut, following up to the same arm.

Una says "Never twice!" and parries, then ripostes.

Constantine attempts to bind Una's blade, favoring his unwounded leg, pushing from his opposite shoulder. "What, never?"

Una laughs. "Hardly ever...." she sings, and steps sideways.
Una steps up onto a chair, then onto the small table by the door.
Una cuts at Constantine's head.

Constantine looks up at Una, and says, delighted, "Nice." He brings up a parry in fifth, letting Una's blade slide off his, stepping sideways towards the door to aid it.

Una hops off the table on the opposite side, giving her enough time to salute Constantine and bring her sabre back into line.
Una says "Good evening again, lord Daevros."

Constantine chuckles, soft, and with his off hand grabs an intervening chair, pushing it with casual force to one side.

ThandaSien chuckles and walks over to Eponral, giving the fighters wide berth and watching them all the while.

Daevros looks up, with a smile. "Good eve, Lady Una. I trust your battle goes well?"

Una backs across the room.

Constantine advances, aiming an attack with every other step, testing Una's defenses.

Una says "Oh, passing well. It is an even match, and very educational."

Eponral watches the strange fight.

ThandaSien cocks her head to one side. "I think I know both of them, but I think now would not be a good time to say hello."

Daevros says "Well, that's well, and I will wish you luck in the education."

ThandaSien watches the exchange between Daevros and Una. "or maybe not"

Una backs slowly across the room, parrying Constantine's attacks, blades ringing.
Una smiles, never taking her eyes off Constantine, "Good evening, lady Sien, I trust. You are well?"

Constantine finishes a particularly elegant thrust, stamps his foot as closure, winces, and says, "It's not that deadly a fight, neh? I still like your hair."

Una says "My hair? Thank you, but it has been this short for some. Time. Now."
Una backs closer to the mirror.

ThandaSien chuckles. "Yes, quite, well, Lady Una. Please just call me Thanda."

Constantine dedicates himself to a tricky bit of blade work in fourth, resulting in a thrust to Una's shoulder, before saying, "No, Thanda's, actually."

Una says "Excuse me, Thanda, I would love to chat, but am otherwise engaged. In third, at the moment."

ThandaSien smiles to Constantine and inclines her head. "Thank you again"
ThandaSien's mouth quirks. "Of course, Lady Una"

Constantine says "And your blade is low, Una. Maybe too low?"
Constantine pauses, a moment, tilting the tip of his own blade towards the rafters.

Una says "My apologies for stealing your complime... Whoops!"
Una fakes a high parry while hopping backwards.

[ The Mirror leads to the Hall of Mirrors, the 'nexus' of AmberMUSH. Technically, you can't step through the mirrors backwards like this, you have to stare and concentrate and such. However, it seemed dramatically appropriate, and it had been done in the past. ]

[ The Hall of Mirrors is an infinitely long corridor full of mirrors of different shapes and sizes, in all manner of frames. At this time, the mirror into Amber proper led directly into the Castle, and as such was guarded. The dhemon Tengildwir is also in the corridor. ]

Constantine slowly materializes in the hall.
Constantine has arrived.
Constantine comes through the mirror in a rush, still favoring that pesky leg wound.

Una holds up her left hand towards the Amber Guards.

Constantine says "Mmm. I'm glad you thought of that."
Constantine holds further action until the guards seem relaxed.

Una says "Just practicing, Jack, fear not."

Amber Guard relax.

Tengildwir discreetely leans against a wall.

Constantine studies the Amber Guard, nods, and sidesteps left, blade held in sixth, wary again.

Una sidesteps cautiously, keeping Constantine in front of her.
Una tries a couple of preliminary jabs.

Constantine parries one, and another, and essays an outside moulinet, cutting over his head and down.

Tengildwir watches the fight with faint amusement.

Una parries, forcing Constantine's blade further outside.

Constantine spins back, on his unwounded leg, carefully beginning to regain his stance.

Una brings her blade back into line and cuts at Constantine's ribs.

Constantine quickly interposes his off arm, saving his ribs at the cost of a cut to the arm, slicing the sweater neatly. He does not appear to be further wounded.
Constantine frowns, thoughtful, pulling back a few steps.

Una steps forwards, pressing the attack.

Tengildwir rustles his wings, flitting up to perch on a random rafter.

Constantine parries once, twice, shrugs, and steps neatly backwards through a mirror.
Constantine has left.

Una follows Constantine through.

[ Una follows Constantine through the Mirror. This one leads into a futuristic Seattle, taken heavily from the ShadowRun RPG. ]

It is beginning to rain. Looking up, the sky is getting very dark. As the large rain drops begin to fall you notice them striking the windshields of nearby cars. They are dark in color, as though they were ink.
You hear the sound of automatic weapons and several screams.
You hear the sound of a DocWagon ambulance in the distance.

Constantine attempts to thrust as you come through, having taken a quick step to the side the moment he entered.

Una hops sideways, splashing her feet in a puddle and almost slipping.
Una parries and ripostes.

Constantine chuckles, parries, and feints high.

Una ducks, cutting at Constantine's legs.

Constantine almost glides back, striking at Una's blade as he does so, trying to bring it out of line.

Una pushes herself upright with her forward leg, then closes the gap with a balestra.

Constantine retreats, falling into defensive stance again, and pauses. "Wait."

Una quickly glances to both sides. "Seattle."

Constantine says "This is against the law, here."

Una says "Quite. We're liable to get shot, as well."

Constantine says "Mmm. I think we make a run for it."

Una nods. "Good idea."

Constantine turns, without wasted motion, and sprints south on 163rd Avenue.

Una follows.

The sky is dark. Storm clouds are rolling in and building up. The air is stale and thick with smog.

Constantine has walked into Murphy's Bar and Grill.

A heavily armed security chopper flies by. Before it passes, you notice the BPSI logo emblazoned on its underbelly.

You open the door and step into Murphy's Bar and Grill.

[ Murphy's Bar and Grill, like most bars on AmberMUSH, leads directly into the front door of the Worlds' End Bar. They're back where they started from. ]

Constantine pivots, and neatly slams the door shut behind Una.

Aelita starts.

Una says "That was close."

Constantine laughs. "Too close. I don't like Seattle."

chrisber@idiom.com, Last Modified December 24, 1996