The Crow and the Pitcher

Cicada Nights
Joined: April 16th, 2015, 8:02 pm

February 21st, 2017, 8:46 pm #1


“Good match!”

He said it cheerfully, with a smooth smile.

((Paris Ardennes continued in Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster))

Ciara waited for Beatrice on the curb outside a tiny Denton studio. Amy unfortunately had somewhere else to be, so Ciara waited alone. When Beatrice came out Ciara was staring into the sky.

“... Huff. Hey.” Ciara smiled when Beatrice greeted her. Beatrice took a second for a gasping breath. She was tired, she’d had a good spar that day.

“How was it, Bea?” Ciara was sometimes still a bit surprised that Beatrice had kept at it this long. It had been about a year since she’d first embarrassed herself on the fencing floor.

“I- huff- won...! Three to five. Grueling,” Beatrice readily exaggerated. She didn’t really exaggerate though, it had really been a hard match. Her thighs were burning and everything. Her sabre dangerously cut up the air as she weakly swashed it in pantomime. “He did that usual… usual stupid thing where he fussed over my form…”

“He does that often, doesn’t he?” Ciara interjected. She gestured away, somewhere down the street. “Let’s walk?”

“Yeah! Uh, huff, where was I?” Her sabre was now by her side, insulated in a zipped up bag slung off her shoulder. There were people, kids, sharing the sidewalk with them. Beatrice managed to be the loudest out of them while panting. “He and I… huff, we had an even-ish game one. I feinted, he… he fell for it. Went left and I went right. Boom!”

“Next match was,” Beatrice paused for effect. To take a needed breath, in, out. “A highlight reel. Attacks and counterattacks! Man… Man, everyone in the class thought it was… huff, crazy badass. I think at some point our swords were, like… like, called prom king and… huff, queen because they were the best dancers in the class.” And Beatrice laughed, then wheezed briefly. Ciara offered a polite smile. All the while she wondered if Beatrice realized she had flushed a bit when she’d said the thing about prom.

“In the end he won but I’m not upset. It was... down to the wire… Either of us could have won that, huff, that one.”

“Mm,” Ciara said suddenly. “Where do you want to go to get a bite?”

“There’s a Panera... down in Central... right?” Beatrice said it with a briefly dream-struck look. Suddenly she handed off the bag with her sabre. It was a bit heavy, maybe it was exhausting to carry around. “Oh man Ciara! Bread bowls!”

“You need bread or carbs or something after a tough workout, yeah,” Ciara agreed with a thoughtful nod.

“Yeah, exactly… Huff. Maybe pasta.” Beatrice took a moment to collect herself. She also stopped walking for a second so she could catch her breath, again. She’d run her train of thought off its tracks at some point. “…”

“He pulled the third game by, huff, being a cheap bastard,” said grumpily. Beatrice’s brow furrowed as she remembered. “He did that stupid thing, that other… other stupid thing he does a ton. The one where he uses the fact- huff- the fact that he’s bigger and stronger and taller than me… huff, all that. He did it to, like… Just brute force me down.” Ciara and Beatrice exchanged glances. Beatrice looked a bit pale today. Ciara didn’t remember her looking like that right after class, the last time they’d seen each other.

“He… yeah. You know. He, he just smiled like a dick. I was so… so embarrassed! I knew I had to pay him back,” she said with a failed attempt at an intimidating snarl. It whistled out through her lazily bared teeth.

Ciara paused a bit, to allow Beatrice to catch up.

“He is pretty big, isn’t he? I wonder if he works out?” Ciara said it neutrally. Beatrice responded with a stronger tone, despite her breathlessness.

“Besides fencing you mean. Yeah… He’s always had a decent bod… ugh. Unfair, really.”

“But you did win.”

“I did,” Beatrice retorted perkily. “And here’s how....” Another dramatic pause slash pause for air. “I. huff, I used my brain. There’s this cool trick I’ve… huff, I’ve been practicing.” They were close to the mall now. It’s bulky rooftop dominated the skyline. “Catch the edge of the blade along yours… and, like. Angle the blade so their hit flies… through. And past. Cause, you know.” One of the malls sliding doors creaked open in front of them. Beatrice’s sweat on her neck evaporated the moment there was AC. “He would try to… brute force the rest of the games. Like… like always. But I turn it against him.” The Panera was right there on the corner. Beatrice limped the rest of the way.

“Finally, a booth!” She threw herself on the seat with a final dismal pant.

“I’ll go order,” Ciara offered. She’d shoved Beatrice’s bag under the table. She waited for Beatrice’s offer while still standing up.

“Yeah… Huff, thanks. Long story short… two games I play him like. Like… a fiddle.” Beatrice spoke even after Ciara had already gone to place their orders. Two bread bowls of french onion soup. Beatrice ate like she was starving, Ciara took her time. A minute passed.

“He always beats you, doesn’t he?”

“Hmf.” Beatrice groaned through a mouthful of piping hot soup. She swallowed, “Ugh. Yeah, like always and sometimes I can pull off like one or two games but he always overpowers me like the cheat he is.”

She seemed to have her breathing back under control.

“But hey, turns out I can learn some new tricks of my own to fight back, you know? To riposte, to use some fancy fencing lingo,” she giggled.

“Yeah,” Ciara smiled. “First time for everything, hu?”

“You know it. I feel, like, way more confident in my skills already.”

“How did he take it?” Beatrice shrugged in response.

“Pretty cool, actually. Maybe he was like, proud of me or something.” Beatrice jostled at her hair a bit. A few strands already in place were put even more in place with precise fumbling. “I dunno, he’s always been kinda weird hasn’t he?”

“Yeah,” Ciara agreed. “I mean, like. He’s cool but kinda out there. Remember that one time he serenaded Amy when she put a dollar in his guitar case?” The girls shared a laugh.

“Oh man,” Beatrice trailed off her giggle. “He’s… I dunno. Fascinating, kinda. Oh. You know what he did?”


“Asked me out three days from now.” Beatrice considered the crumbs and bits of her entree, then popped open the bag of chips she had as a side. “Really casual-like, apparently. Right at the Applebees around the corner from here.”

“The place that microwaves all it’s food?”

“Hey now, shut up? The ribs are still bomb.” Ciara conceded with a nod. Beatrice continued, “So yeah, I was kind of surprised but, hmf, you know? It’s worth a shot!” Beatrice was smiling, a bit pridefully even. Her head was held high and her eyebrows lifted.

“Well maybe,” Ciara said. She still had plenty of meal left, and now she abandoned it completely. “Seems odd for him to go for it now of all times, doesn’t it?”

“Maybe I just had to, you know.” Beatrice’s gestures were fancy, fanciful. “Impress him a bit. Really push him.” She recalled how hard they’d both worked. Recalled that stupid brute body of his. “He’s the fickle sort, kinda?”

“Yeah! Definitely.”

“So I just had to make myself clear by… You know,” she giggled. “Roughing him up a bit. Like proving my mettle. So I’ll check it out, you know? What’s the worst that could happen?” Ciara took a moment to consider.

“Well go for it, Bea.” She nodded sagely. “Worst case scenario the reputation’s true and it’s just an awkward waste of time.”

“Probably not even that,” Beatrice shrugged. “I dunno, I just feel I know him so well because of how long we’ve been sparring, you know? I really got through to him, like, in a way other kids in our class don’t.” Her feet kicked under the table a bit, bouncing off the sabre bag. The clatter of metal reminded her of how hard she’d worked for her triumph that day.

“This’ll be interesting, I’m telling you Ci.”


Three days later Beatrice was left morosely considering her half of the bill she’d agreed to pay.

She should have known.
[+] Spoiler
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F20 - Alive
"Your secret's safe with me, Scout's Honor."
- Before - 1 2
- During - 1 2 3 4 5
[+] Spoiler
M20 - Alive
"I could probably use the advice."
- Before - 1 2
- During - 1 2 3 4
[+] Spoiler
PV3 -
Seosaimhín 'Josie' Lonsdale - "Shh..."
Kendall Thurman - "Fraying and praying through every day... I'm doing my best, y'know?"

TV3 -
Sheila de Mercado - "World's emptier than half, honestly."
Lucille Mercie - "X-O-X-O."
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
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G02 - Dead
(Adopted from Laurels)
[+] Spoiler
"I wasn't... intimidated, per... say?"
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"This happened. All of it."
- Arsenal - Heckler & Koch MP7, ~2.7 cartridges remaining, food and water lost.
- Vital Stats - Fractured left shoulder, fractured left hand knuckles, broken nose, antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, vomit stained shirt. Cause of Death: Prolonged cerebral ischemia due to extended carotid compression.
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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B17 - Dead
(Adopted from Ruggahissy)
[+] Spoiler
"I'm excited about seeing a familiar face too."
- Memories - 1 2 3 - Pregame - 1 2 3
[+] Spoiler
"We're not going to let them do this to us."
- Arsenal - QSZ-92
- Vital Stats - Shallow shoulder wound, blood stained shirt, collapsed ribs and partially caved chest. Cause of Death: Aortic rupture due to blunt force trauma.
- Island - 1 2
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Rachael Langdon and Paris Ardennes).
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