Chapter 9: Boom, headshot.

on April 25, 2011 in Volume 2: Sophomore Effort
Timeline: , , , ,

In Which Callahan Institutes A Three-Strikes Rule

“Here’s the deal, kiddies,” Coach Callahan said as we formed up in a circle around her, maybe about thirty feet or so across. She moved into the center of us and spread out her arms, pointing a finger on each hand in opposite directions. “When I say ‘go’, you and you are going to come into the middle, and one of you is going to hit the other in the head as hard and as fast as you can, hard enough that the other one can’t get back up. When that happens, you both take your place back in the circle, and the person to the left of you will come forward.”

She walked backwards out of the circle, keeping her fingers pointed at the two people she’d singled out without looking, both of whom looked around at the people on either side of them as if they were testing out the idea that maybe someone else had been picked to go first.

I could understand the impulse… I was pretty grateful to find myself about halfway in between the two initial combatants, meaning I wouldn’t have to be among the first few people to step into the impromptu ring.

It wasn’t so much that I wanted to put off the fighting part of fighting class for as long as possible. There’s just a certain awkwardness and uncertainty in going first. The coach’s instructions had been simple and straightforward, but by the same token they’d also been short. When there aren’t a lot of details, it could be that the instructions were self-explanatory or wide open for interpretation, or it could be that the person giving them thought they were self-explanatory but there was plenty of room for wrong interpretations.

“Yes, you with the morning star and you with the incredibly gay ponytail,” she said as she reached the edge of the circle. “Go!”

“I’m a girl!” the not-at-all-boyish and not even particularly androgynous auburn-haired girl with the ponytail said.

“Yeah, well, your ponytail isn’t and it sucks cock in the men’s room for coppers when you’re asleep,” Coach Callahan said. “I can tell these things. Now you can keep pretending you don’t know I was talking to you or you can fucking go before your opponent wins by default, and by ‘default’ I mean by driving the iron nails sticking out of the end of his big weighty bludgeon directly through the roof of your skull while you’re staring at me with your upper vagina gaping at me.”

Though her opponent had taken about three steps forward into the ring, he wasn’t any quicker about rushing forward and attacking her than she was about attacking him.

I really did identify with both of them. When you’re not quite sure what was expected of you, it often seems better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing… but the coach’s requirements really were as straightforward as she’d made them sound, and doing nothing was the wrong thing when dealing with her.

“We have forty-five minutes left to get through eighteen pairs of fighters,” Coach Callahan said. “I plan on getting everyone through the circle with at least twenty-five minutes to spare. Your grades for the day will depend not on how well you fight or how many heads you crack, but entirely on how much or how little you help me in this plan.”

The girl with the ponytail kind of ducked her shoulders like she’d been sent up to the blackboard to complete a problem after being caught not paying attention in class. She shuffled forward a bit, taking her mocked handaxe off her belt by grabbing the haft just below the blade, then raising it up and adjusting her grip further down the handle.

“This is not a fencing match!” the coach barked. The girl with the ponytail flinched, though she was directing her commentary to the guy with the mace, who was still standing there, waiting and watching the girl. “You don’t wait for your opponent to get ready. You don’t square off. You should have splattered her skull by now.”

The two reluctant combatants stepped forward. I wondered at the wisdom of doing this as a group activity. I didn’t know that they wouldn’t just be circling around each other half-heartedly even without a sea of eyes around them, but the audience couldn’t be helping things.

The girl lifted her axe up high as she got near the guy with the spiked mace… not near enough to hit him, just nearer than she had been. He raised his own weapon and she jumped back, then seemed to suddenly remember the round shield hanging on her back. She fumbled it off and got it on her arm.

“Again, you could have killed her while she was doing that,” Callahan said. “It’s not the exact kind of opportunity you will have often in a real fight, nor will you see it very often in this class… but you should be looking for those opportunities and you should be taking them. You’re both dead three times already… you for letting your guard down, you for being too reluctant to strike a fatal blow. In thirty seconds the day’s exercise changes… if you’re not going to fight, you can be target dummies for people who will.”

That got them moving. The girl stepped forward, with her shield up at a level that would probably have been unwisely high if she’d been in a real fight… since she knew her head was the target, she was only protecting her head.

She made a few downward chopping swings at the guy’s head. They weren’t exactly half-hearted, but they didn’t seem to have a lot of strength behind them… it was like she was used to fighting to first strike or a certain number of hits, where the only goal was contact between her blade and her opponent, with the level of force not mattering. Her opponent was able to step aside from one and then bat the axe away on the second swing. He followed it up with a bash of his own, which she took on the shield.

“Better, but you’re not counting coup,” the coach said. “The goal here is to take your opponent out with a single blow to the head. We’re starting with the head for a few different reasons, but among them is not the fact that the head is a particularly soft and vulnerable target. I have seen human warriors fighting with an axe that size embedded in their skulls. Don’t just try to bring your axe down on his head. Bring it down through it.”

I recognized the reluctance on both participants’ parts to do just that. They were probably both okay with swinging weapons at each other, fighting to win a fight even to the point of simulated death… but somehow there was a difference between the kind of swings they thought of as “fighting” and very deliberately hefting their weapons and trying to beat the other’s person’s brains in.

Knowing Coach Callahan, I figured that was why she was doing things this way… spending the first day making us fight in front of the group and focusing on head shots. In every way except the purely literal, it had to be one of the most visceral ways to end a fight… you took aim at the thinking part of your opponent, the part that could look at and talk to you, that could laugh and joke or beg and plead and cry and you hit it.

“There is no sense pulling your blow any when you aim for the head,” Callahan said, as much to the whole group as to the current combatants.. “There is no point in aiming for someone’s head if you aren’t willing to kill them. Forget what you see in the television… if you hit someone in the head with a blunt object hard enough to knock them unconscious, you have hit them hard enough to kill them. In the heat of a battle you might not have any idea which one you’ve done, which is why you don’t go for the head if you care about anything besides stopping your opponent right now.”

The fight didn’t last much longer, though it was probably still too slow for our instructor’s preferences. The girl made a few harder swings at the guy’s head, but the fact that she was almost literally hiding behind her shield meant her aim wasn’t that good. He tried bashing it down a couple of times. The girl cried out when he got the head of his weapon stuck on her shield, some of the spikes sticking through in a way that they had to be at least poking her arm. He was able to force her shield down, but he had to unstick his mace in order to take another swing at her, and she got her shield up.

He looked at the teacher with an “Oh, come on.” look. She just looked back.

“Can I hit her somewhere else?” he asked her.

“The goal is defeat her with a head shot,” she said.

I couldn’t help noticing that wasn’t a no.

The guy scowled, but only for a second as it seemed like he parsed that, too. He swung his mace at the girl’s unprotected stomach. She was slow to react, and she did so by trying to bring her shield down instead of stepping back out of his weapon’s arc. The phantasmal spikes ripped right through her t-shirt and the unprotected flesh underneath. The coach had been right about the realism of the red box mockeries… the girl’s clothing actually appeared to tear, and there was what looked for all the world like quite a bit of blood. She doubled over and fell to the side, her axe flying from her grip. A few people had to duck as it sailed outside the circle.

The guy looked down at his fallen opponent, then at the impassive face of the instructor.

“You’re not done yet,” she said.

It only took two more hits but by the time he was done, the results weren’t pretty. The girl had clutched the side of her stomach and was starting to get up when the first blow hit her head. He was still a little reluctant, and it showed. It was a brutal hit… a spiked mace to the head can’t be anything but that… but it was more like the sort of impact she might have had if she’d stood up too quickly underneath one hanging on a rack than the sort that would result from a reasonably strong man driving one into her skull.

“Not there yet,” Coach Callahan said. “You’ll know when you’re there.”

His second attempt drove a spike into the side of her skull. He let go of the mace and she fell over again, with it still stuck.

“Believe it or not, that’s not a fatal wound,” Callahan said. “Not an immediately fatal one, anyway. If she were on her feet and had a weapon, she’d still be able to take a swing or two at you. The red box settings mean that when she’s completely disabled, she’ll go red. Keep going!”

He didn’t have to go far. She “went red” as he retrieved his weapon from her, a messy operation that I could barely stand to watch and won’t be able to describe. Mercifully, the illusionary damage and all the splatter and debris vanished at the same time that the red aura enveloped her whole body.

“When that happens to you, you’ll know because you’ll see a reddish haze over everything,” Coach Callahan said. “And because all illusionary wounds on you and the person who ‘redded’ you will heal, you can always get back up and do it again but there’s no stupid arguments about who tagged who last. You two clear out. Next two, up!”

The next pair were a little more willing, or a little less hesitant. It was a guy with a great big broadsword and another one with a lighter looking blade. Neither of their weapons really struck me as being natural headcrackers, but I figured the guy with the heavier blade had the advantage. They both seemed to know their stuff, though, and my eye for action isn’t anywhere nearly good enough to sort out exactly how the guy with the thinner blade turned it around… but he managed to get in close and crack his opponent over the head with the hand of his sword.

Hilt? Pommel? I guess it’s all the hilt, below the blade… I’m pretty sure the bottom of that whole part is the pommel. Anyway, that’s what it looked like inflicted the “reddening” blow.

“The red lasts for about fifteen seconds,” Coach Callahan said. “When you’re red, you’re dead… or close enough. In any case, red means the fight is over. Your own weapon won’t do shit when you’re red, and neither will another red boxed weapon do anything to you. Now, when someone goes red during a repeated one-on-one exercise, there will be no bullshit taking advantage of the quick regen or the enforced helplessness to score a quick point. There are no points in this class. There is only the point, and the point is to learn how to be the one who survives a real fight, and you don’t do that by figuring out how to game the mechanics of the simulation we’re using.

“Seize every advantage that comes your way. Take all the cheap shots you can… they’re called cheap because they don’t cost you anything. But the purpose of this class is not to learn how to get really good at defeating the same opponent again and again using quirks of the red mockbox.”

The next few bouts were all over pretty quickly, some after an exchange of almost-blows and some with a single swing or jab. In a few cases it really was hard to tell if it was a mock-killing blow or not. In others… well, it was brutal. Some people really took the coach’s message about bringing their weapons through their opponents’ skulls to heart.

Luckily the dead-red glow erased the gore almost as quickly as it happened, but it was still tough to watch.

“This class is about how to end a fight quickly,” the coach said. “But there are two ‘hows’ there. There is the practical how, which we’ll get to later, and there is what I’ll call the moral how, for lack of a better word. We’re starting with the head not because it is the be-all, end-all of fight-ending targets… it isn’t. We’re also not talking about the techniques you would use when you aim for the head, though we will and I can see that it’s needed.

“Most of you have had some kind of fighter training before. You’ve probably ‘killed’ someone in mock combat before. That’s good. That experience will help you today… not so much the techniques you used but the experience of swinging a weapon into another person’s body and bringing them down. But there’s a difference between those fights, those tests of combat skill, and setting out with a deliberate and focused intention on ending a fight… which is to say ending a fighter. We don’t ‘spar’ in this class. We don’t ‘skirmish’. We strike.

“You can get through most fighting classes without ever learning how to smash someone’s head in without hesitation or pity. You can have a career on the Skirmish hex or in the pits… not my pit, but in pits… without ever learning this. Here, it’s the first and most important thing you will learn, before you even learn how to do it right. There’s no point in learning how to do it right if you’re going to hesitate to do it at all.”

Some of the match-ups lasted longer than others, but none of them lasted nearly as long as the first one. I doubted any of them even took a minute. My turn came way more quickly than I’d expected. Having watched the girl with the ponytail fumble with her gear, I canceled the shrinking on my staff as I was stepping forward.

It wasn’t the best move… all of a sudden I had a great big staff in front of me at a time when I was more focused on the person in front of me than the placement of my legs. I tripped. It was only a minor stumble, but I had the bad luck of being paired up with against one of the elves. They darted forward, there was a probably almost literally splitting pain in my skull. All control of my body vanished and the world went red as I hit the mat.

That was my first fight in Coach Callahan’s class… tripping myself up with my own weapon and getting “tagged out” immediately.

“Good hustle, Frybaby,” she said. “You’re still dead, but you’re promptly dead. That counts for a lot. Not for you, of course.”

I didn’t even see the weapon the elf had used until we returned to the circle… it turned out it had been a large dagger or small sword. While the curved and toothed blade looked plenty wicked, the thing looked like it had more weight and damage potential in the spiked handguard. I was pretty sure that was what had hit me.

We did make it through the whole circle in under twenty minutes, after which the coach told us to split up and partner up… those who’d lost our matches go to one side of the room and pair up with another loser, while the winners went to the other side and paired up.

“In a real fight,” she announced, “the penalty for hesitating or screwing up or even doing everything right but being less good or less lucky than the other guy is that you die, or you end up under their power, or you get a lot of painful injuries that don’t fade like a bad dream. The avoidance of these things are a powerful motivator that can sometimes be enough to make you snap into action. The problem is that you don’t get to find out how well that works for you until you’re staring it in the face.

“So in this class, there will be penalties for hesitation and there will be penalties for losing… not my preferred motivators, but the best I can manage under the circumstances.” She looked at our group. “You guys… you don’t fight. You take turns hitting each other in the head. You don’t fight back. You stand still for it. When you’ve each done it three times, you go over and join the other group.”

She looked at the other group.

“You keep doing what we’ve been doing. But switch partners. When one partner goes red, you both switch partners with another pair. Keep it diverse, too… I want to see boys fighting girls, I want to see big hulking brutes fighting little shrimps, I want to see everybody taking on all comers without hesitation. Those are our keywords for today: without hesitation. Our enemies for today are hesitation, pity, and mercy. We will slay them, even at the cost of at least wounding reasonable caution. Don’t avoid a fight because you’re afraid of losing. Throw yourself into it! We’re past the penalty phase for the day, at least when it comes to losing fights.”

Because I was neither the quickest to try to pair up nor someone that other people were naturally drawn to, I realized that everybody else in the loser’s circle had grabbed a partner except me and the ponytailed girl from the first fight. She was looking around like she wasn’t sure what to do next. Her eyes went right past me.

I took a few steps towards her.

“I guess we’re together,” I said.

“Are we?” she said.

“We’re the last two left,” I said. “We should get to it before Coach Callahan gets after us.”

“I’m Meaghan,” she said

“I’m Mack.”

“My hair’s not gay, by the way,” she said.

“I don’t even know what that means,” I said. “We’re supposed to take turns… um, do you want to go first?”

She shrugged.

“Do you want me to go first?” I asked.

She didn’t even shrug that time.

I really hated to judge her for it, because I was neither the most decisive nor most sociable person in the world myself, but we needed to get on with it. When she didn’t answer, I lifted my staff and… got to it.

It was harder than fighting. I really could understand why Coach Callahan was having us start the class this way. Swinging a weapon in someone’s direction, at them, was one thing. Trying to cave in their head was another thing. I ended up closing my eyes as I brought my staff down at her head… I couldn’t help it. I saw her jump back and heard her yelp, but she had been completely unprepared for it and I still caught her, the butt off my staff hitting her forehead with a sickening crack.

I opened my eyes to see her falling over, struck red.

We sort of ended up taking turns by default, if only because she still didn’t seem to have quite grasped the point or nature of the exercise and came back up to her feet, swinging. I just sort of lowered my head, trying to guide her into striking it. That part was surprisingly easy… submitting myself to the “death” blow, knowing that it was coming and that it would hurt and lay me out on the floor. That I could do without hesitation or even much flinching.

After she knocked me down, I started blocking her blows and battered her down again. It was easier the second time, because she was fighting back… all hesitation was gone, she was just pissed off. That was against the letter and spirit of the exercise, but I couldn’t control her.

In that way we ended up trading death-blows three times, though at that point the only way I could get the girl to stop fighting me was to bash the side of her leg with my staff to mess up her knee so she couldn’t stand up anymore.

Nice job, Frybaby,” Coach Callahan said. She clapped me on the shoulder… well, she hit me on the shoulder. “You’re working ahead in the textbook a little… go join the rest. I’ll get the shield maiden straightened out.”

It was easier, after that. I did get struck red more often than I didn’t that first day, but smashing someone’s skull pretty much became no different than swinging a staff at them any other way. Pretty much. There was always that moment before the illusions canceled themselves, when I saw the image of my opponent’s face suddenly deforming, breaking apart… it was hard to get that out of my head. I had seen worse, I had seen things so much worse than that, things that were indisputably real… but that didn’t make it any easier to look at. If anything, it made it harder.

The best I could manage was to not linger on it, and the constant trading of opponents helped there. By the end of class, I was hardly seeing the faces as anything but targets.

I’m sure that was the goal, or part of it. The fact that I reached it so easily was probably a good thing in terms of my chances of reaching the A that Amaranth was requiring from me… but I wasn’t at all sure it was a good thing overall.


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128 Responses to “Chapter 9: Boom, headshot.”

  1. Hey, folks! Here are some quick announcements:

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    Current score: 0
  2. Cadnawes says:

    I’ll be laughing about migratory and sexually active ponytails all day. 😀

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  3. sammy says:

    loving it. especially that last line!

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  4. JiBB says:

    “My hair’s not gay, by the way,” she said.

    “I don’t even know what that means[.]”

    Heh.

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    • ayla says:

      I love how Mackenzie has given up trying to parse Callahan’s weird insults and instead just rolls with them. Also, I just plain love Callahan’s weird insults. 😀

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    • Ducky says:

      Proof that Meaghan has not taken a class with Callahan before.

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      • bramble says:

        I wonder how common it actually is that anyone comes back for a second semester with Callahan?

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        • rien says:

          you mean besides Steff? 😛

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        • Rey d`Tutto says:

          I’d say it would be less than the average for similar institutions, and the fact that Coach Callahan is the instructor is the most likely reason MU only requires 3 credits.

          My experiences have shown that with life and death instructions, the worse the ‘mean-assed b-tards’ are as instructors, the easier it is (for me, at least) to get into the killer mindset.

          I guess if I want to train a plebe to kill, I should first get him/her interested in killing me.
          😉

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  5. Bernie says:

    Swift and Brutal. Nice. I fricking love Callahan <3

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  6. Longform says:

    “This is not a fencing match!” the coach barked. The girl with the ponytail flinched, though (Callahan) was directing her commentary to the guy with the mace,

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  7. Fatefox says:

    I like the reference to those events she cannot even speak of. Maybe that horror will help her come to terms with the rest of it.

    And I just adore Coach Callahan.

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  8. Jason says:

    “When I say ‘go’, you and you are going to come into the middle, and one of you is going to hit the other in the head as hard and as fast as you can, hard enough that the other one can’t get back up. When that happens, you both take your place back in the circle, and the person to the left of you will come forward.”

    I feel like that “you and you” should say “you and your partner” instead. That or “you and a partner” Other than that, love this chapter.

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    • drudge says:

      It kind of works if you remember she’s pointing while talking.

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      • Jason says:

        But she’s addressing the class rather than just those she’s pointing to. That’s why the initial statement doesn’t really work.

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        • Zergonapal says:

          No, she is addressing the two people she is talking to, if she was addressing one person then she would say “you and your partner”, but then the rest of the sentence wouldn’t work.

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        • You’re right, it doesn’t make any sense at all to read it as addressing the whole class. Well spotted!

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          • Chips says:

            On the other hand, it IS Coach Callahan, and if the students can’t figure out what she means when she says what she says however she says it, they’re wrong! … and probably in for a world of pain…

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            • Cadnawes says:

              Thing of it is, she’s not at all hard to figure out. I actually think her classes sound fun as hell.

              Weird to realize I’d be a jock in that world. I can get behind mock battle scenarios. Here, that makes me a dork.

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            • erianaiel says:

              “I actually think her classes sound fun as hell.”

              Like all good proverbs your statement is true both in the proverbial and in the literal sense …

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            • spoonybrad says:

              or a sociopath, since its realistically dismembering a screaming moving person lol

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            • Cadnawes says:

              potayto potahto. J/K

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            • Ryzndmon says:

              As our Mack told Coach Callahan: “Nobody actually says ‘potahtoe’.”

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            • Ryzndmon says:

              “Mock battle scenarios”? You mean SCA scale wars, and larping?
              Yes, you are a dork. Let’s hang sometime. I’ll bring the boffer weapons!

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          • Rey d`Tutto says:

            Mock-Boxes! This would make martial arts training so much more Fun! And Instructive!

            Anyone here know anything about intra-dimensional transportation? or would that be inter-dimensional? I can never keep those two straight.

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            • Durragh says:

              intra would be within your own dimension, inter would be between dimensions. couldn’t keep it straight either until i worked at a place with a ton of computer problems and had to figure out if the issue was intranet or internet.

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  9. MaraGratia says:

    Jason – are you gonna tell Callahan that her grammar is off? It makes perfect sense in context. I will grant it is not right, nor 100% clear, but I can see a teacher talking like that, no problem!

    I so hope Mackenzie really learns how to fight, and then learns when and why to fight. And, also, learns some self-control. I wish she had let Dee teach her Martial Arts.

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  10. Zathras IX says:

    Welcome to the Club!
    Stick with it and soon your hot
    Rod may be on Staff!

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  11. Rachel says:

    OK, everything to do with the ponytail was fabulous.

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    • Zergonapal says:

      Now there is a cheap shot :p

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      • Zukira Phaera says:

        Whole point of the class is spotting where to put the cheap shots – it is survival combat after all. I’m sure it will come up in a later class that verbal cheap shots are smart moves if they’re not taking away from the concentration on the business end of the combat for the person throwing linguistic barbs.

        And yes, that ponytail is simply faboolous

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  12. cdw says:

    Oh Coach Callahan. Still my favorite character. I very much enjoy the combination of these classes all on one day. I can’t wait to see what her two other classes are, mind you, but practical skills are something Mack is seriously lacking.

    And yes, Dee should be teaching her; at the very least she might be less likely to trip over her own two feet, even if she’d never be able to keep up with an elf. Also that C may have been a bit low, unless I missed something about Maeghan’s being a frosh.

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  13. Readaholic says:

    Excellent chapter, as usual. I both laughed at and sympathized with Mack closing her eyes to hit her partner for the first time.

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  14. Frank says:

    “In every way except the purely literal, it had to be one of the most visceral ways to end a fight.”

    Best line. This is why I love your writing, AE.

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  15. Month says:

    How in blazes can a ponytail be gay, independently from the owner, is one great mystery that will trouble current and future lore masters to no end. Legend has it, that the only one that can answer that, one Jillian Callahan, said that if we wanted to learn just how, we should get closer to her. Common sense prevailed, and we did not.

    Current score: 1
  16. Possible typo?

    I still caught her, the butt off my staff hitting her forehead with a sickening crack.

    I think it should be ‘of,’ not ‘off’?

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  17. ShadowKat says:

    “ponytail flinched, though was directing her commentary to the guy with the mace”
    though she was directing

    “Better, but you’re not counting coup,”
    what is ‘coup?’ should I google it or will you do one of your nifty hover-for-definition-text?

    “I had the bad luck of being paired up with against one of the elves”
    being paired up with one of the elves OR being paired against one of the elves

    “everybody taking on all comers without hesitation”
    taking on all newcomers

    I’m probably being uber-picky. sorry. just wanted to throw in my two-cents.

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    • Burnsidhe says:

      “Counting coup” means showing off how brave you are by risking yourself to score “points” off your opponent. Basically, tagging them, or snatching something from their clothes, or otherwise exposing yourself to risk for nothing more than bragging rights.

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    • cnic says:

      “all comers” is a phrase, it means all people offering themselves. In this case to “take on all comers” would be to fight all those that presented themselves to fight.

      Also “counting coup” was a military version of “tag you’re it”. The point was to prove your superiority without actually killing someone.

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    • Zukira Phaera says:

      and if you’re wondering coup is pronounced ‘coo’ A fine example is if you ever watch a western where a Native American warrior goes up and swats someone then rides off crowing. He counted coup.

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      • Oitur says:

        “Coup” is French for “hit”.

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        • Zukira Phaera says:

          Which is probably where it came into use from for the Native Americans linguistically. Just as they didn’t scalp people until the migration over the ocean by the Europeans.

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  18. Dan says:

    Irony: one of the most memorable drills in fencing (sabre) was simply charging off the line at one another and hitting each other, mostly in the face. For two hours. Gets rid of a lot of insecurities really early.

    Current score: 0
    • mafidufa says:

      Irony? More like a similar lesson being taught, I would think.

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      • Cadnawes says:

        I can see it being ironic on the grounds that Callahan said this was NOT fencing, then taught something fencers are taught.

        Current score: 0
        • Dan says:

          20 reading comp points to you!

          Current score: 0
        • Stonefoot says:

          I’m not sure whether this is ironic or not, but though the exercise is essentially the same, the lesson being taught is not. The lesson in fencing is “Go ahead and hit ’em in the head – they’re protected by the mask.” In this class the lesson is “If someone’s trying to kill you, kill them first – with NO hesitation.”

          Fencing itself would be analogous to this class, if you carried a sword routinely, and needed to know how to use it. I would imagine that’s where fencing as a sport originally came from.

          Current score: 0
          • Angnor says:

            I don’t know about fencing, but having seen similar activity in a karate class as part of sparring (with helmets and face guards) the point was to condition the kids to keep them from flinching and turning their heads away. Basically so they would keep their eyes on their opponent.

            Current score: 0
          • Dan says:

            Dehumanization of the target is similar. Some people have hangups about cracking other people in the face. Both classes try to get rid of them by having you repeatedly crack people in the face.

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          • BMeph says:

            It’s only ironic, if the weapon’s made of iron. ;þ

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  19. Burnsidhe says:

    “… and there is what I’ll call the moral how, for lack of a better word.”
    “…the penalty for hesitating or screwing up or even doing everything right but being less good or less lucky than the other guy is that you die, or you end up under their power, or you get a lot of painful injuries that don’t fade like a bad dream.”

    “I’m sure that was the goal, or part of it. The fact that I reached it so easily was probably a good thing in terms of my chances of reaching the A that Amaranth was requiring from me… but I wasn’t at all sure it was a good thing overall.”

    They’re both right. The only real reason to fight is to survive and win. And that kind of fighting is never pretty. I see great potential for actual moral discussions in the class at some point. After all, with five hours a week, there’s time for it.
    I mean, yes, Callahan is teaching the morality of fighting too, in this class, but it’s mostly one way at the moment.

    Current score: 0
  20. rummrunner says:

    I love that Mack still has that distinctly Mack-esque tripping-over-her-own-shit deal, but is now also showing interest and progress in what she used to think all stupid and jocky and also stupid.

    Also: Not looking forward to the Callahan withdrawals we’ll suffer between these classes.

    Current score: 1
    • cdw says:

      Class everyday, baby! Yeah!

      Well, except the weekends, but Mack will probably have to practice during those as well, which means Coach Steff/Dee!

      Current score: 0
  21. Lyssa says:

    I really want to know how exactly Callahan straightened out the shield girl. I love that Mack hit her in the knee and that she got her in the face first while the girl was being vague and annoying. But because of that, I want Callahan to have hurt her. I hope she hurt her.

    Current score: 0
    • Erm says:

      She’s basically Mack a year ago, though, so it’d be hard not to sympathize with her. Still, Mack turned out all right, so whatever Callahan does to the newbie will probably work.

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      • cnic says:

        I wonder if this woman really will be sympathetic. I could easily Mack having mixed emotions. On one hand Mack had been like her. On the other hand, it is very easy to become with aggrevated with people who have faults we once possessed.

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        • Cadnawes says:

          I, for one, would be aggravated with ponytail girl on the basis of this being group work. Very hard to be tolerant of someone’s faults when they might wind up affecting your grade. That did wind up working for Mack because she just ran right over the complete missing of the point displayed by the other girl. I think maybe back in school when I was partnered up with some people for class exercises that it would have been easier to get any work done if I’d been allowed to hit them in the face.

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    • Sapphite says:

      I think the only way to “straighten” out the knee injury is to make her “go red”. Thus a head shot from Callahan (ouch!).

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      • Zukira Phaera says:

        And she probably took her sweet time about it, while giving the girl an earful.

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  22. The Dark Master says:

    I think that Callahan is almost universally people’s favorite character.

    I wonder if Amaranth would regret her decision to set this as one of her requirements if she know that it was corrupting Mackenzie’s peaceful demeanor, making her more like her demonic half. Especially since The Man seemed to want Mackenzie to do well in her fighting class more then anything else. It won’t be the first time she immediately changed her mind when she realized what her orders entailed.

    Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      Mack still needs to ace this class regardless. Her scholarships depend on her having a high grade for the semester and for overall, from what I can tell, and this is a five credit hour course.
      That’s not even counting the fact that this is something Mack *needs*. The world isn’t going to leave her alone. She’ll always be dealing with people, often zealots, who think that she should be killed by any means possible. And that’s not counting the other monsters in the world, whom have been demonstrated to exist. This is a survival skill.
      Amaranth’s task just puts a little more pressure on Mack.

      That said, there are usually two phases to a class like this. The first phase is breaking down inhibitions, like Callahan is doing in this class. The second phase is building that self-control back so that the first response isn’t “Smash his face in.”
      Also, Mack still has that visceral dislike of violence. I suspect, by the time the semester has ended, that Mack will be able to defend herself, but still be herself, just with a greater degree of control and confidence.

      Current score: 0
      • The Dark Master says:

        I do think this class will benefit Mackenzie. I’m all for the skills and control that she could learn in this effectively military level training. Even better, she already seems to be getting it much faster then last time.

        The question I’m posing is whether or not Amaranth wants Mackenzie to become a trained killer. There are other fighting classes that Amaranth might prefer Mackenzie to take.

        Current score: 0
        • cdw says:

          I think it would take a lot more (not so much that it’s outside of Callahan’s ability, but far past her aims) to make Mack a trained killer. Modifier-Object. Mack is not someone that could easily be molded into a killer. Given who her grandmother is she probably saw that and did her best to make her useless in terms of martial proficiency.

          She isn’t even a lump of clay or a “piece of moldy bread” – she’s a river which might have clay if you walk two days to the river and then fish it out and dry it and bring it back to your potter’s wheel and kiln so you can make it into something.

          Heck little league will train you to (be able to) kill someone (reflexes, mechanics, athleticism) but that doesn’t mean it trains you to be a killer.

          It would be an amusing bit of cosmic come-uppance, but I’m with Burnsidhe on this one.

          Current score: 0
          • The Dark Master says:

            Whether or not Mackenzie could be made into a killer isn’t going to stop Callahan from trying to do just that. I guess that was kinda lost somewhere, but I meant that turning the students into killers was the whole point of the class, and I didn’t think Amaranth would approve.

            Current score: 0
            • Angnor says:

              Perhaps it’s just semantics, but it seems to me there is a difference between teaching how to kill and making someone a killer.
              Callahan certainly has her own point of view and philosophy on life, and she certainly expresses that here and there in her classes. But what we see of it doesn’t make me think she’s trying to turn out killers.

              Current score: 0
            • Rey d`Tutto says:

              Teach a man to kill, feed him for a day. Kill a man, and he won’t keep asking you about food.

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        • Zukira Phaera says:

          I think despite Amy’s aversion to killing thinking things, she’d rather that her Toy kill rather than be killed in a situation where the training from this class would come into play.

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          • The Dark Master says:

            No, in chapter 196 Amaranth nearly destroys her body trying to stop Mackenzie from doing just that. She goes on to say that she would destroy her body without hesitation to stop Mackenzie from hurting another person. Unless something has changed, I seriously doubt that Amaranth would want Mackenzie taking a class in which the specific purpose is teaching the students how to kill as quickly and effectively as possible.

            Current score: 0
            • Sarah says:

              I’m not sure what the situation would be, though, if the choice was Mack killing someone or being killed, with no possibility of Amaranth intervening. Amaranth is conveniently immortal.

              Current score: 0
            • Angnor says:

              I’d love to be able to quote chapter and verse, but I’m fairly certain Amaranth has instructed Mack to defend herself if attacked.
              I don’t know if Amy really believes in a ‘kill or be killed’ situation, one without any other recourse, but I think she’d want Mack to defend herself and to assert her right to survival.
              Pure speculation, of course.

              Current score: 0
            • The Dark Master says:

              I think I remember Amaranth telling Mackenzie not to simply allow herself to be hurt, even if she thinks the other person is right in what they are saying. I don’t think there is going to be a real answer in this until Mackenzie actually tells Amaranth about it. I think Amaranth will frown, but ultimately agree that its a good class.

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            • Jinzo says:

              That event was protecting Mack from killing somone in anger / bloodlust, that would most certainly be labelled as murder and (for a demonblood) could result in execution.

              Selfdefense to keep you alive is a different matter and would include things like surviving a monster attack (monsters by definition being OK to kill in selfdefense, possibly even “on sight”).
              Example being a full demon, being fair game to kill for anyone who think they can.

              The class is problebly, as Coach thinks, the best option for Mack. She is not likly to gain much in letting a fight go on for long. It will not take long for Mack to add some stunning, blinding or binding properties to her staff or her personal spell ability to let her get out of the fight without bloodshed.

              … failing that, adding the previously used “whammy” property boost to her staff and homerun her opponent outta there 🙂

              Current score: 0
            • Zukira Phaera says:

              The specific purpose of the class is to learn to disable your opponent effectively and rapidly to survive and end a fight. To do that you have to be prepared to kill, but killing isn’t the be-all end-all goal. Remember, in this chapter, Jilly told Mack good job for disabling, without using a kill strike and making Meaghan go red after the quota for that phase of class was achieved. Mack could have done a kill strike but instead chose to disable, to stop without killing when it wasn’t necessary to kill (even in a mock setup). That is who Mack is, unless she’s under the influence of bloodlust, pitchy or the anger she’s learning to control.

              In chapter 196, Mack is being influenced by rage. Puddy who she attacked after she’d stepped between Puddy and Steph who both had weapons drawn and was trying to mediate was already disabled from fighting by the blow she received from Two after things had escalated rather than having calmed down. She[Puddy] fell forward, landing heavily on the floor… unconscious, or at least stunned. At that point, the fight was over. If Mack had continued it things could have gone badly for Mack. Hence why Amy stepped in when she did. She was protecting Mack from herself because Mack was past rational thought by then.

              Yes, Amy did say she’d do it again to stop Mack from hurting people but it is possible to read between the lines and come away with ‘if they can’t defend themselves’ because she also said I may be saving your life as well as theirs.

              Which brings us back to the point of a class like this one. The point is to disable, and end a fight with you surviving without having yourself lose control or freak out. It is about learning when enough is enough to end a fight and knowing how to, and when to, kill in a situation where your survival is at stake if there is no other option.

              Current score: 0
            • Burnsidhe says:

              Whoops, never mind. I didn’t see that that was after the third blow.

              Current score: 0
        • OhPun says:

          I think Amaranth wants Mackenzie to become a trained killer as opposed to what she is now, an untrained undisciplined uncontrolled uncoordinated killer.

          Someone who is a trained killer can choose how, when, and why to exercise that ability. Just as someone who is a trained enchanter does not go around all day enchanting things, a trained killer does not go around all day killing things. This is part of what “training” means.

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          • Marx says:

            Err, despite the quite obvious meaning of what you just said, ‘Trained Killer’ sounds just wrong. It implies that the person who has been trained is actively killing people (either as a hobby or as a profession), instead of just ‘being able to disable/kill people efficiently’ because of the training he/she received.

            Current score: 0
            • Angnor says:

              I’d have to agree with this. IMO what Amaranth is looking for Mack to get out of the fighting class is skill and control of her body (maybe some extra discipline as well), things Dee talked about Mack needing (and was offering to teach her, once upon a time). There also the respect factor, Amy was wanting Mack to show more respect for those interested in fighting/martial endeavors.
              Keep in mind, though, regardless of what Amaranth might want, taking this class is part of the deal struck between Mack and Callahan. Amaranth may have added an incentive to Mack’s need to get a good grade, but this was not a deal she brokered.

              Current score: 0
    • rummrunner says:

      I gotta disagree that Mackenzie’s losing any “peaceful demeanor”… she was physically passive in the past, sure, but far from peaceful. I’d actually argue that the direction she’s growing in now could serve to help curb the more violent parts of her demonic half, rather than reinforcing it or… something. Instead of just having all that potential destructiveness sitting around all dormant and undisciplined, at risk of kerploding over whatever-the-hell-have-you, now Mack’s taking a more conscientious look at it: how to take charge of it, the ways it affects other parts of her life, what she’s capable of… all that good juicy gravy.

      But then, Mack Daddy’s ALSO one of my favorite characters, so please feel free to look at this a little crossways 😀

      Current score: 0
      • The Dark Master says:

        Only time will tell how this affects Mackenzie, but I figure Callahan intends to eliminate the “peaceful demeanor” in all her students. Though, I think the major upside of this is that Mackenzie seems less likely to try and ignore things and hope they go away.

        Current score: 0
    • Barnowl says:

      I may be the only one who is NOT in love with Callahan. She’s very competent at her area of expertise, but I don’t like the drill sergeant / bully types.

      Current score: 0
      • cdw says:

        tl;dr: Always being comfortable and supported whilst learning to fight is going to get you punched in the mouth when you’re called to use your training in a surprise (read: “real”) situation. Coach Callahan’s techniques are designed to make people act normally in high-stress events, and she’s extra-tough on Mack because Mack is extra-pathetic due to her previously-displayed flight-or-flight-or-flight-or-cower-or-fight reflex.

        In fairness to Coach the “bully” routine is part of how she makes people functional. If you can react perfectly to someone in a calm, comfortable environment where you know that yes it will hurt a bit to get hit but people will stop as soon as you get tagged that doesn’t mean shit when someone jumps out at you on the subway. It’s unexpected. That’s stressful. Your life depends on being able to enter and exit that situation “calmly”.
        This is why there’s live-fire training. Coach Callahan doesn’t have the option of making everyone crawl through a field-of-fire (and it really doesn’t apply to what she’s teaching, which is practical defense not warfare) so she makes people upset by being incredibly frightening and generally abusive to the point that they are so offput and stressed that it mimics the pressure of a real fight. She’s normalizing them to something that isn’t normal so that they can behave properly when the time comes. Even reactions can screw up if you’re too stressed.

        Of course the above doesn’t prove that Coach Callahan isn’t just a dick; what proves that is a combination of things:
        1) It’s almost always Mack complaining. This makes sense as Mack is the narrator. But she is admittedly a shy and wilting flower who cringes from all confrontation. I would likely treat such a person similarly if they were both close to someone I’m intimate with and one of my charges.
        2) Coach Callahan has been shown to be respectful and even encouraging to people whom she doesn’t believe will benefit from “taking shit”. Examples: Ian and Steff (I’m not even going to speculate on what they get up to behind closed doors, but that’s all in fun.)
        3) Coach Callahan was not complained about by Mack when the latter recounted the former’s suggestion to take this course. That suggests to me that her abusive relationship with Mack is in keeping with her DI mentality.

        Mack’s life is going to be tough and shitty even during the good times; Coach Callahan is probably quite well versed in such a feeling. Despite her level of perfection I imagine she was treated in much the same way by the mages/government officials and perhaps trainers who made and molded her.
        Long ago, when Coach Callahan was first introduced, there was a pretty even split between who liked her and who thought she was a petty bitch on a powertrip. Basically it came down to who had martial/military training and others (one should see nothing disparaging in that description towards either side, mind you).

        Lastly “frybaby” doesn’t really seem so much a pejorative as an endearing nickname. “Fry” is obvious, let’s skip it. From the point of view of a walking war machine whose formative centuries were spent in the rarely anything-but-deadly service of the kingdom Mack is both a baby in age and experience. She’s not even up to snuff with that kid Mal Reynolds had to slap the sense into. Steff and Ian are also both babies but they aren’t “naive” about the fact that the world is dangerous. I mean, the campus has a percentage of students who are eaten or maimed by ghouls. A percentage, out of several to ten thousand (it’s a large university) students is a lot of students.

        She’s pretty condescending, yes, but so are most of the elves and they get a free pass on it because, well, they’re immortal. Coach Callahan may not be immortal but considering that she was willing to toe the line with a dragon of the almost-highest order who also has the ability to fire her by offering him some of the “useless” treasure which she’s left lying under the rotting corpses of other dragons she’s clearly seen her fair share.

        Now, to be fair Coach Callahan is clearly a dick. I particularly enjoyed her disparaging comments towards the other martial arts instructor. But in that case she likely has a point: Coach Callahan is almost certainly better that Prof. Pretty Prancing Pony (unless Mercy ALSO works at MU) and likely has cause for criticizing their methods.
        If you’ve been around for several centuries or seen that much war I’d say you can be somewhat condescending to a 19-y.o. know-it-all. Callahan meets both those requirements.

        Now I could have left that alone and not tried to win an “internet argument” because that just makes me the fastest kid at – well we know the rest.

        My point is actually that I see a lot of my friends take “self-defense” courses that really deserve the orphan quotes.

        So if I see someone who looks like they might duck out of real course because the instructor chastised them for failing a mass-attack drill or insufficient “spirit” during some ground-and-pound training even if I don’t know them I’m going to point out why that’s often how you know you’re at a good school.

        Of course if you’re being told to break bones while TRAINING in real life…well Cobra Kai was clearly run by a dick.

        Please note that none of this is a jab at pacifists; one learns martial arts, as Guru said, so that one doesn’t have to use them. Amy took a lot of pain to smother Mack wayback. Thich Quang Duc (et al) is a personal hero. Mack doesn’t have that sort of courage either.

        Current score: 0
        • Stonefoot says:

          “one learns martial arts, as Guru said, so that one doesn’t have to use them” – true, but for Mack there’s a second level of protection from this training: If knowing martial arts is NOT sufficient, using them is a much better “plan B” than frying her attacker(s) with demonic fire.

          Current score: 0
          • cdw says:

            Yeah, I can see how that wouldn’t go down well on the Imperial Evening News.

            “They shoot demons, don’t they?”

            Realistically it would probably also help her control of otherwise automatic reflexes. I now have horrible images of the hand of a fellow enchanter who unexpectedly claps her on the back in the future.
            Or the carnage she could cause by tripping into a coach. A la Kent’s handprint in the hood of a taxi. Although I suppose those (MUverse coaches, not taxis) are enchanted, so it might just run her over.

            Current score: 0
            • Rey d`Tutto says:

              True warriors do not seek conflict. They seek to End Conflict.

              also:

              “War does not make one great.” – Yoda

              Current score: 0
        • cdw says:

          “Cobra Kai was clearly run by an idiot.” Apparently I had “dick” on the brain.
          It happens here pretty often, I’d imagine.

          Current score: 0
        • Kevin says:

          When first reading this it took me a minute to remember Cobra Kai (haven’t seen Karate Kid in years) but that’s not the biggest thing I have to say. First; I have yet to see anything above Greater Dragons, which is what Callahan went up against. Second; If there is a Greatest Dragon, Callahan probably killed it. Third; God Killing Super Soldier, enough said.

          Also; On Immortality, it has not been proven that Callahan is not immortal, and it has been proven that she is older than quite a few elves.

          Current score: 0
    • Cadnawes says:

      Sure, The Man may want Mack to learn to fight, but I am not sure much should be made of that fact. Everyone with a vested interest in keeping Mack alive (for whatever reason) seem to feel similarly about this. Well, except maybe Mercy.

      Current score: 0
  23. Barnowl says:

    Apropos of nothing in this chapter, I was rereading the beginning and was reminded of how cool Celia was at first. She was the first one to see through and not be intimidated by Puddy.

    Then it seemed she lost interest in everything but drugs…maybe this year Celia will get her act together?

    Current score: 0
    • cdw says:

      True story, but it seemed to me that Celia was swigging the pot for some time. Let’s hope she takes advantage of the second chance she’s been given. Could be her (and her family’s) way off the Rez.

      Current score: 0
  24. beappleby says:

    It seems Mack will have to spend some energy practicing how to enlarge her staff without helping the enemy…

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      Think Minbari Fighting Pike, just point the end at the enemy and use the enlargement to your advantage.

      Current score: 0
  25. Don says:

    I love the shift in Callahan’s tone and demeanor as she’s teaching on this (to her) most serious subject: the right attitude and being prepared to land the killing blow. No spurious insults or derision or demeaning anyone – just straight-up “this is what we’re doing and what the point is.” She is by-Grod going to prepare each and every person in that class to do what they need to do to survive.

    Current score: 0
    • Zergonapal says:

      You did read the story right? Because even when she gave Mack an offhand compliment, she still insulted her.

      Current score: 0
      • Dragonus45 says:

        Yea, but it wasn’t i one day want to kill you and eat your overies insulting, it was your starting to earn some respect here but i still think making fun of you is funny insulting. The second is much more friendly.

        Current score: 0
        • bramble says:

          Yeah, there’s a big difference between her “why don’t you just die and stop bothering me already” insults and her “I know you can handle it if I mess with you a little” insults.

          Current score: 0
  26. Dave says:

    Not only are Callahan’s insults less demeaning, she actually says “Nice job” and claps (hits) her shoulder, a mark of approval I believe.

    “You’re working ahead in the textbook a little…”
    Should that be
    “You’re working ahead of the textbook a little…”? Or does Callaghan think Mackenzie’s been reading the set book and knows what comes next? Unlikely, as Callaghan tends not to be predictable!

    Anyway Mackenzie get credit both for doing what she’s told, and for then controlling her opponent without ‘killing’ her once the 3 strikes have been achieved.

    Current score: 0
    • bramble says:

      I took “working ahead in the textbook” to be metaphorical – Mack hasn’t literally been reading ahead in any book, but she’s understood the concept and application of the lesson faster than some of her classmates.

      Current score: 0
      • Cadnawes says:

        And I bet “Stay DOWN already!” is somewhere in the future lesson plans.

        Current score: 0
        • Rey d`Tutto says:

          she has shown initiative in that she went for a disabling blow when her opponent would not disengage, and since that is the WHOLE POINT of the class… i.e., disable and escape/evade…

          Current score: 0
  27. Potatohead says:

    Or she’s literally skipping ahead – I’ll bet attacks on the knees or joints is a later class.

    Also, Mack: Enlarge your staff beforehand next time…it still wouldn’t have helped you against an elf, but it at least shows forethought.

    Current score: 0
    • Lunaroki says:

      Or, you know, just turn the darned thing horizontal before enlarging. Better to accidentally knock your classmates in the head when the stick gets big than to trip yourself up and hand your opponent an easy win. Remember, it can’t trip you if it’s nowhere near your legs.

      Current score: 0
      • Alderin says:

        THAT image made me laugh: Mack standing there in the circle, holds up her mini-staff, *WHACK*, the two people next to her get smacked in the face with an end of staff.

        Maybe it’s just late, but thanks!

        Current score: 0
        • cnic says:

          See I was picturing her doing something similar but pointing it at her enemy thinking it was a smart strategy, but forgetting the back end might come back towards her.

          Current score: 0
  28. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    “I’m a girl!” a not-at-all-boyish and not even particularly androgynous auburn-haired girl with the ponytail said.

    It sounds weird to say “a girl with the ponytail”. Not wrong, but decidedly weird. Might sound better to say “the girl” instead.

    The girl stepped forward, with her shield up at a level that would have probably have been unwisely high if she’d been in a real fight…

    One of those two “have”s needs to go.

    Current score: 0
  29. Billy Bob says:

    Is there some way to recognize the mocked from non-mocked weapons. It seems like there would have to be or else sooner or latter a dumbass would forget and end up killing someone.

    Current score: 0
    • Zukira Phaera says:

      I’d have to dig to find it but I believe there is a way to tell, a phantasmal quality to them that can be noticed.

      I’ve always thought the mock boxes had 2 compartments and acted like a storage unit. Whereby when original is put in, the box ‘locks’ it into storage until the mocked version is returned to the box and the item that it was a copy of is then released.

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    • Jennifer says:

      “A mockery is slightly translucent to the light,” [Gloria] said. “And it will flicker visibly if it comes into brief contact with any true metal. Prolonged contact will destroy it.” (from Chapter 87)

      Current score: 0
  30. Bolongo says:

    Nice shout-out to FPS Doug.

    Man, I kinda miss Pure Pwnage…

    Current score: 0
  31. Null Set says:

    Typo in the tags: You keep changing how you spell Kesserrakh/Kessherakh/Kessherrakh Salle.

    Current score: 0
  32. Argyle says:

    “There is no point in aiming for someone’s head if you aren’t willing to kill them. Forget what you see in the television… ”

    Isn’t that about the biggest out of theme statement possible? Technology/science is a kid’s cartoon so no TV.

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    • Chris says:

      Television exists in MU and is also abreviated TV (see http://www.talesofmu.com/story/book01/5). Television works be creating an illusion.

      Current score: 0
    • ylistra says:

      I suspect the word “Television”, as it is used here, is a rough translation from Pax to English.

      Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      Um, yeah, what they said.

      Current score: 0
    • Technology/science is a kid’s cartoon so no TV.

      Where do you think they watch the cartoons?

      Current score: 0
    • erianaiel says:

      Television is latin and translates roughly as ‘far seeing’
      Languages in Tales of Mu are roughly mapped on real languages with the prax version of latin retaining the role of real latin as the language of science (i.e. magic in the muverse).
      So, since the function of the device is the same in both universes and the language from which it is given a name is the same, it stands to reason that the name would be television.
      Besides, it is hardly the first time something like this happens (we already had mention of elevators to name just one occurence).

      Current score: 0
      • Angnor says:

        Ah, now I fondly remember arguments of long ago as to whether or not Lexi’s use of ‘boilerplate’ was appropriate in TOMU…

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          Right, I remember there was much discussion as to whether Two’s favorite accessory could be called an “Alice band” in a world where there was no Alice in Wonderland.

          Current score: 0
      • Enough said.

        Current score: 0
      • VXC says:

        To be pedantic:
        Tele is Greek. 🙂

        Current score: 0
      • zeel says:

        The rule is basically that any time we get a magical analogue for a real world technology, it keeps the name in cases where the name is a functional description, and loses it otherwise.

        Hence “television” is the same, as is a refrigerator or elevator. But “microwave” is changed to warmer/warming box, or timepiece instead of clock.

        Current score: 0
  33. Helen Rees says:

    Typo alert

    though was directing her commentary to the guy with the mace,

    – though *she* was directing?

    Current score: 0
  34. If Callahan existed and offered this class, I would sign up without hesitation.

    If mockboxes existed, I would pawn my 46″ plasma screen and my PS3 for one.

    Why, Reality? Why do you constantly disappoint me?

    Current score: 0
  35. pedestrian says:

    I was thinking that Mack needs to be more proactive and clever.
    For today’s exercise; When her opponent approaches enchant/grab their off balance foot. Either pull up so they fall or push it around so they twirl presenting their backside.

    And at that moment Our Mack slams her staff right thru their skull. As this will add momentum to Mackenzie’s movement, she should then continue forward and use that momentum to slam their skull again with the rear of the staff. Or, if they have already gone red, use that extra opportunity to slam the skull of one of the other students watching.

    Fair? Fair! We don’t need no stinking fair!

    Current score: 0
  36. Nessie says:

    It really is surprising how much of Callahan’s teaching style is EXACTLY WHAT WE WOULD DO to teach these skills in real life, if we could. We already coach similar topics in similar ways.

    what I wouldn’t give for mock boxes and easy access healing.

    Current score: 0