2009-08-06: Learning to Fight


Taskmaster_icon.jpg Kalindi_icon.jpg

Summary: Kalindi goes to Taskmaster's martial arts school to ask for training, and Taskmaster gives her a taste of the lessons.

Date: July 6, 2009.

Log Title Learning to Fight

Rating: PG

NYC - The Bronx

The Bronx is New York City's northern most borough located on the main land of New York State. The southern area of the Bronx is the tougher neighborhood, where the crime his higher and the housing more for those of lower income. As you go more north in the Bronx, it still has a city feel but the crime rates drop the further north you go. There is a heavy African American and Hispanic population in this borough. The Bronx is home to Yankee Stadium, New York Botanical Gardens, and The Bronx Zoo.

Taskmaster is currently in his Tony Masters alias, a tall, handsome man with brown hair and a fit build stuffed into some comfortable looking slacks and a black turtleneck sweater. He's standing outside on the street with his hands on his hips looking up at a sign that says "Masters School of Martial Arts" with a rather satisfied looking smile. To those who know the area, this is a new establishment that seems to have quite literally sprung up overnight. For those who might have, shall we say, underground or shadowy connections, they'd know that this is no ordinary dojo. This is a new exclusive dojo where Taskmaster will teach anybody who has enough money to hire him, any style they can think of.

While Kalindi isn't exactly well-versed at things that most people take for granted, she at least knows how to take advantage of her underground connections. She is leaning forward a little bit, probably a bit from the weight of her backpack, and she too stops in front of the school to look up at the sign. Kali looks out of the corner of her eye for a moment at Tony and pulls a small sheet of paper from her pocket, to confirm that this is the address. One of her eyebrows raise and she pockets the slip of paper again.

"I take it you're here for the school," Tony says, without even looking at Kalinidi. "Well, that didn't take long." He turns and sizes up the young girl with a calculating eye and shrugs. "Well, it could be worse. Get inside and let's talk business," he says and opens the door to let Kalindi in.

Kalindi turns towards Tony to get a better look at him, now that she knows he must represent the school and isn't just some other random person who is staring at it. "Ah, yes," she says, when Tony tells her to go inside. Her accent is strange and unplaceable, a mixture between Hindi and some kind of demonic tongue. She steps through the door into the building, both hands clasping the strap of her backpack.

Inside, the place resembles your typical dojo: The floors are lined with a soft squishy mat, and the walls are lined with every training equipment available. Once the door closes behind him he walks a circle around Kalindi, scowling. "Allright. Let's hear it."

Kalindi slowly removes her backpack and places it on the floor. "In the shortest way I can explain, I was taught some karate by someone before, but I am not good enough at it to feel like I would be safe if I did not have my backpack. I would like to learn something very well, suited best for my body." She frowns slightly and then nods, satisfied at her own response.

Taskmaster finishes his circling to end up facing the girl. "I see," he says. "How much are ya willing to pay? I usually don't train girls, so I'm havin' a hard time thinkin' that this is goin' ta be worth my time."

Kalindi narrows her eyes slightly at the question. This is the hard part: she has yet to assess the values of things, so she doesn't know how low she can offer before she comes off as insulting. Of course, she would prefer not to overpay. But then, that's mainly what she was trained for: to make good deals. "You will find that I would be a good student, disciplined and willing to push my limits," she says, putting off answering the question for a few moments. She looks thoughtful as she considers the price, "I would say that two hundred and fifty thousand is a number I am comfortable with." She figures this is a conservative opening bid, but what's a negotiation without one of those?

Taskmaster snorts derisively at Kalindi's line about being a good student. "Yeah, that's what they all say. Five hundred thousand," he says, a hand whipping out to take a cheap shot at the girl, a straight punch, direct and powerful easily recognizable as Wing-Chun style of Kung-Fu.

Luckily, because she is neither relaxed nor weighed down by her backpack, a single cheap shot is something Kalindi can deal with. She has about a 1st dan black belt level in her style of karate, though she'd actually be less likely to identify the style as Shorin-Ryu than Taskmaster is, which he might be able to do by identifying how she blocks the punch. While her form is good, the expression on her face betrays some amount of surprise at even being attacked. "Three hundred and fifty."

Taskmaster's attacks are short and brutal, designed to be attacking much closer inside what most Karate styles are comfortable with. They aren't flashy punches and kicks like you find in most Kung Fu styles, but are short, sharp and efficient, and he's not pulling his punches one ounce. "Four hundred, and put some effort inta it or I ain't interested."

Since four hundred is around what Kalindi is actually comfortable paying for this, she agrees by repeating the number: "Four hundred then." The statement is said hurriedly, because she is not one to chatter when fighting without her powers. She defends herself mostly by employing the soft techniques from the Shorin-Ryu style, trying to redirect the force of the blows and counterattack, this part usually she switches over to hard techniques. While she is fast and skilled for her age, she isn't anywhere near as able as Taskmaster, but she certainly is trying hard. She stumbles back as she finds her timing off for a moment and feels the strength of Taskmaster’s attacks. While she doesn't look like she took it too well, she does return to a fighting stance.

"Whoever thought Shorin-Ryu was good for somebody so short and skinny as you was an idiot," Taskmaster says, never letting up in his attacks. There's no wind up to each strike, and the way that he positions himself, there's very little movement needed to turn an attack into a block, and vice versa. "I've trained the best, kid," he says, breathing easy as he pushes his attack even more, easily blocking any kind of counterattack that Kalindi might throw. "But I ain't like any other teachers you might have had. You gotta want to be the best." His monologue is punctuated by an attack that increasingly is more effective against the girl's defenses, and with each strike the image of a well dressed man flickers as the combat strains the holo projector. "You gotta be willing ta do whatever it takes ta get there." He finally gets tired of playing around with the girl and ends it with a powerful thrust to her solar plexus, and at the same time the holo projector finally fails leaving Taskmaster there in his mercenary garb. "They don't call me the Taskmaster for nothing."

He finally gets tired of playing around with the girl and ends it with a powerful thrust to her solar plexus, and at the same time the holo projector finally fails leaving Taskmaster there in his mercenary garb. "They don't call me the Taskmaster for nothing."

"Not an idiot. It was better than nothing at all and he knew nothing else," Kalindi responds to the first bit, defending her demon master's choice, while still trying to defend herself. Also, it does work a little bit better when she's wearing her gold armour. The more difficult the fighting gets on her, the less she even bothers to throw counterattacks, since she doesn't have the physical capacity to do so. As soon as Taskmaster finishes playing, though, she finishes playing too. The hit to her solar plexus knocks her backwards and then onto her knees. She clutches her chest and gasps for breath for a few moments before rasping, "I want anyone who chooses to fight against me to regret it then and there-" She cuts herself off by trying to get more air into her lungs, before continuing and rising (clearly still in a lot of pain) to her feet, "I want to be /feared/. I need your help."

Taskmaster's stance relaxes and nods as she talks. "Well," he says sounding somewhat satisfied, "You've come to the right place." He gestures to the backpack that was mentioned before he decided to test her out. "What's in the bag?"

"It is my weapon, my protection." Three hundred pounds of gold, not that it can be identified as such by the way it sits on the floor. Only that it sits heavily. She takes a step towards it while still clutching her chest and explains further. "I am able to control gold." She pauses for effect and continues, "I see people with abilities, once they are lost, they are nothing. I need to be better than that."

"Hunh," grunts Taskmaster thoughtfully. "That's a new one." He considers his new student carefully for a few moments before coming to a conclusion. "Yeah. Wing-Chun will work. Karate relies too much on strength and reach to be of any use for you." He kneels down on one foot and zips open the bag, looking inside. A whistle of appreciation escapes his lips from underneath his mask. "Well, will you lookit that," he breathes, before looking up at Kalindi, "But if you want ta be feared, I'm going ta teach you how ta use your power right." He take a step back from the bag and orders, "Show me what ya got."

"Then I will show you so that you can show me." This is something that Kalindi is actually good at, showing off the use of her own power. After all, she didn't spend the last ten years in a demonic dimension just twiddling her thumbs and talking weather. She takes another step forward and leans towards the bag, raising her hand at it. While she isn't very good at moving the gold without touching it, she only needs to bring a little bit back to herself so that she can extend it in string form towards the bag again. Her eyes flash a strange glowing black that seems to pull light out of the air as she mentally reaches for access to her powers. She quickly covers herself in a light gold armour, including a helmet that covers all but her glowing eyes, the metal seeming like liquid in zero gravity as she manipulates it. She pulls out the last bit of gold in order to give herself a long shining cape. This is just how she stores the excess metal on her person.

Taskmaster folds his arms as he watches the process and shakes his head making "Tsk"-ing noises with his tongue. "That's too much to carry around to be of any practical use unless ya preparin' ta go ta war." He considers her for a moment before saying, "Anklets, bracelets, belt and necklace should be enough. Let's see how much gold that is."

Kalindi says evenly, "It does not matter how much of it I have, it does not weigh me down unless it is in the backpack. I can use it to accelerate my body's limits, even." Even while she says this, she follows Taskmaster's command. She just wants to let him know the specifications of her powers if he's going to be helping her with that. The gold peels off of her, and only covers the places that he suggested, the rest forming a big heavy ball in her hands. She carefully places the ball on the floor, so not to damage it.

Taskmaster gives Kalindi a hard stare. "Did I say anythin' about it bein' heavy? No. I said it wasn't practical unless yer prepared ta go ta war." He gestures at what she's currently clad in, "This is something ya can wear day to day without attracting attention and still keep ya dangerous." He tilts his head and says, "I suspect that the less gold ya have the more precision ya have with it, am I right?"

Kalindi nods apologetically when Taskmaster gives her the hard stare. She tilts her head and answers his question, "Well, yes and no. The less that I am using, the more precision. But this does not count the use of armour or weapons that I have already created. So the answer is mostly yes, you are right."

Taskmaster nods, putting his hands on his hips. "I'm gonna teach you how ta use your head in battle. How ta be flexible, how ta improvise. When I'm done with ya, ya ain't gonna want that much gold." He turns his back to his student and starts surveying the array of weapons on the racks. "What weapon styles have ya been taught?"

Kalindi shakes her head and says, "I do not know the names of any styles that I have been taught. My teacher was a demon, and he did not seem to comprehend named styles. I do not have much weapons training that is important, mostly naginata and some katana, those maybe on the same level as my hand to hand. I have small amounts of training in other weapons, but the rest is self-taught. I would very much like to learn more." She looks around at the weapons in the room with some interest.

Taskmaster nods making up his mind as he walks over to a wall and picks up two rattan sticks about two feet in length. "Eskrima, then. It compliments Wing-Chun well and will give you a good foundation for what's to come." He turns around and drops into the appropriate fighting stance. "Let's begin….."

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