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The dojo doesn’t seem quite as intimidating to Ember now. When she was in the city before she mostly avoided the place, staying as far away as she could. Since returning, that previous reaction to the place seems frankly ridiculous and that’s a good thing considering her new job puts her here the majority of the time.
Valeria’s reaction to her return was far warmer than she ever could have hoped for, honestly taking the Dhampir by surprise. For her to then offer Ember a job was even more surprising but Em had happily taken on the role, partially out of gratitude and partially out of really needing the job. Of course it took a few days to get moved in and settled back in Evermore, but now she’s finally setting her sights on getting to work. She’s always been the type to take her responsibilities seriously and this will be no different, especially since she now has the other Dhampir’s training to consider. She doesn’t take the position officially for another couple of days, so she’s taking the bit of downtime to reacquaint herself with the city and the territory, to learn about the changes Val put in place in her time away, and to start to hammer out her plans.
That’s how she finds herself wandering the dojo now, organizing and sorting things for when she’ll need them. She has a little space actually in the dojo in case anyone wants to meet with her privately after she starts teaching and she’d spent most of the morning organizing paperwork, which remains the bane of her existence, until she literally couldn’t take it anymore and had to get moving. She’s in one of the weapons rooms, checking the condition of the training dummies, when she hears the distinct noise of someone nearby training. It’s quite common to have people coming in and out of the dojo all day, but for the most part the morning was quiet. Curiosity and newfound duty taking over, she quickly finishes her last check and dusts her hands off before heading toward the sound.
She’s not trying to quiet her footsteps as she heads to the door to the room, mostly so that she won’t startle whoever decided to get in an early workout. She doesn’t recognize the man but that’s really not surprising to her, in a city this size she’s not likely to. She waits until he finishes his current set before padding into the room, her bare feet making no noise on the padded floor, and she takes off the belt holding her swords to place it down out of the way. “Care for some company? It tends to be more effective when you have someone to train with.” She remembers a time when approaching someone like this would have been so natural to her she wouldn’t have even had to think about it. Now she’s having to train herself back into that mindset and is just grateful it doesn’t come across as awkward. “What are you working on?” Learning the other’s styles is quite important for her job, but she doesn’t want to get him off of whatever he came in here to train on. She’s very adaptive but knowing how they move and observing the different techniques is vital in being able to do her instruction later. Besides, even as a trainer one can continue learning and improving. This is just another step in that.
He didn’t want to go home. Not until he found out what happened to his client, why he was suddenly killed. It wouldn’t be easy to ask for an extension here so he was trying his best to get another case here, another client, so he could also work on what happened. It was why he met with his colleague here, to take on another case. Thankfully, he was more than happy to give him his share. After receiving the documents from his colleague, he thanked him and was about to go back up to his suite so he could get back to work. His eyes never left the envelope in his hands, this would help him extend his time here, right? By the time he returned back to his place, he plopped himself on the couch and sighed. The suite was spacious, it was nowhere near cramped or the likes, but the adventurous soul inside Eun’s dhampir self was aching for a taste of the outside air.
The elder Moon had always been working in the office, but most of the time he gets to go on-site and work outside of it and those are the days when he was extremely productive. He was stressed. One look at his suite and anyone can tell he did some cleaning. Everything was spotless, the kitchen, the bathroom, even his bed was tidied up properly, the floorboards had no smudge of dirt or dust to accompany it. Why? Because Eun took the liberty to clean the entire place earlier this morning. He could've just requested for a housekeeping service for this but he just felt the motivation to do some cleaning and once the elder Moon gets motivated to do something, he never stops until it's done. Which was ironic, considering he's still sticking himself in Evermore even after his client was dead and his case was marked off. What was he doing here again? Right, to investigate.
He came to Evermore to take on this case that was specifically requested for his service, but when the case was marked off following his client's death, Eun knew it was only a matter of time before his superior calls him back home. Home. What a relative term. Time was running out, his father wants him back home and work can only serve him as an excuse for so long. Eun could not evade this anymore. Evermore was growing on him, he found people he wanted to keep and that may not be possible if the other side kept pushing him. That was how he found himself venturing to the local dojo in hopes he could unleash all the stress pent up inside him for the better. At least he’d be hitting a dummy and not an actual person. It wasn’t the first time he’s been here but like those times, he keeps to himself because he wasn’t part of the dhampir faction here, he was just a visitor.
He wore a black tank top and sweatpants, with a zip-up hoodie covering half of his chest while he twirled the handle over his sword a few times. Eun relied more on brute strength which meant he had to train himself to be more nimble. Since he came from a family of dhampirs, it wasn’t hard to keep up with his training. But his work requires a lot of commitment so there’s that. He flinched slightly when he heard the sounds of her steps in the same room, which caused him to turn around to face whoever the stranger was. He did not expect to find anyone this early. Eun managed to sort in the time by analyzing the time patterns the other dhampirs here check in, so this was definitely news to him. “Yeah… sure. Be my guest” he mumbled softly, shouldn’t be any problem, the dojo is open to everyone anyway. But still, the man is shy. “Just working on my wrist alignment… I was trying to balance the weight of the sword better. I haven’t been able to train as much because of work so I thought, why not pick it up when you can? Turns out I forgot a lot of things” he felt so distant with his own weapon of affinity. “I guess that happens when you’ve been busy fighting crimes in court instead of… outside it” he chuckled, “I’m Eun.”
The dojo is split up into several different rooms with different purposes. Ember has spent some time getting to know the layout and where exactly each room was, as well as its purpose. Valeria’s sense of organization is frankly a blessing, because in a place like this it could be very easy to get things mixed up and make the layout confusing. The other dhampir is in one of the weapon training rooms and her blue eyes watch him carefully as he moves through his practice.
He seems frustrated about something, taking his stress out on the sword training dummy, and she almost smiles at how normal it seems. Almost. It appears that many people come in here to let out some frustration and honestly she’s no different. Sometimes it just feels good to whack things as hard as you can, but she usually prefers to use her fists for that over her swords. To each their own though. She can tell that she still managed to surprise him when she finally entered the room and she gives him an apologetic smile as she enters his line of sight. She’s dressed casually, a dark t-shirt and loose black yoga pants, barefoot and her hair pulled back and away from her face. She looks like she’s here to work.
Wrist alignment with a short sword. Well, that’s right in her wheelhouse. She gives him a small nod, walking over to the wall that holds practice swords and taking a wooden short sword from the rack before rejoining him. “Life can get busy, there’s nothing wrong with that, just work on things when you can. What matters isn’t where you fight crime, but that you do it at all. So long as it’s what you enjoy doing that is. Besides, being a lawyer is impressive.” Smiles don’t come easily to Em anymore but she’s trying to remember to get herself to smile. Her words aren’t meant to be harsh but she’s learned that her serious face can give people the wrong impression. “I’m Ember. Nice to meet you Eun.” She doesn’t recognize the name from the files but that means very little, she doubts she has records of every dhampir in the city in the dojo.
With a small smile she raises her wooden sword up in front of her face, holding it perfectly steady. “A short sword is typically balanced a few inches away from the cross-guard. It gives the sword power and control,” she shifts her grip to balancing the wooden weapon a few inches up the blade on two of her fingers, watching as it wobbles for a second before coming to a still balance. Then she goes back to holding it properly. “Make sure you’re holding the sword up high on the hilt, put your fingers close to the cross guard. It enhances your grip and also protects your fingers from others with blades. A good way to practice your hold is to hold it out straight in front of you and adjust your grip until you can hold it perfectly still.” She knows her way around a sword, her own affinity being dual blades. Looking at the scabbard leaning against the wall though, it looks like only one sword so it’s hard to tell. She demonstrates by adjusting her grip on her sword herself, letting him see how she’s holding her wrist and the position on the hilt. Then she moves the sword down into a sparring stance, watching for his reaction. “In my experience though, the fastest way to improve is through practice. It’ll probably bring your training right back to you.” She waits to see what he’ll do, her eyes steady and patient, wanting him to make the first move because she’s fine being on the defensive.
When he first came to Evermore, he had heard about the local dhampir community in the eternal city. They had quite the number, Even though he didn’t know any other dhampirs there, he did check out the dojo earlier on and that was how he managed to find his way here today. The layout was very complex, a bit confusing to some people who just came there for their first time but it was unique. He was no interior designer but even he could appreciate the design. The dhampir ambassador surely had an eye out for it, that’s for sure. There were times when he could no longer stay within the confines of his own hotel suite so he went outside for a bit of fresh air, only to find himself walking towards the dojo located at the heart of the dhampir and valkyr territory. He’s been there a few times, that was why he could naturally navigate himself inside the premise, it also helps that the elder Moon was already a good navigator naturally.
He came to vent his frustration at the dummy but that was only giving him more reasons to beat it, he’s been so aggravated lately, it was starting to be unhealthy. With his zip-up hoodie covering his black tank top and sweatpants, and one hand holding his sword that felt so foreign after so long of not wielding it, even the dummy didn’t look as intimidating as the pair. A dhampir and their affinity weapon always ends up being quite the pair, it was like a match made in heaven, no one could possibly think about separating the two. He’s carried this sword of his for years, ever since he claimed it at his ceremony. Yet it feels weird to hold it. That shouldn’t be the case for any dhampir at all, it was the reason why he felt even more frustrated today. He wasn’t used to training in front of an audience, aside from his own father who was very strict. Eun could feel the shyness creeping in once again the moment he made eye contact with the female across the room, right, a company.
He watched as she took the wooden short sword and decided to put away his own weapon aside, before returning back to the mat after taking the wooden sword kept on the left, “I think it’s because I forgot what it actually feels like to use it. The only time I’ve used it recently was months ago and it wasn’t even much of it” he remembered distinctly that when he saved Leigh, he didn’t use his sword, but used his intellect as a lawyer and a bit of physical strength to subdue the perpetrator. No mention of a sword anywhere. “Sometimes I wondered if I should be taking some time off just to find my way to reconnect with my lineage” His supernatural lineage, no less. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Ember” There’s a friendly face there, who knows, if he decides to stay here and make this place his home, perhaps having a few friendly faces could be an advantage.
Eun only realized that he didn’t have quite the range of friends here because he had been too immersed in his cases. He decided to pay attention to every single word she said and followed the same flow accordingly, it took him a few tries but before long, he was already twirling the handle around at a decent volume, which brought a smile to his face. “Ah… you’re very good at techniques… are you a trainer?” Since he didn’t know anyone in the dhampir community aside from his own brother, he wouldn’t know who is who. “Have you been in the city for long?” When he saw the way she stood her ground in a stance, Eun cleared his throat and stared at her before moving slowly into his own, “I can tell you’re more in defense.” He still hasn’t made his first move and only went forward to circle her like she was the prey in the circle. Out of all his siblings, he’s never been one with the perfected techniques but when they were comparing brute strength, he towers in the rank.
Ember is notoriously hard to intimidate. Despite being admittedly small she’s quite used to taking on opponents much larger than herself and considering that she’s standing here today it’s pretty obvious who won those fights. As she looks at Eun as he slashes at the dummy, she can see a lot of pent up aggression in those strikes. Physical activity is always a good stress reliever but for whatever reason it doesn’t appear to be working as well for him. Perhaps it’s due to the uncomfortable way he’s holding his blade, as though he’s unfamiliar with it which is admittedly strange for a dhampir but nothing she hasn’t experienced herself. She didn’t start this way after all, there was a time where she barely touched her swords in favor of training with her words. When one intends to take over a diplomatic role, combat training isn’t as necessary. Needless to say that trajectory of her life changed dramatically and practically overnight.
She can see the shyness in his gaze as she meets his eyes, he obviously wasn’t expecting company, but since he accepted she figures he’s probably trying to work through that as well. He can likely feel her eyes on him as he puts his own sword away, grabbing a wooden one from the rack as well. She would have been fine with him using his own but this is probably better. In her experience most people prefer training with the knowledge that all they’ll get is a bruise and not a chopped off limb, even if Ember is secure enough in her own ability to be able to avoid that. She gives him a short nod as he explains that he just hasn’t used his sword in a while. “In that case it should return to you fairly easily.” At least in her experience it does, it always did to her in the times she didn’t use her swords regularly. His comment about taking some time off to reconnect causes her to raise an eyebrow at him, but it’s more out of curiosity than anything. “Well you’re always welcome here. We offer pretty regular classes and you can train on your own if you prefer that.” She has yet to meet the other trainers in the dojo but she trusts Valeria’s judgement on all the hires except perhaps herself, though she is grateful for the job.
She waits patiently for him to practice himself, giving a small smile and nod when he gets back into the flow of using the sword. It hadn’t taken him long at all, just like she’d thought. Sometimes a small nudge is all it takes. She takes a second to answer his question, thinking about how to phrase her answer. “I’m the new head trainer. Honestly you’re the first person here I’ve worked with like this, I still don’t know what Valeria was thinking when she offered me the job.” She’s never taught technique before, though her own experience does lend to her being good at teaching others. She’s had to do a lot of work to prepare. “I lived here a couple years ago but only just moved back a couple weeks ago, so yes and no depending on how you look at it. How about you?” Considering the short amount of time she’s been back it’s really not strange that she doesn’t know many of the new dhampir herself. Not that her time here before would have helped in that department considering how much she kept to herself. She rarely interacted with the dhampir community before, Valeria being the only exception as she’d made it a point to get to know the stranger.
As Ember waits for Eun to make his move, watching as he slowly moves into a stance himself, she looks at the sword in her hand. While her own affinity is dual blades she’s made it a point to practice with many different weapons just in case she was disarmed or had to improvise for whatever reason. She’s not worried about adapting to one blade, but it does put her at a slight disadvantage in a real fight as several of her moves will have to be changed. Oh well. “That’s right. Don’t expect it to stay this way though.” When it comes to training, Em is pretty no nonsense, never the type to take it easy on an opponent for long. She knows that in a real fight things are over in a matter of seconds and a lot of training just doesn’t prepare people for that. In a move that most people would find scary, Ember doesn’t turn with Eun as he circles her. Instead she remains in the same stance, facing forward and allowing him to face her back. Basically anyone with training would know that this is a dangerous move, one of the basic tenets of all training being to never allow anyone to strike at your back. Ember seems perfectly at ease with him circling her though.
He hated that this felt so foreign to him.a dhampir shouldn't feel this awkward over his own weapon. If his father were to hear about this, he was sure he would feel disappointed to see his prodigal son not bring able to even grasp his own sword. The last thing he wished to do was disappoint his father, he's done enough of rule breaking in his family by being here in Evermore still, he didn't need to drag in more. Eun also didn't bother to let his brother know about this because Jae would have unnecessary worry on his shoulder, and the younger Moon had more than enough to weigh him down. His grip around the handle only seemed to increase in strength but the familiar feeling he used to have didn't creep up. Yet. So yes, he was embarrassed when Ember posed to be a company today, because he didn't expect any company aside from his own and displaying his weakness in front of another is not something he wanted to remember by.
But what could he do? The best he could do now is make in her advice and focus on getting his head back in the game. Things felt slightly cooled down once he discarded his sword and opted for a wooden one by the racks instead. It didn't feel as firm but the light texture to the surface made it easy for him to swing around. "I hope so... It doesn't seem like it wanted to return back to me if I'm being honest" he murmured. When she said that they were offering classes, a part of him wanted to take up on that but soon realized that he wasn't supposed to stay, "I would love to take you up on that offer, I really do. But I also have to take other factors in consideration. I wasn't supposed to stay here for long and the other side is probably demanding my return for god knows how many times now." Very unfortunate, in his case. "But nevertheless, thank you for your offer." Sometimes it makes him feel as if he was running away from home.
His lips formed an o as his eyes lit up when she introduced herself as the new head trainer, "That means you must know a lot of good techniques, to be the head trainer for a dhampir community could not have been easy. Back home, it takes plenty of evaluations for one to even pass the ranks." Eun was a dhampir through and through so he always knew that he's held a certain fascination to dhampirs who were a tad superior in a few ways. That didn't change. "I got here a couple of months ago… well probably about 6 to 7 months already if we're talking about it. It was never meant to be long for me… I had a case here but my client is no longer- the contract for my employment is no longer valid, you could say. So I'm supposed to return home very soon but my younger brother is here and I wished to stay a while ago just to keep my eye on him" Maybe it was just an excuse, and even if it was, what's the wrong in it?
She looks perfectly calm but if there was one thing he's learnt in his line of work, it's that people can often because so unpredictable so he needed to be very careful. Besides, she's a head trainer, obviously she was elected for a reason. He started by swiping the edge of his sword playfully towards her sides just to see how she'd react while still maintaining a distance.
Ember can sense the hesitation and awkwardness still coming from Eun and so she makes sure to keep her stance as casual as she can, trying to help out. Normally she would’ve backed off, probably wouldn’t have approached at all, but she’s been trying to do better about her antisocial tendencies. She’s glad to see that he’s finding the practice sword a bit easier, though she has a feeling it’s due more to not having any associations with it than anything. Now, how to get him acting on instinct and out of his own head?
“Don’t worry about it too much. Overthinking it just makes it worse, focus on the feel of the blade in your hand and nothing else. Don’t worry about holding it right or having the perfect technique.” For a dhampir, these sorts of things are instinctual as much as they are learned. Refinement will come once he gets used to the feel of a sword in his hand again. Ember can see the interest in his eyes when she mentions classes so to hear him then say that he shouldn’t participate is a bit of a surprise, though one she’s careful not to let show on her face. “Of course. These classes aren’t any solid obligation so if you ever find you have the time feel free to drop in. We’d be happy to have you.” Personal training usually involves signing up ahead of time but that’s just to make sure each trainer has the time available to actually work with you. Ember’s own schedule is already filling up, though it’s spaced out quite well. It’s interesting that he’s not actually part of the dhampir faction here, in her experience most tend to avoid the dojo when they’re only visiting for a short time, she knows she did in the past. Perhaps he just got restless.
The way his eyes light up when she tells him of her new position is almost enough to embarrass the red head. As it is, a small smile comes to her face and she shakes her head some. “I had many good teachers, the most potent of which was survival. In most of my situations you fought hard and you fought well, or you died.” It’s a tad on the blunt side, but she’s already encountered far too many people who hold a starry eyed vision of what it means to fight outside of the dojo. She knows from personal experience that most sparring sessions are nothing like an actual fight with both sides intent on killing. Those fights are nasty, brutal, and over in seconds. It’s nothing she’d wish on anyone but something she’s already determined she’d prepare anyone she taught for. In her eyes being a skilled killer isn’t something to be admired over, it’s something she bled for and was turned into against her own wishes. She’s simply trying to put it to good use somewhere, trying to use it to help others. Between his earlier comments and what he tells her now about his living situation here in Evermore, Em puts some pieces together and she raises an eyebrow at him curiously. “I know it’s none of my business, but allow me to give you some advice… don’t let external pressures determine your path. The only heart you’re responsible for is your own and if you don’t protect your own happiness it will eat you alive. Sometimes what’s best for you is what you have to do, no matter what.” The look on her face, combined with her incredibly serious tone, speaks to a wealth of personal experience with that particular sentiment. “If you want to stay here, be it for family or just because it makes you happy, then stay.”
Ember is prepared for just about any strike he could make, even if it doesn’t at all look like it. She can feel his hesitation behind her, read it in his reluctance to attack. When he finally does strike she can feel that he’s simply testing the waters and she brings her own sword up in quick and effective moves, blocking both swipes as though she just swatted them away. He’s testing the waters, still unsure of himself. In her own experience, the fastest way to get someone’s body to remember old techniques is to force it to. Before it seems like he’s even recovered well from her deflecting his sword she’s whirled around to face him, immediately advancing on him with a series of quick strikes with her sword, keeping it in position to defend herself against any incoming attacks. She’s forcing him onto the defensive, hoping that his own natural instinct will take over. “Don’t think about it. Just react.”
Was he a dhampir that relied more on his brute strength or his intellect? Eun always found it hard to fit into one category only because if they were going to talk about that, then rightfully so, he would be under the brute strength category because even without using his enhanced dhampir strength, he was already strong in his own sense like any other human would be. But when he took his occupation in consideration, his intellect would sometimes come out to play, if not most of the time because Eun preferred to be diplomatic instead of crushing them down. He’d rather crush them using words in an articulated manner. It was clear that he didn’t like having to resort to his dhampir tendencies. Much like the rest of his siblings, they definitely inherited their temper from their Valkyr father. That was why the elder Moon decided to block everything else out of his head and focus on what Ember was saying, she was good at how she worded the instructions, it was clear and precise, simple enough even for a beginner to follow.
She was right when she said not to think too much on the techniques, the thing that makes a dhampir different compared to others who are sometimes even stronger than them were their instincts. He spared her a thankful smile when she said he was free to come in and join whenever he had the time, “I think I’ll find myself dropping more than I thought I would, hopefully I’ll still be here to see more of you” he chuckled, not going to lie, for someone who’s only ever trained under his strict father, getting the chance to train with another, someone who was an actual dhampir, was refreshing to him. “I’ve only ever trained under one person my entire life” The same goes for the rest of his siblings, sometimes he would take a few hours to taunt his younger siblings into improving and they enjoyed the thrill and challenge that comes with it. He knew dhampirs usually had a personal connection with their dojos but he didn’t really venture the one back home all that much due to his work constraint, perhaps that was why he was fine going to this one, that or he’s just getting used to the eternal city.
“I can’t say I’ve had that much experience when it comes to fighting outside the mat, but because of my position, sometimes politicians and tycoon owners are a bit threatened when I’m the lawyer in charge against them so they tend to send a few people to give a reminder” And every time they do so, Eun had managed to escape unscathed. He hated it when they did that but that was the reality of working in the line like that. “I’ve never attacked them under the intent of injuring, just a bit maiming enough to put them down for me to send them to the police station” He preferred doing that instead of calling the cops to his place. “I found a lot of things and people like that makes me feel like I am better off staying here, but I have responsibilities on my shoulder… those I couldn’t exactly run from. Strict father. Sick mother. First born child. A fiancee waiting for her wedding that I keep delaying all because the whole arranged part is messing with my head…” He couldn’t believe he’s actually telling this to a stranger but was she really a stranger if he knew her name now?
Eun was generally a likeable person, he was a social butterfly everywhere he goes. It was a lot easier said than done, he huffed internally when she told him to just react instead of thinking. But naturally, his instincts came back on the spike when she started being on the offensive side, forcing him to be on the defensive mat. It didn’t take him long to notice the pattern she was trying to instill, she was egging him and it was slowly working, somewhat. Because before he knew it, he had stopped backing away and started to advance on his attacks after parrying and deflecting the ones she sent him. Eun turned over so he could get in a better position and eyed her for a moment before descending into taking a few steps forward to resume the attacks.
Ember has a quiet and unassuming way about her that tends to deceive people. Her face looks friendly and although she’s an average height she’s a small person. Most people see her and think she’s not a threat, which gives her quite the advantage when matters escalate. It had taken her a while to reach this point though, years of hard training and survival, her natural dhampir strength and instinct honed by years of needing it just to make it to the next day. As such she’s lost touch with most of her diplomatic roots, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not there. It’s interesting the way she compares to Eun and in him she can see a path that she might have taken had things turned out differently. Had she not been betrayed so severely, the two may have met in higher class social circles, debating philosophy and other matters.
Her instincts got her through a lot of those early months and after learning with other dhampir, Ember grew to appreciate the natural instincts she carries that saved her life. Refinement and training is still necessary for one though and she won’t lie, while it’s always advantageous to take knowledge from several sources, it’s hard to beat another dhampir’s instruction. “In that case, I look forward to seeing you. Training under one person can be good for mastery but it can also lead to becoming far too rigid in your techniques. Flexibility is required when one uses swords, in order to win in various situations you need to be able to adapt.” Which is why most communities have several different instructors. Here in Evermore they have at least three, each with a different personal style and method. “You mentioned you have a brother in the city? He’s more than welcome to come join in too if he wishes.” None of them are the type to turn people away, it’s something she appreciates.
The situation he describes is all too familiar to her and she nods slowly as he describes people being sent to beat him into submission. Unfortunately that sort of thing is common practice and it’s something that she had never tolerated. She’s glad to see that he looks well enough that he must have fought them off. It’s also honorable that he never seriously hurt any of them, it’s more than she can say for herself. “People in positions of power think they should be able to get their way no matter what. I’m glad you got out of those situations alright.” A change comes over her face when he finally confirms exactly what she suspected, her casual expression darkening somewhat into a serious frown. “And you must play the part of the dutiful child, right? Get out of there before it destroys you.” Her blue eyes are suddenly very intense, but also somehow far away, as though she’s recalling something less than pleasant. She’s quite blunt with her words but doesn’t seem like she’ll just offer up why. “Trust me, I know. I nearly didn’t make it out and there are those that would say I still haven’t managed it.” She’s still being hunted to this day and she’d rather they kill her than manage to drag her back. The very fact that he’s divulging it shows how much it bothers him already. She doesn’t want to see someone else repeat her own mistakes.
Thankfully she’s gotten good at keeping a handle on her own anger, tamping it down before she moves into strikes. She’s not being vicious in her strikes, instead they seem to be efficient, the movements so subtle as to be hard to read. She can see the moment his brain switches gears and she gives him an encouraging nod as he takes a step forward into striking back at her. She holds her sword differently from what he’s used to, easily transitioning from a one-handed grip to a two-handed and back again as though it’s second nature to her. With him starting to get the flow of things she ups her own attacks, increasing the speed but still allowing him room to deflect and parry. He’s strong, more so than a lot of dhampir, and it’s allowing for a nice back and forth between them. “Good. Keep it up.”
Eun always thought he knew how to read a person easily, at least the part where most people tend to hide away from first glance. It’s just a habit for him to be doing that after years of training himself in such condition and atmosphere. Besides, it didn’t help that law school had been a brutal war zone and competition was everywhere, to the point where he had to be cautious of his own shadow at times. But when he looked at Ember, he wasn’t sure if she even wanted to hide her secrets from the world, there were times when she looked like she was vulnerable but other times? She looked as if she was ready to cut the silence with a knife. Which honestly made the redhead to be an interesting person that managed to pique the dhampir’s attention.
One thing was for sure, of course, Ember looked sophisticated, as if she had a certain intellect behind that exterior she wore, and who knows? Perhaps they could even engage themselves in a conversation filled with how one views the world using each other’s different perspectives. “You sound like you’ve got quite the experience under your belt, as expected from a head trainer of course. I do hope you’ll go easier on me compared to my previous one. He wouldn’t even let me rest until I have achieved what he wanted me to achieve” he chuckled, he remembered going back home with sore muscles every day because of it. The constraints of schooling back then mixed with that kind of ‘extra-curricular’ activities wouldn’t bode well with one’s stress levels. It didn’t with Eun, but eventually he found a way to get over it.
When she told him he was free to ask Jae to join, Eun spared her a small smile, indicating he was thankful for her to extend such an invite, “He’s been here longer than me so I think he’s already gotten his way around things here. But I’ll be sure to let him know, it’s been a while since I’ve sparred with him either.” He couldn’t recall the last time he could meet his own brother on the mat due to their schedules clashing every time. “I figured if it’s not going to be my first or last, then I had to instill some sort of self restraint in me, right? I had to make sure I won’t lose my own resolve, I had to be the bigger person, always” to others, it may make it seem like he’s the weaker one in the party, but Eun likes to think it’s the opposite. He was in control of his own temper, that’s the best achievement he could ever think of. He didn’t expect for her to come up to him with that kind of remark, it surprised him and rendered him speechless for a while.
“It’s… it’s a lot easier said than done, no? I’ve always been the golden child in the family, Ember. My mother is sick and I really don’t want to worsen her health by giving her a reason to worry about me.” It’s a risky thing, to be sacrificing his own happiness for the sake of his parents but that’s the way it is. “I’m the eldest in the family, I have three more younger siblings, my youngest brother here won’t get to achieve his own happiness if I don’t do this… Shouldn’t one of us have to sacrifice for the other?” Jae has achieved so much here in Evermore, he didn’t want that to go away just because their father is one persistent Valkyr. His patriarchy was something else. Once she gave him an encouraging nod, Eun started advancing and was able to deflect her hits using the sword, she was very nimble and while Eun may not be the most flexible in the room, he was able to hold his own by using a bit of his core strength. The time passed by and by the time he had turned to back her into the mat, he noticed his hits were slowly getting a lot more aggressive instead of his usually calm demeanor.
If there’s one thing Ember knows how to do really well, it’s throw people off as to the real her. She’s been doing it for years, keeping people at a distance, not letting them in because she knows from experience that it just leads to them getting hurt. That doesn’t mean a few people haven’t made it in, but it’s rare to say the least. Eun gives her the impression that he might be one of the few to eventually see through her, at least if he sticks around long enough. They’re too similar for him not to. Growing up in a powerful, rich family, with all those expectations and the desire to live up to them. She took a far darker path than he did though, which tends to happen when you’re being hunted.
Either way, the Ember that she portrays to most people isn’t her. She’s not the way she was back when she was 18 and honestly the way she acts isn’t who she really is either. Some part of her wonders if she even knows who she is herself anymore. That’s neither here nor there at this moment however and she tilts her head slightly as Eun speaks. “Going easy on people isn’t exactly my forte, but I’ve been working on it. Hard to improve if I just kick your ass over and over without any actual teaching, right?” The slight lift to the corner of her mouth tells him she’s mostly joking. “Going at something hard for a short period of time isn’t the way to learn. Swordplay requires repetition. If you want to become really good at it you practice and repeat the drills until your body does them on sheer muscle memory, little to no thought required for the basics. Mastering the basics is the foundation.” Or do like her and speedrun through learning because if you didn’t you’d die, but she really doesn’t recommend that approach.
She gives a short nod to acknowledge his explanation, taking the time to listen before she answers him. “I see. In that case he might have worked with one of the other trainers, but any dhampir is welcome here. Either way, the fact that you can show restraint in those situations speaks highly of you. Just be sure that if the situation ever does arise where you can’t avoid it that you don’t hesitate. Most of the time it’s them or you and most aren’t willing to negotiate a deal.” That of course sounds easier than it actually is for most people. Killing someone, even when they’re after your own life, takes a toll on anyone with a conscience but if you want to live you have to do what’s necessary. It’s hard to tell just from looking at her, but she’s had to do the necessary many times.
Her words stunned him, she can tell that by his moment of silence. Good. She can be blunt sure, but if it means sparing him her own path then she’s alright with stunning him. “You and me both. If you go and do what makes you happy, she’ll get over it. If she cares about you at all she’d want whatever is good for you whether it aligns with her beliefs or not. And no, neither of you should have to sacrifice for the other. Not when it comes to something like this. It is not normal for parents to force their children down paths they don’t want to take and it is not okay that they’re doing this to you or to him. Remember, as the oldest any siblings you have will be looking to you as their example. So… what sort of example are you setting for them?” The look on her face says she doesn’t really care if that makes him angry either, at least someone is telling him the truth. In fact he’s lucky she’s been trying to be nicer or that would have come out a lot harsher. There’s a moment where she takes a slight breath, ridding her own mind of raised fists and bruises and harsh words and fear, and then she’s focused again.
As they exchange blows Ember can really tell how strong he is. It’s quite impressive, if they’re not careful they could end up damaging the practice swords. Her face when she fights appears devoid of any emotion, barring the few times she seems to catch herself and gives him an encouraging smile. There’s not much in the way of angry shouting from her and it’s hard to tell where her attacks are going to come from as she doesn’t telegraph them much. As his attacks grow more aggressive she changes her strategy, moving faster, using more complicated techniques. She’s challenging him, slowly goading him into that area of muscle memory and building up to see at what point it becomes too much for him. Where does his skill end and instinct begin? How advanced is he? The wooden swords clash together again and he’s starting to notice that she’s keeping up with him in strength more than it appears she should be able to, this time digging in her heels and holding off his blow instead of deflecting it like she had been doing. A subtle lesson not to count purely on overpowering whoever he’s fighting. “Remember, swords act as equalizers. A far physically weaker opponent becomes much stronger when wielding a sword as it gives them leverage to use against you.”
He could see the air around Ember, she had that mysterious air to her, it was almost impossible for him not to take notice to it when he was a lawyer. He had two advantages in that, it wasn’t the first time he met someone like that, at least in a similar fashion, and he had supernatural knowledge because he too, is a part of the said community. The redhead looked as if she was burdened by something and was trying to hold it up by masking it away and act as if it doesn't bother her which gives him the impression that the last thing she wanted to be seen is with a troubled expression. Eun could respect that. That did mean that she piqued his interest. A laugh escaped him when she said that, "True, one wouldn't be able to improve if all they keep doing is just land their face over the mat every single try. Though it could be seen as one of the many forms of motivation, I hardly think anyone would actually want to go through that strenuous session of bone and ego crushing method. I know I wouldn't" It was one of the few reasons why Eun never slacked in his training when he was younger.
Not when his own father, a whole Valkyr is eyeing his every move too. He may as well be his permanent sparring partner with his judgmental stares. "I forget how much I loved training honestly… I used to be so giddy when someone mentioned training sessions. Even when I was in law school, it never rendered my focus. But lately, things got too hectic and I wasn't sure if I will even have time to train as much." Which was quite upsetting considering how much Eun embraced his dhampir side. "You're telling me that at the end of the day, it's me or them, aren't you? Only one can emerge victorious." There was a disgruntled sigh coming from him as soon as those words were uttered but the expression on the elder Moon never fazed the slightest, "Sadly that's the kind of world we live in." Of course he knew that. Every single day was a constant display of that, especially when he set his foot in the courtroom. Those are ones that were actually caught which was only less than a quarter of what even happened in the world.
What example are you setting for them? Her words kept ringing in his head as he bit his bottom lip, sighing in response, there was no way out of that scenario as expected. "You hit a point with that… multiple points actually but you get where I'm going. I have 2 more brothers and a sister. If I don't do what's right, what's preventing my father from forcing them on a similar road?" It honestly felt like he was trying to convince himself more than her. As they advanced into their sparring session, Eun noticed the build up from her side and realized how much of a good strategy she was currently implementing in her teaching. It was remarkable. Nothing is without a flaw, of course, but the range superseding it was something else. It was astonishing to the male.
When her attacks grew, he took it as a chance to slow down on the strength of his blows and focused on defending himself using the sword, he needed to calculate his own energy too. Until one part comes where he blocked the hit strongly, as if to indicate he was stopping the flow, with a smile gracing his lips, "My father has always taught me to rely on my strength but then again I'm not surprised… he's not a dhampir. A Valkyr and my mother is human. Of course he would rely on strength because he already had it in him."
Piquing someone’s interest is not usually something Ember likes to do and yet here she is. Since taking on this job she’s been put into the spotlight more than she likes but she can’t exactly back out now. Promises are made to be kept after all. She shrugs a little to his words, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. “It’s how I learned. I don’t recommend it, it hurts.” She’s referring more to the physical pain in this instance, at the time she was so destroyed emotionally that the ego crush couldn’t actually get to her. Of course she also had a base due to dhampir training but it wasn’t up to where it needed to be.
She nods to him as he explains how his life got busy, waiting for him to finish before she speaks. She’s certainly more quiet than one might think, even when she speaks her voice is soft and only takes on an intensity when she wants it to. “It’s important to keep up with it but not at the expense of everything else. Of course if you feel you’re going to be fighting a lot it’s probably more important than most things. As much as I wish I had better news for you, I think you know perfectly well just how dangerous and cruel some people can be. Even if you’re not more cruel you need to be at least as dangerous.” Though perhaps that’s her own philosophy sneaking in there. She’s survived on being more dangerous after all, hard to see things in another way when it’s what you’ve lived for a decade.
He can feel her eyes on her as he worries his lip, watching his face as he takes in what she said. She can tell her words hit home as he starts trying to deflect and she raises an eyebrow slightly at him, mostly because she can tell he’s trying to convince himself more than her. “What’s right? Who said what they want for you is what’s right? You’ve got to consider them, sure, but maybe what’s right is getting all of you out from your parent’s thumbs. As for what’s stopping your father… You. Them. You’ve all got to make up your own minds. You can’t be the dutiful son forever, or do you intend to obey them even after you’re married and gone?” Okay maybe she’s being a bit harsh. She takes a breath, looking at him for a moment with her lips twisted in a frown. “Sorry. You didn’t come here to listen to me preach at you about your family. You’d know what’s best more so than me.”
She smiles a little as he starts responding to her in different ways, going back on the defensive and he finally gets a full grin from her when he blocks one of her strikes dead. She holds the block while he speaks, pushing against his blade just enough to force him to continue to exert force against her. “Relying on brute strength will get you killed. Trust me.” Then she moves again, swiftly knocking his wooden sword to the side as she moves to sweep his legs out from under him. She actually seems to be enjoying the fight. “Don’t forget, you have weapons other than your blade.”