It was always the same routine for her when it came to her Dhampir training, every evening she would head out and catch out criminals running loose on the streets of Evermore, get a few hours sleep and then she would head to the Dojo first thing after she woke up to train. Considering all the injuries she tended to get when she was out on the streets, it was smart for her to only show up when fewer people were likely to be there, fewer questions were always better for her and really fewer people in general, Nora wasn’t really the kind who liked to constantly be bothered when she was training.

The Dhampir reached the Dojo about 7:30 am and headed straight inside, dressed in her usual workout gear she was ready to get going after a few stretches and setting her stuff down on the bench. She was glad this place existed, it was a safe space to practice her abilities without needing to worry about who might see her and it had every piece of equipment, weapon and target you would need, though of course, the Dhampirs tended to bring their own. As she wandered through the space she noticed the was one other person here this morning, she could hear her training energetically, her breath huffing a little as she threw a few hits against the training bags.

Nora stopped for a moment and glanced over at her, she couldn’t say she’d seen here before and certainly not this early in the morning which made her a little curious about who she was. She was clearly a Dhampir considering how at ease she looked in this place and the weapon set beside her on the ground where she could grab it she needed it to. Nora did notice one glaring thing though, she seemed to be very experienced. She pressed her lips together almost feeling a little tense just seeing the stance she was holding as she threw punches and couldn’t even stop herself as she spoke “You need to plunge your feet” she commented and when she got her attention, Nora explained what she meant by plunging her stance so one leg was in front of the other before demonstrating a punch to the air.

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Even within the Dhampir community, Nora was usually the kind to keep to herself, she didn’t get along with others all that well if she was honest, once she was done with work all of her tolerance for people seemed to fade away but lately, she agreed that she would help with some of the training here in the Dojo. She did kinda feel bad for the people who ended up learning under her honestly because she didn’t have time for slackers or those who clearly weren’t serious about their training. She supposed that came from the fact that if she made a mistake then she could end up seriously getting herself or others hurt and the projected itself onto the cautiousness she used when teaching others.

Nora watched the other girl training from out of the corner of her eye, noting the way that she seemed energetic and focused with all of her movements, it was clear to Nora that she was dedicated to the cause and wanted to get stronger. Perhaps that was why she felt inclined to say something, she remembered when she first began her Dhampir training that it had all been new to her and she had made some big mistakes because chose to learn alone, she was stubborn like that, unfortunately, if she could do something for herself then she would because it cut out the need for others.

She hadn’t really realized she had actually said something out loud until the other girl had turned to look at her confused and Nora bit her lip before showing her what she meant by changing her stance when she was working on the punching bag, for one, she was kinda worried she might end up straining her arm if she continued how she was, she was working out quite hard “Yeah that’s it, that way instead of using your arms only, you can put the whole of your body into each punch, hence making them more powerful” she knew hand to hand combat like the back of her hand. She noticed the difference in the delivery of her punch almost immediately and she nodded slightly when she thanked her “Believe me you want to avoid a wrist strain at all costs, they hurt a lot” she responded as she came in closer, taking the spot on the punch bag next to her and wondering if perhaps she should help out more.

“And you learning hand to hand?” she asked as she threw a few hits to the surface, delivering them in a pattern which was almost hard to pin down to someone else but was like breathing to Nora, she had learned to always change her fighting technique in seemingly random patterns which others couldn’t predict when they were fighting her “What’s your weapon?” she asked curiously because often you could link this kind of fighting with your weapon to make yourself more powerful, not in Nora’s case though because her weapon was a bow.

Nora wasn’t the community kind of person, don’t get her wrong, she could deal with people just fine and did so on a daily basis but she just worked better alone most of the time. Her training had mostly been one on one with the Dojo leader from her city Katiya who taught her pretty much everything she knew until there wasn’t much more to learn, the rest was about practice. It had taken her a few years after coming to Evermore to actually come here but now she did, she felt a sense of comfort. She sparred with other people here from time to time and occasionally ran training sessions, though she was known for being pretty hard of people who slacked or didn’t put in the work they should on their training. Nora took fighting very seriously, considering it was the very thing that kept her alive when she went out on the streets and fought to protect people. Just like a Dhampir was supposed to.

She nodded slightly when the young-looking girl thanked her for the tip, she glanced over her form now her feet were plunged and she could definitely see an improvement in the way she was delivering her blows. “You’d be surprised how much of fighting isn’t actually about strength at all” she commented nonchalantly, in her experience, someone with brute strength could certainly pack a punch but someone with perfect form would easily be able to counter whatever was thrown at them. Her small stature often worked to her advantage in fights because no one expected her to be able to fight the ways she did which often put her ahead of whoever she was fighting. “Yeah you have to be careful when training, one really stupid move and you could be out for weeks” she nodded, she’d made those mistakes plenty of times too and learned from them.

She chuckled slightly when she said she looked like a natural “Technically we’re all supposed to be naturals, Dhampirs after all” she grinned slightly “But most of it is just training over and over again until you get the hang of it, learning to actually fight again people and learn their patterns” she nodded slightly. She bit her lip when the other girl said that she had been trying to learn how to fight alone, while Dhampir had natural intuition, the actual process of fighting wasn’t really something you could just pick up, you tended to need training and practice with other people. “A dagger is good for hand to hand, you can keep it in a holder on your belt and get to it easily when you need it” though Nora did believe in non-lethal force before using a weapon, her bow worked well for that as she could use arrows which were not sharp. “Try switching up your pattern, using your elbow to add any extra kind of hit” she demonstrated by throwing a couple of punches before blowing the training bag with the outside of her arm, just up from her elbow “The key to hand to hand is to do things your opponent wouldn’t expect” which was easier said than done but came with practice.

Nora had a bit of reputation for being a harsh trainer which meant most people kept their distance from her when she was training, mostly she just got frustrated with people who thought after a few sessions they had the strength to take her down. She definitely did enjoy putting people into their place when they decided they were suddenly strong enough to take her down, she might be small but she was also very strong. Deceivingly so. “Of course strength helps, but being able to use your mind in a fight is way more important” she nodded slightly, all well and good being strong but if someone was already 5 steps ahead of you before you began then you really stood no chance of winning at all.

She pressed her lips together when she said she had sprained herself and hurt herself a few times “Don’t worry, we’ve all been there” she assured her with a nod of her head when she asked if she had injury stories of her own “I’ve always been pretty coordinated but I can also be quite reckless, when I was first starting I would go after people who were better trained or generally stronger than me and then get my ass kicked” she shrugged slightly “Plus when I get really into training I can get a little heated, so sometimes I go a little too hard and end up spraining a muscle” it was natural and part of the process, you weren’t going to do it perfectly every time but you could definitely get better at it.

“Supposedly yeah, though I’m not sure I believe in that exactly” she responded and shrugged her shoulders slightly, yes Dhampir had better reflexes and agility which made them better at fighting but that didn’t mean every Dhampir was cut out for being a fighter, some people didn’t have the right state of mind or the determination it took. Nora glanced over at the girl when she said she was used to people needing to carry a knife for protection when she was younger “That’s sad to hear” not unsurprising to her though, it was dangerous out on the streets, she knew that better than anyone. “A bow” she responded and then scoffed “Talk about one of the most impractical weapons ever” she joked and then shrugged “I’ve learned to work with it, though it hasn’t been without its struggles” she learned hand-to-hand as a backup because she couldn’t always be at range when she was fighting.

“A little at first but before long you’ll find the rhythm is quite natural, besides it gives your knuckles a short break” she nodded slightly as she continued making her mark on the target, naturally varying her pattern and even jumping back on her toes a few times so she could put additional force into her punches. “See you’re getting it, the element of surprise is your friend and anyone can throw a punch, what someone won’t expect is for you to go for something different” she had seen her share of fights on the streets and most of it was fists flying back and forth without much technique. “If you imagine it’s a person you’re fighting, you don’t always just want to go for the middle of their chest right? Before long they’re going to know where you’re aiming for and block you” she nodded sightly before stepping back so she could make a simple kick to the lower part of the punching bag “Now that won’t see that one coming” she gave a wry grin in the other Dhampir’s direction “What’s your name?” she raised her brows curiously.

She nodded slightly “Especially when you’re smaller like we are, there’s always gonna be someone we go up against who has more brute strength than us” while Dhampir did have enhanced strength and that counted for something, it wasn’t reliable when compared with stature and build. “Well with any luck you won’t have to fight any real fights because they aren’t fun” and she didn’t encourage anyone to put themselves in that situation, she was just an especially reckless person who didn’t know how to let things go. She gave a slightly devilish smile when the other girl asked her if she could throw someone over her shoulder easily “And right onto their ass straight after, count on it” she laughed softly, she was one of the most committed trainees at the dojo, when she wasn't working or out on the streets, she was here, practicing because she didn’t want to rely on her weapon alone, she wanted her hand to hand training as her backup.

“Well there’s no deadline for starting, just means you might have to work harder to keep up” she seemed determined enough and she was already learning from her mistakes and progressing which was more than she could say for some others who always stuck to what they knew and never really moved forward. “Damn, that must have been loud” she commented when the other girl said she lived in the red light district, she couldn’t imagine that could have been an easy time in her life “Evermore must seem pretty calm in comparison huh?” which was saying something considering she had seen some of the darkest parts of Evermore. “I admit there was a time where I was kinda questioning why, you know, why not something more practical” she laughed and shrugged “But then I got to practice with it and it’s definitely...me” she was sure the other Dhampir would understand because your weapon kind felt like a part of you.

“Yeah and then once you get into a natural fighting rhythm, you can then focus your mind on countering whatever the other person brings to the fight” the key part was being in sync with yourself to the point that you didn’t need to think about what you were doing so you could just focus on what your opponent was doing and how best to tackle their weaknesses, it took a lot of practice and patience to get the point where it was second nature like it was for her. “A few” she commented with a chuckle as she stepped back from the punch back a couple of steps before she hopped from her back foot to her front foot and delivered a strong kick against the bag which was enough to bend it back a little and she grinned triumphantly “There’s a reason most people in here avoid sparring with me” she laughed softly “Nora” she responded to Fleur’s introduction “So why are you starting training now?” she asked curiously.

She nodded slightly, she really did wish that all people ever needed to do was practice fighting because it was fun and a good way to exercise but unfortunately that wasn’t the case and every day there were people thrown into situations which they could be much safer in if they knew how to fight “I wish I could tell you that you’ll never need it but” she shrugged nonchalantly “That isn’t the world we live in, unfortunately” girls could definitely protect themselves much better when they did hand to hand training, especially with trainers who specialized in those who were physically weaker than their opponent. She looked up at her, giving a playful grin towards the younger Dhampir when she said to remind her not to get into a fight with her “The same applies for most people in the dojo, don’t worry” she smirked slightly, she did enjoy having a bit of a scary reputation if she was honest, though often people thought that meant she was unapproachable.

She nodded thoughtfully “You certainly do, more Dhampir start their training pretty much from age 10” she had done that and it had definitely been a part of her life for a long time now, fighting and her protective nature were a part of her now and honestly, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s kinda like a weird family you never really asked for but it’s there anyway” she commented and chuckled under her breath, because every Dhampir was born they tended to make these little communities where they came to train and share expertise on their weapons and rune training “Have you done any of your rune training?” she was curious to know how much of a beginner she was because using runes was probably the most exciting part of having a Dhampir weapon. She had to admit she’d never heard of Evermore being described as dark before “Really? I always thought Evermore was pretty bright with all the skyscraper lights” she laughed under her breath. When she said everyone was different Nora smiled slightly “It would be awfully boring if not” she nodded slightly thinking about her weapon and the way it felt like an extension of herself in some ways.

Nora pressed her lips together to hold back an amused smile, it was cute to her, how Fleur seemed so new to everyone and full of curiosity, she remembered a time in her life when she had been the same way and honestly, those first few months of training she did were very positive memories for her, remembering the excitement of learning new things and then putting them into practice. She grinned sheepishly when Fleur complimented her fighting skills and said she could see why others didn’t match up “Mostly it’s about discipline and training often, the more you do it, the easier it gets and before long you won’t think about it, you will just do it” and that was when you could really get good at it and feel like you were proficient in the skill.

Hearing the way Fleur explained her story, Nora felt a certain amount of sympathy for her because it must have been so confusing to reach 18 and not know you were supposed to be doing a weapon claiming ceremony or the likes “That must have been pretty confusing for you, suddenly feeling a draw to things and having no idea why” she nodded slightly “But there’s nothing scary about being a Dhampir, we’re basically just humans with badass fighting skills” she punched against the bag sharply as though to deliver the point before glancing over at the other girl “I personally think you’ll find a lot of yourself in training, when nothing in my life makes sense, just holding my weapon does” maybe Fleur would feel the same or maybe that was just Nora.

“You never know indeed” any city was dangerous in its own right because there were always going to be people out there who thought the law didn’t apply to them and did cruel things to others for their own gain, there was never going to be a perfect world where things like that weren’t the unfortunate reality. Add onto that the fact that Evermore was a city full of the supernatural, including those who needed to feed on others and those involved in supernatural feuds and that only escalated everything “A very practical language” she responded and nodded her head “Hopefully one you’re lucky enough to not to need to use but” she shrugged slightly “the knowledge that you can protect yourself usually stops people in their tracks” because if you were confident you could fight back, an attacker could typically sense that.

She pressed her lips together then nodded slightly, well she could definitely understand having parents who didn’t care much for their child and the life they lead, her parents had single-handedly destroyed the life she had known, the reputation of their family name and the company they ran in one swoop after all “Ouch, I can’t even imagine how confusing it must have been for you to be suddenly thrown into a world you didn’t even know you were part of” luckily Nora had always known what she was and started her training pretty young. She could sense a fighting spirit in Fleur which she liked, some people did their dhampir training because they had to but she got the feeling she would fit in well here “That’s what we like to hear, we’ll make a fighter out of you yet” she was continuing to move through her usual training routine, each time she started a new move she would repeat it a few times until Fleur followed along and she would glance over to check her form “Make sure to bring your hands up closer to your face when you’re blocking, most people who don’t know how to fight, go for either the chest or the face” and she didn’t need to tell her which one hurt more.

She laughed and nodded “Well it sounds like I need to visit and check it out for myself sometime then” she responded and nodded her head, moving to some blocking maneuvers paired with a kick from behind which was pretty powerful, enough that her training back bounced back against the sheer force of the hit. She grinned in an amused fashion “Well you know what they say about being normal, it’s awfully boring” she laughed softly, she had never been seen as normal since the day that her parents decided to trash her whole family name, Nora had to learn to embrace being the girl who everyone whispered about and it definitely hadn’t been easy. Eventually, though she had managed to turn around the immediate thoughts people had of her and prove herself as her own person, she was sure Fleur could do the same with her training “You've got the fire you need, you just need to put in the hours, nothing is going to be perfect in this line without practice, so don’t let yourself get disheartened when it feels too tough” eventually she would break through it, just like Nora did when she was first training.

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