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Tales of Pugilistic Conquest; Fights Old and New

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*To Leosin over breakfast, concerning the battle the day before*

So there we were, cleaning up this small regiment of cultists and their acolyte leader. I was charging up to inflict some real damage, you know, the kind that I used to do to the runts at Candlekeep, when all of a sudden this firebolt comes screaming out from behind me and roasts 4 cultists. I tell ya, lad, that Rhaekor is one sick fucker. Got the job done, but man did he have an odd way of doing it. The lad -gesturing to Draken- is amazing, too. Shot a lightning bolt that disintegrated 3 of 'em. I tell ya, the boy's gonna be a force of nature one day.
So we were cleaning up the cultists and this piercing screech rings out from above us, and before I can even turn around, this huge white dragon is upon us. Aims its breath at the guards, Gerard and myself before we can evade the attack. Well, Gerard and I were fine, but everyone else who was hit was frozen solid. You should have seen it, Leosin. Our orc paladin friend has never been colder in his life, I guarantee it. After the gale subsided, a couple of surviving cultists tried attacking me. And believe me when I tell you it was the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen. You’d think that pillaging cultists would at least know how to hit an unmoving target, right? Wrong. They couldn’t have hit the broad side of the barn I grew up in, poor saps.
So these cultists both swing for me and miss like the fuckers they are. So I returned the favor by showing them how a real man attacks; I punched one to death with a single strike and threw the other one at the dragon, killing him on impact. You should’ve seen the look on his face as he flew through the air. It was an odd mix of “wasn’t I just on the ground?” and “did that dwarf just throw me?” Didn’t last long, though, ‘cause as soon as he hit the dragon his eyes rolled back from the impact.
So once all the cultists were gone, we turned our attention to the beastie. After hurling the small fry at it, I charged up to distract him from my companions and got ready for a fistfight. You know how I’ve always wanted to punch a dragon. It knocked the monk out pretty quickly, so I knew that I was in for a good bout.
There we were. Me and the dragon. We locked eyes and readied ourselves for our imminent combat. The beast bit at me and swung his claws. I dodged the bite, but got clipped by the first swipe. But that’s where the dragon’s luck ran out.
I’ve fought a lot in my lifetime, and there’s a certain way that an intelligent creature fights. It’s got a pattern. And if it’s got a pattern, it could be read. And that’s exactly what I did on the beast’s second swipe. The beast batted at me with it’s enormous paw, but I deflected it. Yes, you heard me right; I deflected that dragon’s claw attack. And while it was off guard, I popped it in the nose. I only tapped it, but I certainly asserted my dominance over the winged lizard and he knew it. I could see fear in its eyes and I smelled blood in the water.
I followed up my counterattack with a couple of jabs to throw it off balance. To shake up the monster. I pressed my attack, and when it least expected it, I leapt for the neck and clinched that fat lizard.
Now, a quick word about what everyone else has been doing: Rhaekor got the monk back on his feet and the monk was getting ready to pounce. But the lad -gesturing to Draken once more- had some big plans. He conjured this insane cloud that shot lightning out and blew these storm-force winds to hurt the beast while I had its attention. So what did I do once I grappled the dragon? I dragged him straight into the typhoon. I was not letting this beast run with its tail between its legs.
The dragon struggled against me for a bit longer. I held the beast down for a good few seconds before it mustered the strength to pull me off, but it freed itself too late. The moment before it could pick up speed and fly off, Draken threw this enormous bolt of electricity at the beast. It was as if the sky itself was offended by this monster flying, so nature took it upon itself to strike it back down to the earth.
That’s the whole fight, Leosin. Start to finish. And I’ve got to say, it was a great fight to end our battles in the Greenfields. We came, we saw, and we killed a bunch of cultists and their dragon leader. And now, we’re onto better things. I can only hope that they test our mettle in ways that our fights in the south didn’t.

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The icy wind whipped around the figures standing on the outskirts of the savage village.  Mann Flexington, Pugilist Extraordinaire stood in the center of this mob as a large tribesman stepped forward.  As Rhaekor and the elder tribesman spoke, his people stepped back and created a ring around the Pugilist Extraordinaire and this tribesman behemoth.  Mann couldn’t understand what they were saying, but he could certainly tell when a brawl was about to erupt.
If this is what it looks like, Mann thought to himself, Draken should be getting to a vantage point at any moment.  The kid loves a good show.  
Mann glanced around just in time to see Draken climbing up a nearby snowbank, waiting for the show to begin.  A sly grin crept across the prizefighter’s face as the movement of bodies stopped and the familiar form of a ring became evident.
To Mann Flexington, Pugilist Extraordinaire’s delight, Rhaekor in this moment had begun to act less like a diplomat and more like a manager.  None of their conversation could be understood, but the body language and gesturing certainly conveyed tension.  Mann reveled in the calm, because more often than not a storm would follow.
He shifted his weight onto the ball of his forward foot, entering the stance he lovingly referred to as the Openfist Disciple stance.  It was one of only two remnants of his time with the monks at Candlekeep that he remembered fondly, the other being his friendship with Leosin.
Before Mann could get too nostalgic, Orcaheart ran at him, spear flailing wildly.  Not realizing that weapons were allowed, Mann was caught unaware by the reach with which Orcaheart struck him.  The assault ended with a nasty shield bash to the face, which threw the pitfighter to the ground.  Not wanting to be upstaged this early in the fight, Mann grabbed his attacker and brought him down as he fell.  As he hit the ground, Mann sat upright to mount Orcaheart and rip the spear away.  As he yanked the spear out of the behemoth’s hands, he gently passed it to Rhaekor on the sidelines.  More symbolic than anything, but it conveyed the nature of the fight with which Mann was accustomed to.
To the Pugilist Extraordinaire’s dismay, the behemoth tossed Mann aside and reclaimed the spear almost immediately.  Guess he didn’t want a proper prizefight, Mann thought to himself.
The brawl continued unimpeded until Mann threw a straight so manly it sent Orcaheart reeling back to Bonecarver’s feet.  As opposed to staggering to his feet as Mann thought he would, Orcaheart stood broader than when he was sent flying.  Despite the peculiarity of the situation, Mann was invested enough in the fight now to concern himself with how resilient the towering tribesman was.  He was just glad that he could find a decent brawl all the way out here.
They continued fighting, Orcaheart becoming obviously more and more harried.  He had obviously never been on the losing end of a fight, and it was evident that he didn’t know how to regain momentum.  
Mann had seen this again and again in less experienced fighters, and their fight was quickly coming to an end.  He was pretty good at judging these sorts of fights, and he was ready to put Orcaheart down.  
The tribesman, as Mann knew he would, swung wildly with his spear.  The dwarf was ready for these strikes, and expertly evaded the spear and squared up to his foe.  He threw a left straight into Orcaheart’s gut, doubling the savage.  He followed up with a quick one-two to the jaw.
At this point, Mann knew the fight was over, but he needed to secure the victory.  In his haze, he couldn’t tell when exactly Orcaheart was going down, but he knew it was going to be soon.  So he continued his onslaught.  He swung and he swung and he swung, continuing on for what felt like ages.  When he was finally brought to his senses -and subsequently pulled off of Orcaheart- Mann Flexington, Pugilist Extraordinaire, was once again victorious.  He stood over the hopefully still breathing Ulu, basking in the glory he earned from winning this fight.  He had conquered this village’s champion, and by doing so earned the right to enter further talks with the shaman of this village.  
These closing moments of the fight were always Mann’s favorite.  He raised his tensed arms skyward, laughing and roaring as he did.  Mann was not a religious person, but he knew that Kord existed and smiled upon his victory.  This was Mann’s acknowledgment of those who came before him, and more importantly, a warning to those who would come after.
The faint clapping drew the Pugilist from his revelry.  He listened for the familiar pattern of his biggest fan and turned away slowly from Orcaheart to face him.  He faced Draken, who had risen to his feet in applause, and acknowledged his audience.  He was a showman first and foremost, and would be for as long as there was art to be found in this combat.  Mann gave the genasi a short curtsey, and turned to the other members of the audience, who seemed to be flocking to the aid of the giant, who was now regaining consciousness.
Glory was an odd thing, Mann thought as he collected himself.  Orcaheart may be receiving all this attention now, but it was not out of his village’s pride for him, nor did he necessarily shame them.  We are simply travelling warriors to them, and one of us happened to be a greater gladiator than their champion.  What we did simply earned us their respect.  It did not earn their trust, and it certainly did not make them like us.  Rather, it served as a vehicle to continue talking to them, and the processes that will follow this confrontation will be responsible for how these people feel about us.
The battle has only begun, Mann continued.  Diplomacy will serve us now more than any fighting I can do.

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