A hoof clapped against the stone path, faint for such a collision. The hoof rose and proceeded forward, alternating in steps. The hooves were dusty from a long journey, but proved to be a raven black beneath the layers. As one took note of the legs attached to the hooves, they appeared well muscled and honed and of a dark blue hue. These legs pumped up and down, muscles pulling and relaxing in tandem. Tight cloth leggings began shortly up the legs, ending with a tied belt at the waist. The cloth was a light green with little ornamentation and covered the Draenei’s body. It was simple, and nearly form-fitting as the Draenei continued walking. The musculature remained evident beneath the veritable behemoth’s outfit. His body spoke of ages of physical training, honing the body as a sculptor with clay. The clothing featured no sleeves, and the Draenei wore nothing else. His hair approached a grey tinted blue, held in a looped ponytail more often than not. His visible features remained unscarred, several strong tendrils hung across his shoulders and his head crest stood tall and well-formed.

    The Draenei’s eyes gazed along the path as his gait remained steady and measured. The path was long, and well-trodden. The sides of the road broke into wilderness quickly enough, but the Draenei kept at peace. Most of the fighting had moved out of the Jade Forest, but one still had to be wary. The locals had pointed the Draenei to this path to reach the storied Monastery. He planned to see just how true the stories were of a school of fighting Pandaren that allowed the outsiders an insight into their training and fighting styles. The Draenei had a myriad of fighting styles, but his people mostly fought through the Light and with the Arcane. Many had even found strength in the Elements. His was not the way of the Vindicator nor Anchorite, nor even the way of the Farseers or Magi. He was called a brawler by some of his people, and a monk by these allies and other races of Azeroth. He preferred to lay his fists on people, not hands.

    His physical prowess allowed him to grapple with ogres and demons easily enough. He had honed his strength over thousands of years. The Light was not absent in him, either. It empowered him with its power and grace. There were others like him among his own people and the world of Azeroth as well. There were always wrestlers, brawlers, and pugilists. Those that fought with fist and hoof, or foot. The Pandaren had, supposedly, mastered several martial arts, and he wished to see how his own style fared. The Monastery rose in the distance.

    Bruunach, the Draenei, was greeted kindly enough. He received food and drink from the monks in the Monastery and they feasted. Bruunach thought it strange that the Pandaren had survived out here for so long when each one ate so much, so often. He was informed that he could practice with the pupils of the Monastery, but that he would be tested first. He was tested by a student by the name of Bulin.

    Bruunach stood tall compared to the slightly pudgy Pandaren named Bulin. They entered a small sparring arena and stood several paces apart. Bulin performed a simple bow, which Bruunach mimicked. Several students and mentors watched the two, intently. Bulin took a stance, later revealed to Bruunach as a tiger stance. Bruunach adopted a general stance, with his hooves planted even with his shoulders, dropping down into the start of a squat. His hands form into fists and draw into his sides tightly. His breathing remains calm. The Pandaren darted forward incredibly fast, but not fast enough for the Draenei who had fought demons hand-to-hand. The Pandaren went for a quick jab that Bruunach easily sidestepped. Bruunach drew back into position and punched forward from the Pandaren’s right. Bulin managed to attempt a block, but his block broke before the might of the Draenei. He staggered back several feet and recovered. A small murmur came from the onlookers. Bruunach resumed a neutral stance, with his guard ready. His eyes looked with Bulin’s. Bulin rushed forward again, and attempted a Tiger Palm technique. Bruunach blocked the blow easily, answering with a powerful kick into the Pandaren’s midsection. Bulin had no time to block, and crumpled beneath the strength of the brawler. Another Pandaren rushed out and helped Bulin to his feet.

    Bruunach was led away after the fight and congratulated. He had impressed them, and they easily understood how long he had been training to be so capable already. The mentors had decided to not have Bruunach spar with the other students, but with the more accomplished learners who had been practicing for many years as well. The skill levels would be more acceptable and both Bruunach and the other fighters would have more respect.

    Bruunach sighed as he brought his hands together. The Light channeled into his form and he gave a relaxed smile. The fight had been entirely too easy and had disappointed him. He hoped that these advanced students would be more challenging. While his choice to practice with fists had led to much derision and doubts from some of his people, he preferred it and enjoyed it. He desired the challenge. Bruunach moved to a training room soon and grinned. The supplies in the Monastery seemed incredulous and he moved into the towering room. Training targets were set up around the room and the Draenei approached them. He centered himself, and leapt forward with incredible speed. His punch broke through the target easily, splintered wood flying across the room.

    “These targets are too fragile,” Bruunach thought, “Is quite disappointing, but will make due as always.” Bruunach’s thoughts turned inward and he channeled the Light in his body. A luminescent shadow soon formed, mirroring the Draenei’s posture. The two Draenei forms stepped away and then began their intensive work. Punch for punch, palm for palm, the two forms blocked each other deftly in a completely mirrored pattern. As the Light poured into the Draenei, empowering his punches. His intense concentration continued for several hours until Bruunach settled and returned to his sparse quarters. He retired quickly after a small meal was brought to him. A new day would bring a new challenger.

    “Is hoping will be real challenge tomorrow.” Bruunach murmured as he settled into the bed provided.

Author Sielic
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