Pikko likes the Norn.
Norn learn, even if it takes an asskicking. In fact, they learn best by asskicking.
The equation of social interaction often went like this in Norn territory:
[arrival in new area] + [meeting new people] =
+ [application of violent physics to various body tissues] – [percentage of personal blood loss AND/OR structural integrity] = [respect]
Simple math. A human child could do it, really.
And it only ever happened once.
Pikko likes the Norn. A lot.
The same cannot be said for many of the other races, individually or as a group. Comments. Mockery. Disrespect.
Like any good asura, she wanted to be the best in her field, or at a bare minimum, a respected member of the community. It was the drive of her species that made her clench her fists in frustrated fury.
As a progeny, books about science and the Eternal Alchemy occupied her shelves. This was typical. But under bed were human stories: of knights and champions and fights and battles and defending what you loved, what was worth defending, through sheer blood, sweat, and tears. It spoke to her in a way magic didn’t, in a way it refused to. Her greatest shame.
But if a human could do it… of course an asura could do it better. Right?
That was the hypothesis.
The scientific method to test it, however, was flawed by the testing environment. Asura are simply not, as a general rule, drawn to physical arts. They have golems and servants and magic for that. It was repeated, over and over, that her experiment was invalid. Not worth pursuit.
Like any good asura, her response was to continue testing anyways… in secret.
Physics and anatomy were her focus. (Technically, her thesis lay researching the potential applications in ways to apply magic to biology to increase physical attributes. Technically, this was only a little bit of a lie; after all, where does physics stop and magic begin?) Sheer power had it’s place, and she would apply as much of it as she could mathematically calculate to be her maximum muscle force potential. But physics were a great leveler of battlefields. Notebooks filled with drawings, equations, ideas began to breed themselves in her room at the College of Dynamics.
v=dr/dt with velocity being the change in r over the change in time. Velocity can be used to increase momentum. Attack with advantage; use environment to gain height or speed.
Muscles and tendons and joints: specific weightbearing limits. Calculate, memorize per species for bell curve individuals. Crippled opponent = defeated opponent. Can be exploited in parries, blocks; see references 12-84
f=ma with force equaling mass times acceleration. Impacted by velocity, momentum, others; also surface area of weapon. Force can be multiplied with various factors for great effect
Specific arteries and veins: perilously close to the surface in many species. Armor can be bypassed by specific types of blades that increase advantage (RESEARCH THESE)
p=mv with momentum equaling mass times velocity. Smaller beings can achieve greater momentum faster than larger ones. Attack first, kill quickly; do not provide the enemy with time to build upon their advantages. ATTACK WHILE THEY ARE TALKING. DO HUMANS NEVER SHUT UP?
Defensive styles relying on brute strength: not feasible at this moment in time. Greater efficacy found in highly aggressive attack styles or defensive styles involving movement and misdirection. Note: this could be anticipated by veteran warriors. Workaround = ?? RESEARCH THIS
Until the secret came out, in rather dramatic fashion. A professor’s reasoning and face rendered beyond recognition. And she was barred from the College of Dynamics.
Was it so wrong? To want to be this? A warrior? A knight of some kind? Why was this pursuit invalid in the minds of so many of her fellows? Her parents?
It hurt, to feel so excluded. And it made her angry.
So she left. Great minds were often mocked in their own eras, after all. She would pursue this alone, if she had to. And the notebooks multiplied, along with the chip on her shoulder… and the bitterness in her heart.
Hoelbrak was the perfect laboratory, with snow and ice and mountains and megafauna and, of course, Norns. Walking up and challenging a Norn to a fight was routine.
She gathered so much data.
And she learned, and applied her concepts, and practiced, and improved.
This is also where she killed, for the first time, and marveled at how easy it was. They never mentioned that, in the stories. Chivalric knights and wandering warriors waxed philosophical on the taking of life; in the snow stained red, she saw it for herself- felt it in a way the research never showed. Pikko attempted to make an equation to see if it was appropriate to kill someone, but there were too many unaccountable variables.
Codes of chivalry, honor, ect very human-centric but an excellent primer to proper behavior for someone with the power to end life. Killed eleven Sons of Svanir today at the Temple of Raven. Took 3.7 s/head, sustained minor structural damage. I am surprised how easy it was. Slightly disconcerted. Find mathematical equation for Justice? No. Too many variables. Must “follow my heart”. An illogical saying: heart is an organ in my chest cavity, impossible to follow. RESEARCH ALTERNATIVES
Anger can be potent force in overriding fear, pain, ect. Very easy to do. However, Norn rarely do this? Regarded as potentially toxic. Why? Potentially useful! I have a lot of anger, Raven seer tell me. Can use for advantage? MORE RESEARCH REQUIRED. Very much enjoyed helping seers, priests. It was a worthy thing to do
Time passed. Data was gathered, applied, methods refined, improved. She traveled, learned, spoke, killed; nearly died several times in return. Pikko revised her theories and her equations.
For someone such as me, the world is greater classroom than any College. Learned more here among the Norn than I ever hoped. Pain and practice the most effective teachers. Indeed, much of what I have learned is related to working through pain, doing so effectively without compromising future integrity needlessly. The Norn regard pain as a warning, acknowledged and then discarded as needed. Must practice this somehow
Asura do not, generally, hold with fate. The machinations of the Eternal Alchemy have many names, however, and so it was that she encountered a particular band of strange soldiers and adventurers, dedicated to a common good, and was… intrigued.
Sometimes infuriated or confused. In one particular case, stunned to the point of speechlessness at pink hair and open laughter. But intrigued.
Even the asura she met were… different than her collegiate peers. The subtle sniping, the put-downs she despised remained absent; comments on her choice of profession generally positive.
It gave her whiplash.
Do not know how to handle my new associates in the Vanguard. They do not fit my equations or my previous interactions. Granted, I have been secluded for some time after my exit from Rata Sum. Revise theories of social interaction? Perhaps
Met Norn who gave me new weaponry. Must return favor. Friendship is fostered by reciprocity, and he seems to know much about the arts of fighting, ect. Also a norn. Point in his favor
HOW ARE THERE ASURA WHO FIGHT? WHY WAS THIS NEVER MENTIONED TO ME? BY ANYONE? EVER?? Conspiracy to get me to cease and desist my efforts by making me feel alone?? IT WILL NOT STOP ME
Update: no college of martial skills, appears to be scattered individuals, largely adventurer types. One resembles a Norn in mannerisms. Confusing. And… Aesthetically pleasing. Mentioned other, a “real knight”. HOW???
It makes me angry, and I do not understand why. Inappropriate for current social paradigms, not productive anger I can use, just strangely bitter. I do not like it. STOP THAT. More research needed.
Cannot forget that power to take life should be used responsibly, or neglect mental discipline in pursuit of physical. I will not be that type of warrior even if I fail to meet the classical definition of knight or lack the powers of a guardian. I refuse
Commander seems reasonable, level headed, intelligent for a human, good instincts, friendly, did not look at me like I was cute. Addressed me as a fellow competent warrior. It was… pleasant. Assisted in first guild operation. Efficiency rating of 78%, higher than expected for this group. Very pleased. Enemy commander (?? seemed like a booka) escaped, was illusion. Note to self: kill him
Recently acquired base of operations. Very large ruin, a “fixer upper” by slang terms, but highly suitable for potential occupancy. Water to swim in, trails to run, areas to train all abundant.
Human (likely former pirate) Ironwood was almost decent. Still a booka. Note to self: if he calls me short stack again, ask Commander re: guild rules about dueling. Humans sometimes respond to Norn-style diplomacy and violent physics
I WILL BE RESPECTED EVEN IF I HAVE TO BEAT THEM ALL INTO THE DIRT TO DO IT
Yes. Whiplash was the term. But there was something else here, too, something comfortable and strange because of it. Pikko was never a creature for comfort. Action, yes. Comfort…
…Comfort was rare. Partly by choice, yes. But… still.
She paused, hesitating, pen and ink poised over the battered notebook.
Attempt other alternatives first, though. Save violent physics for those who truly deserve it. Have a feeling I will meet more of them, soon.
Dawn is coming, must train. Summary of day’s events to follow later. Goal: -10s from current swimming record, -10s from running record, +5 on situps/pullups/pushups.
She closed the book, pocketed the pen, and put it gently by the others. Then she left the tent, with her battered FIELD NOTES resting on top of annotated volumes including CHIVALRIC CODES THROUGH THE AGES, ADVANCED PHYSICS, THE ART OF A WARRIOR, ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE FIVE RACES, FIGHTING STYLES OF TYRIA, and a children’s book classic: an omnibus version, THE EPIC OF SIR PENDRAGON, pages well thumbed.
They didn’t fit an average asura, and they didn’t fit a average warrior.
But somehow they fit her just fine.