I swear I’ll write something non-fan fiction in the coming weeks. For realsies…
I want to preface this story with a bit of disclaimer. I don’t control the character of Rosie Beestinger. I have no real insights into how she do. This is speculation on my part, inspired by the intensely badass art that @doonami dropped today. (Seen HERE & HERE). I feel I need to state this on this one as it deals more with her mindset and feelings than the Walnut piece did, as that was mostly focused on the nightmare.
I also feel a bit presumptious naming one of the legion of Beestinger kids… <_<
Without further ado…
Rosie had expected Walnut to be the one to ask about her past and her Martial style. Donaar was usually too self-absorbed or busy grandstanding to seem interested in anything outside of himself. Of course, his question wasn’t particularly selfless in it’s form either.
Between bites of his cavalcade of ice cream sundae shots the questions came. “How come you hit harder than I do? I have a sword. Half the time you are hitting them with those little fists and feet, how does that work?” When he said little, he adjusted the tiny party hat that was sitting on the bridge of his snout.
She thought about her answer for a moment. The usual answer about Ki and pressure points would likely be lost on Donaar. The real answer was something she didn’t feel comfortable sharing with her new friends just yet. And most assuredly not something to be spoken of when the brutality of it might be overheard by someone like the ever orbiting and fussing Marvin, proprietor of the establishment.
Donaar didn’t seem to notice the hesitation, as a fresh platter of sundae shots arrived at their table. He waved over the little band of children that had been performing for them, and let them each take a sundae. They bowed and curtsied to Rosie and scurried back to their table with their treats.
Rosie still begrudged him, though this tiny act led a grandmotherly smile to her face. She held the smile and tried to push aside her rumination on how he could let the egg go? You never let children suffer. Never. You did everything you could to aid those most defenseless. She’d thought a Paladin of (… who did he serve? She wondered…) all people would know that…
“So is it some kinda magic like Walnut’s Animal stuff, or K’thriss’s evil linguine?” His forked tongue flickered comically when he tried to pronounce Kthriss’s.
“Kind of. But also not really,” she replied letting go of her prior train of thought, trying to build a simplified explanation as she went. “The two of them are both attuned to something beyond themselves. Walnut reaches to Nature and it reaches back. Kthriss… I don’t know what he’s reaching to. I don’t have to reach. I am in tune with myself, and thus am in tune with how most bodies work.”
“So you hit them where it hurts because you know where it hurts to be hit?” he asked, wincing for a second as the chill of the tiny sundaes built up in his head.
Rosie thought back on the history she had with hitting people, and being hit. She remembered shaking down young elves for money to help feed her sisters and younger brother as a child. The first fight she’d entered for money. The rush of it. The shame of it when she saw Glory on the other side of the ring from her.
”THE CHAMPION JUST CANNOT BE BEAT!! THE QUEEN OF THORNS HAS ANNIHILATED KEGWORTH’S FACE! ANYBODY KNOW A GOOD CLERIC?!” Yelled the Goliath hype man from the center of the ring. The crowd cheered as Rosie washed the blood from her hands, and prepared for her next bout.
A vast majority of the blood was not hers. That damn dwarf hadn’t known when to stay down. Wasn’t her fault his face was broken six ways to the Underdark and back. He should have tapped out. Oh well, the audience did love their bloodshed. And when the audience was happy, the fight wages were good.
With the blood washed, she turned in the sand lined ring to face her opponent. The cruel smile on her face melted away and shame flood her as she saw her own daughter on the other side. Morning-Glory, or Glory as most of the family called her, descended into the stance that her mother taught her fifty years ago.
The hype man introduced this challenger as “Glorious”. While short for a half-elf, she still had a better reach than Rosie. She scolded herself for assessing her daughter as a combatant.
When the referee raised his hand for the fight to commence, Rosie bowed and left the ring. It was the only loss she’d suffered in nearly forty years.
The crowd boo’ed and screamed as she entered the locker room.
A moment later the door behind her slammed open.
“Why?” Glory nearly screamed. The door swung shut behind her, and Rosie looked up at her as a combatant again. She shut her eyes to hide that sinister gaze from her child. “Not like this,” Rosie murmured. “I can’t fight you like this. Not as I am. Not…” She looked at her hands, shaking slightly at the thought of the kind of savagery she enacted in the ring being inflicted on her daughter. Worse, by those same trembling hands…
“Yes, something like that. But with lots and lots of practice.”
“Practice getting hit? I do that a lot, but it doesn’t seem to make me any better at hitting back,” he replied with a tiny bit of whipped cream on the tip of his snout.
She made to reply and Marvin cut in “Is everything to your…” he froze as her gaze fell on him.
“These sundaes suck,” Donaar said through a mouth full with the contents of at least six sundaes. Marvin scurried off to the kitchen again.
“Donaar, do you think about your fights afterwards?” Donaar paused a moment flicked out his forked tongue to get the whipped cream from his snout, and replied “Not really, I mean, I think about the good parts where I do awesome things. But other than that, no.”
She nodded, unsurprised. “That is the difference. When I meditate, I play through hundreds of fights that I’ve been in, will be in, want to be in. And I look at how they went. How I want them to go. How they could go terribly wrong.” She remembered the smell of blood, of fear, of sweat. The sound of cracking bones. The feeling of that bloodthirsty smile on her own lips.
She did not smile in The Ironbark Inn, that demon who smiled so cruelly, The Queen of Thorns, was long since gone.
Donaar looked at her for a moment. “That sounds like… a lot of work. Like, emotionally.” She nodded in agreement, and sipped her mint tea.
She did not miss the savagery she had once enacted. The path of shadows had given her a chance to put those old, brutal techniques to the longest rest. She could relearn and regain honor as a combatant. And she looked forward to the fight she would have with her 3rd eldest daughter, ten years hence. She would give her an honorable fight. And it would be Glorious.