The Sport of Steam

April 18, 2012

So late with today’s post. I feel awful.

However, for you Steam Sport fans out there, this is the update for you! I settled on a Hunter and I do say I rather like him, though he’s a bit rough around the edges for now.

It’s been a bit hard to write lately for a variety of reasons. I’m not as clean as I would like and I’ve been having more shaking fits in the morning, which doesn’t help. Some life stress (and my laptop screen still being broken) has been interrupting my normal writing reverie. I’ll try my damndest to keep the focus on getting good work to you, my readers, three times a week though.

So, on to the story!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Emily and Ann broke away to talk to some of the Hunters they had played with previously, introducing a few to Calista while Esmer worked the crowd by herself. While none of them were awful, she had to turn down many for being a poor tactical fit with the rest of the team. As well as turnin down one for staring a bit too long at her bodice. Many of the Hunters the two had played with tended to be on the heavier end of things, bending rules about armor weight or trap types. Many of the more traditional Hunters had already been snapped up by other teams since the hunter-killer style, light armor with spear and thrown traps, had helped Bryce and the Paisley Punishers to victory the year before. The more…creative players were being picked up by the dregs of the season; new teams, unknown teams, and low-ranked returning teams.

Esmer sent them a few as well, though their tastes tended to stray toward ranged Hunters. While many ranged Hunters worked well, with a ranged Guardian and Rapscallion already, they really needed a third melee-capable player. As noon came and went, Calista was starting to worry that she wouldn’t be able to find a Hunter, of any sort, that would work with the team tactically. The four players grouped up again as the smaller teams began filing into the building to sign their groups onto the rosters and watched the crowd.

“None of them, eh?” Esmer looked flumoxed and gestured toward the crowd. “All the good ones left were the ranged ones, believe you me when I say there were no good melee warriors left. The only ones standing around were inept and ungraceful.”

Calista bit back a snappy response and sighed again.

Emily scowled a bit and Ann glanced around at the crowd. “And ranged would be disastrous for us?”

Calista nodded. “We’re already very heavy with ranged fighters. We’d have no one midfield to help slow down a carrier or to help protect our own. I’m melee but I’m a weak fighter no matter how you cut it. It’s got nothing to do with skill but my restrictions. Esmer’s a good melee fighter but they’ve got enough trouble with possibly running for us to focus on slowing down anyone else. We need someone who can entangle, who can grasp, and who can slow anyone crossing midfield.”

Esmer, Emily, and Ann slowly started to back away from Calista as a shadow fell over her. A quiet gentle voice seemed to float down from the ally they were standing near, a voice both soft and refined like the dark toning of a quiet bell. A voice that said, simply, “I overheard  that you are looking for a Hunter, one that specializes in combat within grasping range. Perhaps I might offer my services? I’m normally called Jonothan Defou, and I’m quite delighted to find you ladies…and a gentleman? Well, clearly a Gentleman, but perhaps terms of address as such are unnecessary here. I was late getting up this morning and I had worried I’d lost an opportunity at a good team.”

Calista spun slowly, her hand resting on her sword defensively, and stared at the man who had artfully lowered himself down during his quiet monologue. It was hard to say how tall he was as he was wearing a mechanical harness that seemed almost bolted to his body around his midsection. It gave him for long, thin legs, spider’s legs, that seemed to have a great variety of tools built into them. Almost as if an old toolbelt had merged with some brass and steel and evolved into the insect-like contraption. He was wearing what must be his finest clothes, as they looked too fine for what his harness implied was his off season occupation – black leather riding pants, knee-high leather boots, and a silk poet’s shirt complete with ruffles down the chest. The harness itself only highlighted the finery of the clothes as well, since it helped focus on his chest (as a corset might) and it was brushed to a dull sheen rather than the customary shine of metal fittings. His face was ruddy and creased, clearly from working long days in the sun, though it had a softness to it, a gentleness, that was only helped by his nutmeg-like complexion. His hair seemed to dance in the breeze like gentle black ocean waves that seemed to find his scalp as accommodating as any beach. His eyes, dark as mahogany and deep, seemed to invite you in without asking anything at all. In short, he was striking, just on the masculine side of beautiful, alluring, and yet oddly unsettling.

Though, perhaps, that might just be from the spider’s harness. It could make the most glorious beauty a mite unsettling.

“Uh…” Calista stammered and backed up into the protective fold of her other teammates, “Jonothan, was it? You’re a Hunter? What’s your style?”

He lowered himself gently to the ground and flexed slightly, letting the spindly limbs of his harness fold up again and lay flat against his body. “Well, I am a mechanic by trade. I’ve been crossing the undercarriages of the flying islands for a decade now, taking work where I can find it. Exploring the wonders of engine-side towns. Hanging villages. They are rougher places, to be sure, so I have picked up a bit of Catch and a bit of fisticuffs from friends and associates though I primarily use my hammers, both on and off the field, to defend myself. As for the traps, well, that I like to get creative with. I have a few launched traps, things like bindings or snares, as well as a few…web-like systems, as it were. I’m versed with fighting and fleeing up-side down as well as walking backwards and I am, in all respects, focused on the team’s success over my own. In fact, I would prefer to not be central to any strategy or interview if it can be helped.” His voice was a gentle, rolling sound where the words seemed to be linked together. Each stretched just enough to the start of the next word that the whole thing became and entrancing sound, as well as frustratingly solid enough to prevent anyone else from speaking while he was at it. The whole affair sounded both beautiful and distracting, like the subtle notes of an absent-minded musician.

Esmer chuckled a bit under their breath. “He appears harmless enough, and sincere, and he’s a face to face fighter. What do you gals think, eh?”

Ann shrugged and Emily nodded. “He’s strange….” Emily started, though Ann cut in to finish with, “But he’s what we’re looking for and he’s not as creepy as some of the teams we’ve been on.”

Calista looked him up and down slowly, frowning. “Well, I think  you’ll do, Jonothan. Now, what’s our name…”

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