Proud Hearts

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JamieWolfe7

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This is a story I've been pecking away at during my hiatus from Comic Vine. It's something different, and I hope it's sufficiently original despite still being tangentially in my preferred vein of martial arts adventure. The next post in this thread will be the first chapter, this is just my announcement. Please bear with.

@waezi2@heroup2112@cbishop@comicstooge@tommythehitman

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JamieWolfe7

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The ring is a cacophany of cheers and exhultation. The two fighters circle each other, probing with low kicks and jabs, both women of similar height and weight. One is a swarthy skinned dame with red hair, her upright posture and mid guard suggestive of a blend of kickboxing and conventional boxing whereas the other is a dark skinned woman with black hair and square features with a shoulder width stance and higher guard classic of muay thai.

The darker skinned woman probes with a pair of jabs that the other parries casually. She answers with a straight leg kick from the hip that winds up caught, her adversary steps forward, raining punches at the face and general head of the redhead while backing her into a corner. The crowd goes wild as the redhead busts her hindquarters collapsing against the corner where the referee steps in to break it up so she can clamber back to her feet with a cut cheek and brow.

The two head back to their respective corners. While there, the lighter skinned fighter is cleaned up. Her brow and cheek are already swelling so her team does a quick job at stimying this while the darker has the sweat cleaned from her face and is given a squirt of water. Though her style and appearance are Thai, her ringside is mostly Native American. After several moments, the bell rings for them to begin once more.

The two advance to the center of the ring where they greet each other with a trading of punches. The redhead is the superior boxer, but the other is the more balanced fighter and she mixes it up with a kick to the side of her lead knee. They trade like this twice more, the darker girl dancing out of reach after tagging her leg each time. After a third go, the redhead tries to charge with a superman punch to keep her from getting out of reach but the kickboxer skips out of the way and tags her in her exposed abdomen with a straight leg kick from the hip.

Her redheaded adversary seems hurt by the cleanly landed blow to her midriff, so the darkhaired kickboxer moves in for the kill with another kick to her side that she just barely checks, then follows through with a spinning kick that brings her heel across the side of her head and brings the fight to a dramatic close.

The referee steps over to her, first checking on her adversary. An emergency medical team carries her out when she's determined to be nonresponsive but alive and its at that point that the referee lifts the darkhaired fighter's gloved fist in the air to declare,"And the winner by knock out,'Tara Blackwolf Chietsonkrit!'"

Tara is a five foot seven half Cherokee half Thai kick boxer. Her father is a Thai immigrant chiefly responsible for her enthusiasm about the martial arts, and her mother is a medicine woman in the Tennessee reservation. Her family all live on the reservation as quasi celebrities.

She only as yet competes on the amateur circuit, but she's been told she could advance any time she chose. The fighter makes her way out with her family and friends to the beat of Return to Innocense, swigging a bottle of water as she waves to the crowd with a smile belying the shiner she took from her boxing rival.

***

Piney Bluff Reservation, Tennessee

The Piney Bluff Reservation is a humble township more than anything else. This means everyone knows everyone, and if they don't know someone they know someone who does or is related to them. The local soda jerk is the site of the afternoon celebrations after the trip home. Tara's dad, Parna, buys drinks all around.

"Another victory for the Piney Bluff Terror!" Exhults her dad as he delivers a cherry soda toast. Parna Chietsonkrit is a stout little man barely over five feet of raw muscle. He runs the self defense school of the reservation, and even the old men of the tribal council admit to having never seen a more canny fighter with staff or knife. He wore his hair in the fashion of his own warrior ancestors, modified only in the back resulting in a mohawk mullet with the tail by now hanging halfway down his back. He sports a very well groomed handlebar mustache, and noone dared mock him in earshot, the callouses of his knuckles bearing testimony of what could happen.

Tara smiles at the sentiment, the soda jerk coming alive at the toast like a non-alcoholic saloon with half the locals dressed like cowboys joining in. The elder of the community is a wizenned man named Standing Bear. Supposedly he'd been at the Pine Ridge Reservation when the American Indian Movement shot the federal agents back in the sixties and knew the truth of that affair, and that was only the least of the reasons he only rarely spoke English. Standing Bear waves the soda saloon into silence with a smile and clearing of his throat.

'Black Wolf, your victories bring us pride. You show the nations that we of the Tsalagi nation are still strong and still brave. May your victories continue, your fists will be strong so long as your heart stays true.'

Parna just joins in the applause, not yet knowing the Cherokee language to know what was said. Tara did however, she knew not only English and Thai but Cherokee as well. After it passed, he asked about the elder's brief speech and Tara answered,"He wished me more victories and said that I make everyone proud."

Parna nods approvingly of this, his smile widening at the praise. He had raised her in similar fashion to his own upbringing, having been raised to be nak muay, a thai professional fighter. Why he left Thailand he'd never spoken about and few asked but reservation life reminded him of home.

"Where's mom?" Tara asks Parna in Thai.

Parna replies in like fashion,"She's at home fixing dinner, she's making a surprise."

Tara nods quietly with a smile mirroring her dad's.

***

Down by a cold river back in the woods behind the town, Parna and Tara train. Standing Bear has a fold out chair watching them quietly as Parna imparts the old ways of the Nak Muay to his daughter. Everyone knew that in the old days, girls were never trained in such a manner but for him it was more important that they survive even outside of his own homeland.

The two of them start off their morning down in the river splashing water up into their eyes. Parna told her that this teaches not to blink when sweat gets in your eyes, her mother told her this is good for the immune system because most people never give their bodies the chance to fight what lives in the water. Off further in the water is where they do their real working out on a raft tied to the mainland.

Working out on a floating platform is an exercise on many levels. The rocking movements force a deeper concentration on balance and work the muscles to a more intense burn than they would on stable ground. Some days he makes her work by herself out there and plays the coach from the shore, and others he goes out with her. He plays the coach today while holding a horse stance near the native elder, feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and back straight and crouched halfway down.

Out on the water, Tara does pushups in the middle of the raft while it bobs with waves brought about by a stiff breeze. On the mainland, Parna and Standing Bear converse casually. Parna is one of very few that Standing Bear will exercise his English with.

"Your daughter is more formidable than many of our men. I know you've considered teaching here, why do you not?" inquires the elder in a cautious manner.

Parna replies in similar tones,"That is a choice I leave to her. I was once Kru Chietsonkrit, a teacher of defense and martial discipline. You know this, but why I am no longer is why I dare not teach again."

Standing Bear nods solemnly, not pressing to find out why. He opts to skirt instead,"You trust that she will not repeat your mistake. This must have been grave indeed."

Parna nods softly before calling out to Tara to sit in horse stance. He continues to hold his own as he offers more quietly to the elder,"I may share my mistake one day. I am not yet ready."

The elder Standing Bear smiles,"I would very much like to hear your story. I have one of my own that I am not entirely proud of. Is Laura teaching her, or is she committed to fighting?"

The thai fight master's legs are like steel, he can hold that posture indefinitely and he's proving it as he replies,"She is quite committed, but she's learning to heal her bruises with her mother's craft. She enjoys making her own incenses, as well..."

He's cut off by a strange baying from across the river. Even the elder sits up at the sound. It resembled the howl of a wolf, but had a different quality not unlike a scream. It carried on for several long seconds, then happened again even louder.

The elder sternly advises Parna,"Bring her to shore. We want to be heading home early today."

With that, he rises to his own feet and folds up his chair as Parna takes his advice, waving to a very mystified Tara. He takes hold of the rope then begins to pull her to shore, sparing her the trouble of swimming back in. She pulls from her own end, thus doubling the progress.