Studying the Whupping of Ass


quinn_icon.gif sable_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Studying the Whupping of Ass
Synopsis A makeshift sensei's session with two singer-songwriters
Date September 9 2010

Coco's Boxing Gym

The gym's been around so long that no one knows who Coco was. Legend has it that he was an ex-mobster or some grizzled former POW. Either story would fit with the general atmosphere of the place. This is not a trendy location that offers yoga, pilates and spin classes. The gym is grimy, run-down, perpetually smells of sweat and full of well-worn, mostly manual equipment. It offers a wide selection of weights, a wall full of bikes, an area for martial arts training and a boxing ring towards the rear of the space.

Despite its lack of modern equipment, the space is almost always busy. It has a reputation for hiring serious trainers for both weight and boxing training. A world welterweight champion once trained here, and his picture hangs over the desk. Anyone who is serious about their training would feel comfortable here. Weekend warriors need not apply.

Though the temperature outside has finally begun to fall, inside the old boxing gym a number of people have worked up a good sweat. The run-down hall echoes to the grunts and gasps of people in training on weights machines and in the ring. Most are the sort of hard-bitten men - young and old - that might be expected here, but a couple of women are in view… one a pale-skinned blonde in the lower half of a loose-fitting tracksuit, a supportive halter-cut spandex top leaving bare much of her brightly-tattooed back. She's presently laying into a training bag with a barrage of combination kick attacks.

This is not the kind of environment Sable is used to. Quite honestly, she has had little reason nor opportunity to set foot in a gym since high school, which she didn't exactly attend religiously, even for the one and a half years she was actually enrolled. She views the new surroundings with a muted suspicion. She had to get suited up for this, and while her usual tanktop does the trick, and her new sweatpants are accepted smilingly enough, she forced to don a sport's bra, an addition she accepts with mostly muttered, half audible complaint, and one which she adjusts on and off almost constantly. At least for the first little while.

Seeing Ygraine in action, however, manages to draw her attention away from her own discomfort (mostly imagined) and to the power and grace of the former professional athlete. She isn't watching with anything quite like desire, at least not in her usual sense. She seems intrigued more than anything else. This is an expression of feminine physicality she isn't familiar with. But one that certainly interests her.

Quinn's only been out to Coco's once before, she doesn't really make a point of coming out to Long Island unless she needs to. Self defence training, however, is definitely one of those things that qualifies as "needing to", given her dedication to actually moving along with such things. And this time, she bringing her own little pocket sized brawler with her (or at least, so she joked to Sable). Dressing appropriately for exercise was still a bit foreign to her, ut she had done so anyway, hands in shorts pockets as she strides in behind Sable.

It only takes her a moment to spot Ygraine - something that's not too terribly hard given her very distinctive tattoo, and almost immediately Quinn is headed in that direction, flagging the Brit down as she approaches. "Ygraine~" she intones cheerily, almost in a sing-songy tone. "We're here and ready to get started!"

Ygraine delivers one last kick, before bouncing back from her target, grinning as she turns to face Quinn. Holding out a hand to the Irishwoman, she attempts to draw her into a swift half-hug, her skin distinctly warm from her exercise… though a certain amount of attention is spared for Sable, the shorter of the new arrivals being eyed with evident curiosity, but no obvious hostility.

"My, that's quite some hair-dye you've found, Elaine", she says dryly.

"Goin' f'r a whole new style, dig?" Sable says, snapping out of peering interest and right into grinning insolence as soon as Ygraine's attention shifts her way. She scoots around, trying to get a proper look at Ygraine's back again. "Quinngirl told me 'bout that there tat. Jesus… where'd you get that done? Don't look like nothin' I've ever seen, 'n' I ran with plenty of inked up folks in my time." 'Her time' being really just a space of four years, but she was inhabiting the right spheres, on and off.

Quinn laughs as she walks up, shaking her head. "I caught Sable on the way out the door an' she seemed interested in comin', so I dragged her along. I did leave a message with Elaine, though, so maybe she'll show up!" She watches Sable for a moment, looking rather amused. "So, what sort of horrible fate do you ahve in store for us t'day, Ygraine?"

Leaning into Quinn a little, Ygraine rests her head against her for a moment, then chuckles and pulls back, attempting to look at least somewhat professional. "It's an interesting change, Elaine", she teases Sable, before shrugging and grinning.

"It's done by an artist first mentioned to me by Colette, actually - though I'd been thinking of trying to find someone like her already. She takes commissions, if you're interested… and yes, it is rather special. She doesn't exactly use conventional techniques."

Cocking her head, Ygraine purses her lips. "Which I suppose ties into what I've got in store today - I was thinking of doing some conventional work, after my basic instruction in dirty fighting and odd techniques last time…. See if I can teach you a bit about balance and movement, and the basics of how to throw a punch or deliver a kick. Not fighting per se, but the grounding for learning how to."

There's a wrinkling of the nose as Ygraine suggests Sable's interest in tattoos. The wrinkle fades, though, at the mention of unconventional methods. In truth, the method itself is of more interest than its product. Her curiosity is momentarily piqued… but it will have to wait 'til later. They are at a gym, and while Sable is usually all about things veering of into unintended directions, she has a genuine interest in learning to kick ass a little more. And judging by the blows dealt to the bag Ygraine was just wailing on, the Great Big Brit might not be a half bad tutor. Her feet, at least, know what they're doing.

Sable laces her fingers together, lifting her arms in a knuckle-cracking stretch above her head, and cricks her neck. "Know how t' fight dirty. Only way f'r someone my size t' fight. 'course, I don't mind learnin' t' fight dirtier," she grins, "if there are, like, wicked ways beyond my innocent little mind's experience. But y'know," her arms swing down, and she shrugs, "you tell me where t' start, eh? I've fought a little b'fore, but mostly I just try t' duck 'n' run. Gettin' too deep int' trouble's a sure way t' end up dead 'r worse, most situations I've been in."

Quinn leans against her shorter companion, an elbow placed almost mockingly on Sable's shoulder, the taller woman leaning against it. "I should peobably be takin' lessons in fightin' dirty from you," Quinn quips with a look down to Sable. "But Ygraine's got everythin' else covered, I think, The last time I got t'gether with her was really basic stuff." A finger taps against her cheek as she turns her attention up to Ygraine. "You still need t' give me the name of that tattoo artist, by the by. Else I'm going t' get my boss t' do mine when I come up with it."

Ygraine darts a glance to Quinn, chuckling. "I can give you name and address when we wrap up here, if you like. And… we could go over some of what I covered with Elaine and yourself again if you wanted, but you can quite possibly pass on things like the key and the finger-hold without my supervision, if you want to…. For now, let's deal with some basic physics, shall we?"

Taking a step back, she moves a little closer to the practice bag she was kicking. "Most people assume without thinking that they know how to deliver a punch or kick. It's obvious, and virtually everyone did it at least a few times when they were children, if not since then. But one of the most basic things to understand is that something moving on a straight line from point A to point B has a shorter distance to cover than something that takes a curved route from A to B."

"To put it another way: if you throw a normal punch" - and she demonstrates, with an arcing, vicious-looking haymaker to the bag - "it has further to go, takes longer to get there, and has you waste energy en route. At least compared with a direct strike that travels in a straight line." For the latter, she demonstrates with a quick, snapping jab.

"And that's one of the most basic things to deal with in a fight. You want most of your movements to be over the shortest distances you can manage, without taking a round-about route. The less distance you have to cover, the more controlled your movements will be and the faster you should be able to do them - whether you're blocking a punch, stepping back out of your opponent's reach, or delivering a strike. And it's also part of the reason why learning a bit about how to stop yourself being hit is so efffective. Whatever your attacker is doing will probably have to travel further than any block you make or move you have to do to put yourself just out of his reach."

If it weren't for the direct application of these principles to the whupping of ass, and the demonstration of said principles by Ygraine herself, the words 'basic physics' would have produced a more or less pedagogically fatal eye glaze in Sable. She's a better visual learner anyways (for a couple reasons) and so its aforementioned demonstration that gets the most attention, the notions Ygraine is expressing gaining meaning only in their enactment. Sable watches, with the slightly narrow-eyed interest she displays when watching a particularly interesting musical technique on video, yellow eyes tracing motions with quick, clear economy.

Quinn has a similar reaction to "basic physics", an instant drooping ofer her shoulders and generally lethargic expression, almost as if someone said some kind of magic word that made just not care. But despite the appearance, she pays rapt attention to Ygraine's display, still leaning on Sable's shoulder. She nods on occasional, her other hand on her hip as she tries to take in everything Ygraine says, though she makes no attempt, yet, at reproducing any of it.

Looking somewhat relieved that she's not yet lost her audience's interest or comprehension, Ygraine quirks a swift smile at her two companions. "Now… one significant reason that competent people don't simply move in straight lines when fighting is that it's very hard to get much force behind a strike like that. The jab" - and she again demonstrates, this time in slow motion - "uses just the arm, and perhaps a bit of shoulder muscle. But you'll far more often see knock-outs in boxing from something like an upper-cut or a hook." One of each of those is demonstrated, at full speed, the bag thudding at each impact.

"For those, the trade-off is that you accept the longer path and later arrival in return for bringing more of your muscle-groups and more of your weight into play. That knee-dip for the upper-cut wasn't to look cool, it was to bring my legs into play as I rose into the punch. But for neither of you, to be honest, is a punch likely to yield too much impact unless you start working out. You simply don't have the muscle-bulk or bodily mass at the moment. Instead, it might make sense to aim to teach you a range of kicks, with the punches used to put people back in range of your feet. The strongest muscle groups in the body are in your thighs, even if you're not a madwoman who spent twenty years on a bike…."

The dragons on her back flex as Ygraine shrugs smoothly. "However, for a good punch, let alone a good kick, you need balance. So I'm going to start with teaching you how to stand and move in a level fashion. It won't be instantly applicable to anything, but bear with me. I'll hopefully be able to train you to develop a 'feel' for movement - yours and another person's - so that you won't need to think about how to stay balanced, or how to manipulate the distance of a fight so that it suits you. If nothing else, the best possible way to avoid being hit in a fist-fight is to be just out of your opponent's reach whenever he tries to connect. Someone like Mike Tyson in his prime was a great boxer not just because he hit other people hard and fast, but because he was very hard to hit cleanly in return. And the main goal you should have in a fight isn't to hurt the other guy - it's to come out unhurt yourself."

Sable steals a glance or two at Quinn during the less active parts of Ygraine's lesson, figuring whatever affect she's adopting will be the one to mimic in order to come off as polite/attentive/worth teaching. She has about zero confidence in her ability to reliably predict how Ygraine will want her to behave, so she takes cues from someone she knows Ygraine likes very much. To the Briton's credit, she keeps it simple, and the matter of factness of the lessons prevents even Sable from being tempted to make some stupid comment at the mention of thighs and their strength. Ygraine's last comment, though, yields a frown. "Hell, but I know how t' stay clear 'f what folks throw at me," she says, "I'm aimin' t' learn how t' pound a sonovabitch."

"No harm in reinforcin' what you know. Just like music, you know?" Quinn quirks up a smile at Sable as she looks down at her, a mirthful tone in her voice. "Don't worry, we'll get t' kickin' ass. It just might take a bit, you know? I gotta learn this whole not gettin' hurt thing m'self." She turns her attention back up to Ygraine, tilting her head at the Briton. "Balance! I'm totally screwed now. I balance as well as a one legged dog sometimes. Should make this right interestin'."

Ygraine chuckles at Sable's comment, then shrugs amiably… and drops into an en garde posture. Knees slightly bent, largely side-on, back straight and head up. She scuttles rapidly - and evenly - backwards, then moves forward, before delivering a couple of rapid punches to mid-air, each time bringing her fist up and forward from around her rearward hip, using the rotation of her body to put speed and force into the strike.

"Balance is the key to having the base from which you can launch effective attacks, as well as being vital for defence. If you're balanced before you do a move - for attack or defence - it sets you up for whatever comes next. One of the key things you can do in a fight is to get your opponent off-balance, so that their options are cut down and they become a lot more vulnerable to anything you do to them."

Cracking a grin at Quinn, she shrugs again, arms relaxed even as she remains in the sitting-on-air posture. "Fortunately, your body is designed to work pretty well as a piece of machinery. There are a lot of things built in that are basically just mechanical. Nudge one muscle and a joint will bend, and other muscles will flex automatically to compensate, and another joint will in turn be moved to help. It's often the learned habits you have to overcome, not any problems that are actually innate. Very often, it's the very simplest of things that give you the best of results - and most people can learn to do really simple things."

Ygraine also rises to a more normal stance, nodding to Sable before smiling at Quinn. "It doesn't need to come naturally right now - so long as you have some sort of a feel for what I'm talking about, it'll help a lot with future work. But that punch does lead me on to something else… time for a bit more waffling from the Brit, I'm afraid."

"Part of the reason that putting force into a strike is that if you're serious - and I'm trying to teach you a bit about fighting, not sparring or scoring points in a contest - is that if you want to win a fight by hitting someone, your aim is to hurt them enough that they stop trying to hurt you. Naturally, there are all sorts of fancy pressure points or tricks you can try to knock them out of action… but for simply hurting someone you need to overcome some of the basic instincts that everyone has."

The dragons shift again as she shrugs expansively. "If you've ever watched a foot race, you'll probably have seen people slowing down as they reached the line. They run to the line, not through it. They know the vital point they have to reach, and they aim for that - which means that you'll frequently see people overtaken in the last stride or two, by people who aren't slowing down. Throwing a punch or aiming a kick, most people do the same thing. They aim to connect - they judge the distance to the visible surface they can see. And as a result, their blow is already losing power before it connects with anything solid. But if you want to leave someone gasping for breath, startled at how hard the little girl hit them, then you need to still be acclerating - still putting power into your blow. Some martial arts teach people to aim for the back of their target - judge distance as if you're going to hit the back of their shirt, and they just happen to be in the way."

"Well, that's probably good, then," Quinn replies with a laugh and a shake of her head. She's learning with a purpose, but she's slowed down by the factthat actually throwing a punch, intention or otherwise, still seems so strange to her. "That's a strange bit a' advice," she continues with a tilt of her head, even as she's shifting back into something resembling the stance Ygraine had them in earlier, feet spread a little too far apart. "I mean, I guess I kinda get it, but that's a weird thing t' actually think about, punchin' through someone."

"For practice… stand up like this. Put your feet at ninety degrees to each other - forward one pointing forward, the back one to the side, with the heels touching like this, see? Then use your front foot to measure out a distance. Some of the textbooks I've seen recommend two and a half of your own feet as the distance between your heels. I personally find a somewhat broader stance more comfortable, but you don't need to be exact. I won't be using this for sparring, really - it's a training exercise. With savate being based around kicks, we'll use a much more upright stance, so that your legs are free for use.

Quinn grimaces as she begins attempting to put to action the practice Ygraine ahs given her. Feel shuffle repeatedly, trying to get comfortable with her heels pressed together and feet angled as instructed. "Geez, this is kinda awkward," she notes as she begins to shuffle again as she begins to spread her feet out to amtch Ygraine's stance, and once she thinks she's about got it, she scratches the back of her head. "Like this?"

"Now bend your knees. Sit down into the stance. If you're doing it perfectly, for absolute balance, then your knees are meant to be pretty much directly above your toes. But you don't need to worry about perfection. I much prefer a more stable platform than that feels like, I admit", Ygraine says with a grin. "One of the keys is to keep your back straight - keep your head up, and your centre of gravity remains a lot more central… which helps a lot."

There's a good chance neither of Sable's companions have ever seen her quiet for this long at a go. Let alone this attentive to something that didn't fall strictly into her area of interest, loosely structured under the anarchic trivium of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. She has had some limited training from Magnes, though many of those sessions consisted of 'tests' to determine the nature of her ability, and this is a whole different sort of instruction, much more clearly explained. Explanation, however, continues to take secondary importance next to demonstration, and it's Sable's physical adoption of the stance, mirroring the model given, that best relates her comprehension. Back straight, legs set apart, her yellows eyes watch Ygraine for the next motion to execute.

Quinn wobbles a bit as she bends her legs, attempting to lower her centre of gravity so that she has better balance, just as Ygraine has instructed. Her back straightens awkwardly, her gaze focused ahead on Ygraine. "I must look absolutely daft," she states both with mirth and confidence, shaking her head at her teacher. Sable's so quiet it's almost like Quinn's forgotten she's even there. Sable's never quiet! She's pretty sure she finds ways to talk even in her sleep. "So, like this?"

"Good", Ygraine assures her companions, warmly approving. "And you really don't need to worry about looking daft, I promise… Now… to get an idea of how things compare… form a fist - a tight one - with your right hand. Make sure to keep the thumb on the outside, by the way: punching someone with the thumb inside is a fantastic way to dislocate it. Feel how the forearm tenses up as you do so. Now rotate the wrist, keeping the fist formed."

Doing as she instructs the two other women, she smiles. "Can you feel the tension now running up into your bicep? That's two of the sets of muscles you want to use to throw a hard punch. In martial arts films, you'll often see that they rotate the wrist as they strike - that's partly to bring in more muscle groups, and partly to let them strike as straight as possible. Because the straight strike covers less distance, and lets you more effectively put your weight and other muscles behind it."

In slow-motion, she pushes her tensed hand up and forward, as if conducting one of those seen-on-the-silver-screen martial arts strikes, the movement rotating her torso. "Try that, but focus on how you can feel other muscles being brought in as you complete the move. We'll be aiming to get all of those working to help you. 'Cause it's much better to teach you to use what you already have, than it is to tell you to put six inches onto your biceps with steroids and weight training, or the like."

The dry spells ends as Sable tosses a grin to Quinn. "Look as stupid as y' like, hon. They'll laugh outta th' other side 'f their face after y' pound in the first side." And, in preparation for dealing such a mirth-redirectly blow, Sable balls her hand into the fist, her thumb quickly slipping out when Ygraine indicates the harm that may come from keeping it within; few things are quite as precious as a musician's fingers. Her fist rotates as directed, and indeed, she can feel that tension. Directed further, she starts to perform the punch in slow motion as well, a carbon copy of Ygraine's display.

"Like I could hit someone that hard," Quinn replies with a chuckle and a shake of her head, as she tries to settle a bit more comfortably into her assigned stance. Quinn follows suit with Sable, though she moves slower than the other woman as she balls her fist up and begins to attempt replicating Ygraine's punch. "I knew the thumb thing," she notes with a grin. "Probably one a' the only things I know about this kinda thing!"

"You'd be surprised", Ygraine assures Quinn. "I'm not teaching you this with a view to just having you mildly annoy someone some day. I hate the ineffectual Hollywood 'heroines' you see so often. If I can teach you to give a real villain pause for thought, I'll do it. Now… let's see about teaching you to throw a proper punch or two, and I can then move on to kicks. Don't worry about speed or accuracy at the moment - I'll be doing everything in slow motion, so that you can try to learn how it feels. Beating up a bag, we can do later…."

What follows is often a slow-motion affair, but it's still quite an intensive work-out in its way, with Ygraine pushing her two pupils to make use of muscles and postures they've never really considered before. She remains very keen on Quinn and Sable feeling what she is talking about, rather than just watching or hearing about it, and at times can have them repeat the same motion in slightly different ways, just to have them explore the effects of doing so.

Of more obvious use, however, she does put much of that together, finally teaching the two of them how to throw a few 'proper' punches: jab, upper-cut, hook, and the full-body martial arts strike. Some basic kicks are also demonstrated, though there the focus is more on how to deliver a kick while retaining balance than on putting any power into the strike…

Sable's enhanced learning curve serves her well, as she turns things witnessed into things practiced. She's working up a sweat in no time, her general fitness not bad, but certainly not finely honed, particularly now that she has enough money to bus from place to place. Breath comes faster, and stronds of her dark hair stick to her pale forehead as she goes through the motions, though without the dismissiveness the idiomatic use of the phrase would suggest. Sable's practice blows seem to carry a certain flash of viciousness behind them, as the reserves of her aggression, more suppressed since her attempted new leaf turning-overage, find a new outlet. There's an intensity to her gaze, a ferocity, but one that seems to aid her aptitude rather than detract.

While not seeming to get things down as fast as Sable, or move as fast as either her or Ygraine, Quinn certainly seems dedicated to getting this down as well as she can, following along with both Ygraine and Sable's motions. She lags behind, but she keeps on going. It's the kicks, however, that begin to trip her up a bit - literally, in one case as she goes to take a kick and feels her //other foot sweep out from under her as she over extends herself just a bit more than expected, sending her falling ass first into the mat below. A string of curses follow, Quinn remaining sitting in a huff for several moments before she looks up with a forced smile. "Told you I look daft."

Ygraine entirely fails to stifle a giggle, though she does have the tact to cover her mouth with one hand, then cough sheepishly - before hurrying over to crouch beside the fallen woman. "Did you hurt anything?", she asks - lips again curling into a smile. "Other than your pride, I mean. And we can certainly take a break here. You've done well." A look up firmly includes Sable. "Both of you."

Tact, to quote Cordelia Chase of Sunnydale, is just not saying true stuff. Both she and Sable will pass. Had Quinn seemed genuinely hurt, of course Sable would have been all concern, instantly. But the string of explitive and the adorable little closing comment give Sable licence to cackle just a little at Quinn's expense. As Ygraine looks up at her, though, Sable reins it in, lifting a hand to scratch the nape of her neck. "Taken well is given well, babe," she says, grinning crookedly. Meaning credit to the teacher. "Figure a break mebbe wouldn't be bad. Need a drink 'f water like nothin' else, 't least."

"I think I broke my arse," Quinn whines jokingly, rubbing the back of her head. She's in no rush to get up after that little display of her oh-so-fantastic sense of balance. "Thanks, though. Glad t' know I didn't look like a total fool," she remarks with a laugh as she leans over against Ygraine for a moment, before finally rising up to her feet. "I'd be up for a break, then. Wouldn't mind a moment t' nurse some sore pride, m'self," she says with a grin flashed at her friends.

"I brought some supplies", Ygraine says, laughing as she points over to a backpack resting against one wall near the practice area. "Bottle of orange juice, bottled water, some energy bars. Figured I should make sure to provide enough to keep you guys going…."

"Get that shit insured, gal," Sable says, cricking her neck, "yer ass is a goddamn asset," she wrinkles her nose, "no pun intended 'r nothin'." She glances over at the indicated backback, "Aw, hell yeah," are her thoughts on the matter, and in moments she's crouched over it, teasing the zipper open. "What d' y'all want?"

Quinn laughs, shaking her head at Sable. "You would think that," she replies with a roll of her eyes and a laugh. "I dunno. One a' those energy bars and orange juice? Probably taste terrible t'gether, but whatever." Quinn gives a slight shrug as she moves up next to Ygraine and leans against her. "You realise all you're doin' is makin' me think even more that you need t' be a teacher or coach or somethin', right? You've done a great job t'day."

Ygraine slips an arm around Quinn's waist, giving her a warm squeeze - though her gaze is on Sable, smiling as she watches the diminutive woman eagerly forage. "Spend years and years receiving coaching, and you pick up a few tips", she says wih a chuckle. "But I'm glad I'm doing a good job. I've been scared that I'd be boring and make no sense. And quite possibly hurt you as a result. This sort of thing isn't the kind of activity for people to try when they've half-listened and have a vague idea of what they think might have been meant…. I was really worried I'd cock up horribly."

Sable's tempted to toss the bottle of juice over to Quinn, but the last thing a klutz needs after vigorous exercise and toppling over is stuff being chucked at them. Sable judiciously decides to sling the backpack over her shoulder and bring it over to her companions, swinging its open mouth around and offering the selection for their direct perusal. "Seein' it done's what does it f'r me," Sable says, "words sorta wash th' fuck over me, gotta admit. My failin', that, I'll be th' first t' admit."

Quinn takes no hesitation into digging into the backpack and digging out what she desires once it's offered over to her. "You're like a pee wee coach or something, bringing snacks for the players," Quinn remarks with a grin asn she tears open her bar, head against Ygraine's arm. "Words help, but yeah. When I'm breakin' m'self, I learn through doing. Best way t' learn, in my opinion. Easiest, at least."

Ygraine giggles again, turning her head to plant a peck upon Quinn's hair. "I don't know how to coach without words, I'm afraid. But this is the sort of thing I figure should be explained in a few ways, if I can manage it. Show you, describe it, get you to try it, and give you things to think about that might help you to understand what the heck I'm on about…."

Sable hunkers down and snags some orange juice of her own, cracking open the top and rapidly gulping the contents, some spilling over her lower lip as her enthusiasm overwhelms her actual capacity, forcing her to draw back the bottle and gulp a little awkwardly. She glances up at Quinn and Ygraine, sheepish - they didn't see that, did they? - and hastily wipes her mouth clean.

Quinn, much like with their training session, takes to her snack and drink much slower, sighing as she hooks an arm around Ygraine. She remains largely quiet while she drinks - and fortunately for Sable, ignorant of her dribbling. She does seem to suddenly perk up after a moment, however, incidentally sending a little orange juice splashing up from her bottle and on to Ygarine in her enthusiasm.

"Mm, Sable," she begins as she finishes a bit of chewing. "Did you see the new sign in Gun Hill?" And by "new", she means almost two weeks old. "The one about the puzzle piece things? I keep meanin' t' ask if you got one, since I know Lynette an' Toby did. I got one, kepe meanin' t' go t' them about it."

Though she might not have taken her lessons in tact from Miss Chase, Ygraine does refrain from commenting on Sable's elegant imbibing technique. Instead, she delves into the pack for some water for herself, and seems content to hold Quinn… at least until that topic is raised.

"Puzzle piece? I got a piece of a jigsaw in the post, a while back. I'd no idea what to make of it. Meant to ask about it, to be honest. Did yours have anything written on it?"

To be continued

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