Today TEAM STOMP brings you an original short about Owl from Kristi Charish’s Adventures of Owl series. Enjoy!
Alix Hiboux, aka Owl from Owl and the Japanese Circus
Ok, Alix. Deep breathe and let’s try this again…
I stood back up, legs apart like Rynn had shown me while I sized him up. We were in the basement of the Japanese Circus Casino in an unmarked training room. From the dojo style and artwork spaced around the room, I was putting money on it being one of Oricho’s design. Now, whether Mr. Kurosawa knew of its existence though was suspect. I didn’t think he’d let something that was so obviously a remnant of his disgraced servant stand this intact… A few of the paintings looked old, and if they were originals they were worth a fair bit. I mean, Oricho wasn’t coming back to let the dragon eat him anytime soon, and if they were just hanging here-
“Alix! Quit looking around and focus,” Rynn said.
I tore my eyes off the paintings and glanced back up at Rynn standing across the mat in his gi. He’d finally cornered me for hand-to-hand training. This was good for me- us. Or that’s what I kept telling myself…
“What’s more realistic?” I said. “Me scoping out a place for treasure and booby traps or putting all my attention into a fight?” And it’s not like I’d stand there and wait for them to throw a punch. I’d be running…and hiding, especially if they were supernatural.
Rynn swore under his breath. “That just proves my point. Now will you come at me? Like we practiced.”
Slow breath. He showed me three different throws, lot’s of options. Just grab his sleeves and throw him. Simple.
God I hoped this wasn’t going to hurt.
I shifted my weight evenly between my feet and went after Rynn and managed to grab the sleeve of his gi. Pivot, shift weight, throw. Easy- “Oh, shit.” Halfway through my pivot, Rynn grabbed my collar and swiped my leg out from under me. I hit the mat on my ass. Hard.
“You were off balance. Try it again,” he said.
I stuffed a number of replies that popped in my head. I didn’t do the move properly and Rynn was sincerely trying to help me. For once I was not going to loose my temper.
I stood back up and did my damndest not to glare. I’d try the other, easier throw this time. Start with the basics, that’s how I started on my first dig site… I went for Rynn’s collar and sleeve. Grip, balance, sweep the leg, follow down for a – “Oh, you got to be kidding me,” I said, as Rynn blocked my sweep and closed the distance.
“Too slow and you telegraphed your intent,” Rynn said.
Damn it. Grappling was not my strong suit. In a real life situation I’d have bugged out long before it got to this point- Shit, he was going for the underhook.
“Not fair. You said Judo, not grappling,” Damn it, what was the counter? We went over that yesterday-
“You wanted realistic,” Rynn said through clenched teeth as he forced his other arm under my armpit, getting the second underhook.
God damn it. Now I was in a clinch. I hated clinch fighting.
“Don’t just stand there, Alix, try to get out.”
“What the hell do you think I’m doing? – Hey!” He’d almost thrown me that time.
“Less talking more training,” Rynn said while he tried to hook the back of my leg and trip me.
Oh screw not loosing my temper…
With Rynn’s underhooks clinching my upper body there was really only one thing I could do. I wedged my knee between Rynn’s legs and kicked up. Hard.
Rynn grunted, let the underhooks go, and took a step back. He frowned at me. “Alix, did you just groin shot me on purpose?”
Now I was getting somewhere. My god that felt a lot better than it probably should have. I smiled and waited for Rynn to come at me. I had one more move I’d perfected in my small arsenal over the years.
Not looking nearly as impressed with my ingenuity as I was Rynn closed the distance and grabbed my collar, pulling me in.
I hooked Rynn’s right knee on the diagonal and – leaning in – swiped his foot outwards while forcing his knee inwards-
“Will you stop trying to reap my knee!”
“Well it’s the only thing that’s come close to working so far- oh damn.”
Rynn shifted his weight and sent me reeling. I landed flat on my back with Rynn’s knee pinning my chest down. If the expression on his face was any indication, his seemingly bottomless well of patience was gone. He leaned in close and I noted he didn’t bother lessening up on the weight.
“I cannot believe you just tried to reap my knee,” he said, grey eyes narrowed.
Yeah…well…in my defense it was the only thing that had come close to working so far…and this wasn’t exactly the worst position I could have ended up in…
When I was invited to step in the ring for Team Stomp representing my distinctively Stomp orientated girl, Alix Hiboux (aka Owl), I spent a lot of time trying to put into words why Team Stomp is (obviously) the best. Of course it totally is but putting things into coherent, well thought out words strung together is always difficult (especially for Alix)…and scenes speak louder than wordy explanations…
Here’s the thing; just because Alix/Owl is firmly entrenched in her stomping tendencies, that doesn’t mean romance goes completely out the window. The awesome thing about Team Stomp is your characters get the chance to explore nuances of an intimate relationship outside a stereotypical romance. Alix is possibly the least romantic character on this years Stomp list (proudly) but that doesn’t mean her relationships don’t grow and mature…Just in different and often times unique ways…
That involve a decent dose of humor…
Ok, and a bit of cussing…
And probably a tomb raid in there…
Oh hell, let’s face it. If Alix doesn’t piss of a few vampires in the process she’s not trying hard enough….
Yeah Team Stomp!
Owl and the City of Angels by Kristi Charish
Series: The Adventures of Owl #2
Published by Pocket on October 5th 2015
Alix Hiboux, better known as Owl, international antiquities thief for hire, is settling into her new contract job for Vegas mogul Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon with a penchant for ancient, supernatural artifacts. And now he has his sights set on some treasures of the mysterious Syrian City of the Dead that are sitting in a recluse’s private collection.
There’s just one wrinkle. To stop the resurrection of an undead army that could wreak havoc on Los Angeles, Owl must break into a heavily guarded archaeological sight in one of the most volatile regions in the world. A detour through Libya and a run-in with Somali pirates sends the clock ticking hastily toward total paranormal disaster.
Meanwhile, Alexander and the Paris vampires have stopped stalking Owl’s apartment, but they have by no means forgotten their death grudge against her. To top everything off, Owl finds out the hard way that there is nothing heavenly about the City of Angels…
Open to US/CA ONLY
Winner’s choice of an ARC of Owl and the City of Angels or a signed (finished) copy of book 1, Owl and the Japanese Circus.