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    Seeking Serenity

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    Kitrazzle
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    Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 13/09/11, 08:38 pm

    Kord Almighty, what a day. It had started as such a pleasantly dull watch last night. Fire, kobolds, dragons, death and despair. And even worse, in Delona's humble opinion, there would be no chance of a proper bath until they reached Thantopolis. Sponge baths were utterly useless at relaxing knotted muscles. All day, through healing sessions and watches and caring for their unfortunate captive, the adopted elf waited anxiously for sunset to bring a slowing of the crew's bustling activity and open up some deck space.

    There was a place in the aft deck that she had noticed during her watches, relatively secluded but just large enough for certain katas. And with all the ropes and rigging, oh! The tricks she could try if she could just stay out of everyone's way! Just what Delona needed to help her relax.

    Once dark started to fall and the lamps had been lit, barefoot Delona padded up to the semi-hidden spot with a narrow cloth bag slung over her shoulder. Setting the bundle down and untying the drawstring, she removed two wooden practice swords and stripped down to shortpants and breast bindings. Not wanting her things blown away, she stuffed the clothes into the bag and tied the whole bundle to a bit of rigging before picking up the swords and starting with her stretches. Back bends, splits, spins and flips, beginning with a slow precision while her muscles warmed. Even with the chill of the upper atmosphere, Delona was soon whirling like a deadly dervish, weaving her body through nearby rigging and bouncing off the walls of her little imagined dojo.

    There were three facts that Delona had failed to take into account when she decided to continue as close to her normal routine as possible. First, that there was always at least part of the crew up and about. Second, that news in a small closed society was worth the teller's weight in gold. Third, that even a plain woman in her underwear could be worth gossiping about.
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 14/09/11, 05:06 am

    "You move that well all the time?" called one crew member, leaning on the rail.

    "Green's looking better than sky blue," a second offered, joining her friend.

    The small gathering continued in such a manner for a few minutes, taking advantage of Delona's stoicism, until a loud harrumph sounded from behind the assembled onlookers cut through their sporadic catcalls and lewd observations.

    "I do believe the rigging needs a second look, and I see quite a few layabouts and woolgatherers. T'would be a shame for the captain or mate to find their crew shirking on a maiden voyage. And I think Ms. Kingfisher's preparations would benefit from less distraction. Without her training, who knows what manner of damage those dragons could have dealt to this ship? Hmph, quite."

    Sir Dhenirigan stepped aside to let the grumbling crew members pass, his bedroll and satchel slung across his shoulder. His normally topknotted hair hung free, wet from an obviously recent rinse. As the last of the crew walked away, he addressed Delona.

    "I apologize if this lot was bothersome, Ms. Kingfisher. I was hoping to find a secluded bit of deck space myself as I've lent my area belowdecks to those poor townsfolk, but I see you're already putting it good use. Carry on."

    Nodding, Dhenirigan turned to leave.


    Last edited by Josh on 14/09/11, 03:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 14/09/11, 03:24 pm

    In all honesty, the comments didn't bother her. She didn't mind the audience, either. The new students at home had always watched her katas, and she'd heard far worse things from certain braggarts in the Guild training hall. The part that annoyed Delona was that she'd miscalculated, but at least now she knew what to expect. But she was hardly some nervous nelly to let an overly interested audience dissuade her from her routine, and thus continued in stoic silence. All the same, the familiar throat-clearing was something of a relief.

    She came to a halt dangling upside down at about face level, secured in the rigging by an ankle with arms crossed over her chest and free foot resting behind her knee, looking for all the world like a Hanged Man card. "Oh no, Sir Dhenirigan, please stay. There's only the cool down stretches left, and I can do those up here. Far be it from me to interrupt someone else's practice routine." Delona smiled, bending her knee to bring the ropes back into her grip, a rotating flip putting her back the right way up and keeping her facing him. "By the way, thank you for chasing them off."
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 14/09/11, 03:52 pm

    "Your humble servant, Ms. Kingfisher. Perhaps I should take the opportunity to stretch myself. Those dragons proved more formidable than I'd anticipated, and I apparently still need work to recover my previous prowess."

    Dhenirigan set his belongings aside, securing them among a few crates. He carefully unbuttoned the navy overcoat he wore, shrugging out of it and folding it precisely on top of his bedroll.

    As he began rolling up the sleeves of his shirt, he asked, "Might I impose enough to borrow one of your wasters there?"
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 14/09/11, 06:29 pm

    "They were tougher then I expected too. Then again, I didn't realize that there were special lightning-breathing kobolds, either." Weaving her legs through the lines, Delona lowered herself into a split and shrugged before moving smoothly through sword blocks. "Eh. You live, you learn."

    Something twitched in her gut as the older man took off the greatcoat. Delona scoffed at herself. Just because he was intelligent and mannerly and well-read and honorable and strong and worldly and... and... where had that train of thought been going again? Something about a certain resemblance between Master and Sir Dheni? Or thinking with her spleen? Bah!

    Both mind and motion paused as the old war hero spoke up again. "By all means." She held one out to him, hilt first. "Y'know," she arched into an upside-down back bend so she could judge his expression without the extra difficulty of an opposing horizontal axis, "you could call me Delona if you like. Considering how often it's been the two of us in the thick of things getting hacked to ribbons I think you've earned the right to use whatever name you want."
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 14/09/11, 11:34 pm

    "Hmph, quite. Delona it is, then. Years of habit predisposes me towards honorifics. I apologize if it has been offensive."

    As he spoke, Dhenirigan stepped back to his satchel, eventually pulling out three wooden balls. He mumbled an incantation over them, then turned back to Delona and released them. They remained suspended in the air, slowly orbiting each other. Dhenirigan made a few test cuts with Delona's waster, testing its balance.

    "Hmm, you prefer these shorter blades, which is certainly advantageous to your style. I've observed your master in exhibitions. You certainly do him proud."

    His swings came more readily, though there was an air of resignation to them.

    "I, on the other hand, am an old, done man who needs more steel between myself and my opponents. This will be good practice."

    He made a quick gesture to the floating orbs, which floated towards Dhenirigan, who raised his sword. They each made an orbit of him, then suddenly took on a different colored glow. Dhenirigan's blade swing out to connect with the suddenly red ball, while his off hand swung up in the mystic gesture Delona recognized as his warding shield. A second ball, green, swung into the shield and was deflected with an audible crack. Stepping lightly to the side, Dhenirigan placed himself between now blue ball and the other two, obscuring it.
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 15/09/11, 12:23 am

    "Not offensive at all, Sir, you can call me by any name that you're comfortable with. It's just hard to retain a level of formality in address when folk are trying to kill you." She talked easily as she tumbled through the ropes, shortness of breath already passed. "The other students and I got in the habit of shortening names as much as feasible. They called me Del. You I think they would call Dheni. Which would be a bit rude since 'Sir' is just as easy to say. Unless you would prefer something else?"

    The floating spheres swordmages trained with had always fascinated Delona. She slowed her contortions, keeping her face turned towards him to better watch this training technique, and froze in surprise again while she blushed at the compliment. "Ah! I...thank you. I didn't know you were familiar with Master." Her voice quivered with almost-tearful pride and gratitude for a moment before she squashed it. She really shouldn't have been surprised that he'd deduced the origin of her training, she supposed, she did wear the school's colors in the braided trim on all her clothes. She could recognize followers of the different martial schools by the signs they wove into their clothing, Sir Dhenirigan no doubt had a better grasp on the subtleties then she did.

    Sir Dheni's self-deprecation drew a frown and would have demanded a verbal riposte that experience kept a person alive more then just about anything else, but the spell kicked in just as Delona opened her mouth. She immediately closed it again, not wanting to distract him. This was fantastic! Still hanging upside-down, she rested her remaining waster across her shoulders and watched in silent contentment, analyzing the man's style. Stepping deliberately into flanking seemed a tactical disadvantage to her, and was probably the reason why she was always coming to his rescue, but no doubt he had his reasons.
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 15/09/11, 03:27 pm

    The red ball, deflected from the sword strike, made a quick loop and sailed around Dhenirigan's off side. It dove in towards the blue ball, fast as a sword stroke, but a gesture from Dhenirigan produced the glimmer of the swordmage's ward to intercept it. A brief, bright flash shone as the red ball collided with the shield inches from its counterpart.

    Meanwhile, Dhenirigan swung out his sword in a broad diagonal arc, obviously aiming for the green sphere. The blade tip missed, a few inches short of its intended target. The sphere, taking advantage, shot past his guard to thud off of the swordsman's chest.

    He grunted, stepping again to interpose himself between the two offensive spheres and the third. Shaking his hair out of his face, Dhenirigan kept his focus on his targets but resumed his conversation.

    "You must know, of course, that your master was a member of the Explorer's Union. Do you plan follow his example, Delona? Make a name and establish a school?"
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 15/09/11, 05:46 pm

    Ohhh, so that was what he was doing! She hadn't realized that Sir Dheni had designated one of the spheres as an Innocent, that made a lot more sense. She winced as the shorter waster tripped him up and let the green sphere past. Ouch, that must have hurt.

    But not enough to keep him from talking. Nice. "Honestly? I don't know. Making a name for myself by my own merit was the main impetus behind joining the Union, but adventurers don't exactly have the longest life expectancy so I haven't been making plans." Hanging onto both ends of the waster for stabilization, Delona conscientiously twisted into gravity-defying knots to give herself a distraction. "People were assuming that I'm Master's heir, which is silly. He raised me, yes, but orcs don't live as long as elves. I'll be long dead before a new master is needed."
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 15/09/11, 11:40 pm

    Dhenirigan continued his practice routine, countering attacks to both himself and the third sphere. While no pattern emerged, the swordmage seemed to slip into a routine of attacks and parries. His passes became longer as he adjusted to the length of the borrowed blade, but otherwise his stance showed the practiced sameness of experience.

    "That's twice you have mentioned a shortened lifespan. Are you so resigned, Delona? Or perhaps worried about the possibilities of the future?"
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 16/09/11, 03:40 am

    Now this was an angle on that thought she'd never really considered. Delona paused in mid-contortion in order to give it the attention it deserved. "...huh. Resigned isn't a bad way of putting it. It's just always been a fact for me. Plain, simple, irrefutable unless something really weird happens and then all bets are off. I guess there just never seemed to be much point in starting some grand undertaking when I'd only have a handful of decades to get it right. Got an elvish mindset without the centuries to back it up."

    She came out of the odd twist and settled into a more comfortable dangle, gently swaying back and forth with a single leg secured in the ropes. "...which means I need to change my mindset?"
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 16/09/11, 09:58 pm

    "Far be it from me to lecture someone on the inevitable, but, and I beg your pardon, you're too young to be worried about your mortality."

    Dheni had taken two more hits from the red and green spheres, the last from throwing himself directly into the path of the red sphere when both had targeted the blue at once. He seemed more upset than damaged by the strikes, his face contorting with concentration rather than pain.

    "As an adventurer, you're privy to people and places others can only read about. I should think you'd enjoy the liberty, rather than worry of its end."
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 17/09/11, 04:35 am

    There was an odd flatness to her gaze and half-smile while she tilted her head slightly and raised a single thick eyebrow. "No offense taken." Delona acknowledged his viewpoint and rejected it as non-applicable to her situation: acceptance was not the same thing as worry. But she said nothing, letting her expression convey her refusal to yield. This was not the time for semantics.

    The continuing strikes made her twitch slightly. Those spheres were vicious, and the blue one was being stupid. It should have been moving with him, sticking behind his back so he could use more speed. Unless it was supposed to represent an injured comrade or something, then it made sense. But all the same, he seemed to be accepting a fair number of hits and that didn't seem like the best way to go about things to her. That was the sort of thinking that got him into trouble. And then she had to get all protective and that got her into trouble. She really needed to stop doing that, strikers weren't supposed to go defendery. Argh.

    Looked like he was fairly certain that she was Worried. She supposed she could see how he might draw that conclusion. "I don't worry. The close quarters are just getting to me, making my brain go in spirals. Too used to being able to slip over the wall when I need to."
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 17/09/11, 05:06 pm

    Dheni took a moment to consider whether Delona was referring to close quarters in combat or otherwise, deciding on the more diplomatic interpretation.

    "Haha, quite. I suppose I am not accustomed to individual retreat, given my other option has often been sky. However, I must admit occasionally discretion is be the better part of valor."

    A kick sent the red sphere flying just as it was homing in on its blue counterpart. Turning quickly, Dheni produced a crack and a bright flash, slamming the green ball between the borrowed waster and his warding shield.

    "Or strategy, for that matter." Dheni dodged the red ball as it came hurtling back in, intent on its target, whirling to the side. His blade came up as he turned and delivered a strong backhand swipe to the red sphere, whose arc now took it sailing over the edge of the vessel. Dheni reached out his hand as it did so, and the red ball flew to it, safely back over the deck.

    "Out of curiosity, had you the time, would you be content to be your master's heir, carrying on his legacy?"
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 20/09/11, 03:44 am

    The interpretation gave Delona a moment's pause as she deciphered his meaning. She had been thinking more of living quarters and life in general then of combat, but she supposed it was true of that too. She smiled as she watched the pretty ball flying over the edge, an amusing thought sparking to life. "Do Tzesira's brain punches count as discretion in strategy, or would that be more Kallista's disappearing acts?"

    She canted her head to one side at the new question, wondering where he was going with this. "Hnn. Good question. I think I would. Greater heights can be reached by building on the work of those that came before. I'd want to make something of myself first, of course. Gotta prove you've got what it takes before trying to fill shoes that big." Other reasons were more important to her, but they were more sentimental then she felt comfortable voicing. The devotion of a daughter, the pride in taking on her father's work, the determination to not let his name fade into dust.

    "Of course," Delona turned her gaze back to the present and smiled, "Now that you've been picking my brain you have to reciprocate a little. Why has the titled hero turned to adventuring, and why with this low rent guild?"
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 30/09/11, 09:39 pm

    Dhenirigan froze a moment, caught out by Delona's question. The green sphere, taking advantage, clocked Dheni upside the head before zooming towards the blue. Dheni recovered quickly enough to grab it just before it connected and muttered a few words, deactivating it. The red's quick flight turned more leisurely as it flew back over the hull to Dhenirigan's waiting hand.

    "Ahem, quite. I, hmph, could no longer remain at home. It is no longer my place."

    His face was downcast as he spoke, his hair tumbling free to partially obscure it. He brushed it absently out of his eyes, his expression somber.

    "Our house was ever my wife's place, and I...could not bear to call it home without her."

    He made an obvious attempt to recover, nodding slightly.

    "I have few enough skills, and I thought I could be of some use in a guild. I've known to many of the Adventurers to join their ranks, and the Explorers are more forgiving of...oddities. I left my farm to...a friend, and made my was to Highmark. You've been present for much of the succeeding events."

    He smiled at this last part, trying to mask his momentary melancholy.
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 30/09/11, 10:41 pm

    Oh ouch! Delona winced as the green ball walloped Dheni. Maybe she shouldn't have said anything. She dropped down after he deactivated it, going to her little bag and starting to redress. The news of his wife's death made her freeze in the middle of buttoning up the frogs on her tunic. Hoshit. Shitshitshit, she did not expect that. It made complete and utter sense, but great gods, the last thing she wanted was to remind a comrade of such soul-rending pain. She hadn't even known that he was married.

    Forcing herself out of the momentary surprise, Delona finished doing up her frogs and turned to face Dheni, face solemn and sympathetic and just a tad embarrassed. "My condolences for your loss." She clasped her hands and bowed deeply, saying through proper Vanilloran gesture what she could not vocalize. "And you are correct, the Explorers are very good about oddities. Roscoe alone is proof of that." Picking up her bag and slipping the waster inside, she shrugged slightly. "You hungry? I think I saw an open apple barrel in the galley."
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Josh on 03/10/11, 10:40 pm

    Dheni, grateful for the change of subject, brightened considerably.

    "Capital!" he exclaimed, bowing deeply. "Shall we?"
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    Re: Seeking Serenity

    Post by Kitrazzle on 04/10/11, 03:43 am

    {Exit stage right, pursued by a bear}

    (Thanks for the thread Smile )

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