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New Arrival

Post by Finner on

Finner breathed a sigh of relief when Railtus stood up and seemed to be moving just fine. Even though he was a genius when it came to mechancal things he had no idea how the magic of the angelsworn work and quite honestly didn't need to know. All that mattered was both would be ok.

When the squire introduced himself and offered his hand, Finner extended his own, which involved reaching over his head, and gripped it.

"Well met Julen. Yeah, I got all that um, though I'll get it...its kind of a mess in here. By myself and not expecting company and all..."

First the gnome went over towards a drawer by the kitchen area and pulled out some clean rags, something that were in short supply in any gnomish household, particularly when Finner had been using them to clean the boys wounds. Next he grabbed a pot and walked over to a tanke near the stove and opened a valve. Cool clean water flowed out and into the pot which he then handed to Julen along with the rags. Then Finner walked over to Railtus and said,

"Anything I can get you m'lord? I'm indeed in your debt even if you did just do all this out of the goodness of your heart. I at least owe you a tour. "

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Oh. Yes. Gratitude.

For some reason, no matter how many times it happened, it always surprised Railtus. Of course he would heal the boy. Never had Railtus conceived of doing anything different. So why the gnome was assuming some form of debt was lost on him.

"I will need somewhere to spend over an hour undisturbed. It will return my essence sooner." explained the Angelsworn. "Give me your name. I can hear your story once I am done. You will have to stay in Marn if Ramas is to fully recover. Those burns will not heal unaided."

Glancing around, Railtus retrieved his discarded shield and replaced it on his arm. So far that seemed all that there was to do.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Post by Julen on

Julen smiled as he shook hands, slightly amused that the gnome hadn’t volunteered his own name. It reminded him of his meeting with Aranel. Of course, Julen doubted that the gnome had deliberately withheld the information -- more likely, it simply hadn’t occurred to him. From what Julen knew about gnomes, he understood that they spent a lot more time thinking about machinery than people.

When the gnome had finished gathering Julen’s requested items, Julen thanked him. Then, he took the rags and pot of water over to Ramas’s bed. Kneeling on the floor beside it, Julen began to dip rags into the cool water, before laying them over the worst patches of the boy’s burned skin. While engaged in this task, his back was turned to Railtus and the gnome. Which proved fortunate, because when Railtus took charge of the situation, giving orders as if it was he, instead of the gnome, who owned the airship, the grin on Julen’s face wasn’t entirely appropriate for his position as Railtus’s footman.

Well, he’s definitely fully recovered.

After the gnome left, escorting Railtus to some quiet corner of the airship, Julen continued his ministrations. The gnome had referred to Ramas as his apprentice, and the boy certainly looked like he was about the same age as the apprentices who worked in Effie’s bakery. It pained Julen to see someone so young so badly injured. He couldn’t help wondering what twist of fate had tossed a human child into such a strange life. The gnome seemed quite nice, probably a much more pleasant master than Effie, but where were the boy’s parents? Did they miss their son? Did he miss them?

As much as Julen tried to work gently, Ramas’s eyes betrayed his pain, even though he was too weak to speak of it. Desperately, Julen wished he could do more to alleviate the boy’s suffering. When he was young, and sick with one of childhood’s many diseases, his mother had told stories to distract him from his misery. But he only remembered bits and pieces from her tales -- a handful of vivid images, thin and fragile as confetti. Besides, he was no storyteller. The only thing he could do was...

And he couldn’t do that. Could he? The airship was huge, and there were only four people in it, none of whom seemed likely to turn him over to the Judges. But he’d never done it deliberately before. It was always an accident, something that happened despite his best efforts. To intentionally summon it seemed like crossing a line he could never step back over. But if it might ease the boy’s torment...

Softly, Julen began to sing. It was a simple song, about animals marching two-by-two, with the single rule that each animal needed to be larger than the one that came before it. So it made sense to start small. Closing his eyes, Julen pictured two fireflies, bright dots of light blinking and dancing in the air. Then a pair of butterflies, doing tricks on the wind like brightly costumed acrobats. He couldn’t be sure if he was actually casting any illusions, since opening his eyes to check would break him from his trance, but he shaped each mental image as clearly as he could, while repeating each slightly altered verse.

And in the air over Ramas’s bed, swirling colors coalesced into the shapes of marching animals.
Last edited by Julen on Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post by Finner on

"Of course m'lord of course. Should be plenty of room in the hold and it should be quiet enough with the engines off. This way. "

Finner lead Railtus towards the rear of the blimp during which the pair passed through the gnome's workshop. The workshop was equally messy as the living quarters. Tools, half assembled gizmos, and the like were strewn about seemingly randomly. Ramas usually helped keep the room clean but without him the place had gotten pretty bad. Near the back there was a workbench with distinctive burn marks as well as blackened metal on the wall. Some blood was visible on the floor as well. This was the spot where Finner had found Ramas.

As compared to the other rooms, the hold was rather meticulously organized. Crates were stacked around the edges of the room and were organized and labeled. The hold was less then half full which left a large area, enough for two men to train with weapons comfortably, open in the middle.

"There are pillows and such in the crate over there, fourth one from the right on the back wall. I'll see to it you're not disturbed back here. I'll be back in the kitchen if you need me. Oh, name's Finner m'lord."

Once Railtus was settled in for his meditation, or whatever it was he was going to do, Finner headed forward to get something for Ramas to eat. When he saw the animals floating over Ramas and Julen was focusing and singing Finner couldn't help but blink a couple times at first before he realized what the young man was doing. Was rather soothing in fact, so Finner didn't interupt. When he finished, the gnome smiled and said,

"What kind of place feels threatened enough by simple soothing parlor magic like that to outlaw it? Oh, don't worry, I won't turn you in or anything. Actually, I've been to places where every bard in most every tavern did things like that. "

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Relishing the tranquil stillness inside the hold, Railtus answered Finner with a gesture of the head between a nod and a bow. "My thanks, good master, and there is no need to call me lord."

The bizarre mechanics on display in the workshop never got so much as a second glance. Technology meant nothing to Railtus, and as such did nothing to draw his interest. The bloodstains and burns on the other hand, drew alert eyes. Even knowing the results of the accident, mental reflexes pushed Railtus towards caution.

Most of what Railtus had seen on board was dismissed as 'gnomish matters' and given no further thought than that. People made sense to him, machinery did not. For all his intelligence, the mind of Railtus thrived on simplicity.

Something seldom found on a gnomish airship.

Luckily, he had no need for his mind to thrive right now, but instead his spirit. A spirit that was spent, poured outward to save the life of a young boy. Ramas, the name was.

Other country nobles, who thought of gnomes as fey who lived in mounds, would have been awestruck by the experience of the interior of such a majestic airship. Railtus was outright indifferent. All he cared about was that someone had needed him. Everything around him was merely background, devoid of value more meaningful than that.

Pillows were on offer. An offer eagerly accepted. Leaning his shield against the crate, Railtus began rummaged about to drag several pillows out. They formed a soft base for him to rest his knees as he clasped his hands in prayer.

Leaning his weight backwards, Railtus was not so much kneeling as sitting on his heels. Hands joined together, fingers curling around the edge of the palms. Head bowed, in a posture of ease suggesting focus rather than submission.

Purity, like a perfectly clear pool, built up inside his heart. Pleasantly cool stillness radiated through his body like a circuit, flowing up through his neck and refreshing his mind, adding new vigour to his eyes. At once it was like sleep and a gentle massage on his neck. Tension faded like the wisp of a memory. Blue-white shone in his mind's eye, while a soothing monotone brushed on his mind's ear.

Faith and light and hope became inner sparks, igniting his burning resolve and conviction, burning to fuel his internal fire once more. As the presence within grew, a soft crackle whispered that the flame was bright and strong.

He never moved.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Post by Julen on

Having reached dragons, Julen could think of no larger animal. Reluctantly, he brought the song to a close, and opened his eyes. For a moment, colors swirled across his vision like spilled paint. Then, the world grew clear again, and he could see that Ramas was resting more peacefully. Surprisingly drained, Julen pressed his face into his hands. But even through his weariness, he felt glad -- glad that his curse had finally done some small good.

The sound of the gnome’s voice behind him didn’t entirely surprise Julen. Turning around, he nodded a greeting to his host.

“I wish I’d been born in such a city,” Julen admitted, when the gnome spoke of places where magic was practiced so casually. “I wish I could use what I do to entertain others, instead of living in fear and shame.” Getting to his feet, Julen shook his head. It did no good to wish. As his father always said, wishes didn’t plow the fields, didn’t harvest the crops. Only hard work accomplished that.

“But I suppose you’ve visited a great many places, traveling around in this wondrous ship. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my life. Did you build it yourself?”
Last edited by Julen on Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post by Finner on

Finner nodded at what Julen said and replied,

"It's only a lucky few that truly get to chase their dreams Master Julen. I was fortunate to be one of them and I do my best to nudge along others who need help following theirs. Perhaps someday I can take you to such a place where your art could be practiced freely."

As he spoke Finner walked over to the stove and ladled out some stew into a wooden bowl. After grabbing a spoon he walked back over to Ramas who was still awake and looking very hungry. The lad accepted the bowl whole heartedly and started shoveling it into his mouth. Once Ramas was eating, Finner continued.

"As for the Lathander, well, I helped build her though as far as any gnome is concerned I would get all the credit. My parents, my father in particular, made building an airship their life's goal. While they got the frame and some of the other things in here built allright, they couldn't get the engine right. After finding some old plans at the shop where I apprenticed, I was able to build an engine that could get her and keep her airborne. To be honest I'm not completely sure I could build another one."

Finner struggled for any more to say. He would offer the young man a complete tour but that would involve disturbing Railtus. However, there was something he could do.

"I'd love to show you the whole ship, but that will have to wait until Sir Railtus is done doing whatever it is he's doing back there. I could however show you where I drive the ship from. You interested? Oh, and I'm Finner by the way."

Post by Julen on

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Finner,” Julen replied, glad to finally learn the gnome’s name. “And please, just ‘Julen’. I’m less anyone’s master than you are.” The unpleasant taste of being forced to address Phelan by that title had not yet been entirely washed from Julen’s mouth. And, while Finner didn’t seem to mind, Julen still felt uncomfortable with being shown such undeserved deference.

When Finner volunteered to exhibit another section of his airship, Julen nodded eagerly. “I’d like that very much. Thank you.”

“And thank you for your offer to take me to a more suitable place,” Julen continued. “But this is where I was born. Not in the city -- in Shim, a small village near here. That’s where my farm is. And my wife.” Again, Julen looked around, wonderment clear in his expression. “Rosemary. In my head, I keep trying to find enough words to tell her what this ship is like. I don’t think all the words in all the books could ever describe it.”

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Act with honour and compassion in all things.
Walk humbly and love justice.
Hold fast to your courage, that right be upheld.
Use might wisely, know that mercy is brave.
Stand steadfast and true, a word of iron is a beacon of hope.

These teachings echoed in the mind of Railtus, bringing comfort to his thoughts and steadying his heart for the path he would face. Uncertainty is a dreadful thing, but an Oath before Heaven was always certain.

Time passed, as Finner was no doubt treating Julen to a guided tour of the ship, explaining countless details of the cockpit and mechanics that just as surely held no meaning to Julen. Normally the most open-minded of men, Railtus could simply not see how someone would hold such interest in this random and bizarre artifice.

Eventually, the trance ended. Presumably over an hour had gone by, although Railtus had barely a sense of time when his hands grasped the Heavens. Sensing deep inside himself, to depths beyond that shared by most of mankind, his spirit was filled and had captured that pure light inside it once more. Relief overwhelmed Railtus, after finishing that healing, he feared that he would no longer be one of the Angelsworn, so dreadful was the emptiness within his shining soul.

Rising to his feet, the motion was perfectly fluid. A wry smile formed at that observation. Many times had Railtus gone into that trance, so often since his exaltation as one of the Angelsworn. Never once had he experienced any cramp from staying affixed overlong in that prayer position. At least some discomfort was due.

Reclaiming his shield, Railtus made a neat stack of the pillows on top of the crate they came from, as he could not be bothered reshuffling contents to properly replace the loaned pillows. Then he headed for the door and began searching for Julen.

An hour was a long time for one so impatient. Already he was eager for news.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Post by Julen on

Accompanying Finner to the front of the ship, Julen listened intently as the gnome explained its workings. But he soon realized that a true understanding of the Lathander was something that even most gnomes would have difficulty comprehending. Something called an “engine” propelled it, and a large rudder attached to the gondola made it possible to steer -- all of this, Julen could grasp. But when Finner attempted to describe how they were kept aloft by an immense sack, filled with a type of gas that was somehow lighter than air, everything stopped making sense. Air didn’t weigh anything. How could something be lighter than nothing?

Unless it was magic. But Finner didn’t seem to view the workings of his creation as anything supernatural.

Perhaps noticing that his guest’s eyes had begun to glaze over, Finner ended the tour by suggesting that they share some of the tea he’d been brewing. And Julen eagerly accepted. Training with Railtus had left him quite thirsty, so even a warm beverage sounded refreshing. Heedless of the liquid’s temperature, Julen took a sip as soon as Finner handed him a cup, and then hastily swallowed to keep the tea from burning his tongue.

Doing his best to steer the conversation away from machinery, Julen encouraged Finner to discuss more human subjects. With simple candor, the gnome answered Julen’s questions regarding Ramas, explaining that the boy was an orphan he’d taken in. Part of Julen was relieved to learn that there were no living parents who mourned the absence of their child. But it also grieved him that one so young could be left so alone. Not truly alone, since Ramas had Finner. And yet, to be deprived of the place he was born, to be cut off from his own people...

Although Julen liked the girls who served as Effie’s apprentices, he always felt more like a brother to them. However, that moment of caring for Ramas, singing one of the songs his own mother had once sung to him, had awakened something in Julen. He’d always been aware of fatherhood as a concept. But for those few minutes, it had been actually experienced. And, once made tangible, it now exerted a surprising pull on his heart.

But such things would have to wait. A fact which was driven home by Railtus’s reappearance. Quickly, Julen gulped down the remaining cool dregs in his second cup of tea, and turned toward his friend. He knew there would be only one thing on Railtus’s mind at that moment. “Ramas seems to be doing much better. He even ate some stew.”

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Somber thoughts were chased swiftly away by Julen's assurances, assurances which anticipated the question Railtus had intended to ask. If he had cared, he would have stopped to wonder how that was. Everything important was answered.

"Good." he replied, then turned his gaze down towards Finner, flowing smoothly from his grateful nod. "I shall return when I can do more." No further explanation was given, and truthfully, Railtus had little interest in explaining the depths of his talents.

Now, to business.

"Where did you leave the training arms?" Railtus asked, perhaps too abruptly. "We need you trained as soon as possible." A full militia could be spear-trained sufficiently with a few weeks to be a worthwhile addition to the shield wall. For Julen to be trained intensively, with the undivided attention of Railtus, he should be ready far sooner.

One final question. "Are you ready?"
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Post by Julen on

“Absolutely ready,” Julen assured. He felt quite refreshed after his tea break. Besides, the more he threw himself into his lessons, the faster time would seem to pass, and the sooner he’d be back in Rosemary’s arms.

Setting down his cup, Julen nodded toward the front of the airship. “The training weapons are back that way a little. I figured it was best to bring them inside, just in case anyone might be tempted to wander off with them. Although, unless a person is being harassed by paper trolls, I’m not exactly sure what use a wooden sword would be.”

Julen took a moment to make sure the rags he’d placed on Ramas’s burns were still cool and fairly damp. Then he instructed Finner to change them every few hours, along with encouraging the boy to drink as much water as he could keep down. Finally, having done all he could for Ramas, Julen returned to where he’d left the training weapons and gathered them into his arms. Even with an airship parked in it, the vacant lot was still large enough to allow their continued practice.

Only once, as he descended the steps Finner had lowered from the airship, did Julen glance over his shoulder, images of marching animals lingering in his mind. Almost against his will, he remembered Finner’s offer to take him somewhere he wouldn’t need to hide his ability -- not from the guard, not from his future children, not from Rosemary. Somewhere he could live in peace. But Julen shook his head, and placed his feet back on the ground.

“Alright. Where were we?”

Post by Sir Karsimir on

Do not laugh. Do not even smile. You will just make it worse.

Railtus kept a five-star poker face at the crack about paper trolls. More seriously, a wooden sword could do some considerable damage if swung with force.

Admittedly, being an Angelsworn had made Railtus lazy with the details of mundane healing. Wounds could be erased with a touch and concentration, so why learn how to otherwise tend to wounds. Had he known better, he would have had concerns about giving burn victims too much to drink. They had a tendancy to be sick and make dehydration worse.

"One lesson which may be a surprise coming from me. Combat is not supposed to be fair. So you can attack from behind or strike at a downed foe, and I will not think the worse of you."

Most of the other lessons merely covered the sheer detail involved in using sword and spear. The sheer variety of techniques and the subtlety involved was something few would have thought was involved in fighting. Many considered armed combat a simple case of whacking clumsily and stupidly until the enemy falls, gaining victory through brute strength. The more on learned, the more one could appreciate that this was an art. Railtus seemed to never run out of new tricks with a weapon.

Most of the training was Railtus fighting from a particular style, because to say each weapon had it's own style would be inaccurate, instead each weapon had several styles, each working differently against different weapons. This was what so many training arms were for. Although Julen was only trained in the spear, the backsword and dagger, he was trained to fight against every weapon Railtus had with him.

Clearly the man intended to be thorough.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Post by Julen on

By the time the sun began to sink beneath the horizon, Julen ached in muscles he’d never guessed he had. And it didn’t help that Railtus seemed barely winded after the day’s exertions. Of course, Julen hadn’t expected it to be easy. Stubbornly, he gritted his teeth and kept practicing, refusing to suggest that they return home. Until, finally, like a flower closing for the night, darkness wrapped its black petals around Marn, and the resulting lack of light made any further lessons impossible.

Without complaint, Julen gathered the training weapons, and re-wrapped them in Railtus’s cape. Then he hoisted the bundle up into his sore arms. “Thank you,” he told Railtus, genuinely meaning it. “I learned a lot today.”

But that was as much conversation as Julen felt like making. While they walked back toward the bakery, terms and techniques jostled about in his head, like too many people trying to fit in too small a room. Backhand cuts and broken rhythm strikes. Blocks, guiding parries, and carrying parries. Thinking about each one, he could remember what it was, could even execute it without too much awkwardness. But he knew that wasn’t enough. In a fight, there wouldn’t be time to ponder options and reach a carefully considered decision. What was now knowledge would have to become instinct. He would have to make his mind and body learn each maneuver so well that they could chose the right one and execute it, even while distracted by other the very real possibility of getting killed.

“You’re welcome to spend the night again,” Julen offered, when they reached the bakery. “But I assume you’ll be returning to the comfort of House Anstrun.”

Pushing open the door to his room, Julen noticed a plate sitting on the wooden table, with a single cookie and short note scribbled in a slightly clumsy hand. Curious, Julen walked closer, setting down the bundle of training weapons as he read the words someone had written.

Sir Railtus,

Miss Effie says moons aren’t purple, but I think they look pretty that way. And I think you look pretty, too. Maybe, one night, we can look at the moon together.

I hope you like the cookie.

Yours ever so truly,


Julen made an unsuccessful attempt to swallow the chuckle building in his throat. Grinning ear to ear, he handed the plate, along with the cookie and note, to Railtus. “It seems that Lady Mavelle has a rival for your affections. And this one can bake.”

“Also, just so you know,” Julen added, unable to resist, “I think you’re awfully pretty, too.”

Post by Sir Karsimir on

"But... but... I'm not purple!" Railtus protested, displaying a look of clear astonishment on his face. Honestly, he had not the faintest idea how to react to such a thing. As a warrior, trained in the use of information and controlling their environment, surprises were never welcome. Being the object of the infatuation of a young girl was certainly a surprise.

While Railtus accepted his appearance as satisfactory and presentable, nowhere in his mind was the connection made between his uncommon looks and the behaviour of women around him. Back in Caelteth Eyrop, home in distant Syrinia, people were cowed by his noble blood and station, too deferential to approach him openly. Noble marriages were political, arranged for convenience sake without concern for romance, and the peasant girls mainly offered themselves in the vain hope of winning noble favour. These Railtus would never exploit. As a result, Railtus knew nothing of true romance, only the tales of courtly love which had reached his ear.

None of which had prepared him for his experience with Mavelle, a woman who he certainly cared for, but had fallen for him far too swiftly for him to truly share her feelings. In the back of his mind was the question of if he was merely flattered by her attraction towards him. One which he took long enough to figure out.

By what was just said, Julen had figured this all out far sooner than Railtus had. A fact which bothered him greatly.

"As a guest, it would be best if I stayed at House Anstrun. It would not do well for me to waste their hospitality. Before I go, a gentleman is discreet, therefore I will need to know how exactly you know about me & Mavelle."

Pausing warily, Railtus lifted the note into plain view. "And if you have any idea how to react to this I would be very grateful"
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.


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