Alone and Unafraid (April, 122PW)

The farms and houses of Shim, a single inn known as the Red Chalice, and an old manor on a hill overlooking it all to the north.
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Alone and Unafraid (April, 122PW)

Post by Mei Li » Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:45 am

April, 122PW

The person wandering somewhat aimlessly through the small Shim market was clearly foreign and several people, despite their small town, unobtrusive manners, allowed their eyes to linger for longer than what was considered polite as the stranger passed by them.

"What is that thing he's got on his shoulder?"

"He? It really looks more like a female to me, with that hair up in a ponytail like that..."

"He's obviously from Tian Xia, whatever he is, and who knows what kind of strange fashions they have there."

"I wonder if that thing is some kind of farming tool... its so long, it can't possibly be a weapon?"

The odd foreigner seemed unaffected by the hushed queries and quiet murmurs whispered behind her back. This was in part, due to her still weak grasp on the language, but even if she could understand the lowered voices, she would not have taken offense. Mei Li moved with a quiet, confident step and kept a firm but relaxed grip on her quandao, bearing the staff on her shoulder with the broad curved blade swaying gently above her head. She was as aware of the entire length the weapon extended as if it were an extra appendage and even in the small, crowded street of the market, the Gur'yeon's quandao never bumped into anything. Her black hair was kept up in the traditional topknot and clean, even bangs were meticilously trimmed to prevent hair from falling into her eyes. She was wearing a simple grey shirt tucked loosely into worn but clean white wide pants. Having learned from her first day through Shim, wearing her armor drew more attention than it was worth, and Mei Li considered her temporary lodging secure enough to leave behind her spear and armor during her daily tours of the town to find employment.

Her brown eyes looked about nervously, the only indication that she was not perfectly at ease in the setting. What she had in confidence in her abilities and her weapon she lacked in mental security. Though she knew the townsfolk talked about her, she didn't mind that so much as the lack of being able to communicate her desire to find work. This sleepy town that the trading caravan had dropped her in seemed to have no need for a skilled warrior- or at least no one had thus far had approached her. She had hoped that carrying her quandao would cause someone to come to her seeking her as a guard or offering similar employment, but after three days, all she had gotten was mixed admiration, fear, and suspicion.

Sighing to herself, wtih a small prayer muttered for patience, Mei Li meandered to the livestock area of the market. The trade caravan had left yesterday, as they would undoubtedly be making most of their sales in the main city of Marn, stopping only briefly to restock relatively cheaply in Shim. There was still a slightly festive air to the market as second-hand dealers and middlemen continued to sell what they had acquired from the exotic traders. The small livestock section had held her horse the previous days- apparently the caravan leader had figured to get a better price for the mare in the farming village rather than in the city. She searched the pen for her only friend, ignoring the disgruntled look the beastkeeper gave her. Very quickly she could see that the black horse was no longer among the smaller, lower bred equines.

I wonder if they exchanged her for the full amount that she was worth, Mei Li thought sadly as she turned back to the main market. No doubt the noble, well-bred horse would be worked to a menial death in the fields of Shim instead proudly bearing a warrior to battle that was more deserving of her pedigree. She offered another prayer, wishing the best of luck to her mare and hoping she at least had a kind-hearted master.
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Metarie » Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:24 am

((continued from ...Nein: http://www.tharshaddin.com/rp/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1796)

When she awoke the next morning, Metarie had been full of hope and a small sense of anxiety. He had said it was too soon. Because she had just the day before been ...? Metarie flushed a little. Of course, that had to be it. To seem so willing, so soon after... but, then again, perhaps it was because he knew she was so new at this. Perhaps it was a kindness and a desire to savour something special instead of rush into it. Metarie liked that answer better. She could only take what he said at face-value. Seeing his hat, which he had left on the table, made her pause and smile. Metarie reached out and touched the brim, letting her fingers slide across it for a moment.

Three weeks after her night with Camulous, Metarie left her house for the day. On the stoop, lay a rolled and bound single-page newspaper. Taking it up, Metarie tucked the paper into her bag and set out for the hospital.

The copy of the Tattler, with its little snippet on her and Camulous was left unread and forgotten as she went through her duties. Speculative looks were given throughout the day. Rosie had forbidden the staff to say anything. Blissfully unaware, Metarie focused on her work. That is, until one of the brothel workers came in for her regular check-up. One had to be licensed to work in the Brothel and a clean bill of health was a requirement.

The woman smiled broadly at Metarie the whole time Metarie went through the standard evaluation. Metarie smiled back. "Looks like everything is as it should be."

"Not everything, dearie. If the Tattler's to be believed, looks like us girls at the 'Kitten will be losing a good customer." Metarie blinked, confused. "You will?" The woman leaned forward conspiratorially. "So, is it true what the girls say?"

"What?" Still not understanding to what the woman referred, Metarie was mightily confused.

"Oh, come on, luv, no need to be shy. I've heard he's got a right big ..." A voice cut over what the woman said, calling out Metarie's name loudly.

"Metarie, we need help over here." Distracted from the woman, Metarie looked over.

"Coming!" Turning back to the woman, Metarie gave a slight smile. "If you will go see Michael over there, he will take care of the necessary paperwork." The woman clucked and tsked to herself, but nodded just the same.

"Well, good luck with our Captain and don't do anything I wouldn't do!" The woman laughed with ribald humor and elbowed Metarie conspiratorially.

"I..ok?"

What did Merri mean?

How did...?

Why would she... ?

Metarie's eyes widened substantially. Several things clicked into place at once.

"Oh my... " Once one person had broached the subject, it seemed everyone felt they were entitled.

"So, is it true? Are you dating the Captain?"

"The Captain, noooo... really?"

"Ooh, you're so lucky Dr. Sehkhara."

In truth, there were more visits to the Hospital that day for minor or non-existent injuries than there ever had been. Metarie's face was crimson as Rosie announced that Dr. Sehkhara was too busy to treat anyone other than those with substantial injuries.

That night, once her shift had ended, Metarie walked home swiftly. Slamming the door, she dug the single page paper from her bag and unrolled it.

Getting Hitched?

Stone-faced, cold-hearted, antisocial, unapproachable. When people think of the Good Captain of our City Guard, these are the kinds of words one hears most often.

That's why, when citizens spotted captain Camulous Smithson and doctor Metarie Sehkhara holding hands, speculations and gossip spread like wildfire. Well known for her gentleness and caring, Metarie seems like the polar opposite of the stoic captain, and the news has some people taken aback.

"I saw them walking to her home together. She was clinging to his arm like a lovesick girl and you could practically see hearts in his eyes," said one citizen who chose not to be named. "There's no doubt in my mind they're seeing each other. To think, him with a full blooded elf! Never thought I'd see the day."

Some citizens were more defensive about the subject.

"Why do people have to make a big deal out of his personal life just because he's the captain? He's a person too, you know." Said Kel Smith, blacksmith and neighbour. "I didn't ask why they were together. It's none of my business, and it's none of yours."

Guardsmen refused to comment on their captain's doings. "The lady Sehkhara and the captain have a right to privacy as much as anyone else."


"Oh, my..."

A lovesick girl. Hearts in his eyes.

By Theogious! It'd be a wonder if Camulous spoke to her again, much less actually showed up to take her to the Market. Metarie buried her face in her hands, smearing newsprint on her face in the process.
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Camulous Smithson » Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:16 pm

The repercussions of being spotted together were much easier on the captain than the doctor. After an unusually sound night's sleep he tackled the first day's labours with a lighter than air attitude. His men noticed the difference in his demeanor and generally reciprocated. His good fortune became their good fortunes. If anyone was stupid enough to spoil his good mood, they would be pounced on and flogged for bursting that bubble.

Of course, they knew the reason for his good mood before the tattler article came out. Lurus had seen and spoken to the two of them. It was less than an hour after that encounter that Fort Omenbryn was abustle with speculations and predictions.

Gags were planned, jokes were told, bets were placed. By the end of the day over 100 bishani rode on the captain's choice of companions and how long it would last.

While most of the men skirted the issue for fear of upsetting him, it eventually came out that they knew. It was Daurus, a human who was known for getting along well with Camulous in a chummy way, who quipped about it first while returning a pair of swords to a rack.

"Maybe I should drop one on your foot and send you home to the doctor."

The implications of the statement would have gone over Cam's head had he not been expecting it after the encounter with Lurus. He suspected that they knew. He just didn't care.

"Maybe I should poison your horse so you have an excuse to see the stable keeper," replied the captain in reference to the old trollish woman who cared for their horses. It got a laugh from the other men around.

On the day that the tattler article came out, Camulous' good humor about the situation began to waver. Never fond of the amount of leniency the tattler got, it irked him that the city allowed such petty gossip to be spread around and for his privacy to be so blatantly intruded upon. He planned to have a few words with the editor about it.

He did go to pick Metarie up that afternoon. The news was out. It no longer mattered who saw them together. The masses would lose interest in this story soon enough, and Shim was a quiet place where people didn't care nearly as much about this sort of thing.

Leaving his horse behind, he came to her place on foot in plain clothes and knocked on the door.
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Metarie » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:06 am

Metarie looked up, startled by the knock. She had been engrossed in a book and lost track of the time. Quickly running a hand through her hair, she moved to the door and peered through the spy-hole. Seeing Camulous, she opened the door, then leaned on the edge. She couldn't help it. She smiled just from seeing him. Lovesick girl, indeed.

"Hello, Cam. Come in." Opening the door further, she gestured with her right hand for him to enter. "I won't be long." Metarie followed after Cam, "Please, make yourself at home," then veered off toward her room. Metarie wore a long-sleeved, tunic like blouse, which fit her snugly around the top, then tapered and flowed over her hips. Leggings showed the shape of her legs well, before flaring slightly at her ankles. On her feet, supple, well-made boots hugged her - good for riding or walking.

From the kitchen, her room would be visible - the edge of her bed, a nightstand, windows, and the warm glow of afternoon sunlight. On her bed lay her satchel and a coat. The region was temperate, but a light coat was always a good idea. Pulling on the coat, Metarie took up the satchel and moved to where Cam waited for her.

"I'm ready when you are."
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Camulous Smithson » Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:05 am

He looked her over as she stood there, leaning against the door frame. It was still quite early in the day. She didn't look as though she was prepared to leave, yet she looked radiant as ever. When she leaned to the side, as she did, it accentuated the curve of her hips in a way that caught his eye. If she was quick, she might catch the gaze, careful though he was to keep it to himself.

Once she was turned around and walking away to go prepare herself, he didn't need to watch himself so carefully. He allowed himself to gaze upon her until she was out of sight. It couldn't be helped. As dutiful as he was, and chivalrous as he tried to be, he was still a military man. Some natural tendencies came with the territory.

He stood just inside the doorway with his hands in his pockets until she was ready and then stepped aside, motioning with his hand for her to exit first.

"After you, good doctor. I didn't want to bring my horse in case he ate more of your herbs, so I thought we might walk. I hope you're free the whole day."

Following her out, he smiled as the bright sun hit his face. It was a beautiful day. The sky was a perfectly clear, crystalline blue with not a cloud in it, and the breeze kept the temperature comfortable. Camulous couldn't help but wonder just what he'd done right the past few days.
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Metarie » Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:27 am

Metarie nodded. "Yes, today is my day off. Walking sounds lovely, but that does change a thing or two." Metarie beamed, "Just another moment." Metarie turned back and moved to the kitchen. Camulous would be able to hear her doing something. There was the crinkle of wax-paper and the sound of running water. More than one or two doors opening and closing were followed by other sounds.

When Metarie returned, she carried a backpack and his hat. "Would you please carry this?" The backpack seemed functional and almost military in style; probably a left over from whatever had earned her the suit of armor that was displayed in the living room.

Outside, Metarie turned to look at him as she held out his hat. "You'll probably want this."
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Camulous Smithson » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:01 pm

Standing just outside the door while she ran back in to get whatever it was she forgot, he saw her neighbor from the previous week, Kel the blacksmith, heading into his home. Camulous waved his hand once, which was an unusual gesture for him to make, for anyone who knew him knew he wasn't the waving sort of fellow. Kel spotted him because of the motion, and gave a salute before going inside.

Camulous gladly took the pack Metarie gave him when she returned, and slung it over his shoulder. It wasn't heavy compared to the kind of weight he was used to carrying around. Using his masterful deductive abilities, he guessed at its contents.

"A picnic? Sounds better than the Red Chalice. Thanks."

The hat went on his head. It still fit like a glove. He then openly offered her his arm with a smile. There was no sense in hiding anything from the public anymore. Everyone knew. Let them see what they wanted to see.

"I think my hat must be lucky. Do you suppose it's enchanted?"
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Metarie » Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:06 am

Metarie smiled once more. "Just in case we get hungry or thirsty along the way."

She pulled another hat out of the pocket of her coat and put it on. The style of the hat looked like one a fisherman might wear. The fit of the hat made the points of her ears poke out and cast a shadow over her eyes. When Metarie looked up she found Camulous holding out his arm to her, smiling at her broadly. A flush of pleasure lit up her cheeks and she smiled almost self-consciously; certainly pleased. He wanted to be seen with her. A warm feeling flitted and fluttered around her stomach again. That warmth shone in her gaze as she looked up at him.

"Thank you," she said as she slipped her arm within his. A small hug was given against his arm as they set off down the street.

"I think my hat must be lucky. Do you suppose it's enchanted?" Metarie peered at the hat in all seriousness. There was no magic enchantment upon the hat. None that she could see anyway. The analytical part of her brain kicked in. She did not, for the moment, understand that he was being silly or flirtatious.

"Your hat isn't enchanted," she replied as his words rolled around in her head for dissection. Hats couldn't be lucky. Hats were inanimate. Could things be lucky. Could...

"Ahhh," she said softly to herself and then laughed lightly; mostly at her own inability to realize what he meant. "No..." she said, "Nor is it lucky. But, apparently I am." Metarie glanced up at Camulous from the corner of her eye, while a smile played around her lips. "I certainly had more than a few women tell me that yesterday."





(ooc: a greek fisherman's hat http://www.berkeleyhat.com/greekfiscap.html)
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Camulous Smithson » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:54 am

She didn't get his joke at first, which drew a quizzical expression from him. How could she not get it? She was way too serious, but he could see in her eyes that she was trying to understand his humor, and it wasn't long before she opened up to it and played along.

Ahhh. She said, getting it. He gave her a little nudge with her arm, hoping to get her analytical self to fall away.

"Women? What women? I'm afraid you've lost me," he said.

Metarie pursed her lips and gave him a look from the corner of her eye while nodding. Amusement danced in her gaze.

"Oh, yes. Let's see.... there was Merry who was almost descriptive in how lucky I am to be accompanied by you. I also had what I could only call Captain of the Guard groupies come see me as well. You'd be amazed at how painful a non-existant papercut can be."

"Merry?" He flushed for a second when he repeated the name. It was completely unexpected. News traveled fast, sure, but for Ree to hear from the women he'd slept with so soon, or at all... That was not something he had prepared himself for. She seemed alright, even humored by it. Maybe it was her elven side showing through. He was sure most women would have been perturbed. "I wish they would mind their business..."

Metarie nodded. "Yes, the ladies are required to get regular physicals. I usually do most of them as they prefer a woman to conduct the physical and are more comfortable with me than Rosie." Her eyebrows raised when he flushed, but let it pass. "I agree."

She fell silent, enjoying the scenery. Both of them were long-legged and walked often. The distance was easy and seemed to pass quickly. At the bridge crossing the Orfriyu Mar, Metarie stopped.

"This is the first time I will have left Marn." She said.

One more step and she will have done something she had never done before. She wondered if Camulous would understand the importance of such a trivial thing and felt a little foolish for even pointing it out.

At first it seemed like a trivial detail to him. It was only a bridge, only a plain old road that led to a place plenty of people had been. It would have been nothing more than idle conversation if she hadn't stopped in her tracks to point it out.

Thinking on it, he began to understand. Not only had she never been there in her life, but her life was more than twice as long as his. Marn was all she knew, and that fact was entrenched in her for as long as many humans lived. She really had spent an entire lifetime's equivalent of days in Marn.

He urged her on, and said, "come on. Enough restraint."

Metarie laughed. "Who's being restrained? I .. it's just... so many new things is such a short amount of time. It is good, that I have a friend with whom I can share this."

She looked around, as if committing the moment to memory: the way the sky looked, the trees swayed, the sound of the river, the feel of Camulous beside her, his arm beneath her hand. She took the step and smiled.

"Cam," she said, as she paused once more. Once he stopped as well, she stepped in front of him and put her arms around his neck. Metarie kissed him then. When the kiss was done, she leaned back to look at him. "To commemorate the occasion."
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Metarie » Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:12 am

Metarie's unexpected kiss was met with a mixture of surprise and welcoming on his part. The moment's hesitation he felt when her arms came up around his neck vanished when their lips met. His startled hands gradually decended to rest on her hips and he smiled at her, looking into her eyes.

A few onlookers noticed the exchange, the ever present eyes of the Marnian populace was upon them. The few who had read the tattler's article took note that the rumors of Cam and Ree were true. Fortunately it was not enough to draw real gawking, only passing glances and the odd raised eyebrows. A lone fisherman who sat beneath a tree with his line in the water stared, but only because he had nothing else more distracting. Even he pulled his hat down over his eyes and resumed staring at the water after a few seconds.

Camulous noticed none of it. He didn't care. He said, "I'm honored to be with you. I think you'll like Shim, despite what they say."

With that he urged her on so that they could continue walking. He could easily spend all day standing on the bridge with her talking, but he wanted her to see the woods up close and to see Shim for the first time.

Metarie smiled back at him, oblvious of the others that might of seen as well. A press of Camulous' hand against her back, urged her to keep walking. Metarie chuckled. "All right, all right," she said busking another kiss against his cheek before slipping her arm through his yet again and walking on.

Finally, she had made her way out of Marn. A few short steps brought them off the bridge. Seeing the fisherman, Metarie gave him a nod and a smile, though he seemed to be sleeping beneath his hat. Here the road led through the Woods and on to Shim.

The Virdara Woods were beautiful. Autumn had crept upon the Woods and gilded leaves gold and red. The scent of fallen leaves tickled at her nose. Here, closest to Marn, the woods were neatly kept, but she wondered if the road were as well kept between here and there. Above, blue skies peeked through the canopy, lending enough light for Elvish eyes to see clearly.

"You know, I've heard stories about the woods. Have you? Is it really as oddly shaped by magic as people say or is it not really all that ominous?"

His eyes drifted to the woods when she brought up the subject. Even in the bright sunlight of midday the thick foliage cut off the light and cast shadows he could only see as ominous and suggestive.

"I have felt what's in those woods. It's not just stories. There is something in there. Spirits, or something else. I don't know about those things. All I know is that when I go in there I can feel the trees looking at me. I feel like as long as we respect what's there, it leaves us alone.... I suppose I share something in common with elves when it comes to that."

Metarie tilted her head to the side and looked at the woods once more. Hearing Camulous

"The Woods have a life of their own. Spirits, perhaps, of natural things. These are living things, feeling things. Being respectful of the Lady is important to the harmony of things." Metarie smiled. The Woods were beautiful in many ways. "I am glad to hear you share that in common with me."

Metarie hugged against his arm, resting her head on his shoulder soaking in the ambiance of the place. She did feel that there was something to be respectful of, but did not feel it to be ominous. Perhaps this was because she was elf and he was not. Around them, the Woods lived and breathed. Animals burrowed and hunted. A breeze lifted the limbs of the trees and showered leaves upon the road. "Not long and the trees will be bare..." she murmured. Something called to her from within the Woods or perhaps from within her. She wanted to explore the shadows and rabbit runs through the underbrush.

The captain nodded at the mention of Baresi, the Lady. She was not his goddess. Whether or not she existed, whether or not she was what he felt in the woods, did not matter to him. These were things beyond his understanding and well beyond his control. The hardline puradynes might object to there being anything unnatural in the woods, but he wasn't one of them. Camulous had a silent agreement with whatever was in those woods that he would not stir up trouble. Ree's last comment was met with silent affirmatoin on his part. He didn't have much to say about the changing of the seasons. His reserved nature showed through again. Idle talk wasn't something he was good with. But she knew that, and gave her arm a squeeze to indicate that he was listening, and that he understood.

The time passed quietly and uneventfully, for which Ree was glad. She could feel a tenseness in his body as if he were prepared to react should the need arise. Not too far away, she could see that the trees had begun to thin and beyond that she could see fields ready for harvesting. Metarie lifted her head from his shoulder so that she could peer farther ahead. She could see people moving in the fields. If she had stopped in her tracks and focused completely, she might just have been able to see more than just moving shapes.

"We'll be in Shim, soon." She couldn't keep a little of the emotion from her voice. She was looking foward to seeing Shim. So what if it were a village and not a large city like Marn? Shim was not Marn and she was going to be in it.

Gradually the trees became fields of crops interspersed with farmhouses that were sparsely positioned on either side of the road. In a few more minutes of walking, the town began to take form, though it was nothing compared to the density of Marn. No more than two dozen houses could be seen from where they were. To the south, which was on their right, a small cemetary looked old and neglected, with a single dead tree surrounded by headstones. To the left the ground sloped upward and was cut off by an iron fence lined with trees. Poking above that, atop the hill, was a lone boroque manor that would look abandoned save for the lush gardens that surrounded it, manicured and spotted with statues and flowers.

"That would be where he lives." Said Cam.

The cemetary drew her attention. Her senses, open as they were, found focus there. Metarie stared at the place as something itched at the inside of the base of her skull. Camulous' comment pulled her focus from the cemetary to the house. She stared at the house. Protocol that she chose to ignore dictated she should go and pay her respects.

"I see," she replied. The Woods had not given her a sense of ominous worry, but the cemetary and the manor did. By proxy, she now felt a little out of sorts with the town. Metarie gave a mental shake, working to put the feelings aside. She looked up at Camulous. "Shall we find the town center then? That's probably where the market would be. Right?" She was only guessing, but that seemed logical enough. Another glance to the manor and the cemetary was all she would allow before forcing herself to put the unease aside. Nothing would ruin this day. Nothing! Metarie hoped that the master of the manor was not aware of every soul that passed into Shim. That way, she would not be taken to task for failing to make herself known.

Simply put the Old One was many things. Frightening, an abomination to nature, magic-fueled and filled, filled with secrets, dangerous, and worse - alluring. The emptiness in his eyes failed to mask the beauty of his features. He monstrous for it. Metarie did not ever want to meet him again. She was afraid of what he might want her to do. She was afraid of the reason he had taken her face in his hand, studied her and deemed her worthy to live.

Metarie suddenly wondered why she thought she needed to leave Marn, to visit this place where the Old One lived. Thank the Lady and Theogious they would leave long before nightfall. Knowing that Camulous could not protect her from the Old One did not stop her from being greatful of his presence. She was facing a fear this day and felt empowered because of it. Metarie pressed close to Camulous seeking comfort in the warmth of his body.

"Which way to the town center?"

Cam felt her sense of unease in the way that she walked, the way she looked around, and the way she started clinging to his arm more tightly. He was not an elf, and though her lifestyle was vastly different from his, he was not so out of touch that he didn't understand the signals she gave or why she might feel the way she did. The world was a scary place and Shim straddled the middle ground between Marn and what was out there.

He decided that lightening the mood was the best way to deal with it. Nothing could really be done about it. Shim, Belatucadrus, the cemetary, the lingering spirits that haunted their lands were not going anywhere. It was how it was. Two centuries of Marnian history made sure of that.
"Don't worry, good doctor. You're under my protection."
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Mei Li » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:48 am

Mei Li had made her way back toward the center of the market. It was bustling, at least as much as the aftermath of the foreign caravan could muster. The stalls of livestock, plants, herbal remedies, and common sundry items outnumbered the trinket booths, though it was clear, even to the foreigner, that this week's market was less drab than typical. She still saw no potential employers amongst the townsfolk. The Gur'yeon was debating on venturing into the larger city she had heard about when a tug on her quandao caused her to look down. It hadn't been a forceful enough grab to put her on guard, and she was glad that she hadn't moved into a reflexive stance- a small, knee-high boy was looking up at the young warrior with large brown eyes.

"Excuse me... Sir, do ya actually use that?"

The boy's mother was looking mortified that her young son would wander up to a stranger and impose on him, her, it? and hurried over from where her attention had been on some baskets. Although Mei Li did not understand everything the boy said, she clearly understood his question, his gaze never leaving the large blade on the end of the long pole. She offered a smile, both to ease his mother's fears and to placate the child. The Gur'yeon hefted the quandao from her shoulder and carefully moved the bladed edge in a small, controlled circle. The boy's eyes widened in awe as he grew excited.

"Wow! That's amazing! You're not any bigger than my older brother, but he could never even lift such a thing!"

Encouraged by the lad's obvious admiration, Mei Li stepped back from him, into a more open area of the street. She smartly twsited her wrist to tuck the quandao, blade pointed up, behind her arm and gave a bow to boy. The Gur'yeon was hit by a moment of inspiration, perhaps she had to advertise her expertise, just as the merchants and farmers were advertising theirs. She launched herself into a short, simple quandao form, moving her feet into well-practised stances while simultaneously making thrusts and blocks with her quandao. Her body moved in efficiently tight maneuvers, using the momentum of her weapon to twist and turn as if dodging an imaginary foe. Although the basic form she performed for the boy was short and simple, one of the first building blocks to higher level forms, she could see in her periphery that she was drawing a crowd. Expressions ranged from awe to mild interest, but the movement was warming Mei Li's toned body and she effortlessly flowed into one of the more difficult forms.

Her blade flashed forward, moving quickly in a tight circle in a disarming motion before she flicked it back, using the staff in a blocking stance. The Gur'yeon's feet traced circles as she nimbly danced around her imaginary opponents. Twisting and turning, Mei Li engaged foes from differing directions, her quandao flashing in the autumn sun with deadly precision.
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Metarie
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Metarie » Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:49 am

The bravado worked. Metarie looked up to Camulous, grateful for his grounding her. She was facing her fears. She was here. They were here.

"Thank you."

Admittedly, she did feel just a little foolish. She hadn't been stymied by her fears, just made very uncomfortable. But, his solid approach was just what she needed.

"Oh, look... she's amazing." Metarie paused along with other onlookers as a woman perfect deft feats with her sword. When the woman had finished, Metarie looked around for a hat or other way to tip the woman. One or two others parted with one or two bits, by throwing them at the woman's feet. With no sign of a hat, Metarie waited until the woman had completely finished. She wanted to tip the woman, too. Giving the woman a smile, she pressed a few bishani into the woman's hand.

"Very well done." Nodding once or twice, Metarie moved away and let her gaze drift over the market area. A few stalls caught her eye. Looking to Cam, she said "Would you like to go with me as I shop, or shall I meet you at the outdoor tavern?"
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Camulous Smithson
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Camulous Smithson » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:01 am

Camulous was able to make the statement of assurance with an appropriate amount of confidence. He had nothing to prove, and tempered his words with some humor, but the truth was he had no reservations about meeting trouble head on. Nobody with cruel intentions was going to get close to Ree while he had anything to say about it.

The more they walked into the town, the more people began to appear around them. The market wasn't a huge affair, with maybe 50 people there on the busiest days. Most of the people who came from Marn were sent to collect for stores, using wagons to haul large quantities of produce back. Individuals going for themselves like Ree and Cam were an exception, though not unheard of.

Still, it was enough people to call a crowd when they were all gathered in the same spot. At least two dozen of these people were gathered around Mei Li's katas to watch the show. Most of the people looked impressed, and that included Metarie's reaction once her and Cam had joined in the watching.

"She is good." He answered to her.

Camulous didn't know much about other lands or other people, but he knew plenty about their weapons. The quandao was something they used over in Tian Xia, foreign to the more western military style of Marn. Polearms, spears, and long weapons in general were usually disregarded by his men as things that belonged in the hands of peasantry. As a result, he rarely saw their dedicated, practiced use.

It was none the less apparent to his trained eye that she had good form. She wielded it with confidence and balance.

When she was done, Ree went over to her and gave her some bishani for the show. Camulous followed up behind her. The stranger still had his eye.

"There's no hurry, Ree. Maybe this stranger would like to join us." He looked at said stranger while he placed a hand on Ree's shoulder, and was struck by the fact that he could not discern his or her gender. Not that it mattered, other than making introductions a bit more difficult. "I'd be interested to learn more about your training."
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Mei Li
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Mei Li » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:50 pm

The Gur'yeon had hardly noticed the small bishani bits thrown at her feet during her form. She had been concentrating, though not too deeply, on ensuring that what she displayed to the world was correct. It didn't matter that nobody present would have been able to discern a misstep or a block when it should have been a thrust. Mei Li's discipline would never tolerate appearing inept in her own company, let alone the audience which had gathered.

The exercise left her feeling tired and invigorated at the same time, having allowed her to purge some of the tension she hadn't realized had accumulated. She was breathing heavily, but controlled, as the elven lady took her hand. Mei Li nearly recoiled from the touch, but she sensed the woman had good intentions; indeed, after the lady had deposited some of the local coin in her palm, she backed off to a respectable distance, nearly colliding with the man coming up behind her, who promptly laid a gentle hand on her shoulder.

The lady, then the man, said some things, and after an uncomfortable pause as her mind worked to translate their speech, she replied in her low, even and genderless tone. "Thank to you, kind lady."

She bowed at the waist to the man, though not before noticing his demeanor. Though he was wearing clothing of the style she had seen on other commoners, his bearing and interest in her art marked him a fellow warrior. She gave a small, uncertain smile. Perhaps he would know of employment opportunities. Her eyes picked up the small handful of money on the ground near her feet. One couldn't expect to live on the charity of others for very long.

"Qindo Mei Li, for your service," she offered by way of introduction, her heavy accent and misuse of prepositions clearly marking her a foreigner, as if her appearance could not.
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Aramyllis Dae
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Re: Alone and Unafraid

Post by Aramyllis Dae » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:41 am

(Continued from: http://www.tharshaddin.com/rp/viewtopic ... 9&start=45)


The road back to Shim seemed longer than it had on the way there. Aramyllis unknowingly traced the path walked by the Captain and doctor not long ago, but without the blessing of small talk to quiet her roiling thoughts. Even the soft rustling of an occasional breeze stirring through the forest and the cheery birdsong, from which she usually took comfort, could do nothing to lighten her black mood.

A voice whispered in her head, sharp and disdainful, taunting her for a coward. In her gloom, Myllis could not tell if the accusations came from Gabi'Rel or somewhere deep inside herself. She called out mentally to her astral Brother over and over, but was answered only with more brooding silence and a deepening sense of self-loathing. How could she expect to learn anything about her magic if she could not even brave the crowds of the city? Despite her anger at herself, the mix-breed felt that no other outcome could have been possible. The very thought of all those people, accompanied by the threatening morass of their chaotic emotions, set her nerves to twitching. She dreamed of sloughing off the unpleasant sensation like dead skin, and the idea filled her with a feeling of impossible freedom, much as a slave might envision the breaking of his shackles even while knowing it would never come to pass.

For a moment, her despair turned to rage, and she screamed at Gabi'Rel, cursing him for useless. Why weren't you there to help me when I needed you?! She waited for his response, but it never came, and her brittle anger quickly shattered, exposing beneath it a core of shame.

As the forest turned to fields and then gave way to the village, Myllis trudged on home with downcast eyes. She didn't bother to look up at the vampire's manor as she passed, though she could feel its cold presence. It seemed to trigger something in her, and she found her despair receding into numbness. By the time the familiar faces of Shim began to appear, the girl had composed herself into blank neutrality, even managing a few wan smiles of greeting to those she knew best.

It was market day, and the village was more crowded than usual. Nevertheless, Myllis felt comfortable here as she made her way to the town center, where her sister Neria was likely selling the family's crops while their father toiled out in the fields. Vegetables from Myllis' garden would be there, too, turnips and beans and peppers, perhaps even a few late tomatoes.

She was strolling toward the usual location of their booth, intending to see how sales were going and perhaps take over for a bit, when she spotted a crowd gathered to watch some spectacle. Performers were rare in the village, as most preferred to continue on to Marn where profits were better---as a rule, farmers had little appreciation for acrobats, bards, and other useless oddities. Curious, Myllis eased her way through the assembled locals until she could peer over the head of a small boy she recognized, who was tugging impatiently on his mother’s apron and jabbering excitedly. His obvious delight elicited the first smile from Myllis since she had left the curious troupe just outside of the city.

The performer was just finishing with a few last jabs of his strange, bladed pole arm. Myllis watched, enraptured by the individual's flowing grace; he looked a foreigner, perhaps a caravan guard trying to make a bit extra coin. The girl was content to stand back and watch as he finally swirled to a halt. She was about to toss in a spare quarter-bishani when the Captain of the Guards stepped forward to address the soldier. Easing herself back behind the boy to wait, she listened to their exchange and wondered what had brought him out to Shim on market day.
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