There is no 'fire' here

Malcolm

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Elyna
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44 Ashan 716


It was still a bit from dusk still and it had been a warm day, so the training yard held it’s residual heat. As such, she’d removed her customary jerkin and folded it to oneside. Then, she had carefully folded her right sleeve back, and wrapped the van brace over her left forearm. The thick strip of leather positioned over her veins. Birds chattered in the blossoms surrounding the court and she turned sideways onto the target. A series of charcoal rings getting smaller and smaller on a boss made of plaited straw.

She lifted her left arm straight from the hip and pointed at the centre before nodding to herself and creasing the ground where she stood. With the bow stave warmed, she tucked the end under the base of her boot in order to bend it enough and knock it. The string looped over the end and settled in easily. The young woman took up her position again, checking her feet with almost religious precision and reached for an arrow. She ran it back from the staff to the string and moved bare fingers over the fletches, straightening them. More borrowed equipment, the fletches were battered and well used. The arrow shaft was no longer completely straight, and yet, it would do for practise and to build the necessary muscles in her arms, shoulders and back.

Sidelong again to the target she blocked out the birdsong, the distant chatter of other’s bashing each other with swords, shields and other weapons. Usually she would have joined them, but she’d trained in the morning, spent an afternoon in the city and now she wanted to reclaim some of her personal peace of mind. Archery it was.

The arrow and string were drawn back in a steady motion, she touched her thumb to her jaw and released. The string twanged against the brace and she smiled. She had learnt that lesson last time and the bruise from being string slapped had taken weeks to vanish. Elyna bent to collect her next arrow, knocked it once more, checked her feet and raised the bow. The arrow split the edge of the boss and hung, caught underneath the final twist of straw. She’d have to fix that before she left, or there would be trouble.

But she was here to practise. Right, she thought, closing her right eye. Head straight, shoulders parallel. Draw back… her thumb touched against her cheek and she released, watching again as the arrow flew. This time, it thudded more definitely into the boss, and not far from her original shot.

Another arrow was knocked and released, but this time landed on the opposite end. She let out a slow sigh. Well, there was a lot to learn, she told herself. She pushed her hair out of her face. She had hoped that the arrows were grouping, but apparently not. Footsteps caught her attention and she straightened before picking up the next arrow, turning. Surprised her appraised the man who approached, tilting her head to oneside.

“Good evening.”
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Malcolm glanced up at Elyna from where he crouched, hunched over a small pile of belongings he left against a wall of one of the buildings that backed onto the training grounds. Here he set down his cloak and stood his long-sword up against the wall, holding his hand a few inches from the blade to make sure it would stand before he backed away. The light material of his long-sleeved, white shirt danced against his long, strapping limbs in the light, but pleasant breeze that swept through the area.
“Good evening,” Malcolm echoed, “please continue, my lady, don’t let me interrupt.”

The knight seldom came down to the training grounds anymore now that Marcus, his eldest son, had left home. Vaughn had very little interest in sparring; in fact, Malcolm was beginning to wonder if the boy had any hobbies at all, other than drinking and losing a new pair of shoes every other season. Where had he gone so wrong, he wondered, in his parenting? How was it that one of his boys had turned out so well-rounded, humble even, while the other was determined to mess up every opportunity that came his way, hell-bent on failure. The fact that Vaughn had gone home to Burhan led Malcolm to assume things hadn’t worked out between Elyna and his boy, and part of him wanted to apologise for that, but he was done cleaning up after the young man.
Instead, Malcolm focused on something that would take his mind off of everything, Vaughn, his wife’s illness, moving into the city, all things that were out of his control. The small, silver blade he held in his right hand, however, that was completely within his control, and as he lined up his target with his back to the Skyrider, he swung his arm forward and released the blade, watching as it flew towards the painted rings on a tightly packed bale of straw, and struck the edge. He was rusty, but then, that’s what neglecting one’s training earned them.
A second blade was swiftly drawn from his belt, his arm raised higher this time, the projectile launched just as quickly towards the target as the last. Malcolm straightened up, closed his eyes and admitted to himself that he was distracted and probably in no state of mind to be throwing weapons around the place.
“Strange, huh, finding a body on the steps of such a holy place?” He wasn't sure if Elyna was religious or not, and unlike a lot of the people living in Rynmere, Malcolm had very good reason to believe in the immortals and their divine power, “why there, I wonder?”
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 462
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Elyna
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44 Ashan 716


Elyna watched Malcolm from beneath her fringe, fiddling with the fletch of the next arrow as she did. Finally, certain he was here to continue his own training and not try and arrange another meeting between herself and his son, she felt some of the tension easing in her neck. She took up her sidelong stance again and this time, concentrated on her breathing, inhaling as the string was drawn back, taking the time to be certain her thumb brushed the same spot beneath her jaw before she let the arrow fly. It thudded with more conviction into the boss and she quickly collected the next arrow, knocked it and let it loose again, careful not to move her feet and to try and find the same position with her body. But in her hurry, she forgot to breathe and where the fourth arrow of her set had landed within one of the rings, the fifth flew over the target and clattered on the stone wall behind. She let out a slow sigh and straightened, final arrow in hand.

The Skyrider glanced over her shoulder, eyes narrowing with thought. Right, she kept her thoughts internalized as she set her feet, knocked the arrow and drew it back once more, inhaling. She held her breath and found the right spot on her neck again and exhaled with the arrows release. It ended up with the fourth, as she had hoped, thudding into the boss. Satisfied, she lowered the bow, running her free hand along it. She'd forgotten a tab, and so the insides of her right fingers were red, raised, the skin starting to peel away. She scowled at her own stupidity and set the bow in its stand. She'd have to collect her arrows before doing anything else.

"If I was going to kill a man I'd want the body hidden so no one would find it," she hesitated, realizing how incriminating her words could be. She glanced at the man and shrugged, there were no actual skeletons hiding in her cupboards at home, or anywhere else. None that she was responsible for.

"Leave him at the Temple...well three reasons I suppose. Either he was killed there and they didn't have time to move him; but then he didn't bleed," her dark eyes narrowed in thought as she recalled the scene of her arrival. No, there hadn't been an obvious amount of blood. People had a tenancy to bleed a lot. Numerous injuries on the practice courts had taught her that.

"Or, they're sending a message, claiming back responsibility for life and death from the Immortals? Or maybe making a sacrifice to them," her frown deepened. She wasn't sure if her ideas were any good, she also realized that this was more conversation than she had ever shared with Vaughn and moved her feet, embarrassed, "I'm told I think too much. I'm sure the Knights will find the solution and justice will be served."
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A message, Malcolm thought, Elyna didn’t sound too wrong with that line of thought, “It’s possible they were trying to send some kind of message,” he agreed, “but right now our only suspects are the same suspects we have every time one of The Seekers gets into trouble. The Seers, however, haven’t been linked to any religion in the past, and like most of Rynmere, they worship man…, or rather, a woman as you know.”

The knight took a third blade from his belt and tested the weight of it in his hand before he hurled it towards the target along with the others. Working on his draw and ability to throw one blade quickly after the other, he then spun and hurtled its partner after it, both blades landing within the outer rings of the target on opposite sides.
So perhaps it wasn’t The Seers, realisation suddenly struck as the man thought over his own logical explanation for it all, only, if The Seers hadn’t killed one of The Seekers, who else would, and why would they try to leave a message? A set up? Malcolm went through the mental theories in his head, “You’re probably right,” he then agreed, “I’m sure it will all be worked out sooner or later.

Malcolm set another blade free before he crossed the courtyard to collect his throwing daggers and start his routine all over again. He couldn’t help but notice then, that Elyna was using a bow where he could had sworn she had carried a sword only days ago, “They have some shields in the keep over there. I wouldn’t mind going a few rounds if you feel up to it?”
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 298
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Elyna
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Elyna rested her weight on her hip, listening and trying to pull the pieces together as Malcolm spoke. Finally she nodded, without anything much to add. What he said was true, so it didn't add up. If the Seers had left the dead Seeker at the Temple, if it was a message; then what was the message? She reached up, pushing her fingers through her fringe as she puzzled it through. But there was no easy conclusion.

The young woman took the opportunity to collect her arrows when he left to collect the knifes. She approached the boss, slide one hand down to the base and pulled the arrows out with care not to twist them. Happy that she'd found all six she returned, surprised when he offered to spar. She looked behind him to the keep and set the arrows down in the stand, considering. Dusk was approaching faster than she had expected, so it would be harder to practice archery than attempt swordplay. Or rather, harder to find the arrows when they inevitably flew off behind the target instead of into it. A faint smile tugged at the corner of her mouth and she nodded, decision made, "it's probably a better idea than this," she gestured to the target. Remembering once more that she still had to go back, and fix the thread her arrow had broken. The bow was unstrung, and slipped back into it's thin canvas bag.

"I'll be right back," she agreed and trotted off, putting her borrowed, arrows, bow, string and stand away, returning with her sword and a batter but serviceable shield. Upon her return she rolled her shoulders back, marking her ground in the sand beneath her feet as she studied Malcolm once more. Why had she agreed to this so readily? She wondered and found no answer. Again, the feeling of discomfort returned and she struggled to meet his gaze as she readied herself. Eventually though, she forced herself to straighten and look up. Searching for the source of the restlessness stirring in her stomach. She started spinning the sword in her grip without thinking, an old habit, and a bad one, that tended to surface when she was stressed. But why stressed? She wondered again, there was no reason behind it.

Elyna swallowed, "do you come here often?" She was getting too lost in her own thoughts, she had to break out of them. Inane conversation would work if nothing else.
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Malcolm took the opportunity alone and freedom of space to sling another blade through the air, watching it cross the courtyard like a diving bird, straight into the target's right outer ring. Again he followed this up with a second and third as quickly as he could muster the action to do so. If he was going to become an expert again with the blades, he would need to be stealthy and quick. Without going to collect the daggers first, he headed for the keep, leaving his sword against the wall. When he returned to the courtyard, shield hitched to left arm and two wooden swords in his other hand, he called out to Elyna, "Catch!" And then tossed one of the swords her way; it would be safer for them to fight with the practice swords as neither knew the other's strengths, style, or level of ability.

The knight took a side on approach, making Elyna's target, himself, smaller. He held his shield up and tight against his body, with enough space between his side and the shield to absorb the impact of any strikes the noble woman might land, and judging by the look in her eye, Malcolm thought there was bound to be a few home runs. He spun his sword full circle and pointed it head on as he made it approach, closing the distance between them quickly but not fast enough to throw Elyna off. He stabbed at the woman's shield, only to step back and the reevaluate the situation and question his methods, why was he going easy one her when he should be trying to remove heart from chest, not play like untrained squires did.
His second blow was fearsome and would strike the woman side on if she could not raise her weapon in time to block or attempt to deflect his swing, "Not lately," he managed to grunt.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 329
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Elyna
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Elyna raised her shield to deflect the wooden sword and set her blade away with her jerkin. Collecting the wooden sword she wiped it against her leg to dust off the sand it had gathered. The weight was different so she moved the weapon back and forth to adjust. It had a different balance as well, she preferred metal as a rule but didn't want to actually maim her opponent. Or end up with an injury herself.

Elyna lifted her shield as the first blow landed, glancing off to the side. It was then she realised that her feet were all
wrong and stepped to the side to correct herself. She was lucky that her shield was in place so that a quick raise of her arm was enough to block ther heavier blow. The shield impacted back against her arm and she steadied her weight against it. As the blow skittered away she stepped forward swinging her own weapon around in an arc. Lord Korm meant business and she would match him as best as she could.

She stepped forward with a few more shorter attacks, taking care to keep her shield in place for the return that she just knew was coming.
Last edited by Elyna on Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 213
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Rather than lift his shield, Malcolm seemed fond of turning his body, a little stiff after all these years, or perhaps the weight of the shield threatened to upset an old shoulder injury, either way there was something unnatural about the way he fought this evening. Deflecting Elyna's swings took a bit more energy, and at one point, the man found himself having to give up ground to the woman, but a bit of fancy footwork soon fixed that. As her wooden sword was deflected by his shield, he would often attempt a low, stabbing lunge, hoping to throw her off, or cause her to block with the shield and allow him to exploit a certain weakness most young fighters had. Elyna was clever though, she seldom took her eye off her opponent, and distractions were set aside as quickly as his attacks were.
Malcolm rammed the woman with his shield and held up his sword for pause, walked full circle and rolled his shoulders forwards in attempt to ignore the small jolt of pain that ran through his left arm, akin to the feeling of a pinched muscle he just couldn't seem to untangle, and would every now and then remind him of its existence, "Again," he nodded.

The taller male paced in a slow, half circle like a lion sizing up his next meal and as Elyna drew close to attack, he raised his sword to see the two weapons meet fiercely between them. "The Seekers have never been very popular in this city," he strained against the woman's assault and tried to hold his ground long enough to push her back, "I think I know what the message might be..."
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 294
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As their sparring moved back and forth, Elyna found herself growing frustrated. His movements were different to what she was used to, but that shouldn’t have so big an effect. No one she genuinely had to fight, would stick to the regimes of the training skill, she should be better than this, she knew that on most days; she was. The match between them was well balanced at it made her think and take care to keep her guard up. His low strikes where a pain to block and usually left her open somewhere else. Her feet were still all wrong and she kept stumbling over her own toes in her haste to correct her position and remain balanced. Sweat beaded under her shirt, sliding down her spine and she was relieved when he called pause and circled.

Elyna turned, watching him from over her shield. He had thrown her off-balance and more than anything she felt frustrated with herself. It was hard not to be intimidated as he approached, his expression was fierce some and for a moment she wondered if this truly was a practise bought, he wasn’t enacting some kind of private revenge because she had spurned his son. She raised her sword in defence and the sound of wooden weapons clashing echoed through the empty court. Her frown deepened as she realised he was speaking to her. Blinking she disengaged and was pushed back, as he came forward. She blocked him again and tried his own trick against him with a low attack. Then the Skyrider retreated enough to find her own space and circled to the left.

“Because of who it was and where…we’re all coming to the same conclusion, that it as the Seers,” her shield lowered a little, “what if that’s what we’re meant to think? What if that is why he was left there to…to add weight to the idea?” The arm behind her shield was going numb, he was stronger than she had expected. She shook it out, trying to get the blood back in her fingers.

“Who would want the Seers blamed? Is that the message, or did you have something else in mind?”

It was then she darted forward, trying to use her speed to her advantage as she attacked quickly and tried to circle him.
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Elyna's low attack caught the man off guard and as he lowered his arm to try and block the attack, something pinched again in his left shoulder, forcing him to straighten up and take the hit. As Elyna backed off the knight limped backwards a step, his right leg burning where the edge of the wooden sword had struck his thigh. Malcolm smirked and looked amused by his own defeat. He had been too slow with the shield and paid for it, he also hadn't expected Elyna to adapt to his tactics so quickly, and as a result, make changes to her own.
"Good!" He praised her efforts and swung his sword into a high position, pointed at her like the tail of a scorpion over the top of his shield.

It was then, during their short lived rest that the noble woman inquired about his thoughts regarding the dead Seeker, "I have no idea who did it, I'm not saying it was The Seers, but The Seekers have always acted to control the use of magic in Rynmere, especially in the capital. What message were they trying to send by leaving him on the steps of the monastery? Ryns answer to their own laws and religion, not to outside forces. The monks at the monastery are the only people in Rynmere who can practice magic without a permit, or the faction's blessing."

Malcolm didn't know where he was going with this exactly, but it was something to think about. It seemed, however, that Elyna was not up for talking and took advantage of his distracted state of mind, forcing the man to raise his shield and brace in his own defence. He met her with the full force of his strength, throwing it into the attack he made with his shield, swiftly followed up with another swing of his wooden long-sword.
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 326
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