• Completed • Reality is perception

Malcolm

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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34 Ymiden 716. Mid Afternoon
Freedom. That was what it was, it was freedom of the most wonderous kind. To be allowed to be out in the open, to go to the public gardens and collect some herbs was a new experience for the young woman and so she relished each footstep, each inbreath and sight, sound and scent. She was grateful to Jamal for allowing her this privilege and she promised herself, internally, that she would spend the time ensuring that she served Famula, and Jamal, to her utmost. Each step on the cobbled streets was dedicated to Famula and she constantly considered how she might serve Her best. It was like a different world to her here and so each step here had been slow and deliberate, following the directions that Jamal had given her until she had arrived at the gardens.

And there, more amazement had awaited her. Greenery, herbs, paths and people walking, lives going on trial by trial; some of the people seemed hurried, some walked slowly and almost languidly in the heat. Each of them different colours, different sizes and shapes. Of course, she knew about people, but she dealt with them once their breath had left their body and so to see their diversity in life was a new experience to her, for all that she was used to seeing their diversity in death. Death was the ultimate expression of individuality, and only in Famula's embrace could the soul ever be peaceful, but looking at the people in the gardens, Faith began to understand why it was that folk clung on to life so. It was a beautiful illusion of permanence here, and a dangerous one. Jamal had taught her, with life came the delusion of immortality and here she understood his words.

Her shoes were uncomfortable and ill fitting, so Faith knelt and removed them carefully, tying them together and hanging them from the waist of her black trousers. Each movement was careful, controlled and thought out for the young human woman. As she bent her head to untie her shoes from her feet, her long black hair fell forward, momentarily hiding her face and equally hiding the outside world from her eyes. It was much more comfortable with her shoes off and, as she stood she wiggled her toes in the grass and rare smile lit her face as the new sensation hit the soles of her feet. She had no word for it, but as the grass tickled her bare feet, standing alone in a garden Faith let out a giggle of surprise.

But, that was one new experience amongst many and she had a job to do so she shouldered the bag that Jamal had given her and went in search of herbs, wondering if there was a herb garden section or whether she would have to forage near trees and plants. First, then, a walk around the entire garden, ascertaining what was where and then she would be ready to start collecting.
Last edited by Faith Augustin Champion on Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 505
Life, Death and the In-Between .
Malcolm
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Malcolm had spent the morning with a class in the lecture hall, teaching them about the royal family and how important it was to come to his classes prepared, after all, if they wanted to succeed in the upcoming exam, they would need to know the material. On his travels back to the barracks where he had housed his horse for the day, Malcolm decided to take a shortcut though the city gardens, and taken by the fine weather and enticing scents, he parked himself on one of the carved stone benches with a book he then opened to continue the chapter he had been reading.
The book was not about the royals, but instead Rynmere's religion and the peoples' opinions regarding the immortals. It wasn't that Ryns, and Rynlists in particular, didn't believe in the gods, the book merely highlighted the values of men and why honouring history and tradition was so important in their culture. There were many in the city who despised the immortals, blaming them for everything from strange weather patterns to sickness in the slums. Of course, there were also those who worshiped the gods, and especially the lesser gods as some referred to beings like himself, offspring of the immortals. Of course, in a world where one might lose his hand for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving children, Malcolm wasn't about to put his faith in mankind, and kept such secrets close to heart.
The garden was in bloom, rich, vibrant flowers and buds pointed skyward in search of the afternoon sun, currently hidden behind a white, misty cloud. Malcolm closed the book with his finger tucked between the pages as a place-marker and just sat, appreciating the gardens and life as it carried on around him, his green eyes drawn to nearby movement, momentarily fixed on the dark haired woman plucking herbs from a nearby bed. The knight got to his feet and slowly wandered over, offering a warm smile as he came to stand only a few feet away.
"You'll have to tell me if any of them are good for cooking," he grinned, "I've got a slab of beef at home bound for the pot tonight and it could use a little added flavour."
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She saw the man, sitting and reading a book. What it must be to have the time and means to do such, she wondered. Then, for a few brief seconds she just allowed her mind to wander, to consider what the book might say, what it might be about. It could be a story of Immortals, of Kings, of paupers or great romance. It might be anything at all and that was the great wonder of the written word, she considered. But it was not hers to wonder at this point in her life, so she busied herself and kept one eye on the man in the way that she kept a watch on everyone in the gardens. Life, in all it's glorious form, passing her by and moving past in a heartbeat.

No matter, they would all meet the same end. There was no doubting it. Famula would hold them all, each one, herself included. There was no greater prize for a mortal than Famula's final touch.

But then, the man who was sitting closed his book, carefully, and he walked over to her. As he approached, she stood and kept her eyes lowered until he spoke to her directly. Then, she lifted her head and looked at him; her pale silver eyes were wary, but not unfriendly. He smiled and spoke, telling her that she had to tell him something and she considered carefully for a moment. Faith did not move as she thought, except for a slight tilt of her head and the slight tapping of her right index finger against her leg.

"Some of them are good for cooking, master, yes. They add flavour" when she spoke her voice was quiet, like she was used to speaking in hushed tones to the point that they had become her normal vocalisation. "But the best thing to add flavour is to rub the beef in salt and pepper, then cook it in a frypan, quickly, to seal the outside. Then, slow roast it." She returned his smile, looking up at him. As she did, if her words and dishevelled appearance had not shown it already, her hair fell back and revealed the slave brand at her neck and the other one at her shoulder. The brand on her shoulder was old, maybe as old as the late-teen herself. But the one on her neck was much more recent ~ perhaps even this season. However, it was healed and clean, so exactly when was hard to tell. Slowly and with very precise movements, Faith knelt and pulled up a herb from where she had been working. She could not give him anything that she had collected for Jamal, but this she collected for the man with the book, and Jamal had not told her she could not. "If you make a gravy from your pan juices, add this to it and then strain it before serving, master. It will compliment beef very well. But wash it first in case the dogs have been here" And as she held the herb in question out to him and warned him about dogs and their unsavoury habits, what could only be described as a slightly mischievous smile tugged the edges of her mouth. She kept her gaze on him, because that was what she had to do, but she was desperate to see what that book was and twice she almost stole a glance.

"Do you do a lot of cooking?" she asked, casually. Because he didn't look like the kind of person who did. He looked more like the kind of person who had someone like her to do their cooking for them.
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Malcolm
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Master? The knight accepted the leaves from the woman and broke one between finger and thumb to take a sniff. "Sage?" He wondered aloud before tucking the small handful into his pocket. He would remember to sear the meat with a bit of oil in the pan before cooking it tonight, making sure to follow her instructions carefully, being a big fan of simple garnishes like salt and pepper.
"I've cooked many times," he admitted, "usually over an open fire as my profession takes me all over the place," Malcolm smiled again, brief but kind. "One of my jobs at least, I also work at the university," the man turned and pointed to one of the towers peaking out from over the city walls that protected what the locals had come to call the crown. "It's been a while since I was able to roast anything."

The woman's shy glances alerted him to her interest in the book he was holding, and the slave marks on her neck and shoulder had not gone unnoticed, his own burning against his right thigh beneath the layers of clothing he wore, as if to sing to kin. Of course it had been many years since he had received his mark, and though the memories were faded, he still recalled how lonely the experience had been, even whilst being surrounded by many bound by the same chains.
"Do you read?" The Mortalborn inquired, sitting down on a bench situated closer to the woman than his last had been. He didn't want to assume anything, many slaves were often able to read, but for some, and more frequently those born into the trade, it was long and tiresome struggle to make sense of the words they were taught to speak but not recognise in print. "I've been doing a little research into the minds of Rynmere, philosophers and idealists," he explained, "not the most riveting of reads."
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As he recognised the herb in question, the slight smile that Faith had worn turned into a more genuine and full expression of pleasure and she nodded. "Sage, aye" it seemed that he did cook, or at least know something about it and she found that idea both positive and vaguely amusing. Why would someone with wealth enough to afford another to do things like that not simply buy someone to take care of them? But Jamal had taught her that not everyone would keep a slave, so it might be that he was one of those who did not approve of slavery. However, her musings on her owner were cut short when the man in front of her pointed to the tower that they could see and she followed his glance, then asked "What happens there? At a university" she asked the question as though trying the word for size and looked at him with interest.

But something else he said had caught the dark-haired girl's attention. He had two jobs? How could that be, she wondered, that would be like being owned by two owners; surely that must mean that he did not have the ability to do either very well. It sounded very strange to her, but Faith did not realise many things about the outside world. However, the thoughts were hidden in her slight smile and hushed tones as she summed up a much more complex thought process "With two jobs you must be very busy. Time to read must be a rare thing?" she wondered, the inflection of her voice making it a question rather than a statement. Her hands clasped together in front of her, her fingers entwining and then remaining still.

At the question of whether she read, though, she looked the young age she was as she nodded, enthusiastically; certainly the most enthusiastic gesture from her. "Oh yes, I love to read." she said, and then realised that she had let loose too much emotion, shown too much. But there was no denying the honesty of her enthusiasm and, since she had shown it, she chose not to hide her interest (which she kept it at, definitely only interest not some kind of over-enthused labrador, she reminded herself) in the topic he spoke of. "Philosophers and idealists? That sounds fascinating to me, I have to say. I love to learn" she added quietly. But then, there was the obvious question "If you are not enjoying it, then why are you reading it?" she wondered; he was a free man who could do what he chose, after all.
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Malcolm
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"At the university?" He watched the sky around the tower and birds racing away from the keep. "Think of it as a big house of learning where people go to listen to experts, philosophers and idealist," he held up the book with a smile, "to educate themselves. They even have their own library, almost as big as the city library only the books are a lot older and all there to teach us something," he supposed that was the purpose of every book in a sense, even the fictional kind. "I work as a professor of history, I get to stand in front of strangers all morning and teach them about Rynmere, the world of Idalos, the immortals, language," he shrugged, "many things."
It was then the woman highlighted the difficulty he must face trying to juggle two jobs and Malcolm found himself amused by the topic, something a lot of people found difficult to balance. "It can be tricky to find time to read," he agreed, "but I've had plenty of time lately," the man peeled up his tabard and under shirt to reveal a fresh scar that stretched from his left side all the way to his belly button. "Only just getting back to work," he told her as the scar was covered again, "I also work as a knight you see... A captain actually, I have a team of ten and they each have a handful of their own to command, who in turn have squires," it was a complicated sum of at least one hundred and ten men and women, "a few more than I see in my lecture hall," which had been about eighty this morning.
The slave then admitted that she was very fond of reading and asked why he chose to read something he got little enjoyment from. Malcolm looked down at the book, for someone who only had sixty odd years to live, reading a book that brought them little pleasure was something easy enough to pass up, but for Malcolm, who had evaded death's embrace for well over four hundred years, and more recently survived a run in with his immortal father, Vri, the same rules didn't quite apply. "Something I expect my students to read," he admitted, knowing over half of them wouldn't, "so it feels good to achieve myself, what I ask of others."
The sun felt warm against the back of his leather tabard, but he really shouldn't sit around with a house to get back to and a meal to start cooking. The man did, however, realise that he had not asked after the woman's name. "I'm sorry I didn't catch your name?" He slicked back his dark curls and closed his fingers over the book again. "My name is Malcolm."
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His description of the university saw a wistful look cross Faith's face, albeit very briefly. This was not good, she knew, she was showing far more emotion than she should; it was as well that she was only being allowed out now. "Do you have to pay to attend these talking experts?" she asked, wondering if she might tell Jamal of this and he might allow her to go to specific ones. "And.. are slaves allowed in? They let us into the library" she explained, just in case he wasn't aware, it seemed. But when he said what he taught, her silver eyes widened in surprise and amazement. "I would very much like to learn more about the Immortals, and the history of Rynmere, too. But the Immortals, especially" All the more reason to ask Jamal, she considered, if she was allowed to put foot there.

When he raised his shirt, however, and showed her the scar she frowned and looked at it in a manner which suggested interest and inspection much more than empathy or concern. "I have seen cuts smaller than that on my table." she said, her quietly spoken voice betraying her interest. She then realised something and she raised her head and smiled "I am owned by an undertaker. He is teaching me all aspects of his job. That could have killed you" she said, seriously and then suddenly her natural humour showed through and her face burst into a grin "But having been on the receiving end of it, you probably do not need me to tell you that. Apologies, master"

When he extrapolated his philosophy on reading and why he did it even though it gave him no pleasure, it was strange to her, not something that she had come across before. But then, her training had been very different to what he was describing in this university and, probably, they did things very differently here in Rynmere, too. Surely as the one in charge he should inform the students of what to read, not have to read it himself? But she said nothing on that, because it was not her place to comment on his teaching method when she had no idea of the mechanics of it. A blush stained her face, though, as he asked her what her name was "My name is Faith, master. Again, I must apologise, I should have told you that" Jamal was not going to be happy when she told him that she had made two such errors in one conversation, she knew. Then, when he told her his name, she nodded her head and wondered "Would you like me to inform my owner that I have met you?" she asked, the notion that she should *call* him by that name something that simply did not enter her head, not for a moment. It seemed that Malcolm had come across a young girl with a very strange, and undeniably skewed, view of the world. But she held on to it steadfastly.
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Malcolm
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"Please, you can call me Malcolm," he insisted. "There is a cost for attending the university and I believe it is quite high, most commoners take out bank loans for their children to attend, or work for scholarships that allow them to participate in classes for free. I've not heard of any slaves having ever attended," he hated to call her by such a term, but to call an apple anything other than an apple would just confuse things.
He smiled in regards to her interest in the immortals and set the book down beside him. "You know some Ryns don't believe in the immortals, I suppose there are many who have never had a run in with the gods, they put their faith in the fates instead, that it what they refer to the sacred seven as, and call it Rynlism, a religion for the people who value and uphold the ideals of the men and women who came before them and paved they way for civilisation in this land. If a house burns down, it is fate, if a child loses a foot to infection, it must be fate, and if a tidal wave were to hit and wipe out the city, fate, like a punishment for serving the seven poorly. In other big cities across the world, these might all be defined merely as acts of Faldrun, Lisirra, and Chrien, but not here, and I was hoping this book might offer a little more insight into the minds of the men who came before us," he gestured to the text.
"They know the immortals exist because one of the seven was worshiped as a half god, or Mortalborn as we refer to them now, named Ser Warren Gawyne, the voice of reason," Malcolm smiled, and realised that even if he wasn't too keen on a subject, that it was the sharing of knowledge he found joy in, through story or teaching, after all, what was the use of living so long if he couldn't tell people what history had long forgotten.
"I shouldn't think there is any reason to inform you master that we met, after all I am a man of very little importance," he turned up the left side of his mouth in a half-smile and got to his feet. "I should be getting home though, it was lovely to meet you Faith, thank you for the sage."
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So, attending the university was something that was not open to her, whether be virtue of it costing money or whether slaves were even allowed there. Faith could not hide the flash of disappointment as she felt, for the very first time, a desire to do something which she was not allowed to do. That was not appropriate, she knew, and she would consider it later. But Faith was discovering a whole world that she had not known existed. It was a lot to take in, so she simply smiled at him and replied "Then maybe I will be the first you hear of, and the talk of Rynmere for it" she considered. One never know after all.
"Not believe? I.. I do not understand how that can be. It is.. Famula touches them every trial, in every death that they see. To deny death as mere fate? It is..." she shook her head, unable to make any sense from what he described. But then he said that he needed to make his way home and she did not need to inform Jamal of her meeting him. Her own lips lifted in a reciprocal smile as he said that he was glad to have met her. "Thank you, you have taught me a lot and I am most grateful for it. I hope the sage tastes good. I am pleased to have met you" she said, collected up her things and dropped a curtsy to him before taking her leave and making her way back to collecting herbs.
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Faith

FAME

Fame +2 for Faith giving a (positive and appreciated) gift to Malcolm. It's possible to say it was only a sage plant. But I reasoned this way because Faith is a slave and so owns nothing at all. She still finds a way to give a gift by picking the sage and telling Malcolm how to spice his food with it. As I felt when I read this, it shows her personality. She who has nothing puts in the care and effort to give a gift to someone who is so obviously much better off in life. It's nothing she is forced to do, it's an act of free will, and without seeking to gain something from it.

SKILLS

Appraisal 1
Detection 2
Gardening 1
Teaching 1

BASIC KNOWLEDGES

Freedom is the most wondrous thing
The diversity of people in life and death
Death, the ultimate expression of individuality
The beautiful illusion of life’s permanence
Rynlism, a religion for people who believe in Fate instead of Immortals
The City Gardens of Andaris
Cooking: The best way to add flavor to beef
Herb: Sage
Malcolm: University professor of History also working as Knight Captain
The University: A big house of learning
The University: Expensive to attend

SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGES

Cooking: To rub salt and pepper into beef
Cooking: To sear meat in oil, then slow roast it
Cooking: Spicing roast meat gravy with sage


Malcolm

SKILLS

Teaching 2
Detection 2

BASIC KNOWLEDGES

Rynmere's religion and the peoples' opinions regarding the immortals
Cooking: The best way to add flavor to beef
Herb: Sage
Faith: An undertaker’s slave

SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGES

Cooking: To rub salt and pepper into beef
Cooking: To sear meat in oil, then slow roast it
Cooking: Spicing roast meat gravy with sage
Faith: Loves to read and learn and wants to learn more about immortals

COMMENTS

A thread that grows after reading it a few times, which I did, as this wasn't so easy to review. The characters are portrayed in an interesting way. And as I wrote in the start of the review, I found the very simple gift salient and worth +2 Fame. As I said, this wasn't a thread that felt totally obvious how to review, and in case you feel I misinterpreted something and/or want something added, please PM me.

Also, please mark the post in the peer review thread Reviewed.
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