• Solo • Into the Treetops...

Almund is a thriving township with a dark side. With houses made from the wooden bodies of decommissioned ships, there are many opportunities here, coupled with many dangers.

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Natalia Gregorios
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Posts: 336
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:27 am
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Professional Nuisance Wrangler
Renown: 170
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Into the Treetops...

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Vhalar 20, Arc 721



The crisp air of Vhalar danced all around her, and for a brief flicker of time, Natalia was at peace. Something about the season always filled her with a certain nostalgia. Gone were the hot, hot trials of Saun – those could die a thousand deaths for all she cared – and the festive season approached.

She hadn't ever enjoyed her family's traditions, which centered around throwing parties and impressing people. No, Natalia had whittled away the breaks and trials of the season, walking through Scalvoris proper, enjoying other people's antics as they decorated for the coming season. Little snowflakes here and there – snowflakes were very important to Scalvorians for some reason – or garlands of greenery and dried fruits. The smells of spices filled the air, and it was, well, indescribable.

She, of course, was on her way to a training session with Grayson. Strangely enough, he had wanted to meet her outside of Almund, in a nearby wood that Ares often inhabited. Natalia had no clue what he wanted to accomplish there, but knowing him, he had something up his sleeve.

Upon leaving town and prying eyes behind, she opened Apollo's bag and beckoned the creature onto her shoulder with little apple pieces. Heads splayed every direction, but they finally got their act together and perched next to Natalia's head, trilling happily at nothing in particular.

As they approached the grove of trees, she spotted Grayson and Ares. Well, to be fair, she saw Grayson first and realized that he was watching Ares, who was flying up and around the treetops, zooming around.

Curious as to what the two were doing, Natalia decided to ask, planting herself right next to her cousin, glancing up at the Zahkron Dragonling. "What is he doing?"

Grayson chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. "I have no idea. He was doing that when I arrived, but it did spark something of an idea for your training totrial. Or, at least it helped. A little."

Pointing a particular tree in front of them, he began explaining. "You, my dear, are going to scale that tree." The tree in question wasn't as tall as some others. Perhaps one-hundred feet high or so; she was terrible with optical measurements. It had a fat base and solid tree limbs, so that didn't concern her, although the original premise of the idea did.

"Me? Climb a tree? Have you gone mad, Grayson? I agree that my physical training is coming along fine, but that will take more than I've got. I've never climbed a tree in my life."

Her protests simply met laughter from the man. "I know. Remember, I grew up with you. You preferred the horses to horseplay in trees. However, my idea stands. You don't have to make it all the way up, but this exercise is far more interesting than having you run or any number of boring exercises I could have you do. It will test your athletics, endurance, and strength, and push them."

Sighing softly, she hated to admit that he had a point. Climbing trees hadn't made sense as a child, but as an adult, as a training technique? Natalia conceded to the logic, although found it horribly ironic."Fine. You win, but I'm not happy about it."

He grinned at her, shrugging his shoulders. "You rarely are, but we can't let that stop us. I'd offer you a pair of gloves, but I think they would just get in the way of your grip, so expect some slivers. Bark – can't be helped."

Looking up at the tree, he gave her his best advice. "The limbs are close enough together that you should be able to grab limbs and haul yourself up that way. I don't see any gaps, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. Stay as close to the tree's trunk as you can because that's where the branches will be the thickest and strongest. You don't weigh a lot, but test the branches before committing your weight to them. I wouldn't be surprised to find a rotted-out limb here or there."

The first thing she did was walk around the tree's base, assessing it for the most accessible entry point. If there was any chance of making it even partway up the tree, she needed to be smart about the ascent and conserve her energy.

Once she located the best spot to start at, Apollo was passed off to Grayson, who set the tiny creature on his shoulder and wished Natalia luck, ending with one last instruction. “Go slow and not too far up. You have nothing to catch you if you fall. This is just an exercise to help you build skills. Also, remember that you’ll have to climb back down again, so don’t overtire yourself on the way up. Leave something for the way down, too.”

Nodding, Natalia grabbed the first branch. It was just over her head, so it seemed the best way to deal with it was to grab it, walk her feet up the truck and get a leg hooked over the branch. In theory, it was a great idea. In practice? Not so much. Her hands took hold, and she got her feet on the trunk itself, but the whole concept of ‘walking’ up the trunk took a bit more effort than she thought, causing her to have an awkward sideways grip on the branch.

Fine. Idea number two it was. Twisting back around and grabbing the branch again, this time with her body parallel to the branch, she swung her lower body just enough to get a little momentum and hauled one of her legs up, barely catching the limb.

Grayson, desperately trying not to laugh, walked over as she hung inelegantly upside down. “Really? It took one branch to undo you completely? You are losing your touch, Nat. Would you like some advice?”

Did she? No. Something about being beaten by a tree irked her, but would she? Yes. Begrudgingly, if it would help her with the rest of the climb. “Fine. What?”

Coming around to her side, he pointed to her upper body. “Women are generally weaker in the upper body, which, to mount the tree, you need that strength. I’m actually surprised you didn’t fall on your ass, but you have been training, so you had just enough to get you what you needed.”

Pointing to her legs, Grayson continued. “Where girls shine is lower body strength. That will help you with the rest of the climb. You are doing the hard part right now. Get past this, and you’re right as rain. You had the right idea with the momentum and have one leg hooked, so rock back and forth like a swing. Eventually, you’ll get enough momentum that you can swing upright onto that branch and right yourself. Get close to the trunk to help you. It will give you a surface to grab when the time is right.”

Grumbling slightly, she began swinging herself, using her free leg and upper body. Right away, she realized how taxing the exercise would be on her hands, but Natalia couldn’t help that right then.

Before long, she had enough swing that when the moment was right, she rotated herself upright and grabbed the tree trunk with one hand, using the to keep her from falling back down again. Groaning as she hauled her body up on the branch, Natalia heard clapping from behind her. “Excellent! You’ve accomplished something most six-arc-olds can do! Bravo!”

It wasn’t often Natalia cursed at someone, but sometimes the mood and moment called for it. Grayson, of course, just grinned more and watched as she carefully pulled herself up into a standing position on the branch.

The next part was pretty easy compared to what she had just done. A half-a-stride away from her was another thick branch that, if she stretched herself up and grabbed one at head height in front of her, Natalia could just step over and be that much closer to her goal.

Despite the worried trilling coming from Apollo, Natalia tuned out everything and made the transition with minimal fuss, being mindful of her center of gravity, keeping balance. And then the next step. And the next. Her hands already hurt but powered through it, and she puzzled out her following action.

Natalia was sure she was moving slower than Grayson anticipated. While her training had made her more confident on her feet, the eye-hand coordination involved in climbing was something she hadn’t been ready for. Muscles ached due to the sustained strain, and as her cousin had predicted, slivers were obtained.

She had gotten perhaps twenty-five feet up when the young mortalborn decided to call it and slowly started her way back down, which was a whole different thing, involving different muscle groups. Natalia found that she couldn’t just step down and instead had to lower to a sitting position on the limbs and clumsily turn around, straddling the branch, and slide slowly down until her feet found the branch she was looking for. A controlled slide, and keeping herself from not falling, took more strength than she thought. The whole thing wasn’t pretty or comfortable, but it was the only way she could find to get the job done.

Lowering to the final branch – the one that had initially given her so much trouble – Natalia sat down and gently swung back, hanging upside down. Grayson grabbed her hands and instructed her to release her legs. At the same time she did, he pulled on her hands, moving her upper body slightly to allow her feet to hit the ground squarely, although doing so set every aching muscle in her body alight.

He quickly offered her a drink of water and waited until she caught her breath before saying anything. When he looked at her to comment, he found an arched eyebrow and expression full of warning. She knew him too well and knew that a smart-assed comment was coming.

“Fine, I won’t,” he finally said. “But congratulations! You’ve hit a childhood milestone. Maybe tomorrow, we’ll work on your language skills. You seem to have developed a deficiency somewhere along the line….”

Grayson grinned and, being the clever fellow he was, started running.

Template Credit: Oberan
word count: 1767
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."


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Re: Into the Treetops...

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Player Name: Natalia

Points awarded: 10
Magic xp: none

Knowledge:

Athletics: Using momentum to swing
Athletics: Using an object for leverage
Athletics: Maintaining balance when transferring from one position to the next
Athletics: Climbing requires eye-hand coordination
Athletics: Climbing down involves different muscles than climbing up
Strength: Hauling one's body up onto a tree branch

Injuries/Overstepping:A few wood slivers in her hand. Lots of aching muscles

Skill Review: All Skills used appropriately to PC's level
Notes: Ooo, there's Natalia, climbing a tree in Almund. I was curious why Ares was flying over the tree, but perhaps he's challenging Natalia to come and get him. He seems the sort to egg her onto shenanigans, as does Grayson.

You described the difficulties of climbing a tree pretty well. Grayson is an ass, though. I thought his teasing of Natalia, while amusing to him, was fairly uncalled for. Still, it had the effect of spurring her on to complete the exercise, and without actually hurting herself too much.

Natalia seems to be going through some changes here, in a transitional phase between who she was in Scalvoris and who she becomes in Etzos. It's fun to get a glimpse of how she was again in older settings such as these.

I think Vielkrontier is a good fit for Natalia, interestingly enough. She seems very much a fire-brand (Vielkrontier's Rage), and someone who is adapatable (Vielkrontier's adaptability and change aspects). Well done anyway! I look forward to reading more Natalia.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this review, feel free to PM. Enjoy your rewards!
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