Missing the point

After Tristan paid for a sword teacher, a surprise arrives

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Kylar
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54th Zi'da

Kylar walked through the city, another Skyrider by his side. He'd never worked with the man before, but he was a major in the ranks of the riders. Although he had no direct authority over Kylar, the man was still a rank above, so Kylar knew to keep himself disciplined and not let himself get too relaxed. The wind was cold and snow covered the walkway. It was comfortably mild, however, compared to how it had been prior to this day. Kylar considered himself lucky for that fact alone.
"So" the man started, looking up at Kylar with broken blue eyes through a mop of thick hair. "Anyone told you what it is you're doin'?" the man asked, raising his eyebrow to Kylar. For a moment, the Lotharro pondered. He'd heard a little, that he would be teaching someone to use a crossbow. But he didn't know who, or where for that fact.
"I know my task, but not who I'm to teach, nor where I'm going - although I suppose you are showing me the latter?" he asked. It was rare he found himself in Andaris, despite the cloak he wore being that of the capital. His house was located in Venora, after all, meaning the only real reason he had to go to Andaris was to meet people, go on expeditions or visit the Lodge for training.

Eventually, the two arrived at their destination. The house was big to Kylar, and the garden much bigger. It seemed pleasant, and to some extent that made Kylar nervous. Whoever he was teaching had a lot more money than he did, and Kylar's training with the riders made him struggle to know when he was the one that should take authority or not. Yes, he was the teacher, but he was in no way as powerful as this man might be.
"This is the one, boy" the Major said. Kylar saluted to him, then watched as he left the area, leaving Kylar alone. He'd brought just one crossbow, his own personal one, and twenty bolts from the training grounds. He took in a deep breath. This wasn't his first experience teaching, but it was his first professional teaching experience. He hoped it went well.
That thought fresh in his mind, Kylar knocked on the front door and stood patiently. He had his black riders armor on, and his one wing decorated his chest. Crossbow and bolts on his back, dagger hidden up his sleeve as usual.

The first thing that whoever answered would notice, however, was that his eyes were a glowing orange - matching that perfectly to a wolves. His mark was a hard one to hide, despite being Lotharro. It was beyond animalistic, it was literally an animals eyes. Matching his familiar. He hoped it wouldn't scare the person in question, and giving out a warm smile would just bare his fangs as well. By Karem, this was hard.
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Missing the point

After that disastrous mission to Ne’haer and nearly being emasculated and relieved of his thumbs by a one eyed madwoman Tristan had decided that he really needed to learn how to use a weapon, and he had decided on the sword – for no other reason than because he already owned one. A few seasons before he had bought a cane sword because they had been in fashion at the time, and as a noble it was his duty to be fashionable.

He’d tried to practice on his own for a while, but nearly ended up stabbing himself to death several times. Eventually he had come to the conclusion that he needed a teacher if he wanted to learn it properly. At first he had thought about asking his cousin Andráska, remembering that he was some sort of knight, but he didn’t want to make a fool of himself in front of his family. He wanted them to think that he already was a master swordsman.

So he had sent a letter to the Iron Hand and asked if they could spare one of their men for a few breaks. They fact that he had used a very fancy envelope with the seal of House Venora and let them know that his family would owe them had probably helped them decide that it would be in everybody’s best interest to assist him. His teacher would visit him on the 54th, they had informed him.

<><><>

He was so anxious to meet the man and worried that he might miss him that he decided to wait in the garden rather than in his house. As Kylar approached the door, the noble sat on the low wall that separated his property from his neighbour’s and watched him curiously.

At first he thought that Kylar was human, much like him, but there were some things about him that were decidedly inhuman and that fascinated him so much that he jumped from the wall after a few trills rather than continuing to let Kylar stupidly wait in front of the door that nobody would come out of.

“I’m over here!” he called out to him and grabbed his sword cane that had been lying next to him. “What’s wrong with your eyes?” he wanted to know and strolled over to him. “I’ve never seen eyes like that before. Biqaj have weird eyes as well, but not quite as weird. Can you see normally with them?”

“So”,
he asked, stopped in front of the Lothar and looked him over. Kylar would notice that the young and thin and somewhat weak looking human in his silken clothes was not afraid at all, but stared at him fascinatedly as if it were all a game to him. “Where’s your sword? I asked for somebody to teach me how to use a sword, but I can’t see one.”

“Unless they make crossbow-shaped swords nowadays?”
He raised an eyebrow and pointed at Kylar’s crossbow. “How does this thing work anyway? I’ve never used one.”
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As Kylar started to wonder if he had been led to the wrong place, a voice called over to him. The man walked over, a sword cane in his hand. Kylar had never used the weapon, but he'd seen it in shops when he was buying his daggers and the like. Despite not being one to use swords, they did fascinate him - as did most weapons.
Kylar couldn't help but chuckle. The man was blunt, and to most perhaps rude, but it made Kylar laugh to hear it. "They are those of a wolf, as given to me by an Immortal" he said, making no attempt at hiding it. He was proud of the mark Karem had given him, and he wouldn't hesitate to show it.
"I can see normally, yes. They grant me no special vision, nor do they hamper it at all" he explained with a welcoming smile.

The look the man had made him a little nervous, if anything, but he knew he had no reason to be. He just wasn't used to teaching people, especially in a setting that was meant to be professional. He'd taught friends and such, but never someone that had paid money for the lesson to happen. He was good, undoubtedly, but he wasn't the best Idalos could offer. He hoped that he would be enough for the man.
Kylar froze as the man said he was hoping for sword lessons. That explained the cane sword. Had he been sent to the wrong place, or did the Iron Hand just mess up? Despite being a Skyrider, he did work under the Hand a lot. Perhaps that was where the confusion came from? Either way, this man wasn't looking for what Kylar was here to teach.
"Well, this is a misunderstanding. I can't use a sword. I was told to come here and teach someone to use a crossbow" he explained, a little uncomfortably. "Also, no, sadly this is a real crossbow - not a disguised sword of some kind."

After a few trills, Kylar answered Tristan's question of how it worked. He took the crossbow off his back.
"You put your foot here, in the stirrup, and then pull back the string. When it clicks you let go, and that's when you can load the bolt. Pull the trigger and the string comes loose again, launching the bolt" he explained.
Kylar lowered the crossbow, then sighed. But an idea came to his head. He smiled and looked up to the man. "I can't teach you the sword, but how about to compensate for the error I teach you to use a crossbow? If you have the time, I can even spare a few more breaks than we had planned. What do you think?"
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Missing the point

“Oh”, the noble made as Kylar informed him that the eyes had been given to him by an Immortal. His own eyes widened and he took a closer look. They were really quite impressive. “Which Immortal gave them to you?” he wanted to know. “And do you think they’ll also make my eyes glow if I ask nicely?” Glowing eyes, he thought, would be an awesome thing to have and make him even better looking than he already was. He just hoped that they didn’t only come in orange. He rather liked his current eye color.

It was just then that something occurred to him. Kylar had said that he had the eyes of a wolf. “Do you have other wolf traits as well?” he abruptly asked and secretly wondered if the man hid a tail in his pants, had a penchant for raw meat or howled at the moon every now and then.

The idea of the Lothar sitting on his haunches in the forest somewhere and making animal sounds was so comical that he almost laughed out loud which probably didn’t exactly improve the opinion that the Lothar was without a doubt beginning to form of him.

Apparently, he realized as Kylar spoke, his weapon was a real crossbow and not a disguised sword which was unfortunate since he would have loved to find out how you could make one weapon look like a totally different weapon. What was he supposed to do now?

He looked at Kylar for a moment, considering him. “I don’t know how the Iron Hand could confuse ‘crossbow’ and ‘sword’. Those words don’t look or sound the same”, he said. “Maybe the person that was dealing with my request was half blind and hard of hearing?” he wondered before he shrugged his shoulders, deciding that it didn’t really matter at the moment (although he might investigate later on).

All that mattered was that Kylar was here now and waiting for an answer from him.

He looked from Lothar to crossbow and back, deciding that the little explanation that the man had given had been quite interesting. Up until then he hadn’t known that you needed your feet to manipulate a crossbow. He’d thought that you just raised it and fired it. That the foot part was called a stirrup was weird though. A crossbow wasn’t a saddle, was it?

“Since you are already here, you might as well teach me how to use this thing”, he finally replied and tossed his cane sword in a corner. He wouldn’t need it anymore. He’d pick it up again and put it back into its chest when the lesson was over. “Won’t we need targets though? I have a few sculptures that we could shoot. I haven’t been able to sell them so far.”

“I’m a sculptor”,
he explained.
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Kylar looked to the man as if his head had dropped off. Would Karem give glowing eyes to this man if he asked nicely? He couldn't believe his ears. Perhaps the man was joking and he was missing the joke? But normally, people told jokes with a different tone. But he was speaking as if he meant it all - meaning he probably did.
"It was Karem, and I'm not sure if she gives them out by request. Sorry to disappoint you" he said, smiling amused. As confusing as this was, the man was either telling a joke or was completely mad - both of which were somewhat amusing. Although, the madman did have a sword and a lot of money. A rich madman was probably the scariest kind, now that he thought about it. His smile faded quickly.

"I have a few, I suppose. Fangs, as you might not have noticed" he said, not willing to just bare them at random. "A wolf, as well. One that I can communicate with" he explained to the man. Now who sounded like the madman, the one who wanted glowing eyes or the one who already had them and could talk to wolves?
Kylar then wondered if his next question would put the man's curiosity to rest. "Would...would you like to meet the wolf?" he asked. He then heard a snarling in his head.
"Don't you dare" Zi'da said sharply in Kylar's head. It brought a smile to Kylar's face. "I'm sure he would be more than happy to meet you."

When Tristan wondered how they could confuse Crossbow with Sword, Kylar nodded in agreement. As much as he supported the hand, this was a position that he thought not even he was unlucky enough to be in. He gave an apologetic look to the man.
"I'm not one to talk badly about the Hand, but however this mix up occurred - it's one I'll apologize on their behalf for. This is unfair for you, if you wanted to learn to use a sword."

At least, Kylar thought, the man was willing to learn the crossbow instead. However, he suggested using sculptures that he had made? It seemed a waste of talent, in Kylar's opinion.
"If that would be your preference, then I would happily teach you against sculptures. But is that wise? Just because nobody has boughtt them yet, doesn't mean nobody will" he offered, placing his hand on his coin purse. "Anyway, you gather us some targets - be them sculptures or something else. I will more than happily teach you. It's Kylar, by the way. A pleasure to meet you."
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Missing the point

“So I actually have to do something in order for Karem to give me glowing eyes?” Tristan asked disappointedly and let out a deep sigh. He didn’t like that one bit even though it made sense. Nothing in life was ever free, not even for noble lords, at least not all the time, and the Immortals seemed to be especially picky about who they gave their mark to – which made him wonder what exactly Kylar had accomplished. “What did you do for her?” he wanted to know. Maybe it was something that he would be able to replicate. Apart from being a sculptor, he also worked at the theatre. He was good at imitating other people.

As Kylar revealed that he didn’t only have glowing eyes, but also fangs, Tristan furrowed his brow a bit. While glowing eyes seemed an awesome thing to have, he wasn’t so sure about elongated teeth. “Do they ever get in your way when you speak?” he wanted to know and made sure to listen to Kylar’s answer especially closely in order to find out if the Lothar had a lisp. As a man that worked at the theatre he couldn’t afford to have a speech impediment. Nobody would hire him if he had one, even though fangs would look quite nice.

As Kylar mentioned his wolf, Tristan just stared at him incredulously for a moment. He could communicate with his pet? Tristan sometimes talked to his cat, but he knew deep down that Mistral didn’t really understand him (and probably wouldn’t care much about what he said if he did, he was a very selfish and somewhat sociopathic cat). “Sure”, he decided. “I’d like to meet him. Maybe you could show me how exactly the two of you communicate”, he challenged him. “I’ve never met a talking wolf before.”

“Those sculptures have been taking up space in my workshop for months”,
Tristan informed Kylar. “I doubt that anybody will buy them at this point. If we shoot them, they’ll be at least good for something.” Without barely stopping to breath he continued, “I’m Tristan by the way, Lord Tristan Venora to be exact, but you can just call me Tristan.” Having said that, he extended his hand towards Kylar.

Once introductions had been made, he disappeared into the house for a moment and returned with three very strange sculptures. The first one was a woman that was wearing a nice dress, but she had blue skin and her head was square rather than round. The second one was the sculpture of a mer, only that he had a fluffy tail like a fox. And the third one … the third one was supposed to be one of the patron saints of Rynmere, Krome, the Patron Saint of Death, but it was hardly recognizable which was probably why the client it had originally been intended for had refused it, and nobody else had wanted to buy it either.

Since all the Kromes he had met when he had made the sculpture had been ugly, he had made Krome an ugly woman with a face full of warts, red eyes and a cleft lip. She was also wearing a long, billowing hooded cloak and had a raven on her shoulder and a scythe in her right hand.

He arranged the three sculptures next to each other in front of the wall and then turned back to Kylar and told him, “Let’s shoot a few things now! Can I have the crossbow or do you still need to explain something to me? If I shoot things, I want to do it properly and not make a fool of myself, you know?”
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Kylar smiled at the man. "I don't suppose devoting my path to Hunting, one of her domains, counts?" he said. "I dedicated everything I did to Karem, and then had the chance to meet her. I didn't know it was her, of course, but it was. I helped her while she was injured, and in return she helped me find myself."
Kylar chuckled at the man's question on if the fangs got in the way. "Well, us Lothar already have fangs - albeit a little smaller. But no, even the larger ones don't get in the way" he said. He thought to Atashi, almost certain he had fangs as well. He pondered that for a moment, before shaking his head and brushing it aside.

Kylar smiled. "Well, Zi'da, you heard the man" Kylar said audibly. Sure enough, a wolf appeared from seemingly nowhere, slowly fading out of his spiritual form. Kylar smiled to the wolf, despite knowing that it was glaring at him. If looked at carefully, their eyes matched perfectly.
"I should kill you" the wolf said to Kylar bluntly, letting out only snarls to anyone else. Kylar kneeled down, and despite Zi'da not wanting to make an appearance, the wolf ran over to him and put it's paws on his shoulder - nuzzling against him. Kylar then stood up and looked to Tristan, the wolf's gaze following as well.
"This is Zi'da. He'll understand if you speak to him, but won't be able to speak back. I can relay any messages though" he explained. "He speaks in my head, crazy as it sounds. But he does speak, I'm not just insane" Kylar said and chuckled. "That matter is up for debate" Zi'da barked.

As Tristan brought out the statues, Kylar decided that perhaps these were better suited as targets. Not that he would tell that to Tristan, of course. Zi'da barked, however, trying to contain himself. "Kylar, look, he made a sculpture of you" the wolf said, not specifically mentioning which. Kylar shot him a glare. "Maybe it's fate."
"Well, if you'd rather skip to shooting, go ahead" he offered and loaded the bolt for him, before handing it to the man. "Just aim at the target and rest the crossbow on your shoulder to avoid getting knocked back. Keep your feet wide."
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Missing the point

“Of course that counts!” Tristan replied as Kylar spoke about devoting his path to Hunting. “So you are saying that I need to become a hunter in order to get glowing eyes? I’m already drinking alcohol in the name of Ilaren and writing musicals for Zanik. I’m not sure where I’m supposed to find the time to hunt!” he exclaimed somewhat exasperatedly. Maybe, he thought, it would be better to make sure that he had enough time for the two Immortals that he currently worshipped. He really didn’t want them to think that he neglected them, especially not Ilaren. She was his secret crush!

“I don’t suppose you’d be willing to show them to me?” he asked as he explained that Lothar already had fangs and they didn’t get in the way. As he said that, he wondered if maybe he could just sculpt artificial fangs if Karem didn’t give him some. There was probably a market for that kind of stuff. He also wondered if making something that looked like a mark from an Immortal was illegal. Or maybe it wasn’t illegal, but blasphemy?

And then the wolf suddenly appeared, and Tristan stopped thinking about becoming a hunter or committing blasphemy. He just stared. He had never seen such a beautiful animal before! “He has your eyes”, he observed and looked at Kylar before he knelt down and extended his right hand so that Zi’da could pick up his scent. “May I stroke you?” he asked very politely. “I don’t suppose you can speak in my head as well?” he added because he’d always wondered what it would be like to have a voice that was not your own in your head.

He didn’t think that Kylar was insane at all. On the contrary – he was absolutely fascinated! That Kylar might just be pulling his leg didn’t occur to him. If the wolf could appear out of thin air, then there was a good chance that it was probably telepathic as well.

It was time for him to fire the crossbow though, so he took it and placed the stirrup on the ground. Following that he slipped his foot through it and grabbed the string with both hands to pull it upwards. It took quite a bit of his strength, and he ended up pulling harder on the left side than on the right side so that the string ended up completely off-center.

As he heard a click, he let go, loaded the bolt, pulled the trigger and aimed at the sculpture of Krome. Of course the bolt didn’t hit the sculpture. It landed somewhere in the meadow in front of it. “Oops”, Tristan remarked. “How do you aim with this thing?” he wanted to know from Kylar. “And how do you keep your arms from just falling off after a couple of shots?” Pulling the string back put quite a bit of strain on your muscles, he realized, but there was no way he was just going to give up so he added,

“Is there anything I can do to increase the strength in my arms?”
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Kylar smiled at the man's curiosity, and his devotion to his own immortals. "Hunting is the best way to go about it, but that doesn't necessarily mean Animals. I, personally, haven't hunt for an animal in a long time. Instead, hunting can be helping people - saving lives" Kylar explained, as Karem had taught him. He hoped his words would reach the man - imagining if a powerful noble devoted them-self to Karem.
"Musicals and sculpting? That sounds fascinating. If I hear word of a musical you have created coming to Venora, where I live, I will be sure to go and attend. If not, I will make sure to be in Andaris next time there is one. I'm sure my wife would adore to see one" he said, genuinely considering it. Crimson loved everything artistic, so the idea of a musical was one that she would adore.

Without hesitation, when Tristan asked, Kylar would bare his fangs. They were sharp, much sharper than most Lotharro would ever have. He hadn't used them yet, he thought the idea of it would be a little disgusting in all honesty. But if he had to, he would. Maybe the mark made him like the taste of flesh more than usual? Was that really something he wanted to find out?
Zi'da walked forward towards Tristan, then nuzzled his head against his extended hand. Kylar smiled at the sight. "Unfortunately, he can't talk to you as well" Kylar said with a chuckle. "But trust me, he likes you. It's rare he shows himself to people - even if I ask him to."

Kylar observed as Tristan loaded the bolt. His loading was bad, but that was expected - it was his first time. As for his stance, Kylar wanted to just make sure of a few things.
"To aim, hold it tight against your shoulder and look down the bolt - so you can see it's flight path. As for keeping your arms from falling off, it comes with practice. Although, training your muscles helps a fair bit. When you fire, make sure the string is pulled up equally on either side" he explained. He pondered Tristan's question on how to increase the strength in his arms. It was something Kylar had been considering doing for some time, as most of his strength came naturally from being a Lotharro or just general hunting. But compared to others of his race, he wasn't outstandingly strong by any means.
"I suppose by using them more, carrying heavy objects and the like. Just generally exercising" he offered.

Kylar then handed Tristan another bolt.
"Give it a try, but keep your legs wide and your feet planted firm. Hold it tight against your shoulder, so your core takes most of the hit when it recoils."
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“I’m good at helping people”, Tristan informed Kylar. “When I was in Ne’haer, and the whole city was burning, I gave the poor people who had lost everything my nels. And I also killed a few shadow beasts. Granted, they were really easy to kill, but still … do you think that Karem would approve of that?” He really hoped so, but deep down he feared that Karem wouldn’t care about him throwing money at the poor, and thus he already started to secretly make plans for fake fangs and other accessories.

“You are from Venora?” he blurted out. He was unable to hide his surprise. How come he had overlooked Kylar all those arcs? A Lothar with glowing eyes and fangs wasn’t exactly a common sight! “I lived there until I went to university, and I still visit regularly. Duchess Ebony is my grandmother in case it isn’t obvious from the last name. Have you ever met her? She’s old and a bit grumpy, but I always get a lot to eat when I’m in Sabaissant which makes up for it to some extent in my opinion.”

“Does your wife have fangs and glowing eyes as well by the way?”
he continued immediately after finishing the last sentence, without stopping to take a breath. And then Kylar bared his fangs without hesitation, and Tristan stopped babbling and just stared at the Lothar. He hadn’t expected the man to actually show him. His fangs looked sharp, sharp enough to kill somebody with them.

“Impressive”, he remarked and secretly hoped that Kylar would never use those fangs on him.

As the Lothar said that the wolf liked him, he smiled. It was a very bright, genuine smile. People occasionally got on his nerves, but he loved animals, even – or especially – the animals that nobody else loved, such as Mistral. “I have a pet as well”, he informed Zi’da and gently stroke his head. “He’s a cat and may just be part demon. I wish he were like you and could appear out of nowhere and talk to me inside my head.”

“Don’t tell him that though”,
he said, rose to his feet and turned to the crossbow again. Kylar’s explanation helped – a little. He put the crossbow on the ground again and pulled the string up. This time he tried to make sure that it wasn’t off-center before he loaded the bolt and held it tight against his shoulder. The weapon felt strange and unfamiliar in his hands, and for a moment he doubted if that was ever going to change.

“You’d better get away from me so that I don’t accidentally shoot you”, he warned Kylar before he remembered that he was supposed to keep his legs wide, so he did just that. He wasn’t sure why it mattered how he was standing, but since he was a (mostly) good student, he did what he was told anyway. And then he fired. A moment later there was a loud sound, and the Mer with the bushy tail suddenly had a bolt stuck in his torso.

Tristan looked from the sculpture to Kylar and back and wondered if he should tell the Lothar that he had been aiming at the sculpture of Krome that was standing directly next to the Mer again. In the end he decided to keep the fact that he had missed his target to himself because he wanted his teacher to be proud of him and simply asked, “How was that?”
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