• Solo • Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 1]

Sword Training and Intrigue.

As one approaches the City of Nashaki, trains of caravans lead through the sprawling outskirts to the numerous open city gates. The largest gate is on the west side and leads past the fortified walls into an octagon of eight districts. Each district features unique markets and is maintained by one of the eight Towers that rule Nashaki. In the city, heavily guarded, is the prized oasis that supports the Nashaki people to flourish in such an unforgiving land.
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 1]

Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 1]


5th of Cylus
Nashaki City
The Scrolls of Anar Verse One, Nashaki, #2 Not every garden needs a flower.




W
ithin winding, quieter city streets, a dry tree stood, its wood flaky and worn, bearing the years on its weathered surface, the same as any traveled man of the desert might. The city rarely touched this alleyway, but the desert was always present. All that hung down the crumbling walls facing him, were a few faint markings drawn on fabric in rows, old, dusty and faded, but on display all the same. A small dry garden lay behind him, which had seen better days, or perhaps it was always dry given the climate. Few disturbed whatever went on here, only the sound of shifting feet, and the occasional…

Clunk.

When the stick slipped from his grip the second time. It was no lie, that Anar couldn’t even hold a branch, especially given the distinct lack of sun cylus brought. So much so it drew the attention from a couple of passers-by, where they'd come from he couldn't say. He’d picked a quiet, secluded part of the city to practice footwork with his makeshift wooden stick, practice from a novice with only the most rudimentary understanding of the technique, will only get you so far. In his case, even less far than usual. Yet it was seemingly far enough to draw local interest. One of which had stepped on the fallen branch, the other standing to Kaladis's side, and both glaring pointedly at him.

“Shouldn’t be here.” Was all the closest man said, dressed in local desert wear, loosing fitting clothing, concealing much of their bodies, both wearing noticeable shades of bronze fabric in their attire, but having little else to stand out.

Kaladis looked between them, suddenly wishing he’d carried his knife today, now keenly aware of the benefit an actual blade would offer. None had made a move to act, perhaps wondering how the young Eidisi would react instead.

“Then I will leave.” Kaladis answered, looking back and returning the same glare. One alley was as good as another to him.

“You shouldn’t be here.” The other stranger uttered again in repetition, perhaps he didn’t understand common fully, or was looking for an excuse to cause problems. Whatever the reason, Kaladis pulled the branch free of the first man’s boot, thankfully not toppling him, and raised himself to his feet.

But then, like many things in life recently, it became complicated, because they stood in his way.
~
Last edited by Kaladis Anar on Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:27 am, edited 4 times in total. word count: 445
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents

F
lickering torchlight illuminated Cylus’s overlay of darkness, just enough to see them go for their swords, Kaladis’s eyesight was good, very good. As they went for their weapons he cracked the first man’s hand sharply with the branch, but sadly missed a follow up to his chin. The second assailant was too far away, and his branch did little to dissuade the man from advancing, or the first when he’d recovered from getting a sharp sting to his hand.

“Wait.” With a distinctive twang of drawn steel, what seemed to be the now cursing leader of the two stepped again to the forefront, muttering something about outsiders and customs, while visibly flexing his now bruised hand. Probably by the way he stepped in front of his companion, he wanted to be the one to visit some punishment on Kaladis, but by the local language he began swearing in it was hard to tell.

Pulling aside his head clothing so Kaladis could see his face more fully, showing a black goatee, green eyes, he seemed human but below the face he was wearing too much clothing to be sure. The man was looking right through Kaladis, and the gloomy nights of Cylus, lit by only flickering torchlight nearby, did little to make the moment less tense.

What happened next lasted all of five seconds. A feinted thrust by the green eyed human, a parry by Kaladis, and that was about the extent of it, because as Kaladis parried, the novice he was, he reached too far. All his attacker had to do was slide his blade inside along the stick, ending with his blade point directly at the Eidisi’s throat. A throat the point of the sword was now pressing against, drawing the faintest tip of blood.

“Here of all places!?” Came a gruff voice from somewhere in the lingering twilight, Kaladis wanted to turn his head, but the point of the sword against him made that gesture somewhat impossible. He’d take a step back, but the second man had put his weapon over in that direction, all he could do was drop the makeshift weapon. Which oddly enough the man behind him did as well, but not that blade at his throat... that remained sadly a pressing reminder of Kaladis’s perilous situation.
~
Last edited by Kaladis Anar on Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 399
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Kaladis Anar
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents

“Master Aaranius,” an almost reverent voice said from behind Kaladis’s back.

An inch or two was gained between the steel and Kaladis’s throat, enough to turn his gaze slightly, and see one of the men dip his head to the newcomer, a man who Kaladis still couldn’t see.

Waving his sword angrily now, a rush of words were uttered in Umaya, a flowing sound with short pronounced stops, something Kaladis had been slowly listening to, but far from understanding in the few days he’d been here. ~He defiled the sanctuary, it is my right to challenge him!~

The branch was picked up, and the cut to the wood examined thoroughly. “And what did he cut the tree with?” Aaranius stated in common, holding the clean slice in the wood up to the light.

Frustratingly for Kaladis the one holding the sword, paused realising his mistake but replied again in Umaya ~It doesn’t matter, he challenged me.~ By the way he pointed the blade at him, Kaladis got the general gist that he wasn’t going to drop this.

“Did you draw your weapon?” The Master humored a response again in common, but his tone was taking on that of a teacher explaining life, showing some patience, but also that this was already decided. Finally the blade was lowered, though the human who had held it cursed Kaladis once more, caught his sword hilt in his hand and shoved it back in his sheathe. “There will be another time iceskin.”

Each gave a bow of their head for Aaranius, respect at least, a respect which had changed their minds. Both humans covered their faces again, and turned on their heels, glancing back once or twice only. Kaladis rubbed his throat, feeling the slight pierce from the sword, but glad to still have a head, looking about for his rescuer. Just who was this saviour, some old and wise swordsmaster, an ancient tender of the garden?
~
word count: 339
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents

A
aranius looked like none of those things. When he came into view, he was an average sized Qi'ora, who looked about fifty, maybe forty. Dressed in very ordinary looking desert wear, except for that bronze hue to some of his garments. What Kaladis was becoming keenly reminded of, is that all Qi’ora were much older than they looked, it could put him anywhere from a hundred and fifty upwards.

“You are having an interesting visit.” Aaranius observed with a faint chuckle.

Removing the hand from his sore neck, Kaladis was still trying to take all this in.

Aaranius took a small pace toward the dry garden, he seemed to walk very carefully, and be very unassuming in his posture, hands behind his back. “What is it you came here to do?” Aaranius’s words were plain, but Kaladis began to feel, that he should probably answer truthfully, there seemed a gravity to this man.

“To practice my footwork.” Kaladis remarked.

An eyebrow was quirked, and Aaranius's chuckle began a small laugh, before it ended in a frown, looking at the branch in his hands with some sadness. “Do you know how rare trees in the desert are?”

All the pieces of this puzzle came together, Kaladis had been using something these people considered valuable perhaps, but he’d just picked it up off the ground. Which was the only reason he was alive!

“This one produces a healing fruit, once a year, enough to save many from sickness. It requires much sacrifice of our water.” Aaranius placed the cut branch by the small, old tree slowly. “To think someone would defile it like this.” He shook his head.

Looking Kaladis up and down Aaranius decided something. “But enough of this unhappy business, for now, if you wish to learn the sword, then follow me.” With a small tilt of his head in the direction he would turn to walk, the master turned about, and Kaladis followed at a steady pace.
~
Last edited by Kaladis Anar on Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 343
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents

W
alking around the edge of the dry garden, Kaladis couldn’t spot a flower, which was not surprising given the colder cycle they were in. In desert temperatures, cold was a relative thing he mused, he could only imagine how this mild dry breeze would feel when the full heat of the sun returned.

Flowers or no, Aaranius stopped three times to check on the dry shrubs and small plants as they passed, each one appearing valuable to him in his handling of it. “Water is rationed carefully here,” the Qi'ora explained, “and every plant has its purpose.” Aaranius moved his head upwards to signal to a guard.

It was then Kaladis noticed them, where before they had blended into the twilight background unseen. One or more in each corner of the garden keeping watch. It only raised more questions and concerns as to how that branch back there was cut, this garden being so well guarded. If Aaranius also had concerns, he wasn’t sharing them, or why Kaladis hadn’t been interrupted sooner. These people seemed reluctant to share much, or reveal themselves, it was impressing Kaladis. Secrecy was a trait he valued, as did Audrae. It also made him drop back a step, to get a good look inside the thick door that was opened, to check for dangers. There was no visible deadbolt he could see, or danger waiting on the other side. The Eidisi didn’t feel in a position to refuse the offer of assistance given his lack of a weapon, or alternative at this point.

Carefully Kaladis followed Aaranius inside, to what was a much cleaner, well-kept stone hallway than he had been used to in Nashaki. Aaranius took off his shoes, carrying them, Kaladis assuming it custom did the same. A soft rug, and a few comfortable steps later, the two came to a larger, open hall. Where strangely both put their footwear on again, perhaps the entrance was ceremonial, or was there more to the doorway?
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The Makers Hall


D
ecorated with fine craftsmanship, if dusty like much of the land, carvings adorned, and pillars upheld what appeared a simple stone structure from the outside. This was more than a training hall, in Vhalar's name it was a work of art, and he took a good break or two observing the sculptures inside. Was that singing he could hear? Well lit inside, he could make out three figures, but only one was of note to him.

“Kaladis! About time…”
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~
word count: 420
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents

F
riends, brothers almost, linked arms for the first time in a long time. They shared a bond that only those with arcane heritage, and mutual pariahdom understand. “Ralari. I hadn’t expected you so soon, always one step ahead.” A pressed smile formed on Kaladis's face, fading soon after at his mentor gave him his often stern look. Reminding him of the need to play their full identities as close to their chest as possible.

You might assume Kalaris would be surprised to see his old friend from Viden, an arcane teacher here of all places, but Ralari was not an Eidisi who moved slowly. He had taught Kaladis that information, and positioning yourself was more powerful than swords or spells, one day Kaladis thought that might change, but not for some time.

Aanarius gave them a moment to catch up, then interceded, “your friend vouched for you, he is known to me, and now you are. I will train you, and in turn your friend will assist me.” As usual the Qi’ora spoken in neutral tones, showing little expression, he mirrored Kalaris’s usual expression more or less. It seemed, once again Kalaris had walked into a situation that was previously arranged ahead of time, and it was growing somewhat tiresome to feel masterless of his own fate.

“I will leave you to your studies, find me afterwards, we have matters to discuss.” Ralari exited into one of the adjoining rooms. When the door opened the sound of the voices, the song in the background grew louder, and even lingered perhaps when it closed.

The beginners Grip

Calling over an attendant and telling Kaladis to ready himself, he was offered choice of five types of blade, picking a simple longsword with guard and pommel. “Grip the sword like this.” Aaranius held both his hands on the hilt below the guard, the left one on the pommel, or end, of the weapon. This was different to how Kaladis had been taught, to keep his bottom hand higher, to have more freedom in the movement, rather than snappy leverage on the end. He did find gripping the blade this new way easier, and more natural for him personally. Aaranius explained there were more advanced grips, but better he concentrate on the basics.

The first Stance
“We act from the ground up”

“Stand like this,” Aaranius seemed more a hands on teacher, leading by example. He stood with his front foot bent facing his opponent, and his backfoot out sideways, explaining it gave him stability, agility, retaining good posture and balance was critical. Balance, an Achilles heal of Kaladis, who felt himself wobbling slightly trying to adjust.

“Keep your front knee above your foot,” Aaranius corrected Kaladis with a sword tap to the knee, demonstrating how it gave him a range of easy movement when sparring. When the knee was locked, instead of bent, he demonstrated how much slower the feet were. Kaladis tried to follow him and stumbled slightly, cursing heavily in Haltunga, which was colourful, but incomprehensible to anyone else.
~
Last edited by Kaladis Anar on Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 522
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents

Cut, Slice, Stab

"Three common moves you will learn today before you leave." Kaladis was concentrating fully, learning all he could, this was an opportunity not to miss.

"Cutting, hew across, or down." Kaladis tried to follow Aaranius, stepping forward to slice the longsword across, taking his time so not to stumble again. "Next Slicing." He then followed a demonstrated overhead chop, using the leverage of the pommel to make a snappier motion than Aaranius had shown.

The swordsmaster turned and tapped his sword against Kaladis’s elbow. "When you make a concussive strike, slice, for you are not using a club, the blade is a weapon of finesse more than it ever will be strength." Little did Kaladis know, he would be taught more of the opposing non Qi'ora school of thought later, for now he very much was taking all this to heart.

"Slicing is not as strong as a full cut, but is easier to deliver accurately. For it takes little pressure to kill an unarmored man with steel." Aaranius demonstrated, first swinging the blade, then small slices at the point of impact, on the neck, joints, and knees, all disabling and all deadly.

"There is the stab, lunge, driving the blade." Aaranius demonstrate a stabbing motion, using the bend in his knees to thrust forward. Kaladis copied him, without the need to move, the bend in the knees gave his balance more stability.

"Again, from the beginning."

So they repeated. Cut. Slice and Stab, mostly done without moving the front foot, the pair slowly progressed to small movements and changes of balance. Working on stabilising Kaladis’s inferior balance most of all. Rather than dismiss his student’s weakness, Aaranius emphasised practicing a strong stance over light footwork, to keep him on firmer ground. Most of all the Master counseled on the novice dangers of overstepping, or overreaching, something most novices do, and with his recent exposure to facing a blade, Kaladis had done just a break before. Aaranius had obviously been watching, had he set up the whole event?

After 50 bits of this repeated, and small adjustments by Aaranius to the grip. They paused, which was good because Kaladis’s arm was ready to drop off from exertion. The Master spared some precious water for them both, an attendant offering them each a small glass.

Safe Distance

Kaladis had a simple question. "How long does it take to draw the blade." Aaranius appeared surprised, most would speak of advanced techniques, or wanting to know when they were ready to spar. Kaladis's mind instead wanted to know who was a threat, and when. "Seven paces for the average man, eight to be safe, closer than that, and you are in trouble." Kaladis moved his mouth side to side, mulling that over. "Does the distance and time to raise the guard close with experience." Aaranius dabbed his neck with a cloth, putting the water on his skin, which is how his race absorbed it. "Very slightly. I have never met a swordhand who could draw a normal sized weapon under four paces from his opponent." Perhaps they existed Kaladis considered, but it was good to know for the future, and a reason to carry a small blade.

“The first of your three lessons is done. Your friend will be waiting.” Taking that as a good cue to leave, a Qi’ora recovered the practice sword from Kaladis, who bowed to Aaranius, Kaladis doing the same with his head as a formality, and was escorted out.

Continued Here: Part 2
Fin
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Of Sword, Song and Serpents [Part 1]

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Come and get your Loot!

(There's plenty more where that came from)


KALADIS ANAR:
Rewards:

  • Story: +5
  • Collaboration: +0 (solo)
  • Structure: +5

These points can NOT be used for magic.

Knowledges:

  • Acrobatics: Don't Lock Your Knees
  • Blades: "Beginner's Grip"
  • Blades: "Cutting", a Horizontal Swing
  • Blades: Keep Safe Distance to Avoid Over-Reaching
  • Blades: Learn the Basics First
  • Blades: "Slicing" The Vertical Swing
  • Blades: "Stabbing" The Forward Lunge
  • Detection: There's More to a Desert Climate Than Sand
  • Intimidation: Two Men Standing on Opposite Sides of You
  • Intimidation: When Angry Men Block Your Way
  • Language: Umaya
  • Makers Hall: You Cross the Floor to the Entrance Barefoot
  • NPC: Master Aaranius: Qi'ora, with The Makers
  • Nashaki Location: The Makers Hall
  • Politics: Locals Everywhere Give Outsiders Little Slack
  • Politics: The Flora in Nashaki is Held in Great Esteem
  • Ralari: Arranged Lessons For You at the Makers Hall
  • Ralari: Necromancy Mentor
  • Umaya: A Few Sentences You Know to be Hostile
  • Unarmed Combat: Swinging a Stick as a Weapon

Loot:

Nothing to speak of


Loss:

Nothing to speak of


Injuries:

Nothing yet


Fame: -3

"Unpopular Cause" (being blamed for the tree)


Devotion: 0

Nothing to speak of


Comments:

It's my understanding that Kaladis does not speak Umaya.
So he could not gain any knowledge from the things said in red.
The "Umaya" knowledge does not mean you can now speak it.
It is just the introduction to it, so you can now start amassing knowledges toward it.
PM me with any comments or concerns :)
word count: 253
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