• Solo • Hairline Crack in the Hull

Aun's sudden realisation of the mortality of his Master.

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Aun
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Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:40 pm
Race: Aukari
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Hairline Crack in the Hull

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Arc 715, Vhalar cycle, 55th Trial
The night was dark and silent.

As morning drew near, silence was broken by the scraping noise of a pot lid, and darkness dissipated, as the glowing embers within the pot was revealed within. Out from the pot burst a wash of warm yellows that splashed onto the small room. It revealed a semblance of a person but with little detail than that and a sense of the cramped space that this person called home. The person, who took hold of the lantern in one hand, the door handle in the other, tugged the door open against the scraping resistance of an uneven stone floor. A layer of further light and ambient chatter from Sirothelle rising from slumber, rose in stages as the door was pulled open, breathing life into a deathly silent room. With the door finally open, the figure was met with a stone tiled patio, open to the elements on one side, enclosed and leading to the rest of the house on the other.

The sun had just started to peak over the horizon now and leaked traces of light as it slowly dissolved the darkness around. The resulting silhouette that was formed and the dark patch that hung from the figures face, was enough to conclude that this person was indeed a man. He shuffled along the patio and while holding the pot of embers with one hand, rubbed the sleep from the eyes with the other. The pot was discarded temporarily on the sill of a window while he crouched. A few ladle scoops of water were drunk and the unwelcome drips were spat out. He gritted his teeth against the cold sear of water over his Aukari lips.

Now the sky was beginning to streak with oranges and yellows, with a hue that grew in strength. It cast its colours onto the figure, mixing its orange with his red hair as if to highlight that this man was an Aukari. The figure looked up at the sky as if to answer a silent call. Light shone upon his face, shadows formed from his unruly hair, heavy brows, disjointed nose and gnarled beard. It was his brown eyes that shone, revealing his identity, in that they reflected the evolving sky and always climaxing in fire. He was Aun.

Aun thought of fire. He saw the sky as if he were physically standing within his own body. It licked and cackled menacingly, with a promise that with enough emotional fuel, he would be engulfed in it. Suddenly, the sun, as if personified by Faldrun himself, reared up from the horizon as if to look down upon Aun, like a burning eye that could pierce his very soul...

Aun recoiled, the bucket tipping. Water unfurled over the patio and drained onto the unkept garden. He hastily took the pot of coals and the now empty bucket and strode away. He promised himself not to think any further on the subject of Faldrun while he would commence his work that day. It served him only fear.
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Last edited by Aun on Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 514
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Aun
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Master Galai, a master of pottery, guest teacher of Oikeia and owner of the successful store “Galai's Ceramics”, was in deep thought that morning. He was seated at his usual spot, slumped over his wheel and showing only his glistening scalp and a few sparse red hairs. His thin, dried fingers, danced along a narrow scroll of parchment that detailed rows of orders. His nail bit into the page, leaving a faint line, cutting the order into half.

This, he thought, will be enough to do for today…

The room itself was small and lined with shelves of countless pots with the centre occupied by cushions on the floor and trays containing tools and wrapped clay. The sound of the crackling fire of the kiln was complemented by the soft crumple of the parchment, folded by the hands of Galai.

Aun appeared at the doorway and crossed the room mutely, attracting no reaction from Galai. Aun knelt onto the stone floor slowly and almost ritualistically, carefully slipping his cold, bare feet under himself. He could feel his excitement grow as he would begin the day’s work. His mind flipped through the possibilities of the clay, animating it being manipulated in all the forms, textures, colour afforded by his level of skill. As the clay was unwrapped of its bonds and lay before him, the boring mass was to be made, as he quickly realised, into another boring pot.

The excitement faded. He had not been advanced by his teacher to create anything further. He took the clay with a soundless sigh and began to knead the clay nonchalantly, as he had done for arcs past and it seemed liable for many more.
Master Galai lowered the parchment down. He looked up and noticed Aun for the first time. He stared at him kneading the clay for many minutes, up and down, with a dumbfounded look of surprise that he could barely contain...

‘How long have you been here?’ He burst out suddenly.

Aun stopped kneading the clay. He looked about the room for an intruder, a burglar, a lurker and found the room empty save he. Aun returned his gaze back to his master and was taken aback that Galai was staring directly at him with such contempt.

‘I just…a few minutes…’ Aun began.

‘No! No! Worked! How long have you worked here for?’ Galai asked. An edge of frustration was in his voice.
Aun felt that strange lump in his throat that seemed to form when a feeling of something wrong was occurring. It seemed to affect his ability to speak but he knew he had to manage to say something. ‘Four years.’ Aun replied with his brow furrowing.

‘Oh.’ Galai blinked as if he no longer cared, staring blankly about the room.

Aun stared at Galai, who seemed to continue looking about aimlessly. The apprentice suddenly noticed his master’s age and could sense the impending mortality of his mentor. It seemed in Aun’s mind that Galai had never aged at all and yet it seemed overnight his master had aged ten arcs. Galai seemed to have more wrinkles, less hair and above all the sharp mind that had lost that familiar edge, suddenly dull.

‘Master? It’s me…Aun?’

‘Aun.’ Galai repeated, his eyes searching. Suddenly his eyes seemed keener. His dried face, creased further as he gave a wistful smile. ‘You were that annoying boy who wouldn’t leave my store. I had you cleaning and wedging for years…’ Galai trailed off.

Aun nodded with doubts at his master’s sudden recovery. His master was always a harsh man – in fact he almost revelled in giving his apprentice such awful, meaningless work. Yet now he had softened as his mind was not as it should be…
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Aun
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As if snapping out of a dream, Galai straightened.

‘Right, well then.’ Galai gestured Aun to bring the piece of newly wedged clay to his master’s wheel. ‘Observe.’ He commanded.

Galai’s hands were deft as he worked the wheel. The moved like spidery legs spinning a concoction. The tips of the fingers found points of resistance, pushing and pulling the clay, whirling like dancers. The clay shot up like a fountain and flattened out like globule of mud splatting on the ground. Only moments passed and the pot, in perfection, was in place of the clump of clay.

Galai gestured vaguely to the other strip of clay as if to indicate it was Aun’s turn.

Aun sat at his wheel and raked back his hair with his brows furrowed in concentration. Confidence seemed to radiate from him despite being a beginner. He put the wheel in motion and repeated the process as his master had done. The result was a pot, not to dissimilar in shape to his master, though obviously lacking in any sense of perfection. Aun flicked his eyes up at his master.

Galai turned the wheel and rubbed his chin in thought. He poured his eyes over the form.

He looked at Aun for a moment and continued to turn the wheel. He frowned. ‘It's good. Too good for your first try. Who instructed you of this? What right do you have to receive instruction from another teacher? Speak, you wretched boy!

Aun grimaced. ‘You did?’

‘What?' Galai's voice was drawn to a whisper, as if ready to burst into a tirade. 'What did you say?'

‘You taught me how to make this already!’ Aun said, anger rising.

‘I?’ The wheel stopped turning. Galai’s eyes widened as if realizing something most awful. ‘How many times?’

Aun hesitated, ‘Six.’

Galai sat back. Or rather, he slumped backward on his elbows, as if a sudden wind had blown him down. He stared out of the doorway that led to the rear yard, his eyes becoming mere slits to shield himself from the light of the morning sun. The sound of the city yammered away.

‘At least, I thought you knew that you were repeating the same lesson.’ Aun continued, not knowing if Galai was listening. ‘Then, I thought it may have been a test. Now, I don’t know…’ He trailed off. He could not tell his mentor that an awful thing was happening.

‘I’m losing my memories…’ Galai murmured softly to himself as he continued to look out of the door. ‘I know this. I can feel it.’ He stood up, wincing at the effort and letting out a groan. He clambered toward the door and leaned a hand against the frame to hold himself stead. ‘I remember everything before.’ He motioned vaguely with his free hand. ‘But everything now is…unclear, murky.’

He turned but his leg gave way. He fell to the ground, hard, his hand catching a row of pots on the adjacent shelf and they fell to the ground with a loud crash, fragments spreading about. Aun was on his feet immediately in reaction, unable to catch Galai who had broken his fall somewhat awkwardly with his hand. Galai seemed perplexed and even embarrassed. It took some time for Aun, who cleared a chair that held more pots and placed it nearby Galai. He helped lift Galai and awkwardly slid him onto the chair.

‘No, I’m alright…’ Galai managed, panting. A trickle of blood appeared from his left nostril, dripping to the ground.

‘Stay there…’ Aun’s heart was racing, he turned to the door. Who could he go to for help, perhaps the neighbour-

‘No!’ Galai growled with an inhuman voice, grabbing Aun. His face was livid as if he were facing life and death.

‘But you need help!’ Aun managed out of gritted teeth, grabbing his master’s arms tighter as if to shove him back down.

‘Don’t you understand? No one must know this! By Faldrun himself, you must not tell anyone of my failing mind, or everything will be ruined!’

Galai was breathing heavily with a horrible wheeze.

‘To my bed...’ He managed.

Aun took hold of Galai and managed to half drag – half lift the old man to his quarters. He was lowered heavily to his bed where he lay motionless. And then, Galai’s body rose and fell with breathing and Aun exhaled in relief. He found a cloth nearby to soak the bloody nose of his master, drew the curtains and shutters to the shop and locked the doors.

As he did this, the sound of his master saying 'everything will be ruined' seemed to run over and over in his mind. What would be ruined? His business? Or something more important?

He knew there was no way to solve this puzzle. Nor could he hope to complete that day’s orders without Galai. He sat by his Master, knowing that things had now gotten worse and while his Master would likely forget what had just occured, his Master's mind was degrading at an exponential rate. Though he never felt close to his harsh master, the tinge of vulnerability that continued to reveal itself, seemed to make Aun care. These thoughts revolved about Aun's mind, worries and fears, and as the sun fell and the bustle of the city waned, so did his thoughts as he fell asleep, back into the dark and silent night.
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Hairline Crack in the Hull

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Come and get your Loot!

(There's plenty more where that came from)


AUN:
Skills:

  • Interrogation +1
  • Negotiation +1
  • Observation +2
  • Pottery +2
  • Socialization +1
  • Stealth +1 (for crossing the shop without Galai hearing.)

Knowledges:

  • Basic
    • Up at dawn for work.
    • Water can be painful.
    • Through fire and Sun, Faldrun is always watching.
    • Clearing one's mind of fear.
    • The tedium of routine work.
  • Specific
    • Master Galai: A harsh taskmaster and artisan.
    • Master Galai: Aging ten arcs overnight.
    • Recognizing a deeper problem than just old age.
    • Compassion for a cranky old master losing his edge.
    • Helping a near invalid to bed.
    • Hiding the truth about Galai.

Loot:

Sorry, nothing to award here.


Injuries:

None of those either, though Galai sounds like he may be getting some soon. :(

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Comments:

I had already mentioned to you that I really liked the atmosphere you created, and the phases of anger, denial and anguish Aun and Galai went through. I was uncertain what exact social skills to award for the sort of argument they had, but I think this works. I do have just a couple of critiques to make.

This appears to cover the entire day, but you don't really say what Aun did for the rest of it. You do mention staying by Galai's side, and that Aun couldn't complete the orders without him. But he did he really sit there the whole day? Did he try to do some of the orders?

Don't get me wrong, I only mention this in case this had been intended as a job thread. We're behind enough right now that we've decided to waive the whole job thread / wage schedule for this last season. But if this HAD been intended to count as a job thread, you'd have needed to establish more details of how the remaining time was spent.

But as just a good atmospheric story, I really enjoyed this!

Oh, and as always, feel free to PM with any comments or concerns. :)
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