Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

4 Pages V « < 2 3 4  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Seven Reimagined, A new view of an old story
haute ecole rider
post Sep 16 2018, 06:19 PM
Post #61


Master
Group Icon
Joined: 16-March 10
From: The place where the Witchhorses play



Aww, an adorable chick episode! Complete with discussion of feminism, social/gender roles and limitations of said roles (which I find frustrating IRL, now that I have a nephew and a coworker who are trans and are both wonderful people), and ending with hair and makeup. Just the right touch of everything!

I did notice one tiny nit -
QUOTE
"Ravenward," Hrafngoelir said proudly. "Hetha said it would protect me from harmful magics. So far, it is saved my life more than once. But how did you know it's name?"
Just wanted to remind you that the possessive form of it does not earn an apostrophe.

I continue to enjoy this story, and the hints and foreshadowing and world building that is going on here. I remember the original Seven as well as both the Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven and look forward to how our young, brash Teodon integrates himself into this group.


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Acadian
post Sep 16 2018, 07:10 PM
Post #62


Paladin
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



Rider is right – a delightfully girlish episode. And very nicely woven in there, we learn more about not only Goldenlocks but our brown-haired witch as well.

"That is kind of you to say," Hrafngoelir smiled. "But look at you, with that lovely long hair, and those soft brown eyes."
"Aye, hair brown as dirt, and eyes brown as bark," Aela grumbled, looking back down at the waves below.’

- - This is precious! We are never satisfied with what we have and often envious of what we admire on others.


Please for give me for piling on the same passage Rider cited: "Hetha said it would protect me from harmful magics. So far, it is saved my life more than once. But how did you know it's name?" - - Do you want ‘is saved my life’ or ‘has saved my life’?


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
Stop by our sub forum!
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
SubRosa
post Sep 22 2018, 03:26 PM
Post #63


Ancient
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



haute ecole rider: I had two women talking to one another about something other than a man. So I passed the Bechdel test.

The dreaded It(')s strikes again! Another thing that spell check does not catch.

Lots more foreshadowing in the coming episodes.


Acadian: It was fun writing that girl on girl episode. It gave me a chance to do a lot of exploration of Aela's past and character.

Hetha's mispelled magic had saved Hrafngoelir's life more than once. Thanks for noticing that.




Chapter 8.3

"So why is it called the Bronze Sea anyway?" The aging Teodon Hyunsu scratched his fading green and brown scales in consternation. "The color is not like bronze at all. Not even old bronze that's gone green."

Loria piped up before anyone else could answer. "Why my good man, because while the sea may be made of water, it is bronze that flows over it."

"There beyond the far end of the sea, you will find many copper mines in the forests and meadows of eastern Aulerci." The Light Elf pointed a slender finger ahead of them to the east. Then he turned around, and gestured behind them. "But to the west, in the hills of Aela's homeland of Aulertil, there are tin mines. For thousands of years, both have been traded across this sea to create bronze."

"Aye," Venca spoke up from the rail where he stared out across the sea. "It is bronze that brought the people of this continent together, in peace and war. The Bronze Sea is the heart of Aulerci. They say that sooner or later, everyone passes over it."

"And perhaps sooner for some."

Aela turned at the sound of Dhasan's voice, and followed his gaze to the stern of the cargo vessel. There she saw Alcheon, the same Teodon from the day before. He tried to conceal himself with a cloak, but the stripes and irregular swathes of green across his otherwise yellow scales were impossible to miss.

"It would appear that these ones have been followed," Dhasan continued. The Asokar nodded toward the Teodon. "Is that the scaletail these ones spoke of before?"

"Aye," Loria said, "That is him to be certain."

"Well, he is persistent," Venca admitted. "I'll give him that."

"That persistence will earn him an early grave," Hrafngoelir murmured. "What are we going to do about him?"

"Do?" Aela finally spoke. "There is nothing to do. He can make his own bed, and he can lie in it."

"What if he dies in it?" Loria said.

"Everyone dies," Phereinon pointed out. "If he wishes to die with us, let him come."

"Remind me to never book you as an inspirational orator," Loria murmured.

"I know we all had to start sometime," Dhasan conceded. "Often not the best time. But I think we can all see that he is in over his scales."

"What we want does not matter," Aela said plainly. "Alcheon's fate is his to make, and his alone. None of us can change that. If he is determined, then we cannot stop him. Just like no one could stop me from attending the Ingenium, and no one could stop Loria from smuggling banned books out of the restricted section of the library."

"Trust a seidberendr to speak the truth no one wants to admit," Hrafngoelir said with slightly flushed cheeks.

"This talk of self-determination is all well and good," Venca argued. "But it still does not change the fact that the boy lacks skills."

"Well perhaps if someone who knows a thing or two about spear fighting teaches him - instead of humiliates him - that will change?" Aela took a moment to transfix the Rasen with her stare. Then she walked off. Stepping around crates and barrels of cargo lashed to the deck, she made her way to the rear of the ship. There she found the subject of their conversation.

The young Teodon leaned upon one of the side rails and stared out at the shore as it slid by to the right of the ship. The starboard side, Aela reminded herself. She leaned upon the rail beside him, and looked down at the water that foamed and eddied behind the cog. Alcheon said nothing, and for long moments neither did she.

Turning to Alcheon, she finally spoke.

"Tell me friend, do you know any magic?"

"The use of magic is not common where I come from," the Teodon hesitantly replied.

"Well then," Aela declared, "time we changed that."

"But I cannot-"

"Use magic?" Aela finished the sentence before Alcheon could. "Nonsense. Everyone can use magic. It is as much a part of us as blood and bone. Mana is the lifeblood of the world. It is just that many people do not want you knowing that."

"Why is that?" the Teodon asked through cautious eyes.

"Because you might change the world," Aela said plainly. "Do you know what magic is?"

"Well, potions, and scrolls, and bolts of lighting, and such things," the Teodon replied with a wave of one hand.

"Not at all," Aela shook her head. "Those are expressions of magic. But not the essence of magic. Magic, my young apprentice, is the ability to create change in accordance with your will."

"That is all?" the Teodon seemed unimpressed.

"It is that simple," Aela nodded, "and that powerful. Magic is quite literally the ability to reshape the world. To make reality how you will it to be. Is that not enough?"

The young warrior shrugged, and Aela hoped she was not wasting her time with the prospective mercenary. But she knew that if he did pay attention, her lessons might just save his life, or someone else's. That was certainly worth a little effort on her part.

"There are three things which comprise all magical workings, be they spells, scrolls, potions, or enchantments." Aela began. "First there is mana, then a pattern, and finally the will of the magician. Everything a mage does always comes down to these three things. Now, let us talk about each one."

"Mana is the first. It is the energy that powers all magic, just as pieces of wood are the fuel for a fire." The Arvern explained, and Alcheon nodded as she spoke. "All living beings have mana within them. It comes from the Earth and builds up in our bodies. Our spirits attract it, just like you have probably seen flies attracted to dung. And just as the bigger pile attracts more flies, the more powerful magician learns to store more mana within them."

That brought a wry smile from the Teodon, as Aela had hoped it would. It had done the same for herself, the first time she had heard those very same words spoken to her nearly a decade before.

"Now let us start by learning to feel the mana within ourselves," the Witch went on. "I want you to rub your hands together like this," she rubbed her open palms back and forth in a quick motion, as if she was trying to work the cold out of them. "Now you do it."

Aela watched as the Teodon rubbed his hands together as she had.

"Now what?" he asked earnestly.

"Do you feel that tingling in your scales?" the Witch asked. When the warrior nodded, she went on. "That is mana. In time you will learn to feel it within you with only a thought. But for now just rub your hands together like that."

"Next is a pattern, which is very important," the magician explained. "Think of it as the pattern of a tapestry. Or as a portrait or drawing. It is an image of what you want your mana to do. The only difference between a spell that summons a sylph and another that fires a bolt of lightning is this pattern. So learning a spell is really a matter of learning the proper pattern."

"Now there are all kinds of patterns for spells." Aela said. "In fact, there are many different ones to make the same spell. That is because magic is as much about your own personal inclinations as it is about universal rules. What inspires one person does not always work for the next. You must create your own magic or it will never work for you."

"For beginner spells, the patterns are very straightforward," she went on. "Simply imagine the result you desire in your mind, and channel your mana into image. As you can probably guess, more powerful spells require more complicated patterns. In time, you will learn to sense into the aether. There you can weave the individual strands of a spell's power, just like stitching a shirt, or a tapestry."

"Today we will learn an arcane shield spell, something very useful in our line of work. Shields can deflect physical blows, magical attacks, or both. Let us just start with the simplest: physical attacks."

Aela put out one hand, and with barely a thought a field of shimmering energy formed there before her. She turned, and stepped back so that she stood side by side with the Teodon.

"Do it just like me," she said. "Rub your hands together like before, and feel the energy rise in your scales,"

Aela watched as the Teodon did as she asked. She felt the power rising within the young warrior, and partially shifted her senses into the aether. "Now put your hand forward, and imagine a barrier taking shape there. This shield will turn aside any weapon that strikes it."

The Teodon put his hand out, palm flattened outward as if motioning to stop. Aela could see the ridges over his eyes scrunch up in concentration. His tail twitched, and his head spines rose up above his head. Yet nothing happened. Finally, he threw down his hand in disgust.

"It doesn't work!" he cursed. "I cannot do this!"

"Oh you just wait and see!" Aela's eyes sparkled with light reflected from her own arcane shield, which still glowed before them. "No one gets it right the first time. That is because there is one final ingredient we must speak of: Will. You must make the change happen. It is not enough just to want it, or hope for it, or even believe in it. You must know it. Just as you know the sun will rise tomorrow, you must know your magic will work. If your will is not this absolute, then you will cause your own spell to fail. Now let us try again, and this time focus your will."

The Teodon rubbed his hands together once more, and again the Witch could see his features scrunched together in concentration.

"That is right," she coached softly, watching the mana once more rise through his body. "You can do it. You have the power within you. You can do anything. You can make it happen. You will do it."

A disc of brilliant light burst from his fingers. In an instant it spread out to form a glowing oval in front of the Teodon, screening his body from head to toe. He opened his eyes, and stared in wonder at Aela behind the rippling light of the ward.

"See," Aela said, feeling no small amount of pride in both the Teodon, and in her own teaching ability. "I told you that you could do it. Now watch."

Aela finally allowed her own shield to fall, and she pulled back her senses from the aether. She stepped before the Teodon and balled up one hand into a fist. She beat it upon the face of Alcheon's arcane shield, as if pounding on a sealed door. She felt the magical barrier stop her fist just as firmly as such a door would. She struck again, and once more the ward halted her blow.

Then the light of the spell fizzled out of existence, and the Teodon sagged for a moment. Aela stopped, and waited for him to shake his head. He yawned, and Aela recognized this particular form of fatigue without even having to view his aura through the aether.

"You just used all of your mana," she explained. "Shields require much energy. Do not worry, it will replenish in a short while. The more that you use magic, the more mana you will learn to retain within you, the quicker you will recover it, and the less of it you will need to use in your spells. The important thing is that you did it."

"I did," the young Teodon said, "didn't I?"

"Welcome to a much wider world my friend," Aela breathed.


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
haute ecole rider
post Sep 22 2018, 11:19 PM
Post #64


Master
Group Icon
Joined: 16-March 10
From: The place where the Witchhorses play



Sigh. I am hearing Tumindil's voice once again in my head as Aela teaches our young maverick the ways of magic. I quite liked your interpretation of how magic works. And I enjoyed Alcheon's growth, small as it may be, in this segment. I can't help comparing him to the Alcheon I am familiar with, and am sure he will turn out the same way . . . even though they start out very differently.

Story good, more please!


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Acadian
post Sep 23 2018, 08:01 PM
Post #65


Paladin
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



More and more, I’m realizing that much of Aela’s motivation comes from her nurturing nature. To insert herself into a physical altercation’s aftermath to heal the wounded. To wake her elven traveling partner to ensure he doesn’t miss their transport vessel. To recognize that if this young Teodon is going to survive among her band, he needs some training. . . and since no one else seems to be taking up the mantle, she feels compelled to do so. Though normally quite mild mannered, when Aela is ‘nurture-motivated’ to a task she becomes as assertive as necessary to accomplish it.

And what a fascinating lesson in basic magic use she gives! I’m so glad that Alcheon shows some arcane potential. After all, if Aela will be the one training him that will work out much better than the witch trying to teach him physical melee combat!

“Our spirits attract it, just like you have probably seen flies attracted to dung. And just as the bigger pile attracts more flies, the more powerful magician learns to store more mana within them." - - laugh.gif Every arch mage should have this posted on their wall to remind them to be humble.


Nit: ’Magic is the quite literally the ability to reshape the world.’ - - Methinks the first ‘the’ in this sentence is an extra one.


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
Stop by our sub forum!
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
SubRosa
post Sep 29 2018, 03:59 PM
Post #66


Ancient
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



haute ecole rider: That does indeed remind me of Tumindil!

That is also the Alcheon I am familiar with! He was one of my favorite characters in that show. I was inspired by him when I reworked the Seven Reimagined version of the brash young Teodon warrior. I even chose his colorings - yellow with green stripes - in a nod to the Great Queen Seondeok Alcheon's yellow uniform.


Acadian: I would not put much faith in Aela's desire to nurture. She usually has ulterior motives when it comes to helping people. From stalling the younger Camna so Loria could talk to Phereinon in private, to looking out for herself by making sure her companions can hold their own in a fight. Being Loria's friend practically demands you be dependable and reliable. Because he is not going to be either! She would not even be going to defend Agrigento if not for Loria. And of course Loria is there for fortune and glory (preferably the first). She might feel differently about individuals once she gets to know them. But she looks out for number one (with Loria of course being number two, in more ways than one...) wink.gif

I always did like the comparison of wizards to poop as a teaching tool. It breaks the ice, and is a good way to keep yourself humble.





Chapter 8.4

After the magic lesson, Aela introduced Alcheon to Loria. As always, the Light Elf's open and affable nature immediately dispelled the tension that hung in the air between the young Teodon and the others in the group. Well, most of the tension at least. Venca was certainly nonplussed. But then again, given the older mercenary's apparent disposition toward brooding, Aela was not certain if his behavior was truly related to Alcheon or not.

The villagers too still seemed unsure of both the youthful warrior, and the other mercenaries as well. Aela expected that. They were a group of armed strangers whom the Agrigentans were bringing to their homes, to protect them from other armed strangers. Aela knew it would take time to build trust with them.

The journey across the Bronze Sea was a long one, even via ship. The trip had been shorter in the opposite direction. But Loria was quick to remind Aela that they had been on a hulk then. A much larger vessel than the cog which they currently sailed upon, it could make better time over the waves. The wizard had quoted some mathematical formula about how the length of a ship's hull related to its speed, but it had quickly gone over the Witch's head. That larger meant faster was all that the Arvern really cared to know.

They ate a simple lunch of bread dipped in olive oil, washed down with the ship's cheap wine. Then Aela made her way back to the forecastle for some time to herself. As much as anyone could find solitude on a ship that was only fifty feet long. She leaned back against the parapet and closed her eyes.

The Witch shifted her awareness into the aether, and let her thoughts drift down into the water below. There under the waves, all around the small, dim spirits of fish and other marine life, she found the undines. Spirits of water, they were often the most friendly of the elementals. Indeed, at the Ingenium she had learned that water symbolized empathy and intuition. She found the undines near the ship to be in a bright mood, playing about the water that foamed off the prow, as if the vessel were a toy. They welcomed Aela as a sister, and she danced and splashed alongside them - if only spiritually - and whiled away the time with the elemental spirits.

The smell of roses and lilies filled Aela's nostrils, and the harsh croak of a raven or crow echoed in her ears. Hard footsteps followed, clanking across the wooden planks of the deck nearby. They stopped as a dark shadow fell across Aela's body, blocking out the warm rays of the sun. The cool light of the moon washed over her instead. Wood creaked loudly in her ears, and Aela felt the planks of the deck shift under her as a heavy weight lowered itself down upon them nearby.

The Arvern pulled her awareness fully back into her body. She opened her meat eyes to find Venca squatting beside her. The Rasen wore his black lamellar armor, even in the summer heat, and stared out at the waves beyond. She saw the Ravenwheel hanging from around his neck. Even no longer sensing within the aether, Aela felt its cool effluence bathe her, like flowers in moonlight. Then the mercenary's dark eyes turned to meet her own.

"So just what in the worlds are you anyway?" he asked bluntly.

"I'm Aela," the Witch replied. Her heart doubled its pace at the loaded question, but she did her best to keep her voice neutral. "That is all you need to know."

"So what do I call you," the Rasen went on, "'he' or 'she'?"

"Do I look like I want to be called 'he'?" Aela still fought to keep the anger from her voice. "I'm not wearing a bodice and a chemise because I want to trumpet my masculinity, and I'm not wearing makeup to impress everyone with my manhood."

"Fair enough," Venca nodded. He looked from her to the water, and stared into its depths for a long time before he went on. "You know, Hrafngoelir thinks you're something extraordinary."

"Well that makes one of her," Aela replied caustically.

"It must be hard living in Rase, with everyone who knows what you are treating you like an aberration," Venca observed. "Why do you stay here? You could go west. The Asokari love your kind in Hiakim, so do your own folk in Arvethair."

"Because I have just as much right to be here in Aulerci as anyone else," Aela insisted. "I won't be run out by a bunch of narrow-minded provincials. I would think that Nyktera's Champion would be a little more enlightened. She is the goddess of transitions after all, of traveling from one state to another. That is what magic does. It transforms reality."

"I'm not Nyktera's Champion," Venca stiffened, as she had accused him of a crime. "Or Mhorlor's, or Morrigu's, or whatever you want to call her. I've no use for the gods - or the Fomorians, or Fir Bolgs, or anything else - and they've none for me."

"Really?" Aela pressed on, "is that why you carry the very essence of the goddess of death and magic given physical form? Why do you worship her every sunset?"

"I don't worship her," Venca grumbled. "I'm just… thinking."

"What is the difference?" Aela asked.

"Plenty," the Rasen insisted. "I serve myself. No one else. This world - and the gods - have never done me any favors."

"What, you think the universe owes you some consideration?" Aela scoffed. "You think you're special because you lost something? Well join the rest of us."

"What would you know about it?" Venca shot back.

"What would I know about it?" Aela replied hotly. She noticed that several of the others were now staring from their positions around the boat. A little voice in her head said that she should be building trust. She ignored it. "My whole life was taken away from me when I changed. My family, my home, my future, the people I thought were my friends, everything. I lost it all."

"But you know what? It wasn't the end of the world. I have a new family." Her eyes glanced to Loria. The Silaine mage stood by with his arms crossed, and nodded back to her. "I make my own future now. One day I'll make a new home as well. The gods didn't create the world we live in, or our fates. We are the gods, and we make our destinies all by ourselves, every single day, by what we do, or do not do. What world are you going to make?"

"You sound like someone I used to know once," Venca murmured and stroked his goatee thoughtfully.

"Who?" Aela asked gently. Perhaps it was not too late to listen to that voice of reason in her head after all.

"Damn if I know," Venca sighed. With that simple honest admission, Aela felt her anger ebb away like the evening tide.

"Memories are stored in many different areas across the brain," Aela allowed the vitamancer in her to take the fore. "If you give me time, I might be able to restore some of yours."

"I have been down that road before." Venca shook his head. "There is nothing left to find."

"You have not been down that road with me," Aela insisted. "If you change your mind, I am willing to try."

"Have you done it before?" the Rasen asked.

"Never," Aela shrugged. "But I have read about it."

"I will forgo the honor of being the first then." Venca rolled his eyes.

"There is a first time for everything," Aela found herself saying. She almost felt as if she was she was channeling Loria's dry wit. "My mother used to always say I should try new things. Of course when I tried being a woman, she did not like it much."

The Rasen warrior almost smiled at that, almost. He stood, and looked about at the others, who were all staring back at them now.

"So what do I call you Venca?" Aela asked, still sitting against the parapet of the forecastle. "My friend, or something else?"

"I am your friend Aela," the Rasen rumbled. "Of that let there be no doubt."


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Acadian
post Sep 29 2018, 08:00 PM
Post #67


Paladin
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



Aela’s delightful romp with the water undines was rather rudely interrupted by the brooding mercenary!

"Do I look like want to be called 'he'?" - - I love the simple brilliance of this reply.

Wonderful little scene between Aela and Venca. Her advice about each making their own future was insightful and, I would think, likely just what Venca needed to hear.

Bit by bit we are learning more about each of the Magnificents – all the while revealing more depth to Aela.


Nits
’The smell of roses and lilies filled Aela nostrils,’ - - Aela’s vs Aela.
"You think your special because you lost something?” - - you’re vs your.


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
Stop by our sub forum!
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
haute ecole rider
post Sep 30 2018, 05:16 PM
Post #68


Master
Group Icon
Joined: 16-March 10
From: The place where the Witchhorses play



I really liked that whole confrontation/conversation/discussion between Aela and Venca. Trust him to get his doubts out of the way - he was sizing up what kind of person Aela was. It felt like he was putting out feelers to see if she could be trusted - or not.

That this exchange cleared his doubts and put his mind at rest is summed up perfectly here:

QUOTE
"So what do I call you Venca?" Aela asked, still sitting against the parapet of the forecastle. "My friend, or something else?"

"I am your friend Aela," the Rasen rumbled. "Of that let there be no doubt."


Looking forward to how Aela interacts with the remaining four(? three?) of the Seven!


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Renee
post Oct 3 2018, 03:37 PM
Post #69


Councilor
Group Icon
Joined: 19-March 13



[censored], I've fallen behind... way behind. Hard for me to keep up, because this story definitely demands no interruptions from work, or child, but I'll try.

The tension between Aela and Phereinon though... That part is pretty intense. Just like when I'm gaming and one of my characters must choose between two quests, each equally demanding in importance! :ahhh:

Dangit. Back to work. sad.gif

I like this a lot...

QUOTE
She closed her eyes and shifted her senses into the aether. Almost immediately she felt an undine dancing within the water that sprayed up from the prow of the ship.


And also this...

QUOTE
she wondered what it was like to be born normal, and have the option of living an ordinary life.


This post has been edited by Renee: Oct 4 2018, 08:31 PM
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
SubRosa
post Oct 6 2018, 04:16 PM
Post #70


Ancient
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Acadian: Every time Aela tries to get some quality time with the spirits someone interrupts her!

I do not doubt that Venca has more than a little transphobia in him, thanks to his upbringing and his culture. He has forgotten most of that however, along with all of his history. But I think there are some things that still stick about right and wrong deep in his subconscious. He is a very complicated person. He is trying to take the high road, especially given that he knows his life might end up in Aela's hands. But it can be difficult to overcome the prejudices that have been drilled into you from childhood, and are continually reinforced every day by the society you live within.

Aela's vs Aela sounds like a Celebrity Death Match video! laugh.gif


haute ecole rider: As you and Acadian both noted, there is a lot of that sparring going on with the Magnificents right now, as they feel one another out and try to get to know who they are dealing with. As Aela thought a few times - "I should be building trust".


Renee: I enjoyed writing that interaction between Aela and Phereinon. As Acadian and Haute noted in the most recent episode, there is a lot of feeling out going back and forth as the Seven try to learn who they can trust and who they cannot. Phereinon is of course concerned that whoever goes with her to Tregyn is someone who can pull their weight and not lose their nerve. Aela, OTOH, is naturally suspicious of someone who sometimes forgets to breathe. Plus she has a visceral reaction, thanks to years of being on the ugly end of bigotry. Her dander can be easily roused.

I am glad you noted that line about being born normal. I am sure many people - trans or not - have felt that way. It is not easy being different from everyone else in the world, and seeing your opportunities vanish because of it - while others seem to have everything just given to them because they look, or act, or speak, or think, how they are *supposed* to.



Chapter 8.5

Later that day, Venca took Alcheon under his wing, and began training the young Teodon in the use of shield and spear. Aela watched with fascination as the soldier began his instruction. She was not the only one whose interest was piqued either, and in no time at all nearly all of the passengers and several of the crew were crowding around to get a view of the Rasen's lessons.

"Let's take a look at this weapon combination." Venca began as he picked up Alcheon's crescent-shaped shield in his left hand. He slid his right hand over its bright yellow face, and held it up so all could see. "This shield looks very simple. Some thin planks of wood with a piece of rawhide stretched over it. A little yellow paint and red eyes to make an impression. But don't underestimate it. The crisscrossing strips of wood give the design strength, and this hardened leather on the face reinforces it. If any of you have a dog and give it rawhide to chew on, you know how tough that can be."

The Rasen rapped his fingers against the gleaming metal boss in the center of the shield. "The boss here where I grip it is made of bronze, so not only is that going to protect my hand, but I can punch with it as well." To underscore his words, the Rasen jabbed outward with the shield. "This is a very simple piece of kit, and aside from the boss, something that anyone can make. But in the hands of a skilled fighter, it gives you both a strong defense, and a good offense."

"Now the spear." Venca stepped over to Alcheon once more and took the weapon from the Teodon's hands. Its leaf-shaped point was now wrapped in several layers of thick leather, secured by crisscrossing strips of cord. "This looks even more primitive. It's just a stick with a pointy end! But don't laugh, this is one of the oldest weapons in the world, and the reason people still use it today is because of how effective and versatile it is. Not to mention how easy it is to make."

"Now with Hrafngoelir's help, I'm going to show you just what you can do with this arms system." The Skanjr stepped up holding a shorter spear in an overhand grip. Like Alcheon's weapon, its point was also blunted. In her other hand she gripped her shield, which was decorated with a white knotwork dragon against a blue background.

Moving slowly, the Northerner stabbed overhand at the Rasen's shoulder. He easily raised his shield and deflected the blow. She followed with several more stabs in slow motion, each time going to a different part of his body.

"Now since this shield doesn't cover my entire body, I have to constantly move it to counter Hrafn's attacks," Venca said as they performed their intricate dance. "But what you have to be careful not to do, is hide behind it."

To illustrate his point, Hrafngoelir attacked Venca's face. He raised his shield to counter, and deflected the Skanjr's blow. She brought her weapon back for another strike at his head, and he continued to hold his shield up high to counter.

"Every second I have my shield up like this, I can't see what Hrafn is doing," Venca said. Now the Skanjr's spear darted down, its point angling for his belly. The Northerner stopped short, with the blunted point inches away from the ebon plates sheathing the Rasen's abdomen. "Now I'm dead, because I let her trick me into covering my eyes."

"But an enemy who feints high and goes low is not the only thing you have to watch for," Venca went on. "If you don't lift your shield when you need to, that leaves you open to another common move: going over the top of the shield rim." Hrafngoelir attacked high again, and in slow motion, she used her height to stab over the top of the Rasen's shield.

"If she's quick, and I'm not paying attention, I'm dead," Venca said. Now he finally brought his own spear into play. He held it in an underhanded grip, with the point straight up. The Rasen swung it across his body from right to left, and twisted his torso with it. The wooden shaft of his weapon met the haft of Hrafngoelir's spear and swept it away.

"But as you can see, I can use my own spear to knock hers aside," he said. "Now I can drive her back."

Then with a backhand motion Venca swung his spear back from left to right in a wide arc, once more twisting his body with it. The weapon's leather-bound tip slashed for Hrafngoelir's head. The Skanjr was forced to step back to avoid being hit, leaving her too far away for her shorter weapon to reach Venca.

"As I am sure you begin to see, the real strength of this spear and shield is my reach," Venca shifted the spear to an overhand grip, and jabbed at Hrafngoelir several times. She used her round wooden shield to bat his spearhead away. But every time she tried to close in to attack herself, the point of his spear was there waiting for her.

"This spear is at least seven feet long," Venca said. "So even when I'm holding it with one hand in the center, I've got a good three and half feet of range. When I am fighting someone like Hrafngoelir - who has a shorter spear or a sword - I have the advantage as long as I can keep her at a distance."

"Now the Teodon raiders we are going to be fighting prefer to use a short spear, about five feet long, the same as she has," Venca went on. "Some of them fight with a buckler as well, but others use their spears two-handed. They like to get in close, where they can land a flurry of blows with that spear, using it like a staff."

"So why don't they use a longer spear?" Loria asked.

"Now that is a good question," Venca said, momentarily pointing his blunted spear to the wizard. "The answer is where they live. Most bandits in Kye Rim make their lairs in the wildest areas. Usually swamps and jungles, filled with dense undergrowth, where no one else wants to go. They spend as much time in the water as they do on land. So the simple answer is that a seven foot weapon like this is just going to get in their way. They need something that is small enough that they won't be snagging it on everything around them. I can tell just by looking at this spear, that Alcheon is from a place on the periphery of the rainforest, where the growth isn't as heavy. Probably the northern coast. Or from one of the big cities."

In the meantime Hrafngoelir stepped aside and handed her shield to Aela. The Arvern's fingers naturally fell around the crossbar behind its steel boss. It was heavier than she expected, and smelled of leather, oil, and sweat. Gazing down across the leather that faced the linden wood core, she briefly studied the white dragon emblazoned there. Painted in an intricate knotwork design, it reminded her of her own people's artworks. Both the dragon and the blue background it rose against were worn and faded, showing the nicks and abrasions of hard use.

Hrafngoelir gripped her spear with both hands now. Aela glanced back up in time to see her sweep it around her body in a noisy flourish. Then she walked back to face Venca once more.

"Now just like before, Hrafn's going to want to get in close with that spear," Venca said to the onlookers as she closed in. The Skanjr deftly used the shaft of her spear to knock aside a jab from Venca's own weapon. Stepping closer, she brought the butt of her spear forward, only to see it deflected by the Rasen's shield. Still closing the gap between them, Hrafngoelir countered by sweeping the head of the spear forward. Venca brought his shield up to block once more, and the Northerner came right up to his chest. Rather than pull her spear back, or swing it around for another blow, she pressed right against his shield with both hands on her weapon.

"See how quickly she closed the distance between us?" Venca said. "Now watch what she does." The Northerner moved a foot around behind one of Venca' ankles and shoved. The Rasen went down to the deck on his back, with the shield maiden right on top of him. She dropped her spear and pulled a single-edged Skanjr knife from her belt. Unlike most daggers, this one's back widened slightly outward to two-thirds of the distance up the blade. Then it tapered down and forward to meet the cutting edge in a narrow point. Holding the broken-back seax overhand like an icepick, she slowly jabbed down at the Rasen.

Then she stood up and put the dagger away, while Venca climbed to his feet behind her. "See how fast that happened?" Venca said. "We went from spear-fighting, to wrestling, to knife-fighting. When it's for real that will only take seconds. That's what the raiders will try to do. They'll push it in close and take away your range advantage. Then they'll wrestle with you, and cut your throat."

"So now you know what you are up against," Venca concluded. "Next we'll start going through it one at a time with everyone, and you can learn how to keep Hrafn at a distance, and stop her from killing you."

Alcheon was the first to step up and take his spear and shield from Venca. Hrafngoelir continued her role as the aggressor, once again taking her shield to defend with. As with the demonstration, all of this was done in slow motion, so that everyone could see what was happening.

"Hold your spear overhand, high above your head, just behind the balance point." Venca guided Alcheon to lift his spear in such a manner, with the point drooping down from where he balanced the long weapon in his hand. "Now when you thrust, you're going to be using gravity to bring the point down into your enemy's face. Thrust over the top of her shield, just like Hrafn did to me at the beginning."

"So it's like fighting downhill," Alcheon observed as he took a tentative jab at the Skanjr.

"Exactly," Venca nodded. "That is going to give you more speed and power, and take less effort. Always take every advantage you can. With that in mind take a small step with your left foot when you strike. That will close the distance, and prevent her from being able to step back out of range. Once you hit, step back again, and get out of her range once more. Remember, always keep her in range of your weapon, but stay out of range of hers."

Alcheon took that half-step forward and jabbed once more, stepping back again the moment his spear head struck Hrafngoelir's shield.

They continued doing so for long minutes, and gradually picked up the pace of the drill as Alcheon showed that he was comfortable with the movements. Then Hrafngoelir began to advance, and Venca instructed the Teodon to step back every time she moved forward to keep her at a distance, and to always drop his spear point in her face to stop her.

The other four Agrigentans followed one at a time. Some had greater success than others. Daehyun seemed skilled with the spear already, and Aela overheard him say that he sometimes went hunting with bow and spear in the marshes. Ranazu dove into the lessons with a zeal that was nearly frightening, and Aela wondered whose face he imagined staring back at him when he sparred with Hrafngoelir. Vesia was clearly unskilled with the weapon, but diligently followed along with the lessons anyway. Finally the old Teodon Hyunsu seemed to be almost afraid of the spear, and looked like he was ready to jump off the boat the first time that the Skanjr struck his shield.

Perhaps most of all Aela was amazed at how Venca, usually so surly and morose, seemed to come to life in the training sessions. It was as if the person he truly was on the inside was showing through. Perhaps he was so engrossed in what he was doing that he forgot to brood? In any case the training sessions became a staple of life aboard ship, with Venca leading Alcheon and the Agrigentans in lessons every morning, afternoon, and evening.


Hrafn's shield

Hrafn's seax


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Acadian
post Oct 6 2018, 08:04 PM
Post #71


Paladin
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



A wonderful and easy to follow instruction period in spear & shield play. You bring to life the fact that Venca really knows what he’s doing when it comes to both close quarters combat as well as instructing it to others. You also show us that Hrafngoelir is no slouch either in this business.

The contrast the pair provides to the less knowledgeable/experienced Agrigentans is stark but I suspect the 'students' are in good hands. It was also fun to see that, in this arena, the magic duo of elf and witch were rather out of their element.


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
Stop by our sub forum!
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
SubRosa
post Oct 13 2018, 04:05 PM
Post #72


Ancient
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Acadian: One of the things that really annoys me about movies that have a training sequence, is that there is never any actual teaching involved. It is typically just one person beating up another, and somehow they are supposed to learn that way. So I did a lot of research to put together both a demonstration, and some actual hands-on teaching.

Aela and Loria are totally out of their element here! You are right, in that it was nice to write this from Aela's pov precisely because it is all as new to hear as it is to the people being taught.



Chapter 9

Dark-Eye called a halt to their march, and Sindeok found a log to sit upon. His feet ached. This was the price of having spent so much of life riding an oro everywhere. His once fine silk leggings were splattered in mud, and his leather boots were completely encased within the goop. Worse, the bronze plates sewn into the front and sides of the footwear were likewise inundated.

He knew the armor would not rust like iron would. But the last thing he wanted was for the plates to turn green with verdigris, or worse bronze disease. A nangdo would be expelled from his company for being so lax and slothful with his equipment. He might be an outlaw now, but he had not forgotten his pride.

The black and white scaled Teodon pulled off his boots and began wiping them clean of muck. It was a thankless task. But it was one he had performed a thousand times back in the barracks in Hansando. Somehow simply going through the motions took his mind off recent events, and reminded him of better days. Days when he was still a man of honor, still a credit to his family.

When he was almost finished another bandit came sloshing through the mud nearby, splashing a thick spray of the muck all over Sindeok and his boots. The former nangdo recoiled, shielding his eyes from the mud. After wiping his face clean, he curled a lip at the offender, who merely laughed as he walked away.

"They are testing you."

Sindeok nearly jumped out of his scales at the sound of Dark-Eye's low voice. He had not heard the bandit leader come up behind him. Turning, he found that the red scaled Teodon gazed at the interloper's back.

"You had better do something, lest you be found wanting in their eyes."

Sindeok nodded. He was no stranger to hazing. His first week as a nangdo in the Celestial Gallery had been the worst week of his life. Or at least he had thought so at the time. But he had found that by enduring it, he had gained the respect of his comrades, and showed them that he was strong enough to be counted among them.

"How do I earn their respect?" Sindeok asked. He suspected that things in a raider camp - much less a cannibal band - would be much different from a hwarang barrack.

"You don't," Dark-Eye said plainly. "They have no respect. Not for me, not for anyone, least of all themselves. They only thing they understand is power, and fear."

"Then I should do something dramatic," Sindeok said. It was not a question, so much as a thought spoken aloud.

"And do it soon, or something dramatic will likely happen to you," Dark-Eye cautioned. The raider captain turned his single eye to the former nangdo's boots.

"Those do not help," he said. "It incites them. It makes them think you are insulting them. There are no pure bone aristocrats here. We are all mud-feet now."

With those final words, Dark-Eye walked away through the mud. Sindeok noted that he did so with bared feet. He knew that the bandit leader had once commanded the Celestial Gallery company. His bones were born as pure as his own. Yet he walked barefoot through the mud, the same as any peasant.

Sindeok looked around him. Everyone was barefoot. Everyone but him.

He looked down to his boots. He knew that he would never wear them again. But he still had one final use for them. Picking them up in one hand, he rose to his feet and strode through the mud. He was surprised to find it was much easier than with the boots on. The webbing between his three front toes found more purchase in the muck, and allowed him to almost swim through it. It felt strange. But then lately so did many things.

He found the Teodon who had splashed him with mud. The offender's scales were dark brown, fading to a softer shade of the same color on his underside. He wore a bronze heart-guard disc over his chest, and a few belts to hold his gear. A spear tipped with a bronze head was nestled against his shoulder, and a long knife slung at his waist.

Sindeok ignored the other Teodon around the offender, and focused upon Brown-Scales. Lifting his boots in one hand, he flung them at the Teodon's back. They connected with a pair of loud thumps, plastering the bandit's scales with mud.

"Lick them clean you eggless bastard," Sindeok snarled.

Brown-Scales staggered forward, and rose to his feet with his spear in both hands. Sindeok's single-edged sword sang from its sheath. He brought it up with the point forward, and ring-shaped pommel at eye level. He waited calmly while the bandit spat and hissed at him. That might have frightened a peasant, but not a trained nangdo such as himself.

Sindeok moved closer, daring Brown-Scales to strike. The raider took the bait, thrusting his spear directly at Sindeok's face. By reflex he raised his sword blade just enough to meet the shaft of the bandit's spear. That lifted it up and to his right, and pushed Brown-Scales' weapon off line.

Sindeok simply had to flick his wrist to continue the motion. That spun the long, straight blade from right to left around his head. Before the bandit could bring his spear back to guard, the former nangdo's sword fell in a diagonal cut. Scales and bone parted as easily as rice paper beneath the blow. Brown-Scales' body fell to one side, and half of his head to the other.

Sindeok stepped back casually, but kept his eyes on the bandit's maimed body. Instant kills were rare. Even a mortally wounded enemy could still strike back to take his slayer with him to the grave. But Brown-Scales did not move, and Sindeok could pick out the convolutions on the surface of his bisected brain in the muck.

Now he took the measure of the other bandits. Some gaped openly. Others stared with hard, cold eyes, like sharks recognizing another predator in the water. Dark-Eye simply nodded when Sindeok met his gaze. It was a simple motion, but it conveyed much. Their leader had given his blessing to the killing.

Even as his bare toes sank into the mud, Sindeok felt that he was now on much firmer ground than before.



Here is a link to Sindeok's killing move


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Renee
post Oct 14 2018, 06:42 PM
Post #73


Councilor
Group Icon
Joined: 19-March 13



The magic tutorial had me fascinated, that was awesome, especially since she's teaching somebody who probably swears by weapons. As long as I've played RPGs, nobody has really ever explained it in such a way. bluewizardsmile.gif Maybe in the tablegames I played long ago, but if so, that was long ago. And it wouldn't have been told in context of a story.

I seem to remember Simplicia the Slow taught Teresa her first magic, yes?

This post has been edited by Renee: Oct 14 2018, 07:09 PM
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Acadian
post Oct 18 2018, 09:20 PM
Post #74


Paladin
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Las Vegas



A neat interlude from the Seven’s water journey. Sindeok makes much progress within his new and ruthless bandit gang. Dark Eye recommended something dramatic to demonstrate power and instill fear. Sindeok delivered in full measure!

I like also how you have the bandits barefoot – given the muck they live in and the nature of Teodonic feet, it makes perfect sense.


--------------------
Screenshot: Buffy in Artaeum
Stop by our sub forum!
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
SubRosa
post Today, 04:17 PM
Post #75


Ancient
Group Icon
Joined: 14-March 10
From: Between The Worlds



Renee: The Shadowrun and Earthdawn rpgs were excellent at explaining magic, and making it an integral part of the world. No surprise there, since they had real life Witches like Steve Kenson on the writing staff. I of course drew upon my own experience as a Witch, and integrated that into the fictional world I created for Seven Reimagined. Check out Scott Cunningham's book Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner. It is an outstanding book to introduce one to magic and Witchcraft.

Simplicia the Slow raised Teresa. But it was Raminus Polus who taught Teresa her first spells. It was in a flashback chapter from her childhood, when she also first met Methredhel and Adanrel.


Acadian: I am enjoying writing Sindeok. He provides an excellent view into life as a raider. Since he is just as new to the outlaw life, that allows the reader to learn about it at the same pace he does. Of course being a former hwarang, he is killing machine of an order much higher than the other bandits. So long as he can adapt to a new life without honor or ethics, he will do well.

I liked what I was able to do with the barefoot nature of most of Teodon society, and how like their scales coloration, it is a means of denoting peasant from noble. Peasants have muddy feet, nobles are clean - above the common work of the earth.



I updated the first post with some examples of the scale coloration of some of the Teodon characters. They are from various dinosaurs, so they are not actual physical representations of the characters (Dark Eye is not an Allosaur!), just how their colors would look.




Chapter 10.1

Aela found that four days after leaving Veia, their ship finally came into port. The sun was at its zenith when the cog tied up at one of Telsin's stone quays. Loria led the way down the plank and onto the wharf. Like Aela, he was familiar with the seaside town. It was where they had boarded the hulk that had taken them to Veia just over a week before.

Situated at the mouth of the Nakdeok River, the small town marked the border between Kye Rim and the Stone Forest. The latter was nominally claimed by Veia. Not that any state in its right mind would waste its resources fighting over the rocky badlands. Surrounded by a stone wall, the brick buildings of the community were white-washed in the Rasen style, and roofed with red-glazed tiles.

Telsin sat upon the western shoreline of the river. A long stone quay jutted out into the water from the northern edge of the town. It was to this landing that their cog tied itself up, alongside other sea-going vessels. A wooden dock stretched the length of the shore to the south, and ended at another stone quay that bisected the river. The sheltered harbor cradled between the two piers was filled with small boats of many varieties, from sea-going dories to tiny one-man coracles.

Farther inland rose a line of warehouses and occasional ale-shops. Beyond them rose the small one and two story shops and homes of the town's inhabitants. Aela knew from experience that a single, cobblestoned road ran from the docks directly to the western gate of the town, the only other point of egress.

But Loria did not take them deeper into the city. Instead he led the group along the timber docks, to the southernmost stone quay. Situated farther up the river, this landing hosted a slew of small, flat-bottomed river boats. Among these the elf found a vessel willing to take them aboard.

The Nakdeok Queen was a curious affair. To begin with, she had not been tied up with her side to the dock as most vessels were wont to do. Instead her stern had been nestled against the quay, allowing horses and wagons to trundle directly on board and roll straight down the boat to the prow. Indeed, several teams of horses and saurians had already done so. The bow was not the usual narrow point that most boats possessed either. Instead it was flat, just as the stern. In fact, the entire vessel was rectangular in shape, with gently rounded corners. Either end appeared capable of functioning as bow or stern. She was long enough to accommodate three wagons from end to end, and two such conveyances side to side. Even after that there was still plenty of room for passengers on foot.

The most unusual thing about the Nakdeok Queen was the matter of her propulsion however. Rather than bearing sails or oars, Aela saw that she was driven by hadrosaurs. Not dragging her by tethers from the shore, but upon the boat itself!

At either side of the vessel a massive saurian stood in a stall that was cut through the deck, each pointed in opposite directions. Each hadrosaur sported a bony crest that began at the tip of its nose, and ran all the way back along the top of its skull. From there it jutted out from behind its head at an angle like a single, short horn. Otherwise they were just as large as a crumhead, and easily the mass of two draft horses.

The Teodon seemed quite familiar with the breed, and Aela heard Daehyun refer to them as spirecrowns. Hranfgoelir laughed that they should be kept away from bulls, lest they grow jealous of the other animals' two horns.

The Arvern Witch could see that once the spirecrowns began to tromp along, their feet would turn what appeared to be a disc hidden underneath the planks of the main deck. Because of this the enormous animals would remain walking in place as it spun beneath them. Aela imagined that there was other machinery hidden below the deck as well. Somehow it must cause the low waterwheels at either side of the ship to spin. Their wooden slats would in turn push the vessel forward or backward through the river. It was a very complex design, and Aela admired the engineering ability evidenced in its creation.

A canvas awning rose above the spirecrowns to give them shade, and Aela noted postholes spaced along the boat that would allow more tenting to be erected if need be. Aela saw no signs of there being a hold or lower levels. So far as she could tell the boat had only the single open deck, and either possessed a flat bottom or one with a very shallow draft.

Her captain was a Sea Elf named Hesari. Like all those of the Silisce race, his skin was the blue of a calm sea. Otherwise he looked much like a Silaine elf, with a similar willowy frame and graceful features. He was clad in a blue linen tunic that was open down much of its length, showing off the artistically-sculpted muscles of his chest. His long legs were bare, and likewise revealed wiry muscle. Finally he wore a simple pair of leather sandals upon his feet.

Aela found an open place near one of the waterwheels and sat down. She leaned back against the wooden awning that covered the wheels. The Arvern watched the brown water of the Nakdeok slide by as it fell behind the boat. The turning wheel churned up the otherwise peaceful water, and left a foaming wake behind the boat, marking a trail where it had passed.

Aela felt magic down beneath the water. She closed her meat eyes, and instead opened herself fully to the aether. Allowing her senses to sink below the waves, she was greeted by the powerful scent of an undine. As they cast off from the dock, the water spirit reversed the flow of the river around the boat, so that even though they traveled upstream, they were no longer pushing against the current. Just as with the hulk that had transported them to Veia the week before, The Nakdeok Queen still had to propel herself through the water. Hence the spirecrowns and waterwheels. But the intervention of the spirit insured that the boat would do so far quicker and easier than otherwise.

Aela traced a slender thread of magic from the undine to the boat, and found that it led to the captain. As the Skanjr said, wherever there is an alfar, magic is not far behind. Granted, they did not mean it in a flattering manner. But it was true more often than not. Given the Sea Elves' famous reputation for ruling the waves, Aela would have expected no less.

Still, the journey up the winding course of the Nakdeok River was a long one, even with Captain Hesari's conjured assistance. In spite of it being the edge of the Kye Rim, they came across numerous settlements as they traveled. Every few miles there seemed to be another farming and fishing settlement. All were fortified with strong timber walls, ditches, and moats of course. She doubted that anyone out here had seen a Rasen oathman or Teodon hwarang in years.

A glance to the west reminded her of the Dark Barrow that she and Loria had cleared such a short time ago, with the help of the Frisverd. It lay many miles in that direction, beyond the rainforest, and deep within the strange karst landscape of the Stone Forest. It seemed as if they were retracing their steps, for after the battle, they had taken this same river back to the coast, and from there boarded ship for Veia.

Everything happened in cycles, Aela thought. She had just not expected this particular one to turn so quickly!



Horse-Powered Ferryboat 1

Horse-Powered Ferryboat 2

Spirecrown - Saurolophus Angustirostris


--------------------
User is offlineProfile CardPM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

4 Pages V « < 2 3 4
Reply to this topicStart new topic
2 User(s) are reading this topic (2 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

- Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 20th October 2018 - 06:34 PM