A Difficult Solace

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Thadeus, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. August 27th In The Year 157 Of Our Lord
    Midday, The Village of Rosar, The Fletcher's shop.

    "Kari? Karrrri.... Kari!" the village Fletcher yelled at the top of his lungs after looking around the shop for his assistant. He never could keep track of the girl, and for all he knew she might either be asleep, or out wandering the forests. She hardly ever stuck around the shop these days, and he couldn't blame her... demand for bows, and arrows had fallen with the newly established peace between the Rosalian Empire, and the Duvar Templar Order. The lass had also spent the majority of her life assisting the older man as he had no child of his own, and having adopted her of sorts... taken to her as a father figure. Though with all his teachings of the outside world, the girl still seemed stricken with wanderlust, and it was becoming more, and more apparent each day. He knew soon that she'd be leaving to begin her own life, and it worried him.

    Opening the door to her room, Bastion peeked in, and saw her bed neatly made, with no sign of recent use. Sighing in frustration, he closed the door, and then went to the small stable adjacent to the shop. The quiet of the stable was an instant giveaway, and he was absolutely certain as he rounded the corner to her horse's stall. The white mare was gone. "That girl... out riding again when there's still work to be done... though it's little, and far between." Bastion huffed, and shook his head as he went back inside.
  2. Kari (open)

    "Left! Left, Dust, left!" Kari yelled out. The snow white mare whinnied and turned left in compliance. Kari shut one eye, holding her bow out with her arm outstretched. Her vision was sketchy due to the bumpy ride atop of the horse, but she did the best she could to remain on target with the large pear dangling helplessly from a far off branch.

    "Only got one shot at this, Dust. Make it count."she said softly while her tongue touched the tip of her upper lip in concentration. She normally didn't have to do much but shoot, however riding on Stardust and focusing at the distanced target was a trial indeed. Kari's light tan hair whipped out of her face as Dust's footsteps continued to troud beneath the soft grass before...


    The arrow landed centimeters away from the pear. Kari's face fell in disappointment. Even Stardust neighed in an upset manor, trotting back towards the shop on her own. She didn't say anything as she tucked a strand of hair from her face. Normally, she could pinpoint and shoot anything from that radius. The thrill inside of her was just beginning to die down.

    It's because of the stupid shop. I spend more time there than I do where I belong. How can I defend myself if I'm too busy waxing bows--


    Kari shut on eye when she heard the man's voice come from the inside of the shop. She knew he'd travel towards the stable so she tied Dust to the pole at the front entrance instead. Reaching into her pouch on her left hip, she extracted bits of an apple, holding them in her palm and up to the horse's nose. Dust dove her lips into her hand while Kari rubbed her mane with her free one.

    "If I'm not back in an hour, Bastion has killed me."she said, winking and walking as slowly as possible into the shop, mentally preparing herself for the fiasco to come.
  3. Bastion, was sat hunched next to a string spinner, like he always was. Sat in the chair, his old, and wrinkled hands guided the various strands of thread as they were fed into the spinning machine, and coiled along a copper spool. The old man knew his craft, and it seemed it was about all he knew. He'd provided for Kari almost all her life, though he was rather rough with words. He wasn't a cruel, or mean man, he just never quite knew how to act with children, or those younger than himself... which was nearly everyone due to him surpassing the grand old age of seventy or so... he'd simply lost track of his birthdays. Hearing the door open, he looked over his shoulder seeing Kari walking inside. "Been fooling around again I see... you know I've got one last batch of bows to make before next week, and without it we'll probably go hungry again." The truth being that he'd go hungry. Bastion had always placed food on the girl's plate before his own.

    "Mind measuring the recurve of those hunting bows while I finish binding the drawstrings?" Not so much a question, but a polite statement, as Kari had gotten rather good at the process, and it was better still. Bastion's eyes wouldn't be of much use in the coming years. His vision blurred, and he knew the symptoms of premature blindness. "And you did remember that you'll be needing to leave tomorrow in order to deliver them to Rogonya? The Hunter's Lodge is expecting them soon." His feeble voice barely rose above the winding, and clinking sounds of the bowstring spinner.
    Show Spoiler

    It was then that the front door cracked open once more. A tall dark skinned man in bright clothing appearing in the doorway. His toned physique adorned with various tribal ink, and a long slash shaped scar trailing along his left eye. His blonde hair was an incredible contracts as were his icy blue eyes when compared to his tan. They would recognize him as a Plainsman, or "Wilder" if they recalled the derogatory term often used by the populous of Rosalian. From his hip hung a wickedly curved dagger in an ivory sheath, as did a large straight bladed sword, though nothing could be told of it other than the wicker wrapped handle.

    "Hello? Who's there?" The old fletcher asked, though his eyes never left his work.

    Attached Files:

  4. Kari grumbled and made her way to a stack of bows that were laying towards the back of the shop. Bastion wasn't going to measure any recurves. Hell, Bastion wasn't going to do anything if he had to! Yukari was the one to do most of the business in the shop anyway. While thinking of the shop, she started to wonder why it was still standing. By the way the village was moving, bows were selling ever so slowly. Yukari wasn't so surprised either.

    "Yes, sir."she said. She didn't want to fight with the old man today. Her mood was already sunken by her performance in the meadow. If she said anything more, the two of them might have gotten into an argument. Kari was just about to pick up a bow before she heard the front door open slightly. Kari looked behind her to see a dark skinned man with dashing blue eyes step into he shop. It was funny to see the height difference between him and the shop itself. She looked up and down to see a terrible scar on his eye. She winced but didn't want to be disrespectful so she inhaled and walked up to the man.

    "May I help you?"
  5. Looking to the old man, and then to the girl, Lufsunga remained silent a moment. "This is where Bastion resides?" He asked in a pleasant, but strong tone. "I require him to re-tune my Yusaga." Reaching to his back, the man retrieved a strange, and very large stringed instrument. It's craftsmanship was simply superb, however it had an air of ancientness around it. Looking back to the old man in the corner, his eyes narrowed for a moment. "Bastion? The spirits have not been kind to you old man." His tone held a chuckle to it.

    Having turned to see the newcomer, Bastion was slowly rising to his feet, leaning heavily on his walking staff. Hobbled steps carried him towards the other two, and looking at Lufsunga with lightly milky eyes, Bastion's face softened to reveal a rare smile. "Ah, old friend... I was wondering when you would be returning. Out of tune yet again is it?" Taking the instrument in hand, Bastion looked it over, while running a hand along the strings. "Kari, please fetch us two glasses, and boil a pot of tea..., and leave the bows for now. I'll finish them later tonight." A strange gesture, as work had always come before family, and friends for the master Fletcher.

    "Once the tea is ready, please mind to yourself. This man is an acquaintance of mine, and I wish to speak with him without your prying ears." A soft chuckle escaping his wrinkled lips. He knew the girl would be curious about this man as he'd been enough to draw Bastion from his work, and that was simply unheard of.
  6. Kari looked from the two and then turned on her heel while chewing on her bottom lip to avoid huffing in frustration. She made her way quickly into the kitchen to start the boiling water. The man that had entered the shop was apparently an old friend of Bastion's. Bastion usually didn't act so curt in front of customers but this man was indeed an exception.

    "Well, I don't like him. He didn't even greet me. How rude. Friend or not."she huffed loudly now that she was in the kitchen. The water would take minutes to boil and she was warned about snooping around the conversation. As curious as she was, Kari only lifted her chin into the air while her face burned pink in annoyance. I could care less about what they're talking about. She opened one eye as silence dawned on the kitchen. The night was closing in and she had almost forgotten about Stardust who was attached to the front pole. Kari walked out of the back door to the shop, hoping that returning the mare to her stable will give her enough time to be back when the water started to boil.

    All at once, a cacophony of night time sounds littered the air as Kari tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Dust rose her head and neighed softly when she noticed Kari approaching her.

    "Sorry I took so long. Bastion is in there talking to some rude man."she said, untying the mare and briskly leading it to the stables. Making sure Dust was secured properly, she sent off a wave to the horse and closed the stable doors, making her way back into the shop. The water was boiling as she expected and she went on her way preparing the tea. However, during the preparations, she could hear the voices of the two men clear as day...
  7. "She's gotten taller..." Lufsunga said softly as he sat in an old worn wooden chair. His forearm resting on his knees. "Time doesn't truly flow as it once did."

    "Well not for one who's immortal, my friend. I can imagine decades blurring into mere moments, or vice versa." Bastion answered, clamping a pipe with his teeth. The pleasant aroma of cinnamon, and spice filling the shop as he lit it with a coal from the fire. He then exhaled deeply "I take it... then it's now the time?" His voice slightly shaky. Laced with a slight tone of fear if one listened intently.

    Lufsunga closed his eyes for a long while before he opened them, and answered the question. "The Dark Tide rises, Bastion. She's of age now, and they will be looking for her. Infact... I think they may already be in this village." His tone laid heavy with concern. "She needs to be taken before they find her else the final chapter will be written, and Muldala will rise once more in the flesh. You recall the visions, so you know this is very serious." Leaning back in the chair, the Plainsman folded his arms, and looked at the fire.

    Tapping his bony fingers along his knee, Bastion simply nodded. "Well it was to end at some point... I will miss the child... Though I may have been hard, I tried to be fair with her. I've never found myself able to call her my daughter, but I feel the sharp pain in my heart that surely a father would feel for his child. You will watch over here well, I know." Puffing on his pipe softly, Bastion turned to look at the doorway to the kitchen, then his eyes drifted around the shop slowly. "I pray dear friend... that you yourself discover the joys of mortality, and that this be the time for history to not repeat itself."

    "I'll give you two a moment, then we must leave immediately. The winds have changed again..." Lufsunga stood, and rubbed his neck lightly before his sandaled steps carried him quietly outside once more, his footprints rivaling the silence of a ghost.

    Rocking back slightly in his chair, Bastion drew a blanket over his shoulder, and closed his eyes heavily. "Yukari, please come in here, and bring the tea with you."
  8. All the while, Kari's back was plastered against the kitchen wall. Her eyes were now doubled in size as she over heard little snip-its of the conversation between Bastion and the other man. She over heard something about....Muldala? The dark tinges in the man's voice indicated that Muldala was clearly a bad thing to get into. Kari's breathing hasted even when Bastion called her name out. She knew they were talking about her....had to be talking about her! There was a sudden spinning feeling in her head that caused the room to swirl into colors. Sweat gathered around the palms that held the trey of tea. The sound of the cups clattering together due to her shaking hands was the only sound ringing in her ears.

    Suddenly, she heard the sound of the door closing softly which brought her back to reality. If the thoughts of the two men's conversation played in her head any longer, she would have lost her mind. People were after her...and the dark skinned man sounded very serious about her leaving this village. The thought of leaving was bout implausible but exciting at the same time. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest and she willed her feet to move and walk back into the main room. Kari looked down to find Bastion in the same position she was in only covered in a blanket instead.

    "Your tea..."she said in a soft whisper and went to set the tray down on the table in front of him.
  9. "Ah, thank you my dear." Bastion said pleasantly, as he poured himself a cup, as well as one for Kari. Leaning back in his chair, the strange instrument laid across his lap. His free hand running the length of the string, and turning knobs here and there almost instinctively while the other brought the cup to his lips. Taking a small sip, his milky eyes turned to Kari, indicating for her to sit. "My friend has just arrived from the Hunter's Lodge. Apparently they need their shipment earlier than usual, and so I want you to deliver them. I need you to leave before nightfall."

    His tone remained calm, and collected. "Lufsunga, the man who you saw earlier is going to accompany you on the journey should any bandits, or wild animals stray across your path, though I know that you need little protection... I've seen your archery." Pride apparent in his voice at the mention of her skill. "This will be your first time leaving the village, or so I think." His eyes squinted slightly to get a better view of her in the dim light. "But please be careful on your journey, and listen to what the man says. He's very wise in the ways of the world, and do try to not annoy him with your incredible curiosity."

    The old man puffed heavily on his pipe, and fell silent a moment. "I myself will be leaving tomorrow, in order to visit farm to the west. Apparently they have found a tree with wood that rivals the weight, flexibility, and strength of Holonian Oak. I might find an opportunity to invest in it, and get a jump start on a business boom. So take yourself some clothes, and any supplies you want for I won't be back for a few weeks, and I'll be locking the shop up for the journey." Pausing a moment, his working hand halted it's dance along the knobs, and strings of the instrument.

    "Can I count on you to be a good girl, and do this errand for me, Kari?"
  10. Listening to the old man speak, a calm sensation over came her. The tea was also to thank for that effect. It seemed as the Kari simply heard the men wrong. They might have been discussing an old folk tale or may have been talking about another girl. Whatever the case was, Yukari was glad the uneasy feelings that stirred in her stomach were now gone. She smiled up at the old man. In the back of her mind, she realized that she may have been hard on him, especially in his old age. What if her rebellious nature and all, Kari was only trying to better herself.

    "Thank you Bastion. I will do my best to assist Lufsunga the best that I can. I also agree not to be a bother on the man. I will keep to myself and make sure that we arrive there and back safely."she said sweetly. The old man continued to let his fingers fly over the instrument. There was nothing else for the two of them to say so, with a sigh, Yukari hoisted herself from her chair and walked up the stairs to her room.

    "I will be done packing shortly."she called out. With her footsteps finally dying out, Kari reached her room and made her way to the drawer with all of her clothes. She figured she'd pack lightly, only bringing clothes like the one she had on at the moment. Being an archer meant that you can not be weighed down by too much fabric. Along with her outfits she packed her hair brush, quiver of arrows, and her dagger that she always kept at her side. Looking down a the opened bag, she only hoped the trip wasn't long. She didn't want to be with that rude Lufsunga guy for too long.
  11. Smiling softly at Kari's words, Bastion nodded his head. He knew the girl would be fine, but still he worried. Lufsunga was a capable man, but even he was human... well... as human as an immortal could be. He would offer his long overdue prayers to the gods this night for their safety in the coming months. As Kari disappeared up the stairs, Bastion finished his tea, emptied his pipe into the fire, and rested the strange instrument in the chair before he returned to the bowstring spinner. He'd finish his work before the night came... The last thing Bastion would have is an chore hanging above his head stone.

    Lufsunga sat quietly on the steps leading from the Fletcher's main door. His hands rested on his knees, as his head was dipped in heavy thought. The Plainsman focused intently on the sounds of his environment. There was the sound of water crashing against the wood of the watermill, the laughter of children running through the dusty streets in their daily games, and shop keepers calling out their wares, and minding their customers. He could even hear the scythe's pass as it swept through the wheat fields far to the north of the town. All these sounds encircled him in a blanket of resonance.

    It was moments later, he heard what he sought. The dull thundering of a horses hooves against moist grassland. Many, many hooves. Opening his eyes, he turned his head to the west... where Bastion would travel in the morning. Where the man would not return from. It had always been in the prophecy, that the father would sacrifice his life for the child, and in turn release her binding with an act of redemption. Lufsunga had seen it many times, and he only hoped that this would be the last time such an act would be needed.

    The door opened behind him, and turning his head, he saw Kari with her bag, and her equipment.

    "Ready to leave, little miss?" He asked, as he himself stood up to his feet, and rested his left forearm on his sword handle. Was he himself ready to leave? Having little to nothing upon his person save his sword, dagger, and that strange instrument which had somehow returned to his hand.
  12. Yukari made her way to the stable and untied Stardust and carried her to the entrance of road towards the Lufasunga man. When she made it close to him, she realized the intense difference in height between the two of them. She had to bend her head back a slight to kook into the man's eyes. They were such a brilliant color of blue that Kari had to avert her eyes as quickly as she looked at him. Not to mention that on the right side of his face, a grotesque scar snaked through the eye, passing his cheek.

    "Y-yes sir, I'm ready to go."she answered, taking the time to look back at the house. Bastion hadn't been by himself for over half of a day and now he was going to travel. Kari couldn't help but feel some tinge of nervousness deep in her stomach. The way he had gravely talked to Lufsunga about Muldala versus the way he sweetly asked her to travel with him..the two didn't add it. He was always overprotected of her, even from herself! It didn't settle well with her to know that he purposefully disregarded his doubts of her safety and let her go.

    Stardust whinnied and prodded on the ground in impatience. Kari looked over to the large white horse and tugged once on the reign in her hand.

    "Okay okay, we're leaving."she said and stood next to Lufsunga, waiting for him to lead her off into the unknown. Don't worry, Bastion. I'll be back and everything will be normal again.
  13. Shifting his weight to the other foot, the small jeweled earrings that he wore jingled softly as he watched as the girl fetched her horse. "You're taking the horse? Alright." It was more of a statement, his tone non-commanding. Leading off with his left foot, the Plainsman set a very brisk pace. Stories of his people often revolved around their incredible stamina, and tales of them covering great distances in short spans of time. If the tales were true, Kari would soon find out though it looked as if there was some truth to them by Lufsunga's pace. Remaining silent as they left the village, he paid Kari a passing glance as he looked around the surroundings at various times. The man didn't seem the type to just up, and begin with friendly banter. No... he did seem the more silent type, but perhaps it was the way he carried himself. It was strong, and confident... and ever watchful.

    His stride however also hinted to a gentleness that would be uncommon to a man raised in the wilds, one would think. Glancing to Kari once more, Lufsunga cocked his head slightly as his eyes passed over her bow. "So you are an archer? May I ask if Bastion taught you how to use such a weapon? I recall him being a master of the craft years ago." The statement would sound odd as Lufsunga looked no more than a man nearing his thirties. "He tried teaching me once, but my people have no skill in it. Though we're adapt at throwing a knife." he finished, resting his forearms on both his sword handle, and his dagger pommel.

    Seeing her eyes glance over his own every now and then, he chanced a question in regards to it. "Wondering about the scar, or why my eyes seem nearly to glow? Both are an interesting tale should you be interested in it's telling."
  14. Lufsunga began talking and Kari almost lost her footing. She hadn't expected for the man to become so friendly with someone he was just escorting. Then again, he was a long friend of Bastian's so Yukari could not hold it against him. She shuffled her feet in embarrassment that she may have been too engrossed in his features more than the trail itself. Stardust grew silent so she couldn't help but to answer the man's questions. Kari hated silence.

    "Both yes and no, sir. He taught me the basics, but the actual art itself, I had to teach myself. He never physically helped me with it, yet always gave me commands and insults, never compliments. I don't believe he is in the right position to give me compliments anyway. I always miss. Always."she mumbled the last word, remembering the earlier ride she took in the forest with Stardust. Kari's feet began shuffling deeper within the leaves scattered on the ground; any excuse to make noise. Lufsunga had seemed sincerely interested in sparking conversation so Kari merely complied.

    "The scar looks as though it took some hardship to get. I'm sure its a painful yet interesting story. If you feel the need to tell it just because I was looking, you may do so." After the words left her mouth, Kari slapped a hand over her lips. Rude! Rude, Kari!
  15. "Well you would do well to understand his scoldings were a method to drive you to success. I'm certain with practice you'll become a fine archer." Opening his hand, an autumn leaf slowly descended towards his fingers, where it rested balancing on its stem in perfect balance. "It's mostly about balance, or so I'm told... archery."

    "The scar looks as though it took some hardship to get. I'm sure its a painful yet interesting story. If you feel the need to tell it just because I was looking, you may do so." After the words left her mouth, Kari slapped a hand over her lips. Rude! Rude, Kari!
    "Ahh..." Taken back by that statement, Lufsunga only nodded his head. "Perhaps another time if you ever do become curious then." His voice quiet as he then turned his head to look over his shoulder at the path behind them. "We will make camp in a few hours. Rain is going to be abundant." If one were to look at the sky, they would see it as clear as could be. It looked as if bad weather wouldn't be seen for weeks as the sky was clear even into the distance. Leaving the path, Lufsunga appoached a few large sticks, and hefted them easily onto his shoulder. "These should do for bracing..." he said to himself outloud.
  16. Yukari still held a firm hand over her mouth. The words had slipped through her lips before she had a chance to take them back. Lufsunga also replied to her statement so quickly that she did not have a chance to apologize or explain herself. Before she knew it, the man had gone off to build their staying for the night. Kari let her fingers slip from her lips and watched the man at work. His strength was phenomenal. She almost studded on her own foot for doubting his protection in the first place!

    The night was dawning closer and Stardust was becoming restless. The mare usually felt safe in the confines of her stable then in the middle of the forest. One could say that she was afraid of the dark and required the company of others. Dust nuzzled the edge of her wet nose on Kari's arm, who had decided to take a seat on a nearby log and observe the man at work. Kari took her quiver and bow from her back and set them on the forest floor. She continued to look down at it, wondering if she needed to use it at all on her journey.

    "Excuse my prying, Lufsunga, but will we be followed?"she asked tenderly.
  17. "Followed by nothing more than nature." He gave in response with a carefree attitude. He gave Yukari credit for being observant. They were infact being followed, but she needn't know about what was there. Not yet at any rate. He himself moved here, and there as he gathered various pieces of wood, large leaves, and strands of vine. The makeshift tent he was constructing looked rather simple, but it had a confident look about it. As if it could weather any storm. In the time he spent constructing the structure, he also drew strange symbols into the ground using the heel of his foot. Odd, but judging by his appearance, one might decided to chalk it up to random habits of his people's traditions.

    Drawings his sword from it's scabbard, Lufsunga then sat down on a small rock, and began hacking at the few leftover branches in order to cut them for firewood. As he did so, he looked to Yukari, and motioned to her bow, and arrows. "Think you can manage a hunt, and catch us something for the night?"