forgotten groves of time

[p] Tora

POSTED: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:08 pm

--

Kalypso watched as her children practiced with their various chosen weapons. Athalie seemed proud with her bow on her back and her fingers wrapped around the hilt of a knife. Isadore stood tall with his staff longer than him in his grip. Eulalie was the one who seemed uncertain and clumsy with her mother's sword in her hand. She had insisted on taking the live weapon in practice rather than the carved wood blades that had remained after the fall of the Kingdom.

They were taking turns striking at the various points on the practice dummy's hay-stuffed body. The weapons cache and training yard had been mostly relocated to the village so that it was closer for the remaining Petite Cour members. The commons may have been burned but the structure was not totally decimated, so there was plenty of space for storage left. And all the unfinished hollows were usable.

Isadore was somehow in his prime, swinging the weapon he had chosen thanks to his aunt. Athalie was still not a good shot with the bow and so swung with the knife to mimic combat without her preferred weapon. Eulalie hesitated when it came to be her turn and ungracefully stumbled forward, poking the dummy with the saber before lurching back.

Kalypso's lips tightened somewhat at the rather disgraceful performance her eldest displayed but said nothing. Her fingers did dig into her arms somewhat, though, and she knew she presented a tense and displeased figure in the background. Eulalie did not look back, but brushed off the hair from her eyes and waited for her turn after her two siblings had theirs again.

Eulalie stumbled again and swung the blade as though to cut into the dummy's side. The Oratrice moved forward without pause and covered the ground quickly. She hooked her daughter's wrist firmly and pulled the arm away from the dummy.

You wanted to use the saber, so use it like a saber and not like a giant pig-sticker. If you want to use a cutting sword, you should train up to use your grandfather's sword instead. Her words were harsh, but she had spent enough time watching her eldest bumble around with a graceful weapon with all the poise of a walrus. She had expected more from her, especially as it seemed her siblings had picked things they were actually interested in. If you don't want to learn to fight, then say something before you embarrass yourself. Or worse, hurt yourself by hesitating. Her lips were tight as a line when she let go of Eulalie's wrist.

The girl gingerly massaged her wrist, looking down. I do want to learn. I do! she countered, voice rising. Kalypso only tittered as she waved her daughter away and returned to her previous spot to stand watch stiffly.

KALYPSO SAVOY
If I knew you were a sellout. A thief. Use me up - I would have never let you near me.
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POSTED: Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:53 am

Tora was feeling better than he had at any point during the last few months. He still carried the burden of failing to protect his second home, still hated himself for not having the self-respect to end his miserable existence (his father made sure to remind him often that he should have killed himself immediately following the destruction of the Tanakas) but now he had a purpose. His month long argument with his conscious had finally resolved, violent insanity winning out over rational thought. He would seek out evil wherever it might be lurking, driving all the innumerable murderers and rapists and thieves that plagued the world from their dens burning them alive as if offering to some violent god of twisted justice. He would not and could not stop hunting until every last rat was purged or until they killed him.

He knew of course that the second outcome would happen long before the first and welcomed it. He was tired of running. Tired of losing people he cared about. The poisoned Courtiers appeared in his dreams with the burning children he had abandoned years ago, calling for him to face judgement for his sins both real imagined. He would meet them gladly, accept his punishment in the hereafter once his time in the land of the living had run out. But first he had to make sure he acheived some good in his life. He had lived his life like a coward but he would die like a warrior.

The Tora from a week ago would have been able to see that he needed help, but he was no longer that person. The sick man was noticeably more upbeat than he had been before, concealing his madness with the return of his friendly attitude and a spring in his step. Accepting what he had to do after so much hemming and hawing felt good, good than he could have imagined. He was talking and laughing with the rest of Court more often, spending more time outside and helping with chores around the village. He had even started collecting a pile of firewood for the little community to share when winter came.

More importantly he had been preparing an apology gift for Kalypso. While she might not have held any authority over him anymore he still felt a sense of debt to her. She had offered him a second home and let him keep it after he had embarrassed himself and the pack at the masquerade, allowed him to unload his guilt and self-doubt upon her without thought towards what she might have gone through. He had been selfish recently and needed to ask forgiveness before his passing. To that end he had spent the last day or so putting the finishing touches on one of his larger projects: the likeness of a Golden Eagle in flight. The bird was carved out of white pine and painstakingly detailed. Tora had spent hours silently observing a nest of the raptors to get a handle on their anatomy, sketching them again and again until he could draw one in his sleep. Three feet tall with a seven foot wingspan it had been coated in brown and white and grey paint so that it matched the might birds of prey that it was modeled after, yellow coating it's beak and talons. Two gold colored beads had been carefully inserted to serve as eyes to give the appearance that it was always watching.

Tora was certainly proud of his work but the sooner he could set it down the better. The carving was life sized, standing nearly three tall with a wingspan reaching seven. The craftsman had resorted to securing it to his back with a length of strong cord before setting out to find the Speaker. Luckily for him she was easy to find. She and her children came into his view just as the Oratrice gripped her daughter's arm and hissed some reprimand at her. In an instant Tora was assaulted by memories of his father doing the same thing to him when he had been a boy, dragging him out of the practice in front of his peers and beating him savagely for mistakes. Tora shuddered at the thought, his hackles raising as a chill came over him. Was his father nearby? It was impossible to tell. Usually a sudden nip in the air mean that Akio was around but sometimes it was nothing more than paranoia.

It was a horrible feeling, being scared at the possibility of one's parent coming around. Hopefully Kalypso was more lenient than Akio had been.

The Little's Court's resident madman walked over to Kalypso, making sure to keep a polite distance as he undid the knotted cord and held out the carving of the eagle. "Hello Kalypso." he greeted her, the familiar tone tempered by a polite aversion of the eyes, "I brought a gift, to apologize for my behavior these past months. It was childish of me to behave how I did, and I'm sorry."

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POSTED: Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:07 pm

--

Her ear twitched and she turned at the sound of footsteps drawing near. Her shoulders were still tense from her lecturing, maybe even more so at someone coming up to her back. But the Oratrice relaxed somewhat as she realized it was just Tora, a familiar face, and smiled at him without uncrossing her arms. There was something strapped to his back that he begun to undo as she watched both him and her children taking turns at the dummy.

But like her, the trio had paused to look at the man joining them and it was clear that their interest and focus on the dummy was fading somewhat. Kalypso gave an audible woof as she narrowed her eyes at the trio and as one they turned back to their training. There were definitely occasional glances back. Sooner or later, one of them was going to get hurt with such distracted attention.

Kalypso sighed as she eyed the eagle that the man produced. Those eyes of hers widened at the size of the carving, beautiful and bright. Oh, that's a marvel. She took it into her own hands and cradled the base of it with a hand. It was hefty in her grasp and she ran a finger delicately over the wing outspread. An eagle in flight, an omen some would say. She cast her eyes down to the carving, smiling without realizing it.

It's quite lovely, thank you, but I don't know why you are apologizing. Her eyes lifted up, her stormy sea gaze meeting the more still-sea of Tora's. The past few months have been hard on all of us and I don't know that you've been childish. I think it's understandable. She reached out to touch the man's arm, about to speak when there was a loud yelp of pain from where the yearlings were practicing.

Her grip on Tora's arm tightened momentarily in surprise and she quickly let go as she turned about. The eagle was pressed to her chest as she caught sight of Eulalie clutching at her hand and Isadore kneeling on the ground. All the weapons were discarded about them, strewn as though they were of no consequence.

Concern flooded the former monarch's face as she rushed forward, still clutching the statue. What happened? There was blood in the air. Her eyes jumped from one child's hands to the others. Isadore's leg was bleeding from where he was pressing, tiny little rivulets of blood dribbling down. Eulalie was rubbing at her hand and looking mortified, the saber on the ground. Athalie merely looked concerned and unsure. It was obvious which daughter had guilt etched into her face.

I'm okay, I'm okay, it's nothing, said the boy between gritted teeth as he tried to shakily smile up at his mother when suddenly Eulalie burst into tears. Kalypso looked dumbfounded as she turned her gaze at Tora, beckoning for help with the anxious flicker of her ears flattening.

KALYPSO SAVOY
If I knew you were a sellout. A thief. Use me up - I would have never let you near me.
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POSTED: Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:50 pm

The Épéiste gave Eulalie , Athalie and Isadore a polite nod as they turned to regard them, suppressing a shiver as he regarded their weapons. Children training for war, a sadly necessary reminder of his own homeland. What a diseased world they lived in where they had to take up arms to defend themselves from the monsters hiding in plain sight! It was wise of their mother to teach them, Kalypso showing the level head and intelligence Tora had grown to respect and value. "And hello to you three as well. I did not mean to ignore you." he told them politely, glancing over to the dummies to witness their burgeoning skill or lack thereof before turning back to the Speaker. When she described the wooden eagle as a "marvel" Tora grinned sheepishly, clutching his clawed hands together. Modesty demanded he demean the work but his pride ordered him to accept the praise.

An unhappy medium was struck. "Ah, that? It's nothing, just a knickknack." The wolf shrugged, his smile widening and his tail wagging happily at the validation. "However, I'm glad you like it." Tora listened to his Oratrice refute his claims of childishness, watching her approaching hand with... Apprehension? Nervousness? Excitement? A mixture of the three? Yes, definitely a mixture of them. It occurred to Tora that it had been a while since he had received physical affection of any kind. In fact the last time he had been hugged regular was when he had been a puppy. The prospect of another person touching him nearly made him whine in satisfaction! "Get over it." he scolded himself. "You're making it weird. You're a grown man, not an eager to please boy." His excitement was properly contained to avoid causing a scene, Tora making sure he remained courteous and professional without breaking down at the prospect of a consoling hand on his arm.

And then the comforting touch turned into a vise like grip, his hackles raising at the sound of a scream and the scent of fresh blood. Instinct kicked in and he swiveled towards the commotion with the first few inches of steel already out of his scabbard. Blue eyes scanned the area for the threat, narrowing at the sight of the girl rubbing her hand next to the abandoned saber. Tora followed Kalypso, already forming a theory in answer to her question as he crouched next to the injured child. The cut wasn't deep thankfully, just enough to break the skin and draw a few drops of blood. "Luck smiles on you today my little friend." Tora grunted, a low whistle escaping him as he dug through his bag. "A little deeper and you'd have a serious problem." The ronin produced a roll of cloth bandages from his pack and quickly applied it to the wounded limb, giving Isadore a reassuring grin. "You bear pain with grace and strength. Hold onto that skill, you will need it in life." The brief lesson was finished as the bandage was wound tight around his leg, Tora turning his head back toward Kalypso. "He'll be fine, nothing more than a scrape. Do you need help training them?"

It seemed like a bit of a rhetorical question.

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POSTED: Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:52 am

--

Kalypso watched in a stupor, unable to move from her place. Tora came to her rescue, rushing in to inspect the wound upon Isadore's leg. The young man shakily removed his hand from the puncture wound, revealing a decidedly less menacing gash than Kalypso had feared. There was no way that he would be maimed from the injury.

A long, rattling sigh rumbled out of her as she put a hand on her chest, shutting her eyes for a moment to collect herself and her thoughts. She did not want to round on her daughter as she had wanted to, eager to scream herself hoarse over the stupid things she had already warned them over. Instead, she counted to twenty slowly, allowing her heart rate to slow and her mind to focus on what she ought to do that would actually help.

As Tora bandaged the leg he spoke to the trio, his words clearly comforting Isadore while simultaneously making Eulalie sob harder over the implication that had it been with any more force, her brother would have been potentially maimed or worse.

Athalie was trying to comfort her sister, but Kalypso opened her eyes and then her arms to her eldest daughter. Eulalie melted into her mother's chest and began to dampen her shirt with the crocodile tears that were likely a mixture of guilt, regret, and relief.

Tora offered to teach them once Isadore was treated. The boy stood, testing his leg, wincing, but seeming alright despite it. Kaly looked over her daughter's head, hand stroking her hair soothingly as the girl's wracking sobs eased off. I think so. I can manage one or two, but not with three different weapons at a time. I don't know staff work well, and I think Eulalie needs more of my attention for her swordsmanship. Kaly winced as her daughter stiffened in her arms, beginning to pull away as the tears ceased and she merely sniffled.

Do you know staves well at all? I don't want to bother Thyri unless I am totally out of options, she added, watching Eulalie move to stand by Athalie, who rubbed her arm in sympathy.

KALYPSO SAVOY
If I knew you were a sellout. A thief. Use me up - I would have never let you near me.
  375/500 Honor  


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Distinguished
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† ♥ SANG DE LA MER ♥ †
the power that you crave
◄taste, what a bittersweet►

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