Ode to an ancient martial art

Why SHE's been gone

POSTED: Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:21 am

Another cycle had passed, and this time, the wolfdog had learned to endure both the elements, and the life in a pack. Yes, she had feared that everything would end like the last time, so long ago, and that had hindered her relationships with her packmates. She was found herself tensing whenever she noticed Felix not being his usual enthusiastic self, and she couldn’t stop herself from staring a little too much at her female comrades, looking for, well, something. Anything that would indicate them being mistreated, and this history repeating itself.

Eventually, her fears were found to be unsubstained, so she had relaxed a bit, opened up, and started taking part in more pack-related affairs.

Outside of her packlands she had harvested her friendship with certain loud, obnoxious dog to the point that she had become a frequent customer. Rocky had showed her some of the best quality products that Biff’s Bar produced, and then some. She wouldn’t buy much, but her visits were frequent. On one such visit, after his past had so ungraciously come back to slap him in the face, she had gotten to know little Jaimie. While not impressed by the news of his past affair, Cairina couldn't fully portray the man as a father, especially of such an energetic oddball. He was a party-goer, much like herself, and a hangover was not very compatible with loud yapping and screaming at all hours.

"At least both of you are happy. Well, she clearly is..." She said to him, just as the pup was rummaging through her backpack. Both chuckled, but she became serious afterwards.

"This is a huge responsability for you. I mean, I don't really have experience with kids, but it's very easy to fuck them up, you know..." She recalled some of her early experiences with chagrin, and related him some of the overall details of her misadventures. He told her his, back in his land, with his very extensive family. Their glasses emptied slowly that night, and the two adults spent their night tucking the youngling to sleep (after much insistence and some chasing) and singing their sorrows away, off-key of course.

Upon her return to her home, the wolfdog realized that, while she indulged in her liquor quite often, the reserves had scarcely lowered. Either she had stopped drinking as much as before, or her habit had led her to building a sizeable stash. Luckily, none of it had gone bad, given the conditions of her underground den. Here and there she had offered some to her packmates, but not often enough that she was in need of more anytime soon.

Back at the packlands, the Diglosse woman's head had been brimming with ideas. Seeing Rocky having his hands full with his own, err, projects, made her start thinking of her own.

After her initial failure with horseback arrow shooting, she had tried to avoid pulling a similar stunt again. Neither Crassus nor her, were ready for that, and she would rather keep her ability to walk intact, and having that impatient and reckless approach would never do any good. Instead, she focused on trying to understand better her own horse. She rode her for longer, and understood the signs she had been taught to give a beast when riding it. Either by holding the mane or makeshift reins, she could lead her.

Being aware of her gestures gave the woman an idea. She started by making up signals with her legs, which could be sensed by Crassus. She found out that her knees got the better response, by pressing them lightly against her shoulders she could get her to buck a little bit. While not very noticeable, she already had a response, and she could work with that.

For several days, her routine consisted in her taking her horse to an open field, and riding while giving both hand and knee signals, letting the mare get used to them. She would alternate between using both and only one of them, until she saw improvement, and then she would call it a day. Then rinse and repeat. Even when she wasn’t riding, she would try to practice, modify and improve her movements on a log, trying to get a better grip as well without using her hands as an anchor point. The whole process was ways away from her comfort zone, but her mind was so set on her goal that she couldn’t fit much else in her mind.

Of course, this meant that she often had to remind herself to get something to eat every now and then. Her gut wouldn’t cooperate either, only producing a reaction of hunger once Cairina herself recalled such mundane necessities. Her frame grew slightly thinner, but excitement kept her alert and awake.

Just a little bit longer…

Today, Crassus managed to turn left only with a push from her right knee.

I’m almost there…

A few days later, she could walk a short distance and make a couple of turns before realizing the lack of hand signals.

Yes, yes…

Cairina brought her arrows with her this time, managing to keep herself still enough to shoot a makeshift target. She didn’t get a clean shot on the center, but didn’t miss entirely. And this time, she wasn’t laying on the ground.

Her technique was far from perfect, but she was set in becoming a horseback archer. Once she was done, she would go back to her packmates, especially to Ragna and Felix, and show them.

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