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 Woods Near the Manor

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LadyLilliAschuill
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PostSubject: Woods Near the Manor   Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:48 pm



The woods near Atwood Manor is mall compared to the local forests, but it is quite shady and sizable enough as one could easily become lost if not well trained in forest survival. A decent sized stream flows though leading to the river nearby. There is a small clearing within the woods that is still farilt shady but let's in just enough light to brighten it durring the day.




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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:55 pm

The sun had just barely begun to light the sky when the rooster's crow yanked Lilli out of a restful sleep. Shifting slightly, not wanting to leave to warmth of her bed her eyes fluttered open. Slowly they adjusted on the window. The sky was still mostly dark but the hint of amber glowed from somewhere outside. Slowly Lilli sat up and blinked around. So this is what the servant's must feel like, she thought, as it was not often she was up before the sun. But this was the start of her lessons with the Carakleinian, Xanthus. They had agreed to start the following morning of their meeting in Ari's apothecary shop. As nervous as she was, she also felt excited; finally she would be able to have piece of mind knowing that she would be able to keep herself, as well as Ari safe. Her family, however, not as enthusiastic about the arrangement, particularly her father.

Although he was not a prejudice man, he did not have high opinions of Caraklienians, particularly this pale stranger. To add that he would be alone with his daughter secluded in a wood every morning for a week also did not stand well with him. Lilli had to plead with him to allow them to carry out the lessons, though she would have done so with or without his permission she was that determined. But with a little coaxing and stubbornness, he finally relented, though he made his concerns very clear and would not tolerate any...indecency (though Lilli dismissed the idea at once when he had said such, insisting that there would be no need to worry).

Lilli quietly crept out of bed and peered out the window. The light was a tad brighter now and everything almost appeared blue in the morning mist. The land was silent, save for the still crowing rooster. The crisp coolness of the air made he shudder a bit, but she smiled, knowing it would indeed be a warm and sunny day. She had picked the perfect spot to take her lessons with Xan. Due to his sensitivity to the bright light, she knew of a clearing in the woods not far from the manor. It was shady yet let in just enough light that it was not overly bright. She had discovered it once while playing and exploring as a child and later used to picnic there with Martin when they were still during their courtship. She felt a stab of sadness as she thought of those happy times, but she set it aside with a sigh, knowing she had to move on in honor of his memory, he had even said so himself in her dream.

After a few moments of enjoying the sunrise, she went to her wardrobe and dressed for the lesson. She decided that something simple, but not too "masculine" would be appropriate, since she would more than likely be in typical noble gown she have to use her skills in an unexpected assaulted. She had just the thing, I lovely deep green dress that she used when tilling around in her garden, as not to ruin any of her courtly gowns. It was plain but still had a show of elegance. Quickly she slipped into it and went to her mirror. She brushed her long deep brown waves and tied most of it back as not to fall into her face while swing around a blade. Once satisfied with her appearance, she quietly crept down the star to the main room. The manor still though She could hear some movement and sound coming from the kitchen as the servants began their routine of preparing breakfast for the house. Lilli went to the large chest on one wall of the room and carefully opened it. Inside was several folded cloths wrapped around metal objects. Carefully Lilli reached in and picked up one of them, still wrapped. She closed the lid and set the cloth upon the chest and slowly unfolded it. The sword glinted in the faint light; it's bronze and copper handle slightly dull from its years of use. Lilli carefully ran her finger over it, also afraid to take it. It belonged to Martin; it was the sword he had kept close to him nearly every day during his duty of a knight. Lilli began to have second thoughts about taking charge of it, but there were no others adequate that she could handle. After a moment of reflection she grabbed it in its sheath and headed for the door However, she was unfortunate to catch a whiff of the freshly baked bread and felt her stomach give a slight rumble. Perhaps a little bite on the way out, she thought. She crept into the kitchen and saw the basket of rolls left unattended by the cook. She glanced about, making sure she wasn't around a quietly grabbed two rolls before quickly making her way back to the door.

The air was a tad warmer than before and the sun was now nearly half risen on the horizon, sending beams of light through the nearby trees. Lilli seated herself upon a large stone on the side of the door. She did not see Xanthus yes and assumed he was probably making his way there at the moment. She took a small bite out of one of the rolls and hummed one of her favorite tunes as she waited for him to Arrive. She hoped the forest clearing would be to his liking.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:10 am

Using the spear Athanas as a walking stick, Xanthus meandered through the town in an attempt to get acquainted with his surroundings. True, he was really nothing more than a passing stranger... and had intended to just make camp outside the limits of the settlement... but there might be a time during his week’s stay that he would require something. And one particular person he would need to pay a visit to was the Coin Master. However, it didn’t appear anyone was up and around yet. Or, rather, no one seemed to be bustling about their business. More likely, he mused, was that they were just getting ready for the day.

Only a rooster’s crowing seemed to disturb the relative silence.

The Carakleinian allowed his thoughts to wander as much as his feet, though kept senses attuned for danger or possible obstacles. Only once before had he taught in his own style of fighting, and that was to his younger siblings; most of his friends never had such a privilege despite their pestering him. Until he turned sixteen, that was... He wondered whether or not Lilli would be awake and waiting for him, or still sleeping. Certainly, they’d agreed on the morning after their arrangement in the apothecary... but it was still very early. From what he’d witnessed of the Carakleinian capitol, noble folk did not usually rise with the sun.

Speaking of the rising sun, Xan noticed as he reached the edge of a forested area that the celestial body was steadily heading on its path to sunrise. He had wondered how lessons would be given to Lilli with his sensitivity to light, a weakness for which the Carakleinian had not yet found a direct solution. In the distance he could see Atwood Manor, or at least he was fairly certain it was Atwood Manor. He’d followed the path shown to him for the most part. Deciding he would simply wait at their pre-arranged meeting place instead of having one of the servants pull Lilli from sleep, Xanthus headed into the woods. In the event his assumption was correct and that she was sleeping in he decided he could meditate, practice his skills some, or explore the woods while waiting.

To his surprise, Lilli was actually waiting for him.

Taking a moment to survey their place of practice in the morning light, Xanthus noted with a smile how peaceful this place seemed to be. It would do nicely as a place to practice, as well as keep him out of blinding light whilst providing enough light for one to see. Though, depending on how quickly Lilli learned, Xan hoped to train her to use more than just her eyes in locating the enemy. “A magical, spiritual place, this...” he said by way of greeting, approaching the noblewoman from behind. His footsteps were not entirely noiseless, but nor did he step so irreverently so as to snap every fallen twig in two. With care, the Carakleinian propped the spear he’d been using for a walking stick against a tree.

“A very good morning to you, Milady,” Xanthus furthered his greeting, adding a courteous bow.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:03 pm

Lilli startled to her feet at the sound of Xan's voice suddely behind her and spun around. "My lord Xanthus! I did not even hear you aproaching!" She said as she regained her breath. She smiled after, though, glad to see he had found their meeting spot. "And to you as well," she added with a slight nod. "Yes, it is quite a lovely place. I discoverd it as a child and it's always been my retreat when in need of some peace." She remembered the bread in her hands and held out one of the rolls in offering. "Here, it is not much, but perhaps a little something to fill us before starting." She took another small bite of her own, cursing her lady-like obligation when she would love nothing more than to eat it a little less formaly. The silence was a little uncomortable, save for the music of the nearby birds among the trees.

"So...you are traveling to Azazel. Quite a journey from your own country. What brings you to the ice palace?"

She hoped her attempt at such small talk would perhaps help them to become more well aquainted before officialy beginning such rigorous training.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:20 pm

Xanthus immediately started when Lilli jumped to her feet, senses on high alert. A typical reaction from him, considering most swift movements he’d come across happened to be with a deadly weapon aimed at some part of him. However, seeing this circumstance was greatly different from the one he’d learned to anticipate, he relaxed. “My apologies, Milady,” the Carakleinian offered with a slight bow, affixing a small smile onto his face. It grew wider at the fact she found peace in such a place.

To be honest, he felt quite at peace here too... but didn’t say it. His earlier words seemed sufficient enough.

He was surprised to be offered food, thus accepted with a nod and murmuring of thanks, the spoken piece once again in his native tongue. This time, however, he caught himself. “I mean... ‘thank you’. Forgive me, sometimes I forget not many in these lands are fluent in Caraklei,” Xan stated quietly. He had with him some dried foods, but not much, and besides that the rolls looked rather tasty.

“It is said only a fool goes to war on an empty stomach...” he murmured to show his agreement of eating at least a little before beginning the lessons. Without further adieu he bit into his own roll, marveling at the texture and faint warmth within, at a medium between formally well-mannered and rather informal mannerisms. The sound of birdsong slightly alleviated the silence, which he did not find necessarily uncomfortable but yet not entirely relaxing. A slight tension seemed to tinge the air, simply because he knew not how to speak or act towards his new student yet.

The Carakleinian nodded in response to her comments regarding his journey as he took another bite of the roll. Pale blue-green eyes focused upon her fully at the question, which he had not been expecting. A moment later they shifted so as not to stare or give cause for her to wrongly assume that she’d somehow offended him. Xanthus should have seen this question coming... the distance was a long way from home, indeed, which would naturally make one curious. A slight smile lined his face. “My King bids I make the journey, for I’ve been selected as one of many possible suitors for the Duchess,” he explained, not finding it relevant to go into detail about the very brief encounters he’d had with Elektra. A glance here, a few words exchanged in passing there... that was about it that he could recall.

“Have you always lived here?” he asked curiously, deciding that there was no harm in chit-chat while they ate. Xanthus was generally a man of few words, but could perhaps be coaxed into saying a few more when necessary.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:31 am

Lilli couldn't help but give a slight chuckle as Xanthus fell into his own language briefly before remembering the words in her own. As educated as she was though, she regretted not studying much of the other languages throughout the land, seeing how her father never though it necessary. He would certainly not have made it a priority that she learn Caraklei. Perhaps she would pick up a a few words here and here during their lessons, but did not expect him to give her crash course in the language.

The mention of the Duchess Elektra caused Lilli to grow ever more curious. "Suitor? Well, that is quite an honor. The King must indeed hold you in high regard if he has chosen you personally. I wish you much luck then, Milord. I hope she find's favor in you, though I don't know who wouldn't." Lilli had no idea why those last words caused her to regret them. She immediately felt herself blush slightly and desperately tried to clarify herself, hoping he wouldn’t get the wrong idea. "I mean, after all, you agreed to teach a complete stranger a most difficult skill in only seven days, in the midst of a long journey no less. It takes a person of great kindness and courtesy to agree to such." She hoped her correction would over shadow her previous statement.

She was quite relieved that he did not mind that they take a moment to get to know one another. She had to admit, she had never met anyone as different as he, which fascinated her to a degree. He may be a man of few words, but was well spoken when he did speak, and his accent was quite charming.

"Yes, this had always been my home. Though not always my family's. My father was not always as prosperous, he and my grandfather worked hard for what has been passed down. They started as poor farmers and eventually their wealth grew. My father is a good man. Protective, but he has every right be as I am his last living child, so to speak." Her face grew sad for moment at the thought of her brother, but it lasted only a moment. "What is your own home like? I regret I have not traveled much out of Arlania, much less to Caraklein."

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:36 pm

Xanthus merely nodded in reply, deciding it likely wasn’t the grandest idea to mention how his unusual hair coloring gave cause for his people to think of him differently. “So it seems, and is, by his words,” he commented, a slight surprise in his eyes at her statement, taking a moment to translate it in his head as best he could between the two languages to make sure he completely understood what she meant.

"I mean, after all, you agreed to teach a complete stranger a most difficult skill in only seven days, in the midst of a long journey no less. It takes a person of great kindness and courtesy to agree to such."

The man inclined his head in comprehension and thanks to her compliment. “I find teaching often assists the trainee as well as provides insight to oneself,” he said simply. Xanthus didn’t see it fit to mention he was quite a distance ahead of his convoy for it would sound of boasting... something he learned in his boyhood that could be as much trouble as it was impressive, provided of course that it was true. “I hope you shall find what you seek from our lessons, and that the trouble you fear dost not arrive.”

He listened as she spoke, nodding his comprehension. For a brief moment he wondered at her saddened expression, and could only assume any siblings she may have had perished in some way. If he were to draw conclusions he’d assume a brother died by the sword, hence her wish to learn the ways of combat. On one hand he supposed he couldn’t blame Lord Atwood for his protectiveness regarding his daughter. Yet at the same time Xan felt that if one wanted to ensure one’s children were protected, one would have them skilled in combat so that in the event one failed, they could at least take a stand for themselves. But, then again, that was him and his upbringing as a borderland sentry.

Blue-green eyes took on a thoughtful, reminiscing hue when asked about Caraklein. “There is much snow there. Some snow and ice, it is said, that will never melt. And it has indeed thus far been true, for some buildings are made from it. Clouds often cover the sky, keeping the sun from blinding our eyes. Most of the trees there are evergreen, for the ones found here would surely perish in an eternal winter.

“My village itself is on the edge of Caraklein, the men acting as sentries to ward off foreign invaders. Women provided sustenance to the people via hunting and farming, though mostly the former. Men do most of the farming, since the fields are within distance where they could watch and plant at the same time if need be. But the country is not full of village-dwellers. The capitol, for instance, is a rather impressive metropolis dominated by a palace. One would never find themselves bored,” he explained, though neglected to mention precisely how cold it was there. This was merely because he was accustomed to the frigid, sometimes subzero temperatures, and thus rarely noticed when it went beyond ‘normal’ tolerance levels.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:36 pm

Lilli listened intently as Xan described his homeland and village. She could tell by his expression that he spoke with great fondness of it, almost as if he were a tad homesick. The way he described everything in such detail intrigued her, for she had always longed to travel, but due to her status, as well as in spite of it, was never much allowed to go much further than the borders of her own country. She loved her home very much, but the fact that she had never left Arlania was starting to cause to feel a bit caged in. Come to think of it, most of her life she never really got to do anything the really desired to do….save this.As He continued to speak of Caraklien, she couldn’t help but feel almost a slight chill at the thought of constant cold temperatures. Although she did not mind the colder seasons, she didn’t know if she could handle it all year round. She needed sun and warmth, especially for her garden. She wondered how the warmth of her own country was affecting him.

“It sounds like a truly magnificent place. Although I have to admit, I don’t know if I could live in such cold constantly. I’m sure if necessary I could, but I like the warm days of spring and summer. I defiantly would not be able to keep a very good garden there.” She added with a bit of a chuckle. ”Oh and I was not sure f you had a spare sword, so took the liberty of bringing my own”

Having finished her roll a few moments ago, she rose went over to the rock she had laid the sword next to and carefully picked it up, still sheathed. Holding it in her hands she brought it over to Xan.

“This is-…was my husband’s. He was knight of the King of Arlania. He no longer carries it. Not that long ago he was with an escort, guarding the Dowager Queen and young princess as they travelled when they were attacked by a dragon. As you may have heard, none survived.” He words were melancholy and she did have to fight back a few tears, but she kept herself from doing so by concentrating on the task at hand, not letting her emotions get the best of her, especially in front of Xanthus. “It is for his memory that I wish to learn to wield this. If not for my own sake, then hopefully for Ari’s, for she needs more protecting that I.” Carefully she unsheathed the sword, the blade gleaming brightly in the beams of light filtering through the trees. It was a little bit heavier than she expected and was really quite nervous with the blade now exposed, though she did not let Xan know it.

“Well, perhaps we should not delay much more since you are pressed for time. Shall we?” She put on a mask of confidence and stood at what she thought was a good fighting stance, holding the sword rather incorrectly and with a weak grip. “I am ready” she said with enthusiasm mixed with a bit of uncertainty. She had no idea what kind of teacher he was and from the looks of him, would not likely go easy on her.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:17 pm

The cold... he’d forgotten about that detail. Not entirely, of course. However, he did forget the little fact that not many that were accustomed to warm climates could tolerate the often sub-zero temperatures of his homeland. “It is magnificent... but not many brave the travel due to the cold. And sentry villages like mine,” he furthered his explanation slightly, smiling at the thought of keeping a garden. It would be near impossible without either sowing exceptionally hardy plants or some means of magical warming within a given area.

“One you are familiar with is better, at any rate,” he said when talk turned of swords. The Carakleinian took the time in which she strode over to retrieve her blade to finish the roll he’d been given. With the amount of care that was taken in carrying the sword, Xanthus could only assume that it held great meaning to the woman. Perhaps it was a family heirloom of sorts?

He listened as she spoke of the sword’s origins, a heightened sense of interest illuminating in the turquoise orbs. Xanthus had not heard of the goings on between Alrania and Mystenia, having kept pretty much to himself rather than matters surrounding the lands outside of Caraklein. However, upon hearing such news he bowed his head slightly to offer his nonverbal respects and condolences. So it was Lilli’s husband’s spirit delivering her a message from the world beyond, then? That same small smile gently spread across his lips as it had the day before, though he turned serious again not but a moment later. “It is as you said yesterday: those without swords can still die upon them. Your reasons behind the desire to learn will surely work to your advantage in the coming week,” the Carakleinian commented as she explained her reasoning even further for taking up the way of the sword.

“We shall,” Xanthus murmured, unsheathing one of the two sabres he carried. It looked a good century or two older than Lilli’s, but in very good condition nonetheless. Though the names of the blades were not boldly declared, Xan had selected the blade Estel to be the instrument of instruction.

When she declared she was ready, the warrior in him attempted to size up her stance and found several flaws to exploit. Although that could be good for him if this were a real fight, it would not bode well for Lilli... which was the whole point of these lessons. “Not ready,” he sighed and shook his head. “And I shall show you why.” The first thing Xanthus did was hold out his sword by the bit of blade near the hilt, and demonstrated the correct way to wrap one’s fingers about the handle. “Your hand must become as one with the blade. If it doesn’t...”

With little to no warning he swung his sword up to attack to cross his blade with hers. If she didn’t correct her grip, both in method and in strength, and fast, Xan assumed she would end up dropping the sword. It was only after the fact that he contemplated for just a moment what kind of student she would be. No doubt if this were any other skill he should and perhaps would go easy on her, yet the ways of combat were anything but forgiving.

Xanthus knew he could not transform her into a warrior, both by time allotted and by request of skill. However, to learn a skill such as this one well, a student likely wouldn’t learn as well if one held back too much. It would be his job to find an even medium and push the limits he found as much as he could without causing them to break.

Not to mention there was quite a bit to cover in just seven days... It could be done, but it would by no means be an easy feat.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:35 pm

Lilli watched as Xan demonstrated the proper way to hold a sword, feeling a little ashamed at her poor form, but she reminded herself that, in fact she had never held one before, let alone used one. Besides, this is why they were here, to learn to use it correctly. One with the blade…how does one become one with the blade? Before she could consider it and correct herself, without warning Xan brought his sword up and clashed it with her own. The metal shook hard in her hands and they had no other reaction but to let go, dropping the sword to the ground. Lilli gasped in shock and stared at the sword, unable to grasp what just happened. She looked to Xan, almost rather annoyed that he would take advantage of her poor handling of the weapon. “Well….I guess I will need to work on that then...” she said rather dryly, disappointed in herself as she fetched the sword again.

Lilly hesitated for a moment, contemplating what Xan had told her about becoming one with the blade. Slowly, she wrapped one hand around the handle feeling every inch of her palm come in contact with the leathery fabric. She was surprised what it gave her a feeling of strength and empowerment, as though she were in control. Wrapping her other hand around her tightened grip she brought the sword up once more, a strange new sense of confidence coming about her. She hoped this time, she would not be so easily disarmed. “Now…I am ready”.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:15 pm

Blonde eyebrows rose, surprised yet unsurprised that Lilli had released the blade. He hadn’t intended to scare her for a second time in the space of what surely wasn’t even yet a full day between yesterday afternoon and now... but it appeared as though he had. She would just have to get used to expecting the unexpected. Xanthus couldn’t tell if it was just him, or if she indeed appeared to be a twinge irritated with him. On one hand the irritation would work in her favor, giving her strength... but on the other it could make her careless. He would need to try and help her refine that into a useable source of power, yet retain a cool head. “You must learn to anticipate the unexpected,” Xanthus stated plainly, not at all apologetic but rather acting as though nothing had happened just now as she made to retrieve her sword.

The Carakleinian observed as his student wrapped her hand securely around the handle. A very slight nod met this action. He backed up slightly when she brought the sword up, then approached again. Without saying what he was going to do, Xanthus placed his hand on one of hers to examine her grip, albeit only briefly. A nod a bit more noticeable followed. He next glanced at her feet. “Ideally, feet parallel to shoulders works best for some, but however is most comfortable is ultimately best,” was the only remark he had.

Stepping backward, Xanthus once again brought up his own blade, deliberately crossing it with Lilli’s slowly, giving plenty forewarning. “No matter how hard the metal shakes, you must not let go,” he said, taking yet another step back to give them space.

“There are three basic attacks one has at their disposal almost regardless of weapon type: a slash, a chop, and a thrust,” the Carakleinian articulated. “Of the three, you are better off with the quick slashing attacks, unless opportunity arise or you are certain the attack can be finished in time. Or, at least, this shall be the strategy attack you learn from me.

“I want you to try and attack me. It is likely I will block everything you try until our later lessons, but I would like to see what you can do as you are now,” Xan explained, readying his sword. Just as he felt she had tested him in the apothecary regarding his reflexes, so too would he test her now.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:18 pm

Lilli nodded in understanding at Xan's words. Expect the unexpected: a little cliché, but he had a point. You never know when danger might strike. She felt a little more pleased with herself as he nodded in approval of her stronger grip on the sword. However she was caught off guard when he placed his hand on hers to inspect her grip. It didn't make her uncomfortable it just...well, she didn't know what it was, but a strange feeling shot through her that she could not place.

“Ideally, feet parallel to shoulders works best for some, but however is most comfortable is ultimately best,”

Looking down at her feet, she suddenly felt a bit awkward, but placed them as he said. She did feel little more stable, but couldn't help but think of how silly she must look: a lady of nobility ready to swing a sword around as if she were a warrior.

She listened intently as he explained way's to attack and she did her best to hang on every word, but she wasn't sure how she would remember all this in a time of need.

Lilli raised a brow as Xan asked her to attack him. She glanced at her sword, unsure whether she would actually make a good effort. But, if she didn’t lean now, then when? "Alright, but don't laugh..." she found herself saying, actually finding hard to do so herself as pictured her pathetic attempt at an attack. She closed her eyes for moment to gain the confidence, and took a deep breath. As she opened them she lifted her sword and lunged forward, slashing the blade to his right. Knowing full well he would easily block it, she was surprised at her own strength and swiftness of the move.

Perhaps these lessons won't be as impossible as she thought.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:17 am

Xan watched her carefully, uncertain whether she actually would take a stab at it – no pun intended. It was one thing to talk of cutting someone down, but actually making good on that threat for the inexperienced was sometimes harder than expected. There was a young girl like that in Xan’s village that belonged to a family of hunters. She was likely a young woman now, a few years younger than he; perhaps even married. They had been friends on a casual level, yet the Carakleinian could barely remember her name. Whatever her name was, Lilli put him in mind of her.

He held his arms out briefly, as if to either to encourage her or perform a full shrugging of shoulders. “I am not here to laugh at an apprentice swordswoman,” Xanthus replied simply and waited patiently for the assault to be launched.

Considering these were lessons and not an actual battle, the warrior decided to not get too showy lest his student’s expectations might be set too high. Thus, Xan stuck with basic moves and parried to the right. He took a moment to gauge how much the metal of the blade shook in his hand. Her speed was good and her strength fair. Both attributes he felt could use improvement, but then again he thought the same of himself. “An admirable first try,” he said neutrally, though there was a slight undertone of something more. He had instructed worse students, and the ‘better’ ones were novices as opposed to apprentices.

“Now, how might you defend yourself out of reflex if I do this?” he asked, giving her sword a light push away from his. To be on the safe side, Xanthus turned the blade blunt-side in just in case she did not succeed and aimed a deliberately slowed upward slash at her, its path starting at Lilli’s lower right but with the intention of heading for her upper left. For now, the technique was the essential element. Strength training could be done on her own after a day or so worth of advice and practice at least.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:07 pm

Lilli could not help but give a grateful smile as he assured her he would not poke fun at her attempts. He was indeed different than other Caraklienian’s, as he seemed to have a higher sense of courtesy, as well as honor. She felt the blade hit against Xan’s and did her best to ignore the vibrations, which surprisingly were less bothersome due to her stronger grip. She was not surprised at all that he blocked her with such ease and she paid close attention to how he did so. She had always been a careful leaner; studying the details of the many things she had been taught. If she learned as quickly with this skill as she did with others, she would be very pleased, and hopefully her teacher would be as well.

“An admirable first try,”

Lilli raised a brow and tried to hide the smile she felt trying to form upon her lips. She could not help feel as though he were almost patronizing her. She couldn’t blame him really; she was completely new at this. But perhaps he wasn’t aware of her determination and focus on details. If indeed that were the case, then these lessons could get quite interesting. She may be a fairly sheltered noble woman, but she was no dainty girl.

“Now, how might you defend yourself out of reflex if I do this?”

Feeling him push off her blade, she watched carefully as he tried to bring up his sword at her right. Lilli pondered quickly of what to do and wondered if the move Xan had made to block her own move would work as well reversed to block his. No better way to find out than to make the move, which is just what she did, bringing her sword down over his, though a little less graceful since she was still getting used to the weight of the metal. The clash of the blades was like music to her as she felt the excitement of a successful block. The feeling only lasted a moment as she turned her attention back to the lesson. “I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but…I do learn by watching as well.” Again she tried to hide a knowing smile.

~~~

As the day passed, Lilli was growing ever more confident in her developing skill. She had to admit, she never felt so free as being able to have control over a weapon. She had learned quite a few moves by the afternoon. She would not have known it was so late had she not noticed the light was growing dimmer in through the trees, though the sun was not yet setting. In her opinion, it had been a successful first day.

Lilli sheathed her sword and brushed the stray strands of dark chocolate hair out of her face. She was not surprised to be a bit disheveled, she had worked herself quite hard, though was grateful not to be a sweaty mess. She hoped Xan was a pleased with the first day’s lesson as much as she was, though, given his tendency to be rather aloof, she hardly expected much of a reaction.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:08 pm

Xanthus scanned his student’s face, trying to place what sort of reaction he’d gotten from her at his words. If he didn’t know any better he’d say she was on the verge of smiling. But he shrugged it off. Emotion had its place, and on the battlefield in his opinion – even in an imagined one – wasn’t one of them with exception to the occasional comment or two. Perhaps he had slightly patronized her, however he had no idea how much she knew or how swift she learned. It was his mission now to train her to be a novice in the ways of the sword, and that was what he focused on.

There was perhaps a slight glitter of surprise in the Carakleinian’s eyes as she attempted to block him in the same manner he’d blocked her. Admittedly, it was a little less graceful, but that was due to being new in the skill. Regardless of the lack of finesse, it was still a proper move and successfully blocked his attack. “Good...” he said in regards to her parry. “We both possess a common skill then,” Xan added, providing his own small smile in response to her knowing one.

* * * *

The day had passed quickly, even for Xanthus, however he felt the day’s progress was great. It was a start, at least, and a successful one if he did say so himself. A handful of generic moves had been taught in both attack and defense, which in time he was certain Lilli would master. Were truth to be told, he could’ve continued training her well into the evening. However, it was not wise to train to utter exhaustion. Not to mention he wasn’t sure how well she could see in the dark.

He fetched the sheath to his sword, as well as his spear, which he didn’t feel comfortable leaving back at the inventor’s home. Xan shook the long golden hair out of his eyes; appearance was slightly askew from the day’s training. The Carakleinian had broken into a light sweat, but that was from not being accustomed to Alrania’s climate. Her first day of training had gone well, in his opinion.

“Same time upon the morrow?” Xan asked curiously, not quite sure what else there was to say. It wasn’t a parting question but rather one for reference. A day in the life of a noblewoman was not something he knew much about.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:54 pm

Lilli could not quite guess as to his mood, but decided that it did not matter anyways.

“Yes, I think the day had gone well. I have no qualms with rising as early tomorrow.” She took note of the sun’s rays once again, guessing it to be in the late afternoon, if not early evening. “Though I must remember to be prepared a little better. I don’t think a small roll is enough for a day’s worth of meals.” She chuckled and tried to hide the small growls from her middle. To be quite honest, she hadn’t realized that she missed lunch until just this moment, for she was much too absorbed in the lesson. She wiped her brow once again with the back of her hand, another stray stand having fallen into her face.

Leading the way back to the manor she took a moment to reflect back upon the day’s accomplishments. She wondered if he truly was holding back on her for the fact that she was not only a woman, but a noble one. It was true not many woman of her status took up the sword for any reason, and she could imagine that he would probably not have much of an idea on how much she would be able to take in, especially in such a short amount of time. She wondered how she could let him know that she did not want him to hold anything back, neither did she want him to treat her as a respective warrior. Perhaps she should just push back a little more than what he pushed upon her.

The silence between them was only half as awkward as before, the sounds of the birds filling in the empty space in the air. Lilli found it strangely peaceful. She couldn’t help but steal a few side glances, trying to read what he thought of this strange land.

“So tell me, Xanthus, how do you find Alrania? At least what you have seen of it so far…”

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Thu May 27, 2010 3:55 pm

“I always arise before the dawn,” he replied, squinting at the sky in an attempt to estimate the time. It was much brighter here than in Caraklein, so therefore was more difficult to guess the hour. But the warrior estimated it must be late afternoon or early evening. “Mmm...” was Xan’s initial answer in regards to food, his stomach deciding to do the remainder of the talking for him on such a topic in unison with a similar noise that sounded as though it came from the direction of his student. The Carakleinian blinked and looked to the woman in mild surprise. “I quite agree...” It was clear he hadn’t noticed the needs of his own body either, so involved was he in noticing how quickly she seemed to catch on to his teaching style.

His blond hair was somewhat askew, but what was more noticeable was that every inch of his visible skin seemed slick with sweat. Even after dabbing at his face with a bit of sleeve it seemed to make little difference. For a moment he almost considered getting the lengths of flaxen locks shorn short. But only for a moment. Xanthus had always worn his hair long, and he wasn’t prepared to change that.

The man followed as Lilli led the way back to the manor, staying silent, thinking about the day. He wondered if perhaps he should treat her as he would treat a woman from his village, or if he should continue his current path of easing her into the way of the sword. Xan really had no idea how much an Alranian woman – and a noblewoman at that – could take in terms of these lessons. Perhaps tomorrow he would see how she reacted to a more rigorous exercise in swordplay...

Birdsong above them filled the silence, and Xanthus listened to the music in great appreciation. However, he was not so at ease to completely let his guard down. It was such a way of life for him to always expect an attack that it was second nature. The absence of such melodies from the avian creatures would’ve made him exceedingly on edge, but overall he was in a state of relative peace. Occasionally he glanced to Lilli, attempting to find any symptom of overworking or excessive fatigue. Xanthus caught her looking at him once, but didn’t pay it any heed.

At the question set him, Xan thought for a few moments. “It is very warm here... but Alrania has a beauty all its own. I look forward to seeing more of this realm on my travels,” he replied honestly. “Have you seen much of your own country, Milady?”

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Fri May 28, 2010 2:36 pm

Lilli smiled slightly at Xan’s mentioning of the warmth, recalling his place on origin. “Only the mainland of Alrania. My father was always busy with the farm but he did travel some, but only for business reasons, I was never allowed to go. My brother and I were too busy with our studies to do much traveling. I have always wanted to see the world outside of the capitol. Perhaps someday the opportunity will arise. My mother has it in her head to send me to court. She believes it will open more doors for me,” she chuckled lightly, “Though I have feeling it is more to find me another husband. Not that she did not like Martin…but…” she contemplated for a moment, “A woman is of no use without a husband.” She said merely as a common statement than her own belief. “At least then I would be eligible to inherit the manor…” She stopped and glanced at Xan, her cheeks turning a slight pink. “Forgive me, I have a knack for rambling“, she chuckled. “And what your own travels? As your first time in Alrania, you must not have traveled to far from your own country as well.”

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:05 pm

Xanthus nodded his comprehension, able to relate to busy parents and a lack of extensive traveling. His family hadn’t much money or items to be bartered, either. The village was very much a survivor’s village: one made, repaired, grew, or caught what was needed to survive day by day. Items from foreigners, be they attackers or visitors, were integrated swiftly into village or individual life with the occasional bit of improvisation. Duty to protect the Carakleinian border prevented Xan from doing much traveling until he became a man.

He listened politely and closely as Lilli spoke. In his mind, it seemed a good thing for the noblewoman’s mother to want her daughter to become a courtier in the castle. At Lilli’s chuckle and talk of finding a husband, Xan didn’t know how to approach. His eyes widened at the name ‘Martin’ almost as though he knew the man. Truth be told he only knew of the man via the ghost of his mother, Zenovya Takala. She was his ethereal go-between amongst the living and the deceased, providing information and insight where needed. Vaguely Xanthus wondered if he were to tell Lilli about his clairvoyance would be a help or a hindrance, or if that would simply frighten her.

“A woman is of no use without a husband.”

“Some men are worthless without a wife,” he countered with a chuckle, pleasantly remembering one such instance in his village. The villager in question had no other family to speak of, and in defending the border from attack he was the last one anyone would summon due to his accident-prone nature. Yet, Xan observed, when the man was in the company of his wife his combative performances excelled beyond any would have thought possible. However, he reserved this story for a later time.

“At least then I would be eligible to inherit the manor” ... “Forgive me, I have a knack for rambling“ ... “And what your own travels? As your first time in Alrania, you must not have traveled to far from your own country as well.”

Xan tranquilly raised an open hand to brush off the apology, though didn’t elaborate any further than that. When asked about his travels, and her observation about his not having traveled much, the Carakleinian nodded. “Correct. I have only traveled a small portion of my own country, and some of Mystenia – Caraklein’s sister-country, before having made my way here. Most of my travels have been pleasant enough, though the potential for danger is always present.”

Seeing they had reached the clearing – both Atwood Manor and the Payne residence for the most part in plain sight from where they stood, Xanthus bowed respectfully to his student. “Until the morrow, then, Milady,” he murmured before setting off to his temporary home.

------------- Day Two -------------

It wasn’t even dawn yet, but Xanthus had arrived at their predetermined training spot anyway. With him was slightly more equipment than previous. Both had left this place famished once the day’s exercises were done, and for Lilli’s sake moreso than his Xanthus decided a spot to cook when they were hungry and needed a break was needed. A vague thought crossed his mind as to whether the noblewoman had ever tasted food prepared during travel, but given the information they had exchanged the day before the Carakleinian seriously doubted it.

Carefully, he dug an area for a fire pit and placed rocks from the nearby stream around the perimeter. Kindling and firewood were also easily obtained, as well as poles for a tripod to place the small cauldron he’d brought over the fire. Without even waiting for the water to heat Xan removed from his belt a small pouch and emptied a small mound of a fine granular substance into his hand that could well have resembled snow, then tossed it into the pot. Before deeming it leave-able, Xanthus gave it a quick stir with a tripod rod he didn’t need, and placed a lid over it.

Blue-green eyes contemplated what was more important: spearing a couple of fish from the stream, or an early warm-up round of exercises before Lilli appeared. In the end, he decided to do both and removed his cloak, lightweight armor, and tunic. They were placed with care beneath a tree, along with his two swords. Today he would get in a bit of spear practice, and hopefully end up with a pair of fish at the end of the session, or not long after it.

At present the spear was in its retracted form, and as always Xanthus began his daily training by first allowing the blade of the spear to rest upon his shoulder. From there it would progress to spinning the weapon, to actually performing practical attacks against an invisible opponent. For all of his speeches on the need to be constantly aware of one’s surroundings, Xan soon became so involved in his training regimen that he had no idea of the time or that he would soon very well end up with an audience...


((Considering this is supposed to take place outside, ignore the background scenery. XD))

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:18 pm

Lilli could not help the slight chuckle that came from her at the mention of a man without a wife. The idea was so unconventional yet everyone woman knew that the statement was the truth. It was the unspoken rule to womanhood that behind every great man is the influence of a woman. Lilli had always thought it humorous when her mother always told her that they just let men think they are in charge for the sake of keeping peace. She never particularly liked the social difference between men and women, but knew there was not much that could be done about it, but Gaia knows she sure fought her way to equality at every opportunity, no matter how futile it seemed, much to the dismay of her father. It intrigued Lilli the way Xan spoke of the equality between men and women in his country. In a way, she almost envied him for having been born and raised in such a culture. Yet it made her feel just a little more at ease knowing he saw her as an equal. Though the feeling was a tad unfamiliar, she liked it.

“Correct. I have only traveled a small portion of my own country, and some of Mystenia – Caraklein’s sister-country, before having made my way here. Most of my travels have been pleasant enough, though the potential for danger is always present.”

Lilli nodded in understanding. As much as she longed to see other realms and kingdoms, she was well aware that travel was indeed dangerous, always with risks of bandits, dragon attacks, and ill weather dangers.

“Well I hope your travels continue to be as pleasant. Though I doubt you would have much trouble defending yourself from any dangers.”
Up ahead, Lilly could see the manor, its silhouette becoming ever darker with the setting sun. She turned to Xan just as he gave her a bow.

“Until the morrow, then, Milady,”

Lilli gave a slight nod herself in response. She was about to thank Xan for the lesson, but he was nearly a good ten feet away before she could find her voice to utter it. She watched him for a few moments, intrigued by how quick and quiet he was.

“Lilliane! Come inside at once! How late it is!” came a voice from the manor that Lilli recognized as her mothers. Without another glance back, Lilli quickly disappeared into the house.


----Day Two-----


“Rise and shine, love…” *

It was still dark when Lilli awoke with a bit of a start, not sure of why she’d awoken in such a manner. She could swear she had heard a voice but it must have been part of her dream…which she could not recall now. For a split moment Lilli had thought perhaps she had overslept, but one glance out her window at the still darkened sky reassured her that she had not. Relaxing into her pillow, Lilli closed her eyes in hopes of falling back asleep for at least a little while longer. But thanks to the startling wake she had just had, Lilli was much too wide awake now to sleep again. With a slight moan, Lilli clung to her pillow in a last ditch effort to get a few more moments rest. The previous days’ lesson had taken its toll on her body and she was now beginning to feel the soreness. Her arms ached a bit and her feet were a tad sore as well, having been on them nearly all day with hardly a rest.

Finally giving in to the fact that by the time she would fall asleep again it would be time to wake anyway, Lilli quietly rose and reluctantly left the comfort of her bed. Stepping to her window she could still hear the crickets chirping away as the smallest hint of a sunrise was beginning to make its presence. In a way, Lilli was almost glad she was awake for this moment, it was truly a peaceful time of day and she almost felt as if only a select few were chosen to experience it.

Crossing her room to her wardrobe, Lilli contemplated if she should dress and head for the clearing now, or occupy herself until the sun had risen a bit more. Ever being one for the unusual circumstance, Lilli grabbed a simple gown and took her time dressing. After experiencing such a vigorous workout the day before, Lilli took the time to make sure her long hair would not fall in her face again as it had the tendency to do. Satisfied that she was now ready to take on the physical strains of the coming lesson, Lilli grabbed her sheathed sword from next to her bed and quietly made her ways down the stairs.

As early as it was, Lilli wondered if there was any chance of any kind of breakfast before leaving, though she did not keep her hopes high. Quietly slipping into the kitchen, it was dark and silent, just as she suspected. A slight frown appeared on her lips as she considered what she was going to do about food; she knew a sword lesson on an empty stomach would do nothing for her energy level. With a defeated sigh Lilli quietly headed out the door and headed for the path to the woods, the sunrise now slightly brighter.

As she reached the wood line, Lilli couldn’t help but feel a slight twinge of fear in her stomach. She’d never really been in the woods at such an hour. Though the sky was now starting to lighten, the woods were still dark and uninviting. Lilli knew full well that even though these woods lay on her father’s land, who knows if thieves, or slayers, or other roughiens were making camp within the trees. Noble as she may be, the crime of taking a woman by force knows no status. Lilli thought perhaps that this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Still, she knew the path to the clearing well, and in little light she would still be able to find her way for the most part. Taking a deep breath and placing a strong grip on the handle of her sword, Lilli stepped onto the path and into the woods.

The sound of crickets seemed a bit louder as she made her way somewhat hastily to the clearing. In truth, Lilli was glad for it for it was better than stone silence, which would have made her feel even more uneasy. Keeping her focus on the path a head of her Lilli counted the minutes to when she would be within the familiar sight of the forest clearing. Yet as she looked a head, the sight of a soft glow caused her to stop dead in her tracks. She could feel her face whiten a bit as well as her heart pump faster. Someone had already beaten her to the area. With every instinct she had telling her to run like heck for home, Lilli tried to clear her head for a moment.
Although it was more than likely that danger lay ahead, Lilli wondered if perhaps with the slightest chance it might be Xan already waiting there.

With curiosity reigning over caution, Lilli crept ever so slowly and quietly the rest of the path, taking precaution should it indeed be strangers. As she finally reached the edge of the clearing, Lilli stopped and was quite taken aback at the sight. Her insides fluttered in relief that it was Xan there after all, though it was obvious he’s been there for quite some time before her. She was just about to step out when the sudden spin of his spear cut through the air. Unsure as what to do, Lilli half hid herself behind a tree and watch as Xan uncandidly showed off his talents.

Watching his movements was almost like watching a deadly dance. Lilli could hardly believe she was intentionally spying on his practice, but she couldn’t bring herself to turn away, considering he was indeed… tunic-less . She watched him intently, focusing on every movement, marveling at his speed and strength and suddenly felt quite inadequate. She wondered why a warrior of his level would bother with teaching a woman the few sword moves as if she would be able to truly use them what the moment mattered. She didn’t realize how hard she was focused on him until she could swear she heard the sound of a faint chuckle in her ear, causing her to snap out of her observation and turn her head to the direct of the sound, only to find nothing in its place.

Lilli turned once again to the Carakleinian, watching, waiting. She wondered how long he would keep this up and if he even knew she was there. After all, she was quite aware of his fine hearing…



(*Martin...just in case you're wondering ^.^)

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:07 pm

(lol, nods, I kinda got that feeling Smile )

For several long minutes, the only thing on Xan’s mind was his training. There was no him, there was no clearing of woods, and there was no spear. The spear and he were one – an extension of his arms as he sought to cut down his invisible foes. His practices had changed very little since his first lessons as a boy, and they served him well. As he practiced now, the Carakleinian recalled the drums that played during the last time he’d participated in a competition of strength in the capitol of Carakein. He had done exceptionally well, and the performance was part of the deciding factor in King Radeios’s choosing him to be the first of attempted suitors for the Duchess Elektra. In his opinion the drums had been in perfect time with his movements. As his mind recollected the rhythm Xanthus “fought” in time with it, his movements appearing very much as a lethal dance.

The sudden sound of movement caused Xanthus to pause in his training, tilting his head slightly left to listen. Little did he realize until he’d turned his head that if he were to have thrown his spear straight from where and how he was currently holding it, he would just barely miss the half-hidden Liliane Atwood even with the tree as her shield. Xan stood rigidly still, awaiting whatever noise he had heard to assail him or make its presence known in some other way in case it hadn’t been his student but yet someone following her. As he listened, he took note of the sunrise and realized he’d been training for a while longer than he’d intended.

Xan glanced in the direction of the nearby stream, having had plans to spear a couple of fish to go with the morning meal. With a shrug he turned and walked back to the cauldron he had abandoned for the duration of his usual training regimen. The fish could be lunch, caught and prepared during a break when one was needed.

Kneeling at the fire pit he had made, the Carakleinian tossed a few small twigs beside him into the flames. “How long have you been standing there, Milady?” he asked suddenly, lifting aquamarine orbs to meet Lilli’s gaze and cracking a small smile.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:20 pm

Lilli watched so intently she hardly realized he seemed to sense that she was there. Even when he suddenly stopped and seemed to glance in her direction she did not move. As he knelt at the fire, Lilli became a bit more aware that she was still somewhat hidden and was not exactly sure how to make her presence known.

“How long have you been standing there, Milady?”

The burning Lilli felt in her face could have boiled the water he tended to quicker than the fire itself. So he had known she was there. If there was ever a moment Lilli wanted to disappear into thin air, now would undoubtedly be it. How could she have let herself spy on him for so long? What was she thinking? Or yet, what was he thinking?

“N-…not long,“ she finally forced herself to speak and hesitantly stepped out from behind the tree. “Please forgive me, I did not intend to spy, I…I know I’m here early…I didn’t know you would be...um…I am sorry if I disturbed you…” she fumbled her apology rather hastily, her eyes lowered out of shame, keeping them on anything but him. Having never been in this situation before, she was unsure of what to say. She repeatedly cursed herself for having been so careless at to let herself become so infatuated with a stranger.

Lifting her eyes to meet his gaze, she noticed his smile. His amusement at the situation deepened her embarrassment even further. She forced her own small smile, hoping to hide her humiliation, as she put on a front of composure.

She prayed to the Gods that he would quickly dismiss the situation and move on with the dayss plans, at least for the sake of her mortification.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:56 pm

Xan observed the woman before him, particularly the fact that her face was reddening almost to that of freshly-spilled blood. He stayed stock still, not entirely certain what to expect from her reaction to his question, and waited for Lilli to speak. The Carakleinian didn’t even so much as blink. When she finally did declare herself not having been there for very long did Xanthus consider it safe to move again. A few more twigs and a spare dry leaf were fed to the fire.

“Please forgive me, I did not intend to spy, I…I know I’m here early…I didn’t know you would be...um…I am sorry if I disturbed you…”

“These are your woods, Milady, and I am but a guest amongst them,” he replied simply, having raised his hand in a manner intended to quell her worries and need to apologize. It was a much more verbose than what he considered his usual response – the same hand gesture followed by ‘you didn’t disturb me’ and then launching into another training session. It intrigued him that being in the presence of this woman, if that was indeed the trigger, caused him to respond so differently. Xanthus noticed she had bowed her head. Why had he the faint urge to lift her chin to a height of pride? Orbs of turquoise continued their upward-gaze from their owner’s spot upon the clearing floor.

Her smile was forced. Even one as outwardly stoic as Xan made himself to be could see that. For a brief moment he wondered why her countenance was not there of its own accord, even though it was hardly his business. ’I didn’t know you would be...um... I am sorry if I disturbed you...’ replayed itself over in the Carakleinian’s head. What had she not thought he would be? Here? Busy? ... a quick glance downward reminded him that he was without tunic. Scars from his various battles adorned his arms, torso, shoulders, and back; some faint while others stood out rather noticeably. Personally he didn’t see anything wrong with being tunic-less in mixed company, although the thought crossed his mind that it was perhaps not typical of Alranian... or rather Carpatus-ian culture. “Please join me. I’ve prepared a meal for us this time...” he offered, gesturing to a patch of soft grass beside him, and stood up. The spear he had been training with remained on the ground for the time being.

Blue-green eyes scanned the woods surrounding his student carefully. The first of the two noises when Xan had paused in his training was still a mystery, and he was determined to solve it. Furtively Xanthus shifted his footing so that if the need arose, such as an unexpected ambush, he could quickly get at his weapon with little effort at all. “Did you come with an escort, by chance, Milady?” he asked curiously, snapping his attention back to the woman in question.

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:59 pm

Lilli remained in her position, still feeling the white hot embarrassment upon her face as she forced with all her might to regain her dignity. She was relieved when he did not seem upset…not did he laugh either, for which she was even more grateful. Her eyes remained slightly averted from his, but they turned back to his as he spoke.

These are your woods, Milady, and I am but a guest amongst them,”

Lilli could not understand how he could be feeing humble when it was she who had intruded upon his solitude and even hid while she had done so. To further her confusion, he raised his hand to dismiss her apology as he had done so a few times before.

“You…you are not angry?” she asked more out of curiosity than to find relief, “My woods or not, it still gives me no right to intrude.” She searched his face for any sign that he was holding back any feeling of irritation, but she could clearly tell he was quite sincere. Knowing this eased her embarrassment greatly, though she was not still without guilt. But then she noticed that he did not seem bothered at all by the fact he sit before her half exposed to cool morning air. It could be worse, she thought, at least it’s only his…top…half. Perhaps he was not accustomed to the presence of a lady, though she could only speculate as she has no knowledge of any prior musings with the lady-folk of his country. She also noted that he made no attempt to cover himself either, which she concluded that he felt no shame on his end either. How curious he was to her…and she could not help thinking such once again.

Lilli turned her eyes to the spot he gestured to next to him as he spoke of having prepared them food. Her shyness once again fading though with some hesitiation, she smiled lightly, this time willingly, and graciously accepted his off to sit, though still keeping a few feet from where he sat, still not sure of his intentions. Glancing at the fire for a moment, she sat as close as she could to keep warm as the slight chill of the morning had finally made its way through her simple dress. Her attention turning back to Xan, she watched him carefully as he rose to his feet, wondering exactly why he did so. She took notice of his somewhat defensive stance and tensed a bit...had he sensed something in the woods? Some sort of danger?

“Did you come with an escort, by chance, Milady?”

Lilli tilted her head slightly out of curiosity. An escort? Where would he ever get the idea? Did he not see she was the only one coming from the path?

“No. I came on my own, no other was with me.” She paused for a moment, a slight fear gripping her. “…Why do you ask?”

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PostSubject: Re: Woods Near the Manor   Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:09 pm

Pale lips stretched only slightly. It was not quite a smile, or even a smirk, but with a bit of imagination it could certainly have been the former. A few slightly off-white teeth could be seen. It was as though he were attempting to laugh or chuckle, but not quite, in response to her words. “To watch is to learn even if the master is unawares,” he shrugged simply. “I am not angry... I was waiting for you. Meditation occupies for only so long,” Xanthus added as afterthoughts, his face turning rather pensive for a brief moment. How had he let himself get so caught up in the moment of his training that he had not even so much as heard her approach?

He observed her curiously as she went to sit down, not at all bothered by the space between them. In fact he would have questioned her own motives had she sat too close. Was it just him, or did Lilli seem chilled? Xan personally found the cool morning air a delightful respite from Alrania’s “heat”.


“No. I came on my own, no other was with me. …Why do you ask?”

Blond brows furrowed in instant confusion at her words. “Moments before I spotted you, I thought I’d heard...” he trailed quietly, straining his ears for any sign of danger. All he heard were insects and a faint melody of birdsong. Had there been tangible danger, both would have been absent. Teal eyes focused slightly off-center from Lilli – to her left – as Xanthus spotted the spectral form of his mother once again.

”It was just her Lost One, my dear. Martin Aschuill was his name. Now continue on. He wishes to see what all she has learnt from you thus far, after you two have had your meal,” Zenovya Takala whispered to her son, as though she were there in the flesh and feared Lilli overhearing her.

In an instant his vision of the ghost vanished, causing him to blink and shake his head slightly. “... My thoughts matter not. Were there true danger it would have befallen us already,” he said, then stepped upon the spear shaft in a manner that sent the weapon soaring to meet his hand before walking over to where his effects had been stashed. With almost ritualistic care he propped the weapon against a tree, then picked up his armor and a small cloth satchel. The flexible leather of the armor slapped its owner’s back audibly as Xan carried it almost as though he had flung his tunic over one shoulder, a finger looped into one of the armholes.

Xanthus placed the items down and then slowly joined them. As per his observation previous, the Caraklienian kept a few feet away from his student, though he was a few more inches away now than he had been. His armor left off to the side, seemingly forgotten, the man withdrew the items that were in the satchel: two bowls, two spoons, and a third, larger spoon that looked like it was almost a ladle. “I doubted a bowl made from tree’s branch would be suitable...” he explained because the bowls bore designs that all but shouted their most likely owner was Ichabod Payne.

Lifting the lid, Xan peeked into the depths of the cauldron at what looked like a sort of rice and broth mixture. Only, as he proceeded to scoop out the rice-like grains, it was clear it was much finer than normal rice. In fact, with some imagination, it almost appeared as though the Carakleinian had scooped out snowflakes able to withstand scorching heat. Sparse bits of herbs for seasoning swirled amidst the broth the same way smoke twirled whimsically through the air. Xan placed a spoon into the bowl before handing it to Lilli.

“Be cautious...” he said, doubting he needed to tell her it was hot by the amount of steam rising from the bowl now between them.

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