Old October 12, 2010, 11:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Kere Kanelos is unknown and forgotten
It'll Only Sting A Little (Adventurebot please)

Midmorning, Junctior 11, Era VII P.F.

Home again from overseas. There was that adjusting period as there always was when she had the chance to return home, of course. But once she had settled, life proceeded as it always had for the Secyclionians, and it was up to her to follow. It was unexpected, though, that her heart would grow wings and that her horizons would expand beyond the beloved red isle. Her family was content to stay here, to live on into perpetuity if the gods allowed, but not her.

Still, one needed skills in order to succeed in anything -- the right skills. The Universitas of Olympia had provided her with many indeed -- including a few she didn't really need but her parents had insisted upon. (I mean, really, who is going to find themselves a situation where you needed to embroider a three-colored flower on a skirt or you die? Nobody, really.) There were holes in her education, therefore. And it was with this in mind that she rose and dressed for the day, donning a feyanella and plaiting her hair behind her and sweeping it up into a casual updo. The women of the isles often did this - and she was a woman grown now. That did tend to attract attention, not necessarily of the good kind.

Checking her appearance in the mirror one last time, Kere swept out the door of her childhood bedroom. Not much had changed - the size of the bed, some of the decorations, yes, but everything was as it had been -- just so. She knew a man, a friend of the family, who knew a great many things indeed, and it was to him that she was going on this particular morning. Kere encountered her mother on the way out the front door of the modestly large house, and was obliged to stop and give her a kiss in greeting. It was a simple enough thing to tell her mother that she was going out shopping, because of course any girl needs more clothes.

In reality, she took a left at the street and headed up to see her father's old friend. She considered him a family friend, as he often attended family dinners and parties. A respected man, he had spent a good few eras on the mainland, and she had heard rumor that he was a skilled fighter. Certainly he could provide her with the skills for self-defense that she needed. Sure, the island was known for its particular fighting style, but that was simply not for her. Kere had neither the physique or the temperament for it. She needed... something else. Upon reaching the master's house, she knocked, and waited. When a servant came to the door to see who it was, she said, "Chairete. Is the Kyrie in today?"
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Old October 14, 2010, 01:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The servant who appeared at the door was, in fact, a nice-looking, dark-haired young woman... girl, really, not much different from Kere herself, if one were to set aside their difference in station (though of course, most would never do so). All Secyclid women were expected to dress modestly, but even taking that into account, the serving girl's hair and outfit was particularly drab, the former a simple ponytail while the latter was cut of unsewn iron-gray linen with absolutely nothing to adorn it. "Ah... chairete, Kyria..." the servant muttered meekly at her feet, finally taking a halting glance at Kere's unfamiliar face.

And then, naturally, came the small gasp of astonishment, which the girl quickly attempted to conceal via a hand over her presently O-shaped mouth. Visits from young unaccompanied women to anyone not a direct family member were rare enough, but to the house of a man such as Antiochus Bessarion...!

"I... um... that is... the master Bessarion... I-I must say, this is most..." the servant stammered uncertainly, twisting the hem of her robe and biting her lip as she tried to decide just how to deal with this unfamiliar predicament. Fortunately, help arrived in the form of the master of the household himself, Antiochus's warm and faintly boisterous voice echoing from further within, down the entrance hall which Kere could partly glimpse around the servant's smallish frame. Said frame presently shifting aside as Antiochus's tanned and creased face with its curly dark hair appeared at the doorjamb, already halfway to its usual roguish grin.

"Ah, and who've we here?" he asked, crinkly blue eyes looking blankly, though good naturedly at Kere for a time, before recognition dawned. "KERE! It's been too long, my koritsaki! Come in, come in!" Swinging open the door, Antiochus made several impatient gestures with his hands, grinning almost ear to ear. The servant, now red faced at not having recognized a friend of the family... it had been a long time, after all... closed the door behind them and vanished instantly. Antiochus was happily oblivious, eyeing Kere with the almost gleeful pride of one eyeing a prize pumpkin or harvest that had turned out particularly well. "You've... well, by Markalin, you've grown and then some! Just wait'll I show the gynaika..."

"Woman! Look who's back from the mainland!" Antiochus roared as he stode ahead into the spacious, well furnished common room, lit brightly with autumn sunshine from several floor-to-ceiling windows, presently thrown open to permit a pleasant warm breeze, courtesy of the blessed Eunesian clime. Sprawled upon a richly cushioned and pillowed sofa sat Antiochus's pale, dark-haired, slender wife, Eurydice, greeting the two of them with a faint, enigmatic smile, her soft hand lifted to one cheek. At her delicate feet sat a toddler of perhaps two years, clearly the daughter of the pair, who was hard at play with a pile of painted toy animal figurines -- likely an expensive import from Taralon or some such mainland city.

"Gods, how could I have forgotten! While you were away, Helsa finally blessed us with child. Nike, say 'chairete' to your pateras' friend's daughter, eh?" Only at this prompting from her father did Nike bother to turn her face, frowning in concentration, from the toys and give a shy wave and smile to their guest. For her part, Eurydice continued to say nothing, though it was a fond silence... she'd always been strangely quiet, even for a Secyclid woman, though Antiochus tended to fill the vacuum with his pleasant babble. In fact, after he'd arrived with his wife to the isle, some had rather scandalously speculated Eury might not even be a native of the Eunesian isles... but as her language was faultless when she DID speak and her manners a credit to Secyclid womanhood, such rumors largely disappated as the Eras passed.

"Tell me, how was the continent? Are you getting along well since your return? Eurydice, don't just dawdle woman, fetch her something to eat! Nike! Come here kori, and let me show you off!" Eurydice nodded and padded gracefully into the kitchen, fine white saffron robe swishing, as her husband dandled their daughter laughingly on one knee, both glancing now and again at Kere with a shared grin. The child had her father's face, but her mother's arch brow and piercing gray eyes, as opposed to Antiochus's deep blue.

"She knows all the animal names by heart, I swear, but she'll never perform in front of company. My little bud of a druidess! Say it with pateras, eh Nike? Psari... liontari... Kere, you must tell us all about this Universitas business. Never went myself, too busy adventuring!" Indeed, Antiochus's own life, by his account, had been one long, Oddyssean journey from his home isle of Olympia before finally settling down in Secyclion... if one were to believe the man's own boasts, he'd been off the shores of every province in Aelyria, and some, even, outside it. Likely an exaggeration, but bragging aside, this was obviously a man who'd seen and done things. "Oh, and speaking of, PLEASE tell me you didn't spend the entire time cooped up in some academia..." His blue eyes twinkling, Anti glanced between Kere and Nike, still held in his calloused hands... clearly content to gab for hours if the young kyria allowed it.

Last edited by AdventureBot; October 14, 2010 at 01:48 PM.
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Old October 15, 2010, 06:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It was true that an unaccompanied female often invited scandal. Still, Kere knew this man and his morals - no one who truly knew the Kyrio Bessarion would ever think of suggesting anything improper on his part. This girl was probably just new. She smiled indulgently and opened her mouth to insist (politely) that she be allowed in, when the man himself appeared in the background. Kere's smile widened and she skittered in to hug him affectionately and greet him with the traditional trio of kisses. Even though a woman grown now, she would forever be the little girl Bessarion had befriended eras before.

Amused, she let herself be led through the house to meet her friend's wife and child, her head tilted to listen to the chatter. Most of the answers were simple enough - at school, yes I've been home to let the parents fawn over me, no everything's fine, and yes that is an adorable child. Eventually, though, she began to steer him toward the heart of the issue. "The Universitas was very useful for some things, but they don't have much for real adventurers. I'm going to see the world like you, pater Bessarion, but I've much to do before I get there. There's this friend I was talking to... he says I should learn how to handle some sort of weapon. I don't really think the traditional style here will work for me. I was thinking something small. Knives maybe? You'd have a better idea. Yes?"

Kere waved her fingers at the little girl and picked up one of the carved animals and made it 'chase' one of the ones the girl was holding, just to entertain the child as she was talking. The girl was clearly beloved, and she was happy to see that things were beginning to work in her friend's favor. There were times when she thought that Bessarion had spoiled her and her siblings simply because he had none of his own. The fact that the child seemed to want for nothing backed up her suspicion.
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Old October 20, 2010, 08:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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"Knives? Now why would you want to learn a thing like THAT?" Antiochus frowned, still absently dandling Nike on his knee as his blue eyes stared searchingly into Kere's. Yet soon enough, the man's roguish grin appeared once more, crinkling the seams in his weathered face. "This 'friend' of yours wouldn't happen to be some strapping young bravo you met while slumming in the Neos Megalis, eh? Someone who spends his darkenings boasting, gambling and chatting up pretty girls who ought to be safely tucked away in their mitera's households?"

It was then that Eurydice shuffled gracefully back in, carrying a plate of freshly cooked and still steaming dolmades -- grapevine leaves stuffed with rice, vegetables and beef, the latter painstakingly imported from the mainland -- along with three tumblers of aromatic retsina wine. She'd arrived just in time to silently absorb the exchange, and her face was quite somber as she laid a hand gently along her husband's shoulder.

"She's serious, Anti. You should teach her yourself lest she find someone less trustworthy," the woman murmured, in a low, almost sleepy tone that was scarce audible over the light wind and a cryptic giggle from Nike. Yet Antiochus seemed to weigh her words carefully, exchanging a series of frank looks with his wife which were indecipherable to Kere -- but in which doubtless much was said.

"Well, alright! But no good can come of it, I tell you. A Secyclid woman needs no other weapons than the charms Cupiros gave her. Why, just the other brightening, I saw this kyria in the marketplace..." And so, grudgingly, and with much ado, at some point... the date had been set. Kere was to arrive early next brightening and meet master Bessarion in the back garden of his estate, where only a few prize shrubs and statues of minor gods might fall victim to the two's roughhousing, rather than Nike's precious menagerie.

Antiochus would be waiting at the designated spot, on the main path through his garden, near the statuary of Helsa Antiochus had recently erected in thanks to the fertility goddess. The day would be warm and breezy, much like the last, and the surroundings relatively open-spaced, yet offering a variety of obstacles and terrain: cobblestones, statues, here and there a bench or tree or boulder... all in all, good for training.

The man would be sitting upon one of those very benches, back to Kere as she approached... one hand clutching a whetstone as the other sharpened a neat little mainlander blade of about a hand and a half's length. Kere's matching blade would be laid out nearby, alongside a larger serrated blade almost the size of a shortsword, as well as a smaller stiletto... all were gleaming, well kept, manufactured of tempered steel with leather-wrapped handles. A baldric filled with yet more blades, some of them of the throwing variety, was also draped along the bench.

As Anti seemed completely absorbed in his work, the opportunity was there for Kere to simply pick up and familiarize herself with any blade which suited her fancy.

OOCfeel free to describe and play around with a few knives you'd like to train with!

Last edited by AdventureBot; October 20, 2010 at 08:16 AM.
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Old October 23, 2010, 03:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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"Knives," she said in agreement as her would-be instructor exclaimed at her. They were small, easier to carry and care for, more suited to her abilities than... say, a giant spear. Or a sword and shield. Or the other general, more acceptable fighting styles. Sure, she could have learned something of the unarmed variety, as a fair number of Secyclonians and mainlanders alike did... but there was a certain advantage of bringing a blade to a fight that she could not ignore. Perhaps in the end her fighting style would end up being a blend of unarmed combat and knife-work. The sky was the limit. And sure, charm could go a far way in talking yourself out of a fight, but it also worked the other way to talk you into a fight.

With a little prodding and a heaping dose of patience and a smattering of amusement, she extracted the promise for the following day. She tarried a while anyway, socializing with the chatty man and his family. Kere had always enjoyed his presence, and it was quite bracing to see him as he was today.

When she arrived the following day, she wore simple clothes but fitting enough so that she could move fluidly without needing to worry about clothing mishaps or entanglements. There was likely to be no need for protection - Bessarion would be more likely to hurt himself before he'd hurt his charge. Her hair had been drawn back and pinned up out of the way. She greeted the servant cheerfully and let herself be escorted back into the gardens.

The array of weapons was quite interesting, really. She'd had no idea that the word knife encompassed such a wide variety of options. Since he seemed unaware of her presence, busy as he was, she picked up a pair of knives - one a throwing knife, and the other more like a dirk. Weighing them in each hand, she shifted them to test the grips, how they were weighted and put together. Putting the throwing knife down, she selected a stiletto, frowning thoughtfully as she inspected it. Putting aside both dirk and stiletto, she selected fairly middle-of-the-road items in terms of size and shape. The blades were a bit wavy on one side, with a bit of a channel at the chiseled tip, the hilt a bit more rounded rather than squared off.

Stepping back from Bessarion, she opened her stance and gave a few inexpert stabs with one then the other. She was testing to see which hand seemed to handle the blade's unfamiliar weight and shape better and with more strength. "Chairete, Master Bessarion," she said mildly to alert him to her presence. After a couple more swipes, she turned back to him and put the knives down on the bench to greet him properly.
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Old November 7, 2010, 07:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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ooc: apologies for the wait. >.o

"Ah, Chairete! There you are, Kere," Antiochus called, lips peeling back into his usual good natured grin. He was up in a flash, standing hurriedly up in a fluid motion that, in itself, spoke volumes on the man's experience.

"No no, don't put that down just yet," he protested before Kere could set down the weapon she was holding; a small, somewhat dainty dagger, both blade and handle about the length of her hand and half as wide. "It's a good dagger, I think it fits your hand decently enough. Now... err... here, let me show you."

Circling around the bench, Anti hastily went to stand a few paces away from Kere and squatted down a bit, assuming a typical knife wielding stance, which he proceeded to elaborate upon:

"Bend your knees some, alright? You've got to hunker down a bit, stick your shoulders out some, extend your reach and keep those vulnerable feminine wobbly bits tucked out of harm's way. Keep on the balls of your feet, stay loose and fluid, be ready to shift your weight any direction as might be needed. Understand all that? Good."

Still in his stance, the man reached down with his right hand, then brought a dagger of his own out from the sheath at his side. First he held it with the blade point up, jutting in the same direction as his thumb which was laid along the handle for balance, the tip of his thumb just touching the guard.

"Forward grip."

Flipping the blade easily in a blur of motion, suddenly Anti was holding the thing so that his thumb tip touched the pommel, with the blade jutting downwards.

"Stabbing grip."

This was repeated a few times until Kere understood, then it was time for the next lesson.

"Alright, little kyria. Now, you know your old friend Antiochus Bessarion would never stab a man in the back. That's how folk on the mainland settle their squabbles and you can see how well it works out for them. You're a sensible girl, though, Kere, so if... and forgive the analogy, but if you were ever kidnapped, or... mauled... or in danger of either, and the bastard was fool enough to leave his back turned for an instant..."

Grimly, Antiochus brought the blade, still held in its stabbing grip, up so that the pommel was held near his right shoulder. Then, with a sharp jab of the arm, he plunged it down, as if aiming the blade at some point in an imaginary man's back.

"In the back near the spine, or anywhere in the torso in a pinch. It's usually enough to kill. Enough force, or put two hands behind it like this..."

Now Anti demonstrated how to brace one's knife hand by laying his left hand along the wrist of his right, then stabbed down hard, stepping forward and putting his whole shoulder into the blow.

"And you can airhole a man's lung, even through a hard leather jerkin."

Again, some of the lesson was repeated a few times for Kere's benefit. Then:

"But say this rogue was too cunning too let his guard slip. The forward grip'd be a better choice then." Again, Anti flipped his blade, yet this time rather than raising it up near his shoulder he simply held the blade out, almost as if he were offering to let Kere reach out and take it, except in that case the handle would've been extended rather than the blade. He was using a loose grip, still in his stance, agile and fluid. "You'd want to test him with this."

Shifting his right foot forward, Anti crouched a bit more as he stabbed the air, arm straightening for maximum reach. He was able to pull back with almost the same level of speed, and it was clear that this attack would leave the opponent little time to dodge or block, let alone counter.

"Straight stab. Aim for the guts, the neck or the chest. It's wicked fast once you've practiced it down pat."

"Try it out on the air a bit and when once you're ready, Kere..." Anti smirked, sheathed his dagger and thumped his own chest with his left fist, indicating that Kere should try and gut him. Which, his sparkling eyes suggested, she absolutely would not be able to do. "And please, no protests. My pride's easily wounded... yet you'll find that I am most certainly not."
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