Traveling with Falanians.   Posted by Segev Stormlord.Group: 0
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 239 posts
Mon 8 Aug 2011
at 01:14
Traveling with Falanians
The farmers and their families were freed and allowed to return to their homes within the day. Most of Sir Clavien's guardsmen went with them, though some were understandably unwilling to wait for this escort made up of their former captors. There were some heated arguments amongst families, especially those of three girls who seem to be flirting with some of the Falanian guardsmen. One will have a long while to continue that argument, as her beau is one of Clavien's men, but the other two have chosen to travel to Falan with the knights and the Trademeet delegates.

Fire and Ocean Soul find much in common with the knights' squires, and young Nathier - the studious and hard-working boy who keeps Sir Vaniel's equipment shining like new - is proving eager for the slightly older kids' friendship.

Clavien and Methius remain proper and polite knights, while Vaniel's stuffiness and vanity are easily seen to be covering a nervous hope that he is living up to some unknown shoes he feels he has to fill. He is also far less subtle than he thinks he is about his infatuation with Beatrix. Methius, strangely, seems to warm up to Merlin, warrior to warrior.

It will take nearly a week to make it in to Castle Oredol, home of Duke Amaran. This will be the first stop, though it is Duke Lothus of Watch Hill who is the final destination according to the knights' itinerary. Of course, the King of Falan lies further East, while Watch Hill is north of Oredol.

Nathier is enjoying a brief and rare period where he has no work to do, talking with Freverick as they ride. However, when Sevastian begins his nephew's latest lesson on butlery and service, Nathier is eagerly listening, as well. "How do you know what your master wishes before he voices it, Mister Sevastian?" he asks at one point. "Do you have to be Dragonblooded to be that good at being a squire?"
Merlin
 player, 146 posts
Thu 11 Aug 2011
at 04:50
Re: Traveling with Falanians
From time to time Merlin disappears for an hour or so here and there. He always comes back, but rarely says anything unless spoken to.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 242 posts
Sat 13 Aug 2011
at 14:54
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In his rangings, Merlin finds that marking where the wilderness ends and Falan begins is relatively easy. Farmland in regular, cut squares quilts the low hills once the kingdom's lands begin. Tiny thorpes of six to eight one-room cottages or even fewer large houses that initially seem bafflingly drab for their size (but which one might eventually determine are a sort of communal dormitory) lie at the center of enormous stretches of such farmland, though no more than a quarter-day's walk out from them. Every two days' walk or so, a thorpe has swelled to a proper village of perhaps a hundred people. These actually have small keeps nearby, presumably where the local landed knight dwells. Paths link fields to thorpes and thorpes to villages, while the paths of compressed dirt leading to the keeps nearly qualify as poor-quality roads.

The only town of any note surrounds a castle in the distance; this is likely Duke Amerin's seat at Oredol. Still, each of those villages along the way likely has an inn, which will make travel a bit more comfortable when the knights and the delegation from Trademeet get into Falan proper.

The whole thing looks almost eerily peaceful from the air. Farmers work in ones and twos scattered about their lords' vast feudal lands, maintaining crops as best they can. Rarely, Merlin spies a lordling or knight traveling from one keep to another, usually with an entourage.

After a few days, Merlin becomes aware of one particular young guardsman, wearing Methius's colors, who persistently tries to follow him when he goes ranging. He has neither managed to do so successfully (horseback is no match for Wings of the Raptor), nor said anything to Merlin when the Solar returns, yet.
Merlin
 player, 147 posts
Sat 13 Aug 2011
at 17:26
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Once Merlin becomes aware of his follower he will fly only about a quarter hour out and roost upon a tree stump overlooking a particularly well tended field. He waits for the young guardsman to catch up to him and when he does he says in a raspy voice,

"So you have finally caught up with me. What will you do now?"
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 243 posts
Tue 16 Aug 2011
at 17:50
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Surprised to see the mysterious flying man waiting for him, the guardsman pulls his horse to a stop. "Now?" he asks, as if the question wasn't one he'd considered. "I suppose I will try to keep up." The boy can't be any older than Sir Vaniel, and is put off by having been confronted about trailing Merlin, though he's trying not to show it.
Merlin
 player, 148 posts
Tue 16 Aug 2011
at 21:14
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #5):

"This was as far as I had intended to go today. So the question remains, what will you do now that you have caught up to me?"

Merlin's voice open and inviting a response. He hasn't changed position.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 244 posts
Wed 17 Aug 2011
at 00:33
Re: Traveling with Falanians
"Accompany you back, I suppose," he says carefully. "And tomorrow, I will follow you again, as best I can. And again the next day. I would know where you go, and...and I want to be as great a warrior as you, so I can be a knight one day!"
Merlin
 player, 149 posts
Wed 17 Aug 2011
at 00:48
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #7):

Merlin thinks on this for at least a full minute. Finally he says,

"If that is your ambition then it will become so given enough drive and discipline. My fighting abilities are derived through the Martial Arts, which can be exceptionally broad. Your knights seem to prefer long sharp swords. There are various Martial Arts that use swords, specifically paired hooked swords. Is this something that you would want to learn? Certainly without the gift of Exaltation you will not be able to match another Exalted in combat, but as a mortal you could become a great warrior."
Sevastian
 player, 104 posts
 Dragon-Blooded
 Water
Wed 17 Aug 2011
at 14:43
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Sevastian turns to Nathier and smiles.
"You don't know what your master wants before he speaks it."

He lets the words stand for a moment, almost as if they are explanation enough, but then moves to explain.
"You learn what your master does not like.  And you learn what they do like.  After that you have a good basis."

He looks to Frevrick and smiles, then back to Nathier.
"Then you learn what they do in certain situations and what they do not do."

The dragon looks to Sir. Vaniel then back to Nathier.
"Things like, when battle is eminent I would wager your master wants his sword, and then to don his armor, in that order."

He smiles and gestures to Beatrix.
"Madam, is not terribly demanding.  But given her profession as a trader I know that having pen and paper on hand at all times is a must.  One never wishes to miss an opportunity to record a debt owed or had."
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 245 posts
Sun 21 Aug 2011
at 20:01
Re: Traveling with Falanians
"Then I'll have to become an Exalt!" declares the youth with the confidence that only teenagers can master. "Can you teach me these martial arts?"


Nath grins at Sevastian's advice as Freverick shows polite interest. "So it's a matter of knowing your master better than he knows himself? How do you read my own lord?" asks the squire with honest curiosity. His tone indicates he is not just asking for information, but more to see what Sevastian has to say about Sir Vaniel.
Merlin
 player, 150 posts
Sun 21 Aug 2011
at 23:18
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #10):

"The martial arts I can teach you, however, it will take many more days and much more time than we have on this journey."

He frowns inside his mask, "Even longer than the negotiations and return journey would take to bring you to a proficient level. There is no reason we can not start."

Merlin will spend a couple of hours helping the lad unlearn what he doesn't need to know and showing him simple moves and stances to practice. Tomorrow, there will be more.
Sevastian
 player, 105 posts
 Dragon-Blooded
 Water
Tue 23 Aug 2011
at 18:40
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Sevastian smiles at the young man.
"From my observations, your knight is keen on details."

He looks to the knight and then back to the young man.
"When in doubt in his service I would clean the things that he uses.  Shine his armor, brush his horse, sharpen his sword."

The dragon grins at the young one.
"How do you read your lord?"
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 246 posts
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 02:29
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Nathier nods. "Sir Vaniel is very particular about everything being perfect," he says, agreeing with Sevastian's assessment. "I know some people think he's being unreasonable, but he's a proper knight, and knights always have to be ready for battle and for court and for everything, so he can't ever have anything out of place. He has to be ready for anything. So I have to keep him ready for anything."

The boy looks up at the Dragonblooded butler. "...right?"



As Merlin trains with the young warrior, the boy keeps asking questions that give him a sense of deja vu, this first day. Every now and again, Merlin swears he has asked that very question, himself. Other times, he almost feels like the boy is testing him for something Merlin instinctively thinks he knows. Obviously, though, the young guardsman doesn't know these things; he is unenlightened. He is simply trying to, as Merlin teaches, "unlearn" things that are wrong.

"Thanks for the lessons! I'll be sure to catch you tomorrow, so we can continue!" he calls as the sun is setting and he has to get back to help make camp. It's only as Merlin wings his way ahead...or out, if he prefers...that he realizes he never asked the youth's name. It didn't occur to the Night caste that he didn't already know it.
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 168 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 02:30
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Beatrix pulls up besides Sir Vaniel. "Good sir knight," she says conversationally, "It occurs to me that your thoughts are most preoccupied with something." A subtle subtext in her tone says 'besides me'.

"As we have a great deal of time on our journey, perhaps it would be fruitful for us to discuss what weighs upon you so?"
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 247 posts
Fri 26 Aug 2011
at 02:42
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Struggling manfully to disguise his blush as flustered reaction to the heat - which actually isn't all that hot today - the youngest of the three knights addresses Beatrix cordially. "Lady LeSchaye! I am not sure what you mean, but any excuse to converse with a fair maiden of your obvious charm and wit is an honor. What secrets of my heart might you wish to hear?"
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 169 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Sun 28 Aug 2011
at 02:03
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Beatrix smiles. "The burden I speak of, sir, is that of your knighthood. For it is this position, I believe, and worries over whether you have the measure of it, that plagues you such that you seem quite preoccupied with the matter."

"If you would, I believe I may be able to help you with this business, leaving you freer to perform your duties with clear conscience."
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 248 posts
Thu 1 Sep 2011
at 15:14
Re: Traveling with Falanians
"Knighthood is no burden, my lady!" protests the young knight. "It is a great honor, up to which I strive to live in all things. I hope I have given no offense or sleight in my behavior to make you think otherwise!

"Far be it from me, however, to turn down such lovely company,"
he adds, in what he obviously hopes is a charming rejoinder that conceals his curiosity over what she is offering and the sting his pride has taken at being called out as possibly not acting the proper knight. He's better at fishing for critique without seeming to than he thinks he is, but not as good as he thinks he should be. "I know this whole unfortunate event may have given you a poor first impression of myself and my fellow knights, but I assure you, we are noble and genteel men."
Merlin
 player, 152 posts
Thu 1 Sep 2011
at 15:36
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #13):

The next day Merlin makes sure that he gets the young mans name, but otherwise doesn't show his suspicions that something is going on.

Then again, I could have been wearing this suit for to long. Its properties are somewhat mysterious still to me. It just seems strange that it would not effect others....

If the boy is improving, then Merlin says so, and if not, he drives him a bit harder.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 250 posts
Tue 6 Sep 2011
at 04:29
Re: Traveling with Falanians
"Oh! My apologies, Master Merlin," answers the youth when asked his name. "I am Johy. The other guards call me 'Crofter's son' to tell me apart from Johy from the South. ...though I guess we're technically further south than Meadowbrook, right now, but it's south of Watch Hill, you know?"

As Merlin pushes him harder, Johy struggles to improve at the rate the Solar expects. He doesn't quite seem disheartened, though he does seem to be determined to earn praise. It sometimes leads him to over-extend himself and make mistakes. The sense of deja vu is stronger still as Merlin finds himself saying words he swears were exchanged between master and student in his own past. He could even almost predict the replies the youth gives.

The strange expression of confusion on Johy's own face at least once might indicate that he is shaking off the same odd sense.
Merlin
 player, 153 posts
Tue 6 Sep 2011
at 06:19
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Segev Stormlord (msg #19):

OOC: Merlin will have left his 'suit' in his backpack today (not like he can't almost reflexively put it back on with a charm). However, he wears a normal mask and of course his cloak. If this would change things, then disregard and it will take place on the morrow.


If Merlin pushed his pupil, it was only because he felt the time was short. When mistakes are make, care examples are shown, muscle movements discussed. It is at the end of the days seemingly endless session when Merlin finally asks, "Johy, do you get the sense that this has all happened before? It seems to me that I recollect doing this same thing in ages past...."
Johy Crofterson
 player, 1 post
Thu 8 Sep 2011
at 15:30
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Johy has doffed his helm due to the heat and exertion, but is otherwise still in his armor. No point in training differently than one will be fighting, after all. He wipes sweat from his brow and looks bemused as he answers, "I...don't know, Master Merlin. It feels...familiar, already. Kind-of backwards, though?"

The gesture and openness is a bit jarring. Johy's been opening up since the training began, but something about his posture seems to evoke a more stern bearing only occasionally softened by paternal pride. So it's strange seeing it on one who instead is the eager student. "If I may ask...where's your armor, today? Should I be training without mine?"
Sevastian
 player, 107 posts
 Dragon-Blooded
 Water
Mon 12 Sep 2011
at 17:05
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Sevastian continues on, serving any who require it.

At some point he looks to Nath.
"So, how do you read your other lords?"

He grins a bit.
"And what of Mr. Merlin, how do you read him?"
Nath
 player, 1 post
Mon 12 Sep 2011
at 18:35
Re: Traveling with Falanians
"Mr. Merlin?" asks the boy as he helps carry a tray of snack foods to where Beatrix and the three knights are sitting, "I...almost forget he's here, really. Johy's not been as talkative since he started training with him, either. I don't really pay much attention to the other Knights. Sir Vaniel is my responsibility. But they both seem very brave and gallant. Sir Methius is the oldest, so I guess he's the most experienced. Sir Clavien is always kind, genteel as he should be."

He studies the Dragonblooded butler's face as he speaks, trying to see if he's getting the answers right.
Merlin
 player, 155 posts
Tue 13 Sep 2011
at 01:14
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Johy Crofterson (msg #21):

"Ah, you noticed. I have decided that I use it to much. Perhaps when we get where we are going I will don it again. You should in fact train with yours on if that is how you will fight, at least for a time. This strange feeling we both seem to share, I think it is good. What do you feel?"
Johy Crofterson
 player, 2 posts
Tue 13 Sep 2011
at 06:58
Re: Traveling with Falanians
"I...yes." Johy nods firmly. "I think I can trust you." He grins, laughing to relieve the awkwardness of the exchange. "I'm glad I can train in my armor; it's not...different than normal, but it does feel...oddly refreshing. The thrill of breaking a rule, even though...why would that be a rule?"
Merlin
 player, 156 posts
Tue 13 Sep 2011
at 16:26
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Johy Crofterson (msg #25):

"Men make rules for many reasons. Fear, love, ego, admiration, and other emotions all play a part. The fear of the loss of resources might be the cause of this rule. Armor that is practiced in will wear out faster perhaps? What do you think?"

Merlin is helping Johy with a particularly interesting stance that helps with ones balance under certain circumstances, but is unbalancing in most others. An obscure, but necessary step towards understanding how to unbalance a foe.
Johy Crofterson
 player, 3 posts
Wed 14 Sep 2011
at 07:01
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Johy seems to get irritated with himself easily with certain techniques, expecting himself to learn them faster. "How can this possibly keep my balance?" he asks in exasperation over this particular one. "The situations where it would be more stable than just standing with feet shoulder length apart are all but contrived, aren't they? I'd have an easier time tricking my opponent into standing lik--" and he falls, losing his balance in that stance again.

As he picks himself up, he adjusts his armor where it bruised him in the very awkward fall. "I dunno. I never studied martial arts, so it's not like I need the freedom of movement for some weird style. I just thought you'd expect me to learn without it, for some reason." The boy mimics a couple martial art stances that would - if they were anything approaching correct - be totally impossible in armor, in parody demonstration. "But I guess training in what you'll fight in's a good idea, so yeah. I'll stick with the armor.

"How's that stance go again?"
he asks, almost falling over again as the wind kicks up when he tries awkwardly to assume it.
Merlin
 player, 157 posts
Wed 14 Sep 2011
at 15:16
Re: Traveling with Falanians
In reply to Johy Crofterson (msg #27):

"Come," says Merlin to his young apprentice.

Nearby is a tree with a branch only 10 or so feet above the ground. Merlin takes two lengths of rope over to it. Tying a loop in one end of both ropes he leaps up to the branch and 'tight rope' walks down near its end. He strings the loop around the branch and lets one rope's end fall to the ground. Taking the other rope he leaps over the branch of another tree. Now he has two ropes attached to the original branch, but one of them when pulled will move the branch horizontally while the other can be pulled to move it vertically.

"Climb up, stand on the branch three feet from the ropes, assume the stance."

When Johy has done this, Merlin starts lightly tugging on the ropes randomly moving the branch as if there was a mild storm. This stance should allow Johy to do his exercises despite the random movements of the branch.
Sevastian
 player, 108 posts
 Dragon-Blooded
 Water
Fri 16 Sep 2011
at 18:31
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Sevastian smiled at the young man.  Observation was the dragons life and this young man, while inexperienced, was at least on the right track.

Letting the young man contemplate his new study of social interactions, Sevastian moved up in the group to Sir Methius.

"Sir."
He greets the knight with the most respectful tone.
"How far to we yet have to travel?"
Johy Crofterson
 player, 4 posts
Sat 17 Sep 2011
at 05:15
Re: Traveling with Falanians
After falling off twice, Johy gets it right, and chuckles as he maintains the position on the moving rope, "Great, so now I can duel with tight-rope walkers." Right after making the quip, the youth's expression flashes with irritation, then confusion. "Wait, did you say something like that earlier today?" he asks, not noticing that he's standing in the stance perfectly, steady as a rock on Merlin's shaking rope.
Segev Stormlord
 GM, 252 posts
Sat 17 Sep 2011
at 05:18
Re: Traveling with Falanians
Sir Methius nods with polite indifference at the servant. "You may tell your mistress that we will be at Castle Oredol by tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow evening if we stop for lunch. From there, it is another fortnight with disciplined horsemen. We will exchange horses with Duke Amaran's stables and allow the infantry to make their own pace back, to make better time."
Beatrix LeSchaye
 player, 171 posts
 Solar
 Zenith
Mon 19 Sep 2011
at 14:55
Re: Traveling with Falanians
"Ah!" says Beatrix, "That is fortunate." Vaniel wasn't going to admit what was on his mind, but that didn't mean she couldn't work with it.
Continuing, she says "It is, after all, quite important for good men to be in positions of command. For as has so often been said, the wise commander must..." and here she begins to wax philosophical and at length about the duties of a good commander, the habits of a wise ruler, and so on. In the dissertation she lays out a fairly clear outline of what a knight ought to do - and perhaps strangest of all, makes it seem a natural part of the conversation. Before very long, she has laid out a comprehensive guide for the young knight, as well as a great deal of encouraging advice.
Sir Vaniel
 player, 1 post
Mon 19 Sep 2011
at 15:51
Re: Traveling with Falanians
The young knight - in truth, practically of an age with the young Lady LeSchaye - listens with affected polite indifference. His responses are flirtatious, but as it continues, it's clear that his romantic interests - while genuine - are also serving as a mask for actual interest in what the woman from Trademeet has to say.

As any conversation between new friends is likely to, it drifts seemingly off-topic, and Sir Vaniel shares some tales of growing up as a knight's son. He grows distant at the inevitable mention of how he inherited, but warms back up when conversation shifts to Beatrix's own past (offering her opportunity to share some philosophy disguised as life lessons she learned, in the process).

Clavien and Methius give the two their space, exchanging big brotherly amused glances. Vaniel's squire, young Nathier, dances attendance on them when Sevastian isn't beating him to the punch. "Family, smallfolk, land and lord... my father was always dutiful to them all," the young knight says as he watches his squire scamper off to re-pitch a tent for the final night before reaching Oredol Castle. "It's meticulous attention to detail that lets a knight manage, I say. Never let the slightest thing slip when it's not important, and it will all be ready and waiting for any event when it is." He adjusts the position of his helm at his side as he says this.

Nath breaks down the tent he had put facing the wrong direction without complaint. Vaniel hadn't scolded him - at least, not in front of Beatrix - but he'd been clearly disappointed. "Nath is an excellent squire. It's rare for him to make mistakes even as small as this one. I suspect he spent too much time following your own servant around today and got distracted." The knight chuckles. "I suppose there is worse company he could be keeping," he adds, flicking his eyes disdainfully at some of Methius's men that are between his own age and that of his squire. It was a small gesture, not one he meant to make. He smiles back at Beatrix in obvious hopes she hadn't noticed his lapse in courtesy.