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Kura

Raithgar's Arrival ((Open))

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((Bleh, hate to submit this, but I've been a long time coming with Raith's intro.))

 

A moment of shock caused him to inhale sharply. A smile spreading over his lips, and he looked to the rugged man who had took him thus far. He smiled, and spoke in that deep Shienarian accent of his, "Peace, you going to stand there all day grinning like a pup at his first kill?" Raithgar shook his head, the man's normal gruffness wasn't in it today. They continued tracking through the forest, the heavy foliage and heat not faring well with the native Shienarian boy. Still, the most disturbing thing was knowing that he was being watched, worse yet was that he could feel the watchers. "Don't worry, they are just patrolling." He nodded, and tried very hard to ignore them. To his surprise, it worked. Wish I'd known that sooner... It was nice to have his head to himself again.

 

A bit further in, he noted a building, and looked to the tracker, "The sages will explain everything you need to know. Just keep up, we're almost there." Raithgar again nodded, and his smile only grew. Finally, he'd get all the answers he needed. The tracker led him to another cropping of buildings, specifically to the largest one, and took him inside. Once inside, he was told to wait, and both men did. Raithgar perhaps, a bit more impatiently..

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Sighing as he stood, Anton was glad to be finished with the gardening of the day.  Aleeza and the others had done a good job of planting the herb garden, but it was down to him first and foremost to take care of it while he was at the Tracker Lodge.  A home of sorts, certainly more so in many ways than the Stedding itself.  Even then, he didn't feel entirely happy unless he was traveling, yet he'd been saddled with the responsibility of managing the Trackers wherever they went.  One day he would find someone to shift the responsibility onto, then he would return to the road freely without care as he had been once before.

 

Of course, that was still awhile off yet.

 

For now, he would simply dream as he exited the herb garden, shutting the gate behind him as he made his way to the back door of the lodge.  Wincing as the door squealed as he opened it, he made a mental note that he was going to have to oil the hinges down for the fiftieth time.  He'd get around to it, when he could be bothered doing it that was.  It wasn't exactly the most pressing chore he hard.

 

The Lodge was otherwise as sturdy as could be.  Of course, it had required a bit of wheeling dealing, some weighted dice and Carnhain's help, but he'd managed to secure the services of one of those Asha'man.  It hadn't even taken the man long to hollow out a cellar beneath the kitchen, or to even make the stairs for it, all the while making sure the earth beneath the house was so strong that the house wouldn't suffer as a result of the ad hoc addition of the cellar.

 

The steps leading down were not what interested Anton, after all whatever was down there would keep near on indefinitely.  Another favour from the Asha'man and an advantage he had over anywhere in the stedding, a weave of Keeping would ensure that the stocked food wouldn't go off anytime soon.  That alone would have been enough to lure Anton into building the Lodge a decent distance away from the Stedding, let alone the several hours it took at a decent walking pace.

 

No, instead he made his way from the kitchen to the common room.  A single table sitting in the centre for a dozen people to sit at, the walls were lined with doors to small rooms where Trackers who didn't have their own homes, or didn't bother with them because they spent so little time in the area, stayed until they went on their next trip.  That or students that he taught.  The rooms were rarely filled to capacity though, which was handy because he used a couple as storage.

 

He'd only managed to get glass for the windows recently after all, and it was for the most part a one man project.  Others chipped in here and there, but he kept at it daily.  It helped ensure that he didn't go insane by having something to do.  So far he had the Lodge, the herb garden, a shed where he butchered and still had a storage room and another building to complete.  Maybe a well too, but he wanted to get an Asha'man for that, which meant a good deal more trading.

 

It was then that he realised that there was no point retrieving his shirt that was draped over one of the chairs, there was no point in letting daylight burn in idleness.  Retrieving an axe and saw from one of the spare rooms, Anton wandered out and made his way to the trees that were a good fifty feet away.

 

Soon the steady rhythm of axe and wood could be heard throughout the area.  Stroke after stroke ringing against the wood, chips flying with every impact, Anton soon built up a sweat as he began to get the upperhand on the pine.  Quickly dancing to one side as the tree toppled and crashed into the earth, the axe was exchanged for a saw as he began to work away at the branches.  Once they were cleared, then he'd be able to work bark and go from there.

 

But it was not to be as he became aware of someone approaching him, his ears barely managing to catch it over the sound of his saw.  Desisting, he left the saw where it was as he turned around to find a tall young man approaching him.  Plate mail, scarred face, the sword strapped to the back and looking a touch bewildered, more likely than not he was the new lad that Sumatu had brought back with him.

 

"You would be Raithgar would you not?"  Getting a nod, Anton smiled slightly, it seemed that the Sages had seen fit to send him another student.  Not that he particularly loved teaching in itself, but he was done the favour by Janna so it was only fair that he returned the same to those who were new.  Besides, it did pass the time, and as he studied the lad, he was fairly sure he was going to be able to find some things for him to do.

 

Retrieving his saw and axe, Anton gestured for the lad to follow him as he led the way to the Tracker Lodge.  "I'm Anton Averdal, Cairhienin if you could not tell.  I'm also the Tracker Head until I can convince someone else to take the job.  Amongst a group of wanderers and explorers, it tends to be difficult to convince one to stay behind and keep things in order."

 

"But, nevertheless I do so as best I can.  While I am here I also make myself available to mentor new Wolfkin such as yourself.  But tell me, what have you been told so far about what is happening to you?  Sumatu tends to be rather quiet with his charges, prefering to leave it to the Sages to do the explaining.  Also, are you hungry?  There is plenty to eat and to drink in the Lodge if you're interested."

 

 

Anton Averdal

Farpaw

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Raithgar nodded when an opening allowed, but otherwise kept silent, especially upon learning that this man was by far his superior. Still, he seemed friendly enough. When questioned directly, he had no choice but to answer. "I know that I can talk to wolves, my eyes will turn a brilliant yellow like your own, and my senses will sharpen to an unbelievably sharp point." He looked at the lodge, and shook his head, "No, I'm not all that hungry. Peace though, its hot this far south. This," he indicated his armor, "Can't be helping. Is there a room I may use to store my armor? I'll gladly help with whatever chores you have in return."

 

Even though he still had doubts about where his, and Anton's abilities originated; he found himself trusting the man. Still, he doubted he'd leave himself to open for a while yet. He'd seen men die, because they trusted another man; and he without strange abilities. After being led into a room, he methodically removed his heavy armor and let it rest next to his bed. He kept his sword belt on, he'd hate to be without it. The cotton underneath his armor was soaked with sweat. He did what he could with a basin to tidy up; but only a nice long bath would ever truly clean him.

 

Satisfied, he returned outside, and went to Anton. "Now, what would you have me do?" He looked at the unshaved log, wondering if that'd be his first chore. It wouldn't be the first time he'd had to do such a thing; often he'd had to make a barricade.

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While Raithgar was inside, shedding his armour and cleaning himself up, Anton spent his time musing on the answers he had been given.  Basic facts, but it was a start at least.  He would have to have a talk to Sumatu later about perhaps opening up a touch more to people he found.  The more facts they had, the easier it was for them to understand what was happening and how to deal with it.  There hadn't been a single mention of the Howling from the lad, and that was a problem because the Howling was something that Raithgar was dealing with even now, or should be.

 

As the lad emerged from the lodge, Anton looked up at him and smiled.  The offer to help with chores hadn't been an empty one, but there was something else he wanted to take care of first.  After all, the lad was a Shienaran and he had been wearing all that armour, it would be good to discover how comfortable he was with a weapon.  It would mean he'd have to root about the lodge a little to find the necessary tool though.

 

"Just stay here for a moment, I want to find out how adept you are with a blade.  No, don't bother with live steel, I'm going to grab a lathe for you."  Disappearing inside the lodge himself, he let himself into one of the rooms he had converted for storage.  He'd managed to get some free lathes from the Band, well, he'd traded, but they'd pretty much been a steal because they were left over anyway.  Regardless, the one of the lathes matched the profile of Raithgar's sword and he grabbed a staff for himself on the way out.

 

Exiting the Lodge once more, Anton tossed the lathe to Raithgar who caught it easily enough.  Settling into an easy stance, staff balanced across his body to afford the most protection, he smiled.  "Just show me what you can do, I'd like to get an idea of how well you can handle yourself."

 

 

Anton Averdal

Farpaw

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Raithgar had three inches of cold steel showing before he was told to return it to the sheath, and he did so. What choice did he have? When his mentor returned, he caught the lathe easily. He twirled it a couple times, familiar with the length and width of such things; he oft trained with them. "I'll admit, I've never been much more than mediocre with swords; but I've slain enough trollocs to make most southlanders faint." He looked at the man who taught him, "Peace! Forgive me, I've always had a bit of a free tongue." He scolded himself for being so rude; he doubted Southlanders liked to be reminded of how soft, on a whole, they were. Even if this one moved with a grace greater than most he'd seen.

 

Without another word, he bent his knees and leaned forward a hair, the lathe moving to his left side, both hands on the hilt, Leopard in the Tree. He 'unsheathed' the lathe in another form Unfolding the Fan, with the initial diagonal slash; he was used to having an enemy in front of him if he was drawing a sword. He then moved into an overhand thrust, The Falcon Swoops. This moved into one of the more deadly beginner forms, Hummingbird Kisses the Honeyrose Trollocs deserved no mercy. He continued through the forms, Lion on the Hill to Arc of the Moon, and while his blade was still high he moved into The Kingfisher Takes a Silverback. His face was grim as he completed the forms, thinking of all the times he'd needed to use them in battle; and the imperfections in them, before moving into Folding the Fan.

 

"I'm sorry you had to see that; my moves are far less then grand. I.. I never really got the hang of Ko'Di, the Flame and the Void." Raithgar sighed, holding the lathe loosely in his hand. "And I have almost no blight experience; the true training ground. I hope you don't mind working with someone of my skill." Sure, he'd probably just given a better show than half the south, but he was Shienarian; a borderlander. He watched blademasters die. He couldn't take a single Half-man! He took a breathe, "So, where shall we begin?"

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Observing the forms as they were performed, Anton might not have liked to use a sword but he knew how and he recognised what he saw.  There was also something else that was very interesting to take note of with Raithgar's performance.  The forms were performed as if against a much larger opponent, a trolloc, and all the blows were aimed higher as a result.  It made sense, trollocs were on average nine to ten feet tall after all and the fighting style had to change accordingly.

 

That was fortunate, because one day they would have to fight them.  On the otherhand, for now the greatest threat to the Wolfkin wasn't posed by Shadowspawn, but by man.  Darkfriends and those who wouldn't accept the Wolfkin for what they were alike.  It was also questionable how much experience Raithgar might have had against someone with a staff, it wasn't a common weapon in the north simply because it wasn't efficient for killing Shadowspawn.  Not compared to other tools.

 

"That is fine.  Today we will begin with you against me.  I will begin by defending, then slowly I will begin to attack, more and more until I am better able to gauge how you can handle yourself against an opponent.  Then I can figure out what we can work on, no?"  Tapping his staff against his boots, Anton smiled at Raithgar.

 

"Come at me when you're ready."

 

 

Anton Averdal

Farpaw

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Raithgar nodded as his mentor spoke. "Yes, I suppose this will be quite alright." He took a deep breathe, and envisioned a flame, and sought to feed everything he was into it. He tried desperately, but the void eluded him. Suppressing a sigh, he instead moved his sword out in front of him. A staff? Well, it wasn't the most common weapon to fight against, but he had experience against spears, and so he knew there greatest advantage over a sword. Reach.

 

He approached cautiously at first, his sword held in guard in front of him, just out of range of that staff. Anton had said he would only defend; but he really had no reason to believe the Yellow eyed man. Besides, what good would it do to throw cautiousness to the wind, while it was still prudent?

 

Then, he began. He pivoted off of his left foot, his lathe going diagonal to intercept either a vertical or horizontal swing. His goal was simple, to get up close and personal with the staff wielder, and so he did. Getting within range so that, by extending his arms, the 'blade' of the lathe would lay against the staff in guard position. With that, he stepped forward and to the right, moving into Arc of the Moon to get a good gauge on how well the man would block. When a loud crack split the air, Raithgar's blade retracted to guard.

 

Without hesitation he moved into Lion on the Hill before going into a triple repetition of The Falcon Swoops, and moving into a fourth, before his blade instead formed The Kingfisher takes a Silverback. The last aimed at his legs, and was pair with a charge forward against Anton, doing his best to push the man over. "Anytime you are ready sir." He was growing tired of being the only one to attack. It took out the greatest motivation anyman had in battle; fear.

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Frowning slightly at Raithgar's challenge, Anton obliged as his staff swung in a quick arc, clipping the lad's fingers and sending the lathe spinning out of his grip.

 

Lowering his stave as the boy nursed his hand, Anton's tone was somewhat flat as he spoke.  "I'm not sure what your intructors were like in Shienar, but when I give you a task you do it.  If I have chosen not to do something, it is for a reason and in this case it should be abundantly obvious.  You are impatient, an impatient opponent is a dead one because they will either rush their opponent or lose their focus, both of which are stupid mistakes that can be fatal when you really do have to use a blade."

 

Pointing to Raithgar's legs with his staff, Anton continued.  "Your steps are also too long, you lunge too much.  All well and good for covering ground against a trolloc, but against a human opponent you'll be caught out mid-stride and end up with a foot of steel in your gut for your trouble.  Its not even that great an idea against a trolloc, you come across one with a bit of agility and they can just as easily catch you out."

 

Shifting his staff so it was pointing to the lathe on the ground, Anton revealed nothing in his voice as he spoke once more.  "Now pick up your lathe once more and try again, this time with focus.  Do not get impatient, do not rush, control is what is important.  Without it you are undone in moments.  That will impress me far more than any flashy sword twirling."

 

Settling back into a guard stance, the staff was sloped across his body once more.  They would begin again, and they would continue until Anton was satisfied he had gauged Raithgar well enough to begin to press him, challenge him and eventually overwhelm him.  He was fairly sure that the strides and the impatience were only beginning of a variety of technical problems that needed addressing.

 

"Again."

 

 

Anton Averdal

Farpaw

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Raithgar inhaled slowly; he knew he was impatient, it was one of his greater faults as a swordsmen. The Carhieren had the jist of his weakness versus smaller opponents as well. Almost all of his moves were aimed high; he'd have to make sure to adjust that strategy in his next bout.

 

He came at the man again, keeping his sword in guard position until he crossed into his own range, taking measured steps the entire time. He decided to ignore the forms he'd been taught, to a point at least, and instead just attacked. He swung the lathe horizontally aimed for Anton's chest, and not waiting for the crack as the two wooden instruments collided, he retracted again into guard. He launched another slash, this one slanted and meant to bite into Anton's left shoulder, and this time when the weapons met, he wouldn't retract, but push. He'd hoped the one advantage he had over the Tracker would be enough to tip this more in his favor; size. Something the Shienarian was not used to having over his opponents, even the slender fades were stronger than a man.

 

In truth though, he doubted he'd get anymore than another stern lecture, but hey, at least he wasn't treating the Carhieren like he was a Trolloc anymore.

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Catching the blow, Anton was already expecting the shove that came.  Reading footwork and shoulders was as important as hands and blades.  Letting himself stumble back as the inevitable push came, the follow up was easily caught and shoved aside.  While the lad was probably a touch stronger, leverage was far more important and as long as he denied Raithgar the ability to follow up his blows, then it was something he didn't need to worry about.  It was good to see the lad was thinking though, trying different things, some fighters were quick to believe that thinking simply slowed them down in battle.  It was true if it distracted or caused doubt, but no thought was simply reaction and that could just as easily get you killed by someone who wasn't overwhelmed.

 

It was a bit before Anton began to fight back, but it was enough to throw the lad and the pressure that Anton created was telling.  The pace of the spar changed, and now there was uncertainty, something that grew as Anton began to increase the intensity of his attacks.  More and more he would intensify until Raithgar was left with no choice but to defend.  A few blows slipped by him, but Anton pulled them so they only touched or perhaps stung at most.  He was testing his student, not trying to pummel the lad into the ground.

 

Launching one last attack that would have been blistering for his student to handle, Anton stepped away and dipped his staff low to show that he was done.  Not that Raithgar was, there was a new skill for him to learn.  "You do well enough, but there is a lot more for you to learn.  First of all, bring up your guard.  Thats right, now I'm going to attack high and I want you to defend yourself."

 

Bringing his staff down at Raithgar's head, the lad's lathe caught the blow squarely, much as he had during the entire fight.  "All well and good, but now I want you to do the same to me.  Let me just take a step back, alright, come."

 

The blow came down but rather than meet it squarely, Anton swung his staff upward and slightly to the left, slapping the sword aside as it descended so it passed by his left shoulder and missed him entirely.  Even as the lathe continued its passaged, Anton tapped Raithgar's shoulder with his staff, to show that he was vulnerable.

 

"You're strong, you use the momentum of your blows but that can easily be turned against you.  A simple slap and your lathe is over there and my staff could easily knocked your head clean off your shoulders without anything to stop it because as I defend, I'm also putting myself in the position to attack.  I don't need to spend time pulling back my weapon to attack because it is already there.  A simple move in itself, but one that can be adapted to many different defences.  You don't need to catch every blow that comes at you to keep yourself safe, it just doesn't have to hit you."

 

"Now, we will run through a drill, I will keep attacking, slowly at first but building speed.  I will be hacking down at your shoulders, you are to replicate the move I did to knock it aside and have your lathe raised ready to strike at the same time.  Alright?  Well, stand ready, thats it.  Now, lets begin."

 

 

Anton Averdal

Farpaw

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Raithgar was put on the defensive, and eventually blows started to rain in from that damned staff. He felt a few stings, but the man held back. He wondered briefly how that staff would fare against an opponent in full plate, and wondered briefly if it really was wise to take off his armor. Then, an actual lesson was being taught, and thoughts of the bulky armor disappeared.

 

It all made sense, especially when hammered home with the example. He resisted the urge to say something cocky; right now he hadn't the right to it. He'd earn it though; a safe bet even for a beggar's last copper, and then the blows started.

 

Overhand slash came down, and Raithgar's sword came up, and angled the staff to the right. He noted the location of his blade, that was to say up high and on the inside of Anton's weapon radius and thought briefly of launching a counter. Instead he held his blade for the next blow, and this time deflected it to the left with a bit more force. He wanted to measure his opponent, to see what kind of techniques could be used to overbalance him. Unfortunately, the tracker was solid, and Raithgar doubted anything less than hitting that staff so hard he actually ripped the man off the ground would do the trick. He'd seen men die from Thakan'dar steal from such techniques, but in truth he'd seen more muzzles chopped in half.

 

The blows kept on coming in, and Raithgar did what he could to deflect them as the speed continued to increase. For a long while he managed to deflect and with that movement get his sword into position to slash. Eventually though the man's blows rained on him to quickly, and it was all he could do to bat them aside. He was all to conscious of how vulnerable he was low at this point, and gritted his teeth, in a melee this would spell his doom. A sword of black steal would have gutted him while he defended a sickle blade high. Then he felt the wood connect with his shoulder, and let out a grunt. "I need to improve my speed if I am to ever hope to beat you." A grin spread on his lips, he was having fun after all, and he waited for the next lesson.

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There was improvement, that much Anton was certain of.  At the same time, there was still a great deal of room for improvement.  Regardless, a good effort for the first day and by the time that they were done, Anton felt that Raithgar was getting an inkling of the technique.  It was drills and repetition that would help it become natural for the young lad to do as a reflex rather than a premeditated movement.  All in time, and there was no rush for the moment, that and the lad had traveled a fair way, it would be a couple of days before he began to really settle in at all.

 

Smiling at Raithgar's words, Anton replied simply.  "Speed is good, control is vital.  Both will come with practice, and for now I think we are done with both lathe and staff."

 

Holding out his hand, Anton took the lathe as it was offered as he added.  "For now, we'll see how you handle an axe."

 

 

Anton Averdal

Farpaw

 

OOC:  Short, but 3:30am and its essentially the ending of the thread.  Report this thread on the Wolfkin progress board and claim a raise in Weapon score from 5 to 6 :)

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