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Down to Earth (Cairen: Stamina and Balance)


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Sitting on a rock outside the hold, Daird whittled away at a block of soap.  Wood was too precious to waste on such a pointless hobby, but soap was more readily available.  As a bonus, anything that Daird shaved away from the block could be collected and used to make more.  It was likely that the finished product in his hands would be sent off to be remade as well; Daird was not happy with the design shaping underneath his knife.  It was supposed to be a lion, but it was beginning to look more and more like a horse or a donkey.  Possibly a dog.


It was still early, the air still cold and crisp from the previous night, though the sun was beginning to poke its way above the horizon.  Daird had given Cairen instructions to meet him outside the hold at this place at dawn, and he was sure that he would not be late.  Cairen showed excitement and enthusiasm at the prospect of becoming a part of the Sovin Nai.  Both were fine, but both needed to be tempered with caution.  Daird's task was two-fold.  The first purpose of his presence was to make sure that Cairen was fully prepared for the tasks that would be put before him.  The second was to do his best to make Cairen quit.  Anybody who was not dedicated enough to fight their way through the pain that inevitably came from the training had no right to be Sovin Nai.


As the sun came over the horizon, Daird heard soft footfalls on the rock-hard dirt.  Daird did not look up; nobody had any business out here except for Cairen.  "Stop," he said, his eyes still on the misshapen block of soap in his hands.  "You will dig a hole using only your hands.  It must be as deep and wide as you are tall, and twice as long.  If you do not finish before mid-morning, you will run."


The words said, Daird studied his carving again.  Useless.  Crushing it in his hand, Daird took another block of soap from his bag and started again.


OOC: Even with a warrior's training, this task is impossible to complete on your first try.  Try to focus on how your body would feel as you try to dig the hole, and take some time to react to the task, either vocally or in thought.  This thread should only require four or five posts from you, if I've got the mental count right.

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Cairen wanted to grunt. Busy work!.This was no proper training. He had been excited to begin his sovin'nai training. but honor demanded his participation in whatever Daird asked. he would not go running away just because something was hard. The three fold land had shaped all Aiel to be stronger than one menial task. 


He began digging. the light dust of the desert moved easily as well as the few inches of top soil. His right hand cramping he had to switch to his left, which did not move much dirt, especially as the hole got lower in the ground. Two fingers simply could not move as much as 4. But still he pushed hard using both hands to do as much as he could. Pulling dirt with his scarred left hand also gave him the phantom cramp in his fingers that were missing. A frustrating thing. How could you make missing fingers loosen? Wise ones had never been able to tell him why they did that.


Sweating in sun, back aching from hours of work, Cairen paused to look over his work.Only a few feet down and 4 wide. Ignoring his muscles, he went back to work harder. His arms burned, his neck developed a crick, his legs ached from squatting and standing. His frustration at this meaningless work only fueled his passion to move soil. Silently working all day was no problem to him. He didn't have many friends, yet he would enjoy the sweat tent next time he could get in one. Chastising himself, he pushed his thoughts back into the moment, pain returning to his consciousness. The phantom cramps had gotten worse. Digging continued. He pushed to throw ples of dirt into the air feverishly digging. Pausing to crack his knuckles, the sun had risen. Standing in the hole up to his waist and only a few feet wide, he knew there was no way he would finish even before he heard Daird's footsteps approaching. 

Edited by Wedge
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  • 2 weeks later...

As the edge of the sun touched a distant rock formation that served as a handy timer for many years, Daird set down his soap and looked at the hole that Cairen had spent the morning trying to dig.  As he had expected, the hole was nowhere near large enough.  Not for the first time, though, Daird felt the desire to tell the obviously frustrated young man that he had done well.  Many made more progress than Cairen had, true, but many others had made less.  The fact that he was working with a disfigured hand only made it more impressive.


Walking over to the hole, Daird handed Cairen a water skin and allowed him to drink his fill.  It was a cruel trick to play, really.  Once Cairen had finished, Daird said bluntly, "You failed."  It was an obvious statement, meant to discourage the applicants.  Daird no longer bothered to see whether or not it was effective.  "Fill in the hole, then you will run one hundred laps around the hold."  Not even offering a hand to help Cairen out of the hole, Daird turned back to his stone to collect his soap shavings and return to the hold.  "I expect to see you at dawn tomorrow."




Two weeks had passed since Cairen had dug his first hole, and the new day was about to break.  Leaning against the stone where he usually sat, Daird packed a clay pipe with tabac purchased from a peddler.  There was not enough light yet to read the book he had brought with him, but there would be soon enough.  The arrival of daylight would also allow him to light the pipe; a glowing spot in the shadows was a hard thing to miss seeing in the Three-fold Land.  Punctual as always, Daird heard Cairen's approach.  Daird judged the distance between him and the younger man by sound.  When he walked over one of his filled-in holes around the area, Cairen's quiet footfalls became even harder to hear.


At the change of sound from soft ground to hard, Daird said, "Stop and start digging."


OOC: Don't post all one hundred laps (like I tried to do when I did all this), but post how your body reacts to the running.  Also make mention of how your body's reaction changes over the course of two weeks of digging and running.  You should be able to finish the hole this time, unless you want to fail again.

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