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Offline Wildfire

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The First Lesson
« on: January 14, 2008, 07:20:39 PM »
The First Lesson

Dracum Aryor, VY 237 (May 18)

The morning looked like much of any other morning.  The Fogveil was living up to it’s name and the roar of The Hammer was echoing from across the valley that Threshold lay in. The Spike of Fire was blazing in full glory and the Sythus birds were singing their call for Kossuth to shine on for as long as it would.

Ashe had woken extra early this day. He was remembering events of old and new and his thoughts seemed to be wrestling with themselves. He wasn’t sure if teaching her was the right thing to do. He would be forced to relive days that he tried so hard to forget. She needed him though. She needed guidance if she was going to fully harness her raw power. Whether or not he should tap into his own subdued powers he wasn’t sure. Despite his misgivings it felt to be the right thing to do. He surmised that he shouldn’t let events of the past prevent him from nurturing the promise of another’s future.

His brother was not able to control his own energy. He had lost his way and would have paid a dear price and almost did were it not for Ashe rescuing him and bringing him back to balance. Ashe had done a psychic surgery on him and relieved him of his madness. It was an event that Ashe would never forget. His brother’s power was close to consuming him because he did not know how to saddle it. Ashe felt that he had to teach her so that she would not fall into the same precipice of insanity. He had to face his demons.

He gathered his traveling gear and donned his sacred bronzewood symbol. He also took with him his bronzewood scimitar. He opened the door to his house and headed out into the newborn morning.

He passed by the House of Shadows and saw a dark figure on the steps. Unable to contain his curiosity, he approached. “Good morning.” Ashe said. “You must be Severen. Julius has told me that a Priest of Takhisis had arrived.”

“Arrived I have. You must be Ashe.” Severn said with a smooth silky voice.

“I am. What brings you here?” Ashe asked even though he already knew the answer.

“My guess would be that you already know, most honored Ashe.” Severen replied.

Ashe was surprised that Severen had realized the prestige that Ashe held within the town. “Well, why don’t you tell me in your own words.” Ashe said with a matter of fact tone.

“I am here to maintain the balance of representation in Threshold. A call went out and I answered. Balance is important don’t you think?” Severen asked.

“It is of utmost importance” Ashe said. Ashe knew well that Severen, although a priest of Takhisis, was probably knowledgeable in the ways of Mahiya as well.

Ashe looked around the front of the temple and could see dark mercurial images floating about and around Severen. He had been in the Temple of Shadows before and had come to understand that these living shadows were bound to the Temple and under the control of the governing priest. “Your companions guard you well.” Ashe said letting Severen realize that he knew of their existence.

“Yes, they do. They gave their physical lives to remain as watchers of the Temple. It was a noble sacrifice. I admire them greatly.” Severen cooed. “There was an incident at your home recently. I could sense death was near. Is everything…in order?”

Ashe was irritated with the question. With the recent episode, he had come to regard Kit as one of his own. He was now self-committed to aid in her tutelage and occasional protection. He initially felt that this was a violation of that protection. He then thought again on it and realized that Severen was merely fulfilling his role in the balance of things. There were no priests other than those of Takhisis and Mahiya. Perhaps he had a vested interest in those that may die. “Everything is fine…back in order. Why do you ask?”

Severen smiled and raised an eyebrow and said, “Because I’ve offered to perform the rituals of passage for the townsfolk until their own priests arrive. I may be a priest of Takhisis but I am familiar with the death rites of other followings. Death is my province and I understand the needs of people to lay their loved ones to rest.”

Ashe was surprised at Severen’s candidness. He wasn’t intimately familiar with the death rites outside of those as a druid. That sort of thing was left up to the clerics of the deities. Ashe couldn’t resist asking, “Does Takhisis take offense to that? Performing the death rites of those that would be it’s opposition?”

Severen laughed, “To those not within my order that would seem to be the case. Performing rituals of other divinities would ordinarily be considered blasphemous. However, Takhisis and I have an understanding. The nature of that understanding I will not delve into though. So let us say that I’m not bound by the dogma of stylized practice.”

Ashe smiled and said, “I understand. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.”

Severen rose to his feet and extended his hand to Ashe, “We’ll have to have to dine together sometime. I’m sure there’s much to be learned by speaking with you.”

Ashe took Severen’s hand and gave it a friendly shake. “I would like that.”

Ashe turned around and made his way back to the road and walked to the Thornhedge.

Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline Wildfire

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The First Lesson
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 07:22:57 PM »
Ashe arrived to the door of the inn and found that it was locked. “Of course. Why wouldn’t it be?” Ashe thought to himself. “Well, it’ll take more than a door to keep me out.” Ashe looked around to see if anyone was in sight. Convinced that he wouldn’t be seen, his form changed instantly to that of a mouse. He walked under the door and was inside the inn. As he skittered across the floor he suddenly found himself in the paws of a calico cat! Without hesitation he morphed back into his human form. The cat was surprised to find that she now hung on the cloak of a human and jumped off immediately. The cat was very familiar to Ashe and he bent down and said, “Shhh. Gertrude, it’s just me.” Ashe pet the cat and scratched her ear. Instantly Gertrude began to purr. The cat, satisfied with the affection, turned her attention to a possible prey in another part of the room.

Ashe smiled at the cat’s instinctive nature and made his way upstairs. He came to Kit’s room and gently knocked on the door. “Kit, wakey, wakey…”
Wildfire

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Offline Dray

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The First Lesson
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2008, 09:28:01 PM »
Kithendria didn’t quite wake to the soft knock on her bedroom door. In between sleep and reality, the subconscious trying to recognize any danger couldn’t quite place the the muffled voice. And by the time dreams did become forgotten, so did the voice and knock that had awakened her.

She slowly sat up, careful not to aggravate the stiffness in her lower back Her waist surrounded by tangled blankets that had fought her during the night, she stared blanly out at the night sky that had not yet surrendered to the stars.

The past returned to her, as it had for the last few years of her life on every single morn.

Since her near death experience at Ashe’s apothecary she had secluded herself in her room, refusing entry to everyone. She was so ashamed of all that had transpired. For she had delayed the protectorate from their duties, put Jarmok, Maccabeus and Laren through a bloody experience, and even attacked Ashe in his own home, half destroying his lab in the process. Not to mention that she had been naked physically and emotionally in front of the all of them. As soon as she had recovered enough to use the cane she had made a straight line back to the room at the inn. And when the cane was no longer needed she still thought it might be a good idea to keep going, ‘straight out of town’ was her first real thought of the day.

The morning after the event, she felt at least a little safer from the prying and accusing eyes of all of her former friends, for surely they must all despire her now.

So, despite what was then considerable pain she had arisen the very next day and tried to wash all the memories away by cleaning her room.

For a day, the entire night and another half day she attempted to wash not only the litter away, but the despair. She had taken all the important loose entries of parchment (from the almost hundreds of useless ones) and organized them into a neat pile for transcribing into her journal. She unburied and  finished the tailoring for the Seamstress in Threshold, sending a boy the innkeeper had sent up to deliver the tardy work to her without request for payment.

Old plates of food and dirty cups were sent back to the kitchen in embarrassment. Clothes she had once thought were he salvation and protection from the gender she feared were put in a trunk, shoved under the bed and sworn to be forgotten.

Getting the mural scraped off the wall had been the hardest part. On the few occasions Keltan brought her up a meal, she couldn’t even look at the Innkeeper, asking him to leave it by the door. She knew he had discovered the atrocity done to the room when he investigated Jarmok’s entry that night. But for his part, on the day she sanded the mural, he did as asked and left the food without entering.

She also moved the furniture back, and sanded the scrape marks in the floor as well, she even put her blankets and pillow back on the bed. Only due to sheer exhaustion from over-exerting herself with a day and half of cleaning was she actually able to sleep on the bed the first night. Last night, despite Jordan (psi-crystal) prompting her to hide five or six times in each hand, she never left the bed’s topside, but she only fell asleep about a hand ago.

The nightstand was now organized; all of the useless garbage had been discarded. She even had a stuffed bear sitting on it, her father’s necklace placed around its neck on display. She didn’t want to wear it yet, she wasn’t ready.

For her part, Kit was a mess, and she didn’t care. She hadn’t bathed in days and did not seek too in this one. Her room was now clean, her responsibility to the Innkeeper and the Seamstress fulfilled. Now she just wanted to stay here and sleep….forever.

The forgotten knock repeated at the door, startling her, but she immediately hoped he would go away.

Offline Wildfire

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The First Lesson
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2008, 08:00:02 AM »
Ashe sensed that Kit wanted to be alone. What one wants and what one needs are sometimes different. Ashe knocked again and sternly said, “Kit, it’s your Grandfather. Come on let’s go…we have things to do. By the way, refusal is not an option.” It was before Kossuth had risen and Ashe realized that she might be tired…too bad for her. This was the time for her to learn discipline. At first, discipline is never convenient. This would be her first lesson.
Wildfire

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Offline Dray

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The First Lesson
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2008, 07:11:22 AM »
The rest of Kit's mind snapped awake. It was him.

Kit had not lied to Ashe when he had asked her back at the apothecary, she truly had not remembered what had happened during the surgery.

But in the past few days she had remembered all of it, piece by horrible piece coming back to her, even in her sleep she could not escape them as they resurfaced. And with the past few days, scenes from her entire life came into play, like the larger canvas of the puzzle with these new pieces being fitted in. As she cleaned, her mind had become focused in a way she hadn’t thought possible. She was able to recall every part of her life in finite detail. It was as if the event refreshed every moment in her life up to that point.

'Damn her mind and its almost perfect memory' she had cursed herself.

But she remembered Dray, and in the past few days her mind played those scenes over and over. The touch of his lips upon hers…

*knock knock knock*

"I….," she stuttered her attempt to think of anything to make him leave. "…I am still not feeling well Grandfather…I mean...I mean Ashe," she quickly reprimanded herself. The familiar loving name was not requested at any time after she had come back to the real world. She just revealed much with that slip.

She sat there in the bed, staring at the door and biting her lip.

Offline Wildfire

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The First Lesson
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2008, 08:33:00 PM »
“Neither am I.” Ashe said quickly. “But I am here nevertheless. Now stop this charade and let’s go. Life does not stop…or wait…for you. But I will. So wash up and get dressed. Oh, and to you, I am your grandfather.”

Ashe had to be stern with her if she was to learn to control her gift. It had been some time since he had dealt with a young adult…ever since Liam. Liam had left almost two years ago and was wise beyond his years. He understood his purpose and direction. Minding him was easy…especially since Ashe was his blood relative.

Ashe was often a man of wisdom to the youths in the town but he had never acted as their familial elder. He could only advise. Kit was different. She had no parents to oversee her and set limits. Ashe had taken this role that was lacking in her young life. However, Kit could prove to be difficult with her recent changes. Ashe had to set the rules and she had to follow them. There was no other way.
Wildfire

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Offline Dray

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The First Lesson
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2008, 06:19:37 AM »
Kit was taken aback, for none had spoken to her in such a tone since her Captain. And this man was even far more powerful. She could not disobey him.

Kit sniffed back a sob, the familiar creep of insecurity crawling up from her tummy.

'No', she thought to herself, 'I am not going to cry.'

"Don’t unlock the door, don’t let him in", Jordan said meekly.

"Hush you," Kit said in a whisper. She was still not yet familiar with Jordan, especially when communicating with her. Although Jordan's thoughts were always within her mind, Kit still didn't instinctively project her own back to the small gem, absently talking to her instead.

Kit didn’t leave the bed, instead she used the trick she had taught herself yesterday. She projected her focus to the key holstered by the lock in the door, and with her mind she turned it.

In a meek voice she said, "it's open." She couldn't call him Grandfather, she was too humiliated.

Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2008, 07:21:45 PM »
Ashe lifted the latch and slowly opened the door so as not to wake any one else in the inn. He gave Kit a warm smile to let her know that he was not cross with her. He closed the door as quietly as he opened it. “Good morning,” he said with a voice lower in tone than normal. He glided across the room and Kit noted that he didn’t make even the slightest sound. His garb appeared to be well kept and in pristine condition. The Bronzwood symbol that hung around his neck was yet another powerful reminder of her recent tribulations. Ashe put his hand on her forehead and said, “So, you’re not feeling well, eh? Well, you don’t have a temperature. That’s good. The other night you would have melted the Venric snows! So tell me, in what way are you not feeling well?”

Ashe wanted to see if she was truthful about her illness or if she was cleverly trying to excuse herself from emerging into the world again. He had a feeling that she was attempting to cast a ruse on him. Either way, she was going to get out of bed. He just simply wanted to know more about her and her girlish designs.

It was cute to him in a way. He had forgotten the games that young girls would play. He wanted to make her accountable for her games and remind her that he was not a man that would play them. He started to believe that, in a way, he really was her grandfather.

Kit could see that Ashe looked exhausted. He still had blue and purple circles under his bloodshot eyes. His hair was wild under his hood and his glassy eyes reflected the light of the lantern in the room. Ashe’s hand was cool to the touch and they were softer than she had expected them to be. She knew this man in a way few would ever know anyone. He seemed to understand her better than anyone she’d recently met.
Wildfire

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Offline Dray

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The First Lesson
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2008, 05:48:13 AM »
She knew her ruse was over before it began. Physically, she felt amazingly well, considering all that had occurred. She almost didn’t need the cane anymore. In cleaning her room she had fought hard against the stiffness in her back, the physical exertion had actually made the pain vanish, which surprised her.

Grandfather knew the power of Mahiya well.

She couldn’t look him in the eyes. This man had seen her at her worst. This man had seen her completely bare, both physically and mentally. She could never truly apologize to him for all the trouble she caused. He looked the way he did because of her.

As she looked down at her hands she felt her face flush and hot tears begin anew. She moved her hand under the pillow, at first to push Jordan further under the sheets, but found herself grabbing hold of her instead.

"Ashe….Gran….I…..uh, I can’t…." the words in her heart would not take form. She sat and cried, one hand in her lap, the other grasping Jordan under the pillow.

She had left his apothecary in a rush, feigning that everything was fine. But it wasn’t.

'How do you thank a man for saving your life when you tried to end his?'

Offline Wildfire

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The First Lesson
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2008, 09:44:23 AM »
Ashe felt her pain. He had suffered with her. He truly understood her spinning mind. She had strength enough to endure her evolution and she had the strength to speak. He knelt down to the side of the bed and held her hands within his. “Kit, look at me.” He said. She turned away. “Kit,” Ashe said softly, “Look at me.” Kit turned to look at Ashe. “The toughest thing in this universe to understand is not the gods, it is not the actions of others…it is ourselves. I’m still trying to understand myself and I’ve been alive for…well, a very long time. I also don’t understand why Feyberry Jam tastes so damn good!” Ashe smiled at his own weary attempt to make her smile. He wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumbs and said, “Now, you were saying? Something about you ‘can’t’? Believe me, I’m sure that you can.”

There really was no need for him to hear her words. He sensed what she felt. She did not need to say the words for him, she had to say them for herself.
Wildfire

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Offline Dray

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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2008, 05:22:46 PM »
One of Ashe's soft hands was still cupping her chin. The compulsion to look at his gentle face was overpowering, as if he was using some charm on her. Drawn in, Kit focused beyond the surface of his eyes and found nothing but tenderness and compassion from the soul within.

'I don't deserve it, his kindness. It is misplaced,' she thought. Yet she held onto his gaze for a moment, her eyes flickering lightly left and right as she stared into each of his.

Finally she could bare it no longer and she again looked at her hands in her lap, having let Jordan go under the pillow. 'Kit…Kit, you dropped me. Kit?!'

For his gaze had been all-consuming, and was unexpected. No one had looked at her with such tenderness since her late father.

"I can't…I can't put my gratitude to words Grandfather," she finally stuttered quietly, still gazing at Jordan's unintended escape route in the sheets and wishing she were as small.

"I owe you my life. You saved my very soul from oblivion. Yet I tried to kill you for it, I destroyed half your shop in doing so." She was whispering now, as if speaking the history quietly would somehow negate the shame of her own words. It didn't, they instead summoned the tears and the ache to sob again.

Ashe noted that although girl looked physically better, her appearance was completely disheveled. Normally the comely girl was the picture of perfection, well groomed and smelling of lavender. He could tell she had done nothing the past few days to clean herself up, even though, he had first heard from the Innkeeper, she had been doing everything to clean up her room.

Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2008, 07:05:46 PM »
Ashe smiled. “You don’t owe me anything. Saving you was the only thing I wanted. My shop? That can be rebuilt. Your soul? Well, that very well could never have been reclaimed. Methinks that would be a terrible loss, don’t you?”

Kit’s tears were beginning to settle. Most of all, it seemed she felt alone and just wanted love. Ashe wanted to give that to her as only a grandfather could. He would also be her mentor in focusing her mind. To do so, he would have to reach back to part of him that been mostly dormant until her psychic surgery. A younger part of him would once again have to emerge…and he found himself a bit nervous on it. However, he figured that one must eventually face the reality of who they are. Perhaps she would teach him a few things as well.
Wildfire

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Offline Dray

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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2008, 08:31:14 AM »
Kit gave him a shy smile and a humbled look of gratitude for his words.

"Me thinks that I need to repay you for your service. Can I work at your shop for awhile? I recently quit my tailoring job." She said with a look at her now clean desk.

Offline Wildfire

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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2008, 04:45:42 PM »
“You need not repay me except to let me teach you.” Ashe said. “Working at the shop is a great idea. Judging by your cleaning skill it’ll need you. It’s still a mess and many of my jars were destroyed during…well, during.” Ashe tried to not accuse her but she was the catalyst of their destruction.

“Not to worry though, many of the herbs can be found again and you’ll learn how to work them.”, Ashe said.

“Now, let’s get some breakfast. I haven’t eaten for days.” He stood up and offered his hand to help her out of bed. “Oh, you do still have your crystal, yes?”
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Offline Dray

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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2008, 12:28:05 PM »
"Shh! Don’t tell him where I am!" Jordan pleaded in Kit’s mind. Kit reactively put her hand under the sheets and grasped her.

Kit looked at Ashe’s extended hand and gave him a worried look. She made no move to get off the bed.

"Teach me?" she asked. Her voice had quickly become a whisper. "Teach me alchemy?"

The look on Kit’s face was one of growing fright.