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Svadilfare woke and found his children already hard at work with their chores. The twins cleaned the bowls, spoons, cups. Aurelius had a watchful eye on Clementine while sweeping the floor and tending the fire. Leo brought in an armload of firewood and set it down by the hearth, then grabbed the whetstone to sharpen the axe. Svadilfare greeted them all before leaving the house to get breakfast. While some people--who liked to burn off their food before they even ate it--hiked up the mountains to gather ice blocks in which they stored extra meat, Svad preferred to bury his surplus meat underground. He chose a spot near a creek because the ground beneath was a little bit colder; it was also easy to remember. He dug up two rabbits and did a quick inventory of everything else: half a deer, four birds, and two more rabbits.
Xander and Ami insisted on cooking the rabbits, so Svad let them. He allowed Aurelius to go by himself to pick the greens they'd eat with it. With Leo still meticulously sharpening the axe--and soon his father's swords--Svad was free to spend time with Clementine. The infant sat on a cattle fur blanket on the floor, giggling as Svad crawled around pretending to be a Manticore. He was telling a story of his encounter with one... Clementine seemed to be siding with the cat. Svad growled at the giggling girl and pretended to pounce, then laid her on her back and tickled her sides; it only caused her to laugh more. The twins took advantage of their father's distraction and jumped on top of him. "Run Clementine, we'll hold him off!" Ami yelled knowing of course that her little sister wasn't able to do so.
"Don't worry, I have her!" Xander said as he tried to reach around Svad to grab the baby.
"How, son, when I have you?" Svad said as he lifted his right arm to stop Xander, then grabbed and tickled him, too.
"No.. fair!" the boy squeaked between giggles. "Ami, help!"
Ami was helping... by staying far away. "Sorry Xander."
Leo had put down the axe and whetstone and crept over to his father and siblings. He scooped up his baby sister. "Clementine is saved!" he declared before giving the still-giggling infant a kiss on the cheek.
"Yay!" Ami cheered.
"Hey what about me?" Xander whined as he tried to get away from Svad.
"What about you?" Svad, Ami, Leo, and Aurelius--who'd just returned from gathering greens--asked in unision.
Aurelius set the greens on the table then tackled his father and brother. Ami did the same and all three children tried in vain to tickle Svad. Svad was a bit more successful and had all three laughing and squirming--until Leo lowered Clementine on the top of the pile. "Ha! Clementine has beat you all again!" Clementine giggled and clapped, congratulating herself. Everyone laughed then got ready to eat.
"You cooked the rabbit just right Xander and Ami. Maybe tomorrow you can cook some bird." Svad said as they all ate. "And the greens you picked weren't too bitter this time, Aurelius. You're learning."
"You're not going away today are you Father?" Leo asked.
"No, I haven't received any requests, so I'll be staying right here." he replied, much to the kids' delight. "I will be training some people in the village today. You can come along as long as you promise not to get into too much trouble. Or you can stay here and perhaps visit your Grandfather."
"We never get into trouble Father." Aurelius said. Svadilfare raised a brow in response accompanied by a look that said. 'Not your best lie'.
"Of course not. But should you, you can look forward to a day of teamwork." The four older children grimaced at the word. 'Teamwork' meant chores, but not normal ones. They would be tied together at the wrists and ankles and have to perform some of Svad's chores in addition to their usual ones. All day they would do nothing but these chores, only allowed to stop for food and water breaks. Some might have considered this punishment to be cruel, but compared to the punishments Svad had as a child, it was actually quite tame. And of course Svad never gave them a task that could possibly cause injury. Svadilfare chuckled softy at their reaction. Teamwork was a good deterrent for trouble-making. They hated being tied together all day; it was inevitable that they would start bickering during the more difficult chores.
When breakfast was done and the utensils cleaned again, Svadilfare set out for the village. Xander, Ami, and Aurelius went with him; Leo decided to stay home with Clementine for a while. The village was bustling with activity as usual: children played, women gossiped while washing clothes at the well, men trained in combat and adolescents either joined them or trained for other things. Upon reaching the training area, Svadilfare gave Aurelius and the twins one coin each. "Only one today, so trade it wisely. You may have a sweet if you like but don't eat it all at once."
"Thank you Father!" the children beamed before running off, eager to find their friends.
"You're welcome," he said long after they'd run off. He turned and walked into the training area and grabbed two of the practice swords; he didn't like to use his own for sparring. "Those of you here to train with me, step forward." He said to the only group that appeared to be waiting for their instructor.
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First light touched the frosted plants, crystal reflections waking the night. Soft padded feet would leave behind creases on the morning snow. Hopping here and there as it jiggled to warm up from its slumber. A snow white rabbit, bigger in appearance from its fluffy jacket. It wiggled about from one frozen brush to another, its pink nose sniffing for frozen berries. A rustle made its ears perk up, instinct causing the body to grow smaller. A snap of a twig and it bolted for the closest rabbit hole.
"Tch" Aela clicked her tongue, lowering her arms and loosening the draw on her bow. Her blue eyes looked through the still dark field for what had caused the noise. The sun might have been rising but it was still too dark to make anything out. Her gaze almost gave up until her eyes found what she was looking for. Yellow beaded eyes were staring back at her not too far from where she hid. "Piri, ssss." She hissed. The eyes grew sad but eventually revealed itself.
It pounced out from a bush, creating a dent in the snow where it landed. Pirika, Aela's furred companion quickly rustled over and hid underneath Aela. It's ears were low, tail tucked between its legs. Pirika had ruined the hunt and she knew Aela was upset. Aela let out a sigh tapping her shoulder for the faerie to climb on. Its ears perked up, delighted Aela had forgiven her, she pounced gently and curled up around Aela's neck like a scarf. Poor child, Aela had left a few hours earlier and Pirika had most likely woken to see she had been alone. In fear the poor dragon had probably scampered all the way.
With the hunt ruined, Aela would have to go into town and either earn or buy her food. Sure she could continue her hunt again but the moment was spoiled. She'd head back to the village for now....An hour passes, the Morning sun having risen well past the horizons....Aela walked through the village gates, winking at the veteran guard as she did. The tip of her tongue stuck out the side as she teased the tired man. He chuckled once, shaking his head slowly, to be young.
Aela made her way to the training grounds and already she could see a few had gathered in anticipation, justly so. To teach them today was Svadlifre, a Legend among the people of the frosted lands. She walked up, leaning against the wooden fence posts as she watched for a while. Pirika jumped down, playing along the fence and swatting away at some flies. Aela would watch for the meantime, her blue eyes fixated on the rugged man. She bit on her lower lips, almost half grinning as she did.
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Beowulf had slept late.
It was his idea of late, anyway. As a mercenary, the tall man lived in an inn to appeal to the locals of Kryo or adventurers passing through. It seemed to be the best place to do business, as travellers may stop in the tavern for a rest and citizens would occasionally come in for a drink from the pub. And who knows, maybe a farmer has wolves attacking their cattle that they can't take care of on their own. Perhaps a lone traveller just wants company. . . Although, I think we can all agree that Beowulf's company isn't exactly the greatest!
So, why would an early hour be considered late for the guy? It was quite simple. Beowulf wanted to be advertised as much as he could, and by this time everyone had come through for breakfast and left. He missed a meal that almost everyone in the inn would go to, and that really frustrated him. He would sit in his little spot 24-7 if exhaustion were no such thing.
A glossy suit of ebony armor walked out of the small bedroom, having a slight slouch in his back as a sign of fatigue. He swallowed back a yawn. He caught a few civilians looking at him, and he could understand why. Not everyone skipped around in full armor, helmet and all. Also, Beowulf was quite tall-- freakishly tall. Even without the attire, he was sure he'd get a handful looks as well. However, despite the few looks he got, they were only from the few people in the inn. That was strange. Even at this hour, there would still be a good number of fellows here. Beowulf glanced around in bewilderment.
That was the innkeeper speaking. Beowulf turned to look at her. She was looking at him with sympathetic eyes, which he absolutely despised. "Yeah, what about him?" he replied coldly. Beowulf knew of the local legend who was called Svadilfare. As cool as he was, Beowulf couldn't help but feel envious. Svad could have the title of Legend all that Beowulf cared. All he wanted was a fair chance to show that he could be just as good as him.
The innkeeper wasn't fazed by the Ebony Warrior's curtness. "He is training some youngsters today, from what I heard. Their parents and other family have gone to watch. That is why most of the people are gone. . . If that's what you were wondering." That was expected. It probably wasn't all that common to see the local hero in action. Not to mention it was most likely an honor for teens to learn from such a guy, and the parents wanted to go watch in pride for their child.
Beowulf understood this, but wasn't happy. "Fine." With that, he made his way to the Training Grounds. He recieved more glances outside than he did inside, but that was just because there were more people. At the Training Grounds, he saw Svadilfare in front of a group of apprentices. There was a small crowd nearby, who were mostly commoners. Beowulf recognized a few fellows from the inn. There was, however, a young lady in the crowd who stood out. She seemed like a real traditional type, wearing pelts and leather straps that Beowulf only assumed kept her gear close. Besides himself and Svadilfare, she was the only person in the spectators who looked combat-oriented. The Ebony Warrior turned his gaze to Svad, his face completely concealed under the helmet. He wanted to see why this guy was so special.
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Location : Kryo
The warrior allowed the boy to follow through with his attack, a reward for being observant. But as soon as the wooden sword struck him, Svadilfare swung his right arm and at the same time swept his left foot into the boy's right ankle, knocking him down. And as the boy fell, Svad brought his right arm down so his sparring partner was pinned by the end of the practice sword. "Your attention should be everywhere, not just on your opponent's weapon." The boy nodded and got up, brushed himself off. Svadilfare gave a short nod and the boy rushed at him again.
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Aela watched the first round of bouts. A little lass was first to go, Aela took one look at her stance and she gave her no more. Soon enough Svadilfare had the child down on the ground, covered in both dirt and snow. Her attention wandered off for the time being. She remembered a time when her body was no bigger than a lamb in a sack. She had learned how to fight in a similar manner, from strangers and local warriors. The hardened society had no school one attended. You were given a sword and then blessed with a fury of blows. The word here, blessed was important. If someone was taking their time to beat you with a practice sword then one should be grateful. You were expected to defend yourself, learning for yourself from experience. Sure, your tutor might tell you a few things...
Aela's broke from her concentration, Pirika had walked up right under her chin. Purring, a affectionately and rubbing her soft fur against Aela's face. Aela coo'd softly, passing a hand over the creatures head. Pirika aggressively pushed her head against Aela's hand. Soon another kid was facing Svad. He poised, feet apart, sword raised high; Posta di Falcone. He rushed fast, taking the seemingly blind of his tutor. Aela raised an eyebrow, at least some had the mind to learn. He struck a blow but at Svad's luxury but like all the others the boy found rear to ground. Not quite there, tunnel vision as Aela was taught.
Eyes wandering once again, she found something interesting. A giant of a man, clad in black armour. He stood, his size hulking over the crowd. He stood out, almost comically, like a black castle tower on an island of people dressed in pelts and lighter armour. His gaze seemed to be on hers and this pleased her. As quickly as she had seen him, his turned away to look at the fight. Aela became playful again, biting her lower lip as she tilted her head down. Blue eyes went from helm, to chest piece, all the way down. Her head practically turned upside down as she tried to look under his Cuirass. A Giant of a man. She snickered to herself with confidence, lifting her head back up in a trail of red hair. She looked back towards the fight as Svad batted away the child's attacks.
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Something white with similar anatomy to a ferret caught Beowulf's eye, and he turned his gaze once again to the young lady in pelts he saw merely seconds ago. He didn't realize she had a pet at first glance (probably due to its white fur and how well it blended in with the snowy background), and expected something like a cat or some friendly rodent. However, he was surprised to see that it was a dragon, and the man stiffened. The Ebony Warrior had looked just in time to see the woman's gaze turn from him to Svadilfare. So she had noticed him just as he had noticed her. How delightful. The brief second she turned her head away Beowulf noticed bright blue eyes. Hey, that is pretty rad.
Turning his gaze from her for the second time, the knight shifted on his feet and continued to watch Svad, trying to ignore the dragon he just noticed. It was small, but then again all dragons are the same. Beowulf took his mind off of the beast by deciding to approach Svadilfare after the spar. Maybe he could ask the man a few questions. . .
And perhaps Beowulf himself could have a spar against the Pride of Kyro.
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Location : Kryo
"Heya, Svad." the woman replied with a grin as she raised her two wooden swords. "Bet I beat you this time."
"Mm, I bet you think you will. Darian couldn't make it?"
"He's either off spilling enemy blood or spending time with his mistress." Nika said in a tone that suggested she really didn't care which. She adopted a fighting stance and started to circle her fellow warrior.
"Which mistress?" Svadilfare asked as he followed suit and started circling as well. He wondered what it was about Darian that prevented Nika from leaving him. It couldn't possibly be his looks; Darian was a portly fellow. He had short blond hair. Despite his weight, he was surprisingly agile. Many liked to joke that he was built like a whale: a layer of fat enabled him to take blows that would have ended most others. Who knows? Maybe he did. And Darian had no problem eyeing other women, even when Nika was with him. Everyone knew he had quite a few mistresses that he visited at least once a week. For reasons known only to her, Nika remained married to him. Some said it was for the sake of their daughter, some that she intended to cut off his ring finger before she left him so he could never marry again. Others still said it was because she still loved him... or just didn't care about the mistresses as long as they didn't end up in her home and bed.
"Hm, probably the red head with the birthmark. She's his current favorite."
"I thought they had a fight?" Svadilfare would have to wait for that answer--if he ever got one. Bored of talk about her husband, Nika attacked, deciding to start with a combination of kicks and sword swings. She'd been practicing since their last spar and was eager to put him in his place. If there existed a woman from Gyanikes who could best Svadilfare, Nika came the closest to it. What she lacked in strength, she made up for in speed and knowledge of the human body. She knew exactly where to strike to give her the upper hand. To dislocate a shoulder. To cause the most bleeding.
Svadilfare knew all this because he'd sparred with Nika hundreds of times and worked alongside her for years. The two knew each other so well in fact that their fight seemed almost rehearsed, like they were putting on a show. In the end the winner would be determined by which one slipped up first.
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Aela's gaze was met with a quick glance, behind the armour she couldn't tell what it meant. There were those who stole quick glances, too shy or embarrased to see a stranger eye to eye. There were also those just, suspicious of everything and tried to remain incognito. Without seeing his face Aela couldn't quite say. Perhaps his body language; he stood tall, somewhat stiff. It could have meant a variety of things. Aela arc'd her backwards, trying to get a look at the man from behind. A massive sword, armour black, full and bulky. For one he wasn't from around here. Locals preferred leather or fur, using metal for shields and braces. If they did have armour it would have been fur lined, beat so there would be no sheen. Black, hardly didn't blend in with the snow.
Pirika noticed she didn't receive the same attention she was providing. She jumped on Aela's chest, rubbing her face on Aela's as she nipped and licked around Aela's mouth. Aela picked up the dragon underneath her arms and held her away as far as possible. Pirika hissed displeased that she was being sidelined. Aela hugged the poor thing, slipping it into her coats. She patted the creature away, they'd play another time. Aela looked at the foreigner, curious about why he was here. She wondered if he was bare under the armour. If he was he must have been freezing, cold metal and skin, that wasn't a pleasure for normal occasions. Aela tilted her head still looking at the man, it couldn't hurt.
He was looking at the sparring pair when She snuck up right next to him. She was on his left, perhaps a foot away. Too closer perhaps, but Aela was an aggressive socializer. She looked at him for a while in silence, trying to determine his fixation but behind helmet his hidden eyes said nothing. Aela pouted, somewhat annoyed by that she couldn't read him. She turned away now looking at Svad and his sparring partner, Nika. Aela had never been formally introduced but Nika was a famous person herself, almost as famous as Svad in Kyros. She was a great warrior amoung her tribe but she was no Sv-. Aela tilted her head, her eyes narrowing in thought. The giant of a man..He was looking at Svad the whole time. To make his mark?
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Beowulf realized that the two were quite the match. It seemed like one of those fights that can go on and on and on for eternity. Letting out a huff of amusement from his lips and shaking his head, the Ebony Warrior rose his head back to the woman he spotted earlier. Yeah, the one in the pelts with the bright azure irises. However. . . she was gone?
Oh, wait, there she is.
Standing a mere length from him was the woman and her dragon. He was surprised at the distance the gal had closed when his gaze was away only for a minute or two. Intrigued and deciding to finally initiate conversation, Beowulf inhaled and turned his head to look at her. If she were to look closely, now that he was gazing directly at her, the glint of his silver eyes could be seen in the shadow of his helm. They were only two tiny white dots in the shade that dominated. . . Kind of eerie, really.
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Location : Kryo