[Verified by Crosspatch] Baelin Holt

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Baelin Holt

Postby Baelin Holt on July 25th, 2014, 1:05 am

Baelin Holt


Image Appearance

Race: Mixed - Human/Dhani (Constrictor)
Gender: Male
Age: 29
Birthday: 29, Fall of 490 AV
Birthplace: Black Rock
Location: Sunberth
Occupation: Blacksmith at the Knight’s Armory
Gnosis: Eiyon 1

Appearance: Baelin is broad of chest and fills a tall frame of six feet and three inches. He keeps his black hair long enough to partially obscure his eyes from view, but prefers to keep his face clean-shaven. When one does see his eyes they will notice that his iris is a dark green with a long, slit pupil. Small scars litter his body from where he has plucked the occasional scale―especially his hands―and he carries some burn scars on his arms and hands from smithing mistakes. Muscle has always built easily on Baelin, and working as a blacksmith’s striker has only added to his strong body. He often speaks softly in the hope that his sibilance will be missed.

Marks:
1. Scythe on right palm. Dira marked Baelin on his right palm. The mark is a black tattoo in the shape of a scythe. Acquired on 24 of Winter 514AV in Dira is Watching.

Scars/Other:
1. Small, straight scars from plucked scales. There are small scars over most of his body from sloppily plucked scales. They’re slightly redder or whiter (depending on age) than the surrounding tissue and are in the shape of a short line. His scales generally grow in the same direction as his body hair would; most of these scars are horizontal with various offsets. There are a few that are slightly set into his skin, but the vast majority have healed smoothly and discoloration is the only indication of a scar. The scars on his hands are messier and more noticeable from his bad habit of picking at those.
2. Burns on arms/hands. Various burn scars on his arms and hands from mistakes while smithing over the years. A few are more noticeable while most are smaller. None are horrific to look at unless the viewer has a serious aversion to burn scars.
3. Frostbite on left fingertips. The tips of his four fingers (the thumb being exempt) on his left hand experienced frostbite. During Winter of 514 AV, these fingertips experienced loss of most sensation, general numbness, and increased sensitivity to cold. Acquired in Dira is Watching and treated in A Healer’s Warmth (24, Winter 514 AV). By 24 of Spring, 515AV, they had healed to the point where they now only lose sensation when they’re cold.
4. Hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss from lack of ear protection while smithing. It has progressed to the point where hearing someone at a distance has become challenging. This is a permanent injury and will not recover over time.


Character Concept

Overview: Quick temper, but usually good control. Fiercely loyal to those he cares for. Devote follower of Dira and the cycle. Hard worker, though a slow learner and often overly stubborn. Aspires to be a great armorer. Prejudiced against Dhani and doesn’t consider Nuits to be people anymore. Tries to avoid trouble, but can’t stand by when others are suffering. Taciturn by nature; prefers to speak with actions instead of words.

Pre-Creation :
The sense that he lacks a purpose, or rather that he has yet to discover it, gnaws at Baelin. And the absence of people in his life only serves to aggravate his sense of uselessness. He keeps himself busy as a distraction, pushing himself in smithing. Baelin strives to become an expert in the fields of blacksmithing, armoring, weaponsmithing, and metalsmithing.

Baelin did not leave his hometown of Black Rock due to any lack of love for it. He believes in the cycle of life and death, and finds both suicide and the prolonging of life as selfish and cowardly acts. When frightened or at a loss, it is Dira he instinctually turns to. He expects nothing from Dira, however, and does not hold any illusions that she would care to do any more than guide his soul once his time has come.

While Baelin usually doesn’t care what race someone is, he strongly dislikes the Dhani and Nuit. He dislikes the Dhani on principle. The Dhani he has met proudly display the traits he most abhors in himself. His hatred of the Nuit is a much deeper thing. He firmly believes that the Nuit are abominations, defiling bodies that were meant to rest and continuing lives that should be over. In Black Rock Baelin never suffered the displeasure of dealing with one, but in Syliras he has had difficulty controlling his rage when in their presence.

Baelin keeps himself controlled, however, because he recognizes the consequences. He respects the authority of the Syliran Knights and has no desire to draw their attention. Perhaps due to his mixed nature, Baelin has found that he is often viewed a bit more suspiciously by most others, and he has grown very adept at reading situations and environments to better prepare himself for what actions and words he should take. Baelin does not have a strong rebellious streak. His stubbornness, however, may cause him at times to defy an authority. While Baelin is often quick to rise to anger, he rarely allows his rage get the better of his judgment (with the jarring exception being those he sees as abominations to the cycle of life).

More so than the dislike Baelin bears the Dhani in general, he hates his half-Dhani blood. He hides his slit pupils behind his hair and plucks the odd scale or two that pops up. He has never been able to completely train himself not to hiss, so he speaks softly so that it may be mistaken for more of a whisper than a hiss. Baelin has found that if he can avoid words that have an ‘s’ in them, he can often keep his words somewhat smooth and for the most part hiss free. If pressed he will concede that he might be of mixed blood, but is still not likely to admit much beyond that.

Baelin loves warm weather, far preferring scorching heat to any sort of cold. During winter he often finds it difficult to move away from a fire for any length of time. He enjoys swimming, though he’ll likely never be the fastest while propelling his uncommonly large bulk. His strength is greater than warranted, even with his size, and has served him well at the anvil. Baelin values cleanliness and finds bathing to be extremely relaxing. The desire to be appealing to others is undoubtedly one of his traits (though he’ll be unlikely to ever admit it), and he enjoys activities and diets that he knows will improve his appearance and health.


Character History

Synopsis: The product of either an affair or rape with an unidentified Dhani, Baelin’s father held no fond feelings for his wife’s bastard. When Baelin’s mother died, he went to live with his aunt and uncle. His uncle raised him as best he could and put him to work blacksmithing. Believing that his younger cousin should be the one to take over the smithy, Baelin left Black Rock to find his own place.

Timeline Overview:
490 AV, Fall 29: Born in Black Rock
510 AV, Summer 9: Depart Black Rock by ship
510 AV, Summer 59: Arrive at Syliras
517 AV, Summer 2: Depart Syliras by caravan
517 AV, Summer 62: Arrive at Ravok
518 AV, Winter 50: Depart Ravok (Ravok — Nyka — Zeltiva by caravan, Zeltiva — Sunberth by ship)
519 AV, Summer 1: Arrive at Sunberth

Pre-Creation :
Baelin Holt was born in Fall of 490 to an innkeeper, Bedrick Holt, and his wife Elia, in Black Rock. He was their first child and Bedrick was excited to see that it was a boy. His excitement, however, quickly soured when the boy opened his eyes to reveal sharp slit pupils. Elia maintained that it was some odd quirk and that Bedrick had nothing to fear.

But as Baelin grew, other quirks became evident. Elia was quick to pluck any scale that appeared, but Bedrick was still able to see the raw spots on his son’s skin that couldn’t be convincingly explained. But Elia pushed for Bedrick’s acceptance of the boy, and he reluctantly ignored the odd scabs and slit pupils.

When Baelin began to speak, however, the issue could no longer be ignored. Baelin’s words were invariably hissed. The gossip, which had before only been occasional and light, began in earnest. Theories ranged from the father being Bedrick with some strange mutations in the work, to a Dhani trader from Zinrah that would sometimes patron the Holt’s tavern, to some unknown and local Dhani. Whatever the truth, Elia maintained that Bedrick was the father and shot down speculation. And Bedrick continued to tolerate the boy.

But Baelin’s relationship with his father was harsh and unloving. Perhaps even clearer than memories of his mother, Baelin remembers how his father would snap at him to shut his mouth or he’d rip out that snake tongue and be done with the matter.

The young boy also suffered in school. Children can be cruel, and rumors only became more twisted when they traveled from parents to younger ears. After the teasing of a few, Baelin withdrew into himself and often refused to participate in the classroom. After a time, the boy stopped going all together, instead spending his days exploring the island. The schoolhouse’s instructor brought it to Bedrick and Elia’s attention, but Bedrick wanted nothing to do with the issue and Elia chose to pick her battles on the already tense subject of their son.

Baelin learned to hate his eyes, his voice, and his scales. He found that if he could hide his eyes behind his hair and refrain from speaking, his father could be civil. Baelin worked hard to please his father. But when Elia became ill and her health deteriorated rapidly, Bedrick kicked Baelin out. Elia passed not long after.

Elia’s sister Marina and her husband Grenor Smith, a blacksmith, took the boy in. Grenor claimed an extra hand in his smith was always welcome, and Baelin took to smithing quite well. For a few years, Baelin was cared for as if he was Grenor’s own son. Upon realizing that Baelin was horribly behind in his lessons, Grenor tried to organize some additional help with Berend Marris. But Baelin was obstinate. The young boy had seen how much further others his age had already advanced. In his frustration he refused to listen to reason, instead choosing to watch the birds outside of the window when the other children were working on their lessons, if he went at all.

When Marina had a son of her own, the couple didn’t necessarily do anything different. They still cared for Baelin; still loved him as family. But young Cleor began to take precedence in the various areas of the family’s lives. As the boy continued to grow, it became evident to Baelin that there was no room for him in Grenor’s smith. The smith was Cleor’s by right, and Baelin felt that he was increasingly intruding on his space. When Cleor could reliably swing a hammer, Baelin decided it was time for him to leave.

At nineteen years of age, Baelin left Black Rock and sailed for the city Syliras. He had heard that the city was in a constant need of smiths for the overwhelming population and their protectors. And having lived his whole life with so many ghosts around, the idea of being surrounded by so much life excited him. His uncle had given him a good amount to help him setup a life there, including one of his old blacksmithing hammers. Grenor insisted that city smithing was rubbish, and that Baelin was always welcome back home. Baelin promised that he would eventually learn how to read and write so he could send word back to the blacksmith, and has cherished the hammer as a reminder that he is not alone in the world.

Baelin obtained an apartment on the Third Tier deep in Stormhold Castle. Baelin has been quite comfortable in the cave-like room and has not bothered nor does he wish to obtain better housing. In his four years living at Syliras, however, Baelin has not formed any real bond with any other resident. He has kept to himself and his work, keeping his head low when the Knights are close and doing little beyond his smithing.


Stationary NPCs

Sunberth
Neighbor’s kid, Noah Hildebrand :
ImageName: Noah Hildebrand
Race: Human
DoB: 88 of Fall, 507 AV
PoB: Sunberth
Title: Amateur Woodcarver
Skills: Carving 30, Tanning 10, Weapon (Knife) 10
Gnosis: None

Additional Info: Noah’s mother died before Noah could really remember what she was like, but his dad has taken the liberty to educate him on what she was like. Apparently, Noah looks just like her: a little, male version, with her nose and hair and even her laugh. Noah might have liked knowing that, if it didn’t seem to get his dad so riled up. How the petch was is Noah’s problem that he looked like his mom? There wasn’t much he could do about that. So, at night, when his dad was drunk and feeling particularly aggressive, Noah would solve his problem and get out of there. Whittling served as good a way to pass the time as any; working his knife with increasing dexterity around blocks of wood to make whatever came to mind. The end goal often didn’t matter, and Noah hasn’t been opposed to taking a previously finished piece and carving it into something new. With lots of time to kill before his dad inevitably passes out drunk and he can go back inside, Noah has progressed into quite the amateur woodcarver.

As of Fall 519 AV, Baelin has been paying this kid’s living costs. While living in an apartment within the Sunset Quarters, Baelin overheard his neighbor beating his kid (20, Fall 519). When he realizes the kid has taken to whittling outside to avoid his dad’s drunken hostility, Baelin goes to join him (31, Fall 519). The father recognizes he has a problem, and eventually asks for Baelin’s help (65, Fall 519).

Suvan Sea, near Black Rock
Mala Maelstrom :
ImageName: Mala Maelstrom
Relation: Friend (since Winter of 502AV)
Race: Human, Svefra
DoB: 9 of Summer, 492 AV
PoB: Suvan Sea, near Black Rock
Title: Daughter of the Maelstrom pod
Skills: Sailing 30, Swimming 10, Fishing 5, Climbing 5
Gnosis: Laviku 1

Additional Info: Mala knows what she likes and has little fear of the repercussions of her actions. When she decides she wants something, she will get it, consequences be damned. When she saw the reserved boy who was filling out faster than the other boys on the island, she decided she liked him. To Baelin’s utter surprise, Mala liked his slit pupils and scars from sloppily plucked scales. And Baelin found that he didn’t want to resist the compelling pull of the free-spirited Svefra. If there was ever a moment in his younger years where Baelin felt comfortable with who he was, it was with Mala straddling his waist and whispering dirty demands in his ear.

Mala caught the tail-end of the Nal’lyeo of Spring 515 AV. It was then that Baelin learned her firstborn has snake-slit pupils.

Black Rock
Father, Bedrick Holt :
ImageName: Bedrick Holt
Relation: Father (not biological), married Elia Holt
Race: Human
DoB: 43 of Winter, 461 AV
PoB: Black Rock
Title: Innkeeper
Skills: Leadership 30, Brewing 10, Seduction 10
Gnosis: None

Additional Info: Bedrick is a charming and charismatic man who usually has little trouble winning people over. Putting up facades to get his way is not uncharacteristic for Bedrick, and some were of the opinion that his marriage with his younger wife was purely fueled by his greed and shallowness. But rumors aside, Bedrick did love his wife. Not only did he find Elia to be the most beautiful woman he ever knew, but he found her own charming and seductive nature irresistible. He cherished their life together and hated the half-Dhani child that came in as a dark stain on that happiness. To add insult to injury, Elia never carried any of his own children to term. Bedrick tolerated Baelin’s presence insofar as it pleased Elia, but he resented the child as the nail that wedged into the happiness he and his wife had shared. When Elia passed he saw no reason to burden himself with the bastard child any longer and has ever since wanted nothing to do with it.
Mother, Elia Holt :
ImageName: Elia Holt
Relation: Mother, married to Bedrick Holt
Race: Human
DoB: 19 of Winter, 468 AV
PoB: Black Rock
DoD: 54 of Winter, 496 AV (28yrs)
PoD: Black Rock
Title: Innkeeper
Skills: Singing 30, Seduction 15, Brewing 5
Gnosis: None

Additional Info: Elia enjoyed the sway she held over men and exploited it whenever the urge struck her. She knew she carried beauty in both her voice and her body and was confident in her ability to win over any of the men in her life. But she had a particular fascination with the charismatic Bedrick and ultimately decided to settle down with the older man. While she did grow to love Bedrick, Elia never stopped dreaming of the richness that she felt could have been hers; it was not uncommon for the more handsome and wealthy travelers through her inn to catch her eye. When Baelin was born, she found herself quite possessive over what was hers. Bedrick’s distaste was problematic, but she eased the tension as best as she could and tried to spoil the child. But then a fever took ahold of her, and within a matter of weeks she was gone.
Uncle, Grenor Smith :
ImageName: Grenor Smith
Relation: Uncle, married to Marina Smith
Race: Human
DoB: 63 of Spring, 460 AV
PoB: Black Rock
DoD: 86 of Fall, 512 AV (52yrs)
PoD: Black Rock
Title: Blacksmith
Skills: Blacksmithing 35, Weaponsmithing 5, Metalsmithing 5, Armorer 5
Gnosis: None

Additional Info: Grenor has a gentle heart and firm principles of right and wrong. He was unyielding in his belief that the way Bedrick treated his son was wrong, despite whatever Baelin’s heritage was, and was more than happy to take the boy in when Bedrick decided he was done. He became the father that Baelin wanted and needed, and Baelin has never trusted any other living person as much as he has trusted Grenor. His uncle may not have been the most skilled blacksmith, but his smithy was always a welcoming place and considerable care and effort went into all of his pieces. The blacksmith took particular care in making shoes for Fargholian cattle, wanting to serve the natives of Black Rock as best he could. He had always seemed hearty and healthy, and his sudden death came as a shock to his family.
Aunt, Marina Smith :
ImageName: Marina Smith
Relation: Aunt, sister of Elia Holt, married to Grenor Smith
Race: Human
DoB: 65 of Spring, 464 AV
PoB: Black Rock
Title: Woodcarver
Skills: Carving 30, Leatherworking 20
Gnosis: None

Additional Info: While it is easy to mistake Grenor’s open and unshakable principles as the steel in the Smith’s marriage, Marina holds the true backbone. Far more practical than her welcoming husband, Marina ensures that the smithy doesn’t go out of business and takes care of the work that her husband is less adept with. When Grenor insisted that they take in her sister’s son, Marina put up little resistance. She had been unable to carry a child of her own to term, and the boy seemed to be good for Grenor. But when she was finally able to give birth to Cleor, Marina knew where her priorities lay. She didn’t dislike Baelin, but feeding a family was expensive. While she never voiced her opinions out loud, she suspected her nephew knew.
Cousin, Cleor Smith :
ImageName: Cleor Smith
Relation: Cousin, son of Grenor and Marina Smith
Race: Human
DoB: 90 of Summer, 499 AV
PoB: Black Rock
Title: None
Skills: Storytelling 20, Acting 10, Carving 10, Blacksmithing 5, Leatherworking 5
Gnosis: None

Additional Info: Cleor’s extraverted and joke-spurred personality is well known amongst his peers. Where Baelin struggled to make friends, Cleor naturally draws people to him like moths to a light. He thrives with the spotlight on him, and loves to act out and tell stories to his friends. He cares little for blacksmithing and finds spending time in the smithy with his father tedious at best. Carving tends to be a little more rewarding for him, but that is more due to his mother’s pleasure with his successes than any intrinsic interest in the craft. Cleor never particularly minded his cousin’s presence, but he found it difficult to relate to his moody older relative.
Robert Trout :
ImageName: Robert Trout
Relation: Friend (since Spring of 496AV)
Race: Human
DoB: 82 of Fall, 489 AV
PoB: Black Rock
Title: Fisherman
Skills: Fishing 30, Sailing 10, Swimming 5, Climbing 5
Gnosis: None

Additional Info: Baelin and Rob befriended each other when Elia was still alive, and Robert has remained friendly with Baelin ever since. Hailing from a family with many sisters and an overworked father, Robert is no stranger to hard work and tough circumstances. He found the jests directed at the half-Dhani annoying and befriended the boy as more of a point to the other children than anything else. But Robert stands by his decisions and has not abandoned Baelin, even when the pair found they had little in common besides their love for swimming and climbing.


Language

Fluent Language: Common (Illiterate)
Basic Language: Fratava
Poor Language: Myrian


Gnosis

Eiyon 1: Dira is Watching
From the Lore: Those marked by Dira are known as Eiyons. They possess senses enhanced for the detection of death with their sight being particularly altered to allow viewing the last living moments of those who have died in the area where the Eiyon stands. Eiyons have the uncanny ability to sense and track the unliving. Marked Eiyons also find comfort in the presence of death such as in graveyards where they find things like meditation and sleep coming easier. The undead feel varying levels of unease in the presence of the Eiyon while the living may find them mysterious and somewhat alien.
Last edited by Baelin Holt on December 27th, 2019, 2:32 pm, edited 28 times in total.
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Baelin Holt
Blacksmith
 
Posts: 340
Words: 360322
Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Mixed blood
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Baelin Holt

Postby Baelin Holt on December 15th, 2014, 1:44 am

Skills
Skill EXP Total Proficiency
Observation 1+3+3+3+4+2+5+3+3+5+4+2+2+1+4 5+2+3+2+1+3+1+2 64 Expert
Blacksmithing 20 SP+3+3+4+3+5+1 39 Competent
Acrobatics 1 1 Novice
Armorer 5 SP+1+5+2+1+4+2 20 Novice
Body Building 5 SP+3+4+1+1+3+1+1+2 21 Novice
Carpentry 2 2 Novice
Carving 1 1 Novice
Cleaning 2 2 Novice
Climbing 10 RB 10 Novice
Endurance 5 SP+1+1+1+1+4+1+1+1 16 Novice
Etching 1+1 2 Novice
Intelligence 1 1 Novice
Interrogation 1+1 2 Novice
Intimidation 2+3 5 Novice
Investigation 1 1 Novice
Knot Tying 1+1 2 Novice
Land Navigation 1+1 2 Novice
Leadership 3+1 4 Novice
Leatherworking 3 3 Novice
Logic 1 1 Novice
Mathematics 3+1 4 Novice
Meditation 2+1+1+1+1 6 Novice
Metalsmithing 5 SP+1 6 Novice
Negotiation 1 1 Novice
Persuasion 1+1 2 Novice
Philosophy 1+1 2 Novice
Planning 2+1+3+1+2+1 10 Novice
Rhetoric 1+2+2+1+2+2 10 Novice
Running 1 1 Novice
Salvage 1+1+1 3 Novice
Sewing 3 3 Novice
Socialization 2+2+3+1+1+1+1+3+1+1+2 18 Novice
Stealth 1 1 Novice
Subterfuge 1 1 Novice
Swimming 5 SP+1 6 Novice
Tactics 1 1 Novice
Unarmed Combat 3+1 SXP+1+2 7 Novice
Weapon (Blacksmith’s Hammer) 2 2 Novice
Weapon (Shortsword) 3 3 Novice
Weapon (War Hammer) 2 2 Novice
Weaponsmithing 5 SP+2+2 9 Novice
Wrestling 1 1 Novice


Lores

All Lores Listed Sequentially :
1. Lore of Religion: Dira
2. Lore of Black Rock Culture

3. Location: The Iron Works
4. Ros Vizerian: a well-known Iron Smith
5. Metalsmithing: Messing up a stage could spell hours or even days of lost work
6. Fredrick McGowan: Armourer
7. Metalsmithing: When making helmets it’s best to eliminate joints
8. Planishing: is when you smooth out the surface
9. Use a mushroom shaped stake and small taps of the hammer when Planishing
10. First part of raising a helm is making a dented ring around the centre

11. Syliras: The mist is dangerous
12. Dira: A kind Goddess
13. Ronan: A good man
14. Devi: A small, curvy woman
15. Suvan: too cold to swim in winter
16. Baelin: Loves warm fires
17. Frostbite hurts
18. Suvan: Just like home
19. Rob: The importance of a name
20. Grenor: Loyal to Black Rock

21. Meditation: Focus on small, distracting tasks
22. Meditation: Using idle conversation for calming purposes
23. Rage: An occasionally useful tool
24. Rage: Can’t be pent up forever
25. Unarmed Combat: Long, clumsy swings can easily be dodged
26. Ros & Fredrick: Utterly blind and deaf?

27. Location: Temple of All Gods
28. Dira: Solace in a strange land
29. Syliras: Understanding of Nuits
30. Harameus: God of Transformation and Alchemy
31. Pycons: Worship Harameus
32. Bala: Goddess of Autumn & the Harvest
33. Bala: Harvest Prayer

34. Etching: Using a template
35. Armoring: Basic use of tin snips
36. Blacksmithing: Flattening and evening out metal
37. Blacksmithing: Use of a vice
38. Blacksmithing: Basic use of a bellows
39. Fredrick: Mentor at the Iron Works
40. Armoring: Curving a piece of metal over a horn
41. Armoring: Crafting a munitions grade vambrace

42. Armorsmithing: Creating a Shield
43. Fredrick: Doesn’t like Interruptions
44. Blacksmithing: Requires Finesse as well as Strength

45. Enduring the cold
46. Goal of opening a smithy by the sea
47. Blacksmithing: Chiseling through iron
48. Blacksmithing: Hitting a buckle around a straight stake
49. Blacksmithing: Heating an iron rod in charcoal coals
50. Blacksmithing: Importance of well aimed hits
51. Blacksmithing: Filing to create a smooth surface
52. Blacksmithing: Reheating to create a uniform color
53. Armoring: Creating a buckle

54. Antonius Fighting Pit: Remnants of the Djed Storm
55. War Hammer v. Blacksmithing Hammer: Longer Shaft, Bigger Head
56. War Hammer v. Blacksmithing Hammer: Transferring common knowledge from Smithing to combat strikes
57. War Hammer Technique: Basic Overhead Downstrike
58. War Hammer Technique: Full Swing

59. Self: Should avoid the knights
60. Put out of commission?

61. Q: Mysterious Woman
62. Q: Will help kill Nuits

63. Self: Not a fan of Nuits
64. Event: Explosion in the Council Chambers
65. Syliras: The Council Chamber
66. Salvage: Using Broken Materials to make a Lever
67. Mathematics: Making your own Lever
68. Self: Working through Pain to Finish the Task
69. Balian: A Similar Named Stranger
70. Self: Forgetful of Others Shortcomings
71. Balian: Lean yet Strong

72. Location: The Broken Casket
73. Ball: Pycon Squire
74. Pycons: Made of clay
75. Svefra: Not the enemy
76. Is Pycon armour feasible?

77. Armorer: Mushroom stakes are more reliable than round stakes
78. Mala Maelstrom: Only slightly changed during the time apart
79. Mala Maelstrom: Terribly distracting without even trying
80. I have a daughter!
81. Mala Maelstrom: Mother to my child
82. Mala Maelstrom: Smells of saltwater and cucumber

83. Rearing Stallion: Has really exquisite ale
84. Mark of Eiyon: Makes the living dead smell horrid
85. Mark of Eiyon: The scent can change based on confirmation

86. Regret: Not paying attention to carpentry lessons
87. Carving: Tools get stuck in wood, unlike redhot metal
88. Carving: A saw usually gets a flatter edge than a hatchet

89. Natives know what waters are safe to dive into

90. Syliras; An oppressive fortress of ‘peace’
91. Summer 1st, 517: The day Syliras closed its gates to outsiders

92. Nuit: Summer is hard on the host body
93. Philosophy: One cannot 'murder' a nuit since they are already dead
94. Hammer: Firm grip, supple wrist in the swing
95. Q: An impressive liar
96. Baelin: Praying for a messy death to deter nuit from using his corpse
97. Philosophy: Morality in the treatment of a corpse
98. Subterfuge: Feigning ignorance to avoid suspicion
99. Q: Hides her true feelings well
100. Baelin: Feels indebted to Q

101. Winter is terrible
102. The cold makes my old frostbite hurt
103. Location: Soothing Waters
104. Self: Feeling unusually charitable
105. Soothing Waters: Separate locker rooms are amusing in communal spaces
106. Self: Not a fan of small talk
107. Firenze: Quite the beauty
108. Someone interested in… me?
109. The beautiful woman was stinky
110. Firenze: I like her

111. Sunberth Gangs: Sun’s Birth gang symbol
112. Weaponsmithing: Forging knives

113. Blacksmithing: Forging rings using a coiled wire and mandrel
114. Blacksmithing: Working bellows
115. Blacksmithing: Poking holes using a piercing drift
116. Blacksmithing: Making rivets
117. Armoring: Weaving together a mail shirt

118. Karyk: Friendly leader in the caravan
119. Felling: Pick a tree far away from people
120. Felling: Try to angle for a clear path to fall
121. Felling: Easier with a two-handed ax
122. Felling: Woodchips are more irritating than sparks
123. Karyk: Experienced with felling trees
124. Felling: Cut halfway through the trunk at an angle
125. Felling: Finish by cutting opposite and above main notch
126. Karyk: Thinks Baelin's a dense idjit
127. Head trauma can cause a loss of senses and confusion

128. Location: The Knight's Armory
129. The Knight's Armory: Refurbishes and sells used weapons
130. Weaponsmithing: Cannot salvage blades with striated, straight cracks
131. Weaponsmithing: Basic use of a grindstone wheel
132. Grinding: Heat-treated steel is harder to grind
133. Grinding: Keep the steel cool so it doesn't temper
134. Lawrence: Experienced weaponsmith at the Knight's Armory
135. Welding: Clean the surfaces with a wire brush while hot
136. Welding: Add flux when steel is cherry red
137. Welding: Sand as flux to join welding surfaces
138. Welding: Hard hits at white-hot once fluxed to weld
139. Blacksmithing: Use a chisel to fold over metal to weld

140. Location: The Proving Grounds
141. Sun's Birth: Provides combat training to the public
142. The Proving Grounds: Must use your own practice weapon
143. Shortsword: Use the sword's flat to catch attacks
144. Iztel: Instructor at the Proving Grounds
145. Shortsword: Deflect and redirect, don't just catch
146. Bad instincts need to be overridden with practice
147. Shortsword: Stay fluid to attack and defend

148. Location: The Gallows
149. Baelin: Believes gods don't grant audiences via magic drinks
150. Dira: Not known for raising the dead
151. The bone-clad woman: Wants her dead children back
152. Location: The Dust Bed
153. Eiyon: The presence of ghosts feels electric
154. Meditation: Focus on the sounds around you
155. Jebediah: Undertaker of the Dust Bed
156. Jebediah: An Eiyon

157. Leatherworking: Basic use of a scratch awl
158. Items can be made sloppily if they're for yourself
159. Leatherworking: Basic use of a stitching groover
160. Practice will guide future designs
161. Leatherworking: Basic use of an over-stitch wheel
162. Stitching groover: Edges must be flush with each other
163. Sewing: Threading a needle
164. Knot Tying: Basic knot with waxed thread
165. Leatherworking: Using an awl to pierce holes for thread
166. Leatherworking: Use glue prior to stitching
167. Meditation: Slow and counted breathing
168. Meditation: Focus on your nostrils
169. Meditation: Helpful when frustrated
170. Sewing: Stitch leather using both ends of thread
171. Sewing: Pierce thread on the needle to fix it in place

172. Sunset Quarters: Thin walls
173. Baelin's Neighbor: Abusive
174. Baelin: Has had enough of others being abused
175. Tactics: Let your adversary come to you
176. Omens: Protectors of Black Rock
177. Baelin's Father, Bedrick: Civil out of necessity
178. Black Rock: A safe haven
179. Baelin: Feels privileged to have grown up in Black Rock
180. Eiyon: Dira's gift came with a condition
181. Sunberth: Not a place for a walk at night
182. Noah: Still cares for his dad through the abuse
183. Body Building: Lift with your legs
184. Deadweight is harder to lift
185. Noah: Too young to be dealing with this shyke


Lores Categorized
Note that some lores are listed in multiple categories for ease of browsing

Personal Lores :
16. Baelin: Loves warm fires
46. Goal of opening a smithy by the sea
59. Self: Should avoid the knights
63. Self: Not a fan of Nuits
70. Self: Forgetful of Others Shortcomings
75. Svefra: Not the enemy
80. I have a daughter!
81. Mala Maelstrom: Mother to my child
84. Mark of Eiyon: Makes the living dead smell horrid
85. Mark of Eiyon: The scent can change based on confirmation
86. Regret: Not paying attention to carpentry lessons
93. Philosophy: One cannot 'murder' a nuit since they are already dead
96. Baelin: Praying for a messy death to deter nuit from using his corpse
97. Philosophy: Morality in the treatment of a corpse
100. Baelin: Feels indebted to Q
101. Winter is terrible
106. Self: Not a fan of small talk
149. Baelin: Believes gods don't grant audiences via magic drinks
153. Eiyon: The presence of ghosts feels electric
158. Items can be made sloppily if they're for yourself
172. Sunset Quarters: Thin walls
173. Baelin's Neighbor: Abusive
174. Baelin: Has had enough of others being abused
177. Baelin's Father, Bedrick: Civil out of necessity
179. Baelin: Feels privileged to have grown up in Black Rock
180. Eiyon: Dira's gift came with a condition
Body & Mind :
17. Frostbite hurts
21. Meditation: Focus on small, distracting tasks
22. Meditation: Using idle conversation for calming purposes
23. Rage: An occasionally useful tool
24. Rage: Can’t be pent up forever
45. Enduring the cold
68. Self: Working through Pain to Finish the Task
94. Hammer: Firm grip, supple wrist in the swing
102. The cold makes my old frostbite hurt
127. Head trauma can cause a loss of senses and confusion
146. Bad instincts need to be overridden with practice
154. Meditation: Focus on the sounds around you
167. Meditation: Slow and counted breathing
168. Meditation: Focus on your nostrils
169. Meditation: Helpful when frustrated
175. Tactics: Let your adversary come to you
183. Body Building: Lift with your legs
184. Deadweight is harder to lift
People :
4. Ros Vizerian: a well-known Iron Smith
6. Fredrick McGowan: Armourer
13. Ronan: A good man
14. Devi: A small, curvy woman
20. Grenor: Loyal to Black Rock
39. Fredrick: Mentor at the Iron Works
43. Fredrick: Doesn’t like Interruptions
61. Q: Mysterious Woman
62. Q: Will help kill Nuits
69. Balian: A Similar Named Stranger
71. Balian: Lean yet Strong
73. Ball: Pycon Squire
74. Pycons: Made of clay
78. Mala Maelstrom: Only slightly changed during the time apart
79. Mala Maelstrom: Terribly distracting without even trying
81. Mala Maelstrom: Mother to my child
82. Mala Maelstrom: Smells of saltwater and cucumber
92. Nuit: Summer is hard on the host body
95. Q: An impressive liar
99. Q: Hides her true feelings well
107. Firenze: Quite the beauty
108. Someone interested in… me?
109. The beautiful woman was stinky
110. Firenze: I like her
111. Sunberth Gangs: Sun’s Birth gang symbol
118. Karyk: Friendly leader in the caravan
123. Karyk: Experienced with felling trees
126. Karyk: Thinks Baelin's a dense idjit
134. Lawrence: Experienced weaponsmith at the Knight's Armory
144. Iztel: Instructor at the Proving Grounds
151. The bone-clad woman: Wants her dead children back
155. Jebediah: Undertaker of the Dust Bed
156. Jebediah: An Eiyon
173. Baelin's Neighbor: Abusive
177. Baelin's Father, Bedrick: Civil out of necessity
182. Noah: Still cares for his dad through the abuse
185. Noah: Too young to be dealing with this shyke
Places :
3. Location: The Iron Works
15. Suvan: too cold to swim in winter
18. Suvan: Just like home
27. Location: Temple of All Gods
29. Syliras: Understanding of Nuits
54. Antonius Fighting Pit: Remnants of the Djed Storm
65. Syliras: The Council Chamber
72. Location: The Broken Casket
83. Rearing Stallion: Has really exquisite ale
90. Syliras; An oppressive fortress of ‘peace’
103. Location: Soothing Waters
105. Soothing Waters: Separate locker rooms are amusing in communal spaces
128. Location: The Knight's Armory
129. The Knight's Armory: Refurbishes and sells used weapons
140. Location: The Proving Grounds
142. The Proving Grounds: Must use your own practice weapon
148. Location: The Gallows
152. Location: The Dust Bed
172. Sunset Quarters: Thin walls
181. Sunberth: Not a place for a walk at night
Cultures & Gangs :
2. Lore of Black Rock Culture
19. Rob: The importance of a name
29. Syliras: Understanding of Nuits
31. Pycons: Worship Harameus
89. Natives know what waters are safe to dive into
111. Sunberth Gangs: Sun’s Birth gang symbol
141. Sun's Birth: Provides combat training to the public
176. Omens: Protectors of Black Rock
178. Black Rock: A safe haven
181. Sunberth: Not a place for a walk at night
Religion :
1. Lore of Religion: Dira
12. Dira: A kind Goddess
28. Dira: Solace in a strange land
30. Harameus: God of Transformation and Alchemy
31. Pycons: Worship Harameus
32. Bala: Goddess of Autumn & the Harvest
33. Bala: Harvest Prayer
63. Self: Not a fan of Nuits
84. Mark of Eiyon: Makes the living dead smell horrid
85. Mark of Eiyon: The scent can change based on confirmation
93. Philosophy: One cannot 'murder' a nuit since they are already dead
97. Philosophy: Morality in the treatment of a corpse
149. Baelin: Believes gods don't grant audiences via magic drinks
150. Dira: Not known for raising the dead
153. Eiyon: The presence of ghosts feels electric
176. Omens: Protectors of Black Rock
179. Baelin: Feels privileged to have grown up in Black Rock
180. Eiyon: Dira's gift came with a condition
Events :
64. Event: Explosion in the Council Chambers
91. Summer 1st, 517: The day Syliras closed its gates to outsiders
Blacksmithing & Related :
5. Metalsmithing: Messing up a stage could spell hours or even days of lost work
7. Metalsmithing: When making helmets it’s best to eliminate joints
8. Planishing: is when you smooth out the surface
9. Use a mushroom shaped stake and small taps of the hammer when Planishing
10. First part of raising a helm is making a dented ring around the centre
34. Etching: Using a template
35. Armoring: Basic use of tin snips
36. Blacksmithing: Flattening and evening out metal
37. Blacksmithing: Use of a vice
38. Blacksmithing: Basic use of a bellows
40. Armoring: Curving a piece of metal over a horn
41. Armoring: Crafting a munitions grade vambrace
42. Armorsmithing: Creating a Shield
44. Blacksmithing: Requires Finesse as well as Strength
47. Blacksmithing: Chiseling through iron
48. Blacksmithing: Hitting a buckle around a straight stake
49. Blacksmithing: Heating an iron rod in charcoal coals
50. Blacksmithing: Importance of well aimed hits
51. Blacksmithing: Filing to create a smooth surface
52. Blacksmithing: Reheating to create a uniform color
53. Armoring: Creating a buckle
77. Armorer: Mushroom stakes are more reliable than round stakes
112. Weaponsmithing: Forging knives
113. Blacksmithing: Forging rings using a coiled wire and mandrel
114. Blacksmithing: Working bellows
115. Blacksmithing: Poking holes using a piercing drift
116. Blacksmithing: Making rivets
117. Armoring: Weaving together a mail shirt
130. Weaponsmithing: Cannot salvage blades with striated, straight cracks
131. Weaponsmithing: Basic use of a grindstone wheel
132. Grinding: Heat-treated steel is harder to grind
133. Grinding: Keep the steel cool so it doesn't temper
135. Welding: Clean the surfaces with a wire brush while hot
136. Welding: Add flux when steel is cherry red
137. Welding: Sand as flux to join welding surfaces
138. Welding: Hard hits at white-hot once fluxed to weld
139. Blacksmithing: Use a chisel to fold over metal to weld
157. Leatherworking: Basic use of a scratch awl
158. Items can be made sloppily if they're for yourself
159. Leatherworking: Basic use of a stitching groover
160. Practice will guide future designs
161. Leatherworking: Basic use of an over-stitch wheel
162. Stitching groover: Edges must be flush with each other
163. Sewing: Threading a needle
164. Knot Tying: Basic knot with waxed thread
165. Leatherworking: Using an awl to pierce holes for thread
166. Leatherworking: Use glue prior to stitching
170. Sewing: Stitch leather using both ends of thread
171. Sewing: Pierce thread on the needle to fix it in place
Combat & Related :
25. Unarmed Combat: Long, clumsy swings can easily be dodged
55. War Hammer v. Blacksmithing Hammer: Longer Shaft, Bigger Head
56. War Hammer v. Blacksmithing Hammer: Transferring common knowledge from Smithing to combat strikes
57. War Hammer Technique: Basic Overhead Downstrike
58. War Hammer Technique: Full Swing
145. Shortsword: Deflect and redirect, don't just catch
147. Shortsword: Stay fluid to attack and defend
175. Tactics: Let your adversary come to you
Skill & Technique :
66. Salvage: Using Broken Materials to make a Lever
67. Mathematics: Making your own Lever
87. Carving: Tools get stuck in wood, unlike redhot metal
88. Carving: A saw usually gets a flatter edge than a hatchet
98. Subterfuge: Feigning ignorance to avoid suspicion
119. Felling: Pick a tree far away from people
120. Felling: Try to angle for a clear path to fall
121. Felling: Easier with a two-handed ax
122. Felling: Woodchips are more irritating than sparks
124. Felling: Cut halfway through the trunk at an angle
125. Felling: Finish by cutting opposite and above main notch
Miscellaneous :
11. Syliras: The mist is dangerous
26. Ros & Fredrick: Utterly blind and deaf?
60. Put out of commission?
76. Is Pycon armour feasible?
104. Self: Feeling unusually charitable


Miscellaneous

515, Spring 77: Daughter, unnamed, unconfirmed. – Congratulations papa snake!


Possessions

 
Clothing
Item Quantity Notes
Simple Shirt 1 Faded black
Simple Pants 1 Faded brown
Simple Undergarments 1
Simple Cloak 1
Simple Boots 1 Worn leather

 
Vainities
Item Quantity Notes
Comb 1 Made of bone
Brush 1 Bone handle
Soap 1
Razor 1

 
Tools and Weapons
Item Quantity Notes
Blacksmith’s Hammer 1 Heirloom from Grenor Smith (Previously called Stone Hammer, now referring to as Blacksmith’s Hammer for clarity)
Practice Shortsword 1 Wooden [Purchased]
Eating Knife 1 Transformed in the Halloween Cauldron
Knife 1 Sold for use as a weapon [Purchased, Fall 519]

 
Other
Item Quantity Notes
Waterskin 1
Backpack 1
Balanced Rations 1 week’s worth
Flint & Steel 1

 
Climbing
Item Quantity Notes
Climber’s Kit 1 Contains “special pitons, boot tips, gloves and a harness” (Price List). [Purchased, Fall 519]
Climber’s Hammer 1 Designed to hammer in and take out pitons. [Purchased, Fall 519]
Climber’s Hook 2 A metal loop with one side on a spring-hinge (carabiner). [Purchased, Fall 519]
Rope, Hemp 50 ft [Purchased, Fall 519]

 
Leatherworking
Item Quantity Notes
Toolkit, Leatherworker’s 1 Contains “all the tools necessary for a character to soak, tan, boil, wax and sew leather armor, essential to both construct and repair such armor” (Price List) [Purchased, Fall 519]
Leather, Common, Garment Grade 0.5 lb Partially used Fall 519 [Purchased, Fall 519]

 
Woodcarving
Item Quantity Notes
Softwood -- Purchased:

 
Writing
Item Quantity Notes
Parchment 1 sheet Purchased:
Charcoal 10 sticks Purchased:

Prizes:
A bone-handed bowie style knife. Effective against ghosts, and can help sense the presence of ghosts and see ghosts that haven’t materialized. It can also allow for traceless movement across graveyards. Awarded in the Halloween Challenge. Not yet claimed in thread.
At the bottom of the cauldron, once the bubbling brew receded, a knife could be found. This was no simple eating knife now, however. It was a bone-handled bowie style knife that was universally good in most outdoor endeavors making it handy for the wilderness or wild places such as Sunberth. In picking up the knife, one would immediately understand that it would ALWAYS be useful and effective against ghosts, doing them the damage it would do normal humans without any additional treatments to make it ghost friendly (or rather unfriendly). In addition, Baelin would find that his new knife allowed him to sense the presence and even see ghosts lurking about even if they haven’t materialized. In addition, the knife (if carried on his person anywhere) allowed him to move across graveyards and cemeteries in a way that left no trace – no track, no noise, and not even a thin trail of disturbed dew on the grass. This ability only works in holy places where people are buried.


Housing

Location: The Sunset Quarters, Sunberth, Sylira

Room: Apartment, Private Room, Elegant

Cost: 4 SM/day


Ledger

Season Description Cost Total
514 Summer Starting +100 GM 100 GM
514 Summer Wages (Armorer, Novice) +296 GM 396 GM
514 Summer Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 261 GM
514 Fall Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 126 GM
514 Winter Wages (Armorer, Novice) +728 GM 854 GM
514 Winter Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 719 GM
515 Spring Wages (Closed)
515 Spring Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 584 GM
515 Fall Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 449 GM
515 Winter Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 324 GM
515 Winter, 47 Bath & Towel -4 SM, -1 CM 323 GM, 5 SM, 9 CM
516 Spring Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 188 GM, 5 SM, 9 CM
516 Spring, 39 Q’s Fee -50 GM 138 GM, 5 SM, 9 CM
516 Summer, 14 Bath & Laundry -2 SM, -9 CM 138 GM, 3 SM
516 Summer Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 3 GM, 3 SM
517 Summer Syliras Housing +500 GM 503 GM, 3 SM
517 Summer Wages (Pending)
517 Summer Ravok Boarding -55 GM 448 GM, 3 SM
517 Summer Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 313 GM, 3 SM
Travel Ravok to Sunberth* -199 GM, -5 SM 113 GM, 8 SM
519 Summer Wages (Blacksmith, Competent) +819 GM 932 GM, 8 SM
519 Summer Sunberth Boarding -13 GM, -6 SM, -5 CM 919 GM, 1 SM, 5 CM
519 Summer Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 784 GM, 1 SM, 5 CM
519 Summer, 33 Lesson and Practice Sword -9 GM, -5 SM 774 GM, 6 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall Sunberth Boarding -36 GM, 4 SM 738 GM, 2 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall Living Expenses (Common) -135 GM 603 GM, 2 SM, 5 SM
519 Fall NPC Living Expenses (Noah) -135 GM 468 GM, 2 SM, 5 CP
519 Fall, 3 Proving Grounds -7 GM 461 GM, 2 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall, 15 Robbed -12 GM 449 GM, 2 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall, 17 Leather Kit and Roll -70 GM, 3 SM 378 GM, 9 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall, 31 Softwood & Knife -1 GM 377 GM, 9 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall, 33 Robbed -22 GM, 6 SM 355 GM, 3 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall, 65 Climbing gear -90 GM 265 GM, 3 SM, 5 CM
519 Fall, 78 Brega’s, Parchment, Charcoal -2 GM, 2 SM, 5 CM 263 GM, 1 SM

*Ravok to Sunberth :
Routes:
  • Ravok — Nyka: 27 days + 10 days for caravan
  • Nyka — Zeltiva: 68 days + 10 days for caravan
  • Zeltiva — Sunberth: 18 days for ship
Total travel days: 133
With Morwen absent, winter travel is not extended.

Fare: 1 GM/day for 133 GM
Rations: 1 GM / 2 days for 66 GM and 5 SM


Thread List

See plotnotes for thread descriptions (WIP).
Date Title Status
Winter 519
9 [Tall Johnny’s] Blood Sport (Mattias)
11 Intersection (Kelski)
13 The Only Constant Is Change (Autumn)
15 The Son of the Cursed (Firenze)
51 Life Undeterred (Wa’Djinnabi)
Fall 519
3 [The Proving Grounds] Survival of the Fittest (Gareth)
6 Drunken With the Fishes (Malachi)
7 [Tall Johnny’s] The Brawler and the Blacksmith (Kreig)
12 [The Knight’s Armory] Just a Little Rusty In Progress
15 Ripe for the Picking (Anthoni)
17 Adapt and Prepare Graded
20 Behind Closed Doors Graded
28 With Jobs to Do (Asterope)
31 A Slice of Reality Completed
33 The Cost of Routine Completed
60 [Halloween Challenge] A Rattled Dance Graded
61 An Enigmatic Gift In Progress
65 To Shoulder the Burden In Progress
78 [Brega’s House] A Strange Client Completed
Summer 519
2 [Aquillar Hot Springs] Remember the New Completed
5 [The Knight’s Armory] Return to the Grind Graded
14 Crab Traps (Siv)
33 [The Proving Grounds] Be Better Graded
52 [The Knight’s Armory] Refurbished Steel Graded
Summer 517
1 Syliras: The Jewel of Sylira, Symbol of Hope Graded
7 Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel Graded
66 [The Defiled Blade] A Lesson in Buckles Dropped
70 A Gadgeteer Walked Into A Smithy Graded
Summer 516
14 One Problem at a Time Graded
Spring 516
39 [The Aylasa Caves] To Fix a Problem Graded
Winter 515
22 Easy as 1-2-3 Dropped
47 [Soothing Waters] A Splash of a Time Graded
50 [The Ironworks] Too Little, Tool Late Dropped
63 An Unexpected Shipment Graded
72 [Anthonius Fighter’s Pit] It’s Petching Productive Dropped
Fall 515
22 [The Rearing Stallion] A Nuit & an Eiyon in a Bar Graded
34 It’s as cold as ice! Graded
40 [The Ironworks] The Foundation Graded
50 [The Broken Casket] The Achilles Heel Graded
Spring 515
3 [The Ironworks] It's Riveting Dropped
77 [The Ironworks] The Sea’s Wife Graded
Winter 514
1 [The Ironworks] For a Price Graded
20 [The Ironworks] Buckling In Graded
24 Dira is Watching Gnosis Story
24 A Healer’s Warmth Graded
33 [The Ironworks] Little Blue Boy Lost Graded
87 [Anthonius Fighter’s Pit] Weapons Are Good, Eh? Graded
Fall 514
2 Terror in Stormhold: Chaos in the Council Chambers Graded
Summer 514
3 Welcome Center and Employment Office Post
3 [The Ironworks] Make it Light, Make it Strong Graded
50 [The Ironworks] Still a Novice Graded
60 [Syliras Entrance] The Main Gates Post
90 [Temple of All Gods] To Speak with Gods Graded
Last edited by Baelin Holt on March 11th, 2020, 2:53 pm, edited 67 times in total.
User avatar
Baelin Holt
Blacksmith
 
Posts: 340
Words: 360322
Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Mixed blood
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Medals: 3
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (1)
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Baelin Holt

Postby Baelin Holt on August 25th, 2015, 11:03 pm

Gnosis Story: Eiyon 1

24, Winter of 514AV

Show Story :
Baelin sucked in a heaving breath and rubbed the thick pads of his palms into his eyes. Gut still roiling, he pressed harder until he could see a snakeskin pattern crawl past his closed eyes. The frozen ground beneath him was unyielding as he shifted positions, and Baelin felt a stone press uncomfortably against his rear. Slowly, hating himself for his weakness, Baelin brought his well-muscled, long legs up towards his torso and rested his elbows on his knees.

His cloak slipped off of his shoulders and allowed the biting cold to swell and pulse around him, stronger than before. Baelin hurriedly snapped his eyes open and grabbed the cloak, pulling it securely around him once again. Shyke, did he hate the cold. Another wracking breath tugged at his lungs, and it was all he could do to drop his forehead on his knees. He couldn’t believe that he was crying. When was the last time he cried? Not when he left family and friends. Not when he realized that Syliras wasn’t nearly as promising as it had sounded. Not once since he came north.

He couldn’t do this anymore. He really couldn’t. If Baelin was in any mind to psychoanalyze, he would be hard pressed to identify if right now the tumultuous feeling he was experiencing was fury, fear, or...or if he was simply reaching his breaking point. But whatever it was, he couldn’t go on like this. The boy from Black Rock...he could not live in a city where those...those things were allowed to roam free. It tore at him, every time he saw one and restrained himself. The threat of The Tank was compelling, but by Dira how he hated himself.

Baelin pressed his forehead harder into his knee, wishing the pressure would take the stress knotted in his head away. Why couldn’t they see it? The knights, he knew they had all of their honor and their codes, why couldn’t they just see the monsters roaming in their city walls the way he did? Disguising themselves behind a title of Nuit...claiming to be just another race.

The burly man sat like that for a while longer, curled into himself for both warmth and comfort. He had lost track of the bells and wouldn’t be able to say how long he had been lingering on the northern banks near Syliras. But if the growing soreness in his rear and the drain of warmth from his limbs was any indicator, he was taking his dear sweet time.

A dark, unwelcome thought snaked through his mind. He could always just end it himself. Black Rock had no place for him, and Syliras protected Nuit from their rightful end. He liked the Symenestra, but Kalinor would not welcome him. He loved smithing, but Sultros would not take him. No place for him to run to, no place to tuck in with...anyone really. He thought of the bloodline he refused to acknowledge, and quickly shut down any idea of traveling to Zinrah. That was a horrid idea on multiple levels.

But...an end. That was something he could give himself. It wasn’t the first time the thought came to him. When he was at the forge and the coal glowed with promise. When he was working at a press...how easy it would be to put his head in and bring the handle down. Baelin had always pushed the thought aside. It was selfish. The easy way out. There were always things left that he had to do and people he couldn’t leave behind.

But...was that really true?

It wouldn’t be hard. Especially in this cold. Baelin pulled his forehead off of his knee and gazed out at the sea opening before him. All things considered, it wasn’t such a bad way to go. He could just strip of his cloak, his clothes, his everything, and walk into the water. The chill would take him, easy as that.

Baelin wrinkled his nose at the idea of dying in the cold. He hated being cold. But, he supposed, death wasn’t supposed to be pleasant. Not if he was the one bringing it upon himself. No, it should be more of a punishment. This can’t be how this life was meant to end, with so very little meaning. What has he done? He failed his father, left his uncle, left his friends, is a problem for Ros, a letdown for Fredrick...and he just couldn’t see anyone giving a care if he didn’t come back. One less worry for everyone, really. Fredrick would no longer have to watch him with disappointment as he botched another piece. Ros could finally stop tensing anytime a Nuit entered the Ironworks. And that blasted tower of Li Mauta could stop mocking him with its villainous puffs. He knew what the undertaker did with the bodies of the unloved.

And Baelin was hard pressed to think of anyone better fitting of the category. His very existence was a stain. It broke his parents happiness, was a burden to his uncle’s home, and now he’s just taking up space.

Still wrapped in his thoughts, sinking deeper into their abyss, Baelin rose to his feet and let his cloak drop. The cold wasted no time, eating into his bones and forcing his jaw to rise and fall until his teeth were chattering fiercely against each other. The ache in his head grew stronger and Baelin rubbed it absently, gaze fixed on the sea in front of him.

Slowly, so very slowly, Baelin approached the tide. He didn’t go close enough to let the water nip at his boots, not yet. Sucking in a shuddering breath, the half-Dhani wrapped his fingers around the hem of his shirt and pulled it up and over his head. He held the worn fabric in his hand, fingers pulling it into a tight ball.

He squeezed the balled up shirt in his fist, released, squeezed again. Baelin was just so very tired of it all. He tried, he really did. He tried to be a good son, tried to do right by his uncle, tried to be a good smith, tried to do the right thing.

He tried to make a difference.

But he failed. Always. Constantly.

Surely, whatever life followed this would be better than what he was now. He really was doing a good thing here, speeding up the process of getting a better person in his place. Ending the defective model. Jumping to the next spot in the cycle. That’s what they did at the Ironworks. If a piece was defective, beyond repair, you smelted the metal back into an undefined liquid, and then brought it back to life in some new form. It was the same thing.

He was the defective piece.

This was for the best. If he didn’t, he’d just be leaving that broken piece on a shelf. Taking up space. Getting in the way. Using up material that could be repurposed.

With his eyes still fixed on the sea’s curling waves, Baelin kicked his boots off and pushed them to the side with his foot. The fingers on his free hand worked on the laces of his pants, slowly trying to pull them loose. He fingers fumbled numbly over the laces, his sense of touch being somewhat dulled by the cold. He could have dropped his shirt and used his other hand, but truth be told he really wasn’t in a rush.

Finally succeeding, Baelin tugged his pants and undergarments off in one quick motion. He dropped them behind him, never once taking his eyes off of the sea. It was so very cold. Somewhere between biting and numbing.

Bare before the world save for the shirt clenched tightly in his hand, Baelin allowed a few moments to fully let it sink in what he was about to do. His uncle, friends in Black Rock, Fredrick, Ros...what would they think if they knew?

Chest heaving with great gasps of air, Baelin knew what that answer would be. Most would never even know... Fredrick and Ros may very well just assume that the work finally became too much for him and he quit without notice. His uncle and friends on Black Rock would never get word, he never did figure out how to write. Whatever became of him would just be an unanswered question. No one would really mind. No strings.

Baelin brought the balled up shirt up to his chest and wrapped his other hand around it as well, pressing it in against his heart. This was the best for everyone. Baelin clenched his jaw tightly against his teeth clattering and, with a harsh blow of air from his nose, tossed his shirt behind him along with the rest of his clothes. His decision was made. Slowly, but with sure steps, Baelin began to advance.

At first the water only tickled his feet, where the tickler possessed razor sharp claws. Baelin pressed forward, clenching his fists hard enough for his nails to bite. The water began to eat at his ankles and it hurt. Terribly so.

This was harder than he thought it would be. With a ragged sob Baelin began to run forward. The water splashed around him, stabbing where it touched. Mercifully, the depth dropped down on him and he was submerged to his midsection.

Baelin gave a great gasp at the shock. It was so very, horribly cold. Tears were flowing freely now. And it hurt.

Already he could feel violent shudders overwhelm him and his breath was coming in fast bursts. He was breathing much too fast and too short. And it hurt.

Baelin forced himself to stand still as the water and wind bit. He would not be weak willed. This was for the best. He felt like his legs had tightened up, skin pulled closely as if to defend against the cold. He couldn’t feel anything in his toes, and his fingers clutched clumsily and numbly against his upper arms. And it was so damn cold.

He was going to die here.

NO! The thought roared through him, surprising him with its intensity. Baelin whipped around and began to stumble back to shore, feet digging sloppily into the sand under him. He stumbled on the way and lost his footing, falling heavily to his knees.

The saltwater lapped around his thighs and arms as he took a moment to orient himself. With a lurch he attempted to get up and, half standing and half crawling, managed to stumble out of the water.

The sand gave way under him and he again fell to his hands and knees. This time the half-Dhani just rolled onto his back, exhausted from the mad dash.

It was still bone chillingly cold, and his damp skin did little to ease the sting. Belatedly, Baelin realized his breaths were coming in short, quick gasps and he was shivering violently. Baelin took a moment to try and slow his breaths, instinctively curling into a fetal position against the cold and wind. Absently, he realized his vision was swimming and his cheeks were being streaked with warm paths. He was crying.

Angrily, Baelin shook his head and rubbed his eyes. What was he doing? This couldn’t be where he was meant to die. This couldn’t be how. There must be more.

And he nearly ended it.

A wail tore through him, reverberating up from the pit of his stomach and scratching his throat. The magnitude of what he had tried to do was devastating. Baelin pressed his legs tightly against his chest and wrapped his arms around his calves. Distraught, he pressed his forehead against his knee and squeezed his eyes tightly shut, wracking sobs coming freely now. He distantly recognized that stones and sand were pressing and sticking uncomfortably to his naked side. And the cold. It hadn’t abated at all.

But he had just...he had tried to... Say it, he ground out to himself. Suicide. He had tried to commit suicide. This wasn’t just thinking about it. It was nothing like wondering how quickly the bowman at the entrance of Syliras could bring him down if he started making problems. This wasn’t watching the flare of the forge with longing. It wasn’t even studying the wall of available weapons at the Ironworks and gauging which would slice through flesh the easiest.

This was action. And it was terrifying.

The rush that Baelin had felt to bring himself back to the shore was slowly abating, leaving just the sting of the cold, the bite of sand and rock, and a crushing emptiness. He curled further into himself, not wanting to move just yet.

The wind whistled past his ears and stabbed relentlessly at his exposed, damp skin. Baelin tried his best to ignore it. He just wanted to sink into nothingness and forget. All of his failures and mistakes, and now...what kind of man was he if he tried to end himself? Not one Dira would approve of, Baelin was sure of that. Life was a precious gift, not to be squandered so...needlessly. Willingly.

A sound behind him startled Baelin out of his thoughts. He craned his head back to the tree line and saw a flash of white against the muted grey and brown of the forest. But as soon as he saw it, it was gone.

Hopefully just some rabbit, Baelin thought uneasily.

He was starting to shiver violently, teeth clattering loudly against his skull. It was time for him to leave, whether he wanted to go back and face his problems or not. Baelin rolled over to his knees and lifted himself up, hastily rubbing some of the sand off. The cold was unrelenting, and now that he was out of his huddle it seemed so much worst. He stumbled haphazardly for his clothes and forced them on as quickly as his limbs would allow.

A skitter of stone jolted his attention back to the tree line. He saw a blur of black this time, too quick for him to make sense of the shape. Baelin stuffed his foot into his boot uneasily. Wolves? It had been a cold fall, and the winter felt harsher than normal. He supposed it was possible.

Baelin ground his teeth and pulled his cloak tightly against himself. He supposed he should be scared, but more than anything he just felt tired. He glanced at the spot of sand and stone that he had disturbed in his huddle. It was very tempting to return to it.

And, to his shame, he almost did. Baelin hovered over the spot, sorely tempted. But, for whatever reason, he thought of his mother. He had trouble recalling her face, but her voice threaded through his thoughts with a sweet music. Her death had marked the beginning of his faith in Dira. Of his need for death to mean more than a needless waste of a young life. And his mother had been young. He recognized that now.

It had felt so unfair when she passed. Baelin watched the waves curl over each other, a sight that usually delighted him in the summer, and instead felt the slow fill of dread.

He was younger than his mother had been.

Baelin allowed his breath to hiss through clattering teeth. He had to go back home. Unbidden, images swirled of his uncle working on a half of a Fargholian shoe. Baelin was hard pressed to think of any moment that reminded him more of home than that.

But no, that wasn’t his home any more. He tried to catch a glimpse of the immense stone structure, but the curving banks and trees hid it from him. It was time to go back...he studied the shore and the forest, unsure of what route to take. The shore left him exposed to the wind, and it bit...but the woods held wolves. He strained his eyes to see if he could make out whatever he had spotted earlier, but all he saw were shadows.

Cognizant that his shivering was becoming more violent and his breaths were faster, Baelin lurched towards the woods. He would deal with whatever he found when he had to.

The sound of his breath hissing quickly through his shuddering jaw was unsettling. Baelin tried to move faster through the woods, occasionally stumbling over a root or ducking under a low branch.

To his dismay, he would occasionally catch glimpses of white and black. He was being followed. He tried to make out any other figures moving in the shadows. Maybe some grays and browns. It seemed odd that only two wolves would track him, and that their colors would be so distinct and unusual. It reminded Baelin a little of the statues of Before and After. They made striking figures in the lower level of the Chapel.

But that was hardly relevant now. For now he had two, probably more, wild animals to deal with. He was always taking a risk when he went outside of the walls. In the summer it seemed more like a risk well worth it, with the cool water of the Suvan inviting him like an old friend. But the winter was a vicious time, and the remnants of the Valterrian roamed the land.

What are you going to do? he asked himself, Keep running or stand your ground and face them?

Getting back as soon as possible was probably the smarter option. But Baelin had never been known for being smart.

Coming firm in his resolve, Baelin spun on his heel and faced where he had last heard a sound. He threw his head back and roared. He felt like his throat may split with the force of it, and his shivering had dulled the roar’s ferocity, but releasing the pent up fury felt so good.

He swung his head back down, a smile threatening to spread with the slightest twitch of his lips. Let the dogs see what his size allowed him to do.

Baelin swept his gaze across the trees pressing in around him, waiting for the flash of color that would tell him he wasn’t alone.

What he wasn’t expecting was that a black dog would slink out of the trees and sit just in front of him, staring him down.

No, Baelin thought with a gasp. His heart was hammering in his ears now. This wasn’t a dog. He had prayed to the large eared and long limbed statues of jackals long enough to know that this...this was a jackal.

“Before,” he whispered, disbelief warring with rapture in his voice. The jackal tilted its head slightly in what Baelin guessed was scrutiny, and Baelin knew he was right.

Without hesitation, Baelin dropped to his knees. It wasn’t right to stand above the jackal. The jackal was short enough that Baelin was hard pressed to bring himself to a lower level, but the least he could do was kneel.

A shock of white slinked out from behind a tree and padded gently over to join its counterpart. “After,” Baelin marveled, his voice no more than a murmur in the wind. He couldn’t believe the two jackals were in front of him.

Did he die? Would Dira come and take him to Lhex? The very corners of Baelin’s lips hinted of a frown. He didn’t think he had died. That was something he would have liked to remember. It was his body and his life after all.

Baelin tried to keep his gaze down in reverence of the jackals sitting at attention before him. He really did try. But Baelin couldn’t keep his eyes from occasionally flicking up and taking in the sight before him. The dark, coarse fur of Before beckoned him. Baelin knew that people interpreted Before and After differently. He had heard enough debate going back and forth about it by people lingering outside of the Chapel. But, to Baelin, Before was regret and triumph. The jackal was the mistakes that had been made, the small victories that people managed to scrounge in their lives, and the reminder that lives had been lived and lost. Baelin had always felt more drawn to the black jackal.

After was less clear to Baelin. Instinctively, Baelin tracked his gaze over to the solid white jackal. After was unknown to Baelin. The white jackal was the promise of things to come, but with no guarantee of knowledge or wisdom. Baelin never knew what to make of it, other than to hold it in the back of his mind as a reminder that the cycle goes on with or without him.

Baelin felt nearly rhapsodic as he saw the hem of a black dress come into his lowered view. He couldn’t tell if his shaking was the result of the cold or his excitement.

If dying meant he got to see Dira, then he was hard pressed to regret it.

“You may stand.” Baelin visibly jerked at the sound. It was calm, patient, wise...everything he wasn’t. Why the owner of that voice would be here, now, in his presence, was beyond him.

But the half-Dhani wasn’t about to deny his goddess. He rose to his feet and met her gaze.

Dark eyes were framed by dark hair on a pale face, and it was so much more gratifying and strange to see Dira breathing right in front of him. Sure, he had spent many hours in front of her altar and statue, but he had never seen her before. Not before this moment.

If she had been expecting him to say something, Baelin was going to disappoint her. His shock was palpable and it was all he could do to stay upright. He was aware that he was still shivering and he tried, to no avail, to still himself.

But Dira seemed to be in no rush. She stroked the back of Before’s head slowly as she spoke, “What did you hope to accomplish back on the beach?”

Baelin was tempted to tuck his gaze behind his hair and bow his head as the shame built in him. He knew exactly what he had tried to do. But how could he admit that to his goddess? How could he admit, as the first thing he ever said to her, that he was weak?

But he wasn’t going to lie. And he wasn’t going to hide his gaze. Not with Dira. Taking in a deep breath, Baelin confessed, “I wanted to die.”

Dira’s expression remained unchanging. No shock or revelation marred her calm and poised character. She did, however, move her hand from Before’s dark fur and switched her attention to After’s ear.

Baelin expected that she had already known. He restrained his grimace, because he would not grimace in front of his goddess, but he hated being mocked. And, while it probably was not what she was going for, Baelin felt like he was being teased.

“Yet here you are,” she said simply. There was no question in her voice, but there was the expectation of an answer. Baelin could see it in the expectant raise of her eyebrow.

The half-Dhani sucked in his breath past clenched teeth, not liking what he was going to have to admit. What did Dira want from him? To mock him in his lowest point? Because this was the lowest he had ever been in his life. Even when his father threatened him, he was always able to stiffen his spine and survive.

He was still shivering, and Baelin wrapped his cloak tighter around himself as he struggled to find a way to answer his goddess truthfully, without condemning himself in her eyes. Why did he want to do it? Why didn’t he go through with it?

Dira continued to wait patiently, apparently in no rush for his answer. But Baelin had the distinct feeling that he would not leave here until she had an answer from his own lips. Or perhaps she would leave before he confessed, but then Baelin imagined he’d regret it for the rest of his life.

Steeling his nerve, Baelin forced out, “I wass afraid.” He didn’t think he needed to say what he was afraid of. If anyone could understand his fear, it was the goddess of death.

The confession, however, was still taxing. Ever since his mother passed, he had believed that the cycle was the be-all end-all. Death was not a thing to fear, it was a thing to treasure and value. Yet he ended up being the biggest hypocrite of all, shying away from his own death when it began to press around him.

Baelin lowered his head to expose the back of his neck. His goddess had every right to take him now. He had defied the cycle. He should have died on that beach, shouldn’t he? Why else would Dira be standing before him now, other than as the harbinger of his own death?

Instead, he was shocked when a gentle but firm finger pressed under his chin and forced his gaze up. Dark eyes studied him calmly, searching for something. To Baelin’s surprise, he didn’t feel a pressing need to hide his slit pupils from her. He wanted her to see. To see everything there was about him, both good and bad.

The half-Dhani couldn’t tell if she found what she was looking for, but she did pull away. As if beckoned, Before padded forward silently and sat at her side once more. She stroked the dark fur as she said, “I can show you the life you lived before.”

It took longer than Baelin would like to admit to process what Dira had just said, but when he did he nearly staggered under the weight of it. A peek into the cycle itself? Was that even allowed? Baelin supposed the cycle was Dira’s to do with as she willed. If anyone could allow such a thing it was she.

Baelin honestly had no idea if he wanted to see what he had done in a former life. A large part of him was screaming to let it be. These were things he wasn’t meant to know, and who knew what it would do to him if he knew.

But an even larger part recognized that this was a gift. A gift offered by the goddess that he held second to none. And, whatever consequence it would have, he would not turn down such a gift.

Not trusting himself to speak, Baelin nodded.

A wave of images assaulted him and suddenly Baelin was no longer in the forest. He was back on the beach... But no, that wasn’t quite right. This was a different beach. Sandier. Sunnier. Warmer. The breeze was a warm tickle around him, a blessed change from the nipping swell from only moments prior. The ocean lapped lazily at the banks and the sun beat welcomingly onto the sand below. The only person Baelin could see on the beach was a little girl. She was hopping into footprints that someone had left in the sand, her little legs straining to make it to the next print.

Suddenly she stopped and whirled in his direction. Baelin stood awkwardly, aware that his damp shivering was an odd sight on the warm beach. He felt like a dark stain intruding on a bright moment. But the little girl didn’t seem to see him and instead dashed right past, her game of tracking the footprints forgotten.

She came to a sudden stop and crouched down, inspecting something in the sand. Baelin jogged over to see what had captured her interest. It was a seashell. Baelin was hard pressed to see anything special about it, but the little girl was captivated. She picked it up carefully and turned it over a few times in her little hands, inspecting it for something. She brushed off some of the sand and smiled at it, apparently pleased.

To both the girl and Baelin’s shock, a hand shot out of the sand and snatched the seashell right from her hands. A boy lunged out of the sand, perhaps a little more awkwardly than he had intended, and jumped in the air with his prize. He laughed at the girl’s frustrated face and waved the seashell in the air above her.

Baelin’s eyebrows rose at the odd scene. The boy must have been buried for a long while, that sort of trick required dedication. But he seemed pleased with himself if his victorious shout was anything to go by. He was taller than the girl, and it was all she could do to jump in the air to try and fetch the shell.

“You jerk! That’s for my mom!” the girl cried in frustration, tears starting to brim in the corner of her eyes.

Baelin’s breath caught in his throat. He blinked rapidly as a memory long forgotten came back to him. It was a game he would play with his own mother. He would bring back the prettiest black rocks he could find, and she would pet his head and thank him for the new addition to her collection. He couldn’t remember who started the game, but it had spurred many of his explorations of the island in his early years.

Lost in his memories, Baelin only became aware that the moment changed by the roar of laughter around him. He jerked his head up and saw that he was standing in the middle of a party. People laughed and danced and drank as festive music filled the room, but Baelin’s focus was drawn to a pair near the edge of the room. No one else seemed to be paying much attention to the pair, lost as they all were in their own revelry, but Baelin had no doubt in his mind that it was the boy and the girl from the beach.

They were both older now. The girl had developed into quite the lovely young woman, with pert little breasts that bounced delightfully with the music and hips that swayed rhythmically. The boy still towered above the girl, but now his frame was filled with muscle and his face held a growing beard.

Whatever strife they had as children, they had long since grown out of it. The pair was staring intensely at each other, grins threatening to split both of their faces. Some silent understanding seemed to pass between them and the girl twirled so that her back was against the boy’s front. The boy tossed his head back and grunted as the girl swirled her hips in a particularly enticing manner against him.

Despite himself, Baelin was becoming aroused. But he didn’t have to suffer for much longer. The girl’s patience was short, and soon she had grabbed the boy’s hand and was tugging him away from the festivities. Baelin didn’t need a very strong imagination to picture where the laughing couple was going.

And within a blink, it was gone. The riotous noise of the party and the flirtatious laughter of the pair was all swept away in favor of a quieter scene. It was the girl again, Baelin was sure of it. She was a woman now, with soft wrinkles beginning to crease the corners of her eyes and laugh lines suggesting that she was enjoying her life. The woman was kneeling in a patch of well-turned soil, soiled hands patting dirt in around a plant’s base. A Chevas mark graced the side of her neck. Baelin didn’t have to think hard to imagine who held its counterpart.

He looked around for the boy, fully expecting to see him in this moment as well. As a man now, he was sure, but still a part of this girl’s life. But the man was nowhere to be seen. Instead, a group of children came running around the corner of a house, squealing loudly as they all tried to overtake each other. There seemed to be no structure to their game, just a pressing need to beat the others.

The woman paused in her work and smiled fondly at the group, her eyes tracking one child in particular. Baelin followed her gaze to a small boy, and Baelin knew. He had the same soft eyes as the woman, but the inexplicable mischievous grin of his father. This was her son.

The group careened around a bend, charging at a small creek. The woman returned back to setting the base of her plant, humming pleasantly.

A panicked shout caused both her and Baelin to jerk and look at the group of children. The group was huddled in a circle around something, and Baelin just knew.

The woman apparently knew as well. She was on her feet faster than Baelin thought she could move and bolted towards the children. Baelin didn’t want to watch what happened next. He didn’t need to see this.

But the moment remained, and he was not spared. The woman dropped to her knees next to the small boy, pushing at the children to give her space. The ground was slick where they were, the children had been jumping on rocks in the creek, and thin tendrils of blood were beginning to slip across the stone’s surface.

Baelin’s gut twisted unpleasantly and he felt panic begin to eat at him. His emotions were mirrored in the woman, who frantically shifted between trying to elevate the boy’s head and then shouting at the children to fetch the healer. But he could see the realization in her just as much as he knew it himself. The boy was gone.

Mercifully, the moment was gone. But the scene was not. The woman was still at the same house, the treacherous creek still winded its way not far from where she sat, and the garden still flourished. But her Chevas mark was gone, and the laugh lines were harder to see among her other wrinkles.

She was much older now, her prime having long past her. She sat on a chair with a cat pillowed in her lap. She stroked its fur gently, humming a soft tune. A group of children pranced past her home, enraptured in a game with a small ball. The group paid no heed to the older woman, but she didn’t seem to mind. A small smile tugged on her lips as she watched the carefree game.

One of the children peeled away from the group and came to a stop in front of the woman’s garden. The child, a small girl, looked hopefully between one of the flowers and the woman herself. A true smile graced the woman now and she nodded her consent.

With a delighted laugh, the small girl ducked down between the plants and plucked one of the flowers. She tucked it behind her ear and dashed back to the other children.

The old woman leaned back further in her chair, scratching contently behind the cat’s ears. The cat purred along with the woman’s quiet hum, and the children continued their game. Her flower bounced in the small girl’s hair as she played, and the gentle smile remained on the woman’s lips.

With a jolt, Baelin came back to himself. It was hatefully cold, his body was sore, but he was alive.

He rounded his sight back to his goddess and he couldn’t keep his shock from his face. He couldn’t identify how he felt right now. Sad? Yes, there was that. But also...he felt whole. Like someone had given him a piece of himself back that he had never known was lost.

“Thank you,” he said, choking on his own words.

Dira said nothing, instead giving him time to calm down.

As Baelin’s heart started to slow its frenzied beat, his thoughts started to return to him. He had never felt so selfish before. He had a role in this life. The woman...though she thought her role was to guide her son into the world, death had other plans for her. Her flowers...Baelin had never thought a flower was as beautiful as it had been when it sat against the little girl’s ear.

He had been so stupid. So stupid, and so very selfish. The boy’s death...it still stung to think of it. The pain as raw as if his own child had died in his arms. He couldn’t explain why, but it hurt more than anything else he had ever felt before. Yet the woman had lived on. She had provided whatever small joy she could to those around her, despite her grievous loss.

And here Baelin was, trying to freeze himself because things weren’t going his way.

Dira simply stood before him, patiently stroking After’s fur.

“I have been sselfissh,” Baelin admitted, his voice sounding more like a sob than a confession.

Dira nodded. “And now?”

Baelin turned the question over in his mind, trying to find the trick. But all he could think was that he had work to do. He had armor to make, people to speak honestly to, and family that he had to apologize to. He had a purpose, for however long his life allowed. He bowed his head and said as much, “I have much to do.”

And...if he only had such a short time to work with...he wasn’t going to hold back. He had Nuits to kill. He ground his teeth, a small spark of pleasure racing through him at the realization that the threat of the Tank was nothing against the overwhelming power of the cycle.

Before and After both took the moment to stand up and circle him. Baelin restrained from fidgeting anxiously. These were the same jackals that he had prayed to so often. But the urge to flinch from the predators was hard to ignore.

Dira studied him, and now Baelin did fidget under her scrutiny. She didn’t seem to mind. Or, if she did, Baelin was unable to read it in her calm patience. He ducked his gaze to the ground, not sure what she wanted from him.

“Your respect of the cycle and disdain for the undead has not gone unnoticed.”

Baelin’s eyes snapped up to meet hers. An inkling of where she was leading was beginning to dawn on him, but he wouldn’t let himself believe it. There was no way someone like him would be granted such a responsibility.

But then...why was she here?

The half-Dhani straightened to his full height and nodded. “They are vermin. Meant to be exterminated.”

Dira smiled. She picked up his right hand in her own and held it between them. Baelin sucked in a breath, not quite able to believe what was happening. Even his wildest dreams didn’t include this.

“I want to offer you a gift...on the condition that you bring an end to those who seek to escape the cycle,” she said softly, fingers tracing across his palm.

There wasn’t even an option in Baelin’s mind. The woods swam around them in his disbelief, and the words came out faster than he could register, “Of coursse.”

The answer seemed to please her. She stared into Baelin’s bastard eyes for a moment longer, and he into her dark, endless ones. Then, gently, she pressed her lips to his palm.
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Baelin Holt
Blacksmith
 
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Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
Location: Sunberth
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