Closed Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Karyk on June 2nd, 2017, 1:41 am

Summer 7, 517 AV

Karyk was bouncing up and down, actually holding the reins of Bob and Susan this time, a bit for his own comfort than for use. His smaller half of the caravan was heading northward through the Bronze Woods, not enjoying the narrow paths that wound through the large trees. It meant a lot of turning, which meant a lot more calls for the ox team. And Karyk being newer to driving, and having not been paired with the oxen long, found them constantly getting confused or fighting each other.

Karyk heard giggles galore as the carriage rocked and rolled passing over rocks, roots, and uneven ground. His older nieces and nephews were bouncing about atop the carriage, having a great time. Mild jealousy passed through Karyk, to not be able to worry about anything other than which way the carriage would rock next. He smiled at them, and turned back to the path ahead. The oxen team stopped again, and Karyk sighed. He hopped down, deciding to drive them on foot since it seemed to have better results.

He walked over to Susan's side, touching him on the flank, and running his hand up the bull until he reached his shoulders. "Gee, gee," to steer them to the right of a tree. The pair lowed softly, and both began pulling around the tree. Karyk looked back seeing the kids still having fun atop the carriage. It moved slow, as usual, and as they got around it, "Haw, haw," was called out to steer them back to the left.

Maybe he should've gone south... Maybe he should've gone with her... Maybe roads between cities would be a great petchin' idea, because this was utter whale shyke.

A loud yell from behind him roared through the air. Karyk turned quickly, calling "Whoa, whoa" to stop the oxen. He was already running toward the back of the caravan, his half axe pulled from his belt, held at the ready. If the journey so far had taught him anything, it was that you always assumed that people were being attacked. He rushed around a tree and saw an utter mess. A carriage had tipped over, dumping its passengers and goods. The driver was pinned under one side by his leg, moaning painfully, trying and failing to pulling himself free.

A scout rushed over, Karyk turned to the man, "We camp here. We don't have a choice, its getting late. Stop the group. Send helpers here." The young man nodded, and made his way up and down the caravan. Karyk moved down next to the pinned man, "We're gonna get ya out mate. Just need a couple more strong backs." The main sweating from the pain nodded, grimacing. Eyes falling on the man's oxen, saw they were fairly unaffected other than unable to move around much. Karyk moved around to the bottom of the tipped carriage, and climbed up slowly on top of it. He opened the side door and looked down in, and stuck his hand in the darkness, "Anyone need help outta there?"
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Baelin Holt on June 2nd, 2017, 7:05 am

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The carriage rocked back and forth in an irregular and, if he let himself think about it, aggravating manner. But he didn’t let himself think about it. Baelin was lucky enough to have the ride at all. Walking the entire way to Ravok was far from the list of things he ever wanted to do.

Instead of thinking about the unpredictable jolts of the carriage, Baelin instead honed in on a scale that was close to breaking the surface. When he rubbed his finger over the back of his hand, there was an unmistakable ridge just shy of one of his knuckles. Baelin hunched over and peered close at his skin, trying to discern where it would break free.

Picking his spot, Baelin started to work his thumbnail on one side of the ridge in an effort to get under it. The carriage bounced again and his thumb slipped, catching underneath the ridge more harshly than he had intended. The spot flared with a sharp stab of pain, but the nearly budded scale still wasn’t visible. Not one to be deterred, Baelin dug his thumbnail into his flesh again, nudging and prodding at the hard lump.

A bead of blood had just started to form when he heard a crack. And then the world tipped over.

Baelin landed hard, the air getting knocked out of him as he fell back onto what had moments ago been a vertical wall. It didn’t help any that a boy, who had previously been dozing upright on the other side of the carriage, landed on top of him in a heap. The boy’s bony elbows dug into Baelin’s torso as he woke in a flurry of limbs and struggled to get back into a sitting position. Baelin winced while the boy scrambled off and tried to tell himself that it was better a child than a trunk filled with heavy provisions.

Groaning, Baelin rolled onto his side. His back twinged in protest, but he ignored it in favor of getting to his knees and trying to take stock of the situation. Outside of the tipped carriage, he could hear pained moans. Those moans were broken up when someone else spoke up with the authoritative tone of a man taking charge. And then there was the thump and creak of a person slowly climbing up before light broke into the carriage’s interior, followed shortly by a hand.

He didn’t need to be told twice. Baelin grabbed onto it with one hand and gripped the edge of the wood frame with his other. Pulling himself up with the stranger’s help, Baelin got his elbow on top of the downed carriage and hefted himself up the rest of the way. When he managed to swing his leg up, he was then able to hoist the rest of his bulk out easily enough.

Once out, he turned back around and reached down with both hands outstretched for the boy. The kid grabbed onto his arms and Baelin tugged him up, grunting with the effort. As soon as he could get his small feet onto the doorframe, the boy scrambled out of Baelin’s grip and leapt off the carriage in a haphazard flurry of limbs.

Rubbing his back, Baelin finally turned to the man that had helped him out. His hands had been those of someone who wasn’t afraid of getting a few calluses, Baelin noted, and his build spoke of hard work. “Thank you,” Baelin offered, more for propriety than anything else, before taking stock of his surroundings.

Outside of the carriage, things didn’t look much better. The driver was pinned under the carriage’s weight and it looked like one of the wheels might have popped off. On the plus side, the carriage had tipped because of a mechanical failure rather than an attack. No Yukmen swarming about or anything like that. On the downside, the carriage had tipped because of a mechanical failure. Simply righting it wouldn’t be good enough to get moving again.

They would cross that bridge when they got to it. First thing’s first: there was a pinned man. Baelin eased himself off the carriage and back onto solid ground, glancing over his shoulder to see if the man who had helped needed a hand.
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Karyk on June 3rd, 2017, 12:23 am

Karyk felt a firm hand grip his own, and he braced his legs, knees bent, against the wall of the overturned carriage. Straightening his arm, gripping it with his other hand, just below the elbow, Karyk began pulling the heavy man from the depths. He grunted, and strained, using his thighs, back, and arms. Eventually Karyk saw a stout man climb from inside. Karyk didn't immediately recognize him, and assumed him to be one of the new arrivals from Syliras. He was stout, probably a craftsman much like himself, though Karyk did find it odd that he seemed to be especially hairless. Was that a Syliras thing?

Karyk nodded at the man thanking him, watching him hop off the carriage. Karyk followed suit, and moved around to the pinned man. Looking at the man he'd helped out, "'ey, mind helpin' me get this off of him?" The man looked quite strong now that Karyk had a good look. They just needed to lift it enough to slide the man out, and then he could start on repairing whatever damage was done. He knelt down next to the injured man. He slipped some fingers beneath the carriage, joined by a couple of other men that were nearby. He found a good grip on it, "Alright boys, on three. One. Two. Three."

On three, Karyk and the others grunted loudly as they started to lift. Karyk strained from his kneeling position. He lifted heavily with his arms and shoulders, and he felt the carriage raising up. Slowly it lifted, as Karyk felt sweat on his brow, as he strained and grunted. Once it was high enough, the injured man slipped his broken leg out from underneath it and dragged himself away. "Down, easy!" The command was given gruffly, as he began to slowly lower the carriage back down, until it was settled on the ground.

Karyk stood up, stretching his back as he rotated back and forth, nodding at the men that helped, "Thanks mates." He walked over to the injured man, who looked up at him, "Ay Karyk, much thanks as always. I think it broken though."

Karyk nodded, a grim line between his lips, and stuck his hand down, and the man gripped it. Karyk pulled him upright onto his good leg, then put one of the man's arms over his shoulders to support him. "Let's get ya to Oleander. He should be able to patch ya up. We'll get your carriage sorted out, no worries."

Before he left, he looked back at the passenger he'd pulled free, "Could ya assess the damage? I'll be back with my tools to help out."

Karyk then turned away, carrying the man to the Soleran's camp by his own carriage. Oleander wasn't there at the moment, but Hortense was. He slowly deposited the man onto a stone to sit, and Hortense began fussing over him. Karyk smiled at the woman's nitpicky and involved nature. He grabbed his pack with his kits in it, and began heading back to the overturned carriage, hoping the damage wasn't too extensive.
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Baelin Holt on June 4th, 2017, 4:53 am

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Once the man was off the carriage, he took only a moment before asking, “’ey, mind helpin’ me get this off of him?” Not needing a response, the man went to get a good grip on the carriage near the pinned driver.

Wordlessly, Baelin knelt next to him and got his fingers under the edge. A twinge near one of his knuckles suggested that he might have torn a bit more skin earlier than he had intended, but he ignored the minor discomfort easily enough. Others joined them and the man gave the count to lift.

When the count came to three, Baelin lurched up, digging his feet into the ground and trying his damndest to straighten his legs. The strain wrenched a wheezed grunt from him, and only then did he remember he was supposed to be breathing. Pulling in a sharp breath through flared nostrils, Baelin hefted a bit more. Up and up the carriage went until the driver was able to pull his leg out.

“Down, easy!”

Down wasn’t necessarily any easier than up. Veins stood out in relief against corded muscle, his thighs and calves burned with the strain, and his lower black flared in protest. But the carriage went down slowly enough. And when the edge was once again near the ground, Baelin pulled his hands free and took a step back.

The man who’d pulled him out of the carriage exchanged words with the injured driver before helping him up and directing at Baelin, “Could ya assess the damage? I’ll be back with my tools to help out.”

Baelin gave a short nod and watched them go before turning back to the carriage. Surveying the damage, he confirmed that the right front wheel had come clean off. It was currently laying a short distance off on its own. The thing had likely broken free during one of the sharp turns needed to get around all these trees. That said, even with sharp turns it shouldn’t have come off. Some part of its connection was likely damaged or broken. And if you put the wheel back on without correcting whatever had failed, you were dooming yourself to another tipped carriage.

That wasn’t the only thing… Baelin walked around the back corner of the carriage, where the right rear wheel was still pinned underneath the weight of it. While it hadn’t likely been damaged before the carriage tipped, there was no guarantee that it would still be good to go once they got it back upright. The fall may very well have splintered or broken some part of the larger rear wheel.

But that was another bridge to be crossed when they got to it. The front wheel came first. Baelin crouched down next to the exposed axle and tried to see if anything looked amiss. But the beam looked fine to him. Though, admittedly, Baelin was no wheelwright. Sure, they often came to a smithy for their metal needs, but that didn’t equate to Baelin having any practical experience with putting together a carriage himself.

The tapered end of the axle, where the wheel would slide onto, was buried in the soil and out of sight. Perhaps whatever had gone wrong would make itself apparent when they raised it. Baelin sat back on his heels and tried to figure out a good way to get the thing upright with what they had available. A lever, perhaps, with something large slid underneath to hold it up. Or maybe someone had a jack they could lend. That would certainly make life easier.

Noticing the bearded man’s approach, Baelin rose to his feet and suggested, “I think it besst to get it upright. Hard to do much with it like thiss.”

OOCIf you want a different kind of break or think I got something wrong, let me know.

References :
M.T. Richardson (Vol.1, 1891) on Lost Crafts, Repairing wheels with Criticisms and Suggestions. LostCrafts.com

HansenWheel, Replacing Old Wagon Wheels with New Wheels at HWWS. Youtube.

George Sturt, The Wheelwright’s Shop. 1923. Google Books, 1963. Pages 135-40.
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Karyk on June 11th, 2017, 3:26 am

Karyk strode back to the collapsed carriage, most of the original helpers gone, with just the large guy that helped him earlier remaining. Listening as the man gave his suggestion at getting it upright, Karyk couldn't help but notice the strange accent on the 'S' sounds. What an odd accent. Knowing that wasn't Syliran nor Zeltivan, Karyk couldn't help but wonder where it was from. But it mattered not. What mattered was the job in front of them.

Karyk nodded, "Right." He slapped the man on the back of the shoulder with an open palm, "I'm Karyk by the way." With that brief introduction out of the way, he set down his pack and stood back from the carriage, surveying the best way to get it up. With just the two of them, it would be slow, arduous work. They wouldn't be able to lift it straight up. They'd have to wedge, lever, and prop it up. Karyk looked around, seeing a couple of stout trees nearby, and an idea formed. But they were going to need to gather some supplies first.

Karyk quickly gathered a large handful of sticks from around the tree, breaking them into about the same lengths. He then moved around to the exposed bottom of the carriage, trying to figure out where the high wheels might landed when coming down. Moving quickly back to his kits, he grabbed his cloth measuring tape. Bent down in the wheel bays, he stretched it from wheel to wheel. Then taking that same measurement, he stretched from the edge of the downed wheel out into the dirt. He put a mark a few inches further than that and stood up. He then stabbed a line of sticks a foot apart in a line at that distance into the dirt.

"Yeah, tha' oughta do 'er," he muttered to himself quietly.

Twelve sticks long. One for a lever. Two control ropes. Two jack stop logs. Several slabs of prop wood. This was very doable. He had enough rope, and the tools for making the proper supplies. Looking over at the man after doing all this figuring, "We're gonna need to go get some wood. Twelve logs, fore arm width, leg length. We'll sharpen 'em on one end, poun' 'em into the groun' where I marked. Gonna need one thigh width, 'ead height long. Two or three stumpies, thigh height and width. Scraps will be our props."

He pulled out his hatchet, half hatchet, his carpenter's axe, and both coils of rope. Looking over at the man, "Ya wanna chop 'em down, or chop 'em up?" He offered the hatchet if he'd chose to chop the trees down; the half hatchet and carpenter's axe for carving them up.
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Baelin Holt on June 14th, 2017, 6:02 pm

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Baelin swayed slightly when the man slapped him on the back, not braced for the friendly gesture. Recognizing the introduction for what it was, Baelin returned quietly, “Baelin.” The man, Karyk, then seemed to conduct his own survey before going about and collecting sticks. Baelin watched him with a curious eye, not quite sure what he was doing. But Karyk moved with a purpose, breaking his collected sticks into what looked like roughly even lengths.

It would seem that the stranger had some expertise in things like this. Whether that was because he had been caravanning longer than Baelin or because of some other related experience, Baelin didn’t know. He supposed it didn’t matter. What did matter was that Karyk definitely seemed to have a plan in mind. He measured the length between wheels with a practiced ease, placed marks, and used the broken sticks in what appeared to be another sort of length marking technique.

The gears looked to be whirring in the man’s eyes, a plan unseen to Baelin evidently laying itself out in front of Karyk. Baelin kept his mouth shut, knowing full well how aggravating it could be to have someone interrupt you while working. And then the man turned to him and said they’d need wood. A dozen rather large logs, sharpened to a point and stabbed into the ground like stakes. Baelin scanned the sticks already thrust into the ground in even increments and began to get an inkling of what the stranger had in mind.

Karyk continued his list, stating the need for another even larger log as well as a couple of stumps. Baelin was less sure what Karyk had in mind for these, but he imagined he’d see soon enough.

“Ya wanna chop ‘em down, or chop ‘em up?”

Baelin recalled the frustration he experienced the last time he tried to chop a log into shape. And, with a grimace, he remembered just how bad he had been at it. Jagged edges, the wrong length, and lopsided; he imagined it’d be hard to do it any worse. “Chop them down,” Baelin answered, not eager to have a repeat of his past failure.

Accepting the proffered hatchet, Baelin surveyed the surrounding trees. First trick was to pick a good one. The second trick, which he figured tied quite a bit into that first one, was to get it to fall safely and cleanly. Rubbing his thumb against the hatchet’s handle, Baelin took a moment to wonder if he had made a bad decision. Perhaps hacking logs into pieces would have been wiser.

Stop being a baby, he scolded himself. If he chose a tree far enough away from the caravan, then the worst he’d do was crush himself with it. While it was hardly desirable, one crushed half-Dhani wouldn’t be the end of the world. Grinding his teeth, Baelin picked his way past knobby roots to such a tree.

Now how to go about getting the damned thing down? Baelin supposed that if he took a giant chunk out of one of its sides, its own weight hovering over the gap may cause it to snap and fall. Perhaps he’d have to cut the opposite side a bit to give it a little push in falling. He would have to see when he got there.

The tree was far enough away that even if Baelin screwed up and it fell straight back towards the carriages, it should still fall short. But still…Baelin moved to the side of the tree opposite the caravan, intending to have it fall the other way. Just in case. Scanning the surrounding area, Baelin wondered if it’d be possible to get it down cleanly at all. The neighboring branches stretched out in seemingly all directions. The tree’s travel down to the ground looked like it would be a maze no matter which way he tried to aim.

Picking what he figured was the best angle he was going to get, Baelin pulled the hatchet back and swung it down into the trunk. The blade bit into the bark and Baelin had to give it a little yank to pull it out. Doing this one handed was going to be unpleasant, he realized. Sure, Baelin was quite adept with one-handed swings. But most blacksmithing strikes (when using a short handle like this) were relatively light hits on the metal. For heavy strikes, when you wanted red hot steel to deform quickly, you’d use a two-handed sledgehammer. A long handled ax would likely be the comparable tool here; then he could get a proper grip with both hands and really bring the blade down with some force. Yet a hatchet was what he had, so a hatchet was what he’d use.

Baelin struck the trunk again, cutting down into its bark at a sharp angle, then yanked the hatchet back without pause. He swung down again, the hatchet biting into his previous mark and scouring deeper into the trunk. And again. And again. And again. He only had about a finger’s length cut sliced into the trunk, but already it was getting harder to drive the hatchet in. Aiming lower than his first cut, Baelin swung the hatchet down in an attempt to clear out the sliver of wood above. As he progressed further into the tree, wooden debris started to fly off in every which way. At first Baelin thought it no worse than sparks. A minor irritant, but easy to ignore. However, he quickly realized that woodchips were far more irritating than sparks. Baelin had to momentarily stop his assault on the trunk to blink his vision clear. Damn woodchip caught him in the eye.

Glancing up from the flayed bark, Baelin looked to Karyk. The man was the one who had possessed the hatchet to begin with; perhaps he knew how to do this better than a blacksmith fumbling his way through. Asking for help had never been a strong suit of Baelin’s, but this was not the time to let his pride get the better of him. “Any advice?”
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Karyk on June 25th, 2017, 7:22 pm

Karyk nodded, and handed the hatchet to the man. He took his half hatchet and carving axe and belted them both, standing fully now. Watching Baelin approach a tree, Karyk eyeballed it closely. The leaves had many points on them, in three distinct sections. And mingled in with them, were the seed casings, which when they fell, would spin comically to the ground. And with its green leaves, Karyk was almost certain this was a sugar maple tree. A fine choice for the work they needed done, and leftover lumber would be great to work with.

Hearing the first chop, bouncing dully off the tree, Karyk could tell this man wasn't experienced in the practice. But it didn't take much to learn to fell a tree, in its most simplest of forms at least. Karyk left him to it as he pushed into the tree line, looking for any dead fall that could be of use.

Eyes flitted along the ground as he moved the brush, looking for large branches, fallen logs, or stumps to indicate either being nearby. He kicked at brush, looked around bushes, kicked up ivy, scouring for anything. And then at the base of a tree, he found it. A large log, slightly newer looking it seemed, from the white flesh showing and a lack of plant growth, sat there ready for the taking.

Karyk heard a slight buzzing nearby, seeing a bee flit around the log. He wasn't concerned, after all, it was just one bee. Putting one boot atop the log, Karyk rocked it back and forth a bit, to gauge its weight. He found it a lot lighter than expected. Was it hollow? He rolled it toward him some more, when several objects shot up into the air with a very angry buzzing. Karyk immediately realized his mistake.

That was no bee. It was a hornet.

Immediately Karyk turned and ran back to camp, having no desire to get stung a bunch. He knew people who'd died from that. Arms pumping, Karyk skirted around a tree, and barrelled through a brush. It didn't take long for the large man's breath to grow ragged, nor for his weight to take a sudden lurch downward. Foot having caught on a root, Karyk found himself slammed hard into the ground, knocking what little breath he had out of him. Pulling his foot free, Karyk quickly pushed himself up, swearing loudly, as he felt the first sting on his forearm. "Petch off ya shykes!"

He eventually made it back to the overturned carriage, whipping his shirt off and shaking it, turning to see if he was still being followed. He had a handful of stings on his arms, and was red in the face, and chest heaving. The few hornets that had been entangled in his shirt were thrown to the ground and stopped. It seemed the majority either didn't follow him or turn back.

His forearms burned, and he was angry. He sat down and pulled out his carving axe, remembering a trick his dad had taught him. Holding the axe at a flat angle, he slowly, carefully brushed the dull side toward and over the first sting. This pulled the stinger free, and while it bled a little, at least got it out. He repeated this process several times, and was very much annoyed when it was done.

Finally he decided to go check on the lumberjack. Karyk meandered over to where the man was at work, and just in time it seemed as the man was seeking advice. Karyk saw the wood chips all over his face and chuckled lightly. The joke had worked, just as it had on him when his father had played it. Smiling, he undid his axe bundle once more, he grabbed his woodcutting axe, and stood next to the tree.

Still laughing, "Migh' 'elp to 'ave the righ' tool."

He looked at the man's cut. His angle was a bit steep. Karyk stood back from the tree, feet beneath his shoulders, left hand over his right as he gripped it. He swung it back and up over his shoulder, twisting at the torso and hips. Once coiled, he unsnapped it, and swung it down and hard, hitting it at about a forty-five degree angle, and watched as it bit deep into the man's already started cut.

"Keep at tha' cut 'til 'bout 'alfway through. Then do a smaller cut above it on other side to make it fall away from ya."

Karyk stepped back, still smiling from his joke, to continue watching the man.
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Baelin Holt on July 6th, 2017, 5:09 pm

The first thing Baelin noticed was that Karyk, for some reason, was laughing at him. The second was that he already had an ax, which was no small measure annoying. Why the petch had Baelin been struggling with the hatchet in the first place if he already had an ax? And then he noticed that the man looked out of breath. His frustration with the first two faded as he surveyed him. Karyk looked disheveled, as if he had been chased back here. Red faced, a bit out of breath, and with swollen points on his arm… but lacking any of the urgency that would suggest he was still in trouble.

It would seem that whatever threat had transpired was over. Deciding to leave it be, Baelin took a step back to allow Karyk through. The man was still laughing when he told Baelin that it would help to have the right tool.

Well no shyke, he wanted to snap back. It felt like he was the butt of some joke here. Yet before his indignation could work up to something hotter, Karyk was taking position at the tree. Baelin watched as the man swung the ax up and over his shoulder before expertly twisting his body around and driving it deep. It was the swing of a man who had felled a tree before. Petch, forget a tree. It was the swing of a man who cut the things for a living. Should have stuck with chopping them up.

No matter. Baelin was nothing if not stubborn. He accepted the ax from Karyk and got back in position. The other man’s angle was much less steep than his has been; the angled strike would be new for the blacksmith. The instructions, however, seemed simple enough: get the angled cut halfway through the trunk, then a smaller cut above it on the opposite side. He could do this. Baelin imitated Karyk’s stance, though he swapped where his hands gripped. Left hand near the bottom of the handle and right hand above it. Imitation or no, he didn’t think he could manage a decent swing the other way around.

Pulling the ax back, Baelin wiggled his heels into the ground to get them better planted. He tried twisting his hip like the lumberjack had done, but he didn’t think he had it quite right. Or, if he did, then it simply felt strange. Figuring he’d focus more on accuracy, Baelin didn’t put the same explosion of power into his strike as Karyk had. This first strike was slower – the swing too controlled – and didn’t go far into the trunk. But it struck where he had wanted it to and the angle seemed about right.

Baelin took a few more swings like that. Slow, overly controlled, and hardly effective. But with each swing he felt he was getting a better idea of how this worked. Feeling a bit more comfortable, he took in a larger breath the next time he pulled the ax back. Digging his heels in, Baelin pulled his hips back before snapping them forward in a fast and hard swing. It was a bit off, so he made his mental correction and tried again. Better, but not perfect. Rolling his shoulders, he pulled in another breath before releasing it fast through his next swing. And there we go. That one was good. Next swing felt just as right as that one had.

Now that he had his swing, he was rolling. Getting through half of the trunk was now just a matter of tedium, and Baelin did love tedium. There’s nothing quite like sinking into a repetitive, physical task. Clears your mind, giving you a break from having to really think. Since the start of the caravan, Baelin had woefully few of these days. While sitting in a carriage for days on end was admittedly still tedious, it was of an entirely different sort.

Falling into a rhythm, Baelin continued his task of pulling ax and hips back, then snapping both forward. The ax drove deeper into the trunk and, now that he had a rhythm going, came back out more easily. As he progressed deeper, he could feel the burn in his arms from the new swing. Muscles he wasn’t accustomed to working likely getting more than they bargained for. Despite himself, Baelin felt a small smile creeping up.

By the time Baelin got halfway through the trunk, he was breathing hard and as red-faced as Karyk had been. There was a tremor running through his arms if he bothered to pay attention to it, but more than anything he felt that exhausted euphoria of a good workout. The trunk now looked to have a massive notch in it, and Baelin figured it was about time to try that smaller cut higher up on the opposite side.

Moving around the trunk, he took his position and started to work on the smaller notch. Baelin drove the ax in much as he had on the other side, with a bit of adjustment for the higher spot. Swing after swing, he managed to get it a good distance in. But the tree made no move to fall. Baelin paused to catch his breath and wipe sweat from his brow. Damp hair caught in his eyes and he shook his head to clear it. A bit further then. He continued swinging right up until he heard the brittle crack of splintering wood.

Backpedaling quickly, Baelin tried to get out of the path of both of the notches. He was not at all willing to bet on having done it right. Looking about, he tried to spot where Karyk was. Baelin imagined the man was clever enough to be out of the way, but if he wasn’t then Baelin would shout a warning. This wasn’t the lumberjack’s day to die. He still had a wheel to fix and caravan to lead.
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Baelin Holt
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Karyk on July 10th, 2017, 10:18 pm

Karyk went back into the woods, in a different direction from where he'd encountered those petching bees. Pushing through the brush, Karyk slipped his shirt back on, because nothing hurt worse than branch of briars catching on a nipple, and no one wanted that. Coming around a particularly mossy and thick tree, the shipwright's eyes fell on something promising. There standing like a shattered sword, was half a tree. Specifically the lower half.

Walking over to it, Karyk could now see black streaks running through it like the blood in his arms. Touching them, he found black soot upon his fingers, rubbing them together, interested in the chalky feel. He suspected this was Zulrav's doing. He'd heard of such things happening to ships, but had never gotten to see it. When Zulrav and Laviku wrestled, lightning struck and burned anything in its path. He tried to remember the ship he'd heard about, a Syliran sloop he thought, the Shield Maiden or some other ridiculous name from the knights. Lightning had struck her main mast and it splintered and fell, essentially crippling the ship. Not much could be done to avoid such a disaster, aside from not sailing through a storm, but that wasn't always a choice.

Moving around to the other side of the tree, Karyk found the top half. It had been fallen for a while, all of its leaves browned and most fallen off. It would do well for what he needed. Grabbing his carving axe from his belt, Karyk knelt next to the fallen tree. With his left hand he grabbed a branch, and with his right began chopping down at it, right where it joined at the trunk. The wood was nice and dry and the branches came off easily. As each branch separated, Karyk tossed it aside into a growing pile of the twiggy debris.

Chop, chop, chop, Karyk worked up one side of the tree, stopping to wipe his brow and catch his breath. Looking up ahead of him, he saw a scout watching him, a woman named Marsha who smiled and waved. He didn't know much about her, she'd joined with the other Sylirans, but she had seemed nice. And Karyk noticed that she kept staring at him a lot. It was odd. The man smiled and waved back, and the scout went about her patrol, casting a glance back over her shoulder at him before disappearing through the trees.

Karyk finished chopping off the branches from the tree and pulled the coil of rope from his belt. He sat atop the log, near the end of it and fed one end of the rope beneath it, wrapping it just behind two nubs left from his chopping. He tied a quick bowline and belted his axe. He then wrapped the rope over his shoulder. Karyk began wrapping around his tricep and his palm, leaving just a bit to spare, which he took in his other hand. He leaned into the rope, and began driving his boots hard into the dirt. The log only moved an inch or so, and Karyk grunted, pushing forward steadily. Karyk set his back into, powered his thighs forward and downward as the log began to move steadily.

Karyk twisted his hands on the rope to get a better grip, and he tightened his back and stomach muscles. Karyk churned his legs as he made slow pace, dragging the log over the rocky soil. Pushing through, he tried to take the most direct route, plowing through the sides of bushes that he might normally go around. Just as he broke through the tree line, still huffing and puffing, a crack snapped through the air, and Karyk saw the tree Baelin had been working on tremble. It began falling forward, and Karyk's eyes grew wide as it slammed to the ground, a particularly large branch missing him by half an arm's reach.

"Oy petcher! Try 'ollerin' next time, damn!"

Karyk threw down the rope, hot in the face, and stormed over to Baelin. Eyes angry, he got right up in Baelin's face, "Ya coulda got someone killed!" And with that, the shipwright shoved at Baelin's chest hard. "'ow petchin' dense can ya be? Huh? Wha' idjit don't give a 'eads up!"
Follow your heart, and the plot will follow.
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Rock Me Mama Like A Wagon Wheel (Baelin Holt)

Postby Baelin Holt on July 16th, 2017, 6:57 pm

If there was one thing Baelin could pride himself on, it was his awareness of space and ability to gauge distance. It was a critical skill to have for a blacksmith; and whether it was from a lifetime in a smithy or some sort of innate talent, he had it in spades. So when the tree started to come down and he spotted Karyk off in the distance, Baelin was confident that it’d miss him.

What he hadn’t been counting on, however, was how enraged the man would be about having not had a proper warning. Regardless of whether Baelin was in the wrong or not, he wasn’t about to roll over and accept some petcher getting in his face like that. Baelin glared down at him, lip twitching with his growing scowl.

And then Karyk shoved him. This man got in his face, roared about how petchin’ dense he was, and then shoved him.

Well petch that shyke. Baelin shoved his left hand against the center of Karyk’s chest just as hard. Recognizing he was still holding the ax in his right, Baelin had a brief fraction of a tick where he considered using it. But injured pride did not warrant the perverse thought; Baelin stamped the urge down and tossed the ax to the side.

Hands now free, Baelin figured this was as good a time as any to show Karyk just how dense he was. Digging his back heel down, he spared only a tick to coil himself before lunging forward. Charging more like a bull than a man, Baelin rammed the fleshy part of his shoulder into Karyk’s torso.

He fully intended to knock him down and rain blows from above. Or knock him down and get dragged with him – that’d work too. Baelin wouldn’t mind wrapping an arm around the petcher’s throat. Truth be told, Baelin didn’t care how this went down. He wasn’t a good enough fighter to actually know what was a smart play here. Shyke, he was inexperienced enough that he was probably going to get his ass pummeled himself. Regardless… What he did know was that he wasn’t going to let some stranger walk all over him.
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