[Training] I Shot an Arrow in the Air

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This northernmost city is the home of Morwen, The Goddess of Winter, and her followers who dwell year round in a land of frozen wonder. [Lore]

[Training] I Shot an Arrow in the Air

Postby Siana Skyglow on April 21st, 2010, 4:30 pm

Day 48 of Spring, 510 AV
Archery training (self-mod)

Siana was deathly bored. Yesterday, most of the men from Skyglow Hold had embarked on yet another whaling expedition. Spring was always a fruitful yet dangerous season for hunters, when the prospect of young animals made for tempting prey but also over-protective mothers. Thus, at least in Skyglow Hold, they tended to take the most skilled and experienced whalers they could find on a springtime expedition to minimize injuries and mishaps during the ever-hazardous process of harpooning a whale and bringing it to shore.

Unfortunately, this sensible scheme left Siana with very little in the way of company this afternoon. Her father and eldest brother, Ivian, had both gone on the whaling expedition, as Siana had expected. What she hadn't expected was that, as soon as they were gone, her mother and second-eldest brother Selian immediately vanished into the family workshop to collaborate on a present they had been planning to present to them upon their return. Siana hadn't even heard about it before. The sight of them busily working together with chisels and picks on some masterpiece she could hardly comprehend, let alone assist with, had stirred familiar feelings of exclusion and resentment in Siana's heart. Never one to keep still for long, she had stared forlornly at the closed door for only a minute before donning her cloak and heading out to seek more congenial company.

One by one she sought out her girl friends from the Hold; they were always good for gossip and games, especially after the work was done. To her disappointment and chagrin, though, nearly every friend was busy spending time with prospective husbands or devising strategies for attracting them. Still very much a child at heart, Siana often forgot that she and her friends were now of marriageable age. It wouldn't have been so bad if only they'd been more lighthearted about the whole business of getting married. Instead, they all acted so serious about catching a desirable husband, which made Siana feel depressed and grumpy.

It was the word "desirable" that did it, she thought. It made it sound like they weren't trying to catch a man they actually desired, only one that other people would consider worthy of desire. Siana couldn't understand why they wanted to find a husband so badly when they weren't even seventeen. Marriage was a good thing, of course, and she certainly planned to marry someday too, but not right this instant.

With a sigh of dismay, she decided to go for a walk outside, wondering if she could find someone levelheaded and amusing to talk to somewhere. For a moment, before she could stop herself, Siana found herself missing Aneira terribly. The older girl who had been her friend for years had left for Syliras only this winter. After her, Siana wondered if she knew any others who could be trusted not to have lost their wits over a man.

Without even consulting her brain, Siana's feet started heading toward the stables. She grinned as she realized why. A few weeks ago, she had taken riding lessons in her spare time from a stablehand named Kiali, a boy a year older than she was. He had been mocking, sarcastic and infuriating, but he had been a good teacher and listener. She really ought to drop in and see how he was doing.

When she arrived at the stables, though, Kiali wasn't anywhere in sight. "It's his day off," the stableboy she randomly accosted informed her. "If he's not at home sleeping, you can probably find him at the archery range. I've never seen such a maniac for shooting arrows at sacks."

"The archery range?" Siana repeated blankly. "Kiali is an archer?"

"Well, he certainly wants to be. He talks about nothing but learning horse archery day and night," the boy replied. He paused and looked Siana over. "Say, are you one of the girls he's courting?"

The last word hadn't even left his mouth before Siana turned on him, her eyes a baleful olive-green that blazed with displeasure. For all that she was several inches shorter than him, the boy instinctively took a step backward. "No," she growled. "I'm not getting married, I don't want to get married, and I don't want to hear anymore about being married for the rest of the day!"

She took a deep breath, willing herself to calmness. Slowly, her eyes faded to a tranquil indigo hue, and she added in a more ordinary tone, "Thanks for telling me. You've been a great help."

With that, Siana whirled around and stalked off toward the archery range. Even before she had reached the fence marking off the range, she could hear the swish and whisper of the arrows in midflight and the thwack as they hit the targets or buried themselves in the snow. Judging from the shouts, a great many arrows were doing the latter. Siana thought she recognized Kiali's voice amid the shouting and hurried up to the fence to watch.

Beyond the fence, over a dozen archers were standing behind a line marked in red paint over the snow. They were lined up so that their arrows flew parallel to the fence where Siana stood watching, with a few feet of space between each archer to protect somewhat against wayward arrows. Most of them were young men of assorted shapes and sizes, from plump to muscular to skinny, but she was surprised and pleased to see a few women also testing their skill with a bow and arrow. Targets with red-and-blue circles had been set up at varying distances from the archers. Most of them were about 25 to 30 yards from their respective shooter, but Siana saw a female archer aiming at a target a hundred yards away, the farthest one in the range. Unable to help herself, Siana laughed and clapped in admiration as the woman loosed a fine shot that arced skyward and then plunged near the center of her target.

Hearing her voice, Kiali and several others looked up. The stablehand waved when he spotted her and ambled over to greet her, still carrying his bow in one hand. "Hello there," he called as soon as he was in earshot. "You're that girl with the Konti story, um…Sierra, was it? What brings you here today?"

"It's Siana, silly," she told him with mock annoyance, sticking her tongue out at him. "I thought I should drop by and see how you were doing. Now that you're not teaching me horseback riding, I thought you must be languishing with nothing to do!"

He chuckled, his eyes rippling to that familiar brilliant green. "Far from it," he replied. "I've been working on my shooting. Remember how I told you I always wanted to be a great hunter?"

"Oh yes!" Siana exclaimed, as the memory of a conversation during a riding lesson came back to her. "I said I'd follow you along, so that I could tell your stories afterward."

Kiali rolled his eyes. "Uh-huh. Well, as you can see, the teacher has become the student. I'm not the worst archer out here, but I've still got a long way to go before I'm anywhere near as good as Isiarra."

"Is that the woman who's shooting at the farthest target?" Siana asked, leaning forward and resting her elbows on the fence.

"Yes. She's a genius," Kiali declared simply. "Anyway, what are you really doing out here, Siana?"

"Oh," Siana murmured, taking her eyes off the female archer. She looked up at him pitiably. "Well, I was just….well, to be honest, I was just looking for some good company. Someone to talk to. I'm kind of at loose ends today, and there's no one around that has time for me."

Kiali regarded her in silence for a moment, clearly torn between feeling obligated to keep her company and wanting to continue his archery practice. His face lit up when he finally thought of a compromise. "Here, why don't I introduce you to Isiarra? She should be taking a break soon, and you definitely seem to admire her a lot. Climb over that fence and I'll take you to her. If you're lucky, maybe she'll even agree to teach you some of what she knows."

"Me? Learn archery?" Siana squeaked, looking astonished at both the offer and the idea. Even as she protested, though, she was already hooking her boots on the fence rungs and nimbly climbing over. Kiali grinned down at her as she landed beside him in the snow.

"Why not?" he replied, motioning for her to follow him. "Everyone should know one way to defend themselves, at least, and archery is one of those skills where a woman can be just as good as a man, or better. Besides, you're too scrawny. You need something to muscle you up and make you look less like a tiny girl doll."

Siana swiped at him playfully as she hurried to keep up with his long strides. Just as she'd predicted, she was feeling better just talking to someone sensible and funny. "Just for that, if she's willing to take me, I'm going to work hard and become a better archer than you ever will!" she cried, laughing at him.

"If she's willing to take you, then you'll owe me a favor for introducing you to her," Kiali answered. "I might even demand another story in payment."

She thought about it for a moment as they approached the place where the female archer, Isiarra, was now carefully unstringing her bow. "We'll see," Siana said at last. "We'll see what happens."
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Siana Skyglow
Fire and ice
Posts: 62
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Joined roleplay: February 18th, 2010, 11:49 am
Location: Avanthal
Race: Human, Vantha
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