Solo [Seawind's Solace] Give it Another Shot

Anais plays with rocks

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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[Seawind's Solace] Give it Another Shot

Postby Anais Seawind on September 3rd, 2018, 1:45 am

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24th of Fall
10th Bell

The small piece of wood had traveled unnoticed in a corner of the casinor for years, a surprising remnant of her past life rediscovered as she was moving her belongings from sea to land. It lay now on the deck of the casinor, dislodged at some point and waiting to be picked up once more. Anais stared down at the slingshot, allowing the memories to run their course, pleasantly surprised to find that the old pain that usually accompanied them was no more than a lingering twinge of melancholy. She stooped to pluck the weapon up, face softening as she recalled the first time she’d held it – Irissa had helped her select the wooden branch, teaching her to whittle away at it until it fit comfortably in her hand, and then forcing her to hunt for more pebbles and rocks than she could count to use as ammunition.

The Benshiran-turned-Svefra had then, between fits of laughter, shown Anais the basics of the weapon. Anais had struggled with it, as Rissa had with the cutlass, but the two persisted whenever the pod anchored on land. The lessons played in her mind as she turned the timeworn handle in her hand, enjoying the familiar feel of it. She’d never really mastered the weapon, treating it as a game – after she’d left her pod, it had been abandoned completely, along with much of the life she’d known. As she held it now, remembering without sorrow, she wondered if any of what the other girl had taught her still remained, locked away somewhere, waiting for her to pick up the sling again.

“One way to find out,” she murmured; the more she thought about it, the more the idea appealed to her. A sling could be handy in Syka; it wouldn’t kill a big threat, if she were to run across one, but if she could use it, a rock from the slingshot might be enough to scare away smaller problems.

Unwrapping the cord from the shaft of the slingshot, she absently tugged it back, recalling the familiar weight of a pebble in the pocket, the feel of the snap as it released, sailing away on the air. The movements were slow but familiar, and Anais tried it again, this time holding the slingshot up, taking aim at a spot on the distant horizon, where water met sky. She pulled on the leather pocket, empty at the moment, and squinted a bit as she aimed. When the springy cord that secured the pouch to the wood of the weapon snapped, she nearly launched the small weapon overboard in surprised dismay.

Staring down at the dangling bits of slingshot in her hand, the humor suddenly hit her. For the first time in many seasons, a laugh bubbled up from her throat. The sound was rusty, awkward to her ears, and carried more than amusement. She felt, rather than heard, a shifting snap of emotion – a breaking much like that of the slingshot, the sorrow she’d carried somehow shifting until it was no longer the razor-sharp pain of loss that had plagued her for so many years. With a new lightness of heart, Anais set herself the task of finding a replacement cord, eager now to put her memories to use and see what she could still do with the slingshot.

WC 555
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Last edited by Anais Seawind on September 3rd, 2018, 1:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Anais Seawind
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[Seawind's Solace] Give it Another Shot

Postby Anais Seawind on September 3rd, 2018, 1:47 am

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After a search of several chimes, she found what she was looking for in her sail repair kit: a small ball of twine that had been created from some sort of sap – all she knew about the process she had learned from her podsister, Irissa. Anais had used the stretchy cord to secure particularly necessary knots in her rigging, finding the elasticity would compress the rope together, making the knots less likely to pull apart. But it was roughly the same size as the now-broken slingshot cord, and the Svefra was sure it would be a good substitute.

Taking the cord and the broken sling, Anais walked the short distance from her casinor to her new building, currently a disorganized collection of nearly all her possessions. After a few chimes spent digging through her assorted belongings, she located her eating knife and began to pick out the knots that held the old cord in place on its wooden shaft. The twine was cracked and fell apart easily, small bits falling to the floor as she worked. Age and salty air had worked their magic on the material, rendering it entirely useless, and stiffening the leather ammunition pouch – at least that will soften up again with use, she thought. With the former cord in pieces, she had nothing to gauge the length of new cord she needed. Instead, she eyeballed the distance she thought looked close, and used the small knife to make her cut, separating a piece of cord as long as her arm from the main ball.

A lifetime of tying knots came in handy; as she tied off the first end with a bowline knot, the same knot she used to attach lines to the head of her sails. It was tight, made more so by the elastic property of the cord, and Anais gave it a hard tug to test its hold. When the knot didn’t move, she picked up the leather ammo pouch and began to thread the cord through the first hole and around the back of the piece of leather. It was stiff, and the cord ran behind it before threading up through the hole at the other side. Tying the other end with a similar bowline knot, Anais inspected her slingshot again.

Holding the slingshot up once more, she took aim with her phantom ammo; pulling the leather back, she frowned. The piece was off-center, and needed adjustment. It was a quick matter to slide the bit of leather to a more centered location; after a few more test pulls, the pouch felt centered and Anais smiled to herself. It was a small accomplishment, out of proportion with the amount of pride she felt at having managed it. Still, as she walked down the dock toward the beach, she allowed herself to enjoy the moment. A few chimes spent collecting rocks to shoot, and she could test her memory and her repair skills.


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[Seawind's Solace] Give it Another Shot

Postby Anais Seawind on September 3rd, 2018, 1:48 am

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The slingshot rested comfortably at the small of her back, tucked into her waistband as though it had been made for the spot, unnoticeable as she moved slowly over the sand. Eyes cast downward, she scanned the shoreline as she walked, trying to recall the lessons she’d barely paid attention to in her youth. Hold the slingshot in your strong hand. The fingers of her right hand flexed automatically as she thought about it. Turn your body sideways. That rule hadn’t made sense when she’d learned it, but had stuck with her just the same. Rissa had insisted that you couldn’t shoot a slingshot accurately facing your target straight on. Take your time and use both petchin’ eyes! A soft snort escaped at the last rule, her mind thought it in a perfect imitation of Rissa’s exasperated tone. Anais had been a stubborn student, more prone to jokes and laughter than the art of firing a slingshot, and the other girl had been hard-pressed to get her to pay attention.

“Well, Rissa, I guess I learned a bit more than we both thought, hm?” The murmured words held a hint of sadness, but nothing like the pressing, consuming sorrow that she’d grown accustomed to. The absence of it caught her by surprise, causing her to stumble a bit before she resumed her steady search.

The beach was rocky, there was no shortage of ammunition to be found, but Anais was looking for stones that fit the specific requirements she’d been taught years ago: small enough to fit snugly in the leather pouch, large enough to do some damage, and as round and uniform as possible. The beach was a good place to search, she found; the wind and water and sand scraped away at the rocks, leaving smooth-sided projectiles of all sizes behind, and it wasn’t long before she had collected as many as she could carry.

Now, what to aim for? The obvious answer was the treeline, the various trunks and vines growing along the border of beach and jungle would be an easy target. Anais dropped the rocks she’d collected into a pile near her feet, holding one back for the slingshot. The smooth, roughly round shape of the stone slipped into the leather pouch; though there was little flexibility in the leather now, Anais pinched it around the stone, holding it secure between the fingers and thumb of her left hand. Picking a tree at random, some 30 feet from where she stood, Anais positioned herself as she remembered being taught, sideways to the target, arms at shoulder height, and drew back the leather pouch. The cord stretched taut, and Anais held it for a moment, hoping her knots would hold, before narrowing her eyes to focus on the tree in front of her.

As she readied herself to release the stone, a bird flew from the green interior; its presence startled her and reminded her of one other important lesson. A slingshot may look like a toy, but it’s a weapon just like yer cutlass. Don’t aim it at something alive unless you want that something to be dead. Rissa’s voice in her memory was stern this time, and as serious as it ever got. The Benshiran had held life in high regard and would not have approved of Anais’ plan to just shoot stones randomly. Out of practice and with an untried weapon, she was as likely to miss the tree entirely, perhaps injuring or killing one of the many creatures living in the greenery. Anais lowered her weapon and looked around for a more suitable target.

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[Seawind's Solace] Give it Another Shot

Postby Anais Seawind on September 3rd, 2018, 1:49 am

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Turning her back to the jungle, Anais decided a more fitting aim for her small rocks might just be a larger rock. Near the dock, a pile of them had been deposited during the construction process, and Anais studied the assorted shapes and sizes there. The topmost one on the stack was an easy choice for what she had in mind, and she bent to heft it up, glad of the weight in her hand – if she did happen to hit it, it would likely not get knocked into the water easily. It was more than twice the size of her fist, flat-bottomed and green in places with algae that had not yet dried to a crispy brown in the sun. She set it atop one of the poles sticking out of the water, turning it and shifting it until it no longer wobbled at the top of the pole supporting the dock.

Satisfied with her solution, she walked back to her small pile of rocks and loaded her slingshot once more, this time aiming out toward the water, where far fewer things would be endangered by her target practice. The leather pouch holding the rock flexed just a bit more, the repeated movement loosening the stiff hide slightly. She would probably have to replace the pouch if she wanted to keep using the weapon, but for now the old leather would work well enough.

Her right arm stretched out fully, the prongs of the slingshot pointed upward; Anais squinted, fighting the urge to close one eye as she centered the rock-topped-pole between them. With her left hand, she pulled back again on the leather pouch, stretching her replaced cord again as she re-centered the rock in front of her. Pulling the pouch back had moved her other arm as well, and as she was getting ready to release the pouch, hopefully sending the rock within it speeding toward her target, she found her aim had changed yet again. Huffing in mild frustration, she forced herself to use slower movements, pulling back and then releasing the pouch at last.

Listening for the telltale sound of rock hitting rock, Anais was both disappointed and unsurprised to hear instead a splash to the side of her target. Even when she and Rissa had practiced regularly, her aim had been consistently bad; looking back, she could only hope that was due to her lack of focus and attention. Picking up another rock, she readied herself for another try.

Before aiming, Anais took a few seconds to review the few tips she could remember and almost immediately found a problem: she turned her body sideways, so that she was no longer directly facing the pole and rock, and dropped the new ammunition in the leather pouch of her slingshot.

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[Seawind's Solace] Give it Another Shot

Postby Anais Seawind on September 3rd, 2018, 1:50 am

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The next shot was no better than the first, as far as Anais could tell; it plopped into the water somewhere to the side of the rock she’d been aiming at. But the Svefra wasn’t discouraged; by this point she had regained her initial enthusiasm for the weapon and was determined to make some progress before calling it quits for the day. A quick glance down at her pile of ammunition reassured her that she had plenty of shots left to take before she’d have to restock, and she set herself a goal of hitting her rocky target before she had to resupply herself.

At least once.

Reloading her slingshot, she considered her previous two shots: both had sailed off to the side of the pole, although she wasn’t sure how far to the side, or even if they had gone far enough to hit the rock or too far. One thing at a time. Aiming her slingshot, Anais lined it up as she had done before, and then angled the prongs a bit to the side, aiming for the space next to the rock instead of the rock itself. Letting the rock fly, this time the small object avoided the water, knocking into the pole with a ‘clack’ before falling off into the water as the others had done.

It wasn’t a powerful shot, failing to even wiggle the rock on its perch, and had still ended up in the salty water. Still, you hit the pole first this time, the thought was some comfort, and Anais counted it a small victory, retrieving yet another rock from her dwindling pile.

After several throws, the leather pouch was starting to assume the shape she remembered, the angular form of the pouch curving into a natural pocket. The next rock sat within it much easier, and Anais found she barely had to hold the leather closed around the projectile. Pulling the rock back, she took aim again, this time raising the slingshot a bit higher than her last attempt before releasing it into the air. With her adjustment, Anais expected a solid hit on the rock in front of her, so when she heard the dreaded splash once again, she couldn’t keep the frown from her face.

With just a few small rocks left of her pile, Anais took up another and reset herself for one more try. Pulling up all of the details she could remember, the Svefra took a calming breath before raising the slingshot again. Clearing her mind of the frustration she’d begun to feel, she put all her attention into her stance – sideways – her aim – eyes open – and fired her small rock toward the larger one, hoping for the best, dreading the splash she’d begun to expect.

A small ‘clack’ sounded in the air.

Though the rock still hadn’t moved, the impact sounded different than when she’d hit the bamboo pole and Anais found her feet eagerly moving toward the rock to inspect it. No glaring chips had appeared, but… Anais squinted at the surface of the rock. Where it had been covered with a slick green algae, there was now a small gray patch of bare rock where her impact had at least knocked some of the green loose from the surface. But a hit was a hit, and she wrapped the cord of the slingshot around the weapon’s shaft, replacing it at her back. Better to quit while you’re ahead, she told herself.

The rock would stay, though – Anais would need a lot more practice before the slingshot would be useful, and the rock was a good target to have.

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[Seawind's Solace] Give it Another Shot

Postby Kynier on September 3rd, 2018, 6:06 pm

Grades!


Skill Rewards
  • Observation +5
  • Planning +1
  • Weapon: Slingshot +5

Lores Learned
  • Irissa: Taught her about using a slingshot
  • Self: Old memories no longer as painful
  • Self: A stubborn student
  • Slingshot: Replacing a broken cord
  • Slingshot: Adjusting the cord to center
  • Slingshot: The preferred rock shapes for ammunition
  • Slingshot: How to stand when shooting
  • Slingshot: Adjusting your aim after the first shot


Rewards
  • Used Slingshot

If you have an questions or concerns about your grade please feel free to PM me.
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