[Featured thread] The Art of Raising Cravens

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Madeira Craven on December 10th, 2019, 11:47 pm

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8th of Winter, 519



"They're smart kids. Headstrong, but smart. Wouldn't some kind of education do them good? They could learn some discipline, learn to read..." Madeira trailed off, her reflection in the bathroom mirror meeting her eye with a look of uncharacteristic uncertainty. "I mean, I was never formally educated." She reiterated carefully, reaching for the pressed powder. "Nobody in the family is. But I don't exactly have that network here to teach them the traditional way, do I?"

She wetted a sponge and swiped along her cheek, watching the redness of her skin and the purple of her eyes fade to a uniform porcelain pale. She had been having this conversation with thin air for weeks now, sometimes on one team, sometimes on the other: should she send her children to school?

"It would be different if I had a proper spouse. But Allister is a moron, Jomi says he knows multiple languages, but I've only ever heard him swear in them, I don't trust Lani to be a good role model and I don't even know if Zach can read. I'd do it myself but..." She scowled at her powdered reflection and picked up a wooden skewer. Turning it between her fingers she passed it over a candle flame. "I know I'm not around much, but that cant be helped. I have work to do."

Once the skewer was alight she extinguished it with a flick and curled her eyelashes around the hot, blackened wood. Her work with Dusk went beyond her classes these days. It went straight to her extra lessons with Chiona, her tutoring with Belladonna, and the many wheels she had turning in the city. Fending off Rothsam, luring in Autumn, rehabilitating Jomi, the hunt for the Magekiller and making sure Yantavi stayed on her side. It was taking all her time, but it went towards making a name for herself, for themselves, in this city that didn't know to respect it. She wasn't a bad mother for being so absent, she was doing it to blaze a path for her progeny.

The house stirred hopefully as it heard her musings. It wanted her home more too. She could feel it leaning in, feel pressure building out of sight in the walls, as it willed her to make the right decision.

She should have a better relationship with her children, she knew. A better relationship with all of her new family and their home. Memories of her own both overbearing and neglectful father slid uneasily to mind. Was she going to turn out just like him? She wanted to teach her son and daughter to follow her in the family business, and as the only adult Craven in Lhavit that meant training them herself. But if she wanted a more through education, something more than just sporadic lessons between her other duties...

Frowning made it very difficult to apply lipstick. She worked to straighten her mouth before swiping a bright purple paint across her lip.

Suddenly she could feel the houses attention switch, and instead of watching her its focus shifted outward to its grounds. Bewilderment ran slow and lazy through its mind, distracting Madeira from her thoughts.

"Is something happening?" she mumbled through the hankerchif she was using to fix the rough application of her lip.

I do not know. It paused in it's thoughts. Look out the window.

Curious, she put down her beauty tools and rose to her feet. She strode across the room, dusting face powder from her chest, to the one south facing window over the bathtub.

It was snowing in Lhavit.

Madeira's eyes widened as she stared at the iron grey sky, watching swirling flakes of snow dance across the window pane. It was snowing! She hadn't seen snow, real snow, in four years. Ionu liked to kick up blizzards in Alvadas in the wintertime, but by then the rumour that Morwen was gone had been solidified as fact, so she knew the snow to be one of the trickster deity's many illusions. So, was this real? Was Morwen back? Lhavit was Zintia's seat, not Ionu's, but simply knowing at least one of his Inverted was in the city changed everything. And it was so temperate the day before...

The Spiritist shook herself out of the thought. There was no time to dwell! It was snowing in Lhavit, that meant there were practicalities to straighten out. If winter was harsh in the valleys she grew up in gods knew what a winter on a mountain must look like.

"It's snowing, Infinity!", she exclaimed to the confused house. "You've never seen snow, have you? It's fluffy bits of ice that fall from the sky, like frozen rain. But unlike rain it doesn't drain away but builds up in great drifts. We're going to have to winterize you, and make sure the henhouse in insulated."

The twins had never seen snow either, she realized. They don't have the proper clothes to run about in the winter.

That's what she would do, she decided right then; she was going to take them to get some winter clothes fitted. And perhaps, afterwards, she could take them for a walk and see the Alluvion Academy. She hadn't decided anything yet, but it made sense to talk to her children and see the facility for herself before she made the final decision.

Amelie was out with her father, but Moritz was running around somewhere on the grounds. She would start with him. Today was the day she started taking a more active role in her son's life, and start a real relationship with her strong willed okomo child.

She twisted her hair artfully around the back of her head and stepped into her blue velvet dress. Once she was buttoned and gloved, with her rings on her fingers and a blue diamond in her hair and around her throat, she stepped out onto the second floor.

"Moritz!", she called, her voice echoing up and down the open spiral stairs as she descended to the first floor. "Come here, sweetheart. Do you want to go out today?"

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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Moritz Craven on December 13th, 2019, 1:52 am

8 Winter 519


Moritz was growing fast. Moritz was small, still so far underfoot of most about him, but still Moritz grew fast. His body grew. And though he still could not face off in his human form against anything much more than a mouse, or so it seemed to him, he was still growing fast.

Though Moritz was only a few seasons old, at the start of winter he appeared akin to a five year old human, or close enough to that age that many would confuse him for as such. But he was not, in truth he was much younger. But that, Moritz reminded himself, simply meant he had to learn faster than others in the time he had.

In his Okomo form on the other hand, he was getting quite close to the other Okomo. Still not fully fleshed out, leaving him appearing somewhat gangling and thin in that form, but still strong and imposing compared to the humans so common in the city.

With his new height he seemed to discover each day, Moritz felt the need to train. To practice his new height, to see what he could do. Moving in his Okomo form seemed easy by comparison to his smaller human body. Maybe once it was full grown it would be better, but for now it seemed odd and clumsy while his Okomo form seemed to move and grip in ways that were instinctive. Like climbing, his small hands just did not want to work for climbing,unlike his Okomo hooves which were designed for it.

That, Moritz supposed, just meant he had to work harder to learn to do so in his human form to match his Okomo forms natural ability and equipment.

As he looked up at the wooden thing full of crossings and beams on the side of Infinity Manor, he considered his hand placement. It was not too high, maybe ten feet or so up, but clearly the house had put it up outside the house with the knowledge he wanted to climb. That and the soft dirt along the ground seemed to make it the perfect place to do so.

Wearing a pair of pants and a shirt but no shoes, Moritz took his first tentative grip with his hands. One, then the other. Then he shifted his feet up, one, then the other. One, then the other, hand and hand then foot then foot. The small bits of crossed would seemed perfect for testing his small limbs on, though his tiny fingers did not have the same grip as his hooves.

He had moved perhaps three or four feet off the ground when he felt something cold and wet hit his head. Then another. And then many more. Moritz looked up to see little cold bits of things falling from the sky. Was something up their shedding little pieces?

But no, as he looked closer at one bit that had melted, he found it was just water. Little bits of frozen water falling from the sky. How odd.

It was about then Moritz realized he was cold. The frozen sky water was cold, and he was growing cold. His hands and feet, his toes and fingers, were getting cold. His grip was loosening. Moritz started to climb back down, making it perhaps a foot before he lost his footing and slipped to land on the ground below.

Landing in a heap Moritz rolled, coming to rest with smudges of dirt on his pants and shirt. His hands and feet dirty. The wetness from the melting sky ice mixing with the soft ground to form something that adhered and stuck to his flesh and clothes.

Feeling cold Moritz headed for the front door, wanting to get inside were it would be warmer. The house opened the door as he approached, the solid wood swinging open as he neared. As he was crossing the threshold he heard his mother yelling his name across the house. Wanting something.

With a huff of hot air he reached for the door and swung it closed, careful not to close his fingers within. There was a quit bang of the door closing.

Answering simply enough, Moritz yelled back to his mother as she had yelled to him, waiting by the door for her to reach him rather than going up to her as she went down. It did not make sense for him to go up on the stairs, as they would just both get stuck crammed onto it. Besides, she could move faster on them than he could, so better to let her be the one to cross them.

"Was just outside, just come back inside. Been outside already today. Is falling cold bits of water from sky."

As usual Moritz took his mothers meaning literally, assuming she wanted to go outside onto the grounds of the area as he had just come back in from doing.
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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Madeira Craven on January 1st, 2020, 11:45 pm

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"Oh Moritz", Madeira nearly rolled her eyes to see her son standing in the threshold. He was shoeless and filthy, with dirt under his fingernails and on the knees of his pants. She didn't even want to know what he was getting up to.

He's been climbing my walls, the house supplied brightly.

Something maternal in Madeira lurched at the thought of the messy child trying to scale the sheer sides of the hexagonal house. Thanks, Infinity, she grumbled internally as the image of her son falling screaming to his death embossed itself into her mind.

"Not like that, sweetheart, we're going out to the city", she tapped her way down the stairs and brushed out her skirt. "When those cold bits of water fall from the sky its called 'snow', and that means its very cold outside. So we have to get you some warmer clothes so you can continue playing outside."

She veered into the kitchen half of the open floor before meeting her son at the door, armed with a clean cloth. With it she kneeled in front of him and began scrubbing at his hands and feet, holding his wrists and ankles tight if he began to squirm. For a child his hands were unusually rough, and on her kneeling in front of him it was inescapable to note just how big he had gotten. Just last spring she was nursing an infant, and now three seasons later this boy looked to be five years old. It felt like every time she turned her back he was another inch taller, another pound heavier. Pretty soon she wouldn't have children to take care of.

She finished her ministrations and threw the dirty cloth onto the kitchen table. "Now go put your shoes on, and grab your coat. Or I suppose you can walk there as an Okomo if you'll be too cold." She helped him into his clothes or carried the underthings he cast aside, and tied her own white fur cloak around her throat. Thus clad in boots and warm furs, she led the way out onto the grounds and the streets beyond. The house waves a soft goodbye to both of them, gently rustling the sparse, windless trees as they passed.

The snow was already starting to stick. Wet and heavy, it collected to the sides of the shops and in icy puddles in the wide cobble streets. People were sticking their heads out of windows and standing gormlessly in the streets, staring upward like they expected Morwen herself to swoop down from the sky. Whispers were passing from ear to mouth all across the city, all asking the same questions, though nobody was yet brave enough to say it louder: was Morwen back?

Thankfully the manor was not far from the centre of the peak, and the clothing shops were abundant. Madeira held her skirts over her ankles and stepped carefully over the puddles, keeping an eye out from anything promising. Her own mind was turning with these same thoughts, but she strived to keep her attention closer to home at that moment. She kept glancing back, making sure Moritz was following. The Alluvion Academy was the next peak over. She should broach the topic with the boy before they actually headed that way.

"Motiz, after we get some clothes for you, I'd like you to come for a walk with me to Tenten. There's a school over there I'd like us to take a look at. Would you like to go to school? They'll teach you to read and write, and other interesting things. And you can spend some time with kids your size. But I'll still teach you at home, of course. The Academy wouldn't know anything about being a Craven, would they?"

She smiled back at the boy. She expected both her children to follow her as Spiritists, as her mother and grandmother were before her.

Presently a neat and fashionable clothing store could be seen between the drifting flakes of snow. The shop looked to be empty in the early hours of the morning. Madeira shouldered the door open, and ushered Moritz inside, insisting her change forms if in his Okomo state.

"Welcome!", the shop keeper sang. She was an older woman with thick grey hair and a grandmotherly smile, her arms full of leathers and furs as she struggled to switch her inventory around to the much ignored winter stock. Madeira quickly laid out what she needed: an entire winter outfit for the boy at her side.

Ledger :
+boots, high, leather: 1gm
+jacket, leather, fur lined: 120gm
+jacket hood, leather, fur lined: 1gm
+ gloves, wool, dyed: 1gm
+scarf, yarn, dyed: 1sm 5gm
+trousers, fine wool, dyed: 3gm 6sm
=126.75
-child 50%
=63.37
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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Moritz Craven on January 6th, 2020, 11:19 pm

Moritz shrugged as his mother explained further. She did not want to go just outside, she wanted to leave the house and surroundings and go into the city proper. Moritz was fine either way, though he did not mind joining her. And so he shrugged.

Snow, a new word, which Moritz committed to memory. Frozen bits of water from the sky, little soft bits that melted easily on his flesh, was snow. Though he was curious why the water changed when it got cold, and became snow rather than just being colder water. He had gotten cold, and he had not turned into something else.

Moritz shrugged again, this time with less enthusiasm, as his mother explained he needed new clothes for the cold. She seemed to insist he wore clothes all of the time, something she had not suitable explained as of yet. Though how he felt now, cold in his human forming, perhaps that was why. To protect him from the cold? It did make some sense, though his Okomo form perhaps was better equipped for such temperature. But then, Okomo did live out in the wilds just fine, so clearly they were hardier than humans.

Then there was a tussle, as he fought and struggled as she began wiping and pushing at him with a wet thing in order to once more clean him. Clean, clean, clean, something she seemed almost obsessed with. And something she never asked his opinion on, just deciding at seemingly random that he needed to be cleaner.

Quite rude.

He fought, but with her larger size and proportionate strength he had no hope of winning. Eventually he just stopped fighting, not helping but not seeing any point to resist further till she was done.

He was about to argue again, as she told him to get some clothes, when she offered the alternative of his accompanying her in his Okomo form.

Without thinking further Moritz quickly undressed, and then in a flash was his properly sized Okomo form. In this form she could not so easily handle him, not force him to do things like sit while she rubbed him with wet things in Cleaning.

And then his mother was picking up his dropped things and they were heading outside. His larger Okomo size let him eat up the ground much quicker than his tiny human legs allowed. He also saw that the cold and the snow had little to now affect, the hair on his head matching the coat of fur across his body.

Perhaps once it was warm again Moritz could have his fur taken off and made into a nice coat or such to wear in his human form when it was cold again.

As they traveled Moritz noticed the numerous people standing about, staring up at the sky as the snow fell. A few started as he neared, rushing to clear his path. Not that he was going to crash into them, no he could walk about things quite easily at the slow pace his mother required him to make so that she could keep up easily enough.

As they neared their destination his mother spoke, asking him for once his opinion on things rather than telling him.

She, apparently, wanted him to go to not just get cold weather clothes, but also to go to a... School.... A place to learn to read and write and things. While Moritz supposed that might be useful, he had seen her enough times to know what to do when someone asked you for something. Not just give it to them, not if only they wanted it done and you did not. No, he had learned from seeing his mother and others that in such a situation, you asked for something back. That was how money worked, or so he vaguely understood.

Moritz simply met her gaze with his calm Okomo eyes, not making his response clear one way or the other while he could not speak. Instead he kept walking, waiting till later to respond.

Once they reached the store his mother made him change back, something he hesitantly did. Then it was a rush to put back on clothes at his mothers insistence, and at the insistence of the cold air about him.

His mother than sent the shop owner scurrying about for things for him to wear.

Boots for his feet, and a hooded jacket with fur lining. Gloves for his hands, pants for his legs. A scarf about his neck which seemed to be some odd neck hanging ornamental piece of clothing. All in all quite a bit of clothing, and much more than he felt he could easily take off if the need arose.

Once the shopping was done, putting up with having to take off and put on and over and over numerous times, Moritz pondered his mothers earlier question. Something he had been mulling over for awhile.

What did he want? And then, it occurred to him.

"I go school, learn things... Write. Read. Things. But also want learn other things."

Frowning Moritz tried to work up the correct words, trying to structure the sentence as best he could to convey his meaning. But of course once more language was the problem, he simply did not know the word for many things.

"I go learn school place. Also want learn, teacher for fight things. Want fight teacher person... What is called? Person for teach fight and things? Want that. And also go school place."

Clearly Moritz was trying to be clear, but he simply did not know the words for what he was trying to convey and so did his best by combining other words he knew into one concept or sorts.
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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Madeira Craven on January 21st, 2020, 7:50 pm

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Madeira could see Moritz getting more and more impatient as she and the shop lady discussed the boy's winter wardrobe, so she tried to make it quick. But still the kelvic child quickly became an unwitting mannequin, trying on endless clothes to appease the two women dressing him.

"This is perfect", Madeira nodded appreciatively some time later, standing back with her arms crossed, studying Moritz from his booted feet to his hooded head. Little showed of him but his strange eyes. "We'll take this."

Kina was exchanged, and the woman hurried to her counter to write out a receipt. Once they were alone, Moritz finally voiced something he seemed to have been deliberating for a while. He was willing to go to school and learn, but he also wanted something else.

Madeira winced like she'd just taken a bite of sour fruit. "You want a combat instructor?" She looked sideways at the supposed five-year-old buried up to the ears in his new scarf. He was just a little boy. She wasn't even sure he'd ever been in a scrap with another child. How had he ever even gotten the inclination to learn to fight? She didn't know, but she did know Moritz said nothing unless he was serious about it. "That's adult business", she warned him. "But I'll think about it. Why do you want to learn to fight?"

He had never been in danger, at least from something he could take up arms against. She supposed he wanted a flashy weapon like the Spinning Glimmers used in their shows, or maybe he saw something on the sash of one of the fierce Shinya and wanted to be tough and respected like them. Perhaps he just wanted to use his fists and be stronger. If this was just a young boys power fantasy she was going to shut this down really quick. But she had to admit there was some merit to starting them young. She very rarely ever used her own bow, but she had still used it. The ability to protect oneself was invaluable, even in a city as safe as Lhavit.

Once the sales lady came back with their receipt Madeira thanked her kindly before taking her son's mittened hand and exiting the shop. The snow was coming down even heavier than when they entered, sticking together in thick, cotton-like clumps. Madeira was severely glad for her cloak, and for Moritz' new warmer clothes. She pulled her hood over her head and braved the cold, heading for Tenten.

The city was transforming as they walked, the sharp, awe inspiring architecture was being smothered, and under the blanket of fluffy white snow they looked like enormous colourful candies. The skybridge that stood between the peaks, a feat of engineering unheard of throughout the world, was a nothing but a frosted jewel. And once they crossed it the world was transformed yet again, and the bright shops and vivid excitement of the busy Zintila were replaced with the muted buildings quiet scholarly introspection of Tenten. Alluvion Academy stood on the second tier, looming over the rest of the peak.

As they climbed Madeira thought she could hear peals of childish laughter. It got louder and louder, until they passed the bordering hedge and the courtyard opened in front of them. The dark Academy building pressed back into the mountain, and opened onto a small courtyard dotted with benches and gardens. That courtyard seemed to have turned into a makeshift battleground. Madeira ducked just in time for a snowball to whiz over her head.

Children from five to twelve, perhaps enjoying a midmorning break, packed the small snowy yard. Armed with snowballs and makeshift forts, they attacked each other with vigor, eliciting shouts and laughter from all involved. It looked exactly like what Madeira and Lani got up to in their childhood days.

"Moritz! Watch this." Kneeling where she stood, Madeira scooped the snow together and shaped it into a ball. "When you press snow together, it sticks. Then you can..." From her kneeling position she lobbed the snowball into the fray, where it splattered against a ten-year-old's jacket with a satisfying poofing sound. Her target dodge rolled behind a convenient skyglass statue with a surprised shout. "Do you want to play?"
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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Moritz Craven on January 25th, 2020, 1:17 pm

By the time his mother was done Moritz was fully ensconced in the clothing that had been selected. He did note that when they left in his human form he was warmer than before. Though not as warm as he had been in his Okomo form, which had a natural coating to address just such weather.

Combat. Instructor. The words seemed odd on his lips. Combat, another word for fighting, instructor another for teacher. Or perhaps different, similar but not quite the same? He was unsure.

At his mothers comment and question Moritz simply quirked his eyes up to meet her gaze and gave a response without thinking. No planning, no consideration. Just an honest response which pulled out from his guts and issued forth from his lips as natural as the next exhale of breath from his insides.

"I then think about go school."

The thought though that defending oneself was only for adults actually made Moritz laugh, a short series of sounds that reminded of his Okomo nature. The response to that comment and question took even less thought. However his response was quickly serious and stern as he spoke, full of logic or the attempt at it and poking at his own mothers illogical words previously.

"You not want, going out lone. Think something happen? Why is think that, if no harm come kid? If only adult have need protect, not be harm? Is seem, me also need know, how protect. Self. Other. Sister. Or is me safe, and you lie and just mean to not let go out lone?"

As he spoke of protection, Moritz mind fell back to seasons past, so long ago... The summer prior, when his sister had been absconded with by a frantic Okomo startled by a ghost. He had not been able to do anything but chase after the Okomo, yell at it to stop. He could not protect her, nor if anything had turned to him could he have protected himself.

Moritz was starting to learn that often when his mother said something, she did not speak the truth. Or at least not completely. Or sometimes she spoke in a wishful manner, as if how she hoped things were in reality were as those hopes. Lies all the same though.

He was unsure which of those cases this was, but he knew two conflicting bits of information could not be true. That was the most basic of logic. Water could not be at once dry and wet. Even this snow, cold water, was still wet while solid.

Moritz followed his mother along, trying to trace their route back to the store and from there home, but had trouble getting all the turns right in his head. Had it been a left then... No... Wait which was his right arm? No that was his left, the one he saw on that side.

As they neared some place, Moritz began to hear sounds. High pitched, loud, in tandem, echoing and resounding. Other children besides himself and his sister.

He wondered how many were proper Kelvic like him, and how many were those like his mother who chose only one form.

Nearing Moritz saw the source of revelry was some form of combat, new word, involving snow, another new word.

However it did not seem a very effective or decisive combat, as everyone seemed to shrug off the blows quite easily and continue on. He was also not sure what the combat was for, who had incited it or what was hoped to be gained?

His mother then bent and rolled some snow into a ball which appeared to adhere together, and tossed it at one of the children.

He was more concerned though by the logic of things his mother had just said. Combat, it was adult business. And here was children in combat, with his mother asking if he would like to join in? Tossing balls of snow at people? Children.

"I thought is say combat, is for adults. Now is say, want for play? I thought is serious thing not for play, is say from fore?"
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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Madeira Craven on January 29th, 2020, 11:38 pm

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Moritz had no interest in playing with the other children. It seemed she was raising a bit of a loner. The thought struck her as ominous; loners never made it far in society.

"This isn't combat, Moritz. This is play. Playing is for children." The fact that he was confusing the two worried her more. "Combat is where you are trying to hurt another person with a weapon or your fists. The worse a snowball fight will do to you is scab your knees."

They needed to have a Talk. A capital T talk, the kind all parents were destined to have with their children. But she felt wholly unequipped. All her Talks as a child were given to her by her narcissist father, and were never for her benefit but for his. She had so much she needed to teach her children and no idea how to do it. And getting through to her argumentative and headstrong son was a herculean task all its own.

"Gods, it's cold. Lets go inside. We need to have a little talk."

She stood, brushing snow from her gloves. Then taking Moritz by his mitten she edged her way into the courtyard, sticking to the hedges that ringed the yard to keep them out of the line of fire. The children mostly ignored them, though more than one gave Moritz an evaluative look. Perhaps making quick judgments over whether he was a bully, or susceptible to being bullied.

The Academy was a tall, regal building built back into the rock. It's outward face shone with expensive panes of coloured glass, its one tall spire already clotted with snow. Towing Moritz along, Madeira reached the tall double doors and pushed her way inside. The entrance hall was long, tall and richly appointed. Throw rugs in rose and blue littered the floor, and on the walls were bright and maintained oil paintings. A Ethaefal at the desk that ran along the right side looked up as they entered.

"Welcome", she greeted them politely, her voice soft and welcoming. "I apologize for the madness you must have traversed to get here. The kids are a bit overexcited, what with the-" she waved her slim hand, indicating the heavy flakes that were drifting across the nearest window. "Anyway, what can I do for you?"

"Good morning", Madeira smiled in return. "Give us just one moment, please."

"Of course." She pointed to a small line of chairs on the other side of the hall, possibly for those who had to wait to speak to the receptionist on busy days.

Madeira thanked her kindly and helped her son into the tall seat, then knelt in front of him so they were nearly eye to eye.

"Moritz, sweetheart, if a man with a knife burst through those doors right now and attacked us, what would you do?" She waited for an answer. Behind her the eavesdropping receptionist looked up in alarm.

"You want to learn to protect yourself and your sister, and that's very good of you, but you're also a little kid. You can train and train and train but if any adult or big animal really wanted to hurt you there would be nothing you could do to stop them. You're too young, and just not strong enough, even as an Okomo. Until you are you have to rely on the adults around you to protect you. That's just the way it is. Until then you will not go out of the Manor grounds alone."

Her voice was measured and firm. She noticed that when addressing her children in a serious manner her inflections changed dramatically. Something about motherhood seemed to require a gentle firmness she never had to wield before, and it changed everything from the tone of her voice to the expression on her face.

"I do not like the disrespect you showed me back at the shop. If you don't want to go to school, I will teach you at home. I'm giving you that choice. If you call me a liar one more time I will take that choice away. Understood? I am not lying to you. Now, I will think about finding someone to teach you to fight. Amelie needs to learn, and though I think you're too young perhaps you do too. But I need you to understand that it is not a game. You would be learning to hurt people, and it does not mean nobody would be able to hurt you."

She didn't want to tell him, at least not right away, but her mind was winning over her heart, and she was becoming more and more convinced that learning combat might be a good idea. With the way they were growing if she started them at the proper age they'd already be behind. The idea of a five year old wielding a knife or learning hand to hand was laughable, but in a season or two he'd be six, and then seven, eight... The risks could be worth it. Who really needed all ten fingers anyway.
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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Moritz Craven on January 31st, 2020, 12:46 am

Moritz did his best to understand things as they came up. However it was often hard for him to understand subtleties. Snow was water but cold and solid. He knew that now. But before he had been told that, he had not.

Seeing people engaging in what appeared to be an inefficient form of combat, appeared as combat to him. Until he was told it was not. And then, considering the words and the situation, he understood. No one was getting hurt, not permanently at least. That was the distinction his mother was making with the two. The permanency, and perhaps the intent as well. To "play" rather than to harm.

He considered the words, worked the logic, and felt he understood and agreed. Consensus.

Though he did think perhaps she was oversimplifying the concepts to him. Would is still be play if they were rocks not snow? By her description yes... Unless she considered a rock a weapon. But then used correctly, he supposed quite a few normally harmless things could be weapons. No, he felt his own differentiation from review was a bit more accurate. Though still limiting. He would need to expand and further consider the theory.

Before he could question further though, while still working his way through things in his mind, before he could offer to "play" with the snow combat, his mother ordered them both inside. Moritz trudged along dutifully, watching the other children cavort about. Cavort... Cavort.

He did not fully consider his mothers words, talking being what they seemed to usually do about each other. The concept of having a little talk being different from what they were already doing did not occur to him. He simply assumed she meant a continuation of what had come before.

Mortiz met the eyes of several children as they headed inside, meeting them with his normal steely glare. This was perhaps something he understood instinctively which conveyed from animal to human equally. Not showing weakness, meeting a stare, not being weak.

As they headed inside Moritz considered his surroundings. Big. Odd. Someone had stuck carpets on the walls instead of on the ground like was proper. Or along with on the ground. A odd joke perhaps? More play? If it was, he did not get it.

Or not carpets, some other thing full of color on the wall. So not a joke? They did not quite seem the same as the ground carpets, these wall carpets.

Moritz climbed into the chair his mother thrust him at, watching as she knelt down before him. Which was odd. He could not recall her doing that before, and did not understand the reasoning.

When she then asked him a question, Moritz per his norm answered it.

"Is fight. If need. Is not lay down, not let harm if can make not."

Of course, he was considering more things than that. But he did not know how to fully communicate them. If he had come through the door and attacked, was he attacking them specifically, or had they just been the first he had run into? Random? Did he want to kill them? Eat them? Something else? Take their things? How hard did he need to fight, depending on the threat? What did the man want? How quickly could he undress and change? How big was the man? Bigger than an Okomo?

Such things as this rushed through his head along with his answer which he voiced. More than he could say, things he thought and considered but could not so easily communicate to his mother.

But then that was his way. He thought, and considered, and worked through things, and invariably not all of that made it out of his head.

Her next words after the question though were confusing. She seemed to be speaking, but not making sense. Or saying things he knew not to be true. He had felt the power of his legs in motion, the weight of his flanks, the scale of his body. The suppressed and measured power as he did such a small task as walk in his Okomo form. It was something he did not think his mother could understand without being an Okomo. Those in their human form were tiny to him. It was but a casual misstep to crush a foot. A twist of the hips to knock someone down. His body was a thing which stretched and twisted in ways others did not understand, and which was raw power contained by his own effort.

His mother spoke of his weakness, saying he was weak. Saying he did not have power. Could not protect. Not as he was now. Not as he was in his Okomo form. These things he knew to be false. Had experienced their contrariness to the truth. But then his mother would not know this, would not understand this, not having been an Okomo. Not having understood his carefully withheld power. Walking about his sister and others when in his Okomo form and understanding how frail the tinier beings about him were. So easily crushed, and knowing he did not want to hurt them or anyone.

But knowing if someone, a man with a knife, threatened him or his sister or his mother he would fight. Just as he knew that when he next exhaled, he would in moments later inhale again. It was but natural, an extension of understanding himself.

Then she began to hit, yell, strike. Not with her screams or fists, but with her words. Her intent. Her clawing words echoing in intensity. He was weak. Could not protect. Could not do. Could not see. Considering his earlier thoughts, of the logic of what a weapon was, he in that moment understood that words could be weapons. Could be wielded to fight and hurt. Even by ones own mother.

Moritz was confused. He had not been trying to be rude, or aggressive, but his mother had clearly taken it as such. He had simply been trying to be serious, using serious tones and words as he had seen others do.

And while he was trying to be logical, his understanding of quite a few things was still quite basic.

She had said something, and he had commented. She had asked him a question, and he had answered it as best he could.

Like a man in a landslide, he felt his mental footing becoming unsure. Where once was solid ground, hard logic, was confusion and chaos. The noise came in, not making sense, crushing him down. He took in a breath, let it out. Took in another. It did not fill his body properly. Not enough to breath.

He did not understand. He did not want to fight his mother, not want to harm with body or words. But she seemed to have no such compunction. Darting and hitting with words of confusion and lies and wrong meanings. Things he knew to be false, but he could not track due to their numerous nature.

He was not sure when, but he had started to hunch inward as she spoke. It had been slow, so slow he had not noticed himself. First he had drawn his legs up in front of him, like a barrier. His arms on his knees. His breathing so fast, but nothing getting in. Something hot and wet was crawling out of his eyes, salty and burning.

He closed his eyes, bringing up his hands to cover his ears and block out the striking words of war. He did not understand. His eyes were closed. His ears were covered. He was hunched in a ball on the chair, pulling inward and away.

For some reason he felt the need to move, to run, but could not, and so settled on a gentle swaying motion. Then faster. Rocking. Not so gently.

An odd sound began to emit from his mouth, a low "A" sound but carried out on and on. It meant nothing, and yet it seemed instinctive.

Moritz was confused. He was faced with war, but could not make war. He had no one to fight, to lash out at in his own defense, no one he was willing to attack with words or body, and so he chose the opposite.
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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Madeira Craven on February 2nd, 2020, 12:38 am

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Moritz had curled up in his chair and started to cry. Mittened hands held tight over his ears and his face scrunched and red, his voice was a low, whining undulation.

A Craven doesn't cry, Madeira heard her father say. In her mind her still towered over her, and his expression was equal parts desperation and disgust. Get up. You're not done here. Get up or I'll really give you something to cry about.

In moments she had her twisted and burned righ hand held tight over his upper arm, prepared to rattle her son to his sense. Her gloved fingers could wrap completely around the limb even over his padded winter coat. Her mouth was curved in disappointed shapes. Toughen up, her mind echoed, and it sounded like her father. You're not a baby anymore, and a Craven doesn't cry.

But the words never left her lips. She knelt there, her mouth a thin, hard line and her grip sinking into Moritz's soft upper arm. She could feel herself coming up on a small decision that would have big consequences. What was she doing here? Was this how she was going to raise her son? The decision whether to teach her children the traditional way or have them be the first formally educated Craven's was huge, and would affect their lives drastically, but somehow this felt just as monumental.

She felt so lost at that moment. She was a mother, but she didn't feel like a parent. The conception of her children had been a mistake and unplanned, and she had been thrown into motherhood scared and wildly unprepared. Everything she did fell short of her expectations for herself. She wanted to run to her family and beg for help, to be told what to do, but they were thousands of kilometers away. But even if that weren't the case, Moritz and Amelie were the embarrassing Kelvic bastards on the end of a withered family branch. They'd be hard pressed to even care.

All she knew she knew from her own childhood, and perhaps that was best. She turned out driven and excelling in her field, didn't she? Her loyalty to her family was so strong she still considered what was best for them, even when they were half a world away. She needed to stick to what she knew. Coddling him would just make him weak, or lazy, or worse. No. She had to stamp these errant emotions down while he was still young. He had to learn self control, and who better than from herself, who exceled in bottling her true feelings?

Even as she decided, she found herself sitting in the chair beside him, and with one smooth motion she pulled Moritz into her lap. Holding him tight to her chest she rocked back and forth. Her grip left his arm, and instead traced comforting circles into his back. Petch it. These children will be the first for a lot of things: the first Kelvics, the first schooled, and now, the first raised with love.

"It's okay, it's okay", she murmured, though between the wailing and the closed ears, she was sure he couldn't hear her. "It's hard, I know." The tracing on his back began to fall into repetitive, hypnotic patterns as her dijed sparked to life. She had never tried hypnotism through touch before, but with his eyes closed and his ears covered there was no other way to pass the magic between them. "It's hard and it's scary. But you're strong, aren't you? My strong boy." She could feel the dijed against the tips of her fingers as it followed the hunched shape of his spine, pressing calm into his very bones. The morality of hypnotizing her own child never crossed her mind. She simply traced, first with fingers, then with the steady pressure of her palm, whispering small nothings and gently shaping his emotional landscape with power trickling through her comforting touch.

A bell chimed somewhere in the Academy, and the receptionist who was politely ignoring the mother and son looked up from her desk. There was a rumble and stamp of many voices and many booted feet before the front doors flung open and thirty jostling children thundered by.

"Wipe your feet!" The receptionist reprimanded, but that didn't stop the muddy footprints and dripping jackets from gorging a path of destruction through the pristine entrance hall to a chorus of "yes ma'am!" and "sorry ma'am!".

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The Art of Raising Cravens

Postby Moritz Craven on February 2nd, 2020, 1:56 am

Moritz felt pressure. He heard pitch, even if he could not make out words. Felt himself pulled over onto his mother.

Where before the pitch had been harsh and assaulting, now the pitch was calming. Even.

Then he felt... Calming, like ice water seeping down his limbs to calm the fiery heat of his confusion. Where once there had been a jumbled mess, the remnants of logic run into a wall and collapsing upon itself, he felt more structured thoughts rise in his mind.

He felt calm. Empty. Slowly his breathing slowed, more even, more calm, he was calm.

Slowly the sound he was emitting waned and dulled, till it faded away. He was still pulled tight, hiding inside himself, but not putting up quite so many walls. Felt the chains of logic rebuild, and begin flowing again neatly like water down a stream. He could see the stream in his mind, placid and calm as it sedately slid along... He was calm.

The thought in his head rising to prominence for a moment told him nothing he did not already know. He was calm. He was strong. He was Moritz Craven. The one thought bloomed into another, and another, growing from that one seed of artificial origin into many more of a more natural birthing.

And that one seed was already there in his mind, in truth, just simply forgotten in the confusion of the mental warring and indecision. The push had simply let it come back to prominence, and faded the others back to obscurity.

But then, had it not been a natural thought, it would not have worked so well, and worked all the more well for how within his natural understanding it was. Even if it had been in the moment forgotten, it was still there. Not foreign, just covered.

By the time the loud sounds returned Moritz breathing had returned to normal. The hot liquid had stopped leaking from his face. The sound he had been emitting was gone. And he did not clench himself into a ball so tight. The rocking of a frenetic nature faded to a more placid one.

He still held on for the moment, balled up, his mother cocooned around him, as the rush of noise and yelling not directed at him came crashing through the room.

The sudden noise was still troubling, not liked, but he still felt calm in that moment throughout it. And rolled up safely, it seemed an even more distant thing. He was calm.

By the time he unrolled himself and looked up at his mother the noise had faded somewhat, and the children had passed by on their way to wherever they were going.

Meeting her eyes he sniffed once, using the backs of his hands to wipe at his eyes before speaking in a calm tone similar to the one he had been using before his upset though a bit more sedate and calm. When he spoke it was with an even calmer temperament than normal, less emotional, but no less honest.

"Is not nice mommy, hit with words. Not nice, say things not true, not sense. Is not kay, hit words fight. Still just mean, hit other way."

Pausing for a moment Moritz considered himself, how to say what he was thinking, before asking his first question.

"Is you been Okomo A-for?"

Similar to how his mother had before, in fact quite similar in that he had copied it from her, he paused to give her a chance to answer before speaking further.

"I is been Okomo. I is Okomo. Is know what is, be Okomo. You not been Okomo, not stand under is be Okomo. You is think now, is weak. Is small. Is but little. You is not know, is be Okomo. When is Okomo. Is power. Is... Duty. Is easy, make stake. Even now, when Okomo, if not full care, could hurt mommy. Or sissy. Or other. Just step wrong. Or step hard. Or turn wrong. But not want hurt, so is full-o-care. I not want hurt. I not want make pain. But if must, will. To protect. You is think I small now. Is weak. When I Okomo, you same to Moritz. Is tiny. Is weak. Is need tect. Is need full-o-care. You see Okomo, but not stand under be Okomo."

It would be quite clear Moritz was struggling with his words, trying to put into concepts his mother would understand a experience quite foreign to her. But also that he had quite deeply considered the topic, and understood it himself even if he could not quite explain it properly to another.

Pausing again, Moritz considered for a moment, before asking his mother a question which had been puzzling him for awhile.

"Why is you never change, like me? Like sissy? Is you not like other half become?"
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