The Art of Archery

Oralie learns how to use her bow.

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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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The Art of Archery

Postby Oralie on January 2nd, 2022, 2:58 pm

18 winter, 521

“You girl. Oralie.”
Oralie had been sweeping the front porch of the Protea Inn with a large broom, flicking sand and odd bits of sea debris off the steps and back onto the beach. When the voice called out to her, she paused, the broom stilling in its methodical swings. It was not a voice she recognised and they pronounced her name with an odd intonation.

She looked up and round to see a woman standing a little way off on the beach. Oralie couldn’t recall if she had ever seen her before, and quickly supposed that she had not, for she had quite a distinctive appearance. Long dark hair framed stern eyes and her skin was deeply tanned. A quiver of arrows was visible over one shoulder and she had a general aura of fierceness about her. Even though Oralie had been getting better at relaxing around the residents of Syka, the sudden appearance of an unknown woman who clearly knew who she was did make her a little nervous.

“Um, y…yes?” Oralie cleared her throat at the awkwardness of her own words. The woman nodded. “I have been told that you are new and need to learn some things about living here. You have a bow, yes?” Oralie blinked in surprise. “Oh, yes I do…” It was true that she had bought one with her, but having only purchased it in Riverfall she didn’t exactly know how to use the weapon.

“Go and get it, and join me.” She seemed to sense Oralie’s hesitation. “Mathias asked me to show you some things.” Still unsure, but a little mollified with the mention of one of the Founders, Oralie turned and headed into the Inn. She set the broom against the wall just inside with the intention of finishing her sweeping later and then made her way into her bedroom.

She looked down at her clothing, a cream skirt and pink blouse, wondering if she was wearing appropriate attire for… whatever she was about to be doing. The woman had not said otherwise so she shrugged and picked up her sandals, lacing her feet into the leather straps. The shortbow and quiver was propped up, unused in the corner and she grabbed it, awkwardly fixing it onto her back before making her way back outside to find the woman again.

The woman nodded, her mouth curving into a slight smile which softened her face for a moment before she turned away. “Come on then.” Oralie quickly trotted down the step and hurried to follow her. When she had caught up, the woman turned her head to look at her. “I am Indigo.” Oralie waited a tick to see if she would say anything else before responding. “It’s um, nice to meet you.”

Indigo shot a sidelong glance at her. “You are afraid of everything.” She shook her head, more out of amusement than exasperation though. “It is good for you to be wary of things here, for it is very dangerous. But you cannot be a scaredy cat all the time, huh?” Oralie thought she noticed a mischievous set to the woman’s mouth as she spoke, and then realised what words she had chosen. Indigo let out a short, sharp laugh at the Kelvic’s expression. “Aye, I know about you, don’t you worry. Today I will show you how to use your bow, but you should also learn how to hunt and fight things as a cat. I think it will be much better for you, no? Especially as you are a kind who is made to live here.” She gestured to the trees.

Oralie gave a small nod. It made sense, she supposed. Ocelot were natural predators, though she wasn’t sure if she would manage to take down anything of a size that would be useful for the settlement. But it was probably still a good idea to utilise all avenues of defence she had available to her if she wanted to flourish here.

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The Art of Archery

Postby Oralie on March 1st, 2022, 10:52 am

Oralie looked sidelong at Indigo again as the other woman’s words sunk in fully. ‘You are a kind who is made to live here.’ Surely that could only mean…
“Are you… are you trying to tell me that there are more of me here? More ocelots, I mean.” Indigo smiled, though she did not shift her gaze away from the path the pair were walking on. “Yes girl. Many more of you. Though as I am sure you know, none of them will live together so you will have to search for them well.”

Some sort of confused expression must have crossed Oralie’s features, for Indigo actually stopped walking and turned to look at her properly. Surprised, Oralie halted her steps too, meeting the woman’s gaze with uncertainty. “You do not know what you are?”

Oralie felt like she had shrunk several inches under the hard stare Indigo was now scrutinising her with. She had no idea how to respond, so she stayed silent. Indigo merely sighed before turning away and continuing on their path. Oralie trailed after her again feeling small and inadequate. “It seems you have a lot more to learn than I thought. Mathias told me a little of your past, though I did not realise how… sheltered you really had been.” It sounded as though the woman had chosen her words very carefully, unsure of how Oralie would respond to anything akin to a reminder of her past servitude.

She took a deep breath and told herself to be brave, before stepping quicker to bring herself alongside Indigo once again. Oralie had no reason to not trust anyone here. She was quickly learning that each person was vital to the settlement and each person was also trusted fully by the Founders. Syka it seemed, was not a place for secrets. Still, Oralie had a lot of emotional baggage to shift, but there was no harm in trying to shed some of her fear now.

“I only remember being a cat, um, an ocelot one time.” Her voice was soft, almost as if she was ashamed to admit such a thing. “That is it. It was not in the wild either, it was in a quiet park.” Indigo had a somewhat stern face, possibly due to the distinctive eye makeup she was wearing. Even so, it was not hard to miss when the woman’s eyes softened.

“I can tell you about some of your kind while we walk. But it will not help you to know your true nature, not really. That will come from you living as you should, living as a cat.” Oralie nodded to show that she understood. “Ocelot are jungle cats. Looking at your coats will tell you as much. What colour are you?”

Oralie’s cheeks flushed with shame as she realised she had to think about her answer, rather than it springing automatically to her lips. “I am brown and black. A brown coat with black spots.” Indigo politely pretended not to notice her embarrassment. “Exactly, you are marked to be able to stay hidden among the jungle foliage. The spots break up your outline so that your prey cannot see you clearly. You have big eyes too.” The woman smiled. “Even as a human you have big eyes. I am sure you see well in the dark, no?” Oralie nodded, for it was true. She had always seemed to be able to see things at night that others could not. “As a cat you will be able to see even better again. The same for your hearing. I do not suppose you have ever climbed anything in your life, but ocelots are excellent at climbing trees. Handy for a jungle cat, no?”

Oralie smiled and agreed with the statement. She almost felt like she wanted to cry, hearing about a whole other part of herself that she had never been allowed to understand before. The fact that Indigo was being so kind about it also did not help any impending tears. They continued on this way for a handful more chimes, until eventually they reached the edge of the Swine Swells.
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The Art of Archery

Postby Oralie on March 1st, 2022, 10:53 am

It was here that Indigo bought the pair to a halt. Oralie had never come this far north in the settlement before and she gaped at the scene. She had never seen so many pigs in one place in all of her short life. A few of the pigs noticed the two women and looked at them curiously, but ultimately did not pay them much heed. Most of the pigs were milling aimlessly around the beach occasionally snuffling through the sands, while others waded in the shallows of the sea.

“There are so many!” Indigo nodded next to her. “Now you understand the name of the beach, no?” Oralie watched the pigs for a few moments before putting a few pieces of information together in her mind. “Um… are we here to… shoot them?” She had remembered that her shortbow was strapped to her back, and Indigo was similarly armed. “I am here to shoot one, yes. You are here to watch. But not yet, you should learn some things first, then you will understand easier when it is time to take a pig.”

Indigo guided Oralie a little way off the beach, closer to the jungle line. She studied the area for a moment before nodding to herself and pulling something out of her pocket and heading over to a coconut tree that was standing by itself in the open. Oralie could not see what she was doing, but when the woman returned to her, there was a clear white mark smeared on the tree’s bark.

“Have you ever held your bow before?” Indigo was right to be sceptical, for Oralie’s shortbow was in pristine condition. “Well, aside from when I bought it… no.” She had made the purchase in Riverfall while she was gathering supplies she thought she might need once she landed in Syka. Time and money for any lessons were not something she had spent. “It was measured to my height though.”

“Hm, well that at least is one good thing. Okay, draw your bow and shoot an arrow at the mark I have made on the tree.” Oralie blinked. Just like that with no teaching? Indigo was watching her expectantly, so she did as she was told.

Oralie removed her shortbow from her back and retrieved an arrow. She held the wood of the bow in her left hand and tried her best to fix the arrow to it. It took her a couple of tried to get it right, or at least what she thought was right. When it finally stayed put, she raised the bow to shoulder height, squinted at the target and pulled back the bowstring. After a couple of ticks, when she was fairly certain she had everything lined up and her arm was starting to feel the tension, she let the arrow go.

It sailed away ahead of her and landed a laughable distance to the left and well short of the target tree. While Oralie had no expected to hit the target, she had at least thought that her arrow would be a little closer than that. Disappointed, she lowered her arm and looked sidelong at Indigo. The woman was studying Oralie with an intense gaze, and after a moment she nodded. “Right well, that is not the worst first shot I have seen, but it was definitely… not good. Let’s see what we can do to fix it.”
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The Art of Archery

Postby Oralie on March 1st, 2022, 10:56 am

“Put your bow down and hold both hands out in front of you.” Oralie did as she was told. “Make a triangle with your thumbs and forefingers, like this.” Indigo showed her the correct hand position and Oralie copied. “Line the triangle you have made up with the mark on the tree, look at it carefully and then close your left eye. What happens?”

Oralie angled herself so that she could see the marking on the tree through her hands. When it was in the middle of the triangle, she closed her left eye. “Um, nothing happened.” Her voice was hesitant, unsure if she was doing something wrong. “Okay, now close your right eye.” Again she did so, and this time the mark and the tree shifted in her vision. “Oh, it moved!” “Good, that means your right eye is your dominant eye. That matches with your dominant right hand.”

“What does that do for learning to shoot?” “It will help with your aim. Having the same dominance of hand and eye will make it easier for you.” Oralie nodded, taking the woman’s word for it. “We don’t need to do anything about your eyes, so next thing is to fix your feet.” Indigo came right up to Oralie, picked the bow up off the sand and handed it back to her. “Stand as if you were about to nock an arrow, though you don’t need to get one out yet.”

Oralie adjusted her bow so it felt right in her hand, then looked at the target and raised her bow as if she were going to shoot it. Indigo walked in a circle around her, examining her stance. She then tapped at Oralie’s feet with her own foot, indicating which way she should move them.

“You should be standing with your feet perpendicular to your target. Face your whole body this way.” Indigo took her by the shoulders and physically turned Oralie to face the way that she wanted. Oralie ended up standing with the target to her left, while she now faced back to the beach. “So… my target needs to be alongside of me?” “Essentially yes. Keep your shoulders and feet square.” The woman placed a palm between Oralie’s shoulder blades, forcing her back to straighten up. “Shoot again now.”

Oralie reached for another arrow, being careful not to move her feet out of position. She fixed it to her bowstring and raised the weapon to shoulder height once more. She took a moment to feel out her position and then took aim at the mark on the tree. With a deep breath she pulled back the string, corrected her aim and let it go. The arrow looked like it was heading further this time, which Oralie was pleased with, though it still landed well left of where she had intended it to go. She sighed.

Indigo chuckled off to her right. “You are expecting too much from yourself. See how you improved there just from changing one thing? We are not finished yet, there is more to adjust.”
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The Art of Archery

Postby Oralie on March 1st, 2022, 1:28 pm

“You are holding your bow wrong.” Indigo was once more right alongside Oralie. “No, don’t move your feet, your stance was good.” She tapped at the inside of her foot again and Oralie shuffled it back into position. “Your grip is wrong, which is throwing your aim off to the side.” Indigo opened her hand and held it flat, palm up. She tapped on the pad of her thumb. “You want your grip of your bow to rest here. See on my hand I have a callus right there?”

Oralie adjusted her hold while Indigo retrieved her own bow. “Better but not quite. Look…” The woman grasped her bow around the grip and held her arm out at shoulder height. “I have the grip resting right over that part of my thumb. You see how when I hold the bow out my knuckles are at an angle?” Oralie studied Indigo’s hand for a moment, and re-adjusted her own. Even though she thought her hold before had been comfortable, this felt even better and sturdier too.

Indigo nodded, satisfied. “Don’t hold it so tight, it will not run away from you.” She smiled, amused at her own quip. “Okay now take up an arrow.” She waited while Oralie did so and then dutifully fixed it to the bowstring. She gripped the string as though she was ready to aim, and then looked expectantly at Indigo.

“So, we only want three fingers on the bowstring.” She tapped Oralie’s hand. “These three hold your string, the others you tuck away.” Oralie released the string from her little finger. “Your top finger here…” Again Indigo touched the one she meant to make sure Oralie was following. “…stays above your arrow, the other two below it. Yes, like that. Tug a little and see how it feels.” Oralie pulled the string back just a fraction. The other woman chuckled at her expression. “It will take your fingers some getting used to, but the more you do it the easier they can take it. I have rough patches there too, see.” Indigo showed her more calluses.

“Have another go, shoot at the target again.” Indigo moved away out of Oralie’s peripheral vision. Oralie was still holding her bowstring as instructed and she double checked to make sure her feet felt square in their stance. She raised the bow properly, took a breath and drew back. After taking a tick to aim, she released the arrow. It flew straighter than it had before, though still left, and it also fell short again.

“Better.” Indigo’s voice sounded behind her. “I have one more tip for you for now, but first go and collect your arrows.” Oralie headed over to where her arrows lay scattered over the sand. She took measured steps, testing to see how far away they had gone. They were not really that far away from the tree, the closest was just two of her steps short. The arrows, save one, went back in the quiver and she returned to Indigo.

“Now, set your stance again.”
Oralie focused on the target, and lined herself up perpendicular to it. Her feet pointed to the right, facing the sea, and she made sure that her shoulders sat square over them. Indigo nodded, satisfied and waited for her to continue. Oralie fixed the arrow to her bowstring and then wrapped three fingers around it – the index finger above and the others below. She adjusted the grip in her left hand until she could feel the wood sitting over the pad of her thumb. “I think I have it.”

Indigo circled her once to check. “Okay. The last thing you need to do is fix your draw. You’ve been pulling back with your arms and not using any of the muscles in your back.” She moved to stand behind Oralie and touched her on the edges of each shoulder blade. “Imagine these two points want to meet each other in the centre of your back. If you do that when you pull back, you will have more power in your shot and you won’t tire out your arms.”

She came back round to the side of Oralie again. “The last thing to do is find your anchor point. This will be the point on your face that indicates where you draw your bowstring back to. A lot of people like to use the corner of their mouths. When you pull back, touch the corner of your mouth with your index finger. If that is comfortable for you, make sure you do that every single time you take a shot. I use my nose.” Oralie raised a quizzical eyebrow. “I pull until the string touches my nose.”
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The Art of Archery

Postby Oralie on March 1st, 2022, 1:58 pm

“Okay, when you are ready, take one more shot.”
Oralie took a moment to pause and to feel her weight through her feet before she raised the bow to shoulder height. “Don’t overthink your aim, and when you release, keep pulling your hand back to your ear.” She gave a small nod to indicate she had heard, and then took a breath to pull the string back. She imagined her shoulder blades touching, feeling as she did so that her back muscles were now activating. Pulling back on the bow felt much easier this time. She pulled until her finger brushed the corner of her mouth, looked right down the arrow to set her aim and then released without trying to think too much.

The arrow this time hit the tree, though it was low and just enough to the left that it bounced off the bark rather than sinking in to it. Even so, it made a definite thunk as it impacted, and Oralie let out a noise of happy surprise. She looked over to Indigo, who smiled back at her. “Well done. Keep practicing whenever you can, and soon you will be much faster and a much better aim.”

Oralie headed over to retrieve her errant arrow before tucking it away in her quiver and setting the bow across her back once more. Indigo headed back down to the main part of the Swine Swells, Oralie following quietly behind her. At a motion from the woman, Oralie perched herself on a flat rock not too far away so that she could watch without being distracting to either the hunter or the pigs.

Indigo spent a moment locating an appropriate target and set her stance. It was a little different to what she had taught Oralie – one of her feet pointed forward instead of having them square. She fixed her arrow and drew the bow in a single fluid motion and before Oralie had time to take breath, Indigo had loosed the arrow and neatly felled a pig.

She was surprised to see that there was barely a commotion from the other swine on the beach. Only the few nearest the now dead boar cared enough to hurry off to other parts of the area. Oralie scrambled off the rock and headed over, to see Indigo neatly cut the throat of the animal to let out the blood. “You don’t have to help me much here, just hold it if I need you too okay?”

Not surprisingly, Oralie was not repulsed by the sight of Indigo field dressing the pig. She watched with interest, never realising before just how much went into preparing an animal for cooking. Perhaps sometime she would have to come back with Tazrae and help properly. She knew that the Innkeeper usually caught and prepared her own meats, and it would be interesting to see how one of these pigs ended up as the breakfast bacon. Indigo was not breaking the pig down completely this time, for it was not for her, but it still needed enough preparation to be carried back to the City Core.

It took a lot less time than Oralie had thought it might, and before long the pair had cleaned up the beach and were hefting the wrapped carcass back along the path together. Indigo had been momentarily surprised at Oralie’s strength, until she had remembered that the girl was a predator cat. As they walked, the woman had Oralie list of the things she needed to remember while shooting arrows to make sure it was solidified in her head.

Back at the Core, the meat went to the kitchens to be prepared for the impending Tenday Celebration and then the pair said their goodbyes and parted ways. Indigo appeared to head straight into the dense jungle, and Oralie watched her disappear with curiosity. She liked her, she decided. With a last glance at the treeline, Oralie turned and headed back to the Protea Inn, building a mental checklist of the jobs she wanted to get finished before the evening meal. Starting of course, with sweeping that pesky sand.
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The Art of Archery

Postby Oralie on March 7th, 2022, 6:53 pm

XP Award!


Oralie
XP Award:
  • Socialisation: 2
  • Observation: 3
  • Interrogation: 1
  • Weapon - Shortbow: 4
  • Bodybuilding: 1

Lores:
  • Indigo: Appearance and mannerisms
  • Ocelots: Markings help camouflage in the jungle
  • Ocelots: Excellent at climbing trees
  • Syka: The Swine Swells – Location
  • Archery: Finding your dominant eye
  • Archery: Correct stance
  • Archery: Correct grip
  • Archery: Finding an anchor point
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Oralie
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Posts: 194
Words: 209166
Joined roleplay: November 16th, 2021, 3:38 pm
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
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