Completed An Ember Adrift From The Bonfire IV

A supplimental story from "The Length Of A Day."

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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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An Ember Adrift From The Bonfire IV

Postby Tazrae on October 30th, 2022, 1:37 am

Timestamp: 45th of Fall, 522 A.V.


The Kois Quas Dominion : Gold Lake (second season)

Tazrae loved the feel of the new overly-stiff whip in her hand. It was empowering, and she was just slowly awakening to the potential of its use. It struck her again as awkward that she was a captive to Sran’tuka and yet here he was allowing his chief bruiser to teach her something useful that might end up biting him back. Taz had given all of this some thought and the trainer had told her he was teaching her for the good of her mental health and to give her something to do. Taz thought there was more to it than that. True, it wasn’t a blade, though they sparred plenty with machetes and short swords. It was just something she couldn’t figure out.

The man was speaking again, and so she turned her attention to him. “Tazrae… focus.” He said sternly. “It’s bad enough in training for a bullwhip that you will hit yourself when you are first learning. But you can give yourself rope burns, and open your flesh wide by being inattentive and lost in your own thoughts. These sessions are designed to keep your mind occupied and your body busy. Don’t waste them.” He admonished.

Taz nodded. “I’ll work harder on focusing.” She said, meaning it. It did her no good to dwell on the ‘what if’ or ‘I wonder why..’ scenarios. She’d never know the real motivations in other people. It wasn’t something she knew a magic for and she certainly couldn’t read minds. But the bullwhip in her hands gave her no sense of impending danger. It simply gave her comfort. It fit in her hand like it had been made to rest there, and she wondered absently if in another life she’d used one.

“Let's stop a moment, rest your arm, and do some more talking about safety.” He said, knowing the multiple practices of forward cracks were taxing the muscles in her right arm even if she didn’t realize it yet. It was a whole new way of moving, of thinking, and he’d yet to truly weaponize the weapon in her hand. While Tazrae was doing fine with the basic instruction, her translation of what he really wanted from her was lacking. That meant her entire focus was off.

“You need to be hyper-aware, when you draw your whip, of where you yourself are. You need to know where all your body parts are in relation to the whip and you need to know the whip’s capabilities. You also need to understand your environment. What is around you? Who is around you? Are they at safe distance? Your whip might be eight feet, but you will have ten to twelve feet of reach if you include your arm and your body moving through the whip techniques. You can and will hit yourself quite often when you are first learning to control the thong. You don’t want to hit others, and you certainly don’t want to hit your child. I’d recommend boots, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat so you can see if you happen to turn towards the sun.” He added, slowly circling her while he gave her the lecture.
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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts.
Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
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An Ember Adrift From The Bonfire IV

Postby Tazrae on October 30th, 2022, 1:38 am

Taz was long familiar with the ways of her trainer by now. She could judge his mood and found it a bit worn and sour as he continued to speak. “Your whip will be traveling fast. It can move about fourteen or fifteen times as fast as a horse can travel at a full gallop. Anything it touches, at or near the moment it cracks, will get hit with an incredible amount of force. If the object is small, it will get sent flying at that same rate of speed. So because of the reach, the amount of space you need around you before you share it with anyone else is about a clearing of twenty-four feet. That area should be completely clear of any sort of obstruction. Be careful.” He said softly, looking at her intently.

She nodded slowly, trying to interpret the look and understand what it meant. Something was wrong, deeply wrong, by the tenseness of his voice and by his posture.

Kneeling slightly, awkwardly with her swollen form, she set the whip down on the ground at her side and looked him straight in the eye as she rose. “What’s wrong?” She asked abruptly, softly, concerned. Tazrae didn’t know if he’d tell her or not, but she wouldn’t know until he asked.

He simply looked at her, a muscle in his jaw twitching. He dropped his eyes to the whip on the ground, then ran them up her body to her empty hand and finally to her gaze, meeting it. “You have literally no time to learn these skills from me while I am here. You should take advantage of it.” He replied, evading her question. Taz gave her head a shake and snorted.

“No. Tell me.” She said. If she were honest with herself, she could sense the danger all around him. It was like her danger intuition was going crazy and making her want to snarl at him, put some space in between them, and put herself on the defensive. But she didn’t think that was what it was… not an immediate danger to herself. Just danger… danger everywhere, more so than she’d thought possible.

He sighed, ran a hand through his thick black hair, and shook his head. “The Kois and Lisuli are on the move against Sran’tuka. It won’t be tonight or tomorrow, but events have been put into motion and there will be no stopping them. The remaining mages are joining forces, and there will be a stand made. I don’t know how the hell to get you out of here before it busts loose. After you give birth? It will be easier. But it will be impossible before then. After the babes come, he will not care about you. But before… you are everything to him.” He said with a tight jaw. “But it's nothing you should worry about.” He said abruptly. “If we get you out at all, we’ll get you out to the desert. It’s where you belong.” He said flatly.

“I’m not leaving without my children,” Taz said softly. “I won’t.” That caused the man to look abruptly at her and slowly nod. She didn’t elaborate on where she belonged and where she did not belong. She didn’t think he would care anyhow. Taz would leave… she would leave with her children… either before or after the birth. But she would go. There was no choice. Her fate was her fate and she believed every word Marketh had said to her… every word her ancestors around her had backed up by their very presence. This man, this nameless stranger, had no right to know her fate. She knew it, and that was enough.
Image
"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts.
Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1245
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An Ember Adrift From The Bonfire IV

Postby Tazrae on October 30th, 2022, 1:39 am

“I figured as much. You might not have a choice though. We’ll see when the time comes. We can’t worry about it right now. We can’t deviate from the day-to-day either. Pick up that whip.” He all but ordered, his patience thin. His eyes flashed gold, potent, and reminded Tazrae of a lion’s gaze she’d seen one in the Riverfall Zoo. He wasn’t Kelvic though, not by a long shot. Jaelis’ gaze had been alien. This man was just angry.

“This is called a cattleman’s crack. It’s the first whip move you need to learn. You start with your grip solid, your whip laying out straight behind and beside you, and draw it forward and overhead in a large extended arc. Bring your arm out straight, pointed slightly behind you, palm facing backward. The handle of the whip should be locked in a straight line with your arm. Then swing your arm up, keeping it straight until you are parallel with the ground. Then keep moving it from your elbow to your wrist, locking your arm in place. You are going to make a ninety-degree bend in your arm at the elbow until your arm from the elbow to the wrist is pointing straight to the sky while your arm from the elbow to your shoulder is still parallel to the ground. Let your wrist bend slightly backward.” He advised.

Then, he took a breath, approached, and continued, adjusting her body slightly, kicking her feet gently apart and angling her wrist back a bit more.

Taz had copied his verbal instructions and translated them into her body’s motion, following what he told her to do carefully, and yet remaining pliable enough for him to adjust slightly. “When the popper touched the ground behind you from this movement, swing the whip forward by straightening your elbow, then straighten your wrist. You should finish with your arm in a straight line with the whip handle aiming straight out from there, pointing at where you were striking… level with the ground. You should get a big crack with very minimal effort.” He said. “The crack comes from the coil in the whip running its length, gathering energy, and then releasing it with the flick of your wrist in the last instant.” He explained, and let Taz get a few good cracks in.

Truth be told, despite her pregnancy, she had good form and excellent timing.

“So this whole motion creates a loop in the whip that travels back and forth along its length until it is released on the end and that’s where the power comes from?” She asked after four more tries.

The trainer nodded. “Keeping this loop in existence is absolutely critical in making your whip a vicious weapon.”

Taz nodded.

“Now… stand at rest for a moment. I want to talk to you about planes. Your whip won’t crack if you don’t maintain a straight plane. Visualize in front of you, behind you, above and below you… and even side-by-side invisible walls. These are ‘planes’. If you don’t crack your whip while keeping it in the plane, you will lose a lot of power in your whip and be considered extremely sloppy in your whip work. There is a plane above you, below you, front and back, and side to side.” He said, tracing out huge squares above him, to each side of him, and below him with fingers holding imagined implements of art. “Always maintain your cracks in planes.” He emphasized again. “You might also want to bring the whip up higher. If you don’t get it high enough, you aren’t getting a good enough loop to make the strike worth it.” He added.

Taz paused, tried to imagine all the planes in her mind, and nodded. “It’s the same as Firedancing. We have planes we must keep the poi spilling within, or else it goes crazy and fire spews everywhere. You can really get hurt if you don’t mind your planes.” She added.
Image
"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts.
Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1245
Words: 1808031
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
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An Ember Adrift From The Bonfire IV

Postby Tazrae on October 30th, 2022, 1:41 am

The man nodded. “Yes, of course. You firedance too?” He asked, curiously.

Tazrae nodded. “Fire Reimancy in my case. It was my first element since my induction.” She said thoughtfully. “I wasn’t going to learn firedancing, but it really helped me control my djed and my magic as a whole. Its even helping me here, visualizing these planes.” Taz added, then reached up to unfasten the thong at the back of her head and regather her curls up to seize them once again in a messy bun. “Can I learn another crack?” She asked, hopeful.

He nodded again. “Certainly. We’re going to try an overhand crack now.” He took a breath, watched her get into her standard starting position, and shook his head. “No, feet further apart with your non-dominant foot slightly forward. Play the thong out in front of you with all the slack out in front of you. Instead of bringing the whip up, rotate your shoulder back and bring the whip straight up over your shoulder as if you were throwing a ball.” He added.

It took Tazrae a moment to realize the man didn’t want her to extend her hand, bring the whip up as a singular unit with her hand, but instead bring the whip back straight from its resting point to her shoulder and twist her body and throw it out straight forward over her shoulder. It was a quick dirty basic motion and she had it down after two cracks. She practiced it for a few chimes, then the man stepped forward to teach her another one.

“Let's work on the sidearm crack.” He said, then went and got his own whip to demonstrate the motion to her. For a moment she forgot they were practicing whips and moved closer until he gestured to her with his free hand to stop. His whip was also an eight-foot monster, but dark and braided with red colors. The handle was wrapped in gold leather. Kois… the sign for a Kois male she realized. He demonstrated the sidearm crack a few times, which honestly resembled a person skipping a stone across the water. Then he broke it down for her.

“Take your normal starting position, with the whip played out behind you. Your hand holding the whip should have a palm facing out away from your body. You simply bring the whip forward in a horizontal motion. After bringing the whip forward, adjust your footing to stand straight up and bring the whip back over your shoulder to complete the crack.” The action was simple, and since he was helpfully demonstrating, Taz picked it right up.

It was probably the easiest move he’d demonstrated thus far. She played with it about a dozen times, then switched the moves up, starting with the cattleman’s crack and leading to the multiple cracks, including the forward and the sidearm. Taz even laughed a few times at some of the louder more perfectly timed cracks. Then, unhindered by her instructor who just let her go, she danced around, moving and running through the cracks one at a time, often switching them up or changing planes. She found she could do a stockman’s crack in an overhead plane or even one behind her without looking. She had to rely on visualizing the planes and keeping the whip moving within those planes. It was good exercise and the babies didn’t seem to mind.
Image
"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts.
Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1245
Words: 1808031
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
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An Ember Adrift From The Bonfire IV

Postby Tazrae on October 30th, 2022, 1:43 am

When she started running out of steam, the man stopped her and said… “How about one more today? We can learn more tomorrow or you can work on perfecting what you already know.” He added then waited for Tazrae’s nod. She settled, waiting for him to explain the last one for the day, and then stepped back when she saw he’d picked up his bullwhip again and was going to demonstrate.

“The Coachman's Crack gets its name from traders or travelers or even coaches in places like Ravok or Nyka. Its basically a combination of the forward crack and the overhand crack. Start the move as you would a forward crack, bringing your arm up, but keeping it flexed rather than perfectly locked and straight. Flex your wrist backward towards the 12-bell position and strike the whip out straight rather than straight down. You should get a nice loop forming behind you and over your head that lashes out forwards.” He said demonstrating it once more first slowly than a bit faster.

Taz nodded, stepped forward, and played her bullwhip out until it stretched out before her playing out away from her in front rather than in the back, then with a quick deft twist of her arm, she brought it up keeping it flexed and cracked the whip towards the 12th bell, striking it out straight ahead. The bullwhip lashed out and cracked loudly about her shoulder height in front of her. If she’d been driving a team of Ixam, they would have double-timed it hearing something like that. Her grin was infectious and the man matched it briefly and then stepped away letting her play with the new move.

When she was winded and had started running through each move she knew, the young captive coiled up her bullwhip gently and approached the trainer.

“How does this translate to defense? How does this become more of a weapon and less of a showpiece?” She asked abruptly, serious about its functionality. She didn’t just want it for fancy noisy moves, but she wanted it to hurt someone when they needed to be hurt.

The golden-eyed man took a deep breath, caught her eyes, and nodded. “You can use a well-aimed coachman’s crack to open up someone’s throat. It works just as well as a blade across their jugular. You can take out an eye and if you are good enough, you can capture an arm with your whip and yank them off balance or throw them over a cliff… and release that arm just as easily with a deft twist. I just need to set out some targets and let you get busy cracking at them. You’ll see soon enough. You can launch stones as I talked about earlier. You can knock prey out of a tree that never saw it coming… and have dinner in a heartbeat. The uses are unlimited Tazrae. You just have to be creative, innovative, and ruthless.” He said softly. It was almost with regret that he said that.

But she knew he didn’t truly understand how ruthless she could be. He didn’t know what the scale on her chest meant nor the small lump under it that the scale concealed. She was as feral as the Ixam that roamed her beach and she could be just as cut-throat as a rogue Svefra on a raiding party looking for blood. She’d protect her settlement. That was what the other mark meant underneath her left wrist. And as she studied the man, nodding quietly at his words, she understood just how much he didn’t know about her. Sran’tuka as well. They might have been watching. They might have been planning. But they didn’t know her soul. She’d eat any one of them, tear out their throats, and stomp on their bones if she had to.

Words: 3035
Image
"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts.
Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1245
Words: 1808031
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
Syka Seasonal Challenge (1)


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