The stack of books lands on the table with a heavy thud.
There's a clicking sound as latches to either side of the helmet are unbuckled and the entire thing opens up width-wise to come off the head like a double-sided shell. The last part is the tricky one, as raising it over the head means manoeuvring it off around the horns. Freed, he gives a relieved sigh running a hand through the hair, placing the helmet on the table next to the books. The knight has gone over well on its first couple of passes, it doesn't look like the City-folk seem to know a difference (or care to for that matter, which is even more convenient). It will certainly prove to be a lot more trying once the summer months hit and the heat waves start up, for full armour in any such conditions is a deathly annoyance regardless of person, but for now.. Not bad.
He smiles to himself, picking up helmet and books from table before climbing the stairs to the next floors of the tower. Yes, the knight can definitely be useful around town..
Changing the outfit is a hassle and a half, in large part due to the armour itself. It's a good general rule to include personalizing details (for if people are trying to see what manner of character you are, why disappoint them with trying to hide it?) but it had the unfortunate side-effect of coming with a fair amount of buckles and belts. The shoulder piece alone would taken five to ten minutes to properly put on.. In comparison the scale shirt is as easy as pulling a tabard over your head, just ten times as heavy. Its no light work either way.
Half an hour passes, between changing outfits and removing the face paint, before he finally drags the stack of books up into the study, dropping them onto a side table. A steaming mug is placed far more carefully next to them. A small knife from the desk cuts open the string binding and he finally sits down on the couch, holding the first of seven books. This.. was going to be a long day.
He flips open the book - a tan and yellow tome - and slowly turns the pages one after the other. It doesn't even take a minute for him to realize this particular book is very heavy on the text and no to nearly none of any illustrations. With an annoyed grunt, he clamps the book closed and shifts through the rest for another one. The brown one comes to his attention and he settles back in the couch, flipping it open. Ah, here we go.. this must be the survival one, at least if the illustrations on setting up camp are any indication.
Language was a curious, fluid thing. When he began studying this 'common' tongue, there were surprisingly many kinds of correlations with is own. Despite being continents apart, both languages could carry certain root-words in similar fashions. Of course, there were also massively more words that had little to nothing to do with their respective root words, but it made it easier to find a common ground to begin. There was another thing about Common as well.. Namely that those who spoke it, didn't always do it uniformly.
The first contact of this had been the sailors of the ocean. They spoke common, but they didn't quite use it right. It was a mixture of different languages, no doubt picked up from all the different ports they called to over their lives, so it became something its own - a basis in common, but flavour in.. everything else. For someone only beginning to learn this new language, it was both helpful (because it meant you had some words closer to your home language than this new one) and utterly useless (because the multitude of other language inputs inevitably left you unable to tell common from something else).
On landing on the continent, this new vast, broad land, the merchants were more useful. Theirs was a refined form of common, yet no else able to shift and deform itself. However, unlike the sailors who twisted it out of habit and use, the merchants did so out of need - not all regions of the continent used common in the same way and the merchants learned to adjust their manner of speech based on which such group they were talking to at the time. For someone coming in from across the seas, they readily and eagerly shifted to an accent and dialect more easily readable than half the sailors combined.
So where the sailors had been first contact, the merchants had been the first real tutors. So much so that he had to work quite hard to stick with them for the several months to come, in order to travel and learn by observation as much as possible. Unfortunately, as it always happened sooner or later, things began to turn not long after reaching the north regions and poor old Oakin had to be laid to rest. By that point he had learned enough to get by and learned even more than was needed to pick up a new direction - a metropolis renowned for its wealth, its culture.. and its power. Getting there from the north was no easy task, but here he is.
He pauses on a few of the illustrated pages. Its evident the book was intended for a bit more simpler audience, he guesses it intended to not take into account a specific age range. A few of the drawings are as much for children as common-illiterate adults (which was both ironic and strangely insulting at the same time). Reaching for the mug, he takes a sip and focuses in on them. Its simple and basic, but if he has to start by reading 'f-i-r-e' of all things, then so be it.
The journey with the merchants and the trek from the north were informative experience, no least of which because one taught him and language and the other let him use it. Northerners had a particular accept, which suited his needs quite well - his own accent as unmistakeable for the first few months with the merchants, but it would do him poorly anywhere else on this continent. Speak like you do not belong here and people will get curious, suspicious even. Speak like someone local, just more removed, and they may just get curious and leave it at that. Then add in a few more details and personalized nuances and you have an identity that people are ready to accept. The knight serves this the best, even in its trial stages (at least so long as no-one comes up to actually fight. And even if so, well, there's contingencies).
But such as it was with all identities, sooner or later you had to bury a few. Either they wore themselves thin or got tangled up in too big of a mess to handle, the inevitable fate of all masks was to become discarded once their use was up. One person of particular characterization in the City sporting a northern accent and unable to read the common tongue wasn't unnatural. Several seemingly unlinked different people, however? Now, that was a problem.
And that was putting aside the even simpler factor - when you cannot read the common writing, you're prey to any and all contracts that may at some point come your way. Same went for warning labels, guide signs and even simple instructions. The City had a love for Common, but also for some of the other tongues like the fey-speak and lizard-hiss. The former he could somewhat understand, as fey had talent for magic, charm and otherwordly knowledge (at least, if the stories were to be believed, even ones from his homeland). But the lizards? As far as he could tell they were human-shaped wingless dragons with more smarts and less of a penchant for mindless murder. Not a lot on the latter, according to many travellers in the wild (some even said they still hold bloody sacrifices to their vicious gods out in the jungles), but evidently understanding them made for profitable trade regardless.
And then there was the third kind of language, the rarest, the one with hands and motions. He still wasn't entirely sure what it was about or what it was for, but his curiosities had been peaked by it. Could prove useful to have.
If nothing else, it could help inform a few more identities as back-up.
He struggled through the visuals of the wilderness book for a good three hours. The mug had emptied and been refilled twice, though the last time was more for water. It was going to be a long day and evening, but he didn't need quite that much coffee in his system for it. There was a baseness in being forced to read and pronounce things out loud, like a toddler only just now learning to understand the world. Fortunately, though, the only one listening was the slow crackle of flames in the fireplace.
Understanding how a language is spoken was still arguably harder, which is why it was easier to allow it to inform how it was to be read. After all, the letters were (mostly) written the same as the home language. A few here and there were flipped around or just entirely new ones added that were for some reason skipped in speech, granted, but the basics seemed simple enough, at least when he focused on the shorter words first (the longer ones he'll deal with later). Fire wasn't 'fayer' at all, and so many other words had nuances in pronunciation that annoyed him.
In contrast the middle words, short simple ones tied to their proceeding or following ones, such as 'to', 'if', 'so', 'and', and more, were easier. Those because his chosen baseline for pronouncing. Thus, 'on' became 'ones' became 'tones' became 'stones', put together piece after piece and only eliciting a growl of frustration when he finally figured out a longer word after several minutes of trying to read it different ways and realizing it had little to nothing to do with the way it was written. 'Thorough' was one such culprit, but only one of many. His own language was a grammatical mess of rules and regulations a person could take years to learn, but at least it set forth a singular way to pronounce letters and actually decided to keep to it.
The wilderness book eventually exhausted itself. He sets it aside and picks through the rest to find another, while the studying is still fresh in mind. Most of them seem to be too technical or with little to no illustrations to aid the reading. Right up until his eyes land on the scroll case. Well.. true, it is about creatures.. you would think the scroll makers had the sense to also include visual illustrations depicting said beasts, right?
He picks open the seal on the case and pops the lid, gently pulling the scroll out. Unfurling it on the table, a smile creeps across his face. Bene. There's not just one kind of illustration, but multiple, which he figures varies region to region. Settling down he begins to pour over the scroll, taking up every worded detail he could.
An hour passes before he rolls up the scroll once more, putting it back. There's certainly a lot of information on the creatures listed, but there weren't as many of them as he expected. For a region that mass produces genetic mutations in animals like a bakery does scones in the morning, these 'godly' things only numbered in a few. He sits back in the couch, furrowed gaze elsewhere while claws gently tap the scroll casing in pensive thought. Creatures, gods, laboratories, fey, lizards, and all the in-between. The City has a lot of layers to dissect, a lot of social structures to study, and countless ways all of those discoveries could be used. But a lot of dangers inherent in between all of them as well. Going solo works well and good when travelling with random bands of merchants and journeymen on roads, or sailors on seas, but this particular pie is a little too big for him to slice by himself. He'll need allies.. and a lot of them.
It is one thing to walk around town and pass yourself off as a knight to the plebeian population, to the groups of people who see a shiny helmet and a sharp halberd and turn into 'ooh's and 'aah's almost immediately. For one, it isn't all that difficult. Most of them have little to no point of reference on what a knight even is aside fairytales and storybooks depicting noble heroes who slay dragons and rescue maidens (and the irony of the former would have been enough to almost make him laugh). No, it is entirely else to pass one's self off as noble.. to another noble.
He really ought to have done more research on the shop, but instead could now count himself lucky instead - Sir Earnan, the curious people at the market had said. Sir. As in, a knight himself. A gods-damned knight. Èdan sits at the front of the basement door, using one of the boulders for a chair, and twirls the fresh new longsword between his fingers as the tip slowly digs the sandy ground.
They say it takes one to know one and it felt a cold bit of cruel that he hadn't realized that sooner, yet could see it perfectly clear in hindsight.
He could make excuses, of course. He could say it wasn't as obvious, that the City looked nothing like any kingdom he'd seen and there was (to his knowledge) no court to be found for a knight to be a part of. He could say the knight posed as a smith and, after all, what kind of knight would lower themselves to be doing crafts work like that? Neither did he introduce himself as one, and while he himself occasionally is remiss to remember that piece of courtesy with Sarv, surely true knights would not do so as lightly?
He could say all that, and he tries but it does little to change the fact of the matter. Which is that the charade of Sarv could have ended far sooner than he ever planned to. And for now, there was no back-up in place yet to replace him.
With a disgruntled growl, he rises to his feet, longsword slowly being swung left to right in lazy loops. This City seemed to simple when he had just arrived, but now, as each day passes and each new piece of him settles, complications are arising faster than he may well be able to manage them. To be sure, he should avoid the Heavy Hammer for the foreseeable future, at least until Sarv has more of a credit to him on town.
And even then.. Hmm. The sword stops slowly, then rises to rest on the man's shoulder. If there is a court in the City with its own knights, it pays to know where and how many.. And if there is not, if this Sir is just another wanderer far from their homeland who settled a life and business here, well, then perhaps if he could find out more their next meeting would be on more equal footing. With luck the other one didn't pay as much attention to Sarv's strangeness or difference in courtesy. With even more luck the kind Sir would never have been northward to know what the habits of the people there are. And all of it was simply strangeness of a socially inept servant.
It was a comforting thought, one he could only wish he believed, but the times require certainty. There is a foothold to place here and its foundations need to be rock-solid. Metaphorically speaking.. He glances up to the tower a short distance away among the underbrush. At least he doesn't have to worry as much about the literal parts.
Somewhere up there is a set of books still waiting to be read. He tried it again earlier, picking up one of the combat ones, but it took only a few minutes before the frustrations got the better of him and he left it on the couch, half-way open. The sword lifts, starting its slow loops again. It feels heavy, heavier than he remembers longswords being, but he also knows the sword itself is the same as all of its kind had been (a bit better in balance than most, admittedly. The Sir may have been a knight who resorted to labour work, but he could not deny the work was good quality). Each loop causes the wrist to tense a little stronger, the arm to correct a little more. If he wasn't careful enough, it could brush a shoulder or nick the ear.
No, the problem isn't the book and the problem isn't the sword. The problem, as much as he hates to admit it, is himself.
There was a time where he was quite good with a longsword.. and even better with a glaive. The sparring matches with the house guards were a source of pride and joy. Mostly pride, now that he thought about it. Some of them hadn't liked him (in hindsight, he couldn't blame them, even if they were poor at hiding it). Those were the ones who always tried to get away with as much as they could - hitting just a little too strong, angling the blades just a little too sharp. He could forgive them, not because they were right, but because in the end it had made him a better fighter for it. It was almost unfortunate most of them got to reap the karma that they had sown.
But then all good things came to an end, and nothing was quite the same after, himself included. The sword stops again and he switches it to hold under his arm, pausing to rub his wrist. Its been a week of practise and still the hand seems no better and no worse.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6