It should have been gratifying when Seveth finally convinced San to show him a little of knife work. Seveth had never seen him do anything, but based on the snippets of stories about their old life that he had gotten from Roku and Rei, he was sure it was pretty impressive. But so far it had just been a lot of exercises, some of which were grueling and horrible, while the rest had been so bland and boring that he had wanted to quit on the spot. It was only the difficulty of getting San to agree to it in the first place that had kept him at it, even as he became more certain with each passing day that San was just using this as a way of tricking Seveth into keeping up with San’s training regimen on the days when it was Seveth’s turn to be awake.
… If that was the case, it was pretty clever of him.
This, though -- this felt like a breakthrough. At last, San had given him instructions other than running laps or excruciatingly basic drills in drawing and holding the weapon. Which, okay, maybe he did deserve the latter a little bit; maybe shredding up their hands wasn’t the best way to ease San into the idea of teaching Seveth a few knife tricks. But come on! It had been weeks already! Anyway though, at some point his efforts must have been acknowledged, because the next thing he knew, San was telling him to go to the training facilities at this big ol’ castle in the middle of the city to get a little more practice in a proper training arena.
That was about as much detail as he had given though. ‘Someone will be there to instruct you,’ said the entry in the journal.
Which as far as messages went, was incredibly mysterious, not to mention tantalizing. After something like that, how could Seveth do anything but immediately head to the destination in question?
The entire walk there, he pondered the possibilities. There was no way that San himself would be Seveth’s instructor, of course. Even with the magic available to them as an elemental, it just wasn’t possible. Not to mention that San’s proficiency with the magic left a little something to be desired in the first place… which was so odd, considering the magic of an elemental ought to be innate, and as easily accessible to them as breathing.
It certainly felt that way for Seveth, though he did have magical training prior to becoming one, now that he was witnessing -- in a roundabout, secondhand sort of way -- the struggles that San had with it, he was beginning to wonder if that really did make a difference after all.
But suffice to say that if there was a magical feat involved, it wouldn’t be wrought by San’s hand, that was for sure.
But equally unlikely was the idea that San had actually hired a tutor for himself. Or was it? Maybe it was one of those things he did to throw people off. If he hired a guy to teach him to knife-fight, then it was a pretty clear demonstration that he didn’t have that skill, right?
… Wait, was this why Seveth was going?
Seveth frowned a moment, but decided not to dwell on the specifics after all. Maybe the instructor would be a talking robot. It could have been, for all he knew. He was simply going to show up and be ready to be surprised. Pleasantly surprised, hopefully. So often with San it was the other, nastier kind of surprise, but Seveth was eternally the optimist.
The castle itself was nothing to sneeze at, once Seveth was close enough to get a good look at it. It was just a pity that it was so far from the city itself. He’d had to hire someone to give him a ride out here, since he didn’t know the lay of the land well enough to teleport -- but now that he had seen it, at least he could do that the next time. Now that he had all this magic at his disposal, he could afford luxuries like big spells. Several times a day, even!
It was clear immediately that this was the sort of castle that constituted a fort for a military group though, and not the sort he would have been more familiar with. But then again, he was a rather long way from home; maybe he wouldn't have recognized their frillier castles here either.
Still, there wasn't much in the way of decorative trappings in the style of the walls or the main building itself -- not from where he could see. Its grandeur was all in the scale of it, and in the sort of austere grace held by something so clearly and efficiently turned to a single practical purpose.
San would like this place, Seveth thought. They had all that in common, the castle and San. But then, he was the one who had told Seveth to come here in the first place, so...
A strange mood was already in the process of overtaking him when he reached the gates. From there, it was a matter of asking around before he found the right place. But once he was inside, it was a little easier; the strange mood lessened now that he was no longer being assailed with the full scale of the castle exterior.
Inside, there were smaller, more immediate things to focus on, and the walls simply became a backdrop for the rest of it. Eventually, after a few false starts, he was even able to locate the training area, though the sight of it drew a sigh from him once he realized what he was looking at. So it had been a grander place once, perhaps -- or at least a place turned out to more varied occupants. This place had been a ballroom once, but now it was wholly taken up by equipment for people learning in earnest how to murder their fellow man.
... Well, he was here to learn how to do knife tricks, so maybe he didn't have the right to think such dour thoughts about it. But still, to see a place that was meant for pleasure once upon a time turned to this kind of dull practice space...
It was exactly the kind of thing that Seveth would sigh at.
Still, his mood didn't stay low for long. Now that he had found the place, the hour that he would meet his mysterious tutor was nigh, wasn't it? Anticipation quickened his pulse as he scanned the space again, this time looking for likely candidates. It wasn't entirely empty; there were a few other people here, though all of them seemed absorbed in their own practice, and none of them seemed to be using knives. There were more individuals than groups, though he could spot one pair sparring against one another on the far side, wielding wooden swords with force that almost made him flinch in sympathy.
None of them paid close attention to his entrance, though a couple of them glanced his way. He smiled, but none of them smiled back. Truly, these were San's people -- grim and humorless lot that they were.
He was beginning to wonder what exactly he ought to do with himself. Was he supposed to wait? Was it possible that they weren't here yet? He couldn't be thrown out of this place for loitering, could he? That had happened a couple of times, and it was always such a hassle to--
"Seveth," said a quiet voice in his ear, as Seveth jumped approximately twenty feet into the air.
More heads turned his way, this time with frowns of confusion -- or maybe that was disapproval. Hard to tell with these stoic types. Seveth laughed it off, rubbing at the back of his neck. "Oh, uh, don't mind me! I just, um, saw a bug, you see..." They sure lost interest after that, and he was pretty sure he caught at least one person rolling their eyes as they returned to what they were doing. What a warm welcome this was.
"Don't be scared," said the voice, which was definitely coming from inside his ear, and that was some thing for a disembodied voice to be saying when--
Oh. Wait. He recognized that voice. "Rei-Rei?" he whispered. He couldn't see her, and he didn't want to attract the attention of the people here again if he didn't have to. "Is that you?"
"Your ear," she said. "The cuff." It really was as if she was speaking into his ear, though her voice was soft enough that it wasn't an unpleasant experience.
Seveth touched a hand to the ear that the voice was whispering in, and felt the silver cuff that was attached to it. It was one of San's things, but Seveth thought that it was the closest that San ever got to doing something rakish, wearing a bit of jewelry like this. It would turn out to be some sort of communication device.
Of all the things he expected to be disappointed by today, this wasn't one of them. Which wasn't to say that he went through life expecting to be disappointed, of course, but... Oh, never mind.
"What are you doing here?" he asked Rei. "Or, wait, are you here at all?" He looked furtively around to see if he could spot her. He didn't, but that also didn't mean much. As far as he understood, San had been part of some real shady organization before he came here, and Rei had worked with him. If she didn't want to be seen, then she wouldn't be.
"I'm here," Rei replied.
Seveth smiled, though it was touched at the edges with a little bitterness. "He didn't send you to keep an eye on me, did he?" It had happened before, though probably more often than Seveth was aware of, what with Rei being so good at hiding and all.
Intellectually he understood why, he really did. His values and San's didn't always line up in the way they lived their lives -- his spending habits, for one, were a constant point of contention between the two of them. Though if San had taken the pains to ask Rei to watch him, it was probably for a more serious reason, like not wanting Seveth to jeopardize their cover.
But San had asked him to come here, so it stung a bit. Well, it always did sting, but this was just a little worse.
There was a pause on the other end of the line, long enough that Seveth was on the verge of tapping the ear cuff -- maybe this thing was faulty? Then Rei's voice came through once more. "No," she said. "Not to watch you." And Rei didn't always have a lot of tone in her voice, but Seveth thought she sounded a bit unsure.
He couldn't be certain, of course. He hadn't exactly spent as long with her as San must have done. He had never seen the two of them together, given his circumstances, but he got the distinct impression that she had a much easier time dealing with San than she did with him. But he liked to think he was starting to learn, at the very least.
"Then what is it? Oh, wait, let me--" Seveth said, excitement coloring his voice. Unfortunately he was a little too loud, having forgotten for a moment where he was and what exactly he was doing. This time when people turned to look at him, it was with distinctly unkind eyes -- or a few, here and there, that were more concerned than annoyed, but either way, he was attracting unwanted attention. Seveth laughed, blandished, and hurried off to find a secluded corner where he could talk to himself in peace.
Honestly, if this had been before he had met San, he might not have bothered. He was used to people looking at him like he was crazy. It had its uses, actually -- a good deal of people are content to leave you alone if they thought you were out of your mind. But he had to share his cover story with someone else, and that someone else had chosen to go with the guise of an unremarkable, bumbling student with about a dozen part time jobs, which Seveth thought was the most work-intensive option they could possibly have gone with. Still, living with someone else was all about compromises, and he supposed this was one he would have to make.
He had to step out of the room and wander down one of the smaller halls before he stopped seeing people, but in the time it took him to find a spot, he'd thought it through a little more.
And it occurred to him that San must have sent both of them here -- and that if he only meant for Rei to watch him, there was no need for her to reveal herself to him unless she needed to stop him from doing something really regrettable. And he hadn't been, had he?
... Had he?
Well, judging from the fact that she hadn't flown out from her hiding place, probably not. Which meant... "You're here to teach me, aren't you?" he said. He was a little surprised, even though he had come to the conclusion on his own. As far as he knew, even though she had worked with San a long time, Rei herself wasn't trained in combat. But she must have seen San do it, and maybe she could walk him through the basics. He didn't have the slightest clue whether you could learn knife fighting that way, but maybe it was possible.
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