Stone and Steel - 06/28/20

[Tasri]

Just above the airship landing in the Carline Canopy, Tasri lingers at one of the nearby tables. Waiting with a tankard tankard of some frothy beverage, having ordered it from Mother Miounne. So this is ale? She thinks as she brings the drink to her nostrils, ears drooping as it offends her senses. The girl taking a cursory sip, descending into a fit of coughing and retching at the smallest taste of the bitter draught. WARDEN, WHAT COULD UNCLE GAIR AND AUNTIE RINA LIKE ABOUT THIS FOUL CONCOCTION?! A shameful red tinge is painted on her features, embarrassment at having such a violent reaction to something so casually imbibed for her elders. She pushes the wooden tankard a fulm across the table and straightens herself in her stool, watching for the stairs leading down to the Landing.

[A'erina]

Departing the airship, A'erina looks at the surroundings, she did like Gridania and its abundance of colours, as opposed to Thanalan's browns and oranges. She slung her satchel over her shoulder and her sword safely sheathed on her back. a free hand carrying what seemed like a stick with a hunk of metal on the end of it “ Why's it gotta be me. I ain't even that desperate to learn magic, not even that much of a good mentor either. ” She sighs and continues up the stairs reaching the top and glances around the Canopy looking for her intended target. Spotting her cousin and walking over to the table where she was sat. “Tasri, aren't you a little young to be drinking?” A'erina reaches for the tankard and lifts it to her mouth and gulps most of it down before wiping the frothy remains from her mouth “ Problem solved. ”

[Tasri]

“Aun-” Tasri cuts herself off and corrects, clearly trying to make an effort to be more casual with her elder. Heck, I gotta act a little older now. “Hi, R-Rina!” She shoots up from her chair at the sight of A'erina, her tail swishing back and forth rather happily at the sight of a familiar face. The admonishing query from her making her gaze dart toward Mother Miounne's bar. “Gair told me he's been pinching drinks from the Quicksand since he was my age, so I thought, maybe I could try it…” She trails off, watching A'erina just pound that ale like a champ. Ears perked up and mouth agape, as if Rina were a superhero or something. “Merciful Azeyma, how can you drink so much of that? It tastes so…eugh.”

[A'erina]

A'erina deposits all of her things down next to a stool in an untidy pile and sits down, slamming the tankard on the table. “ I only started drinkin', What… Three years or so ago? Helps pass the time when you can miss a whole day because you're too drunk to even stand up. You gotta build up that tolerance for it, most drinks taste rank at first, but you drink more and it becomes enjoyable. 'Sides, there's a plethora of drinks that aren't ale that people prefer. Just unlikely to get anything fancy like I make at the hearth, here. ” It takes a momentary pause for A'erina to realise that drinking was not the intention of her visit. “ Anyroad, Why'd I have to take time out of my incredibly busy schedule to come an' see you, Tasri? It has been awhile since I saw anyone 'sides Gair though. ”

[Tasri]

Tasri nearly loses the plot as A'erina goes on her tangent about alcohol, the veritable quill to parchment can *almost* be heard as she takes mental notes. Head bobbing back and forth with the odd, “Huh, oh?” littered in before she offers an actually formed thought. *Who knew drinking was so complicated…* “I'll have to remember something that, maybe something sweet next time- OH RIGHT!” Her tail shoots right up as A'erina gets them back on track. “I-I umm, uncl- Gair said it'd be good to learn the bow and axe from you. Any time I asked him to show me, he'd tell me it'd be better if I learned from someone more my height…something about technique being a little different.”

[A'erina]

A'erina sits there and blinks for a moment before pulling out her hand and holding it flat, holding it in line with the top of her head and looking at Tasri and doing the same. “ More your height?! That fucker. ” She exclaims as if taking offence but then remembering she is only 4' 10“ and let's out a sigh. ” How's aunt Tera anyway?“ Quickly trying to divert the meeting with her babby cousin away from the fact that she's small af compared to her family. ” As long as she don't scold me for teachin' you then I suppose I can, if my old man found out though he'd have a heart attack or somethin'. “

[Tasri]

Tasri looks wide-eyed at A'erina for a moment, her volatile reaction elicits a girlish giggle. Her tail curling up and swishing around, ears perked, the works for an amused Miqo'te. Holy shit, I'm almost as tall as Auntie Rina! “Busy with the little ones and work, Azeyma knows she wouldn't have it any other way.” She plucks up her things, a crook bundled with the haft of some sort of weapon and an unstrung bow. Bringing the combined heft up and over her shoulder for ease of carry. “She…won't be happy about it, but I need to do this. Please? I'll take the blame if she finds out.”

[A'erina]

A'erina had stopped getting involved in family affairs many months ago, so long ago, infact, that she had lost track. ” I don't have much of a choice, do I?“ A'erina gets up off the stool and grabs her things.

” Where're we headin'to then, Tasri? Got quite a bit to go through.“ She wasn't quite sure how her use of an axe was going to help her cousin, since her time with Lutomis was more her bitching and whining than actual training, still, she had her sword with her and it's the same thing, she thought.

[Tasri]

“Gair said you were interested in magic, as well. So maybe this won't just be…you know, me dragging you out to teach me? I can help you, too!” The youthful Tasri gives A'erina a determined look with her mismatched eyes. Already leading the duo out of Gridania proper and into the Central Shroud, she's practically skipping into the woods in anticipation. Following the babbling of some stream through the wooded Shroud. “The foot of a creek might be best, where there is a balance of the elements…and a source of water, so we don't start a wildfire.”

[A'erina]

A'erina follows behind her cousin, not really as enthusiastic though. The idea that if A'tera found out that, not only would Tasri get a stern talking to, she would no doubt be on the receiving end of her Aunt's wrath. ” Water seems like a safe option. Hard to believe me of all people would be wantin' to learn magic.“ she rolls her eyes at the thought of it ” Always hated it because daddy's precious princess A'elana learned conjury and it was always about her. Bet she'd be mockin' me for ages if she knew I was interested. Fuckin' selfish bitch.“ A'erina, never missing the opportunity to talk shit about her family, but cutting herself off when she remembered for a split second that she was in the presence of family.

[Tasri]

Tasri frowns thoughtfully, her ears flattening to the top of her head as A'erina voices her frustrations with family. She always knew their veritable pride was no paradise, and only lingered around the familiar. *I knew auntie Elana was a conjurer…but damn, she curses internally for once. “That would…piss me off too, Rina.” Her hands go to undo the cord wrapping around her bundle of things, laying out her conjurer's crook, what looks to be a crude training axe and an unstrung longbow. “I wont, uhh, mock you!” This young girl trying to be supportive. “M-maybe tease you a bit, if that's alright?”

[A'erina]

A'erina looks at the bow Tasri had brought along and picks it up. ” Eh, the only teasin' those sisters of mine do is call me 'Erin'. I despise that nickname and they know it.“ She opens up her satchel and pulls out a reverse-twisted bowstring made of hemp fibers, and glances over it for a few seconds, checking it.. “This one should do it.” One of the only thing's that A'erina was good at was making bows, and it shows as she held the rather crude longbow in her hands and began to affix the string to it. “Best to use one of these strings. Less likely to snap on you if you're doin' it wrong.” A'erina gives her cousin a smile as she carries on, for once, she was quite enjoying being around someone from the family that she didn't want to smack upside the head.

[Tasri]

Tasri watches with interest as A'erina strings up the bow, her ears perked up and attentive. Lips pursed as she steps in closer, eager to ask. “Oh, oh! Could I try stringing it up too?” Omigosh were actually doing this, I can't wait to shoot something! Her tail swishes back and forth, quick to appease her teacher with a little bit of her own cattyness. “Sounds like they're jealous, cause they can't keep you under their thumb. Mom's always told me you were independent.”

[A'erina]

A'erina makes a knot on one end of the bow with the other end of the bowstring still loose. ” Sure… Just copy what I did on that end, make sure it's tight or else it'll be too slack and you'll bugger up any shots you try to make. “

She leaves Tasri to the Bow as she dwells on what she had said. ” Jealous of me? Maybe it's because I'm just jealous of them.“ She thought to herself. She grabs the axe she had brought with her, which still had some spots of dust on it due to its lack of use, checking that it still has some semblance of sharpness, which surprisingly, it still did. She decided to bring the axe she initially began to use herself, little more than the head of the axe affixed to a log but it would serve it's purpose for teaching at the very least. A'erina used a free hand to dust it off before heading over to a nearby tree and using the sharpened edge to draw large X shape in the bark of it at about head height, perhaps just slightly lower just incase.

[Tasri]

Tasri does her part to string it slowly, one end of it planted in the ground as she curls a leg around the haft of the bow. *I hope the draw weight on this thing isn't too heavy.* Sloooowly pulling the string to the upper nock of the bow, flexing and securing it to make a taut, springy stick thrower. “Oooooh…there!” She exclaims, holding up the bow for emphasis. “Haha!” Arrowless, she holds the bow up and gives the string a tug. The smaller and less fit Miqo'te straining against the draw of the bow, clearly using only her arms rather than her back muscles to attempt. “HNGGGGGGGGGG! It's so heavy!”

[A'erina]

After watching Tasri muck around with the bow, A'erina walks over to her own pile of things and grabs her favourite bow. She had a fondness for it, since she made it herself out of wood and some kind of chitin from some creature, although she wouldn't tell you what it was from, even if you asked, same reverse-twisted string although showing a bit more use than the string she had given to Tasri. She grabs a single arrow from a quiver, lining it up and aims at the tree she had carved a makeshift target onto, letting the arrow fly towards the tree with some decent accuracy.* ” You need to use more than just your arms, Thasri. Helps if you relax a little too, a bow ain't about your strength. “ She looked at the arrow embedded into the tree's bark not quite in the center of the cross she had made, infact, it had flown a little too far to the left. If someone was seeing it for the first time, they'd consider it a rather impressive shot, but the fact that it was atleast a couple of ilms off the center gave her reason to speak aloud. ” Are you fuckin' serious?“ She looks at the bow, the string, the arrows trying to find one of the inanimate objects to blame. ” Guess that's what I get for puttin' this down for so long… Tasri, C'mon over here. “

[Tasri]

“But strength helps too, right?” Tasri queries, stepping over to pluck up an arrow for herself. Not just the arms…maybe like… Her mismatched eyes watch A'erina's form, doing much more than just holding the bow out front and yanking on the strong. Rather absorbed in the task as she takes in all the details, as best as a complete and total novice can. Moving in line with A'erina, she knocks an arrow and holds the bow slack. Her tail swishing back and forth in anticipation of further instruction. “Hey, that was a f-fucking good shot, Rina.” Hesitant to curse, but current company has corrupted her vocabulary already.

[A'erina]

” I can do better than that on a good day. Just needin' a bit if practice myself.“ she steps out of the way to let Tasri line herself up with the tree. ” A'ight I want you to calm yourself, relax a little, take some deep breaths and aim at the tree. You don't gotta hit the mark just hittin' the tree is good enough for me. We ain't got no wind right now all you gotta do is focus on hittin' it. Take your time.“

[Tasri]

Tasri closes her eyes and relaxes herself, taking A'erina's advice to heart to just take her time. Deeeeep breaths, you can hit the tree, just hit the tree… She inhales sharply and begins to put tension on the bowstring, her noodly arms faring better as she uses the full extent of her upper body. Ready to loose, she opens her eyes and trains her sights on the tree, until…

Suddenly, a squirrel jumps from out of her field of view and lands on the soft grassy ground before her.

Utterly surprised by the sudden appearance of wildlife, Tasri's trance was dispelled and she let out a, “Aaah!” And loosed the arrow dead ahead. The shaft whistling passed the tree and into the foliage. “Shit…”

[A'erina]

A'erina puts her hand over her face, sliding it down as if she want to pull her eyes out. ” It's gonna be a long day…“ She heads on over to the arrow that missed wildly and skims over it noticing no damage so it can be used again and plucks the arrow out of the tree that she had shot at previously. ” You need'a block out distractions. Try not to let things break your focus.“

A'erina was feeling pretty confident in herself and decided to take another crack at trying to hit the mark on the tree. ” Watch how I do it, Tasri. Focus on what you wanna hit, take your time.“ Amidst her focusing she puts a second arrow on top of the first and pulls back the bowstring, letting both arrows fly towards the tree.

One of the arrows lands directly in the centre as the other flies a bit wide, still hitting the tree but too much off target. A'erina shrugs as she goes to inspect the arrows. ” Alright give it another go.“ She tosses an arrow near Tasri's feet.

[Tasri]

Tasri is rather red in the face with embarrassment as A'erina goes and retrieves her arrows for her. She gawks with an open mouth at the display as A'erina the paired arrows with her incredible precision. Warden's mercy, if only I could do that. Her tail is straight up, swishing around and eager for her second go. She kneels down to pick it up, threading it between her fingers as she readiest herself for that second shot. “Block it all out…block it all out…there's just me and the target.”

The adolescent feline draws in a deep breath as she pulls her arrow back, ears flat against her head as she trembles some against the weight of the pull. Releasing her breath with the arrow all at once, it whizzes through the air, off-course for the center of the X. The arrow powders bark as it skims right on the side tree, bouncing off a handful of fulms away. She jumps, elated, yelling, “Fuck yeah! Take that, tree!” Far too pleased with her woefully under average performance, but it's progress.

[A'erina]

” Not bad, Tasri!“ Feeling accomplished herself that Tasri had made it over the first hurdle, hitting the target was secondary, the fact she had hit the tree had A'erina somewhat proud of her cousin, but wouldn't outright show it. She points at another arrow. ” Take another shot, you can only get better from here. “

[Tasri]

Eager to feather the tree again, Tasri bounces on her heels as steps over to pluck the other arrow up. Auntie-Rina's such a good teacher. Renewed by her prior triumph, she knocks the arrow back. Used to the motions now, she breathes, pulls and looses in one swift motion. Her mouth goes agape as the arrow plunks dead on, maybe an ilm from the center.

[A'erina]

A'erina beams as ashe sees that the arrow is damn near perfect. ” Much better! You picked up on that quickly. “ She pats Tasri on the back but instead of a tap of encouragement, it's a bit more heavy handed as she wallops the smaller Miqo'te's back ” We can call it a day on the Bow's if you like now, Only thing left for you to do is keep practicing. “ She pulls out a waterskin from her satchel and walks over to the nearby river, filling it up, drinking a sizeable amount and filling it back up again before handing it over to Tasri.

Looking at the shot her cousin had made flicked a switch in A'erina and she tilted her head for a moment, deciding that she wasn't going to be outdone. she pulled out an arrow, nocked it back and let it fly straight into the center of the target she had made, a smile of confidence on her face as she does the same again, although this time, she shot her arrow straight into the first arrow, splitting it in two. Quite surprised she could still do something like that. ” Huh… Why'd I ever stop using this thing?“ She asked herself.

[Tasri]

OUCH! Tasri wasn't ready to be clapped so, she stumbles forward and almost falls onto the grassy forest floor. Don't cry, don't cry owowowowo… She sucks in a breath, trying to woman up. “I-I'll definitely be practicing more, t-thank you.” She reaches over her shoulder to rub her back with a dully glowing hand, needing some cure to ebb the sting away. Being the water girl for now, she holds the skin and watches her elder cousin sink a veritable bullseye. “Now…maybe I should teach you about aether some, since it's just been just you showing me things.”

[A'erina]

A'erina's face of confidence and pride soon dissipates and turns into more of a scowl. ” Eh, I suppose we could. “ A'erina distaste and dislike for magics always present. ” Y'know I only said I was interested, the thought of me using magic an' aether still makes my blood boil. Still, I know what I said and It's not like I can ask anyone else, so that makes you the only person I can rely on. “ A'erina recalls what Eligor had told her and what she had seen scribbled down in some of her alchemy books, although any word like magic or aether usually resulted in her pulling a disgusted face as though she'd been insulted just by the sight of those words. ” Still, If anyone can do it, why can't I? “

[Tasri]

“Anyone can, but there are…dangers. No matter your tradition,” Tasri explains and sets the waterskin down at her feet before she sidles over to pluck up her solid oaken cane. She closed her eyes and hovered the end of her crook over the mouth of the skin and as she inhales softly, the contents begin to crawl out of the container and form an amorphous globe that lingers, suspended. “Many Conjurers before me have died, stubbornly thinking they could draw from their own aether as a sole source. And surely you've heard tales of Thaumaturges, burning themselves alive, or ruining their bodies to the frost…”

She trails off for a moment to let the thought sink in. “They both lacked something, what?” As if she were some sort of catgirl Thanos, Tasri flourishes her cane and holds it out in front of her on a single finger. Unmoving, not teetering either way, perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

[A'erina]

A'erina looks at Tasri as if trying to answer the presumed question and then walking up, she swipes the cane from her. ” A Stick? That what they lacked was a stick? Thought magic was more than just sticks. You wastin' my time, Tasri?“

[Tasri]

“Y-you weren't listening!” Tasri lets out, looking exasperated and somewhat disappointed by the answer, it was right there, I gave you the answer you motherffffffudger-. Her ears are perked up, attentive and the left one twitches ever so slightly with her brow. She exhales a breath and cups her hand upward. Let's see if she'll get the lesson with this… Her fingers flick upward with her focus, staring intently at the ground that A'erina stands on.

Stone and soil would shift very suddenly right beneath her eldest cousin, making footing and balance incredibly difficult. Threatening to send one falling right onto their rear.

[A'erina]

A'erina, having dealt with a Mage once or twice before, picks up on what Tasri was about to do, but narrowly gets away from the rumbling ground before it can cause any problems.

” Try that shit again and I'll show you some magic of my own. “

She composes herself after a short moment and looks at Tasri. ” I know all about Aether, I been readin' about it. “

[Tasri]

Tasri's tail bristles as A'erina seems too dense for the actual lesson she's trying to impart. Breathe, Tasri, breathe. She points right at A'erina's feet, flitting to her boots and up again to ask sharply. Taking on a matronly tone that mirrors her more fearsome mother.

“If you fell just now, cousin, what would you have lacked?”

[A'erina]

A'erina feels a chill running down her spine. That same way of speaking she only hears from her aunt. Part fear, part respect for the woman. She looks at Tasri and gives her a quick answer. “Balance, yeah?” Hopefully giving the little upstart an answer would spare A'erina the long lectures from her aunt's offspring.

[Tasri]

“Good,” A measure of relief comes to Tasri with the answer. I feel like I was being played for a fool… Her eyes narrow as she stares at A'erina, but doesn't voice her doubts. Going on to explain, “The question was not without reason. Even if you wish to master a single element, cousin, you must understand the others, it's opposites.” She lowers her hand down and grasps for the air…and the earth answers, a fistful of it climbs the distance for her hand. With the other she makes a swirling motion with her fingers to make motes of dust to trail with the wind she creates, wielding a representation of wind and earth in each hand. “This extends to more than the elements, it is in life itself. To know pain and hate, you must have felt pleasure and love. To know what a true foundation with stone, you must brave a gale.”

[A'erina]

A'erina nods in confirmation as if she was actually listening. What does a kid know about love? She's innocent, hardly knows a thing about pain and hate. She's talking a load of bollocks. She told herself.

” So if I wanted to learn fire magic I'd need to learn ice magic too?“

[Tasri]

Tasri shakes her head at A'erina, this is difficult, even I'm barely capable of imparting the basics… “N-not exactly, it's more that you understand the opposites of your chosen element to bring to bare. Fire is wild and passionate, and impossible to reign in with more flames.” She dismisses her focus and the dust over her hand dissipates, the earth formed in her hand falls between her fingers onto the Shroud's grassy floor. “And learning more wouldn't hurt, either…”

The two Seekers of the Sun spent another bell or so discussing the various means of channeling aether. Be it the hermetic means of Arcanima through intellect and logic, the spiritual and wisdom-driven arts of Conjury and Thaumaturgy, or even those wrought of raw will and emotion, like dancers of the Kriegstanz or the Gridanian Bards.
Barbs and laughter were shared between the two all the while. The youthful Tasri attaining some knowledge at arms from her eldest cousin whilst she imparted some of the basic knowledge to channel aether unto A'erina.

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