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ForceFightWMe12's Achievements


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  1. Kyo looked as though he needed a moment to catch up with all that had been said. He wasn't accustomed to this fast-talking, light-hearted smalltalk...and the ease with which the girl began it had him slightly on his guard. Was she really as innocent as those few moments made her seem? Or was she up to something? And still there was the presence of lord. "The pleasure is mine," he said, glancing at the pony again. Wonderpony? Perhaps it was a wonder that the animal was able to move as easily with that load as it was able...but otherwise he seemed fairly normal to the warrior. "They call me Kyo. Just Kyo," he emphasized as he returned his eyes to the woman. "I'm no lord." Perhaps she had an ulterior motive and perhaps she didn't; one way or the other, Kyo suspected from the way she spoke of the festival that this was not her first time attending...which meant she already knew more about the city than he did. "Have you been to Ryuu-Tokai before, then?"
  2. Kyo heard the question but at first didn't pay it any mind. His thoughts were already in Ryuu-Tokai, to the list of things he needed to accomplish once he arrived there. There was the obvious thing, his whole reason for going, but a haircut would be necessary and a new batch of food. Depending on how long he had to stay, he would have to get a room at an inn for several nights. And the small pot he used for cooking was getting old; maybe if there was money left over he could buy... It occurred to him during this thought that no voice had answered the voice that asked the question beside him, and he suddenly became much more self-aware. That voice had been beside him. Had she...was she speaking to him? He turned his head and discovered the brown-haired girl from the inn walking beside him with a well-stocked pony plodding beside her. Her eyes, genial and politely inquisitive, were indeed focused on him. The gaze he returned was one of mild surprise flavored with a drop of non-comprehension. Of all the people who could have addressed him, the young girl with her long braid and affected warrior's walk was the last person he expected. And she'd called him lord. "Just to Ryuu-Tokai," he responded politely, his gaze moving forward again. At first he had had no intention of continuing the conversation, but...she seemed harmless enough. Just a merchant girl with kind eyes on the road with her pack pony. And it had been some time since he'd had simple, pleasant conversation. So, not wishing to be rude, he returned his green eyes first to the bulging pack on the pony's back, then to the girl's face. "Will you be attending the Market Festival?"
  3. Outside, the sun was shining as a breeze, just strong enough to be relieving, lifted the manes of the horses and mules in a comfortable, playful dance. It rippled through Kyo's dark hair and fluttered the fabric of his trousers, but against his chest he could not feel it. The tough, thick leather that protected his torso didn't allow even a whisper of wind through as he stepped out into the sunlit square, where Irithoi, his brother Isran, and their small band of regular employees were ushering the many animals and carts and wagons into a functioning, orderly line. As the swordsman watched, there didn't seem to be any particular order. Whenever a person or group was ready to move, one of the caravan men just corralled them into line with the others. Seeing has he was only a man with no wagon or animal to pull beside him, Kyo simply became another small part of the amalgam of bodies forming up. Once a sizable group had been established, he saw Irithoi climb on his horse and ride ahead. A moment later, the column started moving. If they wanted any of the hired swords -- or blades, more generally; there was a large tree trunk of a man some ways ahead of him that carried a notched two-handed axe -- in any particular place, none of the leaders made any move to organize them such. So Kyo hitched the strap of his pack higher on his shoulder, put foot to pavement, and began the journey to Ryuu-Tokai with no particular rush. With little desire to be at the front of the column and even less to be caught with the stragglers, the swordsman was content to maintain his place in the shifting, vacillating center as the shops and houses that lined the main street of Akebono wandered past.
  4. Irithoi turned his gaze on the darker haired woman standing beside the blonde in question and raised a dark, bushy eyebrow at her sudden invasion into the conversation. "Aye," he said, rather flatly. "But I can't pay a horse to protect a caravan, now can I?" The door slammed open, and the sounds of scuffles were coming from outside. The man who'd opened it was searching the crowd, stopping once he'd found the face of the caravan leader. "Irithoi!" he shouted. "It's already past high noon! The horses are gettin' restless." Irithoi made a face at the man, but he nodded. Returning his attention to the blonde, he dropped his eyebrow and said, "If yer interested in work, come find me later. We can talk a bit more," he glanced pointedly at the brunette woman, "Privately." Then he stood from his seat, looked around the inn, and shouted, "If'n yer comin' to Ryuu-Tokai, get a move on! We're headin' out!" A number of the inn's occupants began to stir at that point, including the dark-haired swordsman with his book. Closing the cover and stowing it safely away in the pack at his belt, he stood up and slung his pack over his shoulder. "Hey!" The shout of the barkeep caught his attention, and the swordsman turned to look at the man. The barkeep, looking fairly annoyed, said, "Aren't you gonna pay for that?" Kyo blinked at him, non-comprehendingly. Looking down at his table, all he saw was his cup, and he turned back to the man with an eyebrow raised. "For water?" "You're the one that started this trend of water-drinking," the man said gruffly, folding his arms over his expansive chest. "If I'm not sellin' mead, I've gotta make money somewhere." The swordsman continued to look at him, weighing the situation while simultaneously waiting to see if the barkeep would back down. When he didn't, Kyo's mouth turned down with a slightly sour expression. But he reached into the pouch at his hip and dropped two small coins on the table. Then he turned, and left.
  5. "Standing right behind you." Irithoi had come into the inn only moments before and immediately made his way to the bar, where he overheard the blonde woman's comment as he approached. Coming to stand beside one of the stools, he looked at the barkeep and said. "Another ale." "Thank the gods," the barkeep muttered to himself as he turned to fetch yet another mug. When he had moved away, the grizzled bear of a man turned once more to look at the blonde woman, his grey eyes giving her a rather serious examination. "I'm told you're the owner of that warhorse out there." He tipped his head in the direction of the tied-up destrier, viewable through the window. "You a fighter?"
  6. When he had finished packing away the spilled contents of his bag, Kyo tightened the closure -- making doubly sure that its buckles were secure -- and then stuffed it beneath the table once more. He was careful to keep the straps tucked under the table and against his leg, hoping to avoid any further incidents. Once he was certain that the bag was safe, he sat up and set his book down on the table again. Though he flipped it open to the page he’d left off at, his eyes did not turn to it immediately; instead he paused to give the inn another quick survey. The woman had indeed retreated to another table, and with her back to him, her hair stuck out as a shock of red amongst the black and brown and green of travelers’ tunics and cloaks. And there his eyes lingered. That encounter had been a strange one. Usually women who went through the trouble of being that forward did not give up so easily... He was distracted by the sharp scrape of wood on wood, drawing his eyes to its source in a stool at the bar. A moment later, the stool moved again to clatter into the base of the bar under the unsteady weight of a tall, thin man with blonde hair. A glance at his face showed that the collision had not been the accident of a clumsy hand, but the result of a drunken stumble. Drunk before high noon? Kyo frowned in distaste, and found himself hoping that this one, too, was not joining the caravan. Irithoi had made it very clear that the swords he hired to watch the caravan were hired to watch the whole caravan, the fast and the slow. Frankly, Kyo wasn’t interested in making sure a drunk could stumble along fast enough to keep up. The drunkard managed to maneuver himself unsteadily into a seat to speak with the barkeep, and the swordsman’s eyes wandered off again. They fell on faces, on hands, on tables and chairs before coming to rest on Isran, who was speaking in fast words with another trader, apparently debating the proper portion of the trader’s goods to be given in payment for safe travel. In the midst of the conversation the front door opened, drawing Kyo’s attention to the brown-haired woman who stepped through. Her dress was travel worn and her hair was tied back in a functional braid down her back, leading him to guess she was a traveler. A trader, no doubt. She certainly didn't look to be a hired sword; though she walked with bluster and with confidence as she approached the bar, neither seemed to fit her. He watched as she spoke with the barkeep -- who sent a dark look in his direction over something that was said -- and then sat down for what would no doubt be a failed attempt at conversation once the ‘keep moved away. That was when he lost interest and looked away, finally turning his attention to the book open before him. But he only flipped a page when an exclamation drew his interest. “Lookit that horse!” The call came from a man sitting near the window, and though it was directed to the other man at the table, it was loud enough to cut through the other discussions and pique the swordsman’s inquisition. He followed the man’s eyes out the window and to the horse in question. Only a sliver of the animal was visible to him from his current position, but the sliver was enough to tell that the black beast outside was no pack mule. Its neck alone was evidence of that, thick and strong with a warhorse’s sinew. A hand cloaked in brown flashed into view to pet the horse’s neck, and when it withdrew, Kyo turned his eyes to the front door. Sure enough, it opened a moment later to admit a man who was clearly worthy of the animal beyond the glass. Unlike the girl, this brown-cloaked figure owned the warrior’s stature with which he walked, and Kyo sat back in his chair as he watched him cross the room to the bar, lifting his cup of water to his lips. It wasn’t just any man who could afford to ride a warhorse, of course. If he was traveling alone, Kyo would bet that he wasn’t a nobleman’s son, which meant he would have to have been successful enough to afford the horse on his own. And yet, despite the way the man moved...he seemed a bit too small and slight to be a notorious fighter... But then the man sat down at the bar, took off his gloves, pulled back his hood...and released a cascading ponytail of bright blonde hair. Kyo caught a glimpse of the face and there was nothing masculine about that profile. He coughed into his cup in surprise, sitting up abruptly. A woman? Well, that would certainly explain the slenderness problem. He took another drink of water, scolding himself for allowing such a hasty conclusion. His eyes passed quickly over the brown-haired woman and the drunk, both seated near the new arrival. Conclusions, he amended. Being too certain of one’s own rightness was a dangerous pitfall. He was better than that.
  7. Much of the feel of her touch was lost in his pauldron, the thick, stiff leather leaving only the weight of her hand to transfer to the flesh beneath. Nevertheless, he was less than comfortable for its duration. Kyo didn't like having people -- particularly, strangers -- close to him, and having this woman invade his personal space was hardly pleasant. But a moment later her hand was gone, the woman with his water had returned, and his attention was elsewhere. The moment he turned his eyes to watch his water be delivered to him in an ale mug was the moment the woman caught her foot on his bag. The waitress backed away in surprise, and the culprit returned with an apologetic word and a blush that hinted at sincerity. He pressed his lips together and stood from his seat only to kneel beside the bag. "Please," he said, his voice nothing but quietly polite. He glanced at her as he picked up his water flask. The book, with its few-links-wide golden chain swinging from its binding, was now tucked away beneath his arm. "It's quite all right. I can take care of it." He gave the redhead another furtive look. She had shown interest in the caravan...did that mean she would be joining it as well? Some part of him hoped not; things tended to get broken easily enough while on the road. A klutz would only add to that likelihood.
  8. The sound of the chair's legs scraping over the worn wood floor drew the swordsman's attention before the woman did; in the bustle of the inn, he hadn't noticed her approach. He eyed her warily as she sat down, giving note to his suspicion while his face remained impassive. Most people didn't bother with making his acquaintance, and those who did always wanted something. Sometimes they were innocent requests, a fellow traveler looking for directions or in need of a strong set of hands. But other times... After a moment of weighing his response, the swordsman sat slightly forward and brought his elbows onto the table, folding his arms on the edge of the wood. His book, now closed, hung from his hand beneath the table and out of sight. "From my experience," he said, keeping his voice even. "There are only two kinds of people in this world: those willing to play games, and those who aren't." A slight emphasis on the last phrase indicated which of the two he was. "Is there something you needed, miss?"
  9. The candle on the bedside table flickered as the storm outside found its way through the minuscule spaces in the bedroom’s walls and window frames, grabbing the flame and twisting it this way and that to paint wild shadows on the wall. The boy watched the light with fear-filled eyes, twisting the blankets in his fists and pulling them tight over his head and shoulders. The thunder had woken him to the blackest night he had ever known, and with shaking, fumbling hands he had managed to light the candle to press back the darkness. The wax was but a stub now, the wick was low, and every sound beyond the wall pressed to his back was the heralding of a new monster’s approach, each just waiting to claim him as soon as the fire went out. He shivered at the thought, and felt his eyes began to burn; but he would not cry. He would not shout out. He was going to be seven years old in a week’s time, nearly a man grown. And grown-ups weren’t afraid of the dark. With one mighty gust, the windows rattled, the wind howled, and the candle went out. The boy screamed. Footsteps beyond the door announced the hurried approach of the house’s only other occupant, and the scraping of wood against wood announced the opening of the door. The old man stepped inside, his green eyes illuminated by his own taper and shining with worry. But a second’s scan of the room found nothing amiss but the young boy, cowering in the corner, and the old man’s tensed body relaxed. He turned to the frightened child and in a soothing, wondering voice, asked as he approached, “Kyo?” He sat on the edge of the bed beside the boy, holding the candle between them. “Kyo, what’s wrong?” A shaking finger poked out from the blanket-nest, pointing to the bedside table. “Th-the c-candle,” he said, gulping. He no longer cared about what a grown-up would or would not do; the young boy was terrified all the same. “The st-storm put it out...” The old man seemed to breathe a sigh of relief as a fond smile came onto his lips. Turning to the bedside table, he turned the flame of his taper to the wick of the other. Though the first candle had burned low, it had not yet burned out. The double flames illuminated all but the deepest corners, banishing the shadows to the farthest reaches of the bedroom. He set his candle down beside the first and turned to the boy, touching his hair fondly. The young boy had been afraid of the dark nearly since the day he was born, and though he put on a show of being fearless in the day, there were nights when no act was persuasive enough to quiet the terrors. “Oh, Kyo,” the old man said, his gentle voice matching his soft smile. “You know that there is nothing to fear in the darkness.” “But th-the demons, Grandfather.” The boy was quaking like a leaf beneath his weathered, wrinkled hand. As the wind howled again and something clattered in the yard, his bright green eyes disappeared beneath the blankets. A moment later, they made a slow reappearance, like a rabbit peering cautiously out of his hole after a hawk’s attack. “I can h-hear them.” “That was only the wagon I have forgotten to put away,” the old man said. He had no way of knowing what had actually made the sound with the windows shuttered and the land beyond dark, but it seemed as likely as any explanation. “The wind is strong tonight, and is blowing it about. There are no more demons left in this world, little one. Obakenare saved us that battle.” A sudden flash of indignance at being called little had the boy’s head coming fully out of the blankets. “I know that!” he said -- but another crack of thunder and howl of wind blew that bravado right out. He shrank back into his blankets and looked up at his grandfather. “But what if she missed some of them?” The old man chuckled softly and sought the child’s hands beneath the blanket, pulling them out and closing them between his own. “They’re all gone, Kyo. Locked up safe, where they cannot touch you.” The green eyes that peeked from beneath the blanket seemed to hesitate, weighing the words for their truth. Then slowly, he allowed the flax cloth to fall around his shoulders, sending his dark hair standing up every which way. “Could you read me the story again, Grandfather?” A fond smile, and the old man reached out to gently smooth the boy’s hair back down. “Only if you promise me you’ll go to sleep after.” The boy nodded eagerly and settled down in the crook between the wall and the bed as his grandfather picked up the book from the bedside table. Settling it on his thighs, the old man opened it and began to read. “Once, a long, long time ago, there was a young girl with hair as dark as night, and a soul as white as snow...” -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- The first fingers of dawn’s light crept across the worn parchment page, selecting words one by one to bring out of shadow. As they sought the words hidden beneath his hand, the warmth of the sun on his bare skin gradually pulled the warrior from his slumber. Kyo Ruroni woke to find himself in the same position he had dosed off in: propped up in the crook between the wall and the rented bed, the small journal open on his thigh. He blinked once, twice, then slowly eased himself out of his corner, wincing as his stiff neck and shoulder protested the movement. Once standing, a yawn and a stretch had him feeling much better again, but he knew the stiffness would be with him throughout the day. In retrospect, he would have been much better off simply lying down; stiff muscles were not a good way to start off what was sure to be a long day of marching. He went to the window and looked out over the plaza before the inn. Already there were lines of wagons and horses led up to the front of the building, lashed to posts as merchants wandered between them to check their wares and packs. The caravan that would leave from Akebono today would be the largest of the year; on the other end, the famous Market Festival of Ryuu-Tokai waited to make those merchants the richest they would be until the season ended. The sheer size of the caravan would no doubt attract attention along the road...but that was what hired swords were for. Kyo was heading to Ryuu-Tokai to meet an old contact of his grandfather’s; he might as well get paid along the way. Turning away from the low but numerous rooftops of the small city, he stepped over the pack that laid on the floor and went to the wash basin. The face that looked back at him was young but weather-worn, with bright green eyes peering out from beneath shaggy brown hair that was badly in need of a cut. Running his hand through it, he paused to open and close his fist slowly, the abnormally darkened, too-smooth skin pulling tight over his knuckles. He would have to be sure to get it cut once they arrived in Ryuu-Tokai. As the hour wore on, he began to gather his things. He pulled a green tunic over his head, tugging the strings that bound the small v in the collar tight but not tying them. Then came the armor. The chain-mail backed leather cuirass went on quickly, after hundreds of times doing exactly that, and equally practiced motions had his pauldrons attached. A short ten minutes had his bag sorted and packed, with his extra clothing, his food, water, mess kit, flint, sleeping roll, and map. He set the bag aside, strapped his dirk to his hip, and turned to his sword. The hand-and-a-half blade leaned in the corner of the room nearest the bed, its brown leather baldric hanging limply to the ground. He picked it up now, unsheathing it with a sweep of his arm, and held the steel to the light. It was an old sword, owned first by his great-grandfather, but it had been crafted by a master and had been well-cared for since. The blade was still straight, without notches or rust, honed until it gleamed with a deceptively beautiful light. And in the center of the blade, close to where it met the hilt, a diamond-shaped chip of polished onyx was set, visible on both sides. It was the only distinctive quality about the otherwise plain weapon, and it was his favorite. Kyo sat on the edge of the bed with the sword across his knees and a whetstone in his hand, and there he sat until the sun was well over the horizon. Once he had decided that the first rush of merchants was probably finished, he re-sheathed his sword and slipped the baldric over his head, tightening the belt across his chest. He pulled on his gauntlets and tightened the attached vambraces around his forearm, and then there was only one last thing to do. The journal still sat open on the bed. He sighed, picked it up, and placed the golden chain between the pages to mark where he was and closed it. The small pack on the left side of his belt was the perfect size to fit the book, and there he stowed it. Checking one last time to make certain he hadn’t left anything behind, he pulled his bag onto his back and left the room. He trotted down the stairs and entered the inn’s main room. Sitting in the corner by the door was Isran, the man in charge of keeping the ledger for the caravan. On the table before him was a thick book, in which he marked the names and goods of each individual who joined. Many of the cargo spaces were empty beside names; it would seem that Kyo wouldn’t be the only non-merchant joining the trip. As he approached, he caught Isran eying the hilt poking over his shoulder warily before his gaze moved to his face. Kyo didn’t smile, but he did nothing to be threatening. “Are you one of Irithoi’s boys?” Kyo gave a slight nod. “He said you would need some extra hands on the way to Ryuu-Tokai.” “There’s a heavy haul this year.” The name of Isran’s brother didn’t seem to set him at ease any, but he was being cordial enough. He sat forward and plucked the quill out of the ink pot. “So Irithoi’s getting jumpy. Could be we’ll have no trouble, but he figures better be safe than sorry. Frankly, me too.” He glanced up, poised to write. “Name?” “Kyo Ruroni.” “Irithoi’s already worked out your payment?” The warrior nodded. It would be enough to restock once they arrived in the city, and maybe even buy a few nights’ stay at a nice inn. “Well then, Kyo Ruroni,” Isran was scratching away in his book. “You’re all set.” He looked up. “Welcome to the caravan.” The warrior nodded his thanks, turned, and went to take a seat at a table. The inn was crowded as members of the caravan came and went, and the innkeeper and several hands were weaving their way through the constantly moving crowd. When one passed close to his table and noted that nothing sat in front of the warrior but a book, she stopped and gave him a welcoming smile. “I see you haven’t been helped yet, sir,” she said brightly, “Is there anything I can get you?” Kyo gave her a quick glance before returning his eyes to his journal. “Just water, please.” The woman hesitated, her smile faltering. “Er...water, sir?” He gave her another glance, this one a bit more pointed than the last. “Yes.” he said. “Water.”
  10. ((Who, exactly, are we waiting for, here?))
  11. Sal watched the alien leave with a set jaw and cold eyes. He hadn't appreciated the fact that he didn't have a chance to take control of the situation; between the surprise of the aliens' appearance and the Republic uniforms they were wearing...he felt useless and lost. Now that the Mal's commanding officer had left, he felt as though he could take control of the situation a little more. He being closest to the door, the medical team stepped first towards him. He waved them away, hopping down from the examination table he was sitting on. "Pay attention to her." he said, waving them towards Perdante. His eyes lingered on her for a moment. "I'm fine." - - - - - - - - - - - The crash for Fara and Mica was a little gentler than his brother's had been. Mica had been able to maintain a little more control over his pod, so the fact that neither of them were quite strapped in didn't much matter; Fara was knocked into the wall, but otherwise they were quite safe. As the dust settled around them again and the hum of the pod's systems shut down, the captain looked at her communications officer. "What have we got, Mica?" "There are...four pods down so far." he said, checking the scanner. "But there are multiple sentients out there. Most of them aren't carrying Republic INS signatures." Fara pressed her lips together in a thin line. Then, she turned abruptly and popped the hatch, climbing out. She would have to figure out how to bury the four companions left still in their restraints in the pod...but the live soldiers were her number one priority now.
  12. Or just ignore me. That works too; hint taken.

  13. Now Salvatore stepped forward, putting himself between Perdante and the little girl. On an unfamiliar, possibly hostile world, the man's military training took over; and that training was to trust no one until the situation was fully evaluated. But, with the smack that Perdante's he'd had taken...he might have to evaluate and go at the same time. "I'm Officer Salvatore Caraway, of the Republic Fleet. She's Jedi Perdante Dareva, and don't let her fool you. She took a hit to the head during our descent; is there anywhere around here that she might be able to sit and rest for a while?"
  14. I know... but sometimes, no one replies to my PM's or VM's. But It won't happen again. Thank you. :)

  15. Hey, don't worry about it! It isn't a big deal - I'm just trying to keep the thread clean of wanton posts =P And, at any rate, PMs usually get the message through faster.

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