Out of Character:
Childhood home - Describe your character's life at home from when he / she was young(er). Special thanks to the Ghost Writer for inspiring this prompt!
Out of Character:
Childhood home - Describe your character's life at home from when he / she was young(er). Special thanks to the Ghost Writer for inspiring this prompt!
Althanas Operations Administrator
Cain stood upon the docks of Radasanth looking upon a fore and aft rigged whaler it was on the smaller side but his father had made a deal with the captain where little Cain would get an education while at the same time the captain got paid a sum of money to provide it. This was a common deal among sea faring people and one that was expected by Cain. By his feet was a sea bag filled with every thing he was told he needed two pairs of sail cloth trousers, two pairs of slops, a sennit hat, a pair of boots, two vests, two long sleeve shirts, foul weather coat, and a dirk.
This ship the whaler Teapot would be his home for months if not years during its cruise to hunt whales for oil and ambergris. His arms and shoulders felt heavy and weak. His parents were only a hundred feet away but he already missed them. He was sad almost depressed and he couldn't help but let tears roll down his cheeks. Giving a meek sigh Cain and continued onto the ship and reported to the captain. Cains orders were "report to the boatswain."
Little Cain stepped out of the cabin and began looking for the boatswain "Excuse me where can I find the boatswain?" Little Cain asked a gentleman in a green wool nit cap and brown jacket. The gentleman looked down upon Little Cain and in a gruff voice that could carry over the crash of the waves replied "I AM THE BOATSWAIN!"
It was at about that moment that Cain realized that the next several weeks at least that his life will be turned up side down.
It seemed to Little Cain that all the boatswains job was to be a most malevolent disciplinarian. There was nothing in those first few weeks that Cain did that was correct in the boatswains eyes; he would tie a knot and the boatswain would tear the rope off it's belaying pin and shout "A knot like this will cost a man his life!" and then he would make Cain tie the same knot again and again. He would polish a piece of brass and would have to polish it again and so on and so on.
The land faded from view and then from Little Cains fore most thoughts replaced by the day to day routine of sea life. At three bells of the morning watch Little Cain was awoken by the boatswain hollering "Out or down! Out or down! I am coming with a sharp knife and a clean conscious!" He would then pull his hammock a full fourteen inches of space for himself, take it up to the weather deck and pack it into the netting on the outer part of the ship.
He would then be a part of the holy stoning party taking a piece of sand stone about the size of a red brick and sanding the deck of the Teapot after he had been a part of soaking it. After holy stoning he was part of the team that swabbed and flogged the deck dry. After all of that Cain was pipped down by the boatswain for breakfast.
Breakfast consisted of something similar to oatmeal maybe some hard tack that most likely had weavels in it and maybe salted horse depending on the day. After breakfast he was back on deck learning every part of the ship from keel to royal top and from bow to stern. The life he had began to lead was that of hard labor when the ship had to turn he was the one hauling on the ropes, when the anchor had to be weighed he was the one pushing on the capstan bars. He was not yet aloud to go up into the tops and sheet the sails.
At eight bells of the forenoon watch Little Cain was pipped down to lunch which consisted of peas, soft tack, and salted pork. After lunch Little Cains education continued through the captains instructions in mathematics, seamanship, reading and writing. Of-course that was interspersed with more manual labor until four bells of the dog watch where he was pipped down to supper. After which the evenings liberty lasted till four bells of the first watch when Little Cain passed out only to be awoken to "Out or down! Out or down!" by the merciless boatswain.
William was a mouse, darting quietly and unseen through the side door of his father’s wood shop. He moved from wood pile to wood pile, steadily making his way across the warehouse with a certainty of invisibility that only a child could have. He didn’t stop until he was right behind Gerard Arcus, satisfied that the man hadn’t caught his approach. William watched his father’s work with a keen interest, despite the fact that he’d already spent countless hours of his youth watching the exact same thing. His father had told him that every block of wood held a wondrous work of art inside it, and that it was a woodsman’s job to cut it free. William watched his father’s awl glide back and forth over his latest project with rapt fascination, trying to catch sight of the work of art inside.
“Scamp, aren’t you supposed to be mucking out the horse pen?” Gerard asked without turning around. William started in surprise, thinking that he’d been able to sneak up on his father without notice.
“I, uh, already finished,” William replied, a bit too quickly.
The awl in Gerard’s hands stopped mid-stroke. This time the man turned, a single dark eye stared intently at William from under a thick, bushy brow. And though he couldn’t see it, William knew that there was a deep scowl under the man’s beard to match the intensity of his stare. The boy’ face reddened instantly and his posture slumped as he unconsciously shuffled from one foot to another.
“What do I say about being a woodsman, Will?”
“You say that nobody buys from a dishonest woodsman,” William mumbled, his voice barely audible. Gerard grunted and turned back to his work. The familiar scrape of the blade over smooth wood wasn’t as friendly to William as it had been moments before.
“I don’t mind a little bit of slacking,” Gerard said, finishing one line and bringing the awl back for another. “It isn’t as if I haven’t missed you and your mother also while I was gone. I know you’re going to skulk around, Will, but don’t lie to me. Slacking cuts away a little of your time, lying cuts away a little bit of who you are.”
William dropped his eyes to his still shifting feet. A wellspring of shamed angst flooded up from his stomach. He’d been so excited to have his father back from the spring market that he’d messed everything up. Now his father was mad at him and he wouldn’t want William around. Hot tears rose to his eyes and a thick knot formed in the back of his throat.
“Eh, what’s a little extra horseshit for one day,” Gerard said, suddenly scooping William up into his wiry arms. The movement startled William so much that he yelped.
“Just so long as you clean the whole thing tomorrow,” Gerard said, to which William enthusiastically responded that he would. “Alright then, scamp. You want to help me out here? I think I could use a strong set of arms like yours. This seems to be a particularly tough piece of wood.”
“I’ll help,” William screeched and then laughed as Gerard tickled him. Gerard put William down and he laughed again as he ran to the other side of the workbench and clamped down on the piece of wood resting there.
William loved woodworking. It wasn’t just that he got to spend time with his father, who was often gone for long stretches of time selling his wares. He’d grown up in the shop, and it sometimes felt more a home to him that the cottage next door did. The smell of sweat and sawdust comforted him more than his mother’s freshly baked bread, and the sound of sharp iron tools scraping wood were a nighttime lullaby to the boy.
That wasn’t to say he didn’t love his mother or the cramped home that his father and grandfather had built, but his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all been woodsmen, and the shop was in his blood. William laughed as his father strained at the wood with a mock effort totally foreign to the way he had just been working, only to hand the tool to William who slid the razor sharp metal smoothly across the plank with no difficulty.
The two of them talked and laughed and worked through the rest of the afternoon until the sun was cradled low in the branches and William’s mother called them both in for dinner.
"I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu
David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
JC Thread - The Bitter King
He let out a small yip of protest when the man grabbed him by his hand and pulled him away. The boy snarled in protest as he was almost pulled off his feet and forced to follow the man he knew as Owen Ainsworth. Agitation swelled down the hair on his arms and he immediately tried to wrench his hand free. And yet no matter how much he tried he was unable to break the vice like grip that Owen held his hand in.
“L’eggo!” he roared in defiance, but the man payed him no mind as he was dragged away from the elderly alchemist.
His temper flared like a flame at the man ignoring him, and his instincts sang to him like a chorus. Bite, flail, ravage and raze! He would stir hell itself just to get his hand, and his freedom back. But he did not act. Instead of going for the man’s hand like a rabid beast, he just stared at how Owens hand completely engulfed his own. He stared upwards, at the back that had once carried him to safety.
His rage stammered to an ember, he had no desire to bring harm to this man. And yet, the taste of copper still continued to swirl bitterly in his mouth. Curiosity made him to look back at the elderly alchemist, but she was already being swallowed up by concerned citizens. His last sight of her was of the ice cold glare she sent his way.
He felt, wrong.
The world seemed to bear down on him, making his shoulders sag with an unknown burden. The righteous indignation he had felt burning within him like an inferno only moments ago now felt like the coldest of glaciers.
Resigned the boy allowed the head of the Ainsworth family lead him into his home.
Bitterly, he allowed the man to pull him into the kitchen and allowed himself to be sat on the dining room table. Watching intently as the man rolled up his sleeves, turned on the faucet and rinsed a cold flannel under the flowing water. He said no words as he turned to him next, taking the wet flannel and began wiping away the blood that was smeared across his face.
“I’m sorry” He admitted with a hesitant pause. Owens stern gaze did not falter with the admission and continued watch him with a guarded look. Fear began to well up within the pit of his stomach. Owen had been nice to him and his daughters had played with him and made him laugh. And he … he did something terrible. There was only one conclusion.
They were going to send him away.
“I’m really sorry” he whimpered as the world distorted with tears welling in his eyes.
“I know.” Owen answered so quietly that he had almost missed it. The boy paused with a baited breath for the man to say something more. Instead, Owen rinsed the wet cloth and began to gently dab at the black bruises that were beginning to welt. The boy winced at the place where he had been kicked in the face, pain lancing down his spine as panic began to make its way to the forefront of his mind.
“I promise I won’t do it again! Please don’t send me back.” He urgently cried, wanting Owen to know how he genuinely did not mean to openly attack the Alchemist the way he had. He would never do it again, just so long as Owen did not send him back!
“Back where?” Owen asked with furrowed brow. A question the man had asked him many, many times. But like then, his answer had not changed from the first time Owen had asked the boy where he had come from.
“I… I’unno.” He failed to recall a time before the field, from before Owen had found him skulking around in the dark. Only the faintest of recollections burbled to the surface of his mind of a place that had made him feel so alone.
A place that had deprived him of all of his senses so completely, that he may as well not have existed.
“I won’t send you back” Owens voice cut through his mind, halting all his thoughts in their place for what may have been for an eternity for the boy. At first, he did not believe that the man had just said that, some of the things he and the others said tended to elude him unless they explained what they meant.
“Y…Y-you promise?” He whispered daring to hope.
“I promise” Owen said openly, leaving the boy little room to doubt.
Hide. Just hide. Hide and breathe. Breathe soft. Or don't. Cover your mouth. Don't move an inch. Not even a hair. Don't let him hear -
Violently, the cupboard door was ripped open. Old rusting sockets sprung off their balances, the wooden boards becoming unhinged in that single movements. Livid, raging eyes, as fearsome as a dragon's, glared into the dusty gloom that was the hiding place of the young girl. Her brown hair was a scraggly frame around her round features, and her thin body was curled up tight mimicking a foetus in a womb.
A second passed. The young girl refused to look up to meet the origin of her nightmares. Merciless, he came, extending hand down with fingers curled like gnarled claws, to grab her unwashed hair. Yanking this he pulled up the struggling, raggedly breathing girl and stared right into her eyes.
"What," his voice rasped against brittle, jagged tombstones for teeth, "Are you hiding from me for?"
Her hooves at the end of her jointed legs scraped grooves in the rough wooden flooring. Hands raised she grasped at the hand which held her hair, trying to find some source of weakness to end the unyielding agony which were the roots of her hair tearing out from flesh. Tears, small and agile, dripped from the canthus of either eye, hitting the floor with noiseless splashes. Barely did she make a noise, for experience had taught her shrieking and screaming would bring her naught but more punishment, naught but more pain.
"I said," the punisher pushed his tan-toned sharp-featured face forwards to meet her pale, near-white features. Lack of sunlight and a lack of good healthy diet had led the girl to become blanched - a fact that the punisher deemed unsavory enough to question his paternity of the child. "What are you hiding for?"
Lips trembled, eyes squeezed shut for the inevitable to come.
"For the sake of the gods, why do you never ANSWER ME?"
Maybe she could have summoned up the courage to answer. Maybe she could have woven together a plausible enough lie. Maybe he would pause enough, this one time, to consider her words - but in her heart she knew the certain, inavoidable truth. That whatever she said, whatever occurances happened, whatever history prior to this scene transpired, it consitantly led to the same conclusion.
Indeed, the girl had tried to speak. Before, she had tried to reason, utter, excuse, retaliate, but nothing could deny the strength of the brute. Strong, and built akin to a minotaur he was mighty, and impossible to battle against - for neither mother nor daughter. One would be used against the other, threats were intertwined into their very existence, and alternative punishments were concocted - one disappearing, the other left. One returning, welts of angry red across the face and the remains of chafing, coarse chains, the other kept in fear all two to four days, residing under the risk that they could permanently loose the other. On and on it had repeated, for almost twelve years now ...
"Please," came a whisper from behind the man, "Please, stop. Leave her ... leave her be."
A harsh kick out, furred leg with cloven hoof connected with a form and silence was bestowed.
Pleading often was tried, but did not help either.
"I hate you," hissed the girl through gritted teeth as she heard the slump of her mother on the ground. She could see the cascading falls of her chestnut hair fleeing into the air as the mother fell. This time she was trying defiance.
A thin wry smile came to the cracked lips of the man, the father, who still held her hair like he would a discarded toy. Small chuckles of maddened, illogical, amusement came out from between them.
"Oh I know you do," the father, the punisher, the imprisoner, the maniac jeered, "I know. And I love it."
"Tol. Mela. Othor." "Versh. Sai. Memnae." Come. Love. Conquer. - Philomel in Tolkein Sindarin, Faunish and Tradespeak
Very grateful winner of 2015 Althies Awards: Friendliest Member, Mrs Althanas, Best IC Rivalry (with Doge), Best Judge and Most Helpful/Friendly Mod and Admin Award of Moderator of the Year.
When a choice must be made between a night of sleep and a night devoted to one’s passion, passion wins out more often than not.
Varin knew this. The few times the child had elected to keep awake and have some time to himself, it always ended up in an awful morning the next day. A tired servant was not an efficient one. A tired servant made mistakes, dropping valuables and missing spots when they dusted. A tired servant was yelled at. All the same, there was a strong need for abnegation stirring in the boy’s claws, and he had little time to himself to satisfy it.
Ensconced furtively on the end of the cot that took up most of his shrunken living quarters, the boy pulled out the the tie holding his braid together and ran a hand over his achy scalp. Free to relax at last. He slipped it around his wrist and lifted up his threadbare pillow with a content yawn, pulling out his quietly collected possessions. All he had was a box of unused pencils he had sheepishly stolen away from the bedroom of one of his master’s sons (Plagah wasn’t putting them to use anyway), a few discarded scraps of paper (some already filled with small drawings and sketches), and a book filled with illustrations and descriptions of fantastic beasts. It was dusty, borrowed briefly from the mansion’s small personal library.
A sharper pencil was picked out of the pile. Varin’s sole light source; a window lit by Suthainn’s night glow. Crystals were strung into the canopy of the city, a ceiling that replace the starlight that barely penetrated the thick leafy canopy. Inviting earthen smells wafted in from outside.
Varin’s eyes were fixated longingly to the darkened scenery. One could see other the lofty houses of the nobility, and the tangle of branches holding them up. Drakari scurried across the webby mess of bridges, ladders, and walkways tying everything together. Down below one could see the branches where the Scale and Claws resided. From this height, they gave off the impression of ants scurrying about their day-to-day lives. He leaned over to press his nose to the bars. Scanning all that was below with his curious orange gaze, the boy stretched frail obsidian wings as a baby bird might theirs, wondering what he’d see if he could swoop down for a closer look.
But that was preposterous. Inside was where he belonged. Master had always told him so.
His pencil had barely touched the first paper. Varin held his breath at the intrusive call, listening to the skittering night creatures outside and pondering the voice. No, that wasn’t his master, he realized with relief. The consonants weren’t gravelly; it was just one of his master’s offspring. What was it that they were bothering him about. He set his pencil down and stretched, reluctant to rise from his warm window perch. A few minutes of dallying could be spared if he was lucky.
The rough tone sent Varin rushing out the door and startling down the servant’s staircase to where it secretly merged with the main hall. One set of haughty grey eyes greeted him when he poked his head out from behind the curtains that separated the staff’s wing of the house from everything else.
He hated dealing with his master’s sons.
They three were curious, dragon-snouted creatures with scales in righteous shades of Piospius’ blue, but a few years Varin’s senior. Argo and Plagah were reasonable beings. They rarely bothered him beyond quiet insults and the rare attempt to trip him as he walked past. Kilrush was another matter entirely. Much like his father, he was a spiny, light-scaled beast with teeth as crooked as the those of the Evertu in the lands below and a temper to match. His interactions with Varin left two tastes in his mouth. One was the bitter bile of bitten-back anger. The other was the very literal metallic tang of blood.
It was Kilrush who had demanded his presence. Varin’s heart sank in his chest and fell through to the pit of his stomach.
“Why must you keep me waiting for so long?” the larger Drakari commanded with an arrogance that befit a spoilt child. Words were lost to Varin in these situations. When anything could be used against you, it was better to not speak at all. He merely bowed his head and whispered an apology. Kilrush’s lip twitched in irritation. “Nevermind that. What I would like, is an explanation for this.” A round, steel shield was produced from behind Kilrush’s back and forced into Varin’s face. His own dull ember eyes reflected in the filigreed curvature. A few shallow scratches marred its sharply-scented polish.
He was brought down for this? For nothing more than a shield that didn’t have perfect shine? “It was buffed it yesterday...” Varin mumbled through grinding teeth, staring at his own reflection with as little distress as he could manage. It had been perfectly fine then.
“Meet my eyes, Fuilenir,” Kilrush demanded, forcing up Varin’s gaze with a sharp smack of the shield against his snout. Stars struck his vision as he reeled back from the blow. He gripped the curtains with one hand to keep his balance. “Fool. I don’t care what you did to it yesterday; it's scuffed now, and I was planning to use it tomorrow!”
Varin looked away from the accusing gaze, a hand to his smarting snout. Unspoken resentment boiled up inside him. No tactful reply came to mind.
You've been fooling around with it with untrimmed claws then. That's why.
Kilrush stiffened, standing up a little straighter. A sudden fury came to the noble Drakari’s gaze. Nostrils flared and pupils narrowed, he leaned towards Varin, forcing the smaller child back a foot up the stairs. “Would you care to repeat that?” he asked, his voice low with anger.
It took Varin a few seconds to realize that he’d slipped up. The secret inside-words had slipped out through his treacherous mouth. Now, it clamped shut. So too, did his eyes as he winced and drew away, knowing full well what came next.
The expected slap struck his cheek with surprising force, snapping his head back. Scaled knuckles and pointed claws left their mark on Varin, cutting his all-too-undraconian skin in several long streaks. Beads of blood pooled from them. He hunched over on the stairs, still closing his eyes, gripping the wood floor underneath him with trembling claws. An entitled clonk sounded out, the shield dropped at the base of the steps just before his feet.
“Hand this back to me first thing tomorrow. Every scratch needs to be erased from its surface. Else, I’ll tell father of your failure.”
Varin only had the energy for a slow nod and a hoarse reply. “It will be done, my lord.”
With a pained gasp, Varin woke on the floor of the homely inn he had spent the night at, cotton sheets snaring his limbs at every conceivable angle. His side ached, his right wing was numb, and he was still holding the left defensively in front of his face as one might hold a shield. Sunlight streamed in through the windows in an entirely unwelcome way.
He was too tired for being awake, and too alert to return to bed.
By far the loudest thing in the room was Arie. The bossy sparrow stamped twiggy feet impudently up and down on Varin’s chest, a concerned little foghorn all in her own right. Varin dabbed the cold sweat on his forehead with a groggy groan. Arie's racket was quieted with a stern tap on the beak. “It is alright, cease your worrying, my friend. No need to sound alarms. I merely took a fall off the bed. Again...” She tilted her head suspiciously at him, leaning into his face intensely. He sighed and pushed her away gently. “Honestly! It was nothing, I swear to you, nothing except a night of restless dreaming...”