sunbaked_baker: (running)
[personal profile] sunbaked_baker
It is the heart of summer, and the days are long. The sun sets late, and the nights are pleasantly warm.

At the moment, this particular day is finally relinquishing its grasp, the half-light of evening settling in, turning the world varying depths of grey.

Yet there is still a light out in the forest. Out past the baseball diamond, in a clearing where a great, thirty-foot wide circle of arcane symbols has been burned into the ground, Sunshine is practicing.

Three figures made of animate soil and water struggle with her. They are faster than she, but Sunshine has her magic. Has her knife in hand, beginning to glow as the daylight fades around her. Has her glimmering network of light set into her skin and hair, awake and alert and pulling from the sun that has already disappeared from the horizon. Has her silver and amber ring on its cord about her neck, gleaming. Her semi-transparent shielding spell appearing and disappearing in a ghostly golden light. Each strike by the figures of magically-animate soil and water she blocks, quick as thought, until she moves to lets one through so she can strike at its heart, in and up into where the chest would be.

The object of this exercise is to stay dry. Stay clean.

Except for her right hand and arm.

Date: 2013-07-21 02:02 am (UTC)
vojvode: (crucifix in palm)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He'd slept for a long while this time. Deep in the comfort of the earth, held in the roots of the oldest oaks on the mountain, cradled in the black loam, a pillow of granite for his head.

He'd awakened, and fed, on the beasts of the land. Boar and stag, and other strange creatures. It was good to relinquish the burden of pretending to be human for awhile. But soon, his soul ached for the sound of voices, for laughter and conversation, for warmth and light.

The wind shifted and he caught her scent, the delicate scent of cinnamon and sweetness. And something else.

Magic. Sweat. Endorphins.

He changed, swift as breathing, flowing through the trees like water, mist the colour of the emerald sea crossing the distance between them, racing the sunset.

He caught himself short at the edge of the clearing, the sigils making his senses thrum in warning. His body reformed, bone, muscle, armor, sword, without thought. Instinct drew the form from distant memory.

But he still stood, frozen at the edge of the clearing, watching her move.

She was closer to the visage of his dreams than ever before. Power swirled around and through her, and she was at home with it. It was a stunning sight to behold.

Date: 2013-07-21 02:34 am (UTC)
vojvode: (warrior)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He doesn't need to breathe. But he doesn't need to walk or sit or do any of the other things that make him appear human either. It just comes naturally to him.

And that gaze makes him draw a deep breath.

Shadows shift around him, and he raises his sword in silent salute. The blade turns out sharply, and descends again. Before the tip hits the soil, it dissolves into mist. Another breath, and he's taken up a less martial garb.

Black trousers, black vest, white shirt with the cuffs rolled to below the elbow. His hair is still long, and his eyes still hidden by dark wire-rimmed spectacles.

"My apologies."

His voice is gravelled with disuse, and he takes a moment to compose himself.

"How long has it been?"

Date: 2013-07-21 02:51 am (UTC)
vojvode: (listening)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
"Too long."

She is anything but silent as far as his senses are concerned. Her heart is pounding, her breath still ragged from exertion. The scent of her sweat makes his mouth water.

But this is Rae. The Raven. Feeder of lost souls. A beacon in the darkness.

His gaze falls to the churned up lawn at her feet.

"I thought you were under attack."

Date: 2013-07-21 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
His head tilts to the side.

"The golems, then. They were -- of your hand?"

His accent is thicker than she might remember, his expression still on the edge of feral. Speaking seems to be requiring thought and effort. His body language still resembles that of a man on the edge of violence, though it is fading with every breath.

Another moment or two, and he adjusts the cuff of his shirt, an air of civility settling around his shoulders, calming the mist and shadows around him.
Edited Date: 2013-07-21 03:32 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-07-21 03:59 am (UTC)
vojvode: (warrior)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
The other cuff is subjected to the same treatment as he approaches, and then he slips his hands in his pockets, his gaze still downcast.

"You require a partner to spar with. One who can -- emulate -- your real enemy. Otherwise, what use is there in the exercise, hmm?"

Date: 2013-07-21 04:16 am (UTC)
vojvode: (warrior)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He pauses at the edge of the circle, eyeing it warily.

"Not much use at all," he muses.

One hand rises to remove his spectacles. He folds them carefully and tucks them into the pocket of his vest. Another glance around the field, and he looks back to her, his expression almost what one might call soft.

One eyebrow rises in question.

"Your rules?"

He doesn't bother inquiring whether or not she trusts him. He seems to know the truth of that matter, without even asking.

Date: 2013-07-23 01:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He nods, and eyes the circle again. If she trusts him, then, he must by extension, trust her.

The ease with which he reaches his decision will trouble him, later, on the edge of sleep. But in this moment, he gives it no thought at all.

"When I was -- very young, we trained on the hard packed earth. My brothers and I. In the style of the ancient Greeks." He murmurs something under his breath, squatting down to take up a handful of the mud, letting it smear through his fingers and fall back to the ground. He looks at it, and then up at her, a smirk lurking about his lips.

"You must call the count." He crosses into the circle, and his boots have dissolved into mist, leaving him in bare feet. He takes up a fighting stance, one foot ahead of the other, his weight distributed between them. His hands hang relaxed as he raises his arms, and he beckons her. "And be gentle on an old man."

Date: 2013-07-24 10:20 pm (UTC)
vojvode: (warrior)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
She moves like water, and he watches her as the moment slows. Fire flows around her, and he wonders if it will leave a mark on his skin. Her fingertips brush his chest, and he spins away, hands raised to deflect any followup blow. Two steps to the right, and his thoughts reach out to hers.

How do they move in your world? Show me.

The memories aren't that far from the surface, and he takes them on, wraps himself in them like a cloak. Brutal and thirsty, like winter-starved wolves.

He adjusts his attack accordingly, aiming for her throat.

Date: 2013-07-25 07:37 pm (UTC)
vojvode: (warrior)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He tastes metal, bright and bitter on his tongue, and it burns. The feral beast that lives behind his breast bone howls with rage, those memories stirring others, of the hunt, of blood, bright and hot, spilling down his jaws.

But he keeps that monster under the reign of his will, bound and muzzled. He can give her what she needs without succumbing to mindless bloodlust.

His body remembers the drills, bone and muscle responding with their own memories. The takedown becomes a rolling surge, the feint countered with his own reaching grasp. They flow together, fire and mist, warrior and mage, and it feels like they've done this a thousand times before.

When they separate and he dances away, he pauses to grin at her, tossing his hair back over his shoulder. He wishes he'd had the sense to braid it first.

'Again,' he growls, and there is joy in the word.

Date: 2013-07-25 10:45 pm (UTC)
vojvode: (smirk)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He meets the press, and increases the force and fury of blows to match it. He feels the earth moving beneath him, and moves with it. The fire singes the air around him, and the ashes reform, knitting the burns whole again before the next strike. She's starting to learn his rhythms, predicting where the next hole in his defense will be as his movement takes form. She requires his full focus, and that becomes his downfall.

He catches himself, between moments, reveling in her beauty, her strength and her competence with the magical forces she's wielding. And that is when she catches him off guard, sending him tumbling to the ground almost to the edge of the circle. There is another laugh, and he falls to his back, staring up at the sky.

'Sweet lady, mercy.'

He should be breathing hard, should be sweating, but none of these outward signs of exertion reveal themselves. His eyes, though, burn with an unholy fire.

Date: 2013-07-28 09:43 pm (UTC)
vojvode: (gaze)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He turns his head, slightly, looking at her. After a moment, he levers himself up to one elbow, resting for a span of heartbeats, looking for all the world like he meant to end up like this. He looks at her with dark eyes, searching for something in her face.

'I know, I know. It is an unfathomable request.'

She is, after all, her.

Date: 2013-07-30 09:10 pm (UTC)
vojvode: (gaze)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
He places his hand in hers (cool granite on warm flesh), and clasps his fingers around those fine bones.

She is stunning. Her memories flow over him, through him, mingling with the sweet symphony of her heart beat, the flush of sweat on her skin, the scent of her hair. It's an assault on his senses, and one that he gladly submits to. She reminds him why he chose to return from the wilds.

He lets her feel his weight as he stands, using her as a counterbalance. It's easier now, after sparring with her. They've danced, so to speak.

'You need to rest. And something to drink, perhaps.'

He doesn't want to seem uncivilized.

Date: 2013-07-30 09:55 pm (UTC)
vojvode: (gaze)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
'Another time, perhaps,' he answers, withdrawing his grasp from hers. He honors her with a bow, one hand across his chest, one foot slightly ahead of the other. It is an archaic gesture, but it comes as naturally to him as breathing.

'I have not forgotten my debt to you, lady.'

Date: 2013-08-01 03:27 am (UTC)
vojvode: (gaze)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
The corner of his mouth lifts at her awkward curtsey. When she rises, he takes the liberty of stepping in close, and taking her hand, bending over it to brush his lips over her knuckles.

'Thank you, for this. I should like it if we could train like this, again. If you're amenable?'

Date: 2013-08-01 04:13 am (UTC)
vojvode: (gaze)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
His gaze drops to where she clasps his hand. His skin warms to her touch, and he does not move to relinquish her grasp. There are moments when he looks -- no, when he becomes human. Perhaps it is because she fears him, or perhaps it is because she does not.

Perhaps it is simply another facet of his mask. Perhaps it is not a mask at all. Certainly, when he lifts his gaze to hers again, the look in his eyes is as open and honest as she has ever seen.

'I look forward to it. Until then?'

Date: 2013-08-01 10:10 pm (UTC)
vojvode: (tip of the hat)
From: [personal profile] vojvode
His eyebrows rise, and he inclines his head, the ghost of a smile crossing his features.

'A good evening to you... Rae.'

Again, he dips his chin, and turns to leave. The shadows pool around his feet, licking up his legs until it seems like the night itself draws him in. His silhouette dissolves and maybe she can hear a faint sound. A contented, quiet chuckle that echoes around her, coming from everywhere and no where, all at once.


sunbaked_baker: (Default)
Rae "Sunshine" Seddon

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