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Author Topic: A Family Legacy ; Katrien  (Read 3489 times)

minerva

The Port Hampshire Lighthouse
« Reply #60 on: May 27, 2006, 02:31:20 pm »
The Port Hampshire Lighthouse * A crisp vellum parchment scribed in a flowing tailored style that is both functional and pleasing to the eye, is received by the administrators of the Libraries of Blackford Castle, The Aragen Temple in Rilara and the Great Library of Voltrex.*  
Be it known that in the autumn of the year 1398, the lighthouse of Port Hampshire ceased to function for a brief period of time. When the dimming of the light was first noticed, the port authority contacted a group of Mistone adventurers to investigate the cause of the malfunction. It is surmised that the authorities themselves were incapable of overcoming their fears of the sounds emerging from the lighthouse basement to investigate it on their own. The working mechanism for the light was found embedded in a maze of tunnels beneath the building and well warded and guarded by golems of various descriptions. The basement also contained various elements of undead creatures and perhaps the souls of sailors lost at sea. The directions to the working chamber are laid out on the enclosed appendices. The mechanism to open the door and pacify the guardians seems to draw energy from the light, thus any dimming should be thoroughly investigated before the light dies out, lest the wall not be able to be opened. The proper combination for the levers show in Diagram A is Green, Red, Yellow, and Blue. The levers are to be pulled in this order. Inside the working chamber one will find a control panel on the far wall and four crystal shards matching the colors of the levers. Diagram B is that of the room layout. The control panel is an odd device. Centered on the console is a block of moveable buttons. These buttons are outlined in Diagram C. The device is the workings of a Halfling inventor by the name of Ragriappi. Be it known this individual is quite insane, even by Halfling standards. The crystals are representatives of the four leading elements. In their color representative order they are Earth (green), Fire (red), Air (yellow) and Water (blue). As you will note from Diagram B, the placement of the crystals is important. The placement also represent in what quadrants of the world map they may be located should the replacement shards fail in the future. Red in the northeast, Blue the northwest, Green is southwest, while yellow in southeast. Giving the exact local these shards may be located is difficult as they are in the care of primal elementals of each representation and as thus they are prone to shifting. They were gathered from the following locales by this adventuring group. Red was gathered from a cave of fire elementals in the peaks of Firesteep on Molten Island. Green, collected from earth guardians in the approximate location of the mountains on Enderal, of the Dragon Island chain. The yellow was watched over by air guardians; near the swamp of reawakening of Kingdom of Roldem’s island Talimar. The final blue shard was in the care of water elemental on the Northern Islands of Bastil or what is commonly referred to as the Barbarian Isles. Be wary of traps, illusions and puzzles set forth by these guardians of the shards. To obtain a piece of the mother crystal one must prove their worth to the caretakers. The crystals must be in place before the control panel is reset. Take care to make sure the power lever located to the left of the control panel is in the off position. Should you have a dwarf manning the lever, make doubly sure it is off. The combinations of letters are in fact the words Earth, Fire, Water and Air spelled out in the Halfling language. Contained with the maze of letters is the word LIGHT. Revolve the letters to the correct spelling, and then depress the combination of letters to spell the word light, turn on the power switch to reactivate the shards.
 

minerva

An Un-Natural Song
« Reply #61 on: May 27, 2006, 02:32:20 pm »
An Unnatural Song  
I had a chance meeting with my dear friend Brisbane while picking berries around Corax Lake. She beseeched me to join her in the hunt of the rift for the source of some unnatural bird song that was causing nature great distress. Of course I said I would help in any way that I could. I could not have known what the consequences of that decision would be. We did indeed find the source of the song. The trip through the rift was taxing as it took much of my skill to counter the cacophony of that song. Weaving a song to counter the discord was difficult but I am glad I was able to help in that fashion. The source was a golem bird hidden deep in a lair in the rift. The bird was obtained as well as a few books from what appeared to be Drezneb’s own private sanctuary abet an abandoned one. I am curious as to why now this bird began to sing and none could offer an explanation. I picked a tome or two off the floor for later reading. I really do not think they offer much, but they will help my growing library. Bris tried to extinguish the song of the bird by destroying it, but fund she could not. Thankfully the thing would not sing in darkness. A strange book found one wriiten in ancient elven and recent common. One with pages seen only with the use of a weave of sight. The images of the Forsaken Islands. Is this where Drezneb has hidden his weak point? Does his phylactery lie on that pool of evil? A visit to first Moraken, then the seilwood witch yielded little. However a discussion with Ozlo yielded much more. A staff to be sought, one of power fueled by the souls of others. The staff and the bird together, open a portal to the islands. Staff , bird and portal… locks and keys. Lalaith and her ways of mystery along with her new shadow Plen were able to recover the ruby topped staff from it hiding place it in the Demon Mountains. Ozlo wanted it for his own… it holds the souls of many within it grasp I only hope that Ozlo has the good sense and will to deal with it appropriately. The ritual described on the pages complete indeed we had a portal open. Thank goodness Bris had the place of mind to fly to Spellgard for protective rings against the negative flows of the island. Stepping into that swirling vortex of magic was indeed a leap of faith. I knew not then if I would be writing this now. By the grace of gods we survived that hole of hells and even managed to find the phylactery of the beast himself. Some fell, me included as a piece of my soul lies impaled on those forsaken islands. Back thru the vortex of magic to the safely of Dregar and my part of the tale ends. Bris, Plen, Lala and Talan carried the crown and staff forward as promised. I collapsed with Connor, exhausted from the ordeal but satisfied that harmony had once again returned.
 

minerva

A task Complete
« Reply #62 on: May 27, 2006, 02:33:13 pm »
A Task Complete  
*in bold strokes is no long complicated tale simple a few lines of words that convey much*  
Eon and Drezneb are vanquished; the pools of blood lie pure and cleansed as the rifts collapse.
 

minerva

A Journey Into Sound
« Reply #63 on: May 27, 2006, 02:39:21 pm »
A Journey into Sound

 *Poised at the table in her room at the Hotel Layonara, Kat sits red eyed and pensive. The bed is rumbled in appears in sleep that would not come. The air around her is sober and heavy as she writes in a firm hand* ]Dezare: a voice of music, the harmony of life not flowing around her but almost from her. Her very breathing, her every movement seemed to be directing it.
How had she heard of me? Why me and Poppa how did she know?
Trust in your Heart , Trust in your Heart, for it will show you the path of Love. I've walked that path... ...though ever so ...so painful. So lonely.
These were mother’s words or your words, but they were words in this diary that can only be read by me. How did she know? I wish to the heavens I had had this book with me. Though I don’t know if I would have thought to place it in her hands to see if the latch would open for her. Mother had said “The time for Sound and Magic is now” but Dezare in her dying breath said “The Time of Sound and Magic wanes and waxes”.
What was it that was sapping the vitality from this beautiful creature? What was drawing the life from her and in end took her and her gifts from this world?
The consort of a King if not in title but in heart; May the peace they lacked in life find them in death.
*the following is a musical score. It is both simple and complex with multiple layers of sound interweaving to initially produce a feeling of overwhelming calmness and peace, building slowly to a tempo of quiet confidence with a inner aura of vitality and goodness, then it climaxes to strong presence of a champion and protector as it slowly winds back down to a twilight of accomplishment and peace* Two camps of advisors stand divided. One full of hope and confidence, while the other in fear and anxiety. A look at one may divide a world or unite a destiny. Who is to say who will rise to the reigns of powers, the daughter of a king or the son of a princess?
Something ended them before their time. Something haunted their steps long before it drew life from them. Did it do it in unison of design or did she sacrifice her life in hopes of continuing his? Who would ends the reign of a regent in this manner? The healers and divine decreed no trace of evil. If malice was not involved then what?
 *the quill rests her as Kat reaches for apiece of parchement to scratch out a list*
- The lines of Nobility… who stands where and what of the true line of Kings?  Where was her home? Who was she in life? - Bris wishes to visit the grove and talk to the animals to find out what they know - She needs a place to rest. Make sure she is given dignity in her death.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2024, 05:34:23 pm by minerva »
 

minerva

Novlar , 1400
« Reply #64 on: May 31, 2006, 02:30:09 am »
*The house is a disaster around her. Many colored ribbons of lavender and white stream from the beams of the old building as the remains of illusionary animals flicker and dance on the walls. The fire burns low in the family room hearth as a dozen young girls feign sleep poorly under the cover of giggles and whispers. Katrien pretends not to hear the chatter as she sits with a candle on her piano and records carefully in her diary. At her feet is a small black ball of fur curled tight into a circle* Mikey was kind enough to let me use the portal in his Pranzis house to return for Lisse’s birthday. How ironic it is that major events in my life seem to cluster around this date. Today she turned 11 years old. In a few weeks time it will be 11 years since I stepped into that hole underground. In two weeks time I will be 33 years old.
 Today was a good day. Full of fun and laughter as it should be. The children of Hlint accept my daughter as one of them. She has playmates that truly are her friends. In time I know many of these relationships will fade, but perhaps amongst the giggling worms on my floor lays a soul mate for daughter. Nothing is a precious as friend whom you can pour your heart out to. ]Connor arrived in time to amuse the crowd with his illusions as Jharl and Mikey did their best to entertain with song, story and general horseplay. Lisse’ has the ring Jharl gave her on a ribbon around her neck. Thank the gods she’s yet to figure the spell locked in it. I doubt it will be long though before she does, inquisitive as she is.
She has the best of some things and the worst of others. Her features are fine and elfin not round like mine. Her hair is more the color of burnt copper with the odd streak of her father’s white running from her left temple. The eyes are mine I must admit, the color of emeralds but more almond shape. It is her skin that worried me the most as a babe. She was a most unusual grey skinned baby. Not a grey of sickness but a rosy grey if that can be imagined. In time I am pleased that it has faded to porcelain pale. The hint of Drow in her is only the white streak in her hair and the fire red glow that haunts her eyes when she is angered. Her temper matches her hair I must admit, but them so does mine.
My gift to my daughter on her 11th birthday was simply a plain black diary. I had it bound in wyrmling hide and embossed in gold for the occasion. Now she can record her thoughts as she makes the steps from child to woman. Inside there is the celestial music her uncle Veldrin taught me so many moons ago. I name the piece The Flight of Fox and Wolf. She cannot of course play it yet but she is becoming rather adept at some of the simpler passages on the flute I gave her last year for her birthday.
We also welcomed into our homes the newest addition to out family. Jacee brought Lisse a panther cub she found abandoned in the Seilwood forest. I don’t know whether to hug or hang my friend for her gift. Lisse has been after me for years for a pet, but I have been able to put her off until now. A very large kitten we now have. Jacee in her wisdom reasoned that the care of the creature would be a good responsibility for Lisse’. She also gently reminded me that she needs company and a confident now that my responsibilities take me farther a field. She is my best friend. Some times I envy and am jealous of her. She spends almost as much time as I with Lisse. Some times I fear it is more than I. This business with Dezare and the regent will again pull me from home. I cannot ignore it.
Jacee says she see a touch for the weave developing in Lisse’. The child is curious beyond belief at all the things in my study and I have changed the locks and wards as dozen times to keep her out and safe from accidental harm. Her tutors tell me similar tales of both pride and frustration at her inquisitiveness. She lapses from Drow to Elven to Common in a heartbeat. I have caught her dancing with a wooden sword in the shadows of her room. I want her to grow and find the forms of happiness that have eluded me. I want so much for her that it scares me some times. It scares me. Much like the nightmare faced I know I can do nothing but give love and guidance and trust in her to find her way. I wonder if anything other than the gifts of sound flow thru her. 
 *a pink mouth yawns and the feline stretches and gets up to pad quietly across the room to curl it’s warmth into the now sleeping Lisse’. Unconsciously a small hand curls a round the panther cub as the two settle into sleep. Kat put her diary aside and closed the latch, sealing it from prying eyes. After blowing out the candle, she quietly gets up and gracefully makes her way around the dozen sleeping forms on the family room floor, before wrapping a warm blanket around herself and letting the comfort of the fire and the couch lull her to sleep*

« Last Edit: January 06, 2024, 05:36:39 pm by minerva »
 

minerva

A Return to Musing
« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2006, 10:07:48 am »
Too long have I neglected to write you Poppa, far too long. So much has happened in my life; much that I am ashamed of, and very little that I am proud of. [/SIZE]  <font size="3" />
I met a friend of yours. Sad it was that we should meet like stars passing in the night sky. Her star was fading to the horizon as I wandered into its path. I still do not know how she knew where to find me; to call me. Find me she did. I was witness to the end of an era, an end of peace, and end of justice, and end of so much that I had foolishly held as constants in the world. Sadly I now know just how wrong that is. For all that King Waylend was not, he was an honorable man who did his best. Poppa I think you knew this didn’t you? The image I saw of the bright Mitral armor. That was you as the King’s guard. The priest at the temple told me of you and the Lady Dezare. How you were at both her and the king’s side… how you were there the eve that her daughter… the King’s daughter came into this world. That means that you were alive Poppa… Alive and in Dregar while I was finding my way in Mistone. I can only trust that it was duty that kept you from me, for somewhere in my heart I can feel your breath of life.
Perhaps you know of the tragedy that has befallen the great city, indeed the entire continent of Dregar. With the King dead and the seeds of discord sown, it was ripe for the harvest by Bloodstone. Perhaps I could have shouted louder, sung stronger… yelled more, but I doubt I would have made a difference in Pranzis’s destiny. I truly feel that the destiny of Pranzis was written in the stars and only a true miracle could have saved it. I tried Poppa, I did. I tried to save the Princess and the city. I was but one voice in a sea of voices spoiling for battle. There would be no treaties, no compromises, only the call for one more Battista against an army. As I fled the city in the wake of what happened I was ashamed of myself and what little I had done for your city, her city and how I had failed her daughter in her time of need. It would not be the first failure. I read Dezare’s diary Poppa. The part she pushed aside and tried to bury. I saw the pain and the pride. I saw how it hurt her to step aside and not claim Kayana as her own. She gave her only child as the future of a country and I let her down. The princess was taken under my nose. While I was licking my wounded pride she and her love were taken. What was done to her is too horrid to write. Though I know Poppa that you likely have some idea as to what the Drow can do to the mind while leaving the body intact. I learned some hard lessons. It is difficult to tell who your friends really are and what deep down they think of you until placed in dire circumstances. I learned that Kobal regard me as a pretty face and voice but little else. He had no faith in my judgment or my abilities. Freldo when faced with adversity turned inward and the selfishness came glaringly through. Alantha in her temper could not hold her tongue but her daring is to be commended as she and Jharl could have saved themselves after Kobal’s rock broke our illusion and led to our capture. Jharl has as always remained a steadfast friend and as I found in that time of adversity, Jaccari is someone I will always consider a friend.
And I walked into a ploy. I played into Broegar’s hand. Poppa I felt I had no other choice. Perhaps I could have saved myself and those in my cell by fleeing. I could not leave her. Not with still a glimmer of hope for her survival could I leave the daughter of a friend; my friend and your friend. I know what it is to face the sacrifice of a child for the good of others. I give thanks each day that Lisse’ did not come to that. I would not, could not leave her. In that perhaps was my failing. Broegar had killed her mind by not her spirit. It was that day on the gallows when he called for the axe on her love’s neck that finally broke her. I could not hold her, I could not protect her, no song could I sing but one of mouning. The Dirge of Life was sung that day and the days that followed.
Follow the days did; one bleak cold day after another. If I regret what I did not do for the Princess, I regret what I did not do for Lisse’ more. I have always tried to shelter her from the harshness of this world. I have not told her of Lar and how she came to be. She knows that she is Drow. I can no hide that from her as her very skin gives it away. I was not there for her when the questions of this world came to her mind. I threw myself into my work to try and forget the things I had and had not done. In doing so I wronged the one most dear to me. She feels I abandoned her. She is right. I did abandon her to my sorrow. I see that now. I only hope that there is time to make things right. In my sheltering her, I forgot who and what she is. She is your blood; she is mine and regretfully some of Lar’s as well. What was I thinking that I could keep her off the path of adventure? A mother’s blind spot I suppose. All I can do now if offer support and pray that the Soul mother takes no interest in her follies until she is done with mine.
What happened with Kayana did serve to reinforce one thing to me. Battles are not won entirely on the blade of a sword. Battles are won in the minds and hearts of those that fight them. Poppa I have not given up. I work each day that I may be ready. My Voice is strong and if I am proud of one thing, it is that I discovered the Voice inside of me. Perhaps that was the Magic Poppa that you spoke of, the magic that has been growing within me all along. There are as I have found many types of magic. Someday I do pray that we should meet to discuss them.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2024, 05:39:00 pm by minerva »
 

minerva

Re: A Family Legacy ; Katrien
« Reply #66 on: January 06, 2024, 05:40:04 pm »
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minerva

Re: A Family Legacy ; Katrien
« Reply #67 on: January 12, 2024, 10:33:57 pm »
“If I never have to deal with another pompous , mule headed , narrow minded politician again it will be too bloody soon !” Kat fumes at the other redheaded woman in the room.  “I am getting too old for this Toranite trash”.
“This issue dear mother is not that you're too old, its that they're too young.  All those passages through the blinding stone and you don't look a third of your age.  Those arrogant asses forget what you did, the sacrifices that you made” the second redhead replies.   “You're a better woman that me, I'd just tell them to shove it where Isare don't look and  Xeen might”

Kat wanders over to a large window.  It overlooks the harbour, though the house is well away from the seedier sections of Port Hempstead's docks.  The magnificent visage of three and four masted sailing ships crowd the waterways and throngs of people can be seen scurrying about the dockyards either unloading trading ships or passengers boarding them.   

“You want to be out there again don't you?”

“No, yes, damn it I don't know Lisse”  She sighs.   “Too much time has passed.  Too much water under that proverbial bridge.  Most of my allies are gone gods know where.  I lost touch with your Uncles decades ago and I never thought that would happen.”

“Meh” Lisse gestures with her hand.  “Make new allies.  Find some new faces.  When is the last time you shouted at orcs or goblins instead of senators?”

Another long sigh from Kat.  She absently tucks a stray curl back into her placid bun.  Her advanced age and not even a grey hair showing.  Her distinct features mark her as human but the way she has aged?  She turns her gaze from the window to a wall of portraits.  There is a small one low on the wall of a fierce looking man in hide armor standing next to her with younger Lisse in front of them.  She reaches out to it and traces her face in the frame.

She turns.  “And speaking of senators, the merchants in Lor are expecting that shipment of aid supplies. Can you handle things in the warehouse for a while?”

Lisse snaps a fake salute. “Sure thing m'lady.  Should I have Franklin open up the old section of the warehouse, you know the one you used to use when you screamed at more than the senate?”

“Cheeky wench”

“You know it” she teases “Hey, maybe you can go snooping in the Rift , find dear ol' father and relive some old times.  This time you stick the knife in HIS back”  The later she calls from the hallway as she leaves the room.

When she is gone, Kat opens a large trunk in the room. Quite ornate, at first glance appears just a decoration.  Inside there is polished yew short bow sitting atop neatly folded garments, some fancy boots, belts and a collection of magical bags.  Tucked inside the lid are a rather plain looking rapier, dagger and short sword.  She fingers the bow, then aggressively takes it up, positions and fake fires an arrow across the room while she lets loose a string of magical curses.   This causes her mouth to turn up in a wide smile.  As the bow lowers something tucked into the side of one of the bag catches her eye.  She places the bow down and reaches for it.  In a velvet bag there is a manuscript, a bound book and small silver flute.   She takes the flute in hand and pulls out the bound book.  It seemly falls open on its own to a blank page.  As she watches, shocked, the words “BEGIN AGAIN” appear on the first empty page.
 

minerva

Re: A Family Legacy ; Katrien
« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2024, 02:01:38 am »
Great plumes of dust fly up into the air as Kat pulls dirty white covers off crates in a neglected part of her Guild house.  Hinges creak as she opens lids and peers inside each and every one.  She spends days on end cataloguing and inventorying the stock sometimes just pausing to hold an object and remissness about its story.  As she works she sings, practicing the old songs and chants she used to inspire allies and diminish foes.  She skips between the crates as obstacles and play fights with pretend swords and bows.  Anyone standing in the shadows might thing she was daft but as time passes her movements become more fluid, more practiced.  Incantations pass her lips and she winks in and out of visibility. The Al'noth crackles around her once more.  All the time she spent studying her father's sonnets she'd forgotten to tap into her own music.  She is the music, the song and the melding of the harmony inherent in magic.  The Mistress of Sound is back.
 

minerva

Re: A Family Legacy ; Katrien
« Reply #69 on: January 14, 2024, 07:27:19 pm »
“I'll take a stack of those scrolls” Kat gestures to vendor in the trademark blue robes of a Lucindite. “and some of those potion bottles designed to toss”.  As the vendor reaches for some grey bottles her head shakes “not those, the darker blue ones.  The grey ones are for scratches. I'll be dealing with worse than scratches if I need to toss something.  Do you know where I might get some Bodak teeth?  It seems my previous supplier has vanished.”

The fair skinned elvin woman places her purchases in a package. “There hasn't been much call for those in recent years.  It would seem that your type” she gives Kat a once over with her eye “ are not nearly as active now.  But if you really need some, I suggest contacting the adventure guilds.  Some of them are still active I hear.  Orc Bashers, Angels and Saddlebags for a few but they mostly deal in ready made gear not components.  You could try that group out of Leringard” she writes an address on a scrap of parchment “see if they have what you need”

“Thanks I will” Kat replies as she tucks the piece of parchment away in a small pouch in her dress.  “Leringard means a boat trip.  Guess I'm going sailing again.  I wonder if Silas is still...” with a head shake she frowns and sets off toward the docks “nope, he was a mature man when I knew him, he'd be gone and dust by now”


Several days later Kat strides down the gangway of a handsome looking sailing ship .  She turns and gives a good natured wave to the crew and chooses to ignore the catcalls and whistles.  Atirred in the latest of fashion for the smart set, she makes her way further into the city and carefully avoids any grates leading to the city's sewer system.  It's as if she wants to avoid something there.  She passes the bank and the estate agents before the city center gives way to a residential section.   There is a large swinging sign marking a staetly building at the edge. “I see the Arms is still in business.  I wonder if Steele still runs it or if Lily's grandchildren ?” she muses to herself as she passes by.  She stops and considers the new sign for a card Emporium. “That's new.  Leave it to Steele to find a way to make a coin if associated with the Inn”.

I little ways further past the Arms on a narrow side street is the address indicated on the strip of parchment in her hand.  Three sharp knocks on the door and it swings in, all of its own volition.
“Hello, Hello” a voice booms out of the dim hallway.  Trunks are everywhere along the walls.  I large elf in typical robes is absently pawing through one of them. “Can I help you?  He asks as he picks up an object, turns in his hands for a second then discards it in the trunk to go looking again.

Kat grins as she watches and a smaller woman comes into view, emerging from a doorway some distance up the hallway.  This woman waves and dumps something in the open trunk to which the elf latches onto and shouts “There it is” and closes the lid.

“Hello” she replies.  “My name in Katrien Hommel.  I sent you a falcon that I was dropping by?”  The blank look on his face alerts her to the fact he has no idea what she is talking about.

“The Bodak teeth? Supplies for healing potions, the red ones?” she offers and sees regognition dawn on his face

“Ahhhhh”  He grabs a bag from the wall.  Take this, make as many as your skill allows, drop off some, keep some”
Kat looks puzzled.  “I think there must be some mistake.  I was looking to rrade or purchase supplies.”

“No mistake” he counters. “The bag is full of supplies, you're trading your skill as they are not easy to make.  The more you make, the better you get and the more we have on hand for those that need them.”

He acts like what he said makes complete sense.

Kat takes the bag tentatively. “I know the potions are not easy to make but these are not easy to get either. Are you...” but before she can finish he interjects “ Squirrels”

Kat blinks. “Squirrels?”  The lady in the shadows laughs. “That would be me” she hastily adds “ He calls me a squirrel.  I collect things faster than he or the others that use this house can make things from them.

“Right, well, I guess I can make up some from this, my success rate is decent enough though I'm a little rusty.   I take it you two and your group” she gestures to the crates “ Are the adventuring type?”
 

minerva

Re: A Family Legacy ; Katrien
« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2024, 12:25:03 am »
A large room with stone walls and a packed sand floor is divided into several roped training rings as will as areas with padded wooden replicas of men.  Bags of sand hang from the rafters and there are several benches with iron weights stacked close by.  Soldiers in various states of armor and with and without shields are sparring with each other or the dummies. 
Off to one side of the room Kat is hacking at one of the dummies.  Her fashionable dress has been exchanged for what appears to be iron chain mail.  Instead of a short bow she has a blunted iron long sword in one hand and a small wooden shield in the other.   She looks comfortable holding the shield but no the sword.

“Come on Miss Kat, you can hit harder than that.” a grizzled older man, clad only in his leather trews. ,is feet and chest bare, chides at Kat as she makes a very clumsy swing with a long sword at the wooden training dummy.

“That's just it Henry” She wheezes as she places the sword vertical and leans against it.”  I can't hit this thing harder or my arm will fall off.

He walks up behind her and lifts the sword and places it back in her hand and patiently guides her body into a more correct stance.  “It don't come from your arm lass, it comes from here” as he places a large hand on her abdomen. “Use you're whole body, not just yer arm and you'll do better”

Kat sucks in a deep breath, frowns at the dummy and tries to hold the form that Henry has shown her.  Her swing is a little more steady and her arm doesn't vibrate as much when the iron makes contact with the cloth padding but there is little to no damage to be seen.

“Why do others” she grunts when she tries again “ Make this look so damn easy. I'm out with others  and they're dancing around towering giants and bringing them down.  One swipe an a giant would have me clear across the glade.”  She labors a bit with each blow she gives the padding.  “I've better to stick with my bow than to teach this old dog new tricks”   The practice session goes on for about a hour and Kat is left red faced, sweating and with multiple new bruises.

Henry leans over her and puts a friendly arm around her shoulder.  “Join the lads with me in the tavern and have a pint or two.  Mayhap I can convince you to play for us or even sing?  His eyebrows waggle as he adds the last part.  Kat lets out a deep breath and squares up her shoulders. “I'd never miss the opportunity to sing and play for your boys Henry”

The tavern is crowded with those local to the area.  It looks a little worn and tired but it is neat and tidy and the most delicious smells of roasting meat and fowl emanate from the large hearth at the back.  Raucous laughter and cheer permeate the atmosphere of the place and Kat does not have to try hard to forget her aching back and arms and smile warmly at the serving staff and patrons.   A table crammed with several young men and women frantically beckon the pair over.  Its not hard to tell the resemblance to Henry on the faces of several of them.   Kat is greeted as warmly as a member of the family and its apparent that she is well known amongst them.

“A song , a song” they shout as she approaches.  One of the serving staff hands Kat and Henry a mug of ale as she passes.  Kat take a long parched draft from her tankard and her mail creaks as she stands on the bench beside the table.  She holds her tankard aloft and belts out a well known drinking song and not only her table but the entire tavern sing along her voice seeming to heighten and inspire the talents of the singing patrons.  She easily transitions into the ballad of the Norseman, a fierce fighting song, and follows with several more popular tunes.  Much time passes before she holds up her hand and gracefully bows.  “Good folk it has been my honor to sing for you but alas my voice needs a break and”  she holds the now empty tankard aloft “More ale”

She sits beside Henry and places the mug down.  She leans on his shoulder and asks “ I wonder if all of this is worth it.  I'm a singer, not a fighter.  I inspire men and women to fight harder and longer because I sure as hell can't.”
“You can do anything you put your mind to lass.  Perhaps you're going about this the wrong way.  Sure being a fighter is being able to swing a sword or a mace or a hammer and make sure it hit the other guy, hard but its more than that.  Its the mindset.  Its working past the pain when the bandit slices your shoulder and being able to take more.  Learning to ignore the pain sure but also learning your own limits.”   Henry leans his messy grey haired head against Kat's still bright auburn one.  You got strength in that heart of yours. You helped so many in need.  You raised a fine daughter and let no one make her seem less because of that bastard father of hers.  You've got what it takes to move along and the courage to take on challenges.  A fighter is never giving up and child I've never seen you give up.

A trail of wetness trickles from the corner of one of Kat's eyes and she motions to wipe it away. “Thanks Henry, that means a lot coming from you.  Perhaps we can set aside the new stuff and you can focus on teaching me how to move in armor better and some basics weapons.  Things I am already good with like an axe or daggers. I don't want to use a great long bow taller than me, but I can focus on my short one.”

Kat picks the tankard from the table and brings it to her mouth to sip the ale slowly. “ You know Henry I was thinking... “

Henry makes a fake grimace face.  “Dragons shudder when you start thinking Kat.”