okus lavande

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okus lavande

Postby cinnamonstyx » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:11 am

this is a story i am writing based on croatian and slavic history, chinese and shakespearean tragedies, and fantasy novels. it is about a boy who wants to be a good person, but learns he is good at killing things, and that his world is cruel.

its a work in progress and i likely wont finish it here. just wanted to share and bully one of my friends into actually reading it.

also read the poetry written by strawberry-boyfriend it's pretty good.

also read minty's writing it's pretty good.


Two empty wooden pails held up with a yoke were balanced against his left shoulder, his leather boots of worn soles and mire-crusted lace briskly shuffling through the undergrowth on the path from home to the village. Amongst the typical errands for a stripling his age, mother required that he be the one to carry milk from the goats into the village for trade whilst accompanying father during the midden days, while towards the resting days he would be the one to draw water from the village center. Well water was not available to the household, and there were no clean streams within reach, but this was mitigated by the lack of distance between the homestead and the village. Slung on his right shoulder was a backpack of wicker, topped up with leeks, carrots, chard and pokeberry, as he was also to purchase medicine for the cough father had contracted. Relishing the opportunity both to do something to help assuage his father’s malady and to travel into the village, he did not mind that neither brother nor sister were fit to assist with the task at hand, both far too little to do any more than trip over rocks or drop the pails of water.

Midsummer sun battered down his nape, which in turn was reddened and peeling, and the brutal heat of the season left his hair a few shades lighter than he was accustomed to. He licked his chapped lips to moisturize them, and swallowed some saliva, his tongue even drier than it was before. Were his hands not occupied he may have used them to provide shade for his eyes, but as it stood his rusty steel eyes were left in a perpetual squint, occasionally darting to the greenery crunching beneath his feet for respite from the sun. The walk is but half an hour, the physical strain barely perceptible to the lad on the cooler and more forgiving of days, but with the oppressively hot and dry temperatures, he began to regret his overzealousness in heading to the town. He had on his evening slops and a sleeveless tunic clung to his body with a tightly cinched belt that had previously belonged to his father, and his unwashed body was covered in a layer of earth and perspiration, leading to a general level of unkempt that was typical of many of the poorer members of their community. The last time his hair had been combed was before the illness, when mother had time to force him to sit for a time, and could grab her own mother’s comb to search for ticks and lice, so his urge to scratch was neither unexpected nor uncommon.

As he approached the smithy and ash tree that were located at the foot of the village, some relief pulsed through him, a relief that subsided as he passed the ambient heat of the molten metals, superheated anvil, glowing embers and the outdoor furnace that gave meaning to it all. A short, passive acknowledgement was evident in the craftsmen’s eyes as the sandy haired pup passed by, a mutually shared wave of the hand between them. Civilization was laid out before him, and the light traffic at the center of the forum ushered him away from acquiring water first, instead suggesting he try to barter with the medicine man first and foremost. His hovel was located opposite the smithy’s home, and its door always remained opened. Red and brown soil made up a dirt path that dragged itself throughout the villages, bits of weeds and sod cropping up at the corners and scatteredly throughout the path itself. Two milkmaids scurried about in a similar fashion to him, and a few aging housewives gossiped underneath the thatch awning of the general store. A few kids strewn about the town seemed to be playing a game of sorts, involving twigs as armaments and bark strung up with old string and lace as armor.

Groves surrounded the town at whatever angles were not currently being used for the nurturing of the harvest and the grazing of bovids, and the heat of the day was at least indicative of the serene, untarnished skies above. There was a murmur of hushed voices that added to the songs of blackbirds and chittering of crickets, and the clattering of feet against earth. He was the only person in town wearing anything over their feet as far as he could tell, and he sorely regretted it, as the hairs on his legs and the coarseness of the leather left his skin tender and brined in his own sweat. The hike from home to the town was a steep one, however, and only a moon ago was it that the youngest of their kin had nearly been bitten by a sharp fanged serpent. Simply put mother would not have allowed him the luxury of summertime barefootedness, even on days such as this. “No son of mine will have his feet scraped up and bloodied, our Maker willing.”

Most abodes within village limits consisted of little more than wicker, reed and rush for roofing, straw on a plentiful year, and wood cut from the ash and cedar trees nearby. Both tavern and longhouse were of sturdier build, made of cobble and spruce wood walls, stone hearths on their sides, and shake roofs from split cedar. Not of age to drink by doctrine and not of stature to see their chieftain, the boy had no experience with either building. Visits to town instead consisted of visits to the well to draw water, to the marketplace or traders to sell his parent’s harvest, and occasionally to the baker’s home when mother had not the time to prepare loaves for the family meal. Today’s necessitation of a visit to the medicine man’s was not an entirely new experience, but it was a noticeable change of pace, enough where his attention was entirely concentrated on remembering to head straight there, as opposed to being tempted by the wafting smell of fresh baked goods or the sounds of the militiamen clanging steel against steel past town and into their campsite.

Within a few moments he found himself in front of the hovel known to the villagefolk as their apothecary, a word he was unsure the meaning of, and entered quietly, as there seemed to be another man visiting currently. His attention darted around as he looked at the half full, half empty, topped off and bone dry bits of glassware strewn about the shelves on the walls. Painted on the wall was a rudimentary diagram of the major organs and structures of the human body, though this certainly went over his head. Candelabra wall sconces fashioned out of goat bone and lanolin wax lit the home with a dull but soothing amber glow, and as one of the larger buildings in the village, space was afforded to furnishings for visitors. A long, low table was accompanied by some seats and a bench, and on it were stacked a leather bound book which he could not read and a decorative, copper bowl.

He sat for awhile, placing the water pails alongside the bench and his pack of crops to his side, and his attention waned until his ears perked up at the sound of the stranger’s voice. It was a smooth baritone, no discernible accents or affectations, methodical in its approach to breath and verbiage. He caught him middle of phrase, overhearing the words “conscription” and “half moon” most prominently. The medicine man, squirrlier and of a nervous tenor, seemed unable to assist him. Both of the men walked closer towards their younger, seemingly concluding their business.

In the stranger’s hand was a small, scrolled up piece of parchment, held with a delicate but sure fist, and up close the man had a stature the boy could not ignore. He was gruff of face, unshaven, lightly bruised and scarred, and held a head of charcoal hair almost smelling of the embers that colored it. His eyes were the colors of the mire around the boy’s home, streams of indigo throughout a dull bister. “I then take it that you have provided all that you can for the Montaza, my brother,” his pursed lips enunciated every word with the precision of a charlatan, only with the taste of honesty on his breath, “And for that, I appreciate you time. This list is, as I am sure you are aware, quite disheartening, but that is neither your fault nor mine. We shall be back soon, likely as a party, to discuss this further with the chief of this villa.”

“I shall of course notify him, as I understand the time frame you are working with, and likewise appreciate your consideration of our circumstances. For several moons the harvests have been scant, and our children simply are not apposite.” The medicine man extended his hand to the stranger, and was met with a hand of hardened leather and plated iron.

“I wish you a good morrow, and many more under the guidance of our Guiding Matron.”

With that, the stranger turned one last time, his linen hood and cloak to be tossed over his head, and his alloyed greaves turned toward the door. Before he could leave, however, his eyes caught a glimpse of the young lad perched on a bench, scratching the irritated skin of his palm with dirtied nails, with lopsided boots, and the forlorn eyes of a motherless pup. Underneath his beige hood the stranger smiled, and offered, “Good morrow to you, as well.” His younger nodded and gave a barely perceptible, acquiescent grin.

His last sight of the man was his honey colored scabbard, hung to his side, with what looked to be the insignia of the Wolf, cast in true silver.

When at last the boy regained cognizance, he asked the medicine man if his thoughts were true. “Was that a real knight? Like from the crown and all?”

“Aye, just so,” he said in response, ushering the boy further into his home and workplace. “You are a rarer sight around here, no? What brings you to my home with water and harvest?”

“No water, sir, only the crops. Mum wanted me to trade you some of their crops for medicine, sir.”

“I see,” he scratched under his jaw, and took a seat on an empty cot for patients. “What ails your father so?”

“Mother has been calling it a dreadful cough.”

“And what do you call it?”

“I’m sorry?”

He fixed his glasses and proceeded to explain himself more carefully, repeating, “What do you call it? You say your mother describes it as a ‘dreadful cough’ but I hardly believe that helps any in terms of diagnosis. How would you describe his illness?”

Moving beyond the fact that the boy had little understanding of the word diagnosis, he tried to explain the sickness to the best of his abilities. “I think his cough has gotten bad, he coughs up blood sometimes when he starts up, he hasn’t gotten out of bed too much neither, he says his head hurts and mum has the lilun Inza run to the stream to fetch cool water to put on his face when his head gets too hot.”

“Much better, you can tell your mother I said so. Allow me a second to fetch some things for you to bring back.”

Switching from crouch to straightened back, the medicine man moved further back into his hut and searched a moment through his home, heading out of the boys reach and deeper into the building, the clattering of jars and tins, the rustling of herbage and sloshing of tonics signifying his presence behind the walls. Light coughing was followed by a shuffle back in the direction of the boy. “Child, your name is Sivka, yes?”

“Yes sir.”

“A lovely name. Here, for you.” He tossed the boy a tiny satchel of boar's hide, fragrant to the point of noxiousness. “Instruct your mother to boil a bit of water in a kettle or pot, and then allow about a pinch of these herbs to seep into the hot water. Force your father to drink this three times a day, for about five days. If he still has pains, come back, and bring the man himself.”

“Thank you very much, sir,” Sivka said, looking at his shoes. He then pointed to the basket to his side. “Are these enough to pay you?”

“Yes, they are more than enough. Truth be told, you needn’t offer up anything. I understand you live a small ways out but you are still part of this village, and I take care of those who live here. I would not charge for such a small thing as this under any typical situation, you know.”

“Mum would be cross if I come back without giving anything.”

“I’m aware,” the medicine man laughed, “and that is the only reason I shall accept any of this.”

With medicine in tow and an empty wicker pack on one shoulder and the yoke on his other, Sivka’s next job was to draw water for the family. On the medicine man’s orders, boiled water would be most helpful, and the mire water certainly wouldn’t suffice, even the comparatively clean water they could draw from the stream. Sivka was impatient to hurry back home with two pails full of good water for both their nightly stew and father’s remedy. Ushering himself past two chatting women and one of their beaus with a pleasant if terse “forgive me”, he place the yoke on the ground and hung the first pail on the hook to the pulley for the well. When he was finished his work, he scurried back home, up the short hillside separating his home from his village, only stopping to pull rogue nats from his incisors and brush off any sod or grass from his slops.

Father would recover over the course of a few days, and by the time the moon had reached its first crescent since the new moon, he was back to his morning rituals of tending to their few goats and vegetables, felling trees and axing their trunks for kindling and timber, and every few days, taking his eldest into the forest to learn to hunt and to fight. Only a morning’s walk from their home into the green marshlands, an alcove of soggy earth, with a layer of crunch from fallen leaves and branches, could be found by the sight of a small scarecrow, donning a cuirass of an old cast iron plate and armed with a bit of wood cut in the harsh approximate of a circle. It is a target that has seen more than its fair share of violence.
Underneath the shade of a ragged and gnarled fir that marked the clearing was a patch of tender soil where both father and son would bury their fingers to pull a tiny mud-caked casket, where two sheathed sabres lay dormant until days where weather and mother willing Sivka could learn to handle himself should it ever become necessary. Local law did not allow for those outside of the town guard or the lord’s men to bare arms, so these moments were to be private and secluded.

Today was to be a different occasion for the two of them.

In days past, Sivka and the man known as father to him and Prvan to others would walk into the wetlands and there would be little in the way of combat, only patient instruction and quiet understanding. The two swords would rarely be unsheathed, and for the moments that they were, consisted of incremental steps towards understanding. Shortly before the fever had taken a precious few moons from them both, Sivka had begun to show noticeable improvement over his control of the sword. His arms were thin and his grip was meager, and yet somehow the boy truly began to look as if he could wield the sabre.

“Sivka, I do not believe it shall come to pass in either of our life times that these weapons will be held in our hands in aggression or defense.”

Prvan’s voice was cool and sober, pious without faith. He stood tall over his son, and a wide, tricorner hat cast a shadow over his face, obscuring his honeyed brown eyes and pocketed features. His lips were pursed and his nose was sharp, both features his sons had inherited, but his sharp cheekbones and sunken eyes were present in none of his kin. Wearing what he always wore for his days on the field, he presented himself in sepia tones and dark hues, a dark leather vest and gloves adorning his hopsack tunic and chestnut colored breeches.

“In saying that, it is no less important for you to learn to handle yourself.”

He tossed the smaller of the two sabres to his son, still sheathed in its polished wooden scabbard.

“Grasp the hilt, but do not pull the blade, we fight with the leathers still on.”

Sivka gripped the scabbard with his left hand out of instinct, relinquishing his hold upon hearing his instructor’s words, and then wrapped his hand around the hilt with his right. He fascined the scabbard more securely.

Father nodded, and began to swing at him.

“Blade down and inside, arms showing.”

He twists his blade down and faces the edge of his sabre away from chest side, his hands and arms prone. Metal clasped in leather clashed.

“Blade up and inside, arms hiding.”

His blade moves in his supinated hands, his guard low, deflecting his father’s slash to his chest.


He ripostes, his blade narrowly slashing his father’s side, only deterred by a stroke of fate and a near miss of a parry. Both recoil. Prvan has no instructions left.

They meet blades again, Neither is adorned in anything more than the garments worn for their morning toils, and neither has anything more to say for the remainder of it all. Prvan holds his blade above his head, mimicking the horns on an ox, steady in his hold of the blade with a single hand, fluid in his steps. He holds his left hand out as if to mock his son. Sivka holds his blade above his shoulder, both hands grasped firmly around the handle, blade horizontal to his head.

Father strikes first, thrusting his blade at Sivka’s head. A hard beat slaps Sivka’s sabre against his father, deflecting the thrust adequately if inexpertly. Prvan steps back and sweeps from his back to the front, downward and to the knees. Faced with a hard block, the blade goes no further that the edge of his opponent’s, but Sivka finds the marsh unforgiving to his blade. Frantically tugging at his earth-locked sabre, he finds himself having to duck out of the way of his father’s cut to the head. This cut follows into an overhead chop, which Sivka only narrowly blocks with his muddy weapon.

Attempting to fix himself and regain his composure was a foolish move by Sivka, allowing Father to swing again. Smooth, sweeping cuts come from Prvan’s sabre, with a constant speed, momentum distributed equally throughout the arcs of the swing. Sivka noticed this, and his blocks became sloppier as his offense grew; with the sheathes on, why was father yet still holding back?

Sivka grips his blade, and fully extends his hands into a cut, meeting the other blade again, shifting his hands as they clash, his own blade sliding down to face his father’s neck. For a boy of few seasons and standing more than head shorter than he, Prvan became momentarily petrified with fear at the sight of the sword.
“I’m sorry, pa, I didn’t mean to-” he cut himself short, and recollected himself some. “I’m sorry.”
Prvan realized it was not the sword he was afraid of.
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Re: okus lavande

Postby Lamby » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:33 am

wow the student has become a master, patricks grow up so fast

but i like it, and slavic history is a plus, have always been pretty interested. it's good to see that you kept on developing your writing skills. you used to tell me you weren't that good and now i def don't believe you

also catch up with a girl once in a while, WOW
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Re: okus lavande

Postby retrolinkx » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:09 pm

I really enjoyed reading that man, sure I did have to google about a dozen words down the line, but honestly I think it helped to make me want to read on. I really did enjoy the descriptions of the town, from the children pretending to fight with sticks, to the gossiping women. The sword fight at the end was also really cool to read, you wrote it really well and I could see each character thrust and block, as well as when you described the father "holding his left hand out to mock his son". I smiled as I could truly believe it.

Hope you write more. But in less paragraphs. I really drifted in and out of this one ;-;
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Re: okus lavande

Postby cinnamonstyx » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:05 pm

thnx I appreciate kind words, if u wanna it me up u can use pms
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Re: okus lavande

Postby mintdrop » Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:50 pm

this was really good; the extensive use of description made the town and atmosphere really come to life, and the end line was really effective. you should probably write a novel sometime!!!

(also thanks for the promo :herocool: )
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Re: okus lavande

Postby cinnamonstyx » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:17 pm

thanks l'homme
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