Knights of Anathaeum In the Thickets Now

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Helena

Captain of Dawn
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Character Biography
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Stride kept at a steady clip, Helena's fine white cloak trailed behind her, the red-gold shimmer of the damask patterns of wolves and stags and great trees traced by the rays of golden sun that poured through the thick canopy above them.

"I've heard of you, Squire Huxley," Helena said with a small quirk of her lip, as she lead the young Anirian past the trunks of trees so far ancient they could rival most mortal kingdoms scattered across Epressa and Liadain combined. "That an Anirian would venture so far from home to join our order," Helena came to stop in a clearing, where proud oaks and pines stood round like witnesses to the conversation the two would share. Quiet as their leaves stirred with the wind, and the trails of Helena's cape fluttered like flickering flame. "I found it most curious," she said as she turned to face the shorter young woman.

She stood in silence for a long moment, her brown eyes large and streaked with the gold of fire's light. Like a wolf's stare.
"Tell me, Abrielle, why did you join our order?" she asked, stare as still as a beast's, entranced with most potent intent.

Abrielle Huxley
 
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When she had requested private tutoring, Abrielle hadn't been expecting Helena of all people to be the one to pick up the task. But she was still grateful for the opportunity to learn from a Captain. After so many failed attempts to learn a sliver of magic, surely somebody as strong as a Captain could teach her.

Abrielle did her best to keep up with Captain Helena's brisk pace. She could feel the shortsword hitting her hip with every step as she had to nearly jog to keep pace with the Captain. They finally reached a clearing, and Abrielle doubled over trying to catch her breath.

"Why did I join?" Abrielle repeated uncertainly, straightening back up. A fair question. Honestly she was unsure of the answer herself. "And why would somebody travel all the way across Arethil to join the Order?" she mused. Captain Helena seemed to have the ability to ask the hard questions in a casual way and Abrielle wasn't so sure that she liked it.

"Well... Its not like I set out from Vel Anir to join the Knights or anything. After serving my time in the Guard, I decided I wanted to see the world. So I took up a job with a trade company as security for shipments, and traveled all over Arethil."

Abrielle stood with Helena in silence for a few moments. "But none of it really felt... Right. Once you've seen one city, really you've seen them all. And none of it was anywhere near as exciting as I had thought it would be."

Abrielle sighed heavily. "Really I guess when it comes right down to it, I felt lost and directionless. Like there was something bigger or more important that I could be doing. I heard about the Knights in my travels, and decided to join, hoping to find some sort of meaningful purpose in life."

She shrugged and looked up to the taller woman. "What about your Captain? Why'd you join?"

Helena
 
Helena's stare was unwavering, and she smiled with a hint of pride upon hearing the young knight prospective's response. She left in search of something more, and found her way around the world. Still hungry for purpose, and rumor brought her here. A mark of honor to their name.

Upon the conclusion of the squire's tale, Helena gave knowing nod, and she smiled, wolfish, when the squire turned the question upon her.

"I was born upon the Spine, Abrielle," she turned to face the great mountain range she knew was in the distance beyond. Hidden far behind the tree line and the endless canopy that stretched outward. "To a small mining village, neglected by the lord whose plot of land claimed its haul," she turned back to the young woman, and fixed her warm sun-kissed gaze upon her. "Knights would oft range there, kept the land's safe from brigands, helped with what they could. Tend to spoiled wells, aid with bad harvests, slay stray beasts gone mad from blight," she let out a long cool breath, and closed her eyes, as if to call forth the image of those knights from so long ago.

Some of them still served. Syr Dejan, Syr Bebin, Syr Montecore, Syr Halon, Captain Selene. And one had been lost. Master Hawthorne.

She shook the thought away. At least for now.

"When I turned ten, I let my mother know that I wished to be a Knight of the Order, she cried, for she knew what it meant to serve, but she let me go when next the knights came,"

Perhaps it was too long a story for such a simple question. But Helena was tired of being so guarded. Feeling the need to be so perfect. She wanted her kith and kin to know her, as she knew the knights who had raised her up.

As people, bound together by cause and oath.

"I was also called by the want for purpose," she said, and smiled at her, warm as the sun filtered down. "But, you requested aid in the magical arts, yes?" Helena took up her sword, drew it from its sheeth, and Zenith's willowsteel blade gleamed with the gold-white purity of day's fire. She turned the blade in her hands, so that its honed and elegant edge, laid in her palms, and its hilt was presented to the squire.

"Take it," she said, as she held the blade out with such an ease it was like she offered Abri a part of herself. "Tell me, what do you feel when you hold this?"

With Zenith in hand, Abrielle might feel the flow of the magicks around them. Like a thick haze that swirled in the air on a warm summer day, just before rain showers. She might feel the swell of the earth's magick, rumble and stir, ever so beneath her feet. She might even feel overwhelmed, for Zenith was a magical focus, that drew to it the powers of the natural world, like a fire did moths in the night.
 
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Abrielle listened quietly to the Captain's story. It was a bit strange to her to hear someone in command being so open with such a low ranking person like herself. Nothing like that would've happened back in her days in the Guard. Abrielle returned Helena's warm smile, and nodded when asked about magical training.

Abrielle took hold of Helena's sword tentatively and stepped back to take a couple light swings. She couldn't particularly tell any difference between this sword and other others she had used, except a slight resistance from an unknown source as it sliced through the air. "Umm... Am I suppose'ta be feeling something?" She glanced at Helena uncertainly. "Guess I could try it again...."

Closing her eyes, Abrielle concentrated and gave the sword another swing. The strange resistance was still there, but she slowly felt like she was engulfed in a heavy, dense fog. It was so thick she felt like she was suffocating, but it quickly evened out becoming less oppressive. Was this the magic that everyone else was feeling?

Abrielle swung the sword again, and it felt as if the energy in the ground beneath her feet rippled and followed along with the direction of the swing. Another swing and Abrielle could almost swear that she could raise the earth if given enough focus. But the more she tried to move the ground beneath her without success, the more it took out of her until she was standing there, gasping for breath.

"What's the point t' all of this?" Abrielle grumbled to Helena as she struggled to catch her breath. "So I've gotten a taste of magic but once I let go of this sword, I'll be back to my normal self." Crossing her arms with a frustrated frown on her lips, Abrielle looked at the Captain expectantly.
 
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Helena watched as Abrielle took up her sword, Zenith's sun-white blade drank in the sun's light, and whirred through the air, as if made from heavier materials.

In truth, the Captain had not expected the squire to be so eager to give the weapon a swipe, and it made her want to smile. For she remembered a time where she was quick to strike, and quick to anger, well before her lessons started taking root.

Abrielle's wrath grew with each cut against the air, and Helena, who stepped back and back, danced just outside the Squire's reach, did smile at what she felt as the squire came to rest. Breath ragged, temper high as she went on voicing her frustration.


"Many more than the wide world would have us think, posses the gift to wield magick, Abrielle," Helena exhaled, and let her stance widen some, her knees bend as her toes spread and gripped down to the earth through the soft leather of her boots.

With her right hand, Helena extended her fingers out long, and pinched something that was not there. Pulled it out and turned her hand over. A thick vine sprout up from the earth, twisted and sprawled, and grew some leaves.

The captain let out a cool breath, and smiled. "You have felt the magick, with Zenith's help," she said. "Now, you must learn to feel the magick on your own," she reversed the motion of her hand, and presented open palm toward Abri. A clear request for the return of her weapon.

Helena stood with a wolf's patience, her large eyes still watching the squire with an eagerness she could not hide. "What do you know of that element we call, Magick?"
 
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What the hell did Helena mean that more people in the world possessed magic than was thought? Sure there were people who's magic appeared later in life, but Abrielle was pretty sure she wasn't one of them. If she had shown even a shred of magical talent, she would have been whisked away and trained as a dreadlord.

Her eyes widened in amazement as she watched Helena summon?... pull? a vine from the earth. How did she do that without Zenith?! Abrielle looked down at the sword in her hand and tried to mimick the Captain's actions, to no success.

Abrielle sighed heavily, and unwillingly returned Zenith at Helena's request. She could feel the magic that had been coursing through her body slowly fading away. The young squire desperately grasped at what little magic remained, searching for any means to not let it slip away. No matter what she tried, Zeniths power was gone moments after it left her hand, leaving an empty void in its place. How in the world was she supposed to feel the magic on her own?!

"Tch!" Abrielle spat, drawing her own blade and holding it out in front of her. Who needed Zenith anyway? Her own blade wasn't nearly as fancy, and had its fair share of dings and nicks, but it should still work just as well. "Magick?" Abrielle repeated Helena's question distractedly. "Its uhh... the energy in the world surrounding us?" Abrielle answered absentmindedly as she tried to recreate the feeling she had with the captain's blade and took a swing. Nothing. "And some people can use it and some can't... I don't know..." She refocused and tried again. Still nothing. Cursing under her breath, Abrielle swung again and again, her frustration growing ever more fierce with each swing, until her arm was sore.

Jamming her weapon point-first into the ground, she sat down next to it still cursing under her breath. She hugged her knees to her chest, wondering if this training was even worth her time. Maybe she could get just get somebody to create a magical focus or something for her... Doing that had to be way easier than this...

Helena
 
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"Ferocity," Helena said gently, as she watched the young squire slump to the ground and draw her knees to her chest. "Can be a tool, yes," the young captain stepped to the squire, stabbed Zenith down into the soft earth, the rasp of the silvery steel a near whisper. She lowered down to one knee beside Abrielle, then worked both knees under herself, let the tops of her feet lay flat against the earth as she sat up with a straight spine. "But it is not a tool that will solve every problem,"

She took in a deep breath, then let it out long and slow.

"What do you see around us now, squire?" she asked, and they sat amidst the wylds. Proud old trees reached up to the sky overhead, branches, spread and split and sprouted into green leaves that filtered golden light.

Abrielle Huxley
 
Ferocity? Well that was certainly a nice way of putting it. Most would just call it poor anger management. Though Helena was right. Ferocity wouldn't solve ebry proble. Abrielle couldn't even begin to count the number of times her temper had landed her in hot water

"Umm... Trees?" Abrielle responded to the next question uncertainly. She looked at Helena with confusion. Is this a trick question? she wondered. It has to be right? "Rocks...? Dirt? Stumps? Anthills... And birds..." Abrielle listed off everything in sight, hoping she would stumble upon the right answer. She paused for a moment before exclaiming "Oh! A rabbit!"

A small smile cut through her grumpy demeanor as she lifted her arm to point. It was short lived however, her mind returning to Helena's question. Whatever answer the Captain that the Captain was looking for was beyond Abrielle. She resumed hugging her knees with a huff.

Helena
 
A small warm smile crested the Captain's lips at the sighting of the rabbit. She gave Abrielle a nod. Understanding.

"It was not so long ago that I found myself at such crossroads, Abrielle," Helena began. "Feeling lost amidst all the new and unknown of this place, its ideas," her eyes looked to where the rabbit had hidden away. "What other knights tried to teach me," she looked back down to the younger woman, the look in her eyes still tender. "Our Pursuits, as the order, are but paths to the magick of the world around us, and within us," she bent down to the earth, where the grass was thin and raw dirt showed through, dark and full of life.

PXL_20230601_170636233.jpgHer finger traced a single character into the soil. A rune. "Old pathways, learned in ages long past," it was the rune for Rabbit, a boxy thing with long lines.



Abrielle Huxley
 
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