Summer Interlude

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Just Old Al
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Summer Interlude

Post by Just Old Al » Wed May 23, 2018 5:36 am

AN: Lake, a while back you asked about grounding and centering...well, the answer is here.

The sight was an incongruous one, even by Alexander standards. Stepping from the kitchen door on this fine Summer morning the old man headed for the rose garden, relishing the feel of the sunshine on his back and shoulders.

Clad in a gi and rice straw sandals along with a light straw fedora he walked with a leisurely gait to the garden, his mind clearing as he began his meditations. Kicking off his sandals he dug his toes into the springy turf, enjoying the feel on his bare feet. Breathing deeply and evenly he stood poised, beginning his kata.

Moving, pushing, weight shifting from leg to leg he moved smoothly through his meditations, enjoying the feel of the muscle motions, the flow of the energy from the leylines, and the warmth of the sun.

However, something was...missing.

"It's too damned quiet. Usually the solitude feels good, but not today."

He thought for a moment, then threw out a thought. "Sterling, luv. Feel like a bit of exercise? Out in the garden and doing my forms and feel like a bit of company." He listened for a reply.

Out in her garden Sterling stood, frowning, staring at the piles of compost in her bins waiting to be turned.

She knew it was good for her lands, but did it have to make such a pong? Just as she was about to turn it with the pitchfork, she felt a slight pull at the back of her mind that indicated someone calling.

"Sterling, luv. Feel like a bit of exercise? Out in the garden and doing my forms and feel like a bit of company."

"I will be back later, and perhaps when it is cooler I will nae have as much trouble with the stench," she thought, amused as she stowed the tools and cranked the hose back onto the stand.

Going inside, she walked into her workout room and opened a steamer trunk, grinning madly.

Elsewhere Al frowned and tried again.

"Sterling, luv, you there?"

As if as an answer to his question silver and blue sparkles showered the air and ground as a portal opened.

Out flowed Sterling, nearly floating with the concentration she was placing on her gait and posture.

Grace itself, her garb spoke of serenity. Clad in a white shirt, the stiff Mandarin collar covering her throat, buttons lined straight down the center, a sash tied formally at the waist, where the garment split at the sides. Long sleeves billowed out down to the hands, where it was pleated at the wrist and secured.

The flowing garment topped white trousers which flowed much like the shirt. These were tucked into narrow, white boots, which were tied in a precise criss-cross pattern around the ends of the trouser legs.

Her sword, peace-bound, was secured to her back, the tassel gently swaying in the breeze.

Her short platinum hair gleamed in the sun and matched the bright white of her outfit.

She greeted him bowing, hand over fist, the standing with a smile.

To say Al was gobstruck would be to minimize the impact. The slim form of the mage clad in the dazzling white of the traditional outfit made Al ruefully conscious of the ratty condition of his gi and his less-than-perfect tie to the sash over his portly form. This however did nothing to minimize his manners as he bowed deeply to his friend, returning the honour of her greeting.

"Oh, my, we have certainly tarted ourselves up for this! Aren't you afraid to get grass stains on that outfit?" His tone, while light, showed his true feelings as he acknowledged the effort she'd put into the display. The wind changed, and a slight breath of compost wafted to Al, and he wrinkled his nose.

"Interrupt you in the garden, did I? Sorry about that." Realizing what a faux pas he'd committed, he reddened and said, "Excuse me, my dear. Call it the follies of an old man dazzled by a vision in white." He bowed again.

Sterling felt the emotions washing over her from the old man. Appreciation of the work she’d gone to for the morning, chagrin at his own less-than-stellar appearance and good old-fashioned stunning at her entrance all warred for his attention, forcing him into the verbal stumbles he’d had.

Thoroughly chagrined because of it she tried to comfort the old man. “Aye, ye did call me from the gardens, and happily too I might add. Me compost is needing turning again and I cannot abide the stench of the dragon jobby me sister salted it with. Rich it may be, but the pong is incredible. Now, did you mention exercise?”

Snapping back to himself Al replied. “Yes, I did. I was out here doing my forms with the small creatures and the sun for company and it simply wasn’t enough. This is when I bothered you – and glad I did.

Now, all I was about was simple short-form circular Tai Chi. Do you know that routine?”

“Aye, I do. Why such a limited routine – not complaining, mind, but you have room here to move about.”

Al hesitated, then spoke. “Time and space. For most of my life a place like this would have been unmitigated luxury – there were places where a few feet of room was all I could manage. So, compact forms became old friends – and it’s stayed with me.”

"Do you do any jian forms?”

“Sadly, no. Performing sword forms tended to disconcert the squaddies at their calisthenics, so I never really used those forms. I would love to see a demonstration of them, though.”

“Then as you are already ahead of me, why do we not do the circular forms till you tire, then I will do my jian forms?”

“Sounds wonderful. Shall we begin, then?”

“Let us do that very thing.”

Standing quietly in the garden, both slowly started to move. Bending, flexing, moving, each precisely mirrored the motions of the other though neither watched the other. As they moved Sterling’s hand fluttered for a moment, and quiet music began to play in the air.

"Lovely, meduck. Vivaldi?"

"You expected anything else? Very well, then."

The hand flickered again, and Vivaldi was replaced with Joshua Bell, the plaintive strains of his companion Stradivarius trilling perfectly with the birdsong.

This was itself replaced with the pipings of bamboo flutes and other Oriental-styled music – each piece perfect to the motions and the feel of the moment.

Still the two moved in close rhythm, the old man a trifle clumsier than the young woman, but persisting and keeping up with her graceful flowing motions.

Attracted by the sound and the emotion, a certain dryad peered into the glade, hiding her telltale from the mages.Oh, bravo you two. Beautiful. Silently she clapped her hands at the spectacle of the two moving perfectly in synchronization.

Soon Al tired, the work of maintaining synchronization adding to the work already done before Sterling’s arrival. As they reached the end of a form cycle he stood to rest position, hands in front of abdomen, breathing deeply. After a moment he turned and bowed deeply to Sterling and she returned the honour.

“Love to continue, meduck, but I’m a bit winded.”

Sterling smiled quietly, acknowledging his statement. “Would you like to see some Jian forms now?”

“Please. That would be a pleasure. Now that I no longer need to concern myself with frightening squaddies, I might indulge in them again. Please do demonstrate.”

Sterling nodded, still in the meditative state. “While there are many forms for the Jian, this one is my favourite. Please sit there in the far corner, thank you."

She raised her hand, and drew lines with power on the ground, and from the ground to the sky, and some seemingly in the sky, forming a large rectangular box which she connected with power as she explained.

"Just in case, I have here made a shield of power. I wish for nothing to pass through until I finish, so this will give me time to pause if someone came by.

Should you wish to learn this shield technique, I shall have Mathàir show you later, as she has a way with teaching this one far better than I."

She bowed to Al, hand over fist, then removed her Jian from her back. Reverently unwinding the peace binding, she then drew it from the sheath, leaving the sheath and the binding decorating one of the rosebushes. As she slowly walked to the opposite end of the garden she explained, "While there are sword and sheath forms, this one is not."

Starting from standing position, Sterling had the Jian in her left hand, tassel dangling, sword aligned with her arm, point to the heavens.

She smirked as she noted, “The first movement is called 'Fairy Points the way'," then she began.

Her movements were slow and graceful, drawing and releasing power with each breath, each step, each slow languid movement of her arms, and so too the extension of her arm, each graceful arc and elegant turn of her precious Jian.

Al sat at the far edge of the garden as directed, entranced as she moved through the form, feeling both the power flowing to her, and emanating from her as she returned it, as well as absolute peace and tranquility.

The music from earlier was gone – the only sound in the garden the swish of Sterling’s boots in the grass, accompanied by the sounds of the littles in the trees and earth.

The movements were hypnotic – the graceful, rhythmic motions of combat rendered to a stylized dance with the razor-sharp blade of the Jian as a counterpoint. The movement was mesmerizing – Al could no more turn away from the dance then he could have turned from the face of his lover.

Soon, though, Sterling slowed and stopped, breathing heavily, sweat beading her brow. Coming to the rest position she stopped, deep breaths taken until her pulse and respiration slowed. She then slowly, gracefully flowed to the rosebush and relieved it of its burden, wiping the blade of the Jian in respect before she sheathed and peace bound it again, dismissing the shield with a graceful wave of her hand.

Roused from his trance Al stood and politely applauded the demonstration. “Bravo. I so want to learn those forms – that was an amazing demonstration.”

“I am sure you could, though you might not want to work with my instructor. He…mutters a lot.”

“Indeed. However, to develop virtuosity like that…it might be worth the risk.”

From the entrance of the garden came a polite cough. Rosalita stood there, bearing a tray with an elegant tea service along with delicate pastries. “Senor Al, Senora Sterling I saw you exercising and thought you might appreciate some tea afterward. May I?”

Sterling clapped, delighted. “Please. That would be wonderful, and thank you!” Stepping over she relieved Rosalita of the tray, and Rosalita reached to her shoulder and removed the folding stand that had dangled there. Unfolding the stand and setting it in front of one of the benches Sterling then set the tray upon it, and Rosalita curtsied, Sterling and Al returning the respectful gesture by bowing.

“Call if you need anything.” With a smile she was gone.

Pouring two cups Sterling commented, “They do take good care of you, Warhorse. Lots of love here.”

"The Empire was founded on cups of tea, mate, and if you think I am going to war without one you are sadly mistaken."

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Re: Summer Interlude

Post by DinkyInky » Wed May 23, 2018 11:32 am

And part two. While talking to me, Al was testing out a small motor carburetor replacement he did, and once I heard that engine...


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Step, turn, extend arm, step, turn, move both arms in harmony, draw and release.

This continued for some time, until the energy of not just the individual, but the garden began to shift pleasantly. With Spring and Summer arriving Al had gotten into the habit of enjoying the rose garden as he did his forms. He had also managed to garner himself an audience.

Normally silent and appreciative, of late she had grown bolder – and more raucous. Now, weeks on, Ialin had grown cheeky – and begun to indulge in her favourite pastime … of engineer-baiting.

Snickering, which turned into muffled giggles, rapidly became uncontrolled laughter that echoed from the grove as Ialin in Pixie form, fell off a branch onto some moss and leaves.

Reddening, he whirled and growled at the interloper.

"Pìobaireachd iongantach! I thought I smelled a stink bug. The compost heap is by the other garden. Why don't you try there."

"Stink Bug? Really? That the best you can do?"

"I've got a weedeater, and I know how to use it," growled Al threateningly.

"Bring it old man!" Ialin flew up inches from his face, stuck her thumbs in her ears and waggled them, blowing a raspberry for good measure.

He waved his hand in the air, and a portal opened...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sterling arrived in a shower of silver and blue sparkles to find Rosalita clipping some herbs from the garden.

"¡Eso se ve hermosa, Rosalita!"(That looks beautiful, Rosalita!)

"Gracias, pero no puedo tomar todo el crédito..."(Thank you, but I cannot take all the credit...)

Just then, the sound of a sputtering motor screamed into their relative calm.

"¡Dios mío!"(My God!)

"Dè air an talamh?"(What on earth?)

Vruuuum niiin niiin niin!

Looking over toward the rose garden, they were greeted with a truly incredible sight. Ialin, in pixie form, was dodging, weaving, and bobbing, just outside the reach of an enraged Sergeant-Major wielding a weedeater.

“Oh, dear.”

Strangely, the scene was…beautiful. Despite the amount of rage emanating from Al and unbridled malicious glee from Ialin, the scene had a twisted purity of movement. Weaving, dodging, stepping, Al had obviously been practicing some sort of jian katas, because his moves with the string trimmer had all of the form of proper Tai Chi.

Sterling looked closer.

“Rosalita, is there even a filament in the head of that weedeater?”

“No, senorita – there isn’t.”

"Then what...?"

"Third time this week she's wound up Senor Al. To be honest I think he's enjoying it. She gets to have fun, and he gets cardiovascular exercise that does not involve Senora Daisy."

Meanwhile, the battle went on – Al rehearsing diligently the movements of the English Weedeater School of Tai Chi, and Ialin staying just close enough to spur on his efforts and just far enough away to prevent contact.

With all of this the gibes flowed – in both directions.

"Too slow old man! Shall I fetch your walker? I’ll get Sarge to blow up the tires on it for you!"

"Don't bother! I'm just getting warmed up!" Al riposted with an upward sweep that Ialin effortlessly dodged.

Rosalita and Sterling looked at them, then each other.

"Would you like some tea and biscuits Sterling?"

"That would be lovely, yes. I think they will be a while."
Yanno how some people have Angels/Devils for a conscience? I have a Dark Elf ShadowKnight and a Half Elf Ranger for mine. The really bad part is when they agree on something.

Aphyon chu kissa whol l'jaed.
--Safyr Drathmir

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Re: Summer Interlude

Post by Dave » Wed May 23, 2018 11:48 am

At least Al didn't drive a leaf-blower into the fresh-compost heap, and aim the exit chute in Ialin's direction...

... yet. :twisted:

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Re: Summer Interlude

Post by DinkyInky » Thu May 24, 2018 7:14 pm

Dave wrote:At least Al didn't drive a leaf-blower into the fresh-compost heap, and aim the exit chute in Ialin's direction...

... yet. :twisted:
That would require Weedeater Kata through Portals, as the stink-bomb is in Indiana.
Yanno how some people have Angels/Devils for a conscience? I have a Dark Elf ShadowKnight and a Half Elf Ranger for mine. The really bad part is when they agree on something.

Aphyon chu kissa whol l'jaed.
--Safyr Drathmir

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