Time/Date : It is currently 07:35 Pacific Time on Mon Dec 12 2005.
Moon Phase : Currently the moon is in the waxing Gibbous Moon phase (75% full).
Weather : Currently in Saint Claire, it is a cloudy day. The temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). The wind is calm today. The barometric pressure reading is 30.15 and steady, and the relative humidity is 96 percent. The dewpoint is 31 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius.)
Place : Farmhouse
Farmhouse: Hallway and Living Room
All doorways in the front part of the house lead to the front hallway, a J-shaped area with the short tail starting at the stairs, the front door hitting the bottom curve, the doorless opening to the living room halfway up the long side, and the also doorless opening to the kitchen and dining room at the very top. The hall has a simple wooden floor, and decorated with a generic print of soft-colored flowers hanging on the wall to the right of the front door, and a tall table sitting under the print which serves as a place to toss keys. A closet under the stairs serves as a place to hang coats or to toss shoes.
The doorless opening to the living room is halfway up the side of the hall's J, and the word cozy might spring to mind when looking into is, as it seems to radiate comforting vibrations. A long couch sits against the south wall beneath a large bay window curtained only by sheers that manages to obscure the view in but only filters the day's light. A variety of out-of-date magazines are strewn atop a low coffee table; more neatly presented are the plethora of books filling the small bookshelves which line the eastern wall. Three chairs sit about the room, focused inward, to allow group conversations. Large floor pillows are stacked in one corner of the room, except one, which lies carelessly in the middle of the floor, apparently left out the last time it was used.
An opening in the northern end of the hallway allows access to the kitchen and dining room at the back of the house, while carpeted stairs twist up at the other end of the hall, leading to the second floor. A door at the base of the J lets out to the front porch.
Standing a little over five foot tall and slimly built, KL makes a not particularly imposing first impression. In her late teens, she has an air of irritation, and of nervy energy, combined with hostility and restrained aggression.
Her mousy-brown hair is pulled back into a plait that hangs down to the small of her back, and is fastened at the bottom and the top by dark brown leather bands. She would be quite attractive - she has a very cute, upturned nose, and expressive hazelnut eyes - were it not for the anger in her gaze and the sullen set of her mouth. She stares at people - particularly people she doesnt know - with a cold fury, as if waiting for an opportunity to attack them.
KL has pale skin, and on her right shoulder-blade is a two-inch-square tattoo of a winged horse. There isn't much in the way of excess flesh on her, her cheekbones are clearly visible and her bare arms have a tight musculature that speaks of regular and plentiful exercise.
She's rarely still for very long, and while she still remembers to slouch around from time to time, she's less inclined to do it these days, and her natural grace, balance and co-ordination is clearly evident in her movements.
She's currently wearing a pair of blue jeans that are slightly too large for her - it appears only a black leather belt is preventing them from descending southwards at pace. On her top half is a maroon t-shirt which has a picture of a small rabbit with its hands over its ears and the legend "Not Listening" beneath. Over that is a black leather jacket, unfastened and hanging loosely around her torso. On her feet are an old and battered pair of combat boots, that have seen many better days.
Standing at an arrogant five foot three inches, this young teenager commands the space around her as if it were in existence solely for her. Her features are flawless: smooth, clear skin, high cheekbones, a button nose and dark, green eyes are set on a slightly ovaled face. Her hair is long and dark brown, slightly wavy and reaching to her middle back.
She moves with a steady grace; shoulders up and posture tall. Her gaze, often friendly enough, is also one of pride and cockiness, and her smile can just as quickly be turned to a wicked sneer.
Early morn on another drab winter's day in St. Claire. Yesterday's bitter frost has faded into a grey soulless mush. The quiet of Escrowe Farm is about to be disturbed by the dawn-rising Black Fury Ahroun, bane of all late sleepers. Particularly due to her habit of slamming the front door, and it is that that announces her arrival in the hallway. Today, she appears like a combination of Hiawatha and a bag lady, as she's carrying a (bright red) bow, a quiver of arrows is on her back, and two plastic bags are dangling from her fingers. "Sophie?" she calls, from the hallway, in a voice loud enough to resonate through the house.
Sophie is just getting started on her oatmeal in the living room. "Hmm?" she offers in an attempt to not speak with her mouth full. Down it goes, and she answers more appropriately, "I'm in here. What's up?" She rises, still holding her bowl.
"Nothing special." KL says, walking in to the living room. "It's just I've got some time this morning and I thought I'd bring up some stuff to show you, and whoever else is around and interested." She waves the bow, causing the string that is hanging loosely from it to wave around, before sitting down on a spare chair. "How's life?" she asks, conversationally.
Sophie grins a little. "No one else is around just now. But life is good. I'll be riting soon. Like real soon, so I am getting all excited." She looks over the bow and smiles, "Twist gave me a wooden sword to practice with, don't suppose you're good at archery and swords?"
"I've not used many." KL admits. "But how hard can it be? The pointy end goes into the other guy, surely?" She mimes a poking motion with her hand, now free due to her setting down the plastic bags by the side of the chair.
Sophie laughs, "I think there may be a bit more form to it than that. What's in the bags?" she asks, and then, blushing, "Oh man, sorry. Do you want some oatmeal? I can nuke a bowl right up."
"No thanks, I'm fine. Had some fruit for breakfast an hour or so ago." KL says with a wave of her hand. She looks down at the bags. "Um...finger tab. Spare bow-string, armguard, target face, "The Traditional Archers Handbook", my sweater. I got a bit cold yesterday."
Sophie ohs lightly, "I see. So were you going to show some of us cubs the joy of archery?" she entones hopefully.
"Well. The joys of archery usually come some time after the frustrations of not hitting the fucking target, but yeah. And I thought that the farmhouse ought to have some of this stuff, as it's occasionally useful to know how to do it. So I brought up my spare bow and some old arrows to leave here, in case anyone wants to practice. It passes the time, at least." The Fury explains, enthusiastically.
Sophie nods her head, "Here!" she hands the half eaten bowl over and runs upstairs, "I'll get dressed." There is the thumping of boots and trunks and finally, the cub returns, wearing the Twist-given winter coat and all her strappings for warmth. "Ready!"
KL waves the half-eaten bowl of oatmeal around for a bit, then sets it down somewhere it's sure to be found...in a week or so...and collects her archery bits and heads out toward the barnyard. "OK, let's go shoot something."
Sophie smiles and bounds after the other, "Oh this is going to be so cool." She marches through the kitchen and out the back door. "We going to the barn?"
The lane wends its way back and around the farmhouse to here, where it widens into a broad, grassy sward contained only by the woods which encircle it on three sides. Buildings break up the purity of the landscape: an open-sided structure which serves as a garage and the big barn, empty of livestock, to the east. A good-sized vegetable and herb garden furrows the land south of the barn, while a pyramid-like pile of rocks, of similar consistency to the gravel of the lane, rests a few yards south of the garage.
North of the buildings, the fields have long been fallow, hastening a conversion from farmland to natural prairie. A sliding glass door allows admittance to the farmhouse, the interior obscured by Levolor(tm) blinds in a wood-grain pattern. The lane leads out around the house to the southwest. The discerning can just barely pick out the beginnings of a faint path into the woods towards the southeast.
"No, I think out here is better." KL says, surveying the scrubby land just outside the barn. "We aren't doing anything that can't safely be observed from the road." she adds. "If I had a farm, I'd practice archery in the garden. However, we do need something from the barn. Could you fetch a reasonable-sized haybale?"
Sophie nods her head and rushes into the barn. It takes longer than changing her clothes did, but a few moments later, she is grunting as she pushes a haybale out the door. She's grabbed one of the larger ones, chuckling as she admits, "I don't trust my aim will work well ... on a smaller one."
KL chuckles. "I'm sure the field will thank you for sparing it your misses." She walks over to help, and the pair of them carry the haybale a distance away from the barn, so that it's about thirty yards away from the pile of stuff, and the line between them runs parallel to the side of the barn. "Go and stand by the stuff." KL says, as she pins the target face - a typical concentric circle design - to the front of the bale.
Sophie listens to the others instructions and obeys them to a T. She stands herself right by the gear and watches as the Fury gets thigns set up.
Once the target has been set up, KL returns to the pile of stuff. "Right." she says. "First lesson. The bow." She holds up the red bow. "This is called a recurve bow, because the limbs curve away to be parallel to the string. This means the string goes on the other side to the way the tips point." She points at the end of the bow - "Tips.", then at the length running from the handle to the tip. "Limb". At the level section on top of the handle "arrow shelf". "Are you right or left handed?" she enquires, once the point and name session is done.
Sophie nods to the information, then answers a bright, "Right handed." She watches very carefully, and keeps her excitement level well restrained so she can learn.
"So am I." KL says. "That makes things easier." She strings the bow, setting the tip inside her left foot and bowing it around her knee. "It's quite straightforward - nock the arrow with the coloured flight out, and the arrow on the same side of the bow as your knuckle. Then hold the string - not the arrow - like this, and then keep your left arm straight..." She swings the bow up, simultaenously pulling the arrow back until her thumb touches the corner of her mouth, then looses. The arrow hums as it flies through the air, before smacking into the target just to the left of the gold. "Right. Your go." The Fury says, unstringing the bow and handing it to Sophie.
"Do you unstring it all the time? Or is that just because you are showing me how to do it?" She tries to follow the others example, manuevering her feet and legs to get a grip on the bow as she tries to get the string on. It seems to give her quite the fuss though.
"I unstring it when I'm not using it, or don't expect to be using it for a time." KL says. "I unstrung it then so that you can have a go at stringing it." She watches for a moment. "Everyone struggles with this to begin with. I threw the bow over the Fury house wall the first time I tried."
Sophie laughs a little at her admission, but keeps at it. It is one thing the cub has always had going for her; something she -wants- to do is never given up on. She wrestles with the bow some more, arms tensing. "I am going to be worn out before I even shoot it," she jokes. Finally, it lands into proper position and she gets the string set up. "Man! What a pain." She then holds it up in her left hand to get a feel for it. "When you aimed, you had your fingers touch your cheek. Does that help?"
"Yeah." KL nods. "It's called an 'anchor point'. Basically, if you pull the string back so that your hand always touches the same point, it means that everything else is going to be in the right position, so you can aim reliably. If you don't, then your aim will be all over the place. You should find a point where you feel comfortable - people touch all different bits of themselves - their nose, the corner of their eye, or their mouth, or their ear or anything. It depends a bit on how long your arms are."
Sophie nods and puts the bow up into position, first without an arrow. She pulls the string back and tests a few spots as her anchor point. Then she gathers an arrow and fights with it to get it on the string and in position. "How do you keep the arrow steady without getting your fingers in the way of the flights?" she grumbles.
"Just one finger above, two below, on the string." KL says, "And if you tip the bow slightly to the right, it'll sit on the arrow shelf that much easier." She takes a step away from the cub, just giving her the space to figure it out herself.
Sophie nods her head, her bottom lip tucked between her teeth. Once the arrow is on the shelf, she pulls back very slowly, her fingers resting at her temple. She holds it there for a second, arms and shoulders tense- Twang! Off goes the shot and it sizzles through the air, landing in the bottom of the haybale. "Well. Good thing I got a big hay bale."
"That's a pretty good first effort." KL says, looking impressed. "You hit the hay bale. And not me, yourself, the barn or anything. Have another go. Try to limit the amount of time you have the arrow pulled back, as it's really hard to hold the bow steady at full draw."
"Alright." She smiles at this, looking pretty pleased with herself. "It's hard, from shooting rifles, I want to like take my time and aim. This has to be quicker or your arm gets sort of shaky." Sophie grabs another arrow, and gives it a much faster draw and aim. When it is loosed, it hits the very top of the bale, changes direction slightly, and skitters weakly into the fields. "Oops."