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A Sorbet Interlude
Tue Aug 22, 2006 09:17 (XFF:

There was only the briefest of pauses between Kat asking the Gaidin for instruction into his sword methods and his response, a heartbeat where she anticipated he would refuse her and then his perfectly composed face focused on her and he replied, “Very well Kat, I will teach you. But before I begin, tell me more of yourself. What have you learned, what are your favored weapons and how you came to be interested in the Tower and the ranks of the Gaidin.”

The question seemed reasonable and it at least gave her some hope in that he wouldn't find her too forward or presumptuous for asking for the training. And although the Gaidin had asked why she had been interested in the Tower and becoming Gaidin, Kat knew that there was no need to speak in the greatest of detail regarding her life. The short, abridged version was most likely far more preferable to a long rambling epic.

She spoke simply, telling him that she had grown up the eldest of her family and explained that when it was time for her marry, she found the idea not to her liking. Yet, rather than deal with it in an immature fashion, she explained that instead she had decided to bring further honor to her Kandori family name and joined the Queen's Guards, the Kandori Army. It was better than running off or becoming a hellion with a temper tantrum in her eyes and Kat never regretted joining for the experiences it had given her and the unique life she'd been allowed to live. Although her decision to come to the Tower to be there for her brother, who was currently a Novice, wasn’t logical, neither did Kat pretend it was. It had been an emotional decision made for the love she had for Surya, not cool logic.

He asked her why she stayed, if she meant to be bonded to her brother and Kat answered honestly that she did not, that she had come for her brother and stayed for herself when what she learned from the Gaidin continued to enthrall her, to learn to better herself not only as a fighter, but in the lessons she learned to be a better person. The philosophies and ways of life that suited her, matched her.

Favored weapons, the Gaidin prompted when Kat came to a halt with her life story. Shrugging, Kat provided the Gaidin with an easy smile. "I wasn't given much opportunity to favor one over the other. In the Army I was trained to use the sword and bow and arrow—that one both standing still and from horseback—and when I came here it seemed much of the same. I haven't had the time to give much thought, although I do know I like the sword and may find I like using dual blades as I saw you using." She paused, considering her words before finishing, "Though I don't want to lose proficiency with the bow and arrow, either. It's nice to have a backup of a ranged weapon when necessary though I suppose I truly favor a hand to hand weapon such as a blade."

The Gaidin had listened to her words with a serious demeanor and finally replied, “Go now, Sei’Tar and get some rest. You will meet me tomorrow, at dusk and not a moment later, in the yard in front of the west stables. Be dressed to fight and bring your weapons. Live blades mind, not practice lathes.”

As she turned away and moved back toward the Grounds, Kat realized she didn't know the Gaidin's name. Given that his preferred weapons were relatively rare, though, Kat expected she would know his name by dusk tomorrow when she arrived with real weapons.

Juri chewed on the long blade of grass and shrugged, his strong jaw working the green stain into his teeth as he pondered her question after the midday meal. "I know of three people who use the two swords like that, an older Gaidin—Light I don't even know if he's still alive!—named Myrjala, another Gaidin that couldn't be who you were talking about because he doesn't teach students any more, his name is Leeam and you'd know him because he's Seanchan. And then Talaban Gaidin. I'm guessing you saw Talaban Gaidin last night and if he does teach you…" Juri shook his head with a low whistle. "It'll be tough. Learning the sword is hard enough, but two at the same time? He's good, very good. probably a pinch or two away from getting a heron on his blades."

Kat grimaced, somehow not able to reconcile the figure last night in the dark with some of the things that Juri told her. "But he could teach me if I asked, right?"

"I've never heard of it, though I don't know how many ask him. It could be that Myrjala Gaidin and Leeam Gaidin teach anyone who asks, but burn me Kat, no one's stupid enough to take on that hard task. I'll still to my own sword, thank you." He grinned at her in a way that took the sting from his words though, earning a return flash of a smile from her.

That evening after the meals were finished up, Kat tucked in her shirt with the close sleeves, the breeches as loose as the narrow skirts of a Saldaean woman's dress, the coat over her shoulders large enough to not hamper her movements while still close fitted enough that it had never failed her against Shadowspawn. People of Kandor, and of the Borderlands for that matter, didn't dress to be pretty or impressive, but for functionality. The cut of her clothing was that of the Army issue, designed to give plenty of movement without having anything extra to have a Trolloc's hook catch on. The subdued, earthy colors of greens, browns and off whites were practical, just as the braid twisted into a knot was practical.

As an Aethan'Tar, obtaining bladed weapons would have been relatively impossible for her to do, but as Sei'Tar, Kat was able to visit the 'quartermaster' and get swords that had a fine edge on them and the thin blades gleamed from polish and care. Slipping them into their sheaths once more, she was able to attach them, not over her back with a baldric, but with crossing belts across her tight abdomen, the swords swinging lightly with her walk. They weren't the full size swords that most were used to wielding, but shorter blades that allowed for a better freedom of movement with still more reach on them than a standard short sword.

She didn't know if Talaban Gaidin would chastise her for carrying them this way—but that was the point, to learn what she didn't know. She arrived before dusk and waited as the sun began to touch the trees, seeing the man glide dangerously across the ground at their appointed time. Giving a deep bow, Kat greeted him. "Talaban Gaidin, I've come as you've asked and am willing to learn what you will teach me."

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