2 The warriors path

Flat fields covered in grass that to an average person, would climb to almost knee height. Cotted sporadically with brush or shrubs and even trees in the first few years of life. Boulders both big and small lay scattered like the undesired toys tossed away by children.

Elevated over the surrounding lands, the large hill held what many would never come to realize. Several small game trails cutting in and out of brush that covered the hill and kept weary travelers from attempting to unlock the unknown secrets of the land.

Atop the hill, in a rocky cove protected by view from the outside world, is where came the true surprise. Nature had been fashioned into a home. A nature made opening between boulders, and an over hang of shelf rock had been enclosed with branches and logs tied together with hemp rope. Offering the only man made object to be found. A single door crafted into the wooden wall to the left, and one opening acting as a window to the right. To glance inside, one would see the makings of a comfortable, yet humble home. A sindle slab of rock covered in grass with a sheet of fur atop it acting as cushion. Several smaller rocks had been used to fashion a small table with a seat to the left by the entry way, and to the right a larger shelf rock had been turned into a work bench. Several bowls grinders and hand tools evident..

Near the left side of the wall on the outside, rocks lay in a stair like patter, that would eventually lead to the top of the shelf rock that acted as a roof. Though those steps were best taken by someone with long legs, others would still find it an easy climb should they make the effort. To the right of the rocky house lay another path. One that wrapped around the back side, where a clear spring bubbled up, in a 10 ft wide pool. A small stream leading down hill would show another pool that was similar. This second one was obviously well used by fauna of the area that came to drink where as the top pool showed no signs of use from man nor animal.

Inside the rockey cove was what some would refer to as a front yard, and was the only place upon the hill that grew grass and was not protected by the dense and prickly brush. It was but a small twenty foot clearing, being almost as wide as it was long. Ideal for leisure with the way the sun seemed to shine down perfectly throughout the day with the exception of early morning and late evening.

The home of the stoic defender, where peace was found away from the busy life of the warriors path. Where simple tasks were completed and self training undergone. A place none but he knew existed. His fortress of solitude.

Dawn broke quietly, casting shadows that stretched out and slowly receded back to the boulders surrounding the hill top. Yet the male stirred not from his place. Sat quietly in an Indian style position. Fingers intertwined with the backs nestled into his lap, the tips of thumbs pressed to one another. Eyes closed, with a straight back, the males breath even, deep, and slow.

The oval shaped clearing of grass did not offer much in an expanse of property. Roughtly twenty feet long and almost that in width. But surrounded by boulders, it offered a peace and solitude from the outside world. A haven, where the male could relax in meditation, train with blades or hand, or simply enjoy in leisure the sanctity of what had been made his home.

This day had started like many others before it. Awaking hours before the dawn. Doing what few chores of cleaning there was, and moving to meditate with the rising sun. There was little in his way of life that offered luxury, but there was much that offered small comforts to a man out of time.

In the short distance, the soft cadence of booted feet would sound, over the morning grass where few drops clung to her boots and breeches. Her eyes observed the male that sat like a statue, focused on his work in meditation. A concept she had never fully been able to grasp herself, she had too much energy for that, and it showed.

She did however enjoy the morning sun. As she approached the male, she wouldn't hide her steps, she did it want to set him at unease by trying to sneak around. As she reached the male, her hands would rest upon her hips, gazing outward for a moment.

Her left hand would raise to rub her eye, as if trying to remove something from within before her gaze would sweep down to the male, looking over his calm and quiet features. It's as if she could have seen this in a photo, or a painting back in the day. The kind of view that never got old.

The male stirred not, though the approach of the female was evident. No other had found his sanctuary, not by purpose or accident. Just as he, she had her own way of moving. A cadence to her steps, the roll from heel to toe, the manner in which her smaller frame impacted to the ground with each step. She was well known, even without having to look upon her.

Silence hung in the air for several minutes after her steps haulted. Patience was a virtue they both knew and understood, and routine was not something the male broke often. But as the sun rose higher, the males deep graveled voice came through parted lips. "I have said it before, and no few times. I am not one for believing that those who believe not as I, to be therefore heathens. Many are the paths to righteousness and mine is but one. I will not dictate to you, the edicts of the Warriors Path. It is an ancient way, one perhaps better left in ancient times."

Icey blue eyes opened, blinking with the light that shone down upon them. Hands shifting in tandem to be placed palms down upon the bend of knees. " but these truths I hold self evident. Until you learn and understand your own body and mind, you will never know your enemies. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know your limitations, and where you excel. I can not help you in areas that I do not know you, but... I believe some of your skill sets have a useage in close quarters combat that even you do not realize."

The male would push to stand slowly. The dark brown hue of gi style pants shifted with movements. A motion of his head given in the direction of his humble home. The faint scent of sage still burning detectable to those sensitive of nose. And water already heated for tea. Old rituals still swayed much of the males mornings it seemed. Barefeet carried the male to the entry way in the wooden wall. Reaching in to the small stone table just inside to take up the abalone shell with the smoking sage bundle. "We will get into Physical training. I promise you, but first I would open your mind to new ways of thinking. Place the idea in your head, so that when the time comes, you can decide on your own course."

The sage was used deftly, allowing smoke to roll over arms, down the torso and each leg. Offering it to her next. waiting until she accepted he would turn back inside, taking the kettle of warm water from a stone heated by coals. The infuser filled with his own blend already. Lavender, sage, rose hip, mint, lemon grass, and immature tea leaves. Though the male had never found a need for more than one bowl, his collection of geode bowls was no small thing. And two were filled before he returned to her. "You and I are much alike when it comes to combat, and yet vastly diffrent. I have tools everywhere at my disposal... and yet so to do you."

Offering her one of the bowls, he would use the extended hand to motion to the small yard. "How quickly could you grow that grass to bind your opponent? Or even to do something smaller that they would likely never expect... trip them as they moved forward? Or... if your opponent were barefoot, how long would it take you to scatter seeds around yourself, and grow small thorns hidden in the grass that would cause them to hesitate to step upon them? These are but a few things to ponder Lady Artemis."

Artemis stood in silence for a moment, enjoying her own form of peace though not quite the same as the man before her. Blue and purple hues quickly shifted to him when he spoke, mulling over his words within her head as she gaged the weight of them. They both came from very different lands, different upbringings, different fighting style, yet one thing always brought them together. Just like the day on the beach, the goal was always to improve, reach for the hope that maybe one day they wouldn't have to fight. But until that day, they fought for that better future. She nodded slightly, following him towards his humble home.

The large male was more experienced in some regards, he had seen more battles than her, and offered another set of insight to help her along. she watched his movements closely, for every step made, seemed to have a specific reason. His strange gait of toe to heel created and erie silence for a male so large. he towered far over her, by atleast a foot if not more. Where she stood at a humble five foot six inches, his height varied by the rumors. Some claimed the male a giant, others stated he was six and a half foot. Where her ectomorph frame kept her and an even weight of 110, he was built like a man who had known nothing but hard work and fighting. she would guess 285 due to his muscular build, but it very well could have been more or less. Her eyes traced the jagged scar that began at the left base of his neck, working down in a diagonal fashion to curl back around near the small of his back and hault just over the elbow of his left arm. Its mirror image upon his chest and stomach hidden from her view. She wondered briefly what creature could have been so much larger than the male to leave such a bite mark upon him.

As he turned she took the sage, following his example as the smoke rolled over her limbs. multi colored eyes lifting to facial features. An oddity there, for while no woman would claim he was ugly, he would never be called beautiful. his hair was always left in what ever style it had fallen after bathing, but the beard he wore seemed always to be immaculate. The small patches of grey only added to the sense that he was wise beyond his years. She listened to him once more as he offered her one of the bowls, taking it with a bow of her head. "In full honesty Davien growing is easy, working with seeds not so much." She said, patting the two pockets she had in her uniform along her waist. "Having to remove them and use them leaves much to be desired, and takes too long."

Davien would nod in response to her words. Icey blue eyes shifting to the pockets at her waist, where she had indicated the placement of seeds. Another nod given to his own internal thoughts as a sip was taken from his own bowl, only then would his voice come forth. "So in a surrounding like we are in right now. Where you are forced into close range combat, it would be a simple matter for you to manipulate the grass, and make it into a trip hazard for your opponent. Giving you an opportunity to strike while they caught their balance. Or in a forest, you could bend the branches or roots to your will to accomplish something similar. Giving you an opportunity to land a more meaningful strike."

Another sip taken from the concoction of tea. The free right hand raising to brush down upon his beard. "Perhaps I am wrong in my next assumption. Only you know your capabilities. But I see two possible ways you could expediate the useage of your seeds... make them more combat friendly. Either way would be more efficient. "

Turning slightly, he would set the bowl down, ensuring it was clear enough to not be knocked over with movement. The left hand would fall into pocket, pulling out a small grape sized rock. Extending the hand towards her to make it more visible. The rock would slowly begin to sink into his flesh, leaving a small mound where it had once rested in his palm. The hand would rotate, facing palm down, fingers closing to form a loose fist. Elbow bending to draw the hand closer to his torso. With a sudden push outwards, the arm would extend as if striking. The fingers opening with the extension of the arm. The rock he had drawn into his hand would be released, flying through the air to hault with an audible crack against one if the boulders lining the yard. "Now... I dont know if you can draw the seeds into your flesh like that. But it would make using them easier. However, if you can not... you have another method that would not only make them easier to use, but also keep you from having to worry about running out. Seed pods, you could mature the seed far enough into maturity as a plant that seed pods begin to form. Tie them as bracelets around your wrist. When the time comes to use them, it would be a matter of using your will to open the seed pods to release them. As opposed to having to reach for your pockets, grab them, withdraw and then release them. As I said... only you know your capabilities. Perhaps neither of those are an option. And if not... I can perhaps fashion you something that would work much like the seed pod bracelet would."

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Turning back he would lift up his bowl. Taking another sip. "I apologize, I know this is likely boring for you... and not what you had in mind for training. But winning a fight is not always about who can move faster, strike harder, or take more hits. Sometimes winning a fight comes down to who was more mentally prepared. Who was able to think on their feet and apply ideas faster. Some times something so simple as causing your opponent to stumble" motioning to the grass with his bowl, his attentions would turn fully to Artemis. "Can turn the tide of a fight."