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Tora Lithenmiir

"My blade is justice that the rest of the world refuses to enact."

0 · 260 views · located in Cre' Est

a character in “Chronicles of Cre' Est”, as played by KumoriRyuu

Description

ImageAge: 26
Height: 5' 11" (180cm)
Weight: 185lbs (84kg)

Personality: "Right and wrong are black and white. To bring harm is to bring injustice. And to bring death unto others without just cause is the penultimate sin. To restore balance to an unjust world, one's blade must follow the path of injustice in a twist of cruel irony. To bring justice to a death bringer, one must bring them death. Only then can the world find balance in its own cruelty."

Biography: Born to a clan of warriors, honor and Desmiel's quest for balance have been the defining characteristics of Tora's life since the day he learned to understand what they meant. Trained in the ways of the sword since childhood, he sees his blade not only as an extension of himself. It's the manifestation of his very soul. The world is cruel. And to bring balance to a cruel world, one must engage in acts of cruelty. An eye for an eye. A scar for a scar. A life for a life. To accept anything less than pure and equal justice is to bring shame upon himself, his clan, and his blade. Now a man, Taro has traveled from the far reaches of Mar' Valoa in his quest for bringing justice to those deserving of its wrath. And he's heard tales that there are many in this area who are running very late for their date with his blade.

So begins...

Tora Lithenmiir's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Captain Armedus Lohran Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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... Midnight...



Into the sleepy maw of town walked a wanderer. His tan cloak billowed gently behind him in the soft winds. And the sounds of his footsteps barely scratched the dirt underfoot. Atop his head, abamboo hat indicative of his origins from the far West reaches. But on this calm, quiet night, few would be awake to take notice of his intrusion.

Pausing in the central square, he examined his surroundings.

A central pond for ducks and other birds. Benches encircling it for onlookers. To the north, empty market stands ready to be filled and stocked come the morn for sale of wares big and small. To the East, the docks, just barely visible through gaps in the buildings lining the road. To the South, the most dense area of rural housing for the inhabitants. And to the West, from whence he came, the entrance to the gently rolling grasslands, and the world beyond.

Several small birds whizzed past his head and began bathing in the pond whilst he contemplated his next move.

I sense your stench, wicked ones. But do you come by land, or sea? He thought to himself.

The town remained dormant. Not daring to answer his unspoken question. The blade at his left hip, left hand resting on the guard, sat still as stone while his eyes glided from one corner of their sockets to the other. Once finished, they slowly closed as his ears subtly twitched.

The howl of a wolf far off in the distance. No doubt hunting with its pack on the plains. The birds at the pond. The gentle hum of the winds. And... The sounds of movement from the road leading to the docks.

His eyes opened, and he walked slowly and with purpose towards the horizon line of the sea ahead. And upon reaching the docks, he beheld what seemed an ordinary crew of sailors prepping their vessel for travel.

"C'mon lads! We can't be worryin' about noise! We gots ta fill the storage unit by sunup!" Jiggins called.

"Pardon."

"Ey? Watchya want there?"

"Pray. What's the purpose of your hauling so much stock in the dead of night?"

"Ehh? Whatchur purpose bein' askin' us that question? We be sailin' in three days. And we always be prepared ahead a time."

"And you do so without paying heed to the fact that those in this town are trying to sleep?"

"We ain't got time ta worry 'bout that, stranger. Go 'bout yer business an let us do ours."

"I'm afraid that this is my business, now." Drawing his blade, he held it flat towards Jiggles' throat. "I'll ask only once that you refrain from shouting. You and your men can carry these loads in silence, can you not?"

"E-ey! Easy there! We got-" The tip gently kissed the flesh of his neck beneath the adam's apple.

"Did I not just tell you to refrain from shouting?"

"And what be goin' on here?" Captain Lohran asked as he descended the plank from the ship to the docks.

"Ah! Cap'n!"

"Do ye have a problem with my crew there?"

Without moving the blade from its position, "Only their lack of courtesy for those who live in this town. If you would, inform them to do their task in silence."

The Captain's gaze moved to the stranger's feet, and back up to the hat which hid his eyes.

"Yer a strange one. But so be in. Jiggles? See to it that you and the men do yer jobs quietly. I'm feelin' a wee bit sleepy myself. And ye knows what happens when ye wake me up, don't ye?"

Jiggles gulped with the most subtle of nods as the blade was slowly retracted and held calmly, but with readiness, at the stranger's side. Jiggles then returned to his task, whispering to the others to shut up while they continued working.

"My thanks, Captain."

"It be my pleasure. I don't need my crew gettin' in trouble with other folks and losing a limb or whatever ye had planned fer him."

"Just a bump on the head and a headache come the morn."

"Hehehee... That seems right fair ta me."

"Your man seemed more than a little frightened of the implications of what you said to him. Would you care to elaborate on his fears?"

"Jiggles be somethin' of a cowardly man. Gets scared just from a mouse poppin' out the bottom of a cabinet."

"Is that so?"

"It be so."

A rather long moment of silence followed.

"Very well. Then I'll be on my way. Please continue to mind your crew, Captain. I do not wish for trouble in this town. They've done nothing wrong. So they should be treated with respect. Don't you agree?"

"Oh, hunderd percent." He replied with a smile.

The stranger gave a subtle nod of his head and turned while sheathing his blade. And as he disappeared into the town around the corner of a building, the Captain's smile faded to a deep frown as Zank approached to his left.

"Capn'?"

"I don't like that one, Zank. Keep yer eyes peeled fer him."

"Aye, Capn'. But why don't ye like him? He be trouble?"

"No... But I can tell he could be trouble if he wanted ta be. So keep yer eyes peeled..." He turned towards Zank."Ye know I don't like ta repeat myself, Zank."

Zank gulped with a hard nod and returned to the ship as the Captain glanced over his shoulder with a scowl.

"Good luck to ya, mister high and mighty goodie two shoes. And pray ye don't cross me or my crew again. It be most unpleasant fer ya if ye did."

With that the Captain walked back on board his ship blissfully unaware that the stranger had paused to listen from the corner of the building he'd disappeared behind. With a soft huff through his nose and a tightening of his lips, he turned and walked further into town.

That one's trouble. He thought.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Captain Armedus Lohran Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos
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Coldas, 14th day of the 3rd Ertal Moon

... Morning...




The morning sun brought with it warmth and joy. All throughout the morning market, the stalls were freshly stocked and sales were happening left and right.

"'Scuse me! Three fresh fish, please!" One man asked, waving a slim tan sheet of paper.

"Certainly, sir! Three fish comin' up!" Replied the stand keep, who tied the tails of three fish and raised them up to hand to the man who in turn gave him the paper.

With the paper tucked away, the next sale could begin.

"Momma! Let's goooooo!" Lemnia called.

"Yes, yes my love! I'm coming!" Cretas replied, trying her best to carefully and (relatively speaking) politely shove her way through the crowds.

Lemnia's size allowed her to slip between adults at a healthy clip. And miraculously she had no troubles with navigating the gauntlet. However, once free of the crowd with the stall she desired in sight, she took all but one step and her left foot caught on her right ankle causing her to- "EEP!" BAM!... Face plant.

Cretas shoved the last of the crowd out of her path, and found her daughter face down on the unyielding cobblestone floor.

"Lemnia, dear. Are you all right?" She asked as she helped Lemnia to her feet.

Her forehead was a bit red, and she sniffed back a few tears and wiped them away quickly.

"I'm fine momma! C'mon! We hafta get to that stand and buy some rice!" Lemnia urged as she grabbed her mother's arm and tugged her towards the stand.

A crowd had gathered around it, preventing any easy access to the vendor. And try as she might, she couldn't get the woman's attention over the shouts of the crowd. Of course Lemnia wasn't content with this. She crouched and pushed at the knees of the adults around her to force her way through the throng of bodies to the front where, at the final push, fell forward onto her face again beside the stand. Overwhelmed by the crowd, the woman behind the stall didn't notice.

Lemnia got to her feet and walked around the stall, tapping the woman's elbow.

"Can I have some rice please!?!?" She shouted at the top of her lungs.

"Hey! Get that runt outta here!" One man screamed.

"Yeah! We've been waiting our turns this whole time! She has to wait too!!" Another woman shouted.

One man yanked Lemnia by the arm, hauling the girl off her feet before letting go and watching her sail almost six feet through the air before she hit the cobblestone ground and rolled onto her side.

... This did not go unnoticed by Cretas.

Quickly dashing to Lemnia's side, Cretas helped her daughter to sit up only to see a heartbroken face caked in tears and pain looking back at her as she held her now bleeding elbow. Cretas' heart burned. Her lips tightened. And she took a sharp breath through her nose before looking at the back of the man who'd thrown her.

Looking at Lemnia and gently lifting her chin to look at her, she mouthed I'll be right back. With Lemnia nodding and trying to wipe her nose and face of her tears, Cretas stood up and dropped her shopping basket by Lemnia's side and marched up to the man. Not wasting any time, she grabbed him by the back of his hair and yanked him backwards until he was bent as far as he could go without falling. Walking around his side, she balled up a fist and slammed it into the man's lower stomach just above the groin causing him to immediately lose his balance and fall to the ground. Cretas, keeping a grip on his hair, yanked him to the side causing the hair in her hand to tear free leaving a large, red bald spot where the hair used to be.

The crowd observed and went silent as Cretas turned towards them with a dangerous scowl, holding the hair up and opening her fingers to let it sail away softly in the wind.

"Would anyone else like to get in the way of my daughter trying to get some rice?" She growled.

The entire crowd backed away a step, and Cretas huffed through her nose at them.

"My love. Come here, please."

Lemnia, still sobbing and holding her elbow, got the basket and limped over to her mother. Cretas took the basket, paid for a bag of rice, and hoisted her daughter up into her arms with the basket dangling around her elbow, and walked away. Once she was gone, the crowd looked to one another, to the stall, and resumed their feud over who was next in line.

Meanwhile, taking a seat on a bench down the road away from the market, Cretas sat Lemnia on her lap and gave her a once over.

"Do you think you'll make it?" She cooed playfully while giving Lemnia's belly a tickle.

Lemnia giggled.

"Yeah. But my elbow and knee hurts."

"Let me see."

Examining Lemnia's elbow, she saw a rather nasty scrape. White skin torn away leaving the way for blood to flow freely down the flesh of her arm to her fingertips. Her knees seemed fine, though. Just a bit bruised. Thankfully her knee pads took most of the damage.

"Come on. Let's go see Qinta. Maybe she'll have a treat for you like last time."

Lemnia nodded and sniffled away the last of her tears as her mother kissed her nose, and the two walked (limped) hand in hand down the road slowly. Several minutes later, they had reached the Raven Eye Clinic where Qinta, an old friend of Cretas', was a doctor.

Seated on a medical bed a minute later, Lemnia breathed calmly while Qinta, a woman in her early-30's with long red hair and a scar over her left clavicle examined her knees and elbow.

"You got quite the ugly little nick there, didn't you?" She asked as she examined the elbow.

Lemnia nodded.

"Well... The good news is that it's treatable. I won't have to lop off that cute little arm of yours just yet... Darn it all." She teased.

Lemnia giggled and shook her head.

"Atta girl. That's the smile I like to see. Now, let's get that thing cleaned up, shall we?"

Dipping a wash cloth into a small tub of warm water, she allowed it to soak through before lifting it and gently covering the wound. Lemnia squeaked a yip, and Qinta chuckled.

"You always make the cutest noises. You know that?"

Lemnia giggled again, and Qinta carefully used her thumb to wipe the bulk of the tiny pebbles and dirt bits out of the affected area before removing the cloth and dipping it in a smaller, separate tub of water. Once done, she rung it out thoroughly before gently dabbing it against the wound to soak up some of the blood.

"How'd you get this one, dear?"

"Some oaf at the rice stand grabbed her arm and threw her."

Qinta paused, glancing over her shoulder at Cretas.

"... Threw her?"

Cretas nodded sternly.

"Tell me you crushed his lame excuse for family heirlooms?"

"No. But he's missing some wind in his lungs and a fist full of hair."

"Psh. You're too soft, Cretas. The brute throws your baby and all you do is rip some hair off? C'mon."

"Well, I'm not a barbarian. Much as I'd like to say I was sometimes."

Qinta sighed.

"Lemnia, dear. Do me a favor and grow up tougher than mommy, okay?"

"Hm?"

"Mommy's too nice sometimes. For throwing you, that guy deserved to get kicked between the legs as hard as you can manage."

"What's between his legs?"

"His-"

"DAT-DA-DA-Da-Da-da-da-da... Dat's not something to talk about in front of her just yet, Qinta."

"Oh please. I'm a doctor."

"And she's only nine."

"Ugh. Fine, fine. Maybe tomorrow."

"Qinta!"

"Okay, okay Cretas. Sheesh. I'm just toying with you."

"And I wish you wouldn't. How am I supposed to focus on the discovery of a new world if all my friends do is make me crazy?"

"Cretas. Sweety. You went crazy a long time ago."

"I-... Okay, maybe so. But still. You know what I mean."

"Right, right. I got it. No more talk of man parts."

Lemnia was completely lost as she looked back and forth between the two.

"Well, there we are. All wrapped up and ready to go, dear."

Lemnia checked the bandage on her elbow and smiled.

"Thank you miss Qinta!" She said gleefully as she jumped forward and wrapped her arms around the woman's neck.

"Oof!... Aww. Lemnia, dear. How many times do I have to say you can call me Qinta? I practically raised you didn't I?"

"Excuuuuuuse me?"

"Ah ha ha ha haaaa... Cretas! I forgot you were still here!"

Cretas shook her head with a sigh as Qinta let Lemnia down.

"Be good for mommy, okay?" She asked while holding up her hand.

"Always!" Lemnia cheered, giving Qinta a high five before walking to her mom who lifted her into her arms again.

"Thanks for the help, Qinta. What do we owe you today?"

"Ugh... How many times do I have to tell YOU that little things like this are on the house? We're practically family, Cretas. I can't believe you're still asking me about pricing after all these years."

The two women shared a laugh before Cretas and Lemnia departed.

"Feeling better, my love?"

"Mmhmm!"

"Good. Anything else we need to get that I'm forgetting?"

"Umm... Nope! Just the rice!"

"Well all right then. Looks like we can-"

Cretas paused as the shadow of Captain Lohran descended upon her in the street. With the sun at his back, she couldn't see his face. But she recognized his hat.

"Good morning, Captain." She said as she walked forward and slightly to the side to get the glare out of her face.

"Mornin', missy. How ye be today?

"Oh, you know? Just shopping."

"Aye. Getting the last of the favorite ingredients for the meals at home before the trip, eh?"

"Something like that, yeah."

"Well, don't let me be standin' in yer way. I'll meet ya both at the ship when yer ready in two more days."

"Thanks, Captain. You won't regret taking on this journey with me. I promise!"

"Oh, I know I won't missy. Don't ye worry yer beautiful head none."

"You think mommy's beautiful?"

"Aye, me wee lass. She be prettier den the mornin' sun herself."

Lemnia chuckled.

"You have a funny way of talking."

"My love. That's not polite. Please say you're sorry."

"It be fine, missy. I take no offense. Let the little one have her fun."

Cretas sighed and gave Lemnia a knowing look which earned a chuckle and a hug from her daughter.

"Well, we need to be off. Until we set sail, Captain."

"Take care, missy. We be seein' ya soon."

The two walked away and disappeared, leaving the Captain to watch Cretas' movements. The sway of her hips. The curvature of her rump and thighs. The long, slender musculature of her legs. The trim waist and the reddish-brown hair. Even if she was a mother for the runt, she was almost too appetizing to resist. He licked his lips and turned towards the docks just in time to see that stranger staring him down from beneath his bamboo hat.

"Ah. It be you, stranger. What can I do fer ye?"

"I heard everything. So she's going to be on board your ship, is she?"

"Aye. We be settin' sail in two days ta find a new world. Or at least, that's what she be hopin' for."

"I see... Then you won't object to another tag along, would you?"

"Ye be askin' ta board me boat for the new world, do ye?"

"Precisely. Forgive the intrusiveness of the request. But I simply can't resist the call and promise of lands yet unknown."

"Ah. A traveler and explorer at heart, are ye?"

"Very much so." He said with a smile.

"Well, if ye be boardin' my ship. I need ta know yer name."

"Tora." The man said with a light bow. "Tora Lithenmiir, at your service."

"Tora... I haven't heard such a name before."

"I come from afar, so it's not surprising."

"Well, mister Tora. Welcome to me crew." He said, holding his hand out for a shake.

Tora approached, and shook his hand.

Even without the hat, Tora stood a few inches taller than the Captain. But he was unfazed, as he gave Tora's hand a very firm grip and shake which was returned in kind. Neither man let go for a long moment, until at last Tora yielded and unfurled his fingers.

"I suppose I'll see you in two days. What time will we be departing?"

"We be sailin' at midday to catch the East winds."

"Excellent. I shall see you there and then. Good day."

Tora walked further into town with the Captain glaring at his back the whole way until he disappeared.

Welcome to me crew indeed, mister Tora. If ye be the trouble I think ye be, then we gots ourselves a bit of fun on our hands. He thought with a menacing smirk.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos
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Outside of town, Cretas and Lemnia continued to share in the joy of play time. Having since left the bench to sit with her daughter in the flower fields and teach her how to make a flower crown, the pair began making each other a crown to wear for the rest of the day. Lemnia was wearing the crown her mother made, while Cretas watched with pride while her daughter put the finishing touches on hers.

"Need any help, love?"

"Nope. I'm almost done."

Cretas chuckled and rubbed Lemnia's head, earning a giggle.

Finally, Lemnia finished the crown and held it up proudly for her mother to take. Cretas bent forward, and Lemnia put it on her head.

"There! Now momma looks pretty!"

Cretas gasped and placed a hand on her heart.

"Does that mean momma wasn't pretty before?"

"Yep!"

Cretas moaned in agony as she fell to the ground clutching her chest.

"My heart! Aaaghh!... My love has broken my heart! How will I go on?!"

Lemnia burst into laughter and scooted over to crawl onto her mother's stomach.

"Momma's pretty now that she has my crown!"

"Aaagh... My love. How could you be so cruel?!"

Lemnia couldn't stop laughing. And against such a sound as her daughter's laugh, Cretas couldn't keep a straight face any longer. She too burst out laughing, and the two cuddled and lay out in the flowers under the afternoon sun together for quite some time.

---------------------------------------------


Meanwhile, back in town, the one known as Tora was sitting in the lobby of a local inn sipping some water. And a pair of men, whom Tora recognized as being part of Captain Lohran's crew, entered the establishment and approached the inn keeper.

"Oi, there. Ya know why we be here?!" The taller one bellowed.

"Uh-... Oh. Um... I s-suspect it's b-because I-"

"Answer da question, old man!" The other yelled, silencing everyone else in the room who now paused what they were doing to watch the affair.

"I-I'm sorry! The Captain is owed a favor from his generosity the last time he stayed here. You're here to collect, I presume?"

"Aye, that we be." The first one said while slamming his fist on the table.

"So, what does the honorable and generous Captain want from me?"

"He be wantin' the pleasure ov yer daughter's company tonight."

"He WHAT?!" The inn keeper yelled.

"... Is that a challenge, matey?"

"What?! No! No, no, no, no! B-but my daughter's only fifteen! She's not yet a woman! Why would the Captain want her company?"

"Relax, old timer. The Captain don't want yer daughter's womanhood... YET!" The second man shouted.

The two men burst out laughing as the inn keeper continued trembling and licking his lips.

"The Captain wants ta ask her some questions is all. So send her down to da ship tonight at sundown. He'll be waitin' fer her on da docks." The first one said.

"Yeh. And don't let her be late. Ye know how the Captain hates waitin."

Turning around and laughing all the way to the door, Tora's eyes tracked the men from beneath his hat before they exited and closed the door behind themselves. Looking at the inn keeper, he saw the man sweating and heaving a sigh of relief that those two were gone. Tora rose from his seat and approached the counter.

"Sir. If I may extend to you an offer?"

"Wh-what? What do you want?" The inn keeper stammered.

"Please, be at peace, sir. I wish to provide you peace of mind. In exchange for a room to stay tonight at half price, I will ensure your daughter's safety as her body guard."

"... Wait. You what, now?"

"You heard me, sir. I have met and hold no love for this Captain Lohran. Nor do I trust what his men said here today. I carry only half your regular asking price for a full night's stay. So if you will grant me the right to stay in one of your rooms tonight, I will personally see to your daughter's safety and return when her meeting is over."

"You'd really do that? Against him?"

"Yes, sir. I hold no fear of the Captain, or his men. My blade and my skills have seen me through far worse than them." He said as he indicated the blade at his hip.

"Well. I can't very well come up with a reason to refuse. My daughter is everything to me. So I'll accept your offer. Half price for the night to ensure my daughter stays safe and comes home to us."

"Done."

Tora set a small stack of bills on the desk top, sliding it to the inn keep who counted it and nodded.

"I'll return shortly before sundown. In the mean time, I have something to investigate."

"Desmiel bless you, stranger. We'll be waiting for you."

Tora nodded with a smile and departed. Once outside, he took in a deep breath through his nose. Looking down, the dirt in the roads was just thick enough to outline the footprints of the two men who'd just left the building and heading for the docks. Tora's mouth curled into a frown, and he began following said footsteps.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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Collen ran through the city streets pushing the now empty wine cart. He had been sure to let another crew member know he'd be gone for a short moment just in case the Captain decided he wanted to use him for something. The boy still tried to be quick on his errands, and the empty cart was light and easy to push.

”EY! Get out of the way!” Roared a voice behind him.

Collen's head whipped back towards the source. ”Dad? What is he doing here?” There said with a scowl on his face.

As his eyes looked for the source of the sound, who turned out to be a man he didn't know, Collen missed a crack in the cobblestones beneath his feet which caused him to stumble and push the cart which slipped from his grip and went sailing down the inclined road ahead.

Cursing like a sailor he got back up from the ground and run after the cart.

Meanwhile...

"Dammit all." He growled.

Tora had wasted a good chunk of time attempting to gather more information. Nobody else knew anything. So he'd have to do some more dirty work later in order to confirm his suspicions.

Lost in thought, he turned a corner and was greeted by the sensation of something slamming into his legs. His feet were thrown to the side causing him to fall on the object, a wooden cart, tipping it onto its side and cracking the length of one of the wooden panels. Tora rolled onto his back and then quickly onto his side and to his feet with one hand on the hilt of his sword.

Collen run after the cart but didn't able to catch it in time to stop it from hitting someone. Collen barely gave the man a glance as he didn't feel the need to apologize to the stranger for such a minor incident. Instead he grabbed the cart and pulled it closer before spotting the crack. "This can't be real." He muttered under his breath.

Turning his head towards the man. "Do you always break other people's things?" He asked sharply.

The instant Tora saw that it was a child chasing the cart, his hand lifted away from the hilt of the sword and he stood to brush himself off. At Collen's question, Tora glanced down at him.

"My apologies. I didn't see it coming."

He glanced to the cart, noting its age and the crack now along its length.

"Was it important to you?"

"At least Captain's wine bottles are on the ship," he thought, subtly shivering from the thought of breaking one and facing the Captain's wrath. He would prefer an angry Gus over an angry Captain any time.

"Someone lent it to me." He replied.

Tora appraised the young man's response and gave a subtle nod of satisfaction.

"I see. Again, I offer my apologies. Shall I come with you to give it back so I can help explain its current state?"

Collen shrugged. "Whatever. Do what you want."

He didn't wait any longer as he grabbed the cart and continued to push it towards the inn. The quicker it was done, the better. Collen kept up a good pace as he jogged towards the inn while paying more attention to his surroundings. Tora followed him closely at a brisk jog, and neither of them exchanged any more words even as they arrived and opened the door. As the boy stepped inside he gave a small wave of hand at Gus behind the counter, who waved back to him with a smile as he began walking over.

"Hey kiddo. Thanks for bringin' the cart-... Uh, what's that?" He asked, pointing to the crack.

"The fault for that would be mine, sir. In my clumsiness I fell on and damaged your cart."

"Ah. Well, it seems in tact enough to still work. A quick nail or two should do it."

"Do you require any compensation for the damages?"

"Mm? Nah. Thanks though. Hey, kiddo. You should run along. Don't need ol' nasty face giving you a hard time now, yeah?"

As Collen gave another wave and dashed out the door, Tora followed Gus to the counter as he put the cart away behind it.

"So ya fell on it, eh?"

"Indeed. My apologies."

"Heh. Yer a good lad, aren't ya."

Gus turned around and leaned on the country looking at Tora.

"Ya don't seem the type to just fall like that."

"How so, sir?"

"With a sword like that, and how you've stood with perfect balance since the moment I saw you walk in, there's no way yer that "clumsy" ta just fall on the cart."

"Hm."

"It's not a big deal. Like I said, the cart's still usable and a good nail or two will make sure it stays that way for a good while."

"I see. My apologies for the charade."

"Heh."

Gus took a swig of water.

"Ya know, the boy's a good kid. He don't have anyone really lookin' out fer him. So yer little act to try and take the blame is enough fer me ta overlook this."

"How so?"

Gus looked around the room to make sure nobody was listening before leaning in a bit closer.

"The boy's in the service of the Captain. Lohran or whatever his name is. Kid's been left alone so far. But that guy's reputation is long enough ta cover the entire floor of my tavern. It's only a matter o' time before he does something ta hurt the boy."

"Is that so?"

It was Tora's turn to lean forward on the counter and whispered to Gus.

"I'll be candid with you. I've heard much about the Captain and have come to ascertain the truth about him for myself. If he's as bad as I've heard, I have every intention of ending his life. Given what you've said, it seems I've no choice but to escalate the pace of my investigation. He's leaving soon, is he not?"

"Yeah. There's a lady in town, some crazy map lady and her daughter, who are going ta "discover a new world." And they got the Captain ta agree ta take em there. They leave in two days er so."

"I understand. Thank you. Do you know where I can find this woman and her daughter?"

"They're at another tavern just down the road, last I heard. Map girl is the talk of the town these days for the crazy crap she's always spouting. Hard not to know where she is at any given time."

Tora chuckled.

"My thanks, sir. I'll be on my way."

As Tora turned to leave, Gus stopped him.

"One thing, lad. If ya go after the Captain, watch yerself. He and his crew ain't exactly known fer playin' fair or accepting open challenges with grace and all that."

"I wasn't expecting anything such. But you have my thanks."

With that, Tora left the tavern and Gus returned to cleaning the glasses and dishes of the patrons.

"Good luck lad."

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Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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"Ahh..."

"That was quite the sigh."

"Huh? Who?"

She turned in a circle, twice, searching for the source of the voice.

"Up here, miss Cretas."

Looking up, she beheld quite the handsome dark haired gentleman sitting on the beam of the forward sail.

"Oh. Um... What are you doing up there?"

"Enjoying the wind and the smell of the sea. How about yourself?"

"I'm well. Thank you. I don't recall meeting you. Have we met?"

"Not in person. But your reputation precedes you."

He hopped down onto the deck beside her and gave her a slight bow.

"My name is Tora Lithenmiir. A mercenary, after a fashion. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"A mercenary, you say? From your attire, I'd have guessed you were a traveling monk were it not for that sword at your hip."

"I see." He chuckled. [color=#f111796]"Admittedly it puts many off. I come from an old and traditional family. And this attire is more cultural than anything else."[/color]

"Ah. I understand."

"May I be so bold as to inquire why you sought Captain Lohran for this voyage?"

"Mostly because he seemed eager to find the new world, just like me. He's one of the few people I've held long-winded mutual conversations with about the subject. Most people abandon me to my enthusiasm within the first minute." She chuckled nervously.

Tora chuckled in response.

"Understood, milady."

"Oh my. You are traditional, aren't you?"

"Would you prefer another identifier?"

"No, no! That's fine. It's kind of nice, actually, to be addressed that way for once."

"Has nobody done so before?"

"Only my ex-husband when he was courting me. After I agreed to marry him, he stopped calling me that."

"Ah, my apologies. I didn't mean to bring up what must be a sore subject."

She gave a wave of her hand.

"Don't worry about it. It worked out well for both my daughter and I to have moved on. He was going down a dangerous and self destructive road. And I didn't want Lemnia to remember her father like that, or worse."

"Quite commendable. Still, it saddens me to hear such stories. Especially if it involves a child."

He turned around and saw Lemnia thanking the crewman who helped her up and brushed her off after her tumble down the stairs.

"She's quite charming for her age. She's what? Ten?"

"Close. She's nine. Going to be ten in about three months."

"I see. So she may enjoy a birthday at sea, then?"

"She just might. And what a birthday it will be with all these people here to celebrate it."

"You think they will?"

"Ooh, they will. Don't you worry about that. If they don't, they're going to find themselves a little less manly when we reach the new world."

Tora was about to comment, but his tongue froze in his mouth as he turned and gave Cretas an incredulous look. She gave him a wink and mimed kicking Tora in the nether regions, which made him quietly gulp at the thought before Cretas burst into laughter and gave him a pat on the shoulder.

"Don't worry too much about something like that, Tora. I'm sure you'll be there for her, won't you?" She asked, giving him a sweet and yet somehow subtly dangerous smile.

Tora merely nodded.

"Perfect! Maybe you can put on a demonstration for her with your sword!"

She gave him another clap on the shoulder, and he watched as she made her way over to Lemnia and hoisted her up into her arms to walk her around the deck.

"... I see why the Captain has taken an interest in you, miss Cretas." He whispered while looking up towards the Captains Quarters, where the young man he met in town was just exiting the doors on the upper deck at the rear of the ship.

"You're exactly his type."

Tora took in a deep breath and leaped up, grabbing the beam of the sail and hoisting himself up to sit on it once again to enjoy the breeze while also getting some shade from the sun under the cloth.

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos
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Korrin felt the pat on his back and nodded to Cretas with a small smile before looking at the shores of what he called home shrink with every minute of distance, heaving a small cough every now and then as he acclimated to the scent of the sea air. He hoped for a time that would be it for his sea problems. It was then he gave a smaller, sadder smile at the distant shores.

”Goodbye Mother. I’ll be back home soon.” He silently said in farewell to Mar’Valoa.

However, during his reverie, Korrin did not notice until it was too late that Lemnia took another tumble, this time running into a young man carrying a breakfast tray, probably for the Captain of the vessel. Wincing Korrin decided to focus on taking stock of his gear.

“Sword, check. Bow, Check. Good stock of arrows, Check. Cloak, Check.” He muttered, nodding in satisfaction. Looking up from his gear check he noticed Cretas conversing with a stranger he hadn’t met yet. Another passenger perhaps? Or a Hired sword, by the weapon at the man’s hip. His thoughts turned to the end of the conversation however, as they talked about Lemnia’s oncoming birthday and the conversation turned slightly humorous, the eavesdropping hunter chuckled before realizing that punishment she both mimed and intoned applied to him as well.

As such he swallowed nervously at the thought of it. Shaking his head he sighs with satisfaction as Mother and daughter got together again. ”What a pair they make.” he said aloud, Walking to the mast and leaning on it, before saying to himself, ”Well Korrin, you’re on your way to Honor and Fame.” With that, he enjoyed the view of the Horizon silently.

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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Tora subtly looked down, catching the view of Korrin leaning on the mast out of the corner of his eye.

"Homor and fame, eh?" Tora asked aloud, not really looking at Korrin so much as at the horizon.

"Are you sure that's what awaits you at this supposed 'New World?'"

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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”If we return to Mar’Valoa with proof it’s there anyway.” Korrin shot off a reply to the man as he looked at him through the hood of his cloak. ”Of course, there is the added benefit of perhaps hunting down a creature and bringing back it’s hide as proof. That’s the fame. The Honor is in being a part of the entire journey to begin with.”

Fully looking up at the man, and getting a better look at him. ”Though I’m sure a little bit of fortune might come our way at the end of all this, if that’s what enticed you on this journey. But forgive me, we are chatting so idly we should at least know each others names. I am Korrin Arzan. Hunter, and Fighter. And your name swordsman?”

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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Keeping his head up, Tora glanced down out of the corner of his eye to take in the measure of the young 'Hunter and Fighter' beneath him.

"Hm." He grumbled.

Looking back up towards the horizon, he took a deep breath of the ocean air.

"I'm here for less tangible reasons."

Hopping off the beam and to the deck, he stood up tall and looked at Korrin.

"A hunter and fighter, and yet so young. Your family must be worried about you. No?" He asked.

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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Korrin’s stare at the man hardened into a glare. ”One, I am old enough to take care of myself. Two, unless you have two tankards with one offered to me, don’t ever bring up the subject of my family. But I will indulge you this once. My mother and sisters have been worrying for ages. What’s one crazy round trip more?” Korrin said with a restrained stern tone.

He could feel it now. The Flame waking up and crawling around in his mind. His jade green eyes seem to display the hidden anger in his words. His hands clenched into fists, once, then twice, then relaxed again, holding his glare at the man. The Flame was tempting him to fight him, but there was being on an unknown Environment, in other words the very ship itself that seemed to put Korrin against such an idea.

So instead, he only held his glare in angry silence.

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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Tora's eyes analyzed every detail in Korrin's face during his response, and a small smirk crossed his lips.

"I meant no offense." He said, putting both hands up.

"If family is a sensitive subject, I shall refrain from bringing them up again."

His hands came down, the left hand resting on the handle of his blade at his hip.

"My name is Tora Lithenmiir, of the Lithenmiir House in South Palthos. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." He said while offering his hand for a handshake.

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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Korrin took a deep breath through his nose and exhaled, before taking Tora’s hand and shaking it. ”Good to make yours as well. I’ve heard things about South Palthos having some good warriors in their stock. I hope you live up to my expectations.” He said with honesty, before leaning back on the mast and looking at the Horizon again.

”Cause who knows what we’re going to find if we ever make it over there, or what troubles we’ll run into on the way?” he asked Tora with a small smirk on his face. ”It’d be fun to see what the sea can throw at us for sure.”

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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Tora shook his hand firmly, but with a smile.

"Forgive me if this sounds combative, but I usually avoid attempting to live up to the expectations of others."

He walked over to the mast and leaped up to grab the beam, and took his seat.

"Good luck to you in your quest for fame and glory, Korrin."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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That evening, most of the crew all gathered below deck to rest after a long day's activities. The two lonely men on deck were the helmsman at the wheel, and the crewman in the crow's nest keeping an eye out for distant dangers on the high seas.

Suddenly, the doors leading below deck were smashed open with the light barreling out as Cretas, lantern in hand, walked out to the middle of the deck and set the lantern down. She walked back to the doors leading below, and...

"Come on out, all you big boy scalleywaggles or or whatever you call yourselves! Time's wasting!!"

The crew tried to fight back, but the first man to speak up in a more than rude attempt to silence her received a hard kick to a very sensitive area and collapsed at her feet. He was subsequently dragged up the steps and tossed unceremoniously by the lantern. Cretas appeared again at the doorway looking at everyone with a calm smile.

"Anyone else?"

In less than 3 seconds the entire crew was on their feet and shuffling out the doors as Cretas stood aside and let them all out. And then, as Collen approached from the back of the pack, Cretas reached out and hoisted him up over into a reverse one-armed hug.

"Hey kiddo. I didn't get your name the last time I saw you. Care to share?" She asked while using her free hand to try tickling his ribs.

Collen burst into laughter as her fingernails gently scraped against his ticklish lower ribs and the sides of his neck. "C-Collen! St-stop! I can't-" He gasped and laughed in equal measure as Cretas giggles along with him.

She then turned him towards herself and kneeled down to brush him off.

"Aw, look at all this," she said as she examined his clothing. "Looks like you need some new clothes. So tell ya what? When we reach the new world, I'll make you a new outfit myself! How about it?" She asked with a smile and a wink.

"Uh, sure ma'am."

"Perfect!" She said as she gave both his shoulders a soft pat. "Come on. Let's get on deck." She said as she kept one hand on his upper back and helped walk him up the stairs and out onto the deck.

With everyone present, she closed the doors behind herself and Collen and ushered him into the crowd as she found Lemnia, picked her up, pushed her way through to the middle, picked up the lantern, and turned in a circle to see everyone.

"Okay, everyone! Since we're all gonna be on this ship together for quite a while I think it's time we got to know each other!"

A crewman itched his nose. "Is this gonna be like one o' dem name circles or sumfin?"

"Something like that, yeah. I don't know everyone. And neither does my daughter, Lemnia. Say "hi" everyone!" She said as she held Lemnia up by her armpits for a second before bringing her back to rest against her chest.

The crew was silent and looked at each other in confusion.

"... My boots are a bit antsy, gentlemen." She said as she tapped the toes of her right foot, which she'd used to kick the first crewman in happy land earlier, against the deck.

A few beads of sweat gathered.

"Uh, hi there missy." Said one crewman.

"Good. Come on everyone! Don't be shy!"

The crew all, though not really in unison, said "hi" to Lemnia as she shyly waved back.

"Great! Say hi, love."

"H-hi." Lemnia squeaked before burying her face in her mother's shoulder.

The action got a couple "Awws" from a few crewmen while everyone else gave sideways glances to each other.

"She's a little shy. But she'll get used to you all. Don't worry!"

"Dun recall nobody sayin' dey be worryin'." Said one crewman.

Cretas turned to face him with a calm smile and walked right up to him.

"Pardon? I didn't hear you."

"Uh... Dun think nobody be worryin' 'bout her bein' shy er nuffin."

"Mmm... Okay. What's your name?"

"Anthony."

"Anthony. Nice to meet you," she said as she held out her hand to shake his.

After shaking hands, she walked back to the middle of the gathering.

"Who'd like to introduce themselves next?" She asked pleasantly.

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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Korrin’s attempt to finding some measure of peace and slumber later in the evening was interrupted by Cretas. Looks like there was more to the day as under pain of...pain, Korrin journeyed to where most of the crew were gathered. It seemed Miss Cretas wanted to get to know the crew better. So he decided to listen in on it for a time as he watched the introduction given for Lemnia.

Chuckling at the cute scene he heard the question of who would wish to introduce themselves next. He weighed the options to going next and saying his greetings to a large crowd of people. Deciding it would be better to say his hello’s quick so that they’d move down to others, therefore he made his option. ”I’ll do it Ms. Cretas. Hello everyone, Korrin Arzan, Hunter and Fighter at your service. I hope we all have a fantastic journey together and hopefully get some good stories to tell everyone at home about.” he said in greeting. ”As a hunter, I have one question to ask, does the sea have any good fish to catch?”

He heard tales of large fish whenever he stopped near port towns in his travels, and wondered if they were true or not, so he thought to ask as part of his introduction.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Captain Armedus Lohran Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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The man punched by Korrin doubled over in pain and lost his breath, slumping to the floor and coughing as others around him watched in a mixture of amusement and anger.

"Aye! Watcha do that fer ya pint-sized brat?!" Bellowed one of the deckhands.

"Ye'll pay fer that!" Yelled another as he rushed at Korrin.

Several members of the crew tried to make peace between those that started rushing, but the adrenaline and testosterone flowing like raging rivers swiftly caused the entire affair to break down into a massive brawl as nobody could agree on whether this deserved punishment or peace.

Cretas, holding Lemnia, was pushed aside as she too tried to get everyone to calm down. But it wasn't until Lemnia was hit in the arm by a stray backhand and yelped in pain that Cretas too lost herself to a burning rage. She forced her way out of the crowd, set Lemnia down in a safe spot by the stairs leading to the upper deck, and raced into the crowd leaping onto the back of one crewman. She wrapped her arms around his neck, legs around his stomach, and wrenched his head back and to the side causing him to fall down as she choked him into submission.

Tora attempted to come down from the sail and help subdue the combatants, but he too was met with no luck as fist after fist either sailed past him or into his torso. Most were glancing blows not intended for him. But the pain began setting in nonetheless.

Suddenly, the sound of a gunshot rang out stopping everyone in their tracks. As they looked up towards where it had come from, the Captain stood by the wheel aiming his gun at the lantern in the center of the brawl which had been broken and the fire from the candle had fallen onto the deck causing a tiny flame to sizzle beside its former container.

"Mister Lubcre... Put that out." The Captain said calmly as he blew the smoke from the barrel.

"Aye Cap'n!" Mister Lubcre replied.

He swiftly grabbed a bucked of seawater and dumped it onto the fire, putting the deck into darkness save the light of the moon overhead which was just enough to see.

The Captain walked slowly down the deck after holstering his gun, hands behind his back, and walked calmly to the center of the gathering. Everyone around him moved away like bugs from the light in a cave until they all came to a stop as he did.

Slowly, he turned and glanced to everyone's faces.

"Would any of ye care to tell me what happn'd on me ship to make such a fuss?"

Silence was the answer until Cretas pushed her way forward through the crowd. Lohran eyed her warily.

"Miss Estallamos... Was this yer doin/?"

She nodded her head.

"Mm. If I be a bettin' man, I'd say ye tried to have everyone share names and stories o' themselves for some kinda bondin' exercise. That be about right?"

Again, she nodded and gave her apologies.

"I see... That be all well and good. But all of ye should know better." He said with a bit more of a growl in his voice as he scanned the crowd of his crew.

"Ye've all been here long enough. Ye know me rules... Ye know me patience is very thin, don't ye?"

The crew all nodded vigorously.

"Then who be the one who threw the first punch?" He asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Captain Armedus Lohran Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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Korrin didn’t know how long he was fighting, but by the time the haze fell the crew was in dead silence as the Captain was not happy in his walking and was trying to determine the punishments. That meant Korrin’s life was on the line as the question to who threw the first punch was called out by the Captain.

”What good will it do if I admitted it?” He asked Himself in all honesty, but knew there’d be worse punishments if no one came forward. So wordlessly, and grunting and groaning from the various bruises upon his body, still shaking from the fumes of the flame, Korrin walked till he stood with Cretas in front of the tall Imposing Captain.

”You should teach your men better then, sir if they see fit to judge things by how things look. If they can’t take an angry sucker punch after insulting a man, then what good are they if someone took you by surprise? My only regret is that I showed my employer my darker side, who’s quickness to anger is just as thin as your patience, Sir.“ He asked pointedly, jade eyes looking up at the Captain still wild and angry from various things that happened in the brawl.

Korrin knew this would probably lead him to more pain, pain of punishment, and possible pain of death. But he kept his eyes locked on the Captain, well prepared for anything that was going to happen. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time he was punished for letting loose the Flame, and, Desmiel willing, might not be the last.

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Character Portrait: Cretas Estallamos Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos
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The next morning, as per usual, Tora sat quietly on the sail beam watching the ocean as the crew scrubbed the deck and went about their daily duties below.

Following a few minutes of reflection upon last night's debacle, Tora heaved a sigh and was about to jump off the beam when he spied Lemnia standing beneath him. Unable to shift in time to avoid her, he twisted himself in mid-air and caught the beam, tucking his knees up to his chest, and looking down to see she was okay. She was now looking up at him in confusion.

"What are you doing, mister?"

"Um... I was trying to come down. But I didn't want to fall on you."

"Do I have to move?"

"Um, no. That won't be necessary. One moment."

Tora lowered himself as far as he could go without touching her, and swung forward landing on his feet a short distance away much to Lemnia's delight.

"Whoooooooaaaaa!" She exclaimed while clapping her hands with a big smile. "That was amazing! Do it again! Do it again!" She cheered while hopping in place.

Tora stood up straight and smiled with a chuckle.

"I'm afraid that's all the acrobatics I have in me for one day."

He walked up to Lemnia and knelt down to talk at eye level with her.

"Your name is Lemnia, correct?"

"Mhmm."

"My name's Tora. Nice to meet you." He said, extending his hand.

Lemnia cautiously reached out to shake his hand, and was somewhat taken aback by how soft his grip was as they shook.

"It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Hee hee." She giggled.

"So what brings you out on deck at this hour of the morning?"

"I couldn't sleep. But I didn't wanna wake momma."

"Ah. I see. That's very sweet of you to look after your mother."

Lemnia smiled.

"If I'm not mistaken, your mother sang to you last night under the stairs over there," he said, pointing to the stairs leading to the upper deck. "Was everything all right?"

Lemnia looked at the stairs, and then up to where the Captain had fired the gun while looking out over them from the upper deck. Her hands began to tremble and tighten into fists in front of her chest. Seeing this, Tora was uncertain of how to proceed. But there was a part of him that wanted to shelter the now trembling child from whatever ghosts of the past she was clearly seeing. But to reach for her now when he didn't know her, nor she him? That was wrong.

Reluctantly, Tora could only snap his fingers which got her attention... But not in the way he'd planned. Lemnia started, jumped back, and fell to the deck before rapidly scooting away from him with wide eyes and erratic breathing.

Tora froze. Lemnia's gaze was now focused squarely on his hand which he calmly opened and placed on his lap. Her eyes followed it unblinkingly, and Tora took a deep breath and smiled for the girl.

"Forgive me, Lemnia. I didn't mean to scare you like that."

He sat back a bit further on his heels and rested his right hand over his left.

"Please. Don't be afraid. I won't harm you."

Lemnia slowly seemed to come back to herself, but kept a wary eye on his hand as she stood up and brushed herself off.

"You promise?" She asked with a subtle tremor in her voice.

"On my honor as a warrior, I will never harm you."

Tora bowed his head forward, leaning his body to an almost 45 degree angle, before sitting up straight. Lemnia approached slowly, looking him in the eyes. And as Tora observed calmly, the fear and helplessness he saw in those eyes broke his heart. He began to lift his right hand, but caught himself at the last second and placed it back down over his left.

Lemnia finally reached him, standing but a foot away from his knees looking him in the eye.

"Will you hurt momma?"

"I would never. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I'm here on this voyage to protect your mother."

Lemnia's eyes lit up slightly, and she leaned in while clasping both hands in front of her chest.

"You mean it? You'll protect momma?"

Tora slowly reached behind his back and retrieved his blade, setting it down on the deck beside himself.

"This blade is an extension of my heart, Lemnia. And this heart will break before it sees your mother come to any harm."

Suddenly, Tora found himself struggling to maintain his balance as Lemnia had thrown herself towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!!!!" She cried.

Tora cleared his throat and sat upright, taking a deep breath as Lemnia hugged him tightly. She was quite strong for her size and age, he had to admit. And... It was kind of adorable, now that he thought about it. He'd never considered having children of his own. But he found himself wondering about whether or not this was what it felt like? To have a child, such a small and frail thing, clinging to you. Depending on you. Making you feel important and wanted when the rest of the adult world didn't give you a second look.

Perhaps parenthood wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Lemnia continued to hold onto Tora's neck, silently sniffling back tears she was fighting to keep from falling. Tora's defenses broke down completely upon hearing and feeling this, and he gently returned her embrace while picking her up in the same manner her mother always did.

"Rest easy, Lemnia. You and your mother are safe with me. I promise."

Lemnia nodded with a tiny grunt, but kept her arms around his neck and her chin nestled on his shoulder. Tora smiled and calmly used one hand to replace his blade at his back, and walked to the edge of the deck to look out at the sea as Lemnia's grip subtly loosened and she seemed to slide down just a touch and turned her head inward towards his neck.

At that moment, Cretas emerged from below deck with sleepy eyes and a big yawn as she stretched her arms out above her head. As she relaxed and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, she scanned the deck until she saw Lemnia and Tora. And as the fog of her mind cleared, her eyes opened wide and her jaw went slack. She walked over as quietly as she could and walked around the far side with Tora eyeing her out of the corner of his eye with a smile. Cretas gave the "hush" gesture, and smiled ear to ear to see how relaxed and comfortable Lemnia was in his arms. Her right hand covered her mouth and her eyes began watering as he looked up at Tora, patted her chest and mouthed, "thank you."

Tora gave her a nod, and Cretas snuck away to let Lemnia enjoy this moment with her new friend.

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Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Lemnia Estallamos
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Tora spent the morning standing on deck watching the sea with a certain child quite literally attached to his hip. With one tiny hand gripping the sash at his waist, and the other on the railing, Lemnia glanced up at him to try and see what he was looking at. But all she saw was the ocean.

As Tora meandered about the deck, that little hand remained gripped to his sash. Some of the crew gave chuckled and shook their head as he passed, earning a cold glare in return from Tora. Lemnia, meanwhile, was oblivious to these exchanges as she kept her eyes glued to the back of his head.

As they continued around the deck, Cretas watched with glee and couldn't help but chuckle every time they passed her as she sat on the stairs leading to the upper deck. Lemnia gave her mother a happy wave, and Cretas blew a kiss to her as she kept pace with Tora.

Elsewhere, near the bow, one of the crew began throwing up over the edge into the sea.

"Arr... Again, mister Dibbs?"

"Uogh... Aye... urp... Aye, mister Arsworth. Me stomach be mighty unhappy with me breakfast."

"Don't be sayin' that 'round the Cook, mister Dibbs."

"Aye... I be knowin' tha-urp... Uogh..."

Arsworth, a burly man in his early-40's with short cut and graying hair, sighed and shook his head. Dibbs, mid-20's with a shaved head save for the blonde ponytail at the very back which fell to his waist, continued urping and groaning over the edge as everyone else gave each other the "ew" look and continued their duties of scrubbing the deck and keeping a weather eye on the horizon.

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Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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Tora sat on the beam of the mast all evening after Lemnia finally stopped following him and went to bed with her mother below deck. He felt more at peace here. Clear skies. A bright moon and stars overhead. The breeze blowing through his hair.

It would have been perfect if not for one little detail...

Looking down, he spied Collen muttering to himself. And while he couldn't hear everything perfectly, he heard enough to understand the young man's frustrations.

"Surely you don't truly mean all of us?" He asked.

Letting himself slip off the edge of the beam, he landed on his feet at the base of the mast and calmly walked forward to stand next to the boy.

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Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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Collen startled as he hadn't noticed the man before. He turned around taking a couple steps back instinctively as his eyes looked like a deer caught by its predator. “How much did he hear?”

The boy quickly put up a brave face, clenching his fists. Even if Tora had helped him before with the cart, Collen didn’t trust him. And why would he, the man was just loitering around the ship from what he had seen. Just like that hunter.

"So what if I do? Go on and rattle to the Captain. I don’t care." The boy turned his head away with a huff and looked back at the sea.

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Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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Tora chuckled.

"Why would I do such a thing?" He asked calmly, looking out at the ocean.

"What is said between us is our business, young man." He assured while glancing down to Collen.

"So... Not to pry, but I believe I heard you mention a specific landlubber. Care to talk about it?"

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Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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The boy glanced at Tora from the corner of his eye. He was silent, still trying to figure out if he could trust him. Eventually he shrugged. The rumours went around the ship quickly, he would most likely hear about it soon.

"All he does is loiter around the ship, start a fight, and make the Captain get mad at me." he muttered quietly, still carefully no one else would hear them. "And then he just gets away with it all."

He looked at the ocean again. "It's unfair."

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Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir Character Portrait: Collen Merah
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Tora's chin rose slightly, and he took in a soft breath through his nose as he looked out at the sea.

"I see."

He was silent for some time, but finally looked back down to Collen.

"Between you and me, I doubt very much that he's gotten away with anything. The Captain may not have lashed out at him physically. But the Captain telling him that only the crew and his enemies know his temper was nothing short of a threat, and one the Captain intends to keep if his demeanor that night was anything to go by."

He looked out at the sea and gave Collen a light pat on the shoulder before quickly removing his hand.

"The hunter is going to have to watch his back as long as he's on this ship. So try not to judge him too quickly or jump to the conclusion that this is unfair. Desmiel's sense of justice can be fickle and cruel to some. But justice is balance. And the hunter's actions will balance themselves soon enough."

Tora turned around and walked back to the base of the mast, glancing at Collen over his shoulder with a smile.

"Keep doing what you do, young man. It will keep you safe."

With that he hoisted himself up onto the mast beam.

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Character Portrait: Korrin Arzan Character Portrait: Tora Lithenmiir
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The next day, Korrin was on Deck, looking out at the sea view, observing how the waters moved with the wind. However, the worries stemming from the past few events had left Korrin’s mind running constantly on every other sound on the ship. He certainly did not want to make anyone mad 3 days in a row, Ms. Cretas especially. He rubbed his ear self consciously at the thought of it, whilst his other hand stroked the pommel of the blade at his waist in his thinking.

Tora observed the young hunter from his perch on the mast beam. What could have been going through the young man's mind was a mystery. But one thing was certain. With his hand on the pommel of his blade, he seemed ready despite the appearance of his attention being locked on the sea.

Tora dropped from the beam and landed a short distance away from Korrin, keeping a hand on the guard of his own blade to keep it sheathed, and gave Korrin a little whistle.

"You seem ready for a fight. Care for a quick sparring match, young man?"

Korrin sighed, “After the events of two nights ago, I have no idea if I’m safe or not, Old habit from living out in the wilds.” he muttered, as he still rubbed his ear. ”But I’ll take the offer of a sparring match, so long as we don’t annoy or interrupt the crew. So, what’s the rules going to be for this bout? Swords tied shut to their scabbards and see how many bumps we give each other, or are we going to make it a little more interesting?”

Tora smirked as he used his thumb to push the blade free of the scabbard.

"First to draw a single cut is the winner. Are you game?"

Korrin returned the smirk with one of his own. ”Now you’re talking.” He said with a grin as he drew his own blade. He had forgone wearing his cloak today, as such, his upper body displayed several scars from animal encounters. Regardless, he slowly shifted into a ready stance, sword being held in both hands as he cracked his neck. Hopefully this fight would be a wonderful way to relieve his own stress.

”When you’re ready Tora.”

Tora slowly walked to a more open spot on deck with the crew beginning to move out of the way and sit near the railings for a seat to the action.

"If you can see my blade, I'm ready." He said as his right hand slowly wrapped around the handle.

Korrin moved with Tora to the spot in question, half hoping this spar wouldn’t cause the whole crew to be distracted. But enough of that worry, his eyes focused on Tora and his weapon, waiting for him to draw it as he tightened the grip on his own weapon, shifting his feet as his resolve tightened. Korrin took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Another deep breath, and on exhale, it sounded like a guttural growl.

This was going to be fun, no matter who won. Korrin moved his ready stance to a guarded one, anticipating for the first move. ”Fight defensively for now, don’t lash out just yet. “ He thought to himself. He nodded to Tora in a friendly manner, signaling the silent salute of, ‘may the best man win’.

Tora's smirk disappeared as he returned the nod.

The blade was drawn swiftly and pointed directly at Korrin as Tora lowered his stance and placed his left hand below his right on the handle. Taking a slightly shuffle forward towards Korrin, Tora kept his lower body slightly angled and his torso almost square to his opponent as he inched forward.

Korrin inched backwards for a moment, keeping his guard up, and inching to the left. Eying Tora and the blade and trying hard not to leave himself open. He kept his guard firmly on wherever the sword point was, for that was where he recalled the one he called ‘Teacher’ telling him would be the probable slicing angle and to keep his guard on that.

But he couldn’t just keep himself guarded, this was a sparring match of swords after all! He wanted to hear the clash of metal on metal! So he gave a guarded swing at Tora’s blade, a ‘serpent’s false strike’ as he recalled Teacher’s naming of the strike. Regardless of what it was called, it was meant to show Tora his defense had just as much bite as his offense.

”Don’t leave yourself open, Don’t leave yourself open, he’s got a lot of places he can cut at you.” Korrin thought to himself, trying to formulate a strategy on his feet.

Tora's stance and face betrayed nothing as Korrin moved in for his first strike. Tora kept his legs loose, but stiffened his arms to take the impact of the blade as a silent demonstration of his own confidence in his defenses. The two blades clashed, and Tora took a slight step back to reset the distance between them.

A moment passed, and he took a slight step to the right before lowering the tip of his blade to about Korrin's chest level. Giving nothing away until the last possible second, he pushed off his back foot and lunged for a stab towards Korrin's left shoulder.

Korrin’s attack did indeed clash with the blade, and noted the defense was indeed a good defense. The distance was reset as he eyed Tora carefully when he aimed at his chest, causing the hunter to guard his vitals only to see the point sailing towards his left shoulder in it’s lunge!

Moving his sword as sharply as he could, Korrin moved to try and parry the oncoming blow away from his body. If that parry was successful, he’d try to give Tora a glancing blow to his right arm. At the back of his mind, he was certain that the crew members watching were making a betting pool right now.

As Korrin parried the blade, Tora countered by applying pressure in the direction of Korrin so the blades never broke contact. At the same time, he pushed the handle of his blade inward and across his body which allowed him to push Korrin's blade up and off angle so the edge just missed the fabric of his coat.

Up close and pushing firmly, the two were in a stalemate.

"Whoever trained you did very well." He remarked as he pushed forcefully while simultaneously jumping backward to again reset the field.

Giving the sword a quick whip to loosen his shoulders after the tangle, Tora reset his stance with the blade now pointing downward at a near 45 degree angle with the handle up at his own chest level.

Korrin only nodded at the remark Tora gave during the blade lock as the field then reset. As a result that lead Korrin to move his blade into a two handed stance, allowing the pommel of the blade to be pointing down to his stomach, blade extending towards the current foe.

Korrin had to admit, this fight was intense. And it seemed both were evenly matched. But someone had to bleed sooner or later to end the bout. He was breathing heavily, but still focused. He readied his blade again, shifting the stance to level the pommel’s level to almost a half inch under his ribcage, and moving to Tora’s left as he made for a diagonal swing towards the left arm, with the intent to once again, make it a glancing wound to hopefully draw a cut.

As Korrin came in with his slash to the left shoulder, Tora immediately reversed his blade's angle to point up and right against Korrin's incoming attack. As soon as the blades made contact, Tora pushed against it with great force while performing a spin step with his left foot and then a secondary step with his right. When both feet had once again found the ground, he was behind and to Korrin's left.

Using his left hand, he gripped Korrin's left shoulder to prevent him from turning towards him in that direction and brought his own blade over and around to rest against the base of the right side of Korrin's neck. And with a careful pull, a small slice was opened in Korrin's skin drawing a tiny amount of blood.

"Well played. But it looks like I win this round."

Korrin felt the sword’s bite on the neck base. He did indeed lose this bout. Tora’s speed during the final clash was amazing! He barely registered how fast he moved and ensured the win. Korrin only gave a soft chuckle as he gave a rueful smile.

”You win the round, I win the Scar that’ll be added to the collection.” The Hunter said, chuckling. ”Your style of swordplay is definitely more powerful then mine, I concede to that as well. Good spar. Darn good swordplay.”

Sheathing his blade Korrin began to walk to below deck to find treatment for the minor wound. The thought of ensuring he didn’t bleed on the deck and causing yet another annoyance to Captain Lohran well on his mind now, but his smile held the satisfaction of sparring for the rest of the day.

Tora sheathed his blade and gave Korrin a pat on the shoulder as he walked away. With the sparring session done, Tora hopped back up to the forward mast beam and admired the scenery until a faint shadowy section of clouds on the horizon caught his eye.