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The Subtle Art of Honing

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The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:34 am

The leaves were long, and the grass was green; the hemlock umbels tall and fair. And in the gentle dip of the hills that had been leveled out as training grounds ages ago, King Gavin strolled casually as he looked over the lands. This tiny valley could be seen from the palace, allowing him to watch as Fiachra trained members of the Faolchú, taking the best members of his beloved army, the best in the world, and making them greater. It seemed strange to many in the country and on the mainland that such a small nation would be so paranoid as to hire and train such an extreme army when they'd declared their neutrality many centuries ago and stopped servicing their soldiers as mercenaries after the last war they had with Rouen. But there was so much left unsaid, so much that never made it to the ears of citizens from the lips of idle gossip. So much Gavin had to do that never left his office.

Gavin strolled around the empty training ground, enjoying the quiet that came on days off. The soldiers and new trainees were probably enjoying the chance to sleep in, and Gavin knew that Artemis was certainly enjoying her day off sleeping in with Fiachra. It was strange, and unconventional, but he was an unconvetional King. Artemis was the first female guard in the Scaith family. He had a space program that was doing very well. There were members of the Faolchú that his father never would have thought to allow. Seamus was a bright young man with a brilliant mind and would benefit the Faolchú in new ways. Roarke was something they (and possibly the world) had never seen. And Rosaleen... Gavin couldn't help but smile a little at that. Rosaleen had been a dedicated service member and even after she lost her sight still returned to duty, now finding her own place under Fia. And that was something that Gavin's father would have never approved of. Ever.

Turning his gaze upward, Gavin took a deep breath in as he looked at the heavens. So blue and perfect, a few puffy, fat clouds dotting the sky and taking odd shapes. The breeze was soft.. He'd almost wished he'd brought his violin with him, but down in the training grounds, even empty, that was asking for trouble. Though with Fiachra off today, Gavin did wonder if anyone would show up for additional practice. It wasn't mandatory in the slightest, so there was a good chance he'd simply get to enjoy the afternoon alone. It was too nice a day to go in and watch the world from the window, but oddly he wasn't in the modd to light up his forge, his mind not immediately distressed enough to seek relief. But something productive... Mind and body should be as sharp as the blade they weild, Gavin thought, walking to the small building where Fiachra kept the training equipment. There was a little of everything in there, but the King knew exactly his preference, reaching for a simple longsword.

Unlike the ceremonial sword that Gavin used publicly for special occasions, the training swords edges were dented and scratched from use and sharpening, and very plain without ornamentation. This one was a very basic 'hand and a half' sword, well-balanced and much lighter than what most people thought of. He smiled, swinging the blade in a small loop with his wrist. Ah yes. That's what he was needing. His spring jacket was shrugged off, and the plain, untucked buttonup shirt removed, both hanging over a post, leaving the King only in his jeans and a light singlet. Slowly Gavin walked to the center of the training field, not bothering to raise it up to the tiled floor that had been created to lie beneath the sod and grass; this was fine for just himself. While not a muscle-bound god among mortals like Fiachra, Gavin had never had the frame of a thin man once he began to fill out in his teens. Especially after he took to the forge; his arms, shoulders, chest, and upper back were thick and condensed, muscles working together like the gears of a finely-crafted clock.

The blade rose and fell slowly in chopping motions and swings as he warmed up, flexing and stretching himself as he went. This was more realxing that he would admit to, and Gavin could rarely do this with members of the Faolchú other than Fia himself, or with Artemis. Training alone, though, was refreshing for now, and reminded him of all those days spent learning and practicing with Theo as children. The warm ups moved fliedly into drills, honed thrusts and blocksmoving as though in a dance alone with his blade upon the grass. Just like the flag of Carraig with the blood-red sword piercing the sky, that blood was what had made Gavin's ancestral clan the leaders and ruling clan of the country, and right now that blood was singing within him in harmony with the steel.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:04 am



There was a hum in the air that Rosaleen could never put into words, a subtle thing that vibrated and sang without actually making any sounds. It was just... there. The sun must be shining bright for she could feel its heat against her skin, or what was exposed at least. She could feel the wind rustle through her fiery hair, buffeting it from where it hung long down her back. The leather of her pants, boots, and gloves was heating up in the suns light, but she didn't really mind or care. She soon would forget about it in the midst of training.

Yes, she was training. The Blind Bard had finally returned to active duty after six years now. She could hardly believe it! It still brought a smile to her crimson lips every time she thought of it. Hehe... the party her father had thrown for her had been quite the time at their modest little tavern and would certainly not be forgotten for a while in the little town. She had made it into Faolchú after all, and that was nothing to sneeze at. Especially for one with her... disability. It just went to show that being blind meant nothing if you tried hard enough and remained diligent. She had been taught that, and it was a lesson that kept her going always. She had been a proud soldier, an excellent soldier, and there was nothing anyone could do to really take that away from her. She just had to take those first steps towards reclaiming it.

Speaking of steps, with each one she took across the rolling hills towards the Faolchú training grounds, she sent out another ping to the Dragon's Pulse. What she found, and it both surprised her and didn't at the same time, was that the training grounds were rather devoid of life this morning. There wasn't the clang of metal hitting wood or other metals, no grunts of exertion, no pounding of flesh on flesh in a hand-to-hand combat session. It was far quieter than normal. There was only one form there from what she could tell, slowing a bit in her pace as she drew closer since she wasn't quite sure who it was. Who else would be training this early? Artemis was most likely with Fiachra, and she didn't know Seamus well enough to even have an idea as to where he could be. Roarke was another enigma so... who did that leave? Her brows furrowed even as her green eyes focused distantly on the now shirtless figure swinging the sword about in practiced, precise motions.

It wasn't until she was about twenty feet away that she stopped completely, surprise registering on her features as her head cocked ever so slightly to the side. Was that.... it couldn't.... "Gavin?" A hand immediately went to her mouth since, well, this hadn't been deemed an informal situation. Despite the fact he was training.. shirtless... Immediately a subconscious part of her wished she could actually SEE this scene right now. Details were mostly lost, especially twenty feet away, but she could still tell that he possessed muscles. A smile began to replace that look of surprise as she strode over to the wrack of weapons, hoping that he hadn't heard her since she didn't want to A) disturb him, or B) have him know she addressed him informally first as opposed to what was proper. So she let her fingers trail over the various hilts of the weapons that were there until she settled upon a wooden handle. It was a spear, this much she could tell and it made her smile twist into a smirk. Yes, this she could wield. A sword was iffy at best considering the vibrations that could be sent about by contact or make. Guns were now out of the question, but her melee combat had excelled far beyond what it used to be. That was where her specialty certainly lay.

Twirling the pole in her hands, she was now maybe ten to fifteen paces from her king, now absolutely sure that it was who she thought it was. "Good morrow my lord, taking advantage of the nice weather to train?" She spoke, bowing to him while making sure she was ready to block in case she caught him too off-guard (which she doubted, it was hardly like she had been terribly subtle picking out the spear).
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:18 pm

There was a feling that was beyond defition. It was the feeling one has when fully immersed in what they are doing to the point that there is no longer any differentiation between the person and the task; they are one. Dancers and singers could remove themselves to tell a story with body and voice, becoming other people and whole new places. Gavin did that often when he lost himself in his violin and cello, or at his forge. It was the inner light and life that came when an artisan was the master of a finely honed craft, and right now in that leveled training ground, Gavin was not there. The sword was an extension of his arm, his arm of his body, and all connected and projected the will of the universe around him, condensed into a man that moved skillfully.

The steel sang through the air as the blade came down and then suddenly stopped, thrusting hard, straight through invisible foes. It rose suddenly in a high block, his feet stepping with the movement as his body spun around, the blade arcing downard on an angle. Clank. There was a soft noise for wood and steel clacking together by the other weapons as they were moved gently. The sword pulled up skyward once more as his feet came together, the blade lowering in front of Gavin's face, both hands firmly holding the leather hilt as he silently said his thanks to the weapon itself before lowering it to greet--

"Good morrow my lord, taking advantage of the nice weather to train?" Gavin's smile broadened. On this quiet morning off, of all the people to come to train for the sake of just getting in extra practice... That kind of dedication made Gavin beyond happy as her King, and her company ran parallel with that elation, always loving sudden visits from friends. Especially ones such as herself. The sword was lowered all the way before being gently laid upon the grass, Gavin walking closer to Rosaleen slowly. He looked her up and down quickly before letting his eyes return to focus on her face. Leather and furs dressed the Captain, fitting her body snugly and Gavin couldn't help but think Rosaleen was definitely well-suited to it. Rosaleen gave a polite bow to him, Gavin reaching for the speech aid on his belt. He hadn't needed to take it off since it had only been him, and alone there was little risk of breaking the device.

Fingers typed delftly, Gavin wishing he were simply telepathic. "Good morning, Rosaleen. It's a nice surprise to see you here." He had thought for a moment to call her Ms. Quinn as he often still did when in company of others, but right now? It was only the two of them, and the field and weapons wouldn't tattle. Worst they could expect might have been the trees gossipping to the fae about it, but even that wouldn't do much damage. And besides, he'd mentioned before that when alone, she didn't have to be formal with him... he actually preferred that with people, anyway. Not even catching himself, Gavin gave Rosaleen a short, gentlemanly bow and felt his cheeks flush slightly after the fact when it pinged in his brain that he'd just done that. He pushed it all to the side, resuming typing rather than stand there and scold himself.

"It was too nice a day to spend idle. There are few moments to notice the beauty here when it's busy." Gavin smiled warmly, using his free hand to straighten his singlet down over the waistband of his jeans, wondering for a moment if he should but the buttonup shirt back on but then decided against it. He was here to practice and train, and just as when he was at the forge, clothing had a habit of getting in the way.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:53 pm

Swish.

The sword came down and he saw that she was there. His footsteps were clear in the grass, closing the gap between them so maybe five feet now. Thanks to the closer proximity, she could make out certain details better of his face, and she could hardly NOT notice how he smiled to see her there. It called forth a bright smile of her own, reaffirming the calm, easy relationship that they had. That was when it hit her, when had the lines suddenly seemed to blur between them? When had they overstepped the boundary that usually defined a king from his loyal soldiers into the realm of... friends? Was it at her bar all those months ago? Was it her last visit to the palace? When? It didn't REALLY matter to her, it was just one of those moments where you couldn't help but stop and think. She could never easily call up 'my lord' to him anymore, he was always Gavin to her now. In her mind, when she wanted to speak... It was so hard to retain the formality that was owed to him. But... maybe it was better this way. They both highly respected the other, and they knew that of each other.

She missed where his eyes had traveled since... well.. getting the exact formation of eyes was difficult with her pinging. They were normally just sort of plain and there, no details of iris or cornea's to know where exactly a person was looking. She began to straighten as he pulled his speech aid from his side, her ears perking to the clicking of the keys. "Good morning, Rosaleen. It's a nice surprise to see you here." For some inexplicable reason, it made her cheeks flush slightly as he used her first name, remembering her bumble moments before that he had thankfully missed. It also made her... really happy. Just a small sort of rush in her blood was all. But that was a sign to her that it was ok to call him by his first name, that informality still applied between them (for better or ill). No, what really made her blush, was when HE bowed to HER. The shock registered for all of two seconds before she quickly covered it over with one of her warm smiles, though the rosyness of her cheeks was a telltale sign that she wasn't unaffected by that.

Her king had just bowed to her. Wh.. what... Oh they were so goofy around each other! Normally she was always careful and aware of how to act around a superior, but with Gavin it was almost.. different somehow. Like she wanted as a person to show him the respect that he rightfully deserved. So when he suddenly turned around and.. well... bowed to his subordinate, her brain went, for lack of a better phrase, to mush. In her mind she cleared her throat, but physically she had sort of frozen to the spot in her relaxed pose (don't ask how that worked). The clacking of the keys soon filled the void of blushing between them, an almost welcome break and reminder of reality. "It was too nice a day to spend idle. There are few moments to notice the beauty here when it's busy." Chuckling, Rosaleen nodded in agreement as her eyes remained focused upon his features though with each ping she took notice of his motions. Though... this was just a training ground.... So what could he... The tingling began again in her blood as a faint blush colored her cheeks again, immediately moving onward, "I agree. It is such a welcome change from where I used to train seven years ago, Faolchú is lucky." ..... Boy was she lame.

Bending down, she placed her spear on the ground so she could have both hands free, straightening up as she pulled a hairband from one of her pockets. "Besides, I'd much rather be here catching up on those lost years than in the tavern. I think my father feels the same way." She laughed lightly, her long red locks now pulled back into a ponytail though there were strands on either side of her face that remained resistant to being bound. Bending down once more, she picked her spear back up, looking pretty much ready to go hunting. "If I may, you are as skilled with a blade as much as your cello. The same dedication is there, as is the beauty of form." There was a little voice in the back of her mind that promptly began to scream at her as soon as the words left her mouth, but she hardly seemed embarrassed. Quite the contrary, she was as relaxed as she could be no matter how much that little voice would scream and shout at her. Aiya, that was how she usually got herself into trouble... Oh well, she would see if Gavin would correct her or some such.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:07 pm

Twice now in a short span Gavin had seen Rosaleen blush, the bartender having to catch herself from floundering as this time she caught the meaning of what Gavin was saying. Gavin was not known for being great at the art of flirting, but every now and then he could manage something without choking on it, but that was in rare cases and in rare company. Rosaleen seemed to recover quickly, though, it looking slightly apparent she was trying to insist that Gavin had meant the field. "I agree. It is such a welcome change from where I used to train seven years ago, Faolchú is lucky." Oh, Gavin would agree with that, alright. They were very lucky indeed.

Slowly Rosaleen lowered herself to retrieve her spear, Gavin watching the motion. It wasn't as though he'd never seen anyone take the spear before; in fact, he was quite familiar with the weapon himself, though it wasn't his first choice. But the spear would always be something rather fond to the King, secretly, as it was what the cousins of his mother's family used. Long sharpened lances were passed down and the clan trained by Uncle Aodhan, and Theo... Gavin held back a sigh, pushing the thought away, not wanting to wonder where his cousin was right now. As long as he wasn't in Carraig, he was alive, and for just that, Gavin was glad.

"Besides, I'd much rather be here catching up on those lost years than in the tavern. I think my father feels the same way." Ah, that little pub where he'd found her, her father watching their conversation diligently. Rosaleen come back into duty enough for side orders had made her happy and the older man seem to worry before. But now that she was fully reinstated to active duty, Rosaleen seemed so much more vibrant than the dark walls and floors of that bar could have ever shown, and Gavin hoped that her father really knew and could see what his King was seeing. There was no disability in her movement or her grace, and there was a light in her face that came from within that Gavin admired. "If I may, you are as skilled with a blade as much as your cello. The same dedication is there, as is the beauty of form."

Gavin chuckled silently, resuming typing on the aid. The skill with the blade was something that he hadn't used outside of training, and the ceremonial blade was more for show. But being Creig meant to always be prepared for attack, and the King was either one to lead his people into battle or defend the palace and land at all costs to keep Carraig from being taken. If the King fell, the country would. That was what was taught for centuries, royal children of Carraig taught from early ages their duties and the means to carry them out. "Thank you. Since I was young I have been coming here and to a private training ground supervised by my uncle." he turned, walking back to the longsword he'd laid down and picked it back up, carrying it by the hilt as he stepped back to Rosaleen. An nteresting thought came to mind. If she'd come here to train as he had, and he wanted to see her skills, certainly testing against her would be a beneficial plan. He rested the blade into the ground and leaned it against himself, typing once more.

"I can switch to a lance if you like, but would you like to practice with me after you have warmed up?"
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Tue May 01, 2012 12:53 am

Rosaleen had to admit she was rather relieved that Gavin didn't really exhibit too many signs of having noticed how much she had been blushing within the last... what... two minutes? Dear lord, she hadn't blushed so much in that short a time frame since... Outwardly, she maintained her smile but inwardly she was now frowning. Not since David. David had been a patron that frequented their tavern soon after she came back from the mission that had robbed her of her sight. He was the one that had taught her alkahestry, allowed her to live the way that she did now. Aye... so that made it about six years ago or so now. Oh she wasn't oblivious about the ways that her relationship with Gavin was beginning to parallel David's. Quite the contrary, she was very aware of it and while it did make her smile, she couldn't help but feel some concern. After all, she was one of his guards when it came down to it, and he was a King. It felt like that broke so many rules of conduct that she should be court marshaled and tried, not that that would happen most likely.

She heard his chuckle and it made her relax, waiting patiently as the clicking of his typing resumed. Let things happen as they would happen, no sense in fretting over something that may or may not happen. She would merely be as mindful and take cues as they came. "Thank you. Since I was young I have been coming here and to a private training ground supervised by my uncle." Her eyebrows raised at that, happy to know that her king remained in peak condition. She figured it was expected for royal family members to be able to fight, but still, it was just one of those things. Her "eyes" followed him as he moved to reclaim his sword, tilting her head slightly as he seemed to give pause upon approaching her. She wasn't at all prepared for what he said next.

"I can switch to a lance if you like, but would you like to practice with me after you have warmed up?"

.... Wh-what? Had she... Did she just hear that right?! Rosaleen's eyes went wide as she stared at him dumbly for a moment, blinking a few times before she finally recovered and lowered her green gaze to the ground in thought. Sparring with the king... She couldn't even begin to describe the thoughts that raced through her mind within that moment she took before raising her gaze to meet his, her smile having grown now. "Of course. If you wish to switch to a lance you may, it does not matter to me which weapon you choose." She replied, now stepping back from him as her fingers adjusted the grip of her spear. Twirling it between her hands, she turned away from him and suddenly stopped, stabbing forward with precision and utter focus. She was now only aware of him in terms of where he physically was so that she wouldn't nick him as she now swung and stabbed at an invisible foe.

She was hardly as good at the spear as she used to be with her sniper rifle, but she had greatly improved since her admission into Faolchú. The pole fit easily in her hands, familiar and sturdy. It barely gave off any vibrations upon contact with other weapons which was always excellent for since it meant her sonar abilities wouldn't get that thrown off. Leaning back, her spear arched in a circle about her, the momentum allowing for her to straighten and stab with a quick, sharp exhale of breath. Holding that pose for a moment more, she straightened up and nodded once to herself. Alright, sparring with the king... oh boy. She had taken several minutes for herself, and now turned back to Gavin with a grin, resting the butt of her spear on the ground for the moment. "Shall we Gavin?"
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Wed May 02, 2012 1:44 am

It seemed like such a rare thing to have the training grounds empty and open for practicing in, and Gavin came here so rarely. Much less often than he thought, now that he thought about it. Typically Gavin trained either in the palace with Artemis personally, or before Aodhan died, he'd have been at his halls training with Theo and then staying for dinner, listening as his mother's cousin tried to offer up counsel and tease about how beautiful Caohime had grown up to be and offering to help marry her off. Those were nights that were so relaxing, and where he felt most at home; those were nights left from days of training and practice that Gavin would miss more than anything.

Gavin wasn't as skilled with the weapon as Theo had been, but using the sword against it would have resulted in a broken stick pretty quickly. But as Gavin took the sword back up and watched Rosaleen's face, he couldn't help but be incredibly amused by her changing expressions. He hid his amusement, not wanting to upset one of the few people he would truly call his friend, but between her blushing and suddenly looking like she'd sat on a tack, it was pretty funny. But at the same time, it was the kind of thing that reminded Gavin that there would always be that little reminder somewhere with people and himself. That there would always be that little gap, no matter how close they got. Even Artemis would still stop or hold her tongue and remind herself that Gavin was still first and foremost her King. But as much as he hated whatever that invisible barrier was, Gavin knew it was needed.

But Rosaleen's smile was brilliant now, the soldier elated that he had asked. "Of course. If you wish to switch to a lance you may, it does not matter to me which weapon you choose." Taking a step back, Gavin smiled, turning the sword over in his hands as he walked back to the weapons rack. The sword was placed back down caringly, the King sifting his hands through to select a spear to match Rosaleen's; if he was going to spar, he'd rather it be fair on all accounts. He watched carefully as Rosaleen started to warm up, spinning the wood in her fingers and thrusting it forward, her aim unshaking and true.

Hazel eyes watched carefully as muscle quivered, flexing and singing in much the same way Rosaleen sang her beautifl songs at the pub for her patrons. 6 years was a long time to go without doing what your body had known for so many, but right now watching her move, he seemed so alert and aware of every fiber of her being. It was beautiful to see, and Gavin wondered that he might not just content himself to watch. Her form was excellent... Really, Fiachra was a wonderful commander and teacher. He watched out of the way as Rosaleen warmed up until finally the spear swung around and stabbed one last time before coming down, Rosaleen turning to face him. "Shall we, Gavin?"

Spear in hand, Gavin stepped away from the rack, pulling his aid off his belt once more to type. "As you wish," came the reply, the King smiling warmly. He paused for a moment, collecting his throught before typing again, pressing the button to play them as he typed them in. "I don't practice with the spear as much, so you may have the upperhand in this. But I am going to leave my aid here just in case I can't block fast enough." Even though Gavin could use the speech app installed on his iPhone, he'd rather not have to have a whole new prper aid built, or explain it getting skewered. As Gavin stepped away and back near to Rosaleen, a thought came to him: he was now completely without voice. She couldn't read his signs, and he wasn't telepathic, so this would make sparring interesting. But oddly enough, Gavin wasn't that worried about it, he realized, as he lifed his own spear and moved into a defensive starting form. Rosaleen could 'see' through her alkahestry, and she knew him well enough. He could trust himself to let himself be fully mute around Rosaleen.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Wed May 02, 2012 10:11 pm

As she straightened up now all warmed up and ready, Rosaleen became acutely aware of just how long he must have been watching her to be standing there the way he was. Was it... Could they.... No. Shhh. Don't think about that right now. Enjoy the moment. So her expression only softened slightly at the knowledge, watching him as he returned to her side with his spear. Ahhh, very well. "As you wish." Her green gaze flickered from the spear to his typing aid, then back up to his features as a thought pushed its way to the forefront of her mind. He wasn't going to be able to hold both things at once obviously. So she had to be extra aware of everything since she wouldn't understand him if he tried to sign something to her, and her reading of facial expressions were barely normal levels at best. In the heat of battle? It wasn't necessarily the thing she focused on the most. This would certainly be a battle where her awareness would get stretched to its very boundaries.

"I don't practice with the spear as much, so you may have the upperhand in this. But I am going to leave my aid here just in case I can't block fast enough." Nodding once slowly in understanding, Rosaleen felt the weight of rock hit her gut and bring her back into the reality of the situation. Yes, this was a special moment because she got to spare with a man she greatly admired. Yes, he was her king. Yes, he just demonstrated to her the level of trust he placed in her, and just how close they had become. But she could not afford to feel the butterflies in her stomach, the warmth in her chest. Saluting him, she too assumed a neutral stance, feeling the vibrations in the ground to see that he was taking a defensive stance. Ladies first then.

Taking a couple of steps forward, she held her spear ready to strike, her expression taking on a rather impassive appearance as her body remained at about a 45 degree angle. The space now closed, she feinted forward while her feet began to carry her to the left, swinging with the butt of her spear to give him a blow to the chest. Whether or not the blow went through (she wouldn't let it impact him if it came to that), she immediately turned with her entire body facing the same way as the point of her spear and lunged forward in a stab beginning the onslaught of blows. Heh, no, she wouldn't go easy on him just because he was the leader of her country and her boss. He would want to see her at her peak, and she planned on giving it to him. With a flurry of blows, she finally jumped back, her footwork carrying her where she needed to be as her eyelids closed. There was no reason for them to be open and distract her. It was excess energy that she had to put to use in this sparring match.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Thu May 03, 2012 1:31 am

With any weapon, one of the first things taught was to follow your opponant's arm and shoulder; just as with his sword, the weapon was merely an extension of your body and will, and where your shoulder began, the weapon would follow through. Gavin was ready, watching Roasaleen poise herself to make the first strike. Gavin's eyes seemed to try and take in all of her at once, watching to see where she would move first. Suddenly she sprang forward, her feet coming one way as the pole of the spear came from another, following the subtle commands of her shoulder. Gavin's left heel took a step back as his own spear raised to block and deflect, holding the spear there for a brief moment in time before forcing it away from himself. He moved back yet again, watching and working much harder than he'd expected to parry the blows and thrusts of the blade.

This... made Gavin oddly happy.

Speed and strength met their match, blow for blow, the pair locked in a silent dance upon the trampled grass, the only sounds being the clacking of the spears as they clashed together and apart and of their breathing that neared panting in the heat of momentum. They moved to silent drums unseen that were bred into and felt by every Creig, its beat only growing louder in the midst of when a person truly felt most alive and whole. This was life, freedom, and truth, at their basest and purest. As Gavin aimed and sent the blade forward toward Rosaleen's shoulder, there was no thought. No desire, or sense of his role, or hers. They simply were.

Rosaleen was attacking and blocking with all she had, the force from one particularly hard thrust forcing the King to dig his heels in as he was pushed back in the turf slightly. His breaths were becoming heavy, but even though there was no desire to draw blood or even claim a win during this, there was no part of Gavin that wasn't focused entirely, every ounce of his being completely set in the now. It fould have been ten minutes just as easily as it could have been an hour, the world around them ceasing to be as the sharpened appendage of Gavin's soul swung down in an arc before suddenly changing direction to come low at her knees.

He'd had some pretty heated matches with his cousins growing up, but none of them had made his blood sing this way. None of the sparring matches Gavin had had had made Gavin turly feel the battle drums that were the heartbeat of Carraig, and no opponant had ever made him feel so alive.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Thu May 03, 2012 11:42 am

There were a few reasons that people joined the military. They either had no other choice, figured why the hell not, wanted to serve their country, loved the battlefield, or wanted to get away from something. Maybe they looked for structure that was somehow lacking in their lives. Rosaleen was a combination of reason three and four. She loved fighting to protect everything that she held dear whether that was family, nation, an ideal, or.... Her head turned sharply as she began to block his attacks, the two exchanging their blows in the quiet of the training field. It could have been because she hadn't used her senses like this since her last sniping job, or maybe it was because she was so focused on NOT harming her king, but this... this was far different from other sparring matches with members of Faolchú.

Gavin did not bend, or break, and he kept up with her with relative ease even as their panting began to fill the air. A smile had begun to form on her lips, straining her muscles to the breaking point to keep this fight up at the pace they found themselves. Her red hair whipped about like some kind of flag, sweat creating a fine sheen on her forehead that glistened in the suns light. She had never gotten this upclose and personal before in the militia, she had no reason to. She could put hundreds of yards between her and her quarry and end it all without breaking a sweat. But now? Now she couldn't afford that luxury, she had to be upclose and personal. She had to be able to move about at the risk of getting shot since she couldn't react in time to them. It was a matter of counting those precious seconds between firing and impact. So the rush that Rosaleen felt now was something she was getting more and more used to, but even still. She knew this was different, and it was reflecting in the way they fought so. The way that danced as perfect partners, their utter trust in the other creating a sort of cocoon about them.

Twisting to step back, Rosaleen knocked away his blow to her shoulder, sending his spear upwards as she used that time to move in. Block, parry, stab, swing, slice, over and over again. Her brows had begun to furrow, ignoring the ache that was beginning to settle in about her muscles. No. You would fight, and you would not let weakness cause you to fail. His spear was moving, curving through the air before its direction suddenly changed. Her head turned sharply once more as she jump-rolled to the side and lunged forward already back up on her feet. But she didn't stop moving. No, she continued that lung and held her spear to the side to block him, moving in close as her one arm reached out and aimed to wrap around his neck, grasping him in a headlock. Such a move was extremely risky for it left her open to attack should she be unable to grab him. She would waste valuable time regaining a two handed grip on her spear, and he could easily overpower her. If successful, however, she would stand extremely close behind him to the point of their bodies touching, her arm like steel wrapped around his neck. Obviously she wouldn't let the hold be too tight, but she sure as hell wouldn't let him go. Again, if successful, she would turn her head ever so slightly to whisper in his ear, her breath hot as she panted, "Do you yield?" Her voice would be smooth and low, lips almost barely brushing against his cheek. While the motion would make some part of her squee and giggle in the back of her mind, it was just that, in the back of her mind. She was still in soldier mode, and thus not prone to fits of blushing like before.

{OOC: Trying to leave this as open as possible @_@}
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Thu May 03, 2012 5:43 pm

The flurry of moves was relentless and unyielding, and if more of Gavin's thinking capacities weren't wholly occupied by the task at hand, he would have paused mentally to be more impressed by what he saw before him. Blind, the woman before him had, in a matter of weeks, transformed completely back from a bartender into a perfect example of the best Carraig had to offer. Rosaleen was agile and fast, able to defend and block every strike and return with her own, executing perfect control. The blacde to fhte spear swiped low, aiming to knock her off her feet but she had rolled over it instead and lunged at Gavin, full-force. he moved his spear to block hers from running through him as her whole body changed direction, whipping around behind him. The arm that shot around his throat was not the dainty, petal-like arm of just some girl or noble lady; it was something far better, its steeled strength catching the king by surprise as the distance between their bodies was closed.

His chest heaving, instincts were raging and urging Gavin to keep going. She was behind him and had her arm around his neck, but he could grab behind him to flip her over his shoulder. It would mean he'd be abandoning his primary weapon and leave him open for the moment, but that would just boil down to whose draw was faster. But as hot breath purred into his ear and tickled his cheek, realization burst through driving urges like a sudden splash of water on the first day of spring. He could feel her heavy breathing against his body, his upper back being made to arch and pull downward slightly to close the slight gap of their heights. "Do you yield?" Warm and soft as the fox fur that draped over her shoulders, skin brushed skin and made Gavin shudder slightly. He could still flip her over and regain the upperhand, but at the moment, Gavin wasn't really sure he wanted to.

For a moment he wondered what the results of saying no would be, but chid himself as he caught his breath, grinning a bit as he let himself give a slow nod. He would yield... but only for this. The spear dropped from Gavin's hand and landed at his feet with a soft clatter in the grass, waiting as his breathing slowed and for Rosaleen to release him from her grip so he could straighten back up. As he stepped away from Rosaleen, he fought the urge to bow to her again; before it was partially out of habit, as bowing to a lady was polite. But now, if he did, it would have been because she was nothing less than his equal, and something both worthy and wondrous. Gavin's breathing steadied as he took a step back, turning to face her and held her gaze, picking up his spear and holding it upright as he bowed to his opponant before turning to put the weapon away. He let out a satisfied sigh, his face and arms covered in a fine sheen of sweat as he picked up his aid, typing as he felt his muscles begin to ache. "You are truly skilled, Rosaleen. You were made for the Faolchú."
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Tue May 08, 2012 3:52 pm

It was only now that it was beginning to sink in that maybe this wasn't the best of positions to be holding your king, sparring or no. No! No, don't loosen her grip, not until he indicated he yielded. He wouldn't want her to, that was clear enough from how they sparred, from their relationship and their respect for the other. So she stood there, steadily also becoming more aware of just how close they were, their positioning. He nodded his head slowly in response, and it tickled against her lips, her inner self blushing like no other though outwardly she just was flushed from exertion and heat. His spear fell to the ground, a soft sound against the sound of their beating hearts. God she hoped hers wasn't beating too terribly loudly... Sure sounded that way to her ears. And THAT wasn't just from exertion....

Her grip began to loosen, arm falling away and allowing for distance between them even though part of her didn't really want to let go just maybe shift... Oh hell. Who was she kidding? If that didn't scream improper conduct, she didn't know what else would. Well... aside from... ANYWAYS. She smoothed her bangs back from her forehead and smiled in satisfaction to him, saluting him with her spear in return. Her eyes opened now, green irises positively sparkling. Ahh... most excellent. She hadn't had a sparring match like that in a very, very long time. Not since she was but a wee lieutenant all those years ago. It had been a superior officer then too, though the two had butted heads more than be friendly like she and Gavin were. It had ended in a similar fashion, with her asking him to yield, except without words. It had been a very tense moment in the training hall, no one really sure what to do since the event had been unprecedented. It wasn't until they both began to laugh and relax that everyone else did, both shaking each others hands. They became best comrades then. It was a sad day when she found out he had died on a mission.

Oh memories... Onward to the present, and the future. "You are truly skilled, Rosaleen. You were made for the Faolchú." Her smile grew as she bowed her head to him again, "Thank ye sir." Ack. "Gavin." Whatever. Screw the line. "But I must give credit where credit is due, you are most excellent at the spear. I haven't had a sparring match like that in a very long time." She slowly turned and walked back to the weapons stand, exhaling slowly now that she faced him once more. She had a question rolling around in her mind at the moment and... well... she was fighting with whether or not to ask him. He was king, and had better things to do, but.. "So would you like to head back to my tavern for a drink? Or do your kingly duties call?" Well, there it was. God, heart, CALM YOURSELF. Christ, she was hardly the schoolgirl that this would happen to. She was thirty-five. THIRTY-FIVE. She shouldn't get this flustered and nervous at such things.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Wed May 09, 2012 2:22 am

The thrill of the fight was lingering, singing in his limbs, though it was strange that as his pulse slowed Gavin's blood did not cool. There was still a warmth within his breast that he couldn't wholly explain as Rosaleen opened her eyes, saluting him with her weapon. There was a look of pure satisfaction, deep and kindred, and bursting with the inner light of life. It was exhilarating and new, alien and yet very familiar, making Gavin want to explore it further. But... another time. Too much of anything all at once rarely led to good outcomes.

Gavin glanced over the weapons rack, wiping his forehead lightly with the back of his hand. That was a most excellent match and workout, and maybe it wouldn't be too awkward to ask Rosaleen to spar with him again soon. Days like this were rare, and practicing with Fiachra or even Artemis wasn't quite the same rush the king had gotten just now. Reaching to the post, he picked up his shirt and for a moment debated putting it back on before deciding against it. He still had his singlet on, and Rosaleen didn't seem to mind Gavin's general lack of a proper shirt. Besides, putting it back on after that would have just made it stick to him. Gavin rand a hand through his hair and took the rubber band off for now since so much of it had come loose durning the match. "Thank ye sir. Gavin. But I must give credit where credit is due, you are most excellent at the spear. I haven't had a sparring match like that in a very long time."

Draping the shirt over his arm, Gavin looked to Rosaleen, smiling warmly in the light of the midday sun. He hadn't had a match like that in a while either, and part of him wonderd now if he'd flipped her when he'd had the chance if the proud fighter that purred in his ear would have yielded to him when pinned. Next time we spar, perhaps we'll find out. Fingers danced across the keys quickly, hardly needing to look at what he was typing. Even though Rosaleen couldn't see him directly, looking at a person's face when he spoke to them just felt right, and there were some faces Gavin was finding he'd prefer he ddin't look away from. "Thank you Rosaleen. We should do this again." His free hand moved to restack the weapons on the rack as they had been, leaving no traice of their being there other than the freshly trampled grass that would have to forgive them and straighten back up slowly.

"So would you like to head back to my tavern for a drink? Or do your kingly duties call?" He paused and looked at her, genuine surprise written all across his features. Now there was a request he hadn't expected offhand, even though it shouldn't have surprised him the way it did. They were friends, right? So what part of it didn't make sense to catch him off-guard like that. But he recovered quickly, typing and giving her a look that almost spoke of a fondness. I wonder if this is the prize you would have for beating me, he wondered with a siling, inward chuckle.

"They call, but I don't have to answer just yet. A drink out sounds wonderful, Rosaleen. Gavin was so glad he'd gotten the box updated to say her name right instead of chopping it into syllables or having it play her name with her own voice. It felt more natrual now to say her name, and much more enjoyable, and it was occasions like these where he'd get to say it more and have a reason to. Gavin paused, giving way for a tiny thought to protocol. It was Artemis' day off, and technically he needed to inform some guard to accompany him out in public, but on the other hand, Rosaleen was a more than capable fighter and part of the elite unit. That was near enough the same to Gavin, and just this once wouldn't hurt. Besides, they could tease and say it was a temporary promotion. Just this once...
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Wed May 16, 2012 8:38 pm

It was ok.... It was ok.... Calm down, this was Gavin. They were friends. Friends did drink together.... and spend as much time together as they had.... and... Oh bloody hell, screw it. She liked him. A lot. As appropriate, or inappropriate, as it was, that was the truth. She couldn't help but note how he didn't put his shirt back on, how the singlet clung to his form (at least as much as she could distinguish)... But she did not blush. Heh, guess that was one good thing about being blind, no one could really tell where she was "looking" either. Her green eyes seemed to remain on his features the whole time, her smile widening at his response. "Thank you Rosaleen. We should do this again." "I'd like that." The words were out before she could even realize she had said it rather than just leave it in her head where it belonged. NOW she was blushing, turning away as she let her hair free from its ponytail, shaking her head while running a hand through the long strands. Oh god, she had really just said that, hadn't she? "Sorry, that was... inappropriate for me to say." She murmured softly, biting her lower lip as she straightened up and turned back around to face him, her expression back to a neutral, if happy, calm.

She had already asked him one borderline question and he was probably--"They call, but I don't have to answer just yet. A drink out sounds wonderful, Rosaleen. --what? Her entire being seemed to relax at that very moment, her smile growing as her previous stumble was already vanishing into the background of her mind. "Most excellent, we can cool off there as well." She murmured, gesturing for them to exit to head back to her tavern. It was in Dublin, thankfully, so it wasn't too terrible a walk through the streets to get there. Though she couldn't help but feel ultra aware of all the eyes that were following them since... well... She was walking with the king. And while she carried herself like a soldier, she wasn't obviously armed and certainly not in any kind of uniform at all. Her father was probably going to throw a fit. Yet the conversation was relaxed as they walked, and it was over all a very pleasant experience despite those gazes.

Soon enough they arrived, her father looking up from the bar with quite the amusing expression as Gavin stepped in before her. He cleared his throat loudly and bowed to the king, everyone that was there immediately doing the same once they looked up from their drinks. "May we please get something cold pa?" She broke the awkward silence with an easy smile, walking up to the bar and patting some men on the shoulders as she moved past. She recognized most of the faces in her immediate vision, and they relaxed at her touch. They knew her. "Of course. Please, make yourselves at home." He called, gesturing to the bar with a hand, his daughter already striding up and taking a seat, turning her head to her king.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Mon May 21, 2012 5:43 pm

To be King was to be alone, so they said, and so he'd been told all his life. It meant living a life of not becoming emotionally involved or attached to so many, becdause while it was his duty to protect and care for them all, if need be he knew he would have to be able to sacrifice any and all of them for the good of his country. A love, a friend, a child- it didn't matter when it came down to it. It was his duty and theirs, as much as Gavin hated it. Gavin knew he wasn't fully capable of that; he'd seen it in himself in Fort Briggs when he made Artemis resist her own call of duty for the sake of keeping her safe from an immortal monster. His Sciath guard- the person trained since near birth to do nothing but guard the King from all things regardless of the risk. That's what they had been for generations, and now it had come down to a man who saw Artemis as too precious to him to lose. All of those closets to him were. And even now as Gavin smiled lightly, amused as Rosaleen went from calm to turning away from him to catch herself to facing him again he couldn't help but think about it.

Some part agreed with her, knowing the boundaries. It was inappropriate. But for the moment? gavin wanted nothing more than to leave his crown on the desk and just enjoy himself for a bit. After all, it was only a drink and Rosaleen as more than capable as a guard; what was the harm? For just a little while, the man standing in the singlet could stop being King and let himself be Gavin and in the company of a woman far more impressive than rank or station could convey. Heavy thoughts were left aside as Gavin decided, walking off the palace grounds with Rosaleen, only bothering to put his shirt back on as they left and headed to where people would see him. The conversation had been easy, if not a little slower to give him time to type while walking (God what he wouldn't give for telepathy!). Only a few buttons were done up, the shirt left untucked and casual, his curly hair curling more around his face from the cooling sweat that had clung there as they fought.

But the longer he talked, the more relaxed Gavin became and the less he felt the presure of everything he normally carried with him. This... was a first, and it was more than nice. The door to the bar opened, bright light bursting into the dim haze that pubs often had, the room growing quiet as Rosaleen announced them to her father. "May we please get something cold pa?" He watched as she made her way thought the bar, Rosaleen's father and patrons taking a moment to bow to him. Ah, there it was. Brief reality check, hello. Gavin gave a small wave to everyone, walking in and hoping they all would relax once more even with him in there with them. [/i]"Of course. Please, make yourselves at home."[/i] Rosaleen moved to sit at the bar, turning and looking to gavin to see if he was still coming. Right. His smile relaxed as he moved toward her and sat down beside, signing a gentle thank you to her father. Gavin waited as the cold pint was poured and couldn't help but smile at that; beer from the tap always seemed to taste fresher than the bottle ever could.

The aid was placed on the bar, Gavin turning its volume way down to be just at a low-enough level for polite inside conversation. His fingers typed across they letter pad quickly, Gavin smiling up at Rosaleen's father. "Thank you very much." The first slow sip was glorious, the young king settling into himself as he looked back to Rosaleen. "You know, this has been fun; it's not often my days go like this. I think I should make time more often to spar with the spear." Particularly against some of our Faolchú's best.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Rosaleen Quinn on Fri May 25, 2012 4:21 pm

This.... was possible... wasn't it? They could certainly be friends, that no one would really question but... beyond that... It was possible. There had only been one other person whom had calmed her and made her be such a flipping fourteen year old before and he wasn't here anymore. Not dead just.. back in his own country. But he was her King. This was wrong, wasn't it? He should marry some fancy noblewoman, not take interest in some common riff raff like her. Not that she was necessarily, she was Faolchú which was nothing to sneeze at, but still. She was hardly of noble birth. She used to bar tend for heavens sake! No amount of military rank was going to raise her to truly stand on equal ground with Gavin.

Then again... she was right now wasn't she? Just chatting easily with him as one would any other person. She couldn't help but relax a bit as Gavin seemed to remember himself and take a seat next to her at the bar, looking up as her father passed her a tall glass towards her. Taking a small sip, she breathed a sigh of relief and pure enjoyment, glad to see her father still remembered her preferences. You know what? She sat there, pondering her current circumstances and took another sip, weighing the options very carefully. She would enjoy this and forget the possible consequences. Clearly Gavin had forgotten, she may as well join him. "Thank you very much." Her father shook his head, wiping down the bar with a rag. "Dun' worry about it. Least I can do for you sir." Heh, her father would certainly remain formal no matter what.

But now Gavin was turning more to face her, and she did the same, one arm leaning against the bar counter as her hand braced against her cheek. She was the very definition of relaxed right now. "You know, this has been fun; it's not often my days go like this. I think I should make time more often to spar with the spear." Her smile grew, green eyes twinkling as a low chuckle escaped her. "Today has been most enjoyable, and I'm glad for that." If he ever wanted another distraction, she would be happy to answer that call. Somehow she managed not to say that, instead doing her best to choose her next words with some care, "Should you ever want to spar again, don't hesitate to ask. I always love a good sparring match." Her eyes never seemed to leave him, her hand reaching for her drink as she held it out for a toast. "To a fine day?" She offered, her head tilting ever so slightly with another chuckle.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Gavin Etheridge on Mon May 28, 2012 5:06 am

Rosaleen was right- today had been most enjoyable. There was something about leaving his crown, duties and everything back on the grounds that was helping Gavin take a breath of much-needed relief. Sure, everyone bowed when he'd come in, but now the patrons had all settled back into their seats and conversations. Everyone was enjoying their own company with their beers, and Gavin was allowed to simply behimself for just a little while. This was a treat that didn't come often and almost never outside closed doors at the palace; the only ones who ever got friendly and casual with Gavin were Artemis and Fiachra, but he'd known them both most of his life. Fia had been serving Carraig since Gavin's father was ruling, and Artemis was the secret to why and how Carraig was functioning in a roundabout way. So getting to leave all that behind for just a few hours and open up so easily to a friend who in such a short time had come to mean so much was an angel's breath fanning some tiny spark within the young King that he'd been so carefully guarding.

Lush green eyes that could have been the heart's blood of Carraig itself never left Gavin's face, her hand expertly and effortlessly reaching for her beer glass to raise it gently. "Should you ever want to spar again, don't hesitate to ask. I always love a good sparring match. To a fine day?" Hazel met shining emerald, Gavin grinning as he raised his own glass of dark beer, fingers pecking at the keypad. You are welcome to kick my butt any day, he thought merrily. Gavin knew he could have won that fight, easily. Rosaleen wouldn't have been able to stop Gavin from neatly pulling her over his shoulder and then guiding her into the grass, pinning her there with just enough of his bodyweight focused into his hand above her breast. She was strong and fast, and a testament to how strong Creig warriors were, but Gavin held a lot more upper body strength than he let on. he didn't let her simply have that win, though; he knew that even if he'd pinned her down, just as he wouldn't have yielded she probably wouldn't have, either. They were equally, oppositely and expertly matched, breath for breath.

"To one of many, I hope." Glass on glass made a soft chime, beers sloshing lightly in the glasses and warming smells of hops drifting up over the head into the air nearest them. One fine day of what he hoped were many, even though if you asked him, Gavin wouldn't be able to clearly tell you why or what it was about this woman's company that set her apart the way it did. Gavin took another long sip, thinking. Rosaleen would be on the palace grounds training with the other members of the Faolchú now, so he'd definitely be able to visit with her more often. Many of the members had been there for years and knew the layout well, inside and out. After all, they were the King's elite; did no good to have elite on the grounds if they didn't know the grounds. Keys tapped as a thought came to mind. "Rosaleen... How about this week one afternoon, you join me for a tour?" His eyes and smile never left her, waiting to see if he could read her immediate reaction as his fingers continued typing. "I doubt another member of Faolchú has had time to show you the full layout of the palace yet."

Sure, blame it on tactical needs. The Faolchú defended the very heart of Carraig from the palace grounds, and Rosaleen would need to know the many halls, rooms, hidden rooms and private quarters of the palace in order to help defend it and get anywhere quickly. That was a totally legitimate reason and why was he having a hard time looking away? He knew he didn't have many real friends, and the King could count on one hand the number of short-lived flings he'd had, but een those he'd always felt slightly detatched from; always aware in the back of his mind that at the end of the day he was still King and had too many duties and responsibilities to get tied up in them. But thi sfelt so easy and relaxed, Gavin as unaware of his station as he was the way his body leaned closer to hers when she spoke, or how close their beer glasses were when put back down on the bar. "And I was working on a new violin piece... I was wondering if you would listen and give me feedback?" Yup. Tooootally just tactical.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Honing

Post by Shula Brighton on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:03 pm

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