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Kalmuli

Weaver's Training Grounds: New Construction

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Kalmuli had decided it was time for a change to her training grounds.

While tents and rickety shelters were good for survival training, a touch of luxury and calm was needed too. As an elf, she was quite used to parties and being able to be catered to by the nature around her. A fresh start would be good and a little sanctuary for some self care was good too. It would have the similar luxuries like she had in her usual estates but more designed for the natural diversity of the South Seas. No penny had been spared in it's construction.

Built into the high cliffs on high wood stilts and made from the trees surrounding the Training Grounds, the sea-side cottage stood out if one paid attention. It was still plenty shaded and blended with the trees in the background while still managing to have uninterrupted views of the sea itself and the shore along it. Inside was plush with polished floors and bones of some aquatic creatures on display both native and foreign. With five bedrooms, there were plenty of rooms for guests with chambers dug out of the cliffs themselves for her...hobbies. Most including her peculiar tastes but also room for teaching about herbs and medical care. 

Down below on the shores were tents that could be used to lounging around on the beach or survival training, upgraded with bunks and better supplies than her first venture with fishing gear and small boats for heading out into deeper waters. From the shore, one could make out the wood railing of the balcony but the rest of the building itself was hidden in the trees and cliff. Deeper into the jungle itself were a enclave of hot springs for bathing since there wasn't any plumbing on the island. There was only one living creature that minded the luxurious sea-side estate of a creature that resembled a man with a sea-urchin of a head mostly that prowled the grounds looking for intruders, throwing venomous barbs at anyone who wasn't invited.

For those who were welcome, it was a treat to behold and experience the South Seas in their uncrowded majesty. 

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Kalmuli hadn't brought someone to her abode in awhile. The first time was a pair of students who were confused and unenthusiastic about being trained by the eccentric elf. She didn't mind though. Everyone had their own path that they themselves could decide to take and they chose to go. Kalmuli had decided though it was time to enjoy her seaside estate to escape the gloom of the gorge's random bout of bad weather. Taking what she called her 'Traveler's Route', she brought her latest escapade with her to enjoy it.

A long-haired man with ties to the fates as she did. Not only would this be a nice vacation from her vacation, it would be a chance to see what he could do while not surrounded by people. Playing with others tended to get quite destructive. 

Stepping out of the portal with her boots hitting the sand, she inhaled the brine of the sea, stretching and grinning, looking behind her. "Ah, this is much better. There is nothing more renewing than the sea."She grinned, giving the man room to descend and join her on the shore.

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Discovering Kalmuli had been quite and adventure already. It was so rare to find another so embroiled in fate as he was while not serving his goddess. Crunching the grit of sand underfoot, Avvercus took his time looking around and admiring Kalmuli's estate. Just as extravagant and impressive as her mansion, he could already tell he was going to enjoy this vacation. A lively seaside zephyr rolled through, bearing aloft a warm gift from the water and with it the salty scents of a proper ocean.

Opening his senses, the mage could feel the twisting, churning signs of magic cast here in the past. It seemed this really was a training spot, and it had indeed been used many a time by the weaver. He returned Kalli's grin and reached out to ruffle her hair. "Aye, true that. I look forward to playing with you here. A nice warm ocean should make for some good relaxation. So, what shall we do first?"

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Kalmuli's face scrunched when her hair was mussed, the short strands tickling her ears. She sighed. It was kind of pleasant knowing that someone would coddle and then fondle her later. She smirked. "Hmm...Well the first is to get up to that cabin and unpack. I need to introduce you to Barney too, my estate's guard. He doesn't like intruders but once he knows you're friendly, he'll be less likely to try to stab you."She said, leading the way down the beach and partially into the jungle to a flight of stairs that were built right into the cliffs. "I suppose I should give you a tour of the beach as well. It's been so long, I have to wonder if the hot springs here are still hot..."She mused, heading up the steps that smelled of damp wood and freshly sawed wood. Like they hadn't been in for long. At the top of the stairs, Kalmuli put her hand behind her for him to wait while she made whistling noises.

Something scraped along the wood against a tree, a small creature with a sea urchin for a head standing about four feet tall scuttling out in garb made of seaweed, fishing net and shells. It's teeth chattered, crawling on hands and feet to a few feet in front of them, the spines on it's head moving around in interest. Barney's skin was covered in barnacles and patches of green algae growing on his skin. "Barney, my sweet little urchin...Have you missed me? I've missed you. I've brought a friend."She said, gesturing for Avvercus to approach a little closer. "Barney, Avvercus is a friend. Remember what I said about friends? We don't sting them and eat them."

Kalmuli would gently reach around to Avvercus' hand, taking it and slowly bringing it around for Barney to sniff. "See? Friend. You don't eat this one."

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Avvercus followed his host, keeping a few steps behind her for various reasons. One of them was an old habit for defensive purposes, an effort to keep himself and allies safe and able to react to an assassination attempt quickly. He'd not realized it, but his left hand was holding his empty sheath, with a thumb pressing up against a non-existent tsuba, ready to shift into an iaido draw at the drop of a hat. The sand soon gave way to finely crafted wood as the pair ascended a set of stairs that led to a wonderful looking cabin.

At Kalmuli's gesture, he immediatley stopped moving and glanced behind his shoulder, not sure if she had noticed something. At her whistle, his attention came back around and soon he found himself face to face with a rather bizarre creature. Barney was his name, and whether he was sentient or capable of speech was yet to be seen. Avvercus took a knee when his hand was presented, coming down to 'eye' level with the creature and giving it a non-threatening smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Barney. I would definitely appreciate it if you didn't eat me. Or stab me, for that matter."

The swordmage wasn't quite sure what to do now, so he just kept still. Was this like an attack dog being shown a guest that was not to be harmed?

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Kalmuli waited, watching Barney sniff Avvercus' hand and give it a brief lick with just the tip of it's bumpy, moist tongue. It smacked it's near non-existent lips before looking to Kalmuli with some bubbles foaming out the side of it's mouth like a crab. Barney would shuffle off, bounding off like a frog and headed into the bushes back to it's nest of oyster shells and pretty rocks. Kalmuli let out an exhale. "Good. Now he knows you. Whatever you do, don't mess with his nest there in the bushes and you'll be stinger-free."She said with a forewarning and gestured for him to follow her inside. Sliding open an all glass door, she stepped into the living room, bending over to remove her boots and let her feet grace the polished floors. The whole cabin smelled of fresh wood and the sea. Kalmuli moved about, reaching to windows and drawing back the thin linen curtains to let in more light and air into the space. 

"Much better...Come, I'll show you around the cabin first and we can change for the beach."She said, leading him away from the living room to a long hallway with several rooms to choose from. However, the only thing the place lacked was a bathroom and that was outside in an outhouse since there wasn't a sewage system where they were. When it was time to bathe, they would have a natural hot spring. Kalmuli had decided to leave the hot spring where it was instead of having it pumped into the cabin. She grinned as she flopped on a large bed in the master bedroom, burying her face into the sweet sea-tinged sheets. "I forgot what it feels like to sleep with the smell of the sea instead of a marsh."She sighed before forcing herself to get up from the bed. "Let's get changed and I'll show you the beach and the hot springs. Do you have a bathing suit? If not I have some spares."

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Taking the Red Queen into the night had been easy. Even while they had traversed back to the Keep, they attracted little attention and were quick to get through what was needed in order to have a peaceful retreat. The Queen packed a few meager belongings, Kalmuli having no need to stop at her own home at the Pendulum since some of what she needed was already at their desired location.

After traveling back to the woods, Kalmuli opened a portal in a grove of trees that resembled a doorway. The smell of the sea wafted through it and the cry of gulls taking off from their nests from the exit of the portal on the other side. She took the Queen's hand, pulling her into the swirling vortex out to the other side, passing through the thin veil between one location and the next. Lo and behold, they stood on the beach of her sea-side retreat. The faint inclinations of dawn were appearing just over the horizon. "Welcome to the South Sea, your Highness."She said, gesturing to the sight around them. "My...hmm...hundredth or so home away from home?"

Kalmuli faced the sea, faintly illuminated by the falling moon and the slowly creeping sun. Up on a cliffside, barely showing behind some cleverly placed branches was the balcony of her little cabin. "It's just up on the cliffs. There's a stairway that will take us up. I'll introduce you to the guard beast, Barney."She said, gesturing for the tired blonde to follow her down the beach.  

@Red the Ambivalent

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The smell of the sea, the sound of the birds, it gave her a sense of peace even before Kalmuli grabbed her by the hand and tugged her through the portal. Stepping through, the woman held her breath as if she were expecting them to somehow end up in the vacuum of space, unlikely but portals were a scary thing in Sigil. You never knew where you would end up. Her eyes were like curious children, looking this way and that while she took in the sudden change of atmosphere, feeling a chilled breeze coming in from the water. She'd not been so far south, or hardly anywhere else but the Keep and Caelum. "It's already working." Red gave Kal a side glance with a half smile.

Not being at the Keep, knowing she wasn't in charge right at this moment, she already felt a generous weight lifting from her shoulders. "Alright, well.." Pausing, Red walked beside the elven woman as they made their way towards the stairs. "You don't have to worry about...Drowning again. Thank you for saving me. It wasn't right of me." Red knew it was a foolish move on her part, and she was worried the reprocussions when they returned to the Keep. She wouldn't be surprised if everyone in the city felt it, felt her bloop out of existence for a time. The city ran on her power as the base, other psions acted like backup generators, without hers there was minimal psy-tech running properly.

@Kalmuli

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Kalmuli smiled, reaching over and patting Red's head again. "If you do try again, here would be even worse...but I do have friends here that will look out for you in the sea."She chuckled. Ascending up the stairs, the wooden planks wound up along the side until it came to a flat plateau where it disappeared into the woods. A well worn path marked where to walk and Kalmuli gestured for the Psion to follow her. "Let me put it this way...every culture has a stigma against suicide. Ritualistic or otherwise. Some deem it weak. Others deem it as a mark of courage to bow out before being taken captive...for me, it's a call for help. 'Help me, I can't handle this alone.' 'Help me, I need something stable.' Those who survive it, get the help they need. Those who don't are no longer in pain...only the Gods can help them after."She explained, leading her down the path until they came to a halt just at the treeline. She crouched, looking around...then whistled.

"Baarrrnneeyy...."She called.

Nothing. 

"Barney. Quit hiding and come on out."Kalmuli called again, this time with more authority. A bush near a scratched up, worn down tree rustled. A creature crawled out, small but scary looking. a small creature with a sea urchin for a head standing about four feet tall scuttling out in garb made of seaweed, fishing net and shells. It's teeth chattered, crawling on hands and feet to a few feet in front of them, the spines on it's head moving around in interest. Barney's skin was covered in barnacles and patches of green algae growing on his skin. Barney chattered it's teeth, bobbing his head about as he investigated Kalmuli and the newcomer.

Kalmuli would reach behind her to Red's hand. "Here...He just needs a sniff."She said, pulling Red over. "Barney, this is Red. She's a guest. We don't eat guests."

@Red the Ambivalent

Edited by Kalmuli

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Red stayed silent as they walked along, reflecting on the terrible decision the night prior, or rather a mere couple of hours ago. She'd been through much worse in her short years, although a good amount of her problem now was repression. Red didn't let things show that were a bother to her, and after so much happening in so few years the psion had simply...Snapped. On a normal day the thought of suicide wouldn't be something she'd toil with or even give the time of day, thinking back she really hadn't a clue what pushed her so far over the brink. While the elven one walked on and spoke, Red kept her eyes trained to the ground just behind Kal's feet, regret pressing around her heart. It was a call for help. It made sense. "I don't have anyone, not now. It makes sense. I didn't know why it was so hard to deal with Akako's disappearance, the loss of a baby all within a span of months. Lyra and Lee are to the North, working on a project city. Akako is gone. Avvercus hasn't even arrived at the Keep yet for his employment. I can't very well rant and cry to the help, they'd not understand."

Before she had realized what she was doing, Red was spilling more of her heart to the woman that had pulled her from the leech infested lake. Kalmuli was there when things were bleak at the Keep, when the city needed someone to keep it together while she was gone. Even so Red wasn't terribly close, at least not until she'd fallen so desperately into a depression that what she felt was a budding kinship had begun.

Red nearly bumped into the back of Kal when she stopped to call for the strange little creature, startling herself as she came up short with a small huff. As Barney sauntered from the brush, one of her blonde brows rose in amusement. He was a cute thing, in his own small way. As her hand was captured and pulled, Red crouched down next to the other and allowed the creature to get a wiff of her scent. "Hello Barney." Cooing ever so softly, she stretched her fingers to allow him the whole of her palm.

@Kalmuli

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Barney waited until Red was close enough to reach out and hold her hands with his forefingered palms, sniffling and licking at her hand with a bumpy, blue tongue. He tasted her, his barbs slowly moving around in interest. When he had his fill of her, he backed off and ran back to the bush where he came from, the sound of clattering shells rummaging through. He would come back with something in his hand, presenting her with an oyster shell that gleamed with it's opalescent innards when presented in the light. He would clatter his teeth, running off again. Kalmuli would chuckle, releasing Red's hand. "He likes you. He must have tasted something good on you because he doesn't present one of his treasures. He's got a whole horde of shiny things from the beach he collects."He said, gesturing to the bush he was in. "Just don't disturb his little treasury there and you'll be good friends."

Kalmuli would start for the cabin, stepping onto a small porch and opening a sliding glass door that lead into the living space. It was modest, decorated with bones and shells from the beach with a stunning view from the balcony on the other side of the room. There was a well stocked kitchen and a long hallway just beside it that lead to the bedrooms. "The one thing you must remember...is that strength doesn't always come from the ones around us. It's like a heat that we have to keep fanning ourselves to keep going...and on occasion, someone in our lives to bring a little kindling."Kalmuli explained. "I've destroyed myself countless times until the Patae Fata...Byrn...Ingrid...until all of them came into my life and gave me a little bit of help to keep going. Not a lot...but just enough."

Kalmuli would lead her to the hallway, wandering down and stopping at a side room, opening the door to a small but pleasant room with a view of the sea with it's own, small private balcony and a lounge chair for sunning. "This is you room. Closest to the bathroom and the kitchen. Mine is just down the hall. Go ahead and unpack. Make it as homely as you need it to be to help you. I'm going to send for something for lunch from one of my shore mates. "She grinned. "We'll have a beach-side fish fry tonight for dinner."

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Nearly flinching when Barney actually grabbed her hand with his small stubby ones, Red let out a breath she'd been holding while he sniffed and even licked with his somewhat cat-like tongue. Never having seen a creature of this sort she was mildly cautious, but the caution was set aside due to her trust in Kalmuli. Letting her other hand fall to her knee as she shuffled away, she gave the other woman a quick side-glance before returning her gaze to the returning Barney. A smile split her pale lips as he handed her some sort of glinting oyster, a gift it seemed for a friendly face. "Thank you, Barney." The connection Kalmuli had with the creature stoked an old memory that had long since settled and had been forgotten, back on Gaia in times before Sigil when life had been rather enlightening for the psion.

Toby, a small black and red fox that the blonde had befriended and grown to love as a pet of her own back at the Kusakabe Teahouse. The small fox that an old lover had grown to trust and love as his own alongside the small child they'd adopted. The memory soon brought a saddened frown to plague her expression, bringing the oyster close to her breast as she held it with both hands. Times long since forgotten, a lover gone from the world and a son somewhere within the Multiverse that she would never see again. Glinting tears fogged her cybernetic eyes as she sniffled harshly and shook her head before standing up. No words spoken in return to Kalmuli's as the two women made their way up the steps towards the cabin that would act as her home away from home as well.

Still holding the oyster close, she followed Kal in a haze of memories, hearing but not listening as she spoke of strength and people. It was strange, Kahlan had cried so much these past months she'd thought there were no more tears to give to this world, she should be dried up and numb as she would like. Here she walked, fighting back more torrents of pitiful sorrow over a life she no longer lived and people she no longer could see. The woman wanted nothing more than to bloody her fist, feel thriving pain rather than crippling sorrow and grief yet she simply walked and heard. It was strange how the world worked, how many obstacles the Gods threw at someone to break them down, expecting those people to get up and be stronger than they had been before. She didn't see that light at the end of the tunnel, not yet.

Blinking several times to banish the onset tears, she heard Kalmuli speak of her room and of dinner, forcing a smile and a short nod. "Thank you, again. For everything." It wasn't the time to be distracted and hurt, this was a vacation meant to heal and relax.

Moving past Kal, Red gently set the oyster down on a desk against one of the walls, slinging her pack from her shoulder onto the bed.

@Kalmuli

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Kalmuli could sense that Red was in her own little world but kept talking, trying to reground her again. "Should you need a bathing suit, I have plenty of different sizes. Helps if you have multiple guests staying at random times."She said, leaning against the doorway of the room. Kalmuli wanted to observe her for a few minutes, watching with an inquisitive but pleasant gaze. "I have one or two rules...No cliff diving for one. Too many craggy areas to do it but swimming in the bay we're in is safe. Two, Stay out of Barney's nest unless he invites you. Otherwise we'll be picking out his spines out for days and they are quite venomous. When they're dry and hollow though they make good needles for sewing and pinning."She said, trying to recall the others. "Ah...You can use the training grounds here too. I usually take my advanced students here as a way of bonding but classes are out for the summer so they're at home with families or back at the school. Whatever you destroy, you clean up or fix on your own. This isn't a palace so you'll treat it like your own home and take care of your own things."Kal explained, moving into the room and looking to the balcony. She would have to contact someone just in case but having the balcony open would be safe enough for Red. She looked out at the sea, then turned around, leaning against the door frame of the balcony door itself. 

"There's hot springs in the woods too. If you follow the path we came on but take the right at the fork, it'll take you straight there. Just don't leave anything shiny on your clothes, Barney may follow you and try to take them. Getting them back means finding something he really wants to trade for."She chuckled, tapping her chin. "What else...I think that covers about everything..."

Her ears perked suddenly though she gestured to Red while she was unpacking. "And if you feel like you need to scream...or cry...or do something to yourself that requires some extra help to help you recover...Call on me. Crying is normal...natural....You can get it all out here. Even if it requires us going for a bay-wide run, scaling cliffs or dueling, you can ask. Just do it. Here you don't have to worry about titles and your inhibitions can run rampant in the safety of the bay."She concluded as a final rule. "Just don't go too crazy on the psionics...I like my mind. It's where I keep my fondest treasures."

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While Kalmuli continued on with her slew of surprisingly distracting sentences, the woman began to unpack the pack she'd hastily thrown together back in her Keep, pulling out more clothes and items that could seemingly fit. She was silent again as her hands worked, refolding and gently laying out everything in neat rows and piles on the generous bed that would be her own for the foreseeable future. The voice coming from the doorway kept her focused enough, as was the purpose so Red didn't fall back into herself, back to the vulnerable Kahlan that had taken over since the night prior. It wasn't a thing she'd noticed yet, that the person lurking within her mind was a former self, someone she'd let out months ago in a dreary city full of dreary memories with an even more dreary person. She was Red when the psion felt more in control and less pathetic, but when she began to slip there was another person in there waiting to catch her and take over.

Kahlan was vulnerable, a person she had left behind years ago when there was nobody but herself to rely upon. Letting her out into the world again had been a disastrous mistake, one Red would be fighting for years to come.

A smile cracked her lips apart at the list of rules, again as so many other times she committed the rules to memory so she wouldn't overstep any bounds within Kal's home. There wasn't a Queen Red here, only Red Yusuke the psion as she'd been told already. "I'm good at following direction." Her voice cracked through the quiet after some time, an admittance she'd not made in some time as it hadn't been her duty to follow anymore. The blonde would much rather follow orders than make them, there was less room for mistake and much less room to be hurt in the process so long as she made the correct choices. She stopped in her busy work after she noticed her hands were shaking, making a mess of the neatly folded shirts she had tried one too many times to make more neat. Fingers curled against her palm into small fists, an airy sigh flowing through her nostrils while eyes closed in an attempt to steady herself.

"Cliff scaling sounds fun." Again her voice cut through the silence while her fingers unfurled and she finally quit tampering with her clothes. Distractions, she needed them more than anything and anything physical would do wonders to keep her mind from straying.

@Kalmuli

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Kalmuli raised an eyebrow. She had been sarcastic about the cliff scaling...but it wasn't impossible. The only thing that they had to fear in falling was diving into the water. She smiled, chuckling and moving over to stand beside her, grabbing her shoulders to ease her to turn around and sit on the bed. "You won't be scaling any cliffs with your hands shaking."She said, taking one of her hands and patting it between hers. Her whole body seemed to be trembling. Not out of cold but just anxiety. 

Kalmuli reached up to the side of Red's head, pulling it over to rest on her shoulder as she patted and pet her hair. "Sit for a few minutes and calm yourself...You're shaking like a leaf."She cooed softly. Kalmuli would keep soothingly petting her hair, whispering low hushes. Sometimes it was good to be coddled for a little bit. "Don't push yourself so hard...Sit like this a few minutes and try again when you're ready. Baby steps. If you need help, I'll put your things away for you and you can rest. You probably haven't had much sleep in a while."

@Red the Ambivalent

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