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SEPTEMBER, 71 CE

Located near Roman Petuaria[1], Britannia

The weather had begun to adapt to the seasonal climate, but on days like today, with their tunics soaked in sweat, it was as if it were still mid-July. Immin was a new addition to the family, by way of his recent marriage to Turi’s[2] elder sister, Erea[3]. He was a strapping veteran of the conflicts with the Romans that had plagued the Parisi tribe over a decade past and Turi quickly grew enamoured of his new brother-in-law’s history fighting against the Romans–a people he had grown to revile since they slaughtered his father on that fateful day, near Petuar in the winter of 62 CE.

Their friendship, as well as Turi’s interest in swordsmanship, would result in Immin taking the enthusiastic youth under his wing, versing him in the ways of warfare. On this day they began after dawn, but by noon, that day’s regimen had been fairly exhaustive and presented a lull in the exercise, which had given way to a discussion concerning the boy’s late father.

“I remember, on the day he departed for Petuar… he was large enough to wrap all five of us in his arms as we bid him farewell,” Turi recollected fondly on the last impression his father ever imparted on his childhood memory. “Then again, maybe we were just small enough. A matter of perspective, I suppose,” Turi pondered aloud, as his sight dropped to the ground and he reflected inwardly on the rhetoric statement of his own design.

“Eyes up!” Immin ordered upon a successful break of his opponent’s tepid guard. “Stay focused,” he further instructed, recognizing his pupil’s wavering attention. Despite the stern vocalisation of his in-law, it would be the firm welt of Immin’s wooden sword upon his collarbone that would register with Turi’s cognisance. Ach! That’s going to hurt tomorrow.

He shrieked in pain and annoyance, “Oi! What was that?” Withdrawing a couple of paces from his current position and rolling his shoulders in an effort to dispel the discomfort, he sneered at his so-called tutor. Ignoring his student’s outburst, Immin began to address the issue at hand.

“Men don't fight for what they’ve lost; men fight for all the things they can still have. Take care you don’t abscond with your pleasant memories and childhood dreams. A man needs to face the realities of life in order to overcome them. Too many unprepared boys who believed themselves grown, have only to be found wanting,” he ended his protracted lecture on a pregnant pause, leaving his words to ruminate in his young ward’s mind.

Turi gawped at Immin in momentary stunned silence upon his surprising, almost regretful disclosure. The adolescent Briton had never been particularly good at reading social cues or interpreting body language. He attempted to deflect the serious turn of their conversation on a humorous note, “Has my sister married a Briton warrior or a Greek tragedian?”

“War shapes many things, my dear boy. Whether it be the men who fight them or the minds who suffer them. One need not be Greek nor Roman to recognise a particular poetry, certainly tragedy, in all our lives…  now, raise your shield,” Immin concluded their discussion that abrupt note, ending the brief standstill and swinging his training sword overhead.

Turi took a step forward, heaving his circular shield above to accept the strike. The weight of the blow would cause his arm to quake and strain under the pressure. Without letting up on the assault, Immin followed up his overhead swing with a piercing lunge in to his pupil’s midsection. His thrust landed square, connecting with Turi’s chest and compelling him into a kneeling position, as air rapidly expelled from his lungs. Immin rested the flat side of his weapon under the boy’s chin, using the leverage to force eye contact. Raising an inquisitive eyebrow, the senior Briton queried, “Yield?”

Turi groaned at the prospect of having lost yet another bout to the more experienced combatant, since he’d thought he had substantially improved of late. When Immin removed the point of his sword from the neck of his student, Turi saw an opportunity and seized upon it. When the elder man reached out his hand, presumably to assist the boy to his feet, Turi swung wildly at Immin’s ankles and swept him to floor. The younger man quickly ascended to a standing overlook, resting one of his feet on the trunk of his tutor. Mimicking his assailant only moments ago, Turi rested the flat of his sword on his opponent’s chin and repeated Immin’s inquiry in a sarcastic tone, “Yield?

Their swordplay was interrupted by the sound of footsteps upon the stone path that encircled the house. “Uh, er- Erea!” Turi stammered in his sudden alarm. He struggled to find the words to explain their predicament, since Erea had long voiced her disapproval at the prospect of Turi wielding weapons. Since they lost their father so many years ago, with Rome’s might had proving indomitable.

“Um… welcome home, dearest Sister. Back so soon? How was your day?” He attempted to diffuse the situation with a quick succession of questions, once again detracting from the more serious matter at hand.

@Sara

Reader Advisory:

  • [1] Roman Petuaria, known as Petuar to the local Britons, is located in the modern-day East Riding of Yorkshire.
  • [2] Ambrosius' Briton name was Turi
  • [3] Charis' Briton name was Erea
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Erea trudged back through the woods that surrounded their little home and forge, and the cluster of others that sat nearby. Poor Alaife was miserable and still had a handful of weeks to go before her her child joined their world and try as she might to cheer her up, Erea had failed. Sighing to herself, she pushed her intricate braids back over her shoulders and moved forward. She always enjoyed the peace and quiet of nature and now was as good a time as any for contemplation. The walk was a little over an hour, and most of the journey back she'd spent in silent musing about nothing and everything; her life, the occupation, her new husband...although the latter brought a little flush to her cheeks. She let out a deeply held breath in contentment at the thought and rounded the final few hundred yards back to their home. 

The usual sounds of Calpornus in the forge rang out loud and clear, although her little sister was nowhere to be found (not surprising, she'd found a gaggle of girls in the next settlement over and spent her days frittering and gossiping). Yet there was another sound and she frowned before she entered their home and instead walked gently around the side of the wattle and daub dwelling. What she saw made her jaw drop and she swallowed her fury. 

Her eyes flicked between the figure of her husband lying prone on the floor, and her youngest brother looking like an animal for the slaughter. Her glare could have burned the forest around them. Swiftly she removed the bag she carried from her shoulder and threw it with a thump to the floor. "Dear brother." She snapped, "My day was fine." She tilted her head to the side, eyes narrowing as she glanced between the two men with lingering glares. "Poor Alaife and I were talking about the world of pain she'll be in for when the little one comes, although I suspect that pain is nothing compared to what you two will be going through imminently." She snapped and strode forward so she was next to their little show, although she cursed that despite his youth, her brother was over a head and a half taller than her. At least she could look down on her husband. "Who wants to explain this?" She shot a glare to her brother and then to Immin, and she cursed herself for how her gaze softened a little. "You stupid fucking idiot, what about your leg?"

Immin only muttered gruffly, "It's fine, it's fine..." But added with a good natured grin to Turi, "See how bad she treats me? You're lucky I don't just run out on you and leave you alone with that mouth, Gods..." Erea glared down and kicked him firmly in the thigh and Immin grimaced in pain but let out a good natured chuckle, as was his way. The sarcastic git. "This is not funny.She swore under her breath and glanced up at her brother, "Well?"

 

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Immin had been a great warrior, once. On his good days, he was still a capable fighter and on all the days that Turi had known him, he carried himself with a dignified mask that belied the wounded pride of his past vigour. Unfortunately, he had sacrificed greatly for the ideals of his youth; his body first and foremost.

It was a concern that had seemed inconsequential early on, when his young pupil possessed nought an ounce of skill. Due to his diligent tutelage, Immin now faced a flourishing strength that befit an adolescent male on the precipice of maturing into manhood, as well as an evolving and tactical mind characteristic of an experienced combatant. The challenging pace that been set by his ward, had caused Immin to exert himself to capacity during their clash.

"Well?” Erea asked, or more likely, demanded. Wincing at the bark in her tone, Turi stepped aside and dismounted from his anchored position above the aged veteran. Discarding his shield from the left arm, he assisted Immin to his feet and began to assess the damage to the elder Briton. It seemed mostly superficial, but he had assumed a noticeable limp. Whether that was from Turi’s cheap tactic or the ‘tender loving care’ of his spouse, they may never know.

Bollocks! Okay, flattery didn’t work… divert, divert. Be funny.

“What can I say?” Turi inquired of his sister, affecting a sweetness to his tone. “Sometimes I don’t know my own strength,” he continued, accompanying his feigned innocence with a signature Cheshire grin. “Maybe we should make Calpornus take a break from the forge, so Immin can have an easier opponent,” he finally quipped, adding to his daily sum of deflections.

O bugger, you fool! The forge; that’s where you should be. Calpornus is going to throttle you.

With beseeching eyes, he looked towards Immin, hoping he may interject some well-thought out excuse. Turi never did well at thinking on his ‘feet’. If today’s lesson was a demonstration of anything, it was that he was at his best when required to work from the ground up. His silent appeal fell on appropriately deaf ears and his mouth began to release words before he’d even had the time to consider them.

“Well, uh, you see… he, uh, Calpornus that is. He wanted us to check the balance of the swords?” Turi ended, what should’ve been a statement, with an upward inflection in his voice and a quizzical expression on his face.

@Sara

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If looks could kill, Immin and Turi would be long dead, buried and forgotten judging by the look Erea was giving them. At his joke she rolled her eyes and exhaled a breath. Her father had often commented to her mother whenever Calpornus and Turi would argue that 'boys will be be boys'. Even back then she had found it irritating, but now she wanted to wring both of their necks. Were they imbeciles? Dead in the head? Or just that arrogant that they thought she wouldn't find out? When she did finally speak, it was to her brother rather than husband who stood slightly awkwardly to the side. Their marriage was a new one, and evidently he wasn't confident enough yet to test the boundaries of her patience. "Maybe I should go and get Calpornus, I'm sure he'd enjoy giving you the hiding of your life." If he wasn't also involved, she mused with grim perception. 

Instead, she stood silently. She moved a hand to her hip and tilted her head to watch the little silent interaction between the two guilty parties. If she was less furious she'd be amused. At Turi's explanation, she felt a wave of relief wash over her. There was no way her elder brother would be embroiled in this nonsense, not if that was the excuse Turi gave. Were all men idiots, or just the ones she was related to?

Shaking her head she glowered up at him. "He asked you to check the weight of...wooden swords?" She arched a brow and glanced down at the practice sword in his hand. "I know he's not as good as father but I had thought our brother at least a good enough blacksmith to realise that wooden swords don't need to be checked for balance." She took a step forward and didn't fail to notice Immin take a limping step back, away from the sibling's confrontation. Smart man. Without hesitation she reached up both of her hands to either side of her brothers face and looked at him hard, with deep intensity. "I asked you not to do this. What..." She shook her head and shot a sorrowful, albeit still angry, look towards her husband as she dropped her hands. "I asked for an explanation and I'm still waiting." Was all she said. There would be hell to pay for this.

 

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Turi possessed neither the aptitude nor the temperament of an effective liar, especially in regards to his eldest sister. He could rationalise a white lie to Calpornus, on the grounds that his brother was among the harshest of taskmasters. He could accept an omission of truth when honesty could be perceived as an affront to the innocent sensibilities of their youngest sibling, Ardra. Yet, he struggled to come to terms with attempting to deceive Erea–the sister that had provided the bedrock of their family for nearly a decade now.

Wooden swords?! That was your best idea? You’re hopeless. Whatever happens, don’t look her in the eye. You’ll fold. Again. You always do.

The firm press of his sister’s delicate hands against the broadsides of his face would spurn to fruition that very fear. As if reading Turi’s mind, her grasp would force him to comply with her mandated gaze. Suddenly he felt–Guilt. He always felt guilty whenever she disapproved of his actions. If only he could make her understand that it was all for their benefit. Her benefit. At the very least, that’s what he believed to be certain. “Y-you don’t understand,” he began his nervous confession. “I was only try-“

“Trying to impress a young lass,” Immin dispensed a terse interruption, seeming to believe the implication was obvious.

The sudden interjection by their ‘so far, so quiet’ third-party had caused the hairs on the nape of Turi’s neck to stand on end. His eyes darted from the momentary attention of his periphery, back to the interrogative probes of Erea’s own. “What? No, I-I’m-” he hesitated, cutting the sentence short.

Was that meant to be of assistance? Maybe this is some kind of lesson. Maybe he just wants to watch you squirm. Maybe you shouldn’t have made fun of him earlier.

A dizzying array of thoughts swam through his mind as he hastened to find the one that would supply his expected response. Due to the many submissive qualities of his personality and an inherent degree of anxiety, Turi had been a relatively antisocial individual by nature. He certainly never had particular success with the opposite sex. The difficulties he faced in this regard would surely supply this duplicity with far more substance than the previous one. He inhaled sharply, before relenting, “Aye, it’s about a girl.”

“Her name is Étaín,” he offered a final revelation, hoping it might somehow startle his sister in to acquiescence. Turi believed it was unlikely to have the desired effect, but he was willing to try anything at this point in his effort to hide the facts of his true intentions. He tempered his expression of concern to convey a sense of embarrassment and his eyes pleaded with hers, silently asking her not to pry further. Would she buy it?

@Sara

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Erea turned her hardened gaze from her brother to her husband. A girl? He was doing this, expressly against her wishes, for...a girl? She narrowed her eyes, and was about to speak when her  brothers stuttering interrupted her and she arched a brow. Gods have mercy on him, he was so close! She understood - although not fully - that men or boys did foolish things for the attentions of women, and might well of believed him. But Turi had never been a particularly astute liar, and his hesitation now spoke volumes. Nonetheless, she stayed quiet, watching him. When he finally fished with a revelation she held a finger up to silence Immin as he was about to speak. For all of his masculine strength and virility, he was remarkably good at listening to her, and stayed respectfully quiet during this little exchange. 

"Étaín?" She queried, "I don't know any Étaín's. Where does she live?" Their little settlement was small, only with five or six other families and those other villages in the surrounding area were well known to her and her family, given they were the only forge in walking or riding distance for most. Still, she probed at his lie a little, just to see how far he'd take it. 

She ignored his embarrassed look at instead turned to speak to Immin, over her brothers shoulder; "Girl or not, I thought better of you. He's fourteen." Her jaw worked in irritation and she glowered at him. As if taking his cue, Immin strode up to Turi and slapped the young lad on his shoulder. He moved to kiss his wife's cheek but she ducked out of the way. Stiffly, still in pain, but with a good natured grin to his young brother in law he moved off; "I'll leave you to it, family business and all." When he had sloped off, Erea turned her attentions back to Turi. Crossing her arms over her chest she breathed heavily through her nose. "Don't insult me Turi, I'm your sister." She sighed and softened a little bit. Gods why was everybody so frustrating? "There's not a girl, and I...don't understand. Has something happened? Is that why...?" She gestured to to the discarded wooden swords.

 

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You don’t know any Étaín either. Where did you even come up with that name? You need to stop listening to that Hibernian man’s stories about the fair-folk. He meant your sister, you oaf!

Of course he did. This was a lesson. Immin had a way of recognising the obvious, but Turi need only recall their earlier conversation to understand the wider meaning. He needed to face his reality and he needed to begin now. “Don’t be angry with him. He’s right. You’re both right. I’m sorry,” he began meekly.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated, gathering his resolve. “I’m sorry I wasn’t being honest with you, but I’m not a child anymore,” his voice beginning to rise in volume, as his determination climbed.

“Even Ardra will have to grow up sometime. You can’t protect us forever, but we can safeguard one another. Calpornus is always going to be a better blacksmith than me, he’s said so himself. Why marry a warrior just to watch him wither? I want to be your first line of defence, not the last. Now more than ever,” he hinted towards the direction that Immin had departed, in an effort to have her acknowledge the insinuated eventualities of her new relationship.

“When the Romans march north to divide our lands into latifundia[1] for their nobles, am I supposed to thank them for their generosity in sparing our lives? When they steal you away to sate their sadistic appetites, am I meant to plead with them for Ardra’s sake? No. I’ll be ready then and we need no longer live like dirt under the heel of a Roman sandal,” Turi spat out his words and each painful possibility with the vitriol of a person who’d lived through these myriad of potentials a hundred times in their mind.

Time is meant to be a healer, but the period between the present moment and the loss of his father had only cradled the evolving animosity of the young Briton towards his nation’s oppressors. It felt though a great weight had lifted from his shoulders as the confession escaped the confines of his lips. It would only give way to the great wait of time his nervous mind would perceive as he awaited her response.

@Sara

Reader Advisory:

  • [1] 'Latifundia' is the Latin term for extensive parcels of privately owned lands.
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Erea listened with patience she didn't feel. Thank all the Gods their mother was out today and Calpornus was occupied, and so Turi only had to face her wrath and upset. "You are a child." She snapped back as he paused, "You're not a man yet, although the Gods know you want to be and I-" But she stopped herself, glowering up at him as he continued to talk. This, this exact moment, had been wait she was dreading. Their peace had been shattered nine years ago and they were only slowly rebuilding their lives under Roman occupation, but Erea was pragmatic enough to recognise they were lucky. They still had their health, and the majority of their family, they still had the forge although obviously its profits now dwindled...but they had so much when others had lost everything. To have it thrown back in her face was almost too much to bare. 

She took a step forward and hissed at him, "Keep your voice down before I pull out that tongue." She glared, "Turi, listen to me." She implored and tried to calm herself with a cleansing breath, "Nothing will happen to me, I promise." And she genuinely believed it. She was a free woman, and a married one at that and despite her fiery tongue, she knew the boundaries she needed to tread. But her own welfare was secondary now, in this conversation and she snapped again at her brother, "And what do you plan to do Turi? You and Immin against a legion? They'll slaughter you, you fool." It had happened to their father, it would happen to him. She couldn't stomach even the thought of it and hurriedly continued, "And then they'll come for us and they won't hold back Turi...do you want to explain to Ardra what they'll do, or do you want to leave that to me?" Because that's what they did. What better way to get to the rot but by pulling apart the whole damn tree? 

She shook her head and blinked back tears, but tears of frustration and anger, not upset. "You're an absolute fool. We're alive aren't we, Turi? We've got each other? You can't...you can't risk that for nothing...." She swallowed, "Did Immin put you up to this?"

 

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You and Immin against a legion? Ha! Even she thinks you’re a joke. Lost little lamb, thinks he’s a man.

“No,” Turi stropped sourly at Erea’s interrogation. He continued with a petulant declaration, “I can think for myself!”

That may have been a half-truth. Immin certainly hadn’t objected to the idea, but he didn’t inspire it. Furthermore, Turi never revealed the implicit disapproval that his sister had previously voiced at the prospect, but Immin had appeared to possess his own unspoken agenda as well. Nonetheless, his sister’s abject refusal to view him as less of a child and more of an equal would inspire additional bellowing from the disillusioned youth.

“Petuar has more Romans every time we visit. They’re taking the town without a fight and claiming all the land south, and north of Lindon[1]. Did you know they call it Lindum now? Are we all to become Romans now? The ones that survive anyhow. That’s not what our father fought for. He didn’t die so we could become his murderers,” his rant paused on this appeal to her sentimentality.

Hoping to double down on this approach, the delay would amount to the time it took to inhale before resuming, “I don’t propose charging headlong in to Roman cohorts, but I do intend to be able to fend off some legionaries who seek their retirement package in our home. I’d sooner see us die as free Britons, then live in chains to Romans; wouldn’t you?”

Surely his sister could see the rationale in learning how to defend oneself. He may be big and strong, but a fist is no match for a scutum[2] and a boxer’s chin is no armour against a gladius[3].

@Sara

Reader Advisory:

  • [1] The Roman colony of Lindum, known as Lindon to the local Britonsis located in the modern-day city of Lincoln, in Lincolnshire
  • [2] The scutum is a type of shield used by Roman legionaries
  • [3] The gladius (hispaniensis) is a type of sword used by Roman legionaries
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Erea eyed him with a mixture of pure hostility and sadness. She listened quietly, patiently, biding her time. She let him rant but as he mentioned their father, she felt as if she had been struck in the chest and almost double over. "Don't you dare!" She argued back, her voice rising, "Petuar is Roman, Turi! Lindon is Roman!She glowered at him. "The whole bloody island is Roman now, they won!" She took a step forward and let him continue, swallowing her anger and the bile that was rising in her throat. She hoped to the Gods that Calpornus couldn't hear them over the sounds of the forge. 

When he was finished she rounded on him, coming up close but was lost for words. What could she say to that? She had never thought of herself as cowardly, not really, but here she was being taught a lesson in bravery by her fourteen year old brother. Then again, her mother had often said that bravery was only foolishness masked. After a few moments she finally spoke, but her voice was quiet and cold rather than angry and loud. "I'd rather live, Turi." She said and then finally dragged her eyes up to his. "I have a husband, I have a family...I want my own family, one day." Although not now, not with things as they were. Shaking her head she continued, "You saw what Father's death did to mother. What would your death to do her? To me? To Ardra? I..." She hesitated, and shook her head. "I hate them as much as you do, please don't think I don't but...we've already lost so much, we can't lose anymore. Do you understand me?" And even in the grand scheme of things, they'd lost less than most.

 

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His sister’s sharp rebukes and sorrowful eyes had caused Turi to find it increasingly difficult to persist on the bellicose course he had helmed throughout their exchange. Erea always had a knack for appearing to be the rational and sensible one in arguments. As much as he may want to disagree, he had to begrudgingly admit that she was also usually right.  His tact would have to change if he wished to make any headway, against his headstrong sister.

“I understand the risks, but you can’t see the bigger picture,” he muttered through clenched teeth, in an attempt to temper the building irritability in his tone. If he had to begin to confront reality, she needed to face some harsh truths too.

“Will this family you desire call you ‘Mater[1], for want of their mother-tongue? Will you be happy then? Because we used to do more than live. We used to be happy. We used to thrive. We didn’t just survive,” he slackened his furrowed brow and tried to dull the potency of his reproach. Turi didn’t wish to make his sister feel as if he blamed her in any way, but the defeatism imbued by her response grappled with his own sanguine position.

"I may not be a man yet, but I'm going to need to be one. Perhaps, sooner than you may think. I can't keep following in a shadow that my own overcasts so easily. I need to start making my own decisions," he expressed more gently then his prior discourse, but embraced an outwardly, steely resolve. He could only hope the façade wouldn't crumble upon exposure to her rebuttal.

@Sara

Reader Advisory:

  • [1] 'Mater' is the Latin word for 'Mother'
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Erea snapped her head to the side, irritated more by her own feelings than what Turi had done (although that wasn't to say his actions hadn't stung). She had, for so long, since their father's death and their mothers rapid unravelling, been their protector but if her petite stature compared to her giant brothers hadn't made her realise her slackening grasp on authority, then today certainly had. "We can still be happy." She countered, although it was muted. No doubt her brother thought of her as a coward, but she was trying to hold together their family, she was trying to keep them afloat and even if that meant she had none of his headlong bravery, it didn't mean she was without feelings. 

As he continued speaking she looked back to him, breathing deeply through her nose to try and steady her frayed feelings. Looking at him now most people would undoubtedly be confused over her assertions he wasn't yet a man, but all Erea could see was her little brother who she had held in her arms when she had only been a tiny child herself. The thought of all of that changing was too painful. 

Tentatively, she spoke and tried to measure her words. Whilst in the past she could rage and rant with the best of them, lately she'd been trying to keep a more even keel. "You can make your own decisions, but if this is your decision then you can leave." She swallowed the lump in her throat and hoped her father wasn't cursing her name. "Turi, you cannot..." No, "I will not let you jeopardise your family like this." She blinked up at him and tried to keep a steely demeanour like his, but her big blue eyes were easy to read and her upset was evident. Struggling for words she paused for a moment before continuing slowly; "If you want to rail against our occupiers then you can go and join the boys in the woods who throw sticks at the Romans as they march past, or the bands of men that plot and scheme to retake Petuar. But you can't stay here." She swallowed again, "Not if this is what you're going to do."

 

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You in the woods? You wouldn’t last a week. The island’s wolves are hardly as merciful as your ‘she-wolf’ of a sister.

He bit his tongue in an attempt to dull the sting of her words. Though small squabbles between the assorted personalities of their household were hardly uncommon, Turi was rarely prone to argue with Erea, more often preferring to defer to her in most cases. This was surely the worst of their infrequent disagreements, at least in terms of the potential repercussions. Would she truly see their family disown him? Perish the thought. His sister had presented an ultimatum, but Turi knew there was only one conceivable option.

“If that be your will, your highness,” he spat sarcastically. Tempting the dragon in his position could be described as ‘foolhardy’ at best, but the fire in his chest had been further sparked by her continued refusal to meet him part way. He had presumed his sister might share his views to some degree or at least held enough faith in him to not believe him so brainless as to naively endanger their family. He had long held a deep respect for Erea, but this exchange had begun to transform his childhood perceptions and he lamented that respect was not returned in her estimation of himself. Was he truly being unreasonable? He thought not.

“It seems I need not flee to the woods to find my oppressors. Bind my hands if it please,” he hissed at her admonishment and threw out his hands, mockingly bound. Stalking a few paces towards the discarded training swords, he picked them both up and placed one under his right arm. “But first, allow me,” he declared as he gripped one of the wooden instruments by either end and snapped it in half over his thigh. Throwing the two half-pieces to the side, he grasped the handle of remaining weapon that sat under his arm and threw it wildly upon the stone path that encircled their wattle and daub house. As it landed, it splintered in to several wooden shards. It would be safe to say that his irritation had developed in to a full blown tantrum.

“The offending items have been dealt with. I shall go bash my head against the wall to forget all that dangerous knowledge, if it please you,” he huffed and strode past his sister, refusing to look her in the eyes as he attempted to depart, in the hope of escaping a further tongue-lashing.

@Sara

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"Oh Turi," Erea snapped, rolling her eyes at her brothers impetuousness as he referred to her as her highness - not that she'd been much different at his age. Time had changed her, as had her ever growing list of familial duties - not to mention her recent nuptials, "Stop it." 

She watched him with a look of apathy, upset and annoyance as he did his little show - although she audibly tutted at his mock imprisonment. She was going to interject, clap him round the head and tell him to stop being a fool but decided to wait and let him air his frustrations in full. She knew better than to try and stop a raging bull mid-charge. As he stalked to pick up the wooden sword and cracked it clean in two, her eyes narrowed. As much as he was railing against her and her rules, he was doing exactly what she wanted at least and she couldn't keep the impish, small smile from her lips. However, as he threw the second one she visibly jolted - unnerved by the sound, although thankfully the sound of hammers on metal continued which meant Immin was at least keeping Calpornus occupied. 

As he moved past her, muttering, Erea took a step back so she was blocking his path into their house (although fortunately not her house for much longer, given Immin's building project next door was almost complete). "It would bloody please me, yes, if it makes you see sense." She grit her jaw but after a deep breath, relaxed her posture. She needed her brother to see her as calm and rationale. Tentatively, she reached up on her toes and placed her palms either side of his face in an attempt to force him to look at her. "You are an idiot, and you're stubborn and you're...Gods so infuriating Turi, but I love you." She would have leant up to kiss his cheek but doubted she could reach anymore. "Do you understand that? I'm not doing this to stop you from being brave or heroic, or to be cruel, I'm doing this because I love you and want to keep you safe." Dropping her hands she reached down to pick up the splintered sword which lay despondently next to them. "Enough of this, yes?" 

 

TAG: @Polarity

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Turi's infantile display did little to prove his case for manhood. Perhaps his sister did had the right of it. His actions over the course of the day had served to exhaust him, physically and emotionally. As Erea reaffirmed her familial love for him in spite of the growing tension, Turi was filled with an enormous sense of regret. His harsh words had not diminished her care for him, despite his own wavering. He had failed to recognise her resilience in the face of adversity, one of her most endearing qualities and the foundation of his admiration of her. It was a trait he himself had never possessed and he was beginning to realise the hidden strength inherent of such a spirit. It may be that his sister had more to teach him about being a man than he had ever realised. "I... I love you too," he muttered in a whisper, straining his eyes to hold back tears and clenching his teeth to prevent an audible blubbering.

He no longer possessed the energy to construct arguments in favour of his point of view. He was no longer sure he even held the views he had begun arguing on behalf of. The longer their exchange dragged on, the more aspersions he formed of his belligerent ideals as a manifestation of his unconscious desire to return the father and the family he only retained in his memories. His past traumas continued to refuse him a better future.

"Enough. I'll stop... I swear," he declared dejectedly, bracing himself against the door frame of their house and descending to a sitting position. His mind continued to race with thoughts, but upon closing his eyes, each of his conceptions remained distorted and indistinct . He first needed to rest if he ever was to attempt to right the wrongs of today.

@Sara

Edited by Polarity
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Erea watched him with a mixture of pity and abject sadness. Her poor Turi. Life had been unkind to them all (although she had to continually remind herself, it could have been far worse) but she supposed the three years she had on her little brother had given her a different perspective on what they had lost. Not to mention, she had so much more to lose now - given her recent nuptials. With a sigh, she descended to sit next to him and gingerly moved to wrap an arm around his shoulder. She hoped any of her future children were as close to their siblings as she felt to her own. 

"What can I do?" She asked after some moments of quiet. When he was younger, her little brother and sister come to think of it, could be tempted out naughtiness with the promise of treats or other distraction, but now her brother was on the verge of manhood, she doubted a cake would do much to ward him off his path. 

With a small sigh, she tucked loose strands of hair that had escaped her braids, back behind her ear and sat in uncomfortable silence. Whilst she was sorry for him, she couldn't quite let go of her anger - not just at what he'd done, but also the newfound position she was occupying. The responsibility of the family sat heavy on her shoulders (moreso than on Calpornus', she suspected) and she loathed acting as the authoritarian, cruel matriarch. Not to mention, his outburst had provoked feelings of guilt in her she didn't expect to appear. 

 

TAG: @Polarity

I think we're nearly done!

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What could she do? The inherent irony in his sister’s question was evident to Turi, as he had long asked that very question of himself. What could any of them do? The Romans were unrelenting and all-consuming, any attempt to live in ignorance of that fact was as redundant as his solitary sword against their insurmountable legions. What would their father have done? If only he knew, it may have provided some solace. “Just… forgive me,” was his ultimate request, delivered solemnly.

Their family had truly come leaps and bounds in the years since the misfortunes of a decade past and he had never wished to provide the splinter to his sister’s fulcrum. If Erea were the home and Calpornus the hearth, then Turi thought it appropriate to assume the bastion, so that Ardra may enjoy the luxury of being a bairn. Yet, from bastion to buttress is what she would rather see him be. So be it. He felt no need to fight her on this any longer, his point had been made. If she refused to accept what he had believed inevitable, he must be the one to acquiesce. She had never steered them wrong before, and he would at least be prepared to act should the worst come to pass. He could only hope that he was wrong and she was right, as usual, but he couldn’t shake the inner turmoil aroused by his premonitions.

Bracing once more on the door frame, Turi used it at leverage this time, pulling himself back into a standing position. Dusting off the dirt from the rear of his breeches and wiping his hands on his tunic, he extended his right hand out to assist Erea to her feet. “I should go see if Calpornus needs me. Though I’m sure we would’ve heard about it if he did,” he cracked wryly, with the small amount of humour he could still derive from their uncomfortable situation.

“I'd also better let Immin know that we’re not to train anymore. Unless of course, that's a discussion you wish to have?” Turi queried, seeking confirmation and approval to go about their separate ways.

@Sara

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Erea smiled weakly, "Of course I forgive you, you stupid oaf." She tried to sound amused but it came out somewhat muted. She blamed her brother less than she blamed her husband, but the hurt at the deception and that they had both crossed her express wishes still stung deeply. It would take more than a few moments for it to disappear completely, but Turi didn't need to know that - not now. 

As he stood, she arched a brow up at him and took his hand - pulling herself to her feet, dusting down her serviceable dress. "Mhmm." She arched a brow at the sounds of Calpornus berating Immin, even if the latter had a good few years on the former their brothers forceful personality was rarely tempered. "No." She shook her head, "Let me speak to him." She smiled softly and squeezed her brothers hand. She knew exactly what she'd say to her new husband and it would be better for everybody if Turi and...well, the whole family wasn't around for it. "Send him over to the building site." She rolled her eyes and gestured with her head to the almost-finished hut that would be Erea and Immin's home, a little way apart from the forge. 

Leaning up on her tip toes she sighed and left a kiss on her brothers cheek. "Let's draw a line under this,  hm?" She arched a brow - hopefully appearing firm that she didn't wish to discuss this any further. Moving back off of her toes she smiled gently and with a sigh, turned on her heel and strode over to the half-finished dwelling - pushing open the door and blinking into the darkness. Without thinking she found herself upturning the small wooden table that housed a few building implements, kicking the items as they fell. She felt anger rush through her like a river in a storm as she waited for her husband to join her. Immin would not forget the opinions of his wife any time soon, she'd make sure of that. 

 

@Polarity

Edited by Sara
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Upon watching her depart the scene, Turi reflected on the stilted manner in which she proffered her forgiveness of his antics. Feelings of dread and regret hung over him like a cloud, as he considered the damage that may have been caused by his childish outbursts. Today had strained the sole, harmonious relationship he retained with any of his family members and succeeded in emboldening the deep-seeded sense of loss that permeated through his subconscious. The dependant relationship he had established with his eldest sister, since the volatility of their childhood, had provided the only anchor for a youth who would have rather retreated in to the vacuum of his mind, stagnating in the comfort of his fond memories. How was he to abide by the whims and wishes of a sibling to whom he owed so much, yet strive towards his own aspirations and become his own person? A question that would inspire many months of contemplation.

Turi inevitably made his way to the forge, picking up the splintered pieces of the shattered training swords along the way. He would cross paths with a returning Immin, making his own way back to the matrimonial house that existed in a state of construction. “She wants to speak with you,” Turi stated sheepishly, gesturing towards his brother-in-law in an effort to bring him to a halt.

“Could you make it sound any more menacing?” Immin quirked a brow in reply, evidently curious as to the nature of the discussion. “If you don’t hear from me in an hour, it was nice knowing you, kid,” he smirked as he continued. Turi’s eyes were aimed towards the ground, demonstrating obvious signs of hesitancy in replying to the elder man’s subtle inquiry. “We’re not to train anymore. Erea made herself quite clear,” he explained, hoping he could not sense disappointment in his mentor’s gaze.

A brief pause between the two would give way to a sigh from Immin. “I suspected as much. Very well. We’d be fools to risk her ire,” he replied, somewhat surprisingly. Immin placed a firm, right palm on the younger Briton’s right shoulder as he passed. “I’m not the only one who could teach you,” he divulged, casting a conspiratorial glance over to the hut that Erea had withdrawn to. “I have some… old friends, you may wish to meet,” he offered as a parting note, before continuing on his journey. Turi was forced to wonder how much either he or his sister really knew of her new husband. He was certainly peculiar.

FINISHED

@Sara

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