• Memory • [Venora] Chop Chop

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.

Moderators: Basilisk, Pegasus, Plague


• Memory • [Venora] Chop Chop

Postby Doran Cooney » Fri May 18, 2018 3:11 am

Image
On the 94th trial of Vhalar during the 715th arc...
The air had begun to chill, carrying with it the spice of cinnamon from Madame Lebeau's steaming mug of tea as she sat, relaxed, along the carefully carved wood of her chair. She watched from her veranda, her soft grey eyes observing the three men down below at work, the steady sounds of splintering wood and the occasional grunt of effort helping to sooth her tired bones. Late Vhalar was, by far, her most favorite season. After all, it was the time when young men seeking to pad their coin purses sought to provide menial labor to their neighbors: cutting and hauling firewood, preparing gardens for the coming chill, even cleaning and cooking.

Doran had come to Madame Lebeau not to increase his earnings but to earn anything at all. The season had been slow, even with all the help he'd provided to his neighbors' farms and gardens, and he was well aware that the silver haired widow was quite generous with their purse strings. He and the other two - Lambert and Lazare Proulx - had been taking turns at the axes, while the third stacked the finished pieces. Having just finished their current rotation, it came time again for Doran to split the rounds into more manageable pieces. Thus, he lifted his axe high, the heavy weight of the iron straining against his arms a trill before he let the sharp wedge fall forward, smashing into the round of wood with a crack and leaving behind a satisfactory split.

He could feel the sweat that had settled into the back and sides of his shirt run cool beneath the gentle breeze of the air, and as he planted a foot on the cutting block, he took a deep, relaxing breath. With some effort, he managed to draw the axe from out of the wood, wiggling it back and forth a couple times before it came fully free. Once more he swung, this time splitting the round in half. With his boot, he kicked at the pieces, shifting them about by moving them with his foot, their weight enough it required his focus but not so much he needed the finesse of his hands and fingers. When the wood was in its proper place, he swung again. And again and again. Then the second half: again, again, and again.

It was monotonous work, but there was a relaxing element to the strain of his muscles and the warmth heat of effort that reddened his cheeks and kept his breath at a high but steady pace. To keep himself from becoming over fatigued, Doran made certain not to forcefully swing the axe forward, rather, he let it fall by its own weight, more than enough to split through the log as long at it was properly aimed. He kept his legs bent and feet placed wide, supporting his body while simultaneously providing him a wide base to balance. He'd already fallen several times due to the axe's weight, but to his chagrin and the amusement of his far more muscled peers. Fortunately, the Proulx brothers were of a genial disposition and had taken it upon themselves to aid their ailing comrade rather than to snicker from the sidelines - though they still had plenty of fun at Doran's weary expense.

Finished with the first round, Doran quickly set the axe down as he heard Lazare's sharp alert, "Incoming!" With no further warning, the second round of wood flew through the air. Arms outstretched, legs bent, and weight centered, Doran braced himself for the impact. He felt a small rush of breath escape through his nose as he caught the heavy object, but he remained standing and slowly leaned forward with his back straight as he deposited the round upon the cutting block. "Nice catch, Doran!" Both brothers grinned, first at Doran than one another. Clearly they were enjoying themselves.

They stood in a patch of hard packed earth, a small but tastefully constructed shed nearby that contained the tools they now used, a small overhang off its eastern wall provided a place for the finished firewood to be stacked. Around them, Madame Lebeau's garden was in the final stages of its bloom, and the air was rich with the scent of decaying roses and other aromatic flowers. Behind them, the Madame's manor rose tall but serene, the Madame herself seemed to be a reflection of the estate: old but established, sophisticated and elegant. She was a kind woman, and though she may have had a proclivity for younger men, she only partook of those who were willing and glad of her company - of whom there were an alarming many.

"Your swing is much more confident, Mister Cooney." Lambert, the smaller of the pale haired, bright eyed brothers had a merry bounce to his voice, speaking easily though he continued to hack away at the log before him with little trouble. "You might even finish before I do."

Lazare chuckled at that, firewood in either hand as he strode confidently over to their growing stack. "Confidence does not efficiency make, brother." Though he offered an encouraging smile in spite of himself as he winked at Doran. "But you have certainly improved." Both of the siblings worked shirtless - a "service" they had called it. Doran had no desire to waltz about half clothed, but the brothers were so merry he enjoyed their company in any state of undress. "Be sure to grip your fingers a bit more tightly, you're wasting energy with more strikes than you need. Aim and let loose, but maintain a firm hold." He tossed his holdings onto the pile and started back to the gather up those that had yet to be collected, nodding affably.

Doran took his advice, finding that, as he continued, the weight of the axe only seemed to increase, and a dull numbness began to spread through his hands from the repeated force that traveled along the wooden handle of the tool. He used the lack of feeling to his advantage, finding it was easier to push past his fatigue when he could not feel it quite as acutely. The worked in relative silence for a time, the brother's quietly whistling a favored Venoran tavern song to the steady beat of their axes. When time came for Doran to stack, he happily relinquished his role. Though the individual pieces were lighter, the opted to carry like-sized pieces to both keep himself balanced and more evenly distribute the strain upon his muscles.

Back and forth he moved, Lazare's rate of splitting evenly matched with Doran's hurried stacking. As he worked, the wood felt heavier, but he pushed through, switching between shrugging the weight and curling his arms to focus the burden onto his biceps then back, all under the amicable guidance of the Proulx siblings. Several more rounds they went, until the sun had begun to paint the sky a deep, sighing crimson.

Madame Lebeau, in her gentle but commanding voice, declared the day officially ended and asked they wash up and join her for supper. There was not a single complaint between the three of them, and as they gathered their things and headed into her home, they took care to leave their boots outside, not wanting to cause the woman any hassle of dirty floors. They crowed into the washroom, the three of them sharing a basin while the bothers insisted they wash one another's backs - much to Doran's mild irritation. Once they had cleaned most of the sweat from one another, they filed into the Madame's dining room, an easy air of kinship forged under the pleasant heat of a day of work done about them.

As they settled into their places, they spoke lightly and gaily, enjoying the Madame's soft laughter in response to their own, along with the gentle clank of silver and clink of glasses bumped and jostled. Most of the evening was spent listening to the brothers recall their various exploits throughout the season, correcting and talking over one another as they were so wont to do, much to the quiet amusement of Doran and the Madame. When the meal was finished, the three of them stayed to help the Madame clean up, washing her dishes and composting what little food had not been eaten. She thanked each one of them individually as they left, her wrinkled hands surprisingly strong as she shook their hands and insisted they return come next arc - or sooner, if they were so inclined - before paying them for their labor.

Parting ways with the brothers only a short way down the road, Doran found his body heavy but heart light. Though he was certainly not nearly as muscular nor well-suited to the work he'd done that day, he'd found it enjoyable enough. He supposed, as he made his way down the path in the fading light, that the company one kept had a powerful effect on one's enjoyment. It was a peculiar thing, but not so much so he didn't find it a bit romantic. Perhaps he would return the coming arc - even to make an annual event out of it. He grinned to himself. Of course, as long as the brothers would be there to provide him both competition and laughs.
Image
User avatar
Doran Cooney
Approved Character
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:10 am
Location: Rynmere, Venora
Race: Human
Profession: Performer
Renown: +25
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates

Return to Duchies