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Caenis had been traveling since early morning. She moved at a comfortable pace, allowing herself adequate time to absorb the island's beauty. As she transversed through the lush fields of the island, Caenis found herself veering off the path of the main roads and deeper into the forest. She eventually found herself lost in the woods but disregarded any attempts to find her way. Caenis had been in awe by the land's beauty and compelled herself to continue exploring the ground after a couple of minutes of roaming the forest. Caenis recognized something in the distance that caught her eye. Curious, she went towards it, hoping to find something of interest.
Lost in the woods was an old shed ravaged by time and overgrown with nature. The old building was surrounded by large trees that had taken root here ages ago. Behind the old home was a small lake that branched off into a small stream, emptying further into the woodland. Above the small lake was a waterfall that rolled off the cliffside into it. It seemed the waterfall had some debris obstructing its flow near the aperture, as only a bit of water endured to trickle through. Caenis rushed to the old home calling out to any occupants that may reside inside.
She walked into the old house with no answer, finding it barren of life and little furniture the previous attendants left behind. After a swift gaze around the old building, she returned outside the house, shifting towards what looked to be the remains of an old fire pit. Collapsing onto one of the old sitting stones, she took a moment to catch her breath. The fatigue of her journey was finally catching up with her.
After taking a moment to absorb the area, Caenis decided this would be a nice place to set up camp for a few days. Not wanting to waste any time, she leaped back onto her feet and headed towards the back of the house. There she found a pile of lumber that needed chopping for the pit. She looked around the area in hopes of finding something to assist her with chopping the wood. Caenis then spotted an axe with a wooden handle and a steel axe head.
Raising the axe above her head, Caenis sent her weapon crashing down onto the piece of wood. The axe split the wood into logging itself in the stump. With a bit of effort and placing her foot on the stump, she removed the stuck axe from the stump to reset her actions. Placing another log on the stump, she reset herself, sending the axe crashing down into the center of the log once again. She felt her body ache after the second swing due to her early traveling with rest. She brushed the sweat the began to form on her forehead, setting up for the next chop. Until a heavy, loud thudding sound came from the door of the old shed.
"Knock, Knock, Knock."
Caenis firmly grasped the axe in one hand and then strolled to the door. She was startled; thoughts of whether she should have intruded the shed reverberated through her head. But it didn't matter now. Whoever was on the other side of the door knew she was in here. It was just now the matter of what their intentions were. Without warning, the front door in front of her seemed to go flying in a fit of wooden debris. Caenis halted her walk as heavily armored figures with mysterious symbols on their cloaks funneled through the door with practiced speed and coordination. Three, six, Caenis couldn't keep count as they came in droves.
"Who are all of you?" Caenis shouted, expecting an answer, but her voice was tuned out by the loud shuffling of feet of the individuals that broke through the shed. Finally, Caenis counted them, her eyes going from left to right until she tallied up the number of people that had joined her in the shed. Including her, twelve people had set themselves inside in circular formation, with Caenis being in the middle of the circle. She was surrounded.
In front of her stood a man bathed by the light peering out from the door would be one to approach Caenis. His clothing was all black, black cloak, black robes, a black sash at the waist. His face and hair was obscured by a black cloth that only exposed his eyes, a pure black that was darker than his clothes and infinitely deeper. The only thing which wasn't black was a red symbol in the corner of his shoulder, an odd symbol that she wasn't familiar with.
"What is a lady like yourself doing out here in the middle of the woods?" spoke the man enveloped in all black.
However, Caenis didn't acknowledge the man back; she clutched the axe in her palm as tight as she could, turning the knuckles of her hand white. She was mad, livid. These people just ruined her nice break after a long journey and now demanded answers for her occupying a century-old shed. Caenis was restless, and the ones watching her could tell with the emotion of anger painted on her face for them to see.
"Oi, Jaren... Might wanna take a look over here." spoke a man behind Caenis.
The man named Jaren, the black-cloaked individual, pulled up his weapon from his back. The differences between Caenis's weapon and Jaren's weapon were made apparent. His weapon was a spear, a long thin metal rod no more than two and a half inches in diameter and four feet in length. The frame of the rod looked to be reinforced with a hint of gold. Just below the sharpened head was a sharpened war pick, similar to a boar spear guard. Presumably, it provided the extra surface to parry, and it looked like it could pierce armor with the massive momentum the weapon could gain in a hefty swing. The way he spun it in his hands before setting himself in a combat position proved Caenis right. It was heavy but well balanced, and Jaren had the muscle to control it. Caenis could tell that weapon wasn't something for dancing. His strikes would be hard, heavy, and capable of breaking bones with how the man wielded the weapon. She would have to be careful.
Jaren set himself, one foot forward, with the spear held at a downward angle over his head. His hands balanced three quarters down the length both ways and presented the spike upwards towards his opponent. It was a clever defense. It would be difficult to defend the only openings from the sides, angles it was hard to assault with a thrusting weapon. If she came at him with a thrust, he had the whole length of the weapon to parry with, and his counterattack could hook her weapon. Any approach would leave Caenis with inferior reach, and his longer weapon would have leverage.
However, Caenis had a plan; she took the axe handle in both of her hands and broke the handle into two. It left her with an axe with a shorter handle and with a shank capable of leaving a gruesome wound. She was unsure of her makeshift plan, but she needs to make do with what she had.
Caenis dashed towards Jaren with the shank and axe in each of her hands. As she was within striking distance, she threw the axe towards the torso of the man. This was only to distract the man so she could reach in and stab him with her shank. The excitement in her eyes gleamed through and she smirked but that smirk quickly turned into a frown as Jaren deflected her amateur throw without even a hint of effort. Jaren lunged towards her with his spear, feining to strike her with the tip until he flipped it to strike the butt of the spear down onto her shoulder.
"Oww." panted out Caenis.
She fell, losing her balance, and landed her butt on the ground, she attempted to get up, but as she looked up, not even 2 centimeters away from her face was the tip of the spear dead center on her forehead. Caenis watched closely as the spear didn't move an inch; at the angle, she could truly appreciate the weapon's finish. In her awe of the fantastic weapon, the thought of striking Jaren with it quickly was dismissed as she let it fall out of her hand.
"Let me have that weapon!" proclaimed Caenis with a wide grin on her face.
"That certainly isn't a request someone on their ass should be making. Your fighting style needs some work, but I can sense your firey spirit in those eyes of yours," spoke Jaren, his voice coming out muffled under his cloaked face.
"And what of it?"
"How about I teach you, but you'll have to work for the lessons, lady," smirked Jaren.
"Oh, the name is Caenis, by the way, when can we start? Right now?" she asked with glee in her eyes. Caenis was eager to go beyond her basic martial art style that she had learned from her father. She needed a weapon, a weapon to strike her enemies with. A spear seemed to be just what she needed.
"Hahaha! How about we get back to camp, first?"
Before Caenis could say yes, she felt a strike on the back of her head, and voices bickering that slowly faded away as she fell unconscious.