March 19, 2020
03/22/2021 03:46 PM
Here we go - finally got some more "what inspired my Original Charcter" Hou Xin boards ready - for now it´s 8 holding most important influences of this character.
7th Prince Ning Yi inspired Hou Xin´s overall demeanour, intelligence and knack for strategy and plotting. Further the fact that he despises roles and priviliges predefined by society and social standing.
General Hou Xin - namesake of "my" OC Hou Xin. Also his backgroundstory and the fact that a tragedy left the renowned and dedicted warrior blinded and yet still goes on pursuing and being successful as a warrior served to inspire much of "my" Hou Xin´s story.
General Commander Wentai. His overall, friendly and forthcomming demeanor is a huge influence for Hou Xin. Also his knack for strategy, outstanding skills as a warrior and the fact that he does not care for such things like gender stereotypes (In the movie he is best friend and strongest supporter of Mulan, despite knowing that she is a woman and traditionally has no place in the military. He is one of the very few to know about her true identiy and protects this secret fiercely)
Wuxai-shows like The Untamed and Word of Honor strongly inspired Hou Xin´s background and story and also the settings I tend to set him up in.
A mashup, original approach, or crossover of those settings also totally is up my alley
Wuxai-movies like those set in the Ying Yang Master Verse strongly inspired Hou Xin´s background and story and also the settings I tend to set him up in.
A mashup, original approach, or crossover of those settings also totally is up my alley
Hyakkimaru, the young Monster/Demonhunter from the Japanese Manga/Anime/RL-adaption Movie
The inspiring parts here are his "profession" and skill and most of all the fact that he is blind as well and how he is capable of working his way around this plus his special skill to "sense" auras, in terms of being able to not only "detect" the presence of living beings but also to distinguishe wether they are magical or not by "sensing" their aura" I have "stolen" for Hou Xin
All kind of teachings, philosphies and principles which lead to the character Hou Xin and the way he behaves, conducts himself around others and define his purpose in life
Last but not least inspirations for modern day/contemporary settings for storylines - Mystery shows like the Shadowhunters or A Korean Odyssey show, where mythology and supernatural mix with modern settings.
03/15/2021 11:19 PM
Character Development Questions
Character Development Questions
1. Does your character have siblings or family members in their age group? Which one are they closest with?
He does not have blood-related siblings. However there is one person, Ning Chen he grew up with (Chinese Fantasy/Wuxai verse), who is one year younger and his best friend and probably the person he´d consider a brother.
2. What is/was your character’s relationship with their mother like?
He was orphaned at a very young age and hence barely remembers anything realted his mother.
3. What is/was your character’s relationship with their father like?
See above, same like mother.
4. Has your character ever witnessed something that fundamentally changed them? If so, does anyone else know?
He has been orphaned at a very young age, which most certainly left him changed. Secondly he was blinded in his early 20ties (depending on backstory and verse for different reasons in different scenarios) so this most certainly is another event which left him changed, literally even. Both are not exactly events he is able to hide, or to deny; so yes, everyone knowing him also know about his blindness, those closer to him certainly also that he is an orphan.
5. On an average day, what can be found in your character’s pockets?
A fan, a serious amont of Fu Lu-Talisman templates, his Xiao flute.
6. Does your character have recurring themes in their dreams?
He mostly dreams of scents and audible senstions he likes; like the scent of herbs and flowers, the sound of the bamboo-forest... images based on visual inputs have long faded into obscurity for him.
7. Does your character have recurring themes in their nightmares?
One is a recurring nightmare where he re-lives the moment of his blinding again and again.. mostly these days the sensation of pain and dispair as visual images have faded away.
8. Has your character ever fired a gun? If so, what was their first target?
No he has not – he prefers other means of fighting.
9. Is your character’s current socioeconomic status different than it was when they were growing up?
Yes, indeed - however in what way and to what exented is mainly depending of the infdividual verse, setting and plot of each storyline.
10. Does your character feel more comfortable with more clothing, or with less clothing?
With a decent amount of clothing on.
11. In what situation was your character the most afraid they’ve ever been?
That depens on his backgroundstory of the individual verse, setting and plot of each storyline.
12. In what situation was your character the most calm they’ve ever been?
That depens on his backgroundstory of the individual verse, setting and plot of each storyline.
Gernerally he is the most calm when meditating.
13. Is your character bothered by the sight of blood? If so, in what way?
No, he is not, he is blind ;P
14. Does your character remember names or faces easier?
Names and voices – he cannot see faces.
15. Is your character preoccupied with money or material possession? Why or why not?
He is not – his whole world view is based on the idea that amassing money or material possesions only serves to spoil and corrupt the character and that is diverting the mind from more important matters.
16. Which does your character idealize most: happiness or success?
His world view bases on the fact that happiness and success complement each other. Without success there is no happiness – however one must not sacrifice the peace of mind and happiness for the sake of pursuing false ideas of success.
17. What was your character’s favorite toy as a child?
A wooden rocking-toy horse
18. Is your character more likely to admire wisdom, or ambition in others?
Wisdom, as aquiring wisdom, and live and act wisely is the basis and center of his world view and princibles.
19. What is your character’s biggest relationship flaw? Has this flaw destroyed relationships for them before?
He is often too preoccupied with making sure everyone around him is happy and save to care for himself. Which does lead to the situation that he often hardly even notices if someone cares for him. His blindness is another reason he considers himself not worthy to be the center of love and affection, which leads to a similar situation... and indeed often enough ends a possible relationship before it even started.
20. In what ways does your character compare themselves to others? Do they do this for the sake of self-validation, or self-criticism?
He generally does not compare himself to others – his main “competitor” is he himself, meaning that he tries to become a better version of himself by training, learning, evolving every day. A state of mind which has been implanted since childhooddays due to the teachings and princibles a grew up with.
21. If something tragic or negative happens to your character, do they believe they may have caused or deserved it, or are they quick to blame others?
His first reaction is to check if his demeanor or his actions could be the source of the matter.
Blaming others mostly is not his way.
22. What does your character like in other people?
Honesty, selflessness, wisdom, patience, honorableness
23. What does your character dislike in other people?
Pomposity, dishonorableness, obliquity, bragging, stupidity, viciousness
24. How quick is your character to trust someone else?
He is not one to generally push people away and tends to initially asume the best in everyone - however to really earn his trust it needs rather a while and corresponding actions
25. How quick is your character to suspect someone else? Does this change if they are close with that person?
He tries to remain objective in his judging no matter how much he likes someone. However before he jumps to conlcutions he is one attempting to investigate thoroughly and to consider everyone´s point of view.
26. How does your character behave around children?
He is rather good with children.
27. How does your character normally deal with confrontation?
He tries to stay calm, get to the bottom of the matter and then act accordingly without allowing to get anger the better of himself.
28. How quick or slow is your character to resort to physical violence in a confrontation?
Very slow. Pyhsical violence always is the very, very last resort for him.
29. What did your character dream of being or doing as a child?
That depends on the individual backstory of each verse, plot and storyline
30. Did that dream come true?
That depends on the individual backstory of each verse, plot and storyline
31. What does your character find repulsive or disgusting?
Dishonorable, vicious behavior – in terms of physical sensations: disgusting smells
32. Describe a scenario in which your character feels most comfortable.
Some peaceful forest clearing, possibly with a small riverlet running through, filling the place with happy gurgling while warm gusts of wind are caressing through his hair, causing the leaves rustle above while he is playing his Xiao.
33. Describe a scenario in which your character feels most uncomfortable. In the face of criticism, is your character defensive, self-deprecating, or willing to improve?
A scenario he feels most uncomfortable would be one where he has to rely on someone he does not trust in order to make up for his blindness.
Depending on the criticism, but he most certainly will try to take it to heart in order to improve.
34. Is your character more likely to keep trying a solution/method that didn’t work the first time, or immediately move on to a different solution/method?
That is very much situation-dependent. Generally he most certainly would try to re-evalute the situation/method for possible adjustments or improvments to make it work. If there is no way to do so, he´d probably try something else.
35. How does your character behave around people he likes?
Friendly, relaxed, even a bit goofy, openheartedly – here he shows his open and outgoing side
36. How does your character behave around people he dislikes?
Very closed up, distant and cautious.
37. Is your character more concerned with defending their honor, or protecting their status?
Defnitely defening his honor, meaning to act honorably and in accordance to his princibles.
38. Is your character more likely to remove a problem/threat, or remove themselves from a problem/threat?
That is very much situation-dependend. However if he has the feeling that solely he is causing the problems with his presence, he´d probably remove himself form the situation.
39. Has your character ever been bitten by an animal? How were they affected (or unaffected)?
40. How does your character treat people in service jobs?
As polite and friendly as he would treat anyone else.
41. Does your character feel that they deserve to have what they want, whether it be material or abstract, or do they feel they must earn it first?
He believes that things (no matter whether material or imaterial) have to be earned.
42. Has your character ever had a parental figure who was not related to them?
Yes – he grew up an orphan, and depending on the individual background and verse there is such parental figure.
43. Has your character ever had a dependent figure who was not related to them?
In his "original" backgroundstory and most other storylines I write: No - However as part of the Tolkien-based storyline I share with Airí (@elvensilk) it is her and her brother he takes in as his wards and disciples after their parents, his best friends are killed in battle.
44. How easy or difficult is it for your character to say “I love you?” Can they say it without meaning it?
It is not really difficult for him if his feelings are true – however, he really has to mean it in order to say it.
45. What does your character believe will happen to them after they die? Does this belief scare them?
He believes that he will move on into the spirit realm to meet with his ancestors and those who went before him. According to his behavior and deeds during his life he will be reborn or possibly even ascent. - And no, it does not scare him.
03/08/2021 08:54 PM
// Drabble inspired by the "The Untamed Verse" (and Hou Xin´s backgroundstory I created for this verse) and the picture of Magnolia Blossoms below //
The night still carried with it the last remnants of wintery frost in the height of the mountains – yet down here in the lush valleys of the east the vast bamboo forests sprouted already and the first blossoms of the ancient Magnolia trees once part of the former residence of the effaced Chang´an Hou Sect delicately as much as majestically craned their white blossoms towards the warming sun of a new spring.
It was a time of renewal and returning of life – and to him most ironically the month of reminiscence and remembering.
It was the time when the small, remotely located Sect had been obliterated, slaughtered, erased from existence due to not having been willing to obey to back down to the tyrannical Wen Sect.
Karma caught up with them a few years later when all the remaining clans united and subdued and destroyed this scourge among the Cultivator Sects… too late for Hou Xin and his brothers and sisters.
He survived as one of only a handfull of survivors, even despite their tormentors planned a particularly gruesome death for the young son of the deceased leader – a punishment for speaking out loudest against joining the rampant Wen sect. Blinded and badly wounded they left him for dead among this murdered brothers and sisters, supposed to find a slow end filled with suffering.
Had it not been for two merciful souls, to this day unknown to him, who found him and nursed him back to health he would have joined his family, his Cultivator brothers and sisters back then on their journey to the other side, would have met his ancestors already.
Since then every springtime when the blossoms were giving forth their beautiful, gentle scent, when their appearance announced the new beginning of a new cycle of life Hou Xin returned back to the place of his childhood, of his years as a young scholar and where he officially ascended to Masterhood, becoming a Qi-Master, a Cultivator… where he faced destruction and murder and his own near-death experience.
The beautiful, pearly-white blossoms always had been his favourite – as a boy he loved it to watch them swaying in the breeze, gliding elegantly and quietly through the air and eventually flowing down the small rivulets running through the valley like shiny, tiny boats. The scent held the meaning of a new dawn, the returning of life… - and he was determined to keep these pleasant memories, not allowing the bad that happened to lessen their splendour.
Savouring the flowery scent pervading the warm air of the valley Hou Xin dropped to his knees in front of the stairs leading up to the shrine which had been built on the fire scarred foundations of the Sect´s former residence by the locals.
The sight of the place, the beauty of the trees in full bloom forever denied to him. Yet still every time he came here to converse with those who went before him a sensation of deep peace overcame him, held onto him while he knelt there for hours, engulfed in the blossoms´ fragrance, his mind in deep concentration and dialogue.
02/16/2021 01:25 PM
drabble based on cue "you are adorable when you are angry"
His own scream echoed inside his ears when he pulled himself up with the last bit of strength he had left – in fact he was not even sure it was strength but simple, pure anger which made him climb the last few meters of the crumbling wall.
One final major effort and the young demon hunter tumbled over the edge in order to simply fall over right where he only just had managed to leave the sinkhole; panting heavily, pretty sure that someone had cut off the oxygen content of the air.
His whole body ached as if having been overrun by a battering ram… - well, the furious roaring which ascended from way down of what looked like a pretty bottomless black-hole right in the soft green of the Mongolian grassland reminded him that in a way his latest encounter came relatively close to a run in with an enormous battering ram – a tower high, spitting mad battering ram with scales and huge teeth, stinking breath and claws long like daggers.
For several minutes he lay just there, concentrating to not suffer a belated heart-attack, to calm his breathing, unable to move, waiting for the looming unconsciousness to move on… - yet his still burning anger was not directed towards the oversize scaled monstrosity down there guarding what the lovely Miss Shirley Yang had described “a walk in the park”.
A damned death trap, that would have been the appropriate description – especially when your supposed to be ex-partner obviously wanted to make sure your separation was of a very, very permanent nature.
Had he not sworn to himself to never ever again fall for that sweet-talk of hers… - but no, as always she called and he ran… - eventually for his life… again!
So, certainly a good portion of this still burning anger was directed towards his own inability to simply tell her to find herself another idiot to join her on her breakneck ventures.
About an hour later he had managed to make his way back to their base-camp – still not less furious though. And there she was, sitting next to a nice, cozy campfire, probably a sipping a cup of tea, greeting him with the sweetest greeting as if this was nothing but pleasant field trip to pick flowers not wrestle a monstrous guard spirit.
The moment her factitiously innocently purred “Nǐ hǎo qīn'ài de nǐ zěnme yàng (Hello darling, how are you?!) reached him his tired shuffling turned into angry trudging.
“Shirley Yang!! - Gaisí de (Damn it)! - You left me to die in there!” - suddenly every bit of exhaustion was blown away while he stormed right into the little camp.
She did not even bother to get up, instead an utterly amused chuckle came in return.
“Hou Xin – what are you complaining about? You look and sound pretty much alive. - However, it took you a while. A bit out of form, are we?” - was she really audacious enough to dare mocking him!? - After all he went through for her?!
“Out of form?!?… that … Thing was huge.. and fast and strong… and…” -
“Oh come on, don´t be such a baby and stop complaining… You are all in one piece – admittedly one adorable piece, aren´t you?” Another chuckle, and he was pretty sure she was shamelessly looking him over right now – not really a reaction helpful to calm him down.
“One piece?… that monster took quite a good piece off my good-luck-zhiduo (trad.robe)….” Hou Xin growled a deep frown plastered across face.
“See, good-luck-zhiduo… worked, didn´t it? - Without you wearing it it would have taken that piece off you… - what, by the way, would have been a real shame if you ask me”
Another of those deeply self-satisfied and amused chuckles followed which by now left him with nothing more than an angry huff as response while he poked around a rather impressive gap his Zhido was sporting. Then something dawned on him.
“Talking about pieces… - did you get it?”
“What do you think? - Of course I did”, his female companion gave back in a tone which almost made him hear her grin .Then fabric rustled, which was her pulling a small satchel from her own, still pretty intact and clean looking robe.
With a triumphant smile on her face she dangled it in the air in front of his face, aware that the gesture itself was lost on him, she made its content clink slightly, “The seventh piece of the Jade sigil of Emperor Ruizong of Tang”
“You remember, 60/40 for me, right?” - Hou Xin muttered crossing his arms in front of his chest, calmer now but trying to keep up an intimating attitude.
Not that this had ever worked with this woman before though.
“What? – 50/50” -
“Jué bú (no way!) it was my life on the line.. again!” -
“It was not. Not if you are the great demon fighter and Qi-Warrior you claim to be”, she shot back absolutely unimpressed by his deepening frown. “I got the plans, the maps and cover most of the costs… your costs, too… so 50/50 max… - in fact...”
“Hao ba… hao ba.. (alright, … alright..) 50/50… - but the next time you are the bait!” - Did he just say “next time”?!
“Ah, we´ll decide on that when the time is due… - want some tea?”, came the chuckled reply while the little satin-satchel vanished back inside her pocket.
- Did he just say “next time”? - Mentally Hou Xin hit himself on the head, hard, with a big and heavy club…
07/22/2020 05:31 PM
//ooc Rant on Mulitble SL-RPers
Honestly, I´d never thought that I need to write about this... but well, here we go:
I am a live and let live person, and do not tell people how to conduct the way they RP.
I do not judge.
Nor then, should people judge me for being a Multi-SL RPer.
Yes, I am a Multible-SL-RPer.
I am here to write – 1x1-stories and sometimes drabbles just for fun.
DIVERSE stories, DIVERSE verses.
Meaning: none of my 1x1-stories or drabbles are connected, neither do they influence each other nor correlate!
And yes I take over ideas that evolved while writing drabbles into my 1x1stories – sometimes, seldom and not without asking the other player and discussing things before that.
I NOT however copy things from one 1x1-stoy to another, and I NOT use character-development/relationships happening in one 1x1-story in other 1x1-stories
Further: there seems to be one, rather wide-spread, gross misconception and stereotype:
“Being a Multi-SL RPer is just an excuse to f*uck as many people as you want.”
Perhaps this is true for some people, but it isn't true for EVERYONE!
My characters extremely rarely get involved in romantic relationships (and only with characters of other players I have known for a while and if the story we write logically might evolve that way).
If I was here for sex, you would know.- I AM NOT!
I am NOT here looking for someone to f… or be f…ed. If something like a romantic relationship might develop in the course of a story - well, if it fits it fits… but that is something that needs time and never will be the sole purpose and content of one of my stories.
All my characters put together I have been RPing over the past decade they all have been engaged in surely not more than about half a dozen romantic relationships over all those years - so yeah, here we go, got the concept?
Why do I rant about this very topic so much? –
Well, it irks me when people add me with the sole purpose of having my character hook up with theirs, then get annoyed with me when I do not readily delve into a discussion that suggests this very nature of our story.. .and ONLY this very nature – or when, after having written the first few paragraphs, my character doesn't instantly fall head over heels in love with theirs.
That simply is not how I work in general and even more important: that is totally out of character for this very character! So, no!
And one more thing I have noticed in my 15+ years of roleplaying is that Multi-SL characters have the least amount of drama.
No: “You cheated on me... I'm going to delete you and tell everyone not to RP with you because you cheated on me!” No nothing like this!
Honestly. Our characters being in a relationship does not mean the writers are in a relationship.
It is necessary to differentiate between what is fiction and what is RL!
That, being said, ends my rant.
- A Multi-SL Rper.
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06/29/2020 01:48 PM
Duty, hiding... or leisure - Part ONE
/1st part of a drabble I attempted to write - just to notice I totally got lost and sidetracked, not even getting close to the core subject I wanted to address... so, with RL nagging, I´ll leave that 1st part here for now, but surely at least one more, maybe even two will follow in due time /
„Hou Jiàng (General Hou), Ning Cheng is here”, Wu Ying the foot-boy assigned to the quarters of the Imperial Guard, or Jade Guard as the elite troop of highly trained Demon and Monster Hunters also were referred to among common folks, announced, stopping right at the doorstep leading to the General´s office.
The person in question looked up, or rather directed a set of dark-brown, unfocused eyes towards where he sensed their youngest member, a warm smile lightning up the even features while nodding his acknowledgment.
“Finally! - let him in” Hou Xin gestured invitingly almost impatiently while rising from the seat pad behind the narrow writing table. - “Duìle, Wú Yíng (By the way, Wu Ying), please make sure that no other than my men enter unannounced.” he added before the Guard´s young handyman was able to bustle away.
“Méi cuò, Jiàng (Sure, General)” – swift footsteps faded across the yard just to be replaced by heavier once, which, if footsteps were able to convey such sentiment, resounded with a distinct cheerfulness only one person Hou Xin knew radiated, no matter what.
“Ning Cheng!” the smile even widened, deepened - “Dà gē (Brother)” came the merry greeting in return accompanied by a playful yet soundly enough slap to the older´ s shoulder. – Not really official Court etiquette between one superior and his subordinate, yet now that they were meeting in private both of them reverted back to their normal, casual way of behaving around and addressing each other.
Both warriors shared a friendship dating back until their childhood days – They met shortly after Hou Xin was left an orphan and officially made the Court´s ward. Ning Cheng, only one year younger and son of one of the Emperor´s stablemen, already all the upbeat, positive and cheeky nature he managed to keep till this day, had been the one to easily get through and befriend the traumatized boy.
Quickly they became inseparable, brother-like friends – a relationship which only deepened over the years and which helped them to pull through all kind of worries and hardships young recruits and soldiers on the battlefield were facing.
The latest challenge to overcome for Hou Xin had been the blow of losing his eyesight. And once again it had been Ning Cheng ahead of all the others offering support who kept the struck warrior going – and it had also been the convincing words of the man Hou Xin affectionately called “Xiǎo dì (Little brother)” who made him accept the rank of a General, yet only provided that Ning Cheng would be his 2nd in command and right hand man all along.
“Suǒ yǐ (So), did you bring the reports, Xiǎo dì?” Hou Xin inquired after their initial greeting to receive an almost indignant “Dāng rán (of course), as always”, in return.
"Hǎo ba hǎo ba (alright, alright), sit down then and let´s get started”, Hou Xin nudged his friend towards the seat he just left.
Ning Cheng eventually taking the place behind he writing table started to spread out the reports, yet suddenly paused, curiously eyeing an envelope sitting at the side as if discarded carelessly.
“May I ask you something, Dà gē?”, that this was just a rhetorical prelude became clear when the younger of the two warriors went on without waiting for an answer, “Why do you still do that yourself?”
“What do you mean?!” Hou Xin, by now slouching on the steps leading up to the area with the table flashed a curious glance upwards, pretending to be all unassuming though he was rather certain where this was about to go.
“You know what I mean… why do you still do all that planning stuff yourself. Setting up patrols, reading all those reports… none of the other Generals do that. They all assign it to some assistant… someone like me…” Ning Cheng went on and was interrupted by a voice lined with slight annoyance.
“Do I look like the other Generals to you? – Or do you think I don´t trust you?!”
“Méiyǒu (no) surely not… I didn´t mean it that way and you know that very well, too - … just, why waste your time with such stuff when you simply could it leave it to me… and maybe join this fancy evening of Official´s Zhu daughter,… as it is set tonight?!”
The scowl on Hou Xin´s face vanished being replaced by something resembling amusement biting a bitter lemon.
“Qí yī (firstly), who told you to snoop around my desk? – You found that invitation, right?.... Qí èr (secondly), why did you think I insisted that we go through these tasks specifically tonight, Xiǎo dì?! – Have you ever met Official Zhu´s daughter?... Zhu Jinghua….”.
Ning Cheng could have sworn that his brother-like friend seemed to slightly shudder while uttering her name. “Méiyǒu… I haven´t but I know that the Zhu family is one of the richest families around… so, she surely must be well set…and I HAVE heard that some praise her beauty…”
“Of course, THAT´s what I am looking for in a woman… rich and beautiful – especially latter… “ Hou Xin mocked back, “…a high maintenance, difficult and self-absorbed woman.. .that´s what I experienced while having been guest at the Zhu´s residence… - and not too bright at that…. – No, I´d rather not encourage her even further – indeed I hope that if I stay away long enough she might find another poor soul to chase into any kind of relationship…”
The utterly amused laughter of Ning Cheng filled room, “Oh, so are you using me as an excuse… I am not sure if I should be flattered or offended - and here I thought you indeed genuinely enjoyed our time together.”
“Shut up, don´t be a jerk… I do… to be honest, I´d prefer any kind of evening spent with you or the Guard for that matter over any of those fancy events. They are bothersome and all this demanded pretending is tiring… - So, stop nagging and let´s get going, the schedules won´t write themselves - here, maybe that helps to get us started decently….”
During their little banter Hou Xin had gotten up and made his way over to a cupboard on the far end of the room and let his fingers run across some bottles stored on the shelves.
Once he felt out a certain wax sigil sealing the top of one of the jugs his search stopped and he turned back to his friend, placing said bottle and two wine-cups next to his 2nd in command on the writing table.
“Ugh…Quèshí (indeed) that helps a lot, Zouh Wei makes some great wine” Ning Cheng happily clapped his hands while watching Hou Xing pouring a cup for each of them.
“Gān bēi (Cheers!)… and now with your throat all properly greased, start reading, I am all ears.”
“Dāngrán! (Sure!)… here we go” after emptying the simple yet delicate stoneware-cup Ning Cheng eventually averted his attention back to the reports on possible non-human or even demonic activity causing problems for the people which had been stated to the officials during he past weeks and started to read them out loud.
… to be continued
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06/03/2020 03:28 PM
Drabble: in the aftermath
„Hou Shàoyé! (Young Master Hou)… Hou Shàoyé!… Hou Xin!“, it needed several attempts to beak his focus and gain his attention that much the young warrior was submerged in his training. - Still, even the final blow by the bamboo fighting pole was a clean hit right to the center of the training dummy´s chest.
Breathing hard, heavily leaning onto the pole Hou Xin eventually turned towards the familiar voice coming from the edge of the training area where the doors were located.
“Wen Ning”, he nodded before brushing back one unruly, sweaty strand of hair which had managed to escape the tight, formal knot.
“Zhi Ruo Zǔmǔ (Grandmother Zhi Rou) wants to see you. Did you forget she called you in today, Hou Shàoyé?”. Wen Ning, a young boy of about 14 years was the official helper and apprentice of the ancient Healer who was simply called Zǔmǔ by basically everyone of the Court and Guard. A title given in all due respect and honor. - Everybody knew her, everybody acknowledged her authority, even the Emperor, … they better did. She was around like since forever, at least Hou Xin wasn´t aware of anyone of the Court who did not know the tiny, old, slightly hunched woman. She never seemed to change, never to age. - Forgetting an appointment with her though was considered as problematic as forgetting an appointment with the ruler himself… if not even worse.
Wen Ning´s whole demeanor proved him being caught between the surely strong order to find and collect the patient amiss and the formally demanded etiquette in terms of dealing with members of the Court. His discomfort resounding audibly in the slightly nervous tone of his voice and showed by him awkwardly stepping from one foot to the other.
“Dāngrán bùshì (Of course not)”, Hou Xing gave back, a slightly concerned scowl tugging at his brows underneath the black blindfold, “But I recall it to be somewhat after breakfast, late morning?”
“Shì de, shì de! ( Yes, yes!) - It is almost noon though, Shàoyé (Master)!”
“Shì ma?! (Is it?!)”, in an instance it was all Hou Xin´s part to feel utterly uncomfortable…
“There you are, finally! Did you think you´d avoid this, Hou Zi ( SonHou)?!” the familiar, strangely gentle but also sharp voice slightly bristle with age greeted him when Hou Xin stepped into the healer´s rooms behind Wen Ning. Immediately the typical and indeed utterly soothing and pleasant herbal smell engulfed him when he bowed his head in the demanded gesture of respect while quickly and firmly denying the accusation, “Dāngrán bùshì, Zumu (Of course not, Grandmother)”
The order to sit down on the narrow cot was followed without even the slightest attempt of resistance, it would have been futile anyway. And indeed unpleasant experience served Hou Xin as pieces of good advice that it was never a bright idea to strain the patience of the elder healer beyond a certain point.
Yet another reproach followed almost instantly when warm, soft hands gripped his own. All the while his bamboo-pole had felt strangely sticky and now that he was forced to settle and become quiet Hou Xin noticed himself even before the scolding words were spoken: the source of this stickiness and now also an increasingly sore sensation was to be found in some serious bloody blisters adoring his hands caused by hours and hours of intense training.
“Boy, your terrible, mulish stubbornness will be certainly be the death of me one day… why must you insist on ruining all my precious efforts to get you back on your feet?!.... - How long has he been training!?” - the question clearly not addressed towards the wayward patient.
“Since before dawn”, hence came the answer by Wen Ning, causing Hou Xing´s expression to change from surprise to scowling and eventually settled on defensive guilt underneath the blindfold.
“You have me watched?!”
“Of course – someone needs to keep an eye on you… - and obviously more than just an eye… more like tie you to a chair, my dear! - It has been how long… two weeks since this incident… maybe you want to slow down a bit until you are fully healed.”
Hou Xin was well aware that this was more than just a suggestion, and a tiny voice in the back of his head told him to back down right here… yet…
“Two weeks already… also, it´s my eyes nothing more… - I need to make sure to keep on top of it… to be able to prove…”
“Prove what? That you are the most hardheaded, self-destructive fool among the Guard´s ranks?! As for anything else there is absolutely nothing to prove from your side. - No-one around doubts your capability… except of you, of course… - and now lay back and let me see your eyes.”
During their brief to and fro his hands had been taking care of, now wrapped in a thin layer of fabric to keep an ointment in place which would speed up the healing.
This time no back-talk was shared instead the audibly timid request how things looked like. - And as always the answer was that the wounds were healing beautifully “… lucky you, thanks to my outstanding skills you´ll be as handsome as ever, Hou Zi.”
And also as always this very statement was dismissed by him as soothing pep-talk; dismissed silently just inside his own head of course as any audibly uttered doubts in this matter only served to earn him an unceremonious slap. After all what happened Hou Xin´s didn´t dare to hope that his eyes ever would look “beautifully”… or even normal again, he´d never be able to get prove of it anyway… and the reassuring, soothing words of people around him were accounted as exactly that: good-willed, reassuring, soothing words to stop him from feeling uneasy, yet not really the whole truth.
But then why even care – these were issues so superficial that they should be entirely unimportant to him, not even worth a thought. There were other, more pressing matters at hand, like to show that he was worth the given rank, that he was still able to maintain his status as one of the best warriors of the Guard, that he was still capable to be his own master, lead his own independent life while protecting that of numerous others´.
A pointy finger poking his ribs startled him out of his brooding.
“Stop scowling… - What kind of dark thoughts might be able to cut such deep lines into that pretty face of yours, Hou Zi?! - By all means, you are skinny. You really should eat more and take better care of yourself…. But I am starting to repeat me on that!”, the old Healer sighed theatrically yet unable to hide a genuine hint of concern.
“Méiyǒu! (nothing!)”, Hou Xin dismissed the inquiry and waited in silence for Grandmother Healer to work her magic by rinsing his wounded eyes and eventually applying some of her ointments. - … Yet while he was lying there, forced to finally remain still, enclosed by the familiar and endlessly soothing, herbal scent which was as much part of these rooms as the old, tiny lady herself, his strained mind managed to slow down, his tense muscles relaxed and, without him actually really noticing, deep, healing slumber took over control.
Far gone in the lands of sleep left Hou Xin unaware of a pair of light feet and another much clumsier one tiptoeing out of the room, or the whispered order towards Wen Ning to stay around, keep an eye on him and make sure for the sake of not running street-boy errands for the rest of his life that no-one under no circumstances would wake the recovering General.
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