My father says that almost the whole world is asleep...

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I often go walking through meadows of clover
You don't say!
rialynn wrote in thewakelogs
Who: Rialynn Kollmann, OPEN!
What: Rialynn goes exploring. She wants to learn about the city, and YOU.
Where: Freaking everywhere.
When: January 6th, 2012 - All Day
Warnings: Possible horse obesity references. Beware.
Notes: CR, action, comedy, etc. I want it all.

"The difficult part, really, is the lack of musicians," Rialynn spoke aloud, to no one in particular. Her horse flicked its ear just the same as if it had been addressed. In a sense, it was. Ordinarily she didn't talk when she had to travel alone, since it was considered unwise for singular travelers to draw a great deal of attention to themselves away from the cities.

But here? Except for the one lunatic who'd popped up nearly two weeks ago, she found that the city as a whole seemed full of agreeable people. There was no need to fear a cutpurse, when a purse could just as easily come into being through sheer willpower. It was easier, cleaner. No stabbing required. The only thing of real value she possessed, that was not easily created, was her horse. Rialynn was sure no one would want a six-year-old plain brown mare that may or may not have seen one too many feedings in the past yearly cycle. So when walking through the woods, she was perfectly at ease in chattering, whistling, singing, or otherwise audibly expressing her enjoyment of a fine summer day (even in the middle of winter), with the branch-filtered sun warm on her auburn hair and fair skin.

"It's difficult to dance without a rhythm, I would just look silly," she continued her quasi-complaint, gesturing with her free hand, the other occupied with the lead rope. "And singing 'Where the Green Ivy Grows' just doesn't sound the same without a pipe. I'm not so talented as to pipe and sing simultaneously, am I?"

Her horse whuffled.

"Quite so!" Rialynn walked five more steps, then stopped, blowing out her breath as she let her gaze travel skyward. She was talking to her horse. Oh she'd been aware of the fact, but the ridiculous aspect had only just now sunk in. Ordinarily Rialynn was content to keep to herself, but the urge to talk and be heard was starting to grow more prevalent. Even the horse would satisfy. She had a pretty good idea why, though she was reluctant to admit it. Her horse could keep secrets, though. "...I think I'm starting to miss my companions."

She rarely spoke this much off the stage, or even at all, except to question others and learn about this or that. But Sabien, forthright and outgoing, had been downright dogged in asking Rialynn about who she was, what she wanted, what she liked and hated. It had felt so unusual to have someone genuinely interested in those things, and though it took a while, Sabien's stubbornness eventually wore down Rialynn's reluctance. At first it had been uncomfortable. But as their companionship continued, and their odd adventures became almost routine, she found that it had been kind of nice as well, sharing a link with somebody who held no demands or expectations beyond mere curiosity. And the others of their strange company, goodness! She could have filled up a decent-sized book with one evening of Falkner's boastful tales of adventures he'd embarked on. Oh certainly they were rubbish, but that scarcely mattered. Most stories were. What mattered was that the tales were entertaining, and that particular quality was something Falkner had never lacked.

The people she'd met here were fascinating in their own right. Giant men made of iron, but as gentle as lambs when dealing with their smaller and more fragile neighbors. Musical men who could create songs, bands and all, with scarcely a gesture! And elves! Elves were beings that existed only in legends in her world, and yet, she had been privileged enough to encounter two in this place. Even those city denizens who were 'normal' in comparison were still rich with life and personality. It was no real surprise to her that she would yearn to know more about the things they'd experienced and done, and why she would break camp to seek a few of them out.

The surprise, rather, was that she found herself steadily craving the company of another soul. It was enjoyable simply to be near a person, even if there was little to nothing to be said. It was hard to say why she felt such a desire. Security? Simple curiosity? Rialynn shrugged, and supposed the reasons didn't matter all that much. It wasn't unusual for a person to crave a little noise. Too much silence could drive a person mad!

Perhaps she'd go to the pub, she thought, to see what might be learned over a pint. And if she met someone along the way, ha, so be it!

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Out in the Southern District, Sanji - sans jacket and tie - was jogging along one of the forest paths. The incident with the bomb threat had spurred him to focus on regaining his strengths back as quickly as possible. The introductory guide had said that powers would come back through focus and will, and Sanji knew he had that. He'd been struggling with his Bending, but he was finally starting to get the hang of creating simple things. But right now, he wanted to focus on regaining what had been stripped from him.

It was odd. Compared to people like Luffy, he hadn't even thought he had any "powers", as they were classified in his world, at least. Yes, he was strong, he knew that... but that was from years and years of hard work and training. He hadn't given it much thought beyond that, or that his strength was 'super-human', and beyond the norm. Obviously, Nautilus thought different. His speed, flexibility, and most noteably his strength had taken major hits... and while he may still be as strong and fast as your average Joe, it was a drastic drop in power for Sanji.

So today he found himself at a brisk jog through the forest in the Southern District, working at regaining his speed and strength. He'd work on flexibility later. He wasn't pushing himself too hard, at the moment... not working on short bursts of speed, but instead an extended run. That should help with his endurance, as well as build up his strength, right?

He found himself slowing as he saw a figure astride a horse up ahead. Curiosity brightened into delight at the sight of an unknown woman sitting on the horse.

"Ah! My lady, how wonderful it is to meet you! The surrounding forest only enhances your natural beauty~!"

Rialynn's head turned as she twisted in the saddle, tugging lightly on the reins to bring her horse to a plodding halt. The voice was unfamiliar to her, but it seemed friendly enough, so there was no reason for her to feel suspicion or unease.

Except for the part about her 'natural beauty'. Her smile went awry at that.

"Oh, er...thank you." She inclined her head politely. Well, if she wanted to meet someone new, here was a brand new someone ripe for the meeting! "Just giving my mount a little exercise," she said, patting the mare's neck. "How do you do?"

"The grace and elegance of such a noble creature pales in comparison to yours, my lady! I am in heaven, now that I have been able to see your angelic beauty~! ♥"

He was finally getting the hang of some basic Bending, and his flowers - at least - were now presentable. He bent a rose, and held it up to her, clasping his other hand over his heart. "If the gorgeous lady may honor this lowly peasant with her name...?"

Rialynn had no idea what to do about this. Any of it. Even her horse seemed to dance a little as the bard tensed up in the saddle, the awkward smile losing the 'smile' and becoming merely awkward. She didn't take the flower, showing that her hands were just too inconveniently full of the reins.

"I hate to disappoint you," she replied as cordially as she could muster, "but I'm not an angel, or a lady. Just a lowly peasant like yourself, as you claim to be." Though very well-spoken for a lowly peasant, so she doubted he was too underclassed. "Rialynn. Nice to meet you."

Nice, but awkward. Supremely so.

Every lady is a gorgeous angel, to be cherished and cared for. [Sanji reached up to tuck the stem of the rose behind the horse's ear, through a strap of the bridal, if allowed. He couldn't reach high enough to tuck it behind her ear.] Ah, such a beautiful name, Miss Rialynn. I am honored to be in your presence.

The horse shook its head in lazy annoyance at the feel of the stiff and woody stem threaded through its bridal. But when the flower didn't move, the lazy mare promptly gave up, and swung its head about in sheer apathy.

"Any more praise and I feel I might be forced to pay you!" Rialynn laughed, now freeing one hand to wave an open palm at the man. "So what's your name, then? What brings you out to the woods this fine day?"

"Your smile is all the payment I need, Miss Rialynn!" He bowed politely, then straightened back up at the question, a bit of a sheepish grin on his face. "Just exercising... Training. Working on getting my strength back up to where it should be. And what brings the lovely Dryad out into her forest?"

No name? Rialynn frowned slightly. That was a little suspicious, and she had to remind herself sharply that there was no need to be that way. Anyone of a mind to cause trouble was likely to get it paid back tenfold. She forced her hands to relax their tight grip upon the reins.

But she still had no intentions of getting down, nor allowing him to get too close.

"Ah, you must have had powers at one time, then," she noted with a faint nod. "And as I said, just exercising my horse. Nothing all that remarkable!"

Sanji quirked a brow slightly at the frown, then blinked, cheeks colouring faintly in embarassment. "Ah! I forgot to tell you my name; how rude of me! Please forgive me. I was so captivated by your beauty, all other thoughts slipped from my mind," he said sheepishly. "Please, call me Sanji."

To the comment, he shrugged faintly. "Not 'powers' as I would have called them back home, Miss Rialynn... but strength above average, at least. It was enough for this city to consider it a 'power', apparantly..." He looked to the horse, then smiled back up at Rialynn. "It's a fine steed... An elegant horse for an elegant lady. I'm not all that familiar with horses myself, being a man of the sea..."

[ooc: oyyyyy... I totally forgot to give his name, in the earlier post. Slipped my mind, it did. ^.^;;]

Edited at 2012-01-14 06:06 am (UTC)

...Was he actually blushing? That was pretty hard to fake, so it seemed as if he really were in earnest. A guy like this would charm the pants off of the nobility back home, she thought.

But she couldn't stop herself from choking on a laugh that escaped despite her best efforts. Her horse, a fine steed? Elegant? He was right at least about it being as elegant as she was! "Well, she gets me from one place to the other without trouble, certainly!" she chuckled, and wiped at her eyes.

She gave the horse a light turn, pointing it back toward the north. "A man of the sea? A sailor, then? You must have all kinds of stories to tell." Rialynn hoped so, anyway.

Sanji grinned as she laughed. Ahh... his charm was doubtless winning her over! He puffed up his chest a little, proudly.

"Oh, many indeed, my lady... though I fear most would bore you, and some are too harsh for a gentle lady's ears." He had no idea how she'd react to the knowledge that he was a pirate, and he didn't want to risk upsetting her. That was a fact about himself that he'd get around to revealing eventually, at some point...

"On the contrary," she replied, holding her chin a little higher as she smiled. "I'm accustomed to harsh and bawdy tales. I'm a bard, and those are usually the types of stories most people like to hear. As long as there's plenty of action and a satisfactory conclusion of some sort, I may even be able to add a few of your adventures to my collection."

The horse began to paw at the ground, sensing they were about to resume travel.

"Shall we go to Furman's, then? Or is that too far?"

"Oh? A bard? I'm sure your singing must sound like an angel's chorus, Miss Rialynn! ♥" A musician, hm? If Luffy was here, he'd probably ask her to be their nakama. He had a thing about wanting a musician on their crew. If their musician was a pretty lady like this, Sanji was all for it!

He tilted his head to the side at the question. "I'm afraid I haven't been to Furman's yet. That's the... bar, right?" he asked, trying to remember what he read in the introductory guide. He shook his head, smiling. "No, that's not too far. I came out here to exercise... This will be a good test to see what my limits are, right now."

Rialynn chuckled, raising an eyebrow. "Would that all innkeepers and tavernmasters were as optimistic as you! It would certainly save the time wasted in haggling." She clucked at her horse with a light kick of her heels, urging it forward into a slow walk. If Sanji meant to go faster, she'd keep pace, but she wasn't about to make him run all the way to the Northern District.

"That's correct. The meals are hot and free there, and it seems they've got every assortment of ale you could hope for. It's a good place to relax, particularly when the weather is bad."

Hmph! Those bastards probably don't know the honor of having a lady sing for them! They should be begging you to play for them!

[He fell into an easy pace beside Rialynn, stuffing his hands into his pockets. He grinned, looking up at the trees above them.] Sounds like a good place. [His face flattened into a dry smirk.] One of my crewmates would probably LIVE there, if he could. ... Probably two of them, though the second would likely drain all of the food reserves. The first just will drain the place of its booze... [He chuckled roughly, albeit with a sigh of melancholy.] I can't believe I'm starting to miss THOSE idiots...

Rialynn glanced at Sanji for a moment, saying nothing. Then she turned her gaze forward again with a quiet smile. His sentiments echoed hers, though it seemed he had far less trouble vocalizing them. She found herself gradually relaxing in his company. He was an odd soul, but not a bad one, and it was nice to have someone else to talk to for a little while.

"Tell me more about them?" she urged, though not with forceful insistence. If his crewmates were half as unusual as he was, then Rialynn was willing to wager that they were worth knowing about.

"Mmmm... what sort of things would you like to hear, my lady? My crew is a small, ecclectic one. We only count six right now... seven, if you include Vivi-chan. ... Eight if you count her duck... Our navigator is the gorgeous, intelligent, gracious Nami-swan! An angel upon the seas~! ♥ Her skills at navigation are unmatched! Vivi-chan is a pure delight... so sweet and kind and dedicated to protecting her country. The men on our ship...? [He sighs.] Our captain is an idiot... always raiding the kitchen and causing trouble. The Marimo spends all his time either sleeping, drinking or training. Unless it's a fight, he's a useless lump. Our sniper is a habitual liar, with a penchant for telling tall tales... They're harmless enough, though. But he'll also turn and run at the first sign of danger. .... Still... they do all have their good points too, I guess.

She couldn't have been more delighted to hear it. A story was only as good as its characters, and the more interesting they were, the less a bard was required to embellish.

"A duck as a crew member. Now that I've never heard of before! What of the last member?" He'd said there were eight (including the duck, but other than himself, he'd mentioned just six.

She was brimming with curiosity. "What about your captain? If he's so foolish, why do you choose to follow him?"

"Well, he's not exactly a crewmember... We're escorting Vivi-chan back to her country, to help liberate it from a group that's trying to bring it down from the inside. Vivi-chan has become close to us, though, so we consider her nakama... and the duck by default."

Sanji coloured faintly, too caught up in complaining about the male members of the crew - more an automatic response, and a cover so he didn't appear too soft towards men - that he nearly forgot about their newest crewmate. "Ahh... yes, Chopper. He's our newest crewmate; our doctor. He's a reindeer, that had eaten the human-human fruit, so he can talk, change forms, and is fairly intelligent. ... If a bit naieve."

Sanji reached back to scratch the nape of his neck, chewing on the end of his cigarette. How to tell some of these tales without revealing what he actually was? "Sometimes, I ask myself the same question, Miss Rialynn..." he answered with a sheepish grin.

"A rain deer?" Rialynn echoed, brows raised high. She knew of deer, but none of that particular variety. However, the part about being able to speak and shapeshift was far more interesting than the particulars of his species. "What I wouldn't give to see something like that!" Something? Someone? Whichever.

"Surely he must have some sort of admirable quality, to have gathered such a following," she mused aloud. "Are his looks striking? Or perhaps he possesses an unusual streak of good luck that ensures victory?"

This was a mystery indeed, one that might not be solved without meeting Luffy herself.

Sanji could hear the difference, however slight, in the words, coupled with her expression, revealing her confusion. "Rein, as in harness, Miss Rialynn. It's a type of deer found in northern, snowy climates. And... maybe you will, eventually. Who knows, with this city..." He glanced up into the sky again, wondering if any of his nakama would find their way here. He missed them, and - if he were honest with himself - wanted their company here... but he still didn't wish for them to come. He didn't want to see them have to abandon their dreams.

Sanji let out a sharp bark of laughter at that line of inquiry. Ah, yes... You had to meet Luffy to appreciate the full experience. "Luffy? Striking?! Far be it, my good lady. The kid barely knows how to put himself together. Sometimes I don't think the idiot has any manners at ALL." He pauses, then shakes his head, expression growing serious. "He might have a fool's luck, sometimes... but that's not what gets him through battles. No." He closed his eyes, taking in a breath, remembering the words Zeff used, when they were watching Luffy's fight against Don Krieg. "He has the greatest determination I've ever seen in a person. He won't let anything stop him. He'll power through, and go through extreme hardships, in order to reach his goals. He'll endure anything, to win a fight... or protect his nakama," he said softly, remembering how scratched up and injured Luffy was, after carrying both Nami-san and him up that mountain on Drum, to get to the doctor.

"The others are all determined, in their ways, too. The shitty Marimo wouldn't take one step back from what would be his death... if the alternative was turning tail and running... in pursuit of his crazy dream. He and Luffy are similar, in that way... much as I hate to admit it. The both of them have no fear of death, if they know they're doing what they believe in every step of the way. They live life on their terms." Sanji stuffed his hands in his pockets again, and stared back up at the sky. "Nami-swan went through so much hardship... for so many years of her life... She's shouldered so many burdens... I can only be in awe and admire her for that," he murmured, remembering what Nojiko told them of Nami's past.

Now that Sanji was no longer worshiping Rialynn, she found herself much more at ease in his company. He had a good voice that was easy to listen to, in her opinion, and his colorful vocabulary certainly painted a fascinating picture.

Determination. Rialynn smiled, her thoughts straying to the woman named Sabien who had befriended the bard...and subsequently dragged her through all kinds of trouble. But as she'd also dragged Rialynn out of that same trouble, she had no reason to complain. "I think I understand," she chuckled.

It was perhaps the way he looked, and the way he sounded, when he spoke of Nami that tugged at her heartstrings. He really cared for this woman. All of his companions, really. "You must truly love them," she commented with a sympathetic smile. "Anybody who can describe his friends as you do has to be incredibly close." She considered him quietly for a moment, then asked, "Are you in love with Nami?"

Sanji's eyes went wide as he spluttered incredulously, cheeks going a furious red. "L-l-l-love?!" He barked out a nervous laugh, which melted into equally nervous chuckles, and glanced away, unable to meet her eyes. "Y-you mistake me, Miss Rialynn. My love is reserved only for the ladies! Like I would care about those mannerless oafs... We're nakama, that's all."

He cleared his throat awkwardly, only starting to compose himself when Rialynn asked her next question, nearly swallowing his cigarette in surprise, and spent a moment coughing, regaining his breath. When his spasms ceased, he grinned widely, though there was a hint of strain in the smile, and his cheeks were still red. "Ahh... the glorious Nami-swan~! ♥ Anyone in their right mind would be able to see the charm and beauty she exudes! She is a queen among the goddesses... beautiful and intelligent... If not for her, our crew would have fallen apart, gotten ourselves lost on the Grand Line countless times over..."

"Yes? Interesting!" The way he spoke such flowery words, she had to wonder if he might make a fair living himself as a bard. That would depend on his singing ability, but at the very least, he could probably compose a fair sonnet or two.

The weather began to cool as they crossed over from the southern district, causing her horse to snort white steam from her nares.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're gifted with words? I'm sure you could pen some pretty spectacular poetry, or even a sonnet."

He wasn't used to being complimented like this. No one had ever appreciated, or made notice of his speech before (outside of teasing). Sanji scratched absently at his cheek, chuckling roughly.

"To be honest, Miss Rialynn, no... I haven't ever bothered to try writing anything." Well, outside of unanswered love letters to various ladies. "I'm a cook, by trade." His expression brightened a little. "Do you really think I would be good enough to write things like that?"

"I do. It's a little raw, but for someone who hasn't written before, I think that could be easily remedied with a little practice." She gave her opinion matter-of-factly, since her late mentor had always been good enough to do the same with her. Empty praise had not helped her to grow, nor did undue criticism.

She was also interested in his current profession, but Rialynn figured that was due to being kind of hungry at the moment.

"Why not give it a try sometime? I'll help you out, if you like," she offered.

Sanji might have fawned over her, with some empty praise thrown his way... but he appreciated honest commentary much more. Zeff had been strict, and stingy with his praise when he was learning how to cook, but whenever he did give a compliment, it was always honest, and an well-earned one. He might have been strict, but he was fair.

He smiled as he walked alongside her, then clapped his hands together, eyes sparkling. "Ah! To be under your fine tutorship, Miss Rialynn? I'd be ecstatic to be your student...! ♥"

Err... perhaps that wasn't exactly the best of ideas...


"Now hold on," she protested with a strained laugh. "Just because I've had a little more experience doesn't make me suited to teach the trade. Besides," Rialynn nodded in his direction, "you say you're a cook, right? This kind of training is an immersive experience, it goes all day, every day!"

And she wasn't too crazy about the idea of having someone with her like that. Not anyone.

"But...I suppose I could review anything you wanted to write, and give you a critique," she offered.

[Sanji's enthusiasm faded, as he went over her words, and he nodded faintly.] Ahh... no, I wouldn't be able to commit to something like that. Cooking is my life. It's what I've trained for my whole life. It's my focus. And appreciating beautiful ladies, of course~! ♥

[His cheery grin returned, and he clapped his hands together.] Ah... to have such a beautiful master of words to look over my humble chicken scratchings... My ink would be humbled to be read by your gorgeous eyes~! ♥

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