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|"Out of Place, Part 2"|
Lost and Found
December 18, 2012
Previously on Heiress of the Nile
A severely wounded Seraphine was found in the desert by Sami, who took her in and tended to her wounds. Constricted by her injuries, Seraphine found herself in a situation where she was forced to hide her true identity in order to receive the necessary medical care. Spending her time with the friendly Sami, the gentle and kindhearted nature of the girl made Seraphine open up and reveal part of her past, much to her surprise and horror. As such, she decided to leave the camp, disregarding the discomfort of her injury.
Out of Place, Part 2
Having freed herself from the prison that Sami's arms posed to her, Seraphine stalked through the last hours of the night with the stealth of an expert thief. Every step she took was irritating, and the more distance she put between her and the sleeping Water Tribe girl, the more annoyed she became. Shadows fled for the ferocity of her raging flames, and disregarding any subtlety, she marched over the open space that separated the camp from the horse pens where Arrow was resting. Jumping over the fence, she whistled sharply for him, and the horse stood by her side mere seconds later.
"What took you so long?" Her hushed voice resounded through the silent darkness like the explosion from a barrel of blasting jelly.
Arrow flicked his ears and whinnied in dismayed response, appalled by Seraphine's attitude toward him.
"C'mon, boy, don't give me that attitude."
As temperamental as his master, the stallion ostentatiously moved back a few strides when she reached for his reins.
"Arrow, get your ass back here, right now!"
Her irritation rapidly evolved into rage, and, having been evaded by the dark horse four more times, she let out such a waterfall of swearwords that even the most hardened sailor would have had to look up.
The soft hand on her shoulder came out of nowhere. Instinctively, she reached up and took hold of it with her left one while snaking her right foot around a leg of her attacker. As she swept the balance from underneath the person behind her, she let herself be pulled around by the weight of the falling body and used its momentum to lash out. Her fist trailing through the air, glowing fire spilling behind it, Seraphine locked eyes with terrified sapphire discs, and for the first time, she registered Sami's shocked cries of horror. Unable to pull the attack, she diverted its course at the last moment, slamming her knuckles on the hard ground instead; the stench of crisping hair immediately filled her nostrils. Seraphine jolted up and away from Sami, cursing violently as the pain in her right hand traveled up the rest of her arm, throwing oil on her already raging anger.
"Damn it! For fuck's sake, Sami, what in Seth's name are you doing sneaking up on me? I nearly ki– I could've seriously hurt you!"
"I'm sorry," Sami squeaked at her while getting up and assessing the damage done to her hair. The dark locks on her left side, once reaching to well over her shoulders, had been singed off to just under her ear.
Seraphine angrily paced back and forth, muttering to herself while rubbing her right hand to soothe the pain.
Momentarily forgetting her own annoyance over her hair, Sami eyed the girl with curiosity. Awoken by the cold following the disappearance of the human body that kept her warm, she had slipped out of bed to follow the firebender. It had been difficult at first as Seraphine seemed to melt with the shadows around her, but with every step, she had become more and more audacious and visibly angry, forsaking all her stealth. Sami spoke softly. "Why are you so angry?"
Not deigning herself to stop walking, Seraphine looked at her. "I'm not angry. Who's to say that this ain't the real me, ever think of that?" Sami got under her skin, Seraphine knew that much, though she did not know why and that angered her. Everything would have been so much easier if she would not have diverted her attack and just killed the girl, right then and there. Killing was easy; providing an explanation for refraining from doing so, was not. Why had she not gone through with it? Why, when she was staring into those deep blue eyes of Sami, could she not have landed that burst that would have killed her? A cold chill passed into her. Was she going ... soft? The thought revolted her. It was not possible. The day had been pleasant, more than so even ... She briskly walked up to Sami, staring up at her, eyes ablaze with unexplained fury, as if it was the taller girl that had accused her of such weakness. "Y'don't know me, so stop pretending like you do!"
Hurt by the comment, Sami raised her arms in surrender and took a step back, away from the intensity Seraphine's close contact brought with it. "I do not want to pretend. I just want to understand." The comment was lost on the temperamental firebender who had resumed her restless pacing. Sami let her be for a while, though it became apparent that Seraphine would not calm down. "Why is it so hard for you to accept that someone may just genuinely care for you? I only want to help."
Seraphine let out a snort devoid of any amusement and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, sure, whatever, and later on we can all go for a picnic on a rainbow, braid each other's hair, and sing oolala. Just leave me fuck alone." She turned and approached Arrow.
There was something about the abrasive, stubborn, arrogant girl that spoke to Sami. Even though she was put down by the firebender often enough, she had also been awarded with rare glimpses of a softer side of the proud woman, of a kind and funny person that she knew she wanted to get to know better.
"Sera, wait!" Sami did not know when she had started talking or reached out her hand in her direction for that matter. It was not until the sound of her own voice reached her ears that her mind truly processed the words she had formed and realized that she had called out to the woman who had mere moments ago attempted to end her life. She was surprised by her action, but even more by the fact that Seraphine seemed to heed her call, as the girl had stopped and slowly turned around.
Sami could have sworn that she detected a softer, needier undertone behind the cold and uninviting verses. However, when she looked into those smoldering amber eyes, illuminated by the last of the moon's rays, she was met with nothing more than impatient rage. The silence between the two girls seemed to be without end as Sami struggled under Seraphine's stare to mold her thoughts into coherent words and string them together into a sentence. For some reason, the warrior made her nervous, though not because of the dangerous attitude that accompanied the girl. A more accurate cause eluded her however, but whatever it was, it was not helping to speed up her train of thought.
"Whatever." The Shrike Commandant looked around to locate where her horse had wandered off to. "Arrow! I'm done playing games. Get your butt over here. I'm not kidding around!"
The stubborn stallion knew better than to test his master's patience in a state like this; he yielded to her stern voice and came running. Her movements to get on the horse, however, were halted when Sami's soft voice reached her through the darkness. "Don't go. Stay"
She froze, her hands still on Arrow's back and her gaze set on the horizon where a faint glow betrayed the crouching sun. "And why would I do that?"
"Because ... because ... because you can't!"
Seraphine never took kindly with people insinuating that she could not do something, regardless of the context. She instantly pivoted on her heels and marched over to the taller girl. "What did you just say? That I 'can't'? Who the fuck are you to tell me what I can and cannot do?!"
Though intimidated by the definite aura of lethal power Seraphine emanated, Sami erected herself to her full, considerable length and looked down on the other girl, visibly enraging her even more, and her voice rang clear and confident. "If you go now, you will never be able to properly firebend with that arm again."
"What?" The anger and disbelief were almost palpable, and without warning, Seraphine lit up her left arm. Immediately, the agonizing sensation of hot lava running through her veins spread from her shoulder toward her hand. As the burning feeling reached her fingertips, she snuffed the fire with a horrified look on her face.
"That hurt, didn't it?" Sami whispered compassionately, a tinge of guilt in her voice. "Please, let me help you."
Like a scorpion bee when its hive was hit with a stick, Seraphine was flamed by Sami's words of sympathy and kindness, and the wounded warrior launched forward, grabbing hold of the hem of Sami's nightgown. "Help me? You know where you can stick your help? You're a bendingless excuse for a healer whose only skill is to throw some random plants together and whip up cockamamie potions. You're not now and never will be a true healer, so why should I believe you?"
"Sera, please, let me go, you're hurting me." Sami squirmed under Seraphine's tight grasp, clawing at her hands. "I just want to help you."
"Don't you get it? You dense? I don't want your help! I never needed anyone before and I don't need anyone now. Especially not some goody two-shoes like you!"
"What is it that you are afraid of?"
"Afraid? You think I'm afraid? You really ain't very bright, are you? You're banking an awful lot on your assumption that I even need my bending to get by. Here's a newsflash for you: you've got no clue what I'm capable of. You have no idea who you're dealing with, so I suggest you shut it, leave your snooping nose out of my business, and just stay away from me!" Seraphine roughly let go of Sami's hem and pushed her away.
Staggering backwards to maintain her footing and unwilling to let the firebender go, Sami made a dangerous gamble, banking everything on the chance that Seraphine's arrogance would lead her to do exactly as she wanted her to. "Prove it."
The warrior stopped dead in her tracks. "Excuse me?" She looked back at Sami, the lethality radiating from every fiber of her being. "You want me to do what now?"
Sami swallowed and took on a more bold posture though she did not feel confident at all. "I want you to put your money where your mouth is, Sera. Prove me wrong, prove that you are so superior and do not need any help: fight me. If you win, I will let you go, no questions asked, and you will never see me again. Though lose, and you will have to accept my word as a doctor and let me tend to your wounds. While you have already made significant progress thanks to my 'cockamamie potions', I do not believe that you have already reached the level where I can in good faith agree with you submitting yourself to the hardships of travel." She comforted herself slightly with the thought that it was not all a total lie. "If you are right and I am wrong, then you should not have much trouble defeating me."
The shorter girl eyed Sami in silence, making her anxious mind race a hundred miles a minute, going over every possible reason for Seraphine's lack of answer. Had Seraphine seen through the blatant lie, cause why would one not be able to travel when they are deemed fit enough to fight? She should have thought this through. Actually, she just should have thought about it in general. Had she perhaps overestimated her level of arrogance? What if she would fight, but fight like the warrior she obviously was instead of smugly toying with her? She would not stand a chance.
Sami's wild thoughts were interrupted by Seraphine's outburst of laughter. "You ... fight me? Come on, even posing that as if it were a challenge is insulting. I've seen you move, Doc, you don't stand a chance."
Barely hiding her relief for the opening Seraphine had provided her with, she pushed the last of the temperamental girl's nerves. "Then what are you afraid of?"
The amused twinkle dissipated from the honey-colored eyes faster than a chameleon cheetah could grab its prey, turning them cold and focused. "All right then, if that's how y'wanna play it, you're on. I'll tell you what, I'll even raise the stakes: If you win, I'll stay here until the 'good doctor' deems me fit to leave and gives me the green light. And just to make this interesting, I'll even throw in a free punch, so one day, you can tell people how you were able to land one punch on me." She mockingly spread her arms, leaving herself completely unprotected. "Come on, Doc, go for it. Here I am, show me what you got. I'm curious, I really am."
Ignoring Seraphine's snickers of amusement, Sami circled around her, meticulously scanning her unprotected sides.
"As an obvious green fighter, perhaps I should explain this to you: This would be the moment that you display your awesome fighting skills to me and hit me. That's kind of the entire idea behind a 'free shot', just saying." Seraphine flashed the tall girl a smile, though it quickly morphed into an expression of shock when Sami rapidly punched several well-chosen pressure points in succession, effectively taking away all the control over her body and rendering her to unconsciously collapse on the ground.
With a groan, Seraphine opened her eyes and her vision focused on the nook of a tent. As though hit by lightning, she shot up and looked around, realizing that she was once again alone in Sami's tent, laying on her soft bed. Subconsciously, she probed her right side as the events of the night came flooding back to her. "That bitch!"
Her clothes were nicely folded and draped over the chair next to the bed and Seraphine noticed that her wounds were covered with fresh linen strips. Grumbling in annoyance, she got dressed, and moved to the exit through which the morning sun was already peeking in. Before stepping out, she was halted in her tracks by the sound of a loud argument between Sami and Trok, moderated by the gentle voice of Jumoke.
"In Geb's name, are you that blind, Sami? Why can't –no, better yet– why won't you see?! What more does she need to do to you in order for you to realize that she can't be trusted? Actually burn your entire face off?"
"And in Hapi's name, are you that deaf, Trok? Why can't –no, better yet– why won't you listen?! I told you three times already, it was all just an accident! I had to go to the bathroom, but I accidentally dropped my last candle, so instead of risking breaking a leg by falling over something, I asked Sera if she would light the way with her bending. She did it to help me, but since it was dark, we didn't know how close we were together and my hair accidentally caught fire in the flame. It. Was. An. Accident!"
"Oh c'mon, you really expect me to believe that? Don't insult my intelligence with a crap answer like that! From the first moment I saw her, I knew she was trouble, didn't I say so? I said so, but no, you wouldn't believe me."
"Trok, if I wanted to insult you, I would've said something about your abnormally large nose, but there is no use insulting something that isn't there, now is there?" Sami's sneer was cold and hard, her voice loaded with a rage that did not become her gentle persona.
"Sami, that was uncalled for." Jumoke did not raise his tone, though it carried a silent warning to not proceed in that way.
She ran her fingers through her damaged hair while sighing in fatigue. Trok's disapproving look did not pass her by, and she quickly lowered her hands again and spoke in softer and calmer tones. "Just because you were defeated by the Shrikes and your village was later burned to the ground by some firebenders, that doesn't mean that you can hold a grudge against every firebender." She swiftly turned to Jumoke, effectively cutting off Trok's reply. "Jumoke, all I ask for is to give her the benefit of the doubt, the chance she deserves. She still needs medical help that I like to provide her with. Wasn't this entire fellowship founded on the idea that we would never turn anyone in need away? I want to help her, even though she's too proud to admit that she needs it."
The camp leader put a gentle hand on Sami's shoulder. "My child, are you sure about this?"
She briefly thought back to what Seraphine had put her through, though she did not have to think twice about the answer she was going to give. "Yes. It was just an accident. Please, trust me, there is more to her than meets the eye."
Jumoke raised his hand at Trok, silencing his bubbling protests. "Very well then: Sera will be allowed to stay in the camp without any restrictions."
Sami's sigh of relief was drowned out by Trok's unjustified cries. "What?! Jumoke, you can't be serious! She's a menace, a danger to us all. She wi–"
"Trok." The sharp tone was enough to halt the brass soldier mid-sentence and make him kick up a rock in his annoyance. The camp leader turned his attention back to Sami. "No one will hold anything against her. If you say that it was an accident ..." He halted for a moment and locked eyes with Sami. Years of wisdom swirled around in his stormy grays and they searched for the truth in Sami's blues, which were not able to hold on to the stare for very long and looked down. He sighed. "Well then, we will believe you." The earth cracked underneath Trok's feet as he stomped away in annoyance. Sami watched him go, but was met with a piercing gaze of the leader when she turned her attention back at him. "Be careful, young one. Be wary for the rainclouds when you are searching for the sun."
Seraphine stood frozen near the exit, completely baffled. For the first time in her life, she did not know what to say or what to do; she momentarily forgot that she was angry with the Water Tribe native and failed to move, causing Sami, who returned to her quarters, to bump right into her and fall on her behind.
"Arch! Why is it that every time I see you, I am the one that gets hurt?" Sami was angry with Seraphine. In a day's time, the girl had made her laugh more than she had in a long time, though she had also infuriated her beyond comprehension. She could not place the warrior, and that annoyed her. Unless when it came to arrogant responses, the firebender could not be predicted, but perhaps that sense of adventure and mystery, that passion for life, was exactly what drew Sami to her, even prompting her to lie for her. However, at that moment, Sami was too irritated and tired to stand still with her swirling thoughts and she merely wanted to slap the other woman. She got up and dusted her clothes off. "What were you doing standing there anyway? Running again?"
The sniping tones of the otherwise docile girl did not sit well with Seraphine, though she vaguely had the feeling that she deserved that. However, she was still too flabbergasted about Sami's actions in the discussion to thoroughly react to it.
"You're unbelievable, you know that?" The tall girl stormed past the silent warrior into her tent, though halfway, she reconsidered and turned around. "You know, as you undoubtedly heard, I lied to my friends for you. The least you could do is show me the basic courtesy of answering when I ask you something. Or is knocking people on their behinds your entire grasp of a good conversation?!"
Pride and rage: Seraphine understood and knew how to handle them, though feelings of shame and remorse, she did not. Roused by the accusation, she was confused and clueless on how to act, thus resorted to her safe and easy way out: anger. "Who in Seth's name do you think you are?! You're the one who snuck up on me in the first place!"
"So ... what? Me following you and asking you if you're okay justifies you trying to kill me?"
"Believe me, Doc, if I wanted you dead, you'd be dead!" Seraphine glared at the Water Tribe girl who scampered dismissively. So ... Why isn't she dead? Rather than to stop and deal with the confusing thought, she forced herself to push it all away. "In any case, I never asked you for jack shit. I never asked you to cover for me. I never asked you to lie. All I wanted was to get out. So instead of gnawing my head off, take a look at yourself, Miss Priss, as you brought that all on your own by your own choice, as I sure as fuck never needed, nor wanted you to!"
"You never wanted me to? You never needed me to? Trok wanted to put you on trial!"
"Oh no, was the big bad Troky going to trial me? Imagine that, the horror." The heavy sarcasm drowned out any possible trace of humor and Sami threw her hands in the air in annoyance.
"You are so infuriating! A simple thank you would've sufficed, but nooooo, that's below the all-powerful Sera, isn't it? You don't need anyone; you're a lone wolf; you're perfectly fine on your own, right, only looking out for number one." Seraphine crossed her arms and bared her teeth in a snarl, a murderous warning sliding over her eyes, though Sami did not show any signs of distress and looked straight at the shorter girl, deliberately erecting herself to tower over her. "But let me tell you something: without this number one, your number one would've been vulture hyena food by now!"
Seraphine knew Sami was right, though she was not about to admit that. She was indebted to the girl, sure, but she did not have to befriend her, nor let her in. There was no need to go soft. She was rightfully angry at Sami for that. She also had her pride to consider, so there was no way that she was going to say that she was sorry for any possible overreaction –if one could already call it that.
"Look at you. You're even too proud to even acknowledge that now." She sighed wearingly, missing Seraphine's shocked look of someone who just got busted. "Sure, you said that you owed me and would repay your debt, but that does not entail common courtesy, right? That's only strictly in regards to what you need: I saved your life and now you owe me a life, so till then, your interest is strictly limited to medical care, or at least, it was. Your torn between what you want and what you need, but why show 'weakness' and let someone help you, right? Cause that's it, right? Sharing is caring and caring is weak." She turned her back to Seraphine, who was struggling to maintain her arrogant posture, and Sami's attitude switched completely. Now a whisper, loaded with bitter tears, her voice had lost any trace of its previous spark. "You must think I am utterly pathetic and weak for that. I don't know why I would be surprised, everyone thinks so. Even people who just met me, like Trok."
Sami's hand tucked at the short remainders of her once long locks and stared before her in silence, though Seraphine felt like she had received a blow to her stomach. She felt bad and with the realization that it was guilt that she felt, the last remnants of her anger dissipated with a sigh. "Who cares what he thinks, he's an idiot." A nearly palpable silence fell over them, one that Seraphine could not stand to let continue. There was something about the genuine friendliness that got to her, got under her skin. She did not like it, but she could not ignore it either. "I don't think you're utterly pathetic. Truth is, I don't know what to think of you, but whatever it is, you're not weak. That I do know." She surprised herself with how gentle the words came out and looked away, wondering where on earth that had come from.
She did not know why, but Seraphine's words brought an invincible smile to her face and she felt a whole lot lighter.
"Why are you so nice to me?"
Sami turned around, surprised that the question had come from Seraphine's lips and not hers, and she stared at the proud warrior. "I'm sorry?"
Seraphine knew that Sami had heard her, her entire body language screamed that she did, but she also knew that she was not going to make it easy on her. Grunting in annoyance, Seraphine complied reluctantly. "I want to know why you are so ... nice to me. Why are you doing all this?"
Sami crossed her arms and looked pleased, her eyes alight with amusement. "I'm not nice. Who's to say that this ain't the real me, ever think of that?"
Seraphine looked at Sami with squinty eyes and a furrowed brow in recognition of her own words of before. "I guess I deserved that."
The Shrike Commandant shrugged. "Whatever." She cast a longing look at the tent's exit. "What do you want from me?"
"Nothing." Sami could not keep the irritation from seeping in and tainting her tone. Stepping closer, she reached out and gently forced the other girl to look at her. "Is it really that hard for you to believe that someone just wants to help you for you, without wanting anything in return?"
Though she never verbally answered, Seraphine's body language was more than clear, as she rolled her eyes incredulous and snorted mockingly.
Realizing that Seraphine would never believe otherwise, Sami decided to just go with it. "Fine, I'll make it easier for you and play along. I had an ulterior motive for helping you and wanting you to stay. There, happy?" With tremendous effort, she forced herself to ignore the "I knew it"-expression that played over Seraphine's face. "I want you to teach me how to fight."
That expression quickly changed, however, and the warrior looked at the Water Tribe girl as if she had just stripped down and started dancing naked in front of her. "You want me to do what now?"
Patiently, Sami calmly repeated herself, silently enjoying Seraphine's baffled state. "I want you to teach me how to defend myself."
"Defend yourse– girl, I don't know how you did it, but you knocked me flat on my ass last night. We wouldn't be having this conversation if you didn't know how to fight, so quite frankly, I find your request insulting. You beat me with four blows and then you say you can't fight? C'mon, get the fuck out!" She crossed her arms and ostentatiously looked away, her pride more hurt than anything else. However, her curiosity prevailed in the ensuing silence and she looked back at Sami who was still standing there with a smile on her face. "What the fuck did you do to me anyway? I've never seen such a technique before."
"You still don't see it, do you? I never fought you, Sera, I can't throw a punch to save my life –literally. What I did was attack you with ... well, medicine."
The warrior looked at her doctor with disdain. "Medicine? Geez, thanks, so I got my ass kicked by a doctor who doesn't know the difference between a punch and a kick, that makes me feel so much better."
Chuckling, the Water Tribe woman reached forward and took Seraphine's hand, which stiffened under her touch, but was not pulled away, encouraging Sami to tell her story.
"You said last night that I was a bendingless excuse for a healer." She was content with the shadow of remorse that briefly swam in those amber eyes she found so beautiful. "Though you were only correct about the bending part. I may not have the healing abilities of a waterbender, but I did receive the same training ... well, sort of. My mother is the most renowned healer in our village and although she forbade me to attend any of her classes due to my lack of bending, I used to eavesdrop all the time. Then at home, I 'borrowed' her scrolls, copied them, and taught myself everything there is to know about chi patterns and more." She fell silent for a moment as a memory of Korra playing her practice dummy came to mind. Seraphine stirred, piercing the image of the brown-haired girl and bringing her back to the present. Sami smiled at the warm feeling of the firebender's hand in hers and strengthened her grip on it. She stretched the other girl's right arm and trailed a finger over it, tracing the path of a chi line all the way up to the shoulder.
"My mother always said that chi lines are like the Nile of our body, bringing life and energy wherever it goes. She compared it to the irrigation canals of a field: wherever the water flows, the plants grow strong. However, cut it off and the plants wither." Seraphine tensed as Sami's fingers ever so softly followed the pattern over her clavicle to the wound on her other shoulder. "It's the healer's job to clear out blockages caused by injury or illness." She sighed and let go of Seraphine's arm. "Being a nonbender, the only nonbender in our family, my mother always thought less of me. She never wanted to listen to me about what I found out about the patterns, as she believed that it was the prerogative of the skilled healer to see, feel, and heal these lines. I don't know whether she didn't know I outgrew her knowledge, or just did not want to know." It was a bitter boast of her ego: she was proud of her accomplishments, but it stung that her mother did not want anything to do with her, simply because she did not share her gift of waterbending. "I found out that the process could be inverted as well. When a plant gets too much water, it will drown, and then it is the farmer's responsibility to cut off the water supply to save his crop. Now I noticed that the same can be done by the healer: to speed up the healing process, it can be beneficial to cut off one's feeling of a part of their body or of their bending for that matter, either to reduce pain or just to force them to lay still." She quickly pressed down on a point at Seraphine's wrist, elbow, and shoulder, applying a slight sideways pressure to the right. The action rendered her arm limp immediately.
Though horrified by the lack of control, the warrior stared at the doctor in awe. "Your mother is a damn fool for excluding you." The rejected girl beamed slightly at the first sign of praise and recognition she got for her discovery. "Though I would appreciate it if you'd stop smiling like a polar bear dog puppy and gave me back my feeling before I slap you with a limp arm."
"Sorry." Sami laughed sheepishly and quickly touched the same points in reversed order with a left ways pressure. Seraphine rolled her shoulder and turned her arm as soon as she regained her feeling, much to Sami's amusement. "Your arm is perfectly fine, don't worry."
The firebender gazed at her briefly before lighting up and letting the flames lick her fingers for a few seconds. Satisfied, she snuffed the fire. "Yeah well, better safe than sorry. You never know what tricks you have up your sleeve –as I have found out the hard way." Sami quickly developed a blush at the faint hint of respect that she thought she detected. "In any case, that chi-blocking thing, or whatever it's called, is a powerful technique when used in battle."
"Perhaps ... Though that's not why I thought of it. I'm a healer, not a fighter. I don't want to be. But even if I would want to fight with it, I could never use that in battle, as I don't know how to fight." Flaring amber eyes and the accompanying offended body language prompted her to continue swiftly. "I mean by that: I cannot fight. I do not have the skills of a warrior that would allow me to get close enough to someone to lay a hand on them –unless they would let me. For example, if you would not have allowed me the first strike, I would never have been able to beat you."
Seraphine thought about that for a few seconds and Sami could just see her pride piecing everything together. "So basically, you didn't beat me. I just let you."
Not wanting to undo all her positive progress with the girl over a bruised ego, she just smiled and nodded. "Exactly. And that's exactly why I want to learn some martial arts, so I could protect myself in the future. Especially with the Shrikes running around, as they would not be so ... generous."
Seraphine eyed the Water Tribe girl with an expression that made Sami nervous. She did not know what to make of it; once again the warrior was unreadable to her.
The comment about her family had thrown her off a bit and Seraphine needed some more time to think, to figure out what to make of all this and to come up with a plan. "Here's a question for you: I doubt that this is the first time you've found yourself utterly outclassed when compared to a highly-skilled warrior, so if you wanted to learn how to defend yourself so desperately, then why wait till now? Why ask me and not the buffoon for example –then again, I would understand why you'd not want him around."
"Until now, I never found myself in a pressing need for self-defense moves; I've never been under attack that frequently before." Seraphine crossed her arms in a defensive way, though Sami was positive she saw an amused twinkle sparkle in her eyes and a smile tugging on her lips. "And about asking Trok ... well, I was going to, but then I ran into you and saw what you can do. He is simply stated nothing compared to your skills –and I've only seen a fraction of them. So that's why I want, no, need your help."
She figured that a little flattery could not hurt and it seemed she was correct. For a girl that valued battle prowess above all, telling her no one compared to her and appealing to her ego was always a smart move if one wanted to remain on her good side.
Seraphine ran a hand casually through her long hair. She figured that she might as well go through with it. She would receive further medical care and she would have the opportunity to study that chi-blocking technique. Sami may not want to employ that in battle, but that was only one of the many ethical concerns the two girls did not have in common. "You do have a point there. Very well then, I guess I could teach you a thing or two." Sami's ecstatic outburst froze when her would-be teacher stared coldly at her. "However, I do have one condition for you: you will never, not in any circumstance, block my chi ever again. Let us be clear about that."
Swallowing nervously, the chi-blocker nodded in compliance. "Crystal."
"Glad we could get that sorted out." The warrior's attitude lost any trace of hostility and she leisurely strolled toward Sami's medical kit and fished out a pair of scissors. "Now, how about you sit down and we do something about that horrible hairdo of yours? 'Singed' isn't exactly your style."
"And whose fault is that?!"
Sami trustingly sat down on the chair as her impromptu barber walked up behind her and briefly bent over to whisper in her ear. "Yours." Sami attempted to turn around, an undignified look on her face, though she was halted by a strong hand on her shoulder and the snapping sounds of the scissor. "Now, sit still and let me see if I can still salvage something of the mess you made."
"You're so full of it," Sami muttered with a pout on her face, while crossing her arms, complying with the request to sit still.
Seraphine snickered. "No need to be so jealous of me, Doc."
Their friendly banter merged with small-talk that even hinted at not-so-small talk like friends from time to time. Seraphine had chided Sami over her naivety, her hair, and overall goody two-shoes-ness, while Sami had in turn teased Seraphine about her paranoia, temper, and –most wickedly– her shorter length. It continued until Seraphine put the scissors down and stepped back to admire her work.
"So, how do I look?" Sami asked timidly as Seraphine's eyes darted over her.
The Shrike Commandant could not describe it any other way: Sami looked hot. The natural waviness of Sami's hair put a playful bounce in her locks that were now cut short to just cover her ears, and the different layers that had been inserted gave the coup something wild and daring.
Hesitantly, the chi-blocker got out of her chair and gazed at her reflection in the mirror. She gasped and ran her hands through her short hairdo, turning back to Seraphine. "By Hapi ... It's amazing! I totally love it, thank you!"
Seraphine released a breath that she was not aware she had been holding. Surprised by that, she shook her head to quickly purge any thoughts of care and smugly smirked. "I know; I'm just that damn good."
Sami laughed vibrantly and resumed admiring her reflection. "You sure are. If you're as good a teacher as a barber, than I can't wait to get started."
Strolling toward the tent's exit, the warrior whispered at her while passing. "You know, I'm good at a lot of stuff, but hairdressing is the least of my skill, so why don't we get started so you can find out?"
Though the firebender had left the tent, her warm breath still lingered on Sami's skin, sending shivers down her spine and placing a smile on her face, one that she was unable to remove until Seraphine kicked off their first training lesson the hard way.
- This chapter could've been posted sooner, though due to upcoming exams, I decided to spread it out a bit more, cause otherwise I would have a hole of three months between posting -again.
- Before people would think that it doesn't make sense that Seraphine's shoulder wound can affect her bending, that will be explained in later chapters.
- "later on we can all go for a picnic on a rainbow, braid each other's hair, and sing oolala" is a "borrowed" and slightly modified sentence by . "Sure, we can all go for a picnic on a rainbow, sing oolala and eat fluffy clouds" is the original.
- Seliah thought "Because ... because ... because you can't!" was the best argument ever. That is, ladies and gentlemen, why she did not study to become a lawyer.
- Okay, perhaps I might have slightly ignored the tone on which so said that, sue me.
- Seraphine is a firebender and easily flammable *insert slow drum here*.
- Trok is a mediocre fighter, but he sure can read people, as he is indeed right to distrust Seraphine. She was indeed the one who torched Palm Spring.
- Geb is the Egyptian god, and thus now the HotN spirit, of the earth. It is the main spirit of those with the ability to earthbend.
- Fun fact: The Ancient Egyptians believed that he allowed crops to grow, and that earthquakes were caused by his laughter.
- Hapi was the Ancient Egyptian deification of the annual flooding (inundation) of the River Nile, and thus this god became the HotN main spirit of the people of the Water Tribe.
- This chapter counts 6506 words.
|Heiress of the Nile|
|Book 1 - Lost and Found|
|• • • • • • • • • • •|
|Lostris • Seraphine • Tanus • Sami • Meren • Taita • Naja • Intef • Tegan • Apepi • Kun •|
|Gebel Nagara • Thebes • Palm Spring • Nomads' camp|
For the collective works of the author, go here.