Attitude and Grace


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Scene Title Attitude and Grace
Synopsis There's plenty of the first and less of the second when Mynama practices her ability in the presence of two onlookers.
Date July 20, 2011

Pollepel Island Forest

The sunlight through the trees on Pollepel island is the same sun that streaks through the grime of the city miles away. The same, but different. Here, the sun peaks through and between the curtains of summer green leaves that coat the branching arms of trees and coax a thick carpet of grass up from between the rocky island soil. The castle could have been removed from some ancient place, carved out with this piece of land and dropped into the Hudson.

In the middle of the mid-morning sunlight, dappled by the canopy, stands Mynama. There's no reason to wrap her thin frame in wool and blankets and knitwear now that summer is here. She wears a tanktop and jeans, her shoes - or the shoes she was given - kicked to one side of the small stand of trees. In the absence of product, her hair has been braided in rows, then bound to create a brush of coarse fibers. Slowly, she steps toward a tree, reveling in the sensation of the ground under her feet and the grass between her toes.

Mynama lifts one hand to rest inches away from the shaggy bark of a hickory, closing her eyes. She can only do one thing, though it has taken months to get to this point. And even now, it's all guesswork.


And push.

Slowly, Mynama's feet rise off the ground.

In another tree, cradled by the rough curve of a strong branch and the trunk, Nora lounges; she hadn't heard Mynama coming as her mind (and ears) were elsewhere, listening to the music of the airwaves that no one else can hear without the help of antenna and coils and wires. It's only the motion of something rising in her periphery that catches the teen's eyes. She turns her head, tipping it down to look lazily at the girl below from her lofty perch.

Nora had come in with the fog from the boat in the pre-dawn hours, but didn't go to the castle for warmth or food, seeking solitude more than anything else and using the supply run as an excuse to get away from the city where the multitudes of people only serve to remind her just how alone she feels. Here, loneliness is a requirement, a lifestyle, a necessity to embrace.

She doesn't speak.

It's only when Mynama is almost three feet off the ground that she opens her eyes, immediately reaching for the tree to stabilize herself. She presses her hands against it, using the texture of the bark to keep her grip. If it can be called a grip. It's more like a brake as Mynama lets herself rise, keeping herself from going to quickly.

At about five feet up, there's a branch, and Mynama guides herself to it, unaware of the small dent she's left in the ground far below where the earth is cracked and the new roots of grass threatened. Mynama straddles the branch with her long legs, crossing her ankles as best as she can as she sits facing the trunk. Once she's settled, she lets out a deep breath, letting her eyes close again, masking the faint sound of the ground below crunching with newfound weight.

When Myn opens those determined dark eyes again, she catches sight of Nora to one side. Caught in what she'd planned to be a solitary exercise, the girl's eyes widen, and her grip on the tree becomes more fierce. It doesn't take long for the fright to be replaced by anger, and Mynama glares across the distance at the older teen.

"What are you doing out here?" she demands as if Mynama need not answer the same question herself.

Brows raise, and Nora might look impressed for about a split second before Mynama grows angry; Nora grows defensive in turn. Her feet slide along the length of the tree branch until they are beneath her and she rises up, hands curling around the branch she now perches on like a bird.

"Sleeping," she tosses to Mynama, flipping her hair out of her eyes. The tone is nonchalant, but she knows Mynama's easily angered, and now has a power that could hurt her — if Mynama knows how to use it.

"You shouldn'be sleeping in trees." Comes floating up from somewhere below, and though the voice is familiar and identifiable, they can only see Huruma when she comes out from some of the other trunks, picking her way across the leaf litter. "But that never stopped me, either." She lets out a short scoff of air and crosses her arms, tilting her head back to examine the two teenagers that sit trees apart in the branches. God only knows how Nora got up there, she decides.

In a dark green shirt and olive colored pants, she does not cut a threatening appearence, but all the same it is Huruma, and she carries anything like a knight in a suit of armor.

"I admit- I am more curious about what you are doing. Besides acting like a kitten hissing its way up a tree." The dark woman on the ground lowers her eyelids at Mynama, her voice somewhere between actually curious, and perhaps teasing. She knows all too well what it is that Mynama was doing, or appeared to be doing.

Mynama doesn't have much time to react to Nora before Huruma takes her by surprise, but there is a clear moment of odd amazement that leaks through her anger. But only because she didn't think of escaping the castle in such a way first. Mynama's eyes stay narrowed once she focuses them on Huruma, but more out of obstinance than anger. How can anyone be exactly angry at someone so easily able to break them in half?

Still, there is a part of her which would rather show than tell.

But only a small part.

Adopting a haughty expression - the preening rather than hissing kitten - Mynama carefully places her feet under her. She lacks the grace Nora has, instead moving carefully, trying not to forget her balance in the face of an audience. Bracing herself against the tree once more, only now with her hands actually on the bark, Mynama lets the foot farthest from the grounded woman dangle off the branch.

Breathe in.


This time when Mynama rises, it isn't the ground that reacts to her movement, but the tree branch she leaves behind. It whines at first, the stress coming as slowly as Mynama eases her way up the trunk, half reaching and pulling, half willing herself higher.

Huruma's words earn a flash of a smile from Nora, who shrugs. "Didn't feel like waking up people looking for a spare bed this morning," she says lightly, though her eyes are on Mynama and the tree branch that creaks.

"Looks like you've been training. Good job," she says pleasantly enough, before pushing back off the branch she sits on in a reverse flip that lands her on the forest floor in a crouch, knees soft for the landing before she straightens, pushing her hair out of her face again with a grimy hand.

She backs up a few feet so that she's well out of the way should that branch fall, as Mynama's power presses down upon it.

"Try not to break anything you don't need to," she advises, peering up at Mynama and cupping her hand around her eyes as the sun's dappled light shines on her upturned face.

Huruma is left staring upwards, squinting at Mynama's movements as the girl moves up the tree. Her attention pulls away when Nora does a gymnast proud and joins her on the ground. Huruma gives it a plainly appreciative reaction before turning her eyes away and up again. Arms still crossed, she is more rapt in examining the execution than the reason. Mynama is certainly not very graceful, no, but she is getting up the tree.

"Like your neck." Huruma tries very, very hard not to laugh at her attempt at wit, though only partially successful. A smirk crawls over her lips, at least, before she manages to tame it down into her previously neutral expression. "I've seen stronger trees break." She does add this as an honest sounding warning.

"I know what I'm doing!" Mynama shouts down after the bevy of advice is tossed up into the canopy. The break in solid concentration has it's toll though, despite the girl's will to do the thing correctly. For a moment, her muscles tighten, and her fingers curl around the shagbark, her feet digging in with a slight kick. The stress on the branch seems to lessen for a moment, a breeze playing through the leaved twigs stemming from it's end.

Mynama shuts her eyes tight, gritting her teeth as the unforgiving bark bites her skin. With a flash of anger, she opens them again.

Fucking branch.

The creak is louder now as Mynama half climbs, half floats at a faster pace toward the next branch a few feet above her head. She grabs for it relying much more on the tree itself than on any power of her own, so she's panting even before she unfocuses, her original perch still visibly unharmed, but swaying in the wind. When her sigh comes, it's almost for show rather than the almost meditative release it was before.

But she manages to smile down at her observers, her eyes squinted in triumph.


The slightly older teen presses her lips together so as not to smirk. She's been trained to do difficult things with her own body and her mind since she was small, and she knows the concentration and confidence it takes to believe in one's self, to keep going. She brushes her hands off on her jeans.

"You seem to. Keep up the good work," Nora calls up, her hand moving up to shield her eyes from the glare of the sun once more. "Is coming down harder or easier?" There's a genuine note of curiosity in her voice; her power is a mental one, after all; coming down from the tree is easier by far for her, but for Mynama it might be an altogether different story.

Trollruma has a reason to be trolling. Mynama's enemies are not going to stand around like a peanut gallery, they are going to be ultimately distracting, though probably more violently. She won't have time to really- well- prepare.

"Yes, I see." That's lovely. Huruma does think so, but if she uses body language to say that, her trolling would have done too little to teach anything. "I wonder if she can fall like Magnes." The tall woman asides to Nora, then looks back up to Mynama, neck stretched back and one hand moving up to rub at her lower face, muffling some of her words in the process.. "I remember my first tree. I couldn'get down. M'brother had to get me."

Just over ten feet up, Mynama stops gloating long enough to survey her situation. She'd wanted to come this high today. At least. "I just…fall, I guess," she says, both unsure and nonchalant, as if falling where no big deal. But her hands and feet sting from her last effort. She could climb to the other side and inch her way down, and for all the practice in control it would give her, it isn't nearly as flashy as Nora and Huruma deserve to see out of her. Mynama picks at the bark of the tree, her brow furrowed in thought.

A strip of the shag comes off with her prying fingers, and she fiddles with it, then holds it in the palm of her hand. Breathe in. But she doesn't want to push away from the strip. It's not nearly big enough. But still, she pushes with her mind her ankles tightening around the branch she's lighted on, and the bark becomes like a stone in her hand. With a small smile, she curls her arm back and swings it.

The heavy piece of bark flies through the air as if it were a brick, but just as it pierces through a clump of leaves, it falters, flitting back to earth like a feather rather than a rock.

Mynama frowns.

"Lance rescued me from mine," Nora tells Huruma, smirking a bit. "But I only let him help me once he promised not to tell Joe or Junie." When Mynama says she'll just "fall," Nora's dark eyes narrow, and she shakes her head.

"You're too high to just fall. You might hit branches or break an ankle. Don't get anywhere you don't have an escape route from. You can climb down the tree, like you would if you had climbed up it. Don't try to show off. The branch I dropped from was a lot lower than that one you're on, and I know my limits."

She watches the bark fall, then lifts her eyes again. "Probably outside your range," she points out. "Unless it's a focus issue. Don't worry about it. Practice makes perfect."

Huruma's expression turns somewhat bird-like; her head turns just enough so that from above, her face is reflecting an obviously quizzical look. "Practice, not falling. If you make that mistake I would'ave half a mind t'not catch you." And she is probably telling the truth, too. "I think that perhaps you should try smaller …goals." Like the bark she threw a moment ago.

"Or allow someone to train you into the dirt. Either way…" It'd get done. Because seeing teenagers hurt themselves is hilarious, right?

Mynama rolls her eyes, and her head to communicate the exasperation across the distance. "Sick people and potatoes are apparently more interesting. Why? You offering, velha?" Mynama's wide grin is easily visible, despite the morning sun at her back. She looks to Nora, proud that she could climb higher than the older girl. "It's just garbage." Practically flying is far cooler than making a piece of bark act like stone for a moment. "And I'll be fine. Falling from five feet is the same as falling from ten. It just takes longer is all." Feeling confident - the sun on her skin and the proverbial feather in her cap, she breathes in deep and slides one leg around the branch so that she's sitting rather than straddling, then moves her arms to embrace the tree.

Falling is a different focus. Falling is letting things come to her, letting them pull her, albeit with care.

Before she drops, Mynama's brow furrows again, and the corner of her mouth twitches into a smirk. Slowly, she pulls one arm away from the tree, opening herself up to her spectators. With one hand pressed against the tree and the other braced against the air, Mynama lets herself slip slowly off the branch. One leg comes to meet the branch, the side of her foot lightly scraping against the rough bark. The other is pointed downward, as if she were a ballerina doing drills at the barre.

But halfway down her foot snags on the tree, the bark biting once more into already tender skin, and Mynama winces. Critical concentration is lost for a moment, and Mynama is truly falling, the tree savaging one hand and one foot. Mynama closes her body, crashing against the trunk and peeling away a thin piece of bark as she tries to regain control - to stop. The tree is bigger than she is. The tree is bigger. She is tiny in comparison. Like a locust. Small - weightless.

The bark curls above her head like the vegetable skin, then crashes toward the ground five feet below where it breaks like a slab of concrete, leaving a dent in the soft ground and sprouting fractures across the gray-brown surface.

"You need to learn physics better," Nora snipes back, but then the girl is coming down, first gracefully then less so, until she slams against the trunk. Nora moves instinctively forward to help but then that bark comes slamming down, and she moves backwards again, staring at the fractured dirt with a sort of sick fascination… that could have been her head.

Her eyes narrow and she looks up again. "If you broke your neck out here all alone, no one would know for a long time, you know that? Next time tell someone so we'll know when you get yourself killed," she tosses upward, shaking her head. "Do you want help getting down?" The last is asked with a bit less derision.

Huruma's lip curls over her teeth at Mynama's first words. She does not have to say she disagrees- her reaction does it for her. This time she watches Mynama with a slight detachedness. Up until things start falling, and then it gets really interesting really quickly, again. Huruma unhooks her arms from in front of her, peering over at the piece of fallen bark with the same fascination as Nora. The Peanut Gallery likes this. Though Nora is right- perhaps Mynama needs to read up more. Magnes did the same, and it certainly worked for him, even if differently.

"If she can come that far, she can do th'rest." Huruma's verbal revenge for being called an old woman.

"I don't," Mynama says, her voice thin as she hisses through her teeth. She kicks her feet in search of purchase, which is found eventually. "I'm fine." The girl opens her eyes slowly to gauge just how far she is from the ground. Not far - no more than her own height. She inches down the rudimentary hand holds in the bark until she feels a little more comfortable, jumping the last few feet and landing with a stagger, only just keeping her feet. Her hands are slathered with a mixture of dirt, the scrapes and cuts just beginning to seep their additions to the mess. The same can only be assumed about her feet.

"I just need practice," Mynama says with a shake of her head, hands gingerly braced on her knees as she stands half-bent to catch her breath. "I want to be able to climb the walls this summer, so I can see the city." Everyone has to have a goal, and Mynama doesn't seem to care that hers doesn't involve math or anything remotely small.

The older teen's dark brows rise again and she begins to move toward the trail. "Practice but don't get yourself killed or you won't be seeing anything much. And you can't see the city from here, anyway," Nora says, yawning a little — the tree wasn't the most comfortable of beds, and her stomach growls, as she hasn't had a meal since leaving the mainland last night.

"And I don't think the council'll be too keen on you if you break the castle walls just to play Spiderman," she adds cynically as she begins to make her way back toward Bannerman.

So use the stairs. Huruma somehow does not say it out loud. Probably a testament to increasing patience on her end. "And yes, maybe I am, menina." Her eyes move off to Nora, nodding once, though reluctantly. Huruma peers back to Mynama again, shoulders squared and eyes downturned onto the shorter, slimmer Mynama. "You can see th'river. Th'hills. Which are, in my opinion, much more beautiful." Especially in summer.

"But if you are intent on th'city, it will not help unless you go with th'boats when they go onto a run." Even then, it could be more dangerous- but others make the trip, and Huruma sees no reason that the girl cannot do the same.

Mynama snorts. "Like I care what those boquiabertos think," she mutters after Nora, spitting into the grass before she stands up straight and bends slightly backward. Her muscles are tense after the strain of the exercise, and she could do with another bath.

She looks up at Huruma, her eyes narrowed in suspicion. Then a different paranoia grabs her, and she snaps her head back toward Nora. "Hey!" she shouts, her face maskless, revealing raw fear and anger rolled into wide eyes, tight lips, and furrowed brow. "You're gonna keep your mouth shut, right?"

Clueing people with clout in on the fact that she's been risking her neck out here with her MacGuyver'd training sessions isn't something that Mynama is keen on doing. At least not before she has a better handle on things.

But somehow, Huruma is different."You're going to teach me physics?" she says, one eyebrow lifting toward a mocking smirk, but not clouding out the emotion still swimming on her features. "Things fall. Things fly. The stars shine. There. Physics. But if you want to teach me real stuff-" But Mynama pauses, squinting again and looking between Huruma and Nora, unsure of the first and frightened of the second. "…that could be cool."

Pausing on her path, Nora turns to look over her shoulder. "If you think it doesn't matter how high you are when you fall, you could use some physics, yeah. But I can teach you how to fall safer and how not to tear the shit out of yourself when you're climbing a tree. I can teach you how to protect yourself when your big mouth gets you in trouble, and possibly when to keep it shut so it won't," she says coolly. "But only if you get rid of the chip on your shoulder, because no matter how high you float, that will weigh you down."

She puts one hand on a hip, tipping her head to squint at the younger girl. "But first I want lunch."

"You are a dirty little thing." Huruma notes at first, very unhelpfully. "If I have to. But a book can do that…" She's no scientist, and knows enough, but frankly, she may just grab a textbook somewhere. "I am better at 'real stuff'." The tall woman leans in to virtually growl it to Mynama'a face, though the sound in her voice is not so much threatening as it is …crotchety. Just a little. Huruma turns halfway around to start after Nora, offering Mynama a beckoning glance as she does so.

"Nora is more wise with teenagers than I happen t'be, though. Velha, lembra?" Huruma cracks a small smile at both her words and Nora's. "Attitude and grace is just as important as application." That 'real stuff'.

Mynama purses the lips on that big mouth and squints, hesitant of the path (and Huruma's face) in front of her. She steps back, then darts to one side to snatch up the sneakers she abandoned by the tree before she falls in line behind the older African. Her injuries slow her down some, but doggedly, Mynama does her best to match her stride to Huruma's, at least. "Tea parties with the criança and climbing with the velha."

But for all the snipe in the words, Mynama is smiling warmly.

"Sounds like fun."

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