Tales of the Universe: Father & Daughter

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Chapter 2

As the air rushed past, she couldn’t help but wonder if she had made a mistake. The Northwest falls were much smaller than the larger waterfalls on the planet, but it still plunged about 220 feet, almost twice as far as she’d jumped before. Still, she supposed it was the same principle no matter how far one was falling, so she closed her eyes (More to shut out the alarmingly quickly approaching lake than anything else) and began going through the motions. Meanwhile, the man was silently wondering who taught her to go jumping off cliffs. He shook his head as her form became smaller, plummeting to the water below. Given that she was twisting and turning, she was at least remembering the proper methods. This reminded him that he was, in fact, the one who had taught her to jump off cliffs. Or at least HOW to jump off cliffs. Shaking his head, he turned around and walked a few steps back. Tossing his staff aside he screwed up his mind in concentration, letting the sound of the water and feeling of the air pervade his thoughts. He sighed and then, in a single instant, he whirled about and took a running leap off the edge himself.

At this point, any spectators of the magnificent Northwestern falls would likely be confused by the current turn of events. The first figure was moving too fast to get a good look at, but she appeared to be performing an intricate sequence of moves like a mid-air dance. Mere moments before the first figure hit the water a second, larger figure followed the first. This one was obscured by a black cloak, which trailed behind him like a cape. He dove with incredible velocity but seemed to stop for just a millisecond above the water's surface before plunging in with a force much greater than the first. Those nearby and versed in the proper ways would feel the gathering energy and disturbance in the air seconds before impact. Whatever the second figure had done, it produced a shockwave and a massive explosion of water. Any nearby spectators would be awed by the demonstrations of the cliff divers. To bad there was no-one around for hundreds of miles to witness this spectacle. The forest and water were the only witnesses, and they gradually returned to the stillness of nature: The roar of the waterfall and the lively sounds of the many creatures calling the trees, foliage and grass home.

Gradually, however, two figures made their way to shore, just beneath the surface. They seemed to glide with a grace not inherent to your average sentient Humanoid. Once close enough, they burst from the water, staggering breathless to the dry ground. The man, who had been supporting the girl, gently laid her down, before removing his soaking wet cloak and tossing it a few feet away. He turned and took a good hard look at his sparring partner, still sprawled out on the sand and breathing heavily, her eyes shut tight.

“Anything too seriously hurt?” he asked, although he did not speak. She slowly opened her eyes and took stock of what hurt, what was numb and what had escaped unscathed by her fall. “Broken left ankle and shoulder. At least one cracked rib and a few bruises” she responded, although she remained outwardly silent as well. He sighed and shook his head, half in exasperation and half in amusement. “Hasn’t anyone ever taught you to be careful around hieghts?” she smiled coyly in response, pushing herself up on her one good arm. “I’m afraid I’ve had a very neglectful Father”.

His response was indignant, but good natured and every bit as silent as their previous communications. The two continued for some time, sitting on the sandy lake coast in the warm sunlight, trading jests and jabs in equal measure, without ever speaking a word. By the end, both were in high spirits, despite a lack of nourishment (lunch had been in the pack she left at the top of the Falls.) and the looming topic of discussion both were apparently happy to avoid, namely, The results of the sparring match. Eventually however, the adrenaline wore off and the pain set in.

He knew, despite the extensive training she had received and her excellent progress in said training, she was still Human, And a young girl at that. As she fell silent, the ache and pain of broken bones setting in, he decided it was time to go. He retrieved his now dry coat and wrapped her in it, after helping her to her feet. Supporting her weight with his own, the Man began the slow trek to his home. True, she would be more comfortable in her own house. But it would add another 2 miles to the already lengthy walk, and his medical supplies were more readily available at his more simple dwelling, so he began the eight mile walk back from the lake.

Exhaustion having completely taken hold of her now, she didn’t much care where they went as long as it had a comfortable, warm place to sit down. He smiled as she fell into a half slumber while they made their way through the beautiful greenery of the Northwest Falls forest. It added to the load he was carrying, but this hardly made a difference to him. He had always tried his hardest to give her happiness, and it comforted his old, weary soul to see the slight smile on her face. He would have prefered it if it had not come at the price of her injuries, however.

So he walked on in silence, practically carrying his wounded sparring partner. His student. His daughter. And she was his daughter, make no mistake. Maybe not by blood (Both of their ‘blood’ families had passed away years before) but by just as strong as connection. The Man had never had children of his own, something he deeply regretted, but he considered her every bit as important if she had been his child by blood.

Yet, he was more than just her Father: He was also her Master. She had been afraid of her own shadow when he brought her in, so he had done the only thing he knew how to: He had taught her to fight. In his experience, being taught how to defend oneself and, if need be, attack others rarely actually removed fear. One would simply spend their life on edge waiting for real attackers, rather than shadows. But with training, one could defend themselves from almost anything, fear or not. A good enough warrior could be said to be invincible.

And if she had proven one thing today, it was that she was a warrior: Strong, skilled and willing to do anything to win. He sighed deeply as the tree line began to clear and his house became visible. He wasn’t sorry he had taught her to fight or to defend herself, not really. The Galaxy was a dangerous place and these skills were important. However, he knew what a life of combat and adventures would be like, and seeing his little girl with broken bones was bad enough.

As she finally gave into sleep, he steadily walked on, supporting her as he had always done. But that time was coming to a close much sooner than he would have liked: She was getting older and needed a layer of silk to cover her steel, or else he would raise a weapon, not a daughter. And he had zero experience in teaching how to become silk. When she began snoring loudly, however, he couldn’t help but smile. Whatever the future brought, no matter what she chose, no matter where they went, for now they were just Father and Daughter. Seth let Samantha (Or Sam, as everyone else referred to her) fall into his arms, and he carried her rest of the way.

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