Remnants of a Circle
Lesson One: Making Wolds
It had been a few months since Bradigus and Una had arrived on Remnant, and a few weeks ago they had finally conquered the language barrier fully. After they had learned how civilisation on this world had been pushed back to a few scattered villages and four major towns, the two Blackclads had decided to see how they could help in the fight against the Grimm, seeing that nothing good could come from the fact that this world was this faar out of balance. Thankfully their stay with the Xiao-long Branwen household had turned into something a bit more permanent after they had made their wish to help defend people against the Grimm. Qrow even managed to get the two druids licenses that allowed them to perform missions on the Island of Patch, one of which Bradigus had returned from just the evening before.
Now he was in the backyard, inspecting his Wold’s for any major damages while he thought how he and Una could go about convincing Taiyang and Qrow to let them teach their daughters, seeing as just kidnapping the girls like the Circle normally did in cases like this wasn’t a viable option on this foreign world. As he was about to move on to the last of the three constructs, he was stopped by a gentle tug on his cloak. Turning around he saw Ruby’s small hand gripping the dark fabric of his cloak.
“Hello little one, how can I help you?” Bradigus asked, trying his best to sound friendly as under used muscles turned his mouth into a thin smile.
“Hello mister Bradigus, I was wondering how they work.” The redhead replied nervously as her empty hand pointed towards the golems made from rune-covered stone and wood.
The question caused Bradigus to fall silent for a moment as he began to think. He did see the girl hanging around and watching when her father was performing maintenance on his weapon, as well as asking what certain parts did, which with the question she had just asked of him meant that she was more than a little bit curious about how people made and maintained their equipment so to speak.
But even though explaining how Wolds function was a vital lesson to teach her when she became his student, right now it would more than likely just go over her head. Bringing a hand up to his chin so the little girl could see that he was thinking deeply about this, he considered other options. If he had her watch and maybe even help him make a new construct she would probably pick up more of what she wanted to know than if he just gave her a dry lecture, and letting her try and take control of it once it was finished would be a nice test to see if she was able to become a warlock herself.
As he should be able what materials he couldn’t gather from the nearby forests in the town of Patch, the only question was what he would try to make. Seeing as he had yet to find any other Leyline node other than the one he and Una had arrived at, he was limited to the energy he could draw from the single one that flowed through the ground beneath the island. But even that should be more than enough for a Woldstalker.
His mind made up, he leaned down towards the girl still looking at him with hope filled eyes.
“Well I could tell you, but that would just be a whole bunch of boring talking.” The Druid began, causing Ruby to frown. “However, if I can find everything in town I can’t gather in the forest, how would you like to watch and maybe even help me with making a new one?”
As he finished, the little redhead before him began to nearly jump in place in excitement, nodding vigorously.
“Very well then. how about you go and get the cart, and I’ll change into something less conspicuous and get my Lien.” With that said, he watched as Ruby made her way towards the shed where the little red cart was stored as the druid himself made his way towards the room he shared with Una. Once there he changed into an emerald green shirt and a pair of simple black pants before slinging his black cloak over his shoulders again so RUby could easily find him if they got seperated. Picking up the wallet containing the Lien from the few Grimm hunting missions he had completed, Bradigus met up with Ruby, who was waiting impatiently in the front yard with the cart she should collect.
“What took so long Mr. Bradigus?” The young girl complained, the hint of anger on her face only making her look a little cuter than normal.
“Well not everyone is as young and quick as you.” Bradigus began to say sagely, trying to give the girl a short lesson in patience by delaying the start of their tripp a little longer. “And if you are this impatient when I only took a few minutes, how will you go about hunting the Grimm once you are a Huntress like your Dad and Uncle? Running after them will only make you more tired when the fighting starts.”
“I-I” Ruby stuttered for a moment trying to think of something to respond with. But when she couldn’t come up with anything she answered. “I’ll try to be more patient okay?”
Smiling once again, Bradigus replied. “That’s all I could ask of you. Now come, it's quite a walk until we reach the town.”
With that he began to walk, the little girl doing her best to keep up with him while she pulled the cart behind her. They walked in near silent for roughly the first quarter of their way, until the little redhead’s curiosity won out over her patients.
“Mr. Bradigus, what are we going to buy?”
Slowing his steps a little so Ruby had an easier time keeping up as she listened, the druid replied, his voice calm and friendly.
“Well first of we will need a few good pieces of rock and a lot of rope, seeing as all the wood we could need is growing around us.” He finished with a wave towards the forest the dirt road they walked on lead through.
“Wouldn’t you need some Dust as well?” The girl asked confused, and rightly so, seeing as nearly everything on Remnant used the substance in some way or another.
Bradigus stopped as he began to think about the girls words, as Dust might be able to supply the energy he needed for a bigger construct but couldn’t draw from a single Leyline. In the end the warlock decided that he should try it this once. With this he decided to try and make a Wold Wight instead, as the bigger construct would need just a bit more energy than he believed he could safely take from a Leyline, meaning a couple of raw Dust crystals should be enough, and as it would need less stone than a Woldstalker, he shouldn’t have a problem paying for the Dust as well.
Turning to the young girl who looked at him confused after stopping as well, he finally replied. “Well I haven’t used Dust to make a Wold before, but there is a first time for everything.”
Ruby looked at the older man, her eyes filled with even more curiosity, and asked.
“But if they don’t use Dust how are they moving?”
“If you are patient enough you’ll understand it soon enough. And I would be delighted to teach what I know about them to such a curious little girl like you, if your father allows me to that is.”
This made Ruby grin widely and when they continued her excitement gave her steps a little more spring than before.
“Really? Aren’t I ‘too young to learn things like that’, that’s what dad always say when I ask to learn Huntsmen stuff from him.”
Now slightly grinning himself, the warlock replied, a hint of cheer in his voice.
“I have taught a few students that were even younger than you, but it is up to your father if I may teach you.”
After this their conversation slowly drifted of towards other topics, mostly the little redhead asking the druid how he fought, and what weapons he liked.
About half an hour later the two of them stepped through the front door of ‘Dust in the Wind’, a small Dust shop they came across shortly after entering the town.
“Welcome to Dust in the wind, how can I help you?” A wolf Faunus greeted them, a smile on his face that appeared a bit forced with how the ears atop his head were laying flat, like Zwei’s were when he didn’t want to do something.
Stepping closer to the young man in a dark shirt and olive green duster, Bradigus spoke up carefully. “Hello, I am looking for some fire Dust crystals, preferably uncut.”
“I think dad has some of those stoked in the back, let me go and check.” The grey haired Faunus replied before turning around quickly, revealing the pair of revolver blades sheathed at the small of his back before his duster settled above them again.
While he waited for the shop assistant to return, Bradigus stepped closer to one of the display cases filled with carefully cut Dust crystals. Stretching out his arcane senses, he could easily feel the raw elemental Energies contained inside them.
“Ruby would you come over here for a moment?” The warlock asked as he turned to the little girl, who promptly walked over to him.
“See these crystals?” He continued once the girl stood next to him, pointing to the glass case before them.
“Yes what of them?” Ruby asked, unsure what the man was trying to tell her, but curious nonetheless.
“Close your eyes and try and feel the energy with in them.” He instructed his student to be, amused by how she stuck out her tongue in concentration as she closed her eyes.
“Can you feel it?” he asked, careful not to disrupt the girl’s concentration. As she gave him a short nod he continued. “Good then tell me, how do they feel?”
“These ones.” The young girl, her eyes still closed, points towards a quartet of fire crystals. “Feel like hot flames, raging against the crystal holding them.”
Next she held her hand towards a pair of earth aspected ones. “These are strong and patient, waiting for the moment someone unleashes their powers.”
Before she could continue, her concentration was disrupted by the return of the wolf Faunus, who was now carefully carrying a black case marked with more than a few warning labels and a tightly sealed lid, through which a pair of red crystals could be seen.
“Sorry it took me so long, I’m only helping out with dad’s shop over the break.” The young man said as he placed the black box on the counter.
“This contains a pair of raw fire Dust crystals, so I do hope you know handle that stuff safely.”
Stepping towards the counter himself, Ruby following closely behind him, Bradigus replies to the young man behind it. “I am certain I can handle them. Now how much will this cost?”
Scratching his chin thorough his goatee, the Faunus replied. “It’s 75 Lien for each of those Crystals, and it’s another 25 for the safety case, so all in all that would be 175.”
Pulling the thin wallet from his pocket, Bradigus checked how much he had brought with him, before pulling out cards that added up to 175 and handed them to the young man before him.
After saying their goodbyes to the shop owner’s son, the druid took the case of Dust and with the little redhead following after him once more, they stepped outside the shop, where Bradigus placed the case in the cart before they moved further into the town to continue their shopping.
A few hours later, the two of them were nearly back home, the cart now being pulled by the druid himself and weight down by a block of red granite Ruby had picked out that is slightly larger than the blackclad’s head and filled to the brim with hemp rope. The redhead meanwhile was carrying a small bag filled with tools for both wood and stone working, which Bradigus had bought as they were of much higher quality than the few he had with him as they arrived.
All the way, Ruby had asked question after question, most of them about how they would make a moving golem from the stuff they had bought, and what else the druid could teach her, many of which he postponed by telling her she would know when the time was right.
But when the arrived before the cabin they lived at, Bradigus came face to face with something that make him feel like he was about to face a Khadoran Juggernaut in single combat. Taiyang Xiao-Long was standing before the front door, tapping his feet impatiently an angry scowl on his face.The only thing that could have made him look more angry all told would have been flames flickering over his body.
“Where have you been young lady?” The blonde man not-quite shouted at his niece, who tried to duck behind the man besides her, hiding behind Bradigus elaborate black cloak as she replied sheepishly.
“I-I was in town with Mr. Bradigus. He needed supplies to show me how he made his golems.”
This seemed to calm Taiyang down just a tad as he was speaking more calmly when he replied. “Next time you tell someone, or at least leave a note. Your Dad and Una are out searching the forest for you right now.”
With that he stepped out of the way and picked up his scroll to call Qrow to inform him that Ruby was safely back home. Walking past him, Bradigus and Ruby brought the supplies they had bought into the back yard, where the druid unloaded the block of stone and placed it on the ground before himself.
Taking a set of tools from the back Ruby has set down in the now emptier cart, he kneeled down before the stone, and as he began to carefully carve it into the shape he desired, Bradigus spoke to the young redhead.
“For now I’ll need to get this rock into the right shape, fit should be roughly spherical. If you want to help there should be a second set of tools in the bag.”
Smiling enthusiastically, Ruby took the tools and stepped next to the kneeling druid. With the warlock’s guidance she managed to work the stone adequately enough to be more of a help than a hindrance, and when Yang came out to tell them dinner was ready, the top of the stone was noticeably dome-like.
After they sat down and had begun to eat, Qrow leaned over to Bradigus slightly before addressing him.
“So what is the deal with you and the little petal carving around on that hunk of rock in the garden?”
Swallowing the food currently in his mouth, he turned to the Huntsman and replied. “Well this morning she asked how my Wolds work but as I assumed the explanation would go over her head, i instead offered to let ehr watch and, if she wants, help me making a new Wold, teaching her how they work slowly and step by step.”
Nodding along with the druid’s explanation, Qrow replied once he had filled his plate with seconds.
“Yeah that’s my little girl, always asking how things work. Can you teach her while staying inside the backyard all the time?”
“I will need to get some wood from the Forest, but there is nothing involved in that Ruby would need to see. Otherwise, only the final step would need to be carried out somewhere else.” The druid explained carefully, as he too got himself seconds from the simple but delicious meal Taiyang and his daughter had made for all of them.
“Well okay, as long as you let me come along when you do this final step, I see no problem with Ruby learning something new.”
“That is reasonable, thank you for letting me teach this to your daughter.” Bradigus said, bowing as much as his sitting position allowed.
“Ah don’t sweat it, it gives her something to focus her curiosity on. I would have started training her a while ago, but most things I can teach are a bit to difficult or dangerous for someone her age.” Qrow replied between bites.
After they finished eating, everyone helped out with cleaning up the dishes and the kitchen, after which Bradigus stored the Dust he had bought more securely.
Over the rest of the week, Bradigus, with Ruby helping as much as she could, slowly carved the granite into the right shape for the Wight’s stone heart. After that he began to carefully carve the runes that would contain and channel the mystical energies animated the construct once it was finished, explaining the purpose behind each one to his young student as they carved it into the stone.
The day after they had finished this, Bradigus, followed by his three Wolds, cut down branches and a few smaller trees to construct the wooden body out of, while Una had taken the rope he and Ruby would use to bind everything together with her on a hunt, drenching it in the fresh blood of her prey and using it to have her griffons carry the deer she killed back to the cabin, where Taiyang helped her take it apart and store the meet for later use.
After breakfast the next morning, the bloody ropes were pulled through the carved stone by Bradigus, while Ruby laid out the rough shape of a scarecrow with the branches her teacher had gathered the day before. Once she had finished with that they used the ropes to tie everything tightly together, the blood scaring Ruby for a moment until Bradigus managed to calm her down by explaining how Una had used these ropes to get the meet, that had been in yesterday's dinner, carried home.
After finishing the construct’s body they decided to wait for the next morning to move it to where they would perform the animating ritual. The next morning, Bradigus had his pair of Wold Watchers pick up and carefully carry the nearly finished construct through the forest, while he and Qrow walked slightly behind and to either side of Ruby, so the little girl was protected from any attacks from all sides.
Soon they arrived in a small clearing that sat directly above the Leyline Bradigus planned to use. After they put the Wold Wight down in the center of it, the Wold Watchers joined Qrow in forming a defensive perimeter around them.
Carefully opening the black case he had bought at ‘Dust in the Wind’ the druid placed the dust crystals inside the lanterns hanging from the wooden ‘arms’. After that he turned to his student, carefully instructing her. “Ruby can you stretch out your senses like you did back in the Dust shop?” When she gave him a short nod before closing her eyes, he continued.
“Good then try and feel the energy flowing through the Leyline below us and how I’ll slowly nudge some of it to flow into the runes we carved.”
With that Ruby stood still, her eyes closed again and her tongue peeking out of her lips just a little bit. Seeing his student follow his instructions to the best of her abilities, the warlock began the ritual to empower the Wold before him, drawing energy from both the dust placed nearby and the Leyline far below. Soon glowing green runes began to circle around his hands, while his eyes were filled with an eerie green light.
Half an hour later the runes on the stone before him began to shimer slightly, while Bradigus was slightly surprised to feel a tiny trickle of energy try to split form the Leyline below. turning around he saw Ruby’s now opened eyes aglow as well, although there were no runes circling around her hands.
As they continued with the ritual the sound of fighting began to echo from the forest as Qrow and the Wold Watchers defended the Ritual from the Grimm that stumbled on the humans inside their territory.
It took close to an hour more but finally the runes in the Wold Wight’s stone heart had begun to glow a warm orange, which was more than a bit unusual, but probably nothing to worry about seeing as the Dust used had been a deep red. A moment later the eyes in the constructs wooden face were glowing the same orange as the whole thing began to move slightly on its own.
“Ruby come here and lay your hand on the stone at its center.” Bradigus said to Ruby as the runes around his hands faded.
“Okay” Ruby replied as she quickly stepped closer to the now animated but taskless construct laying before them.
Once she had her hand on the stone as asked, she turned to her teacher and asked. “So what now?”
“Now try and stretch your mind to touch the Wold’s, similar to how you felt the energy earlier.”
Nodding to show she understood, Ruby tried her best to do as she had been told, closing her eyes again to focus better. A moment later she was shocked when she saw the sky above the clearing, despite her eyes being closed and still kneeling next to the construct.
“Now try to make it stand up.” The druid continued, the young girl hearing them to a pair of ears to many.
Opening her eyes in surprise, the little girl was completely disoriented as she saw both through her own and, as she slowly realized, through the Wight’s. Noticing Ruby opening her eyes and begin to stumble immediately, Bradigus grabbed onto her shoulder so she didn’t fall over.
“Try to pull your mind back a bit and then think ‘stand up’ towards the Wold.”
Once she did as her teacher instructed, she stopped seeing and hearing from two points of view, before the Wold began to rise on its single leg just like she wanted it to.
Seeing the scarecrow like construct respond to her thought order’s as quick as it could, the young girl giggle excitedly over her new found skill.
“Congratulations on bonding to your first Warbeast Ruby.” Bradigus said as he gave the redhead a congratulatory pat on the back, before he turned towards the Huntsman that had been standing at the edge of the clearing. “Now come let’s show your dad and return home.”
“Can I give it a name?” Ruby asked as she and the Wold Wight began to follow after the druid.
“I don’t see why not. It is yours now.” Bradigus replied, having seen more than a few Blackclads give nicknames to their favourite beasts and constructs.
“Then I’ll call it Rosebud.” The young said before she sprinted of towards her father, the newly named Rosebud following close behind.
“Dad, Dad, look we finished it.” Ruby said as she had the construct bow down before Qrow.
“That’s great petal.” Qrow said as he pat her on the head before he turned to Bradigus.
“So I saw how you glowed doing whatever this was, and I think there is someone important you should meet and tell about all this.”
“Who would that be?” Bradigus asked carefully, worried what this person might ask of them.
“Professor Ozpin, he is the headmaster at Beacon academy in Vale, and a few more things he might tell you about when you meet with him.” Qrow explained before he looked over at Ruby, who was giggling over the things she made Rosebud do.
“I take it you’ll want to teach Ruby more stuff like this?”
“I would like to, that is if you don’t object. Also when would we be able to meet with this Professor Ozpin?” Bradigus responded carefully as the group of three began to make their way back to the families cabin.
“I’ll see about Ruby learning more from you after you had your chat with Oz, which I hope can fit into his schedule sometime this week.” Qrow replied carefully, before he began to smile as they watched Ruby try to ride on her constructs back with only partial success.
“Very well, but I suggest we move a tad faster before we end up missing a meal prepared by Taiyang.” Bradigus said, causing a slight shiver to run down both Qrow and his daughters backs as they imagined how angry Tai would get over something like that.
“Yeah, let’s not try and make him really angry.”