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by: Tabora
Tabby grinned and wrapped one arm up over her head. She grabbed the elevated elbow with her opposite hand.

"You're doing fine. You'll be able to touch the floor like me in a few months. For now, that's about where I started at, so I'm not too surprised that you're there too. Now, shoulder stretches..."

Tabby demonstrated one side, then the other like hse had with the other stretch. After the shoulders, she stretched her thighs by grabbing her ankle and pulling the muscle taut.

"Stretching is important. It lets your body warm up and it lets your mind cool down. Stretching before you work out ain't as important as stretching afterwards, but I like to do it so that I can start thinking of what I'm gonna do in my work out and why."

She dropped her leg and stretched the other in a similar manner. On top of what she'd told Seren, stretching just plain felt good. Tabby felt like she was made to move, so the purposeful activity of working out felt natural and wonderful
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by: Seren Weavers
Where Tabora's movements felt smooth and natural, Seren couldn't help but feel somewhat clunky. She seemed to jerk in and out of the movements as she attempted to copy, all stretches less exaggerated that the feline in front of her. It felt odd, but Seren copied all the same, watching and mirroring her own movements. That was a skill of the girl's, born out of a need to survive in the life of a slave. No one ever explained your new life a slave, so it was mostly copy or face the ramifications when something went wrong. So Seren had learned to watch, to observe and copy, to blend herself into a situation as if she'd always been there. Even now, with her slave life officially (or so Casey promised) behind her, it was a hard habit to break.

But she copied all the same, listening to Tabora's instructions and reasoning, carefully leaning into the various stretches until she felt a pull at least somewhere.
"So this isn't the work out?" Seren asked, a little surprised. It certainly felt like they'd begun, "This is just the start?"
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by: Tabora
Tabby smiled at the girl. For the older woman, this was just a warm up. For the girl, it was almost a workout. She didn't have much muscle mass yet, so she needed to work up slowly.

"For you, just a little bit more. Push-ups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and lunges, the. Cool down stretches, then you're good. You'll be tired, but that's the best sign after a work out."

Tabby released the stretch and went down to her knees, then to her palms in a modified push up pose. She'd noticed that Seren was mirroring her. The full stance, where she was on her toes and hands with back straight was a bit too much for the girl to start with. They'd do the modified pose for starters.
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by: Seren Weavers
To say there wasn't much muscle to Seren was an understatement . There was nothing to the girl. It possibly wasn't surprising, given her living situation right around the time girls normally grew a foot and began to tower above the boys their age. Even with her time in Hogwarts, and currently in Isis, she had yet to gain back her expected weight, none of it currently being muscle.
Still... If Tabora had anything to do with it, that wouldn't be the case for long.

Seren followed Tabora's lead, dropping to her knees in an attempt at a press up stance. The feeling was a strange one. Even in this vastly different situation, the act of submission still caused a swell of in the pit of her stomach. Perhaps that wasn't something she would be able to change, Seren was beginning to realise that was a severe possibility. The scars which had acquired during her time under another's rule were never going to disappear. It had to become about managing them, of understanding the triggers and attempting to manage them.
Seren had apparently found another one of those triggers.

She blinked, and again. Her hands began to shake, but it did subside somewhat as flopped forward, fists pressed to the cold floor. Focus.
"Like this?" Seren didn't look up. Instead she kept glaring at her fists, waiting for the knot in her stomach to subside.
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by: Tabora
"Palms flat, chica. Knuckle push-ups can hurt your hands and wrists if you're not practiced."

The emotion didn't slip by Tabby. Should she bring it up or let the girl mention it on her own? That was an unlikely possibility, wasn't it? The question was best brought up gently.

"You okay? Ya seem mad..."

Or upset or something, but mad implied control and power, so that's the angle Tabby fished towards.
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by: Seren Weavers
Palms flat... Right... She should have known that. It took a little bit of awkward shuffling, but Seren managed correct her form, hands now flat on the floor. It did feel better with what little weight she had distributed more evenly across the palms of her hands. She bent her elbows carefully testing her body's ability to complete a press up. Her muscles tensed, but she did make it to the floor and back up again. It took a surprising amount of effort. How many of those were you expected to do at once?

"You okay? Ya seem mad..."

Mad? Seren frowned. Was she mad? She pressed down into another movement (which was definitely harder than the first) as she thought over the question.
Was she mad? She was hurt, and bruised, and bent so far she had almost shattered. Did that translate, when it was boiled down and condensed, into anger?
Well, actually, maybe it did. Maybe it showed progress, showed a development within her emotional healing. Maybe anger was better than fear.

"Not at you," Seren pressed down again, this time it was far harder to push up, "Being on my knees made me remember... Other times it had happened..."
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by: Tabora
Tabby kept Seren's pace, pushing up with her. As they continued and Seren shared what was on her mind, Tabby gave a tight lipped grin. Anger was good. It meant that you disagreed with how you were treated, which would lead to you never again letting yourself be treated that way.

It was understandable that the lowered pose would remind the girl of her vulnerability. It was also good that the girl recognized the trigger. At eight push-ups, Tabby offered a comment.

"Two more and we're done with these."

She completed the two, then pushed up to her knees in a sitting position. What she had to say next required some delicacy. Tabby didn't want to make the girl feel worse or like she wasn't progressing...quite the opposite if Tabby understood how soon ago the trauma was.

"You're healing, and healing hurts sometimes. Actually, it hurts almost every time if you heal like me...but its a good thing. You gonna heal stronger. Replace the memories of bowing down with memories of getting strong...replace memories of fear with memories of power. Replace sadness with confidence. It's gonna take a while, but I believe you can do it. You got the right spirit for it."

After all, she'd not broken...and even if she thought she did break, the evidence was here...broken people couldn't be angry...they were broken. Here was a whole girl, frayed maybe, sore in her heart and soul, but she wasn't broken. Not anymore.
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by: Seren Weavers
Two more of these... Really? Seren felt her arms shake at the thought but did dip her arms again. It was getting progressively more difficult, but when she she was focusing on the pain of the exercise she wasn't angry, which was good.
To bad it was a temporary feeling and all the negative emotions returned with renewed fury when her mind cleared.

Once she was finished the last press up Seren shuffled awkwardly until she was settled on the floor, legs crossed with her hands settled on her her ankles.

Tabora sounded sure as she spoke about healing. Maybe half of having people believe what you said was saying it with conviction...
"It's like..." How did you explain this? "Sometimes I think I'm getting better. I have really good days, sometimes really good weeks, then something happens and I remember what happened, or I have a dream and panic and - Well it's like being back at square one..."
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by: Tabora
Aha...healing wasn't a linear progression. That could be why the girl felt like she wasn't progressing.

"What if it's more like this?"

Tabby withdrew her wand and drew a spiral of red glowing light in the air. She pointed her wand at the bottom and a bead of yellow light began traveling up the spiral slowly.

"Ya feel like you're going in circles and it's hard to see how far you've come, but it ends eventually..."

The bead of yellow reached the top of the spiral and hatched into a bird that flew away. The bird and spiral faded, making Tabby look back to Seren. The Nagual had a smile to encourage discussion or questions. She liked teaching like this.
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by: Seren Weavers
The sudden bright light had Seren blinking in surprise, but the red tinge did dampen the sharpness of the bright light. Her her cocked itself to the side, her long flipping over her side until it was ducked efficiently behind her ear. She listened to Tabora's ideas, and watched the impromptu lesson.
Was she right? Seren thought back to herself at the lowest of the low. She'd found it more than once. Three masters in her young life, two suicide attempts, one attempted murder and more beatings and punishments than could be counted...
Seren had spent plenty of time at rock bottom. She wasn't there now. No way. Isis with Lucy and Casey and the rest Seren had been coaxed and healed to the best of their ability. The rest was up to her, easier said than done right?

A smile cracked over the young girl's face at the phantom yellow bird broke away and took flight.
"I suppose I just want to be there now, but I don't think I'm allowed to skip the middle stage?"
It sounded like a question, but Seren knew the answer just fine. You didn't get to skip forward to the beach just because you don't like the storm. Life didn't work that way...
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by: Tabora
That was funny! A broad grin split the Mayan's face as chuckles bubbled up.

"Heh, why would you want to? That's when you get to fight and see how strong you're becoming! That's the fun part! Oh right...not a Nagual...we love throwing ourselves into challenges just to see how we measure up. Ready to do sit-ups or you need a minute?"

Seren might want some more time to explore the idea of the middle. All stories had a middle. It was when the bad stuff had happened and the hero was trying to fix it. The first fix didn't always work, so they had to try again. Was this Seren trying again? Was being here with Isis the start of her triumph over the dark? Hope so...
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by: Seren Weavers
It was lucky the room is was relative darkness, else Seren's blush would have been visible. She wasn't used to being funny... What a welcome sensation.
"Overcoming and becoming strong is going to include a lot of sit ups isn't it? I can just tell..." Seren actually giggled this time. She flopped back onto the floor, back flat on the ground and knees bent up. Tabora was nice. Maybe nice wasn't exactly the correct word, but it was the best Seren could come up with in that moment. She was just... Nice. Nice to talk to, nice to her, it was... well, nice! She saw potential in Seren, saw the girl Seren could be when most assumed her broken beyond use.
Seren had a sneaking suspicion that Tabora wasn't about to let her rest until Seren had unlocked parts of her which hadn't previously existed.

"How many?" Seren asked from her spot on the floor.

((Not my best - sorry!))
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by: Tabora
"Five million and seventy three....just kidding. Fifteen. Alright, and shoulders all the way flat, then up...good."

Tabby crunched her abs, pulling her torso up and over her knees and then continued down in a smooth motion. The set went quickly for her. By the time they finished, Tabby felt warmed up for her pattern work for sparring. Seren was more important, however, so when they finished, Tabby laid flat and had the girl do the same.

"Deep breath. You did good. I'll be here for a while, until I get Casey to send me to England...what are you gonna be doing?"

Maybe Seren knew what she wanted to do for Isis, maybe she didn't. Either way, Tabby was cozy with just talking and finding out more about her new friend.
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by: Seren Weavers
Shoulders back and up... God, Seren felt that in her tummy muscles. She didn't think she's ever felt her muscles work like that. One was alright, two was okay, but then any after that was...
Well Seren was starting to understand the phrase 'feel the burn'. Maybe it wasn't as much of a cliche as she'd originally thought.
Fifteen seemed a long number away, but Seren did reach it eventually and flopped onto the floor with a thump and a 'huhh...' Her stomach ached in protest, but it wasn't exactly a bad feeling. Seren likened it to putting down a bunch of heavy shopping, a burn of straining mixed with a satisfaction of a well completed job.

Seren's head flopped to the side, hair falling into her face was she watched Tabora.
"England? You want to go to England?"
The feeling which overtook the ache wasn't exactly envy, but it was close. Seren didn't want to go back to England, but it was the only place she'd ever known as home. It was where her parents' were buried, where (one day) she might be allowed to grieve.
She didn't want to go back, but it was difficult hearing of someone else who could.

"I'm working with Lucy. She's teaching me to heal."
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by: Tabora
"Bueno...Good. Healing is more powerful than harming."

It was the truth as far as Tabby was concerned. Anyone could get angry and lash out to hurt someone or something else. Healing...healing took dedication. Nobody ever fixed anything on accident. It took effort, dedication, empathy, and patience. A lot of Nagual, Tabby included, didn't have the traits necessary to be competent healers. They could perform basic first aid, but the art was beyond their grasp. Humans were good at that, though. They had a lot more of the patience needed to be able to knit things together. They were artistic. Maybe that's why they were so precious to the spirits...they had the kind of heart and soul that could create things and shape the world. They echoed the creators like that, didn't they? Nagual echoed the creators in the way they hunted and protected.

"And yeah...I'm hunting something and I think it's in England. Pretty sure. Well, the elders were pretty sure and I do what they tell me."

Tabby shrugged. She'd know when she found it. Something terrible was going to devour the world and plunge it into darkness. It was her job to stop it. Simple.
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