Closed Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Swollen ankles and heavy groceries. A road-tired family and a place to stay.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Rosela on March 16th, 2015, 8:36 pm

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Timestamp: 10th of Spring, 515AV

Rosela had never quite appreciated the abundance of benches in Riverfall until that spring. Stopping for the third time since leaving Zhongjie Warrens, she sat heavily on a bench and pretended to admire the blooming scenery as her ankles throbbed. Riverfall was indeed in bloom – the warm spring air rolling back the miserable winter season and setting the entire city in a blaze of green. One hand on her enormous stomach, Rosela released the four bags from her other hands and leaned back on the bench. Over her shoulder, a small, pink blossom arced away from its bush and she reached up to trace the edge of one soft petal.

No time to waste smelling the flowers. She had beef tips in one of those bags and it needed to get home to the bottom of her stew pot. With some effort, she heaved herself off the bench, trying to maintain as much grace as possible. Soon enough, she was trudging back up the hill, bags digging into her fingers and swollen ankles threatening to give out. She’d turned down half a dozen offers to help as she’s left Zhongjie but now her pride suddenly seemed so far away. She could have probably gotten one of them to carry her back. Still, it seemed like she’d done nothing but rely on others, specifically men, since the moment she awoke in that gods-forsaken bed in Gilia.

No more.

In between passing moments of weakness, she felt ridiculously, bull-headedly stubborn about getting these groceries home without having to flag down some passing Akalak to help her. She knew they would if she only asked – the ‘queer wind’, has Hirem had once put it, had seemed to pass over Riverfall with the beginning of spring, and everyone in the city seemed to be walking on air.

For Rosela, the lightening mood seemed to have come with a noted sense of dissatisfaction in the direction she’d allowed her life to take. The child inside of her was one thing, but her Talvis? It turned her stomach to think of him and the way she’d allowed him to install himself in her life. True, he seemed to genuinely want to help, but still, the balls on this man to so much as speak to her after what he’d done.

That was a battle for another day though, and as she reached the top of the hill, she veered off to the side of the road and one hand just barely stopped herself from collapsing too hard onto the bench. She sunk down slowly, twitching her dress out around her. How was she ever going to make it to her house?
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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Ayatah on March 24th, 2015, 6:18 pm

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"Aya, why are those men blue?"

Kuame peered up to his adoptive mother and then back to the tall, hulking Akalak that strolled towards them. His face was scrunched up in both confusion and amazement. Blue men went against every ounce of common sense the boy had. And yet he had seen dozens in Riverfall, despite him and Ayatah having only been present in the city for three bells.

The Myrian groaned tiredly. She was exhausted from their journey to Riverfall and in truth the only thing she wanted to do was sleep. But the boy had had different plans, and he'd ended up practically dragging Ayatah with him to explore their new home. "Because they're Akalaks, Kuame. They are blue. And purple too. And green, I think." The men of Riverfall were not her speciality (with a wry smile, Ayatah thought what men are my speciality nowadays?) but she was sure that once she had been told that green Akalaks could exist too.

"Isn't it a pretty place?"

Her question was asked absently, but hopefully it posed as an efficient distraction so Kuame wouldn't stare quite so much at the passing vibrant blue warrior. And in reality, Riverfall was a beautiful city. If she were younger, without the burden of a child to constantly entertain, Aya would have felt rather romantic about the place. But instead, she was far too preoccupied planning the rest of her life - and more importantly, Kuame's life - to stop and smell the roses.

The boy had now fallen silent, mulling over the possibilities of purple and green men as well as blue. Maybe if he bathed in dyed water, he would come out purple too? Kuame was planning just how a boy could get his hands on coloured water when yet another sight almost blew his tiny mind.

"Aya, look. An Efrian!"

His mispronunciation immediately made Ayatah smile. How could one boy be so adorable?

But then she realised what he had tried to say: Aya, look. An Eypharian.

And her stomach dropped and Ayatah took in a sharp breath and suddenly panicked.

Yes, there, sitting on a bench to her right, was a six-armed Eypharian woman. Immediately it struck the half-breed just how many common racial traits she shared with the stranger: the gilded skin, the elongated waist, the dark hair, the high cheekbones. Ayatah had never felt quite so... Eypharian before now. And what was worse was that she didn't entirely dislike the feeling.

She allowed Kuame to tug and pull her towards the heavily pregnant woman - only now Aya noticed the swell of her belly. The little boy waved delightedly before announcing: "Are you an Efrian? Aya is as well! Are you two sisters?"

The half-breed immediately looked horrified, feeling decidedly unworthy of being compared to the woman in front of her. "Kuame!" She rebuked, though her tone was soft and not altogether scolding at all. Flustering, she stuttered out a fractured apology: "I'm sorry. He- he gets excited."

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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Rosela on March 31st, 2015, 8:37 pm

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It wasn’t that Rosela hadn’t noticed the child approaching her, she simply hadn’t realized he was approaching her. Before her pregnancy, she’d never realized how many children inhabited the city, and wasn’t sure if that was a new development, or the child growing inside of her had made her more sensitive to their presence.

As it was, she stared instead across the cobblestone road and out over the expanse of water beyond the city underneath a perfect, cloud-spotted sky. Akalaks and others passed in and out of her field of vision, snatches of conversation reaching her ears. The beef in her bag would have to survive; she needed a break.

Efrian?

She blinked in surprise down at the dark-skinned child, tugging along a dark-haired woman, unsure of how to answer. He seemed so excited to see her, she was briefly worried they had met before. A heartbeat after his question, it clicked – Eypharian. It was by no means unusual for her race to be noticeable, but rarely did one, let alone a child, actually know its name. ”Eypharian,” she corrected absently. ”Yes, I am one. No…Aya is not my sister.” The dark haired woman, now that Rosela got a good look at her, was clearly a half-breed. There was a minor skip of indignance in her chest that a half-breed should go about proclaiming themselves Eypharian, but she supposed she couldn’t blame them.

The half-breed wasn’t a bad looking one, just sadly without the privilege of being full-blooded. She could see some of the desert-folk in the child as well, who didn’t look a thing like the woman. It was certain now that she hadn’t seen either of them around the city, limited as her tours were as of late, or in her shop. She could only assume they were new in town.

Taking a gamble, she heaved two of her bags off the bench next to her and patted the space with a free hand. ”No need to apologize, children are naturally excitable, especially on so nice a day as this. Please, sit, and call me Rosela. It’s so rare I see another of the desert. Given that she child had spoken to her outright in Common, she would bet he didn’t speak Arumenic. This Aya though, it would be an enormous pleasure if she could speak her mother tongue with someone other than herself for once.

OOCSorry there’s not much to work with. How the conversation goes from here just depends on how Aya reacts to the Arumenic.

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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Ayatah on April 10th, 2015, 10:04 am

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Kuame seemed disappointed with Rosela's answer, but the child's distractibility meant that he soon got over this. He tugged at Ayatah's hand exictedly, once again gesturing to the six-armed woman on the bench. With a hiss, the half-Myrian told him that it was rude to point.

Ayatah tried her best to smile to the Eypharian, to seem polite and not at all overwhelmed. But her chest was tight and suddenly she was all too aware that she had only two arms. And how did she usually hold her arms? Ayatah tried folding them, holding them at her sides. Everything felt foreign and uncomfortable, as if she was wearing someone else's skin.

Her son seemed far happier, and the boy hopped onto the bench beside the other woman without a second thought. I really ought to talk to him about stranger danger, Ayatah decided absently, watching him stare fixatedly on his new friend with clear fascination. His dark eyes widened even more when an entirely different language seeped out of her mouth. "Aya! Is she speaking Myrian, like you do?" The child spun delightedly to his mother, then back to the Eypharian, speaking this time in slow, unsure and clumsy Myrian: "Hell-o. My nay-m is Kuame."

Ayatah's skin flushed even more pinkly. Like most others, the Eypharians held an incredibly negative opinion of her maternal people. Once upon a time, she would defend the Myrians passionately, defying the stereotype of them being senseless murderers. But now, she had a son, and been out of the jungle for nearly three years. Her dedication to Myri and the Myrian cause was waning in favour of providing the best for Kuame. "I'm sorry, I speak no Arumenic." She apologised, dipping her head slightly. "As my son said, I was raised with my mother in Taloba." And then, trying to make light of any awkwardness that might follow her admittance, Aya gave a waning smirk, "as I'm sure you can imagine, nobody speaks any other language there."

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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Rosela on April 10th, 2015, 2:54 pm

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Despite Rosela’s efforts to acclimate herself to children lately, she found herself rapidly losing patience with the child now pointing excitedly at her. Ayatah seemed suitably nervous over the child’s enthusiasm, which placated her, if only she would stop fidgeting. If Rosela’s child came out like this one, so happy and bouncy, she didn’t know what she’d do.

Finely penciled eyebrows drew in slowly at the child’s words, remaining there while he spoke in the odd, halting language. It was no Arumenic, but perhaps he was attempting to impress her with his language skills. It was endearing, in a way. Myrian though, where had she heard that word? The sound of the words, the accent they bore, it too was familiar. Something burned into her brain…where had she heard it?

Ayatah answered the boy’s question before she could, and Rosela’s eyebrows slowly raised as recognition flooded in. ”Tal…boa.” Her tone was low and unflattering. ”I’ve met someone from that part of the world before. I must say you give the region considerably better representation than he did.” Her encounter with the odious Razkar had been brief, but profound. Years later, and she realized with a shock that it was indeed over two years since that day, he still embodied for Rosela the most bestial of creatures walking the earth. The woman and child before her were clearly leagues ahead of him and they instantly looked more pleasant in comparison.

She plucked the word from his halting Myrian she’d heard Ayatah utter as his name – Kuame. ”Well met, Kuame.” She extended a middle hand to clasp his small one. ”Would you do me a very large favor?” Attempting to mimic how Hirem talking to small children, as he seemed so good at it, her voice was low and expressive. ”Can you help a pregnant woman with her bags? This great big belly makes it so hard to carry things.”

Nodding her head at Ayatah, she slowly leveraged herself off the bench, with four hands braced against the shaped metal, one taking up a bag, and the last instinctively on her belly. ”Walk with me. Tell me how you like Riverfall. It must be a great relief to be away from that barbaric place. If you’re hungry, I’m making a rather mediocre stew later with the contents of these bags.” It would be good to feed mouths other than her own; it would stop her from wolfing down the entire pot herself.
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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Ayatah on April 10th, 2015, 8:43 pm

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Ayatah's reaction to the Eypharian's statement was sudden and sharp. Her intake of breath was sudden, her jaw clenched tightly as she processed what the other woman had just said. She had apparenly given her homeland a better representation than he. He: the crucial turn of phrase that made Aya almost sure that the Myrian in question was her old lover, Razkar. Few of their people left the jungle, after all. Their love had been intense and forever lasting, or so they had thought. But time, distance, and different lifestyles had separated them. When Ayatah had heard that he had come to Zeltiva to find her, she had hidden away instead of hunting him down for a heart-warming reunion.

Instinctively her eyes went to Kuame. He had become her anchor to the world, tying her to reality when there were moments such as these, where it was so easy for her float away in her memories. Did it truly matter which Myrian Rosela had met? In truth: no. And yet she could not ignore this trail, this shimmer of hope that would tell her what had become of her lover. "May I ask the name of the Myrian you met?" She tried to keep her voice even, more for Kuame's sake than keeping her cool in front of the other woman. But Ayatah presumed the Eypharian - through woman's intuition, perhaps - may pick up on her fractured tone of voice, "I left the jungle with a... a close friend of mine. I haven't seen him since departing from here nearly three years ago."

Kuame visibly glowed upon the attention he received from Rosela. He gave a grin, flexed his skinny arm muscles to show his superhuman strength. "No problem!" He promised, hopping down from his bench and grabbing the closest bag to him.

Finally, Aya also sprung into action. "Thank you, that would be very kind, but please allow me to cook for you." She scooped up two other bags with relative ease, only now coming to truly appreciate how heavily pregnant the Eypharian was. Her eyes lingered over her swollen belly, then to her dark-skinned adopted son. She may not have her own child - the miscarriage she suffered in the djed storm three years ago had ensured that would not happen - but she now had Kuame. How had she ever lived without the boy? "Oh, we've only just arrived," Aya explained as she started to walk slowly. One thing she had noticed since adopting Kuame was how naturally it had become to potter around at a leisurely pace, instead of rushing everywhere like she had done beforehand. Her mind was still on the events of the disturbing djed storm when she continued her reply: "But yes, it is a relief to be out of there. I have fond memories of my family, but... not of the jungle. The bad outweighed the good in the end." She brushed a loose strand of hair from her face with a wistful sigh, "but yes, Riverfall is nice. It's a beautiful city. How long have you lived here?"

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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Rosela on April 27th, 2015, 5:41 pm

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Rosela missed Ayatah’s abrupt change in expression at the mention of their mutual acquaintance, focused as she was on the child between them. At her voice though, the carefully balanced tone as Ayatah asked after the Myrian. Rosela paused a moment as she considered the dark haired woman. ”His name was Razkar,” she said simply, watching the finely boned face for tells. What god had blessed the barbarian to gain the friendship of one so far above him? ”I heard the Kuvay’nas ran him out of town, but I never heard why.” Ayatah could not be here looking for him; she seemed surprised enough that he came up in conversation at all. The mark on the back of her neck itched to know the whole story.

Rather than press for details now, however, she would learn from her encounter with the man in question. He’d abandoned her, shocked and furious, standing in the middle of the street after abruptly calling off their lunch and she’d been left with only the pieces of information she’d managed to glean from him while he stood in her shop. Perhaps she’d get the full story now, if she could get Ayatah to her home first.

”Thank you, I would truly appreciate that. I’m afraid to say, my cooking is rather lacking.” She sighed with honest gratitude and began to waddle up the street next to Ayatah, watching the dark-skinned boy bounce about with endless energy. A shadow still loomed over Ayatah’s voice as she spoke and Rosela could only assume her mind was still on the odious Razkar. ”Living in a jungle, I can’t even imagine… How some of these people live without basic luxuries is beyond me. I came here from Ahnatep, let’s see, three years ago? Yes, it’ll be three years at the end of this coming summer.” She sighed deeply, suddenly caught in a wave of nostalgia. ”City gates had never looked so good. It had been a long, long road.” Her mind betrayed her with flickers of the life she’d left behind and she abruptly turned the conversation away from herself.

”I suppose that’s around when you would have left Riverfall then, hm? Where have you wandered since?” If Razkar had been such a close friend, why had he not gone after her when she left? Why had he apparently not gone after her when he himself was driven out? Jumping to the worst conclusions about Ayatah’s involvement with the man, Rosela wished a painful death upon him.

She indicated to the left at a fork in the road, and they began to pass into the more upscale part of the city, where the houses grew steadily larger on either side of the cobblestone road. Starting to lose strength again, her breath grew heavier as Rosela spotted her house a handful of properties ahead, a seemingly impossible distance away. ”Just up there, with the stairs in front?”
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Helping Hands (Ayatah)

Postby Ayatah on May 15th, 2015, 5:07 pm

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Razkar.

His name was like a curse word to Ayatah, a word that she never said aloud and so it was unnerving to hear someone else speak of him. Guilt stabbed deep in her gut and once again Aya found herself having to watch Kuame toddle along beside her just to stop herself from hyperventilating.

Her mental state did not improve as Rosela went on to further explain her ex-lover's departure from Riverfall. Ran out of town? It was so very Razkar that Aya didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Of course he'd be chased - leaving a barbarian city in any other manner would be too... civilised for him.

There was that guilt again. Why was she thinking of him like he was an animal, with no heart or mind? He'd be a passionate lover, protective and caring. She couldn't really fault him, but he was just so... Myrian. The last thing Kuame needed would be a male role model who'd been chased out of Riverfall. But that was beyond happening now. Her old lover had been ran out of town, and the Kuvay'nas weren't likely to allow him back in anytime soon. The distance between them had become at last permanent, undeniable. "Well. How about that." The quiet words were all she could muster.

The half-breed gave a tired little smile to the Eypharian, along with an empathetic nod. "Oh, I understand that. Travelling is always so tiring. The Gods only know we survived the journey from Zeltiva." Kuame paused to frown up at his adoptive mother. He too recalled those frightening nights in the Sea of Grass and the long, endless days trundling in the middle of nowhere.

"I left for Zeltiva. I studied at the university there, see. Got a job as a professor's assistant, adopted Kuame..." Aya breathed a brief sigh of relief as she retold the short story, "and then we came here. To live, hopefully. I want to take up the -- Kuvan status eventually." Her accent tumbled over the unfamiliar word, and Aya made a mental note to recheck the requirements for being a citizen of Riverfall. "What bought you Riverfall, out of interest?"

The Myrian couldn't help but look at the houses either side of her with mild amazement. When Myrian children are taught about the homes of the barbarian people, the pictures never looked like this. Grand houses, with extravagant things like gates and pathways, lined the path. She felt both envy and wonder. "It's a lovely area." She commented sincerely, eyes darting from door to door. How long would it take for her and Kuame to live in such a place? Would the residents accept a Myrian for a neighbour?

Probably not.

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