Solo [The Monstrous Menagerie] Bare Bones

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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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[The Monstrous Menagerie] Bare Bones

Postby Ayatah on May 27th, 2015, 4:43 pm

72nd Spring, 515AV


Even when he was not with her, Ayatah still heard Kuame's voice, like a shadow of a memory or an alternate reality.

Look, Aya! Birds!

Wow, look at that monkey!


He would like the Menagerie, but today Ayatah was not visiting the zoo for pleasantries or to gaze at the cute animals. In fact, the Myrian bypassed all creatures of fur and feather, opting instead to head straight towards one of the larger exhibits.

It looked like any other room, all dark and almost cosy in its low lighting and soft materials. A large swath of silk hung from the ceiling in a way that almost looked artistic. But Aya moved her eyes through the darkness, doing her utmost to avoid feeling impressed. She had not yet decided how she felt about the Symenestra exhibit, and would not make up her mind about it until she saw at least one of the specimens.

It soon became evident that she would need to wait a while. There was no sign of life within the exhibit, so for want of anything better to do, Aya sat down on a nearby bench. She wished she had bought a book with her, anything to take her mind off the gloominess of the exhibit. But she felt oddly drawn to it, intruiged by the false reality that existed within.

What, she supposed, would she do if she were captured and thrown into a cage to be stared at?

Her silent reply was harsh and utterly, purely Myrian: I'd petchin' skill whoever had caught me in the first place. But even a warrior of Myri would find a tough struggle against a single Akalak -- let alone a whole team of them. She would be left with the same options as all the previously captured Symenestra had been given: suicide or escape. Both choices ended in death, she assumed.

Perhaps it was no different to keeping a bird in a cage. Ayatah thought of Kiwi, her beloved feathered friend. But even he did not spend his entire time constrained to his birdcage, instead fluttering about Aya's apartment and small garden. And what freedom did the captured Symenestra have in their cage? A fake reality that attempted to mimic the lives of their brethren in Kalinor.

Aya twisted from her seat, straining in the dim light to read what little information about the Spider people that she could see from the bench. She knew very little about the Symenestra, other than the fact they originated from Falyndar before being chased out by Aya's own ancestors. For her, it was an uncomfortable closeness of the historical kind.

Because of the toxicity of their blood, many female Symenestra die during childbirth. As such, many families use a surrogate whom the father will impregnate, to have their child. Such offspring, of which three is always the maximum, are regarded as pure-blooded Symenestra.

Last edited by Ayatah on July 20th, 2015, 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ayatah
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[The Monstrous Menagerie] Bare Bones

Postby Ayatah on July 19th, 2015, 3:40 pm


The Myrian continued to read on, frowning as her eyes saw the words 'prisoner' 'trapped' and 'harvests'. The practise was barbaric, and the short description of these grim proceedings was certainly biased against the spider people. And understandably so, given the matriarchal stance of her own people. A woman would never be trapped or forced by a man in Taloba.

And yet, Ayatah found herself frowning not at the barbaric Symenestra breeding patterns (needs must, she found herself considering), but at the Akalak. They too were a race that required surrogates to birth their sons. Although the blue warriors of Riverfall did not entrap their women like the Symenestra, death was a common consequence for the woman involved. Likewise, there were some despicable Akalaks that had forced themselves onto women in order to have a son. She briefly thought of Rosela, the pureblooded Eypharian to her half-, who had woken from a long sleep to find herself swollen with pregnancy. An Akalak desperate for an heir had used the woman’s body against her own will. Even now, it set Aya's blood on fire with rage.

On the whole, though, such occasions were rare. The Akalaks seemed very aware of their dwindling numbers, as were the Symenestra, she guessed. But whereas the latter had responded in an act of desperation and violence, the former invited women to their beds with kind smiles and a hefty payment. But if the Akalaks suddenly could not afford to pay their surrogates, or found no women wanting to take up the role, would they turn to the same measures as the Symenestra? In a thousands years time, would there be an exhibit featuring a group of purple men, describing their own problematic breeding habits?

Ayatah shifted on her wooden bench, feeling the heavy weight of deep thought on her shoulders. Only then did she realise that she was being watched.

The Symenestra was a female, with grey skin like that of a fresh corpse. She stared at Ayatah blankly with a red gaze, a look of utter contempt that the Myrian could not help but be insulted by.

With a minute shrug, the spider turned away from Ayatah, drifting soundlessly through the darkness of her caged home. She looked more content than Aya had expected. In fact, she looked like any other woman wandering about her home, every so often pausing to drag her fingers through her dark hair. There was a sense of reserved boredom about the spider, but nothing distressing in the slightest. If anything, she looked comfortable.

Ayatah stepped forward cautiously, staring at the frame of the specimen before her. They were a delicate race, if this female was a good example of her people, with fine-looking limbs and an all round impression of being easily broken. But that did not stop Aya's heart from leaping to her throat when the Sym turned sharply around to stare at her through those red eyes. The woman's lips moved, forming the silky words of some language Ayatah would never comprehend. It was this own language, she presumed, the talk of the Spider people. She thought of the Dhani, who spoke in a spine-tingling slippery tongue, all sss's.

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[The Monstrous Menagerie] Bare Bones

Postby Ayatah on July 25th, 2015, 8:58 pm


"I'm sorry, I don't--"

Ayatah stopped herself. She was speaking to the Symenestra like they had met on the street, or at a dinner party. Was that ignorant? Or perhaps it was even ruder to ignore the other woman and just stare at her like one would watch a performing dancer. Ayatah pouted, too deep in thought to remember what she had planned to say anyway.

The spider continued to stare at Aya, a lazy interest caught in her red eyes. No doubt she could tell how awkward the Myrian was feeling. And how would that make the Symenestra feel in turn? Amused? One of the women whose child was Kuame's friend had told Ayatah about the Symenestra enclosure the previous season. She could still remember what the woman had said: oh, I felt all sorry for her for a moment, and then she gave me this horrid look. So smug that I started to wonder who was visiting whom in a cage. At the time, Aya had been disgusted at what the prideful woman had said.

But now she understood. There was something in the Symenestra's stare that was... challenging. She almost seemed to be waiting for someone to criticise her way of life, just so she argue the benefits of it. No money worries, no job, no need to buy food or clothes...

Their brief staring competition was broken by the fractured sounds of a baby crying. Ayatah stared, disturbed by the source of the sound. It was coming from inside the enclosure. There was an infant in there! All philosophies and difficult questions shoved aside, Aya came closer to the exhibit, brow furrowed in concern. Surely there couldn't be an actual baby in the enclosure? That would be far too cruel.

The Symenestra woman answered her burning question. With an irritated roll of those red eyes, the spider hurried towards the silken drop of material, shimmying her way up it with impressive ease. She disappeared from Aya's view briefly, but returned a chime or so later carrying a grey-skinned child. Had she not realised the infant's race, Aya would have been hugely concerned for its wellbeing. Even so, she could not drag her mind away from how abhorrent it truly was cage a baby.

Even worse, once again the Symenestra seemed to be aware of Aya's opinions. With a jerked eyebrow, she tilted her arms forward to show the infant off in more detail. Aya stared with wide-eyed horror, but in comparison the spider woman merely smirked.

She couldn't take it anymore. Ayatah turned on her heel, fleeing the Symenestra exhibit as fast she could. By the time she stepped into the midday light, freed from that awful dankness, she was almost breathless was concern. Since her and Kuame's arrival in Riverfall, this was the first time Ayatah was seriously questioning her decision to move to the city. How could she feel comfortable living in a place that knowingly trapped an infant behind locked doors and glass? How long was it until the patronage of the Monstrous Menagerie demanded another foreign, exotic species to be captured and caged?

And what if the next big exhibit featured a specimen all the way from Falyndar?

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Ayatah
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[The Monstrous Menagerie] Bare Bones

Postby Kiva on February 1st, 2016, 5:51 pm

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Such a Beautiful Thread . . .

I really do adore your writing style and I hate that the threads are so short (but that's just because I'm greedy for more!) I love reading Ayatah's thoughts on things, not only as a mother, but as a character who's half Myrian. In many ways she the perfect amount of civilized with a dose of savage. Her philosophies are so interesting, and because of that, I enjoyed this short and sweet thread. ;)


 
Ayatah of The Scattered Bones
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