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[The Psyche's Sanctum]

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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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Postby Ayatah on May 28th, 2015, 8:49 am

14th Spring


The woman sitting opposite Ayatah was pregnant.

She had no swelling of the belly, or even that motherly glow that comes after the first season of gestation. No, it was not due to the pleasant signs of pregnancy that made Aya come to her conclusion, but the negative. The mother-to-be was skittish, nervous. Her skinny fingers traced her abdomen before pulling away as if the foetus inside had tried to snap her fingers off. The child inside her womb, despite being of her blood, would not be her son. He would not gift her with his giggles or ridiculous baby babble. And so the woman probably did not want to bond with the life inside her.

That would be difficult. Ayatah shifted in her seat uncomfortably, trying to look everywhere but at the pregnant woman -- but finding herself staring nevertheless.

Aya, it's rude to stare!

The voice in her head belonged to Kuame. The thought of her adopted son instantly bought a smile to the Myrian, but this time it was uncommonly short lived. Kuame was not her son, not in truth. His own mother had decided she did not want a son. And the boys father? The Gods only knew where he was. Or who he was.

These thoughts racketed around Aya's head until she heard a far off door click open. Then she sat up straight, as if she were to be interviewed or examined. Why was she here again?

"Miss. Ay-tar?"

"It's pronounced Eye-yar-ta." She corrected absently, standing up and turning towards the mild mannered voice. Then the half-breed realised where she was, why she was there. The importance of how her name was pronounced drifted away like a cloud.

"Ah, I'm sorry. Please come this way."

She followed the blue male down the corridor and through a half-open door, presumably the one she'd heard open mere ticks ago. After gesturing for her to sit down on a comfortable looking sofa, the Akalak seated himself. Ayatah squirmed and shifted nervously under his even gaze.

His calm smile did nothing for her anxiety. "So. My name is Palvanik." He placed a steady hand on his chest and then returned it back to his knee. His movements were all very calm, measured and trained. A new kind of warrior. "I work with Yolan here, at the Scantum. Yolan has asked me to meet with you today, if that's okay?"

Do I have a choice? Does it really matter? Visiting the Psyche's Sactum was not in line with how Ayatah would choose to spend her afternoon. But she'd overheard two women talking about it, how helpful it had been and how changed and renewed they'd felt upon leaving the place. And Ayatah had thought: yeah, I could do with some of that.

She gave a tiny nod.

Palvanik seemed pleased. "Good. So let's start with you telling me a little about yourself."
Last edited by Ayatah on November 24th, 2015, 8:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Ayatah
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Postby Ayatah on May 30th, 2015, 9:33 pm


Ayatah had always rolled her eyes at people who replied such a request with 'well, where do I begin?' As if they were so exciting, so thrilling, that to share any detail of their glamorous lives required great effort and thought.

And yet, she found the very same words tipping off her own tongue. She only just managed to stop herself: "Where do I--" She cleared her throat. "I was born in Taloba. Lived there until three years ago, then moved to Zeltiva. Then to here." She shrugged.

The quickness of her statement had contrasted starkly with the Akalak's sheer patience and calm. He waited a good few chimes before adjusting his seating position and saying, "I see. And why did you move to Riverfall, if I may ask?"

"I adopted a child. Kuame." There was that dopey smile again pulling on her lips the instant the boy came to her mind. "He lived in the Zeltiva orphanage. Once I adopted him, I felt it was best to leave. I wanted to finally settle somewhere, a place where Kuame can grow up safe."

"And you felt Riverfall was the ideal place?"

"To be honest," Ayatah explained, cheeks flushing gently, "I showed Kuame a map one day, and he said Riverfall sounded pretty. It seemed as good a reason as any to move here." Her voice drifted away. How childish she must seem, allowing a small boy to dictate where they lived based on the prettiness of a city's name.

The Akalak gave another of his slow smiles. Ayatah returned it, but stiffly. Her smile did not crease her eyes at all. She observed her therapist, tried to put an age to his face -- not an easy task when it came to the Akalak race. He wasn't old, perhaps even younger than herself. This depressed Aya: she felt as if she'd failed as a grown-up for being here, seeking advice from a younger man. She tried to push the thoughts away but they bobbed up like rotting fruit floating down on the Kandukta Basin.

"Sounds good to me." He said kindly. Aya bristled in response. She did not appreciate the gentle tone of his voice. Having been bought up in the jungle, the soft and gentle approach was foreign to her. As she'd grown up, bruises and skinned knees hadn't been treated with kisses and bandages, but celebratory slaps and proud smiles. "So-- born in Taloba, currently living here in Riverfall..." He paused, considering where next to drive their conversation, "is your family still in Taloba?"

All ninety-odd of them.

She nodded.

"And... have they met Kuame yet?"

Taloba was not the kind of place you casually took your five-year old son for a seasonal getaway. The trek through the jungle would be tiring, dangerous. If the poisonous plants didn't kill Kuame, the Dhani or Yukmen or Tigers might. Every fibre of Aya’s being rejected the thought of Kuame being hurt, or even dying - like bad shellfish. "No. It would be too dangerous to take him to go to Taloba. But they know of him."

The therapist tsked quietly, as if he was trying very hard to show Ayatah how he understood her problems. This, as before, frustrated the Myrian more than comforted her. "That must be very hard, raising your own child away from your family."

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Postby Ayatah on July 4th, 2015, 6:04 pm


"It was inevitable." She replied quickly, hoping that the topic could be brushed under the metaphorical rug without further discussion. And yet the hastiness of her reply only drew more attention to the topic at hand. Before Palvanik could put together another delicately worded question, Ayatah spoke again: "As soon as I decided that I was adopting Kuame, I knew I would raise him away from the jungle and my family. But the idea of not adopting him was even more painful to imagine."

The Akalak rested his elbows on the desk before him, bringing the fingertips of both hands together, his chin resting on his index fingers. He looked the pinnacle of calm. "When you spoke to Yolan briefly before, to schedule this meeting, you mentioned to him that you were feeling lost. Is that because you've been away from your home for so long?"

"Riverfall is my home now." She murmured defensively, but lacking the guts to say it loud enough for her therapist to hear. Brushing a hand through her hair, Aya sighed. If this visit were to benefit her in anyway, she needed to be honest and speak plainly. For her own sake, and that of her son.

"But yes. I am not a pureblooded Myrian, and so growing up in Taloba, it was made quite plain to me that by all accounts I wasn't Myrian. I tried so long to prove that I was, though."

"And now?"

Ayatah shrugged. "Now, I find myself realising that being a Myrian in Riverfall might not be the best thing for my child."

Silence took over the room. For Ayatah, she had told Palvanik more than she had told anyone else for over three years. Part of her was relieved, but another part was wary. It was a dangerous thing to share one's insecurities in Taloba, especially if you were a half-breed doubting your own heritage. She knew the therapist wouldn't - or couldn't - judge her for her own paranoia, but old habits died hard indeed. So as he remained silent, watching her patiently, Ayatah simply assumed the worse.

"I know what you must be thinking--"

He raised a hand, immediately silencing her. "Ayatah," he said, his voice much softer than his creased brows implied, "I am not here to judge you. You're safe here to say anything you want to. Anything you think that might benefit you, you should share with me."

The invitation was one she had never heard before. In Taloba, any anti-Myrian - or worse, anti-Myri - comments were frowned upon at best. From a young age, Ayatah had been told to keep her love of barbarian books hidden from others, to make her own life easier as well as those of her clanspeople. As she'd grown up, Aya had applied this rule to all her thoughts and believes that might contradict the mentality of her people.
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Postby Ayatah on July 4th, 2015, 8:11 pm


"I feel that I'm losing my faith. And as a Myrian, a daughter of Myri, that's equivalent to suddenly losing your identity as a living thing. I may as well think that I'm a--" she rolled her fingers in the air, trying to capture some word - any word - to finish off her sentence. Her dark eyes landed on something on the therapist's desk, "-a teacup, or something."

Palvanik allowed himself a small chuckle. Then the Akalak pondered Ayatah's declaration for a chime or two before speaking again. "Ayatah, my work at the Scatum usually revolved around working with my brethren, particularly the younger men who come here for their--" his eyes lowered, darkened slightly, "-- personal issues." Ayatah did not know the exact details of these issues, though she'd heard before that the Akalak men struggled with some sort of internal dualism.

Like me.

The therapist continued on, forcing a smile on his face. "Anyway. I actually asked Yolan if I could speak to you rather than he. And it's because I feel that your struggle with an identity is similar to that of my brothers - though it's also very different, of course. And I'm going to tell you the same thing I tell them." Then he held up his two great blue hands, palms together approximately six inches apart. "It's very easy to get lost in this battle between these two halves - the Eypharian and the Myrian." he wavered his left hand followed by his right, "Especially if you feel that you've spent a greater amount of time being one more than the other. But that does not mean that during your life in Taloba you were any less Eypharian than you were Myrian."

Ayatah instinctively wanted to argue this fact, but she remained silent. Every fibre of her being went against what the therapist had just said, and yet that part of Aya's mind dedicated to common sense knew it to be true. Of course she had always been partly Eypharian, if just by her heritage and not by her personality. Her thirst for knowledge, and from that her thirst for intellectual power, were not inherently Myrian traits. Of course she had wanted to kill and hunt like her pureblooded counterparts, but that desire was second to her desire to learn. Instead of killing the Dhani, she had wanted to interview them, to harvest knowledge about their people and their ways.

"And now, you are no less Myrian than you were then, but perhaps you are simply more balanced." The Akalak clapped his hands together, turning Ayatah's two metaphorical halves into one whole. "Instead of denying the Eypharian, you are in fact embracing it as much as the Myrian. And maybe this is confusing, but I assure you, it is completely normal."

The weight of the Akalak's words rested heavy on her mind. They sounded logical and truthful. And yet they were not easy for her to accept. She had been bought up in a culture where denying Myri as her Goddess-Queen earned expulsion, or even worse. Blood had been spilt for much, much worse.

But hadn't Myri accepted her as a daughter, like she had all pureblooded men and women? Subconsciously, the half-breed touched the gnosis mark on the back of her neck. The complicated vortex of swirls and lines was physical proof of that very fact. Myri had blessed her, allowed Ayatah to become a warrior of her people. In the eyes of her Goddess-Queen, she was as Myrian as any other pureblood.

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Postby Ayatah on July 5th, 2015, 7:00 pm


"I just want to make a good life for my son. If that means I don't return to the jungle, then so be it. But I didn't expect to feel so lost. I feel... shifted."

"But you have moved from Zeltiva to Riverfall, Aya. And you lived in Zeltiva for two years, you are bound to feel a little unsettled. It's a big change."

Again, he was correct. Riverfall, for all its beauty and culture, was still very brand new. It had been only fifteen days since she and Kuame had arrived, of course it would still be overwhelming and confusing. To expect anything different would have been just stupid. And yet Ayatah had done just that. And plus--

"The last time I washere, things were very different." She whispered, her lips forming the words and barely making a sound.

But Palvanik lent forward, the beginnings of a frown hunching his brows together. "Pardon?"

Ayatah looked up at him, startled. That part of her history was something she kept padlocked and deeply hidden, never to be spoken about again. But yet again, Aya found herself under the spell of Palvanik's even, patient gaze. "Did you say you've been in Riverfall before?"

She sat up straight, squared herself off and inhaled deeply. "When I moved to Zeltiva, I came via Riverfall. With another person, my lover. It was the last time we saw each other." The fact was still painful, even now. She swallowed hard and waited for the therapist to speak, suddenly quite unable to continue on herself.

Thankfully, he seemed to notice her loss of words immediately. "That's a shame, Ayatah." His voice was gentle, "may I ask if the split was -- a mutual decision? And why you decided to terminate the relationship? Feel free to not answer if you're not comfortable."

Her derisive snort was automatic and the only reply he needed to hear. But with a final thought of: oh, might as well, Ayatah finally recounted the story. "We planned to find each other at some point in the future, though we never agreed when or where. But we left the jungle for very different reasons. I can only speak for myself, but I just -- assumed." She said, for lack of a better word. Aya had just presumed that their plans would become real, and in actual fact had made very little effort to find her then lover, Razkar. It'll happen, he'll come here or I'll go there, she had thought for approximately two years. "I left Zeltiva for a season, to visit the island of Darva with an expedition. When I came back, I learnt that someone by his name had visiting, asking for me. I should have ran after him, hired a group of mercenaries to find him to let him know I was safe and wanted to see him..."

"But..?"

Ayatah shrugged. Her reply was simple: "I didn't. I heard he'd visited with another female, some redhead. Of course I didn't know for certain whether they were a pair. I still don't. But I don't want to know. Because when I heard he'd finally come to Zeltiva, I realised I didn't want to leave.

I was happy there, too happy to leave with him, or for him. I figured he was visiting for two reasons: to fulfil our plans and return to the jungle together, or to parade in his new lover in front of me and to end it all between us. Either way, I didn't want to know. If it was the former, I found it far easier to let my absence speak for me. If the latter - which I doubt, he was never like that - then I wouldn't want to be around."


The words had tumbled out of her mouth without much issue. But guilt still clung to Ayatah's mind like a shadow. She had been a coward, too scared to tell the man she had once loved that her passion for him was now second to the love she had for her new life. And, as much as she didn't want to admit it, the fact that he had arrived in Zeltiva with another woman had hurt. It had been the last thing Ayatah had expected. How could he have done that to her, when there had once been so much between Aya and he?

She subconsciously touched her midriff, right above her now empty womb.
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Postby Ayatah on July 5th, 2015, 7:15 pm


And then Ayatah did something unexpected.

She began to laugh. Only a small chuckle, but the smile on her lips was wide, her eyes bright with delight and amusement. Myri, how good it felt to finally tell someone all of that! The half-breed had carried around her complex thoughts and feelings for well over a year now, simply too ashamed to share them with anyone.

And now?

Now Ayatah looked back on those thoughts with hindsight, a powerful tool in itself. If all those things hadn't occurred exactly as they had, she might now have met Kuame. And the little boy, above all previous lovers, was the single most important entity in her life. He was greater than Myri, her mother, her clan, people, her lover, even her lost child, who was ripped from her womb far too soon. A regrettable statement, but without Kuame, Ayatah couldn't even imagine happiness.

"Ayatah? Why are you laughing?"

The Myrian looked up to her therapist with a grin on her lips. She didn't really know why she was laughing as such, but she guessed it must be because of the intense relief that was washing over her. Wiping her eyes from amused tears, she tried to best to explain between giggles "I just-- I've been needing to say that for a long time. And now I have finally said it. And now I see that I'm not a terrible person. Not completely, anyway. I did what I needed to. And yes, I should have been honest. I should have been brave. But I wasn't. And now that's in the past, and I've got a beautiful son, who's clever and brave and person in his own right. Kuame is worth every slice of pain and guilt I might feel. He's even worth the confusion and angst." Nodding, Ayatah indicated to the city of Riverfall, lying beyond the therapist windows, "I have a chance to be very happy here. I think I just needed to realise that, to dump the last remaining pieces of memories and regret I have before I focus on the future. On Kuame and my life here."

Palvanik nodded, though he seemed a little taken aback by Ayatah's sudden change in demeanour. "I have to agree with you there, Ayatah." He said cautiously, as if worried the simplest turn of phrase would have the Myrian slide back into a state of anxiety and fretting. "But please know that my door is always open to you."

His kind offer just managed to be captured by Ayatah's attention. She was breathless with release and excitement, having finally been unloaded.

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Ayatah
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Posts: 737
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Postby Kiva on December 28th, 2015, 9:23 pm

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Ayatah of The Scattered Bones

The Good Stuff :
Experience:
    Skill XP
    Logic +5
    Philosophy +3
    Rhetoric +3
    Deduction +2
Lore(s):
Location: The Psyche's Sanctum
Attending Therapy
Fighting the Two Halves of Yourself
Finding A Balance
Kuame: Worth All The Pain & Guilt
Dumping Old Memories For New Ones


Loot: N/A

Notes: I absolutely enjoyed reading this thread. You have a great sense of who Ayatah is, and you definitely show instead of tell. This played out like a movie for me, I felt like the scenes were well paced and the dialogue natural. As someone who is starting to write a Myrian slowly easing into this "Who am I?", "What do I believe in?" kind of mentality, I realized how perfectly you wrote this. I can't wait to read more of Ayatah's threads in the future, but if I missed something today, don't hesitate to call me out. I just really think you made a therapy session interesting and easy to understand to an outsider, and I think that is commendable. Great work.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your grade, please send me a PM and I'll be happy to discuss it with you. Keep writing!
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