Closed On Soundless Wings and Silent Feet

In which Carin and Faradae make each other's acquaintance.

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

On Soundless Wings and Silent Feet

Postby Faradae on December 30th, 2015, 11:00 pm

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THE WETLANDS NEAR NYKA
Winter 24, 515 AV, afternoon

Her first three days in the city had passed, and Faradae felt that she needed to catch her breath from all the novelties she had witnessed. After the morning’s business, she happened to be in the Western Quarter, not far from the gates she had crossed when entering the city. The people living in Xannos’ domain were not completely impoverished, but only very few houses displayed wealth, represented by especially vibrant and intricate murals. Most of the inhabitants had rather creative approaches to the matter of money-making, and she passed more than one painter’s atelier, a storywriter’s abode and even one man who specialized in carving wooden mobiles for little children. A wintery breeze carried a soft thread of music, a singer’s melancholic tribute to the season.

Upon reaching the boulevard, she passed the stands of many a merchant, but she knew better than to take a close look at their wares. Most sold colourful clothes, the symbol of hammer and anvil unobtrusively stitched into the fabric to mark their origin, and lucky charms, for those who chose to place their hopes in them. But Faradae knew some of them would downright refuse to sell her the smallest pebble, a behaviour founded on the circumstance that Faradae did not look like an inhabitant. She was technically Nykan, but she had not grown up in the city and did not belong to any of the Quarters, nor did she wear the typical fashion. Had they heard her speak, they would have caught a glimpse of the local accent, but it did not come to that.

She let her feet carry her towards the gate, and her aimless stroll gained a destination. As tempting as it was, she forbade herself to approach the fields and visit her family. Instead, she would fly into the marshes and release her wild energy by hunting, something she was accustomed to, something she did not have to think about. While she was in Nyka, she did not have to worry about her food as it was given out by the monks, but while that was comfortable, it also felt strangely constrained. She had no choice in what she wanted to eat, how much, and when. Fresh meat was scarce, thanks to the fact that it was winter, and adding to those supplies was as unaffordable as it was forbidden. But bringing food from outside was a whole different matter, there was no law against it and Faradae deemed it quite possible to get a nice rabbit cooked at the Bubbling Pot, on top of everything else. The thought thrilled her.

She left the city without speaking to the guards. She doubted the same ones would be on duty when she returned in the evening, and it was no use trying to make them remember her so they’d let her in later.
Leaving the stone walls of the city behind, she turned west, into the wetlands and gentle hills surrounding Nyka. The area was, of course, not completely devoid of trees. She found a place where the undergrowth was thick enough to keep a normal trespasser out, should anyone even dare venture out here. The land she was on belonged to the farmlands, but it had not been turned arable yet, and while the population of dangerous creatures was potentially a little lower than deeper in the forest, especially in the middle of the day, the territory was still nowhere near safe.

Faradae avoided a thicket of brambles as she crawled into the bracken, after which she picked out a tree that looked climbable – a crooked cedar – and climbed it. It took her a while to haul the backpack up with herself, but she had picked well and the tree had many a stray branch on low levels and tree holes to place her hands and feet. She made it with a couple of scratches, but otherwise unharmed and safe. It was, after all, not the first tree she climbed in her life.
Once she had reached the crown, she hid her belongings between a multitude of feathery needles. She secured them to the best of her knowledge, along her clothes, which she had quickly freed herself of and rolled into a messy bundle, tying her coat’s arms to prevent it from falling apart.

Finally, she shifted into her real form, that of a buzzard, slate black-and-grey, a magnificent and wholly unusual sight to behold in the middle of Sylira. The transformation hardly cost her any energy, she had not changed in many days and the itch to spread her wings again had built up over time, becoming almost unbearable. As a Kelvic, she could spend unlimited time in either of her forms, but she wasn’t used to being restricted to one.

It was not her race’s natural habitat, but she knew nothing else, so she had adapted her abilities to match the territory from the very beginning of her life. It took her a few ticks to flatten her ruffled feathers, dragging her beak through her coat, and it almost looked like a moment of vanity, but she finished fast and took off into the wilderness.

The first half bell was spent in a blink. It was filled with joyful fluttering at first, then she spiralled into the sky with the upward currents and dived deep, deep down to the ground, wings flattened to the body, beak first and as straight and fast as a dart. There were no perfect acrobatics in her flying, but she made up for it with the happiness of a child and a heart beating as light as the wind itself.
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Faradae
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