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Feeling homesick, Azira tries to become better acquainted with the city, and its denizens, in an effort to adjust to her new home

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Azira on March 6th, 2016, 10:41 pm

1st Spring 516AV
She missed home so much. It was a ridiculous thought to greet the day with but it was a true one.

It struck her as soon as she awoke in her strange room with its peculiar furniture and lighting. It was so different and so wrong. She hadn't been in the city for half a season yet but she didn't think she'd ever get used to it. Not that she was making much of an effort to get to know it any better or to become properly acclimatized. When she wasn't working, Azira preferred to keep to her room and avoided the city outside it as much as possible. What had possessed the Inarta to leave the confines to her beautiful volcanic city and come to this... this dump was still somewhat of a mystery to her. She didn't know what she'd been thinking when she'd bargained with an Endal to fly her out here. It was a decision that she'd regretted after the second or third day when they'd been battered with the harsh winter weather. Morwen's breath had hounded them from Wind Reach as if determined to make sure they couldn't turn back.

Too many stories, that's what did it! she thought grumpily as she dressed herself.

She's listened to too many Endal talk about the Diamond of Kalea and its unusual citizens, how it stretched over mountain peaks rather than under them, open to the weather and its wrath. It was supposed to be ruled by gods or something like that although Azira hadn't seen any proof of the like. They'd told her some things in that Cosmos Center of theirs--imagine having an information center for visitors--but she'd been too uneasy to listen to most of it, besides which it had been in Common rather than Nari. She'd grasped some of it, enough to know where to stay and where to work, but she hadn't listened to much else. Except the laws, she'd been sure to listen to them, even asking questions to make sure that she understood or getting the person at the center to speak more slowly.

Fastening her katinu around her she made a note to buy herself some more native clothing before stepping out of doors. She walked past the Lhavitians with her shoulders hunched and a scowl directed at the ground in front of her. She got some looks but they were quick and furtive, those who walked in pairs or more exchanging whispered words with their companions. It wasn't necessarily about her although she was sure it was. She couldn't be sure what they talked about concerning her, whether it was her unfriendly expression, her short stature (most people were at least a head taller than her or more) or her exotic features, she didn't know. Red hair didn't seem to be that common in the city and it was one of the few things about the city that she'd allowed herself to be interested in. There were a wealth of other hair colours and features and other races too. It was so different from home, which made it both exciting and upsetting at the same time. What fascinated her about Lhavit made her homesick at the same time. At least, some people dressed a bit like her. Some of Wind Reach's style seemed to have caught on here but it was strange to see the Inarta style mixed with other things and different hair colours.

Get over yourself! she shook herself mentally. Lhavit was her home for the moment whether she liked it or not. She'd made a commitment and she was going to stick to it, even if it killed her... well, killing her was probably the point when she should give up, but everything up to that point!

Go exploring properly. Don't just wander around this peak and then go back to hiding in your room. You can't stay in there forever, she scolded herself.

Her gaze snapped up, the young woman surveying her surroundings more closely. She accidentally caught the eye of a few people, a flicker of surprise crossing some of their features as they met piercing golden eyes, but her gaze moved quickly on again. She'd find one of the connections to the other peaks and cross over to another one, drag herself out of the rut that she'd gotten into since she'd arrived here. She knew that she was on a peak called Zintia and it seemed to be the main one but she wasn't sure of the names of the others, or what might be on them. The Inarta had been told that there was a library on one of them though so she might try to find that.

Azira looked for another city peak and sent herself in that direction, assuming that she'd have find the link to it if she kept going in that direction. She walked quickly, weaving between those who crowded the streets, wondering why there seemed to be so many of them about and why they seemed to be in high spirits. She made it on to the next peak, feeling strangely pleased with herself, as if getting to a different peak was any great achievement. Finding the library without asking anyone for directions in a city where Common was everywhere, now that would be an achievement. Of course she was going to end up wandering around aimlessly, looking this way and that and doing her best not to look like a tourist. Azira was pretty sure that she was failing miserably on all counts seeing as she was lost and she stuck out like a sore thumb, and a very bewildered one at that. She was looking everywhere and not seeing anything that looked like-

She stopped suddenly as she remembered the watchtower. Her eyes had skimmed over it a few times but it hadn't registered. Her gaze flashed to it now as she started walking blindly onwards. It was green! How had she forgotten that today was the first day of Spring and the first day of the new year? No wonder everyone was in such high spirits! How stupid was she that she hadn't recalled it? Too caught up in her own misery of late, that's what it was. Shaking her head in a mixture of wonderment and disgust at herself, she collided with someone else's side. Some reflex attempted to save her by making her dodge but it didn't seem to take the situation in to account first so that she was sent sprawling in to arms and over feet and ended up pitching forward on to her hands and knees. The tiny redhead let out a string of curses in her native tongue, probably sounding like a displeased bird with all her twittering. She rose, brushing herself off and still cursing and she prepared to turn a sharp tongue on the person before realising that the collision had been her own fault. Plus causing a fuss wasn't a good choice in this city, where violence wasn't as readily acceptable as it was in Wind Reach. Besides there seemed to be more people above her socially in this city and they weren't as easy to spot as the Endal back home.

"Sorry, wasn't w-" she began before cutting herself off when she realised she was still using Nari. Most people couldn't understand the Inarta language, not here.

"I apologise. I was not... looking... It was an accident, I..." She was already stuttering on the unfamiliar words, almost choking on having to apologise, but she trailed off completely when she saw who she'd bumped into, or rather what.

Oh shyke, oh shyke, oh shyke. Please don't let me have knocked them down. Oh gods.
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Alses on March 12th, 2016, 9:15 pm

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The first day of Spring! The weather might not always cooperate, or seem very different from the preceding day, but even without the Watchtowers Alses always knew when winter finally gave way. It was the first day of the new year, bringing with it a sudden change to her celestial form, in accordance with the unknowable will of the gods. A regular change, admittedly, one that came around every time winter gave way, but nonetheless something of a perennial shock, as her hair flushed blonde and her horns took on a rich purple tint. A beautiful switch, though, however one looked at it – and particularly for Alses, who throve on colour and life - from the brown and green which had predominated throughout the winter season.

Soon enough, it would become commonplace to her, the changed appearance quickly becoming as normal and unremarkable as all else, but for now it was surprising when she caught sight of her reflection in a window or pool of water, a moment of uncertainty before she realised.

Head in the clouds and thinking of subjects very far from anything to do with the mudball of Mizahar, Alses was not paying much attention, trusting instead to her long familiarity with the highways and byways of Lhavit to see her safely to her destination.

And, admittedly, to the general reverence and space that most Lhavitian citizens gave those of her race. It was useful, she had to admit – or would, if she ever actually thought about it – that people bowed and moved out of her way. Ethaefal moved in a little bubble of distance through even the thickest of crowds.

Being lost in thought, with her magic only idly browsing, filling the air with mantling colours and scents and sensations, Alses didn’t consciously notice the fast-approaching Inarta, perhaps assuming -with the arrogance of any Ethaefal resident in the starry city - that she would stop.

By the time her magic forcibly screamed a warning in her head, by the moment Alses realised that, no, the girl wasn’t going to stop, indeed, didn’t even appear to notice, it was too late.

The collision, then, was an inevitability. Ethaefal might be preternaturally graceful, but there was a limit to what that meant in the face of the almost-inviolable laws of physics, and so in short order the two of them went down in a tangle of limbs and clothes and a prim, exasperated cry of: “Bugger!” from Alses.

The impact was surprisingly hard, a jarring shock as her crown-of-horns bounced off the skyglass flagstones of the street, a fusillade of secondary hits dancing a painful toccata across her back, her bottom, her legs.

She lay, dazed, head ringing from the force transmitted through her unbreakable horns, for a tick or two as messengers rushed into her brain from other parts of her body, reporting various bruises and aches with vicious enthusiasm. “Syna’s flaming knickers,” she muttered, levering herself into a sitting position with little regard for the girl she was entangled with. “My head.

True to form, with Lhavit, several of the nearby citizens rushed forward to help. With their aid, Alses was able to extricate herself and stand on her own two feet – albeit slightly unsteadily – brushing down her robes with a distracted hand.

Um, m’lady…” one of the helpful Lhavitians murmured, eyes wide and hand half raised to touch his left cheek. It took Alses a moment to realise; some bit of debris in the road had been sharp, evidently, and she had a superficial cut that was gently beading with thick bronze blood. She wiped it away with the back of a hand, and then touched it with a fingertip; true-blue light suddenly bloomed around the wound, and as it passed so too did the cut. Alses gave herself a more careful once-over, and several more instances of bright blue radiance shimmered briefly along her arms and legs. Brief health check over – and remedies applied – she turned her attention and her gaze towards the Inarta who’d been inconsiderate enough to knock her over. “Will you watch where you’re going!” Her voice was sharp, her accent cut-glass with irritation.
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Azira on March 13th, 2016, 4:44 pm

There was no one else she could have gotten tangled up with, as much as she wished that it could be otherwise. Plus there was a cut on the woman's cheek. Not that she focused on that detail for very long. Instead, she found herself staring at the startlingly exotic appearance of the woman who towered over her. It wasn't her height so much--although she was taller, at least half a foot--but the fact that she was intimidating. Her amazing beauty and the horns that curled from amongst her blonde hair only made her all the more imposing. Her attitude was the worst part of it though. She held herself with the knowledge that she was better than those around her, like someone full of their own self-importance. Her mind screamed Endal! but she also knew there was no such thing here. Whoever this woman was, she was bloody important, especially given the way people rushed to help her, treating her with an awed and frightened reverence.

New year, new start and I've gone and knocked over someone above me. Could this get any worse? she wondered despairingly.

Other Lhavitians had come forward to see if Azira needed any help, looking at her somewhat reproachfully as they glanced between her and the beautiful, imperious woman. Their aid was rudely brushed off, the Inarta shrugging and shoving away the hands that settled upon her. Something they saw in her expression either sent them back about their business or transferring their sympathies to the victim of her inattention. The huntress didn't know what to do, aside from staying where she was to see what happened next. She had no idea what manner of punishment to expect for having the audacity to crash in to a member of upper society. If she was to expect a thrashing then there wasn't a hope of her standing for that. Azira wouldn't let anyone strike her and hadn't allowed anyone to get away with it since her youth either. Though watching blue light shimmer away the injuries on the other's form quelled any rebellious fire within her.

This woman could do magic! There was no telling what she could do and there were supposed to be all sorts of mages in Lhavit. The only sort of magic Azira had any experience with was reimancy and most of that experience was to do with the earth reimancers in Wind Reach. She had seen what fire reimancy could do and she wasn't keen to be on the receiving end of that. This woman might have something worse up her sleeve. There was no telling what might happen to her next but she would just have to deal with it. Perhaps if she paid obeisance to this superior on her knees, she might be spared harsh punishment. Kneeling before someone in public was definitely not going to be the highlight of her time in the Diamond of Kalea but as long as it didn't set a trend.

The sharp words came as the woman finally acknowledged her. The grammar peculiar to her, sounding in tone like a snap but the words seemed more appropriate for a question. Unsure how she was meant to respond but realising that she had to do something, Azira dropped onto her knees. She winced as her kneecaps banged against the skyglass paving, but she doubted this woman saw it as the Inarta was facing her knees. Words were quickly sought for, twisting and tangling with one another in her head as she tried to apologise properly.

"Yes, my fault. I am sorry, I was... somewhere else?" she hazarded in Common at the woman's knees, knowing that the phrase was wrong, even as it passed her lips. She turned her face upwards to make sure nothing was missed, her golden eyes becoming fixed on the celestial beauty. That was a very unwelcome distraction right now. She hurried on anyway, tripping over words and potentially digging a greater hole for herself.

"I cannot speak Common good, but I am sorry. I was looking... I was walking and not looking. I was... dis... dismayed? Distract? I was distract! Lost! Looking for library" Azira groaned. She was butchering this tongue and her Common had never been this bad before. It smacked of ineptitude, even to her own ears and she inwardly cringed.

"May I get up now? This isn't comfortable," she added unthinkingly in Nari. She realised her mistake and tried to find the words in Common, resorting to crude hand signals and words instead. She pointed to herself then her knees and moved her hand upwards, palm facing up. "Can I... up?"
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Alses on March 13th, 2016, 8:41 pm

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Alses was horrified, and that naked expression flashed across her face for a moment, overriding the usual distant armoured mask. She had been snappish, waspish, perhaps – she liked to think that anyone would have been the same, startled out of contemplation and with a chorus of aches and pains suddenly clamouring for attention, but that hardly warranted the culprit’s reaction.

Bowing and curtseying was one thing, the genuflection a gesture of respect she was used to receiving from some citizens, but to have someone actually go to their knees in front of her was a step altogether too far for her sensibilities, patron race or no.

Yes, yes, for Syna’s sake, get up!” she spoke rapidly and loudly, addressing the crowd as much as the girl, her own discomfiture very visible. It was as though the Inarta – the girl (or possibly woman; Alses’ judgement of chronological age was as sketchy as ever) expected the Shinya to come and drag her off to some dark cell as punishment, or else to hand Alses a slaver’s whip and watch her set to with a will.

As though an accident – and Alses was sure it was such, paying less attention to the stumbling words and far more to the intentions which surrounded her supplicant in a numinous cloud – in some way merited punishment.

The girl’s aura, too, as Alses explored it with a million fine fingers of djed, that was sickening in its own way: nauseatingly ripe with fear, the phantom sensation of skin bursting open and washing the world in blood close to the surface, the whole of it quivering like an overripe fruit, battering at her senses with a charivari of poisonous emotions.

Her gorge rose at the heady potential bloodsports being played out before her mind’s eye, the whole sickening mess of it leavened with sharp ice-white spikes of fear remembered and anticipated. ‘What has been done to you?’ Alses thought queasily; such a reaction was not normal, or right.

We spoke quickly and out of ill-temper; we are not used to being jostled in the street, still less knocked over,” she admitted, words coming fast in her haste to reassure. “But we suffered no damage a little application of Tanroa’s Blessing couldn’t cure, and I certainly don’t warrant you on your knees! Please, stand!

The important thing was to get the poor girl on her feet again; Lhavit had definite Ideas about submission, of any sort, and Alses had lived in the starry city long enough to absorb those values as her own. Indeed, she had been one of the legion of unskilled workers for a time, and remembered it clearly. Respect was one thing, grovelling entirely another.

She offered her hand and the crook of her arm, but, keen gaze having caught the Inarta’s earlier reluctance to accept help, kept it at some remove. Close enough to be easily taken, but not so close as to be insistent. The politician in her, forever watching her actions with a critical eye, even now when she, technically, had no political function whatsoever, whispered that, if taken, the image of the hand-clasp would be good for her in the eyes of the crowd; the forgiving Ethaefal and the contrite foreigner.

You are Inarta, yes?” she asked, voice calmer and slower now, carefully modulated to a gentle cascade of tones Alses knew many found calming. “My name is Alses. I regret we don’t understand Nari,” she added, resolutely keeping the wince at the butchering of the Common tongue off her face; Syna knew she was no better when it came to Arumenic. “But the Library may have someone who can speak it.

Alses was having difficulty, if truth be told; she was naturally prolix, verbose, long-winded, delighting in complex sentences and obscure words – the exact opposite, in fact, of what a novice speaker needed.

Clear sentences, simple words. Unambiguous statements, as far as was possible. “It is on our way home,” she began. “We can take you there.
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Azira on March 13th, 2016, 10:11 pm

The huntress was immediately aware that kneeling on the ground was not the best course of action, not if the woman's expression was anything to go by anyway. If she'd realised that at first rather than looking at the other's knees then she might have been able to save herself from such humiliation. People were staring! She was acting like a Dek in their eyes--not to mention her own--and it was disgusting. A scowl fought to take possession of her features, irritation sparking in her golden eyes. Why had she let her fear get the better of her? It was a strange city with strange laws but it was the same. This woman was no doubt some upstart who'd gained privilege that she didn't deserve as was the way with many of the Endal.

Being given permission to rise was gratifying but she still felt a flash of annoyance as she got up. Her knees were aching, one injury to add to the multitude of bruises that she'd picked up in the fall in the first place. She wished that she had the same trick that this woman had of healing herself--how did she do it?--but Azira wasn't so soft that she couldn't take a tumble every now and then. Pushing one's way through a forest was a rough task, especially as the trees pushed back too. So it wasn't the physical pain but rather the injury to her pride that was smarting. It didn't help matters that the other was spouting words at a rapid pace that were confusing even when she could identify them. Was she saying 'we'? Why was she saying that? There was only one of her and that was a plural form, or rather that was Azira's understanding of it. She'd never heard anyone else speak like this so perhaps this was a reflection of the woman's status. It seemed to have something to do with giving her permission to stand but the Inarta didn't have a clue what it was. The scowl that she had thus far managed to keep at bay finally took up residence.

The offered arm was looked at with a mixture of bewilderment and distrust, as if she thought that it might eat her. She read the position of it, her eyes flickering up to the other's face so that she could be sure that it wasn't compulsory to take it. She did have an option in whether she took it or not. It was an odd gesture though as they'd only just met one another. With slow reluctance, she took it, aware that people were still observing them. It was probably beneficial for her to show some friendliness to this Alses. She had just knocked her over after all an this was the only way to show that there were no hard feelings. It was her fault so it was better for her to accept the other's good will. The woman seemed to be willing to bring her to the library so that was something good at least. The situation wasn't going to be a total disaster apparently and she wouldn't have to continue wandering around like a headless chicken.

"Yes, I am Inarta. I am called Azira. I wish you could speak Nari. My Common is not this bad. Not normal...ly. I was... confused," she responded slowly, choosing her words with care. Azira would prove to her that she had a reasonable grasp of the language. She wasn't completely atrocious at it and she was a lot calmer now, her heart returned to a steadier thrumming now so that it didn't batter against her rib cage.

"Thank you. For being nice about this. Sorry. I was looking at the Watchtower. It was my... blame, no... You understand, but what's the word for it?" She didn't add that it was as much Alses's fault as her own. Alses could have moved out of the way if she'd been paying attention too so Azira wasn't completely to blame. Not that she'd say that, besides which she wasn't entirely sure that she had the words for it. She didn't have the word for what Alses was either, or the knowledge of it. There was something about her that seemed familiar, the horns she thought, but she couldn't remember what it was she'd read about whatever race Alses was. Surely there was no harm in asking, but she didn't have a nice way of coming out with it.

"You're... different. What are you?" she asked, wincing at how harsh the question sounded to her own ears. It was very blunt, something that she'd never have had problems with at home, but she was more conscious of being polite in this strange city. Here, she wasn't on sure ground and she was leery of saying the wrong thing. These people seemed to be rather sensitive.
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Alses on March 23rd, 2016, 8:31 pm

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The word you are grasping after,” Alses said gently, “Is ‘fault’. You’re welcome, but in truth there was little enough in it,” she added, referring to the collision. “We were merely surprised; I am not used to being knocked over. Our injuries were nothing that we couldn’t take away, though. We would offer the same to you, but the technique is inimical – er, that is, harmful – to mortals.

My kind are called the Ethaefal,” Alses explained, taking little umbrage at the terribly blunt question. There were few of her kind – something to be thankful for - and rarity engendered curiosity. Plus, finesse couldn’t be expected from someone who had Common as their second language, and was evidently unpractised as to its use.

We are also known as the children of Syna and Leth, although the word isn’t quite right. The Valterrian wrecked Mizahar, but it tore heaven, too.” A sad smile, every fibre of Alses’ being subtly resonating with the loss that was bone-deep in every member of her race – save perhaps Aysel and Talora.

The Ethaefal are the divine casualties of that event; we were never meant to walk Mizahar. Thus, our immortality, and the beauty of our bodies. And a few other little gifts, too.” Alses paused, for a moment, letting it sink in. “Lhavit is our city; two of our kind led the survivors from the ruins of the Valterrian to found this place, and the Diamond of Kalea is led by them to this day. We are therefore the city’s patron race; there are more of us here than anywhere else, too. Not that there are many anywhere; it is a rare event for an Ethaefal to appear, and depressingly common in comparison for one to depart.

The corners of Alses’ lips turned up, but there was no mirth in the movement. “Not that the arrival of a new Ethaefal is generally cause for celebration, at least amongst the rest of us.

Alses visibly shook off the melancholy that was so near the surface for every Ethaefal, the introspective sadness of everything that had been lost, a fever-dream’s recollection of perfect beauty and harmony and contentment, against which the rough-and-tumble world of Mizahar screamed its base vulgarity to everything that would listen.

May we ask why you want the Library? We’re no librarian, but we use the place often enough. A relaxing way of spending a few chimes or bells or days, depending.” A wry smile; Alses was well aware that most would find nothing more boring than a day spent leafing reverently through scholarly tomes, even here in Lhavit. “Not that we blame you for wishing to see it; the collection is quite impressive, and they always take submissions for new material. Everything from street-sweeping technique to the mysteries of magic; the librarians are trying to ensure a record of everything, so nothing is lost.

She half-turned, then - the crowd neatly parting and flowing around the two of them, a perfect little bubble of unthinking space - towards one of the many broad avenues which snaked their tree-lined way across the tiers of the starry city, the fadeong trees dancing with the wind as it skirled and twisted through the passages, forever broken and thwarted by strategically-placed buildings.

Whoever had planned Lhavit had been a master of their art; the streets were not howling canyons as a result of the unsung genius – or legions of them – who laboured with the Constellations to build the city, the howling mountain winds broken and rendered little more than harmless zephyrs.

My home and the Library is this way,” Alses indicated with an elegant wave. “Shall we amble?
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Azira on March 26th, 2016, 10:28 pm

Annoyance crossed the face of the huntress as Alses provided the word she'd be searching for, but the emotion was brief and only aimed at herself. She should been able to find that word for herself, she was sure it was something she'd come across before and Azira wanted to kick herself for forgetting about it. A thin smile was dredged up that was supposed to be grateful but she couldn't put much enthusiasm behind it. She was mulling over things and listening to Alses.

"Yes, fault, my fault. Thank you," she murmured, her voice and expression thoughtful.

It was intriguing to listen to her speech but it was also nice to hear her admit that she was at fault too. The woman's use of pronouns still sounded odd and confusing to her but she was still able to pick up on some things. The other's statement that people didn't typically knock her over seemed to make sense, especially given the evidence of her eyes; people avoided the woman. She wasn't sure why but it only confirmed the Inarta's suspicions that she had bumped in to someone important. Alses had also admitted her difference although she didn't know what group she'd placed herself in. Azira didn't understand the word "mortal" but she gathered that it referred to her, although she couldn't tell if it meant the Inarta specifically or humans in general. The latter would only work if she assumed that Alses wasn't human, something that her overall appearance supported. At best, Azira could describe her as being humanoid.

"Ethaefal?" she repeated questioningly, tasting the new word. It sounded foreign, exotic even, but she'd never seen or heard it before. There was nothing like it in any of the journals and diaries she'd perused in the Enclave. Alses had her full attention now as she gazed up in to her face, waiting for an elaboration. Thankfully the woman didn't expect her to gather her race purely from the name alone, but her explanation caused a crease of the Inarta's brow as she tried to follow. She gathered the gist of it, something to do with the Valterrian, possibly death somewhere--although she couldn't be sure, the word was strange--there was "immortality", which sounded like a variation on the word mortal from earlier, and there was mention of their beauty. So something had happened to their race at the Valterrian that had caused death, and done something to set the Ethaefal apart from the group to which Azira belonged. There was something weird about them not being meant to be on Mizahar, but she had no idea what that was supposed to mean. She could gather enough of the rest as well. Lhavit had been started by the Ethaefal, they seemed to run it and they were a rare race. Perhaps that was why Alses engendered such respect, merely because of what she was, but perhaps there was more to it as well.

"What is immortality? You are... immortals? All Ethaefal are...im-im..." she trailed off, chewing her lip. She had no idea if that was how one was supposed to use the word, but she had tried to adjust the word that Alses had used in relation to the Inarta earlier. Whatever it meant, she felt that it would make a number of things clearer to her. Like why Alses seemed to be so deeply upset about this talk. It had started at the mention of the Valterrian--the anniversary of which was today--so she assumed something truly devastating had happened to the Ethaefal back then, something that still seemed to linger in their racial memory. Whatever had caused the mood, the woman shook it off to investigate Azira's motives for visiting the library.

"Oh I am going to learn. I read at home about other cities and races. It is good. There are new things to read here," she explained slowly, each word chosen with care once more. The huntress hoped that she would be able to quickly get in to the swing of Common and gain greater fluency soon. She was going to go insane if she could only express herself in such simple ways.

They walked in silence down the well organised streets until Alses indicated a particular direction. The huntress nodded her assent and copied the other's mode of speech.

"Yes, we shall amble. Is it far to the library? Am I keeping you from your home? I do not want you to go out of your path for me."
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Alses on March 30th, 2016, 8:29 pm

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Alses hummed in contemplation for a moment, thinking how best to explain it. The girl – Azira – was obviously not stupid, but evidently not quite fluent with the language. Alses did her best, but her best was still tinged with a certain amount of academia.

Immortality is…Well. You and yours are born, you change and grow and learn, and one of the things you learn is that at some point, even if everything else comes up roses for you, your body will eventually fail you. That is the way of things; you are mortal – that is what the word means - and in the fullness of time Lhex will call and Dira will cut quick the skein of your life. That is,” she clarified conscientiously, suddenly aware that euphemism and metaphor were perhaps not the most helpful methods of making herself clear, “You age and die. It is the same for almost every other race on the face of Mizahar. But.

Ethaefal, on the other hand,” she continued, gesturing at herself with an absent hand, “Do not grow, change or suffer the withering of the years. Our bodies are perfect, our healing impeccable; the spectre of old age does not haunt us, and Tanroa’s river touches us but lightly.” There was no arrogance or pride touching her words, merely the soft and gentle recitation of fact. “When we said the city was led by the Ethaefal who founded it, we were speaking literally; Lord Aysel and Lady Talora are five hundred and sixteen years old, and counting. Not that you’d know it to look at them, or by their antics, of course. They wear their centuries lightly.

She smiled, quick and sharp, then. “We are a complicated people. Ethaefal find it difficult to tolerate each other’s company. It can be overcome, with time and perseverance and a certain amount of bloody-mindedness, but in the main as a race we are peripatetic – we wander, rarely settling in one place for very long and almost never congregating in groups. It’s painful; too many scattered and splintered memories of what was, a perennial reminder of where every Ethaefal should be and is not! Particularly when you have a Child of Syna and a Child of Leth together.

Alses’ mouth shut in a very final sort of way for a few chimes, and their walk was underscored only by the soft susurrus of her robes and the deeper boom of her boots on the skyglass during that time – at least from her. Her eyes lightened, though, on the mention of the library and Azira’s reason for wanting to see it.

There is a very fine collection,” she remarked happily, responding far more to the flickering changes in the girl’s aura than to her simple speech, cutting to the intent and bypassing the clumsy, bland sentences. “And it’s growing all the time, as the librarians write more books, and as citizens and the Towers and the other big institutions donate their knowledge. Awfully good way of spending time.” Alses paused, as if struck by a new thought.

Which reminds us; what is it that you do, exactly?” she knew full-well that any resident of the city, for any length of time, had a job; there were no beggars in Lhavit, but she wasn’t sure what, exactly, this Inarta did for a living, what skills and expertise she therefore might have or could benefit from.

She waved away Azira’s tentative suggestion of inconvenience. “It’s no trouble to go out of our way,” Alses said, subtly correcting the woman’s choice of words as well as offering reassurance. “We don’t live too far from the Library in any case, and it’s always useful to check in with the Library staff; one never knows when they might have received some new information.” She paused, and gave a little smile. “We do like to keep our finger on the pulse.
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Azira on April 10th, 2016, 10:32 pm

The huntress was quickly becoming aware that the Ethaefal had a difficulty talking in straight lines. Somehow the woman began an explanation and drifted off course, somehow managing to make getting to the end point impossibly confusing. It probably had something to do with her style of speech. She was far from being a plain-speaking individual and Azira wondered how she had acquired such a way of speaking. She must be used to being around very intelligent people because she was certain that the average Lhavitian didn't speak like this even though they were fluent in Common.

Whether the woman realised she was talking in a confusing way or just decided to be more concise for the fun of it, but understanding finally dawned for the huntress. Immortality and mortality! Yes, she knew those words, of course she did. She linked them to their Nari equivalents in her head and filed the terms away, making sure to fully commit them to memory later. Now that she understood, what Alses had been saying made a lot more sense. It also helped her connect certain dots. Ethaefal were immortal? Alses was immortal? She gazed at the other with awe in her eyes as she finally came to the full realisation of what that meant for them. They had fallen from paradise and time didn't make any difference to them; they couldn't anticipate a return through natural death. Judging by the fact that Alses had sustained wounds, she assumed that Ethaefal could be killed, but that didn't seem to be the most pertinent question to ask. Azira could see how easily something like that could be taken the wrong way. At first glance, she could see the appeal of such an existence, being able to live forever, see new places, learn new things, always have new people to see and being able to see the world flourish around you. However, as she contemplated it silently, she could see how terrible it must be. They couldn't stand one another because they were a reminder of a painful loss, they kept on the move and if they did say somewhere then any friends they made would grow old and die in a fraction of their lifetime unless they were murdered or killed themselves, she assumed. It actually sounded exceptionally grim and the huntress decided that she would do no more prying; she could understand why it would be a touchy subject.

Her curiosity had done an excellent job of killing any hope of conversation and it was only the talk of the library that could possibly save them from silence. Thank the gods for the library! It seemed that the woman had good knowledge as well as an appreciation of the place of learning and the Inarta warmed to her because of that thing they held in common. Lhavit's library also sounded like a place that was held in greater respect than the Enclave back home. The idea of people regularly donating knowledge intrigued and excited her. It was a living source of information, a source that really aimed to provide knowledge rather than merely containing the leavings of past generations. She really hoped that she would be able to understand what was held there or she would be extremely disappointed; it had been quite some time since she had had reason to read more than a few words of Common after all. If there was anything in Nari, which was definitely a possibility, then she didn't know if she could contain her excitement of being able to fully process the information that she was reading.

Azira took note of the other's subtle correction, glad that she hadn't made a fuss over it, and nodded her comprehension, relieved. She didn't want to inconvenience the woman any more than she already had and she was glad that she wanted to visit the library too, so as to 'keep her finger on the pulse' as she said. It seemed to be an idiomatic expression and given the context, the huntress gathered it meant to keep up to date with things. She could always ask but she didn't want to broadcast her ignorance any more than she already had. Instead, she chose to answer the Ethaefal's question seeing as the topic of the library had probably been exhausted.

"I hunt," she explained in Common, elaborating to sate the other's curiosity. "I go out of the city and in to the Unforgiving. I do not go far--it is a big place--but I bring meat back. I give it to The Jugged Hare, do you know it? They pay me for meat, but it is different than home. In Wind Reach, everyone hunting for the city must bring back so much. There is a... quota," she inserted the last word in her native Nari, frowning as she searched for a Common equivalent, "a... limit? No, it does not matter. It is different at home. We give the animals in to one place and they go to feed the city. Here, I do not know its working. People buy rather than have given." The young woman smirked at the other, glad that she had had a chance to show off the fact that she could be quite coherent in the other's tongue, or at least, she thought she had been. There were still probably errors that a native speaker would pick up on that she hadn't registered at all.

"That is more than you asked. I talk too much. I apologise. What is your job?" the huntress asked, turning the conversation away from herself in what she deemed to be a clever move.
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Times They Are A-Changing (Alses)

Postby Alses on April 20th, 2016, 9:49 pm

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OOCI have internet again! And the time to use it a bit :) . Sorry for the delay.

I know of it,” Alses replied cautiously as they strolled onwards, emerging onto a canopy-draped square in which a melancholy stone effigy of an Ethaefal - its lidless gaze turned eternally to the half-obscured sky - poured water out eternally into a pool thick with zujin pads. What she'd said was true; she’d passed the place on more than one occasion, that haven of trussed-up carcasses and plucked, basted birds, but – not being much of a one for eating, to put it mildly – the place had never held much interest for her.

The overwhelming impression of blood, too, breathing from the walls and the floor and the ceiling, filling her mouth and nose and creeping in a phantom tide across her skin, that didn’t help. “It’s not really to my taste, I’m afraid. Too much blood in the walls, amongst other reasons.

Alses was momentarily stumped as she listened to Azira’s halting words, having no real idea of what word the girl was actually thinking of in place of ‘limit’ which, by the Inarta’s own admission, was wrong. It would niggle at her, in the back of her brain, but there was little enough she could do about that; the blind leading the blind.

Well, people aren’t starving,” she offered, slightly nonplussed. It had never occurred to her to think about centralised distribution of basic necessities; it was an alien idea, except perhaps in times of crisis, for the short-term relief of the citizens. “Most might not match us-” Alses, like all Ethaefal, was built to the more voluptuous, curvaceous pre-Valterrian ideal of beauty than the more angular look that necessity had popularised in the intervening centuries “-but they’re hardly skin and bones either, so…is that not a sign that the system functions, for the most part?

She blinked, and processed a bit more of what Azira had said. “Truly, the Unforgiving? Is it not terribly dangerous?” A wry smile touched Alses’ lips for a moment. “We’ve no interest in combat or fighting; we tend to stay where it’s safe, behind the blades of the Shinya, but I know the Unforgiving is supposed to hold many secrets. Perhaps you’ll stumble across some. Or maybe you already have; how long have you been in the city of stars, might we ask?

A smile touched her distant, perfect features for a moment, and with it came the humanity that a statuesque Ethaefal could so easily lose. “Ah, but you asked about me, and have already answered a question of mine; we owe you a reply, at least, before delving deeper. I’m many things, but at the moment we’re paid to teach at the Dusk Tower. Chiona Dusk is a good friend, you see; she helped us out when-” Alses stopped herself, suddenly, jaw muscles bunching and pearly teeth biting down on what she was about to say with a clearly audible click of clashing enamel.

Perhaps that’s not the best topic for a first meeting,” she remarked sourly, after a tick or two; it was quite evident that whatever she'd been going to say was a wound that was still fresh, a scar that still smarted. “As we were saying, I’m a sorceress, and though auristics is not our primary discipline, I have some skill.” No need to brag; there would be no benefit to it, beyond a fleeting frisson of pride that would dissipate too quickly for the consequences. No, better simply to assert ‘some skill’, a phrase which promised competence and expertise without the expectations of mastery.

Enough to teach the younglings not to blast themselves into oblivion, at any rate. Key skill for any mage – and there are a lot of us in Lhavit. Of course,” she added with a sniff, thinking of Thomas “-some of us are more suited to teaching than others. I’m sure something similar applies in hunting?

Alses had no experience whatever of hunting – well, unless one counted a few brief forays into finding people, one of which had ended up in an urban pursuit that was quite, quite different from any form of countryside tracking. Thus, her question was based in guesswork; surely the same someone wouldn’t be as proficient in hunting birds as they were in chasing down wild deer, for example?
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