Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

A 'herd' of okomo plan a day trip to Tenten Peak.

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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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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Boo Beckett on July 4th, 2016, 1:05 am

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Timestamp: 13th of Summer, 516 AV

"Tenten Peak?", Boo barked with a frown. "That's three whole peaks away." Not to mention three bridges to cross. It was true indeed that Boo was not a fan of crossing those vertigo inducing bridges, even if they had proved their worth over the years. He supposed that with even okomo crossing them from time to time, if they were going to break and plummet into the gaping valley below, it would have happened by now. That did little to ease his apprehension though, not to mention that it was those very okomo that were the cause of it to begin with.

He could only put it down to bad luck, having returned to the Okomo Villa just moments after a messenger had arrived with grave news. It seemed that a troupe of okomo had decided to take a day trip, venturing off from the familiar surroundings of the Sharai Peak and instead opting for Tenten instead. Okomo wandering off from the Sharai was by no means uncommon. What was strange though was that they had journeyed as a herd, when usually such expeditions were solitary affairs.

Boo's timely arrival had seen him appointed as lead scout, at least until Khana Rayastai, the head of Okomo Villa, could gather some more herders to join the retrieval. He exited the building, stomping off towards the bridge that connected Sharai to Shinyama, silently cursing his misfortune while wondering what in the name of the deities could have triggered the okomo to leave in numbers in the first place. Actually, the messenger had neglected to report an actual number, though had referred to the group as being rather numerous. Numerous? What's that? Ten? Twenty? A hundred?!

His destination upon arriving at the Tenten Peak was a place called Lucis and Lucis. He had never heard of it before, nor had any clue or interest as to what the place was. He wondered why Lucis had made it twice into the title of the place. Was it father and son? Brothers perhaps? Eventually he settled on the fact that he did not care, instead determined to find the wretched place so he could assess the situation. Herding okomo back across three peaks was not going to be an easy task by any means.

It had taken a while, as well as stopping to ask for directions, but eventually Boo had arrived at Lucis and Lucis. It was quite a large place, several buildings of varying sizes flanking an inner courtyard. The whole place was industrious looking, as though it might have been some oversized blacksmiths or some other agency concerned with building and manufacturing. It had not taken long to spot the okomo of course, since beyond the courtyard there was not really anywhere else they could congregate in great numbers. He moved towards them, taking a head count as he drew closer. Twelve in all. Not too bad after all, especially if Khana was quick to send reinforcements.

But something was not quite right. The okomo's usual behavior was to slowly amble about, taking a few moments to munch on a particular patch of grass, before ambling on again. Sometimes they would make short sprints, perhaps to incite better blood flow on cold days, or simply to expend a little effort in order to further their appetite. Other tasks involved standing completely still, while they watched and listened, their tails flopping too and fro like an energetic grandfather clock. That was mostly it. Standing, eating, ambling. Well they were certainly not breaking from tradition here at Lucis and Lucis, since right now they were indeed all standing. Little point in ambling about since there was not a blade of grass to be had in the courtyard. But what was striking and unsettling was the manner in which they stood. All twelve okomo were lined up in a perfectly straight line, all facing the same direction, as if a unit of well trained soldiers in some military faction.

Boo cast his gaze at the building in question, wondering what might be contained within that had piqued the okomo's interest. All the buildings looked the same to his untrained eye, at least in terms of what purpose they served. This building could have housed a spa for all he knew. Having come to stand by the okomo, he walked up the line giving each one a quick look, ensuring that no harm had come to the beasts. Despite them acting rather strangely in the moment, he could not see any physical signs of trauma or injury. He even petted a few just to make sure they were responsive. They nudged his hand or paid little heed, both common responses that set his mind at ease. Nothing amiss then. They were just standing there in line and no reason for it presented itself.

It was then that Boo felt a strange yet familiar feeling. It was a hint at first, like when someone thought they had heard a yell or call on a windy day. It was distant and uncertain, but the essence of it was undoubtedly there. The hair on the back of his neck stood to attention, much like the okomo. His heart rate had increased, his senses seeming to grow more alert. There was a tiny pang of uncertainty now as he cast he vision around, sweeping the buildings and spaces between for any sign of anything out of the ordinary. For a moment, he had the strong feeling inside that he wished his Uncle Varin was here. His Uncle who had raised him and trained him as a spiritist.

It made sense why he would want his Uncle there now. That feeling. It was a feeling that only one entity in this world could create. Only one answer to the question he had already asked. He already knew. A lump in his throat now, as he became acutely aware of the situation. He was out in the open, no tools or equipment, completely at risk.

Not a good place to be, in the presence of a ghost.
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Ornea on July 4th, 2016, 11:13 am

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“Goatie, goatie , come, come ... what the ... you clipped cuckoo of a goat, can you stop nibbling at the ... shoo!”

A bunch of okomos were pestering Lucis and Lucis. It was beyond weird, but she was getting accustomed to it. Weird things were happening in Lucis and Lucis these days, weird things indeed.

As Ornea was alone in the workshop building now when Edward had witdrawn to his office, she didn’t waste any unecessary Lhavitian politeness on the flock of bold okomos that had invaded the location and made it impossible to get anything done. The animals were everywhere. They were extremely nosy and seemed to aim to search every inch of the place. Edward Lucis had left, exasperated, saying this settled it. He was going to make reality of the campaign to limit the rights of the okomos he been pondering for a longer period of time. Now was the time! Ornea was under the impression it was best to not disturb the old man. Besides he had told her to drive away the okomos from the workshop. She obeyed order of course. One way or another she would make them leave ...

“Out. Out! I swear I will make Katinus of you all if you don’t leave.”

Lame threath. It wasn’t possible to even think of harming okomos in Lhavit. She didn’t really want to harm them either. The Lhavitian attitudes were slowly seeping into her, and changing her in subtle ways, as the adaption to the new culture progressed. The continuous exposition to Lhavit created a constant silent learning she wasn’t even aware of. The influx of new experiences and information created new memoires and new understanding, that would perhaps eventually lead to new views and new behaviors.

She picked up a broom and tried to herd the goats with it. It was totally without effect.

“Clipped chicken! What do you think you are doing?” Ornea dropped the broom and rushed over to the hotter part of the metalsmithing area, , in order to stop an okomo lamb from stumbling over the hot foundry and make steak of itself. The disgrace such an accident would smear Lucis reputation forever, impossible to wash off. The firm’s name would be tainted by what could be seen as okomo murder by omission.

“Shoooo!”

A human child would have been easy case. Ornea was from the generally abusive and harsh Wind Reach and she had no problems with a little bit of stern teaching. She would just have grabbed the kid and thrown it out, not brutally exactly, but in a way that felt. But she knew it wasn’t possible to treat a little okomo lamb that way, no matter how mischievous it was. Little lambs were little lambs for real here in Lhavit, and they must be handled with great care.

This took patience.

But the inarta’s patience was as short as her people was renowned for. Patience wasn’t her forte.

“Get out of here you clipped stinking goat-beasts!” she screamed when her patience was at the end and rage took over. She was under the impression the okomos were mocking her. This was stupid, she knew it was stupid, but she felt entitled to be stupid due to being so angry.

Anger justifies stupidity, it does! But even as she thought this to herself she knew it wasn’t true, and it was particularly false in Lhavit. The anger and the screaming wouldn’t gain her anything. But, she was alone, which was a good thing, because it meant she could indulge her anger and go on, without risking this to reflect badly on Lucis and Lucis. There was room for being unreasonable, and although she knew it was stupid, she was going to be unreasonable, just because she could.

Ornea unleashed a long and rude rant at the okomo race in general and the specific horned intruders in particular. You don’t want to know what the Inarta said. It was terrible and rude and vengeful and totally off the wall. In Wind Reach it might of course have been alright, if it had been directed to somebody with lower rank than hers, as it was commonplace and seen as totally natural to abuse people with lower rank in Mount Skyinarta. In Lhavit she wouldn’t say things like these in public. Not even to goats. In public, that was. But now when nobody could hear her she lectured the bunch of stubborn goats to her hearts content.

The big okomos with their horns seemed to be able to defend themselves in case she would try to drag them out. But the lamb was small. She wasn’t going to let a small little cute lamb dominate. Ornea decided to use mild physical violence, pick it up, carry it out and dump it on the yard outside. And so she grabbed the okomo lamb and carried it bleating, wriggling and kicking to the door of the workshop, kicked the door open and stumbled out just in time to avoid the horns of a grown up okomo who had come to the lambs rescue.

She put the bleating lamb down in the dust on the yard ... dropped it, more correctly, when she found herself facing a new group of okomo, standing in line and staring right at her. There was another visitor as well, a man she hadn’t seen before. A customer? Whatever would he think?

She looked at him over the lined up okomos. “I’m so, so sorry, but we seem to have an invasion of lovely dear okomos today” she said. “Were you looking to get something crafted? What can I do for you?”
...
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Boo Beckett on July 4th, 2016, 6:41 pm

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Like the okomo, Boo had elected to stand perfectly still now, allowing the sounds and smells of the immediate area to offer what morsels of clues they were generous to give up. The feeling of ghostliness nearby had risen in a crescendo, like some invisible seed planted in the far reaches of his mind. From there it plotted and planned, able to drag itself into some semblance of growth despite the lack of light. No light was really needed, since this was the kind of seed that in fact flourished in the dark, twisting and forming into some unnatural and horrific form, spreading and expanding in secrecy. Slowly it crept, enveloping wider reaches within his mind, until no more was it a secret, but rather the hint or suggestion of something coming over the horizon. Further it spread, no more a hint but now a distinct feeling of foreboding. That too continued in its growth, lacing itself in terror and fear, until what had once started as an unknown seedling in the dark, was now a brutish force threatening to crush him with its very existence.

Ghost sense was a strange thing, since it was not something that Varin had taught him per se. Rather, it was an attribute that spiritists picked up while learning other aspects of their work. A side effect in essence. He could not quite put his finger on when he had officially acquired the skill. Instead it was more a case that it had developed gradually with each ghostly encounter. In fact, even non-spiritists had the gift to some extent, though they never realized it. For most, it was simply that feeling of hairs on the back of the neck. Little did they know that this was not merely an old wife's tale. It was indeed a natural reaction to the presence of a spirit. For others it might have been goosebumps on the arm, or perhaps the sensation of an unexplained cold breeze, momentary as it was. Whichever, they all eluded to the same thing.

The only difference now was that Boo was attuned to it, able to recognize it for what it was and, to some degree, utilize it to narrow down the location of the ghost in question. Of course ghosts were not always static, meaning that the feeling could be fleeting assuming the spirit was on the move. But if that spirit was rooted to one spot, perhaps caught in a maelstrom of reflection and torment, it was possible to focus in on it to some degree. Not an exact science of course. Spiritism by its very nature had little rooted in the natural world. As such, any spiritist worth her salt would tell you, "Tread lightly. Anything could happen."

Trying to channel his mind's eye, Boo relaxed his thoughts and let the unnatural feelings flow within. Given free reign, there was an almost overwhelming feeling of dread. But he knew that it was just that, a feeling, and that he was perfectly safe. Well, safe so long as the ghost in question did not suddenly try to invade him, or hurl something his way. In any case, while every ghost he had ever met always invoked the initial feeling of dread, they were not always malevolent. It was just an unfortunate side effect on their part that they all announced themselves with that same feeling. Boo had wondered before, that it would have made things rather different if kinder ghosts could spark more cheerful feelings in people around them. Perhaps their kind would have had an easier time finding the conclusions they sought in the afterlife. Perhaps. But he was being naive of course. Ghosts were born from injustice and travesty. They were the product of betrayal, the victims of ill deeds. There simply was no such thing as a happy ghost.

Boo was starting to feel as though his thoughts were being pulled in one particular direction. In front of him for sure, which had additionally unsettling connotations due to the fact that the line of okomo was also facing that way. But while he had narrowed it down to in front, that still covered a wide area, not to mention the fact that there was a great big workshop in his way. Was the ghost lurking inside? Or perhaps it had chosen to settle even beyond that?

Just then there was a loud boom, the doors of the workshop bursting open as a red headed woman came stomping out. She unceremoniously dumped a fledgling okomo on the ground, a look of fiery steel on her face as though someone had just fashioned it from the anvils within. But no sooner had she spotted Boo - who was doing his best to hide the fact his heart had just jumped from its chest - that her expression softened somewhat. She had mistaken him for a customer it seemed, as though the presence of the okomo was a nothing more than a minor infraction. Furthermore, her words were diplomatic, including the expected reverence towards the goat-beasts from all self respecting Lhavitians.

"Can you craft a large stick so I can beat these wretched animals back to the Sharai?" Apparently there was one in Lhavit who had left his reverence at home. Still, there was a hint of humor in his voice, punctuated by the fact that he gave the nearest okomo a welcome scratch behind the ears, like an owner of a naughty dog who could not stay made at it for long. He handled them with an air of experience, perhaps that reverence showing through after all. As an okomo handler, he had learned first hand of their grace and beauty, and took to his work with the dedication and work ethic it demanded. That said, he still felt well within his right to be annoyed at them right now. After all, he still had to get the unruly mob back across three peaks. If he did not know the intelligent beasts better, he would say they were rather enjoying the fact their human handler was more than a little agitated by the whole affair.

"I'm from the Okomo Villa. I had the misfortune to be sent here to bring this crowd home. I apologize if they have caused any trouble...or damage for that matter. Actually it's quite the mystery why so many decided to gather here, of all places. Twelve of them, in a perfect line. I've never seen the like. Well, thirteen now I suppose. Wait, this is all of them right?"
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Ornea on July 6th, 2016, 12:36 pm

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Wretched animals? For a moment Ornea went speechless. Ivak! Had this man overheard her rant in the workshop? Was this his way of telling her to not feel too safe? This was her first thought when he started to answer. The tone of his voice and the friendly way he looked at the okomos made it clear that he for one didn’t find them wretched at all. Mortified, she could feel her face go a little bit warmer as a blush of embarrassment added to the already high color it had gained from the heat in the workshop and her anger alike.

Her straightforward Inarta wish to tell him she could for sure make a big stick and help with the beatings clashed with her budding Lhavitian civility. This prevented her from interrupting the man. She heard him out ...

While she listened she gave him a once over. She felt entitled to stare intrusively, because he was scratching goats behind their ears and revealed that he had been sent to herd them back to Sharai Peak. Ornea concluded this must mean he was a the equivalent of an chiet, in terms of the Inarta caste system. Ornea had left Wind Reach, but Wind Reach hadn’t left her. A lifetime of judging people by caste had made it an automatized process to instantly categorize every new person she met, mostly based on what they were working with and their social position.

The man had dark brown hair, not so long, a bit wavy, arched brows over dark eyes that seemed to be dark, although she wasn't able to see the exact color due to the distance. He was also fairly tall, she noticed. This was the kind of observation that always made the short Inarta straighten op as much as she could. She had been average height for a woman in Mount Skyinarta. Here she was comparatively small. People were taller in Lhavit, and she had become accustomed to having to look up at them, but she still found it somewhat inconvenient.

“It’s good to see that Okomo Villa isn’t totally neglecting their responsibilities” she said. “Well. The okomos have certainly caused troubles. They have invaded our workshop. It’s impossible to work and it’s dangerous for them too. I had to drag that little one away from the furnace. We had troubles enough as it was, without this invasion adding to the mess. I hope you are able to make them leave, and if you are lucky ... “

The thirteenth okomo moved in front of the line of twelve with a resolute jump.

Like a commander in front of it's troops, it took one step towards the door of the workshop. The line of twelve followed as one okomo, all of them lowering their heads and moving one step forward.

Ornea’s voice faded at the uncanny sight and she left the sentence hanging in the air. She had never felt scared of okomo before, but in this moment she could suddenly feel a chill run up her spine and she got goosebumps on her arms.

The okomos didn’t use to behave this way. It had never occurred to her that they might attack her; not until now. Ivak! Maybe this was their reaction to the insults she had given the animals in the workshop, or to how she had treated the okomo lamb ... what if the militant looking okomos outside had heard and understood her every word and now ... all this seemed totally unbelievable, but she had no other explanation for the sting of fear.

“Keep your clipped beasts under control” she said to the man, her voice tense.

A plan formed in her mind as fast as a wind eagle strikes it’s prey. Back off, rush in, shut the door closed before they have time to understand what’s happening ...

But even as she took a first slow and careful step back in the hopes of it not drawing attention, she could see that it wouldn’t work.

The okomo were slowly advancing.
...
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Boo Beckett on July 6th, 2016, 11:12 pm

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"It’s good to see that Okomo Villa isn’t totally neglecting their responsibilities," the redhead said in what sounded to Boo like an accusatory tone. He could understand the woman was angry. After all, under what circumstances would it ever be considered a good thing to have a herd of okomo come barging in and snooping around? Still, he found himself a little defensive from her words, since it was hardly his fault. He was just the poor schmuck who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time to get stuck with this assignment.

The woman carried on talking at him, though now he was only half listening to her. There was little he could do on his own until the others showed up, so instead he realized he was going to be stuck here for a while listening to her complaints. Instead he doubled his efforts in petting the beasts, if only for his own peace of mind, since he thought that it might at least keep them calm and sedate and out of any further trouble.

Just then the little lamb leaped forwards to take its place at the head of the line, standing before the adults like a commander. The move was enough to draw silence from Ornea, clearly dumbfounded at this unnatural turn of events. Boo was no less stunned, looking on in wild disbelief as the full line of okomo took a solitary step forwards. He stepped back himself, so as not to get trodden on, not to mention that in that moment, he wanted to be somewhere far away from here and not having to deal with bewitched okomo.

"Okay, that's not normal," he conceded, the sound of worry clear in his voice. He had said it out loud rather than to anyone in particular, but it was clear for anyone who heard that the man was clearly uncomfortable. That it happened to be the man usually responsible for and knowledgeable about the okomo, only further added to the bad vibes of the situation. After all, he might have turned round and said how this was completely normal for their behavior, which might have set Ornea's mind at ease. But no, even the okomo handler was clearly rattled.

"Keep your clipped beasts under control," Ornea barked. Boo flashed her an incredulous look, like she had somehow come to blame him for all this and that he was behind their unusual behavior. Despite his own feelings of doubt, he took a step forward with his hands outstretched, a not so confident attempt to herd the beasts back. But forwards again they went, apparently paying no heed to the man before them. His only option was to dart back again, or face being trampled. Just then, he felt it again. That ice cold hand running its fingers up his spine, the chill making him shudder and the hairs of his neck rising like fallen trees in reverse.

Detectable signs of ghost activity, strange behavior demonstrated by okomo. Correlation between the two likely. In other words Boo, I think it's safe to assume that this is about to turn into a real shyke day.

Without hesitation, he picked up his step to clear the line of okomo, moving to the workshop entrance where Ornea stood. The line had started to curve, forming a crescent around them and the doorway so that there was no escape. Only the door behind them offered salvation. But then of course, that was also the doorway into the workshop, the building where there was most likely a spirit in waiting. At this point there was no telling whether it was intent on ill deeds, or some other despicable motive. But the alternative was just as grim, to be trampled by a herd of possessed acting okomo.

A decision had to be made. Boo spun about, pulled open the heavy door to the workshop, before grabbing Ornea forcefully by the arm. This was no time for gentlemanly conduct, instead Boo attempting to thrust the woman through the door ahead of him, before following close behind. Once in, assuming she had not withstood his efforts, Boo had slammed shut the door behind him, sagging back against it like he was going to slide down onto his rear. His breathing was heavy, his eyes darting around as though looking for something. Sure enough, as Ornea turned round to see what Boo was looking at, there was of course the small matter of other guests in the building. She had even told Boo a few minutes ago how there were okomo inside.

Here they came, taking up their places in a line, slowly moving towards them, much in the same fashion as those outside. You have got to be kidding me, Boo thought to himself, more than a little anxious at how things were playing out. As the okomo advanced, their options narrowed. There were but a few more moments before they would once again be encircled. "Well if you got any tricks up your sleeve, now would be a great time to share them."
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Ornea on July 10th, 2016, 8:39 am

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Ornea didn’t resist when the man grabbed her, pushed her with him into the workshop and slammed shut the door behind them. Resolute action was the Inarta’s favored approach to most situations. She appreciated his ability to decide quickly and deal with troubles without delay. Sure, the abrupt way Ornea was sent stumbling in made it necessary to perform an unexpected acrobatic maneuver in order to keep her balance, but she didn’t complain as she bumped into a crate, nearly fell, stayed on her feet by making a small jump, then bounce back and spin around.

“That was ... in the nick of time! ” she exclaimed. “It looked like they were going to attack! I have never ..."

But even as she spoke, she saw the man sag back against the door, looking like he was going to slide down to the floor any tick. He didn’t seem like man who had successfully made a narrow escape. She noticed his heavy breathing and the way his eyes darting around made it clear that there was ... something behind her!

As Ornea turned around she found herself facing a brand new line of okomos, moving towards them slowly. There was something really unsettling about the perfect coordination of their steps and the relentless way they continued forward. She had never before seen okomo move this controlled way before. They used to move around in a whimsical way, following their impulses, going for the next patch of grass that caught their eye or to the next object that piqued their curiosity. Much as she found them annoying sometimes, she had always found them basically kind and playful animals.

This was something else. It was uncanny. The thought struck her that this was like seeing a pack of zith move together, dressed up in okomo costumes, slowly closing in on their prey. A chill went up her spine again, despite the heat in the workshop. She had been feeding the fire for bells. By now the furnace was hot enough to melt the iron bars she had intended to fetch from Lucis underground stores in the mountain, when she had been interrupted by the goat invasion.

She would maybe have turned to the animal handler from Okomo Villa if she hadn’t already seen his reaction to what was happening. It was easy to interpret it now; fear. Putting his reaction and the animals’s new behavior together she jumped to conclusions and summed it up to the okomos having gone crazy for reasons unknown. They were crazy and they had turned into ...

The Evil Okomos ? The mere thought was disturbing. There just was no such thing as evil okomos, was there? The okomos were nice, weren’t they? The Lhavitians even considered them a kind of guardians of the city. The revered goats were the epitome of goodness. The kind okomos and wickedness was an incompatible, incomprehensible combination. She wasn't able to make sense of what was happening.

But when she saw the line of okomos in front of her start to lower their heads and show her their horns, just like the okomos outside had done, she found it hard to trust that their intentions were good. As in confirmation, she heard a loud bang behind her and spun around again. The explanation to the sound came immediately. The door shook visibly when something slammed into it from outside with a new bang. Ivak! The goats outside hadn’t given up! They were trying to butt in the door!

Right. The okomos had maybe not turned evil (she hoped) but they had evidently turned militant. The workshop at Lucis was under siege and the battering rams were at work from outside, while the infiltrators inside advanced. It was a question of chimes before the door would break and Ornea and one animal handler from Okomo Villa would be trapped between the two lines of okomo.

This surreal situation would have been scary enough if Ornea had been sure it was real. But she wasn’t, because everything was now so weird that it could as well be one of the trips her old overgiving injuries could send her on. Last time this had happened had been in Wind Reach when she had shot at that zith that was still there in her memory, although she had been told that it had just been her own delusions ... once she woke up from her reactions and could be told. She knew there was a possibility that she was being tricked by her own mind again, but this possibility scared her too.

But what if it was real. She couldn’t just stand there, in case the whole impossible mess really was real she had to do something to get out of it. As she was not aroused to the high stress levels of people who are being attacked, her heart pumped out blood and energy to her muscles at high pace, maximize her strength and prepared her for flight or fight. Her awareness changed and although she would now think and act rapidly, to her it seemed like slow motion.

For a tick she considered the possibility that the okomo handler might be able to speak with the animals and keep them at bay. But as he had already fled from the first line of okomos and now seemed so scared of the second line, she dismissed the idea of asking him to keep the goats under control. If he was able to do something he'd have to do it on his own accord.

There was no time to speak ! Without a word she grabbed the tall animal handler's arm, put in all the strenght she had, and tried to yank him away from the door and pull him with her, in order to dash towards the door to the underground storage rooms of Lucis. That door was one of the entrances to the little-known part of the city where only the infrastructure maintenance people like Ornea ever went. Beneath the surface of Lhavit were ducts, with water pipes running inside the peaks and also inside the bridges between, under the walkways.

Assuming the man would understand his own best and come with her they would rush over the furnace area towards that door, where Ornea would pull out a big and heavy brass key hidden in a nice in the wall, and start to fumble with it desperately ...
...
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Boo Beckett on July 10th, 2016, 10:26 pm

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Although Boo had only stood sagged against the door for a few moments, it had afforded him the chance to process what seemed like a hundred thoughts at once. Most of them involved him becoming a new option on a Lhavitian tavern menu, his body being served skewed on an okomo horn. Their slow progression towards the door was unsettling to say the least, each of the beasts moving a left hoof forwards, then a right, all in perfect unison. So too did their heads dip all in perfect synchronization, as though it had been but a solitary okomo and a series of cleverly placed mirrors.

In his mind, it was still unfathomable that okomo could want to hurt anyone or anything. He was not an expert by any means, having only worked with them since the beginning of last season; but at no point during his training was there talk of violence or aggression shown by the oversized goats. Their way was a peaceful and calm one. There was not much call for fighting when daily duties involved grazing and shyking. Even so, there was little to persuade him right now that his life was not in peril. No doubt those horns would penetrate a human's flesh without much bother. He had to think of something and quick, or it was Boo kebab before long.

Thankfully Ornea had taken a turn to be first to react. Much in the same way as he had herded her through the door, now the redheaded metalworker had grabbed his arm, pulling him into action before they were completely surrounded. Most of the crescent line of okomo was complete, but a few of them were still spaced out due to this not being open ground like outside. Thus there were gaps in the line to make an escape, at least for those who were agile enough to avoid tripping on any equipment or tools that were in the way. Ornea proved the more adept at traversing the workshop. No doubt she knew it like the back of her hand, able to pin point the location of any and every tool.

Boo was not so fortunate. Half looking over his shoulder as they darted between a pair of oncoming okomo, he had failed to note a small, narrow crate on the ground, within which a selection of hand tools could be found. Ornea nimbly stepped over as she rushed past, but Boo managed to catch it with his foot, sending him sprawling to the ground with an ungraceful thud, while the clatter of metal on stone rang in the air as tools were spilled to the ground. It took him a moment to drag himself to his feet, feeling a little dazed by the ordeal. To his horror, another okomo had stepped into view, effectively cutting him off from Ornea and the sanctuary of that second door she had now reached.

No doubt she had heard the crashing of tools, but instead Ornea was determined to retrieve the key that would offer them their freedom. The okomo was advancing now, while to Boo's rear was the main line. To his left and right was no clear path through the workshop. This is it, he resigned himself to believe, finding his options had narrowed until there were none left. For no apparent reason, he looked up as if a solution might be perched in the rafters of the workshop. The rafters, he cried internally, his heart beating so hard that he wondered if it might be the drumbeat that the okomo were marching to.

There were other boxes and crates dotted about the immediate area, upon which Boo pounced in order to achieve higher ground. He scrambled up onto the first, a wooden box with the lid still sealed. Standing up on that, he then examined the beams above him. It was only a few inches out of reach with his hands raised, but he knew he could grab onto the beam with just a jump. Well here goes, he thought only half confident. Up he went, his hands grabbing onto the beam and leaving him hanging there like a giant upright bat. The okomo that had been advancing on him pushed into the crate, the wooden container proving to be a useless obstacle to stop the large beast.

Boo's arms were burning from the effort of hanging there. He was a relatively large man after all. He knew he would not last long like that. He had to pull himself up or risk falling to his doom where the okomo would get him. First he tried to swing his legs up, to grab onto the beam with his feet. That would have done much to distribute his weight somewhat. But the beam was thick and he could not quite seem to get his feet around it. After a few attempts, his arms were on fire now. Suddenly he felt his foot achieve solid footing. Looking down, he noticed with a gasp that he had one foot standing on the okomo's head. No doubt it was about to thrust its horn up and impale his foot. In an instance he pushed up off the beast's head, giving him the necessary trajectory and speed to master the beam. He pulled himself up into the rafters, daring to take a moment to catch his breath safe in the knowledge that no okomo were up here with him.

Looking down at the situation, he was pleased to see that Ornea had come to no harm. Having darted past the goats and to the door, it seemed that the redhead had attracted no further attention. Instead the okomo were still heading towards the main door from where they had entered. That's strange, Boo thought looking down. The okomo below that had inadvertently given him a boost was no longer interested in him. Instead it simply continued forwards to rejoin the line that had reached the door. He started to wonder again what was happening here. There actions were unnatural and strange. Sure, moments ago they had looked like they were going to skewer him, but now he was not so sure that their movements were entirely evil.

He decided not to sit there and ponder for too long though. Instead he carefully used the rafters and beams to work his way towards Ornea. As she fiddled with the door, he sat down on the beam just above her, turning himself around and lowering down slowly, so that he was hanging by his hands again. Just as the door clicked open and Ornea turned around, he let himself drop to the ground in front of her, no doubt causing more than a little surprise. Dusting his hands as he straightened up, he gave the woman an innocent look, as if to say he had been right behind her the whole time.

"What?" he asked, the sides of his mouth ever so slightly turning to a subtle grin, apparently more than a little pleased with himself.
Last edited by Boo Beckett on August 7th, 2016, 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Ornea on July 15th, 2016, 9:06 am

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The door clicked open. Still in the state of high stress and flight reaction, Ornea was narrowly focused on getting into the assumed safety of the tunnel behind. This goal dominated her totally and blocked out all other thoughts. With the door knob in a firm grip in her left hand, the key still in the right, she spun around to see if the man was there, at same time pulling the door open.

The man wasn’t there! He had disappeared ! But a fraction of a tick after she had noticed this, he suddenly dropped down in front of her, like thrown there out of nowhere.

In her already exited state her reactions to all kinds of sensory input was swift, intense and rash. Everything was amplified to levels that made it hard to immediately discern and judge it. Each new stressor would send her one step further out on the path her brain was taking a shortcut to decide on, totally bypassing reason and common sense.

A sound seemed to explode in the air around them as the man landed on the floor. At first the impact of was immense, and she reacted like fireworks had gone off in her face. She screamed like crazy and dropped the big brass key. It hit the floor in front of the man, and the sound of metal on stone rang in her heightened hearing.

All this happened very fast, but to Ornea, in her heightened mental state, everything still seemed to happen in slow motion. After what seemed like a long time to her, a word emerged when the first shock started to fade :

“What ?” the man said.

Ornea didn’t panic. She was just in the terribly effective state of a person who has her adrenaline up to the top of her head. Her system was set on survival. Thought and action had become one. When the word reached her it immediately primed the caste patterns ingrained in her from childhood. She didn’t even think of it consciously, it was just natural to her that the chiet turned to her to get his orders, and that she as avora was expected to lead. Normally she would have questioned this conclusion as she knew the castes of Wind Reach didn’t exist in Lhavit. But now she didn’t. She just took it for granted she was in charge and the chiet would do her bidding.

The key !

She bent down, picked it up and rose again in one flowing movement, a movement that continued seamlessly into grabbing the mans’s arm again and simultaneously taking a step backwards, trying to pull him with her through the door. She felt no need to waste time on finding out exactly where the okomos were and what they were doing. Nor did she waste time on speaking. It was escape into the underground premises, together or alone. Not a tick to lose !

If Boo would follow, she would slam the door shot behind them and before they knew they would find themselves in complete darkness, Ornea fumbling with the big brass key again ... Otherwise she would need to quickly change her tactics and adapt to whichever way the situation would unfold.
...
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Boo Beckett on July 29th, 2016, 2:19 am

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Boo had flashed a momentary grin, like a stupid idiot given the circumstances, before he was literally yanked through a new door by the feisty redheaded inarta. Under very different circumstances, he doubted there would have been much complaint. Who wouldn't want to be dragged into a darkened room by an exotic beauty? But with the militant okomo and unmistakable feelings of ghostliness in the vicinity, this was no time for playing around.

The heavy door slammed shut behind him with a resounding thud, which seemed to hang in the air for a few moments before silence descended upon them. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, daring only to take short, sharp breaths as he remained perfectly still. The silence peeled back somewhat, allowing him to hear the breathing of Ornea, the woman sounding just as on edge as he was. But perhaps most unsettling of all was the complete and solid darkness that engulfed them. A few more moments passed, before Boo was first to break the silence.

"Sure would be nice if we could SEE, don't you think?" Rhetorical with a hint of sarcasm, was perhaps a combination that would only serve to exasperate the situation. Boo might have kicked himself mentally for the lack of civility on his part. But then he had just been tossed into blackness only moments before. Perhaps the inarta would be forgiving on this occasion. In any case, he was quite decided that sarcastic quips were pointless from here on in, even if they were born of his frustrations at this increasingly bizarre day.

As the moments ticked on, it seemed apparent that darkness was unmerciful on this occasion. Usually at night or in dark rooms, objects and angles would gradually fade into view. Just a mere shadow of their existence, more like a suggestion than anything. But enough that someone could feel their way around without too much fear of walking face first into something. But here in this room at the back of the workshop, that had no windows to speak of, it remained brutally black. Perhaps Ornea's plan was merely to wait out the okomo, or until as such time as the rest of the okomo handlers came riding in to the rescue. Maybe once they opened the door, this would all turn out to be some crazy practical joke, or better still a strange dream brought on by exhaustion from working too hard. Working too hard my left foot! Okomo handling is as easy as it gets, Boo mused to himself. Well, until today at least!

"Commonsense dictates there may be a lamp or something close to the door. I'm going to feel around and see....oh...goodness. I'm so sorry! Boo was mortified, his searching hands having grabbed something firm and fleshy, before he instantly coiled away like a snake. He did not want to even guess what he had found, glad for now of the darkness that masked the redness in his face.
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Okomo City Tours (Ornea)

Postby Ornea on August 6th, 2016, 10:34 am

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Ornea had already been riled up by the situation. So when the okomo handler started to grab around at random in the dark and found “something firm and fleshy” her fuse was short. She could hardly believe it was true! Here, now, when the two of them had been forced to hide in a storage room in order to escape the small army of militant okomos, the man had the nerve to take the opportunity ...

Unbelievable! Boo’s apology went unheard when the Inarta behavior ingrained in her by inheritance and upbringing alike kicked in automatically and guided her actions. She didn’t think; she just did what an Inarta normally does when somebody who’s not of higher caste than themselves tries something. She for one did for sure not coil away like a snake, because Inarta don’t coil away like snakes from a confrontation, they attack like an eagle.

When Boo withdrew, she followed of course.

“Clipped Cuckoo! I will teach you to grab ...”

And so she grabbed something in the dark too, not caring that this was most probably considered bad behavior in Lhavit. As she was trying to adapt to the Lhavitian culture she might have tried to rein herself in if there had been an audience. But here, now, in the darkness when not even her only company could see what she did there was nothing that held her back from giving in to good straightforward Inarta behavior.

Having made her point, she hoped, she took it for granted she had intimidated the okomo handler and made him shape up. When she started to search for the lantern she knew was on the shelf on the right side of the door, she had already dismissed the intermezzo. As it was so commonplace in Wind Reach to have those little intermezzos, sometimes much more violent than this brief lesson, she was accustomed to just clash and then shrug it off as “cuckoo happens” and go on with what she was doing.

So when she spoke again it was in a matter of fact tone like nothing had happened: “I know where the lantern is, just wait a little bit.”

She ran her hand along the shelf, found the oil lantern and a tinderbox. Edward Lucis had crafted it as an experiment, and it consisted mostly of randomely shaped small glass panes mounted in a spindly metal frame adapted to the panes. The whole lantern was a fragile piece of artwork , with a thin metal axis the length of her lower arm, the top of it a handle. It was far too delicate for the workshop, as it could easily break and get useless if not handled with care. But it was also far too skewed and weird for Edward to want it in his home. “Abstract” he had called it. It was definitely not a homely lantern. Ornea used the tinderbox to light it. The many small glass panes made it look like the light was flickering over walls and shelves as the Inarta turned around.

“Now we can see” she announced. “The question is what we should do.”

They were in a typical storage room. It was quite big and the walls were lined with shelves where an assortment of materials and equipment rested, together with various experiment results that were waiting to be picked up later someday, or for recycling. Right where they stood there were mostly metal bars on the shelves. On the inner wall opposite to the workshop door there was another door, sturdy and reinforced with metal pieces, the frame fitted into a zone on the wall that looked like uneven raw stone. To the left there was a plain average door neatly set in a straight masonry wall.

To the right the storage room continued beyond the reach of the lantern's light. That inner section mostly contained the remains of old experiements Edward had kept for reasons unknown. Ornea hadn’t had reason to bother with it and silently thought of it as “The Gadget Dump”. At the times she had been forced to search it for some spare part Edward had asked for she had also thought of it as “The Gadget Cemetery”. This was due to some odd constructs that actually looked uncannily humanoid. When she had asked about them Edward has dismissed it as “old junk” and told her to not think of it anymore. She had obeyed orders of course and not thought more of it.

And she didn’t think of it now either. She was busy thinking of the okomos outside and what they could do to stop the invasion of goats from taking over Lucis and Lucis. She put the fragile lantern down very carefully on the floor, bent a bit and peeked through the keyhole. The situation outside didn’t seem to have changed much, as far as she was able to see.

“They are still there “she said tensely while she watched. “I’m wondering why okomos are behaving this way. What’s with them? You are the okomo handler ... what’s your name by the way, it's clipped impractical to not know your name ... I’m the metalsmith here, Ornea. So! How to deal with the okomos? You who know the ways of the goats, do you have any ideas? What should we do?”
...
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