Solo Relearning The Ropes

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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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Relearning The Ropes

Postby Colt on November 3rd, 2016, 8:49 pm

Image10th of fall, 516 a.v.
early morning

“The weather’s nicer today than I would have thought. I’ve been told that Lhavit falls and winters are harsher than those down south, but I’ve never had the chance to judge for myself. Lhavitian my whole life, y’know?”

Colt looked carefully over the okomo’s saddle, trying to remember if it was different from a horse’s saddle or not. It was certainly not an yvas, but an yvas wasn’t exactly a saddle, either; what was before him certainly had the basic shape of a saddle, although it was a bit narrower than he was used to.

“You’re from down south, aren’t you? You’ve that look about you. Darker skin, sort of, but more like you’ve spent a lot of time under the sun. I’ve noticed that people from warmer places are like that. Except the Vantha have darker skin of a sort, and they spend their lives in ice.”

The okomo Colt was examining looked at him curiously. The giant antelopes of Lhavit seemed to have some sort of intelligence that surpassed mere animals; the look in their eyes was not unlike that of striders, although their behavior was not at all like striders. Okomos didn’t seem to have the same bonds that––

––Colt clenched his teeth and took a breath. Thoughts of thundering hooves and black horsehair were forcibly silenced; he couldn’t afford to deal with those. Not while he was in company.

As if sensing his distress, the okomo nuzzled his hand gently. Friendship. Short, simple, calming, and Colt suddenly realized that worrying over the saddle was pointless. He knew how to ride, but more importantly, the okomo knew how to be ridden. He would be alright.

“There are a few Vanthas in the city, and they’re usually a bit tan. Not like the Inarta; those birds are as pale as they come. And they don’t always tan in the sun; they’ll freckle. You know, little spots? We get a lot of different sorts here in Lhavit. All over Mizahar, people come to see us. I mean, you made your way here, didn’t you?”

Colt hoisted himself into the saddle with practiced smoothness, ignoring the stirrup entirely and settling into the seat. The okomo shifted under him, tossing its head with a soft whuff, but didn’t fuss. The Witch picked up the reins, doing his best to remember how they worked. He had used them once a very long time ago, but they were something he was not at all used to.

Snow, spurred by the sight of her partner in a saddle––any saddle––perked up from where she had been lying patiently against a rock. She knew that they would be moving any moment.

Experimentally, Colt tugged on one rein. Sensing that he was merely testing and not quite ready to actually go anywhere, the okomo allowed its head to be turned. He tested the other rein, and the okomo turned the other way. He hesitantly squeezed his legs around the creature’s sides, and the okomo took three slow steps before going still.

“Come on then, where are you from? There’s some talk at the Jugged Hare, but it’s all just talk. They say you came here with Svefra sailing north, but the only things down south are Dhani and Myrians. You don’t look like either. Sure, you’re big enough to be Myrian, but you don’t have that look about you, like you want to kill everything that moves. Where are you actually from?”

Confident in his ability to ride, Colt turned to his companion––already on his own okomo––and pointed down to mountain.

“We go,” Colt said. “Time now. No stay here.”

Larry Vertessa gawked for a moment, as if stunned that Colt was actually capable of speaking, then grinned and nodded.

“Good to know you actually can talk Common. Thought I’d have to teach you the whole language myself, with how much you use it. Ready to move, then?”

Colt merely nodded, signalled for Snow to follow and then the lot of them set off down the mountain.
Last edited by Colt on December 26th, 2016, 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Relearning The Ropes

Postby Colt on November 8th, 2016, 4:13 pm

Riding an okomo wasn’t quite as different as he had expected. The reins were new and he didn’t even bother putting his feet in the stirrups, but the basic principles were the same as they were for horses. He squeezed to make the creature go forward and he leaned one way or another to change direction, but both of those were hardly necessary––the okomo already knew exactly where it was going, and it didn’t need a great deal of encouragement to move.

Larry continued to chat away happily as they made their descent, Snow roving cautiously ahead to keep watch for danger. Larry was another hunter at the Jugged Hare who seemed to prefer joint hunts to solo ones, and had offered to team up with the Witch and provide native advice. Colt had agreed, knowing that he would need the help of those who knew the ins and outs of the city, but he hadn’t expected just how talkative the man would be. He didn’t understand half of the words Larry said, and he was fairly sure that Larry knew it, but it didn’t seem to make a difference––Larry continued to chatter on about this or that, in that monologuing way that meant Colt didn’t really even need to pay attention.

And as far as background noise went, Larry’s voice wasn’t the worst thing around. So Colt left him to his own devices and focused on staying atop the okomo. On four legs instead of two, the mountain descent took much less time than it normally did. Colt resolved to ride down more often.

They had started out just after sunrise, but it was still a few hours before they made it to the bottom. There was a small shack just outside the port where Colt and Larry left the okomos in the capable care of a handler, who would see that they made it back to where they belonged. Back on their own two feet, the pair of hunters gathered up their belonging and set off towards the Amaranthine.

Larry continued to talk, and Colt continued to focus on what was in front of him. He knew precisely where he wanted to go, and Larry didn’t even break his sentence when the Drykas took the lead up the gorge; he followed as if that had been their plan all along.

Colt found the river and followed it upstream a ways, noting odd trees or rocks as landmarks to gauge time and distance; when the pines closed above them, it was the shadows that provided information about the time of day---and they would only last until the shadows of the mountains swallowed up the entire valley.

The riverbank rose sharply upward, and the murmuring river turned into a thundering waterfall. The climb ahead of them would be steep to reach the rest of the river, and so Colt stopped in his tracks, turned to Larry and said, “Here.”

Larry stopped talking, tilted his head, then nodded. “Good as any place, eh?”

Colt moved a bit deeper into the trees themselves so that they could take advantage of softer ground, but it was here that Larry decided to talk with him instead of at him.

“A little more this way,” Larry said, becoming suddenly slow, deliberate and much more understandable with his words. “That’s too close to that low tree, see there? Right here, we’re under a break in the trees. If we make fire, the heat will rise into the open air that way.”

His slowness, gestures and tone of voice were much more communicative than they had been previously, and Colt was able to understand his meaning, even if he didn’t understand the words. Don’t make fires directly under trees. Fair enough.

Colt knelt where Larry had gestured and began to clear away the needles and leaves. He didn’t know how flammable they all were, but it was better to be sure; he dug into the earth itself to make a shallow depression, then considered finding rocks to line the border with. Larry set his backpack down against the trunk of a tree, talking fast again in a way that sounded like complaining just as Colt decided to be satisfied with his makeshift hearth.

“I’ll get firewood,” said Larry.

“Firewood,” repeated Colt. “Fire. Wood.”

Larry looked back. “Yes. Firewood.” He walked over to the depression and stretched out his hands, as if warming them by a fire.

“Fire,” Colt said.

Larry nodded. “Yes.” He looked around, then picked up a few stray twigs and threw them into the shallow pit. “Wood,” he said, pointing.

Colt hmmed, then stood and walked over to a tree. He rapped his knuckles against the bark. “Wood?”

Larry bobbed his head excitedly. “Yes, exactly. Wood,” he pointed at the tree, “wood,” he pointed at the twigs in the fireplace, “wood,” he pointed at a fallen sapling nearby.

“Firewood… is wood, you I give fire? Fire… eat wood?”

“Fire burns wood,” Larry answered. “You’re looking for the word ‘burn.’ Fire… burns… wood.”

Colt nodded. “Yes. Fire burns, no eat. Eat is… food, you I eat food.”

Larry grinned. “Just wait til I tell the others I got you talking. I’ve said a lot of things in my time, but that’s the one they won’t believe.”

“Talk, later. Now, you I take firewood, for fire burn.”
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Relearning The Ropes

Postby Colt on November 20th, 2016, 6:25 pm

Going their separate ways, Colt and Larry were quite able to gather enough wood for a fire. Wood, at least, seemed to be the same in the mountains as in the Sea of Grass, if somewhat more abundant. Snow even managed to catch a large ground squirrel, which Colt thanked her for and brought back to the camp to serve as dinner.

“Ah!” Larry said when he spotted the Witch. “And you brought something to eat. Wonderful; I don’t much care for rations anyway.” It was another one of those voices that didn’t demand a response, so Colt was silent.

The Drykas dropped his gathered wood onto Larry’s pile and sat down at the edge of the firepit. Larry was already in the process of building a fire they could use, so Colt focused his energy on the squirrel.

“Here,” Larry chirped, tossing over a knife. “A knife might make things easier.”

“A… knife?” Colt pointed at it to be sure. “This, knife? That fire, that wood, this knife?”

A nod. “Yep, that’s a knife. You really don’t know this language, do you?”

“Language?”

“Words. Uh, all the words.”

Colt shook his head and made a slit from the squirrel’s throat to the base of its tail. “No. Only few words.”

“Alright. How about… that?” Larry pointed to Snow.

“My Snow?”

“Dog. That’s a dog.” Larry pretended to bark. “You know. Dog.”

“Dog. My Snow is… a… dog. Snow is my dog.”

“Exactly."

Colt made slits up each of the squirrel’s legs. “This is… your knife. You give me your knife for this…”

“Gave. I gave you the knife, because it’s in the past. If I give you a knife, it’s what I am doing right now. Give is right now, gave it not right now.”

“This is your knife. You gave me your knife for this…”

“Squirrel.”

“You gave me your knife for this squirrel.” Colt began to peel off the skin as he said it, exposing the smooth pink muscle beneath.

“That’s right. If we’re eating that, I suppose I should go get some water.” Larry stood and picked up his small iron pot. Then, very slowly, “I am going to go get water for us. Cooking.”

Colt blinked at him. “Alright.”

Larry grinned. “I knew you were a quick one.”
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