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Karyk (and others) leave Zeltiva

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Karyk on April 19th, 2017, 8:35 pm

Timestamp: Spring 41, 517

Syna was just beginning to rise from Laviku's depths in the west, and Karyk was at the small paddock just within the Pass, Lorfolt smiling from his spot on the carriage. The two of them had finalized the deal at midday the previous day. The man in the crazy hat hopped down, and Karyk handed him the key to his home. The man pat his two oxen on the rump, "I decided you were right, and I'll be keeping Nephela and Remus. So you just get these two and the cart. Too many animals would be quite hectic for someone so inexperienced."

Karyk nodded, having confessed his concerns over a savory mug of kelp beer the day before, was relieved. He wondered how many people would show up. He'd met a merchant who had a few carts that was heading to Syliras as well. So he put out the word through his former coworkers at the ship yard, through his friends and family on East Street. If anyone could provide your own horse, cart, or a seat on a cart, then you should get out of town, to the land of Syliras. Everyone knew Syliras had the biggest farms, the biggest population, it made sense to think that they wouldn't be starving too. Karyk had four spots inside his carriage, as well as another seat up front with him as the driver. He hadn't been able to get in contact with Kesh or Salara in so short a time, but he hoped they'd heard of the caravan, and would show up. This town was dying, it was time to leave.

Lorfolt smiled, "Make sure to not lose their hats, Bob and Susan love them, and it makes them look so stylish. And if you ever end up in Alvadas, look up Norala, she's the preeminent authority on animal fashion. At least in my opinion." Karyk could barely stifle his laughter at such a thought. One was wearing a simple bonnet it holes to allow the horns and ears to stick through, the other a leather skull cap tied to the horns.

Karyk saw the other merchant with his several carts and carriages, a handful of guards and travelers arriving. He knew they'd be leaving in about two bells. For the first time, he'd be leaving his home. His family. But it was necessary. So as Lorfolt left, Karyk went up and pat Bob and Susan on the flanks, then climbed up into the carriage, sitting in the driver's seat, watching as people came to join them, while others came to wish them farewell, and still others just to watch.
Last edited by Karyk on May 1st, 2017, 4:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Salara Kel'Halavath on May 2nd, 2017, 3:14 am

No matter how hard she tried Salara couldn’t avoid the fact that Zeltiva was failing. Most days she’d hidden from the knowledge by staying in the woods where she’d had some success with hunting and so didn’t feel the pinch as much as others were experiencing. Coming home one evening she was dismayed at finding businesses boarded up and family after family loading possessions into wagons with a haunted, vacant look in their eyes not unlike the blank stares of now empty houses. Like many others she felt bitter, as things had just begun looking up in her efforts to begin a self-sustaining career; only to find herself also lost in the tumble of travelers wondering where to go and how to get there. Although it had been a season it seemed as if she’d just arrived. This place was just becoming to feel like home.

She hadn’t heard more from her new friends, Karyk, Kesh or Dorrin, so she wandered down to the piers to see if she could run across one of the shipwrights. The shipyard was a bustle of activity, as it seemed the crews were tasked with completing the ships and boats contracted for departing the city. Watching the workers anonymously covered in sawdust and sand, she finally spies a familiar face – Dorrin. Stepping up her pace she approaches as a broad smile crosses his features to see her, “Heyas, lass, where have you been lately? I’ve been holding a message for you for days now. You almost came too late.” Her brow furrows in confusion, “I’ve been outside the city a good bit lately, Dorrin, but it seems everyone is headed out for good now too. Too late for what?” “Well, Karyk asked me to relay word to you that he’s gathered his kinfolk for a caravan ride through the Wildlands to Syliras and he’s saved a seat for you. They are gathering at the pass and are scheduled to head out this very day.”

Her heart does a skip simply hearing that Karyk had considered making room for her. Dorrin laughs heartily, a rare sound these days, at what must have been an interesting expression on her face. Her cheeks flush colorfully as he chuckles reaching out a supportive hand to her shoulder. “He’s a good man, Salara. It would do my ole heart good knowing a good woman had caught his scent.” She mumbles a type of denial, “No, I don’t think…, well, it’s a little, I’m a little… complicated.” Smiling kindly he pulls her into a bear hug before releasing her, “I’ll not say anything further then, lass, but best and safest of travels.” Friendly goodbyes were so rare in her life that she couldn’t avoid dashing a few tears away with a quick swipe of her hand, “And to you as well, Dorrin. May we meet again in better times.” “Gods willing that we will, lass, that we will,” he watches as she walks away before turning back to tasks at hand whistling a light-hearted tune.

Her steps are slow as she exits the shipyard but each comes more quickly until she trots rapidly, excitement building knowing that there was someplace for her to be - surely a future unknown but promising new adventures and welcoming friends. In short order she’d settled her housing rent and packed her few belongings along with some newly purchased travel supplies. Fitted well into a pair of laced-breeches, linen blouse un-tucked and knee-high, low-healed boots, she lifts the large pack upon her back to trek heavily up to the pass. In company of various wagons and carriages Salara causes somewhat of a ruckus along the way as raise-hackled dogs bark and agitated herd animals sense the presence of a predator among them but are unable to identify just where it is. Her eyes continue scanning each conveyance she passes not knowing which might belong to the shipwright or where in the growing lineup his family and he would be.
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Tollivant Brennson on May 2nd, 2017, 8:37 pm

As his imminent departure drew nearer, Tollivant started getting more and more nervous. All his life he had longed to see the world, and his first emotion on receiving the commission from Syliras had been unbridled excitement, but now things were getting rather real. The practical aspects of a journey, which had never even crossed his mind in the days when he used to lie and dream of adventure, suddenly seemed very intimidating. The road would be dangerous, and he wasn't exactly a warrior. He wasn't even sure he would be able to walk that far.

He headed to the World's End Grotto to settle his nerves, and soon bumped into his drinking buddy and employer, Alar. The old farmer told him he'd heard talk of a large caravan heading for Syliras and readying itself at the pass outside the city. 'You'll have to move quickly though, lad, I hear they're planning to leave today.' Tollivant drained his mug of ale in one, ran back to his room, grabbed the backpack into which he had already packed all his wordly possessions and headed out.

As he left the reassuring solidity of the University's walls, his home for the last four years, anticipation thrilled through his veins. In fact, he was so excited he felt queasy, although that could have been because he wasn't used to physical exercise and now here he was trudging uphill with a massive backpack on, or indeed because of the mug of ale swilling around his stomach.

When he eventually reached the caravan, in a muck sweat and panting for breath after the steep climb, he cast his eyes around for someone who looked strong. He considered a pair of hulking men with black cloaks and beetling eyebrows, but decided on reflection that they were a little too strong. A bit further up he saw a man with broad shoulders and a beard sitting on a cart. He definitely looked strong. Tollivant then noticed that the two oxen hitched to the cart were wearing funny hats. He grinned. He enjoyed exactly this sort of quirky humour. And someone who liked making their animals wear hats was bound to be friendly, surely? He approached the man and nervously asked if he could join his party.
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Salara Kel'Halavath on May 4th, 2017, 3:07 am


Passing through the crowds, Salara keeps an eye out for Kesh too. Would he come into the pass or meet up with the caravan farther out? She couldn’t imagine the stir he would make in this company of soon-to-be travelers. Her thoughts strayed to the last time they had all been together. It had been a long time since she’d felt such companionship and acceptance. Kesh had been so attentive to her words that she hadn’t felt the slightest dread or shame in describing her nature. Dorrin had been quite and reserved, not much of a conversationalist; but she had felt he looked upon her approvingly, and apparently so. Karyk now, she just felt better near him; but, as a mate? She didn’t even know him. Besides, could her scarred heart ever soften again for anyone? Kaldath was beginning to fuzz in her memory but the empty hollow left in her still had sharp edges.

Looking for distraction from the downward turn of her thoughts, she begins to watch the people more closely. It seemed their steps were a little more spry and there were glints of hope stirring in their eyes. Fathers were moving around importantly to task of getting underway, mothers had loosened their apron strings a little, not holding their children so tight. The children’s laughter seemed more merry and bright. At least for now haunted, hungry looks were held at bay in the bloom of new adventures, fresh starts. Digging into her pack, Salara pulls out a handful of wolf’s teeth. Polished white as a gull’s feathers and smooth as glass they became little treasures. Before long a gaggle of children surrounded her with palms outstretched only to dart off in any direction to show their bits off. Her husky laughter rings along with theirs still amidst agitated beasts. Waving off the last of her beggars and in much better spirits she looks ahead and sees two oxen with colorful hats upon their heads. The hats bob alarmingly as the beasts sidestep in their traces, their thick necks stretching long lowing their concern.

Salara stops dead in her tracks with the first thing coming to mind: what Kelvic could put themselves in such a ridiculous situation? Then had she ever heard of a Kelvic ox before now? It took her a moment to even consider that someone would actually put a hat on a real cow. Her eyes travel up the traces to a little man in a bright hat, which explained a lot, and then there was Karyk. Grinning wide, she hunches her pack higher on her shoulders and crosses over to them to shout louder than the animals, “Karyk, Dorrin says ‘Hi’ and ‘Good luck!’ It looks like you’ve made some colorful new friends.”
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Oleander Soleran on May 4th, 2017, 5:56 pm

Oleander
“Here, help me with these,” Hortense said as she piled baskets filled with dry bread, potatoes and small slices of dried meat onto the growing pile of baggage Oleander was carrying. By now, his nose tip was barely higher than the top of it, and the various crates were swaying precariously as he balanced them.

With only a day and a half to prepare for their journey, the siblings had been forced to pack in a rush. While Hortense had headed off to the marketplace to buy whatever rations she could get her hands on in these trying times that she could stretch to last them over the journey they were about to make, Oleander had refilled the crates and chests they had unloaded a mere two seasons ago, when they had come to Zeltiva. Leaving the city so soon gave him mixed emotions – on one hand, he wanted to find his mother and see his sister smile genuinely again, he wanted to see old acquaintances and tell stories of the University City, see their marvelling faces. On the other hand, there were two things he left here, the University and his father.

He had never been admitted to the University of Zeltiva, the much-admired hoard of knowledge. The libraries he had dreamed of visiting during their days on the road were as far out of reach as they had always been, and now it become unclear if he would ever get to see them from the inside.

His father had been silent ever since they had confronted him about the letter, but Oleander had seen the resignation in his eyes as he finally gave in to Hortense. To their own surprise, they had found a buyer for the house, and Rendan was moving into a single room above the store he worked in. Oleander took the money they had gotten for the house with him, always keeping it on his body, afraid to lose it. Even if their old home at the Mythrin outpost was still standing and nobody lived in it, they would still need to buy it back. They would also need to pay to join the caravan. With luck, they would get to rent seats on a cart, at least to transport their belongings. Neither of them was especially eager to work, but they had done it once and would do it again, if it saved them money.

While Oleander carried Hortense’s favourite pot and other heavier equipment they would need during the journey, two extra sets of clothes and their winter cloaks, Hortense was carrying the lighter gear. Together, they were taking the road leading up the keep, walking with an unusually large stream of people. Many of them had their belongings strapped to their backs or loaded onto carts, presumably looking to join the same very caravan Oleander and Hortense had caught word of, others were going about their everyday business.

When a cart got stuck in the middle of the road where a cobblestone was missing, the owner was not the only one swearing. Another man, as overladen as Oleander was, bumped right into the cart and dropped multiple sacks of provisions. One of them burst open and painted the street white with flour, and from a second one, nuts rolled down the street. Immediately, a group of hungry children started picking up the snacks faster than a group of squirrels, and the man was forced to give them up. He could not chase after some kids without losing the rest of his belongings. In the meantime, a commotion rose as the cart owner tried to pull his vehicle out. It took a few hard pulls, and with a small jump, it came free, startling some of the oxen people used to pull their wagonloads up the hill. One started running up the slope, pulling an entire family’s household with it. A mother, father and three small children chased after it.

The twins carefully wound their path around the cluster of people, sticking close to the storefronts where the carts did not fit. Neither of them wanted to run after their belongings, and they figured the main street was a heaven for pickpockets right now, too. Some people were not ashamed to steal from the poorest or those giving up their home, and they did not own enough to risk making themselves a target.

They knew which people belonged to the caravan as soon as they reached the site. People were clustering into smaller groups already, discussing arrangements that would make the journey more comfortable, socializing and talking about their plans. Others were bartering over oxen and carts. Hortense had already taken a couple of steps towards one of the merchants trying to sell equipment to travellers over price, but Oleander held her back. “Wait, I think I just spotted someone I know.”

Karyk stood out from the masses, the effect of being over six feet tall. Oleander was relieved to see a familiar face, but he was not sure how long he would survive in an expedition with someone who expected him to competently craft his own tools and scolded him if he couldn’t. Still, without his father around, Oleander preferred the presence of a man like Karyk, whom he felt he could trust, to a group of complete strangers.

He strode over to the large man, who was conversing amicably with his friend, and waved. Hortense followed him with a raised eyebrow. Oleander had neglected to tell her how exactly he had come to know this specific tower of a man, but she trusted that if her brother could be moved to befriend anyone, that person was probably friendly.

“Karyk? I can’t believe you’re on this caravan too.” After a bit of a pause, he realized he had interrupted some conversation. Confused, he turned around to find himself face to face with a woman he’d never seen before, one with light hair and striking eyes. “Oh, hello,” he mumbled, not certain whether he wanted to make another acquaintance so quickly, but Hortense brushed past him an offered her hand to the lady. “I’m Hortense Soleran, and this is my brother Oleander. It’s nice to meet you.” She had probably figured that if her brother had made a friend, she would need one, too.

“That’s right,” he just nodded. “If you’re a friend of Karyk’s, then you’re our friend, too.”

Another man had approached the shipwright, obviously a beacon who drew people to hime like a nightly candle drew flies. Oleander was too overwhelmed to give him much attention at the time, and his business seemed to be with Karyk.
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Karyk on May 5th, 2017, 12:55 am

Karyk eyes scanned the growing crowds, seeing many familiar face, including distant cousins, former work colleagues, and neighbors. As the departure time neared, the bustle grew, until a young man with a strange pair of glasses upon his face, approached Karyk. The man was slight, weak, pale. He reminded him of Oleander, the boy he'd met a while back when fishing. Though Oleander didn't fit the description of a book hugger as well as this man. He was clearly from the university, and probably hadn't ever known a hard day's work. In a nervous manner, this 'man', asked Karyk if he could join him.

Karyk stared down at the man, curiously. He had to admit, it took something extra to ask someone that was so different from yourself for help. Karyk and this man were opposites in nearly every sense of the word. There wouldn't be any harm in bringing this man on. The caravan as a whole would be fine with a few... lesser members. But this man stepped up, asked for help, which Karyk knew wasn't an easy thing for many to do, himself included. Karyk stepped down from the carriage, eyeing the man over, not saying anything, rubbing his beard as he mulled it over.

But it was an easy decision. They were all looking for something better, to improve their lots, together. Karyk reached out, and clasped the man on the shoulder, giving it a good firm squeeze, "Welcome aboard, I'm Karyk Southwind. I have tent space if you need it. Plenty of cargo space. You'll have to provide your own rations and anything else you'll need though. This here is Bobertha and Susannick. If that's fine with you, we leave in two bells."

Then he saw her, just over the man's shoulder in the distance, watching as she came his way, having seen him before he'd seen her. He broke into a grin, not realizing that he was gripping the man's shoulder just a bit tighter, before he slapped him on the back, moving past. He walked right over to Salara, just at the heads of Bob and Susan, broad smile breaking his face. "I'm glad you found him, and good thing too. Knowin' him, if he were here, he'd be blubberin', lyin' about salt in his eyes. Thanks for passing on his message though."

He then pat the oxen on the neck, "Salara, meet Bob and Susan. Bought them from an Alvadan man." After hearing himself say that, he realized he'd said Alvadan in a way that would seem to explain the hats and everything. He then moved in just a step closer, just so no one could overhear, "Are ya well? Recovered from our venture?" He didn't notice the obvious concern on his face or in his voice, but it was there, evident to any. Then he heard his name spoken by a familiar voice.

He looked up and there he was. The boy he'd been thinking about earlier, Oleander. There was a woman with him, blonde like Salara but more... civilized. She quickly introduced herself with a boldness that her brother didn't seem to have. "Nice to see you again boy, how's that rod treatin' ya?" It seemed the sister was in charge, so he spoke to her, and Salara, at the same time, "I still have three carriage spots left, plenty of cargo and tent space around if you need it. Two large tents, if some of you prefer privacy. I just ask you provide your own rations, and find a way to be useful to this trip. All three of you are welcome to them, the fourth slot goes to the man there," nodding back toward the bespectacled book hugger. "There's plenty of seats elsewhere too if you'd like." He then clasped Oleander on the shoulder as well, "And I'm not just on this caravan, boy, I helped bring it together." One might think Karyk was saying 'boy' insultingly, but something in his voice suggested the opposite. Karyk knew the boy was willing to work, to earn his keep, to be useful. And that was respectable in Karyk's eyes.

He looked over at Salara now, "Have ya heard from our hairy friend? I've not heard hide nor hair of him since that night the doc patched us up."
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Salara Kel'Halavath on May 5th, 2017, 4:51 pm

A kicked ant hill - that’s what all of this suddenly reminded her of. Seemingly frantic comings and goings while each little group or individual gathered to stroke antennae, dawdle, say hello, and be underway again each on to their own self-important task. If seen from a distance there was no organized structure; but more microscopically, through all the hubbub and confusion there was a general feeling of control and support assuring it would be sorted out in due time. She wasn’t accustomed to the organized chaos of so many people. The whirlwind of introductions would leave her breathless and she knew it would take her time to remember everyone’s names – except maybe the cows – who didn’t like her anyway.

As Karyk neared sharing her grin she felt her tenseness begin to ease and she realized, with a bit of pride for her friend, that the sense of control over this entire chaotic situation emanated from him. She felt some confusion again as he claimed purchasing and named the oxen as if they were intelligent beings. Kelvics? Accustomed to the menial uses of her kind for exactly these purposes she looks to him suspiciously, “Did they choose to wear those hats?” But then, Susan or was it Bob, shifted its weight aiming a kick in her direction and she felt more certainly that they were just dumb herd animals reacting to her as a predator, not indignant for wearing such silly things. Always attentive around the hoofed kind she easily side-stepped, drawing the shipwright farther back toward the wagon where she slips off her heavy pack leaning it against a tall wagon wheel.

Their conversation was momentarily interrupted as she was nearly bumped by a young man that was quickly brushed aside by a bold, lovely young woman, Hortense, who introduced her less enthusiastic brother, Oleander. They both seemed comfortable in this setting as a whole, at least on the surface, as if they had traveled before. Shaking the woman’s hand firmly she smiled, “Hortense, my pleasure to make your acquaintance. And you as well, Oleander,” she returns his nod wondering if he were a bit backward. Perhaps he was feeling a little overwhelmed by all this as well. Finding another woman with whom she could interact on this long journey was an opportunity she looked forward to and hoped they might spend some time together, perhaps even become close friends. Together they listen to Karyk’s invitation to his carriage and minimal introduction to the bespectacled fellow.

Then Karyk pulls her aside bringing them a little privacy within a step to ask how she was; and appropriate or not she felt herself leaning closer, unconsciously seeking security under his wing. Touched at his caring, her eyes full of kaleidoscopic emotions looking into his, “I’m still a bit sore and stiff as a board in the mornings,” she admits then looks to the bright side as if it would really matter, “but I don’t think I will have as many scars as I’d expected! The doctor preformed wonders in stitching up my more critical wounds.” Tempted to show him one or two and realizing how closely their heads had become she takes a self-conscious half-step back. Head shaking in negation, “I have not heard from nor seen Kesh.” She looks around the circus-like scene with a slight shudder, “and I don’t blame him for choosing to miss this part if that’s the case. My hope is that he meets up with us along the path. Your invitation is most kind, Karyk, if I could place my pack in your carriage? I’ve signed on as a guard so will mostly be scouting outside the caravan proper.”

As the lumberman, shipwright, now caravan leader, turns back to his unending duties, she approaches the fellow with the odd spectacles, “Hello, I’m Salara.” Lips quirking with friendly humor she looks to his colorful hat and back to the latest in oxen fashion, “And I'm afraid I’m under-dressed for the occasion.”
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Tollivant Brennson on May 7th, 2017, 7:14 pm

Tollivant couldn't complain about the man's generosity and hospitality when he asked to join the caravan. He introduced himself as Karyk Southwind, and offered him somewhere to sleep and space in the cart as well. It was as much as he could have hoped for. 'Thank you, Karyk, thank you very much indeed,' he said earnestly. 'I really appreciate your kindness. I am Tollivant Brennson, a cartographer from the University. I can't promise much in the way of fighting prowess or heavy lifting, but I will do my best to help in any way I can.'

Despite Karyk's kind response, the scholar had not failed to notice his initial hesitation, or the look in his eyes as he had considered Tollivant. It was a look he had seen many times before - in his father's eyes, most often. Much of his childhood had been spent miserably heaving boxes with his siblings in his father's storerooms, his parents sighing over his clumsiness and asking him when he was going to apply himself to practical matters. He knew from long experience that practical people tend to have little time for studious types, and knew also that he wasn't exactly cutting an imposing figure right now, so he was not all that surprised by the faint look of dismissive amusement in Karyk's eyes. But there was welcome in them too, and he was determined to prove himself worthy of it. He rolled his pack into the cart and walked round to meet Bobertha and Susannick, nodding solemnly at each to acknowledge that he was grateful for all the work they would be doing over the coming weeks. Then he hauled himself into the cart, miraculously managing to keep both his hat and his spectacles on, and looked around.

More people were gathering at the caravan. First up was a young man who looked several years younger than Tollivant, with a woman he introduced as his sister. He was obviously flustered and barely glanced in Tollivant's direction, but when he had finished talking to Karyk the scholar waved in greeting. Karyk had only called him 'boy' so he still didn't know his name. 'Hello, I'm Tollivant. It's nice to meet you,' he said. 'How do you know Karyk?' The next to arrive was a blonde woman who made a beeline straight for the bearded man. She didn't look quite like anyone Tollivant had ever seen before, and he watched her intrigued. He quickly noticed the way she looked at Karyk, full of trust and standing very close. It made perfect sense, the striking woman and the strong man looked like a natural pair, so Tollivant automatically assumed they were a couple.

Karyk said something odd then, something about a hairy friend? But Tollivant didn't have time to wonder about it before the woman turned to him and smiled wryly, making a joky comment about how he and the oxen were all wearing hats. He laughed happily, enjoying the comparison. Tollivant had very little pride and was always happy to laugh at himself - luckily, because he needed to quite often. 'Yes,' he said, 'I'm afraid you are! Don't feel bad though, you weren't to know. And you're welcome to borrow my hat any time if it makes you feel less out of place! I'm Tollivant by the way. You must be Karyk's wife?'
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Karyk on May 10th, 2017, 5:31 pm

Just before Salara had pulled her head away from his own, to deny having seen or heard from Kesh, Karyk got a strong whiff of her scent. She smelled of the forest, of fresh air, not of the salt riddled sea winds that most, himself included, smelled like. But it was gone as quickly as it was noticed, "Yes hopefully. I doubt one as observant and as curious as him would fail to notice a caravan trouncin' through the forest." He had noticed her discomfort at being around so many people. Part of him could relate, but he knew most of the people here as well, and there was comfort in family and friends. It would be better once their journey had begun.

At her request to place her pack in his carriage, he nodded smiling, "Of course." And with her as one of the caravan's many guards, he knew they were in good hands. There was no doubt that if she weren't capable as a guard and scout, he'd be dead. And with that, he turned away with a bit more of a grin, happy to have her joining him on this trip. He was about to talk to Oleander and Hortense a bit more, to help them get their belongings settled, and duties to the caravan in order, when he heard Tollivant's misguided question to Salara. The bearded man immediately turned red at that, and walked away, as if he hadn't heard anything, knowing Oleander and Hortense probably would've seen his reaction. Settling them in would have to wait until later or they could do it themselves, he knew they were more than capable.

Moving through the crowd, feeling the heat escape from his face, he saw several familiar faces wreathed in red curls. It was his sister, Natya, and her five kids. He walked over, a curious look on his face. She turned to face him, a stern look on her face, odd for what he expected was a send off. "You're here awful early Nat, we don't leave for a couple bells." The twins were chasing each other through people, while her eldest was drawing in a book. She held her infant while the toddler clutched to her leg, "I'm not early. I'm coming with you."

Karyk, very confused now, "What? No. The kids are too young for this trip. What about the money I gave you to feed yourselves while I'm gone?"

She gave him the glare that only him and his mother could seem to produce, "I'll raise my children how I damn well please. We'll be fine. I bought a cart, and Torken, is gonna drive, he has some horses. We're coming with you."

Karyk, immediately worried about her's, and the children's, safety, started to protest, and with her raised voice that her neighbors knew well, "Karyk Sorryn Southwind. We're coming with, and that's final. Now stop worrying about us and let's get this show on the road."

And with that, Karyk nodded, defeated but in agreement, he supposed, he turned and left her to her devices. He'd definitely need to make sure he got this trip right. So many people relying on him, and he wasn't a grizzled, veteran traveler. Many others were more qualified than him. But he couldn't pass the buck now. He'd just have to get it right. He was in a bit of a fuzz, from so many things going on at once, and at having been embarrassed twice in recent chimes. He returned back to his carriage, not noticing Sharay, his oldest niece with her toothy grin and mop of curls was following him. He patted his oxen on the rumps, and climbed up into the driver's seat. Then he heard the stomp he knew so well, followed by the expected huff.

He looked down and saw Sharay there, a bit small to climb up on her own. He smiled, reached down, and took her little hand in his. "Up we go." She giggled as he lifted her off the ground and set her in the driver's seat with him. "Your mom doesn't know you're with me does she?" She giggled and shook her head. "And you're not gonna leave no matter what I say or do?" Once more she giggled and nodded this time. Karyk Sighed, "Well we can learn how to drive these guys together then. That's Bob and Susan down there. Bob is the girl and Susan is the boy. Supposedly pretty easy to take care of."

In her small voice, "I like their hats." Karyk smiled, "Yeah I do too. We're gonna take care of them, and they'll take care of us. Cuz we're all family, right kiddo?" Sharay nodded, "Everyone here is part of our family now. So we look out for them. We take care of them. And they do their parts too. And soon, we'll be in the city of Syliras. Supposedly they have farms so big, you can't see the ends of them. And they all live in a giant castle, bigger than the biggest galleon you've seen in the harbor. And it is the safest place to go." Sharay's eyes grew big as her imagination took on the details he'd just given. But part of Karyk didn't want to live the safe life anymore, but at the same time, he wanted his family and friends to be safe. And it didn't seem like there was room for both.
Follow your heart, and the plot will follow.
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Goodbye, Sweet Port...

Postby Oleander Soleran on May 10th, 2017, 7:04 pm

Oleander
Hortense looked less than amused when Karyk stole Salara’s attention, but the quickly found her bearings and her smile returned. Oleander, in turn, cracked the sort of spiteful grin that only close siblings knew to produce whenever their sibling took a damper. She scowled at him, but the boy ignored it and concentrated his attention on the odd man instead, the one he had noticed before not found time to greet properly. Now that he was the Oleander’s point of focus, the herbalist noticed his hat and spectacles, both of which made him seem like the textbook prototype of an academic. The man approached and introduced himself as Tollivant. The name was unknown to Oleander, but named after a plant himself, he could hardly complain.
Oleander extended his own hand and shook Tollivant’s firmly and quickly, before Hortense could interfere again. “I met Karyk out fishing,” he explained, but before he could elaborate or ask any questions of his own, Tollivant turned towards Salara and Karyk. Apparently, he was not looking for conversation, but small talk.

Small talk was not Oleander’s field of expertise, so he turned to his sister, who had forgotten her anger and pointed at one of the merchants a few yards away, a young, straw-blonde man with a bright smile and wits twinkling in his eyes. He looked like he would make a much more believable twin brother to match Hortense than Oleander did. The herbalist was certain he would not feel comfortable in the company of two Hortenses, but his sister was already pulling him towards the merchant and he had no chance to object.

“Greetings, pretty lady,” the man greeted, beaming at his sister, and Hortense returned a smile in turn. “Are you also on the caravan?”

“We are”, Oleander grumbled, but the merchant ignored him.

“Indeed”, Hortense chirped, blinked a little too slowly, and played with a strand of her hair, as if she were shy. She was not. “What do you sell?”

“Oh, this and that”, the man replied, tore his gaze from Oleander’s sister and let it sweep over the crates and coffers he was surrounded by. “Supplies for travellers, keepsakes, and pack animals. Might I interest you in this beautiful necklace?” He held up a sparkly silver chain with a red stone dangling from it, and Oleander knew that he would charge twice as much as it was worth. He had no idea what this had to do with travelling equipment, either. If anything, it rendered you a clearer target for bandits.

Hortense’s eyes lit up with something that was both excitement and something else, and she let her male counterpart fasten the piece of jewellery around her neck. “Thank you”, she said in a sickeningly sweet tone, and asked him: “Can we see the animals? I bet they’re the cutest.”

Oleander was about to point out that Hortense did not care about animals in the slightest, but his sister silently hissed at him when he as much as opened his mouth, so he peevishly trudged after them.

- - -


Twenty chimes later and 18 mizas poorer, Oleander has switched expressions with male Hortense. The merchant had lost the bartering game against his sister, and after buying Eloise, the sturdy mule, and a suitable saddle for a good price, she had thanked him for the “present” he had given her and left with the necklace still dangling into her neckline.


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