Open [Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

A giant clam is discovered just offshore by people playing in the crystal waters. No one has seen its like before and upon closer inspection more are spotted. Some rumors circulate that they might have pearls.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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[Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

Postby Merevaika on August 2nd, 2017, 6:33 pm

25th Summer 517

Merevaika loosened her eyes. Something within the muscles loosened, and they seemed to shift into a strange position, shielded by the lids. At first, she let herself sit like that, submerged in the darkness. Her other senses twitched as she did, the scents of the salt moving towards her stronger, and the distinct noises that had blurred into the background: the lapping of the ocean, the call of gulls, and the sniffling of Beast nearby.

Then, she brought all her focus onto her eyes, refusing to hear or smell or feel anything. Although she couldn't see it, the corners of her eyes wrinkled, her eyebrows flattened, and eyelids tensed. Images began to form before her eyes, patchy, indistinct sections of colour = but colours she couldn't recognise. Everytime she thought she found a name for them, they seemed to change, and she was forced into the loop again. In one corner, where the sun was, a ring glowed brightly, at the opposite side, it was almost black.

But that wasn't the sight she wanted to see. That was a meaningless mess. The only reason she was even looking was for her other sight. All her focus had been trained into her eyes, in a hope to unlock the magic. The harder she focused on what she saw, of course, made it easier to see what she wanted to see.

Finally, she pried her eyes open. Yes! There they were! There they - before her eyes, they flickered away again, reduced to shadows to nothing. Hand reaching out, her fingers had curled around a nearby stone before she had even realised. With anger, at her inability to even bring the paths to her, at everything, she catapulted it forward, feeling the heavy weight slip out of her fingers and out into the distance. It thudded into the sand, sending up a spray that splattered against Beast’s coat.

Annoying, the dog gave a warning growl, and moved further out, Merevaika watching the black shape in the corner of her eye as she tried to figure out where she had gone wrong.

She had the start part sorted. The paths had been visible - she had seen them clear enough. It was the bit after that had messed up. What had happened? She had opened her eyes, seen the paths, then they had disappeared. There had to be something in between that.

Her focus. Where had her focus been?

On the paths. On the paths, but not quite on them either. On the fact that she had managed to actually see them. Her excitement had broken her focus. The happiness at being able to see the paths meant she wasn’t concentrating on them. That was where she had gone wrong. She had to keep that focus, the whole time.

Her eyes shut again, automatically, and she repeated the process, watched the strange blobs of colour appear and shift as her eyelids tightened. With a deep breath out, she opened her eyes, keeping herself steady as she caught sight of the paths again.

Paths. Just the paths. That was all she saw. All she cared about.

There weren’t many. It was strange, she had to admit. But the beaches of Syka were so empty. The few humans that did live here didn’t come near enough her camp to trace their paths in this area. Any creatures within the jungle or ocean weren’t brave enough to approach either, wary of the creatures on the beach. Merevaika with her arrows but mostly Beast with her teeth. So instead of the mess of colourful trails of light, like in the Sea of Grass that bristled with life, this patch of beach was practically empty. Only the most recent trails that she had left, and the winding path of Beast, and a few stray paths that she couldn’t quite place.

Empty because of how little people there were, and how quickly the paths seemed to disappear. It was about a day, she had come to the conclusion of. A day, before the paths vanished forever.

Then again, it had been a few hours, when she had first gained the skill. Maybe it wasn’t the paths that were truly disappearing, they just faded. Faded to a point where she could no longer see them, not with her current skill anyway.

All the more reason to continue practising and following the paths, then. Merevaika found the path of Beast, the red and green that was so similar to her own. It made her wonder - did the colour of the path depend on the creature? Something had to determine it. It was the colour of their eyes, she realised. Maybe that was it. Maybe paths took the colour of eyes - because, of course, it was impossible to follow them any other way than with sight.

Picking herself up from where she stood, she decided she would follow the path to find Beast. A simple task, considering how new this trail was. And how easy this beach was to trek through.

An actual challenge would be chasing things through the jungle. Paths wouldn’t be flat against the floor, but stretch every level, and she was certain that there would be plenty of little obstacles in her way, even if she wasn’t required to scale a tree, or several.

But it wasn’t time for actual challenges. They could come when she completed this trail.

As a new trail, it wasn’t hard to follow at all. The line was still clear, and hadn’t even started to patch away yet. After all, Beast had laid it less than a chime ago. Even if it had started to fade, though, it would be more than easy to follow. She could simply look up and see where it picked up, as there was nothing to block the glowing line, or follow the footprints left visibly in the sand. Still, it was the practice of focusing on the path and keeping to it that she was more interested in.

That made her wonder, too. Where the path went patchy - was that just coincidence? She knew older paths were more patchy, but that was like the colour fading from a dyed piece of cloth, albeit on a faster time scale. She understood that. But certain parts faded quicker, which was interesting. Perhaps the concentration of magic - magic was everywhere, wasn’t it not? The thing that fuelled it all, at the very least - was higher in those areas. Or lower, so the paths had less to power them.

Her musings would most likely never be answered. It was strange, being the sole bearer of a gift like that. Not sole - Azmere had the eyes too. And someone else? Her mind went blank, but she knew there was. But she was good enough the sole bearer. After all, Azmere was a world away. And there was no way he was an expert either.

The trail began to flicker as her concentration did. Azmere was not a good thing to be thinking of. He brought back memories, ones she didn’t want to repeat, even name. No. Azmere was dead. Endrykas was dead. Everything was dead, so it would leave her alone.

But it was too late. The path blinked out like a candle in the breeze. At least she had found Beast, in the distance. The dog, normally hating the feel of the water against her paws, was darting in and out of the ocean, barking at something that lay there.

Now that she had seen it, what was there? It was large, about the size of Beast if not bigger (the way it was submerged in the waves and sand, it was hard to tell). And, as she approached, the shape was off too. Too structured to be a creature of some sorts - that would have been more floppy and mangled and an irregular shape. Far too perfectly shaped to be a rock.

A shell? Like the shells that were scattered on the beach, maybe.

Of course, this was several times more massive. And there were two of them, clamped together with jaws. And there was green stuff on it, the plants of the ocean growing from something that had obviously recently washed up from somewhere deep below.

Rolling her trousers up, until they sat roughly above her knee, she pushed into the water, hoping to get a closer look.

The water rushed over her, a particularly large wave smashing into her. As Merevaika toppled back, her attempt of keeping her clothing dry failing, the clam (although that name was a mystery to her) was dragged back, raking through the sand a short while before toppling through the water and sinking a good enough distance out. Not exactly a real dive, but she’d have to go under water to get a better look. Or to take it out.

Not a chance.

Her eyes swivelled across the beach. Calling out to the nearby figure, she gestured in Pavi subconsciously. "Come! I need help. Something - in water - shell - very, very big! Massive! Come help!" She was eager enough to find out what it was that she was even going to ask for help. Whoever that was in the distance, they were lucky to even hear about it.

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oocSorry for all that. You can probably skip all my pathfinding nonsense, I got carried away.
And thanks to Trevor for the name!
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[Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

Postby Frouwenlop on August 4th, 2017, 5:10 pm

Never before Frouwenlop had ventured this far through Syka's wilderness. It's been more than three weeks he had first set foot on the settlement and the desire to get off the beaten tracks began to grow. This was a new land, a haven of wild life and hidden wonders.
This was a chance not many men could claim to get during a lifetime.
Or at least, these were his thoughts to get a bit more self confidence. He was in all objectivity real far and on his own into a heavenly but nonetheless inhospitable environment.

"Found one!"
His worries vanished in a blink at the sight of a small stream of limpid water flowing into the nearby sea further away.
The trip wouldn't have been for naught, and that was a relief.
Excitement is always paid at the cost of awareness, though. As he walked down toward the stream, he slipped on some wet plants paving the way and crashed in a sound of metal, scrubs and fallen body alike.
Well, if any threatening wildlife wasn't already aware of his presence, now it was done for sure.
Frou' stood up back on his feet -not without effort- and pulled himself together as he untied his net hanging from his belt.

He has quickly grown tired of the new technique of fishing, the one with the pole and lures. Frou' has always been of the old ways. He grew up with the net and he would mostly end up still using a net. Technology will wait.
And there he was, standing before the perfect stream he could ever expect to find in such a place.
Putting his shield down and loosening his shoulders, he would tie the rope of the net to his left wrist. Starting to coil it around his arm by the back of the hand, he would repeat the process until there was about 3 feet of string loose.
Opening up the front face of the cast net, he gathered a foot or two of net and set those up back on his hand. Finally, on the right hand side of the casting gear, up the top, he would grab about a third of the remaining cast net and throw it hard and flat onto the water.
There wasn't much hope into this first cast, but the satisfaction of throwing his old net was there.
If this spot was good, it would become his by-default lunch reserve and.. damn it was good! Second cast, two shining fishes into the net!
Frou' threw them into the now turned back shield improvised into bucket.
As he was about to cast the third shot, he heard a feminine voice from afar.

The voice was a bit too far from him to understand clearly, but he recognized "help" and "big". Well, to the hells his lunch.
In a rush he grabbed his shield, letting the fishes go free, and put his net on his shoulders as he ran toward the voice. Struggling through the vegetation, he quickly attained the shore.
Out of puff and at the sight of a woman standing in the shallow part of the water, looking around, and definitely not in any kind of danger at the current time, he would let free a curse.
Well, he was there now, better know why she was seeking some help. "Hey!" he shot as he walked toward her, catching slowly his breath.
"How come you yellin'? What's the matter?"
Last edited by Frouwenlop on August 8th, 2017, 11:14 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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[Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

Postby Merevaika on August 5th, 2017, 5:48 pm

25th Summer 517

The shout still made her jump, even though she had been calling for it. For some reason, she hadn't quite expected someone to actually reply. People were just too generous. Or curious. She wasn't certain which was worse - considering she had plenty of the second. Either way, it didn't matter too much. This time around, whatever trait he did have, she was glad he did. This help, she wanted.

He arrived catching his breath, which made her wonder why he had run. Surely, he hadn't thought she was in some sort of danger, right? She hoped not - she could definitely take care of herself, and didn't want anyone thinking otherwise.

The man that came closer wasn't particularly impressive. Short and hairy was the best way to describe him - like a monkey. Older than her too, with a net on his shoulders and a shield in his hands. Was there a weapon to go with the shield? Merevaika had to check - because to her, the object just seemed odd unless he planned on waging war or fighting in any battles in the near future.

Then again, she wasn't the greatest authority on shields, so she nodded at it instead. With a slight hint of disgust in her voice, so he wouldn't think that she was actually interested, she asked, "What shield for?"

But what was she doing, asking questions when his own went unanswered. How rude (as if she actually cared about that).

What had he asked, though? Probably about the reason for her yelling. Which was a good enough question - and something she had forgotten herself. She had a giant shell thing to investigate, and this man was here to help her. That was why he had been called. And that was why he was asking what to do.

"Look, in water," she explained, pointing to where the clamped shells could be seen through the waves, "Shell, giant shell! Inside - I think - something? Help me - help me get it out." Without waiting for a response, she strode into the water, testing the depth despite knowing that it was too deep - knowing that she wasn't going to even try to dive to it.

Perhaps she could get him to go down there. Only, how would he get it out?

Plan forming in her mind, she stepped back out, water splashing against the back of her legs as she did. Ignoring the trickles down her thighs, she paced through the sand, feeling it cling to the moisture on her feet. So annoying - sand got everywhere, stuck everywhere. Grass was so much nicer.

Her tent, just a short distance off, lay open, the door flapping slightly in the breeze where she had slung it across the top of the tent. Just inside lay the coil of rope, chopped and shortened to what it was now. That would work just perfectly - if the man could wrap it around the shells, she'd be able to help with hoisting it out of the water too.

All she needed now was for this man, whoever he was, to agree to what she was planning, and her plan wouldn't go to waste.

With the coil of rope slung across her shoulder, she raced back, this time remembering to close the tent door. It didn't account for much, considering pretty much anything could pull it back or push past it or crawl underneath, but she liked having that extra shield: at the very least, it stopped the bugs from getting trapped in there.

Once she returned to the man, she dumped the rope at his feet and looked up expectantly. Looked down, actually, considering she was taller than him. "Rope - if you go - tie rope to shells - I help pull out?" She wasn't quite certain why she was phrasing it like a question. It was an order - she only hoped he'd actually listen. "Go!"

Expectantly, she grasped one end of the rope so she'd be able to pull it out. And waited, hoping that he wouldn't think to question, but just do.

Then again, maybe that was a lot to ask from an almost complete stranger.

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[Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

Postby Frouwenlop on August 8th, 2017, 10:19 pm

It felt odd to see someone roaming this far from the main encampment. He had never seen this face before. Perhaps a new settler? Although it looked like she felt.. in her element here. Like she was already accustomed to this place, even.
The same couldn't be said for Frou' though. It took several weeks for him to feel more or less comfortable in this heaven of wild life.

One thing was for sure though, she wasn't in any kind of danger. She looked like she was needing a hand more than anything else.
Well, this wasn't that bad. If one could avoid being hurt in this retreated place, the better.
The first interaction from her was quite intriguing.
"The shield you asked?" He glanced curiously at her. She didn't look aggressive though, might as well tell her.
He revealed a light battle-axe hanging from his belt under his brown cloak.
"Axes aren't good at defence. Can't parry with 'em, won't stand a chance against a sword."
Frou' made the shield resonate with a light knock.
"Swords and fangs alike, can't do much against that though."

She pointed at the water in response. A big shell she said? Was she even listening? She was already doing something else in the water.. and she was running somewhere else the next second, oh well.
Wait, a tent? She set up her tent in a middle of nowhere and survived?
Recklessness has no end, he thought.
While she was doing gods only know in her tent, Frou' moved toward the water. He squinted his eyes. Yes, looked like there was something in the water, something big. Two of them even.
As he went back to the sand, he saw her coming back to him, with a rope this time.

Before he could ask anything, she asked Frou' to tie these on the shells.
He glanced at her with no expression. Did he heard right?
A "Hm, you sure missy.." interrupted with a "go!" ended up the conversation.
Well, looked like she really wanted his help. Let's just do as she said.
Frou' then slotted in the sand his shield, threw the net over it and untied his cloak.
He had never been a real good swimmer though. He hopped it wouldn't be too difficult. Her plan seemed too simplistic to be effective, clunky sort of.
A body that was starting to show the first flaws of the thirties appeared as he removed his leather chestpiece and his boots.
Better keep the bottom, he didn't like the idea to leave the axe behind when he would defencelessly try to swim for a wild stranger. He could always wash the weapon with clean water later.

He grabbed the rope from the miss's hands and went toward the location of the shells.
"Hm.. 'right, see 'em"
Slowly he submerged himself in the water and approached the clams. They were quite big, indeed. What was the best way to tie them with the rope?
After a glance he pulled back his head to the surface to catch some air. Using the rope blindly around them would be a real pain. Must be another way.
He dived again.
Looked like the two clams were stuck together by their jaws. A slight gap was visible at the junction. This was worth giving a try.
Swimming really wasn't one of Frou's habits, he was already exhausting himself. Lack of technique, for sure.

During the second dive he reached the point where the shells were kissing. The gap seemed big enough for the rope to go in.
He inserted one end of the rope into the gap and.. not much more. He quickly swam at the surface to catch his breath.
Third dive he went back to where he left the rope. The rope went more and more through the gap as he gently pushed it inward.
As he was running out of breath again, a riptide sank the clams -and Frou'- even more in depths, undoing partially what he had struggled to achieve.
He rushed toward the surface and coughed. The taste of salted water was disgusting.
His muscles started to feel more and more heavy. At least he was sparing this chore to the young miss, he thought.

Fourth dive. He quickened the pace with which he made the rope go through the gap and took the out going end of the rope as he went back again to the surface.
First step achieved. Damn this was hard.
Fifth dive. The rope was at its second loop. He could start a knot from that but it might be too weak and break.
Seventh dive. Frou' was exhausted, but the cursed rope was finally firmly tied between the two clams. He tightened the knot as best as he could and started to swim back to the shore.
When he emerged he slowly came back to the miss, completely out of breath.
"Here ya go.."
Dropping the rope at her feet, he sat on the sand and caught a deep, deep breath. Coughs.
He'd like to rest a bit but it seems the young woman was eager to pull those things here right away.

"Hey missy, d'ya have something to drink? I thirst. I'll hold the rope, no worries."

This was a strange day, indeed.

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[Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

Postby Merevaika on August 14th, 2017, 9:13 am

25th Summer 517

Turns out there was a weapon to go along with the shield. An axe, too. A useful sort of weapon, that could double up as a tool too. At least, she assumed so - there was no place where she would be happy to call herself an authority on axes, as weapons or as tools. So she listened instead, glad to be able to simply absorb what he said.

After all, he was letting some pretty important stuff out, stuff she could use. Axes were bad defence. So if she got close enough, watched that blade, even she'd have an easy enough time with her own sword. Of course, she was certain that they were good for the aggressive types. Avoiding the axe would most likely be harder than it looked.

And the shield would be a whole new problem. It provided all the defence that the axe lacked, Merevaika not doubting his words that a blade would easily be stopped by that. It was a way of fighting Merevaika didn't like, wasn't familiar with, either. A shield took up hands that could be used with weapons, was large, bulky. She couldn't run and twist and jump and roll with a shield like that, not for an extended period of time, anyway. Which, she wondered, might prove as a useful tactic when going against someone armed with a shield.

But for now she wasn't fighting against anything. Apart from the sea and those shells, if you could really call it a fight. Let her plans for fighting a warrior like this man wait - there were far more current issues to deal with.

At first, with her demands, he wasn't certain - at least, that was what she could tell from his tone of voice, too much in a rush to focus on what the particular words were trying to say.

Then, with her "go!", he listened. Merevaika blinked a few times, even rubbed her eyes in shock. So he had just agreed? Without arguing, without questions on what that thing was, what it was doing there, why she wanted it. He didn't protest about being ordered around, about being pulled from whatever he was doing to do things for her. He didn't even stop to question the plan, to confirm it or to try add his own suggestions which would most likely be worth something with her own lack of planning skills.

Instead, he started stripping like a mindless mule.

She had almost been starting to respect him, for the fact he carried a weapon and shield, and clearly knew the advantages and disadvantages of both. He knew those two things well, like a seasoned warrior.

But all hints of respect were thrown down to the depths of the ocean as he just followed instructions. He had no spine, he had no strength, he had nothing. Just... agreement.

Merevaika smiled softly to herself. Well, then, she knew at least one person in Syka who could be taken advantage of, ridiculously easily at that, too. Always good to keep people like that in mind. Close to your person too, in case you need someone to mindlessly dive into the sea to fetch something for you.

She watched him, thinking about that still, as his head sunk up and down under water. How could he stand doing that, the uncertainty that stemmed from being surrounded at all sides by water? Then again, perhaps he could swim, so the task wouldn't bother him at all.

Unlike with Merevaika, who seemed to only have bad experiences with water.

After enough dives that she couldn't be bothered to count, he emerged, the salty water glinting off his aging body. He was out of breath, collapsing beside her, muscles shaking. Coughing out the water in his lungs.

Just seeing him made her glad she hadn't tried to endeavour herself. She would, probably, be dead by that point.

He asked for water, and she decided to agree. Pulling the waterskin from her belt, she chucked it in his direction, in the manner that she would chuck a dog a bone. With little care, making the action as short as possible. She didn't even don't consciously - it was only afterwards she had realised how she had acted.

Not that she cared. He had yet to show a spine.

Then, hands firmly on the rope, she pulled. And pulled. Her entire body shifted backwards, trying to make thing thing budge. Feet kicked up sand, struggling with the action. They slipped and slid and she couldn't do anything.

"Help!" she ordered quickly, if he hadn't yet joined in. Together, maybe, they had to be able to pull the thing out. This time, she turned, slinging the rope over her shoulder. Pulling hard. Something seemed to shift, as the rope bit into her fingers. It had moved, if only slightly.

But it would take forever to pull it the whole way.

"Better ideas?" she asked, hating the common. But she needed them - she didn't have the strength to pull it all the way.

Dropping the rope, she wiped the moisture and the start of rope burn away, taking a closer look at the shell sitting there in the sand. They were fighting the water, she realised. It longed to push it further away. And the sand - it seemed to be digging itself deeper. If she could swim out, take a look for herself, she'd be met with the front half of the shells submerged in the swirling sands that lay there.

Then the idea hit her, and she spoke as it flooded into her mind, letting this man hear the process and tell her what he thought about it all.

All she had to do was deal with the common. She had done enough of that this season already.

"Water in and out? In in morning, out in evening. It now..." she looked up at the sky, pointing towards how Syna was at her highest in the sky. No wonder she could feel her touch like a whip against her body. "Now midday. We wait - keep shells there, here - and water move out. Make job easier?"

Then they could use her plan, his plan, any plan. Stepping away from the rope, as if she had already decided that she was doing that, she stared at him intently. This time, not so much to get him to agree. This time, she wanted an actual response from him. Any doubts, or confirmations. Anything to make her feel more happy with the plan.

"All good?"
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[Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

Postby Frouwenlop on August 15th, 2017, 4:30 am

Frou' stared blankly at the now opened water purse. He hoped she had given him something... stronger than water. Bah, he drank half the recipient in one shot, making some of it's content flow over the corners of his lips down to his chin.
"Ah.." He swept what had spilled with his forearm. Back in his homeland he had seen so many kids playing effortlessly in the rivers, as if the water was for them what the air was for the birds. Not that he was in bad shape though, but gods know it was exhausting. Maybe this was the first sign of ageing. He hoped not. Really, he hoped not.

He woke out from his torpor at the sound of efforts. The young lady was trying her hardest to pull the rope.
As he was starting to get up to lend her a hand she stopped. Her hands were reddened with the friction. She couldn't wait for him a minute, eh?
She was definitely the impatient kind, he hoped it won't backfire on her one day. She wasn't to blame though, he thought, she looked still quite young.

She turned toward him and shared a new plan.
"In.. out.. The tide you mean?" It doesn't sound like a bad idea at all, he quickly nodded.
Frou' got up with a grimace and took back the rope. He tied the latter firmly to the handle of his shield and stuck it firmly in the sand so it wouldn't budge an inch if the shells would happen to get dragged by the current.
He raised his head toward the sun, closed an eye and squinted the other not to get dazzled.
"Got something to start a fire? I'll get us some fresh fish"
He was getting hungry, maybe she was as well. Frou' grabbed his net and his cloak while pushing his boots and chestpiece near the shield.
"Shouldn't take long."

The cloak now lying down at his feet so the fish wouldn't taste like sand, he stretched and started to unravel the net. It got awfully tangled when he rushed through the vegetation in response to the missy's shoot. He glanced toward her tent. So she lives her, all by herself. Quite crazy, he thought. Perhaps this is her odd temper that made her survive here. He laughed.
Well, net untied. Many years of accidentally messing up nets have granted him an incredible talent for unravelling things. He didn't know if this is something to be proud of or not, but at least this is a handy skill.
He cast the net and pulled gently. So the girl said there might be something inside the shells.. Meh, he wouldn't say no to a pearl of the size of these clams.
Eh, too small. He threw back the fishes into the sea.
After a half dozen of tries, there were five fish of a quite respectable size now lying in his cloak. It should be enough for the both of them.
He gathered the extremities of the cloak in one point he held together, swung the improvised bag over his shoulder and went toward the tent.

As Frou' approached her place, he laid the "bag" near the entrance and sat, enjoying the sun's caress. The heat didn't bother him anymore, he even learned to enjoy it -the same couldn't be said for those flying pests near the main encampment-
He glanced toward the young miss.
"Got real beverage to drink?" He paused. "The name's Frouwenlop, though."
They haven't introduced themselves already, and he was quite curious to know why someone like that was willingly secluded in the middle of nowhere.
He opened the cloak and made a gesture meaning that she could dig in.
"Was Sylirian, gard.." Common wasn't her native tongue, perhaps he should articulate a bit more.
"I came from Syliria, I worked as a gardener in a noble's promenade for years."
He looked at the landscape while instinctively gutting a fish.
"When I leaved for Syka, I travelled as an escort for merchant convoys. Didn't had much back then, could only afford an axe."
Oh well, bad habits return too fast, never mind the enunciation.
"'Day I got the coin for a sword, I was accustomed too much to the axe already. Got a large shield instead."
The young miss looked quite interested about his gear earlier, he thought good to give her more details, that way she could stay idle for a second. Quick glance to the shield.
"Speakin' of it, it can be used as a way to dig around the clams while one of us pull."
He pondered a bit while descaling the fish.
"When I was down there the shells were nearly all buried by a riptide. 'Tis going to be worse in a few hours."
While filleting the fish, he made a chin gesture toward one of his arms. "I should pull while you dig."
Fish ready, up to a flame to do its job now.

"Why you here in this middle o' nowhere?"
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[Heat Is On] Giant of the Sea

Postby Merevaika on August 22nd, 2017, 7:25 am

25th Summer 517

He gave a word. Tide. Without knowing if it was actually what she was thinking about, considering how she had never heard the word and knew she had no chance of guessing it, she nodded. Tide. How was she meant that? Her sea didn't have tides or waves or even water. This sea was messed up - but at least now she (thought she) knew what it was called.

Either way, whatever it meant, he nodded. Agreeing with her plan like that.

Merevaika was now almost certain that he was the type of guy to agree to any plan blindly. It was impossible for everything that she had said to actually be a good idea.But at least that meant she had learned something about him. Which could definitely be useful, if she took advantage of it at just the right time.

For now, though, she was going to go along with his suggestion. Make a fire, so he could get some fish.

It seemed as though she was getting a free lunch out of this as well. The woman found it hard to hide her pleasure with that. She was good at ignoring hunger, because it was too distracting and she often felt it, but the thought of food pulled it straight back. Her empty stomach gurgled excitedly at the prospect of a meal. Her mouth curled into a smile.

She watched him work for a short while, curious as to what he was doing, and how, and why. Picking and choosing fish. The ones he deemed too small were thrown back to the sea.

That was odd. She watched the wasted time and effort disappear with a simple throw, never to be caught again. Yes, they were small, and you could even say too small, but it was still food, wasn't it? He could smoke it and save it for when he didn't have luck with his net. Even small as they were, they could make a quick snack. They were something, compared to the nothing that they all had to constantly prepare for.

Perhaps he was used to being in a city. That would make sense. There, no one would buy the tiny fish. They had food forever, and didn't even have to think about it. There, he'd only want the largest, best fish to sell, because no one would buy the little things.

But this wasn't the city, and she wasn't used to them either, so her eyes widened with shock and confusion with those actions. One day, he'd be forced to learn, and then it wouldn't be the most pleasant experience.

Only realising that she had just been standing there, not doing anything at all, when he pulled his cloak up like a make shift bag and heaved it over his shoulders, Merevaika sprung into action, moving to where she had previously made a fire and inspecting the embers. There was a particularly knotted piece of wood that hadn't seemed to burn, which she collected quickly, brushing off the soot. Unfortunately, it seemed like there wasn't anything else there to be scavenged out, but she ran her fingers through the ash anyway, watching the grey coat her fingers as she felt around for any lumps that could be wood.

His voice came as she decided there was nothing. He asked for a real... something to drink. She had no clue what that word was, unable to even copy it in her mind. Was it a type of drink? It had to be - what else made sense? But she still had no idea what it was specifically. He could be searching for anything.

Didn't matter either way, she realised. It was clear from his tone, and from what she could understand, that he wasn't looking for just water - she had already given him that. And the woman had nothing else, just waterskins of water.

What else would she have? Milk couldn't keep. She wasn't a fan of tea. And alcohol dulled the senses. For someone constantly living on the cusp of life and death, an inability to stay right in the mind, to be able to ride and fight without hindrance, that was important. Alcohol pushed her in the wrong direction.

"No," she stated simply, leaving it up to him to get himself that real something he was looking for.

He introduced himself anyway, and Merevaika knew it was her turn too. That was how it worked. For some reason, she hated it. Even in this tiny settlement where everyone knew everyone, she wanted her hint of anonymity. But she could just refuse - it was odd and most likely he'd find her name out anyway from someone else. "I am Merevaika," she said briskly in reply, wondering how what he had said was meant to be a name. Who knew, maybe she had mistaken yet another unknown common word for his name?

The man opened the cloak out and gestured to the fish. Ignoring him, or missing his action, or something, Merevaika strode straight past, pulling back the door of the tent and peeping in. At the base of where she slept, she kept her pile of wood, knowing well enough to keep it inside just in case it did rain. While most the branches had been cut down alive and useless, that had been long enough ago that she could use them now without any problem. Taking up an armful, she used the other to catch the stray bits and push herself out.

When she emerged, he seemed to be repeating himself. It was rather odd, but she tried to listen as she dropped her wood in a messy pile a little bit away from the tent. He had been a gardener - while she didn't know exactly what that was, she guessed it had something to do with gardens. Now, that was a weird thought too. Gardens. The Drykas had no need for them, considering their tents moved and the Sea of Grass was the biggest garden that was. But he was one of them in a something's something for years. It wasn't the most exciting backstory no matter how she filled in the blanks, and she wasn't interested enough to ask what a noble was, or a prom.. something. Or what a gardener did exactly. It was a difficult concept for her to grasp.

The next sentence was equally lost on her, Merevaika getting the first main idea then getting lost in a maze of unfamiliar words. It was unimportant, she decided. He had only had an axe, then. Like that was important. She wasn't quite certain about what was actually going on, and instead focused on her sticks.

Even with that weird ability she had gained, that let her start fires not with a flint and steel, but with a simple thought, Merevaika wasn't certain whether she could just dump sticks and set fire to them. Even if she could, the fire would be disorganised and not the best for cooking with.

A better option would be to attempt to make one of those structures, which she struggled with, but would also have to deal with.

Two sticks sat parallel to each other. Across them sat another two, parallel and near the edges, to form a sort off square shape. Then another two matching the first two - the first few times she tried, the sticks rolled off, or knocked the whole tower down. When she had finally succeeded, she worked even slower, building up the tower as she did.

How tall? How was she meant to know? She used up half the sticks, and left the other half to be added when they burned.

He was still speaking. She turned back, trying to figure out what it was now. He was on about the shield. He bought a shield instead of a sword.

That thought meant so much to Merevaika. He was reserved, cautious, defensive. He didn't have the drive to fight like she did. The exhilaration she felt with a weapon in her hand? He didn't understand that either. To him, weapons - and shields - were tools to use. To her, they gave way to some deeper animal inside of her.

Then again, he had been talking about coin. Maybe the sword was just too expensive, but he would have had it, if he could. Merevaika had to admit, she hadn't been listening very closely. It was far too much work.

Trying to listen harder, at least she understood that next sentence. With a nod, she showed her agreement, knowing that it would work better to use a shield to dig the thing out rather than their hands. Especially considering it was going to get worse. (Although she didn't know why. What distinguished the tide from a riptide? What even was that?)

It was only after that next statement that she realised maybe he wasn't as complacent as she had assumed. He had the idea of having some fish to eat, told her to make a fire while he cut and descaled and whatever else he needed to do. And now he was telling her what to do, to dig while he pulled. That gesture towards his muscular arms didn't go unnoticed, and while he did seem to have some strength, the woman felt a bit... well, she couldn't place the word, but as if she had been automatically assumed as weaker.

Every fibre in her body wanted to take it as a challenge, to refuse and swap jobs instead. To prove to him that she could do whatever he could do, if not more. But something even deeper could strangely be heard. The voice of reason. It wasn't telling her that she was weaker, that it was a better idea to let the stronger of the two to do the heavy pulling, of course. Instead it reminded her that she didn't need to prove herself to this stranger. She was better than that. And, for what could have been the first time in her life, she actually listened to this voice inside of her.

Besides, she wanted to feel that shield out, figure it out some more.

Just like he had done earlier (Although she didn't notice the similarity until much later), she pretty much ignored him, simply agreeing without another word. She had decided not to challenge him, and that had resulted in this uncomfortable silence.

His next question was even worse. Merevaika looked up from where she was fiddling with her wood at him, frozen as if she'd seen a glassbeak. She wasn't going to tell him. She couldn't. Besides, he'd never understand. How could he? A walahk- that was what he was, after all - a walahk couldn't know, because he had never felt it.

Her eyes fell on the fish. It looked done. And this fire wasn't going to start itself.

She could have done it with a thought, got the whole thing burning, she supposed. It would have been over in seconds, and they could have started cooking. But Merevaika needed to step away for a moment, so without excusing herself, without another response to the question, she got up, and started a light stroll to the fringe of the jungle.

Despite her efforts to take her time, it wasn't hard to find a patch of grass drier than the rest. Handfuls came off easily, breaking in her hands in that dry mess it made. Perfect kindling. While she gathered it, she tried to think of a response. Already, her actions would lead him to believe she didn't want to talk about it. But she still felt giving him anything, any snippet of a lie, would hide enough.

"For fire," she tried to explain her sudden disappearance as she returned, extending the hand full of dried grass. As she pushed it down the centre of her tower, she continued. "I came, because they say this is paradise. The city, Riverfall, any city, is not for me, so I come. See what paradise look like." Before he could ask anything more about that, she added, "I do not like paradise. Too much sand and sea."

Focusing on the grass, she found it lighting with almost no effort. Smoke rose and the whole thing crackled with heat, Merevaika playing with setting fire to more and more of the structure as she avoided him and his gaze as much as she could.

Finally, she spoke again, stepping back from the now fairly large fire with half a smile at her work. "Fire ready. How long you think? For fish and for shells?"

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