Closed The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Nya takes Pulren up on his offer of Swimming Lessons.

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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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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Nya Winters on November 24th, 2017, 4:35 am

Timestamp: 27th of Fall, 517 AV


The breeze screamed in her ear and Nya screamed back, each entity bursting into laughter as they traveled. The Kelvic was in a flat out run down the beach, challenged by one of Zulrav’s invisible minions to go as fast or faster than it could. The speed was break-neck as the Kelvic jumped flotsam and the line of seaweed washed up at high tide. She avoided the loose sand because it slowed her down, instead keeping her bare feet slapping the wet sand and thrusting her body forward as fast as her muscles could. Her arms reached out, helping to propel her body forward as she followed the taunting breeze, determined to keep up with something that had no body and no form other than the invisible currents Zulrav commanded.

Nya was breathing heavily, all but winded, though that didn’t stop her from drinking in the scent of the salt and the sea, snorting out the loosely blowing sand, and seeking a hint that he would be near.

The breeze missed nothing. “You’re looking for him aren’t you?” Nya grinned, tossed her head, and pumped her legs faster even though they were burning from the exertion. “I’m going to meet him because he agreed to show me how to swim better. I can paddle in my fur but I’m hopeless in my skin.” Nya muttered between drinking in big breaths to keep her lungs working.

Just then she caught a familiar scent as she rounded a slight curve in the beach and caught sight of a bungalow. The breeze was going to beat her there, but Nya didn’t mind. She always lost such races. It didn’t make them any less fun. To her it was the journey with a friend rather than a solo wandering that made it all worth while. He was close, somewhere near, even though Nya couldn’t see him just yet.

Barefoot and wearing only a loose leather loincloth, the Kelvic darted up the beach angling away from the wet sand and into the deeper loosely packed sand. It was hot on her feet and she yelped as she crossed the soft sand and darted into the shadows the breeze still well ahead of her. She changed her loose controlled gait to a frantic set of leaps, moving from one patch of shade generated by palms to another until she pulled up breathless in front of Pulren’s bungalow. The man was lounging on a chair facing the ocean on his little porch. Nya, unable to speak, skidded to a halt in the shade of one of the palm trees then leaned forward, hands on her knees, to blow like a winded horse. Nya slipped her pack off her shoulders and then groaning, she flopped down on her back, knees bent to the sky, and reached for her waterskin in her pack. She poured most of it over her face then used her pack as a pillow as she laid there panting a few moments trying to catch her breath.

Nya lifted her head and tracked something invisible darting around the bungalow. She laughed a moment between gasping breaths. The breeze swirled around excitedly until Nya waved her hand and laughed and said… “Okay okay… you won. Happy?” She seemed to be confident something was actually darting around the ‘yard’ area of the bungalow. Pulren would see nothing but definitely feel a breeze ruffling his hair as if something sentient had darted past.

Nya flopped back down, breathed heavily a few chimes more, then lifted her head once again.

Nya turned to him, catching his gaze, her eyes alight with the excitement of her run. Still gasping, she spoke between deep breaths….. “Still willing to give me a swimming lesson? I need a chime or two. Racing breezes is never a winning endeavor.” The Kelvic added then dropped her head back on her pack.

Besides her pack, which looked slightly bulging, Nya wore nothing but a loin cloth belted over her hips. Her brindled hair was scattered loose across her chest providing a hint of modesty to an otherwise darkly tanned feline wearing her skin. “I wasn’t sure where you lived, but I caught your scent around the bend. I knew you were in a bungalow, but I wasn’t clear on which one. I never rented one of these when I came here. I have a big tent stolen from the Ebonstryfe. It’s better served here than in Syliras, I think.” The Kelivc added, her smile slightly crooked. She was rapidly catching her breath. And the moment her breathing seemed to return to normal, she rolled until she was sitting up, her lean legs folded under her. She still wasn’t on the porch but she was definitely a few feet off his little deck… close enough to chat but not close enough to be invading his space.

“How is the day finding you? I like your beach here. There aren’t as many big rocks as there are on my beach. I live right next to Treasure Point. I like the lookout up above that beach. You can greet the storms rolling in from the Suvan and have a little talk with them.” She added, yawning, then stretching and finally shaking out her arms as if they hurt her slightly from her run.

Nya got a good look at him and chuckled. He was stripped to the waist in the heat but below that he was wearing leather... full black leather. "Aren't you roasting in the sun in all that leather?" The Kelvic asked, curious as to how the newcomer could be so overdressed.

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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Pulren Marsh on November 26th, 2017, 5:02 am

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it was hot. Pulren had little clue the day before, as he was whisked around the settlement with his new favorite resident. When the winds died down and Syna rose over the Suvan, the great humid jungle at your back? Yeah, it was sweltering. Pulren remembered his house in Zeltiva with another feline, thinking about how that was hot. No, this was Hot. Sweat streamed over his temples and down his back, making it stick to the leather of his favorite armchair. His eyes were set on the surf.

Since his arrival, he hadn't once put so much as a toe in the Suvan. It was blasphemy. Although he had spent the better part of the morning getting acquainted with his bungalow, the constant crash of the light surf was a constant reminder of who he was and who he was to be. If there had been any doubt before the automaton was presented to him, there was none now. Pulren's belief was so strong that he knew that the little fish had been given to him across the years by the Sea father. Here he was, sweltering and looking at the ocean rather than diving in. He just felt it was best to wait and make sure that Nya would show up.

Not much need for patience as the woman came barreling up the beach and found herself huffing and puffing from a clearly intense run. He watched with interest as she flopped on her back and poured water on her face. "Well, I guess that's one way to break yourself in to the water.", he said to himself with a smirk. Next, it looked like she was watching something that Pulren couldn't see. He tried to focus in and follow her movements but there was nothing. When the wind blew past his face and she spoke to it, the Zeltivan took it at face value. it was refreshing and whimsical. The whole scene was as refreshing as the breeze.

He was happy to see those deep mossy greens catch his own brackish ones. "Of course, I'm definitely ready to get wet. Hope you are." When she mentioned chasing breezes, Pulren's hand went to the back of his neck, still cool from the breeze over his perspiration. She mentioned his scent and the bungalow. He wished he could smell her so readily, but there was plenty of time for that. "This one was closest to the ocean and until I am fully immersed in the ways of Syka, I kind of need a roof." He smiled and shrugged. It would take some time for him to acclimate to the paradise in more ways than one, though the constant presence of the father would help him a great deal.

She rolled up and was closer now, the excitement in her eyes contagious. "Everything is great. Beautiful day, I get to spend time doing what I love and I get to spend that time with you. Lines up pretty perfect. " She said she lived next to somewhere named Treasure Point and Pulren thought further about placing his claim near hers. He was already on the cusp of it for so many reasons. This would be one more obvious one. Her question made him grin and then laugh.

"Yes, yes, it's very hot, Roasting is a very good word." With that, he kicked his high boots off and slid his leather pants down to his ankles, stepping out of them. Just like everything else, Pulren wasn't to the loincloth or bare stage yet, so he stepped off of the porch in his white linen undergarments. Stepping past her, he closed his eyes and exhaled, ready for communion. Once the surf cascaded over his feet, his eyes stirred in their green, as if the blue of the ocean had washed into the brackish bay. The Oceanus mark on his body came to life as the kelp began to sway and the shadows of predators began to move through the half light. He simply stood there, his hands out and palms open, taking in the sudden realization of every living sea creature around him for a nautical mile.

A peace came over him and his features as he stepped a little deeper in, the waves lightly lapping at the backs of his knees. Turning to Nya, he extended his hand to her. "Join me." when she did, he would slowly walk with her until they were both waist deep in the water. Pulren would be seen watching the water with the same invisible delight as he could see schools of fish, an octopus, crabs and the movements of sharks. Unless she let go, he would keep her hand in his, holding it firmly but gently. With a voice of serenity that she had probably not heard from the Zeltivan, he looked into her eyes and said, "Here, in Laviku's grasp with me, you are safe. I won't let anything bad happen to you."
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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Nya Winters on November 26th, 2017, 6:30 am



Nya was glad Pulren was hot. If he had said otherwise, she would have suspected him of being a minion of Ivak or a follower of Syna. The Kelvic appreciated both Gods, but decidedly not the full midday sun in and around Syka. She sat up, tossed her head to shake the sand out of her hair, and watched as he rose and spoke of being hot and ready to get in the water. He appreciated the day, which was rare for a male to say something about, and seemed eager to spend time with her. Nya tilted her head, noting that Pulren had seemed to say he loved swimming. The Kelvic didn’t mind the water, but wished she was better at moving around in it, especially wearing her skin. Hopefully Pulren could help her out. She believed that he could until he proved himself otherwise unreliable.

As she watched him strip down out of his leathers and high boots, the woman froze for a moment. A shadow crossed her eyes as she watched. But it was hard to live in the past, especially in the bright light of Syka’s sun. Had it been a shadowed place of stone, damp with moisture and the smell of rotting decay, the kelvic might have traded skin for fur just out of habit. Normally, nothing good came of men relieving themselves of clothing. But this was Syka and things here were different. People wore less and lived fiercer more passionate lives that brought them closer to the world than in other places. It was hard to describe, even in her own mind, and would be impossible to teach Pulren about. Better would be letting him learn for himself, which he seemed to be doing. He was, after all, already stripped from the waist down.

He left his undergarments on then started into the deep sand and the water beyond. Nya rose to follow him, loosening the belt at her hips and dropping her belt and loincloth off at the edge of the sand. She wouldn’t get the metal of her Kukri wet unless she had to or it was raining. Salt water was good for nothing metal at all. She watched the mark on his chest seemingly move slowly, as if alive, reacting to the water. Nya kept her eyes on him as she paced in his shadow until she was standing beside him in the water. The fact that he extended his hand surprised her. She hesitated a moment then reached out and linked her fingers with his.

His hand was big, surprising her, and his grip rough from hard work and more than likely the use of his weapon. Nya wondered what type he preferred, since she hadn’t seen him carrying a sword yet. With his grip firm, Nya let him lead her deeper until she was waist deep in the water. Pulren had a look on his face of bliss and she wondered why. He was human wasn’t he? Not one of those water dwelling races…. The Konti? No they were all female and scaled… and though Pulren was pale, he was far darker than she thought the Konti were.

Nya tilted her head watching him. Even his voice was softer, richer, in the confines of Laviku’s realm. When he spoke, she studied him, her eyes meeting his for a moment before she nodded, suddenly believing him. He was acting like she would act, in the folds of one of Zulrav’s storms. To her drawing a storm in, confining it, and trapping its energies in a Storm Gem made her feel a lot like Pulren looked like he felt simply standing in the sea. So Nya waited patiently, letting him adjust to it, relax, and come more fully back to her from his euphoria before she answered him.

“I believe you. Thank you. Now don’t we have to go deeper to swim?” She asked carefully, letting the slight surf roll over her hips and lift gently at her as each wave came past. The ocean here wasn’t fierce. But it still lapped the shore and smoothed the beach like the sea was breathing… in and out.

The wind blew rudely, tangling Nya’s half-dried hair in front of her face so she had to use her free hand to untangle it so she didn’t breathe it in. Laughter reached her and the Kelvic realized Zulrav’s minions hadn’t decided to leave her alone just yet either. Nya released Pulren’s hand so she could drop lower in the water for a moment, tilt her head back, and wet her hair. She stood back up and her lips tilted upright almost in a grin as one particular breeze grumbled in her ear. Wet hair was heavier and harder to tangle. That would show them…

Her attention turned back to Pulren.

Nya inhaled deeply, resumed watching Pulren, and taking in his scent. Then she let her nerves get to her and started to speak almost randomly. “I can swim as a cat better than I can as a woman. My body is heavier and four legs are easier to paddle than two. I don’t know how to do it with two legs though. I mean if it’s shallow like this I can glide along, but … I just don’t…. “ Nya shook her head uncertain. Truth be told the most swimming she’d done was wading in the water off the coast to salvage shipwrecks and drag in wreckage. She’d also met Shai in a pond, swimming, though it had been shallow and they’d done more talking than floating in the water.

The Kelvic turned and faced away from Pulren to gaze out to sea. Gulls lazed across the sky and waves broke behind them on the shore, but the surf was calm all the way out to the shore. It was a beautiful place, the woman had to admit, with the clear water being almost see-through. Nya could see, looking down, where her toes dipped into the sand underwater and patches of life that littered the floor of the coast. Strange plants grew, some soft and some hard, with all kinds of fish darting around their legs. In a way, the ocean was just as wild as the jungle in its own way. She looked over her shoulder at Pulren, the swirl of a moving gnosis mark clearly outlined in raised flesh on her shoulder.

“Beautiful isn’t it? If I ever have to leave here for any reason, I won’t ever forget it.” She told him quietly then waited for him to start the lesson still looking out to sea.

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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Pulren Marsh on November 26th, 2017, 4:28 pm

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Pulren was pleased that Nya had taken his hand. It was the first contact they had made and he had hoped that it would be pleasant. It was. Her hands were not free from labor but they were softer than his. Sometimes it was easy to forget the great beast that Nya truly was as she did her best to fumble in human skin. "We will go deeper, but the first and most important lesson of being in the water is to remain calm. Usually, when someone goes into the water and is not ready, they tend to thrash around and panic. This has many drawbacks. You tend to go under the surface and expel more energy, which could easily cause a fatal accident. Also, in waters such as these, predators of the deep could confuse you for a wounded animal and do what comes naturally." He let that idea sit and sink with her. If anyone knew what he meant, it would be Nya at that moment.

She let go of his hand and dipped her hair back in the water, wetting it. She seemed to let her nerves get to her, her words all over the place as she tried to rationalize her inability to swim. Pulren just let her talk and reached out and took her hands back in his, turning to face her and look into her eyes. "I'm taking your hands because we are going to go out deeper and I want you to just listen to me and trust me. Your instinct will be to panic, but I want you to do your best not to." He kicked off and pulled them out to chest level, where the movement of the waves would bring their feet off the sandy floor of the beach. Moments of weightlessness would grip them and Pulren would remain calm, looking into her eyes.

"Pay attention to your breathing. Just like the ocean, there is a constant tide within us. When you inhale, you are filling the air bladders inside and it will help you to rise. When you exhale, they empty and you sink a little. Keeping focus on this also keeps your mind still, like the waters. Relax." Pulren's practiced legs moved in a slow treading motion when he was not touching the sand. "Now, when your feet leave the ground, ust move them back and forth slowly. Don't worry about your arms and hands. I have you. Look down at my legs. Just an easy, slow back and forth movement with the legs. This is called treading water." As she became more comfortable and rhythmic with that motion, they would naturally move out farther away from the shore.

"I'm going to let go of your hands now, but I'm right here. If you need them back, just let me know. Put your arms down and slowly move them also. You will see that they help keep you up too. We want to keep our neck and shoulders out of the water. Once you get used to this, you can be safe in any depth, at least as far as not drowning." His own motions were natural and a kind of muscle memory, his legs and arms moving slowly and naturally, giving him time to admire the beauty of her eyes and facial features. "Put your attention on me. Just keep relaxing and treading."

He thought about what would keep her mind on something else. "Tell me more about where you live. Your claim. What does it look like?"
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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Nya Winters on November 26th, 2017, 5:18 pm



He was wrong as he took her hand and told her that her instinct would be to panic. Nya’s instinct was never to panic. She was a Talderian Forest Cat. Her instinct was to lash out in violence when she felt fear and fight. Her instinct was to shift and kill. He was in more danger than he knew, but she remained quiet, listening to his voice as her hand gripped his. Nya didn’t correct him. She was too busy listening to him, letting his calmness affect her, wash over her, and his scent ease her anxiety. She stopped talking, babbling away because of nerves. It wasn’t her way, anyhow, just a habit she’d picked up to appear to be more human…. to blend in. He already knew she wasn’t, so there was no need to hide that aspect of herself.

He took her second hand and she was forced to face him. Moss green eyes watched his darker richer gaze, not really seeing him just listening. She was feeling the rhythm of her breath and the cycle of the waves past them. She stiffened as he kicked off, taking them deeper where the water had more power over them. She counted her breathes. He kept her gaze captured but she didn’t really see him. There was no goal here, no battle with the water to retrieve something. They weren’t bathing and ridding themselves of dirt. It felt so unnatural for a moment, so alien, that she trembled. The salt and brime smell of the ocean was burying his scent and she moved slightly closer and inhaled deeper, still outwardly calm as the trembling passed.

She was not afraid. No…. not afraid. Very little scared her. She’d been dead once and brought back. This was just new, so new, she didn’t know how to react. So she did what most Kelvics were instinctively bred to do. She took her cues from Pulren and began to mimic him, blending into what he was doing. He was ignoring the waves that lifted them utterly off their feet as they swept by. She couldn’t say he was taller, for on land they looked exactly the same height. But in the water the weight he had on her did him a good turn, anchoring him more firmly than it did her. What was he? Forty? Fifty pounds heavier? He wouldn't know she'd been recovering from starvation and slavery, built slim naturally while he obviously had a man's heavier frame and bigger bulkier form. The waves weren’t lifting him as high or as much. He looked solid standing there, only …. He wasn’t standing there.

The man was saying something about her legs. About treading water. He was moving them out further or letting the water carry them out further until Nya couldn’t even touch the bottom with her toes. She growled slightly, watching him, occasionally accidentally kicking him because it there was a way to it, a rhythm that she struggled to find. Too many thoughts filled her head. Some of it was science. How fast was the tide dragging them out? How could it drag them out when the waves rolled in? She wanted to turn and look to see how far they were from shore, but Pulren had her back to the beach and his back to the open sea.

Nya gasped now, breathing faster than she should, even though she knew she was supposed to be minding her breath. It wasn’t exactly frightening. It was just so strange, so alien to her. Inside, her Kelvic form fought to be free because the cat knew it was bigger and could touch the bottom maybe. That form could paddle and balanced better due to its size and weight. This human shape was too vulnerable, too frail, at the mercy of the waves. The cat would have fun. The cat would do battle with the water and shred it with its lovely claws and its wicked sharp teeth. Tell-tale sparkles started to swirl around her as Nya almost shifted. Her grip in his hands went fluid for a moment before it re-solidified into human hands.

He let go of her too soon… before she had control fully back. The cat hissed and scrambled forward, not shifting but grabbing him nonetheless as the most solid ground around, gouging her blunt nails into his shoulder as she half climbed him. Sharp human teeth latched onto an open place between his neck and his shoulder blade, digging into sensitive skin to hold on, not yet breaking the surface skin. Her nose flared, dragging in his scent, as she slowly released her teeth and dropped her forehead onto his shoulder.

She was panting, having forgotten all about breathing steadily and slowly.

“Give me a moment….” She whispered, forcing her stiffened body to relax and her nails to let go of him. She felt the way his body undulated, keeping itself and her own form level in the water that was moving past them. She didn’t move. The Kelvic was too wrapped around him to mimic such motions. Nya was stiff, terrified, though the Kelvic wouldn’t admit it to herself. It was only slowly…. so very slowly… that she relaxed and he felt her grip on him loosening.

Nya apologetically slowly dragged her tongue across where her teeth had bitten him but hadn’t broken the skin and then rested her forehead there once more. It was a sort of apology and a check that she hadn’t drawn blood all at once. She didn’t care that it was intimate. She didn’t care that he might try to peel her off him at any moment. She was fighting to stay in her skin and fighting to not feel the fear she could sense rising up from some place deep inside of her. She inhaled again, her grip loosening, and she suddenly pushed off of him, moving backwards, her hands waving in the water like his were, her legs mimicking the motion he’d inadvertently showed her as she clung to him.

If she hadn’t let go then and there she knew she probably wouldn’t have… ever. Not at least until they were dry and there was land beneath them.

Nya kept her eyes closed, knowing where he was by the sounds and smells all around her. She breathed and fought to feel her long two legs and her long two arms. She fought to feel only her hands and the slight slim form she wore. Occasional swirls of light would dance off her indicating how close she was to a change, how unstable she was, but the Kelvic fought it down. She fought it as she treaded water, taking a long long time to realize she was doing what Pulren had been trying to teach her easily because she’d been distracted by her instinct to change and fight rather than to let the fear happen and roll past her.

Only slowly did she open her eyes and meet his gaze, treading water away from him, not touching him, her eyes wide but her body more relaxed than it should be. In her head she was counting kicks, counting swirls of her arms, keeping the tallies separate because she needed the distraction. “Is this right? Is this actual swimming?” She asked, a wave washing her just as she said the last word. She snarled at the water a moment, spitting out some of it that had gotten in her mouth, and kept treading to keep her body upright and facing him.

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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Pulren Marsh on November 28th, 2017, 4:48 am

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Pulren had taught many people before. Well, let's face it, they were all ladies. Some Kelvic, some not, but he could read people well enough that he could tell that his lesson was only partially finding Nya's ear. It was hard for him to remember that she was Kelvic, in the clear case of a cat not liking the water. Sure, they liked to play in it, but when her feet stopped touching, sparkling radiance that brought the change to Talderian feline started to shimmer and pop around them.

She was paying attention, though. it seemed, however, that the exaggerated attention to detail was some kind of coping mechanism, as if the mimicry of movement and the counting was how she kept herself from transforming into her natural form and possibly drowning Pulren. Well, he wouldn't outright, but if she unwittingly knocked him unconscious and was poor at swimming, it could make for a bad scenario. The counting was a little obvious, that or she was saying some kind of mantra that mimicked counting.

He realized too late that he had made a mistake by letting her go. She wasn't ready and he had taken too large a step with her. Her reaction was unexpected but not completely unwanted. With a hiss, Nya latched on to Pulren literally, her teeth finding his neck and her nails digging into his shoulders. He reflexively reached out and placed his hands against her sides, keeping her close to him. His eyes looked up at the cloudy sky in a bit of bliss, though he brought himself back quickly as she relaxed and released her grip. Caressing her sides, he lowered the volume of his voice as he treaded for both of them. "Shh.. relax.. I told you I have you."

He could feel the tension and fear in her body. When she licked at the spot she had bitten, he gave in a little and slid his arms around her, his hands on her lower back, holding her up against him as she brought herself back to calm. When she was that close, he could definitely smell her own flesh and it only made him want more. He put his cheek against the top of her head until she was ready to separate.

When she did, she immediately began to tread water without his help and he smiled, though he was still very aroused from the whole thing. Pulren was glad that the water wasn't crystalline in its clarity. He was proud of her and he felt he should let her know it. "You are definitely on your way to swimming. It is a nice way to relax and to keep your head above water, especially when you want to be stealthy. In the jungle you are hard to see, but a giant cat swimming around? Not so much." He smiled as she was attacked by a wave, his eyes back on her.

"I'm really proud of you, Nya. You resisted the urge to shift and got it together. You learned how to tread water. I know it might be lost on some people, but I know you were panicked. I'll hold you anytime you feel you need to be held. Bites are optional." He moved his legs back and forth to let cool water move through his shorts and hopefully cool him down a little. Pulren was a good talker, but when his libido got hold of him, sometimes he could do either very well or very poorly. He liked Nya and as much as he wanted her, he wasn't going to show his hand so early in the game. Smoldering embers burn longer than infernos.
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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Nya Winters on November 29th, 2017, 3:10 am



Swimming lessons were turning out to be more than what Nya had anticipated. She’d always thought herself brave and it still surprised her to find things that truly scared her. The most frightening stuff seemed to stem from not being in control. The Sea would always be bigger, stronger, deeper…. Far more powerful than Nya. Even that Pulren and herself treaded water here seemed to be only by the mysterious Laviku’s Grace.

So close to the water, Nya immediately noticed Pulren’s eyes were the same color as the sea. Was it a coincidence that he followed Laviku? They were knowing eyes, as if he understood what was going on in her mind and what her thoughts were revolving around. It would have made her uncomfortable on so many levels but the stranger she had just met the day before felt comfortable to her already. Maybe the Founders had been correct when they had told her opening up to people involved forcing oneself to spend time with them, talk to them, and even touch them.

She knew Mathias and more so Randal had gotten her over her fear of men. Juli had been the bridge that had linked her past to the present and restarted her ability to trust again. James’ young daughter had made it possible for Mathias to get the first touch in and then for Randal to handle her like she was normal… when she was anything but normal. They were, in a way, family both to the Kelvic and to each other even though the trio shared no blood. The only two related where James and Juli… and perhaps the young girl who ghosted around the settlement only present when the ship was . Without them making it a point to touch her, pet her, reconnect her with humanity when she’d been so isolated and so withdrawn, this swimming lesson would have never happened.

Nya wouldn’t have ever half climbed up a stranger’s body to seek relief from fear if not from the care and acceptance she’d received in Syka. Mathias had given her a wise man to talk to. Randal had passed on skills to her in order to survive. And Juli had given her companionship and someone to trade with. James took her orders for supplies from Riverfall, gently assisting her though he was gone more than he was present. Nya had once asked Mathias why… why the care and effort when they hadn’t needed too … when she was a stranger.

Mathias had only smiled and told her that people were only strange for short periods of time and that they’d all rather have a Talderian Kelvic in their family than a dangerous half-wild one constantly threatening the colony with her instability. Randal, happening upon the conversation, had added in that Ravok had damaged enough of the world under the leadership of Chaos. And reclaiming anything of beauty was worth far more than having to finish off the destruction that God had started. The conversation had embarrassed her in ways she hadn’t felt for a long time, but she’d also realized how lucky she was and had become overly protective of the people of Syka because of it. Things might have been different if she’d been treated differently. But the truth was the trio and their family treated everyone like they had Nya. They had taught Nya that everyone had worth… at least until they proved otherwise.

People had disappeared from the settlement…. sometimes quickly, often quietly. People assumed they sailed on The Veronica. Nya wasn’t so sure. But she didn’t care. Her long slow walk back to sanity involved choices, and even maintaining that stability called for choices. Her conscious was clear, but it didn’t need to be for her to be happy.

Still treading water, these things passed through Nya’s mind as she watched Pulren and as he praised her. The Kelvic was unused to praise that was genuine. The only kind of praise she had ever had was given in the bowels of The Blacksun Temple from the lips of pit vipers wearing human skin. Nya took his words at face value. They had more weight because the feel of his hands on her sides and then his arms gently wrapped around her as he quietly whispered for her to be quiet, to relax, that he had her…. was still also on her mind and in the tactile touch memory of her skin.

If he hadn’t been submerged in water that drowned out all of his subtle scent cues, she would have caught his arousal. But Nya was too distracted by other things to understand as a man he was interested. She was interested too, fascinated even, but in the way a Kelvic watched humans for a sense of someone to serve. It was an old primal urge, something she hadn’t felt in a long time. As she treaded water and listened to him praise her she suddenly craved more of it… more of his attention… more of his time… just… more of him.

It overwhelmed any remaining fear and had her focused on him… her world narrowing. Then he said something that truly shocked her. He offered to hold her anytime she felt she needed to be held…. and made what she assumed was a joke about biting. Her mind went immediately to the feel of his hands, the comfort of his arms, and even how he’d leaned his cheek against her head.

Now.

She wanted to say now… hold me now. But Nya remained silent, still trying to understand his offer and why he’d made it and more importantly her reaction to it. He was giving here, not her. She had no value to him. His swimming lessons had cost her nothing. Wasn’t there always a cost? Was there a price in his offer? He had plans and she had plans to have no plans for a while. The Kelvic tilted her head, still watching him, and then moved closer again as a particularly large wave pulled her out just a little further. She was growing accustomed to treading water and the motion didn’t spark another round of insecurity. .

It was effortless as long as her brain didn’t put too much thought into it. Nya suddenly had other things to think about. Then, as they quietly drifted in the water, she began to tell him about Syka. She gave in to that urge at least, hoping he’d understand. She told him about the Founders and how they had somehow managed to tame her with small things like touches and many many nights of exchanging stories on porches or by fires on the beach. Her words whispered across the water as the waves rolled by, gently lifting them and drifting them further. The pair traveled as Nya spoke, parallel to the shore, gliding shapes of stingrays shadowing the water beneath them. She finished off her story with an offer of her own. “You can touch me too. Anytime you need too if it is for comfort and not in anger.” Nya said softly, reaching out to link her fingers with his for a moment and then releasing him. It was almost a gesture of thanks… for the offer and for the praise.

Nya was quietly beginning to notice more and more around them. Fish schooled beneath them, members of a society she only caught glimpses of. Birds wheeled overhead, crying distantly and sometimes landing on the beach to fight over something the waves had tossed up.

The kelvic took another breath, then another, and suddenly ran her hand across the top of the water, splashing him lightly. The water was warm. The sun was high. And Nya knew she was in good company. “What next? I want to be able to steer…. to aim for somewhere and get there…’ The Kelvic explained… eager for more.


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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Pulren Marsh on December 1st, 2017, 5:43 pm

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The moment, as intimate and frenetic as it had been, had passed. The ocean remained, their legs continuing to move, their arms as well. Nya had a good point. Changing tempo would serve to move away from the previous challenge as well as give the Kelvic more skill. "Yes, of course. Let's start a little easier this time. I hope you are trusting me more. I am going to trust you now."

Turning over on his back, Pulren began to move his arms in small circles, aiding him in keeping afloat so that his chest, arms and head remained in Syna's grasp while the rest in Laviku's. His legs continued to kick just below the surface, his body slowly propelling away from her. Turning his head, his body angled and he slowly made a semi circle toward her, the waves expediting the movement when he was in their shared direction. "Try turning over on your back and you will see when you kick now, it will be moving you. To steer, use your arms. they have to stay in motion, but not as much, since your legs are doing the moving. Just use them like oars, turning one way or the other and adjusting your course."

Of course, it was much easier for Pulren. He knew how to turn on his side as he spoke to her, when to move one leg and not the other to make the motions seem more like gliding than choppy floundering. But just like babies have to learn how to crawl before daring to stand and then walk, beginning swimmers had to learn how to stay afloat and use little energy. The primary reason for the training was survival. That's how Pulren felt. When you could hold your own without something to cling to and survive large waves and tricky currents, only then could you play around. Even if it seemed boring, they were all vital tools to success in swimming survival.

"Now listen. If you start to fell out of sorts or the urge to shift, just relax and return to the treading position. You are in calm seas with an experienced swimmer watching over you. these are the best conditions you could ask for to learn. Uncle Pal just threw me off the boat one night. Boy was he surprised when I took to it like a fish." Pulren chuckled and said a silent prayer to the drunken bastard, praying that Laviku held his rotting corpse well in his grasp. Arching his back, he slid into the water like a dagger, his body disappearing beneath the waves for a moment.

Immersed, he felt the joy that it was to be in one's true element. Out in the world of cold winds and colder hearts, there was always danger and suspicion. Beneath the waves, in the realm of the Sea Father, all was harmony. While he sensed the myriad of forms that swam in every direction around him, he closed his eyes briefly, knowing in his heart that there was nothing random about it. His fingers trailed along the sand, pulling small clouds up in their wake as he slowly kicked back to the surface, appearing near Nya.

Smiling, he asked her, "I bet my being under the water is a lot like how you feel hidden in the jungle. You can show me the jungle and you can tell me about it, even sit beside me in it, but I will never sense it like you do." He was treading and watching her, happy to help and direct.
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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Nya Winters on December 7th, 2017, 2:30 am



Nya recognized when he ignored her playful splash that he wasn’t the playful sort. Not everyone was. The Kelvic licked the salt off her lips and continued to tread water, glad that the motions he’d shown her easily kept her above the waves. He spoke of trust and his hope for hers. He said he trusted her as well, though Nya wasn’t certain why he ever would.

She watched as he turned on his back and carefully instructed her on what he was doing and why. Nya raised a dark eyebrow, wondering why in the world turning on ones back and kicking was going to get her anywhere but lost. Her eyes were in the front of her head looking towards her feet in that position, not in the back of her head staring at where she was going.

Smart felines refused to rush someplace blind and certainly never went were they couldn’t see where they were going. So instead of turning on her back as he’d instructed, she slipped to her side and reached one arm out as if pointing it where she was going and kicked as he had with her legs. There was no way she was going to be bottoms down to the dangers of the sea and belly up to the dangers of the sky, not while the sideways motion seemed a good compromise.

Pulren was as lithe as a salmon in the water and Nya saw that he was superior in his movements to an average human when in his watery element. Maybe he was part fish. She’d have known if he was some sort of Kelvic Seal. They always recognized their own kind. Nya didn’t trust easily though, and she trusted even less when someone told her ‘trust me’. In her experience those words had followed things like … “This is going to hurt. Trust me.” And never meant anything good was going to come about. She continued her unskilled floundering, refusing to turn completely on her back, but keeping the sideways position as a sort of compromise. She even rolled to her belly once and found paddling like that even a bit easier. Her back was just too vulnerable… her belly to exposed. Nya continued to make the motions, kicking with her feet and trying to steer. It wasn’t easy. She felt graceless and like she bent in all the wrong places because the viscosity of the water seemed to throw off even her usually very good equilibrium.

Pulren slipped beneath the waves and Nya sat up, treading water for a moment in concern. They were pretty far out and the water was deep, far deeper than she could reach with her toes. Pulren’s shadow was clearly seen through the clear water, scattering fish and running counter point to the life that clung to everything below.

Nya rolled onto her belly and started kicking towards shore. If he was going to drown, she wasn’t going to be able to save him, but at least if she got a little closer to the beach, she’d feel better about saving herself. Nya preferred self-reliance. Abashai had shown her just how much it hurt when you relied on someone and they betrayed you. She’d been unbonded since and without any close friends. It worked well for her. Things happened. And just because one of them was experienced didn’t mean things wouldn’t happen here too. There were sharks out here and worse things. She’d seen them from boats and from the shore, and even from holding vigil on Treasure Point and meeting storms.

He resurfaced when she was closer to the beach, letting the waves pull at her slightly and tug her closer to shore. His words made her smile, but she truly didn’t know what he meant. The jungle just was. It wasn’t something that evoked a lot of emotion in her. She felt hungry, tired, thirsty, bored, curious, and such things. But nothing was overwhelming. And nothing evoked the intense emotions she used to have before. Nothing did that anymore. Ravok had brought forth all her emotions over and over and over again until her body seemed purged of them. She viewed the jungle as just a place, much like she viewed the waves. She could be as at home in the sea as she was in the jungle if she gave it enough time and learned to swim. Nya just wasn’t sure she was enjoying it like she used to enjoy a good hunt in the jungle or anywhere. It would be nice to feel better again. And in little ways she was slowly waking up again. If someone asked her to explain it she would have said she’d been living the last year or more half asleep, inattentive, and seeing life pass by without really seeing it. Certain things were waking her up now… snaking, talks with Mathias, protecting the settlement, exploring the jungle.

Swimming wasn’t going to be one of those though. She wasn’t good at it. It didn’t feel natural. But she wondered, too, if it wasn’t the ocean. Streams and even the Syka River was better, calmer, sometimes she dared say even fun. She liked drinking the water when she splashed around in it. And snakes hid in the gloomy water, hold up under the edges of the banks, and they were often tasty treats. Gators were there too, and not so fun, but Nya could smell them even over the water.

Was Pulren as good of a swimmer in the fresh water? She wondered but didn’t ask, pausing to tread water again and watch him, practicing her steering and quietly catching her breath from her sojourn towards the beach while he was under.

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The Sea Is More Complicated Than It Looks (Pulren)

Postby Pulren Marsh on December 10th, 2017, 4:05 am

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Pulren watched as Nya seemed to balk at his instruction of swimming on her back. When she turned instead on her side and swam, using her extended arm to guide herself, he was pleased. Improvisation was a key component in swimming. The body generally found its way in the water. Well, Pulren's did. It was hard to know how others dealt with it, but he had never seen anyone drown when he taught them, so it was probably fine.

When he had resurfaced , he had found that she had made some distance back toward the shore. Treading again, he found that she smiled at his words, but then it moved on. Pulren didn't get the understanding that he had expected in his comparison, but he had also found long ago that expecting things from other people that you wanted were few and far between. The smile and the progress were more than enough.

"Well, look at you! for someone who can't swim, you made some progress back to the beach on your own. Good job!" He kicked a few hard times and found his feet touching the sand below. Once he had a kind of footing, albeit lilting with the waves, he softened up and relaxed. "So, do you want to quit for today? I am sure we can try again another day. I mean, we live on a tropical island next to the sea. not to mention the complete lack of terrible weather. Or we can swim some more. How do you feel about yourself in the water?"
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