Solo Finding Alternatives

James recommends not eating from the red tide

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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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Finding Alternatives

Postby Ashka on January 14th, 2018, 12:35 am


44 Winter 517

Ashka's heart sank as she listened to James Chaliva, Julli's father, explain that the reason the sea had gone bright red was something called a red tide and it made the sea and everything in it unsafe to eat while it was there. She and Chaya had been getting a lot of their food from the sea and the beach. It was safe there, and familar, and now....

Now that was gone for an unknown length of time, and they - she - was going to have to cope, and she was not, not, going to cry over yet another cut that split them away from their old life and home. She kept her head up and, when Chaya leaned against her, she put an arm around her sister and took comfort from the touch.

When James had finished, she hung back as the other residents left, gathered up her courage and explained. "Chaya and I have been mostly foraging from the water - it was simpler while we got settled in and built our house and got used to the jungle, and, well, with the red tide we need to find other sources of food. Could you point us in the direction of someone who - who could show us - I mean me mostly - what to look for?"

He chuckled. "Mathias is the best at it, but I can show you a few things myself. Let's start with a look at your gear." Her coat, once worn at sea and now protection in the jungle, passed his approval, as did her boots and backpack, but he shook hi head over her knife. "You'll need something longer than that here. Choose yourself a kukri or a machete from the Mercantile."

At the Mercantile, Ashka considered the availble options and chose and paid for a kukri. She strapped it on, persuaded Chaya to wait by the Mercantile for now, waited for James' nod of approval and then followed him down the steps and into the edge of the jungle.


ReceiptKukri - 8 gm


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Last edited by Ashka on February 25th, 2018, 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Finding Alternatives

Postby Ashka on January 27th, 2018, 11:10 pm


He didn't go far or fast, but once they were past the first line of trees, he drew his own blade. "You can't easily go in straight lines in here," he informed her, ducking under a branch. "And if there's something you need to cut to get through, it's better to slash upward than down. You're less likely to catch your blade in something, so it's safer, quicker, and quieter. Quiet matters because there are creatures in here that think something our size makes a good dinner. You want to be the eater, not the eaten."

Ashka winced and nodded, and drew her kukri. She eyed how James held his and tried to copy it. It felt odd in her hand, balanced differently from her knife. She slashed upward at a vine, experimenting, and felt a slight jolt in her hand and wrist as the vine slowed the blade before it parted. It looked like she was due for more aching muscles as she learned her way around this new thing. Oh well, that was life. She kept going anyway, the better to get it over with.

He stopped by a pair of palm trees. They looked much the same to Ashka, even to the bundles of curved fruit hanging down. "Here are two plants that work," he said pointing to the palms. "Do you see the difference between them?"

Ashka looked from one to the other. She still didn't see much difference. One had leaves that were a bit bigger, and fruit that was smaller and greener. She'd put that down to one being riper than the other, but when she said as much, James shook his head. "The one on the left, with smaller leaves and bigger fruit, is a banana. It's sweet, a fruit, you harvest it when it's yellow, and you can eat it raw. The one on the right, with the smaller fruit and bigger leaves, is a plantain. You harvest it when it's green and cook it, and it's starchy like rice or flour."


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Finding Alternatives

Postby Ashka on February 4th, 2018, 11:40 pm


Ashka looked from one tree to the other, trying to memorise the differences and what they meant so that she would be able to recognise similar trees if she saw them elsewhere in the jungle. She had eaten bananas often enough to know what to do with them but plantains were newer. Either would need to be climbed to get the food, but the trunks of the palms had regular ridges. They couldn't be that much harder than climbing a ship's mast could they? She didn't have a chance to try right then, as James moved on as soon as she nodded that she had understood, and she had to scramble to catch up.

He paused again as she cut her way past a last vine, and pointed to some plants on the jungle floor. A tree had fallen here, leaing slightly mre light available through the canopy and the low level plants were making the most of it. The one James pointed out was a rosette of long stiff leaves and rising from the middle was a familiar fruit.

"Ah, pineapple," Ashka exclaimed, and hastily shut her mouth before her mouth betrayed her by blurting out, "so that's what it looks like on the plant!"

"You know it then? Good. Did you know that if you plant the top of it with its leaves, it grows a new pineapple eventually? It's an easy way to replenish what you take, if not a quick one."

Ashka nodded. "I do now," she said, a smile tugging at her mouth. It sounded like an ideal way to get food growing close to home: easy, simple, and only needing things she already had.

James nodded back and looked around. "You can gather mushrooms, but only if you're very sure that they are edible. Eat the wrong sort, and you'll be dead before Jansen can get to you."


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Finding Alternatives

Postby Ashka on February 5th, 2018, 12:45 am


"Peanuts on the other hand," James continued, apparently oblivious to Ashka's wince over the mushroom information, and her frown as she made a mental note to avoid all mushrooms, "are easy to gather, and full of protein." He pointed to a low plant with small pointed leaves and yellow flowers close to where they stood. "This is a peanut plant. The actual nuts grow underground, so gathering them is an all or nothing business. You look for one with lots of these little shoots - pegs, some people call them because they look a bit like tent pegs - because that shows that there are lots of peanuts growing. To harvest them, just pull up the whole plant and pick the peanuts off in their shells. They are really delicious roasted with a little salt."

Ashka nodded, and crouched to give the plant a closer look. It wasn't nearly as familiar as bananas, or pineapple but the protein in it would make a better substitute for the fish she couldn't, as long as the red tide lasted, catch or eat. She wanted to be sure of remembering it next time she came across it. When she straightened, James was waiting and she started to apologise for keeping him waiting for her. He cut her off with a wave of his hand. "I offered, remember. It's good to see someone taking in the lesson, but it's best that someone keeps an eye out at all times. Dangerous creatures can be anywhere and you hardly see them until too late. Now, up here among the vines - growing from one kind of vine in fact - is a passionfruit." He pointed to a small purple globe at about his shoulder height. "It's tasty, although not as common as, say, pineapple or coconuts." He reached out and plucked the fruit off the vine. The movement caused a ripple through the greenery, and one of the 'vines' stirred, lifted its head and revealed long fangs.


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Finding Alternatives

Postby Ashka on February 9th, 2018, 9:29 pm


Ashka struck out at the snake instinctively, forgetting both the lesson she'd been told about cutting upwards, and that the kukri was longer than her familiar dagger and a different shape. The kukri blade hit poorly with only a glancing blow and then wedged, caught in the bark of the tree. Ashka let go of it, leaving the snake half stunned, half pinned, and drew her dagger. She did the only thing she could think of - pinned it harder with one hand and stabbed up from under the jaw with the other, as if it was a fish that needed gutting, and kept pushing until the tip of the dagger grated on bone. The snake thrashed under her grip, gradually decreasing from actively trying to escape to a thoughtless convulsing of muscles only.

"As I said," James remarked, his voice calmer than Ashka thought hers could ever have been, "dangerous creatures can be anywhere. Good reflexes. I believe you can let go of it now. Bring it back though, there is good eating on a snake."

Ashka relaxed her grip, beginning to shake as the sudden jolt of fear ebbed out of her. She pulled her dagger out and saw the notch where fear-driven muscles had driven it in too hard. That was going to take some time to grind out, she realised, wiping it clean and fumbling for the sheath. It took three attempts to get it in, with her hand trembling that badly. All those pranks startling her - had it come down to this, that someone praised her for reacting fast?

She shook her head, trying to toss the irrelevant thought away, and went back to prising her new kukri loose again. "I think," she said, "that I've seen enough for now. I can come gathering again another time for food to go with baked snake. Thank you for your time, and your patience."

James nodded and led the way back towards the Mercantile with Ashka following. "Glad to be of help. If you want to learn more, particularly hunting, I should talk to Randal. He's the best of us at this."


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Finding Alternatives

Postby Avela on March 21st, 2018, 2:10 pm

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Ashka

XP Award:
  • Wilderness Survival (Jungle) - 2
  • Kukri - 2
  • Dagger - 1
  • Socialization - 1
  • Observation - 3
  • Foraging - 3
  • Botany - 3
  • Agriculture - 1
  • Hunting - 1

Lore:
  • Red Tide: Makes seafood unsafe
  • Wilderness Survival: Can't move in straight lines
  • Wilderness Survival: Quiet matters
  • Wilderness Survival: Dangerous creatures are everywhere
  • Banana: Can be eaten raw
  • Plantain: Starchy like rice or flour
  • Foraging: Harvesting bananas and plantains
  • Foraging: Harvesting pineapples
  • Foraging: Be careful with wild mushrooms
  • Foraging: Peanuts are easy to gather and full of protein
  • Foraging: Harvesting peanuts
  • Foraging: Harvesting passionfruit
  • Botany: The difference between bananas and plantains
  • Botany: Using pegs to identify peanut plants with nuts
  • Botany: Recognizing pineapple plants
  • Botany: Identifying passionfruit on the vine
  • Agriculture: Pineapple tops can be planted
  • Hunting: Good eating on a snake


Notes:
Kukri - 8 GM

A nice little lesson in foraging, with a lot of things learned for Ashka! My only comment is that the posts seemed a little on the short side, but the writing was fast-paced, engaging, and fun to read. I enjoyed seeing how self-sufficient Ashka is, and how when presented with a bad situation, the first thing she does is look for alternatives. Please let me know if you have any questions or want any changes made to your grade, and don't forget to delete or edit your grade request!

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