Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

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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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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ashka on February 11th, 2018, 8:24 pm


54 Winter 517

Ashka gathered up her kukri, dagger, and fishing kit, stowing them in her canoe, and then pushed it out into the waves and hopped in. She retrieved her paddle from its place along the side of the canoe, and paddled out a little from the shore. Her destination wasn't far, but now that the red tide had gone, she preferred to travel by water rather than trudging along the hot beach. She wore loose, thin, trousers and shirt that kept her from burning in the sun and created a breeze of their own as she moved. A blue scarf kept her hair under control and out of her way.

She felt the shift of the waves and troughs under her as the canoe moved, and tried to steer across them, past the Commons and a little way south, to Ixtli's land. She'd arranged to meet Ixtli there, as they both had things they could learn from each other. They'd met earlier in the season at the Tidepool, but that had been in a group.

She spotted the tent first, and veered back toward land, letting the tide do most of the work and only dipping the paddle in to keep the canoe straight. She didn't worry too much about capsizing - the outriggers kept it stable enough to avoid that - but hitting the beach at an angle could damage them. Better to be straight on.

The canoe touched against the sand, and Ashka splashed barefoot over the side into the surf to haul it further up and prevent the waves pulling it back out to sea when she wasn't looking. That done, she turned to find her host with a quick grin. "Ready to fish?" she asked. "We don't need to take the canoe out, don't worry. It's just the easiest way to travel along or across the bay."


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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ixtli on February 18th, 2018, 8:41 am

Ixtli rummaged for a couple of chimes through her possessions, scattered around the tent in an organised chaos, before she found the brand new fishing kit that had never touched water. In Taloba she had always preferred to find her food on land, becoming a decent hunter through years of practice, but here in Syka the sea was a too obvious resource to not try her hand at fishing. She pushed aside a basket and finally found the kit, all tangled up but in perfect condition. The Myrian sighed briefly and spent the next few chimes unraveling knots gingerly, scowling herself internally for not taking better care of her tools.

Once done, she took the equipment outside and sat cross-legged by the entrance of her tent, kukri laying by, always easily reachable. Her bare feet digged into the soft sand and tropical winds tugged gently at her white tunic,. It was still early in the day and she decided to wait for the blue-eyed woman she had plans with out here, relaxing and meditating. She straightened her back and focused on the different thoughts swirling around in her mind, and one after the other she tried to quiet them and put them away neatly in different corners of her head, ready to be dealt with when the occasion will arise. She tried, as her mother had taught her long ago, to focus on her breathing to keep her head quiet, long and deep inhalations and exhalations filling up her lungs to their maximum before releasing the air slowly, with control. She tried to close off her mind from the world around her, from the caress of the breeze and the warm touch of Syna above, from the tickling of the sand under her bare legs and the songs of the jungle birds in the canopy.

She tried hard, but reality was still there. Her thoughts still wandered the labyrinth of her mind loudly, demanding to be brought to her attention immediately. She tried again, forced with all her willpower to silence the calls, but still they echoed around her skull and disturbed her focus.

Her will cracked and then shattered after a handful of chimes and the thoughts and sensations took over her mind again, leaving the Myrian frustrated with her the poor result of her efforts and beginning to regret she hadn't kept as much discipline in her rythm of life as she used to back in Taloba. Once more, she took a deep breath, stretched her back and shoulders and resolved to force more discipline into her daily habits.

Right after this moment Ixtli spotted a canoe approaching, onbord Ashka, the girl who offered to teach her how to fish in exchange for a hunting lesson. The Myrian stood up and, after grabbing the kit and sliding the kukri in her belt, walked to the water to greet her guest as she pulled her small boat onto the shore.
"I'm ready," she nodded. Ashka must had noticed the shadow of concern that had crossed over Ixtli's expression at the sight of the outrigger canoe, because she soon explained they wouldn't be using it today. It looked dangerously small in the Myrian's eyes and Ixtli appeared slightly relieved she would not have to learn how to handle her fishing while in it.

"Ah, sure, it makes sense," she replied. "But I'm glad we're not going sailing today... I'm more comfortable on land." Extending an arm towards the beach, she glanced at the waves crasing gently and at her fishing teacher.
"Where should we go to start? I think I have all of the equipment, but honestly I don't even know where to find the fish to begin."


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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ashka on February 19th, 2018, 1:14 am


"I know a lot of people who are happier on land," Ashka replied with a grin and a slight shrug. "I just happened to grow up at sea on a ship, so that the water is what I know. But there are limitations on that, as the red tide showed, so..." She shrugged again, and reached into her canoe to retrieve her own fishing kit. "I thought I'd go through this and show you what all the pieces are, and how they fit together to make usable fishing equipment to start with. Then we can try for a fish or two - it can take a lot of waiting. As for where..."

She looked around, the words pouring out to cover her nerves over the hunting side of the lessons. "It's all the same bay, I expect the fish are all over it. On my acres, I just wade out into the water a bit, and toss out a line. I don't have anything like the point you have there though, so either the ordinary beach or the point would probably work, whichever you're more comfortable with. You'll probably get wet either way, either wading out or hauling the fish in. Fish splash."

As she spoke, she laid out her own equipment, leaving space for Ixtli to do the same next to her. "These pieces fit together to make the pole itself, the part you hold." She demonstrated, trying to remember to slow down enough that Ixtli could see what she was doing. She was quite happy to repeat it as often as necessary. "The line attaches to the tip of the rod, here, and the hook to the end of the line. Finally, you have a bait box for carrying bait around. Since bait that is still wriggling catches more fish, it's best to contain it, but you can use anything edible." Ashka's bait box held a selection of maggots that she'd harvested from the fish guts she'd left out overnight and she looked over at Ixtli to see her reaction.


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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ixtli on February 22nd, 2018, 5:40 am

"You grew up on a ship?" The Myrian couldn't hide the wonder from her voice. The idea of spending more than a day away from the shade of the canopy seemed so odd to her, she struggled for a short moment to wrap her head around it. "I've never set foot on one. I can't imagine how it'd be like to not be surrounded by trees and life like here in Falyndar..." She trailed off, briefly remembering with nostalgia the majestic beauty of her native jungle.

Then Ashka moved on to the start of the lesson and Ixtli focused on her words. "Sounds like a good place to begin," she answered, glancing at her brand new kit apprehensively. "No idea of how this thing works."

She laid out the pieces next to Ashka's, leaving enough space for both to proceed comfortably and for the lines not to tangle. "I think we can just go a few feet off the beach, some of the boulders over there have sharp edges and also seaweed, it can get slippery or cut your feet." She grinned at her companion's comment about the fish fighting back. "No worries there, I'm not scared to get a bit splashed if it means getting that fish in my belly afterward."

After a chuckle she took hold of the parts forming the fishing pole and followed Ashka's example to fit them them together neatly. It took a bit of effort but the mecanism was simple enough for Ixtli to learn it in a chime. The line was fixed onto the pole next, easily for it was now free of knots, but tying the hook at its end proved a more difficult task, requiring concentration and nimble fingers to have the pieces securely attached together. After she had managed the Myrian grinned at her accomplished work and turned to grab her own bait container. Unfortunately, it only held a number of small, soft dough-like balls, likely made of ground meat and flour to give it texture and consistence. Ixtli's lips tightened into a disapproving pout; that was not what Ashka had recommended, and eventually she'd have to find some living worms if she wanted to improve her fishing abilities.

But now the blue-eyed girl presented a selection of wriggling, chubby little white maggots that would surely appeal to the fishes better than her worm-bread, and after a brief frown at the writhing mass, the Myrian grabbed one between thumb and index finger before skewering it on the hook.
"So like that? This should attract the fish?"
She looked down at the worm with a certain curiosity. Now of course she could understand why a living bait proved more efficient than a still one: many predators preferred freshly killed meals to scavenged ones, herself included.

With her kit ready, she stood up and took a few steps into the waters nearby the canoe, disctractedly patting the kukri hung on her belt in instinctive habit.
"I think I'm all set. What's next?"

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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ashka on February 25th, 2018, 11:34 pm


Ashka heard the wonder in the other woman's voice as she spoke about boats, and grinned. "There's plenty of life out at sea too, just different forms. No trees though." She skewered a maggot onto her own hook and set the bait box down on the sand. "My canoe's only fit for the bay and the river but I'd be happy to take you out in it some day if you want to learn about boats."

She waded out into the waves about an armlength from Ixtli, close enough to talk but far enough, she hoped, not to tangle their lines in each other. Water and sand slid comfortingly between her toes as she walked. "You toss your hook further out into the water," she explained, suiting action to words with a flick of her wrist, "hold onto the pole, and hope something finds your bait tasty. It can take a while. If there are trees nearby or bushes, flicking your hook back and then forward can get you caught on a branch - not very edible - but a beach is no problem."

There were, of course, things that could go wrong. Your line could break, or could come loose from the hook or the pole if you hadn't tied it tightly enough. Your bait could fall off, or be snagged by a fish canny enough to avoid the hook. The pole itself could break. Ashka preferred not to dwell on them. She couldn't prevent most of them anyway. Instead, she focused on the feel of the rod against her palms, learning the ebb and flow of this patch of beach so that when something changed she would know and could react to it. "Fishing is good for learning patience," she added with a wry smile, hoping it wouldn't be too long. "But it gets dinner in the end. If you get a bite first, haul it in and toss it up the beach where it can't escape."


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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ixtli on March 5th, 2018, 2:18 am

Ixtli's voice rang with uncertainty at the offer to get into the canoe. She appreciated the opportunity but still felt oddly uneasy about leaving solid ground for the pitch of a boat.
"Yeah... Maybe some day."

She planted her feet under her by her companion's side, toes digging pleasantly in the soft, wet sand, and observed Ashka's way of throwing her line into deeper waters. Ixtli then tried the same with a more unsure hand and propelled her own hook forward a bit too violently for the line. It met the surface with a loud splash. She grunted and hauled it back to check that her bait was still there; luckily the maggot had not been ejected and was still dangling off the hook. She tossed the line again, this time with more control, and kept both hands gripped around the pole.

"Good thing we started in the middle of the beach, then," she replied to Ashka's coment about the danger of trees and branches. "Hunting will train your patience as well, but in a different manner I imagine. A lot of waiting, tracking, stalking, before you get yourself a meal."

The women waited for a few chimes, standing knee-deep into the water while their lines flowed back and forth with the currents. Fishing had a relative peace to it, Ixtli thought as her gaze wandered onto the waves' rolling surface and the azure horizon. Her grip on the rod, tensed at first, relaxed into a lighter hold; the Myrian began to get a feel for her line through her touch on the wood, sensing the hook tugging when pulled away by the tide. High up in the sky Syna shone bright and warm but the sea water and breeze kept the fishing party cool and comfortable.

"So how do I know when I get a -"
Ixtli's eyes went wide and she yanked her rod rather vigorously, then stood still like she was listening to the sea.
"I... Felt something, I think. It was pulling on the line," she added, attempting to explain her jolt to Ashka. She hauled in her hook and examined it: the maggot was still there, seemingly whole. With a soft flick of her hands she threw the line back into the water.
"Do you think it'll come back?" The excitement could be heard in her voice, tempered only faintly by her always composed expression. She wanted this lesson to be a successful one.

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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ashka on March 10th, 2018, 6:33 pm


Ashka nodded at Ixtli's words about patience. "If fishing is about patience and stillness, I guess hunting is about patience and movement?" She cast an uneasy eye towards the jungle, remembering how easy it was to get lost when so many trees got in the way of your view. "I'll try..."

She jumped gratefully on the change of subject when something nibbled on Ixtli's line. "They do pull. Quite hard sometimes. And if something bit once, it'll probably happen again." As if the fish had heard her, she had a bite on her own line. One hand tightened fast enough to keep hold of the rod as it bent in a long low arc. The other was too slow, and she stunbled a step deeper into the waves as she tried to grab it again.

Finally getting both hangs in place on the rod, she braced both feet into the soft sand and heaved. The end of the line jerked into the air with a thrashing fish attached, and then splashed down into the waves once more as the fish fought back. It pulled away from her, trying to head out to sea, and nearly pulled the rod out of her hands again when it hit the end of the line with a jerk. Thankfully, the line din't break under the strain. Ashka bared her teeth in something that wasn't quite a smile and pulled harder. She tried to keep a steady haul in place as she dragged the fish closer and closer though she wasn't sure how well she succeeded.

When it finally came within reach, she grabbed it, hooked fingers and thumb into its gills, and threw it up onto the beach. It flapped and thrashed there, trying to get back to the sea, and she chased after it and smacked it hard in the head with the pommel of her dagger to stun and then kill it. At last, she remembered her company and looked up with a breathless grin. "They do pull," she repeated. "As you no doubt saw."


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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ixtli on March 15th, 2018, 6:43 am

Ixtli listened and made mental notes of Ashka's teachings. If the fishes were interested in her bait, then all she could do was be patient, and another bite should follow. When the other girl got a bite on her own line, she was much faster than the Myrian to react and pull her catch out of the water before sending it onto the beach and ending its life swiftly.

"They do pull."
Ixtli's gaze focused, appreciative of Ashka's skill and quick hand.
"I can see that. I also see you're pretty fast when it happens." She grinned at the other's success and tightened her grip onto her own pole. "I'd never thought they'd fight so much. It looks fishing has more in common with hunting than I knew," she added with a glance at the fish lying on shore, noting the effort it took to get it there. "Maybe later on you can show me how to prepare it? Everything I'm used to clean and cook comes from the land. It'd be good to learn to deal with products of the sea, especially here in Syka. That is, if I ever have a catch..."

Her eyes returned to the end of her line, gently flowing with the currents, apparently undisturbed. Ixtli shifted on her feet. How strange was it to hunt for prey you couldn't see? The ocean was testing her patience.

It took a few chimes before she felt another tug, much lighter than the previous one, but this time she knew how to react. She stilled and held firmly onto her pole and when the next pull came, she hauled more delicately than earlier but with enough power to bring the line close to her. She could feel the pull of the fish in its attempt to escape, but it seemed it was hooked well enough as she heaved closer and closer and didn't loose the contact. She half-grinned, half gritted her teeth, focused but visibly enjoying herself. After hauling it for a short moment she yanked the line and from the water sprung a small, silvery fish, all bouncing and flailing, and that's when the real fight started.

Ixtli splashed about the water trying to get a hold of her slippery catch while not dropping the rod into the waves, and it quickly appeared to be a tougher challenge than she expected. She brawled and struggled with the line, not wanting to get tangled in it, and finally manage to snatch the fish from the hook and throw it on the beach like she had seen Ashka doing before. In a tick she was kneeling by its side and pulling the kukri from her belt before landing a blow from the heavy blade onto its head. Finally, it stopped moving.

When Ixtli looked up, her blue-eyed companion would notice easily the satisfied grin on her face.
"That was... Fun. Let's go again."

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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ashka on March 23rd, 2018, 8:58 pm


Ashka glanced from her fish to Ixtli and nodded. "Cleaning's simple enough. For fish at least. I know very little about cleaning land creatures. I know a couple of ways to cook it, but not nearly as much as the real cooks in my old pod." A wistful expression flickered across her face. "There was a chowder one of them used to make...I don't even know where to start on it. I can show you what I know though."

She straightened as Ixtli's focus returned to her own fishing rod, climbed to her feet, and made her way slowly across to stand near her canoe. There she was far enough out of the way not to cause problems for Ixtli, but still close enough to dash in and help if something went badly wrong. She wasn't sure what might, but experience had taught her that anything might happen with someone who didn't know anything abut fishing holding a rod. Judging by the grin on Ixtli's face though, her pupil was at least enjoying herself. The enjoyment was confirmed by her words once she finally caught a fish.

Ashka grinned back. "We can go for one more. I don't like to catch more than a couple at a time because that's all Chaya and I can eat before they go off. Besides it means I get to fish more often, instead of all at once." She collected her rod once more and check the line for tangles before she turned to find the bait tin and put another maggot on her hook. Movement snagged at the corner of her eye and she whipped round, only to see a small ocelot - no more than two feet long, if that - trying to make off with her fish. For just a breath she froze, eye to eye with the cat. Then - "Hey!" she yelled, and slashed out wildly and uselessly with her rod. "That's mine!"


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Fishhooks and Knives (Ixtli)

Postby Ixtli on May 31st, 2018, 9:33 pm

The Myrian woman appreciated Ashka's offer to teach her to prepare her catch, and she tilted her head in thanks. "And once we go hunting," she replied, "I can show you how to butcher and cook your kill. I know a decent amount about the jungle creatures to be able to teach you that." After sliding the kukri back in her belt, Ixtli grabbed her dead fish by the tail and walked a few feet away from the waterside to drop it on the sand, a safe distance from the waves, her line still hanging loosely in the other hand.

Ashka agreed to try for one more fish but her comment made the Myrian feel the need to offer her services.
"If you ever have too much meat - or fish - I might be able to preserve it for you. I'm pretty sure I can find a way to smoke it or salt it..." Her expression turned thoughtful. Surely the process would be the same than for game meat, maybe even requiring less time and efforts because of how delicate was fish flesh? She had to give it a try some day, now that the community she was part of depended so much on resources from the sea. Maybe talk to Randal or one of Syka's fishermen...

Her train of thought was abruptly interrupted by a yell from her fishing companion. Ixtli turned around, more surprised than frightened to hear the girl call out so unexpectedly, and quickly identified the reason for her shouting. Her freshly caught fish hung in the jaw of a small jungle cat who had taken the opportunity of its small size and themselves not paying attention to steal itself a meal. Ashka shouted and swinger her rope at the animal who, startled, made a start for the jungle edge.

At the view, the military-trained reflexes of the Myrian took control. She dropped her line, pulled out her kukri and jumped towards the ocelot with a shout, menacingly pointing the blade at the thief. Her long, muscular limbs pushed against the sand to catch up on the four-legged runaway, but the jungle creature proved more trained in the art of escape on sandy ground than the Myrian woman in pursuing it. She slipped a little and struggled instead of gaining momentum, so that the distance between her and the jungle cat grew at every step. Ixtli watched for ticks that felt like chimes as the ocelot got further and further away from them, propelled by the power of his four legs, with the fish still hanging in its mouth, and before it disappeared into the green curtain of the jungle edge she threw the heavy blade towards the animal in a last and unsuccessful attempt at stopping the fish thief. With a loud, unhappy grunt, Ixtli stopped running and picked up her kukri, then walked back to the shore where she had left her line, catch and fishing partner.

"Sorry about it, I tried but... Seems this thing isn't at its first stolen meal."
With a dark glance at the jungle where the cat had disappeared, she added:
"Maybe we could put up some traps out there. Some extra meat and fur is always welcome." She picked up her line and started for the water. "I'm guessing we're going for more?"


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