Completed Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Narifa deals with a group of scared children the day after one of their own goes missing in Alheas Park

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 11th, 2018, 11:14 pm

10th Summer 518 AV

To Narifa, the Alheas Park was the only place she’d ever set foot in in which magic became something corporeal. Even back home, where magic took the shape of the Endal, the Eagle Riders, with their propensity towards telepathy and their eerily accurate intuition, there was never a location she considered magical. It was in the way the rosey light of dawn filtered through the treetops, landing just so to tinge the atmosphere with something ethereal. It was in the way the thousands of flower petals seemed to possess a vivid inner glow, their myriad of colours sometimes too blinding to stare at directly. It was in the way the prismflies danced across the sky, free to meander to and fro without a care in the world.

Narifa had wished she could be a prismfly more than once these past few days.

The Inartan considered this park a place of respite, where any undue stress melted into the soil. A place where she could speak her doubts to the trees and let her words pour into the pond at the park’s center. It reminded her of her old garden. She missed running her fingers along the stalks of her herbs, sinking her nails into the dirt to pull up weeds. Needless to say Narifa became a little homesick whenever she entered the place. Five days had passed since she’d come to this city. Five days of settling into this new world’s rhythm, of random bouts of insomnia during the designated rest hours that drove her to Alheas Park. She hadn’t even had much of chance to explore, either, and it left her body restless.

Today was supposed to be the day that she could finally begin discovering the city. It’s maze-like alleyways and multiple peaks called to her, waiting to be discovered. Everything was already packed: waterskin,dagger, and her coin pouch all attached to her waist. She’d gone down the stairs of the Solar Wind complex early, thrown a greeting to the receptionist, and a grin to the stranger who’d just entered the building. She shouldn’t have stopped to chat with him.

“Did you happen to hear? A young girl went missing in Alheas Park yesterday. The Shinya released a warning last night, cautioning people from entering,” He’d said. Just like that, her home away from home was cast in darkness.
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 12th, 2018, 7:10 pm

10th Summer 518 AV

Missing? How could that be?

Navigating the park was a confusing as walking around the edge of a circle - that is, not confusing at all. Saddened by this news, Narifa had decided to go to the park herself. Now she was standing before an entrance to the stunning green world, hesitating on its threshold for a moment to watch the branches sway in the wind and let her gaze skate over shadows that seemed somehow darker than usual.

Making up her mind, Narifa settled her toes onto the grassy path that would take her deeper into the woods. But when she moved to head further in, her attention was captured by the distant sound of soft sniffles and loud whines. A raucous commotion was taking place behind her. Curiosity took hold, and she turned to watch.

Five children of varying size and probably age hovered around a bored Shinya out on patrol. A few were actually crying, their tears cascading down their face like a waterfall and their snot dribbling down their chin. Another burned as red in the face as her hair, mouth agape and the most unflattering noises rising into the air. One brave soul stoically ventured a hand to the guard’s sleeve. Narifa could just make out enough of their words, mumbled between sobs, to piece together what they wanted.

“Please, mister, you have to find her!” One of the smaller girls cried.

“She must be-” A cough, and Narifa missed the rest of the sentence.

“The park is scary. She’s probably scared!” And other shouts along the same lines. These children must have been friends with the missing girl, making a valiant yet futile attempt to rescue her. The Shinya guard breathed a heavy sigh before shaking off the hand on his sleeve and kneeling down.

“We’re doing everything we can,” He started, “We will find her. But your parents must be worried about you, out all alone near the park. Run home, make sure she has friends to look forward to when she comes back.” Kind words, meaning well, but the children were obstinate, refusing to comprehend a possible future, wishing for their friend to be returned whole and safe to them at that very moment. Their wailing from then on only intensified.

Narifa had never been the biggest fan of children. They were, if possible, the most rude and brash of her fellow Inarta. While it was true that the citizens of Wind Reach were lacking in the area of social niceties, they still followed some obscure form of etiquette. Children, on the other hand, had no such etiquette to follow, as it took long years of interacting with the people of the mountain to understand it. But this was Lhavit. This was a despairing group of virtual toddlers, and it broke her heart the tiniest bit when she thought that they might never see their friend again.

She’d never taken a liking to kids, and she didn’t really want any of her own. Nonetheless, Narifa was nothing if not an optimistic extrovert. And so, abandoning both her mission to explore the city and her desire to plod around Alheas Park once more, the girl stepped out of the grass and made her way towards the commotion.
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 15th, 2018, 7:01 pm

10th Summer 518 AV

The steadily rising sun provided back-lighting fit for something celestial as Narifa headed over to the children. The guard noticed her first, and he pushed himself back into a standing position when she stopped next to them.

"My apologies for the ruckus, miss. These brats were just heading home." He bowed at the waist, head low with the notion that Narifa might be an angered citizen ready to complain, rather than a woman swooping in to distract the kids.

"Well, I would certainly hope they weren't just about to leave," She turned to the children, "Would you like to hear a story? It's a wonderful tale, about a girl, a wolf, and some particularly choice moss."

A pause. One of them looked around, trying to decide whether he should be suspicious of her offer. She was a stranger, after all, and their parents had always told them to be wary of strangers. But then, the littlest girl nodded once, catching their eyes and prompting the others to agree as well. Carefully, she toddled up to Narifa, who had stooped down just enough to be considered non-threatening. Her tiny hands reach up and closed around one of the Inartan's dreadlocks.

"So pretty...," The little girl whispered, "Pretty people are never bad. I wanna hear the story!"

The subsequent chorus of agreement didn't come as a surprise. With a sunny smile, Narifa scooped the girl up in her arms and swiveled back to the Shinya guard.

"I'll see that they get home safe. Thank you for your lovely work, patrolling the city. Have a wonderful day." Narfia waved the guard off before heading over to a shaded seating area across the street, the kids trailing behind her like eaglets did their mother. Quite the odd band, they made. From the outside, it almost resembled a schoolteacher taking her class out for a day trip. She remembered that her mother was known for doing that, remembered the cadence of her voice, and the life she breathed into every lesson. Her stories, when the young woman was able to sit in on them, were unlike any other Narifa'd ever heard.

She hoped that somehow, for these children despairing over a situation they couldn't quite grasp the weight of, she had it in her to colour her words, just like her mother did.
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 16th, 2018, 1:11 pm

10th Summer 518 AV

The stone bench she settled on was cold. Untouched by the warmth of the sun, it seeped through her clothes and bit into her skin, painful despite the layers. Her fingers curled and uncurled to keep the blood moving as the children posted themselves around her. Narifa kept silent when a spat broke out over who was going to be closest to her, only splitting her attention when a serving girl came out and asked if she wanted to order anything. She hadn't realized she'd taken a seat in front of a café. Something to warm her hands would be nice, too, so she nodded and asked for a coffee.

The kids had grown silent enough that she deemed it was time to start. The Inartan inhaled deeply, trying to remember the way her mother held herself. That woman had embodied her words made them more than just a story. They built worlds. Narifa wasn't very confident that she could be a world-builder. Her only experience with storytelling occurred years ago, and had catered to the youth she'd been surrounded by in Wind Reach. This, however, was Lhavit.

So her blue lips parted, and words began to pour out.

"Once upon a time," The serving girl came back with her coffee, and Narifa wrapped her fingers around the cup to soak up its heat, "Once upon a time, there was a girl. She wasn't very pretty, nor was she particularly smart. She couldn't mend a dress, and she couldn't cook to save her life. What she was instead was stubborn and hardy, preferring to spend her time running a muck in the forest than slaving away indoors. Adrienne, her name was, and she spelt trouble for everyone."

"The day was clear and bright when everything changed. Adrienne was stuck at home, suffering from her mother's lessons in girlhood. Apparently it was time for her to learn how to be a woman. Restrictions had been placed on how much time she could spend outside, how much time she could sleep in, even how much she could eat. Adrienne was in despair. How could she ever expect to be herself if she was supposed to hide behind locked doors and pretty dresses? The forest was her home just as much as her family's small cottage was. But she could not run from her mother's determination."

"Around mid-afternoon that same day, her father returned from a business trip, having been gone for quite some time. When he entered the kitchen, where Adrienne and her mother were slowly preparing supper, a stranger shifted beside him. When the man spotted her, he straightened, waiting for an introduction. He was the son of one of the traders on the business trip, her father explained. His name was..." Narifa paused and racked her brain for a name, any name. She'd never been very good with names. She brought her coffee to her lips to stall for time.

"His name was Avi," she decided, "He was tall, and pretty lanky, but he had a lovely face and a graceful way of holding himself when he bowed. Her mother seemed oddly excited, and Adrienne immediately grew suspicious. Not much excited her mother, you see, so who was this Avi that caused so unfamiliar an expression on the woman's face? When Adrienne found out, no known creature could match her fury."

The sunlight had slowly found its way to the bench. Her legs were no longer so cold.
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 19th, 2018, 11:06 pm

10th Summer 518 AV

The children were only mildly fidgeting throughout the beginning of her story. She wasn't at all good enough at weaving tall tales to completely capture their attention. But what she had of it was enough to distract them from the goings on of last night and this morning. Narifa was encouraged, and rushed to continue along.

"That night, Adrienne's mother broke the news. Avi was to be her husband," In the back of her mind, Narifa found the way the children let out a collective gasp comical, "He was a good match, well-off and intelligent. She would live a comfortable life, and bear him many children. Adrienne was appalled. Her parents had sold her to a man she'd never even heard of before! Livid, and absolutely positive that Avi would turn out to be a horrible, horrible man, Adrienne ran out the door, and into the darkness of the forest."

"Ominous clouds were roiling overhead, thick and purple against the black night sky. Thin strands of moonlight struggled to pierce through them and light her mad dash through the trees. But Adrienne was not afraid. She'd grown up exploring these woods. She knew every rock, every hidey-hole and every fallen leaf from her cottage to the very base of the mountain on the horizon. So she ran, and behind her the voices of her parents calling her name faded, until the one sound that was left was the sound of her feet pounding into the earth."

"At some point, the girl had grown too exhausted to take even one more step. She searched the tree trunks until she found one with a divot big enough for her to curl up in, then fell asleep as soon as her eyelids came together. Thunder rumbled, lightning flashed, but not once did she open her eyes."

"Instead, the harried girl was awoken by something cold and wet zig-zagging its way up her leg. Snuffles and short spurts of breath accompanied the feeling. Adrienne flew up from the tree, greeted by the sight of an unusually large brown wolf looming over her. Terrified, for as long as she'd been alive she'd never actually encountered a wolf in these woods, the young girl screamed and began kicking her legs, hoping to frighten it away. The wolf was startled into backing up the tiniest bit, but then leisurely padded closer."

"Adrienne reflected on her hasty flight from home. In her last moments she only wished that she'd at least said goodbye to the village baker. He was a funny man, and she'd miss his delectable pastries. She squeezed her eyes shut and waited for the end."
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 20th, 2018, 12:37 am

10th Summer 518 AV

"However, the end never came. As Adrienne's eyes slid shut and her body curled in on itself, the wolf's cold wet snout found it's way back to her leg. It didn't try to eat her, as she had expected. It didn't even lick her. Just sniffed. Curious, Adrienne uncurled herself and cast her gaze to her surroundings. The light seemed different, somehow. It was more yellow and soft, and the air was warm. The trees were thinner, their branches full of budding leaves. The earth beneath her fingers was lush and bursting with life. She didn't recognize any of it."

"Adrienne realized that she was no longer in the woods of her childhood. Still panicked, she eyed the wolf as it continued to sniff around until it reached her face. Adrienne stayed as still as she could, locked on the wolf's unnervingly intelligent green eyes. Everything was silent."

"'What are you?' A deep, rumbling question had surfaced in the girl's mind," Narifa tried her best to imitate a low and gravelly voice. It sounded more like she had mucus lodged in her throat than anything.

"When the wolf received no answer, it asked again, 'Who are you?' Adrienne responded, telling the wolf that she had run from home, and somehow gotten lost. She didn't know where she'd ended up, and asked the wolf if he could tell her. Instead, the creature backed away, and started loping through the trees. Not wanting to be left alone in this strange place, and highly confused, Adrienne leaped up and bounded after it, crying for it to wait."

"While the girl and the wolf walked side by side, question after question poured into her head and out of her mouth. And question after question, she received no answer. The sun had just reached its highest point in the sky when the wolf finally stopped at an out of place cliff-edge. When he turned, his whole giant body moved with him, every fiber of his being almost vibrating with pride, 'You have come to the Wolf Kingdom. We happily receive a foreign creature such as yourself.'"

"The Kingdom of Wolves was stunning. Adrienne barely had time to take the scenery in before she was being rushed down a set of stairs that hadn't been there before. At the bottom of the cliff face stood a procession of wolves, all different shapes and sizes, chattering with ease. Nonetheless, the brown wolf at her side was the biggest of them all. The creatures came to a halt when he set a paw on the grass. Ever so slowly, they began to part, and a pathway leading straight to the cliff on the opposite side opened up. The brown wolf moved among them, Adrienne with a hand nervously knotted in its fur, watching as one by one, the wolves bowed low."
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 20th, 2018, 3:21 pm

10th Summer 518 AV

"Adrienne had been saved by quite the figure, she found out later. Inquisitive handlers had bounded up to her, sniffing and addressing the brown wolf with rapid-fire questions. The biggest mystery was why and how she'd ended up at the side of the King. A king! Her saviour was a king, a powerful being named..." Narifa really needed to keep a list of readily available names on her person at all times. All she could do was cast her thoughts back to every man she'd known, and try to find a name suitable for a king. It was unfortunate that she hadn't been in contact with anybody noble enough.

One of the kids, however, the brave one that had tugged on the sleeve of the guard, piped up, "Bahram! That's a cool name!"

"That's your name, Bahram! No fair, I wanna be a wolf too!" The second girl objected, and Narifa intervened before their attention wavered.

"Hey now, everyone can be a wolf in this story. Bahram, that was a lovely suggestion. King Bahram has a nice ring to it, don't you think?" Nods all around, the girl pouting but going along anyway. Narifa slurped the last drops of her precious warm beverage and began anew.

"A powerful being named Bahram. The King brought her all around the most spacious and complex maze of caverns the girl had ever seen. This was their palace, you see, and it was every bit as opulent as you can imagine a wolf palace to be. She'd seen so much already that by the time King Bahram brought her to the last cave, Adrienne's eyes were drooping and her feet wobbled to a stop. The brown wolf nudged her over to a luscious bed of moss on the edge of a still pool of water. Adrienne needed to rub her eyes, because she thought that she saw tiny glowing flowers in the moss, and floating on the lakes surface, lighting up the cave."

"But they were really there, and when she sat down on the moss, those glowing flowers converged closer to her. She sank into the moss as Bahram looked on, and the petals leaped through the air to touch down around her. Off to sleep she went, cozy and warm and safe. In the back of her mind, the roar of her parents calling her name into the abyss reared its ugly head, and infiltrated her dreams that night."

"When she awoke the next time, she wasn't sure whether it was night or day. Time seemed irrelevant this far under the mountain. She did know that something was off, however. She could smell the world around her, and hear the steady rasp of the wolves' paws against their stone pathways. Adrienne made to stand up, to find King Bahram, but she couldn't get her balance. Something heavy was pulling her down again. She frantically peeked over her shoulder. What she saw made her run straight for the clear pool, hoping to use it as a mirror. Wide, frightened eyes took in the sight, because lo and behold! Adrienne had wolf ears. She had a long and fluffy tail, swishing rapidly behind her. She had a the beginnings of a cold wet snout. The pool couldn't lie to her, and Adrienne realized that she was turning into one of them. She was turning into a wolf!"
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Narifa on June 21st, 2018, 2:31 pm

10th Summer 518 AV

"Adrienne needed to get out of there. She couldn't turn into a wolf! She'd never get back home then. And back home she would go, because even if her parents had gone and married her off behind her back, Adrienne still loved them, and she couldn't live in the woods forever. So she scrambled away from the water and rushed out of the cave. Left, right, left, left, right, she went, until she considered herself to be well and truly lost."

"It was quite the handy thing, then, when her newly sprouted nose picked up the scents of fresh flowers and dirt. She could just follow the trail. With her snout in the air, Adrienne crawled her way upwards, never having realized that they'd even gone down in the first place. Her eyes pierced through every gloomy corner, revealing corridors and secret rooms that had escaped her notice. No one stopped her."

"Until she reached the entrance. There Bahram stood, blocking the light with his massive figure. 'Stay', he implored, in a voice deep and turbulent as the sea, 'You can stay with us. You're not really wanted, out there. But here. You bring us knowledge. Language. Stories. You would be well-cared for.' Adrienne was struck by the sadness lining his words. It was an old sadness, and something she would never hope to comprehend."

"She told the King that she could not stay. She was human. This was not her world. She was grateful for his assistance, but it was time for her to go home. Adrienne felt the slightest bit disheartened at the thought that she'd never get to come here again. After all, how would she be able to find a place that was obviously magically disconnected from the world? It would remain hidden to her gaze. Bahram understood, for his head bobbed up and down and he began to lead her away from the Wolf Kingdom. The atmosphere reeked of melancholy."

"The farther from the Wolf Kingdom she went, the more her tail and ears reverted, until normal and plain and boring Adrienne stood among the trees. When she'd looked in the pool in that cozy cave, for a moment she'd thought she was beautiful But alas, she wasn't anymore, and when they reached her temporary bed-tree, her resignation was written all over her face. She had to go back home. It was the only life she'd ever known. The baker would miss her, the town crier would have no news without her causing trouble, and even her parents would be worried. They loved her, though they showed it in ways she hadn't appreciated."

"Bahram prompted her to stand back betwixt the roots. As she did so, she turned to take him in one last time. His soft, mottled fur, and his leafy green eyes. She whispered thank you, and he told her to hold out her hand. When she did, he unclenched his jaw and something solid dropped into her palm. It was a locket. Inside, one of the smaller glowing flowers sat, yellow and luminescent and clumped together with a handful of moss. 'Come tell us tales from the other world. With that flower, you have become one of us. You will always be able to find our Kingdom of Wolves,' Bahram rumbled. Then he was gone."

"Unable to believe that the last two days had been anything but a dream, Adrienne stumbled through her familiar woods and back up to her cottage. Inside, her mother was standing in the kitchen. When the woman looked up from the bread she was beating to a pulp, her face froze. Mother and daughter ran into each other's arms, and when Adrienne's father came home, he too joined the fray."

"So the stubborn girl returned home. To her parents, something was the slightest bit off about her. She had acquired a sudden grace that had never appeared before. She beamed more often than not. Her steps were quiet, and she often went unnoticed until she opened her mouth. She seemed...beautiful, in a serene way. Adrienne agreed to marry Avi, and the wedding was a small affair. The girl disappeared sometimes, and no one could figure out where she went. A few people have tried to follow, but she was elusive among the foliage. She said nothing about the intricate necklace kissing her breast, and she never took it off either."

"And like that, Adrienne lived a life between two beloved worlds." When Narifa finished, it was like she was pulling her head from the clouds. Dazed, she had to blink a number of times to clear the story from her vision. The kids were lounging around her, distracted for the moment, imagining what it would be like to be turned into a wolf. The crowd had thickened with the day. The Inartan sat in silence for a moment, then slid off her sit.

"Alright you guys. The Shinya hadn't been wrong, you know. Your parents must be worried about you. If you don't go back to them, you might get stuck out in this world forever, trying to be something you were never meant to be." All five children agreed, and sleepily moved as one to head home. The brave little boy stopped when he reached her side, and tugged at her pant leg.

"Will you tell us a story again?" His big, expressive eyes widened in fear of rejection. Narifa smiled wide and leaned down to rub his forehead.

"Of course I will! If you can find me, that is." She reached up to her messy hair and pulled one of her handmade glass beads from it, "Here. You'll always be able to find me if you think hard enough."

It wasn't a mystical bead by any means. Just a shoddy glass circle, one of the first things she'd made by herself. But he didn't have to known that. With one last swipe of her hand through his hair, the Inartan pulled herself up, and made her way into the crowd. Maybe the afternoon would be a better time to start exploring the city.
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Narifa
Victim of Wanderlust and Endless Optimism
 
Posts: 67
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Kingdom of Moss and Wolves

Postby Madeira Craven on June 22nd, 2018, 6:49 pm

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Narifa

Skills
  • Observation: 4xp
  • Planning: 1xp
  • Socialization: 3xp
  • Persuasion: 3xp
  • Organization: 1xp
  • Storytelling: 5xp
  • Childcare: 4xp
  • Acting: 1xp
  • Negotiation: 2xp

Lores
  • Location: Alheas Park
  • Children: creatures somewhat lacking in etiquette
  • Storytelling: the art of breathing life into the words
  • Storytelling: the story of the girl in the wolf kingdom
  • Childcare: entertaining children
  • Acting: enlivening stories with character voices
  • Childcare: defusing arguments
  • Negotiation: appeasing everyone

Awards & Retribution


Notes
Story time is my favorite time. What a lovely read! Make sure to PM me if you have questions or concerns about your grade. :)
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