Open There's Nothing Like the Whisper of Shadows

The jungle surrounding Syka is large, and the secrets it holds are just waiting to be uncovered

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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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There's Nothing Like the Whisper of Shadows

Postby Jace on July 1st, 2018, 3:44 am


Jace didn't fail to notice the suspicious looks from the other two women; Okara and Iolara were their names from what they had said. The looks seemed to grow even more suspicious as Nieve suddenly exclaimed her interest in joining Jace in the jungle. He didn't blame them, really. They had all been pretty startled by each other and Makath wasn't something everyone could understand. It probably looked like Jace hadn't been speaking at all before Nieve's attitude had changed entirely. He would have to be careful from here on out. He didn't mean any harm, but he was certain that he seemed suspicious.

"Iolara, it's, it's nice to meet you. It's, it's nice to, to meet all of you." he said, his stammering returning now that all of their attention was focused on him. He really had to get over this. It had caused problems when he first met Nya, and he promised he would work on it. Now was just as good a time as any, he supposed. "Sorry," he started, his words slow and exaggerated, "about my stammering. I, sort of have trouble...talking to beautiful women."

All the blood in his body seemed to rush to his face again, making him once more look like a tomato. He was too embarrassed to look directly at any of them, so he just stared at the floor for a moment. Then, for whatever reason, it seemed to dawn on him that they were all waiting for him to lead the way on this little adventure. "OH!" he exclaimed, realization clear on his face. "R-right. Ok, well, follow me, I guess." He turned around then, and pulled an arrow from the quiver on his back. He used the tip to mark a nearby tree, pointing back to the beach, and then nocked it as he led this make-shift group deeper into the jungle.

After a few chimes of silence, his eyes scanning the area around them as they walked, Jace figured he might as well try to start a conversation. He was feeling awkward with three women following him and no one talking. It was like a weighted blanket was holding him down, the tension he felt. "So, um, O-Okara. Do, um, do you like working at the Panacea?"

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There's Nothing Like the Whisper of Shadows

Postby Nieve Glass on July 1st, 2018, 6:00 am

Nieve beamed at Iolara, delighted to hear the Charoda woman agreeing to venture into the jungle with them. It was sweet that her friend, for indeed even if they had only met once before Nieve felt it was an appropriate term, was so concerned for her.

The Kelvic herself felt a flash of concern for Iolara as she peered more closely at her; having just come out of the waves, the aquatic woman was hardly dressed for a venture into the jungles, barefoot and wrapped scantily in clothes of seaweed. Nieve pursed her lips for a long moment, debating before making a decision.

The linen shirt she wore beneath her jacket had long sleeves; she would still be much more protected than Iolara, and it didn't feel right to let the Charoda enter the jungle so exposed. "Here, Iolara." Evie removed her climbing claws from the jacket pocket, instead pocketing them in her leather paths, then removed the leather jacket itself, offering it to Iolara.

"You can wear it while we're in the jungle. It will help keep you a bit more protected." She offered the Charoda a smile; if she refused to take the jacket, Nieve would insist until she caved in, citing her long sleeves as protection enough for her torso.

All that was left for Okara to agree. Nieve shifted her gaze to the Konti, waiting with bated breath; despite her excitement, she had honestly expected both of the other women to, probably sensibly, decline her offer. To have even one of them agree to accompany her and Jace was thrilling.

"Perfect! Thank you both," Nieve turned her wide smile on Okara when the Konti finally agreed with a nod and a gentle smile. Okara had a point about the whole expedition being Jace's idea, so Nieve turned to him, waiting for him to lead them into the trees.

He paused, instead stammering out an apology about his speech that caused Nieve to flush a pretty shade of red and laugh as Jace seemed to realize what he'd said, his gaze dropping to the ground. Her laugh faded into a giggle as she shook her head, not unkindly. No wonder the poor Kelvic man was having such a hard time speaking, with the three of them around.

Nieve was vain enough to know she was attractive; Okara was stunning by any and all means of the word, and while Iolara was indeed strange-looking, she certainly possessed a unique beauty of her own.

Nieve watched with amusement as Jace seemed to gather himself; she made note of the way he scored a mark into one of the trees, realization flooding her. That made sense! If one was going to venture deep into the jungle, it would be useful to know where they had already been to avoid getting lost and to help find their way back.

Making a mental note of the tactic for any future ventures she made into the jungle, Nieve smiled at the other women encouragingly before following Jace into the treeline.

They walked quietly for some time, the sound of the ocean gradually fading away. After a few chimes, Nieve glanced back over her shoulder; a thrill of excitement tinged with fear ran through her when she realized she couldn't see the beach any longer. She'd never been so deep in the jungle before, and it was both terrifying and exhilarating.

Jace was speaking to Okara, so Evie settled her pace to walk beside Iolara. The shadows cast by the trees made the jungle darker than the beach, only the barest hint of moonlight shining through the canopy. If she'd known she was going to be accompanied by those without night vision like hers, Nieve would have brought a torch or lantern.

Instead, she settled for walking just a little bit in front of Iolara, ready to guide her at a moment's notice. Her pupils were wide, her irises a mere sliver of green as she took in all the light she could; her gnosis mark helped as well, making it so that while dim and shadowy, she could at least see where she was going.

"It's good to see you again, Iolara. Thank you for defending me." She grinned at the Charoda, giving her a gentle nudge and motioning to guide her around a large stone in their path, not wanting her to trip or cut her bare feet.

"Thank you for coming into the jungle with us, as well. I know it is dangerous, and perhaps it's foolish to want to explore at night, but it's so exciting!" Nieve struggled to keep her voice relatively low, not wanting to attract any nocturnal predators, but excited nonetheless.

"If I thought it was too dangerous I wouldn't have agreed. I really do think we'll be fairly safe with all of us together. But enough of that, how have you been?" Somewhere in the darkness of the forest, a monkey shrieked, causing Nieve to startle slightly, though she didn't stop moving, only a few paces behind Okara and Jace.

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There's Nothing Like the Whisper of Shadows

Postby Iolara Lyada on July 8th, 2018, 2:40 am

Iolara accepted the gift of Nieve’s leather jacket grinning from ear to ear, serrated teeth on proud display and tentacles writhing in her friend’s direction with gratitude,. At the very least, she wouldn’t be dying of a thousand small cuts from the jungle flora. “You are much kind, Nieve,” Iolara said with a tooth-filled grin as she shrugged on the jacket with only a touch of awkwardness. Such a garment would never do below the seas, it had too much drag. But as the sleeves reached down to her wrist, for she and the Kelvic woman were roughly the same size, Iolara could see immediately its practicality for the deep of the jungle. Fixing her gaze on the Konti woman, the last of the group to give their approval, Io found her mind afflicted with a mix of hope and trepidation.

On the one hand, the young witch desperately hoped the older woman would be the voice of reason in the face of Jace and Nieve’s determination and Iolara’s loyalty, reprimanding them for the foolishness they were about to pursue. However, Iolara had come to realize that surface-dwellers seemed to have an instinct that drove them to help others, and her tentacles, tensed upon her shoulders, reflected the dread that Okara would instead be as enthusiastic as the rest of them. What does she apprentice in, anyway? the Charoda girl wondered as she swallowed her feat with a gulp! that she fervently prayed was inaudible. As it would happen, her fears were correct as Okara agreed to accompany the group, though she seemed more concerned for safety than the two Kelvics, and for that, at least, Iolara was thankful.

That is, until Okara deferred to the stuttering man from the shadows, who seemed to have a strange connection with Nieve. Or was it more of an infatuation? Land-dweller emotions were difficult to read. While he seemed harmless enough, despite his claims of being a Ranger, Iolara found it difficult to trust him. Even with her severe lack of experience dealing with surfacers, there was very little about Jace that bespoke confidence to Iolara. And the more he spoke, the less she thought of his ability to lead them. When he mentioned that his stuttering was due to the company of “beautiful women,” Io’s tentacles flared and she had to cover her lips with one webbed hand in an attempt to suppress her giggles. A Ranger scared of women? she thought with even more internal mirth, who had ever heard of such a thing? Indeed, Iolara knew little about the beauty standards of those who lived above the waves, but she supposed she could see the attraction to Nieve and Okara. The young witch herself had never had the time nor the opportunity to put much thought to romantic interests. It was not a thought she preferred to dwell on at the moment, however.

As Jace began leading the way, Iolara visibly winced as he scored his mark into a nearby tree. The utility was understandable, but the witch within her soured at the idea that they would be wounding Caiyha’s creation as they marched through the jungle with all the care of a school of parrotfish, etching and chewing away at the pristine beauty of nature before them. Moving deeper into the jungle, two things were immediately apparent. The first was the darkness that encroached all around them. While Iolara had grown accustomed to the murky depths beneath the waves, Laviku’s canopy still allowed Leth’s light to pour through. Here, only dim slivers and pinpricks managed to penetrate the dense treetops above. The second was how much she detested walking in the jungle. Every step seemed to bring a new hazard, something sticking up with the intent of tripping or cutting.

While the stuttering Kelvic made conversation, if one could call it that, with Okara, Nieve mercifully stayed close to Iolara. Somehow, Evie’s Kelvic nature afforded her much better night vision than Iolara possessed, and it was only with her friend’s guidance that the young witch avoided any serious injuries. Io’s thick and pliable skin helped mitigate some of the minor scratches, though it did nothing to alleviate the bruising that knew was inevitable come morning. Through her pained winces, Iolara strained to keep a serene smile upon her face for her friend, though her twitching tentacles often betrayed the young Charoda’s trepidation at being so far from the sea.

“It is good to see you also, Evie,” Iolara spoke slowly as she kept her eyes peeled and allowed her Kelvic companion to guide her around larger obstacles. “Now Io knows how caught fish feel.” That statement came with a grimace as her webbed feet caught on...something, causing her to stumble forward, arresting her momentum with Nieve’s shoulders. Huffing in consternation, Iolara attempted to regain the serene composure she imagined was expected of one of Caiyha’s marked. She had to admit, there was a certain excitement at exploring the unknown, though Iolara couldn’t say she liked night time in the jungle much. She could feel hungry eyes upon them, and while it may well have been her imagination, Iolara doubted the jungle was quite that far removed from the ocean when it came to predators and their habits.

“I trust Caiyha to guide us,” she said with a more sincere smile after Nieve’s own assurances of safety, fingers lightly brushing the lively coral reef on her left arm, the mark of the Lady of the Wilds herself. “And I trust you, Nieve. I do not trust him,” she nodded towards Jace with narrowed eyes, assuming he would be too engrossed by the effort of conversing with a “beautiful woman” to be listening to the conversation behind him. As her friend was about to reply, a foul shriek pierced the night air. Iolara jumped in shock and screeched curses in her native Char in response, her tentacles flaring like a basket of angry serpents. Lady Caiyha, protect and guide me. I am a stranger in this strange land, and these wilds are not my own.
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There's Nothing Like the Whisper of Shadows

Postby Okara on July 9th, 2018, 6:54 pm

Okara’s expression softened from suspicion to amusement as she observed Jace fumble his words and collect himself, preparing to lead their small company into the dark line of foliage. Perhaps his affliction was not a physical one but rather emotional, a lack of confidence in himself. She was glad she had asked him to lead as the man clearly needed a few boosts to feel secure in his own competency. Hopefully the rest of them would not perish in the jungle from trying to supply Jace with some much-needed confidence.

With the thought of safety in her mind, Okara slung off her backpack and pulled out her suvai before settling the pack back on her shoulders. She gripped the small weapon in her hand, the three pointed prongs glistening in Leth’s light. She watched Jace turn and move into the forest, noting his markings on the trees. She fell in step behind him, nodding quietly to herself as she realized he was marking their path so they would not lose their way home. Her esteem for the man rose a few degrees with the demonstration of some knowledge. Okara felt a little more secure about the chances of their group making it back alive. She wasn’t entirely convinced yet but the prospects seemed more optimistic.

Okara heard Iolara and Nieve fall in line behind her. The Charoda draped in Nieve’s leather coat to protect her skin just behind Okara and Nieve just beside her brought up the rear of the party. Okara warmed to them, to Nieve’s kindness and Iolara’s still obvious concern about their venture. She figured both traits would be helpful on the trip, selfishness and recklessness were undesirable among companions she would need to depend on in case of something actually happening.

Okara had little time to think of much more as her attention and awareness was drawn to the environment around her. The moonlight dappled the forest through the thick canopy but many rocks and tripping roots hid in the darkness. She had to keep her eyes on Jace so she wouldn’t get separated while at the same time carefully stepping and searching with her feet for obstacles. Added to that was the swarms of insects that filled Falyndar, seemingly more active and irritating at night than by the heat of day. Her attention was briefly broken as she realized Jace had said something to her and she stumbled for a moment before catching herself.

”I enjoy my work at the Panacea. It’s not easy and I don’t get to meet people when they are at their best, but I appreciate being able to help them and make them feel better. It’s really humbling to have someone put their trust in you when they come to you with a problem. How have things been going with the Rangers? I’m afraid I don’t get out enough to keep up on what all is happening in the community.” Okara said thoughtfully, really considering the question he had asked her. She could hear Iolara and Nieve talking softly behind her.

A monkey shrieked in trees and Okara nearly jumped as Iolara shrieked in a strange language. The Konti spun around with her suvai raised and her eyes darted towards the Charoda and the surrounding forest, wondering if something had grabbed her when the monkey called out. Seeing that Iolara was surprised but unharmed made her body relax and she dropped her suvai to her side. She smiled with a giggle of relief as she turned back towards Jace.

”You gave me such a fright Iolara! I thought for sure you had been snatched by something.” She threw over her shoulder with a laugh. Her heart still beat a little fast with the remnant of adrenaline as she calmed her body down.
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