PM to join [City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Anais and Ixtli bond over blood

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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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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Anais Seawind on July 11th, 2018, 9:58 pm

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20th of Summer
11 Bells


Droplets of water splashed against her legs as she kicked her way along the shoreline, shoes in her hand; in a few bells, Anais knew, the urge to soak her whole body in the salty Suvan Sea would hit her. It always did in the fullness of the midday heat. But she was getting used to the weather, used to the settlement, used to following the relaxed rhythms of life in Syka, and each day that she didn’t stumble into the jungle and get eaten by a wild animal or lost in the thick green of the trees was a personal victory. It was easy to feel that small sense of success here, in Syka’s core group of community buildings. With the rangers and a semblance of civilization, this part of the budding community was more or less safe, even for someone of her limited knowledge.

Anais had been letting it lull her, finding it easy to stay within the safe places, keeping to herself. But that was going to have to change; coming to Syka had been a hasty decision, but one that she was determined not to regret. Much of the past several years had been spent hiding – from family, memories, closeness… And Laviku, if she were being honest. Though she’d remained in and around the water, first in Zeltiva and then the nearly two seasons she’d spent sailing along the coastline from there to Syka, it had been longer than she was comfortable admitting, even to herself, since she’d really spoken to the God. It was not for lack of opportunity or the proper surroundings. True, she’d remained in Zeltiva longer than anywhere else, but in the city famed for its nautical prowess there had been ample opportunity to be on the water. And Anais hadn’t been able to stay away, no matter that anger and confusion and sorrow stood between her and the All Father, but she had not been a good child. Syka was going to be her fresh start, just as soon as Anais could bring herself to really start.

That drive had been what pulled Anais from the familiarity of her cabin and the comforting rocking of Laviku’s Kiss. The need to do something more than move a few rocks around and dig a hole, or have vague conversations about potential buildings and loans and contributions. Today, she would find Randal Zor, Syka contractor extraordinaire, and solidify some plans for a dock. And then maybe meet someone other than Juli, who she’d met mostly out of necessity at the mercantile. Beyond that, Anais was unsure how else to insert herself into life in her new community, but she was sure it wouldn’t happen stuffed away on her boat or playing around on her own stretch of isolated beach.

So she was walking in the slightly less isolated sand and surf of the beach by the communal everything. On her walk she’d passed the Panacea, Syka’s medical clinic, but it hadn’t been bustling with activity, which was probably a good thing; Juli had waved from the raised main floor of the mercantile – Anais didn’t know if the other woman had waved because she recognized her, or just out of friendliness, but her hand had lifted in response as she’d moved past. Most of the communal buildings were open to the air, at least to some extent, and Anais hadn’t seen many other people moving around as she’d passed – no Randal and no one conveniently close by that she could ask about him, either.

Maybe Juli knows where he is? As soon as she had the thought, Anais caught sight of the small cleaning and butchering station some considerate soul had thought to build. The actual building was small, little more than a low platform with a roof but, as with most of Syka’s construction, the useable space extended beyond just the footprint. To the side of the small pavilion were a series of hooks; Anais assumed for larger butchering projects, since there was something very dead dangling from one such hook. The woman cleaning the animal wasn’t familiar to her, and for a moment Anais considered simply turning back to find Juli.

Remembering her aim for the day – find Randal, meet someone new – she shrugged and walked up the beach. The woman working there was tall, a few inches taller than herself, with dark hair, tanned skin, and muscles that spoke to a lifetime of hard work – or training. The closer Anais got, the less she wanted to surprise the stranger, and end up possibly dodging one of the many knives that were furnished for communal use at the cleaning station. Still several feet away, she cleared her throat loudly; when the other woman looked around, Anais offered a friendly greeting.

“Hello – “ lifting a hand to wave, she realized it was the one that held her boots and lowered it just as fast, with a sheepish half-smile. “I’m Anais. I don’t mean to interrupt, but have you seen Randal around lately?” Close-up, Anais could see that the woman had a pig on her hook – I wonder what bait she used? – and the daunting task of butchering the whole thing by herself. Though the animal wasn’t huge, Anais knew the time involved in cleaning her own fish and assumed that a pig would take significantly longer. She took another look around, and upon finding no one nearby, spoke without thinking. “Do you want some help with that?”

Even she could hear the surprise in her voice, and she hurried to clarify, “I’ve only cleaned fish before, but I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty if you want to tell me what to do. Be a shame to lose the meat to heat,” she eyed the bloodied flesh of the pig, which was already gaining the interest of a small group of flies, “or anything else.” Anais didn’t know how likely it was for the smell of a fresh kill to draw other wildlife, or if the local animals kept their distance since people had taken up residence. But if the woman didn’t want her help, she would just continue her search for Randal and see to the rest of her plans for the day.
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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Ixtli on July 19th, 2018, 9:33 pm

Crimson red dribbled slowly from the gash on the neck of the animal, precious life liquid that trailed down along the pink throat and snout. It was to drip off and be collected in a large clay basin right under the slaughtered pig hanging from strong hooks underneath the roof of Syka's butchering station. Ixtli had begun to work onto the day's kill just a bell earlier, bled it, scraped it, and already she noticed the effects of the heat on the flesh under her hands. She'd have to work as fast as possible to make sure no part would be wasted. And, more problematic, her piece of work had begun to draw the attention of a small swarm of flies that seemed to work together to pester the Myrian as best as they could, charging one after the other when she thought she had driven them away. With the population and activity of the settlement growing in the past season, the bugs had understood that they'd have a large and convenient food source right there on the sea side, and their presence was becoming seriously irritating. She'd have to find a way to keep them away from the large amounts of food she dealt with most days; maybe ask the seamstress about some kind of protective net? Or visit this herbalist woman she had heard about, to see if she knew of any incense that could help.

Ixtli sighed. Two seasons in Syka already and she had not met all the settlers yet. Some of them just stayed briefly, for a night or ten, trading, relaxing, exploring for the bravest, before leaving on those ships of theirs, leaving the richness of the jungle to live in wooden boxes above endless waters. She would never understand that choice. Why trade solid ground and a sheltered sky for a life of being constantly burned under Syna's scorching gaze and trapped in your own home, unable to run, hunt and even breathe under the waves? For the Myrian, the jungle provided everything needed, and she couldn't understand the sailors' way of life. Although she had not spoken to many, she found herself to have very little in common with the sea-dwellers.

She had, however, little excuse to not have met the others, those who really called Syka home, and after a season of keeping mostly to herself, it was time she got more involved with the local community. She remembered her mother's teachings, the importance of family and blood. Here, alone and away from her Clan, she had to find a new sense to those words, create kinship amongst strangers. Maybe that was the reason why she left Taloba in the first place? Maybe it was Viratas himself whom had planted this idea in her head, for her to arrive in a newly forming community and attempt to bring the residents together, in accordance to His will and way?

Ixtli let out a gasp. Her mind had been running free along her musings and she had forgotten to keep her hands in check. The sharp knife she was moving around the insides of the pig had slipped for an instant on the bloody flesh and hit her finger fast enough to cut into her phalanx. Quickly, she pulled her hand out of the carcass and into a small bucket of clear water, then wiped it on one of the clean rags stuffed in her apron. At a glance, it didn't look too bad, so she resumed her work. With most of the entrails already out and split in different buckets, she was left with a few organs to cut out of their cavities and some cleaning to do before the butchering process could continue. She dug her blade carefully under the ribcage, keeping close to the bones, to slice the diaphragm and get to the nicer, more edible organs. With a slow and meticulous motion, she dragged the knife all around the edges, to cut out the thin membrane as cleanly as possible.

The sound of a throat clearing made her stop, hands still inside the pig, and look around.

Close to the station stood a blue-eyed woman with blonde braids, and she was waving at her in greeting.
"Hello. I'm Anais. I don't mean to interrupt, but have you seen Randal around lately?"
Ixtli tilted her head aside; she didn't know this woman. Was she recently arrived to Syka, or was the Myrian spending too much time by herself to recognise an earlier settler?
She replied to her greeting by raising a blood-covered hand and waving back, the red liquid trickling down to her elbow.
"Hello Anais. I've seen him about a bell ago but not since. I believe he said something about going somewhere for construction wood… I don't remember more than that unfortunately."
If he could not be found around the city core or the Bungalows, the man was probably off into the forest to hunt or collect resources.
"You might be able to find him around the ranchos or bungalows, maybe. Otherwise I have no clue."

The other seemed to think briefly and have another idea on her mind as she eyed the surroundings and the pig Ixtli worked on.
"Do you want some help with that?"
The Myrian arched an eyebrow in surprise.
Quickly Anais explained her offering of assistance and lack of experience, but she seemed genuine in her will to help. Ixtli didn't hesitate very long on her answer; if she wanted extra work, well, she'll get some.
"Sure, why not," she said with a shrug. "I can always use some extra hands if you really want to. I probably can guide you through most of it as well." She moved aside from the dead animal to show the newcomer the next steps.
"You should just clean your hands here before getting started, and…"
Ixtli eyed the woman down and up.
"You're going to stain your clothes. And everything else on you." Ixtli's loincloth and breastwrap were protected by a large sisal apron that was covered in stains both new and old, and the pig's blood coloured her arms from elbow to fingertips. She looked like a good example of what pig butchering would do to someone's looks.
"If that's okay, then here, get this small knife. It's extremely sharp, so be careful. And gentle with the cuts. Don't chop any of your fingers off, 'cause I don't know how to fix that."

"Now we have to cut this part open, to access the organs inside. Heart, lungs, liver… They'll go in this basket." Her hand followed her words in the demonstration, a single reddened finger tracing along the animal's breastbone to show where the slice would happen, then pointing at the large bucket awaiting to receive its content.

Ixtli waited a moment for any questions on Anais' side, then moved closer to the hung swine to continue. She gently sliced away at the rest of the diaphragm before leaving some space for Anais to come closer whenever she was ready, and threw the membrane in one of the used containers when done.

Looking up at her new work partner, she smiled slightly.
"It's not an easy or quick job, but if you help, you can choose some of the cuts for you when we finished. Like you said, we wouldn't want all this meat to go to waste."

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Last edited by Ixtli on July 26th, 2018, 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Anais Seawind on July 21st, 2018, 12:16 am

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Anais looked down at her clothes, threadbare though they were, and was mildly dismayed at the other woman’s words. But the offer had been made, and Anais had other clothes, equally threadbare. If these were consigned to a cheery bonfire after today’s work, and she were forced to buy new things, perhaps she could source something a bit more appropriate for the environment from Juli. Dropping her boots a safe distance from the bloodshed – at least they won’t need replacing – she made her peace with the death of her outfit.

“Ok, I can do that,” she said, trying to sound more positive than hesitant, as she stepped over to the spigot to cleanse her hands as directed. The water was cold, but clear and she had a moment to wonder over the luxury of running water in the otherwise basic settlement. Syka was a curious mix of creature comfort and primitive living. She scrubbed her hands a few ticks longer than necessary, as she listened to the instructions being given. A surprised chuckle huffed out at the warning – no, she would try not to chop off her fingers. The last thing she needed was a complicated injury to make her adjustment here even more difficult.

Anais plucked up the smallish knife the other woman had indicated, and stepped closer as she listened, nodding. Taking out organs. Same as gutting a fish. Sort of. The other woman’s knife slipped smoothly through the pig’s flesh, carving it away with an almost obscene ease. But the gory work didn’t seem to bother her companion a bit, the woman simply made her methodical cuts slowly, thick blood oozing slightly from the fresh slices. Though the bulk of the blood had filled a container below the pig, dregs remained making the butchering slick work.

Just like gutting a fish, she thought again.

Anais stepped up to the pig, its body swayed slightly in the aftermath of the other woman’s cutting. Her finger had left a faint red line down the center of the pig, a helpful visual that the Svefra appreciated. Still she wanted to double check before poking around with the knife, “Here? Just… Slice on into it?” Though it didn’t seem that complicated so far, she waited for the woman’s confirmation before pressing the knife against the animal.

The flesh of the pig offered more resistance than the fish Anais was used to, but the sharpened edge of the knife parted muscle from strings of tendon and bone with little effort. Her cuts bore little similarity to the other woman’s smooth, measured slices; in the end, she was left with a gaping hole, a window to the insides of the pig. Anais had seen raw meat before, but had never been this close to the process, mostly trading for already butchered meat or tallow.

The other woman spoke again, and Anais paused with her knife, sure she was going to be corrected. Her eyebrows rose in pleased surprise. Fresh meat would be nice, but… Anais glanced into the cavity of the pig’s body, considering the amount of fat on the animal. It could be used for candles, she knew, though the process was a bit different than just using wax. Surely, if she got to choose, the other woman wouldn’t mind parting with some of that, she mused, taking a few more passes with her knife, to fully open the chest of the pig.

“That’s kind of you,” she answered, still thinking. “I fish, but don’t hunt land animals. Fresh meat is a nice change from seafood. Thank you - ” she paused, realizing that the other woman had neglected to introduce herself. Or had she, and Anais had simply been too busy trying to figure out why she’d volunteered to help butcher a pig to listen? “I’m sorry – I think I missed your name…?”

Deciding there wasn’t a better way to go about removing the heart, now that the chest cavity had been opened, Anais reached a hand inside and began feeling around the muscle for anything that might be attached. The body was warm, though not as warm as it would have been in life, and small squishing sounds accompanied her exploration around the pig’s interior. When she encountered connecting pieces, she would carefully reach in with the knife, severing them. Taking her time both because she was unfamiliar with the task and because she wanted the other woman to have plenty of opportunity to stop her, should she make a mistake, Anais worked her hands and knife around the heart until the thing came loose with a meaty plop into her hand.

Feeling very accomplished, even if she knew it had been a clumsy extraction, Anais pulled the heart out of its case and held it up for a second before placing it into the basket the other woman had pointed out. It lay there, dark and glistening with the vestiges of blood, and coated with thick, uneven lines of yellow-white fat.

“Do you have a use for the fat?” It could be cooked with, Anais knew, and if the woman intended to use it for that purpose, she may not want to give it away.
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Last edited by Anais Seawind on July 30th, 2018, 12:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Ixtli on July 26th, 2018, 2:08 pm

Ixtli watched closely as the Svefra stepped forward to make her first cut. She seemed cautious, not hurrying at the task or slicing carelessly but instead rather delicate in her approach, and the Myrian appreciated that she checked for her approval.
"Yes, right there, you need to press to cut through the bone. Be careful not to go too deep, otherwise you'll pierce through what's behind."

Under the pressure of a steady hand the chest opened, exposing a red mess of organs, flesh and connecting tissues to the women's view. There would be some serious cutting and cleaning to do before they could use any of it, but it was worth the amount of work, as most of the pig would be eaten or saved for later.

Anais thanked her for the meat offer, and the butcher simply nodded. No point in keeping all that meat for myself.
"No problem at all," she answered when the Svefra took a pause. "It's my way of contributing in Syka. Randal is the one who brought me the pig. I'm in charge of preparing it and distributing the meat and the rest to the settlers who need it." She glanced at the cluster of buckets and basins laying around them, and the contents she would have to deal with later on in the day.

"Oh, yes, sorry. My name's Ixtli," she added promptly. Has she really been spending so much time alone that she had forgotten to give her name when Anais introduced herself? Ixtli shook her head.
"I guess my mind's a little too fixated on work, sometimes…"

Anais began fishing around the chest cavity knife in hand and gaze focused, and after observing her for a chime or two Ixtli concluded that the Svefra was doing good enough on her own to let her continue without interrupting. She grabbed a clay jug by the station and filled it with clean water before emptying it into the basin that would receive the heart and the rest of the tastier insides. She filled the large container halfway up, then took a generous handful of sea salt and mixed it into the water.
"We can put all of the rest of the organs into this mix together, after we wash them properly," she indicated to her new work companion. The blonde woman now held the heart proudly in her hand and a shadow of a smile passed over Ixtli's face. She remembered the satisfactory feeling of a task rightfully accomplished for the first time and was pleased to recognise it on Anais' expression.

"The fat? Yes, it's great for cooking." She paused briefly, trying to think about other uses.
"I'm pretty sure there's more to do with it, but nothing else comes to mind right now. Do you need some of it? This pig has so much, you can have a share, if you want."

Ixtli stepped in closer to the pig when the other was done. With one hand she grabbed the bundle of innards inside the chest cavity and pulled it out as much as the connective tissues would allow. Then, blade in the other hand, she sliced the tough matter attaching the bundle to the carcass while being careful to not damage the mass of organs hanging from her other hand. The flesh and everything inside was still soft and slippery, and she had to work slowly and stay focused to avoid a wrong cut or an injury. Finally, the rest of the organs came down and Ixtli could only avoid dropping it all to the ground by cupping the red and bloody mess into both arms. It did not bother the Myrian much, being used to her work as well as the bloody warlike ways of her people; a faint tensing of her lips was the only exterior sign of her discomfort at armful of pig's innards.

She brought the bundle to the basket where she left it with the heart and turned to Anais.
"Now we have the liver, lungs and the rest here" - she pointed at each item successively - "the next step is to wash them well, pluck out the kidneys that are over there with more fat around them" - her hand indicated the smaller, bean-shaped organs by the backbone - "and then we'll wash the inside with clean, cold water. Let me know if you have a preference."

Ixtli herself would began picking at the fatty tissue around the kidneys, cautious fingers grabbing tiny lumps of grease to store in a separate pot, and she would move aside and leave enough space for one more to work should Anais choose to join her in this task.

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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Anais Seawind on July 30th, 2018, 12:27 am

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“Some of the tallow would be great. Its also good for making candles,” Anais nodded to the other woman – Ixtil. “That’s my ‘job,’ here. I usually use wax, but Syka is so remote that I'd have to have it brought in. At least I haven’t heard of anyone keeping bees?” It was a question, but one that Anais didn’t expect to be answered. In her days at the settlement, she’d discovered that the residents possessed a wide variety of skills, but most of them were geared toward basic survival. Honey and beeswax were, in her opinion, more of a luxury item. Beeswax was definitely more enjoyable to work with than tallow, which tended to be softer and a bit smellier, but still effective for lighting. “I’m probably going to be using tallow more often...”

Her words trailed off, the conversation taking second place to Ixtli’s actions. As Anais watched, the other woman stepped up to the carcass, slicing further at the inside. The Svefra couldn’t see quite what was being cut away, but when Ixtli stepped back, it was with a bundle of the animal’s insides cradled in her arms. As they were deposited into the basket with “her” heart, Anais peered at the mass curiously; though she was familiar with fish guts, these were organs on a large scale and despite herself, she was interested to see the differences. Some organs were familiar, but not from the fish she'd cleaned. She’d seen them in butcher shops in her travels, although they were always more presentable than these fresh from the animal. Others were simply unidentifiable, and hard to distinguish from the general clump of entrails. The cavity of the pig was nearly empty now, and Anais was able to easily see the kidneys – surprised to see that they were, as the other woman had described, very bean-shaped, and spotted with chunks of fat. The pale yellow color stood out in stark relief against the slick reddish pink of the meat.

As she stared, the other woman reached in to begin removing the fat, plucking them out and dropping them into yet another pot at her feet. Though that seemed like a straightforward task, Ixtli would probably be able to do it faster without her squeezing in to help. Anais hesitated briefly before moving back to the basket of organs - how hard can washing these be? One organ seemed as good as the next, so she lifted out the topmost of the pile, the liver, and positioned herself by the water spigot once more. The water was cool, the initial stream sputtered a bit before settling into a steady flow of liquid. Still, sticking the organ underneath the spray caused a splatter of pinkish blood to arc onto her arms and shirt. Anais started in surprise, and then gave Ixtli a rueful glance; the woman had warned her it would be messy, and she supposed that the further involved she got, the messier the tasks would become. Already her shirt was, as she'd been told, lost to the blood - it would take more effort than the piece of clothing was worth to remove even the fresh stains. But torn and braided, the cloth might make good wicks for her candles.

“How much washing does this need? Until the water comes off clear?” Anais rotated the liver under the water a bit, inspecting it as she rinsed it. Under her hands, the meat was dense and springy, and almost uniformly a deep red color. Small amounts of fat remained, and Anais plucked them off, holding them awkwardly in her grasp while still rinsing the liver. Turning the organ over, she noticed an odd greenish piece attached to the organ, and she held it up for closer inspection. Attached only at the top - bottom? - it didn't seem to be part of the liver, but Anais hesitated to pull it off without asking her companion first.

“Ixtli – is this supposed to look like that?” She brought the liver over to the other woman for inspection, dropping her few chunks of fat in with the pieces that Ixtli had collected from the interior of the animal. The containers now held an interesting mix of colors, shades of pink and red, along with yellow, cream, and even some darker purples. She’d had no clue the inside of a pig was so interesting.

After conferring with Ixtli, Anais went back to her task of rinsing the various organs, trying to keep her questions to a minimum. While she was curious, and could have kept up a steady stream of questions, the last thing she wanted to do was slow the process down; Ixtli was being kind enough to offer her meat and tallow from the animal, so the Svefra wanted to earn her share. Using her hands, she pushed the water over the surface of the organs, giving them as thorough a cleaning as she could manage before dropping the finished products into the salty water Ixtli had prepared. Brining was, at least, a process she was familiar with.

"I've salt-preserved fish before - I leave the fish bodies to soak in a nice salty brine for a few days, usually. Will we be soaking this the same way?" Looking at the pig carcass, Anais was doubtful - that much meat would need a lot of salt and a good long soak.

oocIn case I wasn't clear, Anais is asking about the gallbladder.
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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Ixtli on August 22nd, 2018, 3:16 pm

"Oh, I see!" So Syka had a candle maker now? It was good that the settlement expanded, and the skills of its settlers with it. "Well, you can have as much as needed. I don't think anybody else uses tallow anyway, or only for frying. You can pick the pieces you want." The Myrian herself had little use for the fat; her preference went for the belly meat, the best cut in her opinion, and some of the inside parts that very few settlers enjoyed eating.
"I haven't either," Ixtli answered to the candle-maker at her question about Sykan beekeepers. "Maybe one will come with a next ship?" The settlement was growing fast these days. Ixtli wondered at the possibility of another child of Myri making its way into Syka. She knew it would make her happy to see one of her people, even though she had been the one to leave. These past weeks she had felt out of touch with her culture, her roots, and although she wouldn't admit it, wished for a way to reconnect with her kin while fulfilling her call here. She felt the beginning of a lump in her throat, but swiftly pushed the thoughts away; it was not the time to be nostalgic, there was work to be done. If she really missed her people, she knew where to find them.

The butcher continued her task with renewed focus, her fingers cautiously plucking away the yellow matter from the carcass. She tried to use just enough force to separate it from the kidneys without damaging the organs, but the insides of the pig were slick and slippery and her work suffered from it and from her lack of experience. The grease piling up in the bucket took on a pink hue as blood mixed with the lard. Soon a comfortable silence fell between the two women as they worked at their tasks, broken after a couple of chimes as Anais' voice rose with a question.

"Yes, just enough that you can see that there isn't any other tissue on it, like fat or flesh. It just has to look clean. We'll eat those ones soon anyway." With a frown of concentration on her face, Ixtli tore the last pieces of lard from inside the pig and grabbed a small knife to finish the gutting. Very carefully, she sliced the connective tissue holding the bean-shaped organs to the pig, one hand clutching the knife close to the blade for better control, the other taking hold of one kidney and then the other, before putting them into the basket with the rest of the edible organs.

She let out a heavy sigh; butchering was mental work as much as it was a physical one, requiring constant focus and a steady grip. With the back of a blood-stained hand, the Myrian wiped the sweat off her forehead, leaving a dark red trail over her brow. She considered the sow hanging on the hooks, belly open, innards separated in more buckets that she could deal with. If not for the Svefra volunteering to help, this piece of work would take her the whole day, and in this heat the flesh wouldn't go that long before spoiling.

She turned to her work companion to thank her, but before she could voice her gratitude she was presented with a nasty-looking green bubble attached to a perfectly good liver. Ixtli frowned, brow creased in concentration as she attempted to summon previous knowledge of such a part, but nothing came to mind.
"I'm not sure…" her voice trailed off briefly, before a decision was taken.
"I don't remember seeing anything like that, so… I'd say let's play safe and throw it away. It looks… not so good, and we have plenty of good bits to eat," she said while gesturing at the pig carcass and the containers surrounding it. "I don't want to take the risk."

Ixtli paused for a chime, resting herself in the shadow and rinsing her hands into a bucket of clean water, as much for cleaning as for refreshing. She swallowed a drink as well, the cool feeling of water down her throat a welcome relief as the midday heat took his routine hold over the settlement.

"We'll just leave the inside bits soaking for a while. The rest, we need to clean, and then we start cutting. The flesh needs to cool down a bit, so we're going to need a lot of water." Matching words with action, she filled a jug with fresh water and, walking up to the empty carcass, poured it slowly along the insides, using her free hand to scrub the slick flesh free of the remnants of blood. The flowing liquid quickly took on a light pink hue as it splashed her arms and apron, adding nuances to the reds and browns already present.

"When this is done… We take the head off."

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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Anais Seawind on September 2nd, 2018, 3:00 pm

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Anais stood aside, observing the other woman’s process; water ran down the pig carcass, now emptied of organs, and splashed against Ixtli. The Svefra winced – Ixtli wore a protective apron, an item Anais found herself wishing for. Losing the clothing didn’t bother her as much as the idea of being splashed with the watery pig blood; but for her part, the other woman seemed unaffected by the experience. Its just blood. Fish have blood, you’ve cleaned them plenty of time, she chided herself silently as she filled her own jug with water. Fish aren’t exactly pig-sized, but… She shook her head slightly, forcing herself to stop thinking about it and jump into the new task – standing by and watching wasn’t going to earn her meat, tallow or good will.

As Ixtli refilled her jug, Anais stepped closer to the body and mimicked what she’d watched the other woman do. Raising the jug, she began pouring the cool water over the flesh of the pig; it sloshed out faster than she’d intended and a mixture of water and blood splashed against her. She ignored it, or tried to, as she placed her hand against the still-warm flesh of the pig, rubbing the water across it in much the same way that she had done with the organs. Within ticks her jug was empty and she stepped away to refill it, and to allow the other woman access to the pig.

Butchering the animal was a lengthy process, and despite working with the cool water, it was warm work. In the end, Anais was surprised to find herself almost appreciating the splashing water, even if it was mixed with blood – the cooling effect outweighed the distaste she had experienced earlier. When Ixtli finally deemed the inside of the animal clean enough, Anais was almost disappointed; taking a few ticks, she rinsed her hands with clean water, scrubbing at her hands to clear away the remaining traces of blood before splashing her face and neck.

“The head comes off next, then?” Anais looked down at the small knife she had used when removing the organs earlier; surely it wasn’t up to the task of taking off an entire head? The part in question hung just above the ground, snout still dripping with pinkish water from the cleaning. The ground below was wet, though the sand provided excellent drainage and no puddles of blood and water remained. Would they cut the body down first, or leave it hanging? Anais realized she’d never actually thought much about cutting the heads off of animals. “How do we do that?”

Fish were easy, you laid them out on a flat surface and hacked the head off. Or left it. Some of the preserving methods she’d learned as a child didn’t even need the head removed. Fish stew actually used the whole fish, including the head, and the eyes were one of the tastiest parts of the fish. Pig eyes were considerably larger than fish eyes, though these were glazed and dulled now. In fish, dull eyes meant the fish had sat too long and begun to spoil. Still, she was curious.

“Do you eat the eyes?”
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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Ixtli on September 19th, 2018, 5:26 pm

It took both women several full jars of water and some hand-scrubbing, but finally the insides of the pig carcass were as clean and cool as the butcher needed them to be. The next steps of the process would involve a lot of chopping and cutting, so they couldn't afford to work on slick flesh.

While Anais took a few ticks to clean and refresh herself, Ixtli rummaged in the compartments under the counters, looking for the right tools for the next tasks; although she had her own set of knives, none of them were long, large or sturdy enough to cut through the pig's spinal bones. She searched through the array of blades left to the disposition of anyone wanting to use the communal stations. The choice was a mix of blades of various shapes, lengths and levels of quality, as if being the results of donations from different people over time. Finally, she found what she was looking for and pulled the metal tool out from where it laid: a long hand saw with a serrated edge and solid wooden handle. It was in decent condition and certainly the right length for the job. Ixtli put it down on the counter next to the hanging pig – the head still had to come off first.

"We slice, and if it doesn't come off, we chop." The Myrian butcher answered to her work companion's questioning with a slight grin on her lips. She glanced aside to catch a glimpse of Anais' expression and stepped closer to the carcass, waiting a tick for her reaction. Anais seemed to endure the gore and bloody process well enough, and the Myrian was curious to see how long she would hold her stomach. After all, she had volunteered for the butchering.

After a closer look at the animal's head in front of her Ixtli took hold of one of her own knives, a long curved-up blade resembling the shape of a scimitar with a slightly larger end.
"If you hold the head, I'll cut around the neck and try to separate it slowly and nicely from the body. We should be able to do it while it's still hanging."

She crouched, gesturing for the Svefra to join her and grab firmly the hanging animal's head, pink skin now streaked with red blood. Once both were in place, Ixtli began. First she sliced just behind the ears, where she could feel the back of the skull, and stopped when the blade met the backbone. When the first half was done, she reached with her free hand to feel around the throat; she couldn't remember exactly where she was supposed to cut on this side... Just under the mouth? No, that felt wrong. Here? There? Her hand moved about, exploring, looking for an apparent separation of the muscles. On a pig, so round and smooth everywhere, it was hard to tell where the neck began and ended... She settled for some kind of middle ground, pushing her blade into the flesh with moderate force, careful not to slip.

The knife was sharp and the skin opened readily under the pressure of blade and hand. The animal having been sticked and bled for over a bell now, the task did not turn out as messy as the previous ones. The soft throat was cut open, revealing a new array of anatomical wonders, tubes and pipes and tissue, and soon the head only hung from the rest of the body by the thick thread of the spine. Once more Ixtli's hand dug into the fleshy mess, looking for the right spot to separate both parts. The Myrian was too focused on her work to notice the squishy sounds and mushy texture involved in the process, but the job certainly wasn't for the faint of heart.

She found the joint connecting skull and vertebra and steered the head of the blade towards it. The sinew was tough but the weight of the mostly severed head helped the butcher to finish the job, and the part would drop to the floor with a heavy thud if it wasn't held properly.

Ixtli stood up with a sigh of relief, satisfied. Now they were left mostly with muscle parts, which were much easier to handle. She put down her long blade and grabbed the hand saw before turning to Anais when her voice rose with a question.
"Yes, of course," she answered, tilting her head to the side as if considering the query from another angle. "You can eat almost everything, if you know how to prepare it. The eyes are fine."
She paused for a tick before an idea crossed her mind and she smiled at the Svefra.
"If you like, you can have them as well."


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[City Core] Dead Meat and a Business Arrangement

Postby Anais Seawind on October 28th, 2018, 2:07 am

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“If I’ll –“ Anais took a breath, though the request was reasonable, considering the task she and Ixtli were about to attempt. So far, butchering the swine had been an educational, slightly messy, and very interesting process. “I can do that,” she heard herself say, the words sounding more confident than she felt, as she crouched down and reached, gingerly at first, to grasp the head of the animal. Her first tentative grip felt awkward and tenuous, and as Ixtli began sawing the knife through the skin, the Svefra grimaced a bit. [i]Nothing to do but grab on and try to stay out of the way,[i] she thought, adjusting her hold slightly on the carcass in front of her, gripping it firmly against the rhythmic sawing motions Ixtli was making.

As the other woman worked through the tissue and bone connecting head to body, Anais couldn’t help but stare at the viscera the knife revealed. Fish bodies were entirely different, and the small tubes and tendons being severed were unlike anything she’d seen before, and her earlier hesitation was forgotten as the cutting progressed. Soft squishing sounds accompanied the other woman’s cuts, though Anais’ mind barely connected them to the slow separation of flesh playing out in front of her. White bone and the mottled pinks of vein and tendon peaked out from the ever-widening slice, until the sawing stopped, knife withdrawing to be replaced by a hand, searching inside the cavity. The squelching intensified as Ixtli felt around the length of bone that still connected head to body, and what had been a barely noticeable accompaniment now sounded obscenely loud against the background noise of the jungle.

The other woman began to ply the knife once more, and Anais gratefully, if silently, allowed herself to be distracted by the butchering process. In what seemed like no time at all, the weight of the head dropped, no longer held by bone, but pulled by gravity, and she nearly fell backward trying to keep the macabre bundle from falling into the sand at her feet. After a brief struggle, gravity won out and Anais plopped gracelessly into the bloodied sand, still clutching at the nearly-detached head of the pig. Even as she felt the beginnings of a blush spreading over her face, the other woman spoke; Anais latched on to the words gratefully, pushing past her own embarrassment as she scrambled up from the sand.

“I’ve no idea how to cook pig’s eyes,” she admitted candidly, “I’ve only ever eaten fish eyes – they’re quite tasty, though, and how different do you suppose they’d be? In a nice soup, maybe…” she considered the items in question, studying them for several ticks before finally looking back to Ixtli. “Does it matter that they’ve gone dull? With fish, dull eyes are a sign that your kill is spoiling, and you generally don’t want to eat it after that point. How long does it take something this size to go bad?”

Anais glanced up at the sun, trying to judge how long they’d been at their task – it felt like bells already, and they still hadn’t finished. Ixtli was doing most of the work, Anais acknowledged, but the other woman was still moving unhurriedly through her tasks. Maybe pig meat didn’t spoil as quickly as fish did?
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