A Reason to Fear the Jungle

Ialari does a little exploring

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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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A Reason to Fear the Jungle

Postby Ialari Pythone on July 15th, 2018, 11:58 pm

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20th Day of Summer, 518 AV


Ialari awoke to the soft sounds of crickets and scattered songs of the few birds that had come to dwell in her Dominion; a pleasant side effect of leaving some of they mystical doorways open to her realm from the outside. The environment in the Dominion, had over the course of a few years, established itself as something of a cool, temperate climate. Mixed with the filtered sunlight from the cavern ceiling high above and the moderate to cool breezes Ialari willed into existence, it was a place of near perfect comfort. A well-tended, soft blanket of grass covered the rocky ground while flowers grew in pockets all about. A growing number of trees were also growing, in addition to the massive, gnarled tree of death in the center. Influenced by Ialari's control over the place, the trees grew much faster than they would in the mortal world and were already several heads taller than she was. The small pond of water that she'd created, teamed with the sounds of frogs and the surface of the water broke in places as the few fish that lived their snatched the occasional insect that got too close.

Marred only by the sight of the bodies hanging from the great tree that loomed overhead, Ialari's Dominion was as close to paradise as she had ever been. Even the wonders of Syka and all that had happened there since her arrival seasons ago, could not compare to the home she'd created in the Ukalas. She'd even come to accept the Tree of Death as a part of the whole thing. Although it was an ever-present reminder of how broken she was and of what was needed to change that, she tried to draw strength from it. It showed her that no matter how much she'd seen, experienced and done, there was so much more to life; a reason to keep pushing for answers to questions and to prepare for the time that she felt ready to reforge her very soul.

Stretching out on the grass, she allowed herself to slowly embrace being fully awake. It was one of those rare sleeps that she hadn't experienced one of the body-wracking nightmares that haunted her every time she closed her eyes for rest. It was the price she paid for learning Dominion. The ghosts of Amir Berliotz, having used her body to reforge himself into a more "stable" whole, left her with some of his thoughts and memories; echoes of the cruel and completely insane Master Morpher of the Seven Robes of Alahea.

Squeezing her fingers and toes into the grass beneath her, Ialari shifted a bit in the grass, allowing the softness to caress her body while she breathed in deeply the scents that surrounded her. Her two snakes, bound to her by the strange magic in her blood, were draped over her. Gently moving them and uncoiling them from around her, she finally stood and gave one final stretch.

As much as she wanted to remain surrounded by the world that she herself had created, she needed to go back to Syka and do some more work. She was slowly expanding her collection of poisons and poison remedies but didn't have near enough to take her projects to the next level. As she'd become more proficient in the use and creation of philters, she realized that she needed a wider variety of ingredients to craft more advanced concoctions. Next on her list was snake venom. Her own snakes, Arith and Reth, were not venomous thus they wouldn't be of assistance in that regard. By harvesting some venom from other snakes, she could use it to develop antivenoms as well as other philters with more experimental effects. She'd even considered using her own magical blood and seeing if she could draw out some of the magic, concentrate it, and experiment with it more.

First thing was first though, the venom. She walked over to the work area she'd established and began gathering what she would need. From her ranchero in Syka, she'd already brought her usual gear that she'd use for exploring. Dressing for exploring a bit heavier jungle, she put on a light shirt and pants as well as her high black boots. She slung her pack over her shoulder after making sure her poisoncrafting kit and basic survival gear were secure. Her tooth dagger was strapped to the pack as was Stormslinger; the magical lightning weapon she'd found at the base of the Stairstep Falls. Finally, the ceremonial dagger turned primary weapon was slid into a loop on her belt.

When she was dressed, geared up and ready, Ialari walked over to still open portal that led into her Dominion from the cave she'd called, The Cave of Everywhere's Door. Taking a step through Everywhere's Door, she walked out of her Dominion and into the cave.
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Remade In My Dominion!

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Granted Flashback Threads between 510 and 512 by Tarot.
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Ialari Pythone
I'm Poison.
 
Posts: 516
Words: 766134
Joined roleplay: August 13th, 2009, 3:26 am
Race: Isur
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 7
Mizahar Grader (1) Trailblazer (2)
Overlored (1) Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1) 2012 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

A Reason to Fear the Jungle

Postby Ialari Pythone on July 16th, 2018, 12:50 am

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The Cave of Everywhere's Door was mostly flooded with a deep pool situated just inside the cave entrance. Ialari realized after the fact that creating the Door inside the cave meant that transporting gear and keeping it dry would be something of a problem. She quickly devised a way to overcome such a problem by finding a half dozen long, solid branches from the trees just outside the cave. She cut and shaped them with her metallic hand so that they were about four feet in length and all straight. With some vines, she strapped them together to form a simple raft, four feet long and three feet wide. It was rudimentary at best but it was enough to carry a modest amount of gear while keeping it relatively dry.

Placing her pack on the raft, she waded out into the pool as she began to swim toward the cave entrance. Although she'd spent a good amount of time in coastal areas, she never really did much swimming. She usually remained close to the beach where there was usually solid ground beneath her feet most of the time. The pool in the cave however was far deeper and offered no such footing. The raft allowed some amount of security as she held onto it while she attempted to swim. It was not pretty but she was slowly getting better at it. The pool wasn't so big that she had to swim a long way but it was still a bit concerning. She held on to the raft with her metallic hand, gripping a small loop of vines that she'd added for just that purpose. With her other hand she cupped it and used it to pull herself through the water while gently kicking her legs. She'd watched others in Syka move in such a manner as they swam and while she tried to mimic those movements, it didn't feel natural. She convinced herself that the awkwardness of it was due to the fact that she was born of the mountains and not, by nature, designed as well for the water. Her denser body, heavier bones and thicker flesh worked against her in that regard. At least that is what she told herself as she swallowed a few mouthfuls of water along the way.

After several moments of "swimming" across the pool; a deathgrip on the strap of vine attached to the small raft, her feet finally made contact with stone as she arrived at the mouth of the cave. Tying the raft off on a small pillar of stone she'd carved at the entrance, Ialari retrieved her pack and stepped out of the cave. Ducking a few low hanging branches, she followed the small stream until it met the Syka River. The Cave of Everywhere's Door was located a short distance from the river and a just up from the Stairstep Falls. It was a good location, in her mind, because it wasn't too deep into the jungle but was far enough away from Syka to keep it isolated. She wasn't keen on visitors to her home even though she had no fear of unwanted entry. No force short of the gods themselves could open the Everywhere's Door once it was shut. Even if someone or something did manage to get through it while it was open, the Dominion itself, an extension of Ialari, would at best, eject them and at worse, attack them. Only those she wished to enter could do so. In the past, she'd encountered otherworldly attacks on her Dominion however back then her influence over the place was not nearly as strong as it was now.

Approaching the river, Ialari smiled at the sight and sound of the flowing water. The jungle greeted her with all of its sights, sounds and smells. Although she was a child of the mountains, she had come to love the water, the ocean and the jungle of Syka. While it was not her Dominion, it was almost as beautiful in her mind.

After a few moments of taking in her surroundings, Ialari began pondering where she would be able to find what she was seeking. She'd asked around at the Panacea, speaking particularly with Jansen, to learn of what venomous snakes may be found in and around the jungle. Jansen had some information that was useful but it mostly general knowledge that didn't really help much. He was a healer and skilled more in medicines than he was on all of the denizens of the jungle. That led her to Randal, the local expert on all things jungle-related. He made mention of a particularly nasty viper that lived in the surrounding jungle. While it was sometimes found in trees, it was primarily found along the jungle floor. He said that he'd witnessed them preying on just about anything they could catch from rodents to birds, even frogs and lizards. He wasn't certain about all the effects of their venom but he did note that those few creatures he'd seen bitten by the snake, did not last long.

It wasn't a lot to go on overall but what she did learn from Randal was enough to get her started. Ialari began walking up stream along the river banks as she surveyed a good spot to turn off into the jungle. Her experience with exploring this particular part of the jungle was slim at best as she mostly traversed the jungle fringes closer to the settlement. It was a bit exciting to think that she was traveling so far out of her comfort zone but also a little unnerving as well. She could easily become lost if she moved in too deep and she wasn't sure exactly what other threats may be out there beyond that which she hunted.

She did pause along the way up river however when she saw a particular bit of driftwood lodged in some rocks. It was the shape of the branch that caught her attention in that about three feet of it was straight and tipped with a two smaller forking branches. Pulling the branch free, she snapped off the forking branches to make them shorter and broke off the more curved part of the main branch on the other end. It would make the perfect tool for pinning the snake, should she find one, to the ground in a safe position to pick it up. The fork of the branch would go just behind the snake's head thus keeping it from being able to strike. She could then grab it at that same point with her hand and be able to manipulate it more safely. It was a trick her uncle had taught her back in Sultros. He'd been a snakehandler and the primary breeder of snakes for the Pythone family.

The branch was thick enough that she could also use it to help with walking in the parts of the jungle that were a bit more uneven thanks to the exposed roots and muddy ground. Forked-stick in hand, Ialari continued walking up river while looking for a good opening to head off into the jungle.
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Remade In My Dominion!

Character Sheet

Granted Flashback Threads between 510 and 512 by Tarot.
User avatar
Ialari Pythone
I'm Poison.
 
Posts: 516
Words: 766134
Joined roleplay: August 13th, 2009, 3:26 am
Race: Isur
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 7
Mizahar Grader (1) Trailblazer (2)
Overlored (1) Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1) 2012 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

A Reason to Fear the Jungle

Postby Ialari Pythone on July 16th, 2018, 1:37 am

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Finally deciding on a good point in which to head off into the jungle, Ialari took a deep breath and made the plunge. It was her first real journey into the unknown. The fringe jungle around Syka was relatively mild. She hadn't encountered anything truly dangerous with only a few semi-poisonous plants providing any real risk. With the settlement slowly growing, it was growing more unlikely that any true threats posed by animals would be encountered as most of them would retreat further into the rainforest. However, further up the Syka River, no such expansion was happening nor had any real mortal incursion taken place for centuries. For a woman used to alien landscapes and worlds, the idea of the unknown that awaited in the deeper jungle was becoming more and more exciting. The sounds, the sights, even the scents were foreign. The birds were even more exotic than others she'd seen in her relatively short time in Syka.

As she made her way through the ever deeper jungle, Ialari was still not that far from the river. She could still hear the flowing waters behind her as she pushed past the low branches and pushed through the brush. She used the stick she'd found to stabilize her footing and cursed lightly as her boots occasionally got stuck in the mud. She kept her eyes focused in front of her and relied on peripheral vision to spot movement. She heard monkeys playing overhead and spotted a sloth slowly crawling its way across a branch. She even saw a constrictor snake lazily slithering through the brush. The flies were unrelenting, their hard exoskeletons providing protection from her slapping. Hitting one only served to anger it and encourage its biting of her flesh.

She kept her pace slow so that she could still hear what was going on around her. The sounds of the river had subsided yet she could still barely make them out. As long as she could hear the river, she could maintain some idea of where she was in relation to it and hopefully keep from getting lost. It became darker the further she walked as the canopy of trees grew thicker. When she began to lose track of the sounds of the river, she stopped and prepared to turn back. She was not prepared to get lost in the deep jungle. Although the thought did occur to her that she could always create another Dominion Door and get back home, it was obvious that there were no suitable surfaces for which to create such a door. If she became lost, she would have no way of finding her way back home. She would have to wander and hope that she was traveling in the right direction. Her supplies would only last so long and her confidence in living off the land was not great to say the least.

As she turned to head back toward the river, she caught movement on the edge of her sight. It was the telltale movement of something slithering through the underbrush. She'd had a bit of experience with snakes both domesticated and in the wild so she easily recognized their movement when present. Turning her attention to where she saw motion, she paused and watched. After a moment or two, she saw more movement through the leaves and under the roots of the trees. Indeed it was a snake. Whether or not it was the one she was seeking she did not know.

With the forked stick at the ready, she slowly turned and began taking measured steps toward the movement. Careful step after careful step she came closer. If her experiences with snakes told her anything it was that the snake would try to flee from perceived danger rather than striking. If that remained the case in this instance, she would be at the advantage.

As she got closer to the movement, she could make out the sleek scaled body of a snake. The patterns weren't quite the same as the constrictor snakes she'd seen before in the general area which told her it was possible it was the one she was looking for. As she got even closer, the snake must have caught on and began moving faster. Ialari jumped into motion and tried to use her body to direct the snake; hopping to one side and then the other to direct the snake's flight instinct.

The tactic worked until they came to an especially large exposed tree root that blocked the snake's path. It stopped and turned while coiling. The coiling motion told Ialari that indeed she'd found a venomous snake as they are the ones most likely to take such a defensive position. Stopping, Ialari maintained her distance while readying the forked-stick for use. She held it out away from her body with the fork facing the snake. Its flattened head revealed what it was and its color-tipped tail sealed the deal. It was the snake she was looking for. As she moved the stick closer, the snake struck out at it, its mouth open wide, the fangs ready to sink into flesh. Ialari continued to poke at the snake with the forked-stick from different directions until finally taking the shot and bringing the fork down on the back of the snake's head.

With the snake pinned, she smiled at the success and replaced the stick with her flesh hand as she picked it up. It was about three feet long and as big around as the stick. Lifting it up in front of her, she looked at it with a mix of respect and love. Ialari had a particular soft spot for snakes. She'd grown up with them and learned about them from as early as she could remember. Unslinging her pack, she sat it down and with her free hand she opened it and retrieved a canvas bag. The jungle was not the place to harvest the venom she needed so she would have to take the snake back home to do so. Once she was done, she would release the snake and continue her work with the venom. With the bag open, she switched hands and put the snake in the bag with her metallic hand so as to avoid a bite. With the snake safely bagged, she carefully put it in her pack, slung it back over her shoulder and made her way back to the river.
Image
Remade In My Dominion!

Character Sheet

Granted Flashback Threads between 510 and 512 by Tarot.
User avatar
Ialari Pythone
I'm Poison.
 
Posts: 516
Words: 766134
Joined roleplay: August 13th, 2009, 3:26 am
Race: Isur
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 7
Mizahar Grader (1) Trailblazer (2)
Overlored (1) Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1) 2012 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

A Reason to Fear the Jungle

Postby Ialari Pythone on July 16th, 2018, 2:31 am

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After a few wrong turns, Ialari finally made her way back to the river. With the snake in her pack and the promise of its valuable venom, her mind was racing with the possibilities said venom would have on her experiments. As she exited the jungle, she realized just how hot and humid it was. Sweat covered her body and stung her eyes. She made her way to a shady part of the river bank where there were some thick river plants sticking up through the water and a low hanging tree that offered some shade. There was a breeze coming from up river that helped provide a bit of heat relief.

Kneeling down to the water, Ialari cupped some of it in her hands and splashed it on her face, letting it drip and provide comfort to her overheated skin.

Had she been more knowledgeable of the jungle and the jungle river, she would not have so carelessly chosen such a spot to refresh herself. As she continued to cup water in her hands and splash it against her face and body, she was oblivious to the threat that lurked but a few feet away, submerged in the water and hidden by the plants.

Just as Ialari had finished splashing the water against her and just as she began to lean back from the water and stand, there was a thrashing of water as a massive form thrust itself from its hiding spot and lunged at her. Massive jaws snapped over her metallic arm as she lifted it in defense. One thing that was natural for an isur was that when faced with physical danger, they instinctively lifted their metallic arm for protection. No mortal force could damage their divine arms; it was a fact that had become racial instinct for her race. It was also the only thing that initially saved her from becoming a meal to the large, dark colored crocodile that now held her arm in its powerful jaws. While Ialari didn't know it, the beast was a black caiman, a large species of crocodile that frequented the Syka River. While it normally hunted at night, it was not uncommon for it to lounge about shaded areas waiting for an opportune meal to engage in a bit of hydration.

Nearly 12 feet long from snout to tail, the caiman was truly a beast to be reckoned with although not nearly as large as some of the larger ones that called the river home. Its jaws clamped over her arm, the caiman began to violently swing her back and forth, causing her pack to fall free along with two of her most potent weapons, her sea-monster tooth, izentored dagger and Stormslinger.

The caiman slammed Ialari against a nearby tree as it began to pull her back into the river. Being bashed against the tree ripped the air from her lungs and stunned her. It all happened so fast that she had not time to ready herself; she was being slammed around as if she weighed nothing. If not for her metallic arm being the thing the caiman had clamped on to, she would have already been dead. Unable to truly grasp what was going on, Ialari was helpless as the caiman pulled her into the water.

Unable to put up much of a struggle, it was probably what was saving Ialari from more violent rolling and ripping as she found herself submerged; her arm still gripped tightly by the caiman's powerful jaws. Her free hand reached for her waist and she hoped that the ceremonial dagger was still there.

The dagger, while sharpened to an edge and point typical of any Isur worth their weight at a forge, had not always been so. Before Ialari had acquired it, the dagger had been nothing more but a ceremonial piece forged by a Priestess of Izurdin by the name of Mylanvir Heartbrand Vizerian. Mylanvir had been assigned to a trading post in the Kingdom of Sultros and was in charge of the local shrine to the Divine Father. The dagger, as with all items crafted by the isur, was an important item to Mylanvir and one she used in simple rituals and devotions to Izurdin. She carried it with her at all times although she was not much of a warrior.

The dagger was with her when a horde of human nomads from the Unforgiving, attacked the trading post. Their numbers overwhelmed the isur at the post and Mylanvir was taken captive. For days the human barbarians beat and raped her, too many they were even for the likes of a Priestess. It was when Ialari stumbled upon the post and what was happening in the aftermath of the raid that vengeance would be realized. Taking advantage of a gift, unknown to Ialari at the time, from Vayt, God of Disease and Poisons, Ialari distracted the barbarians that were defiling the shrine and priestess. One by one she killed them all, not before torturing and brutalizing one of them for his actions.

Mylanvir had died from her encounter but Ialari had avenged her death. Taking the priestess' dagger, Ialari saw it as a reminder of why she hated humans so much at the time. Since then, Ialari's perceptions had changed, her goals had changed, yet her drive and faith had grown stronger. The dagger had remained with her years later.

As her hand found the handle of that dagger, she felt something different. The leather grip, while always familiar in her hand, felt quite off. There was a slight yet noticable buzz as she wrapped her fingers around it; the vibration filling her with the feeling of safety despite the fact that she was unable to breath, her lungs filling with water as she was beginning to drown.

Pulling the dagger free, she gave what bit of prayer she could to Izurdin as she pushed the dagger against the caiman. She had no idea where she was stabbing or even if it would find a spot not covered in bony plates. The dagger however found its mark. As it did, she thought she caught sight of twisting and weaving tendrils of light that surrounded the blade through the murky water before it hit its mark.

As the blade made contact with the caimans flesh, just under its lower jaw, the creature loosened its grip on Ialari's arm, freeing her. Its mind was awash in a dizzy, mesmerizing feeling that clouded even its closed eyes and warped its vision. It thrashed around in panic as the effect consumed it, forcing it further into the river and away from Ialari.

Weak and in desperate need of air, Ialari found herself thrust against some rocks by the river current. With what strength remained, she sunk her metallic fingers into the rock and pulled herself up until her head broke the surface of the water. Coughing up water and gasping for breath, she held on to the stone as her lifeline. When she felt she was able, she pulled herself further up the rocks until she was able to roll over on to dry land. Coughing up more water, she cursed herself for her foolishness while praising Izurdin for her life. It was then that she looked to the dagger still held in her hand. It wasn't Izurdin, at least not solely, who had saved her. The dagger had somehow awakened and came to her aid. While she wasn't exactly sure what it had done, she knew what she had saw as she stabbed the caiman. She could still feel the buzzing of the dagger in her hand.

What Ialari hadn't realized was that the dagger, while not all that extravagant of an item, had, upon Mylanvir's death and Ialari's avenging of that death, imparted upon the dagger with the last remnants of her living soul before it departed into the afterlife. With that imparting came the ability to cloud the mind and warp the vision of those who threatened the one wielding it. Amidst a horrible, life-ending event, the dagger had taken on some of that warped energy and now used it to protect those who would themselves be harmed.

Half-drowned, battered, bruised and defeated, Ialari crawled her way back to her pack, ensured that the snake was still alive and then took several moments to regain her strength. Before she had not known what it was to fear the jungle or to be truly wary of what dangers lurked in not only among the trees but also the water. Now however, she knew too well. Shaken and hurt with her pride and confidence destroyed, Ialari limped her way back to the Cave of Everywhere's Door and leaned heavily on the raft as she swam inside. As she waded up on to the dry outcropping before the Door, she barely kept herself from collapsing before placing her hand on the door itself and willing it to open.

As the doorway shimmered to life and revealed the Dominion within, Ialari fell through it and lost consciousness. She now had a reason to fear the jungle.
Image
Remade In My Dominion!

Character Sheet

Granted Flashback Threads between 510 and 512 by Tarot.
User avatar
Ialari Pythone
I'm Poison.
 
Posts: 516
Words: 766134
Joined roleplay: August 13th, 2009, 3:26 am
Race: Isur
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 7
Mizahar Grader (1) Trailblazer (2)
Overlored (1) Riverfall Seasonal Challenge (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1) 2012 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)


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