Solo A Rocky Start

Anais vs. the Rock

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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 Rocky Start

Postby Anais Seawind on July 23rd, 2018, 10:30 pm

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8th Bell 63rd of Summer


Anais considered the rocky ledge in front of her; it provided a natural border between the safety of the beach and the unknown potential of the jungle. Today, the woman had set herself the task of creating a breach in the border, an access where she could begin to explore the as-yet untouched wealth of green in her own backyard. It was a daunting thought, made moreso by the sheer number and size of some of the large rocks; firmly embedded, she imagined they had been there for hundreds of years and would not be budged willingly.

Where to start, then? Not knowing what she might discover in the depths of the treeline, Anais had no idea which point on the wall would be most convenient for access. So, to decide, she walked the length of the rocks, carefully studying her foe for weak spots and rocks that would be easier to lift, dig out, or roll out of the way. Remembering the cobbled pathway that stretched from one end of Syka to another, and most points in between, Anais had a loose idea that she might even repurpose some rocks to form a sort of pathway for herself, as well. Eventually.

There? She stopped in her slow journey, studying the rocks. The ledge was, in some places, shoulder high - here, it stood just above knee-level, not too high to hoist herself over if she wanted, but it would be much nicer if the ledge turned into a sloping path or a small set of steps.

Reaching out to test one of the stones for movement, Anais stopped herself just short of making contact, “Gloves first, ya sea cucumber.” The old insult reminded her of her childhood – she’d latched on to that insult for nearly a year, and most of her Pod had been victim to what she’d thought then was a scathing insult. Of course, as she’d aged, Anais had learned a whole host of other phrases to use when she really wanted to be insulting. 'Sea cucumber' remained her favorite.

Pulling her gloves from her pack, she shoved her fingers inside. The leather was not only good protection from the abrasiveness of rocks, wood, and sand - it provided much-needed protection from the numerous bugs that thrived in and around Syka. Although some were perfectly harmless, Anaiss knew some could bite or sting, or even be poisonous to touch. Safely armed against the creeping crawlies, she reached out once more, prodding at the rocks in front of her. There was little movement at ground level, but the subtle shifting of weight sent a small spray of pebbles from near the top of the wall. Anais reached up carefully – the topmost rock was large, and seemed content to mock her efforts against it. Stubbornly, the Svefra tugged harder, momentarily smug when she felt the rock give in its position, before it rocked back, settling once more.

Planting her feet, Anais placed her hands on top of the rock, searching for a good spot to grip the windworn gray surface. She worked her fingertips between her target and its neighbors, and braced herself to pull once more, frustrated that it was taking so much concerted effort to move one rock. If they’re all like this, this wall’s gonna be here longer than I am, the thought spurred her efforts, and, with a grunt, she put the full weight of her body into the pull, leaning back against the weight of the rock.

It was a move both successful and not, as the rock did begin its descent off the ridge. Anais also began a descent, falling backwards as the rock suddenly moved. The beach was littered with debris; driftwood, other rocks, and countless small shells helpfully broke her fall and she and the rock tumbled down, barely missing each other in the process.

“Petch!” The exclamation was instinctive, exploding from her lips as she landed on a much smaller, but no less hard relative of the rock she’d just dislodged. Rolling quickly off of the stone, she glared down at it; small, with a rounded point at the top, the thing resembled a large tooth. The spot on her backside felt as though she’d landed on some creature’s sharp tooth, as well, and she winced as she rubbed the aching spot. Bending down, she lifted the small rock up from the sand and hurled it into the jungle, where its sudden appearance created a flurry of activity.

Birds squawked, flying out of the trees in a wide loop over the beach, while still other sounds could be heard from jungle denizens who did not show themselves. Irritated chattering echoed out to Anais’ ears, and the rustling leaves and vines spread out away from where the rock had passed.

All in all, the commotion reminded Anais of water rippling after a pebble was dropped into it. Waves of activity spread out from the rock’s entrance, and just as quickly quieted, leaving only what Anais had come to think of as ‘normal’ jungle sounds: quiet chuffing, punctuated by the occasional chirp or squeal, offset by the sound of leaves rustling, much more quietly, moved by the light breeze blowing inward from the water.

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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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Anais Seawind
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A Rocky Start

Postby Anais Seawind on July 24th, 2018, 1:49 am

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Anais rubbed her new bruise surreptitiously, glad there was no one around to witness the act, then approached the rock pile once more. So quick on the heels of her last experience, she was leery of attempting to pull more rocks down. That left pushing or lifting. If she pushed them from the ledge, she would still have to carry them away, with the added effort of picking them up from the ground. Might as well just start out that way, then.

With a sigh, she began working her fingertips underneath the next rock, glad again that she’d purchased the thick leather gloves. She hadn’t had rock-relocation in mind when she’d purchased them at the mercantile, but they were proving their investment, just the same. Arms tensed, Anais lifted the rock up, grunting a bit at the weight – it wasn’t even the largest rock she would have to move, and still she was forced to lean her weight back, resting the gray mass against her body to lever it up and away.

A few heavy steps backward, and the rock was deposited near its friend on the sand. It wasn’t much of a difference, but the slight dip in the line of the ridge gave her a tiny feeling of accomplishment, and she returned to grab another rock, repeating the process. For nearly a bell she worked, until a sizeable pile of rocks had been removed, large ones piled to one side, and small ones simply tossed into the jungle, rather than on to the beach. Anais had begun to enjoy the noisy chaos that ensued after each toss, looking forward to the flurry of activity and rustling of leaves that each one brought.

Without glancing up, she lobbed another smallish rock up and into the green, listening for the expected flap of wings overhead as she bent to pick up another rock for the large-rock-pile. As she turned to move the rock, she heard a new noise: the ‘clack’ of rock-on-rock. Blue eyes glanced down to see one small rock rolling toward her from the ledge.

Is that the rock I just threw? Anais picked it up, staring at it for a few pointless ticks – she hadn’t inspected it before she threw it, and all the rocks sort of looked the same at this point, the only noticeable difference being in the sizes. With a shrug, she tossed it back into the jungle, watching it land several feet away, disappearing into the thick screen of greenery in front of her. Along with the usual noises the rock-throwing had been eliciting, her ears caught a high-pitched squeaking sound from somewhere not too far ahead of her. Staring suspiciously in the direction of the new noise, she tried to spot whatever might be responsible for it. It was a small noise, almost cute but for the fact that Anais knew nothing about its author, who seemed content to remain shrouded in mystery.

But waiting did not make the new creature appear, and Anais began to cautiously resume her task. After her bell of solid work, she had managed to clear most of the large debris away from a 5 foot section of the ledge. What remained was a loose collection of pebbles, roots, vines, and tracks in the sand – small and meandering things that were evidence of the many bugs and a few small lizards her efforts had evicted. The terrain she’d uncovered was packed with roots and held itself up without the aid of the wall, drawing a frown from Anais, who’d hoped that the dirt would just sort of fall down nicely, into a sloped path without any further coercion from her.

“Would have been much easier that way,” she muttered, realizing that, in addition to moving the rocks, she would also have to cut through the roots and spread the dirt around herself. She glanced up to the sky, trying to judge how long it would be before the sun’s rays made strenuous labor unbearable. “Be at least a bell or so,” she mused aloud, picking up one last rock and tossing it into the depths of the trees before turning to retrieve her shovel.

“Pet--“ She’d taken a full stride away before she felt the impact on her shoulder, whirling around with an oath already half-formed on her lips, only to stop mid-swear and stare in surprise at the sight of her ‘attacker’.

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Last edited by Anais Seawind on July 29th, 2018, 12:10 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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Anais Seawind
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A Rocky Start

Postby Anais Seawind on July 24th, 2018, 4:14 am

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Anais was prepared, in that instant, for a frightening sight. Something or someone from which to run – her first choice would be into the safety of Laviku’s cold and salty sanctuary. Some predators could swim, and surely any attacking person would be able to, as well, but she was counting on her God to lend a hand, either directly or indirectly, through his mark on her shoulder. But none of the fleeting images racing through her mind in the instant before she saw her assailant had been close to reality.

Sitting on the freshly uncovered tangle of dirt and roots was a small, brown-furred creature. A monkey! A band of black laid like war paint across the animals eyes, and in its hand, in case there was any lingering doubt in Anais’ mind, it held a small rock. As she watched, the creature chittered and squeaked and tossed the projectile at her again, this time missing by several feet. The rock landed with a dull thud in the sand, and the creature in front of her inexplicably scampered around in circles, its tiny body bouncing energetically over rocks, roots, and even up a tree before settling again on the ledge. Its tail curled upward, wrapping around the tiny body, no more than two hands long, and as she watched, delicate fingers snapped downward, pinching one of the many jungle bugs in its grasp. The bug was held curiously in front of bright black eyes before being popped into the animal’s mouth and crunched.

The monkey wore a blissful expression as it savored the snack, small cooing murmurs punctuating the chewing noises.

Anais nearly laughed out loud. She’d been momentarily terrified by a tiny creature that a handful of Svefra she’d known had owned as pets. Seeing the furry beast up close, Anais recognized that the rock throwing was no premeditated master attack, but rather the social little animal’s idea of a game.

“Did you watch me throwing those rocks, hrm?” She spoke in a quiet voice, not wanting to frighten her companion. “Look like fun, did it? It was,” she admitted, carrying on as though she’d received an answer. “Of course, it’s a bit less fun when I’m being pelted with them. In case you cared,” she added archly.

The monkey chittered back at her, its series of squeaks and whuffing grunts sounding conversational –provided one spoke ‘monkey.’ Anais did not, but she found herself charmed by the furry monster, anyway.

“I wonder if I could catch you?” The question, while directed at her tiny guest, was more verbal musing than anything else. She had seen these things before, though it had been in her youth; they’d been pets, and trained to fetch things for their owners, but had such a whimsical, childlike personality that Anais experienced an aching memory of her own lost child, though he’d not lived to display such whimsy. “Would be nice to have a small friend out here,” her one-sided conversation continued, while her thoughts worried over small details like capture and training.

It wasn’t the sort of thing she was prepared for at the moment, but now that the idea had struck, it had planted itself as a clear goal. She’d get herself a pet. Isporo had only shown himself a handful of times since she’d come to Syka, and Anais found herself lonely for company on her stretch of land. A monkey, or even a bird – she’d heard there was someone at the settlement who raised them – might make a suitable friend to talk to during the quiet times.

From the jungle, the now-familiar squeaking echoed out and Anais' small new friend perked its head at the sound. Before she could register the disappointment, it had scampered back into the dark green, answering the call of its own kind. The absence of its furry body and odd noises left a silence disproportionate to the monkey's size. Anais stood for a moment, searching the treeline for the creature before turning back to retrieve her shovel and resume her work on the jungle path she was trying to create.

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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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Anais Seawind
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A Rocky Start

Postby Anais Seawind on August 5th, 2018, 5:19 am

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Climbing the few feet to the top of the ridge, Anais considered the tangle of roots and hard-packed dirt at her feet. It was a disappointing sight, and she sighed before pressing the blade against the mass. A light push was met with solid resistance, and she stepped a foot on top of the shovel, adding her body weight to the pressure of the blade, which sunk a few inches into the vegetative tangle before stopping again. With a grunt, she heaved against the barrier, nearly losing her balance when the shovel angled out from under her foot; what sheared off was not a slice of root and dirt, but a depressingly small amount of root and dirt. Anais tried a few more times, with almost no success before tossing the shovel back down to the pebbled beach, hopping down after it.

If the shovel won’t work, maybe my cutlass will?

Uncle Chelm would have her hair if he could see what she was about to do, but Anais could see no other way to attack her current problem. “I promise to clean and sharpen the blade tonight, Uncle,” she vowed to the empty air before bringing the sharpened edge of her blade to bear on the roots in front of her. They weren’t large, the biggest being less than the diameter of her forearm; the problem was the sheer number of roots that had intertwined with each other over the years of undisturbed growth. Given free rein, the jungle had created a formidable wall behind the wall of rock, and Anais was determined to chip away at it.

She swung her cutlass across the roots in front of her, using the blade to slice at them. It wasn’t fast work, but as the Svefra brought her arm up and down repeatedly crossing the roots, they began to pull away from the dirt. Sweat beaded up on the woman’s brow, ignored for the present, as Anais hacked and sliced her way into the edge of the jungle. Pieces of root began to pile up at the base of the wall, and the blade of her cutlass dripped with moisture and a coating of dirt not quite wet enough to be called mud. She glanced at it in surprise. The ground seemed dry, but there were wet streaks along the edge of her blade, darkening the dirt where they met.

Curiously, she inspected first the blade and then the ground she’d been so vigorously slicing at. No water was evident, but as she watched, several of the largest roots began to ooze a clear, watery fluid, eventually forming a slow drip onto the dirt at her feet. Removing her gloves, she reached out tentatively to touch the moisture. Juli had mentioned that, unless she knew a water source was safe to drink, it should be avoided, and Anais knew that many of the plants in the jungle could make her sick or even be deadly. She paused, hand outstretched, before reaching out to grasp the leaking root in her hand.

The root itself felt cool to the touch, and firm; the moisture dripping from it was clear, and Anais brought her hand to her face, sniffing at it carefully. It was odorless, and her sniffing gave her no clue about its safety. Cupping a hand under the roots, she caught a few drops in her palm and held them there, debating the wisdom of a small taste. She could drink the water from the ocean, with the aid of her God-given mark, but her relationship with Laviku made her reluctant to call on that power often. Anais knew that there were other ways to find water in the wilderness, as well, and if the water from these roots could be consumed, it might come in handy for her.

Deciding a small taste couldn’t be too harmful, even if the water did not end up being drinkable, she brought her hand to her mouth and licked at the collected moisture in her palm. The grit of dirt met her tongue, and she grimaced unconsciously, concentrating on the liquid instead. It was tasteless, but cool as the root had been, and she crouched in the sand tensely waiting for any signs of ill effect to show themselves.

When none had developed after what she judged to be several bells, Anais shrugged and stood once more, staring down at the roots. Maybe it wasn’t enough water to test? The flow of moisture had slowed, now only the occasional droplet gathered and fell from the largest of the roots. It would be hard to gather enough water for a larger test, but Anais scanned the beach anyway, looking for a shell to place under the roots. A large enough shell could collect a mouthful, at least. Surely that wouldn’t be too much to make her sick, if the moisture ended up being unsafe?

Feeling adventurous, she snatched up a shell slightly smaller than her palm, and rubbed the sand from it with her fingers. With her cutlass, she scratched at the surface of the dripping root and waited to see if more moisture would begin to ooze from it. When it did, she positioned the shell beneath the root, pressing dirt and other debris around it to keep her makeshift container level, and sat back to wait while the root slowly oozed and dripped its liquid.
Word count: 901

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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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Anais Seawind
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Posts: 119
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Joined roleplay: November 26th, 2014, 5:56 am
Location: Syka
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A Rocky Start

Postby Anais Seawind on August 5th, 2018, 4:10 pm

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When the shell had captured all it could hold Anais carefully picked it up and brought it close again to her face for inspection. Not knowing what clues she should be watching for, the woman simply searched for obvious evidence of something undrinkable: unpleasant smells or odd colors. She had a vague notion that if something smelled like rot or refuse, it probably shouldn’t be eaten or drunk, but that was the extent of her knowledge. Since what she had gathered from the root had no smell and no color, Anais’ inspection was a rather quick thing, leaving her with no more information than she’d started with.

Must be a good sign that it doesn’t stink? Giving herself no time for second thoughts, she brought the shell to her lips and tipped its contents into her mouth. The liquid was cool, as before, and nearly tasteless, though Anais imagined it tasted slightly like “jungle”.

Holding it on her tongue, she forced herself not to swallow or spit out the fluid, instead waiting for some sign of health or poison, a reaction to hint at the possible consequence of drinking the root-water. No tingling of tongue or mouth occurred, and after several ticks, she swallowed the small mouthful of foraged liquid, feeling it roll easily down her throat.

The entire process had taken only chimes, and Anais felt a bit let down after she’d finished drinking the watery fluid. Staring at the root, she realized that, even if she were certain it had yielded drinkable water, she had no idea what sort of tree or vine it belonged to, and no idea how to find more such roots, except by accident of fate. The roots she had mangled disappeared into a tangle of mystery and dirt, and there was no clear sign that she could see to point to where it had sprung from.

She frowned, entirely distracted from her earlier activities at the wall, and considered this new challenge. Well, it grew from something, she reasoned, so dig it out and follow it to its tree? Blue eyes peered into the treeline, which grew lush and dense almost directly in front of her, turning nearly impenetrable the deeper she looked. As long as the root didn’t wander too far inland, she probably could trace it to its source, she realized, with growing excitement. It seemed like a simple task, and if she started to feel ill after drinking the fluid in the first place, knowing which tree wasn’t good was just as valuable as knowing which one was.

Grabbing her shovel from the sand where she’d tossed it, Anais moved back up to the ridge of dirt and roots. Instead of using it to pry the entire knot of growth away, she began scraping at the tangle around “her” root. Blade marks had etched horizontal lines through much of the growth, and these began to break off under her efforts, a much more rewarding result than her first foray with the shovel. Sorry, Uncle Chelm, it looks like the cutlass was a good idea after all, the thought flickered through her mind as the pile of debris slowly grew.

It was sweaty work, Anais found, as much of the morning’s efforts had been, but with a clear goal in mind, she didn’t mind the effort. Several feet further into the jungle, the variety of roots and growth in the dirt lessened, while her root seemed to multiply, with smaller roots shooting out from it and connecting it to other roots. Sitting back on her heels, she considered the ground she’d uncovered, and the roots that seemed to form a dense mat under her feet. It was more difficult now to trace her original root, and Anais began to simply try and scrape the dirt away from the tangle of growth that it had become, until she eventually arrived not at one tree, but at a small group of trees sprouting up from the carpet of roots she’d uncovered.

Word count: 668

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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.
User avatar
Anais Seawind
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Posts: 119
Words: 129237
Joined roleplay: November 26th, 2014, 5:56 am
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Svefra
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A Rocky Start

Postby Anais Seawind on August 5th, 2018, 10:23 pm

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Above her head, green leaves rustled, large and fanning out airily from a gathering of slender central trunks. The small grove of trees was a welcome sight for two reasons: it meant an end to the digging and scraping of root-chasing and Anais could see familiar shapes dangling gracefully downward from the crowns, bunched together in tight clusters of varying shades of green and yellow.

Bananas.

Surprised, and relieved at the discovery – if the liquid in the root was from a food plant, how bad could it really be? – Anais inspected the collection of trees in front of her eagerly. Most were more than twice her height, their leaves blocking her view of the sky, and against the backdrop of Syna’s light they looked almost haloed in a brilliant golden glow. From the crowns, single stalks arched up and over toward the jungle floor, each tipped with a large purple flower weighted down with their burdens of fruit in stages both ripe and unripe, and all points in between. Raising a hand, she brushed gloved fingers against the smooth velvet petals of the one nearest her, which drooped conveniently at face level. The largest of the banana trees were surrounded by smaller versions of themselves, tiny trunks shooting up from the ground with delicately over-sized leaves reaching upward into the shadow of the parent plants.

It was a beautiful place to stand, and Anais felt, for the first time since her arrival in Syka, that the wild jungle could be a place of peace as much as the beach – as much as the ocean had been. A distant shrieking splintered the thought into pieces, reminding the woman that dangers surrounded her, despite the peace of the moment, and she gripped her shovel tighter, watchfulness replacing wonder on her face.

Still, the feast in the air was too much bounty to pass up and Anais picked her way carefully through the forest of smaller banana trees, moving closer to the lowest-hanging flower, with its collection of fruits. One gloved hand reached up, grasping the plant behind its flowery end, and she pulled the stalk down toward her. The bananas grew closer, as she’d planned, but the movement dislodged an unexpected flurry of spiders, sending the blackened little bodies scurrying in all directions – including toward Anais, who jumped back with a surprised yelp, shaking her hands wildly to rid them of the creatures. Overhead, the stalk of fruit bobbed gently, the movement further displacing the spiders. From her new position a safe distance away, Anais watched as several floated downward, born on their own silk and bound for the relative safety of the ground. The strings of silk they traveled on sparkled in the dim light, and she could appreciate the beauty. From a distance.

The blonde wasn’t normally squeamish when it came to bugs, but she did prefer them to not take her by surprise. When the spiders had fled the bananas, they had done so with no warning, and Anais glared at them in irritation. “Thanks, Juli. One more point in favor of the gloves,” she muttered to herself, “petchin’ things are probably biters.”

When the last spider had stopped dangling in the air below her banana harvest, Anais moved slowly forward once more. Carefully, mindful now of unseen dangers, she reached out again to pull the bunch of yellow and green fruits within reach. It was a mix of colors, from yellow and fully ripe at the top to green and unripe at the bottom, with shades of each coloring the pods between, and she reached for a yellow pod from the top. Pulling the single fruit toward her, Anais snapped it from its fellows with a quick twist, and dropped it gently to the ground beside her before quickly snatching a few more to take back to the beach.

Harvest done, Anais gently released the stalk of the banana tree, stepping back quickly in case any lingering spiders decided to jump ship, and gathered her fruit and shovel for the return trip to the beach. Following the trail of freshly scraped dirt and roots, she was surprised to see that the beach wasn’t far – when she’d been tracing the roots, it had seemed like her trek had taken her much deeper into the jungle. Instead, she had worked her way at an angle, nearly parallel to the rock wall, in a place that was so overgrown with vegetation that the beach had not been visible, despite its proximity to the banana trees and the ledge she’d been working at for much of the morning.

Safely on the shore again, Anais was belatedly frightened to realize how quickly she’d gotten turned around in the jungle, how wrong her sense of direction had been once she’d entered its shadows. The greenery had blocked both her view and the sounds from the ocean, and if she hadn’t had the exposed roots to follow back, Anais knew she could well have been completely lost in the unfamiliar terrain. It could have been a fatal mistake, and one that she would take care to avoid in the future.

“From now on, you either take your pack and supplies with you, or you don’t go,” she instructed herself sternly. “This is not the ocean, and you don’t know what the petch you’re doing.” The words were nothing more than the truth, but they somehow stole a bit of the joy from her discovery of the banana trees. The yellow fruits were a cheery color, and Anais was still glad to have them – but before she went back for more, she would get a basic pack of gear ready, just in case.

Splitting the outer peel of the banana, Anais tore it down and away from the white flesh of the fruit within and bit into it hungrily. The activity of the morning had finally caught up to her, the sweet taste of banana turned a leisurely snack into an almost embarrassingly quick meal and she hurriedly chewed her way through all three of the fruits she’d carried from the banana grove.

Word count: 1017

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Anais Seawind
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Posts: 119
Words: 129237
Joined roleplay: November 26th, 2014, 5:56 am
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Svefra
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A Rocky Start

Postby Okara on August 22nd, 2018, 1:39 am

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Anais Seawind

Observation 5
Planning 1
Bodybuilding 2
Endurance 2
Wilderness Survival 3
Investigation 1
Foraging 1

Importance of Gloves When Clearing Land
Anais Seawind: Determined to Catch a Pet
Wilderness Survival: Water Can be Collected from Some Roots
Wilderness Survival: Using Yourself to Test the Potability of Water
Wilderness Survival: Poor Color and Scent Might Indicate Water is Undrinkable
Wilderness Survival: Banana Tree Roots Contain Water
Foraging: Banana, Characteristics and Harvesting
Wilderness Survival: Always Enter the Jungle Prepared

Rewards/Penalties/Notes
(+)Injury: Bruise on back for next 7-10 days
Great read! I liked how the simple task of removing some rocks morphed into something else. The monkey was a nice touch and I was sad with her when it fled. I’ve read several of your threads now and I enjoy how you often find a way to tie simple tasks or events back to Anais’s personal issues and trauma. It’s well done and it keeps the threads interesting and personal to Anais. Please let me know if you have any questions or issues with the skills/lores I’ve awarded.


Please edit your post in your grade request to reflect that it has been graded. PM me with any questions.

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Okara
Great stories start with humble beginnings.
 
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