Solo Stars and Simple Tasks

Anais putters around her casinor

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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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Stars and Simple Tasks

Postby Anais Seawind on August 3rd, 2018, 8:08 pm

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47th of Summer
20 Bells


The rigging lay in loose spirals around her, the rope stiff and white with salt from the ocean air, and the heavy weight of the sail draped over her legs. Humming quietly, Anais plied her needle by candlelight, drawing thread up and through the material and back down again as she worked to seam up small tears in her sails. While this type of work would normally be done during the day, being covered in sturdy sail under the full strength of Syna’s gaze was an unpleasant prospect. Anais enjoyed the cool breeze off the ocean as she worked, and if she had to hunch over a bit, and squint more than usual, the benefits far outweighed the penalties in her eyes.

The sails weren’t in terrible shape, just worn from a season of constant use and moderate neglect, and Anais knew that if her Aunt could have seen the shape of the Kiss, she’d have given the younger woman a tongue lashing for not only her lack of attention, but for the possible consequences of it. The sails all held a multitude of small rips, worn bits that needed shoring up or strengthening. Rigging and lines were frayed. Paint was chipping off – the cosmetic appeal wasn’t a concern, but the protection the paint offered to the wood would need to be replaced with something. Wax? Juli must have some at the mercantile. As the list of minor repairs grew, Anais grimaced. Until she’d started sorting it out in her head, the woman hadn’t realized just how much she’d been overlooking since she’d started her journey to Syka.

“One thing at a time, Anais,” the words were meant to focus her on the task at hand, remind her that she couldn’t tackle everything at once, and yet somehow they were achieving the opposite effect. It would take days of dedicated effort to put her casino back to rights. Her fingers tensed around the slender shaft of the needle, drawing it through with more force and less attention than necessary. The resulting stitches were uneven and Anais pondered them for a moment. Who’s really going to see them? She had no pod to notice or critique her work, and uneven stitches would hold together as well as even ones.

It was a measure of how disconnected she was feeling that Anais seriously considered leaving the imperfect work in place, even continuing on a few more stitches before sighing resignedly. Pulling the thread from the needle, she used the sharpened tip to pluck up and pick out the threadwork, undoing her efforts. As the hole grew once more, she began humming again; the song was simple, confident like the Svefra people, and praised Laviku – as so much of the music of her childhood did.

"The Valterrian was three hunnerd years ago
oh yes, oh
When Ivak’s pain burnt the world so
three hunnerd years ago

The Svefra sailed on the waters cold
oh yes, oh
Safe onna top of th’undertow
three hunnerd years ago"


For all that, the music comforted her, and the pace was ideal for the simple sewing she was doing – the song had been used for such work for longer than Anais had been alive. On the occasion that the repair work lasted longer than the song, singers had been known to substitute their own nonsensical verses in to match the music to the work. It added to the joy and enjoyment of what could otherwise be a tiresome chore.

Word count: 581
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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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Stars and Simple Tasks

Postby Anais Seawind on August 3rd, 2018, 10:00 pm

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She paused in her singing, sticking the tip of thick thread to her mouth and wetting it, before attempting to weave it through the eye of her needle. Candlelight made the task trickier than it should have been, and she held the needle close to her face, biting her lip as she carefully poked at the small hole in the shaft; after the third attempt, she met with success and pulled the tail of thread through until several inches hung down. The Svefra was a sailor, not a seamstress, but even she had learned a few things over her years of sail repair, and she twist the thread against itself, before pulling the needle back through the twisted strands and tugging it tight – not really a knot, this twisting would allow the thread to pull smoothly through the sail while still keeping the thread from being slipping back out of the needle as she worked.

With that tiny task done, her humming resumed and soon Anais was pushing the needle through the sailcloth, and pulling it up with a steady hand and better results than before. It was a small measure of satisfaction to her to see the row of even stitching grow with her efforts; once the tear was closed, she would place a patch over the spot as well, as an extra measure of protection. She was almost looking forward to the work, and the excuse to let her mind drift to happier memories.

“Laviku smiled on his children, lo
oh yes, oh
Kept us safe from the flames, rocked us to an’ fro
three hunnerd years ago

Sailors we are an’ have always been so
oh yes, oh
Kith an’ kin to the winds an’ the salty blow
since three hunnerd years ago


Aunt Molly had been fond of a phrase, and Anais found herself searching her memory for it now; something about sewing. Mending? She shook her head, slipping the needle back down through the sail gently – more than once she’d gotten caught up in her thoughts or conversation and jabbed her unsuspecting finger with the pointy end of the tool. She’d learned that lesson well, and paid for it in specks and dots of her own blood.

Sewing mends the soul!

Anais huffed in satisfaction, finally remembering the words she’d been searching for. Along with the memory, she could almost see her aunt’s smiling face as the woman tried to convince a younger Anais that stitching sails was something more than forced inactivity that bordered on punishment for a girl with too much energy for her body to contain. As she’d aged, Anais had come to appreciate the peace and quiet, but her aunt had spent more than a few bells teaching a reluctant and squirmy student the importance of straight stitches and even seams. The memory made Anais especially glad shed chosen to rip out the shoddy stitches from earlier; though no one else would have seen it, she would have known they were there and felt a twinge of guilt every time she looked up – as though Aunt Molly would somehow be aware, in death, that her niece had been taking shortcuts.

Pulling the thread through the sailcloth a final time, Anais wrapped it under the other stitches, securing it this time with several tight knots before snapping it off. There were a few other small tears that would need similar mending before she began attaching the patches, and Anais shuffled the sail around searching for the next such spot. When she found it, she began the process all over again.

Word count: 598
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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
Player
 
Posts: 114
Words: 129187
Joined roleplay: November 26th, 2014, 5:56 am
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Svefra
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Stars and Simple Tasks

Postby Anais Seawind on August 3rd, 2018, 11:09 pm

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Flexing fingers gone stiff with use, Anais took a moment to stare into the sky above her; it was a pastime she had loved since she’d first started learning the stories that went along with the stars that twinkled overhead. She’d listened to Uncle Chelm play his drum, sometimes a song she knew, sometimes just a low, slow beat while he spoke, and her imagination would fly with his words. Her favorite story had been the one about the sea turtle – she’d loved it first as a small child, and later, after meeting her tavan, she’d seen Isporo every time she looked up.

A bittersweet smile etched itself faintly across her face, and blue eyes searched the waters briefly. Isporo had been making himself scarce for the past several seasons. In fact, she’d only seen him a handful of times since arriving in Syka, and Anais knew that his distance had more to do with her weakening of faith in Laviku than the fact that she had taken up residence on a tropical beach. There was water and food aplenty on her new land, and she’d gone to great lengths to ensure she’d picked a place he could be comfortable. But still the large sea turtle was an infrequent visitor. It was one more growing sadness for the Svefra, and one of the key motivators in her attempts to rectify her past with her God. She missed her friend.

A tingling sensation at the back of her throat and a suspicious wetness hovering just behind her eyes were enough warning for Anais, and she forcibly dragged her thoughts away from that path. She cast around for the next task – her fingers weren’t feeling up to more stitchery at the moment – before coming to rest on the frayed and worn ends of her rigging. Ropes wore out, winds tattered and teased the twines apart, and the rigging was one more piece of equipment that required Anais’ attention.

Grasping at the length of rope with relief, Anais dragged the damaged cord onto her lap and inspected the extent of repairs needed. Luckily the rope itself wasn’t in danger of falling apart, as she peered at it in the flickering candlelight, the Svefra saw that the whipping knot had come off, lost somewhere on the Suvan, and allowed the ends to begin fraying apart. It was a fairly common occurrence, at least common enough that she’d seen it and made the repairs before. Slicing off a couple feet of the frayed rope, she pulled at the strands, untangling them until she had three separate, thinner lengths of twine in her hands.

Setting two aside, Anais began folding the third strand of twine into a series of long loops. The end of the rigging rope was placed over the twine, and nimble fingers began wrapping the remaining twine around the rigging, as tightly as she could manage it, until she’d nearly overwrapped the last loop off the twine. She slipped the free ends of the twine through the loop and gave it a hearty tug, pulling the loop underneath the fresh wrappings and securing the whipping knot over the frayed rigging end. Taking up her knife once more, she sliced the ends off near the loop-and-wrap, eyeing it critically.

Tomorrow, when Juli opened the mercantile, Anais would see her about some paint or glue for the end – the whipping knot was good, but would hold much longer and be more resistant to damage in the winds if it were coated with either substance.

Word count: 589
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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: 114
Words: 129187
Joined roleplay: November 26th, 2014, 5:56 am
Location: Syka
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Stars and Simple Tasks

Postby Anais Seawind on August 4th, 2018, 2:32 am

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The candle flames were sputtering, and Anais hurried to pluck a few small stubs from her candlemaking kit, mildly amused to realize that even though her main function for the Sykan community was to make candles, she was in danger of running completely out of them herself. Lighting the small stubs in the guttering flames of her existing candles, she made a mental note to prepare more tomorrow – after I visit the mercantile – both for herself and for the community’s supply. She preferred to work with tapers, methodically dipping them two at a time, and the stubs she’d dredged up were two- and three-inch leftovers from her last dipping. Lit, they smelled faintly sweet, the aroma reminiscent of honey and sweet grasses and growing things The Svefra savored the scent, knowing that her next batch would be mainly animal fat, coated in wax or poured into coconut shells or other containers, and it wouldn’t smell nearly as pleasant.

Tonight’s light wouldn’t last forever, though, and Anais was hoping to finish up her sails and get them hoisted with the newly repaired rigging before she slept. She flexed her fingers one more time, feeling the slight stiffness in her joints – getting old, eh? – and once again took up her needle and thread. Patching the sails was simple work, and Anais had kept scraps from sails past for just such a purpose. The result was a motley mix of colors in the most-worn areas, usually those near various points where the rigging was attached. The current patches were an old mottled grayish color, and Anais began setting the first one in place with steady brown ‘x’s along the edge. The needle easily penetrated both sail and patch, and as the thread traveled across the first side of the patch, the Svefra realigned the patch with the sail to ensure a flush fit of both materials, and soon was singing again as her stitches marched across the fabrics.

”Laviku smiled on his children, lo
oh yes, oh
Kept us safe from the flames, rocked us to an’ fro
three hunnerd years ago

Sailors we are an’ have always been so
oh yes, oh
Kith an’ kin to the winds an’ the salty blow
since three hunnerd years ago

At ease on the deck, ridin’ the waves
oh yes, oh
Rulin’ the seaways, fearless an’ brave
since three hunnerd years ago"


Running out of verse, Anais stopped singing and resorted to humming. She’d never been as good as Uncle Chelm at making things up on the spot. Ennivan had tried to teach her the same skill, in a different way, with gambling and thimblepig, but she’d been only slightly successful in that area, too. But the humming did the job just as well as singing, and Anais’ needle didn’t hesitate in its path; in a matter of ticks the first patch was finished, and she was moving on to the second, still energetic in her race against the fading candlelight. With each breeze, the light flickered low, sending sparks into the air, threatening to leave her stabbing canvas in the dark.

Word count: 517
Image
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
Player
 
Posts: 114
Words: 129187
Joined roleplay: November 26th, 2014, 5:56 am
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Svefra
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 1
Donor (1)

Stars and Simple Tasks

Postby Okara on August 15th, 2018, 9:25 pm

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Anais Seawind

Sewing 3
Observation 4
Singing 3
Sailing 1

Sewing: Mending Sailcloth
Sewing: Threading Needles
Sewing: Tailor’s Knot
Aunt Molly’s Advice: Sewing Mends the Soul
The Pain of a Distant Tavan
Sailing: Tying Whipping Knots on Rigging
Sewing: Patching Sailcloth


Rewards/Penalties/Notes
This wasn’t boring in the slightest! I love how you weave in lots of memories and song to keep the thread interesting. The Svefra ditty was excellent as well, if you have a name for it or if it’s a song in the lore that I’ve missed please send me a PM and I can add the lore for the song to this grade. A fun read!


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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