Flashback [Middle Suvan Sea] Hi-Jinks, Hi

Anais does dumb stuff sometimes

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An inland sea created by Ivak's cataclismic fury during the Valterrian, the Suvan Sea is a major trade route and the foremost hub for piracy in Mizahar. [lore]

[Middle Suvan Sea] Hi-Jinks, Hi

Postby Anais Seawind on August 19th, 2018, 2:11 am

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Summer 57, 500AV


Jewel scampered nimbly up the rigging, tanned body disappearing above Anais' head, somewhere near the top of the mast. The other girl's laughter rang out over the gathered ships, mingling with the sounds of daily Svefra life: music, cursing, gaiety all underscored by the rhythmic slapping of the water against the assorted vessels that made up the Seawind Pod. With a yell that trembled only slightly, her cousin – older only by two years than Anais – hurled herself from the mast into the ocean below. Wide-eyed, Anais rushed to the edge of the boat and scanned the water, panic tickling at her mind in spite of the fact that Jewel was her absolute, no-doubt-about-it, dumb-as-a-sea-cucumber least favorite person.

She didn’t want her to die.

But as Anais was realizing this, just as she opened her mouth to call for help, Jewel’s blonde head bobbed to the surface of the water, face split into a grin as she splashed and played with the dolphins that accompanied the Pod most days. A scowl quickly overtook the worry on Anais’ face and she spun away from the pitted and rough wood of the sidewall, crossing her arms over her thin chest. It felt like another mean trick, but even her eight-year-old brain admitted that Jewel hadn’t meant to frighten her. The other girl was simply playing, enjoying the water and the sunshine and the freedom afforded to her. It was nothing that Anais herself couldn’t be doing, if she could only convince herself to make the climb and the leap.

Small teeth worried at her lower lip as she stared at the ropes and rigging. She inched closer, tentative and hesitant at just the prospect of diving into the sea. Surely it wasn’t hard. She’d climbed into the rigging before – maybe not as high as Jewel had just done, but still… How hard could it be? Slowly, as though her arm were as unwilling as her brain, she stretched it out, brushing her fingers against the familiar texture of salt-encrusted rigging before wrapping tightly around it. I can do this. If Jewel can, I can. Setting her mouth into a firm line of stubbornness, Anais jumped up, grabbing the line with two tightly clenched fists, bare feet clutching the rope below her for stability.

Climbing wasn’t new to her, she was comfortable in the air above deck – all Svefra children played in the trailing ropes as soon as they could toddle. Anais herself had climbed at least halfway up the mast on her own mother’s ship more times than she could remember, swinging back down, or hanging from her knees and watching the sky in reverse. It was especially fun if there was a nice wind and the casinor was flying over the water. The salty spray in the air tickled her nose and blew her hair around her eyes, as she dangled a few feet above the deck. Anais imagined that was what it must be like to be a bird. An upside down bird.
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Last edited by Anais Seawind on August 21st, 2018, 3:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Anais Seawind
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[Middle Suvan Sea] Hi-Jinks, Hi

Postby Anais Seawind on August 19th, 2018, 3:12 am

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Her thin arms tensed, muscles bunching as she hoisted herself aloft. One arm reached up for a further hold, then the other, feet working in tandem to push her body upward. It wasn’t as fast, or as agile as Jewel had been, and Anais could feel the rope swaying and jerking with her movements. Glancing down, she saw that the deck was still only a short drop away, and frowned. It would take her ages at this rate; by the time she got to throw herself into the water, as Jewel had done, it would be tomorrow. Determinedly, the little girl renewed her efforts, moving her arms as quickly as she dared, while the rope continued to thrash around beneath her feet, swaying her as she climbed higher, approaching the grid-like section of rigging that served to support the mast.

These sections, the shrouds, held the mast up, so Anais knew they were secure and not likely to move as much as the line she used to reach them. Transferring her weight from one to the next would give her a chance to rest her arms and rediscover her bravado, and her blue eyes latched onto the squared-off sections of rigging longingly as she stilled, waiting for her own line to settle under her. As it stilled, she reached a tentative hand toward the shroud, stretching her arm out as far as she could reach. She’d chosen her ascent without much thought, and the rope she clung to was a bit farther away from the shroud than she could span with her small arms. A grunt of effort left her lips, as she brought her hand back and clenched her thighs tightly around her rope. Now who’s the sea cucumber? Should’ve thought about how you were going to get up the mast, not if you could.

But the mental chiding she gave herself did nothing but spur her onward – she was already up here, so she was going to figure out how to make her plan work. As she stretched forward once again, her rope swayed, its momentum slight but pushing her a bit further toward her goal and Anais grasped at the shroud. It was a narrow miss again, and her rope swayed back, putting the shroud further out of reach. But the action had given the girl an idea and she heaved her weight forward, still clinging to her rope as the motion carried her forward once again. This time when her little fingers reached for the shroud, they wrapped around a line and caught, jerking her to a stop, awkwardly held in between the lay line and the shroud. Anais grinned.

From her new position, it was an easy matter to haul herself closer to the shroud, and Anais wasted no time moving from one to the other. With one hand gripping the free rope and the other firmly squeezed around the shroud, she transferred her feet first, stepping onto the ladder-like structure with relief before finally releasing the rope she’d just climbed. She watched it sway and shudder as it settled once again, just out of arms’ reach. Although her perch now was stable and would be easier to climb, the girl’s stomach fluttered; she was committed now. Up she would go, and then into the ocean, just like Jewel had done. Anais took a deep breath, and glanced up – she still had a good amount of climbing to do. Her arms were beginning to feel the strain, but stubborn determination pushed her onward.
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[Middle Suvan Sea] Hi-Jinks, Hi

Postby Anais Seawind on August 20th, 2018, 2:36 am

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Scaling the shroud was like scaling a ladder – the ropes were laid out and knotted in a convenient grid form that Anais felt confident she could climb in no time. She hadn’t accounted for the rope’s own movements under her feet, caused by flexibility in the rigging and by the waves under the vessel. What started out as a speedy ascent up the structure quickly turn into an exercise in frustration as her foot slipped through one of the grids, leaving her leg dangling and her arms supporting most of her weight. Her muscles strained in protest, and the youth tightened her fists around the rough rope, white-knuckled fingers wrapped entirely around and her tiny nails dug into her palms as she steadied herself on the shroud and shook her foot free of its confines.

Properly positioned once more, Anais perched on the shroud, leaning her body against it as she gazed back down to the deck. It wouldn’t really take much effort to shimmy back down and pretend the whole experience had never happened. Jewel’s laughter split the air even as Anais was talking herself out of finishing the climb, and the sound boosted her waning confidence. Blue eyes narrowed in the direction of the sound and her jaw clenched as she began to climb further up into the sails. After a few cautious ticks that seemed to stretch for bells, she had managed to move herself higher into the ropes than she’d ever dared climb before. Pride and fear battled in her stomach at the realization, and a small gasp escaped her lips at the suddenly frightening distance between her body and the safety of the deck of her mother’s casinor.

Though she was nowhere near the top of the mast, or even the shroud, Anais was high enough that gently flapping sails blocked her vision in many directions. She could no longer see Jewel, though she could her the other young girl frolicking in the sea below her. The dolphins, too, were out of sight, though Anais knew they wouldn’t have moved far from Jewel – the creatures were at least as playful as the Svefra children, and rarely passed up a chance to gather with the humans when they swam. A glance upward showed the sails were also blocking much of Syna’s rays; midway up the shroud was a strange place to be, both precarious and scary as well as oddly comforting, as though the sails were forming a soft, protective shell around her body.

Part of her wanted to stay right where she was – it was a dumb idea, anyway. Who wants to jump into the ocean from way up here? Dumb. But she could feel the lie in the thoughts. Anais wanted to dive in, to play with the dolphins, to prove to Jewel that she wasn’t so special, just because she was older and had jumped in and was having so much fun. Angry tears welled up behind her eyes, threatening to spill over and ruin the image of bravery she clung to as fiercely as the shroud.

But there was no way she was going to climb all the way up to the top of the mast. For all her determination, the 8-year-old could feel her arms burning and knew that she either had to jump soon or had to start sliding down the lines back to the deck and admit defeat.
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[Middle Suvan Sea] Hi-Jinks, Hi

Postby Anais Seawind on August 21st, 2018, 2:18 am

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Anais lugged her body up another couple squares, carefully placing her feet in the middle of the gridded sections. Another slip or two like her earlier one and she definitely wouldn’t be able to climb even to the first clew, the beam that ran across the mast. The girl had decided it was her best option for jumping into the cool water with her cousin and the dolphins. It didn’t quite span the width of the casinor, but it came very close – closer than the top of the mast, anyway. And it was within reach, which made it a much better goal, as far as she was concerned.

Her arm snaked upward, wrapping itself around the solid wood of the spar, and Anais pulled her body up to rest over it. Ropes and rigging draped over and hung down from the wood, which was now both an uncomfortable and a welcome pressure against her bony ribcage. The blond swung one lanky leg up and over, so that she straddled the support and lay there, arms and legs dangling down on either side, briefly resting after her challenging climb. Beneath her, she could see the wood of the deck and the deep green-blue of the seawater that was her ultimate goal.

Waves frothed against the side of the boat, each crest sending a visible spray into the air. The familiar rocking felt less comforting and more intimidating from her current height, but the beauty of the water was striking, even to her 8-year-old eyes. She watched shadowy shapes arc up, out of the water, turning into dolphins as they breached the surface, and then disappearing into mysterious shadows once again as they dove back under. In the midst of it all, having too much fun for Anais’ liking, her cousin Jewel mimicked them with, in Anais’ opinion, much less grace and mystery.

I could do that. Better’n she does, too. I could look like a dolphin so much they’d think I was one.

Her arms stretched forward, gaining purchase on the wooden beam, and Anais pulled her body further out toward the edge of her perch. She slid several inches forward, and then repeated the process until she had scooched herself nearly to the tip of the spar, and hung suspended, trying to build her courage for the next step: the jump.

Anais took a deep breath and used her hands to carefully push herself into a sitting position, legs still straddling the wood. It was shaky, and her muscles tensed with fear and excitement at her own actions. Seated on the spar, it was several more ticks before she felt stable enough to slowly pull one leg up and over the side of her seat, so that she was truly only sitting on the wood, seemingly high above the water. The reality of the jump was less impressive, but Anais’ perspective made it look dangerous and daring and amazing. She took one more deep breath, closed her eyes, and pushed herself off the spar before she could rethink the action. As she dropped, her arms and legs flailed about and panic set in; blue eyes popped open in fear, although no one was around to see or aid her, and she had time enough to regret jumping, if only barely, before her body hit the water with a stinging splash, and her head sank below the surface of the waves.
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Last edited by Anais Seawind on August 21st, 2018, 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[Middle Suvan Sea] Hi-Jinks, Hi

Postby Anais Seawind on August 21st, 2018, 7:27 pm

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Falling faster than she’d thought possible, Anais had barely had time to fill her lungs with air before cold waters surrounded her, sucking her under. The surface hit like glass breaking over the girl, stinging and pounding at her body, sending a wave of pain through her. Shock and pain caused her to open her mouth almost instantly in a silent scream that freed nearly all the air she’d held, a cloud of bubbles signaling its escape and further frightening the young Svefra as they rushed and popped to the surface far above her as she continued to sink and spin. Though she’d been in the water for most of her life, and was considered a skilled enough swimmer by her mother’s standards, this first jump from such a height had completely overwhelmed the girl. Her arms and legs flapped independently of each other as her momentum propelled her downward, deeper into the sea than she’d ever been.

Although time sped by at its normal rate, Anais felt as though each moment was lasting forever, water slowly blocking Syna’s light and furthering her own panicked confusion as she flailed about in the growing darkness, water pushing against her threateningly. Barely discernable shapes moved in the gloom – Predators? Friends? She couldn’t tell, and the new threat finally pushed her to swim, moving in the only direction she could, away, hoping to break the surface before the burning in her lungs became intolerable.

Movement borne of fear propelled her onward, but not upward, though she was unaware of the difference. Direction had never entered her mind, and certainly couldn’t compete with the desperation now clouding her brain; disoriented in the ocean, Anais pushed her body to swim through its need for air, through the pressure of the water, and avoid the shadowy something she had sensed in the water with her.

But the girl couldn’t force her body to obey for long; her limbs began to slow, their movements jerky and seemingly random. Lungs began to scream for air, and Anais put all the concentration a panicked 8-year-old could muster into simply not inhaling a mouthful of seawater as she floated helplessly, silently begging for someone to save her. There was no time for her to regret her decision to sneak up the rigging and jump into the water without telling someone else – even Jewel. There wasn’t even time for Anais to hate Jewel; even the much-disliked older girl would be a welcome sight to her now. But the only thing Anais’ eyes registered was a looming shadow, come to finish her off before the water could drown her. Lids fluttered down, shielding her from the creature as it approached, certain she would be eaten in the last few ticks before her air ran out, resigned.

A hard, ridged surface collided – gently – with her body, and Anais flinched in anticipation of pain even as she began to lose consciousness.
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[Middle Suvan Sea] Hi-Jinks, Hi

Postby Anais Seawind on August 21st, 2018, 9:33 pm

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Pressure against her midsection was Anais’ first clue that she might not end up as dinner to one of Laviku’s creations. As the ridged shape pushed against her, effectively pushing her body backwards and up, Anais forced her eyes open. Against their will, blue orbs focused on the shape in front of her, trying – and failing – to understand what was happening. Lack of oxygen was a burning, painful reality and Anais could do no more than allow the turtle, for that was what it was, to continue herding her. Consciousness faded in and out, and the Svefra found it too difficult to try and reason out what was happening or why, simply remembering not to inhale was taking all of her effort. The turtle seemed to sense this, as it pushed at nudged at her with renewed urgency, maneuvering itself so that, should Anais simply reach her arms out to grasp the shell, the creature could ferry her to the safety of the water’s surface.

Somehow the girl understood, and weakly managed to grasp the edge of the shell, resting her body against the broad surface of the creature who, moments ago, she’d assumed had meant to devour her.

No sooner had her small fingers curled onto its shell, then the turtle took off, arrowing upward faster than Anais could comprehend. As she felt the brightness increase, her eyelids opened and hope buoyed her spirits – beyond belief, the turtle had come to her aid when no one else had even known she needed help. Her head broke the surface of the water and Anais drew in a ragged, gasping breath of gratitude, thoughts rushing over themselves and falling out of her mouth in broken half-syllables. Thank you, Laviku, thank “you, turtle, thank you thankyouthankyou.”

Salty tears mixed with the seawater as her relief flowed down her face, going entirely unnoticed as Anais continued coughing and choking and laughing atop the shell of the turtle who had saved her. She lay as still as her recovering lungs would allow, the turtle swimming, now lazily, in circles as the terror of her experience released its paralyzing grip on her body. Recovery took much longer than the ticks of her ordeal under the water, and it was several chimes before she stirred enough to raise her head and look around. When she did, Anais was startled to see that she’d been not more than 10 feet from her mother’s casinor, and not much further than that from Jewel and her dolphin playmates.

The knowledge sobered the child, and a flicker of unease flashed in her eyes. Had Jewel seen her jump? Surely her cousin hadn’t seen her jump, wouldn’t have allowed Anais to struggle and suffer so much if she’d seen. The girl’s arms wrapped tighter around the turtle, whispering another quiet “thank you” and adding the only word she could think of for it: “Poro.” Loosely, the Fratava word meant hero, or savior, and it was how she viewed the huge creature. “I’m gonna call you Poro. Is Poro; my hero.” Her voice was hoarse, stress and tears and wracking coughs had wrung the sound from it, but she pressed her face against the mottled yellow and brown shell ridges and closed her eyes once more in silent thanks to Laviku for sending Isporo to save her.
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Anais Seawind
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