Closed Turtle Haven (Anja)

Feeding turtles and a cleansing bath. Time to recharge.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Turtle Haven (Anja)

Postby Arinel on November 2nd, 2018, 4:25 am

Fall 25, 518 AV

Even in the heavy gloom of Sunberth there are places of rest, places of comfort, of simpler pleasures. What could be simpler than feeding turtles and having a nice relaxing bath? This place is a place of hope, a place of peace. Sunberth could learn a lot from the old couple that runs the spring…

--

Aquillar Hot Springs

The hard truths of the world, of this new world that she found herself in, had her in search for a sanctuary of sorts. The darkness of Sunberth was already wearing on her, the intense distress of the residences resonated deeply with the Konti. So, this little haven was a welcome sight. On the outskirts of the city, it was quiet, secluded. She had heard about the turtles from some of the kids on the streets and decided that it was worth a visit.

She came prepared with lettuce, a bit eager to feed the turtles herself. The old couple were delightful, just how she heard. They showed her to the cooled freshwater pool, and she could not help but smile at the turtles as they swam towards her. They were funny little things, how their little legs paddled against the water, their heads outstretched, eyes looked almost longingly at the food that she brought to feed them. She could tell they were not starved, and pretty well trained in accepting food from strangers.

She held out the lettuce, a little leaf of it, and when it was accepted from her hand she could not help but laugh at it. This was so much fun! The feeling of joy welling inside her was just what she needed, and these little turtles were obviously more than just turtles. They were hope. Body and soul. Little beacons of light in the shadows of Sunberth. She half wondered if this place existed just to balance everything out.

Her happy grin never left her as she made sure to share the lettuce as equally and fairly as she could amongst the gathering turtles. The turtles themselves had a sort of charm to them. They brought so much happiness, she could see why the kids of Sunberth, those orphans and street kids, were so enthralled with this place. The munching of the leaves continued until she was out of lettuce.

She half wished that she had prepared more, but the turtles probably got a good enough snack out of it. After all, who knows how much lettuce these guys have been fed throughout the day? She reached her hand and dipped it into the water of the cooled springs. A littler turtle swam over and allowed her to touch him gently. It was so soothing to interact with the turtles, just what she needed to recharge. She was going to have to visit this place a lot more often she decided. Whenever she felt worn down or needed a break, she thought she could count on these turtles to bring her back to balance.

Even though she did not have any food she stayed there a while, just watching the turtles swim around in their own private enclosure. It was a little paradise for them, of that she was sure.

Eventually she had to say goodbye and waved to them as she left. A peaceful smile on her face, she purchased access to the common spring. The small springs were void of bathers at this time, but the Konti herself. The steam from the water filled the air, and she found herself relaxing into the pool. It was a quaint place, simple in set up. In the simplicity there was beauty though. The rocks lining the pool for example seemed plain, but in their plainness they fit in, perfectly into place. Even seemingly plain things can be extraordinary. Ordinary things like a smile have more power than what they are given credit for. Arinel had to remind herself of that.

She then found herself smiling. A happy smile. Here is where she could recharge from the gloom of Sunberth for sure.
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Turtle Haven (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on November 7th, 2018, 11:15 pm

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Sunberth was a dark, dismal, and soul-wearying place. The city exuded exhaustion and desperation, and even Anja, a man with whom death was a comfort, found it wearing on his mental state. It was one thing to find comfort in death, but so many in this city were denied even that for an appalling length of time. And when death came for them, as it did for everyone, bitterness and regrets festered, leaving the shell-like remains of what had once been a person. Anja had never known a place so haunted as this city. There were so many ghosts who needed his help, his comfort. And quite frankly, it was exhausting. Anja was tired, both in mind and in body. Even men tasked by work from a Goddess needed a break now and again.

It was Maisa who insisted on it. Anja had awoken that morning, and set about his chores. He had brushed and fed Maisa, and fed and tended to Light who had made her usual morning appearance before vanishing back down the hill of the Dust Bed, no doubt to go feed and care for her pups. Anja prepared his soulmist for the day, then ate a breakfast of bleak, simple, dried rations. Anja stared silently at the bleak scrub terrain, mind wandering, when he felt a sharp nip on his shoulder. The man turned to the side, a bemused expression crossing his face. “Yes Maisa?” he asked his horse in Pavi with a gesture of his hand.

The look that Maisa carried in her eyes was one of sheer determination. She grabbed Anja's sleeve and gave it a sharp tug. Anja sighed and stood up. “Yes, alright. I'm coming.”

Maisa did this every so often. The mare seemed to have a second sense for Anja's needs, and somehow always managed to take him where he needed to go. It had been her urging that had led him to meet Kelski that first time, and again to encounter the kelvic at the market where they had been introduced to Moth. So Anja, still not knowing what he needed but trusting that his friend and companion knew, settled the yvas atop his strider's back, mounted, and allowed himself to be carried to where it was she felt he needed to go.

The ride took the pair to nearly the opposite side of the city, and Anja found his patience tried in the several hours it took them to travel through the dismal streets. Shadows of death haunted the corners of his vision, and a somber dirge filled the air with a song only the Eiyon could hear flitting on the corners of his consciousness. On one corner of the street, Anja watched the past shadows of a man mugged and murdered. A few streets down, the after image of an assassination gone wrong when the victim turned the tables on his attacker. Each vision vied for Anja's attention, dozens in the hours it took to cross the breadth of the city. Anja felt weariness settle over him like a suffocating blanket, and even closed eyes did not remove the mournful song echoing in his ears. Maisa sensed Anja's tension from atop his back, and trotted faster.

When the pair finally reached their destination, Anja's tense expression faded to a look of puzzled bemusement. “A hot spring? Do you think I need a bath Maisa?” White ears flicked back at Anja's voice for a moment, but that was the only response. Chuckling, Anja dismounted and stroked his companion's cheek. “Well, I suppose the smartest thing to do is humor you, eh?” Maisa rumbled in agreement, prompting a laugh from Anja. He couldn't entirely disagree with his companion. Life in Sunberth was rough, and life camping in the Dust Bed was rougher. Anja had enjoyed the privilege of baths even more rarely than he had enjoyed good food. He was thin, dirty, and weary. A small indulgence for the day couldn't hurt.

Anja left Maisa to her own devices and approached the Springs. His eyes fell first to a small fenced in enclosure. Curiously the man approached, noticing a few turtles paddling inside of a small, cool spring within. Turtles huh? How odd. Cute, but odd. A couple of them paddled over towards him, looking up at him with beady black eyes and mouths agape.

“They're friendly you know. Assuming you don't mean harm.”

Anja looked towards the voice to find a woman leaning against the fence watching him. Lines on her face spoke of years of trials that had hardened body and mind, and it was easy enough to recognize the wary expression of a person who was trying to decide if the man standing before her was a threat or not. It was a typical Sunberth attitude, one that Anja knew well. It was a welcome expression , honestly. Those who meant harm usually weren't the same kind of wary.

“I'm not here to make trouble,” Anja told her.

“Well, say hello then,” the woman replied.

It felt a little bit like a test. Well what was the worst that could happen? He could lose a finger? With a careful breath, Anja dunked his hand into the cool spring water. The turtles gathered around Anja's hand, their mouths nibbling at his fingers, but not biting down hard enough to hurt. Their reaction, whatever it meant, seemed to reassure the woman. She walked over to Anja and gave him a look up and down, followed by a smile.

“I'm Natlana. I run these Springs with my husband. Are you here for a bath?”

Anja extended his hand, which she took in a firm shake. Natlana was a woman of composure and strength, Anja had no doubt. “I'm Anja,” the Drykas replied. “A bath would be delightful. I think that's what my strider had in mind.”

Natlana glanced at Maisa, who was making herself busy tearing up nearby grass. “A Drykas huh? Don't see many of them in Sunberth.” She gave Anja another long look. “Don't suppose you're here to see the Konti?”

Anja expression turned puzzled. “No. Konti?”

“She bought a visit to the common spring earlier. I thought you might be together. She doesn't seem like the sort who should be out on her own.”

What an odd thing to say. “What do you mean?” Anja asked.

Natlana shook her head. “No, nevermind,” she said firmly, removing all prospect of further questions. Anja had no intention of arguing with her and simply nodded in agreement.

“Do you want one of the private springs, or the common spring?” Natlana asked. “The common spring is open to everyone, but it's just that Konti in there at the moment. If you're worried about your modesty, we've got bathing clothes you can wear that cover your unmentionables. Common spring is five copper Mizas. A private one is five silver.”

Anja paused in thought for a moment. On one hand, he wasn't sure how he felt bathing with a woman, even if she was covered. On the other hand, the private springs sounded lonely. And a small spark of curiosity had quickened at mention of the Konti woman. Whatever a Konti was.

“I will take the common spring,” Anja said. The man rifled in his things and produced the five copper payment which swiftly changed hands. Natlana counted out the coppers, then smirked as if enjoying a private joke.

“Alright, you're all good to head in,” she told him. “There's changing rooms in the tavern. Don't worry about your things. My husband and I will make sure no one touches them. Including your horse. The common spring is out the back door.”

“Thank you,” Anja said. He didn't mention that Maisa could take care of herself, but the prospect of not having to worry about his things was a relief. Anja gave the woman a respectful nod and headed inside. He changed quickly, leaving his things on the table within the tavern, and exchanged nods with a man inside whose eyes were just as wary at Natlana's were. A moment later, he proceeded into the spring, bare chested and with his waist only covered by an absorbent cloth garment whose material he was unfamiliar with.

Within the spring, Anja nearly instantly spotted the young woman bathing inside. Her white hair made Anja instantly think of Kelski's mention of kelvics occasionally having strange colored hair and eyes, but the hair did not explain the iridescent silvery green scales covering her form. This woman, this Konti, was not something Anja had encountered before.

“Good morning,” Anja called out to her, hoping not to startle her. He approached the water's edge a distance away from her and slid into the water. The shock of the heat hitting his aching muscles and raw patches of skin caused a hiss of pain to fall out of his lips. Anja bit back the pain and allowed himself to sink neck deep into the water. The heat flowed over his tense body, and almost instantly the man could feel the aches beginning to ebb. He closed his eyes for a long moment, before opening them to look at his companion, curiosity lingering in his gaze.

“I hope this doesn't come across as rude,” Anja said. “But I don't think I've ever seen anyone like you before. May I ask who your people are? Where you are from?” Mizahar was a vast place, and Anja had hardly touched on learning about the countless people and things of the world. He was always prepared to learn something new.

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Turtle Haven (Anja)

Postby Arinel on November 8th, 2018, 1:30 am

Arinel let herself sink into the water. She closed her eyes and let the water take her to a different place. She tried to calm her mind and center herself, being in this nice warm water helped with that. Her body reacted to her thoughts, and the stiffened muscles and aching bones seemed to relax even if just a little bit. The hot steam in the air seemed to coax her into better times and days. There was so much darkness here, but right now, she could forget about all of that. The water washed her worries away, at least for this moment, this instant. The darkness was outside, but it did not breach here. Here was a speck of light, a heaven amidst misery. There needs to be more places like this, she thought.

She straightened and walked to the far edge of the pool before relaxing by the rocks. She dipped back down again and sighed to herself. What was she doing here? This place was so lost, so filled with evil and darkness, what could she do? Why was she here? Was it all chance or was there a greater meaning to all of this? Is there a bigger picture? What is she missing? Her thoughts all hit her at once, and she thought of the man at the pier that she saved from drowning. He she could barely help. Those questions lingered around her, like ghosts, whispering doubt into her ear. She had only been here a little while, and she felt so out of place. Her happiness was not sustainable by her alone. No amount of water could wash this from her soul, the worry on her breast.

She bit the bottom of her lip, and then a voice drew her out of her inner world. It was deep and stern, and words startled her. She jumped, even though they were kind words. She was not used to being approached so directly, especially here in Sunberth. She sank a bit lower in the water, her eyes looking over the man. She took in his darker hair and solid features. His face was unique, distinct, she had not seen a person quite like him before. It intrigued her, and he did not seem like a typical Sunberthian, but was he just trying to lull her into a sense of security with those words?

For now she would analyze the situation and keep her distance. Her brow lowered just a little bit as if she saw something in his soul, trying to weigh his intent on just those words alone. They were like a curious child. She laughed softly to herself at that comparison. A child. Picturing this man as a kid was very disarming. She allowed her good humor to bubble forth, and her laugh to get a little louder, a little giggle. She pushed her hands forward, water moving with the shove in a small ripple towards the man.

“The same could be said about you.” She told him, “Not to be rude,” she quickly added at the end. Her common was heavily accented with the Isle, and the words came out oddly on his tongue, she was not used to speaking common all the time.

“I have never seen a man with such dark hair or solid features. Your face is hard, your body is stiff, you are uncomfortable, but here anyways.” She mused aloud to herself, “Much like I am.” The last part was almost whispered.

“I come from the White Isle, or you might have heard it called the Konti Isle. It is north of here, about twenty days by ship depending on the weather. Sooner if Laviku favors your cause.” She paused, thinking of home and how much she missed it, but she did not dwell, “I am a Konti, a seer of the Isle, and my sisters and I live in peace on the Island.” Here she was far away from her sister Konti. She had never felt so alone or isolated before, and in this darkness, it was almost suffocating.

“I haven’t been here long.” She admitted, looking away from the man, her white hair flowed around her in the water and her scales shined a bit in the steam and morning light, “Part of me wishes I had never left.” This dream she found herself in was a dark one. A nightmare. Her voice quivered and she closed her mouth. Could peace be found here like what was on the isle?

“But this place is peaceful.” She lifted her hands out of the water and did a little spin in the water, her bubbly happy emotions coming back to her, “In this spinning chaos, thank the gods we have a haven like this one.”

She tried to smile, her mask being put back on. If she smiled enough others will feel happy as well. The power of a smile was so amazing. It worked well to drown out the conflicted storm that was welling inside her.

“This water is warm, relaxing, and we are learning so much.”

She turned her gaze outward, and her smile softened as she relaxed, “I’m Arinel. Its nice to meet a man.” She told him her voice growing softer as well, “You don’t look like the others here. Your shadows are tempered, and you are not inherently a bad person. Sunberth has not gotten to you. Your soul is strong. I can tell.”

There was confidence in her voice. The empathy and sensitivity that Konti were known for were working overtime.

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Turtle Haven (Anja)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on November 17th, 2018, 4:10 am

Image
The strange, white haired woman flinched and tensed at Anja's words, her eyes shining with suspicion for a moment as she stared in the Drykas’ direction. He felt himself evaluated for a long moment as she sank into the water, only her eyes visible above the reflective surface of the pool. Waves of white hair mingled with rising steam, ethereal and mysterious. And then she ruined the effect with laughter that bubbled like a brooke, a smile that was far too sweet and innocent to belong in a city such as this. It only took a moment for Anja to realize what Natlana had meant, just one glance from those sweet and innocent eyes. Sunberth would destroy this girl. Perhaps not in death, but no one could laugh so innocently after more than a season on these brutal streets. She would learn, or she would die.

In spite of the realization, Anja allowed himself to enjoy a sweetness that he had not seen in many seasons. Innocence was a coveted treasure that did not survive here for long. So it was nice to be able to experience it for a moment, before it was lost forever. A smile fell on the Drykas’ face as the woman teased him over his own appearance. “At least I'm human,” he pointed out. “No shortage of humans in Sunberth.” He paused, intrigued at her mention of him being uncomfortable here. Well certainly. Anja found it hard to imagine someone who wouldn't be uncomfortable in this deadly city. She at least was able to acknowledge that she did not belong here. Anja could at least give her credit for that. As little as it mattered, it was at least something.

Anja listened as the woman spoke of her people and her city, an abject look of fascination gradually dawning on his features with each word she spoke. “You say you are a seer?” Anja asked. “Is that like a fortune teller?” Anja knew a little of fortune tellers; old women with wrinkled faces, telling futures through the lines in one's hands, or bones cast into a circle, or cards pulled and arranged in certain orders. Strange, small, inconsequential things arranged in such a way to foretell the things that would come. Anja had never paid it much mind. He had always felt that the future could take care of itself. The thought that others might invest their lives in that was enough to garner Anja's interest, but he had a feeling that 'seer’ meant something different to this woman, this Konti.

Anja looked quietly around the spring. The water gurgled gently, and steam wafted into the air covering the entire area in a heavy mist. The usual sound of chatter and violence was absent. All that remained was silence and calming white noise. “It's the eye of the storm,” Anja said voice heavy with thought. But as relaxed as the Konti seemed, Anja could not let down his guard. In the Gem, perhaps. But here, where he knew not the loyalties of the keepers of the spring or this woman before him, a tension continued to remain.

Anja gave her an inquiring look, curious by her phrasing. “Is there something unusual about meeting a man here?” he asked her. “Regardless, it's nice to meet you. My name is Anja Nightwatcher. I am a Drykas, formally one of the horse riders of the moving city of Endrykas.” Anja was warmed by the woman's observation of him, though he wondered how she could tell. “You would do well to watch who you trust here, Miss Arinel.” Anja cautioned her. “There are those who would seek to use you for their own means or enact violence on you. It is fortune that brought you someone who does not wish either of those things.” The man cast a steady look, trying to read her. “You do not seem to belong here,” he admitted after a moment. “What brings a person such as you to Sunberth?”

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