Closed A Cold Welcome

Oresnya arrives at the Sanikas Gates and finds her kind is not warmly welcomed (Solstice)

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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A Cold Welcome

Postby Oresnya Cacao on December 26th, 2018, 3:54 am

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A Cold Welcome
Winter the 6th, 518AV

To the bone. Oresnya had never understood that phrase. There was so much between the skin and the bones that it was impossible to have anything go ‘to the bone.’ Unless one was cut to the bone. But she had never believed in over exaggerations, such as when someone had told her they’d been soaked to the bone stuck out in a rain storm. It was ridiculous. Or so she had thought. Her faith in her own opinion was quickly fading.

For seven days, she’d been stuck in this weather. For four of those, the storm had been so vicious Oresnya could make no head way no matter how hard she tried, so she had hunkered down, trying to keep herself free of the rain, an impossibility in Zulrav’s rage. Half a day in, the coat she had traveled with became meaningless. If it had any bones, it was soaked to them. The only thing it was doing now was trapping water up against her and weighing her down, but Oresnya refused to discard it. If the weather stopped and she could get the coat dried out, it would give her some respite for the next storm.

Her backpack had suffered the same fate, and all of its contents were soggy, including the little food she had managed to save in her week apart from the sailors who had brought her safely this far. That was the one blessing this rain had given her. Her food had turned to mush, making it easier for her delicate stomach to digest. Perhaps that was a blessing from Zulrav. Perhaps Viratas looked kindly on the purpose for her travel. Perhaps it meant nothing, and it simply was the way it was. Not knowing, Oresnya settled for thanking all of them, then none of them.

The thought of food made her hungry, and reaching to the bottom of her pack, she found she was at the end of her supply. Desperate for a bite to eat, Oresnya scraped what she could off the clothes that it had been mashed into and put it into her mouth, sucking each finger clean for enough of a morsel to keep her going. Hunger was an excellent motivator, so when the storm had broken somewhat two days prior, Oresnya had taken the chance to make it the rest of the way to Wind Reach.

The path up the Sanikas Road had not been kind on her. The smooth stones of the stairs were difficult to keep any traction on with as soaked as they were. It had been left to her uncovered hands to keep her grip on stairs as she half-walked, half-crawled up them. Tiny hooks, too small for the naked eye to see, had reached out from the skin on her hands and bonded to the stone at her will, keeping her from falling whenever her feet slipped, but the constant strain on them over a day of climbing left her skin feeling raw.

Finally, though, she found herself taking the last of the stairs and looking at the end of the roadway that led to the Sanikas Gates. There in front of her was a narrow hallway carved into the side of the mountain. At first, it didn’t occur to her that this was the culmination of a year of travel, that this was the end of her journey to her sister’s home town, that Oresnya was now going to be able to bring back part of her sister’s legacy. No. The only thing that registered was that there was a hallway in front of her, and that meant shelter.

Especially in the light stifled by the storm, the hallway was dark, but Oresnya’s Symenestra eyes didn’t need the light to see. Before she even stepped into the hallway, she could pick out the finer details. There were stone columns and, beside one of them, a simple metal chain with a beautifully crafted, colored glass handle.

Pull the handle, if you want to enter Wind Reach. That’s what Oresnya’s sister Yora had told her when she had talked about her home city as if the two of them would travel to see it together one day. Pull the handle and be ready to run. Don’t expect a warm welcome. You might not be killed on sight, since you’re a woman, but your kind is not welcome in Wind Reach.

Oresnya was too tired to run. All she could do was hope that the guard at the gate, a man named Val if her memory of Yora’s stories served right, would show her kindness and grant her passage. There was an immediate difference in temperature as she stepped into the sheltered mouth of the Gates. It felt familiar, like the Woven Gates of Kalinor, and for a moment, she smiled as thoughts of her home and her family flooded her and brought with it the strength of hope.

As soon as she was out of the rain, she slid the pack off her back and removed her coat. It did little good as everything beneath it was soaked as well, but it felt slightly warmer without it on. Maybe that was just hope doing what it always did. Maybe there was some warmth emanating from within the mountain itself. Either way, Oresnya was glad for it. She hadn’t stopped shivering for the past six and a half days. She didn’t stop shivering now, but there was hope that the shivering would end.

And so she stood at Wind Reach’s Gates, a pathetic, sodden mess. The clothes beneath the coat were soaked through as well. Her hair, normally done up neatly or at the very least contained, was drenched and clung to her skin or hung free in large clumps. She was pitiful looking, and she knew it. She hoped she looked as pitiful as she had meant to appear, because there was no hiding what she was. The ashen skin, the gray veins that ran beneath it, the cobweb-colored hair, the thick black nails. It all betrayed her as Symenestra.

Reaching for the chain, she gave it one swift pull and tried to stop her endless shivering as she waited for someone to respond to the harmony of the bells that rang. She gave up on her dedication to the thought that being soaked to the bone was an impossibility. She was. It would take her a week to shiver away the cold that had saturated her.

But something else had saturated her too. Hope. She dared not let it show in her eyes though. No smile rose to her lips. She needed to be let in, and she doubted a confident, well-fed Symenestra would look the part of the kind of visitor the Inarta would want in their city.

So she waited. And shivered. And hoped. Soaked to the bone.
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Solstice on January 5th, 2019, 5:19 pm


The torrent of heavy rains had washed away all life outside the city. The mountain was cold, wet, and aside from the sound of rain striking stone, utterly silent. Somewhere in the distance, an eagle cried. As if in answer, the rain gently lessened until it was only a thin drizzle thudding against the dirt and stone outside the soaked Sanikas Gate.

The pull of the handle heralded a symphony of bells that sang their melody to the sodden road, music cutting a slice out of the white noise of the rainfall. As the song of bells faded, for a moment there was only silence. Then a voice pierced through the silence.

“My goodness. Do we really have a visitor today?” The sound of shuffling feet against stone could be heard and the door leading past the gate smoothly slide open. The gatekeeper, Valtrrik Imsun, stared at Oresnya for a moment of stunned silence. Val manned his station regardless of weather, time of the day, or season. But the storm had brought only silence for it's duration, and the old Endal had been fighting boredom in his time alone. The prospect of a visitor was an enticing one. But as Val looked upon the new visitor, his heart sank in his chest. Not for his sake, or for the people of his city, but for that of this pale white stranger. It was hard to think of this waterlogged girl as any sort of threat, regardless of her race. But duty to Wind Reach always came first.

Imsun? Val called out silently. The Endal's Wind Eagle was always in the back of his mind somewhere. Imsun was warm, safe, and dry back in the aeries, but Val felt his friend stir awake as he called to the bird.

Hm? Imsun answered groggily, struggling to shake the sleep off of him. Much like Val, the Wind Eagle spent a lot of time deep asleep. Age had taken its toll on both of them.

We may have a situation here, Val told his friend, and felt the eagle snap to attention. It's hard to imagine this poor thing is a threat, but we must be careful. Do let Koyl and Astrid know would you? The Tavin should know of our guest's arrival. And they should let the Valintar know before our guest enters the city. I would hate for her to receive too harsh of a welcome...well more so than can be expected.

It will be done, Imsun replied instantly. Already Val's friend was stirring in his nest, sleep falling off of him in the wake of possible danger to the city. Age was no deterrent when Wind Reach was threatened, and the giant white bird would do whatever needed to be done. Keep her there for the moment, Imsun suggested. See if you can find out why she's here. Imsun was much like Val when it came to strangers. Travel had caused both bird and Endal to have more of an open mind than most residents of the city. Both would like to believe that this Symmenstra was not here with bad intent.

Val focused back on the stranger, allowing his eagle's presence to gradually fade from his mind. The smile he gave the stranger had a hint of melancholy to it. “Do you speak Common?” Val asked her. “I'm afraid that your people's language is not among my specialities.” Val sighed, and forced a smile. “I'm very sorry,” the man said. “But I'm afraid you're about to receive a harsh welcome. Come join me in this room back here, and tell me about yourself. What is your name? What brings you to Wind Reach?”

Assuming that Oresnya followed, Val would lead her to a small cozy room attached to the gate. Within, a pot sat above a small coal fire on a stone table, filling the room with a comfortable warmth. The room was filled to the brim with books and scrolls to pass long hours. “Hopefully the warmth will get some of the wet off of you,” Val said, easing himself onto a stone bench. “Now dear, please tell about yourself.” Beyond the gates and deep within the city, Wind Reach was stirring itself to action.
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Oresnya Cacao on January 12th, 2019, 7:34 pm

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There was the sound of footsteps, and shortly after, a man emerged who could be none other than Val the gatekeeper with all the descriptions Yora had given her. The mustache gave it away. Expecting him to say something, Oresnya waited, shivering unproductively, her body not warming for her as she did.

And she waited. Val’s face fell the moment he saw her, but he didn’t speak. While his eyes stayed on her, his mind seemed to wander, and he was gone for a chime. Doubts began to surface in Oresnya. She shouldn’t be here. She shouldn’t have come. Yora was right. There would be no warm welcome, but any welcome whatsoever would have been better than this. Nothing. Fear, swift and sudden, smothered her hope, if only for a moment, and told her this man would save the rest of Wind Reach the trouble by killing her before she could enter. Part of her wanted to run, that deepest, most feral part, primal and instinctual, but her body was shivering too much for her to stir it to action.

Her fear was proven wrong when Val’s focus slipped slowly back to her until whatever he had thought about seemed far gone. A smile came next, but there was no joy to it. It tried to be welcoming, tried to be a comfort. In the end, though, it couldn’t be those things, because it held a knowledge of what the immediate future held for her. Instead, it embraced its sadness and became what it was, an apology. And for the first time since her feet had left the deck of The Bonnie Dot, Oresnya felt she had a friend. Not a friend but an ally, someone who understood and pitied her.

“Do you speak Common? I’m afraid that your people’s language is not among my specialties.”

Oresnya was glad the question came in Common. Her Nari was stumbling and broken at best, but respecting the city she was trying to enter and its people and traditions, she did her best to answer him with his own language. “Yes, sir, I speak.”

Oresnya couldn’t explain it, but the man seemed crushed. There had been the brightest spark in his eyes when he had answered the chiming bells, but the moment he had seen her, it left. He tried a different smile this time, urging it to be something new, but his words emphasized the apology in his first smile. “I’m very sorry. But I’m afraid you’re about to receive a harsh welcome.”

He invited her inside with questions following, and she followed him into a cozy room with books aplenty strewn about. Every footstep of hers squelched across the stone floor, and her pack and coat dripped a trail behind her. A small discomfort rose in her throat as she realized she was making a mess of his humble home, but Val didn’t seem fussed by the water.

“Hopefully the warmth will get some of the wet off of you.”

Out of, not off, Oresnya reminded herself. She was soaked to the bone, and that would not dissipate easily.

“Now, dear. Please tell me about yourself.”

Oresnya set her pack down and gathered her thoughts while she forcibly tried to keep herself from shivering. Deceit had always been the Symenestra race’s greatest weapon. With it, they achieved the survival of their race, even when all odds seemed set against them. Their fragile frames ought to have made them prime for extinction, but instead, they had built a thriving colony, one important in the trade of all of Mizahar as no finer silk existed. But Oresnya’s web, her family, had been different. In the end, Oresnya decided to go with honesty. After all, that had been part of what had drawn Yora in and eventually caused her to love her new family. Her efforts to stop her shivering didn’t work, so she began her story with her teeth chattering, the Common tongue spilling off her own in her thick Symenos accent that gave the words a lulling quality. “I’m Oresnya of the Cacao web. As I’m sure you can see, I’m from Kalinor, the city beneath Kalea, a city of caverns much like this one. At least, so I’ve been told.”

Val had made himself comfortable on a bench and seemed to be waiting for Oresnya to go on, so she did, stepping closer to the coal fire and extending her long fingers out toward its warmth. “I’ve come here for the sake of my family.” Oresnya hoped that the concept was familiar enough to Val that he understood its importance. From what Yora had told Oresnya, no one in Wind Reach would understand the importance of family to the degree that the Symenestra did. Still, if the concept was there, she could get him to believe in her need to be here.

“I had a sister who used to live here, and it’s for her sake that I came. She spoke of the wonders of her home, of the beauty of the glassworks of the Inarta, of the seemingly endless caverns, the way the wind assaulted you if you stepped out of the mountain. She said I’d be greeted by a man, by Val Imsun, by you. Her description was perfect, so I can only hope her descriptions of the rest of Wind Reach are as accurate. There is something she forgot to mention about you though. Your eyes. She wasn’t the kind to miss such striking details.” The Inartan eyes that watched her were heavy and burdened, the kind of eyes that knew much, maybe too much, but Oresnya didn’t wish to say anything insulting to the gatekeeper. Figuring it better to not mention that and blaming herself partly for bringing out that feeling in him, she shook her head and smiled. “Sorry. You wanted my story.”

She winced and flexed her fingers in the heat of the fire as the feeling began to creep back into them with a needle-like sensation. “I’ve been traveling nearly a full year now to get here. I came, because my sister Yora used to live here, and I didn’t want her to end up forgotten by Wind Reach, by the city she called home. Yora was-”

Something dawned on her. “No. No, no, no, no, no.” Oresnya didn’t know why it had taken her this long to think of it, but only now did it occur to her. Her pack was soaked through, and her copy of the Viratassa written in Yora’s hand, the only thing she had left of her sister, was lying inside. She tore her backpack open, breaking an eyelet for its lacing in her haste to get to the thing she treasured most. Pulling the book in its special wrappings out of the waterlogged pack, she quickly threw the covering aside and set the book down on the table close to the fire. It felt damp in her hands, but her hands were not dry themselves.

Flipping open the cover, she saw that the water had made it in. Though the pages were not soaked, the water had found the ink and made it bleed, smudging the words. The writing was still legible, but Yora’s unique penmanship was gone. No one would be able to recognize her hand, not from this. Whatever hope had accompanied her through the doors to Wind Reach fell like a stone in her gut, and Oresnya felt sick. Thumbing through several more pages, she found the same bleeding of the ink there, but the deeper she made it into the tome, the less and less of it there was. Finally, a dozen and a half pages in, the pages were clear, and Yora’s flowing calligraphy remained unmarred.

Oresnya sighed. “It’s safe.”

Through several more deep sighs, she blinked back the tears that were threatening. There was no need for them, but with her nerves as raw as they were, it was everything she could do to hold them back.
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Solstice on February 8th, 2019, 9:32 pm


Much as his loyalty to his city bid Val to treat a potential threat seriously, the sodden Symenstra child evoked nothing but pity in the elderly man's breast. He listened quietly as she spoke of her origins, her trip here, and her reasons for coming. Her words were punctuated with shivers that rattled her frail form, and even as she spoke the elderly watchman found himself stoking the flames higher till the heat overfilling the room was near to sweltering.

When the girl panicked and raced to warm a sodden leather bound journal, Val shakily worked his way to his feet and glanced over her shoulder at the waterlogged literature. “I do not know this Yora,” Val admitted. “Though I suspect someone around here must know her. We do not know families, at least not the way you know them. But we remember our twins...our friends.”

Val gently rested a hand on the Symenstra's thin back, a gentle reassuring pressure. But the back of his mind was buzzing with distant chatter of gossiping eagles, even as Imsun drifted back to sleep, content that the matter was being cared for. Val retrieved a fur blanket from beside the fire that still radiated warmth and gently placed it over Oresenya's back. “Surely you will find one who knew her. Have faith.”

A distant sound began to grow in the distance, dim at first but rising in volume with each moment that passed. Before long it had risen to a roar; clattering feet against hard stone. An expression of tired resignation crossed Val's face, and leaned in towards Oresenya with a quiet, stern look. Gently, he took her frail, pale face into his gnarled hands.

“Listen to me carefully,” he said in a low voice. “If you wish to survive here, you must be straightforward, honest, and polite. If you make any threatening moves then your life may well be forfeit.” His expression softened just a touch and he released his hold on her. Just in time for the door to the room to be flung open.

Five Endals stepped into the room. Cloaked in ornate beaded bryda marking their rank with a glance and bearing bright feathers twined in their fire-red hair, the sound of steel shivered through the room as a rainbow of talon swords were slid from their sheathes and pointed in the direction of the waterlogged Symenstra. “You will come with us to see the Valintar,” the tallest of the Endal trilled, his Nari leaving his lips in an eagle-like hiss. There was no trace of merriment in his cold green eyes.

“That's hardly necessary,” Val muttered, also in Nari. “She's unarmed.”

The Endal turned his cool gaze into Val. “You did you job, Gatekeeper. Now let us do ours.”

Val grumbled irritably, but returned to his seat by the fire. “If all goes well Oresenya, you are welcome to come by anytime. I'm old, I don't move around much. If you bring me some tea leaves, I'll be happy to teach you more about Nari.”

With that, there was nothing more to be said. The Endal herded Oresenya like a dog might herd goats, hands none too gently pushing the Symenstra out of the room and into the inner city of Wind Reach. As they walked, a crowd of Inarta gathered, mouths open and gawking. The rounded tunnels of the city were filled with chirps of Nari as the bird-like people pointed and stared. The sounds echoed in the tunnels and rose to an ear-splitting pitch. The path to the Valintar was not an overly long one, and finally the Endals shoved Oresenya into the Valintar's office.

The sight of the beautiful stained glass atrium making up the entrance of the Valintar's office most often brought about a sense of wonder. Today, however, the beauty was marred by the tension that filled the room with the thick of molasses. A man stood beside the door to the inner office. Kaden Avin was a man of distinction and, normally, kindness. Today however, his gold eyes shone with a sternness that the average Inarta rarely saw.

“It's not often we get Symenstra here,” Kaden said calmly. He spoke in common, his tongue adding a crispness to the soft consonants that Nari lacked. “Let alone on the cusp of a storm. Tell me Symenstra: what brings you here? Your people are usually clever enough to know we do not appreciate woman thieves here.” Kaden spoke not as harshly as his subordinates had. But the tension hanging in the air and the bare swords at Oresenya's back painted a crystal clear portrait. Words here would have to be spoken with great care, lest the worst befall the foreigner.
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Oresnya Cacao on February 23rd, 2019, 8:57 pm

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At the mention of twins, Oresnya’s hope did what it always seemed to do. It grew, more than she should have let it, far outgrowing her and what little knowledge she had to guide her to Yora’s remaining family. Only twice had Yora mentioned her twin, and because of that, Oresnya couldn’t remember the woman’s name. Silently, she kicked herself for forgetting, but the fact remained that Yora had a twin who still lived in the city.

Perhaps it was the heat of the fire and the warmth of the blanket that gave her the warm, comforting rush that flooded through her body. Val’s kindness and his failing attempts to bring her warmth did not go unnoticed. In fact, they brought a swarm of emotions that Oresnya couldn’t quite fathom. Hope was first and foremost. Then came happiness, comfort, joy, belonging. But tickling at the back of her mind was something she had trouble putting her finger on. She couldn’t identify it, but if she could have, she would have recognized it for what it was. Confusion. And at the root of it all, a sense of impending doom.

This wasn’t the welcome Yora had promised Oresnya she’d receive. It was surprisingly devoid of scornful glares and spiteful remarks. There was no hostility, no blades pressed against her throat. Even her early days aboard The Dot had had a little of that. Hope was what hope was though, and it made her forget that she was an unwanted creature.

But soon, a sound began to build from much deeper in the city. Oresnya was used to identifying noises within caverns and judging their distances. When the noise began, she could tell it originated from much deeper within the mountain, but she couldn’t quite make out what it was. The noise grew quickly though, and soon, Oresnya could make out running feet, a run with a purpose.

Val’s kindness had made her forget that there was unwelcome waiting for her, but the old gatekeeper wasn’t about to let her face this unprepared. Somehow, he knew what was coming and took Oresnya’s face in his hands, his eyes stern and his warning clear. The welcome she had been promised every time she and Yora had talked about Wind Reach was coming. With a sudden flurry, the footsteps approached the door which was thrown open, and in a moment, Oresnya found herself on the wrong end of a half circle of swords.

The Nari that followed was too rapid for Oresnya to make out. She recognized a few words. Come. Valintar. It wasn’t so much the language, as it was their actions that told Oresnya what was required. She was to follow them. If she said no, they’d use their swords to convince her otherwise or kill her. There was a brief exchange between Val and the man who seemed to lead the five (all Endal by the way their bryda were adorned) before the gatekeeper made his way back to his seat by the fire.

As Val sat in his chair, his body slumped, and his voice fell some with his invitation. “If all goes well, Oresnya, you are welcome to come by anytime. I’m old. I don’t move around much. If you bring me some tea leaves, I’ll be happy to teach you more about Nari.”

As a sword prodded against her ribs to get her to move, Oresnya reached for her copy of the Viratassa, but the flat of a blade smacked her hand sharply. A short warning followed in Nari, but all Oresnya caught was the word thief. She understood she would not be allowed to take that with her, so she shot Val a pleading look. The nod she received in return gave her small comfort, but it felt immense considering what she was now facing.

At a prod from a sword, she picked up her bag and followed the one Endal out into the hall. Their shepherding of her through the mountain hallways wasn’t kind. At no time during their short walk was there not a sword point pressing against one part of her or another. And at no time was there not another face being added to the crowd that began to follow them, staring, pointing, and talking. Worst of all was the flood of Nari that trailed behind them, building with the size of the crowd to an overwhelming cacophony of chirping and whistling as if a flock of a thousand birds had gathered to roost.

Oresnya was glad when one of Endal finally shoved her through the door to the Valintar’s office, giving her some relief from their hounding while adding an immediate, suffocating silence. Moving deeper into the mountain had brought no extra warmth. The lack of Val’s fire in the close quarters of his home made things considerably cooler. Oresnya stood before the Valintar with teeth chattering and muscles shivering, but when she saw the Valintar’s eyes, she froze. If she had thought she knew what cold was before, the look in the man’s eyes gave her a new understanding of it.

“It’s not often we get Symenestra here.” The words almost seemed said as much for the people gathered outside as they were for her. Then the accusation came. “Tell me, Symenestra, what brings you here? Your people are usually clever enough to know we don’t appreciate woman thieves here.”

And with that, though she held no power in this city, the floor was hers. All ears were focused on what it was she had to say. A dozen thoughts raced through her head at once, almost every single one of them telling her to lie. But that was not her family’s way, and the single voice urging her to tell the truth won out. Her heart beat against her sternum, and her voice came out strained with fear. “You’re right. It is my people’s way to take what isn’t rightfully ours. And someone was taken from you, someone beautiful, and what you lost, my family gained.”

This was a frightening admission to make, especially with the swords still at her back, but she was not doing this for her sake. Reminding herself of that, she gathered her fragile courage and spoke again.

“Her name was Yora.”

That much she said in Nari before continuing on in Common. “She came, and stayed, of her own volition. I can tell you that much, though I imagine for any who knew her, that is little comfort. Still, in her year with us, she was happy.”

Oresnya sighed and shook her head, wanting to look anywhere but these people’s eyes but holding their gaze so her penitence couldn’t be questioned. “But that doesn’t change the fact that she was taken from you, that Wind Reach suffered a loss by her absence. And it doesn’t change that in Kalinor, she’ll end up forgotten. I don’t want that for her. So I thought I’d come to her home, to here, to make sure her people didn’t forget her. Something was taken from you. I’m hoping to give what little bit of her back that I can. I hope to repay the debt by helping here however I can. I’m hoping you’ll let me.”

And with the silence that followed, any power she held in their attention was gone. This was out of her hands now and into the Valintar's.
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Solstice on March 13th, 2019, 9:15 pm


A long beat of silence crackled through the air as the Valintar stared at Oresenya with a knife-like sharpness. Kaden had not gotten to where he was by showing kindness to those who represented a threat to his home. Wind Reach, by its nature, abhorred the different, because those who were different were frequently threats. The Symenstra, the venomous, pale, women stealers that they were, perfectly represented the logical state of the Inarta's xenophobia. This girl's reserved nature and quiet demeanor did nothing to reassure Kaden. The Symenstra were sneaky and manipulative; for every inch you gave they would take a mile. If Kaden showed even the slightest bit of complacency, then the creatures would soon be knocking on their doors. Wind Reach needed every able bodied person they could have, for life within these mountains carved away even at the strong.

Ironically, it was that exact reason that Kaden had not ordered the woman slain immediately. Even a single working body could tip the dangers of the mountains in the Inarta's favor. The Valintar would not have risked it had it been a male Symenstra that came knocking, but frankly the leader of Wind Reach had never heard of female Symenstra journeying in search of brides for their husbands and brothers. That didn't mean it couldn't happen of course… but the fact that Kaden knew of no instances of it was enough for the man to at least hear the widow out.

So he listened, as she spoke. The Valintar's jaw grew tense with each passing word, but he remained silent until the Symenstra had spoken her piece. When he finally answered her, his words were well thought out but plain and very firm.

“That's a very romantic notion,” he said. “Far too romantic for Wind Reach. Lives come and go here, but the only worth in life is the work that is put into it. I don't remember your Yora, but if you are telling the truth, then I will indeed find her. We will do so now.” Kaden chirped a sharp command to the Endals and turned and stepped into the room adjacent to the reception area. Oresenya would find the blades at her back, and should she try to move they would prod at her thin skin without hesitation.

It took only a few moment for the Valinar to return. His return was accompanied by a large, dusty, leather bound tome in his hands and, perhaps more notably, a massive eagle on his shoulder. The bird was, of course, not a Wind Eagle as one would not fit through the door without taking it off the hinges and blowing out part of the wall. When Kaden settled the massive bird on the perch at the door, the creature stretched it's wings to full length, revealing a wing span of twenty feet tip to tip. Kaden tossed the bird a tidbit of something which it snapped up and swallowed. The bird's yellow gaze pierced into Oresenya until it's eyes eventually fell elsewhere.

Kaden dropped the book onto the top of his desk, and a small plume of dust rose up from it. Kaden began paging through the tome slowly, eyes squinted in concentration. “This book,” Kaden explained, “Is one of many detailing the citizens of Wind Reach. It is categorized by caste, age, and rank.” His finger rested on top.of the page. “This one in particular is for those who have gone missing or departed from this place; those who have vanished and whose fates were never known.” Kaden's finger trailed down the page for a long moment before he paused. “Yes, Yora. I have her here. She was an Avora. A true waste to have lost her.” The man looked up from the tome and chirped something in Nari. The Endals looked at each other uncertainty, and Kaden let out a second, more insistent chirp. Reluctantly the swords fell from Oresenya's back.

“It seems you've told the truth about her existence at least, though I'm not certain there was much wisdom in being so honest,” Kaden said, a hint of bemusement tinting his voice. For the first time in their meeting Kaden cracked a smile, though there wasn't much warmth to it. “Are you actually sure you want to stay here girl? You'd be far more comfortable with your own people. Your strangeness will be hated here.” Kaden sighed and leaned back against his desk. “If you're insistent, then I'll need to know what your capabilities are. Talents, skills, knowledge, the like. Tell me what you can do.” The man's piercing gaze fell on Oresenya, prepared to discern all she said with a razor sharp logic honed over many years.
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Oresnya Cacao on March 24th, 2019, 8:25 pm

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When Kaden dropped the book of the lost and departed on to the desk, a small cloud of dust rose up from it as he explained its purpose. His finger trailed down the page as his eyes scanned the names there quickly. Finally, they stopped, and he spoke. “Yes, Yora. I have her here. She was an Avora. A true waste to have lost her.”

She was sure he had meant it as a compliment to Yora, but everything about what had just happened made Oresnya sick. This, some dusty tome that had been left forgotten so long it had gathered dust, was what Yora’s life had been reduced to. Not even that. A single forgotten line in that forgotten book. It made Oresnya sick, and it made her hate the Inarta in ways she never knew she could hate. She could feel the bile rising in her throat and suppressed the urge to vomit.

Too romantic for Wind Reach. Anything would be too romantic for this place if they could reduce someone as astounding as Yora to a line in a book. And yet, all of that was the exact reason that Oresnya had come, the reason she knew she had to stay. She had to change that this was the only memory of her sister.

Kaden said something and, when nothing happened, repeated himself, more firmly this time. Oresnya felt the sword points at her back drop away and took what she felt was her first deep breath since her interrogation had begun. As she breathed out, her breath caught several times, releasing in a ragged sort of pattern, letting her know her fear and stress were far from gone.

Kaden went on. “I’m not certain there was much wisdom in being so honest.”

There is always wisdom in honesty. She said that much in her mind, biting her tongue so she would not insult her hosts and biting it again when he told her she’d be hated. I won’t be the only hated thing here.

When Kaden asked what she was capable of, Oresnya froze. She hadn’t thought of that when she came, and if she was being honest, she wasn’t all that great at much of anything. She had picked up some skills on the sea, but those wouldn’t be much use on dry land. She’d picked up some skills before she had left home, but those had gone unused on the sea and were rusty at best now. Still, what bit she knew could be used here. She was certain of it.

She swallowed, trying to bring some moisture to her dry mouth. The rest of her was still soaked and dripping, her fingers wrinkled, her clothes damp. Why couldn’t her mouth be that way too?

She knew the one thing she knew best was weaving, and she said so. “Fabric is the main currency of trade in Kalinor. We have the Ranekissra moths and the silk they make. The weavers there, and I mean this as no insult to those who may reside here, are the best in the world. I trained under them. I even wove this piece I am wearing now.” That was a half-truth, but she had to make herself seem valuable somehow. The long silk strip that wound around her entire torso was of the highest quality, Symenstra craftsmanship, and while Oresnya had helped to make it, her mother had had the greatest amount of input. Senessa’s experience showed in the expertise with which the silk had been made. “I can work with clothing as well, sewing it, mending it, even making it with the right instruction.”

“There are other things I can do, things I’d expect most any other Symenestra could do as well. We climb better than most anyone, though in the halls of Wind Reach, I imagine this wouldn’t be much use. And outside the walls, what use is climbing when compared to the gift of flight, when compared to the Wind Eagles?” A little flattery never hurt anyone. “And every Symenestra, boy and girl alike, learns to appreciate languages and how to pick up on the similarities between them. I’ve had my fair exposure to other languages during my couple years at sea. I could be helpful when other travelers come, though Val Imsun seems to have that well under control.”

There were other things Oresnya knew about, but some she thought were better kept to herself. In Kalinor, she had dabbled in the art of poison. Venom was a way of life back home, the way of life, so there were plenty in Kalinor who had immersed themselves in the art. Some had taken Oresnya under their wing and taught her what they could, though it had been something she had never retained much of. Here, in Wind Reach, with her already fragile reputation, she thought any injurious arts should be kept to herself.

Instead, she added, “And if it comes down to it, I’m not afraid of manual labor. I saw plenty of it during my two years at sea. Wherever you decide to place me, I can make myself useful. I will be useful.”
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Solstice on April 13th, 2019, 7:55 pm


Kaden's head inclined slightly to the left as Oresenya spoke, not terribly unlike that of a curious bird. A hand came up towards his jaw and delicately stroked his chin, a pensive look on his face. “A seamstress,” he said in Nari. The Endals at the Symenstra's back chuckled.

“That is an acceptable profession,” he said, this time in common.”There is no shortage of mending and sewing and weaving needed in this city.” The Valintar made no comment on the obvious jab of flattery, merely took into consideration the additional information on the woman's skills. “Your climbing may help you get around the city more efficiently, but I would take care as to when and how you use it. The other Inarta may find it startling, and lash out in unpredictable ways.” He paused again for a long moment. The Endal in the room stood, tense with anticipation, watching their leader's face with intense focus. Finally a sigh parted his lips.

“We need more workers. I suspect we will lose even more this season from the storms. It may not be terribly wise on my part, but I really can't pass up the opportunity to have another working hand among us.”

Kaden's eyes met that of the Symenstra's. “Know this. You will be watched like a hawk by everyone. Any attempts to communicate with others of your kind is forbidden, and any attempt to do so will result in your immediate execution. I would put you among the Dek, but your talents would not find proper use there. Therefore, you will be a Chiet. You do know of the castes, correct? A Chiet is the second lowest rank. You will be expected to follow all of your superiors orders. Primarily you will be working as a seamstress, under Felicity I think. She will be informed of your arrival. However your hands may be called to work on any number of tasks. You will also need to learn to speak Nari properly. Work well, and perhaps you will find acceptance here. Don't disappoint me.”

The Valintar then turned to one of the Endals and spoke to him in Nari. “Escort this one to the Darniva common rooms, and have her speak to Eva. She will find a place for her. And please,” Kaden's voice took on a sharp note at the glare and grimace from the Endal. “Do not question me.” The Endal ground his teeth and looked at the Symenstra. Disgust radiated from his features. “Come,” he snapped at Oresenya, and headed out the door with the Symenstra in tow.

The Valintar stoically watched the pair leave. Once they were gone, he turned to the remaining Endals who were glancing at each other uncertainly. “See to it that the Symenstra is watched. I want eyes on her every day for a season until she has proven herself trustworthy.”

“Begging your pardon,” said one of the Endals, a distinctive sneer of disdain in his voice. “But wouldn't killing her be more simple?”

Kaden turned from the Endals gathered around him and went to Starvine, the fierce and massive Thunder Bay Eagle sitting on his perch next to the door. Kaden offered the bird another smattering of meat, which he scarfed down happily.

“Sometimes value can be found in the unexpected,” Kaden said. “If a Symenstra can be of worth to Wind Reach, wouldn't that be a delightful irony? They steal our women. Now we've taken one of theirs.”

With that, Kaden dismissed the Endals. He was uncertain of what the future held for the Symenstra girl, but regardless of where it went, it was bound to be interesting.
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A Cold Welcome

Postby Solstice on April 19th, 2019, 11:29 pm

Grades are here!

Oresnya Cacao

XP Award:
  • +1 Endurance
  • +1 Wilderness Survival: Mountains
  • +3 Observation
  • +2 Socialization
  • +2 Persuasion

Lore:
  • Location: The Sanikas Road
  • Location: The Sanikas Gates
  • Endurance: A Long Uphill Walk
  • Wilderness Survival: Weathering a Storm
  • Valtrrik Imsun: Location, Appearance, Personality,
  • Valtrrik Imsun: A Kind Man
  • Yora: Oresnya's Sister
  • Yora: Has a Twin
  • Inarta: Don't Track Family
  • Valtrrik Imsun: Will Teach Oresenya Nari
  • Kaden Avin: The Valintar, Appearance, Personality, Location
  • The Valintar: Leader of Wind Reach
  • Yora: Was an Avora
  • Wind Reach: Castes, Culture

Rewards and Penalties:
  • N.A.

Note: Welcome to Wind Reach officially. Looking forward to where your writing takes you!
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