Needle and Quill

Each is a different flavor of foreign (Oresnya).

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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]

Needle and Quill

Postby Lani Stranger on May 1st, 2019, 2:56 am

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Lani couldn’t help the pit that was forming in her chest at Oresnya’s words. Even though her face was slack and impassive, Lani was unintentionally clutching her quill with white knuckles, not even bothering to pretend writing anymore. The pure and unaltered truth that wound out of the Symenestra’s mouth was nearly repulsive to Lani. Fear at inherently bloodthirsty as these Symenestra seemed to be, and how mundane the gruesome details seemed to Oresnya made Lani shiver at the mention of the Symenestra’s own mother. Ignorance and foreignness clouded her vision as she listened to the horror of childbirth among the cave-dwelling peoples.

Of course the fear did not stop her questions, rather accenting them into a perception she didn’t intend. Or did she? Oresnya bit back at her accusation of love for Yora not being enough to stop her death. Still, Lani could not help but lean back into the back of her seat, further away from the flash of fangs that Lani could only describe as her own imagination. For Lani, the template for sentient life was humans. Anything else was odd and foreign, even herself. And in that moment, Oresnya did not seem much more than a monster inhabiting a humanoid body. But weren’t the Jamoura completely apes, except for their size and intelligence? Weren’t the Konti scaled and pale beyond any human pallor? Even herself, with her odd eyes, second lids, and strange finger tips. Surely there were more than simply humans, and she was just racist.

Sparing Oresnya from her accusing glare, Lani looked down at her paper, softening her fingers on the pencil, and convincing herself she had imagined the brief flash of fangs. She was able to seize her breathing once again, and calm her fearful reaction to Oresnya’s story and existence. So this was the reason this Symenestra faced so much more abuse and hate than Lani ever would? Foolish of me to think Black Eyes were the worst trait to have in a place like this. Lani chastised herself, taking a gulp and looking back up at the woman with new eyes, trying to understand. What Oresnya had said, about not wishing a different fate for her beloved Yora, was harsh, but it was the truth. And it was more brave than anything Lani would ever admit to. On this, Oresnya was already a better person, despite the horror of her people.

And then the woman asked Lani a pointed question right back.

”I know my family.” She said, impassively. It was a blatant lie, and she hadn’t thought it through enough to match her body language to the lie. She could hear the falsehood in her voice, and then she realized that she hadn’t actually answered the question. Oresnya had posed her a hypothetical. The Symenestra had no idea how often Lani had gone without mother or father figure, but Lani had interpreted it as that. Trying to correct her subterfuge, Lani tried to make peace with the subject, voicing the realization she had come to just moments prior. ”But we don’t have a choice do we? Fate works exactly how it will, and what is done is done. You gained a great sister and then you lost her, without choice.” You shouldn’t feel bad about that. Lani wanted to say, but swallowed her words instead. Although she wanted to give this stranger the benefit of the doubt, innate fear and prejudice stopped her short of being too understanding, outwardly. ”I suppose when you are used to such things, they are no longer as horrific.” She offered instead, trying not to grimace at how not-understanding she still sounded.

”Do you know anything of Yora’s life here? I suppose the Inarta don’t really have ‘family’, but someone must have known and loved her in this mountain, before she came to you.” Lani tried to change the subject, bringing it back to Oresnya’s reason for being in Wind Reach, before they had gotten distracted with the horrors of childbirth.
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Needle and Quill

Postby Oresnya Cacao on July 24th, 2019, 2:49 am

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Once again, Lani’s answer came as anything but that. It was a protected and defensive response, and the actual question hadn’t been answered. With a slight disappointment, Oresnya accepted the fact that Lani wouldn’t give her any details, not anything that mattered at least. Not yet. She held out hope that she might make a friend of the black-eyed stranger and that the foreigner would open up to her, but that would take much more time and interaction than this first encounter would allow. Resolving herself to this notion, Oresnya decided to monopolize the conversation with details about herself, to remain open with her answers, and to try to gain Lani’s trust in this fashion.

When Lani asked of Yora’s history though, Oresnya felt a swell of shame as she realized she knew very little about Yora’s existence in Wind Reach. The one thing she did know was that Yora had had a twin sister, but for the life of her, Oresnya couldn’t remember the woman’s name. Yora had not spoken of her often, but there had been a deep fondness there when Yora had mentioned this other woman.

Oresnya mentioned as much. “Yora had a twin sister, but she spoke of her seldom, and I, not thinking I’d ever be here, forgot her name. For all her openness, happiness, and friendliness, Yora didn’t speak much about her past. She became quieter whenever conversation steered that way.” Much like you. “I don’t know if she had a falling out or if she got homesick or if she simply only cared about the time at hand, as if the past and the future were all meaningless. Either way, we didn’t speak a lot of her personal history in Wind Reach. She spoke of the city and its many wonderous qualities, of its history, and of its castes and people, but little of her role in it. What she did speak of was the view from the mountain and the way it felt to ride a Wind Eagle.”

Shoving aside the minutia of the many conversations she had had with Yora, Oresnya tried to remember what it was the Inarta had spoken most about. She smiled at what surfaced. “Mostly, she spoke about my brother. She spoke plenty about their meeting, about their time in Lhavit, and her seduction of him. We had always known he was awkward, but the stories she told of their first meetings embarrassed even us. He couldn’t string together a single sentence when he was talking to her, intimidated by her beauty and her smile and her compassion and her boldness. She didn’t quite even manage to make out his intentions on their first meeting but left him with a smile anyhow, just in case, because she saw something in him no one else did, not even him.”

Her voice caught as she remembered the look in Yora’s eyes as she told the story again and again. Everyone in Kalinor laughed at Deshvelon every time the story was told, but Oresnya saw the envy in their eyes that they tried to hide behind their laughter. Picking back up the pants, she picked up the steady in and out rhythm of the simple sewing pattern, pouring herself into her work to distract herself from her memories. It only half worked. “But even in his fear, Deshvelon was brave. He kept returning to find her, inventing reasons to cross her path again and again. It didn’t take her long to realize what this meant. He was smitten by her, and in this realization, in admiration of his courage and persistence, she became infatuated with him. When she learned of our city and our people and our culture, she should have been terrified, but instead, her interest only deepened. So eventually, they came to Kalinor.”

Oresnya gave a guilty smile. “I can tell you far more about what Yora was like in Kalinor than I can tell you about the rest of her history. She was enamored with words. The writing of them, the reading of them, the speaking of them. Everything. When she discovered the Cribellum, Kalinor’s library, it was almost impossible to remove her from it. She spent hours upon hours pouring over the books and scrolls we had accumulated there and many more writing new ones and copying old decaying pieces.

“And her writing, Lani, you should have seen it. Eyris would be honored to have her knowledge recorded in Yora’s hand. I swear, the script itself could take you places when the words themselves managed to fail. You should’ve seen it.” Her eyes widened for a moment when she realized she still had a piece of Yora’s writing in her copy of the Viratassa. “I actually have a sample, if you want to see it.”

She shook her head and returned to the question at hand. “She loved her words. Besides burying herself in ink and paper at the Cribellum, though, she had the heart of a teacher. Even though she knew what she was training the young Symenestra for, for future Harvests, she wanted them to hunger for knowledge, have their minds dripping with a venom ready to consume any new ideas that came their way. And she succeeded. Language and words and knowledge were her three second greatest loves. I imagine she was much the same way here.”
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