Solo Broken Threads

Shortly after arriving, Oresnya starts to make herself useful at Felicity's Fabrics

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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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Broken Threads

Postby Oresnya Cacao on January 4th, 2019, 10:52 pm

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Broken Threads
Winter the 6th, 518 AV

If Oresnya had had any doubts about whether or not she was welcome in Wind Reach, her reception at the Gates and her interrogation at the Valintar had put them to rest. She didn’t have to wonder whether or not the Inarta despised her. She knew they did.

But something had possessed them to let her in through their gates and make her a part of their city. Kaden had given her the title of Chiet. From her many discussions with her sister, Oresnya remembered that the caste was low but not the lowest. She had made it in, and that had been her only goal for the day.

She was still miserably soaked.

They had let her in, but that didn’t mean they trusted her. The burly redheaded man following her was evidence enough of that. The man rippled with muscle and made no effort to hide what he was doing. He was watching her, waiting for her to become dangerous, if his hand toying with the pommel of the talon sword at his side was any indication. Annoyance was written sharp and undisguised in his eyes. He didn’t want to be here, as much as she didn’t want him to be here. Every time she caught his eyes, the look he gave her said he thought this task was beneath him.

That was the one advantage to these people. Back home in Kalinor, everyone was so good at hiding their true purpose. It was a necessity of their survival. Deceit was the Symenestra’s to command. Trickery and lies were second nature to them and usually their only way of bringing the surrogates they so needed. So the unhidden emotion of the Inarta was a relief. With their forwardness, Oresnya didn’t have to read into their actions, search for their secondary intent.

But everything about this new city was wearing her down, and she had only been here a bell or two. The hostility, the lack of trust, the judgmental stares from every Inarta she passed. It weighed on her. There was no comfort, but this was the reception she had come to expect as a Symenestra. Still, her nerves, though calmed some by her permitted entry, were raw, ready for something terrible to happen. She was a fly waiting for the swatter to fall. Despite the brave face she had put on, her stability was a frayed thread, waiting for the last bit of pressure before it snapped and unraveled.

What she needed was a way to anchor herself. It came to her, not in a grand epiphany but in the sluggish churning of her thought. Threads. They were the one thing she knew well. Not well but well enough to establish herself as a useful member of society.

Turning to her shadow, Oresnya smiled. If he was going to follow her all day long, she’d be certain she made some use of him. His eyes narrowed at the sight of her elongated canines. She began to speak to him in Common. “Where do I find-?”

“Nari only,” the Inarta guard cut her off.

Her fragile mind froze for a moment before it began spitting out the limited vocabulary stored within. “How-? Where-? I need…” Stopping before she could make a bigger fool of herself, Oresnya steadied her mind, pulled the pressure off the fraying thread, and dug slowly through the words she knew before attempting to communicate again. In the end, she had only one. Gesturing to her soaked raiments, she shrugged and chirped the word. “Clothes?”

First, the big man glared. Then, he sighed. If he thought guard duty was beneath him, tour guide was certainly not on the list of things he had ever considered doing, but he knew his way around the city and motioned her once to follow him.

On the winding route through the tunnels of Mt. Skyinarta, Oresnya tried to memorize her path, but there were too many lefts and rights for her to keep them all in order. She was thoroughly lost by the time the guard stopped in front of a door, knocked, and pushed it open. There was no pretense of niceties or chivalry, and Oresnya had to slip in through the door before it could swing back and hit her in the face.

Inside was the closest thing to home that she could imagine finding within this city. Colorful bolts of fabric of every kind lined the walls creating a kaleidoscope of beauty. Oresnya could pick out most of the cloth just by its appearance. Cotton and linen was there in excess. Oresnya even noticed some silk, though it was a bit sparser. In the center were the work stations, some with spinning wheels for creating the thread, some with looms for weaving it, and some with needles and thread and every manner of equipment necessary for the creation and maintenance of clothing.

Several of the stations had Inarta working at them with one, shorter than the rest, bouncing between them and overseeing all their work. When the woman saw Oresnya step through the door still dripping, she held up her hand and chattered quick phrases in rapid Nari that Oresnya could only catch a few words of. “Stop. You can’t… You… wet.”

Oresnya knew the first word well enough and heeded the woman’s command. The last thing she needed to do was to make herself a bigger inconvenience to the people she hoped she could work for. If she was going to last any length of time here and make any headway in her search for those who knew Yora, she was going to have to make herself liked. And the only way she knew to do that amongst these people was to make herself useful.

She watched as the man spoke to woman, and a brief and unwhispered conversation was shared between them. Wishing she understood the language better, she caught what few words she could.

“She is… Kalinor… new… Chiet… watch her.”

“Why is she here?”

“She asked… clothes.”

The woman smiled at that. “I have those.” She crossed the room to Oresnya, flashing her a smile as she came. “What can I do for you?”

The language was coming through fragmented, but Oresnya was able to piece together the broken threads to get the gist of what the woman had asked.
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Oresnya Cacao
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Broken Threads

Postby Oresnya Cacao on February 4th, 2019, 4:39 pm

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Oresnya nodded to the woman as she approached. “Hello. I’ve just arrived.”

The Common seemed to throw the woman off. Oresnya was beginning to sense more and more that it was an unwelcome language here, though from what she could gather about these people and what Yora had told her, any language but Nari was unwelcome. The woman’s eyes narrowed a bit as she took in Oresnya’s appearance. The Symenestra knew she didn’t belong and could feel the Inarta’s eyes evaluating every bit of her that said so. First was her cobweb-colored hair, then her unnaturally pale skin that made the Inartan’s seem like it was tanned, then her overly long arms tipped by thick, black nails that were so claw-like they gave her a more feral appearance, and finally her attire that didn’t accent the same things the Inarta wear did. Nothing about Oresnya fit, and she knew it. Still, the woman did her best to put on a welcoming air for the newcomer.

She was pleasantly surprise when the woman answered her in Common but figured the woman was using it because she saw a potential customer. “I’m Felicity, and this is my shop. Are you looking for new clothes? The ones you have seem to not be doing you much good.”

Taking one look at herself, Oresnya laughed and shook her hands, as if doing so would dry them off any more quickly. It was wasted effort. As soon as the drops sprayed off her fingertips, more dripped down on to her hands from her soaked arms which were continually being wetted down by her drenched top. “I am, but it’s not my primary purpose for being here.”

When Felicity shot her a quizzical look, Oresnya explained. “I’m new to Wind Reach, and from what I understand, everyone contributes. I was looking for work.”

Any hint of congeniality left the woman’s eyes and a flurry of Nari sped out of her mouth. Oresnya couldn’t catch any of it, but she could tell by the tone that most of them were curses. Deciding it was best to let the woman’s fury calm before continuing on, Oresnya let the woman rage. Only bits and pieces of the Nari were familiar enough to Oresnya for her to catch them. What she heard didn’t bring her any comfort though. “Outsider. I’m not… petching wet dog. She is not…”

One last fervent expletive left her mouth before she finished, glaring first at Oresnya, then at the man who had brought her.

Thinking the majority of the anger had been assuaged with that outburst, Oresnya went on, her tone soft but confident. That was something her father had taught her. Most people didn’t appreciate the overly unassertive, but they also didn’t enjoy those who were boisterous. Confidence was to be tempered with a gentle edge. “I won’t be in your way. I can be useful. In fact, I think you’ll find me a boon to your-”

Felicity’s sharp eyes returned to Oresnya and the Common that flew off her tongue was more harsh and biting than the Nari had been. “I am only saying this once, and I am only saying it in Common so you will understand my full meaning. You are not welcome here, but you need a place, so I will tolerate you. You are Chiet. That means you are beneath me. You will do what work I tell you to do. You are not here for instruction. Am I clear?”

Rage boiled up inside Oresnya, but it was her people’s way to gain trust and connive their way into societies. Though she had no ulterior motive, she did want to become a part of the city, so she could discover those who knew her sister. Smothering that anger like an unwanted bed partner, she nodded and began to respond in Common. “I underst-”

“You will use Nari when you speak to me. Is that clear?”

Oresnya froze a moment as she couldn’t think of the word for understand in Nari. Unable to come up with it, she kept her answer concise but polite. “Yes, ma’am.”

The glare never left Felicity’s eyes, but her mood seemed considerably abated. She continued in Common, though only for ease of communication and not for any benefit of Oresnya’s. “Good. What can you do?”

Oresnya’s mind was struggling even with the limited vocabulary she did know. It took her a few ticks to piece together a sentence. “I am good-” She cut herself off. That wasn’t right. She could hardly say she was good when she compared herself to the weavers of Kalinor, and she didn’t want to set any unrealistic expectations. “I am decent weaver. I can sew. Not well. But I can.”

“Good.” Felicity nodded, then grabbed one of Oresnya’s hands, inspecting her long fingers and thick nails. “Are you sure these fingers don’t get in the way?”

“Best weavers in world are symenestra. From Kalinor.”

Oresnya had let her pride get the better of her, and as soon as the words were out of her mouth, she knew they had not been the wisest thing to say. Felicity’s eyes narrowed. “We’ll see about that. You will sew and repair whatever I tell you to.”

“I am better weaving.”

“And I told you, you will sew.”

Oresnya nodded. “Yes, ma’am. My name is Oresnya.”

“You are a widow. And that is what you’ll be called.”

The word widow came out in Nari, but Oresnya recognized it, knew its connotations and its intent. For a moment, she forgot herself, forgot to keep her emotions in check, and a brief glare slipped out before she could stop it.

Felicity saw it, and a victorious smile showed itself. “Now. Let’s get you out of that clothing, so you don’t make a mess of my shop.”

The man who had escorted her here perked up at that. Suddenly, he was very interested in what was going on and was glad he’d been assigned this menial task. Oresnya saw his eagerness, but she wasn’t the only one. Felicity’s sharp eyes had spotted it as well. For a moment, Oresnya thought Felicity was going to allow the man to stay as another way to humiliate her and make her learn her place, especially when the Inarta handed Oresnya a towel. Those concerns were put to rest though when Felicity walked over to the door, opened it, and gestured for the man to leave.

Immediately, his brain began scrambling for an excuse to stay. Oresnya was amazed at what the proper motivation could do for the speed of ingenuity. “The Valintar instructed me to watch her and to make sure she didn’t cause trouble.”

“And you’ve done that perfectly. You have left her in more capable hands.”

She was giving him the easy out, but he wasn’t taking it. “I won’t disrespect the Valintar’s command.”

Felicity lost her patience with the game. Rage filled her eyes, and she pointed demandingly out the door, calling him out on his intentions. “I will not have my business turned into a peep show. Out. Now.”

The man was obviously a Chiet, because he didn’t bother pushing the point. After he exited the room, Felicity directed Oresnya to a corner where her soaked attire could do no damage to the many fabrics throughout the room.

In the somewhat private solitude of the room, Oresnya prepared to undress herself, setting aside her soaked backpack. There were still plenty of eyes on her. Felicity’s apprentices were all watching her, both curious and detesting. Though the crowd was few and feminine, Oresnya still felt she was on a world stage. She turned away from them and tried to undo the bow at her back, but the wet only made the fabric want to stick to itself, making the bow difficult to untie.

She was about to try to use her nails to catch the different parts of the knot, something she was loathe to do as her nails could easily damage the silk, when she felt someone at her back making quick work of the bow. Felicity’s hands were deft and gentle, and soon, Oresnya felt the knot come undone and the fabric begin to fall away from her body. Even if Felicity hated Oresnya and her presence, she wasn’t about to waste time doing so.

As beautiful and rapid as the birdsong it mimicked, Nari flew from Felicity’s mouth. “Get dried off. There is work to do.”

It was a very rough translation. Oresnya had caught the words “dry” emphasized by the towel being pushed at her again and “work” and what she thought was “to do” though not in the order she was used to in Symenos.

As she began to unwind the silk strip from around her body, she looked over her shoulder. “I am need new clothes. I am pay for new clothes.”

“I will,” Felicity corrected the poor Nari that stumbled out of Oresnya’s mouth like a drunk man from a tavern at last call. “And of course, you will pay for them. This is not a charity.”

All Oresnya managed to catch of that was the correction, you will pay, and not charity, but put together, it all made sense. Felicity put a fresh pair of clothing on a seat near Oresnya, and though they weren’t her typical garb, the Symenestra was happy to have anything warm and dry.

“Yes, ma’am. I will pay. Happily.”

As her leggings hit the floor, the door to the business opened, and thinking it was the man from earlier hoping to catch a glimpse of anything, Oresnya quickly wrapped the towel around her torso and looked over her shoulder. The person standing there was not who she had expected. Instead of a hulking man, there was a small woman in threadbare garments, one hand holding her vinati at her neckline. By the state of her clothing, Oresnya could pretty well assume she was a Dek. Safe from prying eyes, Oresnya returned to drying herself as best as she could while Felicity saw to the customer.
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Broken Threads

Postby Oresnya Cacao on March 1st, 2019, 3:59 am

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It didn’t take long for Oresnya to get herself relatively dried off and changed into the new clothes. She was as rapid as she could be about it, because most of the apprentice’s eyes were still on her, watching, judging, searching for weaknesses. Oresnya got the sense they wanted her here even less than Felicity did.

“Leave your old clothing there,” Felicity called over to her. “I don’t want you dragging it all over my shop and ruining my things.”

When she was finally clothed, she almost felt as if she wasn’t. Inartan attire exposed the wrong things and hid all the rest. The top she had been given left her midriff bare. Vinati. The word came to her from her discussions with Yora. The bottoms, bryda if she remembered right, were so loose she was pretty sure she could lose her own legs in them. They were loose enough that movement should have felt free and unrestricted, but she was so used to her tight leggings that the effect seemed the opposite.

Her attention returned to the Dek who had come into the shop. Felicity was speaking short, bursting sentences to the woman who responded with sharp, simple gestures mostly directed at her own clothing. The Dek’s mouth never opened, but whatever her gestures were, they seemed to say enough. Curious, she stepped closer in enough time to see Felicity write a number down on a piece of scrap paper. The Dek smiled and nodded, and Oresnya almost missed the fact a transaction had just taken place.

Felicity turned to see Oresnya standing nearby and quickly motioned her over with a brief hand gesture. Eager to please, Oresnya stepped forward. “Yes, ma’am?”

“This is Eshryd. Someone… buttons… her vinati.” The words came out too quickly for Oresnya to form them into a coherent sentence, and the look she gave Felicity must have said so. Her new employer rolled her eyes and spoke more slowly using a single word at a time. “Buttons. Broken. You. Sew. Fix.”

Understanding now, Oresnya smiled and nodded, but seeing who would be doing the repairs to her clothing, the Dek shook her head and began to turn away. Talon-like, Felicity’s hand shot out and caught Eshryd’s wrist, her eyes piercing into the back of Eshryd’s skull with something close to hate. Oresnya couldn’t quite identify it. Derision. Scorn. Disdain. Something close to that. Eshryd froze, and her gaze shot straight to the ground. Felicity’s grip tightened, and though Oresnya could tell it hurt, Eshyrd didn’t dare try to pull her hand away.

Felicity leaned in close to Eshryd and hissed. “You do not walk away from me, Dek. If you come to me for help, then you accept what I give.”

There was no question, but Eshryd nodded that she understood. It wasn’t until then that Oresnya truly understood the disparity in power and how much power the higher castes held over those beneath them. As an Avora, Felicity could demand anything she liked from Eshryd, and Eshryd would have to give it. If Felicity wanted to, she could demand Eshryd’s vinati from her and leave her with nothing.

The grip around Eshryd’s wrist relaxed some as Felicity went on. “This is Widow.” Oresnya could hear the disdain dripping off Felicity’s tongue as she said Oresnya’s name. “She is Chiet. She is your better. You will respect her as such.”

Eshryd made a few short motions with her free hand. The meaning was lost to Oresnya, but Felicity seemed to understand.

The seamstress laughed. “I don’t have to respect her. She is beneath me, just as you are. Don’t forget that. Since she is mine though, I expect only the very best from her.”

Once again, Eshryd’s head bobbed confirmation to an unasked question. Felicity nodded once herself to acknowledge the conversation was closed and released Eshryd’s hand. Crossing out the previous amount she had written down, Felicity wrote a new number. Oresnya noted with a slight wound to her pride that the number was nearly half of what it was before, but Felicity had no reason to put any confidence in her. The woman had only met her a few chimes before.

“Does that seem more reasonable?” the Avora asked.

Looking at the number, Eshryd smiled and nodded.

Felicity tossed her writing utensil on the table and began to wander off to see what her apprentices were doing, calling to Oresnya over her shoulder, “See to our customer, Widow.”

With a nod of her head, Oresnya invited the Dek to join her. “What can I do for you?”

The Dek shook her head and pointed at her throat, a gesture that only served to confuse Oresnya.

Oresnya was about to ask the Dek what that meant when Felicity interjected. “She is a…”

The last word was one Oresnya didn’t recognize. “A what?”

Felicity repeated the word again and pointed to her throat, imitating the Dek’s gesture. “She can’t speak.”

“A mute,” Oresnya muttered in Symenos, then repeated the word in Nari to try to get it to stick in the foggy cobwebs in the corners of her mind. Her mind tried to mix two separate questions together in a mad cacophony of Nari. “Where which table I work?”

“Which table do you work at?” Felicity clarified. At Oresnya’s nod, the seamstress pointed to a table far away from everyone else in a seemingly forgotten corner of the room, half tucked behind several large bolts of cloth. It was meant to keep her out of the way, unnoticeable. Oresnya was fine with that for the time being. She’d had her fill of hostility for the day.

“Thank you, ma’am.”

Her new boss shooed her away with a dismissive wave. Felicity was none too happy about this interruption to the usual passing of her day, but the Inarta was not about to let it be a hindrance. She had already moved on to instructing one of her apprentices.

With a smile, Oresnya invited the Dek to follow her. Eshryd looked at the secluded area and back to the other Inarta hesitantly. Oresnya could tell by the look that she was given that Eshryd didn’t want to be alone with Oresnya out of the sight of others. Sighing, Oresnya made her way to the table and hoped Eshryd was following, unsure of what stories were told to the Inarta about the Symenestra. They didn’t just eat people. No, the death that befell women who died at Symenestra hands was much slower, an agony that few could truly understand if they had never been through it. But perhaps, here, her people had been painted as bloodthirsty monsters. When she reached the table, she turned back and sighed again, this time in relief, to find Eshryd a few strides behind.

Oresnya stumbled through her Nari but managed to make her intentions known. “What fix? Show me.”

When Eshryd hesitated this time, the hesitation was different from what she had shown before. It carried more the taste of shame than that of fear.

Oresnya set a gentle hand on the Dek’s arm, a reassuring gesture that was sure to go unnoticed due to the odd foreigner it came from. Her voice was soft and gentle as she made her request again, and Oresnya made sure to put the full lulling force of her Symenos accent into the words. “Show me. Please.”

It worked, to an extent. Eshryd didn’t trust her, but she did comply. The hand at her neck line let go of the vinati, and the garment fell open. Quickly, Oresnya’s hands caught the edges of the top and closed them back over the Dek’s exposed chest. It took her eyes a moment to see the buttonholes on the one side to realize that there were buttons missing on the other. When she peered more closely at the side with missing buttons, she saw the remnants of the threads that used to secure the buttons to the cloth. Someone had ripped it open.

Rage boiled up inside of Oresnya, and it showed on her face, evidenced by the Dek trying to shrink away from her. The amethyst eyes of the Symenestra met the vivid golden eyes of the Inarta. Her voice dripped venom more corrosive than their infamous fangs’. “Who did this?”

Eshryd just shook her head. That’s when Oresnya remembered where she was and that it didn’t matter who had done this. Anyone could do anything they wanted to Eshryd. She was a Dek and, as such, was lesser than a person. The horror of that finally set in. There were fewer people over Oresnya than were over Eshryd, but any Avora or Endal could demand anything from Oresnya, and she would have to give it. Grabbing Eshryd’s hand, Oresnya had the woman hold her own shirt closed again.

She called over to Felicity. “Felicity, can I get vinati for Eshryd?”

The Avora didn’t look up from the work she was doing. “She can’t afford one.”

“I can.”

This caught Felicity’s attention. She looked up, eyes narrowed suspiciously at her new worker. “Careful, Widow. If you try to cloth all the Dek, you’ll end up with nothing, and they’ll be no better off in the long run. Are you sure you want to do this?”

Oresnya only caught so much, but she understood the warning for what it was and comprehended the final question completely. She nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

Felicity shrugged, went to where stacks of clothing had already been made, and lifted several of them up, eyes darting over to Eshryd now and again to evaluate the woman’s build. Soon, she found something satisfactory and handed it to Oresnya. “That will come out of your wages, Widow.”

Oresnya accepted the vinati with the best smile she could manage, though she continued to shiver and feel unwelcome. “Thank you, ma’am.”
Last edited by Oresnya Cacao on April 16th, 2019, 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Oresnya Cacao
The sanctity of blood. The honesty of venom.
 
Posts: 84
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Broken Threads

Postby Oresnya Cacao on April 9th, 2019, 3:00 pm

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Taking the shirt, Oresnya pushed it into Eshryd’s free hand. “Put on.”

Eshryd stared at the shirt for several ticks, then looked back to Oresnya. She had never owned anything so nice as this. Though it was not fancy, its craftsmanship was Felicity’s and that made it the finest in the city.

“Put on,” Oresnya urged again. “I need yours. To fix.”

Understanding lit up Eshryd’s eyes, and turning away from Oresnya, the Dek removed her own shirt and quickly put on the one Oresnya had given her. It wasn’t until the old battered shirt fell away that Oresnya realized how strong the other young woman was. As Eshryd’s shoulders shrugged the shirt off, Oresnya could see lithe muscles shift beneath her skin, and before, when the Dek had been facing her, Oresnya saw the lines that divided the rows of muscle down her abdomen. Hard work had been kind in at least one way to the Dek.

This shirt was different from her own, and the lacing up the back was not something Eshryd was accustomed to. Her hands tried to reach back for the laces to tighten it in place, but her reach and flexibility weren’t enough. A gentle touch from Oresnya’s hand stopped her, and the Dek waited for Oresnya to do what she would. Lacing was not a common part of Kalinor attire, so Oresnya stopped several times to check if she was pulling it too tight.

“Too much?”

Each time, Eshryd shook her head, so Oresnya continued until she finished, tying the lacing in a bow at the back of Eshryd’s neck. Reaching behind, Eshryd felt the knot and smiled.

Pulling the shirt up close to her face so she could better see where the buttons had gone missing from, Oresnya could see where darker brown thread indicated they had once held something in place. Another request to Felicity had the shopkeeper rolling her eyes until she realized that Oresnya was asking for something to make herself more productive. When Oresnya was handed a basket with basic sewing supplies, she used her thick black nails to flick through its contents quickly. The things that were there were old, but Oresnya knew that old things were often the best.

“Thank you, ma’am.” Oresnya accepted the supplies and selected buttons and thread to match them. Felicity had made clear in a few words that the work of “Widow” represented Felicity’s business as a whole and as such it had to meet her standards. That included using the appropriate materials. With her supplies in hand, Oresnya made her way back to her lonely station and gave her customer one more smile.

“Let’s begin.”

Sitting down, Oresnya used her black nails to grip the broken threads that had held the buttons in place. With a gentle tug on each, she determined whether she needed to continue pulling from the side she was on or pull it from the other. Despite her deft fingers and her solid nails, it was a slow painstaking process. Several chimes in, she had only cleared the space of one button. Pausing, she found Eshryd staring awkwardly at her and her limited progress.

Not enjoying the skeptical look on the Dek’s face, Oresnya tried to break the silence. “So Eshryd, what work you do?”

Oresnya was already on to trying to free up more threads but stopped herself when Eshryd didn’t answer. When the newly pronounced Chiet looked back up to the Dek, the latter pointed to her throat again and shook her head.

Frustrated, Oresnya glared back at the threads she was working on and dug at another. “Right. Mute.” She repeated the word again, hoping she could keep it in her memory. Sighing, she shook her head. Silence was not what she was used to working with, and quite frankly, even if it made her enemies, she had to do something to fix that. Oresnya set the shirt down and met Eshryd’s gaze. “Would you like hear story?”

Eshryd’s first response was confusion, so Oresnya repeated the question differently, unsure if she had made a mistake in her Nari. “Can I tell story?”

Eshryd still seemed confused. In no way was it a normal part of her culture for a Dek to be entertained while she waited for a service. But the Inarta’s curious nature and boisterous and greedy side took over, and she nodded her head.

Oresnya racked her brain for a good story. She was not like the many skilled seamstresses and weavers of Kalinor who wove tales as easily as they wove silk. Coming up with a story out of nothing was not her strong suit, but she remembered a few good ones from her childhood.

“I know one,” she whistled in Nari, “but I don’t know Nari. Not good enough. I will tell in Symenos.”

This didn’t seem to insult Eshryd, and the Dek leaned forward in anticipation.

Lifting the shirt back up, Oresnya teased the broken threads free from the fabric of the shirt while began her story, speaking as much to the article of clothing as she was to Eshryd. “Sacrifice. The symenestra world and symenestra lives are built on it. So believe me when I tell you, most Symenestra don’t live long enough to make a name for themselves, the women especially if they decide to bear children. But Nyranel made a name for herself, one that lasted from a time before the Valterrian, from the time of Kalinad, the city above Kalea.”

There were five spots where buttons had been, but Oresnya had only cleared two of them. The third spot was proving to be a little more difficult as more of the thread remained. Tugging on one end to try to free it, she found it was anchored elsewhere and had to turn the shirt over to pull from the opposite direction, only to find that the thread she pulled on now was the wrong one. Back and forth, she went, teasing the threads until she began to pull them free, all the while continuing the story.

“Nyranel was a quiet woman. She made no claims of greatness, and she didn’t aspire to gain power. She existed, and to her, existence was enough. But existence in those days was as threatened as it was now. Things lurked in the canopies of Kalinad just as they lurk in the depths of Kalinor now. Nyranel was one of the many hunters that Kalinad had in its days of glory. It was the hunters, just as it is the Endal here, that were most key for the survival of the people, and so the people revered them. But it was also the hunters who faced the greatest dangers.”

Oresnya cleared the third spot and tugged once on the thread left at the fourth spot. It fell free immediately, so she made her way on to the last remaining absent button. Her concentration made it difficult, but Oresnya did her best to let her voice convey the emotion of the story. That way, Eshryd might at least understand the mood of the story. To that end, she overdramatized the rise and fall of her voice to make it more obvious.

“There were monsters in the canopy, things that had survived the greatest cullings the wilderness had to offer, and survival had only educated them, honed their deadly traits, made them hungrier. Many hunters began to fear the hunt when they realized they had become the prey. But they had forgotten one thing…”

The last of the broken threads fell away, and Oresnya looked up at Eshryd and smiled victoriously.

“The Symenestra were predators. They had within them the will to be more wild than the beasts and the monsters and vicious creatures that stalked in the dim light of heavy forest and under the cover of night.

“But Nyranel had not forgotten.”
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Oresnya Cacao
The sanctity of blood. The honesty of venom.
 
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Broken Threads

Postby Oresnya Cacao on May 22nd, 2019, 10:04 pm

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With the threads from the old buttons extracted, Eshryd’s shirt was now ready to have new ones put on. Selecting five four-holed buttons, Oresnya found a spool of thread that matched the color of the buttons. If there was any inconsistency in her threading, the color would disguise it. Pulling a strand twice as long as she would need to sew the button, she threaded it through the eye of her needle, twisted the two ends together, and tied a knot at the end.

Poking the needle through the backside of the shirt at the level of the first button, Oresnya backed it through when she realized it was slightly misplaced. Guiding it to where she wanted the button to sit, she stabbed the needle through and smiled when it ended up close enough for her satisfaction. Several long pulls were required to drag the thread all the way to its end where the know caught on the back part of the shirt, anchoring the thread in place.

Oresnya was about to slide the button on to the needle when a finger prodded her shoulder. Following the finger, Oresnya found Eshryd waiting at the other end of it, an expectant look in her eyes. The Dek might not have understood Symenos but what she did understand was that the story wasn’t over.

“More story?” Oresnya asked.

Eshryd’s head bobbed up and down twice, and the Symenestra could see that it was everything the Dek could do to contain herself. Oresnya smiled and returned to Symenos. “Give me a moment to remember where I was.”

Sliding the button into place, she chose a diagonal hole from the one she had first used. It would create a small ‘x’ pattern across the front of each button, nothing fancy but enough to make it seem nice. As Oresnya fell into a pattern of creating a square on the back and an ‘x’ on the front, she reminded herself of where she was in the story by repeating the last line.

“Nyranel had not forgotten.

“She was as accustomed to stalking in the dark of night as the great cats were. Her eyes were as sharp without light as theirs. Her fangs might not have bit as deep, but they had the potential to be as deadly. Nyranel knew her people could thrive in the wild world, so she gathered together the bravest of the hunters and pursued each monster as it made itself known.”

The pattern was coming along nicely as she switched side to side. With the pressure she had on it now, the button was snug against the front of the shirt but loose enough it could be pulled up and slid through the buttonhole. Tugging lightly at the button to assure herself this was the case, Oresnya nodded and continued the pattern and her story.

“Eleven of the most skilled hunters banded together with her, and they set out to destroy each new threat that arrived. Slowly, the canopies of Kalea that surrounded Kalinor became safer and safer. The threats that arose couldn’t match the prowess of the Symenestra hunters. Their speed and their precision combined with deadly poisons and the way they hunted as one helped them to overcome every adversary. They became known as the Versend, the Brothers and Sisters. Their renown among their people only continued to grow, and they thought themselves unstoppable.

“Until one day, they crossed something they couldn’t stop. The twelve went out to investigate a report a lesser hunter had given them of a great cat, bigger than all the large cats that they had encountered in their early monster hunts. The hunter had watched as the cat had dropped into the middle of a herd of deer and killed four before they could flee. Rather than stay to consume the kills, the cat had pursued the rest of the herd until it had killed every single one. The hunter knew, because he found corpse after corpse as he followed the creature’s tracks, not one of them eaten. The creature killed for sport.

“The Versend watched the creature for half a season before they struck. They knew its hunting patterns, the way it waited for its prey to fall into the perfect position for a kill. They knew They knew its favorite prey to hunt, a different one for each particular time of day. They knew its favorite hunting grounds, the terrain it desired most for its stalking. They knew when it rose for the day, when it lay down to sleep.”

Oresnya had finished sewing the button into place and tying the knot to end the work. She caught Eshryd’s eyes and let her voice take on an ominous tone. “They knew nothing.”

Oresnya cut the tails of thread that were left over, selected another button and an appropriate length of thread and began on the next one. After passing the thread through just once, she realized the button wasn’t in line with the first one and backed her thread out, starting again in a better spot. Once she fell into a pattern again, she picked up her story once more.

“The hunt was a disaster. The cat had known the hunters were watching it, and she had led them exactly where she wanted them. Two Symenestra died the moment the ambush was sprang. No matter how concerted their efforts, every Symenestra weapon never found its target. Five Brothers or Sisters had fallen by the time Nyranel could call for them to retreat. They fled for home, and just as it had done before, the cat pursued them. Only one Brother and one other Sister remained by the time they reached Kalinad. The cat broke off its pursuit as the city was too well defended, but it did not let its hunt go.

“It lurked at the edges of the city, beyond where they could see, but it was always waiting. For nothing more than amusement, it began to disrupt hunts, scattering herds before hunters could bring down their prey, but always, it was waiting for the last three prey from its previous hunt. The Versend remained in the borders of Kalinad as they knew it was waiting.

“The beast became known as Mabdnav, the great cat mother. As she grew more and more impatient waiting for her prey, she took it out in increasingly aggressive ways on the other hunters that ventured from the safety of Kalinad. It escalated until finally one day Mabdanav strode out from the forest beyond the reach of any of Kalinad’s missiles, dropped a half-dead, mangled hunter on the ground, and yowled furiously until she knew she had the attention of the city. When she had their attention, she batted the hunter about a few times, turned her back on the city, and disappeared into the trees.

“The Symenestra knew what this message had meant. Mabdanav knew that they knew. And Nyranel knew there was only one way to respond.”

Finishing the second button, Oresnya snipped the remaining thread with her shears, gathering the loose ends of thread and dropping them back into her basket.
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Oresnya Cacao
The sanctity of blood. The honesty of venom.
 
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Broken Threads

Postby Oresnya Cacao on June 20th, 2019, 4:07 am

Image

Picking up the pattern again with the third button, she continued the story as her eyes remained on the button, so she wouldn’t stab herself with her needle. “The next morning, Nyranel left the safety of the city.”

Oresnya felt a chill sweep up her spine. This had always been her favorite part of the story. “She took little with her, enough food for a half-day’s journey and her spear. She would need nothing else to destroy it. She would need no more than a meal. Either way, at the end of a day, one of them would be dead.”

The needle fell into the steady pattern of up and down, in and out like a thing in a trance, like a moth mesmerized by fire. It was doomed to fail, sooner rather than later. “As soon as she set foot outside the city, Mabdanav was on Nyranel’s trail. The big cat stalked her, always hidden far from view but always aware of the Symenestra’s movements. Mabdanav tracked her, moving unseen and unheard, waiting for her to walk into the perfect place, luring her prey by unseen forces into the perfect ambush. And Nyranel walked the path laid out for her willingly, footfall by footfall growing ever nearer to her doom. For a full morning, Mabdanav drew Nyranel onward.

“It was midafternoon when the big cat finally struck her blow. Everything was to the hunter’s advantage, every detail had been carefully selected, every piece deliberately set. The sun was in the Symenestra’s eyes. Her predator was downwind, and the gusts of wind in her ears blocked all other noise. The ground she was on was soft and shifted, giving her no purchase. It was in her utter helplessness that Nyranel knew Mabdanav was going to strike. As silent as the ocean depths, Mabdanav pounced.”

Oresnya slapped her hand down on her table, and Eshryd fell backwards, her mouth open with what would have been a shriek had she been able to vocalize. Everyone, Felicity included, looked up from what they were doing and glared at Oresnya. Holding up her hands, she apologized with what little Nari she could muster. “Sorry. A story.”

Felicity rolled her eyes and went back to instructing the Avora she was training. With a sheepish smile, Oresnya held out her hand to Eshryd who accepted her help up. Oresnya returned to her work. The third button finished, Oresnya picked up the fourth, set it in place, and began again. “Nyranel, for all of her letting herself be led to her slaughter, was ready. Though she was at every disadvantage, she was ready. Though the loamy earth gave no purchase, her Symenestra frame was light; and her stance, steady. Though the sun was in her eyes, the shadow of the big cat blocked it out. Though the wind was in her ears, it kept the dust from blowing in her eyes. As Mabdanav descended, Nyranel’s spear shot upward. The two collided, and then nothing.”

Oresnya stopped her sewing and went silent. When Eshryd’s anticipation looked like it was about to kill her, the Symenestra went on. “The world around them went quiet. The shifting earth beneath their bodies stilled. The gusting wind ceased. The sun itself ducked behind a cloud, and the two predators were left alone. The world seemed empty, waiting for one of them to stir. The birds that had disappeared at Mabdanav’s passing did not return. But two beings did take notice and made their way to the site of the ambush.

“Had the air not been heavy with the scent of blood the scene would have been peaceful, beautiful even. When the hidden rays of sunlight managed to slip through the clouds, they glittered through the leaves and branches of the trees, an ephemeral pattern that was lost as quickly as it came. The shade was cool, and for a small moment, the oppressive heat of the summer was forgotten. This was the scene Navre came to. He had sensed a terrible wounding to one of his creations and had come to aid her if he could. Mabdanav was one creation he was most proud of. All the cunning, strength, agility, and hunting skill inherent in cats had been poured into her, and she was magnificent. And now, she was still.

“Navre, demigod of cats, rolled Mabdanav off of her prey and found where the scent of blood came from. Nyranel’s spear had found its mark. The half that had not snapped beneath her great weight was buried in the cat’s chest. He watched with hope for several chimes, but Mabdanav’s chest never rose. His creation had passed, and rage stirred deep within him. Navre’s eyes flicked to Mabdanav’s prey and watched for several chimes. At first, he thought Nyranel was dead too. Even his keen eyes couldn’t pick up the gentle rise and fall of the broken Symenestra’s breath. But when he finally did see it, Navre’s rage returned in full. Why should she have lived when his creation did not?

“The demigod lifted his hand to deliver a killing blow, but before his hand could descend, he sensed something had changed, something that made his blood run cold. Turning to face a gnostic might greater than his own, Navre saw a broad-shouldered man watching him with eyes the color of blood and knew Viratas had come. Not wanting to give up his vengeance, Navre delivered his challenge as a question. ‘Did you come because blood was spilled?’

“Viratas didn’t answer right away. Instead, he walked over and set his hand on Nyranel’s chest. A smile, heavy with an understanding, came across his face. ‘I came because one of mine was wounded. But the blood still stirs in her veins. She is weak, and I must take her now.’

“Even as Viratas pulled the broken Symenestra up into his arms, Navre stepped in front of him. ‘Yours or not, blood is due.’

“The God of Blood gave a simple response, and at it, Navre stepped aside. ‘And it will be payed, in time.’”

Finishing the button, Oresnya snipped the threads and thought of the many descriptions she had heard of Nyranel’s wounds. Whenever her mother had told her the story, Oresnya had asked her to skip that part. Broken was a kind term, a gentle one compared to the truth. Symenestra were fragile creatures, and every description of Mabdanav said she was huge. Her weight alone should have killed Nyranel, but the Symenestra believed divine intervention had been in play from the beginning of the hunt.
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Oresnya Cacao
The sanctity of blood. The honesty of venom.
 
Posts: 84
Words: 97178
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2018, 3:38 am
Race: Symenestra
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