The Wind's Mercy

Lani, Oresnya, and Red uncover a body. Prompted Thread.

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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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The Wind's Mercy

Postby Lani Stranger on January 22nd, 2019, 2:28 am

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72nd of Winter, 518AV
Lani had asked Oresnya to meet her at the Communal kitchens during the night meal after both their shifts were over. Lani wanted to introduce the Symenestra to her other pale friend, the Konti, Whisper. Lani was lucky to have been raised by a Konti and so spoke the language with more ease than Nari, gaining Whisper’s trust far quicker than she would have otherwise. She had grown used to seeking out the other foreigner. Although the language barrier was still present between the two, and they shared almost no similarities between the two, but there was something comforting about the fact that neither of them belonged. Even still, Lani wore the typical Inarta clothing in a deep shade of green with embroidered patterns on the hems. It wasn’t overly nice, but it did remind her of her eastern clothes in Zeltiva, and so she liked the embroidery. The Bryda and Vinati did not look as natural on her figure as other Inarta, but she liked how the colors accented her Eypharian gilded skin, and she was vain enough to think herself attractive in them. Her hair was braided in the usual Inarta fashion, although not with so many trinkets as the Inarta did, but she still put effort into adapting to their fashion and culture.

The half-Chaktawe had also had her talon sword, the recent cutting of rations had put the woman slightly more on edge. She had witnessed the frightening Endal fight earlier that moon which had ended in the death of an innocent Dek. She doubted the chiet had the skill to fight like that, but just in case, Lani didn’t think many would defend her if she needed it. The Endal fight had given her reason to learn of Whisper and get to know the Konti, but she did not want to see the events repeated, especially so if she was a participator.

When one of the Chiets who worked for the communal kitchens handed her the dish with today’s portions, Lani could not help her frown. It seemed smaller. Was it smaller? How rude.

”Thank you,” Lani muttered in Nari, turning away and heading out into the dining area in search of Oresnya. Black eyes had little issue cruising past the various shades of red to the stark grey that stood out among the sea. She could see less than a few blond and brunette hairs among the wash, but they were not foreigners that she knew, so she did not seek them out. Still, the communal kitchens were packed as the largest caste swarmed for their minimal rations, and they weren’t the only ones. Avora and Endal who had more open times to eat, or no schedule at all, mingled between the Chiet caste, attracting hungry eyes with their larger and better portions. That was one benefit of the caste system at least, there was too much respect (or fear) for any chiet to fight an Avora or Endal over their food. All the chiet were given the same portions, and no one dared challenge a higher caste. They would suffer together, and Lani supposed it kept fighting to a minimal.

When Lani finally reached her Symenestra friend, the Half-Eypharian set her dish down beside the woman, slipping silently into the stone seat to her left. The rest of the circular table was empty, of course.

”Good evening, Oresnya.” She spoke in common, not worried about anyone chastising them for the language here. Long tan fingers dipped into the side of her stew, plucking the bread from it. There seemed to be more bread than stew, and no oil or jam to taste it with. Still, it was food. Bread at least would fill them up. One it was sitting in front of her, it looked smaller. Perhaps a few spoonfuls of stew and a hunk of bread the size of her fist. It was clearly missing the seeds and grains that it usually held, retaining the bland basics that would qualify it as food. Lani tried not to frown at the meal, turning to Oresnya instead. ”How are you?” She asked, before a thought occurred to her. ”How do you say it in Symenos?” She asked, trying to appeal to the culture of her new friend, not wanting to make her feel too left out.
Last edited by Lani Stranger on April 6th, 2019, 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Wind's Mercy

Postby Oresnya Cacao on January 30th, 2019, 12:38 pm

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Oresnya hadn’t adapted to the Inartan culture of Wind Reach. Adapting and deceit were the symenestra people’s greatest weapons, but the Cacao web had been different. Honesty had always been their preference. For that reason, she stuck out. Her typical symenstra garb wasn’t the fashion of choice in Wind Reach. The vinati and bryda were what people wore here, but Oresnya wore what she always had, her dark leggings and a single long strip of deep purple, Ranekissra moth silk that was wrapped around her upper legs and torso and tied in a neat bow at the small of her back. Not that she needed differing attire to be noticed. Her race alone was enough for that and had been enough to garner her the spite of a fair share of Inarta.

Perhaps if she had done more to blend in, she wouldn’t have lost half of her dinner. An Endal had waltzed through, looking for more than her fair share, and she had found it in Oresnya’s meal. When the woman had approached the Symenestra, she had smiled, and taking the smile for a genuine attempt for friendship, Orensnya had responded in kind. The Endal had accepted Oresnya’s gesture to sit as an invitation, then proceeded to drain all of the liquid from Oresnya’s bowl into her own to wet down the bread that seemed to be lacking any moisture whatsoever. With another smile, this one more victorious than friendly, the Endal had left Oresnya with the meager solid contents of the stew. It had been more of a soup to begin with, so the remainder was nothing impressive, just some large pieces of vegetables and tubers.

The vegetables, in whole chunks the way they were, were too much for her sensitive symenestra stomach to digest, so she sank a fang in to each individually, filling them with her corrosive venom. That was where she was when Lani found her, sitting alone, staring into her bowl, and waiting for her food to digest before she ate it. The remaining bits of her soup were beginning to disintegrate into an off-colored mush when Lani took the seat next to her. Oresnya knew Lani’s friendship was genuine, or at least the curiosity and benevolence to a fellow outsider was. She knew she had the bad habit of considering every acquaintance to be her friend, but her interactions with Lani thus far had been few. To consider her a friend at this time might have been a bit presumptuous.

She smiled at the way Common tumbled off Lani’s tongue. Everyone was different, no matter how alike they thought they sounded. Everyone had an accent.

Caught slightly off guard by the question about Symenos, Oresnya took a moment to gather her thoughts by taking a spoonful of her melting mush. Others had talked about meat so tender it melted off the bone. They’d never know the full meaning of that. But the question was one she was more than happy to answer, one she knew had genuine curiosity behind it. Its intentions were noted as well and were well-received. Not many people here made an effort to make her feel at home. Lani, better than most though, probably knew what it felt like to be a stranger.

With a warm smile, Oresnya repeated the question in Symenos, her lulling accent riding the words heavily. “How are you?”

It took twice as long to say it in Symenos as it did in Common, three times longer than some other languages, but that was for a reason. While the question was often insincere in other languages, a dismissive greeting of sorts, it was different in Symenos. There was an invitation to it, like an old friend expecting the recounting of a long journey. There was expectation of an honest answer and the willingness to listen if all was not well.

She repeated it once more for Lani’s sake, then corrected her friend if she repeated the phrase before she answered the initial question in Common. “I’m hungry. But happy enough. How are you? You seem displeased with the food.”

Oresnya had caught the brief look Lani had given her meal.
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The Wind's Mercy

Postby Lani Stranger on April 6th, 2019, 7:16 pm

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“How… are… you.” Lani formed her words around the foreign language, careful to try and make sure she was sounding it correctly. Oresnya corrected her on the last bit and she nodded, trying to store the phrase away in her memory. Now she knew that simple phrase in five languages, and it fascinated her how vastly they were all different and indicative of the culture they belonged to. Nodding to Oresnya’s words, Lani took a small bite of her bread, trying to chew some of the crunchy crust and save the soft innards to savor later.

”Aren’t we all.” She nodded, looking down at her friends plate. The Symenestra seemed to have already eaten the chunky bits of hew stew, leaving only a thick mush left, that she was slowly picking at. A little concerned, Lani looked at her own food, realizing that if Oresnya had already eaten half of her food so quickly then perhaps it was not that bad. Only, her own stew looked different. Lani glanced back at her friend’s dish, realizing hers was thicker but smoother than Lani’s own chunky stew. A part of her wanted to complain about the possible inequality of food, but the mixed blood wanted to maintain friendships, so she frowned, but did not say anything, unaware of the modifications made by the Symenestra in order for her to eat.

”The food is food.” She sighed, answering Oresnya’s probing, and scooping for a vegetable with her spoon. Before taking a bite, she looked at her friend again to finish the sentence. ”I actually wanted to introduce you to someone. Her name is Whisper, she is a Konti.” Like me. Lani wanted to say, remembering how long it had taken her mother to convince the small black haired and eyed child that she was not, in fact, one of the beautiful aquatic maidens, even if she had been raised by one. ”She pretty much only stays in the inner warrens, but you might enjoy her company. She is quiet, and kind.” Lani said, looking at her friend with a small concern. Once she attached herself to someone, she liked the person. Although the depth of her relationships were never deep, she collected them quickly, putting as much energy into them as she could during the time that they lasted. ”Much nicer than these… Endal.” She scowled the last word under her breath, a little worried it would be recognized and she would be punished. She felt safe speaking in the common tongue, but Endal was inherently Nari and thus had no translation between languages, forcing her to speak the word that might attract attention.

With food still on her mind, she dipped her crust in her soup and tore off another bite before glancing over to watch Oresnya eat. ”Did you already eat your bread?” She asked, forgetting her manners for a tick as she tried to determine if their meals were fair. It was clear she had more than the Symenestra, and on a better day she would have offered her food, although the starvation of the season made her just protective enough not to do so immediately.
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The Wind's Mercy

Postby Oresnya Cacao on April 11th, 2019, 3:10 am

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Oresnya listened with a reserved interest as Lani described Whisper, not wanting to get her hopes up too high. Most of Wind Reach had been a disappointment so far. The only things that had exceeded her previous imaginings were the absolute majesty of the mountain and the unequivocal hate of the Inarta toward anyone different. Quiet and kind was something Wind Reach had next to none of, and it would be a welcome change to the way Oresnya was usually greeted and stalked through the halls. Even more than that, Oresnya needed connections, roots within the culture and among the people, to help her locate anyone who may have known her sister Yora.

When Lani commented on the Endal, Oresnya could hear a bitterness in her friend’s voice and suspected the black-eyed woman had suffered more than her fair share at the hands of the higher caste. The Symenestra nodded her agreement at Lani’s evaluation. There was nothing nice about the way the Endal treated most Chiet and the Dek. She couldn’t really blame them though. Centuries of living with a system that encouraged this behavior had only cemented this treatment as reasonable and right. That still didn’t mean she had to like it. Or the Endal, for that matter.

As Lani took a bite of bread, her gaze shifted to Oresnya and her bowl. Or at least, Oresnya assumed that was what happened. She still found it unnerving, the way Lani’s eyes lacked any white. It was the whites of the eyes that Oresnya had always watched to figure out where one was looking. Lani had none, and that had always kept Oresnya guessing where her focus lied. There were more subtle changes that Oresnya had to watch for, a shifting that pointed the face a new direction being the easiest to identify.

“Did you already eat your bread?”

The question caught Oresnya off guard, only because she had not expected anyone to care how little she had. Lani’s curiosity was taken as concern, and Oresnya looked down at her bowl in disappointment.

“Bread?” Her shoulders slumped a little. She had always known she was disliked. She just hadn’t been sure how much. Now she was beginning to see. Even Lani, as strange and different as she was, was given the courtesy of a hunk of bread. At the very least, the half-Chaktawe was seen as human, but Oresnya was not. She was something else, a monster, foreign and feared and unwelcome. It was wounding, and for the briefest moment, reason abandoned her, stirring a misdirected hate toward Lani. Reason returned, and Oresnya shook her head to clear away the ill thoughts toward her friend. None of this was Lani’s fault. In an attempt to brush off the missing bread as mere oversight, the Symenestra straightened her back and shrugged nonchalantly.

“I wasn’t that hungry anyhow.” That was only half a lie. The meager meals she’d had through the season had shrunk her stomach, and the small meals she had been getting were enough to make her feel full, at least for a bell or two. Leaning forward with a devious smile, Oresnya whispered. “I guess the rumor that Symenestra only subsist on the flesh of the weak and the young has been getting around. It’s just disappointing they haven’t offered me a Yasi as a meal yet.”

The joke was in poor taste, and Oresnya knew it. Still, she couldn’t resist. She made certain there was no one in earshot when she said the word Yasi. The last thing she needed was to have someone overhear two foreigners talking in an unrecognizable language about the children of the city.

She shrugged again. “What I have will do. I’m more interested in this Konti you were talking about than I am in the food anyhow. It wasn’t often we got willing visitors to Kalinor, especially women, but the Konti only have Konti children. There’s something in their blood. It makes them unsuitable as surrogates, so they were always safe and never required to stay . We had a few visit and a few brought during Gleanings. They’re knowledge was vast, and they had so much to tell about the world. Most left though once they saw or heard of the Place of Purging.”

Oresnya went suddenly silent as she realized in horror how she talked of surrogates and the Place of Purging as if they were just another inconsequential part of the day to day. She couldn’t blame the Inarta for their acceptance of their caste system if she was so readily able to accept the grisly facts of life and death in Kalinor. She had mentioned the place her sisters had died as if it was just another building.

Quickly, she held her bowl to her lips and took several long gulps while she tried to still her mind and calm her furious heart. That fierce ache that had surfaced the day she’d lost Yora, the day they had lost Yora, returned, and even in the company of a friend, she felt alone.
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The Wind's Mercy

Postby Lani Stranger on April 29th, 2019, 6:57 pm

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When Oresnya claimed she wasn’t hungry, Lani frowned. That was the most blatant of lies, they were all hungry. Anyone who was not an Endal was, at least. But when the Symenestra’s sarcastic tone spoke of eating a Yasi, Lani froze, her eyes widening ever so slightly. For a tick longer than she should have, Lani questioned the validity of the statement. Did Oresnya actually eat people? Alive?

She is joking. Lani assured herself, and then with a little bit of caution, let out a breathy laugh, tossing a glance over her shoulder. Trying to gulp down the small bit of fear and embarrassment, Lani took another spoonful of her stew, taking the time to chew the soft vegetable before swallowing it. They were speaking in common, and so Lani assumed not many Inarta would readily understand, but the word Yasiwas Nari. The last thing either of them needed was two not-quite-human strangers joking about eating children in Wind Reach. That was a death sentence for sure At Oresnya’s mention of the surrogate necessity of her people, Lani grew silent. Their last conversation on the subject had been a bit dicey, and although Lani was mildly uncomfortable with the Symenestra habit, she only had few friends who were not Inarta, and she had to admit, she was curious. Oresnya was such an odd creature, and could actually communicate with her, that she wanted to keep the strange woman around.

”Well, I was raised by a Konti. Given, she was an ex-Konti, if that is possible, but a Konti nonetheless. But I am familiar with the people, and so when I heard that Wind Reach had one, I had to go meet her. She is a bit… morbid, but she is nice. And she speaks common.” Lani tried to sell her point, scarfing down the last few spoonfuls of her stew, and ripping off one more bite of bread.

”If you eat quickly, I can introduce you to her before nightfall, when the inner warrens get… scary.” Lani spoke with a gravity in her tone, trying to signify the spookiness of exploring the deep warrens at night. Whether it actually did spook Oresnya or not, Lani gave a wink to show that she was not so serious herself, and bit the last bite of her bread, throwing a leg over the other end of the bench then sat on, and leaning an elbow on the table so that she now faced Oresnya head on. She hoped this would rush the cave dweller a bit, because Lani was excited to show the Symenestra things, and to attempt to impress her, or scare her.
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The Wind's Mercy

Postby Oresnya Cacao on May 13th, 2019, 3:17 am

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So Lani had been raised by a Konti.

That was the first time the black-eyed woman had let anything slip about her family. If there was one thing Oresnya had learned about Lani it was that she kept most personal details a secret and anything that was of great importance held close to the very core of her soul, so close that no one, even a good friend, would ever know.

That Lani had let even that little detail slip said more than any words could ever convey. Perhaps Lani liked Oresnya more than she let on. Perhaps it meant they were friends, truly friends and not acquaintances like most of the people Oresnya knew. Perhaps she was just reading into things far more than she should have and it meant nothing. But Oresnya was a creature of hope, and hope tended to overpower reason and good judgment. To her, Lani was a friend. Distant, sure, but a friend.

As much as she believed that, the Symenestra did listen to reason when it told her not to press for details. She was curious what her friend had meant about ex-Konti. As far as Oresnya knew, there was no way to change one’s race. It was as concrete as one’s existence. She knew how one could be shunned from a culture and was sure that was what Lani had meant, but she wanted to know the details and knew with what little wisdom hope allowed that she would never know.

Oresnya smiled, partly at the previous thought and partly at Lani’s description of the Konti who lived in Wind Reach, of the woman named Whisper. Morbid wasn’t something Oresnya was accustomed to, but she had met so many varied people in her travels that she had learned to enjoy new peoples and personalities when they arose. Often, she had surprised herself when she found out she liked people she had nothing in common with. Morbid could be fun.

Oresnya couldn’t help but feel a little unease at Lani’s comment about the inner warrens. Having never been there at night as she did little wandering when she ought to be sleeping, Oresnya had no idea what the warrens could contain, but she had seen the kind of things the world tried to keep hidden and had learned to fear them. There were things the living were powerless against, and those were the things she didn’t want to face. Oresnya remembered the thing that had haunted the wake of The Dot for nearly half a season, the thing that had taken the first Dot to the depths. She remembered the way the storm rose out of nothing and how at its heart was something that moved against the waves, something that parted the force of the tides and made them powerless, something that stilled the air and swallowed lightning, something they couldn’t see but the existence of they couldn’t deny. In the moment it had caught them, Oresnya had felt one thing. Insignificance.

She shivered at the thought of the thing but felt a brave smile burst across her lips when Lani gave her a wink. Whatever haunted the warrens wasn’t to be as feared as the thing that had pursued The Bonnie Dot, and whatever might be there, Oresnya knew she’d be facing it with a friend. The mush in her bowl was as liquefied as it could get, so she held the bowl to her lips and drank it down in several long gulps, wiping her mouth clean on the back of her hand when she was finished. Handing her bowl to a passing Dek, Oresnya swung her own legs over the stone bench and led the way out of the Kitchens before realizing she had no idea where she was going.

Laughing, she stopped and gestured for Lani to take the lead. “You’re our expert on Wind Reach, and I have no idea where I’m headed. I’ll let you be our guide.”

Still high on hope, Oresnya voiced a question, attempting to make it sound as if there was genuine interest without making it overly prying and failing miserably. “What was she like? Your mother? The Konti who raised you, I mean.”
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