Completed In Search of Home

Jehu arrives aboard Veronica

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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In Search of Home

Postby Jehu on June 7th, 2019, 3:58 pm

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12th of Summer, 519 AV

The first load landed with a soft thud in the sand, a simple burlap bag filled with a few articles of clothing and a pair of leather boots. Standing barefoot on the edge of the beach, his bronzed torso was bared in the heat, a pair of pants fit snug around his wait but loose about his legs for comfort. His lungs expanded, drawing in a long draft of air. It was the same fresh sea air that he had breathed on the sea voyage, but instead of the smells of the ship and its confined passengers, the breeze was laden with the aroma of tropical flora. His toes spread, the thin webbing stretching between them, splaying over the heated beach sand. It felt welcoming beneath his leathery soles, less solid than the wooden deck of the Veronica, but beneath was the solid foundation of land.

The load in Jehu's other arm was dropped. The tools, bundled together with leather straps, clattered as they hit the sand. Eyes the color of glistening pitch caressed the settlement before him. Without pupil, iris or whites, the direction of the Chaktawe's glance was difficult to discern. The village structures, primitive perhaps to some visitors, appealed to the desert nomad who was raised in tents, much like the one he would be erecting as his temporary home. The simple buildings of Syka were far more inviting than the stone walls and paved streets of Ahnatep or Riverfall.

The sound of the crew unloading cargo tugged Jehu from his revelry, and he returned to retrieve the remainder of his gear, setting it with his other belongings. Then he lent a hand carrying goods from the long boats bringing stores from the ship in the bay. Captain Chaliva was busy, certainly, with the business of their arrival. but Jehu knew he would have to report his presence to someone. Grasping his trio of spears, one by one, he drove the butts of each into the sand by his baggage, the shafts standing upright, the steel heads gleaming in the summer sun. Jehu made his way towards the cluster of structures before him.

END


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In Search of Home

Postby Gossamer on June 29th, 2019, 2:27 pm

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Mathias Okavis was busy checking his list. Volunteers from all over the community were breaking into crates, reciting numbers, and carting things away that had been ordered prior to this run. There were things for the mercantile, for The Commons, and for individuals of the community. Mathias had it all listed out and he wasn’t liking what he saw.

“There are shortages, but we paid full price.” He muttered, noting his counts were short. He left everything short laying around and had sent off the stuff that had counts that were complete. As the freight was slowly sorted, the ships unloaded, and the afternoon wound down, the smells of food started wafting over the community. Sykan’s were generous. And since they WANTED traders to stop often and happily, they tended to roast pigs or otherwise put together feasts when someone returned with their ordered goods and the deals were fair.

Mathias was checking his list and weighing his options. Sometimes it paid to complain, sometimes it did not. He wasn’t going to get taken advantage of, but he wasn’t going to ruin his deals with the traders who made the trip to Syka. He was busy tapping his chin when the Captain approached him. He glanced up, offered the man a smile and a handshake, and started to speak. The Captain cut him off. “I know we didn’t get everything. We trade fair, though, Mathias. So, negotiations were tougher than normal due to shortages. They didn’t have everything that you wanted and we paid higher costs for what we did get than we expected. But that being said, I did get a deal on some raw metals – got it for half of what I normally pay due to a business failing and going out. I threw it in your order because I know you periodically order these metals when you run short. It isn’t going to go bad, so I split the loss difference between us both fairly so you took a slight hit and I took a slight hit, but in the end I think we both did fine.” He said, gesturing to the last very heavy crates his sailors were offloading. They were carrying them up the beach and one could see they were heavy.

The Captain produced paperwork, handed it to Mathias, with all his figures and quantities on it… the shortages – a complete list – and in the end he was right. Neither of them did badly. “My men love coming here. We take a few days off, rest, eat, and are ready to go again. That’s worth something to me.” He said, offering Mathias a grin. Mathias returned it and nodded.

“I shouldn’t have worried. You’re a good man.” He said, this time reaching out and slapping him on the shoulder. Rest and eat up. Tell your men to stay a few extra days if you can afford it. We’ll feed you dinner for the next few days in thanks. I can smell the cooking already. We should have food in an hour or so I suspect. And fresh fruit. They need that for the scurvy. Even now I bet the ladies are making huge quantities of that fruit salad you love. One of them figured out how to make whipped cream from that milk cow you brought last season. She’s doing fine and we’re making more than goat cheese now. You were right about that.” He added, starting to escort the captain to the Commons.

However, then he spotted Jehu. He said something low to the captain, paused, and offered Jehu a smile. “You with the crew or just a passenger?” He asked, introducing himself. “I’m Mathias Okavis. I’m one of the Syka Founders. Can I help you?” He asked, looking friendly, approachable, and curious.
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In Search of Home

Postby Jehu on July 1st, 2019, 12:58 pm

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Jehu spotted the man scrutinizing some paperwork. He was graying but fit, and the manner in which his sharp gaze darted between the paper and the assorted crates gave him the appearance of authority. The Chaktawe adjusted his course and headed towards the man, relishing the feel of hot sand between his toes. It was a welcomed change from the rolling wooden decks of Veronica. As he drew closer, Jehu's assumption that Gray Hair was someone of import was confirmed when the captain of the ship drew up to converse with the man. The two seemed to have a familiar rapport.

As he drew closer to the edge of the beach more of the settlement's structures were revealed, simple, open air and strangely inviting. it was the scent of food, however, that was the most welcoming. The fare served during the sea voyage was not terrible, but certainly didn't smell like that.

The pair of men began to turn away, but a moment of dismay was dispelled when Grey Hair turned to see Jehu, stopping a moment. The man's smile was encouraging as he introduced himself. It seemed Jehu had encountered not just someone in authority, but The Authority, for he had heard of Mathias Okavis during the journey.

The new arrival nodded and returned the smile. "I am Jehu. I am a passenger," the last word was pronounced oddly in a thick accent, "I have come to live, and to help." Jehu offered. His ebony gaze swung around before returning to Mathias. "I...just don't know where to start."

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In Search of Home

Postby Gossamer on July 8th, 2019, 4:31 am

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Mathias hadn’t expected a new immigrant on the ship that came in. It usually didn’t carry passengers and the Captain hadn’t mentioned the newcomer. The aged Founder turned, glancing over his shoulder to see the Captain smiling at him as he made for the Communal Kitchen. Yea… the man was making a getaway, abandoning Mathias in exchange for home cooked fresh food. Figured. Mathias gave him a acknowledging nod, and turned back to Jehu.

“Nice to meet you, Jehu. Welcome to Syka. We do take settlers here, but we have firm rules on who comes and stays. We have to be vigilant because of the jungle and the fact that no one has extra resources to share with the group. Everyone needs to contribute in one way or another. But we do have a decent offering if you choose to stay and have ways to contribute. We’ll give you five acres of land wherever someone else hasn’t claimed land, and you can join us and share in our resources. We also offer loans of up to fifteen hundred gold mizas to start a business. We need lots of businesses here to survive. People have gotten all kinds of creative with what they are doing. We have people exporting parrots as exotic pets to Riverfall. We have healers finding new medicines in the jungle. We need weavers and blacksmiths and anyone with any sort of construction.” Mathias said with a smile. He stiffened a hip against one of the rails of the Commons and folded his arms in an obvious opening for Jehu to jump in and interrupt.

“So what do you think you can offer us?” He asked causally. Above anything else, Mathias was a business man and he knew how to negotiate. “What kind of things can you offer Syka? Some things we need, some we don’t, but we’ll gladly help anyone get started here that is willing to help us in the long term. We don’t do tourism at all. So if you have nothing to offer, its back on the boat with you.” He said with a smile that Jehu should be able to see was more of a tease than anything else. They both knew grown men could contribute to a settlement. It was just a matter of their work ethic and what they wanted to do with their lives.


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In Search of Home

Postby Jehu on July 8th, 2019, 3:14 pm

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Mathias exuded a calm authority which impressed Jehu. A tribe needed a confident leader, and as the welcoming committee, Mathias managed to temper the firm but necessary warnings and inquiries with a smile. Jehu understood the man's concerns, he had landed in the wilderness, at a settlement that looked welcoming but certainly struggled daily to survive. Where he grew up was not so different. A desert tribe could not afford to provide for someone who did not contribute to the providence of all. Feeding a lazy mouth meant spending limited resources without return, it took food from the mouths of valuable members. In a dangerous environment, the concept was necessary for survival.

"I understand why you ask. I am from the desert, a place very different from here, but alike in its many dangers. I have been in the jungle twice, with a guided expedition. I know the dangers here are greater even than the desert. But I would not come if I could not help." He tried to explain in a thick accent. "I can hunt, I have learned some of the game in the rain forest. I can bring in food." Jehu also knew he was not skilled enough to venture alone into the jungle with its manifold peril. But with a good guide, Jehu could come back with meat for all.

"I have also helped build homes in Ahnatep. I even brought some supplies to share, nails and salt." While Jehu didn't really think Mathias would make him leave, he wanted to make a good case for his acceptance, just in case.

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In Search of Home

Postby Gossamer on July 9th, 2019, 3:46 am

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“We’re all about sharing here, Jehu. It’s not what you have, but its what you can be to someone else here in Syka. And what we can be to you. Mizahar is full of rough folks in hard cities that have little or nothing with food being scarce. And the irony of the whole situation is that they don’t have to be rough. It’s not the actual environment, it’s the people that make it so dangerous. Here in Syka, we’re trying to change that fact by being picky about who we let stay.” Mathias said, suddenly showing Jehu a suddenly new side of him. “It’s good you have nails to share, but its not about the material things. No one here starts with much. It’s what they acquire along the way and the amazing skills they learn. Syka is so rich. There’s literally food growing and living everywhere in the jungle… off shore… even in the tidal zones.” Mathias said gently then looked thoughtful.

“I haven’t been in many deserts, but I feel like they might be places of vast space and sparse life. Here we have so much life crammed into every square inch and everything competing to be the best or at least to not get eaten. It’s an interesting dynamic. Being a good hunter or forager will help. And we can let you start out doing that as you learn the jungle. But if you can’t go in yourself, it limits your ability to hunt. But that’s definitely a start. You can do that for a season or two for sure, but then we really want you to have some sort of craft even if you learn one. In a perfect settlement, everyone here would be a hunter and forager… able to trade. There are whole groves of fruit that were cultivated generations and generations ago that still thrive here. We also have game that’s plentiful and often more than the hunters can eat themselves so it is shared. But not everyone can hunt or has time to hunt when they are say building bungalows or weaving fabric. Its all a trade. Your carpentry skills will come in handy too.” He said looking thoughtful.

“But I’m getting ahead of myself. Are you here just to see the sites or are you here to actually try and settle? If you want to settle, we are prepared to give you land… five acres of your choice either beach, jungle, or a combo of both. And we can loan you funds to start a business… up to fifteen hundred gold if it’s a business that will suit Syka.” Mathias said, laying it all out for Jehu. He wanted to make sure the newcomer understood they wanted settlers, but were picky about what settlers they accepted.

While he was waiting for Jehu to answer, Mathias gestured for the Chaktawe to follow him. He would lead him down the steps from the Commons and out into the settlement proper. He could see all the communal buildings and especially the kitchen where a crowd was forming. Lars was cooking today, which was unusual, and it smelled delicious. Python – a big one – was stretched out on the pit, twisted around a big spit pole, being slowly turned. There was also a big pig in the pit as well, though it wasn’t ready to come out.

“Hungry?” Mathias asked, noting they were already hacking off pieces of the python. “Looks like snake’s on the agenda tonight. That was a big one too… without the pig, I think it would feed half the settlement by itself. Take a good look at it Jehu… it was big enough to swallow a man and digest him whole.” The Founder said, nodding to the Captain as both men passed where the man was sitting with his first mate enjoying a meal. His plate was piled high with the promised fruit salad alongside his portion of the snake.


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In Search of Home

Postby Jehu on July 9th, 2019, 11:54 am

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Jehu listened to Mathias as respectfully as if the man were a Wayhali. Mathias was, in essence the Wayhali of Syka. The Chaktawe tried to understand the Syka settlement in terms of what he knew, a tribe, for it was almost how the man described Skya. So much different than the ways of the city dwellers, and much more like the tribes of the Chaktawe or the clans of the Drykas.

But what made an even greater impact was something Jehu had not heard from anyone since leaving the his people. Not only an encouragement to grow, but the necessity to develop one's self. As Mathias explained the dynamic of the settlement, Jehu understood the importance of each resident. Just as the dense jungle was rich with resources, every person in Syka needed to be rich with abilities that provided for their neighbor. And not only versed in many capabilities, but just as important, the willingness to engage in the trade of help and good will.

It was the first time outside of his tribe anyone has spoken to Jehu about purpose. He nodded in understanding. He wondered for the first time if he could prove valuable enough to earn a place in Skya. But Mathias encouraged him that what he had was enough, but more would be expected.

Mathias descended from the Commons, indicating Jehu should follow. The Chaktawe did. "I want to stay." Jehu replied to Mathia's inquiry. The man had offered a plot of land for Jehu to own. It was a concept foreign to the desert man. No one owned the land, to be able to give it to another. The Chaktawe and Benshiran never claimed ownership of anything in the Burning Lands, only the right to occupy a place for a measure of time to benefit from its resources. But he was no longer a nomad, and if Syka were to be a permanent home, it would be good to have a place to call his own. He would have to have someone show him what an acre was.

"That is very generous."
He continued. "I think starting out, I will only need the means to build a floor for my tent." As they walked along, he noted how most of the structures around him were raised from the ground. "I will learn more trades, and then maybe start a business." He added with a nod. The smell of cooking meat drifting on the breeze reached Jehu's nostrils.

His ebony gaze scanned the faced of those gathered by the kitchen, no doubt lured there by the savory scent of the roasting meat. Jehu looked in the direction Mathia's indicated, seeing the giant serpent hung over a fire. There were snakes in the desert, but none of such great size. He had not even seen one so big on his previous ventures into Falyndar. Eyes took in the colorful foods that accompanied the reptile and hog meal. The place was rich with foods. He had lived on rations much less appetizing on the journey, and the sumptuous plates of food made the Chaktawe's mouth water.

He was far from the desert, but he felt he was home.

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In Search of Home

Postby Gossamer on July 20th, 2019, 2:44 pm

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Mathias decided Jehu was a man of few words. He spoke common well enough to be understood, but he seemed to be more of a thinker than most which lent to slow speech. The Founder nodded and smiled. “I’m sure Randal can help you with that in one afternoon. It is a really good idea to get your tent up off the ground above the level of snakes and ants. I’m sure Lars will have wood at the mill you can pick up or actually ask him to deliver once you decide where you want to build the platform and James’ daughter Juli who runs the Mercantile will have nails and a hammer you can pick up. Lets go make the arrangements now.” He said, gently leading Jehu around.

Subsequently Jehu was introduced to both Randal, who readily agreed a deck for a tent would take less than an afternoon and that he just needed to let him know when he was going to do it and Randal would drop by and get him started if not get the whole project done. Juli nodded, politely asked the dimensions of his deck once Mathias explained the situation to her, and said she’d set all the tools aside he’d need and enough nails to get the job done. When he did drop by the Mercantile to pick up his order, he’d find he didn’t have to buy the tools unless he wanted too… a hammer, mallet, and a hand saw were all present to be loaned to him if he wasn’t able to purchase. One afternoon’s worth of work wasn’t that bad.

And finally, Lars - when introduced – nodded and told him he had the wood already cut for such things and to just drop by either early morning or late afternoon – he cut midday – to get either himself or a helper named Ines to deliver how many boards he needed with the Ashta. Ines didn’t seem to be present, but she was described as a petite short myrian looking kelvic bat with bright eyes and a spicy personality.

And finally Mathias stopped by a small table that held another man – Buraga Shamzen – and made introductions. “Buraga, this man Jehu is going to be a new hunter for our settlement. I’d like you to take him under your wing and start taking him on security patrols. He’s skilled in hunting and can bring down game and process it as you guys patrol. I don’t want him in the jungles alone though. Teach him something about the dangers of the jugnle if you can as you include him on patrols. Give him your schedule and meeting times… he gets paid whether he brings in kills or not, but make sure he’s actively trying and that his skills meet our needs.” Mathias said, then nodded to the security officer. Buraga nodded. He gave Jehu a few moments to talk to him, then they were back at the kitchen, collecting plates and juice, before grabbing a table.

“Any questions? You don’t have to claim land now. Look around. Sightsee. Tell us what you like and where you want to settle when you’ve made a decision.” He added, smiling slightly, then dug into his python with gusto.

“Nothing gets wasted around here. If you can’t cook it yourself, take the kills into the common, divide the meat, and deliver it around to people’s houses … especially those that work other jobs like Lars who’s always cutting at the mill. Randal’s another good one.. he’s always building and never has time to hunt. Packages of meat or even hands of bananas are always welcome. You’ll make friends fast here delivering food. And we will pay you for it.” Mathias said, smiling slightly. Then he named a reasonable figure for the daily payment of a hunter, and moved on, waiting for any questions Jehu might have.




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In Search of Home

Postby Jehu on July 22nd, 2019, 12:27 pm

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The scope of the settlement was a little overwhelming at first, as well as what was expected of him and the work he needed to do to get settled in. But Mathias proved most willing to help Jehu find his tropical footing. The Chaktawe noted the locations they passed as Mathias lead him around the center of the village. Randall was most helpful and willing to aid him in building the floor for his tent, Jehu learned he was also one of the founders and respected him accordingly. Later, at the Mercantile, Jehu found the store was surprisingly well supplied, and with Juli's help, Jehu ascertained the tools and supplies he would need aside from what he had bought in Riverfall.

A longer trek took the Founder and his guest to the sawmill. Jehu had never seen ashta, and he stood and marveled at the creatures until someone cleared their throat to get his attention. Once it was explained the simple pallets Jehu needed to floor his tent, the amount and lengths of lumber was discussed with Lars. With a farewell to the large, strange creatures that lived with Lars, Jehu and his astute guide headed back to the Commons.

The last person he met was Buraga. The man's features appeared older even than Mathias, but his presence exuded raw physical power, the role of security fit the intimidating man. Mathias expressed his plans for Jehu to the burly warrior, to which Jehu was satisfied. There was no delay expected in his contribution to the settlement, and The Chaktawe conversed with Buraga just long enough to discuss details of the regular patrol schedule.

Back at the kitchens, Jehu gladly partook of the giant cooked snake. Mathias had been thorough in his tour and introduction to Syka. While Jehu had a lot to think about, and more to do, the welcoming founder and other folks he had met all seemed willing to help. Syka really did feel more like a tribe. In the cities, everyone was out for themselves. A tribe looked out for each other.

Jehu did ask how he went about securing the loan he had mentioned, knowing the cost after meeting with Lars. The total for the wood would be four hundred gold mizas. Anything else Jehu didn't already have he found he could borrow or purchase with his exiting coin. "Thank you so much for the welcome, Mathias. I have seen and learned a lot today, I will think on them all. If I have any questions, I know now everyone here is helpful. And I will get to work right away." He promised the Founder.

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In Search of Home

Postby Gossamer on September 29th, 2019, 11:25 pm

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Mathias was clear that all Jehu had to do was let Randal know and they man would start building as time permitted. His needs were so simple that it would only be the cost of the lumber and a bit added on for Randals time… nothing that would be like the cost of the building in a big city. And if Jehu threw in some of the labor himself, helping Randal, then the bill would be even less. Most of the citizens of Syka got their outright purchases at a 25% cost reduction due to assisting in the building. So the slight deck that Jehu wanted to build to raise his tent above the ground and give himself some airflow would normally cost about 400 GM in gold and labor. However, if he threw in his hand with Randal and helped, it would only cost him 300 GM, something he could easily pay off after a season of hard work in Syka.

The Founder had given many such loans, so opening a line of credit off the top of his head for Jehu was not a big deal. He quoted the Chaktawe the figure, told him he’d send Randal by as soon as he could to take some measurements and order the lumber from Lars… and the man could probably have his platform deck built in just a few days if Randal had time on his schedule.

Even as a beginning hunter with a salary of 5gm a day, Jehu could pay off the loan and have 155 Mizas left over to spend however he liked at the end of the season. Even a hundred mizas, by Sykas standards, was a small fortune.

Mathias and Jehu ate together, chatting about the weather, and exchanging experiences in life while they ate the hearty meal the community had prepared. When they were done, Mathias took his leave and wished Jehu all the luck in the world. He also indicated that when Randal came to talk to him, he could finalize his claim of land as well, locking in the hunter’s desired parcel and noting it on his growing land map so no one else would encroach. That would happen in a day or two, giving Jehu a chance to scout out the area, find out what land was taken and what wasn’t and pick something nice for himself.

The Founder left Jehu with the dishes to wash up, citing he had other obligations to attend to and that he’d take a turn at the dishes at breakfast. And with that, Jehu was left on his own to go about his business and settle into his new life.
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