Solo Monotony of a Watchrider

Thuma goes out for Lookout duty on the first day of Summer. (Job 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]

Monotony of a Watchrider

Postby Thuma on July 21st, 2019, 3:01 pm

1st of Summer, 519 AV
The Unforgiving

Thuma (Nari)(Common) | Shathisae | Yania (Nari)(Common)

Shathisae soared over the mountains of her home, letting the cool night breeze wash through her feathers. The air smelled clean up here, devoid of the hot stench that permeated throughout the corridors of the city. Leth hung high and full over Thunder Bay, dispelling the shadows of night. Mt. Skyinarta sat several hundred feet below the eagle, a small but constant cloud of steam billowing out of the top. The Sanikas River, criss-crossed by dozens of bridges of the Sanikas road, snaked away to the East, eventually emptying into Thunder Bay. The only sound other than the wind in her ears was the occasional call of another Wind Eagle, also circling the city.

Thuma sat lazily in the saddle strapped to Shathisae's back, loosely holding on to the saddle. The evening flight was a welcome break in routine for the pair. With how busy they always were, finding time to fly together with no purpose was important for keeping their sanity.

The Inartan used the time to meditate and reflect, closing her eyes and letting thoughts come and go through her mind, not focusing or obsessing over one singular idea. Most of what was on her mind these days was work-related tasks or musings about the beast. The team's long searches and strong efforts to uncover even some clue of the beast proved fruitless every time. They would come home after a week or more of searching - exhausted, famished, and with each unsuccessful trip, feeling more and more that their efforts were futile.

Thuma inhaled deeply the crisp air and blinked her eyes open. She couldn't dwell on negative thoughts. It would only prove to make her feel despondent, and she would begin to lose focus. As an Endal her job was to stay sharp, calm, and collected. She could not fall apart when so many people trusted and relied on her.

It is time, Shathisae's voice cut through the cloud of anxiety in Thuma's mind. Thuma nodded her understanding and the eagle gently banked to the right, heading back in the direction of the city.

As they descended they quickly picked up speed and Thuma squeezed her thighs harder against the eagle, leaning low over the saddle. The Twin Lakes and Katshika Falls came in to view as Shathisae rounded the East side of the mountain. The beautiful, yellow luminescence of the jellyfish that resided within Kanti helped to guide Shathisae around the mountain. Nobody was out on the shore of Shivias tending to the goats or collecting sand. Most of the Wind Reach residents were inside, sleeping. As the eagle continued her way around, the popular cliff-side known as the Edge of the World emerged and shortly thereafter, the Wind Tower.

Shathisae opened her wings wide, catching the wind and slowing her descent. She slowly drifted around the tower, the Watchstone glowing a steady red atop the tower.

As they watched, the red began to flicker, fading ever so slightly, and with one last pulse of red light, the stone changed color. In a brilliant burst of light the stone flared yellow, brighter than any campfire Thuma had ever seen. She had to turn away to avoid burning her eyes from the spectacular light the tower emitted. After a couple chimes the light gradually faded until it glowed a soft but steady yellow, signaling the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer.

"Beautiful," Thuma spoke just barely above a whisper, absolutely astonished by the allure of the tower. Though she made it a point to see the Watchtower change at the beginning of every season, she was still mesmerized by the magical display of it.

Pleased and feeling a little dazzled, the pair headed back to their aerie to sleep the rest of the night away. The first day of Summer was always hectic in Wind Reach. Market Day would be bright and alive with music, color, and people. There would be caravans carting foods and supplies in and out of the city all day and many people on the road that connected Wind Reach to Thunder Bay. Meaning the possibility of attacks on the roads was high. And as this was Thuma's first shift on Lookout for the season, she had to be vigilant.

Her shift did not begin until late morning, so she was not worried about getting enough sleep. The only thing she kept worrying about was the chill that raised the hair on her arms when she pondered the mystery of the beast.

Last edited by Thuma on September 14th, 2019, 9:34 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Monotony of a Watchrider

Postby Thuma on July 21st, 2019, 10:20 pm

Thuma (Nari)(Common) | Shathisae | Yania (Nari)(Common)

The first rays of Syna streaming through the window directly upon Thuma's face were enough to make her stir from her deep sleep. She was dreaming of herself and her two sisters, Yania and Hadley. They were lost in a swamp where it was rumored a monstrous creature dwelled. Hadley had become separated from the other two. Yania and Thuma desperately searched for her, calling her name and running as fast as they could across the spongy moss. In the distance, they heard a loud growling and soon after, a young girl's scream. In a panic they rushed toward the source of the noise, and someone started calling Thuma's name. She stopped and looked around, there was nobody in sight but Yania. "Thuma!" She turned and looked at her sister, whose mouth was hung open in a frozen but soundless scream. Thuma turned slowly to see what had paralyzed her sister, holding her breath. Her eyes fell upon enormous clawed feet, attached to powerful, muscular legs. She inched her gaze slowly upward, bulging shoulders, and situated between those shoulders she looked into the eyes of-

"Thuma!" Yania yelled at her sister from the doorway of the master bedroom for the third time, and launched a decorative pillow at the bed. The pillow landed on Thuma's stomach with a soft thump, and Thuma gave her sister a look of contempt. Glancing out the window of her room, she could see Syna's rays just beginning to peak over Thunder Bay, giving her room a soft golden glow and making the many glass ornaments decorating her ceiling sparkle.

"It's barely dawn, Yani," Thuma noted, taking in Yania's sleepwear, which was basically nothing,"Why are you bothering me?"

Yania seemed to ponder for a moment, taking a big bite of the apple she was holding while Thuma pushed herself upright, stretching her long arms above her head. She chewed slowly and swallowed before replying.

"We're out of apples." She stated simply then turned and walked back out into the common room, letting the tapestry that served as Thuma's door fall back into place. Thuma scoffed to herself and threw up her hands in frustration, letting them fall back heavily in her lap. It wasn't her responsibility to purchase Yania's snacks. Sure she would eat an apple occasionally, but not at the rate that her sister did. It would make more sense for Yania to buy them.

"Then go buy some!" Thuma shouted from her bed, to which Yania did not respond. Thuma rolled her eyes and threw the blanket off of her, swinging her legs to the side of the bed and standing to stretch her full body in the sunlight. Her sleepwear, much like Yania's, consisted of undergarments and a shirt made of light wool with thin straps. She turned back to the bed and pulled the blanket taut over the mattress. She finished by fluffing and rearranging the pillows then picked up the smaller pillow that had been thrown at her and exited the bedroom.

Upon entering the common room, she saw Yania lounging in one of the two armchairs, situated to the right of the main couch and facing the East wall which had an enormous glass window right in the middle looking out toward Thunder Bay.

The room was fairly simple, the only furniture was the two armchairs on either side of the couch, all layered with fine leather, and a small, circular stone table with four wooden chairs around it. Thuma and Yania's bedrooms were on the North end of the aerie, as well as a third bedroom that was empty. The bathing chamber and Shathisae's room were across the common room on the South wall. There was a single painting on the North wall, left behind by the previous owners of the aerie, of Mt. Skyinarta from quite a distance away. The signature of the artist on the bottom right was one name, "Aylar".

Thuma took a couple steps toward Yania, paused, took aim, then threw the pillow directly at Yania's head.

Without turning, Yania raised her arm and blocked the pillow just before it hit her. It thumped against her arm then fell softly to the floor. She looked up at Thuma and grinned, held the apple core up in her right hand, and threw it across the room. Thuma didn't have to look to know that it landed with perfect precision inside the metal pail they used for food waste, but she heard it hit the inside of the pail. Thuma rolled her eyes and walked past her, heading toward the bathing room.

"You're going to the market soon anyway," Yania said, following Thuma with her eyes, who kept walking, "They will only cost a pinion or two."

Thuma stopped and turned to face her sister before speaking, "Won't you be going to the market as well? I know you hate to miss Market Day." Which was true, Yania spent her money frivolously. She adored shiny decorative items, especially jewelry. Being an Avora meant she was paid handsomely and always insisted on buying the highest-quality items. Missing a market day was detrimental to keeping up with fashion trends, and Yania was not a slacker.

"I'm going to be..." Yania began, trying to decide whether to tell the truth or keep her plans for the day secret, "Busy... Today." She finished, looking away from Thuma's suspicious gaze.

"Busy? With what? You are not on duty for another two days." Thuma asked. She could tell Yania was keeping something from her, which was highly unusual. The two bickered a lot but they were closer to each other than any other human. Thuma had never known Yania to keep a secret from her.

"I'm... going to go out scouting with some other hunters... we may have found a trail of the beast." Yania lied clumsily, not making eye contact. She felt it was a good enough reason to have to miss Market Day and be gone for the day. Though she wouldn't actually be missing Market Day, and in fact would be within Wind Reach all day.

Thuma visibly relaxed, her scrunched brows smoothing out,
"Oh," She said, "I wish you had told me sooner. I could have gone out with Shathisae to get some provisions for you."

Yania smiled up at her, regaining her confidence with the success of her half-assed lie, "Thanks but we'll be okay. We're hunters."

"Right," Thuma said, returning the smile with a tight-lipped grin, "Well, okay then. Stay safe out there, please."

Satisfied with Yania's answer, Thuma turned and continued her way to the bath chamber. She opened the door, but before entering she looked back at Yania, who was staring out the window, picking at her lower lip.

"Yani," Thuma called, breaking the girl out of her musing and causing her to look toward Thuma, "I'll get those apples for you."

Yania smiled,
"Thanks, Thum."

Thuma nodded and slipped inside the room, closing the door gently behind her. Her smile faded into a frown. Yania was acting highly unusual. Lying, and missing Market Day? Something was not right. If she was really going to be out "scouting" like she claimed, she would have left before dawn, so she could have as much time in the light to follow tracks as possible. It was strange, but there had to be a good reason behind why Yania wouldn't tell her the truth. Thuma decided to trust her sister, as always, and let her tell Thuma when she was ready.

The Endal walked over to the metal tub and opened the spout, letting a stream of hot water begin pouring into the tub. She grabbed one of the soft cotton towels and a bar of soap, both provided for her, and set them on the stone slab next to the tub. The room quickly filled with steam and when the water had risen enough to cover her body, Thuma closed the spout and gently stepped in.

She let out a long sigh as she sunk into the steaming water. It wasn't hot enough to burn her but warmer than room temperature. Perfect.

While she soaked she closed her eyes and let her mind drift. She remembered the strange dream for the first time after waking up. She hadn't gotten a good glimpse of the monster before being rudely awoken, but what she had seen had been enough to make her heart race. The oddest thing about the dream was that she had never even been in a swamp before, how would her subconscious know what it looked or felt like?

Reminiscing made her think of Hadley, her other sister. The three were triplets, but Hadley had become a glassblower instead of a hunter or Endal. Yania and Thuma rarely saw her, not because they didn't want to, but their schedules were so busy, and their areas of expertise so different, that they never crossed paths. Thuma made a mental note to make an effort to see her sister sometime soon. Hadley, like their father, was always smiling and laughing, and very friendly to everybody, Inartans and outsiders alike. She didn't treat the lower castes like outcasts, and had high respect for the Endal. Being the oldest of the three (by five chimes), Hadley felt she had the responsibility of being a role model for her sisters. In truth, Thuma did look up to her, and did her best to exemplify her in her everyday life.

In the tub, Thuma methodically worked the bar of soap down her body, and finished up washing out her hair, pulling the tangles out of it. Finished, she stepped out and toweled off. She wrapped the towel around herself then pulled the plug to drain the tub.

She walked out of the bathroom and noticed Yania no longer in the armchair, but could hear her humming from her room. Yania has one of the loveliest singing voices Thuma had ever heard, but despises singing in front of anyone, including Thuma.

Thuma raised one corner of her mouth and made the rest of the way across the common room to her own bedroom. She pulled the tapestry aside and walked in, letting it fall back over the entrance. Her daily outfits were neatly folded inside the drawers of the low dresser in her room. Undergarments in the top drawer, several vinatis of all different styles and loose sleeping shirts in the second drawer, and a few bryda and pairs of regular brown pants in the third. Thuma grabbed some undergarments, a soft leather vinati with green glass sewn into it to make a swirling pattern with a halter strap, and a pair of brown pants.

Every night before bed she was careful to remove the feathers and glass beads from the small braided portion of her hair. After dressing, she pulled a small section of hair from the right side and began braiding it, weaving in the beads and feathers as she did so. Finished, she slipped a plain silver ring on to each of her pinky fingers, stepped her feet into her favorite ankle boots, and threw her green silk scarf around her neck. She strapped her coin purse securely into her belt, grabbed her empty backpack to put the supplies she would purchase at the market in, and headed out.

Yania was still in her room but the humming had stopped. Thuma walked across the common room up to Shathisae's door. She knocked and waited for an answer.

Enter, The eagle spoke into Thuma's mind and Thuma opened the door and stepped inside.

The nesting chamber was far different, and larger, than either of the other three bedrooms. The ground inside was rocky instead of smooth, many different hides from many different animals filled the room, as well as dead shoots and twigs from the plants of the garden to create a sort of nest. From the ceiling hung a plethora of metal chimes for the eagle to create music on, and lamps were situated throughout the ceiling to light the chamber. Where the East wall should be instead was a large opening with a perch upon which the eagle could land and launch from. This was the easiest way of getting in and out of the aerie. Shathisae was resting inside the most built up area of the nest, but her head was upright, her eyes on Thuma.

Except for the two white stripes on her back that meet in the middle to form a V, she is an almost completely jet black Wind Eagle, with dark blue accents highlighting her feathers. Shathisae is one of the largest Wind Eagles in the city, and surely the largest Thuma had ever encountered, her wingspan reaching 38 feet from tip to tip. When they had met, Thuma was only 15, and so was Shathisae. Thuma had dramatically grown since then, her muscles much more defined now. Shathisae had grown too, the hard work of being a Wind Eagle showing through her muscle growth as well.

Did you rest well? Thuma asked, walking up to the eagle. Shathisae slowly tilted her head down once in a nod.

Yes, the night was quiet. The song of the warblers woke me just before dawn. Can you hear it? She asked, and looked out of the opening. Thuma looked to, and listened. After a moment she could hear what Shathisae was speaking about.

The Cobalt Warbler's song is a slowly, sweetly whistled warble or trill. The pitch is different for each bird, and the song speeds up at the end. Songs only last about three ticks each but with the chorus of birds singing, it sounded like one drawn-out number. The Cobalt Warbler eggs would have hatched just around a 10-day prior, so there were many more birds than usual, all giving warning to stay away from their nests.

It's lovely, Thuma said. Summer was by far her favorite season. The sounds, the sights, the smells, even the flavors were more favorable to her than during any other season. Winter had it's own majesty but also came with more challenges.

Shathisae stood from her nest and spread her impressive wings, shaking her feathers out. Thuma quickly stepped out of the way so as not to be knocked down by her powerful wings. Folding her wings back in, she glanced back at Thuma.

The Market will be in full swing by now, we should go before it becomes too crowded. Shathisae said and stepped up onto the ledge leading out to the sky. Thuma hadn't outright told Shathisae of her plans to go to the market that morning, she hadn't needed to. Through their bond Shathisae knew what Thuma's plans and schedule were. Also she had probably heard the conversation between her and Yania.

Thuma nodded and went to grab the saddle and harness from their stand next to the opening in the wall. Shathisae lowered herself so Thuma could set the saddle on her back, just above her wings. She tied the saddle in place, pulling the strap tight. Next she put the harness on herself, tightening it around her hips and legs. The harness looked like a typical rock climbing harness, but instead of two hard bits where the rope would go, there was just one loop with a metal hook.

After the harness was on, Thuma stuck her left foot in the stirrup and hoisted herself up, swinging her right foot over and into the stirrup on the other side. She hooked her harness into the metal loop on the saddle bit and settled in.

Ready? She asked Shathisae. Instead of responding, the eagle let out a loud screech and stepped onto the edge of the ledge. She spread her wings and with one powerful beat, lifted them both into the sky.
Last edited by Thuma on October 28th, 2019, 11:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Monotony of a Watchrider

Postby Thuma on July 28th, 2019, 1:54 am

Thuma (Nari)(Common) | Shathisae | Yania (Nari)(Common)

The Sanikas River raged in the valley below, it's collection of falls producing a fine mist, slightly obscuring the landscape. A horse-drawn cart could be spotted here and there, making the 4-day trip up the Sanikas Road, bringing food and other goods up to Wind Reach from Thunder Bay. Most merchants and vendors had already made the trip days ago in preparation for this Market Day, so Thuma assumed that what these carts were carrying must be food.

Along the river a few goat hoarders were seen tending to their flock as the animals grazed in a grassy knoll. Several miles away the river emptied into Thunder Bay, with the small community of Water Reach set upon it's shore. Hundreds of the Inartans from Wind Reach made their way to the fishing community in the summer to tend to the rice paddies and other vegetation. Being one of Wind Reach's most reliable sources of food, other than the Wind Eagles, the importance of the Inartans working there was not overlooked.

Lower caste workers from inside the city climbed up and down the steep steps, retrieving items from the storerooms that lined the sides of the road. Wind Eagles with their riders circled the road and sad on perches against the sides of the road, keeping an eye out for any potential trouble. Up in the Lookout a lone Endal was leaning against one of the low stone walls, also keeping watch. That was where Thuma would be in a few short bells.

The bipards lining the road high up on the walls of the valley were full and green, stretching toward the sky. At the base of the mountain, the dawnskys were still reflecting the colors of dawn, as Syna was hanging just over the horizon. Dotting the landscape with splashes of blue, red, yellow, pink, and orange were wild flowers of all sorts, making the whole landscape more colorful and bright.

Shathisae made a wide circle and turned back around to face the East edge of the mountain, bringing The Courtyard of the Sky into view. It was the only open area of the city, the rest of it lying inside the mountain. Even from this distance Thuma could see the mass of people swarming around the bazaar, and the colored canvases that adorned each stall and tent, rippling in the wind. The whole market was a blur of gold, red, and pink. Thuma had a sudden desire to purchase a new vinati, one with gold threading. She made a mental note to look for one while she was in the market. A new pair of boots wouldn't be a bad idea either, hers had become fairly worn, and weren't as snug on her feet as she would like them to be.

Several Wind Eagles were perched along the ledges of the amphitheatre, and atop the stone arches lining the perimeter of it. They observed the festivities, keeping close watch over the people as their protectors.

Shathisae spotted a free spot to land on one of the higher ledges and headed toward it. As she approached she spread her wings to slow her decent and with a few flaps landed heavily against the stone. A couple of the other wind eagles glanced in her direction for a moment but were not concerned with her arrival. Thuma unhooked her harness and Shathisae lowered herself so Thuma could step off. Once on the ground, she removed her harness and shoved it into the small saddle bag attached to the left side of the saddle.

I won't be gone long, Thuma reassured the eagle. Shathisae turned her head enough so that she could see Thuma with one eye.

I will be near, She said, and watched as Thuma found the steps leading down to the ground level of the courtyard.

She could hear the music from the floor even up as high as she was through the pipes built throughout the amphitheatre. Lute, drums, trumpet, flute, and rhythm rattles were played together to produce a busy, upbeat, melodic tune. Several of the couples occupying space on the ledges were dancing and laughing together, or sitting at the stone tables eating the food provided for the Market by the kitchen.

Thuma descended the steps leading from the upper tiers of the courtyard to the floor, passing underneath the arcs on each platform as well as the Wind Eagles that perched atop each arc. Each level has stone tables with stone benches built right into the wall set up every ten feet or so. Even as early as it was, many of the tables were filled with Inartans speaking boisterously and joyously among themselves and to anyone who would listen. Caste tend to stick with caste, the only two castes that ever really mingle with each other are Avora and Chiet, and that is still rare. It is fairly obvious which caste each group of people belongs to just by their clothing. The Endals have the most expensive style, their vinatis and bryda inlaid with glass and colored thread. Avora and Chiet, while still somewhat decorated, have more plain clothing made of a lighter material. The Dek only wear basic tunic-style coverings, as they are unable to afford even a simple pair of bryda, and very rarely will you see someone from the Dek caste with a pair of shoes.

Many of the women were sporting colorful bandanas tied around their heads, some across the forehead with the knot in the back and some across the top of the head with the knot at the top. Thuma took note of the current fashion trend. If she could find a stall selling them, she would buy one for Yania.

She reached the floor of the courtyard and looked for the entrance to the circle of stalls where the burly man known as Derdain was sure to be found. Walking around the perimeter, she didn't have to focus too much on dodging and weaving her way through the crowd. People usually would step out of her way instead, casting curious glances toward her. Thuma's tall frame is unusual for an Inartan, and the looks used to upset her, but she hardly noticed them anymore. She had the focused, purposeful gait of an Endal that said if you didn't move, you would be moved.

Reaching the entrance to the stalls she stood at the end of the line of people waiting to either be admitted inside, or told to get lost. It only took a few chimes before she was next, and the line had already grown behind her.

Derdain stood with his arms crossed over his chest. A burly, powerfully-built man, one would second-guess themselves before trying to cross him. He was one of the only other Inartans in the city that matched Thuma's height.

He said nothing, only looked at Thuma with the same stoic scowl as he gave everyone else. The tradition is that you tell Derdain your business in the market, and he either lets you in, or he doesn't.

"Apples," Thuma blurted, and quickly realized it was the single most witless thing she could have said. Sure she wasn't incredibly silver-tongued, but she wasn't completely dull. Derdain raised a brow at her, decidedly not convinced that she wasn't a ne'er-do-well with a lousy excuse. She cleared her throat, and tried to clarify her outburst.

"I'm here to purchase apples, for my sister." Another silent stare from Derdain. Thuma swallowed, forcing herself to maintain eye contact with him. After a long moment of this he gave a slight nod of his head toward the circle of stalls, permitting her entry.

"Thank you," Thuma murmured as she ducked her head and slipped past him.

The inside of the bazaar was alive and rife with noise as people shouted out, advertising their wares, and others haggled for a better price. The band, expertly and loudly playing for the crowd, had their own section within the outer ring of stalls, instrument cases open to collect coins. It was shadier than outside within the market, the colored canvases covering most areas that sunlight would stream through. The air smelled mostly of fish and seafood, but there were underlying scents of fresh bread, produce, and many different kinds of seasoning.

Many Inartans were expected to be at work in the morning, so it was not surprising to see this many people at the market so early. They had to get their important shopping and socializing in before their responsibilities began.

Thuma walked through the space between the outer and inner rings of stalls, keeping an eye out for the one stall she knew would be selling the apples Yania liked.

She had only passed a few stalls and was absent-mindedly glancing at the wares when she noticed somebody familiar walk past her. Of course, it was a small city so just about every face was a familiar face, but this person struck a particular chord within her. He had, after all, become one of the most popular people in Wind Reach over the past couple of seasons. His face was drawn, dark rings of blue framed his eyes and his skin seemed stretched too tight over his cheeks. He was walking quickly through the throngs of people, not-so-gently pushing anybody that got in his way.

Once he was out of sight it clicked why Thuma recognized him. He had recently become one of the most well-known people in the city. He was Gen Renka, one of the two survivors of an encounter with the beast last season. This was only the second time Thuma had ever seen him in the city, the first time being shortly after he had returned to the city after escaping from the beast and was being escorted to the Valintar. She imagined that he probably didn't like to go out much these days because people, Inartans especially, were incredibly curious and nosy and would probably want to ask him never-ending questions about his encounter. Thuma couldn't pretend to be above that, she was curious too, and had plans to ask him some questions herself.

Pushing the thought out of her mind, she continued the way around the market, eventually finding the stall that sold apples. She purchased one pound of them, giving a pinion to the women that ran the stall, and stuffed them in her backpack.

She continued through the market, picking up some other supplies. From a general supplies stall she got a bedroll, a whetstone for her talon sword, and a few spare bow strings. The woman running the stall suggested that Thuma purchase a survival kit, which included a simple first aid kit, flint and steel, 2 simple snares, a waterskin, a simple tent, a small compass, a small roll of fishing line and 6 basic fishhooks, 2 candles, a blanket, a needle and thread and a small, simple knife. Thuma decided to purchase one. She handed the woman 28 pinions in total then left the stall with her new gear. Heading in further she found a stall selling bandanas and bought a green one with yellow stitching for Yania. In the innermost ring she spoke to the woman who ran Bare Threads about commissioning a Vinati she would like. Thuma gave the woman 5 pinions for the deposit, and was promised that the item would be ready for her by the next Market Day.

Finished with her shopping, Thuma headed back out of the market, and up the steps of the courtyard to where she had left Shathisae, whom hadn't moved.

They headed out of the courtyard and back to the aerie so Thuma could drop off her items. Yania was not there, so Thuma set the apples and the bandana on the table in the common room. She emptied her backpack in her room and filled it back up with a few wrapped portions of dried meat, a small loaf of bread, her waterskin, the flint & stone, and - on second thought - her new whetstone. Lastly, she grabbed her bow and her talon sword then hopped back on Shathisae's back. They flew out of the aerie once again, heading toward the Lookout to begin their shift.
Last edited by Thuma on September 14th, 2019, 9:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Monotony of a Watchrider

Postby Thuma on August 2nd, 2019, 1:30 am

Thuma (Nari)(Common) | Shathisae | Yania (Nari)(Common)

As Shathisae approached the Lookout, she spread her wings to catch the air and slow their descent, then landed heavily on the landing strip. Once settled, she lowered herself so Thuma could hop down. The Lookout is an impressive stone spire that sits right at the beginning of the Sanikas Pass, providing a perfect vantage point for seeing any and all incoming threats. Including storms, beasts, and trouble on the road itself. At the top of the spire sits a small stone enclosure where the Endal on lookout duty can cook a meal, relax, or even nap if need be. There is an area of bedding for their Wind Eagle as well.

Thuma walked ahead of Shathisae, making her way up the landing strip into the enclosure, the eagle not far behind. It was quite breezy up here, and Thuma sent a silent prayer to Zulrav that she would not be carried away in the wind, as the landing strip lacked barriers.

Once inside the enclosure, Thuma set her backpack down against the east wall and went searching for the current Endal on duty to relieve them.

Thuma's shift started mid-morning and ended mid-afternoon, and the shift before her started right at midnight and ended whenever they were relieved. Thuma tried to get to her shifts earlier than expected, so as not to make the last Watchrider have to wait extra time for her. That wasn't the case for everyone though. There had been plenty of times where the Endal scheduled for Lookout duty after her would get there several bells after their shift had began, making her have to stay longer than she necessarily wanted to. Not that she was going to complain to anybody about it, but she definitely wasn't going to be doing any favors for those particular Endals.

She walked along the pathway that wound around the outside of the enclosure, doing a quick scan of the terrain in every direction. The day was quiet so far, and the sky was clear and blue. She wouldn't have to worry about stormwatching today. Far in the distance, she could see Thunder Bay and the tiny buildings that lined its coast. The air above the bay was full of Wind Eagles occasionally diving into the water at impressive speeds. She knew that's where Shathisae would be heading after Thuma got herself situated in the Lookout. The eagle much preferred fishing than sitting around not being helpful. Thuma didn't mind, of course she loved her company but they really were never apart and could speak to each other at any moment from anywhere in the world.

The Sanikas Pass was full of travelers making their way to the city from the bay. Some horse-drawn carts carrying supplies or food, and some lone Dek or Chiet carrying baskets upon their heads or shoulders up and down the stone steps that cut their way directly up the mountain to the gate - a much quicker route than the winding road that the carts and caravans were forced to use. Thuma noticed one lone man, very obviously not Inartan by his size, walking along the path, a dog that must have belonged to him trotting about 10 feet ahead, occasionally looking back at the man.

The whole scene gave Thuma a feeling of quiet serenity. Her homeland was quite beautiful, and the nuances of her city were more familiar to her than her own mother's face. There was a clear order and way of life that kept the city running and its inhabitants taken care of. Everybody worked for their place and their right to belong in the city. If you didn't work, you didn't eat, it was as plain and simple as that. It was the only way of life Thuma had ever known and that was the way she liked it.

Thuma continued her walk around the enclosure - the current Endal on duty was not out there - so she went back inside and headed up the stairs that would lead her to a room with a large metal bell for riders to strike to sound an alarm. Across one of the walls was an enormous mural of hundreds of different paintings and words, all written by Endals throughout the years on their first days of Lookout duty. She quickly found the small painting she had done - 5 years ago now - of a redheaded woman holding a talon sword up, about to face off against a Kougara. It was a memory of when she and Yania had been saved from two Kougara by Shathisae who had picked them up and thrown the cats like they were no heavier than a sack of flour, but not before the two girls had suffered injuries. That was over 8 years ago now but Shathisae and the two sisters still had the battle scars.

Thuma turned and saw the Endal, leaning casually against the wall, arms crossed against his chest, and looking out the east wall to the bay.

"Hey," Thuma called, getting his attention. He turned his head, looking over his shoulder at her. She recognized him immediately. His name was Del and he was only a couple of years older than Thuma, and not even a flightleader, but acted like he was superior to her and could give her orders. He frowned and turned his full body around, uncrossing his arms. He opened his mouth to speak but Thuma cut him off,"Any problems I should be aware of?"

His brow furrowed and he shut his mouth. He looked away and shook his head, looked back at Thuma then closed the distance between them in three long, powerful strides. Thuma didn't flinch, standing tall and keeping her eyes locked with his. Whatever his issue was with her today, she was not about to let him think he had gotten under her skin.

"Yeah, I have some problems," He spat, so close to her that his eyes kept switching between which of her eyes to focus on. She reached up and wiped her cheek where his spit had landed on her, "You need to tell your sister, the hunter, to stay away from my family," He continued, pointing at her to emphasize his words. Yania? What had she done? Sure she was an annoying brat but only to Thuma. Years ago when Thuma had first become an Endal and asked Yania to be her hunter, she had let her new rank in society get to her head and it really brought the worst out of her. But she had become much more mature since then and mostly kept to herself when she wasn't with Thuma. As far as Thuma knew, Yania only had one or two good friends in the city that she would occasionally spend time with.

"What is this about? I hope you aren't falsely accusing my sister of any wrongdoing. I don't think that would bode over well for you if your flightleader caught wind of this." Thuma said. He was not fazed by her threat. He backed up a little bit and attempted to regain some of his composure, pulling himself up straight. Thuma could feel Shathisae listening in on the conversation, obviously as annoyed by him as Thuma was.

"I've seen Yania talking to my brother.... touching him," Thuma raised a brow but he continued, "I'm not willing to see him ruin his life by furthering a relationship with the likes of her," He finished. Thuma was taken aback. The likes of Yania? Why? Because she was Avora and Del's brother was an Endal like him?

"First of all, I get that you're an Endal so you think you have more of a right to life than anybody else in this city but-"

"I'm not talking about her caste! I couldn't care less if she was Avora or Dek!" Del shouted, his face getting redder with each syllable, "I'm talking about her recreational activities. I've seen her smoking Temper with the Dek. I don't care that they smoke it, and I don't care that she does, but Vosin should not be exposed to such a thing. He will become addicted and lazy, less focused on his responsibilities."

Yania smoking Temper? Unlikely - she was Avora, a personal hunter to an Endal, she could afford any drug she wanted, much more powerful drugs with stronger highs than Temper. And why would she be hanging out with Dek to smoke it? Thuma had never seen Yania speak to a Dek for anything other than a job she needed doing. His whole story seemed far-fetched. Thuma knew Yania liked the effects of certain drugs, she was no stranger to Inclement Weather, and she had even done some with her. Even Thuma liked to spend the occasional afternoon at the Dreaming Lady soaking in the fumes. It was normal in Wind Reach - common.

Also, Yania had never told Thuma that she was spending time with a boy, and they tell each other everything... right?

"You don't get to dictate anybody's life but your own, Del. I don't have to defend my sister to you, but Yania is a hard worker, just like you and me, and Vosin should be able to make his own choices of who he spends his time with." She responded as calmly as she was able to, making sure the anger in her voice was clear. Del stepped close to her again, he was strong and tall for an Inartan, but still two inches shorter than Thuma.

"Keep her away from Vosin, or there will be consequences." He said slowly, pausing after each word. Thuma raised her brows again and scoffed.

"Like what?" She asked, calling his bluff. He took a step back then stepped around her, avoiding outright pushing her aside. He began descending the steps and called back.

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

He climbed the rest of the way down, then left the enclosure, not even giving Shathisae a passing glance. Thuma stayed standing at the top of the staircase, staring at the wall mural while she pondered what he had said.

If what he had said was true, Yania hadn't told Thuma about any of it. She knew she didn't need to know what Yania was doing every second of every day, but she felt like normally Yania would invite Thuma to smoke with her if she had Temper, like when they were teenagers. What could be the reason behind why Yania was keeping these activities from her? Especially about the possibility of her hanging out with Vosin. Her sister had courted many a young suitor in her short life, and was always keen to tell Thuma about every awkward interaction and terrible kiss that she had had to endure. Why was it different this time? Had Yania been acting differently lately? There was the lie she had told Thuma earlier that day, and maybe she hadn't really been in the aerie as often for the past couple of weeks... but Thuma hadn't even noticed or thought anything of it. Not until now.

She shook her head. She would have to speak to Yania about it soon, but carefully. If Yania really was trying to keep a secret from Thuma, she would outright deny anything Thuma accused her of. Thuma would have to approach this tactfully, slowly, like a hunter.

Thuma headed back down into the main common room, where Shathisae was still standing by the door, watching the Endal. Thuma could tell the eagle had something to say, but was hesitant to speak.

"I know I shouldn't be so worried about this... but I just can't help but feel that some of what he said might be true." She told Shathisae.

He is jealous, Shathisae said simply, catching Thuma by surprise.

"Jealous?!" Thuma almost yelled,"Who could he be jealous of? He just seems like an overprotective brother with boundary problems." Even after saying it though, Thuma realized Shathisae might be right. People don't get that red and angry over somebody smoking a little Temper.

He has unrequited feelings for Yania, it is quite obvious, The eagle said, and tilted her head to one side, You of all people would understand how that feels.

Thuma waved a hand toward Shathisae as if she were dismissing her words. It was true, as much as Thuma hated to admit it and tried to forget about it, she had been silently pining after somebody who seemed completely uninterested in her for 3 years.

"Forget it. I'll give Yania her privacy. I won't tell her what Del said to me today. When she is ready to speak to me about it, she will." Thuma turned and walked away from Shathisae, heading to stand out on the pathway.

Do not dwell on this, Yania is not keeping secrets maliciously. She is practical and will only worry you with the things you need to know, the rest is trivial. With that, the eagle walked back onto the landing and with one powerful beat lifted herself into the air and flew off in the direction of Thunder Bay. She would not be back until Thuma's shift was close to over.

The Endal leaned her forearms on the stone barrier that lined the pathway and breathed in deeply, then let the breath out slowly. It wasn't her main priority, but she had to make sure the relationship between her and Yania stayed strong, and that there was trust between them. Without trust, they couldn't work together, and would be in danger every second on the job. They bickered constantly, and occasionally got into disagreements, but never fought. They were mature enough to address any source of discontent between them, and deal with it as rationally as possible. Occasionally Shathisae had to mediate, but it was for the benefit of them all. They were a team, and they worked efficiently together. If Yania needed to have some time alone without her sister knowing what she was up to, then Thuma would give her that space without pestering her.

Thuma tried to push all thoughts of her sister out of her mind, instead focusing on watching the area. She watched the people traveling along the pass, coming in and out of the Sanikas gate, the eagles and their riders flying far above Wind Reach and the surrounding area, doing their own surveillance. The others of Thuma's flight would be out there today, typically the entire flight would be doing the same job, but only one would be chosen to stay in the tower, and the watchrider changed every day. So tomorrow, Thuma would be on surveillance duty but not in the Lookout.

She understood the importance of this job, but it wasn't her favorite thing to do. She much preferred hunting or going on seek and rescue missions. That was far more exciting, and got her adrenaline pumping like nothing else could. She felt restless in the tower, and couldn't stay in one spot for longer than a couple of minutes, constantly circling the enclosure, watching for trouble from all directions.
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Calm skies do not make a skillful eagle
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Monotony of a Watchrider

Postby Thuma on September 14th, 2019, 8:58 pm

Thuma (Nari)(Common) | Shathisae | Yania (Nari)(Common)

Time passed slowly in the tower, there was little to do other than pace and watch. This day was fairly uneventful. A minor fight between two cart-drivers broke out when one wouldn’t move so that a faster cart could go around it. It was noticed and dealt with fairly quickly by a few of the other Endal on patrol, Thuma didn’t even get a chance to signal anybody. She tuned in to Shathisae’s vision as she dived over and over into the bay attempting to catch tuna, whales, and seals. The eagle had managed to catch a large tuna a few chimes in to her hunt but was seemingly short on her luck now. Thuma could feel the weariness seeping into the eagles’ bones, and suggested she take a short rest. Shathisae agreed and began to make her way back to the mainland.

Thoughts of what Del had said to her kept entering her mind. It didn’t seem like Yania, but then again she was a totally unpredictable firecracker. She very well could be off smoking Temper with the Dek and seeing an Endal on the side. It wasn’t any of Thuma’s business, but she still felt hurt that her sister had not told her or at least mentioned it in passing. Thuma wouldn’t care, or judge her, and it felt as if Yania did not trust her. How could she show her sister that she was a trustworthy person? And why was she doing these things in the first place? Everybody needs a release, but this seemed highly unusual. Perhaps that’s what Yania would be doing today, not hunting with other Avora, but going to see her current infatuation.

It wasn’t important, Thuma knew sooner or later the truth would be known and then she would have her chance to berate Yania. As Shathisae said, now was not the time to dwell on this. The problem of the Beast should be one of her only focuses currently. It was up to her and the other Endal to protect their people and their city. Focus was of the utmost importance. Right now, after over five bells of walking circles around the tower and keeping her eyes peeled, she was beginning to grow more and more restless with each chime. And hungry.

She turned to step back into the enclosure when she caught a glimpse of a Wind Eagle with a rider heading straight toward the lookout. She paused and glanced at the sun, still fairly high in the sky, it wouldn’t be until it was almost set that her shift would be over, so it couldn’t be her replacement heading toward her. As the pair got closer, Thuma recognized them as Etti and Faay, her flightmates. Her heart did one powerful beat in her chest and she took a deep breath to calm her nerves. It was just Etti, no big deal. Etti was an Endal like her; she was incredibly kind, funny, brilliant, adventurous, and absolute impossible for Thuma to talk to without making a fool of herself. Thuma felt Shathisae’s amusement at the girl’s reaction to seeing her long-term crush.

Etti waved wildly at Thuma as she approached with a huge smile across her face and Faay let out a loud screech. Thuma gave a small smile in return and waved back. She rounded the enclosure to meet them at the landing strip. Faay was impressively more graceful than Shathisae with her landing, and didn’t make any noise or slide on the rock at all, gripping it carefully with her powerful talons. Etti pet the eagle’s neck then lightly hopped down.

”Thuma!” She yelled then began making her way up the landing strip. She wore a backpack over her shoulders, a decorated vinati, and a pair of simple bryda. And, as per usual, no shoes. Her hair was tied in a braid over one shoulder, also typical for Etti. Faay followed her closely.

”Hey Etti,” Thuma replied and held the door to the enclosure open for Etti and Faay to walk in past her, “Shouldn’t you be on patrol right now?”

Etti waved a dismissive hand and stepped through the doorway and into the room. Faay walked over to the bedding set up for a Wind Eagle and made herself comfortable. Whilst taking her backpack off and setting it on one of the stone benches next to the fire, Etti said, ”They won’t even notice I’m missing. Plus, I thought you might appreciate some company. And food.” At the word “food” Thuma’s stomach gurgled and Etti laughed. She opened her bag and pulled out something wrapped in a white cloth, half a loaf of bread, and a cloth bag tied up with a string.

”Could you get the fire started?” She asked Thuma. Thuma nodded and went over to the woodpile against the North wall. In a large basket by the pile was a stack of loose straw and dried leaves. Using both hands she grabbed a bunch of it and walked back over and dumped it in the firepit. She went back to the woodpile and found some loose twigs and branches. She grabbed as many as she could hold then went and stacked them on top of the tinder. Going back to the pile she grabbed the jar that contained the char cloths and pulled a small piece out. They were blackened cattail cloths perfect for helping a fire catch. She grabbed her flint and steel out of her backpack on the way back to the firepit.

She kneeled down next to the firepit, held the piece of flint with the char cloth on top in her left hand, and the steel striker in her right. The first few strikes did not produce any sparks. Thuma frowned and adjusted her grip on the steel, changing the angle of her strikes to a more downward motion against the sharp edge of the flint. She tried again, bringing the steel down hard and fast against the flint. Sparks flew from the flint, but the char cloth remained unlit. After a few more strikes a flame finally caught and Thuma smiled. Yania usually was the one to start the fires when they were hunting, and Thuma had only done it a few times before, so this felt like quite the accomplishment.

Thuma gently set the burning cloth on top of the tinder and rearranged some straw to sit on top of the flame. When the fire began to spread, Thuma stood again to get a few larger pieces of wood from the pile. She stacked three pieces of wood, about a foot long each, in her arms and carried them back to the pit, where she set them up teepee-style over the burning kindling. She didn’t make them too high that the cooking grate wouldn’t fit over the fire.

”So, what did you bring for me?” Thuma asked as she sat on the same stone bench Etti was occupying, waiting for the larger logs to catch. Etti smiled and began unraveling the larger item from its cloth.

”Chef Davoid gave this to me, said it was part of yesterdays’ catch,” She said and revealed a large, raw slab of meat. The meat was rather dark, and smelled somewhat fishy, ”It’s seal, Etti clarified, which was what Thuma suspected.

”She just… gave it to you?” Thuma asked. Chef Davoid was not one to do favors, not for a member of any caste. Etti rolled her eyes.

”Of course not, she had me run an errand for her. I collected a bunch of different vegetables from the gardens for her because her usual fetcher was in labor.” She explained, ”Along with this, she also gave me these,” She said and undid the string tying up the pouch, showing Thuma the contents within, ”Cremini mushrooms. The most delicious kind of mushroom, in my opinion.”

”How many different types of mushroom have you tried?” Thuma asked. She didn’t doubt that Etti knew what she was talking about. There wasn’t a single time that Thuma asked Etti what kind of plant they were coming across that she didn’t know the answer. The girl kept her own journal of every plant she had ever encountered.

Etti thought for a second before responding, ”Well, I’ve tried every type of mushroom that’s come through the city. Cremini, Button, Portobello… Those three are actually the same type of mushroom but in different stages of life. A man used to come from Thunder Bay on Market Day with Shiitake mushrooms but I haven’t seen him for the past few seasons. I hope he’s okay. I bought Porcinis in the market several seasons ago, they were pretty good. I also often come across Morels in the Unforgiving, typically in the late spring or early summer. They are quite dense but satisfying.” Thuma had no idea what any of the mushrooms Etti was talking about looked or tasted like, but trusted the girls’ judgment. Thuma only knew well enough about mushrooms that she shouldn’t eat any wild ones, lest it be poisonous. She would need Etti to give her a lesson in mushroom-identifying.

”I don’t know anything about mushrooms. I didn’t even know what these were called until just now. Derini? Creeleen?” Etti giggled, and Thuma felt heat creep into her cheeks. She looked away quickly, hoping Etti hadn’t noticed.

”Cremini,” Etti clarified.

”Right, Cremini,” Thuma repeated, determined to remember the name. Plant identification was not one of her specialties, but maybe it would impress Etti if she took an interest in it.

By that time, the fire had spread to the larger logs and was burning evenly. Thuma felt proud of herself. She had built that fire completely on her own, not a single direction from Yanna or Yania. She stood to put more wood on the fire, and once that was done she pulled the cooking grate over the top of it. Etti grabbed one of the iron pans and a metal pair of tongs from the cookware rack next to the cistern then set the pan on top of the grate in the middle of the firepit. She left it to heat up then pulled the pan more to the side of the fire. She threw the slab of meat on to the pan, which immediately began to sizzle. Next she dumped the pouch of mushrooms out onto the pan, surrounding the cut.

They continued to chat, mostly about Endal duties, while the food cooked. Etti flipped the meat a few times and when it was done Thuma grabbed two plates, forks, and knives and cut the steak in half then evenly portioned the mushrooms onto each plate. They both ate, ripping off pieces of the loaf of bread occasionally and taking sips of water from their canteens to wash the food down. Thuma savored each bite, reveling in the earthy flavor of the mushrooms complementing the fishy undertones of the seal meat. Even without spices, as there were none available to them, the meal was delicious. When they were finished eating, Thuma thanked Etti for stopping by. Etti packed up her things and headed back out to finish the rest of her patrol shift. Thuma watched them fly away from the door of the enclosure.

The rest of Thuma’s shift seemed to pass by in a blur, she felt fuzzy and distracted, not even minding Shathisae’s light teasing. Syna was almost set when Shathisae returned just before the next watchrider arrived to relieve Thuma. She relayed that the day had gone by fairly smooth, no trouble on the road and no signs of wild animals lurking on the edges of the surrounding forests. Then she resaddled Shathisae before hopping on and heading back to the aeries.

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