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[JT] Siv tries a new fishing spot along Sunberth's coast.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Crab Traps

Postby Siv on July 27th, 2019, 3:10 pm

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14th Day of Summer, 519
Mid-morning
Cherry Bay Pier


The air was wet and heavy and smelled of rot and dirt, just like every other day that she had spent in this damned city. And just like every other day, Siv stepped out of the wrecked casinor onto the docks with a sigh of annoyance. How many more days of this tedious life before she’d get the resources to pay The Leg, get her ship fixed and finally get away from that shykehole? She looked down at the three fishing traps she carried with her; with the revenue she made at Baker’s, she could probably expect to have enough money in… ten moons? What a drag.

She set towards the beginning of the docks, pulling behind her the traps, their weights, ropes and bait. She needed to find a better fishing spot than the last; her baskets had only collected stinky seaweed and white stones that looked suspiciously like human teeth. You couldn’t get decent mizas out of those.

A half bell later, the Svefra was wandering the rocky banks north of the Dust Bed, Sunberth’s spooky hill. She did not pay much attention to the grim sight of the black headstones dotting the green, many of them crumbling under Tanroa’s influence. She was too focused on her task – keeping her balance on the uneven shore while carrying all her fishing gear. Her old boots slipped often on wet stones and made her progression slow. At least, being near the cemetery meant less competition for fish; she had only met a group of giggling children since coming around here.

As she advanced, she searched around for a decent spot to lay her traps. The tide was incoming, that she knew for sure thanks to the Oceanus mark swirling on her shoulder, so she had to set the baskets in place before it was high if she hoped to catch anything today. As she stepped cautiously over a particularly sharp ridge, Siv’s eyes caught on a hollow in the shoreline. Its shape reminiscent of a very large bowl, it seemed like the right place to leave the baskets: the rock would hold them back from the receding tide if the weights were not enough.

With a sigh she tried to hasten to her goal. Finally! I’m so tired of walking. Her damp shirt stuck to her back and her shoulders ached from carrying it all. She tensed her muscles, tightened her grip and dragged her load the last dozen feet, spurred on by growing impatience. Before Sunberth, she had never thought of fishing as a boring job, but now that her pod was far away and she had to do it all by herself, she had found herself hating it on several occasions. It wasn’t so much the tediousness, the physical effort nor the calluses and cuts; it was the loneliness. She missed the company of her siblings, the mischief of her cousins, the friendly competition they started at the smallest occasion. She missed how Nerë laughed at her when she didn’t tie the bait properly and had to watch it float away when the tide came. She missed the smile of her baby sister and her endless optimism in any and all situations. She missed the pats on the back, the jokes, the teasing that were part of every minute of her pod life. Today, crouching alone in dirty foreign waters, she felt the pain of her isolation stronger than usual. And what did she have to alleviate that feeling? The hopethat she’d get money out her fishing baskets and somedaybe able to join her pod in Zeltiva? It all seemed pointless at times. It would take months before the repairs were done and her family would have moved on to Laviku-knows-where by the time she arrived in Zeltiva, granted that this hole didn’t swallow her alive before that.
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Crab Traps

Postby Baelin Holt on August 16th, 2019, 8:42 pm

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Baelin couldn’t remember the last time he’d been in love with a place to the extent he was now. He would never admit it aloud, but Sunberth’s cemetery might actually be even better than the graveyard back home. While the mist was always thick in the isle of the dead, here the ancient gravestones could bask in the warmth of Syna or find reflection under Leth. Combine that with the ocean breeze that brushed past the cramped stones and you had yourself a premiere graveyard location.

This was the first time in ages that Baelin had made it to a proper graveyard. Syliras cremated its dead. And if Ravok buried theirs anywhere, Baelin hadn’t dared to find out. The yearning to visit a true burial site had been an unmet need ever since he left home. But here, in Sunberth, that need was being met tenfold. Baelin hadn’t at all been expecting just how dense the feel of death would be here. It was practically electric; his skin tingling. There was a scent that lingered in the air, almost like it had just rained, yet the day was bright and sunny. And there was a taste to the place that Baelin couldn’t identify. It was almost tangy.

While he may not be able to identify what it tasted like, Baelin was fairly certain he knew where it came from. This was the work of his mark. This was Dira letting him know that ghosts were nearby, and that he should do something about it.

What the hell was he supposed to do with ghosts? Nuits made sense: just kill them. Ghosts were a different story. They had unfinished business, and Baelin didn’t have a clue how he could be of any help. Short of a ghost coming up to him and saying, Hello, Eiyon. I am a ghost and I need help with X, Y, and Z, Baelin didn’t think there was much he could do.

He pushed deeper through the cemetery, enjoying how the death-imbued land calmed his mind. It was as if each cluster of headstones he passed helped ease the near constant tension he held himself in. Thoughts that were stressing him seemed to become less important with each step. The anxiety whirling in his mind was still there; every fear and trepidation still raced through his thoughts. But their hold on him lessened as he walked on; the calm pull of the cemetery reassuring him that his problems were all fleeting and ultimately unimportant in the cycle of life and death.

He’d been so wrapped up in his relaxation that he hadn’t realized just how close he was to the ridge’s edge. And then he looked up. And the horizon stretched before him. Baelin wasn’t sure if he’d been drawn here by the sea’s breeze, or if the rising steepness beckoned to the climber in him, or if it had been something about the how very ancient this part of the Dust Bed was. He pushed a little further until the ground veered sharply away, the cliff’s edge stretching to the sandy shores below. From his vantage point, Baelin could see rolling waves and ships in the distance. He could just make out the edge of the northernmost docks, with people milling about.

A flash of motion below caught his eye and Baelin looked down. A woman was picking her way along the shore below, fisherman’s traps in hand. Baelin wasn’t far away―close enough that he could make out the waves of Laviku’s mark flowing over her shoulder. A Svefra.

Baelin couldn’t help but frown. It was an odd thing, seeing a lone Svefra fishing on land. Mala’s crooked grin flashed in his mind and―before he realized what he was doing―Baelin had crouched down and grabbed onto the cliff’s edge to start the climb down. This specific stretch of cliff wasn't sheer or unreasonable, he could make it if he went slow. Still, it was more earthen here than the sheer rock back home, making it both easier to dig into and more likely to give way on him. It’d been ages since Baelin had the opportunity to climb and he relished the challenge. His booted feet were clumsy as he tried to find footholds and his untrained muscle trembled with the strain of holding his weight, but he was lucky enough to make it down in one piece. When he was close enough, Baelin let go and landed in damp sand.
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Crab Traps

Postby Siv on September 9th, 2019, 12:30 pm

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A gloom set across her face at her helplessness. The Svefra’s previous life had not prepared her for this kind of challenges, and adapting was proving difficult. But what other choice did she have? Siv groaned and gritted her teeth and brought her focus back to the mess that was the rope, putting her fingers to work. Slowly but surely, she untied the knots and laid down the rope next to each basket. She pulled out a small package out of a trap, all wrapped up in dripping rags, and winced as she opened it. Fish guts. Siv had found those on a pile of refuse by the Seaside Market the day before; as nasty as it looked – and smelled – it made for really cheap bait. Hopefully the stench would be carried by the tide’s currents and attract some tasty crabs.

She stuffed a handful of the stinky goo in each of her fish traps, smearing it against the netting in the process. By the time she was done with the third basket, her forehead was covered with sweat from Syna’s glow and her hand was dripping with unidentified fish juices. Gross. I really need a bath.
Siv checked the ties on her creels and the positions of the weights, readjusting one of the heavy metal chunks so that the trap would sit nice and square on the seabed and not be carried away by the currents.

A thump startled the Svefra who jumped in surprise. Nearby, a dark-haired man was standing and looking at her. He was built like a tower, with prominent muscles and large shoulders. He stood and stared in silence.

Siv’s posture immediately shifted, standing up on her rock defensively as she looked the man down. Her eyes narrowed at his imposing figure; he was easily as tall as her and much bulkier but obviously not Svefra by the darkness of his eyes. At first glance she couldn’t see a weapon on him, and he didn’t seem threatening, but the girl remained wary. There wasn’t anyone she trusted in this city.

For a tick she remained silent, using her height to try and make herself intimidating, but the man didn’t walk or look away despite her glaring.
What you want?’ she finally said, her voice more tensed than she wanted to show. The common tongue struggled through her lips; although she had been forced to speak it often in this place, it still felt unnatural and clumsy compared to her native Fratava.
Nothing here for you. I don’t give you anything. No fish, nothing!
She moved to stand in front of her fishing traps.
Don’t… Try to take it. Is not yours.


Common | Fratava | Thoughts
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Postby Baelin Holt on September 9th, 2019, 4:52 pm

She was young, with the lean strength and weathered skin of a girl who grew up at sea. Bright blue eyes, Syna-lightened hair, and Laviku’s mark proudly bared: she reminded Baelin so much of a younger Mala that it practically hurt.

But she wasn’t Mala. Baelin was projecting, and he really shouldn’t. Her jewelry had more metal than the pods that lingered near Black Rock could afford to use―they tended to stick to bone for nonessentials, as did the rest of the island’s living denizens. And Mala would never look at him with this defensive unease that the girl now held. No. This girl was a stranger, and he needed to be careful.

And then she spoke. And Baelin felt his gut twist in pained sympathy. Don’t try to take it, she had said, It’s not yours.

What could drive a Svefra to the point where they’d use an argument like “it’s not yours” to defend what’s theirs? Baelin couldn’t remember ever having heard of such a thing. Admittedly, most of his experience with Svefra culture came through Mala, but even still. He’d heard playful claims of “it’s mine now” after she’d snatched something while he wasn’t looking. And cackling laughs as he wrestled it back from her. But never a tense and defensive claim that he couldn’t take something simply because it wasn’t his.

She must have spent a lot of time outside of her pod, to go to a human argument as her first recourse. Where was her pod? It wasn’t right, seeing her alone out here with none of her family around.

Baelin knew she was a stranger. He knew he should be careful and that he probably shouldn’t have engaged in the first place. But he couldn’t stop himself from feeling the urge to help. He held up his hands in a show of nonaggression and struggled to remember what Fratava he knew, “No harm.”

It’d been so very long since he’d spoken anything other than Common, but he had the distinct impression that it’d do the girl some good to speak her native tongue with someone. The idea of a Svefra without a pod was still so disturbingly alarming that he was really struggling with it. Baelin couldn’t just leave it be, not if he had any sort of soul.

The tradespeak came back a bit easier as he strove to recall it. Baelin spun his hand in a gesture of offered aid and said, “Need help?”

He wanted to ask more. He wanted to know where her pod was, why she was out here alone, how the world could manage to isolate someone as naturally inundated with family as a Laviku-blessed Svefra. But all of those things were likely far too personal for him to know. Baelin couldn’t fix whatever had been done to bring her here. But he could at least offer to help her fish. He’d have to be a special sort of callous bastard to do anything less.
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Postby Siv on September 14th, 2019, 1:36 pm

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‘No harm.’
Two small words that should not have held any importance, as Siv knew to not trust anyone in this horrible city. But the melody of the Fratava language rang to her ears like a distant song reminding her of her community, of happier moments that she had lost. Her defensiveness dropped with her surprise at hearing the Svefra tongue from the mouth of this stranger. How did he know it?
She had not expected to hear Fratava from just anybody around this town and found herself quite taken aback.

After a brief tick of surprise, Siv shook herself off and tried to hide her emotion. It shouldn’t be so easy to catch her off-guard, she scolded herself. She was on her own now, and she had to be careful. She couldn’t let herself be distracted by a stranger just because he could utter a few words of her native tongue. And, all things considered, he wasn’t the first foreigner she met who knew Fratava, so she really shouldn’t be so sentimental about it. She needed to get her work done, and since he didn’t seem to come any closer, she crouched back to her traps.

But when the stranger offered to help, she stopped and looked up, meeting his gaze with disbelief in her blue eyes.
You want to help me?’ she asked, tilting her head aside. ‘Why?
Her brow furrowed as her brain tried to figure out the motives behind his offer. Siv had learned the hard way that letting your guard down around a Sunberthian would most likely get you in a bad situation, and she didn’t have time for more troubles today.
Nobody in this place ever helps anybody else. Ever.’ She opened her arms wide as she spoke, encompassing all of Sunberth and the selfish people it contained to show her point.
So what are you talking about? Why would you’ – she pointed a finger at the man – ‘be any different?

Siv jumped off the rock into the soft sand to stand in front of him, head high.
Look, I need these baskets,’ she continued while pointing at them.
If you think you can take them when I need them, you’re wrong. I’m stronger than I look.

This last part wasn’t completely true; that much was obvious from her skinny arms and lanky build, and the slight wavering of her voice as she spoke. Still, she held herself tall and hoped her bravado would be convincing enough to discourage bad intentions. She had to get the traps in place before the tide was high, or it would another wasted day. One day further away from leaving this hole.


Common | Fratava | Thoughts
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Crab Traps

Postby Baelin Holt on September 16th, 2019, 2:12 am

For a tick, Baelin thought he might have convinced her that he was no threat. But it was only a momentary relief. Her walls went right back up and then he found himself on the wrong end of an interrogation. Why did he want to help? Why would he be different than any other Sunberthian? Why, why, why.

He didn’t have any answers for her. Baelin didn’t know why he wanted to help her, he only knew that he did. Introspection was something that Baelin figured clever people could bother with, but he had no such inclination towards it. His gut tended to be right more often than he was himself, and he’d only be doing himself a disservice by not trusting it. And, right now, his gut was telling him he ought to help her.

To her credit, she squared up with him. Chin held high, the young woman was all moxie and bluster. Baelin felt the corner of his mouth twitch in the barest hint of a smile. That’s more like it, he thought, Show some fight.

Baelin was almost tempted to juke her, just to see how she would respond. But he checked himself and instead took a step back. If she’d rather be left alone, then that was her right. Baelin took a few more steps back and flipped his hands up, a Fratava gesture that he thought meant something along the lines of have it your way.

Resolved to not force unwanted help on her, Baelin turned and started the trek down the shore, back towards Sunberth proper. He didn’t turn back. He didn’t hesitate. He just left.

He wasn’t going to bother her.

You’re not just going to leave her there, are you?

It made no sense to pursue this.

Sure it does.

He wasn’t even a fisherman.

You can follow instruction well enough.

She didn’t need his meddling. She was fine. Yet, no matter what he told himself, his disquiet wouldn’t abate and he was left to stew in it. The farther he walked, the worst the weight in his stomach seemed to get. Shyke, why was he having such a hard time dropping this? Baelin got no more than twenty paces before he felt so wrong that he had to stop. Back still turned to her, Baelin wasn’t sure if she had resumed setting her traps or if she was waiting for him to get farther away. He should leave. There was no good reason for him to go back.

But Baelin knew―beyond a shadow of a doubt―that if he left now, he’d regret it later. Petch, this was going to eat at him. It was the sort of thing that he’d think back to, years later, and wonder whatever happened to that lone Svefra girl.

Fine. He could have just left like a respectable member of society, but instead it seemed like he was determined to make a fool of himself. Baelin took in a deep breath, braced himself, and turned back around.

“Let me help,” he shouted to her, “You here alone…” Baelin struggled for the words to use. How do you say “everything about you being here alone seems wrong to me and I’m not okay with it at all” without sounding insane? He couldn’t think of anything clever, so he settled with a shrug and shouted, “No good.”
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Baelin Holt
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Joined roleplay: July 25th, 2014, 12:36 am
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