Completed Counting Blessings

Thread 2 of the Gratitude Challenge

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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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Counting Blessings

Postby Ines on November 28th, 2019, 12:09 pm


continued from Water of the Womb
Fall 34th 519AV


They woke up to the pattering of rain on the oiled tarps above them. Adeliz was in charge. Ines had rarely been as emotional as she was the night before, and the Akalak wanted to give her some extra rest. It was the rainy season, and the brief showers the day before were no match for the force of this downpour. The rain hitting the tarp was a comforting sound that kept the witch feeling sleepy.

"We need to move." Indigo had already packed her hammock and was in the process of taking down the tarps. "Where we're camped is probably secure from mudslides, but I'd rather find somewhere we can stay dry." Adeliz tried to climb out of the hammock and would have slipped in the mud if the tarps hadn't kept the dirt beneath them drier than outside of the camp. She undid the knots and folded the hammock into Indigo's bag, again, just as she finished packing the second tarp. They had both slept fully clothed, boots and all, and so it only took few chimes before they were heading down to cross the swelling stream.

The jungle was just as alive in the rain as it was under the clear lights of Syna or Leth. Birdcalls and the hooting of monkeys cut through the pattering of rain on the leaves and hitting the dirt. At least there were fewer bugs. The stream had been tiny before, but it was still no match for their tall boots, and it took little time to step through. Indigo pulled out a pouch of pork jerky and handed it to the Akalak. "Breakfast. After we find a place to start a fire, we can find something sweeter to eat. I need to boil this water, too." The young woman gestured to a waterskin on her hip, protected from the rain with a waterproofed poncho and marked with chalk. "I collected it in my pot as soon as the rain started. It may still be okay to drink, but I'd rather be safe than sorry."

Indigo made liberal use of her machete as they traveled parallel to the stream. Adeliz also held hers out, but she seldom cut down any plants. She found it difficult to hurt the plants and even eat the jerky when she knew that they could feel things the same as her. Ines somehow had no qualms with eating meat or cutting down plants, but she always tried to ask permission. The Kelvic had a much more rounded understanding of the circle of life than the Akalak.

"Thank you for comforting Ines yesterday." started Adeliz. "I live in the same body and share her thoughts and her memories, and I still could not have said what you said and as well as you said it."

"It was nothing. I was simply speaking the truth. I don't believe Caiyha is stupid - she knew what she was doing, and what she was doing for Ines. I can't begin to fathom her plans, but that seemed obvious enough to me." The rain seemed to be letting up now, but Indigo was still following the stream instead of looking for a trail like she had the day before.

"Still. It means a lot to us. It is much harder to convince yourself of the truth than to accept it as it is given to you." insisted the Akalak, hoping that she would accept the good she did for the Kelvic. The rain had fully stopped. Every movement of birds or animals between the trees released a torrent of water as the leaves shifted, but traveling was going to be a bit easier now. The air was somehow even more humid because of the recent rain, but the view that visited them as they reached a break in the trees made up for it one hundred times over.
Last edited by Ines on December 3rd, 2019, 8:06 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Counting Blessings

Postby Ines on November 28th, 2019, 12:11 pm

wc: 679


Indigo had led them to the edge of a cliff, the stream next to them trickling over the edge while across the way was a much larger waterfall. A small path careened around the edges and led down, the cliffs forming around a pool like a bowl.

"Oh gods, did you know about this before we got here?" said Adeliz, her voice quiet.

"I found it a season ago. I thought you would like it." Indigo's grin had spread from ear to ear. "What does Ines think?"

Of course, that's who this is really for. "I'll let her tell you herself." Ines wasn't sleepy anymore after seeing the view. Thank you, Adeliz.

"I love it too," said Ines, now in charge. She took no time and started to head down the switchbacked trail, which was mostly clear of foliage. The stickiness of the mud made it take a bit longer than the witch wanted - she was terribly excited to get down and take a closer look at the waterfall. Even with the extended time, the distance was not long, and it took a mere 15 chimes. "Did you plan on taking me here this whole time?"

"Yes. A bit. But I was fully convinced last night. I thought you needed a pick me up. You haven't even seen the real treat."

Ines didn't know what could be more of a surprise than this tiny, private pool - until she turned around. There was a lovely grove of fruit trees, more varieties than the kelvic could count, and many more than she could name.

"I nicknamed it 'Bala's Bowl'. Seemed fitting." They walked into the grove, and Indigo took out the tarps and set them out to dry. "The hammocks are a little damp, too, so we should hang them up. I would say that you would not believe how quickly mold can grow out here, but you already know. that." Ines helped her set up the hammocks. It was too humid for anything to really evaporate or dry out, but at least they would avoid growing strange fungus.

Ines wandered through the grove, free from the weight of her pack. She couldn't see anything bigger than the toucans eating clay from the cliff-face, either with or without infravision. Bala's bowl was strange, surrounded by cliffs on all sides, covered in lovely fruit trees and flowers. Not to mention the lovely, deep blue lake the waterfall poured into. She wandered back to Indigo, having only strayed a few hundred feet. The young woman was sitting on a rock, a pile of fresh fruit next to her, though not all of them were ripe.

"Watch this." Indigo held out an underripe mango toward the witch, and before her very eyes, it ripened.

Ines grinned, walking over to the rock she sat on and taking the mango in one hand. "How did you do that?" she asked, cutting off a slice with her machete in the other. "It's amazing. This is an amazing spot. I can't believe you found this - has anyone else been here?"

"Not that I know of. No one seems to live here, as far as I've seen. It would be nice to build a little bungalow." She looked back at the trees, some of which towered over even the cliffs. "Or a treehouse."

"That would be nice. Build a raincatcher, a fire pit... there's more fruit than anyone could need, and it's got so many beautiful flowers. You could wake up and bathe in the lake. If I didn't take care of the Ashta, I'd want to live here, too." Ines bit into the mango slice and, after a tick, devoured the rest of it before cutting off another. It was the sweetest mango she had ever tasted. "I can't believe you can just take any fruit and make it perfect. I want to try a banana next," She laughed, lying back on the rock. Syna had shifted from behind the clouds, and their spot was in full view of her glow. The jungle was already humid and warm, but soaking up the sun was an entirely different feeling. Plus, she practically glittered pink in the sunlight. Indigo laid back next to her, handing her a banana from the pile. It was perfectly yellow - not a hint of green or brown.

"Thank you, Indigo. I wasn't expecting any of this. This hike has been better than I could have ever imagined." The bat meant every word. She peeled the banana, breaking off a piece and popping it into her mouth. It had the perfect flavor and perfect creamy texture she loved from bananas.
Last edited by Ines on December 3rd, 2019, 8:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Counting Blessings

Postby Ines on November 28th, 2019, 12:14 pm

wc: 421


This is way too romantic, Ines. You should watch out before you fall in love with Indigo! Adeliz snidely commented in the back of her head.

Pfft, I don't think she likes girls. Ines thought back, though the blush on her face was enough to convince her headmate that what she said was already true. The witch just felt relieved that Indigo had watched the clouds instead of her face.

"When are we going to head out?" she asked, her eyes turned skyward as she watched the clouds, too.

"I was thinking we would stay the night here, and then circle around and end up back in Syka by tomorrow night."

"Oh! That's lovely. I wonder how the stars look over here. Same as the beach, huh?" said Ines, though she realized that they hadn't traveled far enough for them to be any different, anyway. "Well, you know what I mean. Maybe they're brighter or something."

"Heh, well, I wouldn't know. I haven't stayed here overnight. It's safe though - I haven't seen any large animal tracks or monkeys. I've just heard the birds. It's less crowded down here, too. Just a lot of fruit trees between the canopy trees. And the flowers, of course."

'And the flowers' was right. There were dozens of different types of flowers that they could see just from their viewpoint. Towards the opposite end of the bowl, the foliage seemed to get denser and more convoluted, but near the lake like they were it was beautiful. Even the lake was home to giant water lilies, their lilypads wide enough to be used as a bed if the plant was just a bit sturdier. Ines didn't know the names of any of the flowers, but that did not lessen their beauty.

"Do you know what's back there? It's darker and thicker than the rest of the place." Ines propped herself on her elbow and pointed out the direction of their hammocks. It had a different feeling than the rest of the grove, too. It felt colder, darker.

"I don't know, I haven't gone back there. It just feels like a bad choice, for whatever reason." Ines pondered this as she finished her fruit, and then noticed that Indigo had been rifling through her pack. She revealed what she had been searching for, a long, braided thread with a hook at the end. A fish hook! "Buuut, if you can find anything dry enough to feed a small fire, I can catch us something to eat for later."
Last edited by Ines on November 28th, 2019, 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Counting Blessings

Postby Ines on November 28th, 2019, 12:15 pm

wc: 829


It was still the rainy season, and the jungle was always humid to top it, but there had to be something dry. "What should I get? I haven't looked for firewood before."

Indigo was digging in the mud near the lake for bait. "Look for newly fallen branches. Ones that haven't been sitting on the floor too long. Coconuts, too. I think I saw some on the other side of the lake."

Coconuts seemed like an easier thing to find, so the bat wandered along the shore that was made mostly of dirt and large rocks that jutted into the sky or a few feet past the shore. It didn't take long for her to find a coconut tree. There were a few brown coconuts that had fallen, largely ignored by the local fauna because of its hard shell. She gathered them up into a pile and looked across the lake. Indigo had already caught a fish in the time it took her to find a few coconuts on the ground, and judging by the bait piled next to her on her perch, she was aiming to catch quite a few more.

Ines picked up as many of the coconuts that she could carry and brought them back to their camp, then returned back to the pile and carried over the rest.

"We'll need the twigs and branches, too. Maybe Syna will stay up for us and we can get them dried out a bit." Ines nodded, and she checked nearby for the branches. She stuck to the areas she had been in before, and tried not to leave out of sight of Indigo. There were quite a few loose branches, most of them just slightly damp. Indigo was probably right about getting them dried out in the sun.

She brought the bundle back to camp. Indigo had caught 6 fish, and they were carefully strung up between two boulders, descaled and gutted. Combined with the plentiful fruit and their leftover rations, they were going to feast. Ines laid the sticks out along the rock they had been lying on earlier to dry. Indigo began clearing out a space for the fire, piling dirt into a mound and making an indent at the top.

"This divet is for the tinder. With the fire on the mound, it won't get flooded and put out by rainfall." Then, she scraped off the dry brown husks from the coconuts, rolling it with her hands into small clumps as she pulled off the pieces. Ines took a coconut and tried to do the same as she was doing, but Indigo was much more elegant with her machete. Ines ended up using her smaller eating knife to scrape off the hairs.

"Now if you take two flat rocks," she began, "you can take your tinder and put it between them." She was crouched between two stones she had collected earlier. One was large, at least a foot long, and the other was a bit smaller, but both were flat. She had moved them over while Ines was still scraping off the coconut husks. She took the coconut husks she hadn't yet rolled into clumps and made a clump slightly larger than the rest. "This large roll is what I'm going to use to start the fire, and the rest I'm going to use to build it up before we add the sticks. Whatever's left I'm just going to keep for later."

Indigo placed the roll onto the larger stone of the two, and then placed the smaller stone on top of it. With quick, smooth movements, she managed to roll the husk without scraping the two rocks together and still created a lot of friction on the husk itself. After about a chime, she placed the smaller rock down and picked up the husk, gently prying apart the middle and blew on it. It started smoking, and, within ticks, caught fire. She placed it into the indent with more of the tinder and the fire began to build.

"Fire needs three things. Air, which is provided all around us but facilitated by my blowing on it, fuel, which is provided by the coconut husk, and heat. It heated up because of the friction between the tinder and the two stones. Like when you rub your hands together, they get warmer. Or when a rope is suddenly pulled out of your hands - the friction causes a rope burn." She stood up, stepping over to where the sticks had been sitting in the sun. "Once all the tinder catches, I'm going to build the fire. These branches feel pretty dry." She snapped one in half, revealing the much drier, dead core of the branch. "Smaller pieces first. We'll be able to cook the fish in no time." Sure enough, the fire grew. It was large enough to cook with, boil water, and provide a source of light, but not large enough to overwhelm them with heat.
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Counting Blessings

Postby Ines on December 3rd, 2019, 8:46 am

Ines
Experience
Skill XP Earned
Foraging 3
Land Navigation 1
Observation 3
Philosophy 1
Rhetoric 1
Wilderness Survival 4
Lores
Lore Earned
  • Wilderness Survival: Collecting Rainwater
  • Wilderness Survival: Marking the container of unclean water
  • Wilderness Survival: Collecting tinder in the jungle
  • Wilderness Survival: Collecting fire fuel in the jungle
  • Wilderness Survival: Components of a fire
  • Wilderness Survival: Creating a fire mound
  • Wilderness Survival: Starting a fire with friction
  • Location: Bala's Bowl
  • Bala's Bowl: Has an unnatural presence
  • Indigo: Has Cultivation
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Ines
sexy dracula
 
Posts: 194
Words: 120040
Joined roleplay: May 2nd, 2017, 10:41 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
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Medals: 3
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
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