Completed A Beached Seal V.1

Selene settles in Syka

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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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A Beached Seal V.1

Postby Selene Curare on May 3rd, 2020, 2:23 am

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One hundred and forty-six days later…

Selene gazed at the glowing rim of Falyndar’s shores that had appeared on the horizon since yesterday. After one hundred and forty-six days at sea the mounds seemed to float impossibly on Laviku’s back, like giant green Svefran children frolicking on his surface. When she had boarded The Zealot, her poor translation of the Fratava name, The Believer into Symenos, her secret was hidden in the emaciate knobby length of her body and she had even been able to hide early morning sickness by blaming the expected sea sickness, but given her impossible slightness as a Symenestra and her particularly emaciate appearance her growing plumpness was soon recognized for what it was.

Early in the journey many of the Svefra had voiced their displeasure loudly to the Lia that a Symenestra should be allowed on board. The Lia, Diondra Oceangem, an elderly experienced mother and leader had quieted the dissent with reassuring smiles and various words of wisdom,

“You dun tink we can’all better that willow whip of a child?” or,

“’Ave any of yah seen da lass bear a bit o’ steel? I dun tink yah’d ‘ave more sense den tah tink a legless lass could be dangerous. Buck up now, your courage is leakin’ down yah leg!” Before winking conspiratorially at Selene.

Of course, Diondra knew everything, she had been as wary as her crew to allow the Sym aboard her ship. Not because she feared for her families safety, but because she didn’t wish to aid and abet a Sym on a Harvest. Selene had begged Diondra to hear her out, sensing the Lia could not be bribed to put away her moral compass – rumours in Lhavit had convinced Selene that Diondra was as upstanding as they came, relying on her moral compass as much as her literal one to guide her family. It was these very rumours that had Selene searching out the white-haired matron.

With an openness unnatural to the secretive Sym, Selene had explained her predicament in total and complete honesty. Diondra had stared at her silently, weighing her words carefully, but her candidness had been rewarded when Diondra had graciously agreed to help her escape Lhavit, with the promise of silks from Kalinor in exchange. Selene’s sister had helped her bring the chest, meant for sale in Lhavit, to the ship and soon Selene and her sister were exchanging a rushed tearful farewell as the ships prepared to set sail.

Since then, in the hundred and forty six days since leaving Lhavit, the Svefra discomfort had eased as her reputation for being hardworking and docile grew, helped by the image of her swelling belly. Suspicion and hostility were replaced by warmth and comradery. Few had pried into why a pregnant Sym was travelling alone, but a pregnant Sym certainly wasn’t part of a Gleaning or Harvest they had rationalized. Plus, the winter storms and fickle winds had kept them occupied and Selene below deck for a large portion of the early trip.

However, with spring sprung and the winds they had fought coming south from Lhavit now whisking them quickly north toward Syka, the days and night were filled with parties, games and storytelling. Pleased to be included Selene made fast friends, especially with the mothers and young children aboard. Her mind drifted fondly over the memories that had made the anxiety of her departure easier to bear.

“What ‘as you lookin’ so serious little seal?”

Grabbing the top of her wide-brimmed hat with one hand to keep it from flying off in the wind Selene turned, wrinkling her nose and squinting into the sun.

“Dun tell me you gun miss us?” The chirping voice chortled and stepped up beside her. The almost six foot Svefran, Pelly Oceangem, scooped her thick blond curls out of her face to look down at the Sym. Pelly and Selene had become almost inseparable, bonded early as the only two in the pod carrying their first child. Pelly, known to no one expect her grandmother Diondra as Pelican, had been the first one to notice Selene’s condition and had taken responsibility for teaching the new mother what to expect during her first pregnancy. Much further along, her newborn had been born within 10 days of Lhavit and was now almost five months old. While Selene had shirked under the doting originally, as the eldest daughter she was used to being the hero and provider, her fear had conquered her pride and allowed the relationship to develop.

Pelly had begun calling Selene “Seal” when the Sym’s feet had begun to swell and Pelly had said she was spending so much time with the Svefra she was growing her very own caudal fin. It caught on when her son, Crane’s, first word was “Seal” while reaching up greedily for the Sym. Selene’s normally ashen face had flushed with such glee, that the nickname was adopted by the whole crew.

“Of course not, I can’t wait to get off this giant crib!” Selene ribbed, jabbing her bony elbow into the Svefras ribs (the highest she could reach on the towering figure).

“Awe, I dun know, I dun think you’ll ken a wrestful ni’s sleep un land witout Laviku’s cradle rockin’” She wrapped a reassuring arm around the little Syms form. Despite herself, Selene leaned into the affection, the action making Pelly’s lips set themselves into a small o as she realized how nervous the Sym was about landing in Syka. The moon was a giant Syna-bright orb in the sky, casting such a bright light on the two women they could easily read each other’s faces.


words: 942
Last edited by Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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A Beached Seal

Postby Selene Curare on May 3rd, 2020, 2:33 am

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“I’m surry I wun get to meet dah little ‘un,” Pelly whispered into Selene’s silence. Me too she thought, Selene hadn’t had the heart to reveal to Pelly that the birth of the child would in all likelihood mean her own death and that her fear of Syka was a fear born from the uncertainty of who would raise her child after her death. She had so little time to settle into the community and earn their trust enough to find someone to raise her child until a time when her sister, and those she could find to follow, came to raise her child and settle in Syka. Here, on The Zealot she had found a community the likes of which she had hoped would raise her child. But, despite her joy and comfort among the Svefra, the sea was no place for a Symenestra. Of that, she had become certain of on her voyage. Symenestra originated in Falyndar and deserved to return and build a Symenestran colony that did not participate in the Harvest. She had to risk giving her child everything she deserved, even if the child’s death was the alternative to success. She couldn’t curse her child to life with the Svefra. As welcoming as the group had been to Selene, they weren’t an alternative to kin.

Not receiving a response the Svefra accepted the Sym’s silence. Moving behind the moonlit form of her friend she removed the Sym’s hat and undid the clasp that held her hair in its pert chignon. Her black hair fell to her lower back in a heavy tumble. So black one could almost see the moon reflected in her hair, as if it were the sky itself. Pelly ran her long fingers through the straight strands, gently massaging the Syms head before separating the strands into equal pieces and beginning a complex braid along Selene’s scalp. Selene closed her eyes and let Pelly’s hands be the balm to her worries.

“Pelly,” Selene eventually whispered, reaching back to grasp the woman strong wrist and pulling her hands from the finished product. “I’m going to name her Pelly,” the Syms eyes glowed, like a beast in the dark, or to the Svefra like a luminous jellyfish. Pelly blinked, We’re friends, this woman could be Svefran if her zealous love for Viratas was for Laviku instead, she’s as insatiably curious about other cultures as any Svefran I’ve met and as patient as a mother trying to entertain a child on only a few hundred square feet, and her love for community is palpable. But, to have touched her so deeply in so few months that she would name her child after me…. The Svefran woman was deeply touched by the gesture, but it troubled her that the woman had no other ties to inspire her devotion. One that so obviously adores community, but never speaks of her family or community…I wonder what happened to the poor girl. It was something the two women had never discussed, Pelly never bringing up out of deference for the others obvious secretiveness.

But, despite how close the two woman had grown Pelly had deeply misjudged Selene. She wasn’t a poor girl with no ties to her community, nor did she not speak of her family or community because of a wrong done to her as Pelly assumed. Instead, it was the wrong she had committed that held her silent. Swollen with the child of a Symenestran man, she had deprived her community and the father of his kin by slipping away. Her zealous belief in the Sym right to a community without the Harvest, a community of Symenestran women who would breed their toxicity out of them by mating with non-Symenestran men until both male and female Symenestra could safely breed together again and great a prolific race – a race not doomed to die by their own venom or the inevitable war when the wrong person was taken during a Harvest.

“I’m ‘onoured,” Pelly stated instead, keeping her thoughts to herself she placed a hand on Selene’s stomach and smiled warmly. “Now’n let’s get yah to bed, yur gunna need yur strength for the lung day t’murrow,” She said grabbing the girl up by her arm and whisking her off her feet into the safe belly of the ships breast. Hat and clip in hand, she settled the Sym into her cot and sang a lullaby to usher the woman to sleep.

“Laviku lies o’er ta’ ocean,
Laviku lies o’er ta’ sea,

Laviku lies o’er the ocean,
O’ bring back my fa’th’er to meh, ta’ meh
Bring back, bring back, O’ bring back mer fa’th’er ta’ me
Bring back, bring back, O’ bring back mer fa’th’er ta’ me

Las’ night ast I ler in da’ city,
Las’ night ast I ler meh head in dah Inn
Las’ night ast I ler in da’ city,
I dreamt tha’ mah eyes weres brown,

Bring back, bring back, O’ bring back mer fa’th’er to me
To meh.
Bring back, bring back, O’ bring back
Mah. Fa’th’er. Tah. Me.

The winds ‘ave blewn o’er ta’ ocean.
The winds ‘ave blewn o’er ta’ sea.

The winds ‘ave blewn o’er ta’ ocean.
An’ brought back mah fa’th’er ta’ me.

Bring back, bring back, O’ bring back mer fa’th’er to me.
To meh.
Bring back, bring back, O’ bring back mer fa’th’er to me.
Bring back, bring back, bring back, bring back
Bring back meh fa’th’er ta’ meh.



word count: 913
Last edited by Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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A Beached Seal

Postby Selene Curare on May 3rd, 2020, 4:39 am

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The Sym slowed her breathing, getting lost in the long drawn out words of the Svefran’s soprano, and pretending to fall asleep. Eventually, the Svefran had finished and left to find her own cot for the remainder of the night. Selene opened her eyes and gazed at the cot swinging above her and watched the shifting blankets of those in cots around her. The song was a familiar lullaby by now to the Sym. Pelly had told her it was a Svefran song that told of their people’s bond with Laviku and how the blue of their eyes was his gift – those born without blue eyes were not Svefran. Selene had thought it sad that one should be raised a little different from those around you and thereby not be granted your birthright, and had held her stomach protectively at the thought. It’s the same way we treat the Dra. In the lullaby, a Svefran falling asleep on land instead of the sea yearned to be back at sea where they belonged. Selene couldn’t help but think of her own god and be glad he would not forsake her regardless of where she lived so long as blood still ran through her.

She looked so shocked that I would want her to be my little girl’s namesake, maybe I crossed a cultural line I don’t understand She wondered gazing at her protruding navel, But this could help her stay safe – known to be named after a Svefran that frequents this area, perhaps it will create ties between myself and my new community – instead of exaggerating our differences. I’m loathe to name her such an unSymenestran a name…but if it has the least chance to protect her. Selene rationalized, not realizing how desperate she sounded.

Eventually, she was driven back to the deck of the ship unable to sleep.

As dawn found them and the night shift traded off with the morning shift, Selene watched the dawn of her new life grow colour and life before her eyes.

“Yer up early Seal,” Diondra’s raspy voice was the sound of vocal cords choked with salt, the sound of a lifetime at sea. “I’m afraid so,” Selene responded, turning to smile at the Lia passingly. They both knew she hadn’t slept at all, Diondra knew everything that happened on her ship. The creak of sails and sounds of hollering Svefra were getting louder as they approached Syka, ready to dock in less than hour.

“Welp, I best be off. You’d best ge’er packed and ready,” Diondra advised as she strode away. Selene nodded and went below deck to pack the few belongings that were scattered about from the previous evening. The Svefra all learned from a young age, no matter how exhausted, they were to secure everything before bed. Selene succeeded fitfully, sometimes leaving wet clothes unsecured to dry or other thoughtless actions. It wasn’t that she was untidy, in fact she was obsessively so by land lubber standards. But, here, on the ocean where a storm could rise at any moment and an unrestrained belonging could become a projectile, being tidy was a serious survival skill.

Not one to dawdle, Selene was on the deck as the Svefra maneuvered their ships close to Syka. The larger breed of them on which Selene resided did not get very close, instead containers were transported on winches from the body of the larger vessel onto several smaller personal boats to be brought to shore. Already Selene could see eager figures gathering along the beach, watching the Svefra begin to unload their cargo. Selene did not move about the crates with the same swift ease as the Svefra but willingly allowed herself to be put to work.

“Seal!” A gruff voice called her over. The voice belonged to Ardein, the earliest riser on the ship besides the Lia and would often rise just as Selene descended to sleep the day away, so she wasn’t as familiar with him as the other Svefra on the boat. She had learned quickly that words meant little to the Svefra and to respond to a call by prompt appearance instead of a coming!, as it was typically met with an onerous, Be here, not coming!, at least that was how Pelly had translated it to her, the actual Fratava colloquialism had something to do with the value of a wind’s propelling one to habour before starvation and not after.

“How may I help?” Selene queried. Ardein was a youthful brunette beastly man, thick hair peeked out of the top of his unbuttoned top and his neck and shoulder muscles bulged with effort as he hoisted a box on top of another and fastened them together with a ratchet strap.

“Yer’ll grab dis,” he nodded toward a thick blunt hook, which he grabbed and next gestured to the metal loop on the ground, “an’ dis, and climb up der,” he gestured to the top of the crates that had been bundled into a net of rope, at the top of the crates was another metal loop, “yer to hook both metal loops, go’ it?” he asked, not meeting her eyes as he handed her the hook and rushed backwards.

The team of sailors had quickly learned of Selene’s fragility, but she could scramble up the masts and along the rigging as fast most of them and gained a reputation for being more useful than most conscious cargo. Selene grabbed both pieces of metal in opposing hands and leapt onto the first box, almost toppling forward from the weight of her stomach, having grown alarmingly recently, but caught herself as her claws dug into the wood for purchase and soon she was at the top and had hooked the metal pieces together, fastening the net around the cargo. As she moved to dismount she was halted, “No! Stay! We’ll swing dah cargo o’t and l’wer yeah. Yell wen we’re ‘bout done and we’ll slow down. Yell Halt when der ready to disconnec’ it aye?” He asked, waiting for her nod of assent. Once given she felt the pile surge under feet and grabbed for the rope to keep from toppling over the edge.

Word count: 1,032

Last edited by Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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A Beached Seal

Postby Selene Curare on May 3rd, 2020, 9:07 pm

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Hands clenched around the rope and a rope burned cheek later, the containers had been swung over the edge of the ship and had stopped swinging and pitching. Rapidly, she was being lowered down the side of the ship and was face to face with the water logged wood covered in barnacles and other organisms she didn’t recognize. More quickly than she expected she was nearing the small personal boats that would each bring a load to shore, “S-slow!” she sputtered, “SLOW!” She bellowed, realizing she didn’t have the instructions to slow the crate. Thankfully, they had heard and understood and the crates slowed.

“’Hoy, Seal!” She was greeted by the friendly freckled and blonde encircled face of Pinn.

“’Hoy Pinn!” she hollered down at him, “HALT!” She hollered upward as the chests clanked loudly against his deck.

Yo’ve gott’n heavier sin’ las’ I seen yer!” He bellowed.

Selene raised her eyerbrows sternly at him, “Excuse me lad, mind your manners”.

He flushed and spluttered, “N-no ma’am I me’nt dah…”

“I know what you meant sir, but you could offend a lass speaking before thinking” She scolded, waggling her finger at him dramatically, her lips a firm line couldn’t help but twitch betraying her good humour.

He caught the twitch and dramatically removed his cap to bow deeply, “Deeply s’rry ma’am, Din’ mean to offend,”

“WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG?!” They heard Ardein holler from above them.

The two laughed and Pinn nodded at the hook, “Yer have dah disconnect I’. Den stand on dah hook and dey’ bring yah back on up.” Selene followed the directions, unhooking the metal rings and stepping onto the large hook with her foot and holding the rope with both hands.

“READY BOYS!” She yelled at the ship above and soon she was flying through the air as they hauled her up. Pinn turned his boat towards land and soon she was dangling over the open water with wind tossling her braided hair. She was glad in that moment that Pelly was such a good hand at braids or she’d look mussed when she finally made it to shore for her first impression.
As she flew upwards she marveled at the Svefran skill, they did this without her unique ability of sticking to the rope and hook the way her own skin reached out to cling to it. Soon she was back at deck level, leaping from the hook she landed on the deck, scooped up the ring and was back bounding to the top of the crates. rinse and repeat.

To Selene the ship was a gigantic water beast, having never seen a boat before. However, the pod was actually relatively small by Svefra standards, as were the boats and they were quickly emptied of supplies. Within a few hours, Selene descended the rope ladder with Pelly and Ardein onto Pinn’s boat. It was crowded, they practically sat in each other’s laps and Selene struggled to appreciate instead of resent the protective cover Pelly’s body provided her as they bumped along the water toward shore. With each second the shore came into greater focus and soon Selene was stepping out onto Syka’s dock.

Syna roasted the back of her neck and the humidity made her braid feel like a wet heavy tail down her back. We deserve this… Selene thought, imagining the footsteps tipped with claw marks of the future Symenestra that would walk these beaches. As she crossed the beach she looked back at her own footsteps, imagining her child at her side, and then the dozens of Syms that would one day be free to settle in Syka. Svefra poured over the sand, hauling crates and laughing with the locals, but in their place Selene saw the ghostly black and white forms of her Kalinorean sisters, neighbours, and friends.

“Seal!” Pelly was waving her hand in front of the wide unblinking face of her friend. That’s that dreamer face of hers…I wonder if she’ll ever tell me what it’s about. Selene blinked, the moment of blackness wiping away the Symenestra fantasy leaving her with the loneliness of her solitary existence. Grabbing one of the chest handles on the opposite side of Pelly, and together the two women hauled the chest over the beach leaving the top sand mounds chopped clean off.

Several bells later, interrupted by spells of daydreaming, Selene and Pelly were waved off the work and told to explore Syka. Both woman had never been to Syka, and with the five month old beginning to fuss onboard and everyone was eager to have the little skipper out of their legs, Selene and Pelly were gratefully relieved of duty. Wrapping the squirming child, Crane, up in a long wide skein of undyed brown cloth Pelly strapped the babe to her back, the closeness to his mother immediately sending the child into paroxysms of joy and giggles. Selene stood behind Pelly helping her adjust the straps and tie the cloth at the base of her back once it had been crossed over her chest, a common technique used by the Svefra to keep their hands free for rigging and other sailing work.

“Ready?” Selene chirped at Crane touching the little nose with the tip of her long nail. Crane reached out grabbing the nail and squeezing it playfully. So resigned to never knowing her child this way Selene did not recognize the pang of jealousy the gesture elicited. Instead, the mother-to-be and the young mother whisked themselves off arm in arm to explore the paths that linked the scattered constructs of the village. It did not escape Selene’s attention how useful it would be to make her introduction to the village on the arm of a blushing new mother and her vulnerable babe, If nothing else, it will put doubt in their minds that I am here on a Harvest.

word count: 978
Last edited by Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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A Beached Seal

Postby Selene Curare on May 4th, 2020, 12:18 am

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“Wa’ dah yah want’a begin Seal?”

“I think we should find you some food first, before you wither away,” Selene poked Pelly’s stomach.

“Oh yah, I’mdah one dah’ could beh t’aken away bah ah strong wind!” Pelly rebuttled, shoving the Sym gently as they walked along the beach toward the large cluster of ranchos someone had mentioned held the only local tavern.

The beach scalded the bottom of the long narrow feet of the Sym, forcing her to jump from her sensitive foot to wooden replacement and back again to move along the shore. Selene noticed Pelly’s smirk and scowled in annoyance looking for a place to sit and don the sandals the two had made on the voyage. By comparison, the Svefra’s feet were hardy with a thick callous on their bottoms so Pelly felt the heat as a warm blanket. Once Selene was out of earshot Pelly couldn’t help but laugh to Crane, “Yup, dah fragile lil’ morsel ‘ad ‘alf dah pod shakin’ in der sandals for dah first thirteh days, can yah believe dat?” Little did Selene or Pelly know, but the kindness Selene had shown Pelly would inspire an unwise compassion for the next Sym Pelly met – a folly that would mean her death.

No longer staring at her feet Selene noticed the swings of various construction hanging from trees edging the beach and made a quick dash to the nearest one, a flat board hanging on either side by two ropes. It provided a seat for her to pull out the leather sandal. It was cut to the shape of her foot, with holes on the edges in which thin leather strings had been passed and knotted – allowing her to maintain her toes long claws while providing protection for her sole. Crossing the strands around the bottom of her one good foot, ankle, and up her calf Selene was soon running to catch up with Pelly.

All of this to say that Selene had never compromised a part of her Symself to be more palatable to other people, the Svefra being the only large group of non-Sym that she’d spent any time with and so as she entered the bar and the stares began, she was ill-prepared. The entrance was a long deck over shallow pale water – the sun reflected off the water making Selene’s eyes water painfully and she was relieved to find the bar was covered by a thatched roof casting some much needed shade. Only the bar was covered by the thatching and was open from all sides allowing the seas eternal breeze to cool the necks of the weary. However, there were several benches and other scattered seating areas outside the bars protective cover, beyond that the dock snickered out of sight around the edge of the bar.

At the height of the day, the heat was wretched and had most of the locals coalescing along the bar where the coolness of the water brought much needed reprieve, the alcohol and good food was undoubtedly a lure as well Selene considered. As they entered the thatched cover Selene exhaled relieved to be away from Synas might. The bartender was laughing with a group of men in sarongs at the end of the bar when the two women entered. Selene scanned the bar, sorely sad to find it full of men with cold mugs in their hands.

“Make ‘way! Make ‘way gentile’men!” Pelly exclaimed, making shooing gestures as she moved toward the bar, “Babes on board!” She added, the force of her enthusiasm all but bowling the men off their stools.


word count: 599
Last edited by Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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A Beached Seal V.1

Postby Madeira Dusk on May 29th, 2020, 4:41 am

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Selene Curare

Skills
  • Socialization: 4xp
  • Observation: 3xp
  • Logic: 1xp
  • Sailing: 2xp

Lores
  • Socialization: playful banter
  • Seal: lore of the root of Selene's nickname
  • Pelly: namesake
  • Lore of traditional Svefra sea song
  • Logic: the strategy behind Baby Pelly's name
  • Lore of the necessity of tidiness at sea
  • Sailing: securing cargo rigging
  • Lore of how to tie a simple papoose
  • Location: Swing Beach
  • Location: Tidepool Bar

Awards & Retribution

Notes
This was a great into for Selene! This gave me a solid grasp on who she is and what she wants, and now I'm ready for more. I look forward to seeing more of your sneaky sym :)
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