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Can they see each other through this kind of darkness?

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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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Cavernous Minds

Postby Selene Curare on May 7th, 2020, 1:10 am

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Spring 70th, 520AV


Hair pinned severely into a chignon and a wide-brimmed straw sun hat set atop her head Selene looked all of the high strung, uptight, and severe woman she was compared to the wild hair and loose dress of her companion Rainmere. Due the heat, she worse a loose deep purple sundress, collected neatly under her small breasts by a threaded cord and that dropped to the floor obscuring her wooden leg. A long slit down the right side allowed her legs to move and splay freely as she adjusted the fabric and ring about her. Across her shoulders and neck, protecting them from the vicious sun she wore a lavender silk scarf with red embroidery depicting apples and fruit bats – a piece from Kalinor that the other woman was fawning over at that very moment.

Her doting was abruptly interrupted by the throat clearing of a man behind them. “I’m sorry to disrupt you ladies, but I was hoping, Selene, that you could make me some more of the import bags? I use them for sawdust.” Lars was a tall broad-shouldered man, his body sculpted by the heavy labour of his work. He kept his beard neatly trimmed and his long black hair in thick tight black braids, likely to avoid getting debris and sawdust stuck in it Selene guessed. He was a much loved and appreciated man on Syka and though Selene had never met him, he was easily recognizable from others descriptions.

He was referring to large ten and fifteen pound bags with drawstrings in which some imported goods were brought to Syka in. They were re-used to transport goods back to Riverfall or used around Syka where they could be. Lars kept some around for people to use freely to transport Sawdust to their homes. Selene had been hired as a weaver for the expanding settlement, which meant creating; bags, fences, baskets, bolts of cloth, and anything else requested by any of the settlers for the betterment of Syka.

“Of course,” Selene nodded rising from her beach swing, “Excuse me Rainmere.” She excused herself to wander away with Lars.

“Could I borrow one of the old ones to imitate? I’ll need a sample of the sizes you’d like, and the number?” Selene inquired, lurching slightly on her wooden leg to stand beside the tall man. Selene, like most young Symenestra, had not been trusted to work with the delicate silk thread infamous in Kalinor, and instead had learned by making ropes, baskets and bags making the work frequently requested, if not the materials, familiar. The Sym found the materials in Syka raw and unappealing using any available time to work with Rainmere and the good quality thread she was able to get from Riverfall for her dancing clothes.

“Of course, come along to the sawmill and you can bring whatever broken bags you’d like with you. Maybe some of them will be salvageable, you would know best.” His voice had the familiar Riverfall tang that Selene was growing familiar with.

“We’ll see what we can do…” Selene replied noncommittally, not wanting to over promise until she had seen and held the request. As they walked in silence Selene struggled to keep up with Lars’ long step. Most humans had unappealing bone structure to the Symenestra who appreciated the very features most humans associated with ill-health; pale skin, a narrow long face, prominent bone structure to the point of appearing stone-like. Lars was the classic human specimen Selene found so unappealing, her eyes rolling slightly as she noted his heavy footfalls and lack of grace.

He was a tree of a man, and she doubted there was much that could fell him. Smirking to herself, she imagined him in a forest of people knocking others over as he fell. TIMBER! Wouldn’t want to be around when he falls in love. Her mind populated the image with his children, sprouting from his feet like saplings or sitting on his arms like colourful parrots.

“How do you like Syka, Selene?” He had slowed when she had fallen behind, realizing that with only one leg and in her condition she was struggling to keep up.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him at any of the gatherings, even the heat of day. I wonder if he gets much rest when so much of the development falls to him. “It’s friendly, warmer in temperature and temperament than I anticipated I admit. I’m fond of the patience everyone has going about their tasks, despite the amount of work there is to do. Earlier, I was helping weave a fence around a garden to keep the wind from blowing the soil away and the owner came outside to garden while I worked and offered me refreshment when it started to get hot. She wasn’t in any rush, “There’s always another fence to build, always another basket to weave, you’ll never catch up so why rush and exhaust yourself?”” She mimicked the words of wisdom they woman had uttered with a tone to suggest they were an old proverb (although perhaps the woman just thought highly of her own words).

“Mmm…I can’t say I’m as fond, it can be frustrating to watch people lounge when you have a back breaking day ahead of you. But, the community has certainly learned to operate as a unit. No one can do all the roles needed for survival here. Best, we all do our own roles to support everyone else. There’s no real use for money if we can’t acquire food, have shelter, or clothes.” He nodded at her, acknowledging the value of her role. Well that’s a good sign. If someone I’ve never met can acknowledge the importance of my role, that’s one step towards acceptance.

“What’s your day to day like?” She enquired, pushing aside the green fronds of a low hanging palm tree as they walked the path towards the sawmill. She hadn’t been to this area of Syka and was watching the few buildings fall behind them as they passed the pools.

“Sometimes my day is mostly helping repair buildings, sometimes it’s helping construct more bungalows, ranchos or other structures. Typically it’s keeping the mill in good working condition and felling, and cutting trees for construction efforts. With the influx of people and more businesses opening up there’s been a huge increase in demand. I wouldn’t be able to keep up if it weren’t for Ines, she’s a witch who helps me take care of the Ashta,” He talked plainly and without gesturing or elaboration.

“Well that explains why you aren’t dressed like anyone else,” Selene smirked, eyeing him, “I’m not sure how you don’t keel over from the heat,”

He laughed politely, “Yes well, it’s certainly uncomfortable but working with wood is dangerous and you have to keep covered from head to toe to protect yourself from abrasions.”

“Abrasians?” Selene wasn’t familiar with the word in common.

“Uhm…bruises, or scratches.”

“Ah. So what or who are the Ashta? What do you mean Ines is a witch?”
“You’re in for a treat if you haven’t seen the Ashta yet. They’re like giant grey hairless dogs, but they have very long noses and big ears. They help us drag logs, move construction or other heavy materials.” He answered, but stopped before elaborating on Ines.

He wouldn’t have mentioned it if it was private. If it’s common knowledge, why would he hesitate to answer? “And a witch?” She pressed, highlighting her interest in the role rather than individual to head off any concerns he might have about sharing personal information. Her question was received with silence as he seemed to be mulling the situation over.

“A witch is someone marked by Caiyha, Goddess of the natural world. She’s a guardian, tasked by the goddess to care for animals.” He finally relayed. As she was watching him so closely, Selene did not miss his glance at her fangs. Oh. He’s worried about telling me about a person whose job it is to guard the animals I might feed on. That’s well worth considering. I’m not about to live as a vegetarian, but I’ll have to be careful about what I choose to feed on. I only have another few moons to live, and I can’t risk her. She thought, running her fingers over her large stomach.

“What a noble calling,” She lied, having no particular affection for animals. Focusing solely on the conversation, her stump caught on a root and she tumbled forward gracelessly. Closing her eyes, body tense with the panic that she could injure herself, she covered her stomach to the impact and managed to tuck her shoulder, allowing her to narrowly avoid falling on her stomach.

“Are you okay?!” He exclaimed, rushing to lean down to help her up. Selene scanned her body mutely, and finding herself only shaken, she nodded slowly.

“Oh yes, thank you,” She took his arm and allowed herself to be lifted upright, “I’m such a klutz with this enormous belly. You grow up in a cave where you and every other creature can crawl upside down and up vertical walls, and you forget what falling feels like,” She had tumbled right as they were entering the area cleared around the sawmill. She rarely spoke about Kalinor, afraid to remind everyone what she was, as if her skin and fangs weren’t a constant reminder. Everyone seemed to embrace her, the more human she prescribed herself to be – any demonstrations of her Sym-ness making Sykans cringe away from her. She had learned that at the BBQ; her taste in food and the way she climbed was all highly suspicious.

The sawmill was perched in a well cleared area, meadow-like compared to the sandiness of the areas Selene was more familiar with. An idyllic stream sidled up against the building, mingling intimately with the building. Piles of food line one edge and seemingly haphazardly about the area, tarped at angles to allow water to flow off them instead of pooling. The machinery was large, impressive and utter nonsense to Selene. They walked through the area to the massive pile of sawdust.

“When people come to pick up some sawdust, they usually use these bags to carry them back to their home.” He said, picking up two bags of different sizes and handing them to Selene. Selene ran her hands over the rough texture, reviewing the weave and design. They’re simple rectangular bags with a woven rope drawstring at the top I’m not sure what material this is...put perhaps they have it at the Mercantile or I could make an alternative. She wondered, flipping them inside out to see how they were built.

“Sure, I could make you some. In these two sizes? How many?”

“Yes, the five litre and the ten litre and I’d like at least five of each – ten if you can’t repair the others.”

“That’s a lot, it might take me a while to balance with the other requests I have, but I can bring them to you as I finish them so you have something to use,” She explained, not one to over commit a product.

“Sure, no rush. They’re helpful, but not urgent. Thank you. I’ll grab the ones needing repairing and bring them to you.” He ambled off a ways leaving Selene alone. Taking the time alone to wander around the equipment and examine the levers, gears, and other nameless equipment. Distracted by her curiosity Selene didn’t notice the large young calf creeping up behind her.

Setting the bags aside, she reached out to pry at the metal gears. Taking advantage of the opportunity, an agile grey trunk reached out nabbing one of the bags and trumpeted gleefully as it skittered off, sidestepping Selene’s outreached arm.

Word count: 1,977


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Selene Curare
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Cavernous Minds

Postby Ines on May 31st, 2020, 12:43 am

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