Open Twist under the sun

Marino takes some time to relax after a long morning.

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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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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 11th, 2020, 1:56 am

You are free to ask after them anytime. I intend to see them tonight, so I will be sure to mention it.” He said warmly. So far as he was concerned, he’d let the whole pod know what a friend she’d been to the Svefra. An telling his cousins would do just that, as word spread fast amongst the family.

He laughed with her as the subject turned to swimming. “Well, I and Twist will be there to make sure you don’t drown. I have a feeling you’ll pick it up quick cause you’ve already got the sea in your eyes.”

Then Selene came over, and he offered his arm for support but the gesture was missed as the woman seemed to be quite focused on Tazrae. Letting his arm drop only to bring it up again as Selene extended her hand, his brow crinkled in confusion at the odd interaction. He took her hand anyways and remembered too late the difference in physiology as her nails grazed his wrist, drawing a few beads of blood there. Withdrawing his hand, he bent over briefly to grasp and wipe a handful of sand over the scrape.

This is why he usually went for the arm instead of the hand when it came to her, though he’d quickly forgotten that having seen her open hand. Courtesy be damned. That was not the only reason though. Another was that his Lia had warned him of gripping her hand too tightly, and he took that to heart. He had never met a Symenestra before her, so he was very much at a loss as to her physiological needs. All that he had were the ghost stories that he only half believed and what his Lia had warned him against.

For the most part, she had been a reasonable passenger for the ride over, so he was inclined to believe the scrape was a mutual accident and so standing back up, he smiled slightly at Selene before looking back at Tazrae. The woman appeared to be very uncomfortable while speaking to Selene which was something he could sympathize with. It was something he’d had to get over during the first few weeks of her traveling with his pod. Of course he hadn’t needed to be near her during that having a ship of his own, but he was more curious than afraid of their new passenger. So he’d found reasons to bump into her during the trip. After all, there had been all kind of tales he’d hoped to debunk chatting with her, but they never got to that point.

At first it had been the sea sickness, and then it was the attention of the Lia. After that it was one excuse after another for why he hadn’t had an extended chat with her about her race. He knew though that the truth was that he felt uncomfortable trying to ask her about all the bad things that were said about her kind, as he knew what that was like to have an outsider through folk tales in your face. Maybe not nearly to the degree that she experienced it, but his experience was enough for him.

Of course, you are more than welcome” He replied to Selene’s acceptance, and started towards the docks. As she continued to speak, he wasn’t sure if she was talking to him or Tazrae, or maybe both. So he just listened quietly, while looking at his Casinor and thinking of ways that he might ease the tension he felt between Tazrae and Selene. However, hearing his tavan mentioned, he perked up, looking over at the women.

I think there was this once when I was first getting to know Twist where he stole my comb, but for the most part he behaves himself. Unless you are eating fish in front of him, then he can’t help himself but to splash you an take the fish.” He laughed, and bit his lower lip. It was unusual for outsiders, even ones that traveled with him to ask after his tavan. He supposed that was what made Selene different from just another traveler. On their long journey, she’d done her best to try and become a part of the pod, and her effort had been noticed. It was why they got along well enough.

Indeed” He said, feigning a grimace. I thought I’d seen sea sickness before, but..” He let it hang like that for a moment before he started laughing. Then he looked at Tazrae who was speaking now, and frowned slightly. He had an inkling about the sudden departure, but he repressed that for now. Instead, he smiled slightly, and waved at Tazrae. “Of course, hope to run into you again soon.” He said, turning back towards the ship after they’d made their farewell.

As he boarded the Casinor, he would turn towards Selene and help her on before going about the ship to start getting it ready to set sail. “Suppose it is just the two of us then, I hope you at a light lunch” He chided lightly as he let down the rigging.


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Last edited by Marino Oceangem on June 1st, 2020, 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Twist under the sun

Postby Selene Curare on May 11th, 2020, 3:50 am

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“Oh, sorry, sorry,” Selene apologized when the Svefra had to use sand to cover the nick her nails had caused. The Sym dithered, not daring to touch him in help should he flinch away after the careless error. Fortunately, it seemed that the nick was minor since he had quickly moved on, and soon they were walking towards the docks.

The previously light-hearted and flirtatious woman had been replaced with a terse restrained doppelganger. Even her welcome felt curt to the Sym, who breezed on doubling down on her efforts to ingratiate herself to the human woman. You’re doing well, she’s smiling and nodding, Selene decided her efforts were being rewarded. She continued to speak to the two, not noticing that neither were able to follow her efforts at small talk, so focused on walking successfully and on her words she had little attention to spare on anyone but herself. Even when the woman responded to her questions as curtly as she had welcomed the Sym, Selene blathered on heedlessly.

She listened with feigned interest to the story about Twist, the story creating an amusing image of the two dancing with identical heads of long brunette hair and fighting over a comb to brush their lush locks. It wasn’t that Selene didn’t enjoy an adorable story, but that she wasn’t particularly inclined to consider animals adorable. If the same story had been about a toddler, she’d have genuinely been enamoured and gushed. However, as it was she forced a giggle in the name of bonding. She’d had several enjoyable experiences on the journey from Lhavit to Syka involving the Tavan and had even fallen asleep cuddling one of the children’s otters after a night of particularly hard drinking – much to the chagrin of all those on board. But, she had never dared to pet one of the dolphins that followed the pod and found their splashing noisy, chaotic and messy. While she had brought up the Tavan, knowing how dear they were to the Svefra, her interest lay less with an infatuation with the creatures and more with the infatuation of a culture so intimately tied with the animals. What did it mean to have a culture where half of the participants were not even sentient? At least, sentient as Selene understood it, not yet understanding the unique sentience of animals.

When Marino grimaced, remembering the day, Selene laughed. A genuine laughed. It was a hollow breathy thing that left her in paroxysms of shaking. “You were quite the gentleman, you hardly laughed at all.[/i] She teased. The exchange was beginning to feel natural as the three strode along, Selene ignorant to the woman’s discomfort.

It was only when Tazrae excused herself from the activity she had previously sounded enthralled with that Selene realized she had imposed herself unsuccessfully upon the couple. She didn’t reply as the woman begged off with forced smiles and hopes to spend time with Marino again in the future. The angular severe face was more suited to the frown and pulled together brow the woman now wore. I couldn’t have been friendlier. Humans are so consumed by fear, they’re like little rabbits flocking for their little burrows Selene sneered, her lip curling distastefully as the woman kicked up sand in her effort to flee the Sym.

Petch! How am I supposed to befriend rabbits! Selene cursed, imagining Syka a warren full of rabbits, fleeing her presence as if she were a wolf – even when she brought them carrots. The Svefra had been frightened at first as well… Selene tried to reminder herself, But they hadn’t run away, they’d only asked more questions She argued. It escaped her that the Svefra were a comparatively worldly lot compared to most Mizaharians, and were used to having dangerous individuals on their ships. However, they operated with the safety net of a herd and the inability for the offender to escape at sea. Further, they had all lived in close quarters with Selene and been exposed to her daily for weeks before the edge had eased. Even those in the pod with their own boats had quickly relaxed, seeing the ease of those she was with daily. Here in Syka, there were no such helpful qualities.

As they walked toward the Casinor, Selene glanced at the Svefran man who’d been part of a family who’d accepted her with relative ease. “Why are the Sykans so different?” Selene broached, speaking candidly simply because he was Svefran and an Oceangem. He was treating her with the kind acceptance she had come to appreciate about the Svefra, it made allowances for her differences in the way the Sykans had not.

“With the Svefra, my not trying to kill you, seemed largely sufficient to convince you I meant no harm. In Syka each interaction has gone the way of Tazrae. Is it because death is so much closer here, with the threat of jungle so close? Is it the lack of worldliness that makes them more fearful?” Selene looked to the Svefra for insight into the predicament. They all seemed to have an understanding of the human condition, likely born from all their travel, which other cultures and people did not.

Selene followed the brunette, taking the offered hand mindful of her nails this time, and stumbling over the edge as she tried to wiggle her wooden leg clear of the railing. “Mm, this one takes up my whole stomach nowadays, not a lot of room for a meal,” She stroked her belly affectionately as she moved to a safe seating area out of the way of the Svefra. She hoped around on the peg leg, loosening the ribbon that held the hat on her head to let it dangle down her back, and tying the dress up above her knees so she could move more freely once the water inevitably soaked her dress, readying herself for the work.

“What can I do to help?” Selene offered, extending her open palms for his instruction. Selene followed his instruction meticulously, with the careful and patient mindfulness born of her weaving. A dropped stitch, missed dip, forgotten knot could be corrected if found immediately but if missed could ruin month’s work. Asking questions when necessary, they were soon skittering over the waves.

Selene stretched her head over the side of the boat, eyes blurring and filling with water as the wind whipped them from her eyes. How sentimental! She realized, recognizing the slithering pain in her chest as tendrils of homesickness. For the sea. Peculiar.

word count: 1,090

OOC: Awe, tootles Taz. See you later in Syka!

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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 11th, 2020, 6:34 am

Marino waved away her worries over the nick, sparing no more thought to it himself. It was a minor thing and a careless mistake on his part. He should have remembered about the nails. Instead, he focused more on making sure that Selene was comfortable. She may have been a Symenestra, but she was also pregnant and had that leg to deal with. So he endeavored to be available to her if she needed any help getting about.

As he did so, he made sure to try and keep up with the conversation that was going. “I was just there to see if you made a mess to clean up.” He said chidingly with a smile.

Then Tazrae left, and he wore a more thoughtful expression now as they settled into a new groove. He did not respond immediately to what Selene had to say about the woman’s departure, and instead simply listened till she got what she had in her out. “Laviku let you travel across his domain after the petition was made. That was enough for me and my kin. I suppose these Sykan’s have their own test, though the woman was new here, like yourself.” He said all of this plainly, slowly picking his way around the words. “I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Now boarding the Casinor, Marino helped Selene onto the deck gingerly before going over to the lines. Looking back at Selene, he said. “First, you remember the boom?” He asked gesturing to the large, heavy bar of wood attached to the mainsail. “Watch it up here with me. It moves fast, and will hurt.” He hesitated, but continued on, gesturing her over. “Grab this, and pull on it with me.” He said handing her one end of the line while grabbing it with her. His lack of practice with common, and inexperience teaching held him back here, but he hoped that she would get something out of what he had to do next.

Together they pulled at the halyard, hoisting up the mainsail, before he took the line and quickly looped it over a cleat. Making sure the rope was secure, he next took hold of the sheet, and pulled down the boom, widening the shape of the sail. Belatedly, he realized he hadn’t been explaining what any of these lines where, but he figured once he’d gotten the hard work out of the way he could try to explain well enough. Right now he needed to work quickly to make sure they got off to a smooth start.

After making sure they were unsecured from the docks, he got behind the wheel and guided it out towards the open water, tampering with the lines occasionally to respond to the changes in the wind. When finally they were safely underway in open water, he allowed himself to slow down and talk with Selene, though he did occasionally look up to make sure they were on course to join up with the pod. “Sorry, its always crazy starting out. Do you have any questions?


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Last edited by Marino Oceangem on June 1st, 2020, 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Twist under the sun

Postby Selene Curare on May 11th, 2020, 3:26 pm

Image



Their own test… Selene pondered, rolling the thought around in her mouth like a hard candy hiding the caramel inside, I’ll have to look out for signs of a test, perhaps Tazrae ran because I’d failed a test I hadn’t identified, The Svefra spoke carefully and slowly, Selene wondered if it was an artifact of thinking carefully about her question or an effort to be politically correct in his response. However, she had little time to dwell as she focused on balancing herself on the swaying planks beneath her feet.

Boom Selene repeated in her head, eyeing the shivering horizontal wood held in place by a line of rope. The bar was attached to the long vertical rod and mainsail, the iconic white clouds one could see on the horizon. They are like man-made clouds, blown around on Zulrav’s whim. Selene moved toward Marino, attending to his gesture, and hauled on the rope at his command. His biceps and back bulged with muscles hardened by this life-long task, her own tensed meekly unsure of themselves. As they hauled the long white furl of cloth was brought to life. Drawing itself upright, like a creature awakening, the wind snapped it tight immediately the boom rushing across the deck where her head had previously been to orient itself with the wind.

“I think that’s the thing I’ve come to appreciate most while being at sea with you all; inanimate objects come to life at sea.” Selene reflected. The cloth created by the Sym was the closest relative to her experience of this seemingly living fabric. She watched as he hoisted, pulled, looped and caressed the boat into obedience, wondering all the while what he was doing. It had been continuously and firmly established that the jungle was too dangerous for her to go into unescorted, and instead she had resorted largely to hunters leftovers and the many fruit trees growing near the Syka common for her food. She knew she would rapidly need another source of sustenance, before any Sykans noticed and resented her lack of self-sufficiency. Having been at sea for over a hundred days before Syka, it almost felt more like home than her own bungalow, and it seemed only fitting that she try her hand at fishing to maintain herself.

Next the Svefra undid several lines at both the front and back of the boat, moving quickly as he was used to operating the boat alone. And with them undone the ship began to tack with the wind. Several adjustments later and they were gliding smoothly towards open water.

“An endless sea of them,” Selene chuckled, “How does the mast stay up so securely? It looks so fragile up there all alone. Also, how did you control the…Boom, was it called? To get us moving sideways away from the dock? Do you name all the ropes to communicate which ones to pull? What were the ones you were pulling called?” Selene glanced at the steps that led into the belly of the boat, “You live here as well right? What’s it like – do you have to constantly adjust your sails? How do you cook?” Selene asked each question slowly and patiently, not wanting to miss the answer to one question in her excitement to ask the follow-up.

As she eased into the Svefra’s everyday life, Selene reflected on the Svefran culture and their disregard for colonization or establishment as it was understood by Selene. “The Oceangems are such a lovely hardy family, you must feel so proud and honoured to be a part of them.” She broached, “Is there a famous Oceangem, or a hero of yours?” The Svefra hadn’t seemed thrilled with her earlier comments comparing the Svefra to the Sykans and Selene didn’t want to pry too intimately into the life or opinion of someone who might be just looking to enjoy a relaxing afternoon. So she broached the personal question carefully, framing the question in two parts so that the Svefra could avoid the personal question by instead discussing the history of his people if he chose to.

word count: 682


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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 11th, 2020, 5:35 pm

Marino only nodded to the half heard sentiment as adjusted the foot of the sail. His mind went to a simpler place while he was working on the lines. He wanted the sail flat since the wind was only a gentle breeze right now. After double checking his sheet line, he went back to the aft to steer them the rest of the way to the pod which wouldn’t be too long.

With the hard part out of the way, he relaxed behind the wheel, and turned to regard Selene. “It is as you say. A lot of lines keep everything up. So long as you remember the cleat.” He said, walking from behind the wheel for a moment to gesture at an iron cleat on the side of the boat with a line wrapped up around it. Going back behind the wheel, he searched for the words in common that she was asking for, eventually saying. “Yes, names. It is halyard for the sail, and sheet for the boom.” Then adjusting the tiller slightly, he set their course to come alongside the pod that was now in view ahead of them.

I do live here. I make sure it is still when I’m sleeping or otherwise busy.” Rather belatedly, he realized in all of this time he hadn’t gotten dressed in all this time on the boat. “I do not cook however, I eat with my family.” As he spoke, he walked down the port side, and picked up a pair of breeches he’d been wearing earlier, pulling them on quickly before walking back up to her. “Sorry. I completely forgot when we came back on the boat, and Diondra, the Lia of the Oceangems is the most important. She has lived a long life, and is full of wisdom.

Just then there came a splash off starboard and the nasally call of Twist as he did a double flip out of the water before splashing back into the water. Grinning, Marino took his cue, cutting the sail back as he maneuvered the Casinor to drift in slowly next to the rest of this ships in the pod which weren’t far now. Twist for his part paced along side the vessel while doing his flips. It was clear he was trying to get either of them to pay attention to him as he occasionally whined at them before diving again. “I’ve got some dried fish below if you want to feed him” Marino said in a distracted ton, occupied with the lines.

Finally when they were close he gave the halyard some slack, and adjusted the sheet line before he worked on securing the mainsail. Then with that done, he dumped the anchor over the side, and watched as the boom swung back into place. Looking up at Selene, he smiled. “So, how about that swim?


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Last edited by Marino Oceangem on June 1st, 2020, 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Twist under the sun

Postby Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 8:57 pm

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The little sailboat was skipping up to the other floating white triangles like a child joining their friends. Selene nodded along as the Svefra distractedly answered her questions, searching for the lines he was referencing and only seeing a tangle of ropes. She nodded along anyway, gripping the edge of the wood for balance. Marino seemed perfectly at ease on the boat, pulling lines and adjusting instruments deftly. Selene smiled to herself as she watched, it was like watching a weaver working on a larger-than-life loom. He continued to tweak instruments as they conversed, drawing them closer to the cluster of sails.

When Marino mentioned keeping the boat still when he was sleeping, Selene had to stifle a laugh. “Still is a relative term if there ever was one. I remember falling out of my bunk more than once when the waves made the boat…” She didn’t have the words, so instead wobbled her hand in the air demonstrably.

“Oh? Well that explains Pelly’s annoyance when I’m not home for dinner,” Selene realized, assuming that the meals taken together were largely due to the close quarters of the ship than a choice. I suppose it makes sense that it would become comforting if that’s all you’d known Selene marvelled once again about the Svefra. They had rarely eaten together at home, given that most of their food was digested by their own venom it was a largely solitary activity in her family. Pelly was the granddaughter of the Lia, and Selene’s closest friend. A new mother with a 5 month old boy, Crane, Pelly had taken to staying with Selene in the bungalow. Pelly had recently harangued the Sym for not showing up for dinner religiously.

Selene watched the Svefra shrug into some breeches and chuckled in response, “No sorry, I wouldn’t have anywhere to look away if I hadn’t learned to accept it by now.” Selene was distracted from responding to Marino’s next words by the shower of raindrops from Twists double flip. Selene laughed into the cool relief of the water and stood to move towards where the creature had disappeared beneath surface. The goofiness of the Tavan the wind in their mouth as they beamed white at his antics.

Selene left Marino to navigate the ship so as not to disturb his concentration and instead came to Twists beck and call. Selene watched as the dolphin twisted in the air before disappearing again, Like a game of peek-a-boo Selene realized and each time Twist leapt she ducked down as if to hide herself and each time he was beneath the surface she leaned over the edge of the ship looking down for him. “Peek-a-boo!” She squealed at the dolphin when he didn’t reappear immediately. “Peek-a-boo?” She queried, leaning further only to squeal with surprise when his tail appeared, slapping the surface to spray her with water.

Selene stumbled backwards and wiped the water from her face, smearing the kohl around her eyes so that black smears dripped down her cheeks, “I would love to,” She replied briefly not aware of her ruined make-up I wonder if he’ll play with it like Crane does? How do they eat? How do I feed him without getting bit? She wondered, but Marino seemed distracted so she held off on the questions and looked around for the entrance to the cabin. As she descended the steps, she looked around the home wondering how he kept himself and what it would tell her about him. She hesitated, glancing at the steps that led back up to the deck, I’ve always wondered what it’s like in these little personal boats.... Slowly and hesitantly she opened a few cabinets, under the guise of looking for the dried fish, making note of personal touches and insight into the boat life.

Eventually finding what she assumed to be dried fish chunks from the smell, she ascended back to the deck. They were very close to the other Svefra now and Marino was dropping a heavy weight into the water that made the boat bob side-to-side. Selene grabbed whatever was close-by to steady herself as she emerged.

“I found it. I think?” She announced, flushing slightly from the adrenaline of investigating his home without his knowing.

“In this heat, I can think of nothing better. Except…I’ve never swam before and with this,” she gestured at her stomach, “and this,” she added, gesturing at her wooden stump, “I was a touch nervous to flop around in front of too many people,” She peered over the edge of the boat, “Would Twist let me hold onto him? If I fed him some dried fish?” This afternoon is turning into such a joy, I’ll have to make something for Marino as a thank-you, and maybe dry some fish for Twist, She added when the dolphin chirped at them.

Sitting on the edge of the boat she swung her legs over the edge, perched precariously on the edge. Undoing the leather straps that held the wooden stump onto her leg she dropped it inside the boat. The end of her leg was heavily calloused from rubbing against the wooden stump. With the other leg she reached out grazing her toes over the waters surface. “Eep! Cold!” She shivered. Untying the ribbon fastening the hat to her and drawing the dress over her head she dropped them into the ship, leaving them in a disorganized heap. Beneath the dress was the traditional Symenestran undergarment, a long red narrow fabric that was wound up and down her skeletally thin body. What was once a stretched grey fabric over her bones was now burned an unhealthy red and several painful sunburn blisters covered the bare parts of her back and shoulders. She undid the pins holding her hair into its bun and her black hair tumbled down her shoulders down the middle of her back, skipping over each spine knob.

Holding the dried fish in her mouth she placed her hands on the edge of the boat she rotated and eased herself off the edge of the boat, her weight so inconsequential the boat hardly tipped under it. Facing the boat and holding the edge she slowly lowered her legs, thighs, and eventually her hips into the water as she extended her arms. Letting go with one hand she placed the other against the hull of the ship feeling her skin tingle as it reached out and grabbed the wood with its miniscule hooks.

Selene lowered herself the rest of the way into the water, using one hand flat against the hull to hold herself out of the water. The cold water was delicious on her back, making her sigh with relief as the constant pain from the burns was eased by the water. “Mmm...thank god,” She half moaned with relief and tipped her head back letting cold water soothe her burnt scalp. A web of long black hair framed her face.

“Come here Twist! Come here!” She chirped after she had taken the fish out of her mouth. She licked the fishy salt from her lips with a grimace.

“How do I feed him without getting bitten? Can I make him do a trick? I’m never quite sure if Tavan are more like children or pets.” She admitted.

Word Count: 1,215

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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 14th, 2020, 11:47 pm

Marino wore a wry smile at the gesture. “Your body just needs more time. It feels unnatural to sleep without the movements of the sea.” He chuckled as he said it, making it clear that he was just teasing her. She wasn’t the only one to have been tossed out of her bed before. The sea could be rough on a small boat, and more than once he’d been roused by a particularly strong swell.

His eybrow quirked up at the mention of Pelly. He hadn’t realized they’d kept in contact, but he supposed that made sense. They had been spending a lot of time together of late. “That sounds like Pelly.” Then after thinking about it for a moment, asked. “How do they have dinners where you are from?” He was genuinely curious. Eating with family was an integral part of his life, and he had a hard time imagining himself doing differently.

When Twist came, it made him feel a lot more comfortable about everything. From his impromptu nap on the beech to his fumbling attempts to show off sailing to Selene. Twist might do this every time he started sailing on the water, but he never got tired of watching him. His tavan was his best friend and watching him play just made him want to get into the water quickly. As he worked to get them in the right spot, he enjoyed watching Selene play with Twist out of the corner of his eye. Mostly though, he was focused on stopping the ship so they could go for a swim, so he didn’t notice her slip into the cabin.

Inside she would see that while the floor was clear, the bed was a mess. At the head was a pile of fishing gear that leaned against the nook of the wall the bed was tucked into. Across the middle the bed was drapped a hammock, and at the foot were his packs. His back pack was tied off, but his rucksack hung wide open and inside she could see some of the dried fish he’d been snacking on this morning. A half spear leaned against the port side wall, gathering dust.

Turning away from the anchor, he looked briefly surprised before remembering what they had spoken of not long ago. “That’ll work” He said with a grin, then went with Selene to stand to look over the side. Twist clicked happily, anticipating their arrival. Scratching his chin while considering her question for a moment. “I think so, I can ask him while we’re in the water.” He’d never had an outsider get close enough enough to Twist though he was affectionate enough with the children of the pod. The symenestra woman didn’t look like she weighed much so as long as she was careful with her claws, he didn’t see a problem.

He frowned when he look at her back, and reached out towards her, stopping before he touched her shoulder. “I think my mother knows someone with a salve for that.” He said fretfully, and chewed on his lip thoughtfully. “I’ll ask her tonight for you, or maybe Pelly knows someone?” Marino added hesitantly. He hadn’t dealt with sunburn like this before, and didn’t know the first thing about dealing with it on his own. What he did know is that it looked frightfully painful.

Because of that, he waited on baited breath as she made her way down and was amazed as her hand seemed to stick to the side of the hull. Briefly forgetting his worry for her sunburn, he called down. “That is quite the trick! I would love you to show me that some time.” It was a marvel to watch her cling to the side so easily. Like nothing he’d ever seen. For several long moments he just stared mouth agape while Twist was more occupied with he fish in her hand as he keep peeking at her from the water but keeping his distance.

When Selene spoke again though, Marino snapped out of it, and looked from her to Twist. “Don’t worry, Twist won’t bite. He might like tricks but he’s smart about it.” He laughed, before shrugging off his breeches and jumping into the water. It was so much better swimming without them, and besides she said she didn’t mind earlier, didn’t she? Resurfacing, he belated realized he’d splashed her coming down, and grinned hesitantly. “Sorry” He said while keeping himself afloat with smooth arcs of his hands, his feet occasionally kicking beneath him. Looking over at Twist, he hummed, and Twist came gliding over under the water, coming up to nuzzle him under the chin.

She’s got some fish for you Twist. Why don’t you go say hi.” He said, after stroking gently down the side of his dorsal fin. “Such a pretty boy” He whispered before Twist dipped into the water and resurfaced beside Selene. “Just open up your hand so he can take it, he won’t bite I promise.” He said as he couldn’t actually see what her hand was doing with Twist blocking his view. When she did that, Twist would gingerly take the dried fish from her before suddenly swimming off. If Selene looked over at him, he would just hold up a finger. A few moments after taking the fish, he’d come up beside her again, his head close to hers at he let off a long series of clicks at her. If she touched him, he’d click louder and nuzzle against her touch. He’d even carry her wait for a little while, but then when he started showing signs of restlessness at the unfamiliar touch, Marino would swim over towards them.

Extending an arm towards her, he said. “Ready to begin your lesson? I think Twist wants to show off with some more tricks.

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Last edited by Marino Oceangem on June 1st, 2020, 3:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Twist under the sun

Postby Selene Curare on May 17th, 2020, 2:03 pm

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Marino’s chuckle was a delightfully deep tickle in his throat that made Selene smile, It’s such an easy relief to spend time with any of the Svefra. Effortless. “I’m sure it does, Pelly spends every night kicking and thrashing, as if she’s trying to make up for the stillness of the bed. I just might have to weave her a hammock and rock her to sleep like a wee babe at this rate.” She glanced through her sparse eyelashes hesitating, she wasn’t sure Pelly had told her pod that she planned to stay in Syka yet and she didn’t want to be the one to reveal her secret.

Instead, she thought to ask an open ended question that would help let her know if Marino knew Pelly’s intentions already. “Do you think a Svefra could ever get used to sleeping on shore?” And selfishly added, “Would you ever stay in Syka? I mean, can a Svefra ever stay still?” Her question had less to do with Marino and more to do with wondering how the Oceangems would react to Pelly choosing not to continue on with them. How much is she giving up?

Selene watched Marino raise an eyebrow, she assumed in amusement at Pelly’s actions, “Oh, does she mother everyone that way?” She asked rhetorically, “For a sunshine girl, she’s awful good at scolding.” If he knows Pelly, maybe he knows what happened to Crane’s dad. It was something Pelly had never volunteered, and Selene didn’t like to pry. At least to someone’s face.

“Pelly must be awful sad not have Crane’s dad around,” Selene broached, lies slipping through the fanged gap in her teeth more easily than she perhaps acknowledged, “What did you think of him? I was so close to my father, I can’t imagine having grown up without him. Although, I guess Crane has Pelly, and she’s got enough energy to play a father as well.” Selene shared, disguising the subtle interrogation with a rushed spill of her own family-life and crossed her fingers, hoping it sounded subtle and inoffensive.

When Marino asked more about her own life she hesitated to share. It was reflex to keep the information to herself, and she had only felt the inclination to share about her relationship with her father to extract information from him. What can I say without making him wary that a predator sits in his boat, she fretted with paranoia. I could tell him that we eat whenever we’re hungry and it doesn’t have the same ceremony as the Svefra… Selene wondered at the implications of telling him that, But…that’s what animals do, will he think us less sentient and human if we feed on our own whims? Perhaps I can tell him we eat many small meals, and highlight our civilized behaviour in another way…. Selene decided she needed to speak quickly or the silence would linger too long.

“Our digestive systems are delicate so we can only eat liquefied meals. We have to eat several small meals a day, instead of one or two large ones, so we aren’t typically very ceremonious about our meals. My family’s morning routine was more like your family meals. Every morning my father, sisters and I would have a meditative acrobatic session. It was always inspired by one of our previous days or dreams…That’s when we would…discus…our previous day.” In her mind’s eye she saw the four of them stretching their palms upwards before tilting forward on one leg. They would imagine lines of thread coming from their fingertips and toes pulling them in opposite directions. She saw them working through the acrobatics before they sat quietly beside each other meditating in silence. Eventually they would reach out into each other’s mind, morphing and melding each other’s emotions and thoughts.

_

In the cabin Selene reviewed the mussed bed and piled clothing. She was surprised to see the place in such disarray. Hm…I hadn’t taken him to make such a snake den. The blankets like piles of shed skin. At the head of the bed Selene recognized the fishing rod and tackle box, but none of the other equipment. Besides the fussed bed everything looked how Selene would have expected it. She picked at the hammock curious why he would have a hammock when he would be sleeping in his boat. Otherwise there were no personal sentiments and Selene wondered why there were no bits and bobs from the places he’d traveled or other personal affects.

Maybe he’s a minimalist? Or maybe he doesn’t have many close friends… She tried to rationalize the surprisingly sparse interior.

_

Following his gaze to the sunburn on her back she winced at the sight, “It’s been terribly hard on my skin to spend so much time in the sun. The hat has helped keep my face from burning, but the sun seems to burn through my clothes. A salve would be lovely, I was going to go to the Panacea tonight and see if he had anything to help. Do you never burn?” Marino was tanned and Selene wondered if that was enough to keep him unburnt, or if there was a Svefran secret to the tanned bodies.

“The cold water helps, although the salt burns a touch,” She replied to the lines of concern forming on Marino’s face. She breathed the concern in deeply, it was an expression glued to her father’s face (and with three daughters to care for it made sense and had made her feel loved), but one she hadn’t had the joy of seeing on anyone else’s face but Pelly’s since leaving Lhavit.

_

Selene nodded, “Quite, I imagine it shouldn’t be that hard for you to learn to do – I’ve seen Svefra so nimble on the ropes, beams and planks I’d swear they knew how to do it.” Selene knew that only the Symenestra had been known to defy gravity the way they did, but she couldn’t understand how else the Svefra could leap and climb on the ships like they did and wondered if it, like so many other things she was learning or had assumed about the world, was wrong.

The water buoyed her up, making it easy for her to use the boat to keep herself from sinking into the water. As she was about to ask the Svefra some more questions he had disappeared from the edge of the boat before catapulting himself off the edge a few moments later. A flash of tanned skin whistled through the air, a black silhouette against the sun before he disappeared beneath the surface sending a cold splash over Selene’s face. The kohl around her eyes had mostly washed away with this last splash and she used her free hand to wipe the droplets blinding her.

She grinned back at the Svefra, “So many apologies, why are you so apologetic?” Chuckling she let herself lean back so that her legs floated up in front of her and she kicked them to throw water back over the Svefra. She was clumsy and almost lost contact with the boat in her thrashing, with her knees bent she didn’t throw up as much water as the Svefran children she’d seen use this antic, but still managed to spray the Svefra. Letting her legs sink she laughed, snorting on the water, “Not sorry,” She replied and stuck her tongue out as she did when she splashed Crane to make him laugh.

_

Twist butted up against the Svefra, making him bob like a toy in the water and Selene realized how strong the creature was. “Do you know any Svefran myths about Dolphins?” Selene asked, watching the grey form move through the water without any obvious propulsion. Twist had a great spooky grin, sharp teeth and black eyes. He reminded Selene of a horror story from her childhood about a grey grinning clown killer that juggled heads and turned water into blood. He chittered at her when Marino reminded Twist that she had food and his voice sounded eerily like a clowns giggle.

As Twist bobbed towards Selene at Marino’s suggestion, Selene shrunk towards the boat and extended her free hand towards the dolphin – offering the food while staying as far away as she could. Twist seemed to sense her discomfort, or was unsure himself of the newcomers presence but the grey clown slowly snatched the food from her hand before darting away. His skin was rubbery and smooth against her hand making Selene gasp in surprise, she had expected it to be slimy like a salamander.

As Marino swam towards her, she looked after Twist. From the ship they had looked like playful frolicking children, but here in the water where one could appreciate their size and power they seemed much more malevolent. Selene looked towards Marino, determined not to scare herself with children’s fright tales and smiled. He moved with gentle grace through the waves, moving with the same invisible propulsion that Twist had used to glide along.

“Well…If Pelly is going to call me an Oceangem, I had better be ready. She’s going to be so delighted when I surprise her with this!” She gushed, reaching out towards Marino’s arm and clasping it, careful with her nails, let go of the boat and placed her trust in the Svefran.

“Oh regale us Hanswurst,” She adds, not knowing the common word for clown.

Word count: 1,567


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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 17th, 2020, 6:54 pm

Marino knit his brow. It was strange to think of Pelly roughing it on the shore with her son. Though he didn’t know her well, he worried for the child that was currently away from the pod that raised him. Listening to Selene speak of her, he guessed that they were close friends so maybe that was why Pelly was spending so much time apart from the pod. To help Selene get settled and say their goodbyes.

Selene seemed to mull over something, drawing him out of his thoughts. Had he been making a face? But no, apparently it had been a question, or more accurately a series of questions that made him wonder how much she knew of his plans. Arching an eyebrow, he spoke after considering his words very carefully for a chime.

It is uncommon.” He put delicately, continuing. “Sometimes there is good reason for it, and it happens.” As he spoke he put extra emphasis on it. “As for myself, I intend on staying for awhile, but aboard the Seasilk of course.” There was more to it than that of course, but he didn’t feel like getting into the sordid tales of Svefra separated from their pods. Besides, his decision was not like that. He was still a part of his pod while he remained here. While his mothers did not understand his decision, she promised to keep in touch with the avikki when the pod left for the open sea once more.

Coming back onto the subject of Pelly, he was a little confused with the turns in conversation. Had Pelly shared something about the Svefra that Selene was going off of? With the mood now somber, Marino felt suddenly watchful. It was not a feeling he liked, being so used to being open and honest with everyone. However, with the focus of the conversation so close to home, he couldn’t move from the feeling. Like before, he was very particular about his phrasing when he responded to her.

We all miss him, but do not worry for Crane. He has many fathers and mothers in the pod. As for Pelly, she will find love again.

When he posed a question to her in return, he saw a similar hesitance as to before. He did not think anything of it though as this was how Selene normally comported herself. It was in her nature to hold things back, just as it was in a Svefra’s blood to withhold things from outsiders. He’d tried to be different in this regard but conversations like this made it hard. There was a limit to how far he could go before it started to feel like he was betraying his race. Even to a friend.

He was only partly keeping up as she then divulged her eating habits. Words like liquid meals, and meditative acrobatics confused him, but he suddenly wasn’t in the mood to be inquisitive right now. Instead, he blithely went along with what she was saying until it was time to go below decks.

*****

Marino managed to snap out of his funk when he saw the burns on her exposed flesh. Part of him wanted to reach out and touch it, though he resisted that urge. “No. Maybe a little warm to the touch, but nothing like this.” He said gesturing towards her back. “That fair skin is not doing you any favors.

*****

He gave her a curious look, but said nothing. There wasn’t a Svefra in his pod who could do what she did. It defied all logic seeing her cling to the side as easily as if she was bound there by ropes. His initial impulse was to press her for answers, however that didn’t seem to be a good idea. He was her host right now, and they were here for fun.

With that in mind, he plunged into the water. It felt great to be in the water again, and after a little splash fight with Selene he swam over close to the side of the ship. “Well, they are very smart so I could see them in a tale involving a great treasure. But know, I’m afraid there isn’t much in the way of entertaining stories surrounding our sea friend here.” Twist, basking in the attention swam over slowly. Marino grinned at the way Selene interacted with his tavan. It was not quite so awkward as he had been expecting.

Swimming closer to her, he didn’t think too much about her Oceangem comment. The way he understood her common, it sounded like some sort of inside joke between the two of them, and he was of the mind to let that pass without comment. Right now his focus was on helping Selene swim, and try not to get scratched twice in one day.

That said, he almost flinched when she grabbed him. Her long fingers felt unusual around his arm. He managed to keep a smile however as Selene’s excitement was infectious. When he was confident Selene had a good grip on him, he started swimming away from the boat with her in tow.

As he moved backwards, he leaned back into the water slightly, his arm doing a backwards stroke to move them through the water. Because he hadn’t spent much time swimming backwards they started circling for a bit before he started laying flat on the water and kicking out with his feet. “Try doing the same with your feet.” He said when finally he felt he was getting the hang of swimming with one arm. It wasn’t as difficult as he thought it would be, but perhaps that was because Selene was substantially lighter than he had expected. “If you can float on your back like I am right now, try that too. It will help make it easier for you to move through the water.” Then, glancing over at her, he looked to see how she was taking his advice so that while he tried to think of where they should go with this lesson next.


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Last edited by Marino Oceangem on June 1st, 2020, 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Twist under the sun

Postby Selene Curare on May 20th, 2020, 4:44 pm

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The exchange of information felt stilted and hesitant, but it was not an unfamiliar feeling for Selene whose only information from the outside world beyond Kalinor was from individuals brought to Kalinor from Gleanings. Althought treated well, it was not a wholly comfortable experience. If nothing else due to the unfamiliar environment of Kalinor and the inability for the individuals to wander freely given the architecture. However, as eager as Selene was to continue learning about the Svefran way of life, she let the conversation fall away in favour of the watery joy.

Selene felt her skin separate from the boat as Marino paddled away from the hull. Selene gulped as small swells rose and lowered her light frame and made her stomach roll. Oh no. Oh no. Focusing on her breathing she struggled not to panic as her legs moved through open sea. Selene gulped back salt water causing a fit of coughing but continued to let Marino drag her limp body through the water.

Each time her head threatened to dip below the waves Selene pulled on his forearm, slowing his backward crawl, and pulling her face free of the water. This must be what flying feels like. Feeling nothing around you. Having acclimatized to the water, the temperature was hardly noticeable and she felt like her own body was stretching out into the horizon. Is this what the Svefra always feel like? Like their limbs don’t end? She fantasized imagining a flattened Svefra slowly expanding, fingers tickling Kalinor and Syka while on foot sunned itself on the shores of Riverfall.

Fortunately, the Sym was lighter than a human and was kept above the water relatively easily even under the slow propulsion of Marino’s languid swimming. However, the heaving gentle swells also buffeted her body around and she wondered if their circling was her fault. She didn’t notice her hand tighten around his arm as she was buffeted around, revealing her anxiety.

His voice caught in the wind as he advised her and she glanced at his feet only to receive a face full of water. She could hardly see his feet beneath the water, flicking above the water only intermittently. She tried to use her legs like she would walking but her rhythm was much slower than Marinos and it was a struggling to bend her legs. Each step was a slog. Watching him more carefully she noticed that his legs splashed slightly each time they entered and exited the water while her heels barely cleared the surface. Trying to take bigger leaping steps, she imagined herself a dolphin, Leap through the waves! Graceful, arching she narrated, jerkily thrashing in the water.
She was going nowhere.

Selene watched Marino more closely, this time noticing that Marino wasn’t bending his legs. Oh! She realized with enthusiasm as she kicked her legs, It’s like a pair of scissors. Her legs cut the watery cloth finally propelling herself forward on her own slightly. She looked around for Twist, Does he swim this same way? She wondered, considering he didn’t have legs to thrash around.

“Float on my back?” Well, I guess as long as I don’t get my face wet She considered and holding his forearm tighter, trying not to claw him during her wiggles. She thrashed around trying to flip over in the water and eventually managed to roll onto her back by turning away from her arm. On her back, her air filled lungs kept her lifted out of the water much more easily and she tentatively relaxed into the positon. Marino’s arm gave her a strong sense of security and safety and now that her face was clear of the water spray she stared into the sunlit sky watching sky bunnies hop around the sky.

Marino was right, it was easier to propel herself this way, kicking at the water without having to force her legs through it. “You’re right, this is much easier. Can Twist swim like this? How do we know there isn’t anything dangerous in the water with us?” She asked, Marino’s lack of concern contagious.

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