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 9th, 2020, 12:31 am

65th of Spring..


It was early afternoon, and the water was warm. That was excuse enough for Marino to go for a swim with Twist. Twist was the name of his tavan, a Spinner dolphin that was a part of the family of dolphins that traveled with the Oceangem pod. His tavan, as always, was overjoyed to see him and proceeded to do flips to show his appreciation. When he’d finally settled down, he let Marino swim over to him and the Svefra stroked his side gently. Twist clicked with glee, and kept by his side as he treaded water for a moment, soaking in the view of the beach.

Syka was a truly beautiful place, and understandably a popular place to visit for his people. The founders of this settlement had made something great here, so it was only right to appreciate what had been done here. As a plus, the people here had always been fair with his, which was something that he deeply respected. It was amazing to think that what he was seeing was only a slice of it, as the Syka was spread all along the coast.

A tug on his hand distracted him from his deliberations, as Twist bumped his palm with his snout before darting off. Taking the hint, Marino ducked underneath the water, and looked for Twist swimming off towards his Casinor. The water was mildly irritating to his eyes but blinking helped as he slow stroked back up to the surface and started swimming towards the boat.

Spreading out his body so he was as close to the surface as possible, he brought his hands in front of him and stroked out to his sides while at the same time, he brought his legs up, thrusting out in time with his arms. Occasionally he’d duck under the water to try and peep out where Twist was, and he was usually a fair distance ahead of him. Slowly, but steadily though he was gaining on him, though of course it was Twists way of humoring him. Marino didn’t mind. This ‘play’ was a good exercise and a respite from the chores aboard the ship.

Finally, he made it to his little Casinor, and Twist popped out fifteen feet away, doing a quick spin before gracefully diving back into the water. His own diving was not so graceful. In fact it was non-existent, his few pitiful attempts having earned cackles from the dolphin.

Waving him over, Marino grinned and rubbed him across the snout and side as he swam by. Then, orienting towards the shore, he swam towards the beach with Twist following for a bit before he turned around to go back towards the pod where the rest of his family was hanging out. Twist clicked at him to let him know he was going and Marino switched to swimming backwards to give his Tavan a quick wave as he departed.

When he made it to the shore, he decided to lay down in the sand for a while to relax after the swim. He was naked with his clothes still aboard his ship, but thankfully Syka had a relaxed attitude about that. The warm sand was comfortable underneath him. Before he knew it, he started to doze off. He fought off the drowsiness for a bit, but ticks turned to chimes, and then he was asleep.


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Last edited by Marino Oceangem on June 1st, 2020, 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Twist under the sun

Postby Tazrae on May 10th, 2020, 12:23 am

Timestamp: 65th of Spring, 520 A.V.


Tazrae didn't want to admit it, but she was miserable. Construction wasn't her forte. The blisters on her hands had blisters. Her back ached. Her head spun. Measure twice, cut once, and even her arms hurt from working a hand saw. But she felt obligated to help Randal in his building. It was her Inn the man was working on. And while Syka was better populated these days than he had said it had been in the beginning, Taz knew that Randal wasn't happy with the size of his building crew. He'd welcomed her help, and she'd dutifully followed his directions and was learning skills she didn't know she was going to need to survive in Syka.

Sawing lumber was definitely not something high on her list. But yet she did it, learning in a sort of trial by fire. Randal showed her no deference for being a woman - which was something she'd been used to in Riverfall. Once she'd volunteered, he'd expected her to hammer nails, sew, glue, and lay flooring like the best of them. So she learned, and her body hurt because of it. Tazrae thought she'd been in good shape before coming to Riverfall, but now she knew differently.

And it was almost a guilty relief when Randal had called a halt to their work today early to deal with another emergency across the Settlement and had told Tazrae firmly to take the day off. The young woman was almost embarrassed by the tears of relief that rose in her eyes and in her quick smile of gratitude she'd given him before she'd fled to the beach. The crew showing up daily to the worksite of her Inn was something of a relief to the girl who was used to being surrounded by friends and family. Syka was lonely for her.

Tazrae had been so busy building that she hadn't managed to make many friends besides Randal and some of the men and women he brought around to help with her build. The crew gave her people to cook for, fuss over, and to generally ease her loneliness. And the crew was pleasantly surprised to find out she could cook fairly decently and made sure she had the fixings for lunch for them daily. And when they took days off, Tazrae would head to the Communal Kitchen to volunteer time to assist in meal prep or food preservation there. She still didn't know many folks, and longed for company to explore the beach with.

The girl had even contemplated asking James Chalvia to bring her a puppy back from Riverfall on his next trip... something that could get along well in the jungle and beach where they now resided.

All these thoughts swirled through her head as she jogged down the beach light-footed and happy to escape from what had proven to be a day cutting thatch for the roof and possibly hauling it up and down the ladder for those who were weaving the watertight weave for the roof. Her Inn was almost done, but then so too was her body. She'd hoped to find some shallow water to practice swimming in and perhaps some shade to wait out the hot spring weather. Tazrae carried a small woven bag that had a waterskin, several mangos, and some jerked pork that was dried for travel.

The girl wore a sundress, a floppy hat, and light woven sandals on her feet. The direction she traveled neatly concealed the nude man sleeping on the beach until she was almost upon him. Halting abruptly in the sand, the girl stifled a scream because for a moment because she thought she was looking at a body rather than a slumbering man. It would not be the first time she'd found something dead upon the beach in front of where her new home was being built... last week a dead shark had rolled ashore in the waves with huge teeth marks in its side as if another animal equal in its fierceness had fed off it.

Blinking, Tazrae crept closer. She noted immediately that his chest rose and fell, causing his shoulders to move slightly, though she could tell he was utterly relaxed. Glancing around, she noted a small log of driftwood that she sat herself down on quietly and watched him, thinking this through. A normal woman would have been perhaps afraid, but Tazrae grew up in Riverfall where almost all males were respectful of women and treated them with deference so she'd never truly been 'threatened' in her entire life by a lone male. Instead, she felt protective of him and gathered up a loose stick that was as long as a good quarterstaff to use in case something wild came along and decided to snack on the man while he slept.

If he showed any sign of stirring, she'd quietly clear her throat and ask him in a low unthreatening voice if he was feeling okay and if he needed any help.

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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 10th, 2020, 2:19 am

Marino stirred awake not long after, turning around in surprise when he heard the woman speak. His eyes quickly relaxed when they saw who the voice belong to, and he stood up, looking slightly chagrined. “Sorry,I..” Trying to grasp the words, he gestured at the ground, and then to himself before finally shrugging. “I was sleeping after a swim” As he spoke his hands mimed the waves in front of him before he put both clasped together under his chin. His eyes briefly flicked to his toes, before looking at the woman.

I am Marino, and you are?” He asked, his left hand extended with his palm open to the sky. If she accepted he’d give her hand a brief squeeze before stepping backwards. While she talked, he’d brush some of the excess sand off his back and thighs while casting the occasional glance backwards towards the water. Idly he wondered if she spoke Fratava which would certainly make this easier. His common wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t able to express himself like he wanted. Especially after getting off on awkward footing after having been caught napping. He hadn’t expected to feel that tired so quickly laying out there on the sand.

It is good to meet you” Marino would add after she had spoken, grinning and touching his collar bone briefly with his left hand. If she didn’t object, he would then sit on the sand to the right of her perch on the driftwood. Crossing his legs, he sat at an angle so they could comfortably keep talking without him having to directly face her. “How long have you lived here?” He asked, left hand sweeping across towards the settlement. Then, eyes looking back towards the sea, he scratched his chin. Wonder how long I dosed off, Marino mused. Couldn’t have been too long because the sun hadn’t changed much. Oh well, no sense worrying about whats past. He looked back at the woman and grinned.


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Twist under the sun

Postby Tazrae on May 10th, 2020, 1:50 pm

Amusement flickered across her open gaze as she studied him coming abruptly out of slumber to stand up. He was naked. She knew he'd been naked by the curve of his bare buttocks rising out of the sand, but the front view was a whole lot more startling to her. It wasn't something she was used too and she covered the momentary startlement of having him abruptly all there out in the open with a twist of her head and a deep burning brightness in her cheeks. She found something interesting to stare at about the level of her feet, even as her shoulders shook with amusement.

Tazrae wasn't sure if she was laughing at herself, her reaction, or him. She'd been here in Syka awhile now and she'd seen a lot of bare breasts, bare butts, and even a few men from the front. But this was a bit up close and personal. As the men worked on the Inn, they often stripped down to bare chests and wore bright colorful cotton and isuas shorts and nothing else. It wasn't a sight one witnessed in Riverfall. And while she was all of twenty-two years, she'd lived a sheltered life that hadn't involved being around any naked men unescorted.

But this was Syka, not Riverfall where such things would be frowned on. She swallowed, gathered courage, and rose to greet him with a smile.

"I'm Tazrae. I wandered over to make sure you weren't a corpse. I found a shark corpse two days ago on this same walk and it was fascinating. It had big rows of teeth marks in it like something as big as it was had been eating it. I came over to make sure something hadn't eaten you as well." She said as if to explain her small vigil over his prone slumbering form.

"I did not mean to interrupt." She said with a genuine grin. The smile lit her sky blue eyes and she leaned on the length of the stick, keeping it around just in case he turned out to not be as friendly as he appeared. Silently she was congratulating herself on ignoring his exposed genitalia, which she was proud to say she hadn't peered closer at yet. She wanted too though. Curiously, these people here were so unburdened, so unencumbered by strict unspoken societal rules.

She liked that fact. It was a thing she wanted to be part of. Tazrae wanted to get to the point she could walk around just as unburdened, but she wasn't there just yet. She'd grown up with too many rules, surrounded by too many men, and ultimately pushed in a direction she hadn't wanted to go in hence her decision to move here. It had boiled down to money. And she'd lived in a place where she had none, others did, and she had a commodity they wanted but didn't have either. Pressured to trade, the last thing Tazrae wanted to do was become a Nakivak like her mother had. She wouldn't follow her family into that lifestyle. And her father in law, the one that had taken her mother's contract had surprisingly understood. He'd financed the sail for her to come here. He knew James Chaliva, and knew she'd be watched over.

He'd understood here she could be anything she'd wanted to be... not a pair of ovaries. The thought passed through her eyes like a storm through a sunny day, and though the stranger might see it momentarily, the clouds parted and she was present in the moment again.

"It's good to meet you too." She said thoughtfully as if she meant it. And she reached out to capture his hand and shake it. Tazrae was a tactile person and touch was important to her. When he settled into the sand, she resumed her perch on the driftwood and sat her potential weapon aside. Somehow his dangling bits were less distracting nestled in his lap than they were out there for the world to see.

"Not long." She said, following his thick accent. She guessed he was Svefra, because his speech was accented like Fratava. She knew a few words in the trade language, enough to barter goods from far and wide, but that was about it. "I came earlier in the spring, to build a place here to run. My family are Innkeepers from Riverfall. I heard that Syka needed an Inn for travelers and its something I love doing. Coming here helps this place out, and gets me out of the way of my family... which keeps changing in strange and unusual ways. My father passed on and my mother changed jobs... we lost the Inn there when my father died. I really miss being an Innkeeper. I liked it... seeing new people all the time, cooking for them, taking care of folks.... so I came here." She said, offering him a grin.

"That construction down the beach near the sand? That's going to be my Inn. It will have six rooms, a kitchen, a gathering place, and a big deck to host dinner parties on and feed outsiders since there's no other restaurant here yet." She added, smiling. "Small at first, but I can expand if business is good." She added. "The Founders, James Chaliva namely, offered to help me with expenses until I get the business going." She added, now taking the time to study him.

"I walk this beach in the afternoons." She said, rubbing at her shoulders and then opening her palms to display the rows of blisters, some of which had broken open. They weren't pretty hands, but were instead the hands of a laborer. "It's so beautiful here and I find such fascinating things upon the sand... shells, yesterday that dead shark, and today... you." She added with a laugh.

She realized then that he was beautiful too. Tazrae had known it when she'd first seen him roll over and wake up. His body was fit, but that was something she was used to coming from Riverfall. It was his open smile and his expressive eyes that drew her though. "You are Svefra, right? Your accent gives you away. I've traded with your people before, to have exotic things to sell at our Inn in Riverfall when we still had it." She added.

"Are you just visiting or staying a while? I know your people travel a great deal but I also knew a few in Riverfall that lived there full time." She offered, glancing out into the water. "You know how to swim? Aren't you afraid of being in the water with things like sharks? I don't know how to swim or sail or do anything much useful. I thought I knew all kinds of things before I came here, but once you get here, it sort of hits you in the face that the things you thought you knew are....." She paused a moment and reached down and plucked up a single grain of the beach sand and let it drift around in her open palm among the blisters.

"... a lot like this grain of sand compared to how much sand is in this beach." She said with a grin. "I've waded in the water and used it to cool off, but I never go in over my knees. Something would undoubtedly eat me." She added, a grin playing across her face as well as a trace of fear. She'd seen those teeth marks in the shark she'd mentioned earlier. And she still had no idea what made them.

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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 10th, 2020, 4:26 pm

Surprised at the sudden mirth, Marino arched an eyebrow, studying her face. Then he saw where her eyes were looking, or more to the point, not looking. Looking down at himself, he remembered of course that not everyone had a Svefra’s refined sensibilities. Chuckling, he briefly looked around for something to cover his bits but not seeing anything appropriate nearby he gave up on it. Fortunately, she seemed to have overcome her initial embarrassment and was taking it all in good humor. He smiled slightly, and laughed off the suggestion he might have been a corpse washed up on the beach. “It is no trouble, thank you for checking up on me. Tazrae is certain to be a good name.

He relaxed somewhat with that formality out the way, and was looking at her eyes now. They were a pleasing shade of blue. That was a good sign to him about this stranger. One of many as she was unduly friendly to this bum on the beach. It had been a mistake for him to have fallen asleep, but perhaps this was preordained. It wasn’t likely he would have met this Tazrae otherwise, and she seemed like the kind of person that would be a good friend to the Svefra. He would have to make sure to tell his pod about her. Besides having favorable eyes, she had watched over him while he’d been dozing which wasn’t something he’d soon forget.

Shaking her hand, he unexpectedly found out that it was rough, and her grip firm. “You have good hands” He said, as he smiled wide at her. “I knew you were a good person.” Marino added, patting the top of her hand with his before taking his seat. He listened intently to what she had to say next as this was always his favorite part of meeting new people. To hear their stories was one of the great joys of his life. He hadn’t ever stayed in a Inn before, but the way she told it, an Inn sounded like a pleasant place to visit. It sounded like one of their gatherings on the beach, except all the time in a permanent location. “I would love to see such a place here when it comes” Marino said as he grasped a handful of sand and let it idly slip through his fingers. “I’m sure you will be a good fit here.

Looking up and down the beach, he nodded. “It is a great place. I am surprised I have not seeing you walking before.” Though when he thought about it, it wasn’t quite so unexpected. He had only just got back from traveling with his pod so he hadn’t been spending much time on the shore save for business these past few days. He perked up at her next question, his eyes widening and a grin back on his face. “Yes.” Marino nodded before briefly switching to Fratava to say. “So do you speak the loveliest tongue on land or sea?”

Regardless of the amount she could speak, his joy at this fact would not be dimmed as he continued on in common. “That you speak any at all is credit enough.” He said in a kindly tone, clasping his hands together in front of him. Looking out to the water with her, he sat up, leaning forwards slightly while lightly resting his elbows on his knees. “For a while yes, so long as the sea agrees” Marino grinned, turning his head to watch her again. “Swimming is easy, and I’ve got nothing to worry about with Twist watching my back out there.” He said after a light chuckle, his eyes brightening as they went back to watching the water. “This is Twist.” Marino added, pointing out the dolphin tattoo on his shoulder. “He’s the best friend you can have out there in the water.” Chewing his lip, he thought about it for a moment before standing up and stretching out his arms behind him. Facing her sideways, he said. “If you want to swim, I can try to show you. I’ll get Twist to come over too.” He always had a hard time understanding how some people went their whole lives without swimming, but if Tazrae wanted to learn then he would help as best he could. It was one of those things he felt strongly that everyone should know, if only so that they might truly appreciate the majesty of the sea.


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Twist under the sun

Postby Selene Curare on May 10th, 2020, 4:39 pm

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Three Days…

Three days since she had laid her foot on solid ground in Syka. Three days in the blistering, moist, insect infested, windy, sand-is-everywhere Viratas-foresaken southern tip of Mizahar. Three days without family, friends, or comfort with only the unknown creature flipping in her stomach as company. Three days.

The homesickness was different on Syka than it had been with the Oceangem at sea all those days. Then the plot of her life had been moving forward. There had been a before and an after to reach towards. Now, actually in Syka, she was aware that the last few moons of her life would be passed in painful isolation from everything she knew. The pain made her belief in her own heroism more poignant and fertile, and so she wallowed; wallowed in the nutrient filled bog of her misery, and felt all the superior for her pain.

Selene had only just recently awoke, quickly adopting the Sykan cycle of sleeping away the hottest part of the day, and was shuffling her way along the beach for a quiet place to meditate and stretch herself out. The sand made walking with the wooden stump difficult as it easily sank into the sand and needed to be yanked out making her lurch more than she had even on the first handfuls of days at sea. Adding in the awkwardness of her prominent stomach she made quite the awkward purple image lumbering across the beach. Her hair was braided up into a chignon, a wide-brimmed woven hat tied with a purple bow below her chin was set a top and she had forsaken pants for a light billowing lavender gown. Colourful plumage for an otherwise monochromatic frame of a woman and more elaborately dressed than most Sykans.

Nearby Selene watched several dolphins ambitiously diving into the sky, as if they could swim through anything if it was blue enough. The grey shapes became a wheel, turning in the blue of the sky and the inspiration for the focus of Selene’s meditation for the afternoon. Meditation had been a prominent aspect of her life in Kalinor, a family ritual practiced every morning and combined with acrobatic stretching and breathing exercises.
Hypnotism was an intensely personal magic, but had also been an intimate nuclear family experience as they had dove into each other’s subconscious. The use of hypnotism in her family was as old as the name “Curare” and a legacy in their Harvest techniques. However, it had also become a mode of connection and intimacy as it was given and reciprocated in equal measure.

She had tried Hypnotism a handful of times on the journey to Syka, but as no one else on the boat was initiated there was no return to the webs she had cast out into their minds – all she’d caught were bugs. But, the ritual of exercise, breathing, and meditation that drove one into the internal cavern that held the golden threads used for Hypnotism was firmly planted in habit. It was the foundation of her relationship with herself.

As she created the spiraling blue and grey inspired routine she would do this morning, she hunted the beach for a vacant and quiet location. Instead, she stumbled into what she could only assume was an intimate tryst. The woman was draped elegantly over a log, her sundress piled about her and a sunhat hiding her tilted face as she looked to the naked form at her side. The tanned and coiled form at her side was reaching out toward her, making Selene hold back from interrupting the couple. Instead, she watched from the shrubbery, peeping at the affair. What better way to make friends than secretly know their interests, or perhaps even their secrets. Maybe they’ll reveal an interest I can capitalize on in an arranged run-in. Oh, you like fish? I like fish. Oh, you like to swim? I’d love to learn how! She plotted. Was it unimaginative and clumsy? Sure. But when you knew nothing about someone except that they feared you because of your proclivity towards stealing their wives, children, or were at risk of being stolen yourself – you had to make connections with whatever tenuous threads you could.

Fortunately, the sand was an easy surface to creep along and with the waves and squealing water birds Selene squatted comfortably behind the same place a few moments earlier Tazrae had emerged upon the neatly hidden body. Selene listened to Tazrae’s tale, So she owns that enormous building, she must come from a wealthy family to afford such a grand structure in so remote a location Her question was answered when Tazrae explained that she was in business with James. Selene was fond of James, having been the founder who’d employed her as a weaver in Syka. I wonder if I could approach her at her Inn and offer to weave linens or blankets…a business venture turned friendship… Selene fantasized wistfully.

Svefra? Selene overheard and squinted wondering if he was someone she should recognize from the voyage. As he turned his head, Selene immediately recognized the man, Marino Oceangem. Though she’d had little contact with the Svefra on the voyage, she’d seen and spoken with him several times. She remembered him as quiet Svefra, focused on the duties at hand rather than the romping play of some of the other Svefra.

Having recognized him, Selene felt no hesitation to interrupting the social affair. It obviously wasn’t a lover’s tryst she had stumbled upon and though she hadn’t gotten to know Marino well, she believed she had won over the majority of the Oceangem’s over the long voyage. It makes sense to capitalize on an acquaintance than meeting someone as a stranger, she decided.

“Oh, hello. I thought I heard some voices,” She piped breezily as she rounded the corner. Well acquainted with the nudity of the Svefra on the voyage, and with him neatly tucked up on the sand Selene didn’t acknowledge his nudity as anything out of the usual. “I hope I’m not interrupting, I thought I recognized your voice,” She explained, gesturing at Marino.

Selene smiled a sharp toothy grin at Tazrae, the meditation would have to wait – an opportunity to solidify Sykan relations could not be missed. Her babes life depended on it. Her hand passed unconsciously protective over her stomach.

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Twist under the sun

Postby Tazrae on May 10th, 2020, 5:14 pm

Marino was charming, to say the least. He had an easy grace and good humor about himself that put Tazrae to ease despite the slight language barrier. She didn't mind him studying her eyes and taking in the rest of her, his gaze curious and friendly. She laughed at his compliment on her hands and brought them up in front of her so she could study them better with a grin. "They do fine by me... getting things done that need doing." Her practical manner answered, knowing his had calouses as well. She wondered if it was from the sailing he did as a svefra or if he had other line of work.

"I try to be a good person. I don't always succeed." She thought aloud, thinking of the giant scorpion she'd relieved of its life when she found it in her tent a few nights ago. That was her. Friend to humans, foe to insects, and the thought made her chuckle again. "The Inn should be done by the end of the season... you can see its outer shell and the roof starting to take shape down the beach up on the little bluff. I bet you can even see it from the water well." She replied, glancing in that direction instinctually though the construction was currently out of sight.

"I only escape when Randal Zor gets busy elsewhere and frees his laborers for the day. Otherwise, its fetching, carrying, nailing, and cooking them meals while they build. I don't mind the work, and its nice to see the Inn take shape more and more every day. Tomorrow we are bricking in two fireplaces, one inside and one outside. I'm excited to learn a bit about that. I get to help." She added, wiggling her bare toes in the sand and squirming on her driftwood in excitement.

Laughing she nodded. "I speak Fratava actually." She bragged in common, then promptly switched to Fratava to demonstrate by asking him how much his nose cost, then asking him directions to the moon in the sky. The way she hesitated over the word nose and then moon made him think she had no idea what item she was actually asking about. The fratava word for nose sounded a lot like a word they also used for spice containers. Regardless, but her accent and her purely worded phrasing, it was obvious she spoke almost no Fratava accurately, though the enthusiasm was there.


"Thanks. But I know how bad I sound." She said, laughing a little at herself and wondering if she'd got the phrasing right. Tazrae had no gift of language, though she spoke Tukant well enough to pass for someone that had lived in Riverfall all her life. She just wasn't willing to admit it had taken her all of the twenty-two of her years to get passable at it. It would probably take as long to get even remotely good at Fratava.

She puzzled over who Twist was a moment before he showed her the elaborate tattoo on his shoulder. It was artfully stylized, but she reached out and skimmed it anyhow. "Is that one of those huge fishes that liked to ride the bow of the Veronica as we were sailing? They were playing in the waves." The future Innkeeper commented, obviously having no word for a dolphin. She'd spent her whole life on the land and hadn't had much time at sea. The fish that played in the wakes were beautiful though, but when they smiled and chittered she could see their big teeth.

"Really?" She asked, rising as if wondering if they were going to go right now. "I'd love to meet Twist and learn a few things about the water. I don't know how to swim though. Is that a problem? I actually want to learn how to do a bit of sailing too. I saw some people with small boats... one or two people in them... and they looked really fun. They had sails, and sometimes they row them along too... outriggers someone called them. I thought it would be great to have transportation along the sea." She added, rising and grabbing at the brim of her hat that the wind caught abruptly. She stuffed it back down on her head, hiding the mass of unruly caramel curls, and turned at the sound of additional footsteps and a new voice on the beach.

Tazrae was stunned a moment. She'd seen many different races in Syka, but so far she hadn't seen anyone who looked like the newcomer who was vaguely familiar looking. The young woman wasn't rude and didn't stare, but she did offer a smile in greeting and took a moment to study the person that joined them a moment intently. It took her a full moment to understand what she was seeing. Symenestra. There was a menagerie in Riverfall, a zoo in fact, that had kept a pair of Symenestra behind bars. The male had impregnated the female and she had died in childbirth and as far as Tazrae had remembered, the baby hadn't survived either. So when she'd went to the place once with her class on a break from their schooling when she was younger, all she'd seen was a male on display.

They were considered monsters in Riverfall.

Tazrae glanced at Marino, looking at his reaction for clues on how to react to the woman quickly approaching. From what she knew - which was next to nothing - the males were the danger. They did unspeakable things to vulnerable young women of all races that cost them their lives. Female Symenestra though... she knew almost nothing of. But it was a plus that there were no stories of them either... no tales that talked of the horrors they committed on others like there were stories of males. Tazrae briefly wondered if the presence of a female indicated the presence of a male. Alarmed slightly, she glanced around, out past where the spider woman had appeared from. Were there more?

Sucking up her courage, Tazrae swallowed, smiled, and introduced herself. "I'm Tazrae." She added, moving slightly away from Marino as if making room for the new woman to join them. "Marino was talking about his fish friend, Twist, and swimming and such." She added as if attempting to include the newcomer in the conversation.


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Tazrae
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Twist under the sun

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 10th, 2020, 6:37 pm

That is all we can do but try” Marino said, miming weighing it out with his hands. He tried to be a good person too, and liked to think that for the most part he succeeded. Always dutiful to his pod, he tended to put every need before his own, though that was not to say that he neglected himself. Taking cares of ones body and spirit was necessary to continue being a contributing member of the pod. An his life was a good one. You took the good with the bad while remembering to be thankful even the smallest bounties from the sea. Marino found that one only had to keep their eyes open to find little moments throughout the day that brightened your perspective on life.

Following her look, he looked down the beach where it curved away from them, and nodded. “If you ever need some extra hands, I’m sure I could find some cousins willing.” Marino mused, smiling in response to her overt glee. Truly the world would be a better place with more people like her in it. He appreciated her openness, which was something that he didn’t find too often with outsiders. Maybe she was a Svefra in her past life he mused as he next listened to her speak Fratava.

Grinning, he stifled a laugh, biting his tongue for a moment before speaking. “No, no, its fine” He said, almost making it through before breaking up into another short burst of laughter. After he’d caught his breath, he had a little red to his cheeks and was wiping at the corner of his eyes when he said. “At least you have started. Will make it easier to learn the rest with time.” An she would find no shortage of Svefra willing to teach her, he had no doubt, especially after she got that Inn up. Business or social, things just went better when conducted in their language.

He smiled at her reaction to his tattoo. “Yes, he is a dolphin. Twist can be a showoff sometimes, but he is good company.” Marino glanced at the water as he said this, though he knew his Tavan could be anywhere in the sea by now. “I’d need to get my boat, but yes, really. We could sail over to where Twist is sheltering with his family and maybe I could show you a thing or to about setting up the sail. Then after we’ll see how well you float.” He said, laughing lightly as his eyes searched her face.

Hearing a familiar voice, Marino turned to Selene walking towards them. Grinning warmly, he stepped forward and offered an arm to the warm. Wouldn’t be long now before she had that baby of hers, he mused before speaking. “Hello, Selene. How’s Syka treating you so far?” After the long voyage she’d had with the pod, he was surprised to see her again so soon. Most outsiders tended to disappear when they got to their destination, though he supposed after such a long trip his pod might have rubbed off on her. In any case, it was pleasant to see a familiar face on this beach. “We were talking about going sailing, and maybe a swim. Would you like to join?


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Twist under the sun

Postby Selene Curare on May 10th, 2020, 10:59 pm

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Perhaps people’s distaste for Symenestra went beyond their revolting Harvest practices to humans natural distaste for insects and natural arachnophobia. It was true the Symenestra could defy gravity and were well known for their impressive weaving skills but Selene had never considered herself a sentient arachnid, or affiliate. Yet, it seemed Tazrae’s sentiment Friend to human, foe to insects was a mantra in the subconscious of most humans. As long as Selene capitalized on the human quality of her species she felt she could earn a place among them – but a budding resentment was growing in her womb beside the venomous time bomb. Acceptance required forsaking her Symness; two feet planted on the ground, eating privately, and a forced friendliness so sweet it activated her gag reflex.

However, Tazrae sounded well connected both in Syka and beyond in Riverfall. Selene decided she would be an influential acquaintance and watched her reaction carefully, at the deficit of noticing Marino’s gesture. Tazrae looked to Marino for external validation of the appropriate response, Well, the fact she subconsciously step away from me or look away is consoling, but it’s interesting that she should look to someone it seems she’s only just met for comfort. Is it because I’ve made my acquaintance with Marino known and she’s looking for clues to our dynamic or is she looking to someone else for confidence because she lacks her own? I wonder if she would have looked to Marino if he were a she? Selene considered patiently awaiting clues to the woman’s personality and how best to present herself favourably.

Having stared, perhaps too long at the woman, Selene missed the offered hand and offered her own a chime or two late, meeting Marino’s smile with her own. Her hands were long and bony, with blue veins winding under the parchment thin skin. Dry, her skin crinkled in his warm clasp and disappeared in the large breadth of his. Narrow and tipped with sharp black nails, she hadn’t yet realized how threatening a handshake with her could be as her nails ran sharply against his wrist, her fingers too long to remain in the palm of his hand. Due to the disproportionately longer limbs of her kind, her hands and foot ran a few degrees colder than a human leaving them cold and clammy much of the time.

“Paradisio, who wouldn’t be enchanted by such a…colourful…” She lied through her teeth, but hoped the stumbling lie would be interpreted as a stumbling common, “Mm…What is it…abode? No, bigger. Like a series of abodes? It’s very…” She sniffed demonstrating the word she couldn’t think of, “Like perfume too, sweet like a fruit. Sweet as the people,” She hurriedly added a compliment. If she’s unsure how to behave towards me, implying that other people have been kind may sway her towards accepting. Especially if that earlier glance was her seeking external validation.
Selene couldn’t help it, in her imagination Tazrae’s body morphed under the mop of curly hair into the docile poof of a sheep. Selene had seen one once in Lhavit and the woman reminded her of a blonde sheep. Her wide eyes grew rounder, taking on the wet gullible look of the sheep and her blond curls covered her body. Suddenly her floppy hat was in her mouth and she was chewing it. Side to side. Selene imagined her ignorantly munching on anything she was told. GelberSchaf, Selene nicknamed her in Symenos, meaning Golden Sheep.

“My pleasure, Tazrae,” Selene tried the name on her tongue. The Z’s were a familiar sounds in Symenos and it rolled off her tongue with delight. It was the most familiar sounding name she had stumbled upon in Syka, the r rolling like a buzzing fly off her tongue.

“You have a delicious name,[/i] Selene smirked, the translation may not sit well with someone unnerved by Symenestra tales, but Symenos often used delicious to mean delightful or something that brought another joy since the word was frequently used in reference to meals or women that were harvested. However, Selene was not aware of the common word delightful, nor how inappropriate or unnerving it may be to someone to refer to something as you would a treat or enjoyable meal.

“In Symenos, Tazrae is similar to our word Tazri, meaning A flower for one’s soul” Selene lied, slipping a compliment into the introduction. The woman reminded Selene of the Svefra women who had garnered the most male attention on the trip from Lhavit; curly wild hair, blue eyes, and loose hipped sway in the way she shifted her feet or moved her hands. It stood to reason that a compliment to her femininity would go over well.

“Thank you for the invitation Marino, the coolness of the water sounds like a lovely respite.” Selene nodded, but her eyes were on Tazrae watching and waiting to see the woman’s reaction to her inclusion. As subtle as Selene thought she was being, her near constant eye flicking between the two could easily be interpreted as appraisal or interest depending on the assumptions made by the onlooker.

“How about a sail? If you haven’t seen one of these fine folk with their sea friends you’re in for a treat. It’s like watching toddlers tussle and rag on each other. I’ve never had a pet, but my sisters and I treated each other a lot like they treat their flippered friends.” Gushing, Selene followed Marino if he were to lead them toward his boat.

“But, oh, their fights can be just as petty and explosive. Why, Once, I saw a dolphin throwing a tantrum so hard I was completely soaked through in the boat! Do you have any siblings Tazrae?” Selene lurched through the sand, her wooden leg leaving a long track in the sand wherever they walked. As they passed the bushel of plant life from which Tazrae had emerged and Selene had hid there was a depressed clump where Selene had crouched, and a scattering of sand abruptly destroying the otherwise smooth path created by her leg where she had shifted around to crouch and rise on her one good leg. Selene didn’t notice this tell-tale sign of someone’s presence, distracted by conversation.

“Oh, Marino, what’s the worst fight Twist and you’ve had?” Selene found human bodies cumbersome and generally quite ugly with their oddly proportioned body, colourful hair (as if someone had painted it sometimes or shoved their heads in the dirt), and peculiarly heavy faces and features. Fortunately, this made the near constant stream of nude or half nude human bodies easy to ignore and regard without embarrassment so it was of little consequence to the Sym if Marino escorted them clothed or not.

“Was your trip to Syka your first time in a boat, Tazrae?” Selene inquired further, “I got horribly seasick for weeks on the trip to Syka. I actually vaguely remember you having the unfortunate job of holding my hair back at one point?” Selene looked to Marino, trying to reflect. Truth was, she had few memories of distinctive Svefra at that point, overcome as she was with pain from the loss of her leg, seasickness, and morning sickness. However, she thought she recalled his voice whispering soothing Fratavan words of unknown meaning while she had evacuated all but her stomach itself overboard.

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Twist under the sun

Postby Tazrae on May 11th, 2020, 12:19 am

Marino had given her two important pieces of information. One was about Twist and the other was about his pod. So, Twist wasn’t a fish, but rather a dolphin. Taz hadn’t had a name for the creatures she’d witnessed playing in the wake of The Veronica. She’d been alone when observing them so there had been no one there to ask after them.

The other key information was that Marino had family, able bodied workers that might be hired to help with her project if they were needed. “Thank you. Randal is always short of labor so I might indeed ask help of your cousins if he needs it.” Taz replied, glad for the knowledge there were more able bodies around. The Settlement lacked people altogether, at least the sort of resource of people Taz was used to coming from Riverfall. She couldn’t imagine having that big of a family… it ‘d just been her and her parents. No wonder Marino wasn’t shy or reserved. One couldn’t be with that large of a family, could they?

“Okay… maybe I’m not so good at Fratava.” She said in Common instead, laughing at her own antics. Only the Gods and perhaps the Svefra himself knew what she’d really said to him. By his expression of mirth, it was something outrageous.

“That sounds like a lot of fun. I would love to meet him and swim… maybe learn a thing or two about sailing.” She said, flush with excitement suddenly. “I know I can float.” She insisted, laughing slightly. “Whether I can float without drowning is another thing…” she admitted after her bold statement, offering a grin to go along with the boldness.

When the newcomer joined them, Marino greeted Selene warmly and offered her an arm she seemed to ignore. Taz tilted her head slightly, uncomfortable under the other woman’s scrutiny, which seemed to be intense. The woman stared at her intently and the future Innkeeper wondered suddenly what Symenestra ate. Humans? She wasn’t sure…. but whatever they did, Selene looked like a snake that had swallowed something larger than her girth. Did their jaws unhinge? Taz wondered a moment until she realized the other woman was pregnant. Ah. Pregnant women were uncertain factors, testy and often prone to weirdness. Taz had met her fill of them once her mother had become a Nakivak. The Nakivaks were always herding together, doing things in groups, and leaning on each other for support. Estra was no different… and Taz had hurriedly started avoiding her mother because of it.

Selene… on the other hand looked frail, pale, and Taz quickly realized… lame. Taz couldn’t imagine what the other woman must be going through being such a thing, far from her kind, alone and getting ready to welcome another life into the world. Sympathy overwhelmed any fear she felt, reinforced by Marino’s warm welcome. Taz smiled at Selene, offering her a friendly grin, and nodded. “Yes, join us.” She encouraged, then quieted to listen to what the woman said.

Truth be told, Tazrae understood very little of what Selene said. She knew there was a language barrier. Sweet? What was sweet? Her home? Taz blinked in confusion, but kept her smile on her face as the woman grew closer and she got a whiff of the musky perfume she seemed to wear heavily. Taz wondered if it was a cultural thing or if all Symenestra smelled as Selene did. She avoided looking at her wooden leg, wanting not to offend the newcomer with either unwelcome stares or questions. Instead she nodded at the woman’s words as if she understood and moved further back, letting the woman join the man she obviously was already acquainted with.

She had a delicious name? Lords above, did they really eat humans? Maybe? Tazrae swallowed thoughtfully and decided she’d question someone – Juli perhaps – as soon as she got a moment because this strange woman was frankly scaring her a bit, even if she was trying to hide the reaction. “Thank you.” She said at the compliment, polite to the end, but still unsure about what to say or do. So, she grew quiet, still smiling, and took her cues from the two before her. It was true that Tazrae wasn’t worldly or wise. But she could watch and learn and this certainly was an opportunity to do so.

They were evidently heading towards a boat now, and Taz trailed the two suddenly wondering if she should excuse herself and leave the other two to it. It was crazy moving to Riverfall to escape her mother’s fate. It was even crazier, though, to follow what might be a monster into the water where she was far more vulnerable due to her lack of the ability to swim and her inability to sail. Her feet were carrying her after Marino and Selene, but her mind was definitely in a debate to flee the scene.

Selene was busy comparing Marino’s entire family to young children. Taz was a bit put off by it, especially since Selene equated her sisters and their treatment of each other to how Marino and his family treated their dolphins. Taz had always wanted siblings, but there’d only been her. And it was again not an experience she shared with either of the two who were already friends. Selene used words like petty and explosive. She glanced at Marino, judging his reaction, and thought hard about the near future.

Selene’s question caught her off guard and Taz shook her head. “No. Just me.” She said simply, not wanting to get into the fact that it actually was just her… now that her father was dead and her mother remarried. Taz was perfectly happy letting Selene carry on the conversation and ask the questions. At her inquiry about the Veronica being Taz’s first experience on a boat, Taz shrugged. “A boat like The Veronica, yes it was.” She answered truthfully. Memories of fishing with her father surfaced and she was suddenly sad, missing him and missing their times together. Would she be here if he hadn’t died? Would they have lost the Inn? No… not on her father’s watch. Anger rose at her mother abruptly, bringing things to her mind she didn’t want to think about.

Instead she offered Selene and Marino a smile and halted before they got too much further. Feigning shyness, something she almost rarely felt, Taz gestured to both of them. “You know… there’s something I should do this afternoon instead of meeting dolphins and sailing. There’s a lot of work and Randal might bring his crew back early. I don’t want to be gone. I need to be there to help. Marino, thank you for the offer of meeting your dolphin friend. I would very much like to sometime soon. Selene, it was lovely meeting you as well. I’m going to call it a day though and get back to work at the building site. Even with the Inn not being open and even if the workers don’t return, there’s still so much I can do. Thank you both very much for a lovely afternoon. And I hope to see both of you again.” She said, offering first one then the other a smile.

There was something about Selene that was warning her off. It wasn’t the missing limb. It wasn’t the fact she was with child. It was something else… something that made the young woman uneasy. And so she gave them both a little wave, turned, and trotted up the beach breaking into a jog so she could return back to the Inn and get some of her work done guilt free without spending an afternoon with a stranger that made her feel too comfortable and another stranger that made her feel too uncomfortable.

Word Count: 1300

Ooc: Thank you both for the thread. Have fun!
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