Lost in the rigging

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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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Lost in the rigging

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 14th, 2020, 6:33 pm

Tazrae’s hands were warm, he noticed as he guided her fingers around the line. They were also smaller than his which made it easier to guide them so long as he was gentle. When the line was secured, he smiled, giving her hand a brief squeeze before stepping back to admire their handiwork. “I don’t know, but I like to think it was some servant of Zulrav that took kindness on the Svefra long ago.” Watching her touch the line, he was taken back the first time his mother had taught him about it. How proud of himself he had felt that day.

Hearing her speak of his people, he couldn’t help but to smile again. Not for the praise of Svefra ingenuity, but that she cared enough to think about it deeply. It made him feel good that he could share his culture with her. “We have a remarkable father in Laviku. He has taught the Svefra innumerable things about the sea.” He said thoughtfully before brightening. “I am very fortunate. Every morning on the sea is a marvel.

His smile sobered up at her change of tone, and he listened to her story carefully. He knew the courage it took to share something like this, though he hadn’t had someone confide in him like this before. With the pod, people had a tendency to speak things plainly as they happened so the feelings didn’t have time to fester. Things were different elsewhere though he’d learned from his mother. In the cities where people could separate themselves in little boxes away from others, they could keep such things bottled up. An this was the result, he suspected. His heart went out to her, for this was a heavy thing to carry for so long, alone.

Searching for the words to say to her, something that might comfort her, he instinctively took a step forward as she stepped back. Marino hesitated though, and stayed where he was for a long moment before speaking, eyes never leaving her. “I can’t begin to imagine what that was like, but it is as you said. James was right. This is just a start here, and there is a wonderful journey ahead.” He gave a slight smile after that, and gave her some space as they worked on the sails.

In no time they were smiling and laughing again as Tazrae did a little dance. “Perfect. I don’t mind caves much, there are some really pretty ones underwater I hear from my brother, but I haven’t been down in one yet.” He wasn’t that good at diving as he’d spending a lot of time on deck lately. One of these day though, he’d see about it.

As they moved on to piloting the ship, Marino was also thinking of how to make things more comfortable when Twist started in with his antics. Now there was an idea. Starting in on setting the sails up, he said. “Yes, our heading is good for this wind.” Soon the leech had stopped fluttering as the ship responded to his touch, leaning over on the port side as the sail filled with wind. For a moment, he stood still absorbing the feeling of the wind running through the lines. Out on the sea, the Seasilk came truly alive, and he loved every moment up it. Looking up at Tazrae he gave her a big smile as he ran up to her.

Isn’t it great when we get some speed?” He stood close beside her for a moment, looking out over the water spread before them, enjoying the wind blowing through his hair. Then he remembered he was supposed to be instructing and glanced at the sails before meeting her eyes. Tazrae took it all in stride, responding to his gestures as he moved her hand gently to take advantage of how the sea was moving. “Now we are going to tack with the wind here to get around the island” He said as he helped her steer the bow through the wind, and watched as the sails caught the wind on the other side and filled to pull them starboard side.

Then after they had made it around island he started slowing them down, before finally coming to a stop. Looking off to the port side now they could see the island with its dense jungle, and cliffs. To the starboard, there was open sea. “Ready to see below deck? I need to put this up.” He said as he unraveled the scarf from his neck, and as he turned his back to her she could see his the animated waves that swirled and foamed across the back of his neck. The bright blues and greens looked sheer against his tan skin.

When they entered the cabin, she could see that it was large enough to fit more than just them comfortably. Against the port side wall, she’d see some fishing equipment neatly stacked together, and on the starboard sigh, a half spear lay on the floor against the wall, slightly dusty. Underneath the bed, a folded up hammock peeked out, not quite stowed or having come out during their sailing. Tossing the scarf on the bed he bent low to open the spice box he kept by the foot board, and quickly stowed away his pipe. “So what do you think?” He asked as he hooked his thumbs into the sides of his breeches. Marino started to bring them down before he hesitated and pulled them up again. “Sorry, habit” He said suddenly, offering a nervous grin as he remembered her response last time. If she didn’t mind he’d go without, but he was okay with keeping them on in the other case. He had an extra pair of breeches stowed away anyways so he would haven’t to walk around in wet breeches after their swim.

Once they were back on deck, Marino would walk over to the port side, and look down at Twist waiting them eagerly below. After tossing down a rope to plop into the water, he looked over at her and grinned. “You can go the slow way down, or you can jump right in, your pick. I’ll go down first.” Then placing a hand on her shoulder, he added. “Don’t worry, me and Twist will watch out for you.” After making sure she was comfortable with it, he would leap off the side into the water, plunging into it feet first.


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Lost in the rigging

Postby Tazrae on May 14th, 2020, 8:36 pm

There was definitely something about Marino that put Tazrae at ease. He wasn’t like anyone she’d ever known and if she were honest with herself, she was far more comfortable with him than she’d been with her own family. Taz wasn’t sure if she should celebrate that fact or be scared by it. She did know, without a doubt, that she felt alive…. really alive… for the first time coming to this place, being with these people, and this man in particular.

Marino was empathetic with her, not sympathetic, and for that she was appreciative. And he laughed at her offer and promised he didn’t mind small spaces. She grinned, quietly agreed with his perfect assessment, and glanced out over the water. “I bet there are more things under the water than just caves. I bet there are whole mountains, valleys… just like the land has.” She speculated, knowing the gently rolling turquoise ocean was deceptive.

The wind picked up, Twist cavorted, and the little casnior sped over the waves, making Tazrae’s wild mop of a hair tangle worse than ever. She’d long since stuffed her hat into her bag, giving up on taming the curls. Instead, she was smiling, the wind tearing up her eyes a bit, as she looked over the water. In fact, the expression on her face was that of a woman in love… one fiercely sure that she was doing something amazing and exhilarating.

“It’s indescribable.” She told him, the wind stealing part of her words but conveying the meaning nonetheless. They’d come upon an island and were tacking around it as per Marino’s instructions. For all that he claimed he was a terrible teacher, Tazrae was gaining knowledge right and left and enjoying herself doing so. He ran about doing something else, releasing the sails… she wondered what the opposite word of ‘trimming the sails’ was… and then he tied off the tiller.

She nodded at his invite down below and followed on his heels. In his cabin, she broke from him and explored. Though she touched nothing, she looked everywhere – curious how his things were stowed and how much actual room there was below. “I was terrified it would be cramped. But it's not… this is far more roomie than I expected. It’s three times the size of my cabin was on The Veronica.” She said, then noted he put a pipe away and started to remove his britches before stopping.

Tazrae looked puzzled a moment before she realized he was putting things away and had almost stripped because they were going swimming. “Marino, it’s okay. I’ve seen you without them. I just… it's just new to me.” She explained. “You are actually the first man I’ve seen without any clothing.” She said, telling him numerous things in the one small comment. “And you aren’t exactly terrible to look at. I’ll get used to it if you don’t want to bother with pants.” She said with a laugh, more laughing at her roundabout way of complimenting him than anything else. “But Juli got me some Syka appropriate clothing together from the mercantile. Including … a bikini?” The word was unfamiliar with her. “You don’t mind if I wear it for a while until I’m used to how the women here dress?” She puzzled over that one for a moment realizing it wasn’t quite right…. “Or don’t dress I suppose?” She said with a laugh, turning away to continue exploring… leaving him to decide whether he needed his pants or not. She truly didn’t care but wanted him to understand more than one thing about her.

Then she was back on deck with him staring out over the deck at the pretty blue water. She stripped off her skirt, and then unknotted the large long sleeve gauzy shirt she had the sleeves rolled up on. Tossing it in the pile with her bag she was standing more or less without anything on but the tiny briefs and the squares of cloth keeping her chest confined. Swallowing hard, nerves overtook her. She wasn’t actually going to do this, was she?

His voice reassured her and then she felt his warm rough touch. Taz glanced down at his hand on her shoulder, then looked up at him nodding. Reassured, she lifted her arms and followed after him, jumping awkwardly feet first a length away from where he’d splashed in. She was surprised at how hard she hit the water, snorting it straight up her nose and coughing a little as she popped up above the waves. She flapped around, panicked, and realizing suddenly she couldn’t touch the seafloor. Floundering in panic, she looked around, spotted Marino, then proceeded to grab him and half climb him in her panic. “I can’t touch the bottom!” She exclaimed, legs wrapping around his waist, arms getting his neck in a death grip as she tried to get out of the warm salty water using his human body as a ladder back towards the casinor’s deck. There was no way to make it, of course, but Taz’s brain wasn’t taking ‘not going to happen’ for an answer.

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Lost in the rigging

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 14th, 2020, 10:12 pm

Looking out over the sea with her, Marino nodded. “There are whole gardens under the sea too, filled with all kinds of colorful and interesting life.” It was superbly beautiful under the water, which was something he hoped to show her sometime. Of course that would have to wait till she got comfortable with swimming, but it was a pleasant thought.

The wind picked at Tazrae’s hair, tussling it as she stowed her hat. Standing back to watch her steer, he enjoyed the scene, happy to share this moment with her. The sea was close to his heart, and being out here in the company of a friend was wonderful. Looking at her face, he could see that she was enjoying it too. That the Seasilk was speaking to her like it did him.

It is” He said simply, as he stood next to her. With the wind at their back, and the sun overhead, it felt perfect to him out on the deck. Taking in a deep breath, he savored the briny smell of the sea. His body ached for the sea now. After hastily going through the motions to get them stationary he disappeared below deck with Tazrae. He answered her as he fiddled with his things. “Most of my people live on ships like this, and we like the room. The space helps us carry goods from one city to another while leaving enough room to live comfortably.” His own hold had been full up until a few days ago. They had been his mothers goods that couldn’t all fit in her casinor.

Marino looked plainly relieved after Tazrae reassured him about his clothing. He did blush a little at the comment about his body, but tried hiding it by looking down to slip off his breeches. “Thank you, cause these bunch up something terrible in the water.” He said with a grimace before laughing too. “Besides, the salt water tends to ruin the color.” Looking at her, he nodded. “Of course, dress how you want.” Then smiling, he lead the way to the deck. There, the warm ocean wind blew across the deck, and the sea beckoned. He glanced at her occasionally while she undressed to get into the water. She had a nice body, and a golden hue to her skin that he guessed she was getting from her time in Syka.

After jumping in, he surfaced and looked up waiting for her, swimming near when she jumped in. It surprisingly different than he’d anticipated as she latched onto him, briefly plunging him under water until he wrapped his left arm under her thighs while kicking powerfully with his legs to stay afloat in the water. His right he used to stabilize them as he tried to get her to calm down. To that end, he spoke softly, saying. “Its alright, its alright, I got you, see? Try putting your weight on my arm and you’ll see. Your fine, you just swallowed some water. Its fine, see?” He’d keep repeating that last phrase while he worked at swimming in place.

Which was hard because of her frenetic movements but if she listened to him it would get easier to keep to keep them both a float. Twist for his part, circled them from a distance, clicking at them curiously. Marino didn’t acknowledge him for now though as he focused on making sure she felt comfortable in the water. After a while, he asked soothingly “Would you like to still learn how to swim? I promise I will keep you safe, but I am okay if you want to wait.


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Last edited by Marino Oceangem on June 1st, 2020, 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lost in the rigging

Postby Tazrae on May 14th, 2020, 11:44 pm

It took her several long scared breaths dragged in and coughed out until the salt water was clear of her nose – and dang did it burn – and a good ten frantic heartbeats to realize Marino probably didn’t appreciate her imitation of a monkey trying to climb a tree. She heard his voice, his very calming voice, and it got through after a moment and she stopped struggling once she realized she wasn’t sinking like a log and somehow he was holding both of them up in the water. Tazrae peered down awkwardly, noticing his undulating motions in the water and slowly unwound herself from about him and grabbed at his arm like he suggested.

“How….. how are you holding us up?” She asked, before blinking and gripping him in a death grip to actually dunk her head under water to see if he was actually standing on something. He wasn’t. He was, instead, standing on the water…. or rather treading it. She pulled her head up out of the gentle surf and gasped for breath again, staring at him like he had somehow grown Twist’s flippers.

“How are you doing that?” She demanded again, with one last cough before she actually seemed to catch her breath and stop fighting the water. Once she stopped struggling so much – moving around in the water with scared jerks – her body bobbed next to his, her hands a death grip on his arm. “This is a whole lot harder than it looked from the beach.” She said, almost accusingly. “You don’t have secret fins do you?” Tazrae accused, trying to shove her mass of wet and now tangled curls out of her face so she could actually see him. The young woman was doing an excellent imitation of a drowned rat, and certainly wasn’t taking to the water. In fact, a newborn baby Svefra could swim better than she could evidently.

“Yes…. please... I want to learn how you do that… how you… stand in the water like that…” She said humbly, her voice that of a small girl and laced with terror. She had not taken to any new tasks since coming here as badly as she had to this. She’d just put in a portion of her own deck, cutting the boards to length herself for Gods sake. But this…. this was terrible. She was shocked, in fact, that it was as hard as it was. Maybe jumping in the island waters wasn’t the ideal way to learn. She suddenly wondered if just trying to learn in water that she could stand in would have been better. Tazrae was frankly scared, and most of that fear was what was dragging her down… driving her panic. Yet, locked in that fear with Marino as her only lifeline, she couldn’t see that it was the very thing that was causing her to fail so badly.

Even Twist seemed to study Marino with a critical eye, as if the porpoise was asking the Svefra what in the world he was thinking dragging a land woman out into the water and letting her jump in. The creature whistled, tossed water with his snout, and circled in coming up behind the pair as if to get a better look and try to understand what in the world the woman was so scared about. The slick grey creature was at ease in the water, one with it, and frankly the water was its friend. It buoyed his body and gave him remarkable grace. The woman didn’t realize it could do the same for her if she just let it.

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Lost in the rigging

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 15th, 2020, 12:43 am

He watched her, his light blue eyes full of concern. Perhaps he should have insisted she enter the water slowly with his help, or something else that just wasn’t occurring to him right now. In his experience, you were just thrown in. Though, Tazrae was not a Svefra child, he reminded himself. She would need to be shown the way, but where did he begin. While that was running through his mind, he smiled slightly as she relaxed somewhat, and just kept smoothly treading water.

Marino grinned a little wider when she gripped his arm tightly and ducked her head briefly into the water. She was mostly untangled from his body now which he took as a good sign though from her grip, he could feel she wasn’t comfortable yet. Glancing down before looking at her eyes again, he said. “I’m treading water right now.” He said, then realized that might not be very helpful, so he considered a different tactic. As serious as he was trying to be though, he couldn’t help but to laugh when she accused him of having secret flippers. “No, I’m afraid not, though I imagine that would have its advantages.

He quickly calmed back down though as he remembered her earlier panic, and considered there position a moment before he spoke. “Remember how you were telling me about floating earlier. I want to try that while I walk you through the rest, okay?” He asked kindly, and gently while kicking out with his feet to keep afloat, he thought about what he was going to do next. “Deep breaths now, in and out. Your body needs to be relaxed to flow with the water instead of fighting it.” Marino said as he could still feel the tension in her body.

After doing that for a while and giving her a chance to try out the exercises before they moved onto the next part. “Now, if you are feeling comfortable, I want you to lean back into the water. As far back as you are comfortable with. Just remember I am here, and I won’t let anything happen to you.” Then if she leaned back, he’d started kicking out with his feet like he was doing a breast stroke as the arm she was not holding came up to support her lower back. “There, you are doing great. When you let yourself relax a little, you start going with the water instead of against it.” Marino said softly, and considered carefully their next point of action. He wanted to proceed with the next part very slowly as he didn’t want her to tense up again which would make it only harder for her to tread water effectively.

Then giving it some time to sink in again, he spoke. “If your comfortable with that, try coming up again and face me. Keep breathing in and out, deep breaths while you do. Maybe focus on how it felt to float while you do if that helps.” He’d let go of her lower back slowly as he did this, and would help her slowly shift upright if she needed it. When they were facing each other, he looked at his hands and feet before looking back at her. “You see how I kick out with my feet? I want you to try doing the same. Slowly now, you don’t have to do a lot to keep afloat I promise.” Ducking his head in the water, he watched carefully what she was doing and tried offering her some tips based on how he saw her kicking out with her feet.

After he emerged, he shook the water from his face briskly and then studied her face as he said the next bit, wanting very much to make sure she was okay with it. “If you are up to it, I want you to take one of your hands and do like I am doing in the water.” He said, raising his right briefly so she could see that his fingers were spread before he submerged it again to paddle in a smooth arch downward. “You’ll find that you get a lot of lift from simple motions like that.” He said. Then he watched her to see what she would do, ready to assist in whatever way she needed.


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Lost in the rigging

Postby Tazrae on May 16th, 2020, 3:40 pm

Truth be told, she would have rather Marino not see her like this. She had been doing so well with all the new things lately, and her immediate and sudden fear of drowning had taken her completely by surprise. Swimming had looked so easy from her perspective…. the view of someone on the shore who never touched the water except the few times her and her father had gone out fishing. The fear had taken her by surprise since Tazrae considered herself bold and brave. It was a huge bite of humble pie that she hadn’t hit the water and paddled around happily like some sort of long-lost fish who’d been living out of the water. That’s what she thought would happen. It wasn’t the reality.

The reality was that she had to force her muscles to relax. And to do that, she had to bring her fear at bay and swallow it down long enough so it wasn’t controlling her mind. When she could think again, she could start acting and stop reacting. She cracked a joke about Marino having fins to cover her discomfort, and then took a good look around underwater. When she came up, he began to speak and she listened, slowly loosening her grip on his arm. She followed his instructions on breathing, dragging a deep breath in, holding it slightly, then letting it out. She understood that he wanted her to relax to flow with the water, but it was harder than he made it sound. She almost had to start at her toes and work her way up to her nose, ordering each and every group of muscles to untense and relax. While she was doing it, she didn’t speak or look at him…. she just concentrated and did what he asked… not fighting the water anymore.

Her breath slid in… slid out… and she began to bob more in the water as her limbs gained buoyancy that the stiffness of her body hadn’t allowed before. She nodded about his advice and eventually leaned back in the water as he suggested, her hand still on his arm, but her body mostly floating free now. His quiet words washed over her…. that he wouldn’t let anything happen to her.

Tazrae believed him. Better than that…. she trusted him. It was crazy. He was a stranger. But she did… she trusted the crazy Svefra with his love of ships and dolphins. She took another deep breath, met his eyes with her equally blue ones, and gave herself over to swimming… relaxing completely. The water was indeed somewhat holding her up. She floated, her curly hair going every which way in the water as if it had a mind of their own. She could see The Seasilk bobbing lightly very close by and hear Twist circling, making a questioning series of clicks and whistles. So far, she hadn’t sunk, and while she was far from comfortable, the fear was under control. She even kicked out a bit, splaying her free arm and letting her legs move.

The water felt heavy… thick… it wasn’t bathwater. It was something more, with a living quality to it. Tazrae couldn’t put her finger on it. Bits of things were in it too, small jellies, darting fish, even bits of plant life. As she relaxed more and looked around, she noticed the beauty of it. She noticed the beauty of Marino too with the droplets of water glistening off his exposed skin and standing freely on his head clinging to bits of neatly cropped hair. She breathed in, breathed out, and suddenly the whole thing felt incredibly surreal to her.

Tazrae was so far from home, floating in a turquoise sea with a naked stranger whom she trusted beyond understanding. When he spoke again, she turned to look at him, a bit of that overwhelmed awe in her eyes even as she nodded. She sat up a bit, splayed her fingers out, and kicked… mimicking how he was treading water. To her surprise, she popped up in the water, stilled her bobbing, and leveled out. Firmly she ordered each finger one by one to relax that gripped his arm until her hand released him entirely.

She offered him a nervous smile, still saying nothing, concentrating on her water treading. Tazrae didn’t even protest as he ducked under, looking around as she had. She only nodded when he surfaced, took a breath, and spoke again.

“I… I think I have it. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to… react like that. I just thought…. I thought there’d be a bottom. I mean of course there’s a bottom... a sea floor… but one I could touch.” She said, taking a moment to relax, leaning back in the water like he’d shown her a moment ago to float and give her legs a rest from kicking. “I… thought it would be different. I mean I imagined it different… easier. It’s not so easy… not like it looked.” She added, then lifted her head up to begin to tread water again.

“It’s so lovely out here though. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect the things that look like flowers beneath us… the colorful fish. It’s so… a live out here.” She added, tipping her head back to dunk her hair under water to bring it under control and out of her eyes. She moved her arms steadily, like he’d taught her, and gently kicked her legs.

“What’s next? I think I get this… I think I…. it’s getting easier.” She said, blinking sea water out of her eyes as she had an awkward moment and bobbed under. Coming back up, she laughed a little at herself – nervously though – and resumed treading. “I guess I’m not a long lost Svefra, am I?” She added softly, then had a bit of confession for him.

“My father claimed my family was from the desert a few generations back. This is a long way from anywhere like that, isn’t it?” She added, glancing around and moving forward suddenly, paddling much like a dog would in the water. Tazrae was growing bolder, figuring out how to hold herself up, as she paddled around gracelessly. But the important thing was, she didn’t look that scared anymore. She looked like she was actually starting to have fun.

“You know… I when I talked to The Captain about moving to Syka to start an Inn… I never pictured this. I honestly thought I’d start building someplace… it was always clear someplace would have to be built… and I’d get a dog for company and protection… and that would be it. I could never imagine this… or even you, Marino. I still want the dog… but now that list keeps getting longer. I want to be able to swim and sail…” She added, breathlessly a moment as she bogged for a second and then turned, paddling around him like a very unshark-like shark. “I want to walk in the jungle without being afraid something will eat me. And Juli… Juli made me get a bow. I have to learn how to shoot it now. Can you imagine? Me with a weapon? I’ve never held more than a chef’s knife.” She said, taking another turn. The truth was, the girl looked ridiculous… paddling around him like one of the swimming pigs in the swine swells, her curls tangled around her head, and her eyes wide and nervous but still willing to try.

“Speaking… of knives. Do you cook? Will you let me cook for you as thanks for these lessons?” She said, making another awkward lap around him. She was starting to get an idea of how ridiculous she looked and was grinning with a silly ‘yea I know how I look’ expression on her face.

“Is there a better way to do this?” She asked suddenly, watching him hold himself in the water like he was standing there causally still. It kind of baffled her the ease at which the Svefra took to the water. And even as she asked, she kept up her doggy paddling… making a lot of noise and expending a lot of energy to travel her erratic circle around him.

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Tazrae
A warm welcome in paradise awaits you.
 
Posts: 426
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Lost in the rigging

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 16th, 2020, 6:12 pm

Marino didn’t know what Tazrae was feeling right now, but he imagined it was like the time he tried climbing the mast of the Lia’s ship as a boy. At first things went well. He’d been supremely confident in his abilities, making it a quarter of the way up before he hazarded a look down. That turned out to be his undoing as the deck look so terribly far below him. Petrified, he couldn’t make himself to move in either direction, so it was up to an older cousin of his to get him.

Perhaps that wasn’t the best connection to make. After all, he hadn’t tried climbing again after that day, but that wasn’t entirely because of the fear. It was also because of the embarrassment he’d felt being stuck up there while his cousins laughed. Looking at Tazrae now, he knew he didn’t want her to feel any of that about the water.

While he thought about how to accomplish that, he watched as she slowly relaxed. There wasn’t a lot see, but he could feel. It started with the obvious things like her grip on his arm that gradually grew less tense. Then, after some time with her leaning back in the water now, he could feel her gradually growing lighter. Eventually she was floating on her own though she still had a hand on his arm.

Marino felt himself relax with her. He hadn’t even realized he’d been holding in so much tension till he felt a knot in his back subside. Twist seemed to intuit it too as his motions became less agitated. With Tazrae absorbed with floating on her back, Marino glanced over to his tavan and gave him a reassuring smile. He knew it would take more than a smile to calm the dolphin, though that would have to wait for now. His responsibility now was to this woman he’d taken out onto the sea.

Watching her float there was kind of bewitching. As her eyes met hers, and her hair spread out around her head, he was struck by how elegant she looked. Realizing he might have been staring for too long, he looked down at the water for a few moments while he regained his train of thought from before.

Following his suggestion, Tazrae smiled back at her as she slowly released his arm and started treading water on her own. As he was thinking of techniques she could try, she spoke to him. “I should have asked more questions before we jumped in” He said, looking very much as chagrined as he had on the beach when they’d met. “I could swim before I could walk, so its not something I think about that way.

It was hard to keep the amusement from his face as he watched her tread water. The way she moved reminded him of one of his little cousins which made sense given this was her first time out in the sea. She bobbed under the water, and he had to restrain himself from going to help her. Reminding himself that she was doing just fine on her own, he thought instead on what she said. “It is, but you’ve got Laviku in your gaze. I suspect you will be a natural with a little more experience.” He said.

She was getting better at treading water now, or at least more mobile as she paddled around him, talking about the move here. Again, he fought a chuckle to see her circling him, and Twist circling them. It was like some bizarre game they were all playing together. The air felt lighter now, an he found himself connecting with Tazrae on how she felt about Syka. He had similar thoughts and reservations about the place since arriving. It was all a part of the intoxicating lure of the settlement. “I feel the same way about the place. Coming here has opened my eyes to so many new and exciting challenges it is difficult to decide where to start. I’ve got a half spear on the boat, but I’ve yet to give it a swing.” Truthfully, it had been something he’d gotten on impulse but hadn’t actually pictured himself using until he arrived at Syka. It, like the large mounted harpoon on his deck was meant to ward off large ocean predators. Now that he was here though, he was starting to see a point for learning how to properly use the thing if only he could find out how to start.

He smiled broadly at her offer. “I do not, but I would be happy to try more of your cooking. The sandwich was good.” It was reassuring to him that she seemed to be enjoying the water more now as she paddled around him. It looked silly, but it was all in good fun. When she spoke again, he suddenly remembered what he’d been thinking of. Of course he probably should have said something a lot earlier as this method was probably exhausting her. Still, he took a moment to gather his thoughts before he spoke.

Try spreading out your arms and legs like I am, and spread your weight across the water. Then, while you are doing that, try miming arms and legs.” He said. As she watched him, he worked on slowly stroking his arms down through the water slightly bent at the elbow. They were spread out to his sides. His legs meanwhile extended in a straight line beneath him, slowly kicking back and forth to keep him afloat. “Think of it as you are keeping your balance with your arms while the rest of your body just wants to float to the top. By keeping your legs under you, you can stay like this for a while without tiring too much.

Chewing his lip, he hoped he explained that alright. He’d been thinking about that while she had been floating on her back. During the course of their conversation though, he had completely forgot to share that with her till now. He jumped startled as he felt Twist nose his shoulder, and turned only to have his tavan splash him before darting away. Sputtering, he wiped his eyes, looking over at Tazrae with a little grin.

I promise, he is normally better behaved.” Twist whistled sharply at that, spying him for a wary distance, obviously wanting him to chase. Marino had a different idea though. “Twist, stand” He called out to the dolphin and at first he didn’t think Twist heard him as he disappeared under the water, diving out of sight. After what felt like a chime though, he surfaced near them coming out of the water straight out to show them his belly for several moments before he lazily fell back into the water. He came back out almost immediately, doing a quick flip out of the water.

Turning back to Tazrae, he muttered. “show off” then added. “He means well though.” He swam a little closer to her then so he could better see how well she was keeping afloat with the new technique. Twist, of course, saw this as the perfect moment to swim over to them and whistle at him till he reached out to stroke the back of his head. “He loves the attention. Would you like to?” He asked looking Tazrae in the eyes now.


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Lost in the rigging

Postby Tazrae on May 16th, 2020, 11:32 pm

By the Gods, she was having a good time now that she wasn’t trying to drown. Tazrae smiled at Marino and nodded as he agreed to a meal or two from her. They had a lot in common and the future Innkeeper was keen to definitely make a friend of him. He was comfortable, fun, and more than anything else highly entertaining without seemingly trying to be. She liked his mind too… they thought a great deal alike. Both of them had similar feelings about Syka, though Tazrae figured Marino put those thoughts into words better than she had.

He instructed her on how to more effectively tread water and she followed his advice closely, adjusting her maneuvering until she was more or less upright with very little effort like he’d been. “I think I’m getting the hang of it.” She said boldly, then used the maneuver to take a break from all her thrashing about. She had a feeling; Twist was laughing at them both. He seemed to have a perpetual smile on his snout and watched them circling about causally.

Tazrae didn’t argue with Marino about Twist’s behavior. The dolphin seemed to be behaving just fine in her estimation. He hadn’t, after all, ate them yet… and she’d seen his teeth. And when Marino asked him to ‘stand’ she gasped in astonishment when the dolphin jumped out of the water and seemed to stand on his tail before he flopped down and then resurfaced to flip. She was gasping in delight, then tried to clap, popping under the water immediately, coming up and coughing before she shook hair out of her face and started laughing again.

“He’s such a showoff.” Tazrae laughed, then turned to Marino as he swam up. She watched Twist approach, then saw how the Svefra stroked the porpoise. She nodded at his invitation, touching his Tavan not being something she’d ever do without an invite, and cautiously reached a hand out to touch the light grey form. She wasn’t sure what she would have expected… cool? Slimy like a fish? Twist was neither. He was warm and smooth, sleek and the water shed off him in an astonishing way.

“Hello… ” she said, smiling at the dolphin as she kept treading water. “I’m Tazrae. I hear your name is Twist. It’s good to meet you.” She said, studying the creature in its eye nearest to her and seeing what she felt was extreme intelligence in the gaze looking back at her. She stroked his long back, tracing the dark patterning where it merged into slightly lighter grey. It was almost like touching another human.

“Will you tell me about him?” She asked Marino as she leaned slightly on the dolphin, using him as a floatation device. She glanced at the dolphin and smiled, speaking to him this time. “I know nothing of your kind… what you eat, how old you are… how long you live… even how Marino met you.” She explained to the sleek sea creature, scissoring her legs, changing the way she moved to ease what was starting to be a slight cramp in one leg.

She’d listen to Marino share whatever it was the Svefra felt like sharing about the dolphin. The future Innkeeper didn’t want to nose into his business, so she’d understand if her questions were too prying. But as she listened, she’d watch him, still stroking his friend. He was handsome… and kind. He had a bright spirit. She could almost see his inner glow. And she was attracted to him in a way she’d never felt towards anyone in Riverfall. But that attraction was going to be something for her to sort through later. For now, and most importantly, he was going to be a good friend, and Tazrae fully intended to cultivate that friendship.

“Marino… is there a way to go down safely?” Tazrae asked. “I mean get a closer look at the fish and the things below us that look like a garden?” She clarified. They weren’t in super deep water, but the Seasilk floated easily and the abundant reef life was beneath them about six or eight feet depending on where they looked and how the seafloor undulated. “I’ve never seen beneath… and I think I can hold my breath. But I’m not sure how to get… deeper?” She added, wondering if she was asking too much.

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Lost in the rigging

Postby Marino Oceangem on May 17th, 2020, 1:21 am

I can see that.” He said watching her with a grin. It was surprisingly interesting to watch someone learn how to swim for the first time. To see how she changed and adapted what he was teaching her. Marino wondered if it was maybe time to walk her through some breaststroke techniques when Twist decided it was time to play.

His tavan must have been pretty bored today because even stood when asked before doing his usual showboating. Marino laughed, and laughed even harder when Tazrae popped back up laughing from her brief plunge. She really was getting the hang of this. It comforted him because he took strength from her courage. All of his uncertainties seemed to wash away while they were out here on the water.

Smiling, he continued to pet Twist as Tazrae started to talk with him. Twist responded well to all of the attention, nudging them both gently with his nose. Staring at his tavan, he said. “Yes, well he likes a variety of fish and squid, though I think squid are his favorite. He’s ten years old. I remember that because I met him when he was just a little thing and he grew on me from there.” Marino paused, and then added. “I’m not sure how long they live, but its fairly long as my mothers tavan is going on seventeen soon and is as energetic as ever.

Looking at Twist tenderly, he ran his hand gently along the dorsal fin. “He’s very smart, and the best friend you could have out here in the sea.” Turning to Tazrae, he nodded. “Certainly.” And then after taking a moment to think about it, said. “You just have to do what you are doing now with a few more steps.” Then swimming beside her, he got close enough so that he could demonstrate to her as he spoke. “Its going to be a lot like when you were paddling around on your stomach earlier except you are going to want to spread out your body as you swim, and instead of pushing down, you are going to push up.” He said ducking under the water before gently waving arms in arches above him to thrust he down into the water. Grinning from below the water, he then kicked with his feet to quickly surface.

Next I’m going to show you how you should try to move underwater when you get there.” But before he demonstrated, he hesitated and said quickly. “This might sound weird, but your going to want to try not to breath in too deep for this next part. It’ll be easier to submerge yourself with just a regular breath.” Then he ducked under the water and kicked gently upwards till he was a few feet under water. There he swept one arm forward and then the other while he seemed to be springing forwards with his legs. When he’d made a wide circle around her, he would surface beside her, wiping his eyes before responding. “Why don’t you give it a try before we try swimming to the bottom. Just make sure you don’t face directly down or water will go up your nose.” He teased before he started to lay flat on the water so he could observe her.

When she finally surfaced, he’d ask. “So how you feel about it? Confident enough to try it yourself or would you like Twist to take us down?


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Lost in the rigging

Postby Tazrae on May 17th, 2020, 5:04 am

Tazrae took in all the information Marino shared with her about Twist. Dolphins were something new to her and she paid rapt attention as he explained things. The knowledge wasn’t vast and encompassing, but it was far more than she’d known before. Taz was relieved Twist would have a long life. She could see how attached Marino was to him and indeed how attached the dolphin was to Marino. Truth be told she was a little jealous. The man had someone…. someone inhuman that would never judge him and would stay by his side out of love and loyalty, because of what Marino had to offer the creature. She wasn’t Svefra and she couldn’t have a Tavan, but Tazrae was more than determined now to go ahead and ask the Captain to start looking for her a dog. Surely, he could bring one back on his next trip since Riverfall was lousy with them.

She’d never swim like Marino, and wouldn’t have the time or skill to nurture a sea denizen like Twist, but a land animal would be the ticket. Tazrae was a lonely creature. And spending time in Syka had really brought how lonely she’d been to the forefront. There had always been guests at the Inn – a full but small house – and she’d always had her days occupied as a child and very young woman. But when they lost the Inn, there was nothing to fill her days. She’d had a job and then her mother and her had moved into a stranger’s estate and her days were filled with nothing. She was not allowed to help the servants, and a job was beneath her step-father’s status. He couldn’t have his poor adopted daughter out occupied with a job. Anything but that…

Taz tried not to be bitter about it. It wasn’t his fault. It was his culture and their beliefs. Humans needed more than idle days and leisurely nights.

Marino distracted her with more swimming lessons, demonstrating how to push himself under, lightly hold his breath, and rise again. It looked easy when he did it. She wasn’t so easily deceived. Taz gave it a try or two, managing the first time only to dive down a foot or two. She came up, took a breath, and tried again, copying his motions. This time she got further, caught on to what he was saying, and rose to breath. She gave a deep gasp once or twice, then nodded.

“Let me try on my own. Twist can rescue me if things go south.” She said, glancing at the dolphin appreciatively.

The next lesson came, and she nodded, understanding what he was saying about moving under water. She nodded at his suggestion to try, took multiple deep breaths, then a shallow one and dove as she’d figured out, kicking out and using her arms to move through the water like he’d demonstrated. Tazrae was no dolphin and she certainly didn’t have the grace of a jellyfish. But she managed the dive, pushing herself down into the water, and moved around a bit, coming closer to the reef below than she had been before.


With her eyes open, trying to stay beside Marino, Taz looked around – wide eyed and stunned – at the beauty all around them. She didn’t know how to hold still in the water, hanging in place, so she ended up circling again, twirling beneath the surface as if trying to look everywhere at once.


It was a beautiful alien world. Fish darted everywhere and plants that didn’t look like any plants she’d ever seen waved back and forth in her vision. It was indescribably beautiful. She couldn’t have imagined it nor explained it, Taz decided, as she gazed about. The young woman didn’t stay under long and certainly displayed no gracefulness, but she at least accomplished the awkward basics - diving, looking around - and then coming up to breath.

Once surfaced, she tossed her head back, pushing heavy curled hair out of her face and gasped. She treaded water better now, as if her body grew used to it… and laughed a little at him. “It’s so beautiful down there!” She said excitedly. “I never imagined…. never dreamed. The fish are like birds, darting here and there in a forest… an underwater forest… or grasslands… or … its like nothing really on the land you can compare it with.” Tazrae said, not as if she were telling him something he didn’t know. It was more like she was telling herself…. as if helping herself believe in what she just saw.

“I wonder if there are corals and plants and even fish like this off shore of where the Inn is going to be?” She questioned, looking thoughtfully. Tazrae would like to visit again, someplace closer, that didn’t involve a boat. The young woman was breathing hard. It took a lot out of someone who hadn’t ever went swimming before, using muscles she hadn’t used before and doing new things never attempted. Taz didn’t attempt to dive again, she instead treaded water and breathed. “I think I’ve almost had enough…. Swimming that is.” She didn’t exactly say she was getting tired, not wanting to admit such a thing. But that was the whole reason she paused and didn’t try to dive again. Instead, she focused on her breathing and studied Marino.

“What do you say we call the swimming done for the day? Is there anything else you want to do today?” She asked abruptly, not rudely, but almost ruefully.

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