Completed Beached Seal V.2

Selene settles in Syka

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Beached Seal V.2

Postby Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:39 pm

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“Well that had all the diplomacy of a tidal wave,” Selene laughed, making an apologetic face at the men. She was grateful to see that none of them seemed irked by Pelly’s demands and in traditional Skya fashion were happy to recline somewhere else. However, they had fewer reservations about staring at the Symenestra.

“Shyke, this baby leaves my feet so sore – if only I could beg a foot rub from one of these fine men,” She groaned, raising her wooden leg in offering. Selene guessed that it was neither her missing limb, nor her pregnancy that had caught their stares, but her whimsy cut the uneasiness their presence had fermented and several men at the bar chuckled.

“Well aren’t you lovely ladies both aglow,” The bartender complimented gazing at Pellys wildflower-like beauty, “What brings you to Syka?” He switched his gaze to Selene. Dark brown eyes looked out from under a heavy brow. Although she didn’t understand what ladies and aglow meant, Selene understood the latter question and balked at the inquisition, interpreting the informal ease of the Sykan with a probing interrogation.

“Pelly Oceangem,” Selene gestured to the beaming mother, “Is here with in trade with her pod,” she explained, stumbling over the common words, her Sym accent giving her words a sharp “z” sounding edge.

“…and I, Selene…” she hesitated.

“Oceangem,” Pelly completed, touching the Syms shoulder affectionately. The bartenders wide broad face expanded in surprise, the wiry brown moustache and beard masking the surprised “O” his mouth had formed. Selene didn’t notice the bartender’s surprise, too consumed with horror and gratitude.

Curare, her families last name was given for their historical use of paralytics during The Harvest, and Selene feared that using it might leave a trail for her childs father to follow, or be a painful memory for anyone personally affected by a Curare. The use of a fake would have been better. Better a fake than accepting inclusion into another community… Selene lamented fearing that accepting the last name would be a nail in the coffin of her fragile familial ties, and worrying that declining would offend Pelly or draw suspicion from the Sykans.

“Yes, Selene Oceangem, am here to settle in Syka,” She finished, unable to meet Pellys eyes and instead using the man as a distraction for her gaze.

Stu flicked the loose ponytail of brunette hair off his shoulder as he grabbed two mugs for the ladies. What could have happened between a Svefra and a Symenestra that a Svefra would offer her name to the creature? He considered carefully. The answer was not complex, Pelly was a simple sunshine girl, a lover of love, and was more than happy to hold an umbrella over another’s head. Simply put, she had no idea the events this seemingly innocuous gesture would unlock and how a gesture of good-will would add fuel to the fire of resentment that would follow her death. A year…two years…one day Selene would look back on this moment and wish she had hurt her friend’s feelings.

“Welcome Selene and, Pelly, is it? My name is Stu Alkamar, I’m The Tidepool Bar’s owner and local unofficial party planner. What can I get you two to drink?” His accent was unrecognizable to either women. In fact, the whole bar was a murmur with a variety of accents and languages. Pelly was used to the saponaceous lather of the accents and languages, but Selene found it slippery and difficult to hold onto the bartenders words.


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Beached Seal V.2

Postby Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:41 pm

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“What do you…advise?” Selene hesitated over the words. Advise was associated with the Symenos word for a wise person giving life suggestions, but the alternative she knew of “suggest” was sexualized in Symenos. The Symenos word for someone’s own preference or recommendation, was not translatable to common with Selene’s vocabulary.

“On such a hot day, I’d suggest a pitcher of cold black lemon tea and perhaps a platter of fresh fruit, freshly made bread, cheese and some pork – fresh from a Swine Swell pig felled this morning” Stu suggested.

“Pleased tah meetcha Stu, I’m an official tea tott’ler and food sounds delish. We’re plann’ ah parteh at Selene’s ‘fter we get ‘er settled to’dah. Sounds a lil’ like your company would be boon ‘pon us.” Pelly offered, nudging Selene with her leg under the table. Selene nodded, smiling and going along with Pelly’s spontaneity.

“I’m flattered, if I’m able I’d be delighted,” he replied smoothly as he brewed their refreshments.

“I don’t want to shove my presence down their throats!” Selene admonished under her breath. It’s actually not the worst idea…the more often the locals see me with the Svefra the more likely the trust will be contagious, Selene thought, secretly grateful for Pelly’s unquenchable love for parties.

“Oh sh’oo sh’oo, we’ll ‘ave a lovely time!” She flapped her hand at Selene dismissively and the two were soon sipping on their drinks. It was bitterly delicious and delightfully cool. The next several bells passed smoothly with the two women laughing and sipping tea while the hungry Svefra munched on cheeses. Selene found herself growing more voracious, but Stu hadn’t mentioned anything on the menu she could eat and she hesitated to try and explain what she could eat.

“A one-legged pregnant Symenestra, now I’ve seen everything…” The angry words cut through the din. Selene snapped her head toward the brown glare of an elderly man. Selene gulped, [i[Well, this is more what I was expecting…open hostility is easier to address than the reserved tense gulps of everyone else.[/i] Selene was so prepared for her races reputation to define her reputation in Syka, she saw the flicker of innocent curiosity as the bonfire of interrogation and the concern for a one-legged pregnant woman as concern for self-preservation. What she didn’t know about Syka’s history was the careful way it had been sculpted to include only the most accepting and tolerant of individuals. A mecca of acceptance that had forged a forced acceptance even between Myrian and Dhani.

“Selene…don’t…” Pelly warned as Selene rose and strode over to the man’s table. His hair was cropped short and tousled by the wind. His skin was tanned into a thick brown leather from years in the sun, and laugh lines engraved into his cheeks were turned into a deep frown.

“My name is Selene,” The Sym introduced flatly, offering a hand. Tony stared at the hand distastefully, “I’m Tony.”

“Let’s have a talk,” Selene took a seat, the heat of the sun nothing compared to the heat of her anger. Pelly, going to extravagant lengths to avoid confrontation had not joined her and instead was showing Crane off to the admiring locals at the bar. I just have to reason with him, Selene rationalized.

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Beached Seal V.2

Postby Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:45 pm

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“I’d rather not,” Tony wheezed, rising to excuse himself. Selene took no mind to the silent onlooker to their discussion. I don’t care what you’d rather, Selene thought, but plastered a wide toothy grin and rose with him. Unfamiliar with playing nice in an Un-Sym-pathetic world she didn’t realize how threatening she appeared.

“I’m settling here. I know my presence won’t be comfortable for everyone initially, bu-“ She spoke the script she had practiced all the way from Lhavit. The more she had practiced, the more she was convinced that the words would work. Selene was a woman of many words and few actions, she had spouted zealously about her beliefs for years but it was only her pregnancy that had catapulted her into action. Decisions did not come easily to the Sym, she’d rather think and talk her way out of or around a situation than commit to action.

“Won’t be comfortable? Won’t be comfortable? Your presence is a charming smiling threat. As long as you’re here, people will hold their daughters closer. They’ll dote over their wives, and you will haunt their nightmares. Every. Day. You are here. No one will feel safe.” His voice rose as he spoke breaking over Selene with the force of a wave cresting the deck of The Zealot. His voice a fever, a toxic externalization of the infection of the anxiety he carried within him.

He looked to his table partner his eyes narrowing angrily, “Don’t let her stay here, she and her brethren feed on people. They aren’t a boon to Syka, they’re a drain. We haven’t lost a soul yet…but now, people will start dying.” Each blink was a beg and a silent prayer.

“Wait...” Selene exhaled, her breath a weak gust. It was an out of body experience, feeling her knee weaken and her breath tremble. Her mind flashed to the shaking weakening form of a dog she had just bit – slowly being eaten and digested by the venom slithering through his veins. Now I’m the dog… she fretted as the two shook in each other’s presence.

She didn’t try to stop him when he stumbled away, and instead collapsed onto one of the chairs. Her thin face made thinner as her jaw slacked and she slumped over outstretched arms. “Viratas…I never exp-“ She looked up at Tony’s companion remembering his presence.

“My name is Captain James Chaliva,” Thin lips introduced, “Co-founder of Syka,” he added, anchoring Selene to her seat.

“Well…I hope you don’t feel the same way as Tony does…” Selene replied lamely. What she didn’t understand, and James had no intention of revealing to her, was that Tony’s distaste for her wasn’t founded in her race as she assumed, but a distaste for the opening of Syka to outsiders. For so long Syka had been a tightly controlled population; anyone who entered was a valuable open-minded contributing member of society. But to grow and thrive the founders had felt the need to open Syka to the world, allowing visitors and vacationers. Tony feared Selene because she appeared to him, on all accounts, a useless visitor to Syka. A pregnant disabled notoriously fragile creature Syka would have to feed, protect and provide medical resources to. He believed the founders and isolation would protect Syka from a Sym on Harvest or Gleaning, but feared her presence was the symptom of something else that threatened his beloved home.

James withheld the information, curious how she would respond to the perceived racism. If her response held the faintest threat, she could not be allowed to stay. One of the reasons Syka had been so effective at maintaining peace between otherwise warring races was the belief in the founders ability to punish offenders – swiftly and decidedly.

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Beached Seal V.2

Postby Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:47 pm

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“Well that depends, you came with the Oceangems and they’re not known to have poor taste,” He reclined and cradled his mug thoughtfully, “Why don’t you start at the beginning.” Selene didn’t realize how artfully he had buttered her up, softening her into inclining towards the truth. If he had mentioned a similar sentiment as Tony, Selene may have been more on guard in her story – more likely to portray her position sympathetically. As it stood, Selene was relieved by the lack of hostility.

“I was born in Kalinor…” Selene began, launching into a brief history of her life. She explained how she had been raised by a wonderful doting father, though she didn’t have to exaggerate the closeness of their relationship to be accurate. How she had been a weaver in Kalinor with her sisters, and how she had never been outside of Kalinor before coming to Syka.

“But…I couldn’t find it in myself to believe that The Harvest was right,” Here she hesitated. It seemed unwise when there were reservations about her own presence to imply that her sister, and potentially many others, were inbound to Syka or her beliefs regarding the breeding of Dra, but she knew her beliefs about the harvest would ring false if not followed up with reasoning.

“We can reproduce without The Harvest, our venom is weaker. But that doesn’t make us any less Symenestran or weaken our bond with Viratas,” She elaborated, telling the truth without expounding on her zealotries, “I want to raise my child to appreciate other cultures, and appreciate all bloodlines.” She added, stroking her stomach affectionately. Nothing she had said was false, she had just omitted facts. She wouldn’t be raising her child, since she would likely die in childbirth, and she believed in preserving her communities bloodline and culture even at the detriment of others, but only if necessary. She dreamed of a Symenestran Syka where Symenestran women would mate with other humanoids and the Dra produced could mate with each other creating a people who could sustain themselves and weren’t doomed to die out.

Selene, knowing nothing of medicines and little of magic could not conceive of any other solution. The solution that had cultivated itself within the intellectual confines of Kalinor was born of her inherited love of colonization, culture, and community establishment. Even if she’d had the exposure to conceive such thoughts, she was about to conceive and her life so abruptly set on a timer that the only change she could affect was to ensure her child grew up without The Harvest, and to encourage a Symenestra sympathetic atmosphere in Syka as best she was able.

James was nodding along as Selene told him of her escape and the loss of her limb in the process, a painful ending to the story that she hoped would convey how desperately she wished to leave. Retelling the story threatened to topple tears as homesickness whispered in her head, but she was resigned to her fate away from Kalinor. My people will join soon enough, and be all the stronger for my sacrifice, her ego satisfied by the stroking she looked to James for a response.

His tongue was a red carpet as he licked his lips before speaking, “Tragic a story it may be, but I’m familiar with the dangers Symenestra have posed to other cities and I know of your penchant for charming promises and questionable moral devices. However, Syka has the benefit of being small, surrounded by a dangerous jungle, and few transport vessels to be smuggled away on so I can’t see why you’d come to Syka to Harvest when Riverfall is so close. Furthermore, you’re already pregnant and I have a hard time imagining they typically send pregnant women out to Harvest, given the difficulties your kind face.” The red carpet rolled out for her again, wetting his lips.

Word Count: 648

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Beached Seal V.2

Postby Selene Curare on May 14th, 2020, 3:49 pm

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“However, if you bring any trouble or bloodshed to Syka it will not be tolerated, you must remain above reproach. As long as you contribute to Syka, you shouldn’t face any intolerance. If you do, please report it to myself or one of the other founders immediately and it will be dealt with. You misunderstand Tony’s concerns, his comments weren’t directed at your race’s infamy. He’s been concerned since we began to allow more visitors that people would come who couldn’t care for themselves. As long as you contribute to Syka and don’t take more resources than you produce, I’m sure you’ll find that any concerns you experience from Sykans will dissipate.

I can’t lie, it would be of great benefit to have a weaver capable of making blankets, bug nets, baskets, bags, and other essentials and I’m capable of extending you employment in Syka to create such items and supply them to the Mercantile or to individuals with the express purpose of improving their ability to supply their own resources or skills to Syka. Would that be to your liking?”

Selene was sure she shone brighter than Syna herself at that moment. Grinning so widely her teeth ground against each other, she extended a hand abruptly. “I’m upside down with joy!”

“And you’ll make the rest of us right side up with gratitude. We’ve all the resources for a weaver to thrive, and yet we’ve been importing bags, baskets, and fabrics,” James replied, stealing her turn of phrase with the delight of a well-traveled man picking up the cultural accessories of another, “I hope you Syka will be warm in all ways to you. You have chosen an awful difficult road to tread, and I can’t say I understand why you would turn your back on a time old way of life, but everyone deserves to be judged on their own merit and not on the infamy of their people. After all, no one would have thought the Dhani and Myrian would be able to put aside their memory-old war and live in peace in Syka but they manage.

You’ll keep a catalogue of everything you weave for Syka; deliveries to the Mercantile and anything someone personally requests of you. We’ll charge personal requests for your time and resources from your catalogue. You can see Juli, my daughter, at the Mercantile tomorrow and she’ll let you know what would be most urgent to work on,” Selene was nodding along, leaning forward over the table to suck up every word. “I have plans tomorrow, but Juli should be able to give you a tour of Syka so you can find anything you need.”

Pelly interrupted, with little regard for polite company and social convention, “Sorry, I have to snap her up, dance circle time!” She squealed, whisking Selene off her feet.

“I-I’m sorry! Thank you for the chance!” The Sym called as she was hauled off by the comparatively burly woman.

She swore she saw James smile.

Selene felt as if she were floating as Pelly pulled her into a dance circle that had erupted. Several musicians had banded together; strumming guitars, thumping drums and several humming voices. Several dancers twirled on, tripped and tickled the dance floor shaking their hips and waving their hands.

Selene hadn’t recognized the tension in her stomach, interpreting it as the babe not laying quite right, but recognized it now as the fear of not fitting in. As a teenager that fear had been born of hormones and an age-activated loneliness and insecurity that needed constant soothing. Now, the fear of fitting in was life or death. And it felt, at least for the time being, that Syka may become her Sym haven after all.

“I’m allowed to stay!” Selene exclaimed, grabbing Pelly’s hands.

“Congratulations Seal! You’ve flopped onto land, fat and vulnerable, and they didn’t spear you!” Pelly joked, and the two leaned back and began to spin. The world blurred into a peach and green blur of laughter, faces and music. The only thing in focus, the beautiful Svefran bauble before her.

Little did Selene realize how short-lived the glee would be – a few bells later and she would feel as low as she felt high in this moment.

Word Count: 707

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Selene Curare
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Beached Seal V.2

Postby Madeira Craven on May 29th, 2020, 4:56 am

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Grades Awarded!

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Selene Curare

Skills
  • Observation: 5xp
  • Socialization: 5xp
  • Intimidation: 1xp
  • Persuasion: 1xp
  • Storytelling: 1xp

Lores
  • Selene Oceangem: new moniker
  • Intimidation: disturbing friendliness
  • Captain James Chaliva: Co-founder of Syka
  • Storytelling: personal history
  • James Chaliva: a warm welcome
  • Syka Unwritten Law: give more than you take

Awards & Retribution


Notes
Oh boy does this girl have layers. I'm convinced she's either going to find a way to rule the world or shoot herself in the foot. Either way it'll be a hell of a story. |:)

I know you requested Politics, but unfortunately I couldn't find any. What James does to make Selene open up would fall under Interrogation, or maybe persuasion. But any way it was James exercising the skill. Selene can get lores if she recognizes and actively studies what another character is doing, therefore learning it, but she wont get XP unless she actually does the action herself. :thumbsup:

If you have questions/concerns about any of your grades go ahead and give me a poke.
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