Closed Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

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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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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Onaona on July 1st, 2020, 1:19 am

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"Tazrae, huh? You must be that infamous innkeeper I've heard so much about. That's your place just outside the bay, yah?" Shoal took a step back and looked her over appreciatively, spending perhaps a tick too long appreciating certain parts. "Pleasure to make yer acquaintance. Aye this here's a monster. You can find Otani everywhere, in every sea, causing problems or going about their business. They can be nice and helpful from time to time, but also bloody annoying. They infest pods worse than barnacles, I tell you." Shoal shook his head even as he patted the top of Ona's. "What are we catching? Travally, mostly", Shoal frowned at the fly fishing line still cast out to sea. "No bites yet. But if we do you can bet we're going to come trade some fillets for a bowl of that bisque, Tazrae."

At the mention of food Ona's attention flicked back to Tazrae. She didn't have a clue what a bisque could be, and had never tried soup, but she knew what a lobster was. Her mouth cracked into an excited grin. Rather like an animal, she was food motivated, and it showed.

"Lunch? Dinner?" she laughed. "Humans, always measuring time. I eat what I find when I find it. Fish and crab and sailor and kelp, it's all the same to me! The banquet is plentiful in Laviku's domain, isn't it?" she sighed dreamily. "Will you feed me bisque? I will feed you too! I will feed your heart with stories and songs."

"Otani are omnivores", Mathias clarified. "They'll eat anything."

"Anything", Shoal agreed with a shudder.

Shoal and Marino turned to each other then and spoke in their heavily accented Fratava, speaking at the easy, fast pace of completely native speakers. Ona watched the pair of them, following the flow of the conversation even if she missed most of the colloquialisms.

Then it was time to say goodbye.

"I'll make sure to stop by in the unlikely event we catch more than we can eat", Mathias promised with a genial smile. "It's nice to know I have such a good neighbor, Tazrae. And stop by my camp any time, Marino. It was a pleasure to see you again."

"Likewise", Shoal cut in with a sideways grin. "You can find my anywhere, anytime, for business or pleasure or both." He snuck in a cheeky wink for Tazrae. "If you're going exploring, I highly recommend Sharktooth point. Follow the beach for half a bell, you'll find the big rock formations that flank it. It's a beautiful reef, full of amazing creatures. But there are some amazingly dangerous creatures in there too, if you don't know what you're doing, so be careful."

"Up yours", Ona bubbled in their same polite tone. Shoal snorted with suppressed laughter as she turned and wandered away down the beach. The pair waved farewell to the trio as they took up their lines again.

The two men were barely out of sight before they stumbled upon a building Ona had never seen. A large, uneven L-shaped structure sat against the sea and backed into the jungle. The entire site was rich with wild bursts of colourful flowers.

"Is this your inn?" Ona wondered aloud, coming up to stand uncertainly at the edge of the deck. She peered into the wide open rooms fronted by glassless windows, but didn't step inside. She had never actually been inside a building, but found the idea of walls (even ones as rather absent as the Protea's) to be a rather uncomfortable one. "How pretty! Look at all the treasures. Is that a bed? I smell something. Wood. No. Food? Burning. Candles?" She slowly slipped into a rather unintelligible stream of consciousness dialogue as she prowled up and down the beachfront property, staring into the structure like it was a diorama of human life for her to investigate. She was fascinated by this rare look into how human beings lived when not on the water.
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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Tazrae on July 9th, 2020, 2:16 am

She loved that Onaona played with the puppy just like it was a person. Creature seemed to take to the daughter of the Sea like she was a normal sentient thing as well. But Onaona’s mouth was…. something else. In a way she shocked Tazrae with her flagrant gestures and vernacular. The Innkeeper had led a somewhat sheltered life and even on The Veronica for the crossing to Syka, she’d never heard such language.

Taz glanced at Marino to study his reaction and wasn’t quite sure there was actually one there. Was it just that she was a complete and utter prude? It wasn’t that the language was offensive to her. It was more that it was so … unnecessary really. Tazrae was trying to understand what the Otana gained by being vulgar. Maybe it was a trait of being a monster. She listened to Shoal, really tried to follow what he was saying… and nodded when he said they’d trade some fillets for bisque.

The Innkeeper noticed Onaona’s reaction to the comments about food and tried not to cringe at her feral expression. It rather reminded her of Creature when he spotted a treat or a bird he could chase. She nodded when Ona mentioned eating sailors. It shouldn’t shock her but it did. Living in Syka was somewhat akin to living in a wonderous tale. If she told someone back in Riverfall about an Otani that ate sailors no one would believe her, but standing among Svefra and Sykans, there was absolutely no reaction.

Tazrae nodded to Mathias, glad to know that the Otani were scavengers. She got that much from listening to Onaona’s sing song voice. Her eyes passed to Shoal and then she was shut completely out of the conversation between the two. She did not speak Fratava so she simply stood like a simpleton and smiled as they conversed.

At their obvious dismissal, Taz smiled, assured Mathias he was always welcome at the Inn for any reason, and headed off. The young Innkeeper smiled and blushed slightly at Shoals parting shots. She shifted Creature on her shoulder, patted him gently, and promised to see him again soon. She waved and headed down the beach, stopping only a moment at the Inn.

“I’ll just be a moment.” Taz told the pair, as she slipped up the steps and into the main room. Taz headed down the hall and opened the first room on the short end of the L shape. She tucked Creature into the room, letting him curl up on her current bed. Then she made sure he had a snack and water for when he woke up.

Grabbing her pack and a walking stick, she was back out front of the Inn in less than five chimes. She offered a smile to Marino and Onaona and gave them a quick question. “Do you want to explore Sharktooth Point? Or do you think it is too dangerous? Shoal said it was beautiful… I’d like to see it.” Tazrae said thoughtfully. She’d traded sandals for sturdy boots and had her backpack over her shoulder with a machete hanging on her hip. “I’ve only been down as far as the Bungalows. But I know the Ranchos are further still… I think its longer than the half bell Shoal was saying, but I filled up my waterskin. Anyone else want to do so at the well before we leave?” She asked, not even sure they would all agree to go.

As for the Inn itself, it was definitely devoid of clients. James hadn’t taken a trip with The Veronica and no guests had arrived recently to be housed. It was definitely one of the only reasons Tazrae was free to get away and do some crabbing, set the lobster traps, and go exploring. She wanted a more varied menu for The Protea, and hoped that by doing some exploration she might discover more sources of food.

Taz glanced at Marino and waited for him to decide. Ona, she assumed, would be willing to go with anything they wanted to do.

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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Marino Oceangem on July 9th, 2020, 11:41 pm

Marino felt a spasm of jealously at the pass. His face contorting briefly before he relaxed into his previously jovial expression. Tazrae was not his, and didn’t need her honor defended by the likes of him. He found the whole notion rather silly to be honest, though he supposed that was because he had grown up with plenty of strong women in his life. Besides, he liked Shoal even if he insulted his net casting.

Be seeing you” He offered in parting as their small group continued down the beach towards Tazrae’s inn. It was quite the sight, sitting there by the sea, and prompted him to look out into the waters before Tazrae caught his attention. “Take your time.” Marino said with a easy smile, then turning to follow Onaona with his eyes. The way she looked at the Inn was vastly more interesting than his previous thoughts had been, and sent his thoughts far away from the potential for swimming by the Protea.

Do otani keep homes?” Marino asked to fill the time, his eyes examining the building along with her. They had done a great job with the place an it was all the sweeter to look upon knowing that Tazrae lent a hand with it. Marino had a mind to help with some building or maybe start with something smaller. He hadn’t quite decided, and had been putting it off like he’d done with the spear.

It didn’t take long for Tazrae to return out front, and his eyes locked on to her. “Yes, I’d like to see it on foot. I’ve only ever sailed past it so I imagine there is some beauty to be had from that vantage.” He grinned, rubbing his hands together. It would be a long walk, but that wasn’t a problem in this company. “My skin is good, and there is always the sea if need be. I say lets get started.” Not that he had to say it but he was getting kind of excited for a little adventure down the beach. To see what they could discover in the shallows of Sharktooth point. There were fish to be sure, though perhaps other things lurked within the reef.

Heading down the beach this way was a bit of a throwback for him. It reminded him keenly of the time he’d first come here, filled with indecision before he had run into Stuvantis. “Walking down this stretch is where I first met Stu.” Marino said, looking over at Tazrae with a grin. “I already had an inkling I was going to like this place, but he kind of shored things up for me.” Stu had explained the place to him and it had been his description that enthralled him enough to start looking for reasons to stay. It had still been a tough decision, but that wisdom was with him wherever he went.

Could you sing something for us Onaona?” Marino asked after they had been walking for a while, their conversation having moved on. He like the otani’s voice, and it was as good a way to pass the time as any while they made their way down the beach. Walking along the sea, it felt right to ask though he had only known Onaona for the briefest glimpse. Otani songs were legendary, and their ability to move souls well known amongst his kin. Such a tune wasn’t what he was looking for, but he suspected it was the same for Onaona. Hers was a free spirit, full of joy he inferred even as he realized that she was probably older than he could fathom.

Whether or not Onaona favored them with a song, the beach continued on. Stretching before them in a thirsty stream of sand. More than a few times Marino found himself taking a pull from his water skin as the summer heat quickly parched him. “Can’t be too much further.” He said, sharing a hopeful grin between the two.
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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Onaona on July 17th, 2020, 8:10 pm

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"Goodbye, puppy", Ona hummed sadly as she watched Tazrae disappear inside with the dog across her shoulders. She hoped she would see him again.

Marino was watching her as she studied the inn. "Do Otani keep homes?" he asked.

"No. Yes? Would you call a bird's nest or an eel's cave its home? Depends on the Otani, I suppose. I just need a place to keep my treasures and rest when I'm sick", she explained, never looking up from her prowl along the Protea's deck. "I haven't found one in Syka yet- my home. Nest. I'll need one. I'll probably be here a long time."

"Can you imagine, though", she finally turned to look at him, a strangely serious note in her voice. "Having a home, a real one, and throwing it aside to build again somewhere else?" She was speaking, of course, of Tazrae. A Svefra took their home wherever they went, an Otani didn't need one. But some land-bound humans stuck to the ground like a rooted kelp, to move them was to rip them apart.

Tazrae returned quickly after that, having traded delicate sandals for sturdy boots and a bare hip for a machete. Armed with a walking stick, a backpack and determination, she looked ready to tackle the walk to Sharktooth.

Marino voiced his enthusiasm for the idea, and Ona needlessly agreed. She was ready to go wherever her two new friends wanted to take things. And just like that, needs having been met and sorted, they were off down the beach with the goal of Sharktooth point ahead.

The bright morning was starting to burn away into a blistering afternoon as they walked. Ona alternated between splashing around in the shallows to keep moist and walking with the human pair. Steam was rising from the jungle- from the beach they could taste the wet, earthiness of it. It was a good day.

Onaona had wandered down to the waves when Marino spoke briefly about Stu and his decision to stay, unknowingly giving the two the time for a private conversation. But as she came back Marino looked up and asked her for a song.

Without further prompting Ona launched into an old Common ode honouring Laviku. It was a beautiful poem from the point of view of someone in the middle of a sea storm, describing the great clash of sea and sky. Her voice was terribly rough for an Otani, pitching wildly from note to note, slipping from one accent to another as she copied the song from memories of other voices rather than making it her own. She struggled to marry all the dissonant voices together, but though self aware of her inadequacies, she sang with the unabashedness of a child, loudly and with passion.

As it ended she danced ahead, turning to face the pair with a big smile, as if waiting for praise. "Tazrae must know music as well. Will you sing for us?"

A formation of rocks made a point off in the distance down the beach, the smooth stones seemingly surrounded by a halo of light as the afternoon sun beat down on them.
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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Tazrae on July 18th, 2020, 1:49 am

Tazrae was a woman that hadn’t had much of a chance to really live. She certainly had never had the opportunity to wander down a beach with two new friends unaccompanied. She found everything they might have considered ordinary or common to be extraordinary and lovely.

Shells found their way into her pockets, as did pieces of agate and sea glass. She plucked up a bit of washed-up kelp and popped the air bladders on the end of their stalks with a childish delight before tossing them back to the waves that tried luring her into their frothy play. Had she been alone she might have taken the waves up on their offer and played in them a bit. She moved along strongly, happily… feeling liberated and secretly holding that joy inside.

Tazrae paced up the sand with the other two, quieter than they were, however. She was busy watching Onaona; how the woman moved and how she was such fluid grace. It was as if someone had poured the sea into a form smaller than its enormous self and yet the form contained it and shone forth with its beauty.

Others had called The Otani monsters and claimed they ate what they wanted when they wanted as they hungered. It was something hard for Tazrae to imagine because the woman with her was so beautiful, so uncontained, and she’d yet to run into the Otani’s sort of beauty that was truly deadly.


Besides, Onaona liked her dog.


And truth be told she didn’t like Shoal for his words. He wasn’t allowing others to judge Onaona on her own merits, but was spreading the rumor to make it harder for the girl to fit in here… a place everyone should have a chance to not only survive but thrive. Maybe she wasn’t like the others if they did indeed have ravenous appetites. Tazrae had thus far not seen any evidence of it.

She darted to the side and picked up another shell, sliding it into her pocket, she nodded at Marino when he spoke of first meeting Stu. She met his smile with one of her own. “Stu is an original, that is for sure,” Tazrae said, though she didn’t know the man well. She’d only run into him a time or two and had only had one or two servings of appetizers at the Tidepool. She got the impression from Stu that spending time with a young woman wasn’t high on his to-do list. She imagined Marino was the type of person Stu enjoyed… young, full of energy and life, open to new ideas and possibilities. Stu would find her boring, Tazrae decided, and a soft smile lit her face at the thought.

Onaona’s description of a home seemed foreign to Tazrae. She needed those roots, that solid sound set parameter of safety to feel secure. The Protea was fast becoming that for her. She couldn’t envision herself a nest builder or a Svefra who took their home with them much like a snail could. “You have quite the way with words Onaona.” Tazrae complimented.

The Otani was very invocative of a mental picture from even the most rudimentary descriptions. People who could do that were gifted. She didn’t even mind that what the Onaona said was very contrary to her own beliefs. The Otani, at least, was honest in her likes and dislikes. Tazrae could respect that.

She jumped a flotsam line, kicked a stone just to watch it skip through the waves, and smiled a little brighter when Marino asked Onaona to sing.

Tazrae was enthralled by the curious mixture of voices, for it took her only a moment to realize Onaona was mimicking everyone she’d ever heard sing it … or at least trying to in a strangely appealing and unusual version of the song. The young Innkeeper hadn’t heard the song before, and she wished she had time to pull out a notebook and at least jot down some of the lyrics and maybe a few of the notes Onaona hit.

She’d ask the Otani to sing it again for her later when she could… she decided… liking the tune. So once that was settled in her mind, she could refocus on the Otani singing. She had stopped walking and stood to stare, her mouth ajar, and her eyes wide with wonder.

“That’s beautiful!” She said almost breathlessly knowing the song wasn’t something she’d ever hear sung quite that way again. With Rhaus’ mark, it had allowed Taz to hear more than most – layers upon layers of voices that the Otani had heard and sung the song with. She glanced at Marino to see what he thought of it and whipped her head back around to Onaona when she suggested Tazrae sing.

“I… uh…..” Untrained, untried…. Only having sung on her own when she was alone to her courtyard plants or even to Creature who didn’t mind howling back. The girl swallowed but knew Onaona had offered so she should too.

Tazrae thought a moment, smiled, and then drew a deep breath, let it out, and drew a second to sing with. She had a sweet clear voice, one that was deeper than a soprano, hovering around an alto full and throaty. She sang the song slowly and sweetly like she was speaking to the ocean itself.



“The Ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet, and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves,
Beneath them there is none."


"The awful spirits of the deep
Hold their communion there;
And there are those for whom we weep,
The young, the bright, the fair."


"Calmly the wearied seamen rest
Beneath their own blue sea.
The ocean solitudes are blest,
For there is purity."


"The earth has guilt, the earth has care,
Unquiet are its graves;
But peaceful sleep is ever there,
Beneath the dark blue waves.”


She took a moment to stare out to sea before she turned, offered Onaona a sheepish smile, then gestured to Marino. “Your turn. A song?” She asked, figuring they might be in store for something outrageously Svefra.
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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Marino Oceangem on July 19th, 2020, 11:58 pm

Marino hadn’t expected quite that answer from Onaona which brought an easy, delighted expression to his features. Tongue slipped between the rows of teeth on the right side of his mouth, he thought hard up until they started walking down the beach. Then his mind was on other things, like Tazrae and the familiar sight of the Overwater Rancheros. She looked so happy picking up things off the beach. Like she truly belonged here because she did. Just as much as him, or even Onaona he supposed now.

He was glad she planned on staying a while. That the otani found this place just as special as he did, because that is what it was right? Or was this some greater design of Laviku that he did not have the knowledge to interpret. Looking at Onaona whom had strayed off a little ways from them, he didn’t know, but he did trust her motivations whatever they were.

Talking about Stu, Marino have felt that the man would materialize before them. He often felt that way when talking about people. Their names held a special power, and he used that sparingly when he could. “I have met many unique people since coming here, and Stu certainly stands out as a person whom could get you out of the irons when you’re in a fix.” Marino shared a grin with Tazrae, and gestured to Onaona whom was rejoining them.

A song to pass the time was his request. One that she fulfilled beyond his wildest imaginings. Her voice was raw, and full of spirit, like the a wave coming in high. It crashed against him, an he found himself drawn in to her unique style. When she finished, Marino clapped his hands and rubbed them together. “Thank you Onaona, that was really special.” It was unlike anything he was to ever hear again, unless Onaona would sing for him like that again. Though now was too soon to press such desires. Besides he wanted to hear Tazrae sing.

Compared to Onaona’s voice, Tazrae’s was soft and sweet. Her tone pure. Marino didn’t know this song either but that didn’t stop him from enjoying it as he walked slightly closer to her as he enjoyed the song. She had a way of forming the words in such a way that he could almost imagine the tune that went with the words. When she finished, he spoke. "What a wonderful voice for a beautiful song. I'd love to hear that again sometime set to some music." He was inclined to ask her to continue when she gestured to him and he was caught quite off guard. For that, he had no one to blame but himself as he did ask for this after all, though that didn’t stop him from stumbling over his words while he thought up a song.

Oh… alright, but don’t forget you asked for this.” He said smiling slightly, and sharing a surreptitious with them before he started. Intending to make up for his lack of experience he launched into the song full of gusto, loudly singing the words while doing a clumsy jig. He missed all of his ques, and dragged words out where he shouldn’t, but it would be clear to them both he was clearly enjoying himself.

Oh- What will he bring? The silent king
Up from the depths of yore-
Gold aplenty, glittering proof
Of times far better than now

Oh- fair maidens he brings to me
So that I might steal a kiss from thee

Planted upon my brow-

Take me along to this place you belong
In a city under the sea-
Drag me down, under the waves
So that I might have what I crave

To follow the voices, their enchanting song
An soon I’ll be panting below-
All the fair maidens, long have they waited
To be duly sated, upon my weathered prow-


At the end, he had to catch his breath, putting his hand on top of his head as he paced a tight circle. Then he looked up to regard the both of them. “I warned you.” He said with a broad smile.
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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Onaona on August 7th, 2020, 9:17 pm

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Nobody in their group was a good singer. Marino's was particularly egregious. But every one of them sang with such love and sincerity it hardly mattered. Taz sang sweetly with an ear for accuracy, Marino with gusto and a little jig Ona happily clapped along to. She imagined their voices as waves, with peaks and troughs and subtle vibrations. She memorized their songs not by the words but by the sounds, unique to them. It was a special little moment that marked itself permanently in the Otani's wandering mind. This was good. This was fun. This felt like having friends.

"What terrible singers we are!" Onaona laughed, sounding overjoyed by the fact. "Lets sing together someday. I will teach you all the songs I know and we will make terrible music together." It was a priority of the Otani's to better her musical talent, if only to better honour Laviku with her voice, and that would only happen with practise.

The rest of the walk was hard but pleasant. Syna was merciless, beating down on the three of them and baking the sand under their feet, ensuring the Otani had to rush back to the water every few chimes. But the breeze off the water was refreshing, cooling their sweat and reinvigorating them. In time they came upon what they had been looking for: Sharktooth Point.

The Otani opted to swim around the coves rocky protectors rather than climb over it, and as such was the first to see the cove.

The point was guarded by great toothy spears of rock that gave the reef its name. Years of sand, sun and waves had worn the stones smooth, but because of that the protected cove was almost printine. The water was clear and clean of debris and flotsam, the sand that followed its banks was fine and pale. Through the calm waters they could see half a hundred different corals and long strings of lush sea grass. Dark shapes darted here and there, and it was clear the cove teemed with life.

"How magnificent!" The Otani gasped, her voice softening just for a moment into something almost revenant, like they had just stumbled onto a shrine or holy ground. She climbed back ashore just on the other side of the stone barrier and waited for her companions, her weight passing impatiently from foot to foot. "Come see! Come see!" she called to them. "Come see what your Father made you!"

She couldn't wait to explore.
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Freedom under the sun (Tazrae, Onaona)

Postby Tazrae on September 6th, 2020, 4:53 pm

Tazrae listened as both her companions sang, joining in herself. And afterwards she had to smile because Onaona was right. They were all three particularly terrible. It didn’t rob from the fun of the time they were having though. And it did distract from the fact that the beach was getting harder and harder to navigate to the point Onaona went out into the water and Marino and her were stuck climbing boulders that looked as if they’d been dumped from an enormous child’s bucket after the said giant child had gathered them up randomly.

It was good exercise though and fun to clamber across the boulders as if they were crabs navigating coral. Tazrae kept an eye out for snakes, even this close to the water. Sea snakes crawled right out, being able to breath on the land, and often sunned themselves on a rock to warm their bodies. Mathias had explained that the cold-blooded reptiles needed the sun’s heat to function and they soaked it up like a dried sponge tossed into water.

Tazrae turned the climb around the end of the headland into something of a contest with Marino, racing him carefully up across and down the piles of enormous boulders. They passed great pillars of rock that were supposed to resemble a sharks mouth. Tazrae had no knowledge of what the inside of a sharks mouth looked like, but she decided it was one experience she didn’t need to have.

The Otani rejoined them at the headland point and all three of them stared at the beautiful scene in front of them. Wild ocean crashed beyond what looked like a protective spit. There was a massive coral reef system that stretched before them. Tazrae wouldn’t know what she was seeing if it weren’t for the waves crashing far out on the reef, barred from the point by the underwater structures the seemingly calm surface hid. It looked shallow and beautiful.

“The tides out.” Tazrae noted, glancing around at the water lines on the rocks around them. Much of the beach was exposed. “I need to get a snorkel from Juli’s store. But I wonder…. I know the coral will cut our feet, but can we go swimming out there and just look at the reef from the surface?” She asked her companions, not sure what they would think on the idea. Onaona probably had seen it all in Syka and definitely in the sea, but the place was new to Tazrae and she wanted to see what mysteries it held.

While she waited for them to discuss whether her idea was a good one or not, Taz looked around. The rocks – some of them – had ancient writing on it. Petroglyphs they were called. She only knew that because an anthropologist had stayed at her father’s Inn once and had a book full of sketches that held such drawings. There were runes and mystical symbols as well as other things… carved sea life, some of which would be underwater at high tides. “Do you guys see the petroglyphs? That’s a fancy name for rock art as anthropolgoists call it. Those are people that study long gone cultures. We had one stay at our Inn back in Riverfall for a few seasons why he studied some around Riverfall. He had a huge notebook of sketches of them. They remind me a lot of these. Some mean magic, some just record history, and some are tributes to Gods and Goddess I bet.” Tazrae said, pointing at one particular rock in question that housed a portrait of a man on a long flat board spear fishing from it. “I think that one has a man on a paddleboard on it.” Tazrae speculated.

This place would be good for one of those boards that Randal told her she should get… a paddleboard. He surfed with a slimmer more pointed board, but had told Tazrae that paddleboards you stood on and used a paddle to propel you along if there was no current. “We should get paddleboards too. Can you imagine how much fun it would be to paddle out among the reef? And no cuts to our feet?” She said, glancing at Marino to see if he approved of the idea.
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