In Irons (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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In Irons (Onaona)

Postby Marino Oceangem on June 12th, 2020, 7:06 am

13th of Summer, 520 A.V.


Marino felt very lucky that the recent storm had mostly spared the Seasilk from where it was beached. All through the night he had fretted for his casinor, and his tavan. While the latter was probably still safely out of the storms reach, the same could not be said for his ship. Thus, it came as a relief when he’d come out the previous day to find it had weathered the storm intact. Of course, there had been more news than just that. Nesra had apparently seen some very odd things on the beach and Tazrae’s guests recognized the items that had been carried off. They were apparently pieces of great significance which was enough motivation for Marino to seek out with the rest of Syka where these totem parts might have been hid.

Now approaching the second day of the search, Marino decided he was going to use the Seasilk to search some places along the coast that he’d seen before while heading to the Sawmill. Two of them to be exact, as he wasn’t comfortable visiting the third on his own. The Swine Swells still gave him the occasional nightmare. That left the Overwater Rancheros and Sharktooth point. With that in mind, he went about preparing his vessel.

After giving it a good once over an hauling it back onto the water, Marino had been happy to find that everything was working as it should. His sails had stayed secured, and aside from a little jostling below deck, his things were more or less in their proper places. One thing he had to do though was retie all of the lines to their cleats to make sure they were properly secured. He’d also checked the anchor and the bindings around the sail for good measure, making sure there wasn’t any undue wear he would need seen to.

So, that was what he started with today, as before he set sail, he wanted to make sure everything was in order. The last thing he wanted was to lose control of the Seasilk while out on the sea. That was a good way to damage your ship, which would be unfortunate after having survived that wild storm. When he got done pacing the deck, checking this and that, Marino decided to take a refreshing plunge into the sea before he got things underway. After stripping his clothes off below deck, he promptly hopped off the starboard side, into the water.

Words cannot express how great it felt to immerse himself in the cool sea. Summer had brought with it a significant heat, so moments like these were a treasure for Marino. While he usually went nude out of habit, he was finding it more of a necessity lately as Syka proceeded to steam around him. It made him deeply grateful for his job out on the sea, and was the reason his search was focused on what he could reach from the sea.

Marino came up briefly from his initial dive for a gulp of air, before diving back down and swimming a little ways under the surface of the sea. The tide was pulled back from where it was last season and as a result he had a better look at the assorted life that made a home down here around the docks. There was of course a colorful array of vegetation down below with little fish that darted from shadow to shadow, but he didn’t see much else. If they were in anyways inclined like him, he figured most had headed to the colder water that could be found deeper in the sea.

Lungs starting to tingle, he came up for another breath, and surveyed appreciatively the hull of the Seasilk. It was a beautiful boat he thought as he placed a palm against it. He couldn’t thank Laviku enough for preserving his home, though he was working on an idea of just how he could show his appreciation. There were still things he needed though before that could be done, so for now, he hoped his daily prayers would suffice. Overhead, the sun was starting to creep higher in the sky, so Marino decided he better get on with things before the day got too hot. With a little reluctance, he climbed back aboard the Seasilk.
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In Irons (Onaona)

Postby Onaona on June 12th, 2020, 5:33 pm

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The storm had rolled in fiercely and dissipated just as fast. The frothing waves and the punishing winds had left the shore changed and wounded- years of natural sand shifting carved out in bells. But that’s just what happens when the sea and the sky danced together. Onaona had bunkered down deep in the depths to ride out the storm, and distractedly wandered out into the sea for a day or two, before coming back to observe the damage.

Despite most of Syka living in canvas camps, the frontier city seemed to be recovering quite well. Most of its citizens looked to be repairing the more permanent structures and cleaning leaf litter and storm flotsam from the shore. But there were a few she noticed combing the beaches with a more focused purpose. Were they looking for something?

But that thought too fled as she noticed a familiar pair of bronzed butt cheeks hauling themselves into a familiar low ship.

Marino! With a keening laugh Ona swam for the docks, following that distinct pulse of the Svefra’s Oceanus mark. The man looked busy, bustling around his ship like he was readying to set sail. Regardless, without a word of greeting or permission, Otani seized the side of his ship and pulled herself onto the deck. She had decided from the moment they met that they were already friends. Perhaps he didn’t know it yet, but chances were the man would be haunted like this for the rest of his life.

“A storm is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?”, she bubbled cheerfully as the tumbled gracelessly over the railing. “Terrible, but wonderful. There are no colours quite like it. Except perhaps yours.” She looked him over critically, taking particular interest in his eyes and the subtle movement of his gnosis.

“Syka is moving in new ways. I saw them on the beach. What are they looking for?”
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In Irons (Onaona)

Postby Marino Oceangem on June 13th, 2020, 12:16 am

Marino had just untethered the Seasilk from the dock when Onaona climbed aboard. Turning towards the noise he was briefly startled and then chuckled when he was that it was the otani. “I take it you weathered the storm well on your own.” He said glad she seemed to have made it through whole. Given her nature, he figured it would be so, but nothing was ever certain about a storm like that.

Noticing her attention to his gnosis, he touched it reflexively on his collar bone while he mulled over her words. “Totems. Powerful depictions of animals that apparently were uncovered by the storm. One of our number spotted them being carried off by the animals they represented.” He paused, letting that sink in and allowing time for her to respond before he went on. “The founders think these can do some good for the settlement, so everyone who can is out searching for the pieces.

Walking over to the side of the Seasilk, he reached down to pull up his waterskin from the sea. After taking a swig of the lukewarm water, he continued. “I was thinking about scouting the coast for likely places for these pieces. Would you like to help?” Marino smiled, taking a moment to simply enjoy the fact that he was speaking Fratava again. It felt good to express concepts he struggled with in common. More than that it felt good to hear the lively language back, though Onaona’s Fratava was peculiar. In a good way though, he kind of preferred the way she spoke certain words and wanted to incorporate that into his own speech sometime.

As they continued to converse, Marino set down his waterskin and set about removing the covers from his sails. He stroked the white canvas a moment before grabbing the halyard and running the sails up the mast. As he really couldn’t feel a wind going, he tightened everything so the Seasilk could catch the slightest breeze. “You know, I’ve still been thinking about that wordplay the first time we met.” He said as he worked the lines, bringing the sails flush against the mast when he stiffened the luft. Still occasionally looking over at her, he was grinning as he continued. “Which is older, the water in the sea or the water in the ocean?

The sail creaked as he drew out the clew of the sail, pulling the foot flush with the boom. Then securing the line, he looked up, smiling at how it all stiffened out slightly to catch the subtle breeze. “Join me on the stern, we will see if we can’t pick out a good place to start.” He called out as he swiftly made his way to the wheel of the ship, grasping it to steer them out into the deeper waters towards the island. The movement of the ship was far from swift but it did creep along at a steady pace. Which he supposed was good, because it would give him plenty of time to talk to Onaona without worrying about making frantic adjustments to their course. Once he’d gotten far enough from the docks, he adjusted their course once more towards some buildings out on the water that looked small from this distance.
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In Irons (Onaona)

Postby Onaona on June 13th, 2020, 1:55 am

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Totems? Ona’s interest was a fierce prickle on her liquid body as her wandering attention narrowed on Marino. That sounded a lot like a treasure hunt. More importantly, it sounded like a game.

He asked her to come with him on this hunt and she laughed, delighted to be asked. That little bit of autonomy, that would you like, danced electric on her body. She was a creature that obeyed, not one often given the freedom to choose. “I will help!”, she announced, little shots of a gold dipping through her body like ink in a glass of water. “If we found these totems for the founders, would Syka love me back?” she asked earnestly.

He sipped his seawater and began to bustle around the ship, opening sails and tightening ropes, raising the Seasilk back to life after a long slumber. Ona raised her hand as he worked the lines, shifting her position so that the mid-morning sun shone through her palm and dappled his face in its shifting, watery light.

He occasionally looked over his shoulder as if to check if she was still there. Grinning, with his hands full of the ropes that somehow made the ship move, he admitted he have been thinking about her question the first time they met. Now he had one of his own.

Which is older, the water in the sea or the water in the ocean?

“The water in you is older than both”, she smiled back at him, intrigued by the question. She held her palm flat, and her expression wiped from her face as her concentration centred on the beads of pearly white res that were rising from the tips of her fingers. Once she had a fist-sized ball hovering over her hand she began transmuting it a layer at a time, the crystal clear water dripping through her fingers as she slowly lost control of the pure element. Eventually she let it go, letting what was left sift through her fingers and splatter on the deck.

There was another answer. The Suvan sea was younger than most people realized. It wasn’t much older than her. She still remembered a time when crystallized coral stretched a kilometre up the sides of mountains along the outer oceans, back when the Suvan was less a sea and more of a hole punched into the earth. But that wasn’t what he was asking.

He told her to join him on the stern, so they could decide where to start on their quest. The ship moved at a languid pace, drifting over rather than parting through the water and leaving very little wake behind them. At this pace the wind wasn’t brutal enough to dry out the Otani’s body and make it difficult to breath. It was comfortable, almost enjoyable, to stand at the back of the ship with the grinning Svefra as they coasted over the gentle waters. Both of them eager and alight with their goal stretching out in front of them.

“I see buildings. Sea buildings. Houses?” she guessed after a long moment, leaning dangerously over the rail as they sailed out of Syka’s protected cove. “Houses built over the sea. We should start there!”
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In Irons (Onaona)

Postby Marino Oceangem on June 13th, 2020, 7:31 am

Marino grinned. Onaona’s enthusiasm was infectious, and her reaction had pure honesty to that he liked. He probably stared for a tick longer than he should have as her form shimmered with color, but he didn’t think she would mind. It was honestly hard not to look at her. Aside from the fact that the otani were important to his people, Marino was learning they were also interesting to watch.

I think they’ll love you regardless, what is there not to?” Marino said, his tone protective. He hadn’t intended for it to come out that way. It was the wholesomeness of her question that drew it out of him. Outside of the Svefra he’d rarely met anyone so effusive. There was no deception to it, only the truth of a vibrant soul.

He laughed straight from his belly as the sun on his brow changed in response to her gesture. Squinting at her hand was like looking at the sky from underwater, only brighter. The game broke up the humdrum nature of setting his sails, and gave him some pep in his step as he moved around the mast. Marino only wished he had some materials to play a game of his own, but alas there was always the morrow. For now, he settled on word play, which he was also finding to be quite rewarding.

Unsurprisingly, Onaona outfoxed him again, and a puzzled look crossed his face briefly. Then she did something he didn’t even know was possible. Abruptly he stopped considering what she’d meant by her statement as she conjured up something from her palm. He wasn’t sure what it was exactly, but it had an otherworldly quality to it as it floated up from her fingertips. Then the pearly substance slowly transformed into clear water that spattered onto the deck.

Standing there, with his mouth open and slack jawed, Marion stared for several ticks before he regained his senses. “Now that there is quite the trick. Can all Otani do that?” He asked as he stepped forward to inspect the deck. Crouching low, and extending his hand he wiped up some the water. Rubbing it between his fingers it felt real enough so he dipped them onto his tongue.

Yep, that’s water alright.” Marino said, abruptly standing and looking up with a shy smile. He didn’t know how personal this little display was for her. Where this anyone else, he wasn’t sure how he’d feel about someone exuding part of their body off in front of him. Coming from an otani though. Well, it wasn’t natural, but then again, how could he judge what was.

Over at the stern, Marino grinned back at the Onaona, and headed straight for the Rancheros. As they neared, the ship needed fewer adjustments so he moved out from behind the wheel to get a good look at the buildings. Like the rest of Syka, they had weathered the storm with minimal damage. If anything had come off of them, it had likely long ago washed away with the surf as the water looked more or less pristine underneath. Reflexively, Marino went to grab Onaona as she leaned precariously forward against the rail. The sensation was like trying to hold the sea as his hands made contact with her form. He froze, and let go, if you could even call what he did that.

Feeling rather silly, Marino didn’t comment on what transpired, but instead picked up where their conversation left off. “My thoughts exactly.” He said as he started briskly walking down the deck to slip the anchor over the side. Then leaning over the bow, he looked the place over before turning towards Onaona. “What do you think? Would you like to search the water underneath the buildings while I look around above?
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In Irons (Onaona)

Postby Onaona on June 14th, 2020, 6:00 am

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"Trick?" the Otani laughed. "No, a treasure! Many Otani possess this treasure. Some humans do as well. You take a piece of your soul and change it from the inside-out, and you can call the elements from your body."

She produced her res again, and it was just as drawn out a process as before. It collected in her throat, seen clearly through her transparent body, and gathering a big breath she pursed her lips and blew into Marino's face. The res lifted from her breath as a morning fine mist of cool water that clung to his eyelashes.

"It's called reimancy", she explained, her liquid eyes sparkling. "The most reckless of magic."

She couldn't quite place his expression as he knelt to touch the transmuted water to his lips. The water would be fresh water, bizarrely. And so pure that it would taste wrong on the tongue without the minerals found in typical drinking water. But his face didn't read as disgusted or curious. She stared a moment longer before trying to match the expression, pulling back the very corners of her lips and dropping the lid of her eyes.

Embarrassed, she realized. Shy.

There wasn't time to do more than file that expression away for later. They were approaching the strange thatched houses when Marino, out of instinct perhaps, seized her arm from where she was leaning over the ship. The contact startled both of them. Ona's entire being was first aware of how burningly warm his hand was. It was like her hug with Tazrae, where she was both shocked and fascinated by the complexity of his body, aware of the pumping of his blood and the tightening of his muscles, how a thousand different parts fit together so seamlessly to make a human body. It only lasted a moment before he let go, his expression returning to something in the vicinity of embarrassment. Meanwhile her expression remained neutral and curious as she considered him, thinking of his hand and Tazrae's body and that maybe she liked to be touched.

Her attention was pulled away as they approached the strange thatched houses. Marino threw the anchor overboard and asked if she would like to search below the water as he searched above. The thrill of the hunt slid up her back, fanning out in a quick flash of blue. She skittered across the deck to join him, and she met his considerate, thoughtful expression with something a touch more wicked.

“My precious gem, this isn’t a search, its a hunt!” she cackled. “A game, a treasure, a prize! Find it first and I will give you a gift. If I find it I will take a gift from you”, she promised, injecting competition somewhere it has no business being.

With a keening laugh she leapt over the side of the ship, hitting the water with a mighty splash and disappearing beneath the waves. She was invisible to most when underwater during the day, but the gnosis-marked Marino would be able to see her as she shot away under the cluster of houses.

The water beneath the ranchos was thick with small, darting fish hiding from seabirds in the shade. There was little vegetation from the lack of light, but the sand was fine and white and smooth, where something could easily be dropped and buried. Ona pawed at half buried pieces of driftwood and promising lumps of sand as she skimmed the seafloor. Was there something here? Could she find it? She imagined finding the totem and presenting it to the citizens of that small community. Would they thank her?

She hummed as she searched, the sea around her becoming thick with sand as she dug at the seafloor.
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Postby Marino Oceangem on June 14th, 2020, 4:40 pm

Marino arched an eyebrow. He’d never seen a human do what she just did, though he supposed all things were possible. If he could drink water from the sea, somewhere out there could be a man casting out bits of himself to make water. He opened his mouth to ask more about the soul part when the color around her throat started changing. Mouth agape, he stood looking at her perplexed a moment when she blew water at him. At least, he hoped it was water.

Sputtering, he started laughing. He wiped off his face with the back of his hand. The water felt strange on his tongue, and puzzled him enough that he soon forgot his questions about her soul. Instead, he watched as her expression mimed his. That amused him after he got over feeling self conscious. Onaona had a magical way of keeping things lighthearted. She was unbelievably wise, and thoroughly joyful. The way her mind wandered took some getting used to, but it made it so there was never a dull moment when she was around.

Later, after his unnecessary rescue of Onaona, he wondered what things felt like for the otani. He didn’t have long to mull over that though before they approached their destination, and Marino had to set things in motion to stop the Seasilk while they searched. He listened to Onaona while he worked, wearing a small smile while occasionally glancing over at the hutches over the water. They didn’t look like a likely place to hid a magical totem, but what did he know of the minds of animals. Worst that could come of it was that they searched and came up with nothing. Then they could move on to the next place. “It’s a deal” He said before even thinking about what sort of gift he would give her. There wasn’t really anything on board that was interesting, but maybe he could keep an eye out while he was ashore.

Onaona wasted no time starting the search, so neither did Marino, jumping into the water after her and swimming to shore. It was an easy journey. Soon he was on the sand beside the Ranchos and started his search there. The beach was predictably devoid of any magical totems, though it was full of a sundry of other things. Little piles of kelp with little flies swarming around them dotted the beach. There were also bits of shell scattered around, and dried bits of leaves that blew across at the slightest breeze. Getting an idea about just want to get the otani, Marino spent some time sifting through the bits of broken shell on the beach till he found a few pieces he deemed worthwhile enough to bring back. Then he continued his search over to the huts. Those that weren’t occupied at least. He had even less luck there considering he didn’t find any pretty shells to occupy Onaona with, but he wasn’t too put out by this development. The day was young and there were still plenty of places for them to search.

Stepping out of the last hut on the end, he jumped into the water, shells clenched in one hand as he paddled back to the Seasilk. He looked for the otani as he did, and would gesture to her if he made contact. Otherwise, he would continue to swim to the casinor and shortly climb aboard. Once aboard, he would look for the otani to see how she had done. “I didn’t have much luck above. How was it below?” He asked, curious to see if Onaona had found anything. When it turned out she didn’t he extended his hand anyways, opening it to reveal a sand dollar, and a few shells the color of a sunset. “A consolation prize, for you.” He said with a genuine smile. “What do you say about us continuing the search up the coast? I think Sharktooth point might be a good place to check next. I’m determined that we are going to find something today.

After giving her a chance to speak he would go about getting things ready to set off. It didn’t take very long as most everything was set, or easily done from before. Within chimes he had them going up the coast north towards where he knew the point to lie. He had a hunch that if the fish really were seen moving one of the totems, they would choose that spot because of its tricky nature. It was hard there in the water for a man, but an otani might have more luck. An while she searched, he supposed he could check the beach again. That might not be the most fruitful use of his time, but at least he would be doing his part.

The trip took less than thirty chimes as Marino had ample experience with the journey, and beached them somewhat below the point, away from the coral that would rake the bottom of his casinor. Looking over at Onaona rather excited, he extended a hand to her, looking to shake hers. “For luck.” He said with a grin, before hopping off the side and heading for the beach that slopped downward into the point. Starting from the bottom, he did the same as he had before. Sifting through the sand with his foot while his eyes tried to pick out anything noticeable poking up through the sand.
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Postby Onaona on June 15th, 2020, 9:59 pm

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“Empty, empty, empty” the Otani sang, following Marino as he climbed onto the ship. It seemed her partner hadn’t had much luck either. But the disappointment didn’t last long as the man opened his hand to her to reveal several pretty pinkish shells and the bleached skeleton of a sand dollar. She cooed appreciatively as she accepted the gifts, and spent the time as they sailed further north laying on the deck rearranging them into complicated little patterns.

The pair ran aground just shy of Sharktooth Point. The humid morning was beginning to burn away into a sweltering day. Ona breathed deep, appreciating the humidity that coated the gills on the sides of her torso. She stood with her little treasures, ready to start the search anew, when Marino caught her attention.

The Svefra offered her his hand. “For luck”, he said with a smile.

Ona stared at the proffered limb. What was lucky about it? Or was he asking for luck from her? In her confusion she mirrored him, sticking out her own right hand. “For luck”, she parroted, as if in agreement. Apparently it was the right thing to do, as the Svefra grasped it in his own and gamely pumped it twice. In the end the Otani was still standing there, flummoxed by what had just happened, and how the hai luck factored into it, when the man hopped over the side of the ship and started prowling the shore.

Humans, she thought, holding the stolen heat in her hand to her cheek. What strange creatures.

Diving over the back of the ship, she sank into the half a meter of water and disappeared.

The search across the reef was frustrating. The coral was so dense with creatures and weeds and hidden nooks that it would take ages to truly dig through it all. She stopped briefly to deposit Marino’s gifts into her little shelter above the tideline, and spent the rest of the time excitedly pulling on pieces of driftwood, and feeling deflated when she turned it in her hands to find no animal motif.

She had travelled all the way to the far point of the rock formation that marked the end of the reef when she finally resurfaced.

“This way!” she shouted for Marino, urging him further down the beach. She was done searching the reef, she wanted to explore further.

“Come away laddie, come you young sailorman, listen to me
I'll sing you a song of the fish in the sea.” she sang, still atop the waves as she tried to lure him along further.

“Up jumps the lobster with his heavy claws,
Bites the main boom right off by the jaws!

Then up jumps the shark with his nine rows of teeth
Saying, 'You eat the dough boys, and I'll eat the beef!”

Beneath her rough voice she could hear another, even rougher sound carrying over the water. As she rounded the furthest point another sandy beach spread out before her. And to her surprise it was dotted with…

“Up jumps the pig with his bristly tail
He climbs aloft and reefs the topsail!” her voice cut down with a squeal of curious delight as she made for shore again.

Having no natural predators and being just this side of indestructible, she had no fear of the heavy tusked boars that were spread up and down the beach. When she climbed ashore they warily avoided her but otherwise tolerated her presence, continuing to root in the sand and roll in the cooling water. Could these be one of the creatures that carried away the totems?
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Postby Marino Oceangem on June 17th, 2020, 12:56 am

The search at Sharktooth point went about the same as it had with the Overwater Rancheros. Twice Marino thought he might have stumbled across something half buried in the sand on the piece but the first time it was half a coconut. The second, a piece of drift wood that in no way resembled the totem’s he had found earlier. With a sigh, Marino decided it was time to return to the ship. He turned around, and there was a woman, a little ways on the beach behind him. It was not Onaona. It was not anyone he had seen at Syka, and he didn’t recall the Veronica coming in today. So where had she come from?

Marino tensed, raising a hand. The woman looked from him, to the Seasilk, and then back again at him. Then Onaona called out from the waves, wanting to explore beyond the point. Marino shivered as he knew what lay beyond, and what happened last time he dared step out over there. At the sound of the Otani, the newcomer seemed to come to a decision when she started up the beach towards him. “Are you from Syka?” Marino asked as she walked up, and then past him, seeming to follow where the otani wanted them to go.

Wait, I’m Marino!” He called out confused as she past him without so much as a nod, and started after her a few paces before stopping. Remembering he was very much still naked, and lacking supplies, he veered back towards his ship instead. Hopping aboard, he quickly went down below and dressed in as many layers as possible. He ended up putting on a white pair of isuas breeches, a white isuas shirt with long sleeves, a red scarf, pair of isuas socks, black leather boots, and finally his backpack filled with all of his essentials. To the outside of that pack he strapped his hand axe, while he attached his bowie to his hip.

When he came out onto the beach several chimes later, he felt a little ridiculous, very hot, but prepared enough that Uta would be proud. He immediately starting making his way towards the Swine Swells, and to his surprise found the woman waiting for him on one of the rocks that lined the point. “So the man has clothes. I’m surprised. I thought you were one of those Svefra spent their days nude, no matter the clime.” She said as she hopped off the rock, and started in the direction of the Swine Swells. “Well, I try to wear no more than necessary. It-

Shh, don’t spook the pigs. Stay behind me, and don’t make unnecessary movements.” She said as they walked out from behind the point, and towards the swells. Marino did as she asked, more or less stepping into her boot prints in the sand. With nothing else to do, he examined his curious companion, trying to see if he could figure out what she was. However, other than that her skin was a dusky gold, and she seemed to favor vibrant face paint, along with quite the collection of weapons, he didn’t infer much. He did however decide that she probably did belong in Syka given how prepared she looked for a trek in the jungle.

For all his reservations, he kept his mouth shut as they entered the Swine Swells. Actually searching when they arrived though was tricky as at first the horde of pigs there didn’t want to give any ground. That is until the woman unlimbered her bow, and they started back away towards the forest, watching them warily all the while. When he felt comfortable enough that he wasn’t about to get gored by one of those boars with the giant teeth, he started searching all across the Swells, while Indigo did the same. Now that he had some space to maneuver on his own, he went to Onaona, whom appeared to be unconcerned by the beasts when he’d seen her earlier. He felt much safer with the otani than the stranger, though the latter did look capable enough. Marino hoped he did too, though he didn’t feel confident with any of his weapons yet.

When they had searched for a while, Marnio turned to Onaona while the woman was walking up. “I think we should head back to the ship and sail up to the Sawmill ahead to continue our search. I think we might have more luck there as I think the Ashta were on one of totems.” From behind him, the woman spoke up as he finished. “So you really are Marino Oceangem, Syka’s new ferryman.” She didn’t seem that surprised when he looked at her despite the tone of her question, but he shrugged it off. “I am, and whom might I ask are you?

Indigo. Lets get started, shall we?” Indigo said curtly, and like that she was off, heading down the beach in the direction of the Sawmill. Looking at Onaona he arched an eyebrow. “You can follow her and start the search without me if you want while I bring up the Seasilk, I won’t be long. Or you can come with me, I’ll try to make good time regardless.

With that said, he doubled back towards the Seasilk, and after getting there, took about half a bell to get it out onto the water to sail well around the point. The hard part out of the way, it only took a handful of chimes to make it the rest of the way up the beach where he pulled up the Seasilk near the path that lead up to the Sawmill. Still clad in his full gear, he immediately started up the path where he found Indigo searching amongst some piles of recently cut wood. She was holding a conversation with Lars so Marino decided to not interrupt, instead deciding to look over by where some of the Ashta were milling about. He made some general checks around the perimeter after that before wrapping things up to find Onanona. Indigo was also there waiting for him, noticeable empty handed.

Well, any ideas?” He asked, pointedly looking at Indigo. “There is a river near here. I heard there were some fish involved with the totems so it might be a good idea to check there next. If both of you are ready that is.” Marino nodded and looked to Onaona for confirmation before answering. “I’m okay with that, though will that be in the jungle?

Indigo nodded, and then squinted briefly at him. “I forget, you are new here. Stick close to me, and don’t touch anything I don’t touch. If I raise my hand like so” She held up her right with her fingers slightly curved. “It means stop and don’t make a sound. Try to follow this as quick as you can.” Indigo didn’t waste more time than that before leading them down the path and up the beach to a spot where the river flowed into the sea. “This is the Syka river, we can search the banks while your friend here” Gesturing to Onaona. “Searches the riverbed. If we are to find anything, I suspect it will be here.

After you.” Marino said, and then looking to Onaona. “Good luck!” Then picking the path Indigo made up the bank, Marino followed close behind, double checking the bank behind her as they worked their way up the outlet of the river.
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In Irons (Onaona)

Postby Onaona on June 18th, 2020, 6:13 am

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Onaona waited ages for Marino to come around the point. Bored without her companion and distracted from her search, she spent the intervening time antagonizing the pigs.

They called to each other in deep grunts and high keens and they didn’t seem to appreciate it when Ona started doing the same. A game of chicken soon developed, as various boars would have enough and try to run her off the beach, tossing their intimidating tusks in fury. They would charge and flail, but never actually touched her. And she would dive screaming for the water, but she never actually left.

She was in retreat this time, laughing and screaming as she dashed into the water pursued by two hundred pounds of angry pork, when Marino did return. And to her surprise, he did not return alone.

She stood, the tide washing around her ankles, as a strange woman she hand’t seen before lifted her bow. And the pigs either recognized the weapon, or they recognized her, because they began to melt away into the forest when she did. Ona understood the sentiment. When the brightly painted woman turned her dark eyes on her the Otani immediately dropped her gaze.

Marino came to join her once it was safe to do so. Dressed and booted and carrying a leather pack and a hand axe, he looked like a proper jungle adventurer. The image created a very strange dissonance for the Otani, when he looked at her with ocean blue eyes and she could feel the Oceanus brewing beneath his shirt.

“I like you better naked”, she intoned casually.

The strange woman joined them, and her and Marino had a short exchange. Taking advantage of her quiet part in the conversation, Ona studied the woman with furtive glances. She looked like she belonged in the jungle as much as Ona belonged in the sea. And most of all, she looked dangerous. But not quite in a threatening way, more in a capable, powerful way. The Otani’s posture subtly changed as she watched her, her feet planted wide and her shoulders ready and relaxed in a pulled back position. When Indigo glanced her way she suddenly found something terribly interesting on the sleeve of Marino’s shirt.

Indigo abruptly left to search something called the Sawmill. Marino gave Ona the option to stay with Indigo or go with him. She wavered for a moment before deciding to stay with the woman.
Marino jogged back down the beach to recover his Seasilk, and Ona was faced with the consequences of her choices as she was left with Indigo. The woman was already headed down the beach. Ona ran to catch her.

“Is your name really Indigo?” The Otani asked, bristling with a curiosity. “Or is that just what you are called, because of your face paint?”

Indigo’s eyes slid to her. Ona wished she had pupils. There was something so fascinatingly intimidating about those stony flecks of black.

When it was clear she wasn’t going to get an answer, she tried a different tact. “My name is Onaona. It doesn’t mean anything. I just liked the sound when people say it.”

Silence.

“What are you? I’m an Otani.”

“You’re an annoying little beast, aren’t you?”

“Aren’t you?” she parroted back without thinking, trying on that harsh jungle clip of her voice. The look that received nearly melted the cold-bodied Otani right there.

They had reached a well-traveled, well-trampled road that lead into the jungle from the beach. Indigo made to follow it. Ona tried to follow her. Down the road she could see a wooden structure buried in the trees, and smell cut wood and something uniquely animal. But she only got a few steps into the trees before the Otani began to fold over nervously. The jungle didn’t love her. The wind sounded like angry whispers in the trees.

A few lengths in the Otani abruptly gave up, dashing back to the sea making soft, agitated noises just as Marino was was coming up the path. While the Marino and Indigo checked the Mill, Onaona sat pensively on the shaded side of the Seasilk with the waves washing over her knees.

The group had decided the next place to look would be the river, which Ona enthusiastically agreed to. They left the seasick behind and walked further up the beach, to the mouth of a wide river that extended deep into the jungle.

Freshwater was not Ona’s favourite place to be, but the idea of exploring such a different environment mitigated any discomfort she expected to have. With her instructions given and a hearty “good luck!” from Marino, the Otani dived gleefully into the river and searched its muddy bed while the others searched above.

And that merry bit of wished luck seemed to work. Several kilometres in Marino stumbled upon their first totem: the bottom half of some sort of great pawed cat.

“What wild delight! Sea-son, treasure-finder. I won’t forget our bet. You will get your prize for your discovery!” the Otani clapped from her position clinging to a lodged piece of deadwood on the bank.

Indigo had folded her arms across her chest, staring deep into the forest as if she could see through it. “We have are two options now”, she finally spoke, regarding Marino behind her. “We go back to your ship and head to the bay, and we search something closer to the city, like the community pool. Or, if you’re feeling up to it. I can take you deeper. There is this place in particular… The overgrown playgrounds, that seem like a likely option.

“Regardless”, her attention finally strayed to Onaona, “the Otani will not be coming with us. It’s all too far from the water.”

Onaona thought she should be riled at being left behind, buts she couldn’t find the energy. After her failed attempt to see the Sawmill she agreed that the jungle is no place for a creature like her. She smiled beatifically at Marino and chewed on a bit of rotted bark as the two females waited for his decision.
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