Seeking That Which Is Lost (Robert)

Tazrae combines forces with a new guest to look for lost totem pieces.

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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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Seeking That Which Is Lost (Robert)

Postby Tazrae on July 11th, 2020, 3:15 am

Robert made an offering. Tazrae wasn’t sure if a Healing Goddess liked libations or not, but it was sort of Roberts thing, and Tazrae didn’t blame him one bit for doing what he did. She gave him space, privacy, and let him make his offering since the gift of the Divine Idol was his and his alone. So instead, she paced the Estuary Cave and got a feel for it a little bit before they hit the trail again, off on another search.

Tazrae nodded when Robert expanded on his thoughts about what liquors could be crafted from things found in Falyndar’s jungles. The Innkeeper knew next to nothing about spirits, but Roberts comments were enlightening. “What’s Rum?” She asked quietly, not sure she’d even had such a thing. In Riverfall, they had a lot of wine and occasionally she was allowed a sip of it. But overall, she’d never ever even stepped foot in The Blue Bull or any other sort of tavern. Even her own Inn, she never served much alcohol. The guests went out for things like that.

Still, Tazrae was very interested in the whole process. Robert was a potential new business in Syka, and each one counted and each new endeavor helped. So, she offered him encouragement. “I suspect you’ll figure it out. I think you’ll have lots of people to sample your goods and offer you feedback too.” She said helpfully. “It’s not like a lot of people with your skills have come to the jungle to make liquor. This is really going to be an opportunity for you…. to make something different I suspect. And rare, since I bet you will only be doing small batches, at least at first. If you could swing some popularity in Riverfall, you could really hit on a niche business that people haven’t seen for a while.”. She mused.

They moved back through the Settlement, stopping off at The Commons, then headed for the Grove. They searched it thoroughly then gave up in defeat, heading back down the Cobbled pathway towards the Sawmill. Tazrae had promised to show him the place and they could search it. It was quite the walk, up the northern path and curving around towards the clearing the sawmill set in. They saw the Syka River and stopped off at the Sawmill after a bit of walking.

“I don’t know much about the Ashta, but I do know they are a small breed of elephant.” Tazrae said, coming to the edge of the clearing the Sawmill sat in. They stood together at the edge of The Sawmill clearing well away from the creatures. There was half a dozen of them, milling about grazing on greenery that someone had harvested for them. Tazrae didn’t get closer. She had no right too nor will too. The animals, while small by elephant size, were huge in her estimation. “I see the Sawmill owner with them a lot. He takes them out in pairs and they pull heavy carts of lumber and deliver it. I’ve seen them clearing trail and hauling logs for him too. They do the heavy lifting with ease and seem very mild tempered and cooperative. I’ve even seen them coming down to the beach to play in the water and cool off. The river too. You can’t miss them when they start playing. They are rather noisy and boisterous. I think they work hard and play hard.” She added, then rubbed the back of her neck.

“Shall we do a quick search here and then call it a day?” She said, growing tired after having visited so many different places and having searched all over the place for the pieces. She set out then, leaving Robert and his odd little statue to search as well, skirting the Ashta and looking about the mill for more pieces. There wasn’t much to see. The Sawmill owner kept the place clear, wide open, possibly for the ease of movement of the Ashta and to allow a lot of room for wood to get stacked up.

Tazrae carefully searched those stacks of already cut wood, and then the piles of logs waiting to be cut down. When she was done, the Innkeeper declared there wasn’t really a possibility that they overlooked something… there was nothing here.

“Will you tell me about your cat? How did you come to have her in your company?” Tazrae asked, deciding the topic would be a good one for the long walk back to town.

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Seeking That Which Is Lost (Robert)

Postby Robert Glenfeidh on July 20th, 2020, 8:20 am

'Rum... it's a drink sailors love - or at least they drink a lot of, but it's usually too strong in its original form, so they water it down and call it grog, about twice as strong as ale. Wouldn't want a drunken sailor to fall overboard, eh?" He smiled at the imagined sight, having been privy to a number of encounters where some stripling, drunk off his first taste of alcohol, got himself into a pickle.

"As for where it comes from... Sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. But all that sugar comes from molasses, which is a black, syrupy, viscous sugar that's made from a sweet plant. It doesn't grow in Lhavit. There might be some here, or so I've heard, but I'm not too much of a botanist. But otherwise, you make it the same way you make whiskey or wine. It's odd though..."

Tazrae's question had led to another in his mind, which he contemplated, muttering under his breath.

"It's a plant, I know it's definitely a plant, not fruit, but it doesn't have that same bitter taste to it. No herbs, no botanicals like gin, almost like burnt caramel - what kind of plant would that be?"

He broke out of his brief reverie at her encouragement, grinning and nodding his head in gratitude.

"Thank you, Tazrae, I never really thought of it that way - Riverfall will be a good market for anything I make, but I'll have to scale things up first - I can probably get the equipment from Riverfall, but as a one-man venture, things will be very different from what I'm used to, and I'll need to build up some stock for Syka before I can look at selling to another city."

As they walked towards the Sawmill, Robert took careful note of the paths and directions - it would come in handy when he needed wood as building material.

"Pygmy elephants, then?" He glanced around, wondering at the strange creatures that he was seeing for the first time. Their wrinkled skins, with clearly visible leather-like texture, were pale with dust that had somehow gotten onto their bodies, while one or two were scraping their backs against trees, seemingly cleaning themselves.

'Their noses seem pretty useful." He pointed out, indicating one swinging a branch about with deceptive ease. Anastasia stirred at the noises the Ashta made, poking her head out to satisfy her curiousity before settling down again, keeping one eye open and aware of her surroundings.

"I can imagine how useful they might be for Syka - those muscles and all that body mass aren't just for show. I don't suppose you could use them as mounts? Back in Lhavit, we ride Okomo - large mountain goats - over the more treacherous mountain paths. Lhavitians would never think of using them as mere beasts of burden though, and their milk goes well with black tea."

He chuckled at Tazrae's description of their playfulness, even as they set out to search the Sawmill. Æschathr remained hovering around Robert, watching the elephants wander about and gazing.

"Curious. Their prehensile trunks must exceed the capability of all but a few types of animals, if they can so easily grasp and use objects."

As Robert stalked around the machinery in search of a totem piece, he paused every now and then to breath in the insistent scent of freshly-cut wood, wondering at the strange, exotic aromas that permeated the entire location and idly matching flavours and liquor strengths to the rainforest wood, grinning in delight as he confirmed yet again the opportunity for perfecting his craft even further.

"Looks like there's nothing here - the owner must have done quite the thorough check. I'd love to look over the Ashta's... pasture? Paddock? But I'm no rancher or herder, I don't like the odds of being trampled."

"Ah, 'Nastya? We found her, and her siblings, in one of the barns at the Sharai fields, close to our barley field. A litter of six kittens, almost identical in appearance. I took them home, and each of us - that is, my family and a few of our friends - took responsibility for one of them. She wasn't anything special - we took her in because we farmers love cats - they catch rats and vermin, keep our granaries and houses clean, and they're just adorable. The rich folks in Lhavit, though, prefer them to dogs since they're more refined and elegant. I took her with me to the fields everyday; that's why she's used to me carrying her about."

Robert reached behind and tapped her nose, eliciting a twitch and a wrinkle of her face, snorting as she pawed at his finger.

"Can't stand the temperatures in the distillery though. When we're burning peat all day to dry the malt or running the furnaces to heat the wash, it'll be about as hot as is here in Syka, and you can almost drink the air. Five minutes and Anastasia was done for the rest of her life. Shot out the door like a hungry Wind Eagle, and we later found her digging into the snow."

He glanced over at Tazrae.

'Have you ever had a pet? Or thought of getting one? A cat, a dog, a goat, or any animals that live in or around Riverfall."
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Seeking That Which Is Lost (Robert)

Postby Tazrae on July 23rd, 2020, 3:56 am

She found Robert a wealth of information. The best part about him was that he didn’t mind sharing what he knew, and it didn’t even come off arrogant or snobby doing so. He infused just enough humor with what he said to sometimes be a bit belittling to himself. She found that she liked all his qualities she’d encountered so far and could understand why Anastasia clung to him like she did. Animals tended to identify with good people, at least those with good hearts. And if the Goddess of Healing had granted him a gift such as the little winged snake statue, then perhaps the man was someone to pay attention too.

His answer, however, that it came from sugar was a bit baffling. She suspected Stu might be more forthcoming in this instant because for all his knowledge, Robert tended to lose his audience by rambling on in a way that was neither linear or easy to follow. Sugar came from Molasses? No…. sugar came from beets and sugar cane. Molasses? She’d never heard of the stuff. He described it well enough by taste and texture… and even the way it looked but it still left her reeling. If one made Rum the same way you made whiskey or wine that wasn’t exactly informative if the audience had no clue on the process of producing either.

He switched directions in his conversation and it reminded her of a chicken that had been relieved of its head – destined for the stew pot – that flopped all over without any indication of the directional changes forthcoming. It was amusing to say the least, but she didn’t even try to stop him to understand. She just let him ramble.

And it was in that moment that she realized for all the good qualities he had; he had some annoying ones as well. She smiled at the thought, laughed a little, and simply nodded as she took a moment to catch up to what he was saying since there were several changes in the course of the conversation in the time it took her to make the observation about his internal scales being fairly balanced on good and bad traits.

People were people.

She followed his statements about scaling things up, getting equipment from Riverfall, and being a one-man venture. That made sense. She was, after all, a one-woman venture as well. “Just start out slow… nice and easy. And if the business can grow, then grow it…. and keep it growing. You could take on an employee later down the line… maybe a boy or girl interested in learning the trade. Riverfall is full of people that want to get out from under some of the restrictions there on citizenship. You’d attract cheap labor just to live here, I suspect.” She encouraged him, knowing he would work things out. He had a mind for planning, for sure, even if he wasn’t exactly gifted at communicating.

The talk turned to the Ashta as they searched. They couldn’t help pausing to watch them. “Pygmy? I don’t know about that. They just don’t get huge like the ones with multiple trunks in Taloba. There’s a Myrian here that will tell you all about those… I heard it from Uta who heard it straight from her. Fifteen feet tall they are at their backs. Far bigger than any horse, with multiple tusks too.” Or was it just multiple trunks? Tazrae didn’t correct herself out loud, but the details were fuzzy. “I know the Myrians ride those, but I haven’t ever seen anyone ride these. They ride lizards here instead. I don’t know what they are called.” She added, shrugging and looking around to see if she could see one. “I think they like the deep jungle because I almost never see them at the beach.” She added, tilting her head and looking thoughtful.

“I’d love to have a nose like that.” She admitted, watching the Ashta pull up bits of grass and stuff the grass into their mouths just like they were hands. “I bet they can do anything with their noses we can do with our hands.” She speculated. In fact, the particular little bull she was watching probably had a stronger nose than she had hands. Tazrae took the time to approach the creatures and coax pets from them, having no treats in her pocket but a soft voice and the ability to scratch the top of a back or two that looked worried by jungle insects and out of the immediate reach of the trunks she’d been so admiring. “They pull wagons too… little carts that haul wood. I think people can ask the man here who cares for them for their help when they put up pilings and things that need heavy lifting. I’ve seen just one of these guys lift a whole tree with its trunk and hold it upright while someone pounds it into the ground or tamps the ground around the tree. It’s how they built The Commons… at least the elevated parts, I think.” She added, not minding sharing what knowledge she had of the settlement herself.

“They are gentle… they won’t hurt you.” Tazrae said, indicating the fact the animals actually weren’t penned in any way. They were simply gathered in the clearing with the sawmill as if that was were they normally belonged.

She smiled at Robert with his cat and nodded at his explanation. “The Distillery sounds hot. What’s peat? Is that a type of wood?” She asked, curious. She laughed at him saying he could drink the air. That was true of Syka too sometimes. “It sounds heavenly in the winter, but miserable in any summer. I don’t know what Lhavit is like…. I know very little of other cities except for Riverfall. I haven’t traveled nearly as much as you two have.” She said, indicating Robert and the cat.

“I do have a pet. James just brought me an Imperial Watcher puppy. I told him I’d like a dog, and he found someone in Riverfall that bred them… said a healer on the outskirts was known for it. I named him Creature because hes so bumbling with his big feet and his huge head… but I think its Creech now because it just sounds so silly calling a dog Creature.” She added. “He’s going to get big, I think…. not Ashta big, but big enough. He keeps me company at the Inn. I thought I would get lonely without guests, but I’ve come to realize how much I value that time. I wasn’t, not really, but Creech has added so much to my life. Its just daunting feeding him the right things, figuring out what he needs. I’ve never had animals around before. I hope I do okay with him. I’ve only had him half a season.” She added, looking thoughtful. “In a way, he’s a lot like a person, I think. He’s losing baby teeth right now. He keeps spitting them out at my feet all happy with himself.” She added, with a chuckle.

When they had come to the conclusion there was no new pieces about, Tazrae suggested they start back. “Can I have some idea of what you like to eat at meals Robert? If your going to be staying at the Inn for part of the season while you are making other arrangements, I can cater to the things you like. Snacks too. But I need some idea. I’m sorry I don’t have the liquors you tend to say you enjoy. I hadn’t actually planned on any sort of bar at the Inn. It might be something I consider putting in later. But Stu has the market cornered on that over at the Tidepool.” She said, knowing Stu might tolerate her buying some of his small batch brewing by the bottle for her guest libations on the deck. It would be good advertising for him too.

Tazrae lead Robert and his little party of misfits across the Sawmill Grounds until she hit the Cobbled Path and turned them towards what she considered home. “You know… once you start on your Distillery, I’d be glad to come lend a hand. Not to brag, but I put the deck on my place all by myself. That includes cutting all the wood by hand and nailing it in place… adding the railing, spindles, etc. Randal helped me by showing me how to use a miter box, and it went pretty fast after that. So if you need an extra hand swinging a hammer, I’d be glad to come on by when I’m not hosting.” She offered, throwing Robert a friendly smile. “You’d be surprised who will drop by and help uninvited. By the time its done being built, I suspect you’ll owe favors or free booze to half the settlement.” She warned, chuckling brightly. “It’s why I take treats wherever I go. I really can’t pay back all the volunteer help I was given getting started. But they introduced me to a concept here that I really like. Paying it forward… so if someone does you a favor, make sure you do someone else a favor and so on.” She added, assuming he was aware of the concept.

Tazrae kept up a brisk walk, but they were still a good distance away from the Inn.

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Seeking That Which Is Lost (Robert)

Postby Robert Glenfeidh on July 25th, 2020, 2:48 pm

"Oh? Oh! That sounds nice, I would never have thought of that in a thousand years. Cheap labour... I'll have to plan that out. Maybe a Kelvic? They're rather common back in Lhavit, and their animal forms can be pretty handy sometimes."

He considered her words and imagined the elephants she was describing, unable to prevent himself from shuddering at the thought of the sheer dimensions and multitude of sharp, pointy objects that they could grow. And multiple trunks?! What kind of god could create such a monstrosity?

'These sound intimidating. Riding lizards?" Robert sounded rather bewildered, as images of the little geckos that lived in houses crawled through his mind. "That's a relief, I wouldn't like to be within a mile of these things. Myrians are one thing, but Myrians riding elephants? Gods, facing one in battle must be terrifying."

He forced himself to calm down by watching the Ashta go about their peaceful pursuits, allowing the mundanity of it all to sink into him. Anastasia, sensing his unease, nuzzled his neck while purring insistently.

"It does sound like Syka owes a great deal to them - these Ashta could probably build everything in Syka." He timidly reached out to a smaller cow Ashta, palm upright, and allowed her trunk to explore his hand, before he slowly moved closer to the elephant, rubbing her trunk with practised ease - in that he had had entirely too much practice in petting Anastasia - as he made his way up to her head. He rubbed her head in circles, brushing away some of the dirt and sand that remained there.

The Ashta repeated the same motion with him, tapping his head several times with her trunk and leaving his hair most unkempt, eliciting involuntary laughter from him at her actions.

"Peat is..." He rummaged through his memories.

"It's half-rotting plant material - roots, leaves, moss, grass, what have you - that's found in deposits here and there. We find them in wet, boggy areas, and you can tell that you've found peat by the smell alone. We dig it up, bring it back to our distillery, and burn it to dry our malt, and give it a unique smoky flavour that you just can't get by burning normal wood, green or seasoned."

Robert smiled in reminiscence, happy to expound more on his home city.

"Oh no, summer there's more bearable than Syka if you know where to go. There's ice houses which store winter ice, and a few mizas is enough to get some of it to cool you down. Winter... Aye, it's pure heaven then. Walking the mountain paths in a blizzard... There's something humbling about that - it reminds you just how small you are in the face of everything, but the sheer sense of isolation, being trapped in the middle of a white storm, brings a queer sense of calm, or even joy. I don't know why, but it makes me feel even more alive."

His eyes lit up in recognition as Tazrae described her pet, grinning and commiserating with her troubles bringing up an animal.

"Hah! That's the dog I saw in your office early on, then? Thought he was a guard dog. If that's what he looks like as a puppy, he'll be a proper Creature in a year or two." He nodded in agreement with her sentiments.

"I was lucky - we have a pet shop in Lhavit, so I could bug Fai about every single little detail about Anastasia. But well..." He reached behind and stroked her head. "The more you spend time with Creature, or any animal for that matter, the more you'll know him. Worrying about him... that's a sign of a good owner. I think you'll do just fine. You'll rub off on him, he'll rub off on you - and together, you'll be alright."

As they started on their journey back to her inn, Robert considered her question, and nodded.

"Don't fret, Tazrae, I do enjoy good liquor, but that's kind of the problem," he grinned sheepishly, "all these years of tasting and perfecting spirits has made me even more picky about drinking, and any liquor I'd drink on a regular basis might be difficult for you to get. As for food, I'd be happy with trying any local fruits as a snack, and I've no problem trying Riverfall cuisine. In the mornings, I usually had porridge with honey - or brown sugar, or just a pinch of salt, with a savoury side, like bacon or sausages. I'd love to have it again, even if you have to replace oats with some other grain."

He stepped onto the Cobbled Path, feeling more secure already as the shifting sands gave way to good, solid stone.

"I... Well..." He gave a bark of laughter at Tazrae's assertion.

"I'd be happy to have you help out - as with anyone else. I'd probably just let them have a drink if they drop by anytime, once things are up and running; I don't have much to give them in return anyway."

He rubbed his chin, trying to think of ways to return a favour. He'd never quite encountered such a problem back in Lhavit, where there was always a bottle handy for such occasions.
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Seeking That Which Is Lost (Robert)

Postby Tazrae on September 6th, 2020, 4:33 pm

For some reason, Tazrae didn’t like the idea of equating Kelvics to cheap labor. She knew what they were used for mainly in Riverfall and often they were treated with no more respect than pets. Male Kelvics were next to useless and females often had swollen bellies due to Akalaks using them as breeding stock. At least they carried the children far better than humans and didn’t often die birthing their children.

She watched him curiously. He certainly was opinionated. He sounded studious, like he enjoyed knowing more about things from books rather than experiencing them first hand. “I don’t know. I’d love to see something that big charging by. Could you imagine how much that would get your blood pumping?” She asked, suddenly realizing that since coming to Syka and coming out of her shell she actively sought such things… dangerous things for the way they made her feel alive. It wasn’t a thought she shared with Robert, but more of a quiet revelation about herself. She was a bonified thrill seeker and the thought made her laugh a little.

The laugh she felt the need to explain. “I like experiencing things that make me appreciate life and health.”

She nodded through his telling her what Peat was. She’d heard the term more than once but was always uncertain of its meaning until now. “You must have to dry it to burn it if it is only found in wet muddy bogs.” Tazrae said thoughtfully.

“I know what your talking about… that feeling alive feeling…. I actively seek it out here now that I’m a resident.” The young Innkeeper said thoughtfully. At least that much she could relate too with Robert.

“Yes, that’s the dog.” She agreed. “And yes, he’s only a quarter of a year old… and still learning. Sometimes he can’t even walk in a straight line, he’s growing so fast and in bits and pieces.” She added, smiling at the thought of how bumbling her pup actually was.

Tazrae carefully listened to Roberts advice on Creature and nodded, finding it helpful. He was reassuring about pets and that settled a few bits in her mind … a voice that often said she might mess up the dog, or not do right by him.

When the talk turned to the Distillery she was happy enough to listen to him talk on about it. Him worried about owing her favors if she helped out with the building was uncomfortable. She didn’t offer to help him to get more favors. She just offered because she liked to help, not because she expected payment.
Tazrae expected it was something he’d understand sooner or later about the settlement. “Just let me know and I’ll bring my tools.” She reiterated, then moved on with the conversation.

“So brewing things… that’s a big deal. But do you have any other hobbies or interests? Since coming here, I’ve developed a lot of them myself. I find I like hunting, foraging, and exploring. I like doing things that scare me a bit… push my limits. I’m slowly getting used to the no clothing thing too. It’s not been my experience to see people naked here all the time in Riverfall. But they are. And trying new recipes. I have to cook as part of my job, but I love doing so…. so trying new things is fun. But I’ve also discovered I like tending gardens, especially flowers, and love watching land change under my hands.” She said, looking thoughtful.

Then she broached the one subject that might be tough with a stranger. “And magic is real. I’ve seen it daily here with all the goings on. I used to be afraid of it… the stories of the Valterrian and what could happen. But now I just respect it. I’d like to learn a bit of it as well… just something to understand it better.” Tazrae confessed, smiling at Robert but prepared for a lecture on how bad of an idea that was. Some people hated the idea of it. Others had a more open mind.
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