Open Oh its a beautiful thing

Marino gives the holiday thing a second try, and enjoys some much needed training.

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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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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on November 19th, 2020, 6:22 am

Marino was at a loss. His mind had wandered, and wandered until he suddenly found himself here. He sensed something significant had passed by him. Remembered the awkward pause earlier that he’d almost forgot as he got caught up in the current of things. The thought grounded him, drawing his thoughts from the sea. He felt a pressing need to pay close attention now as he picked up on Tazrae’s mood. His grasp of common was tenuous and he was wary of missing something else if he let himself become semi distracted again. It was just a shame he waited until her story to fasten his focus on her. The back of his mind crawled over their conversation earlier, looking for some inkling as to this change before he realized he was getting distracted again.

She had such colorful stories, and he realized that this would have been better asked earlier. It was much easier to listen to a tale than form a deeper discussion when his mind was at odds with itself. He felt torn in several different directions at once, his thoughts touching on Tazrae, Twist, the sea, sailing, the mark on his wrist, and a multitude of other things. Of late he found himself constantly taking stock of himself, reevaluating his position here in Syka. Meeting a goddess had been a defining moment, only it made him uncertain about just about everything now. She was giving him something to hold onto, and he’d let his mind carry him past an important moment. A thoughtful sigh escaped him as he studied her features.

Ionu. It was a unfamiliar name to him, but the story was easy enough to follow even with his understanding of common. A curious figure, it was surprising how it all ended up with the family, and he wondered if the tale was a history of sorts. Tales were funny like that, especially told from the mouth of a Svefra. Sometimes the truth was small, others large. This one seemed like the latter or the story was just really good. Maybe it was both.

“What a holiday. I don’t know if there is any I can recall with such a rich back story.” Marino said, smiling hesitantly as he tapped his fingers together. “That miser was given quite the gift. Few are ever given such an opportunity to change their path before things become irreparable.” It was pleasant to think that he kept to that path, even if it was only to avoid the ire of Ionu in the end. From the sound of the story, it felt like he’d made an honest change in his heart which was warming in a way. When he met her eyes, a thought pulled at him, reminding him he still didn’t know why the pieces fell like they did. His heart beat a little faster.

As he went to retrieve the fishing equipment he remembered there had been a significant pause between her speaking about past lives and telling that story about her mother. Had he missed something there? A conversational que that he should have picked up on. It was hard to tell with the words jumbled up in his mind, especially as it had been lost in his own musings about the cycle of life. That was his fault really, his mind was prone to tangents while his hands were busy. She could have asked him anything and he would have missed it. An perhaps he was still feeling some of the sadness from before, recalling those darker periods of his life that seemed to leach the color out of things. What it all boiled down to though his he’d experienced a lapse in attention which was probably the reason for this change in mood.

Marino was still puzzling over just what he should do about that when he came up with the equipment. “I do have a pole and a net, along with some bait. If you want, you can use the pole while I give the net a try. I’ve been getting a little help with my toss and would like to work on it further. I’m not sure what sort of bait might attract our fish though.” Mario said, and frowned slightly as he thought about it.

“Stu did say this wouldn’t be as simple as casting a line in the water. Perhaps it prefers deep water since he mentioned to use of my casinor.” Marino said as he handed off the pole to Tazrae, and set the bait between them. Suddenly, his net idea didn’t seem all that useful. Instead, he was getting the inkling to try something else, though he wanted to resolve a few things first before he plunged forward with that idea.

“I dreamed a lived on a sea of sand but I was not thirsty. I had animals that traveled alongside me and a family almost as large as the one I have now. I knew those sands as if I had swam in them all of my life, though I could not tell you how I knew that. Only that it was true. True as Syna coming over the horizon to kiss Leth in the twilight gloom.” He said, his voice tentative as he spoke as if he hoped it would usher in a flood of memories so that he might remember what had been said before it had passed him by. Perhaps it was too late for any of that but he felt the need to chance it. To wade deep in the waters of life.

“A past me I’d like to think it was, one that was as satisfied with a life on land as I am with the sea. A strangeness I might struggle to understand if there were not so many emotions familiar to me in that moment. Do you think such lives can come to us in our dreams? Or are they tied to something far more ephemeral that I cannot hope to touch? Did you ever dream of what that man said to your mother? Before he said it I mean as I know full well the weight words might have on the progress of ones dreams.” Marino shuddered unintentionally. “I’m sorry I haven’t been myself lately. The totems changed a lot of things for me, and I haven’t quite settled back into a sense of normalcy just yet.”

He sat gently against the railing as he looked at her, and scratched along the ridge of his jaw. “I suppose my more exciting dreams could have been past me as well. Theres a thought” He chuckled softly, if only to ease the tension stirring in his breast. “I guess what I’ve been trying to get at is I don’t know if I can protect Syka. Not if it means hurting someone, potentially killing them. These hands.. I never thought about using them in that way. Do you think you could do it?” His net felt from his hand to drop into a pile beside his feet as the thoughts took him. It was almost a relief to admit that out loud, and a great weight slid off of his chest. An in the space was filled a curious cocktail of feelings, none lingering for particularly long save for anxiety as he looked to see how she would respond.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on November 21st, 2020, 3:22 pm

She was content, sitting on the deck, leaning on the rail and letting her bare feet dangle down the side of The Seasilk. Her story had elicited a reaction at last from Marino, and she smiled at him glad he seemed to at least enjoy it. He even had some insight into the story itself which caused Tazrae to nod. “Maybe we all get chances like that, though perhaps not as blatant as his was. I know I was. I could still be in Riverfall stuck in a situation I had no desire to be in. But The Captian crossed my path and changed the course of my life. It was a real gift, just like the Misers.” Tazrae mused, half to herself and half to Marino.

It turned out Marino had a fishing pole after all. Tazrae took it when it was offered and then began rummaging through the bait without a squeamish bone in her body. She plucked out some sort of fat squirming grub and even as Marino mused about what Stu meant, had threaded the bloated squiggling insect on the hook efficiently. “Nothing is as simple as it sounds. I have no idea what kind of fish are out here or even what they eat.” She said thoughtfully, and gathered herself to stand up one handed, the other holding the pole gingerly. She moved well away from where Marino might be casting a net and adjusted her pole and cast out her line. It fell short of where she wanted it, so she gently reeled it back in and attempted another cast. This distance satisfied her a bit more so she let the water take the still-squirming grub beneath the gentle waves as she leaned against the rail and prepared to wait.

Fishing was ten percent activity and ninety percent waiting, Tazrae knew.

Marino began to speak again and Tazrae watched him carefully as he did so. She held the pole in her hands, a thumb on the line, watchful of it with her hands since her eyes had no hopes of seeing a tug on the line itself. She felt far quieter now that she was actively doing something than she had felt talkative moments before. Marino spoke of a dream that might not have been a dream and Tazrae nodded. “I’ve never been to the desert. I have heard that Eyktol is a wasteland without green and without water though.” She commented between the times he spoke, letting him know she was interested and paying attention to what he was saying.

Was he speaking of past lives? Is that what ‘a past me’ meant to him? She wasn’t sure, but didn’t want to interrupt him in case he had more to offer on the topic… a topic he didn’t altogether certain he wanted to share. He asked her several questions, namely about what that man said, but he kept the questions so rapid fire she assumed they were more rhetorical than anything.

“It’s okay, Marino. The Totems changed a lot of things in a lot of people. I don’t think we actually lived a true normal before. I think we were all fooling ourselves thinking we were safe in Syka. This is probably more our new normal, whether we like it or not.” She mused, inverting her wrist and rubbing the mark with her opposite thumb. She liked the color variation on it… and how it was more embossed than a tattoo would be… her skin raised about the mark as if the mark was more than visual but tactile as well.

“I don’t know much about dreams. I don’t have them often and when I do, I rarely remember them. Your dreams very well could be about your past… or maybe just your mind entertaining itself while you are busy sleeping. The whole sleeping thing is somewhat of a mystery to me anyhow… I’d skip it altogether if it wasn’t so necessary.” She said with a smile.

His next question about her ability to defend Syka caught her off guard. She thought a moment about what he said and then thought about what his question was… and opened her mouth to speak. She shut it again, then opened it once more. “I care about the people here. Could I wound or kill to keep them safe? I think any of us could, even you. But I also think its not about us as individuals. We all will have strength sand weaknesses. But I suspect where some of us fall short, the others rise up, and vice versa. I think we are meant to be a group… with all those factors weighted in. I know nothing of fighting and yet she marked me. I don’t know why. You don’t seem to be much of a fighter yourself, Marino… I mean I’ve never even seen you with anything bigger than a knife. She picked you. Why? I don’t know. I do know that Her actions are causing me to think harder on using my bow more… getting better at it. Thinking offensively and not just defensively. It sounds like your own mark has you at least thinking more. If its not something you want though… maybe she’ll take it back if you ask her. Me? I don’t want to be helpless if this Settlement is ever threatened. I don’t think the Totems are …. Independent thinkers, Marino. I didn’t get that sense from them when they were awake and we were connected. I think they are weapons we swing with our minds… and I suspect they can be deadly one. But how deadly? I would see something like that come to life, grow larger, then attack and I would run. They might even deter violence.” Tazrae said, then smiled at him a little and laughed.

“You get lots of time to think when you are making up bread or pounding laundry. Innkeeping isn’t glamorous. But somehow being here… having this mark… I feel little bit empowered. In Riverfall, if someone was threatening, the only option we had as humans was to summon The Kuvay’Nas. The guard… but here… the Rangers aren’t the Kuvay’Nas nor are most of the people here fighters. They are trying to be, but in reality Syka is very vulnerable. It really is. We’re more of a colony that would grab pots and pans to fight off raiders because no one thought to hang spears above their mantels or go around dressed up wearing swords. Does that make sense?” She added, feeling a slight tug on her line.

She pulled back, tried to set the hook, and felt the line go slack. She waited a moment and started reeling in the line to check the bait. Odds are the fat grub was someone else’s meal without sacrificing its own life on the line. Tazrae kept a sidelong glance at Marino, curious about something.

“What do the Svefra do when they are attacked? Don’t your… pods?... fight with each other sometimes? Aren’t you often challenged by non-Svefra out to sea?” She speculated, having heard stories of battles among the Svefra and of the Svefra actually pirating non-Svefra vessels. The Svefra didn’t actually have that good of a reputation among the Akalak because of the rumors of pirating and even raiding. The Akalak in Riverfall considered them less than honorable, which was often an issue with the colorful all male race. Tazrae didn’t know if the rumors were true. Marino never spoke of such things nor did any of the other Svefra she knew. But then again, if her people pirated and raided, would she speak of it either? Probably not. Plus, asking Marino outright if his people had earned their reputation fairly was somewhat rude, especially if those rumors weren’t true.

He was handsome, standing on his deck, completely stripped down, his face lined with some internal dialog she wasn’t privy too.

She didn’t let his silence linger long. Instead, she simply said…. “You don’t seem like the type to be tasked with something important by a Goddess… a Goddess putting her trust and faith in you… to just let it go. To let your own insecurities drag you down and make you question the decision. You seem more like the type to nod your head, accept it, and try to rise to be what Kihala seems to know you can be. You have no excuse, Marino, to be doubting her decision or to doubt your own abilities. It seems somehow discourteous to the trust she’s put in you.” Tazrae said frankly, not wanting her words to hurt him but wanting him to understand how she saw it from the other side.

“I’ve asked James to bring back some books to help us… things on defensive strategy, tactics, that sort of thing and to start a small library for our use with what he can. I gave him some coin towards the cause. And he says Mathias and his two guests know a lot about such things and we should ask them to make some suggestions.” She said thoughtfully, watching Marino carefully. “It might even help us to have meetings….” The Innkeeper went further. “I know a place we could hold such things, and the woman that runs it is a decent cook and baker.” She said with a slight self-deprecating smile.

She rebaited her hook, having found it clean, this time with a chunk of some sort of chum in the bait box, and recast the line. She found a notch in one of the rail posts that was perfect to seat the pole in, and she did so, watching its tip carefully as the bait settled to hang in the sea.

Then she turned around looking for a good seat, stripped off her oversized shirt, peeled out of her skirt, and left herself only clad in the thin triangles of fabric that covered her breasts and the thin panty that acted as a bottom. Stretching out on one of the benches the Seasilk sported, she continued to watch Marino curiously, wondering if he was going to say more. Tazrae’s body had streamlined itself more since she’d come here and had been busy building things and taking trips out into the jungle. She’d lost the curvy softness she’d had in those early days that spoke of the easy living of Riverfall. Her abdomen was slowly defining itself with muscles, as were her arms and legs. She had scars too, scratches and places that looked like she’d been bitten.

She turned, bending down to pick up her bag, and pulled out a bottle that looked a lot like what Juli sold to keep bugs off. While out at sea, insects weren’t a problem, but in the middle of the deep water of the harbor, they were still close enough the bugs would be biting anyhow. Tazrae began to coat her skin thoroughly with it, still watching Marino.


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Last edited by Tazrae on November 23rd, 2020, 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on November 23rd, 2020, 8:55 am

He found her words insightful. They were kind and reflective of an introspective mind. If he thought about it, he could pick out a couple of such turning points for himself, or one that just stretched out over seasons. He wondered if that counted. “I agree. Now that I think about it, I think sometimes the chances can be subtle and small. Rolling into one another till you blink one day and find yourself a different person than you once were an all it took was trying something new a little bit at a time.” Marino said, of course thinking about what had brought him to Syka in the first place. A defining moment for him that had changed his life course considerably. It hadn’t felt nearly so monumental when he first made that decision but now that he was thinking about it, that was the first pebble that got the rest going. The thought was oddly reassuring even if the analogy was a bit off. He let his words sit between them for a while as he brought out the equipment.

To his surprise, Tazrae threaded the grub through the hook without much trouble at all. It made him shine red a bit with embarrassment as he realized he’d been judging her without even thinking about it. Nothing personal, just he had a picture of outsiders that was less than kind in places. Tazrae wasn’t an outsider though. She felt more like kin, and there was a warmth to her presence whenever she was around. She was starting to shape out rather nicely from her time here. The woman had always been pleasing to the eye, but she was starting to develop in a way that was somehow more attractive though he couldn’t pin down exactly what it was. Maybe it was her confidence.

Marino nodded. “Well said. We have a word for that amongst my people.” He said, and then switching to his own language, carefully enunciated the word. Then back in common he explained. “Complicated things come in simple packages” Then a light bit of laughter bubbled out of him. “It is a bit unwieldy of a word so don’t expect to use it often.” He didn’t have much in the way of advice about catching fish so he kept quiet about that. Instead he thought about what they had said as he pinched open the net like Shoal had shown him. Draping over one end over his opposite shoulder he twisted and then flicked out his arm sending the net in a small arch. Unfortunately it got fouled by the wind and fell into the sea in a useless pile. Marino quickly reeled it back up to try again. This time he paid careful attention that the part over his shoulder was splayed apart appropriately and then he pinched the net open. Facing the sea at an angle, he took a step back before flicking his arm out again sending the net out like a dilapidated saucer. It stuck the landing better this time, and Marino watched with satisfaction at it sank into the sea. Then he remembered he forgot to bait the water. Ears reddening he looked over at Tazrae in an attempt to occupy his mind while he pretended to know what he was doing. Fortunately there was ample opportunity to cover the embarrassment with conversation.

“Sounds like a dreadful place.” Marino said, speaking of Eyktol. It was hard for him to picture a place without green or water, even with his dreams to guide him. Such a place was the opposite of everything he knew and loved. There would be no place for him there. No place at all. Tazrae was his guide rail. She kept him from veering off even as his thoughts seemingly ran a mile a chime. Help him clarify what previously he could only think about in the abstract. Calmed him. His eyes flitted across her to the horizon.

“I dream almost every night. Sometimes they are short, sweet things. Others are long as any saga or great romance. There are ones I come back to from time to time, and I remember them while I am there so I can make different choices with different consequences. An then there are those dreams I am up in the clouds, far far away from my mortal body. Those are the worst because there is nothing I can do to stop the upcoming tragedy, but I feel them all keenly. The laughter. The pain. The rage. An I wake up with a quiet in my breast until the dreams have faded like a long lost memory.” Marino said, his voice soft as he thought about some of the most poignant ones he had. However he did not dwell, and his mind snapped to attention once she started to speak again.

Her answer filled him with a sort of resolve. Though he didn’t know it until just now, it had been the sort of answer he had been hoping for from her. He’d actually been dreading anything else which seemed like an odd emotion to have though he had no time to dig into that just now. Instead he chewed on it along with the rest of her words for a while as he looked into her eyes with the occasional surreptitious glance. He felt almost like a boy again discussing his thoughts and fears so openly. It was not a bad feeling, just a difficult one. It tightened in his breast even as he knew the words he would speak.

“I get it. Some challenges call for profound changes, or maybe it isn’t as much of a change as I am making it out to be. She saw something in us as you said. Something that became apparent as we went around collecting those totems. I hadn’t really thought of it like that.” He said, his voice trailing off as he sank into thought. Marino needed a moment to process this. It was too important to rush. It ran on in the background as Tazrae asked him another question. His eyes settled on the harpoon gun mounted near the prow of the ship as his lips tightened in a thin line. The look was brief, gone well before the time he looked over at her again with a lopsided grin.

“It happens, pods don’t always get along for various reasons and occasionally there are clashes with outsiders that ply our waters. That’s what the harpoon is for though I have never had to fire it in anger before. My mothers shielded me from that after the djed storm. As best as they were able too. They said it was to keep me from my more foolish impulses but now I think they were just afraid. Fear can be a cage. I knew this, know this, but sometimes it is hard to see the bars.” Marino said as he reeled in his half forgotten net. Her next words echoed this idea he was struggling with. Furthermore they seemed to light a fire under him that forced his mind to confront those doubts. To realize that they had been with him all along only just recently had he been allowing them to master him in such a way. It left a bitter taste in his mouth, but his body felt good to be purged of that indecision.

“You are right. She has given us all a great gift, and I’ve been rather selfish of late. I think I am just adjusting to the absence of my pod, turning inwards when I should be pressing outwards. Strange reason I haven’t felt myself.” He said, and laughed softly. “I would be keen to go to one of those meetings, and to check out those books. I just realized I know so little so it would do me more than a bit of good to start learning soon.” He folded the net over one arm and looked out to the sea thoughtfully. When he looked back he saw that she had made herself more comfortable and his eyes alighted on her form appreciatively. Her body had started to transform, become leaner and more shapely with muscle. There were marks on her flesh that hadn’t been there before, a history he hadn’t been privy to while he had been in a selfish daze. Breathing through his nose he decided it was high time he caught up. He slid in beside her, hanging his legs off the edge of the casinor.

“Would you like me to get your back?” He asked, and if she agreed he would move behind her to liberally apply the repellent to her back making sure to get under the fabric. “The jungle has already started leaving its marks on you, little bits of history made flesh.” He said idly as he worked, remarking on the scars that he had been able to see so far. With that said, he lapsed into a brief quiet until he had finished massaging her back. Then he rested his chin on her shoulder for a moment, simply enjoying a moment of stillness while his mind worked. She had given him much to think about.

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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on November 26th, 2020, 4:36 pm

The young Innkeeper thought about Marino’s words, listening quietly as he spoke and nodding slightly in agreement. He spoke of finding himself a different person and she knew that to be true. Tazrae barely recognized herself these days. The wordplay he talked about made her smile. She nodded and offered him a hint of a smile. One thing Tazrae didn’t have going for her was a huge grasp on multiple languages. She simply had really not found a need for more than one language and the smattering of words she knew from other languages. “I admire your ability to switch from one language to another. It’s a very handy skill.” She said, meaning it. Tazrae doubted she was both smart enough and clever enough to pick up new languages, especially not with the ease Marino displayed.

As Marino wielded his net expertly - Tazrae didn’t know any different – she thought about languages and how they had evolved. Did they all have the same root language or did they spring up out of need? She had no idea. And suddenly she wished she’d been allowed to go to school. Her father had taught her to read and write and passed on his love of books to her, but she’d had no formal courses in anything that remotely resembled an education. Had Marino?

Taz loved maps and studying them, so she knew about Eyktol both from that habit and the visitors that liked to tell stories of exotic places they had traveled. Ships routinely went south bearing the bounty of the north and returned north with exotic spices and things like mineral dyes that could only be found in Eyktol. “I don’t know if Eyktol is so dreadful. I think each place would have its own unique beautiful. I’ve heard tales of stone spires and rock arches that bisected the sky created by the action of sand blowing in the wind to carve stone as smooth as our skin.” She gently countered his words, wondering if he’d saw the other side of the coin on things very often. Marino was very opinionated, but she was never sure how he formed his opinion unless he explained. “I’ve heard tales of minerals and spices from Eyktol that are breathtaking. And I’ve heard that the desert can open up to rivers and streams that are like glittering jewels on the landscape surrounded by palms and lush greenery. They call them Oases…” She said, repeating fragments of stories she’d heard from travelers. “And finally, … I’ve heard the air is so clear in the desert night that there are a million more stars in the sky there than we can see here.” She said firmly, believing all these tales she’d heard. There was nothing to say they were true but her heart. Tazrae wanted places with lush oases and a million stars in the sky. Places like that needed to exist.

He spoke of dreaming then, and she liked the turn the conversation took. She could listen to Marino speak a great deal. He had a way of painting his words so that they formed a picture rather than just a statement of fact. So, when he said he soared in the clouds she could picture it. And he dreamed in length to compare to a saga or a great romance? If she dreamed like that it wasn’t something she remembered. She would wake up unsettled or exhausted from a dream she couldn’t remember often, but rarely did the dreams stick with her or give her something to think about throughout the day. Taz figured too that her main problem was that she didn’t sleep enough to dream.

The talk turned to Kihala. Tazrae had hoped it would. She wanted to hear Marino’s thoughts on the Goddess and what had transpired but was a little taken aback she’d heard his insecurities instead. The more she thought about it though, the more she appreciated his honesty and that he hadn’t been afraid to show her that he was vulnerable to such things like fear and doubt in himself. She didn’t think he saw himself as everyone around him saw him and she said as much.

“Marino, I don’t know why you don’t see yourself as others see you. You are strong, knowledgeable, and you have the ability to make even the grumpiest person smile. You have a gregarious personality that doesn’t offend anyone and brings more people together. You make people feel comfortable and welcome… and you don’t do it with false airs but by being genuine. That’s a gift right there. I thought it was something all Svefra have because I’ve spent little time with the Svefra besides you, but the more I know you the more I am understanding that it is something uniquely your own. I think she picked you because you have the ability to be the glue of such a group, keeping us all together and keeping us encouraged. And you don’t need to be an expert at a sword or some mage right out of a legendary tale to do so.” Taz said softly.

Then she listened to his answer to the question about pods and their fighting capability. Taz nodded to his words, understanding about fear. It had caged her for her whole life. No more though. Not now. Syka was slowly curing her of that tendency.

He was favorable towards the meetings. That’s all she needed to know to set a few up. She’d start at the beginning of the season, for Winter meant some downtime in Syka and it was definitely a good time to plan. She’d lure the Totem Guardian group in with promises of treats and keep them there with the seriousness of the discussion. Her thoughts ran rampant on that course until she saw Marino studying her. There was a glow of appreciation in his eyes and she didn’t even mind that they trailed her form studying her. Tazrae knew she’d changed. The heat and humidity were good for her. The food in Syka was excellent and fresh, plentiful if one knew where to harvest it or trade for it. And the sea itself was a bounty to her that it had not been in Riverfall. It was a good feeling… and she glanced up at her line checking it one more time as Marino settled beside her.

Instead of answering him, she turned slightly, offering him her back, and relaxed under his touch as his hands ran the length of her spin and across her shoulders. They weren’t soft hands. But the roughness of the sailor’s touch made the sensation all the more real to her. When he settled his chin on her shoulder, her arm snaked around and gathered him in closer. She turned her head slightly and left a soft kiss on his forehead. And she liked doing that so much she left a second and a third in a nuzzling motion.

“Fishing off The SeaSilk is pretty incredible.” She muttered, liking the gentle rocking of the casinor and the way the water glittered as the sun reflected off the imperfections in the rolling waves. She brought her free hand around to trace patterns on his chest, her expression thoughtful and somewhat far away. This time last year if someone had told her she’d be perched on a ship’s deck, fishing, and holding a naked Svefra she would have paled and denied it. Now, this year, nothing sounded better. “You are pretty incredible.” She said softly, glancing over at him. Her blue eyes were soft, relaxed, and showed happiness that was calm and serene.

Her hand trailed down his stomach, across his hip, and out onto his knee.

There was no burning desire in her eyes, but rather a sweet curiosity, as her hand crossed his knee and trailed up his inner thigh, touching the loose skin surrounding his stones and then trailing across the velvet of his shaft. Touching him intimately would have been nothing Tazrae would have ever braved before, but they’d come in contact dozens of times through the course of their swimming and just relaxing so she felt comfortable in her exploration at that moment.

If he flinched or showed any objection, she’d pull away. But she was curious, and her mother had told her things… things she must do to please the Akalak that her mother assumed would be buying her contract. She had no desire to please any Akalak, that much was for sure, but Marino was different. “I was told things… things men like. My mother wanted me to be prepared in case my contract was taken up quickly.” She said softly, reaching out to kiss his forehead once more, letting her words fall on his skin there. There was a fire in her with him touching her, one that built the more she trailed her hands across his skin. A contract life wasn’t one she picked, but this situation was vastly different.

“Do you like those things? A mouth on you?” She asked, once more trailing her fingers down his stomach and across the apex of his thighs intimately. “I’ve been thinking about it… about trying it with you.” She said softly, almost shyly, not sure where she was going with this. It was an intimate act, but not one that complicated things like him planting seed inside of her would. She didn’t know if he’d like something like that or if the Svefra even approved of such things. But they were alone out on the water and she trusted Marino and cared deeply about him. It would be a good time to … play a little and satiate her curiosity about such things. It was one of the things adults did… the way they played. Tazrae had never had much playtime in her life and she wanted some now.

So, she waited for his answer, not afraid of him rejecting her though that surely could happen. People had many reasons, and while a braver person might just go for the act without asking, Tazrae wanted to give him a choice and not back him into some odd invisible corner where she took advantage of him against his will.

It was what women did, wasn’t it? They asked politely and gave others the choice. There were many beautiful females in Syka. There were beautiful guests too that visited regularly. Did Marino play such games with them or seek companionship with other Svefra? She didn’t want to encroach on someone else’s territory. But she’d love to stretch out on the deck beside him and make a light snack of him to see if she could indeed bring him the sort of pleasure she wanted too. Her mother had whispered to her that such a thing could be powerful and manipulative. That once men had it, they would crave it and do almost anything for it.

Tazrae didn’t have the same take on such intimate acts though. She wanted it to be a gift, a thank you for all that he did for her and for how much he shared his life with her. And besides all that, she craved him. She craved for him to say yes and just take what she offered without complication or discussion. The young woman wanted to know his taste and how his face looked when he was receiving pleasure. Marino had far too many worries of late. He needed something else besides anxiety.

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Tazrae
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on December 6th, 2020, 1:39 am

He’d never thought much of knowing two languages. Only when he was struggling to express a certain concept did he start thinking upon the differences between them. Fratava was all heart, often uniquely combining words together to define nuance that common didn’t have a word for. It was simpler in a way, less easily misconstrued because there was hardly ever any trouble with explaining your point clearly. Common was more difficult for him. Even all of these years later the words still felt clumsy on his tongue. For his sanity he tried not to over analyze it. Instead he was, and continued to remain attentive to facial expressions in combination with their body language to serve as added context to the way they responded to him. This was harder with some people than others for not everyone was as open as Tazrae was with her emotions. That was part of the reason he liked her, and why it was so easy to let down his guard around her. His cheeks dimpled slightly as he acknowledged the complement.

“A necessity traveling the way we do. When I was first learning the common language-” Marino said, hesitating as he pulled on that thread of memory. He remembered the frustration of his mother that had not been alleviated by his father who encouraged his disobedience.

“I was not the best of students. You could say I was more interested in shirking my duties with my tavan than practicing my common.” Marino said, resisting a chuckle at the memory. “I wonder how many languages there are? I imagine they all have their own unique flavor like the people that speak them. Like those Akalaks. I do not know the name of that tongue they speak but their conversations seem to be very long winded. At least the ones I have over heard have been.” He said, musing as he cast his net into the water. Gently as the water pulled at his net so the tide of conversation pulled at their words, hers making him more thoughtful as he reeled in his net. He supposed he didn’t know about the desert beyond his dreams and stories. It was all to easy to misjudge something you knew only a sliver about so he didn’t have a hard time correct the course of his mind on the topic. Not to say that he was ready to embrace it, but he was open to entertain ideas on the topic.

“It does sound beautiful, all that you have described to me. Not just the Oasis, but the stars, minerals, and spices too. I think I should like to meet one of the peoples of this desert someday. To hear their language, trade with them, and if Laviku smiles upon me, take them out on my casinor to swap stories.” Marino said, his eyes scanning the horizon as he spoke while he slowly wound the cords of the net through his fingers. “I hope you are there beside me when I do.” He couldn’t help but let his eyes linger on her for several ticks as he spoke those words softly, waiting till she met his before he looked back to the sea. The moment gave him a chance to center himself before he continued because he was about to bare his insecurities to her.

An his trust was not misplaced because she listened to his words with a patient ear, and so he did the same when she responded. What she said wasn’t what he had expected. It surprised him with a warmth spreading through his chest as he looked at the kind woman. He hadn’t ever thought of those traits with any depth. That was simply how he was, and it hadn’t occurred to him how that could be a particularly useful trait. There it was again. That framing. He had to try to think of himself as a person, not a tool. Not so hard when he looked into Tazrae’s warm eyes.

“I do get to meet quite a few people with my work. I suppose I could work out some mutual trades with friends I’ve made so I will be better equipped to defend this home of ours. Because it is worth it to preserve what we have here.” Marino said, feeling a little better about his own odds after the way Tazra had phrased it. So many of his previous notions appeared to be stacked like straw men. Easily brushed aside with a simple push from Tazrae. There was still the fear that had bitten deep into his core, but Tazrae’s presence was the best sort of salve for that. She made him feel brave enough to face it down in his own way.

Once he had said his piece about the meetings, they each settled down into a brief quiet moment that allowed the mind to wander from the discussion on to something else. His own thoughts presently were how the contours of her back felt as he ran his hand up and down her soft skin. On impulse he drew close, with her pulling him the rest of the way in, planting a soft kiss above his brow. It was more than comforting to be encapsulated in the warmth of her arm wrapped around him. He found himself watching her lips as she spoke. There was the gentle rise and fall of her chest as his eyes flicked down to watch her fingers trail across his bare skin.

“It feels like anything is possible out here where you can see the sea stretch on till it hits the horizon.” Marino said, echoing her thought as he brushed his fingertips along the back of her hand. Tracing back from the knuckles to her encircle her slender wrist. “You inspire me. I have watched you grow over these past seasons. Seen your kindness, your cleverness, and gotten to know you more with every passing day an it all makes me yearn to spend more with you.” Marino said as her hand trailed lower. His own hand stopped tracing hers but instead shifted to caress the side of her waist. Her warm fingers causing him to stiffen while the rest of his body relaxed against hers. It was intoxicating laying so close to her as her hand casually explored him. He almost had trouble focusing on her words.

“Partnerships seem like a very formal affair in Riverfall.” Marino said, his voice distant for a brief moment as he focused in on the moment. His hand slipping down her waist to caress the side of her hip. Then moving on from his musings, he addressed what she had asked him. “I haven’t had that particular experience myself, though I have done it for a woman.” Marino said, a slight blush creeping across his cheeks before he hastily added. “It was a long time ago. I was young and not very good. I’d like to try that with you however.” He gave her hip a gentle squeeze then slipped the edge of his thumb under the cloth of her bikini bottom. He traced the soft skin underneath for a time till he got the sense that she was receptive. Then more of his hand slipped underneath, fingertips brushing across her folds. While his hand moved he only had eyes for her expression, for the rhythmic swell of her chest as she breathed. His other hand trailed up her stomach till his fingertips brushed against the underside of her bikini.

“Can I take this off?” He asked, his voice low, almost raspy as he gently felt across the top of clothing, stopping when he felt the beat of her heart. It might have just been his imagination, but he liked to think that its beat was close to his own like in the stories. These sort of things always went like this. Leaning forward, he planted a soft kiss against her stomach, just above her naval before he met her eyes again. “Perhaps if we both lay down it will be easier.” He suggested after a time as he gently ran his hand up and down her body. His mind was racing as he soaked in her beauty up close, studying each and every spot with all of his senses. He didn’t want to forget any part of this moment with her. Likewise his mind ran to remember her touch upon his skin, the warmth of it and the way his body readily responded to it. This was more than him simply caring for her. He needed her, and he could think of no one else that he would rather be spending his time with. It was a moment he was content to live in for a while as it made him feel whole with the sea churning beneath them. An finally, without him even noticing, his worries ebbed away replaced with that need to be entirely focused on Tazrae, lost in the moment as it should be.
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Marino Oceangem
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on December 6th, 2020, 10:35 pm

They talked of serious things, of how they saw each other, and the future. Tazrae was always concerned for the future, worried even, though she rarely let on. Such things brought out the side of her that was constantly adapting, changing, even succeeding. The success was a little frightening because it meant she had more to lose, but as one of the Founders would have said… it was an acceptable risk. Having more to lose just meant one fought harder, adapted more fluidly, and rose to whatever occasions presented themselves. Her father used to tell her there were no problems in life, only opportunities to excel. She used to laugh at his good-natured outlook on everything, not in a mean way, but in a way that meant she was proud of him and his steadfastness to never let anything get to him.

It was a good way to be. But there was more to her than being positive and generally happy. Tazrae was bold and it showed in the chances she took in her own life and sometimes with others. And sometimes that boldness needed to be reined in, tempered, for she often bit off more than she could chew at one time.

Marino was definitely a big bite of delicious and one she was terrified of not being enough for or even worse offending. He was one of the best men she knew, without a doubt, and his approval meant the world. But it also made her cautious and guarded because there was so much to lose when it came to him. And none of it was something Taz could stand to be without… not really.

When her soft kiss on his brow and her flirting roaming hand didn’t meet opposition, she was relieved and terrified in equal measures. Had she been more practiced with men, it might not have been such a big deal, but truthfully, he was the first man she’d ever seen so deeply vulnerable and the first man she’d trusted enough to touch. Her fingers left trails of fire on his skin. She could almost see the invisible sparks competing with the glint of sunlight off of the uneven rolling water. It was The Seasilk. She was a beautiful ship and made for a magical bubble of otherworldliness that emboldened Tazrae and made her think anything was possible. Sanity fled as her blue eyes watched Marino’s equally blue orbs, judging his reaction and trying to see the emotion behind his usually level gaze.

He said beautiful things to her, words that were lost because his hand was tracing the back of the knuckles on her wrist then roaming further, trailing her waist and tracing the length of her spine. She grew bolder, wanting only to explore him in a way she’d been thinking on since she’d first seen his bronzed skin bared to her. His words only fueled her curiosity. He mentioned partnerships in Riverfall and Tazrae’s head came up from where she’d been gently trailing fingers along the intimate length of him, watching his flesh harden in fascination. He openly answered her question as if it hadn’t been the most personal thing she’d ever asked a man. Marino was like that… unguarded, mindful, and forthright. All the Svefra were, really, though she had spent more time with him than any of the others.

He was more self-critical than most though. Taz got momentarily hung up on the thought that no one had tasted him before and then her intellect kicked in wondering if such things were taboo. Was she being too bold? Marino said he’d done something else… something that hadn’t quite registered with Tazrae for a breath or two until he squeezed her hip and ran his thumb under her bikini bottom. He wanted to do something with her, his thumb trailing across the flatness of her body where her hip met her thigh. Her knees relaxed and she felt herself instinctually parting them for him as he brushed his thumb across the apex of her thighs intimately. The light pressure caused sensation to explode in her, dampening her body in a way she’d never experienced. She bit him then, sharply and unexpectedly though not breaking the skin, at the small of his neck where his muscled shoulder flared out. Taz had the strongest urge to wrap around him then, weaving her legs with his. She resisted, instead kissing the place she’d bit him with the lightest most apologetic of kisses.

Tazrae hadn’t realized she was utterly distracted, having never come up this rapidly against the wall of her control. She pulled away slightly as his fingers tugged at the clothing nearer her heart. Her breath was coming heavy now, and her head bowed so her eyes were partially hidden by her unruly hair. She leaned out and looked down as if she couldn’t quite understand what he was tugging at. Her top… the top covering her breasts. Her eyes went wide as the whole of his words finally reached her brain. He was asking… he wanted…

It wasn’t what she wanted. She realized that in an instant, despite how he made her feel and the heat within her body. His gentle pressure across her folds had set her core burning and that had shut down part of her brain… no, most of it. She’d asked to touch him, to explore him, to even taste him and he’d wanted the same in return. It was such a giving gesture, a desire of mutual pleasure… but she didn’t deserve it. She’d wanted to touch him, to explore and learn of him, to give him something as thanks and to deepen their friendship. He wanted to lay her down on the deck and feast himself.

The thought terrified her. What if she wasn’t clean? What if her taste or smell offended him? A thousand fears filled her.

Tazrae caught his wrist with her hand where he tugged at her suit which only gave her modesty in the barest sense. It was a hard-restraining grip. She had a stunned expression on her face for she realized at that moment that beyond her fears if she allowed him that liberty, the two of them would not stop. She would mean to. He would intend to. But there was a wildness inside of her for him. The bite from a few moments ago was just a hint of that. It was one of the reasons she had left Riverfall. She never wanted to be the meek woman who laid passively to service a male because he owned her. And if he found out how she would be, that she would never be that sweet shy hesitant lover what would he think of her?

Whore… or worse.

Only bad women acted as she did - responded to him as she had, and wanted things of him that scared her to the very center of her sensibilities. Her mother’s lectures ran across her mind, bells worth of them, preparing her for a life she never planned to live.

Redness blazed across her cheeks, which was no small thing since she’d never lost that dark caramel tan she’d gained since she’d first step foot off the Veronica and onto Syka’s soil. The embarrassment trailed down her neck, across her chest. She felt the burn sweep down her cheeks and she glanced down to see it, then noticed her hand gripping his wrist almost painfully. She released him immediately and scooted back. “I’m sorry.” She said awkwardly. “I wasn’t asking for a formal partnership… or for something from you. I just wanted to … “ Was that the truth though? Did she just want to gift him with pleasure or was that a thinly veiled need to experience something with him she’d always wanted to know about? No… that would be a lie too. The truth was she was horrible at this and didn’t know how to strike a balance – keeping her dignity and holding true to her values as well – because she wanted to lick every inch of him ruthlessly, so she could taste and touch and caress all that he was. More nasty words filled her mind and she labeled herself all of them because her mother would. Marino deserved better.

So, she said instead. “I’m terrible at this, Marino. I…. We should head back. I’m… sorry. I should have never asked you this…” She glanced at the distant shore, wondering if she had it in her to swim it.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on December 15th, 2020, 12:28 am

Touching her, his world condensed until it was only the two of them. Gone was the world outside of this few feet of deck. Even the sound of the sea beneath them was muted behind the buzz in his head. He was practically vibrating as his fingers traced against her warm brown flesh. After the way she had explored him, he was following now a deep yearning to memorize the contours of her flesh as his focus condensed to where he touched her flesh. His breathing slow and heavy while his heart hopped like a rabbit.

Closer now, he sought to peel back her clothing when to his surprise her hand fastened around his wrist. Eyes widening, his heart skipped a beat as anxiety crept into his breast. Had he done something wrong? The first thought was like a piece of lit tinder being dropped into a batch of dry kindling. A different sort of fire started brewing within him as his eyes met hers, concern plain on his face as he caught his tongue behind his teeth. Mind racing as the doubts resurfaced, their pale visages raising the hairs on the back of his arms. His heart was practically thudding in his throat now as his mouth went unexpectedly dry.

“Sure” He said, practically coughing out the word before recovering some of his composure. “Is everything alright?”

It came out before he really had a chance to think about what he was asking. Of course she wasn’t, and neither was he. Perhaps if he hadn’t spoiled the mood earlier. A lonely forlorn thought that he quickly dismissed as he went to pull them into action. The world was suddenly too wide, and he was so small. He would be lost if it weren’t for the Seasilk. For Twist. An for Tazrae most of all.

The Seasilk responded to his touch like it always had. In a way that was sure and sound. Like a sweet Summer song, it caught the wind as its sails unfurled. Billowing gently in the breeze, the lines creaked, snapping with a music of their own. Out on the sea one could almost find a whole troupe of musicians where the music came from the natural play between man and sea. For Marino, the sea sounded a bit like drums if one closed their eyes and focused on the deeper thrum of it churning beneath. The wind could pipe as well as any flute on a clear day when you sailed near the tall cliffs along the sea of grass. An to pull it all together was his sweet Casinor which sounded distantly like an ancient string instrument as he plucked at it with his hands.

Looking at Tazrae, he wondered if she heard that song as well. Tension taut like a rope between them, he wondered what sort of note it would play if he could find a way to strum it. Rather, he would prefer to unwind it if such a thing was possible. Though it felt like something that time would satisfy. There were no words to solve this overnight, and he had already made the feelings clenched in his breast plain.


“I understand for what its worth.” He said, his tone somewhat distant as his eyes roamed across the sea. Marino was bringing the Seasilk about face towards the shore, gently plotting a rough semicircle till its nose was in line with the mouth of the bay. Wind tousled at his matted hair, reminding him that he would have to give it a proper wash along with a cut later if he wanted to keep it out his eyes. That and more was necessary before this day was through. Much had been discussed today. A decision had been made, one he would follow through with for the good of Syka, the only home he had known away from the sea.

As they neared the dock, he was almost back to his cheery self. Piloting the Seasilk had a way of doing that for him. The way the lines ran through his fingers inducing a sort of meditative trance as he went through the motions while his mind sorted out his emotions. Only when he stopped to secure them to the docks did it feel like the world had caught up to him, laying heavily across his shoulders once more. He bore that burden without a grudge as he turned to Tazrae, flashing her a slight smile as he leaned against the wheel of the Seasilk.

“I’ll drop by the Inn sometime soon to update you on my progress.” Marino said, determined to shift the subject to something more hopeful before they parted ways. “Thank you for spending the day with me.” His tone earnest as he stepped off the Seasilk and onto dock. The wood warm underneath his bare feet. Extending a hand, he motioned to help her down even though it was hardly necessary. Distantly, Twist cackled having found some fresh delight to amuse him while Marino sank into this parting vision of her, memorizing her form and face before they parted. When next they met, he planned to have something to show for the conversation they had shared today.
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