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 July 12th, 2020, 12:12 am

18th of Summer, 520 AV




Life had changed considerably for Marino since the storm. For one, he was busier than ever now between work and helping out with the shrine. In the wake of the community coming together to restore the guardians, Kihala had appeared to them. A promise was made. One to create a place to worship the goddess in exchange for the boon she had bestowed upon them. This boon came in the form a mark that shimmered above his wrist. Not a gnosis mark, but one that connected him with the guardians housed within the totems. It was a strange, beautiful thing that Marino had a hard time looking away from for the first few days he had it.

Even now, he had a hard time not staring at it. It was a new feature on his otherwise unremarkable flesh. More than that was the connection it had made with the spirits housed in the totems. If he focused, he could remember their voices in his head. The thought gave him shivers. Never before had he experienced that sort of connection with another. Not even with his tavan whom he was exceptionally close to.

That had changed too. His tavan being absent. Twist had shown up the night after the totem’s had been assembled. Soon after an Avikki came, letting him know that his the pod would be passing this way in about ten days. Marino had just been happy to get Twist back, so naturally he was already in a mood to party when the news came. Of course, he immediately shared the good news with those closest to him.

It was safe to say he was in a good place now. Mentally and physically. Life in Syka suited him. He even started on putting on a little muscle as he expanded his horizons. Marino seldom sat still anymore. If he wasn’t behind the wheel of the Seasilk, he was off scouting for ways to contribute to the settlement. Occasionally that meant seeking out training. Which is why he found himself today with a rare quiet moment on the beach while he waited for his instructor.

To pass the time, Marino reclined in the shade of a palm that dotted swing beach. He had chosen one of the more ornate chairs that allowed him to prop up his elbows while he stared out at the water. Beside him, against the tree rested his half spear. He’d procured the weapon many seasons ago from a passing trader, but had yet to learn it. After the events of the storm however, he was inclined to wait no longer.

As terrifying as that storm had been at the time, it had brought many meaningful changes. Marino felt his time before had been wasted now that he had this new force driving him. Well, not all of it wasted. He wouldn’t trade his time with Tazrae for any sort of wealth. She always had the best sorts of ideas, like coming up with a holiday or two for Syka. They had talked about a great many things since then, but that had been on his mind of late. Particularly as a way to mark an event that was easily one of the most significant to happen in his life. To honor the goddess of nature whom he was still learning so much about. But what could this simple sailor come up with?

Whatever it ended up being, he wanted it to encompass the whole of what occurred, starting with the storm. To do anything else would be like telling only part of a story to the future generations that ended up celebrating it. The holiday would have no soul in that case, and thusly would not bring people together like he wanted. How though should he go about proposing such a thing?

Maybe he was getting ahead of himself. He should start small, with things that were easily managed. The totems for instance were a convenient thing to focus on first. Marino was torn between two ideas on ways to represent them with his holiday. His first idea was for a journey to made to each one, and an offering left to honor the gift they had been given. The second idea was to carve their likeness before hiding them around Syka. Then a game could be played where they had to cooperate to find them all again to present in a final, lavish ceremony to honor the goddess. Trouble was, he liked both ideas too much to give either of them up.

That left combining them in a way that made sense with regards to the rest of the holiday. Perhaps they could hide their offerings to the guardians, but that didn’t sit well with him. It struck him as wasteful which wasn’t what he had in mind. Not offering then. They had a lot of talented people in Syka. Perhaps they could hold a contest to decorate the areas around the totems. Before they could be placed however, they must be found. Yes, he liked that idea.

What part of the holiday should the contest be though? In the beginning preferably, putting it in line with the storm. Now he was onto something. It would start with them all sheltering together for a night. All of them coming together to prepare in their own ways for the holiday to come. Crafting would of course be heavily encouraged but he could see places for other sorts of contributions too. For instance, those with a way with words could close off the night with how the settlement has grown in the past year, and perhaps others might want to contribute songs to commemorate the night. He liked the idea of allowing the residents to celebrate this first night as they like.

Then the second day would be where they would all come together to find the decorations that had been hidden. Such crafts would be themed towards their respective guardian, and upon finding them all, they would come together as a community to visit each of the totems before ending up at the shrine. There they could make their offerings to celebrate the goddess Kihala. A great party could be held afterwords. A fitting conclusion to any festival worth remembering.

Yes, that sounded right to him. It was a rough idea to be sure, but perhaps he could approach Tazrae with it to smooth out the edges. He was inclined to think that she would be delighted to help. Tazrae. How close they’d grown over the past season. Marino was looking forward to introducing his family to her. As what though? A woman, silly. Wherever their friendship lie, she was her own person after all. Why did he get so possessive at times when thinking of her?

Footsteps behind him disrupted his daydreams, and Marino craned his neck to look over at the new arrival.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on July 12th, 2020, 7:18 am

The sand pressed between her toes as Tazrae walked slowly down the beach. She wasn’t in a hurry and there was no real destination in her mind. Music thrummed through her thoughts as she was linking up the events of the totem assembly with the start of a song. She still couldn’t get over how beautiful the elephant, parrot, chimp, fish, and panther were when they’d ghosted around The Commons, released from their totems momentarily to become the Settlement’s new guardians. If she hadn’t been part of it herself, she might have thought it only a fantastical tale.

It needed a song to remember it by. And she hoped to be the one to write it.

She’d call it The Guardian Song, the Innkeeper decided, and hummed what she thought of as the refrain easily enough. Tazrae didn’t actually know how to write songs, but she decided soon enough that she’d simply ask James if he could request a copy of any book or scroll the library in Riverfall might have. She’d been a regular patron there and knew copies of things could be ordered if the librarians had enough time or people were patient enough to sit and copy things for themselves. She’d done that often enough when she was younger, copying her favorite books. The memory of that time sent a pang of regret through her. When her mother had lost the Inn and was buried in debt, most of Tazrae’s personally copied books had been sold along with the Inn itself as part of the Inn’s library. Her mother had said it was only fair she contributes to the sale as much as she could since she’d enjoyed living there her entire life.

She’d lost her father’s journals too… and his poetry. She remembered how much he loved poems and reciting them. That loss had hurt worse than the loss of her own books. Those, someday, she could replace. But the books from her father’s collection, written in his own hand, could never be duplicated. Sadness edged into her bardic mindset and she blinked back sudden tears of homesickness. It wasn’t a yearning for a place exactly, no…. but for a man she missed dearly. Her father had been a genius in her mind, clever beyond expectation and quick of whit. He’d never had a bad mood – not at least that he’d shown Tazrae. Even when her mother had been a shrew to him, Marketh’s good humor had persisted. She often thought that was why her mother disliked her so much. She’d inherited her father’s good cheer and optimism. That was probably why she was so drawn to help people, be a provider, and now drawn to music.

Syka was opening her up in ways she didn’t even realize.

Tazrae twisted her wrist upwards on her left hand and stared at the colorful mark there. The Guardian Icon. She had one, Marino, Onaona, Adeliz, and Robert all had one. They were mostly strangers to her, yet she understood now that she was interwoven with their lives in a real and permanent way. They had a bond between them and with The Guardians themselves that seemed to her to be far more of a commitment than the Goddess Kihala had actually admitted too. Only Marino wasn’t a stranger, not really, and the thought of him made the smile on her face brighten considerably.

He’d crept into her thoughts so often lately. It had been hard to resist setting work aside and going to look for him to see what he was up too. Tazrae had thought of and discarded a dozen reasons for seeking him out. Her indecision had caused her to not look and so she hadn’t seen him since the Totem Assembly. No scenario she’d thought up sounded actually legitimate to her. And the last thing she wanted to do was to become clingy. Besides, she still had something of a shiner. So, finding herself with some idle time… she walked instead, wandering down the beach in a leisurely southern directly until she passed the dock and wove her way among the palms on Swing Beach. She had a vague idea to find a seat and relax a while and maybe stop into the Mercantile to see if one of the instruments she’d asked Juli’s father to find had managed to make its way to the store.

That’s when she’d spotted him. She blinked thoughtfully, her smile brightened, and she approached the seat he was sitting on. She joined him there, settling beside him quietly and leaning back. Tazrae stretched her bare toes out, digging them into the sand beside his, and then she turned and looked at him.

“I know its been only a few days, but it’s felt a lot longer. I missed you.” She offered the words to him and nothing else, just letting the sound of them fill the tropical air between them. Tazrae was sailing new waters with Marino, whether they were friendly ones or something more. It was all new to her and truthfully shaky ground. She wanted to ask him how he’d been, what he’d been doing, and if everything was okay. She rarely saw the sailor idle and hoped something wasn’t weighing on his mind.

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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on July 13th, 2020, 2:13 pm

His eyes settled on Tazrae as she approached. “I was just thinking of you.” He said, a warm smile pulling up the corners of his lips. “I’ve missed you too. It has been a busy last couple of days.” For Marino that had meant more people had been seeking his services of late. He supposed that was only natural in the wake of what had happened. There was plenty to do what with the shrine to be built and the totems to be moved. Not to mention all of the preparations to be done. He was eager to begin helping with the project, even with his non-existent carpentry skills.

How’s the Protea Inn?” Marino asked, gently pushing off the sand with one foot so he rocked back and forth. It was hard not to think of her every time he passed the place. “If I remember right, you’ve got three guests at the moment, or have they moved on?” He’d met one of them while he had been busy searching for totems. Robert. A nice enough man with an adorable cat that followed him around. A curious expression came to his features as he had a thought. “Anastasia and Creature get along much? She was very standoffish when I met her.” He said, remembering how wary the cat had been of him.

Imagining the two creatures tussling was a pleasant thought. They needed some friends close to their own size, though he had little doubt that Creature would continue to outgrow her as time wore on. The pup had massive paws that he hadn’t quite grown into yet. Idly he wondered if that was something common for dogs before his mind tracked onto the fact that he had been thinking about the holiday plans when Tazrae walked up.

I’ve got an idea for a holiday if you want to hear it.” Marino said, excitement clear in his voice as he grasped the ropes supporting the swing. “Its a bit simple right now, but I’m hoping you can help me fix that.” He chewed his lower lip for a tick, then he continued.

I was thinking it could be a festival to recreate events that have happened recently as a way for us to mark this moment in history.” He said, gesturing towards their marks as he spoke. “It would start with us all coming together in the cave for a night. There could be group activities where we craft decorations or cook for the festival to follow. Those that wanted could also play a role in crafting something special to adorn the areas around the guardians, and I was thinking we could hide these creations like the totem’s had been. Then the next day we’d come together to search for the pieces, gathering them all up before deciding which guardian’s to distribute them to.

Marino paused for a few ticks to consider what he had planned next before finally just going ahead to say it. “After we could have a great party by wherever the shrine will be. There is room for further games to be had, perhaps tied up with peoples individual experiences searching for the totems.” He mused before he remembered where Tazrae got that mark around her eye. Suddenly concerned, he hopped off the Swing and went over to her, reaching out to take her hand if she would let him. “How’s the eye by the way? Doing better I hope. That had been really scary seeing you up there getting pelted, but you handled it better than I would have.” He said, offering her a reassuring smile.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on July 14th, 2020, 2:49 am

Her eyes snapped up and met his at his statement. She noted the smile on his face and she nodded to his words about it being busy. “Definitely busy. As soon as the storm was over I got two more guests. That’s a lot for me. Been cooking three meals a day and playing tour guide.” She said with a slight laugh. The words were almost a complaint, but the tone of her voice said that she actually loved it.

“The Inn’s good. It’s been incredible actually. Randal brought me a pig as soon as the rooms started to fill up and my lobster and crab traps have been full every day. It cuts down on my grocery bill considerably serving food I catch myself. That’s something I’d never say in Riverfall. I’d be at the market daily shopping. And instead of that, here folks just seem to know what I need and show up with it. And in exchange, I keep Randal in fresh bread and I made some soap for Juli…. It’s a little humbling. I’m part of something here, and slowly people are starting to lean on me. I don’t mind people dropping by for meals too. Everyone seems to already know my schedule, and I rarely have to collect coin. It’s all barter and that’s great. Even Uta has dropped by, checked out my pantry for herbs, stocked me up and now she comes for fresh bread too.” Tazrae said softly, a grin on her face. “You know… if you are already making bread, its just as easy to make ten loaves as it is to make two.” She added with a smile.

“Four guests… if you count Anastasia. Robert is something else. He has such plans. I’m hoping that Randal gets started on his distillery soon and I can go help build it. So many people dropped by and helped for a few bells or a few days on my place, I want to pay it forward.” She added, knowing most likely she wouldn’t have time to actually pick up a hammer and work on the physical structure. But she’d drop by with food just in time to feed the hungry every day if she could. If there was time to help with the build, she’d certainly do that as well. The thought made the young Innkeeper all but glow with happiness.

“I feel needed here. It’s a good thing.” She was just another burden in Riverfall, someone to keep plants in the courtyard and change sheets or tend to laundry. Be productive but not heard or seen. Truthfully, she hadn’t felt real. That had changed for her the moment she’d stepped off The Veronica.

“The pup is getting big. I swear he redoubles in size every other day. He wants to be friends with that cat badly, but Anastasia isn’t having much of it. I also shortened his name to Creech. Its just odd when he runs off and I have to start hollering for Creature everywhere. He thinks they should play. I think she understands his idea of play will hurt.” She said with a laugh. Tazrae ran her hand through her hair pushing it out of her face where the wind kept insisting on blowing it across her vision.

“Sure, I’ll hear it.” She said, quieting and giving him her whole attention. He laid out the holiday he had thought up and she tilted her head as she listened. She loved the idea, actually, and couldn’t think of much to add to it. But she owed him a bit of critique and so she gave him a few other ideas to add to it. “Maybe the night before, in the cave, we could all talk about what’s so important here that we hold dear and guard. Maybe recite acts we’ve been grateful for over the past year. We could exchange gifts to each other of thanks… things that are homemade. And… maybe decorate ourselves to honor the guardians for the next day…. Maybe face paint or jewelry or even clothing meant to honor the guardians as we do our searches?” She added, secretly loving getting face paint or dressing up.

“Otherwise, I think it’s a fantastic idea. I don’t know of a single person that would say no to celebrating it next year…. all the more so if we have to summon the guardians for protection. We should tell the story of them and how they came to be with us… it would be a beautiful holiday.” She added, giving him a smile.

He was in front of her then, and she smiled up at him. Sure, her eye wasn’t quite healed. It was a lovely shade of mottled purple and green ringing her left orbit. “It’s fine. Almost healed. I told everyone it was fairly won by the monkeys. I wasn’t scared, just annoyed. I wanted to throw things back at them but I had nothing. Juli said it wouldn’t be my last battle with them. They come into town sometimes.” She said, shaking her head.

What she wanted to say was that he could kiss it and make it better… but even Tazrae wasn’t brave enough to tease like that. Instead she returned his smile, the wind still tousling her hair, and leaned forward, curling her toes in the sand once more. “I thought of a holiday myself… but I wanted to do something less formal, something more unique for Syka. I don’t have a good working name for it, so I thought I’d simply call it Tenday.” She added, rocking back into her seat and watching him for a reaction.

“We live so sprawled out here. There’s someone every few acres, a few souls crowded down by the bungalows and ranchos, but there’s no really good way to keep tabs on people and make sure everyone is okay and doesn’t need anything. Randal told me when the Settlement was smaller, there was food cooking in the Communal Kitchens and a nightly barbeque every night in the Commons. That doesn’t happen anymore since everyone has gotten more and more busy. But what if every ten days we bring that tradition back and make sure everyone comes by and checks in… it would be a good way to keep up with the neighbors and make sure they are fine. We could do a hunt the night before or the day before, and I’d be willing to spearhead the kitchen prep so there is a meal… we could do music and dancing and honor a few of the Gods like Rhaus. Its nine occasions a season… but I think it would be a good idea for Syka.” She added, smiling. “Maybe Robert could test out some of his brews there too… get some feedback on the stuff hes working on at his new distillery.” She added, then paused, fingers curled around the bench she was sitting on…. and she leaned forward again to see what he’d say.

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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on July 14th, 2020, 9:29 pm

Marino smiled. It felt good to hear that business was picking up at the Inn even if he meant he’d see her less. He was glad to see that she was becoming a part of the community here. Tazrae had put in the work and now it was starting to come together for her. “Perhaps I could bring by some fish, if I ever catch any that is.” He said with a wink. “Shoal has been showing me a few things that I’m anxious to try out again soon.

He found himself nodding along to her assessment of Robert. The man had an interesting personality that rivaled that of his companion. When Marino had met him, he had been feeding the cat from his plate in a way that reminded him of his relationship with Twist.

Considering what it must look like for Creature to be chasing after Anastasia, Marino laughed. “They make quite the pair Robert and Anastasia. She kept up with us quite a bit while we were out searching for the totems. I can imagine what Creech must appear to her as.” Then his eyes widened, and he grinned broadly as he got an idea. “I wonder if he would like to go for a swim with Twist sometime soon. I imagine Twist would be game for a new friend.” He looked out towards the water as he said it, though he knew his Tavan would probably be hunting out in the deeper waters of the sea right now. With the advent of Summer the waters had become lower around here making it difficult for even Twist to swim at times.

I like those ideas. We’ve got a lot of talented people here at Syka so that is definitely something I could see work. I’ll have to remember that for when we bring it up with the founders.” He hadn’t really expected much out of his idle musings, but Tazrae had a way of breathing life into things in a way that got him energized to push forward. Of course part of that was the way he felt about her. He craved her opinion, and having her input made him feel more confident about everything else.

Standing in front of her now, he checked her eye with growing concern although she reassured him that it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Marino still fretted over it for a tick, wishing his Lia was here already so he might ask her about a remedy. That thought reminded however just how much he had left to grow into this place. He was still inclined to think he could only go to his Lia or mothers for advice when he had plenty of capable people around here to ask. It was just hard to pull away from the wisdom of the pod.

Perhaps we can find a way to bribe them so they don’t bother you over by your Inn. I imagine they like to eat like anyone else, and you are a great cook.” He felt a little awkward standing over her as he was so he knelt down in the sand, listening to her idea. Marino liked the idea of getting the chance to check with people from time to time. While he ran into his fair share of inhabitants working there were times when he missed out on certain things because he was on the other side of Syka.

I’m all for it. I think that would be a great way to stay in touch with people. Also it would let people know if anything new is going on around the settlement that they might want to help out with. I know as we get more people coming here news might not travel as fast and this sounds like the perfect way to keep the community close knit. I’d be willing to take people out to fish to add to the pot so to speak, and we could throw together some games for the guests. I’m not sure what sort of games people here would be interested in, but if they know how to swim, I’ve got ideas for days. Maybe there could even be little prizes for the winners of these competitions. My mother says a bit of friendly competition has a way a bringing people together.

At the mention of his family he was reminded of something he had yet to share with Tazrae yet, and he looked up at her with a bright smile. “My pod actually sent word to me recently. It looks like they’ll be dropping by Syka soon so we’ll be able to have that dinner we talked about.” He said, playfully pushing some sand onto her feet. Then traveling up her foot, he would grasp her ankle gently, rubbing it with the ball of his thumb. “I sent word back to my mothers about you in my message so I’m sure they’ll be excited to see you.

Marino stood up then, his fingers brushing up the outside of her leg before he stepped back to stretch. Looking around, he favored Tazrae with a conspiratorial grin when he didn’t see Buraga coming. “I’d actually come out here to train with the half spear, but since Buraga is running late I’m wondering if you might want to go for a little swim?” Then looking at his half spear propped against the palm, he got another idea. “Or we could practice together, that could also be fun.” He said, his face brightening.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on July 18th, 2020, 6:31 am

“The holidays, I think, would be a good addition to Syka… both of them. And you know what? Isn’t your birthday on the next tenday. In like two days?” She asked, widening her eyes and trying for an innocent look. Her eyes were full of plans though… sneaky determined plans. Truth be told, Tazrae just needed two more ingredients to be able to bake him a decent cake and they’d been promised to her by morning. She hoped it was so. Otherwise, she had no idea what Syka’s version of a birthday cake was.

His news about his Pod made her smile. “I’m so glad for you. I know you must miss them like crazy. Is this the first time you’ve been away for longer than a day or two?” She asked curiously, trying to squish down the sudden fear that his pod was back to pick him up or somehow otherwise retrieve him. Svefra were notorious wanderers, never staying long in one place. She wasn’t sure Marino wouldn’t be any different, despite how much he’d shared his long-term plans with her.

“I look forward to meeting your mothers and the Lia…. maybe seeing some of your cousins again.” She added. It would be fun making a meal for them, maybe something they weren’t used to or couldn’t get at sea. It would definitely be something non-fish or seafood. She was sure there was nothing she could cook that would impress a Svefra Matriarch that was from or near the ocean. And she did want to impress them. It shouldn’t be important, but it was. No one had actually introduced her before or wanted her to meet someone from another’s family.

It was a strange feeling, being included.

It was almost as good of a feeling as his touch was after he playfully tossed sand on her foot. She studied his hand on her ankle but said nothing, instead looking up to meet his eyes. There was a softness and warmth in her gaze. She didn’t pull her foot away, though she probably should have. And she didn’t comment on it either, not wanting to reach forward and touch him when he was already standing up and stretching. She simply watched him with her soft blue gaze and looked thoughtful.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt your training. I was just taking a walk.” She said thoughtfully, glancing up and down the beach as if Buraga might appear out of thin air. But he did not. Instead, Marino asked her if he wanted to go for a swim or practice the short spears together. Tazrae studied the weapon he had propped against the palm and found it more than daunting. She was awkward with weapons, as yet, and was worried her involvement in Marino’s practice might endanger him more than help him.

“I’d rather pass on the spear training. You’re more than likely to get hurt with me around and any sort of long pointy thing. I’m willing to go for a swim if you want. It is hot this afternoon. But what I really wanted to do is explore some of the tidepools out there. The tide is out and there’s exposed rock for a little while. Do you think we could explore them in our endeavors?” She asked curiously, gesturing rather far out into the water where indeed some rocks were now exposed from a strangely excessive tide. It still looked, in fact, as if it were going out.

If he agreed, Tazrae would strip off her shirt, attempt to tie back her hair, and relieve herself of her skirt. She still wasn’t into the nudity that almost everyone in Syka seemed to enjoy. But she was more than comfortable in her bikini. The pathway out to the tidepool rocks was at least knee deep in salt water. On a normal day, with the tide in, it would be deep enough to float a ship the Veronica’s size. But it definitely wasn’t a normal day and as soon as Tazrae was stripped down to those patches of fabric, she was off and running. She tossed a ‘Race you!” back over her shoulder and plunged into the knee-deep water at a run.

Running through water wasn’t at all like running down the beach. The water provided resistance and the girl was half running half jumping soon enough, laughing in delight. Her curls weren’t tamed by her endeavor to tie them back so about five strides out into the water, it was already free of the tie-back. They would race outwards, towards the strange rocks, and Marino would see why Tazrae was eager to explore them.

The rocks were a tunneled maze of stone with every inch encrusted with sea life. There were anemones, urchins, even giant starfish everywhere. Crabs clambered across the towering structures that were not unlike the Overgrown Playground’s metal behemoths. Tazrae was like a child in her delight. As soon as the soft substrate of the bay they’d been charging across changed to stone, she began climbing on the structures, stopping to peer at this creature or that, all of which were uncomfortable out of the water and beginning to bake in the sun.

Entire colonies of shellfish clung to the rocks in some places, adding to the varied texture and feel of the place. There were deep pools between some of the behemoths that held octopus and schools of fish that were obviously used to being trapped between tides. Tazrae was enthralled. She climbed up onto the rocks, exploring as much as she could with Marino’s presence giving her confidence. There were pools she wanted to slip into – and eventually did so – seeking a closer look at the shy octopus, and wanting to see the trapped fish.

“Have you ever seen places like this up close?” She asked, her eyes dazzled. Tazrae leaped from one stone to another, clambering around and finally jumping out into one of the bigger pounds and floating there, on her back, turning her head carefully so she could look any direction.

“Is it just me or is the tide out further than normal today?” She asked floating over to a nearby outcropping and grabbing a hold of it. She was hoping he’d join her as she carefully trod the water with one hand on the stone. Limpets made colorful pointed additions to the side of the tide pool and Tazrae poked at them curiously... as she waited for Marino's answer.

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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on July 20th, 2020, 9:20 pm

Marino felt a slight thrill upon Tazrae having remembered. With all of the excitement from the past few days he had almost forgotten having told her. “Yes, fortunate coincidence that it falls on a tenday.” He said thoughtfully, wondering what he might be able to scrounge up for a party. Two days was too soon for his pod to arrive unless some of the smaller vessels went on ahead. That left it up to him which was a new experience for the Svefra. Perhaps he would go see Stu today.

I do, and yes it has been the longest we have been apart. I’m so used to going to them for things that for the first few days it was very disorienting. Like if I was trying to use my hand but it was no longer there, that kind of feeling.” Marino said, and he didn’t feel venerable confiding this in Tazrae. Quite the opposite. It made him feel more stable expressing his feelings to her in such a barefaced way. This sort of truth felt right, even if it was just a small one. A trickle for a torrent to follow.

He smiled back at Tazrae. “When you talk with them, I will try to steer the conversation away from some of my more foolish childhood antics, though I have no doubt that it will be a foolish gesture.” He shrugged. Marino would not mind her knowing the whole of him now after all they had shared. However, mothers did have an unnatural knack for dredging up stories long repressed which he looked forward to with trepidation.

Her eyes seemed to capture his as they met, and he had suddenly a hard time putting together where he was going with the conversation before her words pulled him back in. “No intrusion, your presence is always warmly welcomed.” He said, his sky blue eyes twinkling as they regarded her. Marino looked in the direction she gestured.

Certainly. That seems a shade more fun than me showing off my clumsy efforts with a spear.” He said turning back towards her, his mouth tilted in lopsided grin. Marino wasted little time getting undressed, stripping off his clothing to toss into a pile beneath the swing. Tazrae similarly disrobed but retained small swatches of clothing. Not that he minded. It showed off her body rather well, something he was getting a good look at when she announced a race.

Marino had a moment to look stunned before he took off after her. Laughter flowing easily from his lips as he took long, uneven strides across the sand and into the water. Slowed considerably he tried splashing Tazrae as he hopped after her from one foot to the other. His heart swelled with wonder and excitement as they came to rest on the rocky protrusions she was headed for. Quickly he clambered up onto the stone after her.

There was so much to see on these rocks, and it reminded him of the beaches he had explored as a boy. There had not been a place such as this though. The boy inside came alive with his imagination spurred on by the many creatures. Whether they clung or crawled, he enjoyed watching them as he followed Tazrae.

They slipped into a small pool where fish and an octopus were seemingly thriving out in this diverse environment. “Occasionally, but nothing to this.” He said as he leaned in to get a closer look at the octopus which crept further away from his gaze. Marino followed her into another pool where he submerged himself briefly before coming up to float along side Tazrae.

I’ve been thinking that myself.” Marino said, arching an eyebrow as he pulled himself halfway onto a rock to get a better view of the sea. “I imagine Twist has figured that out too, otherwise he’d be spying on me.” He said, slipping back into the pool to face Tazrae. “This summer has been a hot one so far, and I think it is making it hard for him to navigate like he could during the Spring. I wonder if this is typical for a Summer in Syka.

Swimming over, he wrapped his arms around her to give a quick squeeze before he continued. “Want to see if we can find him? You know he’s missed you.” He teased, bringing his hands up to caress the back of her arms. “We could swim out from here towards the casinor to see if we find him. Or I could show you a lovely spot in a cave not far from here.” Marino suggested, his eyes bright with anticipation.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on July 21st, 2020, 3:58 am

Being with Marino was like being just a little bit tipsy on really fine wine. Tazrae wasn’t one to overly indulge much, but spending time with the Svefra male was like walking a thin beautiful line where the happy relaxed buzz was taking the edge off without taking the intellect away. Instead, he buoyed up her spirits and made her feel sharper, stronger, and very very pretty. She loved his expression when he spoke of his family; the soft longing in his eyes and the way he refused to hide the fact that he needed them. Most men refused to admit they needed anything. But somehow, Marino was comfortable enough with himself to display the sorts of weaknesses that Tazrae suspected most people tried to hide.

And in exchange she didn’t try to hide her own insecurities and flaws. “Every time you speak of your family, I feel just a little bit jealous…” She said with a smile before she tipped her head back and laughed a light almost bitter laugh at herself. She was perched on the edge of a rock she’d just clambered up like some of the monkeys scaled palms. “I want that. I’m not afraid to admit it. I want a family like that.” She said, softer, but still full of the ring of truth. “I’m glad you have it. But I admit, I’m so very jealous.” The Innkeeper added, making what she said about being ‘just a little bit’ a bit untrue.

“And no… don’t you dare steer them away from anything! I want the full story… every sorid detail! I’ll bribe them with my good cooking and ply them with drink until they spill all they know.” She taunted, reaching up to impatiently push some of the wet curls out of her eyes. Tazrae was like that… brutally honest in one minute, and teasingly playful in the next. The more she got to know herself, the more she felt restrained by her skin… like there was a whole lot more to her than her body could contain. It surprised her, the things she said sometimes… especially to him. It surprised her because she’d thought she was something soft and meek, but since coming to Syka she’d grown to be more.

His words about her presence being warmly welcomed cheered her. The statement lingered on her mind as they raced to the tidepools, clambered over the rocks, pointed out the mysteries of the deep, and waded then swam through the tidepools. She’d almost let them slip away as they played with the octopus, Tazrae unafraid to reach out and touch it, not afraid when it seemed to reach out and touch her back, coiling a small tentacle around her wrist as if feeling her out.

Tazrae could only hold her breath so long though, so she had to lift her head to breath after diving into the shallow pool to have a look. The action frightened the octopus away and it jetted away to the far side of the pool. She caught Marino’s eye and smiled. “I don’t think I’ll ever eat one. It felt wise… like touching another human only foreign… like an intelligence I can’t simply understand.” She said, knowing people ate them and wondering suddenly if that was truly wise.

They found a big pool, one of the deep ones that changed color as the dept increased in the middle. Marino had perched himself on a rock and Tazrae had swum up beneath him to peer upwards at him listening. She wasn’t bothered by his bare skin, and reached out to grasp one of his ankles to hold herself steady to the rock so she could listen.

“I don’t know if its typical. But I hope Twist is okay. I haven’t seen many dolpins in the bay like I saw when I first came here on The Veronica. There’s something different… I am not educated enough to know though… we haven’t been here long enough. It might due to talk to one of the Founders about it… Mathias I’d imagine.” She commented lightly, unconsciously stroking his ankle as she looked thoughtful, her gaze focused in. Then she blinked, saw something that caught her eye, and wandered a bit further to stare momentarily at what was the largest chiton Marino had ever seen. Tazrae touched it, running her fingers over the scaled creature before she turned to grin at Marino.

He swum over and wrapped his arms around her, his touch quick, as if he wasn’t certain of his welcome. He kept speaking, his arms wandering up her arms. She reached out, using him as a buoy, and ran an arm around his chest and up to hang on to his shoulder. Taz found herself pressed up against him and brought a leg up to wrap around him as well. “We should go find him, yes….and maybe see that cave too. Is it too greedy to want to do both?” She added, smiling and leaning over to nibble at the top of his shoulder and to kiss him gently in the hollow of his throat.

“Marino….” She said, lifting her head to meet his eyes. She ran a hand across his back and down his spine. She swallowed hard and looked incredibly vulnerable for a moment before the look vanished as she took a breath and continued on…. “I missed you. I really like you. I don’t know if these are things I should tell you or not. But I love it when you touch me. I loved it when you kissed me in the cave the night of the storm. Its one of my best memories of Syka so far…. That night with you in the cave and maybe the day Creature came. I know there will be far more memories to come. But I want you to know that I’m absolutely not opposed to you dropping by to see me… inviting me out to do things… and I am a hundred percent certain I do not mind you touching me at all… any time you’d like too.” She took a breath, leaned in, and kissed him softly out there in the water among the stone that was covered every inch with life. That life made her feel more alive than ever.

“Maybe we aren’t supposed to be like that… women I mean… open, forthright. But my mother wasn’t a real mother to me and I have no idea…. “ She took a deep breath and grinned self-depreciatively. “…how these things work.” She really felt like someone blind walking forward by sliding out a leg and tapping around with a bare toe to feel her way forward. “I know I feel like I want to touch you more… “ Tazrae explained, running her hand across his buttocks and back up his spine to dig her fingers into his hair lightly.

“Anyhow… I… I just wanted to say that to you. Earlier… my ankle… Gods… I was so… it made me so happy.” She said, then shook her head, uncurling her leg from around him and releasing her hold on him. She smiled a little sheepishly, and glanced around. “How do we find Twist? Do we swim further out?” The Innkeeper asked, her ability to change topics gracefully a little rough around the edges.

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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Marino Oceangem on July 21st, 2020, 11:23 pm

Sometimes he forgot that some families were different. Smaller. Cold even. Though from what he had recalled of Tazrae her father had been a good one. It was with the mother with whom the relationship was strained, even more so with the passing of the father. Marino cocked his head, a little concern touching his eyes. He found it difficult to empathize about having such a relationship with a mother, though he would try anyways. Because she was worth it. There was a deep yearning in him to understand everything about her though he was self conscious enough of this desire to pace himself.

He wanted to take her hands in his, but he settled for expressing the words that lay on his heart. “Consider my family yours then. There’s more to it than that to be sure. After you have spent some time with them, I am sure you will feel it too. That connection that I do.” There was another connection he was thinking of now. The one that had grown between them that allowed him to so easily express those weighted words. He trusted her.

His smiles came so easy around Tazrae, now being no different as she talked about extracting stories from his kin. “I’ll hold my tongue then, there is no way I could compete with your cooking.” He said, laughing lightly as he patted his stomach. No doubt they had many interesting days ahead of them now, and not just because his pod was coming. There was so much now that he wanted to do around Syka. He could think of no better companion either than Tazrae to explore it with him.

Marino thought on that while they explored the tidepools together. Exploring the great many sights to be had it was easy to lapse back into the moment. This one being watching Tazrae reach towards the octopus. The exchange was sweet, and he enjoyed her expression when she came up for air. Her mind as well, the way it thought about the creatures in the sea like that reclusive octopus. “I can’t say I’ve ever thought about them like that. They are rather graceful though, when you see them moving across the sea. This seems like a fine home for that one though.” Marino grinned, then added. “I’m not partial to the taste or texture, nor have a desire to hunt such a pretty creature. Twist though..” He gave a little shrug, wearing a thoughtful look on his face as they moved on to a bigger pool.

We should, perhaps when we go to approach him about the holidays” Marino said, mulling the information over while half of his mind focused on Tazrae’s touch. It was so present in his mind when she swam over to something on the other end of the pool he had to go to her to prolong it, wrapping his arms around her while his eyes settled on what she was looking at. They lit up upon seeing the huge mollusk. Quite the find he thought as she reached out to touch it. Then his mind was back onto more pressing matters. Like Tazrae being oh so close to him.

I don’t think so” He said with a smile, as his hands came to rest around her lower back wanting to keep her close to him in this position. His eyes caught hers and he was melting a little bit from the kiss she had planted on his neck. In this moment there was only her. Marino leaned in, keen on studying her expressions as he listened to her words. Like he was trying to map out this moment for his memories later when the world went quiet. Before the storm came as it did sometimes on lonely nights.

He was so caught up in her words, that he stopped paying attention to where his hands where traveling. Their hands were traveling. Up and down her back at first, then lower. Across her butt, down the back of her thigh before starting the slow journey back up again. Marino was very conscious of her leg wrapped around him an then she kissed him. His thoughts dissipated for a blink as he felt her lips with his, pressing against hers back as he reveled in their soft warmth.

When they broke their kiss he kept that nearness to her, his body unwilling to move far from her presence. He listened to her continue before he spoke his own thoughts. “I’ve missed you too. I think of you every day, and of that night we spent together. Part of the reason I wanted to include that night in the cave into the holiday because you being there made the night go so much better than it could have been.” He paused and ran a hand up the back of her neck. “I would love to drop by more often, I was just thinking earlier of there being so many new things for us to explore. Of places to see, and things to learn. An naturally there will be more time for touching as well, for I can’t get enough of having you so close to me.” Marino leaned in for another kiss, taking her lips in with his as he lingered there for a long moment. His hands came trailing down to a rest around her hips, giving them a gentle squeeze.

I could do this forever, so perhaps we should find Twist and then this cave.” He said, then looked out to the see for a moment. “Let’s go out towards the dock and the island. If we don’t find him there we could always hop on the Seasilk to get out of the bay. Besides, it will give us a better look at things to report back to Matthias.” Marino pulled her close again before stepping out of the pool and down the rocks. He was careful until they were away from the pools before he started to swim, though it was a while till the water was deep enough for that.

Having kept close to Tazrae, he turned to her as they entered the water to start their swim. “Its been a while since we’ve swam together. Would you like to try floating on your back for this, or would try swimming a different way. You can hold my ankle if you want to float on your back and I’ll be your eyes.” He said with a broad smile before he added. “Treading water can get exhausting fast so I think you’ll like this new strategy.

Marino went ahead and demonstrated what he meant by peddling the two different strokes around her, trying to keep his movements slow to avoid unnecessarily splashing her so it would be easier for her to see. The first was him simply laying out on his back while his arms moved underwater in a way that was reminiscent of the way a bird moves its wings. They brought up small splashes as they came to the end of their cycles. His feet meanwhile kicked up a continuous small froth as they propelled him up and forwards.

That’s if you want me to guide you.” He offered, before quickly switching to his stomach. Now his arms moved vertically, pushing down and out while his feet stroked through the water horizontally. There wasn’t so much splashing with this position, and after a rough circuit around her, he came up for air.

Much easier than treading, at least for swimming a little farther.” He said before wading over to her to help her with any of the movements if she asked. “Lets see you try it now, and then we’ll go looking for Twist.
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Oh its a beautiful thing

Postby Tazrae on September 6th, 2020, 4:09 pm

It was such a generous offer, him wanting her to consider his family hers. Even though Tazrae smiled in reaction to his saying that, she knew deep down things didn’t work that way in the real world. They couldn’t. Blood was always thicker than water. Wasn’t that the saying? She nodded though, willing to keep an open mind. He could be right. Maybe if she got to know them like he did she’d love them like he obviously did. It was a hope she clung too. She missed being part of a family. And she hoped that one would find her here, form itself around her though not with her as its center, to the point where she wouldn’t be so alone like she always was. Creech helped tremendously, but he still wasn’t a person.

She laughed at what he said next. “I’ve never tasted your cooking. How do I know your telling the truth? People forced to feed themselves tend to get good at doing so.” She speculated and reached out to pat his arm. You can’t be that bad.” She added. “It also helps if it’s something you love doing. Besides, you are pretty good at everything else you like doing… sailing, swimming, exploring new things.” She listed off, not having seen him do anything but succeed. She liked his confidence and the way he approached things.

They set off, explored more, and then were a world away again. Marino’s soft voice and firm hands were distracting, pulling her out of the moment and into a space that seemed otherworldly – a bubble around them both where only the two of them existed. She curled into him as he stroked her length and the kisses they shared were as natural as breathing. When he touched her, a fire ignited in her that she suddenly realized was almost always there when he was around, but banked, as if someone tucked it away in sand to keep the coals warm. His touch, the feel of his hip as her leg curled around him, was like brushing the sand back and tossing in tinder to get the banked coals inside her re-ignited.

Her mother had warned her that doing these things with a man that had made no offer for her future was a bad thing; that her body should only be given for good hard coin and the promise of safety and security. Tazrae could almost hear her mom that day when the woman had looked her up and down and told her the exact value her body held for an Akalak male and that she should never let a man lay hands on her for less than that figure. She shook her head to clear the memory and studied Marino harder. There was a significant value to him and there was something he offered that was better than all the coin and security any Akalak could offer. Tazrae was willing to bet her mother had never felt a man gently stroke her skin and light a fire within her like the one Tazrae felt. If she had, all the talk of values and coin in the world would not cover the worth of a moment like this.

She would do more for him if he wanted and asked. The young Innkeeper would do many things and give much to feel that fire. It was life. It was everything. All this went through her head as they spoke of touching and Marino admitted he would like to drop by more often. She smiled and nodded at his plans to explore. She didn’t mention what it did to her when he let his hands stop roaming and rest around her hips. Tazrae had a feeling Marino already knew.

She did however, use his hands on her hips, as an excuse to slip closer. It wasn’t something she would have done ten days ago, even when she’d first came to Syka. Marino was nude and she saw all of him. He’d made no secret of his fondness of being just in his skin. And in a way it had put her at ease, because by now she was used to it. Others in the settlement skipped out on clothing a lot or at least stripped out of it when rains fell or they needed to let things dry. No one cared. So, his maleness was more of a draw than anything else these days.

She laid a hand on his chest, ran it across his breastbone, and downward. She petted the fur at the base of his sex and trailed a hand back up between them. Then she leaned forward and kissed the base of his neck where it met his shoulder before she looked up at him. “Yes… lets go meet Twist. I… Otherwise I’m having trouble paying attention.” She said with a slight smile, and followed him out of the pool and down the rocks to the open water.

She gently declined holding his ankle, not wanting to drown him and cut his life prematurely short. But she did follow his example of swimming on her back and found it relaxing. The girl was flexible enough she could periodically pause, twist back, and adjust her course. Though she wasn’t a strong swimmer, the tides weren’t particularly bad so she found the going easy. She grinned at how easily he could switch from his back to his stomach and she did as he instructed but switched as well, going a ways on her back and switching to the swimming forward a bit. The back was more restful and she kept up that when she grew tired the further out they got.

The exercise certainly cooled her ardor for petting Marino and imaging doing other things with him. She tried forcefully not to worry about how far off shore they were getting and whether she could make it back or not. He’d promised his ship was out this way, and soon enough Tazrae’s fantasies changed from the feel of Marino’s skin to the absolute joy of flopping up on his deck and panting like a beached fish.

The woman neither saw the ship nor the dolphin as Marino lead them around the inlet Syka rested in. She saw Solitude Island grow bigger off to the right and the shore off to the left stayed a uniform distance from them so they passed a place she thought she could see Mathias’ home.

“Where are we? Are we swimming all the way around Solitude Island?” She asked, pausing to tread water a moment. She needed a break. Then on instinct, she duked her head below the water and looked around. A whole forest of coral was below her, swaying in the currents with fish everywhere. There were patches of kelp that rose and swayed like tall grass, no trees maybe, adding much dimension to the world below. She held her breath as long as she could, moving her arms to take her body in a circle beneath the waves as she looked around.

It was deep but not frighteningly so. Crabs scurried across rocks covered by all sorts of living things; anemones and coral, bivalves and the like. Tazrae had never seen the ocean so up close and intimate before. This was what they had been exploring earlier above water. Below water the colors deepened and the beauty redoubled. She rose, tossed her wet hair back, and took a deep breath treading water. Her eyes were wide as she blinked salt out of them and turned to find Marino.

“I never knew it was so beautiful.” She admitted, breathless. “I can see why you… and your people love the sea.” She added, still treading water. “Where too now? I don’t even see your ship yet. And I’m getting tired…” She warned, knowing it was absolutely true suddenly. Tazrae was a new swimmer and one unused to the constant motion of limbs required to keep one above the waves. She moved then and suddenly swam up to him, moving behind him. She rested her hands on his shoulders from behind lightly, letting his significantly larger form hold her in the water so she could take a bit of a break for a moment. It felt heavenly to let her legs rest a moment and not slide under the waves. Plus, the back of him was just slightly less distracting than the front of him.

“I’m okay… we just need to get somewhere soon.” She added, still picturing herself accidently pulling him under if she grabbed one of his ankles like he’d suggested earlier.
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