Closed Of Swine and Walks [Tazrae]

A few ciitzens of Syka head to the Swines...

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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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Of Swine and Walks [Tazrae]

Postby Moritz Craven on September 20th, 2021, 11:45 pm

7 Fall 521


Moritz smiled to himself as he prepared his things, sitting on his bed with his pack in his lap he began stuffing a few odds and ends into said bag.

That morning Stu had offered to let Moritz take some time off of work if he would help with some carrying. Being an Okomo kelvic this was rather simple for him, and he did not expect any weight to be too great for him on such a trip. He wouldn't be ripping up full grown trees like the local large beasts, but short of that carrying a load was simple. After all Okomo jumped up mountains, steep cliffs, and such, all with people on their back, and all at speed. Walking with a bit of weight then wouldn't be too bad.

Some woman who seemed a bit wild for a human had walked into the bar that morning, and after the two had discussed some things Stu had then offered Moritz the time off. All he had to do was meet the woman on the road outside the bungalows, along with anyone else who was interested, head along with her to a nearby part of the beach, and hang around until she was done to help carry some things back.

And according to Stu the beach was covered in pigs! He had yet to see any animals besides some monkeys who tried to steal things and birds who tried to argue about the color blue, and so he was looking forward to finding a few who were a bit friendlier.

Of course he did need to be cautious, it was outside of the city commons and so by its nature was wilder, but from what he said the woman coming along was well able to defend herself and Moritz. So long as he avoided any wild pigs with tusks, or boars as Moritz had seen them back in Kalea, he had a reasonable expectation of safety.

With that in mind he did not bring his swords, both because they were cumbersome and because they would not be leaving the beach.

Going over his things Moritz checked them over again, finding a bag full of random fruit, and another full of some day old bread which had been offered by Stu for Moritz to take to feed the pigs if he wished.

Besides that his pack was mostly empty, just some flint and steel and a small eating knife, and some rations he kept for dire conditions, leaving the rest of the space for his shoes and things on the way back. Lastly he put on his sandals and rose with his pack on his back, heading quickly outside to see who all was coming.

Moving at pace Moritz quickly found the woman from before, a bow and arrows on her back, and a serious expression on her face that made Moritz consider if she was deciding how best to kill him if the need arose. Though even in his imagination he was unsure if that would be because she liked to test herself, had plans to kill him, or simply took all things into account and was prepared to kill anything or anyone if needed. Or that Moritz was just imagining things and reading too much into her facial expression, the young kelvic reminded himself lastly. Though he had a feeling that was not the case...

Greeting his companion, Moritz raised a hand and waved before speaking in his normal neutral tone that was admittedly a bit peaky for him due to the uncertainty and excitement he felt for the trip.

"Hello, my name is Moritz, Moritz Craven. Stu says you will be coming along to see the pigs?"

Glancing over at Moritz for a moment the woman turned to gaze into the forest, perhaps seeing something he was not and putting herself on guard for a possible threat.

"Yes, I am Indigo. And you are my carrier, according to Stu. Don't fall behind."

With that Indigo turned and began scanning around, checking herself, Moritz, the jungle, and everything else about them as if- In Moritz mind- a beast was about to burst up from the ground before her and try to eat her and she would be in mortal combat shortly.

Looking at her more closely Moritz did see similarities with her and his old combat master in Lhavit, though in truth- not that Moritz knew it- they did both share the same half parentage of Myrian in common while their other halves were differing.

"Okay... Well anyways, I suppose we should wait a bit to see if anyone else is coming, before we head to the beach. I'm looking forward to it."

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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on November 7th, 2021, 8:14 pm

Tazrae liked a full larder. Having a lack of hanging meat bothered her slightly because the supply of fish was always hit or miss and her shrimp and crab or lobster traps could be fickle. Having a hanging slab of meat in her icebox meant that she could have all sorts of meat ready to add to dishes for any sort of hungry guest that might wander by.

The girl ran an Inn that served breakfast, but she also had a restaurant on the property that was open three times a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It wasn’t a formal restaurant, but her guests needed a place to eat and she wanted to make sure they didn’t have to go very far to have a good well-cooked meal. She was well stocked on most things, especially the staples that were preserved well and had a long shelf life canned or in heat and insect-proof containers.

But the one thing that was a problem was meat. Tazrae served all kinds of meats and seafood, whatever she could forage or hunt for or whatever the rangers killed to protect the city. She never thought of learning to cook as a child she’d grow up feeding her guests python, crocodile, shark, or even some of the more diverse jungle animals like a tapir. But she cooked all these things and more, often surprising people by the quality and quantity of food she served a multitude of ways.

Today, she was woefully low on fresh meat. And since none had been provided via the rangers or a generous fellow denizen sharing an overly large kill – she had to hunt. Normally, Taz would have just hit the sea for lobster or shrimp traps or even dropped a few crab pots off her dock, but the weather had been extremely rough and she’d worried about losing the lines and thus the source of food to the turbulent sea. Violent seas also meant they had a noted lack of new guests, which freed up her time to go hunt if she wanted. And just because the weather had been uncertain didn’t mean hunting was out of the picture.

It wasn’t.

There was, in fact, an easy source for meat as long as one hunted in moderation and that was Swine Swells. Taz loved pork. She could get roasts, ribs, and of course bacon and sausage out of just one young male pig. One was all she needed and in fact, all she could pack. One would keep her in meat for a goodly while. And dressing and prepping a pig carcass was a good experience for her as a chef.

“Up for some hunting?” Taz asked from the porch to the Jungle Ixam that was sprawled out on the front lawn sunbathing in the speckled light beneath the palms. If Bree had been utterly serious about actual sunbathing, she’d be on the beach not on the lawn. That told Tazrae the Ixam had been waiting for her and would be more than willing to join her in the hunt.

“Hunt? What are we hunting for?” Bree asked, cracking one sapphire eye open and studying the young human female without lifting her emerald head.

“Swine… at the beach… Swine Swells.” Tazrae informed her, shouldering her pack and taking the stairs down to the lawn two at a time. Getting out of the house after how stormy it had been lately was nothing short of a genius idea.

“Sure. Do you feel like riding?” The Ixam asked, rising and shaking like a dog as debris tumbled off her – mostly wind-tossed old palm fronds. She circled once, nibbled at a back ankle, and whipped her tail before joining Tazrae at the bottom of the steps. The Ixam was getting bigger… far bigger than Tazrae thought she might grow to be. She wasn’t ungrateful for the size though. Taz had taken to riding Bree in the jungle and usually had an amazing time doing so.

“Not today… we can leave your tack and I’ll just walk. If I want a ride back though... I’ll go without. I should practice more without your saddle anyhow. Do you think if I bring rope you can pack meat back?” Taz asked, always careful to ask Bree before she expected her to be a pack mule.

“Of course. I get to eat any offal you discard though. Pigs are delicious.” Bree commented, nibbling at her shoulder until Taz reached down and gave the itchy set of new scales a good scratch. The jungle Ixam thumped her tail in appreciation as the two eventually got started walking north.

Tazrae had no idea others were headed that way either. She just grabbed her survival pack, her magical quiver, her compound longbow, and set off north along the cobbled path hoping to hit the swells in halfway decent weather so she could be out and about and possibly make a kill and get it home before dark.

Her Inn was north of the Commons and decidedly north of The Tidepool Bar so she had no idea a group was forming with Indigo to the south. She would have turned south and met up with them had she been aware. Not knowing, though, lead her to walk past the bathing area and make her slow way north. She wasn’t in a large hurry so Tazrae took the time to smell the flowers and enjoy the brisk breezes that chased each other from the sea into the jungle periodically. The weather was definitely unstable, which was why she had rolled up her oilskin slicker and tucked it into her backpack that turned survival pack with all her jungle gear in it.

The young Innkeeper had swapped out her usual light wear for thick long isuas pants, her knee-high leather snake boots, long-sleeved isuas shirt, and a scarf that held all her hair back out of her face. She was dressed, in other words, for jungle travel though she was still sticking to the coast. A machete was fastened to her belt, and she had a hatchet and rope in her pack in case she wanted to make some sort of travois to drag the meat back she couldn’t carry if Bree changed her mind about being a pack animal. Taz thought of Bree more as a person than a tool… certainly not as a pack animal though she was grateful when the jungle Ixam b

Tazrae was planning carefully. Her idea was to travel north to the Swine Swells, hunt, kill something hopefully, and clean out the carcass. Then she was going to return home and butcher the carcass and store as much meat away as she could.

Bree thought the whole thing was a lovely idea and darted in and out of the foliage along the path, sometimes chasing sticks Tazrae threw for her or other times flanking her to start up a conversation. The pair were not making good time and anyone headed in their direction could easily overtake them if they so desired.

Word Count: 1178
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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 8th, 2021, 12:43 am

It was not long of a wait before Indigo made a noise to get Moritz attention and the began heading off. Apparently, Moritz assumed, she had waited long enough and so was leaving. A pair of others had shown up before she sped off, but Moritz did not recognize them. Of course that did not mean much, as Moritz had yet to meet all the people from the town. They could be citizens he had not met before, or someone stopping over in a boat and staying a few nights in the town. Or perhaps a visitor from Riverfall. He had yet to learn to tell such apart, and not knowing all the permanent people did not know who these were. They also seemed to be armed as Indigo was, with a bow on one and a bladed weapon on the other, but Moritz assumed this was simply for defense in case something came from the jungle and they had to protect themselves. As their current route headed along the beach for the most part which was also where their destination was Moritz felt this was less likely than if they were heading into the jungle proper.

Not wanting to be left behind the young kelvic began moving off after her at a equally fast clip. While Indigo did not run she moved at a fast steady clip, tough even for Moritz with his large size to keep up with his height being above average compared to most adult men. Of course he was still young, appearing in human form as a mid teen of around sixteen. In his human form he was clearly still in that span of age and not done growing, whereas in his Okomo form he was still firming up and fleshing out like a young horse might. The woman moving as she did once more reminded Moritz of Kyra his old combat instructor from Lhavit, and equally intimidating.

In some ways the kelvic was quite mature, having been responsible for many things and himself and abiding rules from a young age. In other ways his true age did reflect quite clearly in certain moments, such as getting excited at the premise of going to play with and feed some pigs.

However as they passed a loop of trail the other two broke off, leaving Moritz to reason they had just been pausing to talk nearby and weren't actually in their group. Or perhaps they had been scared off by Indigo, who was quite an intimidating woman even with few or no words.

As they rounded a bend in the beach and a length of beach appeared before them Moritz noticed a woman not too far away. He wondered where she was headed when he noticed something moving on the edge of the jungle, and then saw a large lizard like animal come popping back out. Moritz tensed and froze at this, thinking for a moment she was about to be attacked, but when the large animal turned and began to walk beside her and the two seemed to be amicably chatting Moritz unfroze and began walking. This took a few quick paces to catch back up to Indigo who not only had not frozen at the sudden entrance of the animal but seemed to have known it was there all along. Or perhaps she recognized the woman, or the animal? Moritz first conclusion was that it was some kind of kelvic, or perhaps some local animal he had never heard of before that was friendly. But as he had not seen one before he was unsure if any of these were true.

Regardless seeing Indigo unphased seemed to indicate to Moritz there was no immediate threat, and within a few chimes their fast pace had caught them up to the other group.

Coming up alongside them Moritz raised a hand and waved in greeting.

"Hello, I'm Moritz, and this is Indigo. We're headed to see the pigs."

Moritz tried to take on a friendly tone but his face didn't quite convey this, as his mouth kept a somewhat more neutral expression. He was excited, but his face just didn't seem to always properly show such things.

"How are you all today?"

Moritz turned his eyes from the woman to the large lizard, meeting each with his gaze in turn if they looked in his direction. If not he would not worry on it, but if they did they would likely see his odd dual natured eyes, odd in one way due to his nature as a kelvic and the other due to being an Iraso. Being a kelvic himself and often confused for a wild beast in his other form he generally erred on the side of assuming any apparent animal was intelligent, rather than risking being rude. Of course had he known a bit more about kelvics he might have realized it could not be one, but Moritz knowledge of such things was limited.

Indigo for her part did not seem rude, but was clearly more focused on the jungle and other threats. She made a wave of greeting as they neared the group as well, but seemed somewhat disinterested in the kelvic she was accompanying.

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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on November 8th, 2021, 5:36 am

Tazrae smiled at the newcomers and returned Indigo’s wave. Bree moved off the path to give Moritz and Indigo room to join Taz, darting through the underbrush and moving like only a lizard could fluidly through the underbrush at the side of the cobbled path.

“I’m Tazrae and that’s Bree. Nice to meet you, Moritz. I already know Indigo.” Taz added as Bree brought Indigo a half-rotted coconut to throw for her. Once the other woman sent the projectile flying, the Ixam darted off to chase it like an oversized dog. “Bree’s young.” Taz said, gesturing at the Ixam. It’s all about playing.” She added, offering him and Indigo a smile.

“We’re also headed to Swine Swells…” Tazrae added. She took a deep breath, fingered the bow slung across her back alongside her pack. “But we aren’t going to see the pigs. We’re going to hunt the pigs. My larder is empty of meat and its time to kill a young boar to fill it.” Tazrae said honestly, studying the new young man in earnest. She had no idea how he felt about hunting and whether or not the sight of blood would disturb him.

Indigo chose that moment to nod to Tazrae. “We’re actually hunting too. Stu asked me to get a pig for the Communal Kitchens. He wants to roast a big boar or two in the pits for the next tenday. He figured if he hung them a day or two then slow roasted, today would be about perfect for killing a boar or two. This young man is going to help me carry carcasses back.” Indigo said firmly, glancing at Moritz.

Tazrae nodded just as Bree popped out of the jungle to interrupt them. “Does that mean I get your pigs offal too? Taz won’t let me call them guts anymore. She says it invokes the wrong thoughts.” The Ixam added, shaking her emerald scales until the whole of her reptilian skin rattled with her interlocking scales rubbing together. The young Innkeeper grinned at her best friend, shook her head, and glanced at Indigo.

“She thinks first and always of her stomach.” She added, as if that was explanation enough. “The more she eats the more she grows.” The Innkeeper added, her eyes following the Ixam as she bounded after something small and fleeing scared in the underbrush. “But I have to admit, pig is her favorite.” Tazrae said, glancing at Indigo.

“Do you think the herd of pigs at Swine Swells can stand losing three boars?” Tazrae asked to no one in particular, not certain of her ability to even get a kill shot with her bow. She needed practice, that was for sure, but now that Bree and herself had an audience, she was less confident than ever. Taz was used to trading for meat – either in baked goods or services like a night or two staying at the Inn – instead of hunting it herself. But beggars couldn’t be choosers. And it was now the herd and its number that she was worried about. The settlers were careful not to take too many pigs. But Tazrae had no idea how many were too many and how anyone knew what a healthy number was.

Indigo nodded. “We’ll be fine taking three. We had almost all the sows birth piglets this spring in large quantities and those piglets had a large survival rate. Now they are all grown up or mostly so and are straining the resources of the Swine Swells greatly. Some pigs have wandered off in search of more food. The sharks are taking a few of the ones in the shallows. And we’ve had a few big cats take a few more. That leaves a couple dozen too many if we want to let the little ones grow up and get big. Us taking three won’t hurt this day.” Indigo affirmed, looking thoughtful.

Taz nodded and glanced at Moritz. “So, what about you? I heard you came on that strange boat from Lhavit. No one had ever seen one of its kind before.” The Innkeeper said conversationally. “How do you like Syka so far?” She asked curiously. “I heard you were working for Stu. Does he treat you well?” Taz added to the questions, happily carrying on the conversation. “Do you like the work?” She asked, not even really sure what Moritz did for Stu. He did something at The Tidepool so he probably waited tables, maybe mixed drinks… and did what? Dishes?

Taz smiled as Bree bounded back up. The lizard had grown tired of chasing sticks and rooting through the underbrush looking for snacks. “I wonder if I can catch a pig myself.” The jungle Ixam muttered, joining in the conversation and looking at the two women and one man as if she was expecting all of them to say encouraging things.

Her young rider simply smiled, not answering her directly. Instead, she was enjoying the walk. They’d managed to make it past the Bungalows and further on past the Overwanter Ranchos. They walked east briskly and came to the T where Sharktooth point was off to the right. Indigo turned them all north and then paused at a small trail that continued east towards the swine swells. It was marked with a little sign that had a simplistic picture of a pig swimming in rolling waters.

Indigo halted the talking at this point. “If we are going to hunt, you should cut the chatter and draw your bows, notch your arrows, and get ready in case we see something with a clear shot.” She added, striking off down the small marked trail. Bree vanished off into the jungle, probably flanking from the south and potentially moving pigs north towards where the trail spilled out onto the beach.

Tazrae grew quiet there, following Indigo’s advice, and unslung her compound longbow, notched an arrow, and proceeded with caution to see what she could do to take a pig. “Everyone ready?” She said as they grew closer to the beach. They could hear the crashing waves beyond the rolling sands of the swells. They could also hear the grunting of pigs rooting around in the tall grass around them.

Word Count: 1038
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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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Tazrae
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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 9th, 2021, 2:10 am

Moritz nodded in recognition as the woman, Tazrae, told him her name along with the giant lizard named Bree. He had introduced Indigo but it seemed she already knew the woman, which in hindsight made sense with it being such a small settlement. Most people knew most people, and so would know most anyone besides him of the permanent residents with him being such a new addition.

He himself had not met her before today, nor had he met many other people, which left him always feeling like the one not in the know while everyone knew everyone else. Of course, Moritz reminded himself, he was still new, and also he was not overly sociable and did not really like meeting people in large groups. One on one, like today, was much preferable for him to learn of new people.

At the mention of Bree being young Moritz pondered to himself, though out loud, about that.

"Mmm... I wonder if she's older than me. Young seems so... Subjective..."

Being a kelvic he felt at once more and less than humans around him, a feeling likely aggravated by his upbringing which mainly involved being raised by a sentient house full of ghosts more so than his mother. But still he was happy he had gotten the chance to mature without bonding, though did not feel like he had met that person that was right even since then. He was unsure if he would know it when it happened, or how it would feel, not really having a chance to ever talk to his own father or another kelvic who had bonded what the process was like.

As Tazrae continued speaking his eyes darted from Indigo, Tazrae, and Bree, unsure who to look at as each talked in turn and skipping back and forth in a clean method that seemed natural but felt confusing to Moritz. Like seeing a group of dancers on a stage and understanding there was a rhythm but not expecting to be able to jump in if he tried.

He felt a small ball of empty form in his stomach as Tazrae mentioned they were headed there to hunt, which was then confirmed by Indigo that they were headed to do likewise. Which left him somewhat annoyed at Stu for not telling him that before. He had phrased things quite differently when explaining, though he was unsure if the man had done so on purpose to get Mortiz to go along, or had simply assumed it was so obvious that he did not need to explain it to Moritz. In which case, logically speaking, it would be Moritz "fault" for not understanding... But even then, Moritz realized, it was also his fault for not asking follow up questions or clarifications, or checking to make sure he understood the mans words. Likely the man had meant nothing malicious, and had indeed given Moritz the food to feed the pigs and so had thought if nothing else there would be time to play with the pigs.

Pulling in a deep salty breath of air Moritz slowly let it out, focusing on filling back in the gap in his gut. By his second exhale he felt a bit better, and felt his reasoning and logic returning to the subject at hand. As he spoke it was in a more neutral fashion than his earlier subtly happy tones, his demeanor once more taking on a more serious countenance.

"Its fine. Though I was kind of looking forward to seeing the pigs in a more... Friendly manner... But I understand hunting. Death is a constant need of life, without one you cannot have the other, and without both balance cannot exist. Everything consumes something living to live, even those who eat grass or plants.... Although I may be paraphrasing, its been awhile since that witch explained it to me... Ah darn, what was her name... I really need to keep track of names better... "

Lost in thought for a moment as he recalled his mentor who had told him of various things and gifted him with becoming an Iraso, Moritz remembered the mountain and her many animal friends around her. One had been a large mountain boar which protected many of the other beasts, and seemed in some ways similar to a pig if not exactly the same.

Moritz himself did not partake of animals, but he understood after talking to her why others did. Life. Death. Consuming. Dying. All circling over and over in a complex system Moritz did not understand.

Lost in thought as he was Moritz jumped not when the giant lizard returned, but when she suddenly began speaking. He had at first thought she was perhaps an intelligent being like himself, perhaps a kelvic or something, but hearing her talk like a human was startling. The first assumption was some kind of magic at play, or that perhaps it was some sentient race Moritz had never heard of before.

Attempting to meet the giant lizard named Bree's eyes when he did not think he would be interrupting, after an awkward pause or two, he spoke to the being in question.

"Does your kind normally talk, or are you something special? I thought maybe you were a kelvic or something like me, but I've never seen a kelvic who can talk in their other form."

Regardless of the answer or lack thereof Moritz would nod and thank her if she did respond, though he felt the more he learned of Syka the more he realized how little he knew of the place.

As Indigo and Tazrae spoke about the herd of pigs, their numbers, and their culling, he realized that the animals where not actually wild. In truth they sounded more like a semi-tamed herd, one which the local residents kept in check in terms of numbers to avoid growing to common or too rare. Both, he knew, would destroy their balance if everything else stayed the same. He also further realized how much Indigo knew about the settlement and its fine tuning if she was a voice of authority on such things.

He kept quiet, not wanting to interrupt but listening closely. Soon enough though Tazrae began asking Moritz questions, which after a few moments pausing in thought he answered.

"Yes, I came from Lhavit. Syka is... Different. I would not say better or worse, just... Different. I think the sand is the hardest thing to get used to, though admittedly I've not really gone into the jungle much but on some short trips with other people. I'm used to more sure footing, but I think I'm adjusting. Maybe once I can deal with the wilds more I'll get the chance to explore and things, but I don't think I'm near that. What sorts of things did you do when you came to get used to traveling in the wilds? Or were you already skilled in it before coming?"

Pausing to take some air Moritz considered the other questions that had been asked, considering each in turn before responding.

"Stu is nice enough. I'm learning a lot about food, which I've always had an interest in. My mother never really cooked, unless you count burning things cooking, so I mostly grew up eating whatever raw things I could find in the kitchen. But the idea of cooking, something needed for life and living, and making something people will enjoy... It just seemed interesting. I do lots of things for him. Cleaning dishes, moving things, serving things, plus I get to see him work at the more complex dishes. And I help with the prep stuff as well, though nothing too fancy. Mostly just cutting up vegetables and things. But I think I'm learning a lot."

As a lull grew in the conversation before they arrived, Moritz asked Tazrae another question.

"I know we are hunting, and why, but I wouldn't want the animals to... Suffer, if it can be avoided... I was just wondering, how skilled are you with a bow? Indigo seems pretty competent, she kind of reminds me of my old instructor Kyra... In that she's so competent she's kind of scary. Anyways, would you like any help with... Concluding things? Or do you want to do it alone? Its up to you, I was just wondering."

While Moritz didn't have any weapons he was fairly confident his Okomo form with horns for bashing would be suitable if the need arose, though he did not intend to change form immediately unless he needed to.

Once Indigo indicated they needed to get ready Moritz nodded, taking off his shoes and things that would impede his shifting or be ruined by it, and stowing them in his pack. If needed he could easily toss the pack aside and shift, though as there was no safe place to put it just then he kept it with him for now.

Once he was ready Moritz grew quite, the noise of their breathing seeming to rise in volume as the other sounds lowered though in truth it was no louder. Moritz nodded to Tazrae's query, listening to the sound of pigs in the surrounding area not too distant, the sea echoing endlessly to their side, and the occasional sound from the jungle of various animals and things that took up residence there.

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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on November 12th, 2021, 4:36 am

Before they arrived at the Swine Swells proper, Tazrae had nodded at Moritz and shrugged. “I have no idea what age you are, but Bree is just now into her second year.” She said of the Jungle Ixam. The Innkeeper was not sure if Moritz was actually asking her directly or if he was just thinking out loud.

The young man seemed prone to big bouts of introspection, something that caused Tazrae to glance at Indigo curiously. Had they somehow upset him or something? The youth seemed moody, almost broody, but then again, she wasn’t sure why he was on a hunting trip. Did Stu send him? Wasn’t that what he’d said? Maybe this was punishment or something. Taz had no clue. She wanted to ask the man but he seemed a bit lost in his own little world.

It was a trait that would get him killed in the jungle.

Taz noted his facial expression change when she mentioned the hunt. She waited for him to speak, and once he did, she nodded thoughtfully. Taking a breath to speak, she paused when he continued onward.

Taz wasn’t sure what the young man was doing… was he justifying the hunt to himself, to the others, or was he lecturing them? His manner was… off-putting… a little. The Innkeeper was sure, at that moment, that Moritz didn’t understand why they did what they did. It wasn’t just to eat. One only had to visit the place of the pigs when the pigs were overcrowding it to understand.

Who? Did he need to remember names? Taz was completely lost as she looked at Indigo to see if she was following Moritz. The woman remained impassive, neither expressive or contemplative. The Innkeeper was starting to quickly regret her decision to hunt the Swells today. She preferred more … engaging company. She liked to exchange news and ideas, make the trip a bit lively with a song or even a recounting of a story. These two though….

She glanced at Bree and the riding lizard met her gaze with her sapphire orbs. She narrowed her eyes a bit, flashed a bit of tooth at Moritz when he wasn’t looking, and caused Taz to suppress a laugh. What was going through the reptile’s mind? Bree’s tongue flicked out, tasting the air, once then twice before she turned to Moritz.

“You smell like goat. I really like a goat.” She explained, glancing back at Tazrae innocently, and Tazrae got the message loud and clear. Yes, her best friend was contemplating eating Moritz to break up the trip. Taz narrowed her eyes and shook her head once, abruptly, and mouthed the phrase… “Rude much?” without voicing the words. She’d let Indigo and Moritz pull slightly ahead so she could hang back and talk to Bree. But instead of talking, she simply reached out and laid a hand on the side of Bree’s scaled neck and scratched at her shoulder, knowing just where the Ixam commonly itched. She’d have to oil her again tonight. The young lizard was growing so much that her skin got patchy and itchy unless Tazrae kept fish oil rubbed into the rough spots. The Gods knew that Bree really enjoyed the way her scales gleamed afterward. The Jungle Ixam was incredibly vain about her scales. And according to the Ixam, most reptiles were.

Taz suppressed a smile.

“You can come back and be friendly with them if you’d like,” Taz suggested, almost feeling sorry for Moritz. If he didn’t like killing – or at least eating – then he probably had no business on a hunt. From what she could see, he questioned everything and was somewhat … confident in his questioning, as if he expected people not to measure up.

Moritz’s next question was to Bree directly. The Ixam snorted and then laughed. “My kind? I’m an Ixam, not a Kelvic.” She said with a furrowed brow. Taz thought she’d been practicing that move to use on the very next human that asked her about speaking. It was a question that annoyed Bree to no end. “We each are special in our own ways,” Bree replied dryly, turning her head towards Tazrae and curling that side of her face up to flash teeth.

Taz rolled her eyes and almost tripped over a root protruding from the trail as she did so. Stumbling forward a few awkward steps, she flushed pink at Indigo’s frown and shook her head. “Sorry… I’m clumsy.” She added, and watched her best friend soundlessly laugh at her.

Taz listened to Moritz talk, glanced at Indigo periodically, and kept up the brisk walk towards the Swells. She nodded as Moritz answered her questions. He talked a lot but really didn’t give any specific answers and almost no insight into his character or moral fiber. Taz wasn’t used to that. But she’d also heard Randal’s recounting of the day Moritz had arrived in Syka and how he was almost not allowed to stay. Was this the reason for it? The aimless talking?

“I explored when I learned enough to do so. And I keep exploring every day that I can. I like to roam and discover new things. I knew nothing of doing that before I came here. The people here will teach you though… if you listen and are willing to learn. I did it myself – the learning - and now I can wander about on my own.” She replied softly, laying a hand on Bree’s neck. “Though I’m learning to wander about with a partner.” She added, reaching forward on Brees neck to scratch at her eye ridges. Bree half-lidded her eyes and almost stopped walking as her tail twitched in pleasure.

Tazrae should have been riding. Bree carried the girl like nothing else. Riding an Ixam in the jungle wasn’t like riding a horse at all. Ixam ran in three-dimensional space. They were on the ground one moment, running up a tree the next, and crossing a canopy a moment later. Their trails were invisible and complex, using space in a whole different way than horses did. Taz was just learning to ride the complex way the Ixam demanded. Though, for all of it, Taz had long since decided probably only the jungle Ixam’s kept their trails multidimensional and utilizing every inch of space available. What did desert Ixam have to climb? What did any other Ixam for that matter besides those that dwelled in the jungle?

The Innkeeper smiled, gave Bree a last scratch, and mouthed a thank you to her before she released her hand from Bree’s flesh and let her wander further afield.

Moritz was talking again. This time he was talking about Stu.

“Everyone likes Stu.” Tazrae commented, knowing it was true enough. The young man continued to talk about his job, what he did for Stu, and how much he was learning. The cooking seemed especially interesting to the … young Kevlic was it? Taz knew a little about cooking and enjoyed it both as a profession and a hobby. It was really nice to hear someone else liked cooking as much as she did. But he didn’t dwell on the cooking long. He moved on to chores and moving things. Taz suddenly wondered if Moritz was… special. He didn’t speak as a human would. Even Bree sounded almost like a normal human compared to Moritz. Taz wondered about that a moment.

But a moment was all she got before Moritz changed the topic.

“We aren’t here to torture animals. We are here to harvest food.” Taz said with a frown. Was that what he actually thought? “I’m just learning my new bow, but I’m smart enough not to take a bad shot. I am patient. And frankly, the pigs aren’t that smart. You can kill one and five chimes later they’ve all forgotten and moved on.” She added, glancing at Indigo.

The other woman was studying Moritz carefully, but it appeared she was going to hold her thoughts close to her and say nothing at all.

“I’m sure your old instructor is very capable, but she isn’t here. And no, I don’t need help killing something so it doesn’t suffer. I was on my way to do this with Bree, remember? If you think we can’t do it without offending you or can’t do it to your satisfaction, we’ll come back another time and leave you to your own devices. I thought Indigo was hunting and you were packing the meat home… but I could have been wrong about that assumption.” Taz said with a frown, relaxing her stance with her bow and carefully unstringing it. She slipped the arrow back into her quiver where it flared with a magical light and vanished abruptly.

It normally took a lot to offend her, but this young man’s assumptions that she was a sloppy hunter and couldn’t kill properly rankled her.

Bree took that moment to squat on her haunches and glance between Tazrae and Moritz. She wasn’t sure what upset Taz or why Moritz was implying they’d hurt the pigs deliberately. They weren’t going to hurt the pigs. They were going to kill a few for food. There was a difference. One didn’t torture one’s food. One killed cleanly and filled one’s belly.

Taz then turned and nodded to Indigo. “Nice seeing you.” She told the woman, and turned to walk away. There were other things they could eat. She’d take Bree and they’d go find a Tapir in the jungle. They had their watering holes and gathering spots – a few of which Tazrae knew well.

Meanwhile, if Moritz looked around, he’d see pigs aplenty. He’d also see where they’d torn up vegetation and had defecated all over the beach. He’d see some of them thin, especially the younger ones, having been outcompeted by the older stronger pigs that could root deeper and eat everything in sight before the piglets could get to the food. There was evidence all over of overcrowding and there being too many pigs on the beach.

As for Taz… she didn’t want to traumatize the boy. And she certainly didn’t want the word to spread that she let things she killed suffer. She didn’t know if that was Moritz’ idea or if it was something he’d heard from someone else. The whole thought of someone potentially thinking she couldn’t make a clean kill irked her. So, she’d go kill a Tapir or whatever else they could find and leave the pig hunting to Indigo and Moritz.

Word Count: 1759
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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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Tazrae
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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 12th, 2021, 1:06 pm

Moritz was somewhat surprised to hear Bree was actually younger than him, and certainly was one of the youngest talking being he had met.

"Ah, a bit younger then, I'll be three this spring. I've not actually met an Ixam before, so was not aware of them. As for goats... I am an Okomo in my other form, which is kind of similar to a goat. Not exactly, but similar."

From the Ixam's answer Moritz was unsure how outside the norm Bree was. Could all talk? Or only some? Or only Bree? Did others have other odd traits to differentiate them. He knew Ixam existed, and it seemed likely they were big lizard type things, and that at least one could talk... And not much else. Moritz was not upset by this, happy to have learned of a new being regardless.

Nodding at the thought of returning to visit the pigs without hunting them Moritz acknowledged that was true. He could always make another trip, particularly since he would know where it was.

"True, I didn't really think about that. That's a fair point, since I'll know where it is."

Nodding at her explanation of how she had learned to explore the wilds Moritz smiled, thinking of someday being able to do so himself. Before coming to Syka he had not really spent much time outside of the city, and so did not know that much about surviving such things. Though logically if she had come without knowing such things and had learned and become proficient than other people such as Moritz could do likewise. It was gladdening to hear of a success story in that regard.

"I try to listen, and I do want to learn, though I'm not sure how good I am at either to be honest. Its part of why I ended up helping with cooking. I don't really have any particular skill of use, and I did have an interest in that, so I ended up doing that since it was easy to get into and someone was willing to take me on. I'm thankful of Stu for that."

Flow in conversation wasn't something Moritz really understood, thinking of talking as moving from one thing to another as it came up more than a single thread conceptually. Perhaps that was part of why he had issues with it, or perhaps he was just unpracticed. No one had really corrected him on it, and so it had not occurred to him that it was not normal, nor had he picked up on it being different for others.

When Tazrae spoke again and seemed... Angry, Moritz responded with confusion on his face at the sudden change. He had thought the conversation was going well, chatting back and forth as he thought other people did, but now suddenly he realized he had taken a misstep. When he responded his voice was somewhat peaking at a higher tone, as he tried to work out what had happened and apologize for whatever he had done. If he could figure it out. Which was tricky, as he had said a lot of things...

"Wait, did I say something wrong? I'm sorry if I did, I did not mean to offend. I just meant to ask if you wanted any help. Clearly I went about it the wrong way. If you want to do it alone that is fine. I trust you to do so, and did not mean to say you could not do it. I expressed myself poorly."

Moritz ran through the previous conversation in his head, but did not understand where things had gone so wrong. He had offered help, but made it clear that he did not have to help... He had not said the woman was unskilled, had he? Had even mentioning the person might not be skilled or needed help been the problem? Or was it the offering of aid that was the issue? He had stated the outcome that she did not need help along with that of offering help, but clearly that had not clarified things. He had noted the example of skill as a reason for why she might want help, but had not meant to indicate that was the case... Of course perhaps even mentioning it indicated to the woman that he thought that was the case.

Once more Moritz' need to try to clarify things and over clarifying his own statements seemed to have backfired, having a quite different result than he had intended. His own thought processes were filled with considerations, alternatives, and differences. He did not assume any one was right or wrong, simply trying to understand them all and consider all the variations possible. But outwardly, to someone else hearing it, that would not be clear. Just as an internal monologue made external would not make sense. Confusion and regret mixed, once more showing his age, not sure what he had said wrong but wishing he could say it again or avoid speaking at all.

"I've never actually hunted before, or gone on a hunting trip. I don't really know exactly how it works. And clearly you have done so, and know how things works, and how to do things properly. I offered help, but I guess if you needed or wanted it you would have asked for it, and I should not have offered."

Looking over things again Moritz could see some of how he had gone wrong, though he was not completely sure which way for sure it had been. He had thought the socially expected thing was to offer help, and to abide by that response, but in this case offering or how he had offered had been the problem.

Thinking on this, while still confused exactly where he had gone wrong, even Moritz was able to see a clear pattern. He would think too much. Then say too much. And then end up offending someone... And then end up with someone mad at him.

"If you want me to just get out of the way that's fine. I didn't meant to ruin your trip with my talking... I was just trying to be friendly. But clearly that did not work. I'm sorry."

If Tazrae continued onward or ignored Moritz he would not chase after her further,

Indigo for her part looked Moritz in the eye, pulling his attention before speaking.

"Moritz, you talk too much. How are you going to listen to the jungle, if your always talking? And if you go into the jungle with someone, its already too late to be questioning their skills. Either go with them, or don't."

"Stu said you hadn't been hunting before, but I didn't think I needed to explain such basic things specifically. There is a difference between a quick death, a painless death, and suffering. A painless death is luck more than skill in most cases, and doesn't make them any more or less dead. Almost all death takes more than a few moments and so isn't painless. Most of which occur while the being is aware death is coming. Suffering is intent. Suffering is bells slowly bleeding out after a careless hunter critically wounds an animal and then abandons it. Its not a few chimes taken to finish things. I think you are confusing an instant death, and anything else as suffering. That is not what hunting is Moritz. If no one else has explained that to you before, then I have now."

Pausing Moritz looked the woman back in the eyes, a bit of understanding coming to his face at her words. With a quiet voice Moritz responded with a simple "Oh... Yes... Sorry..."

Pointing at the beach she moved her finger around, trying to get Moritz to look.

"What is suffering if not starvation? Look, actually look, and you'll see what we meant earlier when we spoke on their numbers. Animals compete. If their are too many, the strong will survive while the weak go hungry. In this case that would be the young. Some will wander off, but the young cannot easily do that. I think a slow death of starvation by many young is much more suffering than a few being killed even if it takes time. There are different types of suffering, not just physical pain. Try looking, and maybe you'll see something."

Moritz did look as Indigo requested, and at her pointing out Moritz did see the signs. Skinny pigs, torn up things, over rooted over areas, and other signs of overuse. This made him think back to his own home, and if there had been children in Lhavit who had not had food to eat... That had gone hungry. As had occurred before some piece of information forced Moritz to shift his gaze, and in so doing his understanding had shifted.

His eyes downcast at his lack of seeing Moritz apologized once more, realizing his own lack of experience had been one of the reasons he had not seen things properly. In hindsight it made sense to him, but he also felt worse for his vision being so limited by his own experiences.

If Tazrae was still nearby he would apologize once more, trying to meet the woman's eyes and that of Bree.

"I'm sorry. I don't think... I really understood what suffering was. Or hunger... At least, not beyond it being a word... But I do want to understand. And I think I understand why you hunt. Besides just for food."

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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on November 14th, 2021, 8:12 pm

As much as she was irritated at Moritz for implying or repeating what someone else had said about her letting animals suffer in her sloppy hunting, she respected Indigo and her words. Moritz’s apology meant next to nothing to her because the young man tripped over his words and Taz was convinced he didn’t really hear himself now that she’d listened to the exchange between him and Indigo. Why had Stu sent such a painful novice out with Indigo? Had he seen something in the young man Taz could not?

It further irked her when the young man gave her his permission to hunt alone. Men… regardless of what species they were… tended to be all the same – Taz decided instantly. When he threw in that he trusted her to do so, Taz thought he was the biggest baboon in the jungle at that point. Why would anyone trust someone they’d never seen hunt? Only an idiot would… of course so too would someone calling someone else’s ability to hunt in question that was a complete stranger. Which was it? Was she trustworthy or a sloppy hunter that made animals suffer?

The woman had a happy relaxed personality naturally but sometimes young people irritated her. They never stuck to a singular path, but rather ran all over with no rhyme nor reason. Moritz was doing that – in Tazrae’s way of thinking – by first offering to kill her kills for her… then by saying it was okay for her to hunt and that he trusted her.

Normal people would hold their tongue and reserve judgment until after the hunt was over. Shaking her head, she remained quiet, her eyes on Indigo as the woman said her peace.

Tazrae agreed with most of what the other woman said, but couldn’t believe the young man couldn’t see all the things Indigo pointed out for himself. Was he even paying attention? Swine Swells was a ruin of a beach because of the pigs. In a way, Taz was proud of that fact. Her slightly twisted sense of right and wrong kicked in because the pigs were doing it to themselves… the settlement hadn’t greedily overhunted them until the seagrass grew lush and the beach was free of pig shit. It could have been so much worse if the settlement had overkilled the food source. Of course, around Syka, there was plenty of food. So that was likely why the pigs were starving and the settlement hadn’t overhunted.

As she glanced back down the trail they’d come, Bree got between her and her ability to retreat further. “Grow some patience, sister.” The Jungle Ixam said thoughtfully. “The killing is needed here, not out there in the jungle. You can see that for yourself. It’s time to take one of the big boars since it looks like all the females hereabouts are fat with pregnancy and they’ve done their jobs. Take a young strong one that breeds often and eats his weight in green growing things.” Bree suggested, flicking her tail and licking the wind. “I’ll take a fat piglet to nibble until you guys have offal for me.” She said, removing the choice from Tazrae as she turned and darted out onto the beach. Bree headed straight for the water, avoiding looking like she was actually hunting the pigs. Instead Bree made a beeline to go play in the shallows and cool off. Her splashing didn’t disrupt the pigs who were all calmly doing various things from rooting in the damaged grasses to sunbathing, to even floating in the waters where they hunted tasty greens beneath the waves. Half of them were asleep in the shade. Pigs were, after all, mostly nocturnal.

Tazrae sighed and restrung her bow. She reached towards the quiver, picturing the long heavy-headed arrow she wanted to draw from it, and feeling it materialize into existence within her hand as she reached into the magical quiver’s depth. Killing pigs required a heavy-headed arrow that was designed to penetrate thick skin which the hogs had. Pulling the arrow and knocking it, she followed Bree out onto the sand without another word to Moritz. She was still irked enough to snap, and Tazrae wasn’t prone to those kinds of fits very often. The truth was she didn’t like killing, but she had to have meat to cook.

“Don’t worry about it, Moritz.” She mumbled, not sure what was going through the young man’s mind. He either was convinced she was helpless, unskilled, or he was just blundering verbally. His apologies – which from what she witnessed came altogether too frequently – was his escape from social awkwardness. Say whatever he wanted without thinking, then just apologize if people took it the wrong way. Taz left it to Indigo to explain things to the young man. It was clear to her that the youth didn’t think before he spoke… but only thought when he was faced with a reaction to his speaking.

She’d met people like him in Riverfall. It was a masculine-centric environment at best where women were easily dismissed as good for nothing more than birthing more men to advance their husband’s society ranks. But that wasn’t the case here. In Syka the only real power was with the Founders. And even they didn’t wear it openly, but controlled things subtly as best they saw fit. They didn’t destroy things with words… only deeds. And speaking of pigs, Taz turned her attention back to them. She was here to hunt and nothing more.

And these pigs were plenty destructive.

As Bree played, the pigs paid her no mind. They were slow during the day, many asleep, though the cool gentle waves provided them relief from the heat. In colder climates, pigs wallowed in mud to cool off, but in the tropics the mud was just as warm as the air temperature outside and Taz didn’t think it gave them the relief that mud gave pigs everywhere else.

As she crossed the sands, ignoring the pigs outwardly, as if she were about to join Bree… she didn’t invite them closer either by offering them food. She needed to be within twenty yards of them or less so that she could get off an easy kill shot. Randal had taught her where the pigs vulnerable parts were. It was next to useless to shoot one in the head or attempt to face one head-on. Everything within the pig was protected by meat and bones except one vulnerable spot. Their hearts and lungs could be accessed by shooting an arrow just behind a front leg when the pig was stepping forward. It was the smallest targeting area, but it had very little meat and almost no bone. Shooting a pig in the skull would just piss it off. Their skulls were thick and though her compound longbow could breach the stony bone beneath, only an eyeshot through the socket would guarantee an immediate death.

Taz was nowhere near that accurate with her bow.

And fortunately, the pigs weren’t smart enough to understand that a woman with a bow meant one or two of them were going to die. They only saw a visitor to the Swells, someone with a potential picnic basket, and the ones not asleep or busy swimming had started to casually wander her way. A mad rush would have alerted the other pigs that treats were incoming and she would have been inundated with swine the moment she hit the beach. Instead, the pigs were as casual in their approach as she was casual about avoiding them to get to the waterline.

Taz wasn’t meaning to ignore Moritz’ words, but a soul barely three years old in her mind wasn’t old enough to understand certain things like a person’s reputation and integrity. He also wasn’t worth her anger, she decided, if he was quick to say the wrong thing and think an apology made it all better. She had been an awkward child as well, one that wasn’t paraded out and marched in front of others to impress them too often. Instead, she was mostly confined to the kitchen or laundry most of her childhood with more chores than a single child should have because her parents weren’t wealthy enough to hire additional help. And her mother seemed reluctant to have more children with their business’s future in mind.

But for all that, she was grateful. Taz had a lot of relevant skills thanks to a childhood of hard work. Even if she never in her life had to hunt to fill her larder, she could still reasonably do it like the other reasonable and practical skills she’d had to learn coming to Syka. So, for all her ire, she gave Moritz the benefit of the doubt and left Indigo to deal with him while she started her own hunt.

“Got one in mind?” Bree asked as Tazrae looked intently into the main herd that was slowly and overly casually waking her way.

“Yea the big one… black with the grey belly and twisted tusks. He looks to be about a two-year-old or maybe a long yearling…. But he’ll still be tender and flavorful.” She added, her arrow knocked but her bowstring not pulled back and parallel to her body. She kept the bow pointed down, waiting for the herd to wander east or west of her location instead of directly at her.

“Not a very good angle for that arrow.” Bree noted. Tazrae nodded her agreement.

“I’m waiting for him to arrogantly turn away because I’m not a threat then show me his vulnerable side… he’s more than in range.” She thought aloud. “I just need access to the spot behind his leg… where I can pierce his heart and lungs at the same time. Shooting them as they face you is no good.. I have to get through his rib cage and that’s touch even with a compound longbow.” Taz whispered to Bree without so much as looking directly at the young healthy boar. “So I’m waiting for him to turn, take a step forward, and as he does so I can take my shot,” Taz admitted, knowing her hunting was weak but she

The pig she killed had to be a fat one, with the more muscle the better. She needed one for meat, not a skinny easy kill from a weakened pig. Plus, taking one of the leaders – for aggressive males mated long and hard - she’d allow for more of the skinny ones to survive and perhaps take whatever boar’s place she killed. That half the pregnant sows carried his blood in their wombs, she was not surprised of. That made her guilt far less for taking a boar out of his prime. And the one she’d spotted was a big black beast with a mottled grey belly and twisted tusks. The benefit of killing a large one is that her kill shot area would be bigger… and the boar she spotted was arrogant. Arrogant meant he’d not give her the time of day by facing her, but he’d be dominant enough to turn away, show her his side far more than the other pigs would.
after


And the boar in question was getting closer. Tas raised her bow then fired after a few heartbeats as she carefully sited along the bow’s sight pegs. She had about fifteen feet before the animal was at point blank range… and yet even that close her first arrow went wide. It lodged solidly in the boar’s side, high, just beneath the shoulders where it did very little damage stuck into his muscular shoulders. Luckily for Tazrae the boar twisted and began to turn, as if he could catch the arrow in his teeth even though his big body was too inflexible to allow him to reach the shaft protruding from his shoulder. His slow spin trying it did give Tazrae another chance to draw and fire. She did so, sighting carefully and anticipating where the spin would put the line-up for the heart and lungs to be successful.

The compound longbow she used was powerful and it drove the second razor sharp broadhead arrow straight into the young boar’s heart. He dropped like a rock and Tazrae grinned, shouldering her bow and drawing her machete just in case she needed to finish the pig off at close range. He was laying prone when she closed the distance, but Taz still ran the machete across his throat to slit it and drain all the animal’s blood out.

Then she turned to see if her actions, or even Brees snatch and grab, affected the pigs or Indigo and Moritz’s hunting.


“This should be more than enough meat for our larder at home,” Taz said, turning because she thought Bree was right behind her. The Jungle Ixam wasn’t however. She was busy chasing piglets through the shallows, bypassing the skinny ones and snapping at a fat little round one before she broke its neck neatly and began to tear big pieces out of its side to gulp down like a giant greedy dog.

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Tazrae
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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Moritz Craven on November 15th, 2021, 10:26 pm

As Moritz considered Indigo's words, he realized something. He did not agree with it, at least for himself. While he was not one to fight Dira, he also was not going to give in just because it meant some suffering... And so to his own mind a bit of suffering was equal payment for more life and doing... He understood that others did not feel that way, but for himself he was not so pain or suffering averse to prefer death. It was a tricky thing, understanding how others thought, and as it differed from his own thoughts.

He understood that he had offended Tazrae, but not why as nothing he had said would offend himself if said to him. But then she was herself and not Moritz, so she likewise thought differently than he did... An odd but simple bit of logic that was at once sensible and confusing.

Bree the Ixam headed off in one direction, while Tazrae readied her bow and went off in another to hunt her quarry. Indigo took Moritz in yet another direction, moving off towards one of the boars with large tusks. This one seemed a bit more... Feral... Than the others, more wild than the other pigs.

Tazrae dismissed her earlier words as she headed off, or perhaps dismissed Moritz apology as unneeded, but it seemed to Moritz like things weren't really settled. More so pushed aside for now.

Once the hunt was on Indigo grew even more focused, though how when she had been razor focused before Moritz was unsure. After a few moments more of searching she seemed to identify the one she wanted, this one a bit more in the shade of the jungle than some of the others but still a good sized beast.

Watching both their own hunt and Tazrae's Indigo motioned for Moritz to come near, clearly having a plan in mind.

"Alright, we want to start at the same time in both groups, or as close to the same as possible. I want that one over there... But its facing the wrong way. You can run, right? So go up, slap it from behind to get it good and angry, and then get out of the way. If you can try to lead it towards me. And don't go getting killed. And if I yell, duck. A mad animal is dangerous, but also stupid."

Moritz nodded, turning from the boar to Indigo. They were not too far from the beast, likely within range of a bow but admittedly Moritz was unsure what said range was exactly. Instead he trusted Indigo's judgement and that she knew what she was doing and that they were close enough.

Trying to walk quietly across the sand Moritz focused on his feet, how each placed on the ground and trying to avoid stomping or overly disturbing the ground as he neared the pig. As he grew near he could hear the boars breathing, slow and steady, which he assumed meant it was asleep or not fully awake.

When he was only a few steps away Moritz paused, reached out, and struck the boar on the hindquarters before turning and running.

The boar once resting was soon on its feet and letting out an odd noise Moritz couldn't quite name. A grunt? A squeal? Something. And then with the momentum of a barrel began moving and picking up speed.

Moritz for his part was already a good bit of the distance back to Indigo before the boar got moving, running as he had as soon he finished his task. Then he heard Indigo yell "Duck" and dove in a roll to the side, throwing his hands down as he almost somersaulted and ended up in a ball crouched to the ground. He turned his head to check on the boar behind him, ready to run again if needed and if the arrows did not find their mark.

There was a whiz as something pelted in towards the boar, hitting it but not stopping it. And then another a moment later, Indigo likely having readied the second arrow and possibly fired before the first even found its mark, as a moment later a second whizzed by. This one struck right in the boars eye, and the boar came to a stop much faster than it had gotten going.

Moritz waited a moment to make sure it was not going to rise, only coming to his feet a few moments later as Indigo passed him. Clearly wanting to make sure the beast was dead she slit its throat with a longish blade, and then retrieved her arrows.

With that done Moritz looked about to see that Tazrae had also finished her hunt and felled a beast, though he was unsure how close the two had finished their tasks.

Moritz took a few steps closing, keeping his eyes open to his surroundings, but also trying to watch the process as Indigo began preparing the carcass for travel. He could see Indigo had shot the kill shot in the beasts eye, but was unsure from where he was where Tazrae had hit it.

Even hard at work as she was though Indigo still seemed more aware of her surroundings to Moritz than he was without another task to do.

His work would mainly come later, once they began to head back, though he did not shift just yet as he preferred to avoid shifting till needed to avoid going back and forth. Also due to the fact his human form was the only one that could speak the human tongue.

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Moritz Craven
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Of Swine and walks[Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on November 25th, 2021, 2:57 pm

Taz missed Moritz’s antics of running up and slapping a slumbering boar in the behind. It was too bad too because it would have been something she’d have remembered fondly in the future. Bree, paying more attention, caught the action and grinned toothily, making sure her piglet hunt was well out of the way of both Moritz’s antics and Indigo’s bow range. She happily slaughtered first one then another piglet, filling her growing adolescent stomach to her satisfaction. Two was about all she could eat and when she killed and consumed a third, her bulging stomach looked painful protruding from her sleek emerald flanks.

Taz, in the meantime, had unstrung her bow, set it aside, and had pulled a long roll of oiled canvas from her pack. She rolled it out like a picnic and prepared an area for meat processing underneath a cluster of palms and low branched trees that were encroaching on the beach. More rolls of canvas came from the backpack, unfurled they turned out to be drawstring bags for carrying bit portions of meat. She sat them on one corner of the laid-out canvas and pulled out her knife roll and unfurled it to select the instrument she wanted to use to gut and clean the pig. The wicked looking carving knife was carefully honed to a sharp edge by running it up and down the whetstone Taz held in her off hand.

The Innkeeper worked the blade thoroughly for a few chimes, then pulled out a strap of leather to finish the blade off, dragging first one side then the other up and down repeatedly. Then she wiped the blade clean, then set it down as she walked to the dead pig, and grasped it by the forelegs and dragged it over onto the edge of the canvas. There was at least a hundred pounds of meat there, Taz decided, as she almost immediately broke out into a sweat. Rather than risk getting a lot of blood on her, she stripped out of her long-sleeved shirt and pants, shucked off her boots, and removed her clothing until she was stripped down to a Sykan version of a swimming suit, which was a crocheted halter top and briefs.

This close to the water, Tazrae could wash the blood off in the shallows and be out of the water before the sharks were drawn in.

Bree moved closer, stuffed to the gills with piglet parts, and stretched out in the shade of a palm overlooking Tazrae’s work area. The Ixam took on the sprawl and mannerism of a supervisor watching an underling work. Her brilliant emerald eyelids soon drooped over her sapphire orbs and she yawned, shifting to drop her head on her crossed outstretched forelegs.

The Innkeeper kept watch on the other two’s doings as she got ready to butcher her own kill. Indigo was good at bringing down pigs cleanly, and she could see Moritz staying clear but also clearly eager to help. Taz wasn’t sure what kind of a Kelvic he was, but she suspected it was not a predator. He didn’t have a predatory look about him. Instead, he seemed more resigned to the situation and ready to be…. What had he said? A pack animal? Taz shook her head. She and Bree would carry back what she killed. IT was only fitting. And if there were people in the Commons when they got back to town, Taz would donate a hind or forequarter to anyone that might be needing a meal due to being otherwise busy… usually building something for the settlement. The boar wasn’t as big as she could have taken down, but he was sizeable and young which should mean his meat would be delicious.

Taz broke down whole animals a great deal when she had her chef’s cap on. Tazrae the woman didn’t much like chopping up dead things, but there was so much usable in a pig that Tazrae the cook delighted in it. Which hat she wore depended on which outlook she took. Tazrae didn’t dwell on the killing. It wasn’t something she wanted to do. Instead, she focused on the meat… what type of food it would become… and how she could improve it and make it something to be grateful for in the long run.

Syka was different than Riverfall in that aspect. Taz used to be sent by her mother to buy select cuts of meat from butchers in the Market or at a shop. Here in Syka, there was no butcher shop. There was no market unless one counted the Mercantile. Instead, the richness of the world around them provided the raw ingredients to turn whatever it was the thing started out as into whatever one could imagine. In Tazrae’s case… she was working magic turning a living breathing pig into countless meals. There would be pork roasts, pork chops, all the organ meats, bits ground up into sausage and pork burger. There was the belly to render and bacon to be harvested. Taz’s mouth watered at the thought and made her task to break down the pig that much easier.

She started by field dressing the big male with the intent to get the meat on the ice in her icebox as quickly as possible. Taz wasn’t going to roast the pig whole, so that meant she could skin the animal completely. It helped her deal with the hair issue. Pigs were hairy, and the beach pigs were some of the hairiest. If she was roasting it whole, she’d have to find a large enough container to set on an open fire and boil water she could scald the pig in to get the hair to fall out. A quick dip for 20 to 30 seconds in the boiling water was all that was needed to scrape the hair off with a dull knife. One might have to dip twice or more, but soon enough the scald would have the hair removed and the pig ready for a pit.

Tazrae had even had to resort to pouring boiling water over a carcass if the pig was big enough not to fit in a container, she had to boil water in… then she’d scrap where the water had touched, boil more water, and do it all over again. But here, all she had to do was skin the pig. That required gutting it, cleaning out its visceral cavity, and then butchering it for its cuts of meat.

To do that, Taz pulled a borrowed gambrel from her pack and assembled it until the series of chains and metal tubes with hooks made a triangular shape that she was intended to suspend from the overhanging trees. She accomplished the hanging of the gambrel supports by banding the palms and running the chains from the palms to where she hooked the gambrel through the hogs two back legs… right through its two leg bones. Taz needed Bree’s help to hoist the pig up and secure the chains until the pig was hung spread legged from between the two palms. Taz was bloody even then, sweating, as her and the Ixam maneuvered the carcass into place.

Skinning was so much easier than scalding and dehairing. It was the same with wild birds… skinning instead of plucking always saved Tazrae her sanity and her time. With the gambrel in place, the pig was hoisted high enough thanks to Bree, that Tazrae could get to work. Hanging from its hind legs, Taz could work without the strain of bending over, and have full access to the carcass all the way around. She started by running her knife up the inside of each hind leg, slicing open the skin, and circling around the pig’s hocks. She gently grasped the skin and cut it away, severing the connective tissues between the hide and meat beneath, pulling the skin up and over its rump and down its hips. Taz had to run the knife around its anus and tail, leaving those pieces to skin later.

She gradually worked the skin downwards, towards the head, using the knife to assist her in separating the skin from the meat. She sawed the front legs at the hock, tossing them aside to Bree’s delight… and worked the skin down and over the pig’s big front shoulders. When the only piece left was the head, she broke the creature’s neck between the atlas and axis vertebrae and used her knife to finish hacking it off. The head, carefully wrapped in its skin, would be stowed on Bree for the return trip. Tazrae planned to teach herself how to cure the hide using the animal’s brains. Thus the skin wrapped head went into one of the canvas bags with the drawstring pulled tight.

The swinging headless corpse was somewhat gruesome, but Taz reaffirmed to herself how good the pig would be to eat. So, at this point, the Innkeeper decided to open the carcass from vent to bellybutton and clean out the visceral cavity. She cut carefully so she could remove the stomach, intestines, and odd bits completely intact. She set the heart and liver aside, hacked off - with a completely different knife – the length of small intestine, and fed the lungs and everything else to Bree. Then taking a small collapsible bucket to the sea, she filled up her bucket with salt water and gave the internal cavity a good rinse. She wrapped the organ meats carefully and stowed them in a canvas meat sack as well. Then she moved them to rest beside the head and skin bag in the shade.

Turning back to the now swinging lighter carcass, she decided to remove the front shoulders first. Taz tested them by moving a front leg and found them attached loosely. They came away easily from the carcass by Taz simply using her freshly sharpened knife to cut through the shoulder joint first on the right then left side, and setting those two pieces aside. She carefully wrapped them in oilskin, slipped them into canvas bags and turned back to the carcass.

Taz then removed the belly meat from beneath the ribs on either side of where she’d made her field dressing cuts. This turned into some of the most delicious bacon Tazrae had ever tasted. It was due, she suspected, to the huge sweet influx of fruit and fish the pigs dined on. The deeper meat next to the ribs got removed next, neatly cut through to make light meat dishes that could easily be cooked with a shallow frying pan and a light toss.

Next, she moved on to the inside tenderloins. They sliced easily away from the backbone and were laid in a small pile which all eventually went into the same bag as the meat that backed the bacon against the ribs. With the small inside tenderloins removed, Tazrae worked her knife in between the spine and the backstrap, severing connective tissue and peeling the backstrap from either side of the backbone. That was the best part of the pig, and a cut Tazrae would save for a special occasion.

Because she lacked a meat saw, getting the rear hams separated from the pig’s pelvic girdle was difficult. Had Tazrae access to a saw, she’d just have hacked the pig clean across its backbone in front of the hams and then used the same saw to cut down the center of the bone that attached the two hams to each other. Because she was lacking the proper equipment, Taz took the harder route.

She worked her knife blade around the pelvic saddle and cut through the ball joint hidden beneath. Then she ran the cook’s knife through the connective tissue that kept the hams in place, separating them – first one then the other – from the pelvis and setting them aside. They got bagged up as well, with Taz already plotting the ham roasts she’d have on the menu from the huge hams. She’d have to talk to Jonathan about acquiring her a meat saw in Riverfall as well.

The considerably lighter carcass was swinging from its gambrel now, taunting Tazrae to finish the job. She stepped forward after securing the hams, and decided it was time to remove the ribs. She pulled out her hatchet, thoroughly wiped it down, and separated the spare ribs with the loin back section using the hatchet. It was bloody work and by the time she was done, the only thing left was the almost bare spine hanging. By the back leg bones.

Then it was time to collect the scraps, using her wickedly sharp knife to strip the miscellaneous meat off the major bones left. There were small muscle groups, bits of muscle and tissue that all went into a separate smaller bag that would get ground up for sausage. Taz saved the hooves, and added them to the bag with the skull and skin. Then, she took the rest of the bones down, and tucked them neatly into a bone bag that she would make a bone broth out of to base soups with instead of simple water. The head had usable meat too; the tongue, sweetbreads, and the pigs’ feet. Nothing would be wasted.

Taz looked up then, when she was done butchering, and whistled for Bree to return. The Innkeeper packed most of her meat slung across the Ixam’s back. She went down to the shallows and washed, then re-dressed in her jungle clothing. Then she went to find the other two to see if there was something she could help them with.

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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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Tazrae
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