Closed Relief and Rest

Oralie is waiting for Tazrae to return.

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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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Relief and Rest

Postby Oralie on December 31st, 2021, 11:26 pm

73 winter, 521

Oralie was washing the dishes at the sink in The Protea Inn with a lot more vigour than they probably needed. Her mind and gaze were not on the plate in her hand however, which would explain it. She kept darting looks in the direction of the front door and glancing wildly round when Creature the dog made any sort of noise on the wooden floor.

The young Kelvic was waiting for the owner of the Inn, Tazrae to return. The woman had been bought back to the settlement with Randal very much worse for wear and Oralie had been told to wait for her back home. Having things to do in the Inn had helped keep her somewhat distracted, but she had worried about her friend from the moment the Tenday celebration had been interrupted by Bree, Tazrae’s Ixam.

Oralie’s confidence had grown through the season, and she had attended the last celebration by herself. Tazrae had taken Bree out for a run after a busy period, and had not returned by the time the celebration rolled around. The Kelvic had let the founders know of course, but they all knew that Tazrae was more than capable in the jungle and would wait a little longer before considering she may be in some sort of trouble.

So when Bree had burst into the Settlement screaming, Oralie near had a panic attack. Once Mathias had calmed the Ixam down enough, he had practically carried Oralie along with them back to his home as she had been determined to march into the jungle after the rescue party to help. She had held the fishing pole Mathias had pressed on her in a white-knuckled grip for over a bell before the Founder had wrestled it out of her grip and replaced it with a tea that helped her drift into sleep.

Oralie looked down at the plate in her hands, noting its cleanliness before putting it to once side. That had been the last of the dishes so she disposed of the water before returning to stand in the middle of the kitchen. She had managed to make a respectable breakfast for the guests today, her cooking skills having improved little by little over the season. Eggs, toast and bacon had been what she had made today and was very pleased to only have burned a couple of pieces of bacon, which of course she kept for herself.

Frustrated at the lack of news and needing to occupy her brain and hands, she rummaged for a cloth and set about polishing the long wooden table. It hardly needed it, but the rooms were already swept. She had even done a thorough clean of both her and Tazrae’s rooms in the hopes that a nice fresh room might make her feel just a little better. What she really wanted was to go and find Tazrae, but Oralie was not sure where the Innkeeper might be. She could have gone to ask someone, one of the Founders maybe, for any information, but she refused to leave the Inn just in case Tazrae turned up. She would hate for her to return home expecting to see Oralie and not be able to find her.

As she polished the table, arm sweeping the cloth in long fluid strokes, she wondered just what might have happened to Tazrae out in the jungle. For her to be separated from Bree in the first place was surprising enough. As much as she had wanted to, Oralie had refrained from asking the Ixam anything. She imagined that the Founders had already done so, and it felt cruel to ask her to relive the events another time.

Creature padded over to her and laid down near her feet with a whine. Animals were exceedingly good at picking up on human emotions and he could clearly feel the Kelvic’s worry. She wondered if he had put the feeling together with the absence of his master. Distractedly, Oralie patted him on the head. While dogs were not her favourite animal by any means, she was starting to grow a little fond of the big thing. She returned both hands to the cloth, polishing mechanically, all the while her gaze flicking back and forth from the door.

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Last edited by Oralie on January 4th, 2022, 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Relief and Rest

Postby Tazrae on January 3rd, 2022, 3:39 am

It was three days after the seventh ten-day celebration that Tazrae got home. She wouldn’t consider it a victory homecoming, but more of a gratitude homecoming. She’d been at the Panacea two days, one entire day she’d been unconscious. The second day, when she’d woke, she’d transformed into a Ixam again and had attacked Jansen and Kalum instinctually. Bree had gotten between them and backed her down and eventually talked her back into her human skin. Taz had wanted to taste human blood again, awaking somewhere unfamiliar and still in pain.

Many people had dropped by after that to talk to her. Someone, in the first day had cleaned her up and dealt with the hundred little knife wounds across her flesh. Kami had kept close as well, having her own long-term injuries dealt with by the Akalak doctor. Taz hadn’t had much to say to anyone in those early hours, and as word got around that she wasn’t exactly in form to take visitors, people had stopped dropping by. Kami had simply sat with her for hours while various things were done to help speed her healing along. Her biggest injury was a broken nose and a cracked skull. Both had been repaired by the doctor along with several cracked ribs. She had two broken fingers, and one broken toe as well as a wrenched ankle from the rack Nico had stretched her out on.

Tazrae couldn’t get the monstrous man’s evil grinning face out of her mind. She saw him when he closed her eyes. She saw him when she heard water pouring from a pitcher into a glass… images of him urinating on her filling her mind. She’d wanted her own shower and to stand under it for hours, because though she’d been cleaned up, Taz still hadn’t felt clean. He’d touched her privately, in places no man had touched, and though he’d been too drunk to rape her, images of him trying to relieve his sexual tension still filled her mind. She didn’t have to close her eyes to hear the crack of his fist in her face, nor feel his ungentle fingers painting designs on her skin in her own blood.

The scale on her chest gave her comfort. It wouldn’t come off and Jansen had said he’d never seen anything like it. They knew it was tied to her new ability to shift shape, becoming a sleek black Ixam with iridescent scales almost a mirror image of Bree. They’d been careful to announce their presence when entering the room. And they’d stopped touching her without asking permission first. Her arm had been in a sling when she’d first woke, but multiple sessions of healing had cured what ailed it. Taz wasn’t sure the extent of her injuries. She hadn’t asked. She’d only listened and nodded when they’d carefully said they needed to look at something or do some more healing on this or that part.

Duncan had been hanging around, Randal often sitting with him as the mage and the founder conversed. Jansen had let them both know early on that Tazrae hadn’t been sexually assaulted as far as they knew. She didn’t have bruising or damage characteristic of such things. But the Akalaks could tell she’d been tortured and had warned both men not to wake her up or startle her because it seemed she had a new form that liked to eat people.

One thing Jansen had done when she’d gotten back to Syka and had collapsed was to induce vomiting. He had suspected she’d been drugged or poisoned, but instead found her stomach full of human meat. That had worried him until Kami had explained what happened and what Tazrae had done. They reported that to the Founders, but no one else was told. Taz herself wasn’t even told. It was best to let her remember what she remembered.

She woke late on the second day again.

Jansen had taken control of the Akalak duo and had calmly talked to Tazrae, reminding her of what had happened, the rescue, and what her injuries were. Taz had looked around, human again, and had nodded and then apologized to both the Akalaks as she’d found the edge of her hospital bed and gratefully sat down on it. Bree had curled up at the foot of the bed like a huge scaled dog and hadn’t left her side since.


The second day was a little better. The third finally dawned bright and early. The Innkeeper had simply gotten up, carefully dressed herself, and was intercepted by Jansen with a breakfast tray for her in the hall on her way to the door. She’d been about to see herself home without much fuss. They hadn’t stopped her when she refused the food and tea. Instead, they’d simply nodded and let her meet Bree outside by the trail leading back to the cobbled path. Bree had taken Tazrae from there, carrying her back to the Inn and leaving her on the steps.

Taz hadn’t gone in right away. Instead, she’d walked through the Reptile Garden, checking on her snakes, and had poked her head into the chicken house and had gathered the eggs her feathered girls had left her. With her arms full of eggs, she finally headed towards the deck and the common room… wondering what she was going to say to anyone she ran into.

When she slipped into the kitchen, ghost-like, she paused in the doorway and leaned against it watching Oralie polish the table. Creature’s tail started thumping, though the dog – possibly sensing everything wasn’t okay – didn’t rise and bark to greet Taz. Instead he watched her hopeful as Bree watched her progress from outside. Taz opened her mouth to speak, closed it, then opened her mouth again. “Hey Oralie.” She said softly, letting the strong wooden beams of the doorway hold her up.

Taz’s normally burnished skin was pale. There were dark circles under her eyes. And though she didn’t have any noticeable bruises or cuts that were visible.

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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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Relief and Rest

Postby Oralie on January 4th, 2022, 10:07 pm

Oralie’s mind wandered as she polished. Would today be the day she was allowed to see Tazrae? Was she even up to visitors yet? All she knew was that she had been seriously hurt, though nobody would tell her much detail. The previous day Mathias had dropped by to let her know that Tazrae had improved a little, but again he did not divulge specifics.

It had been a frustrating time for Oralie, as well as a worrying one. The lack of information had made her feel a little like a spare part, though logically she knew there was a good reason for it. Perhaps there was something malicious that had hurt Tazrae, or something that nobody actually knew anything about yet. Even still, it had been frustrating being out of the loop and not being able to help.

The Kelvic had known that she lacked nearly all of the skills required to have been useful, and while she had struggled to accept that fact, it had renewed her determination to keep her promise to Priskil and train as hard as she could. She was quite pleased with herself though, for keeping the Inn going to the best of her abilities. Things were clean and tidy, animals were fed and someone had even complimented her eggs this morning at breakfast. She was sure she had missed some things that Tazrae would have done each day, but nothing disastrous had happened yet.

Next to her she felt Creature shift as something caught his attention, the sound of his tail hitting the floor causing her to glance down at him. Could it be? Her hand stilled in its polishing as a familiar voice floated over to her. Oralie snapped her head up, golden eyes taking in the form of Tazrae leaning on the doorway to the kitchen.

Joy spread across her face and Oralie rushed around the table towards her with an exclamation of happiness. She pulled up short, remembering that Tazrae had been through an ordeal and being bearhugged was quite likely not going to help in the slightest. That, and the Kelvic noticed her hands were full of very breakable eggs.

Oralie peered up at her, a hopeful smile on her face. “I’m so happy you are home Tazrae.” Up close, she could see the dark circles under the Innkeepers eyes and the lack of vibrancy that usually surrounded her. Oralie did not let her smile falter however, and she carefully guided Tazrae to a chair at the very shiny table, before relieving her of the eggs. She noticed Bree peering in from outside when she turned. “And you too Bree.”

She carefully put the eggs away and turned to study her friend again. “How… how are you feeling?” It was possibly a silly question, but as she looked Tazrae over she noticed a distinct lack of visible injuries. She knew for sure that there had been one to the woman’s head, but honestly, aside from the visible weariness it was virtually impossible to tell that anything had happened.

Oralie carefully placed a pot of water on to boil and prepared a herbal tea mixture of lemon balm and chamomile in the hopes that it would be soothing for Tazrae. She waited for it to heat before pouring it over two mugs of the leaves, adding a small sprinkle of sugar into each cup. She placed one in front of Tazrae and then took a seat opposite her, cradling the second mug in her hands.

She watched the steam curl out of her mug for a moment before looking back up, meeting Tazrae’s eyes. “You don’t have to talk about anything if you don’t want to, but I am here for you if you do. Just like you have been here for me since the moment I came through your door.” Oralie smiled softly as she spoke. She would not press her friend, but equally wanted her to know that she could share anything that she wanted to.

She took a sip of the tea, hissing a little at the heat on her tongue. “Do you need anything to eat? I have got quite good at eggs recently.”

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Relief and Rest

Postby Tazrae on January 11th, 2022, 10:31 pm

The weird thing about an aftermath of violence and change was to Tazrae’s mind, the absence of emotion. Jansen had kept her well-medicated for the multiple days she’d been in the Panacea. But now that her mind had cleared as her body had healed under the healer’s gnosis touch, Tazrae didn’t know how to feel. There were a million thoughts in her head, and with each thought an emotion happened. They were all different, all intense, and wouldn’t settle on just one thing. There was no midline. She felt like she was quietly on a boat in a turbulent sea… barely hanging on.

Carrying the eggs into the Inn, Taz knew she had to face Oralie. The Kelvic was excited to see her. Taz could tell, and honestly, she would have welcomed the hug if her hands hadn’t been filled with eggs. Oralie quickly took charge though, and Taz found herself sitting, devoid of eggs, and a steaming cup of tea in front of her.

Taz started to answer Oralie’s question, opening her mouth for a moment, then closing it again. She shook her head and laid her hands down on the table. She studied her nails, confused for a moment, that they were human again and not claws. She wrapped her hands around the mug, grateful to have something to do with her digits as she looked up and met Oralie’s eyes. She took a sip of tea then, smiled weakly, and nodded her chin to the tea. “It’s good.” She said softly, then shook her head.

Bree was lingering on the deck, undecided if she should force her way in or just sprawl across the opening to the common room. The Ixam could hear everything that was said, but wanted to be closer to Tazrae than the outdoor deck let her. Sighing, she’d nodded to Oralie, and decided to sprawl dog-like in the sun. Creature was already asleep on one of the couches. Though she had a passive relaxed stance, the Ixam had one sapphire eye on Taz the whole time.

“It’s a long story… and I’d love some eggs. I am hungry.” Taz said, happy that Oralie offered some food. She was starving. Jansen wasn’t much of a cook, even if Kami was there to take care of her and tried to feed her as well. Her twin could barely boil water for her medical practice. Eggs sounded fantastic, actually.

“I want to tell you everything….” Taz started out, but wasn’t sure where to begin. “But I have to tell you some things so you understand what happened… things that happened before a few days ago.” Taz muttered, staring down at her tea, then taking a big sipof it again. It was good… really good. Soothing even. It might be the Kelvic had a knack for taking care of people.

“I went to The Outpost and met a man there. We became friends. His name is Alric. He’s from Sunberth and we began meeting in The Outpost and even rented an apartment there so we could do some research together. We learned a lot from each other and I found out about my family and his. I can’t tell you his secrets, because they aren’t mine. But I will tell you that I learned my Grandfather is a very evil man. He did some incredibly evil things to many many people and he wants to find both men and Alric for various reasons. Me, I suspect, because I was taken from under his nose by my parents and hidden away from him in safety in Riverfall for years and years. Alric and I have been studying magic to brush upon things, and to learn more about what we know nothing about to help protect ourselves from him. He’s a significant mage with a great deal of power, and he wants nothing good of either of us.” Taz said, telling Oralie what she could in the way she knew wouldn’t violate Alric’s privacy or trust.

“When Bree and I went out riding on the Seventh Tenday…. we were having such a good time. Then… I had a feeling… a strong one… and I saw a vision of a bola coming out of nowhere and tangling Bree’s legs. It happened. Just like that. She went down, I fell, and was taken by a group of men that turned out to be under my Grandfather’s control. They were in the jungle to gather supplies… spell components and look for relics of great power. The man that was in charge, Nico, recognized me somehow, though I’ve never seen him before. He was the one that hurt me. I wouldn’t give him answers, and he didn’t hardly ask me any questions anyhow. He wasn’t a nice man either… he was something of a monster who enjoyed bringing pain to people and watching them bleed. While I was there…. I learned a lot of terrible things and he beat me so incredibly badly. I don’t know if you saw how I was when Randal brought me back. Bree said she went to get help… and they came…” Taz blinked back tears. She didn’t want to relive this, but she needed to tell Oralie.

“When he beat me unconscious the first time, I had a vision… of a cauldron and I put things in it. It was like a dream but wasn’t. I can’t explain it. I had choices and I picked things and put them in. They just manifested out of nowhere. I stirred the pot and a scale came of the brew I made in that cauldron and it embedded itself in my chest.” Taz pulled back her shirt, baring the scale that was centered in her flesh on the point of her breastbone. “I used it to escape. It expands across my skin and turns me into an Ixam like Bree. I killed the man that tortured me and ran. I ran straight into the rescue party from Syka. After that, it was all fuzzy. And while there…. I met my sister… my twin sister.” Taz said softly. “She’s here… with Jansen. They took her in because she’s a healer.” Taz said softly, not sure what was going on with that.

“The last few days have been a bit much… a lot. I need to get back to Alric too and tell him some things. But I’m not… I don’t think I should go to The Outpost for a while. I might send you instead, Oralie, to the place we let with the key to leave him a note and talk to him about what happened.” She said softly. He needs to know a few things, but if I do that… will you promise not to read his note?” She asked, her big eyes pleading with the Kelvic. Alric’s secrets weren’t hers to tell.

“Would you do that for me? Today? Just leave the note if he’s not there?” She said softly, wondering if the favor would be too much for the Kelvic. Taz didn’t know if Oralie had ever been to The Outpost… but Bree had been there and would take Oralie and keep her safe. Taz was sure of it.

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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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Relief and Rest

Postby Oralie on January 15th, 2022, 10:28 am

Oralie sat cradling her mug of hot tea, watching the steam rise from the water while she let Tazrae take her time to speak. She could tell that the Innkeeper had some sort of inner fight happening as she fidgeted with her hands in a manner the Kelvic was not used to seeing from her. She returned the smile with a warm one of her own at the compliment on the tea. She saw Bree move out on the deck, and she met the Ixam’s gaze for a moment. She was glad that Tazrae had had Bree. The Kelvic had never known anyone care for another person in such a way that the Ixam did for the Innkeeper.

“Eggs coming up.” Oralie gave Tazrae another smile and a quick nod before pushing back her chair to move to the stove. It was still warm from the morning breakfast, so all she had to do was add a small log and poke the coals a little for it to heat right back up again. She placed a skillet on and briefly turned back to Tazrae when the woman started to speak. She met her gaze, showing that she was listening carefully. She noticed Tazrae’s shoulders relax a little when she sipped the tea, which pleased Oralie greatly.

The Kelvic turned back to the stove, keeping her head angled slightly so that she could still hear Tazrae clearly. She cracked some eggs into a small bowl and sprinkled over some seasonings. She then beat them thoroughly until the yolk and whites were combined. Oralie would nod occasionally at various points in Tazrae’s story to show she was still listening. The Innkeeper was talking about a man she had met by the name of Alric, and it surprised her to hear that she had a whole apartment at The Outpost with him. Her hand stilled in its beating of the eggs when Tazrae mentioned she was being hunted by her own grandfather. She did not interrupt the story however, as Tazrae seemed to have found her voice again.

She poured the mixed eggs into the skillet which hissed. As they began to cook she cut a few slices of bread and put them on to toast too. Tazrae had moved on to speaking about her ordeal in the jungle now, revealing that a group of men sent by her grandfather had found her. Oralie stirred the eggs as she listened, her grip on the spoon getting tighter and tighter. As the story moved on to how Tazrae received her injuries the Kelvic’s shoulders visibly tightened, and she turned to look at her friend, sorrow in her eyes.

“Taz…” Her brows knit together in concern as Tazrae spoke of her vision, curiosity simmering underneath the mountain of worry. An eyebrow raised as her gaze fell upon the black Ixam scale embedded in the Innkeepers skin. Apparently it let Tazrae bcome an Ixam. Oralie would have thought it sounded crazy had she not been a Kelvic herself. She gave the eggs one last stir before transferring them to a plate with the toast. She set it down in front of Tazrae with a knife, fork and butter before sliding back into the chair opposite.

The story had been a wild ride and was a lot to process. And if that was how Oralie felt, she could barely even begin to imagine what was happening in Tazrae’s head. She nodded immediately at the request. “Of course I will go for you Tazrae. And you don’t need to worry, I respect people’s secrets.” She had no idea where the Outpost was, aside from a vague memory of Tazrae pointing out a door on her first day in the settlement. But she would find it and get the note to this man for Taz.

Oralie reached across the table for Tazrae’s hand. “I’m sorry to hear what you had to go through Taz. I wish…. Well I don’t think I would have been very useful but I wish I had been able to do something for you.” She shook her head sadly. “But you found a sister? Your twin? That’s fortuitous.” Oralie offered another smile and withdrew her hand so Tazrae could continue eating.

There was a pause as Oralie took a moment to sort through all the new information she now had. She had thought her family had been bad enough, selling her into slavery as a baby but Tazrae’s grandfather…
“I haven’t heard any news on the people who…” She gestured at the Innkeeper rather than say any words like ‘hurt’ or ‘torture’. “I know Randal bought back a good number of Ixam though. If those people are still out there, hopefully that will hinder them.”

“I want to help protect you Tazrae.” Oralie’s eyes had a determined glint to them. “There is already one mage I need to one day find, so what is another?” The comment itself was light, but her voice was not. She was serious. “I know that you like to do things yourself, though I am glad to hear that you and this Alric are helping each other. I don’t want to intrude on that, but I do want to help you Taz. Anything you need, tell me. Okay?”

Oralie took their tea mugs and cleaned them out before adding fresh leaves and hot water. Stirred with a sprinkle of sugar again, she set them back on the table. “Syka has given me so many things in such a short space of time, not least people that I feel are my true family. You most of all.” It was quite a pronouncement, but it was truly how the Kelvic felt. “I’m here for you always.”


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Last edited by Oralie on January 17th, 2022, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Relief and Rest

Postby Tazrae on January 16th, 2022, 2:52 pm

Taz thought she’d feel better telling Oralie the story, but she didn’t. She’d had to repeat her tale to the rescue party and later to Jansen who had tended her wounds. Spending two days in bed at the Panacea while her sister didn’t leave her side was awkward too. So was watching her sister’s response to the Akalak there. The tea tasted good. While Jansen was an excellent doctor, he was no cook. And so the eggs were indeed welcome when Oralie slid the plate in front of her. She took a few experimental bites and discovered she wasn’t as hungry as she thought. So she carefully chewed at the food, moved it around a lot on her plate, and looked a little apologetically at Oralie. “These are good too… I’m just not as hungry as I thought.” She said softly.

When Oralie reached for her hand, Tazrae blinked. She returned her squeeze. “It’s fine, Oralie. It could have been a lot worse. And yes… my twin. Kami. She stayed at The Panacea. She’s a healer, a marked one of Rak’Keli. Jansen and her… hit it off and he invited her to stay. We are virtual strangers, and she didn’t want to come here right away. She didn’t want to… be in the way.” Taz didn’t understand that, because she wouldn’t have considered the woman a burden or in the way at all.

Taz nodded at the news of the Ixam. “I hope if those people are still out there, the Sykan’s killed them. They weren’t good people, Oralie. They kept slaves. My sister was one of them in all but name.” She said softly.

The Innkeeper stood up and walked around the table and dropped back down besides Oralie. She took the Kelvic in her arms and hugged her tightly. “You are so brave.” Taz said. “These people are the worst and all you want to do is help. Thank you… thank you so much for taking care of the Inn while I was gone and for being here for me.” She said softly, her eyes welling up with tears.

“Alric is a friend my family has and wants too horribly wrong. I care about him, but I don’t want him to see me like this. All I want to do is cry and hide in a broom closet because the things I learned are so terrifying. I’m going to have to get stronger, work hard, and get over thinking someone is going to punch me in the face anytime anyone waves at me. He doesn’t need to see that. And there’s no better place to do that than here with you and Bree and the sun and sea. Even the jungle is a comfort. Those men weren’t doing well in its confines.” She added, looking thoughtful.

“And I need to get to know Kami better and help her. She told me she has children… and that my grandfather has her separated from them. So, I need to find them and get them back to her. This is just a lot.” Taz said suddenly, then she rose again. She walked to her office area which also served as a philtering lab and retrieved a bottle of ink, a writing quill, and a parchment of paper. Then she pushed the remaining eggs aside and began a letter to Alric. It turned out to be lengthy, but when it was done, she set it aside to dry. “Bree can show you where the apartment is. Even if he’s not there, just leave it there on the table and he will get it.” Taz said, hoping the Kelvic could hand the crowds of the Outpost. It was a huge place to a new person, though, but Taz trusted Oralie and also trusted Bree to keep her safe.

“I don’t want him to see me like this. I can’t. I can’t show him how weak I actually am. He’s from Sunberth and won’t understand fear. I think to him its weakness. I need to get with Buraga and get him to toughen me up, you know? Teach me how to hit people back and not be so vulnerable to people like Nico. I ripped Nico’s head off, Oralie… with my teeth. I was using an Ixam’s form.” Taz said softly, shaking her head. “I didn’t think it was possible to do something like that… or to enjoy it so much. I can still taste the blood in my mouth.” She added, her tongue darting out and licking her lips as if she wanted a bite of him even now.

Taz stared at Oralie. She shook her head. “I thought I could fight my grandfather, Oralie. But I can’t… not yet. Not like this. I see it more clearly and I see the danger Syka is in. It makes a lot of sense now… how Kihala came here. About the guardian statues…. About everything.” She said softly. “And I need to talk to Mathias longer… get his take on it.” She added.

When the letter was dried, Taz rolled it up and tied it off with a ribbon. Then she handed it to Oralie. “Thank you.” She said gently. “I’m going to go for a walk on the beach. I won’t go far… but I can’t just sit here….” She added. It would be a run, but Oralie didn’t need to know that. The faster Tazrae got to training, the better she’d feel and the more she’d know she was actually doing something she could control.

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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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Relief and Rest

Postby Oralie on January 20th, 2022, 1:38 pm

Oralie watched as Tazrae pushed the eggs around on her plate. It was something the Kelvic understood well. Trauma did funny things to a person. Whenever she had been beaten, she would rarely be able to eat much of anything afterwards, despite the fact that she had been kept on the verge of starving most of the time. She did not pretend to understand what the young Innkeeper had gone through, for clearly it was an entirely different sort of trauma, but she did not take even a smidge of offence at the rejection of her food.

An alarming sensation bubbled up inside her when Tazrae seemed to downplay her experience. Yes, Tazrae was sat back in her home, safe once more, but that didn’t mean it needed to have been worse. It took the Kelvic a tick to realise it was anger that she was feeling. She had never felt anger like this before. She was angry at the people that caused her friend such pain. She took a breath to calm herself again – Taz did not need to feel Oralie’s anger, not today.

Oralie pondered for a moment on the comments regarding Kami, Tazrae’s twin. “Maybe she is giving you space because she doesn’t know yet how you best heal?” Oralie was sure that it couldn’t be anything hurtful, for finding a lost sibling was surely a cause for joy. “And maybe she is feeling a little lost too. Syka must be strange for her. You said she is a healer, right? Perhaps the Panacea is a place that feels somewhat familiar to her so it is comforting.” She hoped that it was something along those lines anyway, for Tazrae did not need anything else to be causing her worry at the moment.

Her hands clenched into fists on the tabletop when Tazrae revealed that her sister had basically been kept as a slave. Slavery was a thing that she would never wish upon anybody. “I hope they did too.” She startled herself with the venom in her voice. Oralie had never hoped a person had come to harm before. But slavery had nearly ended her life. It had barely even let her have a life in the first place.

She softened again when Tazrae came around the table and pulled her into a hug. Oralie returned it, holding her curly-haired friend tightly. “I meant every word of it Tazrae. I came here to build a life and be my own person. As a bonus I gained a family and I will do anything to protect my family.” She smiled softly at the Innkeeper’s next words. “I want to get stronger too. We can do it together.”

Oralie’s brows kit together and she nodded once. Poor Kami. Not only kept as a practical slave but to have her children forcibly taken away from her? It was unimaginable. The Kelvic watched as Tazrae located paper and her writing tools, no doubt to pen the letter she had asked Oralie to deliver. She kept quiet as the young woman wrote, sipping on her slowly cooling mug of herbal tea. That was one bonus she had not even thought about that came with Syka. The year-round warmth kept her drinks warmer for longer. She watched Tazrae’s hands as the pen flew across the paper leaving a trail of neatly written words in its wake.

The Kelvic pondered for a moment on whether she should reveal her biggest shame to Tazrae. When the Innkeeper had asked Oralie to not read the letter, she had assured her that she would not, that she respected people’s privacy. And that was true. But the other reason she would not peek at the letter? There would truly be no point. Oralie could not read. No more than a handful of words on a shopping list anyway. She could not write either, but somehow that did not seem as important to her. If she could not tell Tazrae though, who could she tell? Oralie waited until she noticed her friend signing the bottom before speaking. “Taz… would you, one day, teach me how to read?” Her voice was quiet, and she stared at the remnants of the tea in her mug rather than look at Tazrae, for it was something that she was truly embarrassed about.

“I think… if he is a friend, he would try to understand.” Oralie had no idea where Sunberth was or what it was like, but she was sure that every person had something that they were afraid of. She stilled, her head tilting ever so slightly. “Fear and wanting to survive can make people do things they never could have imagined.” She blinked, her expression softening. “He deserved what he got. It was him or you Taz, don’t think on it.”

Oralie was not able to put all the details together enough to link Syka’s guardians to what Tazrae had just been through, but she was sure that she would in time. She nodded and gave her friend a smile when Tazrae stood to head out on a walk. She knew that she wouldn’t do anything risky, there was no need to send her off with a ‘be safe’. She also knew that Tazrae probably wanted to be alone for a little while, especially after having so many people fussing over her the last couple of days. So instead of asking to join her, decided to tidy the kitchen.

She stood from the table and looked over at Bree. “She will be alright, won’t she?” Oralie pulled the plate of eggs towards her, stacking the cutlery on it. “And you, you are okay, aren’t you Bree?”
Oralie gathered up the plate and the mugs, disposing of the leftover food before placing the crockery into some water. She scrubbed the egg residue off the plate, and unstuck leftover tea leaves from inside the mugs. Next, she grabbed the pans she had used to cook with and soaked them in the water while she wiped down the table with a damp cloth. Happy she had caught any and all crumbs, she cleaned off the pans and then set everything to one side to dry in the warm Sykan air.

She was reluctant to leave for the Outpost until Tazrae had returned from her walk. She was sure that Bree probably would want to see the Innkeeper too before they left to make sure she had retuned to the Inn safely. Oralie was not sure what Tazrae would want to do when she got back, so she decided to get a few things ready for use. Oralie collected a clean cup and added another mixture of chamomile and lemon balm into it, with a sprinkle of sugar. She set it ready on the side near the stove. She also went out onto the main deck and sorted the firepit, adding in logs and kindling for if Tazrae wanted to watch the sea for a bit. She took a moment to brush sand from the deck too, methodically sweeping the broom back and forth, pushing the sand over the edge of the deck and onto the ground below. If she squinted hard enough, her keen eyesight could see people walking the cobblestone path, a couple heading towards the Commons and one heading away from it, towards the Inn and the rest of the settlement. She continued to sweep, alternating between watching people walking and watching the sea.


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Relief and Rest

Postby Tazrae on January 30th, 2022, 6:01 pm

The eggs were well made but the young Innkeeper found she wasn’t hungry. Instead, Taz smiled weakly at Oralie’s words and nodded. “You are probably right. I’m a stranger to Kami and there’s no reason she’d stay with me anyhow.” The Innkeeper said softly. “I always wanted a sister though. I really did. I never had one, and not even a friend close to my own age. But then I moved here… met a few people… and then you came.” Taz said softly, glancing up shyly at Oralie.

“I was really hoping we could be close friends. I need more of them, you know. We can’t be sisters, because we don’t have the same parents, but some sisters aren’t even friends. And I don’t even know how to be a sister, to be honest. But I do know how to be a friend. It’s just confusing. I don’t know how to act around Kami. I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t know why we were separated. And we don’t look exactly alike. She’s supposed to be my twin, but I don’t see us being anything alike.” Taz said softly, reaching up and touching her face and rub her temple.

Truth be told she was having trouble thinking. She was exhausted, but couldn’t sleep. She was hungry, but couldn’t eat. Taz had never felt this disorientated in her life. Her body hurt in a hundred different places, but all of the greatest pain had been dealt with by Jansen and Kami herself. She was just bruised, inside and out, and it was such an odd detached feeling. It was like her consciousness was having trouble living in her body.

“Yes, a healer. I suspect Syka is strange. Wasn’t it strange for you? I bet it still is.” Taz said softly, shaking her head. She could go around and around about Kami, herself, friendships, but she just wanted quiet and rest. No, she wanted to run. “I think she did feel comfortable there. She was staying. And the way Jansen looked at her….” Taz shook her head. “They really hit it off… like two peas In a peapod.” Taz added.

Taz reached up and grabbed Oralie’s hand and squeezed it when Oralie called her family and vowed to protect that family. She nodded at Oralie’s words about getting stronger together. Taz had learned a great deal about solidarity in Syka. Community was everything. If they leaned on each other, they were stronger. “The whole community came to help me.” She said softly. “I can’t believe that… and I’m so grateful.” She said with a bit of wonder. “Bree brought them all.” She added, shaking her head. “And many people came to see me while I was still at The Protea.” She bit her lip and released Oralie’s hand to run it through her tangled curls. “I can’t believe how grateful I am.” She added, shaking her head in wonder.

“We should train together.” She replied. “That’s a really good idea.”

Tazrae was shocked Oralie didn’t know how to read. “Of course. I have books here and everything. We can ask James to bring back a basic reader… something to learn in… I’ll tell him its for Bree if you don’t want him to know… and we can have lessons every day or whenever you want them.” The Innkeeper added. Bree had also been bugging her to teach her to read. “It’s actually something Bree wanted too. Maybe you two can practice together? You are going to understand a lot of words she isn’t even if you both sound them out… just because you’ve been using the language all your life.” Taz said, completely grateful for the distraction. She needed something to do… anything… that wasn’t sitting around feeling sorry for herself. She latched on to Oralie’s suggestion like a drowning woman latched on to a thrown rope from a book. “I’d be so grateful to teach you.” Tazrae said softly. “So very grateful.” She reiterated.

The conversation turned away though… and Taz felt like that same drowning woman who hadn’t quite managed to grab the rope for salvation. They talked briefly of Alric, though Taz didn’t go into detail. And then it turned to her, what happened, and … Gods Taz didn’t want to talk about it. She was afraid, angry, scared, and feeling vulnerable. Taz knew that was justified in her mind… expected even… but she hated the feeling. She hated the feeling with a passion.

Bree, meanwhile, nodded at Oralie. “First violence for her. First kill or be killed. Even those just having cracked the shell get shaken up over it. She’ll learn and grow stronger.” The Ixam added, shaking her head. Humans were fragile things and could be beautiful souls but they could also be monstrous. Such diversity in a race was unsettling.

Taz was glad Oralie cleared off the plates and was sorry she didn’t eat more. She just couldn’t choke down any more food nor could she accept any more tea. Her stomach was already in knots, upset, and making her gut rumble. So, as she planned, Taz went out for a run on the beach – just a short distance to clear her mind – and returned where she retired to bed. She was more tired than she’d ever remembered being and her body ached even after the short mile-long job. Just she was glad to be home, glad to be free, and not sorry that she’d taken a life. It was something that shouldn’t have been done lightly. And she hadn’t. But she wasn’t regretting it either.

OOC: I think this thread has come to a natural conclusion?

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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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