An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Moritz, Oralie, and Tazrae go on a journey to find a tree in a jungle...

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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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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Moritz Craven on January 2nd, 2022, 5:19 pm

62 Winter 521


Excited about the trip, Moritz woke early in the morning and ended up having to wait several bells before it was time to head off and meet his trip companions. While he did not outwardly show it much the new star embedded in his hand had turned a bright pink hue, perhaps reflecting this mood of expectation and excitement. Part of this was expectation from waiting for the trip finally come, while part was the fact that it would be his first proper trip into the jungle since coming to Syka.

Once the time was drawing close he finally began to dress and gather the things he would bring along, counting them off one by one.

He wore his button up suit as it covered him well over most of his body, and also allowed him to shift without damaging it. He also wore the black belt, black boots, and red gloves he had recently acquired from a chest buried on the beach. This meant the only bit of his skin directly exposed was his head and neck.

Once these were donned it did cover the star on his hand, hiding the color changing material from sight and its possible light emission. He was not completely sure, but he was fairly certain he could still pull out the gauntlet stored within, seeing as it was a sand like grainy thing within and probably not blocked by a bit of material covering one part of his body... For now he put these in his pack, waiting till they actually headed into the jungle to wear them.

On his wrist as usual he wore his charm bracelet, seeing as it could not be removed... The new charm he had received earlier in the season was on it, though he was still coming to understand its oddness...

He considered wearing his weapon harness and scabbard with the single remaining sword he had, but decided against it as he did not think he could use it well enough to fight with it. If it came to it he better trusted his hands and his sand gauntlet over the blade he only inexpertly wielded.

Grabbing up his pack where he had stowed his gloves he checked off his remaining items one by one, including the general items he usually kept in there. A spare set of clothes including a coat. Backup boots. Soap, some food, an eating knife, and some flint and steel for fires...

Once he went through them one last time he remembered his waterskin which he'd recently filled with clean water, and putting that in his pack he set off.

Living in the bungalows it was a short trip to Tazrae's inn, simply following the path west from them until he arrived at the building just off the path.

Looking over the building Moritz was fairly certain he had seen the place before, perhaps in his first run down of the main locations in Syka just after he arrived, though he was uncertain if he had actually been inside.

Having arrived outside Moritz looked around, hoping to see Tazrae or perhaps Bree so that he could inform someone he was there. If he found either of them or Oralie he would greet them, though if he found no one he would head inside after a chime or so.

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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Tazrae on January 3rd, 2022, 4:41 am

Tazrae was excited to get out and away from the Inn and explore more of The Maw. She’d been busy lately, studying magic, meeting with Alric, talking with Seladonna, and basically trying to get her life together in a more meaningful way than it had been at the beginning of the season. She’d been completely neglectful of doing her duty exploring in and around Syka. Moritz’s trip to The Arbor had reminded Tazrae that one of the reasons she was here was to learn new things and experience new places. And to that end, Tazrae had been happy Moritz hadn’t minded that Oralie wanted to tag along. The experience would be great for the young Kelvic, getting out and seeing new places. And Tazrae herself was excited to be able to finally meet a Jamoura.

Taz packed carefully, gathering the things she needed and laying them out on the table in her large kitchen. She took her magical backpack, already and always packed for survival in the jungle, and laid her quiver for her bow beside it. She added her bow to the pile, along with her machete, and multiple daggers. Taz needed to learn a few more weapons, but Buraga had been concentrating on her learning hand to hand first. Then, once she’d gotten good enough there, he’d promised to move her onto some weapons that were jungle appropriate like a blowgun and bolas. Bolas had brought Bree down, so Taz had a healthy respect for them already and was willing to learn in case she needed to bring another Ixam out of the trees again.

Bree, waiting just outside on the deck, snorted and looked expectantly at Tazrae through the doorway. “Are you letting me come?” The Ixam asked, poking her head through one of the open windows, watching Tazrae prepare. Taz hadn’t thought of that and looked intrigued for a second.

“Could I stop you from coming along?” Taz asked, answering a question with a question.

“No.” Bree said abruptly, giving Tazrae a lizardish grin.

“Well, then. There’s your answer. Are you joining us?” She asked, wrapping up sandwiches she’d prepared for everyone to snack on later in the day. If Bree was coming, Taz would wrap her up some pork chops raw so the Ixam could break her fast with the rest of them.

“Of course.” Bree added, triggering Tazrae to dig into the icebox to remove a rack of pig ribs that she then cut into chops and wrapped in a banana leaf. She kept the banana leaves around the Inn, usually in a fresh pile on the counter, for just such purposes. The jungle provided… fresh leaves instead of paper, which worked out just as well. Taz secured them with a small bit of twine. Then, along with the sandwiches, into her backpack they went.

Taz dressed for jungle travel in tall boots, isuas pants, long-sleeved shirt, and a leather vest. She captured her wayward curls in a tail, and wrapped a bandana around her head to keep her eyes clear. Checking to make sure her armband was in place, she double checked her charm bracelet and her necklace as well. There would be new places to explore. Tazrae wanted to make sure she was well-prepared.

Next, she grabbed a small medical kit that she had started taking into the jungle. It had creams and insect repellent, and a few things that would close wounds or even heal them in a pinch. She added headache powder to that kit and placed in a small tin of burn cream and bug-bite anti-itch cream. Two waterskins full of fresh water were added to the pile. Her survival kit in her backpack already held a tent, tarps, and rope along with Firestarter and other things Tazrae considered absolute necessity in survival gear. Once she was packed up, Taz shouldered her bag and went out on the porch to wait with Bree for Oralie to show up.

The day was pleasant and the morning rain was over for now. It left the whole settlement feeling fresh and clean, with their rainfall catchers full of drinking water. Taz enjoyed that, not liking the time in the jungle when the rains didn’t fall and water got hard to come by. No one drank water from the ground without boiling it. It just wasn’t safe in the jungle. The only safe water was that which was captured by plants up in the canopy. And even that water was iffy if frogs or other arboreal creatures had been into it. They defecated too much and left it tainted for straight drinking.

All these thoughts crossed Tazrae’s mind as she waited for the group to join up. When Moritz arrived, Taz was lounging on the porch oiling a scratchy patch of Bree’s skin while the Ixam lounged happily in the sun half on and half off the porch. “Hey, Moritz. I’m glad you made it. A trip into the Maw is exactly what we need to have some fun today.” She added. “I actually wish the community had some Ixam to use… we could all ride and get where we are going faster. As it is, Bree is going to come along if you are fine with it. Though, I’ll walk with the rest of you.” Taz added.

Tilting her head to the side, and glancing back into the Inn, Taz spoke again. “Oralie should be out in a moment. She wasn’t too far behind me getting ready.” Taz added. “How are you this morning?” She asked, as a way to start a conversation.

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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Oralie on January 3rd, 2022, 2:49 pm

The day of the trip to the mysterious Arbor had dawned. Oralie had no idea what to expect and she was quite nervous, but there was also an undercurrent of excitement. She had been in Syka for a little while now, and was getting more comfortable with the people and Settlement, but the jungle always loomed in her vision. She was determined though to one day be more like Tazrae and be able to go into the jungle to forage and explore without too much trouble.

She had all her things spread over the floor of her room, kneeling in the middle of them with her empty waterproof rucksack. She folded a pair of pants and a shirt neatly into the bottom, followed by the tarp, bedroll, hammock and coil of rope.

Next, Oralie emptied out the kit she had bought from the Mercantile and made sure she had everything she needed. It had a simple first aid kit which she added extra bandages to, a small compass, two small snares, line and hooks and a needle and thread. She took out the extra blanket and the candles since she already had her bedroll and didn’t imagine the candles would be useful in the damp jungle.

The small pouch of coconut fibre tinder went in next, along with her small knife, flint and steel and insect repellent. She had some dried food and a couple of oranges and then deliberated for a tick before adding in the large red marble she had found earlier in the season. The final thing she put into the rucksack for now were the red leather gloves, not wanting to wear them just yet.

With the main things packed, Oralie then dressed for the trip. She pulled on her isuas pants and a beige long sleeved shirt before securing the leather belt around her waist. Tall leather boots went on next, followed by the gold cuff she had taken from the chest at the first Tenday. She selected her yellow scarf and wrapped it over the top of her head like a headband before braiding the ends into a plait with the length of her hair. This way her hair would be kept out of her face and hopefully not get tangled on any brush.

She had heard Tazrae moving around in the kitchen while she had been braiding her hair, so Oralie quickly shouldered her pack before attaching her machete to her belt. She collected her empty waterskins and bow and quiver before making her way out to the main part of the Inn.

The Innkeeper was no longer there, and looking around Oralie thought she could just make out Bree through the front door. Conscious that they were probably waiting on her now, the Kelvic filled both of her waterskins before carefully adding them into her rucksack. She gave herself a once over, and fairly happy that she had everything, turned and headed to the door.

Tazrae was on the porch with Bree and it looked like Moritz had just arrived too. “Morning Tazrae, hello Moritz.” She turned to the Ixam who was lounging in the sun while the others spoke. “Hello Bree, are you coming too?”

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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Moritz Craven on January 4th, 2022, 2:44 am

Arriving at the inn Moritz saw that Bree was waiting outside, waving to both her and Tazrae who had exited the building before he arrived.

Though he had eaten before coming the Kelvic also brought some rations, however his were much simpler than Tazrae's and consisted of some vegetables and fruit Stu had cut up and wrapped for him.

Waving at the two the star stuck into the back of his hand would be visible as his left was the one he had used to waved with, and so the pink star would be visible upon closer inspection. Still the same color as before for the excited Kelvic. It might have been harder to see from afar, but the odd bit of glass looking pink material stuck on his hand would also heavily contrast with his flesh.

At her comments, as Moritz drew closer, the Kelvic nodded, a small smile cracking his lips.

"Of course. I've been looking forward to this! I wouldn't have missed it. I've not actually gone into the jungle before, not on a real trip, so Its kind of exciting..."

Looking over at Bree Moritz nodded, though considered something.

"I suppose, though if there were more Ixam, from what was said before they would not be like Bree... And also seeing as I'm a mount, it might be odd for me to ride one... What do you think Bree, would an Ixam like me other than as food? Can you tell the sort of Kelvic I am? I'm not sure what all my scent gives off. But I imagine some carries over from my other form. And an Ixam would probably see my Okomo form as prey..."

Pondering for a bit Moritz grew silent, his star fading to a more neutral white, before the conversation continued and it turned pink again as his excitement for the trip returned.

"And that is fine, I'm glad Bree is coming. As you said before, she knows how to handle herself, Honestly she'll probably be of more use than me, so it'd be good for her to come."

Shortly after this Oralie arrived, to which Moritz responded with another wave in greeting to the Kelvic. However once this was done he turned to the two in answer to the innkeepers question.

At the turn of conversation the star once more changed color, shifting to white, to a odd grey hue, to blue, and back to white, before returning to pink, sometimes visible as he expressed himself with his hands as well as his words as he spoke and sometimes not, gazing up at the sky as he rattled off details and thought through memories rather than looking at the other two, though he did occasionally remember to meet their gazes.

"I'm doing fine today. How about you? How has your season been since the tenday earlier in the season? I've had a rather interesting one... Lets see... I met a god, got pounded by said god on the beach, and ended up gaining his mark... Wysar is kind of odd, but I like him. He seems dependable. Though I can't really properly use his mark yet... Uh, I ran into another one of those Verusk and found a chest buried on the beach with some clothing... Oh and I had an odd dream where I lost a sword and my star, but when I woke up it seems it had gotten stuck in my hand. Weird right? Actually a dream is how I ended up coming to Syka, back around a year ago... But that time I just had a vision, I didn't lose any stuff or end up with it stuck in my body."

Moritz spoke all of this in a offhand but excited way, not really focusing on one detail over another and seemed just as high toned and excited for finding a chest on a beach as he was at a magical dream and running into a god.

Once Moritz finally seemed finished his voice would peter off, likely sharing much more than Tazrae had expected in response to such a simple question.

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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Tazrae on January 11th, 2022, 7:48 pm

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Bree said, snorting slightly though it came out more of a hiss. “I don’t think of Kelvics as food. I would think of a goat as food, but you don’t exactly smell like a goat. I don’t see anything that has intelligence as prey. And no, other Ixam aren’t like me, but they are fun enough to hang around. I like company, even if they don’t have the gift of language like your kind does.” She added, flashing Moritz a toothy grin.

“I don’t always know how to handle myself.” Bree admitted. “But I’m figuring it out as I go along.” She added. “I do wish there were other Ixam around, even more intelligent ones that could speak. It would give me good company when you humans and Kelvics are all off doing other things that aren’t interesting.” The Ixam said, whipping her tail and dancing ahead of them as they walked the cobbled pathway. “I’m to scout today anyhow. Tazrae has me working this trip.” She added, turning her head back to look at Moritz. “Just because you are big enough to be ridden doesn’t make you a mount. You should try riding once in a while.” Bree suggested, grinning. “My kind don’t run like yours do. Our pathways aren’t limited to the ground.” And at that, she darted up a nearby tree – one of the jungle behemoths – and disappeared into the green above.

Tazrae laughed at her companion. “She’s just showing off.” She said softly to Moritz, offering him a smile.

At Moritz’ next words, Tazrae raised an eyebrow. “You fought with the god Wysar on the beach? Whatever for? What is He the God of anyhow?” She asked carefully, not wanting to sound ignorant, but not actually knowing anything about Wysar. She’d heard his name in Riverfall before, but no one had ever told her that He was important or why. “What would he be doing in Syka?” She asked, curiously.

“Will you show me your mark? What does it do? Here’s mine…” Tazrae said, spinning and lifting her heavy curly hair to reveal the clef note stylized embossed gnosis mark on her neck. “It grants me perfect pitch and pretty incredible hearing.” She added, so Moritz wouldn’t have to ask her or feel weird about revealing what his mark did. She was curious because Tazrae loved to know things. The Gods were something strange to her, religion not being something she’d been too involved in before she moved to Syka.

“I’ve only met two Gods… Rhaus… on the ship over here. He told me I had to use his gifts and not ignore my musical side… that it would be important later. And I met Kihala when she gifted the city with the animal totems.” She added, smiling at the memories. The rest of what Moritz said was really lost on her. She couldn’t tell if he was joking or serious about the dream and waking up to have a star stuck in his hand. It sounded a bit much to her, though she did glance at his hand and note a crystalline thing seemingly embedded into it. Tazrae furrowed her brow, shook her head, and responded the only way she could think to do so. “That sounds like your life these last tendays have been rather exciting.” She added, glancing at Oralie with a raised eyebrow. Did the Kelvic follow the other Kelvic’s thinking or was there something else to it? Taz hoped she’d speak up, before the Innkeeper turned tour guide moved them all out.

“Let’s see… we were told this place was in the middle of the lower Maw… out past Uta’s Place on the other side of that big stream. We might as well head south, past the Commons, take the cobbled path past the Panacea and Tar Pit trail… and basically head for Uta’s place. We can cross the stream and walk up its bank west until we find the place off the south side of that stream?” She suggested, pulling her machete from its sheath at her back on her backpack, and heading out. Bree had a head start on them, but Taz was confident the Ixam knew where they were going… or at least the general direction.

Striding out and breaking into a slow trot while she could on the cobbled path, Taz got the group moving and headed south.

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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Oralie on January 15th, 2022, 8:40 am

Oralie had moved to perch on the steps next to Bree while Moritz answered Tazrae’s question. Her interest was immediately piqued when the young man mentioned that he too had met a God, though a different one to Oralie. Wysar was not one she knew much about, though she had heard his name during her times spent at The Temple of All Gods.

Oralie nodded at Moritz when Tazrae posed some questions. She too was curious. She peered at Tazrae’s mark when the Innkeeper showed it off, as she too had not seen the clef before. Oralie then offered up her own mark, holding her left palm up so everyone could see the vortex of softly glowing golden lines. She was becoming much less shy the more time she spent here, especially when the time was spent with the cheerful and outgoing Tazrae. As a result, she was feeling more comfortable letting other people know things about her that weren’t surface level.
“I am twice marked by Priskil too. I can protect myself or another person with a halo of light, enhance feelings of hope and see in the dark, for the most part.” She glanced back over at Tazrae. “I would very much love to meet Kihala one day…”

It also seemed that Moritz had found a chest on the beach, similar to Oralie. How curious. Perhaps a ship had sunk somewhere off the coast. The Kelvic had no idea what Moritz meant by the rest of his words and she met Tazrae’s raised eyebrow with a small shrug. “It does sound… eventful. Maybe… maybe there was some strange magic around you?” Oralie still didn’t know quite how magic worked enough to know if that was even possible. “If magic can be outside of a person that is… I don’t really know about those things.”

“I found a chest on the beach too actually. It had some strange things in it and I know that at least some of them are magical. Did either of you hear about any ships going down? I wonder if they were lost from one…”


Oralie listened carefully as Tazrae detailed what she thought they should do regarding the trip. She nodded along, for while she had a good idea of where things were within the settlement, as soon as the cobbled pathway petered out the Kelvic had absolutely no idea where anything was. “That sounds like a good plan to me.” Oralie patted the machete on her belt to make sure it was still there and then stepped after the Innkeeper.

After a moment she turned to Moritz. “Have you been into the jungle yet?” She knew Tazrae had, of course. Oralie aspired to be like her one day, able to head off and forage and explore by herself. “Tazrae took me in a tiny way once and we met loads of monkeys in a play park. It was lots of fun.” She also posed a question to Tazrae. “How far in do you think we are going today?” She had no idea what they were really looking for, as she had never heard the word ‘arbour’ before in her life.


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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Moritz Craven on January 16th, 2022, 12:22 am

Moritz frowned at Bree's answer, not finding it particularly useful. He knew Bree was intelligent and so her attacking other intelligent beings for no reason seemed unlikely... But his real concern and therefore question was how her less intelligent brethren would see him, which she had not really addressed... Ixam being fun didn't really inform him on how likely one was to try and eat him if they met, which left Moritz with the assumption that they would try to eat him. Better cautious and assume something wanted to eat him than to assume the opposite without proof.

"Well maybe I or someone else will find... I think you said there was some thing Tazrae found and used on you, right? Perhaps someone will find another of those. I am unsure how common such things, just out of curiousity what exactly was that thing you used?"

Moritz would turn from Bree to Tazrae, seeing if either would inform him of the item. If they did it was something he would likely need to keep an eye out for in the future.

"You should see me on a mountain or at least some rock. Okomo are known to easily scale nearly vertical cliffs. And we are quite good at jumping or climbing. An Ixam might be good on a tree, but you probably wouldn't do as well on stone or the like. But then, I suppose each animal is best suited for a certain environment, and this is yours. But... I'm not sure how I would feel, riding an Ixam up a tree. I've got a strong stomach, but it would be weird moving that fast when I am not in control. I think if nothing else it would take some adjusting..."

Moritz smiled in return at Tazrae as Bree ran off, nodding in understanding. Bree was a wise thing in her own right, but she was not immune to preening or showing off her special abilities to others. Something Moritz had done once or twice at least back in Lhavit where the ground was solid and he could find purchase on any span of stone.

At the query on Wysar Moritz looked up tot he sky, his star turning a neutral white as he tried to recall the memory.

"Lets see... I don't think he specifically mentioned what he was God of... But he did mention he had come to test me... What did he say... He said he had seen my... Integrity and Conviction... Heard it... Or was it felt them? And he said he wanted to test my Discipline. So I would assume something related to those. I'm not sure if I was the only reason he was here, perhaps he also had some other stuff to do, but he did seem to be here at least in part to test me. I passed in the end, though more by not giving up than actual skill in combat, and he marked me. Though if I had to beat him to win, I know I wouldn't have passed. If our sparring was anything to go by, and he isn't the god of those things, he might be the god of knocking people on their rear. He was quite good at that. I've never seen someone fight or move like that... And I've seen some pretty skilled fighters... He did just enough to give me a thrashing, but never really seemed to need to put in much effort in."

For a moment Moritz recalled the spar, seeing Wysar move and attack. Not using too much force, or too little, but just enough to avoid an attack or make a strike as needed.

"He probably could fight for a day, and not even get winded. I hope I can master some semblance of the style of combat he showed me. He more used my force and moves against me than ever actually striking with his own. Of course being a God, he probably would kill me with one proper punch, so probably good he didn't try too hard..."

At the request of seeing his mark Moritz turned around without question or consideration and lifted his hair, showing the symbol on the back of his neck. There quite plainly was a blue flame on his neck, burning brightly with a odd glow.

"Its kind of hard for me to see it, being where it is, so I've not had a proper look at it really. But I can... Feel it there. Kind of like how I know where my feet are at all times."

Once Tazrae and Oralie had a chance to look and finished any comments Moritz would let his hair fall and turn back to face them more normally.

"As for what it does... Lets see, Wysar explained it... I can tap it and activate it... And I will need to practice it and train it to get better. Right now I wouldn't use it in a real fight. He said it lets me sense... Someones movements and intent. For now I think just one, and not very well since I just started using it. But some day with training more.... And also... Uh he said using it would increase the strain on me after I finished using it, make me more tired or exhausted. So another reason not to use it in real combat until I've learned to use it."

Having seen Tazrae's mark and heard what it did Moritz realized once more how odd Wysar's was. Oraies on the other hand confused him a bit, due to how it worked. He understood his own mark affecting his sight or ability to see auras for fighting... And Tazraes letting her hear better. But being able to create light things? That he was less clear on.

"I didn't really have any to compare it to, though now yours, but I felt from how he described it Wysar's mark is a bit of an odd thing. Hearing how yours work, I think so even more. I still like it, I think once I learn to use it I will be able to use it well and for some good affect, but its still odd. But then I'm odd as well, so perhaps its even more fitting."

Feeling his mark for a second affectionately with his hand, though not tapping or activating it, Moritz smiled and his star shone purple before turning back to pink.

Moritz did his best to listen to Tazrae's explanation of things, to the locations and places, but he knew little to none of the places she mentioned. Knowing how little he knew he did his best to keep his bearings and mark in his mind any locations they passed. With a smile Moritz responded, nodding once for emphasis.

"Sounds good, but honestly I don't know anything about any of that. I haven't explored Syka overly much, or been out of the city proper really at all... Though if we pass close to any place, could you mention its name? I would like to recall them for later, and having a name to associate it with would be helpful, and it seems you know them."

Once Tazrae began to move Moritz joined along with her, a bit behind her but not right up on her such that he might bump into her if she stopped short or changed direction.

At Oralies question Moritz shrugged, not sure either. He did seem to have quite a few things happen around or to him, though so too did these people he was with.

"I think most such things you can't really know until afterwards. If anyone is magicing on me, they haven't felt the need to mention it. And how knows, perhaps it just some bored god playing a practical joke. There are all sorts it seems, so I don't see why that or some other thing might not be happening. Nothing I can do about it if its true. And I don't really hear much about ships, so not sure if one went down. I'm sure many ships pass near Syka, many which don't come here, so there are probably a fair number we never hear of here. You'd probably need to go to a bigger city like Riverfall to find out."

For now their route was relatively tame, at least by Sykan standards, but still Moritz did his best to stay vigilant of his surroundings, to keep his bearings, and to recall any locations they passed.

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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Tazrae on January 16th, 2022, 10:16 pm

Taz nodded to Oralie noting she’d been twice marked by a Goddess. It was rare in one so young, but it did happen. Taz wasn’t sure who Priskil was, so she asked Oralie straight out. “I don’t know anyone from the Pantheon but Rhaus and Kihala. Can you tell me about Priskil?” Taz asked, curious. She was sure the Goddess was someone whom Taz considered ‘good’ but that didn’t mean she knew anything else about them. Oralie wouldn’t be so proud of someone who had marked her if they had a dark side.

Taz smiled at Oralie’s other question. “Magic can be outside a person as far as I know… but I don’t know if I have strange magic around me.” She said with a laugh. “Maybe strange friends though…” She said, giving Oralie a wink. “People find all kinds of treasure around Mizahar. It’s kinda crazy. I’m not surprised you found a chest. You should report it to Mathias though…he’ll let you keep it, but its best if they know when things turn up.” She added. “I’ve not heard of any ships going down, but it could have been from years ago. Ships do go down and their cargo washes up years later. Treasure Point is full of that kind of thing, especially after a high tide.” She added, offering Oralie a smile. “What was in your chest?” She asked curiously.

“I don’t know how far the place is. I’ve never been there. I suspect we’ll know it when we see it.” She said, walking past Uta’s turn-off and crossing the stream Uta lived on using the small bridge over it the Cobbled Pathway enjoyed. But once over the water, she turned right where there was no trail, and headed up stream on the south side of the water. She was only going by rough directions so she had no idea where the trip would actually take them. Taz hoped the jungle wasn’t so overgrown here that they’d accidentally walk by the place and miss it completely. But she was glad she’d brought all her gear including the bow, empty quiver, and her machete which she drew now and began swinging to clear a better trail. Taz took point, knowing the Kelvics would follow.

Bree, surging ahead, missed them turning off and backtracked coming up the rear now.

Taz shrugged. “I have no idea what it was.” She replied, starting to find Moritz’ mannerism’s a bit irksome. He was nosey, but not in a curious way, more like in a way that he needed to know everything to judge it. Taz decided she wasn’t going to volunteer overly much to him because it didn’t really do her much good to do so. One answer led to five more questions, and she didn’t appreciate being grilled or her private business openly talked about. Oralie was a Kelvic, and she wasn’t nearly as annoying for whatever reason.

When Moritz had no idea what Wysar was the God of, Taz started feeling a bit uncomfortable. It felt a lot like disrespect carrying the Mark of a God and not having done one’s homework about it. The God had heard Moritz’ integrity and conviction? Taz wasn’t one to question, but she wasn’t sure that was something she’d seen in him herself. He seemed more rude and arrogant than anything else, judgmental and quick to form opinions over nothing. She voiced none of these thoughts herself. But she wasn’t sure she believed Moritz on what he said the God had said because honestly she’d caught him misinterpreting things she had said more than once.

“Doesn’t seem to nice to show up and knock a baby Kelvic like you around.” Taz muttered, finally uttering her disbelief of the whole thing. Taz noted the blue flame on the back of his neck and nodded. She’d look up the symbol later perhaps at the Outpost when she had a chance. For all she knew, Moritz had been marked by someone evil.

Was he still talking? He was. Taz took a calming deep breath and tried to ignore it. Moritz said a great deal – really never shutting up – but he said it in such a way that people tended to tune him out… at least Tazrae did. He didn’t know how to concisely pass on information, but rattled on all his thoughts and feelings and then he usually moved on to analyze what he’d just said as if he was his own commentator.

And just when she thought he was finished, he wasn’t. He pipped up with more to say and filled the beautiful jungle and all its jungle noises with his own talking. Taz stifled a yawn. Maybe it was just her and she needed to learn a bit more patience with Moritz due to his extreme youth. But Oralie was just as young and not nearly as annoying. Taz enjoyed the Kelvic’s company and found her comforting beyond measure, especially when the sun streaked the sky in the evening and they both enjoyed something cool or something warm on the deck as the waves slowly calmly rolled in and the night encroached.

She saw Moritz stroke his mark affectionately and decided to refrain from making a joke about masturbation, though she really wanted too. A snicker filled her ear as Bree slipped out of the brush where she’d half-skirted the small group and slipped into walk with Tazrae a stride or two. Bree followed her gaze. “He plays with his mark wwwwaaaaayyyyy too much doesn’t he?” She said out of the side of her mouth, snickering.

Taz gave Bree a look, her face breaking out into a smile, before her mind suddenly filled with the image of ants, thousands of them, marching across their pathway. She was momentarily confused by what she saw and why she saw it. They felt extremely dangerous, somehow, as if she could already feel them biting and the pain of the bites were intense – like getting ran through by a spear – with everywhere they bit going numb.

The Innkeeper opened her mouth to say something when the first bite struck her on the knee. The pain was like getting run through with her compound arrow. They were suddenly in the midst of giant ants - more than an inch long -, and every one of them was attacking every one of the party, biting hard all over, crawling up pant legs, into clothing, in a veritable swarm.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


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"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Oralie on January 17th, 2022, 9:54 pm

Oralie smiled at Tazrae when the young innkeeper asked about her Lady Priskil. “Sure I can. She is the Goddess of Radiance and a symbol of hope. She was the only thing that kept me going when… well, you know.” The Kelvic looked meaningfully at Tazrae, knowing that she would understand what she meant. “You know the Watchtowers around? It is Her light that powers them.” Oralie beamed with pride as she continued to speak. “Her love, Aquiras – I don’t know if you would know him either? He had his heart stolen by a mage and is sleeping, but one day we hope it can be returned. Her light gives me courage and hope for the future.” She paused, considering Tazrae for a tick. “Rhaus’ mark sounds perfect for you though, no wonder you are so good at your music.” It seemed like they might make a good pair in an exploratory situation too – one who could see in the dark, and one with heightened hearing. Oralie smiled again before returning her attention to Moritz as her fellow Kelvic spoke up once more.

It seemed curious to her that a God had appeared to the Kelvic without him even being aware of him, but Oralie was beginning to understand that odd things did sometimes happen. She nodded along as he ran through the story of receiving the first mark and explaining what it enabled him to now do. It took her a moment to get everything straight in her mind as Moritz seemed to have a tendency to ramble a little, but she thought she had the general gist of it. Her brow furrowed for just a tick before she responded to him. “So… it lets you anticipate the moves a battle opponent will make? Like seeing the future? That’s neat.”

Oralie chuckled lightly at Tazrae’s comment, returning her wink with a grin. “I’ll let him know about the chest when we return. It had some sort of decorations in it I think, glass orbs with hooks for hanging them up. I’m not sure if they do anything much. Um, there was a pair of gloves and a really big marble that are definitely magic. I bought them with me so I can show you later. And a piece of coal and a coconut that someone painted gold. I’m not sure what they’re about either, it’s an odd assortment of items which is what made me think it was someone’s trinket box at one point.” She glanced over at Moritz. “What did you say was in the chest you found Moritz? Clothes?”

As the trio started to near the jungle proper, drawing close to Uta’s Place, Oralie carefully drew her machete from where it was secured to her belt in imitation on Tazrae. She had no idea how to use the thing properly as a weapon but it would be simple enough, she assumed, to cut through dense brush if she needed to. She pointed out the just visible raised structure to Moritz before they took the bridge over a small stream. “That’s Uta’s Place.” Oralie made a mental note to remember to speak to the botanist about a little project she wanted to do at some point in the future.

Oralie’s nerves rose just a little as Tazrae took point, choosing a route where the trail had yet to be cut in. She lightly shook her head and took a breath, reminding herself that she was in good company. She carefully stepped behind Tazrae, machete held ready to chop any brush the Inkeeper missed in clearing the way. “I hope that we get to see some birds along the way. I’ve been hearing an interesting call since we crossed the bridge.” She tilted her head slightly as she heard it again, a distinctive, high-pitched ‘hue-hue’ sound. “There, that one!”

After a few steps, Bree re-joined them, though Oralie failed to hear what the Ixam muttered to Taz. The Kelvic was too intent on listening out for the bird call again, while also trying to chop back a particularly spiky looking shrub that was threatening to catch on their legs to notice that Tazrae had stopped just ahead of her. Victorious in her battle with the shrub, Oralie looked up at the Innkeeper before pausing herself, wondering what was happening that she couldn’t see.

Before she could say anything, Oralie felt a white-hot pain on her lower thigh. A small noise of shock left her mouth and she glanced down at her leg. Golden eyes widened in alarm as she saw ants swarming all over the ground and their boots, ants that were bigger than she thought should have been possible. Her leather boots protected most of her shin, but already a couple had bitten her upper legs. The Kelvic thought she had experienced pain before after being beaten fairly regularly by her old master, but this was on another level. How could such tiny things cause so much hurt?!

The ants were on all of them, and Oralie’s eyes were streaming with the pain of their bites. It was all she could do to refrain from shifting into her ocelot form to gain the protection of her fur coat. If she did that, she would ruin her clothes and pack. She swatted at the crawling bugs, trying to flick them off before more could bite her, but there were so many on all of them. In desperation, Oralie wildly swung her machete at the brush nearby, chopping through draping vines. She could hear the stream to their right and she beat and chopped her way to it with single minded determination.

They had not been walking for that long, and thankfully it did not seem to be far away from their path yet. As soon as she neared the water, Oralie dropped her machete onto the ground with her pack and walked straight into the stream. She dunked her body trying to wash the ants off of her, hoping the current would pull them away. In the back of her mind she hoped that her companions would follow, if not to dunk themselves then to at least get away from the swarm on the ground.

Oralie could see some of the bugs floating away from her, their legs waving as they struggled in the water. She continued to dunk her body, trying to make sure they were all washed off of her. Her leg felt like it was on fire, and she also seemed to have gotten a bit or two on her abdomen too. “What. On. Miz… ARE these things?!”

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An Arbor Abounds[Or/Taz]

Postby Moritz Craven on January 17th, 2022, 11:52 pm

At Tazraes dismissive answer Moritz shrugged, having been curious what had changed Bree, but not upset that Tazrae either did not recall or was unsure what had done it. He had hoped to look for another one, but if she did not know he did not see any point in pressing further.

When Oralie explained her own mark Moritz heard quite a few terms he did not understand. From what she said they all related to this Goddess Lady Priskil, but he did not know who Aquiras was, nor what a watchtower was.

At her comment on his gnosis Moritz shrugged, and made an uncertain sound.

"I don't know that its the future, just... The intent. I think it will make more sense once I've tried it a few times. I'm sorry I can't explain it better. I was in no position to ask a follow up question, I was struggling just to catch my breath by that point, his test was quite physically demanding. And him being a god I assume his schedule is busy, so he didn't stick around long afterwards.... But I think there are some other Wysar marked in Syka, so I plan to seek out some additional details and more about Wysar."

Not knowing all the people of the settlement once more proved an issue for Moritz, meaning he had to basically hope to stumble upon a Wysar marked in order to find out more.

At Oralies question on the chest Moritz thought for a moment before holding up his gloved hands.

"Clothing... Uh... Boots, gloves, and a belt. Actually I'm wearing some of them now."

Passing Uta's place, which Oralie pointed out, they seemed nearing the edge of the true jungle.

Once they entered the more wild parts of the wilds, off the cut and laid path, Moritz focused on his sand gauntlet and willed it to emerge. As before when he had first gotten it the sand seemed to either emit from the star in his hand or perhaps his arm itself. Either way it rose to the surface and coated his limb in a layer of blue green material.

For now he did not project out the clawed blades, though if needed he could do so later. For now having the protective gauntlet out made him feel a bit safer, and that much closer to having a weapon drawn.

As they moved Moritz listened and spoke in turn when asked a question, but mainly focused on where they were going. Now in the wilds proper he needed to put more focus into walking and where he was stepping rather than a conversation. Oralie had also armed herself, drawing a machete as they moved.

Walking along Moritz was suddenly distracted by Oralie making a pained noise. Looking around he did not see anything at first glance, and so willed his Iraso sight to activate. As he did his djed vision gave him a better view of Oralie. But instead of just seeing Oralie, he could see many distinct bits of djed moving around. Taking a step closer to try and help Moritz was about to try and swat at one of the things paining the Kelvic, when he felt something strike him on the back of his left leg. Not with force, more like a pinch or such but feeling like a full forced strike, Moritz hissed and pulled away and swatted his gauntlet-ted hand at the creature.

Soon after he swatted that though he felt another strike on his right arm, and then shortly after another on the small of his back. He tried to swat them away, his gauntlet providing protection for that one part of him but the things attacking wherever else they could find purchase.

Already tears were flowing freely down his eyes from the pain, and the Kelvic stumbled for a moment and fought from falling down.

As he was figuring out what to do he saw Oralie running off, and not wanting to leave her alone headed after. For a moment he considered staying with Tazrae, or seeing what she would do, but he knew she could take care of herself far better in the jungle and from what he knew Oralie was also new to the city... And so it made more sense to stick with her, and to try and help her.

Running up behind her he took in a deep breath, being careful to keep clear a bit to avoid being hit by her swinging machete. He did his best to endure the pain both physically and menally, trying to clear his mind to focus on the task and ignore the pain... Something that had little to no success.

As they moved Moritz swatted a the tiny bits of djed as best he could, also squashing a few he saw on Oralies back in an attempt to assist her.

When they reached the water it took Moritz a moment to realize what the Kelvic had been aiming for, realizing she was not running off at random but to the water which he had not noticed. Following her lead Moritz dropped his pack and got in the water as well, doing his best to pick the tiny things off of himself while also trying to help Oralie if he could.

Moritz was unsure if it was from the numerous bites, the sudden dousing in water, or something else, but he suddenly felt dizzy. He was glad he was tall and the water was not too deep, or else he was unsure he would have been able to keep standing in his state.

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