Closed Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Naadiya gets room at Protea Inn, and maybe meets some locals

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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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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae + OPEN]

Postby Tazrae on February 7th, 2022, 12:15 am

Taz shook her head. “The bigger they are the faster they are, believe it or not. We don’t have many monstrous snakes stray into the Settlement, but when we do it's an issue and everyone turns out to discourage it from continuing its life. We all eat well afterward though. I’ve seen the really big ones climb up palm trees wrapping around them in just seconds. It’s rather frightening… though at least you know if they are climbing to get away from you they aren’t going to try and eat you. But we do have livestock to protect.” Taz said thoughtfully.

“I can teach you how to trap them, but we’d have to do that away from The Protea. I’ve let enough loose there that our trap would probably capture some of the good kind of snakes I don’t want to capture.. and once captured, you really almost have to kill them to free them.” Taz explained. “What I do is take a chunk of meat and let it rot good and ripe in the sun. Once its deliciously smelly to a snakes sense, I will throw it on the edge of as of very thinly woven fishnet… perhaps a silk net designed to tangle fish gills, then I tightly wrap the net around the roast… rolling it up tight at one end and leaving the other end loose almost like a skirt. You tie a rope around the top to hold the roast in, securing it deeply in the net, then leave it laying around tethered to a palm or something similar.” Taz paused to take a breath.

“You leave it overnight. Snakes come out at night… and leave the rope so that when you come upon the trap, you already have the net rope run up a tree or something so all you have to do is pull the rope and hoist up the net with the roast. Any trapped snake that crawled in will have its scales stuck in the thin netting. They have a hard time crawling out, so all you have to do is stand under it and cut through the snake bodies sticking out and kill them. I would not want my good snakes getting into such a tarp because getting them out without killing them is hard.” Taz added, then smiled. “It’s satisfying though if you don’t like snakes and enjoy seeing a good many of them dead. And good practice with a machete.” She said, laughing slightly. Death wasn’t funny, but it sure was good cleaning the snakes out of an area they didn’t belong in… like her chicken house.

“The pools are beautiful, aren’t they?” Taz said. “Yes, it’s a perk of Syka. You can come here multiple times a day and bathe. No one cares. Swimming too… its good to cool off. The small pool is warm… the larger one cooler and refreshing. The water circulates through and out the end, so if you use soap you aren’t going to taint the swimming or bathing water… it constantly flushes through.” She added, liking that fact as well.

“You won’t drown. You can touch the bottom-most of the pool… especially over by the waterfall and the outflow. It's just the very middle that’s deep and you have to swim. Stay next to the edge and you’ll be fine.” Taz said, not bothering to pause before she stripped off her clothing and splashed into the water. She obviously enjoyed it and had no problems with baring her skin. Most people in Syka didn’t. The Innkeeper was as tanned beneath her clothing as she was on her arms and face. “I hope nudity isn’t an issue. The men here don’t leer and they don’t stare at breasts or anything. You’ll see after a time. Between the rain showers and the heat and humidity or spending time here or at the beach… it's just nice to get out of clothing. I was raised very conservative in Riverfall. But once here, I shed those inhibitions fast the first time I walked up on a sleeping Svefra on the beach without a stitch of clothing on. Now seeing men without … it’s just another thing you get used to.” Taz assured her.

Then she waded out to the middle, bent backward, and dunked her mass of curls bringing her hair up and wiping the water out of her face, instantly feeling the cooldown from the heat of the day. “Gods… you can’t get used to that feeling. It’s so much better. And believe it or not, Riverfall was considered clean and tidy, but here, everyone really is clean all the time. We spend too much time in the water to be otherwise.” Taz said, moving to find a comfortable seat on one of the benches.

“I was glad to see a Benshira arrive, actually. I thought I was born in Riverfall. I’d been there my whole life, actually, and thought my family was from there. But it turns out my mother and father are both Benshira. I was raised by my aunt in Riverfall and my uncle… they never told me they weren’t my parents. But the truth is my mother is Matari Arcadius… a Kois… and my father is Talsis Lisuli. I have no idea how I came about my last name of Ardera. I understand my grandfather is some powerful mage in the Kois clan. I was taken to keep me away from him. I have a twin sister too… my mother was a twin. My aunt was her sister… who actually I thought was my mother. It’s a complex history. But with you being Benshira, I was hoping you’d tell me a bit about growing up in the desert. I missed out doing so, though the jungle has my heart these days.” Tazrae said softly, then offered the woman a smile.

“We might even be related, for all I know. I don’t know much about the tribes, their secretive ways. I just know my grandfather lives in a stronghold in the desert and my mother was defiant of him.” She added, watching Naadiya’s reaction. She hoped she hadn’t told the other woman too much. She’d been told the Benshira were secretive and reclusive, but Taz wouldn’t learn anything if she didn’t ask.

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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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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae + OPEN]

Postby Naadiya on February 16th, 2022, 12:44 am

‘Discourage it from continuing its life’ Naadiya repeated in her head with a smile. If she’d ever heard a more passive way of saying ‘killing’, Naadiya could not remember it. It was a phrase she would tuck away for later use, too good to waste.

She was learning much more than she’d hoped to about snakes in her first day in Syka, and while Naadiya suspected that trapping snakes might have repeat-appearances in her near future, she was content to leave that for a later time.

As Tazrae described how she’d removed the snakes from the trap, Naadiya let a burst of laugh escape her lips almost involuntarily. “Well, I certainly won’t have trouble with that part.”

When she’d first started talking to Tazrae Naadiya had been convinced the girl had a penchant for reptiles. It had made Naadiya unsure and not wanting to make insensitive conversation, she did not mention her own dislike for the legless creatures. But apparently Tazrae was fine with the serpent slaughter. How could she not be, after nearly dying from a bite?

Whatever else, she is brave, Naadiya thought.

She herself would not have thought the solution to a snake problem would ever be more snakes, but it seemed Tazrae had overcome any fear or uncertainty of the scaled animals for the greater good. For her part, Naadiya hoped to avoid them as much as possible.

But praise Syna, there was no snakes to be seen from where Naadiya stood.

Even as Naadiya entered the pool, she could feel the flow in the water just as Tazrae had explained. It was like the pool was in the middle of a river that had its own momentum but where they stood it was leisurely not rushed. Looking up at the waterfall that splashed down into the pool Naadiya wondered how much of the current was controlled by nature and how much by magic. She’d have to be sure to ask the man who’d created the space.

It was safe to say, the stories she had heard of hot springs had not been based on this place. She very much doubted the traveler’s she’d heard tales from had ever been here, or they’d be stumbling over words to describe this scene, not simply a steaming pond in the ground. She wished her mother could have been here to enjoy this, she would have marveled over it… though the full public nudity part might have come as a shock.

“Uhhh... I wouldn’t say it was a problem” she said, stripping off her own garments albeit hesitantly. “But, it may take a little getting used to. Back home, we tend to keep covered a bit more. Of course, there the sun is less forgiving and sandstorms are a real problem whereas taking a dip in water is not such an everyday occurrence.”

“Lisuli?” Naadiya blurted open-mouthed.

Would it be possible that Naadiya had known or met Tazrae’s extended family? She rifled through her recent memories trying to remember if Tazrae had mentioned this detail before but she didn’t think so. Do such coincidences happen?

“I.. am also… Lisuli,” she said slowly. Technically, she supposed, she was not. But despite having had a Svefra biological father, Naadiya had never known him. She still considered the man who helped raise her and her sisters to be her father and so, did not feel like she was lying as she said it. “What are the chances!”


In spite of herself, Naadiya was beginning to let her walls down. Maybe it was the water or talking to a potential cousin or the relief of having already secured a form of income and place to live. She wasn’t yet sure.

Naadiya had lowered herself in the pool, bending her knees so that her chin was below the water. Bubble popped up as she laughed and rose, “we very well might be related! My father had siblings, I believe they were all older than him. And my mother was Kois! When she got married to my father, my grandmother came to live with them and they never told us why she left her tribe and no one ever talked about who my mother’s father was…”

“Could you imagine if we really were related,” she was mostly joking, the actual odds of something like that happening were much too slim but the idea was very romantic and campfire-story-worthy.

“I hope you don’t think I’m prying but, why did they want to keep you away from you grandfather?” Naadiya had, like most, heard horror stories involving mages who’s twisted minds had abused their power in the most unsavory of ways but it always seemed like just stories. Stories her grandmother would tell.

Naadiya and her older sister had long suspected their grandmother had been a witch.

She was always quick to jeer the general obsession with Syna, quietly trying to convince her grandchildren that Caiyha was the mother of balance and balance was the key to life.

Always shrouded in mystery, her instincts in the desert were always sharper than Naadiya had expected, sometimes surprising even her own son who considered himself a desert-hardened ranger. The aunts joked that she spoke to birds and sang to plants but no one actually came out and talked about it. All the same, it wasn’t so hard to believe that her grandmother would have been attracted to a powerful mage or that she would have fled an abusive relationship, she who was so focused on balance.

“Your Lisuli side of the family… do you know if they were in the camel trade? Or fabrics? If they were there is almost a sure chance that I have shared a meal or shaken hands with at least one relative of yours at some point in my life. The world can seem so small at times…”

“Anyway,” she said, running a finger over the water in front of her and watching the ripples swim away, “I’d be happy to tell you about the desert but I have to confess, I am not a very good story teller. Songs are much easier. I have many songs, but sadly I lack the voice to give them justice. Do you sing?”

She wasn’t sure if Riverfall was as musically driven the the traveling bands of the desert but some Benshira claimed that music ran in their blood. Music may have run in Naadiya’s blood, it just sometimes failed to reach her vocal cords.

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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on February 18th, 2022, 3:56 am

Taz was just enjoying relaxing in the pool, settled in one of the deep seats neck-deep in water leaning against the cool stone backrest. Her legs kicked out lazily under the water, her whole body relaxed. She found that she liked Naadiya, though the woman wasn’t like anyone she’d ever met before. Her stained hands pointed to a hard worker, but she was curious and open… not afraid to ask questions. And that made the conversation flow very easily.

“I’d say you’ll get used to the snakes, but some people never do. It’s far better that you are cautious and defend yourself if you feel the need than take a chance the creature you cross paths with isn’t harmful. I don’t want anything to happen to you and if that means sacrificing one of my snakes by your blade to insure you are safe, that’s an acceptable risk. Don’t trust anything you don’t thoroughly recognize. My Mussurana do have iridescent black scales though, so if any dark snakes come your way and don’t light up in lamp or sunlight… the odds of them being dangerous are high. Be safe, Naadiya.” Taz said sincerely, offering the woman a smile and the knowledge that if something happened, Taz wasn’t going to blame Naadiya for being safe.

“Riverfall liked to keep people covered too. But it rains so often here, then the sun comes out the next chime… it gets confusing. You are always wet or overheating… one moment your clothing could be dry, rain hits, then the sun comes out… and we are all standing around in garments that are steaming. It’s unreasonable at best. That’s why you will find the Isuas fabric very helpful. Cotton just doesn’t stand through the wet, dry, wet, dry, steam cycle.” Tazrae explained, leaning back and wetting her hair again and then getting comfortable and crossing her legs under her rump sitting on her heels beneath the water. “Ignore the men too. They tend to strip down at the drop of a hat… but they don’t mean anything by it. It’s almost cultural here now.” Taz said, shrugging. “I used to be very uncomfortable with all of it. Now, though, after two years, I’ve gone full native.” She said, grinning wickedly. “And I find it liberating to not have to care if someone sees one’s skin or not. It’s just a body. It’s just clothing. I’m not really sure what the big deal about it is in Riverfall either. There are too many other things to worry about.” She said softly.

Taz nodded at Naadiya’s next question. “Yes, Talsis Lisuli is my father. The only thing I know for certain is that he’s third in line with the Lisuli leadership. I don’t know if he was into camels or fabric. I’ve never met him.” Tazrae said softly, her voice full of sadness. “My mother’s twin raised me… I didn’t know she was my aunt. I thought she was my actual mother. And my father was actually my uncle. My mother is the warcheif of the Kois… Matari Arcadius Kois. They had a clandestine romance that fell apart after Matari found out she was carrying Talsis’ child. It’s a long story, one I don’t know all the bits and pieces of, but I do know my Grandfather who’s Florentin Arcadius Kois… he pulls all the strings of the Kois tribe, though its his son that leads.” Taz explained quietly.

“The story gets crazy. My Grandfather is one of those mages of old… full of power and just wanting more and more. He’s a mage, a powerful one, and he’s chasing immortality. He was… using the Kois family as his personal pedigree… breeding them like horses. My mother gave birth to twins, but only one of us was born a mage… the other was born a healer. They wanted to keep me away from him… so they gave me to a closely related family and they told my grandfather I was dead. Mother raised my sister… but I was hidden away in Riverfall and ignorant of all the family drama.” Taz said thoughtfully. “I see why they did it. Florentin Arcadius was openly breeding stronger mages within the Kois… regardless of their consent or not. He has hurt people… and will hurt more people.” Taz said softly, her eyes haunted.

“I know people outside of the family that he is openly hunting… and of other people, he hurt terribly. They are those of mage families or potential mages. I have no desire to visit the desert though I am curious about the Benshira themselves.” Taz added. “The desert means coming in contact with my grandfather potentially and I doubt at this time I would survive such a contact and still remain able to control my own life.” She explained.

“Normally I wouldn’t tell you all this, but Syka is a small community. You will hear things and everyone tends to learn everyone’s secrets sooner rather than later. While some of these things are no secret, some are… though the Founders have been told.” Taz said, not wanting the other woman to think she was crazy because she wasn’t even sure she would believe her if the roles were reversed. But all of it was the truth, even if she did leave out a lot of the details, like Alric and her grandfather’s hunt of him and his powerful family bloodline… the Nymkarta. Those were Alric’s secrets, not her own, and she didn’t know Naadyia that well… not yet at least. Taz hoped they could be friends.

Taz brightened at the question about singing. “Yes! I love singing. I play a little mandolin and drum too. Do you like music? Maybe we can exchange a few songs and sing together.” The Innkeeper said quietly. “We often have gatherings here at the Inn which include music… and every ten days we have a little settlement gathering called a Tenday… we have them on the tenth, twentieth, thirtieth, etc… all the way through the season. It’s a way for the settlers here to keep up with each other, share news, check-in, and trade. We also play together, sing together, and even dance.” Taz explained, hoping Naadiya liked that kind of thing. “I always love cooking for it too.” She added.

“Some people that don’t sing well just need a little practice or learn to develop their breaths… and sometimes if you are musical but don’t like your singing voice, you can pick up an instrument and join in that way. I have all kinds of musical instruments you can try playing… and a lot of people around here have numerous abilities… they’d teach you for certain.” Taz affirmed.

“So you weave, love songs, and have been in the desert among the Benshira. That’s so incredible, to me, Naadyia. Do you have any other hobbies? I like building things… I built the dock. But I also love foraging, and I look for exotic flowers in the jungle and bring them back here to plant if I have time to dig them up carefully. That’s why we have so many flowers around here. I like animals a lot, so I feed birds and you know about snakes. I love music, and games… dancing too. There are a lot of single men in the settlement that are great dancers. You’d probably like a few of them and we never lack for partners even as single women.” Taz said with a grin. She LOVED dancing.

“Oralie.. the Kelvic that lives here too does pottery. I feel like I should learn a new hobby too…. so I’ve been thinking of asking one of our locals… Rainmere to teach me how to firedance. I think that’s beautiful art, especially after dark. What about you? Anything you itching to learn?” Taz asked, carefully, just wanting to know the woman better.

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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. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Postby Naadiya on February 19th, 2022, 3:24 am

Naadiya wondered if she would ever get used to the snakes. It’s not that they had not been part of life in the desert, she’d simply just never been a huge fan. Maybe it was something about how they moved slithering from side to side, or their little forked tongues or who knows what. They made for wonderful belts thought, and thinking of these giant anacondas, Naadiya honed in on the skin. A snake skin that size would certainly catch a good price. She supposed if nothing else, it could be a profitable if necessary kill., snake leather was costly when it was good quality.

“Does your trap design work for the big ones too? Assuming of course you have the strength to pull the rope if it did catch something. I suppose a larger snake might have larger scales, though I’m not sure how much that would affect the trap’s efficacy. And of course there is also the creature’s strength to take into account, they are pretty much all muscles aren’t they?”

Naadiya leaned back in the water, looking up at the sky. It would also be beautiful to come out here when the stars are out.

“Did you like it in Riverfall? I once saw a tapestry that was supposed to depict the city from the view of the sea, it looked majestic but I have no way of confirming its accuracy one way or another. I’ve tried weaving on a moving ship and it was no easy task. Though, I guess if you have a great memory you would be able to recreate the view once on land but I still imagine the textile must have been romanticized quite a bit, there were just so many tiers in the city.”

Feeling like she had actually agreed to the skinny dip much more easily than she’d given herself credit for, Naadiya tried to imagine how it would feel if there had been many people at the pool, or men for that matter.

“Back home men and women bathed separately for the most part. I've never really thought about it or questioned it but as the tribes are filled with all age groups, co-ed bathing could cause some embarrassing situations.”

Come to think of it, Naadiya couldn’t remember having seen any children, teens or even babies in Syka. Dawn had mentioned the general wish to start a new generation of Sykans but Naadiya hadn’t thought it fully through. How likely would it be for an anaconda to hear a crying baby in the middle of the night and decide the tender young flesh would make for a perfect midnight snack?

"Tazrae," she asked, "are there any children in the settlement? I know I haven't been here long, but so far the only child I have seen was on a Svefra ship stopping by."

Talsis…Tazrae’s father’s name sounded familiar but Naadiya could not bring the face up in her mind anymore, though surely she must have seen him before. Or was it another Talsis that had caused the named to linger in her head? Then she remembered something.

“I hope this isn’t offering uninvited information but I believe I may have met your father… or not really met but… My father was trying to ingratiate himself with the elders trying to get a desirable match for me, during a holiday at Wadrass… Gods, it was so long ago I can’t even remember which holiday… Anyway, it was going to be my second marriage anyway so my prospects weren't good and my father was being very forward and almost unpleasant and yours could have handled it way worse, in my opinion He had a beard, I remember. A very well manicured beard. I can’t say for sure, but I do believe he oiled it on a nightly basis.”

While she was hoping to lighten the mood a little, Naadiya hoped her tone would not be taken harshly.

“I never got to know too much about the Kois, my grandmother left her tribe as soon as her youngest her born and really never shared much about it with us. It had caused a bit of a scandal but it blew over eventually because by the time I was born, no one ever tried giving her any trouble. She is a mysterious lady, that one.”

The story of Tazrae’s father was almost storybook, it was almost one of her grandmother’s stories, really. The idea that someone would be doing that to people was all the more shocking when you found out it he was doing it his own people, his own kin. Naadiya tried to work her face in a way that didn’t show pity to Tazrae or horror at the story.

She was a little surprised that the inn keeper was sharing something so personal, especially to someone she was just meeting but sometimes strangers were just the right people to lend a sympathetic ear. The evening air was relaxing and the pool's flow was disarming.

…and so is being naked…

Naadiya wanted to share her own tale but it didn’t seem like the time. There are times when the best thing to say is nothing. Besides, Naadiya was still fighting her Benshira nature of taciturnity. She had been feeling pretty comfortable with her new landlord, maybe their shared heritage caused for some of it but Tazrae had still been raised out of the desert. It would take a little longer for Naadiya to fully adapt to society in this place.

After a few chimes flowed by in the current, Naadiya did speak.

“I won’t try to sift through what you tell me to decide what I can or cannot say to others. My approach is, if you tell me something when we are alone, I won’t repeat it. Period. But if you drunkenly sing about your unrelenting need to always be covered in goat cheese before intercourse, while we are sitting at a pub, then yes I consider that free game for anyone close enough to hear.”

She laughed and splashed some water in the other girl’s direction, “you don’t really like to do that with goat cheese.. do you?” Then she splashed again not waited for an answer.

“Well here is your first lesson on the Benshira: in addition to LOVING goat cheese, music runs in the blood. And thank you for proving it, I wasn’t sure about you since you weren’t raised surrounded by the desert culture. Had to ask. I love music, I used to sing when I’d weave but it feels like it’s been such a very long time. My sisters and I never really had time for any training so we only sang for fun to make time pass by faster while we were at our looms. My mother was a wonderful singer, though. Kois women in particular are said to be the best singers of the Benshira and maybe it’s racial pride but I’ve heard it said by many, that the Benshira make for some of the best singers in or out of the desert.”

She coughed a little and cleared her throat,”and please don’t hold my voice as an example of what our people can do… I have not taken care of my voice the way performers do. Though… I do love lemons, so I should probably start drinking more lemon water now that I’m somewhere so fertile. We will nurture our voices for these Tendays, and I have plenty of songs for us to trade. Some from the desert and some from the sea. Sometimes though, I need a drink to remember a song I learned while drunk. I don’t know what that’s about, but there it is.”

With a little shimmy of her shoulders, Naadiya smiled innocently thinking of what these Tendays could really be like.

“I love dancing! Oooh, how fun it will be to see other dances from around the world. I can’t wait to see what they’ve been teaching you in Riverfall!"

"In terms of hobbies..." she dunked her head in the water then popped back up, "I guess I could work on that area a little more. I have tried songwriting but I’m no good, not really. Too bawdy. I only started when left the tribe and my influences since leaving have not been the purest. I would love to learn to garden, though. To be able to grow something from a seed seems like such a feat. Fire dancing? Sounds very exciting! Maybe a little dangerous too! I want to see that! Will you be fire dancing next Tenday?”

Then Naadiya looked Tazrae straight in the face, her face disbelieving.

“You sing, you cook, you play a variety of instruments, you raise snakes, and chickens, and garden, and run an inn, and build docks and dance with fire and you still think you need another hobby? What you need is a break!”

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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on February 25th, 2022, 6:10 am

Taz considered Naadiya’s question. “I think a truly big snake, something perhaps over ten feet or longer, would simply tear up the lines on the netting and escape quite easily. But, perhaps with the food and snakes being snakes, if they swallowed entangled meat, things would get dicey and their health would be compromised.” Taz said delicately. The truth was she wasn’t sure what a big snake could safely digest and what it could not. She wasn’t even sure the stomach acid in them would eat through the lines… which could very well be possible. Taz hadn’t given it much thought. “They are all muscles. They are stronger than you can imagine… even the small ones. I think taking off their heads with a machete or axe would be far easier to kill them, but it wouldn’t be an easy task. I know arrows do nothing usually. And if they get close enough to strike or get you in the water, drowning is a real issue.” The Innkeeper said gently, leaning back in the water and letting her toes float to the surface.

It was truly a beautiful day and she was glad to have good company with her. “Riverfall was a beautiful cage.” The Innkeeper said softly. “They treat women like fragile vessels, only good to look at and birth Akalak babies that mostly kill them… at least the humans. My mother died being a Nakivak. That’s what they call them when they rent out their wombs. I didn’t fit in there. I didn’t want to be controlled or valued by what I could produce and not by who I actually was.” Taz said with barely concealed anger in her voice. “It reminded me of a big beast crouched up on top of a cliff. There was a bit of tiering on either side of the Blue Vein falling off the edge of the world, but mostly the city was flat at the top. It’s beautiful, all made of stone, and full of big jewel-toned Akalak. Every one of them will never see you as a real person. They will see you as what you can do for them and offer you coin to rut you and fill your belly with a child. And if you happen to be barren, you are nothing but trash there. They will treat you like a slave until you pay back their crushed dreams which is impossible. They get their rank by how many children they have, gotten on stolen and bought women. They like Kelvics best and trade them like beasts. That’s why Oralie is here, escaping that fate. Their male babes grow big and rip the wombs out of human women too easily. Then the children never grow up having mothers because they bled to death on their birthing beds. Konti have it better, but they don’t like using them because half the time they birth more Konti instead of Akalak and they fill robbed.” Taz said in an empty voice, shuddering slightly.

Taz returned her attention to Naadiya when the woman spoke about the pool being potentially populated with mixed company and the co-ed causing embarrassing situations. “I felt the same way when I first came here. I was untouched – my mother-not-mother wanted me pure for a large Akalak contract one day – and naïve in the way of women and men. I didn’t know where to look. I didn’t know what to say. I was bright red all the time with embarrassment. I’ve seen more penises in Syka than I thought existed in the world. But you know what? They are just bodies to me now. Some are beautiful, and some aren’t. There are round and skinny and short and tall… I just… it makes things easier. I see the people now, not their penises or breasts. I’m far stronger now because its just skin and bones and flesh. Kelvics and their nudity don’t bother me and love running wild here. I see spirits and eyes and souls and hear voices… really hear them. I don’t think I knew how to listen before I came here. Now I can.” She said thoughtfully.

“No… sadly. There aren’t any children. I don’t think their presence would change anything either. But most of us that came here were single, without family, willing to try to settle the wilderness so that it could be safe for families. We’re talking a bit about orphanages and bringing over homeless children willing to come to the jungle to apprentice to some of our craftsman here. I’d take one or two myself to teach about Innkeeping. I have the time, mostly, and the space. I have a friend from Sunberth… they don’t have a good life there. If they’d be willing, we’d bring them here. We just have to figure out how.” Taz said softly. “Riverfall might be our best option because its close, but it would be human and kelvic boys mostly. The Akalak wouldn’t let the potential homeless breeders leave.” The young woman said, leaning forward to give herself more room to dip her head back into the water and re-wet her hair which was drying in the heat.

Tazrae paused then. She turned to Naadyia and hesitated. “No children being here isn’t exactly true. There is one…” She started out slowly, her words drawn out. “James had a younger daughter; Juli’s little sister. She died a long time ago as a child. But she’s still around as a ghost. I think she’s attached to his ship. Her name is Veronica. She has a pet kitten you can see right through. They roam around together… I’ve seen her sometimes, when the ship is in port, playing either on the ship or around The Commons.” The Innkeeper said. “I’m so sad for him. There’s a lingering sadness in his eyes. I don’t know what happened or where his wife is. I’ve never got bold enough to ask Juli or James himself… but … something happened.” She said gently, shaking her head.

The conversation moved on and Taz grew more hopeful. She didn’t like thinking about Syka being without children, but she didn’t want to be the one to provide them.

When Naadiya offered the information about Talsis, Taz paused, studied her thoughtfully, and smiled slightly. “I can’t picture him. Do you think he is a good man?” Taz asked, not sure, especially not after what she knew about her grandfather. All the tribes under his control were suspect, but Taz didn’t know if her father’s tribe fell in that spectrum. Her mother’s tribe did. As far as Tazrae could tell, the Kois were all subject to Florentin Arcadius’ evil.

“Why did your grandmother leave?” Taz asked suddenly, curious. What would cause a mother to leave a tribe as soon as the infant was born? Protecting them from something? Was she hiding secrets or running from them? Taz probably saw shadows were there were none, but she her caution wasn’t unfounded. She’d seen things in the Dreamwalker’s trip down memory lane… things that were done to Alric’s parents by the Kois. She still remembered seeing Alric’s father in chains on one side of a stronghold tower room while unspeakable things were done to his mother. All Alric’s father could do was turn his back, to spare his wife the horror of knowing he witnessed her defilement. Taz couldn’t forget seeing that. She knew what her bloodline was capable of. And she knew she’d try to make up for that every day of her life… because she couldn’t change her blood.

Taz nodded at Naadiya’s statement. “I appreciate that….” She said, meaning that more than Naadiya knew. “And if I get drunk in The Tidepool and announce my new goat cheese fetish then I deserve the repercussions.” Tazrae said with a small laugh, her mood lightening up. Her grin increased when Naadiya splashed her. “Sure… of course I do. Goat cheese is the best.” Taz said, splashing Naadiya back, laughing outright now.

The Innkeeper leaned back, rubbing at her ears a moment and then wiggling her toes above the water. “I love it here. Here we are free.” Taz repeated, not knowing if Naadiya understood or not. “At least for a while… while it’s still wild and free.” Taz reiterated.

Then Naadiya gave her a lesson on the Benshira, one she eagerly drank in. Her smile grew as the other woman revealed something she knew all along to be true. Music was in her blood. It wasn’t just because it was… but it was a real thing and a thing of the desert. She was glad for that, for it explained a lot about herself. “If you love dancing, wait until you see Firedancing. You’ll be absolutely amazed. I’m just learning it, but its something truly spectacular in the dark on the beach.” The Innkeeper said, her eyes practically aglow. “No… no one’s seen my firedancing yet. I’m not ready for that. Only Rainmere has who is teaching me… and maybe I’ll show Alric. He’ll understand.” She said with a soft smile.

“No… the last thing I need is a break.” She said with a laugh. “And I don’t know much about plants, but I will teach you what I do know…. and we can get James to get us some books… maybe we can learn together. All I do is find beautiful flowers in the jungle, bring them back to the Protea, and try to keep them alive. Sometimes I’m successful, but other times I fail. I don’t know how to do anything half as nice as weaving. That’s amazing, to think you are creating something with your hands that not only you can enjoy but sometimes people through the ages… generation upon generation. Imagine that? And weavers tell stories. I’ve seen patterns that form messages woven into cloth. I’ve seen tapestries woven that depict things that happened in the world long ago. Your cloth keeps people warm, dry, protected from the sun…. that’s amazing, Naadiya..” Tazrae said thoughtfully, her smile wide and encouraging.

“If you like the water, I’ll teach you to paddleboard. I think most people love it who try it… and we can go out at night with lights on our boards so little fishes come up to see what we are… things that glow in the dark and are luminous under the sea. Syka is magical for that kind of thing. You’ll see. And even one of the people here handglides. I haven’t tried it, but it looks amazingly like you are flying like a bird. Maybe we can go do that together?” Taz suggested, wondering if she could talk that particular person into giving some lessons. She’d always wanted to fly, after all… always.

“You came here to find happiness, didn’t you?” Tazrae asked, curious. “What does happiness actually mean to you, Naadiya?” The woman asked, wanting more of an insight into who the Benshira was and what she considered valuable in her life. For Tazrae didn’t think it was coin at all. The things that had value to her all the coin in the world couldn’t buy. She hoped Naadiya would feel the same way.

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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. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Postby Naadiya on February 26th, 2022, 9:25 pm

Naadiya had no doubt as to what she would do if she encountered a large, loose snake heading towards her…. Run screaming for Tazrae, The Snake Whisperer, to come dispatch the legless monster.

“Is fire a good deterrent? Or smoke? We’d sometimes throw certain herbs or wood chips into the fires and fan the flames. The heavily scented smoke can be particularly pungent or cause burning sensations. That often helped to repel a variety of pests and other unwelcome stragglers, but I’ve never tried it on snakes.”

She considered it in her mind but seemed unconvinced of the results.

“Snakes generally have a great sense of smell, I’ve been told, and it’s always the acute sense that are easiest to overwhelm to the point of disorientation… Though, I suppose they are usually quite low to the ground, the smoke might not even reach them.”

For Naadiya, drowning would be a real issue with or without a snake in the water. She needed to learn how to swim, or at least how to really adapt to moving in water. Holding the underwater bench with her hands, Naadiya kicked her legs forward a few times. The near buoyant feeling of being in the water was relaxing both physically and mentally, she found, even when the topic was serpents. It slowed her breathing and took the literal and metaphoric weight right off. Her feet did not ache, and neither did her back. Serenity seemed within reach in this place.

When she’d started hearing about the Akalak city, Naadiya’s beautiful mental painting of the place was ruined, marred and covered in red. Was there anywhere in the world where innocent blood was constantly and needlessly spilt?

Who is the person who decides what is or isn’t ‘needless’.

She couldn’t answer that. Her own cultural history was no cleaner than that of the indigo warriors and from what she’d seen, the Svefra side had not been any less cruel.

“I had always heard the Akalak were meant to be the height of chivalry… There are stories that ran through the tribes about how visiting their city as a woman meant being showered in gifts, love declarations and even bribes to keep them from leaving… When I was a teen, I had friends who’d all planned to run off to meet their imagined hugely muscles lovers… I even had fantasized about it at some point.”

It was such a problem with the younger girls that mothers often punished their daughters when hearing them, as talk of leaving the desert was frowned on, particularly if the person leaving was a potentially fertile woman.

Naadiya wondered how easy it would be to come and go from the Akalak city. Would it even be possible to be in the city just long enough to enjoy its fruits but not long enough to be found out as the barren trash they would see. I would rather be trash than be ripped apart from the inside by my own spawn, and have death unavoidably follow birth like an octopus.

“But if it was a cage, how did you escape?”

Having not yet met, Oralie, Naadiya did not want to pry into her story. She was hesitant, not wanting to look like she was nosy or attempting to elicit gossip from the woman.

“Well I’m sorry to say, but our people are not so terribly far from the Akalak, in where they place their value of woman. But our men don’t have such dangerous seed thankfully which I'm sure prevents a whole sleuth of related issues. But our numbers are not what they once were and there are many miscarriages, infant deaths and infertility. Grandmother used to say it was because the tribes were too incestuous. I never actually met any siblings who coupled but it wasn’t hard to see where she got that. Family lines die out all the time so marriages are highly strategic and preplanned, taking not only the continuation of a family name, but also the monetary assets involved. The frequent interweaving of the same families happens due to lack of numbers. And woman are both the glue that binds society and the main commodity that sustains it. Yet a woman can be disinherited or labeled Tiach, for refusing to go through with a marriage, I’ve heard. They are so depending on women to continue their lines they do their best to exert control. But the barren are not trash. There are many roles that need filling in society and people are a resource. Those women tend to be the ones who get to live outside the home. Yes, they often are nannies, cooks, or teachers, but the few who have the means and status for it sometimes pursue their own trades and goals."

“I was married a few times,” Naadiya found herself being unusually open and blamed it on the water again. “None of them stuck…” she patted her flat stomach stomach a couple of times. “I’m afraid I probably won’t be much help in populating this town either.”

“I do think an orphanage is an admirable pursuit though, and eventually those orphans would eventually grow to add to the community, if food and water are plentiful, they could do well here. I hate that it would mean so many girls are left behind though, is there nothing that can be done? If you got out, couldn’t other comes out the same way?”

Upon hearing the explanation for the Chaliva vessel’s name, Naadiya found a new empathy for James and Juli. While the loss of a parent was not the same as the loss of an infant, it was still a deep bond lost forever. Naadiya was glad to hear of the apparition before encountering her. Coming across the unknown could incite feelings of fear, even if the object of distrust was not truly harmful. She would hope to not solicit any of the ghost’s ire, horror stories had always been plentiful by the campfire and she had no desire to live through one of them.

“Yes, you are right. There is grief in his eyes, I thought it may have been for a lost love and assumed ‘Veronica’ was Juli’s mother. I’m glad I didn’t say anything.”

Tazrae’s change of tone when it came to her father brought a sad smile to Naadiya’s face. “I did not know him enough to claim if he was good or not, our people tend to keep most of the bad carefully hidden. But if he had a bad reputation, I can only say that it never reached my ears. He was fairly influential, and patient enough that when people would speak to him he wouldn’t interrupt. But that’s really all I could say.”

Why did Grandmother leave?

“I-, well I guess in all honesty I don’t know. She never really liked to give details about her past. My older sister told me that when she was still very young she once asked Grandmother and was told that she’d left because Grandfather had died and she couldn’t stop thinking about him, but that had been before I was born and when I asked she never answered.”

When Naadiya was about sixteen, during a holiday at the fluctuating city, Wadrass, her family all went off in different directions, eager to see what new wonders the trade hub had to offer this year. She was with her uncle and after he’d had one too many peppery flavored drinks, Naadiya asked him about his father. She had gotten a few jumbled lines out of him before slipping that her mother never spoke of him. The comment he’d replied with stuck in her mind to this day.

’Oh you mean her father?’

Almost immediately he seemed to have realized what he’d said and sobered up. Like a cloud that has passed over the sun, Nadaiya knew she had lost her window.

“I don’t know why she left. It was always just another one of her mysteries that she would answer with pivots to fables, children’s stories or songs… But... In the desert, there is a fashion that people still sometimes like to follow of gifting a bangle to a woman you were about to marry. Bangles in general were gifted in different special occasions but she had three different betrothal bangles,” Naadiya remembered only recalling the memory after her own third marriage when she'd had three of her own.

“I could have been mistaken, it was a hectic day, I only noticed it at my last wedding day. Or she could have gotten them some other way, I suppose. I never asked and never knew. But I also never knew the Kois were being so heavily manipulated from within. That is not widely known, or I would assume the other tribes would have stepped in, unless Florentin’s already gotten to them.”

Naadiya submerged herself in the cool water. For a couple of seconds the sounds of the forest were muted, and she could hear her heart beat in her ears. Breaking the surface again, she sucked in air and filled her lungs. She could smell wet soil and figured this area probably always had a bit of the scent lingering in the air. Free was the right word. The feeling you had being there was one of freedom. Free to be, free to grow, free to live. Naadiya wondered how long that would last for.

“Alric, huh?” Naadiya tone became playfully sultry, “is this a love connection? Maybe just a lust connection? He must be special if he is getting a one-on-one dance… especially one so…. heated…”

Tazrae seemed so impressed and even interested by the fact that Naadiya could weave fabric, it took the girl entirely by surprise. It was something she had almost always known how to do, and a skill that went by almost unnoticed in a family filled with weavers. Her grandmother wove and had taught her children. Her mother had married a cloth merchant who insisted all their children be taught to weave as well. And he enforced it.

“Weaving is a medium like any other…” She was trying to float but having a fairly unsuccessful attempt, the peaks of her breast only occasionally coming up for air. Talking made it harder and she tried to steady herself with a hand on the pool’s ledge.

“It’s how you use it that ends up defining it’s value and if I’m being honest, I’ve never really tried to take it beyond a means of income. Mainly it was out of need. Weaving was how my family made money so it was why we were taught as children and how we were introduced to it. By the time I was born the business had grown enough that Father had always dictated what we could produce according to predetermined orders he had arranged the previous season or even the previous year. Sometimes my younger sister rebelled and tried to use her own choice of colors for certain patterns, but she did it so clearly out of spite it was never to the benefit of the fabric. Father would often have to sell her textiles separately at lower prices locally, Lisuli can some times be blind to the line between garish and stylish. It's still too soon to tell what it will be like to weave for the Swiftwaters but I've got my fingers crossed."

One long, deep breath had her torso above the surface for a few seconds. When she had to exhale, Naadiya let her body bob lower in the water.

She agreed enthusiastically to going paddle boarding, it sounded relaxing and less life-risking than Tazrae's next suggestion.

“You know, I’m not to sure about that one…” Naadiya laughed, “If I was meant to fly, I’d have been born with wings. Besides, what is the general plan-B if something goes wrong with the contraption in the air? Prayer?”

Settling back into her seat, Naadiya looked back at the other woman. The levity of her tone was gone but there was no hostility in it either.

“I don’t know if it’s happiness I’m after… Or rather, I guess it’s more accurate to say that, I’m not sure if it’s happiness that I will find. I take joy where I can get it, it can be fleeting and often in short supply so I’ve learned to take it like water in the desert. But I left Eyktol to find someone. I don’t know where he is, and didn’t even originally plan on coming to Syka but this is where fate has left me. I’ve almost no coin left, I lost my mount, and while I’m not entirely new to surviving in the wild, that is tough to do without tools that need gold to be bought.

I’m not sure if Syka is where my story ends. If I don’t find him, I may have to leave in search elsewhere but my mother used to say that sometimes life puts a wall in front of you so that you can stop, take a breath and rebuild your strength before you go on. Maybe my wall is green and thick with foliage.”

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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on March 6th, 2022, 6:12 pm

Taz was enjoying the water tremendously but she decided somewhere along her conversation with Naadiya that she perhaps enjoyed the company even more. The Innkeeper was starting to get the impression that Naadiya didn’t like snakes. That brought a wistful smile to Tazrae’s face for she could completely understand the sentiment. She felt the same way when she came to Syka, and it was utterly strange to her some days that she kept a reptile garden and worked on breeding snakes. It was often as if someone had stepped into her very plain life – a person she didn’t recognize.

Life had a funny way of changing drastically and quickly, that much was for sure. “You have good insight, Naadiya. Not just with the snakes. Your powers of observation and your intellect are telling at times. When I was younger in Riverfall, I was taught that women shouldn’t be well educated. It wasn’t necessary. But now that I am older, I see that it was just a control tactic. Someone obviously loved and respected you enough to see you well educated.” Tazrae said plainly, meaning every word.

“From what I’ve seen, the best deterrent is odor. They have poor eyesight and hearing, but they smell with their tongues somehow… tasting the air somehow. Maybe its better called taste. If something that eats them have been around, they tend to leave. Now… smoke is great for flying creatures like mosquitos and flies. A good smokey fire will keep them away. And if you spread the ashes from your fire around where you camp, in a thick layer so the ground turns ashy, any sort of dangerous crawly – especially stinging ants and spiders – will stay away. But I’ve never known that to affect snakes. They’ll nose right into a cool fire to get leavings and drippings from the grill.” She said wistfully. “There are charms that can be made that can tell you where the snakes are so you can avoid them. They are made by mages. Syka is lousy with mages. Someone can probably fix you up with one. I have one…” She said, fingering a charm bracelet.

“This one lets me locate snakes, which is helpful in my voluntary job. I’m one of Syka’s guardians. So I often walk about during the day and clear the settlement of snakes if I can… killing or relocating them.” She added, then touched the armband that encircled her left bicep. “I was bitten by an eyelash viper shortly after coming here. I almost died… this was a gift from the founders afterwards. It’s called Reptile’s Promise. It makes me immune to the bites of reptiles… their poisons. The longer you live here, you will start to understand this area is surrounded by cast off magic items… we find them on the beaches, in the Stair-Step Falls, everywhere.” She added, fingering two of the other charms on her charm bracelet. “This one lets me feel ghosts around…. “ She said of a second charm that wasn’t shaped like a snake. The third charm was another pretty jewel. “This one lets me find lost things I own when I lose them.” She said with a grin. “Half the fun of finding these things is figuring out what they do.” Taz added.

“I hope you aren’t wary of magic. Syka has mages aplenty.” The Innkeeper confessed, then offered Naadiya a smile. “I mean.. this pool was built by a mage, after all; a Reimancer who specializes in water.” She added.

The conversation turned towards Riverfall and Taz nodded at Naadiya’s question. “That’s true enough, I supposed…. Getting showered with gifts. But from what I’ve seen there’s a debt to their kindness. And the tally keeps running up. And when it reaches a certain level, you basically become one of the Nakivak to pay it off. Women from good families get to select their contracts and are usually very happy. But poor women… there are stories. Poor, unwilling, ill… what they don’t tell you is that the survival rate for a human woman is less than thirty percent. It’s a very pleasant beautiful wealthy gilded cage, but its still a gilded cage. You are only valued for your womb and nothing else. There is even a tower where some are kept. I’ve heard stories of it as well. Men go there, multiple times a week, go in looking tense, come out looking relaxed… as if they’ve been with a woman. No one talks about it.” Taz replied, shaking her head.

“I think they keep the breeding stock they don’t want roaming around there.” She added, eyes sad. “My mother became a Nakivak after my father died…. well the woman that told me she was my mother. Turns out the whole Aunt thing was valid. But she was kept well and married the man.” Taz replied.

“Captain James took me from Syka. He has some weight there and I refused to become a Nakivak. I owed no debt so they had to let me go. There is honor there. The city is beautiful, clean, and safe. I just was never stupid enough to want fancy clothing, jewels, and to be kept.” She added.

When Naadiya began to speak of the Benshira, Taz leaned closer, listening to everything she said carefully. It was strange, sitting nude beside a woman that had the same deep olive undertones and luminous golden skin. Tazrae thought Naadiya beautiful, but the few Benshira women she had seen were always lovely. “Why would interbreeding lead to infertility?” Taz mused. “I always thought powerful bloodlines like the Nymkarta didn’t marry far from their own kind.” She said, thinking of the leadership of the old empire of Alahea and what was considered royalty among them.

It made sense, what Naadiya was saying, once she explained it. Taz nodded even though her eyes widened at the confession that Naadiya had been married multiple times. She glanced at Naadiya’s smooth stomach and smiled. “I don’t think anyone will hold infertility against you here. There are no children after all and we have a lot of women in the population now. It’s not something anyone’s mentioned, because we’ve all been focused on survival. You will be valued as a weaver. So far, the only one we have had for the longest time is Tony… and now his wife Dawn. They can never keep up so I don’t think people will think twice of you not having kids as long as you are doing something you love that provides such a valuable resource.” Taz added.

“Well, they don’t have to get kids from Riverfall at all. I mean, they can take orphans from Sylira or even south.. .and Zeltiva and Sunberth aren’t off the table as options either. You just have to talk to the trade Caravans and make arrangements. We’ve got gold aplenty here to do whatever we want with the proper arrangements and the gods willing.” Taz said, smiling. “And I’m sure a few human boys that will never truly have status in Riverfall would like to come here too… who knows?” She added.

Taz was glad to know that at least at one point her father was still alive and out there somewhere. A little girl always dreamed of her father being someone somewhere who made a difference. Maybe hers did as well, though she had never met him and probably never would. Getting the description from Naadiya was enough… far more than enough. Taz knew she’d never head south to see him… and he’d likely never wind up in a jungle. So a description sighted from afar was far more than she’d ever hoped for.

Naadiya spoke of her grandmother at length and Taz listened with avid curiosity. Naadiya might not realize it, but within her words were bits and pieces of Eyktol’s life and the culture of the Benshira. It was fascinating to the Innkeeper who didn’t even know more than Eytol was vaguely south and east in a burning land. Bangles were a thing? Taz smiled at the thought. She loved wearing charms on her wrists and thought that the practice of giving women bangles would be suitable for the desert people who tended to wear their wealth if stories remained true.

When Naadiya spoke of Alric, Taz’s color deepened. “He’s like my secret treasure. I can’t explain it. We met at the Outpost. I have an apartment in The Outpost I share with him, though he’s not from Syka and has never been here. We aren’t lovers. We are very good friends. We have some things in common and spend time reading or learning about them together. I have nightmares sometimes and I will slip off and spend the night in his arms. Somehow, he chases the dreams away.” Tazrae said softly. It was probably the most she’d ever told anyone about Alric besides Bree. And it made her uncomfortable because it somehow made him vulnerable. But she was fairly sure Naadiya wasn’t a plant her grandfather had sent from the desert to spy on her. He had no idea she was here.

“Alric isn’t the weirdest thing in my life though. I think that title goes to Bree. I need to tell you all about her so you don’t get too scared. You know how we don’t have horses or camels here to ride? We have Ashta which are small jungle elephants, right? We also have riding lizards that are the size of horses. Bree is one of those, only… she’s sentient. I think she had some magic done to her. Anyhow, she’s probably my best friend and roams about The Protea because she lives there. She’s often on the beach or the deck, which is why the furniture is spaced out so much. Don’t be too unnerved if you meet her. She’s just like everyone else… if everyone else had four legs and emerald and sapphire scales.” Taz added, laughing. “And she talks entirely too much.” She added, then looked thoughtfully over at Naadiya.

“Everyone has to have something they find worth while and give them meaning. For me that’s cooking. For you, I suspect its your weaving.” Taz listened to Naadiya talk on about its necessity which was something she understood well. But she wondered how anyone could weave such beautiful things and not have it be something so much more to them than just fulfilling a need? Maybe it was the family business origins or the fact that it had always been there. Tazrae hadn’t been allowed to cook when she was younger. It was part of the business, but not her part of it.

“You’ll enjoy paddleboarding I think. I find it incredibly relaxing and not much effort for the payout. I haven’t tried hang-gliding yet, but I’ve been meaning too.” Taz admitted. “But its also fun to watch others do it… if he jumps off Treasure Point with his glider, you can watch him spiral for an hour or more with the onshore breezes. Laying on the beach? It’s really meditative.” She promised Naadiya.

Then Naadiya confessed something to Tazrae that surprised her. She was here looking for someone and it was the end of the road for her coin wise and probably energy if Tazrae was reading the mood right. “Do you want to talk about it? I might have some suggestions.” She said softly, thinking of the Svefra. “I know most people around here don’t realize it, but the Svefra are an incredible resource. They know everyone and everything. And if they don’t, they can find the information out easily enough. Had you thought about talking to one?” She asked, curious. There were several pods of Svefra that regularly visited Syka that Tazrae could say was perfectly suited and trustworthy for such investigations.

“But life can’t be all about searches, Naadiya. While you are here, you might find you actually can make a home somewhere other than Eyktol. What are you going to do if you find the man you are looking for? What then? It might actually be… to your benefit to put down some roots.” Taz suggested, splashing the woman with the water lightly, smiling. “Kids or no kids, you’ll be valued here.” Taz said, sitting back in the water. She lifted a foot, studied a toe, and smiled.

“Let’s think about heading back, and I’ll make something for lunch. It’s not like you have to make any decisions now. Settle… relax… get a feel for the place. You’ll find your path. The Gods will guide you.” Taz said, feeling that was utterly truthful.

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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. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Postby Naadiya on March 8th, 2022, 9:30 pm

Naadiya couldn’t be sure if she was blushing, but she could feel the heat rise to her face momentarily. She certainly didn’t think she was stupid or in any way lacking mental capacity, but it was rare for her to actually be praised for her intellect.

“Young girls in the tribes are generally groomed to become wives and mothers. The two should be one of the same. In fact, when one spouse is suspected or proven to be barren, the marriage can be dissolved and both can remarry as soon as possible until someone has a child. But there are many of us who end up unable to have our own offspring and we are still there, we don’t disappear. Because of this we so often we are the ones who fill roles like that of teachers, and so knowledge isn’t entirely barred from women. But there is so much more emphasis on childrearing, that you would actually gain social status with the more children you birthed successfully…”

She gazed into the falling waters again, suddenly feeling a little colder.

“To answer you, I was about to try and decide who had been my major influence growing up, who had been the one to take me under their wing, but I suppose having a big family was beneficial in that way… there were many sources to gain from, so when one well ran dry there were still others.”

In regards to the snakes, Naadiya had heard the same things about them tasting smells rather than inhaling them and hearing Tazrae voice the same thought, confirmed the trait in Naadiya’s mind.

“How odd,” she said, her voice low and pensive. “I’d also heard of them smelling with their tongues. It’s not so hard to link the two sense, when our own are so closely related but…. But they still have nostrils where you would expect their “nose” to be. Why had nature formed them in this way if they use their tongues to smell…. Are they solely for breathing or is there a secondary function? One that would cause different species to form different shaped heads. In any case, I suppose we should be thankful for this feature, since we can often judge whether a snake is venomous or not from the shape of its snout. Though I guess if you are close enough to see that, it would probably already be too late, if they are venomous…”

Naadiya tucked away the note about spreading ashes along a campsite to prevent crawling bugs from being problematic. Bugs were almost always problematic and the humidity and warmth of Syka seemed to create a perfect mating ground for every species of mosquito in the surrounding area. She didn’t think she was quiet ready to venture into the wild just yet but Naadiya would remember this bit of information for when the day came.

“A charm?” She perked up, arching an eyebrow as she moved closer to inspect the trinket. Like a magpie, the Benshira woman loved all things shiny and ornamental. Until recently she would have had her arms, fingers, neck, ankles even the occasional toe, adorned with some precious metal or work of detailed craftsmanship. But those were all gone, sold on the way to Syka. She had traded both the valuable and the sentimental. Marriage bangles and sapphire rings had caused equal pain as she handed them over. It was a stripping sort of feeling. A naked and bare sensation for someone who had for so long felt the weight and texture of the accessories against her skin.

Remembering the earring she’d just been given, Naadiya’s hand flew up to her ear. It hung there weightlessly, its drooping silver chains not quite reaching her shoulders. She pulled the earring off and it left her ear without so much as a tug. Looking at the ivory toned stone at its center, Naadiya wondered again, where it had come from.

“Well James just gave me this!” She chuckled with a light tone, her eyes comically wide. “Maybe it will be a magical snake detector! So far the only thing special about it is the fact that it’s solitary… and it’s probably the most comfortable earring I have ever worn, which says quite a lot for this little guy.”

A small wrinkle formed at the center of her forehead as an idea gained some ground in her mind. Naadiya had noticed something odd when she’d submerged herself, but not focusing on it at the time, she had just forgotten. So many odd details about a room, a conversation, a sound, could come to mind, but without context, without added information, much of it panned out to be nothing. But now there was a connection and testing out her theory, Naadiya lowered her palm until it and the earring met the water.

“I wonder…” she whispered, more to herself than anyone else, then she pulled back her palm.

The earring floated gently on the water’s surface.

Naadiya looked up at Tazrae with a somewhat puzzled look. When she had been wearing it, her ear felt no weight whatsoever. She couldn’t remember it brushing up on her neck or getting tangled in her hair. She’d even forgotten she was wearing it at all, that was how stealthy the trinket was. But the metal should have sunk, the stone too, being about the size of Naadiya thumb. By all accounts, the jewelry should have fallen down to the pool's floor. But now it seemed even the water felt its lack of weight as much as Naadiya had.

“Odd… ”

She grabbed the earring again and lowered her hand under the water. Staring at her closed fist as the water distorted the image, she could feel the earring doing… nothing.

It might float, but it probably isn’t strong enough to keep me from drowning, she thought. Naadiya opened her fist and the bauble rose again to the water’s surface.

“I wonder if it is enchanted or simply buoyant…”

Putting the earring back on, Naadiya shrugged, “I’m as wary of magic as of anything else I’m not intimately familiar with, but no, I wouldn’t say I have an aversion to it.”

Thinking back to the wondrous tapestry depicting the Akalak city, Naadiya grimaced. She certainly would not want to visit any time soon, after what Tazrae had just told her. The world was a cruel and dark place, but it seemed to Naadiya that a race so ill-suited for reproduction as the Akalak, was meant to be kept in small numbers for the sake of universal balance. She shuddered to think of what could happen if the muscular and militant minded people of the riverside city outnumbered those around them and found themselves under questionable leadership.

Or 'more questionable', I should say. Whoever is there now, is apparently keeping a barely-secret tower of breeding and death… And I thought the waterfall would have been such a beautiful site to see. But I’m certainly not going to visit alone.

Naadiya was hardly an expert on genealogy and didn’t really feel confident giving a real explanation for Tazrae’s questions so she shrugged, “I don’t know the ‘why’ and I know even less about what the Nymkarta line did or their reasons, I just know that’s what my grandmother would say and what the other women would whisper around the tribe whenever there would be a baby born with a physical abnormality or simply too weak to live long after birth.”

Tazrae may have claimed her and Alric were not lovers, but how many women would share an apartment with a man, and sometimes share his bed, and describe him as their ‘secret treasure’ without deep romantic feelings, Naadiya wondered if they were maybe not shared by Alric, or if Tazrae was the reluctant party.

We are often the hardest people to convince of our own feelings.

She said nothing, but only smile and nodded thoughtfully until the mention of Bree. Naadiya had known of this breed and come in contact with their desert cousins while in Eyktol, but none of them had ever been sentient. “I will be sure to introduce myself when I see her!”

They spoke of her search and of the Svefra that came and went and Naadiya became somewhat hopeful. The image of the compass formed in her head. But even that, she couldn’t truly be sure was an actual clue to where her father could be. It was just too coincidental to ignore. Naadiya tried to think of what else she knew, or suspected.

“I believe his ship or the whole pod, would have stopped and traded in Wadrass. Possibly often, but very likely at least twice. Once during the summer, then the following spring. And that would have been 26 years ago. I have a compass that I believe may have been his, so I’ve been scrutinizing it every time I feel the impulse, hoping that with new eager eyes I will find a clue. But so far, I’m stumped.”

Tazrae suggested the two head back and Naadiya agreed, the compass was still in her bag anyway and that had been left in the room. She was stepping out of the pool when it dawned on Naadiya that she had no towel or a change of clothes. She was now nice and clean, freshly rinsed and all she had to cover herself with was soiled traveling clothes. The trip back to the inn was going to feel unnecessarily dirty at best. Naadiya suspected her hostess would opt for walking in the buff but Naadiya was not quite ready for that. She took her pants and wrapped them around her hips, tying the legs together in such a way she vaguely covered front, one butt cheek escaping fabric. The sleeves of her top, Naadiya tied under her arms and turned the garment so that the join was at her back and her chest was covered with the rest of the blouse.

Maybe a little ‘stranded-island’, but hey it’s a look.

Word Count: 1676
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Seeking Shelter [Tazrae]

Postby Cleon on May 25th, 2022, 1:21 am

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Grade Award!

Naadiya:

Skills:

Observation: 5
Socialization: 5
Teaching: 1
WS (Jungle): 2

Lores:

James Chilva: Appearance & Mannerisms
James Chilva: Captain of the Veronica
Protea Inn: Location & Appearance
Tazrae: Appearance & Mannerisms
Tazrae: Owner of the Protea Inn
Tazrae: Fantastic cook
Mussurana: Appearance
Mussurana: Eats poisonous snakes
Protea Inn: Rules and regulations
Protea Inn: Meals times
Protea Inn: Paddle boards for rent, lessons and tours
Paddleboard: Appearance & Usage
Swine Swells: Overcrowded with pigs
Syka: Abundantly available fruit
Protea Inn: Layout and floor plan
Syka Dock: Location & Appearance
Protea Inn: Cleaning schedule
Reptile Garden: Location & Appearance
Protea Inn: Food Service
Community Pool: Appearance & Location
Duncan: Good swimmer
Duncan: Water Reimancer
Emerald Tree Boa: Appearance and behavior
Emerald Tree Boa: Non-venomous
Freckles: Docile Mussurana
Tazrae: Survived a bite from an Eyelash viper
Boas: Average size
Green anaconda: Average size
Reticulated Python: Average size
Chickens: Don’t defend their eggs
Syka: Relaxed dress code
Trapping: How to lure a snake
Trapping: How to build a snake trap
Community Swimming pool: Layout
Tazrae: Father and mother are Benshira
Tazrae: Raised by aunt and uncle
Tazrae: Grew up in Riverfall
Tazrae: Lisuli connection
Tazrae: Mother is a Kois Warchief
Tazrae: Grandfather is a power hungry mage
Tazrae: Plays the mandolin
Tazrae: Loves to sing
Tazrae: Plays the drum
Syka: Tenday gatherings
Akalak: Appearance and attitudes
Veronica: Jame’s deceased daughter
Juli: Jame’s living daughter
Veronica: Ghost that wanders around Syka
Snakes: Odor of ash as a deterrent
Tazrae: Has a charm that locates snakes
Tazrae: Armband makes her immune to snake bites
Tazrae: Has a charm that helps her find lost things
Tazrae: Loves Alric






Tazrae:

Skills:

Cooking: 1
Logic: 5
Investigation: 4
Teaching: 5
Rhetoric: 1
Swimming: 1

Lores:

Cooking: Making a mango souffle
Naadiya: Appearance & Mannerisms
Naadiya: Weaver at fever fashions
Naadiya: Benshira
Teaching: Informing a captive audience
Teaching: Explaining with physical examples
Teaching: Touring to reinforce examples
Naadiya: Food preferences
Naadiya: Desires to learn swimming
Naadiya: Lisuli connection
Naadiya: Grandmother left Kois tribe
Naadiya: Promises to keep secrets
Naadiya: Loves dancing
Naadiya: Wants a garden
Naadiya: Married a few times
Naadiya: How she values weaving
Naadiya: Weaving with her family
Naadiya: Gifted an earing from James
Naadiya: Wary of magic

I greatly enjoyed the thread from you both. I feel like Tazrae did an excellent job teaching Naadiya about Syka, and I thought the thread was a fun, informative read. Feel free to pm me with questions or concerns about your grade, and don’t forget to edit your grade request! :)
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