Closed A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Moritz and Naadiya meet on the beach...

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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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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Moritz Craven on January 18th, 2022, 10:02 pm

72 Winter 521


Taking some time, Moritz bent one leg and then the other, slowly stretching out his body before he ran. Then bending down to touch his toes, on one side and then the other, before switching to bending his arms and stretching them out. From both training and practice over time he could feel his flexibility increasing, able to bend a bit more smoothly or farther without struggling each time. As it was now he tried to stretch any time he was going to train, limbering up and readying his body for the work to come.

It was a bit late in the day though before dark. Moritz was done with his work for the day and so wanted to get some exercise. This usually took the form of a run on the beach, something he had done increasingly of late. It did not require him bothering anyone, and since he ran not too far from the docks he was within sight of multiple people and never too far from anyone. Even among the city there was danger, and so he tried to keep within a short distance of others at all times. There were even a few other runners he ran into at times, such as the Verusk he had met on the beach before.

Feeling stretched enough for some exercise, Moritz focused on the horizon and began to move, off down the beach. Bare footed and wearing only his button up suit and the items he could not remove, such as the star in his hand a neutral white, and the bracelet on his wrist, the colorful haired and odd eyed Kelvic moved with a long loping stride. His long legs helped, but his stride was still something the Kelvic was working on. He knew he could improve it, find better ways, but also knew it would take time to work on it. Another thing he tried to keep in mind was that it was easy to start with a stride, it was much more difficult to keep at it.

Left, right, left right, feet kicking up bits of sand. Foot placement. How his foot fell on the sand, how he rolled his foot from one movement to the next, he tried to consider them all, only to realize he had neglected his breathing. Focusing back on that he tried to get his breathing into a good cadence, in, hold, out slow, in, hold, out slow.... But by the time he began to regain a more even breathing his foot work was off again. Like trying to wrestle two pigs with one hand, he was having trouble focusing on both things at once.

Not one to give up Moritz kept at it, running as best he could and improving his breathing and foot work, before he made it to the turning point. Almost to the dock he turned and headed back in the opposite direction, continuing his short loop of the patch of beach he frequented. And off back in the other direction, one foot then the other, one breath in and then out.

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Naadiya on January 19th, 2022, 1:23 am

She’d been living in Syka nearly all season now, and had started to ease into her routine at work with as little friction as possible. Naadiya and her employer had moved beyond their initial tension and were getting used to each other, which had her feeling a lot more at ease as of late.

The weaver was basically getting to come and go as she wished. With a loom set up in her room at the inn and a variety of looms at the shop, Naadiya had been doing a lot of walking back and forth and her feet had sprouted blisters after the the 8th day of the coastal life. They were now starting to get accustomed to being used more and more now that she had neither ship nor camel beneath her.

By now, the girl had already started editing her wardrobe to better fit the environment. In place of her camel riding pants, she had a long skirt, fastened high above her waist and made of a light breathable fabric. And with shoulders bared, she wore a thin strapped blouse that had been tucked into the skirt. Both were natural unbleached greige fabrics, the most affordable she had found and Dawn feeling a drop of pity, gave her a discount as the material had not yet been dyed or treated.

Her only bit of extravagance being the ornate earring hanging from her right ear. The mysterious white stone had already been showing strange signs. Sometimes it caused her ear to ring so loud Naadiya had to leave the shop front, even if it had been a customer speaking. The very evident physical pain she had been feeling caused even her employer to attempt an understand stance to her behavior. But the earring did not want to leave her ear.

She had tried taking it off the first time, right as the ringing started and found that it was stuck. Like her earlobe had grown around the pin or the pin had barbed itself inside. Naadiya couldn't explain it even to herself but as it was adding one pain on top of another, she had to stop. The following day when she woke up, Naadiya attempted removing the jewelry again. This time it slipped off without so much as a twinge. That entire day, however, her ear had started to itch incessantly. She had tried cleaning it with salt water, having heard that sometimes helped with an itch. Tried gels of aloe and banana and whatever else she'd been suggested and found no solution until she begrudgingly put the earring back on her ear, where it had stayed since.

Little blue stitches showed the areas near her skirt’s hem where she had started to embroider tiny little bursts of blue. Naadiya had begun adding details to her new clothes and possessions that would reminded her of home, the embroidered detailing being one of the simplest ways she knew how.

Without letting herself stray too far from the Protea Inn, where she’d been staying, Naadiya had stationed herself on the beach. She still had a couple hours of even partial sunlight and she was determined to use them before heading inside and relenting to light a candle to continue her needlepoint. After this long in a place with such a different attitude towards modesty, Naadiya had almost entirely lost hers.

Sitting on the sand, she laid her bag down at her side, and pulled out an embroidery hoop. It took quite a bit of adjusting once she had fit the hoop to an area on her skirt. Embroidering something you were wearing could be inconvenient for obvious reasons, but it was certain not that challenging and the laziest of embroiderers would most all agree.

The evening air felt good in her lungs, it still held some of the sun’s warmth but less humidity making it feel almost lighter, despite the slowly darkening sky.

Naadiya almost always left a couple of needles ready in her bag, having previously threaded them then secured the needle to the small spools of embroidery floss. She had two tones of blue and some yellow ready but took only the darker blue tone.

Her goal was not the realistic designs some embroiderers preferred, with their painterly styles of using thread as paint. Instead, she chose tiny little flower patterns so small and simple geometrically, that it took someone glancing at her a second to actually be able to distinguish the motifs.

Eventually she would cover the entire skirt with such flowers, but that would take more than a couple of hours at the beach. The needle was plunged delicately in and out of the fabric. Naadiya may not have had the stability of working on a table with weights, but if she did, Naadiya would not be appreciating the evening with its dark amber glow.

The hoop she had used was fairly small. The larger the hoop, the longer you could focus on an area but the more unwieldy it became as well. She did not mind having to remove and reposition the hoop if it meant she had the ease of stopping or picking it back up at any time without issue. Having repositioned her hoop twice more, Naadiya had began to fill a sector on the right side of her hem with tiny indigo blooms. They were not perfect but that was also why she chose such a small pattern, the imperfections were easily lost in the sea of designs. Plus it was the hem of her skirt, and she hoped as she she made her way up the fabric, the flowers would become even simpler to her hands.

She was about to remove the wooden hoop from her skirt and head back inside when she saw someone running her way. Most of the locals she had met thus far may have proved friendly enough, but Naadiya still felt hesitant with every new face. She slipped her hand in her bag and clutched the small pair of sewing nippers, their razor sharp point being her best defense.

Getting up slowly, she hid her hand, masking it with her bag and the fabric of her skirt she still held. She was walking back the way she came, keeping her body turned just enough in the direction of the person coming so she wouldn’t lose sight of them. As far as Naadiya knew, no one was after her, and while she may not have been extravagantly dressed, a desperate or starving man would kill just as easily as he would steal without even necessarily meaning to.

The person was getting closer, she could see now that it was a man. Or she thought he was, but looking at the very unusual colors of his hair, Naadiya wondered if it had reached that hue with a dye of some sort or else… what?


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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Moritz Craven on January 19th, 2022, 9:29 pm

As Moritz focused on his footwork and breathing in turn, he noticed someone sitting off in the sand. As he passed the person, a woman, he was unsure how long she had been there or if he had simply not noticed when passing before due to being focused on his task.

He wasn't running at her, but at odds with her as she was sitting and facing out to the sea and he was running along the curves of the beach and so passing and moving in front of her rather than at her though at a bit of a distance. Far enough that he would not collide with her or have her underfoot in passing.

Rather than saying anything as he passed, being somewhat out of breath from running, Moritz nodded at the woman and passed her by.

From there he would continue off for a bit, running his loop. Left, right, breath in, breath out, several padding strikes of his feet on the ground for each breath. He tried to set a good cadence, to give himself a rhythm to stay at and be consistent, but he found this tricky as well.

Already from his short run a painful stitch was beginning to form in his right side, like a pressure forcing its way in with blunt force. This made the Kelvic think of a combatant straightening their hand into an edge and jabbing it into a fruit like a blade, an odd thought rising unbidden to his distracted mind from the various things he had felt and thought and heard.

From a distance his most distinctive element was his hair, matching his Okomo pelt, though closer up his eyes were also quite strange due to his dual nature as an Okomo Kelvic and an Iraso. He swept the beach with those eyes, his Iraso sight currently inactive, not noting anything much let alone a box sticking up like the one he had tripped on earlier in the season.

Continuing his stride the ache in his side began to grow, turning into a needle jabbing him rather than a blunt pressure, and made it all the more difficult to keep running.

Pushing through he finished another turn and headed back the other way he had come from, continuing another loop.

Soon enough though the stitch was too painful and his breathing was growing thicker from his exertions, and so he knew he would have to stop.

If the woman off to the side from earlier was still there talking to her seemed a good enough excuse, and so if she was still there Moritz would slow to a trot a bit before reaching the spot on the beach in front of her, coming to a stop a bit away in front of her. Far beyond arms reach or even needle stabbing length, not that Moritz knew of her odd prepared weapon.

Giving a short wave while he tried to catch his breath Moritz tried to meet the woman's eyes, looking directly at her and not running around his eyes would perhaps be visible to her for the first time.

"Hello... Whats that... Thing... You've got... There..."

Referring to the item she was working on Moritz asked the simple query, unsure what the item was or what she was doing with it and so trying to find out, assuming she would know which item he meant.

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Naadiya on January 30th, 2022, 2:33 pm

Naadiya watched, taut and ready as the man ran back and forth ahead of her, her eyes following him even as her feet edged her back until they left the loose sand for sturdier ground.

One lap might have been normal, two if he’d forgotten something. Was he just running for pleasure or was he gauging his target before approaching?

He nodded. Maybe just a local.. who likes to run alone in the evening. From where she stood Naadiya could not see any weapon or heavy bulk under his clothes, but it was getting dark and even as he ran away from her, Naadiya was moving her legs back. Their distance increased incrementally.

Why were her feet moving so slowly?

Just as the thought was passing through her mind, she deliberately increased her speed and within half a step, Naadiya tripped.

Landing on her side, she managed to bump her hip and scrape her forearm on harder packed ground and a bit of driftwood but what did the most damage was the nippers she’d held. Escaping her grip mid-fall, the little traitors disappeared for a few seconds and when she’d found them, Naadiya also found a long tear in her skirt.

The colorful haired man was coming back in her direction now. Naadiya quickly gripped the sharp edged tool, willing it to keep true to its alliance this time. Her hoop had survived the fall but its hold on the skirt had loosened and the two wooden frames did not take long to let go of the fabric.

She was gathering her tools and making sure nothing had fallen out of her bag when suddenly the man was much closer than she’d expected.

The soft sand may have muted his approach, she considered.

Her arm was starting to sting where the skin had been scratched and she noticed a thin little red line becoming visible. Would it bleed? She didn’t think so, but it did sting with the salty sand rubbed in.

When he spoke, her thoughts scattered.

Of all the things she now grabbed amongst her skirts, she wasn’t sure what he could see obscured by folds of fabric or the darkening sky. Or her arm, could he see her arm? She felt the cutting tools in her palm and didn't think they were visible but didn't want to check. Doing so may draw attention to them if he hadn't already seen them. Had he? Then Naadiya saw him, really saw him for the first time. Her eyes left his hair and lingered on his face. Had she the ability of drawing, Naadiya believed she could render him perfectly, but all her drawing would show would be eyes.

Stunned by his gaze for a second, she did not reply.

Then, like the reflection on a pool being broken by ripples, Naadiya could think again. But with her wits returning, so did her paranoia. She was too vulnerable here, too far from Syna’s watchful gaze and no bow in her hands.

She considered saying something. Even if just to distract him. Maybe she should try throwing something off in a direction in the hopes he’d glance that way for long enough that she’d get a head start. Naadiya wasn’t that far from where she’d surely find people in the inn, and if nothing else she knew there would be a giant hound awaited there to guard its doors.

Naadiya still wondered on his eyes, unsure what power or magic they held but she was sure the hulking canine would pose a threat even to this man.

Her throat went dry, or clammed up, Naadiya didn’t take the time to decipher which it was, she just pivoted and bolted away, leaving the man in momentary confusion. She wasn’t sure if he’d follow her, but if he really didn’t mean to harm her, why would he?

Leaves occasionally brushed her arms as she ran unevenly back the way she’d come. It wasn’t until her feet her hit a wooden step that she let herself turn around. Was he there? She couldn’t see him, but could he see her? See her with his strange eyes?

Naadiya heard the sound of Creature’s padded feet tapping on the wood as he made his way to identify her entering. Recognizing her now familiar shape, the paws veered away and kept going and with them, went Naadiya’s concerns.

It wasn’t long before she found herself sitting in a tub, washing off the sand and cleaning her scrape. When morning arrived, she was sure there would be a bruise on her hip but the scratch, at least. turned out to be shallower than she’d thought and after padding it dry Naadiya let it breathe.

She’d laid out all her beauty products on the counter as soon as she’d entered the bathroom. Her routine had already embossed itself in her mind and needed very little prompting. Naadiya let the soap float in the water and scrubbed at her feet with a natural sponge the size of her palm. The sand always made for a great exfoliant and Naadiya made use of it frequently for many reasons, not the least of which was it being freely acquired.

The sponge could only do so much and her special powders were saved for her face, too precious to be used elsewhere. The included baths had been a great selling point for Naadiya, in terms of the inn. Having to fill the tub was of course a nuisance, but it didn’t even compare to getting rid of its contents once they’d been soiled. But she had been assured, this was not to be something she need worry herself with and, in this, Naadiya was glad to oblige.

Small palms filled with sand ran over her skin and scrubbed. She scrubbed her feet and legs and shoulder and arms and even her hands, though she knew those stains seemed unwilling to be cleaned. Using a large shell that had been left on the counter she scooped some water and rinsed off the sand, repeating the process until she felt clean then proceeded to removing any leftover grains underneath her nails with a small twig. She’d need to get herself better tools soon enough. As soon as there is enough money that I don't feel frivolous with my spendings. A merchants daughter to the end.

There were just so many other expenses she needed to worry about and now this encounter with the man on the beach had her thinking she needed to have a weapon, something she could conceal and only reveal when needed. A sword of a bow would not serve such a purpose. Naadiya tried figuring out how much she’d have left over once she’d paid off her bills to the innkeeper and started wondering if she really should take the following day off as she’d originally planned.

Working for Tony and Dawn had turned out to not be as bad as Naadiya once feared. But still, Tony was not her father. She couldn't just ignore him when she felt he'd passed the point of being pleasant. She couldn't snap back at Dawn the way her and her sisters might at their mother when her questions seemed endless. Work had at many points, felt like work. But the money was ok, the conditions weren't bad, and she could hardly complain.

Naadiya finished her bath and lathered lotion on her skin, old habits died hard even this far from the desert. She dried her hair with a towel and shaking a few drops of oil into her palm she massaged her scalp and spread the oil out over her tresses. It wasn’t the argan she’d been used to back home, that had proven a little inconvenient to get. But here there were a variety of other oils and Naadiya had found coconut oil had being working fairly well on her hair. Though she had to be careful of the amounts she applied, Naadiya did enjoy the nutty toasty scent it left.

She still wasn’t sharing a bathroom at the inn, but Naadiya still liked to bring her things back to her room every time. It wasn’t that she still expected theft in her new lodgings, with its open windows, but she still did it out of politeness for whomever might go in after her. Conflict between the lodgers was something Naadiya was always trying to avoid.

Her mother had always joked how their family unit had always been more quarrelsome when there was no one around whom at least one of them wanted to impress romantically. She of course, was madly in love with her husband, keeping her daughters in line more than he ever did. And each daughter had usually shown the best version of herself whenever they were entertaining a potential suitor, the other sisters keeping tight lips in the hopes this would be the man who took one of their sisters away.

That night, sleep came easier than expected. Aided by the cicadas chirping their lullabies far off in verdant homes, Naadiya drifted into dreams of silver sands under a dark desert sky sprinkled with stars.

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Moritz Craven on February 6th, 2022, 10:47 pm

Perhaps another person more observant of human behavior might have picked up on the womans tensing and preparedness. Moritz for his part did not, and so was quite confused when the woman whose name he did not know reacted as she did.

Rather than answering him she tensed more and stared back, it was around that time Moritz realized the woman had moved a bit back from where she had been earlier, though not enough to have been say walking away. From how she sat now it seemed she had more scooted away. Perhaps, he reasoned, backing away from an expected tide?

He didn't think they were near enough for that to be an issue, but perhaps she knew something he didn't? While he waited he canted his head, wondering if perhaps the woman was mute or could not otherwise speak. Perhaps she did not know the common tongue he so fluently spoke?

As he was considering this the woman rose, turned, and ran way. Moritz, for his part confused but not moving, turned to look behind himself, wondering if perhaps she had seen something approaching from behind him which had driven her off. But know, he could tell from looking that wasn't it. Besides all that was behind them was the beach and the shore, so unless a boat was about to crash into the sand he did not think a threat coming from that direction was too likely...

Turning back he looked to see the woman still running away at a slow trot. Taller than her and likely in better shape, he did practice running after all like he had been that night, he could have likely caught up to her if he wanted to. But the need to do so did not occur to him, and shrugging he waited to see if the woman would return and continue his attempt at polite conversation.

Weird, he thought to himself, as he turned back to the beach to continue his route, having caught his breath once more and the woman having run off.

Finding his path Moritz began once more his route of the beach, short laps back and forth in a safe part of the beach. As he ran he noticed someone else running, a Verusk woman he had met several times and talked to, and waved as she passed by to safe the breath a word in greeting would take.

He had seen the woman running as he did quite a few times, though it seemed in this case she had either started after Moritz had and after the odd woman had run off, or was taking a longer route that only lapped him at longer periods of time and so had not passed Moritz ore the woman while they were there.

Left right left, right left right, he felt his feet pad on the ground, the sandy texture firm on his calloused feet from repeatedly walking around barefoot. It was something he had been doing for ages, even back in Lhavit when his mother didn't insist on shoes, and so he had built up a good layer on the bottom of them. Not perhaps as thick as some of the locals, as the heat of the sand still bothered him if he stood still, but enough that he could walk around comfortably without shoes and move on the hot sand during the day though not without keeping moving to avoid the heat building up.

As he ran he focused on his gait, how his legs moved one then the other. How he pushed off with each foot, eating the ground with his pace, his foot then touching down and rolling onto pushing off with the other foot. An odd repeated motion which the human form allowed and which differed from his four legged Okomo gait when running or moving fast.

However focusing on his gait as he was his breathing soon got out of order, and he felt the familiar stab in his side as the stitch formed again.

He would keep running for awhile, being lapped again by the Verusk woman in her long lap, before finally coming to a stop and going to bed for the night after a quick cleaning wipe down.

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Naadiya on February 12th, 2022, 8:52 pm

73rd of Winter, 521 AV

When morning arrived, Naadiya groaned herself awake. She must have rolled in her sleep and could now feel a hard lump being pushed into her face.

“What—?” She began to say but as soon as her hand reach up, it recognized the shape of the earring. She’d forgotten to take it off the night before. The girl sighed, knowing she’d now have an interesting imprint on her face to explain to any who asked. But when she went to the mirror, Naadiya could see nothing. She ran her fingers over her cheek and felt nothing, even the initial uncomfortable redness seemed to have disappeared and the jewel hung from her lobe innocently.

Deciding against her day off from work, Naadiya went to the shop that morning and dropped off several yards of a heavier weave she’d been doing for Dawn. She waved a hello to the local designer and accepted the muted waved back from the blonde, who had too many pins in her mouth to speak. She grabbed a few more skeins and headed back to the inn, where she spent a few hours resetting up the yarns on her loom and starting a new weave.

When she wove at the inn Naadiya sang without care of her volume. Neither the innkeeper nor any other guest had yet voiced their complaint so she figured it was fine if she kept her little concerts within reasonable hours. She had a few inches of fabric woven and made sure her weft yarns were nice and tight.

While Naadiya could see that her loom was not ornate or indeed decorated in anyway, she thought it was beautiful. The rich brown of the wood was dark and smooth, meticulously rubbed with oil to maintain their supple gloss and keep the wood from drying out. Her older sister had painted her own loom, covering it with tiny golden yellow dots that made it look gilded with golden studs or as if it were covered in the hide of a creature of legends. One of her younger sisters, in rebellion, had angrily carved into the wood, years later she’d camouflage the marred wood with beautifully carved patterns.

Naadiya had kept hers just as it was when she’d received it. She was careful to the point of almost being justly labeled ‘persnickety’. The loom had been designed to be easily taken apart and put back together and the Benshira was careful to kept all the components neatly stowed when not in use, every piece accounted for. Always. And of course, she oiled the wood parts, taking the whole thing apart being oiling and letting it absorb before wiping it clean. She tried to do it a couple times a year in the desert but wondered if that might be too much in Syka. Naadiya’d had to make changes to her skin regime, she would likely have to to the same for good ol’ Loomenary.

She was fairly sure none of her sisters had ever named their looms but Naadiya had named hers many times over. It had once been Loompa-loompa, then, Weaverina, Lady Loomyria, even The Moon Loom, among others. None of the names made any particular sense or came from any particular source but the machine itself did not seem to mind the constant renaming.

Her foot pressed lightly on the peddle controlling the heddle bar letting Naadiya pass the shuttle back and forth between her hands much faster than taking the extra couple seconds every pass. Those seconds added up very quickly.

They passed by quickly too. She was working on a solid fabric with no patterns or complexities but even so it was enjoyable. Her voice was starting to build rhythm as her tongue remembered an old song and her hands kept sending the shuttle back and forth.

Back and forth and back and forth and back again. The repetition was monotonous but comforting in its routine. She combed the yarns down and checked for any skipped warp yarns. Naadiya had been trying to be extra careful for any weaving she did out of the shop. When she did not have Tony there looking to catch anything she missed, that tiny little voice in her head that sneered at imperfection rang as soon as it caught a mistake. Taking the time to check her work in the sunlight even as melodic notes absentmindedly left her lips, she ran her fingers over the fabric.

Naadiya’s hands were starting to get used to the handling the Isuas yarns and maneuvering them in the loom. Though, it often felt like “getting used to” was poorly worded. It seemed the Isuas simply lacked some of the flaws more prevalent in the coarse to average quality cottons and wools Naadiya had ever worked with. The Isuas fibers must either be much longer at origin or else much stronger so as to break less frequently. The lack of breakage made for a stronger, smoother yarn. It lacked some of the bounce that wool had, but it didn’t need it, Syka certainly did not lack for the warmth insulated in such a ‘bounce’. And while it may have also lacked the liquid quality of silk, it did fair much better with wear and tear and held the dye while being constantly exposed to moisture not only in the humid air but in the frequent contact with rain and sea.

She had adjust how often she would check the thread tension in her weave and had opted to use her comb more frequently to keep the weave as neat and smooth without getting too tight. The weaving combs her father had given his daughters had been made with the looms and as such were of the same wood as the looms. Naadiya still had it in her bag, but when her mother had died, Naadiya had only used her mother’s tortoise shell comb. On some level it made Naadiya feel closer to her mother, as if the latter would guide her daughter’s hands as she wove.

At times Naadiya felt she could be trying to do more, to challenge herself or make something she could honestly consider herself to be proud of. Tony had said they would buy just about any fabric she could weave for them, but he also had been very quick to point out any mistake she’d ever made, since starting to work for him. It wasn’t that she wasn’t thankful for his corrections, she was. But it also made Naadiya feel as if she was still making rookie mistakes. This made her double and triple check everything she brought in, and while Dawn, Tony’s wife, wasn’t fast to give compliments, she also had not yet complained…at least not that Naadiya knew of.

Hours passed and Naadiya sang and wove and every so quickly the lighting in the room began to dim away from the brightness of midday.

She had a stack of folded blue fabric piling up on the wooden floor near the bed and with each day it kept growing. Next to it, was a much smaller pile, scraps really. Those were the false starts, the times where song had flooded her head enough that details escaped her mind momentarily. None of those pieces of partially woven fabric had been long enough to make a huge difference in the amount of yarn that was discarded, but long enough that trying to back paddle her way to fixing the problems would take longer than starting over when it seemed the mistakes were big enough to leave scars of her attempts at repairing.

Time was money, after all. And, while Dawn and Tony were not paying her at an hourly rate, Naadiya knew approximately how much fabric she could conceivably weave in a day and there was always bound to be some waste. She did not concern herself with the unusable fabric bits and went on weaving until a yawn rose from the the depth of her core and Naadiya realized many hours had passed and she hadn’t eaten anything.

Time had really flown right by, Naadiya must have missed Tazrae’s meal times. It was not unusual for Naadiya to get caught up doing something or thinking for long enough to forget to eat. But her stomach was reminding her now, loudly.

Judging that she was far enough along her current textile to take it off the loom, Naadiya secured the loose threads and took the length of blue back to the pile. She opened up Dawn's large fabric tote and began to fill it, refolding each piece more neatly.

Half way down the pile, Naadiya gave a shocked yelp. In between the layers of fabric sat a speckled shell. A speckled shell with legs.

It was smaller than her palm and each little leg was a pale orange. Little black beads looked up at her as the critter inched side to side unsure where to go.

After the surprise wore off, Naadiya could tell she'd recognize the little animal having seen them on the beaches before. Sometimes in the water and sometimes crawling on rocks near the shore. They had never seemed to be aggressive and their tiny claws seemed too small to do any real damage, so Naadiya relaxed.

It was still moving unevenly on the lumped fabric, sometimes misjudging how much weight a certain fold could hold before it collapsed on itself. But the little shelled animal seemed used to its own lack of grace. Naadiya smiled, then scooped the little crab in her hand and placed it on the bed while she continued folding and packing her fabric.

Once she was finished, Naadiya got dressed and pulled her hair back, fastening it so it fell down her back and away from her face. It wasn’t dark yet, if she made no stops, Naadiya could definitely give Dawn her finished fabrics, pick up some more yarn and then grab some dinner at the Tidepool before heading back home. Though she had been living on the jungle’s shore for a while now, Naadiya still felt a little uneasy walking alone in certain parts once night had fallen.

Shadows hid many things and her eyes lacked the nocturnal adaptation so many of the animals here had. Nocturnal eyes that glint like mirrors in the dark.

Then he came back to her, the strange man at the beach.

The previous night, she had almost chastised herself when she was already safe in bed. How silly it had been to just run the way she had. He was just a man, he’d even spoken to her and his voice not more monstrous than her own. But his eyes. There was something about his eyes she could not put her finger on, in a way that frightened the Benshira. Whether it reminded her of a person she’d seen or even a dream, Naadiya couldn’t tell, but supposing she may not see him again, Naadiya tried putting it out of her mind.

I probably imagined him, she thought to herself, I’ve been having strange sleep cycles and the humid night air played with my mind.

But his eyes…

Pushing the thought out of mind, Naadiya grabbed the cloth bag and slipped it onto her shoulder. Her small coin pouch hung from her waist freely. Despite all the perils that Syka had to offer, theft, seemed to be lowest on the list. She was almost at the door when she remembered her little friend, and turned back to take him from the pillow he’d crawled onto.

“Come on, if you stay here you might be snacked on by the hound.”

Its little limbs shrank back, as it buried itself further in the curling shell. She held the hermit crab in her palm, up ahead of her, where she could keep an eye on it. While it hadn’t tried to nip at her, Naadiya was airing on the side of caution.

Outside, Syna was still in the sky but lazy clouds would contribute to the softness of the sunset still to come. Her pace was brisk but not rushed. Reaching the beach area, Naadiya set the hermit crab down on the closest rock, then petted its shell twice, hoping it wouldn’t be snatched by a bird the second she walked away. Then, she was off to the clothier.

Dawn had been inside working on something but just as Naadiya walked in, she could tell the shop owner was focused on something. Facing a table, with her back to Naadiya, Dawn’s head was bent down and while Naadiya couldn’t make out the words, she could hear her boss muttering something under her breath.

At first she thought the woman was praying and not wanting to disturb her, Naadiya tried to make as little noise as possible. Her feet moved over the floor, touching down lightly in their sisal bottoms. She was getting closer to Dawn, maybe a couple of yards away when her stomach growled for what seemed an unusual amount of time.

An impatient groan left Dawn’s throat in response and she turned quickly. Behind the woman, Naadiya could see a pile of small metallic bits and and smaller pile next to it. She had been counting, Naadiya realized. And the unamused, raised eyebrow now looking back at her, confirmed that she’d just lost count.

“Crap, I’m sorry. Did I interrupt?”

“No, it’s fine.” Her tone was cool.

Annoyed, Naadiya thought, but maybe not quite angry.

Then, Naadiya’s ear started ringing and the magical earring that clung to her lobe added further, unnecessary confirmation. Dawn had lost count. It wasn’t fine. But the ringing was faint. Naadiya did not think Dawn would hold the disruption against her for long.

“Did you have any fabric for me?” Dawn asked, trying to hurry the girl along.

Naadiya nodded and smiled to cover up the cringing expression her face wanted to make at the buzzing in her ear.

“I do. The usual widths and lengths, I’ve got a few pieces in there. All of them are bottom weights, this time. Do you want me to do top weights next?”

“I actually haven’t taken stock yet to see what we are low on, but sure, go ahead and take the lighter yarns. In fact, why don’t you just alternate from now on. Do one batch of one weight, then go a little heavier and heavier until you loop back to the lighter weight yarns. Only use Isuas, you might as well keep working with it,” she looked through Naadiya’s textiles, “you seem to be getting better, good.”

Naadiya smiled in thanks and bowed her head slightly as they exchanged the cloth bag for the usual amount on coin, the costs of the yarns she’d take, having now already been taken out.

She said her goodbyes to Dawn and beelined for the bar.

By now, she was already getting used to the size and weight of the bag of isuas and worked the rhythm of her walk so that her leg moved in sync with the bag, pushing and supporting it so as to not obstruct her pace. She kept one hand on the bag, steadying it, but the other was free to scratch the itch on her shoulder where the bag’s strap rubbed. Naadiya was deciding whether to switch which shoulder the bag hung on, when she saw The Tidepool in the distance. She decided it was close enough and kept it on its current shoulder, then, almost immediately after, decided to switch shoulders anyway.

Up the dock she walked, and soon Naadiya found herself seated at the bar, about to get a meal she could not afford.

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Moritz Craven on February 13th, 2022, 4:38 pm

73 Winter 521


Moritz was in the back cooking area helping Stu when Naadiya came in to sit at the bar, and so did not see her right away.

Instead he was focused on some work, dicing up some vegetables. Or more so helping Stu by preparing some items which would then go into other items as components for a actual dish. He was still working his way up to full final dishes, though this was made harder for the Kelvic as they tended to vary a bit based on what was available. No sooner would Moritz feel he had one item more or less down before Stu had some new ingredients and dishes and he was left confounded all over trying to work out a new recipe.

Today was a fish heavy medley of dishes, as someone had brought in a bit of excess catch in exchange for some drinks and other things, a bit of bartering which Moritz had witnessed but was left confused by. He was more used to the normal exchange of coins and fixed prices, rather than the odd bit of barter the citizens of Syka seemed to sometimes deal in.

Of course not being able to bring in much in the way of resources, he reasoned he didn't have much to trade with and so perhaps it made more sense he exchanged in coins rather than good for good.

They more or less always had salsa of some sort, and Moritz had learned that dish before, and it also did not involve any heating or such, and so he felt a bit more comfortable assembling its components into one thing. Stu still tended to check in before he doled it out to people, as his ratios were not always on spot. Something Moritz still had trouble with as Stu seemed to more or less eyeball the amounts by instinct and was not able to give Moritz a concrete number or ratio of ingredients to work on.

Peppers, being easy to cut relatively speaking compared to sharp and oddly shaped pineapples or onions that burnt his eyes was simple enough, and so he worked his way though one of those. Holding it flat he moved the blade and cut off the bottom, then shifting over and cutting off the top with the stem. Turning it on its side with the newly made flat surface he then began dicing, leaving in the seeds and things as he had seen Stu do. Something to do with flavor or spiciness in the final salsa? He didn't get it, and avoided all but the most mild peppers or salsa, and knew to be careful in washing and cleaning his hands after finishing and to avoid his eyes or else he would be left with burning and eyes watering even worth than when cutting onions.

Taking out the stem by a few motions of the blade he began dicing, making a finer mix atop the cutting board by moving first in one direction by consecutive slices, while then turning and working horizontally to that to leave most of the pieces finely diced. Unfortunately he was not as good at this as Stu and so he was left with some odd chunks, which he eyed and moved back over to cut again until they were at a suitable small shape.

Finally done with the peppers he pushed the contents, stem thrown aside, into another bowl full of pepper and seeds which Stu could later add to a larger container of the finalized salsa.

With a quick rinse and wiping clean of his hands Moritz headed back over to Stu, taking some dishes the man had finished which were heaped with fish, bread, fruit, and cheese. Following his direction to a table out front past the bar Moritz nodded at the person sitting at the bar, as he headed past. She hadn't been there before, so he supposed he needed to get her order.

"Be with you in a chime or so."

With that nod and comment Moritz moved past, carrying the dishes carefully so as to avoid dropping them, quickly making his way out, dropping off the items, pausing for a moment to see if the pair at the table had anything to say, before turning and headed back around and behind the bar where the woman sat.

Coming back around it was about then that Moritz actually turned to look a the woman more closely, realizing after a second it was the woman from the night before who had ran off for some reason when he tried to talk to her.

Speaking in a more or less neutral manner Moritz spoke, his eyes meeting the woman's for a moment before wandering about to the beach, the other table of people he was serving, back to the woman, and off to the side.

"Oh, its you. That weird lady from yesterday who ran away. You know, most people find it rude when you run off when people are talking to you, particularly without responding. Or so I've been told. Just something to keep in mind, in case you haven't heard it before. I don't totally get it, but several people have told me so in the past, so I figure it must be true. I suppose you never did answer my question. Was there something important going on? You seemed in quite a hurry when you ran away. Not quite as fast as me when I was running, but then perhaps you aren't used to running? I started doing it to help in my training, so I've been getting decent at it. One of the Verusk does it as well, though she's much better at it than me. I can't recall if I started doing it after seeing her do it, or if I was already doing it... Hmmm... Honestly I didn't particularly care what that thingy you had was, I was just trying to be nice and strike up a conversation and it seemed a simple enough way to do so. So I figured I'd ask. But then you ran off."

Moritz said all of this with a straight face, neutral tone and expression, no more concerned than if he was discussing mild weather, meaning every word he spoke and without any hint of deception or untruth.

Suddenly remembering what he was currently doing, working, he turned to meet the woman's gaze again for a moment as he started back.

"Oh right, did you know what you wanted? Stu handles the drinks, but I can take your order, and he'll come make them for you. Today's main dish is fish, though we've got other stuff to. Do you know what you want?"

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Naadiya on February 18th, 2022, 8:36 pm

Taking the strap of her bag, Naadiya tied it in a knot to shorten it and hung the bag from a hook screwed underneath the bar top. She gently held the volume between her knees and swung it softly from side to side as her thumbs drummed on the bar’s surface. Looking around the room with a faint melody in her head and anticipating the drink she’d been aching for, Naadiya sang soft enough to not draw attention.

“Where sea meets sea,
Thaaat’s where I’ll be
Washing my hair in the deeep.
I’ll neeever be caught.
Never sold, never bought.
From wave to wave, forever I’ll leap…”

Artik had taught her the song, but his rendition usually involved slurred words or the occasional burp making a cameo appearance. Naadiya sung it slower, softer, without much force behind her voice. While she had no way of knowing, it felt like it fit the lyrics better than the boisterous version she’d had as an example, or else she was still getting used to what Artik called ‘singing’.

“From East to West,
I feast, I rest
All beyond the shoreee

From South to North,
At every port,
Down to the ocean flooor”

Someone passed by her saying something and as Naadiya glanced up she lost track of her song. She thought she’d recognized the person’s back, or rather their hair. It certainly seemed unlikely to run into two pink+purple+black haired people in the same town let alone less than a full day apart. Syka was showing itself to be so sparsely populated that running into the same people wasn’t out of the question but…

But Naadiya had remembered last night’s encounter being so ominous and strangely alien in a certain way.

Sitting at the bar, looking at the strange ominous being of the dark... walking around with a tray of food... seemingly working at a bar... Naadiya was beginning to feel the blush rise to her cheeks.

Maybe… not so ominous…? But his eyes! Did I imagine his eyes?

The man was turned away from her, though. She tried changing her position but even when she leaned over as much as she could, without being noticed, Naadiya couldn’t get an angle where his eyes were visible.

She didn’t have to wait long, though, soon the man was standing in front of her and before he even spoke, Naadiya knew it was the same person from the beach.

The avalanche of words that ran from the man’s mouth, left Naadiya’s own mouth gaping slightly. First, she thought she was being lectured on the rules of etiquette, and by someone who seemed to lack any understanding of the term, no less. How many questions had come at her? How many had only been statements or rhetorical? Did he just call her weird, straight to her face... while taking her drink order? He could have at least waited until she'd had a few sips before tossing insults in her direction.

’Oh, it’s you. That weird lady’ , she quoted in her head, eyes widening to match her open mouth. For a second, Naadiya nearly took a defensive posture. Who was this random bar tender anyway? Then, she ran the events of the previous night again in her head, trying to see it without the lens of paranoia.

A random stranger running back and forth on the beach at night coming up to me unsolicited and asking me what I had in my hand… Yeah… no, that still seems rather suspicious… Suspicious… or thoroughly socially inept…

She supposed the latter seemed more likely. Looking at the man in front of her, Naadiya couldn’t decide if he was extremely simple or complex. Should she even reply to his word-vomit or was he nervously making conversation? From what she could tell, he didn’t seem nervous or on edge. Rather, he seemed on the edge of something, or in between, but she couldn't make up her mind as to what.

Despite his the length of his mini monologue, Naadiya didn’t hear any ringing or buzzing or rattling in her ear. He seemed, at least, to be honest.

Naadiya tilted her head to the side slightly and appraised the man in front of her. She had such an odd feeling in her stomach, she’d begun to wonder if she’d even be able to eat now. Knitting her brows, Naadiya decided to take a leap of faith and do something she would not otherwise have done.

“Yes, last night was odd… I’m sorry, I’m unaccustomed to being approached like that without prelude and honestly my mind was elsewhere. When you startled me, I just assumed the worst and fight or flight kicked in.”

She hadn’t seen Stu yet unfortunately, for a bit of alcohol would certainly help ease the tense feeling that was building in the back of her head.

“Could I actually order a Stu’s Surprise, and some of whatever you just brought over to that table over there?” She gestured behind her. Her stomach was turning and Naadiya couldn’t tell if if was being brought on by hunger or nerves or both.

“Also... If you are allowed to take break from work and are willing, of course, I would like to also buy you a drink or something to eat... To apologize for last night.”

She raised both her hands, palms facing Moritz, “I promise this is not a come-on, or a trap, and this time I won’t run away!”

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Moritz Craven on February 18th, 2022, 11:00 pm

Moritz wasn't sure why, but often when he tried to help someone or give advice they did not take it well. Mulling it over Moritz was unsure why, since he tended to take advice well when people gave it to him... Though often when others gave him advice there was much more yelling and anger, which he felt was less than productive.

Moritz did honestly find the womans behavior from the night before weird, and honestly had given advice in an attempt to help, but when she spoke and tried to explain her actions he found himself even more confused than he had been the night before. Which was odd, since normally an explanation after something clarified things better not made them more confusing...

He had startled her... Even though he had been visible to her the entire time? Running back and forth near where she was sitting he would be visible the entire time, so how would he manage to catch her off guard or by surprise? He knew humans didn't have as good peripheral vision as he did with his Okomo eyes, but he was still unsure how she could have missed him passing or approaching. Though not even that fast, or that close, which would have been an indicator of an attack that might reasonably startle someone.

"Wait so... You thought I was attacking you? When I saw you, continued to work out for awhile until I was tired and out of breath... And then in that out of breath state slowly walked up to you and greeted you? How would that be an attack? That would be like the worst time to attack someone... Plus it'd be silly to attack someone here, Syka isn't that big. it'd take like a bell to work out who was the attacker. I mean if I was going to attack someone wouldn't I just... Run at you? Particularly when I'm not about to fall down out of breath from running? And why would I have attacked you? As far as I know I have no reason to try to attack you or any of the other people here. I'm not sure I follow your logic. I'm not sure we've even met before..."

Still confused Moritz shrugged, giving the woman a chance to respond if she wanted but not overly concerned about it. He sort of got what she was saying now, but was not sure how she had ended up there. He questioned but was not overly invested, and his questioning continued in the same neutral manner as before when he first greeted the unknown woman.

Maybe, Moritz reasoned, the woman knew something that would give him a reason to attack her? He was unsure what that could be, but perhaps she did. Or thought she did. Or perhaps she was just very jumpy and or thought everyone was out to get her. Paranoid! That was the word.

"The only time I attack people is if I'm defending myself, or if the other person asks me to. But then I suppose that isn't really attacking someone, that's just combat training that both have agreed to... Attacking implies only one party is willing..."

With another shrug Moritz took the woman's order, nodding along as she delivered it.

"A Stu's surprise, and a meal. Sure, I'll tell Stu."

As the woman continued Moritz paused in his action of walking away, seeing she had more to say.

At her request and explanation though he yet again became confused, though some of what she said further added credence to his theory of her just being paranoid. Then, his being an Okomo, he misunderstood entirely what she meant, after all him being a mount beast and therefore something someone did at times literally come onto.

"Wait... Come on to what? And why would I think you wanted to trap me?"

Moritz liked to think he was careful enough to not go stumbling into a trap someone laid like a common wild boar, but perhaps this woman thought otherwise?

Moritz being an Okomo his mind assumed the woman meant a ride, but that was something he only did in his other form. Though hearing that he was unsure why the woman would bring it up only to point out that she wasn't bringing it up. He was also unsure who had said he was giving out rides. He had helped haul some things, like a pig or boar, but not people that he could recall...

The Kelvic's goat like eyes with their added Iraso markings peered at the woman for a few moments, before shrugging again noncommittally. These animal like eyes were one of the most obvious indicators Moritz was non-human or perhaps a Kelvic, as they were clearly not the eyes a human would have.

"I'll ask Stu, but we should be done in a bell or so, tonight seems quiet and I mostly help with prepping and stuff. Oh and my name is Moritz by the way, I can't recall if I said that already."

Heading back to where Stu was Moritz reported the woman's order, before noting her question.

"Oh and she wanted to know if I could go on break with her to talk or... Something. Or I supposed she offered to buy me a drink or some food."

"Your about done for today, just finish up with the prep, and watch these fish while I make some drinks, and then you can head out. Just watch them for browning, and when they are good flip them."

Stu said this with a smile at the Kelvic, though the man often smiled so Moritz did not notice much on it.

Turning to the fish Moritz was not paying attention as Stu headed out front to make the woman a drink so he would not hear or be aware of whatever conversation or talking that might go on or questions she might ask Stu about Moritz.

Inspecting the fish Moritz checked the other side quickly, listening to the meat cooking, the odd eyeless remains slowly roasting over some heat. He tried to listen for the change in sound or the smell on the air shifting to indicate it was done, eventually turning it over to check only to turn it back as he found it was not done. He did this a few times spaced out before finally seeing the other sides were a good hue, and flipped over both of the fish to cook on the other side.

After awhile Stu would return and take back over the fish, leaving Moritz to continue with his prep work.

At this point Stu had gotten the mixes and ratios right, which left Moritz the task of tossing them all into one big bowl and mixing them. Pouring in the ingredients one by one Moritz mixed in onions, peppers, juices, and seeds, along with other things Moritz had seen Stu work with, finally taking a large wooden spoon and mixing the ingredients by hand. This was some of the more physical parts of his job, and he soon felt the strain in his arms muscles as he tried to get the ingredients distributed and mixed well enough to be uniform.

After several chimes of this Stu grunted and nodded behind Moritz, motioning for him to move aside. Finishing off a plate with the fish he had been cooking earlier he added other things like flat bread, the newly mixed salsa, cheese, and a good amount of diced up jungle fruit all in a generous serving.

"Alright this is her food, bring that out, and I've got a plate over here for you."

With a nod Moritz took the larger plate of the woman's food in one hand while grabbing up his own in the other. His consisted of no meat, bread, or cheese, but instead a good portion of vegetables that had been diced and cooked along with some diced up fruit which had been cooked in some cases while other bits were raw.

Pausing in front of the woman at the bar Moritz held up the two plates, pausing before setting them down.

"If you want to I can put your food here, or if you want to eat together I could bring them over to one of the tables."

Whichever the woman chose Moritz would nod and follow along, either placing the food down at the bar and seeing what she wanted to do next, or heading over to the table with her to sit as she had asked earlier.

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A Beachside Meeting[Naadiya]

Postby Naadiya on February 19th, 2022, 7:21 pm

Naadiya stared back at the man, in a daze. She had worried she’d made the cardinal mistake of misjudging a book by its cover, but now as she opened it and looked at the intro, it seemed to be written in code…

She’d always loved a good puzzle, but without having a look at the desired image she didn’t know how to put the pieces together. Running her eyes over the man’s face and figure, she thirstily searched for a hint but only came back to his eyes. Naadiya hadn’t noticed before but there was something about them that seemed somewhat familiar and yet not at all, like seeing a snake for the first time, having only known lizards.

Yes, they were almost animalistic but more...

Not a snake, no... She’d been around Tazrae’s brood enough to notice that. Vertical slits more often than not on the venomous ones and large circular ones for the nonvenomous... Though that was not something to go by when trying to decipher predator from prey and she knew it.

In any case, he didn't have either of the serpentine pupil shapes, nor did he have the eyes of a cat or the round pupils of humans and most dogs.

A Camel! That’s what his eyes remind me of! Almost the same type of horizontal pupil but not quite.

Those were not the eyes of a predator,
she told herself, her shoulders easing a bit at that assessment. Anyway, surely Stu wouldn’t have hired a dangerous individual to work with both customers and knives. Doesn’t seem like it would be his type of humor.

Naadiya was starting to think that explaining anything to this man would be hard work at every turn and she was still too wildly sober for that attempt so resignedly she sighed with a weak smile.

“Don’t worry, you don’t need to follow my logic. I can be confusing to some. But to be fair, you seem fairly confusing yourself.”

As soon as she’d left the desert, Naadiya had been inundated with new words and terms from different origins and cultures and while her Common was making leaps and bounds, she was no stranger to being lost in translation. That was what this felt like, almost. But for once she was not the one who seemed entirely confused by the meaning of words.

“Uhhh…. Don’t worry about it, those are just expressions people sometimes use….A come-on, is like a pick-up line…” she trailed off, unsure if he’d understand even that, “I just, I wasn’t hitting on you…Ugh not hitting you, I mean… I was not trying to flirt," she said exasperated, "if I person is 'coming onto you' they are flirting with you. But just to clarify, that is not what is happening here..."

Holy Sun Mother of The Sky Above! His awkwardness seems to be contagious. Where is my drink?!

This seemed to be going only marginally smoother than the previous night and the girl sighed again. Smoother than falling on her ass, slicing a hole in her skirt and running away in a panic was not such a high standard.

When, she heard an intricate beat being drummed on the bar getting closer to her, Naadiya could feel the tense being wiped right off. Stu approached with a smile and a tune and as he got nearer, he pulled out a tall glass bottle from behind the counter. Naadiya’s smile met his, with an almost giddy feeling in her belly.

She could almost taste it on her tongue. One of the magically concoctions of Stu’s creation would soon be in her hands, then in her mouth, then swimming in her head.

“So, this is the first time you actually come in and take a seat! What’s the occasion?” Stu’s hands darted around the bar fluidly. He knew where everything was and barely needed to check that the bottle he held was the right one as he poured and mixed ingredients together. His eyes remained on Naadiya, taking it ever body language cue without even thinking about it.

Syka was always welcoming to most newcomers but that did not mean people were not watchful. He’d already seen her with Artik on quite a few occasions and wondered what the story was. Or at least, what it was on her side. He’d already heard more than one of Artik’s drunken slips of the tongue.

In fact, Stu probably knew more than he should. There was something about being both the person who doled out the liquid courage and the one present when said beverages were being consumed that made him an easy target for those who wanted a listening ear.

But Naadiya was certainly not Artik’s first infatuation, nor was she the only one still currently living in the coastal town. He pitied his Svefra friend and the fires that he’d soon be running to put out, but Stu was also curious to watch as the whole scene unfolded.

She couldn’t say anything until the glass in front of her was filled and Stu seemed to understand exactly where she was coming from, either from personal experience or just from observing his customers day in and day out, so he patiently waited.

The advantage that living in such a small secluded community had in its limited numbers, was intimacy. He was able to watch people closely and connect certain dots faster as there were fewer individuals to keep track of.

He liked that, the control of it. Not in a power grubbing way, for he didn’t try to harm anyone. No, not that at all. Instead, he liked the herding element of it. Getting to feel like he was caring for his flock in a way he’d never have access to in your typical places of worship.

Stu watched Naadiya as she took two long sips, the relief washing over her almost as if by magic. Smiling he raised an eyebrow waiting for her to put her glass back down.

“Had a very strange night. Saw that one,” Naadiya tilted her head to indicate Moritz, “on the beach and... I don’t know I had a weird moment of heightened paranoia, now I can't seem to come back from the awkwardness.”

Naadiya and Stu were not exactly close, she’d quickly become an admirer of his skillset but they never really had a heart-to-heart by themselves. Yet despite this, he still had her feeling like she could say anything to him without any repercussions. She took another sip.

“What is his deal anyway?” The words left her lips and even as she locked eyes with Stu, Naadiya did not need him to answer.

“Of course!” She spat out, slapping her hand on the bar.

The bartender smiled at her easily and nodded.

“Kelvic…” she whispered, though even as she did she wasn’t sure why she’d whispered it. Naadiya supposed her instinct was to prevent Moritz from knowing she’d been talking about him, but as she recognized that train of thought, Naadiya realized he likely wouldn’t even find offense at such a thing.

“Camel?” Naadiya asked doubtfully, already knowing she was off the mark.

“Okomo,” Stu corrected. Then, in response to the blank look on her face, “think: large colorful goat. Anyway, you shouldn't worry about coming off as awkward with him.”

Naadiya nodded, trying to envision it. Pink, purple and black goat.

The image was beginning to make itself clear in her head and Naadiya looked down at her drink suspiciously, “what is in this anyway?”

Stu smiled at Naadiya, then looked off at a couple of people that were leaving the bar and waved them goodbye.

“I could tell you,” he joked, “but then I’d have to kill you and honestly I’m not much for violence."

He laughed at his joke and he was the only one, "Enjoy the drink, I’m going to go check on your food. You should come by more often, you are here on one of the few occasions when Artik isn’t.”

With a light bow of the head, the man returned to the kitchen.

Turning around to see the people that had been leaving the bar, Naadiya took a sip of the drink and realized she knew that skirt.

Rainmere? Was that her name?

She recalled having met the woman before briefly, but why hadn’t the dancer said hello?

There is definitely cucumber in this, Naadiya thought, swallowing as she watching the other woman walk the dock back to the sandy shore.

Then, as Naadiya took another sip, Rainmere turned her head and without slowing her pace, threw a look at the Benshira so sharp Naadiya nearly felt the sting.

Huh…?

Before she could decide what in the world that had been about, Naadiya saw Moritz returning to the bar.

“Let’s take a table,” she replied to him, “you don’t want a drink? I might need a second one after this. It has been an odd couple of days.”

She took her bag that hung under the bar, and placed it on an empty seat next to her as she sat a table close by. Noting the plate of vegetable that'd been set down across from her own, Naadiya nodded, Vegetarian… of course. Had she really thought this person would have been harmful last night?

With a fork in hand, she took a bite of food and chewed slowly while looking at the Kelvic.

“So, Moritz, was it? My name is Naadiya. Nice to meet you. Have you been in Syka for very long?”

The drink in her stomach was already having it’s warming effect and she figured either they’d either have a pleasant time or at least she could feel she’d tried to make up for the awkward encounter. Either way, he’d get a free meal and she’d clear her conscious a bit.

Word Count: 1643
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Naadiya
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Posts: 214
Words: 338176
Joined roleplay: January 11th, 2022, 11:57 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human, Mixed
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