Solo Lessons by Firelight

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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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Lessons by Firelight

Postby Oralie on January 23rd, 2022, 1:50 pm

20th winter, 521

The Tenday celebration was winding down to something much more subdued as the evening drew in over Syka. Oralie was sat down on the beach below the Commons, where people had seemed to drift to when the main gathering had come to a close. She had a cup in her hands, the liquid within a deep berry pink. She had no idea what ingredients made it up, but it was deliciously fruity without being too sweet.

She was sat alone, Tazrae having quietly let her know she was leaving Syka for the night before slipping away. The Inn had no overnight guests for once, save the more permanent residents, so neither of them had to worry about looking after anybody. She swirled the juice in her cup and then drained it before rolling the empty vessel between her palms.

The sea lapped at the shore a little ways in front of her, reflecting the muted orange of a burning sunset. The Kelvic sighed, setting the cup down on the sand, feeling totally at peace. It was a feeling still new to her, and while there was a little voice in the back of her head wondering if she was missing anything, she was trying her best to lean into it. The Sykan way of life was everything she had dreamed of and more, though she was under no illusion that it would be as easy as this forever. She imagined she was in some sort of grace period, where she was allowed a little time to find her balance before the tougher lessons really began.

After a short while someone approached from behind and sat themselves down next to her, not too close, but close enough that they would be able to hold a conversation. Oralie looked sidelong at them to see it was Randal Zor, the founder she had interacted with the least since her arrival. He was much younger than the other two founders, his hair long and dark and curling around his temples. Oralie had always thought he looked quite stern, but perhaps that was just his ‘founder face’ for now, after the celebration, his features seemed softer and more relaxed.

He turned his head to smile at her when he noticed that he had caught her attention. “Good evening Oralie. How did you like the celebration?” She tilted her head just a fraction as she considered her answer. “It was fun.” “Even though you did not join in the dancing again?” She nodded, a little sheepish. Mathias had tried to coax her to dance a little after she had avoided it at the first Tenday. While she hadn’t danced again this time, she had at least tried not to hide in the shadows near the back of the groups of people. Baby steps and all that.

“Did you work out what your trinket does yet?” Oralie shook her head. “No, not yet. Maybe I got one that doesn’t do anything.” Randal smiled. “Oh it will do something, don’t you worry. They seem to be very specific abilities though. You have probably not been in a situation where it would be useful yet.” Oralie reached up to twist the gold cuff that she wore just above her left elbow. Even if it turned out not to actually do anything, she had grown attached to the item – the first piece of jewellery she had even owned.

Randal’s gaze dropped to her arm, lingering on the cuff for a moment before his brows drew together ever so slightly. “You are cold?” Oralie, surprised, met his gaze. “No?” “You have goosebumps. The breezes can be chilly when the sun goes down. But that’s why we make fires. Shall we?” She didn’t feel particularly cold, though it was true that the evening air was cooling. She noticed a couple of small fires dotted around the beach where small groups of people had congregated to wind down the evening together.


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Lessons by Firelight

Postby Oralie on January 23rd, 2022, 4:17 pm

Realising Randal was waiting for her, Oralie hastily stood and followed him. “Ever built a fire before?” Oralie shook her head. “You’ve started the one at the Inn though right?” Again, Oralie shook her head. “Well then, we’d better get to learning, huh? First thing, we need to gather some rocks to make a fire ring.”

He bent down, having seen one of a size he liked. “A nice hand sized rock like this is a good one. Pretty flat too so we can stack them in a ring. Make sure you don’t pick any wet ones though. Rocks from rivers and streams are pretty porous and that can be bad.” At her confused expression he smiled before elaborating. “Porous means it’s got lots of little holes in it – you might not be able to see them, but they’re there. If a rock with water inside of it gets too hot, it can explode as the water expands.” Oralie’s eyes widened a fraction and she nodded seriously.

They scoured the beach for a short time before returning to their original spot, Oralie’s cup still sitting on the ground. Randal showed her how to place the rocks to form a small ring shape, layering them to build up the sides until it resembled a makeshift fire pit.

With that done, Randal was off again and Oralie scrambled to catch up with him. “Next we want stuff to burn. We want tinder, kindling and fuel. They are all wood, but used for different parts of the fire.” As they walked, he bent and snagged a small piece of driftwood that was about the length of his hand span. “This would be a good piece of kindling.” He pointed at some shredded material near Oralie’s foot and she collected it. “That is what you want for tinder. Make sure it’s all dry, of course, otherwise it won’t light. If you can’t find any lying around on the beach, a coconut will work well if you scrape the outer layer off. You know how it’s kind of furry looking?”

After they had a good haul of wood, they meandered back to their fire circle again and set it all down. “So, building a fire is pretty simple. We start with the tinder. Now we gathered quite a good bit of it, so we’ll put some in the ring, and then this bit we will light first.” Randal was holding a good handful of shredded and fine wood bits. Oralie placed the rest of it inside the stone ring in a small pile.

“Once we’ve lit this piece, we get it going a little, and then add it to your pile there. Then we add some kindling to build up the fire.” Randal set the extra bundle of kindling down and pulled two small objects from his pocket. “This is a flint and steel, and we use them to start the fire. Watch.”

He struck the steel onto the flint several times, small orange sparks flinging themselves toward the kindling as he did so. Oralie watched, golden eyes wide with fascination. Eventually, one of the sparks hit the right spot and a small tendril of smoke curled from the bundle. Randal then scooped up the smoking bundle, much to the Kelvic’s surprise, and blew gently on it. She watched, head tilted in curiosity, as he managed to coax a small lick of flame to blossom with just his breath. Randal then placed the bundle in with the rest of the tinder and blew again until eventually a small, flickering flame sprang up in its middle.


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Lessons by Firelight

Postby Oralie on March 12th, 2022, 7:00 pm

After about a chime of poking and blowing on the baby flame, Randal started to select some of the kindling pieces. “Why were you blowing on the fire?”
“So flames need air to circulate in order to actually burn. Blowing on it helps with that. When you have a fire just starting, it is at risk of going right back out if you just leave it to try by itself. Blowing on it helps it generate its own heat and create a flame to keep itself going.”

Randal added a couple of pieces of the kindling wood onto the top of the tinder pile, being careful not to squash the material too much. He gestured to Oralie to move a little closer. “Here, you blow and see if you can get the flame a little bigger.” She shuffled a tiny bit closer to their little fire and leaned over. “Be gentle, you don’t want to blow it out.” She huffed a light breath of air into the middle of their fire and saw the glow increase as she did so. She blew again, and the flame consumed a little more of the tinder.

“That’s good. Okay so now we can start to build the fire properly. You can do it in a couple of ways, but the one you’ll want to do is to make a sort of roughly tepee shaped pile. You basically want to arrange the kindling so it overlaps where your flame is.” Randal showed her as he was talking, placing the longer pieces of kindling over the smouldering tinder. “Once this is all caught, we can add in the fuel wood to keep it going as long as we want.”

A few chimes later, a flame had leapt up to merrily lick at the kindling. Oralie was starting to feel the heat it was giving off, and Randal added a couple of fuel sticks into it. He sat back down next to Oralie and watched the flames dancing.

“This is a good small fire to know how to make. You can keep warm by it, or boil a pot of water quite easily. The other way I mentioned is if you arrange the kindling as though you were making a square frame.” He showed her the shape he meant with his hands. “Those kinds of fires are good for cooking meals over, but only somewhere you want it burning for a long time. Not really a beach fire or a jungle fire method.”

Oralie pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. She glanced over at Randal. “Thank you. For teaching me.” The founder smiled and turned to face her. “Of course. It’s important that everyone here knows how to look after themselves. Even though it’s beautiful, Syka is not the easiest place to live.”
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Lessons by Firelight

Postby Oralie on March 12th, 2022, 7:01 pm

Oralie turned her face towards the founder and rested her cheek on her knees. The unspoken question must have been evident in her golden eyes as Randal answered it. “I’m sure you are aware by now, but the jungle is dangerous.” She nodded, the gesture somewhat awkward as she still had her cheek pillowed on her knees.

“We – Mathias, James and I – have tried to make the day to day as easy as we can for everyone. There’s food and water and places to sleep. But the jungle, and even the sea, are impossible to tame and make safe. Everyone who chooses to live here needs to learn how to live next to them. They want to hurt you.” He was looking into the fire as he spoke, its glow dancing across his face. “You can’t beat the jungle but you can learn to understand it.”

“And… making a fire helps with that?”
Oralie thought she understood a little of what he was trying to say, but she wasn’t quite there yet. Randal smiled and turned his gaze on her. “Being able to keep warm will help you on the times when you do venture into the jungle.” He chuckled at her expression. “I guarantee you’ll end up going in there sooner or later. You know its other name is a rainforest? It is wet always, and raining in there more often than it is not.” Oralie’s eyebrows raised in surprise. She hadn’t felt a single drop of rain the entire time she had been here.

“The jungle gives Syka everything that we need to live here. The people who do live here need to be able to not only survive on their own, but be independent enough to also add value to the settlement. They need to be able to use the jungle – and the sea – to do that. So you’ll learn eventually.” He smiled at her. “Besides, once you learn how interesting it is, I daresay we would be able to get you out of it.”

Oralie found a smile twitching at the edges of her mouth. Randal was easy to talk to and he clearly had a deep love for the settlement. “What is your favourite thing? About the jungle I mean.” The founder was quiet for a moment as he thought, and Oralie watched him watch the flames. “It’s never the same. You never know what you’re going to see each time you go in. There’s so much in there, so many species of everything that I’m sure we will be discovering things for generations to come.”

“It sounds special.” Oralie truly was intrigued, but the notion that the jungle was dangerous still sat at the forefront of her mind. “It is. Let me take you in there sometime.” There was a quiet pause as their gazes met. Finally, Oralie nodded. “Okay. I think I would like that.”

The pair talked for a while longer as the sun dipped below the horizon fully, taking with it the vibrant colours of the sunset. Much like Tazrae, Randal made Oralie feel safe and like a normal person and she appreciated it. Eventually tiredness pulled at her mind, and she bid the founder farewell to head back to the Inn, her gaze straying continuously to the trees as she went, wondering just how much really was in there waiting to be found.
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Lessons by Firelight

Postby Oralie on March 12th, 2022, 7:02 pm

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Oralie

Skills
  • Socialisation: 2
  • Observation: 2
  • Wilderness Survival: 2
  • Interrogation: 1

Lores
  • Randal Zor: Appearance and mannerisms
  • Randal Zor: Founder of Syka
  • WS: Making a firepit
  • WS: How to start a fire
  • WS: Different types of wood for a fire
  • WS: A fire for food vs a fire for warmth

...
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Oralie
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Posts: 194
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