Closed A Is For...

Oralie starts learning to read.

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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 Is For...

Postby Oralie on February 1st, 2022, 2:07 pm

76 Winter, 521

It had been a slower afternoon on this particular day. The Protea Inn did not tend to have too many visitors during the winter months, and most who stopped by for meals were locals who enjoyed Tazrae’s cooking. Oralie had not long finished cleaning up from a somewhat early dinner – the cooking pots and plates were currently draining of water while she swept off the large main deck out the back. Sand somehow always managed to get everywhere, even when you did not think there was any breeze at all. She swished her broom back and forth, sending the sand off the edge of the deck back onto the beach below where it belonged.

That done, she returned to the kitchen and put the dishes away in their respective places. She took satisfaction in making sure everything was neatly arranged and tidy, viewing the Inn as if it was her home that she was proud of. Even though it was actually Tazrae’s Inn, Oralie loved the place. It had become her sanctuary - the place where she had found herself safety, a new life, a community and even what she considered to be a family.

She turned to the fireplace next. The evening was starting to draw in, and while it was not exactly cold in Syka, having a crackling fire always added to the mood of a place. Thanks to the Inn’s openness to the beach it never got too hot inside anyway. She tidied the old ash away before building up a little pile of tinder and kindling in the middle of the fireplace. She struck the flint and steel that was kept nearby until a spark caught and then blowing gently, she coaxed a baby flame into life. After a chime or so, the flame had caught enough for her to start adding some larger kindling and then eventually some actual wood fuel. Oralie took a step back and admired her handiwork with her hands on her hips. She was getting quite good at making fires now.

She next lit a couple of the conch candles that Tazrae kept around and put them on the long table for some extra ambience. Her attention was drawn then to the front porch as her keen hearing picked up footsteps. It was James Chaliva, one of the Founders of Syka and the man who sailed The Veronica to Riverfall and back a few times a season. He was holding a woven bag in his arms that he set down gently on the table.

“Hello James.” Oralie smiled at the man. “You just missed the dinner. I’m not sure where Tazrae went but there were some leftovers I can get for you if you like?” The Kelvic’s whole demeanour had slowly shifted during her time here, and after nearly a whole season she had become a person who now smiled easily and spoke without stammering every other word out of fear.

Captain James returned her smile and shook his head once. “Ah it’s okay thank you Oralie. Just dropping this off, Taz requested it.” Oralie looked at the bag with curiosity, then flicked her gaze back to the man as he held something out for her too. It was a folded piece of parchment. “And this for you.” She took it, puzzled, but did not show it on her face. “Well thank you, in that case.” James patted the bag and then turned to the door with a smile. “Best be off, see you later.” “Bye!”

Oralie curiously unfolded the piece of parchment once the founder had made his way back down the steps and out of her eyeline. On it were words, written a little larger than normal, the letters spaced out so they could be read clearly. She frowned it at, unsure why she would be receiving a handwritten note. Maybe it was from someone in the settlement who did not know that she was unable to read. She sighed. She would have to ask Tazrae to read it for her.

She peered at the first two words at the top of the page.

‘HELLO ORALIE,’

It was then that Bree spoke up. Oralie had not realised the Ixam had been watching her from the front porch. “What’s put that expression on your face?” Oralie glanced up, realising she was frowning hard at the parchment. “Captain James gave me a note.” Bree blinked patiently at her. “I can’t read.” The Ixam nodded. “I’d offer…” She trailed off and Oralie smiled sympathetically. “It’s okay, Taz told me you can’t either. She said she would teach me, so I am sure we can learn together soon.”

She looked back down at the parchment again. “I know the first letter is a ‘h’…” Oralie pronounced it like ‘huh’. “I used to buy ham at the market and this letter was always at the start of that word… But I don’t know it next to these other letters.” She sighed loudly and thought she heard Bree chuckle. Oralie flopped herself into one of the chairs at the table, setting the parchment down in front of her. She stared hard at it, chin resting on her hands. “How on Miz do you even start learning to read any of this…”

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A Is For...

Postby Tazrae on February 3rd, 2022, 1:56 am

Taz regulated her breathing. She was out on the beach running. One of the things she’d come to realize in recent times was that physical fitness was everything and she wasn’t strong. Building strength was difficult, but helping with her endurance wasn’t. She could do things like this… running… and grow stronger. It was something she’d discovered she’d really loved as of late. It was something she’d picked up with very little training and virtually no practice. But she was learning quickly how good form was hard to have. Sometimes she’d come back with cramps in place she shouldn’t have them, and other times she would come back with stiffness. She’d ran on her toes at first, putting too much stress on her calves. Then she’d strained her ankle being too loose. Jungle walking wasn’t for running. Running required a far different skillset.

First and foremost, Tazrae had quickly learned to keep her shoulders down. If she hunched them, she’d cramp. Instead, she pushed her shoulders down, away from her head. And speaking of her head, she’d quickly learned to hold her head straight, looking twenty to thirty feet ahead. She learned quickly to not look at her feet. When she did that, tension built up in her shoulders and that caused immeasurable stiffness at the end of her runs. Instead, she aimed to relax her neck and jaw. That also meant keeping her head straight, not down… lining her ears up with her shoulders. Tazrae had also learned to relax her hands, not hold them in fists like she was ready to fend off an enemy. Instead, she pretended she was holding delicate flowers between her thumb and forefingers as she ran… keeping her fists loose.

Buraga, of all people, had told her about strikes. Strikes were actually the location the foot hit the ground during a stride. Taz had a natural forefoot strike, and Buraga had pointed out that both forefoot and heel strikes were bad. She needed to consciously plant her foot so it hit the middle of her arch naturally. She’d quickly learned once she was conscious of that, and forced herself to land midfoot her pain disappeared. One other important lesson had been for Taz to lift her knees forward, not upwards, which smoothed out her stride and caused the odd little bounce in her stride to vanish. With less impact on her body from less bouncing, Taz found she was never truly sore after a run if she paid attention to her ‘running conformation’. And finally, Taz had developed a habit of running with a slight forward lean, where her body was hinged at the hips. That had made her able to run longer for further distances.

She’d ran down the beach well past the Tidepool Bar and had turned around at the Grotto. She’d jogged her way back and was just in time to nod to James leaving by strolling down the beach south as she passed him northbound. She paused to say hi, running in place, as he told her he’d dropped off the books she wanted. Pleased, she thanked him and headed up the beach until she ended her run at the base of The Protea’s deck. There, she climbed the stairs winded and flopped down in the nearest chair next to Bree’s sprawl and Oralie sitting on one of the chairs. She panted, then suddenly rose to go get a big glass of water and mop the sweat from her brow.

“Are you two keeping each other company?” Taz asked, still panting between drinking the water.

She looked around and spotted the bag James left. “I saw James walking down the beach. He did drop off the book!” She said excitedly. Then she set her water aside, got up, and opened the bag. Out spilled a plain journal – blank – and a small primary reader. “Do you know what this is? It’s a book that will help teach you to read.” She added, setting it on the table where Oralie could reach. “And what else is that? A letter? Can you read it?” She asked, then smiled.

“Be right back.” Taz headed back into the Inn, disappeared into her office and philtering lab, then returned. She carried with her a pen, ink, a blank journal, some spare sheets of paper she'd traced lines on, and a couple of quill pens. She also had a small stack of what looked like playing cards. “Are you two ready to start learning to read? Bree, you can’t hold a pen so you are excused from the second part of the lesson… but you will also learn to write, Oralie.” Taz said, setting the stuff down and picking up the towel from earlier. She blotted away her sweat and looked thoughtful.

“Each word is comprised of letters. The collection of letters that make up words collectively are called the Alphabet. First things first… we are going to learn the Alphabet.” Taz said as Bree came up to look over Oralie’s shoulder. Taz took out the blank notebook and opened it up. Then she carefully wrote out the alphabet, all twenty-six letters. “One of the easiest ways to learn the names of the letters is to sing about it.” She said gently. “So let me teach you the song.” Taz added, then stood up. She inhaled, and softly began to sing one of a child’s first nursery rhymes.


“A-B-C-D-E-F-G
H-I-J-K-LMNOP
Q-R-S
T-U-V
W and X
Y and Zee
Now I know my “ABCs”
Next time won’t you sing with me?”



As she sang each letter, she pointed to it on the paper where she’d written it out. Then, encouraging them both, she recited the song once, then twice, then three times with them all singing. Each letter she spoke, she touched on the written list. Then she sat back, picked up the pile of playing cards that were blank, and drew a tiny big of djed from her inner core. She automatically transformed it to res as she extruded it, and sent a tiny very controlled flame out of the end of her finger. It wasn’t enough to set the small playing card on fire, but it did burn it. She traced an “A” on the card, etching the letter onto the paper with fire.

“Turn to a blank page in your journal, Oralie….” Taz said, pushing the blank book over to Oralie along with the pot of ink and the quill pens.

“Write it out, then lets think of words that start with A.” Taz said, looking thoughtful. Once Oralie had the letter written out, she carefully thought of a few words so Oralie got the idea. “Apple, Anger, Ant, Art….” She waited for Oralie then, ready to move on to the next letter when both Oralie and Bree seemed to understand.

Words: 1126
Last edited by Tazrae on February 4th, 2022, 3:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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A Is For...

Postby Oralie on February 3rd, 2022, 5:11 pm

Oralie raised her head when she heard footsteps again, turning in her chair to see Tazrae walking through the front door of the Inn. The Kelvic watched her, an eyebrow raised at the sound of her friend panting as though she had been running the length of the entire settlement. Maybe she had. The pair of them had taken to running, often together, in order to become fitter and stronger for their various challenges they knew lay ahead.

“The book?” Oralie peered at the bag as Tazrae upended it onto the table. Her brow was set in a curious frown for a brief moment until her face then lit with understanding as the young Innkeeper clarified. Tazrae had agreed to help Oralie learn to read not too long ago. She must have gone straight to the founder and asked him right away for the supplies. She reached for the book that Taz placed next to her and examined it with curiosity. A rueful smile twitched at the corners of Oralie’s mouth. “I can read the first letter of the first word… that’s all.”

As Tazrae disappeared briefly, Bree moved closer and peered at the book Oralie was now holding with equal interest to her own. They both looked up when she returned, Oralie’s head tilting as she took in the items in her friend’s hands. Quill pens and cards… her eyes widened a fraction and she nodded in agreement. “Okay, writing would be handy to know too.” She imagined it would be tricky, but at the same time figured that maybe it would help with her reading at the same time too.

Oralie placed the book back on the table and focused on Tazrae as she began her lesson. They would learn the Alphabet first. She had never heard the word before but apparently it was what all the letters made up. She scooted her chair a little closer to Tazrae to let Bree have a better view and watched carefully as the letters were written down. There was a lot of them, some she had never registered seeing before and she had no idea where to even start imagining how to say them.

She sat back in her chair as Tazrae then sang through the letters, grateful that she pointed them out as she made the sounds for each one. Some of them sounded different to how Oralie would have said them out loud, but of course Tazrae knew better than she did. The rhyme was a nice, easy tune and for the second round, both Oralie and Bree joined in as best as they could.

Oralie stumbled over a good many of the letters, her brow furrowing when she made the wrong sounds. ‘W’ completely eluded her, and she glanced at Bree to see the Ixam concentrating hard on getting her mouth to make the correct shapes too. The second time through, the Kelvic at least managed to sing all the letters, her voice wavering with uncertainty. Still some sounds clashed with those Tazrae made, but the third time they all sang, the three of them seemed mostly in harmony. Oralie was not sure she would be able to recite it without her friend singing too, but it was a good start.

As Taz sat back down, Oralie smiled at Bree. “There are some funny sounds huh?” The Ixam nodded in agreement, before motioning for Oralie to look at what Tazrae was doing. The Kelvic’s golden eyes went wide as the Innkeeper created a small flame on the end of her finger. She knew what reimancy was, but she had never seen it before. It was fascinating. The small flame flickered, a miniature of the leaping orange fire in the fireplace next to them. She was so busy staring at the flame that it took her a tick to realise that Taz was drawing out the first letter nice and big onto the card for them to see.

She grabbed the blank journal and took up a quill, dipping it carefully into the pot of ink. She slowly dragged the quill pen over the paper, trying to copy the ‘A’ down. She had never held a pen before, and the ink blotted with her uncertainty. She tried a second time, drawing it a little bigger to see if it was easier. Her lines were wobbly, but she managed a passable letter ‘A’. She turned it so Tazrae could see it better and smiled sheepishly. “Writing is harder than singing it…”

Pen set back down so she didn’t smudge any more ink all over the place, she listened as Tazrae listed a few ‘A’ words for her. She was silent for a moment as she thought, a deep frown creasing the space between her eyebrows. When they had sung the alphabet, ‘A’ had sounded different on its own to how it sounded at the start of the words. Now, it almost sounded like an ‘ah’ sound. Hesitantly, Oralie voiced a word she thought fitted.

“Animal?” Her voice rose at the end in a question. She waited for Tazrae to confirm if she was correct before trying to think of some more. “After? …oh, Arbor, like where we went!” She let Bree have a turn, hoping she hadn’t used up all the words. The Ixam supplied, “Ape, agree and ache.”

Before Tazrae moved on to the next letter Oralie piped up with a question. “Taz, do the letters make more than one sound? Only this letter,” She pulled the note from James towards her and pointed at the ‘H’ at the start of ‘HELLO’, “I always thought was like ‘huh’. I know it is at the start of ham, and that is how I would sound it. But in the song it was…” She broke off for a tick, trying to remember. “It was like ‘aitch’.”

Bree nodded next to her and supplied her own guess as to the answer. “It is to do with the letters in the rest of the word, right?”
Oralie glanced back down at the note again. “So the next one is… ‘ee’. But I guess you don’t say ‘aitch, ee’ when you say this word, because that sounds silly.”

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A Is For...

Postby Tazrae on February 4th, 2022, 4:40 am

Tazrae was good at a few things in life. She wasn’t sure, however, how good of a teacher she’d make. Taz didn’t think Oralie and Bree would mind… but she was still nervous about doing it right. She had no training in how to teach, and she’d been reading so long she didn’t actually remember learning to read. She did have a feeling that writing would mean repetition, so to prepare she’d taken a whole bunch of loose sheets of parchment and traced double lines on them and then a dashed line down between the double lines where Oralie could practice writing letters… then maybe hopefully whole simple words. The beginning reader book would help. It had simple sentences like ‘See the cat run. See the cat jump.” But regardless, Taz had promised and she tried her best to keep that promise.

“So, there are twenty-six letters in the alphabet. Each letter has a name. Sometimes the letter’s name sounds like the sound it makes, but mostly it's unrelated. Like H. H sounds like you are speaking it, Oralie, but the sound it causes doesn’t remotely sound like it at all. Things that start with H are Happy, Healthy, Hope, Humble… a ‘huh’ sound… but sometimes things like ‘hello, handsome, hop’ etc. Basically, to learn to read, you simply have to learn all twenty-six letters, the sounds they make, what they look like, and then when you see them you sound them out until you understand what you are reading. Some letters play tricks on us… they are silent. But their presence can cause the letter before or after them to be a different sound. We will talk about that later once you learn the alphabet and can string letters together.” Taz said. She nudged the ‘flashcard’ that had the A burned into it.

Then Taz took one of the sheets of paper, uncapped a bottle of ink, and dipped a quill into it. She tapped the quill on the edge of the ink bottle, and then carefully showed Oralie how to form both a capital A and a lowercase a. The paper with the groups of two lines with the dashed line in the middle really helped. “These are both A’s. One’s uppercase… it's a kind of an important denotation. Names start with Capitals, while letters in the middle of words are always lowercase. We use capitals on persons, places, and things.” She added.

“You need to practice… practice writing a page of capital A’s and a page of lower-case a’s. The more you practice forming the letter, the easier you will remember it. Make them just like this…” Taz said, holding the quill out to Oralie. “You don’t have to do the pages now, but I want to make sure you can recreate the letters. Can you do one of each please?” Taz asked, hopeful. “A’s sound like Ahhh, Uhhh, Auuu…” She added. “They even sound like the letter’s name sometimes. The name Able comes to mind.” Taz added, feeling frustrated. Was she even doing this right? Could Oralie and Bree even learn?

Speaking of Bree, the lizard was glued to Oralie’s side, opposite of Tazrae, and was watching carefully what Oralie and Tazrae were doing and saying. She made the sounds along with Oralie, studied the flashcard, and watched the Kelvic write out the capital and lower-case a’s. She even looked a tad jealous that Oralie could do what she could not.

Then, she went on carefully to explain B… demonstrate how B’s were written out, and taught Oralie the “Buh” sound that Be’s made. “Now B is interesting because sometimes it sounds like BUH but sometimes it sounds exactly like the word’s name is… as in BEE… a honeybee,” Taz said, shaking her head. Then she carefully picked up a blank flashcard, concentrated as she pulled power from her core and transformed the djed into res with a tiny burning flame at the end of her finger and she traced the B into the flashcard, burning the letter clearly out. It was hard with Reimancy, backing it off to just a tiny flame. It broke out the sweat on the back of Tazrae’s neck and caused her to concentrate deeply.

Once Oralie and Bree picked up on the sounds of the first two, Taz carefully went through the other twenty-four remaining, showing Bree and Oralie how they were written, burning them neatly into the flash cards, and then leaving Oralie to do the homework of copying out each letter and filling the pages with lower and upper case letters.

“That’s enough for tonight. Too much work at once will blow your mind. Let’s meet back in the morning after the breakfast crowd and I’ll drill you with the flashcards so we can work on sounds and shape recognition. Once we have that, we can start putting little words together like BAT and CAT in a day or two.” Taz suggested, hoping this method would help them figure things out.

“Questions?” She asked, looking hopeful that they had understood the lesson. If they didn’t, it wasn’t because they were stupid. It was because she was such a poor teacher.

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And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


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A Is For...

Postby Oralie on February 4th, 2022, 6:04 pm

Her eyes lit with understanding when Tazrae told her that the letters had names. The difference between the two sounds she was hearing now made sense to her. The song they had sang through had been the song to learn the names of the letters. However when the letters were used in words, they sometimes sounded different from their names.

“So… when I want to read a word, I have to remember the letters names, and then work out which sounds are the right ones to make the word.” Repeating what Tazrae was telling her helped Oralie solidify the knowledge in her mind. She shot a glance at Bree at the mention of tricksy letters, ones that were quiet and ones that changed other letters too. The Ixam shrugged in response, and Oralie was glad they did not have to worry about any of that just yet.

The Kelvic watched carefully as Tazrae drew out the ‘A’ again onto some special paper this time, her head tilting with curiosity as her friend then drew another letter next to it. She then nodded when an explanation was provided. “So big letters… um, uppercase letters are for important things. I understand.”

Oralie pulled the sheet of specially lined paper towards her and took the offered quill pen. She had watched closely as Tazrae had written the letters out to see how best to hold the quill, and she adjusted her grip a little from how she had previously held it. The capital ‘A’ was definitely easier to write this time around, the line guides helping her space it properly and her improved grip on the quill pen steadying her hand. Before she tried the lowercase letter, she mimicked the ‘A’ sounds Tazrae was making. “Ahh, uhh… auuuu.” She gave a small, satisfied nod. “I can hear they are all ‘A’ if I listen carefully.” Next to her, Bree did the same and Oralie listened closely to hear the subtle differences in the sounds.

The lowercase ‘a’ was a little harder to write – it seemed circles were not Oralie’s forte. The lines helped again though, and she tried a second one, moving her hand a little quicker which helped immensely.

Bree shuffled even closer to her, though it was barely possible, to watch her write the letters and the pair of them then listened to Tazrae talk through the next letter.
“Buh…Buh…. Bee.” Oralie brightened and looked at the Ixam. “That sounds like Bree! Your name must have a ‘B’ at the start.” Bree seemed pleased that they had learned her name letter so early on, and she sounded the letter out a good few times as Oralie dutifully tried to write out both the upper and lower case versions of it on the paper.

Eventually they had made their way through the entire alphabet and Oralie’s mind was growing tired from trying to remember all of it. Bree seemed to be faring similarly, the Ixam’s chin almost resting on the table next to her. She shuffled Tazrae’s neatly burned flashcards around on the table, her gaze flitting over all the letters. Oralie shook her head at Tazrae’s question. “No, I don’t think so.” She smiled. “Thank you so much Tazrae, for teaching us. I’m ever so grateful. I thought I would never be able to learn to read, ever.”


The next morning, once Oralie had washed and tidied away the dishes from breakfast, she grabbed a cloth and wiped any stray crumbs or drips of juice from the long table. She then went and retrieved the stack of letter cards and sheets of lined paper from where they had been neatly stored the previous night, and nudged Bree to come and join her.

The Kelvic laid the letter cards out so they could see all of them and then the pair of them tried to recite the alphabet from their memories so they could line the cards up in the correct order.

“A, B, C, D…”
Their singing voices were wobbly and halting, both unsure if they were singing the correct letters.

“E, F, G…” Cards were shuffled around as they sang.
“H, I, J, K…
…L, N…”

They broke off. Oralie had sung ‘N’, while Bree had sung ‘M’. The Kelvic looked at Bree. “Say that one again?” The Ixam repeated the sound for ‘M’ and Oralie nodded. “I think you were right.”

“L, M, N, O, P…” Another pause as the cards were laid out.
“Q, R, S, T…. U, V… W?... W, X, Y and… Z?”

The pair were confident that they had sang the song correctly, but not entirely sure if the cards were right. They did not realise that they had put the ‘G’ and ‘J’ cards the wrong way around, and ‘V’ to ‘Z’ were in a muddle, but the rest of it was correct.

Oralie then pointed at the cards in turn, and together she and Bree sounded the name of the letter and the sounds they could remember it made. “’A’. Ahhh… Auuu… ‘B’. Buh…”


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A Is For...

Postby Tazrae on February 7th, 2022, 1:17 am

Tazrae laughed with delight when she heard Bree and Oralie singing the next morning. Taz had been in the kitchen, doing some last-minute prep for lunch even though the breakfast rush was over and the cleanup was done. She came out and joined them once they had the words right, laughing right long with them. They had organized the alphabet cards in order, and were singing along with the card layouts, sounding out the letters as they did so.

The Innkeeper was delighted her two friends – best friends come to think of it – were getting along so well. She sat down opposite of them, where the cards were splayed out, and carefully sat down. “The real work starts now. I know Oralie stayed up long into the night writing out letters. You need to do that each night, Oralie, until you can write them perfectly. I’ll give you as much paper, ink and quill as you need. But keep it up. But today… today we get to start on words.” She said proudly. The pair were doing so well.

Taz reached into her pocket, and pulled out two more sets of cards. This was just to have extra letters if some of the more simple words she put together for them were double alphabet words like Bree’s name. She wanted spare letters she could pull from the other decks if necessary. Setting them off to the side, she swept up all the cards they had laid out and put out three cards. One was a C, one was a A, and one was a T. “Sound these out.” She said simply, pointing at the C and ready to give them some hints if they needed some. Bree spoke up immediately.

“Cuh…right?” She asked. Tazrae nodded.

“Keep going.” She added. “Ah”… she said looking at the A next, then moving on to the T. “Tuh.” Then she frowned, tilted her head, and licked out to taste the air as if that would give her a clue. “CAT!” She said, excitedly. “I just read a word. Cat… like Oralie?” The Ixam said, then licked Oralie’s cheek with her tongue and urged Taz to organize another word.

“This time let Oralie try.” Taz said, scooping up the cards and shuffling through to pull out three more. This time she had a D, O, and a G that she laid out all together. “Go ahead, Oralie. Sound it out.” Taz said, carefully laying the cards in front of the Kelvic, sure she’d figure it out. She waited for Oralie to piece it together, then laughed. “You guys are doing so good!”

She delt out another three cards. Taz decided she’d start small, working them from three, to four, to five letters. But first… she’d teach them names, starting with Taz’s own because the version of her shortened name had only three letters. She delt out a T, A, and a Z and let them work on it. When they got it, she smiled, cheering them on…. then separated the cards, and spelled out each of their names for them laying the cards in front of each one.

Bree had hers B R E E right in front of her, while Oralie had her own name spelled out in front of her. O R A L I E. She let them piece the letters together, sounding them out and waited for them to come to the understanding that these were their names. Once she’d done that, she laid out a piece of paper and opened her ink, and laid out a pen.

“Oralie, take notes. You need to be writing these down.” She said proudly, glad she could tell Oralie to do that. If Oralie had been practicing, the girl should be actually writing her first words in moments. “Then you can practice writing them in the evening when you do your studies.” She said. Tazrae carefully started the list for her, writing down CAT, DOG, TAZ, BREE, and ORALIE. “I’ll get you started… but after this its all you.” She said with a grin. Then she handed the pen to Oralie. “You can do it… write them down!” Taz said, grinning. “Your first written words… I’m so proud of you!” Taz turned to Bree, reaching out and kissing the Ixam on the snout. “You are pretty clever too… reading. I bet you are the first ever Ixam to do so.” The Innkeeper said proudly.

Then she ran threw a few more words, this time working on emotions. She laid out S A D, H A P P Y which was trickier, and finally J O Y. Then she ran to L A U G H to get tricky. She figured the girls would do well if they worked up to it and got confident. So she laid out those cards and waited to see what they could do with them.

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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn
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Tazrae
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A Is For...

Postby Oralie on March 8th, 2022, 7:22 pm

Tazrae’s musical laughter sounded behind the pair and they both looked up as the Innkeeper came into their view. Oralie grinned at her as she sat opposite them and nodded at her words. It was true – even though she had been tired after the initial lesson, she had not wanted to go to bed until she had re-written the letters a couple more times over. Taz had basically had to force her out of the kitchen when she was going almost cross-eyed with sleepiness.

Bree especially perked up when moving on to learning words was mentioned. Oralie watched with interest as Tazrae selected three cards and set them down before the pair of them. She tilted her head, considering the first letter when Bree spoke up to identify it first. She watched and listened as the Ixam spelled out the whole word, which turned out to be ‘cat’. Oralie laughed as Bree licked her cheek and the Kelvic briefly tilted her head so it rested for a moment on Bree’s cheek.

Now it was Oralie’s turn. She looked at the first letter, sounding it in her head before speaking it out loud. “Duh?” The second letter was easier. “Oh.” The final letter took her a little longer, as she ran through what she could remember of the alphabet to get to it. “Gee?” She frowned. It didn’t sound right to her, and then she remembered that letters had more than one sound. “Guh?”
“Duh… oh… guh. Dog! A dog, like Creech. A cat and a dog.” She beamed at Tazrae’s praise.

Together she and Bree sounded out Tazrae’s name. Oralie found that she was having a ton of fun, her initial worry about how hard learning might be completely erased. It was easier than she expected, though that was because Taz made it enjoyable and that she had a sounding partner in Bree.

She peered down at the new letters in front of her. There were a lot more than the word ‘dog’. She glanced over at Bree’s, noticing it was shorter. One letter at a time, she worked her way through the cards.
“Oh… arr… ah… el?” She broke off, the letters sounding funny in her mouth. She tried again, trying to remember the other sounds the letters made. “Oh… ruh… ah… luh…” She glanced at Tazrae before she’d finished, already having realised what it spelled. “It’s my name! Oralie.” She guided herself through the letters again. “Oh, ruh, ah, luh, e-e.”
Excitedly, she looked at Bree’s letters. The Ixam read them out to her. “Buh, ruh, e-e. Bree!”

Dutifully, Oralie then took up the paper and pen. She dipped it into the ink and paused, her hand hovering above the sheet. Slowly she penned the word ‘cat’, followed by the rest of them. ‘Dog, Taz, Bree, Oralie.’ It took her much longer than it had done Tazrae, and some of the letters were funny shapes, but they were readable. She carefully set the pen down and looked at the paper proudly before flexing her fingers. “I don’t think my hand is used to writing.” She chuckled.

Tazrae threw harder words at the pair next. ‘Sad’ was easy, it had simple sounds. ‘Happy’ tripped her up, for she had forgotten the other sound that the letter ‘why’ made at the end of a word until Bree had a lightbulb moment and figured it out for them.
“It’s an ‘ee’ noise!” Bree had exclaimed enthusiastically, causing the pair of them to “ohhh” simultaneously before sounding it out again correctly. Oralie grimaced good-naturedly. There really were some tricksy letters in the alphabet.

They made it through ‘joy’ and then both became stumped with the final word. “Luh… ah… uu… guh, huh?” The Kelvic and Ixam looked at each other. “Laag…huh. That’s definitely not right.” Neither of them could puzzle the odd collection of letters so they both looked to Tazrae for help.

Once Taz had helped them figure it out, resulting in another chorus of ‘ohh’, Oralie put in a request for a new word. “Taz… can you show us how to spell ‘family’?” There was a pause before Bree leaned nearly her whole bodyweight on Oralie affectionately. The Kelvic smiled at the pair of them. “I suppose we should spell ‘Creech’ too, then I can write all of us together.”

After everything had been written by Oralie a few times over, sufficiently cramping her entire hand, Oralie helped tidy everything away so they could get the area ready for the lunchtime preparations. She would come back at the end of the day with Bree to go over the alphabet and their new words again, writing until her hand hurt too much to keep hold on the quill pen. Writing took a long time, and she wondered how long it took people to write whole books. Surely forever. She hoped that she would be able to read and write a whole sentence soon, then she might be able to read the letter that was still folded away neatly with the rest of the writing tools.
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A Is For...

Postby Tazrae on March 20th, 2022, 4:16 pm

Taz wasn’t the best teacher in the world. She was finding teaching both the Ixam and Oralie to read was harder than she thought. She showed the word to Oralie again. “I think our words in the current language of Common come from not only older forms of common but other languages. Like the names of things… get integrated into Common even though they were some other languages first. That makes some of our words hard to pronounce. You just have to learn how they look and what they mean. L A U G H is an example of that. It should be L A F… she said, carefully dipping the quill and writing it out.

“Laugh” She said… pronouncing the L A and F carefully… but for some reason… we use UGH as F too… Like these….” Taz said carefully, listing more words out and saying them. “Tough, rough, laugh, cough, and dough.” She said thoughtfully… pointing out each word as she said it. “Dough sounds slightly different… like an ‘oh’ but it’s the same spelling.” Taz said, knowing she might be going to fast for the pair.

tough
rough
laugh
cough.
dough


Tazrae nodded at Oralie’s request. She carefully wrote out F A M I L Y and then wrote out the two forms of the dog’s name… C R E A T U R E and C R E E C H so both ladies could see what each looked like. The request had put a big smile on her face. Taz really had no idea how she was doing and wondered if it was possible to start some sort of little school on Syka.

They had no children to educate as of yet, but it seemed to Tazrae that was just a matter of time. There were probably more adults like Oralie that needed help learning to read and write as well.

There was a game with wooden blocks they’d play in Riverfall… it was called Scrabble. Taz wondered if she could get James to bring back a set of the blocks and the special mixing tray that the game used with its cards. She thought maybe that might make it easier and more fun for Oralie and Bree to learn how to read faster.

“So the important thing to remember is that each letter has a name. And that name might sound completely different than what the sound that letter represents means. So take the letter B for example. It sounds nothing like the sound it makes. “Ball… Brown… Bull… Beach” All Buh sounds.” Taz said, writing each word down as she said it.

“It’s strange to think of a B as BUH, but that’s what we have to work with. So instead we are going to focus on what the sound of each letter makes. In the long run, you need to know the letter to give someone the correct spelling of something…” Taz said… “B A L L” not “Buh Ahh Luu Luu” .. .see? So we’ll practice with the flashcards and use the sounds not names, but you need to know both.” The Innkeeper said thoughtfully.

“If you know T and A and P you can make the word TAP, PAT, and even the beginnings of the name P A T R I C K or their nickname PAT.” She added, writing all the things down as she pronounced them. “Letters are powerful. Once you learn all twenty-six of them… it's like a whole arsenal of weapons at your disposal.” Tazrae said, smiling at them.

She felt quite terrible at this teaching business, truth be told, but she was trying not to show them how much she was struggling with the concept. The point of fact was that all three of them were learning, together, and struggling with that learning.

“Syka needs a teacher.” She said abruptly, then colored slightly.

“Also, there’s another thing. All letters can be written in two ways. The first type is called Upper Case… the second type is called lower case. Upper case letters are sometimes called Capitals. We’ll learn those first because they look distinctly different. Lower case letters can look a lot alike. b and d for example are easily confused, yet make entirely different sounds. You’ll need to learn both upper and lower case letters if you are going to learn to read. We capitalize Persons, Places and Things… and the Names of people.. and the first word in any sentence. Let me write them out for you.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz


Taz wondered if making cookie cutter cookies and making words from them would help in the art of learning to read. She also knew shared reading would help as well. But she was thinking she’d piled a lot on both females at once. So she asked… “Do you guys have any questions? Am I going too fast? Too slow? Making this overly complex? I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read so this is difficult for me… figuring out how to teach you this.” She added.

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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn
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A Is For...

Postby Oralie on April 21st, 2022, 3:38 pm

Oralie watched as Tazrae wrote out a list of other words that had the same tricky ending that ‘laugh’ had. She nodded at her explanation that their language was likely a mix of things from other languages. It made sense when she thought about it, for Mizahar really was quite big and there must be a lot of other languages around for people to mix up.

“Laugh…” The word still sounded funny as she said it, but it was starting to make more sense to her now as she carefully copied the new words onto her paper. “At least they seem to follow a pattern, I think I'd want to give up if all of these sounded different!” She saw Bree nod in agreement from out the corner of her eye.

Oralie grinned at the smile on Tazrae’s face when she made her request. Before copying the words down, she ran her finger along ‘family’, sounding it out to herself.
“Fuh, ah, m-ih, l-ee. Family.” She did the same for ‘Creature’ and then took up the quill pen and carefully wrote the words out where she had previously done her name, Bree’s and Tazrae’s.

As Tazrae went on to explain the difference between sounds and names, she nodded with a realisation. “So… the song you taught us, the alphabet song, that is singing their names, right? A, b, c… are the names?”
Bree gave a nod. “So ‘A’ is the name and ‘ah’ is the sound.”

It was helpful to see Taz write everything that she said, so that they could both see how the letters went together to make particular sounds. The more the Innkeeper explained, the easier it was to understand how the letters changed sound depending on what was next to it. Rather than sounding out each letter individually now, the Kelvic was starting to be able to see them in pairs or small groups. She followed the word ‘Patrick’ with her finger. “Puh, at, ri, ck. Patrick.” She returned Taz’s smile with one of her own and a wry chuckle. “It’s crazy to think that whole books only have twenty-six different letters in them. It’s like a different kind of magic.”

Both Oralie and Bree peered closely at the paper when Tazrae wrote out all the letters twice over, showing them the lower case versions of the capitals they had already learned. “Oh, well some of them look mostly the same, so that’s good.”
“So if I wanted to write ‘hello my name is Oralie’, I would write ‘hello’ and ‘Oralie’ in uppercase letters?” At Tazrae’s correction of her thinking, she would nod. “That makes more sense.”

The Kelvic beamed at Tazrae. “No it’s fine, I think you’re doing good! I mean, I think I am understanding everything anyway. The new things you’re saying are helping it all make more sense.” Bree nodded in agreement.
“Let me copy the alphabet again.”

Oralie turned to a clean page and dipped the quill in the ink once again. She carefully wrote out the uppercase letters first, pleased that her forming of the shapes was improving each time she tried it. They were a little wobbly, and larger than Tazrae’s neat script, but there was improvement from the previous day all the same. Next she tried the lowercase alphabet. The letters that were similar to their uppercase counterparts were fairly tidy, but the ones with any sort of tail, such as b or d, took her a couple of tries each as she kept writing them backwards or even once upside down. She grimaced at the mess she’d made. “These ones are harder.”

She tried one more time, making less mistakes but she knew it would take her a little more practice to be able to do it right the first go. Oralie carefully placed the quilldown, flexing her fingers to try and ward off the ache she could feel creeping in.

“Oh!” She fished among the paper for a tick before pulling out the folded note Mathias had given her. She smoothed it out onto the table. “Maybe we could try and read some words in this?”

HELLO ORALIE,

Tazrae told me that she is going to teach you to read and write.
I thought I would write you this short note so that you have something to practice reading.

I hope that you do learn, for it is a very valuable skill to have.
Once you are able to, write me a note in return and perhaps you will receive a prize for your success.

From, Mathias


“Well… I know that is my name now.” Oralie pointed at the second word. “So.. h, el, lo…” “Hello!” Bree chimed in excitedly for her. “And that is your name there.” The Ixam nudged Tazrae’s cheek affectionately.
“T, ol… d. I think.” Oralie checked the lowercase letters to confirm. “Told. ‘Tazrae told…’ I think that’s right? It’s harder to go from these,” She motioned to the practice book. “To the letter than I thought it would be.”

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A Is For...

Postby Tazrae on April 25th, 2022, 12:12 am

“Oralie, taking on something like a big note like that is too much at once. You need to learn more words and word recognition.” Taz said, then began to pull the notebook towards her. She sketched out a picture of Creature, of Bree, of a parrot, the sun, a cloud, the moon as a crescent, and a few other things, then carefully wrote the words below the little sketches. Dog, Ixam, Parrot, Sun, Cloud, and Moon were carefully printed. Then Taz used another line and did the shapes…. Square, Circle, Triangle, Line, Dot, Dash, and Oval. Those she all neatly labeled. Then she printed a third row of sketches… a Flower, A bunch of drops of Rain, a lady bug, and anything else she could find. She then showed the three rows of pictures to her two companions and let them sound out the words. “Word recognition is important. And the pictures will help you figure out what the words are. Just go slow, and sound them all out.” Taz instructed, then took out a quill pen and red ink and pulled Mathias’ letter over to her.

She dipped the quill in red ink and underlined the whole first sentence. “You need to understand how things are written, to actually read, Oralie. First off, we read left to right, from top to bottom. Then we divide our thoughts out into what we call sentences. We start letters with greetings… this ‘Hello Oralie’ is a greeting. This big chunk of writing is called a body. We break it down into sentences. The next thing, that I have completely underlined, is a full sentence. It’s like one complete thought. It starts with a capitalized letter…. That big T… my name… and ends with this little dot called a period. A period is an indicator of a sentence ending and that the thought has ended too. You read it from the big T to the period. “Tazrae told me that she is going to teach you to read and write.” Taz quoted, tapping each word as she read the letter. Then she re-dipped the quill, handed it to Oralie, and said... “You show me the next sentence. Underline it.” Taz instructed. Once Oralie did that, Taz read her the line. “I thought I would write you this short note so that you have something to practice reading.” Taz took her time on the bigger words, but made Oralie read all the smaller ones.

Then she turned to Bree and had the Ixam indicate what the next sentence was and where it ended. She didn’t get too involved with the comma because while the period was important, punctuation as a whole could come later. She nodded as Bree indicated the “I hope that you do learn, for it is a very valuable skill to have.” They sounded out the words together, all three, and Taz only had to help them with ‘valuable’ as a word. Then, when the last sentence came, Taz handed the pen to Oralie and let her underline it from start to finish then read it out. Return, Perhaps, and Receive gave them issues, but success seemed to go easier.

“Okay, we finished the body of the letter… let’s go with the complimentary close and the signature. In this case, Mathias just used a quick close… the word ‘from’. Then… the final part of a letter… the signature… that’s his name right there.” Taz said, tapping the Mathias with her quill, then circling it. Taz smiled when they were done. Then pulled out a blank piece of paper.

She slid it over to Oralie and Bree. “What do you want to tell Mathias?” She said, then tapped at the Greeting again. “Start with a greeting, then we’ll work on the body.” Taz added, waiting for the girls to decide.

Words: 638
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"There's a place that I go that nobody knows. Where the rivers flow and I call it home.
And there's no more lies. In the darkness there's light.
And nobody cries. There's only butterflies..."


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn
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Tazrae
Jungle Witch
 
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