Closed Introductions (Gossamer)

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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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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Cleon on March 4th, 2022, 1:43 am

Timestamp: 10th of Spring, 522 A.V.

It seemed as if the jungle were sweating on that Spring morning he looked over the bow and watched as Syka emerged from behind a thin veil of fog. Cleon was dressed in a thin shirt and trousers with the legs pulled up around his knees, and still, he felt the heat although it could only be midmorning at best. As such, the thin linen clung to his wiry frame, the worn-out grey rendered a shade darker from the mixture of sweat and seawater that covered him unevenly in patches. His lanky, dark blond hair was pulled into a hasty, unkempt bun and a forelock had already come loose to get in the way of his eyes so that he was constantly brushing it out of his eyes, or near enough.

All of that however didn’t matter to him because they were finally here, and as their ship approached he felt a strange feeling open up inside of him, a sense of completion or another turn of the page, it was hard to tell the difference. He dug his fingers into a groove along the railing until his knuckles whitened and thought about just what he was going to do next. To be honest, he hadn’t ever expected to get this far, in fact, he rarely expected anything of his future. He took it day by day, night by night no more, no less. He was even less fond of looking forward as he was of looking back and that left him in quite a quandary now that some sort of decision, or more apt, decisions were needed from him. They had to come from him, and soon.

The coin they had on hand would barely last them another season all told, and certainly was not enough to book them passage any farther so, decisions he must make. Cleon took a hard look at the coast, then gulped down his fear and frustration. Frustration at himself mostly, and a little bit at his circumstance, though he had to remember to be thankful that he had even made it this far.

A lot could have and did go wrong with this journey, and the fact that they made it here with all their bits and bobs was a miracle in and of itself. One owed not in a small way to Laviku whom Cleon was just starting to get to know.

There was a tug on his right arm, and reflexively Cleon took a step back and raised his arm a little so Faye could sneak under. She rested her head just below his chin as she drew her cloak across snugly. Cleon thought briefly about saying something about it, but knowing the reason behind it held his tongue for under that threadbare cloak she was as much skin and bones as he was and he could feel the bones along her spine and ribs as he rubbed his hand gently across her back. While she had started putting on some weight during their journey, she was still fairly self-conscious around the crew and never strayed far when they were above decks and he couldn’t really blame her for that. Petch. Half the time he honestly wished they could trade places, but he didn’t begrudge her for any of it.

He’d made this choice when he spirited them away from their family, and there was not a day that he doubted that it was the right decision for them. For her, for while the damage had already been done on his account, there was still hope that one day little Faye could learn how to lead a normal life. That's what this was for them at Syka. A chance for a normal life. For her anyways. He hadn’t gotten as far as the what if he didn’t adjust so well which he was sure of was almost a certainty, even if it was only a small nagging part of himself.

“Do you see it? Over there past the bend..” Cleon said, pointing a knobby finger out towards the distant shroud of what he figured must be a building, or series of he realized as more shrouds popped into focus.

“I do! I do! Is that where we are going to be staying??” Faye asked and in her clear excitement, she started coughing and clutched at the rail as he threaded his arms through hers for support. Rail thin, she felt like a bundle of sticks in his arms, and despite having made the comparison many times, he still flinched.

“Yes, I do believe so. We won’t have to worry about that cough much longer. I’m sure we can find a fine doctor to see to you once we get settled in.” Cleo whispered as he looked away from her, and longingly at the city that was growing ever wider around them. It had been nice to see that breath of excitement from her, and that smile on her face however brief even knowing how it taxed her. Bittersweet. He hadn’t known quite what that word meant until this voyage.

Cleon leaned against the railing with her and sighed. Gradually the fog started to clear and a dock loomed ahead. Out of habit, he gently guided her away from the railing and then pulled her towards the back where they would be out the way while the sailors set about getting the ship ready to make port.

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Last edited by Cleon on May 4th, 2022, 3:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Gossamer on March 5th, 2022, 3:57 am

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James had kept a steady eye on the young man and what he could only guess was his little sister. There was too much of an age gap for the boy to be smitten with the girl, and yet there was not enough of an age gap for the girl to be the boy’s offspring. He’d meant to talk to them before they hit port, but there’d been utter chaos since The Veronica had taken on the passengers to Syka in Sylira.

An idea had been put to a recent Tenday gathering by one of the residents who had learned of orphanages in other cities where children grew up uneducated and unappreciated. The suggestion was to interview these children, pick out some of the best and brightest of them, and invite them to Syka to apprentice to some of the craftsmen that were already there. Syka lacked young people. It lacked couples who were reproducing and bringing about the next generation. It was full of healthy young men and women, but so far none of them had been partnering up enough to ensure the settlement would survive into the future. The suggestion was to bring in children of various ages and raise them as Sykans so that they would have the necessary skills to survive in the jungle and keep the Settlement viable.

As a result of his idea, the first twelve children had been selected and invited. And a rather experienced nanny and educator – one Mistress Hess – had been hired to oversee their placement. James had purchased large group tents to house the children until some sort of communal school could be built. In the end, twelve had eagerly agreed to join the mini-expedition and take the chance on Syka to get out of their various cities – mostly Sunberth and Syliras – and try for new and better lives. In Syka, they wouldn’t be orphans or cast-offs. In Syka they would matter.

James glanced at the pair towards the back of the ship. Decision made; he headed their direction. The Veronica didn’t need him to come into port. This was her home port and his sailors knew their jobs well. Instead, he stopped before the sibling pair and offered them a smile. “I wish I would have gotten a chance to talk to you both before now. But I must confess I’m unused to a cargo of twelve children that will not be confined below decks. As you might know, I am Captain James Chaliva. I’m one of the Founders of Syka. We help people settle here and get set up. I know you both have had a long journey and you, little girl, definitely need to see a doctor for that cough. You also both look like you could use some good meals. I’d like to help you and offer you some services.” He added, smiling slightly as the ship gently bumped the dock and ropes were thrown ashore. “Just watch. Here in Syka everyone helps everyone else.” He added, gesturing at the people that began melting out of the jungle.

The crowd that appeared were amused, in playful moods, and acted as longshoremen, tying off the ship and assisting the sailors in setting up the boarding planks. Then, in groups of twos and threes, they began unloading the ship, escorting the new children, and carrying the trade goods off the boat. James explained. “This is The Veronica’s home port. She’s the only ship that ties up here full time. Everyone here depends on her making trips to Riverfall and Syliras for things we still can’t make ourselves. If she didn’t make the turns a few times a season, no one here, for example, would have wine. In turn, I take exotic goods from Syka – fresh fruits, vegetables, even animals – and trade them to the cities we tie up in.” He said thoughtfully, then offered a smile.

“Let me be frank. You both don’t look like you have much in this world. But I will assure you that you have something the Settlement needs. You have youth.” He said, gesturing out at the space past the dock. “If you’d consent, I’d like to set you up before too long with some housing, a tour of the settlement, and some suggestions for employment. We can visit the Panacea along the way and get little Faye’s cough seen too. Cleon, right? I would suggest you and your sister take a room at the local Inn. I normally would suggest a bungalow for you, but the Innkeeper is a particularly good cook and she’ll take one look at you and make it her personal mission to put some meat on both of your bones. One thing Syka doesn’t lack is food. I don’t know if anyone told you, but it grows wild everywhere. Fresh fruit grows on many of the trees, and all the hunting you can do if you learn how. We even have beaches of tame pigs that need to be thinned out frequently.” He said, studying the siblings. “Would you be open to the tour, the medical visit, and to stay at the Inn a few days or even the entire season if it's to your liking? Then…when you’ve settled a few days… we can talk about finding you something to do with your life, Cleon.” The captain said thoughtfully.

About that time, two children approached the trio. A little girl of about seven took James’ hand and a small boy of eight took Cleon’s hand. The boy looked up at Cleon, meeting the teen with his wide green eyes. “Mathias said we should fetch you.” The little girl told James. “He told us to get you, that the other kids didn’t want to sleep in a tent.” She said, her eyes wide and scared. “We had to sleep in a tent in Sunberth. It wasn’t a good place.” She said.

James laughed. “You’ve never seen a Syka tent then, little one. Alright… we’ll come and get it all sorted. Will you come with us?” James asked of Cleon and Faye, even as the little boy gave Cleon a tug.

“Come on… if the tents aren’t so bad, I want to see one.” the boy said, tugging Cleon again.

James laughed. “We’d better go with them. Then we can get started with the tour and getting her cough looked at.” He said again, not wanting to pressure the pair, but interested in getting them debarked and started on their new lives in Syka if they decided to stay.

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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Cleon on March 5th, 2022, 3:40 pm

Oddly enough, the rampant children were probably the most comforting thing about this journey. Children Cleon could handle, it was the adults he had a hard time abiding by though he was one himself. He didn’t know why they were all being brought to Syka, but he had a few ideas, and he hoped it was one of the good ones though he wasn’t sure what he would do if it wasn’t. Probably nothing given his track record. Nothing but run away to the next horizon, only that wouldn’t be so easy next time with their funds dwindling as they were. He took in a deep breath, and just hoped that wasn’t the case.

He was different than the only other captain Cleon had known. This one had stronger masculine features, a clean-cut, and salt n pepper hair that he wore short. The man also had friendly eyes, and once or twice on the trip, he’d even heard him sing for the children which tickled his sister though Cleon had pretended not to notice. Cleon didn’t want to like the man, but it was hard not to. There was a familiar easy way about him that was hard not to warm up to which is why he supposed people called him captain.

What he said sounded real good to him, to them too, as they huddled together, watching him carefully. He followed the man’s gesture out towards the misty jungle and watched as people filtered in to help bring everything in off of the Veronica. It was a form of cooperation that was completely alien to him, and for which he couldn’t bring himself to feel anything. In fact, he wasn’t feeling much of anything at that moment except a little damp, and maybe a bit thirsty, but not for water. No, that wouldn’t suit, it needed to be a stiff drink. The desire came with a string of guilt as he quickly tried to push it to the back of his conscience as other things floated to the surface.

“I think we’d appreciate that very much, especially that doctor visit,” Cleon said, squeezing Faye’s shoulder thoughtfully. It would be one less thing he would have to worry about if they got that cough checked out, and he knew she would feel a good deal more comfortable if there was a way to take care of it. Still, it made him feel uneasy to take the generosity of this man as it always had in Sunberth because there were a rare few people like that there, but they were few compared to those that peddled fake generosity only to entrap you. He didn’t think that was happening here, but the association was a hard one not to make, and instincts didn’t disappear overnight.

It was hard to think so dismally though as the more jovial Sykan’s boarded to help unload the ship, and he caught Faye smiling tentatively out of the corner of his eye. That finally got him to crack one of his own, though it was short-lived as he caught a whiff of something that reminded him of a certain shed he posted up in for long nights with his brother. The smell wasn’t quite the same, but it was close enough to remind him of inhaling that potent smoke, and unexpectedly he found himself craving that again as if he had only just stopped for a few days.

Shoving that aside proved harder, but he did it as he focused on the Captain's words as he explained what Veronica did. It sounded like an interesting life, but not one he would have much of a hand at, not yet anyways as thin and useless as he was, unless the captain had need of a thief which he was decidedly not about to ask the man.

Everything James said sounded progressively sweeter and sweeter, and Cleon could almost picture this dream he painted but he focused instead on where he was now. The smell of the salty sea, the crash of the waves, the clothing of this man that stood in front of him. It was in good condition, as well kept up as the rest of James so either this was an elaborate con or he meant what he said. If he really was a founder of this settlement, then it would be in their best interest for him to play nice, for both their sakes. Even if it was a con, he could play along until the ruse played out enough to reveal it for what it was. There was always a catch, and Cleon would be looking for one.

The trap, if there was any there, would be at the Inn where they would be the most venerable and easily disposed of. He didn’t have to look at the building to know that, and his mind raced across the possibilities as he wondered about just what they would do. They would take the tour of course, but after.. A thought occurred to him, a bait to see if the Inn was what he thought it was.

“A tour would be” A bare-chested woman climbed aboard to help wrangle some of the cargo, and Cleon lost his train of thought for a moment and suddenly felt uncomfortable where he was. Dry swallowing past the sight, it took some effort to focus on James eyes again, and when he did he offered his best take on an apologetic smile though he perhaps showed a little bit too much ugly as his yellow teeth peered through.

“Where was I, we would be grateful for a tour Captain James, and this inn you spoke of sounds volumes better than the places we’ve been bedding down. I just..” There were quite a few bare bodies, and that unusual desire for a stiff drink was back again. “I was wondering if she- the innkeeper I mean wouldn’t be too offended if after we saw the place we spent our first night in a tent. For religious reasons.. I’d like to thank Laviku for getting us safely here in our own way.” He was studying James' face carefully as he said this, though he quickly felt foolish for his suspicion and how easily distracted he’d suddenly become. It was as if every vice he’d ever had was suddenly coming to the fore though he’d gone years without indulging in any of them.

A couple of children came over, drawing Cleon’s eye away from James as the boy took his hand. For a long moment, he stared dumbly at the boy as he registered their words somewhere behind all the noise. It was altogether not an unfamiliar experience for him for though he did not have a younger brother, you got to know plenty of orphans about Sunberth while loitering to make your mark. Still, it was a little too much familiarity than he hoped to find in this place, but he didn’t recoil. Instead, he listened with feigned amusement that threatened to turn real as he felt Faye squeeze his arm, and he considered what she might be thinking about now. Petch, what could it hurt to go along with them. It gives him more time to see Jame’s character.

Cleon nodded in agreement. “Fine by me.” He said, allowing himself to be pulled along off of the ship by the boy as he hated to admit that a little bit of the excitement seeped into him to see this Sykan tent. While they traveled, Cleon did his best to keep his eyes on James, the children, Faye, the jungle, anything but the bodies that were taking his mind he didn’t want to go at this moment.

He did his best to suppress the other desires as well, although his head was starting to throb just behind the temples because of it. It was a strangely abrupt onset that he could only account for by reasoning it was because they were at the end of their journey for better or worse and everything he must have been suppressing on the trip was suddenly coming to the fore. It was almost overwhelming but having Faye at his side grounded him somewhat for now. That and his stiff resolve not to be the indulgent mess his family was or tried to make him become.

Syka was a fresh start, and he wasn’t about to ruin that now. So he followed James with his head mostly averted from the other Sykan’s and his mind picturing tents of all sorts while in between he found time to worry about that doctor’s visit.

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Last edited by Cleon on March 6th, 2022, 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Faye on March 5th, 2022, 5:28 pm

The journey had been a different beast for Faye. She hadn't had to deal with negotiating their passage or deciding upon room and board. In fact, she hadn't been left to decide anything as Cleon kept her at a distance from everyone and everything.

Faye was expected to stay quiet and out of the way and she did so out of love and respect for her brother. She owed him that much at least but today was different. Today Cleon was giving her the chance to peek out of her shell, and she relished the opportunity.

Seeing him at the railing she wasted no time tugging at his arm, before slipping underneath so that she was snug against him.

"See that over there..." Faye followed to where her brother was pointed and excitedly looked over the rail. "I do! I do! Is that where we are going to be staying?" then she felt her breath catch in her throat from all the excitement and had to cough to get through it and when she finished she was flushed and leaning against her brother for support. She felt as his arms wrapped around her comfortingly and told her of all the opportunities they would have here.

It was more beautiful than she would have thought, seeing Syka for the first time over the railing of the ship. It was full of all sorts of new sights, sounds, and smells. Trees she’d never seen before, colorful fish that darted amongst the shallows, that strange rock a sailor had told them was coral. All of it was as strange as it was exciting, and they were going to live there. They really were in a place like this, not in some damp cave. Cleon promised, and he never went back on his word. He would protect them here, but.. Well, she did hope she’d let her get out a little more and not just keep her in some room. That would be the worst having seen all of this beauty around them.

Faye looked up fretfully at her brother and decided she would mention it to him later when they were alone. Not now because she knew that would irritate him, and she wanted him in a good mood when she broached the question.

In part, because of this, she didn’t complain when he guided her away from the railing although she wanted very much to continue seeing this city as it unwrapped itself before them. It was like she had become part of one of her stories. This whole trip had been like that in fact, and Faye had thought she had seen the end of beautiful things when they had passed through Riverfall, but coming here told her there was no end to the wonderful things to see in this world, a part of her wondered why it had taken them so long to do this. Why that had spent so long in that ugly city when there were places like this in the world.


Then- It was a subtle change in demeanor, not necessarily an outward one but one she felt when Cleon tensed his muscles. Faye looked up and followed his eyes to a man that approached him, the one she’d seen going about the ship more than a few times. He had friendly eyes that seemed like smiles in and of themselves when he looked at a person, and he was looking at them now. It gave her a funny, light feeling inside and she realized she liked the way the man talked. He had a real good way of painting a picture with his words and was much more fun to listen to than Cleon.

She smiled shyly up at James before looking nervously over at Cleon who seemed very concentrated at that moment. Faye could tell because he was pinching the fingers of his left hand together as he seemed to chew on what he was going to say. For her part, she decided to say silently as that was what Cleon would expect of her and she didn’t really know what she could add to the conversation.

Well, she knew what she wanted to ask, but that wouldn’t be appropriate for what she really wanted to do is continue looking over the side to get the best view of Syka she could. Fortunately for her though, Syka came to them, although she wasn’t quite ready for what it brought. The men and women who came aboard were all so beautiful and.. Naked. Faye blushed and reflexively took a step back behind her brother where she huddled within her cloak while stealing an occasional glance away from James to look at the people as they came aboard.

Now that she was watching them again, she saw that they were not all naked. Some were in varying states of undress, while others preferred revealing outfits, and of course, there were some who preferred dress she thought of as more normal than the rest. Which was to say all the necessary bits covered up. With the heat already what it was this morning, she couldn’t begrudge them this fact.

Faye was practically melting under this cloak of hers, but she couldn’t bear thinking about taking it off because of what her body looked like underneath. All bones and skin, and none of the beauty she saw coming aboard. Cleon said that would soon change once they had stayed here a while, and she believed him. She’d already started putting on pounds since the start of their journey, and she liked what she saw.

The exercise and fresh hair were also a welcome addition and helped her feel not so stuffy on the inside though she still felt a catch in her throat and shortness of breath that had stayed with her for the entirety of their voyage. This man. This kind man though said something about a doctor and there was no stopping the smile that blossomed warmly across her face. It made her feel strange, but strange in a good way. She kind of liked it and liked him for it. It would feel good not to worry about this cough anymore.

Faye peeked out of her shell a little bit, stepping a little closer to James as he listened to their conversation. Then she frowned slightly at Cleon’s recommendation that they sleep outside for the first night. The suggestion didn’t really make a lot of sense to her, but then again, he’d come back a little strange when he went overboard that one time, what was it, oh it had felt so long ago. It didn’t take long for him to return back to normal, but now and again she still caught him whispering to the sea and she thought she understood what that was about, though not so far as spending the night beside it.

Tactfully she kept her mouth shut about it, but it was another thing she’d try to convince him against when they found some alone time later. On that account she didn’t believe she would have much trouble given she had a reasonably strong argument against it.

A pair of children came up then, and Faye smiled when a little boy took Cleon’s hand. Her brother acted in a way that was so him it almost hurt how much it tickled her. She found herself drawn into the children’s excitement easily enough, more so when it appeared they were going to leave the ship and it was all she could do not to bound down the gangplank and run onto the beach.

Tremulously she stayed by her brother’s side, feeling a little self-conscious now and again about just how much she was sweating underneath this cloak, though she managed to alleviate that somewhat by occasionally opening it up to a stray gust of wind. Perhaps by the time they reached the tents, she’d get over some of the nervousness that was bubbling in her belly.

Looking from James to the children, she thought that was a very distinct possibility.

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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Gossamer on March 7th, 2022, 5:16 am

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James could tell the pair hadn’t had it easy. He didn’t ask about their past. If or when they wanted to talk about it, he hoped himself or at least one of the other Founders would be around. He, himself, had two daughters one of which was still living. That gave him far more experience than Mathias or Randal had. Randal had been married but his wife and infant son had been killed which had facilitated his joining the trio on their endeavor to start Syka’s colonization. Mathias was older and had never married. He was a priest though, so that wasn’t surprising. His vision was long range and more focused on possibilities than present time experiences. That left James dealing with the kids. And though he didn’t mind, it did send a twinge through his heart about his lost little girl.

“I had a young daughter once. Veronica.” He said to the boy. “I lost her young from an accident. She would have been around your age now, Faye. And I know she would have liked this place.” He said, gesturing around. They padded down one of the gangplanks and out onto the dock proper. It wasn’t a solid dock like the ones in Syliras and Riverfall had been. Instead, it was made up of floating platforms anchored to pilons that raised and lowered with the tide via shackles. The dock rocked, much like the ship, and with all the activity unloading it… even moreso. “And I can tell you that there are lots of surprises here.” He added, as he lead the small group down the dock and finally onto firm ground.

A bird – a bright red macaw - swooped across the commons. It was shrieking the word welcome just as if it had a human voice. Two sea gulls fought over what looked like a hermit crab fighting for its life inside a shell far to big to provide it good cover. They each had a piece of the conch shell in their mouth and were waging a sort of tug-o-war over the delicacy. The newly debarked pair could swear the gulls were panting out ‘drop!’ and ‘no you drop!’ between each tug. James gestured up at the macaw. “Eywaat gifted us with a statue shortly after the settlement was started. It grants all the birds in the confines of our main settlement the ability to speak common at a very low intelligence level. You’ll often hear them talking. If one walks up to you and wants something you are eating and demands you ‘give’ whatever it is you have… don’t get too upset. It’s normal.” James explained, gesturing over towards the direction the parrot statue was located.

He didn’t take the small party to see it, though. Instead, he led them into the Common’s proper. “When we are expected back, the settlement always turns out to cook if we can. We like to take opportunities to gather and gossip. Ships mean new arrivals and everyone’s excited that the children came.” He added, angling to one side and taking the group directly up to where a line was forming.

“Hopefully you have your things from the ship. I would have thought you’d have more, but if you need anything, over there’s the mercantile. My daughter Juli runs it. If you need something, she can take a coin for it or barter trade. Since I’m gone so much, people often pay her in a trade like food hunted or gathered or even artifacts found on the beach. But for the time being, just let Juli know you can open a modest tab that you can pay off once you find work if there is anything you need.” He added as the line moved up to a table that had cutlery and plates on it. Most of the things were wooden, carved by hand, and all but crude.

However, they were serviceable and durable being out in the open like they were. James handed each of the siblings a plate, some cutlery, and offered them each a linen napkin. “Take what you want from the food lines as we move through. Once we have something to eat I’ll take you on a proper tour and we’ll swing by the Panacea if the doctor isn’t already here.” James said.

They moved steadily through the line, though they were not without interruptions. James was a busy person and people kept approaching him asking questions, wanting clarifications on the cargo manifest, and making arrangements for a minor series of repairs the ship needed. If it wasn’t business, it was a pleasure. Many people stopped to speak to James if only to say hello, and James was good about introducing Cleon and Faye, though the other two children with them had managed to slip away and were across from the Communal Kitchens at a large covered area filled with seating and tables already eating.

The dress code in Syka was odd. Most everyone was barefoot, in light clothing either cut short or loose-fitting. There were the occasional bare chests and one woman had an almost see-through smock on, but otherwise, the people were normal. There were more instances of talking birds, one of which was some sort of sandpiper that had taken up residence near what looked like a fresh-built pit barbeque and kept repeating the word ‘hot’ over and over on the margin of where the pit was smoking and filling the clearing with the smell of roasted pork.

As they moved through the line, James made sure both their plates were loaded up with meat, vegetables, and an assortment of fruit. He put a thick slice of bread over Faye’s plate and added one to Cleon’s too. “Smells like it was baked today. We’re in luck.” He said with a grin, loading up his own plate with mostly vegetables. He did take a few slices of the pork, but he ate much more moderately than the sibling’s plates were loaded. When they got to the end of the line, there were tables of drinks. The glasses were mugs made of whole sections of bamboo trees, making them light and just as durable as the wooden plates were. James sat his plate down and poured for all three of them. Handing each a glass, he headed them over to the Events Center where everyone was eating, and took a seat where he could find one to eat.

“Now, do you two have any questions? This is the Syka Commons.. it’s the core of our community. All the other settlements span out from here along the shore in a north or south direction. This beach out front is called Swing Beach… it has some of the best white sand anywhere. And because it's one of the most occupied beaches, we’ve hung swings up periodically… most of which swing out over the water so you can drop off and get cool if that’s what you want.” He said thoughtfully, happy to be sitting and eating what was in essence for him a home-cooked meal.

More people came up to visit, asking about the weather, and introducing themselves to the young newcomers. A woman – human – walked by and James called out to her. “Kami.. can I talk to you for a moment?” He asked, beckoning her over. The woman flashed him a smile then changed directions to intercept his table and James leaned up to speak low.

“Hey, James… what’s up? Need help with something?” Kami asked, smiling at the Founder and glancing at the two young people curiously.

“The little one here, Faye, has a bad cough. Do you think you can look at it?” He asked, gesturing at Faye. “Faye, this is Kami… she’s one of the healers at The Panacea. Can she touch you for a moment and look at you to see what she can see?” He asked, smiling.

Kami didn’t actually wait for Faye’s permission. She didn’t do more than reach out and touch the little girl on the middle of her back, moving her hand between one shoulder then the other, her eyes losing all forward sight. Her touch was warm, though not inviting. Faye could feel the power course through her lungs, as the woman frowned then stepped back. “Have you been mining?” Kami asked Faye, looking at the girl curiously.

“Underground… in a confined space? That lung feels like its full of particles, dust, and probably mold or mildew… things that you get being underground.” She said, shaking her head. “I don’t have a gnosis high enough to deal with it, but I can whip you up some cough syrup to take a couple of times a day. It should clear up in all the fresh air here, so long as you stay warm and dry. Come by later this afternoon I’ll have it ready.” Kami said pleasantly and gave the little girl a pat on her head. “James will show you where the Panacea is.” She added, then with a wave was off.

James studied Faye curiously. “Well, I won’t ask… but at least that didn’t have time to develop. She’d have said it was the miner’s lung? You have to be careful with that. It can turn into black lung fast.” He said with a nod, then glanced at Cleon. “The Panacea is clearly labeled if you take the cobbled path to the south… it is a small sign, about knee-high, pointing off to the right of the trail… follow that sign to the only building on that path and she’ll have yoru medicine ready,” James said, then tucked into eating his food.

“Eat .. Eat you two. Once your done, we’ll get on with the tour.” He said, then had to take a moment to deal with two sailors that had brought minor issues to his attention while they were in port. He seemed to sort out the issue, and the sailor was heading back to the ship in another moment. James was smiling between mouthfuls before he said once more.

“Any questions so far?” HE said, then took a long drink of his juice. It was apparently a mixture of muddled berries and coconut water.


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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Cleon on March 7th, 2022, 10:13 pm

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As sad as what he said was, Cleon had a hard time empathizing with the man though he’d experienced his own share of losses. It wasn’t just that he was distracted, but traced back to a deeper issue that he had never really gotten over. Standing there, talking to this man reminded him of the times that sprung that bone deep pain that he’d done his best to spare Faye from. He knew logically James was not his father. He knew too that most men were not sick, and twisted individuals. Still, he couldn’t help the way he felt about James taking on this role for them, even if that was not really what he was doing. It made his stomach churn, and twist itself into knots as he struggled to keep a straight face for his sister’s sake.

For they’re sake really, because if this man was who he said he was, they’d need his blessing to stay here, and there was no where else for them to go. This was the end of the line for them, and if they couldn’t make it here, they couldn’t make it anywhere. So as much as it hurt him, he would go along and play nice. Push down the pain like he always had, and promise himself that he would deal with it later.

He saw the way the dock was rocking, and dutifully navigated to walk as close to the center as he could manage as he didn’t relish the idea of falling into the water. While he had stopped getting seasick from this back and forth one oft experienced on the ship, he was still far from steady on his feet. He got the impression he would never get his sea legs as the sailors called it given he still struggled after so long, but then again that really didn’t matter now.

Walking along the dock gave him a decent view of the parts of Syka closest to them, though his eyes were quickly drawn to a red bird not long after they left it. Not so much the color or strange appearance of the bird, which would have been enough in normal circumstances but because he was half sure the thing had just spoken common. His jaw tensed further as another pair of birds did it again, these ones white with long, narrow beaks and Cleon suddenly felt goosebumps prickle his flesh despite it being rather warm.

He was about to say something when James provided an explanation. Not one that exactly satisfied his suspicions as he’d never heard of this Eywaat person and was almost positive they had to be a wizard. The idea of that weighed like a stone in his belly as he considered what sort of people these Sykan’s might actually be to allow such blatant magic in their midst. Or there could be a more reasonable explanation, one that didn’t petch up their chances from the start, and Cleon found himself inclined to want just that.

“Who is this Eywaat? Do they reside here in the settlement?” Cleon asked cautiously, trying to keep his voice neutral and failing miserably. It was hard to dismiss over a decade worth of healthy paranoia, and he wasn’t the best at playing pretend which is why he usually kept his mouth shut. However if there was a wizard, he’d like to know about it so he could steer himself and Faye clear away from them.

He looked to her then, but she seemed lost in her own hopeful imaginings of this place. His gaze softened somewhat as he tried to imagine what she was thinking, but couldn’t feel anything for the words and emotions that came to mind. His own head was too full of thoughts of what he would do after this tour was over, and the emotional fatigue he felt from completing this petching journey of theirs. Still he tried as he often did to feel in some way the wonder he saw on her face. It served to ground him, and keep him away from the darker corners of his mind.

When James pointed the statue out, Cleon tried to memorize where he was in relation to it and what he knew of the layout of the settlement so far which wasn’t much yet. However as they went along he planned to continue with his mental map because as much as he chaffed at being lead along, he recognized the value in what James was doing for them just now. More importantly, he didn’t want to have to ask again where everything was although he was starting to get an inkling that there was no avoiding that given how spread out everything was. One could live their entire lives on a single street in Sunberth that barely stretched from the docks to that statue over there, while here there was just so much open space.

Fortunately he did not bring them towards the magic statue but towards the smell of some delicious food being cooked up, and a line of people waiting to be fed. It reminded him vaguely of something the orphanage back in Sunberth had occasionally done, only it smelled better and the line was much less unruly. This prospect of course got Faye talking, and Cleon did his best to listen in good humor though it was certainly harder with the smell of food present. Not just because he was hungry for a decent meal, but that it brought other desires along with it as well. Namely a drink and a good smoke which he felt would be a good way to end the meal.

Cleon’s brow knit in consternation. Where had that even come from? There was no time to spend on indulgences like that and yet the want was there were it lingered with a hint of desperation as he tried to pull his mind away from it. Doubling down, he focused on James, on the emotions the man raised within him, and the words coming out of his mouth. The desires melted away somewhat, but still lingered just at the point that he knew of their presence no matter the course of his thoughts. He took in a deep breath, and decided to take a rough accounting of their meager possessions.

“I suppose we will need to visit her before we get settled in, just to make sure we don’t do without on our first night.” Cleon mused. He was a bit curious about the artifacts on the beach, but not comfortable enough to ask after them himself. Faye had no such reservations so he kept to himself while they talked and he did his best to keep his mind productive. He even managed an empty smile as James handed them plates and cutlery as they passed through the line.

It seemed as if James were a popular man as people kept coming up to him about various things, and when he would introduce them, Cleon would nod dutifully and maintain that smile that didn’t touch his eyes. However it almost did when it came time to plate the food as Cleon’s stomach growled, and his plate was stacked with the kind of food he hadn’t seen much of in his life but smelled absolutely delicious. To top it all off, James laid a fat slice of fresh bread across and they worked their way towards the end of the line where they picked up strange-looking mugs that James filled before guiding them over to sit and enjoy their meal.

Cleon didn’t wait for permission to dig in and started in on the plate from the moment his ass hit the seat, barely chewing as he shoveled in a thick slice of pork, followed by a small heap of vegetables. It was as hot as it was delicious and he had to blow on his next few bites to avoid scalding his mouth any more on the food though he remained reluctant to take small bites. Occasionally he’d wash down an in-progress mouthful with a gulp of juice which helped it go down faster so he could take another bite.

James still wanted to talk, however, not just to the people that dropped by the table to say a quick word but to check on them so Cleon found it prudent to listen, and tried slowing his pace somewhat so he could speak while he ate which was hard to do with a stuffed mouth.

“Where’s your market at?” Cleon asked when he could manage to get a word in, half chewing the fat of a thick slice of ham he was currently working on. A part of him remembered that it was a rude thing to do from his time getting admonished in Syliras, but then another part counseled that they could very well have different attitudes here and he decided to continue as he was until he learned otherwise.

The question was not exactly an innocuous one. He had strong reservations about how he was going to support them here even with James talk of credit. Cleon only knew one way to make money, and that way worked better in a crowded market which he saw no indication of here. Not that he planned on stealing right off the back. He’d try to make his way honestly if he could for Faye’s sake, but one always needed a backup plan.

Cleon did eventually stop stuffing his face when the woman came over, and he even had the presence of mind to close his mouth as he found himself appreciating her beauty. Suddenly a drink and smoke weren’t all that he wanted after lunch, and Cleon looked down at his plate as the idea came to him. The woman, fortunately, didn’t seem to pay him any attention as she was focused on his sister Faye, gently touching her back before strangely coming up with a solution for her problem.

It was a little confusing to follow just how she’d done that, though that confusion was quickly overshadowed by the brief, intense relief he felt at their being something they could do soon about that cough of hers. Then came the worry as always came with good things.

“Um.. Miss.. How much is that going to cost us?” He asked quietly as he chewed on just what they could do if it was beyond them. Cleon would do anything he had to, steal, beg, or borrow for that medicine but he wanted to know now if that was something he had to start considering.

Once the woman had left, Cleon took careful note of the direction James had pointed and tried expanding the mental picture he was putting together of the area, though it was hard now with those indulgent thoughts taking up more space in his mind. Still, he made an effort as he finished his meal quickly and finished the juice that was unfortunately not stronger. However, Jame’s helpful prodding helped to stir something loose in his mind.

“Is there a school or place Faye could go during the day while I was working?” Cleon asked almost embarrassed. It was a rumor they had come across in Syliras in their travels, and Cleon knew Faye was more than passing fond of the idea though Cleon struggled to see the sense in it. Still, if it made her happy, then it bettered him by proxy. Other than that, Cleon had a hard time thinking of what else to ask as he started again to think about that woman bringing him a pipe and a cool mug of ale.

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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Faye on March 7th, 2022, 10:16 pm

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For Faye the rock of the docks, and talking birds were an altogether different wonder. She enjoyed daring to stand as close as she could to the edge though that was hard enough to manage with keeping alongside her brother and James with how many people were currently walking across it. Still, it was exciting to feel it lurch back and forth almost as if it had a will of its own. She’d never experienced a dock like this one, and immediately wondered why more docks weren’t like this one which was certainly more fun to cross than the rest.

Then the bird cried welcome, and she just about forgot everything else. It was red with yellow and blue wings that unfurled magnificently as it flew from one branch to the next. Next thing she knew a pair of white birds with beady eyes started fussing over a shell in common, and her eyes went wide as she stared. She wanted more than anything at that moment to run down the beach after them to try and have a conversation, but James and Cleon were going in the opposite direction.

Reluctantly she waved goodbye to the birds, before catching up with her brother and Jame’s conversation. They were talking about a bird statue that gave them this unique talent which Faye was surprised to learn about. She’d never heard of such a thing, and yet here was this adult explaining it so easily. This place truly was wonderful.

As they continued to walk along, Faye started to pay less attention to the boring bits of conversation and more to the birds they past, mouthing words to them in hopes that they would respond. Unfortunately, they didn’t but it wasn’t for lack of trying on her part as she’d tried to get their attention by waving animatedly. However the birds were either disinterested in her, or couldn’t read lips. Maybe a little bit of both, but Faye felt reluctant to interrupt James or Cleon as they made their way across Syka.

So she imagined her conversations with them, her first being with a gray parrot that was doing a funny hop across the beach. She thought about asking it to a party later that she would host where it could drink all the water it wanted with her, and they would talk about what it was like living in the jungle. The parrot would then naturally give her tips, and then offer to lead her on a grand adventure where she could meet and speak with many different kinds of animals.

It sounded fun in her head, and strangely very possible. That got her feeling kind of giddy so she started trading smiles with anyone who so much as glanced her way as she occasionally bit her lower lip in contemplation.

This place really was unlike anything she had ever experienced before, and not for the first time she wondered why weren’t more places like this. Or more accurately, why were they less like Sunberth because she wondered how these cities they had traveled by did so much with what they had while the majority of Sunberth lived in squalor. It was strange and hard to comprehend an she filed it away as another for her list.

She had quite a long list all things considered being a curious girl with only one person to ask questions to, though perhaps that would change here came the thought as she was thinking about James. He seemed kind, and a lot like Cleon was, or at least occupied a similar role in her mind from the way he talked and guided them. More than that, she found she liked him, and his way of speaking that she certainly took comfort in. She hoped that more people were like him in Syka because if that was true, she would have no problem growing to love this place. Not that it was looking rather difficult as is. Especially with that pleasant aroma on the wind.

Faye giggled when both of their stomachs rumbled together, though Cleon seemed to take no notice. She was certain though he recognized the smell as much as he did, and it stirred more than a little excitement up within her as they joined the line. Although they had eaten rather well aboard the Veronica, the scent of freshly cooked food made her feel like she had been without for days as her stomach gurgled away. As such she had a hard time staying still while they waited in line, rocking back on her heels while remembering barely to not get too excited or she’d have another one of her fits again, and that was certainly not something she wanted to do in front of James again if she could help it.

“Thank you” She said to James when he handed them their plates, and she beamed up a smile before her attention was distracted once more. First it was pulled along on further down the line where people were filling up their plates, then to a small bird chanting ‘hot’, ‘hot’.

“Thank you mister bird.” Faye called out to the little thing, though she wasn’t quite sure why beyond that it felt right, and she really wanted to talk to a bird. It seemed to her that it was warning everyone to be careful about their food, something she would have to remember when they sat down to eat. She liked to eat fast out of habit, especially when it smelled as good as this food did because such meals didn’t come often. Though hadn’t James said the Innkeeper could cook well too, and that was where he recommended they stay, so.. Yeah, she would definitely need to convince their brother to spend the night there.

She looked at him carefully then, trying to gauge his mood and then wishing she hadn’t because she knew that look, or at least had a sense of it. It was what her sister Farren called his moody look when he was a little more irritated and distracted than usual. The spells were usually short, but it wasn’t exactly comfortable to be around him when he got like this.

Faye quickly looked away and smiled at the bird quickly as James helped her with filling the plate, practically shouting “THANK YOU!” with a bit more enthusiasm when he laid on the thick slice of bread followed by a mug of something sweet later on down the line. She knew it was sweet because she couldn’t help but to take a curious sip the second he’d filled it, and followed it with a delighted gulp as the flavors played over her tongue.

That had her practically skipping back to the table with her plate, but only for a moment before caution about possibly losing this food overcame her when the plate almost overbalanced onto the ground. From that point she walked in a more reserved fashion with them back to the table where she quickly started at her plate while watching all the people that came to greet James. She had her mouth full of fresh fruit when James actually grabbed the attention of a passing woman whom came over and then placed a hand on her back while Faye was still considering the request.

She stiffened at the gentle touch, though did her best not to squirm from the woman who was just trying to help. Still it made her more than a little nervous as she forcibly swallowed what was in her mouth before looking anxiously at the woman.

“Dust inside of me? Is it serious?” She asked fretfully, then calmed somewhat when the woman promised to make her some medicine that would help with that. Then there was no stopping the smile that spread across her face at the thought of finally being rid of her fits, and she would try to hug the woman if she would let her.

“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you, really miss.” She’d say before taking her seat back, and sparing a shy glance over at Cleon whom of course had a practical question on the tip of his tongue. The sorts of questions that always left her feeling anxious as she did now while she tried to distract herself by picking at her plate while she waited for her response. It didn’t last long however as Faye had confidence in her brother’s abilities, and knew that he would use all of their saved coin if it came to that. That thought though left her feeling a little conflicted, but the conversation at hand took her away from that speculation when she heard mention of a school.

Her expression brightened considerably at the prospect as she leaned forward on the table on her elbows as she munched away at what was left of her bread slice. An as she did she thought about all the friends she could make at such a place where she could finally get out from under her brother.


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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Gossamer on March 9th, 2022, 12:48 am

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As the children went with James, they headed for the Events Center which was were everyone was getting food. James knew there was plenty of time to grab a bite to eat, and he wanted to check on the tent situation for the children afterwards. “Let’s grab a plate of food before our tour and before we drop you off at the Inn to meet the Innkeeper.” He said, steering the pair nearer the the newly erected Children’s Pavilion and through the Event’s Center to the Communal Kitchens. He got in line with them, grabbing plates, cutlery, and filling plates from tables that had been erected just off the kitchens for just that purpose. They got poured large glasses of fruit juice, and James got them seated with full plates to start on. The buffet served fresh fruit, baked goods, and some deliciously barbequed pork that had been spit roasted all day in anticipation of the ship arriving with hungry guests.

Juli dropped by, who was James’ daughter, and introduced herself while she asked her father a question or two about orders from the Mercantile that were supposed to be onboard the ship. It turned out James owned the Mercantile itself, while Juli ran it day to day. James worked the issues through with Juli and sent her on her way then called Cleon away from the table they were seated at for a moment after they’d taken the edge off their hunger.

“It turns out, Cleon, we don’t have a market. We just have one shop… a Mercantile. It’s a general goods store where you can buy a whole bunch of things or put in orders for things that come on the Veronica when James makes runs to Syka. That’s why the whole community turns out to unload the ship. It usually has everyone’s orders on it.” James explained, then answered another one of Cleon’s questions.

“Eywaat is The Demigod of Birds… a sort of half-blooded god. He gifted Syka with communication with his birds.” James explained, having already briefly outlined where the statue was in case the pair wanted to go see it. “Gods and DemiGods live all over... they just don’t make their home one place usually. We have Gods visit, but none of them reside full time in Syka. Riverfall has some resident Gods though.” James assured Cleon, not knowing if the young man had heard of Wyser and Akajia being there.

“I’ll show you all the important places before you get settled, but first I want to check on the pavilion the children are getting to sleep in tonight.” He said, as they finished their food and deposited their plates where volunteers were washing up.

Kami had looked to Faye’s cough and had an explanation for it, which made James worried that other things may crop up between the pair of they’d been living underground for too very long. It wasn’t a worry for today though… today he had a lot of people to get settled. When Cleon asked the cost, Kami just lifted her eyebrows and glanced at James. “It’s not serious, Faye, though it could have easily become serious. You have a mild case and it’s caught early. We can fix your lungs right up. Cost? What do they charge for healing in other places? We’re healers… the Goddess grants us the ability to help people for a reason. No cost. If I need some help with something down the line, you can come lend me a hand. And if you need your sister to go someplace during the day if you get a job, I’ll be glad to teach her a thing or two about making healing potions and crafting bandages… I always need help around the clinic. Jensan does too.” Kami added, grinning.

“Cleon, walk with me a moment? Faye? Stay here a chime with Kami?” He asked politely, drawing Cleon off a few feet away to talk to him privately before they headed out on the tour.

“Your sister will be fine, Cleon, if you walk with me a moment. You can see her from here. I wanted to talk to you privately though… man to man.” He said offering the young man a smile and leaving Faye still in the events center looking around with the other children. “Syka gets hot… wet… and the heat can be out of control. You are a young man and this affects you in particular. I saw what happened on the ship with the woman who was topless… and I wanted to just let you know that Syka has a very relaxed clothing policy. Its just practical to be able to strip down, jump in the ocean or community pool. Protocol is to not react. Don’t stare. Keep your eyes on their faces, not their breasts. You are more than welcome to strip down too. They won’t be staring at your junk. Frankly, no one cares. I just wanted to let you know… a bit apart from your sister. We’ve never had kids in the Settlement before, so I’m not sure if this will change things or not. Probably not, knowing the Sykans. Half our culture is taken from the Svefra, and they definitely don’t get bothered by nudity at any age.” He said, gesturing back over.

After the brief talk, they rejoined Faye near the pavilion and James gave Faye a strong pat on the shoulder. James nodding at Kami for looking over Faye’s lungs.

The young healer answered Cleon’s question for James. “You’ll find no lack of offers for people to watch Faye or even teach her. I think the children’s pavilion will be holding classes too if she needs a place to learn her letters. But if she has an inkling to learn a trade, just about anyone would take her help in trade for some lessons.” Kami added, before James could answer. With that, she was off with a wave and a smile, leaving them once again alone with the captain.

And so, James took them on the short walk to where a large pavilion was being erected. As he suspected, Lars Waska had most everything in hand. While the man was the Sawmill Operator, he was also most importantly the Ashta handler. And he had a pair of his young bulls out there working both to help unload The Veronica, but more immediately to help raise the tent. It was a large tent, far big enough for an Ashta to walk right into, and that meant it needed big Ashta to set the poles and run the guidelines holding tension as the Sykan’s assigned to the task drove stakes and got the big pavilion settled. “Oh! Why that’s not even a tent.” James exclaimed when they had approached the children who had complained about not wanting to live in a tent. He was well aware that the children probably had no idea of the difference in something that size. “It’s a Drykas Pavilion. Probably one traded for in Riverfall especially for you. Do you guys know who the Drykas are?” He asked, gesturing to the faded paintings of running horses barely visible wrapping around the pavilion. “These are like portable houses. They aren’t just places to sleep, but they are as big as homes!” He said, feigning enthusiasm and ducking inside to grab a guideline and secure it. Then he showed the children carefully how to roll up one section of wall to let some light and air in.

He glanced over and nodded at Randal Zor, who was busy with his carpentry tools already putting the wood to use that Lars must have brought for the purpose. “See? Randal over there is building you all beds. You can run over and tell him if you want single beds or bunk beds… he’ll build either. They probably won’t be done tonight, but he’ll get a few of them done and probably finish up the rest tomorrow work the next day depending on how much help he has. He’d work faster if you guys would lend a hand. He’ll show you what to do.” He said, gesturing around the place.

“I was incredibly lucky…” He said as the bulk of the children they’d attracted heading to the site where the pavilion was being assembled peeled off to either see if they could pet an Ashta or put in their bed orders with Randal. “I found a Pavilion a Drykas had to trade. It didn’t even have a tragedy associated with it like an illness or anything. The man just married off his two oldest boys and the women were coming to live with him and they needed a far larger place and this one was old. It’s perfect for our needs though. It easily has enough space for a dormitory-style housing for the kids, a private section for Miss Hess, and a little classroom area until we get the children dispersed throughout the settlement to where they want to be.” He added, glancing around.

The Pavilion was being erected right beside the Events Center in close proximity to everything in the Settlement.

“I saw you two had your own tent, and I’ve offered to show you the Inn… but this is always an option as well if you don’t want to stay alone. Cleon, you’re a bit old for this whole dormitory thing, but the little ones would really look to you to protect and watch over them if that sort of role assisting Miss Hess suited you. We’d pay you, of course.” James said, then had a quick word with Lars who had things well under control, before moving to speak with Randal a moment, who offered to take the kids for food after he got their names and ages… and what sleeping situations they wanted sorted out.

With food and the pavilion inspection taken care of, James asked both siblings if they were ready for the tour... and without preamble he took them on it. The tour was carried out in whirlwind fashion. The walk took over two hours, and James made them leave their things at the Events Center. Unburdened, he walked them south along the cobbled pathway as far as Estuary Cave, taking them on side trips east to Swing Beach, the Tidepool Bar, and even so far out as the Tar Pits west. They turned around at the Estuary Cave, heading back north to investigate everything on the west side of the cobbled pathway. James showed them where the side-trail of the Panacea, and they made an offering of bread that James had tucked into his pocket to the jewel fish in Kihala’s shrine. He took them through The Commons making a giant circle north and showed them all the communal areas before making sure they knew where the Storm shelter, dovecote, and the path – though he didn’t take them that far – to the banana grove was. All the sidepaths off the main thoroughfare was well marked with wooden signs carefully labeled indicating where the branches lead too. James swung them by the Community Pool and they walked back north along the cobbled pathway.

James pointed out Mathias’ place with its huge deck and invited them to visit that Founder any time. He particularly liked company fishing off his deck and had books to loan and a million stories to tell. They passed by the Protea Inn and James took them to peak at the Inn though they’d have to head to the Events Center to get their things first. They passed by the Bungalows and saw them first hand, then the Overwater Ranchos. James didn’t take them as far as Sharktooth Point or the Swine Swells. He didn’t even take them to the Sawmill… it was too far away. But they did see the path to the Confluence and were given a brief description of what the swimming hole was.

James could tell both were getting tired and suggested they head back to the Commons…. Where he said they could spend the night – or as many nights as they needed to spend – on Swing Beach tent camping if they liked. And he, of course, answered any questions they might have had. Once that was done, he dropped them off at the Events Pavilion to collect their things… then he was available to answer any questions before seeing to the rest of the offloading of the ship.
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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Cleon on March 9th, 2022, 6:56 pm

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Cleon did his best not to grimace when he learned that there wasn’t an open air market in Syka, and recalled the woman whom James had just introduced moments earlier. Julie, his daughter no less. It made sense the way James explained it, but still he felt a pang of frustration as he ruled out that particular back up plan. This community was too tightly knit for any petty thieving to go uncaught for long, especially since he would likely be the first suspected. That shouldn’t have bothered him as much as it did, but there were other aggravating influences on his mind just then as he started to feel boxed into a predetermined path not of his own choosing. He decided then and there that after this tour was over he would get that drink, wherever he could find one so at least he could unwind after the day he’d had.

Petch, they were barely even into it and he was starting to feel stretched to his breaking point. That said, it did ease his mind somewhat to learn that Eywaat was a deity instead of a wizard or at least, half god, whatever that meant. He was surprised to hear they visited though, as he always pictured them having something better to do than associating with mere mortals. Was there something about Syka and Riverfall that attracted them from wherever they spent most of their time? It was nice as far as he’d seen, yet he remembered the words of caution they’d been given before embarking on that final leg of the journey. That Syka was a settlement on the edge of a very dangerous jungle, and that they would have to work hard if they wanted to make it there.

Against that daunting prospect it was tempting to remain in Riverfall. After all he had a little sister to keep after, and he wasn’t exactly the healthiest. Still, Syka sounded like all that they needed in their future home, which primarily was to become part of a community that looked after one another, something that drew him and Faye both.

So far, he could see it was just like that, and even half gods came by to help out, though he wasn’t quite sure just yet of the utility of talking birds. Still it was a sign of favor which put the community in a good light in his mind. A good place for his sister to grow up anyways.

Cleon was further relieved when the healer said that there would be no charge, in the monetary sense anyways and Cleon was more than willing to trade his body for Faye’s health. More than that what she offered to do for Faye almost begged belief. The healers he had know before coming to this place were nothing like Kami. They either charged to much, or they wanted a piece of you, and the end result was much the same. A flip of a coin to find out if you would get better or not. A big part of him wanted to think that this woman was different than that even as the other side of himself whispered its poisonous doubt.

He looked to Faye for reassurance before speaking. “Certainly, I’ll help out with anything you need, and I’m sure Faye would enjoy helping out as well, won’t you Faye?” Cleon asked, realizing a little too late that what he was doing might be considered rude. He’d never thought so before they left Sunberth, but then they’d run into this Syliran woman who didn’t quite like him speaking for his sister like he was accustomed to. It was a hard habit to break, but if they were going to be living here, he didn’t want to spoil their impressions.

Fortunately, or so he thought briefly, James drew him away from the situation to talk, though when he heard just what they were talking about his face fell. He felt the words creeping upon him like a beast trying to devour him, and his ears burned from being so caught out. If that had been so plain on his face then what else had? What would they think if the object of one of his other desires caught his eye. Would there be any stopping him? What was he supposed to say to that?

Nothing was what he went with as he clenched his teeth, and half nodded. He wouldn’t have lived as long as this if he had not learned to take a dressing down along the way, and sometimes he thought that this weakness had always been apart of his character because of his upbringing. It wasn’t something he could run from. Just another burden to bear along with all the others even while his instincts screamed at him.

He came back over to Faye feeling more than a little embarrassed, avoiding everyone’s eyes as he chewed away at his nail while thinking about if there was a way for him to get high tonight. That was the sort of release he found himself sorely needing in that moment as he talked about getting things squared away for Faye in the future. Cleon hadn’t sought chemical escape in a long time, but the idea that had came to him that morning was starting to wear its way through his resolve, and he was starting to think that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just have a taste so he could get his mind on more productive things.

“I am relieved to hear that. You will not find a more willing student.” Cleon managed after a moment, giving a half hearted smile to Faye as he worked on a piece of nail between his front teeth.

With one less thing to worry about, Cleon followed James over to where there was being set up a massive tent, larger than anything he had seen in the tent city on the outskirts of Sunberth. To help in the process, there were two huge animals with long noses and intelligent eyes. Not to mention how strong they must be to haul such a contraption in place. Cleon listened attentively as James explained to the children what it was before going inside. Cleon followed through, noticing inside man James named Randal working on several pieces of wood.

For the first time in a while, Cleon started to feel a little hopeful as he watched and inclined his head to better appreciate what the man was doing to prepare the wood for beds. He decided it was now or never to make his bid.

“I could help with that once me and my sister get settled. I picked up some experience in Syliras, and wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to continue doing so here.” Cleon offered, rather nervously as he wasn’t sure how it would be taken. Seeing that the man plainly had his hands full, he didn’t try to take up too much of the man’s time and peeled away to speak more with James as he learned how he’d gotten the pavilion in the first place.

“I think the Inn sounds perfect for us. We’ve been living rough for so long that a room of our own sounds like what we need. Its just this one night I’d like to spend camped out so we can pay our proper respects to Laviku.” Cleon said, even though he was starting to actually believe nothing untoward would happen to them at the Inn after all. Prudently he wanted to keep his options open, and James didn’t seem to be pressing them too hard to make a decision just now which Cleon appreciated.

Then the tour got officially started after they had secured their belongings, and Cleon quickly learned that there was a lot more to Syka than he had originally anticipated. Actually more than he believed possible, for they had not done much exploring of the cities they had visited on the way here, and in Sunberth they rarely left the immediate area around their home for fear of the wrong person catching them out in the open.

Here though they got the chance to explore a great many strange and unexpected things. They came to a beautiful cavern where the fish liked to raise their young, strange pits of a black sticky substance, a beautiful white sand beach where Sykan’s liked to relax on swings, and a bar that Cleon made sure to add to his mental map so that he could visit it later. He had an inkling he would really need that drink after all of this walking was through with.

From there they walked to the shrine of goddess James named as Kihala, and Cleon even found some brief amusement there feeding the fish alongside his sister. There were even more places to follow, though the one Cleon took special note of was the dovecote which definitely sounded like something he would want to explore in the future as he wasn’t quite sure to make of what he was hearing. It sounded almost too fantastic to be true, like something he would have to see for himself to get a good picture. Unfortunately there wasn’t much time for exploring that now as Cleon came to realize that James himself might have business to attend to as the bells stretched on along their walk.

Besides that, he was feeling rather beat with all of this walking. Even with having ate rather well on the way down here, he was far from as strong as he could be and his endurance was sorely lacking from days upon days of doing nothing at sea. He was grateful for the opportunity to see what they had, with James even pointing out other housing if they chose to go that route. Matthias’ house seemed nice as well, a place Cleon could see himself visiting to just look down at the water if he ever even had the idle time of which he had considerable doubt. Still, it was a nice fantasy while it lasted.

Afterward James took them back to the events pavilion where they’d secured their things away, and Cleon realized this would be their parting of ways for now.

“Thank you for showing us around James, and for introducing us to so many people. I’m not sure where we fit in yet, but I can see it won’t be that way for long.” Cleon said, and he gave the man a long look, and realized he wasn’t really mad at the man anymore, though he remained a little suspicious. That was only healthy after all. Before he left however, there was something that did occur to him that was along the lines of something they had talked about earlier. “If I wanted to learn how to hunt, is there someone I could talk to about it?” Cleon asked, and that was it as far as questions went for him. Once it had been answered he would start turning his mind towards where on the beach they would settle for the night, and how he’d introduce himself to the innkeeper the next day. There was a lot left to do for them, and he was anxious to get it started. Preferably with a drink or two inside of him.


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Introductions (Gossamer)

Postby Faye on March 9th, 2022, 6:57 pm

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Word by word, Faye was realizing just how magical this place was. It was hard to consider such a place could be dangerous with so many lovely people afoot and birds that babbled at you. She’d emerged into her very own fable, but one where nothing ever went wrong with the character if such a story existed. Deep down she knew that to be naive, though she didn’t see any harm indulging in the fantasy and if this were one of her stories, then James would be the hero while Cleon would be the annoyingly overprotective older brother who didn’t want her to do anything fun. She almost giggled at that, though managed to compose herself around a mouthful of fresh fruit.

When her stomach was satisfyingly full, and James introduced them to his daughter, she allowed herself to be checked out by Kami whom was very kind about answering Cleon’s questions. It came as a significant relief for her as well, as she didn’t like putting undo stress on her brother which is why she didn’t complain too much about what ailed her. With people like this around though, it made her feel less worried about coming forward in the future about anything she needed.

That was a strange position for her, for them she knew, even without fully understand the reasoning behind it. They had depended on each other for so long, it was strange to think she could trust someone who was not her blood, and yet that is exactly what she found herself doing. Faye felt a sort of warmth at the thought, and smiled slightly.

Still she couldn’t help but to feel a surge of nervousness when Cleon left with James briefly as Kami continued to examine her. Faye for her part remained quiet and cooperative, letting Kami move her as she wished so she could work without interruption. She wanted to ask the woman something, but wasn’t yet comfortable enough on her own to ask as alone Faye found the woman slightly intimidating as she had found anyone outside of her siblings. So she kept quite, answering politely yes or no when asked a question as was appropriate.

Fortunately Cleon soon came back, though he looked a little worse for it, and she could tell something about the trip bothered him so she did her best not to look at him for too long as she got the impression he wanted to be left alone as much as possible. So she was surprised when he spoke up for her while avoiding looking at anyone in particular. She didn’t mind exactly her brother speaking for her as she felt very nervous around all of these adults, but the excitement on her face was easy to read as she heard Kami’s offer. “I would like that very much, thank you.” Faye said, agreeing with Cleon as she beamed at the woman. She rather like the idea about helping out the healer, and it sounded a lot more exciting than waiting around for Cleon to come home, or sewing up holes in their clothes. It was an oversimplification to be sure, but she didn’t want to be alone anymore and wanted desperately to get to know more people which is why she was glad everyone here had been so friendly.

From that point they finally went over to the tent James had spoke of with the children before, and Faye was shocked at how large it was. It was large enough to include several homes in Sunberth, and featured beautiful knot work that went along the paintings that decorated it. However what really caught her eye was the giant creatures that were helping set up the pavilion, and Faye couldn’t resist giving them a little wave.

“Nice to meet you.” She said quietly when they eventually strayed as a group close to one. Faye wasn’t sure if they could talk like the birds could, but figured it couldn’t hurt to be polite as James walked them further along to a man named Randal. There the other children were lining up to have a say in how their home would be built which made Faye smile at the kindness. These truly were a different sort of people than the ones she was used to in Sunberth, and she was almost tempted to take Jame’s is offer to stay there were she could make plenty of friends. Cleon seemed dismissive of the idea however so Faye figured instead she would visit the place on her own when she got the chance and maybe even learn her letters as James had mentioned earlier. That could be rather fun after all.

While the talk of beds didn’t particularly interest her, she did enjoy learning about how James had come across the pavilion as the world seemed to get a little bigger for her with every new telling.

They didn’t spend very long around the pavilion either before the doubled back to secure their things so James could show them around Syka. Faye was initially sad she couldn’t spend more time getting to know the strange creatures, but they had been busy anyways, and the things James showed them next more than made up for it. From the strange cave of fish, to the sticky hot pits James warned them away from, Faye got the idea that there was a good deal of variety on offer in this place, a thought that thrilled her more than a little bit.

She particularly enjoyed when they visited the goddess Kihala’s shrine and feeding the fish there. Faye could see her coming back there often in the future, even if it was just to sit and relax on a bench while soaking in the beauty of the garden around her. They didn’t have places like that in Sunberth. Not really, and certainly not freely available. Such beauty came with gates and guards with no room for girls like her, but then again these were a kinder people than she had ever known. Her brother had done well by bringing them here, and she’d have to find some way to show her appreciation later when she had something to show for it.

Beyond the shrine there were a great many other things of interest to her from the community pool to the tower of talking birds which supposedly had the ability to take you to a far away place where you could meet with all sorts of people. Faye hoped she could get Cleon to take her there sometime, as she had little doubt that she would be allowed there on her own, and the place did sound very interesting.

Elsewhere, Matthias’ house peaked her interest as well, particularly the mention of books, and Faye found herself blurting the question before she had the good sense to keep it back. “What sorts of books does he have?” She didn’t even know how to read properly yet, so she wasn’t entirely sure where that came from, but with that talk of letters earlier she had more than a few things in mind that she wanted to try with this new independence, reading being on the short list.

Still she felt a little chastened by the outburst so kept quite for the rest of the trip, even when Cleon insisted they were going to camp out the first night. At this point Faye felt too tired to even argue the point, and took solace in the fact that he said it would only be one night, and seemed to have their comfort in mind as well. When the time came, she would bid James goodbye with a bright smile, and wave. “Thank you again for everything you did for us today.” With that said, it was time to find a place to rest, and dream of all the fun things to do on the morrow.

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