Solo We Don't Talk About Naadiyo! Pt II

Artik helps Naadiya scout her build site and get a loan.

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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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We Don't Talk About Naadiyo! Pt II

Postby Naadiya on March 7th, 2022, 7:40 pm

We Don't Talk About Naadiyo Pt II
11th of Spring, 522 AV


Secret :
Please let me know if there are chronological issues as there were many timestamp changes due to plots and misunderstandings. Changes were made after many threads were already started/finished/even graded. Originally dated for the 8th of Spring.


Naadiya was still bed and it was reaching midday. She had agreed to go with Artik to find a site for her new home but now she wasn’t so sure she wanted to see him at all.

Last season had been so unexpected. Soon after landing in the jungle town, Naadiya had found a place to stay and a job to support her stay there. But the Inn had brought more than just shelter and food, though the food was certainly not last on the list of pros.

She had made a personal connection with the inn’s owner and was even warming up to the only other habitant, a Kelvic named Oralie. A house of only women had turned out to be free of drama, despite what her mother used to say.

Looking around, Naadiya saw the multitude of objects and clothing all stuffed into the small space of her room. Winter had certainly been prolific for her. Never before had Naadiya made so much money in such a sort amount of time. Dawn, her boss, had warmed up to Naadiya in such an unexpected but welcomed way, that Naadiya had started to think kindly of her as well.

Well, if I made that much money last winter… she probably got her own fair and hefty share from it as well. I wonder what she’s doing with the money…

She was trying to distract herself but it was barely working.

Winter had also brought Artik into her life. Though at first she had seen their joining as a purely physical connection, it felt like it was beginning to develop into something more. The thought had already been frightening her before this whole new inner turmoil decided to join the party. And now her mind was still on the one thing that it kept being pulled back to as if by a magnetic force.

Would it happen again? Would he see me if it does? Would it change anything? Sadly Naadiya's mysterious malady was not one where her hair changed colors in the sun or any such thing so easily overlooked. This was a little harder to overlook.

Naadiya raised herself up on her elbow and scanned her laying body even as it stayed shrouded by her bedsheet. The thin white fabric did little to hide the shapes that hid beneath and with a deeply relieved sigh, Naadiya sat up and swung her feet off of the bed.

The wooden floor felt cool and she took a moment to breathe and ground herself before standing up.

Today will be fine.

It was warm, but lacked the heavy humidity she was expecting. Naadiya donned on a light dress in red. but then looking at herself in the mirror, decided to go with a pair of pants instead. Even if she would be with Artik, better to go fully prepared for the jungle, the damsel in distress thing had a fairly short self-life and she was starting to feel it creeping closer.

In the desert, Naadiya felt much more comfortable fending for herself, but here, almost everything felt new. Even the familiar things had their differences. The apples and melons in Eyktol not only had different hues but entirely different flavors to the ones she found here. If there was such a large divide when it came to something so small as fruit, Naadiya could only image the endless information that was still hidden from her. She needed to familiarize herself with life in the jungle and so far she had really only gotten familiar with life in the settlement. But without true walls or any natural barrier from the jungle itself, there was nothing keeping nature from encroaching on the small speck of civilization among the wild.

She slipped one smooth leg into a pair stockings before the tan isuas pants, a few straps and pockets for added convenience in carrying the variety of items Naadiya preferred to keep on her person whenever leaving a ‘safe zone’. After filling her pockets and securing her knife, Naadiya pulled a white long-sleeved blouse over her head. The heat that might be held in by having her limbs covered did not compare to the discomfort she might have from brushing up on the wrong plant accidentally.

It might even prevent an insect sting, she thought. Not a snake bite though…

Naadiya remembered Tazrae saying something about an enchanted charm that allowed her to see or sense snakes in her vicinity. How had that escaped Naadiya’s own mind?! How had this not been the very first thing she had gone after as soon as she had money to spent?! Her dye mottled hands tucked the blouse’s hem into the pants' waistband and as they did so, Naadiya went into that part of her mind where she would make permanent notes. Not the fleeting thoughts and fancies that come and go, but the stone tablets that once etched into, remained forever.

I need a snake detection charm. No way around it. If nothing else then for peace of mind alone. How much would one of those things cost anyway?

It was true that her pockets were considerably heavier this season than they were the last, but Naadiya had plans of getting a house built and still wasn’t entirely sure how much it would end up costing with furniture and all. She was determined to not end the spring sitting in new home with a newly emptied purse.

The new leather boots she had bought were not yet broken in, but they were in much better condition than her old pair so Naadiya wore the unmarred black leather. The stockings kept her feet from rubbing inside the boots and Naadiya crouched a couple of times to testing the boots' flexibility.

Taking all the work-related things out of her bag, Naadiya filled it with what she thought she might need in the jungle and slung the bag over her shoulder. She was about to walk out of her room but her eyes caught the reflection in the mirror she’d hung in the room. Naadiya studied her own face, uncertainty building in her stomach.

It’s stupid to try and put on a face with any type of make up to go into the wild, right? But what if...?

A delicate hand with stained fingers ran along her jaw, her chin, her neck. Smooth. She relaxed. Maybe she could see Artik and go the day without scandal.

Swallowing the nothingness that clung to the back of her throat, Naadiya left the inn.

Word Count: 1096
Last edited by Naadiya on May 7th, 2022, 2:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Finding The Perfect Spot

Postby Naadiya on March 10th, 2022, 11:03 pm

Having previously arranged with Artik to meet up at the Mercantile, Naadiya headed there now. She walked the cobblestone path that traveled so conveniently along the coast and wondered where she would stake her claim and put down some roots. The one request she had made, when speaking to Artik, was that she wanted to be near enough to the pools to be able to bathe in them as frequently as possible.

He had agreed readily, making her promise she would invite him to join her for a dip in the fresh waters some time. Then it had been her turn to agree and she did… readily.

Naadiya was getting close. Shielding her eyes from the sun, she scanned the Mercantile. From her angle, she couldn’t see much but before long, a blond head bobbed into view. Artik looked down from the raised platform and waved. Naadiya smiled and waved back.

No going back now, she thought.

She’d been heading towards the stairs but before she’d gotten close enough, Artik had already descended with a large leather bag slung over his shoulder.

His hair was bundled into a topknot and he wore clothes in shades of muted green. The dull colors made the brightness of his blue eyes stand out all the more. Naadiya could see how easy it would've been for her mother to have been swooned by a similarly azure gaze. It was working so well on her, after all.

“Woah, what happened, I’ve been here for over a bell” his voice didn’t sound annoyed just curious, maybe concerned.

“I’m so sorry, for some reason I just overslept like crazy today.”

“Are you feeling alright? You sure you want to do this today.”

Concerned she decided. In truth Naadiya was probably not so sure she wanted to do this today, but she had already put her life on paused for several days after… the incident… and she needed to get it back on track. “Oh I feel fine, I don’t know what came over me. I can’t wait to go find a location.”

“So I already have a spot in mind, it’s close enough to the pools and not too far from the cobbled pathway. If you like the location, once we are building the house, we can make a smaller trail to connect your place to the main path so you don’t have to be walking through the jungle. Speaking of walking through the jungle...”

He reached for his belt and detached a sheathed blade, handing it to Naadiya.

“Take this, it’s a machete. It’s probably the most useful thing you can bring to clear a path in the jungle short of magic.”

Naadiya took the blade’s handle in her grip and tested out the weight of it. Unsheathing it, she turned away from Artik and swung the blade a few times. It wasn’t too heavy, and the blade’s short reach, made it less unwieldy than a longsword would’ve been in the confines of the jungle and it took less energy to swing than an axe would have taken. Nodding to Artik, she thanked him and slid the blade back into its sheath before strapping it onto her own belt.

Artik led the way down the cobbled walkway and they walked back the same way Naadiya had come. Artik was humming lightly but Naadiya couldn’t hold the tune, she could barely focus on the simple task of walking beside the blond man. Before she realized it they had arrived at the Community Pools.

“I figured we could walk to the spot I found from here, since you want to be close to the pools. That way you can judge for yourself if the walk is short enough.”

With an absentminded nod, Naadiya smiled but said nothing. It made sense. No red flags. No bells ringing. She was content to leave him to lead them.

The first few yards they walked from the pools had already been cleared without yet regrowing but once they had passed a certain point, Artik and Naadiya had to take out their machetes to chop the occasionally bush or branch. After a few swings of her blade, Naadiya was thankful for the single minded task. Then, the chopping became more frequent, their pace slower. Naadiya’s grip on the blade’s handle was firm but her palm was beginning to sweat, causing the skin to slide against the leather. Artik had been walking ahead of her, thinning out the obstructions that would then reach her so she didn’t have too much she couldn’t just step around or duck under. Naadiya slid the blade back into its sheath and reached into her back to fish her for gloves without breaking her pace.

She figured the leather on leather friction would make for a better grip, while the barrier between the handle and the sweat source would also help. Naadiya could suffer the discomfort, it was no hotter than Eyktol. And as an added side bonus, the gloves might help prevent any rash or irritation she might get from accidentally touching a nefarious plant. With both gloves secured, Naadiya resumed her chopping. They would have to make multiple trips through the new path anyway to really clear it, so Naadiya didn’t go back to cut down the bits she’d neglected but instead focused on keeping pace with Artik, he was her safety net right now in the jungle.

Her shoulder was get sore and Naadiya had so stop swinging to rub and stretch it out a little but just as she was going back to work, Artik’s voice broke the silence.

“Almost there…. Just… A…. Little….. Longer…. And…..”

With a few chops of his machete, Artik revealed a clearing ahead of them. It was almost like he’d pulled back a curtain, as light that would have otherwise been caught in the canopy, poured into they fresh cut path. Naadiya wondered why the spot had such a gap in its overhead coverage but as she stepped out into the clearing she could see the trees around no longer blocked the sky.

A very large tree seemed to have shattered or exploded. As part of it fell, it must have brought down a few of the ones close by.

“What happened…” Naadiya said as she took in the sight.

Artik was walking ahead, poking or knocking on uncertain trunks and stumps with the tip of his machete. His grip on the blade was solid, but his other hand hovered over the hilt of a side dagger, just in case. He ceased his breathing for a few seconds. No unexpected noises. Nothing close by. His muscles eased a bit but his eyes continue to scan their surroundings.

“Lightning I think. Must have struck the big one and it brought down the others, so many of the trees around here get these thick strangling vines wrapped around them, sometimes they keep a weaker tree standing but the vines will go from tree to tree when they get high enough that the branches touch. Then its like a thick naturally growing rope that ties a whole area or a strip of trees together. Looks like the lightning must have caused a small fire too.”

Naadiya looked around to see some of the ground looked blackened and of course there should have been much more foliage about her.

“Also, added bonus”, he said “you are that much more UN-likely to have your house struck by lightning since it just hit this spot! Plus, it's almost pre-cleared thanks to the fire.”

“This is a good spot, nice find!”

“A little too far from the ocean for my tastes, but I guess it’s alright. It will look great once we clear enough space and start building. Have you already thought up what you want it to look like?”

“Down to the last throw pillow.” She said very matter-of-factly, now understanding how the insides of Artik’s own ship came to look so slap-dash despite him being there such a long time.

He laughed almost as if to say he had expected nothing less, but he held his words back.

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We Don't Talk About Naadiyo! Pt II

Postby Naadiya on April 22nd, 2022, 10:51 pm

The spot Artik had found really felt like it could be the right one. They walked through the area, taking inventory of what had to be done and where they would start with it all.

“I’ve never had to build a house before… To be honest I’ve never had to build any type of shelter that wasn’t at least partially assembled for me….”

Naadiya was looking at the ashen ground blending in with new growth and got a little lost in the amount of work the construction would take. She let Artik continue to search the area and gave him a few minutes so the distance between them grew.

“How long is this whole thing going to take? Are there even enough builders in the settlement to handle this and everything else that has started construction recently? I think I can afford it but what if I have underestimated certain costs?”

She may have been a weaver by trade, but Naadiya had also been raised by a fabric merchant. She could not only give a fair estimate to how many yards of fabric would be needed to make a certain tent, but how much it would cost and which fabrics would best serve that purpose. Not just the simple, smaller tents individuals used while traveling, but also the monstrosities the Benshira upper classes liked to erect as a show of wealth.

Her father’s tents had never reached the level of luxury, size and comfort of those his better customer’s liked to commission, but she had not lived in tight confines either. Naadiya’s room at the inn may have lacked the space she had always been afforded in the desert, but it was solid. Her new place would have to be just as solid and she knew nothing of building these solid structures.

In the jungle, Naadiya sought out protection from the wildlife and the elements in a way she never had felt the need for when surrounded by family and roaming the reaches of Eyktol. Here, that solid outer shell was just what she wanted.

Naadiya hadn’t realized when he had closed the gap between them, but suddenly Artik was by her side. He was looking in her eyes with the tiniest hint of a smile as if guessing where her mind was. His eyes looked surprisingly soft and with a bit of effort, Naadiya smiled back.

“You’ve got this! It won’t be easy and it won’t be fast but when it’s done, I think it’s going to be really nice!”

“You don’t even know what it’s going to look like!” She spat back, but her smile was growing a little wider.

“Whatever it looks like, it’s going to be nice.”

Her eyes glided from Artik to the site ahead and lingered, imagining what her finished home would look like. The one thing she knew above all else, she wanted the whole thing to be raised off the ground.

The fewer serpentine interactions the better.

By now, Naadiya had been made aware of how arboreal some snakes could be, but the general opinion seemed to lean towards raised structures. Most snakes were definitely found on the ground, and building her home on stilts had the added benefit of escaping damage from flooding. It wasn’t too close but Naadiya could hear the sound of the river in the distance. It was the soft music of nature, falling waters meeting bird songs and the sound of the wind.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The jungle, she noted, smelled very different from the beach. Richer, earthier, not as warm or salty. The smell of rain and wet soil and all things green. Even the darker hint of decomposition in the background. Then another scent reached her nose and Naadiya opened her eyes.

“Do you smell that?”

Artik gave her a look with a shrug, then took a dramatically deep breath when Naadiya looked at him unsatisfied.

“It smells like… trees.”

Rolling her eyes, Naadiya then shut her lids once more. Another deep breath. She was trying to define the direction of the scent but as smoothly as it had come, it slid away with just as much discretion.

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We Don't Talk About Naadiyo! Pt II

Postby Naadiya on April 22nd, 2022, 11:04 pm

They continued to walk through the area, pulling out the machetes whenever they needed to clear the path before them.

The variety of plant life in Syka was so wide, Naadiya could not imagine anyone ever being able to accurately and completely catalog all the types of roots, leaves or blooms the way some other places attempted or claimed to have done.

We could certainly try… but… might as well count the grains of sand on the beach while we are at it…

Orange blossoms with dark speckles in their centers bloomed on their left and their right sides. At first it felt wrong to cut them down, they were almost like nature’s embellishments. But eventually it became clear that the area was overrun with the heavily scented flowers and there seemed to be no risk of them not continuing to grow, so Naadiya hacked at the flowers as much as anything else. The path behind them slowly became littered with orange petals, but the walls of green around them seemed just as adorned as before.

Taking one of the flowers, Naadiya raised it to her nose and took a sniff. There was always the risk of an allergic reaction, both the serious and the mundane, but life was a series of risks and smelling a flower seemed to be low on that list, if ranked by peril. In either case, she certainly could not plan on building her home in an area completely infested with something she might be allergic to.

She did not sneeze and felt no itching. It was a soft floral scent, but that was all. Artik looked back at her and laughed, wiping the orange pollen off her nose.

“Careful, these can stain pretty bad” he said, with a smile and Naadiya had to restrain herself to not laugh at him, as both of his sleeves were already heavily painted with the tangerine powder.

“That’s not what I smelled earlier though…” she said to herself.

Artik heard her and answer, as if she had spoken to him, “you have a really good sense of smell, you know. Not quite predator level but better than mine at least.”

Recalling her passed visits to his ship, Naadiya quietly nodded in agreement… The Sverfa was many things but ‘clean’ was not the first that came to mind.

....They say you are always the last to notice your own smells... though I can't say I find much truth in that for myself...

The smell hit her again and Naadiya stopped. Getting Artik’s attention, she skewed the path off to the right in the hopes that was where the smell had been coming from.

They’d been walking for a while but found nothing and Naadiya couldn’t truly say she still had a hold of the scent.

“I think we are actually going a little further than I planned, let’s get closer to where you want to build.” Artik suggested they turn back and without a good enough reason not to, Naadiya agreed and they returned the way they had come.

“Before we can actually start any actual building, you are going to want to talk to one or all of the founders, though. Not that they wouldn’t let you build, but they just like to know what is going on around town, plus it would do you good if people know where you are in case something happens. Also, Randal has always been the main one in charge of organizing the building efforts around here, it wouldn’t hurt to make him sympathetic to you, he’s not the type to cheat you but it pays to make friends in Syka.”

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We Don't Talk About Naadiyo! Pt II

Postby Naadiya on April 22nd, 2022, 11:17 pm

She knew Artik was right so she didn’t say much as they made their way back. Really, Naadiya was trying to think of what she’d say to the three when she saw them. She had known an appeal to the founders was forth coming but thought there would have been more time to work out the details of the loan she wanted to ask about.

Though Naadiya couldn’t remember who had told her, she'd left the inn thinking about loans. Loans that were given out to locals who contributed to the community and needed a little extra to jump start their lives in the settlement.

In the grand scheme of life, Naadiya had not been in Syka very long. She only knew one third of the founding party, and the one she did know, Naadiya had to admit she hadn’t done much to endear herself to.

She liked James. Captain James. Her short time with the Svefra made her think the title made a great distinction to some, though Naadiya wasn’t sure if James was one of those. She liked him. The little she knew of the man had made him seem more honest and generous than the average man.

Randal she had seen a few times the previous season in passing, but Matthias was the wildcard. Naadiya knew nothing of the man other than what he looked like from afar and that had given her very little information to go on.

Was he looking for a personal connection or more concerned with the financial interaction? Would he react better to a matter-of-fact business proposal or an emotional plea to tug at his heart strings? Naadiya racked her brain, imagining different scenarios and how she might react to each one. She wanted to ask Artik for his read on Matthias but the man’s opinion had lead her astray before so now she was more careful to take his word as fact. All the same, it would be stupid to ignore the resource at her disposal, even knowing how unreliable it could be in certain regards. She decided to ask.

“Artik, what do you think of the founders? What kind of men are they?”

He didn’t stop walking to answer her question, she noted, thankfully. If he was answering in a natural, reactive manner, there was less risk he’d be twisting his own words to either ease her concern or impress her.

“James you’ve met, he’s decent, he’s been through some crazy things, but nothing I know has made me think less of him. Randall, I guess I know better than the others, he comes by the bar when I’m there sometimes so we’ve shared a few pints and a few stories. It helps that he is the youngest of the three, James has only outdrunk me twice, and poor Matthias doesn’t even try to compete! He doesn’t have a strong stomach for alcohol. Not like me.”

She wasn’t sure he had understood what she wanted to know but Naadiya didn’t want to seem too keen on profiling the founders before meeting them tonight.

Naadiya gave a light laugh in response when she noticed Artik had been laughing. She did so almost instinctively or reflexively, for Naadiya wasn’t paying much attention to the drinking challenges Artik started to list and instead focused on the swings of her blade. The last swipe of her machete cleared some foliage away and revealed a patch of mushrooms growing on the trunk of a tree.

“Don’t touch those!” Artik yelled turning around to see why she had stopped. For the first time she noticed he had a beard. Had he had that earlier, though? She remembered maybe a shadow but when had it gotten so full?

Naadiya had been, admittedly, reaching for the white capped fungi, but she was also wearing gloves. She looked at him with a confused looked in her face.

“They are poisonous.”

“Well, that is very good to know…” she said, wondering if she should say something about his beard. Had it just been she who hadn’t noticed? Naadiya was usually pretty good with noticing such things but she had been distracted of late. The she started thinking of why she had been getting distracted, however, and that made her a bit flustered and her tone became curt, “but I wasn’t about to pop one in my mouth and my hands are protected, you need to calm down.”

There was a noise off in another direction and Artik turned immediately, almost reflexively brandishing his blade and taking careful steps. Whatever had made the noise could not have been that small. Not a frog or a bird or any other similar critter.

Taking the distraction as an opportunity, Naadiya used her knife to cut a few of the mushrooms off the bark they grew on and wrapped them up in a kerchief she put in her bag. Just as she was moving towards Artik, they heard another sound, more rustling in the foliage.

“We should go. We’ll come back with more people to start clearing a good space and make sure there are no nests or dens close by.”

His voice was low, but remained calm. Naadiya was getting more nervous, though and she didn’t speak, afraid her nerves would be heard through her voice. The two made their way back to the Cobbled Pathway and only then did Naadiya really feel her back relax. Her right hand was stiff, from white-knuckling the machete’s handle just in case, but they had heard no more rustling in the jungle. None that was as close or as loud as the one which had put both on alert.

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We Don't Talk About Naadiyo! Pt II

Postby Naadiya on April 22nd, 2022, 11:53 pm

Naadiya had considered going back to the inn, bathing and changing before meeting with the founders. This was a somewhat formal meeting, after all, and she wanted to impress them, to make them feel she was a sure bet. But half way to the Protea Inn, Naadiya changed her mind. She turned to Artik and shook her head.

These were men who went to the local bar and drank with one another as well as the rest of the populace. They led ten-day efforts and herded newcomers where needed. When people had problems they went to them for help.

Hoping she would not regret her decision, Naadiya asked Artik to take her to the founders. This did not need to be the round table discussion she had envisioned and most likely most of them would appreciate being treated to a drink. It’s always nice to get a little gift, even if its only a token.

Randal Zor was the first of the founders that she met with. Naadiya wanted to get the figures ironed out to know how much she would have to spend and he was probably the most experience person in the settlement when it came to building in the Sykan jungle. Three glasses were filled, then at Naadiya’s insistence, a fourth one for Stu who poured the pitcher of the dark ale happily. They clinked glasses, sending cheers to Sivah following Stu’s lead.

Randal’s features were already radically different from only days ago and there looked to be the beginnings of horns starting to come in as well. It had taken every fiber of decency or stoicism she could muster to not react to the man’s appearance but the first thing Artik had said when Randal reached their table was a joke about him being too horny to be out in public. The tension thankfully broke when Randal started laughing and yanked Artik’s beard, now reaching several inches in length. His hair too, she noticed was almost the length of her own, for a moment she wondered what was happening inside his pants with all this hairy growth everywhere else. She was not the only one with something horribly wrong going on. But there was a time and a place for all conversations and this did not seem to be the one for that discussion.

“So, I looked at your sketches. There are a couple of things I want to change just for stability purposes since you want the second story and to be lifted off of ground level.”

“Do you think it looks strange? Is it too high?”, she asked, having made such rudimentary sketches based on buildings she had seen around town.

The carpenter laughed thinking of his own residence, “no, you don’t have to worry about that, I have built higher. But we want to be on the safe side in case of a storm or flood or anything like that.”

He made a few notes on the drawings Naadiya had scribbled in her notebook. Randal started listing the potential costs of the project and before either he or Naadiya could finish the sum, Alric spat it out as if it was obvious. She stared at him for a second surprised at his speed, Randal wasn’t so easily convinced and had to write out the equation but at the end Artik had been right.

“Well would you look at that…” Randal mused.

“Should have never doubted me,” Artik was tilting his chair back, balancing on its hind legs and throwing his feet up to rest on a nearby table. He took out a pipe and started smoking, offering it to Stu who also partook.

Naadiya looked at the final number and thought of her own wages and expenses. It would take too much if she did not get the loan and Randal hadn’t mentioned what his fee for the job would be yet.

“I guess I should talk to Matthias about the loan,” Naadiya was starting to put her torn-out notebook pages away and planning out how she’d present the offer to the unofficially-official leader of the settlement.

Before she could wrap up, however, Randal was already standing. He drained the rest of his drink and slammed the cup down a little too hard, unused to his bestial strength.

“Don’t worry about it, I’ll let him know.”

“But the loan! I can’t pay all of this at once!”

He shot her a crooked smile and pointed to the a figure on the page he had been writing on.

“That’s how much you’d get from us, and that’s how much you’d owe in costs.”

Naadiya looked again at the page, seeing now that she had initially misunderstood the mathematical process he’d used on paper.

“Really?!” She exclaimed, letting the excitement come through.

With a smile, Randal shrugged and nodded.

She was still smiling when he left. Realizing she had not taken a drink with all the unnecessary pent up nerves, Naadiya drank deeply.

Not long after, she was hit with horrible stomach pains like food poisoning and liquid bowls combined but also entirely different. Naadiya had tried to shove her things in her bag but quickly noticed she was not going to make it. There wasn’t enough time. Whatever was coming, was coming fast. Without a word to Artik or Stu she bolted towards the inn. Sketches and amateurish floorpans flew from her bag as she sped down the dock with her left hand between her legs and the right one on her rear, willing both of them to hold their contents until an appropriate location was found.

At the end of the dock, her stomach pain eased itself. but Naadiya was also stunned to find her left hand was now holding a very masculine appendage.

Ugh this could have been such a good day....
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