Closed Muddled and dry

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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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Muddled and dry

Postby Cleon on March 9th, 2022, 12:01 am

14th of Spring, 522 A.V.

That morning, with the rain and wind seeming to have taken a break, Cleon decided to walk along the coast till he reached the Swing beach they had come across days earlier. Absent the wind, Syka felt hot enough to fry something so he went without most of his belongings just wearing a loose fitting shirt and a pair of trousers he rolled up to mid calf so he could walk along the cooler sand that was regularly touched by the water. It felt good squishing among his toes, though it also served to remind him that so much of what he had was ill equipped to deal with their change of circumstances here.

His footwear for instance wasn’t exactly great for walking along the beach. He’d gather nearly a quart of sand in a few chimes, and have to stop regularly to empty it out which was far from ideal. The leather also made his feet feel sweaty, which wasn’t unusually, just it was all the time which was irritating on top of everything else. Faye must have been experiencing something similar, but Cleon didn’t even to know where to start with her as she had already grown out of all of her old clothes and had to depend on borrowing new ones from the friend she made at the Inn. At least, that was how she related it to him when he asked, and he didn’t press her for more details as he still had a lot to make up for with her.

He’d been behaving irrationally lately, still felt irrational, and didn’t have the first clue about how to deal with it. Which was in part the reason why he was walking up this way now. Walking alone had a funny way of making him think, while drawing his attention away from present conditions, headache included. There was just so much sensory information that he could focus on that he almost felt normal till his legs started to grow tired, and he found one of the swings to relax in.

Sitting down, he adjusted his posture so that he had one leg pulled in enough for him to rest his chin on his knee while the other dangled, pushing gently off the cool, water logged white sand to swing him back and forth. This created its own minor breeze for which he was thankful as he felt about ready melt, and swinging over a portion of the sea felt a little relaxing even.

Though he was far from being able to actually relax, it was nice that he could give his body a break while his mind continued to torture him with desires. His will had been enough to quit it cold the last time this occurred, but now, he wasn’t sure if he had the same strength. This time around it was much stronger, almost overwhelming at times especially when it was near at hand and almost everything reminded him of what he was currently doing without. It was enough to make him mad.

Perhaps he was, he mused. Perhaps this was his way of divorcing himself of responsibility to his sister now that he had gotten her here, and this was an elaborate way to get himself sent off from this plane. Strangely, the thought didn’t perturb him, however perhaps it shouldn’t as he didn’t feel much of anything these days. He just continued vacillating between cold numbness and roiling waves of anxiety. It wasn’t any way to live, and the only thing that kept him from doing anything drastic was Faye.

Something was clearly happening with her. She was changing physically day by day while remaining relatively the same mentally, and it didn’t make any sense. He’d watched his sister Farren grow up. Petch, he practically raised her on his own, so he knew what to expect when it came to growth spurts as they were. This was not a growth spurt. This was something entirely different, and if something strange was happening to her and him around the same time, they had to be connected. They just had to be.

That knowledge should have consoled him, he knew that now factually, yet he couldn’t bring himself to feel any relief because of it. His desires were very real, very present, and very demanding while this other thing was more otherworldly. The idea was hard to connect with logically and emotionally which made it feel almost as if it didn’t exist even if he knew it to be true in his head. Hence why he was starting to feel a little crazy with the dissonance holding this idea was creating within him.

An the truly crazy part was his mind telling him that all he needed was a smoke, a drink, and a toss in this sheets. Afterward, everything else would be okay, and that would be fine had he not been down this road before, and know that was not how it was going to work out. There was always that next fix that came so petching fast after slaking the thirst of the last one. It was a vicious cycle with no end except for abstinence, and now it seemed even abstinence wasn’t an option.

Cleon gritted his teeth, and pitched some sand with a sharp kick on his next downward swing. It wasn’t as effective as he had wanted it to be, kicking wet sand and all that, it mostly stuck to his feet and all he served to do was to dig a shallow furrow in the ground.

“Where’s your sister?”

Shocked, Cleon pitched backwards off of the swing, and had the breath promptly knocked out of him as his back hit the sand. Then as he was staring up at a deceptively blue sky, a girls face came into view. There was something not quite right about her face though, it was blurred at the edges and so Cleon promptly rubbed his eyes figuring it must be something with his vision.

As he tried to rub the blurriness away, he propped himself up on an elbow where he caught his breath for a few moments before opening his eyes again. The girl was still there, and still very blurry though strangely the rest of the world around her was crisp as it always had been. Cleon swallowed hard as he realized what she must be.

“Well?” The girl asked, somewhat impatiently this time.

Cleon was briefly at a loss for what she meant before he recalled her earlier question, and pulled himself to a seated position, wet sand clinging to his back as the waves trickled underfoot.

“She’s back at the Inn.. How long have you been watching us, and why?” Cleon asked warily, looking at her as he might a daggerhand thug asking for a drink of water. The conversation was innocuous enough for the moment, but that could quickly change, so he lied to her. She actually wasn’t at the Inn but was currently visiting the Protea which wasn’t that far from here. He didn’t know why the ghost wanted to know her location, but he certainly wasn’t to just give that away.

If the girl noticed, she didn’t show it. In fact, she didn’t show much expression at all when she talked, and the sallowness of her skin was making him uncomfortable even though he knew it wasn’t real skin. A part of him wondered if he was making this whole interaction up, but if he was, then he was down bad more than he thought. That uncomfortable thought aside, he decided to regard this girl as if she were actually here which was really the only healthy thing to do, especially if he didn’t want to end up pissing off this ghost.

“Oh is she sick again?” The little girl asked as if there hadn’t been a long pause to their conversation at all, and gave him what he could only construe as an earnest expression though it was hard to tell with the state of her features.

“Yeah something like that.” Cleon said as he tried looking around the corners of his vision without really taking his eyes off of her. His body was tense now, ready to try and run for it if he had to, though he was starting to get more than a little curious about what this girls intentions were. It wasn’t everyday a ghost approached you asking about your sister.

“You’re Cleon right?” She stated, more than asked. Still, Cleon nodded.

“Yeah that’s right. Who are you?”

“I’m Veronica.”

That name struck a cord with him, and he remembered it had been something James had said.

“You’re Jame’s daughter.”

The girl nodded, and Cleon suddenly felt kind of bad for the poor girl as he looked at her more acutely.

“I’m sorry, you kind of surprised me, I hadn’t noticed you paying attention to either me or my sister.”

“I wasn’t, not really at first till I saw her again the next day all grown up. Is that common with your family?” She asked with bared curiosity.

“Not in the slightest.” Cleon admitted, looking down at the beach for a moment. “Nothing strange ever happened to us till we came here, and now its like a wheel of strange that keeps on turning.”

“You’ve come to the right place for that. Syka hasn’t been ordinary since its founding. I’m almost not even surprised anymore when strange things start happening.” The girl said, and as Cleon met her gaze she looked up past him.

“What do you mean?” He asked, leaning forward but as the words left his mouth the girl blinked away. From behind, and to the side of himself he heard footsteps. He looked over to see a woman with long brown hair and tan skin. She was dressed in a bikini and a long flowing skirt that sent Cleon’s mind tumbling in an entirely different direction.

“Sorry to disturb you. It's just that I saw you talking to her and well, it looks like my sister doesn’t want to talk to me today.” The woman said in a tone that sounded regretful to his ears. She studied him for a moment, then gave him a somber smile. “My name is Julie. We met before a few days ago.”

“I remember..” Cleon said slowly, then blinked rapidly as he realized how the words must have sounded as they had left his mouth. “Sorry.. It's been an odd morning. I wasn't trying to be rude or anything like that. I just hadn’t expected to run into anybody this morning.”

“Its quite alright” Julie said in a way that felt reassuring as she extended her hand too him. “Can I help you up?”

Cleon accepted the gesture, and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet before he started to dust of most of the wet sand from his butt. Suddenly he grasped the edge of the swing as a splitting headache overcame him. Distantly he felt Julie touch his elbow and say something till he turned to hear it.

“I don’t think I hit my head that hard. This is more of a me issue, its been a while since I had a stiff drink.” Cleon said, and he found the words almost difficult to get out though he couldn’t stop himself from staying them. He stood still for a long moment, until he was confident he could stand without the support then took a step back. “I really don’t need it, I’m.. I’m just a mess really.” He laughed depreciatively.

Looking up at Juli he half expected her to be judging him, but she wasn’t. She was looking at him rather kindly all things considered with honest concern as she shrewdly examined him.

“Why don’t we drop by the Panacea and let them decide if you are alright. Its not that far.” Julia said, gesturing in the rough direction of the place.

Cleon shook his head. “I wouldn’t want to waste their time. Really, this feels just like coming off of a bend and is no one’s fault but my own.”

“Still, we should get you checked out just to make sure. Couldn’t hurt anyways.”

“No, really I’m fine. I just need to get over this hump, and.. Really alright, and if its still such a problem later I’ll drop by the Panacea, I promise.” Cleon said, and hurriedly added when she continued to look at him skeptically, “You can even tell them to expect me so I can’t run off. Anyways I actually wanted to see you about getting some supplies for me and my sister. James said you had a shop for it.”

Julia didn’t stop looking at him shrewdly, but that at last seemed to satisfy her somewhat as she nodded. “Okay, we can do it your way, but I’m going to be checking later to make sure you actually went.” She said as she started to walk past him and across the beach. Cleon scrambled to keep pace with her long legged gate as she easily had a good foot on him.

“You actually caught me on my way over, though you won’t mind if we make a brief detour will you?” She asked, and Cleon shook his head.

“Not at all, detour away.” He offered and followed her along as she went towards a great tree that Cleon had somehow not really noticed before, and the area around it was a garden green with all sorts of plant life. The tree itself was heavy with a fruit that he had never seen before, nor were the fish that swam in the natural looking ponds that dotted the area. They were very colorful though, and Cleon thought it would be nice to bring Faye here sometime. Petch it might even be nice to spend some time here with Juli if she was interested, though even he was wise enough to realize the folly in that. He was no spring catch.

Stepping into the garden, he found his mind momentarily relieved from his troubles as his gaze turned to the statue of a woman that almost capable of motion thanks to whoever was responsible for the multitude of plants that graced it. Whomever they were, it was clearly the work of a talented individual and Cleon had no problem approaching the place with the same reverence Juli was.

“This is Syka’s shrine to Kihala, who appeared to us less than two years ago. To thank her for her continued protection, this place was built were people can come and go as they please. We all have our own little ways of showing thanks, and mine today is offering some fruit I picked this morning.” Juli said as she retrieved a sack out of her bag, and then set out a wooden bowl in front of the pool to the goddess before she started setting out the fruit one by one. While she did that Cleon wandered over to where a brass ladle had caught his eyes.

Curious he reached for it, and immediately drew his hand back from the hot metal. Juli laughed brightly, and came over to press a damp cloth into his hand.

“I just used it on my brow a little bit if you’re worried about it being dirty. Go on, and take a sip from the fountain. That’s what its there for.” She said, smiling at him warmly. Using the cloth, Cleon managed to grasp the ladle this time without burning himself and filled the bowl a quarter full of water before bringing it to his lips. It was surprisingly cool, refreshing and clean on the tongue as it went down. He smiled after he set the ladle down and looked back at her, handing back the cloth.

“What, none for me?” She asked with an amused look, and Cleon swallowed hard with a chagrined look on his face as he grabbed the ladle once more, filling it with water before holding it out to her. To his surprise instead of taking it, she bent over to take a sip before looking back at him.

“You should feel free to come here anytime you want, and bring your sister too. You don’t have to come only to pay respects, you can simply sit and enjoy the place which is what many of us do.” Juli offered.

“Thank you, I think my sister will like this place very much.” Cleon said.

“I think so too, and I look forward to meeting her sometime.”

“I’ll make sure to bring her by then.”

“Make sure you do.” Juli teased before she started walking down the path with her bag looped over one shoulder. Dutifully, Cleon joined her on the path, following her up into the commons where they reached a raised building.

“Give me a few moments to properly open the shop, and then I’ll come get you. I can bring you some refreshment if you like.” Juli said, noting that he had neglected to bring his water skin. “You really should start carrying water around with you. Do you have a skin already? It can get really hot quick around here and you’ll dehydrate quicker than you can say Syka sunrise five times fast.” She warned.

“I do, and I will. I got a taste of that this morning certainly.” He said, almost abashed as he looked at his feet.

“Hold tight, and I’ll be right with you.” Juli said, and Cleon obeyed, stepping into the shade of the building while he looked out over the rest of the commons. Belatedly, he wondered if there was a good place for a strong drink nearby.

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Last edited by Cleon on May 4th, 2022, 3:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Muddled and dry

Postby Cleon on March 17th, 2022, 5:57 pm


Before he had much time to wonder about that though, Julia came down the stairs part ways to gesture him up. After giving his eagerness a good check Cleon followed her till he found himself properly inside of the Mercantile. He’d kind of gotten an idea of what to expect loitering outside the shop, but actually walking inside the structure managed to put it into perspective.

That said, what he saw was something he didn’t quite have reference for because of what goods where available and the way those good were arrayed throughout the establishment. It wasn’t as much strange as it was unexpected. The supplies were simple enough, they seemed like the staples like James had mentioned, but he had a hard time thinking about what he should purchase if anything.

Not for lack of variety, but because he was distracted by a particular search that didn’t seem to turn up anything immediately promising such as booze or drugs. He’d realized coming here he might not find what he was after, but now that it had actually come to pass he didn’t quite know what to do with himself as he took his first walk through the shop.

Jules for a time seemed content with her own devices but as he drew closer to the counter, she looked up to regard him.

“Can I help you find anything?” Juli asked.

Cleon smiled as he looked up, and then nervously rubbed the back of his neck. “Well.. I kind of don’t know what I’m looking for.” He said as he gave the shop another generous look. If Juli was surprised by this answer she didn’t show it as she came around the counter too look him over.

“Well, what do you plan on doing while you stay in Syka. Lets start there.” Juli said helpfully.

“Hmm.. I’m apprenticing under Randal at the surf shop so I suppose it would be good to have my own tools.” Cleon said as Juli walked him over to a corner with various tools on display, before reaching down and producing a small satchel that she bundled together with a quick, sure movement.

“On that count, you’re in luck as we’ve got quite a need for these sort of tools so we’ve got pre-made kits on hand. We do a lot of woodworking around her with Lars supplying nearly all of it, though I don’t doubt you’ll meet him soon enough if you haven’t already with your line of work. This kit will set you back about fifty mizas.” Juli explained.

“That’s fine. I just remembered that I was also thinking about hunting. James mentioned it on our tour, and it hasn’t quite gotten out of my head since.” Cleon blurted as he accepted the satchel and tucked it under one arm. He wasn’t quite sure of why he had felt the need to announce that fact, though he supposed in retrospect he wanted to look a little more confident than he first came off letting her lead him around the shop like a puppy.

He almost grimaced at the thought, and did actually wince a little when she turned around.

“Well, you’re going to need a lot more than just a weapon if your going to do that. I assume you don’t have any supplies to go into the jungle already.” Juli said as she walked him back to the counter.

“No, I don’t” He said as he watched the woman who moved quicker through her own shop than he ever could. Onto that counter she placed everything from several different jars, a bow, a lantern, a couple of hand held weapons and many more things besides. When she was done, she came back around the counter to explain everything.

“So to start, you’re going to need a bow to hunt with. I found you a compound one which will be easier to use until you get stronger at it. Then if you want to come back for a new one, we can try you out on a long bow. You’re also going to need a hatchet and a machete if you’re going out into the jungle which I have placed right here for you. As for keeping you alive and healthy out there, I’ve got you a jar of sunburn cream that will help protect you from getting too much sun, and this jar here is insect repellent which along with the netting will help to keep you mostly bug bite free. You’ve got to be careful because they can really swarm you, especially while you are sleeping. You can use this belt pouch to keep it all in.

Along with that, I grabbed you a hammock, a lantern, some oil to refill it with, and a pair of thick gloves and thick boots to protect you from snake bites and poisonous plants. Speaking of, you’ll want to make sure you wear long sleeves and trousers when traversing the jungle just in case you brush against anything. As long as they’re made of Isuas, it should be comfortable enough to breathe in. Have you already gotten your clothing?”

“Uh, yes, the lady there made that recommendation, thank you.” Cleon said, feeling wide eyed and a bit overwhelmed at all she had set on the counter, and that apparently wasn’t all.

“I’ve also thrown together a couple of kits for you, one for basic survival needs and another to help preserve food which is pretty important for traversing the jungle as you’ll find things go bad quickly.” Juli said, and then looked the the assembly of items for a moment as she seemed to be counting it up in her head. “In total, two hundred and twenty seven gold mizas should cover it.”

Cleon felt his jaw drop slightly. It wasn’t like he couldn’t cover it, but given their expenses lately, it seemed like a risky burden. He was loathe to say anything other than yes though too Juli looking the way she did after all the work she had just gone through on his sake, and reluctantly he found himself drawing his mizas forward. She did say they were necessary after all.

“Sure that’s fine. Mind if I take a few trips to get this all back to my room?” Cleon asked as he handed over the mizas and took another good look at the pile with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.

“No need, I’ll help you bring it over and we can get it in one. Also, if you need help using any of those kits, just tag one of us. Any of us really would be happy to help you out.” Juli said as she handed him the few extra he’d paid over for the product and then started gathering it into manageable piles for them to carry. An on that short trip back to the inn, he started to wonder just how he was going to explain all of this to Faye when he got back to the inn.

WC - 1,171

oocComposite Shortbow – 75 gm
Quiver w/20 arrows – 21 GM
Machete – 10 GM
Hatchet - .2 GM
Belt Pouch – 1 GM
Insect Netting - 25 GM
Lantern – 7 GM
Survival kit - 25 gm
Preservation kit - 5 gm
Woodworking kit - 25
Gloves .5 gm
Boots,high .5 gm
Lamp oil (Gallon) - 1 gm
Hammock - 5 gm
Sunburn Cream - .8 gm

202 GM
Last edited by Cleon on March 17th, 2022, 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Muddled and dry

Postby Cleon on March 17th, 2022, 5:58 pm


When he returned to the inn and found that Faye had not yet returned, Cleon did a little cleaning around their room before going out for a stroll. He didn’t know at first where he was heading, just that he was walking with a semblance of purpose. It kept his head clear for a time traversing back up to the commons as the sky looked about ready to crack open overhead.

The way the weather changed in Syka was a lot more sudden and tumultuous than what he was used to in Sunberth. One moment it could be sunny, the next about ready to pour the sea out on top of your head. The sky looked like that now, and Cleon picked up the pace. He thought about how it would be nice to get away from this constant rain, some place that was dry, and sunny where he could enjoy the activities he once had in Sunberth. There was only one place that came to mind on that account, and Cleon altered his course towards that point.

Although he had not been inside of it yet, he’d heard plenty enough about the outpost from a couple of sources. Enough to peak his interest at least, and the thought of satisfying some of his more pressing cravings wasn’t all that bad either. They were taking up too much space in his head as it was, so he held out a small hope that by indulging a little, they would shrink to a more manageable size. It was a foolish hope, but he had nothing better to do.

The tower itself was as unmistakable as it had been the first time he had seen it, rising from the jungle like some primordial ruin. No birds flapped about it this day with rain on the wind, but distantly he thought he could hear them chattering as he walked up the path. Then launched into a jog as rain suddenly started pouring down. As he closed the space between him and the dovecoat the door swung open to allow him to run through, which he did without a second thought, pausing near the center of the space to catch his breath.

As he was doing so, he noticed who had opened the door for him. A tall, tattooed man with tanned skin and hair that gleamed like red gold in the torchlight. When Cleon eyed the man warily, he had the nerve to just smile after watching him quietly for several moments.

“I reckon you made it just in time, while my return is regrettably the opposite.” The man joked as he tossed Cleon a swatch of cloth. He caught it with his off hand, and quickly used it to wipe the water from his face as he turned to face the man.

“I don’t think we’ve met before. My name is Cleon.” He explained, and then after a brief pause. “Are you from the outpost?”

The man shook his head, and chuckled deeply. “No, just coming back. This particular door only works for Sykan’s so you won’t be seeing any strange travelers coming through this way. My name is Ken Chi.”

Cleon nodded at that, looking around the room briefly as he wondered how they’d figured all of this out. It didn’t look like a magical doorway to another city, but then again, his experience with magic was nil outside of bedtime stories. A flicker of a shadow of resentment crossed his features as he remembered something. Then he managed to suppress it as he shifted his features into a more normal expression.

“I haven’t ever used this door before, how does it work?” Cleon asked.

Ken Chi looked at him in a strangely perceptive way as he walked closer and fixed him with an easy going smile. “Simple enough. You close that door, and when you open it again, you’ll be there. Then when you want to go back, you just do it all over again.” Ken explained.

“Simple enough” Simple enough” “Simple enough” The pigeons chorused from up above, drawing an amused look out of Ken. Cleon who was doing his best to ignore the birds focused instead on the unremarkable wooden door, and just what might lay on the other side of it. He felt his pulse quicken with a hint of trepidation for the result.

“Well, thank you for your advice.” Cleon said, handing over the swatch of cloth as his eyes met Ken’s.

“No problem. Hopefully we run into each other again sometime. I work as a ranger for the settlement, but I’m often dropping by for resupply, and celebrations.” Ken said, his grin showing a full set of small, white teeth.

Cleon cocked his head, suddenly intrigued. “A ranger. Well good luck with the rest of your day. I’ve only just arrived with my sister so it’ll be a while yet before I’m ready to traverse the jungle.”

Ken himself got a curious gleam to his eye as he reached out to clasp Cleon’s arm. “You don’t say. Now I don’t doubt we’ll be running into each other again soon. Be seeing you.” He said as he turned to walk off, and out the door. Cleon followed him to the door where he lingered there by the threshold for a long moment before he pushed the door closed.

Disappointingly, there was no whirling maelstrom of magic, nor bright lights that extended from the door in glorious fashion. No, everything appeared much the same it had been. Or at least it initially appeared so as he studied the offerings that had been left around the door. Looking around, Cleon realized while the space had stayed the same, something had indeed changed. The birds had stopped barking in broken common, and golden sunlight was streaming in through the upper slats of the dovecoat. The low, shrill whistle of the wind was also gone, replaced by a distant murmur that was just low enough to be indecipherable.

Cleon opened the door.

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