Closed Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Tazrae can't take it much longer and leads a youngster out into the jungle.

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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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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Tazrae on April 14th, 2022, 1:05 am

“I didn’t know you have another sister. You’ve never said anything to me about her… though I don’t know you well. We’ve just have since the first day of Spring to get to know each other. I see how you are with Faye. If you ever want to talk about Farren… I’ll listen. I have a sister too… I didn’t know I had one. I’ve always thought I was an only child. Turns out I was wrong. We rescued her and brought her here last season. She’s a really good healer.” Taz said thoughtfully. “It’s never to late, you know… for any of them. No matter what they’ve been though. Bring her here if you can, Cleon. Say that to yourself so you don’t forget it coming from me. And talk her into making the trip as well. I’ve seen people heal from many things here… here in the jungle.” She added.

Then she said something else, something carefully, knowing he probably wouldn’t believe her, but it needed to be said. “We don’t let things happen, Cleon. They just happen. Sometimes all you can do is be reactive to life. I’ve been trying for a long time now to be proactive, to anticipate, and plan. That doesn’t always work out. But you try… you deal… you aren’t your sister’s keepers - either one of them. You just deal with life as it happens.” She added, shaking her head softly.

Then she nodded her approval at his job making his walking staff. It would curtail their above canopy travel a bit, but Taz didn’t mind. Being on the ground was equally exciting. That was proven true by the steps and the dais they soon were walking across. It was smooth, flat, and huge… the expansiveness of it struck her and she couldn’t quite wrap her head around it. “I imagine it was built by the Pavena folks, but I can’t imagine why. I can tell you what it isn’t.” She said thoughtfully.

“It’s not for sports. It would have some sort of seating on either side raised so people could see down. It’s not for an event type thing…. Its far too big. It’s almost like… it deliberately opens the jungle up to the sky for some reason.” Then she turned a circle and stared up. She breathed, drawing in a tight breath. “I need to come back at night.” She said thoughtfully. “Maybe even camp here. It would be a wonderful day trip with an overnight camping situation.” She said, knowing there was water close by. Tazrae could hear a stream of running water somewhere close.

“Maybe you and Faye would like to come?” She asked, offering to bring them back.

They walked out across the dais and Tazrae smiled. “You were the first to see it… you should by all rights name it. I like Dais of the Forgotten.” Tazrae said, thinking it fitting. “We’ve certainly, as a people, forgotten what this was for. I wonder if the Verusk know?” She asked, then glanced at him. A serious look crossed her face. “There’s no trace of magic anywhere. The place must be something more mundane, but I still can’t imagine what it would be.” She said, crossing the length and breadth of it with Cleon.

When they finally reached the other side, Taz bounded down the steps incautiously, even though they were covered with moss and lichens and a million living things. “I know Laviku is the God of the Sea. James talked about him and made an offering on my first crossing. I’d heard about him in Riverfall, but only in passing and talk from the guests of our small Inn there. Why?” She asked, tilting her head curiously.

“I know most of the Svefra wear his marks. They can do crazy things like drink seawater without it making them sick. They really love him, like a father or grandfather, I think. And one sailor told me quite scandalously that Laviku likes to sire children on beautiful women and they grow to be inhuman creatures – Alvina – like giant octopi or massive sharks.” She said with a grin. “I don’t think I’d knowingly sign up for that kind of thing… being a mother to an ocean behemoth. “ She added, picking up her pace subtly. “Do you look to any Gods or Goddesses?” Taz asked casually.

Then she lifted up the sleeve of her arm and showed him the lovely embossed gnosis mark of the First Tree – obviously of jungle origin – etched up her arm with its vine and various animals encircling it. “Caiyha marked me. And I have two marks on the back of my neck from the bard Rhaus. I blend in here well… the moment I set foot in Syka I loved the wildness. And Rhaus gives me the ability to hear things and manipulate sound. Kihala has promised me a mark too, but she’s yet to present me with the task to earn it. I was the one that got her shrine started in Syka though I had a lot of help with it.” She added, then inverted her left wrist to show another mark on her skin. It was a rainbow-hued mark much like gnosis, but subtly different.

“Marks like this… you can earn in Syka. They grant you control over the guardian statues of Kihala. There are five of them and when the settlement is in danger, they turn into living creatures, grow to huge proportions, and can defend the settlement. There used to be five of us. Now there is only me. But I know the Goddess is looking for other defenders.” Tazrae said softly, tilting her head at Cleon. “You’d make a good one. I think you’ve proven that with your sister.” She said softly, then kept moving. She was taking them west now, almost a straight shot towards Reclaimed Knowledge, though it was still a bit out.

Tazrae wasn’t going to skip another lesson to Cleon though. So as she walked, she began to speak more about survival. She let him walk, calmly forgoing the fast travel now that he had his walking stick and was slowly using it. “Uta taught me about Orientation when I first got here. It’s a huge part of wilderness survival. It’s the ability to determine your position in reference to a known point… like a tree, a mountain, a river, etc. To do it properly, to orientate, you’ll nee dot know where you want to go and where you are at. If you don’t know either of these two things, you are officially lost and you will need to figure out where you are in order to figure out where you want to go…. If that makes sense.” She added, then looked thoughtful.

“Out here… if you stay still, something will find you and eat you. If you don’t move, you’ll likely die. And that’s even true of you’re hurt or being hunted. So the ability to move is a requirement, not just a desire, and you want to make your odds of survival the best they can be by hedging your bets. You never want to randomly guess something. Go left, go right… that kind of thing. You want to make better choices and eliminate potentially bad decisions by orientating. The best way to do this is by a compass. I didn’t bring one and sometimes you won’t have one out here… they are expensive and easily lost or broken… so you’ll want to know other ways to orientate. The second best way and the way you will always have is by celestial bodies… astronomy.” Taz said, jumping a log and dodging around some very thorny-looking bushes. She paused to push back a huge fern-looking plant to show him a line of leaf-cutter ants marching across the trail they were on – if you could actually call it a trail – and Taz neatly jumped them to not disturb their march.

“Syna is your best friend out here if you can spot her through the canopy. It’s actually not hard once you get used to seeing how the leaves and vegetation to diffuse the sunlight. She travels east to west through the sky… rising in the east and setting in the west. Once you know where west and east is from her progress, you can know north to south.” Taz said, then stopped to brush leaf litter and small plants away from the forest floor to provide a blank patch of dirt. There she sketched the points of the compass and pointed out that west to east spelled the word WE so he would remember.

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“You might have to climb. The upper emergent layer of trees often blocks her view so its only up there that you can tell at times. But you can also look around after you’ve climbed to see if there are any orientation points you can recognize… Treasure Point, Stairstep Falls, various other features. You can even look for the huge blank space of trees from the Dais of the Forgotten….” Taz said, encouraging him to remember places he’s been too. “There are also clearings where the emergents fall at times. Use them. And you can find clearings above lakes, streams, rock outcroppings…. That sort of thing. Check the sky there.” She added, then thought back to see what else she could say about this.

“The vegetation will give you clues too. Moss and Lichens grow on the shady side of the tree. And if there are no other factors, that would be the north side of the trees.” Taz said, then seemed to recall another method. She quickly drew her hatchet, cut a three-foot-long stick, and drove it hard into the ground with the back of the hatchet, using it as a hammer. The stick actually cast a shadow, much like a sundial. “Remember, Syna travels from east to west so the shadows will actually travel from west to east…. opposite of the way Syna travels the sky. So plant the stick, mark the shadow with another smaller stick, and do something for thirty chimes… even if it is to rest, and see how the shadow has moved…. even napping for a bell would work… and then you know what direction west and east is accordingly.” She said. Taz searched around until she found a small rock which she used to mark the shadow… then said…

“Pretend it's been an hour and the shadow is nowhere…” She said, tapping a point a few inches away from where the rock was marking the shadow was at now. She dropped a second rock there that she picked up a few feet away. She drew an arrow between the current market and where the pretend new shadow was supposed to be in their imagination. The arrow was etched in the jungle dirt, displacing little plants and leaf litter. “There’s our west to east coarse.” She added, grinning at him.

“Nature will provide you with your own compass out here if you forget yours at home.” She added, pausing to let the lesson sink in. She’d continue the lesson the moment Cleon showed he understood.

“There’s only two directions I ever want you to walk out here. Walk east. Or walk south. Both will get you to the coast from any place in the maw. If you walk north or west, you are walking deeper into the jungle, Cleon. Don’t ever do that… promise me. It’s like inviting Dira to come to join you. At least hitting the coast you have half a chance to survive.” She said, then waited for that to sink in. “If you’ve never seen a map of Falyndar and where we are, there’s a big one on the wall at the Mercantile. I suggest you go study it. You’ll see what I mean when you do.. and you’ll understand why north and west are so dangerous.” She added, then started off at a brisk walk once more. They were getting close to Reclaimed Knowledge and she wanted to show him the place before it threatened to get dark.

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


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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Cleon on April 16th, 2022, 4:58 pm

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It was hard picturing Farren’s face in that moment, but he did it anyways. They looked a lot alike in some ways however they had dealt with their pain very differently. Then he was opening his eyes, and blinking several times as he tried to shove all of that aside quietly before the guilt overwhelmed him.

“You are kind, I.. Well I hope she will come here some day. I’ve made an effort to contact her so we’ll see how that goes.” He said, unwilling right now to touch on that other thing she had said, the part he couldn’t bring himself to think about, much less believe. He’d been there. Been forced to watch many times while he stood there empty as a shell, so numb to everything but pain which was the only thing capable of making him feel real after such.. Demonstrations. Thinking on that now, he could feel the sharpness of those thoughts and it took a significant amount of concentration to push those down, down until they were almost smothered although he could still feel muted bits peeking in through the cracks.

“I just want to make sure she’s alright.” He said, and almost added that he didn’t even want her forgiveness, didn’t expect to ever receive it, he just wanted to hear from her. That would have just spoiled the mood further, so he kept it to himself while he focused on the task at hand, which had a way of crystallizing his thoughts upon the present once more. The finished result certainly did improve his travel across the jungle floor that was to be sure, as Cleon felt a lot more confident having that the ward the ground in front of them even if he was still following behind Tazrae. It made the unknown just a little less scary.

Soon enough they arrived at that ancient structure, and following Tazrae across the dias, Cleon had to marvel at its construction.


“Who are- were the Pavena?” He asked, suddenly curious at her comment as he took a closer look at the structure to see if there was anything written down. When he didn’t immediately find something that might look like the depiction of a language he settled for just looking up at the sky, then back down at the structure which seemed almost miraculous placed out in the jungle as it was. He imagined that it once perhaps belonged to some great city in this jungle that has long since faded, although were the rest of it was Cleon had to wonder. Perhaps this was an extraneous branch of an old city, and they would find something more whole as the ventured forward in the jungle.

“Do you think this was part of a city once?” He asked Tazrae as a follow up to his Pavena question. It was really a great spot to camp out under the stars as the break in the canopy was breathtaking to look upon even in the daylight. A small source of comfort in an otherwise alien environment.

“I like the idea of camping here, and I think Faye would enjoy it as well. She hasn’t gotten the chance to get out much before we came here, so I’ll not turn down any opportunity for her to do so if that is what she wants.” Cleon said as they paced across the dias, soaking in the old ruins as their chat shifted to something more familiar.

Looking her in the eye, he smiled slightly. “Its just for a moment there your eyes glowed blue, and I was reminded in some odd way about Laviku’s mark, then I remembered your trick with the pipe earlier and couldn’t decide if it was because of a mark or something else that they did such a thing.” Cleon admitted, listening intently as she remarked on her own experiences.

“I have only met or known Laviku, and that was when he chose to mark me on our way over here. It is like you said. Once I was marked I suddenly knew a great many things I hadn’t, like how I can drink seawater if I have to, its not very good, I’ll tell you that right now. I can also, well I don’t know how else to explain it but its like the sea never leaves me even this far inland. Your marks though, they sound very interesting. I don’t think I’ve heard of Caiyha or Rhaus before, but I’d like to hear about them more sometime when we got the chance and I can write it all down to remember later. Looking at Tazrae’s mark, they were as beautiful as they were varied, and he found himself mesmerized by the dazzling array of colors that was the last mark that wasn’t quite a typical mark from what she told him.

“Kihala, I’ve been to her shrine I think. Juli had me drink from a ladle there. What does it mean to be a guardian exactly, and how do you become one?” Cleon asked curiously. He wondered if this was a bit like being marked, but it sounded a little different than that, more Syka dependent. He would have to remember to look for these statues when they got back to Syka, and was thinking about if they looked anything like the Eywaat one as they started to head into the jungle once more. An he paid attention very carefully to what she had to say.

This whole time he had been wondering just how she had been navigating the jungle and now he was starting to finally piece it all together. Earlier she had mentioned using landmarks to guide him along to where he wanted to go, and now she was telling him how she orientated herself further with context clues from her environment. Strange thing was, Cleon knew generally were east was as they went along, he had known it the whole time without having to look up at the sun because this was part of the sense he had spoken with her about. The one granted to him through his connection to Laviku. Cleon hadn’t really thought it of having a significant purpose until now when Tazrae was explaining how important it was for him to keep in mind the direction of the coast where he would likely find people and safety.

Of course, Cleon had to agree with this assessment, and further more made an internal point to make a gift for Laviku soon because he was suddenly feeling like he wasn’t being very appreciative of this god given mark. He hopped along with Tazrae over the little trail of ants bearing oddly enough leaves, and as they continued on, he considered the surprising amount of life in this jungle as they continued to keep moving along with Tazrae explaining the finer points about knowing his direction in the jungle. As Cleon couldn’t naturally expect to always have his mark to lean on, what was given could just as easily be taken away, he continued to pay close attention as the information was really helpful.

“I understand you. Its a lot to take in, but I get the gist anyways and why I’d want to know my directions while I’m out here. This kind of place is an easy one to get lost in and at the same time, not the place you want to be spinning around in circles.” He said, looking at the canopy and then back at Tazrae. “I’ll make sure I give that map a healthy look at though. It will help put things together for the next time we go out this way so I can better picture it in my mind. My mark.. Well with it I always know where the sea lies, and I guess I can use that in combination with these other tricks to get exactly where I want to go in the jungle if I can remember where all of these landmarks are that is.” Cleon admitted as he rubbed the back of his neck, and looked around the jungle for a moment. They soon started to pick up the pace as they went along, with him leaning on using his walking stick more and more as his legs grew more tired.

“Where are we headed to now anyways if you don’t mind saying?” Cleon asked.

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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Tazrae on April 27th, 2022, 5:00 am

“Cleon, if there’s anything I can do to help get your sister here, you will tell me, won’t you?” Tazrae asked carefully, taking a moment to breath deeply and scan her surroundings. “I would give a lot to have a sibling to care about. You are lucky to have two.” She said, not mentioning Kami. Her twin sister was a stranger to her now, even more so than she was before coming to Syka. But yet, as soon as she had the thought, she knew Cleon would be a stranger to her again. The Innkeeper dipped her head, looking away from the teen, and then looked around.

They walked on, and Tazrae shrugged. “I only know bits and pieces of the story, Cleon. I can’t tell you much.” She said, looking at her companion for a moment. “It was a city full of people that were explorers of … other worlds?” She offered, really not knowing more. “I’ve heard the word scientists and mages. I don’t really know how that… works.” She said, looking thoughtfully at him. “Mathias. You’d need to ask him, or one of the old ones. Do you know about them?” Taz said, gesturing around her. “There are creatures out here that are old, intelligent, and gentle… people that look like monsters but are from other places…. other worlds.” Taz told him. “They know far more than we do. To them, we are children… all of us.” She whispered, offering him a smile.

“It had to be part of the old city. I just don’t know what part of the city this dais would be. It makes no sense. We have no context…” Taz replied, answering his question though there was frustration in her own. “I have as many questions as you do, Cleon.” She added, then offered him a smile at his question about her eyes. “We will come back. We’ll camp.” She promised, though she wasn’t sure how much of them would be left at the end of the season. Could they? She hoped that they could.

“I’m a mage.” It didn’t matter if he knew or not. He was going to forget her as soon as they parted company for the day. “Auristics lets you see things beyond what you can see with your eyes. It’s an augmentation. You are seeing the djed pooling in my eyes to augment my sight using it. I know several kinds of magic. I’ve been learning, slowly, but learning.” She told him, reaching up to rub her forehead for a moment before they continued on.

They spoke of Gods and continued on with the lesson. Wilderness Survival was important business. Cleon was starting to understand that. “Where are we headed now?” Taz grinned, then gestured. “Right here.” She said, ducking around a tree and into a clearing which clearly housed a massive ruin. It was opened to the air, but below, in lower levels, he could see rows and rows of books, shelves, tables… and what looked like the remnants of a library. Taz took a large leap, jumped to a tree that was growing out of the lower level, and grabbed its branches. From there, she started climbing down. Looking up, she met Cleon’s eyes. “Come on!” She said, excited, hoping he would love the place as much as she did.

Some of the ruin was above them and all around. They literally came upon it abruptly… like it rose out of the jungle instantaneously. But it hadn’t. It was clear looking around that the place had been here a long time. Taz jumped to the ground, off the tree, and looked around. The place looked like it had been abandoned abruptly. Volumes were scattered around on tables with chairs pulled out showing absolutely no sign of damage or decay.

“I have a friend, someone I love deeply… I wish I could show him this place. I believe it holds answers Alric seeks about his family… about his lost life.” Taz said, pacing the length and breadth of the space. She paused in front of the windows, which looked out over cliffs indicating the place had been built into the side of a mountain that they’d approached from the top side. “It’s the strangest place I’ve ever seen. Stepping in here is like stepping into the past, but a past that was so much more than what the future to this past is.” Taz told him.

Then she walked to the stacks and ran her hands over the books, circling the room slowly now, absorbing it. “We could spend a lifetime in here, just learning…” Taz pointed out. “Cleon…. If you don’t believe me… about the past… look at the art. Look at the lives they lived.” She said, pointing at the giant enormous paintings on some of the open walls. They depicted life, long gone, in Pavena and the surrounding area. There were things flying through the air – ships with giant sails out – in the one closest to Tazrae. She’d noticed it before, but not as she’d noticed it this time. “Cleon… look at these ships. Could… could they be what that dias was for?” She asked, rising up on the tips of her toes and leaning back to stare at the painting.

“This… reminds me of a… museum.” She said, having seen the halls of fossils in Riverfall from the Society of Antiquity.

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


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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Cleon on April 28th, 2022, 12:03 am

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Cleon nodded. “I’m working on it, but to be honest, I’m not even sure if she would want to come. I’m not even sure if she could, but if there is a chance, I’ll find it.” He said calmly. Of course, he did not mention his other two older siblings because he had long ago stopped considering them his family. They had been just as bad as his father had been at times, or as ambivalent as his mother to all that was happening underneath their roof. Unless there was something in it for her, then she could be sweet for the time it took to make the exchange.

He felt himself growing colder at the thought, so he stopped thinking about such things as he forced himself more into the present. Cleon could almost even imagine it. An ancient city reclaimed by the jungle also the word mage did give him some pause. A city of mages sounded a lot like the old tales that were told to them as children to scare them into behaving. Cleon himself was more ambivalent about the subject as because the stories came from his parents, and other abusers, they lacked all credibility to his hearing. He couldn’t possibly believe their tales of magic gone rogue because he held too much spite for them, but where did that leave him. Unsure how to feel at all about people who could bend the world around them to their will.

Tazrae was quite possibly the first mage he had ever met. The first one who revealed to him that fact at least, for he was unwilling to discount the fact that he might have already run into a great many mages during his travels. An to think that there might have been a whole city of them here in the jungle at one point. Well, it defied his imagination, but certainly piqued his curiosity on the subject.

“Old ones? I don’t think I’ve met one yet, do they come to Syka often?” He said, puzzling briefly over her statement while returning her smile with a small grin of his own. From the way she described them he was sure that he would have known had he already met one, and he couldn’t help casting a quick glance about them as if one of these old ones might be lurking by this strange place. It wasn’t an entirely foolish suggestion on his part, as they could very well have built this place or aided in its construction from Tazrae’s own admission. “I’ll be sure to talk with Matthias about it though. I wouldn’t mind learning more about the people that used to live here.”

He kind of felt better when it was out in the open about her magical abilities. Although she alluded to knowing much more, having a bit of clarification about what she had done with her eyes made him feel less uncertain. If this was what most mages where like, then he was right to reject the stories he had heard as a child, and he would feel more comfortable going forward with such displays.

As they continued on through the jungle past their talk of gods, and further along till they wrapped around a tree, Cleon was surprised to learn that their destination was right under his nose. There in front of them was another gap in the jungle, this one holding a massive ruin that stretched below. His jaw dropped slighly at the sight, peering into the what looked to be a building of sorts and watched as Tazrae caught a branch before she started climbing the rest of the way down.

Offering her a nervous grin, he took a few steps backwards before taking the leap himself, scrabbling to get a good hold of the branch before he made a clumsy effort of following her down. His foot slipped several times trying to find a good hold on the way down the trunk till he ended up falling the last few feet, and falling onto his butt. It wasn’t too hard, but hard enough to clink his teeth together, though he managed to laugh it off as he stood up, dusting off the seat of his pants as he rejoined Tazrae. Once again, he had to wonder how much easier this might be if he didn’t have to keep her in view at all times, but he didn’t regret a moment of it because he really was enjoying the wild experience of it all. An if he did by chance happen to lose sight of her, well he imagined it wouldn’t be hard for her to argue her case as he certainly couldn’t have wandered to a place like this on his own.

Looking around it seemed as if this place was almost frozen in time, a pristine slice of what once had been before the jungle had reclaimed that old city. Cleon had to wonder what sort of powerful magic could accomplish this when Tazrae started speaking again. Looking at her, a flicker of recognition crossed his face.

“Alric. I know that name. He’s the one I hired to find my sister Farren. He mentioned having someone he cared about in Syka, someone who— Oh I’m so stupid, of course he was talking about you.” Cleon said, slapping his forehead with the palm of his hand. “I can’t believe I didn’t put the two together sooner.” He said before the conversation continued onto the place they were currently exploring.

It was indeed magnificent, and Cleon was briefly awed by the view the windows afforded. He hadn’t quite realized they were so high up, but then again, their traversal of the jungle had been far from what he had been expecting. Whatever this place was, he knew that it had to be important to someone to have been kept in such a preserved condition for so long.

“I agree, its like stepping into a story that has been half told, the pieces left just where the story left off.” He said quietly as he looked at the individual tables, although he didn’t quite dare to touch any of the books just yet. Cleon wasn’t sure about disturbing anything in this place just yet. For some reason, that just felt wrong to him as they walked up to one of the paintings. There on the canvas were depicted a great many wondrous things, but Tazrae seized on perhaps the most interesting part of the piece.

“It does look eerily similar. If that was a piece of one of these ships, and everything else on this painting existed at one point of time or another, then I wonder what else might be buried out in the jungle that we just don’t know about.” Cleon said. The thought was an exciting one, that brought a broad smile to his features as he felt a little bolder looking around the ancient library alongside Tazrae.

“I’ve never been to a museum before. What are they like?” Cleon asked as he walked around to one of the tables. There he found an assortment of odd books stacked across it, some laid out half open but the one that caught his eye was a small brown leather tomb with the words “The Guide Book” stenciled in gold lettering across the front of it. Walking around the table he reached out and placed a few fingers on its cover when someone who was decidedly not Tazrae spoke off to his left.

“Hello”

Cleon looked and saw an ethereal young woman, and felt his skin crawl as he was reminded of his encounter with the ghostly child Veronica earlier this season. Turning so that his shoulders were slightly towards her, he offered a nervous smile.

“Hello, sorry if I disturbed you or anything.”

“You haven’t disturbed me. So long as you don’t damage the library or its contents it will stay that way.” She said a matter of factly, and Cleon nodded in agreement with the notion.

“Of course, I wouldn’t think of it. Um, how long have you been watching us?” He asked, but the question must have slipped by her as the ghost didn’t seem particularly focused on him at that moment. In fact, he wasn’t sure what she was focused on, but he was more than willing to let Tazrae take the reins from here as she seemed to have prior experience with this place, and hopefully with this particular denizen. Oddly, Cleon belatedly realized his fingers hadn’t left the book yet, and now he was caught in the awkward position of wondering whether he should remove them or not. He decided to do neither, and instead carefully opened the book onto its first page which he could have sworn for an instant looked blank, but when he blinked again, the page was filled out with a neat, legible script that looked like it had just been filled in yesterday.

Looking up from the tome, he decided to add in when he could. “This is quite the library. How long have you been here?”

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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Tazrae on May 2nd, 2022, 12:06 am

“If there is anything I can do to help with your sister, will you let me know?” Taz said softly, knowing he wouldn’t remember, but wanting to say it anyhow. “She’d want to be here. Any place is better than Sunberth.” The Innkeeper said firmly. She walked to him and in a state of solidarity, put her arm around him and gave him the briefest of companionable hugs. “Life is too short to live without them. My twin is here in Syka. I just haven’t had much chance with the curse to get to know her.” She said as a way to explain to him how she understood a bit and how even though her and Kami didn’t have the greatest of relationships, at least she knew her sister was safe.

They moved on, and so did the conversation. “Yes, old ones. There are creatures that live throughout the jungle that were here when Pavena was around. Some are even older. Zethas is a friend of mine… he looks like a humanoid bat, but he’s incredibly wise. He lives at the Cheenga Ruins. He’s been teaching me a bit of off-world magic and how to control plants with djed. When this whole thing is over, I’ll show others what I know so we don’t loose the knowledge.” Taz said thoughtfully. “There are others as well… a giant kelvic saltwater crocodile called Sawtooth. She’s lovely. And there’s supposed to be one at Jellyfish Lake though I haven’t met him yet.” Taz admitted, looking thoughtful. “I call them the old ones because they don’t age like we do. They were here when Pavena was… some of them I think were products of Pavena. You could talk to them about the people that were here before.” She added.

Then they were in the library and it was beautiful, just as Tazrae remembered.

While she was turning around, she abruptly stopped when she heard Cleon use Alric’s name. “You know him?” She said, her eyes going wide. He could tell by the hunger for information all over her face that she missed him and that Alric meant a great deal to her. “He’s my best friend.” Tazrae admitted softly. “When he can remember me, that is. We’ve been exchanging letters. He forgets then rereads them and I think he starting to circumnavigate the curse a bit now with both keeping notes and letters. Or something…. but he usually recognizes me. I think he has a sketch of me or something.” Taz said, reaching behind her and rubbing at her neck.

This season had been really hard on everyone.

She nodded at Cleon’s words at what else might be buried in the jungle they didn’t know about. It was true. “Probably a great deal. There might even be ships around… stored in caves or something.” She admitted. If the Storm Shelter at Syka Bay was any indication, there were probably other caves around as well… and they might hold entire cities, as far as anyone knew.

“They have a museum in Riverfall owned by the Antiquities Society. It’s really cool. It has things people have dug up from eras past, pre-Valterrian items, and things from the Akalak homeland city that’s been lost to the Suvan. You walk through it and you can almost hear the ghosts of the past talking to you. I find I can loose myself in them for hours. There’s museums of rocks and minerals, of weapons, of people even… Anthropology I think its called. And they have natural museums that have animals that have been preserved somehow… I’m not sure how they do it, but it looks real. Taxidermy is the practice, I think its called. I used to go there often with my parents. It was considered a good pastime for a lady. I honestly think they just paraded me around hoping to win a good contract for me.” She added, snorting in distain. “The Akalaks like to buy women to bear them children… with contracts. It’s super dangerous and humans die a lot. But no one talks about it because they pay such phenomenal money for the service.” Taz added, shaking her head. “That’s what my mother did. And she wanted me to do the same. She died giving birth to her last child.” Taz whispered, shaking her head. Something caught her eye then, and she glanced down at the charm bracelet on her left wrist and smiled slightly. The triangular charm was noticeably glowing.

“Talia’s noticed us.” Taz whispered, right before the voice pipped up out of the ether.

She smiled. “I was here when the library was built. I was very helpful in its design and got to decide what it was filled with.” She added, then nodded to the book Cleon had in his hands. “That’s a tomb about the Wilderness around us. It has tips and study on the Jungle. You can check it out if you’d like, so long as you take good care of it.” Talia said, glancing at Tazrae.

“Where you looking for something in particular?” She asked curiously. Taz looked thoughtful. “Do you still have a map room? I’d love to find a map of the bay near here and the jungle that we now call The Maw. Are there any complete maps of Pavena on the walls or something around here? That would be useful to us as well.” Tazrae said thoughtfully.

Talia seemed to think a moment. “I can answer specific questions about Pavena, but for security purposes, there was never any maps produced. I have, however, been keeping several Osere Maps of the little settlement near here they are referring to Syka. I suspect both of you are residents of the place. I can give you an Osere Map of the settlement and you can program it in to track your own movements and those of your family if you add droplets of their blood to it.” Talia said, and held out her hand. A small mapcase materialized in her palm and she offered it to Tazrae.

Taz took it carefully and retrieved the map from the mapcase. She unrolled it and the ghost moved closer, gesturing. “Now, prick your finger and let a drop of your blood fall on it and name the drop.” Talia instructed.

Tazrae pulled a small knife from her backpack, pricked her finger, and let a drop of her blood fall on the map. She spoke aloud. “Tazrae Ardera” And a glow popped into existence, blinking on a spot the map automatically labeled as Reclaimed Knowledge. Taz glanced at Talia, then at Cleon. “May I keep this?” She asked carefully, awed by it. Talia nodded her consent as Taz rolled it back up and stowed it in its case. That case went right into her backpack.

“Do you know the large raised dais near here that is huge? We were wondering what it was.” She asked carefully, hardly believing the Librarian was so talkative this day. The map, Cleon’s book… it was all a ‘lot’. But maybe the librarian had one more answer in her. Taz had speculated a hundred things, but when she saw a picture of those ships sailing through the air, she’d wondered and now she was almost certain.

Talia smiled. “Of course. That’s the Djedship Port.” She supplied helpfully. Taz turned, glanced at Cleon, and wondered what he thought of the whole thing.

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


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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Cleon on May 3rd, 2022, 11:47 pm

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She was right Cleon realized. Farren would enjoy this place far more than Sunberth. If there was a way to get her here, how could he not try? Nodding in agreement with her sentiment, he smiled as she gave him a brief hug. “Thank you, really” Cleon said and as the conversation turned to the old ones he found a bit of relief in that as his curiosity mollified the ache he felt at speaking of Farren.

He found himself more than a little awestruck with what she had to say. If these beings were really as old as all that, then they must be very knowledgeable and very powerful indeed. If anyone could answer his questions it would be them for sure. “I think I’d like that. I hope I get to meet them someday soon. They sound like very interesting people.” Cleon answered honestly as he repeated the names and places she mentioned softly to himself so that he would hopefully remember later. “Pavena” “Zethas” Cheenga Ruins” “Sawtooth” “Jellyfish Lake” He made up his own images as he said the words to help it stick in his mind, using the descriptions Tazrae provided or in the case of the places he imagined a generic ruin and a lake full of jellyfish.

Then before he knew it they were in the library, and Cleon knew at once that they were in one of these old places. The history was ripe in this place, mixed with the familiar as they had a brief exchange about Alric.

“Yes, I was surprised to find out the courier from Sunberth I had been seeking knew so much of Syka, and what was currently happening with the curses. I will admit initially I was more than a little suspicious of him, but having heard your side of the story, I can recognize that he must be a good man to have earned your trust. When I meet him again, I’ll try to give him your best if you haven’t gotten there already.” Cleon said with a slight smile. In truth he had been a lot harder on the man than he had let on, all of which Alric seemed to bear stoically throughout their little encounter. Learning this side of him felt like finding a big piece of the puzzle that was that man, and suddenly he felt a lot more confident about the man he’d involved in the plot to contact his sister. He would have to find someway to make it up to him when next they met.

“It makes sense. If anything was to survive intact what befell this place, it would likely be underground.” Cleon reasoned, remembering the time he and his sisters had to go deeper in the mines when the djed storm came. His expression softened somewhat as Tazrae continued to talk about Riverfall.

“That’s terrible. I’m glad you avoided such a commitment, and what you said clarifies certain impressions I got when me and Faye were stopped in Riverfall. Fortunately I won’t have to bring her back to Riverfall, but I should let Farren know about that if she decided to make the trip.” Cleon said softly, worried about what might happen if his sister got caught up in such a thing.

Cleon perked up at what Tazrae said, briefly confused then confused for a different reason when he noticed the ghostly woman. Thumbing open the book he nodded stiffly at the woman’s words, swallowing hard before responding. “Thank you, I promise to take good care of it.” He said, hesitating on that first page for a moment.

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Considering that while he half listened to the conversation between Talia and Tazrae, he tried turning to another page though they were all blank after the first one. However having already agreed to checking it out, he closed the book with a puzzled expression before putting it carefully into his backpack. Later when they had a quiet moment he would bring up the book to Tazrae and his initial impressions but right now he was more interested in what the ghost was showing her.

Blinking several times, he took a moment to comprehend what the ghost had just said and what all had transpired, it was a lot to take in to say the least.

“So those ships would dock there? Why were they called djed ships?” He asked, feeling like there was something he was missing to this conversation. Djed was a strange name, one he didn’t have any reference to. He suspected it had something to do with magic because how else could the ships fly, but he didn’t feel comfortable assuming anything with this conversation. This was so far beyond anything he had experienced or expected to experience today that he was a little overwhelmed as he listened to see if the ghost would be answering anything else.

Then once they had some privacy, or at least it felt like they did, he would approach Tazrae about his findings. “That book I borrowed, remind me to show you it later. I’d like a second opinion on what I found. I caught something.. You two were talking about a map? Did she end up finding one of Pavena?” He asked as he looked about, soaking it all in. It was an oddly exhilarating feeling being in a place this old with so much history behind it. Cleon truly hoped that there wasn’t just one page to that book he was taking with him because he would need all the wilderness survival information he could get his hands on if he was to ever come this way again. A part of him suspected that it just might be magical given how it looked to be in perfect condition after all of these years, but that could also just be part of being stored in this place where everything seemed to be preserved.

Thinking about what Tazrae had said about the Riverfall museum and taxidermy he had the horrible thought of him being added to an exhibit in this library if he let any harm come to the book he borrowed. With a shiver, he followed along with Tazrae as they talked more about their experiences.

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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Tazrae on May 12th, 2022, 3:47 am

Talia was being incredibly helpful today. She’d given them each something invaluable and Tazrae wouldn’t soon forget it. Cleon and Tazrae covered a lot of ground and Talia was leading them deeper into the heart of the mysteries of Pavena all on her own. Taz listened as Talia answered some of Cleon’s questions.

“Why they are run by Djed, of course. You don’t think a djedship would sail through the air on its own otherwise, would you?” She added, then indicated one of the paintings that Tazrae had noticed and pointed out earlier that had ships in it, only they weren’t sailing by floating on the ocean. They were in fact floating on the air. “Mizahar used to have fleets of them. The Djedship Port is where they would land. You need a lot of space to land and take off on a djedship.” Talia said, then quoted a book section that housed more references to the ships and and even mentioned a volume that had types and the history of their development. Taz made a mental note to seek out the volume when she could, but for now she had other more pressing questions.

Taz turned to Cleon. “Djed is the power that fuels all magic around the world. I’ll tell you what I know of it later. It’s not a light conversation, but its something that will take bells to explain and understand. We should really see about getting that book or at least seeing if it still exists.” She assured him before he could ask Talia another question that might distract her.

“Thank you for the map, Talia. But I have one more important question. “I am acquainted with Zethas, Sawtooth, and I have heard rumors of other Guardians of Pavena. I don’t know if that is just an official term or if they are just something else. Zethas I would consider a friend. Sawtooth is someone I have met, but she is not the mentor that Zethas is. Do you know of any other Guardians of Pavena that might be around and where I could find information about them?” She asked cautiously, not sure what would be considered security for Pavena and what would be considered open knowledge.

Talia considered the question for over a chime before she answered. “Since you know of Zethas and Sawtooth, there is no harm in telling you about the others. You should seek them out and meet them. I have the ability, the way I am now, to see things that are not exactly as they seem and you Tazrae Ardera, are not fully human. That would put you in the same category as some of these creatures you are asking about. Because of that status, I will grant you knowledge of the others you have not listed.

Looking thoughtful, she seemed to comb through her memory and began speaking names. “Asai’Nav is an Earth Velispar who still dwells in the Pavena Valley. He used to be instrumental in our death rituals. Velispar look a great deal like your Ixam friends – of which you carry blood from now – and he was born Pre-Valterrian and is considered young for his race. He lives in the Ateliers of Pavena which are old magical workshops. Some still survive to this day, some are flooded and need restoration, and others are sealed as if people only walked out a few bells ago. Sadly, some are also in ruin. If you find them, you will find him. Asal’Nav was a dear friend of Pavena and her residents when the city was thriving. He rarely surfaces anymore, but while Pavena thrived, he was gifted the bodies of the dead because Valispar are keepers of knowledge and anything a person knew that was stored in their memory prior to their death, the Valispar can take on by consuming their bodies. Syka would do well to invite him to carry on this tradition. We have books on Velispar and I can loan you one if you are interested in learning more about his kind.” Talia said, then moved on.

“Zethas is a Mulgon from off-world. They are a bat-like race of humanoids who are incredibly gifted with magic we do not often see here on Mizahar. Zethas is also one of Akajia’s Nightstalkers and resides in the Cheenga Ruins. Shu’uhl is a crafted creature, a big male that is part man part ichthyes who dwells in Jellyfish Lake. He guards the lake against intruders and protects the jellyfish therein. The jellyfish has traditionally been very important to Pavena, though I suspect the Sykans don’t fully understand their significance. He is a scientist and has a laboratory there. I believe he knows just about as much genetics as the Eypharians do.” She added, then looked thoughtful again. “Those jellyfish have venom in their stings. People think it brings euphoria and a high. But the truth is, they produce a toxin that can completely yet safely numb pain in humans and humanoids so it is safe to perform surgery without risk to their major organs or brains. The Jellyfish was originally developed by Myrna Kelvic, though Shu’uhl altered their internal structures a bit during the Valterrian to preserve them due to the influx of saltwater into their freshwater lake. He, of all the guardians, visits me often and still partakes of the library. You should visit him. He often asks if Sykan’s visit here and if they are friendly.” Talia offered, then looked thoughtful.

“You know Sawtooth. She’s a Kelvic Saltwater Gator… one of the first Kelvics ever made. She was a gift to Myrna from Marcus Kelvic. As far as I know, she is immortal, like the other guardians.” Talia said. “The only other guardian I can think of is Brosh. But he’s not from Pavena. His kind was created during the Valterrian and he guards Caiyha’s Arbor. If you’ve wandered out and about, you’ve probably encountered him. Jamoura is peaceful creatures.” Talia added.

Tazrae nodded. “I’ve meditated with him. He’s a very interesting person and very calming.” She added, lighting up at the mention of Brosh. “I bet he uses the library himself. He seems very well learned.” Taz complimented the Jamoura, liking the creature a great deal.

The librarian smiled. “I imagine he is. And indeed he does visit, that’s how I know him. Now… is there anything else I can help you with?” She asked curiously. Though she seemed to be really enjoying the contact with the pair, there was a noticeable fading of her manifestation and translucence that was growing worse as if she were weakening rapidly.

“You said you had a book on Velispar I could borrow?” Taz said, curious about this creature more so than any of the other things they’d discussed. “It sounds important to reintroduce the Keeper of Memories to a new group of people if we can. I don’t want to be forgotten if I pass to another world. And Syka has no graves nor any cemeteries. We actually haven’t had any deaths either so far. It would be nice to have a ritual if such a thing ever happened.” Taz said, figuring this season probably wasn’t the best one to introduce herself to someone she wanted to be remembered by. But she’d take a book… and bring it back faithfully.

Talia led the way, up to stairs, across a mezzanine, and down another set of stairs to a case of books labeled ‘Creatures’. She indicated one with the spine titled “Legendary Creatures of Mizahar” and Taz pulled it from the shelf and carefully slipped it into her backpack. “Thank you.” It was at that point that Talia, this time almost completely invisible faded out… and was gone.

“She didn’t look like she had much… strength there at the end. I need to read up on Spiritism and see if we can do anything to help her stay more… corporeal next time we visit.” Taz said, studying Cleon and his reaction to this whole encounter. It was then that Cleon and Taz had their privacy… if in fact, the ghost couldn’t overhear them while she wasn’t visible.

Tazrae nodded when he asked her to remind him later about his book. “I will.” She vowed, though she knew the moment she was out of his sight, he’d forget her. He’d forget most of this probably, at least the parts involving her. But she could use it… the whole encounter and his new knowledge of the wilderness, to remind him of who she was if she needed to do so.

“I like Talia. She’s been incredibly helpful. She couldn’t give me a map of Pavena because she said it was a security thing. But she did give me a map of the Maw and Syka, a magical one, that can be used to track people I care about and locate sites I’ve been to.” She said, pulling out the Osere Map and unrolling it for Cleon. It had her name glowing along with a mark for the Reclaimed Knowledge library.

“I’m also borrowing that book on creatures. I’ll bring it back in a day or two though. I want to learn what I can while I can from this place.” She added. “Syka is hard on books… so I want to make sure it stays here mostly, where they can’t be damaged by the damp and humid conditions,” Taz said. “That was a lot to take in about the Guardians. I’m going to make it a point to visit most of the other ones if I can.” She added, then indicated her backpack. “We can go over the creature book together if you want.” She added though she knew they probably should be getting back.

“Are you ready to head back?” She asked, hoping he’d missed the part where Talia had claimed Taz wasn’t fully human. She didn’t want to explain if she didn’t have to. Some secrets were hers and hers alone, no matter how weird they turned out to be.

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


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Jungle Parkour (Cleon)

Postby Cleon on May 12th, 2022, 6:02 pm

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He took more than several to try and wrap his head around the conversation about Djedships, and at the end of it he was just as confused. There was a lot to unpack from everything Talia had told them already. This latest wrinkle was just a tad too complex for his present understanding so he found himself nodding more to just move the conversation along rather than any agreement on his part.

Still part of him lingered with that conversation long after they passed over it because what boy wouldn’t enjoy flying through the skies on a magical ship even if he couldn’t comprehend the mechanics of it. One didn’t need those sorts of details for stories to be complete, so long as they were only used for pleasure rather than to inform.

He just hoped that once this curse business was settled that Tazrae would tell him about this Djed someday. Although it made him a little anxious, he wanted to know more about it so he could better understand it beyond the ambiguous evil he had understood it to be for most of his young life. Considering all of the marvels that were capable through this magical force, he had to wonder why such stories had been so prevalent in Sunberth. Were they just to keep the people down and miserable?

Before he could muse on that further, Tazrae grabbed his attention with something she said about guardians and he was immediately reminded of her earlier comment about the old ones that lurk in the jungle. Could these be one and the same or was she referring to a different sort of people earlier. It was hard to tell exactly from the shape of their conversation, and even harder not to get lost with all of the words they were using of which he had no reference to so they felt slippery.

He decided to focus on the words he recognized to be names rather than the other descriptors that Talia used for them, repeating the names over and over in his mind in hopes that somehow this would reach him after all of this was over. For as unfortunate as it was, every day had its end, and he was not quite emotionally ready for this one to do so.

Zethas. Sawtooth. Asai’Nav. Shu’uhl. Brosh. He repeated the names over and over again, a few times under his breath as they conversed, a quiet mantra he hoped would pull him back to this moment when eventually he had to let Tazrae out of his sight. Belatedly he realized this must be but a small taste of what Tazrae had been experiencing for the majority of this season, a sobering thought that made him feel a bit sad. It mixed together with the elation he felt in the moment to come out to a sort of bittersweet feeling that caused him to look at her more directly several times as he considered everything that was being said.

The keeper of memories was indeed intriguing and he was glad that Tazrae asked about the book. He had to wonder how that would interact with her curse, but it was just idle fantasy as he considered what exactly they might glean from someone who had met and forgot about Tazrae. Unfortunately, in the mix and churn of ideas he had missed earlier perhaps the most important conversation of all. At least personally. The part about Tazrae that slipped by him while he was off fantasizing about Djedships.

He was a bit disappointed to see Talia dissipate but not surprised. Veronica had done something similar earlier in the season when they had their run in so he had come to sort of expect such behavior from ghosts. It hadn’t occurred to him yet that there might be a way to prolong their presence or that they might be using something to remain corporeal.

Arching an eyebrow, he nodded in agreement. “Spritism? That’s a good as any name for it I imagine. At least it is more cut and dried than Auristics.” He joked as he considered the spot where Talia had been only moments ago. “I’ll do my part as well in trying to find out what I can. James mentioned to me that Matthias has books on a variety of subjects, and because of Veronica, I think he just might have something on the topic to-” He stopped himself as he realized he was being rather dense. They were in a library after all. An ancient one with probably more knowledge than he could ever read in one lifetime. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to just glance at a few titles on our way out, though perhaps I should just wait to check with Matthias. I don’t want to abuse Talia’s generosity.” He said, feeling a bit embarrassed at the mood switches, an unfortunate and unavoidable side effect of his curse.

He considered the map she showed him carefully, in awe of it as he hastily looked over the map without really looking at any specific point besides the one that said Reclaimed Knowledge. That was their point which really helped put it into context about how deeply they had delved into the jungle. It was a miraculous map the way she described it and he was happy that Tazrae had been given it. If anyone knew what to do with such a powerful item, it would be her, and she would put it to great use, of that he had little doubt.

“I’d like that. Later if you are still feeling up to it when we get back.” Cleon said about reading the book on Legendary Creatures. Although he was curious enough to start digging into it right now, he was feeding a little bit off of a sense of urgency that lingered from when they set out earlier today. It was starting to get late, and no doubt Faye would start worrying about where he was if she hadn’t started already. “Yes, I’m ready, and thank you again for this Tazrae. I’ve be repeating bits of what we’ve been doing out here to myself in hopes that it will stick after it is all over, but even if it doesn’t I am thankful to have had this experience out here for however long it lasts in my mind.”

With that off his chest, he moved to follow Tazrae out of the library, climbing out the way they had come in, and then carefully picking his steps as he limbered up for the travel back to Syka.

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