Open The 5th Tenday of Spring, A shot in the dark.

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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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The 5th Tenday of Spring, A shot in the dark.

Postby Faye on April 21st, 2022, 4:51 pm

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Faye had really been hoping that they would have been closer to an answer by now, and hearing her brother read that letter had given her a brief sense of renewed hope before the screaming children shattered that impression. Whatever this was that plagued them, it had suddenly gotten a whole lot more serious which was plain to see when Faye gathered with the rest of the Sykans to see the body. She looked away almost the moment she laid eyes upon it, already regretting that she had followed the crowd to this point. This was not how she wanted to remember the late woman, and now it would be all that she could picture for days to come.

Turning her face away from it all, she tried to put all of the frantic talk out of her mind as she held herself in consolation. Then someone else was holding her, Cleon, and everything was almost alright again. They stood like that for a long protracted moment, dwelling in silence as affairs were sorted around them until finally it was just them and a handful of other people, and Faye could breathe easier again knowing the body had been moved away. Only her eyes couldn’t help but be drawn constantly to the bloody patch of sand where she had fallen, and then the tears came but she hid those as best she could behind her long hair. She had to be strong for Cleon.

Then it was time for Cleon to leave too, and there was no one left to be strong for so finally she cried, and cried, and cried until there were no more tears left. An after she had enough of crying, she decided to walk back towards the Inn to see how everyone was holding up back there. She had a sinking feeling that her home just wouldn't be the same after this tragedy, and more than that, she needed a friend she could lean on in that moment. With Cleon off to do whatever he was going to get into that really just left Oralie, and as far as places went to find her, the Inn was her best bet.

So she traveled across the beach quickly, avoiding meeting anyone's eye as she went although she would look up and stop if anyone tried to speak with her on her trip back to the Inn. She was hungry for some sort of company, any company, even if it was a bunch of strangers back at the Inn.

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Last edited by Faye on April 24th, 2022, 9:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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The 5th Tenday of Spring, A shot in the dark.

Postby Tazrae on April 23rd, 2022, 7:11 am

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It was a habit that kept her coming back to the Tendays.

It had been a rough day the previous one. The curse was affecting her hard, and she’d sought out the T&T in The Outpost the day before to get a little grounding and to find herself again. It had worked for a bit… a little while. Alric had talked to her and being in his company had helped tremendously. But in the end, with Lys and the strange unseen creature, it was just too much and she’d ended up fleeing. She’d spent the majority of her midday and afternoon sitting against the stone wall outside of the apartment before she’d finally left.

Then she’d made some hard choices, some tough decisions, and with what was left of her sanity took herself to the bazaar. The fruits of her purchase were sitting in the little cleared spot of land next to the beach she could finally call her own. Maybe today… later… if there was time, she’d start assembling everything she’d brought through with her. She’d gotten back to late the night before; well aware it was a Tenday and had started automatically baking.

She’d baked muffins as her contribution to the food. They were banana muffins with some local jungle nuts that she’d chopped into the batter. The making of food was a habit for her, soothing, comforting, and something she’d started immediately after she’d gotten dinner out of the way at the Inn. Even then, dinner had been late though none of the guests had complained. Deciding to go easy on herself, she’d made up a huge batch of yogurt to cure overnight, then pre-chopped fruit and made a reduction topping of passionfruit to add to it that would thicken and turn into an almost solid gel overnight.

That way, all she had to do was bake some sweat bread – cinnamon swirl this time – and provide bowls of yogurt and the fruit reduction and the guests would have their fasts broken. Coffee… tea… both of that would go well with the morning trays she’d put out. That way, it would minimalize the talking she’d need to do with the guests and get them out of their rooms long enough to give her a chance to clean up, change sheets where needed, and sort any laundry that needed doing.

She’d woken, made the bread, fed all the guests, and done the morning chores. Just after she’d woken, she’d taken the two huge baskets of muffins down to where the tenday would be held and left them swathed in bug netting and waiting for anyone who was going to show up early to set up. Back at the Inn, when everyone had left for the tenday, she’d done the laundry, cleaned all the guest rooms, and swept out the Inn and the decks. The kitchen was then thoroughly cleaned to her satisfaction and she was almost ready to go.

Taz had ham sandwiches, cookies, and squares of cheeses cut for the lunch crowd. They could be grabbed out of the icebox or from the cookie tin and taken with folks if they wanted to go anywhere else but the Inn. She’d fried up some potato chips as well and had left out cloth bags where the guests could help themselves to as many or as few chips as they wanted to go with their sandwiches. Empty picnic baskets were stacked up on the table in case anyone wanted to pack themselves food for somewhere they’d planned to visit.

With that work done, Taz had managed to feed the chickens, and snakes, and had even grabbed a shower before she left for the celebration.

Only the celebration hadn’t been much of one. No one said hello and the only stage person was Cleon who immediately took to the steps and read a letter Alric had written. Taz hadn’t heard it before and listened carefully, even to all the postscripts, then stared numbly at Cleon. She stood quietly, barefoot and in a light sundress, her hair still damp from the shower. She’d started to leave, to slip back away from the crowds when Hess’ death was discovered. Like the other onlookers, she’d migrated towards the scene and shook her head.

There was no one else to do it. Taz flashed her teeth in all the chaos, thinking the humans were useless in the face of a true threat. There’d been a murder in their midst and nothing was going to be done about it. She wanted to start questioning everyone around them and even asking other witnesses like the birds who could very easily talk in Syka’s confines. But no one cared about what the animals might have seen. They only cared for the dead body that was far beyond care. And as for burning her? That was a waste of good meat. There a few dozen Ixams in the settlement currently that could have made short work of Michaela’s body. It wasn’t as if she were going to need it any longer.

So she did what any sensible person concerned with those who couldn’t defend themselves did… she gathered the grief-stricken children to her and took them back to the Inn. There were nine children in all, including the one Antelokes seemed to acquire from Mathias. Taz was going to do whatever she could for them starting with cleaning them all up. She’d feed them, make them something fresh for lunch, and see about doing what she could to comfort them and make them feel safe.

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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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The 5th Tenday of Spring, A shot in the dark.

Postby Naadiya on April 23rd, 2022, 4:44 pm

Tendays were usually celebratory. There was almost always an opportunity for Naadiya to encourage the music to be played louder while she dragged the more hesitant settlers to dance. The songs she had picked up while on the Svefra ship were easy to remember and just as easy to learn for the first time and a couple of times she had even gotten Syka’s unlikely musicians to belt out a note or two between drinks. Those efforts had been the only contribution Naadiya could claim to bring on those occasions but even that was no longer.

This season’s Tendays had not featured much dancing. Or music. Or joy of any kind. The bits of laughter that escaped tensed lips seemed stained with uncertainty. Was laughing appropriate in the recently stress filled environment? She recalled Faye’s quickly aging body and the rotting husk Ialari saw herself as, and Naadiya cringed biting the inside of her cheek as she got ready.

It had taken Naadiya almost half of Spring to find out what triggered her curse. Unlike some of the other settlers whose afflictions could be considered constant, Naadiya’s had a way of being quelled. Thankful that her's was had a way of being reversed, part of her still envied the mage scholar, Reve, able to slip on a pair of gloves to cancel out his contact-driven rusting effect on metals. She wondered if Uta had been able to find a way to similarly mask her magnetism, with both curses affecting metal but she also doubted it. While the curses may have had a single original source, they seemed to be entirely different from one another in their nature.

It had taken her a while to embed the habit in herself into waking up every morning in a very mindful manner, but when it had stuck, it stuck for good. She woke every morning, denied herself the refreshment of her usual glass of water, and read from her journal which now sat where the water glass and jug had once been.

The notebook, much like her room, was an awful mess. There were pages that been torn out and stuck back in, some held with sewing pins, others just shoved between intact pages. Sketches for rug and towel layouts were mixed in with building floorpans, a running account of her finances and future plans, and copious notes on both her own curse and those of everyone else she had found out about. Her handwriting still had a strong slant, a trait she had unintentionally kept from writing Shiber so many years, but at least she wrote in fairly straight lines without the need for guidance, the positive aspect of having written from such a young in a culture that put so much emphasis on education and perseverance.

“The innkeeper is a curly haired blonde woman named Tazrae. She knows me and I know her but will continue to forget her if I’m not close to her.”

She read aloud, though her voice remained only a whisper. Naadiya had written the note on the top of the page, in a fast scrawl as if done after the rest of the writing. The same statement was also found on two more pages and Naadiya bit her lower lip. How many times had she forgotten and made a note to keep herself from forgetting only to forget again? Regardless, she had to keep trying. Naadiya wrote the same note on several more pages, right on very top of each page.

Going through the other things she had written of others, Naadiya definitely regretted some things she had done and said, whether she’d done it because of their curses or her own.

“We have to do better than this. I have to do better than this.”

Naadiya slipped her robe on and picked up her book, open to the page when she’d had the notes and walked to kitchen when there was already the sounds of chopping, stirring and pouring.

She got a somewhat hopeless expression from the woman doing the work and holding the tattered notebook with both hands, in an almost uncertain voice she spoke.

“You are Tazrae. I know you. I know that I know you. I also know I will forget you and forget that I know you. But you are not forgotten. Well you are but you're not!”

The word ‘know’ was starting to sound less and less like it belonged in any vocabulary but she didn’t let herself get lost in that thought. There was almost an instinct to introduce herself, but she remembered the woman did not forget others the way they forgot her, or at least Naadiya had made no such note.

Surprise lit the innkeeper’s eyes, and Naadiya could see the hint of a smile when the woman told Naadiya that if there was anything she wanted to eat, just to grab it while she continued to bake.

Naadiya skipped the yogurt and fruit topping, avoiding all cool and wet things. Instead, she took a warm cinnamon roll and dipped it in hot coffee, letting the baked treat sweeten the coffee and the coffee balance the sweetness of the roll.

After she ate, Naadiya thanked the innkeeper and took her book to the bathroom where she lowered herself in a steaming tub. A few drops of a lavender oil in the water and she relaxed in the vapor that rose from the water’s surface. She’d run out of oil soon and Juli had already told her there wasn’t anything similar that readily available for sale in Syka. Naadiya had considered asking James to try and find some while in Riverfall, but she always ended up deciding against it. It wasn’t the first of her products that she was running low on, but Naadiya couldn’t imagine that if she gave that type of list to James that he would flat out refuse, let alone actually come back with the correct phials and bottles. He probably wouldn’t even know if what he was buying was of good quality or not.

Reaching over to the notebook while remaining sitting in the hot water, Naadiya flipped to her 'To-Do' list and made a note to find some lavender and make the oil herself, it was an easy enough process and she had at last found her mother’s recipes and had started transcribing them from the tiny cramped script to a larger version in her journal, it always did good to keep some information in more than one place.

“Maybe I will use those orange lilies instead of lavender, there seemed to be plenty of those.”

Finished with her bath, she toweled herself dry and got ready for the presumably sad excuse for a tenday that today would hold. Along with her notebook, which she had put in a long strapped bag slung over one shoulder, Naadiya also took a wide brimmed hat. Her body was almost entirely covered, long sleeves and long pants. But the discomfort from the heat was less than the risk of getting caught in a sudden Sykan spring shower.

As expected, the crowd at today’s tenday was not the liveliest. She listening to the letter being read. In the short time she had known Alric, he had done nothing that would make Naadiya think there was reason to distrust him so she paid careful attention. He seemed to have a similar list to the ones that had been popping up around town and added his own experience with the divine.

She had suspected a god had something to do with the goings-on around the settlement, like many others amongst them. But Naadiya had feared it may have been Leth, not Rhysol who had been to blame. Glad that she had never voiced her suspicions, she also wondered what risk they each took in potentially accusing the wrong deity. Surely that could not have any positive consequences.

When the kids came running and crying for help, Naadiya had not been one of the first few to move. Children liked attention and she wasn’t sure just yet that this wasn’t a some trick they were playing during the tenday since everyone was gathered in one place.

Only when her eyes actually saw the dead woman’s body, did Naadiya finally believe. She had stood motionless, her hand covered her gaping mouth, only moving when she saw Shiress falling. Naadiya couldn’t understand how the doctor had actually tripped but she hadn’t been paying attention and the sand could sometimes gave way unexpectedly underfoot. Or it had been something else more sinister. Either way, she helped the woman up but was shaken off almost violently in the process.

Naadiya’s hat fell in the sand but she herself did not fall. With impatient hands, she beat the sand off her hat before slipping it back on and throwing a glare in Shiress' direction.

People were whispering, crying, arguing. Naadiya said nothing. She was silent. She was thinking.

Things like this didn’t happen in Syka.

Though… what do I know, I haven’t been here long enough to make that assessment. Even as she thought it, Naadiya knew she would not be able to convince herself the settlement had such darkness looming on a regular basis.

The body was being moved, the blade was revealed and it all became clear.

Matthias already had several people approaching him, so Naadiya scanned the area for the next in charge. She found James' face among the rest of the worried expressions and beelined to him.

When she reached him she spoke hurriedly, letting her distress and even anger pass through the filter.

“This is our fault!” She pushed her words out through clenched jaws. “We could have stopped this!”

First, the man almost wanted to react to her tone, as it seemed to point a finger. But Naadiya barely paused to breathe, panic seeping in. Who would be next?

“We knew she was having suicidal thoughts! We’ve known for nearly forty days! There are even notices all around town with her name and curse written there right at the bottom! But was anyone charged with watching her to make sure she wouldn’t act on those thoughts?! No?! It’s not like she’s important, right! She’s only the person caring for a horde of parentless children! Children who are now permanently scarred, even moreso than they already were!”

James’ jaw was tight enough to match Naadiya’s but he remained calm and in control.

“This is not anyone’s fault, Naadiya. The curses-“

“The curses!” She spat back bitterly, “they are not going away on their own! We pray and we pray but are we even praying to the right deities? None have helped so far. Is that our plan?! Thoughts and prayers?! That has been working so well, we now have a funeral pyre on a Tenday!”

Her last words, hit a soft spot and James’ shoulders dropped a bit, “I know.”

“We are not doing enough. We need to do something different, our appeals so far have not gained the right attention, if any. This place is blessed or guarded by Kihala isn’t it? How do we get her to show some interest in her flock?”

By then, there were Svefra arriving and the docks and James glanced over to the ships occupants as they crossed the sands. Naadiya followed his gaze, not forgetting he had still given her no answer.

“More sheep heading for the slaughter,” she said of the sea folk when she'd met James’ eyes again. “We have to do something. The ship I came here on…”

She could see James remembered the ship and remembered its captain, an old and unsavory acquaintance of his own.

“When I got on the ship, they claimed that Laviku had nearly destroyed their vessel after the captain himself had insulted the god with an unsatisfactory sacrifice…” Naadiya watched the man’s face waiting for him to reach the same suggestion she was about to make, they were his people after all, and his god.

“To mend his errors,” she continued, though his face was already frowning at her, “he made another sacrifice. My camel. I’m not saying what he did was right or just but we sailed smoothly enough to reach Syka unhindered.”

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