The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

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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 River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Alric Lysane on April 25th, 2022, 6:38 pm

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85th Spring 522 AV – Garden Beach - Afternoon

It had been a long day, or ten days, and he was still aching all over, yet there was one more thing that he wanted to do before the day was out – not that he knew where he was going to sleep once the day was through. As he exited Mathias’ cabana he lingered upon the deck, replaying the memories once most again and again, fixing them within his mind with this new memory, hoping that even if some lustre was gone once he took the final step, that they would still remain there, accessible by proxy. Once he was confident that he had done all he could he sighed and looked out over the stretch of land between Mathias’ and the Protea.

He had to admit it, even if the heat and Syna’s rays beat down upon him more strongly than he ever could remember, Syka was quite the beautiful place. Lys had yet to return, though Jade had informed him that she was safe and well, making friends at the inn. It was a strange thing, how she had started to actually listen to him for once. He wasn’t sure if it was a lessening of insecurity or that he was growing into the role of her guardian. In the grand scheme of things, he doubted it actually mattered as long as they still had each other. He took that last step and the world seemed to pause around him.

He scanned his memories for Taz and, as expected, the original memories were foggy and indistinct – though interestingly some of the colour and outer edges of detail seemed to have resolved themselves into more distinct flashes. Then he scanned for the moments that spanned the last few bells at Mathias’ and there was a sharp intake of breath before he burst into laughter. Relieved laughter. The originals were still foggy but these new ones, spent apart and with Mathias…they were still there. There was a loophole of sorts, if only a small one that allowed him to remember how he felt when he could remember – proof unquestionable of what he had grown to suspect all season.

“Best day of the season” he muttered to himself as he set off at a slow but now thoroughly enjoyable stroll across the sands.

He was about halfway or so when his mood went from joyous to curious, the beginnings of structures coming into view from behind some rocks and foliage. Ixam had started to dot the area as he went, growing more dense in population the closer he got to the structures. Once he could make them out properly it seemed like some kind of camp – a tent with some other wooden constructs that looked like places of shade and refuge. He stopped and watched for a time, noting how the Ixam seemed to come and go as they pleased. They were regular in their patterns, he realised, and were dragging pieces of wood and other things across the sands.

“Well well…trained Ixam?” he mused to himself, knowing only one person who he knew that could do such a thing. He grinned and followed them slowly, keeping a steady pace and some distance just in case they did see him as a threat.

They were quite docile though, and as he found his way into the camp proper his hopes were shown to be reality and he refrained from shouting only because she was up high, atop a rocky outcropping that had some kind of series of log bars that grew ever higher dotted here and there, appearing to have hand holds for climbing and wooden beams between for balancing – had she taken his advice and decided to build an acrobatics course? He remained quiet as he just listened to her shout out orders to the Ixam and fuss with something out of his sight. Whatever they were bringing her wasn’t the hammer that she was asking for, though, as he could sense the frustration in her voice even from the distance he stood. His eyes searched for a way up to her from his place in the shadows of foliage, and it took him some time to pick it out, but when he did he stepped forwards, grabbed the hammer that was discarded upon a rock nearby, tucked it into his belt and took a deep breath. Suddenly his legs refused to move and he merely twitched and snorted in disgust at himself.

I come all this way and now, so close to her, you want to hesitate. Stop. Being. Bloody. Stupid he thought at his legs, as well as himself, until they moved once more, stepping forwards once.

“Nonono…I said hammer! Haaaammmeeeeer You got it last time. No that’s a…what is this…a wrench? Hammer”

“Now or never” he sighed, rocking back and forth a few times before busting forwards in response to Taz’s requests of the Ixam.

The course wasn’t overly difficult, given that it was only halfway done and likely just enough to get up to where she wanted to be building. But there were beams and hopping stumps that he ran and jumped over, finding it to be quite exhilarating and similar to roof running in Sunberth. Reaching a rope, he swung around to another log that was beneath her and began the further climb as smoothly as he could manage. As he went her voice grew louder and even more frustrated – hopefully not a sign from the divines at his oncoming reception. There was another hopping, jumping and climbing bit and then he was directly underneath her and balancing upon the last log that separated them, her back to him, heart pumping and now able to see her from the side as she was focused upon something else and turned slightly.

She was covered with sand, dust and had pieces of foliage stuck in her hair here and there. Clothing seemed to be an afterthought and didn’t look like they were new, what with the pieces of wood shavings and bark stuck to them. He imagined that the ‘old’ Taz, the one he had first met and drawn, might have thought it terrible that she looked so dishevelled. He begged to differ, it enhanced her beauty and made her seem far more down to earth than a remote and glowing imagined woman. He waited a few moments before shifting forwards the last few paces, to more demands for a hammer that the Ixam would not find. He tried to make as little noise as possible as he settled himself upon another log at the same level as she was, balancing and pacing his way onto the rock outcrop she was commanding her Ixam from. He pulled the hammer out of his belt and tossed it halfway between them so that it made a sound upon the stone.

“I think that’s what you’re looking for Taz,” he said, slightly out of breath and raking his fingers back through his hair, his legs burning from both the climbing and the Wind Eagle rides, but every pain was worth it for, “pit fights, divine games, Mortanis hunts, curses…and ten days by petching Wind Eagles…telling people it was for the greater good…saving Syka…but really, deep down…it was for this…it was always for this, for you Taz. I’m pretty sure you told me to choose…well here’s my choice” he said, stepping forwards and for once not caring for decorum, or if she slapped him, all he knew was that it was worth it – as she turned around to see him he kissed her.
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Alric Lysane
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on April 26th, 2022, 10:38 pm

Taz just had to keep busy. That was all there was too it. Each day she worked, first at the Inn, then at the glamp, then sometimes on a tertiary project before going back and getting dinner prepped for the Inn. There was nothing else to do but move forward. And as long as she didn’t sit still too long her mind wouldn’t get drawn to far off places and the wanting of realities she just couldn’t have. Gods, but it was hard.

So, she threw herself into projects, having gotten both decks built and the pathways placed between her little areas in the glamp. It was a cute word. One of the denizens had said that her setup when they’d wandered by and noticed it, was the most glamorous camping site they’d ever seen. Taz had thought the term fit. Glamp. Glamp sweet glamp? It would have to do until she could work her magic and get her home started. And truth be told, the glamp had done its job. Taz had stopped thinking of The Protea as home and had started thinking of it as a business – as it should be.

And with her not being there full time, it freed up one more room so she could rent it out to a guest if one needed a place to stay.

Today, she was working on our jungle run course. It had obstacles to climb, swing through, leap, vault, and clamber up and down. She had vertical walls planned that she needed Geomancy. That was frustrating because she only had two elements and the time for three or even four seemed so out there. There were balance beams at different levels, some at the ground and some higher and even at rooftop level or above. Taz wanted to get stronger. She was obsessed with it to the point she was running daily and traveling the jungle faster and faster, trying to improve her travel times and how much stamina she could sustain.

What else was she going to do? She’d left the lists and lurked around enough to listen in on conversations, but the productivity was low on the search for the cure and people were at a lost as to how to even proceed with the curse. Hess’ death had hit everyone hard, and her sister’s appearance had put everyone ill at ease because of the spiritism.

Lily was, in Taz’s mind, a bit creepy. Gods the girl longed for a quiet night at the T&T or just a few minutes to see Alric again. But… she’d promised herself to stop torturing herself and move forward. Nothing in her life could get better until this curse was lifted… until Syka was safe. And nothing could be done about that until….

Taz broke off her train of thought and sighed. Her circular thinking would be the death of her. She stood then, on the outcropping, and pulled the branch over to measure it to the correct length to form something of a hand-hold. Then she’d picked up her hand saw and laying it on the marking, knelt on the branch and began to saw at the thick limb. It took a few minutes and her arms were aching before she was done. Then she set the saw aside, reached down to her belt, pulled out a nail from the pouch, and felt the slot her hammer should be in. It wasn’t there.

Glancing around, and off the edge of the rock outcropping, Taz tried to spot her hammer. The Ixam had been dragging up driftwood and stray firewood – something they enjoyed gathering – and called down to them. “Scarlet… hand me a hammer!” She called to the leader. The big red lizard snorted, lifted his head, eyed her with a head tilt, and promptly picked up a crow bar and climbed the rock outcropping deftly to extend his head to her crowbar in his teeth. “That’s a crowbar… come on. You know what a hammer is.” She added, resting her hands on her hips.

“Bring me a hammer!” The scarlet snorted, dropped the crowbar at her feet, and headed back down. A blue-green female brought her a wrench. “Nonono… I said hammer! HHHAAAAMMMMEEER. You got it last time.” She called, looking exasperated. Several of the Ixam were watching something just over her shoulder, out of her sight, but none of them seemed alarmed so Tazrae didn’t worry overly much.

She called further instructions to them, shook her head at how scattered they seemed to be today, and then heard the hammer thunk behind her. At first, she thought an Ixam must have dropped what she needed right behind her out of her sight, but as she started to turn, the voice hit her solid and washed over her like a warm wind.

She froze at the sound of the words, her mind taking a moment to catch up. Then she slowly turned, letting it all sink in, as her eyes widened and she took in Alric’ gaze. Their eyes, so alike, locked gazes, and Taz immediately and instantly reached for him. Tazrae didn’t care that she was filthy and he frankly looked exhausted. His lips touched hers and she slipped her arms around him, burrowing into him and holding him as if she were afraid that he wasn’t real.

At first, there was just a meeting of lips, a gentle press, but Taz being who she was smiled against his lips and didn’t for once question him being there. She simply grinned, her lips against his, and then tilted her head to the side slightly and nibbled at his own smile. Her hands traced up his back, fingers splaying over his shoulder blades and she felt his energy, his essence, crash into her like it was coming home.

“Alric.” She said, whispering his name and pulling his body into hers. She was holding him tight, letting their breaths mingle, and feeling his heartbeat mesh with her own. “Are you real?” She said against his lips, unwilling to pull away. Then she blinked, pushed back from him just enough to see him clearly…. “Why? How… I mean… Wind Eagle? What?” She stammered the words out, tears leaking out of her eyes. She didn’t believe this wasn’t real. She couldn’t. There was too much of him she recognized from his scent to his incredible energy.

He … felt like home.

All that comfort she was missing, all that loneliness… it was as if the world was tilted sideways and backward until she held him in her arms and it suddenly slipped into place and felt absolutely one hundred percent right around her.

Then she really kissed him, not just the gentle tentative touch, but a full force full mouth kisss where her lips captured his with all the hunger of someone who's soul had been starving and he was the only thing she considered substainance. She dragged it out, pouring all her welcome and all her love into that one point of contact, as if she could fill him back up from the depths of her own heart, where she'd emptied him out feasting.

“Gods!” She said, hugging him tightly again, leaning in and gently kissing him one more time having finally felt like the permission was there where it hadn’t been there before. Her lips were soft, gentle, and she paused to smile against his lips again. Then she nipped his upper lip and pulled back studying him. “You look tired. I mean… bone-deep tired. Have you eaten? I… is … Is Lys here too?” She asked, her eyes going wide as she stepped back and scanned around her.

Taz captured his hands in her own as she released him from the hug and brought them up to kiss first one fist then the other before she wrinkled her nose. “Why do your hands smell like clams?” She asked with a laugh. Then she noted how he was dressed and shook her head, not imagining how hot he must be. “Come on… I’ll get you something to eat and a shower, and something to wear that’s not as heavy… and settle you into to someplace you can get some rest.” She said before pausing and drawing him in again, hugging him to her, tears still openly leaking from her eyes.

“Are you really here? Really?” She asked as she paused, studying him before she turned and leaped. Taz took the oddest way off the rock outcropping. She leaped against one tree, kicked off it, to leap against another, back and forth until she was standing on the ground with almost no effort. “Well, come on down!” She said, turning to gather up a leather journal she had out and a charcoal pencil. She ripped a page out of the back of the journal and wrote a note on it. The note was lengthy and she folded it carefully.

Then she handed it to one of the Ixam who was almost a brilliant yellow gold and captured its snout in her hands. Taz stared into its eyes. “Take that to Dawn… Dawn… and bring back what she gives you to the Inn. I’ll give you a treat there.” She said to the golden yellow female who whirled and trotted off in an odd but lightning-fast gait, towards the Commons. “I’ve sent Sunny to get you something clean and light to wear… Lys too.” Taz said, turning and capturing his hand. “Do you want clean or fed first? We can talk during both.” She said, pulling him along with her.

They followed a path through the jungle, most of which was blooming with flowers that had been strategically placed from where the Innkeeper had gathered them all various locations in the jungle. They came out in the Inn yard where Taz paused abruptly. A large black and white cow was being milked by Mathias and her look was so puzzled for a moment it gave Alric pause. Then she glanced at him, decided it didn’t matter and laughed as she pulled him across a nicely trimmed lawn, past a large chicken house, and deep into a bamboo stand. "I could have sworn that cow was dry..." She said with a furrowed brow before continuing onward.

They jumped on a pathway of cobbles that lead from the Inn to deep in the bamboo where a rock wall stood tall creating a sunny but private area among the bamboo. A large flat paver stone, nearly six feet across, lay nestled in the ground. There was an odd ladder of fresh towels leaning against the rock wall to one side, and a shelf that held soap and different jars of creams and liquids all meticulously labeled in Tazrae’s neat hand. A rope toggle dangled in the middle of the paver, and Taz paused before stepping onto it to kick off her boots.

“Come on…” She said, hopping first on one leg and then on the other, freeing herself of the calf-high boots that protected her legs from the wood and stone she’d been working on throughout the jungle run course. “Do you know what this is? It’s a shower!” She said, gesturing to the showerhead that was clearly visible suspended over the paver and only half visible in the graceful bows of the bamboo that danced around the little opening.

“There’s a roof cistern on the Inn that collects rainwater and heats it in the sun. It’s warm, Alric… and it will feel amazing. You look exhausted. Let me help you get cleaned up and by the time we are done Sunny will be back with something for you to wear.” She said, knowing the Ixam would follow her scent and bring Dawn’s clean new clothing back to them. “And if she’s not, there are robes….” She gestured, and indeed some of the white fluffy things he’d assumed were towels. IHe could see they were robes now that they were closer.

Once she was barefoot, Taz stepped onto the paver, peeled off her leather pants tossing them in a pile with her boots, and then reached forward to pull the crochet top that was barely considered clothing off as well. Alric had run into this before – Tazrae’s lack of shyness about bare skin – and knew it was a cultural thing here.

“I stink too.” She said, complaining faintly until she had nothing left on and was watching him with her hands on her hips. She made a ‘hurry up’ motion, and turned to the side shelves that held all the supplies and little washcloths and sea sponges. She took one of the palm-sized sponges, turned back to him, and pulled on the rope pull to set the warm water gently falling. She wet the sponge in the softly cascading water and swiped it about ten times across a fragrant bar of soap. “Alric… you look exhausted. Let me take care of you.” She said softly, her eyes huge and filled with concern.

If he let her, she’d pull him under the water, take him in her arms again, and carefully begin to wash him.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Alric Lysane on April 27th, 2022, 11:44 am

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There was a moment of suspension where he worried that it would all go wrong, a flash of irrational fear, before it became more like two waves meeting, blending and then becoming one as her teeth found his lip and she pulled him close, smiles cracking between kisses and tears welling up in her eyes, causing their beautiful blue to shine the brighter, he noted, in the brief moments their gazes met between their expressions of desire. He pulled her close, hands over her hips, his own desire more like a solid, enduring anchor as her fire burned and drove the bursts of locked lips and biting teeth between her questions. He simply grinned, a foolishly altogether too happy grin, as a flash of realisation began deep within – he was coming home, the old priest had been right, even if he had meant in a different way.

How could he have forgotten the taste of her? Her scent, or the warm softness of her form, so delightfully curved around the strength and firmness training had leant it alongside? How could any magic, divine or otherwise, have been able to steal something so overwhelming and all encompassing to his soul? Only in those moments did he truly realise what damage had been done by her curse, even if it had been by proxy instead of intentional in respect to himself. The thoughts of how close he had come to potentially losing this sense of completeness forever rose up and he pushed it back before it could infect the moment, instead sighing and pulling her ever closer into him, fingers stroking her back, closed eyes and finding true peace for the first time in a long while.

“Yes Taz, I’m real. Alive and in the flesh, here in Syka, for good. You aren’t imagining it,” he said, noticing the tears covering her cheeks and his gaze softened, wondering if this wasn’t the first time she had imagined he were there, to help cover her loneliness, his hands shifting up to cup her face and thumbs brush the tears away, though they were replaced shortly after, “I can’t quite believe it myself. I was lucky, it was retrieved from Sunberth and flew here…flew…and now I can’t understand why I didn’t do this long before”

She all but devoured him then, and he responded in kind, one arm slipping down around her waist and pulling as the other stayed cupping around her head, almost trying to see how much closer their lips could be pushed together. When they broke apart and she talked about how he looked tired he chuckled slightly at how he must look, but how he felt was much the reverse from a mere bell ago. He was brimming with a tingling energy now, as if simply being around her and finally accepting who they were to each other had its own sort of power. Warm eyes took her in as she spoke, questions coming quickly but more solidly now that the initial surprise had passed. He was still quite proud he had managed to sneak up on her and give her that moment, it felt more right than a formal greeting and social dance before diving into the physical.

“Yes, Lys is here. I sent her to The Protea when we arrived, it seems I found you first. She will be there, probably making many friends and causing mischief. I visited Mathias before I came to see you, there were things to discuss if the coming days are to be successful…I may have taught myself to…shuck clams, is it? He was putting together some food for the Wind Eagle riders and the rest…chowder I think he said. I am here…I’m not going anywhere either…not anymore”

With that she was off, jumping down towards the ground with obviously practised ease. He blinked for a moment or two before barking a laugh and shaking his head, he was beginning to think he would like Syka, it was both enjoyable and unpredictable. Wild still, filled with an energy that felt more natural. He loved Sunberth, he knew he always would, but there was no contest of choice between that smoky city and this wild paradise, with his partially feral beauty running through it. He was slower getting down than she, instead using his body using his magic, the one source that was still reasonably well stocked. He extruded his Djed, forming platforms that floated into place in the air before him, pulling out a few strands of his hair with a wince, using them task them to block his Djed – and thus himself. He stepped experimentally upon the first platform, testing it rather than using his full weight, and when he knew it was all woven and locked into place he stepped upon it, then onto the others, descending as he went until he was stood before her once more.

“Clean first, I think…it’s been a few days hard travel and I’d rather smell your food than me” he sighed, tired muscles yearning for a good soak.

He accepted the fact that the Ixam called Sunny could retrieve clothing for him and Lys, after all it was far from the strangest thing that had happened to him – and that much made him snort in amusement. When they passed Mathias and his milking there was a pause, the old man looking at him as if wondering whether he had told Taz, or if she would figure the problem out. When it passed and they were on their way he gave a brief shake of his head and a wink, to which the man laughed before continuing about his work. When they arrived at the shower he was, at first, confused as he was used to baths. His muscles complained that that was what they wanted, but he instead occupied himself with looking over the mechanisms, his gaze tracing the large head hidden in the foliage and the building alongside, imagining and mapping it out in his mind as best he could. The robes and soaps were taken in, along with the rugged, simple construction that seemed more pleasing to the eye than he had expected.

“It is quite ingenious…simple but practical. Using Syna herself to power the heat for the water. Are you sure…you must be quite tired…your…self” he said, as he turned to look at her and seeing her all but naked now, clearly her mind set upon showering together.

Despite the fact the he knew she didn’t care about nudity, that his journal had recounted a few times when he had seen her exposed and that she thought it was ‘just a body’…to both his own enjoyment and slight discomfort, it still gave him pause. It wasn’t just the fact that she was gorgeous, so much so that he both wanted to be clean under the water and not clean at the same time, but the fact that she wanted him there. Even if it was just to fuss over him, no one else had treated him that way, much less someone so beautiful. For once he didn’t argue, didn’t think about the slight embarrassment at being naked or being seen, instead he began to kick off his boots, so quickly that he almost stumbled as tired as he was. The rest of his clothing followed, and for the first time ever he grew frustrated with just how many weapons he had tucked away, making a note as he dumped them into the pile – all but the map case and Zhyad, which he laid down gently.

“Be my guest,” he said, wondering at her wide eyes and finally stepping under the water, there to wrap his arms around her and pick her up, spinning them around and kissing her as the water soaked, them, “but you need looking after too” he finished, putting her down gently and grabbing his own cleaning supplies, wetting them and soaping them.

It was such a simple thing, but also so intimate, he found as he let her soap his body and quite enjoyed beginning to soap up hers. On the surface it seemed a mundane task, routine and required for good health in general, yet faced with it there was a depth there, an exploration of the woman he loved that made it seem far more rewarding and meaningful. He realised, between her ministrations, that he would never have thought of that if she hadn’t led him into it. She invited him to new thoughts and purposes easily, and he hoped that he did the same for her – he at least thought that he did. It was strange, he thought as he smiled and enjoyed the moments, how you could find a part of you in another, something missing that only they provided.

“You know, we have Yshul to thank for making sur our paths crossed. I’m not sure I could thank her enough,” he smiled as picked a few leaves from Taz’s curled locks and replaced them with suds, “I was told that her gift is to see the value in things…makes sense given some street slang…Yshulis…I think now that I’m here I realise what she saw. I would say that I wish I had seen it sooner, but then I’d never have trodden paths and met Ionu or Vas, nor found Lys, or been away when these curses descended. In some ways it feels like it was meant to be now” he continued, stroking a stream of stray suds from her cheek.

“It feels good, to be…home”

Under her gentle touch, and the warm falling water, he could feel his muscles relax. She had been right, it was more than warm enough and the novelty of droplets cascading off of them to carry the dirt away to the stone, rather than pool in tub water, was not lost upon him. He had always liked rain, it was elemental energy, especially when there was a storm. This, though, felt like a warm summer’s rain, come to soothe sore skin from the glaring light of day and provide succour when it was most needed. Even his lower body, sore from long days in a Wind Eagle’s saddle, felt as if it could have its pains swept away in the continuous downpour. Between washing he found himself appreciating how the water flowed down Taz’s body, almost framing her form and wreathing it with said elemental nature. It was impossible not admire, even as she set about fulfilling her promise of looking after him.
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Alric Lysane
Carry On My Wayward Son
 
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on April 28th, 2022, 6:25 am

Spring had been the season of utter misery to Tazrae. But standing under the warm outdoor rain shower with Alric in her arms, skin to skin, was about the closest thing to perfect she could have imagined. His presence with her here made up for every little misery, ever lonely moment, ever tear she’d shed, and every loss she’d mourned since the first of spring. His hands on her body, swirling a soapy sponge across her skin lit a fire in her that had nothing to do with the warmth of the water gently sluicing across their skin. She stole kisses even as she chased his dirt and fatigue away in equal measures.

Tazrae knew it hadn’t quite hit her yet… that he was here… that he’d called Syka home. But that wasn’t exactly true… though she’d understood what he’d meant. She felt it too. They were, to each other, home. That wouldn’t change, regardless of where they were in the world. Each of them would always be ‘home’ with one another. And when he’d confirmed that Lys was with him, her heart had swelled even further and not with the jealousy she’d been afraid she’d feel again. They were a family… they had always supposed to be a family. Taz couldn’t ask for a better one. And all the doubt, all the sorrow, all the times she’d hated her linage and hated what her Grandfather had done to Alric’s family… it eased into the background, as if Alric himself had coated that particular wound with some sort of unseen healing balm.

She noted with approval that his magic had improved. He was wielding shields like he’d been born to it and done it all his life. It was what he was born to do and she marveled just a little that he’d come so far in his acceptance of it. She couldn’t imagine how big of an adjustment that had to have been, growing up on the streets of Sunberth and becoming the thing everyone feared. He’d always love Sunberth, and in a way she’d love it too for it had gifted her with him. But he was so much more than the city of Misery. There, he was just another person… another story of struggle and survival. But here… here he’d be something more. She could feel it… seeing him here, even if it had been for chimes or a bell or two at most. He’d be a leader. And then there’d be a second awakening within him, beyond that of the magic. And she wondered, momentarily, what he’d be on the other side of that one.

But that was the future. The now was here, and the now was fantastic. She curled against him, playful, eyes dancing, sharing more kisses and cleaning him up with an enthusiasm she hoped would wash away some of the travel weariness. At his comment about Syna, she’d only shaken her head. “You’ll find a million ideas like that living in a place where there’s nothing but your own smarts to see to your comfort.” She said, knowing here he’d outshine her as well. By tomorrow he’d probably have more ideas, and by the season after this one… she’d not even recognize the place.

… season after this one.

Did he bring so much hope with him then that she could think of the future? Tazrae realized he did. Just him standing here, his bare skin shining in the sun and collected rainwater, caused her to believe in miracles again and refreshed her soul in a way she hadn’t known it had been depleted. When he spun her, she laughed, grabbing onto him like a child would, and then burying her face against his throat when he stopped, her chest still heaving with her laugh. It was her place of comfort, of safety, and he could tell she only reluctantly let go of him and stepped back.

Then she saw to his shower with all the enthusiasm of someone who loved touching him, taking care of him, and fussing. His hair was washed out, and various things applied not once but twice so his hair was clean and incredibly silky in the spray. “Your hair has grown out…. longer than when I saw it last. I love it.” She said, and circled around him, getting every inch clean. She laughed as he did the same to her, twirling for him and making a game of it. She made no secret that she loved his hands on her body. There was no flinching, no embarrassment, and no hesitation in the least. She was incredibly present in the moment, invested in him, her whole focus on his needs. Tazrae’s body was strong, lean, and though she’d lost weight from all the running she’d been doing in the jungle, she’d gained muscle mass and her hair was longer.

And finally, she knelt to wash each leg and nuzzle at his maleness intimately with her cheek and nose, as if that part of him too was precious to her. On her knees before him, she looked up at him and straight into his eyes and grew serious for a moment. She captured his hips with her splayed hands, stroking him lightly there, her blue eyes wide as she stared up at him. The play was gone now, and her tone was adamant.

“I would take and love every part of you, Alric…. everything that you offer and want to share. Everything that I am is already yours. It always has been since we first met. But… the moment I leave sight of you, you will forget me again. We can’t live at Mathias’ place. You can’t take bells to touch everything and remember through Eryis’ grace who I am. This place is so cursed… it’s so… defeated. You can’t see it now, through our joy, but when you finally get to sleep and wake tomorrow, the struggle will be real. This part of you… this part of us… together…. I want to wait. I want to wait until this curse is broken and we know each other fully. I want to stare into your eyes when you gift me with this part of you …. and have you know exactly who I am.” His Tazrae could be sweet, nurturing, kind-hearted… but the woman on her knees already half worshiping that part of him he’d not shared had a feral gleam in her eyes as she took another moment to nuzzle at him, this time with her lips along his length. There was no shame or embarrassment in her actions on her part. It was almost as if she were staking a claim on that intimate part.

Then she rose, kissed him again, this time more playful, and rinsed the last of the soap off him and made sure she was free of suds as well. Then she toggled the warm sluice of water off, and grabbed him a towel, wrapping the colorful fluffy weave around him before she took one for herself. Glancing around, she saw a couple of bundles dumped in the bamboo next to a long sleek form that was stretched out in what little room was left in the private area. Sunny was awaiting her treat with her task neatly done.

Still drying off, Taz moved to investigate and laughed as she pulled a note from the two bundles. She scanned it quickly, noting it was impersonal, and directed at The Innkeeper, rather than her name. Gods, it still bothered her, but she did note that Dawn had included a finished sundress she’d ordered for herself along with the packages since the Ixam was delivering directly to the Inn. Taz turned, handed one bundle to Alric…. “These are yours….” And pulled the sundress out of the second bundle… a deep rich purple thing and slipped it over her head. She gathered her own clothing and Alric’s dirty clothes, leaving his boots, weapons an anything else that wasn’t decidedly laundry to him.

“This next part will be tricky.” She said, the bundle of laundry in her arms and her discarded building clothing along with it. “I’d normally set you up in the Kitchen inside, but I need to hit the dock and drop this laundry on the back deck on the way. I can’t let you out of my sight until you finally get to a place you can get some rest. So will you walk with me? We need to skirt around the Inn, stop at the deck to get rid of this… and hit the deck for a few chimes before I can cook you some lunch.” She said, knowing it was complicated, but with her curse… so long as she was in his sights, he wasn’t going to have to fight forgetting her.

“You’ve never seen my life… now you’re going to get to see it first hand.” She said with a grin, this time her lips waivered a bit with nervousness. The shower was a wonder, but the rest of it wasn’t so glamorous. It was just hard work. If he agreed, she’d lead him as she planned, not back through the Inn Yard where Mathias had been openly stealing her cow’s milk. But instead, through the back, where the guest rooms looked out on first private decks on the small side of the L shape of the building and the long elegant main covered deck. She dumped the laundry, all her gear, and their towels on the deck as they passed, then she lead him across the short stone path from her deck to her dock and out onto it. The end had a huge covered palapa at its end, and it was out there she lead him.

Sunny followed, the Ixam growing more and more excited by the moment.

The Inn was beautiful in a small nicely hand-crafted way. Everything was clean and flowers bloomed all over the place. The decks were shaded with woven palm fronds, but the actual building itself had a wooden roof. There was no glass anywhere and he could see the rooms were mostly open to the elements indicating good weather year round. Touches of Tazrae were all over the place in the forms of neatly planted flower beds, driftwood dragged up to decorate plain places, and lovely huge conch shells glittering in the sun among the flowers. Bird feeders were scattered about and there was a variety of wildly colored creatures snacking from the feeders. Ixam played on the beach further down, chasing each other into the waves. And a little strip of sea grass swayed in the breeze, separating the Inn proper from the white sand beach and turquoise waters. “Svefra tie up here a lot… so don’t be alarmed if you see someone docked here. But there’s more than enough room for a boat or two if you or Lys want to learn to sail.” She said, the sailing part not being something she’d had time for yet. “I fish daily here… and when I’m not fishing I have traps set. It’s hard work keeping everyone fed.” She said, then indicated where a couple of ropes were tied off way out off the end of the dock under the palapa. She headed out there, the Ixam’s claws scratching at the heavy wood planks as the trio walked. The beast didn’t see to be afraid of the dock, nor of the water. Further down the beach, a few of the creatures were actually frolicking in the waves. Taz stopped at the ropes and began hauling one up, indicating Alric could grab the other.

Before he could wonder, a lobster trap came into view with three fat lobsters in it. The golden Ixam went absolutely berserk, dancing in place and making all kinds of noises of impatience. Taz laughed, carried the trap over to her, and let her make a show of picking out which crustation she wanted. Taz carefully fished it out and tossed it to her. The big creature killed it neatly and began crunching it down with all the greed of a Sunberth child having stolen a piece of candy and cramming it into their mouths before another child could liberate it from the thief.

“I’ll grill you and Lys some lobster.” She said, indicating the traps - hopefully the one Alric brought forth having lobster in it as well – and then shooed the Ixam off the dock. Sunny trotted away satisfied, eager to rejoin the others in the Lounge and brag about the treat it earned. “They love lobster. She’ll be back just in time to get the heads and bodies of the ones I make for you… I’ll bet you even coin. And though they can swim, they can’t easily ferret them out of the nooks and crannies so they love getting them as treats from the traps.” She explained, carrying the traps back up the dock to the Inn. She’d lead Alric to the kitchen, set him down at the big counter there, and got started on the meal.

The kitchen was expansive. In truth, it was the heart of the Inn and had all the amenities a master chef could want… including a huge icebox that Taz took a bucket from, filled with water from the main roof cistern, and removed the rest of the lobster from the traps. She quickly killed and cleaned the lobsters, pulling out the tail meat and the claw meat and skewering the pieces on a piece of long wooden bamboo which she sat up on a platter raw. “I grill them on a skewer so they don’t curl.” She explained to Alric, waving one of the pieces simply waiting to be cooked at him. With a flick of her hand and the firewood already neatly laid, she got the big grill lit with a tad of Reimancy and almost no thought. And while that was heating, she got the big oven started in a similar manner and pulled out proofing bread to get ready to go in so the lobster would have fresh rolls to be put on.

“I’ll give you the tour later when you’ve had some rest. I only have one room open and I would suggest we give it to Lys. She’ll need her privacy. I don’t know if you looked around the camp much but my pavilion is a really… nice place and plenty of room. You can crash there. Lys can stay with you if you want and she doesn’t want to stay in a room alone. I pretty much live there full time alone… the Inn’s usually full. I still need to add a second story.” She explained, then smiled.

She worked effortlessly – like a dancer would – happy to be bustling about and careful to keep in his sight the whole time. She kept talking knowing he was tired. But there came a time when she was out of things to do to get the meals prepped and she paused to stare at him. “Will you tell me? The whole story? Of how you got here?” She asked, curious.

“I can hear Lys from here… I know that sounds creepy… but the Audius. I think Oralie or someone already gave her the room because she’s … singing in a horribly off key voice and … a song that isn’t probably appropriate for her age…. and in one of the tubs. She’s definitely taking a bath. If we time it right, she should be out just in time for the food to be ready then you guys can get some rest.” She said, turning then to check the baking oven, finding the fire inadequate, and adding a touch more res to encourage it higher. When the temp was up to where she wanted it to be, she slid some already proofed large bread rolls into the oven, knowing they’d only take fifteen chimes and be amazingly fresh and hot for Alric’s meal.

Fifteen chimes was more than enough time for Alric to tell his story and Taz to get the lobster grilled for the rolls.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
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Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Alric Lysane on May 3rd, 2022, 6:36 pm

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The shower was a delight, she made it easy and into a game of sorts, filled with a playfulness that stirred something more mischievous and fun loving within him that had perhaps been pushed back by the seriousness of the season’s events. Under the warm cascade of droplets, though, and his hands gliding over her, to both clean and take claim over a woman whom had changed him so much for the better, it was impossible not to play along and enjoy the moment, all other cares vanished with her every twirl and pass of her hands. It was even fun when she washed his hair several times, sending water smothering his eyes that he scraped away with chuckles. But what he enjoyed the most was the light in her eyes, bright and wide, even when they turned concentrated upon her desire of easing his lethargy – a task she succeeded at spectacularly as he no longer felt tired at all.

No, his energy was high and his focus upon making sure he cleaned every part of her, that way he got to touch every part of glorious person. As the dirt of hard work vanished, she became more beautiful, her hair cleaned several times before he left a dollop of suds upon her nose before turning her to clean her back before sweeping around to the front and hold her close. They were fully cleaned long before they actually stopped, instead extending the ritual more for their own satisfaction and sense of fun than any practical reasoning.

He had never been much of a dancer, but it felt like a dance of sorts and it made him think upon the coming days and time spent in actual dancing, running down the beach or exploring the jungles he had seen upon the flight in, extending so far into the wilderness. He had no doubt in his mind now that the curses would be broken, there was no other choice but to do so, he wasn’t willing to lose those future moments, and others, not now they were so close and she was at his fingertips. As she laughed and make a turning motion so that she could make sure his back was clean, he realised that that was the most precious thing only she could give – a reason to try to be more. For all Mathias’ talk of Nymkarta and crowns, such things didn’t matter to him overly much. But she did, she made him want to share all, and become more – and that could only happen one way. She all but tugged him around, breaking the thoughts with a kiss, telling him she knew him well enough to read his face.

“As opposed to your wild locks, longer even than mine, I love the way Syna catches the colours by the way. You know I watched you whilst you worked, for a bit, I couldn’t help but admire,” he nuzzled her neck, “you are beautiful…especially this part” he said, hand slipping around to her rear and squeezing slightly with a chuckle as she turned around and the playful washing continued between kisses.

He did not expect, despite their closeness, the last part after she washed his legs. It was enrapturing, and he’d have been a liar had he said he did not feel the deep need for what she talked about. Nor could he prevent his body from responding to her actions, heat rising and body beginning to harden. He had never liked the idea of people upon their knees, but this was different, she chose to be there and the wildness in her eyes, the way she gave herself to him managed to make it deeply attractive and arousing. An involuntary sound came from his throat and even though there was the caveat in her words he felt sure that once everything was broken, and he remembered this moment and her fully, he knew what the first thing he would do would be. As she rose, he pulled her close, fingers trailing from the base of her spine all the way to her neck, a teasing trailing as the other trailed from her throat to just above the part yet to be explored. It was a difficult thing, not picking her up to wrap her legs around him and press against nearby stone, as every part of him screamed to do so…but she was right.

“No pressure on breaking the curses then?” he sighed, after their kiss broke off, “what’s five days, with an eternity together that follows? I’d rather wake up with you in my arms and remember anyway” he continued, meeting her eyes before they both broke away and the showering was ended, with some regret.

Once she had thrown a towel to him, he began to dry himself off, spending plenty of time messing up his hair before raking his fingers back through it to get it as neat as possible. He had never been a particularly neat man, there had never been much time for it, but for some reason he found himself finding a comb and actually using one for once, making some kind of attempt to not make her efforts be in vain. He was finishing up when she tossed a parcel to him, clearly filled with clothes for Lys also, and he pulled some out to look at them curiously. Isuas trousers of a rich, dark brown almost like tree bark, and a separate pair that were a dark purple were found, alongside two Isuas shirts that were an azure and an emerald green, but with mixed tones that were darker as if the light angle changed the colouring somewhat when moved. He had never been one for fashion, but they were curiously attractive to his eyes. It took him a while to figure out why they seemed more than clothing, and when he did, he was curious as to whether it was intentional – they were his family colours after a fashion.

“Thank you, you chose the colours well,” he said as he pulled on the purples trousers and green shirt, noting how it laced closed and that they went quite deep down his chest so that in the hot weather it could be opened to the breeze, “it’s true that I’ve never seen your life. But then you’ve never seen mine, and I’m not sure I’d have wanted you to. This place…whatever you do daily it will be better than mine was. Are you worried that I’ll get bored without cutpurses on the beach?” he followed with a grin as he pulled on his boots and stood up, retrieving his pouches, belt and various weapons, treating Zhyad with far more care than his steel daggers, patting the hilt gently.

“Lead the way oh lovely Sykan, I just arrived, so I’d probably wander into the jungle because I was too busy thinking about something without a guide” he chuckled, noting how her promise of looking after him extended to tidying up after him too and making a mental note to try not to leave too much mess in his wake. He grabbed an armful as pulled out the bandana he had bought to tie around his forehead, the edge just low enough to shield his eyes from Syna’s rays, and would carry the load until she showed him where to dump it.

As they walked, he found himself quite charmed by the inn and its surroundings, not to mention amused by the actions of Sunny, ho danced around them and was quite happy to received a few affectionate, if hesitant, scratches as she passed by. After a while she expected it, nudging at his hand expectantly, which served to make him snort with amusement and give in with a twinkle in his eyes. The birds that ere feeding were muttering and talking much like the one at Mathias’ and he blinked, cocked his head and then shook it before pressing on and listening as Taz spoke, walking across the grass border and towards a smaller dock – a personal Inn one he guessed.

“Svefra? I wonder if I’ll recognise some of them, they always were fun to have a drink and gamble with…especially if you know which ones to get a little too merry and get them to dance on the game table if you’re losing. The talking birds though…that’s a new one on me. Not sure I’ll get used to that, apparently I’m a mean man for not feeding one,” he grinned and looked out across the water as it glistened in all the shades of blue he could think of, it was breath-taking and he paused for a few moments before continuing, “I can imagine it is. Well…seeing as I have no job and I am quite taken with you I don’t mind helping out where I can. Haven’t fished a day in my life but Mathias did tell me to come visit him and I could probably learn”

He set about fulfilling that offer by pulling upon the second rope Taz gestured to, finding it quite a bit lighter than he thought – at first. Once it cleared the water then it grew heavier and he could imagine a day of the labour keeping him fit even without trying to train separately. Once he had it up onto the dock he counted his own three and set it next to the one she had retrieved, laughing along as Sunny proceeded to do what he more closely associated with dogs and once he was done laughing there was a small smile left – he liked dogs, they had a playful loyalty that not all humans had, and were largely innocent creatures.

“I’ll have to remember that for Bree, it could be quite amusing to see her dance like that. They’re like the hounds of Syka, given I’m half-animal from Sunberth I’m sure we’ll get along just fine,” he said as she led them back toward the Inn, then inside and what he saw made him whistle, it was better than any tavern in Sunberth despite the different style of architecture, “I think I’ll stay away from helping with your cooking, I’d just ruin it anyway, and given this kitchen…well let’s not sully its reputation” he said as he slipped into a seat opposite where she was working and watched her, silently taking in her concentrated features and enjoying the fact she wanted to share herself with him – an he was quickly understanding that these things weren’t just jobs, they were small portions of her life, of her.

He simply listened as she worked, not responding to her immediately for two reasons, first that she was delightfully graceful whilst in her element and second because he didn’t want to break her concentration. Part of him also had already started to think about what it would be like, with a woman who actually enjoyed looking after him. He would reciprocate of course, but it was a new thing to him. Then he shook his head and realised that it was only new because of the curses, because she was who she was, and he doubted that she would’ve acted any differently in their apartment. Not for the first time in the season his thoughts darkened slightly despite his happiness, hating this thing that was done to them. He was brought back by her other questions, and he looked into the middle distance thoughtfully.

“You’d be surprised what I find creepy these days, given what I can do,” he sighed and snorted at the words about the song, “that sounds like Lys alright, she never could sing but what she lacks in skill she makes up for with enthusiasm. Should never have let have fun with those Svefra…still there was little choice given it was the only way to keep an eye on her. Sunberth…there are no children there…not really. I’ll let her have her fun, she came halfway across the world, I can’t ask more” the corners of his mouth tuned up a little then, he was secretly very proud of her she was showing more courage than he had ever had at her age.

“She can have the room, but she won’t be undefended. Nasta will look after her…another Gasvik, this time from Mathias’ Place. I was trying to teach her to look after herself anyway, and it’ll be good for her to have her own space. I had wanted…well this season has been quite…difficult. I’d love to share the pavilion with you, I’d have it no other way” he said, meeting her eyes before leaning back thinking upon the story she asked for – it hadn’t been that epic in nature, though there had been some spots of adventure.

“As for how…Shiress came and got me. She asked Mathias for a Wind Eagle, flew to Sunberth and then found me and…the rest is history. That’s the short version anyway…the rest is less savoury. She’s had a terrible time of it, can’t eat because her ghost keeps putting disgusting things in her food, difficult to drink as it makes her smell it as latrines or worse. All of us are saddle sore, slightly sunburnt or half-drowned from the rains and tired…well I was anyway,” he flashed her a smile as he cupped his hands behind his head and thought through the events, “the journey was okay mostly, a few Zith…I think they were called that…tried to attack but it was easy enough to…well magic has its uses. Syliras was dull, and boring, so many rules! Other places were better, in some ways. But mostly I spent the entire journey playing ‘I Spy’ with Lys and trying not to go insane after the hundredth ‘s is for sea’ or ‘f is for feather’” he grinned, it was amusing now but at the time he had wanted to physically gag the youth.

“And he sucked at it too” Lys’ voice piped up from the side, appearing with damp and unkempt hair that she combed out bit by bit with tilted head as she walked towards them. Nasta was nowhere to be seen, possibly still playing around with the bubbles in the air, but he felt sure the tiny Gasvik would soon appear to curl around Lys’ neck once more.

“No, I just felt like pulling my ears off halfway through”

“Not my fault everything looks the same from that high up! You’re no fun sometimes, all broody smoke and scowls into the fire. This place is nice, it should make you relax more, be good for you,” she said, her usual barbed nature had mollified of late, instead being replaced gradually by a deep affection that she was growing less embarrassed about showing, though he wasn’t sure why things had changed, “something smells tasty…Tazrae?” she asked him, eyes shifting between the two of them mid-comb and licking her lips nervously.

“Yes, she is. Be nice” he said with a small smile, knowing how much she had looked forwards to meeting her – even if they had met already and forgotten. He watched as Lys quickly combed out the rest of her hair as she walked around the counter, then hugged Taz, squeezing her gently.

“She is pretty, don’t be an idiot,” she said to him before pulling back and looking up at Taz, “I’ve wanted to meet you for so long…Alric told me about everything, in the end. I’m sorry, I wish I could help but I’m not big and gifted like all of you. I can help with chores though…or…well…I can try” she said, smiling broadly after that and hugging her again.
~ Thanks to Gossamer/Shiress for post Boxcodes ~
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Alric Lysane
Carry On My Wayward Son
 
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on May 7th, 2022, 10:09 pm

It still didn’t seem real to Tazrae. Alric was here, sitting in The Protea’s kitchen, perched on one of the tall chairs and watching her as she worked. It was hard for her to take her eyes off him, sneaking glances as if to reassure herself he was real. He was real, wasn’t he? Had she finally snapped and invented him for her own pleasure and to save what little sanity in her remained? Taz wasn’t certain, and if she was honest with herself, it didn’t matter. He felt real. He sounded real. And the way he’d touched her in the shower… the things he said about her hair?

It almost stopped her heart.

She’d frozen at the time, only offering him a smile scared out of her mind to respond or to say the wrong thing as if he’d turn to vapor and drift away like the mists in the jungle mornings. She’d had no response to them, though deep in her heart the Ixam had hissed its joy and screamed its pleasure. The woman… however… was terrified. She genuinely didn’t know how to take compliments on appearance nor admiration on body parts. She’d never given such things much thought because they hadn’t ever been important to her. But she could still feel Alric’s hand sliding across her rear and the things he’d said. It brought high color to her cheeks at just thinking about it, and she’d soaked it up like a desert getting rain for the first time in decades.

Gods, let it all be real. Deep in her mind, she kept whispering the prayer over and over again. She wasn’t sure who she was praying too… his Gods or hers. It was almost a plea to Falyndar herself.

Taz kept her hands busy, pulling down a mortar and pestle and a select few spices. She tossed together a mixture, grinding it up, then seasoning the lobster on its skewers while she waited for the grill to heat up. She pulled other things out of the icebox – her magical pride and joy – eggs, mustard, a splash of vinegar from another storage cupboard, and mixed up some sauce. The bread came out of the oven fresh baked and she slathered it with the mixture then put the triple skewers of splayed-out lobster meat on the grill… the tripled long wooden skewers through the meat holding them flat. It took almost no time at all to cook the meat, needing a delicate watchful attention as she listened to Alric’s explanation.

Shiress.

Taz owed the woman so much. There was no reason to doubt Alric’s story. But it seemed fantastical… that Shiress would go to the Founders, ask for something like that, then fly all the way to Sunberth and back with Alric and Lys. Why them? What had motivated Shiress? Taz couldn’t wait to catch the woman at a time she could ask her. She knew little Ian and Shade had been alone the last twenty days, but she hadn’t known why. And while she’d kept an eye on the pair, there wasn’t any opportunity for her to ask Shade where Shiress had gone. Plus… it hadn’t been her business. And really, had she noticed? Taz was gone more than she was home these days.

“I like your new clothing.” She said casually, flipping the lobster meat on the grill, and beginning to plate up the sandwiches. “I didn’t pick out the colors. Dawn just has a feeling… and starts sewing. Hopefully Lys will like what she sent. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d had them ready for days. She’s really good with what she does. Her husband Tony… he’s a Drykas. I didn’t know much of him… hadn’t talked much to him. But when I brought a Drykas Pavilion back for … well I needed a place to live… Randal brought Tony over to help me. I was a complete stranger to him, and he completely unpacked the Pavilion, opened it up for me, reconfigured it, and once I had the floor built, he helped me set it up. We used the Ixam and Reimancy to do it. I foolishly thought I could make it work, but without his help I wouldn’t be having any place to sleep these days… let alone a nice place.” She said thoughtfully.

The lobster came off the grill and she slide each portion off its skewers and straight onto the bread piling up some greens on it as well. Then each sandwich was topped, the tops brushed with melted butter she’d softened next to the grill, then sprinkled with sea salt. Fruit was piled up in slices and dices of bite sized pieces beside each plate, and she set the two plates on the table … one in front of Alric and one just in case Lys got out of the bath. The sandwiches were thick fresh things, topped with buttery goodness. “I hope you like lobster. We eat it a lot around here … that and crabs and clams.” She added. “And any sort of fresh fish we bring in. It takes a lot of hunting and gathering to keep people fed around here.” Taz said, then leaned a hip against the counter, watching him just before she started cleaning up from her prep and cooking.

“The Gasvik’s unnerve me. But I think I’ll get used to them over time. I can’t see them, not as you do, but I’m glad Lys has someone to protect her. Mathias has Gasviks?” Taz said, shaking her head. That was a new one on her. She’d been there dozens of times and had never seen them. And had never thought to look with ultrasound either. Maybe there were even more creatures in the world that existed which people didn’t know about because they simply weren’t seen by the human eye? The thought occupied Tazrae’s mind for a moment or two, then she nodded.

“Anything that’s mine feel free to use, Alric. Lys too. I know you guys are new here, and once you get settled, you’ll be doing all the things that everyone else does… stake out land, build to suit… find a purpose. But make free use of anything of mine as long as you’d like. Consider it yours too.” She said, meaning that. It had helped, Taz decided, moving out of the Inn, to actually see it as a business… rather than as a lifestyle. Home was home… an Inn wasn’t home. Truth be told, she liked it… and it was familiar to her, and it was good hard honest work. But it wasn’t completely her.

Garden Beach was… and it was more her every day. Alric and Lys could join her there… or she’d help them find their own niche, a home they both could abide by and be happy in. Taz was so glad they were here, but she’d never expect or demand them to be accessories in her life. She wanted them to be what they wanted to be on their own terms with what was hers being a soft landing for them for five minutes, five years…. Forever. As little or as long as they needed it.

Taz didn’t know how to vocalize that… and she wasn’t even sure it was something she needed to say. So instead, she made sure Alric ate, and then turned, surprised, as Lys walked in. Their last meeting hadn’t gone so well. Taz was thankful the girl wouldn’t probably remember it. Meeting her… the Gasvik… all of it had been too much. And like a coward, Taz had fled. She’d been doing more and more of that lately, letting instinct take the reins and emotions control her actions. In some ways, that was so much easier than thinking and thinking through deep seeded feelings. “Hello there.” Taz said, taking Lys’ hug in and returning one of her own.

“There’s some for you on the table.” Taz indicated the second plate with her chin, her arms busy encircling the girl. It was like a second chance at a first meeting, and the girl was much the same in both places at both times. Riding a Wind Eagle thousands of miles seemingly hadn’t changed her much. “Is the room alright? Alric and I thought you might like to stay in it if you like it. I have a pavilion on the beach a short distance from here, but it is fairly primitive and one room leads into another… just one continuous space. You can stay either place, or both if you want.” Taz said softly.

“Regardless… you aren’t here to work. You aren’t here to fight curses. You can help by just being here… by staying safe. You can help by being happy and taking a few breaths...” Taz said softly. She couldn’t help but compare Lys to herself at Lys’ age. By the time Taz had been Lys’ age, she was mostly running the small Inn her family owned in Riverfall. She worked from before sun up to well after sun down to keep things going. Her father, who was really her uncle, was a pleasant facet of that life. But her mother, who hadn’t turned out to be her mother at all, was a tyrant.

Lys would have a different life… that much was for sure. Taz wasn’t sure she’d get a say in things, but if she did, that girl wasn’t going to work as someone’s unpaid labor. She would get an education and have a choice to be whatever she wanted to be or go in whatever direction she was called to go.

“I’ll take you on a tour after you’ve both gotten some rest. I wanted to make sure you both ate first.” Taz said softly.

She took a deep breath then, released the girl, and stepped back. She leaned a hip against the counter and took another long deep breath. The truth was this was the most talking she’d done since the last time she’d visited Alric. She wasn’t used to so many words, so much … interaction.

Lys was a stranger to her and while she looked forward to getting to know her, she needed just as much time as the girl probably needed to get used to the idea of suddenly going from no family to two very important members. And if Lys didn’t want the room, she truly didn’t mind giving up the Pavilion to the pair… or sharing it. There was enough room, certainly.

“When you’ve had enough…. If you haven't… I can make more. But when you guys want to relax… I’ll show you the Pavilion. There’s multiple places to get some good sleep there. We might have to chase an Ixam off the bed, but the little ones aren’t that bossy.” She said, giving them both time to eat.

Then, when they’d finished, Taz would quietly walk them both off the end of the big deck, and along a trail that lead south back to where she was working on the Parkour Course, though towards the beach more, where the pavilion was erected on its wooden deck, with the palapa and tub decks attached. There, she’d give them a rough tour and show Alric where he could stash his new clothing… there was plenty of room in the Mule Chest and the Wardrobe was only half full. Lys could take whatever space Alric didn’t take, if she didn’t want the room, which in and of itself had plenty of storage. Taz made sure she got the package of clothing Dawn had sent with Alrics things, and she’d be there to answer any questions either of them might have.

She was quieter now, with Lys… almost shy. It was as if she had run out of things to say or was really watching what she wanted to say around the girl. If Taz had her choice, the curse would never directly touch Lys, even if that meant keeping her out of town, away from tendays, even isolated until the whole thing got resolved. Taz wasn’t dumb enough to think she could protect Alric from it. He would charge right into the fray, probably as soon as tonight or before dawn tomorrow… and she knew there was little she could do to protect him.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Alric Lysane on May 10th, 2022, 5:48 pm

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If he had been honest with himself before leaving Sunberth, he wasn’t sure what he had expected by way of greeting from Syka in general, or from Tazrae. He had hoped, for so much, but such things seemed trivial compared to what he had actually been treated to. He had not had much time to tour the settlement, but from what he had seen and experienced so far it was a simpler place than Sunberth in many ways, but not in a naïve and foolish way, instead akin to being more wholesome. Curses and magical dangers notwithstanding, he had never truly thought about the simpler things in life beyond mere survival.

His cooking was terrible, anyone would tell him so he was sure, but that was because it was a functional thing – food was fuel and if you ran out of energy on the streets it might be your last venture. Here, watching a gorgeous woman work and dance about her realm, watch the well-practised timing of her craft that had clearly been honed over many seasons, it was something more – it was enjoyable. He found himself smiling softly as she worked, glancing at him every so often as if checking on him, and realising that despite the darkness of the seasons, the fact he was fairly sure that he was largely barrelling forwards from necessity than pure energy, that this was a morning ritual that he could get used to.

“Better than I’ve had since…well the last set that Sunberth wore away at. I hope these last much longer, for once I can wear fancier things and simply…well be me I suppose. I can still feel the slightly tensed shoulders, I keep having to remind myself that things aren’t the same here. Your purple makes your skin…glow more…I’m not sure why, fashion was never my strong point, I usually got by with tattered old things up until recently,” he said with a chuckle, rolling his shoulders slightly, “Lys will love them, of that I am sure. She’ll feel more like a princess than ever, though it is intriguing that this Dawn seems to have a foresight with clothing…I’ll have to keep an eye out, in case Alahean sigils start being sewn into my collar or something” he shook his head, knowing full well that despite Mathias’ humour such things were not going to happen – though he tucked away the knowledge of who was responsible for the making of clothing in Syka.

“Syka seems to pull together more than most places, or at least that’s what those I’ve met have told me. I’m sure you have many times also, and it’s something that I find intriguing. Sunberth can pull together in crisis, but other than that it’s at its own throats. I’m hoping that your…our…Syka can do much the same. Tony and Randal…perhaps when the place is finished you can toast them in celebration for their efforts. Especially given by the sounds of it I might not have anywhere to sleep either. I saw some…shelters along the coast, I think? But the pavilion sounds much nicer, better company for starters. My own is sadly lacking these days” he snorted at himself, it was true even if, perhaps, he didn’t like to acknowledge why – the season had been a difficult one.

He watched as she put the finishing touches to her meals, only two plates he noted and so hoped that she was not losing out on their behalf. It was a neatly put together construction and already the scent of the seafood, mixed in with the butter, salt and fruity tones from the side had set his mouth watering. It truly did smell delicious, but he would wait for Lys, and for it to cool, as he had tried to get into her head – eating together was a good time for bonding he had found, and he couldn’t really tell her so if he didn’t observe his own suggestions whilst he did so. Instead he looked Tazrae up and down affectionately as she crooked a hip against the counter, then as she set about cleaning up, though what mess she saw was lost upon him as the place seemed neater than most places he had ever been, perhaps even all of them.

“I’m sure it’s delicious, it smells…better than anything I’ve eaten. I’ll wait for Lys, we are trying to eat together. That said, perhaps in my spare time I could help haul these things in for the settlement. Jade keeps reminding me that my ancestors, the good ones, were servants first. Feeding others seems a good way to try to see what he is talking about…cryptic beast that he is…but he means well. He watches over me, and Lys….though I suppose she has Nasta now,” he said, pausing as she responded and he nodded slowly, tilting his head and casting his memory back to that night, somewhat regretfully given the other things experienced in that room, but he remembered how he had acted seeing them at first, “I don’t blame you, if anything you’ve reacted better than I did. When I first saw them Vas appeared in the corner of a room, shortly after Croix had made Lys vanish in front of me…jumped over the back of the sofa and the only reason I didn’t turn tail was…well because you don’t run from gods who want to…chat” he leaned his chin against his hand, resting his elbow upon the edge of the counter as he met her gaze and shook his head slightly, “as for Mathias…apparently the priests look after them for the first…centuries…of life. Though I think he wouldn’t mind if I grabbed their attention every so often and give him some rest from them. I can show you what they look like…if you wanted? Perhaps later, if not here”

“Thank you…I have little to give in return…but all that I have, I am, or can do…as you say, all yours. I never had much in the way of possessions, may never gain the knack for it, but if you ever want anything, I will find a way to get it” he said, watching Lys finally appear and set about greeting Taz, deciding that now they were together eating was available and tearing into the meal with an appetite that only the dig tired and fasted for half a day could, “your new place…the plans you sent, if I can help then I will. I can do quite interesting things these days…thanks to you” he said, between bites and swallows.

He watched and listened with some joy, even if he couldn’t smile for eating as Lys and Taz greeted each other before Lys was ushered to her seat to begin eating herself. He did not fail to notice how Lys seemed to listen to Tazrae a lot easier than to himself, a fact which made him roll his eyes internally. He watched Lys pause in her eating, her eyes shifting this way and that in rapid thought, and recognising the look, he swallowed and was ready to head off her train of thought.

“You don’t want me around anymore Alric?” she asked, softly as if something feared had raised its head.

“That isn’t it, Lys, if anything I want you around more…but happy. You deserve your own space, I have been thinking that for some time but never had a way to give it to you…Tazrae has offered that. Look at this place…it’s far better than Sunberth. And you survived the streets there, here…you’re practically an adult in many ways. One day…one day there will be shared homes and magic towers and…whatever else imagination brings our way. But it isn’t fair on you to wake up in a chair when there’s a bed being given to you. And I already know everywhere you hide your ‘secret projects’ in the Outpost…maybe here you can surprise me more”

There was a pause as she stopped eating, thinking it through and eyes flickering between the two of them, before she leaned back with a slight smirk and nodded. He knew that look too, she had used it often when teasing him with the other Associates, but she remained silent and instead nodded and watched them both carefully before beginning to eat once more. Nasta came out of the room Lys had and curled around her neck once more, causing Lys to affectionately scratch at the Gasvik’s chin as she continued to eat.

“Thank you, Tazrae, I’ll have the room then. But if you ever get those plans fixed then I’d like to live…with you…please” she said after a time, picking at her fruit now and ignoring Alric’s raised eyebrow at her sudden flourishing of manners. As she continued to ignore him, he shook his head and muttered something about children and testing of patience.

“Finish your food then,” he said eventually, having already finished his and scratching his chin thoughtfully, his other hand gently stroking Zhyad’s elaborate basket style guard, without even really thinking, as if his fingers were drawn to the weapon of their own accord, “Let’s not keep Tazrae waiting, no doubt she’s worked harder than us today and could use some food and rest herself. She got you new clothes too, you can put them in your room for later fun, get changed into something more suited for this place and we’ll go find some fun…but not too much fun…understand?” he gave her a pointed look.

“Yes…dad” she said, cramming the last of the food into her mouth and grabbing the package before he could get another word and then running off towards the indicated room, leaving him to blink, exchange glances with Tazrae and she smile wryly before laughing.

“I keep telling her not to call me that…it doesn’t seem…right. I think she’s decided for herself and just uses it these days when she wants to surprise me into losing an argument. But…I don’t think she’ll keep her sticky fingers here…she has really been looking forwards to coming. This means a lot to her” he sighed, pushing himself up and coming around the counter to lean against it next to Tazrae with a soft smile.

It wasn’t long before Lys came barrelling out with a long flowing dress on, and sandals to match, Azure in colour and Nasta dancing across her shoulders as she twirled and giggled. Once she was done gushing her thanks at Tazrae for giving her some proper clothes he slipped his arm through Tazrae’s and she led them towards the pavilion and gave the tour. She had been right, it was a simpler place than the Protea, but it was still possessed of a charm and comfort that he had not expected. The Tent City in Sunberth was crude, grubby…but the pavilion on Garden Beach was gloriously luxurious by comparison. He ran his hands over the back of the chair with a portion of wonder, looking at Tazrae for a nod before settling into it with a relaxed sigh. What he wouldn’t give to have her sat in his lap with a good book and a pipe…at least he could fix one of those things, and he set about thumbing tobacco into his pipe and looking around for a flame to light it with, pipe held between his teeth.

“This place is so much fun! Look Alric…a giant…is that an Ixam?” she asked, looking at Tazrae for a nod, “can I go play with them? They won’t bite me will they?” she asked, but once reassured she dashed off to set about trying to get on riding one, her exuberant noises loud enough to carry to the two of them that remained behind in the pavilion proper.

“You wouldn’t happen to know how to control a fifteen year old girl would you?” he asked with a chuckle as he blinked, watching her go, his pipe still not lit for the surprise.

Leaning back into the comfortable chair he pulled the pipe out of his mouth and, with Lys’ dancing exuberance displaced to find some fun elsewhere, he was able to fully take everything in after the tour that had been given. The matching footrest before him notwithstanding, there was an abundance of rich and well-crafted furniture – from the chest, wardrobe and massive bed, carved with vines and of a dark wood he was unfamiliar with, to the weapon’s rack and what looked like a mixed writing and grooming area with a couple of smaller chairs, the pavilion had a well thought out, warm and comforting feel to it. He had noted that the chair had silver stars set in blue, and seemed to be a lighter mirror of the blanket upon the bottom of the bed, showing that thought had been given to its decoration.

“Where did you get all of these things? That rug, by the way, the centrepiece…very pretty. I like the colour, and the animal motif…very at for a jungle realm. And two end tables too…you thought of us being here? Wait…those lanterns have coloured glass? And those down at the…palapa was it? They are the same? Different cultures…the Outpost?” he asked thoughtfully, taking the rest of the space in before looking at her once more, leaning back further and taking a deep breath, trying to feel out the space, “this feels…like home. Comforting…restful…a bit of getting used to with the Ixam perhaps…but I like it. I’m not sure I can contribute much…maybe some interesting pieces of stone and other things…perhaps to help catch and reflect the light? Hmmm, no…no you’ve probably got it as you want it” he grinned, gesturing for her to come closer and unfastening Zhyad from his belt, leaning it against the chair.

“Mathias gave me this, it is a relic of my family…my grandfather. It is asleep, deeply asleep. I was wondering, if you’d seen anything like it, like the thing around the hilt guard, in your explorations? He said its name is Ancient Tongue…means Revealer…take a look if you like. At the very least it’ll look quite elegant upon the rack, no?”



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Alric Lysane
Carry On My Wayward Son
 
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on May 12th, 2022, 5:25 am

“I haven’t lived many places, so I wouldn’t know.” Tazrae said in response to Alric’s comment about Syka pulling together. “I like the community here. I feel like I’m part of something. I’m not trying to fit into something. I’m defining my own space and everyone seems to be fine with that…. or at least I was.” The Innkeeper offered them a sad smile. “I’ve been here during a couple of things that had us all working together. One was a really bad storm where we took shelter for almost two days until it blew over. There was a lot of damage. But we got everyone back into their homes and repairs made quickly.” She said with a smile, reaching up to snag one of her curls and absently pull it straight.

Tazrae finished cooking, fed them both, and took Alric’s compliments both on her cooking and on her dress with deepening of her cheeks into a muted coral color. She was darkly tanned and didn’t actually show embarrassment easily. But he could tell the compliments made her slightly uncomfortable because she just offered him a smile and said nothing in response.

“I didn’t mean to … be weird about the Gasvik. I just… I can see them with sound, but I had no idea they were all around us. Your friend Jade is… well huge. And it’s a bit disconcerting to know something like that is there yet not be able to see him. Does he eat? Should I make him something?” Taz asked suddenly, frowning, not sure about the whole ‘invisible bodyguard’ protocol at all. “Will you ask them for me?!” She said suddenly, not liking the thought she was being inadvertently rude to someone when she wasn’t that sort at all.

Jade had already told Alric privately that the Gasvik saw to their own needs, hunting wild and eating raw. And that they fed also on the djed of the world, so between the two things could look out for themselves quite nicely.

Taz smiled. “I can imagine. I don’t know what I would have done if someone made another person I cared about disappear but didn’t want me to seemingly react to it. That’s just playing dirty.” She commented, furrowing her brow as if she tried to put herself in his place.

“Does that mean you are going to be a priest of Xhyvas?” Tazrae asked, curious, for she truthfully knew little of that whole religion. “I mean… you said priests look after them. Then why in the world can you and Lys see them when the rest of us can’t?” The woman said, curiously. It had puzzled her from the beginning, but there hadn’t been much time to explain anything at all.

“I wasn’t offering a trade.” She said firmly, her lips tightening in a frown for a moment. “This is Syka. In Syka, we share what we have. We all do. You’ll get these same kinds of offers from everyone, not just me. If there’s extras of anything, it gets passed around. You’ll see me make more than I need to consistently because people will drop by and need fed. I mean, this season is different because people aren’t remembering, but when things get back to normal, you’ll know what I mean.” She explained, then nodded.

“It’s a given to me, Alric. We share. You share. I share. We’ve always shared. I don’t want that to change. But you can’t slide into my boring Innkeeper’s life. You’d never be happy. This … this curse… these curses… won’t last forever. Once they are gone, then what? You’ll need to decide what sort of life here you want, and start living it. And maybe it will be the easiest transition in the world, and maybe it won’t be. You might head straight back to Sunberth after just a few days with us. I don’t know.” If that happened, she’d be utterly wrecked, but his happiness was more important than hers.

All she could do was wait and watch and see what time unrolled for them.

“I do know you need to chase your own dreams. My world is big enough to accommodate you… it’s been doing so since we first met. But you won’t be happy in my life. I know you and I know that. You’ll need your own drives and passions.” Taz affirmed. “Syka will just give you some time to decide what those are going to be.” She told him, firm on it.

“The same goes with Lys. She’s got plenty of time to grow into something… and there’s lots of things to do around here until then. And hopefully there will be some people her age eventually to give her someone to get into trouble with… and make friends with.” She added, worried for the girl, but then unsure of the status of her friendships in Sunberth to begin with. Maybe all she had was Alric, and if that was the case, this wouldn’t be that big of an adjustment.

When Lys started in about living at the Inn verses the Pavilion, Taz halted her in her tracks. “Lys. Listen to me. If you aren’t happy with a room of your own here at the Inn, we’ll march over to the Outpost, buy another section to the Pavilion, and give you your own room there. I’ll build the decking myself and get Tony to help me figure out how to add a new room to the Pavilion. This solution isn’t forever. It’s a ‘try it and see’ type thing and we’ll make adjustments from there.” She added, knowing it wasn’t just an adjustment for Lys, but one for all three of them. As far as she knew, Alric and Lys had been living together just fine and had adapted to each other. But what happened when a third wheel joined them?

“The truth is I wasn’t sure I’d ever see either of you here and I built that place for me. It’s all about my comfort and pampering… that sounds so selfish saying it… but its not built for privacy at all. It’s built for being open to the world, for the Ixam and other animals to come and go, and its not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. My dog doesn’t even like it… and avoids it like the plague. He’s probably even now over at Randal’s because he likes his view and being up in that stupid lofted Cabana better than he likes his own porch, especially when its hot.” Taz said, glancing around and not seeing Creature. The pair had yet to meet Creech, but that would change probably around dinner time if either of them were awake.

“Bottom line is… you will be happy. We just have to figure out what the best ‘happy’ is for you. And I’d start with the Inn because it offers the most comfort.” Taz replied, highlighting why she’d suggested Lys take a room. “Plus, it has baths.” Sure… she hadn’t told Lys about the shower nor the fact that the Pavilion had a bath situation too… but she needed her third element to make that particular situation work without a cistern. And thus far, she hadn’t rigged one up.

“And yes, you can have a room at the house, when its built. We just need to get through this season first. Houses cost cold hard coin, and I don’t have a lot of that recently because I’ve been spending it like crazy. But business is good and the house will happen. You can help us decorate.” Taz promised, certain that was just a season or two away at any rate.

“Stealing might be a comfort to her. If I find anything missing, I’ll just check her room for it if its something I can’t do without. Otherwise, she’s welcome to anything I have. Meanwhile it might not hurt for her to finally have some nice things for herself. I’ll see what I can do about that.” Taz promised, not sure what it would take, but a decent wardrobe was a good start. “And maybe there’s something she’d like to learn. I can teach her to cook, because we both know you can’t.” Taz said with a teasing grin as they both turned to admire Lys in her new dress and sandals.

Taz didn’t bother with footwear for the trip between the Protea and the Pavilion. She didn’t even grab her backpack. She just linked her fingers with Alric and smiled indulgently at Lys as the girl showed an interest in the Ixam. “They are Jungle Ixam… we use them here for mounts… or we are at least starting too. Sure, go say hello. Stay away from the big scarlet male, but the bright yellow one is friendly and so are all the blues and greens. There’s an indigo one that’s young and friendly too… she likes scratches. And the violet male is sweet too. ” Taz said, glancing around for Bree. She hadn’t seen much of the Ixam at all, and wondered if the sentient female had been off laying eggs.

Taz was dealing with that too.

The mortality rate among the Ixam’s eggs was as high as a clutch of snake eggs… almost 90% as far as she could tell. So when she found one, she often brought it back to the area around the Pavilion and renested it to keep an eye on it so when the hatchings started breaking shells, she’d be around to watch over them and see if she couldn’t increase the Ixam population for the Settlement. Her dozen or so, mostly tame though some wild had started joining the tame ones on the garden beach, didn’t make an impact and wouldn’t provide mounts for the entire settlement.

But it was just another longevity project Taz was working on to help improve things for the Settlers. If they had cart animals, riding animals, and creatures that could help them in their foraging, Taz was all for it. And the Ixam generally liked people… they liked doing things, being useful and enjoyed being needed. It was a win-win for both parties… especially if Taz could keep some eggs hatching and some hatchlings alive.

“I know nothing about fifteen-year-old girls. I don’t even think I ever was one.” Taz said in all sincerity. “But it looks like you are doing a fine job of it already.” She added. “She really loves you.” Taz whispered, lowering her voice in case Lys overheard them talking about her.

“Some of these things here… I set up for two. But most of it is just set up for one. I’m sorry… we can add more furniture… two chairs… no three.” She said, not considering Alric was more than willing to make room for her on his lap. The thought hadn’t crossed her mind, though she would enjoy that if she were ever invited. “I should get an indoor firepit too for in here because we don’t have a fireplace. We don’t need it to keep warm, but it would do wonders for keeping the damp out.” She added.

“It’s not very private, at all, other than we are surrounded by jungle and no one would likely be wandering by. If Lys stays here, there won’t be any privacy for either of us… not for her and not for us.” Taz said, but then decided she only minded a little. “I mean it… I’ll add on for her. The Drykas build these things to expand out as their family gets larger. It won’t be a problem.” Taz added, shaking her head.

“I got all this at the Outpost. I shouldn’t have spent the coin, but I needed… something. I bought the rug first. I got it after I visited you that day… when I had to go back for the letter. That first time I met Lys.” She started to explain then broke off, not knowing if he would remember or not. “I was upset, and sat outside for a long time… most of the day… then spent most of the night shopping. I got all of this that night. It took Lars three days to pack it through the Dovecote for me with the Ashta. I wasn’t planning on going back to the apartment.” Taz admitted to him, clarifying.

“… not after the letter. It was so hard, those visits… I needed them so badly but I hurt so much afterward. It… they weren’t healthy for me.” She finally said, not sure he’d understand. The truth was, she didn’t know how much of him knew her even now. And if she dropped out of his sight, would they have to start all over again? Taz recognized that Alric was taking a whole lot on blind faith and half-glimpsed memories from his Lykata. The man was truly crazy… or just maybe… just maybe he loved her as much as she loved him even if he couldn’t remember all of it.

“It’s all from the Outpost. I just picked out what I liked… most of the glass is Benshira. Naadiya would approve. The rug is Benshira too… but the heavy wooden furniture is not. Everything they do they can break down and move. This stuff literally takes elephants.” She said with a little smile. “I’ve not been living here long. My tent before was cramped, crowded, and not what I deserved. I mean it that you are very welcome here. It’s so new that its not even really my place yet. There’s still time for it to be our place… for as long as we need it.” She suggested.

Taz didn’t know how to convey her feelings on it to him. He was a surprise to her, showing up out of the blue, and one that she was utterly happy with. But she didn’t want him to feel like he had to live with her and accept or fit himself into her life. Taz was more than willing for ‘her’ to turn to ‘they’ and him rearrange things so it could be ‘theirs’ and not just ‘hers’ with him sharing it. There were certain things that would never be his…. Her kitchen at the Protea, certainly, would never be anyone else’s kitchen but hers. And hopefully in the future there would be those kind of places for him as well. But everything else… she didn’t mind moving over, making room, changing things so that their little family was comfortable.

She was just so grateful he was here. And she had no way to express that gratitude.

When he held up the broadsword, she suddenly noticed that it was different than the one he’d carried before. She moved to him. “I don’t know much about weapons.” She admitted, then looked closer at the hilt guard and smiled. “But I do know what that is. It’s a Velispar… an Earth one unless I am mistaken. I do know about them if you’d like to hear.” She offered, then took the broadsword gently from his hands, surprised at its weight, and laid it across the top of the weapons rack at the pinnacle spot.

“The weapon’s rack was something I got for you. It matched the rest of the furniture and was something of a fancy… “ She said, turning back to him to fish another one of his weapon’s out of its hiding spot and hang it on the rack. She’d noted the amount he’d piled on the pile at the shower and began to carefully divest him of the gear, picking one of his more lethal looking melee weapons – relieving him of it – and slipping it under one of the pillows on the bed. She took her time, smiling as she did so, and tugged one of his boots off and then the other, disarming their weapon’s cache as well.

“We have no doors and no real walls here, Alric. Never shove your feet into your boots without upending them first and giving them a good shake. Promise me, you won’t forget to do that. One bite, and it could be all over for you. Pit vipers love boots… dark warm smelly places. So does just about anything else that crawls. Boots attract snakes like flies.” She said told him, storing his boots on the rack, upside down so the tops where hanging towards the floor. She let him smoke the pipe for a while, enjoying its smell, before she turned back the covers and smoothed out the sheets.

“Its not late. But you need some rest. Don’t stab anything that you wake up next to, especially if it has scales. Some of the really little Ixam like to pile on the bed. They are this season’s hatchlings and have no personal boundaries. Your knife will probably bounce off the bigger one’s scales if they startled you. They often loom over me in the morning, waiting for me to wake up and join them… especially just before light.” She added. “I’ll keep an eye on Lys the rest of the day and make sure she gets some rest too. The Ixam will finish exhausting her, I’ll lay even odds on it and she’ll be more than ready for a second bath then bed.” Taz said, sliding into the bed herself and leaning back against the headboard waiting for him to join her.

“And I’ll stay with you until you fall asleep and you can ask me anything you want and I’ll tell you…. bardic style.” She said with a smile, knowing in the softness of that particular monstrous bed, Alric wouldn’t last long. “I know you have a million questions. Do you want to start with them or do you want me to tell you about the Velispar?” She said, hoping he’d put his head on her thigh or something, so she could run her fingers through his hair and just enjoy him being there with her for a time before he drifted off.

“I’ll bring you some dinner or you can come up to the Inn if you are awake tonight. But it would be better if you slept through and woke fresh in the morning. If I’m around, I’ll make sure you are fed. But remember, the Inn always has food so just head there if you get hungry.” She added crooking her finger in invitation, beckoning him towards the bed.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Alric Lysane on May 12th, 2022, 8:00 pm

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“Gasvik don’t require any food, they look after themselves. Feeding upon Djed and having fun with their own hunts. Jade isn’t always around me, I think if he were then he might be driven mad. He watches over me, us now I suppose, and I make few demands upon him. He was alive for the Valterrian as I understand it, he doesn’t tell me much though. I think he wants to make sure I deserve knowing whatever he might know,” he mused aloud softly, “as for playing dirty…well gods are gods. All we can do is survive them, work together where we can, and learn from their tricks. Perhaps, one day, I will get to play a trick upon the trickster…I think Ionu might laugh at that, to be honest” he said, a slow smile spreading across his lips at the thought.

“I don’t think so, if Xyvas wanted to mark me then he’d have done it when we met the first time I’d think. No, he deals in possibilities, potential futures as I understand it. If anything, I am a…I don’t know…catalyst? Though I loathe to think I am that important. Still, who I am and the web of those around me…I think he would probably prefer to see me as a piece upon the board, just not his piece. Who can read the minds of the gods though…perhaps one day I will take over from Mathias with the Gasvik. I don’t think that far ahead, as I’m sure you know already. I’ll be happy if we can survive the rest of this season, get things back to normal and then see…as you say…where I fit in. We can see them, apparently, because we are both Nymkarta. On that I can only trust that Ionu and Xhyvas were being honest”

“This…is Jade,” he said, wriggling his fingers and slowly and image of the Gasvik rippled into being, “and this is Nasta,” another wriggle and the younger Gasvik was there, floating in the air, “so you know what they look like. These are the two that are around us specifically, the others seem to be with Mathias. I do know one thing though, I’m not going anywhere. I told you, I made my choice. I didn’t have to come here. We didn’t. Whatever happens…happens…but we are here now, and that isn’t changing” he said firmly, and honestly. When she had had her fill of looking them over he'd make them vanish.

He did little but watch as Tazrae and Lys conversed with each other, the woman finding words to explain the situation far better than he did and he was thankful for it. He had little experience with youths beyond teaching them to steal and survive. Such things were useful, but only for a baseline level of life he now knew. The foundations, perhaps. What was constructed on top of that he had less knowledge about cultivating, though Tazrae seemed to have an instinct about it. He found himself nodding along, exchanging glances with Lys as if she was seeking reassurance, and grinning behind the hands that propped up his chin thoughtfully. Watching them both he fancied that despite Tazrae still not sure they would stick around, Mathias had been right – he had made the right decision bringing Lys to Syka. Even if, for whatever reason, things fell apart between the adults, she would still have a role model that she could be proud of, rather than a had-been thief now dogged by divines and mad pre-Valterrian monsters.

The fact that she seemed to accept that Lys’ life had been difficult, and the adjustment would take some time was enough for him to know that things would turn out alright in the end. He had never been good with emotion, either supressing it or exploding, and his gifts had never been for the psychological. Being an innkeeper by trade had clearly created somewhat the reverse in the woman he loved, even if many of the memories behind that love were not yet available to him, and it was a relief to know that what he lacked in could be given to Lys by Tazrae instead. He said nothing about the house, or the arrangements with the tent, he fancied that Lys would be happy with the Inn room for now and there was no time frame for a shared space, and he wasn’t about to push – it was enough she was sharing all that she had with them and he would remind Lys of that, if it became necessary to do so.

The trip to the pavilion was leisurely, even if Lys danced and ran about at every little curiosity and made it a longer one than it needed to be. It was taken slowly and in good grace though, his fingers entwined with Tazrae’s and his eyes taking in the scenery, memorising what facts were shared about the things along the way in case they lingered, and enjoying the play f sea winds upon his skin, Syna’s rays still strong if somewhat waned, the scent of the sea filling their nostrils as sand crunched beneath their feet. Once there Lys was predictably quick to rush off after the Ixam and start trying to ride one, he could see she was heading towards the bright yellow one – the friendly one – as if there were no cares upon her shoulders. He hadn’t seen her like that in some time and it warmed his heart. Retiring to the chair for discussion, and finally finding a light for his pipe so that he could begin puffing away thoughtfully, he could see himself there, and not just because it was with Tazrae, but because it possessed just the right amount of necessities and creature comforts he needed, whilst being possessed of a charm from its impermanence. It was a refreshing change from a city wall, even if it felt…odd to him.

“Sometimes I wonder if she loves me because I am the only one, or because she truly does,” he said with slight sadness, matching her low tone, “I’m not blind, I know that she didn’t have many options. We’ve known each other for years, always finding each other in the end…but I want her to be part of my family not because a god reveals we are related by blood…but because she wants to be. I hope…I hope that that is why she loves me. And will love you too, I think, you are good with her already despite what you say. If she decides she wants to stay here, then we will cross that bridge. But I think she will like having walls, such as they are. The rest we can sort out, another day, for now let’s just breathe and relax a while” he suggested softly, smoke curling around his features as he nibble the stem of his pipe, his gaze following her.

“What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is yours. Don’t worry about coin. It will take care of itself, and you’ll be able to do all that you want with it. I’m not even sure what I’ll do with mine, I’ve never had this much. Apparently looking after Lys has forced me to think about such things. The earning of it at least, not mastered the art of spending it yet, but what’s the point of earning it if you can’t spend it?” he grinned around his pipe.

Listening to her explain her feelings and why she never returned his features softened slightly. He didn’t remember, her curse meant that was the case, but the way her features shadowed and her body language told him that it weighed upon her, her tone of voice falling slightly more towards the melancholy. He said nothing until she was finished, then spent some time turning the words over in his head, accompanied by Lys’ playful squeals in the background, which seemed a distractingly odd juxtaposition. He watched her carefully, meeting her gaze and finally speaking softly, gently.

“This season has been a burden upon all of us,” he began thoughtfully, raking his fingers back through his hair as his gaze turned towards the middle distance, “everyone here has suffered more than I can imagine…and the curses have reached out to touch me also. Everyone I’ve met I’ve tried to help, but I’ve been largely helpless. There are only so many words you can say before what you say becomes…background noise. For all that I am, I was unable to do anything else, and it made me realise that I am not that important, whatever the gods tell me”

“And I forgot you, the most important thing in my life as far as I’ve been able to come to realise. I don’t remember everything, but I do know that I am terrible at expressing myself, and didn’t tell you how I fully felt before this season began. I suppose I thought I’d always have the chance, which wasn’t true, after a fashion. When I do recover my memory I suspect that this season will feel like I had had my heart ripped out. Which might even beat the Xyvas visions for painful, and that is saying something. I don’t blame you for anything, and you don’t need to explain anything…I understand” he ended simply, meeting her eyes once more briefly before his face became clouded with smoke once more.

“Alriiiiiiiic….catch! Found it! Lok it has your glowy eyes!” Lys shouted, this time from atop the back of the yellow Ixam as it skittered across the front of the raised area, a flashing through the air catching his attention and his hand shooting out to catch it before it hit the ground, Lys vanishing as quickly as she had appeared with delighted laughter. Turning it over he found it to be a gold bracelet, a serpent that curled around twice, with emerald gems for eyes that made him snort at the synchronicity that Lys would be the one to find it. Shifting it he found that there was already…a charm was it…upon it, in the shape of a four leafed clover. Eyeing Tazrae he slipped it unto his left forearm and to his surprise it seemed to fit perfectly. She shook the harm so it shone in the light of the lanterns a bit before letting his arm fall with a laugh at the strange intervention.

“Treasure already? See, told you that miza would take care of itself” he leaned back once more and Tazrae came over to inspect Zhyad, then taking it she placed it upon the weapon’s rack and explained that she had gotten it for him. She slowly started to divest him of his weapons, and if anything was ever going to tell him that she knew every detail about him it was how she pulled all of them out – not missing a single one of the many concealed he carried – and placed all but one upon the rack, the one going underneath his pillow, which made him smile at how she considered who he was, and how he had lived. He listened to her talk about snakes and nodded, slowly finishing up the last of his pipe and setting it aside upon the table, there to cool and take its place as ‘its spot’ for now.

“I’ll not stab anything that doesn’t deserve it, you have my word. Despite all of the things you’ve just put away…I don’t like raising a weapon unless there is no choice. Death is final, everything before is open to changing, turning it around. People deserve chances, even if it’s only a few,” he said as he watched her shift to the bed and looked more beautiful than ever, “and you knew all of them too. It does feel nice to be known, and looked after. No one bothered before you did” he said, pushing himself up and then moving to the bed, there to settle into its comfortable embrace, his head propped up by her leg.

“She has more energy than you think, she wakes me up in the morning the same way your Ixam do. I don’t remember having that much energy. Then again, I don’t remember much as you know,” he sighed, stroking her cheek, “no questions now…later. Tell me of the Velispar. It’s my father’s family symbol so I should know something of them. Mathias knew some, but not much and nothing of my family beyond the fact they built old cities apparently. Oh! The map…I need to keep it safe. I’ll show it to you when you like, but it shows…all of the living Nymkarta. I can’t…let it get taken…too dangerous” he said between a yan, growing lethargic all of a sudden but forcing the tiredness back, all the longer to spend like this, in the best moments he could remember.



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Alric Lysane
Carry On My Wayward Son
 
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The River & The Highway [Tazrae]

Postby Tazrae on May 18th, 2022, 6:19 am

Just as she warned him not to stab anything with scales, a red-scaled body emerged from the thick jungle, larger than most of the other creatures Lys had been frolicking with. It cleared its nose with a snort, drank in the scents around it, and stared Tazrae down. She turned and looked at the Ixam for a moment then put her attention back on Alric as the creature circled around the bath deck and out into the sand before the Pavilion. It settled to one side, stretching out, resting its snout on its forepaws. Its tail flicked back and forth and it simply watched Tazrae and Alric, its gaze never wavering from the duo as if seeking to understand something. Tazrae left the big scarlet male alone, not acknowledging he was there or seemingly being upset by it.

“He’s the leader of the lounge around here. And I think his lounge is ranked above the others because the other Ixam defer to those members. The gold I sometimes call Sunny that Lys was playing on is one of his females.” She explained quietly to Alric. “He thinks I am one of his lounge as well.” The Innkeeper said softly, a smile playing across her lips.

They were her friends… probably her only true ones right now. Even in the morning, Alric would be a stranger again for a time, until he could remember a bit with his gnosis and his journal. But the Ixam would know her and accept her immediately... a precious thing to her. And for that, she’d stand by their side. The male was likely guarding her, watchful of the stranger with her. She couldn’t find it in her heart to be remotely disturbed by his behavior. One day it might save their lives.

Tazrae let herself relax. She had so much work to do still and odds were she wouldn’t remain here throughout the night. Alric would find out soon enough how restless she could be, deciding to go check lobster traps, or take a walk through the Garden Beach until the sun chased the stars out of the sky and it was morning. She was often up at the Inn well before light baking and finishing off things like the yogurt if she had plans to feed that to the guests for breakfast. Her down times were now… and she caught most of her sleep in the early evening. And even then, often that was traded in for reading.

Since she’d discovered Reclaimed Knowledge, she always had the odd borrowed book laying around. Her current favorite was on botany of the jungle, something she was very much interested in though a lot of the text talked about compounds and things she didn’t understand. Chemistry, Talia had claimed, but Taz was sloshing through the book anyhow, taking her own notes on jungle plants and ignoring the technicalities in favor the broader picture.

Having company was a rarity, unless she was with the Ixam or off visiting someone else. Alric’s presence in her home was such an alien feeling to her. It was welcome, so very welcome, but so very strange as well. The bed was huge, a true indulgence, and even as Alric slipped into the bed beside her, Taz saw suddenly how much more room there was too it. She reached out and ran her fingers into his hair, marveling that he’d let her so easily. She closed her eyes as he reached up and stroked her cheek. She knew he was tired and wouldn’t last much, but it was rare she got to tell a tale bardic style.

“Your map sounds amazing, Alric. I actually had one given to me as well, though it doesn’t sound nearly as interesting as something that tracks all the Nymkarta alive. We can find some safe place for it, I’m sure. You can show me in the morning and we can decide where to put it. I carry mine with me.” She said, not elaborating on the nature of her map overly much. “It’s just a map of Syka and the Maw region… it will track up to ten people at a time…. ten of my choosing. I bet they are both Osere Maps.” The woman added, stroking his hair again, letting the locks slide through her fingers. He had no silver in his temples yet, nothing but laugh and frown lines on his face. They were still young, so young, to be living old lives.

Then she traced circles on his forehead, looking down on him, and offered him a soft smile.

“In days of old, long before the Valterrian… a pair of twins lived. They were born of the Goddess of Thieves who was in turn born of The Goddess of Winter. While they were not exactly gods and goddesses themselves, they had power immeasurable and sharp minds to match it. The brother grew to age and eventually settled in a place in Kalea called Ironrock. It was a great stone fortress up in the high mountains of Kalea. Marcus, you see, had a fondness for heights and lofty places. It was there he created the Kelvic Race, experimenting on melding an off-world life form he’d discovered he could mingle with human and animal essences to create something that was both and neither. His sister, Myrna settled here. She founded a great city of learning. It was a place for gathering knowledge and something called science. She traveled extensively, but not to distant places around the world. Instead, she traveled to distant worlds through a gate that bridged worlds. It’s still here. And it still functions.” She told him in her melodic voice, a tone meant to entertain and sooth all at the same time.

“In those days the world was full of wonder. And there were great creatures of all types. But one of the things the Gods were careful to do was maintain balance in all things… including creatures. So for every wonderful thing about them, there was dark and frightening things as well.” She explained, running her fingers back through his hair, loving the scent of him, even the evenness of his breathing as they watched each other in the late afternoon light. It wasn’t dark, not by a long shot, and Taz knew a beautiful sunset was in order. But she suspected Alric wouldn’t be awake for it, not this one at least. Maybe the next.

"Marcus came across a nest of Velispar eggs. They clutch like the Ixam do. An egg here an egg there… a batch here, a batch there, then completely abandoned left to fend for themselves. He knew that they were dangerous, for when the eggs hatched the young were voracious feeders and would kill everything in sight and eat it, even each other, for decades after their births. But he walked out among those eggs he discovered and ran his hands across each one, until he came to a pair of eggs in particular. They looked no different than the rest, had no mottling or blemishes to call attention to them. There was just something about them… an energy that spoke to him. So he carefully harvested them, pulling them from the nest and taking them back to Ironrock. There he swaddled them safe in the warmth of the innards of his fortress and went back to the clutch of eggs. There, he and his men smashed the rest of them, killing them before they could hatch and wreck havoc on the countryside." She said quietly.

"In time, his pair of eggs hatched. One male and one female. He kept them fed and calm and they never developed the mindless constant hunger that these creatures do in the wild. And when they were old enough and strong enough to travel, he decided to keep the female for himself and for Ironrock and he gifted the male to his twin sister here at Pavena. He traveled with the male, whose name was Asal’Nav, to Myrna’s side and made a gift of the hatchling, whom at that point was Bree’s size. Asal’Nav was an Earth Velispar, like his sister, wingless and bound to the ground. But no walls could hold him. No stone could bind him. Iron couldn’t confine him. The Earth Velispar are one with such substances and can pass through them like we pass through tall grass. But he was raised in love, so while he was young and mindless, he knew only kindness and affection and was treated as well as anyone could ever be expected to be treated. For Myrna and Marcus had a purpose for the clutchmates. A higher purpose, Alric. They raised Asal’Nav and his sister Tres’Kas to be the Keepers of Memory for Pavena and Ironrock.” She said softly.

“For you see… Velispar absorb the personality and memories of those creatures they consume. And the more sentient life they devour, the more intelligent they grow. They know all that the creature they consumed know. And very quickly, they get keen intelligence and know how to do the things that intelligent people could do… including magic, engineering, mathematics, critical thinking, philosophy, all of it. And they live thousands of years… and grow enormous in size. Asal’Nav survived to grow to become Pavena’s Keeper of Memories and one of her guardians. He has a fierce love of their kind. So when one of them died, the body freshly dead was given to Asal’Nav and he would consume it. Then he would become that dead, at least in part, and that allowed family to visit wit them, ask advice, and know that Asal’Nav long remembered what everyone else forgot in that capacity.” Taz added.

“And even if Velispar fight Velispar and one falls, the other will always consume it. It’s knowledge becomes merged with the knowledge of the victor and even more power is condensed.” She added. “Asal’Nav is still alive. He survived the Valterrian. He knows what the Pavena folks know because he is the keeper of them all. And I mean to go meet him and ask him to do the same for Syka. I want to welcome him to the settlement and ask him to visit so we might come to know him as Pavena knew him.” She added, smiling. “Then, when any of us die, we will never ever be forgotten.” She said in almost a whisper.

“He has sisters of earth, air, and fire as well… There may yet be another type, but the texts were unsure. Ether, they called it. His brothers of air have wings, and his brothers of fire.” She added, smiling to herself. “The Verusk are hybrids, born of one human parent and one Velispar parent. Evidently most of them shapeshift. If you haven’t met one yet, you will. They are people with scales, but not Dhani… they are truly lovely.” Tas said softly. “That means they walk among us looking like us and we’d never know it. Creatures thousands of years old, Alric… immeasurably wise and knowledgeable. They have hundreds of thousands of lifetimes to draw on where we get only one. Mathias says even the Gods are afraid of them.” She added, running her fingers down into his hair one more time.

“I can’t wait to meet him.” She said with a long slow mysterious smile. “Talia says… the Ixam look a lot like the Velispar, and that Pavena might be responsible for creating them. Wouldn’t that be something? We might be looking out on a beach Ixam playing and see the past and future meeting. What do you think about all that?” She asked, curious.

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"A mark of an open mind is being more committed to your curiosity than your conviction.
The goal of learning is not to shield old views against new facts, but to revise old views with new facts. Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend. "


Garden Beach Syka The Protea Inn

"Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows."
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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1055
Words: 1501129
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
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