Closed Just a scratch (Naadiya)

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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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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on April 28th, 2022, 4:16 pm

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67th of Spring, 522 AV

D’Varrus began that morning as he had most since arriving in Syka. Shaving, using his reflection of the sea as a guide. It wasn’t the sort of habit that he had developed on his own, rather it had been one forced on him from a young age to the point that now if he went just a day without, he found the stubble annoyingly unbearable. Now of course that had all been taken care of by his handlers in the past, so his own efforts left much to be desired. If he wasn’t accidentally knicking himself, he was taking too long which was equally frustrating for the kelvic that just wanted to get on with his day.

When it looked like he had gotten every scrap of stubble off of his face, D’Varrus put his razor away before going back inside to get dressed. He was still wearing the brown woolen garments he had salvaged from what had been left of the sloop he had come in on. That was something he intended to change today though, because while these garments served their purpose well enough, they weren’t very comfortable in the heat that radiated in steamy waves off of the jungle, especially after the sun really climbed up in the sky. He remembered Matthias mentioned something about a sort of fabric they used here that he might find more appealing, and since he was going to start having to be a lot more active during the day now, he figured naturally that it was best to get this sorted as soon as possible.

Before he left his Overwater Rancho he grabbed his backpack, and from under his bed spread he doled out a handful of coins that he stashed in his trouser pocket before he got going down the beach towards where he knew the commons were. It was not a particularly long walk, and because of his boots he was saved from the sting of the white hot sand, however it didn’t take him long to work up a seat all over as D’Varrus found himself hoping for the gentlest of breezes to blow on by.

An while he was not so fortunate, he did manage to find a little respite by taking off his shoes and walking in the surf, letting it lap as far up as the ends of his trousers which he found he cared less and less about the closer he got to getting a fresh set of clothes. He thought about going for a little swim, maybe later but for now he had to keep on task if he was going to get done what he wanted to before midday. That was usually when he went back to the Rancho for a long nap until it became evening when more comfortable to roam about as a jaguar without the day blinding him.

Eventually he had to put back on his boots to walk across the sand to the Tropical Fever Fashions, but it was not a long walk for him to come inside of the shop where he at once noticed two women, one looking much older than the other.

“Hello, I’m looking for some new clothes. I need something for the jungle and something I can wear around the settlement.” D’Varrus said slowly, making sure that he pronounced every syllable while alternating between looking both women in the eye before settling on the older woman whom he assumed was in charge.

“Say, I don’t recognize you, but I heard they rescued a kelvic the other night. You must be him. Pleasure to meet you, my name is Dawn.” Dawn said with a slight smile, walking around to greet him near the front of the shop. “Well you’ve certainly come to the right place to get outfitted. Do you have a particular color preference, or style?”

D’Varrus took her hand after a moment, needing to think it over briefly but old training was hard to break. “Yes, Matthias found me. I’m staying over by the Overwater Ranchos now. My name is D’Varrus Tomva.” He said, looking briefly away from Dawn to the other woman with long dark hair before looking back at Dawn again. “So long as its functional, and keeps me comfortable in this heat it can look like whatever you want it to.” D’Varrus punctuated his words with a shrug before casting a glance around the shop.

“Okay, well let me just get your measurements and my friend Naadiya here can help you with the rest. Usually I would love to help get you fitted, but I’ve developed a reaction to the fabric here and.. Oh no, its nothing you need to worry about. Its something particular too me, and I’m hoping we’re close to a solution soon. Anyways I’m rambling, let me go get the cord to measure you out.” Dawn said before she started walking across the shop.

D’Varrus turned towards the woman with long dark hair that Dawn had named Naaidya. “Hello, I take it you are Naadiya, or was she referring to someone else?” He asked, tilting his head slightly as he looked beyond her to the racks of clothes that adorned the shop’s walls in a colorful array of colors. “What do you think would suit me?”

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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby Naadiya on April 29th, 2022, 7:24 pm

Leaving the inn, Naadiya carried an unusual bundle for her. The bag slung over her shoulder held nothing but cotton. Spun and woven, the fabric lacked the hand feel and weightlessness of the isuas she had become so used to carrying. But Dawn’s affliction had affected her business as well her well being, and the woman wasn’t going to sit around all season just suffering helplessly.

She had maneuvered the waves of the Riverfall clothing market better than most and after moving to the secluded Syka, continued to thrive in her field having a customer base not only locally but back in Riverfall as well. This malignant allergy she’d developed to one of her favorite materials was a huge inconvenience, yes. But Isuas had not always been in her life and she had still done well in spite of it.

Slowly, she had convinced Tony to increase his imports of cotton, buying it whether it was raw, spun or already woven. Dawn hadn’t only had to deal with starting a whole new wardrobe for herself, it was so much more than that. She needed new clothes of course, nudity was all well and good but you could hardly consider yourself an authority on fashion and not dress the part. But she had also needed new bed linens, curtains, towels, even cleaning cloths! And then, after having already started planning for her shift in the ‘fabric of her life’, she realized that if she wanted to spend any time near her husband in public, Dawn would have to make the same wardrobe changes for him.

It had been an undertaking surprisingly hard considering how much the entire settlement came to rely on their local cash crop. To not lose money in his traders, Tony kept the cotton flowing in slowly, and it became even slower the couple of times he had only been able to get raw cotton that hadn’t been spun in such short notice. But slowly they were starting to take back control of their lives, not letting the recent curse keep them on their knees.

The Tropical Fever Fashions boutique had a whole new and hopefully temporary layout. Most of the isuas garments had been relegated to the outer rims of the store with the center, now being more manageable for Dawn to walk through without her rash sprouting up again.

Her boss wore one of her newer cotton garments. It looked like she had tried to dye it as bright of a blue as she could, but the fabric simply did not grip the dye the way isuas had. It took more dye and often the shade ended up looking darker instead of more vibrant. But it gave her no allergic reaction and that was more than enough to be thankful for.

Naadiya walked in and greeted Dawn, who seemed to be in high spirits. Slipping the bag off her shoulder, Naadiya held it up by its strap and shook it with a smile.

“I think we can start on Tony’s lot! This should be enough cotton to get that going. I’ve been getting that new girl, Lexi to help spin the yarn and she’s actually not so bad at it, I got more woven this time than the last time we got raw cotton.”

Dawn went straight for the bag. She had long since stopped raising any complaints about the fabric quality, knowing the tenuous relationship between herself and her only employee was already fractured. Looking through the bag, she gave pleased sounds and nodded, but it was mostly for Naadiya’s benefit, she just enjoyed actually getting to feel the fabric at this stage.

“Tony can wait… I need a bed I can actually sleep in with sheets that are not scratchy or heat-traps. This one is going to be perfect,” she said, bringing up a length of white fabric up to her cheek and rubbing it gently. “Besides, now whenever Tony comes home I just have him get completely naked and he’s had no problem with it. He even said it felt refreshing. Thankfully it’s Spring.”

A customer was coming in and immediately Dawn changed her tone, straightened her back and smiled at the newcomer. She let go of the fabric and made her way to the man, Naadiya grabbed the falling fabric before the rest spilled out of the bag and went to put the sack away in the back room.

When she came back to front, Dawn had taken a fabric tape measure about the length of an arm span, and jotted down several notes in a small journal she kept for just that. The man turned and spoke to her and Naadiya confirmed that she was who was looking for.

“If you are going to want to go into the jungle, and most likely, you will need to at some point, there are a few basics you’ll want. Durable pants with pockets, good pockets. Boots that are a really good fit, and socks or stockings because sweaty feet in leather will leave you with a selection of blisters and foot fungi.”

Naadiya looked at Dawn’s notes and grabbed a couple of pairs of leather boots that might be a good fit for his feet. “Try these on, and try to walk little, to see if you like the fit. I’m going to grab a few pants. You’re going to want a long pair for the jungle for sure, but you might want shorts as well for when you are in town.”

Leaving him to give the shoes a try, Naadiya got several pants in dark and neutral tones in a rigid durable material as well as a lighter more breathable set. “These will be good for the jungle, and these will be more comfortable when you aren’t roughing it through the wild.”

“Do you have any colors you prefer or any you would like to avoid in general?”

She had set the pants on a table near D'Varrus and was going through a rack of men’s shirts to pull out a few neutrals and some greens. Then, looking up at the man and taking in the sight of him, she grabbed a few other colors, choosing a few she thought might compliment his eyes, hair tone and complexion. She also grabbed a solid black top and the same one in white, because they were always easy sellers that people seemed to like having.

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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on April 29th, 2022, 10:12 pm

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Nodding slightly, D’Varrus turned his head slowly to follow Naadiya as she set a couple pairs of boots in front of him. Taking a seat on the floor, he tossed off the raggedy pair he had been wearing and tried on the first set. This pair was made of a supple black leather that ran a little on the thin side, and smelled reminiscent of pig. The other pair was of a much thicker variety, a dark brown, and the smell was not one that he could immediately place. Both boots when he stood up and walked around with them fit his feet reasonably well with plenty of room for his toes. They covered much more of the leg than the ones he had come in wearing, and after briefly thinking about it, D’Varrus decided to go with both as he could wear the lighter variety around Syka when he had to while saving the other pair for the jungle.

Still wearing the thicker variety, he looked up at Naadiya, then down at the pair of pants she had laid out. “I’d like to avoid bright colors if possible. Keep them dark or neutral.” He said giving the shop’s selection a long look as he dropped his pants, and stepped into the one’s that she had provided. This pair seemed to be the thicker set, dyed a dark brown with reinforced pockets on the back, and front. Slipping them on, he pulled them up to his waist before tried securing them. The fit was a little too snug for his taste so he quickly undid the pants, pulling them off before hastily trying on the next pair.

After the same issue arose again, he blew out a frustrated sigh through his nose and mouth before looking to Naadiya. “Do you think you could find something larger? I prefer my clothes to be a bit more loose.” He said before picking the pants up, and placing it on top of the other pair he had just tried on. While Naadiya was seeing about that, D’Varrus stripped off his shirt and placed it on top of the rest of his clothes before he took to pacing around the front of the shop while he waited. As hot as it was, it was actually kind of pleasant to have an excuse to get out of those itchy clothes while he waited.

When she brought over the new pairs, along with a few shorts and shirts, D’Varrus tried on a pair of cream colored shorts before pulling on a black shirt. Just as he suspected, these felt a lot more comfortable when they weren’t hugging every inch of him. The shirt was loose enough that he could strip it off in less than two ticks, and the shorts were so loose that they would need to be held up by a belt which didn’t bother him a bit. It would make it a lot easier to take off than something he had to peel off his legs.

Now that they were working with about the right size, he didn’t have a problem trying on the rest of the clothing. So long as it wasn’t garishly bright, he put it on, walked around in it for a bit, the set about trying on the next bit till he had a pretty good idea of what he liked. He ended up settling for three shirts, two pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, a belt and both of the boots she had set in front of him. The shirts were colored white, dark green, and light blue while the jungle pants were a dark brown, and light brown. The pair of shorts he went with were a slate gray, and the belt a strip of black leather with a iron fastener. Then after a last minuted recommendation from dawn, he added a long sleeved green shirt, and a thick pair of black gloves to the total.

He didn’t bother putting any of his old clothes on, although he did fish out the mizas he’d brought with him before he went over to Dawn to settle up. Once they had been paid for, he decided to pull on a light blue shirt, and slate gray pair of shorts that he fastened with the belt before pulling on the black leather boots.

“Thank you both for the help.” D’Varrus said as he stood up and adjusted his shorts so that they were no longer pulled up in the front. “Do either of you know the way to Matthias’ house? I am supposed to be meeting him today.” He asked, looking from Dawn to Naadiya whom seemed the far more approachable of the two. While that was being asked and answered, he set about retrieving his things from around the shop, putting his new clothes into his backpack while arranging it so that he was carrying his old clothes wrapped around the old boots underneath his left arm, while his extra pair of new boots he carried in his right hand.

Depending on how she answered, he would clarify his request after he had gotten situated for travel. “Do you think you could show me the way? I’m terrible with directions.”

If she accepted his request, he wouldn’t waste any time leaving the shop, and contrary to his request, he would lead the way for a short distance until they reached the communal kitchen where he stuffed his old clothes into the fire pit and laid on top of the pile the old pair of boots. Then he turned about towards Naaidya, and clapped his hands together.

“So, where is this Matthias living at?”

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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby Naadiya on May 10th, 2022, 10:10 pm

Naadiya had watched the man with a curious eye as he… what had he been doing exactly? Was he smelling the boots? She could almost feel Dawn wanting to chime in that the merchandise was indeed new and unworn, unless perhaps by a previous customer who’d decided against the purchase. The boots couldn’t smell that bad. She was pulling out the more colorful slacks from the she’d brought over to D’varrus when the man dropped his pants.

She heard Dawn’s little giggle from the side and arched a brow, taking in the sight in front of her with little shame. The dark brown were discarded for being too tight, but Naadiya had to disagree. They might have been a little too tight in just the right places but her small smile was tight enough to keep her tongue in check. Naadiya took the rejected pants and handed him another pair, slightly larger at the waist and with a little more room across the center-front seam but not too much more…

Another great fit!, she thought, but D’varrus still seemed to think it was too tight.

“Looser?” She asked with a speck of disappointment in her eye, “yes I suppose I find something”

The girl had been rifling through a rack, looking for something with a drawstring, and turning back with a few options, she came to face her naked customer, roaming the very public boutique floor without a shred of clothing.

Sykans were not shy by any means, she had learned, and new comers were quick to follow the lead set by the locals yet it still surprised her when she saw the nude man in front of her, now bared on top as well as below. Of the customers that sought out Dawn’s shop, it had always been the women who were quickest to disrobe. Maybe it was the all-female staff, but when men came in, they seemed more shy indoors than when on the beach.

But not this man, Naadiya thought with a suppressed laugh as she handed over some more options. She had slipped in a pair of black shorts in a fabric so sheer, they could hardly be considered anything but ornamental, but unfortunately he didn’t grab them. Had to try..

Naadiya was returning the clothes D’varrus had decided against back to their racks, when he asked about Matthias’s place and heard Dawn giving him some general directions when she noticed the man was bundling up the clothes he had come in wearing in a rather peculiar way. She went to the back and grabbed one of the light fabric totes she used to lug fabric and yarn to and from the shop but he shook his head, thanking her and clarifying his question about needing a guide.

“Naadiya, would you take him?” Dawn asked, as she gave D’varrus some change and jotted down a record of the sale in her ledger, “I have Lexi coming in a little later, so she could help me if there are customers when you are out.”

“I’ll just get my things,” she said, grabbing her bag from the back room and following D’varrus to the exit when Dawn called out again.

“Oh wait! I forgot! Tony and I wanted to give this to you!” She held out a folded up handkerchief to Naadiya, who took it with a somewhat confused look.

“What’s this for?”

For half a second, Dawn almost let indignation hit her words. But she knew the gift had not been originally intended for the girl at all. One of the men Tony had working the isuas fields, had raked up the small trinket and passed it along to their boss who tried to make a gift of it to his wife. Dawn, unfortunately, had not taken to the leaf shaped charm. But she took it to regift to Naadiya who had been spending more and more time in the shop of late.

“For all your help recently! It’s just a little nothing, but I saw it and I thought of you.” It wasn’t entirely true and Naadiya felt a familiar heated buzzing in her ear but chose to not reveal her bosses little white lies. Unfolding the kerchief, Naadiya saw what looked to be an old leaf, desiccated and fragile. But when she lifted her hand up closer to her eyes, Naadiya could see the delicate leaf seemed to be made of brass, though its weight did not match what the metal should have weighed.

Naadiya thanked the blonde woman and left the shop behind D’varrus. She’d been staring at the small charm in its silken handkerchief and barely noticed she had been the one following when she’d meant to take the lead.

The man had tossed his old clothed into the fire and Naadiya’s head snapped back up with his clap.

“Matthias- right…” she looked around, seeing where she was to orient herself in the right direction before heading towards the founder’s home. “He is by the water, this way.”

She lead the way this time, refolded the square of silk and slipping it into her bag to examine another time with better lighting.

“You had said something about Matthias rescuing you? Would I be prying if I asked what happened?"

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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on May 12th, 2022, 2:32 pm

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D’Varrus generally didn’t have a lot going on in his mind so it was hard not to notice Naadiya’s preoccupation with whatever Dawn had given her. He’d caught a glimpse of it when she’d held it up in the shop to get a good look at it, but immediately lost all interest when he realized it was just a very small leaf. Still, the amount of attention she paid to that bauble reignited his curiosity in the object as he wondered just what had her so interested.

Before he could ask however, he felt the need to remind her what they were out here doing and watched as she seemed almost to wake up from a dream. He cocked his head slighly, watching as Naadiya carefully put away the charm before she started to guide him towards Matthias’ home. Just like that, the opportunity for mentioning it was gone as he swiftly blocked it out of his mind with her next comment.

His nose wrinkled slightly at the word rescued, the word he remembered Dawn using earlier. It wasn’t exactly how he would describe what happened, but then again, what did he care what a random human thought. At least, that was what he told himself repeatedly. A mantra against the darkness he had known only days earlier. The truth was always messier than a comforting lie.

“I was wounded trying to get away from a ship that was attacked by pirates. I took refuge in one of the.. What did Matthias call it? Ranchos? Something like that, yeah.” D’Varrus said, agreeing with himself quietly before continuing. “Anyways they brought me back to Syka where they got me healed up surprisingly fast. I woke up at Norah’s I think, then Matthias gave me a tour of the settlement yesterday, and today I’m here, trying to see where exactly I fit in.”

While he was giving her time to respond, he took a few ticks to sniff deeply at the air as he got a good look around. While his sense of smell was not nearly as keen as it was in his jaguar form, Naadiya was close enough that it didn’t matter. He could smell her over top of everything else. Her very human odor almost overpowering the scent of rain that undercut the salty breeze. It wasn’t a bad smell by any means. Actually, it was rather pleasant compared to some of the ones he had been exposed to, and perhaps it would be even better in his jaguar form.

Unfortunately, his eyes weren’t much good in that form on a bright day like this. Maybe when it started to rain, which smelled like any moment now. In any case, it was an urge he had to resist for the moment because he still had plenty of business to attend to, and transforming often would tire him out rapidly.

“How long has this place been here?” D’Varrus would ask when he found a moment to do so in their conversation. It was perhaps not the best question to ask this woman now. Especially when he could have saved it for when they spoke with Matthias who he recalled was some sort of leader in the settlement. However this woman, Naadiya, had piqued his curiosity so his question was more about her than it was about the settlement.

He was not very good at word play. At convincing others to tell you what you want through a clever twisting of words, but his masters had been very practiced at it. Most of the time they didn’t use it against him. At least not directly. They would employ this talent against the people who wished to purchase him to drive up the price and what not. D’Varrus for his part had played a role in that too, one that he regretted now that he was free of their grasp.

A thought occurred to him then, drawing his mind from its contemplations.

“You know for a while I thought this was the place I was being brought to. A place called A-L-V-A-D-A-S.” He said, sounding the words out slowly because he wasn’t very good at saying that name the way his masters had said it. “When I learned that this place was instead called Syka I was briefly relieved till I realized I have no idea where I am now. I come from a place called Ravok. I do not know how where this Ravok is in comparison to Syka, but I know that the trip was very long, and mostly by sea. After a storm grounded the ship I was on, and blond pirates attacked the ship, I took that as my opportunity to escape. It was dark, and I quickly wore myself out running along the beach so I rested until day before returning back to see what became of the ship.” D’Varrus said, pausing for a long moment as he considered the memory, frowning slightly as his story began to close in on the block of time that was completely lost to him.

“The ship was gone when I came back in the morning so I do not know what happened after I left that night. I have to assume though that the pirates won because there were so many of them that night and the only bodies I found on the beach belonged to my master’s party.” He said, showing a slight difficulty in saying that last part because he hadn’t quite finished processing his change in circumstance. He wanted to call them what they were. Slavers, but that word carried with it connotations about himself that he wasn’t quite ready to face yet. One of the many contradictions about the way he felt right now which kept him more subdued than he would usually be.

“I grabbed what I could find before following the beach all the way to the edge what I know realize was your settlement. Then I took rest in that Rancho before Matthias found me later that evening.” D’Varrus said, and at that point considered his part in the arrangement fulfilled. It had occured to him earlier in their conversation that he owed her a complete answer about how he had come to be here because she was taking the time to show him the way to Matthias. Viewing it as an equal exchange also had a way of salving his pride, and dismissing any ambiguity about him owing her at a latter date which allowed his mind to move onto more productive things.

Such as the fact that they had arrived at Matthias’ place, one he remembered now that they were standing just outside of it.

“Will you join me?” D’Varrus would inevitably ask before walking up to the house on the water, and entering through the first door he could find. Inside they found him sitting at a table with a well-worn leather book open in his hands that he looked up from as D’Varrus lead the way inside.

“D’Varrus, I’m glad you accepted my invitation. Have you decided if you are going to stay in Syka with us?” Matthias asked, closing the book and setting it down on top of the table before getting up from his chair and walking over to them. “Please, set your things down anywhere you want to.”

“Its not like I have much choice in the matter, right?” D’Varrus said cautiously as he set his new boots down on the ground.

Matthias laughed at that, giving him a generous smile. “How do you reckon? There is always a choice. If you don’t want to stay here then I will do all that is in my power to find you the next boat out of here, but if you choose to stay I’m certain you will enjoy it. The jungle is home to many of your kind. Jaguars I mean, although there we do have a few Kelvics in Syka already.”

D’Varrus cocked his head as he took a quick sniff. “Really? What kind?” He asked as he processed the smells in the room. Matthias had a sort of warm, smoky smell over top the fact that he could tell the man had been handling fish recently. That got his stomach quietly growling as he took in the rest of the room, listing carefully to everything that was said around him.

“Oh there is Oralie, she’s an Ocelot who helps out around the inn. Then there is Ken who is a rooster. Let see..” Matthias said.

“And they aren’t slaves right? They can leave whenever they want?” D’Varrus interrupted, his voice developing a bit of an edge to it.

“Of course not, Oralie came here to escape such a life. We would never.” Matthias reassured him, patting him on the shoulder as he gave a sympathetic look. “I told you already, no one is looking to put a collar back on you here.”

D’Varrus chewed on that for a moment as he looked to Naadiya for reassurance. He didn’t know why he did it, just reflex he supposed after revealing so much of himself to her on their trip over.

This gave Matthias and Naadiya a chance to catch up if she wanted to while he took a moment walk over to a window and look out at the sea. He kept thinking that he might see his ship out there, pulling in too take him back and his heart started to beat quickly for several moments till he felt a hand on his shoulder. Not looking to see who it belonged to, he took in a deep breath as he closed his eyes.

“So you said something about finding work?” D’Varrus eventually asked.

“Well, yes I can help you with that. Here in Syka because we are a growing community, everyone needs to work because we can’t afford to feed people who don’t contribute.” Matthias said, continuing before D’Varrus could respond. “Why don’t you tell me what you are good at and we’ll go from there.”

D’Varrus considered that thoughtfully for a moment. “I was being trained to be a guard. I was to complete my training when I arrived at our destination.” He said simply, avoiding the blood soaked memories that came with his words.

“Hmmm.. Well I don’t think you are ready to be a ranger yet, however we could always use an extra set of eyes out on patrol. Especially someone with your senses which would be pretty handy at night, but you are going to need to train under Buraga first. This has been a hard season on the settlement and everyone is more than a little wary about strangers so it will be a while before we can trust you in such a position on your own. If it still interests you, however, I could ask Buraga if he could take you on as a guard.” Matthias asked after chewing it over for a moment.

“Sure” D’Varrus said nodding before he had much of a chance to think about it. In truth he would have agreed with whatever Matthias had suggested because whatever it was he was going to go into it with very little life experience anyways. He had been trained to know how to defend himself, and taught what would be expected of him when he was eventually sold, however that didn’t much equate to having actually experienced what he was supposed to be doing. However he agreed readily with the man’s sentiment. It seemed logical, and he would have been surprised if the man hadn’t suggested such a thing.

“I’d do the same in your position. You have my word though that I’ll do anything that this Buraga needs me to, and learn anything I have to.” He added quietly.

“Okay, I’ll have him come find you when I get the chance to speak with him. The jungle is a dangerous place, and we could use the help, especially with all that has been happing of late. We’ve had our hands with some strange maladies, so I expect he will appreciate having you on and won’t mind showing you what's what.” Matthias said, exchanging a look with Naadiya that D’Varrus couldn’t help but to notice.

“Well you know where to find me. Thank you for your time Matthias.” D’Varrus said simply as he bent over to pick up his boots and leave the house.

“Feel free to come by here anytime. I like to fish off the dock from time to time and I like the company.” Matthias stated as D’Varrus was more than halfway out the door.

“Will do.” D’Varrus said, briefly poking his head in to do so before walking out onto the beach and stretching his arms far above his head before turning towards Naadiya.

“So what do you do for fun around here?” He asked when he already had an idea of what he wanted to do his own in mind, sorely needing to let off a little steam at this point.

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Last edited by D'Varrus Tomva on May 17th, 2022, 1:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby Naadiya on May 13th, 2022, 11:44 pm

Listening to the man, Naadiya paid attention to his mannerisms as well. Something about how he moved was familiar but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Was he smelling the air? Was he smelling her? And why would he have been taken to Norah’s instead of the Panacea?

Kelvic?, she mused.

“I’m not sure how long actually,” she answered him, “Matthias will be the one to ask about the settlement’s inception. I haven’t been here all that long in the grand scheme.”

At the mention of another city, Naadiya narrowed her eyes with an unhelpful smile and a shrug. Geography had never been the strongest of her studies. “I believe Alvadas is still quite a way north. Do you plan on finding a ship to go there? Ravok I have heard of, but in all honesty, I haven’t heard anything good…. I hope that doesn’t offend you!”

Naadiya had arrived in Syka on a ship of ‘blond pirates’ but very much doubted they could have been the same ones. As he spoke of the conflict and how it ended in bloodshed, Naadiya’s eyes grew slightly in surprise. She’d heard no commotion and the inn was right on the beach, how had her sleeping been so heavy?

“You’re lucky you even found an empty Rancho, there has been a large influx of people and I honestly don’t know where everyone will stay if we have another wave of newcomers like this one.”

She herself was already planning her move. The day would sneak up on her faster than she could imagine but at the moment it still felt very far off.

His “master’s” party, she thought. Only slaves have masters. Who does he remind me of?

They were getting close to Matthias’ place and for a second, Naadiya got a bit nervous. Everything she had heard and seen of Matthias, had painted a kindly picture. But people who spoke well of their leader didn’t always do so due to merit. He could be the kind of person to blackmail or intimidate to earn favor and truthfully, Naadiya was not able to claim she wasn’t. She knew very little of him other that what other people had told her and even that wasn’t much.

She wanted to reason that James had always been fair and to her eyes Randal could also be described as upstanding, so it would only make sense that these two would not follow a leader who was not deserving for their loyalty. And yet, all around the world, there were men who did things for less than noble reason and who was she to claim to know either of the three.

When D’varrus asked if she would come with him, Naadiya almost declined. She had no reason to come to Matthias’ doorstep and even now was feeling a little ornamental. Naadiya was opening her mouth to respond, when D’varrus started up the steps to the house built over the sea. Still unsure, she followed him but then froze, somewhat shocked that he’d just walk into someone’s home without so much as knocking on the door or announcing himself.

What had she done, agreeing to bring him there had unintentionally latched herself to his less than graceful entrance into the settlement’s leader’s personal space?!

Matthias spoke and Naadiya almost visibly relaxed at the mention of an invitation.

At least he is quite as aloof as it looked…

Somewhat timidly, Naadiya crossed the threshold as the two spoke and heard as Matthias confirmed her suspicions. Syka was chock-full of Kelvics, another one was not so surprising. The jungle seemed a much better fit for them than the humans anyhow.

Before Matthias even said, Naadiya had Oralie in mind.

Oralie! That’s who he reminds me of! Similar feline movements of the neck and back.

D’varrus questions also confirmed what she had assumed of his background. Many Kelvics were kept as slaves, she knew, and it seemed Syka was a place where many who were formally in bonds fled for freedom. He may not have exactly fled, but D’varrus would find the coastal settlement could easily serve as a safeguard.

When the man looked over at her a little uncertainly, Naadiya let a sympathetic smile touch her lips nodding only slightly. She could not claim to have experienced anything near what Oralie and potentially D’varrus’d had to live through, but in the time she had been in Syka, Naadiya had come to believe the city to be an oasis in a world filled with strife. It was far from perfect and idyllic may have been a stretch for a place with so much poisonous wildlife, but she liked it here.

The blond man walked to the look out of the window leaving Naadiya and Matthias standing in the middle of the space. The older man smiled at her and took a quick, deep breath with momentarily raised eyebrows. He was letting the newcomer think over his choices and did not want to weigh in too heavily on either side. Naadiya smiled back at him but said nothing as she pieced together the man’s character. Social silences were never something she’d ever been uncomfortable with but Naadiya did feel there was a bit of an elephant in the room.

Her house was already in being built. She’d had a loan approved and had already made her first payment. The house’s framework was already up and even right now as they stood there, the builders were constructing the couple of structures she had commissioned. Meanwhile, she had never actually spoken to Matthias about any of it. It was custom to run things by the settlement’s leaders for approval especially when it came to financial matters and the building of any new sites. She’d spoken to both James and Randal but never to Matthias, who was, the unofficial official leader of the other two. Both men had reassured her that she would not need to approach Matthias himself, but there was still that awkward feeling in the back of her throat. She glanced over at D’varrus but he was still staring out the window.

Naadiya had almost opened her mouth to speak, but Matthias had already taken a step towards D’varrus and she gave up on what she’d been about to say.

Matthias placed an almost fatherly hand on D’varrus’s shoulder and that seemed to bring the Kelvic back to the present. The settlement’s leader spoke to D’varrus in much the same way James had to Naadiya when she’d arrived on the docks not so long ago. The same certainty and understanding of the place they lived in and where specific hands would be most useful. When his gaze landed on Naadiya, she almost as quickly looked away. Fidgeting with the bracelet on her wrist.

The cameo appearances of male genitalia between her otherwise feminine thighs had become something Naadiya kept as private as possible. Talking to others about it had done little to remedy the situation, and whether true or not, she sometimes got the feeling that the on/off nature of her curse had given some people curiosity to see the switch in action. But she wasn’t a circus animal and entertaining potential spectators was not her goal in life, not with this at least.

They said their goodbyes to Matthias and Naadiya silently noted how she’d escaped having a real conversation with the man yet again. He hadn’t seemed too eager to probe her either, but he must have been aware of her building progress so she assumed he really had been informed by Randal as the latter had assured her.

“Fun?” She said, almost as if she’d forgotten the word. Naadiya had almost forgotten she had left work to show the man in the right direction but surely her absence in the shop would be noted after some time. From her bag, Naadiya pulled out the charm Dawn had given her and looked at it again briefly before stashing away the scarf and working the charm’s ring to fit somewhere on the bracelet’s chain. The crinkled leave-shaped charm looked even more worn out when the brass hung from the golden chain that was held by a clasp in the shape of two leopard heads biting onto a ring, each cat with almond shaped emeralds for eyes.

“For fun… we weave fabric… it’s like a local pastime. So much fun.”

Her tone and expression lacked even the hinted enthusiasm of her words as she adjusted the bracelet on her wrist until she was content with how it hung.

“What exactly would you consider fun?”

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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on May 14th, 2022, 1:48 am

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Weave fabric? D’Varrus cocked his head giving her a curious look. She said it such a humorless tone that it was almost funny. He cracked a smile.

“Well chasing things is pretty fun. There are some pigs up the beach that even you could probably run down. They seem pretty lazy.” D’Varrus remarked as he scratched along the curve of his jaw. It reminded his nails in this form were getting rather long. They weren’t like his other nails. These ones got brittle the longer he went between trims, and humans didn’t much like long nails. At least that was what his master had told him repeatedly. Curling his fingers into the palm of his hand while he looked at them, he considered briefly letting them grow long out of spite before his eyes drifted back to Naadiya.

“If you aren’t much for chasing, then how about we see how good you are about holding your ground. I could use the warm up anyways if I’m going to help guard the settlement tonight.” D’Varrus said as he watched her intently. He was doing his best to pay attention to her posture, her face, any gestures she might make all so that he might better understand how she took his information. Though if he was being honest, it was a bit more than that. This was the longest he had spent with anyone since earning his freedom, and he was trying to study the way she acted to know how he himself should act. It came as more of a reflex than any conscious thought on his part as he began mirroring her actions though not going so far as to copy what she said.

Just in case she was on the fence about what he was offering, he decided he should offer a demonstration.

“Here its not too difficult. Just hold up your hands like so.” D’Varrus said, pulling his arms up so that his forearms were vertical in front of his face with barely an inch of space between them. His elbows were closer together than his wrists resulting in a soft acute angle that he maintained when he twisted his hips to the left and right to demonstrate how she should hold her arm. No matter which direction he faced, his head and upper torso was blocked along the middle by his arms.

“This is a basic block. Hold that, and try to block my strikes.” He said, trying to keep his tone light by putting on a smile as he said the words. Now that the option was out there, he found that he really wanted this. No, need would be the right word because he had energy to get out.

If she agreed, he would help her with her posture, working on keeping her arms apart and at the right angle before straightening her back by pressing the flat of his hand against the arch of her spine.

“Keep it flat as a board, but your hips loose so you can easily maneuver without tripping over yourself.” He said, running his hand down her back briefly for emphasis before walking around to stand in front of her. “Now, don’t drop your guard until I explicitly tell you to okay?” It was mildly surprising how easily this all was coming back to him. He had been drilled much like this day, after endless day in Ravok till it had become almost second nature for him. At the moment he was simply repeating what his trainers had done with him when he had began learning how to defend himself in his human form.

Taking a step back from her, D’Varrus spread his feet about three and half feet apart as he squared up with her. He kept his hand open out to his sides, almost looking like he wanted to hug her although that wasn’t his intention as he took a deliberate step towards her.

As he closed the distance between them, D’Varrus yelled “Right” as his right open hand came across horizontally aiming right at her block so even if she didn’t maneuver he would still be blocked by her arms. The strike was about as hard as a vigorous pat on the back as he didn’t want to scare her. Taking a step to the side with his left, and back with his right, he yelled, “Left” as he swung up from below with his left palm open to slap against whatever she moved in his path to block him. If instead she took a step backwards, he would take one forwards, taking another swat with his right as he shouted, “Right.”

D’Varrus was smiling now, a genuine one as he put down his hands, looking the woman over to make sure everything was still alright.

“That’s just the start, but what do you think? Are you ready to do the hitting?” D’Varrus asked, still grinning as he took in shallow breaths through his nose.

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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby Naadiya on May 18th, 2022, 6:39 pm

She met his comments with a blank, incredulous stare. For a split second, she imagined what her mother would have thought of her chasing wild pigs in the sand. 'Don't go chasing pigs in the sand.' sounded like a proverb her grandmother would have said about vying for unappealing yet hard-to-get men. Besides, chasing was never her style. And running on sand? Not her field of choice.

“No... no chasing pigs, I did not just leave work to chase pigs on the beach…”

Every time she had seen one of the wild pigs, Naadiya thought how cruel it was that people came by to occasionally slaughter one for a meal… She did not complain if there was ever pork on her plate or anything like that, but seeing them running around being all alive made an awkward grey area in her mind.

Maybe I should try eating snakes, wouldn’t care much about slaughtering those… Did he just ask me to fight him?

Naadiya forgot about the pigs and the snakes and actually considered it for a moment. She had been putting most of her weight on her right leg, and she shifted her weight to the left leg as she thought of where they could potentially spar that no one would see, especially not Dawn who Naadiya suspected did not think the weaver would be gone for the rest of the day.

She has Lexi... and there are have been few customers recently, almost never more than one at a time. Did he—?

She shifted her weight again to the right side and watched as the man mirrored her movements. A hint of a smile twisted one side of her lip upwards but she made no comment. The man was now showing her how to defend her face in a fight and Naadiya glanced around to see if anyone was looking their way before she urged him to draw a little less attention.

“Let’s go a little further from my current place of work and the center of town, huh? Dawn did let me leave and she is well aware of how much she is relying on my help as of late… but that is also the reason I don’t want this little extended break to get around to her, you understand? It might cause unwanted ripples.”

Her voice had been low but not a whisper, she did not want to risk the kelvic asking her to speak up, but also would rather no one overhear as she spoke. Naadiya led them along the beach passed the Protea Inn and the bungalows, stopping before they reached the Ranchos where D’varrus had been staying. The stretch of sand seemed to be quiet for now and far enough away from the potential of Dawn getting an attitude seeing why she had been taking showing the newcomer to Matthias's place.

When they had found a good spot where some of the sand was dry but not too unstable, Naadiya tried to reproduce the stance she’d seen D’varrus take earlier and let him correct her positions, straightening her back and bringing her hands up to her face with bent elbows. She curled her fingers in, but not tightly. This was not a grip for punching but for versatility. She nodded to confirm she had understood his directions, as the man walked around to face her.

Naadiya had been expecting him to take a couple more steps back before he started his attack and was so reacted about a second too late. His hand slapped the back of hers, even as she took half a step back, but it threw her a little off balance. She swung to block the next blow and slapped his open palm with hers, making a loud clap. Maybe not the best defense, but she’d no time to think it over when another hand came at her. This one she met with both arms almost crossed over each other and a duck of her head when the blow landed.

D’varrus was pulling back and Naadiya took a few hurried breaths, still ready in case his next wave was still to come but the Kelvic seemed to be pausing for now. Now had been a great time to notice how poorly dressed for the activity she currently was in her red isuas dress, but she could have hardly expected this turn of event when she’d gotten dressed to go to work that morning. She grabbed the hem of the dress in what was clearly a practiced motion, tying the fabric in such a way that her legs would be freer to move unhindered and slipped her shoes off as well. Then she dropped into a crouch and bounced a couple of times, trying to stretch her legs.

Maybe I should have chased a pig before doing this. At least to get the blood pumping. Oh well.

She took a long, deep breath and let it out as slowly as she could manage, then nodded and took up her stance again. Spreading her feet and getting them shallowly rooted in the sand before bending her knees. Naadiya brought her hands up again after twirling her wrists and shaking her hands out, then flourished her fingers before relaxing them again.

When it looked like D’varrus was ready, Naadiya came in slowly. She gazed at his eyes, swaying a little, trying to not stay in one place for too long. If she thought of it as a dance, the foot movements did not seem so unusual. Without announcing her first strike, Naadiya threw out a sharply manicured hand towards one of his forearms keeping her hand lax enough to give him a slap but not dig her nails in, if the blow struck. When she pulled back, Naadiya slid her feet in the sand and came back in but from the left this time, keeping her right hand close to her face and lashing out with the left one. It hadn’t even occurred to Naadiya to try to remove the charm bracelet before the sparring, as she did her shoes, and the gently jingling of metal on metal unfortunately may have signaled her moves even as she made them. Naadiya made a point to try to use her left hand more often than the right. Her blow was aimed at the arm closest to her and Naadiya realized D’varrus hadn’t set any rules, or limits.

With another step back, her hands still up blocking, Naadiya regulated her breathing a little, as she moved around in no pattern at all, just looking for an opening but not really finding one. A near stumble was narrowly avoided as she was edging to her left, watching his hands but also his feet just when she needed to have watched her own. Thinking she had seen her opening, her right hand came out towards his arm, gold and brass both shining and singing, Naadiya even gave her wrist a little jiggle to heighten the sound and increase the chance of the sunlight glimmering on the green stones as her feigned jab flew. Then her left hand came in if/when the distraction had an effect. She absolutely felt no shame in using anything she had to her advantage, especially suspecting she was clearly outmatched. She laughed a little unsteadily, however effective her attempts had been.

Naadiya was fairly out of breath and needed a few minutes to recuperate, so with waving hands, she stepped back and hunched over with her hands braced on her knees as she caught her breath.

“This— really is— kind of— fun, actually. Violent, but fun. What’s the next lesson?”

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Just a scratch (Naadiya)

Postby D'Varrus Tomva on May 19th, 2022, 5:49 pm

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D’Varrus cocked his head at her suggestion as a look of confusion crossed his features. He didn’t quite understand the problem at first until Naadiya continued to explain her point, then he nodded slightly before they headed to a location that would give them a bit more privacy.

He didn’t much mind having to move actually. One patch of sand was as good as another, and if it would make Naadiya more comfortable then so be it. Once things got kicked off, he didn’t spare it another thought as he tightened his focus so it was just them on the beach.

For a while there was only the sound of slapping flesh as Naaidya blocked with the back of her hand, her palm, and then her arms as the rough ideas behind his posture dissolved on contact. It was a bit surprising. He hadn’t expected her to react quite the way she did, but then again everyone tended to act erratically during their first spar. Their reflexes tended to take over while their mind ran wild, something he could readily understand being so fresh out of captivity.

While he was telegraphing his strikes, he also paid attention to the way she moved, and more or less how her outfit hindered her. It reminded him that he still had his own boots on, something he had neglected to take off and which he did so no as Naadiya got her stretches in. He didn’t want to accidentally step on her feet while they were sparring, and if he did, he certainly didn’t want to be wearing boots when he did so.

Setting his bare foot down on the hot sand, he hopped from one foot to the other till he managed to back peddle onto the edge of the surf were the wet sand was slightly cooler underfoot. There he would gesture Naadiya over while he gave her a good once over.

“You’ve got good instincts, but you’d do better out of that dress.” D’Varrus suggested as she drew closer, and seeing her look he added. “You can borrow my clothes if that would make your more comfortable.” D’Varrus had never fought in a dress before but he couldn’t imagine it was easy. In fact, if he was playing dirty it would make this little spar a foregone conclusion as the dress offered plenty of opportunities for him to get the advantage. Of course he didn’t have to tell her that. He could see it on her face, and he was not about to say anything that might discourage the woman from continuing their spar.

Then when she was ready, he prepared for her approach holding his guard up in the way he had demonstrated for her. It was not the way he would have regularly done so in a spar, but it was an easy first step to dip her toe in the water. As she swung at him, he followed her eyes and took a step that put him opposite of the blow, narrowly missing him as he adjusted so that he was facing her once more.

Her next blow had a bit of music to it, and he caught it on his for arm as he took a step backwards to roll with the blow. While one arm was doing that, his free hand darted out to grasp hers just below the elbow before she could pull back. He held it only for a moment before letting go, favoring Naadiya with a little smile.

“You might want to take off your jewelry in the future if you think you might be going into a fight, or out into the jungle. You never know what is going to snag on what, and when it does, it might be too late to do anything about it.” D’Varrus suggested before resuming his position.

This was good practice for him as it had been a while since he had the chance to maneuver about like this in his human form. He had been stuck in that cage below decks for so long he’d almost forgot what it felt to fight like a human. Without his claws or the other benefits of his jaguar form he had to use the natural edges of his body for striking.

Of course he wouldn’t be doing so now though, just open palm slaps just because he was still trying to get Naadiya used to the idea of being attacked which wasn’t always the easiest to cope with mentally. Though she seemed to be doing a fantastic job of it.

Then Naadiya tried something really interesting. She baited him in with her right arm while her eyes were looking away. At first he thought she had caught on to the fact that he had been watching her eyes to see where her strikes would land, but when he purposefully took the bait by stepping inside of her strike, her left came up to strike him on the shoulder where her eyes had been staring at his forearm moments ago.

A little surprised, he caught her under the forearm to make sure she remained steady before he released her to go as she pleased.

“You’ve got a good head for this. Have you ever practiced before?” D’Varrus asked with a curious smile. It occurred to him then that he had forgotten to ask earlier. She definitely had a knack for it he thought as he took in several deep breaths to get his breathing under control.

“Lets work on a little more blocking before we move onto your ground work.” D’Varrus said with another little grin. He was glad she tried what she had with her last punch. It would make what he had in store more interesting to pull off because he hadn’t been sure of what sort of fighter she was until this point. After waiting for them both to get a proper breather, he moved to get into position.

This time he adopted a different stance with his held cocked in front of him as he squared up with her. His hands were also balled into fists as he fixed her with a steady gaze. Then almost bouncing with his instep he walked up quickly to close the distance before jabbing to the right of her head.

“Right” He’d yell before pulling his hand back and yelling “Left” as his left hand jabbed out towards her side but he pulled it back as he yelled “Right” again. Only this time he didn’t make a jab with either of his hands. Instead he was still twisting back with the motion of pulling back his left arm and as he did so his right leg came out to try sweeping her legs.

Depending on the way she took the hit, D’Varrus would be there to help her up if she winded up on the sand. Picking her up out of it, he would help dust her off before gently grabbing her around the wrists and pulling them up so they were between them. He took a brief moment to admire her claws before meeting her eyes.

“If you want to win a fight quickly, sweep their legs out from under them if you can. With that sort of advantage you’ll be more likely to survive the encounter. Now try sweeping my legs. Use your shin and try to hit the back of my knees.” D’Varrus advised while still holding her wrists. It would be good practice for her and straightening his legs, he prepared for her attempt.


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