Closed Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Taz and Mitt do some moonlight foraging.

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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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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Tazrae on October 18th, 2022, 5:22 am

“I didn’t mean to avoid your question about who taught me to cook. I just don’t know my mother. I was raised by my aunt and uncle. My uncle was a good cook. They told me they were my parents, but it turns out they lied.” She added softly, saying the words just above a whisper where he could hear but not be sure he heard right above the waves and the wind of the night-dark beach. Taz wondered if Mitt realized he lost his shorts. Her sharp eyes scanned the waves, took in the floating fabric, and waded in for them.

She returned from the sea dangling the fabric within his eyesight for him to see. “You might miss these later on when it starts cooling off.” She commented with a grin, purposely not letting her eyes drift down from his face. He was handsome and had a smith’s healthy body, but Taz wasn’t looking for that type of companionship. She had a full plate and one awkward smith trying to make the transition from a big city to a settlement on the edge of a jungle wasn’t something she was interested in adding to that plate. Taz did find, though, that she was enjoying his company.

And more importantly, the Ixam liked him. The hatchling hadn’t set off for parts unknown but had followed as if he knew his bread was about to get buttered and buttered thickly if he played his cards right. Tazrae was no stranger to being lonely and the Ixam were social enough to fill niches that humans sometimes failed to in her mind. Mitt would have a best friend for life if he took a moment to make it happen.

She nodded at his analogy about the metal and tossed him his shorts as a reward. Then nodded again at his conclusion about what she decided he was saying about stretching resources out rather than depleting them in just one place or another. “You won’t actually have to get snacks for the hatchling…. Are you calling him Stoker? If you show him where to dig… he’ll remember and dig his own snacks. They are smart… smarter than dogs, even, and he’ll get hungry and go hunt. That’s part of their nature.” Taz said, smiling at the little one that was chasing something up the tideline.

She realized it was a group of sandpipers that the yellow and red creature had absolutely no hope of catching. The little swift shorebirds kept him occupied though and made Taz smile once more. She wondered, momentarily, which ones were Bree’s offspring, and if the Ixam had any motherly feelings towards the young creatures. The Innkeeper decided she’d ask the Ixam the first chance she had. The woman was curious. Was Sunny proud of Stoker? Would she approve of Mitt taking him in? Taz would be sure to point out the big golden Ixam when she saw her next so Mitt would know both parents and what he was getting into. She could probably give him riding lessons on Sunny until Stoker got big enough.

“Remind me to point you out who Stoker’s mother is. She’s also a bigger golden Ixam we call Sunny and I could probably give you some riding lessons on her. She’s a good solid mount and she’s carried others along with Bree and me into the jungle.” Taz said offhandedly.

The moment passed, Mitt worked more with harvesting clams and then pipped up about Sunberth in a pensive way that reminded Tazrae of how other Sunberthers had spoken of Sunberth. She wondered, momentarily, what sort of dark loyalty and deep damage that city did to its inhabitants. They didn’t emerge unscathed, but there was also a sort of deep loyalty and defensiveness about Sunberth that Tazrae noted in all of them. She wondered, struck by the sudden thought if it was some sort of badge of honor for being there and surviving it. They’d even gone so far as to call themselves Sons and Daughters of Sunberth. She rubbed her face softly, thoughtfully, and shook her head. She wasn’t sure she’d ever understand having no plans to ever visit Sunberth and experience it first hand. Plus, a visit wasn’t going to be the same as growing up there, uncertain day by day even having a future.

Taz preferred Syka. No, that was an understatement. Tazrae loved Syka with her whole being. She thrived and bloomed here in the same way she’d wilted and shriveled in Riverfall. The Settlement was wild, wide open, abundant, and drew something from a person… something fierce and feral. “I’m not sure how much I can talk to you about Riverfall. I spent my whole childhood there in one Inn, working, and rarely left. But I can talk to you about Syka… this place is my heart home and does things for me that I don’t think any other place in the world could do.” She said gently, meaning it. Taz found herself slowly opening up to Mitt, letting her guard down. Part of it was due to his willingness to try new things and not take himself too seriously in doing so. There were so many serious things in Tazrae’s life, moments like this were refreshing, and recharging, and she could wholeheartedly appreciate them.

She watched Mitt rake and watched him examine the tool with a critical eye, altering the way he utilized it. Mitt was smart, she decided, and was best suited to a job that utilized his brain. She could understand why he was a smith. There was a lot of math, science, and skill involved in such things. All Tazrae knew of the artform was molten metal, a hammer, and the bellowing of the forge. She’d never taken the time to watch Artik's work. The man himself was a drunk and someone she avoided at all costs – including his forge. But it sounded like Mitt took over and maybe made some changes.

“How did you find the Forge under Artik’s care?” She asked abruptly, curious if he’d share his thoughts or how he’d approach the pig stye that was the place. She wondered if he’d be honest with her or take the high road of tactfulness. Artik was a problem for sure, but one no one seemed to want to tackle. As the days grew on since his arrival, he’d gotten worse and worse. He was always deep in the cups, emotional, and angry. “The man that is responsible for that forge has…. Issues. None of us knows what is wrong with him and why he buries his problems in a bottle. He could really…” She started to say, then looked thoughtfully at Mitt a moment, wondering if she really should say this… put this on him.

But her instinct was telling her to speak so she did so… it was the same instinct that had motivated her to push the hatching Mitt’s way. “… use a friend.” She finished.

“I don’t think he has a single one here.” She added. “No one sees value in his life… no one has gotten to really know him. I’m a person that thinks all life is valuable… that everyone has worth. It… it would be nice if someone could find him and help him see it for himself.” She said again quietly.

Mitt’s question about what Stoker was currently mauling made her laugh. “If it crawls, squawks swims, or wiggles… they’ll eat it. There’s not much they won’t eat including each other. He seems to like it. Let him have it… he looks very proud of it. I think it been a chew toy too long to actually be identified.” She noted, laughing at the little hatchlings' antics.

She let Mitt play with the rake until he asked about the gun, at which case she retreated up the beach to retrieve the metal tube.

“This.. is a clam gun.” She said, holding out a hollow cylinder of metal that was topped with a T-shaped handle. One side of the cylinder was open, the other half was encased in a dome-shaped closed end that sported the handle. Near the base of the handle was a hole drilled through the capped metal. It was just big enough to let the air out of the tube, but small enough that someone who was holding the handle could cover it with a finger while still operating the handle.

“When you just hold it like this, air can escape from this hole at the top and allow you to drive it easily down into the wet sand which gets sucked up into the tube. It’s like taking a knife and slicing it into a cake. You are cutting a perfect sample of the sand out of the beach in the shape of a tube. But once you cover that hole in the capped dome top with a finger, it creates a suction and anything trapped in the tube will stay in the tube as you yank it up out of the sand. Then, once it's out of the sand, you can remove your finger from the hole, depressurize the inside of the cylinder, and the sand will fall right out of it and scatter across the ground at your feet.” Tazrae said, then walked down to where the sand was still very damp and started looking.

She showed him the divots in the wet sand that were air holes for clams. “You need the gun because razor clams have a lot of meat but they are deeper in the sand than you want to dig. So, fit the gun over the airhole or depression in the sand, drive it down, cover that small hole with your finger, and yank the tube up and out of the sand. Then scatter it out…” She said demonstrating, then laying the tube aside, she gestured to the razor clam which was a long narrow shape half buried in the scattering of sand from the tube.

Taz reached down, fished the razor clam out of the loose sand, and held it out to Mitt in the palm of her hand. “These are delicious. They are far more than a bite of clam meat. You shell them, fillet them out, and can fry them or grill them… however you want to eat them.” She said with excitement. She was glad the moonlight was still bright, keeping the beach lit up well enough for her to show him what he needed to know to use the equipment and forage for the clams. “But we’ll save the cooking lesson for the daylight. Try it now.” She said, closing her fist over the razor clam and tossing it gently into the bucket.

Then she stepped back and let Mitt get to work on his clam gun skills.

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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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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Mittle on October 18th, 2022, 6:34 pm

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"Your Uncle taught you to cook? Were you close to him?" He asked.

It looked like she'd whispered something at the end, but he wasn't entirely sure. He knew that by his father's age, at least half a blacksmith's hearing was gone and by retirement, they were stone deaf. Something vague clicked into place, solving the mystery at the back of his mind. He calculated that Artik's problem might possibly be that he was almost totally deaf by now....

Tazrae seemed to be searching for something and walked out of the water holding up his shorts in the most casual way possible. Mitt looked down and realized he was skyclad.

"Thanks. Sorry about that." he answered, grasping the shorts and putting them back on.

He felt a bit stupid but covered up so he wouldn't annoy the woman. She definitely gave off a very impregnable feeling of being asexual and utterly uninterested. Mitt's memory recalled her clinical statement about the Ixam and the belly full of eggs. It wasn't a distasteful statement, it was more of a thoroughly detached and indifferent demeanor. Was she a virgin?

He stretched and twisted the side of the waist, knotting it securely to hold the shorts in place better.

"I lost a little weight from both the sea voyage and getting used to the different foods here."

He listened more attentively as she spoke, but was careful not to move too closely to her. She reminded him of the wild life in Syka--look but don't touch, watch but don't get too close. The woman held her space like a pro! She would've made a good Watcher in Sunberth. He had to work hard to gain that presence. Hunter had been right all those years ago. Intimidation had nothing to do with muscle or size and everything to do with attitude and presentation.

It had taken him a year to pick up what Tazrae was doing. To hold your presence calmly. Let people observe you have the strength and brains to destroy them, but you didn't have to shout or shake your fists to do it. The quietly held back potential for danger was a far more powerful motivator than shouting and stomping like a drunken brawler. The woman had it in spades and used it naturally.

'Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to her?' he thought pensively. Well the line in the beach sand was drawn and yet another woman in Syka made it coldly evident that any interest on his part was considered de trop. He wasn't pleased by it, but he was now on the place and he'd just have to suck it up.

"They seriously do everything independently? Sounds amazing." He exclaimed.
The golden haired young man turned to the playful Ixam and beckoned him over with a motion.

"Yes, he's definitely a Stoker. That's the one who adds fuel to the fire and builds it from red to yellowish white."

Mitt touched the end of the rake to just within a hair's breadth of the Ixam's foot and held his eyes strongly. He moved toward the rocks again stepping precisely to the right spot, and shifted his grey eyed gaze to the holes in the sand.
"See those? Food's hiding in there."

With a quick extension, he raked at the wet sand, once then twice. The Ixam didn't need any further explanation and dove in with his claws, popping up a large clam.

"Atta boy! Remember the bubbles and holes in the *wet* sand are where your food's breathing down there." He smiled and added, "And they're a lot slower than the birds."

Tazrae's information about the Ixam was helpful and he took it in like a sponge.He nodded and replied,

"I'd like to see how he's potentially going to look and grow for size and shape." He paused for a chime, watching the hatchling's effortless strength and joie de vivre at even the smallest things. Mitt didn't miss the parallel that Stoker was going to be a life lesson for him in this place. Embrace solitude, be independent and expect nothing from anyone but yourself. But could he invest the rest of his life into total isolation without losing his fucking sanity?

It wasn't too late to pull up the tent stakes. If he worked here a little while, he could build more skills while saving money and move on. The openness of sky and sea were vastly appealing. The air was clean and fresh, no one was overcrowded or going hungry. What was a fair price in exchange for safety? He could easily picture walking the shorelines each night, alone. Working his days, alone. Spending long nights, alone. He shook his head, shutting off the morbid turn of thoughts and actively listened to the woman instead.

"Mount? Riding?" he parroted, "I hadn't really considered the full scope of that aspect yet. I'm sure that yoking their strength is an efficient work method."

Patiently, he listened to her speak of her deep and abiding appreciation of Syka and its savage isolation. Her gentle tones warmed enthusiastically about the place she loved so dearly.

The young smith understood the general sentiment. Sunberth equalized nearly everyone to know which cog they were that fit into the giant machinery that ran the place. It most definitely didn't care how or if you survived. It would carry on whether or not you died. It was a lot like the Lounges of Ixam, he theorized. Let the young fend for itself, go on with your life if you can. Or don't. Either way, things kept moving with or without you. If you survived at all, that was your reward.

Her laugh was bright and unfettered, enjoying Stoker's antics and Mitt wanted to join in. Almost.

The woman's question caught at his awareness and heard another meaning in the simple question. A mild test of sorts.

Mitt shrugged.
"It was trashed beyond any working capability or viable safety. But I realized when I first saw him that he was working alone. No striker, no apprentice, no one to help him if he got in a tight spot. Forging is dangerous to do alone all the time, all day all night. A lot of things would have to be left undone or unfinished."

Mitt looked both sad and angry at once, but he continued.

"It looked like there was a combustion accident with alcohol left near the forge. At first, I thought it was an accident. The impact angle showed otherwise and I know it was on purpose. The shards on the ceiling pointed at the forge, but glass in front of the forge was smaller and diffuse. The bottle was thrown from the height of the doorway at a higher level of impact than the slag."

Eyes shifting to dark midnight blue, he spoke quietly.

"I haven't' told Founder Randal yet. I realized the set up when I saw that it made a precise blast shadow around the right angle of the forge to leave Artik's chair untouched above, throughout and below. Everything to the left of the door was the only path free of both glass and slag..."

The young smith's gaze roamed between the hatchling and how Taz's curls seemed to lift with a life all their own. And then she brought another tool into his line of sight.

She moved the object into the dimple in the sand placing her finger over the hole firmly and pushed it in about half the length of the gun. Drawing upwards, both the sand and a very large clam popped neatly to the surface with barely an effort! Instant food!

"Wow!" Mitt breathed. "They're three times the size of those little butter clams!" He looked at the large razor clam and knew he'd be foraging for those suckers!

Mimicking Tazrae, he placed his hands on the handle and poised the tube over the tell tale mark in the wet sand. Placing a long finger over the suction hole, he plunged the gun into the sand precisely half way down its length and then hefted it upwards onto the sand. At first he thought it didn't work, but a large clam twisted obscenely through the clumps before trying to tuck back into its shell. It would be an ample food source.

"This is handy."

WC 1,388 Total WC 7,590
Last edited by Mittle on October 28th, 2022, 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Tazrae on October 19th, 2022, 3:19 am

Tazrae looked thoughtful. “I was really close to my uncle. I grew up calling him father. I… I didn’t know the truth. I lost him to an illness three years ago. He ran a small Inn in Riverfall with his wife, my aunt. We weren’t very close. She was a closed bitter woman that resented the life she was living, but I had no idea why. Once he was gone, the Inn went downhill fast. My mother was a poor manager, we went into debt, and she ended up becoming something called a Nakivak to the Akalak. They are… women who contract to birth their sons. She urged me to do so as well, but I refused. The Inn was taken by the city and we moved in with her new husband. I only stayed a short time in that situation before I met The Captain of the Veronica who knew my father since he used to stay with us frequently. My fath… uncle had asked him to look out for me and he invited me to Syka. I moved here almost immediately. I did not like my mother’s new husband and that situation. He was a nice enough man, but I was very uneasy there.” She explained.

“My father did all the cooking. He loved food, putting together new recipes, and entertaining people. It was his gift in life. I would like to say I took after him… and thought for years I did. But my actual father is a Benshira noble of the Lisuli Tribe. My mother’s people are actually Kois. I don’t even speak Shiber.” She said thoughtfully, having given up all pretense of calling her uncle an uncle and referring to him as a father in the end. “I still love to cook though…. and I have fond memories of my uncle.” Tazrae supposed he was her father in every way that counted anyhow. It was just another thing she hadn’t come to terms with in her life. The people involved were dead, and the dead as far as she knew told no tales.

Gods, how depressing! Still, she might as well get all the bad stuff out before he tripped up and asked about her mother. Taz tended to stiffen up when speaking of the woman she knew as her mother.

“My mother is dead too. She died birthing her new Akalak husband a second son. I don’t know many of the details.” She said, thinking of that letter she had received and how hard it had hit her… the anger, the betrayal, and how she’d never had anyone else to talk to about any of this. She might have told Alric, once upon a time, but he had his own pressing problems, and that left little room for even more baggage. Then Tazrae gave herself a little shake. “It sounds so morbid. The whole ‘my parents are dead’. I don’t mean to be a downer. And you’re having such fun enjoying doing something you’ve never done before.” She added, then grinned down at his shorts.

“Don’t worry about the shorts. People here rarely even bother with clothing. I just didn’t want you to be embarrassed losing them being new… not used to how things are done. I don’t care either way if you choose to wear clothing or not. Fabric here, though, is at a premium so if you get new clothes take care of them.” She added, knowing the weavers in the community were finicky and they might or might not weave. “The same goes for your body. Take care of it. " She added as an afterthought.

When Mitt spoke about his diet, losing weight, and getting used to the new foods, Taz nodded. “I’m not trying to brag, but I’m a very good cook. I cook over at the Protea Inn. If you took a room there, I’d feed you three meals a day until you started feeling better about the selection and put on some weight. But I can make things for you to take home if you want the special dishes you are missing. I like a challenge. Non-guests drop by all the time for food. I can even pack your lunches to go if you know you’ll get caught up in your work and have no time to take a break.” Taz offered, wanting the newcomer to feel welcome and understand that she enjoyed feeding the denizens of Syka and it was no extra trouble for her.

Taz enjoyed the fact that Mitt didn’t crowd her, didn’t stare, and gave her free space to move without breaking through the distance she required around herself. Had she known what he was thinking about her sexual prowess, Tazrae would have laughed outright. She would be the first to admit she had almost no sexual experience. Her past contained one short-term lover that had left her for a woman that healed his eyesight. It wasn’t something she could compete with and hadn’t tried. She’d instead wished the mage happiness and retained a friendship with the Reimancer who had taken her virginity during her initiation. She was demonstrative and passionate to those she cared for, but her relationships hadn’t ever gone past that stage. So his assertion, while not exactly correct, wasn’t far off the mark.

When the conversation turned to the Ixam again, Taz nodded. “They’ll do everything independently. That doesn’t mean they will make good choices, or survive those independent moves. If you care for him, you’ll watch him and help him with some training…. the word ‘no’ is important. They will decide they love bacon for example and charge a boar or warthog twice their size thinking they can take them. And as a result, said pig will get an easy lizard dinner.” Taz said sadly, watching … Stoker… and knowing he stood a better chance with Mitt than without him. “You’ll need to let him spend time with his own kind though too… Ixam his age. He’ll most likely join a lounge… usually three or four of them in a group. He’ll gather females too when he gets older, but until then it will probably be a bunch of young males together.” She said softly. “I’m not an expert on them, but I can help you with advice if you need any.” She said, then perked up. “We also have an animal healer named Nora that can help you with any medical problems.” She told him, thinking of the beautiful blond that had moved into the settlement last season.

Taz nodded at Mitt’s words. “Sure... I’ll remember to introduce you to Sunny and you’ve already seen the scarlet male.” She added, thinking Mitt was going to be in for a surprise. Riding Ixam was a vastly different experience than riding a horse or anything else.

But then the conversation turned serious and Mitt admitted what he found in the Communal Forge. That worried Taz considerably since Artik was tasked with caring for and maintaining something that the community needed that was for the use of the whole community. She was quiet as Mitt talked, not sure what to make of what he was saying. “Mitt… that’s serious. You should tell Randal. Don’t wait. Someone could have been really hurt. And Artik could have been killed. And if it was deliberate…. “ She shook her head. There were easier ways to lose one’s life in the jungle, rather than by a deliberate explosion from the forge. “Odds are no one but you and Artik would know what they are looking at enough to know what happened. Tell him… please.” Taz said sincerely, her eyes wide with concern.

Then Mitt’s attention turned to the clam gun and she watched him delight in the construction and function of the tool. He tested it out after her demonstration, and Taz stood back watching with a deep satisfaction she’d never felt before. Mitt wouldn’t hunger because of what she taught him. If nothing else, he could get himself clams whenever he needed them. That brought her a lot of satisfaction that this man could take what she knew, learn it, pass it on… and thrive. Now, all she needed to do is teach him how to cook what he gathered, and he’d be all set.

She had never had that feeling before. People didn’t give her a chance to actually teach them something she knew how to do almost effortlessly. Gathering clams was the one thing she could do easily. Tazrae spent bells gathering food for the Inn. Syka had no market to shop at. Instead, the market was in the world all around them. She was constantly setting lobster and crab traps, fishing, or gathering fruit. Even learning magic, she’d learned alongside someone or taken lessons as an apprentice. She’d never taught anyone else, where she knew more. Taz was a lifelong learner, not a teacher, but she decided she did love teaching. This was a new and thankfully good feeling. Taz understood now why the Founders wanted people who were skilled in certain ways to be Rangers. And she was glad she swore the oath.

“I don’t often share knowledge with people. It’s not because I keep to myself or am standoffish. I think mostly its because I’m busy doing the things I know rather than showing what I know to others. I want to thank you for … letting me show you some things today. It’s been a unique experience for me.” She said to Mitt, offering him a smile.

“It’s getting late though, and my bucket is almost full. I think I’m going to head back to the Inn tonight and put these in my icebox. But if you want to meet tomorrow afternoon, I can show you quite a few ways to cook these… some easy meals you can put together in your camp… that kind of thing. Unless, of course, you are busy.” She said, giving him an out. The young Innkeeper didn’t want to stay out all night helping the stranger. But there was no reason she couldn’t follow through the next day after her breakfast and lunch rush was over. “I can show you the traps then too.” Taz offered, watching his expression to see what he thought.

Words: 1708
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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."
User avatar
Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
Posts: 1245
Words: 1808031
Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
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Medals: 5
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
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