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 9th, 2022, 10:26 pm

Timestamp: 40th of Fall, 522 A.V.


There was nothing like the feel of damp sand under one’s bare feet. Tazrae loved the rough scouring of the tiny particles against the soles of her feet, softening the callouses and thick skin she’d built up roaming so often barefoot. She loved the casual tickle of the foamy waves that washed up on the night-dark sand, caressing and retreating as the waves washed in and pulled back teasingly. It was well after dark, Leth’s light had risen up and illuminated the beach north of the Commons where Tazrae roamed. It wasn’t her beach, not really, but rather she’d headed south out of Garden Beach, past Mathias’ home and had made it as far as Swing Beach with the Veronica’s dock in sight in the distance.

Taz wore her usual deep blue crochet bikini with a bleached off-white isuas shirt over it. The shirt was long and hung on her torso more like a dress, open at the front, mainly to protect her shoulders and back against the chill. The heat of the day still lingered though, so close after sunset, with the sand still warm under her bare feet. The shirt made her look luminous in the moonlight, gathering and reflecting Leth’s blessing on the world. She’d be wading into the water later on her nightly hunt, and the thin tough material would dry fast even in the cooler night breezes. Tazrae’s job meant that she had to forage, and evenings like this were some of the best foraging Syka offered for what she had in mind. In one hand she carried a bucket that had a rake-toothed shovel tucked into it – the kind used to gather clams. In her other hand, she had a basket made with a loose open wire mesh designed to gather bivalves by hand in the frothing wave stirred sand and water.

The Innkeeper left her bucket with her rake/shovel and clam gun up on the sand past the high tide line, her white shirt draped over it. Then she walked into the frothing night-dark waves, her heels kicking up luminous plankton as the sea kissed the sand repeatedly around her legs. It was a perfect night for a water-born light show, and as the plankton lit when stirred the waves glowed and left streamers of water on the sand in a multitude of colors that mimicked the aurora they sometimes saw over the northern sky. Taz stayed in that zone, where the bioluminescence stirred, and each time a wave came up she dipped the basket, digging it into the sand like a shovel, then shaking it out as the wave retreated, letting the water pull the silt away from the treasures that were captured in the sand. She did that numerous times, until her mesh basket was full of little butter clams that snapped closed at the rude interruption of their intertidal evening. She carried the full basket up to the bucket on the shore, quickly sorted its contents out, releasing anything that wasn’t edible or appealing, and saving the desirables in the bucket. Then she’d slip down into the waves and start all over again, seining the frothing sand and capturing the bounty Syka had to offer.

The Ixam sniffed at her bucket, but none of them were truly interested in the clams. They were impossible for even sharp carnivorous teeth to breach. Instead, they ranged around Tazrae in the waves, playing. They were equally at home in the water as they were on the land, some of them openly fishing and tossing their catches up in the air before swallowing unlucky fish whole. Occasionally young Ixam wrestled over flotsam, playing tug of war or getting tangled in washed ashore seaweed before giving up the game to more interesting pursuits. All of them could swim, though the smallest newest hatchlings stayed close to the shore, not venturing past where the bioluminescence splashed up and illuminated their bellies and tails as they waded in the shallow waves. The older ones went further out, openly swimming, though equally vulnerable to sharks and predators lurking in the deeper waters.

It wasn’t fast work, gathering the butter clams. Tazrae’s bucket was huge – one she didn’t relish lugging back full – and the clams were small. But they had sweet flesh and made the best chowder and pasta dishes anywhere. Later, when she was feeling the weight of the day on her, she’d use the rake and gather some razor and bigger clams that were higher up on the beach in the still-damp sand. For now she just foraged, greeting anyone who happened to pass by with a smile and a nod, and keeping a watch on her scaled companions, making sure they got into no mischief. Higher on the beach, a huge male Ixam that looked blood red in the darkness lay stretched out as if surveying his kingdom. Beside him lay a smaller yet equally mature female that carefully preened herself as she surveyed the lounge of lizards that wandered around them. They were both keeping an eye on the Innkeeper, though only one of them was her mount.

Scaled Ixam trailed after Tazrae, curious as to what she might be doing and if there was food or play involved. Their armored hides shimmered in the moonlight, colors muted without the sun. They kept each other amused, chasing and snapping at each other, and playfully wrestling well above the water line. There were about a baker’s dozen of the riding lizards, of all ages, mostly wild. The Settlement seemed to always have them around these days, with the Ixam themselves growing used to the people coming and going, not bothering them day to day other than when the adults were occasionally drafted to be used as mounts.
Last edited by Tazrae on October 16th, 2022, 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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 10th, 2022, 5:20 pm

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It had been a long and satisfying day of rest and Mitt found himself walking the shoreline and thinking. Twelve bells of Tenday and a good supper left him relaxed and calm but he was feeling pensive tonight.

Soothing waves kissed the shoreline again and again with a lover's gentle caress while she sighed. Starlight shed just enough for him to see and Syna's heat still lingered on the light breeze.

Clad only in shorts with his hair still damp from the shower, the young blacksmith sauntered slowly, meandering here and there with no particular goal in mind.
Gray eyes scanned the ground directly in front of him as he searched the debris for ideas. Seaweed in varying shapes and colors wrapped themselves around differing chunks of driftwood.

A dried out almost pure white piece of wood moved along the waves to tap him in the ankle and he bent down to pick it up. Something shiny looked to be imbedded deep with in it. He turned it over in his hands, searching for an entry point or some kind of man made inference within the whole.

Hmmm. "How did metal get so deep into the wood without an impact or abrasive mark? You're not manmade as far as I can tell."

Mitt had seen and heard of trees and plants growing around debris but again, the wood showed no signs of injury to scar from. He turned the fairly heavy chunk of wood over in his hands, trying to fathom what created it. How did it happen? The odd drift part reminded him of upsetting iron and he felt the heavier weight of it at the bottom. It wasn't folded or anything, it just felt heavier even though the size was squarely uniform. This was a mystery that needed further thought and study.

Almost beneath his feet, bioluminescent life forms reacted to movement in the overlapping waves and he marveled at how nature adapted so readily and easily to change. It didn't need emotions, worries or deep thought to simply light up and move out of the way. It reminded him of the chameleons he'd seen in the trees here. The colors were functional, not just an extension of emotions. They could blend in with their surroundings to make effective camouflage or let a rival know they were pissed without a word. Nature would always be the ultimate engineer.

Humans weren't designed nearly so well, especially for paying attention to where they're walking at night.

An abrupt warning hiss on his left had Mitt quickly stop in mid stride and his eyes widened at the largest lizard he'd ever seen! It was huge and red and looked ... very angry. He belatedly realized there was not just one giant ass lizard, there were many giant ass lizards and a beautiful woman-the Inn owner, all practically under his nose.

The tall young man stood very still while clutching the wood in his right hand, not wanting to further provoke the big lizard into attacking. His heart beat faster and his mind went into overdrive as he tried to weigh his options while in a straight out panic mode.

Mitt had seen them around the settlement but he'd never gotten this close to one before. Especially one so large and vividly marked. No one else in the settlement seemed to mind them and they pretty much roamed wherever they wanted to and did as they pleased. Why was no one else bothered by them?

The giant lizards were some of the most efficiently designed killers he'd ever seen! Though Mitt had never personally known the word Ixam, he knew and admired excellent designs. The way a reptile was built, kept them low to the ground which gave them perfect balance along with a tail that was like drawing metal. The tail alone could shift, turn, guide, support, emote, hold, express and defend! The four limbs on each corner with such a flexible spine would give them a choice of how big or small they could make themselves or fit into things. They'd be able to run fast, climb trees, jump well and all while easily holding or carrying ten times their own weight. Lizards could get energy simply from sleeping in the sunlight! How much more efficient can you get?!

His thoughts had sure enough raced him past the first adrenalized urge to run away screaming but now what should be his next move? Mitt took a decidedly slow and careful step back from the creature, kept his hands rigidly at his sides and tried to size up the situation without staring at it.

'I think it's male if it's so big. It might possibly be guarding either Tazrae or the smaller lizards which could be females, maybe even some kind of food the woman gathered? Or maybe that particular part of the beach?' He tried to reason it out but he was still nervous.

"So are these uh... friends of yours or hired muscle body guards?" Mitt tried to aim a joke at Tazrae, totally unsure of what to do in a situation like this.

She was barely wearing a stitch of clothes over that leanly muscled body and she looked to be carrying some buckets. The beautiful young woman didn't seem to be bothered at all by the large lizards. She looked downright comfortable in fact. His gray eyes shifted to blue and turned nearly as vibrant as the plankton life forms bobbing in the tide.

WC 916
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Last edited by Mittle on October 12th, 2022, 2:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Tazrae on October 11th, 2022, 1:28 am

Taz startled at the voice, not expecting to see anyone out on the beach. She knew a blacksmith had come on the tide with the last Veronica trip and that he’d been making camp on Swing Beach, but she hadn’t seen much of him as of yet. He’d dropped by for a few meals during her busiest times, so she hadn’t had time really to make conversation with him other than take and deliver an order, or exchange brief pleasantries about the weather.

Tilting her head, almost Ixam like herself, Taz left her latest batch of butter clams in the bucket with the others and moved to join the stranger-not-stranger up higher on the beach. Caramel curls were tossed about her face as a breeze picked up, and Taz pushed them impatiently out of her face as she turned to look where Mitt had been looking, spotting the big scarlet male sitting with Bree.

“Friends. Definitely friends.” Tazrae answered him, gesturing at the large blood-red one that would shine scarlet under the sunlight. “He’s the boss of them, watchful, but he’s not dangerous as long as you aren’t dangerous to them. Sitting beside him is Bree… she’s my best friend and my mount. I think they like each other.” She said thoughtfully. “He keeps filling her belly full of eggs, and half the other females around here.” Taz added, then gestured at the hatchlings.

“Most of these are his… especially those with red markings or patternings. I gathered some of the eggs late last year from deep in the jungle where the wild ones are. I was afraid there would be too much of the scarlet’s blood in the lounges around here, and something tells me that isn’t healthy.” Taz said to Mitt, offering him a smile.

“I wouldn’t put it past him to kill some of those young males if they look to be getting too big or too interested in his females.” The Innkeeper said thoughtfully, almost worried. “He watches all of them… all of us too. I swear they are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. Bree can talk, just as easily and coherently as you and I. She just pretends to be like all the rest of them. But she’s not… she’s special.” Taz said, then impatiently brushed more of her outrageously curly hair out of her face.

“You’re Mitt. I’m Tazrae… the local Innkeeper. I… I heard your father’s Eulogy at the Tenday earlier. I’m very sad I didn’t get a chance to meet him. He sounds like he was a very nice man.” Taz added, looking at Mitt thoughtfully as if wondering if he was doing alright after the service and after the fact that he actually lost his father on the trip over.

The woman had stepped up and sang at the gathering, for a man she never knew. It had been a song full of hope and inspiration, as rich in tones as only a bard could sing, but still… something isolated. She hadn’t talked to anyone there, not really, and had sat quietly by herself for most of the Tenday event or had made herself busy hostessing, bussing tables, or cleaning up after various people.

She didn’t offer a hand to him with her greeting, nor did she offer a smile. She just gave him a small gesture that resembled a simple wave. She maintained a good four-foot distance from him, wary like the Ixam’s were, though they seemed to be gathering now that one of their own was taking an interest. It was obvious then, that she was at home with the creatures… one of them… more than she was with other people.

Taz wasn’t sure when that had happened.

There was a curse a season ago, one where everyone forgot her. It hadn’t affected the animals around her, and they remembered and welcomed her like people hadn’t before. But the damage had been done. She’d steered clear of people since then, isolated and more hurt than she’d ever admit. Taz kept people at a distance, preferring the company of the romping Ixam than trying to re-make friends with the people that had forgotten her even though when memories returned she was welcomed back into the fold.

While Taz was studying the settlement’s new smith, a small hatchling approached Mitt. It was roughly the size of a medium canine, with its back a blaze of gold and its belly the deep blood red that would flame bright scarlet in the sun like his sires. It latched onto his shorts, the only item of clothing he was wearing, and began gnawing on the fabric – worrying at its back teeth erupting from gums that had only freshly shed baby teeth. It watched Mitt as it did so, not old enough to be cautious of strangers and seeing that one of his lounge stood in relaxed proximity not reacting. In danger of being relieved of his shorts, the hatchling was oblivious to the predicament it was putting the smith in.

Taz only smiled. “He’s this summer's hatchling. A late one. Usually, he doesn’t approach people.” She said, shifting her chin in a nod to indicate the young one worrying at Mitt’s pants. “I hope you like animals. Syka is full of them… and all the birds talk here.” She added, not sure if he’d noticed yet or not.

“Uh…” Taz glanced around, knowing socially she should say something to Mitt that was polite. “How are you settling in with the smithy? Is it all you’d hoped for or did you find it lacking compared to the one you came from?” There… that was a standard enough question, one that would give her both information about his personality and his background. Artik was next to useless for the Settlement, but they had hope in Mitt that they’d finally have a craftsman that could keep up with their needs.

“Syka…. Syka really needs you to stay. I hope you do. Some people don’t. It’s wild here… wilder than people expect. There are not… food markets like there are in other cities. Our food is …. Well this is our food market.” She said, gesturing to the beach, the bucket of clams, and her tools. “It… takes some getting used to.” She added.

Words: 1050
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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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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Mittle on October 11th, 2022, 7:35 pm

Image
The woman looked unsettled at the sound of his voice which widened her already luminous eyes. A playful breeze chased the untamed curls that swirled around her face, as free as the woman they belonged to. Her brief gesture to tuck them back neatly, clearly appeared to be a long standing battle between manners and freedom.

The Ixam, Randal and Tazrae all had tilted their heads as though listening like one of the reptiles and Mitt filed that tidbit away to ponder on later. Was it an island thing or were these people somehow copying the wildlife around here?

The curly haired woman answered his question very seriously, with not one hint of amusement or even a clue that it was a joke. It was understood and answered with surprising solemnity.

While he'd only seen her a few brief times around the Settlement and the Inn at mealtimes, she'd been deeply reticent to speak and kept herself distant, both physically and emotionally. This time seemed different some how. Maybe it was because she wasn't as distracted by doing so much busywork? Either way, her shoulders and face turned affectionately toward the lizards as she responded, clearly warming to the subject. She had actually said more in these few minutes than at all of the mealtime settings he'd seen the woman.

"Filling her belly with eggs?" he echoed, puzzled at her peculiar expression. A grown woman of her age could surely fathom sex and reproduction beyond reptiles, yes? Her phrasing was odd and she seemed like she didn't quite understand the concept beyond a clinical and purely scientific observation.

Her voice waxed quiet but enthusiastic about her reptile family. Or at least she described them as detailed as though they were her only family here on Syka. Mitt could definitely relate to that concept. Except for the having pets part.

The young smith nodded and confirmed her statement, "Yes inbreeding would be very bad for any species. How long have you been breeding them?" he responded and then asked,

"These large reptiles, what species are they exactly? I don't know what to call them."

The beautiful young woman's offered smile lit up her face and he had a strong feeling that she didn't smile nearly often enough.

His blue eyes took in Bree and noted the sleek, feminine neck, streamlined back and face that looked like a more refined version of the enormous scarlet beast beside her. Bree's expression didn't look like the usual dumb, mute animal in the least--her eyes fairly sparked with intelligence. And they looked a heck of a lot smarter than most of the people he'd known in Sunberth.

"She's beautifully made and so sleek looking. Nice to meet you Bree." Mitt replied sincerely.

As unlikely and farfetched as it seemed, Mitt did not doubt the veracity of Tazrae's comment. Her posture was far more open and relaxed with the lizards around, though she still kept a very strong four pace distance from him. Personal space looked to be imperative to her nature and he respected her wishes. Taz looked much happier next to her animal friends rather than with people or even a single person, like himself.

Again, her slim hand fought to tame the wild curls that emphasized her feral nature so very well. On the verge of a grin, he stopped at her comment and his eyes turned so dark a blue they were almost black.

The Tenday eulogy wasn't quite something he was ready to talk to anyone about with right now. It was still painfully raw, but the service had at least eased his mind much more than he thought it would. His face fell instantly and he cast his gaze to the sand in a long silence, his shoulders slouched as though all his energy was drained. After a few chimes, the young man nodded and answered in a low pitched voice,

"Thank you for singing for him. He would've loved it."

As if trying to cheer him, the breeze tugged teasingly at his thick brown hair.
Abruptly, an impudent little gold and crimson hatchling popped up near his feet, looking up at Mitt's face. Like a drooling baby, the creature started chomping on his shorts! It took him at least half a chime to do anything more than stare in shock at the adorable little critter. The young smith shifted the large chunk of driftwood from his right hand to his left and moved it downward to slide it between the hatchling's chomping jaws.

"I think this driftwood's a much better chew toy than my shorts there buddy!" Mitt responded. But not quite quick enough as his shorts were now spit soaked and half the length they used to be on the left side. But then nudity seemed to be part and parcel of Syka so Mitt thought he needed to try and get used to it. Although he'd never appeared in public so naked in his life.

"You're a damned cute little guy there eh?" The baby Ixam was irresistible and Mitt couldn't help but respond instantly.

"He seems pretty friendly to me. And curiosity at a young age is a mark of intelligence for sure. Handsome little stoker too." The gold markings looked gilded with Syna's rays herself and Mitt was thoroughly enchanted with the young and not so little Ixam. He looked like the perfect colors of a stoked forge!

"Yeah the birds definitely talk here!" Mitt responded with a snort and nodded his head at a recent memory with a Macaw.

Mitt noted her looking distracted and he could almost see the wheels turning as she thought deeply. Unexpectedly, Taz asked him a few carefully worded questions, all in one breath. Was this like the mini battles with her curls? Polite phrases to fill a social silence? The tall, now nearly naked young man thought another chime about her questions and if she truly did want to know what she'd asked him. Without really thinking about it, he reached down to rub the gold hatchling's little head, stroking the scales gently with large, work scarred hands.
When in doubt, be yourself.

"I'm settling in just fine. The smithy was pretty banged up when I got here and not to speak ill of my elders, but Artik left it in a bad way. Not that I blame him. A broken heart can break a soul if you dwell on it. The Founder, Randal helped me sweep up and clean out the place back to order. Now it's so bright and airy, it's even better than I could imagine! There's plenty of space to work with, dozens of tools aplenty and a twenty four chime a day ocean view that keeps things cleaner, brighter and cooler!"

Enthusiasm lit up his features as he talked about his favorite thing in the world and his eyes crinkled up at the corners the more the spoke about it. Mit's right hand found the Ixam's chin and scratched it as he continued.

"Lacking?! Gods, no! If anything it's the opposite. The smithy back in Sunberth was filthy, super noisy, crowded, smelly, huge, smoky, dark and we were vastly overworked. My dad, myself and anyone else six feet and over were put up front like guard dogs to deter would-be thieves. There were never enough shoes or gloves for us so what we had, we held tightly to us or someone would steal them right off our bodies if we let our guard down." His eyes glazed over with memories as he spoke and his nose wrinkled in disgust.

"And the almighty stink of dozens of unwashed bodies with festering wounds, ten giant smoke-belching forges with mixed metals that made fumes like you've never smelled in your life, condensed heat that made Syka feel cold, a dirt floor littered with calf-deep trash and way too many rats to count. Syka is a HUGE improvement in every way."

Even from four feet away, the earnestness of her tone carried perfectly and he searched her face as Tazrae spoke. The woman was wildly beautiful, kind, hard working and loved animals. He almost raised his hand to reach out to touch one of the wild curls that blew so close to him, but stopped the impulse. Instead he moved his hand to the other end of the driftwood in a tug of war fashion, distracting himself from what would soon be an evident problem not covered by the flimsy wet material of his chewed up half shorts.

"Are you kidding? Your cooking is great so the food alone would be reason enough to stay." he half joked. "I'm willing to learn more about the wild... if you're willing to teach me."

WC 1,455 Total WC 2,371
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Tazrae on October 13th, 2022, 2:32 am

She didn’t know him. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to. But it was that he was an utter stranger. In times past, Tazrae would have made it a point to seek the new person out, get to know them and extend a true Sykan welcome to the person making them feel at home. She wasn’t sure why this season was different. Last season had been different too. Had it really been almost a quarter of a year since the curse? Time had changed for Tazrae. She used to mark the days with sunrises and sunsets, but now she hardly noticed the passage of the seasons. Syka made it easy, having no turning of the leaves or falling of snow. Maybe it was simply that she was more a part of the jungle than she’d ever been and the jungle measured no time at all.

The stranger was handsome. His features were uniform, his eyes bright, and his expression though frequently puzzled, was completely open and unguarded. Why chance things like that? Why trust a stranger… Tazrae wondered. Taz recognized the extension of friendship and the openness of an honest man’s nature. He was grieving too, and that sometimes made a person vulnerable. Truly, no one would hurt him here. But in other places? He would be treading dangerous ground approaching strangers in unfamiliar territory.

Inwardly, Tazrae took a wide step back from herself and judged her own reactions. She didn’t even recognize herself, not really, not in her interaction with this new person. It was like someone else controlled her body, and her reactions, and had turned off her emotions completely. Once, there would have been pure joy at meeting someone else. Now, she just wondered in a detached way what that new person would come to mean to her and if she’d be stupid enough to let them hurt her. No… no she wouldn’t. Not this time… not with this man. He looked too nice. He looked wholesome, unsoiled by life’s shitstorms, and without true overwhelming familial burdens of power and legacy and the destruction each could wreak. He’d find someone here though, for sure. A lovely settled woman, young, as wholesome as he was … maybe even one of the new people in the Settlement that was quickly becoming a city.

She’d just wanted to gather her clams in peace, spend time with her lounge, and forget niceties like having to make conversation or entertain or even protect. Taz watched herself juggle the mental baggage with detachment, curious about this new sensation of instability in herself. Was it the magic? Was it something else weighing on her? If she cared more she might worry, but that required too much mental effort and part of her driving problem was overthinking, overplanning, over worrying… to the point things had shut down. She really ought to hang a sign around her neck that read “Back In A Few Bells” to forewarn people that not all of her was dwelling securely in her brain with all torches lit. But then again, if she knew she was crazy, didn’t that make her sane? Tazrae tilted her head to one side, thoughtful on the aspect of consciousness for a moment before refocusing on the man before her.

He was parroting something back at her that she’d just said to him. She ignored it. The question seemed rhetorical anyhow, didn’t it? Of course, the Scarlet sired most of the eggs around here. One only had to get a good look at him to realize it. “They are Ixam. There are many kinds of them found throughout the world. Ours are Jungle Ixam. They act as our mounts. There is tack for them at the Commons, and when they aren’t being ridden or harnessed for pulling, they roam freely. There are quite a few of them here now, but that just means there are multiple lounges. A group of them together are called a lounge… like a herd of cows or a pack of wolves. They are carnivorous, so they hunt as well and enjoy fishing. They are good swimmers so don’t think the water will deter them if one runs you into the sea.” She added, thinking perhaps she was talking too much.

When he turned and spoke to Bree like she was a person, Taz shifted her stance to get a better view of how Bree would handle the interaction.

“She told you my name, but you didn’t offer your own. Taz would have introduced you if she knew who you were. I heard someone say Mittle at the Tenday. Is that you? The one with the dead father? I’m sorry for your loss. We Ixam don’t know our parents so we have no basis for such things. But I would miss my companions if they were taken all the same.” The green Ixam said, her sapphire patterning flashing in the darkness. It almost looked like her forked tongue was purple. “And Taz oversimplifies things with this one.” Bree said, turning to nibble on the Scarlet Ixam that was sprawled beside her. “He chases, we fight, and only if he wins does he get to mount me. He doesn’t always win. I already have the eggs, as she well knows, but its his seed that makes them harden and grow ripe. It is pure joy to be defeated, pleasured, and equally satisfying to hide my eggs out and about and to see what hatches when that time comes. Tazrae gathers them and watches over them, which is why there are so many of us in Syka now – especially the young. Out in the jungle, most of my offspring would be food for bigger and meaner things, even other Ixam.” Bree said with a reptilian smirk, making a show of yawning to reveal the razor-sharp teeth in her snout and even highlighting them by running her tongue along the gleaming pearly white daggers in the moonlight.

Taz cut off Bree before she could say something utterly stupid. “I don’t breed the Ixam. They breed themselves. As she said, I just gather what stray eggs I can find, protect them, and keep them moist and warm, so they grow enough to hatch. I do breed snakes… the Mussurana. They are black creatures, big, with iridescent scales. They are rear-fanged pit vipers that eat the poisonous snakes around here. They are immune to most snake toxins. I breed as many as I can and release them in and around Syka. They can’t bite humans easily, and if they do, we are unaffected by their venom. The poisonous snakes around here aren’t so lucky and fall to it quickly. They’ve made a huge impact on how many deadly snakebites we have in the Settlement. Things like eyelash vipers are rare here now… and so too are rodents.” Tazrae said with a grin. “So, if you see a pure black snake with a rainbow sheen to its scales, don’t hurt them. Encourage them instead. Them being around might be the reason you live to an old age if you stick around.” Tazrae finished, leaning a hand on her hip, watching Mitt carefully for his reaction.

“You are welcome. Randal said your father was a man worth singing for.” She said simply, leaving it at that. She hadn’t known Mittle’s father but she would do Rhaus’ duty and honor the fallen with a song every time. Taz trailed off anything else she was going to say, instead watching Mitt’s reaction to the hatchling. She was surprised he gave up his driftwood treasure so readily.

At Mittle’s comment about the hatchling, Bree arched her neck and chuckled. “You should take that little one home. Someone will get hungry and eat him otherwise since he was born so late. If sheltered, he’ll grow up huge and make a stout man like you a fine mount. He’s one of the Scarlet’s sons, out of the golden Ixam that Tazrae calls Sunshine, I suspect. He has her coloring.” Bree added. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find one of the adults big enough to carry you right now anyhow. Most of them are wild and have struggled for food and the right to grow to adulthood. That makes them smaller. All the young here are so protected, all they do is eat, sleep, and get big. Taz tends to hunt for them, which makes them all a little lazy.” She said, flicking her tongue out. The big red male beside her seemed to consider the conversation, then reached out his neck to twine it around Bree’s neck and he nibbled her chin affectionately.

Tazrae broke the pause in the conversation then and rambled, uncomfortable by the Ixam’s easy affection, while at the same time fighting the detachment that had so recently bothered her. If she just talked… no one would understand things weren’t normal with her, would they? Taz worked on it in her mind, trying to muddle through the interaction. Mitt started answering her question and entertaining the hatchling all at the same time. That was a good sign, right?

“Artik came here broken. He just thought a woman would fix him, and she decidedly didn’t. I don’t think he lost his heart. A man like that has no heart. They just exist as an empty shell and try to fill the place in their chest their heart used to be. He uses booze mostly, but I’ve seen him do other things. And he was too lost to realize that burying himself in a woman that had no interest past her own nose would get him absolutely nowhere either.” She added, somewhat unkindly. Taz didn’t like Artik. He was filthy, rude, and on his best days somewhat crude. He’d made a pass at every woman in the settlement and she still had a hard time figuring out how in the world one of them had actually let the man touch her.

“It sounds like you were able to turn a bad situation into a satisfying one. I’m glad for you.” She added.

Then she grew quiet, listening to Mit talk about the other forge he’d worked at and how vastly different his life there had been. Syka was exactly the opposite of what Mit described to her. She understood, because like everyone else here, she was from somewhere else. In her case, Riverfall, and her experience had been not with thieves but with the Akalak and their unreasonable demands and traditions. She’d never fit in with Riverfall as she did with Syka. The best thing that ever happened to her was leaving and stepping off the Veronica onto Syka’s shores.

Taz didn’t notice Mittle’s discomfort or the fact that he deliberately started a tug-o-war with the hatchling. Instead, she turned and looked at the sea, then at the supplies she had stacked around the bucket. “I’m just gathering butter clams and going to rake some razor clams up to probably serve in chowder for lunch at the Inn tomorrow. I can show you how to gather your own if you’d like… so you can boil a pot anytime you want. You are camped, right? Are you liking that sort of living? Even though I run The Inn, I live somewhat like that myself. I camp on the beach in a Drykas Pavilion.” She added with a laugh. One of these days she might build a home… one of these days.

“You don’t mind that Syka doesn’t have a… I am not sure I know what the term is… a smelter? A place that has big blast furnaces that can extrude metal from rock and make pure ingots? I don’t think we’d enjoy the smoke anyhow, but it does mean we have to import metal.” She said thoughtfully, not knowing much about metalsmithing, blacksmiths, or their needs.

“I’m one of Syka’s Rangers… so it's part of my job to teach folk to survive. I’d be glad to show you a thing or two about foraging around here. Do you want to help me tonight? That’s a good place to start.” She added, actually not suddenly minding so much the intrusion or that he was the company she would definitely deem unwanted. Bree talked to him, and acknowledged him by knowing his name… so that was something. It was unusual that the Ixam took an interest at all.

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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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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Mittle on October 13th, 2022, 7:29 pm

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This had to be the strangest encounter he'd ever had in his life. It gave Mitt a lot to think about in the enormous and heavy silences. Taz appeared reluctant to utter a word or even look at him. He'd only stopped at the huge Ixam's warning hiss. Did she think he was some kind of creeper or letch looking to hit on her because she had a pulse? It looked like he'd rudely interrupted the woman's work and she wanted nothing to do with anyone.

Judging by his first meeting with Randal, he thought there would be an island full of open friendly people. It didn't look like it if meeting Artik and this chance meeting were any indications. Her demeanor couldn't possibly be more distant and Mitt adjusted his stance to step back two paces. Got it.

Might as well still be in Sunberth for the 'leave me the fuck alone' people. It wasn't just Taz, it was the island's people with a fiercely solitary mindset that lacked only the big city's crowded ugliness. Message received loud and clear.

The young smith took in Tazrae's highly formal words with no contractions and nodded silently, not looking at her.

So they rode lizards-errr Ixams here? Tack and hauling like a horse? As he listened more, it made him think more. Hmm... they'd chase him into the water to drown? He had no doubt that those powerful Ixam could and would kill him with no effort or second thought. A couched warning it seemed.

For every word omitted by the woman, Bree made up for it in triplicate! Blue eyes roamed the beautiful glimmering emerald scales as she spoke and he nodded to her question. He simply answered,
"Yes, I'm Mitt." then kept his mouth shut. He didn't get the impression that talking (to other people!) was appreciated much at all and his abrupt interruption was politely tolerated but not welcome.

How could an Ixam express so much passion for life and yet the woman in front him talked and acted like the complete opposite? Was Tazrae even human? Was she maybe a Kelvic or some kind of shape shifter like the ones he'd seen in Sunberth? It might account somewhat for her distant awkwardness.

When the she-Ixam blatantly displayed her rows of sharp gleaming teeth, it certainly didn't go unnoticed! Mitt opened and closed his mouth quickly at the shine of those deadly sharp weapons displayed in a crystal clear message!

Just when the golden haired man thought this conversation couldn't get any stranger or more threatening, Tazrae began speaking of snakes. Lot of big black snakes. Large, venomous, man killing snakes. And that's when she started looking at him again. While talking about breeding big black fanged snakes to go after lots of poisonous snakes, Taz carefully watched him. He kept his eyes between the hatchling and Bree, no longer looking at Tazrae and maintaining a solid distance.

He could feel his old self creeping back in from Sunberth like a pair of well worn shoes and heavy armor. His broad shoulders squared up as he rocked back on his heels, while his face dropped any pretense of a smile.

'Mind your business, keep your head down and keep an ear out for any possible threats, veiled or otherwise. Like giant toothed killer lizards and huge deadly snakes that someone was very familiar with.' he thought carefully.

Before he could gain any further mental footing, Bree chimed in again and he listened carefully. Despite his resolve, the insistent and very strong hatchling avidly played back his side of tug of war. The driftwood piece was jerked back and forth swiftly with an amazing amount of force for a dog sized lizard! He used both hands now, trying to maintain a grip and heard Bree's comment with a bit of consternation.

"EAT him?!" There was no way a person could be calm with that baby cannibal reference! "I set up a tent on the beach but I'd hardly call it a home for me, much less a giant Ixam with sword sharp teeth! And I have no idea how to take care of him-' The comments were cut off sharply as the baby lizard almost ripped the driftwood from his hands. Stoker shook his head savagely while holding the stick, imitating a sure fire neck snapping method for killing his future prey. He was this strong as a brand new baby hatchling?!

Each time Mitt tried to talk, the baby just tugged harder. Mitt waited for the chime between tugs and sent the huge heavy driftwood sailing in a long, high arc just over a hundred paces away. The young smith hadn't meant to start a game of fetch, but Stoker didn't seem to mind in the least.

Tazrae's comment about Artik made him think. A lot. It seemed Artik wasn't the only one who needed a crutch. She used her reptiles' company as her crutch for lack of human interaction. Was it a running pattern here? Talking animals but loner people? Only talk to your pets?

Would Syka turn out to be even lonelier than Sunberth? He'd gotten through the pattern of eat, work, sleep but the sea voyage had promised something more, something different. Well, all birds talking, huge riding reptiles that could kill you and lots of giant venomous snakes were different. Maybe if he--

He stared open mouthed at the little lizard face pointed up at him, proudly holding the heavy long driftwood like a light toy! Did that gods damned lizard just play fetch?! How could anyone's guard stay up around this cute like Stoker?! Swiftly he grabbed the long stick and gave it a mighty heave to send it even higher and further this time.

The curly haired woman gestured to the buckets of clams that he hadn't even noticed amidst huge killer lizards, her pretty face and talk of venomous snakes.

"Oh I didn't mean to disturb your work. I wasn't paying attention to where I was walking until Big Red hissed at me. " Mitt kept his voice quiet when he answered, not wanting to startle her again.

When she spoke of her tent, she laughed! The golden haired man had no idea what had made her laugh, but his heart tugged at the unfettered carefree sound. She was even more breathtaking when she did so and his eyes couldn't help but stay glued to her expressive face.

It took him a few chimes to realize what she'd asked him when he was entirely too mesmerized by Taz's slightest movements and voice.

"A smelter? Here?! Do you have any idea how much they reek? I wouldn't want to have a stinking belching blast smelter here at all." he responded, shaking his head emphatically. "Randal had mentioned it earlier and it's smarter to simply import the ore. The last thing Syka needs is the thick black choking smoke fumes. It turns everything dirty and kills off the plants, animals and people. A lot of people I worked with died of coughing sickness back home at the Foundry."

Ah. The offer of help was another of her jobs. Innkeeper, cook, snake breeder and Ranger? How could someone so strong, so competent, give the impression of being so emotionally fragile? Another of Syka's many mysteries.

The young smith tried to keep it firmly in mind that her offer was a job obligation, and nothing more. He'd stopped her from working, which was rude so he should pay attention and put his efforts into learning. Instead of watching how her curls played in the breeze and the fond look she gave Bree.

"Yes, let's get to work."



WC 1.281 total WC 3,652
Last edited by Mittle on October 28th, 2022, 5:02 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 15th, 2022, 9:43 pm

Had Tazrae known what Mitt was thinking, she would have laughed outright. And then she would have corrected him gently on a few points. It wasn’t that she didn’t want company. It was that she’d lacked it for so long that actual human interaction felt somewhat foreign to her. Work didn’t count. She was there to cook, feed people, and put a roof over their heads so they could sleep soundly at night. She didn’t socialize much there because she was often too busy with all the tasks that were involved with being an Innkeeper.

She was usually just washing up from a meal, changing sheets, getting ready to prep for yet another meal, fixing things like pipes that suddenly decided to leak, or reassuring a stranger that the giant spider was building a web in the upper corner of their rooms’ ceiling wasn’t going to eat them in the night. She gave tours, packed lunches, suggested outings, and rented out endless paddleboards, sometimes stopping to give brief lessons to the people using the equipment. Tazrae foraged late in the evening after dinner, and when there were foodstuffs enough for the next day, she caught a nap before waking to prep for breakfast. Her day started all over again, with her only big break during the afternoon where she tended to slip into a hard sleep and get three or four hours before she had to prep for the dinner crowd.

Her days were much the same cycles, over and over again, and only when the Inn was empty was there a different option… one where she could close down for the day and take a break.

But explaining all this to the man before her – the stranger - didn’t seem like an option. They just stood awkwardly watching each other, because Tazrae was out of the habit of small talk and conversation since the season when everyone had forgotten her. IT was… awkward for her now. And last season hadn’t done much to assist her in recovering. She could tell something she did or said closed him off. He stopped watching her, which was a relief, but he also seemed stoic and guarded now where he hadn’t been moments before. Taz was an astute observer. All she did was watch people and gauge them by their reactions to things.

So… he gave Bree his friendly smile and banter even though she showed him her teeth like a bully. Taz shot her a warning look the lizard shot back, both females speaking volumes to each other without saying a word.

“Why would you need to know how to take care of him?” Bree asked. “He’ll hunt for himself. All you need to do is throw some coconut oil on his scales. He will grow fast and it will dry out and crack his hide painfully because they tend to outgrow their skin faster than their skin sheds. Oiling it helps. Itching where you oil also makes them love you. That one is a good fisherman. But he’ll kill piglets and other things when he can… seagulls when they are stupid enough to come close. Taz oils me, and the Scarlet one too when he needs it. All of us, really, which is why we hang out. We bring her a lot of fresh meat to thank her.” She added, glancing over at the Innkeeper.

Taz smiled. “I’m grateful for it too. There are often a lot of people to feed at the Inn.” She added, responding to Bree and her comments. “I can gather all the fruit and greens I need easily, but hunting takes more time. You lot make a game of it. And it’s a good tradeoff for letting you stay at Garden Beach un-harassed.” She added.

To Mitt she said, “I have six acres of beach and jungle between Mathias’ Place and The Protea. Most of the Ixam hang out there. It’s also where I gather and watch their eggs, so many of them are born there and consider it home.” She said in a way of explanation. That was also why she wasn’t foraging there. Tazrae spread out her harvests of things like clams and lobster so she wasn’t cleaning out just one section of beach but uniformly taking a bit from here, a bit from there to feed the populace.

Bree laughed and the big Scarlet male grinned toothily. “We’d eat the young in a heartbeat, as you humans say if they became bothersome.” She replied, shaking her head. “With the number of eggs we lay, if all of them survived, we’d soon be overrun.” The Ixam said matter-of-factly. She turned and looked at Tazrae, as if the two of them had a long-running disagreement about this.

“How many did you actually lay this year?” Taz asked curiously, knowing the Ixam laid multiple eggs, but not in big clutches like snakes. They deposited them one at a time in hidden places that were warm and moist, letting them finish developing outside of their bodies. The egg mortality was high, especially due to monkeys and birds finding them and breaking into them to consume the embryos. When Tazrae collected them and kept them safe, it still meant only about half the ones she collected fully developed and hatched. Then the hatchlings tended to cannibalize each other if there were no other food sources around.

“Ten… twelve. Something like that.” Bree said as if she hadn’t kept count but was estimating. She looked over her head, arching her neck, and almost preening like a bird within the scarlet male’s sight. He sniffed at her, looking interested suddenly, and hissed in an unusual tone before reaching over to groom along Bree’s neck with razor-sharp teeth that suddenly turned gentle. “He’s persuasive with his attentions,” Bree added as if it was some sort of excuse for her laying eggs all over the settlement.

Tazrae realized she’d only found three of them and sighed gently. She’d have to do better, try harder, and keep more of them alive. The odds of any of the other eight hatchings and living to adulthood were slim to none. There were too many predators… and the jungle to harsh to little creatures like the one playing tug-o-war with Mitt.

She smiled when Mitt tugged the stick away and tossed it for the little blazing yellow and red hatchling. That one was as good as rehomed and she suspected the smith would have a loyal reliable mount for the rest of his life. It would be a toss-up as to who lived longer… and if he supplemented the hatchlings hunting with fresh meat the odds of the creature getting as big as the scarlet or even larger were good. Taz smiled. They made an attractive couple of males… the man and the hatchling she pictured full-grown. The Innkeeper was looking at the future of Syka and knew it.

Blast Smelter. So that’s what they were called. “That doesn’t sound like a good idea. I’ve only heard of the smelters, but not actually lived anywhere one was.” Taz explained, deferring to the man’s expertise. She had a desire to have Syka independent from all imports, but not at the cost of ruining the landscape to do so. “It would be nice if we didn’t have to import anything, but I can see how sometimes it's necessary.” She said quietly, looking at him thoughtfully. Usually, people didn’t care what their actions did to places around them. Mining. Logging. Placing dams to make streams… all of it was sometimes a necessity of society, whether they liked it or not. Syka was still green and beautiful. Taz wanted to make sure it stayed that way.

When Mitt said…. “Let’s get to work.” Taz had to smile at him. “I was already working.” She said with a short curve of her lips upwards. Her tone was almost teasing. “Though to be honest, I don’t consider foraging work. I happen to like to wander and gather. It’s fairly easy in Syka. When it's light out, I can take you around and show you some of the main groves of fruit and patches of edibles we found when the settlement was built. But in the dark of the night, the best I can do is show you things like gathering butter clams, using the rake… or the clam gun for razor clams, and even lobster hunting which can be exciting.” Taz said thoughtfully. “Do you like eating any of those things?” She said while reaching out and capturing the little hatchling and hefting him into her arms.

She took a moment to catch the creature's eyes. “Stop bothering him. You can follow and help and get treats if you behave.” She said, speaking in Common for Mitt’s benefit, but actually transmitting her will and the thoughts behind what she said to the little male fireball with Nura. He was excited to be invited and agreeable to behaving, but Taz had no illusions it would last. The hatchling was heavy and Taz was just strong enough to hold him out in front of her a few moments before she had to sit him down again.

He reminded her of Creature, though the truth was her dog had all but abandoned her to Mathias’ porch where he spent most his days hanging out with the Founder rather than at the Inn where Tazrae was frequently busy. The Imperial Watcher was a huge harlequin male, but since the Ixam has been around, Creech hadn’t been. But the dog was happy, and that was all that Tazrae really cared about.

Refocusing back to the present, Taz reached down and picked up a lightly woven wire basket. “It’s a clam basket. In these stretches you can use them to sift the sand and clean out the clams you dig out of the sand with the basket. I’ll show you…” She said, beckoning Mitt to come with her. She lead him down to the edge of the waterline. Once there, she trailed along where the waves kissed the shore. Then, by moonlight, she gestured at the still-soaked sand, pointing out bubbles and indents that looked like small vents into the depths of the micro world of the tiny quartz grains of sand. “Where there are dimples and holes, there are clams. So spot them when a wave is out…. get between them and the sea….” Taz moved fluidly, almost like one of the reptiles themselves, and squatted lightly with the basket outstretched and ready.

Then she waited for a wave to come up and used the basket as a shovel’s spade and dug it deep into the sand as the wave made the sand more pliable and loose with the water crashing up past her knees. It was obvious she was digging blind and as deep as she could, pulling up a basket full of sand that streamed water that was brownish white with the suspended particles in it. Then as the water pulled out, she leveled the basket out and used it almost like a shifter with the wash of the wave cleansing the sand from what she’d dug from its depths.

Triumphantly she pulled up the basket once the wave pulled out far enough to leave the sand beneath her smooth and dry again. In her basket, she had a dozen little butter clams glistening cleanly in the moonlight… free of sand with one or two creepy crawlies in there that were perhaps sand fleas or some other creature that dwelled in the same place the clams lived. Taz dutifully picked the moving things out and tossed them aside, freeing them back to the sea and intertidal zone. Leading Mitt back up to the large bucket perched higher up on the beach in the dry sand, she added her handful of clams to the half bucket she’d already gathered.

“See the way of it? Give it a try.” She said, offering him the bucket while his little yellow and red shadow hovered out of the way still being good to his youthful word with the threat of being eaten given in Nura. The hatchling was busy stalking nightbirds – some sort of sandpiper – that seemed to be out feasting under the cover of darkness.

“These aren’t the only types of clams here too. These are just the most plentiful and easy to acquire. Once you get the hang of this, I’ll show you the clam gun and the rake… how they are used… and show you how to find those other types of clams… including the freshwater types you can find in the Syka River.” Taz added, heading back towards the waves. She was confident Mitt would get a good grasp of the clam gathering as she waded back into the water, ready to flank him and see if he could spot where the clams were gathering and successfully scoop them up.

“Then maybe we can go try for a lobster or two. One can forage for them easily enough… at night by the moonlight. But I also have traps that I use that are passive. I can teach you to bait and set them. They are easy enough even a child can. I don’t always have time to openly hunt and devote the time. Traps are great because you can set them and wait for crabs and clams to come to you while you are busy say at your forge working. We have the freshest food here, Mitt… as long as you like this style of things. And I can teach you how to cook it all if you want… or just make it for you if you drop it by the Inn. I don’t mind.” She added, trying to be helpful now that she’d been actively talking to another person for more than a moment or two… one that spoke back and had active feelings… active needs… a new person that deserved a straight shot and a warm welcome. If he didn’t get one from her, who would roll out some sort of proverbial carpet and let him know he was welcome.

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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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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Mittle on October 16th, 2022, 6:21 pm

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Mitt took in Bree's comments with a nod, finding it fascinating.
"So coconut oil, scratches and some meat treats? Sounds almost like me as a kid." he caught himself on the verge of a smile, but stopped himself just short.
"As a kid they fed me but generally left me to see to myself most of the time. That little Stoker looks more than smart enough to take care of himself, I can see that. I'd still want to keep him company though.."

He listened to the Ixam's explanations, taking in the perfectly symbiotic relationship that they shared with Tazrae. Born in Sunberth, he saw the meanings between the words and what they implied. Her bond with Bree was solid and he respected that immensely. Being close to someone was important to keep a person's sanity intact, as too much solitude made for an unhealthy and morbid mindset. Sheer isolation and loneliness could bring down the stoutest of hearts.

The Lounge were this woman's family in every way. They spoke to each other yes, but more than that, they took care of one another in a voluntary way. None were obligated to follow any conventions other than what they made for themselves, and no one would or could gainsay that.

Mitt nodded in respect to both the Ixam and the woman's words. There was far more there than understood at first glance. He had to admit to himself that he might have been a bit hasty in assuming things about Tazrae. He needs to kick Sunberth off his back. He'd walked away physically, but the old survival mentality hunted him even here in Syka.

"Six entire acres of land for yourself and you forage out here? Why? " Mitt wondered, knowing next to nothing outside of city life.

"If everything's right there next to your home, wouldn't it be far easier to just walk out your door and grab what's closest?" He asked Tazrae, very curious about it.

He'd seen her at the Inn and it seemed like the woman never slept! Morning, noon and night he'd seen her working there. Cooking, serving, cleaning and always on the move. The young man wondered at how she found any time at all for herself, let alone slept a wink or took care of the Lounge of Ixam.

When Bree explained the treatment of their young further, Mitted nodded involuntarily as he comprehended and agreed with it.

"Yes, I see now. It was like that back in Sunberth too. There were so many of us kids running around all the time and a lot of the adults were busy living their lives. We had to work hard and be smart or we wouldn't live to be adults." the golden haired man commented thoughtfully.

"With so many kids fighting over what resources there were, it was necessary to fight for your share or take it from another to survive. I guess it makes sense that if you're not strong enough or smart enough to make it into adulthood, then you have no right to any of the resources. It encourages the best to survive and continue." It made him very thoughtful at Bree's insight. He could see no fault with it.

He caught the look between them and amusement lingered in his blue eyes.
"She's right Tazrae. Back home, we kids made up about a quarter of the Sunberth population. We all needed food, clothes, shoes, shelter and some one to give a shit, but there was only a finite amount of resources for everyone. Children, adults and elderly. Bree makes sense that resources should be used to the best advantage."

The sweet featured woman smiled and Mitt couldn't take his blue eyes off of her. Her light curly hair played about her face and she was so. Damn. Beautiful. Not just her looks, but in the way she interacted with the Ixam and the way she grew so animated talking about nature and wildlife. She wasn't cold or distant at all, he realized. She was purely a free spirit as naturally wild as the beach breeze, the Ixam, the waves and all that surrounded her. Something stirred within him and the golden haired man didn't know what it was, but he was entranced.

"Progress is necessary but it should be a long term plan, I would think." He answered pensively. Back home was dirty, overcrowded, crime riddled, violent, ugly and depressing-on a good day. Syka was open, unspoiled, bright, fresh and clean with open skies and clear seas as far as the eye could wander. He didn't want that ruined either.

"Yeah, sorry again for interrupting what you were doing. I wasn't looking ahead of me when I should have. I'd started to let my guard down on this island and I'll be more careful from now on." Mitt answered, meaning every word.

"Clams and scallops and pretty much all seafood is my favorite actually. I love all of those things." he instantly replied.

Mitt watched Tazrae with the hatchling and again caught himself trying very much not to smile. Kids never behaved long, for any species. It was a kid's job to be a pest. Damned if he didn't like that wild little Stoker with so much spirit and friendliness.

The young smith watched her with gleaming blue eyes, taking in her lithe movements while she explained clamming in a step by step process. The woman had no idea the picture she made before him. He watched her move downward with the sieve upheld to the wave and it glittered like a tribute to an unseen Goddess. Her long curly hair flowed freely behind her and each movement bespoke the grace of a lifetime spent comfortably within nature.

His eyes soon caught and held onto the sieve, studying its design with fascination.
"That shape--it's rounder but we use a flatter one in the smithy for the leftover coal when cleaning the forge!" he stated as he gazed at the linkwork along the bottom for reinforcement. It was more of a scoop and hold with the sieve instead of a long shake with a handle.

Large steps followed behind her, his feet sinking into the warm soft sand. As the tide moved beneath his weight, he felt the amazing sensation of sand shifting to displace his water weight with the heavier salt water. It was science at its best and he reveled in the feeling of true, unsullied nature.

Returning his attention back to her explanation and demonstrations, he marveled at how she combined intelligence with a soft spoken countenance and a quiet confidence. She didn't need to brag about her smarts, strength or independence; she merely lived the example.

He took the basket she offered and decided to give a try. His gaze scanned the shoreline, carefully searching for the small dimples in the sand that she'd explained. On closer inspection, he spotted a small patch of nearly identical holes in a grouped pattern as the tide moved.

With a little too much gusto, he crouched and plunged the basket deeply, leaving a huge gaping hole. Before he could completely uplift the basket, a wave crashed down on him and he fell backwards, still holding onto the emptied basket. Looking utterly surprised he sat up and shook the water out of his ear.

"I need to try that again. I think I didn't quite time it right or gauge the depth properly."

Earnestly concentrating, he knelt on one knee while keeping a sharp grey eye on the tide's movement. A few small pockmarks bubbled in the wet sand--there! He leaned forward to match the water's movement, scooping the bucket down, out and then up, raising it securely with both hands. The tide water rushed down, sieving the water through it efficiently. Beach sand and water filtered through, leaving the wet shining butter clams. Tiny creatures crawled among the shells and mimicking Tazrae, he flicked them out of the basket.

"Yes to that. I need to learn more how to get some food like that. As much as I like your coffee and cooking, I'd like to be able to take care of myself too-no offense." His smile was genuine and he watched Tazrae as she spoke and her smile held him rooted to the spot.

"I'd like to learn lobster traps too. And I can boil water and dump vinegar on it but that's the extent of my cooking skills. How long have you known how to cook? My mother was a great cook. Did your mom teach you?"


WC 1,427 total WC 5,079
Last edited by Mittle on October 28th, 2022, 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Moonlight Talks (Mitt Please)

Postby Tazrae on October 17th, 2022, 12:00 am

Taz was glad to hear that Mitt liked seafood. A lot of easily acquired foraging in Syka was actually seafood and fruit. If one didn’t like one or the other, their diet would be limited to hunting pigs, tapir, and some of the quick forest deer that were almost impossible to hit even with a bow with their swiftness and acute hearing. Taz made a lot of fish meals and augmented it with bivalve clams. It kept well in the humidity where it would go bad in dry heat quickly. The Innkeeper was quickly warming to the new smith, seeing different aspects of him and noting how he treated the little hatchling almost immediately. When he let it slip he was already calling the creature by name in his head, Taz knew the little one was adopted and would survive. So many of them did not, no matter what Tazrae did to actually raise the hatching rate.

She nodded to his comment about coconut oil, scratches, and meat, offering him a smile as she did so.

Taz took a deep breath and thought about his question. “I make a lot of food and feed a lot of people. If I constantly pull from the same areas in my foraging, it makes an impact. I scatter my foraging around to make the resources last longer. I built a dock for The Protea, but I often forage off the main dock as well or even Mathias’ deck to scatter out the catch. I’ve been known to ride Ixam miles up the Syka River to harvest a lot of freshwater clams, in order to save the ones in the river closer to the settlement.” She explained, not sure if she was making herself clear. “Six acres sounds like a lot, but if I take food every day in the quantity I have to, it makes a big impact. If I was feeding just myself, I wouldn’t worry. I’d just pull from my acreage.” She added.

“I’ve heard a little about Sunberth. It couldn’t have been an easy upbringing. I have a close friend from Sunberth, but he rarely talks about his time there. I get the impression though, that it wasn’t pleasant.” She added.

People from Sunberth, in Tazrae’s experience, had damage to their hearts and their souls. It wasn’t something she could understand not having lived it, but it was something she could now easily recognize. “If you ever want to talk about growing up in Sunberth, especially since you’ve been here a while, I’ll be glad to listen. I’d be glad to grab a bottle of wine or a few jars of something Stu brewed up at the Tidepool and walk with you. I have no experience with big cities, even though I grew up in Riverfall. I grew up very sheltered so I didn’t even get out much. But it's endlessly fascinating to me to hear about other people and their lives.” She said, looking thoughtful. Was it because her own upbringing was so crazy? It was a story no one would believe had she even pieced it together enough to tell it.

“You didn’t interrupt. I just never see anyone out here after dark. I’m glad you braved the elements and the darkness in a new place. And it's nice to have some human company once in a while. I’m not used to it, so I’m sorry for my rough manners.” She added, digging her toes into the sand like a child and rocking back and forth. She stuck close to him, offering encouragement as he tried out the skill needed to gather the clams, but she didn’t criticize him even though he lost his footing in the sand. She grinned at that, but not a cruel grin, rather a playful one that told him she’d been in his shoes. “The tide going out while you are trying to sift can make you disorientated. It does to me all the time.” She admitted, laughing lightly.

“Oh.. and you can get the baskets and guns at the Mercantile.” She offered, in case Mitt liked the gathering and found it easy to do. “I also put them all from the bucket into a mesh bag and hang it off the end of one of the docks. No one will steal them. It keeps the clams fresh until I get ready to clean them and it filters out all the sand in their stomachs so they are easier to clean.” She said, offering a smile. “You won’t have any trouble doing this. I think you got it the second time just fine.” She said, walking back up the beach to grab the bucket of butter clams and carry it down to where Mitt was straining out the mesh basket, gathering them. She offered up the bucket for him to gently dump his catch into, then lead him up the beach further.

“Let's look at these other two things…” She said, gesturing at the two tools she had tucked under her arm. “And no offense taken. I’d rather people know how to feed themselves. You can drop by when you want spoiled and I’ll make you something you can’t easily make yourself.” She added, then took the basket from him, set it aside, and handed him the rake. “This is for bigger clams higher up. Or in places, the water is pooling and the big clams are near the surface.” She said, picking up the bucket and the rest of the gear, letting him keep the rake, and heading down the beach to a low spot that was usually wet near an outcrop of rocks. Taz dumped the gear near there, waded out into the water that was only over the tops of her bare feet, and held out her hand for the rake.

“A rake will give you bigger clams… cockles and things that don’t burrow deep in the sand.” She explained, then began racking at the sand that was still underwater and immediately a couple of big clams popped up. Taz collected them, tucking them into her bikini top between her breasts in lieu of having pockets, and tried again. She didn’t have any good luck the second and third times, and the fourth time she found a place little bubbles were erupting from the sand in the water, she raked and brought up a large clam. “Look for the bubbles… and give it a try… if you can’t get anything raking with the forks, that rake turns over and the spade becomes a shovel,” Taz added, stepping back so Mitt could try.

She quickly jogged up the beach, relieved herself of the bigger clams by placing them into the bucket, and returned to watch Mitt give it a try. “I’ll show you the gun next, if you’ve never used it.” She added, encouraging him. Being a smith, she thought he’d have a good chance of being successful at this technique.

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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 17th, 2022, 7:30 pm

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During his first attempt at clamming, the tide had removed his shorts, lifting them from him as skillfully as a Sunberth pickpocket, and he had no clue. His guard was almost entirely down and the golden haired man was as metaphorically naked as he was physically nude.

The curly haired beauty completely avoided his question about her mother and guessed it was not a good idea to push that topic any further.

Mitt's eyes scrutinized her expression as he listened to her intently. The explanation made perfect sense for long term planning--just like blacksmithing, timing and planning were everything.

"I get it. It's like if you lay an iron at an angle on the forge instead of resting it straight. It heats unevenly and ruins the structural integrity of the entire piece, rendering it unrecoverable." His smile answered Tazrae's own and his esteem grew for her intellect. She was literally not just another pretty face.

"That makes a lot of sense to draw the resources instead of upsetting them." he answered, thoughtfully.

"So when I go clamming, I should harvest it from different places instead of punching one place repeatedly. If I'm going to keep getting snacks for the little Stoker, I'm pretty sure it would take more than average food supplies than for just myself."

He was just getting to like Syka and the very last thing he wanted to do was ruin the same things that drew him there in the first place.

The moment Tazrae mentioned Sunberth, he rocked back on his heels and his expression became as hard and impassive as the iron he worked with each day. He'd overshared way too much and let his mouth work before his brain did. Her growing smiles and wayward curls lured him in. Her comments showed an instant compassion that he'd never had before and it was far too close a cousin to pity.
No. Just no. Mitt fought the urge to bring his arms up to his chest and glare. She hadn't said what she did to pry. She was just being.. nice.

The Hammer and the Anvil warred within him, each vying for a place simultaneously. Yes he'd 'been the anvil' as his father commanded, sharing and talking without using intimidation and being respectful. But the hammer made sure that shit like that didn't happen; that he wasn't blindsided into giving over control of his personal details or arming someone with knowledge to be used against him later. Would he ever find a peaceful balance?

A solid and very long five chimes passed before he could gather his thoughts rigidly enough to still reply politely. His answer was as noncommittal as his tone.

"I think most of us in Sunberth had it no harder or easier than the other. Just another person among ten million other rats, almost exactly the same. A lot like the Ixam I guess. We just exist and each of us fight for our own share of resources. Only the methods vary." he answered carefully with a dismissive shrug.

Clearly dissembling, the young smith finally quipped,
"It's a date! Grab some hooch and we can talk about your Riverfall. I have no idea what that city's like at all. Is it true it's all blue people?"

Braved? His shoulders relaxed and he smirked at her after dark comment. In Sunberth that was his highest paying job. Living, lurking in the shadows and being a Watcher to intimidate anyone too late with paying their debt to Rat. Never violence or direct threats. Just always implied and the night shielded him in cloaked safety. If anything, it was the broad daylight that took getting used to. You couldn't hide things or yourself from direct sunlight; you had to be the anvil in daylight, always.

Mitt nodded at mention of the Mercantile. He'd have to gear up if he was going to start foraging. If nothing else, buying tools was something he wouldn't mind doing no matter what the occasion called for.

He emptied the bucket, again appreciating the clever design work that made them. Even if the conversation wasn't enough to hold his attention, the tools were a solid bonus to keep him focused on the task at hand.

With calm grey eyes, Mitt hefted the rake, testing its balance and automatically scanned it for any forgewelding or scale. His right hand reflexively grasped the rake like a hammer and he held it face down with the back behind his forearm. Like a weapon at the ready; some habits just stayed.

Bright gold and crimson flashed in the scant light and dropped something at his feet with a wet plop. The young hatchling looked up at Mitt and swelled up his chest proudly. Something very mangled and very dead lay there in a bloody heap and the smith had no idea what the hell it was when it was alive.

"Good start little Stoker. You eat that one up to grow faster and stronger. I'll take the next one." He smiled and rubbed a work roughened hand along the side of the Ixam's head. "Well done. Now get back to work. I've got things to learn here."

Looking puzzled, he asked the woman, "Do you have any idea what that winged thing was in life? Is it safe to eat?"

He nodded at her explanation and demonstrations.
"So they would give away their locations like the other clams because the air is lighter than the salt water yes?"

On the verge of speaking he stopped and just watched her with vibrant blue eyes. "I'd give anything to be a clam right now."

Mitt murmured, not realizing he'd spoken out loud at all. "Lucky clams..."

She'd already headed back down the beach to get the baskets so she probably hadn't heard his comment. With a commendable effort, he wrenched his gaze and attention back on clamming.

The sand looked wet, clear and empty so he moved a littler closer toward the rocks, holding out the rake. Yes! There!

The young smith saw two small pockets of air and easily extended the rake, popping up a good sized clam, flipped it behind him and continued to walk and rake. He liked tools and it showed in his easy stance. Mitt raked twice, flipped it to the spade and scooped another clam up to sail through the air behind him to land fairly close to the other. Clear grey eyes searched but found no more air bubbles.

"This is fun!" he exclaimed, whirling the rake easily like a weapon to rest it against the back of his forearm again. "I found a couple but I don't think there's anymore close to the surface."

"A gun?"
he queried, searching Tazrae's face.

WC 1,123 Total WC 6,202
Last edited by Mittle on October 28th, 2022, 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
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