Closed Jungle Guide At Your Service Pt. 1

Tazrae meets Kamilla for some good old fashioned Wilderness Surivval lessons.

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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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Jungle Guide At Your Service Pt. 1

Postby Tazrae on November 1st, 2022, 8:24 pm

Timestamp: 68th of Fall, 522 A.V.


“It will be good for you.” Buraga grumbled. He eyed Tazrae up and down and then let his eyes rest on the bundle she had tucked up against her chest. “The jungle is filled with life of all ages. That little one will be no different. It will be better for her to grow up moving between the jungle and the settlement. She will be stronger for it. And you need to get over your fear of her vulnerabilities.” He said, jerking his chin towards the Commons.

“The woman will meet you there. She needs survival training. Kamilla won’t thrive in Syka without it. And I think she’s going to be an asset to the Settlement so keeping her alive would behoove us.” He added, crossing his arms over his chest and looking put upon to even be having this conversation.

“What does she know already?” Tazrae asked, rocking gently, trying not to wake the baby tucked up against her.

Buraga shrugged. “Not much, even though she is a smart one. I don’t think she goes into the jungle. Most everyone here is afraid of it. So, I think she knows caution and maybe fear until she learns differently.” He added. “You should start with teaching her to love it. Once she loves it, she might be more motivated to get to know it better and therein lies the secret to successfully surviving the jungle here. Love it. Embrace it. Teach her that first. The rest will come easier.” He added, looking like this was a topic he shouldn’t have to explain to Tazrae.

Tazrae almost flinched at his tone of voice. “I can certainly try, but you can’t make someone love something. It either comes or it doesn’t. And caution or healthy fear will keep her alive.” She said softly. Then she raised an eyebrow at Buraga. “How well do you know her?”

He shrugged. “Seen her around. Haven’t talked to her much, if at all. She has a fellow named Jehu staying at her place. I know him better. He’s that Chaktawe.” Buraga reported thoughtfully.

Taz simply nodded. “Where would you recommend, I take her? Someplace specific or just on a circular path of the Maw?” She asked, lifting a hand up and running it through her already tangled hair.

Buraga snorted. “Stop interrogating me. Go interrogate her. Find out where she wants to go and take her there or just simply take her for a walk. I don’t care. You ladies…. always have to plan. Stop planning for once and just go do it.” He grumbled, and stomped off, having figured Taz had all but agreed to take the other woman out into the jungle and that was that. The game of fifty questions she could save for the other woman.

Tazrae sighed, sensing she’d quickly run to the edge of Buraga’s patience and looked at the array of items around her place. She took her backpack off the shelf, still laying a hand on the sling in front of her. Then she carefully packed things both for herself and Khari, knowing that the backpack already contained most of what she would need in regard to survival gear and medical help. She loaded on her charms, slipped her necklace around her neck, and made sure she had everything she needed for herself and the baby. The last thing she did was put the coiled whip – not her original but one she’d picked up at The Outpost – and Sweet Refrain on her belt. She’d better not have to fight with Khari with her, but she felt a lot better with the machete and its trusty hatchet counterpart alongside her.

Then, with that in mind, she set off for The Commons, hoping to find the woman Buraga was talking about. She’d seen the other woman around, more than once, though she’d been gone a long time as well. Thinking she was probably migratory, Taz refrained judgment until such a time as the woman wanted to talk about herself. She had a job to do, and earning her keep as a Ranger was one of them. Truthfully, she didn’t have a choice in the matter, but it wasn’t a hardship to escort people around, scout out new locations, and keep trails cleared. There was a big trail towards the Cheenga Ruins that needed some maintenance. That might be a good place to take the woman for her first outing.

Taz exited down the steps of her Pavilion and then paused by Bree who was sunning herself. “We’re going out into the jungle. Do you want to come? There’s a new woman we are meeting… new to us, not to the settlement. It's just a basic teaching session, but I noticed you haven’t been doing much all day and might want to get out?” She asked sincerely, pausing long enough to watch the large green and blue Ixam heave herself to her feet.

“Sure. Why not? If this one is annoying can we leave her in the jungle?” Bree asked, her reptilian lips peeling back from sharp teeth to reveal a smile.

Taz laughed. “No! Our job is to watch over them and make sure they go out prepared and can come home again safely. It’s not to take them out and lose them in the jungle. Tell me again why we are friends?” The Innkeeper asked, pausing to adjust the bundle against her abdomen. She had Khari wrapped in a sling that fit over her shoulders like a reverse backpack, around her waist, and supported the baby up against her torso where she could ride safely and even nurse if she needed to. The truth was, Tazrae could do with a walk, for sure. Parts of her were still returning to their original pre-pregnancy shape after carrying twins and that reset seemed to be a slow process.

Bree shrugged. “You are no fun, Innkeeper.” And skipped on ahead, gathering several juveniles in her wake. Their little parade had grown to three adult Ixam and four juveniles before Taz made it safely to the Commons. Bree, a deep sapphire female, and a tan male were all in tow along with an array of brightly colored half-grown juveniles. Taz had her pack, her weapons, and her thinking cap on as she walked into the Commons.

It felt… so normal, so good, to be back in an environment she understood and loved. It felt wholesome after a year spent watching the same sunrise, watching the same bird fly across the horizon, without the smell of the jungle and the sea all around. Getting back into the jungle would be good. She was fit enough for it… for sure. And she was ready to take someone else there.

Heading into The Common’s, Tazrae looked around, searching for the woman Buraga said would be here. There was someone… alone. Taz walked into her space, paused, and smiled at her. “Are you Kamilla?” She asked carefully, her expression guarded but friendly. “Buraga told me to meet you here that you had need of a Ranger and wanted some lessons.” Taz added, resting her hand on Khari’s back, even though the baby was half snoozing and riding comfortably.

Words: 1200
Last edited by Tazrae on November 9th, 2022, 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ideas are possibilities to explore, not certainties to defend."


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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Kamilla on November 2nd, 2022, 9:41 pm

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As far as her list of wants went, spending her very finite time back in Syka exploring the treacherous jungle had to have been close to, if not, right at the very bottom for Kamilla. The sometimes human, currently Konti, had had more than one brush with death in the lush wilderness and if given the choice, she’d have remained firmly in the settlement, safe and comfy with the many man-made luxuries it provided. Unfortunately, her list of needs were entirely different. Because of her very limited time in the settlement, Kamilla needed to learn to survive in Syka’s(and any other) wilderness she might find herself appearing in in the coming seasons. Perhaps the only priority higher on her list was to find a way to stop disappearing to begin with, but then she couldn’t do that if she was dead… so survival it was.

After much deliberation and recovery, which included several trips to the Children’s Pavilion to be treated by Shiress as well as eating as often as possible, Kamilla… now back to what Jehu referred to as her ‘fighting weight’… was ready to take on some more serious ventures into the jungle. Jehu had taken her on a few brief excursions and had made numerous offers to be the one to train her as well, but she’d turned him down every time. She’d seen that while his intentions were good, the chaktawe’s nature wouldn’t allow him to purposefully place her in a situation where she might be out of her depth… and being out of her depth was precisely what she needed to be prepared for.

Eventually, he’d relented and she’d asked him instead to find her a guide who was hopefully less personally invested in her safety… and that was how today’s plans had come about. Jehu hadn’t told her exactly who her guide would be, she assumed because he didn’t know either, but he’d assured her that no matter who it was, they’d be good at it… which was really her only condition.

The handsome chaktawe had also given her a helpful list of suggestions on what to bring, most of which she’d chosen to ignore for her own, very specific, reasons.

Currently the Konti was sat at a table in the Commons with purple irises focused on the ocean waves. Her mind was elsewhere, doing calculations and trying it’s best to create viable theories about her vanishing curse and how to remedy it… with very few results. The best she could come up with at the moment was finding a way to drain herself of all her precious djed, all but enough to keep her from dying of course, since she’d noticed that everytine she vanished a significant portion of her personal well was consumed.

Her thoughts were interrupted by someone entering the Commons, which were particularly empty this afternoon. A young looking woman with a baby strapped to her chest, probably intending to take a break from the heat in the shad. She wondered when her guide would arrive but the thought was cut off as the woman-with-child walked straight up to her, claiming to be her who she’d been waiting for.

”Oh, yes I am…” Kamilla replied, evidently surprised, ”… that is correct… I’m guessing you are my guide.” She got to her feet revealing that she was certainly underdressed for the occasion. Wearing nothing but a pair of isuas pants and shirt, her trusty No Trace Boots and a belt… hanging from it was her Raven Feather War Fan.

The woman was taller than her, had a mop
of curly hair that made Kamilla want to switch to her human form for its mane of long dark waves and extra inch in height… her eyes were a beautiful green, or blue, or somewhere in between. It kind of reminded her of the sea in some places. The Konti didn’t doubt the woman was capable in the jungle, but there was one thing she had to address. ”I’m sorry… surely we aren’t bringing that…” she said pointing at the snoozing youngling strapped to the woman’s shoulder. She quickly realised ‘that’ probably wasn’t an appropriate way to refer to a child, ”… baby with us. Are we?” Surely they would drop the child off on the way? She was no expert on babies but Kamilla was fairly certain this one wasn’t even close to a year old yet.

”Also…” she started, leaning to look around the taller woman, having heard several noises behind her and finding the source to be an array of the lizard creatures she’d seen roaming the settlement and had been keeping her distance from. They didn’t seem to be dangerous but they also were unknown territory and a bit too similar to the dhani she’d once encountered for Kamilla’s liking. ”… Are those… the name escapes me… creatures coming along too?”

Honestly, this woman had arrived with a baby and lizards of all sizes in tow. Kamilla was beginning to wonder if she should have just accepted Jehu’s offers to train her himself.

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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Tazrae on November 3rd, 2022, 7:11 am

The Konti had a distracted look on her face as Tazrae slipped into The Commons with her little entourage of Syka’s Ixam trailing in her wake. The Innkeeper noticed the expression immediately and realized that the Konti was less than thrilled about the Ixam’s arrival. Taz furrowed her brow at that since the Ixam posed no danger and their very presence might actually make their trip safer and easier. They usually followed Taz to different places, especially if it wasn’t too hot or they hadn’t just consumed a big meal. Because, for all the scaled monsters knew, Tazrae might be going hunting, foraging, or any number of fascinating things the Innkeeper tended to put on the agenda in the name of providing foodstuffs for The Protea’s guests. Her endeavors normally resulted in tasty treats for the reptiles, so it was to their advantage to follow in her wake.

The largest of the crowd accompanying the Innkeeper slipped into The Commons beside Tazrae and seemed to be including herself in the initial investigation

Taz wasn’t very familiar with Konti, though this one was stunningly pretty and had an aloofness about her that Taz thought might have been racial. They were, after all, sea kin and not exactly wholly of the land. She admired the woman’s violet eyes and the pretty way the light played across her scales. Taz decided Konti looked like they came straight out of fantastical tales rife with teaching lessons and mysticism. She also had a nagging almost immediate sense of being not in someone else’s social class. Kamilla had an aura of well-read and well-to-do that surprised Tazrae because that sort of thing was something she expected in Riverfall and not in Syka. She’d seen the race in the Cliff City, but she’d never spoken to one. They weren’t the type that stayed at her family’s Inn there, and she certainly didn’t shop at the same markets or frequent the same businesses.

“Buraga sent me straight here. He’s in charge of the Rangers. He said… and I quote… ‘The jungle is filled with life of all ages. That little one will be no different. It will be better for her to grow up moving between the jungle and the settlement. She will be stronger for it.’ Then told me to come to find you and show you the jungle.” Taz said thoughtfully, then smiled. “Anyhow, I’m Tazrae. Everyone usually calls me Taz. I am the local Innkeeper and Khari here should be fine.” She said with more enthusiasm than she felt.

The baby weighed almost nothing, and now that Shiress had gotten her set up with the sling so her hands were free and her back wasn’t aching, Taz felt a lot better packing her daughter around. She started to explain that to Kamilla when the woman turned and looked at Bree and her kind, then called them creatures. Tazrae’s eyes widened slightly and she started to speak when Bree cut her off. The big green Ixam snorted, laughed, then glanced at Tazrae.

“Is she for real?” The Ixam said, her voice amused as her tail lashed back and forth. “If we can quietly eat her, you won’t have to go hunting tonight or tomorrow for us.” Bree suggested helpfully, lifting an eye ridge much like a human would an eyebrow and then deliberately sat down on her haunches and reaching up with a foreclaw to pick some stray meat out of a rather sharp tooth with a long wicked claw.

“Be nice, Bree.” Taz said, trying to hide her smile, and turned back to face Kamilla. She laid a soothing hand on the Ixam's big neck and gave it a scratch between the warm leathery scales. “They are Ixam and they come and go as they please. We’d be lucky if they decided to come with us. They make a lot of noise and it would scare off about a quarter to a half of everything else that might otherwise want to eat us out there. And if you get tired of walking, we can always talk one into letting us ride, especially on the way home.” She added, hoping Kamilla would see the advantage of the reptiles and their presence rather than dismiss them offhandedly.

“Now, before we get going… I need you to upend your pack – I assume you have one around here - and show me what you have in it. I want to see what weapons you have… real weapons, not that pretty thing on your belt that has no reach. And while your boots look functional, you need to make sure you have something waterproof to wear over the top of that outfit once we start off into the jungle. Long sleeves and gloves are a really good idea. And you’ll need a hatchet or machete to navigate the jungle afoot.” She said, glancing around for Kamila’s pack and hoping she’d actually brought one.

“Honestly, I’m not here to tour guide or bodyguard. I’m here to teach you how to survive out in the jungle. And I can’t do that unless you pack to survive and stack the odds in your favor. And when the odds aren’t in your favor, I can also help you restack them. I can survive out there naked, lost, and afraid with no possessions. I’d like to help you get to the point that you can as well. But to do that you’ll need to listen to me, and you’ll need to do exactly what I tell you. I will always tell you why I’m telling you to do something. But I still need you to do it.” Taz said, taking a seat and a short chance to relax. She checked quietly on Khari and waited to see if Kamilla was going to empty her pack – if she had one – at all. Otherwise, she’d have to take her shopping before they went anywhere.

She only hoped the woman had the coin to spend on some new gear. If not, Taz wasn’t sure how she was going to get Kamilla outfitted to take a trek.

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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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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Kamilla on November 4th, 2022, 1:38 pm

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It seemed her little jaunt into the jungle had already grown far more… interesting than Kamilla would have liked. She’d hoped to focus solely on learning to survive the harsh environment and any other environment she might eventually find herself in, but now there were babies and lizard… and baby lizards, coming along with her. Almost as if on cue with her thoughts an intimidatingly large green one slithered up besides the would-be guide and her baby. The creature’s massive claws and mouth making the Konti shift her weight ever so slightly backward onto her heels.

The woman was talking again, introducing herself as Tazrae, the innkeeper, and the baby as Khari, going on to point out that she’d been instructed to bring the youth along by Buraga. ”That explains why we haven’t met…” Kamilla started, having never even set foot inside the inn in all her time in Syka. With all the free places to sleep and the pleasant weather, she couldn’t imagine that the inn got much business. She might have to give it a visit sometime.

At her comment about the creatures, Kamilla was very surprised to find that they were capable of speech, the large green once seemingly offended by Kamilla’s words. Purple irises widening in shock as she did indeed take a step back this time, watching intently as a claw capable of rending flesh was used to pick some meat out of an equally capable mouthful of teeth. The woman, Taz, stepped in, with an air of amusement at the exchange, seeming very comfortable with her scaley green companion, which Kamilla quickly learned to be an Ixam. Apparently they would be good as a deterrent and possible mounts, though she couldn’t see the green one allowing her to ride after her initial comment.

”I didn’t realise you could speak. Ixam… Tazrae, Bree and… Khari. And noise is good as a deterrent. Noted.” she said, making sure she’d memorised all the important information she’d just gathered.

From there Kamilla listened as Tazrae went on to ask to inspect her pack and belongings, of which she’d brought none, tell her she needed a better weapon and very bluntly explain that her intentions were not to babysit Kamilla during their trip. The direct manner in which she spoke caused a smile to play at the Konti’s features. She could tell that her words were not boastful in nature but instead born out of a sheer confidence and self assuredness that Kamilla was quite familiar with.

Crossing her arms over her chest and still smirking, Kamilla had just decided that she might come to like the innkeeper, Tazrae.

”Well… it’s nice to meet you Tazrae, as you already know, I am Kamilla. I can tell that you know what you’re doing here. As for my pack, I have none. What you see here is all I have brought along with me.” Kamilla gestured to her clothing and apparently inadequate weapon. ”Though to be honest, even this is too much… you said you could survive naked, lost, afraid and without any possessions… that’s exactly what I need to learn from you and I don’t have much time to do it.”

Now the Konti stood up straight and proud to her full height, which was still less than Tazrae’s. ”As for the weapon, that’s not something I’m too concerned with, I assure you, I’m quite capable as far as defending myself goes.” If there was one thing she prided herself on, it was her magical ability, confidence filled her everytime she spoke of it. ”So if it’s alright with you, I’d like for us to get going… also, if there is anything we can find to use as useful equipment in the jungle, that would be very useful to know.” Having said her piece, Kamilla pulled her isuas shirt over her head and placed it on the chair she’d been sitting on, revealing the white undergarment beneath. Now that her intentions were made clear, she figured she’d better get as close to her true experience as she could for their first trek.

She would wait till they got to moving out of the Commons before speaking again, ”Tell me more about the Ixam. They’re clearly very intelligent and as you mentioned, useful… what do they eat? Are people ever on the menu? Could we possibly encounter more hostile Ixam in the jungle? And how would we best deal with them in that scenario?” Now she was in learning mode, a flurry of questions at the ready. If there was one thing Kamilla loved, it was to learn… and she’d argue that she was pretty good at it too. As they walked, she did her best to count and list the amount of the reptiles they had following along as well as their colours and sizes.

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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Tazrae on November 4th, 2022, 3:14 pm

A caramel-colored eyebrow lifted as Tazrae listened to Kamilla speak. Then she reached up and pulled at a wayward curl as the woman seemed to undress even further as if to prove a point. Khari shifted against her chest and Taz dipped her head, muttering softly to her baby girl to soothe the child, grateful for the distraction as the woman apparently stripped further. Gods above, below, within and without… she’d need all her patience today. The Innkeeper and the Ixam exchanged glances. Bree peeled back her lips and questioned Tazrae casually. “You do something that got you on Buraga’s shit-list?”

Taz grinned at the Ixam in response. “Apparently. I wasn’t aware that I had, but I am thoroughly in the know now. Remind me to apologize to him later.” She replied to the Ixam, then turned back to Kamilla. Taz started to speak, then paused. Was it really worth the fight? Gear? No gear? Taz didn’t think Kamilla was the type that would be out in the jungle any more than she had to be. She saw her as the polished marble courtyard type. The woman would be snakebit before noon at the rate she was going. Wasn’t it better to just let it happen and teach her a first-hand lesson than warn her against it and smack straight up against her arrogance? Taz didn’t have the time or mindset required to counter lofty entitled debate. Instinctively, she lifted a hand up and brushed against the armband that encircled her left forearm. Reptile’s Promise was in her usual place and Taz expanded out her awareness, searching. Only mussurana, some rat snakes, and a couple of pythons in the immediate area. She had to smile at that. Her plan had been working wonderfully well, and it was only in the first year of its operation. The rear-fanged vipers that liked to snack on the pit vipers that plagued the settlement had been a good idea.

At that moment, the usual morning rain came as if on schedule. The clouds darkened, the sky cracked with thunder, and rain started pouring. The noise on the roof of The Commons was thunderous and made speaking almost impossible. She reached back behind her, pulled the hood of her waterproof cloak up, and shifted so she was thoroughly covered. Then she headed out, Bree and the rest of the Ixam in tow… leaving Kamilla to follow.

Rain fell in sheets. It splashed off everything and turned the ground into almost instant mud. Little rivulets of water became ephemeral streams that danced across the highly saturated vegetation. Taz didn’t mind the rain so much, with her cloak keeping her warm and dry. The Konti looked able to weather wetness just fine, though she’d get her pretty hide filthy before five minutes of weaving in and out of the vegetation. The rain was warm anyhow, though by nightfall the temperature would drop and it would be rather uncomfortable for anyone without layers. Bree and her entourage ranged ahead, the Ixam scattering into the dense vegetation. They’d keep pace but it was best not to all follow the same trail because Taz left the commons and instead of taking Kamilla north or south on the cobbled pathway, they went straight into the jungle.

“Best learn about the Ixam just by watching and interacting with them.” She called over her shoulder to Kam, shouting over the rain. “The Ixam eat anything that moves, including each other. I’ve never encountered any hostile Ixam, but I suspect they exist. If you don’t want them to eat you and they seem to be considering it, offer them other options. I mean, that might be hard if you walk into the jungle without a pack and without proper supplies. You could try running, but they hunt in packs, so while you are defending yourself against one, the other two or three will probably take you down. But don’t worry, you probably won’t make it that long. People make the mistake of thinking that they can defend themselves against things out in the jungle because they picture the creatures facing them head-on. That’s especially true of sellswords and mages. Both types think their skill with a blade or djed will always overcome the enemy and they can defend easily against them. But the truth is, there are no enemies out here that will face you like that.” Taz said, halting in the rain to make sure Kamilla understood the lesson.

“For instance, as you move, you should never touch anything here. A tiny branch could house an insect with a toxic bite that will bite you for just brushing up against them. You think you will sense or see big snakes with your magesight, and that might be true, but the aura of a baby pit viper will be indistinguishable against the life force of the tree its perched on and you’ll reach out and touch it thinking its safe. The toxins in baby snakes are ten times as potent as the toxins in adults. You’ll be dead about the time you figured out that branch you were moving out of your path was an eyelash viper. There are ants out here that bite. You can’t see them… they are tiny. We call them arrow ants because they bite so hard that it feels like you just got shot with an arrow. You crumple down and waves of pain hit you over and over again for bells. And that’s just one ant. They run in groups, and if you get hit once, odds are you’ll get hit a hundred times. The pain could seize your heart.” Tazrae told the other woman, still standing in a slowly deepening pool and mud and tucked into her cloak to escape the rain.

“And what’s even better is there are plants out here that eat djed. They’ll leach it right out of mages as they walk by. And they are so good at it that you don’t even realize you are being bled dry until your magic is gone and there’s no well to tap. They can even overgive you without you even knowing it. The first thing to die in a jungle is an arrogant mage.” Taz said firmly, then turned and began to walk. Over her shoulder, she called… “As you move through the jungle… don’t touch anything and don’t let anything touch you. And unless you have shielding, I haven’t found a good way to use magic to protect you against anything touching you that you don’t want to be touching you… and not without a constant drain on your djed. So, to do that… you need to learn to move in the jungle.” Taz added.

“Without good leather gloves…. “ Taz lifted her hands and demonstrated her own gloves that seemed to be shedding the water off them… “the rule is don’t touch. Then as you walk, rather than walking in a straight line, undulate through the vegetation… up over ducking, keeping your hips loose, your arms relaxed, watchful… look up, and down, keep track of where you’ve been… make sure the trail behind you is equally familiar to the trail in front of you. I’d teach you how to mark trail but you decided not to bring anything.” Taz said, shrugging. “The best thing you can do is break branches, but you have no weapon to do that with, having nothing, not even a stick… so I suppose you should find a small tree and see how you can break off a walking stick-sized portion of it to carry out all these instructions,” Taz added, keeping their motion forward and steady.

Khari was riding easily, surprisingly enough. And Taz was strangely constantly comforted having the infant tucked up against her.

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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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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Kamilla on November 5th, 2022, 5:57 am

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The Ixam, Bree and Tazrae had a brief exchange, the implication being that the innkeeper was being punished by Buraga for something by having to teach her, Kamilla shrugged internally, it was understandable she supposed. Tazrae was covered in gear from head to toe despite being capable in the jungle, in comparison, Kamilla must have looked ludicrous as a beginner with next to nothing. Regardless, this was something she’d have to learn whether others understood or not.

The rain started and the group began moving, with Kamilla keeping up well enough through the muddy sand, barely a step behind Tazrae, her boots leaving no proof of her passage. Despite her desire to go in wholly unprepared, Kamilla wasn't looking forward to returning to the jungle, every time she’d entered it prior, it had been a near death experience. Now, even with a guide and a group Ixam of all sizes, she still didn’t feel completely at ease. The rain helped, for now at least. The familiar sensation of the warm water coating her hydrodynamic form comforted her greatly.

It seemed they wouldn’t be seeking a trail as the Ixam darted ahead, directly into the jungle with Tazrae following right after and Kamilla taking a bracing breath as she effortlessly followed behind, almost keeping pace with the innkeeper for her first few steps.

Then Tazrae began her lessons, with Kamilla doing her best to hear over the sound of the rain hitting all the surrounding foliage. She very quickly learned that the Ixam were not something to mess with and for good reason, they hunted in packs using their numbers to overwhelm from numerous angles. Watching the larger one, Bree, disappear into the distance with ease, blending in with her surroundings flawlessly, she felt a shiver run down her spine at the thought of attempting to fend off more than one… and according to Tazrae, that would be the case with most jungle predators. ”I see your point.” Kamilla called forwards, now about three steps behind, grateful for the innkeepers brief pause so she could close the gap.

The next chapter of her lesson was apparently not to touch anything because it could most likely kill you, along with a long list of unfamiliar creatures which served as examples. All kinds of vipers including young ones. Ants. Insects… plants that ate djed too apparently. While all were terrifying, being subtly sapped of her precious djed was easily at the top of her list, it seemed the others wouldn’t be survived long enough to warrant fearing them. Kamilla’s already minuscule confidence in her ability to survive was quickly dwindling.

By now it was also incredibly clear that Tazrae had correctly assumed Kamilla to be a mage, which, given her confidence in being almost completely unarmed, seemed like a logical deduction. It was also clear that she knew of several more magics than Kamilla herself did. Magesight. Shielding. She considered asking about them, but figured it would be pointless to do so in the midst of the dangerous jungle. Instead, she simply nodded, mentally noting the advice.

Once they started moving again, Kamilla was doing her best to keep pace but, as instructed, was prioritising not touching anything at all, which was quickly causing a gap to grow between herself and her guide. Doing her best to follow the woman’s movements with the added difficulty of being exposed. She gave any wide branches a wide berth while she could, though she’d already noticed that the jungle was quickly growing more dense.

According to Tazrae, a walking stick would be a helpful addition to her very lacking arsenal. Kamilla paused for a brief second scanning her immediate surroundings for any suitable branches. Spotting a low hanging one only a few steps off their current path she carefully undulated towards it, double checking to see that it wasn’t covered in anything potentially dangerous before reaching up and grabbing it. She used her weight to hang, snapping it off without much trouble.

Satisfied with her slightly curved waist height walking stick, Kamilla checked to see where Tazrae was, making her way over toward the woman, with far less detours now that she could simply poke things out of the way. A very simple trick which would prove to be very effective.

Even with her precious new tool, closing the gap created by her brief pause was no small task. The mud held onto her boots with every step, tangles of roots threatened to trip her while all sorts of dense foliage forced her to go around. It was tough in the wilderness and they’d barely started.

”Would you point out those djed eating plants if we come across any. It seems like useful knowledge!” she tried to shout over the noise of the rain. In the brief second her attention had been on projecting her voice, her foot caught on something sending her stumbling forward, thankfully her trusty stick came in handy, Kamilla using both hands to stab it into the earth, stopping her fall halfway before straightening and resuming. ”And what about Wanolo Baboons? I’ve had an unpleasant encounter with them already, how would I avoid that!”

Honestly, she had many more questions but the rain wasn’t making anything easy. She figured she might have to save the majority for a less strenuous(and life threatening) time. Perhaps she’d pay the woman a visit in the unfamiliar inn sometime.

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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Tazrae on November 5th, 2022, 3:35 pm

Tazrae liked the jungle when it rained. She didn’t particularly like sloshing through the mud nor how the footing was treacherous and one tended to slide everywhere for the jungle floor was not flat. But she didn’t mind the buckets coming down. It was all part of the jungle’s charm and the falling rainwater meant fresh drinking water. It was a good lesson for Kamilla.

“Normally, one of the things I always carry with me is a piece of tarp. It doesn’t have to have holes in it to secure it. You simply walk until you cross a stream and grab four or six round rocks out of it the size of your thumb or the palm of your hand… and pocket them. Then if you have the tarp, you can take the stone, lay it on a corner of the tarp, gather the tarp around the stone, and tie it off from the other side like you're covering the stone such as a covered button might be… and that holds the trap securely and gives a rope something to tie off too so you can stretch the tarp out. You get a rain shelter that way, and if you angle one of your tarps ends down with a bucket or even just a canteen hanging from that lowered end, you can collect fresh rainwater to drink. Out here, the water is all poisonous to drink. It will give you stomach cramps, fever, or even worse. So if you have nothing on you and no gear, the best you can do is drink what leaves collect from the rain. Tip them downwards and into your mouth. This is best to do during the rain itself because the water is fresh and there’s no chance a small animal has crawled in and defecated in it.” Tazrae said, looking thoughtful.

“As to the djed sucking plants, from what Uta has told me there are hundreds of varieties. I’m very poorly skilled in Bontay and Herbalism, so I am not the one to ask. She would be. But I do know that way lies a lot of teaching yourself to look at micro differences in plants, learn their different classifications, and how to use something called a key to identify them. In other places like Sylira or Cyphrus, many people have already classified and described most of the plants. But people aren’t here often if ever. Uta complains that less than a hundredth of a percent of plants have been described out here. She said it would take humanity centuries and countless experts all working on it to even come up to a tenth of a percentage. So the answer to your questions is most likely no one can tell you which can and which can’t. I just know it happens a lot out here.” She said.

“It’s been my experience that mages hide behind their arrogance and power, thinking flashy things like Reimancy will save them. It might if they are dealing with a predator one-on-one. But most likely death won’t come from something big trying to eat you, though that would be a kindness. It will come from you growing exhausted, having to sit down and rest, and something there biting you. It could be a snake, but most likely it will be a spider or scorpion or even just a simple ant. There are millions of ants out here of all species and some of them are quite deadly.” She added. “Another reason you should always bring gear and if you can’t… make it.” She reaffirmed and started walking.

The vegetation grew denser, and thicker, and their progress ground to almost a non-existent halt. The Ixam had abandoned them for far higher up, trailing them in the layers above, but Taz didn’t dare take Kamilla there. They’d have to climb up and then that wouldn’t be very easy with a new learner.

“If you have to sleep out here, get up off the ground. Mostly we build platforms that allow the things that crawl and slither to do so beneath us and leave us unhindered. Getting a fire started is often a must too. Not only do you need the heat, but if you have ashes, you can scatter them across the ground and most insects do not like to crawl through them. Indigo, one of the wilder folk around, says that some bug smell and breathe through their feet, and the ash keeps them from doing so. Which causes them to avoid it. So coat your ash thickly. You can use a knife to carve off a large chunk of bark to act like a shovel or dust pan to move the ash with…” Taz explained.

“You’ll need to know how to make fire, but all the ways I know that are non-magical require making tools, at the very least a bow and a firestick… but I don’t see how you can learn that without tools. Vine theoretically could be used, as a firebow but it won’t hold up, I’ve tried it.” She added. And if you use something like fire magic, that’s fine, but you can’t keep anything burning here if everything is super wet. Which, let's face it, it usually is. A better option is to personally shield yourself and control your air temperature within the shield. I don’t know enough about shielding to say how that would be done, but I know in theory it can.” Taz said, walking along, trying her best to puzzle out how to help Kamilla survive without anything on her.

The vegetation was so dense now that even Kam’s newly acquired stick was more of a hindrance than a helper. There was simply no space to walk between anything without touching something. Life was everywhere around them. And streams were forming in the forest that wasn’t there before. Taz lead them deeper and then slogged her way up a muddy hillside through vine maple and some kind of thorn brush that reached for her hair, and clothing, and caught at everything. On top of the rise, though they couldn’t see far, they could see a waterway below.

Tazrae stopped there and pointed out the water. “Water is important and holds many lessons out in the Wilderness, Kamilla. First and foremost, small streams like this one down there can swell overnight and grow four to ten feet deeper immediately. If you want to know how deep a stream can get look around. When water floods through trees, the trees catch debris in their midst. I call them debris bird nests. Look above a stream and see how high the debris birds’ nests go.” Taz said, gesturing below them. The stream was probably twenty or thirty feet below them at the bottom of a V, but there were bird nests at eye level.

“So this is not a good ridge to camp on. We’d need to get higher. Water comes up here, and frequently from that stream below. Be that a lesson. Only camp where you are sure you won’t get accidentally trapped by rising water as you sleep or even swept away from it.” Taz added, then gestured to the water.

“Water can be a great way to get yourself back to civilization though. If you are lost out in the middle of somewhere, and you find water follow it down. If you are trying to get back to people… this water will lead to other water which will lead to bigger and bigger water which will eventually lead to the coast. You can follow it out of the wilderness. If it's summer, you can follow it higher up, and most likely at greater elevations there will be better food.” She added. “People live at the coasts. They make cities at the confluence of great rivers. That’s not a great river there, but it will lead to bigger and bigger bodies of water until it becomes a great river or even the ocean. You can save yourself by following water out.” Taz said thoughtfully.

She started walking again. “Any questions so far?” The Innkeeper asked, knowing it would be a lot more fun if Kamilla wasn’t half naked and wondered yet again the reason for it.

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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."


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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Kamilla on November 5th, 2022, 8:45 pm

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Despite all the rain and noise and physically trudging through the mud, branches, roots and whatever else the jungle was using to obstruct them, Tazrae didn’t seem to have any intention of slowing down, both physically and with the amount of information she was relaying. Of course, Kamilla wasn’t mad, she’d asked to be taught and that was exactly what was happening, undoubtedly, but the combination of all the current factors was proving a lot to absorb. Especially since she’d been so graciously informed of how easily one tiny slip could be her demise. The jungle was wonderful it seemed, more harsh than even the alleys of Sunberth.

The tarp instructions had been slightly confusing at first, perhaps because it would be a lot easier to observe than try to imagine when she was busy swatting increasingly frequent low-hanging branches out of her face with a stick. More important than that, since a tarp wasn’t an option she would need to learn how to create an alternative. The information about the water, however, was quite useful, Kamilla thought. Of course, as a reimancer, she was almost never without a source of water, but it was helpful to note that she should not drink any of the water that was readily available, unless she wanted to experience the extensive list of consequences. ”Noted.” she called out again, feeling as though she should at least acknowledge that she’d been listening.

Moving swiftly on to the next subject, Tazrae answered Kamilla’s question about the djed eating plants… unfortunately the gist of it was that there was an entire jungle of plants that had yet to be documented and no one could tell her for sure. ”That’s unfortunate.” she said to herself. So not only were there plants that could drain her precious djed, but the odds of her identifying all of them were extremely slim. Kamilla made a mental note to ask Uta if she could provide her with at least a single example of such plants. She wondered if Roo would be any good at identifying plants, being a sentient plant himself… though she highly doubted it.

It was embarrassing to admit, but Kamilla was already feeling the strain on her limbs from all the strength needed to repeatedly pull her feet free of the mud, push things out of the way with her stick and… undulate through the foliage, as Tazrae had put it. She could probably keep it up for a few more chimes but the need for a break was definitely approaching. Tazrae on the other hand, seemed entirely unfazed as she soldiered on through the jungle, beginning the next chapter of her lesson.

While before the innkeeper had just vaguely referred to magic in general, now she was specifically bashing Kamilla’s most developed skill, though considering how it was currently doing her no good in traversing the jungle, she couldn’t justify dismissing the woman’s points. Once again she was reminded that no matter how ‘powerful’ she was, death in the wilderness could come from the most unexpected sources, the infamous snakes and insects receiving yet another mention. At this point Kamilla was extremely grateful that in her two years of vanishing, she hadn’t appeared somewhere in Syka’s death trap of a jungle.

It was almost laughable that Tazrae was warning that death was more likely to come during a break than from some obvious threat. Especially considering that Kamilla was not far off from needing a breather. She opened her mouth to ask how exactly she could make all the needed gear, but was silenced by the slap of a juicy green leaf right in her mouth, which she quickly sputtered and spat as much as she could, hoping to not have just doomed herself.

Now they were barely moving, where before Kamilla felt that they’d been making their own path through the wilderness by moving obstructions aside, now they were simply moving through the thick of it, with no obvious paths in sight… at least not to her. Thankfully, Tazrae seemed to still know where they were headed. ”Get off the ground, spread ashes to deter insects… alright.” she huffed, cringing everytime she brushed up against anything, expecting a snake to come flying at her.

Listening to how important fire and even it’s byproducts could be in the wilderness, Kamilla endeavoured to face her fear of her final element, it seemed her phobia would only be harming her survival efforts… which, honestly wasn’t news. Tazrae then went on to mention something extremely interesting… shielding. Kamilla knew of it, yes… but it seemed Tazrae knew far more… at least as far as it’s capabilities went. One thing was clear though, she needed to learn about it, especially considering that magic could make up for being gearless. She noted that as well.

By now Kamilla was simply doing her best to trudge along, she was still trying to identify any and all threats ahead of her but was mostly doing her best to imitate Tazrae’s steps, path and movement as closely as possible. Now they were on an incline, water and mud splashed at her bare abdomen, her breathing was growing laboured and Kamilla doubted she’d be able to go much further. She only half noted Tazrae’s lesson about tree bird’s nests… taking a brief glance to see exactly what she’d been referring to.

Another stray root disguised by mud and foliage tried to trip her up and this time Kamilla fell to one of her knees, the stick helpless to prevent her descent as it sank deep into the soft earth. The Konti let out a groan of annoyance as she struggled to push herself back to her feet and find her guide. What she found most baffling was that, while she was unhindered in comparison, Tazrae was the one who just kept moving without any visible signs of faltering. Of course she could chalk it up to experience, but considering the woman was also lugging around a baby, Kamilla could only look on in awe. If Tazrae was having any difficulty, Kamilla certainly hadn’t noticed.

The bit about water was not entirely new information, Kamilla hadn’t lived in a single city that wasn’t either surrounded by, close to, or entirely reliant on water… following streams down to bigger streams, to rivers and eventually oceans made sense. She would remember to prioritise finding the ocean from now on, if not for civilization, then at least, for the fact that she was aquatic and might have more of an edge in the ocean than wherever she ended up.

”Any questions so far?”

By the time that question had arrived, Kamilla was hunched over with her hands on her knees, gasping for breath. ”Plenty… dozens… but most of all… can we take a break?” genuinely that had been the most important question of all. She took a few more breaths hoping that the answer would be yes. ”Other than that… Do you know where I can learn shielding? What is some gear I can make for myself with my only current tools being reimancy… and how much farther do we have to go?” she added, glancing around in search of the Ixam, remembering that Tazrae mentioned they might be able to give them a ride back. It was only then that she’d realised they were nowhere to be seen. ”Finally, where did the Ixam go? And should I be worried?”

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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Tazrae on November 6th, 2022, 4:54 pm

Kamilla wasn’t bad company. She was reserved, but not untalkative and best of all she had yet to complain. It was almost as if she were motivated to learn, and to Tazrae that was her favorite kind of person to actually want to teach. One thing the bard didn’t realize though, was that because she often roamed the jungle at night and sometimes in all hours of the day, her body was strong and fit. She could go for bells without stopping, but others might not enjoy that luxury. Her pupil was starting to slow down, and Taz realized they’d need to find a good place to rest shortly.

Turning her head, Taz had an admission for Kamilla as she lead her up the hill above the stream, looking for a good vantage and a good place to set up a small rain shelter quickly to give the woman a break out of the downpour. Surely, the sun would be out soon. Rain came frequently to Syka, but it rarely lingered more than a bell or two. “I’m sorry to not be more informative about the plants out here. I just don’t know a lot. Randal taught me some about finding edibles though that I can share with you while we go find someplace to rest.” She added, noting that the Konti looked a little like she could use a break. “But as for other things… let me suggest Indigo or Uta for lessons. I’m just not a plant person. I might be a master chef, but I have zero talent and interest in gardening other than grabbing some pretty florals and transplanting them to The Protea for the guests to enjoy.” She admitted.

As they climbed, Taz scoured her mind for tidbits to share with Kamilla on what she needed to know. “So, first off… surviving in the wilderness… any wilderness you need three things. You need shelter, food and water, and some sort of action plan.” She spoke. “I’ll circle back around to the action plan later. But for now, let's talk about food and water. I already told you a bit about water, and there is more… but food will be a great concern. The jungle is full of food. Half the plants here are edible if you know what you are looking for, and about a quarter of the fruit and berries. You will need water multiple times a day, but you need less food. Your easiest source is going to be the plants. Never eat mushrooms, some of them are perfectly edible, but the vast majority will immediately cause your major organs to fail if you eat them, so just don’t chance it unless you get a thorough education. There are some food rules here. If a plant is white or clear inside… such as a berry or fruit… don’t eat it. The one exception to that is Dragonfruit. It’s a large fist or bigger shaped red fruit that has sort of green ends on its outer leaves. If you cut it open, it has white pulp with tiny black speckles throughout. It looks like someone sprinkled ground pepper on something white. That’s a great source of food... its delicious and has a lot of nutrients for effort… you can pick it off the tree or usually pick it up off the ground around a tree. It also comes in yellow, though there aren’t as many of those around here and its far more bitter than the red. Both are equally edible.” Taz added, then looked around. They’d stepped out of the dense jungle and were standing near what looked like a huge game trail.

Taz pointed it out, gesturing how it ran, by tracing its pathway with her finger but saying nothing else.

She crossed the game trail, then walked into the deep jungle on the other side, and paused by two smaller trees that were standing almost in perfect formation. Turning back to Kamilla, Taz offered her a smile. “We measure trees around here by something called DBH. It means Diameter Breast Height. These are extremely small trees for the area. We can have DBHs here in the ten to the twenty-foot range or even bigger. This one... might be about an 18-inch DBH. They make the best sorts for camping and building shelters.” Tazrae added.

Tazrae took a moment to check on Khari, though she could tell the infant was sleeping. The babe had never remained long in a carrier, so being slung against her mother’s chest while her mother slogged through the jungle was nothing but comfort and she remained settled.

Then she unslung her pack, took a knee in the mud, and reached in. She pulled out what looked like a bundle of fabric, a tarp, and two coils of rope. She closed the pack, strapped it back on, and left the bundle of fabric lay where it was – in a relatively dry spot. The folded tarp she picked up along with the coils of rope and took one to the tree on the right with the eighteen-inch dbh. She tossed the rope around the tree and using only half of it, formed a hitch, and then snugged it tight up against the tree Then she ran the rope the distance between the other similar-sized tree and snugged it off hitching it to the tree too. There was still just about as much rope left on the other tree as there was on the first tree. The rope was strung at about eight feet… just about as high as she could tie it while on her tippy toes. She unfolded the tarp, tossed it over the rope, and let it hand down one side almost to the ground with the other side only about halfway down.

Then she dug back into her backpack and pulled out four stakes which all had a line that was at least six feet long and coiled attached to them. She drove the stakes into the ground using the back side of her hatchet which made a good hammer, two on either side. Then she rummaged into her pocket, pulled out four stones, and proceeded to slip a stone under each of the tarp corners, gather the tarp around it like she was covering a button with fabric, and used the tent stake lines to tie the tarp to the stakes. She went about this on all four corners and then went around a second time adjusting the tension in the lines on the stake side, so the robes were holding the tarp taught and snug.

Next, she unbundled the cloth, which turned out to be a hammock, and used the trailing ends of the first rope on either side to run down the tree, tie another hitch further down the trunk but still well above the ground. She wrapped the tree again, tie up one side of the hammock, and then doing the same, tied off the other side of the hammock, so she was, in essence, using one rope to secure both the tarp and the hammock. Then Tazrae gestured happily. “Have a dry seat.” She said, then leaving her backpack on, ducked under the tarp, picked the other side away from Kamilla, and settled into the hammock with her legs folded and her back leaning against where the fabric rose up to meet the tree. Once Kami took the other side, the two women would be facing each other, boots touching, but otherwise with plenty of warm dry space to take a load off in and relax.

“Where was I? Oh, food!” Then she grinned, slipped out of the hammock, and took her hatchet, and headed for what looked like a small palm the size of her arm. She made short work cutting it down at the base, and then cutting off about two feet of the trunk and returning. She resumed her comfortable seat out of the wet and was busy with the hatchet skinning and debarking the palm until she revealed a white center. As Tazrae peeled the palm, she breathed out djed, filling the air with her gaseous Res encasing Kamilla and herself in a bubble. Then she willed the water in the bubble that encompassed both of them… the surface water that coated Kamilla’s hair and body and ran off her oilskin cloak… to metamorphosize into warm dry air. It heated the space they were sitting in nicely and gave Tazrae a chance to practice her focus on the energy of the Res as she peeled the palm and then handed the white pulp to Kamilla.

“That’s the heart of palm. It’s the best food source for you in the wild. It doesn’t really have a taste and is textured like maybe a raw potato. But it's good to eat.. and filled with nutrients. You won’t starve as long as you can find palms around here to knock down. The smaller ones have less food, but you can probably knock them down without tools. And if you are somewhere else, like Sylira… there are cattails. Do you know what they are? They grow around swamps and have big fluffy brown flowers on them that look like… fuzzy sausages? They have a similar core that’s just as edible and nutritious.” Taz said, gesturing for Kamilla to try a taste.

“So, to recap… food, water, shelter… and I can show you more types of shelter. But food… don’t eat mushrooms and absolutely don’t eat fruit or berries with clear or white centers. Clear berries are almost always deadly. You can watch and see what monkeys eat… even animals like lizards share common foods with us. If they are eating things, you can usually eat those things. And then there are bugs. You can eat just about any worm, grub, or larvae out here in the jungle. The easiest place to find them is rotting wood… fallen trees, and even under rocks. They are utterly horrible looking, but grasshoppers taste like bacon, and just about anything that looks like a grasshopper is edible.” She said, thinking….

“Any more questions before I start talking about that game trail we just crossed over?” She asked, letting Kamilla relax as she felt her daughter start to squirm. She unbundled Khari and changed her diaper then and there in her lap while she was answering Kamilla’s first questions and waited for more. Babies were messy and she frowned a few times when she was doing mop-up and rediapering the girl with the old nasty one bundled up and wrapped in oilskin and stowed in her backpack to be washed later.

“Shielding can be self-taught. You don’t need anyone to actually teach you. You just need to understand the layers of shields and how to task them. And from what I know you just add a bit of what you want to block from your shield when you make it… like a drop of water to make it block water.. that kind of thing.” She added. “I don’t know many people that know how to shield. I just know the basics… but you could start just by extruding djed and doing it all yourself. To my mind, none of the magics are much different from the others. It's just a change-up in applications.” Taz mused. “If you have earth, I’d make obsidian daggers, axes, spears tips to mount on trees, that sort of thing.” She spoke. “You could even do arrows if you are handy with a bow. Bows are easily made out here.” She replied.

Then she looked puzzled by Kamilla’s next question. “Where’d they go? Nowhere. They are above us in the trees. If you look outside, and up – if the tarp wasn’t blocking – you’ll probably see them draped everywhere. If you weren’t with me, I’d be up there with them. There’s no mud up there.” She said with a grin.

“Any more questions or are we ready to talk Game Trails?” She asked, loosening her blouse now that the babe was changed and letting the baby at a particularly sore breast. Taz liked having a very nice set of breasts when she was nursing, but the soreness was a whole different sensation. Once Khari was having a snack, Taz rebundled her in the baby sling and leaned back. Nursing a child felt good… to have the pressure released. It made her slightly euphoric.

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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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Jungle Guide At Your Service

Postby Kamilla on November 7th, 2022, 3:51 pm

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Among the few times Kamilla had felt a memorable sense of relief in her life, Tazrae saying they’d be finding a place to rest would definitely be counted. To anyone who she’d tell the story to, it would simply sound as if she were being overly dramatic. After all, how strenuous could a walk through the jungle in the rain possibly be? Right? They would, of course, be extremely mistaken, but so was even Kamilla who had been in the jungle a few times before, but never this deep. She made a mental note to emphasise ‘through’ the jungle… if she ever shared the story… as it was not as simple as taking a walk inside the jungle, instead it was as if all the foliage was directly opposing and impeding their movement. It was a battle for progress if anything.

Brushing aside Tazrae’s apology, feeling it was hardly reasonable to expect any one person to know everything about everything especially when she’d mentioned that even the local botanist had stated that they were barely a percentile into all the variations of plant life. ”I’ve met Uta, I’ll be sure to ask her about it some time.” she recalled making a dress for the woman in her home during her first season in Syka. Uta had seemed pleasant enough. ”For now, edibles would be just fine.” It would certainly beat the starving she’d experienced in prior seasons due to fear of poisoning herself. Kamilla had resorted to killing birds and rodents to survive… not always an easy task… at least without bait.

Despite her deepening exhaustion, Kamilla did her best to listen as the duo… or trio, baby included, continued onward. Water, food and an action plan. It seemed simple enough, though she was aware that within each of those categories was an entire jungle of caveats, conditions, do’s and don’ts. ”Avoid mushrooms… and fruits with white or clear insides… except dragonfruit…” she repeated between laboured breaths, finding it easier to remember and that it distracted her from just how much she was struggling. At this point it felt as though all the mud clinging to her clothing had doubled her weight.

With the amount of strength and effort she’d been putting into the simple act of moving forwards, Tazrae’s sudden halt and the complete lack of obstructions when they finally reached the trail left Kamilla entirely overcommitting to her next step and instead falling flat on her face in the mud. ”Shyke.” she sputtered, pushing herself onto her knees, her entire body now covered in mud from head to toe. She watched as her guide traced the pathway while cleaning as much of the gunk from
her face while she did, the heavy rain helped.

Kamilla was thankful that Tazrae didn’t make any comments about her fall, though the Konti was too exhausted to consider something as trivial as embarrassment as she pushed herself to her feet and continued forwards. She’d thought the trail would be their rest spot, clearly not, though she didn’t question it… assuming her guide had a good reason to continue.

Trudging wordlessly on, Kamilla watched hopefully as Tazrae finally came to a halt and began rummaging through her pack. Could this be it? The elusive break?

Doing her best to catch her breath, Kamilla observed from her hunched over position nearby as Tazrae picked two trees and began tying a rope between them. She focused intently on exactly how she had tied the knots, pondering what the approximate ‘DBH’ of each of the two trees were. She saw what Tazrae had been explaining about the tarp put into action, finding it a lot easier to understand in practice. Tazrae moved with impressive purpose, tying the ropes, setting the tarp, burying the stakes and within chimes they had a fully functional shelter with a hammock… all while literally with child.

Finally able to give her feet a rest, Kamilla did her best to clean her boots off, thankfully an easy task considering they were magical, she made herself very comfortable on one end of the hammock with Tazrae fitting comfortably on the other. She was still wet, but it was a relief to be out of the rain and off of her feet. Barely a moment had passed when her guide was back out in the rain, chopping down a tree and back in the hammock again, with what looked like the trunk of the tree she had just felled. This woman was truly an unstoppable force in Kamilla’s eyes… at least as far as wilderness survival was concerned.

It was then that she watched in amazement as the woman breathed out a very familiar shining substance that Kamilla could only describe as sunset coloured. Res. Purple irises widened in awe as all the moisture was pulled from their habitat leaving them cozy and dry. Of course it wasn’t the use of reimancy itself that surprised Kamilla, but rather the fact that her guide was capable of it at all. Though it explained a lot. She supposed growing up in Sunberth, she’d never truly gotten used to the idea of many non-Sahovans having magic. Judging by the ease with which the woman had produced her res, Kamilla estimated that Tazrae was decently skilled, certainly no slouch.

Still impressed by the mother, wilderness guide, innkeeper and reimancer combo before her, Kamilla gladly took the offered pulp and took a bite. Tazrae hadn’t been kidding about it being tasteless, but that was honestly an upgrade considering she’d been eating raw birds only weeks prior. ”I’ll definitely remember that. Palms are quite recognizable too… I haven't seen cattails but I’ll keep an eye out for fuzzy sausages near swamps, they sound identifiable.” Eating what monkeys or animals ate was also good advice, though she couldn’t help but feel that… now that she knew it, it had been quite an obvious observation to make.

When Tazrae began changing her daughter’s diaper between the two of them, Kamilla didn’t even flinch, it was a necessary duty and her time amongst literal rotting corpses on Sahova had done a great job of raising her tolerance for pungent odors. ”Well currently, I’d say you’ve answered most of my questions before I got to ask them. I can certainly say I’ve learned more than I expected to. Perhaps… in the case of lacking any equipment, specifically a tarp and rope, what would be the simplest alternative. I’ve tried finding caves or creating my own, but the latter tend to be hazardous, more so when the earth is soaked…”

When Tazrae moved on to mention Shielding, Kamilla was all ears, taking in every word the woman said and committing it to memory. Having no understanding of it, she’d never attempted to shield anything, but if it were as simple as purposing res, she was confident she could do it. She mentioned that to her, magics were the same, something Kamilla found very interesting considering she only really knew one personal magic. At the mention of using geomancy to create tools Kamilla perked up… ”Now that is something I can do… she said raising her left palm as droplets of glistening lavender res began to bubble out of it to form a dagger shape, within ticks the res had been produced and solidified into the solid reflective dark glass-like substance that was obsidian, Kamilla holding it firmly in her hand. [b]”I’ve never considered using obsidian though… I could probably stand to learn a bit more about geology as well… It seems like survival out here is a never ending pursuit of knowledge from an infinite amount of subjects.” instead of a discouraged tone, Kamilla found herself sounding rather eager, or perhaps inspired, a small smile on her face. She enjoyed challenges and expanding her knowledge and it was becoming evident that survival would just be another chance to do so.

Kamilla was surprised to hear that the Ixam were simply above them, though it did not susorise her that she’d completely missed them. ”I’d like to see that.” she added, imagining the breastfeeding woman leaping from tree to tree with her baby strapped to her. ”Are all of them capable of speech like Bree?” she added curiously.

When asked if she had any other questions the Konti could think of only one for the time being… ”How old is… she? she’d been uncertain of the baby's gender, but after the public changing, her doubts were put to rest. Kamilla couldn’t remember a time in her life that she’d been around a baby for more than a few moments at a time, but judging by Khari’s appearance she guessed that the baby hadn’t been in the world for a very long time. One thing she did know about babies was that the more helpless they were, the younger they were… and currently, she hadn’t seen Khari do anything but sleep, poop and now, feed… all with her mother’s help.

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Kamilla
Magical Mistress
 
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Joined roleplay: November 16th, 2014, 5:52 pm
Location: Syka
Race: Human
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