Closed [Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

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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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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Tazrae on November 2nd, 2022, 2:33 am

Timestamp: 38th of Fall, 522 A.V.


Evening was falling across Syka and the offshore wind was slowly ebbing into nothing, changing directions, to where it would blow onshore and cool the warmer land. Steam rose from the jungle behind where Tazrae sat, whisps dancing across the tree borders like living creatures.

The woman paid them no mind. She was used to their ethereal company and the never-ending sound of the jungle behind her. Adult Ixam played in the distant waves further down the beach, hunting their favorite prey to fill their bellies for the night. Tazrae, having finished her work for the day, was unwinding from the dinner crowd that had shown up at The Protea to have a meal and some conversation. The crowd had been bigger than normal because it had been too hot for most people to light their own cookfires.

That left her most of the evening free. She’d fed her guests quickly and then left snacks and jugs of iced and cloth-covered fruit juice for anyone utilizing the deck and perhaps playing cards or gossiping by the firelight of the outdoor hearth or pits. Someone would throw logs on the fire and the last person to either go to bed in the Inn or leave for home would bank the fires for the morning. And anyhow, Taz would still be up for hours, most likely roaming, and would stop by and double-check to make sure all was well before the moon was halfway across the night sky.

The heat and humidity had teased her already curly hair into a wild mass that the transitional wind was slowly toying with. She had it pulled up off her neck and gathered in a loose bun which most of the curls had already escaped. She must have cooled off in the sea or under the shower before heading to Garden Beach because she only had a cream crochet bikini top and a pair of crochet briefs on beneath a large fringed salmon pink scarf that tied at her hips to form a makeshift skirt. And where the wind had yet to play, her hair was still wet.

Half curled around the huge sleeping pad on the palapa, a fully mature green Ixam with sapphire markings was lounging, listening to the bard toy with a brand-new instrument. Bree’s eyes were half-lidded, indicating she was more than likely asleep, lulled by the woman playing the wooden flute. There were other Ixam about beyond those in the waves, these smaller, curled in groups of twos and threes of various ages. Garden beach had become their refuge and sanctuary from things that often hunted them when they weren’t gathered there. The dog had long abandoned Tazrae for Juli’s house where Creature spent most of his time these days. Taz hadn’t taken offense at it, not really, for the dog was adored by the woman and the woman worshiped the dog. It worked out well for the Ixam and the dog had never truly gotten along.

Stars were slowly winking into existence on the low horizon, even though the sun had yet to fully set. It would be a beautiful clear evening with no sign of rain. It was Tazrae’s favorite kind of night, one for contemplation, music, and admiration of what was all around them. Bree stuck close because like all Ixam, she was more than a little nocturnal and she knew her friend would trade her human form for a more suitable one and run with her deep into the jungle and long into the night.

Meanwhile, Tazrae held a tribal wooden flute in her hands, one that she’d had for a while but hadn’t played with overly much. She was still figuring out the fingerings, though she had quickly learned she could get a clear full tone by even breathing and covering the holes with the flat of her fingers. Much like the mandolin, there was no one to teach her. She had to teach herself. But she was used to such things and gave it no mind. Music was music, and half the fun was puzzling out how to make such things produce.

She’d found out quickly that the carved bird on the top had to be manipulated into a better place, then she had worked on how to finger the holes, finding the flats of her fingerpads much better at blocking sound than the tips. She found that she could blow gently and get a crisp clear steady note. Then she began lifting fingers off all the covered holes, listening to the sound that it produced. Lifting finger by finger, she slowly uncovered all the holes starting with those furthest from the bridge. She adjusted as necessary, learning that as she lifted fingers, tones were drawn out, tribbled, or fluttered. The diversity pleased her enormously because she hadn’t realized an instrument with only six finger holes could produce so much sound.

There were things she knew as a musician – techniques – that she knew from other training and other instruments. So she spent bells playing with breath control, finger control, and bent notes to suit her taste. She found that her tongue played a big part and that she could slur and double-tongued easily enough. And even a vibrato in song worked on the flute which brought a grateful smile to her face. Then, quietly and carefully, she strove to find the minor pentatonic scale. It wasn’t intuitive like she thought it would be. It was close, but as she covered the holes and backed off, she found that the last fifth note of the scale wasn’t two finger holes covered closest to the bridge, but the first and third finger holes covered. It seemed that two finger holes covered the closet to the bridge producing an unruly sound that displeased her.

She found the major scale… the do, re, me, fa, sol, la, ti…. Was easy enough. Do was five holes covered. Re was the first four, mi was the first three, and fa ended up being the first two and fourth hole covered. Sol was the first and third hole covered, while La was simply the second hole covered… and ti… ti was the hardest for Tazrae to find. She thought it elusive until she discovered it by trying random patterns as all holes were covered but the first and fifth released. Once she had the major scale figured out, she went to work on the diatonic scale.

It was similar, very similar to the major scale, but the breath control was different. And once that was worked out in her mind, she was able to play simple children’s songs and beginner things on the flute in a low throaty tone that complimented the wind and the sounds of the jungle that were rising in intensity now that night were slowly falling.

Then she improvised, dancing up and down octaves and mimicking Ixam vocalizations until that no longer held her interest. She finally took the flute from her mouth, ran her hands over its body one last time, and slipped it into the case she kept it in which was no more than a waterproof leather pouch big enough to accommodate it. She then leaned over and set it on the little table that sat beside the reclining couch under the palapa.

Stretching, she shifted where she sat, glanced at Bree to see if she was awake enough for a run yet, and signed. No, not yet, though it didn’t matter overly much. Taz could see a figure walking on the beach, slowly approaching and she wondered suddenly if the little gathered group of human and Ixam were going to get a visitor. Maybe someone would enjoy a nighttime walk with her in the jungle yet.

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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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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Alric Lysane on November 2nd, 2022, 6:37 pm

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“Alriiiiiiic, I’m getting tired” Lys moaned as she pushed herself up from the sand and dusted herself off.

Alric didn’t really blame her, though she was purposefully using her whiny voice in an attempt for sympathy, which he wasn’t going to reward. They had only really been practising for a couple of Bells and her complaint was less about them spending time sparring together and more about the fact it was eating into her time with Lexi where they could be getting into fun troubles. In truth he was getting hungry, but he wasn’t going to tell her that as they spent the next collection of chimes just a stone’s throw from the Protea, a quitter spot nearby that suited their purposes.

“Tell that to Sran’tuka when he comes to crawl into your skin” he said with an altogether innocent grin as his fingers wiggled out at her, creeping across the top of her head.

“Eww! You know I hate it when you do that! Anyway, you’re the one he wants. Girls aren’t wanted you said he thought. Stupid monster” she muttered under her breath.

“One more round then, come on. Time to show him what girls are made of, no?” he said, he was secretly proud that what with everything that had been thrown at her of late her main focus at these times was on the unfairness of a monster’s life choices.

Sulky as she was, she still went for it, charging in at him with fists and feet. She was getting better, but still far from a fighter and he had little trouble blocking, bobbing and weaving – a fact that always made her hiss through her nose in frustration, eyes narrowing at him. He waited, letting her show him what she had learned and when the opportunity came to show her something he took it – in this case a cross-body overextension and poor footwork. Hie lead leg slipped behind hers and his arm came under her extended arm and across her body. There was a pause where she realised what was about to happen, followed by some incredible Sunberthian curses after she was sent flying to the floor ass over her head.

“Your dad is way cooler than you say Lys” Lexi’s voice piped up as she stepped from behind a nearby clump of foliage, no doubt she had been hoping Lys could escape sooner than she was able to.

“Shut up Lexi! And he’s not my dad” Lys said in a pouty tone.

“I love you too…daughter” he said, not able to suppress the laughter as she stormed off with the other girl, “don’t forget, I find out you’ve both been stealing again then you’ll wake up with shaved heads”

“You wouldn’t dare?!” Lexi said.

“Try me and find out”

With that they were both bolting off, no doubt to get into something borderline criminal. No matter what he said they didn’t really listen, they were a power unto themselves and Lys was getting old enough now that he doubted she’d listen to him much longer anyway. He sighed and grabbed up his emerald green bandana, wrapping and tying it back into place around his forehead. It wasn’t damp anymore but soon enough it would be given the weather in Syka. He still hadn’t quite gotten used to it, or the idea of walking around mostly naked. He compromised these days though, still wearing his leather boots but no longer opting for the gloves, and his dark purple trousers and azure shirt were looser, thinner but still sturdy – a local speciality with its Isuas. He was more colourful these days, though he still didn’t bother getting the had of their coordination, vanity not yet taking claim upon him to that extent.

“What do you think Jade?” he asked the Gasvik who had just appeared to his side.

“I think they will be hairless by the morning…should you keep your word”

“Oh I will, don’t worry. Ionu’s gift is quite useful at horrifying teenagers it seems…I’m sure he would be proud. Do me a favour and make sure they don’t accidentally murder someone please?”

“You mean manslaughter?”

“Just…do it please Jade. I have somewhere else to go other than cleaning up their messes. I need a break from it”

“Very well Nymkarta. Your wish…”

“Don’t you say it!”

“Is my command” the Gasvik finished with what Alric swore was a sassy tone before vanishing.

“Gods damn…oh what’s the point?” he sighed, shaking his head and making his way toward, and into, the Protea.

Jade had taken quite an amusement in prodding him about airs and graces of late, the newest of their type of bonding it seemed, seeing how Alric would react to such things. Alric, for his part, still disliked the idea of anyone using them on him. He was a street rat deep down, no amount of magical bloodline would change who he had been for most of his life, at least overnight. As he mused upon Jade’s amusement he added logs to the fires that had grown low and made a tour as had become his custom, eating and drinking his fill of Tazrae’s creations as he secretly did what little he could do to ensure things were stocked and the guests would be happy, so that the innkeeper didn’t have to. He didn’t sat his appetite completely, there was plenty of evening left for that, instead packing some assorted foodstuffs up, grabbing a leg of some kind of pig he had bartered from Stu earlier with the promise of helping with restoring some portion of his buildings or other, and began the walk towards Garden Beach.

He heard the Bard before he saw her, music always seeming to be coming from her pavilion and trickling out into the night. Sometimes it went on later than others, she was restless by nature he knew, though he didn’t know how she managed it all on so little sleep. As he approached the music died, though he wasn’t sure whether that was because he was approaching or because she had had enough of it for now. It hadn’t sounded like her usual instrument so perhaps she wasn’t ready to let people hear her play it with abandon he reasoned. Upon arriving he was pleasantly surprised by the curled up form of Bree. He had hoped she would be there but there never was a guarantee. There was, however, a guarantee of the smaller Ixam that started climbing his legs until they sat upon his shoulders.

“Bree, for you” he said, setting down the pig’s leg he had bartered for before tilting his head and gazing upon Tazrae for a few moments, “I brought food…feels a bit like cheating as it’s yours really, but I don’t think you’d appreciate my food” he said, setting the backpack down and taking the foodstuffs out, placing them upon a table.

“There’s also some kind of…I want to say mango drink…from Stu. He sends his good wishes. And though my food might be terrible, I had hoped that you might enjoy some company” he said, turning to look at her once more and flashing a small smile.


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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Tazrae on November 2nd, 2022, 10:12 pm

Bree lifted her head and snorted. “Alric.” She reported, unnecessarily, for Tazrae would recognize the way the man walked even though the light was failing fast and the sun was behind him rather than behind her. “He’s coming from the direction of the Inn.” The Ixam reported without bothering to open her eyes again. She shifted, no doubt to be at an advantageous vantage point to greet the newcomer rather than have to bend her neck awkwardly to say hello.

Several smaller creatures scurried out from various bolt holes – no doubt keeping out of Bree’s way - to gather at the visitor’s feet, using him as a climbing tree almost immediately. Alric’s shoulders? Another bolt hole. The man had brought food, that was obvious enough, for he handed Bree an offering that she took with the nobility of an olden-days queen getting paid tribute. Taz tried to hide her smile. Flattering her scaled friend would never steer Alric wrong. Bree made a series of growl hisses of approval, as she sniffed the leg thoroughly and then licked it appreciatively.

“Hello there.” She said, glancing back the way he’d come and at the backpack, he sat down and the food he laid out. “You stopped by the Inn then? Everything there alright?” She asked, not really worried, but never far from her Innkeeper roots. She’d check on it later, but she had her suspicions that Alric tended to keep his own eye on things when she wasn’t around. The truth was, Taz had been taking more and more time for herself. She needed it. Her wildling nature made demands on her that she couldn’t easily resist and she took time in the jungle to satisfy those needs.

At the mention of Stu’s mango drink, Tazrae rose in one neat motion, padding barefoot across the sand to the Pavilion to fetch cups and replace the wooden flute. The flute went into the chest at the foot of the bed where she kept other instruments, and the bone glasses came from a small bar that was set up by her wing-backed chair. She returned, set the bone glasses down on the table, and resettled. Then, unasked, she poured him a drink and took one for herself.

“It’s good.” She said, expecting nothing less from Stu. He was a genius at fermenting fruits into an amazing of liquors.

Bree, meanwhile, was busy flashing razor-sharp teeth and neatly stripping meat from the thick leg bone. She’d grown this season, coming out of her juvenile size and gaining more of a mature form. “She’s always hungry these days. I found four more of her eggs, big ones, and she still shows no sign of stopping.” Taz complained lightly. “I can tell they are hers because she always buries them in a specific way, usually within the sightline of all my chosen paths.” The woman said, settling back on the reclined footless couch and beckoned to the other end, which was more than enough room for Alric. “You’d think she’d do me the courtesy of laying them over here so I don’t have to pack them about the Settlement.” The bard said, staring at the Ixam where she curled behind and around the seat.

“Have a seat if you want. It’s a lovely night.” She said so to him, returning his slight smile before she made shooing motions at a couple more hatchlings that were attempting an Alric ambush as he settled down. They’d drape around the pair anyhow, seeking warmth as the sun went down, but Taz didn’t want them to get too comfortable. She had plans to head out shortly and take a patrol maybe to the Confluence or even further.

She wasn’t very hungry, but she wondered if maybe Alric hadn’t eaten. So, she picked at the food, taking one or two things to nibble on. “Did you eat dinner?” She asked, concerned, but not wanting to pry. She was careful not to press him, push him, or make demands. When she asked about his day, she often did so casually so he didn’t feel like she was demanding to know his whereabouts or what he’d been up to.

“It was a busy day. I blinked and it was noon. I blinked again and the sun was going down. I have a couple of new guests from Sunberth. Men. Grom and Ray. I don’t know who they are, but something doesn’t set well with me with them.” She said, uneasy, but not to the point that anything needed to be done about it, but more to just let him know to keep an eye out. “They weren’t being a problem. There was just something that didn’t ring sincere about their vacation explanations. They didn’t seem the type for travel.” She added.

Glancing at him, she raised an eyebrow. “How was yours?” She asked, reaching over and picking up a wedge of cheese, nibbling on the tidbit to cover the fact she probably shouldn’t have mentioned the two men to Alric. Whatever they were here for, she didn’t think it had much to do with her or even him.

Taz didn’t try to push Alric or ask him a lot of questions. The man had been on a sort of journey for a while, one she hadn’t pretended to understand, but knew he needed space to take. They’d been distant since his arrival, and she knew things had happened to him that affected how he reacted to the world. And those were things she couldn’t even begin to understand. Things got messy when the Gods got involved, and all Taz could do was be there if he needed her with an open heart and an open home. For a while, she wasn’t even sure he’d stay, but surprisingly he had.

“I planned to take a patrol loop out into the jungle a bit later on. Not many people like going out at night, but I don’t mind. I was going to run, but you can come with me if you’d like and we can walk or ride… your choice.” She offered, not sure if that was something he’d enjoy or not. He was city raised and sometimes the wilds were not the urban people’s idea of fun times. With that, she took another drink of Stu’s mango creation and smiled.

“I wish I knew how he brewed these drinks. They are delicious.” She added, shaking her head in wonder.

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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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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Alric Lysane on November 3rd, 2022, 3:00 pm

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“I see that Ixam are still the superior species, with such noble mannerisms too,” he raised and eyebrow at the brief greeting before the devouring began, reaching out to scratch behind her ears briefly, “though given the state of the world who am I to disagree?” he mused aloud.

He took a moment to absently butt his finger under the chin of a much smaller Ixam that was upon his shoulder before setting things out and Tazrae made her own greeting, moving fluidly out of her seat to pour our drinks and explore the fruity concoction Stu had given him. She was ever the hostess, and he doubted she ever would fully release that part of herself. He wasn’t sure that was a bad thing all things considered, life had had a way of throwing things at them, and threads of constancy were growing more important to him as time, and events, unfolded. Especially since his experience earlier in the season.

“Lys and Lexi have yet to burn the place down, though not for lack of trying I’d wager. Still, hopefully they will be quiet for the rest of the evening and stay out of trouble. Something about the threat of shaved heads,” he said as he took the offered cup up and tasted the sweet beverage, as delicious as ever from the master brewer, “honestly, I might illusion it anyway. They could use a little shock to stop them getting out of control”

He took a little longer to gaze upon Tazrae, eyes searching and finding small things that were changed, though he felt the energy more than saw it. Still, she was a beautiful as ever, and hidden smiles for Bree suggested that whatever the curses had done had soon been undone – a fact for which he was relieved. His eyes shifted to Bree then, taking in her size as he listened to Tazrae’s comments upon her – she was bigger, that much was obvious. Alric fancied that there was an increase in muscle more than fat though, she felt more powerful to his eyes, yet still ever the curled up pet-like partner she refused to admit to being. He chuckled at the eggs comment.

“Perhaps she just likes to keep you busy? Or, perhaps she is the superior female and just gets far too much attention for her own good? Might explain why she needs the food all of the time. How about it Bree, can’t get a moment to yourself these days?”

He smiled at the offer of a seat, it had been some time since they had simply sat together and he took full opportunity to fill his pipe and start the smoke curling, pulling some new tobacco from the magical tin – a favour he hadn’t experienced before and which gave off almost a sandlewood fragrance, strange yet still surprisingly symbolic of his self-assessment as a common man. He pondered her question as he sat down and was immediately swarmed by smaller Ixam despite Tazrae’s efforts – he had noticed that he didn’t seem to nee to eat that often since his experience with the repetitive day. He felt different too, though he couldn’t put his finger on it.

“I ate your dinner, I always eats your dinner. I had noticed the two guests though…I’ve watched them when I could, but they seem to be keeping to themselves. Doesn’t surprise me, given their probable ideas about magic and fantastical things in general…it took some difficulty just to convince me…they may be a hopeless case and move on in the end. Still…something to watch” he nodded to himself between puffs of smoke.

“Time has a way or creeping up on you, or mugging you in equal measure. As for my day…better than the one that seemed to last for a thousand or more,” he said as he leaned back in relaxation, not quite sure whether he meant the Krysus one or the more recent addition, “but I can’t complain. Other than helping with some labouring and so on I’ve mostly spent the day trying to corral and teach Lys. Still…I feel more at ease than I have in some time, despite everything”

“I am not sure that I’d even know where to begin when it came to riding, though I suppose I’m not one to shy away from making a fool of myself. Randal told me that the jungle was quite like Sunberth in a way, made quite the impassioned speech about such things, though I doubt he remembers,” he scratched his beard thoughtfully, “it made me think about it differently. I still have no idea what I’m doing in the jungle but it doesn’t seem like such a nightmare anymore. I suppose that was his intention, even if it wasn’t entirely true. So sure, I can try to ride into the night with you…at least you’ll likely get much amusement. But I get your company, so I think on balance I get a better deal. Lead the way when you’re ready”

Between puffs of smoke, he sipped at the mango drink, admiring the bone cup but also amused by the slight morbidity of it, and had to nod in agreement with her assessment – Stu’s creations were always delicious, though this one seemed to be particularly good and probably why it had been gifted away. Alric couldn’t remember it being available before so perhaps this was his first attempt and in the future it would become even better. He opened his mouth to start to talk about what had happened the past season or so, but he wasn’t even sure how to begin and so instead returned to Stu’s drinks.

“I have a theory that he secretly imports them without anyone knowing, maybe some magical portal he knows of, and that’s why he keeps doing things so well and so quickly. Suspicious indeed, I will have to investigate most thoroughly” he snorted to himself in amusement.


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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Tazrae on November 3rd, 2022, 6:20 pm

Bree paused in her savagery and lifted her head to look at Alric. She licked her teeth and then gave him a toothy grin. “Superior Species? I like that. Don’t you forget it.” She said, dropping back down to nose at the nearly stripped bone again.

Tazrae watched her, a flicker of admiration flowing across her face. She found the creatures beautiful, clever, and every bit on par with most humans. Just because only one of them could speak didn’t mean they weren’t intelligent. Even the hatchlings and juveniles seem to know what side of the bread was buttered. “You have just as much of a soft spot for them as I do.” She said softly with a smile, nodding a chin at him scratching jawlines and all but treating them like an affectionate pack of toddlers.

She thought a moment about Lys and Lexi.

“I like the pair of them together. They needed each other and give in ways we can’t. I have no baseline for growing up as Lys did… and still is. But Lexi gets her. And Lys is smart, always figuring out ways to try and stay out of trouble. If you weren’t her Father, she’d get away with most of it too. Lexi is learning how to use her mind from Lys. They are going to be the next generation of women here, and they are going to be smarter, stronger, and more powerful than the current ones. I could not be happier for this Settlement.” Tazrae admitted softly, tucking one of her loose curls back behind her ear.

“Honestly? I’m a bit jealous of them both. I would have given anything to have a friend growing up, the type of friend they have in each other. I do not believe either of them will ever let the other one down. And that’s really good… because I believe Lexi to have as many secrets as Lys. I hope they find a confessor in each other because it’s a lot of weight on a child’s shoulder to carry such things without someone to speak of them with.” Taz added, shifting. She’d been sitting too long, playing that flute, and her body demanded motion.

Bree snorted at Alric’s tone. “I _am_ coveted. And why not? I’m smarter than all of them and they want their offspring to reflect that. But I am also picky. It is nice to have choices, though there is only one I will always ever choose.” She said, nuzzling the gleaming white bone. She shoved it up into her jaw and with a violent twist of her head, broke the femur, spit them out, and then held the broken pieces in her forepaw so she could begin to suck out the delicious marrow. It was a delicately savage move and one she took pride in.

“She likes to keep me busy.” Taz nodded agreeably. It was something she complained about to the Ixam but was infinitely grateful for because sometimes she just needed little things to do. Playing hide-and-seek with Bree’s eggs was one of them. Her thoughts were interrupted by Alric’s pipe smoke and she sniffed appreciatively. “I like that aroma.” She said thoughtfully, offering him another small smile. “I don’t think I’ve ever smelled it before.” She added with a tilt of her head and a thoughtful expression on her face. “It would be a nice scent to infuse candles with at the Inn.”

Taz nodded at the comment that he ate at The Inn. She always felt better knowing he did. He never talked about it, but she suspected Alric and Lys missed more than one meal in their lives before Syka. It was one of the reasons she always gave Lys as much food as the girl could eat. She was willowy anyhow, so Tazrae had no idea where she put it when she did clean the heaped plates, but it endlessly fascinated the Innkeeper to see her set into something. It was also a good judge of how the girl was doing. She ate when she was happy, scheming, or bored.

But it was when she pushed food around and only pretended to eat that Taz knew to be worried. There had been a time or two she’d caught Lys feeding all of her food to hatchlings off the deck, and knew that the adjustment from Sunberth in many ways had been as hard on the girl as it had been on Alric.

“I’m glad you noticed them. I hate having feelings about people without giving them a chance, but …” She trailed off. Should she tell him her first instinct was to reach for the other form she now had and see how fast she could liberate their beating hearts from their chests? She flashed her teeth in an almost identical way to Bree when the Ixam was about to unleash some sort of fury and shook her head.

“Let's just say they bring out a wilder side in me when I even have to talk to them. I wanted just one of them just once to lay an inappropriate hand on something or make an inappropriate comment. But they simply smile in their oil-slick ways and display perfect manners.” She said, shaking her head.

He went on to speak and she frowned at his words. A day that seemed to last a thousand? A thousand what? He’d either explain or he wouldn’t, and she wasn’t going to ask because he leaned back, relaxed, and seemed far more at ease than he had been. The subject change did not go unnoticed and she made mental notes to perhaps work the other angle and see if she could talk to Lys about occupying more of her adoptive father’s time. Surely it wouldn’t be a hardship for the girl to take a couple of bells out of the day to spend with Alric? She was never so sulky and strong-willed at Lys’ age. If Marketh asked her to do something, she was usually happy to do it.

She turned and looked at him then. Lifting an eyebrow, Taz slowly asked. “You mean in all the time you’ve been here you haven’t been riding yet?” She asked, almost shocked. How had he missed that experience? How could he not know? Tazrae assumed Alric utilized horses very little in Sunberth. Everyone walked as far as she could tell because things like horses got eaten or were reserved for the well-to-do that hid behind their gated communities. She was still ruminating on that fact when Alric made some suggestions about where Stu got his drinks.

Laughing, she shook her head. “Riverfall has good wine. But it has nothing that compares to what Stu brews. I think he prays over them. You know he’s a priest right?” She admitted, then rose, and walked into the Pavilion. Without shyness or hesitation, she began stripping off what she wore and replacing it with jungle attire. Then she headed to the weapons rack, plucked Sweet Refrain out of where she was lofted and sheathed her on her belt. Then she took the hatchet off the rack, fastened it to the backpack, and shouldered it.

“Bree… will you come?” The Ixam nodded, rose, and stretched out her full length with the lazy grace of a woman putting on aires. “Good. And for Alric? Who should I tack up?” She asked, consulting with Bree because she didn’t know who the Ixam wanted to travel the night with and who wouldn’t mind carrying Alric.

Bree shorted, glanced at Alric, and then looked out into the darkness. Firelight glittered of scarlet scales as the big male stepped into the circle of light the pavilion cast onto the surrounding jungle and beach. Taz lifted an eyebrow, surprised, and glanced at Alric.

The green Ixam broke out of her stretch then, circled the palapa, and went to twine necks and exchange playful nips with the big male. Then she turned her head, looked straight at Alric, and seemed to stare right into him. “He’s been waiting for you to decide to come to see our world. He’s taken no other rider. But he will carry you.” She said quietly. There was no arrogance in Bree’s words this time. There was only fact and a hint of surprise.

Taz nodded, slightly at a loss for words. She pulled Bree’s saddle off the sawhorse she’d built for it and fastened the breast collar and crupper that would hold the woman in place even if the lizard was running sideways up a tree in a giant spiral to the sky. “We’ll have to get tack for him at The Commons.” She said, ready already and leaving the food Alric brought where it lay. It would not go to waste and would be gone by morning. She did however pause at Stu’s bottle. “Maybe you should bring that?” She suggested, then lead the way to the commons.

Once there via a short walk down the beach, they broke into the storage under the lofted area. Opposite where all the pads were for the overnight housing couches, Taz had set up a sort of community tack room. She looked for and found the widest saddle in the bunch, grabbed a pad, and walked back to where the scarlet male stood waiting. She handed the pad to Alric and gestured at his back. “Throw it on his neck and slide it down to his back. That way, you aren’t putting any of his scales in a bind or rubbing him the wrong way before adding the saddle’s weight.” She said and waited for him to do so.

Once he had that accomplished, she showed him how to gather up the stirrup on the far side of the saddle, all the gear that was still partially attacked to it, and coil it in the seat so Alric could then set it on the Ixam. From there, she demonstrated how to secure the breastplate, where it snapped on either side and under. She showed him how to cinch up the girth on the saddle and make sure it was not going to slide. Then they fit the crupper under the big male’s tail and gently offered him the headstall with its bitted reins.

The big male took the bridle without a fight, clearly indicating he was his choice by dipping his head as Tazrae slid it over his nose and the crown of his head, fastening straps under his chin and throat. He chewed at the bit a moment, arched his neck, and snorted but otherwise made no complaint. She ran the reins back to the saddle and then stepped back, turning a stirrup for Alric to put his foot in. “Foot in here, swing over and slide your other foot in the opposite stirrup. You’ll need them for balance.” She said, then turned and mounted Bree.

The green Ixam wore no bridle and probably never would. Taz hoped that someday the Settlement would adopt that sort of riding style. But they’d need a whole bunch more intelligent Ixam first.

“Now… riding…. It's fairly easy. You find a balance, get out of the way of his shoulder motions, and when you want to go forward simply visualize the energy of his body moving forward and grip him with your legs and push him forward. To go backward, visualize the same thing… grip his barrel with your body, and mentally push the energy backward in him.” She added.

Continuing the quick lesson, she gave him a few more pointers. “Ride with your legs gripping his barrel lightly. When you want him to go right, release your grip on your right leg and create a sort of energetic space there. He will instinctively shift to fill the space, turning right…. when he's corrected enough to suit you, make sure your leg lays back on his flank evenly and he’ll stop the turn and go straight. The same holds true with the left. If you want to stop him, shift deeper into the seat and sit down harder… he should stop. You can haul on the reins to make him turn and stop, but I suspect it won’t phase him one bit. Be a courteous rider and he will carry you again.” She instructed, a grin forming on her face to see Alric on the big scarlet creature.

“Ready?” She asked, knowing he wasn’t, but that he’d hopefully love it anyhow.

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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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Tazrae
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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Alric Lysane on November 4th, 2022, 8:26 pm

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“How could I forget when you are there to remind me,” he said with a shake of his head, half-rolling his eyes at Tazrae, “and I have a soft spot for anything able to kill me but chooses not to. I am wise like that” he said with an amused twinkle in his eyes, still absently toying with the smaller Ixam and not quite admitting what she said was true, though he doubted it mattered seeing as she saw all too well.

“I suppose you might be right,” he conceded to her talk about the two young women between sips of drink, “she has certainly grown since coming here, and seems less burdened by what she was before…though new burdens replace the old. As for Lexi…I don’t know. She seems older than Lys, yet not as thoughtful. Lys is thoughtful but not as…creatively wise as Lexi. Together they work well. I just hope it ends up being for the better rather than spiralling into the worse. I keep her level as I can but…well she grows up. In the end she won’t listen anymore. At least she has someone after the age of eight, in that at least she may be on stronger foundations…in which case I’ll take it” he tilted his head in thought before smiling foolishly and shaking it away – as with most people their fates would be in their own hands eventually.

“I know what you mean though,” he said slowly, after Bree’s commentary upon her intrinsic value, a wriggle of Alric’s fingers and a small tapping into Ionu’s influence making a small coronet, one which he had in the Outpost and remembered well as an item he thought he could never afford at the time, flash above her head briefly to accentuate her reptilian arrogance neatly, “I’m not sure either of our childhoods were what you could call normal. Perhaps that will be the best legacy – a stability not known to us, alongside a love that endures. It would be nice” he sighed, the illusion fading as he drank and smoked himself more into a relaxed position.

Candles…I’d never have thought. I had almost forgotten how delightfully different her mind was to mine. Hmmm, I wonder if they have any at the Outpost… he mused to himself.

“Neither have I. Some kind of magical tobacco tin. Different type each day. Appeared for me one day…I’ve lost track of how many such items I’ve collected so far but this one certainly is close to my heart. As is the pipe…a gift from Laviku. One of a few stories I owe you, though you were always better at telling such tales. The short version is that Ialari summoned Laviku during the curses. I didn’t really think I could refuse giving a gift to a God. And I gave him my pipe! I didn’t know what else to give him, I was still catching up to him appearing on a crest of foam and…well it was dramatic. He changed it into this…though I’m surprised he didn’t just flip me into the ocean for foolishness. I mean I’m not very religious but even so, looking back, I should know better in terms of gifts” he snorted and shook his head at himself, his pipe dying and the ash ready to be emptied into he breeze. He held it out to her in case she wanted to look at it, if she didn’t then he’d clean it and tuck it back away in its pouch.

He merely listened as Taz and Bree talked about mounts and riders, anything to do with riding obviously went over his head compared to the two of them, though he was curious as to what Bree would think was a suitable choice for him – animals had a way of being honest that humans did not. What he did not expect was the large scarlet Ixam to appear, clearly close with Bree, and the revelation she gave them. His head tilted to the side slightly, considering what it meant. He remembered meeting the male on his arrival in Syka, though the details were vague and washy due to the curse’s effects. Still, it was s surprise to know that he had decided not to let anyone ride him. The fact that the Ixam had waited suggested that even without sentience there was a degree of bonding, of choice and decision. It was quite remarkable.

“Well…let’s hope I live up to being a rider such a fine creature deserved” was all he said, meeting the scarlet’s gaze and inclining his head slightly.

He grabbed the bottle of mango drink as Taz suggested, slipping it into his backpack before shouldering it and setting off, following their leads as he had no idea about riding and what it required. In truth he was still puzzling over what reason the scarlet one had for waiting for him. Was it because of Taz and Bree’s bond perhaps? A natural addition to their group? Or was there something else, like an affection for street rats? It was something to ponder later, after their lesson and patrol, perhaps for a while to come depending upon whether answers were forthcoming. Their arrival at what was revealed as a keeping house of Ixam riding equipment – a tack shed was it? – stopped his musings further, his attention taken up with trying to follow Taz’s instructions.

“Just putting on a padded blanket, how hard could that be eh? Wouldn’t want to ruin a scale on the first ride,” he talked to himself in calm tones, secretly concerned that he was about to truly petch something up and trying to hide that fact, placing it down as had been suggested, “and now…oh the saddle is it? Like this? No…no…this? Ah, good…good” he said as he placed it upon the Ixam’s back, talking himself through the process.

Then followed a series of buckling, fastening, positioning and then repositioning, getting the threading through of the straps not quite right and then correcting them. He had to admit that the scarlet Ixam was patient, though he did eye Alric and snort more than once in what he swore was an amused and slightly mocking tone. From the way Bree seemed to snicker he assumed it probably was. Breastplate finally was put in place correctly, the crupper following but with slightly les of and issue. The girth cinching went the smoothest. The bridle, as it was noted to him, went on well enough, though he felt sure if he were assessed on it all he’d likely not pass muster.

Once he was done he stepped back and eyed it all, scratching his chin with a frown, brought back to the world by Tazrae’s offering of what she called a stirrup, telling him how they worked – noting there was another on the other side by pulling himself up and leaning over to look he nodded to himself, raised his eyebrow at Taz and then put his left foot in.

“Here goes nothing” he said, pushing with his leg and pulling with his arms, swinging his leg over and managing to find the other stirrup with his right foot on the third try.

There was an uneasy moment where he felt like he had no balance, even with the stirrups, his fingers reaching out to grasp the saddle until he felt comfortable letting go. He took a few moments to balance, his posture changed it so easily he found, forcing him to keep a decently straight back and a firm grip with his legs, pushing down with his feet into the stirrups at the same time. Once comfortable he listened to Taz’s explanation of how to ride, running it through his mind and uttering it to himself over and over silently lips moving but no sound as he tried to set all of the commands in place at once, sure he probably missed things.

“Visualizing…visualizing…” he talked to himself, squeezing his legs against the Ixam’s body and thinking about moving forwards, a river of Djed perhaps, but just a tiny bit, the scarlet Ixam put one clawed foot forwards before turning his head to look at him with an almost clicking sound and Alric snorted after a few moments, “alright smart tail…forward it is” he said, thinking about going further forwards, getting a couple of paces, then practising backwards with similar success, the simple movements seemingly instinctive and fluid to achieve.

Then he went for turning left, moving his leg out slowly and finding that the Ixam turned that way. He experimented and found that the further away his leg was, the stronger he thought of energy shifting and twisting that way, the quicker and sharper the turn was. Satisfied he nodded and brught his leg back to his side and the turning stopped. Then he went for turning right and it went terribly wrong – or right if you were everyone else present. The Ixam took Alric’s quick moving of his right leg away as a sign for an extremely shar turn, effectively turning in a circle on the spot. And it kept going because in the chaos Alric completely forgot about putting his leg back. He felt sure he could hear laughter as he desperately tried to regain control, eventually doing so by forcing the stop command – though in fairness it was more out of a slamming into the saddle and weight shifting in a last ditch effort. Stop the scarlet Ixam did though, and Alric took a few moments to rake his fingers back through his hair, clear his throat and compose himself.

“So…jungle patrol was it?” he asked, eyeing Taz briefly before looking away as if it had all been intended.

He could see why the Ixam had waited for him now, the sneaky lizard was just as much a mischievous soul as he was. This would either go very well, or explode catastrophically, and he wasn’t sure which one it would be as of yet.


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Alric Lysane
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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Tazrae on November 5th, 2022, 7:22 am

There was a noticeable difference in Alric that Tazrae recognized through the course of their conversation and trip to The Commons. He was… more settled, amiable, less burdened, and a lot like the man she’d met at The Outpost rather than the man who had shown up in Syka on a Wind Eagle seasons ago. She wasn’t sure what was different, but she was definitely going to enjoy the evening and hope it lasted. She watched quietly as he mounted the big scarlet male and got his seat situated. Then she moved Bree up beside him and laid her hand out on his knee. She touched him to get his attention, so he’d hear her clearly as Bree and the scarlet male nuzzled each other affectionately.

“Alric.” She said, catching his eye and holding it. “We are going into my world. And we are going as they go. Don’t fight it. Relax and enjoy. Once you do, you’ll be seeing the other side of Syka… the side no one sees but the Rangers. You’ll be seeing the places the Old Ones guard and what holds the magic of the world close.” She said, shifting slightly and then retrieved her hand. “If you need to stop let me know. Otherwise, hang on… don’t worry too much about steering him. These two will go together and they’ll know where that is. You can work on the finer points of Ixamanship later.” She said, then kissed at Bree. Bree trotted out, not in a forward motion as a horse would, but in an oddly gaited side-to-side smooth stride that was actually easier to sit.

She gestured at the saddle and leaned forward so she was more laying on Bree’s back and neck. The saddle was designed for such things. There were handholds on either side of the cantle that arched up in front of him. There was no horn like a horse saddle had. And she took a moment to grip both sides of the saddle and lean forward. Tazrae made sure Alric could clearly see what she was doing and how she was all but laying across Bree’s neck. Once he’d assumed more or less a similar position with their legs still locked around the Ixam’s barrels… Taz kissed Bree again. Her odd side-by-side gait turned into a fluid series of leaps that carried them forward and into the deep jungle away from Syka and away from any signs humans were even around. The leaps were two beats, meaning the Ixam jumped twice and then took several strides across the flat before leaping again. It was a ground-eating stride but Taz knew it wouldn’t last. Their true forte was aerial.

Taz loved riding. Her expression in the moonlight revealed it all. And it wasn’t necessarily the covering of the ground swiftly, though there was plenty of that. Her joy happened when the large reptiles selected a path upwards and ran straight up a larger tree in a huge gradual spiral upward and around it using huge branches and bark to get toeholds. They carried the riders effortlessly and when they got into the crowns of the trees, huge pathways opened up. They could run straight down the outstretched arms of the giants that occupied the jungle. Moonlight filtered down in speckled patches that were brighter than on the ground. Those streamers of moonlight formed woven light grids they ran through effortlessly. The Ixam did not tire as other beasts of burden did. They seemed to be made for running and loved it as much as those who were privileged enough to ride them.

Alric would notice the pathways here were never in straight lines like boulevards or avenues in human places. Instead, they were up and down, side to side, or often in giant spirals that the lizards navigated without issue, including taking the riders upside down to follow the best easiest path. They did it so quickly that the riders stayed secured with their legs secured around the lizard’s bellies. They made low profiles, which gave the Ixam an easier time passing through smaller openings and choosing pathways that would accommodate both them and their riders. And oddly enough, other creatures joined them, sometimes flying and sometimes running. Local wild Ixam would also follow a few strides or even a few trees, to fulfill curiosity and to make sure they weren’t missing out on fun. There was a time or two that Bree or the big scarlet would have to leap and there was no discernable path ahead. Instead, they’d jump out into nothing and fall, catching branches lower, slowing their fall, and dropping onto another pathway.

There were plants on the pathways too, growing on the trees and creating new environments. Creatures never seen on the ground clung to bark and poked heads out of blooms as the pair of riders thundered past. Occasionally monkeys or squirrel-like creatures scurried out of the way. Once they startled a large owl who swooped up out of the canopy they were currently co-habituating. Taz kneed Bree around and they paused on a huge limb of a large jungle giant, stopping for a moment. The Ixam weren’t even winded as they stared down at a giant water source that had what looked like a manmade dam at its head.

It hadn’t taken any time at all to get to the spot and Taz pointed out what looked like a manmade trail below them. “This is the Confluence… its fresh drinkable water. We collect drinking water from the sky and filter it.. but here we can safely drink. We don’t know why.” She said, then nudged Bree onward. They traveled a half bell more, before slowly dropping out of the sky via pathways that dipped lower and lower. Finally, Bree made a last jump to the ground, then charged off in her odd side-by-side swinging gait until she came to a massive set of dais stairs. She scrambled straight up onto them and out into what looked like a huge foundation though it was far larger than any home nor fortress of old. Giant blocks interlocked to form a huge lofted square that stretched on in the starlight as far as the eye could see. Taz dismounted, stretched, and waited for Alric to join her.

“How are you doing?” She said, glancing around, letting the Ixam breathe for a moment as she pulled a waterskin out of her backpack and took a pull on it. She offered it to Alric. “It’s quiet out here tonight.” She added. “The way they travel… what they mean for Syka… there are no words to describe it really.” Taz said, giving Bree a scratch, then doing the same to the scarlet when he nudged her for attention as well.

“The founders call this the Dias of the Forgotten. I found it odd because there’s no evidence of structures up here. There’s only this huge upraised square dais that goes on forever and stairways leading up to it on all four sides. I had no idea what it was for until I was at Reclaimed Knowledge and there was a painting there of flying ships. I asked the librarian about it and she shook her head and told me that the ancients used to sail through the sky like the Svefra sailed across the Suvan. They called them djedships. I asked her about this place and she said it was a skyport. The djedships would land and take off here using magic. It’s like a dry port for the ships.” Taz said, shaking her head. “I don’t need to picture them because of the paintings. But I can stand here at night and imagine it.” She paused and glanced around.

Strangely, the dais wasn’t overgrown with trees or plants. The giant blocks themselves were moss and lichen-covered, but nothing more.

“I thought I’d swing by Reclaimed Knowledge, then show you the World Gate.” She added. “That’s a good place to turn back.” She said, slipping a booted foot back into Bree’s stirrup and swinging over. “You lead. They’ll know to swing by and say hi to Talia.” Taz nodded, indicating roughly northeast of where they stood now.

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Last edited by Tazrae on November 5th, 2022, 2:54 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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Tazrae
Be savage, not average.
 
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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Alric Lysane on November 5th, 2022, 2:41 pm

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He had to smile slightly, despite his nervousness, as the scarlet male turned his head to fix his gaze on him. Meeting the gaze, he fancied he could see an appreciative intelligence there, as high minded as Bree perhaps in his mannerisms, but still able to know what fun was. Clearly he had his own personality, despite being a non-sentient animal. Alric’s experience with animals was limited, beyond the occasional dog or cat…or Brat. Twilight was the closest he had had to an animal companion, and he had certainly had his own foibles. Still the scarlet Ixam seemed larger in that regard, more formed and complex. He made a note to spend more time with Twilight, he had been lacking in many connections over the last season and now, looking back, it was a sad thing.

He listened intently to Tazrae’s words, meeting her gaze and nodding after turning them over inside the privacy of his own skull. The way she spoke made it all sound special, though all he could think of was thar he had never ridden anything before and was about to go for a long ride through quite dangerous terrain, and knew nothing about what to expect. Still, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, settling into a similar posture to her – hands gripping handholds he had missed before in his other experimentations – and tried to settle into place. His eyebrows rose slightly as he considered why he had to be low on the beast’s back and gripped in place by both feet and hand, his mind going to the way the saddle and its connectors were rigged prodding at his subconscious mere moments before realisation set in.

Oh…shy- was all that got through his mind before the world started to whirl and blur past them.

It was strange, he had seen horses and how they moved and expected much the same from the Ixam, but the difference was immediately obvious even to his inexperience. The scarlet Ixam moved from side to side, instead seeming to hug the ground and almost power through it at times, reminding him of when he had tried out sand surfing with Reimancy, his claws digging in and powering them forwards as he snaked forwards. The resemblance to Twilight, another reptile, was not lost on him, though it was slight rather than a strong correlation. They were fast too, the world blurring quickly and the journey both smoother and faster than he had thought it might be. As they moved he realised why they were in the position they were in – it made it easier for the Ixam to find a path forwards, vines and foliage whipping over his head that he felt sure would have smacked him off of the Ixam’s back had he been sitting up fully.

He held on for dear life, his heart racing and knuckles turning white along the first stages of the journey, feeling sure his heart would burst from his chest as the Ixam chased each other, each taking the lead every so often as if they were competing with each other. It was a wild ride, Tazrae’s words rang true in that regard. The glimpses he caught of her were of her practically beaming with joy at the experience. As for himself, he just tried to hold on and not fall off at first, fear reigning supreme. He had never really been above two storeys, let alone up in the midst of jungle canopies. He had definitely not travelled upside down unless he had been thrown through a window either.

The experience was equal parts terrifying and exhilarating, and he wasn’t sure which side would win at first. At least he didn’t scream out in fear as tendrils of foliage, or smaller animals darting across their path, barely missed him. Each time they seemed to leap out into nothingness he held his breath, praying quite hard for someone who said he wasn’t religious, before they landed and he exhaled. When they finally stopped he carefully let go with his figners, flexing them to get the blood flowing again as the scarlet Ixam looked back at him with what he felt sure was reptilian amusement.

“I’m going to guess magic. Usually is,” he managed tog et out after a few moments, raking his fingers back through his hair and stretching muscles he hadn’t realised were tensed up, looking down at the Confluence that Taz pointed out, seeing nothing junglesque encroaching upon it, though in fairness they weren’t close enough for every detail, “doesn’t look like the jungle touches it, at least from here. Interesting…I’d like to have a closer look one day, if you could replicate it, if it is magic, then that could be useful in the future” he noted, his curiosity winning out over the adrenaline filled ride.

They were off again, jumping, diving and climbing through ever more complex trails of changing size and elevation. Now he knew what to expect, and that he wasn’t about to fall and die, he found that he was more relaxed about the whole thing. He started to notice more details – like the other Ixam that followed for short periods, or the birds that flitted around them and yet somehow kept pace, the monkeys and other creatures he had never seen, and more – and actually started to enjoy himself. He wasn’t quite beaming like Taz was, yet he felt that once he was used to the whole thing then perhaps he might be as relaxed and in the moment as she was. Their travel went on for around half a bell, which gave him plenty of time to view the scenery and start to relax into he experience, so that by the time they were scrabbling atop some kind of gigantic stone platform he was half-smiling at least.

“Oh, I travel like this all the time…no sweat,” he said with a snort, looking at her and shaking his head slightly, “let’s just say I’m a bit more relaxed about it than I was in the first ten chimes. I can see why you do this every night, it has its own special moments. Indescribable would probably be my first choice of word” he said, the corners of his mouth turning up slightly before he took in some of his own water and looked around them at what was clearly old stone.

He listened to her, nodding slightly, and found himself returning to the first ideas he had had when arriving in Syka. What had been built was good, sturdy and he had no complaints about it. Yet, much as he had felt in Sunberth, they were somewhat impermanent structures, not designed to stand the true test of long time. He wasn’t sure why, perhaps there were some repressed memories of his time with his parents deep down that screamed at him, but he had always thought that stone had a sense of permanence and a strength – almost like a challenging stamp upon the land, a declaration that you were there, and there to stay. Scratching his chin and seeing how stone had survived so many centuries and still seemed serviceable, even if what it had been designed for no longer existed, seemed like a call to him.

“So much has been lost, and even here in one of the most peaceful and open places that I’ve seen, we have yet to truly recover that much. Or begin to make a mark that would last as long as this stone. What I wouldn’t give to be able to leave this world such wonders after my passing” he said thoughtfully, wondering if it were time to revisit those ideas, perhaps with a talk with the Founders to see what could and couldn’t be done.

“Wait, you want me to lead? The last time I led was in an arena, not sure that’s the same kind of ability. Sure? Alright, well fair warning, come on then scarlet one…Reclaimed Knowledge? That way?” he stroked the Ixam’s neck and gave him a few good pats before he was off, knowing the route well enough it seemed. They must have done this patrol many times indeed, he reasoned, for it to be so ingrained.

The scarlet Ixam charged forwards, sideways gait eating ground as if it were nothing, skittering down the stone and back into the jungle, leaps and steps taking them up and into he trees once more, the trails still not obvious to Alric but clearly they were to his mount. He took Taz’s advice and started trying to relax into the experience further, finding that if he gave up the illusion of control then it was almost more enjoyable – he was no rider after all, not at the moment at least, and so he wasn’t really controlling the movements. The idea that they were one unit, he and the Ixam, made things slightly less terrifying and more enjoyable. He still didn’t fancy the weightless moments of being in nothingness, but at least he was able to start trusting that they would end well enough, if with slight impacts and exhaled breaths. There was rhythm to his gait that Alric was starting to recognize, though it had been difficult at first. By the time they slowed, and with one last leap found the ground and skid to a stop with a slight spray of foliage, he was actually having fun. Still, he took the opportunity to swing himself out of the saddle and found his legs ached terribly and took a few faltering steps to bring full feeling back into them.

“Good lad” he said, coming around to the front of the Ixam to scratch the side of his face gently and rub his neck. His reward was a slight sound he hoped was satisfaction from the beast before he left to nuzzle Bree once more. He looked around and found something that was quite out of place.

“A library?” he asked Taz, his eyes darting this way and that, his palms itching and the back of his neck tingling at what was likely s much unknown knowledge it had its own palpable aura, “you found a pre-Valterrian library? What it must contain…who else knows about this place?” he asked, stepping forwards and making his way into the site proper.

It was open to the elements in large parts, though he couldn’t see if some of it might lead to other places, underground perhaps. He was surprised that things were as preserved as they were, books still open on tables he noted as he came closer. It was as if they were removed from time’s passing perhaps, a fact which made him slightly uneasy considering his most recent experience with time. His fingers traced the stone, wood and parchment once they were within reach, almost itching to try out his Lykata, though he held off for now as he didn’t want to interrupt Tazrae’s introductions to the place – she had obviously been here before, and many times he was willing to bet.

“The things this place could teach” he said, almost in a reverential tone – knowledge was something he respected, if was concerned about should it be misused.


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Alric Lysane
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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Tazrae on November 5th, 2022, 7:03 pm

When they paused at the Confluence and Alric expressed his desire to see it again from a closer distance, Taz nodded. “Take the cobbled pathway towards the Sawmill. Just after The Bungalows, you’ll see a well-marked trail that’s cleared leading off into The Maw roughly to the north. That trail comes out here but on the ground. And on foot, it's generally safe.” She added. “If you go in full daylight in the morning, you shouldn’t need a Ranger unless you want the company.” She told him. “A friend of mine, Ialari, comes here to meditate,” Taz told him, gesturing to the benches near the dam at the bottom of the falls.

“A trail leads around the confluence. And there’s even a little wooden bridge over the water on the far side. I helped Randal build it.” She threw in with a grin. “I won’t claim it's totally safe because one never knows, but we’ve tried to incorporate it into the Settlement enough that you shouldn’t have issues under normal circumstances.” She left that clause hanging. Syka had all kinds of abnormal circumstances and Alric knew it.

They rode on and Taz admired the fact that Alric had started to relax and enjoy himself. He rode with far less fear than she knew others did, even for his first trip out. And his grin at their stop at Reclaimed Knowledge was a large one. He wasn’t a huge man, not like Buraga, but was streamlined with corded muscle that aided him in being flexible and built for this sort of activity. The Innkeeper didn’t even mind the view, getting a good look at his backside as they played chase through the jungle. Bree glanced back at her knowingly and gave her a wicked look. Taz rolled her eyes.

“Such a nice view.” The Ixam hissed back at her and laughed as she ducked the scarlet’s tail as if he’d deliberately taken a swing at the two ladies following. Looking ahead, Taz saw his glare backward and couldn’t help but laugh herself. She was indeed having a good time.

Taz wondered if he realized how much of The Maw the two had just rode. She’d taken him northeast, then back southwest, and would head northeast to the World Gate before they’d turn for the Settlement and end their patrol. If something had been amiss in the jungle thus far, the Ixam would have picked it up from the other denizens and told Taz. Normally she wouldn’t take a new rider so long or so far, but she trusted the scarlet male to take care of Alric. He was a strong creature and had at least as much endurance as Bree who was used to these trips. Alric himself was fit. If she were honest with herself, they both were a good match, the pair of them… though she suspected Alric would have preferred the big male to be brown, grey, or something less flashy than bright blood red. Her grin grew even wider.

When they pulled up at Reclaimed Knowledge, she slipped off and then took a moment to untack both Ixam. “Stay out of the stacks. You know you both annoy Talia when you come in.” She added, leaving the gear in a big pile. She wasn’t going to rush Alric through his first experience here. It wouldn’t be fair. The pair of Ixam hissed, then faced off, wrestling a little as if to settle the earlier tail versus face dispute, then wandered off to see what they could chase out of the rest of the remains to eat. Most likely they were hungry again.

Turning to Alric, she explained. “When we do long runs like this, I like to give them breaks. It's not that they are tired… they can go all night and all day. It’s that they get extremely hungry because they have a lot of food needs. I think it has to do with how much energy they burn when they flat out run, coupled with the burden of riders… they will hunt and rest and give us a bell or two to wander around.” She said, hoping he wouldn’t be too disappointed to stay a bit.

“When… Caiyha gifted me with my Ixam scale, she gave me the form of one. I haven’t spoken much about it to you… I wasn’t sure how you’d take it. But I don’t often ride Bree when we go on patrol. It’s why I’m not as good of a rider as I should be. I still understand being new to their antics. I usually run with her instead. It’s something I experience firsthand. They are both starving. We’ll give them some time.” She said, gesturing towards the library.

There was no huge temple or structure in front of them, instead, there were steps leading up which crossed a stone porch, and more steps leading down. The library was a series of ruined buildings that stairs dropped down into. He could see stacks of books everywhere, almost completely untouched by the fact they were exposed to the elements. As they walked down overgrown stairways and past more stacks of books, they came to a great hall that was open to the sky. Paintings hung from the walls there and Tazrae paused at one and gestured up.

The thing was massive and showed part of Pavena as it must have looked when it was whole and functional. The city was beautiful, artistic… but it wasn’t the city that caught his eye. It was the sky that had a couple of flying ships in then. They had great sails and the ships themselves had glowing auras of various colors that indicated they were possibly flown by magic. A third ship was visible in the distance, docked at a tower that no longer existed.

While Alric was looking up at the painting, a form materialized in front of both of them.

“Your books are overdue.” The irritated voice of a very prim woman stated. Taz grinned. “Hello, Talia. I know. But don’t worry. I’ve brought you something to make up for the delay.” She said, pausing to unsling her backpack and drop it down on the ground. She pulled out five different volumes of books and handed each one to the librarian. Then she pulled out a sixth.

“I wrote this one. I interviewed everyone I could think of that has heard of the creatures the Valterrian spawned... and encompassed that knowledge here. So while your Monster section is very thorough up until the Valterrian, I thought you might want a book to cover from the Valterrian on.” Taz said, handing over the journal. “We collectively decided they were Valterics.” She grinned. Talia sniffed, started to say something, then flipped open the book and started browsing through the journal. “Nice penmanship. I hope you employed a scholar to help you rather than just wrote down hearsay?” She asked, lifting a prim eyebrow. The woman was young, with a high-collared dress and a bun that didn’t have a hair out of place in it. She was also quite dead, as indicated by the fact she’d materialized and was slightly transparent.

Tazrae dug something else out of her bag. “Lily Hess sent this along. She said to tell you that she is a Master Spiritist and if you need anything to let her know via whoever comes to see you. She said this was like a fine wine to you.” Taz said, adding a quart jar of something that looked like whispy dough to the stack in Talia’s arms.

The librarian’s gaze softened. She smiled and then turned to study Alric. “Who is this?” She asked, furrowing her eyebrow and studying Alric thoroughly.

“He’s Alric. A newcomer to Syka but something of a scholar himself. He’d like full access to the library if you’ll grant it to him.” Taz said, looking thoughtfully at Talia, hoping she would.

Talia nodded. “Of course, but he has to make an offering first. I’ll need something new to be added in for payment for his full access. I have, as you’ve rudely pointed out, very little post-Valterrian knowledge, so anything he's willing to write about and submit would be helpful. He can have conditional access until then. Meaning if he takes something, you are responsible if it is lost or stolen.” She said, glaring at Tazrae. Then she turned back to him.

“What can I occupy my bells and bells anticipating getting from you? An accounting of your childhood? A treatise on a far-off city? Maybe your own history?” She asked, thoughtful. “And since Tazrae vouches for you, what exact kind of scholar do you consider yourself?” She demanded. Then, after she’d given him a chance to speak, she gestured around. “Well, go show him around. If you have time later, I’ll eave the checkers out.” She added.

Taz looked regretful. “I’m on patrol.” She explained and Talia made an ‘ah’ motion. “Just resting the lizards are we? You didn’t let them in here, did you?” She said, glancing around suddenly nervous. “Destructive little things. One of the little ones was throwing baby teeth and chewed up an entire volume of a bloodline archive. Now it's useless and covered with reptilian saliva. I didn’t pay attention because I thought it was a trained pet. Now I know better.” She added, shaking her head in disgust. “I was just discussing countermeasures with the mainframe.” She added as if this was indeed not a good thing.

Taz apologized again. “I made it clear no more of them were to eat books. Bree promised that between her and the scarlet she’d make sure you weren’t disturbed gain.” Tazrae added, looking for all the world like a schoolgirl about to get her recesses and holiday breaks to far-off exotic locations revoked.

Talia smiled. “Good. You only have a bell or two at most before those things have killed and eaten something utterly revolting. Make sure they don’t leave any more carcasses on the porch when you go, will you? So be off with you… show him around as far as you’ve explored yourself, why don’t you?” She suggested, and then simply dematerialized from their vision.

Turning to grin at Alric, the bard laughed. “That’s all but full permission to browse the stacks. What do you want to see first? I usually ask Talia what I’m looking for so I don’t know all the parts yet, but we can wander wherever. I know where the Silas Journals are and the books on Monsters. I also know a little about the geography sections and where the maps are. Most of them are pre-Valterrian so they aren’t good for our purposes.” She added, twirling around in a little girlish motion. “There’s also that we can just wander or we could look for a whole new section.” She threw in, knowing that was always an option. This was one of her favorite places on Mizahar, and she was absolutely joyously excited to show him.

Then she waited for him to decide what he wanted to do. Though, as she did so, she displayed all the patience of a starving hatchling waiting for someone to hand it a strip of raw meat. She bounced, fidgeted, and looked everywhere as if trying to anticipate what he’d say.

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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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[Garden Beach] Sometimes The Stars Bear Witness [Alric]

Postby Alric Lysane on November 6th, 2022, 12:45 pm

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There was little time to mention that he knew Ialari, though their meeting had been brief, and perhaps not the best of meetings all things considered. Still, he found himself wondering if everyone knew each other deeply in Syka, or whether it was more superficial than that but still deeper than your average town or city. He had seen Ialari recover part of herself, her soul perhaps, from Laviku. That seemed like something she probably didn’t tell everyone. Perhaps he would find out if he ever met her at the Confluence, already deciding that he would make a visit at some point in the Fall, even if it was just to satiate his curiosity. Move on through the jungle they did, however, and such thoughts were left behind upon their arrival at Reclaimed Knowledge, instead occupied with possibilities.

Xhyvas would be proud he thought to himself with a wry twist to his mouth, still a slight bitterness about the spring within him. Still his musings were broken by Tazrae’s admission and he paused in his pacing, turning over her words in his mind.

“You…can become an Ixam? Caiyha gave that ability to you? The goddess of animals, plants and wildlife was it?” he asked aloud, not really a question but more repeating what she had said as if it made it seem more real, “and you run with them? And know their hunger?” he continued in a slightly far away way of talking, still processing, “well…I suppose at least you don’t seem to have kept your figure despite the appetite” he went for humour, it was usually better than anything else though no doubt it would take time to wrap his head around the fact that the woman he had loved for some time was not truly fully human anymore.

When he gestured to proceed further into the sanctum of tomes he nodded and pulled at his Lykata, the mark seeming to shimmer slightly brighter as his fingers traced stone and wood, going from item to item and trying to read what he could in the moment. It would take a series of days, with meditation and other things, to truly get a fuller picture of this place – a deeper meaning – but that didn’t stop him getting trace flashes of memory and emotion.

Flashes of scholars in strange clothing that seemed far superior to their own slipped through his mind as he closed his eyes, some were energetic and enthuses with new learning. Others were slumped upon the well worn wooden tables, showing their wear even in the flashes, and seemed tired or…overworked perhaps. Some stones even gave the briefest images of illicit couplings in the shadows – books clearly were far more motivating back before the Valterrian, he concluded. Throughout it all, however, there was a thrumming golden cord on unity, shown here and there on the surface but he felt sure it went deeper – a reverence for knowledge.

“I wonder if Eyris ever visited here before it all came crashing down? Or if not here, perhaps places like this?” he mused aloud, eyes taking in the tapestries and paintings between he shelving and scattered tomes, one in particular being pointed out by Taz, “those would be…Djedships was it? What I wouldn’t give for one of those…and the knowledge to use it. What can be achieved when bare survival is no longer a concern…it is amazing. And sad at the same time, for its loss” he noted thoughtfully, head tilted and trying to imprint the entire thing into his mind, down to the smallest details.

When the ghost appeared before them it caught his attention immediately, breaking his study of the décor, but he didn’t feel a threat. Taz seemed to know the entity and so Alric remained silent, instead studying her and seeing someone dressed similarly to some of the readings he had managed to get – though not of her specifically. Neat and well dressed, perhaps even proper by most standards. He assumed she was from before the Valterrian and so likely much smarter and, in life at least, more capable than they were. He listened, watched and when he was inspected raised his own eyebrow in return – his experience with ghosts was limited but altogether favourable. Still there seemed to be no attack coming and so he did nothing to provoke in his stillness.

“Thank you for the access. I’ll make sure nothing gets misplaced. You must have been alone for quite some time, I’m sorry to hear that. This place used to be so full of life, of a different kind to what is here now,” he said, looking around and taking the whole place in once more, “a knowledge lover’s dream. I’ve never written something myself, aside from my journals and notes on magic…which you likely already have in better quality. Still, I’ve had in interesting life, it might be worth reading. If not, then an entire treatise on a city that never existed before the Valterrian – at least not in the same way. Its politics, mythology, history such as is known. Maps of city layout and so on. Commentaries upon gods that have been met, creatures that perhaps might not have been before the Valterrian. Sran’tuka might make an interesting read, once he is dead and dealt with of course. Body snatching monster that he is. The Outpost, more recent Djedlines than you may know of…or extensions of older ones you know in so far as I can gather them…hopefully at least one of those suffices” he flashed a small smile.

“As for what kind of scholar I am…the curious and physical kind. Royally dedicated to uncovering what can be uncovered, to pass it on to the next generation I suppose you could say,” he said, sharing a glance with Tazrae briefly, “but mostly I merely have a reverence for knowledge. Much like those who were here before, though they were probably better educated. Still, knowledge for knowledge’s sake is something worth pursuing, I think, would you not say so Talia?”

“Seeking without direction brings inefficient results…but there is something to what you say…Alric. Go on then Tazrae, show him around”

After a brief further exchange Tazrae and Alric were alone and wandering without much true direction in mind as she taught him more about Reclaimed Knowledge and her previous excursions within its realm. He considered what it was he might actually want out of this place – without so much possibility it was almost impossible to consider. He already had a Silas Book on Glyphing, though he had yet to truly explore it given what his circumstances had been – he had not been in the right mind set. Still, some other help with magical instruction wasn’t a bad idea all things considered.

“Let’s see if we can’t get a Silas Journal first, seeing as you know where they are. I’d like some more direction on exploring magic and if we have a pre-Valterrian depository on it then I’d be foolish not to take advantage of it. What I’d really like to know, though, are where the history sections are. Knowledge of my ancestors and their exploits, philosophies and achievements…failures. I’ve been searching but this place…this place must have better records. Was there anything you wanted?” he asked, noting how she was fidgeting and seemed buzzing with a nervous energy, as if she were restraining herself from running head-first through the nearest set of shelves in an attempt to force the information into her skull.

“Tell you what, why don’t you give me a tour first? Show me what you’ve found already, and then perhaps along the way grab what you probably already have an idea about what you want? Then we can search for newer horizons?” he suggested.

“Also…what on earth in Mizahar is a…mainframe was it?” he asked, curiosity clear in his voice.


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