Closed Jungle Guide At Your Service Pt. 2

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. 2

Postby Tazrae on November 24th, 2022, 5:37 pm

Tazrae stripped down, unashamed of her body in front of the other woman. Once devoid of her clothing, which she stuffed into her backpack. At the same time she removed two thin mesh bags, setting them aside, before she tied the backpack securely, handed Kamilla one of the mesh bags, and waded into the water with only the mesh bag looped over her wrist. It didn’t have more than a drawstring closure that she could loop over her wrist leaving both hands free. Taz wanted to be able to shift into her Ixam form in a heartbeat if anything threatened them, and with all her things in her backpack, she had the contingency of snatching it up with her snout and running for safety if they needed it. But her senses told her things were fine, the jungle was safe, and there were no immediate threats in the water.

It was a great time to teach.

Like everything else in Syka, the water was warm, yet refreshing… cooler than the outside air temperatures, but not by much. It felt deliciously good, with almost no current. There was a pull, but it was slight, as if someone could drop a leaf onto the water and it might lazily, in a few chimes, sail past the observer. “The Syka River is what we call low gradient. It doesn’t travel down elevations much, so it winds and is a slow sluggish beast.” Taz told Kamilla. The woman had asked her a lot of questions, but she refrained from answering until they got into the water properly.

Taz was careful and attentive, but not hovering… noting that Kamilla was probably far more content in the water – and more importantly safe – in her Konti form than Tazrae was in her human body. It was nice, not having to make sure Kam didn’t drown when they waded to the far bank, finding themselves shoulder deep in water. “This is almost the perfect location.” Taz commented, then showed Kamilla her hands. “Make claws like this… and face the far bank. See how in time of flood the water washes this bank clean, making it almost a cut-bank? That’s what you need for finding freshwater clams in a river like this. Face the wall… in the deepest part… which should be easy for you. Luckily our water is down and I don’t have to try and make it work underwater with holding my breath… but this level.. its great.” She said, reining in her words. She was almost babbling now.

“The clams like to burrow into the bank, which helps further undermine it, making the river bigger over time. More clams mean a wider ever-changing river bed, in the course of things, and so they do the water a favor by keeping its banks unstable and soft enough that high water events open the river up.” Taz said, looking at the water thoughtfully. She’d learned this after being magically kidnapped by a goddess and dumped into an environment where she’d been naked, afraid, and forced to survive. “Finding them is easy…. Just make claws with your hands…” Taz lifted hers out of the water and arched her fingers into what could be considered a claw like motion, and mimicked digging into the bank, raking her fingers down the dirt. She demonstrated out of the water above the waterline where Kam could see. “You’ll feel them with your fingers. Just grab anything that feels like a rock or clam.. and after you rake a few in, you’ll be feeling the difference… toss them in the mesh bag, and I’ll have something for supper tonight or tomorrow night at the Inn.” She grinned.

Kam was in for a surprise.

Taz moved closer, almost laying against the high far bank, and began raking her fingers through the mud. She had to dunk under a few times, holding her breath, but she indeed found clams. They weren’t the small buttery clams of the coast either. They were huge freshwater clams the size of her fists. She found two on her first pass and literally decided they’d found a treasure trove of the bivalves the moment she dropped them into her mesh bag.

“See what I mean?” She asked feeling other debris lodged up in the solid wall of the bank too. But after just moments, Taz could tell the difference between a stone, a piece of river debris, and a clam. “If you get lost somewhere with nothing, pray it's in the jungle. There is literally food everywhere.” Taz commented as she used this opportunity to harvest for the next meals she’d need to make at The Inn. She fed a lot of people there, and she wasn’t ashamed to admit knowing things like this was what kept her business successful.

“You asked me some things earlier… about my people.” Taz started out. “The land doesn’t remain the same… and in a lot of ways, it's still reacting and adjusting for the Valterrian. In the way of the world, five hundred years isn’t that long. The desert isn’t going to be what it is now forever. It’s going to get a lot hotter and food is not going to be easy to find. I was told this by a Priest of Xyna in The Outpost. He said I was… separated from my people because I was meant to come here and see if a Benshira could thrive. I suspect we know the answer to that now… and that by being here, I’d be a gatekeeper and pave the way for others to come.” She said softly. “It’s a big responsibility, but if it means the Kois will survive, then they will be the first to make the move… what’s left of them anyhow.” She said softly.

Still raking, still moving along the bank, away from where she’d ravished it into new fresh wet clay, she began digging again. “I don’t know my grandfather… not my real one. His soul is trapped in an Hourglass and a monster lives in his body. He’s systematically killed off most of my people, leaving only the really useful alive. Coming here, for them, would be a fresh start and a way to leave the desert early before their children and their children’s children suffer from drought and famine.” Taz said softly, offering Kam a smile and nodding encouragement when she saw she found clams as well.

“I don’t think the issue is as bad for non-humans like Chaktawe who have … adaptations like you’ve said… to survive drought. Humans have nothing but their mind and their ingenuity. If you go to the desert, be careful there. There are things… well there are things everywhere really, but there… the struggle is closer to the surface and things are more dangerous. But you should learn, either way, because it sounds like it is your right by blood.” Taz added.

“I would think you can learn about your Konti form anywhere there are Konti… even here. One of the orphans is Konti. She might know more about her people.” Taz said, remembering that fact, but not which orphan was which.

“It was … as you said… very hard leaving Kaysen. I will see him again someday though. My sister said to trust his father. I have to believe I can and that he will be protected and loved until we can be together.” Taz said softly, then turned to grin at Kamilla.

Then she glanced over at Khari. She was keeping a watchful eye on her daughter, but her senses were wide open. “I’m a bard, she will be fine,” Taz said with confidence. “Most people think bards are folks that sing in Inn’s and at parties or celebrations, and that’s true to some extent. We love music and performing it, but it's so much more than that. Rhaus is the heartbeat of the world. Everyone has a musical signature, a sound that is all their own. It’s present in how they move, how they think, and what they feel. Rhaus’ marked understand this… and we take sound to a whole new level. I’m twice marked by him… perhaps because of my Benshira blood or perhaps because of my mission here to pave a pathway… but I can hear for miles. I can communicate with other bards long distances as well. And to us, sound is a weapon. You can shatter someone’s eardrums with the right note sung the right way… you can also cause their brain to hemorrhage and kill them. Bards can see with sound… its called Ultrasound… we can feel the sound pressure waves in the atmosphere and if we send them out they bounce back with a sound wave image that can reveal things like enemies. It’s not a good picture, but it gives us some idea of what is out there. Bats can see in the complete dark with sound… but they have faces to interpret what they hear. Humans do not. If I learned morphing more and could shapeshift my face into that of a bat, it would come in ever so handy with Audius.” Taz said, giving it some thought.

“We have infrasound which travels long distances. It‘s low frequency, but it allows us to see things not visible to the naked eye… even things like ghosts. It travels right through walls, so it allows us to communicate really far distances.” Taz grinned.

“We can mimic sounds too… tone and pitch of voices, replicate birdsong as long as it's in our normal range of hearing. We can also dampen the sound by creating a sound that cancels it. It’s handy to have when you want to have a secret meeting and one of you is a bard.” She added, not mentioning if a bard was dampening, they actually couldn’t be doing anything else, like talking. It made one-on-one meetings vulnerable… but in a group it was golden.

“I can sing silently and tell you the range to an enemy accurately. And I can make music a weapon… since we can sense the vibrations of things… we can twist those vibrations and do damage to a person’s body on the physical level or even do things like making a stone wall made of brick collapse. Rhaus is a super weapon, and his bards are an army unto themselves.” She said with a grin and glanced back at Khari. “She’s pretty safe with me. And I know you with your scales and your Konti nature can probably feel the water yourself… tell if anything big is lurking In it…you should be really sensitive to motions in the water on your skin. Konti are, you know…. Riverfall was full of them. But if your form is new to you, you might not know how much you can sense in the water. You aren’t toothed fearsome creatures, so I suspect you have built-in options for being safe and escaping.” Taz said, her voice speculative.

“So while you might be impressed, it's all borrowed magic from the Gods… a lot of it at least. Strip all that off, I’m not that interesting.” Taz added, with a grin. “Unless you like cooking… I’m a good cook. There’s no borrowed divine magic there... just hard work and practice.” Taz said.

She added another two big clams to her bag, which was getting quite full now. “Seen enough? You are wet, muddy, and tired. And I have my food for the Inn tomorrow if you let me have whatever clams you don’t want to eat. I’ll mix up a big pot of chowder and everyone will be quite happy… .that is if there’s milk. Mathias tried to tell me my cow was dry, but he’d been milking her all along.” She said, grinning.

Tazrae was more than willing to lead her out of the water, give her a towel from her backpack to dry off with – and one for herself – and be ready to head back.

“Kamilla. I think we can be great friends. Will you tell me more about yourself? I’m really curious about what you like to do for fun and what maybe some of your hobbies are. Maybe we could start doing some more things together?” She asked, wondering if it was too soon to extend the flag of friendship. But it never hurt to hope, did 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 Pt. 2

Postby Kamilla on November 24th, 2022, 8:26 pm

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Watching as her guide stripped down, something she was completely desensitised to since moving to Syka, Kamilla did the same, removing her boots pants and bra with no shame at all. She quite liked the sight of her naked Konti form, especially because it lacked the hideous burn scar that ran up one of her legs… but also because of the delicate iridescent scales that adorned her side, like natural jewellery… she wondered if she could collect them and perhaps make something out of them… they truly were beautiful.

By the time her little train of thought had ended, Tazrae was done packing her pack and was offering her a mesh bag, which she took, tying the drawstring around her wrist just as her guide had before following her into the water.

The instant she was in her body rejoiced, the refreshingly cool water felt delicious on her exposed skin and scales, certainly more than the humid and sweaty jungle air.

Immediately Tazrae was back in mentor mode with Kamilla doing her best to follow instructions, clawing her hands, facing the wall at the deepest point… all while thoroughly enjoying submerging more and more of her body. The tid bit about how the clams and river were almost in what could be described as a symbiotic relationship wasn’t particularly useful, she thought, but it certainly was interesting to think that even something as small as a clam could contribute to the ebb and flow of a river, making it change depth or width or shape over time. Truly, there was so much to learn about the wilderness.

Kamilla watched curiously as Tazrae demonstrated the clawing technique, dunking her head beneath the water, shivering in ecstasy as the cool water entered her body and passed through her gills, as she observed her guide pulling two surprisingly large clams from the dirt. Resurfacing, the Konti nodded in understanding, already trying her own hand at finding clams, her fingers making contact with something rough after a few ticks which revealed itself to be a small rock. She tossed it aside and tried again, this time quickly finding a clam equal in size to the ones Tazrae had found.

”I can’t believe it’s actually this simple.” she said as she tossed the freshwater clam in her bag and eagerly resumed her digging. Kamilla would be lying if she said she wasn’t enjoying foraging so successfully, all the while listening to Tazrae’s story about her people. She wondered if that meant Jehu’s and to a certain extent, her… people would need to do the same. ”If they’re anything like you Syka would be the greenest pasture imaginable for them.” she said with an amused laugh, enjoying the combination of the water, skinny dip foraging and good female company more than she’d ever thought she would. ”I think you’re doing a great job as an explorer if you ask me…” she added, truly impressed by Tazrae’s dedication to her family… even those she’d never met.

From there the conversation took a completely unexpected twist, so unexpected that Kamilla could only stop in place and stare at the benshira woman as she spoke. Despite the abnormal happenings and life Kamilla had lead, she couldn’t nonchalantly react to Tazrae’s admission of what her people were enduring, especially the part about her grandfather’s soul being imprisoned in an hourglass and his body being possessed by a monster. Honestly it was a lot to swallow.

”And this is the monster that’s plaguing you…” she said in a very monotonous tone… she didn’t need to ask to know it was true.

Just like that, as if the topic had never been brought up, Tazrae was back on topic, explaining that she doubted the Chaktawe were having as hard a time surviving and making a good argument for it too. It struck her as a bit odd, how easily the benshira woman confessed something so shocking and surely painful, then proceeded to continue with a regular conversation, though she supposed everyone dealt with their problems differently.

Not wanting to let on that she was confused by her nonchalance, Kamilla resumed her digging for clams, having found at least four since their foraging began. ”I definitely want to see it for myself one day… though I’ll be honest, I think I already have… briefly.” she said, thinking of her first time vanishing… she’d appeared in a desolate, hot and dry sandy terrain for literally a tick before vanishing and reappearing about 50 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. Unlike Tazrae though, Kamilla wasn’t quite ready to share her curse, though she did feel guilty about it. ”I didn’t know there was another Konti in Syka, I’ll definitely give her a visit.”

Once again the conversation took a sudden detour to harsher topics, this time Tazrae’s leaving of her son… who’s name was Kaysen… behind. This time Kamilla chose to remain silent as the woman switched once again, now grinning.

The Konti was glad for the change of subject, having never been good at comforting others… she listened intently to her guide’s description of bards and her abilities as one, eyes widening more with each additional skill that Tazrae claimed to have. ”That’s an unsettling amount of power.” she admitted, imagining the ability to seriously injure or kill someone with sound alone. She leaned in slightly closer, ”Is James a bard too?” she asked in a hushed voice as if anyone was listening. ”When they rescued me from the middle of the Suvan at the start of the season he said he’d heard me call out… but his ship was probably about a mile away. It was something she’d given a lot of thought to since the rescue, but him being a bard made the most sense. ”His voice is also suspiciously perfect, like yours… or perhaps without noticeable flaws, is more accurate.” She had convinced herself at this point.

The rest of their abilities like ultrasound and being able to use it through walls was truly baffling. It seemed bards were truly useful powerhouses. She certainly wouldn’t be picking a fight with one anytime soon.

Tazrae’s next comments, relating to Kamilla’s own Konti form were particularly interesting, in that she’d never even considered that her aquatic form was more attuned to water, beyond simply being able to move through and breathe it. ”I’ve never considered that.” she said, closing her eyes, feeling the way the water moved slowly past her, she could feel the way the river curved where she stood, feel the disruption to the flow caused by Tazrae’s form right in front of her. Eyes widened in surprise, a smile on her face, ”Wow. You’re completely right… I’ll have to give it a lot more practice.”[/b{ she said excitedly, always happy to learn something new. [b]”And gods or not, I think you’d manage… no one’s ever struck me as a survivor as much as you do.” Genuinely.

”Yes, I think I’m ready to head back… this has been quite an enlightening trip.” Kamilla said following Taz out of the water and accepting the towel, ”I’ll just take a few, I’m not much of a cook at all, I use a magical cauldron and pie cozy to eat most nights… but I’d like to try steaming some clams for Jehu and myself to try.”

Following what Kamilla was now discovering to be a trend of unexpected twists, she was genuinely surprised to be so directly propositioned with friendship. In her thirty years of life, she was sure that no one had ever literally asked her to be friends and while she was caught quite off guard, Kamilla could think of no good reason to reject the offer. Tazrae was interesting, skilled, smart and powerful… and although she hadn’t expected it, the benshira woman had made what would have been a tedious and dangerous hike through the jungle an enjoyable experience… exhaustion aside.

”Actually… I think that sounds nice, you’ve made this survival lesson quite enjoyable if I’m being honest…” she offered a sincere smile, ”… besides, it seems we both have a lot to discuss. Maybe I can pay you a visit at the inn sometime… it would be nice to talk without having to fear for my life.” she added with a soft laugh. The offer has only just been made, but Kamilla was already eager to spend more time with the impressive Benshira woman… after some much needed rest.

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Jungle Guide At Your Service Pt. 2

Postby Tazrae on November 25th, 2022, 3:59 am

Tazrae smiled slightly. “James is a phenomenon all on his own. Yes, he’s a bard. But you wouldn't know it by his playing. He has senses beyond normal, especially for a human and especially on the water. Do you know he came to me in Riverfall and recruited me to Syka? I was in a very bad place… my mother had just remarried an Akalak. I was renting a tiny room in this run-down apartment complex. It was my first home. That was after we lost our Inn when my fath… uncle died. My mother ran it…. Well, my aunt… she ran it into the ground. She was self-absorbed and had no idea what kind of work went into an Inn. So, she remarried a rich Akalak after she drove us homeless. They invited me to join them, but I needed separation. He… he offered to loan me the money to start an Inn and he knew both my father and the man my mother… aunt… remarried.” Taz said with a smile.

If it weren’t for James, she’d be still lost in Riverfall, probably working some terrible job being underpaid and overworked. Such was the lot of humans in Riverfall.

“My history is rather confusing. I was separated from my sister when I was a baby…. almost like Khari and Kaysen are. My aunt and uncle took me to raise me and I was raised to believe they were my parents. I was close to my uncle… he was very dear to me. But my aunt was a hard selfish woman. I don’t actually know my real parents, though I’ve been told they are still alive. So sometimes when I talk about the past, I stumble over the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ … I knew them one way, but it was a lie.” She said softly, then glanced up at Kam. She rarely told people that.

She grinned, however, at Kamilla’s words. “Perfect voices? Just because you can’t hear the flaws doesn’t mean they aren’t there.” She said with a grimace, knowing that was so true. “But I do agree, James has a storyteller’s voice. It can make me melt with pleasure when he’s deep into a tale. Juli, his daughter, has his voice too. Maybe they have bards in the family.” She said, laughing lightly.

Taz was glad Kamilla was starting to see her newer form had advantages. “Fish of all kinds – practically everything under the water even Konti - are sensitive to changes in the water pressure and the movements of water. It’s got to be a whole new world for you. I can see why you are in love with the form. You are gorgeous as a human but stunning as a Konti. And I bet the sea feels a lot like coming home.” She said softly, her eyes shining with the wonder of imagining a situation like that. “I think I can understand though… I feel that way in the jungle as an Ixam.” She added, chuckling. “But then again, I bet no one would call a toothy-scaled four-legged form stunning.” She added with a light laugh. “We should brush up on Morphing… so you can be an Ixam with me and I can learn to be a Konti from you.” She grinned. “Though, lets be honest. You’d probably make a stunning Ixam… with perfect hair... erh scales.” She laughed, teasing the woman she decided was going to be her new friend.

Out of the water and with the clams hanging from their bag now attached to the backpack, Taz had long since dressed and retrieved her daughter from her little baby hammock which was now stowed away in the backpack again. Taz shouldered the thing, waited for Kamilla to be finished, and gestured over the rise. “The cobbled pathway is just over there. We’re less than an hour from the settlement center. I know it's even further from your home. Do you want to ride back? I don’t have tack, but Bree could carry you easily and I could take another one… and I know she won’t drop you.” Taz added, knowing Kamilla might want to give the hiking a rest. “They can get us there in just a few minutes and we can go through town and take you home to save you the big walk from there,” Taz added, trying to show Kamilla a break after dragging her through the jungle.

“Or we could just enjoy an old-fashioned slow leisurely walk,” Taz added in, getting Khari situated in her baby wrap, bundled up against her mother’s chest once more, a comforting warmth Taz was starting to depend on. There was a trail by the river that led to the cobbled pathway. It was open and well-traveled as if people or animals came here often. She’d take it up to the cobbled pathway, despite her advice to Kam to never use animal trails. This was an exception since they weren’t lost and were just taking a shortcut on the way home.

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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 Pt. 2

Postby Kamilla on November 27th, 2022, 8:52 pm

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Getting confirmation that James was indeed a bard as an explanation for the captain being able to hear over miraculously long distance scratched a very satisfying itch in Kamilla’s brain, she has been quite puzzled about it since the rescue. It seemed James had a habit of rescuing people from unfortunate circumstances as Tazrae explained how he’d done the same for her. Of course, it didn’t sound as if the benshira’s case was a matter of life and death, but rather a life of potential unhappiness. In contrast, Kamilla couldn’t imagine Tazrae describing her life in Syka being in ‘a bad place’… from her own perspective, the woman was thriving, despite all the confusing family issues that seemed to be happening back in Riverfall.

”It sounds like they adopted you… and if they raised you it’s not entirely a lie is it? But I do understand what you’re saying, even if I can’t relate. The only family I ever had was my mom and gran… nothing nearly as complicated as your own.”

Kamilla was amused by Tazrae’s refusal to take a compliment, especially considering how impressive she was, but she supposed the woman with the god given sound abilities most likely knew better than her. To Kamilla though, Tazrae’s voice sounded just as pleasant as she described James’ to be. The Konti nibbled on her bottom lip for a brief moment as something crossed her mind, ”What is it like, having such a heightened awareness? Do you get overstimulated by all the noise sometimes?” Of course, being able to hear over long distances sounded amazing, but having been in several cities, some where she hadn’t even been able to sleep past sunrise because of all the hustle and bustle of people going about their days… Kamilla was sure that such a talent could be both a blessing and a curse… like most magics.

”It definitely does feel incredible to be in a body of water… especially the ocean. You know, I couldn’t even swim before I became a Konti… in fact, I’d almost drowned at least twice.” she said, sounding amused by the morbid memory. Although, one of those instances had lead Jehu saving her life and that to them growing closer. ”I don’t know, I can’t think of many things more stunning than a woman turning into a giant lizard.” she teased, her tone remaining light. At Tazrae’s next words Kamilla couldn’t prevent a warm laugh from escaping her lips, ”You know, I’ve never met someone who talks about magic so casually… or perhaps nonchalantly… I like it, the way you view magic as just another tool.” It was truly refreshing to see someone who simply saw magic as a means to an end instead of solely seeing it as some sacred art form. ”I would love to try to experience being an Ixam and many other things with morphing… and it would be wonderful to have someone to explore the ocean with in return.” She laughed again at Taztae’s teasing, ”Perhaps I should get to work sewing us some matching Ixam dresses then…” Kamilla was highly amused by the mental image their conversation had created, two glamorously dressed Ixam prancing through the jungle with manicures and make up. How silly.

When given the options of riding the Ixam back to the settlement or simply walking, Kamilla had to briefly contemplate the advantages and disadvantage of each choice. On one hand, she was exhausted, her muscles hummed with a dull ache and she was curious about what it would be like to ride the Ixam through the jungle, to gain an incline of what Tazrae experienced as one… but on the other hand, she wasn’t certain of whether she and Bree were on the best terms after her comment back in the commons, though Tazrae did seem to trust her.

”I… I’m kind of out of steam…” she confessed, rubbing the back of her neck, ”… and curious.” she added honestly. If Tazrae trusted Bree not to harm or drop her during their trip back, it was enough for Kamilla. ”I don’t even remember the last time I rode on a horse… if ever.” Had she ever caught a ride on anything other than a carriage, wagon or ship? She didn’t think so.

Honestly, at this point, Kamilla was looking forward to resting her limbs more than anything else. She had enjoyed the survival lesson more than she’d ever thought possible, thanks entirely to Tazrae… but, her body had definitely just about reached its limit. ”I’m still amazed that while I can barely feel my limbs, you lead the way with a pack on your back and baby on your chest and still seem to be unbothered.” Tazrae’s endurance was truly remarkable.

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Jungle Guide At Your Service Pt. 2

Postby Tazrae on Today, 2:48 am

“My uncle adopted me for sure. He was so kind, and loving… and I’ll hold his memory close to me forever. He treated me as a daughter and showed me how real men should act towards their women and family. My aunt wasn’t a good woman though. She was bitter and jaded, interested in her own comfort and security. I do not know why. My uncle treated her kindly and with great care, though I think he deserved better. Family… is always difficult. If yours is indeed much more simple, be grateful for that. I’d love simple. Will you tell me about your mother and grandmother sometime? It must have been lovely for them, especially your grandmother… having three generations of women all alive at once.” Taz said, thinking that over. Would Khari grow and have a daughter someday that she could see grow up as well? That would be an absolute dream if it ever came to pass.

Taz wasn’t one for flattery or attention to herself. She did what she did because she had to in order to survive. The Innkeeper wasn’t humble, not by any means, and would grin and brag up her cooking rightfully so… but as for the rest of it… she was shyer about, especially the things she was still getting used to; things like growing scales and listening over miles.

“I think the definition of ordinary varies from person to person. Simple lives and simple pleasures sound like such a blessing to me. Meanwhile listening to things over miles might sound seem like something fantastical to you. I read once, in a book about the sound I found in Reclaimed Knowledge, that some animals make noise so low… vocalizations… and those vocalizations travel over hundreds of miles… so say a herd of Ashta can talk to another herd of Ashta that’s clear across the region. And they can hold those conversations at such low frequencies that we can’t hear them. I didn’t know what frequency was until I read that book. I understood a little of it… not all of it… but a little. The sound makes waves, like on the ocean… or ripples like on a still pond where a rock is tossed into it. And the way those waves look… tall, fast, low, slow… are called frequencies. The sharper and higher the waves… the faster the sound runs out of power. But the longer and flatter the waves… the longer they can travel and maintain power. The book claimed sound exists in this huge spectrum….” Taz said, holding her arms out wide.

“And people can only hear in this tiny space of all sound that exists everywhere.” She said, holding her fingers just a tiny bit apart at the thumb and forefinger. “It’s a lot to think about. I wonder though the book didn’t say, if each kind of life gets their little slice of the pie… their little section to chatter in.” Taz added, shaking her head. “And do our other senses work that way? Are there more colors out there than we as humans can see? What about taste? Are we just touching a tiny slice or segment of what actually is out there? Is magic the same way? Is there so much more to it than we can taste and feel; than we can experience?

“I think a lot… too much sometimes. It's hard to shut my brain off to sleep.” Tazrae admitted. “I don’t think the noise overstimulates me as much as my mind is too busy too often, which is worse than the noise. I can shut the noise out, tone it down... but my brain… not so much.” The Innkeeper admitted, offering Kamilla an apologetic half grin.

“Magic.” Taz paused, thinking about how she thought of magic and how she used it. “Isn’t it just another tool though? I was never raised in a place or with people afraid of it. I can’t imagine what that was like. I have a friend, from Sunberth, who was suspicious of magic, but he embraced it anyhow. The stories he told me about the hate in Sunberth was… startling. But I suppose if mages did abuse it in the past, harming that city, I can understand why the lingering stigma is there. Here though… here I suspect we’d police our own.” She said thoughtfully. “Maybe? It’s always easy to be outside of a situation and judge it… being on the inside is different. It’d have to happen here for us to actually know how we’d react.” She said thoughtfully.

“You know what we should do, Kamilla? We should just get together regularly and study together. We can start with Morphing and maybe move on to other topics when we get comfortable with shapeshifting. I think it's helpful to study in groups in regards to magic. I know when I studied with Alric at The Outpost, I learned in leaps and bounds.” She said, tilting her head to one side, thoughtful. “I’d love to have a study partner again… someone to help me level out in my magical studies. I’m often all over the board studying this, then that, then the other… equally fascinated in all of it.” Taz said, glancing at Kamilla. “It calls to me, quite often…. not in a ‘sweet whisper’ sort of way, but in a ….” She faltered in her explanation here. “…like the djed in my djedpools fidgets and fusses, wanting to be let out to do something.” She explained, hoping Kamilla didn’t think she was some sort of irresponsible magic user. She tried to be responsible, but in that way she needed to be busy. She was trying to learn everything that suited her.

Taz laughed outright at Kamilla’s Ixam Dresses comment. “You could start a whole new trend.” She said with a grin, then looked thoughtful. “I wish we had more occasions to dress up in Syka. I used to love doing that in Riverfall as a teen.” Taz said, knowing the Tenday Celebrations were as casual as events ran, with half the people not even wearing adequate clothing let alone dressing up. “Maybe we will have a wedding sometime soon. I wonder if there is anyone seeing anyone else?” She said, furrowing her brow. Taz couldn’t think of a single couple except maybe for Shiress and the Jeweler that were more often than naught fighting rather than loving.

When Taz suggested riding and Kamilla agreed, she looked around, closed her eyes, and reached out with Nura. Bree was close – closer than Taz thought – and with her were several adults. Taz whispered for the Ixam to come to her, in the language of witches, hoping that one or more of the adults would come as well. They did… all arriving at once, and Taz grinned with relief when she saw Sunny was with them. There were maybe six… seven if one counted the wild one that wasn’t from the Settlement. Taz would almost trust Sunny with Kamilla, though Bree was absolutely the best choice. Sunny was a brilliant golden Ixam who had scales running from metallic gold to the deep amber of a sunflower. The majority of her scales were yellow through, without a hint of other colors. Even her mouth lacked the pink of most humans as her tongue was bright yellow and her sharp teeth encased in yellow gums. She was striking, for sure, and Taz loved her bright coloration, especially when she played in the turquoise waters off Syka.

The Innkeeper greeted both Ixam and spoke to the lizards in both Nura and Common out loud for Kamilla’s benefit. “We need a ride home. Kamilla has probably had to follow me one too many legs of this trip and I’m honestly tired… packing for two.” She said. “Will you both assist us in going home?” She said. Sunny dipped her neck elegantly, as if bowing, while Bree nodded. “Sure… I’ll take Kamilla since you don’t have any tack with you. Sunny is likely to drop her in a soft spot in the road if you don’t tack her up.” Bree said, flashing her teeth in an Ixam version of a moment of humor.

“Thank you,” Taz said, as Bree settled herself to the ground so Kamilla wouldn’t have to try and drag her tired body up onto the lizard's back. Meanwhile, the Innkeeper swung up on Sunnys back and got settled. “Just slip your leg over her, settle in behind her last neck ridge, and lean forward slightly, letting your hands rest on her shoulders. Grip her barrel to hold yourself on her and ….” The Innkeeper paused thinking.

“It’s a really different way of riding. They are going to undulate side to side, but it's incredibly smooth as they run. We’ll start out at a walk and work up to a little faster pace until they are running. Most Ixam will run you straight up a tree and take you through the canopy. But without tack, you and I can’t hold on well, so they’ll stick to the ground for now.” Taz said, smiling as she glanced overheard. The rest of the Ixam were gathering above them. They’d most likely follow the pair … or rather quartet and infant… back into town.

“When you are riding… pretend there is a string running the length of your spine that is lofted somewhere over your head like one of those marionette dolls. Then pretend the marionette operator…. Is lifting you up throughout your core. Sit up straighter, but loosen your hips. Make it easy for them to flex side to side and roll, almost as if in a figure eight sort of way… you’ll be less a lead weight on their back and more of a rider then. Lean forward slightly, so you brace yourself with your hands… and we should be ready to go.” She said, checking on Khari’s baby wrap and making sure the infant was secure against her. Being a newborn made her small, but as she grew Taz would less and less able to tuck her into her chest. Instead, she’d have to move her to her back and maybe put the backpack facing forward. Not today, not tomorrow, but soon... in the next season or so, Taz supposed.

When Kamilla was mounted and calm, Taz set the two Ixam off on the trail that lead to a leisurely climb up the side of the river and over to the cobbled pathway. Then the two lizards turned, heading south on the man-made worn flat stones, and started off at a brisk walk towards the Settlement. After a ten-chime or so, Taz kissed the air and they moved a bit faster, undulating side to side breaking into an Ixam version of a trot. It was super comfortable to ride them. Sunny wasn’t as large as Bree – being younger – so Taz was careful to make sure she wasn’t overworking her.

But the ground was eaten up beneath them, and the breeze the swift movement generated was refreshing. Riding side by side, Taz glanced at Kamilla, watching her curiously. “What do you think?” She asked, half grinning, hoping Kamilla thought it was as fun as Taz did.

Words: 1870
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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.
 
Posts: 1245
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Joined roleplay: May 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm
Location: Syka
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