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Explorers of Ariqua. Rated R


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#21 Mikoto

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

Elizabeth tilted her head back and looked up towards the rainforest canopy. "Wow indeed." She remarked. She'd heard about the Zapiyan villages but she'd never actually seen one up close. High up in the trees the Zapiyans had gone to some effort to build their huts and buildings either around the large tree trunks, or braced between the very thick branches that spread out from the trees. A series of bridges and platforms connected the different tree-huts together, along with a series of vines or ropes for those who simply wished to swing from tree to tree. Most of it was made of wood although she saw they had begun to use metal to help hold their construction work together. And she could see the villagers themselves, agilely making their way about the village on their daily business. Smoke came from certain huts and she could see torch brackets placed stragetically around the village.

The Zapiyans themselves mostly wore clothing similar what Demiriz and Lyria were wearing, a woven kind of plant fibre that formed either shorts, skirts, dresses or vests. Colour varied however-the hunters' clothing had been dyed a bit in greens and browns but some of the other villagers' clothing were reds, pinks, blues and browns. Finally Elizabeth wondered just how she and her team were going to get up there, but Lyria had apparently anticipated that question as she made a loud, unique whistle-calling sound. Almost immediately a pair of Zapiyan villagers unfurled a ladder made of rope down to them. But it was clearly designed for Zapiyan use. "If any of you feel you can't make the climb up to the village, I or one of the hunters can carry you." Lyria offered. Elizabeth eyed the rope ladder and the distance she had to climb. "Most of us should be able to do it." She decided. "But we'd better go up one at a time with a hunter nearby in case we can't make it." She added.

#22 EChatty

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

Demiriz watched the reactions of the visitors as they gawped up at the village in the tree tops. The lower branches of all trees had been cut off to prevent unwanted intrusion, and the rope ladder would be lowered when the right signal was given, and the Ariqun could never duplicate it. He could understand Elizabeth's concern about the ladder, it wasn't made for the smaller people, so he nodded at her suggestion. "I will follow you up." He said. "If you do find that it's too difficult, I can carry you on my back." He said, though she looked capable enough to make it without too much problem.

Tevyn looked around at the big village in the trees and he was impressed. It was a whole community doing their thing high up in safety. He noted the straight trunks and could see where the lower branches had been removed so that it would be practically impossible for anyone to reach the village except by the ladder, whose rungs were spaced farther apart than he had ever seen, to accommodate the larger Zapiyans. It seemed a good idea to go up in pairs to make sure no one got hurt.

Aveline considered the ladder as it dropped and she thought she might be able to make it, despite her sore wrist, but she was glad that Elizabeth suggested going up in pairs for safety's sake. She couldn't wait to explore up there and see what all was going on, it was fascinating that they could live their entire lives up in the trees like monkeys and only go down if they needed to hunt.

#23 Mikoto

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:31 PM

After a bit of discussion and arrangement, Lyria had called the hunting party down from the trees, and the Explorers, each accompanied by a hunter behind them, eventually scaled the ladder one by one. Again Elizabeth drank deeply from her flask once they reached the Zapiyan village platform, breathing deeply from the exertion of climbing. As they waited for the Explorers to catch their breath, she looked around. By now many of the villagers had noticed their presence and there were many curious looks being cast their way. However she was glad to note that none of the Zapiyan villagers seemed angry or hostile. She looked over at Demiriz. "Who is the Chief of your village?" She asked. "Is there any particular title or form of respect we should show when we meet with him or her?" She was curious to learn a bit about this particular tribe's beliefs and culture so she wouldn't inadvertantly offend them during negotiation.

#24 EChatty

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

Demiriz went up the ladder behind Elizabeth, slowing his pace to match hers. When they reached the top he offered her his water skin, noting how she seemed to need extra water. The trip up the ladder had taken much longer than he normally would have taken, but they were smaller and not as strong as he was. He couldn't help but notice how pretty she was from the back as they went up, and it was hard to keep his mind on making sure that she didn't fall. When she asked what to call the Chief, he smiled. "You may call her by her name, Taneea." He said. "Or just Chief, if you wish. My mother does not stand on ceremony."

Tevyn slowly crawled his way up the ladder after Elizabeth had put a safe distance between them, and he hoped not to have to do it again anytime soon. He was pretty strong, but it took some strength to go up each rung, and he had to stop and grab some water about halfway up. He stepped aside and stood to catch his breath when he reached the top and glanced around curiously at all the people, who seemed to be just as curious as they were.

When he listened in on Elizabeth and Demiriz he was surprised to learn that the Chief was his mother. Not that the Chief was female, he knew females could lead as well as males, but he never suspected that Demiriz was pretty much a prince.

Aveline was a bit slower than the others, due to her sore wrist, so she decided to be the last to go  up so she wouldn't slow the others down too terribly. She had to stop more than once to take a sip of water and rest her wrist, but she finally made it to the top without falling or having to be carried. She sat on the catwalk the emerged on and took another sip of water while she looked around at all the other Zapiyans. As soon as she could walk again, she hoped she'd be able to explore.

Then Demiriz announced that the Chief was his mother, which surprised her. He was practically royalty? Wow.

#25 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:13 PM

Jhandra had climbed plenty of trees on her family's plantation on Kukui, but never anything such as these trees! She marvelled from above, staring down and around at the village in the tree tops from the wooden "pathway" that linked the tree they were in with the others. And now they were going to meet the leader of this Zapiyan village. This would be quite the addition to their mapping of Ariqua. At least it would be a start.

She put away her water flask and glanced around at the group and curious villagers as they waited.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 23 February 2013 - 10:20 PM.


#26 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:19 PM

Damien hadn't minded the climb up the rope ladder as he spent time in the rigging of the Voyagers, even as it sailed the seas. He wiped the sweat off his face with his sleeve and readjusted his cross bow on his back. He waited expectantly to see the leader, apparently Demiriz's mother. This should be an interesting conversation, as well as a new alliance for Niobia.

#27 Balthamos

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:29 AM

Rylan secured his equipment and waited his turn and climbed the ladder without too much trouble. He wasn't a small person so the spacing between the rungs didn't pose him too much of a problem. Even so a few beads of sweat were trickling down his forehead when he reached the top. It was an impressive construction. The treetop walkways and housing integrated seamlessly with the natural canopy of the forest. He expected many people could walk past this place and not really notice it. He hoped the Zapayan's intentions were as peaceful as they seemed because up here they would be completely outclassed.

#28 Mikoto

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

Once everyone had regained their breath and had a drink of water, and after Elizabeth had thanked for letting her top up her flask of water, Lyria led the way through the village, across several platforms and around several trees until they reached what was roughly the centre of the village and the biggest hut. Inside, a woman who bore a strong resemblance to both Demiriz, Lyria and a younger female sitting with her, regarded them whilst sitting on a matress made of a similar plant material as their clothes were made of. Grey touched her hair and her eyes were shrewd and wise. "Greetings, mother." Lyria began. "These are people from the visitors' village on the coast.We discovered them being attacked by the heathens and helped kill them. They want to talk to you." Taneea nodded.

"Then please, sit down." She indicated other cushions scattered around the remains of a cooking fire in the middle of the room. Elizabeth took a seat, as did Kylen and Lyria. "What did you come to our village to talk about?" Taneea asked curiously and Elizabeth smiled. "We're representitives from Niobia-explorers, more specifically. We come on behalf of our people, hoping to open a trade with Ruhalia and make some new friends." Taneea considered what had been said carefully. "Perhaps. You are the leader of the group, yes? Then your followers don't all have to sit here and listen to you negotiate. They have permission to roam the village so long as they mind their manners." Elizabeth smiled. "Thank you." She looked over at the rest of her team. "If you do go outside, stay out of trouble." She instructed.

OOC: Feel free to explore the village and interact with the inhabitants. ;)

Edited by Mikoto, 24 February 2013 - 12:03 PM.


#29 EChatty

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:31 PM

Demiriz took a seat on the mat next to Elizabeth while the others of her group either sat down with them or exited the hut to explore the village. He wanted to hear what kind of deal his mother was going to make with the visitors, and maybe he could help out as well. He did know that he wanted to get to know her better, and this was one way to do so.

Aveline smiled and went outside the hut and started wandering around, being sure not to get in anyone's way. The layout of the village was fascinating, with the large chief hut centralized. The other huts meandered out from there, each with their own size, to accommodate whatever family lived there. It would certainly be a safe place, as long as one didn't fall, though she could see that the children were agile little monkeys and chased each other through the trees, at least until they caught sight of her wandering around, then they would stop and study her, probably wondering why hehr skin was only one color or something. She smiled and wandered on, keeping her wrist in a comfortable position, noting that several children had chosen to follow her around.

Tevyn sat on one of the mats provided, curious to hear what kind of negotiations would be needed to open trade and friendship with these people. He knew very little about them, as did anyone else, since they tended to keep to themselves in their raised villages. He hoped they wouldn't be hard to get along with, but considering that they had helped and hadn't shown any hostility, he was pretty confident that negotiations would go smoothly.

#30 Balthamos

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

Rylan stood up and stretched his legs after he stepped outside of the Chief's hut. The gaps between the walkways were inconsiderate of those not used to living in such a village. He took a few minutes wandering aimlessly observing the day-to-day life of the Zapiyan people getting used to the large drop beneath him. After he was sure of his footing he walked at what he thought north would be until he got to the edge of the village. Then he started walking round the edge of the village. He spotted many sentries and expected he missed a few more who definitely noticed him even if they were seemingly peering out towards the jungle.

He took note of everything he saw. How many houses he could see, how many people lived in them, the average age of the population and what most of them spent their days doing. He saw children only just old enough to lift a bow hitting a target at 30 paces, children too small to lift a bow fetching and carrying for their elders and people of all ages learning the art of moving swiftly and silently through the canopy. Hunter gatherer parties seemed to come and go regularly. He didn't speak to anyone but he did take note of the fruits, berries and leaves they were gathering. After he'd completed a whole circuit he had a rough idea of how many people lived here and an estimate of how much space the village took up. He also found they had impressive ways of substituting wood for metal. It made sense that they couldn't forge here so metal wasn't as common but the laminated and hardened woods that made up their arrow tips seemed capable of doing as much damage as his rifle.

After he'd completed his whole circuit he found a place to sit. Out of the way where he could see a little way in to the forest and watch the hunters and gatherers return. This seemed like a very simple and selfless lifestyle when he thought about the complicated and cutthroat politics that could plague "civilised" nations.

#31 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

Not really thinking that any harm would come to Elizabeth, Jhandra nonetheless stayed just outside the door to Taneea's hut. She kept all her weapons securely sheathed and maintained a neutral expression. She didn't feel hostile towards these people and wanted to look around and get to know them; yet she was somewhat wary anyway. She heard the murmur of their voices and began to let her attention wander around the village in the trees. It was all so fascinating and incredible, something to surely tell her family when she next saw them. Her love of travel and new experiences was crowding out the idea that she had to protect their leader. She felt free and protected this high up in the canopy of the jungle.

Shortly, Jhandra found her self taking a few steps along the wooden bridge pathway, then a few more, staring around her and smiling at the Zapiyans. She watched Rylan and Aveline move further from the central hut. She began to speak to the people, asking questions and answering theirs in return.

#32 EChatty

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:14 PM

Aveline found the Zapiyan children following her about very adorable, and when they started to ask questions she answered them and asked her own questions in return. They found it fascinating that her skin was one tone all over and told her that she wouldn't be able to hide in the trees very well unless she painted her exposed skin to look like theirs, to which she agreed, chuckling at them. she leaned against a railing and watched as some of them started chasing each other through the trees like monkeys while others gathered around her and felt her clothes and skin, even her hair. She indulged their curiosity while she waited for the meeting with the Chief to end.

#33 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:04 PM

Trying to ignore the obvious stares from several young women...one or two of them so very young...Damien wandered around an open pavillian type hut that seemed to be for public sitting and relaxing. The rough-cloth covered cushions appeared soft enough, so he entered and sat down. He could see through the trees and even down below through open viewing spaces in the wooden floor. The spaces were built so that no one would accidentally step into them and break a foot or leg.

Damien tried to pretend he didn't realize several of the young women had followed him in or were meandering behind him on the walkway. While the tall, long-haired man was aware of his pleasing appearance...to the fairer sex, at least...he didn't pay much attention to his looks himself. Beyond trying to make sure he didn't offend his fellow crewmates with bad odors, Damien rarely thought about himself. But apparently these young Zapiyan women were interested and not afraid to show it. Normally he would avail himself of a pretty girl if she offered and the situation was suitable, but in this case he thought his interest might get him in trouble. Especially with the slim, dark-haired girl who was most assuredly staring and smiling.

Elizabeth had warned them not to cause trouble after all. And showing a sexual interest in one of their possible new allies might not go over too well with negotiations.

Just then Jhandra stuck her head into the pavillion, a knowing grin on her pretty grey face. She knew the beast in him contributed to his "needs" sometimes.

"Mind if we join you, Damien," she asked as she entered.

Her red, slanted eyes had an amused look in them, even as the other young women stared at her now. She was followed by a small group of Zapiyans and suddenly the pavillion was flled with talking and laughter. Damien glared for a moment at her amusement then laughed. He reclined on the cushions to the delighted sighs of the young women, but with all the others now sitting and standing the conversations turned to safer topics in the tops of the trees.

Jhandra leaned over and whispered to him. "You so owe me," she said.

#34 Mikoto

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:45 PM

Timejump: Two hours later.

Time Stamp: 16:22

Elizabeth stepped out of Taneea's hut and studied the angle of the sunlight and shadows cast by certain objects she'd noted before going in and decided that there was enough time to return to Niobia before the sun went down. Helpfully Lyria had gone out and recalled the members of her team to the hut and indicated that it would be time to leave soon. As it was they were lined up in front of the hut. "The good news is that they've agreed to open talks with the Arl with a mind to trade and ally. However to actually begin negotiations, the Chief want us Niobians to deal with the groups that have been trying to attack the Zapiyan hunting parties. Apparently the group killed today was only one 'raiding party' of several."

She explained. "I suspect that they're pirates or at least slavers with a ship, hoping to capture Zapiyan or Salaran natives and ship them back to places like Telmiyar where slavery is legal. Such unique slaves would bring a high price. In any case we're to being this information back to the Arl and see what he wants to do about it." Elizabeth glanced at Demiriz who had followed her out of the Chief's Hut. "Also, Demiriz will be accompanying us as a Zapiyan representitive and guide. Apparently there's a river near the village that will take us fairly close to Niobia if we follow it." She smiled as she began heading for the ladder that they'd used to climb into the village. "Any questions?" She asked as they walked.

#35 EChatty

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:12 PM

"Find the raiders and take them out, clear enough to me." Aveline said. "Shouldn't be hard to find them, if they're as unhygenic as the last bunch we can follow our noses." She walked along with them to the ladder and started to go down carefully. Her arm was feeling much better than it had when she climbed and gave her almost no trouble as she descended.

"I'm with Aveline." Tevyn said, wrinkling his nose. "If they're trying to sneak up on people they should bathe more often. I've no questions, nor do I  have a problem helping the Zapiyans remove those pests." Especially if they were also going after Salarans. He may be only half-Salaran, but they were still his people. He gave Aveline a good head start before he started heading down the ladder himself. He couldn't wait to get started finding those raiders, he just wondered exactly how many bands of them were out there.

Demiriz walked along with the others while Elizabeth told them about the conditions his mother had laid out before she would consider trading with them. He didn't blame her, they needed help to find the raiders before they succeeded in capturing some of them. He was happy to go along with them and guide them, he wanted to see what was out there beyond where he lived and hunted. He was also fascinated with these people, and Elizabeth especially and he wanted to get to know her better.

#36 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:16 PM

When they reached the bottom of the ladder, one after the other, Jhandra and Damien disppeared a short distance into the jungle while the others continued to descend. Jhandra turned away as Damien stripped, throwing his clothes toward the Salaran Elviri. Jhandra scooped them up and shoved them into the pack and secured the straps. When she heard the low breathing behind her, then felt the nudge of soft fur, she turned around. The weretiger stood behind her waiting, the strap of his crossbow in his mouth. Over the decades it had become easier to transform at will, although he still had to careful of how long he remained in beast form.

Damien felt safer traversing the jungle in his weretiger form, even though it posed some slight risk of being shot by mistake. However, so long as he traveled with the group, there was less danger than if he were by himself during the daylight hours. He figured that if Demiriz was going to be with them as a guide, the Zapiyan needed to be aware of Damien's alternate form.

Jhandra slung the cross bow over her shoulder and strapped the pack on Damien's black, orange, and white stripped back. She nodded to him as he glanced up at her, staring at her though his dark eyes. Then they returned quickly to the rest of the group, Damien walking close to Jhandra. He remained next to her as she rejoined those that were on the ground.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 01 March 2013 - 10:16 PM.


#37 Mikoto

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:28 PM

Once everyone had reached the ground, Laryia and the other Zapiyan hunters who had helped them get down safely returned to their treetop village. All except Demiriz of course. Elizabeth took another few sips from her flask then nodded to their new friend to begin guiding them back to Niobia. She let Demiriz take point and lent him her machette as they began working their way towards the riverbank. She was glad that he had decided to come with them, for, besides being very interesting and attractive, Demiriz would be able to tell her a great deal about Zapiyan beliefs, culture and traditions.

Despite herself she watched him idly as he hacked his way to the riverbank. Elizabeth looked around when they arrived and nodded. It was quite a wide and deep river-certainly big enough for boats to traverse although Voyager might have some trouble navigating some of the bends. She got her clipboard and parchment out and began mapping their location relative to Ruhalia village and where the hunters had initially found them. Satisfied, Elizabeth continued to annotate and make notes as they followed Demiriz downriver along the bank. There was considerably less undergrowth on the bank and he didn't have to do nearly as much hacking as before.

#38 EChatty

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:54 PM

Demiriz was fairly startled when Jhandra walked away with Damien and then walked back followed by a large tiger with a pack on its back while she carried Damien's crossbow. He relaxed his hold on his bow once it was explained to him what was going on, then Elizabeth loaned him her machete so he could lead them to the riverbank, which he did, going at a pace the others should have no problem matching. Once they reached the riverbank, there wasn't as much need to hack their way through as before, so he handed the machete back to Elizabeth.

He was very curious as to what the settlement of Niobia was like, as he had heard of it, but had never been there. He thought about what Elizabeth could teach him about her culture, as he would teach her if she wanted to know. He would also like to get to know her as a person better, she was quite fascinating. He relaxed and watched as she made notes and scribbled on her map when they stopped to rest a bit before moving on. He had never used maps, he just knew things in his head, as all Zapiyans did.

Tevyn helped to hack their way through the undergrowth until Demiriz got them to the riverbank, then he was able to put his machete up and relax a bit as they walked along the riverbank, where the undergrowth wasn't in the way. The water was clear and cool, and he would have loved to take a swim in it, but they didn't have that much time. He relaxed while Elizabeth worked on her map and notes, and then kept a lookout while they moved towards Niobia again.

Aveline was glad that Demiriz didn't panic when he met Damien in his tiger form. Personally, she found him beautiful and powerful, his fur silky and cuddly. She mostly followed the group, keeping watch for any more danger, since Demiriz and Tevyn were whacking a large enough trail for them to follow. The river looked cool and inviting and she wished Nick was here to take a dip with her, if there had been time. As it was, she wanted to hurry and get back to him. She needed a bath and a cuddle after this little adventure.

But she didn't miss the interested glances that Elizabeth kept throwing at Demiriz while he'd been whacking and she smiled. She imagined she had the same look on her face the times she had been checking Nick out after he'd been hired, before they'd gotten together.

#39 Balthamos

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:22 AM

Rylan took up his position as part of the rear guard as the group moved towards the river. Seeing Damien in his Tiger form always set him on edge for some reason. He'd lived for what seemed like a long time in a world more suited to people with psionic powers or supernatural abilities. He guessed that Damien could tear through a lot of people and ignore a lot of bullets like a true tiger tended to do when it was slightly angry. Fortunately he hadn't seen Damien slightly angry.

He wondered how Elizibeth's parents would take the news that her daughter was showing interest in one of the Zapiyans. He understood she was from a wealthy noble family but whether her parents would have planned a political marriage for her or if she was young enough in the family to have more freedom. Still, that was none of his business. Making sure that they didn't get ambushed was his job.

As they moved through the forest he saw several plants he. He recognised the fruit as some that had been collected by some of the gathering parties from the village. He took a small sprig of berries and made a note to ask their guide what they were used  for or find a small animal to see if it considered them food or not.

#40 Mikoto

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:39 PM

Kylen had spent the afternoon with the two Shamans of the Ruhalia tribe. He had been surprised to learn that there were two. A woman who oversaw worship of the Goddesses, and a man who oversaw worship of the Gods. They also served as the village healers so he had spent the afternoon teaching them as much practical medicine as he had been able while Elizabeth negotiated with Taneea. While he had enjoyed visiting and teaching the villagers he had found the fight with the ruffians in the jungle more disquieting than he might have imagined. He couldn't get the images of violence and blood  out of his head. As they followed Demiriz along the riverbank, Kylen remained in the middle of the group as normal. He was wondering whether he might have to ask his more adventurous sister, Arlene to switch places with him and join the Expedition while he managed the clinic back in Niobia. And the more he thought about it, the more appealing it sounded.


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