Explorers of Ariqua: Part 2. Rated R
Posted 15 July 2013 - 03:15 PM
Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:53 PM
Posted 17 July 2013 - 02:06 PM
Posted 17 July 2013 - 02:19 PM
Demiriz walked along while Elizabeth continued to speak and asked him if just wearing wedding bands would suffice. "Wedding bands will be fine." He said. The she asked about the shaman coming here to bless them in the shrine to Kynau. "I'm sure one of them will be happy to come here to bless our union." He said. "In fact, my father is one of the shamans and we can ask him." He smiled when they reached the beach and the cool breeze off the water hit them. He then set about setting up the tent so that they could have more time to spend on other things.
Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:58 PM
"Yes, yes, twenty-four years, I know," replied the Professor, chewing his food thoughtfully. "You know, we didn't stay very long in Niobia before, not long enough to get a sense of the local cuisine, but I do believe the town is developing a unique local flavor. This breaded chicken has quite a distinctive taste to it completely unlike anything in Delmi. Perhaps because the bird used in the recipe is not a chicken." He wiped his mouth with a napkin. "In any case, we should probably let Elizabeth know that we're back in town. Excuse me, Innkeeper?" The man standing at the front desk, who sported a black beard and an eye patch, got up off his elbow and sauntered over. "Innkeeper, would it be possible to engage a courier to track down one Elizabeth Cousland and deliver a message? Simply add the fee to our room charge."
"Ah, for such delightful guests and reliable customers as yerselves, I'll send one of our own boys to do it as a courtesy. Will ye be having dessert now?"
Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:50 PM
Time Stamp: 9:00 am
Things hadn't gotten any quieter in Niobia as, just as the Quan and Arishok along with their small entourage of guards had been escorted to the main gate by plenty of armed Hume and Elviri City Guards, a group of about twenty five Tal-Vashoth arrived from the opposite direction seeking asylum and a new place to live. Evidently the same news of Niobia which had brought the 'diplomats' to investigate had also inspired several Ariqun to abandon their 'religion' and travel to what they felt might be a safe haven. There had almost been a fight between the 'diplomats' and the Tal-Vashoth but the City Guards and a couple of Dragonrider Guardians swooping overhead with displays of fire-breath had been enough to persuade the 'diplomats' to leave without a fight. Since then Laura, Rozz, Louise and Temenas had been occupied with housing the new Tal-Vashoth in the shacks on the waterfront as starter houses and getting them suitable jobs so in time they could afford a better life. Over the next several days a steady trickle of Tal-Vashoth arrived at Niobia's gates each day. After being screened to make sure that they weren't Ariqun spies, jobs were found for them with many joining the City Guard. Many of the asylum seekers with psions/saarebas and so Laura arranged for a military psion instructor, who normally trained the psionic powers of City Guard or military soldiers to give the former Saarebas basic training so they could begin to master their powers. As the Arlessa intended, a side effect of spending three hours every work day at the Niobian military base being instructed by a military instructor caused most of the former Saarebas to join the Sandesinan military. It offered them instant accomadation, good pay, proper training and a new life in a role where their powers were truly appreciated.
Meanwhile Elizabeth and her explorers continued about their lives until she got word that the Professor and Eru had returned after receiving her letter about the ancient Kilairi ruin and the mysterious orb artifact that she'd found within while giving the place a preliminary once-over upon initially discovering it. She had arranged for them to join a meeting along with her crew of Explorers for she planned to make a full expedition of it. She was hopeful that whatever they found in the ancient ruins would turn a tidy profit. If not, often knowledge was its own reward...
Elizabeth had done her usual tactic of arranging to have the meeting over breakfast so that they could eat and discuss their business at the same time. She found it very practical. She'd already packed her own bags and equipment for the journey and had opted to hire a stout mule to carry most of the packs for the Explorers since for the most part they'd be using roads to travel. She'd chosen a quaint little cafe that served traditional Sandesinan food near the main gate that led out of Niobia as the meeting place. The mule with the packs was just outside on a tether contentedly eating his own breakfast. Through the window she and Demiriz had a clear view of him and their belongings. All of her Explorers had arrived on time, and the Professor and Eru had arrived too. Now she could begin her meeting. "Good morning everyone." She greeted them between bites of her hearty full Sandesinan breakfast.
"Thanks for coming. After breakfast we'll be heading out to the Kilairi ruin. Hopefully we can uncover the mystery surrounding the ruins given the Kilairi themselves don't have any historical record of ever having been on this continent. Maybe turn a little profit in the process." She explained. "You'll all get standard pay per day for this expedition plus a share of whatever profits we make from anything we can bring back to Niobia." She added. "First though we'll start with the artifact I mentioned in my letter." At this point Elizabeth put down her knife and fork briefly, reached into her bag and brought out the artifact, then unwrapped it as she'd kept it carefully covered in a protective cloth. It was an orb made out of a pale yellow opaque crystal about the size of an adult male Hume's head.
It was curiously light in weight. Far less than a metal of the same proportions would have been. Around the circumference was a series of symbols carved on it. The letters looked similar to those of the Kilairi language but they weren't quite the same. "I have no idea what it is or what it was used for." Elizabeth admitted as the set the Orb down on the table in front of Eru and Arjhay "If you hold it long enough, where its in contact with your skin will glow slightly and grow a little warm but that's all I know. Hopefully you can do better than I can." She resumed eating her breakfast, waiting to see what they would make of it.
Edited by Mikoto, 20 July 2013 - 04:51 PM.
Posted 20 July 2013 - 05:16 PM
Arlene sat at the table in the Cafe with Elizabeth and the others having breakfast as they had their morning meeting. She sat next to Tevyn and ate her food while their leader showed Arjhay and Eru the artifact she'd found when she'd discovered the ruin several months ago. Arlene had been there for that mission. It had been a complete surprise when they found a cave that looked like it might make a good shelter from the overnight tropical storm, and inside it led to the ancient, forgotten Kilairi ruins. They'd briefly investigated and that was when Elizabeth had found the Orb tucked away in a stone cupboard. They'd camped overnight in the ruins and continued their mapping of the following morning. Right now though the Elviri didn't have much to say so she simply ate her food and let the Hume talk. She never understood the kind of breakfasts that Sandesinans had until recently. So much food. Bacon, eggs, sausages plus other things. It seemed such a heavy meal. Traditionally Dhaskan Elviri had light breakfasts of biscuits, fruits and cereals. However Arlene had found wisdom in having a solid, filling breakfast before a hard day's adventuring and trekking through the jungle. And so it was that she tucked into her breakfast with enthusiasm.
Posted 20 July 2013 - 05:47 PM
The natives had been absorbed into the Sandesinan Empire. There was unexplored and uninhabited regions in the fringes of Telgar but the real opportunity was Ariqua. Nick and Aveline had made back all the money she had poured into the new Brosca Shipping Company within a month by shipping exotic cargo to Sandesina and new colonists out to Niobia. The profits had increased sharply when they merged with Elizabeth's company, becoming the Surosca Charter Company. They received a cut of the profits whenever they managed to ship a colonist directly to Ruhalia village who then bought property there. It was a neat operation and Nick and Aveline were well on their way to becoming a very wealthy couple. He smiled as he continued to pilot the Waverunner. Life was finally just about perfect for him.
Lizara Weir spotted the White Horse Cafe up ahead and picked up her pace as she headed towards it with her companion*. She was about average height for a Kilairi with short dark brown hair, the typical golden eyes, green skin and blue markings. She wore beige coloured shorts and a light shirt. Sturdy boots protected her feet and she was armed with a pistol holstered and clipped to a toolbelt around her waist. She'd heard from the Arlessa that a group of talented Hume and Elviri Explorers under one newly married Elizabeth Surana were planning an expedition to fully explore, investigate and translate the so-called ancient Kilairi ruins and she simply had to come along with them and see for herself. Perhaps help with their work. Lizara and her *companion were fascinated by the idea that their people had been to this continent before. It was very strange. There was no knowledge passed down or historical record of the Kilairi ever having been to Ariqua.
However it was entirely possible that the information had been lost since her people had spent the last 10,000 years trapped in the Nane Realm with their ancient enemies, coming back to a world where only ruins of their old civilisation remained and a world now dominated by the Humes and Elviri. The Kilairi had flourished in the two hundred years since their return to the world. They'd built several new cities, reclaimed a small portion of their lost technologies, cultures and skills. And they had bred. A lot. They had nations on every known continent now except for the Salaran Islands and Ariqua. Fully autonomous and enjoying good diplomatic relations with their Hume or Elviri nations. Even now several colony ships were looking to establish a new nation to the south. But what was none of Lizara's concern right now. She and her *Companion were archaelologists and historians interested in rediscovering as much of their lost culture, history and technology as possible. She simply had to go on this expedition.
*The Companion is RJ's Kilairi NPC character he's borrowing for the ruin expedition part of this arc.
Edited by Mikoto, 20 July 2013 - 05:48 PM.
Posted 20 July 2013 - 07:07 PM
That was something else that he could hardly believe. When he lived as an Ariqun, he had worn a heavy collar that wore down on his shoulders and left terrible sores on his shoulders that, when healed, still left scars. He also bore the scars of numerous whippings he endured, just because the Arvaraad was having a bad day and decided to take it out on him. All of these scars he would bear for the rest of his life, but he would not be ashamed of them. They told a story, a story about how he survived being an Ariqun Saarebas, told that he would never be bred, never be free, never know anything except the Arvaraad and his whip and leash. The story was still being told, because he defied the Arvaraad and escaped with others who were just as dissatisfied with their life under the Quanar. They were all now living free, in Niobia, being treated equally and choosing what they would do instead of being told what they would do.
He picked up the plate that contained Tasha's favorite breakfast foods and took it to their room, where she was having a lazy day lying in bed and he smiled when he saw her. Even big with their twin children, she was still the most beautiful Kelishe female he had ever seen in his life and he would spend the rest of his seeing that she never wanted for anything. He walked over to the bed and sat on it, offering her the plate of food. "You can lie here all day if you wish." He told her.
Tevyn sat with Arlene and ate his own breakfast as he listened to Elizabeth talk about the ruins and the strange orb that she was now showing them. Tevyn wondered what it was as well, it was perfectly round and would start to glow if one held it for very long, but they had no idea what it was or what it did.
Maybe the Professor could tell them what it was, or maybe they would find the answer at the ruins. As it was, he simply enjoyed sitting with Arlene and occasionally chatting between bites or holding her hand while they finished eating and got ready to go.
Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:13 AM
She couldn't be happier though, since they merged with Elizabeth's company, she had made back all the money she had poured into this venture, trusting that Nick could turn a profit almost immediately, which he did. Not that she was worried about the money, she trusted him as much as she loved him and now they were making enough to allow them to move to the higher district if they so wished. She was just glad that her parents had approved of Nick and had even made the effort to come down for their wedding. She glanced at her left hand and smiled at the matching engagement ring and wedding ring. It still amazed her that a former pirate could have been so romantic and thoughtful when he planned how to propose. She just wished Elizabeth's parents could be more open-minded about her choice of life partner, but she understood why she married so quickly, and without telling her family. They would have tried to stop her from marrying 'beneath' her, though Demiriz was hardly beneath her.
She smiled when she thought about how much Niobia had grown, especially here recently, with the addition of so many more of what the Ariqun called Tal Vashoth, those of their people dissatisfied with the way they were being treated. They had heard about the Saarebas, Maress, who had been accepted freely, along with his Tal Vashoth group, so they had decided to seek the same acceptance, freeing more Saarebas and bring them. The Saarebas, in turn, were educated in how to properly use their abilities and many had then joined the military, wanting to defend the people who had accepted them and let them live free. Of course, this had not set well with the Ariqun government, but they had no real means to stop it, unless they caught the ones trying to leave before they could arrive. She had put a good many of the hulking Kelishe to work either on the docks as dock workers or on their various ships as crewmen. Their strength made them excellent at loading and unloading cargo fairly quickly, and she paid them well for it.
She sipped on a cup of hot tea as she went back to the paperwork that seemed to multiply whenever she turned her back. Brooding about missing Nick wasn't going to get it done.
Jhanell sat with the others at the table, eating her own breakfast. Most of the caravan she had been traveling with were now either part of this growing city or they had returned to Khajitaar territory. She had decided to stay, and had accompanied Elizabeth's mapping expeditions as an extra guard. Today, she was going to accompany them again, to a ruin they found on a previous expedition. The ruin apparently belonged to the Kilairi, beings who disappeared many thousands of years ago and reappeared only a few hundred years ago. She had never heard of the little green beings living here at any time, but records that old were very hard to find. She continued to eat her substantial breakfast as she studied the orb that Elizabeth was now showing them and explaining what little she knew about it. Jhanell had never seen anything like it herself, and she wondered what it was.
Posted 21 July 2013 - 01:39 PM
Posted 21 July 2013 - 02:29 PM
Posted 21 July 2013 - 04:20 PM
She announced and went down to the kitchen. She collected a flask of water and a few snacks before leaving the house, locking it and proceeding towards the waterfront shacks with Maress. The weather was mild, pleasant and sunny with a strong breeze blowing in from the ocean. She walked at a comfortable, stately pace and they eventually reached the waterfront shacks. She didn't think 'shack' was a fair description for these buildings. They were constructed solidly of wood. They had one main room with a kitchen area in one corner, bed area in another and general living space in the rest of the hut. Adjoined to the hut at the back was a small bathroom that had plumbing. That was something of a wonder in itself for the Ariqun didn't have plumbing in their buildings. The shacks were simple but constructed with the idea of housing a Kelishe inside. There was room enough for one or two to live quite simply but comfortably. The furniture inside was also simple but comfortable. Tasha walked between the neat, orderly rows of huts until she found the new ones that housed the most recent arrivals. "Shall we try that one?" She asked, indicating a broad shack that likely housed two Tal-Vashoth.
Posted 21 July 2013 - 04:40 PM
When they reached the Waterfront, they went to the most recent arrivals and she pointed at one of the residences. "A good place to start." He said. He then walked over to the door and knocked. He stepped back when a male Saarebas answered the door, looking slightly suspicious. "I am Maress Hawke." He introduced himself. It still felt strange to call himself by name, but it got easier every time he did it. He then indicated Tasha. "This is my wife, Tasha. We were just going around to see how the new arrivals were settling in."
Damian was a bit startled when he heard the knock on the door, and he answered it, just a bit suspicious. But it was another Saarebas...a very powerful one, and he couldn't help but gawp a bit at him, especially when he introduced himself as Maress, the one who had inspired every other Saarebas who had gotten wind of his freedom to want it for themselves. He stood aside to let them come in. "I am Damian...Vallen." He said, still very unused to having his own name instead of the designation Saarebas. "We will be honored to have you in our home."
Posted 21 July 2013 - 04:46 PM
When the orb was produced, Eru quickly polished off her breakfast of bacon, ham, steak and Dimetrodon liver and wiped her hands. "It must be an ancient dialect or a completely separate, but related, language that diverged from the version that we are more familiar with. It's interesting that these two identical symbols on opposite sides are somewhat larger than the rest. It's definitely Kilairi, but has an odd pinch to it. Do you recognize it?"
"It resembles the symbol for archway, except for this little curly extension below the horizontal bar."
"Yes, that curly line looks familiar-- I think this is the symbol for 'touch' or 'press,' but reversed. If the symbols somehow reversed themselves after the linguistic branches split, this might be easier to read than we think."
"Indeed. If that's the case, this may be the symbol for 'seven.' And, look, this may be 'duration.' And so it went for several minutes, their heads growing closer together and their mutterings growing less and less comprehensible to their companions until they finally sat up straight in triumph.
"That's it!" said Eru. "Not 'reverse,' but 'repeat.' It will be fascinating to see how these two dialects evolved differently. Judging from the predominance of leftward curves, I'll bet their written documents read from left to right rather than right to left. But in the meantime, I think we've figured out the activation sequence." She proceeded to touch the symbols around the circumference in a specific pattern for a certain number of beats per symbol-- then she simultaneously pressed the two larger symbols on opposite sides of the artifact.
"It's working," said Arjhay. The surface of the globe began to glow brighter, brighter than it had in the past-- and, after several seconds, the surface began to grow transparent!
Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:32 PM
Not only had they found a solid indicator of how much continent there was to explore but they had a fascinating snapshot of history. She could only wonder what they would find in the ancient ruins. "Its a mapping Orb." An unfamiliar voice told her. She looked over to see two Kilairi had entered the cafe while they had been busy looking at the orb. "We thought they were mythical." The little female Kilairi smiled. "My name is Lizara by the way. My companion and I are archaeologists and historians. We'd heard about the artifact you'd discovered and the ruins. We would very much like to accompany you. Perhaps we can help descipher and translate. We would not expect you to pay us." Despite her surprise Elizabeth saw little harm in letting some Kilairi accompany them. Perhaps Lizara was right and they might be able to help out. "Fair enough." She agreed. "You can come." While the two Kilairi climbed onto the table she returned her attention back to Arjhay and Eru. "Do you need more time to study the artifact or can we get underway?" She asked them.
Tasha inclined her head to Damian and stepped inside the shack once he'd invited them in. She wasn't surprised to hear that the former Saarebas had a Sandesinan name. Often the Tal-Vashoth who came to Niobia had no names of their own-just the designation or job that they had performed while Ariqun. Taking names was often a strange concept to them. Once they were inside her attention was drawn from the neat, clean interior to one of the beds in the left rear corner. A female Kelishe lay on the bed, carefully stretched out and dozing. She was short for one of her species and not quite as well muscled as most of her kind. She had short beige coloured hair and bright orange eyes. Her horns were short and had clearly been clipped near the ends and filed down so they were blunt and useless as weapons. Tasha could instantly tell that the female was a former Saarebas.
She had a great many sores and scars around her neck and shoulders from the weight of the collar and harness Saarebas were forced to wear. But what made her frown was the amount of bruising that marred the female Kelishe's skin all over her body. Even worse were the bandages across her back in straight lines indicative of heavy whipping. She recognised the healing work of Kylen when she saw it but nevertheless she went over to the female and cautiously examined her. The way she was breathing slowly and evenly and the way her eyes were dull and glazed over meant that she was doped up on painkillers. "She's in terrible condition." Tasha said sympathetically. "Who is she? How did she get away from the Ariqun in this state?" She had her doubts that the female Kelishe could walk more than a few steps whilst so badly injured.
Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:16 PM
He glanced over at Arlene and smiled. "Looks like this expedition is going to be interesting." He said.
Jhanell was fascinated by the orb when Eru managed to activate it and it began to glow. Then she could see the smaller orb inside it that had a large picture of a land mass on it. She could actually recognize Khajiitaar territory herself, the same as Elizabeth could recognize the Sandesinan territories. She could also see the Ariqun territories as well, and she wondered what the orb was and what it could be used for. Then she glanced over when a strange female spoke up and said that it was a map making orb and she couldn't help but stare at the little green beings. She had never seen anything like that in her life. Were these the Kilairi that had been spoken about? When Lizara said that they wanted to go help translate the ruins she figured they must be. They didn't look big enough to carry much, but she had learned long ago not to underestimate people, so she would study them as they traveled and see what the little beings were capable of herself.
Maress walked into the shack after Tasha and he looked around, frowning when he saw the female Saarebas. She was in terrible condition, in addition to her horns being clipped and filed. The male, Damian, had also had his horns clipped very close to his head, likely by the Arvaarad. Maress had been lucky in that respect. While he'd had his share of beatings his Arvaarad had not clipped his horns, but rather padded them well so that he couldn't use them. Some Arvaarads preferred clipping since it could take a year or more before the horns would grow back out. The male was also showing signs of recently-healed beatings. Maress couldn't help the rage that was building up inside him at how very badly the female was injured and he waited while Tasha examined her and asked Damien who she was and how she escaped. He was wondering that himself.
Damian waited while Tasha examined Claire and he could see that she knew the healing arts like the Elviri, Kylen, who had come to treat her after they arrived. When Tasha asked who she was and how she escaped he smiled faintly. "Her chosen name is Claire." He said. "She was a Saarebas in the same village as I was and we escaped together. Ever since we heard about Maress, all we could think about was having the same freedom that he and the other Tal Vashoth were being offered here. Then we found out some of the others also weren't happy, so we started planning and exchanging notes. Unfortunately, just a day before we were going to leave, her Arvaarad decided to beat her until she could no longer stand, so I carried her until we were safely in the forest, then we put her on a makeshift litter and took turns carrying her until we got here. I did the best I could to take care of her until your healer could see her. He's left me medicines and bandages and showed me what to do to make her well and I've been following those instructions." This was all so new, usually they would be left to heal with little in the way of help, and then they would be beaten again. It was the Arvaarad's way of keeping them weak enough to control. It would just about kill him to see Claire injured and helpless, but he could do nothing for her, but now he could and he was going to make sure that she got everything she needed to heal.
Posted 22 July 2013 - 06:47 PM
"I see no problem in getting underway," replied The Professor, still studying the orb intently. "I can walk and study at the same time. And, while I can't vouch for my companion, I can pick her up if need be."
Rolling her eyes, Eru muttered, "At least I know what year it is."
"May I travel beside you to observe the images in the orb?" the second of the little Kilairi inquired of Arjhay and Eru. "My name is Boday and I have long had an interest in observing geography from a great height. I once built a vehicle that floated in the air under a large bag filled with hot air, and I survived when it crashed."
The Professor looked up briefly at the little person, blinked a couple of times, and went back to studying the orb. "Certainly," he said. "Nice to meet you. For a moment I thought you were Dobay, a Kilairi I met while visiting the ruins of Majtahal. Remind me to tell you about him someday.
Eru sighed and said, "That was Daboy and we were visiting Marblehenge."
Posted 24 July 2013 - 01:32 PM
"All right." Elizabeth paid for her breakfast, as did the others and they went outside to where the mule, horses and their packs were waiting. She made sure that the straps were secure and her horse, a big gray male, were ready before climbing on. The little female Kilairi climbed up onto the horse behind her and held on. It seemed a wise thing to do since she was too small for her own horse. The Expedition rode out of Niobia and were soon heading along the road at a good pace set by their horses and the mule. Elizabeth had the route set out in her head and on a map so she knew where they were going. They would ride along the roads for awhile until they got close to the ruins. Then they would have to leave their horses at a waypoint trading hut before continuing on foot with the mule. The trip would take several days all in all so she'd made sure that everyone was well prepared.
Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:13 PM
Maress could hardly contain the angry growl that rose in his throat when he found out why Claire had been beaten so badly. And it seemed that Damian felt the same way, which was why he had made it a point to carry her out, even though doing so had probably slowed them down. He smiled at the astonished look on Damian's face when Tasha mentioned their twins. "Yes, you will be allowed to keep your children." He said. "You will be able to do anything you want to do, within the law."
Tevyn paid for his and Arlene's breakfast before they went outside and got onto their horses. Then he watched as the female Kilairi got on behind her to ride and the male climbed onto someone else's horse to ride with them. He then took charge of the mule's lead rope while Elizabeth led them out onto the road to begin their journey to the ruins. At least it was going to be a nice day for a ride. He glanced up at the pretty, almost cloudless sky and then he smiled at Arlene as they rode along.
Jhanell paid for her breakfast, and then she went outside and untied her plain brown, but sturdy horse from the hitching rail. She'd rented the horse from the livery stable for this expedition since she didn't normally need a horse for anything else. She rode along at the back of the group to keep an eye out for danger from that point and adjusted her water flask to be more comfortable. Normally she never required much on trips like this, except for sufficient food and water and a bedroll to sleep on. When it wasn't too dangerous she liked to sleep out in the open, in the jungle, she sometimes chose a sturdy tree branch or she made a temporary nest between two branches. Up there like that, it would give her a chance to look out for danger from above when they camped for the night.
0 user(s) are browsing this forum
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users