The Wind at Our Backs

Home to the wildest breeds of flora, Ninraih's entangled jungles cover southeastern Khy'eras. Ajteire, city of the Fae, is situated in the middle. Here, an overwhelming amount of magic and unexplained phenomenon has materialized. Read more...
User avatar
Soltaevar Velca
Character
Head of Mistfire Trading Company, Fellsgard, Tviyr; Cat slave; and Turco of House Velca.
Level 04
48 / 48 HP
34 / 34 MP
45c
Kerasoka / Bard
Posts: 45
Joined: November 9th, 2019, 7:57 pm
Has thanked: 1 time

The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Soltaevar Velca » January 21st, 2020, 11:02 pm

Listening to the sound of the waves against the wharf, Soltaevar Velca was almost pleased. The vista before him of ships, sea, and sky presented an almost tangible itch to be out sailing - but he was here to inquire after one of Mistfire Trading Company’s ships. As the owner and head of Mistfire, normally he would have begrudgingly sent someone under him to check on the ship and its repairs, but as he had been closest to Cetnisadel Bay, he had taken the opportunity for himself.

He’d been in Ajteire for close to a week when he’d received word that one of Mistfire’s ships, the Citadel, had been in a storm and taken quite a bit of damage. She had limped into the wharf at Cetnisadel Bay and repairs were ongoing. Unsure of the extent of the repairs, Sol decided to travel to the port and find out what had been done and what hadn’t yet been finished.

When he’d got the message, Sol had hurried down to the docks on the river in Ajteire and been able to secure passage - but only as a passenger. The captain refused to believe the red-headed elf had sailing experience and moreover, as Sol was one of the ‘big boss’ types, forbade him from doing work. Sol had stewed in his cabin the first night, pacing and grumbling while occasionally kicking some of his baggage in frustration.

Fortunately, he had been able to stay on deck as long as he promised not to interfere - easy enough since he understood what and where the crew would be - and the journey had only been four nights. Upon docking, Sol had taken the first opportunity to disembark. He missed sailing, missed the easy camaraderie he so often found in a crew, but for now he had to be the ‘boss’ expected of the head of Mistfire.

All Mistfire ships had red hulls, partly as identification with the company. Sol scanned down the wharf, looking for the Citadel. People milled about, bustling to and from the ships and the stores, and occasionally to the taverns. A stray cat came and brushed against Sol’s boots. He smiled and chanced a slow pet across the cat’s head. The cat closed its eyes happily, then started and ran toward the end of the row of buildings. Sol followed the creature, looking for his ship along the way.

The Citadel was in the last berth, across from a man and a woman near the edge of the wooden walkway. The woman was dressed in finely woven, bright colored silks that made her dark honey skin glow like a pearl; the swarthy man next to her wore more utilitarian garments that had clearly seen many days of wear and expected to last for many yet. An enormous bird, clearly made of magical essence, swooped down and dropped something on the ground before lighting on the man’s shoulder.

Stray cats appeared from nooks and crannies, swarming on whatever the bird had dropped. Sol edged closer. At the center of the cats was a juvenile octopus being shredded by tooth and tongue. Several cats sat off to the side, cleaning their whiskers with full bellies. Sol smiled; he missed his own cats at home and hated seeing any felines be mistreated.

A shipwright approached Sol, coming from the ship behind him. “She took a beatin’, sir. We have to step a new foremast and fore-topgallant mast. Needs to replace the fore-topgallant yard, the main-topgallant yard, and maybe the fore-topsail yard,” the woman reported.

“I see. And what of the crew? Are there many injuries?” Sol asked, concern furrowing his brow.

The shipwright thought for a moment. “I heard a few of ‘em got knocked about when the yards broke. I’d check up the inn there. Captain Reynolds’ll probably be in the tavern next door.” She shrugged. “Sorry, I don’t have more to tell.”

“It’s fine. I’ll be at the inn, name of Velca, if there are more repairs expected or if anything needs approval,” he said.

She nodded. “Sal Bishop, if’n you need me, sir. Right then,” she said and strode back to the ship.

Sol would check on the sailors in a little while; whether he went to the inn now or later made little difference as his baggage would be sent there directly as the crew unloaded and reprovisioned. For now, the little group at the end of the wharf caught his attention. Were they travelers, traders like himself, or wandering bards? His curiosity got the better of him; he approached them, intending to speak to the man about his very unusual bird.
Word count: 790

User avatar
Ahtair Darwish
Character
Summoner of the Golden Sea
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
20 / 20 MP
50c
Human / Summoner and Alchemist
Posts: 6
Joined: January 20th, 2020, 1:33 am

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Ahtair Darwish » January 22nd, 2020, 12:53 am

Ahtair watched Iishraq circle the bay with a small frown on his features. It had become a ritual of his since he first earned the right to summon the spirit vulture - the embodiment of the sun eidolon’s blessing. He would travel to the docks and direct his dear friend to hunt and scout.

Over the years, he learned to decipher the meanings of the various ships and barges that entered the bay with a high level of accuracy. He also learned to temper his expectations as ship after ship arrived and left with nothing for him but the passage of time. Only rarely did a vessel return carrying one of his people - those of the Golden Sea - and they had become rarer as the years went on.

Finding nothing of interest to his Summoner, Iishraq began a slow spiraling that became a skillful dive. The vulture barely grazed the water, its great wings flaring out to slow its descent for the final strike. As it took powerful sweeps of those same wings, it rose to safety with a squid the size of Ahtair’s arm.

~“A good one today, though no news,”~ he said softly to his sister in the rolling tongue of their homeland. ~“Perhaps it was foolish to expect the younger men to return at all. They do not have the same attachment as those of us with time behind us.”~

Iishraq made a prideful call as he flared his wings and deposited his kill onto the dense packed sands. Cats, an ever-present accompaniment to a place with regular ships, swarm with sounds of delight and hunger. Ahtair smiled down at the creatures, seeing them as he saw himself when they first arrived to the bay.

It had been a struggle for the families, alone and without resources in a new land so unlike the faint wisps they remembered of their home. He felt pride swell in his chest as he heard the words of his elders, ‘Our people are strong, unyielding, and destined to overcome.’ Iishraq, his duty done, drifted down to settle on Ahtair's outstretched arm before hopping to his shoulder and preening himself.
Word count: 362

User avatar
Shahira Darwish
Character
Level 01
23 / 23 HP
20 / 20 MP
50c
Human / Sorcerer
Posts: 4
Joined: January 20th, 2020, 6:20 am

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Shahira Darwish » January 22nd, 2020, 4:12 am

Shahira stood beside Ahtair and stared contemplatively out across the water. Indistinct to the eye except as a kind of gray haze, the mist shrouding Khy'eras from the rest of the world blurred the horizon into near nonexistence. She did not remember sailing through it the first time, as a child barely two scarcely recalls anything; but her mother and the elders who spoke of the harrowing experience wore similarly haunted expressions whenever they spoke of it.

Suppressing a shudder, Shahira allowed her attention to be snared by Iishraq's aerial competency as it wheeled, dove, snatched, and rose on the air with an enviable effortlessness. The wind and its shifting currents were familiar tools; she knew undoubtedly well, but that was all she could hope for. Her connection with the air would never be nearly as intrinsic.

Ahtair spoke and she pushed the melancholy thoughts away to focus on him. Turning her head to look up at her brother, she tucked a lock of dark hair behind her ear and tried to divine how he felt about it. She suspected his disappointment was deeper than he was willing to admit. She hooked his arm in hers and placed the other hand comfortingly over his forearm.

"Continue to hope, brother," she murmured, reassuring him to the best of her ability in the same language. "It keeps you young."

Shahira smiled up at him, but her attention was quickly redirected. As soon as the squid struck the ground, a great number of stray cats sprang from the proverbial woodwork and boiled towards the unexpected treat they had been given. She clucked her tongue and furrowed a thick, dark brow in mild disapproval.

"Ahh, now look what you've done." She gestured with her free hand at the furry, multicolored mass and affected a mildly chiding tone. "If they are full on your squid then how can they be expected to take care of the rats on the ships?"

Wagging a ringed, ink-stained index finger at him she added, "You are not doing them any favors today."
Word count: 343

User avatar
Soltaevar Velca
Character
Head of Mistfire Trading Company, Fellsgard, Tviyr; Cat slave; and Turco of House Velca.
Level 04
48 / 48 HP
34 / 34 MP
45c
Kerasoka / Bard
Posts: 45
Joined: November 9th, 2019, 7:57 pm
Has thanked: 1 time

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Soltaevar Velca » January 22nd, 2020, 11:39 pm

Hearing the woman scold the man next to her about the cats, Sol spoke up. "I wouldn't worry about the rats. Cats love the thrill of the chase. They can be all the more daring when they know that a mistake won't keep them from a full belly."

He smiled then, his eyes moving from the woman to the man. "I apologize for my intrusion, I was most curious about the creature on your shoulder. I saw it on the way in, the way it moves and carries the light was lovely. Would you mind telling me more about it?"

They turned towards him and he noticed the man looked annoyed and then a touch confused, but the woman looked intrigued. Sol realized he hadn't introduced himself and cleared his throat quickly before offering a small nod of his head. "Ah, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Soltaevar Velca. I'm a merchant by profession and I'm here to check on my ship, which was brought in for repair." Pausing, he offered a slight bow to them both. "I suppose something similar brought you here as well?"
Word count: 186

User avatar
Ahtair Darwish
Character
Summoner of the Golden Sea
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
20 / 20 MP
50c
Human / Summoner and Alchemist
Posts: 6
Joined: January 20th, 2020, 1:33 am

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Ahtair Darwish » January 23rd, 2020, 12:41 am

Ahtair had been intending to offer his sister a wry grin, knowing his indulgence of the cats did no real harm, but hid his amusement as he saw their mother in her. It was a strange thing to see your siblings grow to be stronger than you, even if only of heart and mind. Then there was suddenly a man, a Kerasokan with vibrant hair standing nearby.

He listened to this newcomer, measuring his words and narrowing his eyes in thought. He had never mastered not appearing angry when he considered a situation, a fact his sister never seemed to let be forgotten. “A pleasure, Soltevar, I am Ahtair of Darwish. We reside here, and I would be happy to show you more of Iishraq’s numerous talents."

The spirit vulture puffed his chest and swiveled his head to watch both his summoner and the newcomer before releasing a soft trill. “He is a-”
Word count: 154

User avatar
Shahira Darwish
Character
Level 01
23 / 23 HP
20 / 20 MP
50c
Human / Sorcerer
Posts: 4
Joined: January 20th, 2020, 6:20 am

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Shahira Darwish » January 25th, 2020, 8:05 pm

An unfamiliar voice spoke up behind them. Shahira turned with Ahtair to look at the speaker, her expression softening at once from feigned rebuke to one of mild interest.

The man was not immediately familiar for all that his height, eyes and bearing easily distinguished him from everyone else on the wharf that afternoon. More than his physical seeming, of which she had zero complaints, it was his voice that intrigued Shahira most. Deep with a texture she rather thought she could sink into, she found herself attending his words very closely, a small smile taking shape in the corners of her mouth.

Then the man bent at the waist and introduced himself.

Shahira started internally. She went still beside Ahtair, her face registering a mild but perceptible shock. It deepened, gaining a somewhat horrified quality, when her brother began to speak with what seemed to be complete ignorance of whom it was he was talking to. For several seconds she could only stare up at him, mouth hanging slightly open, silently willing him to understand.

"Ahtair, you silly man, have some respect!" she cried in their shared language, cutting him off and sounding most aggrieved as she gave his arm a firm shake.

"That is the Soltaevar Velca of the Mistfire Trading Company!"There was an unspoken but nevertheless implied "you dolt" at the end of her statement, but she pulled her arm from his and immediately wrote him off as a lost cause.

Facing Soltaevar directly, Shahira's demeanor transitioned smoothly to something very much like courtly deference. She pressed her hands together, palm to palm, fingers extended straight, and executed a shallow curtsy.

"Master Velca, I am Shahira of Darwish, this lout's sister. Please forgive my brother, his head is full of as many feathers as you may count on Iishraq's wings. We are both very honored to make your acquaintance."
Word count: 313

User avatar
Soltaevar Velca
Character
Head of Mistfire Trading Company, Fellsgard, Tviyr; Cat slave; and Turco of House Velca.
Level 04
48 / 48 HP
34 / 34 MP
45c
Kerasoka / Bard
Posts: 45
Joined: November 9th, 2019, 7:57 pm
Has thanked: 1 time

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Soltaevar Velca » January 26th, 2020, 3:57 am

“Likewise,” Sol responded, a touch bemused. “I took no offense from your brother, miss, seeing as I did ask after the creature - Iishraq, was it?” He glanced over at the enormous bird, preening on his companion’s shoulder.

“I forget sometimes how widespread Mistfire’s reputation is,” he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. “When you don’t get to travel as much, it’s easier to think of your business as local.” Sol gave them both a lopsided smile.

He gestured to the ship behind him. “As you see, the Citadel’s in for repairs and I should check on her crew. I’ve heard there were some injuries.” He frowned slightly; sailing always carried inherent risk as he well knew, but he disliked having any employee hurt on the job. His mother had disapproved of what she called his ‘bleeding heart’ tendencies in business, but it was in his nature to provide for those who depended on him.

“Would you both be so kind as to join me at the tavern next to the inn? I can inquire after the crew and then enjoy a meal in your company,” Sol asked. He hoped Shahira and Ahtair wouldn’t fawn over him - he rarely felt comfortable with that kind of behavior. Shahira’s curtsey had almost set him off-balance as he hadn’t been expecting the same sort of greeting he might get in the North District of Fellsgard.
Word count: 243

User avatar
Ahtair Darwish
Character
Summoner of the Golden Sea
Level 01
24 / 24 HP
20 / 20 MP
50c
Human / Summoner and Alchemist
Posts: 6
Joined: January 20th, 2020, 1:33 am

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Ahtair Darwish » January 26th, 2020, 4:19 am

Ahtair saw the shifting expressions of his sister from the corner of her eye just before she exploded in indignation. His eyes widened in surprise and he moved the shoulder holding Iishraq back slightly as the bird flapped his wings in surprise. It took him a moment to catch up to what she had actually said, and by then she was all demure and dainty curtsying and proclaiming their honor at the occasion.

He prepared a reply, but then Soltevar began speaking instead. As the Kerasokan talked, Ahtair finally fully understood why his sister had reacted so suddenly. This was the man who ran a trade empire, the one who owned all the red-hulled ships that were not exactly common, but came often enough they’d begun wondering at their contents.

“A concern for your crew, an inspiring sentiment to hear from a man who supports so many,” the summoner said, nodding his head respectfully to other man. “We would gladly join you for a meal, that particular place hosts a young woman trained in the art of making a mint tea you may find unique and hopefully pleasant.”

He offered out his right hand, putting a smile on his face that completely changed his features. It opened his eyes more and lifted the dour cut of his brow enough to reveal his restrained excitement. His handshake was firm and confident, without an unnecessary grip or overlong pull.

~“Come sister, you can settle your skirts while the man works,”~ Ahtair said in the desert tongue, placing his hand to his sister’s lower back before beginning to walk comfortably towards the indicated tavern. His strides showed no sign of the large weight his shoulder bore, Iishraq surveying the area with a watchful eye.
Word count: 293

User avatar
Shahira Darwish
Character
Level 01
23 / 23 HP
20 / 20 MP
50c
Human / Sorcerer
Posts: 4
Joined: January 20th, 2020, 6:20 am

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Shahira Darwish » February 1st, 2020, 8:24 pm

Shahira straightened and lowered her arms. Soltaevar did not seem as flattered by her effusive greeting as she would have liked; in truth he looked and sounded uncomfortable. She hid her disappointment, concealing it expertly behind her smile.

"An excellent suggestion, Ahtair," she said with genuine pleasure. The face she turned up to her brother reflected her fondness for him and his decision in that moment.

Turning back to Soltaevar, Shahira did not curtsy again as the men shook hands, but she bowed her dark head forward in another show of respect that wasn't lesser for its subtlety. Looking up through her lashes she added, "You are most generous."

Ahtair's remark earned him a brief yet sharp sidelong glance. She could not be sure of his precise meaning, his tone was measured as to be unreadable, but she got the impression he was teasing her. He did so now and then, as was his prerogative as her brother, and as usual what he said was harmless. Still, they were in distinguished company, so she frowned at him to make her disapproval plain.

Whatever their private disagreement, Shahira did not shake off her brother's hand. She walked at his side in the protective circle of his arm, her chin high, just as she always did.

"Master Velca," she began warmly, and a seemingly stray breeze lifted, ruffling their hair with the scent of the sea, "have you never seen a splendid creature like Iishraq before? They are magnificent, are they not?"

It wasn't her wish to discuss Ahtair's bird, but it was important not to handle this man and their fledgling acquaintance carefully. If he was interested in her brother's creature then that is where they would start, or so she resolved.
Word count: 291

User avatar
Soltaevar Velca
Character
Head of Mistfire Trading Company, Fellsgard, Tviyr; Cat slave; and Turco of House Velca.
Level 04
48 / 48 HP
34 / 34 MP
45c
Kerasoka / Bard
Posts: 45
Joined: November 9th, 2019, 7:57 pm
Has thanked: 1 time

Re: The Wind at Our Backs

Post by Soltaevar Velca » February 3rd, 2020, 5:58 am

“Mint tea sounds lovely - Ahtair, was it?” Sol commented. “I enjoy exploring new places and food, especially - or used to, when I had the time.” He sighed, a bit nostalgic for the days when he was less fettered by his position. His mother had dealt with the issues of being the visible head of the company for many years while Sol had traveled, building contacts and settling disputes.

“I’ve never seen another like him. Is Iishraq from another land? Forgive me, but I noticed that you both speak a tongue I’ve never heard in my travels,” Sol continued. He slid a glance at the woman, Shahira. She was not the first - nor probably the last - who would latch onto a thing he expressed any interest in. He wondered if it was because he was rich, moderately handsome, or because of Mistfire.

Shahira and Ahtair had tanned skin that reminded Sol more of the Kerasoka that lived in Ajteire; many of them tended to the darker skin tones in that area. “I’m sorry if I’m being intrusive. Simply, I didn’t recognize the language, and I know it’s not Kerasokan elvish, even if mine is - well, a different dialect.” He twitched a frown away. There wasn’t anything to be gained by discussing a dead city.

As they reached the tavern, Sol paused. “Please, go ahead and secure a table. I need to check on the men and I’m told I’ll find the captain at the bar here. I’ll join you as soon as I can.” He opened the door for them, letting Shahira and Ahtair in before he entered.

Scanning the room, he saw a handful of people at tables and three at the bar. One man slouched over the bar; the woman next to him was red-faced and grinning, talking to the barkeep. Sol headed for the third, a middle-aged man with a weather-worn face, fidgeting with his glass.

“Are you Captain Reynolds?” Sol asked, his voice and face neutral.

“That depends on who’s asking,” the man replied, eyeing the elf before him warily. His brown coat had several small stains on it, but Sol couldn’t tell from what.

“Velca,” Sol said, sitting on the stool next to him. He gave the man a look that said he wasn’t in the mood for subterfuge.

“Velca, like the Velca?” The man chuckled. “I doubt a mighty fine gentleman like Mister Velca would come all the way to this backwater just for one ship.” He took a deep drink of whatever was in his mug; it smelled fruity and strongly alcoholic.

“Do you captain the ship Citadel?” Sol asked, changing tactics. He was starting to become annoyed at the man’s redirection.

“That’s what I was hired to do, yes,” replied the man. He leaned on his elbow.

“Then tell me about the crew’s injuries.” Sol held up his hand to forestall more prevarication. “I saw the ship and the shipwright said you were in a storm. Happens. I’m concerned about the people now.”

Captain Reynolds set his mug down. “I got three down with serious blows to the gut and chest. Everyone else, minor stuff.” He lifted his glass and grimaced.

“Have they seen a healer? What about you as well?” Sol said, his eyes focused on the man, inspecting his face.

The captain wiped a hand over his face. “Everyone’s been checked out. The three worst, he said, they need time to rest and recover. Not like we can do much with her docked for repairs, anyway.” He winced as he tried to shrug. “Said I should too, but I got to worry about the ship, the crew, and Mistfire sendin’ someone to chew me out.”

“The ship’s being repaired and your crew is, I hope, relaxing. As for the third,” Sol said, pursing his lips slightly. “That would be why I was asking. Mistfire sent me - or in a way, I sent myself, since I was in Ajteire.”

The man blinked at Sol, sitting up straighter. “Wait, so you’re - him? The actual Soltaevar Velca, and not a rep?”

Sol gave him a half-smile. “Yes. As I said, I was in the area, so I said I’d come. Hadn’t been to Cetnisadel since they put in more than one dock.” He stood. “Be sure to get some rest, Captain. I’m more concerned for the crew than the ship. Should you need to contact me, I’ll be at the inn.”

Turning, he surveyed the room until he saw the sheen of Iishraq’s feathers and Shahira’s bright clothing. He’d have to ask her where she got the fabric; Dash would probably enjoy working with it. He wove through the tables between them until he was able to take a seat across from the pair.
Word count: 824

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest