• Placeholder • Putting to Sea [Llyr, Oceta]

Part II of "Zarik"s journey to Etzos

The Orm'del Sea is an ocean that separates Eastern and Western Idalos. It is said to have many horrors awaiting those that wish to travel through its waters.

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Putting to Sea [Llyr, Oceta]

Wed May 29, 2019 8:52 pm

Putting to Sea


93 Ashan, arc 719
Continued from here.
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The trip had perhaps been a slightly less traumatic ordeal then the group had feared. Since Graeslin was no longer considering their greatest value to be sold as slaves, they were given table scraps along with the swill. The man who'd been attired in the Black Guard armor had spoken enough to be clearly of Rhakrosian origins. The accent was unmistakably south-end-of-western. What the Etzori lovingly called a "Sow".

The members of the group residing in the hold had been called up individually from time to time get some air and be put to work. Jorsie had returned to the hold after his stint up top with a severely blackened eye. Yet he wore it with a air of triumph. Apparently whatever verbal chastisement he'd had time to administer to their hosts before being beaten for his obstinance had been worth it in his view.

Of course, it did not sit well with the children. Jorsie had not counted on that, and the obvious heightening of fear in the hold was a detail he could only regret. But he assured them as best he could, something for which he had a genuine talent as a diplomat, that it was his duty to resist, and that it did not in any way reflect the treatment the others should count on.

And to a large degree this was true, which might actually have come as a surprise to Zarik. An adult of any culture, regardless of whether that culture actually embraced slavery as a commercial viability, knew that often slaves were given far better treatment than prisoners. They needed to be kept in good condition for sales. But after a prolonged philosophical argument with Jorsie, Graeslin had decided it needed to be made clear that, as far as their time on board her ship was concerned, they were not slaves, but rather prisoners. It was during a follow-up to this debate that Jorsie earned his black eye.

That had been during just the first few trials of their internment below. Jorsie could only assume that Zarik had made himself as useful, as well as quiet, as was necessary to avoid a beating. The ambassador supposed that, as the guardian of the two children, he had to really be sure not to come below with another indication of the brutality that was just under the surface on deck.

He did not know if the noble had any talents that served well on board a sailing vessel, or if he'd come clean about any of them. The ambassador assumed Graeslin would be threatening the girls as a means of coercing cooperation from the man. He'd heard some grunted remarks about how a noble "...don't get ta where he is by havin' no special talents..." There followed a number of truly vile comments about what these particular crewmen would do to the girls to get him to talk. The laughter that followed only made it worse.

Zarik was a study in calm though, Jorsie had to admit. It had not been long after Zarik's individual trip up top that the crewmen had called for Oceta to step up. Jorsie protested with outrage, but Zarik actually stopped him. The noble had perhaps seen something in Graeslin's eyes that the ambassador had missed. Or maybe he knew what level of insight Oceta possessed.

When the young girl got to the top of the ladder, Graeslin enclosed her in a fine cloak, and escorted her slowly around the ship, plying her with a few sweet treats. They made their way to the prow of the vessel, the pirate reveling in the bashing of the vessel into the ocean waves, the spray invigorating her enthusiasm. "I know child, that you are a slave. And I know I have interrupted something that smacked of freedom for you." She said this as her eyes gazed with genuine affection across the tossing of the sea.

Now she turned to squat at eye level with her, "Your...father tells me that your name is Oceta." she said the word with a tone that gave understanding that this was not a biological parentage she meant. "I suppose you would assume I am trying to pull some trick to say that I find that to be a beautiful name." she turned away as if there was just a hint of hurt that she did not want to show. "I...guess I can't really blame you. Here, I've shown you only the dark side of myself. The side that it takes to keep these cutthroats in line."

She waved aft absently, encompassing the crew. "Jorsie is a brave man. He knows that he is the one that MUST be my target for the abuse that will keep these men from doing worse. Your father is smart. If he had made a scene and denied me this talk with you, I'd have had to punish him. This is not to say that I think him a coward. But I suspect he wants you to learn what you can about me. And if I'd have had to have him whipped, you would never have talked to me now."

She unfastened her jerkin to reveal a mark. She assumed that a young girl in Quacia would not know the difference between a naerikk tattoo and a slave brand. "I used to be slave too." She lied, her face not showing a sliver of dishonesty. "The life of a slave does not make one inclined to embrace gentleness as an attitude. I fought my way out of slavery, I killed my master, I stole this ship, and I rob the coasts at my leisure. But I will tell you one thing. I sincerely hope you will never experience such a life as to make such things necessary, because once you do them once, they only get easier."

She stood up now, her face grim as she looked back across the waves. "I have done them all many times now. I can not go back. It is too late for me. But I promise you that I will not keep you when we get to Etzos. And they do not have slavery there. It is true that they have terms of servitude to pay off debts. And it's true that the merchants there will deliberately manipulate a contract to suck an honest man into such a debt." her face darkened, "...A man like my father....Who then sold me to get out from under it."

They stood awhile longer, legs adjusting to the sway and roll of the waves. Graeslin sighed deeply, "Well, I expect you'd best be getting back. Run along now girl, before your daddy does something I have to react to." The pirate's eyes were all kindness and regrets as the girl started down from the bow. By the time Oceta had reached the hatch, Graelsin was again facing the waves with a sneer, her eyes cold and calculating. There, she had given him something to learn.
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Re: Putting to Sea [Llyr]

Wed May 29, 2019 10:54 pm



Zarik found himself in a situation he’d never been in before. While he had interacted with cut-throats before – his father being one of them, and in Lair as well as in the southern wilds – he had never done so with children under his care. Was this what his father had felt when he kept Zarik near during tenuous danger? It reminded him of the focus required when leaping between rooftops. He required absolute clarity – no room for distraction, confusion, or hesitation – even if it was only the mere sensation of it rather than the objective truth.

His priority was to keep the girls safe and calm. He did not know where the rupture portal had taken them – other than at sea - or why they were there. Graeslin, the captain – he assumed by everything the biqaj knew about ships – had a thing for Jorsie. Or… she was interested in the Etzori because of where his home was, perhaps. At first, he thought of Jorsie with suspicion but that dimmed after the Ambassador returned to their confines with a battered eye… though it didn’t disappear entirely. Yet even with distrust, there was little to be done about it.

The girls became concerned, understandably, upon the sight of violent consequence; Hazel more so than Oceta. Zarik did his best to assure them that he wouldn’t let that happen to them… though whether it was a sincere assurance, he wasn’t certain. Back against the wall, he held Hazel close on his lap. Shy and withdrawn, the island girl had already traumatized by the scoundrels of the guild retinue in the recent past. Frequent murmurs escaped her of not wanting to see the brutalization or deaths of Zarik, or Oceta or even Jorsie who was included at times. Hazel clung tight to Zarik, never being too far from him…

…until it was his turn to go above board. Hazel cried terribly at this and clung to his legs, not wanting him to go. Zarik interrupted any immediate attempts to disentangle the child. He whispered a few words in her ear and then pinched her cheek. She quieted after that, her sobs becoming muffled and hiccuped instead. He told Oceta to watch after the younger girl and then he left the hold, to converse on his lonesome with Graeslin.

For a short while when separated from the children, he struggled to maintain composure. Not in the sense that he was fearful, but in the sense that he felt the power he wielded within his body. Along his spine, ether coiled like a spring as if in preparation to be released in what would likely prove a violent assault. Yet he had little information as to the nature of the ship’s crew and Graeslin herself. Unless she had a great deal of protection around her, he could attempt to execute her swiftly through a precise application of his magic. Even if she didn’t have adequate protection though, Zarik didn’t want to. He wasn’t a killer, for one. For another, everything that he observed during his time with Graeslin suggested to him that it would prove more beneficial to attempt peaceful resolution.

Thus, it was preferable for him – despite his various mutations of obvious effect – to act demure and formal. From what he gathered they were sailing somewhere and unless it was to the east, they were likely going north still. He tried to get information but found himself not in a position to negotiate properly – being a captive. By request, he offered some information about the children in hope that it might make them seem more like individuals rather than fodder to the crew.

Zarik, also, willingly inventoried potential ways in which he might aid Graeslin if she would only leave the girls in peace and good care for however long she kept them: that he was familiar with the resource of ether, thus the mutations that showed obviously in the form of his wings and halo, that he was a Transmuter of slight skill but not great. That he knew how to read and write, well and legibly, to take notes or research tomes. That he was familiar, from a time long ago, with climbing to help hoist sails and pull ropes.

And then he shared two more potential talents after he endured another barely veiled threat that defined a pirate's nature, though he remained calm while he spoke them: that he was a Becomer as well – and that of all things he’d shared so far, he was most practiced in the art (as he phrased it) of interrogative torture. It seemed after he shared that, the conversation was over and perhaps, it made more sense to Graeslin why he’d been so unshakeable in the face of vile threats and intimidation. Everything he had shared had been due to him wishing to find mutual understanding with the woman, after all, rather than being extracted from him due to fear or anxiety.

When Zarik returned to the hold and Oceta was called, he stopped Jorsie from protesting. He hadn’t kept the slave for long, but he felt assured that she would remain true to her role. She’d already proven to hold fast to her trained behavior, even in moments where he suggested that she might act less like a slave and more like a daughter – though he never used the actual word, he’d implied it during brief conversations. He didn’t want to overwhelm the Quacian girl, who’d been raised distinctly to be a slave, with such confusing thoughts. Not yet, anyway.

Zarik returned to Hazel, then, in wait for Oceta’s eventual return. He trusted that Graeslin wouldn’t hurt the slave girl, though he couldn’t be entirely certain that his trust was well-placed. The biqaj supposed he would learn. Quietly humming a melody, he combed his daughter’s hair with his fingers, then took to braiding the golden blond strands to distract her. Zarik glanced at Jorsie a few times but didn’t say anything to the other man.

Last edited by Llyr Llywelyn on Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1029
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Re: Putting to Sea [Llyr]

Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:40 pm


When confronted with the matter of confronting the woman pirate captain that had seemed to have captured them and put them into a state of captivity as prisoners as opposed to slaves. Oceta was no fool. She always and always has been a slave. For that reasoning, she had already been a tame and docile soul. As she was told to rise and confront the woman by the summons, she had walked firmly, firmly wearing the rags befitting her status as opposed to the good clothes of the master, for she did not wish to wear them down as much as the clothes she was accustomed to. Stopping before the pirate woman, she had heard almost sympathetic words. She had sugared words and was given sweets, to which the girl slowly took in her hands, blinking as she took them at peace. However, there was one fatal miscalculation of the pirate in question as Oceta stood before her. One major...fatal miscalculation. Does a slave trust a murderer and raider that commonly lies and fills their pockets with the dreams of others? Depends apparently.

Oceta would have believed every word from her mouth until she admitted that she was a slave that killed her own master, had slaughtered him and turned to a life of violence and murder without indignation. It was not honest work, and it was there that she knew she was not an honest woman, this Graeslin character. Oceta was a girl who had accepted her position as a slave, and she knew that it was her place, her status to always remain a slave. Whether she was a useless, or useful, or abused, or well treated? It didn’t matter. So, she remained silent until the woman finished her speech, and the girl said nothing for a few moments before nodding her head, unsure of how to entirely act, her mouth opening once briefly for a simple sentence. For there was no niceties among slaves. Only absolutes and simpleties. It was the way of the slave. It was the only way she had ever known, and she refused to know more.

“Thank you mama.” Referring to her with politeness, and perhaps even a hint of endearment, she smiled with her eyes closed, a brightness upon her face as she closed her eyes, avoiding the peer into the windows to the soul, for the woman would otherwise know there was no true adoration upon her face. With it, she slowly returned to the hatch. People did not do what they didn’t want to at leisure. They did things out of obligation and responsibility if at all. Oceta was indeed a pretty name for a pretty girl, and a pretty obedient slave to her master. She would serve him dutifully, and she had vowed she would protect his daughter with her life. That she would. It was her duty. So, as she slowly went down, she would search for the man silently, not looking upon any man, simply focusing on not being spotted. She did not look for trouble, and hopefully trouble would not find her.

The promises of the crew to beat, rape, and otherwise had left Oceta numb, for she had feared these things her whole life from a master, for she would be powerless. However, she feared no free man, for she would fight, scratch, scream, and die at her leisure. Dying was not something disliked. It was the only form of freedom she would ever get from her bondage, at least one that she’d acknowledge. Searching for the man Zarik in question, the girl figured even if he was not of much use, she would be of use for all of them. Including his daughter. She had the skills of an artisan, could cook fairly well, and could perform basic housekeeping chores as was expected of a domestic slave of her status. So then, the real question would be if she would be able to work and coordinate a fine workmanship with her master. Would she be able to be of good use to him now. “Master. I have arrived." The Quacian had much to report to her master based off her perceptions, and she would have to remain in well etiquette and politeness to escape trouble. Really, that was a universal truth, but slaves had to exercise it ever more, for they were met with people that would beat you for little reason and often depending on how they felt like it, sometimes on a daily basis. So then, the question was important to note. What was the plan?

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Re: Putting to Sea [Llyr, Oceta]

Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:41 am


Over the next several trials, it became fairly obvious that Graeslin was not looking for reasons to torment the newcomers aboard her vessel. They were given tasks to occupy their time, many allowing them to learn some fundamental seafaring skills. Other being of a more domestic nature, particularly those assigned to Oceta. She made it clear that they were "Hands off" to the rest of the crew.

Even Jorsie was given fair treatment provided he give what information was asked of him. Initially, of course, he swore he would die before giving such aid to a criminal of her sort. Such assertive challenges to her ability to break him were not answered as he expected. Where he expected torture, he more often received thin laughter and a mocking counter question; like asking what "sort" of criminal he would NOT die before aiding, with the suppositions of it being various members of the Tower or the Hall.

Zarik was able to discern from other comments that these were references to some of the governmental levels in Etzos. The name "Oberan" was bandied about, with a sneer that held no amusement whatsoever, not even the type that went with the wistful anticipation of eventual vengeance. For the most part, Jorsie was forthcoming with any information connected to the names that Zarik asked him about. They were going to Etzos supposedly; it would be best for them all to know what they could.

But Jorsie did not know who this Oberan was. He agreed that Graeslin clearly had a thorn in her ass with that name on it, though. He could only assume that she expected to find this Oberan in Etzos, and needed the cover of the ambassador's status to have the freedom she desired to locate him. She was no fool, either. She knew that the powers-that-be in Etzos already knew some misfortune had befallen him. She did not prevent Jorsie from expounding fully on the situation though his scroll.

Assuming there would be codes within the conversations anyway, she allowed Jorsie to explain the presence of the noble. It was not until the additional presence of children was announced that the "Advisor Vuda" at the other end showed any consternation. He quickly beat Graeslin to the punch, stating before she could make the threat, that he assumed they were to be hostages to ensure the cooperation promised. He offered no additional knowledge regarding "Oberan" than that which Ambassador Jorsie had already revealed, but admitted that the name a vague familiarity to it.

Graeslin tried to be demanding about her belief that he was lying and that he best be giving her all he knew, or the kids would suffer. The return stated simply that he had no way of knowing that they were not already dead, and that all he knew was that Oberan was not an official, or a merchant, or an officer in the army, and was most likely a criminal, which made it likely that she knew more than he did. He advised her that no message she could send via the scroll could possibly confirm anything about the existence or status of the hostages, so her best course was to be patient and get to Etzos as soon as possible.

He did not go on to say that there would be any increased levels of retribution if anything was to befall the children. In fact, he never stated any intent of inflicting any punishment of any sort over the whole ordeal. Graeslin gnashed her teeth in frustration over her inability to intimidate the man remotely, but saw that he was right. There was no point in going through with any threats over his position in the affair. But she took Zarik aside.

"He knows what 'vague familiarity' it is, I'll wager. Oberan was part of a crew that ransacked their worst detention facility and freed a number of pirates. It's how I got that armor that prompted that fool Jorsie to spill the beans that he was from Etzos. he never tried to say Oberan was gone though either." She didn't come right out and say that the crew had been her doing, but if not, one could only wonder how she had gained armor from it? She let slip an additional degree of her own awareness of things, by asking Zarik how Jorsie, a man stationed in Augiery, had come to be in Quacia with him.

"I admit it gives me pause just what to make of you. Why would this guy 'Vuda' suffer my threats unless you were important to him? It's not Jorsie he's trying to save, that's for sure. I'm frankly wondering if you'd have higher ransom value back in Quacia, rather than up in Etzos. You were sneaking out of town back there, weren't you? My...methods...would not have worked on the more regulated Rupturing fixtures, so you have to have used one of the...underground locations, eh?"

She shrugged it off though, "Well, it doesn't matter now anyway. When we get to Etzos, and I find Oberan, my...mm...well never mind, it's none of your worry. But please, be so kind as to explain just what this Vuda wants with you. It can't be this modest magic skill you claim. Etzos is well known to embrace such things, I've faced them toe-to-toe myself in fact..." The slowly souring look on her face suggested that Oberan was somehow involved in whatever incident was currently occupying her recollections of magic in Etzos.

The thought of ransom was no empty threat either. So whatever this 'Oberan' had done, it was clearly of tremendous value to her, and her 'methods'.
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Re: Putting to Sea [Llyr, Oceta]

Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:20 am



Time spent on the seafaring vessel reminded Zarik of certain things he’d learned in his early arcs. The memories were blurry but connected to his sisters in a way that he felt nostalgia while he watched Graeslin’s crew go about their responsibilities. He helped if requested, though any memory that could have remained in his actual muscles had long been forgotten.

The others – Oceta, Hazel, and Jorsie – seemed to be faring relatively well. Hazel had been sleeping better, thankfully, once he’d walked into her dreams in recent trials and made them peaceful for her.

Oceta had been the model of a well-behaved slave, proving the investment of her worth. Not only that, but she was starting to prove herself as having smart wits about her. She handled herself with composure around the crew, something that Zarik found himself grateful for. She offered a decent role model for Hazel to mimic.

As for Oceta’s instructions, Zarik made clear to her that she was to consider her safety as equal to Hazel’s. To follow along with anything requested of her from Graeslin, but not of the crew in the politest manner possible and barring any requests that might cause injury to her or the other girl. In the meantime, Zarik also mentioned to the slave that she might listen to conversations, take observation of the ship when she could, and tell him of anything that seemed off, interesting, or potentially useful.

Meanwhile, Jorsie had a great deal more anxiety to deal with, from what Zarik could catch between what was said about towers and halls and this or that. In their conversations in the moments where they had little else to do but talk with one another, Zarik had obtained a better understanding for the structure of Etzos itself. There were many names, and he tried to keep track of what he could, learn whatever the other man was willing to share… all except Oberan, if there was anything to share about the name at all.

It seemed, however, Oberan wasn’t a mere thorn but an outright briar patch that Graeslin wanted to find.

When she took him aside, after the echo communication with Vuda had fallen lackluster to her aims, Zarik listened while watching with his eyes of light blue. She shared her relation to the man attached to the name Oberan, though found it short of an actual explanation. As he listened, the witchmark in his eyes gradually led the pale color to glow around his lashes. It was a frequent display that the captain would’ve gotten used to in any discussions with the biqaj that lasted longer than a few bits.

He saw little reason to lie, though it wasn’t his information to give about why Jorsie had ended up in his city other than a simple: “The vessel the ambassador was aboard had gotten attacked. He washed ashore of Quacia. I know very little about the details surrounding the incident. You would have to ask him.”

Her keen attention swiveled as it seemed she had something else on her mind, and it landed on him. His dark brows raised when she made mention that Vuda wouldn’t have interest in saving Jorsie. Was it true? Perhaps. He didn’t know. But when he heard her say ransom, the faintest of laughs escaped him. Would he have higher value back in Quacia?

Perhaps if she knew who to speak with and the right things to say… or she could have, several trials ago. Such opportunity had supposedly gone away, if his own echo scroll had been any indication. It seemed mere luck that his scroll had been considered blank parchment like the other scrolls he’d kept with it, rather than being recognized for what it was, like Jorsie’s had. He hadn’t written in it, not once since before they’d even left Quacia, but a message had come through shortly after their capture. It was a message he had no intention of responding to and had gotten rid of as soon as he'd read it.

Regardless, Graeslin seemed to have other things she wished to discuss… or it came back to Vuda’s interest in him again. Zarik surveyed the woman in a glance, down and up, then he offered the smallest of forced smiles. “I am reluctant to make a statement on this matter, captain. As I’ve told you, I’ve never been to Etzos before. It is by request that I aim to travel there now… and in the hope to find a home for the children. A home that isn’t in danger of being overrun by the Creep. A place where they can enjoy gardens and climb trees without fear of a branch skewering their guts out. Etzos seems as good of place as any, considering Jorsie’s willingness to transport us there.”

“As for Lord Vuda and I; we have an…” he paused. He considered for a moment, his blue witchmark eyes vibrant in their ethereal light. “We have need to see one another without ambassadors or sailors looking over our shoulders. As to his wants with me, though I wish to be open with you, Captain Graeslin, and as I do not wish to lie to you, thus I regretfully cannot inform you of this because it is... too sensitive, to say the least. I assure you it has nothing to do with whatever you’re seeking with this Oberan of your’s. And it will likely only extend so far in regard to leverage, for there is undoubtedly a point where my captive presence will be regarded as more bother than interest to free.”

“Perhaps I might be able to help you, however. Though we are captives under your command, you’ve been kind to us, generous. It may not be the path Ambassador Jorsie had planned, but you are still taking us to where we’d intended to go.” His smile returned, though more sincere than the last. “Let me aid you somehow. While I am certain you do not need my help, it could ease things along.”

“You are aware only so much can come from the echo scroll regarding communication. I am intended to visit with Lord Vuda in person and if so, perhaps you and I might be able to stay in touch.” He shrugged. His gaze flitted away from her as he surveyed the captain quarters around them. “I am not from Etzos so I have no grudges that Jorsie seems to hold against your criminality or the use of… Blackguard armor, is it? Most criminals are merely people who’ve stepped outside the bounds of law for practicality's sake, are they not? They are individuals like anyone else, with need for survival and aims to seek and fulfill. I’ll admit I haven’t been the most law-abiding in my own life, though it certainly makes things simpler to align with the codes decided by greater men… uh, and women, I suppose.”

“I prefer practicality,” he added, and the silver-blood biqaj returned his attention to directly look at her with those glowing blue eyes of his. “I prefer simplicity. It seems to me that for us to remain… friends would be the most practical course of action once we get to Etzos. It could prove simpler than attempting a sincere ransom of any sort, which might make negotiations worse rather than better. Of course, some sort of trade-off is to be expected, but an exchange that allows for ease instead of greed might make things tidier.”

“Though,” he mentioned in an afterthought, his voice dipping to a deeper pitch that came from the chest rather than throat. “Maybe you’re the type of woman who prefers things to be messy and exorbitant.”

A moment’s pause, but not for long, and his voice returned to the usual bell-like tenor, with a disinterested expression on his youthful features. “Either way, you know best about what is most valuable to you and how to get what you want. Understand you’ll have my cooperation, to the extent of my meager abilities, magic or otherwise, Captain… even after we land, and especially if we part ways so I might respectfully secure means and a home for my children. Perhaps I might even locate this Oberan, it certainly would give me reason to get to know the neighborhood, so to speak. If you wished, that is.”

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