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Alaric and Nivasi meet.

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Alaric
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Fish out of Water

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[4th of Ashan, Arc 716]
Days like these were an absolute favorite of Alaric's. That morning when his master Alistair had informed him they would be traveling to Andaris he had been instantly filled with energy. With haste he packed what was needed and ended up being prepared on time, a rarity in his life. It could not be helped. The mere notion of being nearer to the sea made him positively giddy. Their initial journey here from Fort Venora felt like it had taken so many days to complete. Each hill they crested brought on a new wave of enthusiasm to him. Alaric found it nigh on impossible to sit still while the hours passed by. He fidgeted to no end and even chose to walk alongside the carriage a few times so as to avoid his master's glares of annoyance. Soon enough the road they traveled on was filled with others on their own trips. Alaric felt no shame in poking his head out of the caravan to catch a glimpse of everyone.

There were so many unique individuals on this planet and a city as big as Andaris meant hundreds upon hundreds would be congregating there. In a place like this there was no telling who or what one would meet along their journey. A shaggy mess of hair bounced along with the bumps in the road as ever-changing eyes took all the sights in. Noblemen in their finely crafted and rather expensive looking horse-drawn carriages trotted by without casting a glance in either direction. From his position Alaric could be so bold as to fashion his face in to a crude joke of what it normally was and they would be none the wiser. They were too busy keeping their eyes off of the peasants to take notice. Others like him were doing much of the same.

It was strange how easily it was to pick out other slaves. Many of them had a worn out look to them, maybe from overworking or because they had just been in this lifestyle for too long. Most had downcast eyes, sheepish glances were stolen at others and if eyes ever were to meet they were quickly averted back down to the trodden dirt. Whenever Alaric saw them, he was always sure to smile was wide as he could. He wanted to try his best to convey that they were not alone, even if it often felt that way. After finally being told to settle down the man was forced to wait on the inside with the curtains drawn. A noticeable frown had marred his features, right up until Alistair told him that he would be free for much of the day. He mentioned something about official business and his lack of need for his services. That frown flipped upward so rapidly in to a smile. He did not even try to hide how pleased he was with the outcome of the day. Now he could go to his favorite place to be. Alaric wasted no time after Alistair departed. He started off at a quick trot before breaking in a full sprint towards the docks. The city was located so close to the shore, it would not take long now.

There it was! Blue as can be and more beautiful than the last time. His body visibly relaxed at its sight. For a moment he just stood there, listening to the sounds and taking in all the smells. Fish was the most pervading scent. There were fishmongers everywhere calling out their wares and looking for someone to sell to. Behind that there was the salt and brine, a potent scent but one that was so welcomed. It had been a few months since the last time he had a chance to be here. The ringing of bells on buoys, captains calling orders to their crew, waves crashing and breaking against the boats and the docks themselves. It felt good, being this close to home.

Alaric clapped his hands together and headed out. He fit in well here, moreso than anywhere he had been before. His tanned skin, dark curls and exotic eyes were not so unique here. It felt like every other person here was Biqaj, just like him. These were his people and this was where he belonged. Well, almost belonged. His gaze fell upon a large merchant ship. It would have been like any other boat docked here, but this one was selling something special. People. It was selling people. Alaric felt a bubble of dismay coated with anger swell inside of him. No, this could not be his home. Looking out to the horizon, he knew the only place that would feel like that to him was out there. Far, far away from the wickedness of mankind.
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Nivasi Zyq'Dariav
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Fish out of Water

Nivasi was in love.

She'd only recently taken out the loan that had allowed her to purchase the Bravi'os. Though the sloop was fairly humble, particular when docked next to the great merchant traders, or the military ships, to her it was the most beautiful boat in the harbour. Because it was hers. Because it was freedom and independence. Or it would be once the loan was paid off in any case. In usual Biqaj manner she was perhaps a little more hung up on coin then she should have been. She was realistic though, for her it was less about making ridiculous amounts of and more about not owing any. That wasn't to say she didn't intend to be profitable if she could, just that she was a long term planner rather than a get rich quick type. Usually.

That said, for all that it had apparently been bought fully stocked and ready for use as a fishing vessel and home, she'd found it missing one or two major details. This had come up when she'd immediately made for the open waters, staying out for several days. She'd done enough fishing to feed herself, but otherwise had sailed for the sheer joy of it, following wind and current. One of the major issues she'd noted was nowhere to store fish safe from seagulls and the like, so when she'd grudgingly turned back to the bay, and moored the Bravi'os, she'd gone up to the marketplace to buy a barrel.

Now, heading back to her ship, rolling said barrel along before her, her nose and morals were both assaulted. A slave ship had docked near her in her absence. Not that her presence would have stopped it. She was only a fishmonger, slaving was an incredibly lucrative business. Some might argue that slaves in Rynmere were for the most part treated far better than most other places, but better was not good enough. Besides, it wasn't strictly a matter of treatment, it was a matter of pride.

It seemed to Nivasi that most of the evils in the world could, at their core, be broken down to thinking of people as things, and that there was no more dramatic example of reducing people to things than when you made them slaves, when you owned and sold them and took away their basic dignity. Someone might argue that they treated their slaves well. And it might even be true. Maybe they even chose to treat them like family. That was the problem though, it was their choice, it could be changed or rescinded at any time and the slave could do nothing about it. Besides, even officially regulated, there were still places like the fighting pit were slaves were fought until one of them was dead. It was probably one of the worst kept secrets, and still it ran, which told you how much slaves really mattered. Nab a few nobles, toss them in the pit and make them fight to the death and watch how quickly they whole damned place would be dismantled.

And here, unseen by Nivasi, whose gaze moved between the slave ship and her own, eyes flashing silver often enough to make her opinions known to any who had experience with the Biqaj, came strutting some of the crew from the ship, and a representative from the Slave Auctions. Likely come to ascertain that the cargo did not need to be quarantined, perhaps even to sell them straight off the ship. It didn't much matter. What did matter was the officious and heavily muscled elbow to the side, pushing her out of the way with a booming.

"Make way!"

Because it would apparently have been far less satisfying to yell and then push if yelling didn't work. Perhaps though, this was typical of a person who saw others as things that existed for their own convenience. Which might have given Nivasi a certain sense of justification in her opinions were she not busy trying, and failing, to keep her barrel from going over the edge and into the ocean after having tripped from the elbow and sent it off course.

Having lost the battle, she stood, back straight, head high and for a moment, just a moment, sent the backs of the slavers a withering look that any Queen or Empress could have taken notes on. But, what was she to do really? She was no one. She had neither the might nor the reputation necessary to raise a fuss over such a behaviour. So with a sigh, she turned her attention to the barrel, where it bobbed merrily. The Dock was high enough that just leaning down and pulling it out wasn't an option. She didn't even think she could reach it. Improvisation was going to be necessary. Well. All right then.
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Alaric
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Fish out of Water

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[4th of Ashan, Arc 716]
"Make way!"

Alaric's daydream was cut short when someone shouted for the crowd to part. There were few people with a high enough status in the world to command others so easily. There were those who were born in to power, nobles and royals with noses held high in the air. Their governance was awarded to them via ancient traditions. By cosmic luck they had been birthed in to a family with a recognized name, and everyone had to be made aware of it. Those who were unlucky, like Alaric, had no last name that held any true strength. So after years of conditioning when someone like that came around, someone like him naturally stepped to the side to make way. He had not recalled any sort of banners flying around outside of the norm, so no one shouting to herald the arrival of a noble. That meant that the person shouting was someone who had a lot of money. Rich men often confused themselves with noble men, though the rules were very similar for them. One major difference was that they did not have to portray a certain elegance when it came to how they dealt with the common folk.

Slavers. Of course it was slavers. A flash of maroon shot through his eyes, tainting the shades of gold. Hands balled in to fist but he held back as a woman was shoved aside. The barrel did as barrels do and rolled right on until it sailed off the edge of the dock and crashed in to the water. Alaric folded his arms over his chest and gave the meanest stink eye he could manage at the back of the slaver. In Rakahi he would swear, just under his breath at their wretchedness. After a moment of cursing them with bad winds for the future he turned to Nivasi with an apologetic look on his face. "I'm sorry, if I could I would toss him in to the sea. But..." Alaric's eyes would portray a deep level of sadness. They both knew that there was nothing that could actually be done, not now at least. He let out a sigh and walked to the edge of the docks, measuring the distance. Even if he was to hang down and reach for it the best he'd manage is to kick it away.

One thing that was always abundant on the docks was rope. "I think I can lower you down, if you don't mind. He walked to one of the ropes tied to the dock and undid it, first making sure that there was not a boat being held there by it. Coiling the rope around his arm and shoulder Alaric walked back to Nivasi. That was the first time he really looked at her. His mouth formed a little 'o'. This woman was really pretty. A sudden bout of awkwardness consumed him. It was a rare time when he had the chance to pass the day with a girl. For the briefest of moments he was concerned that maybe he smelled too strongly or had not combed his hair properly today. Then he remembered that staring was improper and quickly averted his eyes to his hands. "I'm Alaric by the way." He focused on the rope, twisting it around itself and pulling at certain points to make a proper bowline knot. Loosening the knot itself he created a large enough loop and slipped it around his own body. Tossing the other end of the rope to Nivasi he braced himself against the dock. Gaining some confidence in his show of strength, he smiled at her and winked. "I promise I won't drop you in." Alaric sincerely hoped he would not actually drop her in, that would not be a good first impression in the slightest.
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Nivasi Zyq'Dariav
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Fish out of Water

Nivasi was in all honestly, slightly surprised when a man with a rather unruly mop of hair addressed her. A quick and cautious scan noted eyes that gave 'way a heritage his cursing had hinted at. Many in Rynmere and beyond knew some Rakahi though, and his had the Common accent all throughout it. This was a way she often separated Land-Biqaj from Sea-Biqaj. Although hailing from the Sea was no guarantee of kinship. Slaver and pirates and the like proved that. Still, more often than not, it did. The sea had its own rules that stood independent of any Kingdom or City. No nobles had written them down or stamped them, they were recorded in no scrolls, but the were known all the same. And they were simple. You helped each other. The seas were harsh and unforgiving, only your vessel and your wits kept you from death, so should you run into someone where one of the two had failed them, if you could help you did, in the hopes that when you had need, someone would be there for you. His accent though was interesting. She doubted he used Rakahi most, or even regularly, but it didn't have the same flatness as those who picked it up later in life, after their tongues learned to pronounce things in Common. Perhaps a complicated life then?

Either way, between that slight mystery, and the sentiment he expressed as well as his immediate desire to help, she warmed to him slightly. Aloof though she might often seem, it would take a colder person than she to rebuff one who so earnestly offered to help a person he did not even know.

Her lips quirked up slightly, a hint of gold flashing through her eyes.

"But it is hardly deep enough and he would likely just wade right back in, yes. Properly out at sea perhaps it would be worth it."


This was of course offered utterly deadpan as if they were discussing the weather or some similar topic.

"I do not mind, I would in fact appreciate it."

Her own Common was heavily accented, and had the precise correctness of one who was not entirely comfortable with it. She could always make herself understood, but she still had to think about it. For the first half of her life, she'd really only spoken Rakahi.

"Nivasi Zyq'Dariav, of the Bravi'os."

She was more interested in his rope tying skills than anything else, and largely missed the awkwardness, though this may also have been because she did not think of herself as the sort of woman who made men awkward. She certainly didn't think she was ugly, hut her hands were callused, her lips were often chapped by the wind and on a good day she smelt of ocean. On a bad day it was just fish. Fish did not a grand romantic odyssey make. The knot passed muster, and she nodded slightly when he completed it. So he did have sea-faring skills. Was he perhaps a fisherman as well? He was in awfully good shape for that. Not that she was looking of course. Demanding as the job could be, it didn't demand the sort of effort that looking like Alaric took. Perhaps he was a sailor in the navy.

"And I am sure you will not, but if you do, it will not be the first time I have been dropped unexpectedly in the sea, as long as you pull me out again we will be fine."

She offered him another slightly more expansive smile.

It's not the wink. The wink had nothing to do with it. He's helping. He's being nice that's all. Besides I think he's younger than me. Aii, though I bet it will be a sight when he pulls me and the barrel back up, all the flexing and such. Focus! U'frek mind me, gone to sea for only a few days and you come back like this? Not just the male sailors who deserve the reputation then!

Internal dialogue aside, she caught the rope from him handily enough, and wrapped it around herself in a quick Dulfersitz style. Glancing at him again briefly to make sure he was ready and finding him properly braced, she was down one of the piers supports, using it and the rope to slow her decent more than anything else. Really she probably could have just jumped off the damned thing, he could have tossed the rope down and she'd have tied it to the barrel.

Aye, and then you'd likely try and impress him with a dive and gone head first into the damned barrel or some-such, knocked your fool self out and drowned. No Mer in the harbour to pull you in this time and wouldn't that make for a short and ridiculous tavern tale?

The water when she entered it, for she had no intention of trying any fancy hanging manoeuvres, was chilly, but it was no longer freezing. It wasn't exactly enjoyable unless you were feeling particularly hearty and were likely the sort of person who extolled the virtues of rolling naked in snow in the winter months as well, but she was used to waves and spray. Barrel hitch was likely the best for a barrel, being made for that and all. It was a little more difficult when one end of the rope was being held by someone above and the barrel in question was bobbing cheerfully in the water, but with only a moderate amount of cursing and adjustments, she did manage it.

She backstroked a bit away. He was likely more than capable of pulling up both her and the barrel at once by the look of him, but that again fell into the category of things that had a high probability of resulting in unnecessary and slightly embarrassing injuries.

"Good!"

She declared, giving him in her mind at least, the go ahead to haul the barrel back up and one to pier as she waited, idly treading water. She kept her lungs mostly full, not breathing out enough to empty them entirely, making the figure eight movements of her hands and the gentle kicking of her feet hardly necessary and more for keeping herself in one place than keeping her above water.
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Alaric
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Fish out of Water

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Listening to Nivasi speak reminded the man of people he had not seen in many years: his parents. He found himself feeling lighter than usual and couldn't keep himself from bouncing back and forth on the balls of his feet. He always got infected with nostalgia when around his people. Hearing the way she talked brought back memories that he cherished. Instantly he liked the woman, merely because she seemed familiar to him. An easy smile spread across his features and stayed there.

"If I could I'd take him out farther than the eyes could see and leave him to U'frek's mercy. But then, I'd probably never come back!"

Saying that never left him wanting and sad. Alaric fully meant them and knew, just knew, that one day it would come true. All of his enduring of this life would pay off in the end, and he'd be as free as a fish in the ocean.

Much like the woman Alaric had spent the earlier part of his life speaking mostly Rakahi. Aboard his father's ship he encountered many other languages, none as much as common. He started practicing it as a boy though hardly had need for it. At that age the young Alaric had been more interested in playing games and peering out over the edge of the ship, looking at the world. Business dealings were boring to him and nothing he couldn't say in his native tongue could be said in another. It wasn't until he had been sold as a slave that he had been forced to learn to both understand and speak it fluently. Years of neglect for his mother tongue had him barely remembering how to carry a conversation in the Biqaj language. There had been days where he found even his accent slipping, giving way to one that was more familiar to someone born speaking common instead of having come in to it. Alaric worked hard on those days, often talking gibberish in Rakahi just to keep it fresh in his mind. So it was due to that promise he made to himself to never forget his roots that he spoke in their shared language as best he could, even risking sounding like an idiot.

"If I make a promise, I'll keep it."

Observant eyes watched from there, his lips falling still as silence passed over him. It seemed that Nivasi was comfortable around ropes just as he was, maybe even moreso. With a careful quickness she lowered herself down and in to the water, not hesitant in the slightest. How easy it came to her had the slave wondering if Nivasi owned her own boat. From what he could see she wasn't like him. There were no visible marks on her that would label her someone else's property. Maybe she would let Alaric see it!

When Nivasi tied off the barrel and moved away Alaric first nodded to himself and spread his legs a bit further. He bent at the knees and gripped the rope in his rough hands. Reaching forward he pulled sharply and lifted the barrel out of the water. Slowly he went, as to not be pulled down himself. Hand over hand he reeled his catch in. When it bumped against the bottom of the pier he made his way to the edge, muscles rippling with his effort to keep the barrel from falling back in. He wrapped the rope once around his left hand and leaned forward, grasping the rim of it with his free hand. Grunting with his mighty effort he heaved and had it back on to the docks. Alaric let the rope go and set the dripping barrel upright.

"The Bravi'os."

He started speaking as he knelt down to undo the knot Nivasi had done. Deftly his fingers worked the rope until it came undone.

"Is that a ship? Is it yours?"

Alaric sat back on his haunches as he fastened yet another knot, this time creating a little loop where the fisherwoman could slip her foot in to when he was ready to hoist her out of the sea. Standing up once again the man moved to the edge of the boat where he lowered the rope to her. He'd brace himself against the wooden supports this time and in the same manner as the barrel would collect Nivasi from the water.

Alaric was looking down to her, hair flowing freely in the breeze coming off the ocean. She made staying still in the waves look so easy. Watching his new potential friend tread water made him want to cannonball in with her. He had a playful glint in his eyes as he imagined that, though it would be absolutely horrifying if he proved too weak a swimmer and needed to be saved by Nivasi. Alaric let that fantasy slip away quickly. Besides, the goal was to get her back on to the deck and not make her any wetter than she already was.

"I can carry your barrel to your ship for you. This is the first day off I've had in awhile, and I'd love to see your boat."

There he was smiling again. Positively giddy with excitement he was. So often had he come here to watch the sails fill up with the winds and carry their vessels away to the horizon. Not once had he actually gotten on one of the barges himself.
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Nivasi Zyq'Dariav
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Fish out of Water

He'd sounded flippant, playful when he'd promised not to drop her in. The sort of thing anyone would say, often just before dropping a person to great comical effect. His insistence that a promise from his was kept though.. That felt like one of those things people said off-hand without realizing they were revealing more of themselves than perhaps they'd meant to. Trust was not a concept that came easily to Nivasi, certainly not towards someone she'd just met. All the same, she felt that if Alaric told her something, she would believe him. She would trust. And she wasn't entirely sure how she felt about that. The immediate feelings were positive ones of course, but it ran so contrary to what she knew that she wondered if she could trust her own intuition. When all you had was yourself to not be able to trust your intuition was not good. The only highlight was that even if it threw her off for awhile, habit had her thinking before acting anyway, so there would be no great change there.

Her viewpoint as the barrel started rising was limited, but the bit she caught when he leaned over to pull the barrel the rest of the way onto the pier..

He is.. that was.. yes. Faldrun burn it.

One good thing about chilly water and a darker complexion, there was none of this blushing nonsense going on. It was one thing to be flustered in the privacy of ones own mind, no one else had to be aware. She'd about recollected herself when he reappeared at the edge of the pier, all windblown and with a hint of mischief in his eyes.

If this is an Immortal mucking about in human form so help me I will punch him in the nose.

She knew it wasn't of course. Well. She didn't know. You never knew with Immortals. But the odds were quite low, and she was fairly certain they were normally more interested in Princesses and.. and.. Hm. Mostly princesses actually. Famous warriors maybe. The best whatevers in the land. Not fishmongers. She was quite sure about that. But she often amused herself out on the water with the old chants and songs. Rynmere had the Seven sure, but that was for those who lived on land. Besides, she'd heard tales about some of their offspring who'd inherited their titles and power. Didn't seem all that much better than the Immortals, and with a lot less ability to actually justify their importance. In any case, she had a soft spot for such tales, and made up her own in the safety of her own mind more than she would want anyone to know.

She reached for the rope, slipping her foot in and making sure she had a good grip on it, before giving him a nod. As he raised her she answered, trying to temper the pride in her voice. She knew when others saw the Bravi'os, it was not nearly as grandiose as what she saw when she looked at it.

"Yes, newly so. He's"

Ships were supposed to be female, but the Bravi'os was male. People could argue with her about this, they would be wrong. Not that she would care. They had no real meaningful relationship with the ship, it didn't matter if they understood. It didn't matter if they couldn't feel the personality of her ship, she could, and this was all that mattered, since she was the one who had to coax the best out of him, who might have to sail him through a storm.

"small, only a Sloop, but he is mine."

Home, livelihood, the only thing of note she had, what she was pinning her hopes and ambitions for the future on. It was true that she might one day get a bigger ship, arcs from now, but it all hinged on what she and Bravi'os could do.

He'd pulled her up to the edge by now, and palms on the edge she pushed herself up, got a knee on the edge and was up in a moment. Soaking wet, but this was fine, she would dry, and it wasn't like these clothes had not been salt stained to start with.

"If you truly do not mind, I would appreciate it, though hauling barrels about is not much of a day off! Still, I'd as rather not have to go bobbing for barrels again, more than a touch of Cylus left in the water. And I would be pleased to show you Bravi'os."

Eyes flashed a bit of gold at that. She'd not had anyone to show her ship to. When she'd gotten it, when she'd stepped onto the decks for the first time, she'd wished her parents were there to see. A Biqajs first boat was important. From a human, she would have read his request to see her ship as a thinly veiled invitation into her bed, but this was another Biqaj, and one who might share a bit of her passion for ships. At least if the honesty in his
'never come back'
was anything to go by. This was a sentiment Nivasi could understand. Honestly if she could have lived off of seawater and fish alone, and if the Bravi'os was a little bit sturdier and more suited to open waters..

The Bravi'os was not moored that far away, hidden from view currently by only one traders cog. It was in good shape, very nearly new, it's wooden sides unpainted yet and its sails still fresh and whole, never having needed to be mended.
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