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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:02 am
by Monkey Kitty
Anakita Snakecharm and Ulga gra-Shatul

"Ah," Ulga said. "Here they are." For those other than Mikael who didn't know, she added, This is my husband, Lias..."

"Hello," the Dark Elf said, giving them a small bow. Although Ulga had said he was not a warrior, Lias had unmistakable martial bearing. His clothing, however, did not match that impression. He was garbed as the simple schoolteacher his wife had said he was.

Anakita remembered Mikael saying that Lias was one of two husbands. She wondered if they would meet the other one soon. These people seemed like a nice family - with more spouses than usual, certainly, but otherwise like any other happy home.

"Lias, they're here for information about Mephala cults," Ulga told him.

"Very well," the Elf replied calmly... but Anakita thought she detected an almost imperceptible shudder in his otherwise stoic demeanor at that.

Ulga continued the introductions. "These are our children. Izeel, our oldest."

That was the boy. He was tall, gawky... and had clearly seen difficult times already in his short life. His frame was stooped and bent. His tail had been shortened, amputated inexpertly. One of his eyes was clouded, and his skin was heavily scarred. His mind didn't currently seem to be on his sufferings, though. The boy seemed pleasant, though quiet.

"This is Dances-With-Ribbons," Ulga went on, moving to the next-oldest. "We call her Ribbons, as is customary."

"Hello," the girl said, glancing around curiously at all the people. Ribbons showed no evidence of physical scarring, unlike her brother, but there was a faint wariness or hesitancy in her manner that made Anakita think she hadn't had an easy life either.

"And our youngest, Jamira," Ulga finished.

Jamira was all smiles, eager and bouncy. She plopped down on the ground best Nairn. "Hi!" she said to the Norn. "What's your name? Where do you live?"

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:05 am
by Quaxo9
Nairn Tuckamore

It took a moment for her to realize that she was being addressed. When she did, her eyes widened and she glanced at Anakita for...what? Support? Intervention? Stupidly enough, Nairn had planned on going to this new world and learning everything she could about it - and had never planned for the eventuality that someone might want to learn about her and her world. She hadn't actually counted on interaction, only her own observation of everyone else.

That was...short-sighted.

Regaining her senses, Nairn looked down at the young lizard girl, her face neutral once more. The girl's eyes were so full of eagerness and life that she couldn't help but allow the corner of her mouth to turn up in a small smile. Curiosity recognized by curiosity.

"I am called Nairn. I live wherever I please."

Despite her awareness that Mikael had avoided saying directly that they were from another world, Nairn was not being purposely evasive. It was the truth - she didn't have a home of her own in one specific place, not as most would define one anyway. As she finished her answer, it occurred to her that interaction might have additional benefits on top of simple observation. Interaction meant that she could ask questions of her own. But what to ask? Surely not all the people of this world would appreciate the straight-forward questions Anakita - and she - were fond of asking. And Nairn was not terribly good, or interested, in small talk. Still, she thought she'd do her best to ask the least awkward questions she could muster until she thought she could ask something more substantial.

"Has this always been your home?"

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:37 pm
by Monkey Kitty
Jamira gra-Hist Bright-Hearth Grath

"Not always," Jamira replied, wriggling herself into a more comfortable sitting position so she could settle in for the tale. "I used to live with just my dad in Skyrim, before we met my mama and papa."

She paused, considering, and realized she needed to backtrack further than this.

"I didn't always live with Dad, either. He found me when I was little. My people got killed by bandits, and he found me in their wrecked wagon - I was the only one left, but I was very sick because I'd been out there by myself."

This story was told with the casual tone of a recitation of events that had been related to her many times - but which she did not actually remember, so it held no trauma. Jamira had been just a toddler when Soren found her; she had no memory of her birth parents, or their deaths, or being alone and ill. All her conscious memories started in the home of a kind Nord adoptive father.

"Dad was afraid I was going to die too, but he took care of me and I got better. He carried me in a sling while he worked on the farm so he could look after me."

This last detail seemed to hold particular importance for her, and she relayed it with pride.

"We moved here later, once we met Mama and Izeel. This place - Black Marsh - is where Argonians are from. My parents wanted us to grow up with our people, since we don't have blood kin."

Jamira seemed unbothered by her lack of biological relations. It was simply relayed as a fact of her life, as any other.

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:11 pm
by Quaxo9
Nairn Tuckamore

It was funny how worlds so different could still tell similar stories. A child left alone in her weakness with no family - this she recognized all too well, including the same odd emotional disconnect. But here, the child's story took on a series of chapters that Nairn recognized as being a result of both luck and rare compassion. The place names, she tucked away for future reference and the other word - argonians - perhaps that was the name of the lizard people as a whole? It seemed likely, but one could hardly be certain when the source material was from one so...young.

As the story seemed to have drawn to a close, Nairn found herself stuck holding the conversational bag. If she wanted to know more, she was going to have to find a way to continue...though she wasn't certain of how much she could press the youngling for information - or what type of information she could reliably give.

"It is just as well. Blood relations are often overrated. You are fortunate to have this found family."

She started with a simple response. A truthful one, from her perspective.

"Do your people live so differently from others that your family should want you grow up among them?"

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:42 pm
by Monkey Kitty
Jamira gra-Hist Bright-Hearth Grath

"Yeah, we have the Hist here," Jamira said. Realizing that someone from far away wouldn't know what this meant, she explained. "They're trees. Special trees that we came from, and that we go back to when we die. They're all connected to each other and can talk to each other. We talk to them too, and they talk to us. They're important and sacred to the Argonians. Some of the elders say they used to be all over the place, but now they live in Black Marsh. Argonians need the Hist to be... well, to be who we are. My parents decided that we should be here so we can learn and be part of it."

There was another reason too - a less pleasant one.

"It's also because people aren't always nice to Argonians," she went on. "Sometimes other people keep us as slaves. Izeel and Ribbons were before they got adopted. Even in other places where that doesn't happen, sometimes people think we're less than others. That we're just animals. They call us and the Khajiit 'beast races.' Here in Black Marsh, no one thinks we're beasts, because this is our place and this is home."

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:51 am
by Quaxo9
Nairn Tuckamore

Interesting. The richness of a culture through a few sentences. While Nairn was certain there was much more to the Argonian culture than what the child had relayed, she felt like what was described was the heart of the culture. The one sure thing that didn't change depending on what end of the marsh you grew up in. The Hist reminded of the Sylvari's Pale Tree - she couldn't help but wonder how literal that was here - and decided to ask.

"When you say you come from the Hist - are you born out of the tree?" Nairn could see that the question required additional explanation and added, "There is a people where I am from who grow out of blossoms of a great tree - is that what you mean when you say you come from the trees?"

The latter part of the explanation, though, Nairn had difficulty grasping. Certainly there had been some early friction between the Sylvari and the Asura, but the Asura had left the other race alone after determining their sentience. Enslaving people based solely on their race was not something Nairn had thought of - or even read about. Sure, the humans and the Charr didn't get along, but it wasn't the same. At least the humans and Charr respected one another enough to treat each other as enemies, not as dumb animals, despite what slurs each side might spout. It didn't make much sense, but of course, this was also a new world. Differences were to be expected.

"That is...unconscionable."

While her reply was short, she felt it encompassed her feelings on the matter adequately.

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2021 1:44 am
by Monkey Kitty
Jamira gra-Hist Bright-Hearth Grath

"We're born from eggs," Jamira explained. "Our eggs are put in hatching pools near the Hist. We drink the Hist sap as babies. They say that's how we get our souls. I don't know if that's really true - not all Argonians are born in Black Marsh, and it seems like they have souls too. But we form a connection to the Hist. I hear it speak. It tells me things I need to know."

She broke into a grin suddenly.

"Is that why you came to Black Marsh? To learn about the Hist?"

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:44 am
by Quaxo9
Nairn Tuckamore

She was fascinated by the girl's description of Argorian rearing habits and this talk of souls. Fascinating. This was amazing. The Hist spoke to them just like the Pale Tree spoke the the sylvari. Again, these beautiful parallels. Nairn was starting to lose herself in the intricacies of her findings. So much so that she almost answered 'yes' to Jamira's questions. But the ridiculousness of that thought quickly asserted itself. Of course that wasn't why they'd come.

The prickle of excitement that had been running up and down her spine came to a halt and she visibly swallowed her words. There was a hit of regret in the ones she actually did speak.

"I wish that were the case. Unfortunately, we came for less...favourable reasons."

She tore herself away from attending to the girl, and stood, folding her arms. Perhaps the sooner they got to business, the sooner they could get back to learning more about this place before they went back to Tyria.

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:48 am
by Monkey Kitty
Tempest Rutherford and Lias Grath

Anakita seemed to be struggling for quite what to say, so Tempest stepped in smoothly.

"That's right," Tempest said. "We came to speak to Lias. We were given to understand that you have information about a certain cult? One that worships one of your world's... daedra?"

Lias shuddered slightly, instinctively.

Tempest hastily added. "We understand completely that you were not with this cult by choice. That you were coerced..."

"It went beyond coercion," Lias told her calmly. "I was not merely tricked or persuaded. They were able to control me utterly by means of a magical artifact." He pulled back his long, dark hair, revealing puncture wound scars on his neck, deep marks, four on each side of his spine. "My body was forced to do their bidding, utterly, without question. My mind... remained my own. I was aware of everything that was happening, everything they made me do, but I was powerless to stop it."

"That's awful!" Tempest said with a startled intake of breath.

Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:07 pm
by Quaxo9
Nairn Tuckamore

She could see just fine from where she stood, and was glad to not have been standing over the man else she may have been tempted to examine the marks further. Both of them would have suffered discomfiture as a result. The description of what the strange item had done, though. That was bone chilling. To be fully in possession of one's mind, yet unable to cause the body to function as one desired was one of her worst fears. And this man had lived it...only to be free to remember what it was like.

This cult got less savoury with each encounter.

They also seemed to have a great deal more power than she would have expected from their brief melees. For one, she wondered how many of these body-controlling artifacts existed. If there was one, it was one too many. She also wondered just how numerous these cult members were. It sounded like there was more than one daedra, so perhaps...perhaps there were also many cults with numberless members. As much as she hated to consider it, she was glad to start to grasp the enormity of the situation. But, perhaps it didn't have to be quite so enormous.

"If we...removed the daedra, would the cults fall away?"

Her voice was lower in tone and in pitch than it had been in Anakita's house. The slightly lower roof and the number of people crowded around her made her hesitant to speak at full volume.