the catching game

Description:

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    169 Posts    0 marks
the catching game
« on: October 11, 2018, 08:57:19 AM »

Nyree thought she could still hear her mother calling for her. Or made that was just her mother’s shrieking demands that she take a bath were still making her ears throb. But Nyree hadn’t wanted to take a bath. Then she would smell like soap, and no matter how tight she wove her masking craft the stink of clean would give her away.

So she was dirty. Nyree didn’t mind. It was just soil and leaves and other forest detritus. Besides, the twigs in her hair helped her blend in, and her dress was brown anyway, you could hardly tell half of it was mud. Naked toes curling against the rough but comforting bark of a tree limb, Nyree waited. Her current patience so very different from her usual effusion of energy she was nigh unrecognizable.

Today they were coming home. Hunting parties sent out to bring back meat for the village. Old men teaching the young ones how it was done. Today, Enele came home. He was a terrible hunter, Nyree knew from her father’s idle talks with the other men, but he was Nyree’s favorite. She was sure he wasn’t half so useless as the rest claimed. He just made them uncomfortable, that was all.

Nyree thought he was very nice. He’d brought her a fish after she’d died. Her father hadn’t liked that either, said it was inappropriate, but Nyree didn’t mind. She liked fish. And Enele. So she’d kept it, stuck in whatever pocket she was wearing. And then in her cabinet so she could carry her Jewel in her pocket instead. Fat and Yellow and too awkward to properly set.

Catching her breath behind her teeth, Nyree listened, eyes tracking the small paths woven through the trees. She saw lean figures moving through them. Some in twos with poles between their shoulders and deer or boar hanging from them. Enele was usually alone, so Nyree ignored any set more than one until she found him.

Predictable. Alone and taking his favorite path. Nyree knew he liked this one, but not why. And she was afraid to ask in case he change his ways to escape her. That was why she didn’t always pounce him from it. Sneaking up on him in other places to, so she could leap from tree limbs onto his back. Like she did now. Grubby and barefoot and heavy as stone weight. The falling dragging a gleeful squeal up from her toes before she crashed into him, clinging with strong, sturdy limbs so he couldn’t buck her off.

”Gotcha!” She cried.



Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    190 Posts    0 marks
Re: the catching game
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2018, 03:56:02 PM »

In the forest, a week could stretch out for an eternity. Time passed so slowly when there was nothing to do. When he had joined the hunting apprentices Enele had done it for the camaraderie. Eager to be one of the boys that laughed and shoved at one another as they raced off to lessons. To be included when danger strode close to the border and they called for all the men. But it wasn’t like that. Not for him.

They hunted in the twilight hours. Dawn and just before sunset. When the animals were most active. All of midday was spent moving between one hunting ground and the other. Enele always walked alone. Packed his own bedroll away while others broke down their tents and buried the ash from the campfire. At night he sat by himself, carving small animals from wood or pretending to sleep.

Going home was always accompanied by a great deal of relief in his chest. Home had Kiri, Nyree and her little brother, old timers that weren’t so unsettled by a warlord prince. People that spoke to him without looking in the distance or over his shoulder. Not that he blamed them, the other hunters. He fussed and refused to work in their teams unless it was under his own terms. He always wanted to be the lead chaser. The one to make the kill. But then sharing what he killed was hard. So he worked beside them rather than with. Only participating with the biggest boar hunts or jumping in at the last moment to help keep a buck from escaping. There were always half a dozen rabbits stowed away in his cabinet because shrugging his shoulders and saying he had lost his own quarry was easier than giving them up. Let them call him a lousy hunter, he didn’t care. He could already feel in his heart it wasn’t what he was supposed to be doing.

Outside of the village he turned away from the group. Moving off to the left. To the same path he usually took. Because if he did she would pop up eventually. Or drop down, apparently. A peel of laughter gave him half a second’s warning. Young muscles tensing to take the impact. ”You wicked little shit!” He huffed, lips twisting into a grin. Then a frown. ”One of these days you’re going to miss and break both your legs. What’ll you do then? Hm?”

She was crazy. Or ‘a little off’ as the nice old lady that sold fudge at the market liked to say. Everyone said it was true but Enele wasn’t convinced. She seemed fine as far as he was concerned. Definitely well enough for a scolding. Enele wasn’t supposed to fuss at her, or over her, or do anything that might make her upset. But he couldn’t help himself. It was fair anyway. He had been the one that pulled her from the water. That made her practically his!

Hiking her up his back a bit higher he started walking again. Arms looping under her legs to keep her from slipping down. ”Where’s your shadow? He’s not going to fall down on my head too is he?”

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    169 Posts    0 marks
Re: the catching game
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2018, 06:39:30 PM »

Nyree laughed all the harder for his swearing. No else would have dared to call her anything like shit, even if they called her plenty of other things. Strange mostly, or lady, which Nyree disliked most. Breathless both from impact and glee, Nyree hooked her legs around his waist as best she could, knobby knees resting in the cradle of his arms while she looped her arms over his shoulders.

”Same as now, get carried.” Her fingers thumped his chest playfully as she chortled. ”’sides, Enele, if I missed you wouldn’t.” She would never miss though. Just like she never slipped or fell from trees either. It was in her blood and soul, linked to everything that made her her. Like her Jewel and her caste, even if both were unexpected and worrying to some.

Settling into his hands, Nyree kicked her legs and watched the path bob in rhythm with his stride. The world looked different from her vantage point. Slightly crooked, but she could see a little farther too, being higher. Chin propped up on his shoulder, Nyree let him cart her off to wherever. Once he stopped she could check his pockets for gifts. Or sweets.

”Probably getting a bath.” She told him with wicked delight. ”Mama filled the tub up for me but I escaped. She’s not gonna waste the water, not when it takes so much to heat it.” Her mother, like Mooki, didn’t have a Jewel. Heating the bath water was more of a chore than filling it when she used craft, but she complained it took too long when she just used the stove.

Nyree had offered to help once, and boiled the tub empty before she could stop herself.

”She wanted to wash me.” Nyree whispered, eyes glancing around as if her mother would appear from nowhere and drag her off for a bath. ”But I escaped. Mooki needed one more anyway.” Plus he was hard to hide. Nyree hadn’t figured out how to mask his scent. Male, but not male like her father or Enele. Besides, he probably needed a nap anyway. He’d forgive her later if she told him a really good story.

”Where did you go? Did you see anything new? Or people?” Nyree wasn’t allowed to mingle with the strangers that came through their lands. Kept safe at home and away from the fun. Nyree hated it, but her mother gave her extra time in the garden for it. And always looked the other way when it came to Enele.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    190 Posts    0 marks
Re: the catching game
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2018, 10:18:52 AM »

He was pretty fast. Definitely fast enough to catch her if she were a few inches off her aim. Enele’s eyes rolled even though she couldn’t see them. Both annoyed and amused at her answer. It was a good one- mostly because it stroked his budding ego. So he couldn’t really argue. Just heave a sigh that made his shoulders, and his cargo, bounce.

Boots steady on the path he made his way towards the lake on the village outskirts. It was one of his favorite places. And he had no reason to hurry to the house. Kiri wouldn’t be there at this time of day. Just Hoapili, who was likely drink despite the early hour. If Enele waited a few more then his sister would be there, and their father asleep.

”Thought I smelled your toe sweat.” Enele teased, bouncing her on purpose as they broke through one patch forest and out onto a winding lane. There was a thicket of trees on the other side. Most of them tall, skinny evergreens. But in the back was a massive ancient oak. You could just see the top of it peeking over the rest from the lane. ”One day I’m going to have the money to buy this whole plot of land.” He told Nyree, motioning from one imaginary boundary line to the other.

Turning from the daydream he moved down the lane a few yards before crossing back into woodland. Thinner here the trees were village maintained. Cut down and regrown a few dozen times. Houses and shops built up from the timber. It grew in a semi-circle around one side of the lake. A rock outcropping made a cliff on the rest. On his back Nyree’s weight started to press on him, but Enele didn’t put her down. Just fidgeted and readjusted. Trying not to pant between words. How was such a small girl so heavy? ”We went east towards the city. The first couple of days were really boring.”

Enele could smell it before he could see or hear it. The soft rumble of a narrow waterfall and the deep scent of damp earth. Lake opening up in front of them just as a tall white egret flapped off towards the clouds. ”Then we met a bunch of warriors from the Koti.” He took his time. Breaking the short story up into small chunks just to tease her curiosity.

Walking the shore for a moment he picked a sun warmed spot right where the grass gave way to a rocky beachline. ”Alright. Going down.” He warned, giving just enough time for her to lift her feet up so they didn’t get smashed when he flopped onto down on the grass. Knees first, then he sprawled out on his belly, arms wrapped like a pillow under his head. ”Anyway. They were out doing some sort of training thing. It was cool. I was talking to one of the recruits and he’s younger than me. Only twelve.”

He had already made up his mind to go. It would be the same as being part of the hunting parties. Gone for a week or two then home for a few days. Maybe he would like fighting better than hunting. Maybe warriors would like him better than the hunters. ”I think I might try my hand at it… Can’t be any worse than hunting.” Rolling to his side he rubbed the spot where his Rose had dug into his chest. The Jewel hung loose around his neck. Warm and cheerful looking.

”Anything happen around here? Other than tricky little girls running from their baths?” He chuckled, teeth flashing sharp as he imagined her poor mother dunking little Mauki into the filled tub.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    169 Posts    0 marks
Re: the catching game
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 08:25:24 PM »

”Enele!” Nyree squealed. And then promptly tried to stick her toes in his face. Leg kicking in his hand as she tried to bounce her heel high enough for him to get a good whiff of her toes. She laughed and clung, bounced even higher by his antics, her other foot digging into the fabric of his shirt. ”Don’t drop me!” She laughed, catching his neck in the crook of her elbow.

”All that?” Nyree asked in awe, settling calmly on his back now that she’d wiggled her toes at his chin. She didn’t know what she would do one day. No dreams of owning land anywhere. All the land was Nyree and Nyree was the land. ”That will be nice.” If Enele had a nice house in one spot she could visit him easier. She wasn’t allowed anywhere near his house now, and Nyree didn’t want to go. His sister was nice but his father scared her in a way no other person did.

Easing her hold on his throat, Nyree held tight over one of his shoulders, and then under his other arm. Her hands linked over his chest, resting against his sternum. ”The city?” Seemed a strange direction to go for hunting, but Nyree never hunted anything other than fish. Squeezing his hands with her knees, Nyree strained to see over his shoulder, to catch the lake coming into view. Not the place she had drowned, but a nice spot, with a great white bird winging away from them.

”Were they as big as they say? Papa says they are seven feet tall!” A quick flash of her Yellow followed the bird into the sky, and raced ahead, filling up and sussing out the land ahead. Nyree’s chin dug into his shoulder as she scrunched her face up in concentration, gasping when she finally let go of the craft. ”Okay! Okay!” Feet tucked behind him, Nyree let go, pushing away from his back as he dropped. Knees making the grass bruise before she scrabbled from his back to side beside him. Legs twisted together in a complicated knot.

”Twelve?” Nyree wrinkled her nose. She didn’t actually know how old Enele was. Older than her. Older than twelve. One day she would be old too. Elbows to knees, she cupped her jaw in her palms and watched the breeze move the water in little ripples. Eyebrows wiggling every time a fish or turtle bobbed to the surface.  ”Fighting?” Nyree’s face rolled in her hands, big brown eyes focusing on him. ”Mooki is learning that from Pa.” She didn’t offer to extend the lessons to Enele, knowing better that to try and fit those two together.

Nyree patted his shoulder. ”I bet you’ll be great at it.” She promised. He had a very good snarl.

”Ooooh, I don’t know.” Head tilting, she looked out at the water, and then fell backward onto her back, head cushioned by her wild hair. ”I caught a turtle. And pulled all the weeds in the gardens.” Not just her own. Humming, Nyree stuck her hand in her pocket and wrapped her hand around her Jewel, craft pooling beneath her.

Yawning, she felt at his pockets with her toes.

”Did you find any new plants, Enele? Or shiny rocks?” Had he carved anything new? Her toes dug curiously. ”If you end up bad at fighting, you could always sell your carvings for marks to buy your land.” Nyree was sure she’d hit upon a brilliant idea. ”I’ll take care of your garden for you. For free even.” Or just for sweets. He was one of her favorites.

Enele

    Rose to Opal
  • Warlord Prince
  • Played By: Jones

    190 Posts    0 marks
Re: the catching game
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2018, 04:11:09 PM »

 ”Mhm.” Enele marched on. It was easier to talk without her wringing his neck. He hadn’t understood at first either, why they went towards communities instead of deeper into the wilderness. The huntmaster had explained it eventually, and he shared that explanation with Nyree. ”Animals don’t like to live by people. So they pack into the woodlands between towns and cities; which makes them good for hunting.”

He thought they were just afraid of being too far from other people. Enele had never minded being alone. Maybe he was just used to it. Even in the walks from one camp to another they moved in pairs or more. Chatting over psychic threads to keep from disturbing potential prey. Flashing smirks and smiles at one another over jokes no one was going to let Enele in on.

”Seven feet tall?” Enele’s nose wrinkled as he laughed. She should have been too old to believe such a machination. Eyes following the invisible thread of her yellow Enele could only chuckle. Why would her father go telling her such nonsense? ”They were just people. Same as most of the people you meet in the village. None of them were even close to seven feet tall. I guess they might look it if you’re just a little squirt, though.”

Hopping from his back she settled on the grass by his flank. Small but four times heavier than her frame suggested. With her nose wrinkling up she reminded him of a piglet. Feisty, sneaking, squealing thing that was denser than it seemed. ”That’s what he said. Twelve. Most of them were older though. Sixteen, twenty, that sort of age.” There was a small band here in the village he could train with first. Apparently warriors had a lot of rules to follow. He wasn’t sure that would work out either, but anything was better than the math Hoapili had tried to cram into Enele’s head when he was small.

”Fighting when its needed anyway. I don’t know what they do when there’s nothing to fight.” His brow wrinkled as he thought about it. Maybe warriors were boring. Or poor. Or had other jobs on the side. He supposed he would find out. ”Well he didn’t get a Jewel. So he’ll have to be good at sticking up for himself. My dad isn’t the teaching type, and he couldn’t teach me how to fight. I’ll have to learn somewhere else.”

Since his own birthright the village had decided Enele was grown enough to do as he pleased. Not that they had done much to try stopping him before that. His caste scent had been clear early on, and as far back as he could remember everyone had given him a wide berth. Well… he turned his blue eyes on Nyree’s dark ones. Like big brassy saucers set in her chubby little queen face. Not everyone. Just most people. ”I’m alright with a spear, and I can throw knives. Can’t be any worse than hunting.”

Flinching forward as she careened back Enele fought the instinct to snatch her before she hit the ground. Idiot girl. ”Did you let him go?” Enele was willing to bet that turtle had come right up to her. Wily queen craft did that to a man. Or so he had heard. If Nyree used hers on him he wasn’t smart enough to tell. She was still little and untrained though, she probably didn’t know how.

With a chuckle he turned his hips away. ”Greedy. Keep those stinky pinkies to yourself.” She was a shit. Rolling away from her he gave a teasing laugh. A flash of something shiny in his palm but he didn’t hand it over. ”Bad at fighting! I’m not bad at anything!” Except rule following. But Nyree didn’t mind. If he followed the rules she wouldn’t be able to wrestle him for the shiny carved fox he had made this trip. Or the hard rock sugar he had brought with him then not eaten.

”No one would buy them. Not from me.” He gave her his best growl. Teeth bright and eyes full of laughter. ”Too scary. Besides they take a lot of work to make. I wouldn’t want just anyone to have them.” He made them for Nyree. Because she appreciated them the most. ”Only way I’ll have a garden is if you build one. What would I do with a bunch of plants?”


He gave up the wooden carving. Letting it slip into her prying fingers. Bigger than most of the ones he made but not by much. He had found a pretty cherry wood branch and known it would make a nice figurine. It had polished up easily too with its own natural oils. Making the grain shiny and the big eyes cheerful looking.

”You didn’t go getting yourself into any trouble then?” She was always up to something. ”Here.” He called in a strip of jerky and the candy from his cabinet. ”You can have these too.” So he could watch her eat it. He suspected her father would take it away if she told him where it came from. Like most of the men in the village he was suspicious of the warlord prince.

Nyree

    Yellow to Tiger Eye
  • Queen
  • Played By: dergon

    169 Posts    0 marks
Re: the catching game
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2018, 06:36:37 AM »

”Well, we do eat them.” Nyree whispered in his ear, as if she were imparting great wisdom. And then she laughed. ”I wouldn’t want to be neighbors with a bear.” She chirped. But then Nyree really thought about it. If it were a friendly bear, one she could tempt into friendship with her honey, maybe she wouldn’t mind.

”Don’t laugh!” She scolded, fingers jabbing his chest in retaliation. But Nyree didn’t mind, not really. Enele’s laugh wasn’t a mean sort. ”That’s disappointing.” She sighed. Fingers digging in at his insult. Working across his chest and under his armpit. But he went down too quick for her to get a good tickle in. He was always escaping them, by accident or design. It drove Nyree mad, but only made her more keen to get him eventually. Maybe she would try his feet.

”Maybe they’re still growing. They could reach seven feet eventually.” Not quite sure when a body stopped growing, it seemed possible to Nyree. And much more fun than them just being average people. She cast a critical glance over Enele, brow scowling as she tried measuring him. ”Fight each other?” Boys did that, she knew. Mooki was forever getting in brawls. Big knots of tangled boys scuffling.

”Seems silly. Mother didn’t have to stick up for herself for being Jeweless.” Nyree knew the real reason and pretended she didn’t. Mooki would have to work harder to make his place in the village. And it was her he would need to defend. No one ever had anything unkind to say about her little brother, and Nyree would have bit them if they did. ”Weren’t you born knowing?” She wondered, happy to turn to other thoughts. He was a warlord prince. Only for miles and miles. Seemed like he should of been, otherwise why was everyone so afraid of him?

”Yes.” She told him with a dramatic sigh. ”Pa wouldn’t let me keep him.” He never let Nyree do anything fun. She’d probably be in trouble later for ducking her back. Chewing her lip, Nyree wondered if she could keep a turtle in secret. And what Enele had in his pockets. ”They don’t stink!” She defended. And they certainly weren’t pink. A warm brown with soil and mud stain. Nyree never did like scrubbing them pink again but her mother made her.

”What was that?” Nyree cried, rolling in the grass and springing up to pounce on him. Fingers sneaking and pinching as she tried to get whatever she’d seen from him. Squealing and panting, Nyree only half listened as she tried to wrest the carving from his hand. But he’d always been bigger and stronger than her, so she had to be clever to get what she wanted from him. Or just wear him down.

”You’re not scary.” Nyree laughed. His growling always soothed rather than frightened her, but Nyree didn’t say. She knew it made people uncomfortable when she said certain things, and she wasn’t even supposed like Enele. With a gleeful cry, she wrest the fox from his hand, gleaming cherry body curling in her hands. ”Ooooh.” She murmured, turning it over and sliding from his arm, which she’d sat on to pin, to the grass again. ”Of course I’ll make you one. How else will you get your vegetables?”

Maybe she could keep a turtle there.

”Enele. You’re not very good at wrestling.” Nyree pointed out, fox vanished into her cabinet so he couldn’t take it back. ”I’m never in trouble.” Happy humming as he spilled more presents into her lap. Weighing the jerky and rock candy in her hands, Nyree tried to decide which to eat first. ”Thanks, Enele.” Nyree stuffed the sugar in her mouth and sucked.

It melted. Hard edges giving way to damp granules before dissolving completely. Eyes closed, Nyree’s toes wiggled in pleasure. Tongue sticky with sweetness when she nibbled on the jerky and told Enele all the gossip from the village, including things she’d heard but not understood. Content to sit next to him the rest of the day except she heard her father calling in the distance. Eyes wide, Nyree looked at Enele and stuffed the rest of the jerky in her mouth.

Rocking onto her knees, Nyree cupped his face in her hands, smooshing his cheeks toward his lips and nose with a giggle. ”Be good.” She told him around the jerky stuffed into her cheek. Pushing herself up via his chest, Nyree darted away. Swift as the deer she dreamed of being sometimes.

 

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