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  #136  
Old 03-23-2012, 03:20 PM
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Nontle chuckled heartfully as the boy told his crazy alternate story. She had to admit, he could make up nonsense like nobody else. She smiled broadly as he finally came to her supposed part in the story. It was minor, but at least she was mentioned twice! She wasn't quite sure why that mattered to her, but she enjoyed it regardless. M/engá's cheerfullness had done much to prevent her from sulking over the fate of her cousin, and while she was still slightly worried, she felt more cheerfull, which emanated from her demeanor.

"A pretty tale, but not what happened." So'o said as M/engá began to move.

What a killjoy. she thought.

She stepped up next to So'o as the group started to walk. "It's not about wether it's the truth or not. It's fun to imagine yourself doing heroic things once in a while, even if you know it will never be true. But there's definitely nothing wrong with it." She said, keeping pace with him. "Besides. I think some of us are worried about the other group, he's just trying to distract us from worrying too much about it. We have our own problems after all. Don't dismiss it's usefullness too quickly."

She waited untill they were done talking, after which she bounded off to the front with a smile and a refreshed feeling. This wasn't going to be just a task, this was going to be an adventure, and she looked forward to going through it with everybody else.

Last edited by Kaleopolitus; 03-23-2012 at 05:33 PM. Reason: Editted for convo sake
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  #137  
Old 03-23-2012, 03:48 PM
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So'o was almost shocked when Nontle appeared next to him and actually spoke directly to him. Of course, it was entirely logical, but somehow he had never really assumed the situation would arise. In retrospect, he thought it quite funny that he hadn't accounted for this happening. He couldn't help but smile, both at his own naivete, and at the girl's words.

"But, self-deception, it... comes between man and his goal, yes?"

The albino looked Nontle in the eyes, perhaps a mite too intently; he was still new to this thing called conversation. He had never thought to ask the Old Man about stories and what their benefit may be. To have someone point out a thing that he never knew was wonderful. That it happened to be a girl, though, made him feel... peculiar, though not unhappy.
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  #138  
Old 03-23-2012, 05:33 PM
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Nontle stayed a moment longer, deciding to answer his question.

"Only if you choose to believe your own deception, I think." "You don't have to believe it for it to have an effect. Like... How you can be flattered even though you know you don't deserve it. It's all in how you choose to experience the lie. It doesn't have to deprive you of your view on reality. At least that's what I think."

She kept his pace, curious to hear what he thought.

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  #139  
Old 03-23-2012, 06:26 PM
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So'o pondered the idea, walking alongside Nontle. Self-deception to inflate the ego, yet somehow to embolden the spirit? Of course. Spirit. Gird the spirit, by any means, and the body becomes strong, and the mind tough.

"Yes," he agrees, "the spirit. Makes sense. Thank you... Nontle, yes? The story is only lie in fact, but true in... in purpose? Then the story becomes true. The spirit grows strong, and in strong spirit, many wonderful things are possible?"

So'o clears his throat. It's likely he hasn't ever put this many words end to end. He practically feels lightheaded from the effort. The albino rests his hand on the girl's shoulder. His blue eyes search her dark eyes.

"So many truths. So many things. I learned from one; you from many. You must be very wise."
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  #140  
Old 03-25-2012, 04:30 PM
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Nontle awkwardly looked at So'o as he placed his hand on her shoulder, limiting her pace. She had not expected him, of all seeds, to have so little difficulty with his personal space.
She smiled slightly at the praise of wisdom but was quick to dismiss it all the same.

"No, I-" she began, taking her time to choose each word, "I suppose there was truth to my words, but a single showing of wisdom does not make a person wise."

Nontle was intrigued by his change of heart, being quick to take another's opinion to heart and test it to his own beliefs. She could not remember ever meeting someone so open to new ideas that he already had an opinion about. Her smile persevered, glad that there was someone like that in the world.

"I only connected the dots by chance," she continued, "anyone who thought about it might have come to the same conclusion... Or not at all."

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  #141  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:57 PM
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So'o said "Let's go." It must have been the desert heat combined with the late night activities of the previous day, but Mkela opened his eyes and realized that he must have allen asleep. He had been sitting in the shade of the tree, contemplating the morning while the others talked with the hunter. Now they seemed agitated. Two of them were walking away at some distance. Others were in various stages of getting ready to depart. Mkela didn't think that they would leave him behind... but then, why would they want him along? Not wanting to be left behind, he quickly grabbed his things and jumped up to go. Nontle had already left. So'o moved ahead to catch up to her. Mkela quickly caught up with the rear of the group. He wanted to what ask where they were going, but was afraid to show that he hadn't been paying attention. He thought that if he listened to their conversation, he might pick up what he had missed at the tree, but no one was talking other than Nontle and So'o up ahead. What do you think we'll find where we are going? If no one answers him right away, he whispers to Aisha Why is no talking? Did I miss something?
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  #142  
Old 03-27-2012, 02:50 PM
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M/engá strolled along with his head high, hoping to catch a glimpse of their destination on the distant horizon. Anxious though he was about what the fissure might hold, he felt pleased that they had progressed to the next stage of their trial. The sun was high, but it was delightful to feel the soft red sand beneath his bare feet. He took a long draught of warm water as readied himself for whatever lay ahead.

Catching sight of the would-be-mage in his vision's periphery, the teller-of-tales stopped to offer Kalamko a drop from his waterskin. He wondered if he was thinking of his brother, so offered him the chance to talk about something else. Besides, he wanted to learn more about this peculiar elf-boy who had dabbled in magic:

"So... you read many books, I'm told. Have you read anything about what we might find up ahead?"
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  #143  
Old 03-27-2012, 10:02 PM
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Kalamko was shocked by the sudden conversational gambit. He had been trudging along, trying not to think too hard about his back. It had been fine for so long, but, after the hyenas, it had been troubling him again. It must be something to do with anxiety, he thought, I get upset, and my back starts to hurt. The elf decided that he would try harder to keep his emotions and stress-level in check.

He, therefore, turned to M/engá with exaggerated calm. Deep inside, however, he feared conversation. He worried that he would offend, or seem stupid, and that his new beginning with these people might be ruined. It would be worse to say nothing, Kalamko thought. It was at that moment that he realized he'd been staring mutely at M/engá for what seemed like eternity. This is not a good start.

"I am not sure about this particular case," he started, I will have to
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think about it"
. Kalamko spat. "But there is a story from a long time ago - even before the time of the antelope men." He matched his stride with that of the honey-thief, and began to relax into the story. "It was around the time that Taakaa came down from the mountain, and we had found fire. All of us could still talk to the animals in those days, and there was a wise bull named Oluock who people visited for advice on all sorts of things. One day, a boy called Akinlabi was taken by his parents to see the bull," Kalamko spat again, "because they were worried that he was not growing fast enough...they wished him to become a man before his time."

Kalamko looked at M/engá to see if he was boring the other boy, but sensed he should continue. He knew M/engá liked stories, and was glad to be able to share a new one. "Akinlabi was very angry with his parents. He did not care what this great bull said...he just wished to play, like any small boy. And now that they had fire, the small boys had more to play with than ever before. But his parents told him to be patient like a man. So he stood and listened to what the bull said." Kalamko paused, thought, and spat. "The bull told him that to become a man he must first go on a journey during which he would discover himself. Akinlabi did not know what that meant, so he looked to his parents, who shrugged. Their faith in Oluock was so strong that they sent their son into the wilderness with three days' rations, telling him not to come back until he was a man. Akinlabi made it over a hillock and watched his parents depart. Then he headed back to where the bull stood. Again, the bull spoke to him, telling him that he knew what must happen, and he had prepared himself for it.

The elf looked around. This was where the story began to become a little bit grim. Why do all the old stories revolve around fire and death, he thought. Fire and death and forbidden love. He steeled himself.

"Akinlabi was a headstrong boy, and he had decided to punish Oluock for sending him away from his parents. So he took a burning brand and set fire to the great bull. But his hand was trapped in the animal's hair, and he was dragged for miles and miles, while the bull reared and stomped in agony. Finally, in his last throes, Oluock smashed the ground with such force that it caused earthquakes across the waste. Great fissures opened up, with tendrils of some strange material coming out of them." Kalamko paused to clear his salivary glands. "Akinlabi was thrown into one of these fissures where he discovered all sorts of animals that had not been seen on the surface. Eel-like creatures that lived on land but were not like snakes. They spat green liquid at him that he dodged as he passed. There were also animals that were shaped like sheep, with iron fur and eyes like fire. They charged at Akinlabi, and he had to be swift to dodge them. Finally, there were creatures that looked like humans, but spoke a strange language. They were pale, like the boy with us," Kalamko glanced at So'o, "and they were not happy to be disturbed. They had powers...they could call up fire and lightning and strange creatures from the earth. Akinlabi was scared and he ran deeper into the fissure. At the heart of it, he saw a large crystal, pulsating, that he believed was the heart of the earth."

He looked at M/engá. "We are not so naive these days. I suppose it could have been a fragment of the younger moon that we saw in our vision, though...Anyway...Akinlabi crept closer to this crystal and reached out and touched it. He was knocked backwards with a powerful force, and shown a vision about who he was destined to be. He saw the small tribes united into larger groups, with him at the head of the most powerful - the Namaqua. He saw what must be done to achieve that unity. And he saw that if he did not do it, no one would, and our people would wander in the waste for all time." Kalamko spat. "He escaped from the fissure and did the things he was supposed to do, and became the first great chief of the Namaqua." The elf paused and thought again. "It is a pity about the bull. I would like his advice now. He would be old, though. So old. But here we are...wandering through the desert, trying to find outselves."

He scratched his head and looked over at his companion. "I don't know if that is helpful. I will think more on it."
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  #144  
Old 03-28-2012, 05:17 AM
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"Nontle," So'o says, pausing in his stride a moment to speak. He fixes the girl with his pale blue eyes. "Do not dismiss your own wisdom. I feel, in you, a good spirit. Keen mind. Know that you are strong."

His words spoken, So'o resumes his pace. His mind fumbles over the situation. Should he have waited for her to start walking? Social intricacies are still so alien, despite the (admittedly little) lessons the Old Man had given him. So'o stops again and looks at Nontle. The albino's voice grows a bit louder, like shaking off dust.

"Am... Was that rude? My words, or walking away?"
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  #145  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:51 AM
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The Red Team - Ekevu

Ekevu headed south with the red team, Aykiki by his side. Others in his group spotted the tracks easily and hastily followed them. For a while, no one spoke. Nmeregini broke the silence, beckoning the rest of the group to keep up.

After a few hours, Ekevu became very hungry, but dared not speak up as Nmeregini was forcibly pushing the group further and further south. Aykiki, however, spoke up after a while. "We need food," she said to the others. Nmeregini spoke back distastefully, "There's no time... keep moving!" Aykiki glanced to Ekevu stubbornly and he shrugged. Aykiki became quite.

After a few minutes, Ekevu spoke up to Nmeregini. "If we do not eat, then we will scarcely have the strength to continue. We must find food," he said softly. Nmeregini scoffed. "If you want to waste your time, go ahead. I will continue. It seems some of us are not strong enough for this quest." With that Nmeregini stomped off. /Uhi looked between the remaining group and Nmeregini, who was gaining distance from them. He remarked, "Let the strong continue!"

Nmeregini and /Uhi continued into the distance as the rest of the group decided to find food. After a couple minutes, they decided to split up and forage. Everyone stuck their walking sticks into the sand to mark the spot that they would return to. Abi headed east, Odusina and Ataba headed west, and Ekevu and Aykiki continued south.

After about an hour, everyone except Ekevu and Aykiki returned to the walking sticks with little to show for their efforts. They split what little food they had, making sure to save a share for Ekevu and Aykiki. After a while, seeing as Ekevu and Aykiki headed south anyways, they decided to take up the walking sticks and continue south to find their friends.

Coming over a sand dune, they found them. Ekevu was half submerged in quicksand, and Aykiki was several feet away beginning to sink as well. The group immediately made their way down the sloping dune, to see their team mates more closely. As soon as they realized it was quicksand, however, they were too late. They all began to sink down the side of the hill. They noticed that they were all in an enclave between two dunes.
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  #146  
Old 03-28-2012, 02:35 PM
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M/engá clapped his hands and smiled broadly:

"I LIKE that story!" but a frown quickly fell over his face: "...though I've never heard that one...." the frown lasted a millisecond before being replaced by his wide smile again: "..but as I say, never let truth get in the way of a good story! A wise bull would indeed be very helpful, especially if this fissure reveals things half as strange as you suggest. I guess that's part of the fun, the mystery... but as a fine storyteller, you'd know that."
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:45 PM
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The white group continued eastwards towards the hills, trudging through the reddish sand. Aisha kept a watchful eye for trouble and thus was able to alter their course and make a wide detour around what looked to be the hunting territory of a pair of desert weasels. While small, they had a reputation for being ferocious and extremely quick, so they breathed in relief as the dangerous little predators were left behind. The sun climbed relentlessly, the sky now a faded blue almost white. As midday approached and they got closer to the line of hills, the need for shade and shelter during the hottest hours of the day looms in their minds.

--------------------------------------

As the two girls and the halfling came upon Ekevu and Aykiki struggling in the quicksand, they started shouting advice, their worry straining their voices: "Grab my stick! Grab the stick!" "Swim, Ekevu!" "Here, grab my hand, I'll pull youAAAH!" The latter, as Abi tried to help Aykiki escape the sucking mire, only to become trapped herself. They were all slowly sinking now, an inch at a time; Ataba, being lighter, was the slowest and he managed to free himself, but was now crouching dejectedly at the edge of the dangerous zone, knowing that he could do nothing to help the others. Time passed agonizingly slow. Ataba had run to the top of the dunes, trying to sight any sign of the other two boys, or anyone at all. He came back with a depressing lack of good news. Not bearing to stand around doing nothing, he tried to help his companions; he tried to weave a rope from dried grass, but it broke again and again, the fragile strands crumbling between his fingers. He laid on his stomach and extended one of the sticks towards Odusina, who was closest, but he didn't have the strength to pull her out and her efforts only sunk her deeper. Shadows flitted over them and when they looked up they saw two eagles circling up in the sky. Ataba threw stones at them to drive them away and they flew off with sharp cries.

A few moments later, a man crested the northwards dune, stopping at the highest point as he surveyed the tableau in front of him. He was garbed as a Korana scout, with a magnificent lion pelt worn as a cloak. His dreadlocks swayed as he slowly shook his head, tittering to himself. He made his way down the face of the dune, picking up a discarded walking stick on his way. Stopping before he reached the quicksand patch, he planted both the walking stick and his tall spear firmly into the ground, then uncoiled a long rope from his pack and secured it to the shafts. Crawling on his belly, he inched carefully forward towards the trapped kids, the rope held in his teeth.

[.....]

"well, now", the hunter said as Ekevu and his companions shook the fine sand from their clothes, all of them now safely out of the quicksand and sheltering in the lee of the dune, away from the scorching sun. "Do you continue or do you go back?" Odusina, quite shaken by their close brush with death, was quick to answer. "I'm going back. This is too hard. I don't want to die." Abi put a protective arm around the young girl. "I'll come with you, can't leave you to walk alone all that way." The halfling shook his head, a stubborn expression on his face. "I'll keep going. Catch up with the others... somehow." The scout raised an eyebrow at that, but said nothing and instead turned his head towards Ekevu. "And you?"
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  #148  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:31 PM
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The Red Team - Ekevu

Ekevu glanced at the scout. "I want to continue, but it seems this group is splitting up." Ekevu eyed the scout suspiciously. "Where did you come from anyway, and at such perfect timing?"
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  #149  
Old 03-29-2012, 03:51 AM
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Nontle paused, wondering wether or not he was right and she was wrong. She'd always taken the advice of others close to heart. Then again, this was but compliments, not advice. She would not suffer from not believing him. In the end she decided to take the middle path, one of reluctant acceptance.

"Perhaps you are right. My mother used to tell me I was quick of wit, but I never really believed her. It just seemed weird to be told I was good at something so insubstantial."

The Albino spoke again, this time worrying her in the process. She'd noticed before, but it was becoming much more evident now. It was certainly an issue that would need adressing soon, before it could fester.

"You... Are afraid of talking, aren't you? The way you talk, and how carefully you choose your words... You don't seem to have a lot of experience, but more than enough fear for failure to serve two," said Nontle, "Don't worry when you are talking to me, I will understand. If you are rude I will let you know without speaking out in anger. I have to be able to do at least that much around people I barely know."

Finally, she added, "And.. about what you said before... Thank you."

She then picked up her pace and head to the front of group with her head held high and a thousand and one thoughts swimming in her head.

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Old 03-31-2012, 02:46 AM
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As Nontle finished her conversation and approached, Aisha felt a little bubble of irritation prickle in her. She addressed the girl quietly. “You may be earnest enough to pull it off, but speak carefully. All good intentions aside, telling an introvert that they are very obviously an introvert will rarely help as much you think.” Trying to take the edge to the words, she turned her face to the girl, to show it was not a judgment.

“Just be careful.”

The Albino was not the only one stumbling. She had not spent so much time in the company of other people over the last two years combined. It was disconcerting, and Aisha found herself wishing she had not spoken. She took a few extra steps ahead, trying to separate herself and the girl a bit. That girl doesn’t need my help talking. Me of all people!
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