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  #91  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:41 AM
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So'o watched the others depart from the tent of the Old Moons. His curious gaze lingered on the last of them as they left. The pale boy looked over his shoulder at the tent of the Old Moons. The thought of returning within and asking more questions occurred to him, but was quickly discarded. They had been dismissed. This part was done. Whatever was to come would come in the manner the spirits would have it.

Satisfying himself with what he had learned thus far, So'o took up his spear, with cloth wrapped around the head, and his canteen, and sauntered back toward the campfire. So many people... So'o had never seen so many people in one place before. He couldn't keep his broad, toothy grin from beaming as he watched others interact, listened to them talk and sing, felt them move back and forth, smelled their food and breath and sweat. They were amazing. Though he didn't speak with anyone, he remained nearby as an observer to life among people.
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  #92  
Old 03-02-2012, 05:41 PM
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"Are you afraid? Of the lights?" the question sounded. Nontle stared at him, even after Aisha had already responded. Fearlessly.

Do I? He meant the fire in the sky from the vision, I think... But... I haven't even thought about it. Could it- Before she could finish her thoughts, which she noticed she had spent too much time on anyway, she got pulled away by Aisha. She staggered along untill she was finally released outside in the night's sky. She glanced back into the tent, thinking she could see a shimmer of Mkela's shadow.

I don't know what I should be afraid of... she concluded.

By now she'd settled down. Emotionally she was already calm but her body had been lagging behind up untill now. Still, it would be clear to anyone that she had been crying. Especially her uncle. Questions would be asked and she was not looking forward to them. If she wanted to avoid that, she would have to avoid returning to the celebrations or to her bedding for now.
Maybe I can talk to her... She wondered. Glancing over, she saw Aisha shuddering, not from the cold but from something else. Thoughts? Nontle wasn't sure but by the time she thought of asking she had already excused herself, leaving Nontle to her own devices.

Okay. Not Aisha. Maybe one of the others? It'd be good to get to know them... at least by name.

The one eyed elf passed her by at that moment, deep in thought. She stared after him, slightly perplexed at his scarring which she hadn't been able to properly see in the tent. The night allowed her very little time to look, however, and her chance quickly passed by along with her chance to talk to him.

Okaaay. Another chance lost, next one.

So'o passed her by this time, and she frankly did not want to talk to him. For all her friendliness she was irked by the tone he had struck, though she wasn't sure if he had said that to Aisha or the boy. Even without that there was something about him, about his demeanor that made her dislike him. She wasn't about to question her instincts on the matter and decided to let him pass too.

Well, this is going faaantastic so far.

She spends a bit more time outside the tent. If she feels she has a chance to talk to one of the others (without being brushed off) she will approach them. Though if she has to choose she will prefer to talk to Mkela over the others.
If, for whatever reason, none of the prerequisites are met she will head back to her uncle to talk to him about what has happened.
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  #93  
Old 03-03-2012, 08:58 PM
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Maybe Aisha had misunderstood Mkela's question. Or maybe she was hiding her fear, but the confidence with which she responded seemed forced and insincere. Nontle had not answered before being pulled away by Aisha. No bother. He was tired and the emotional turmoil they had just experienced was enough to disrupt anyone. Besides, Mkela felt a longing to talk with his mother; to share all that happened that day. One last glance at Aisha and Nontle, and he slipped away, making his way around the sacred tent. He would see them again tomorrow.

As the crowds thinned, the fires died down, and the volume sank to a constant but low jumble of single, disconnected voices, Mkela made his way back to his tent. He was hoping to see his mother there, but she had not yet returned. He thought of searching for her, but decided that she would too difficult to find in the dark. Besides, she would probably return soon and he'd probably miss her. Best to wait here for her; there was so much he wanted to say to her. He took his bedroll out of the tent and laid it on the ground. Mkela lay on top of the blankets, his face to the sky. Images flashed through his mind as he mentally reviewed the events of the day. So much to happen in one day. Mkela felt the importance of the day - as if his life hinged on today. Yesterday, a fatherless misfit and an outcast within his tribe. Today, new friends who did not run from him; people accepting him as he was. The trial. The visions. And now, becoming a seed. What could the future hold? What would he become? And what if he failed? Then the past would again become his future. He must pass the trials. But would he be able to? Others were stronger, more intelligent, born leaders and warriors. What was he? What was his strength?

The questions kept coming. But his exhaustion was too great. The questions started becoming stranger as he began to slip into sleep, but Mkela didn't notice in his half-consciousness; his brain answered anyway. Eventually, his eyes closed, his breathing slowed, and Mkela was asleep.

Mke rose from her perch in the darkness of the trees above their tent where she had been watching Mkela and came down to where he rested. Good night Mkela. You will need your rest for tomorrow. For 14 years, you have been my little one. You have been everything to me. And tomorrow, you will begin on your journey to become a man. Go on. I will be OK without you. Old Moon will see to that. And you... you must go on without me. After tonight, I can no longer call you 'my little one.' Go and make me proud. Make your father proud. He is watching you. Her eyes glanced upward to the stars above, the tears pooling into the hollows of her cheeks. Sleep well, little one. Mke covered Mkela with a blanket, and went inside her tent to sleep.

Last edited by mwc9a; 03-03-2012 at 09:07 PM.
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  #94  
Old 03-06-2012, 04:48 AM
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The dawn washed bright and clear over the oasis and the two camps. Most tribespeople still slept, exhausted by the previous night's celebrations. The Seedlings were not allowed this comfort however, and they awoke just before the sun peeked over the horizon, gathering before the sacred hut. Both Old Moons were waiting for them and led them to the far edge of the oasis, their step surprisingly springy for their advanced age.

Once they were far from the camps, enveloped in the early morning quiet, some of them still rubbing sleep from their eyes, Rahma and Nadhari produced two small bowls filled with a thick paste - Rahma's bright red and Nadhari's sparkling white. They moved among the boys and girls, marking them with streaks of either red or white paint and separating them in two groups.

The red paint group was made up of Nmeregini, /Uhi, Abi, Odusina, Ataba, Ekevu, Aykiki. The white paint group comprised Kalamko, Aisha, Nontle, So'o, Korubo, M/engá and Mkela. Komosai was nowhere in sight. As the seedlings gathered in their separate groups, they whispered introductions and sized each other up. Nmeregini shot disdainful looks at all of his team mates except /Uhi and they both sneered at the other group.

Rahma clapped her hands once, loudly, asking for their attention. "Good morning, all. I hope you slept well, you will need your strength today." She paced in front of both groups, looking everyone up and down with a crooked smile. "You will each get a knife, a walking stick and a waterskin. Your first task is to track two of our hunters; one is headed east, the other south." Before she could continue, Nmeregini quickly called out: "My team is going south!", then smirked again at the other group, who would have to walk facing the rising sun. Rahma nodded her assent. "As you wish. You'd better get started, you have a long trek ahead of you."

As each seedling received their equipment, the two groups were led to the starting points of each trail. The soft sand covering the earth around the oasis made it difficult to hide footprints, but if the wind picked up later it would easily sweep away all tracks.

 
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  #95  
Old 03-06-2012, 03:05 PM
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M'engáThe young Namqua kissed his teeth as he watched /Uhi and Nmeregini leading the other group away to the south, scuttling off like xo-xo...he thought. This was not going to be easy: tracking was not his strong suit, and with the sun glaring in his eyes he squinted somewhat half-heartedly at the ground in front of them.

Very much to his surprise, that same bright sun brought the outline of an unusual indentation into sharp relief. Very slowly he ventured over and had a closer look: there could be no doubt about it, there was clearly the faint trace of a heel-mark in the soft sand

Hey! he hissed at the nearest seed to his right, who just happened to be Nontle: The boy-who-stole-honey has found us our tracks!
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  #96  
Old 03-06-2012, 05:15 PM
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Nontle groggily walked alongside the Old Moons after her crude awakening. She had been blessed with being able to sleep after everything that happened, but also cursed with a night filled with terrors. As with all dreams she could only remember vague details; Flames licking at her feet. Screams of agony. The Old Moons standing by as something horrible happened, decidedly not acting... They were but fragments of a forgotten whole, but the memory scared her nonetheless.

She'd woken up from her remaining stupor when they finally reached their inconspicuous destination: Absolutely nowhere.
Every seed received streaks of either red or white across their face. We are being split up? she wondered. Sure enough, it didn't take the Old Moons more than a few seconds to get to that part. On one hand, both of the friends she had made yesterday were on her group. On the other, her cousin was seperated from her. She wasn't sure if she would rather have been with her cousin or her new friends; a thought that frightened her. She loved Odusina, she did. But lately things have been so awkward between them that she doesn't know how to deal with them.

As their task was explained she turned to face the direction they were supposed to find the hunter in. Directly towards the sun.

Great.

That kid, Nmere.. Something. He's quick to think. He claimed the easier path within a heart beat. she complained to herself.

M'engá hissing at her tore her from her thoughts, an occurence that seemed to be happening far more oftenly as of late. "Hey! The boy-who-stole-honey has found us our tracks!"

Nontle's first reaction was to blink.

Did... Did he just refer to himself as 'The boy who stole honey'?

...

What?


She walked over to him, still puzzled by what seemed to be everyday business to him.

... Just go with it... It's probably a tradition for the Namaqua. she concluded, being unable to deduce a better explanation.

"You found the tracks? Great! Good job! She turned to the others, turning up her voice so everyone could hear her clearly. "Hey! M'engá already the tracks over here! She waved as she yelled, it was needless, but she did it nonetheless.

As the other's close in she turns back to M'engá. "So, you can track these?"
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  #97  
Old 03-06-2012, 05:56 PM
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M/engá"So you can track these?"

He opens his mouth as if to respond, but for a moment no words come out and he frowns, as if thinking quite seriously. Suddenly his face breaks into a broad grin:

"Of course!" he explains to Nontle, "I am Namaqua, we do this sort of thing while we are sleeping!" He gestures towards Mkela and Kalamko: "But seeing as this is second nature to us, maybe we should let you Korana have a go..." M/engá nods at Aisha, "Why don't you lead the way?"and gives her an encouraging grin
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:10 PM
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Nontle looks M'engá once over before shrugging. She turns to face the others. "I suppose he's right. If they're so good at this kind of thing then we might as well get some experience out of this ourselves. Though... She turns back to M'engá with a genuine smile. "If you don't mind making sure we don't miss anything. It's a good idea, but I'd rather not fail this test because we wanted to humor the less experienced. I'm sure you understand."
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:43 PM
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So'o approaches the red team as they are brought to the starting point. He stands before the boy who called that they would head south. So'o's piercing blue eyes positively shone in against the darkness of the black hand prints tattooed on his face.

"Good luck," So'o says as he extends his hand to shake.

The albino then turns his attention to helping his teammates. He listens in as two of them discuss a track that M'engá has found. He looks at tNontle as she speaks, and back to M'engá, and back to Nontle. How wonderful, this conversation-- like raindrops. How unfortunate to have to interrupt the flow.

"I can track," So'o says in his whisper-soft voice.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:08 PM
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Early in Sore's path of the day, it's warmth awakened Mkela, asleep on the sand. Entering the tent, Mkela found his mother asleep on her side facing away from the door. For several moments, he watched the slow rise and fall of her shoulders as she breathed. He did not wish to wake her, but he needed to speak to her. He was sure that she knew all that had occurred the night before; he didn't need to relate that. He needed to speak with her, but he wasn't sure yet what it was he needed to say. Slowly, he moved across the tent, and kneeled down next to her. Reaching out, he held the hand that lay on her side. Still unsure of what to say, Goodbye was all he could manage to come up with. Leaning over, he gently stroked her face with her hand. She did not move, but as Mkela rose to go, he thought he felt the gentle
pressure of her hand squeezing his, and then it was released. Walking towards the door, Mkela had another thought. It still didn't seem to be what he needed to say, but it would have to suffice for the moment. Thank you. Thank you for all you have done for me. I shall do my best to make you proud. A moment later, she still didn't respond, and he turned and ran from the hut, before the tears welling up beneath his eyes could begin to flow freely. He did not see the mud forming beneath the eyes of his mother.

By the time he reached the edge of the oasis, any sadness at his farewell was replaced by the anticipation and excitement of the day. He quickly forgot about his mother as the seeds gathered and he found himself among the friends he had made yesterday.

After the moons divided up the seeds into two groups, he felt good in knowing that Aisha and Nontle were in his group, as well as four others he hadn't met yet, but half-remembered from the haze of the ceremony the night before. One of these boys quickly spotted a set of tracks leading east. Mkela could see them too. The big boy in the red group said that it would be harder to track into the sun, but Mkela disagreed. The low angle of the sun at this early time of day cast shadows on the shallow depressions left by the hunters footsteps. The footsteps appeared as a line of faint, but dark shadows receding into the distance. If they moved quickly - before the sun rose too high - these tracks would be easy to follow. Mkela, however, didn't like the tone with which this boy-who-stole honey spoke to Nontle. He wanted to speak up, but did not know how to without increasing the tension. Best to not be divisive. If there was one thing every Namaqua learned early, people needed to work together to survive in the the desert. Go ahead Aisha. We will help you. But only if you need it. Mkela wasn't sure, but he didn't think that she would need it. But then, he didn't think she would ask for it if she did.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:07 AM
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Nmeregini seemed surprised as So'o extended his hand towards him and at first regarded the albino boy with suspicion before hesitantly shaking his hand. He then turned on his heels and started herding his group to search for their own set of tracks.

Several in the white group had already picked up the trail; it might be luck or skill on their part, but in either case they should get moving if they want to avoid the scorching midday heat.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:38 PM
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M/engá

After he had listened to his colleagues for a short while M/engá rolled his eyes slightly, but kept the broad grin on his face. "Okay, okay: we have many fine trackers among us. But for now the tracks are clear and the sun is climbing: let us go forward!"

But just before he set forth he turned to Kalamko with words of encouragement:

"...and if you need any more fire in your belly, just imagine the look on your brother's face when we beat him and /Uhi!"
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:32 PM
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Kalamko showed up to the first trial with a mix of trepidation and excitement. To his great surprise, he had slept well, waking refreshed and, if not confident, then at least not terrified. Perhaps I will be able to surpass expectations today, he thought, I know...I know...that I can beat Nmeregini at any contest of wits. I just have to do well, or do better, today. But as he walked towards the gathering, he felt a dark cloud gather in his mind as the dreams of the night had come back. Nothing apocalyptic enough to wake him, but unsettling images of a moon cracking like an egg, and fire and death flowing out onto the earth kept buzzing back. Just after-effects of the potion, he reassured himself.

He was relieved to be separated into the white group...he didn't know what he would do if he had to collaborate with his brother. He would sabotage me, and our group, out of spite... he thought. Kalamko did not have to wait long to feel Nmeregini's withering gaze, and was not surprised when his brother chose the south path...Always the easy way with him... He was momentarily irritated with Old Moon for so quickly giving in to his brother's wishes just because he spoke first. But Rahma, while always tolerant and sometimes even kind to him, always seemed to have another motive for the things she did. Perhaps that way is harder, or the hunter is more experienced in the wild...perhaps their advantage will turn to sand...

He stayed back from the playful banter of M/engá, never having felt totally comfortable with the other boy. M/engá certainly hadn't been a tormentor...he had been too busy getting into trouble and spending time retrieving honey (Kalamko still wondered how he achieved that...it was a feat that set him apart and earned him respect). The other boy had been picked on by /Uhi, although he always seemed to confront his aggressors head-on instead of retreating as Kalamko did. Regardless of how he might act, M/engá was the best tracker he knew, and he thought it was best to let him lead the way.

Then the pale boy spoke. His voice sounded mellifluous to Kalamko and was so soft that it demanded attention and respect. So many trackers, he thought.

And then M/engá spoke to him directly..."Just imagine the look on your brother's face when we beat him and /Uhi!". At that moment, Kalamko was very grateful to be on a team with M/engá...he knew he should stick close...that the boy's drive would see him through this trial.

"Yes," he replied, "I would like to see the smirk wiped off my brother's face. I have not had the opportunity to do so often enough..."although he remembered with a certain fondness his knee to his brother's groin the other night. I didn't get into trouble for that, he thought, almost gleefully. His good mood was dampened a little when he remembered that Ekevu was in the other group, and was almost certainly bearing the brunt of Nmeregini's displeasure. Pity he is not here with us...he could have been a good ally.

Kalamko turned to the group. "I agree with M/engá...it is time to move forward," and with that, he set off, walking next to the honey-thief.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:30 PM
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So'o smiles as he listens to more conversation. Voices acting and reacting with such livelihood-- the Old Man had been more or less silent for the most part. This new experience was such an intricate dance. Facial expressions, subtle changes in tone of voice and tempo, shifting stances: So'o had never imagined that simply conversation would entail so many layers of complexity and communicate so much with such ease.

The albino leans to the left a little, canting his head to the right, emulating a brief stance Nontle used. He then stoops a bit like one of the boys, before returning to his natural, relaxed posture. Of course, the task at hand must take priority over such stuff. Still grinning, So'o leans down and
Dice Tracking:
1d20+4 (4)+4 Total = 8
inspects the sand before the group.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:29 PM
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Tense with the attention of so many, she ignored their jibes around her. She stooped and looked intently at the ground. The sand concealed much, but the marks were clear to a careful observation. A scuff here, and impression their. This hunter was much bigger than her usual game, but he also didn’t want to be followed. It would complicate things exponentially. Conscious of the stares and the impatience, she flickered her eyes here and there, trying to discern the natural contours of the desert from the stamp of a human. She began to walk forward with a trail that she was fairly confident was there. Turning her head back, she tried to speak, but her dry throat made no sound. Covering the moment, she waved her hands forward, telling the others to follow.


 
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