Posted by: razmalik | August 7, 2011

Adaira’s Pledge

Raz Malik approaches Adaira as he exits the villa. He motioned toward the room that housed the Home Stone and smiled, “Do you plan to pledge to the Home Stone, love?” He did not often speak to her with such affection, especially not within ear shot of others, but they were alone now.

Adaira Southmoor was finishing up getting dressed. stopping as she noticed a familiar figure just on the other side of the beaded curtain. Turning she smiled warmly as he approached “You know those curtains do not hide much.” Her tone was jesting. “luckily, I do not pry and respect privacy.” she reached up and removed her hood. she was changing her plans, taking a few moments to speak with her companion. she’d grown fond of him and enjoyed their conversation. She however was not relishing this particular discussion. she had made a promise to Aurora and would see it through. She was not sure where to begin, so she took her time before formulating words. facing him. Making eye contact, she needed him to take this conversation to heart and she wanted to know he heard her words. She could not help but smile as she looked at him. He had been a good companion, much better than she had orginally ever imagined, she was grateful. His question made her perk from her own thoughts. Her eyes still meeting with his she spoke. “Yes, I do wish to pledge to the Home Stone. I have taken my time becaues it will be the first time I’ve done such a thing. I have lived in cities and worked in cities and my father ruled Turia but I never swore or pledged. I was from the wagons and considered them my home for such a long time.” she laughed softly. “i was not born in the wagons nor was my mother from there. I found my way there and stayed for many years but now I do not feel it is my home. I believe my home is here.” she wanted to tell him her home was with him but it was too deep, too much and seemed like revealing too much to him.

Raz Malik lifted a brow as he heard the words fall from her lips, “You never pledged, Adaira?” He grinned at this and at her convictions to do such now. “You intend then, to remain here a long while, hmm? I must not be the tyrant you may have thought I was.” Truthfully, he could not be with her. She was a woman who deserved his respect, and that was something not easily given. He took her hand in his, stroking it affectionately a moment, before he placed his lips on the top of her glove. “Come, Adaira. We will have you pledge tonight, as the companion of the administrator.”

Adaira Southmoor smiled, her hand in his. Following him to the stone. “no, you are not the tyrant I once envisioned. I wonder if I am what you thought I was.” she reached the table with the bread, salt, and fire. Her stomach was in knots and she was not certain what exactly to do. she’d already given it great consideration and wondered, if he would lead her through the necessary steps. she chewed nervously at her lip and looked at Raz. “i am not certain what to do.” she whispered lightly as if it were a secret. Giving the guard a look, she wondered if he saw this all the time. she did not feel it appropriate to ask. she held Raz’s hand firmly now, drawing in a deep slow breath.

Raz Malik squeezed her hand lightly, grinning, his features beaming with pride as he nodded toward the table nearby. You take a pinch of salt and place it on your tongue, then break thebread and eat a small piece. And then finally, you run your hand through the fire, sans your glove of course.” He looked deeply in her eyes as he added, “No, I thought you were a slave, but it is very clear that you are not, Adaira.” He was proud of her, he was proud that she was his, but in a way so unlike that of his slave girls. He motioned to the guard to open the barred door surrounding the Home Stone as he fetched both rocks from inside. he held them with all the care he might if they were his own child and waiting for Adaira to begin the ceremonial pledge.

Adaira Southmoor gave a solemn nod, sliding her hand from his. she peeled her glove off and slid it into a pocket buried beneath the several layers she wore. she had not just listened to his words to but had taken them to heart. his words of what he’d thought of her did not shock her, she’d known as much and was glad to have proven him wrong. she watched the guard unlock the door and stood, staring for a moment. she steadied herself and then took a pinch of salt and placed it on her tongue. moving she broke off a piece of bread and began to slowly eat it. lastly, she ran her fingers and hand through the flame. she did not do so quickly, she was performing a ritual and would not allow fear to hinder her movements. she pulled her hand from the flame and curled it, it was red and warm with a slight tingling sensation. Moving to face Raz as he held rocks. she asked hushed tone. “do i need to say anything?” she was taking this very seriously and wanted to make sure she did this properly.

Raz Malik held up the larger rock, cradling it carefully in his grip, “This is the Home Stone that I recovered from Syedra before the island was swallowed.” He allowed her to look upon it before holding up the smaller stone, “And this, this is a rock from the center of the village here in Safa. This is our Home Stone.” Pride swelled within him as he spoke of such things as Home Stones, then he eyed his companioned and held the Safa stone out to her, “You say whatever your heart tells you to say, Adaira. It is personal. It is your pledge.”

Adaira Southmoor blinked for a few moments, taking it all in. this was a big step for her. she reached out and lightly touched the smaller stone. her hand was steady, yet her movement was tenative. she drew in a slow deep breath, collected her thoughts and spoke from her heart. “when i was of the wagons, I loved those people. They were my brothers and my sisters. I utilized every ounce of knowledge i have about medicines to protect them, cherish them and in my own way serve them. That part of my life is done and while they will always have a special place in my heart. I start anew. I vow now to be as loyal, as committed and use every fiber of my being to help those people here. To ensure they are safe, healthy and whole. It is my contribution, it is my dedication and my committment to the people here and pledge myself here. I am no longer of the wagons. I am of Safa. ” with that a tear rolled down her cheek. she reached up with the ungloved hand and slid her hand underneath her veil. she unclasped the gold nose ring she’d worn for so long. she slid it out and removed it. handing it to Raz. she drew in another solemn deep breath, her eyes shimmering from the tears that threatened to fall. she held them back by sheer will and determination. she had willingly closed a chapter in her life and started a new one.

Raz Malik watched his companion closely, swallowing as she spoke. Such things were emotional, even to a man. They meant a great deal, greater than one’s own life, in fact. He spoke softly, “You are hereby granted citizenship and all of the protection it affords one of Safa.” He watched as she removed he nose ring, a bit fo a surprise to him, though it was a symbol of her commitment, of her love for Safa. He grinned broadly, as he offered the Safa stone to her lips.

Adaira Southmoor leaned forward and kissed the stone. she drew in a shattered breath, a supression of the emotions stirring within her. she then stood straight and tall. smoothing down her robes. a smile crossed her features, lighting up her eyes. “Thank you ” was what she spoke to Raz. she was happy he was there with her for this. It had meant a great deal to her.

Raz Malik gave her a reassuring look as he retreated into the caged area to replace both of the stones. He then held the golden ring in his hand, before tucking it away in his pouch. He knew that was likely not the easiest choice for Adaira to make, and it meant a great deal to him that she had made such a gesture. He emerged, beaming, “We will make this place a place worthy of calling home.” It was his way of saying he needed her, without actually saying such, being the type of man he was.

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Posted by: razmalik | August 1, 2011

The Reclaiming of the Home Stone

Raz Malik motioned with a hand towards the doorway, as he wouldbring up the rear once everyone was inside. He eyed the slaves a moment, winking at them before ushering the last of the crowd through the doors and addressing a few questions, “I wish anyone to pledge who so has it in their heart. We are a newborn Home Stone and as such, I have sought out the blessings of the Priest Kings and the Initiates and I have been given the blessing to absolve any prior crimes that one may have engaged in prior to coming to Safa.” It would be a time for rebirth for all.

Appia Maxima waved Leto away, dismissing him and the little box, for now. She remained silent, her mind racing. Pledging to a Home Stone was something a Gorean did once in a lifetime and she felt a bit uncomfortable. Appia however decided to see the stone and learn to respect it and fight for it. Safa was, indeed…the land of second opportunities for most of them. Her eyes did not blink, she seemed there yet far away.

Arrow takes his time deciding whether to follow the crowd or not. Kes is something of a committmentaphobe after all. Really it doesn’t even begin or end with things like oh companionships or slaves, no, he’d never actually pleged to a homestone either. He’s a little uneasy about the whole thing. Well, watching it ain’t a comittment. Curious too.

Mordrex Serpente listened to the little speech for a moment and raised a brow as Raz finished, he started to say something but thought against it. He simply walked into the room with the others and stood with his back against the wall, his gaze going to the table with the usual items used for a swearing. He opened up his palm and looked at the scars of the last time he had sworn to the one in Ar so, so long ago.

Aurora stayed in the corner of the room near the planet. Her arms were still crossed as she watched the people trickle in like drops of water from a running pipe. She closed her eyes for a moment as she waited for the rest of them to get situated.. Her small frame leaning back enough to press against the wall as the dusty boots poked out under her fabric. She really did wish she could just go sit with Ada and talk about her research.. Her thumbs fiddled together for a moment as if playing a game of thumb wars with herself. She opened her gaze to look at those present before shifting a bit.

Nautia Septimus turned to look back over her shoulder, the opposite direction of much of the focus, only to push her mouth out into a soft pout behind the lay of veils. She had not cleared the pools as expertly as she had hoped and one of the many layers of her robes’ skirts had kissed the water’s surface. “Bugger,” she hissed, snatching at the garment angrily. It’s sodden weight slapped against her heel and she promptly kicked her leg to free herself from it’s damp embrace. “Where is Aquilinus?” Was her next hissing release. Much of the talk of Home Stones was lost on the girl. What was she doing there anyway? She loved her native Telnus and would be hard pressed to take another city to her bosom.

Raz Malik finally enters the inner walls of the villa, into the chamber that now housed the Home Stone. He was brimming with pride as he nodded to a few nearby and began the small speech that he had prepared and even practiced in the mirror upon getting ready. “First, it is with a heavy heart that I must report that we have lost many in the tragedy that befell Syedra. One of our greatest losses was one who is not easily replaced, Eurybiades.” He paused, his voice having the slightest detection of a waver as he spoke his dear friend’s name, a friend who was no longer. He closed his eyes a moment, inhaling the thick jungle air before continuing, “Thousands perished or fled, though it is not clear who may have survived, beyond this little piece of sanctuary we now call Safa. However, I will not let their loss be in vain and I will take the torch, as the second in command of the COuncil of Syedra and see to it that Safa prospers.”

Appia Maxima looked to all of them: the handsome administrator, the rustic former pirate, the dark skinned physician, the lady in blue she had not yet met, and her companion. She smiled warmly, sparkling eyes. To her, Safa was a fantastic place of happy outcasts and she was loving it. However, after the smile and overall happy semblance, she narrowed her eyes…hoping not to be exposed to say she wouldn’t pledge. She came back to the floor, now taken by Raz, and heard every word of it. The Postumus were late comers, so they knew only vague stories of Syedra. She closed her eyes in memory of those they lost.

Aurora closed her eyes for a moment. She had not been overly fond of Eury, but she had not known him well enough to judge based on a once or twice moment that had been fleeting at best. After a moment, she opens her gaze once more to settle on Raz before she looks at each person in turn. She studied the back of the young scribe for a long moment before her brows knits and a sigh could be heard. She rocked off the wall to stand a little straighter and eye a few slave milling around outside..

Mordrex Serpente looked around at the persons nearby, he felt under dressed but he felt it appropriate since he was a outlaw. He had no colors to wear, and he had no home to speak of. He had come here to change that though, to start a new life. Isn’t that what Raz had spoken of earlier? A new start? He rummaged the thought around in his mind and gave a glance to Aurora before fixing them back on the table nearby. The words Raz had spoken lost to him as he pondered the earlier words in his mind

Daxus Postumus Felix smiled down to his pretty companion and reached out to gently squeeze her hand in his then too, paid a silent tribute to those lost in Syedra’s flood. Though he heard the other pledges, he himself would not offer such verbally. House Postumus was of Tyros, and such allegences would remain. But he and his Companion enjoyed the fine poeple and city that was Safa – and hopefully would for years to come.

Raz Malik continues, after pausing a moment, the memories of his former home, his birthplace flooding his mind. He spoke clearly, though it was not without a hint of emotion. Matters of one’s Home Stone were of utmost important to Goreans and Raz was no exception. His cleanly shaven chin lifted with pride as he continued, his hands accented his words as he spoke easily to the crowd gathered, “I come before you now, as your Merchant Administrator, and also, as a comrade, as a friend. Let us not be strangers here in Safa and let us protect our home from those who seek to harm it or anyone residing within these walls of sanctuary.” Raz reached up, the gold shimmering on his bracers, the gold of the merchants intermingled with the blue of the slavers, as he brought a small bronze pendant to his lips, kissing it. Then, he added, “Most of us have known just how easily it is not only for people to perish, but also, our beloved home. Let this cause our hearts to brim with even more pride knowing that one day, this…all of this could be gone. Let us cherish each moment we breathe and praise those who grant us breath and let us remember our mortality. To be part of this, to be part of a Home Stone, to honor it, to fight for it with our own blood if necessary, if a privilege not lightly granted. Let us not ever take such for granted.”

Appia Maxima opened her eyes the moment Raz resumed his speech, her eyes following his every gesture, his silences, his words. Much could be said of the future of a city based on the man that led her. She briefly looked to her right, to find Daxus’ eyes to then lower her gaze again and nod, that was her silent communication that she was content in Safa and on how the events turned on, after being tossed…well, off board. She nodded to the administrator’s words and dared a whisper, confirming: “Let us not…”.

Nautia Septimus, unlike many standing in the loose semi-circle, did not cast her eyes about and study faces familiar and strange. No. Instead, she lifted up on the toes of her platforms, affording her no greater height but perhaps expelling some of her youthful and kinetic endergy, and attempted to spy the figure of her brother past the gates of the slaver’s villa. She settled on elevated footwear again with a lilting harumph. Still no sign of him. She too let out a sigh before finally shifting her gaze to those surrounding her. With a jerk of her head she regarded Mordrex with wide eyes. No. Really? It couldn’t be. And despite her brother’s brief and dark history with the man, Nautia parted full lips into a bright and genuine smile. In spite of Raz’s somber words, for Nautia…oh, but how the Safa afternoon got a bit sunnier.

Raz Malik raised a hand, palm up, to indicate the Home Stone. “It is tonight that I shall make my pledge before you. Such pledges are personal matters, and I will take responsibility in seeing to any who wish to pledge tonight. However, if you wish a more private ceremony, I will not hold it against you. But, tonight, I will give you, Safa, my word.” He closed his eyes, then licked a finger, taking a pinch of salt, placing it on his tongue to dissolve, before moving to the bread and breaking the smallest piece of to follow the salt past his lips. Then, finally the fire, fire that destroyed and also renewed. He ran the palm of his hand through it, in what seemed like slow motion, his skin just starting to redden and the sting growing with the warmth before he withdrew it. Then, he nodded to the guard, who promptly let him into the chamber of the Home Stone. He spoke a few words to himself, a prayer to the Priest Kings perhaps, before turning to the crowd, the larger stone in his right hand and the smaller in his left.

Aurora listened to Mord even though her gaze roamed over the people. She didn’t seem to stir much beyond the slight movement of her paneled veils from time to time as she breathed out. Her tattered hand hung as her side mostly hidden within the river of her skirts as the eyes cut over to the man that had caused her damage. The note in Raz’s voice made her once more look over to him as he went through the motions of pledging himself to the homestone. Her gaze shifted to the side for a moment debating on her own options, but she would more likely come back later when it could be done on her own free terms.. But, she did finally look back at Mord and raise her brows to the hulking man.

Appia Maxima smiled admiring the man that so honorably pledged first to Safa, the new world, the world of second chances and possibilities. Appia that night would listen, express her respect for Safa, offer a a valuable gift to the administrator in the name of the house, and mingle later with food and drinks. Her heart was content, for there was Safa, and Safa was…hope.

Mordrex Serpente walked forward after the administrator had performed his own swearing and took a bit of the bread off the loaf and popped into his mouth, he chewed the little tidbit of food as he looked over to the salt and followed suit by placing his finger into his mouth and wettening it before dipping it into the bowl. Lifting it to his tongue he pressed down and le tthe salt dissolve there before running his hand over the flame, holding it there for what seemed like a eternity. The flesh on his palm starting to sear and bubble as his face remained passive. Finally when he felt the flames touching he lifted his hand and walked towards the gate, a nod of his head given to the guard as he rose the same hand he had just burned and placed it over the tip of the reds spear. Pulling it down he winced a bit as it pierced his skin and he looked to Raz “I pledge my honor and my life, to protect this cove. I swear by the priest kings that I will never do anything to harm its citizens, less my own life be taken.” with these words said, he held his hand outwards and opened up his palm so Raz could present the homestone, so he could bleed the stone himself. He knew to touch it was death, so he refrained

Raz Malik held up the larger of the stones for all to see, his voice booming from beyond the small chamber, “ON the night that lightning struck the tower of the Home Stone in Syedra, I had a vision that I must save teh Home Stone. It was that night that I climbed the winding stairs, and took the Home Stone into my personal possession. I kept it with me for the weeks to come and housed it here in my chambers when we arrived here. This is the Home Stone of Syedra, but soon, it will be joined by a stone that I picked up here from where we lay the first tent. ” He held up the smaller of the stones, grinning broadly. “This is the Home Stone of Safa. And to it, I pledge my honor and my very life.” He nodded to Mordrez as he approached and listened to his words. The slaver took a moment to press his lips to the smaller stone and then to the larger one, before passing the stone to Mordrex. For tonight, there would be forgiveness .

Mordrex Serpente did not take the offered stone and instead let his lifes blood drip unto its surface “With my blood.” he turned on his heel as he watched the crimson fluid fall unto the stone and announced “Ta Sardar Gor, and for Safa.” without another word he started to head out of the villa. He wasn’t much into ceremonies, and he really wasn’t dressed for this occasion. The words had been spoken and he had meant them, that is all that mattered

Aurora watched the figure move forward in silence as he went through the rites. Her small frame hunkered down somewhat as she saw the twirl of fabric as a few took off to attend to whatever business they might have. Perhaps they did not wish to pledge themselves yet or had ties in other places. She instead goes back to watching the two in silence debating if they would kill each other, but there was no move beyond Mord to the homestone. She breathed out a soft sigh that could probably heard in the nearly silent room as she shuffled a bit more to the side and took more pleasure in seeing others pledge then pledging herself. She pulled at the ebony locks and draped it over one shoulder as her good fingers pulled through it knowing Mord’s hand would need a patching before he went back to work.

Raz Malik nodded to the former pirate once, firmly before taking back the stone and placing both on the pedestal. He spoke clearly to the crowd, “Ta Sardar Gor. To Safa.” With that he bowed his head and then emerged from the chamber, raising his hands, “Please make yourself welcome, and enjoy the refreshments outside.”

Posted by: razmalik | July 28, 2011

The House of Postumus

The House of Postumus was a prolific merchant family of Tentium, isle of Tyros. Amongst them one could find perfumers, beauticians, clothiers, jewelers and even barbers. It would seem that over the years, they had specialized in beauty enhancement in one way or another. This gave them a bit of a frivolous reputation among the locals, but their distinctive sense of humor, exquisite manners and overall charm, evened things out.

Most of the house members were from both the Postumus and the Lancaster clans, joined by the companionship of their son and daughter, respectively. The head of the house soon become Daxus Postumus Felix, since he was the most prolific merchant with an unmatched business sense.

But something would change their lives forever and make them leave peaceful, terraced Tyros, to begin one of the most fascinating adventures of their lives. During a long trip across the Thassa in search for the most exotic pigments, essential scents and even rare hair for wig making, dear Appia found her companion’s limit. After trying to apply kohl on each of the oarsmen below deck and babble their ears to the point of implosion…Daxus grabbed her beloved companion by the arm and literally tossed her on a remote, hidden stronghold called Safa.

Upon arriving to Tyros, and while sharing the racconto to an old man in the tavern, Daxus was informed that Safa was once a pirate’s cove. The conversation ended with the old man handing a map and instructions to a mythical sapphire mine between Safa and Schendi.

Only a hand later, all of the Postumus members sailed to Safa with the excuse to come for Appia and settle in the quiet isle, though their reasons were more lucrative ones. The hunt for the Schendi sapphires had just begun. Will they be able to get there? Will someone find out and boycott them? Will they fall in love with Safa and forget of the so coveted sapphires?

You can now see them blending with the Syedra refugees, getting on their good side and profiting from the locals’ need for clothing and beauty products that would help lift their spirits. It is common to see Daxus Postumus the perfumer, Frederick Lancaster the elder, Ephedera the wig maker, Appia the beautician, Quinthus the clothier and Leto, the poor kajirus who serves them all for now.

(Written by Appia)

Posted by: razmalik | July 27, 2011

Construction continues…

It has been four hands since landing in Safa. Raz and a few others have made a few trips to Schendi and secured materials to begin building the town that would become home to all of those suriving the Syedra disaster. New buildings seem to be erected everyday. There is even the look of a traveler’s inn for one, the tavern is up and running and several other small shops and dwellings have been completed. Still there is pallets of lumber, stone and scaffolding rising high into the tropical sky. The stronghold is bustling with activity and the docks are bustling with new shipments and merchant vessels looking for new trade opportunities. Perhaps, in all the loss, there is some hope left yet.

 

 

 

Posted by: razmalik | July 22, 2011

Sanctuary

The ship rocked and swayed.
The survivors of Syedra had been on this ship for weeks. The captain knew they would not last much longer out here, they had to stop. There were repairs to be made, supplies to replenish.
It was as if the storm that sank Syedra had followed them.
Without warning, the sea churned, tossing their ship up and down.
The captain barked orders to the crew, and prayed to the Thassa to let them pass free of harm.
The storm blocked their vision, they were sailing blind. For three days and nights, it raged around them, until every last person on that ship was convinced that they were the cursed ones.
Some of the more religious people began to question others, to find out which one of them it might have been to anger the priest kings so.
On the third day, the captain was about to issue martial law. He had to do something, or people would start tossing each other overboard, in an attempt to appease their gods.
He heard a noise from up top, but the wind drowned out the voice. Then, with a sickening crack, he knew. They had hit a reef. Almost as quickly as it came, the storm abated and there they were, near enough to land to see the shining gates of a city.
The captain ordered everyone into boats. They couldn’t chance leaving them here, the ship would likely sink from the damage.
As the survivors piled off of the boats, and onto the dock, they stared in wonder. A town, nestled into the jungle, overgrown with weeds and vines. They quickly set to the task of coming ashore. Soon, a small tent town was put up as people filed in from the boats. A central fire was made, and once necessities were taken care of, people began to explore. There were charred ruins of other buildings, broken bits of pottery and scraps of things that were at one point, someone else’s life and memory.
Tara of the fishmongers walked to the docks to help others unload supplies. She turned back to look at their new home, it’s front gate hung open, and in a fluid, beautifully painted script, a sign hung off of it’s hinges that read… “Safa.”
Sanctuary.

 

(Written by Maia)

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