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Welcome to Carista. We are an original fantasy roleplay forum set in the world of Carista -- a place where the eight different systems of control are divided across countries and oceans and blood. The systems of control are Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Ice, Plant, Health and Time -- all given to humanity in ages past.

Now, during a golden age throughout the kingdoms, rumors have come of the Loners discovering an ancient building deep underground that contains a legendary Relic that may hold the key to ultimate power or destruction. And so the race of kingdoms begin with the prize being a Relic of untold power...


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 Bread Breaking

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Nam Sung

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PostSubject: Bread Breaking   Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:36 pm

Nam only had one loaf of bread. This, she realized, was a mistake. If she had been planning ahead, she would have packed a few rolls, and something to hold water in. It had been one thing in the night, when the sun was down and the air was only a little muggy, but in the day the hot air pressed down on her, threatening to suffocate her if she didn't cool off. The ocean, she surmised, was not far, but what would she do if the tides rolled in and pulled her out to sea? What she needed was a stream. What she wanted were her parents - her mother would pull a plant's roots from the ground and slit them with a knife. Her father would knead the earth until the water rushed free.

The first few times she ran away, she imagined that her parents would somehow know where to find her, and rush to meet her. Then she thought that maybe they would find out even if she could not escape, and they would rush to Roslyn's manor and demand their daughter's freedom. But Nam had given up on that thought after her second month.

The thought that she may have to walk for miles and miles before even coming across a person had not even entered Nam's mind before she ran away. Ken certainly hadn't mentioned it. But then again, Nam was unfamiliar with Ignis - everything about the land was new and exciting, in a terrifying, oh-spirits-what-if-I-die-here sort of way. She had walked until it was light out before she took any time to rest, and she had walked for another few hours after that. Her little feet were sore and caked with dirt and dust, and she could swear that her knees were squeaking like the hinges of an old door. By the time she reached an actual town, it was midday - so said the tyrannical sun - and she was quite finished with walking.

All she had to do, she thought, was find someone who could help her get home. And then she froze on the street. She would have to ask someone to help her get home - who would she even be able to ask? She certainly didn't want to ask any adults, but what would a child do? Tell their parents, of course, and what would Nam do then? She wasn't sure what she would say. She looked at the ground, idly noticing how wisps of dust floated along the ground. Maybe she could take refuge in the shadow of a building, and practice asking for help. In Ignese too! She could barely speak a word of it, and sometimes she wondered if anyone really used Caristan. She peered up, at the thin crowds of the Ignesian market, and decided that she would have to work up her courage.

She clutched her loaf of bread, wrapped in a thin white cloth, close to her chest, and dragged herself across the road. She marched between a stall, imagining that she was a ghost, a wisp of a girl traveling through the market place in an old and faded dress, fashioned from an unwanted bed sheet, a bandana used to keep some of the hair out of her face, and reflect the oppressive sun. And, as she passed by an unattended baker's stall and peered into the alley, she imagined what manner of monster may lurk in the shadows.

She straightened her back and clenched the bread tightly to her chest, tucking it to her side to protect it from all the shadowy tendrils that might reach forth and take it.

Nam suddenly slouched and stumbled as she heard an angry Ignesian voice, and she twisted to her right. A stout baker glared down at her, his arms folded disapprovingly over his chest. He must have just arrived.

"I don't understa-," she stammered back in Terran. "I don't spea-spea-speak Ignese."

Her lip began to quiver, and her knees bent defensively. The man straightened out and extended a hand. "Did you steal that?" he said in Caristan. "Or are you going to pay for it?"

She understood that much - she looked down at her ill-begotten bread. It was stolen, but, "Not f-from you." She clutched it tightly, suddenly afraid that he might try and take it, and she began to back away. Maybe if she had been in a better state she could have explained her situation, that she had just escaped a vile woman who employed slaves as servants and would have wasted the bread anyway.

He snorted, and exclaimed something in Ignese that Nam still couldn't understand: "So you did steal it!"

He threw his arms up in the air, and Nam's arms flew to shield her head, as though he might attack her. The bread fell to the ground, and the merchant began to stomp and complain about the wasted bread. "You just ruined it!" he snapped. "I hope you have the money to pay for that!"

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Errol Booker

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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:26 am

In his sun-soaked kitchen, Errol frowned at the heel of bread in his hand. It had been tough yesterday, the leavings of a loaf he and Callum had bought the day before, but now it felt a bit like a rock. Was it worth trying to eat? What could he do to soften it? They had a bit of milk left, enough that if he heated it up he could probably soak the heel in it, but honestly that was more trouble than it'd be worth. Plus, he wasn't sure he trusted that milk anyway. Callum had sworn up and down it was fresh when he brought it back yesterday, but Errol wasn't convinced. Maybe... maybe if he could get the bread into small pieced it'd be easier to eat. One thing they still had plenty of was that roll of hard cheese, the one they'd been whittling away for awhile now. A bit slice of that would do him nicely.

"Let's see..." Gripping the bread in his large hands, Errol tucked his fingers into the mouth of the heel and braced it against his palm. Carefully, he tried to ease it open, attempting to split it into halves. It resisted, creaking and crumbling a bit at the edges. Frowning warily, he asserted more force, only to have the crust give suddenly, his hands lurching in opposite directions as bits of crusty bread flew everywhere, the stale heel little more than a sharp husk. Taking a moment to assess whether or not it was even worth it anymore, he decided it wasn't. He set the two bits of crust down on the table, dusted his hands off on his pants and made for the broom. When the crumbs were collected he hooked a finger under the latch of the kitchen window, emptying the dustpan on the windowsill for the birds; the tough crust soon followed.

Errol grumbled all the way to the market, hands stuffed in his pockets and eyes creased against the midday sun. All he had wanted was a bit of bread, some cheese and maybe a bite or two of salted meat. Well that wasn't all he wanted, not by far, but that was what he had resigned himself too, and not even having that as an option was irritating. Maybe he'd get extravagant, maybe he'd buy fresh meat, just a little, and cook it with some of the plethora of herbs hanging in their kitchen. The seasonings seemed infinite, always more than enough; more herbs than actual food. Hungry? There's no real food, but go ahead and chew on a sprig of rosemary. Go on, eat some sage.

Walking between the stalls, he softened his demeanor. If he looked like he was in a bad mood the older women that stood behind any of the stalls were less likely to want to chat, and chatting often lead to favorable haggling and sometimes even a free apple. Smiling at a few familiar faces, he wandered this way and that, looking over fruits and vegetables, usually sticking to the bruised or old produce, mostly for the better price. He was just shaking off a clingy stallkeeper when he heard a harsh voice and turned, looking for its source. Ah, Driscoll, the old skunk. He seemed to be bully a shoeless child dressed in a... was that a sheet? Curious, Errol meandered closer in time to hear the man's accusation of thievery. The girl's reaction tugged at his heart, so obviously expecting to be struck, and in this case with fairly good reason. Stepping up next to her, his shadow falling over her diminutive form, Errol raised a hand to shield his eyes against the sun, smirking at Driscoll.

"Got bored swindling people and decided to start beating up on children, eh, Driscoll?" His tone was friendly, but the undertone unmistakable. "I can see the appeal: too small to fight back, too young to have connections. But honestly, I thought you were in it for the money. At least pick people with some." Glancing to the bread on the ground near his feet, he gives Driscoll a sidelong glance. "That's yours? You should be ashamed, man, selling week old bread. Why would anyone steal it? The thing could drive nails."

The stout man behind the stall spluttered. "I don't sell stale bread! But that doesn't mean the girl didn't steal it! You're trying to damage my business, Errol." He spoke loudly, clearly wanting the people around them to hear his side of things as well as Errol's. Many of the other stallkeeper's met each other's gaze and rolled their eyes.

Errol tilted his head, a crooked grin stretching his mouth. "Never! Here, I'll prove it. Give me one of those loaves, and two of those rolls." He pointed to a pile of sweet rolls, one of his particular favorites. Driscoll curled his lip into a sneer but handed him the loaf and placed the rolls in the handkerchief Errol held out for them. "Don't you think you could sweeten it a bit, for such a good customer?" With a 'please go die' look on his face, the irate baker thrust a third roll into his hands and snatched the proferred coin. Giving the man a nod and a wink, Errol glanced down to the girl beside him.

"Your loaf is getting dusty. Fancy a roll?"

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Nam Sung

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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:44 am

As a man's shadow fell over Nam, she peered beneath her arms. She stole a quick glance at the man's face, and then lowered her gaze. As they spoke, her eyes flickered between the man's shoes and the bottom panel of the baker's stall. She could barely understand what they were saying, but whatever it was, it attracted too much attention. Nam wrapped her arms around her rib cage, squeezing to abate the fear.

It was quite a scene. Either the new, mustachioed man had come to her rescue, or he had come to reprimand her, and between the foreign language and the heightened vocabulary (heightened to Nam, anyway), she couldn't determine which it was. And then the baker responded, loudly, defensively, and Nam jolted in surprise. Not the baker's friend.

Despite her start, Nam stooped down to collect the dropped bread. It may have fallen in the street, but she saw no real alternatives. She had just been accosted for theft, and she didn't want a repeat of that incident. She was also fairly certain she had learned a new word in Ignese: steal. The dust could always be wiped off, or she could tear away the crust and only eat the insides.

As the men at the stall began their exchange, Nam began to back away quietly. She did not get very far before Mustache-man looked down to her.

"Your loaf is getting dusty. Fancy a roll?"

Everything that Nam wanted to say raced to the forefront of her mind and drowned in a sea of garbled language. She groped blindly for the words, finding only, "Um," and, "I," and nothing of substance. What she wouldn't have given for a surprise earthquake! Or any distraction at all. All was not playing out the way Nam imagined it would - then again, the last fantasy she'd had included riding off on a stag. She was fairly certain she had stepped on a toad instead.

"I dunno," she murmured, taking a step backwards.

With her flat, placid expression, it would be hard to notice that Nam was terrified, and that Mustache-man was not any less frightening to her than the baker. They were equally terrifying, for varied reasons: the baker because he had appeared from thin air to apprehend her, Mustache-man because he was a large man, alien to Nam in more ways than one. Her last mistake dealing with strangers had brought her to Ignis in the first place - what if she made another?

She paused for quite a long moment. She couldn't think of a reason for the man to come to her aid only to cause harm himself.

"Ca-," she stammered, "Can I really?"

She still clutched the dirty loaf of bread against her side, even as she reached out to accept the roll.
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Errol Booker

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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:01 am

Errol regarded the girl sympathetically as she searched for what to say, clearly not quite sure how to react to him. She looked like most street urchins he saw, though he had to admit few had their own loaves to themselves, no matter how stale. But that wasn't quite right - no urchins he knew would go anywhere near Driscoll's stall, unless they were doing it specifically to piss the man off. The overprotective baker was more than happy to shout for the city guards if too many light-fingered mice were scurrying around his wares, though by this point even the guards paid him no mind. Still, it was an odd choice. And that sheet... odd choice.

"I dunno."

And there it was, that's what didn't fit: something about her accent. But she'd only said two words, he couldn't place it yet. He wasn't much of a linguist, anyway, he just knew he'd heard an accent like that before. For the time being, however, what that accent meant was that she wasn't from Ignis, especially since she was opting for Caristan instead of Ignese. Maybe a family that moved to the capitol recently from an outlying island? She had a surprisingly unreadable face for a child, he found, as he continued to peer at her as she paused, clearly thinking the offer over. Again, not like an urchin - that roll would have been out of his hand faster than he could blink and in her face in even less time.

"Ca-can I really?"

He extended the roll a little farther as he hand reached toward it, intrigued. "Of course you can." Depositing the roll firmly in her little hand, he tilted his head. He was careful to stick to Caristan as he said, "Are you lost?"

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Nam Sung

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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:25 am

Luckily for Nam, Mustache-Man waited patiently for her to answer. As she took the roll she gave a light bow of her head, a common gesture back in Terra. Then she hesitated. She wanted to eat it, but somewhere in the back of her mind she felt as if she needed permission. She took a small bite anyway - she was hungry, and tired, and Roslyn was miles away. That old witch would never find out.

The roll was far too sweet for her, and her eyes bulged with the first bite. In Terra most of the food was starchy, salted, or heavily spiced to hide the otherwise bland taste. They didn't have much sugar, and what they did have was from fruit, which was hard to come by in the mountains. It only served to stress how unlike Terra Ignis was. She took another bite.

"Are you lost?" Mustache-Man asked.

Among other things. Her feet were sore and blistered from the walking, her stomach clenched with hunger, and her mouth was dry, and now held the persistent taste of an Ignesian confection. Nam thought it was a bit of an understatement. She had no idea how far from home she was - only that she had arrived by boat. She nodded quickly, and once she finished chewing she vocallized an unusually confident, "Yes!"

At this, she smiled thinly - not because she was happy to be lost, goodness no, but because she hadn't had to tug on the hems of shirts asking for help. She still struggled to explain herself, trying to think of a concise way to explain what had happened. She had found the journey from Seung to a funeral to a slaver in Ignis long and confusing. Partly because she spent a large portion of it locked below deck of a ship, and partly because she had assuredly been knocked on the head a few times.

After another long pause, she slowly said, "I need to go back to Seung."

She didn't quite understand that Seung was a remote village even amongst people in Terra. The only thing that might have alerted an Ignesian to its whereabouts was the sound of the name, and perhaps Nam's accent.
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Errol Booker

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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:54 pm

The child's vehement 'yes' almost made him chuckle, but he recognized how frightening it must be to be lost in a new place. At least she was eating, she looked famished. Though, in hindsight, feeding a hungry child sugar probably hadn't been the best move; something more nourishing would've been better, but he had thought more of the novelty of it than the nutritional value. Still, he thought she'd probably survive the experience, though she might need water soon. He probably would, munching on his own sweet pastry with satisfaction but the burn of sugar at the back of his throat. Driscoll did make good bread, for all he was a worthless ass.

"Seung?" He frowned, his brow contemplative. Was this a person or a place? The phrasing suggested a place, but he didn't want to assume anything. It was likely pointless to directly ask her where this person/place was, since if she knew she'd already be there. But, perhaps, she knew where, just not how to get there. It was worth asking. "Is Seung a person?"

But, he thought, regardless of whether it was a person or a place, Seung was not an Ignesian name. Best not to jump to conclusions, or even to ask that question. Ignorance protected both of them. "Do you know where Seung is? I might be able to take you there. After I drop off my bread at home, that is." Errol wasn't going to just carry around his nice new bread all day, who knew what would happen to it. At the same time, he hoped the child had enough stranger-sense to balk at this, at least a little.


Last edited by Errol Booker on Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nam Sung

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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:57 pm

Nam frowned - the man didn't know where Seung was. She knew it was far from Ignis, yet on maps it seemed within reach, and not half a world away. When he asked if Seung was a person, Nam couldn't help but pout. She was far too astonished to speak her answer; instead, she glanced at her own feet, shaking her head. Hungry as she was, she did not eat any more of the roll. Her appetite had passed with this revelation.

Her movements were mechanical - she nodded stiffly when he asked if she knew where Seung was, and she shuffled a step backwards when he offered to take her there. She did not know what she had expected - she knew there was an ocean blocking her from a simple, easy return, it seemed fairly obvious that she would need help from someone. But she thought to the last time she had so willingly trusted someone, and she hesitated.

"I don't, I don't think," she tried, not able to finish her sentence. 'I don't think that's a good idea.' The last of her words simply never came. She paused, trying to collect herself. Aside from a light twitch of her fingers and toes, she looked calm. But her mind was racing, and instead of finishing her thought, she answered his previous question.

"Seung is in Terra."

She could offer up the name of the town where she lost her parents, and the name of the woman who had kept her from them. She could offer up Seung's general location on a map, and the names of a few nearby villages. But Nam wouldn't - not under the disapproving gazes of a few passersby, and the still-fuming baker.

Nam wished she could disappear. Had her hands been free, she would have covered her face, but she settled for staring at the ground, and drawing mental lines between cracks in the dirt.
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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:47 am

"Oh."

Though he had been, on a certain level, expecting that response a small fist of anxiety still knotted his stomach. The war may be over, but people were still mourning those lose, those maimed and those that came back with irreparably scarred minds. He liked to think that people were better than to take out their residual rage against a child, but he knew better. Well, Loyalists, at least. While the Rebellion was outspoken in its distaste for the Queen and her reasons for starting the war, the fact that they said her reasons were wrong without specifically stating that the war was wrong in general bothered him. He knew his own mind on the subject but that came from years of hard and painfully won experience; there were many things that happened he couldn't bear to remember unless in private, and then accompanied with silent self-berating and hair pulling.

And then there was this child, who was much more lost than he previously realized. He had been presumptuous to offer to take her home, as he couldn't possibly go all the way to Terra with her to find her village. Plus, she might only remember the name, not its exact geographic location. Hell, he'd be hard pressed to point to the capitol of Terra on a map. Running a hand through his close-cut hair, Errol grimaced. He was torn: he couldn't leave the child, but he also couldn't give her the help she needed. What could he do?

Swallowing dryly, he cleared his throat. "Let's go find some water, huh? There's a pump here in the market but it'll be packed; next one is a few blocks that way." He pointed down the street, aware that she wasn't looking at him. After a long moment he crouched down in front of her, slowly, trying not to startle or scare her.

"Hey." His voice was soft but he couldn't keep the edge of concern out of it. "You're right, I don't think I can take you to Seung. But maybe we can find someone that can?" It was a thin hope, but he knew members of the Rebellion had ties to the harbor and the ships laden with spices and weapons. Surely they could find one that went to Terra, or nearby. But on his own he'd never be able to pay the price. Hmm.
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Nam Sung

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PostSubject: Re: Bread Breaking   Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:24 am

There was a moment during which neither Nam nor her mustachioed companion spoke, and in that moment she had calmed herself down - outwardly, at least. Her stomach was still in knots, and she felt more than a little sick, but aside from her sudden interest in the ground, she did not look so distraught. Then Errol mentioned water, and she glanced up briefly before looking back to the space between her feet. Nam needed water more than she had needed food, and she needed rest almost as badly as either. But after walking for a few miles, a few blocks - whatever that meant - probably wasn't too much to ask.

"Oh-kay."

When she looked up again, the man had crouched in front of her - it gave her a better view of what he actually looked like, since before she had mostly seen up his nose. He looked kind.* For an Ignesian, at least.

He admitted that he could not take her back to Seung - Nam nodded at this and tried not to look as disappointed as she had before. It was not nearly as hard the second time. But her mask cracked when he mentioned finding someone who could - Nam did not know what that meant, but the potential joy of returning home after being away for so many months far outweighed her fears and anxieties and uncertainties. She smiled, and sniffed a little, and then returned her stare to the ground.

Habits are hard to break.

Still staring at the ground, Nam said, "Thank you."

If he led her to the water pump, she would follow him. Her usual skepticism, no matter how she tried to draw on it, abated. Whether he knew it or not, Nam had granted him her trust, and had dubbed him an exception to her rule.

[OOC: *NANANANANANANANANANANANANA BATMAN.]
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