A Happy Serpent?
|Title||A Happy Serpent? (Part the First)|
|Date of Log||February 08 2021|
|Summary||This is either the start of a very interesting project, or an extremely elaborate prank.|
Sagcoln Beach Ellischester 07:02 PM 08 February 1489 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
White sands stretch the length of the beach, up until a rocky outcropping that marks the end of relatively safe grounds. Beyond, and stretching along the eastern boarder of Ellischester are dangerous lands even the well prepared are wary to travel, the lands beyond the beach home of the corrupted beast Sagcoln, for whom the beach was named, it's territory reflecting it's corrupted state. The safe sands are often strewn with driftwood and debris, the occasional shipwreck washing ashore and sometimes bringing with it a wealth of scavageable items to sell; a popular activity, weather permitting.
The beach doesn't have a lot of folks on it right now, it growing later in the evening and the weather being on the windier end. There is, however, a bucket. It is full of seawater, weighted down with a few smooth stones, and is padded on the sides with broad strips of seaweed. A cord is tied to the bucket, leading to a post directly next to it that's been driven far into the sand, then leading to the water, where it's been tied to a bright blue glass float. The float, and its particular color, is familiar to denizens of Ellischester as belonging to Kalixi. Theoretically, there is an ottermom on the other end of the rope tied to the float (tied to the post tied to the bucket and the green grass alas does not grow all around), presumably looking for shellfish or perhaps buried treasure.
There is a funny little scene going on down at the beach, right by the water. Right by Kalixi's bucket, in fact. Having stuck his staff firmly in the sand, Tade appears to be dancing around it either in some sort of celebratory display or odd ritual. His cape flaps in the wind, occasionally buffeting off the gilded, silver mask once more settled securely over his youthful face. His arms sweep left, one leg lifting, crane-like, before stomping down once more as his body and arms sway to the right instead. Whatever nonsense is spewing from his mouth, it's not in any language the pravalkan would recognize.
All of the shenanigans around the bucket get transmitted to Kalixi via vibration along the rope... and are not any sort of pull codes or anything at all that she, indeed, can recognize. With a sputter, she surfaces by the bright blue glass float, with a "Awright, what be this jiggamaree, now, who... oh. It be ye. I shoulder known. What're you doin' a matin' dance fer, yer already inveigled me dear Knight into contract with yer, don't that be enough already?" She puts a small knife in her teeth, the mostly blunt and hooked sort of detaching snails and mollusks from their rocky beds, and paddles to shore.
Adopting a sort of 'ahoy matey!' expression on his face, Tade halts his dance and instead hovers his hand over his eyes to shield them from any evening light reflecting off the sea, "Well!" He declares, a titter bubbling up from his throat at the same moment as a smile pulls wide across his face, "That's not the kind of sea monster I was expecting to summon!" The funny little dance and chant combo had halted, quite obviously, in the middle of however many rounds there were, and hadn't been completed, "It was all his idea!" With a nod, he adds in a cheeky little soprano giggle, "It was a good idea. Anyways." He gives a quick look about to see if Kalixi has managed to catch anything interesting, "I was going to see if I could summon Sehrasil."
There is a long, long, long silence, during which Kalixi, wearing only the two strips of kelp she wears when diving out of consideration for confused and perhaps delicate non-Pravalkans, stands on the wet sand as water streams out of her thicker than thick fur. In the midst of these moments, her jaw drops open, and the abalone knife falls to the sand. One eyelid twitches. "...yer facking WHAT?!" It's loud, loud enough to set a few sea birds to flight and a couple of beachcombers to glance over like frightened meerkats.
In a motion perhaps much calmer than Kalixi's loud declaration warrants, Tade angles his head a bit, his serpentine eyes squinted shut to the sort of slits that lend a man like him a sort of curious feline air. An air like there was something wrong with *Kalixi* and her response to the situation, not something wrong with what he's doing and the situation as a whole, "Are you sure you're ok, Kali?" Tade chirps, one hand raising to wave at the frightened little beachcombers, "You're over-reacting an awful lot."
Another long silence follows. If Kalixi's whiskers were to bristle any farther they'd likely shoot out the opposite cheeks like the spines of an angry porcupine. The other eye twitches. "...be tha a joke, then?" She finally manages to say.
Ever so slowly his head shifts and tilts the other way, and the feline expression remains steadfast on his face. Tade indeed, does seem to be poking the proverbial bear, whether he intends to or not, "... no? It's not like he's going to smash onto the shore or something silly like that." He nods along to his own words, silently affirming once more that in his very esteemed opinion, Kalixi was definitely over-reacting.
Kalixi closes her eyes, her ears, and her nose. One, two, three. Calm blue ocean. Calm, blue ocean. Her eyes open first, then her nose. Slow, deep breath. Her earflaps stay flat. "...annn, just what be ye expectin' the great serpent to DO, exactly?" Apparently she's limiting herself to one question at a time, either to keep herself from descending too far into salty language or to keep him from darting off like a hummingbird after the nearest tangent.
With some sort of unnamable skill, Tade's smile somehow widens, the slits of his eyes widening just enough to break free of the mischievous feline look, to one more pleased at the fact Kalixi seemed to be *reasonable* for once. His hands gesture widely, the left sweeping out towards the sea, "I was just going to ask him if there was anything we could do to make him feel better."
Now she's puzzled. Serpent. Talks to serpents. ... ... ... Kalixi's wheels are turning, creaking, groaning behind her olive-dark eyes. "D'ye think that would work?"
A more jovial expression could not be found anywhere but Tade's face as Kalixi seems to be catching onto what he's putting down. His head bobs enthusiastically, "I mean i'm not sure, but it can't hurt to *try*." The great wizard dips forwards, his hands reaching to take up Kali's paws, "He'll just ignore us if he's too grumpy or whatever."
Kalixi pulls her paws back and looks at him like, well, like he's tried to take her paws. "It KIN hurt to try, have ye -seen- what his tantrums do to the sea and lands about?" Still, her brow remains deeply furrowed in thought, a rug that someone has gone a-skidding upon. "Well I ain't inclined to help yer hop about like a spring bird, at least not where there be folk about an' a chance fer a stray wave to sweep an innocent ter sea." She reels up her rope, and her float, and removes a pawload of assorted shellfish from her forelimb pouches to dump into the bucket. Then another pawload. Bloop, bloop. Then she picks up her knife and sticks it into a sheath. "Also under what... territree d'ye find the idear that dancin' about could summon the beast itself?"
Tade leans down now instead to reach for a surely stray shellfish that will find it's merry way out of the bucket and into his hand, "He won't even *hear* me if he's too mad." The wizard tsks as if this should be common knowledge - *should* being the operative word here that's meant to align his much out of date ideas about what's common knowledge with reality. It doesn't work terribly well, "And it's under the territory that I know ancient rituals that you don't."
"Fair enuff," Kalixi gruffs, "Fer all I knew yer had the idea at the bottom of a bottle. It's what ye gets fer bein' unperdictable an' obtuse. Sure, the younger kits find it all mysterious an' interestin' but ter me ye just looks daft." She stares at him as he paws about in the bucket. "...tha's tomorrow's stew fixins, yer better offer somethin' of equivalent if yer gonna muck about in me harvest."
"Well now you just sound like a wet blanket. And bottles are terrible places to find ideas. Unless your ideas involve weird potions. Then I suppose bottles are fine." Removing precisely one large clam - the largest of the lot, in fact, Tade fiddles about in his pocket until he pulls out a slightly linty hunk of salt-pork, "One equivalent exchange. You know if the ocean got uppity I could just control the water, easy." Easy, he says. Squinting at Kalixi, the wizard wonders aloud, "You're a druid, right? Or somethin' like one."
Kalixi's little pink tongue darts over one whiskery lip at the sight of the salt pork, even slightly linty salt pork. She does her best not to look too excited. "That be fine, then." She holds out her sea-wet paw for it, cautiously, as though she doesn't trust the wizard not to do something rash like try to hug her or something. "Aye, somethin' like one," she finally allows, "Not much special but there be a bit of voice between me and other natural things, like."
"You can't hear him at all?" Tade inquires, with what seems like genuine curiosity as his fingers idly and pointlessly pry at the clam shell, not firm enough to budge the clamped shut shell much either way, "Not even when you're in the water-" The clam gestures towards the sea and back, "-Digging around for food?"
Kalixi shakes her head, earnestly. "Narh, it be mostly the simpler things fer me. Plants, earth, stone, et and cetera. Sehrasil be a -great- thing, beyond me ken. I just knows the cloud and storm and waves he brings. Not sure a thing like tha would stop to speak with the likes of me anyhow, I be small, aye?"
Leaning forwards, Tade relinquishes the linty bit of salt pork into Kalixi's paw, the exchange completed. With that done, he goes back to prying at the shell while he speaks, as if it's just something for restless fingers to do, "Not unless you entreated him to do so, but you could still listen." His shoulders shrug, and he gives up and offers the clam back in a quiet plea for her to use her knife on the thing for him, "Besides, being small doesn't mean your words are unworthy."
Kalixi snuffles at the chunk of meat for a while before determining it to be satisfactory, and gets to work delicately picking the lint off with her little claws. "'Small' be meaning on the scale of arcane an' ancient powers an' the like. Not much to do with worth an' everythin' to do with..." She gestures at the clam. "Havin' the appreperiate tools, like. Or in such, one wouldn't ask a nobleman elf to dive fer abalones in midwinter like yer could one of me own?"
There is a devious little look for a moment: a flash before it's gone. Tade leans down, "Don't you kind of want to though? It'd be *funny* to see him flail." Whether he spoke of a particular nobleman who happened to be in town, or just in general, it was too vague to determine, "Power isn't always everything when it comes to old rituals. Determination, intent. All those things mattered too."
"But it would get ye no abalones, would it?" Kalixi rasps. "It be the economy o' survival, lad. No everyone lives in enough luxury to be squanderous with they time." Her ears swivel. Curiosity is picking at the corners of that wet blanket. Finally, she shakes her head. "Narh, narh, it be no good for me to faff about tryin' to sing to a great old one like that. It be outta me ken."
Jiggle jiggle. Please open clam. Jiggle jiggle, "You should try." Tade encourages, still jostling that clam like he was ringing some christmas bells, "Rituals like this work better with more than one person, besides. You *wanna* see him calmed down, right?"
Another long, long, moment of thoughtful, brow furrowed silence from the Vydra. Think. Think. Creak. Clunk. Turn. Abruptly, Kalixi sneezes. "Narh, narh, how do I knows ye ain't pullin a jape, er some other traplike thing? Is what ye gets for bein' a trickster, ye knows. It could be anythin'. It could go ill and then we're all up to our bellies in snakeshit."
Tade looks like he doesn't know what Kalixi is talking about. Him? A trickster? What a preposterous notion! Sweep it from the mind, young(relatively speaking) Vydra! "Well, i'm pretty sure that I don't want to do something to bury me up to my belly in snakeshit." Logic!
Kalixi crosses her arms. "Boyo, ye knows that ye be thick with the japery, don't ye be makin' that paw-in-the-cookie-jar face at me, d'ye knows how many kits I've raised? Ye wants to be a funny madlad ye gets looked at fer funny mad shit, that be how it go amongst us on the mortal coil."
Somehow Tade maintains this paw-in-the-cookie-jar look as if he is somehow innocent of all the accusations of japery despite evidence to the contrary. It's a special talent of his, possessed by all children who were spoiled in their youths, "I still don't want to bury myself in snakeshit. I never said it would work either! He's probably too mad by now to even listen anymore."
Kalixi's hind paws flex, scraping little furrows in the wet sand that rapidly fill with the water that still streams from all of that thick fur. "D'ye mean, right now, or, in the forever sense?" She's interested now. Cautious, skeptical, mum-stern, but interested. "Would it help to be in... ye knows, a more appropriate place, instead o just half-arsed on the beach? Shouldn't there be... stones, shells, a circle of sommat?"
Ruby red eyes flaring wide, the serpentine, slitted pupils narrowed with interest on Kalixi, "Maybe one, maybe the other? Hard to say without trying first." He looks around a bit, "Well, yeah. I mean that'd help. That means we gotta *prepare* though."
Kalixi rolls her olive-dark eyes thunderously. "Eerh, it be an -ancient ritual-," she parrots him from previously. "Then o COURSE ye should prepare, ye dizzy songbird. If ye thinks he might be hard to reach, ye ought ter prepare, rather'n shakin yer hind end around a pole like a girl lookin' fer coin an whistles." Also, finally, she hands him the shellfish knife, handle-first. "Stop playin with the poor clam an' et it already." Exhale. "So what else knows ye about this ritual ye were startin?"
Tade rolls his eyes in return, a near perfect imitation of her Vydra rollitude, "Well of course preparing makes things better! I wasn't trying to do the *hard* version. I was trying to do the quick and dirty version *first*." His own exhale follows, but it could not be nearly as exasperated as Kalixi's was. The knife is taken, and with a skilled enough flick the clam is pried open and the succulent morsel within is slurped up with gusto. He was certainly a boy who liked his food, "Anyway if we're gonna do the better one then we should get Ulfy to come help too."
Kalixi purses her lips. "Why for do ye need yon Ulfarr? Never seed him do magic of any sort, other'n of bravery and swordplay and the occasional spout of salt language." She hrrrms, thoughtfully, like a rusty bucket sliding down a rocky slope. "Not that I know many magisters of nature or serpent or... who might puts up with ye."
"Well because couples do things together?" Tade offers as if this was somehow a real answer and now a strange redirection by turning it into another question, "We're gonna need a lot of shellfish. Maybe you can get your pirate friends to take you out on their boat?"
Kalixi pinches the bridge of her nose, apparently willing to let that whole 'it'd be a fun date, trying to summon an elder beast' thing slide. "I can ask, but I be not precisely friends with the whole o' the crew. What else be ye needin?"
"Grapefruits? I'm pretty sure mother said he likes those. Candles, bundles of yarrow and meadowsweet, enough wood for a really big bonfire, and a live animal. A big one." Tade drops the shell halves on the sand and shakes off his hands a little bit before going over to lean down and rinse them in the water. He takes his staff once his hands are clean and wanders back to Kalixi, half leaning on the staff as he regards her, "I don't suppose you have any more of that bone powder Ulfy brought, do you?"
"Narh, we used it all ter clear up the mess that Brighton's dumbfards wrought," Kalixi rasps, looking thoughtful. She's looking especially thoughtful about the bit with a big live animal. "But we can make a list, an' then if we ever manage to get all of these together, if ye not be still here we can send for ye. Praps they'll have to go home at least for the powder, as that be not somethin' easily come by." She lumbers over to her bucket and picks it up, looping the rope over and under her arm so it's coiled against her shoulder. "Meanwhile, there be mundane needs to look after. But if this... be not a complicated jape, it just may work. Very least peraps it'll make the old sod happy for a bit."
"Happy for a bit would be nice, at least, wouldn't it?" Tade rocks back onto his heels with a sense of restless energy, "We don't *need* the powder, it'd just make things a bit easier, is all." One hand waves, smile steadfast on his lips, "We'll make a list!" Agreeable when it's something he wants to do, it looked like this might be easy after all, "We'll get everything else first and see where we're at then."
It still looks like Kalixi isn't ENTIRELY sure this isn't one great big jest, but there doesn't seem to be anything in the preparations that seem untoward or objectionable. "All right then, wizard, at the very least if it don't work, there be fish an' game for all to roast. Safe travels fer now." It looks like the old lady is heading home, grand plans notwithstanding, presumably to dry off and get these shellfish cleaned.
"Gooooood night." Tade calls after the Vydra, one hand raised to wave at her back as she waddles off to go home. As for himself, the wizard takes one last glance at the dark sea before he vanishes entirely to drink the rest of the night away at the inn.