Submission (#62) Approved

20 August 2020, 17:15:40 PDT (3 years ago)
1 July 2021, 14:42:59 PDT (2 years ago) by AliLV


Quest: Resonance - Act 2
Act Type: Bravery
Word Count: 2204
Adult Elnin Present: N/A
Regional Affinity: Enmir
Claiming Regional Affinity for: Spritz [ELN557]


[Act 2 - Face Your Fears]

Once, someone had told the young kittom that walking south was "as easy as walking downhill". Whoever that had been was thoroughly wrong in every sense of the word and Spritz peppered her thoughts with words her small shred of decency wouldn't even let her utter. The jagged peaks of Bellmoril were the bane of her existence and she spent many nights on the road, finding the paths between the towering edges of the rocks. It added an unnecessary length to her journey, but she pressed on regardless, weaving her way through the vertical lands of the mountains. Internally she groaned at every new craggy peak, even while in the sprinkled cities. Though no one chased her off of property lines, the weeks were fraught with hurdles. Having to buy more food, stopping due to weather, the occasional odd job to trade for something else. Despite the small hiccups, Spritz carried herself a "greater sense of purpose" aka "getting the sound to stop" in her ears. Their sensitivity had lessened, though they began to act as radars, twitching and twisting to find the newest path. Luckily for her, it meant there was no lingering in the land of the obnoxious mountains.

It was such a relief to board the ferry into Enmir, despite being shoved to a corner by the larger creatures that frequented the area. Against the edge of the ferry, she could see the long stretched water, moving into the swamp. The whole area reflected the mid-morning sun, while the waterways cut through the dense, wiry trees with their roots open like doorways. Above her, the branches were dripping in dried moss, woven together in a dense blanket of foliage. The earthy smell of the wetlands was invigorating to her and she sniffed wildly at the air, twitching her tails. "Whaddya think, Pizzelle?" She stared back down at her shadow. A faint snoring noise made her shake her head. Out of all the usefulness pomus' provided, hers missed the memo entirely. Spritz could hear the cawing of birds, looking beyond to where cranes had settled down, sifting through the waters through their next meal. The peaceful nature of the region made her nostalgic for the seaside and her little home, even though this water was murkier in comparison, she imagined that in the summertime it was just as refreshing to jump into. Behind her, some humans had congregated and she heard the usual "Oh isn't that little one so CUTE?" and she groaned. If any elnin had a coin for every use of the word "cute", they'd all be living like nobles in their own castles. At least they kept their wide berth and Spritz hopped onto a bench, staring out while they passed through the dense marshlands. 

While she couldn't be sure exactly her final destination, the ferry delivered her to Cindermarsh, a city surrounded by the forested wetlands. Above her, she saw the wooden buildings, precariously settled next to the trees with long walkways stretched across branches, creating a network the tiered city. Near the ferry dock, she could see out to a large city center where a moss-covered tower lay in the center while large domes of market stands surrounded it. Squeezing through the legs of the larger humans, she hurried up the wooden stairs, looking up and around at the city in the woods. "Wow." She let out, breathlessly and smiled back at a row of apothecary stalls, spread out with rare roots and plants. Avoiding the large boots of nearby people, she moved quickly through, staring at the different sights. Though she was deeply interested in learning more around the area, she had been traveling a long way without the luxury of a warm bed and felt the bags under her eyes growing. 

Passing over a short bridge, she giggled as the reeds of the cattails moved against her body and she rolled beyond to a small alcove settled at the bottom of a larger tree. The water here was covered in algae that spread up to the trees, while the reeds danced in the soft winds. It was unlike seaside, which was cool and free in its wind, rather humid that settled over the base of the town like a thick blanket. Spritz felt her fur frizz at the edges. I really need to find that inn. She thought, looking around her current position. From where she was, she could see that most of the buildings at the bases of the trees were public spaces. Among them were a few taverns, but concluded them to be catering to humans rather than Kyunru inhabitants or visiting others. Slowly, she paraded around the edge of the docks, looking out to the constant water traffic. The distant "Cuuuuuute!" calls made her ears fold back down and she grumbled, continuing her search. 

By some miracle, she noticed a sign etched against a tree with an arrow facing up and the word "lodging" next to it. Stifling a yawn, Spritz jumped up the stairs they had spiraled around the large tree. Her eyes were firmly pointed up, looking at the ropes and bridges strewn between the buildings, watching with awe as baskets were sent between different areas. The platform on top was rounded around the tree and she stared out at the branches and other buildings settled along. Around her, it was a bustling area where others crossed along the maze of wooden walkways. Spritz moved along the side to collect her thoughts. From her vantage point, she could an inn nestled safely around a large tree with long white pillars. The tree moved through the center, as if the inn were carved around it and within it, instead of built on top of it. Carefully, she slid towards it, standing at the edge of the platform and looking over the long walkway between the trees. Unlike the other walkway, from the ground she could see as a sturdy bridge, this one was older, to put it nicely. It was not carved and put together between two branches with fancy outfittings but could be better described as a jigsaw puzzle of wood slabs over vine rope. 

While she'd been staring at the trees, she was able to appreciate the building architecture and lush trees over the water. Yet, as she approached, her tails wiggled in apprehension and she stopped. For the first time in the trees, she stared down at the waterway below, freezing in place. "Ooooh." She murmured, her eyes looking down and her tiny body filling with apprehension. Blood pounded against her ears and she felt herself sweating. What is this?! She shouted the words in her head, looking back over down and to the little wooden planks. Her breathing quickened and she jumped back from it, shaking her head and she paced. "Okay, okay... calm down. It's like the pier back home, that's all." She spoke quickly, her tails wiggling to her agitation. "Just gotta take a step over and across." Hesitating, her paw stopped, shaking before she pulled it back, pacing back in a circle. 

This was not Spritz. 

She was fearless, running into the world. Learning now that not everyone was nice, and to maybe be aware of that, but she wasn't afraid of anything. Waves were her playground, the dunes a warm friend and even in the dark, the moon and stars kept her company. Odd noises were new discoveries and old fairy tales were just that. She frowned, glaring back at the bridge from her safe, stationary position. Thinking back to the crossing of Bellmoril, she tilted her head. She had complained endlessly then about the mountain paths, even going as far to take a 4-day detour rather than take the 6-hour mountain trail. Whereas she'd never had trouble looking from areas of landscape, things like mountains and now the tall trees were giving her problems. But why? She thought, affixing her gaze back at the treetops where marsh birds were singing happily. Around her was a blur of movement as others moved across the more ornate walkways and moved on with their business. 

But she, the small elnin that they kept calling cute. Referred to as small. Despite all of her attitude and love of the outdoors, especially on the beach of Palu'au, or the fields and forests of Faerindell, she'd failed to really experience heights of this magnitude. Everything else was close to the ground, low and to a jumping distance that suited her height. None of the houses she'd been in were above three stories, and that height wasn't terrifying in the least bit. A tumble even from a small tree was pale in comparison to the sheer drop off of the side of the towering tree. Even if the green water underneath cushioned the blow, the thought of tumbling off made her shiver. "No!" She cried, walking to the edge and back away, pacing in place. Maybe she hadn't had experience with heights before, but it shouldn't be something that bad, right? 

The bright hues of her eyes focused across the walkway, noticing that a human was walking through with ease and passed her without even a second glance. "That guy has to weigh more than me." She said under her breath, looking back at the now swaying bridge. The inn she was looking for was at the end, a destination and place to rest while she figured out the adventure she was on. Without staying there, it meant another stop on the side of the road in a tent. She imagined the wetlands were miserable for campable lands and she hated to think she might get flooded out if the weather suddenly turned to rain again. Furthermore, what if where she was meant to go was somewhere high up, like a castle tower or tall tree? Or maybe settled over a volcano mouth? That thought bothered her more than the fear of heights - the fear of failure. 

I refuse.

Resolute words were loud in her mind and she fluffed out her tails like one might shake out legs. She lifted one paw and then the other, staring at the prize at the end of the walkway rather than down again. Maybe if she treated it more like a game of jumping stones she would have an easier time. That was something she could do on the inlets of the ocean and crossing the little creeks and ponds beyond. Her body moved low to the ground and she kicked against the ground, much like a bull does when charging. "Focus... on the destination..." Her eyes stared back at the inn door, wiggling her tails. "GO!" She shouted, taking a running start and she bounded onto the walkway. One plank, then another, then another. She was making good time, but she heard the walkway groan under her and her gaze faltered, staring down and it caused her to stop dead in her tracks. 

"Ahh...." The soft noise escaped her mouth and she curled her tails back around herself, looking down in fright as the walkway swayed. The humidity around her made her fur sticky and she felt her paws sweating against the decaying wood holding her from certain doom. Her eyes failed to focus and she closed them, panting shakily. "It's okay... it's okay, you're okay." They were lies, of course, there was nothing okay and she could feel the stinging of tears coming to her eyes. It was barely halfway to the destination and here she was ready to mewl like a newborn for her mother or father. That was a bust in itself. The low hum in her ears was returning and she shook her head side to side, slowly cracking open her eyes again to across. Her body felt light and her vision blurred. It can't end like this, there's more to this journey. I have to keep going. 

The fear was palpable like it was hugging onto her like a trespassing monster. "No more." She said, filled with intensity, curling her tails up instead and staring at the large ornate door of the inn. Taking in a deep breath she shakily took a step. And another. Slowly she moved along, carefully settling each paw down. There was still fear inside of her, of falling or freezing up again, or never making it to whatever destination fate had in store. "I have to... and again." She spoke to herself as she made her way across. Her heart pounded against her chest and her tails rattled in the air, waving around. "And always!" She said again, taking two more steps and final jump in front of the tavern, all but collapsing and looking back at the walkway, sticking out her tongue in exhaustion. Suddenly a soft laugh escaped her and she shivered again while pulling herself back up to stand. The three tails wiggled in unison. The fear wasn't gone, no, as Spritz figured, but she had at least risen to meet it. Maybe if she could manage it, then she could get better control. She'd have to celebrate with a warm cup of cider at the inn, perhaps, but first she had to get the thing she needed most after such a harrowing experience: a nap.  


Reward Amount


Thumbnail for ELN557: Spritz

ELN557: Spritz

Reward Amount
AP (Enmir) (Currencies) 1