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Jan 27, 2021 7:36 AM
Saevetei makes new and exciting friends in a new and exciting wasteland
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The only things of value, really, are the things the cannibals themselves looted off other people. Taharqi seems to be focusing on items of more difficult manufacture such as glass or anything made of iron. There are also all of the little totems and religious symbols, if Saevetei is one for such AuthenticTM things.

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She would really rather not, thanks. Instead she’ll stick with the things Taharqi seems to be after, gathering them into a little (looted) cloth pouch. The iron is about the only thing that seems worth the trouble, but okay. She’s fine helping out the man who helped her.

The place is quickly looted, and then they can go.

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So Taharqi walks past her and out the village to lead the way to... "I hope you don't mind riding bareback, I don't have a saddle on my horse." His horse is apparently where he's leading the way to!

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"You have a horse!" she sounds absolutely delighted. "I'm afraid I have no experience riding, I've barely seen any horses at all, so I will be absolutely hopeless."

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"Hold on tight and try to let your body go where the motion of the horse wants it to go," he advises. "Resisting it will only make it more uncomfortable."

Rather than straightforwardly following the river, though, he takes a right turn around a large boulder and doubles back to start climbing up a reasonably steep path. Steep enough that at points he gets down on all fours for better stability.

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...

This would be made less awkward if he had on pants, but, uh. Well. Here they are. The worst part is that she feels like she's the last person that gets to be uncomfortable about nudity. Echoes of one of her teachers telling her that magic is best done stark naked so as not to mess up the details run through her head, and that she should get over it. Along with all of the many times she has been annoyed at other people for being uncomfortable about herself being naked. On account of how her resurrection works. She makes the firm decision to try and not be weird about bridging cultural gaps. Like by gawking. Which she will not be doing. Even though he is, admittedly, a very pretty person. Who is not wearing nearly enough clothes.

Climbing! They are climbing. They are climbing and she is going to be so very careful about climbing this steep path. She wouldn't want to trip. Mhm. That's what's going on here.

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If he notices this at all (how would he? she's behind him) he shows no evidence of it.

The path is approximately exactly as treacherous as a path can be while still being accessible by a horse. A very nimble horse that is extremely obedient and uses to rocky, winding, narrow paths between cliffs and boulders. Taharqi himself seems barely winded, sure-footed and agile. He does not slip or trip or lose his balance, and after a couple of minutes they reach a part of the short cliffs that is friendlier to walking.

This part also has very good view of the village they just plundered while not being itself very easy to spot, and the angle suggests he was probably pretty much right around here when he started helping her out with his arrows. Which means that the way down he took when he was coming into the village to reveal his presence was probably somehow climbing the significantly more vertical cliff face between this spot and her.

And over there she can easily spot a brown horse with a few pieces of rope attached to it and various pouches with other loot hanging from them. Taharqi grins up at the horse and trots over to her happily. "There's a good girl," he says, getting up to the side of the horse's face and offering his hand up for her to sniff before patting her cheek and neck. "Thank you for being so patient, I'm sorry it took me so long. And here, we have a new friend! This is Saevetei, she is a voodoo witch."

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Saevetei sporfles.

"Witch I'll accept, 'voodoo' I will not, don't slander me to your horse!" She goes over to the horse to coo and introduce herself; would the horse like to sniff her? She may sniff her! "Who's a good horse who is not going to listen to slander, you are, aren't you, pretty girl."

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"It is no slander! My people have much respect for the voodoo arts." The horse will sniff her, then sort a bit and pat the floor with her front hooves while stretching her neck a bit to offer it up to Saevetei. "Seems that she likes you. Her name is Lucky, because I was damn lucky to find her here when I did."

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"Huh! That's interesting," says Saevetei, gently petting Lucky's good soft nose. "Well, it is translating to a somewhat offensive slur of a magical practice I don't actually know how to do! The more classy name for it is 'vodoun,' which does not imply animal sacrifice and occasional torture. That one's more associated with 'voodoo.' And would be an especially rude way of introducing me to an animal, considering!"

She sounds teasing, and not particularly angry.

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"Oh. You don't do any sacrifices? What about the blood you used there?"

He starts fiddling with the pouches attached to the horse, dropping what appear to be stones from some of the bags onto the ground to replace them with his spoils. Apparently they are balancing each other on either side of the horse and are not actually attached in any way other than through gravity pulling on either side of the ropes. He extends his hand in her direction, angling it towards the bag she herself was carrying to offer to attach it to the horse for her.

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"In theory I could, but I don't know the specifics of how, I'd be rederiving it from first principles. There were not enough animals around to justify sacrificing them, and there are other ways to get what I want," she says, passing her bag over to him. "Technically speaking, for me, blood magic is a different magical practice. They weren't ritualistically sacrificed, I just uh. Killed them, and then since they weren't using their blood for anything I drained what was left of their life essence for transmutation. Most of my practice at blood magic is using my blood, I was just, um. Kind of pissed, there. About being killed. Plus, I was running on empty, power wise. If I tried doing that with my blood I could have maybe managed the bow before passing out, which would not have been helpful."

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"I understand. I think?" He does the same thing to other bags on Lucky's other side, then puts his hands on her shoulders and says, "Hyup!" as he pushes himself up to mount on the horse. He once again offers Saevetei a hand, this time presumably to help her get seated.

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Okay, she can do this. She takes the offered hand and attempts to get onto the horse!

...

She manages it, but she does almost fall off, catching herself on him with a squeak. "Sorry," she says, letting go of him before she's distracted by how pretty he is again. "I'll uh, try not to fall off, but no promises."

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"Hold onto me," he says, not looking over his shoulder but tapping his own waist to show where.

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"Right, yes, okay," she agrees, complying immediately. Is she blushing? She's maybe blushing. Damn it.

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"Do you want to fall off the horse?" he asks, turning to look over his shoulder with a smirk. "Because this is how you fall off the horse." He puts his hands on top of hers and pushes them firmly against his waist, tucking her thumbs into his belt. "Tightly," he repeats.

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Whyyyyyy. As in, why is he pretty, and almost naked, and why does she have to be directly behind him and holding onto him and his pretty almost nakedness? And also why is literally all of her sexual experience from the dream world? She doesn't really know how to handle touching a pretty person in physical space, it's different here!!! If this were the dream world she'd be fine, this is not fair, the world is clearly conspiring against her.

Naturally, she doesn't say any of this.

"I do not want to fall off the horse," she agrees meekly, and. Yep. Holding on to him. Tightly.

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"Correct answer," Taharqi says, turning to look ahead again and holding onto Lucky. "Hyah!" he calls, and the horse starts trotting in the direction they came. Despite how treacherous it is, she is in fact nimble enough to do it, and Taharqi is a good enough rider to lead her. They are soon on stable ground again and he starts riding along the southern river bank to the east.

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Saevetei does not fall off of the horse! She feels this is an impressive feat and she should be lauded for her efforts and self control. Everyone should be very impressed and congratulate her accordingly.

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It's almost as if he hears her thoughts: "The rest of the way will be much easier, if you didn't fall off the horse there you won't fall anymore. You did well."

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”Yaaaaay,” she squeaks, followed by a little self-conscious giggle.

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He grins to himself then calls, "Hayah!" and Lucky picks up the pace. He leans forward so his body is closer to Lucky's, but she's not so fast that Saevetei will have much trouble if she doesn't do the same.

They follow the river bank, too fast to be chased by any reptiles.

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She can lean forward with him, that’s. That’s fine. She’s fine.

The scenery is very pretty. In a desert kind of way, anyway. Much nicer than looking at grey wastes.

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After a bit he starts veering left towards the water, then he turns left and they start trotting along a submerged land bridge towards one of the middle islands. The water splashing onto them provides a welcome respite to the oppressive sun, even though their trek along the riverbank under the shades of the trees and cliffs was surely itself substantially less onerous than running through the actual desert.

They gallop across the little island for a minute before they veer left once more to cross another submerged land bridge and reach the other side of the river. And a little bit up ahead it forks, a tributary to the main body of the river coming from the North, and Taharqi also aims to turn there.

Before they reach it, though, they can see an unlit bonfire with two naked people sitting by it. They give the horse riders wary looks and reach for their makeshift weapons nervously, but when Taharqi and Saevetei ride right past them they relax once more.

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