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"Don't be impatient with me!" she snapped.

"Don't yell at me!" he hollered back.

Daria stood at the top of the cliff, breathing hard, seething with frustration. When she tried to think about knots, her mind went empty. The rope still trailed off her climbing harness and back over the edge, a heavy reminder that if it were suddenly pulled, she would go tumbling down and smash her body open like an overripe fruit on the rocks below.

Curse her stupidity.

She couldn't think of the right words to explain this predicament, and even if she could, she couldn't shout them all the way down to Jarid* below.

Silence from the bottom of the cliff. He probably thought there was nothing more to say to her until she got done with her snit.

The rigging loops which had held her rope on the way up still hung below the lip of the cliff, out of her reach. They hadn't counted on this when they planned the climb. She was supposed to just reach over and grab them, unhook herself and climb down without a rope along the other, far easier route behind her. But it wasn't so easy as it had looked from the ground. The top part was almost sheer, without a decent hold until as far down as she was tall. And she couldn't just grab the rigging loops - they dangled an arm's length out of her safe reach.

"Is there anything to tie off of?" Jarid yelled.

She looked around a little desperately. "There's a rock, 'bout as far around as two men." She set her teeth - that was a conservative estimate - but surely she could rig it somehow.

She thought of telling him, again, that she should leave the rigging loops and just climb down without rope. But it had taken him and Ean a long time to weave even a foot of rigging. She couldn't begrudge them that because of her own cowardice. She smiled ruefully. Ean wouldn't listen if she did.

Jarid had circled around to the 'easy' side of the rock. "I'm coming up!" he called.

Her stomach went sour. Expert as he was with knots from his time hauling gear in the mines, Jarid didn't actually have much climbing experience. Safer for her to start down without a rope than for him to scramble up as far as he'd need to be to throw her more rigging, surely. Better she should fall than let him take her risks for her -

But he was already climbing.

She paced the top of the rock as the sun blazed down on her bare shoulders. Her mouth was already dry, and she'd brought up no water. Tempting as hell to get down on hands and knees and cup her hands in the pool of brackish rainwater that had collected in a hollow in the rock. But the sun was already going to make her sick enough by the time she was back on the ground. Curse this body and its pale, easily burned skin. For that matter, curse the fact that if she went toren and just flew down, it would be left stranded up here instead of shifting with her.

Where was Jarid? She couldn't lean far enough over the edge to see him.

She held herself back from calling out. Too late to order him to stop. Better not to interrupt him with her fear.

Too late to ask him to bring water.

There. His tousled head appeared over a crest of rock. Two thirds of the way up, there was a flat area broad enough to shelter a tree. He hauled himself over the lip and waved to her.

The last bit was the hard part. Crouched at the edge, she couldn't see a single good hold, just a wide, v-shaped crack between two rounded boulders.

"Wait there," she called.

"Why?" Jarid sounded resentful.

Because you're not as strong as you think you are. She pressed her hand against her forehead, trying to force the blur in her head to resolve into a correctly knotted rig that would loop around the big boulder and let her both lower herself safely down, and retrieve the rope afterwards.

"I need to think," she finally said.

Jarid sat sullenly down in the shade of the tree, no doubt with the knots already worked out in his own head, but knowing he couldn't explain them from where he was.

There! Pacing back around the puddle of rainwater, she spotted two bolts anchored side by side near one of the other edges. There must be a second climbing route, and - she did a quick mental estimate - if she anchored herself there, it would be safe to lower down over the other side and rescue the rigging loops.

As safe as her knots could be without Jarid watching over her shoulder to make sure they were twined right.

Then started the long process of unhooking herself and hauling up the entire rope until it lay in a loopy mass at her feet. She could remember only two knots, the twin-moons and the stopper knot. Twice she had to undo them all and start again. It hadn't been quite so clear to her growing up, when she rarely talked, just watched people make things from the fringes of a group and then went off to figure it out her own way afterward. But now that she had to live among people again, it was becoming clear that she was just stupid. Her mind couldn't keep up with people's instructions. It would be a significant disadvantage back home, running Teiranen, that she would have to become very good at hiding and minimizing. She hoped that the other toren would appreciate a strong, silent, earnest type.

"I'm going for the rigging loops!" she called, in case Jarid were still listening. Finally, her hands dusted with a fresh coat of chalk, lowered herself over the side on her own rig. The rope stretched and bounced and pulled taut.

Elation surged in her as she fumbled to get them unhooked. "Got them!"

She scrambled back onto the top of the cliff.

"I can come down now," she called to Jarid.

Silence.

Realization penetrated. She was blocking him out. He wanted to join her up here. And now that she'd found the second set of bolts, he could. She probed her reddening shoulders. Yes, worth it.

"Throw me your belay device," she said. "I think I can belay you up."

And so she lowered the rope down through the wide V for the last part of Jarid's climb. A few minutes later they stood together at the summit, the sun and the wind in their faces, and laughed at their stupidity in not bringing up any water.

Daria on the cliff

Kin on the cliff

* Feris and Kenyn, the griff boys from Teiranen, are now Jarid and Ean respectively.

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Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
jimnightmare
Sep. 3rd, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
:D Your dumbass adventure sounds awesome, Daria! Whoa, you guys are really high up there. Did you climb all that way? Is that shashigai?

I've never been that good at climbing anything because I'm not that strong, so the most I've done is really dumbass times with my friends trying to drag me up to the top of playground equipment. I think 47 mentioned that my new goal in life is to get her to climb a tree. And she's all thinking it's a good thing because she doesn't want to be so supercontrolled, but I'm thinking mostly that's a good side-effect, but the real point is to get me into a tree. I've always wanted to climb a tree, especially because my friend Eric is one of those people who you'll be walking around with him and suddenly he'll be halfway up a tree and looking all confused like he doesn't understand why everybody else isn't in the tree with him. It just sucks because all the trees nearby are pine trees so I haven't found a good one yet. Even though it's really creepy to not be a robot if I'm fronting, I'm trying to think of the good side, which is maybe I can try a bunch of stuff I'd never be able to do on my own.
pyraxis
Sep. 4th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC)
Yeh that's shashigai. :D And it's... *closes eyes*... about 60 earth feet up.

If you get 47 to climb a tree, I'll... I'll think of something good. :D pyraxis is like Eric. She and Shashigai used to go for walks and she'd be up the trees anytime one comes close. One time she was waiting for a job interview call and up in a tree sketching. Fantasies of taking the call up there and telling them where she was. I woulda done it.
jimnightmare
Sep. 5th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
60 feet? Holy crap, that's... *also closes his eyes for a minute*... that's like me standing on my own head 11.4 times!

@Pyraxis: That's so awesome that you can climb trees! I'm all jealous now. I'm gonna do it as soon as I can find a good tree. :D

This is kinda random, but can I ask something to you guys or to shashigai? Has he ever written anything about who the people in his system are? Cause he sounds awesome but also very mysterious. I'm like, I've talked to you a little bit, and I've met some people, but I just realized I don't even know who I've been talking to some of the time. XD
pyraxis
Sep. 5th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
What he has is a deadly combination of ADHD and Asperger's. He looks all mysterious 'cause he forgets other people exist. Often in the middle of conversations. :P I've long since given up trying to remind him to go maintain social connections. It's like herding a cat through a yard full of sprinklers.

I'll tell him you asked, but I can't promise you'll end up with a cogent explanation. XS
(no subject) - jimnightmare - Sep. 13th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pyraxis - Sep. 13th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
pyraxis
Sep. 11th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Um, can I talk to you about shashigai for a bit? It's about my son. The little wolfcub/boy you met way back when, that you were scared of because you thought he would scratch you or something. I think maybe that's part of the reason shashigai doesn't come around much. There are lots of other IRL factors, but I think this one is important too.

pyraxis was talking to Wolf the other night about why Sha doesn't grow up. He's been out of kifu for three Earth years now and at least one dreaming year and I've been taking care of him for most of that, but he's still pretty close to the same age he went in. Wolf said that the reason he doesn't get older is that people don't expect him to. The fabric of the dreaming is molded from everyone's thoughts, but nobody except me is expecting him to grow up, and I'm really the only one close to him anymore since Walkie left. Except Daria, but - I don't know what she thinks. I do know that Ua sent its wisest priests, Uz'lao and Ua'roke, to help him learn to be less wolfcub and more little boy, and it didn't work. He just got scared and ran away through the dreaming and Daria was the only one fast enough to catch up to him.

And pyraxis was reading this article today. Neither of us had realized that other people saw it as natural too for kids like him to gradually mature and get older as they get to do and learn more things. I want him to have that chance.

Cause it sucks to have people be scared of you when you haven't done anything wrong. I can tell you right away that his parents were scared of him too - I mean, what do you do with a kid that young who has that much magic? - and that's part of why they treated him so bad. So he runs away from people who are scared of him, the same way he runs from people he thinks might hurt him.

That is to say, maybe he's a freaky kid, but he's only a little boy for heaven's sake, he never hurts people on purpose and - well, except when I give him permission. But I would never tell him it was okay to hurt you. I don't know if we could pull it off, but maybe if we worked together, we could get him to come back.
(no subject) - jimnightmare - Sep. 11th, 2009 08:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pyraxis - Sep. 11th, 2009 10:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimnightmare - Sep. 12th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pyraxis - Sep. 12th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yonjuunana - Sep. 12th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimnightmare - Sep. 12th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pyraxis - Sep. 14th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pyraxis - Sep. 12th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimnightmare - Sep. 13th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimnightmare - Sep. 12th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pyraxis - Sep. 12th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC) - Expand
yonjuunana
Sep. 3rd, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
She could remember only two knots, the twin-moons and the stopper knot. Twice she had to undo them all and start again. It hadn't been quite so clear to her growing up, when she rarely talked, just watched people make things from the fringes of a group and then went off to figure it out her own way afterward. But now that she had to live among people again, it was becoming clear that she was just stupid. Her mind couldn't keep up with people's instructions.

Hahaha, I can identify with this a whole lot. I didn't actually manage to learn how to tie my shoes the "right" way until I was nearly 20. People kept trying to teach me as a kid, I couldn't understand them, they'd get frustrated and give up. Eventually I sat down and figured out my own method of doing it, which I still use.
pyraxis
Sep. 4th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
Pisses me off. 'Cause pyraxis would be better at it. But I don't want her to do it. XD

What I shoulda done is rappelled. Turns out Jarid/Shashigai knew that all along. But he couldn't tell me.
shashigai
Sep. 14th, 2009 07:08 am (UTC)
hiya dar
mini mini mini mini mini
make fi
seti sora shashiwords dar music
dni

hiya
shashi
Re: hiya dar - pyraxis - Sep. 14th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hiya dar - pyraxis - Sep. 14th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
wolfteaparty
Sep. 4th, 2009 03:35 am (UTC)
This sounds like a rather grueling experience. But it looks like you folks got great (if humid-looking) views!
shashigai
Sep. 14th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
dar wolf pk
hiya

shashi dress socks
hiya
thank you domo merci gracias, danke

shashi
pyraxis
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Yep, this is a place like your dress socks forum, where you can talk to people.

You're welcome. :)
pyraxis
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Oi! It's thanks to me!

Ya I know. I'm just playing.
evannumber4
Sep. 21st, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
*waves*
pyraxis
Sep. 21st, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
Heya, leaf man!

*a blue leaf with brilliant yellow veins sprouts out of the ground at your feet*
evannumber4
Sep. 22nd, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
My name is Ev- Oh! *crouches down to look at the leaf, smiles*

(no subject) - pyraxis - Sep. 22nd, 2009 02:09 am (UTC) - Expand
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )