[19:12] Very narrowly before sunsink – after extensive conversation between Aka and Era, boiling down to "I'd prefer if we didn't wait for a kaaru!" from Aka and Era reasoning that if Akuned truly had seen some other kavkema recently, she was likely better equipped to finding them, and a few hours wait wasn't likely to make the difference – someone came.
It was three someones – Akuned clearly the odd one out, only dispassionately leading the way, and two sceptical but confident tag-alongs. Their air of scepticism dissipated quickly as they approached, spotting Era and Aka at the mouth of their (or of Akuned's) daytime refuge.
It wasn't until they were almost close enough to touch that one of them spoke – in standard kavkem, near-whispered intonation. You didn't want any prowling Hesha finding you just because you started a dialogue with someone, after all.
"Kalina." A brief introduction from the unknown female. A gesture to the male travel companion. "Yanaru." Then, immediately, body language one of concern: "Where is the rest of your group?"
"Dynash," Akuned offered in a conspiratorial whisper to Rakashei, who didn't want to be close enough for a conspiratorial whisper and tensed uncomfortably.
Dynash was one of the better-known kavkem organisations.
[19:18] Seradamar nodded to the newcomers in order. "Seradamar. The rest of our group is working to deal with the situation at hand. We were... those willing enough to risk this trip to find allies."
[19:34] "Rakashei," Aka introduced himself, peeling himself out of Akuned's personal space.
Yanaru dipped his muzzle respectfully to Era and Aka in turn with the minimalist introductions, although he remained otherwise quiet. Kalina offered an explanation even as she swerved her muzzle in assent to Era's observation about their group: "Yanaru does not speak, lest you wonder about that, but I give you my word that he does understand."
"Took out his vocal cords, probably," Akuned chuckled, netting herself a glare from Aka. Given that neither Kalina nor Yanaru flinched, however... perhaps it was no exaggeration. A question why came as quickly as it was instinctively privately answered: Can't tell the Nayabaru anything if you're literally incapable of speaking.
Unless they made you point at the answers. A multiple choice questionnaire for a tortured captive made for an absurd mental image, but certainly wasn't technically beyond them. That said, of course it would be slower than vocalised alternatives. Worth it? Probably not. Soothing on some level? Possibly.
Once he realised Akuned was serious, however, Rakashei very clearly had to resist mouthing a slightly alarmed 'creepy as fuck' to Serademar.
Kalina seemed unperturbed by Rakashei's brief distress, perhaps used to the reaction and certain it would subside with time. "We are not sure what your situation is, given it was this one who told us about it," Kalina remarked, evidently unconcerned that she'd just publically called Akuned's trustworthiness into question.
Akuned rolled her eyes, casting her head back briefly. "Yeah? I wasn't lying, though, so joke's on you," she leered, although with a kind a manic humour, perhaps taking some twisted joy in that her very nature was causing other people to waste their time.
[23:58] Seradamar nodded. "Pleased to meet you both. There's a lot of story to explain, and a lot of issues, but before I begin, how much did Akuned say to you?"
[00:21] "While she chose other words to express it, she spoke of a third kind of people that you had encountered, neither kavkem nor Nayabaru, that had come from the skies. As we understood it, this was more... literal than usual?" She paused for a moment, lowering her muzzle respectfully and blinking, signalling that she did not mean to disparage any faith with the observation.
"Understand, Yanaru and I speculate that if true, these visitors may have something to do with the shifted skies, which suggests an alliance with them may well be invaluable. Akuned said you were looking for potential allies to save the visiting representatives of this people from the Nayabaru." With a gentle but determined air: "If all this is true, we offer our aid."
[00:26] "This is..." he paused, somewhat pleasantly surprised. "Actually perfectly accurate. Yes, this is literal." He stooped down and began to draw in the sand, describing the creatures that had come down and the mother-thing that had put them here as he drew the rough representations. "...they have all indications of intellect, a language of some kind that is, to our ears, foreign. We were able to understand some basic things with... drawings and exchanges and gestures. The Nayabaru have them now."
[00:47] "Told you," Akuned said triumphantly, letting her curiosity guide her to the crude representations drawn into sand, earth, and occasional hidden strand of vegetation providing a hurdle to Serademar's claws.
Yanaru and Kalina watched the image unfold, both listening to what Serademar had to say about the subject. Finally, it was Yanaru that tapped Kalina's shoulder, then gestured opaquely to her for a moment's de-facto private communication – so that's how they had 'speculated' on the aliens' nature earlier.
"Yanaru believes that if the Nayabaru have them, we should leave now and hope any damage can still be reversed," Kalina explained, a trace of concerned agitation in her voice revealing she likely agreed. "Are you planning to head back in unison or will one of you seek out more allies?"
Rakashei flicked his muzzle. "Not alone."
"Oh? What an interesting coincidence," Akuned observed in a biting tone. "If the Dynashgadecha are gone and one of you is leading them back, that leaves precisely two kavkema, which we all know is the correct number of kavkema for travel."
[01:33] Seradamar sighs, then says, "We need not cause more troubles nor squabbles. We should work together. Aka, I have described where to go. Are you comfortable getting there?"
[01:40] The comment 'we should work together' prompted a venomous glare from Akuned, as though to imply it wasn't her making that difficult – but she reverted to normal a moment later.
Rakashei was struck by mild confusion. "I think so?" he voiced, cautiously. "...are we not leading our new friends back together?"
[01:44] Seradamar ignored Aka's query for a moment then turned to Akuned. "Do you, perhaps, know of one or two others that may be willing to join us, that we may be able to meet on the way back?"
[01:57] Without that his opinion had been asked, Yanaru submitted a quiet, concerned expression to the unfolding situation – not stern, not alarmed, simply expression caution. A less fervent analogue to Rakashei's concerns.
If Kalina had an opinion, it was invisible.
Akuned seemed to consider Serademar's question for a few moments. The implication that she was coming along didn't seem to rouse anything in her; perhaps she'd already considered joining their bizarre quest and their acceptance was an optional detail.
Finally: "Only if you want this to be a rescue mission." Meaning: Yes, but they've been caught and are rotting in some Nayabaru backwater's version of Pens. "Although to be fair some of the rescues might be trivial." Meaning: Nayabaru are idiots. "Counter-question: Do you want the help of kavkema that got caught?" Meaning: Kavkema too.
[01:59] "I will take the help of anyone with experience with the Nayabaru. That being the case, Aka, I believe you should take Kalina and Yanaru and lead them. I will, with your permission, Akuned, go with her to find a few more to help. Is that acceptable to all?"
[02:13] Rakashei's feathers ruffled in a gesture of not okay – but he left it at the gesture, restraining himself from making any verbal comment on the subject. Serademar was adult enough to know that a 'trivial rescue' was metaphorical suicide, a risk out of proportion to its potential benefits; he was clearly trying to keep Akuned occupied and away from the other three.
Instead: "I can lead them back," he said, firmly. "If it's safe to do so, do you want us to wait for you at the landing site before we track the others from there?"
If the two were going to go through some motions of rescue, that was unlikely – the time disparity would start to be prohibitive. But if Era was just giving implicit lip service to Akuned's suggestion, they might well arrive almost simultaneously, allowing them to regroup with each other.
[02:15] He turned to Aka, lips curving slightly. "I expect, should things go well, we will be there shortly after you. However, see what circumstances are there. If you find there are others ready to make an attempt, do all you can. If not, await us as long as it is safe. We will be there."
[02:29] A good signal, then. It smoothed Rakashei's feathers back out. "Understood," he acknowledged, before turning to Yanaru and Kalina, silently gesturing for them to follow him. A moment before he started leading the way, he let an uncertain glance linger of Era – will you be all right? – then smiled and said: "Travel safely, my friend."
Once his attention was on the route that would first involve inane, direct back tracking for days and took little effort to find, he addressed the two Dynashgadecha quietly: "Are you amanata?"
The casual answer drifted over to Serademar just as softly, just at the edge of perception: "Yes."