2010-06-14: The Great Feast (The Amazon)





Date: June 14, 2010


The village celebrates an evening of just living.

"The Great Feast"

Brazilian Rainforest

The deep black of night has long fallen over the Amazon rainforest, bringing out a different sort of night life. The sky for once is free of the menacing thunderstorms that have been plaguing the area for a while now, leaving the sky full of pinpoints of bright sparkling light.

In a remote part of the jungle is a clearing. At the center of it is a large bonfire, throwing an orange glow on everything, the fiery color slashing up to the tip tops of the trees. Figures move around the huge fire, laughter and the sound of drums filter through the dense brush. Circle of earth is packed around the blaze where people dance around it, nothing like the dance of civilization, but the rhythmic stomping of feet and movement of bodies.

Elders entertain the smallest of children with stories of their ancestors and the spirits around them, while the older children join the adults in the dancing.

Mark Scotts sits at the edge of the circle, his the orange-ish paint on his face about washed out by the light of the fire. He's down to the cargo pants, the orange paint having be spread across his chest, the black of his tattoo dark against his paler skin. His back is resting against a long of a fallen tree drug to the village center for these event. He watches everything with a toothy grin, watching it all like a kid watching something great. A bowl of the home brewed alcohol sits propped on his knee.

Not too far down way from the adventure, Dr. Norman Wallace sits were the elders are gathered, one honored guest being the 'Mother of All'. Her small hunched form, near the Plant Talker, both in quiet conversation while they watch the celebration, both with those shallow wooden bowls.

Out dancing with the natives, Poco – dubbed the Dumb One by the natives — seemed to be blending it more then most of the people on the team. At the moment he stomps around the circle with the rest of the dancers in nothing but the typical loincloth worn by the men in the tribe. His body is painted up wildly, though he hasn't gone for the piercings at least.

For tonight the looming fear of the approaching mercenaries has been put aside for a relaxing night of family, food and fun.

Jamie would probably be expected to be with those older kids dancing, but she's not, not yet at least. She stays back a bit, a spot that isn't in anybody's way, and she watches the dancing closely. Almost studying to figure out what they're doing.

Dee, now with a more comfortable 'crutch,' which is really just a walking stick with cloth wrapped around the part that goes under her arm, approaches Mark with Yossarian trailing behind. While Dee isn't painted, the meerkat is, in colourful shades of red and black to signify his bravery. He is the bravest meerkat in the rainforest! Which doesn't say too much, considering he's the only meerkat in the rainforest.

"Never thou' this could hurt so much 'til I was off it for a few hours," she says, gesturing to her knee. The firelight especially serves to illuminate the map of scars that snake across the lower portion. "S'I hear you got shot in the stomach or somethin', eh? I'll show you mind if you show me yours." Grinning, she attempts to lower herself to the log. Not an easy task, but she eventually does it. Yossarian busies himself by very expertly sticking his nose into Mark's ear. Perhaps he hopes that one day, he will find a bug in there.

"Y'know, back home, when they did roadwork. Those 'uge construction barrels, y'know the ones? All 'ad 'Poco' stamped on the side. Makes me wonner if 'e calls 'imself Poco because he's been hit one too many times by automobiles…" She trails off in thought, chin resting in one hand.

Yossarian's got paint on his paws, apparently. If his little fingers get too close, Mark will have paint in his ear.

Face painted, hair partially braided, and with even more feathers added for the festivities tonight, Alexandra sits on the end of the log that Mark leans against. In an attempt to survive the pre-storm heat and humidity, the short sleeves of her shirt have been rolled way up, and the bottom of it lifted up and knotted together. Aside from the pants and the boots, she could almost, sorta kinda pass as something local-ish!

Head turned a little as she watches the fire, she's not very chatty tonight, knowing what she's agreed to help do when the time comes. This is like the calm before the storm, almost, and she's thinking things over. A wistful smile plays on her lips.

Off near the hunters, Cody has been chatting amicably, trying to learn a few more of their words. What she doesn't understand or know how to say, she uses crude gestures to communicate. She and the rest of the hunters have been making plans, big ones. Near their feet, in the dirt, large drawings of the village and some points have been marked out and lines drawn connecting them. It seems that they have been devising a perimiter of defense.

Her pot of home brew is untouched, after her and Jo's little adventure into the unknown, she's sworn off any alcohol or whatever it was they 'd been smoking. Not even a little hair of the dog to quell the hangover that's been threatening to break out of her skull all day. She shifts in her seat and glances at the rest of the people in their expedition, even Poco. Her eyes betray a bit of worry but when she settles on Mark, she gives him a smile of encouragement.

Poco's large feet stomp along with the warriors, his makeshift dance takes him in a circle even as he goes around the fire. On one of his rounds, the little Mexican born man spots the little girl standing off by her self. He changes his direction so that his dancing takes him to Jamie. "Come on, little one. Don't let them have all the fun." He gives her that big toothy smile of his holding his hand out. "Come on… it's all about dancing to the beat. Don' matter what you do." He does a silly little dance in place.

As Dee approaches him, Mark looks up and he gives Dee a bright smile. "Hey there, O' Animal Talker." He pushes himself to sit a little straighter, the bowl in his hands offered to her. "Drink?" His mouth pulls to one side with amusement. "Might take the edge off, lord knows I can't feel my toe." He gives said toes a wiggle.

A chuckle escapes him, an eye squinting shut as the meerkat gets his nose in the man's ear. "Hey now… watch what your doing." His hand gropes near him til he finds one of the cooked grubs and reaches across himself to offer it to the fuzzy thing to distract it.

Blue eyes, turned more a muddy color by the firelight flick to the side of Dee and his eyes register shock, before a trembling hand touches Dee on the shoulder. The Mother of All gives Dee a soft smile, Wallace just behind her, holding a bowl, which he hands to the Mother when she gestures to it.

The old woman says something, her voice is rough and betrays her great age. Her thin fingers motion to her own face as if she's explaining something. Of course, the Brit behind her offers to translate. "The Mother says you are missing decorations. She wishes permission to fix it."

Wile they talk Mark glances around the fire ring, looking for other faces. Cody's smile is spotted and he offers one back, though it slides away as he still doesn't spot Jo. Of course, Alexandra is noted and he calls out, "Alex… don't be shy." He gives her a grin.

Jamie is, of course, fully dressed up and decoratedlike a local girl, probably at the hands of one of the mothers of one of her new friends, except she's added her tankini top for a little extra covering. She grins at Poco's urging, hesitating just a moment, before she runs forward to join him and the others, "Ok!" She still does her best to imitate the dance of the locals, though her attempt probably looks silly to them.

Drink!? She looks into the offered bowl, but just can't seem to get the 'how this was made' story out of her mind. Yes, she will eat bugs, let leeches latch onto her, endure Poco's thongs, but can't wrap her head around 'drinking human spit.'

"Maybe later. Can't say no, after all. We 'aven't played truth or dare yet." Grinning, she pulls Yossarian off Mark, but not before he grabs the grub with both paws and stuffs it into his face. OMNOMNOM.

Somehow, despite the animals surrounding them, she managed to miss that the Mother of All had come right up behind her. Turning, expression briefly matching Mark's, it's not long before the smile returns. She's been avoiding the woman, not out of any sort of disrespect, but she was afraid that speaking with her at all might be misinterpreted as a plea for healing. And far be it from Dee to do that. "O'course," she says. "I didn't… I wasn't tryin' t'be rude…"

"And here I thought rolling up my shirt like this meant I wasn't being shy!" Alex says back to Mark with a little chuckle. "Besides, I'm a terrible dancer and…yeah. Not much of a drinker myself. Though, the process behind it all is pretty much the 'gold-standard' when it comes to demonstrating chemical engineering fundamentals." Oh no, someone got Alexandra started down the nerd road. At the very least, it gets her to turn toward the crew and start chatting their ears off!

Summarily dismissed by Mark, Cody simply turns back toward the hunters and rejoins their low discussion. Two of the hunters seem to be arguing over a certain point in the defense, the little commotion has the rest of the table hushing to listen until the blonde whistles and takes a stick to draw a squiggle into the dirt. Then, they all smile and hunkers back over the drawing. The new squiggle seems to excite a majority of the hunters and they all clap each other on the back in crongratulations.

"I think this is going to work," Cody says, slipping back into English. Then she glances back over to Alex and seems to consider her for a moment. The stick is pointed to the earth mover and then they all huddle into a tight circle, speaking low but rather excitedly.

A couple of kids come around this side of the fire, pulling Jo by the hand, trying desperately to help her learn the steps. The one is getting frustrated, the other seems pleased, particularly as she's wearing Jo's shoes, leaving the ex-marine barefoot. Red and yellow paint lines Jo's face and arms, put there shortly after she'd climbed the tree and retrieved the makeshift ball in relatively record time. She's getting the steps somewhat slowly, but then she missteps and shrugs.

"And, that, is a sign I should quit while I'm ahead," she says while she points towards Cody and the hunters. Something is going to work. "What's up?" She cranes her neck and smirks. This wasn't supposed to be a working night, is it.

Her dancing partners disappear again around the fire.

Poco does his best to help the young girl dance with the others, "See you are getting it!" He crows as he continues on, the villagers finds his attempted amusing, the laughter can be heard around the fire. Some of the girls come to join the silly dancing, making it look less awkward for the strangers.

Once permission has been given the old lady shuffles closer with bowl in hand. Even though Dee can not understand what is said, the words are half sung as finger tips are dipped into the bowl. Wallace moves to settled on the log to watch what is happening. In the distance the Elders watch just as intently.

Dee can feel the cool paint as it's smeared in lines and the such on her face. Wallace keeps his voice soft as if afraid to over power the old woman's voice. "She calls your gift a special one. The ability to hear the words spoken by the animals that share the jungle, it's a blessing." Lines are drawn along Dee's cheeks, the trembling able to be felt.

"To be able to thank the animals for the sacrifice they make so that the village may thrive." Once the paint is applied, the bowl is handed off so that the old woman can take Dee's face between her two small hands, when she does this, she seems to study the young woman. "The spirits have truely blessed you like many in your group."

Mark, meanwhile, is grinning at Alex. "Girl… right now… all that you just said." His hand lifts and he makes a motion of all it going over his head. He's not drunk, but it's a pretty good buzz. Never say the adventurer isn't willing to drink spit… especially when it's mixed with fermented fruit. Yum! Something to write home momma about.

His gaze wanders back to Cody, only to find Jo standing there are well. Eyes narrow a bit and the explorer works to get to his feet. Oooh no… no work tonight!

There is a bit of a sway as the world goes around a few time… hmm… might be a little more tipsy then he thought. Of course, as soon as he's on his feet some of the village women, grab his hands and pull him into the ring of dancers. With a short bark of laughter, the tall man is pulled into the fray, lost to the dancing for the moment.

Once she's dancing, all traces of the initial shyness leave Jamie and shes more herself, not caring any more than Poco that she looks silly. This is especially true once the other girls join in, laughing now as she dances around the fire with them and Poco. She does look over towards Dee getting her decorations painted on, and waves with a grin.

As the Mother comes close, Dee is very still. Even Yossarian, who's find his way onto his best friend's head, is surprisingly calm for a meerkat. Pale blue eyes, made almost orange by the glow of the fire, watch the old woman's eyes as she works.

These words spoken by anyone else would sound cheesy, corny, whatever dismissive word she could think of to describe them. Coming from this woman, though, they seem all the more important. She feels as if she should say something important in order to thank the woman, and finds that the words come so easily, because she's known what to say all along. "I share it. Their sacrifice. I feel their pain," she says, the troubling words quiet enough so that only those close to her can hear.

There's more - it's their choice, they defend this place because they love it, too. But she hopes all of that is conveyed in her few words. Hesitantly, because she doesn't know if it's forbidden, she reaches up to touch the Mother's arm. Wallace will have plenty of time to stop her if it's not allowed.

"Thank you," she says.

And then Yossarian is back to grabbing at whatever feathers happen to be attached to the Mother of All.

Alexandra's reaction to Mark's words, the way she smirks a little, tells him that it's not the first time at all that her words have sailed over the head of an intoxicated person (or heck, even a sober person!). "Sorry, sorry. I have a problem. I'm a nerd!" she giggles out. But really, it is a party afterall. Even though she's not drinking, and even though she's not a great dancer by any stretch of the imagination, she decides to jump into the dance line around the fire.

Smiling up at her friend, Cody waves her over. "Hey, we're working on plans for a perimiter of defense. Actually three perimiters of defense." She points out some of the dots and lines surrounding the diagram of the village and then draws a larger circle around all of them. One of the hunters bends down over it and begins poking his finger into the dirt, making new markings.

Cody's brow furrows as she considers the new marks and nods to the man with a large smile. "Okay, listen to this… On the ground, we're going to set up trip wires and traps all over. Hopefully we'll be able to cut their numbers by at least half before they get close. We can use Alex to dig pit traps pretty quickly and I think Wallace will be able to camoflage them really effectively."

While she missed his gaze when he was looking in their direction, a small smile edges Jo's lips as Mark is absorbed into the ring of dancing, but her attention is quickly diverted to the tactical plans and the smile is dismissed for a much more stoic expression. "Well getting rid of a bunch before we even see them is just good battle sense." Pointing to one of the marks she hmms, "If I was playing for the other side, I'd go in this way. Less commotion. The sound drowned out by the sound of water, and an easy source of resources. Taking riverside is advantageous especially because they can come prepared for an amphibious attack… not that they would… and the trees. We need to use them. They won't expect anyone above them and they're easy to blend into."

She winces a little before glancing back up at the dancers and then an kind of involuntary smile plays on her lips again. "This place is really… something, isn't it?"

The little girls dancing with Jamie, move to grab Alexandra's hands as she moves into the circle and drag her over to the smaller girl so they can show them both how to do things properly. Dancing to the beat of the drums being beat steadily, turning in tights circles as they move around the fire.

Poco himself has spun himself until he drops by the wayside, picking up a bowl of the spit drink. He'll be feeling that in the morning.

The Mother of All, gives the younger woman a gentle smile and Dee can fill warmth spill through her from where the woman's hands clasp her face. She feels at ease and… well…. good. The contact lasts only a moment before those aged hands slide away, leaving Dee feeling revived. A trembling finger leaves a line of paint down the meerkats nose, with a delightful smile. The old woman says one more thing to Dee, before she turns to move back to the place she was seated.

Wallace stays behind for a moment longer, watching the old woman. His head finally turns towards Dee, giving her a gentle smile. "She says to go carefully blessed sister." He quiet for a long moment before he adds. "I think you'll find your knees is just fine, lovely." Giving her a knowing grin.

The luck of the two soldiers is running short, sooner or later, Mark is going to remember what he was doing before he got caught up in all the dancing.

Jamie grins as Alex is dragged over, waving to her. Then she looks to the girls demonstrating how to do the dance properly. With this help, Jamie starts to pick up the dance better. She doesn't seem to get dizzy, at least not much, with all the spinning, and she's as full of energy as the other children. "This is easy," she says with a laugh once she gets the hang of it.

This place feels nice. Save for the plane crashing and getting lost, Dee feels like she's back in Africa, in the place she considered home for such a long time. Back with people who understood her and what she could do - people who didn't think she was a myth or a legend. Her lions, this tribe.

The lions were slaughtered. How can she allow the same to happen to these people?

"Reall— Really?" Dropping the decorum - as Yossarian, somewhat surprised by the line of paint on his nose - drops to the ground - Dee tests out her knee, finding it completely without pain.

She can't communicate her thanks in words, but perhaps the look she offers the Mother of All will do. Smiling at Wallace, and collecting Yossarian, she gets to her feet, making her way over to where Jo has just said something rather interesting.

"Alligators in the water," Dee says. "Lots of 'em. No' much gets past 'em an' the blighters feel no pain. Bet they'd love to sink their teeth into a few men for the poachin' that goes on 'round 'ere. I'd 'ave no problem convincin' 'em." She looks to Cody, as if asking for approval to do just that.

"Hey! This isn't so hard! Just…stomp with the drums! Or…something!" Alex is holding the hands of the little girls of the tribe, circling around. Stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp. You feel it. You feel the pounding of the drums in your chest and it spurs you on. It's surprisingly similar to another sort of rumbling, a comforting rumbling she's gotten used to over the years.

The group of generals is given an eye over her shoulder as the circle moves around the fire. She doesn't concern herself too much with that…leave the planning up to the soldiers. If there's someone who can come up with a good plan to keep this place safe as possible, it's going to be Cody and Jo afterall. They have the moves, clearly…it takes a heck of a lot to hunt down folks with abilities!

"Mmm.. Yeah, I thought about that. The trees, that is. We need to make use of them but I don't know how much the hunters would want to be up there." Cody looks between each of the hunters and points up toward the trees, her eyebrows raising in curiosity. A couple of them seem to understand and turning to each of the others, they convey the message. It's met with mixed feelings, obviously something to be discussed later when there isn't parties to be attending.

"Caiman's are a good defense, what about the giant anacondas too? A strike from one of them will leave a broken neck pretty quickly… but I need to ask, how man animals can you control or talk to at the same time?" Dee seems to be another part of the defense rather than the offense. As Jo is well aware, Cody likes to cover every strategy before making a move. Slowly, she points out the outer ring, "I need birds or monkeys or whatever you can do in a tight formation here… They need to be our first eyes. Then I need them to move with their targets… do you think you can do that?"

Mark's dancing takes him around the circle where he catches movement, spying Dee joining the group. The adventurer comes to a stop in the middle of the dancers, forcing some to dance around him. Glancing around him, Mark frowns a bit and makes his way out of the circle to the table of planner. "You know… you all don't quite get the idea of relaxing."

Stopping between Jo and Dee, he drapes an arm over each shoulder as he leans over to look. "You realize all this starts tomorrow?'" He gives them all amused looks. "Should let these poor guys go be with their families. Tomorrow the women and children will be packing up to leave." His smile slides away as he admits that.

"I've been sitting on Elder meetings and they have all agreed the village needs to move to a better place, deeper in." He gives them a lop-sided smile. "I was going to share that with you later when we start planning. We'll be keeping these guys busy while the tribe does a magic trick."

"It's an unexpected defence— I'll give you that much," the smile has melted away at the notion of animals as a first line army. "And it increases our numbers which is also a concern." Absently she chews on her bottom lip. "But do we have any idea what they'll come in with? Earlier they didn't get what they wanted. Once again, I can't see them not upping the ante— " but then Jo is interrupted by Mark's voice and the hand on her shoulder.

"This is relaxing though. Strategizing keeps us from going prematurely grey." Beat. "As does Cody." She nods a little though, "They do deserve family time. But. We could make preliminary plans while they go back to their families. Or. Would they not leave us to it?"

Maybe it seems a little tree-hugger, but Dee's matter-of-fact reply is, "I don't control them. I ask." There's a pause, then she clarifies. "It's like if I asked you t'pick up some milk from the store, and asked Jo to go to the cleaners, and then Mark to — " She looks back at him. "…Take… dance lessons. I wouldn't 'ave to talk to you all at the same time as you were doin' it. The request's already there." Dee shrugs. "Should be easy. I'm not gonna make them do anything if I can help it. That being said, I don't think there'll be a problem."

Looking into the trees as well, hearing some conversation that the others can't, she muses, "…Bet i could lead the defense in the trees…"

Suddenly, Mark.

"Back already?" she asks with a smirk. "'ope the lessons paid off, Mate."

With her wonderfully repaired knee, she finds it easy to duck out from Mark's arm, and she takes Jo's. "C'mon, you. No hard feelings. Let's go dance or somethin'."

As pertains to dancing, Alexandra seems to be having a good time…and she's not even drinking! The roaring fire is inviting, and the cheerful grins certainly are infectious! It's like hands around the world but, you know, fun. It's intimate and full of heart, the passion these people have for the jungle, for the trees and other plants, the animals, the sky, the rain and rivers - everything - is communicable through that primal pounding. It's easy to fall into the stomping dance, staring into the fire and finding whatever shapes and spirits for which your soul pines.

"I'm not holding any of them here, we were just doing what soldiers do… fun." Cody says as she looks between her party and the hunters. She gives a dismissive nod toward the women and children and though a couple of them tentatively move off, a majority of them stay and chatter excitedly amongst themselves. It's obvious that their playtime is over.

Cody doesn't put down the stick though, she's busy with the makeshift map of dirt. She digs the stick into the ground and looks up at Jo with a smirk, letting out a huff of a laugh. "Go Scott, dance with the animal talker. I'm going to keep playing in the dirt." A.K.A. keeping her mind from anything other than work.

"Ahhhh— " Jo is tugged towards the dancers by Dee, but tugs back just a bit, "Alright, I'll dance— " the encouragement is enough to get her to move. She knows Cody well enough to see she doesn't have a hope of getting her friend moving so instead, she reaches for Mark's hand, "— but you have to dance too! Again!" She relinks arms with Dee. "Come on! You're the one that said we were supposed to be having fun or something— "

There is a heavy sigh from Mark and he gives them all a look. Hand sliding off Jo's arm, Mark looks a touch hound dog. "Okay… well… if that's your idea of fun, who am I to argue." Taking a step back and turning back towards the fire partially, he gives them a bit of a smirk. "Well… I'm going to see man about a drink and I am going to go enjoy a final night of relaxation before I try to get shot at again."

Cause that's what could happen and the next time it happens their won't be a healer around. Mark can't help but chuckle as his hand is grabbed, his fingers curling around her smaller ones. "Okay… well… that's better at least. A few rounds, then I'm going to see a man about a drink." Allowing himself to be drug off.

The celebration will continues far into the night, but eventually families will settle down into their hearths for a more quiet moment of being together before all families are torn apart.

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