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  • A new city to call home

    Unnuk Umiaktorvik

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         Unnuk stood on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington bridge; with a deep sigh she overlooked the massive island that was to become the home of her and her fellow tribesmen. They had pulled over for a short break before entering into the city, mostly to stretch their legs before the long process of crossing Manhattan and entering into Brooklyn where she would, for the first time in as long as she could remember, be living on her own. Well...not truly on her own, the rest of the tribe were moving into the other apartments in the building, but she would have her own private space for once, and that was more than enough for now.

       The first few months had been rough. She set aside every bit of extra cash she could, and had finally earned and saved enough to open her store. She had taken the F train all over the city to find a location with good potential but hadn't found a single one to her liking. Two weeks passed before she heard about the doctor's office at 368 9th St. closing down due to the owners passing. A mere four blocks from her apartment Unnuk went to check it out. The location was more than she had hoped for. Two stories tall and located on the corner of 9th St. and 6th Ave. it was located by many restaurants which would help bring in customers who were either bored, or waiting on reservations. It took another week but she eventually made the building her own and set about making it her shop. The first floor was a coffee house decorated in the handmade artwork of her tribe along with some of their traditional tools that had survived the trip. The second floor was turned into a "New Age" supply store offering herbs, stones, and the other various tools needed to practice a pagan faith. She also had a sign posted offering various rites and rituals to perform for those in need.


         Unnuk sat up from her daydreaming, it was a particularly slow day, but she didn't mind because it was still early. Barely past noon it wouldn't pick up until about one or two when people would come in to drink coffee on their lunch break. Absentmindedly she reached down and scratched Yura's head smiling as the little white fox slept in warm spot of the counter created by the ray of sun that shone through the windows. 

    He didn't wake up fully, but shifted so her fingers landed behind his left ear.


    "Good boy." She whispered softly to him, as she stood to make herself a cup of chamomile tea with honey and cream. She also refilled Yura's bowl with water and a few ice cubes before sitting back behind her counter again, happy to pet him as she waited for someone to enter her store. 



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    Dika walked along the sidewalk, headed towards Prospect Park to meet a friend of his at Beth Elohim. Dika tugged his jacket closer around himself before shifting his briefcase strap higher up onto his shoulder; thankful that he thought to layer up as winter approached ever-closer.


    Dika's eye was caught by a print hanging up on a wall inside a cafe-style coffee shop that he hadn't ever been in. He knew that he hadn't travelled Brooklyn much but thought that something like this would have caught his eye before. He recognized it as an Inuit block print, of what exactly he couldn't make out but the general patterns were recognizable as Inuit and the fact that it was hanging on the wall indicated a block print that was typical of their art. Dika shrugged and decided that there was time before he stopped at the door and opened it with the sound of a tinkling bell. He stepped in just as he saw the shopkeep look up at him from behind the counter.

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    Yura's head popped up just before the bell above the door chimed softly.

    "Welcome to Northern Delights!"

    Unnuk said cheerfully,  as she looked up to see the man that had wandered into her shop.  

    She stood and moved away from the cashier counter and behind the brewing station.

    "Can I interest you in some Labrador Tea? It's the house special. Or today's special is our Wildcraft tea. Which has Cloudberry, Crowberry, and Juniper blended with your choice or Arcitc or labrador tea."

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    Dika smiled at the woman behind the counter and raised a hand in greeting to her.  [dika]"No thank you, ma'am; I was coming in to see the art actually."[/dika]   he said as he gestured towards the prints on the wall. Dika stepped up to them to get a closer look.


    Three large prints were hung on the wall, each simply done with black ink on white paper. The first one, closest to Dika, depicted a large owl with it's wings spread and it's eyes wide, staring ahead. Dika pointed at it and smiled,  [dika]"This must be a guardian of some sort, look at the size of it!"[/dika]   He stepped over to the second print, which depicted two people trekking through the wilderness. Dika kept silent, mired in thought at this one; considering what kind of journey they were on, and whether or not they were headed toward something or away from something. Dika stepped over to the third print on the wall and frowned. It was like a nightmare, depicting violence and fear in the form of a person being chased by what appeared to be a bear. The person's face could clearly be seen in twisted horror as he was frozen in the ink mid-run. A huge arrowhead was shown flying through the air at the bear, missing it by a wide margin. The bear's fanged maw was gaping open, it's eyes wild; as if it knew that he would never truly reach the person mere inches away on the paper. Dika closed his eyes, crossed his arms, shook his head, and shuddered slightly as the images filled his imagination with racing fears and feelings of conflict. He stepped back to the great owl and inspected it closer, noticing the authentication symbol on the print, matching the other two. He turned back toward the shopkeep and asked,  [dika]"I noticed the symbol showing these were all from the same community, but I don't know enough about Inuit art to discern more. May I ask, where did you get these?"[/dika]

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    Unnuk smiled as she watched the man look at the paintings. They had been placed to draw attention after all. 

    It was always interesting to her, to watch the faces of those who moved from the owl to the journey, to the bear and back again. 


    "Those were done by a member of the Nunavik tribe during the early years of the Resonance. One of my ancestors to be more specific though i can't quite tell you how separated we are." 


    Unnuk moved up to stand beside the man and look over the images, her own eyes fixed upon the image of the bear.


    "You were close in the viewing order, the bear actually comes first, then the journey, and finally the owl. It was his way of telling what happened."

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    Dika simply nodded, listening to the woman's words, following her explanation along in the prints. It did indeed make more sense that way, even if it did still put Dika off. He remained strongly drawn towards the great owl, getting inches away from it's face, staring deep into it's eyes; searching for something, what he wasn't quite sure of.


    After a moment, Dika stepped back and shook his head, chuckling. He turned around and stepped over to the counter, pulling out his wallet, deciding that he had stopped and taken up the woman's time; so he might as well buy something to drink on his way to the temple. He eyed the menu up on the wall, written in chalk on blackboard signs.  [dika]"Tell me about some of these drinks, would you?"[/dika]   he asked.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    Unnuk smiled at him warmly.


    "I wouldn't be a good tea shop owner if I couldn't, now would I?"


    She joked as she turned to look up at the menu.


    "Are there any teas of particular interest to you? Something to sharpen the mind,... She said pointing to a drink labeled -Mental Acuitea-  "...help with arthritis or sore joints?"  She points to another labeled -Mobilitea- "

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    Dika scanned the board, wondering at the strange names, before settling on one that was labelled 'helps to wake you up and get you energized!'  [dika]"I will try the Activi-Tea, s'il vous plaît."[/dika]   Dika placed a bill on the counter and continued to read the sign as the woman accepted his money, made his change, and went to make his beverage.

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    "Ahh what a wonderful choice."


    Unnuk said. As she made his change for him. She turned her back to him and pulled out a premade sachet of Activi-tea. She had to premake them. It was always a best seller among students. 


    Her back turned to him the fox laying on the counter that held the cash register peaked his head up. His small black eyes watching Dika's every move while Unnuk's attention was elsewhere. A few times she stopped and tilted her head, as if thinking something over. But these moments didn't last long before she returned to normal. Over all it only took her three minutes to make his tea. The water boiler running a bit slow today.  


    "Sorry, that took a bit longer than usual. I think the heating coil is going out on my water boiler. Will have to pick up a new one. There is a store upstairs as well, along with a few tables if you'd like to check it out."

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    Dika had become entranced by the fox that lay upon the counter, having bent half-over to get his face as close to the fox's as possible. He knew that the shopkeep was speaking to him, but exactly what it was she was saying he didn't quite catch; currently, he didn't quite care. Something was different about this fox, and he was determined to figure it out. At this point, he was nearly touching noses with the fox, staring dead into it's eyes, unblinking, waiting for something to tip him off as to why the mana streams were different with this creature; minimally different though they be. 


    Dika got his answer a moment later when a word rang out through his thoughts, jangling through his calmed mind. 




    Dika jumped back, falling over himself and a table with two chairs as the creature, yes the fox, reached out to his mind and thought-spoke directly to him. Dika huffed as he stood and straightened himself out, taking care not to step any closer to the fox than he was. He bent over again, only slightly this time, to incline himself closer down to the level of the fox.  [dika]"Hello to you too."[/dika]


    Dika stepped wide around the counter to accept his drink from the shopkeep. He finally broke his gaze away from the fox to make eye contact with her again.  [dika]"I'm sorry, what was it you said?"[/dika]   he asked as he accepted the mug of tea.

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    Unnuk glared down at Yura with a motherly scowl. 


    "I told you not to do that to my customers Yura..."


    The shop went silent for a moment as the two seemed to argue back and forth mentally before Unnuk looked up to face him.


    "Yura says he sees something different in you...tell me are you a wyr?...No that doesn't seem right...a caster of some sort then?"


    She put her hands on her hips looking back and forth between the two of them. Yura, the fox just looked up at her apologetically before turning to fix his eye on Dika once more.

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    Dika was again taken aback by the forwardness that people seemed to have in this area. He was still adjusting to people just blurting out whatever thoughts that came across their minds when it came to the different beings they came across. Dika knew they were alone, but it was still right out in public, shouldn't they be a bit more reticent? Dika shook the thoughts from his head as he sipped the tea, and promptly scalded his tongue. He gingerly set the mug down on the counter and rubbed his burnt tongue against the roof of his mouth, attempting to soothe it before he spoke.  [dika]"One of your people once called me something, a tookie-pal, I think? I'm honestly not sure. They said it meant different things, but that I was 'one who sees that which is hidden'. I'm probably butchering the word, aren't I?"[/dika]   Dika asked as he returned to trying to help his sore tongue.

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    "Well, your pronunciation is a little off, but it is close enough to know what you're saying."


    Unnuk said as she made herself a cup of tea, seizing the chance while the water was still hot. It wasn't anything offered on her board, just her own mix of chamomile and labrador. 


    "It's rare that a tookie-pal graces my shop. Would you mind terribly if we sat at a table upstairs and chatted?"


    She then turned to face Yura.


    } Yura, Would you mind watching the door while we chatted? I think you make him nervous.{  Unnuk thought to him.

    } Of course. Shall I yip when someone enters? Just in case you don't hear the bell?{  Yura thought back to her. His mental voice a soft baritone.


    She could tell Dika was moving his tongue around inside his mouth, his jaw flexed forward every time he moved his tongue forward. It was rare for Unnuk to offer what she was about to, but it was also rare she used her powers these days anyway.


    "Did you scorch your tongue on the tea? I can fix that if you would like me to."

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    Dika screwed his face up and shook his head.  [dika]"No, thank you."[/dika]   Dika said. He wasn't sure what she meant and he had no intention of finding out. He turned and headed towards the stairs, stopping suddenly and turning about-face again.  [dika]"Yes, we can go upstairs to sit and chat, that would be fine."[/dika]   he said before turning around again and beginning to ascend the stairs, silently chastising himself for being rude. Once upstairs, Dika stepped aside to allow the shopkeep to lead the way.

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    Unnuk shrugged and went up the stairs after Dika. Thanking him as he let her pass into the upper floor. 


    "Up here is what I call the ritual supply area. Herbs, daggers, bells, just about everything someone would need to start practicing the pagan arts. I've also got a large supply of books for those who wish to study. There are also a few tables in the corners for those who wish to read and drink tea. Once things get moving and we have our actual opening day, I hope to get some bands up here to play over there." 


    She explains indicating the far wall of the upstairs area, directly across from the herbs.

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    Dika gave the place a cursory look around, nothing jumped out at him as important or very different than most new age stores he had seen. He made his way over to one of the tables and sat down, blowing on his tea.  [dika]"You said you wanted to discuss something, let's."[/dika]   Dika said as he motioned to the chair opposite him. He scanned the room for a clock on the wall, but when he didn't see one he had to check his watch. He knew it was considered rude and made people feel rushed, but he did have an appointment to keep at the temple.

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    Unnuk leaned against the wall, casually sipping on her tea.


    "Honestly, I was mostly curious about what abilities you have. As I said earlier, it is rare that I meet others who have been given a gift from those above. I was wondering how, in you, they made themselves manifest."


    She took another sip of her tea, the expression on her face showing her inner curiosity.

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    Dika chuckled, and mused silently to himself about how pleased he was to see another person as curious and interested as he was about others and their powers. He blew on the tea before tentatively taking another sip, trying not to burn himself again.  [dika]"Quid pro quo, dear. I show you mine and you show me yours."[/dika]   Dika studied the woman for a moment, watching the mana field around her as she leaned against the wall. He saw what he needed to and began,  [dika]"I see that you are able to affect others, but not people it seems. I've met someone like that and you are very different. From the spirit-fox downstairs my best guess would be a theriomancer, but to what degree I can't tell without you actively using magic. Beyond that I know that you are 29 years old and are relatively healthy, but you are getting over a bit of a stomach flu from a week ago, you ate something bad."[/dika]   Dika sipped again on the tea, which was thankfully cooling down to a drinkable level as he let her gauge his evaluation.

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    Unnuk shifted uncomfortably for a moment. Having someone see that much about her made her feel rather strange.


    "So you are a seer then?" she mused.


    She sat down across from him at the table and took a rather long pull off her cup of tea, almost draining it before setting it down in front of her. 


    "I cannot confirm or deny your assesment of my powers. I must apologize as English is not my first tongue, nor is it my second tongue for that matter and I am...unfamiliar with the word. I can tell you however that your evaluation of Yura though is a tad off. He is a friend but not quite a fox spirit. He is culturally closer to what many others would call an... ela..men...tal." 

    She had to sound the word out carefully, having had few occasions to use it before. 

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    Dika waved his hand noncommittally, knowing that words and phrases rarely crossed cultures well.  [dika]"By fox-spirit I mean that he is more than a mundane fox, but not a magical creature. In most cultures that would denote he is a powerful spirit inhabiting a mortal body, in this case, you are saying that he is an elemental spirit; one of ice or snow if I'm not mistaken, hence why it was so cold downstairs?"[/dika]   Now Dika was just using deduction and reasoning, no longer needing his powers to guide him along. They were helpful yes, in providing information; but magical information worked just like any other kind, you needed the right skill sets to know how to use it correctly. 

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    "That is closer to what he is, yes and I must admit that it is partially because of Yura that it is so cold downstairs. Though he only causes about a ten degree difference. The rest is sadly poor insulation due to the buildings age. As for Yura's other magics...well there is his télépathie to consider. He may yet manifest more powers, but only time will tell. Truthfully it matters little to me as he provides me with good company, and even better conversations."


    She took the final sip of her tea and leaned back in her chair.


    " If you don't mind answering I would love to ask about you as well. Tell me, do you merely have the second sight? Or do your abilities manifest themselves in other ways?"

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    Dika shook his head in response.  [dika]"No, just the vision. No seeing the future, or finding a person's truth, or knowing if they are lying. Just that. Boring I know."[/dika]   Dika chuckled, hopefully convincingly. He had no intention of completely revealing himself and his abilities to this woman, this stranger. He may have a kinship with her, being altered, but he didn't even know the woman's name for goodness sake. She could be crazy, she could work for an ill-meaning organization, she could be hitting on him; he didn't know. The anxiety filled Dika with the urge to run, to get out, so he did. Dika suddenly stood up, leaving his unfinished drink on the table; he wouldn't miss it, he had barely tasted it for being burnt. He gave a half-hearted smirk towards the woman and let out a quick  [dika]"Thank you, I'll be going now, I have somewhere to be."[/dika]   He headed back towards the stairs.

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    Unnuk stood with him, concerned at first, then he made his way out, rather quickly. She frowned and fell back into her chair. She was extremely confused. She mentally called Yura up with her, and the two of them sat there, her hand running softly down his back as he stared up at her. 


    "You wanna go for a run later?"  She asked out loud in the fox dialect. Using one of her basic powers to vocally speak to him.


    "You know I'm always interested in going for a run....but can we do it outside the city this time? I'm not a fan of all the traffic we had to deal with last time."  Yura responded back.


    Unnuk nodded and went downstairs, two more hours and then she would close the shop. This week was all short days anyway, just to start gathering interest before her grand opening.

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