From the Hole to the Hut

Haven - Sentinel Island

At first the hunger pains were a vicious ache in his gut and relentless pressure on his hopes. Yet, from fasting before, Gonyaul knew he could go much longer than three days without eating, especially if he was mindful of his exertion levels. Around day two, the craving for something to eat began to subside. He didn't feel that he didn't need to eat, but he definitely overcame the discomfort with a sort of indifference. ~One does not sustain oneself on just food alone, but on the kagim that flows through all creation. Whereas the former is subject to scarcity, the latter endures always.~ Gonyaul would meditate on those words from one of his elders.

For the three days and nights he was in the hole, Gonyaul formed a structured routine to get through the days. When the water level receded, he would relocate to where he could get the most warmth. He was keen to keep his exposed skin (which was only the undersides of his hands, feet, and immediate vicinity around the eyes) out of direct sunlight once they warmed up properly. While basking in the sunlight, like a reptile on a warm rock, he would dawn a meditative position of rest. He would remain, unmoving in this way until he had to relocate again; all the while focusing on his breath and internally reciting the Vauxian scripts tattooed all over his body from start to finish ... and then repeat.

When the water level rose to just above his ankles, he would stand to keep his dirty clothing dry. It was during this time that he would perform patterns of movement, Natap Odub in Vauxian, in a very slow and deliberate way. He focused on connecting his breath to each intentional movement, making sure it was perfect. The speed was between that of grass growing and a snail. Other times, his movements looked more dancelike, Natapusnad in Vauxian, but also done at a creeping pace to conserve energy. It helped keep his strength, sanity, and warmth up when the cold sea water was unavoidable.

The ever present concern was the lack of water. He had considered drinking his own urine; however, he was so dehydrated he hadn't yet been able to relieve himself. This was a discomfort that he was losing the ability to manage. With each new day he felt worse and his mouth more parched. It was better though than the dehydration he felt in the desert. At least here there was humidity and moisture around him. Regardless he could feel himself growing weaker and an increase in gnawing thirst, despite his best efforts.

In addition, at the end of day three, he was starting to hear things which weren't really there. Not quite hallucinating visually yet, but audibly he would be startled to find the voices of others in his mind sound like they were no longer in his memory talking, but another person inside the hole with him that was always out of sight and reach. It was always worse too at night. When he would curl into a fetal position and suffer with violent shivering until he passed out. He found it actually easier to nap during the day while meditating than sleeping at night; especially if the water level had risen with the coming darkness.

Gonyaul didn't even realize the wooden lattice had been pulled open at the sun's highest point on the fourth day. He looked to be meditating; however, he was actually asleep. It wasn't until the slack of the rope smacked into him and sent him toppling over, that he awoke. Disoriented, Gonyaul slowly gathered himself and weakly made use of the lifeline. As they pulled him up, it almost felt like dead weight from how little he was moving about; simply going limp and using just enough energy to hold on.

When he was dragged up to his feet, Gonyaul definitely took advantage of the two men's bodies for support. His voice was raspy from the dryness, "Thank you for coming to get me." He said in a grateful breathy whisper that sounded more like a ghoul than a man. In a sense, they were technically his rescuers.

Gonyaul looked a mess, but a very interesting mess. He didn't have the will to fight her command, nor the energy to even show signs of the embarrassment he was feeling. He began to unravel the strategically altered attire he was wearing, stripping away the pieces one by one. As the dirty garments fell to the floor, it still looked like he was wearing something thanks to all the dried mud covering his person. He was shaky throughout the entire process, a strong wind gust might have been enough to send him falling over at the moment.

How he wanted to drink from the freezing cold buckets of fresh well water the two warriors were throwing at him. Once again, so close to water, but none to drink. Compared to the saturating cold he had experienced in the hole, this frigidity brought on by the water temperature was almost commonplace. It only differed in how sudden it hit him, like a brutal slap across the face. The dry mud was so caked on that he had to be unpleasantly rough with trying to clean it off his skin. By the end of the washing he was shivering once again, but was now clean.

Gonyaul did his best to turn himself while naked, to keep at least some of his modesty intact. As the dark filth was washed away, it left behind a stark contrast of his skin tone. In addition, all of his bleached-skin tattoos, covering every inch of him ... literally "every" inch ... from above the elbows ... knees ... and neckline, were now very visible. The Luger scar on his upper back was the most noticeable of the scars he had picked up on his adventures in Arcadia, the others blending in with the tattoo forms; you'd have to know what you were looking for to spot them. It also showcased his definition. Gonyaul, from over twenty years of daily physical exercising and eating nutritiously, was lean and pleasingly sculpted. He had very low body fat and beautiful muscle tone. Without the flowing and gentle clothing style he was known to wear, they were getting their first peak at how powerful this man could be physically. Could be .... because, at the moment it was taking all his power just to remain standing and conscious.

Once he was washed, the naked Vaux was led to a small stone hut with no windows and one heavy door. He looked around as best he could as they marched him there; however, he saw no other signs of people than the ones in his present company. The place was eerily silent apart from the noises of the nearby sea. When ushered inside, Gonyaul found a small fire burning very low. It brought exquisite heat to his shivering form; however, it wasn't enough to make him feel warm, just not cold. As his eyes gazed about the room, they finally settled on a burlap tunic in a corner as well as a small jug of water and a bowl filled with a lukewarm thin soup with some fish bits inside.

Gonyaul nearly wept, if he had any tears left to spare, at the sight of the water and food. He didn't even try and put the clothes on yet and headed straight for them, ignoring the others with him. The water he took first and drank, and drank quickly, until he almost choked himself. Then he started eating like a frenzied shark that had found blood in the water. He didn't know when he would get more, nor how much time he had to consume them before they might be taken away. After having gone so long with neither, both tasted divine. Though in all actuality neither were probably as good as his mind was telling him right now. It wasn't long before both were depleted and it was then that he clothed himself in what was provided. He was happy to be clothed again, but wearing other culture's attire always felt weird to him.

Gonyaul tried to compose himself a little more properly than his feral display while eating. He wondered what was going to happen next? Everything was still a mystery.

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