I was unturned by that sharp alarm, and you weren't afraid

POSTED: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:35 pm

309 words. Dated late January, so either the Boreas conflict is over or in its final stages—whatever you think fits best for your post and how Joaquina would act!

Hooves sloshed through water as the bay mare reluctantly crossed a creek, hopping up to the other bank and lightly jostling her rider, who soothed her with a gentle word of praise. Tall ears licked back toward Shiloh’s voice, and Hwin tossed her head lightly before moving on through the snow and slush, head bobbing with her tireless gait as boughs whispered around them in a soft wind.

The mare suited Shiloh’s needs quite well, and once again the woman was thankful that Skoll had encouraged their tentative bond. Like her owner, Hwin was an enduring creature, if gentler in temperament—not quite to the extent of Baldr, who was not half as stubborn and patient, but she complemented Shiloh’s nature well enough. All she needed was a few words of encouragement and a rider who gave her firm but fair orders, and she performed perfectly.

Shiloh was worried about the lands they crossed now, however. There were only a few miles left of the Dampwoods before they would travel into the mountains, and she knew of this land as coyote territory. They had given Inferni’s borders a wide berth, but half the clan wouldn’t pay any mind to land neutrality if they spotted a purebred wolf in the area. In the past, Shiloh might have claimed connection with the Centurion, Vesper—but the war with Cour des Miracles had left them on rather uncertain terms, and she knew that her pack scent would mark her as a foe if someone as hotheaded and vengeful as Skoll found her.

She kept an ear out, one hand idly resting on the saddle near where her wooden staff was strapped. It would be within reach if she needed to bash someone over the head with it, but she sorely hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
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POSTED: Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:04 pm

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408

Luison and Jasy Jatere were out exploring the odd white stuff on the ground that was known as snow while Joaquina was setting up a tent of sticks in order to build a fire. Every so often at least one of the pups, if not both, brought back a mouthful of twigs in order to help with the fire. Each step they took had bandaged paws being lifted up into a high step in order to try and extract each foot as far away from the snow as they could. Their bandages were quickly soaked through and the pain of cold was threatening to seep in. But still their curiosity had them sniffing at the show, still trying to figure out just what it was.

With the help of the pups bringing her items with which to feed her fire she got one started, though the wet twigs took some time to start to burn for they had to be dried out first but she didn't let the girls know this since they were eager to take part. They couldn't help with the fire itself but they could bring things with which to build it and feed it. They could also help with the divination that Joa though to perform, or at least they were learning to divine.

"Chicas." She called over the pups once a thin trail of smoke had started to rise from the flame. Joa got up to get a handful of pine needles in order to toss on the flame while the pups scampered close and sat in the area that had been cleared of snow just for this purpose. Joa sat down on the other side of the fire from the pups and dropped the needles into the flames, watching both the way that they fell and the way that they burnt. She also listened for the sounds that they made as they burned. "Soon." Joa remarked softly. "Is good." Luison commented, her head tilted back to watch the thin, white smoke rise into the air.

Hey! It's Peca!" Jasy Jatere called out at the sound of the hoofbeats and took off with the expectation to find the mule. She pulled up short when she found not the mule but a bay mare instead. "You not Peca." She spoke to the horse before she noticed the rider atop the horse. She stared openly up at the woman, eyes large and ears erect.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:15 pm

A smoky scent lifted Shiloh's muzzle to the air and dropped down her ears with an uncertain sniff. Fire could mean an innocent camper, some loner who was on the road like her, but this close to coyote territory Shiloh was uncertain. Inferni's very name conjured images of a wild flame, and stories said that they'd been the only pack to survive the inferno that drove the oldest packs south.

She didn't want to entangle with a chaotic Infernian, especially not alone, and pulled Hwin's reins to guide her further from the smell. Shifting her weight in the primitive saddle, she leaned and prepared to drive her into a run.

But a small shape scampered out of the undergrowth and made Hwin snort, dancing sideways a moment as she peered at the creature and tried to discern whether or not it was a threat. Shiloh spoke to the mare in a low, gentle voice as she peered down, surprised when she saw it was not a coyote who stood there—though the creature certainly smelled of Inferni, and smoke. The foxish thing stood and stared, voice uncertain but unafraid.

No, I'm not, Shiloh answered, and frowned. Are you with the coyotes, young one?

The ruddy-brown puppy looked over her shoulder. S-sí, she said.

You're not lost? The girl shook her head. Is the coyote nearby? A bob of the big-eared noggin, and then the puppy spun around and whined as if calling for someone, something that made Shiloh tense up.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:14 pm

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ooc here
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310

Luison was quick to scamper away from the fire at her sister's whining. She moved over to Jasy Jatere and rubbed against her, licking at her to make sure that she was okay before she looked to the horse and rider. "No Peca." She reiterated the conclusion that her sibling had already come to. To the girls the sound of hoofbeats had meant one thing for so long.

Joa was slower to arrive on the scene than the pups were. She had to tend to the fire first to make sure that it wasn't about to spread. "¡Chicas! ¿A dónde llegaste?" She called out after she had made sure the area around her fire was clear of anything to cause it to spread. She wasn't done with it and so hadn't wished to put it out after it had taken so long to even get it going.

She found the pups standing side by side and staring up at a stranger on her horse. "Lost?" She asked the woman. "Need help?" It wasn't like Joa knew her way around enough to be able to give concise directions but that wouldn't stop her from trying. She continued to study the other woman, staring intently at her. "Troubles, yes?" She asked as she picked up on the hints of anxiety.

Joa glanced over her shoulder to where she could see her thin line of smoke. "Is good. Troubles go." She announced as she watched the tendril fade out near the top. Thin, white smoke was always a good sign. No matter what was going on it would soon pass and good times would come again. While she had been divining for Inferni's benefit she felt that it could apply to this woman as well. Or at least she thought the woman needed to hear good news to put her mind at ease.

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POSTED: Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:30 pm

A second stilt-legged fox joined the first, and soon enough the coyote’s voice broke through the trees, answered by a yapped “¡Aquí!” by the first puppy. Shiloh tightened her grip on Hwin’s reins and stared cautiously as the grey coyote emerged from the trees, only for the stranger to at once offer help and surmise that she was lost—not the expected reaction Shiloh had had.

The very mention of troubles began to make them fade, and some tension fell from Shiloh’s shoulders. Shiloh had always seen the Infernians as very straight-forward people, and didn’t think one would put in the effort to double-cross her. If she offered, she must have been genuine.

“No, not lost,” she replied, smiling. It was a small and guarded smile, but smoother than most. Shiloh did well enough at regaining her composure and maintaining a polite enough façade, even if she was not warm. “I suppose I am looking for a quicker way north.”

She followed the woman’s gaze to the thin smoke, blinking. “The smoke tells you that?” she ventured to guess.
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POSTED: Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:37 pm

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ooc here
WORD COUNT
311

The girls hadn't been harmed and that was enough for Joaquina. In fact the woman had remained atop her horse and hadn't even bothered to dismount in order to inspect the girls. Perhaps that meant that she was afraid of them instead? Joa looked to the girls to try and see what everyone else saw in them but couldn't come up with anything about them that would cause fright.

For the time being she pushed the issue to the back of her mind and focused instead on the issue at hand. "¿Caballo más rápido?" She made her suggestion as to how to get to the north quicker. She couldn't come up with any other solution. "What is in the north?" She asked and glanced into the vague direction that the mounted woman was trying to make her way towards. Joa hadn't done much exploring but instead had been trying to settle in and get used to the cold, the latter of which she had been failing at.

"Sí." She said and nodded her head. "That is good smoke, "delgado y blanco." Joaquina easily slipped between the languages without fully realizing what she was doing. It was a natural thing to happen back in Cenzia Valley and had stuck with her. "Plants tell you things too. The way they burn, their smell. You can learn a lot if you know how to read all of the signs. There is even a drink that you take and then you can see images in the fire to tell you of things that will happen." She had no idea that the drink had hallucinogenic properties and that is why things were seen. "Do you want to try?" The offer was made but a response wasn't waited for as Joa motioned for the woman to follow her and proceeded back to her small fire. "Chicas, ven."

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POSTED: Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:53 am

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I'm sorry, I don't understand, said Shiloh lightly when the woman responded in a fast, rolling tongue. She knew only the common tongue fluently, and some of the French that graced the Court -- not this coyote's thoughtful yapping. But the second question was easier to answer. There is another pack beyond the isthmus, in a great pine forest. Many of my kin live there, and I wanted to visit them. She might have balked at revealing this to a vengeful Infernian, but if knowledge of her presence reached Vesper, the coywolf knew about Shiloh and her origins anyway.

She listened with interest as the woman explained that the smoke was good, and that the way plants burned could tell things. A drink that told fortunes sounded to Shiloh like a substance she didn't want, but she didn't know if the plants were for the future, too, or if their physical properties told things that would be useful for a traveler or scout.

Shiloh was caught off guard by the offer and the woman's quick motion, but after a pause she dismounted. She did not bother to tie Hwin, knowing that the mare would not want to abandon her rider for the unknown dangers of the wilderness; she was too intelligent for that. And if something happened to Shiloh, at least Skoll would be able to find his horse, she supposed.

She approached the fire and saw one of the girls looking at her. She smiled back, and the odd little foxish creature waved her tail and spun around to the coyote, who Shiloh addressed. By the way, my name is Shiloh, she said. Does... does all of Inferni read smoke and plants? I didn't know they were that sort of people.

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POSTED: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:35 am

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ooc here
WORD COUNT
301

"Better horse. One that moves much quicker." She translated what it was that she had meant with her words. Of course she had extended her translation to better make herself understood. She wasn't trying to imply that there was anything wrong with the horse that the woman had currently but if the woman didn't think it was getting her to the north quick enough then it must needed to be replaced.

"Isthmus?" Now it was her turn to question the other female. "Now I no understand. What that?" She asked with a slow shake of her head. She didn't understand the word in the slightest. It wasn't something that she had ever heard of before. Though it wasn't like she knew too much about geography and landforms in the first place. "Still very far away?" She had no way of recognizing what a pine was either as she didn't know the different species of trees.

Once returned to her fire Joaquina crouched down next to it and added kindling to it in order to keep it going. "Joaquina." She gave her name after Shiloh had introduced herself. "No. Not all. We come from Cenzia Valley." She held out a small handful of dried out needles to the woman. "Think hard what you want to know." she continued to tend the fire with her other hand. Once she was certain that it wasn't about to go out she dipped her fingers into the ash at the edge of the fire and finally looked up and away from her fire. "Where horse?" She asked and held up her fingers. "I make horse faster." She craned her neck in order to look for where the mare might be at. She even strained her hearing but couldn't hear sounds on the mare approaching. "Horse gone?"

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POSTED: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:03 pm

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Ah, I do not need a fast horse. Only a loyal one, she explained, and grinned as she patted Hwin's neck. The bay mare was more athletic than pudgy, simple Baldr had ever been, with a more enduring gait, but neither were speedsters. Shiloh valued friendliness and good personalities in horses, though; she'd no need to race across the plains, and only rode to spare her own limbs on long journeys and to carry goods.

Shiloh considered the woman's question. Somewhat far away. A day or two's journey. You must have crossed the isthmus to come here, I think -- it is a very wet place, a strip of land between water. On either side you can hear the ocean. She pricked her ears. You can almost hear it here, too. I suppose everywhere is quite wet these days. Melting ice and snow did that to this landscape, and the Dampwoods were not named for nothing.

Where is Ceniza Valley? Is that very far away? Shiloh asked Joaquina, ears pricked. It was nothing like the Solbjorg Valley, she was certain; this woman spoke a tongue that Shiloh had only heard in passing before, something completely different.

The white wolf's fingers closed around the dried needles, and she looked down at them. What did she want to know? It was simple. Do I need to speak the words aloud? she asked. Do I cast these into the fire? She did not want to destroy a ritual or bring ill luck upon the coyote; even if Shiloh didn't believe in prophecies herself, she did not want to offend.

She lifted her head with a frown when Joaquina suddenly spoke of the horse. Shiloh could not hear Hwin either, but from scent she gathered that she could not be far away. She might have wandered out of sight. She shouldn't be far. She whistled. Hwin, come here!

There was a pause, and the sound of hooves, soft as a whisper on the spongy forest floor. A long bay head with a white streak peered from the leaves that Hwin gathered in her teeth, and she watched the strange coyote curiously.

She's pretty shy, but she likes to be talked to, explained Shiloh, watching the mare's ears twitch at the sound of her voice. How would you make her faster?

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