'Souls RPG

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The weather outside today was the lightest rain Innokentiy had seen in a while, sunlight still flickering through the clouds above now and again. Most of the creatures confined to land weren’t bothered by it, luperci like themself included. If the rain got any heavier they might take up refugee in a large, abandoned barn they saw looming in the distance. They had a feeling, though, that it might clear up instead.

Innokentiy currently crouched carefully down in the dirt, trying to avoid getting any brush of it on their clothing. They were surveying the wet earth near the large lake they’d found themself by. Since coming to this backwater place, they’d found no new clues of their cousin’s whereabouts, but what they had found was all kinds of new herbs to experiment with, as well as other luperci’s tracks leading this way and that. The population here appeared healthy--there were a decent amount of shifted tracks they found, either that of their own two-legged form or of the in-between. “Hmm…” They hummed to themself. Though they had no intention of stalking strangers through the woods, it was still something they liked to keep tabs on: How many canines before them had walked this same path today?

This lake, it appeared, had once been a more popular spot. Parts of abandoned buildings here had been repaired in the past, they noticed. Now, although they suffered once more from neglect, they were not as in such shambles as some of the other houses they had seen.

With some effort, Innokentiy pushed themself back up to their full standing height with the help of their cane and continued on. The backpack on their shoulders felt heavier now in the afternoon haze, and they resolved to try to find a place to sit near the water.
(311)
WC: 306

If Deirdra had known it would continue to rain for this long, she wouldn't have attempted this trek. She pulled her damp shawl around her shoulders as if it would do her any good and readjusted her woven basket. She'd gathered a few of the herbs she'd been looking for as well as a small bird skull that she'd found, but she hadn't yet found anything that she trusted would solve her problem.

St. John's Wort was a fairly common plant, but there was a particular strain that grew near the Grand Lake if word-of-mouth was reliable. The plant was thought to alleviated depressed mood, something that had been plaguing Dee for many months now. She'd hoped that it would get better when Aani left. It hadn't. She'd hoped again that it would get better once the pack stopped hunting her. It hadn't. And now she was suffering from intense nightmares that kept her awake at night.

Dee's winding path took her past hopefully-abandoned buildings that set her on edge. She didn't like the thought of running into an outsider. She didn't like the idea of being caught outside of Salsola without a guard. Perhaps she should have asked Arius to come with her this time.

She didn't have long to dwell on her misgivings before a shadow peeled itself out of the dark and into the path. Deirdra tightened her grip on her basket and reached another hand in to find the small knife she had brought for cuttings. It would work for self defense in a pinch if she needed. The sight of a walking aid didn't lend her any amount of comfort. Outsiders were tricky. It could be a ruse to get her to lower her guard and the walking stick could be a hidden weapon if Dee wasn't careful.
It took Innokentiy several moments to notice the presence of the other canine. They stood staring out into the lake’s waters, and it was only at the sound of the woman tightening the grip on her basket, squeezing the material, that made their ear twitch in acknowledgment. They looked at her and an immediate sort of pity struck them. She looked considerably younger than them, and must’ve been smart enough to be aware of her inexperience for her reaction to their presence was carefully guarded. They, in return, rested more so their wrist on their cane and turned upward the rest of their hand to wave at her. “Hello zere,” they greeted in an accent that was immediately noticable. Normally, they would step forward and approach in earnest, but they thought that might not be the best course of action with such a skittish lady.

They glanced at the basket that the young woman gripped with an iron fist and their interest piqued seeing its contents of flora. “If you don't mind my being so bold, arrre you voman vith eye for greenerrry in zese parts? I am a brrrever of teas, and I must konfess, I have not yet been here long enough to learn much of kommon plant life.” Despite their heavy Russian accent, the flow of speaking Innokentiy employed in English felt much more similar to the nobles of London. They drawled in a round-about sort of way, leisurely getting to the point as if they had all the time in the world.

“If you arrre villing to sit vith me, I vould like to hear about what is in yourrr basket.” They would have many other things to ask if the woman agreed, of course. Innokentiy found it of paramount importance to learn not only about the land, but its people. Were they off-put by foreigners such as themself? If she outright refused them and that was considered socially acceptable, maybe so. While giving her the time to think it over, Innokentiy finally found a decently sized log to sit on, and put their backpack beside them with a huff of relief.
(361)
WC: 254

The strange accent immediately made Deirdra give a little start. It wasn't like there weren't people with accents in Salsola, but Dee's personal prejudices had made her forget that Outsiders were people too. They weren't cookie-cutter molds of the same evil monsters. They were individuals. It was far too deep a thought for Deirdra to pursue at the moment and far too removed from her current line of thinking, though it did get filed away for further musings about the personhood of Outsiders.

She rotated both ears towards the stranger in an effort to focus on the words that were said between them. It took a great deal of focus and there was an awkward pause before her response. "Greene-ry? Oh! Oh, yes." She blinked slowly, formulating a plan. "Yes, I do know an amount of the plant life in this area, though I'm no expert."

Deirdra's multi-colored eyes looked to the horizon with worry. There was plenty of time, but still she said, "I'm sorry, I can't sit with you at the moment. I need to make it back home before dark, you see." And that was that. Eden would be proud of how deftly Deirdra removed herself from the situation, but something was nagging at her...

"You brew teas? Is that what you said?" Eden was brilliant, but she wasn't all-knowing... "Perhaps if we walk together, we can help one another." She eyed the cane, further furrowing her brow. "I can go slowly. I just can't really stop."
A compromise, then. Innokentiy shrugged, content with her response. “Alright. Give me just a moment…” They rested there for a few precious seconds, and then resolved to finally push themself up to their feet once more. The wolfdog took a moment longer to collect their backpack and finally approach the woman. As they did so, they looked closer at the basket. “I rrrekognize zis at least, katnip zat you have, is it? It grrrows in Europe as vell, not so much wherrre I am from in Russia.”

A smile formed on their face, glad to know some of their knowledge would carry over after all. Amazing how something stationary could adapt to new lands with ease. Innokentiy wondered if it had been this way since the beginning of the world, or if they had been transported back and forth by traders only recently. There was no way for them to tell.

At her question, they nodded their head. “Da. I craft my own jevelrrry as vell, it is how I make living. Zough, I have not yet found perrrmanent settlement to offer my serrrvices at. Zose seem spread few and far betveen here.”

The woman had mentioned she had a home, though, so Innokentiy took that piece of information in mind. Clearly, these lands were being put to use somewhere nearby—considering she said she needed to make it home before dark. A short travel. They didn’t know if it was worth sticking around to investigate further. Sure, her home could be a city, it could just as easily be a small grouping of a family and nothing more. They would decide later if they should pursue the information or move on further down the lands.
(287)
WC: 292

"Yes, this is catnip. We use it for ailments of the gut." Her chin lifted with pride as she recited the medicinal use of the plant that was so toxic to the feline species. It didn't affect canines quite so powerfully, but the strong mintiness of it was pleasant and soothing if nothing else. "I like to make a tea from it in the evenings."

Deirdra didn't bother to ask about the strangers origins. It wasn't particularly useful for her to know about Outsider places and she didn't care to talk to this person any more than she had to. There was something about the smell of a non-Salsolan that upset her stomach. She could bear it when she had to wear such a scent but it was obviously stronger from a native Outsider.

"There are settlements if you know where to look for them." Cryptic, she thought of herself. "I also have chamomile for sleeping and peat moss, but that is just for wound packing in case of an emergency. I like to keep some on hand."

It wouldn't do to reveal that she lived in a true pack or that she was stocking their coffers up when she could. Instead, she preferred to allude to a family-style abode. It wouldn't hurt to imply that she lived with family, when most people did.

"So you make teas. I've been trying to experiment with blends myself, but I'm coming up short." The teas she brewed tasted fine, but they weren't knocking her out the way that she wanted. She didn't want to dream. She wanted her head to touch the pillow and then to not move until dawn's first light. "Do you have any preferred ingredients for night time teas?"