'Souls RPG

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With piercing sirens blaring - Through rings of black roses I'll move - Slow, scared, alive

OOC: Set at North Shore - AW though no CdC if that's okay

Orca swam to the shore slowly, almost like trying to trot his way though the gentle surf in order to reach land. He was still delicate on his leg, despite it being healed for a good month now, it was like the boy had learnt not to tempt fate. Water had been the key, and Clyde seemed to have predicted that Orca would find a love for swimming the moment the old man slowly guided him into some waves a couple of weeks back. Something about the feeling on his fur, the lift it gave the heavy child and the ease it brought to the many strains his large body felt. Water felt like a hug, and Orca was already pretty partial to those. Once he got to the beach, thick coat dripping with salt water, he turned back to look towards the boat with his tail curled up proud.

He could hear Clyde's laughter from there, see him wave his hat back and forth before returning to focus on his net and fishing rod. The old man was getting them a good meal apparently, something about these waters holding a 'treasure's trove of fish'. Clyde had been pretty excited about it, and Orca was looking forward to returning later for dinner, fish never got old for the growing lad. Especially since Clyde seemed to make it his mission to feed Orca as much fish as the child could handle, seemingly predicting just how much food the giant would need.

With Clyde dedicating the entire day to fishing, Orca had been given the all clear to go explore, with his limit being the edge of the boat's sight and not beyond the beaches. Which was fine by Orca, his feet might itch but his mind continued to worry about the unknown. It was a war in his head; a side that wanted to explore, absorbing some of Clyde's endless enthusiasm, and then the side that feared what was out there. The side that belonged with Orca's nightmares of pain and violence, of crazed laughter and screaming.

He shook his large head, huffing in annoyance at those scary things, stuff that Clyde claimed were curses of the scar on his head. He'd get over them, with time and a bit of courage. Right now, all the boy wanted was to run around the beach, dig up some sand and splash in the calm tides.

[Image: wolfmoon.gif] Melancholia Word of the Day - 12 August 22 noun | a sad quality or feeling

Location: North Shore || NPCs: Fenwick (crow) & Kalla (cat) || Form: Optime

They had carried on traveling in the direction of the rising sun, content to allow the land herself to guide them, gentle as a lover, through her paradise. Farther and farther she lead them, through the lowlands and beyond the marshes and past the highlands, until they came to the place where a mighty river had cut an ancient path deep across her vast expanse. Following the river north until its girth narrowed enough to safely cross, the motley travelers fell upon the ruins of burned village and, though melancholia seemed to hang in the air like a mist, they were comfortable enough to call it their sanctuary for a time.

But not for long. Never for long. All of Miriel's life had been spent in motion, their troupe moving from one destination to another as often as the seasons or the herds or the people called for them to do so. Sometimes they would remain with a community for weeks, sometimes only a small handful of days, but never forever. Entertainment was meant to be shared and they were nothing if not entertainers. Their varied skills — musicians and dancers; poets and storytellers; thespians and diviners — meant more in short, cyclical visits than they would if they could be accessed any time, any day, in one stationary location. They were nomads, through and through.

After leaving the blackened ruins, they kept pressing east, crossing two smaller tributaries and camping for a number of days in a lush valley before scaling the grand mountain beyond. At the foot of the mountain, after they had reached the other side, they smelled the piscine brine of the sea.

"Like greetin' an old friend," Miri said to the cat in the shallow woven basket strapped to her back.

"Comforting," the cat agreed through a deep purr.

Somewhere up ahead, Fenwick was cawing loudly and obnoxiously at something that, based on the volume and timbre of the crow's calls, could either have been a threat or a victim. Or both, she supposed as she picked up her pace and loped the rest of the distance to the shore of the sea. Whatever it was, it had gotten him excited.

"Ach!" she barked, casting her eyes skyward a moment in search of the black silhouette of the crow. When she lowered them again, she caught sight of a different black silhouette. Pausing silently to regain her wits, Miri lifted a hand in greeting. "Peace an' providence te ye, young Seawolf. Mah regrets if yon crow caused ye any bother. Are ye well?"

[WC -- 428]
OOC: I'ma snag this on up. :D
With piercing sirens blaring - Through rings of black roses I'll move - Slow, scared, alive

OOC: Set at North Shore - Hello :D :D 

Orca found himself quickly looking for things on the beach. He'd found a nice and smooth rock, shoveling it with his nose to form a pile, then encouraged to continue his search around the shore to find anything else interesting. He probably wouldn't take them back to the ship, unless he convinced Clyde to sail a bit closer, but perhaps by collecting things, Orca might find something useful. He did long for that... to be useful to Clyde. Because the man did so much for Orca, feeding him, making him smile, dedicating almost everything to keeping the child happy. Orca just hoped he was doing the same for Clyde, if not... then well perhaps a gift from the beach might help. 

He'd found some decent chunk of driftwood when the caw came from above, startling the large boy into letting go and looking around. It took the second caw for Orca to look up, frowning at the circling crow. Orca had no idea what it wanted, he was more used to sea birds crying all morning, being a sign of the coast but not this. Crows were still around of course but the boy had no idea what to do with the black-feathered avians. 

Ignoring it wasn't an option, as it continued to shout at him, so the boy sat down with a huff and just watched the thing dance around in the sky. 

Assuming it was alone didn't last long, as Orca heard a voice next, startling him just as much as the crow did. Even sat down, the boy was a large blob of puppy fat and growing legs, though his uncertainty around strangers had him lowering his large head a little. The lady approaching was no doubt some kind of mix of dog, some parts of her fur reminding him of Clyde, not to mention her voice too. 

It gave Orca just a little bit of courage. "Oh um... a-aye, ah'm well." Orca mumbled back. "S'no bother... th' um... th' crow." He glanced back up to the bird then, before giving the lady a small smile as he tilted his head. "Was... was ah upsettin' 'im?"

Location: North Shore || NPCs: Fenwick (crow) & Kalla (cat) || Form: Optime

The dark shape, all legs and paunch and rolls of skin that he would eventually grow into, was very clearly just a whelp. Off milk by now, by the looks of him, but young enough yet that it made her wonder why he was alone. Except, perhaps he wasn't. She glanced up and down the shore of the beach while, behind her, Kalla scoured the land at her back for evidence of the youth's pack. When she heard nothing from the cat, Miriel allowed herself to subtly relax. The immediate absence of others did not negate danger, but, for the time, it seemed safe.

She listened with a kindly expression as he replied, his words stilted and quiet, all the the while looking him over with thoughtful curiosity. But for the mean scar upon his dark brow, he looked cared after and well-fed — not the appearance of a child abandoned to the whims of the land and the gods. She had seen some of those in her travels among the troupe and, more than once, had traveled with such as them for a time. Only one had ever remained among the troupe. The others — those who survived such cruel abandonment — either chose to remain with a host pack or opted to take their chances once more with the land and the gods.

This child did not strike her as one of them.

"Ach, ne. It's yon shells," she said, gesturing to his collection. "Crows fancy shiny things, ye ken. Prob'ly seen a thing he likes is all, Ah suspect. Best give 'im ne mind."

Overhead, the inky crow kept up its raucous racket until, in a flurry of arid feathers that displaced the coarse sand below, the bird landed on the breach a safe distance from the gathered Luperci and eyed the black-and-white child critically.

"Ah'm Miriel Morgan, lore-taler an' practitioner o' sortilege. Mah companion ahint me is Kalla o' th' Cat-sìth." With a smile, she dipped her nose respectfully. "De ye swim the seas o' gray without counsel, wolfling lad?"

[WC -- 352]

With piercing sirens blaring - Through rings of black roses I'll move - Slow, scared, alive

OOC: Set at North Shore - Hello :D :D 
[Image: elcyLDZ.png]

Strangers remained something Orca was wary of. The boy wanted to experience all he could but there was a safety that came with living on a boat. If he wanted to, and Clyde allowed it, Orca could easily just never leave the Wee Lass. But he couldn't realistically do that, even if it was secure it was also not going to teach him anything if Orca never left. So he needed to feel unsure, perhaps even a bit fearful, so he could move on from it. Keep on flowing, like how the Sea never stopped her rhythm and tide, as Clyde would put it whenever Orca was worried after a nightmare. Eventually, if he moved on far enough, those worries would be miles behind him, that was the hope. 

The lady though, she seemed nice, her accent helping to ease Orca a bit more. She had a cat along with the crow, which Orca found amusing with his only company being old man Clyde, or whatever fish he watched under the surface when sailing. Glancing back to his pile of shells and rocks, Orca finally understood the bird's interst. "Oh... Oh! Well 'e can h-have 'em if 'e likes. Was o-only gonnae carry one back h-haem." The boy offered, then glancing back towards the ship. It was still in view, though it seemed the little dot that was Clyde was sitting motionless on the side. No doubt completely focused on his fishing. 

"Ay'm Orca Munroe." Orca replied with a small wag of his tail. "Got th' um... counsel ower... ower there. Clyde Munroe. 'Is me Pa." And Orca didn't doubt that, even if the lad was smart enough to know he wasn't related to the old dog, Clyde had certainly done enough to be considered family. 

"Whit... whit is a 'lore-taler an' practitioner o' sortilege'?"

Location: North Shore || NPCs: Fenwick (crow) & Kalla (cat) || Form: Optime

In an accent both strangely unique and oddly familiar, the child did not do as Miri suggested. In fact, at least as far as the crow was concerned, his choice instead to allow the big black bird to have at the collection acted as an invitation. That's what it seemed, anyway, but Miriel knew better. Fenwick would have helped himself to the trinkets with or without the pup's approval. Indeed, scarcely before the words had left the child's maw, the crow was already bouncing across the sandy shore on dark, scaly feet to begin his appraisal of the delightful assortment. Miriel watched him with her lips screwed up into a crooked, disapproving line, though the way the boy's violet eyes drifted to the sea beyond them was not lost on her.

Across a plane of peaceful waves, their shade of blue as deep as the sea herself, sat a silhouette.

"Then yer Da's a seafarin' man?" Holding an arm above her head to reduce some of the glare from the sun, Miri squinted at the shape rocking lazily against the sloshing waters. There was little wonder to her know about the origin of the boy's name. "Ye carry a worthy name, Orca o' th' Sea."

A soft clatter of shells against stone told her that Fenwick was still choosing the best treasure, testing each of the very shiniest of items against one another with fierce consideration. In private, Miriel encouraged his natural inclination for all things bright and shiny. Many of the items he pilfered were useful trade items, whether as jewelry or raw material. But now, here, with the crow's victim being but a child, she looked upon him with disapproval. But the bird didn't care and, secretly, Miri didn't either — not entirely. Besides, Orca had already offered them up himself.

She grinned at him enthusiastically when the child questioned her self-given titles.

"Ah thought ye'd never ask!" she barked jovially, her curly tail wagging. "Hev ye never sat against a restless campfire light, listenin' t' tales o' wit an' wisdom or adventure an' courage? Or slipped off inte slumber on words spillin' secrets about kelpies an' rat kings an' other mighty beasts? Well, a lore-taler's th' one with such wealth o' knowledge an' skill as t' tell it, ye ken."

As Miriel explained this, her hands moved emphatically with her words and her expression shifted with theatrical zeal.

"Ach, aye, but bein' a practitioner o' sortilege is far more sacred," she continued, pulling at a sizable pouch from within the depths of the satchel secured lengthwise across her chest. Inside the pouch she drew out a deck of cards made of parchment and bound together with strips of leather. "With these, Ah can help ye te make sense o' th' past or te divine yer future. Would ye like a readin', young Seawolf?"

[WC -- 489]
OOC: Ahhh! That artwork in your last post is gorgeous!
With piercing sirens blaring - Through rings of black roses I'll move - Slow, scared, alive

OOC: Set at North Shore - I know <3 I love it!
[Image: elcyLDZ.png]

The ship had gone a little ways away from shore, Orca noted to himself as he'd gestured it out to Miriel, probably getting pushed a bit by the tides and not given much attention from Clyde whilst he was fishing. It might be too far to swim to now, but Orca was confident that he could get his dad to sail it closer when he was ready to be picked up. It would delay things, if Orca was in worse company he might be worried, but so far Miriel seemed nice and wasn't making the boy feel too trapped.

"Mhm, our ship is haem." Orca agreed, then had to chuckle lightly when Miriel saw the connection to his name. "'At's whit me Pa tauld me. Orca ur um.. bairns o' th' sea. An'... 'e foond me in th' sea too!" Not to mention the child's coat bearing similarities to the great whales, according to Clyde.

Miriel's enthusiasm at her jobs seemed to get Orca smiling as well, the boy's large ears turning with curiosity to see what she could explain. Her little tale caught the boy's interest like a fish to a line, and as she explained it he nodded along. "Ah! Pa's got some lore-teller stuff too!" Orca barked back excitedly. "'E tells me aw sorts ay things frae 'is auld haem. Like... um, monsters an' th' like. Is it ay bit like that?"

The excitement from learning on lore-telling and Miriel calling her next skill 'sacred' had Orca's full attention, his large nose sniffing up at her colourful deck of cards and wondering how they worked. But what they did... that made the boy flinch back like his snout had touched hot embers. Make sense of the Past... surely that wasn't possible.

The boy thought of his nightmares, the darkness of his past, shrouded and lost. It terrified him because he didn't know, because he only knew the fearful parts.

Orca felt like... learning about it might just make it worse. But the temptation was too much.

Although the boy's attitude had made a very clear shift, his ears back and his eyes looking nervous, he nodded his head. "Coods... Coods ye look at me... past? Ah dornt... dornt ken aboot me past."

Location: North Shore || NPCs: Fenwick (crow) & Kalla (cat) || Form: Optime

"Ach, aye?" Miriel uttered, her face falling open with surprise. "Then ye mayn't be ne ordinary lad, young Seawolf. De ye knaa selkies?" She scarcely let him answer before continuing. "Special beasts, selkies: they look like seals but with th' ability te take on th' shape o' Luperci, if ye kennit. Nay, it ain't easy pickin' oot yon selkie folk from regular Luperci if they dinnae want ye te knaa. Bu' they all smell o' th' sea an' they carry their selkie skins with 'em. Tha's how they transform. When they're ready te return back te th' sea, they jus' put back on their skins an' then they look like naught bu' a seal again."

During her tale, Miri's golden eyes had drifted out across the waters beyond but they shifted to look at Orca again. She considered him thoughtfully, allowing her silence to stretch on.

"But a selkie's skin can be stolen, ye ken. There's a tale aboot a selkie lass who took off her skin te walk among Luperci for a bit. Bu' a young man was watchin' her and he saw where she hid her skin. Aye, lad," she said solemnly, nodding sadly. "Tha' young man stole yon selkie's skin an' made her his mate. She was forced to stay upon land an' hev litters o' wee bairns, stuck lookin' like a Luperci forever an' never bein' able te go back te her family in th' sea."

She let Orca reach his own conclusions about what might have happened to his own selkie skin, if he drew such understanding from Miriel's story at all. Maybe Orca was a selkie and it was his "da" who had stolen his skin, turning him into the son that the old fisherman had longed for for many years past. Or maybe the child was naught but puppy who had somehow survived the sea long enough to be rescued by a kindly old man. Miri preferred the latter and tucked the idea into the back of her mind. It was sure to make for a thrilling tale to share with others in the future.

"Ach, aye, young Orca o' th' Sea," she confirmed, smiling and nodding. "It's a bit like tha'. Lore-talin' is important work because stories are important. Dinnae ye forget tha', laddie."

Miriel shuffled her parchment cards idly as she watched Orca, his excitement draining away to nervous energy. When he at last agreed to a reading, the curly-coated mystic smiled kindly.

"Aye, lad. Ah'm goin' te shuffle these cards an' while Ah shuffle, Ah need ye te breathe deeply and clear your mind from every thought bu' one: your past. Ye need te frame a question in your mind, ye kennit? Keep askin' tha' question 'til Ah lay out mah cards, then Ah'll flip 'em one at a time. Are ye ready?"

She was quiet until Orca gave the okay. And then she began to shuffle with purpose.

[WC -- 503]
OOC: I'll do the actual reading in my next post! >:D
With piercing sirens blaring - Through rings of black roses I'll move - Slow, scared, alive

OOC: Set at North Shore - So hyped!
[Image: elcyLDZ.png]

Miriel didn't let him reply about selkies, but Orca didn't know of them to really say anything. He knew of kelpies, which sounded similar, but those were horses that had fins and could swim, the Wee Lass had one painted on her that Clyde had showed Orca dozens of times. Some kind of good luck charm he claimed; a ship blessed by a kelpie would have it guide them on like a horse to a carrige. But selkies were different, and Orca's eyes sparkled through the story the woman weaved. She was a natural at it, but it was her job so Orca wasn't surprised, but what got the boy's jaw to slack and his mouth to hang open was the idea of these wonderful creatures... losing their skin and being stuck as a canine. 

Creatures of the sea... stuck on land from something taken from them. Could that be Orca's story? The boy's dropped jaw closed slowly, his brow curling into a thoughtful frown as he glanced to the Sea and then across to the ship. Perhaps Clyde would know, or perhaps he did know and had been implying it all along by calling Orca a 'gift of the Sea'. But if that was the case, then at some point Orca had lost his gift, his skin... he just needed to figure out how and why. 

"Them Selkies... Dae they... like tae be in water? E'en when they're Luperci?" Because Orca had felt a strong connection to the Sea ever since he started swimming. A longing to swim all day, a feeling of peace and control when his large paws pushed through the cool water... perhaps because it was his natural instinct to do so?

He wanted to know more, and Miriel prepared her magical cards to tell him more, so Orca nodded and kept his thoughts in his head. A question for him to think about... what should it be? 

What was he?

Who abandoned him?

No, Orca would keep it simple... 

Where did he come from?

Location: North Shore || NPCs: Fenwick (crow) & Kalla (cat) || Form: Optime

The way his jaw dropped open and his eyes peered back out at the sea beneath thoughtfully furrowed brows, Miriel could almost see her story working into the boy's head.

"Whey aye!" she replied emphatically about the affinity of a skinless selkie to water. "Water's where selkies belong, ye ken? There ain't ne place else where a selkie whe's lost their skin wants te be, lad. They spend the whole rest o' their life wishin' te return. Since they cannae, bein' in an' aroond water's th' next best thing they hev."

It was a sad and sorry life to be made to endure. Whether the young Seawolf here was truly a selkie robbed of his skin or just a child whose parents had given him up to the sea, it seemed as though his memories, as well as his past life, had been stolen from him. And that alone surely destined him for a lifetime of uncertainty, confusion, and a longing for things he didn't even know.

When she finished shuffling, Miri set the cards down and instructed Orca to lay a paw stop the deck and voice his question aloud: to she; to the sea; to the sky; to the very gods themselves.

And oh, what a complex and heartbreaking one it was.

Expressionless, the curly-coated wolfdog set out three card in the sand, each facedown, in the shape of a small pyramid. She breathed out slowly and looked at Orca again briefly before flipping the first card — the one on the left — of two that made up the base.

"Queen o' Pentacles," she said, feeling sorry for what it might mean to the child. "She represents comfort an' love; guidance an' morality. This card is meant te answer what yer folken were like, ye ken."

Flipping the next card — the second of two that made up the base — Miri's brows knitted slightly.

"This card answers wha' happened te ye," she began. "An' it suggests t'was Justice tha' cast ye away. All actions hev consequences, laddie. " Her eyes flashed fleetingly in the sunlight as she glanced up at Orca. "An' th' judgment here was fair, so say th' gods."

Miriel paused a moment to allow the weight of what this card could mean to sink in, watching him carefully all the while. Then she moved on to the last of the cards.

When it was flipped, it was The Hierophant that stared up at them.

"Ach," she uttered, nodding. "This last card answers th' question o' how ye can persevere, young Seawolf, an' it's a canny one." Lifting her eyes again, she looked earnestly into Orca's face. "Th' Hierophant symbolizes tradition an' conformity; adaptation an' acceptance. De ye kennit? It suggests tha' ye leave behind wha' ye've lost, for ye'll be all th' happier."

Sitting back in in the warm sand, Miriel fell silent and allowed Orca time with the cards, ready to answer any questions they might bring up in him.

[WC -- 506]
OOC: lmk if anything needs changing! These cards were drawn at random using a custom, three-card spread from Laybrinthos. I made a few edits to make Miri's interpretations more vague so that Orca can draw his own conclusions and construct his own story.
With piercing sirens blaring - Through rings of black roses I'll move - Slow, scared, alive

OOC: Set at North Shore - You've done some amazing work for this though <3
[Image: elcyLDZ.png]

Orca didn't expect his swim to this random beach to end up bringing so many new thoughts and revelations to his young mind. A feeling of being a bit closer to understanding himself, yet being also almost overwhelmed by the knowledge that he might not even be a regular canine like others. With his longing for the Sea, as Miriel explained, perhaps he was indeed a Selkie with stolen magic. The boy didn't know how to let that effect him yet, so he tucked it away for later. 

The cards would be the next big shift, and Orca's young heart was hammering to listen to what they would tell him. Miriel did not judge him for his question, she was quiet and calm like the winds of a gentle day at Sea, easing Orca a little bit as he sat patiently. She drew the cards, all three, and would reveal them one by one. 

The first one came, the image within it of a lady sat down, holding into a star as if it were a newborn child. 'Queen of Pentacles', she would speak of Orca's past. The boy's eyes widened for a moment at the card, then curled slowly into a gaze of sadness as he took in what it meant. His home, his origin, a place of comfort and love. Yet Orca wasn't there anymore. Why?

Because of judgement. Justice? Orca wasn't sure he even knew what that was. The actions of someone caused Orca to be abandoned, to die by the Sea, yet those actions were just. Consequences of something, the boy swallowed against a lump growing in his throat, daring to think that it might've been something he'd done that caused him to be thrown away.

The building storm in his stomach about what Justice might mean almost consumed him, until Miriel revealed the last card. The important card carried with it a lot of weight and an ease to Orca's worries. To an extent. 

Hierophant. Acceptance... moving on and being happy. Orca wanted that so bad. He took in all the lady gave him, then worried that being so silent would seem rude, so he licked his lips and glanced up to Miriel. 

"Thenk ye. Fur th' readin'." Orca mumbled, his brow furrowing in thought, then nodding. "Ah doo... ah doo wannae leave mah past behind. Ah... cannae remember it, but ah git nasty dreams aboot it. Jist... scary feelin'. Is 'at... mebbe Justice is nae done yet?" Yes, perhaps whatever happened to Orca, or whatever he did himself was so bad that he was still being punished for it.