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[P] There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Printable Version

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There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Andrew Winthrop - 30 December 2016

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Word Count → 292 :: Set in the Dampwoods between Anathema and Inferni.

The time Redtooth spent in Anathema had been pleasant. It was not his intention to call his stay within their community short -- not just yet. But after a day or so, Red felt the desire to explore the territories surrounding the pack's claim. If he were to make a more permanent residence, he felt he would need to be keenly familiar with the landscape and terrain. He would stick close, perhaps he would only stray a few miles, so he could return easily. So when he rose that morning after pawing the sleep from his eyes, Redtooth dawned his torn polyester jacket and he slung the satchel containing his most prized wares, his tobacco, over his shoulder. Pleasant stay or not, he didn't trust anyone at Anathema enough to not steal from him just yet.


He started by heading to the southwest with his back to Anathema's claim. The sun was just peeking over the horizon when he made it to the Dampwoods. Though he did not know the name of the territory in which he began to explore, Redtooth could have ascertained why the wood was named the way it was. Everything was wet, and compounded with the recent snowfall, it made his trek miserable. The snow and the damp earth mixed, making a light brown slush that clung to Redtooth's exposed ankles.


Looking down at his freezing legs, Redtooth grimaced. After placing a hand on a nearby conifer, Redtooth bent down. With his free hand he started to scrape the slush clinging to his legs. His satchel began to slide from his shoulder, and it soon fell into the snow with a plop. The dried and shredded tobacco inside spilled out into the snow. Redtooth swore in frustration. "Oh fuck!"


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Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Vicira Tears - 1 January 2017

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246+

See galleries for credit.

Reports of suspicious strangers, bands of wolf travelers, seemed to echo around Inferni -- in squawking corvid tongues and the cold tones of Vicira's mother, ordering excess patrols. Vicira, as disdainful as ever of her mother's paranoia, couldn't help but wonder just who these canines were; perhaps they were roving traders rather than threatening unknowns. But she humored Vesper anyway and beat her own path out into the woods, ignoring the bird that flew with her.

Which raven it was, Vicira didn't know, but she wondered if Vesper had ordered it somehow to keep an eye on her.

She wondered whose safety Vesper was concerned with.

Mud and slush caked the bottoms of her paws, but Vicira stepped without concern for cleanliness and merely kept an eye and ear out for these "strangers" Ves worried about. She found herself ignoring the cold entirely in favor of this focus, instinctively noting trails through the woods she could dodge through in case she did run into an unsavory character. Her tail swished in annoyance, and she flicked her ears forward.

"Oh, fuck!"

The abrupt curse startled Vicira -- she was more on edge than she thought -- until she slipped quietly through the woodlands, following a frozen creak until she spotted a ruddy-colored coywolf lamenting a spilled satchel. Her nostrils flared at the scent of tobacco, and then she looked at him a moment, silent.

Then she laughed, but not unkindly.

You got shit luck, huh?

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Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Andrew Winthrop - 1 January 2017

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Word Count → 249 ::

As Redtooth bent over to pick up the mess he had made, a long string of whispered profanities spilled from his throat. It was enough to make his make his mother cry, had she heard. Words he didn't even know were swears were spoken with enough acidity to make skin peel. Redtooth did his best to recover what he could, but all of his tobacco that came in contact with the snow and slush was unsalvageable. He couldn't let his entire crop get wet and risk growing mold.


It was best to take the loss, he figured. After scooping up whatever dry leaf he could, Red lifted his satchel and felt that it still had some weight to it. He breathed a sigh of relief. All was not lost.


Before he could stand, he heard a voice. It distracted him. He turned his head and his eyes fell on a woman. From first glance he could tell that she was like him, a coywolf. And she was beautiful. "Uh--" Redtooth rose to his feet and gulped nervously. "I mean, it depends on how you look at it. Like, you can see it as a half-empty bag, or half full... I guess I'm sort of a, uh, half-full type of guy." He shrugged and threw his half-full bag over his shoulder.


"I'm Redtooth," he finally introduced. "But you can call me Red, or whatever. Who are you?"

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Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Vicira Tears - 5 January 2017

213 words.

The reddish coywolf scooped what bits of tobacco leaf he could manage from the snow, cursing all the while, but he looked up at Vicira’s remark and straightened, his demeanor changing instantaneously (and in a way Vici was somewhat familiar with). She smirked at him still, pearly teeth flashing in a wide and teasing grin, her eyes narrow with mischief and mocking, and nodded as he threw the bag back over his shoulder with a declaration of optimism.

“Uh huh,” she agreed, “sure.”

The Tears woman twitched her ears at his name, glancing at his mouth as he spoke as if she might catch a glimpse of crimson fangs. “I’m Vicira,” she said. “But you can call me Vici, or whatever.” She echoed his remark with another grin, and shook her head quickly, shifting dark bangs.

“That was tobacco, right?” she asked, and hoped that she didn’t sound too interested. “Probably not smokeable now, is it? You don’t have cannabis in there too per chance, do you?”

Okay, now she was sounding too interested. She frowned abruptly, scratched at an upper arm, and looked dismissively at anywhere but the satchel of leaves.

“I trade sometimes,” she offered by way of explanation. She didn’t smoke anymore, she told herself.


Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Andrew Winthrop - 5 January 2017

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Word Count → 278 :: Optime Form

Her smile was something Redtooth wouldn't soon forget. It was lively, and full of mischief. There was something about it that compelled him to get to know the woman who stood across the spilled tobacco's length. Who was she? And how could she stir a nervous fluster of energy within him with a single look. Redtooth smiled back, but his gaze trailed downward and he ran his hand anxiously upward though his thick black hair.


His eyes fell on the tobacco scraps that littered the snow. "Yeah. Tobacco," he replied with a nod. "Grew it myself, so I can tell you first hand it's quality." After all, what good trader didn't stand by his own product? However, after most of it spilled into the snow, Vicira had a good point. It was probably too damp to burn. Once again, Redtooth shrugged. "I could probably burn what's on the bottom." With a snap, Redtooth undid the clasp on his satchel and he stuck his free hand inside. He rooted around until he felt dry tobacco beneath the rest.

"Which is coincidently where I keep the good stuff," he spoke. He felt the tell-tale touch of plastic against his fingers. Redtooth grabbed hold of a tight cloth bundle hidden beneath all the loose leaf, but he did not yet pull it out. He paused, and looked to Vicira. "What sort of guy you think I am?" he prodded jokingly as if he took offense to her cannabis question. He smirked and pulled a small bundle of cloth free. Wrapped inside were a few nuggets of dried bud. It was no more than a few grams, at that. "You partake?"

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Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Vicira Tears - 5 January 2017

193 words. Small note, most small plastic baggies would’ve decayed over the decades. ^^ But smaller bags made of like hide or cloth are plausible!

Scrubbing fingers through dark hair, Redtooth explained that he grew the tobacco himself, which caused Vicira’s tall ears to prick in sudden interest. “Really?” She grinned, impressed by this. She was no gardener herself, though Inferni had herbs of various sorts in their greenhouse. “Got a green thumb then?” She took a few steps closer, no longer instinctually wary enough to keep dodging distance between them. Her bushy tail wagged.

She chuckled lightly as he dug into his satchel, but the smile died on her lips when he teased her—not because she cared whether he would be offended by the suggestion, but because he produced another bag.

The telltale scent, even unsmoked, made her nostrils flare. Tongue swept over lips again, and she crossed her arms suddenly, posture subtly defensive and anxious.

“Tryin’ to quit,” Vicira said, hoping she sounded more casual than she felt.

Then she smiled again, though this was a few degrees colder than before, distracted. “So, what’s a handsome coyote tobacco farmer doing as a loner?” she asked, though this was largely just flattery. He was a gawky fellow, plain, though she liked his sharp features.


Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Andrew Winthrop - 5 January 2017

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Word Count → 334 :: Optime Form -- Thanks for the heads up! I went back and changed it!

Redtooth could tell that Vicira was impressed. He heard it in her voice. He saw it in her eyes. This not only pleased Redtooth, but it effectively padded his ego, which gave the hybrid a quick boost of confidence. When faced with an attractive member of the opposite sex, Redtooth found confidence was usually in short supply. Now, he only had to keep this up. He grinned and offered a humble nod in response to her assessment of his skills.


Redtooth, however, would be lying to say that he wasn't at least a bit disappointed that Vicira turned town his offer to share what little cannabis he had. "Ah, well -- No harm in that I guess," he replied. The thought of quitting hadn't even crossed his mind. Life was short, and it was meant to be enjoyed in full. "Life is short. S'best not to live it with regrets." Of course, Redtooth believed that could be taken either way. Either she could partake with him, or hold fast in her beliefs and wake up the next morning stronger for it. Both choices were positive in their own ways. However, if something brought Redtooth joy, he was hard pressed to toss it aside. He was damn well determined to let the good things in life kill him.


But today was not that day. He returned the little bundle to his satchel and he slung the bag back over his shoulder.


What Vicira said next gave Redtooth pause. His brow furrowed with surprise. "Handsome?" His surprise was evident in the tone of his voice. "Well shit. I mean, uh --" The corner of Redtooth's mouth lifted in a dumb smirk. "I'm out looking for a place to crash -- maybe find a place to stay and plant next years crop." He thought briefly that that place would be Anathema, but the land there was hardly suited for agriculture. They were nice and all, but Redtooth knew he'd probably have to settle elsewhere.

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Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Vicira Tears - 15 January 2017

314 words.

Vicira shrugged. It was too late for her not to have regrets, but what mattered to her was the ability to make something of her mistakes. There was no point in dwelling on the past when it couldn’t be changed, and she understood this much. Whether she would have regretted smoking with the man, she didn’t know, but she would have adapted. Probably.

Or maybe she would regret it. It was hard to think; her mouth was still dry, her mind flashing through memories of smoke.

She laughed, not entirely unkindly, at the ruddy male’s surprise. Men were far too easy; their egos were fragile things, but able to balloon up at a moment’s notice. Learning to deal with them had been one of her recent life lessons; it was hard to regret that, even if it had ended quite badly for her.

Her smile widened, and her blue eyes became fever-bright, an igneous passion stirred at once when he mentioned offhandedly finding a place to stay.

“I might know of a place,” Vicira said, idly playing with the wooden star pendant at her collarbone, hoping to draw his eyes there—and perhaps at the rest of her, permitted he’d let himself be distracted and drawn in. “My family’s lived and ruled this place for generations. It’s good for coyotes, and real good for tobacco.”

Maybe he didn’t care so much whether it suited his breed; some coyote hybrids were quite ignorant of their place, and seemed happy to throw their lives away serving some wolf alpha who didn’t understand them. But Vici, despite her lack of any real hateful bias, did think that birds of a feather should flock together.

She wasn’t lying about the tobacco, though. Quite a few Infernians would be happy to do trade with Redtooth for the stuff.


Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Andrew Winthrop - 15 January 2017

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Word Count → 272 ::

To be frank, Redtooth really wasn't the sharpest crayon in the candle shop. Hair-brained nature aside, that wasn't to say that Red was of the stupid variety -- with Redtooth's practical and more specialized skill-set, he was far from dumb. However, he found himself time and time again in situations where he didn't think things through. In fact, he rarely thought at all. So as soon as Vicira's hand moved to the pendant hanging loosely around her neck, Redtooth's eyes followed first to the symbol she wore. But then his gaze traveled further down toward Vicira's bosom where he was easily and unwittingly pulled into her trap.


As distracted as Redtooth was, he listened intently to what Vicira had to say. "Mhm," he returned. His head nodded in reply, but his gaze remained steady on its mark. Of course, ample farmland sounded great to Redtooth, but at this point, he was far more interested in Vicira's ample breast.


However, when the woman mentioned that her pack was good for coyotes, Redtooth's undivided attention returned. "Wait," he said, eyes snapping back to Vicira's face. His brow furrowed with curiosity. "S'you're sayin' that this is a place full of folks like us?" Like Vicira, Redtooth wasn't prejudiced toward other canines, but he was hard wired to want to settle with those who were like him. It was a purely tribal mentality. "I think I like the sound of that. What's this place called?" he then asked. If he was going to seriously consider this place, he needed a name.

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Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Vicira Tears - 23 January 2017

210 words.

She enjoyed his attention and the validation it granted her. Vicira usually carried a touch of froideur about her, an untouchable haughtiness that turned others away, but it was different with men, sometimes. Provided they were not arrogant and entitled fools like Liir had been, she liked to string them along—not to any degree where it became a habit for her, but, well, she knew where her talents lay. Complimenting and distracting was one of these.

Her intentions were not terrible, though. If she wanted to ensnare Redtooth, it was only to add another loyal member to their ranks, and perhaps a little tobacco.

Her expression, when his eyes lifted back to her face from where they’d been hovering, was knowing and amused, but she was quick to nod in confirmation. “Coyotes, hybrids, not the sort of folk who expect you to show your belly when they so much as glance your way,” she clarified. She at least liked to think she was not one of these superiors, though some Infernians might have something to say about that. Vici, meanwhile, liked to pretend she was reasonable.

“Inferni,” Vicira added, and dropped the wooden pendant, smiling more openly and genuinely now. “We got room for farmers, hunters, anyone really.”


Re: There's a bad man in everyone, no matter who we are - Andrew Winthrop - 23 January 2017

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Word Count → 305 ::

The fact that Inferni was full of his own kind was enticing to Redtooth for precisely the same reason Vicira mentioned. Homestead had been a place of mostly wolfish descent. Now, Redtooth wasn't prejudiced himself -- but he and his family had been the victim of ignorance and prejudice abound.


Despite his mothers pure wolf heritage, even she did not escape scrutiny for laying with a coyote. And for a fur coat, at that. However, the children bore the brunt of the animosity directed toward the Winthrop family. Half-breeds they called them. John, Redtooth's brother, found it easy to shrug things off, and for that Redtooth thought he was lucky. He himself on the other hand had more trouble filtering though unkind words.


For a time, there had been one kind soul back at Homestead (other than family, of course). A wolf. Her name was Sarah, and Redtooth had loved her with the burning intensity of a particularly malignant strain of gonorrhea. But in time, even she found that she wanted to be with someone of her own kind.


"Sounds like the place I want to be," he replied, nodding eagerly. There, he knew he wouldn't feel like some second class citizen. At this point, he didn't need to deliberate any further. "I should probably go grab my shit then." Unknown to Vicira, there was no shit but what Redtooth carried with him. He did, however, wish to thank the folks over at Anathema for the hospitality they shared for the past few days. "I think I can head that way by tomorrow morning even."

He smiled sheepishly. "I'll, uh -- I'll call," he said. For you, though that certainly went unsaid. And of course, as timeline dictates, it would be another to accept him into the fold that morning.

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