[P] But the wind, yes the wind, keeps howling
#1
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It had dawned on Percival one brisk dusk as he began to make his way home, eyes and ears ever watchful for the mysterious events that had been plaguing the Realm of late, that there were still many within his new pack he had yet to learn much of anything about. By now he thought that there were few left he had not formerly meet, but his immediately friends and family, and the High King himself, aside, most of his pack mates' own stories were unknown to him.


So it was that the bearded Diplomat found himself alongside the willowy young Salka Huxley as they meandered towards the Enedwaith one autumnal mid-morning.


Their meeting had not been planned, though Percival had woken that day with the intention of joining the first little-known pack mate he saw in whatever activity they were off to engage in. His sisters, of course, he already knew enough about (although the more he thought about Daisy, the more he began to recognize that there were gaps and mysteries of her own time in captivity; something that Percy had made a mental note to circle back on when he felt the time was right), so he departed from the home that he shared with them and then he searched.


Salka was a woman who Percy had seen before, but who he had never actively socialized with. Her appearance, though, was memorable. And, he thought with some amusement, fitting for the season. Mottled in the same hues of russet and bronze and amber that had so transformed the forest around them, the Huxley woman was leggy and narrow, with a tail longer than his own sickle-shaped appendage. She was beautiful. And, though he could not express why, exotic in a way that Percival couldn't help but feel a sense of wonder about her.


"I don't think that we ever formally met," Percival had greeted, his posture straight and his smile respectable. "I'm Percival Parhelion. Would you mind if I joined you? I'm trying t' get to know everyone in th' Realm a little better."


Her acceptance of his offer to join her had resulted in their journey in the Enedwaith, where a blustery breeze made the golden leaves dance against the stand of striped birch trees. "Did you grow up in th' area?" he asked as they walked, curious of history and what events had lead her to the Realm.


While his nutmeg eyes were on Salka's narrow face, a gust shifted the persistent mists that had wrapped themselves throughout their lands and, int he distance, the silhouette of a something sinister loomed.


OOC: The Mists prompt: "Strange scarecrow-like figures have been sighted among the forested areas of New Caledonia. Their construction is crude: topped with stag-skulls they are tied together with woven vines and many sport hanging bones or dried moss. From afar their silhouettes loom foreboding in the fog, calling to mind local superstitions of wendigos, and other frightening creatures. Closer inspection reveals faint smears of blood upon the skulls." | Also using this thread for Percy's silver Diplomat co-rank (Learn about a fellow pack mates history.)

[WC — 444]


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#2
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Salka was ever as elusive as she was fickle, her attentions fleeting and capricious as shifting wind, ever curious with things that lay within her own self-interest.

Living with others in such a group as this had been nothing short of an adjustment, and one she wasn't sure she was making well. She kept to herself, and with that came Tsolin's platonic company - though she suspected his own isolation was either self-imposed, or lay in place with a language barrier. The Mongolian wasn't bad with English, but he did take his time to process things told to him - especially idioms.

Salka used this to her advantage often, if only for her own amusements.

So when a diplomat had crossed her path, patchy tawny with those lovely brown eyes and a shaggy face, she was, admittedly, at a loss for what to do. With wary seaglass eyes, she appraised his features, and her smile was brittle, but not unwelcoming.

"We have not," she had responded softly, icelandic tongue twisting the way the words came out in lilts that colored her speech differently than his own. "Please, do. I am Salka Huxley, charmed."

It did no merit to be unfriendly - much less to packmates of such distinction.

"I did not," Salka answered, but sensed that the answer was not so satisfactory - "I come from across the waters. We sailed north, before I traveled south towards that Portland for a few weeks, and back up to, well, here. What of yourself?"

That was an in-depth as she was comfortable with, and she wrung her scarred hand somewhat between her thumb and the knuckle of her pointer finger. Warm eyes were glued to her face, and Salka found herself peculiarly flustered --

At least, until she saw the patchy fluttering in the distance, pronged and odd and misshapen. A hand was held up, and reached over blindly, patting subtly at Percival's chest to direct his attention where her gaze lay pinned.

"Do you see that?"


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#3
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Across the waters. Percival's nutmeg eyes hovered over Salka's fine features a moment, mesmerized. What waters? Initially, he thought of the minor rivers and lakes and bays that dotted the lands he had grown up within. But as she spoke of sailing and of Portland, his mind expanded. Unbidden, his mind wandered to the tales told from a former Krokaran of sailing and seafaring and Percy found himself wondering. "That sounds like quite a journey," he replied, taking an educated stab in the dark. For all he knew, she didn't come from terribly far away, though the unique way that she spoke suggested something foreign. "Where was it that you came from?"


The question was loaded, and Percy knew it even as he asked it. But he wanted to understand her origins, and be respectful of the traditions (and the the gods) that she had grown up with. What was the culture of her birthplace like? Did she believe in many gods or of one, singular, entity? Was there something in particular that her family or pack specialized in? How was her homeland organized? He had so many questions, but decided to choose the broadest one in order to help tailor them and guide the direction of their conversation.


When she asked after him, the bearded Parhelion glanced into the misty dawn and took a soft breath in. "I grew up 'round here," he replied. "In a pack called Krokar." As succinctly as he could, the young man described his birth pack and the terrible fate that befell it. "And that's why... I'm go–" Her lifted hand initially distracted him, his words starting to trail, but it was the blind patting that cut his voice short.


Following her gaze, Percival found saw the skeletal figures through the mist and sucked in a gasp sharply. Unhelpfully, his mind skipped backwards to a time and a place that he would rather not live. For several moments, he imagined masks on those wispy silhouettes and found himself searching for fire. But, Salka's voice cut through his memories and grounded him. "Yeah," he exhaled. But what was it?


Clearing his throat, the young Parhelion closed his eyes and straightened his posture. Then, breathing in slowly, he thought back to Keabetswe's teachings and tried to center himself. Lifting a hand, he smoothed his beard and exhaled quietly, opening his eyes to find Salka's face. "We should make sure there's nothin' to worry 'bout." And, cautiously, Percival started towards the figure.


[WC — 424]


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