[AW] Somehow, This Hell is Home
AW!
#1
OOC: AW! Shy WC: 324
Setting Generator Wrote:It's dawn, and it's drizzling. Your character has slipped and fallen on their butt.
IC:
Today was supposed to be a day for foraging for things to make into jewelry. It was going to be great! She would find something really pretty and make herself a fancy new necklace because she always had to have new things. Then she could trade away the old things so she didn't have to wear them anymore, making room for more new things. But no, after Tessa headed out as the sun rose, the clouds filled in and then the drizzle started. Hoping that it wouldn't last too long, Tessa stubbornly continued on. How was she

Then the chill in the air got colder and the drizzle started to freeze. The ground soon started to feel slick, and so Tessa turned around and started heading back home. Her bag was just as empty as it was when she left, which was a major disappointment, leaving her annoyed. She ignored anyone she passed, keeping her gaze straight ahead, hoping that she could get inside before her hair got too frizzy. She hated when it did that because there was little she could do to fix it. She was also cold thanks to the water clinging to her fur.

Finally, home was in view and Tessa walked a little faster, eagerness lengthening her strides. Without warning, her foot slipped in the mud and she let out a high-pitched yelp of surprise. She windmilled her arms uselessly before landing on her butt in the mud with a final squelching sound. Perfect. Right in view of anyone who might be outside, too. That was even more perfect.

With a frustrated sound, Tessa slapped her hands down beside her, splashing more mud onto her clothes and dirtying her hands up to her wrists. It oozed between her fingers, a disgusting, squishy feeling that caused Tessa to wrinkle her nose.

Great. Just great. Absolutely fantastic. Could the day get any worse? It had only just begun.
#2
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YOU GOT MUDS


Domestic chores had never been her forte, by any means. She had been good at some things, like flower arranging but with winter coming on, flowers were in very low availability. Instead, the children enjoyed the warm of the indoors, a small fire crackling in the small hearth that Kalypso had asked to be built into her home. Yet, she was not inside with the warmth but outside, with a crisp grey shirt and her usually dark grey (they weren't really black anymore) pants. The wind shot through the thin clothes as she ran a rake over the small gathering of leaves on her lot, away from where she hoped to plant herself some sort of garden.

Well, more like she hoped to get a garden grown there thanks to a helpful soul, otherwise she would have to figure out how to take care of flowers on her own. Ornamental flowers were what she was best at. Gods knew she would never grow poisonous plants near her home, not so blatantly.

Chore done, she considered seeing how her neighbors and Courtiers were doing and set aside her rake on the wall, knowing her children would not mind if she took a short walk for a handful of minutes. They were loudly arguing over something inside, the old mismatched glass an easy sight to Athalie and Eulalie verbally jousting, their mouths wide in their bantering. Her son was quietly watching, though he seemed more amused than irritated at his two sisters. Shaking her head, Kalypso knew they'd be fine a moment or two.

The Reine nearly greeted the woman who walked toward her, but her stormy look was enough to make the royal pause and shrug it off. Except then she heard the smashing of a body into something decidedly mushy. She spun about and saw Tessa splattered and covered in mud. It was unfortunate that the Queens first instinct was not one she could repress; Kaly's cheeks puffed with a swallowed laugh, but it escaped in a spurt and she started laughing in that throaty sort of way as she put a hand up to her mouth. She turned slightly away, to hide her face, even as she continued to laugh.

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#3
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A silvery sky spit a light drizzle upon them but Reblin scarcely felt it.


"Brrrrrr!" His companion warbled, giving her patchy body a violent, uncontrollable shake. Reblin swung his head around to catch the whole, theatrical display, his smile cracking his mouth open wide. Tilting his head back, he barked laughter and Mottle gave him a hearty shove. "Are you laughing at me, Vithroi?"


He knew she was playing. There was a mischievous twinkle in her singular conker eye and one corner of her lips tilted up sharply. Narrowing his eyes at her, Reblin grinned toothily back. "So what if I am?" he challenged. "There's an awful lot to laugh about."


Mottle managed a look of such shock and indignation that, for only a moment, Reblin wondered if he had misjudged her. But then the patchy Jester pitched violently toward him and her expression of outrage shifted seamlessly into hilarity. "That'sth hardly the way to talk to a Lady!" she shrieked as she chased after him, her arms flailing wildly. "I'll give you sthomething to laugh about!"


That was when, as though Mottle's words had somehow made it so, Tessa's perfect little feet slid out from beneath her and she landed with a splat! in the chilly, sloppy mud.


Both Reblin and Mottle stopped abruptly in their tracks, their mouths drooping and their eyes wide. What antics they had been in the middle of before Tessa's brilliant slip were immediately and irreversibly interrupted. For what felt like forever, there was no sound from either of them. And then, as though they had planned it all along, both Jester and Mason broke into ruckus, rowdy laughter.


"Oh gods, my sides!" Reblin howled while Mottle, already doubled over, wheezed. Attempting to straighten his torso, the Viceroi rolled a finger beneath one moist eye and glanced from Tessa to anyone else who might have witnessed what just happened. When he caught sight of Kalypso, Reblin attempted (poorly) to regain his composure. "Your Majesty!" he snorted, his lips twitching from the effort of attempting to keep his lips straight.


Mottle, meanwhile, waddled over to Tessa and, still laughing, offered her a hand.


OOC: omggggggg :')

[WC — 364]


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#4
WC: 310

As it turns out, the day could, in fact, get worse. Much worse. The Queen, of all canines, had to witness the spectacular fall, as did an attractive male--Rebel or something like that--and, well, and there was Mottle. Fantastic. Trying to look as dignified as possible, Tessa tipped her nose up and glanced around to see who else might have witnessed her fall. Thankfully, she didn't see anyone.

Tessa managed - barely - to keep her glare away from Kalypso, even though she thought the laughter was not particularly becoming. She didn't bother trying to keep from glaring at the other two, and if looks could kill, they would both be dead and buried.

To her surprise, Mottle came over and offered her a hand up. Tessa never could tell if there was something wrong with Mottle that her fur was missing in some areas, or if she did it on purpose. Since Tessa couldn't imagine doing something like that on purpose, she could only assume that something was wrong. And she was afraid that it might be contagious.

Still, she was quite certain that if she didn't accept help up, she would only fall again, probably on her face this time because there was very little mud on her front and that would complete the look. The mud was still oozing between her fingers and the laughter was ringing in her ears. Frustration flashed through her and before Tessa thought about what she was doing, she scooped up a handful of mud and with a short, angry shriek, flung it towards Reblin.

She wanted to smooth out her hair and her fur, but both of those would only make her appearance worse, so she managed to refrain. Instead, letting out a huff, Tessa then put her hand in Mottle's to accept her help up.
#5
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--


She was not alone in her laughter. The sound of two more joining in to form a chorus of cackling made her laughter soften, though she was still definitely chortling under her breath. Reblin and Mottle stumbled upon Tessa and her muddy, mucky debacle and promptly had the exact same response that the queen had herself. Mottle, though, was the one who approached the filth-covered canine and offered to help her. Tessa was displeased, but Kalypso was glad that the blob of mud went flying to Reblin and not toward her, since she was not about to start a mud brawl.

The whole Court is going to have heard you shrieking like a banshee, Madam, she said with a small follow-up chuckle as she brushed away tears of laughter. Whether or not they were actually there on the corners of her eyes was questionable. Mottle had gotten her up and was starting to brush off the muddy splotches on her with the precision only a happy-go-lucky Player could have.

Are you alright? she asked finally, still smiling, especially since it seemed that Tessa was bruised in the ego. Kaly could relate; no one liked to fall on their ass publicly. In mud, on top of it all.

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#6
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Sucking in her cheeks, Mottle managed to contain her laughter while she waited for Tessa to accept her help. Bending at the waist, her lithe fingers reached out invitingly and waited for the woman's muddy grip. When it didn't come right away, Mottle studied the disgraced woman in time to watch her scoop up a handful of sloppy mud and send it soaring directly at her partner-in-crime. In her ears, the girl's screech rung out like the sound a banshee might make and Mottle watched, her amusement replaced with surprise, as the muck struck Reblin's face with an audible splat!


For a moment, it seemed to Mottle as though silence had stolen away their voices. And then, with a wailing laugh that sounded more like a dying animal, the half-bald woman pointed at Reblin and gave a perfectly unintelligible remark of pure mirth.


Reblin, meanwhile, lifted his arms and scooped clods of mud from the indentations where his eyes once were. There was a discernible expression of shock on his mud-splotched face, his jaw drooping and his ears splayed, but this – as it had with Mottle – was quickly replaced with unmistakable hilarity. "Gods you have good aim!" he barked, his curled tail wagging furiously. It slowed momentarily as he gave himself a good shake, dislodging clumps of dirt and mud, before starting back up again with fervor.


Mottle was still snorting and snickering as she helped Tessa up, nodding exuberantly in agreement of Reblin's assessment.


Still wiping mud from his face with his upper arms, Reblin joined the ladies and beamed at Tessa with a bright-toothed grin. "I mean, you gotta feel better after dishin' that one out, right?" he added in, his confidence nowhere near dented following his own public humiliation.


[WC — 302]


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#7
WC: 344

Huh. The mud actually hit its target. Tessa couldn't believe her luck. It was kind of unfortunate, really, because he was pretty attractive before his face was covered in mud. If she was being completely honest, he was still attractive even with the mud on him, but she certainly wasn't about to say that out loud.

Tessa didn't care that the court had probably have heard her, but she managed not to snap that at their leader. Even though she had many opinions, she knew enough to keep a fair number of them to herself since she didn't want to get herself into trouble. Tessa was under no illusions on her ability to survive without the pack, and she certainly didn't want her "poor attitude" to end up forcing her to try. Instead, she took a breath and simply nodded in response, afraid of any words that would come out of her mouth.

"A little, maybe," Tessa replied to Reblin after she stood. She still couldn't believe had simply laughed about having mud thrown at him. After looking down at herself, Tessa gave in and tried to wipe a little bit of mud off herself, but as she suspected before, she only succeeded in smearing it since her hand was coated, as was most of the rest of her fur. "Thank you for your help," she said to Mottle, more as an afterthought than anything else. Her shoulders were curved forward on her embarrassment, but she forced herself to straighten up and at least pretend to feel confident.

"Is there anywhere I might find warm water here?" Tessa doubted it, but she had heard of places that had hot springs. Maybe she just hadn't heard of that here, but that was certainly something that she would have paid attention to. More likely, though she'd have to take a dip in ice cold water and then heat up something warm to drink afterwards. For once, Tessa wished her Dad was still here instead of back in Portland.
#8
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235


Kalypso watched the dramatics unfold, but mercifully, they ended as soon as Reblin laughed. He certainly had a great ability to defuse a ticking bomb. It helped that he was not put off by a shrieking sort of personality, which is likely exactly the reaction that Kalypso herself would have had in the same situation. Still, she stood amicably by, amused by all of it and glad that it was not her at the receiving end.

Mottle and Reblin got her mood stabilized and upright. Tessa regained her appearance of confidence, which meant she was likely done with the tantrum over a muddy coating. Good, it meant that the Reine was ready to tap into the ring. Mottle and Reblin may have been helpful initially but she was not about to be outdone entirely. No one could say that she merely stood by and did nothing.

That I can help with, actually. She gestured in the direction of where once hot springs had been. Granted, it's more warm than hot, but the lake that formed after the Red Star is still somewhat warm. It can be quite nice, especially when it's snowing, she prattled on, bemused. Kalypso tilted her head, brow raised. It was entirely up to Tessa to join her, but the Queen did not want to miss an opportunity to talk to a trio of interesting Courtiers she knew little about.

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#9
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With beads of tears shining in the corners of her eyes and the muscles of her stomach screaming in laugh-induced agony, Mottle helped the victim of mud and muck up to her feet. "Of coursth," she said emphatically through a squeak. She was still huffing out clouds of breath from her quiet cackling when Reblin made his way forward, his pale eyes appearing much paler against the darkness of the mud that surrounded them. But by the time their Queen stepped towards them, too, Mottle had managed to regain most of her composure and was rolling the knuckle of an index finger beneath her good eye, catching the tears before they froze.


Reblin perked up at the mention of water, eager to wash his face of the cold mud. Bits of grit were starting to drop into his eyes and it was a starting to get old already, having to rub at them every time he felt a new irritant settle in and force his eyelids to flutter protectively. If it weren't for this, the wolfdog probably would have gone without. The mud would dry eventually and then he would be able to brush it right off without any issue at all. With a glance at Kalypso and a wagging of his curled tail, Reblin decided that it was better just to take care of the problem rather than suffer in annoyance.


"Hey, count me in!" he chirped cheerily, giving his head a short, sharp shake that sent bits of mud flying into the air. Reblin didn't intend to share his misery with anyone, but he couldn't change where those clods of mud landed. Mottle, with a theatrical gasp and exaggerated dance, narrowly dodged one clump.


"For everyonesth sthake, I think that would be bestht," the patchy barber added through a toothy grin.


[WC — 307]


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#10
WC: 501

Water that was warm that she did not have to wait for? Tessa was so in. She could only heat so much water at a time herself, and it would be a giant pain to continue to heat water as it got muddy and she had to empty it out, and she really did not want to go rolling in the snow. It would take a while for it to be effective and she felt like she would look ridiculous. It would be far easier to just go for a swim, but frigid water was not pleasant, nor was it safe.

But the pack had warm water available, and that was good enough for her. Sure, hot water would be preferable, but at this point, Tessa was not going to be that picky. Just as she was about to agree and ask where this lake was so that she could go there, Mottle and Reblin invited themselves along. Tessa snapped her jaw shut on the protest that wanted to come out. The last thing she wanted was company on this, especially not from the canines who had seen her fall, and laughed at her for it. At the same time, she did not see any immediate way to extract herself because it would not make sense for her to suddenly change her mind and turn down the most pleasant option that she was going to find. Maybe once she got there, she could split off from the others. Hopefully the lake would be big enough for her to do that.

She narrowed her eyes at Reblin when he sent mud bits flying, but managed to hold her tongue to keep from saying something else rude. It was not like adding a little more mud would make things much worse now. Still, she would appreciate it if he kept his mud to himself even as she was tempted to throw more mud at him.

With a sigh, Tessa nodded. At least Reblin was attractive, even if she really just wanted to be alone so she could wallow in her embarrassment on her own. That would have to wait until later, though. The mud was starting to dry on her fur, making her feel itchy and she picked at a spot on her leg before looking up at Kalypso.

"Warm water sounds perfect," Tessa said, standing with her arm akimbo so that she would not fidget anymore than she already had. It was so tempting, but wiping the mud off was not really helpful at this point. "Where is this lake?" Tessa asked. She did not want to assume that Kalypso would be leading them to it, mostly because she was tired of looking like a complete fool in front of their Queen. She could think of little that was more mortifying than this situation and the faster she could put it behind her, the better. Hopefully this, along with her outburst in reaction, would not leave a lasting bad impression on Kalypso.
#11
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361


Reblin and Mottle were showing their amusing colors, deflating the situation better than the Queen could have ever bothered to manage herself. Were she alone with the woman, it likely would not have ended quite as well. Thankfully, they diffused well and Tessa seemed resigned to the fact she needed a good, thoroughly cleaning and her pride had not been stung too hard. At least, so the Reine thought.

It was still quite funny, though.

Tessa, however, did not seem too terribly happy at the prospect of both Reblin and Mottle going with her to the lake that was once hot springs. It was a good thing to note, and the Reine figured she would give her directions and let the girl deal with the presence of equals, rather than her superior on top of everything. Kaly honestly had no qualms about stepping into boundaries that may have been incredibly visible, even from space. But being Queen gave her some perspective and forced her to take moments to pause, think, and consider the consequences.

While they were probably mild, it was probably smarter to distance herself from the moment. Plus she had done nothing to help.

The lake is where the hot springs were before the Red Star hit. Mottle probably knows. She looked to the unseemly, gangly woman who nodded in her overeager sort of way. But it’s southwest of here, east of the fork in the southern river. It still smells faintly like rotten egg but it’s not quite as potent as it used to be. Or at least, she thought. She had come after the Red Star had fallen, so all she knew about the hot springs before was all hearsay, anecdotal at best. But that was more than enough to off of, plus the water really was nice, especially in winter.

Bring a cloak or cloth, though. It’ll still be a cold walk home. She knew from experience, especially from cleaning up herself and her children. At least they rarely got too dirty, though they had plenty of similar experiences to Tessa, but none of the issues with dirt she wished they did have.

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#12
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She seemed annoyed, this pale woman with ivory tresses, but this did little to sway the ebullient wolfdog from carrying on as he had from the get-go. A more conscientious canine might have taken Tessa's narrowed eyes and long-suffering sigh to heart, and perhaps would have offered to find another method of rinsing the mud off their dirty face that did not involve encroaching on her space. But Reblin, well-intentioned and good as his heart was, only felt a stronger desire to be near her. It was his hope that, at the very least, he could get the icy woman to crack a smile.


But a laugh was what he truly aimed for.


Swinging his head from Mottle, Reblin grinned broadly at Tessa. "Right?" he exclaimed agreeably, giving his curled tail a cheerful wag before looking expectantly at their distinguished Queen. Next to him, Mottle shuffled her weight and swayed her shoulders in a silly little dance. She knew of the lake that Kalypso was likely referring to, of course she did. But it was the Queen who had brought it up and it was the Queen who ought to provide her loyal subjects with the requested information.


She did not hesitate to confirm her knowledge, however, when Kalypso glanced her way. Reblin snorted humorously at the obnoxious way his patchy companion chose to respond and glanced brightly at Tessa, watching for so much as a twitch at the corners of her mouth to suggest she thought the Barber as funny as he did.


The way that their Reine spoke seemed to suggest to Reblin that she did not intend to join them, and he glanced at her again with his head tilted crookedly. "Do you wanna join us, Your Majesty?" he asked, his tail picking up speed as he wagged it.


"I'm sthure that our Reine hasth better thingsth to do than be entertained by your sthtupidity, don't you think?" Mottle said, sticking her pink tongue out at the the piebald wolfdog when he tried, and failed, to give her shoulder a playful cuff. He was still grinning when he glanced away from Mottle to Tessa again.


"Well, you can count on me to get Lady Tessa there safe and sound!" he assured the Queen, bowing deeply before straightening his back again. He spun on his heel to face the cornflower-eyed woman with his big, dumb smile. "Shall we?" he asked, offering Tessa his arm while Mottle stifled a laugh.


OOC: we could probably wrap up with Myst's next post? c:

[WC — 418]


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#13
WC: 609

Nodding along, Tessa memorized the directions Kalypso was giving her to get to the lake, already imagining how nice it would be to soak in warm water. Her brain came to a screeching halt though when the Reine mentioned the smell. Rotten eggs? Would that stench cling to her fur? Tessa did not want to trade the scent (and visual) of mud for another bad smell, even if that was taking away the mud. Well, she would see how bad it was and then go from there. She could not remember smelling any members of Cour des Miracles smelling like rotten eggs, and there had to be others who took advantage of the hot springs, so maybe the smell did not hang around.

For a moment, she considered a cold swim, but the shiver that went through her body at the idea made up her mind for her. She was willing to brave this stench today and see how much it lingered afterwards. Then she would know whether or not she would make regular visits to this lake to relax, even when the weather got a bit warmer so that she was not freezing on her way back home all the time.

Tessa's eyes went to Kalypso to see if she was going to join them. She kind of hoped not because she was already embarrassed enough and she still wanted to just get away from everyone, but she especially wanted to stop being in Kalypso's presence while covered in mud. Thankfully Mottle offered her an out and as a bonus, it came with an insult to Reblin. Maybe Mottle was not so bad, despite her... interesting appearance.

A light snort followed by a cough to cover her laugh was the closest Tessa actually got to laughing, but Mottle calling Reblin stupid did manage to break through her annoyance a little bit. Paving the way for that was that she had a way to clean off without having to freeze the entire time, even if it was going to be a long, cold walk back from the lake. She assumed it would be long, anyway, since she had not figured out that this lake was warm yet, although she did not make a habit of swimming in the warmer months. She hated how she looked while her fur and hair were drying, so the most she tended to do was wade in the ocean a little while searching for sea glass. She did like the feeling of water on her feet.

Her annoyance was broken enough that she found herself smiling just a little in response to Reblin's grin. Maybe he was sort of okay even though he had laughed at her. Tessa grudgingly admitted to herself that it probably was not personal. It was likely that he would have laughed at nearly anyone who fell in the mud like she had, and if she was going to be honest, she would have to admit that she would have laughed at someone else while looking down her nose at them. She probably would have had a few altiloquent comments to make as well.

"Alright, let's get going," Tessa said, trying not to sound ungrateful since Mottle would be leading the way to the lake. With her head held high in an attempt to preserve as much of her dignity as she could, Tessa started off for her home so that she could grab the cloak Kalypso had suggested since it was definitely going to be a cold walk back. From there, she was ready to head off to this lake to get clean and warm.


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