[P] There's a thin dark cloud in the evening air

Dim sunlight filtered through a thin screen of opaque cloud cover, making the golden sands beneath her feet look drabber and dirtier than they did under unadulterated rays. An easy breath of wind breezed over the surface of Moosehead Lake, carrying the sweet, heavy scents of freshwater and aquatic vegetation and decaying fish across the beach. Evelyn dug her toes in the sand and breathed slowly in, sweeping her singular amber eye over the gathering coyotes.

She didn't know whose idea it had been, for the Drygrass Posse and the Cartel coyotes to come together on these sandy shores between their two camps, but Evelyn suspected that Santiago had some part of it. And, in a rather surprising change of heart, she was at last agreeable to the idea. For the first time since their nightmare had begun, the Vicar was prepared to fight against the injustices and the fears and the deaths that had dogged them for so long.

The time had come, finally, for them make their stand and put down new roots.

Evelyn breathed out the lakeside smells again and lifted her hands up to her hood, bandaged fingers guiding the fabric down and away from her fire-kissed head. The breeze tossed a thin patch of straw-colored tresses over her shoulder as she padded toward the gathering coyotes, her eyes emotionless and her lips thin. If they were going to succeed as one cohesive faction, then they had a great deal of work ahead of them.

"Well?" she said, glancing about whoever was nearby with her one, bright, fierce eye. "What do you folks got for value or worth?" Evelyn was nothing if not direct, and she was more interested in how everyone could pull their own weight than she was in their stories or beliefs.

[WC — 302]

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the first cut is the deepest

She knew this was coming, especially after One Eyed’s rousing speech. To be fair, she hadn’t been certain about this at all, but when Twelve really got down to brass tacks, why the hell was she even here if not to work and contribute?

So, when the Burned Woman had called the Posse and Cartel to meet and discuss their resources, and their beliefs, she had been ready.

It was hard to look at Evelyn, not just because she was scarred, but because Twelve remembered the sound she had made when her brother’s head had rolled to her feet. That was a sound she never wanted to hear again, and so here she was, willing to be used however this new coyote band wanted her used.

When the woman pulled her hood back, Twelve steadied her gaze; damn she wished she was drunk right now. With sobriety came a sense of duty, something she both loved and hated.

No one spoke up too quickly, so she stepped forward, Well, shit… She muttered, and then, unrolled a bundle of worn leather onto the ground at the lady’s feet. Inside, tucked away and protected by individual sleeves, a full set of shining farrier tools. These were her life blood, custom made for her by the man she had apprenticed with in New York. With these tools she had made a name for herself that eventually fell into infamy.

Twelve stood and crossed her arms, looking down at the tools before up at the Burned Woman, These are farrier tools. I’m a farrier. I know how to shoe horses, tend to their feet, and cows feet, among others.

She turned her head as if to spit, but then hesitated. She opened her arms and splayed her scarred hands, These are working hands, and when they’re not working they’re putting a bottle to my mouth. I can tend the horses, I can train them, care for them, make sure their healthy. I can even gentle wild ones. You folk seem to like your equines, so I’m sure my skills will be in high demand. She raised a brow at the others gathered as if to dare them to challenge her statements.

OOC || +367

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[html]<div class="twelve-sig">

<div class="fancytext">Twelve</div>
<div class="links"><a href="#">Character Wiki</a> ♘ <a href="#">Player Wiki</a></div>


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my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

It was hard, to place worth on himself, to put value and concisely state what it was he was good at. Truly good - he knew how to thieve, he knew how to scrap, he knew how to take care of horses - but were any of those truly marketable? Nazario flexed his hands, setting the fire and putting it to light, while the scar-kissed Vicar spoke, candid and sharp as she had seemed to been.

The following words from another woman of the Posse made the one-eyed Nazario look up, and he folded his palms. Briarblack's grip tightened a moment on her satchel, as though waiting for her own chance to present her own claims, those ears high on her head.

"I can help with the horses," Nazario stated, softly. "Would be an honor to learn what y'could teach me," he gestured with a crook of a finger towards Twelve, before glimpsing back to his fire. "I can spar, got a halberd. Start fires." Survive. But who couldn't, here?

Briarblack hovered her pale blue eyes over him a moment, before straightening her posture.

"I got needles, bandages, poultices - I can heal," she spoke, but said nothing of the untouched bow she had picked up to replace the old one. Nazario saw her screw up her face slightly. "I can trap small game."

"Well, this is a good start," Nazario offered, trying to spin a twist of something light-hearted out of the seemingly dour situation. With hesitance, he lifted the molten gaze of his eye to Evelyn Escuella's hard face, and twitched his lips into a smile, unsure if her own stony features ever changed, to anything outside of grief.

--| [wc — 000] template by hilli


The two ravens worried at a fish carcass on the beach, a yard away from where Vesper watched them with intent eyes and crossed forepaws. She twitched an ear toward the fire-kissed woman who posed a question to them, then turned her head and muttered something to Clover in case she wasn't paying attention.

The mongrel rolled her shoulders in an uncomfortable hunch, but she dutifully looked up and listened to others as they described their contributions. She would need to learn every face if they were all going to be living together as a—


Still grieving for a clan gone nearly a year ago, Clover wouldn't quite say the word.

Vesper waited for a lull when Nazario made a joke, and with a snort she sat upright, her ravens ceasing the squabbling and looking to her instinctively. "I'm fuckin' old," she called out. "If that's not worth something, I dunno what is." Her whiskers curled slyly, but she adjusted her hips (wincing as her bad leg twinged) to properly face the others.

"I led Inferni for six years. Most of the Cartel can vouch for what I used to be able to do, and for what I learned." She glanced toward her ravens, then croaked; one, the cloudy-eyed Stormeye, hopped onto her shoulders and balanced there with a flap of her wings while the other stepped attentively closer. "My body ain't what it used to be, but I still know birds. You'll want loyal eyes in the sky."

She fell silent then, and glanced toward Clover, who shuffled her paws. After a minute, it became clear that the dog wouldn't speak for herself, so Vesper growled.

"This one single-handedly kept me alive the past year."

Clover sighed and drew her brown eyes up. It was easy, somehow, to look at the scarred woman who addressed them all: recognizing another survivor.

"I fight. I know herbs, too, so I can treat things like colds and arthritis. I don't know how to treat wounds on my own, but I know how to assist someone who does." She paused, then glanced at Nazario, who she knew at least would find value in what she had to say next. "The Cenizans taught me their faith, too."

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[html]<div class="clovSig"><div class="text">I can feel the thunder that's breaking in your heart<br/>
I can see through the scars inside you</div></div>

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[html]For the first while in a long while, Ceridwen had begun to feel like she was home; a feeling of warmth and security that could not be removed by any adversary, it seemed. Those that she had come to know, familiar faces between both the Posse and Cartel, were talented and driven. Between them, they had begun to create a thriving community. When threatened, it was only natural that they come together. And so they did, banding together upon the sandy shore of the lake, the low murmur of indistinct conversation ceasing when a woman's voice lifted above the din, barked orders for those present to account for themselves. Several others, each waiting their turn, explained how they could contribute, why they deserved to be a part of the community.

Crossing her arms, she considered what she had to offer. Meanwhile, her brother lifted a hand to indicate that he would speak next, offering a bit of preamble to warm up the crowd, before getting down to it. "I can help to teach others how to better fight and defend." He shrugged in a nonchalant manner, for his own specialization did not necessarily provide any benefits to nurturing this new era. It would, however, help them to survive. "The Armistice family was established to ensure equilibrium was maintained among the luperci within our society, passing down strategies for the offensive, defensive, and manipulation of groups, packs, or individuals." He held his ground, jaw squared, pointedly avoiding Ceridwen's glare.

They were too young to claim themselves to be master strategists, but they were both well versed in warfare; and their engagement with the wolves certainly felt like war. If they did not band together and push back now, their community would be dissolved through chaos and death. Ceridwen had never seen a more ragtag but capable group. Somehow, she felt like this could be where she belonged. "I have a deep knowledge of identifying and caring for various plants. Although the garden I had started was destroyed during the stampede, I still have most of my seed reserves left. It's late in the season but there's time to rebuild." She worried her lower lip, leaning towards her older brother. "I do some healing--" Her eyes narrowed and her ears twitched as she glanced towards Rafael, certain he had muttered "And some experimenting," but could not call him out on it. "And I still have some potions and poisons that can be used." It pained her to know that she would have to let them go, free of cost, for the greater good, but she would still try to barter.

She was capable of creating and cultivating other things, but that was not something to announce. At least, not to just anyone.[/html]

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Wayne had found them all, as they had all found the Vicar. He came up with a stiffer step than normal, and it was forgivable that there was a bit of paranoia in his eye. He'd been out scouting and patrolling their spit of land they'd stuck to, but even Cochise needed a rest that he wasn't willing to take. On the way, John had managed to get a long swig of the good stuff into Wayne, something into the effects of 'he needed to loosen up.' Looking at the man's bedraggled form and new injuries, Wayne had taken him up on the offer but not without a bit of thought.

He found them all with tired eyes, but Evelyn didn't waste any time. Her most redeeming quality, and a curse for conversation, at the same time.

One by one, they offered what they had, what they knew. All in all, it brought a bit of pride into Wayne's heart. One by one they showed what they had and they were more than willing to give their all to the coming together. Wayne was no different, but was a patient man. Rafael and Ceridwen had finished, and Wayne stepped up to make his claim for what he was worth,” I've been a Ranger in a past life. Bounty Huntin', trackin', scoutin'. I can track for days. Months,” His eye found Evelyn, specifically,” It's how I found ya'll,” The proof was in the pudding.

He wasn't exactly up for mentioning that he had the ability to keep a rope from killing him, but that was a secret best left intact, and something Evelyn was already privy to. A trump card, if you will, that he didn't exactly enjoy playing. He used to think he could keep a level head, too, but that poor creature, Mystery, got to enjoy it when he had a lapse in judgment. He didn't have that bragging right anymore,” I can ride any horse and I can fight, well'nuff. I don't mind no hard work, 'niether.”

It wasn't much to offer, but really, all in all, he only had himself to give. Two hands, one head, and a convoluted sense of morals that seemed to settle in just fine here.

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OOC | +305

Moosehead Lake was like an old friend over for a visit and to talk over the old times from what seemed like a previous life. Even at the opposite end of the lake from his old home where Krokar had been, all of the odors that floated onshore with the breeze were the same and it brought back memories of the last few years. Having followed the others to this location, he was deep in his own thoughts of the past as he waited with everyone that he had yet to get to know to see what the future would bring.

The wisps of the past fuzzed out of his mind as he was brought back to the present with as the meeting that they came for was brought to order. Ibycus thought about the question put forth to everyone trying to decide if he had anything unique for an answer. Someone laid out their tools on the ground and he recognized what they were for. He even had a few of his own and the skill to use them for animal husbandry, not only on equines, but other critters that one found in a barnyard as well. Even his hobbies of cooking and reading did not seem all that important or even needed.

The wolfdog's shoulders drooped as he realized he really did not have any skills that others already had and in many cases, could do better. He stayed where he had been from when they arrived at the gathering, behind the crowd and kept quiet. He hoped with all of what has been happening and all of the concerns everyone had, they would not notice that he had not spoken up and move on with the more important concerns at hand than someone keeping quiet so as not to interrupt anyone else talking.

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One by one, the members of the Drygrass Posse and The Cartel listed off their skills and abilities. Each one had something specific or special to claim their own and Skeleton began to grow worried. His abilities seemed to be lacking in comparison. He had known this for a long time, and he had known that he relied on Carnivore, but it was painful realizing how bad it was. He was at a distinct disadvantage. All they’d done was fuck around and live as loners for a few years, and what did he had to show for it? Less than he’d thought. And for some reason, he didn’t want to disappoint the woman—Evelyn—as if she would care about him. He didn’t think she’d ever look at him as worthy of any kind of attention, and that was fine in most scenarios save now. Even Vesper, old as she was, still made it seem like a strength. He could only wish he had that strength.

He tried to think back to what he’d done for the Cartel as they fended off their attackers, but even that felt lacking. He’d tried to chase off some of the wolves who’d set fire to the camp, but by then, it had been too late. He’d tried to go after their leader, but that effort hadn’t worked very well, either.

He’d have to find some of that fire that brought him to the battle, though, if he wanted to fight to stay with them. He’d given up so much and Carnivore had given up on him, so he couldn’t go back.

“I lived as a loner with just one other coyote for years, so we were pretty self-sufficient. When there’s only the two of you, there’s not much room for error. It… it’s nothing… special, but just tracking, hunting, scavenging, and I guess trading, too. I uh, I have a good sense if something’s useful or not, even if it’s broken. And… working with someone who’s got a temper means I’m good at de-escalating situations, I guess,” he said, adding a small laugh at the end. Living with Carnivore was a skill in its own right.

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Avatar by Trophy

Impressed was not an emotion Evelyn Escuella felt often, but as she stood there among the misfit bunch of coyotes – their own little tale of two cities – and listened to what skills they had, that was precisely the emotion that the burned woman felt. But admitting something to oneself and admitting something to someone else were two very different things, and the Vicar kept her feelings strictly to herself.

Instead, she moved her one good eye from coyote to dog to hybrid to dog to coyote, her face impassive, but thoughtful, and she only narrowed her eyes a touch when Skeleton shared his own accomplishments.

"I can track too," Paninya piped up, grinning. "And I'm quiet as a mouse." When she wanted to be, Evelyn thought but did not say aloud.

"Suppose it is," she agreed dully to Nazario's earlier assessment of their skills. "Makin' spirits and tradin' goods is what I got. Mr. Tejada will surely help with the hoofstock an' trade hisself as well." She nodded, a simple and silent show of approval. Yes, she supposed that this wasn't a bad start at all.

OOC: Just kinda wrapping this up. I'll archive it in the next few days unless folks want to continue it. <3

[WC — 189]

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