[AW] [M] Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect.
#1
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WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.
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[+3] For the Greenhouse project! Rémy is digging new holes to place wood into so the greenhouse can be expanded. This thread will just cover the digging + tree adding part, but not full construction. :3 He is in lupus form, which looks like this!

Enkiel’s return proved two things to Rémy. The first was that Ezekiel was alive, and had willingly left them—apparently chasing some woman. Or, at least, that was the initial thought. As it turned out, his former leader had quite an active and interesting relationship with another charismatic figure. This did not bother the Cajun much at all; he had once run with men of every sort, including some far too flamboyant to be anything but heauxmeaux. That didn’t bother him. Morality had no room in a thief and a murderer, and he had long ago made his peace with the world. It simply was.

Needless to say, though, he had found some entertainment in watching Enkiel try (and fail) to argue his position with Harosheth. They had gone inside together and when Enkiel returned, nearly twenty minutes later, he looked downright furious. Not that the Lykoi let it show much; his stiff shoulders and fast pace told Rémy everything. He had made a point to further raise hell and declare he would start his own garden in the Village and leave Harosheth to the greenhouse, and made a subtle attack at the fact it was in such disrepair. The fault was not that of their new medic, but children—still, Enkiel did not hear. He mounted his odd looking pony and rode west, hard, leaving Rémy alone and with ample time on his hands.

The doggish man, in an attempt to ease the tension, offered his services to Harosheth. She was not won over by his charm and dismissed him nearly outright. Undaunted by her behavior, Rémy set to work on his own.

That was how, half an hour later, he was on four legs and digging away in the cold (but slightly thawed) ground. His lupus form was the ultimate betrayal of what he was, for as dog-like as he appeared before, no one could deny it now. The coyote blood was very thin in him, evident only in the patterning of his fur (and here only slightly) and bushy tail. It was a dog of the old world at work, throwing dirt aside as his mind drifted lazily away from the task.


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#2
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-- Even Ves has a mancrush on Remy. ;3


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Vesper did not pay much attention to Inferni's stocks -- whether weapons, animals, or plants. However, she saw it as her duty to help out where she could, and some badgering from Asher (a little more on top of the news) convinced her to do something other than patrol and hunt and fawn over her children the entire day.


Well, it was mostly badgering from Asher that made her consider it at all. She would've been much happier chasing hares.


And so, reluctantly, the coywolf padded toward the greenhouse -- where, a long time ago it seemed, she'd spoken to Emmanuelle. Her thoughts turned to the blonde girl as she wondered whether the greenhouse would be mended again before her return to Inferni -- if she would keep her word and leave Vinátta once she recovered. But others had gone and come back, like Enkiel, and she tried to push the distracting thoughts out of her mind.


The Lupus-formed hybrid felt out of her element as she approached the structure, and she thought she should probably shift and look for some tools until she saw the doggish form of Rémy digging away. She found herself smiling; the Cajun was a somewhat common sight near the village, with the meals he spared for Myrika, and Ves had always been charmed by him despite her very strict preferences. Feeling playful -- probably a side effect of the primaveral softness of the earth underfoot -- she trotted over and started pawing at the hole he was digging, her own tiny feet doing little to truly help.


What are we doing? Vesper asked the black-saddled mongrel, grinning as she dug to aid him.

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#3
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[+3] Because he's adorable, I mean look at him go.

It became vastly apparent, when in this form, that Rémy’s bloodline was hardly worth being called “coyote” at all. He was as large as wolf and heavy-set, square of head and barreled of chest. The scars on his haunch became more apparent as well, for they were often hidden by his coat or any number of things tied around his waist. The fur bristled around the exposed skin, dead and pinkish in opposition to his otherwise dark complexion. Each time he went against the frigid earth his shoulders bunched with heavy muscle; unlike his coyote brethren, Rémy was not made for speed. His was strength of lifting and moving, of repetition as opposed to the precision so many others might boast.

He didn’t have the focus for it anyway, for he was so involved within the process of throwing up the dark earth that his senses were as a whole dulled. Only the appearance of cloud-colored paws startled him, making the big hybrid jerk up in surprise. Though his fur bunched up around his hackles, it relaxed relatively quickly. A goofy grin broke across his face, exposing purple tongue and gold tooth all on display. His teeth were just as doggish as his skull, and massive—Rémy was an untapped powerhouse, larger even than Helotes in such a shape. It simply did not translate as well to his Optime form, which was likely why he had opted against the route of the warrior.

Weeeeeeeheeelll, he drawled out, tail wagging as his weight rocked back and dropped to his belly. The cool, damp earth felt fantastic against his still-bushy winter fur. “Lookitdis heyah, de vielle fille herself! Whatchu tink I doin’, eh beb? Dem bebette’s make a fine mess but I tink we jus’ make it bigger, yeah? We packed to da brim wit all dem chillins scurrin’ ‘bout soon.” He winked at her, tongue hanging from his mouth, and waggled his rear playfully to suggest that he was teasing.

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#4
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-- He friggin' is. :|


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It seemed that her sudden appearance startled the muscled dog hybrid, and Vesper let her tongue loll as she relished in his surprise. She caught a glimpse of his own purplish-black one surrounded by big teeth as he grinned, and was amazed once more at how un-coyote her coyote comrades could be. She could just as easily been more wolfish, herself, inheriting her father's dark coat and blazing eyes and height, but she'd had the luck to be small and quick like her mother. Whoever Rémy's parents had been, it was clear that the bloodline he favored was not that of a 'yote.


Rémy settled down on the cool ground, barking away in his strange Cajun dialect and causing her to grin more. Her smile almost edged on girlish -- but there was only one canine in the world that could truly evoke that sort of smile, and she was back at home with their children.


She laughed at his remark and looked at the rest of the greenhouse. If it gets too big, we'll just lose all the children inside of it to make all the mess they want, she said, tail flopping on the ground. She thought of her puppies with dirt on their snouts and flower petals in their fur, and nearly hummed a sigh.


I'm sure you'd appreciate a few herbs and whatnot for your famous meals, Vesper added. It'll be good, though -- we can replace everything that was lost and find more. I'm sure Harosheth and Enkiel will point out some medicinal herbs we might need. She herself knew of only the most basic poultices one could concoct out in the wilderness; more than once she'd found herself spitting it onto her wounds when she was alone.

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#5
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[+3]

Such discrepancies in genetic design had caused stark differences between them. Where she was lean and tall, blended smooth and sharp like fractals of her parents designs, he was squared and heavy, domestic-turned-wild harkening back to the man-made evolution in play. Rémy did not know these things—only that he had been told and seen in his own reflection what made him up. They were patchwork things, flags made of pieces of all that had come before, kites and banners and ramshackle things that bore strange sigils and oft forgot their own history.

Rémy believed in the repetition of the world, and so his flag was a banner made up of unknown prayers and looking forward only because he could no more change the past then change his pelt.

So Rémy just smiled and thought of the good things in the world, like the sight of those babies or seeing how Vesper smiled now as she had not done for many long days. This was the world swinging back into the light, the central twist of one spoke to balance their karma and make the path easy once more. It was chaos, like the star branded on so many of their clan.

“Oh chér, dat ain’t how you gon’ grow no chillins! Dey need dat fresh air an’ sunshine, and mebbe a few scraps a’fore dey gon’ grow,” the scout teased. He had seen many a wayward child grow wild or wrong without such things, and seen many more sprout like weeds under untrained hands. These would be neither; they were sprung of old earth and clean water, and tended to by not one but many hands. Rémy believed it took a village to raise a child, and so valued Inferni’s offspring as such.

A dramatic sigh escaped the dog, who folded his ears back as if in mourning. “Ah, de ones I had did not survive. But,” he perked up, suddenly chipper again, grinning ear to ear. “Dats what I have my job 'fore. Make a few trips down South, wit Salsola—we gon’ need de space. You wanna help? Finish dis one while I start de next; it needs ta be bout as deep as half yo leg,” he rose to his own and waggled one, as if to illustrate. Without waiting for a response, the burly hybrid scuttled further down sprung back to work, tail wagging like a shaggy flag above his haunches as his legs pounded away at the cold earth.

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#6
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369 Can maybe blab a bit about Buddhism so we can nudge them onto that topic? :D And have something in thread other than digdigdig!


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Rémy smiled and teased her -- though when was he not teasing? -- and she grinned, shaking her head. She had meant that the greenhouse was so large that the children might be lost inside of it, with that much more of an area to use for their hiding places, but she entertained the idea of putting puppies into the greenhouse for a short time. Oh -- I thought puppies grew just like flowers, with dirt and water, she said with an almost serious look, though her tail wagged behind her. It would be easier if they were stationary like flowers, of course, but she once again was torn between wanting to see them leap and grow and wanting to keep them safe and close to herself.


They used to be small enough to fit in pots, she added with a smile, though her mind gently nudged her away from thinking about puppies in the earth as she turned and listened to the coydog lamenting the loss of his own plants. She nodded as he mentioned his job; he was not ranked as a tradesman for nothing. She was less pleased about mention of Salsola, but she had gotten used to not showing it -- and she had to admit that they were adept traders, from the more savory rumors.


I'd love to help, Vesper said, smiling and watching him waggle his leg. She started to ask for more instructions, but the hound was heading to another point and starting to dig again. She smiled then dipped her small paws back into the hole he'd already begun, scraping earth away with her claws and tossing it out behind her. She might have been small, without the same shovel-paws Rémy had, but she was used to digging dens to suit her purposes when she was a loner, living in abandoned burrows rather than under a roof. Still -- it took a bit of time to finish the hole to the appropriate depth. When she was finished, she stepped back and shook one of her legs out before looking to the male for further instruction -- even a nod in the direction of the next hole, if there were to be more.

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#7
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Yesss. Also PP but uh deal with it ilu. <3

He chuckled at her words and set to work, thinking of how quickly the squirming little bodies would blossom into rolling, scrambling puppies. Inferni was lucky that it could boast such resources and have as many lives under its umbrella as it did, and puppies were no exception. Rémy himself was eagerly looking forward to having children of his own, though suspected a certain lady-friend of his was less enthusiastic about his advances. Given he hadn’t even won her over, he assumed his ideas presumptuous. Still, a man could dream.

With Rémy directing, he and Vesper scraped out a few more respectable holes. Filthy and pleased with his progress, the Cajun’s bushy tail wagged enthusiastically behind him. “Ah lookitdisheyeah, we done got dis all done afore dere even tings to put in,” he lamented, more dramatically than needed. Then he stretched, extending his neck and literally dragging his feet out behind him until his back gave a nice little pop. With a full-body shake, the filthy mutt eyed his companion eagerly. “Whatchu say we go n’ clean up in dem hot springs? Dats de best ting to do after work, lemme tell you what chér.” He winked at her, teasing, and his purple tongue lolled from his mouth.

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#8
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+3 <333


The work went by relatively quickly, thanks in large part due to Rémy's good attitude and Cajun jabbering while they busied themselves with digging holes for the posts. Her skinny limbs now caked with dirt, and a respectable amount of filth on her underside and tail too, Vesper stood and let her tongue loll as she looked at the holes they'd dug. It was good to do a different sort of work for a change, with most of her labors revolving around hunting and patrolling. She was learning more about construction in Inferni than she'd ever think she would, from fixing up the mansion to this.


Rémy remarked that they'd finished it before there were things to put in, and Vesper's head flipped around to look at him in shock. She'd thought that they'd proceed after that, but she had to grin. At least they'd be good for a break. She'd begun to stretch as well, stretching out each hind leg in turn in a far more comical fashion than the coydog had managed to pop his back, when Rémy mentioned two heavenly words: hot springs.


I believe you, the coywolf said, and couldn't even manage to joke or look amused so much as delighted and relieved at the idea. She was sore anyway, and the warm water would be welcome to ease her muscles as well as remove some of the soil on their pelts. She wouldn't want to be coming home to Myrika and the puppies trailing dirt, anyway.


Let's go, then, she added sharply, and turned to gallop in the direction of the springs. It was even more work when she was already somewhat tired, but relief would come soon. She didn't stop to see if the mongrel was following before approaching the rocks and leaping off them, crashing down into one of the warm pools with a cloud of dust swirling around her as she doggie-paddled around and lay against the shallows with a delighted sigh.



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#9
[html]
+3

Before he had time to even really ease into his bones, the cloud-colored woman ordered him; he wondered if she even realized she had done such a thing. It was a natural to her now, he supposed. None the less a wide, rolling grin broke across his face. Did she see this change, as he saw it? Some people were born to lead and merely needed to find a place to do so.

There was a moment of hesitation that came when Rémy picked up his satchel in his mouth. Then he took off after her, his own body moving at a loping doggish run. His body was not made for speed; it was too heavy and too bulky for such a thing. Instead he was made for power, and it showed in the muscles that bunched and rolled under his short, shaggy fur. Dirt kicked up in Vesper’s wake but it presented little challenge for the distance between them—Rémy dodged the larger bits of earth and felt those pieces he did not miss strike against sensitive parts of his exposed skin; his nose, in particular.

Like Vesper, Rémy leapt into the water (after dropping the bag on the side of the pool). He had come from breeds that excelled at water sports; his leap was graceful and made with all four legs, tail curled up slightly. His webbed feet gave him speed in water that others lacked, and he did several laps to show off for the skinny hybrid before belly-crawling up to join her. There he laid, panting and looking pleased with himself. His fur was not fluffy enough to detract from his appearance when wet—indeed, it only further displayed the weight and mass underneath. Purple tongue lolling, the red-eyed hybrid eyed his leader with a smile. “You look magnifique, chér,” he teased, and shook his head to loosen droplets from around his face.

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[/html]
#10
[html]
+3 --

She could already feel the warmth of the water easing her sore muscles -- muscles not quite fit to work at hard labor, like Rémy's were. She was not delicate by any means, despite being small and thin, but her work was that of a chaser and dodger, and she wasn't used to using her muscles in many other ways. She would not complain, though, because she hated complaining and she hated the thought of appearing weak or whiny to her comrade. It did not necessarily go along with being a leader as easily as giving orders did, but she had always feigned strength even if she did not have it. It was a law where she came from.


The coywolf half rolled over onto her side to watch the doggish male make his running leap into the water, acting like he'd been born from it. She supposed that swamps must have a lot of water, though, and could see the ease with which he swam around the pools. She watched him with a sharp-toothed grin until he crawled beside her, tongue lolling as he remarked on her appearance. Closing her eyes at the shake of water droplets from his dark muzzle, she smiled and slapped him with her dripping tail. Thanks, was all she said in reply -- though for any other male she might have left it at a slap.


Vesper sighed contentedly then, stretching her jaws in a yawn and pushing her paws out in front of her, toes flexing. She dropped her chin onto her twiggy legs, the water lapping up occasionally around her chin though she didn't mind it. If I believed in heaven, it would have to have hot springs, she remarked lazily, not really sure where the stray thought had come from. She closed her eyes again and shifted to get more comfortable. Good thing the earth already does.



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#11
[html]

There was no doubt that he was (mostly) harmless with his intentions. He was not a man driven by such things fully—when they came he did not fight them, but he did not take which was not offered. Rémy saw the world through strange eyes, sometimes. A flash of gold in his mouth against purple, clearing slobber from his jaw, and the bulky male gave another stretch. His body shifted slowly, growing in strange ways, and in a few minutes was two-legged again. He was unabashed of the transformation, fearing little from his own leader.

A chunk of reddish-brown hair sloshed over his face, for without the bandana and soaked as it was, the true length of the mess showed. It had been months since he had bothered with it, and such a thing showed. “Dat one way to tink ‘bout it,” he offered her, and hauled his torso from the water. Leaning over he reached, grabbed at the satchel, and hauled it towards him. “Some people say dis dey only place,” the doggish hybrid went on, and began shuffling through the mess. “It a big place, chér; rivers ain’t half as big as no ocean, and I heard talk o’ places dat nevah see no night—I tink dis world plenty big fo’ dey Way.”

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[/html]
#12
[html]
--

The man continued to stretch beside her -- but that stretch started to grow more exaggerated, his build warping beneath his thick muscles. She turned her head slightly so she would look away from him, her chin resting on her legs and her blue eyes fixing on a flower growing not far from the hot springs. Even though she'd completed the same change dozens upon dozens of times since being turned, she still couldn't quite get used to watching another grow in the same odd fashion, joints popping and bones elongating and spine cracking. It still read as unnatural in her mind, even if she was as much a Luperci as Rémy was. She didn't think she would ever get used to such a thing, but she no longer felt that it made her an outsider.


When he was finished, Vesper glanced back over at him -- and grinned toothily at his mess of wet hair, untamed and thick. She watched him sit on the edge of the warm stones out of the water and begin shuffling through the things in his satchel, though her ear pointed toward him as he spoke calmly about the world -- how large it was, how many things that would remain unseen. His last word carried more weight than she would have expected, though, and she started to crawl up out of the water and shake her wet fur out a polite distance from him, sitting down. What do you mean by the Way? she asked, as wary of the religious or spiritual implications of the word as she always was.



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[/html]
#13
[html]
+3 He is a bad influence :| OR MAYBE A GOOD ONE LOLOLOL

His fingers were skilled things, for as thick and webbed as they were. It was one of the major things that marked him as a true dog, and one of watery descent; he had spent much of his youth in swamps and moorland, wading through wetlands long before he could even shift. Things were mighty different in the south, and order and chaos were factors that never seemed to balance out. Rémy believed that he had merely been a victim of circumstance; if it had not been him, it would have been someone else. He was clever enough to have survived and live on—and he was wise enough to remain wary even now.

But his world was easily made less complicated, at least for a time, by the use of sweet-smelling herbs. He crushed some of these in his fingers, tearing and making them smaller as he went. Rémy was well versed in such things and, once he had satisfied himself, rolled the plant up in broad leaves made from other plants. “All ways are de Way,” he offered her, and, dampening the paper with his tongue, began to roll it together. “It how you do tings, chér; if you live life fo’ good tings, an’ try an do good tings, den dey come back. It’s called Karma,” he told her, and turned the joint over to ensure it was drying. “Karma, it work both ways; you do good n’good come back, but ch’yu do bad an’ notin’ but bad tings come back. De Way help you stay on de path, even if you ain’t sure you on de right one.”

It was certainly more complex than that, but Rémy was busying himself with the new task of finding one of the many match-boxes he had stashed in his bag. Once he found it, he struck the head against an obviously worn side and used the flame to start up the smoke. A long, careful breath was taken before he extended his hand to her, offering Vesper the drug.

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[/html]
#14
[html]

393


Though comparatively naïve in the ways of Luperci, Vesper did not mistake the motions of thick fingers crushing herbs and rolling them with thicker leaves and tongue-dampened paper. She sniffed as if there were already smoke to inhale, and tapped her tail against the ground until the man started to answer her question in the midst of his practiced actions.


Karma, Vesper echoed as he presented this new word to her, and snorted. Makes sense, she said, but not without approval. She was a disciple of common sense and simplicity, and didn't like the odd rules that came with the worship of supposedly benevolent gods. Good things should eventually come to those deserving, and bad things to the bad -- whether or not it involved Heaven and Hell like the paradise-and-inferno that others like Helotes seemed to believe in. Truthfully, even if the thought of an evil soul burning for millennia in the flames was initially comforting, Ves was afraid of the unknown that came with these supposed realms. It was more comforting to believe in an Earth alone, because Earth was familiar and she could touch and taste the world around her.


Rémy seemed to be hunting for something else, and silently she let her abdomen clench and spur on the change. It came over her slowly, and unpleasantly, but the alien sensations no longer came close to the pain of the first shift. Her mane spilled around her face, a chopped-short mess that added a hint of feminineness to the otherwise boyish coywolf. She shook it out of her face and eased her knees underneath her as she sat and looked at the dog, who'd found his match and now offered the drug to her.


Vesper smiled as she took it, fumbling only momentarily with the rolled paper between her fingers before she let the smoke fill her lungs. It did not take as long as before for the burn to become familiar, the cloud hazing gently around her head, and she passed the joint back. Her mind turned to the cycle of Karma and the supposed Way that Rémy spoke of, and she could not help but to compare it to the only religion she was familiar with. Does this Karma come with fire and brimstone? Who teaches you about the path?

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#15
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There had been many a gospel preacher in the southern half of the Mississippi, and Rémy had listened to their words and found nothing for him there. He could not accept that his actions might damn him so easily; that he was to be punished for living a free-man’s life and choosing his own course. If their God had nothing more to offer than guilt and penance, they were free to keep him.

He held the joint carefully between his webbed fingers, dark skin lighter on the pads than his nose or purple mouth. Wear had made great calluses of ashy gray, dark but not half so dark as the rest of him. A breath filled his mouth and he sucked down the air, holding the smoke just long enough to taste it. “No, no,” he answered, and offered the smoking stick back to her. He began to gesture, animated with his talking. “Tink about it like a wheel; we all go ‘round, an’ if you do good in yo’ life, you come back as sometin’ better. You do bad, you come back as sometin’ worse. Ain’t no lake o’ fire, ain’t no Diable,” his French slipped out, mocking and crass.

The broad-shouldered man shrugged, and his eyes drifted to the scars on his thigh. Maybe that was Karma too. “De path is just how you learn t’be a betta person. Helpin’ folks, not doin’ evil tings—de man who taught me, he said dat we find our teachers in everyting if we look right.”

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