[P] [M] Regular decorated emergency
Maelyx!
#1

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.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: .
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Avinalora
"The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell"
Optime | Day | Mid April | Somewhere in Sticks and Stones

Hi
Word Count:
715

A small figure rode a mare through the wet forest. The horse was a dappled grey pony with two different colored eyes. The rider was tiny, on the small side of the scale for jackals. She had long legs that made her seem like she would be fast, but that was not true. She was also quite skinny and lean; she seemed to be all bones. Her face was narrow and her muzzle didn't tapper, making her a jackal, not a coyote. On top of her head sat a pair of long ears that looked quite large on her. A long bushy tail that seemed it should be on a fox lashed in the air.

She was a light shade of silver, almost white in coloration. The hue was never seen on jackals, instead it came from the smidge of wolf blood that ran through her veins. A grey saddle ran down her back, exhibiting a trait that she had acquired from her mixed jackal breeding. The saddle ran from the back of her ears to the tip of her tail and ended in a white tail tip. The saddle had black hairs dotting through it. Her hair was black and was pulled way from her face. She had a green eye.

Despite it being the spring months, she was bundled up. A white and grey raglan was worn under an intricate leather jacket. The jacket had two layers, the outside was leather and the inside was cloth. The cloth layer also went out from the leather. She also wore a pair of jeans that was modified for Luperci use. A small wooden cane was attatched to the horse's saddle. A leather satchel was slung over her shoulders. She had a wooden pendant carved in the shape of a moon hanging from her neck.

The left side of her face was covered in bandages. Under the bandages lay a gruesome injury. Claw marks marred the surface over an empty eye socket. She was also skinnier than she usual, seeming as though she hadn't eaten in weeks. She also clenched her teeth every time she was jolted on the horse's back.

Avinalora was on the hunt for herbs once again. The sickness was in full swing in Anathema and the vixen had pushed herself to exhaustion caring for her pack mates and making herbal teas and looking for herbs. She didn't know how to treat her sick pack mates. The best she could do was try to alleviate the symptoms and try to give them strengthening herbs. She didn't know what else to do.

The winter wraith blamed herself for this mess. If she hadn't brought Elva to Anathema, maybe they wouldn't be sick. She had no reason to blame herself, but she did. She feared her pack falling like Midnight Shores had. She didn't think she would be able to go through that again. So, she would try to save her pack, or die trying.

The fox maiden knew she was sick, too. She had no appetite (which she thought was a blessing. She didn't need to eat.), she had muscle aches (in her lame hind leg which was a pain in the ass), and she just didn't feel good about herself in general. It didn't help that the waif had barely eaten, slept, or really taken care of herself.

The moon-washed maiden found a grove of walnut trees. Walnut was good for energy, and a lot of people needed it. The jackal felt pain coming from both her face and leg. She dug around in her pocket as she stopped Ellwyn and pulled out a small bottle. She opened it and a piece of willow bark, alder bark, and a poppy seed landed in her palm. She may need to restock. The herbalist took the herbs and then waited for a moment for them to kick in.

Once the medication started working, the monochrome fox carefully slid off of the horse. She didn't want to hurt her already hurting leg even more. Once on the ground, she left her horse and pulled out a knife from her satchel and began scraping walnut bark off the tree. She didn't pay much attention to her horse. The mare was a docile horse and wouldn't roam far.

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#2
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Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows

Word Count → 800

A light breeze danced merrily through the copse of walnut trees, unsettling the branches and rousting the leaves and the young walnuts above. It was the first time the wind shifted this direction, and with it, the strident scent of burning herbs arrived, permeating the air of the little grove. To the sharpened nose, one might recognize the scent as a mixture of mugwort and rosemary with a little walnut bark mixed in. The smokey scent traced an invisible line through the trees, directly to the tiny herbal pyre, where a lazy gray stallion with black socks stood flicking its tail and ruthlessly biting at the branches of a young bush.


“No Bogomo!” An accented voice chided the horse. “Valuable! Do not eat that.” Soil dirtied hands swatted the animal’s nose – not hard enough to really hurt – and then shoved its head away. The horse protested with a snort but took a couple steps aside before lowering its muzzle to pick at the sparse grass. The woman stepped out from behind the tree then, and crouched down in front of the bush.


She was a wild sight. Though her back remained towards Avinalora, those jackal ears poking up above her wild sable mane were unmistakable. The mane fell in un-brushed tangles down her back, and bits of white and blue could be seen by keen eyes – the bone and bead jewelry she wore in her tresses. Though not as lavishly dressed as she often liked, she still wore leather collar and shoulder-pads adorned with blue-dyed pheasant feathers which poked out beyond her frame. Beneath the shoulder piece she wore a black dress that cascaded to the ground, the skirts of the garment were loose but not full and trailed on the ground behind her. Without knowing anyone was there to potentially witness her foraging, she pushed back the dagged sleeves of the dress and began picking at the dark clusters of berries that dappled the bush, dropping clusters of deep purple berries into a soft leather bag.


The incense smoldered beside her - though possibly out of sight behind the tree that was where the smoke unmistakably wafted from. Her dress was not immaculate – the black was dusted with a fine layer of road dirt and some deeper smudges from whatever activity had also left her hands a filthy mess.

What a perfect spot for the lucky herbalist. This little thicket of trees was not only home to the walnuts but also housed some very useful companion plants. Before rescuing the elderberry bush from her oafish horse, she had been digging for and collecting ginger root. She would probably brew these up into tonics, teas, and even poultice paste and sell them to the locals – if she could find a nice, neutral trading outpost. If not, at least they would be on hand. The uses of these plants were many.

Her ears twitched, and one swiveled as she caught the sound of nearby scraping. She hadn’t noticed it before with the dumb horse distracting her. If he wasn’t so useful, she would have killed him and turned him into paste by now. It was a hate-hate relationship. Still, she wasn’t cruel to the beast – after all, it had played an important role in her escape from South Africa.

She stood and spun around abruptly, the bag of elderberries dropping to the ground. Icy blue eyes caught sight of the snowy jackal down the row of trees. She knew this place was well populated, but so far had managed to avoid a run-in with any locals. But if she thought she could avoid them forever, now was the end of forever.

She clutched her boline – the curved cutting knife she used when harvesting herbs – but didn’t go for her twin axes, because a breath after she grabbed her knife the realization of what she was sizing up sank in. This girl she spied through the trees was clearly a jackal, though she was white as can be. The only time she saw another white jackal was when an albino pup had been born to one of the maids of the tribe, and had been called an abomination and sacrificed by the father. Maelyx shuddered and shook her head, trying to banish the memory of the mother’s screams. Avinalora’s bandages took her attention next, and then her frail looking body – was this a condition of her albinism, if that’s what it was? She cocked her head, puzzling over the question. Either way, nothing about this girl screamed ‘threat’ to Maelyx.


“You leave offering to trees when you take sacrifice,” she said, ready to gauge her reaction. She gestured with the hand that held the knife, but didn’t mean it as a threat. “More like to get more, more like to find again next time.”



Maelyx Nocturne
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#3
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Avinalora
"The fear of falling apart"
Optime | Day | Mid April | Somewhere in Sticks and Stones

Sorry for the wait!
Word Count:
449

Avinalora mindlessly scrapped walnut bark from the tree. She was busy in her mind, though. She was thinking about the sickness, trying to figure out what other plants she needed to treat her pack mates. Borage leaves, lavender, and mountain holly could bring down the fevers that some people had. Burnet, chamomile, lamb's ear, ragweed, and ragwort to give the ill strength. Feverfew, tansy, juniper, and maple would be helpful for the people with breathing problems. She needed every herb she could get.

A new scent in the air pulled the fox maiden out of her thought. She smelled incense, rosemary, walnut, and mugwort. She was familiar with most of them, except for the mugwort. Her mother had only shown it to her once, but she remembered the smell and name. She also knew that she wasn't alone now. Incense didn't just burn on its own, unless it was a forest fire or something.

The winter wraith scented the air. A female jackal was with her, it seemed. A loner with a horse. And for once, the scent of jackal was not muddled by the scents of other species. A pure jackal, and that was rare in 'Souls. She remembered meeting a pure jackal once, the girl was so weird.

And then a figure came out into the desert fox's sight. The female was undoubtedly jackal, having the correct colors that the waif didn't have. She was clothed, wearing even more intricate clothing than she would ever dream of. She wore a collar, shoulder pads with bright feathers, and a pretty dress. The woman didn't seem to notice her, but the silver lady wasn't one to get someone's attention. The woman smelled of herbs, something that made the vixen feel a bit more secure. She would trust a fellow healer, jackal, and woman faster than she would trust a warrior, a wolf, and a man.

The moon-washed medic continue her task of scraping the walnut bark off of the tree. And then the lady finally noticed her. A green eye met a pair of startling icy blues. She seemed to tense up, maybe in surprise. The hybrid acted as though she had just noticed the stranger and looked up.

The blue-eyed jackal said to leave an offering for the trees. The moon-washed maiden's eyebrow quirked slightly, she didn't believe in that sort of stuff. Maybe it would fertilize them, but she wouldn't call it an offering. The Volac did believe in the three gods, and had a slight belief in spirits, karma, heaven, and hell. But trees were inanimate objects.

"Huh, never thought of that." The monochrome fox sad, stopping her scraping. "Oh, and I'm Avinalora. Medic of Anathema."

Image | Background | Table by Andi

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#4
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Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
OOC Horse.
Word Count → 480

“Medic, oh?” she said, cocking her head. She braved a step towards her snowy counterpart, paused, and then continued, coming up to her but leaving several strides between them, for both of their sakes. It would be less likely that the ivory woman could lash out without her having ample time to dodge, and it also conveyed respect for boundaries. “What is… uh… Uh-neth-ma?” She knew this language pretty well, but had never heard that word in Common before. “Your tribe?”


“By the way, my name is Maelyx Whispers-to-Spirits Nocturne. Merry meet, Avina Lora.” It was her tribe’s custom to give their full name, including tribal middle title, and by the way she said the woman’s name it was clear she thought it two separate words. “Here, I help you.” She moved forward now, finding a root from the tree. She knelt down and dug a shallow hole with a few scoops of her hand, then reached into the pouch at her waist and proffered a handful of breadcrumbs. They poured into the hole, then she covered it back up. “I prefer honey when times are good and it can be afforded. Or at least something more sweet. But,” Maelyx stood and patted the tree trunk. “I have learned trees are not all that picky.”


Her eyes searched the snow woman’s face. Not everyone will believe as you do, Mae. She thought to herself. This isn’t Kupolole. She had to remind herself of this often. There had been plenty of time learning to socialize with people from all walks of life when she had been on bartering excursions in Cape Town, but still in smaller, more intimate settings she was still prone to forgetting herself.


Her eyes came to rest, focusing on the bandages on Avina’s face. She knew nothing of the hardships this place was currently enduring- of the illness running rampant throughout the populace. She knew nothing of the packs of this land and who was at war and who were allies and who were just dickheads who liked to fight. If she was to survive here, she needed to orient herself with this place. Learn as much as she could, as quickly as she could, before she made the wrong move and was burned at the stake for witchcraft and herecy, making her whole torturous escape from Africa and the Wyse Ouer’s sacrifice all be for naught.


“What happened?” She asked, quite directly. There was no apology for asking written on her features, only curiosity. What was the point of pretending she couldn’t see the bandages wrapping around Avinalora’s eye? If she were in the woman’s shoes, she would think it downright patronizing to ignore the pink elephant standing between them. A lesson she learned long ago had been never to pretend not to notice something; it was much easier getting that kind of thing out of the way and move on.



Maelyx Nocturne
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#5
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Avinalora
"The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell"
Optime | Day | Mid April | Somewhere in Sticks and Stones

OOC here
Word Count:
543

The stranger moved towards Avinalora and then asked her of Anathema, though she did seem to have an accent. The vixen didn't think the woman had any prejudice, judging from her cluelessness. Though, she weighed the options on her head. She didn't smell any sickness on the female and she seemed like a healer, which was what her pack desperately needed. There weren't enough medics and the Volac had worked herself down to the bone caring for the ill. The stranger then asked if Anathema was a tribe.

"Well, it's a pack." The fox maiden said. She didn't think the word "tribe" described Anathema. She then decided what to tell the jackal lady about Anathema. She didn't want to manipulate her or anything, but they did need medics though during sickness, there were never enough medics. "It's a haven for misfits." The waif stated, using the general description.

Then, the woman introduced herself with a very long name. The first name sounded nice, though the second part of her name sounded foreign. Nocturne sounded like a word that the healer had read about in books, "nocturnal". She definitely wasn't from around here. And then the woman phrased the next sentence weirdly. "Merry meet, Avina Lora>" The first part just sounded odd. The second part made the girl think back to how she said her name. She said it in her normal tone, not saying anything too fast or slow. Maybe Avinalora was just a long name.

"Avinalora is my only name. No last or middle." The winter wraith corrected nicely. She corrected people often, whether it was because they called her the wrong species or the wrong name. She didn't do it in her normally sharp tone that often seemed biting. She didn't know if she was just tired today, or was happy about meeting a new jackal healer. "But, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, Maelyx." She added.

And then Maelyx began helping the desert fox with an "offering" for the tree. She more of thought of it as fertilizer, but whatever worked for the woman. She placed bread crumbs into a shallow hole at the roots of the tree. She said that she preferred to offer trees sweet things, but not all trees were that picky. It would help the tree, but it wasn't like trees were deities of some sort.

"Well, the tree will being growing better now." The argent Anatheman said. She nodded at the tree, not wanting to offend the Nocturne in any way, and her beliefs did hold truth. And what the herbalist said was true. She knew people had different beliefs, and there may be an ounce of truth in them.

And then the jackal doctor asked the moon-washed medic about her face. That was a question that she (surprisingly) hadn't been asked often, but she expected it to come some day or another. She didn't know if she wanted to sugar-coat the response, telling her that it hadn't come from her own pack mate. But, the woman should know that healers get injured.

"Hazards of the job." The monochrome fox said nonchalantly. She wouldn't go into detail unless it was necessary, or the female asked. She would protect Nyx's identity, though if questions were asked.

Image | Background | Table by Andi

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#6
[html]
Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
OOC Post before I hope into the car and drive to Big Bear! I'll be taking my laptop though, so I'm not disappearing on you. I'll be there 9 days, envy me!
Word Count → 589

The witch chortled softly when Avina corrected the way she said her name, not offended in the least. “My amends, Avinalora,” she picked the wrong word for ‘apology,’ but close enough. “I am long way from home. I must remember customs will be different here. I have met few traders on route from Boston port, but that did not school me well in the ways of the people here. I have not met many. But after so long on the road alone, it is nice to speak with one, finally. That oaf isn’t worth much conversation,” she grinned and gestured to the gray horse, who seemed to understand the insult and snorted incredulously.


Hazards of the job… her brows pursed together at that. She knew well the unexpected peril that a particular station might bring, but just exactly why being a medic in this place was hazardous was beyond her. Sometimes the sick could be unruly, lash out, but to cause this kind of disrepair? Her ears folded back, an obvious clue that she was working through it. Well, there was nothing else to ask so…


“I know sick are not easily dealt with,” she said. “My primary place in my former… pack… was as the apprentice Wyse Ouer, a title for a, um…” she sought for the word a moment, “Like a wise elder. A sage. This honorable position mainly focused on… spiritual guidance… but among many duties, because with the magic of the All comes knowledge of the mother world – and the treasures it offers to help us,” she gestured towards the walnut tree. “One prime task was to heal the sick and injured. That kind of healing went beyond basic works of… magic.” She hoped she was phrasing things correctly. The words sounded so much more apropos and even poetic in Afrikaans. But right now, it sounded like she was cheapening everything. Her concern was evident in the flick of her eyes and uncertain look on her face. It could be challenging enough speaking with non-believers even without a language barrier between them.


“What I mean is, I know everything is a fickle art. Very much when working with the spiritual,” how quickly her people turned on her. “And even more so when working with those in pain, or even delirious.” She stopped before she actually got to the question. Feeling strange simply talking at someone who was working, she turned to the tree and used her boline and her claws to begin harvesting bark from another section.


“How old is wound? Very deep?” It felt good to lapse into the comfortable talk of two with the same skillset. “As medic, I believe you know your craft. Especially if you are here harvesting valuable walnut tree. But may I offer… if very deep, you have used comfrey poultice? Help knit skin together very fast.” While she talked, she glanced sidelong at Avinalora, wondering on her thin, waifish state. She didn’t smell infection, but by the looks of her something was causing her to waste. Unless… this was her normal state… which didn’t seem possible. It was like she could blow away with the breeze.


“It was patient did this to you.” Finally she said what she avoided a moment ago. It was more a statement, not much of a question, but it still sought answers. “Is fever? Hysteria?” That, or maybe medics were rare here and a rival tribe had tried to spirit Avinalora away from her home and had done this to her in the process.



Maelyx Nocturne
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#7
[html]
OOC Here
Word Count → 510

Maelyx didn't seem to be offended by Avinalora's correction, though she didn't seem to use the right word. The woman wasn't very good at the common tongue, it seemed. But the vixen was interested in learning languages. She already picked up a few French phrases from Adrian. The woman seem like she might be able to teach her a new tongue, perhaps.

The jackal woman went on to say that the customs here were different from her home. The fox maiden wanted to ask her where she came from, but she didn't know if she should. Some people had histories that weren't so good, and she didn't want to ask the awkward questions. She also said that the people that she had met didn't teach her well. Maybe the waif could.

The Nocturne told the winter wraith that she was a healer and spiritualist. The Volac knew that healers were often spiritualists, though she wouldn't call herself a spiritualist. She had knowledge of witches in Anathema, having seen rituals and the like. And this woman seemed like a witch, especially since she mentioned magic.

The desert fox barely understood the next words out of the witch's mouth, but she just nodded. She didn't understand the words, but she was talking about medicine and spirits, one of which the medic had a working knowledge of. But seeing how the foreigner struggled with words an word choice, she didn't want to make it harder for her.

And then the jackal doctor went on to ask about the wounds, which was something that the argent Anatheman actually knew about. She didn't exactly remember how long she had the wound, maybe for less than a month judging by the wound healing. She had to take off the bandage every day to clean the wound and apply more herbs. It was painful as hell, but she didn't want infection. The woman also suggested comfrey poultice for the wound to knit the edges together. The herbalist had been using oak for that, but she wouldn't mind having a double dose.

"Less than a moon, I think." The moon-washed maiden replied. She waited until the lady was finished speaking before replying. It was only polite and the desert fox needed time to remember how long she was injured. "And that's good advice, thank you." She added in response to the tip.

And then the loner asked about the injury the jackal mutt had received. She didn't know how to describe the state Nyx had been in other than mental breakdown, and she didn't know if the woman would understand the phrase. She hoped that she would be able to convey that it wasn't a normal occurrence in Anathema. She wanted people to know that Anathemans weren't bloodthirsty or violent.

"One of my patients wasn't right in the head-they had a mental breakdown and struck out at me accidentally." The monochrome fox said. She intentionally used a gender neutral term to further protect the identity of her friend. And then she added, "It was before the sickness started."

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#8
[html]
Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
!
Word Count → 428

Beads and bones clicked together as the jackal nodded, pausing from her bark harvesting with a thoughtful look on her face. There would be no more probing about who had hurt Avina. She understood that there were all number of sicknesses, and all types. The most tragic were the kind that took one's faculties away, temporarily or permanently. It was rare in her tribe, but she had still seen plenty of cases when assisting their neighbors or helping sailors in Cape Town, in which a wound had festered for too long and the fever burned the brain. Those patients would say any number of things; they swore they saw the dead, that monsters were coming, or that they were being caressed by beautiful angels. And for all Maelyx knew, those things were true. But she saw plenty of sickness that turned the sophisticated into a downright animal, and she knew that was not the work of angels. "I understand," she said plainly. "Some would not. But there is sickness of all kind. It is a miracle at all that we can sometimes bring our patients back from the brink. Sometimes, we cannot. I hope your friend is okay now."

The next thing the medic said made her ears perk. The sickness. Spoken like one would talk about a pandemic. She had read cases of such things. She knew there was once a kind of animal that walked on two legs, much like they could, that had gone extinct from such a sickness. "The sickness?" She questioned curiously. "What is sickness you talk about? By way you said that, sounds like more than just seasonal problem." She picked up the slices of bark she had loosened from the tree, took a step to Avina, and placed them near her feet. A simple offering of which Maelyx made no ceremony.

She made a half turn and whistled, and after a brief pause of rebellion, her horse reluctantly wandered away from the elderberry bush it had been chewing on again and stepped up to her. He wore full tack and saddlebags. Maelyx began to unbuckle one of the bags. "I have many more herbs here. Comfrey, too, if you do not have any. What are symptoms?" She rifled through the pack and brought out two handfuls of pouches dangling from their strings. There was a whoosh of herbal smell in the air so there was no doubt they were bags of herbs. Perhaps she was being too generous, but she knew she needed to make alliances. "Maybe I am help. Er... Can help."



Maelyx Nocturne
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#9
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Avinalora
"The fear of falling apart"
Optime | Day | Mid April | Somewhere in Sticks and Stones

OOC here
Word Count:
625

Avinalora heard beads and bone clacking as Maelyx moved her head. She had stuff in her hair, it seemed. The vixen didn't pay much attention to her hair, preferring to pull it back into a ponytail and be done with it. Though, one or twice, she had put feathers into it when she was younger. Her hair was getting a bit long for her tastes, but she would have to wait until this shit storm of sickness passed over before she could think of hair cuts.

Hearing the witch's comments about Nyx's well-being made the fox maiden quickly correct the statement. "It was just a minor incident, and they are fine now." She wanted to make sure that it was clear that her friend was okay now, she wasn't crazy. It was just one incident. "It was a minor incident." The waif added.

The foreigner must be very new since she had no knowledge of the sickness. The winter wraith would lend her knowledge to the fellow doctor. It was important for healers to be aware of the illness, especially since her services would be desperately needed. As the jackal began recounting the symptoms, pain ignited in her veins. The medicine she had didn't work as long as she thought it would. She pulled out the bottle containing her medication and shook out a dose before taking it. And then she began speaking.

"There's an illness sweeping through here, it's hit Anathema hard." The grey-scaled girl said, her voice solemn. She didn't know exactly how hard it had hit the other packs, though she heard from some other people that it wasn't just in Anathema. That still didn't chase away the nagging guilt that she felt.

And then the argent Anatheman watched as the jackal lady placed walnut bark on the ground in front of her. She didn't know why the woman did it, maybe it was an offering of some sort to the ground, or a gift to her. The jackal mutt looked at the bark before slowly bending down to pick up the bark. She didn't put it in her satchel just yet, waiting for the woman to prompt her to.

The loner called her horse over, a dappled stallion, somewhat like Ellwyn. The snow-pelted belle remembered her own horse. She whistled as well just as the Nocturne vixen looked into the saddle bags. She heard the mare walking towards them and slowly coming into view. The horse kept her distance though, and the hybrid couldn't blame her.

The blue-eyed belle then offered herbs and asked about the symptoms. The moon-washed maiden was inclined to refuse the offer. She knew that the woman may need them down the road, and she was simply too kind. But, the other part of her said that her pack mates might need it in the future. And then the foreigner asked about the symptoms in her own odd way.

"The illness presents itself in any one of these symptoms. Fever, weight loss, vomiting, dehydration, difficulty breathing, eye discharge, soreness, mood change, dark speckled gums, runny nose, and swelling. There doesn't seem to be some magical silver bullet-I mean real treatment for it. All I can do is try to alleviate the symptoms the best I can." The desert doctor said, remembering her pack mates and their symptoms. Her family was starting to get sick, and she had seen it all.

And then the exotic jackal offered her help. And the monochrome fox leaped at the opportunity. "Anathema does need more doctors, and you seem like a person for Anathema being a spiritualist and all. Also, it's better in numbers, especially if you were to fall ill and have no one to take care of you." She said.

Image | Background | Table by Andi

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#10
[html]
Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
!
Word Count → 518

It was clear to her that the topic of the incident of Avinalora's attack needed to close to make her feel comfortable, so on that note, Maelyx merely nodded her understanding and said no more. When the woman picked up the bark she placed there for her, the witch nodded reassuringly. "Yours."


Her eyes flicked to the other dapple gray horse as it approached, and she smiled with amusement at the mare's similarities to her own oafish Bogomo. "Don't get any ideas, you," she warned her stallion humorously, as though he could understand her.

At her request, Avina began her account of the symptoms, and the witch sobered. Her features became sombre, concerned. It sounded viral, serious, an ill omen indeed. "Deaths?" she queried. Where some would beat around the bush and try not to rustle up grief in the person they were talking to, Maelyx became clinical and asked the difficult but necessary questions to better understand the sickness. "Is it known how it is passed? Through body fluids just? Through body fluids only," she corrected. "Or does it carry on the air?"

She put the bags of herbs back in the saddlebag for now, and stretched out her hand, gesturing toward the bush the horse had been grazing at. "This sounds like very serious Griep. Those are Ouerbessies... I think called... elderberry. Very strong for flu. To treat the sick, and to avoid if well. The fruit from orange tree will help, too. If one's fever is about to burn the brain, use hibiscus flower. Ginger root is growing there, too," she swept her hand toward the elderberry bush again. "Fights the twisted stomach. Maybe you know all this." And maybe she didn't, in which case they would make the perfect team, teaching one another their own special medicines, and possibly helping Anathema rid themselves of this scourge entirely.

The white woman perked considerably when she offered her help, even alluding to the fact that she may be welcome to become one of her pack's people. And that might have been why Maelyx stalled for a moment by talking about some of the remedies that were readily available around them. Could she really join another people again? Could she become one of them after her own people had turned on her? Why would strangers accept her?

Then again, these people needed her. "I want to help. But... but beyond that... would your people really want me?" Avina had said they were a band of misfits, so, maybe she would find a place with them. "In my experience... people do not want witch around. Healing I can do. I have other skills, too. But I can not give up my magic," she shook her head. "People who are not witches do not understand magic... and what people do not understand, they fear." She bit her lip, and for the first time her eyes were downcast and she seemed unsure of herself. Where Avinalora was forced to wear her wounds and her scars on the outside, clearly the Nocturne woman harbored a number of scars on the inside.


Maelyx Nocturne
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#11
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Avinalora
Minor pp
Word Count → 526

Avinalora nodded as Maelyx reassured her that she could take the bark. The woman was nice, being so generous. She placed the collected walnut into her bag. The vixen would have quite a lot of tea to make when she got home. She hoped the walnut would give the sick energy to fight the illness, perhaps give them some food as well. When the medic was younger, she ate both plants and meat. But, the illness hit so soon after winter, she hadn't had any green other than herbs.

A small smile passed the fox maiden's lips as she heard what the Nocturne said to the horse. Ellwyn was smart, she stayed away. She didn't know if she wanted foals any time soon. Though, the waif thought the mare would make a good mother. But she was currently relying on the horse as a mode of transportation, and from the little she knew about horses, she knew that pregnancy may put her out of commission for a while.

Once the winter wraith listed the symptoms, the jackal witch became serious. She asked her about deaths. The Volac simply nodded. Good people had been lost to the sickness, she didn't even want to list the names. Their former leader had fallen along with her mate. Others had died from the sickness. She remembered her loved ones at home. Adrian had been crouching over a bucket, Stormbade had been complaining of soreness and was coughing, Luna was wheezing, Garrett had weirdly colored gums, and many of her companions fell sick to the illness.

The foreigner then asked about how the illness was transmitted. The snow-furred belle didn't know exactly how, but some of those in contact with the sickness weren't sick. So it wasn't through the air, that left fluids, and she had seen many sick predators as well as prey. Maybe it was good that she hadn't been eating. The jackal mutt hadn't gotten sicker at least.

"I think it may be transmitted through fluids." The desert doctor said after a bit. The jackal woman then pointed out an elderberry bush. Then she pointed out several healing herbs, one that the herbalist hadn't even heard of, hibiscus. She nodded, filing it away for further reference. Maybe she could find some information on it, somewhere.

The jackal witch asked if Anathema would accept her. The first thought in the moon-washed maiden's head was "Why wouldn't they? The lady was a healer and seemed like she would be helpful. But then the woman elaborated, saying that people were afraid of magic, and she didn't want to give it up. What the hell happened to her?

"One of my colleagues, a fellow healer named Innya practices magic. And our leader is also a witch, or priest." The monochrome fox said. She then whistled for her horse and the horse came over to her, looking a bit nervously at the stallion. The argent Anatheman pulled herself onto the horse with minor difficulty before turning to the blue-eyed belle. Beckoning her, she said "You'd fit well into Anathema." And with that, she pulled at the reins, directing the horse towards the haven.

These words are knives and often leave scars


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#12
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wc 992


Maelyx nodded. If the virus was transmitted through fluid only – much like the virus that gave them the extraordinary ability to shape-shift – then there would be plenty of precautions she could take to prevent becoming infected. It would be a risk entering the home of strangers and delving right into medicinal work, but she was a healer at heart, and a witch who cherished all living (and non-living) entities in this world, and would do whatever she could to help. If it passes by fluid, then with the right learning the people who have not become sick may be able to avoid it. How are the water supplies? Wash basins? We would need salt… salt water to bathe the hands… lye, too, if it's available… chaparral could help… witch hazel would be a treasure… I don't have any witch hazel, sadly. Forgive me if these precautions are already in place. I will understand more when I see what is set up. These are just the quick ideas that come to the mind first.


She quit talking while she mounted her stallion and kicked him into a canter beside Avinalora and her mare. She didn't stay quiet for long. If the right reagents are available, I can make lye soap. Position this and a salt-water wash basin by the door of every sick room and enforce rule that all wash hands when entering and leaving. Would probably slow the spread of the sickness in your tribe exponentially.


Her features were the picture of relief when Avinalora told her that there were other witches in her pack. Even their leader! If she wasn't sitting in a saddle there would be a spring in her step. That meant so much… first and most importantly, perhaps these people would understand her and would not turn on her for her magic. And then, she could continue following the witchs' code. She was taught that as a witch she must always strive to learn, and to teach. Perhaps she could share her skills with this pack? Perhaps they could share their magic with her? She had only ever worked with one witch before, her mentor the Wyse Ouer, and now an amazing opportunity had fallen into her lap.


As she rode next to Avinalora, knowing they had some ways to go yet, she made the difficult decision to share her story with the woman. There was something about her that she felt she could trust… well, she better, if she was to walk right into a claimed packland!


If you have a mind to listen, I will tell you my story... she waited for affirmation from Avina, and then began.


I come from South Africa, a place near Cape Town. A place populated with tribes. My tribe, we were not all jackals. Most were wolves. My tribe had been at war with another for three years, and when the time for peace came, the tribes wed their unchanged ones – my father, a black backed jackal, and my mother, a golden jackal. I was born to their first litter. When I was born, I did not have the magic of shapeshifting. It wasn't until I passed my second year that the tribes set up an elaborate ceremony in which myself and my brother were chosen from our litter to become the Gekies. We were to be bitten and changed. My brother and I were symbols of the tribes' unity. Our changing had been the final rite, sealing the peace treaty for all time. My life was a good one. I had my hobbies. I will not be boring at you with the telling of them right now. What matters is that the Wyse Ouer – the elder, a sage, a witch – of our tribe took me as her apprentice. That is how I learned the craft of the wild witch.

A few months ago, the chieftain's son came to me asking me to See for him. He was to go on a diplomatic mission and had want to know if the gods favored his mission. I used my runes and my tarot cards, and what was told to me by the spirits was that everything was going to be fine, she sumped and hung her head. Everything did not go fine.

Only one envoy returned from that trip, and it was not the leader's heir. They had been ambushed, and the heir had been tortured for a fortnight, then murdered. The envoy who delivered the terrible news died of his wounds a few hours later.

The tribe needed someone to blame, and who better to blame than the one who said that the mission would be a success? No matter that the heir would have gone no matter what omen I offered him. They blamed me. They called me a fraud. They said I was a spy for the enemy, that I was a traitor and had tricked the ambassadors into walking right to their deaths.

There was a glistening tear on her cheek, and she swiped at it madly before continuing. My mentor, the Wyse Ouer, she came to warn me before the mob got there. I escaped… thanks to Bogomo here, she patted the horse's neck. But before I was far away, I heard my mentor's screams. They murdered her, because she knew I was innocent…

I made my way to Cape Town and bought passage on a ship. We sail to Portugal. Then we sail to Boston Harbor, and I follow trade routs to here. And, here we are, when she stopped talking it was like the silence closed in around them, heavy with the weight of the emotion she carried. Yet, this was something cathartic. It had felt good to finally tell her story, even though at the same time it had hurt. But now it was out, it wasn't just her burden to shoulder alone anymore. Maybe she really could trust people again, in time...



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#13
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Avinalora
"The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell"
Optime | Day | April | Sticks and Stones

Minor PP
Word Count:
674

Avinalora saw wisdom in the use of salt water to cleanse the hands. Maelyx also mentioned the use of something called "lye", which was something that the vixen had never heard of, but she did understand the salt water part. Anathema was also located near the sea and it wouldn't be hard for someone to set up basins outside the clinics. They had already separated the sick from the healthy, having them stay in the clinics. She knew that some other people had also separated the sick animals from the healthy animals. The woman also mentioned chaparral and witch hazel. She was familiar with those herbs. She nodded. "It would be a good idea, we could also put them outside of the clinics." The waif said.

The Nocturne followed the fox maiden on horseback. The jackal mutt sent up a thanks to Moirai. Ellwyn didn't seem to like the stallion, and walked a bit faster. The witch mentioned that she could make lye soap. The desert fox remembered soap from the books, it was something to clean the hands. The female also elaborated, saying that enforcing a hand-washing rule would help the healthy stay healthy. The grey-scaled girl nodded and then said, "We could also enforce this with the sick, since the symptoms often start out as minor, and they could get better from frequent hand-washing."

And then the jackal witch asked if the desert doctor wanted to hear her story. She nodded and then the woman told her tale. The foreigner had been a product from a peace treaty and was changed later on in life. She seemed to have a normal life until she was selected by another witch elder person. At least she actually knew her parents, the waif had never met them.

The blue-eyed belle said that her pack had turned on her when she wrongly predicted the fate of an heir. The pale physician lashed her tail angrily. Some people were so fickle. Couldn't they pick a new heir? That was the problem with dynasties, people freak out when the heir dies. Shouldn't there have been some sort of back-up leader just in case? It seemed much easier that way.

And then the woman shared that her mentor had been killed saving her. The moon-washed maiden's ears lowered a fraction. She remembered the pain of losing Adree, her mentor and adopted mother. The jackal could only feel the same. This woman had gone through hell, it seemed. And it wasn't her fault.

"Sometimes, some people can be so cruel in grief. You didn't deserve what happened to you, but I hope those people get what they deserve." The grey-scaled girl said. And then she decided to share her story, she asked Maelyx if she wanted to hear her story, and then she paused carefully and then spoke.

"When I was an infant, I wasn't like my parents at all. I was a sort of throwback to the small bit of wolf blood running through my veins. Having been born the only living pup and a strange one, my parents elected to abandon me. My mother decided to run off and have children with another, and later abandoned the child, too. I was taken in by a healer, Adree and she taught me everything I know. But, I guess good things don't last for long. She passed on when I was only a yearling. I fled and later met a man named Jarix, whom I saved from injury. We decided to journey to 'Souls, but managed to pick up some companions along the way. And then we joined Midnight Shores after a stint as loners. That was a good time, but Midnight Shores fell. And I joined Anathema. And some things happened and now I'm here." The moon-washed maiden said. She spared the blue-eyed belle a lot of details. Like her sister, Jarix leaving, the fox kits, and a lot of things.

After an awkward pause, the monochrome fox asked a question. "So, you want to hear more about Anathema?"

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#14
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wc 481 ★ Hover over bold, italic text for translation.


This felt like a sisterhood in the making. Maelyx couldn't shake the feeling that she and Avinalora were kindred spirits, nor did she want to. This would be her first friend here. Her first friend since she fled Kupolole. Perhaps things really could work out for her. “You didn't deserve what happened to you.” Avi had said, and a wave of emotion rushed through her – she couldn't describe it. It was like pain, but almost a good pain, and love, and most of all… relief. Relief because this was the first time someone had said this to her. She no longer kept her secret buried inside, choking on her own grief. And the one other who knew that secret… understood. It was good they were on horseback because if they were still standing in the copse she would have broken all convention in that moment and snagged the silver jackal up in a fierce embrace.

It surprised her when Avinalora offered to tell Maelyx her own backstory, and Maelyx happily agreed, feeling honored to be trusted as Maelyx had trusted her. There was hardly a single individual who didn't have a rough complication in their past that struck a chord of sadness in them. I would be honored to hear your story. And then she was quiet as Avi spoke to her.

Onwettige, haatlike varke, she muttered under her breath in her native language when Avi told her she had been abandoned by her parents simply because of her coat color. She was careful not to say it loud enough to actually interrupt the story, though. It was a wonder that anybody could abandon a helpless child, let alone their own flesh and blood, for a reason so shallow. There were mothers and fathers out there who would step in front of a charging elephant, or face off an entire pack of feral hyenas to protect a single pup. And here, those swine turned their backs just because of a color…


When Avinalora was finished with her history, she nodded solemnly. I am apologetic your birth parents were so… insensible. At least it appears you have had blessed by good people entering your life after. I am regretful to have missed this Midnight Shores. A tribe? I expect if you knew happiness there and have now become one with Anathema this means there is happiness to be found there, too? She arched a brow. The question was honest, she wasn't seeking a promise that she herself would find happiness, but was hoping for a good omen about the pack. Although she had good expectations for the pack; she did not take Avina to be the type to lure someone in to a place of misery. But people could surprise you.

Yes, she nodded, and her grave expression melded into one of optimistic curiosity. I would much like to have hear more of this Anathema.


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