[P] paint my eyes with ashes
p. Lyssa & Boone
#1
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Word Count → +4 :: forward dated to the first week of July; just outside DCG's Southeastern borders. Aldora has her horse, weapons, and traveling supplies, and is flanked silently and out of sight by Ovidiu


It had been a long, long time since she had journeyed this far from home. The world outside Casa seemed wild and strange to her, but exciting all the same. Aldora had once had a very adventurous spirit which had waned after her Nova Scotia wide journey had ended and she had returned to her pack, what seemed like a lifetime ago.

After that she had set upon herself the duties of taking care of home, only venturing outside to hunt and nothing else. She had made herself a homebody, a recluse, as punishment for misdeeds that only she herself took note of. But all that was behind her now; like a metamorphosis of spirit she had become the butterfly; adventure had returned to her spirit; the wilds called her hence.

It had been a week since she had left The Fort, astride her new mare Eowyn. The gypsy horse had no trouble in the wilds, hooves the size of dinner plates finding fair footing on both grass and stone alike. The equine did not have the same stamina as her master's previous horse, but her strength was unchallenged. Aldora had pushed north; north past Salsola and what had once been New Dawn and Anathema, heading towards Mistfell Vale. She did not plan on stopping at its borders, instead, skirting them and headed even more northward into territory once belonging to Krokar. The trails, while changed, were still familiar to her, and the weather was kind.

It was a beautiful morning the day she had risen from her makeshift came, packed up, and headed out on her horse to edge Moosehead Lake. Aldora remembered its name, but could not for the life of her recall who had named it to her. She knew of a loner band here, The Shoal they called themselves; remnants of Krokar and as far as she cared they were friends. However, none had made themselves known yet, so she carried on. It was only when the scents and signs of a true border revealed itself that she hesitated. The Advisor to Casa di Cavalieri did not recall a pack being here, nor did she recognize any scents.

Her hesitation prompted a shadow to appear from the nearby trees, and Ovidiu revealed himself by only a flitting glimpse of his striped fur. It was a warning. Aldora halted her journey… she would have to turn back around.


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#2
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Outside the dawn is breaking, But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free


OOC: 500+ wc

Boone and Lyssa rode their horses in silent contemplation along the dusty path. She needed someone to accompany her when adventuring outside the packlands, especially with her arm still injured. Well, she didn't want to be accompanied, but Nazario had strongly suggested it. Just because her arm was out of the sling didn't mean that it was fully healed, and she needed to be careful not to overwork it. As well, the tensions from the last encounter still hung thick in the air. Everyone seemed to be on edge. It was better to be safe than sorry.

Begrudgingly, Lyssa had approached the self-assured man, seeing as he was free. Boone had agreed, with the pretense of wanting to see how her bow skills were coming along. It worked out well; She probably needed some more pointers since her last lesson. She had been practicing, but progress was slow. Her posture was marginally better, but she was not able to send the arrow in a consistent direction.

"We can do better than that." Mischevious green eyes and a smile as smooth as silk flashed in her mind. Lyssa still wasn't sure what had happened that first lesson, but the memory of it had made her cheeks hot. She stole a quick look at the man; He was puffing away lightly on a cigarette while surveying the land. She hadn't noticed how angular his cheekbones were before, and his fur, it looked well-kept and soft.

Lyssa shook those confusing thoughts from her head and urged Belle forward before she could take another look. Besides, she hadn't seen him that way until he had placed his hands on her, so it was his fault, obviously. I need to stay focused, we're not inside the borders anymore. Her mind went back to surveying and making mental notes on the landscape.

After traveling a while, they gave the horses a break while they ate a quick meal. While they were stopped, it made sense to also do some practicing. Lyssa was eager to show Boone her progress. Lyssa took a deep breath in and aimed her arrow. She gazed past her arrow to look at the target: An "x" they had carved into a tree. She released it, the arrow flying strong and straight. It stuck into the tree, a foot below the marker. Lyssa let out a sigh of frustration.

Just then the air changed directions and a new smell crossed her nose. She lowered the bow and looked at Boone. "Looks like we have company". Her eyes turned to the direction of the newcomers, hoping to spot them in the distance.

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#3
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends till we die


A breath.

A cigarette burned between Boone's greedy fingertips. Smoke unfurled from the corners of his mouth as he watched his traveling companion draw her bow. She was showing promise, Boone thought. Her form showed clear improvement -- and when she let the arrow fly, Boone could see her effort come to fruition. Though she did not hit the target with precision, Boone nodded his head in affirmation. "S'alright," he told her, hoping to dull her frustration. Accuracy would of course take time.

Yet, they'd not come this far to practice marksmanship. This was a time to talk trade; to lay the groundwork of things to come. The trip had been Lyssa's idea, and Boone had chosen to accompany her to make sure she came back alive. The world was full of unsavory folk. It weren't safe to go alone.

Lyssa smelled them first, but when she pointed it out, Boone noted the new scent. He tossed the spent cigarette away.

His eyes narrowed. One was distinctly canine, yet the other -- the other, Boone could not easily discern. Astride his horse, Boone reached for the bow that he kept slung on his saddle. He knocked an arrow and kept it ready as a precaution.

He saw the glint of orange first, . He'd never seen such a beast before. It was large and terrifying, whatever it was, yet it was mostly concealed by trees. For Boone, this was uncharted territory -- an unwelcome place to be. Without taking his eyes off the beast in the brush, Boone told Lyssa, "Keep your bow ready. I see somethin'."

OOC HERE.

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#4
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Word Count → +0 :: OOC


Nose to the air, she sniffed, but she was upwind. Whatever had spooked Ovidiu out of hiding though caused her to be cautious. She turned her eyes to where the cat had been, but he had already disappeared again. "Keep out of sight." She said anyway; she worried about her friend when he tailed her like this; no one but she would know that he was not a threat out here in the wild.

Slowly, Aldora turned her horse to skirt the scents as best she could, but they fluctuated; if this was a border, it was too fresh still to recognize the clear delineation of where it stopped and started. The last thing she wanted to do was trespass.

After a few short moments, she rounded a bend in the natural game trail she had been following, and then she finally spotted what had gotten the tiger so riled up. Two Luperci on horseback, both with bows at the ready, clearly looking in her direction. Her fur bristled, but she tried her best to remain calm. Eowyn perked, interested in the other horses, and even let go a friendly whinny. She sure was social, this one.

Well, there was nothing she could really do now other than greet them, or turn around immediately and run, and she was not comfortable turning her back to strangers with arrows. So, slowly, she raised a hand at them in a greeting; her own bow was still slung around her torso, and her quiver laid untouched against her mare’s flank.


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#5
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Outside the dawn is breaking, But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free


OOC: 250+ wc

Lyssa kept her bow at the ready at Boone's command. Though if they were friendly, wouldn't this give off the wrong impression? But Boone had the right to be cautious, there was a creature nearby that she had never smelled before. And it smelled large and predatorial.

A black haired woman atop a champaign horse appeared, bow still slung around her shoulders. She offered a wave, though still looked guarded. I would be too if two strangers were pointing bows at me, Lyssa thought. Belle made a friendly whinny back at the other horse; Her mare was a good judge of character, so they must be friendly enough. She lowered her bow.

"Bonjour friend! Sorry for the unfriendly greeting," She glanced at the male who still had his bow at the ready, his eyes drifting from the woman to something in the treeline. He must have spotted the other creature, whatever it was. She felt nervous knowing something was still lurking, not making its presence known.

The scent of iron and sea salt drifted towards Lyssa's nose. They were not close to the ocean at all, only freshwater lakes and rivers. Whoever they were, they were not from this immediate area. "What brings you out this direction?"

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#6
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends till we die

The glint of orange disappeared into the thrush -- but out of sight did not necessarily translate to out of mind.

Lyssa, ever the friendly host, was the first to drop her guard and lower her bow. However, despite Boone's warm charisma with those of his own kind, he was no fool and would not underestimate a strange wolf in neutral territories. He would make no such mistakes again in placing his trust in her kind. However, though he acted as Comandante of Del Cenere, he allowed Lyssa to take the lead. After all, this was her trip. While Boone had come to make connections of his own, his primary charge was keeping his traveling partner safe.

The stranger raised her hand in greeting and approached unarmed in a gesture of good faith. Boone was slow to lower his weapon, but he soon let the tension of his bowstring slack and pointed the stone tip of his arrow away after assessing the threat. He nodded, but even still in this understated gesture of peace, his bristly nature shined through.

He kept his bow at the ready should the circumstances change.

Lyssa questioned the stranger and Boone saw no reason yet to interject. Instead, he kept his eye on the mysteries that lurked behind bramble and thicket. Dangers beyond comprehension.


OOC HERE.

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#7
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Word Count → +0 :: OOC


The three of them converged slowly, a soft smile was on Aldora’s face, but she, like the male, was still on guard.

The brightly colored coyote female however, seemed chipper and eager to meet her, even apologizing for the uneasy and unexpected meeting. Aldora gave a slight bow, No need to apologize, I assume these are your lands, I promise I had no intention of intruding. She glanced at the male, at the bow still in his hands, and took a breath.

She renewed her smile, I am Aldora Knight, I come from Casa di Cavalieri, a pack to the South, across the bay. She began, I was just traveling up this way for leisure, working with my new horse. She patted the mare on the neck, I didn’t know there was a pack North of the Vale; are you newly formed? She asked this question slowly, not wanting to insult or make the two feel like she may be a spy, she was genuinely just curious.

Then, noticing the male’s silence, and where his eyes were focused in the trees, Do not mind my friend. She said gently, He is perfectly tame so long as I am not in danger. I can have him come out if you are nervous, but there is a chance he might scare your horses. Aldora recalled how Vicira had reacted when she had shown up on Inferni’s borders with the tiger; she did not want to make the same mistake twice, and so wanted to be transparent about his presence.


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#8
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Outside the dawn is breaking, But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free


OOC: 250+ wc

The new woman bowed with such grace; Lyssa was in awe of this powerful woman. The woman had assumed that they owed the lands they were on, as Lyssa glanced around. "Oh, no madame. These are neutral territories as far as I know. But yes, our pack does live fairly close to here."

The woman continued on, introducing herself. Lyssa responded in kind; "It is nice to meet you Aldora. My name is Lyssa Fontaine, and this is my companion Boone, though I do not wish to speak on his behalf." She gave a break to allow the still silent man to speak. "We are from a pack just north of here, we call ourselves the Ashen. We are fairly new though, so we have yet to make many pack relationships. That is why we were on this journey, to forge some new relationships, and maybe secure some trading agreements."

Again she turned back to Boone; He was the one who knew more of the ins and outs of resources for the pack. As Comandante, he also held much more power than him. She took a step back to allow him to speak. While she had organized the trip, he still held a higher rank.

But Boone's eyes stayed transfixed on the foreground. Then the woman mentioned her friend. Lyssa was confused, but it did explain the odd scent she had caught earlier. Her head turned back to check on Belle to see how she was feeling. The mare held her ground, but it was clear from her eyes that she was nervous.

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#9
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Do not cry out or hit the alarm
You know we're friends till we die

Lyssa was a natural diplomat, possessing a certain kindness with outsiders that Boone often struggled with. Of course, Boone did not know the traumas of the Fontaine woman's past, however -- he could not help but assume her naïve. In Boone's short life, he'd seen nothing but his biases confirmed time and time again. Of course, Del Cenere could not be an island unto itself, for isolation had been the knife to kill Inferni. He'd seen it wither away before his very eyes and would not subject those who remained to such struggles again.

However, Aldora was a wolf, and this posed a complication. Ever wary of her kind, Boone was keen on keeping a healthy distance. He could not fault himself for caution. Yet, the wolfish dignitary did have one saving grace -- her people, and a promise kept.

He slung his bow over his back, symbolically dropping his guard before Aldora. "Boone," he introduced then "Comandante of the Del Cenere Gang." He dipped his head in a rare sign of respect. "The Cavalieri helped ferry our people over the straight months ago." If they hadn't, the cartel would have been forced to hunker down for the winter or change passing dangerously close to Salsola. This information was more directed toward Lyssa, who had joined their band soon after.

"We have not forgotten your pack's kindness," he went on. It was decided then, he would pursue diplomacy.


OOC HERE.

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#10
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Word Count → +3 :: Sorry about the wait!


The golden lady was quick to belay any of Aldora’s fears of trespassing, stating that they were still on neutral territories. Aldora nodded a thank you, and then smiled as the woman named herself, Lyssa, and also her companion Boone, Pleasure to meet both of you. She said honestly.

Lyssa then went on to explain that they hailed from a pack just to the north, a new pack where they called themselves the Ashen. She also revealed that they were on a mission to forge new relationships, and discuss trade. Aldora’s head tilted slightly to the side with intrigue.

Then Boone spoke, Ovidiu obviously forgotten for now, and gave his rank, and was quick to bring up the past. Luckily, it was a positive memory, and Aldora’s tail thumped lazily against Eowyn’s flank, Ah, so the Ashen have remnants of The Cartel and therefore of Inferni. Glad to see that you are faring better now than in the past. She smiled gently, though in her eyes was a kind of sadness, I hope you can put strong roots down now through the Ashen, and that the trials of war never again come to your doorstep. It was a hope she believed in earnest; there was guilt there, for Aldora, guilt placed upon her young shoulders that was not deserved, but one she still bore. She wondered if Vesper or Vicira were among these Ashen, but did not feel it was appropriate to ask at this moment.

Lifting a paw, Casa di Cavalieri is only several days journey from here, if the Avalon is used. I’d be more than happy to speak with my Lune about bringing up goods for trade. We are lucky to be wealthy in both chattel and livestock, things that are necessary for survival in this day and age. If you’d be willing to host myself and a few others, we could be here in less than two moon turns.


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#11
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Outside the dawn is breaking, But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free


OOC: 250+ wc

Boone and Aldora talked a bit about the past behind the Cartel. It seemed there was still much about their history that she did not know. She would have to ask Boone to fill her in on their journey home. The dark woman continued, wishing them safe from more war. Even though she had not known all of the Cartel and Drygrass's plights, the memory of their recent bloodshed still hung fresh in her own mind. The golden woman nodded, "And the same to you."

Apparently Casa di Cavalieri was quite a journey away, yet Aldora seemed more than happy to speak with others about starting up some trade. A wide smile grew across Lyssa's face as she glanced over at her companion. With a small grin on his face, it was clear that he was happy with this outcome as well. "Très bon! That would be wonderful!" Lyssa exclaimed, "We would be honored to have you visit! As we speak, others are building up our living spaces, and by the time we see you next, I am sure there will be lots of space for guests. As well by that time I am sure we will have an abundance of goods to trade in return!"

After bidding goodbye, Boone and Lyssa headed back home as the sky turned bright pinks and purples. Lyssa was very happy about what they had accomplished today. In about two moons time they would have traders from Casa in their homelands. She was excited to inform Nazario as soon as they got back. Lyssa smiled as she listened to the soft clopping of hooves on the ground, excited to get back to the others.

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