[AW] the sun rises in a lost direction
#1
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Max 2 other characters pls. Fort Cumberland, late morning. Dalibor is also here.


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She was not particularly fond of human ruins, especially in areas that Luperci have yet reclaimed extensively. They all seemed to have an unpleasant smell about them that was difficult to describe. Concrete, steel, stone -- it all smelled like old death and drifting ghosts -- even on days like this, when the sky was blue, the sun was bright, and all the grey, crumbling structures were warm beneath her feet. Flowers and grass sprouted everywhere in the cracks and crevices, so much that it seemed there was more green than grey, but even still, Fiction felt like the sweet smell of nectar and pollen did not cover the coldness beneath.

Or maybe she was only smelling what was in her memory of fallen cities and abandoned cottages. Air flowed more slowly underneath her mask, and while she could still smell things, the intensity of everything was lessened, and it took longer for new scents to make their way in.


The stone fort rested at the top of a hill and the valley sloped gently out around them, giving them an excellent vantage point. The river they'd crossed flowed on to the west, winding between the mountain and a stretch of woods that disappeared into the horizon. There was a pack nearby to the south, but not close enough that anyone could accuse them of encroaching.


She finished a circuit around the perimeter of the old fort, then returned to the camp. Dalibor had finished unloading his horse and the spare and now had them off to the side, brushing them down. The wolf looked up and offered a smile when he saw her, but didn't say anything.


Several of their medicinal bundles laid out against the raised, concrete foundation of a building. The building itself still had three of its four stone walls. The wooden roof had fallen in, but a section of it still provided adequate shelter from rain, and that was where she had stashed their personal effects.


Fiction dismounted and led her horse alongside the others. "Did I miss anything?"

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#2
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The fact that she felt comfortable enough at all to wander from camp was a testament to what being with the Troupe had done to her. There was something magical about being surrounded by those who did not expect anything from her, and unlike Sanctuary she was not forced to cook but instead was able to choose which meals she wanted to contribute to. Lately there had been much discussion on their new enterprise and despite the cautious air that always surrounded her she couldn’t help but allow herself to be infected by their joy.

With the coyotes help she had noticed the difference in her horse – for amongst the others he was well fed and begun to fill in where he had been hallowed out before. She felt much the same, and there were new curves on her from where the Troupes food stores had settled and given her an energy that she was surprised by.

She rode her horse, newly named Billiam, away from the camp and towards a path that had been well travelled between the trees. Indis dressed simply, in a long cloak that she wore open as the spring weather turned – a dagger strapped against her hip and a crude looking saddlebag tied to the back of her horse. When the trees gave way she hesitated at the flat, short cropped grass that seemed to extend in all directions – exposing her and Bill in a way that was not all together comfortable.

Indis hesitated, nervously tugging at her braid before pressing her knees to the horses sides to urge him forward.

The strange masked woman went unseen – but as Indis got closer to the fort her horse teetered nervously.

”Uh, hello?”



Left super vague - troupiessss assemble!


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#3
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"Capricorn went off to spread the word," Dalibor said.


Fiction took the halter off her black mare and nodded. "It's his favourite part."


Dalibor smiled, but in the next moment they'd both turned to look towards the sound of approaching hooves stepping between the grass and a bit of paved pathway. A horse and rider came towards them from the west at a cautious pace, and from the distance, the latter (a wolf? difficult to tell) seemed to glow gold in the sunlight.


Fiction took a long breath, set the halter aside and patted her horse absentmindedly as the stranger called out a timid hello. Smiling beneath her mask, she strode forward to where their small hill began to dip so that she was more visible.


"Hello!" she echoed. "Welcome! If you're looking for directions, I can't help you, but if you're looking for cures to your physical ailments, then I likely can." The smile was evident through her voice, which while not as cheerful as Capricorn's usual, was surely pleasant enough.

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#4
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The ears that suddenly peaked out over the edge of the grassy lawn were mottled with inky looking blotches that lay against pristinely ivory fur. Indis dropped carefully from the horses back, sliding with a soft sound as more of the wolf appeared. There was a strange contraption bound up over the luperci’s mouth, and it made Indis flinch to look at it – one of her silvery hands pressed against her horses’ thick neck as if for balance.

Indis felt her own ears prick forward as Billiam blew warm air against her shoulder, ”A cure?”

Curiousity was an interesting thing, and it over rode some of the nervous energy that rippled through her. She could see no whisper on weapons, or ill will beneath the curve of the strapped beak. ”What are you talking about?”







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#5
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"What ails you, friend?" Fiction asked simply. "Trouble sleeping? Drink too much, or know someone who does, and needs a tonic for the morning? Work with fire and need salve for those occasional burns?" It was a Capricorn-style sales pitch for sure, but it seemed generally effective in those who didn't yet know they wanted to trade. Everyone wanted something, and they had something of everything. "We've got cures for all of those," the hybrid said.


"But perhaps most important is the cure for the coming plague." Her voice became more somber, and she turned briefly to gesture to Dalibor, who had turned his attention back to their horses. "We've come a long way and seen many packs fall from a devastating illness. It spreads quickly and most are incapacitated or dead before they're able to do anything about it. A tragedy for certain."


Fiction turned and fetched several of their bundles from along the wall of the collapsed building. "Maybe it will be months before the plague arrives here, or maybe it will be sooner, but it's best to be prepared either way, I think."

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#6
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She felt her hair stand on end at the word plague. The wolves of Sanctuary had always touted that something was coming but had never been able to say what it was. Pax was masterful in the messages that he spewed, carefully selecting his audience and weeding out the non-believers in silence. The womans words peaked Indis’ curiousity – though it was a wary thing, cautious and wide eyed.

The Dreamer made a sound in her throat, ”A plague?”

It rolled around on her tongue, tinged green and orange with fear.

"What is the cure?" She thought of the troupe and bit her lip, "And what will you take for it?"




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#7
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The other woman seemed particularly shaken by word of the plague. Fiction wondered whether she had witnessed a similar unpleasantness before, or if perhaps she had also come from the southwest recently. There had been others, of course, leaving the affected areas -- carrying the illness with them to unsuspecting lands and from there, again, others, spreading out, moving, bringing death with them. The hybrid breathed slowly through her mask and exhaled just as slowly.


"A mix of things," she said easily. "We have pre-prepared bundles which include a plague cure, a cure of another sort, and a variety of raw ingredients that may be useful for a healer, or for further trade. We have a set list of goods we'll take in return so's not to waste time bartering. Ten pounds of dried meat is the easiest, I think, but we'll also take a good tanned fur, a well-made tool, and several other things. What do you have to offer?"

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