[AW] a "drink me" bottle with a letter inside
#1
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Fort Cumberland, late morning.


--


Despite the recent mild weather and the onset of spring, the mornings still had a chilly bite to them. The frost turned to dew just before sunrise, but even as the morning slowly waxed, the pavement and stone were cold to the touch. The sun passed in and out of large patches of cloud. Fiction pulled her cloak in tighter, but there weren't enough ties along the front to keep it there, and in the next moment, she gave up on it.


Instead, she folded the cape of the cloak under herself and sat down, spreading a collection of ingredients out in front of her. There was no wind in that moment, at least, and so the half unwrapped bundles of dried herbs and crushed root rested, mostly undisturbed, on the ground. Business had been steady enough, but that meant that new bundles needed to be made, and that time in between customers was more precious. It was a lot harder to mix new medicines and to sort various components in the dark.


Fiction dusted off a collection of small bottles they'd procured in Portland and lined them up next to her. A pinch of everything would go in each one before water was added to make the mixture a drink.

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#2
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[275]

Hope you don't mind Fury being oblivious and asking questions! haha.

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The Fort had caught his attention the first time he came here and therefore, he found himself wandering back towards it early that morning in hopes of exploring a few other derelict sections of it in hopes of finding anything that might interest a trade out of someone back in the small village of Amherst where he was currently residing for the most part. The coydog hopped down from the large stallion's back, tying him off just off the beaten path to the fort, loose enough that he would be able to pull himself free in case he met some trouble before Fury could reach him again.

The large yearling wandered through the open front gate and instantly noticed a change in the scents since his last visit, not even a month prior. Quirking a brow his gaze shifted around, before landing on a small luperci working away at ... something in the late morning sunshine. Curiosity overcoming the best of him, he made his way closer, but stayed a little back within talking distance, but not wanting to intimidate the other as she sat on her cloak on the cool ground, working away at grinding the small herbs that were collected around her.

"What are you doing exactly?" his voice gruff, but not unfriendly by any means. Curiosity peaked his words as he watched with an intense, fiery gaze hoping she would not be taken aback by his sudden appearance. His footsteps were not light by any means, and he probably announced his presence a long time before he spoke, but if she was lost deep in thought perhaps she may not have noticed him.

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#3
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Not at all. Shy


--


Medicine-making was mostly a mindless work. Once the specific sort was decided and once all its ingredients were sorted out, the mixing of components was very easy and required little thought. It was the last step in a series of equally boring tasks: locating and identifying the flora, collecting it, drying it, grinding it, storing it. The effort was not insignificant, but anyone could be taught to memorise a few rote recipes and to put pestle to mortar.


Hoofbeats always reached her ears first, even when they were casual and soft in the grassy fields around the fort. Fiction glanced up briefly when the stranger dismounted before continuing to pinch bits of minced valerian root into tiny bottles.


"Creating a cure," she answered easily. Her eyes shifted up, looking over her beaked mask at the other hybrid for another moment before finishing off with the root. She then leaned back a little so she was sitting up straight. "Medicine for a deadly illness that will reach this place sooner, probably, than later."


She cocked her head a little. This stranger did not have a pack smell about him, and it didn't seem like he was there to trade. Or at least, he didn't know yet that he wanted to trade. "Perhaps you might be interested in trading for it, so you're prepared when the time comes?"

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#4
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[328]

I'm assuming she doesn't have her mask on right now? Sorry, I wasn't sure since she wasn't actively "trading"!

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The woman seemed to be concentrating very hard on her work, but it did not stop her from noticing him and she quickly observed that he must not have been a threat because she went right back to what she was doing before she answered his question. Her answer was not one he expected though, and he raised a brow in question about to speak for her brief pause suggested she was not going to add kind of explanation. A cure for what exactly? were Fury's next thoughts as he dropped down from the back of the horse.

"An illness? What kind of illness?" he asked, genuinely curious and maybe a little concerned, but not concerned enough that he was willing to just trade anything for this so-called cure. Fury had never come into any sort of contact with anyone infected with anything really, from what he was aware of. So the imminent threat was not so imminent to the young male as he had more things to worry about, like where his next meal would come from, or how long it would be before someone figured out he was alone and not able to defend himself as well as his size might suggest before they took everything else he got. Then he would be out of luck, empty handed, and walking back to Portland with nothing but his deflated ego.

"I don't really have much to my name, to be honest. Winter was a lot tougher than I thought it would be," again, another check to his ego, he spoke easily, eyeing her as she put together the ingredients in the pestle and grinding them down to a fine powder of sorts. "Maybe I can return with something or would you be open to trading for a favour?" he asked, wondering just how silly he would look if he ended up with this deadly illness that was being told to him by this strange creature before him.

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#5
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She is wearing her mask, actually! ^^; She'd be way more anxious if she wasn't, haha.


--


"It's one that attacks your stomach," she said, wincing a little at her clearest memory of it. The stomach and everything attached to the other end of it. The number of canines she'd seen violently expell things from both ends of their body was far too many. "It prevents you from keeping down food and water. I think the luckier ones go quickly, and the unlucky ones suffer through starvation while their body tries to digest itself..."


Fiction sighed. "My partners and I have traveled far, but the illness seems to be spreading quickly in the southwest, so it's probably just a matter of time." She gestured to her spread of various ingredients. "There isn't enough to help everyone, but there's at least enough to help some."


She considered the other's apparent poverty. It was an admirable admission, or perhaps a stupid one, or a conniving one. The hybrid considered the possibility of the latter, but if the stranger had wanted to rob her or otherwise, there didn't seem to be a need for the extra step. She knew her partners weren't far, and that her combat skills were formidable (even if she really would prefer not to get dirtied with someone else's blood), but the other probably didn't. And he seemed genuine enough.


"We have a set trade list," Fiction said. "It's simplest and helps us not waste time with back and forth negotiations. If you haven't any goods like tanned furs, tools, or jars, we also accept dried meat and dried herbs of various sorts." The merle hybrid pulled out a finished bundle, wrapped in large plantain leaves. "Each bundle has one plague cure, one cure of another sort, and a few raw ingredients for other concoctions, for if you know how to mix your own, know someone who does, or want to trade them elsewhere."

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