[P] making anything new only breaks something else
[--wc] Sorry for short! Lemme know if you need more to work with <3 Getting used to her, haha!

Her arrows did not sing. They flew like owl's wings, warning only with a breeze before bringing a swift end.

As she picked up the lemming, she thought about how Dieter once boasted about shooting a mouse out of the claw of a bird. "He was so full of shit." She smiled to Bill, because he was her only audience now. "Don't get me wrong. He was a good shot, but he let it get to his head."

The horse snorted, as if to say, wasn't he just a kid then? And Lottie was reminded that she'd been lucky enough to survive her hard lessons.

She climbed back into the saddle, and they set off again. The little fuzzy thing was chewy, but a good snack for the plodding march through the muddied trails. A passing storm made the land look like an overflowing bucket, and she had to wonder if this meant she was getting close to that great Sea everyone loved. It would be something, she supposed, if what Holden said was true, and he hadn't been the lying type.

By the time the sun began its timely descent into the west, her stomach made its own mimicry of the distant thunderclouds. They would have to break for camp once they reached somewhere dry (maybe they'd wandered into the Sea after all), but until then, the two of them kept on. She let Bill direct the path while she sat looking out from her seat, a nocked arrow sitting slack in her hands. At the first sign of movement, she drew and shot. The poor thing would never hear it coming.
Thus strangely are our souls constructed
and by slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity and ruin

Character Wiki | Player Wiki

Once again, he'd been sent off on some errand by his sister.
She had a tendency to shoo the witch off, demanding he return with this ingredient or another. Sugabear would complain, but he honestly enjoyed getting out and exploring the area.
But there was no way he'd admit that.

So he left, falsely disgruntled and with a small leather sack tied at his side.

Bugaboo had requested cranberries now, something new to attempt and make more wine from. Ever since she'd had that one batch that was tolerable to the random packmate she'd literally dragged into trying it, she was acting as if she was some sort of expert.
The Perrin du Lac youngest would keep her modest, though, making a huge deal when anything he sampled was even remotely unpleasant.

While there were likely cranberries somewhere in Del Cenere Gang territory, the Prince had already set his heart in visiting his favourite cranberry picking location such south of the pack lands.

He'd ventured there plenty growing up in the watershed, and it would be a comforting location to revisit and get away from all the tension that was seeming to overtake the Ashen pack for a while.

It wasn't long before he found himself at his destination, surrounded by large cranberry bushes.
The weather hadn't been kind to the adventurous herbalist and he had just missed getting soaked to the skin by a terrible storm, but with any more luck, he'd be able to pick what he needed and head back home before the eventual second wave came pouring down.

Sugabear had just started picking when he paused, catching the scent of another. Had he still been withing pack borders, it wouldn't have made him so suspicious, but on neutral ground, one could never be too sure of a strangers intentions.
But before he could pinpoint exactly who it was and where, a sudden sharp pain caused him to wince.

Something had raced by, quickly, and while he darted forward a pinc, he looked down to see that his right arm had been grazed by the object. It was a small cut near his elbow, and it was starting to sting.
The explorer's brow furrowed and he let loose an irritated growl, Qui C'est q'ca? He started, asking what had struck him, Best show yehself, now! He huffed, pressed and free hand to his wound and dropping the fresh berries he'd just picked to the ground.
It wasn't a major injury, but it had definitely startled the coywolf enough to lash out.
[Image: mJXdmtx.png]
Lover indeed they have covered with weeds
↞ My body but my soul remains 
So play louder, and faster, and stronger
Make this soil break
The sound surprised her more than missing her target.

Lottie urged Bill forward with a squeeze of her legs, and the horse intuited where she meant to go. Without Holden to appeal to her sense of decency, she had picked up her old habit of keeping her bow ready. It wasn't meant to intimidate, but there were only so many things between her and death, and an arrow was one of them.

The underbrush gave way to an odd but harmless looking man, caught red-handed in the act of picking berries. Lottie sighed, and her finger slackened around the nock of the arrow without leaving it. Bill came to a halt and then shook his mane out with a placid huff, which Lottie took to be a good sign. If there had been any true danger, the intelligent gelding would have picked up on it.

"Oh," She leaned forward in her saddle once she realized that the stranger was clutching a wound. "Looks like I got you, huh," she said, as if surprised. Maybe she hadn't missed after all—maybe he'd gotten in the way.

"Sorry about that. Here, uh, let me help you." She reluctantly tucked away the arrow, and then strung the bow over a shoulder. She climbed down with a little hop, and after a moment of rustling through a saddlebag, she came to Sugabear with a cloth and a small clay jar. "I wasn't aiming at you. Promise."
Thus strangely are our souls constructed
and by slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity and ruin

Character Wiki | Player Wiki

Swampy green eyes shot glares toward the stranger.
Oui, ya got me alright! He barked back, uneasy when he saw that the offending bow and arrow were still in her grasp. Why dontcha put d'at away, for ya take an eye out. The witch grumbled under his breath.
He didn't want to come off as too aggressive; after all, she was armed and he was almost useless when it came to physical confrontation.

Lemming ran wild in these parts, so there was no doubt that she wasn't intentionally taking aim at some random company, and there was a possibility he moved in a way to disrupt her shot, but Sugabear was still babying his wound like it was some lethal injury.

Den what was ya aimin' at? His accent was thick, even more so when he was angry or frustrated. Bear was admittedly apprehensive of letting this stranger help him, until she finally put her weapon away.
The wound was minor, just a seeping slice above his elbow, but it was in a difficult place to dress. He's need two hands to do it properly, wish would have been impossible.
At the moment, his choices were to attempt it on his own without bandage or his medicinal herbs, trek back home to have his sister take care of it (she was oafish, but what she lacked in grace she made up with in her kindness), or grit his teeth and let this loner wrap him.
As it looked about ready to storm again, chances were he'd have to set up camp before making it back to Del Cenere Gang territory, and leaving the wound seeping for that long would be an open invitation to infection.

So it looked like it was best to push his ego aside for a moment and let her help.

What are ya doin' out he'a all alone anyway? Sugabear huffed, letting go of his arm and offering it up to the female.
[Image: mJXdmtx.png]
Lover indeed they have covered with weeds
↞ My body but my soul remains 
So play louder, and faster, and stronger
Make this soil break
She hadn't meant to shoot at him, this was true. In her old life, she wouldn't have cared about the mistake.

That person was long gone now. She had died when Jewels left her tied to that tree, and the person Holden had found was someone else entirely. The stranger was rightfully annoyed about it the inconvenience she'd caused him, and that old Lottie wanted to tell him he'd have been lucky if she only took an eye out. Holden's words came back to haunt her, and she kept her mouth shut. Life didn't have to be so hard, she had to remind herself.

"A little fuzzy thing. I don't know what they're called, but I got one earlier. Tasted alright," she answered. His accent was hard to parse out, and she wasn't sure if he lived there or was a traveler like herself. Either way, there was no harm in giving more information than was asked, at least about innocuous things.

This seemed to help him ease up enough to let her dress the wound. Lottie wasn't a skillful medic, but she could patch up minor scrapes and cuts. While she inspected his arm with a free hand, turning it slightly to see the extent of the injury, her nose took account of the scents on him. He didn't smell like he was alone, and he didn't speak like he was either.

"I'm looking for a family," she said while reaching for her canteen of water. Dabbing the cloth on it, she realized how that sounded. "My friend's family."

"And what about you? I smell a lot of folks on you. Is there a village nearby?" She worked gently and attentively, dabbing on the honey paste when everything was cleaned up. A scratch like this would heal quickly. "It smells good, but don't lick that off, ok?" She flashed him a smile.
Thus strangely are our souls constructed
and by slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity and ruin

Character Wiki | Player Wiki

After a moment, he felt less tense about the ordeal.
His wincing and clutching were a show in attempt to make her feel guilty for her supposed carelessness, but he only felt foolish now that she was there dressing his wound.

Well, I can't promise I don't taste betteh, but ya can't go 'bout shootin' me. The swamp Prince teased, watching her work.

A family? He initially considered that maybe she was like him before his joining of the Gang, looking for a community to take the siblings in so they would no longer struggle as loners with their mother.
Or maybe, she was searching for something more intimate.

But she had elaborated and Sugabear shook his head in loose understanding.
How's dat goin' so far? If it was a family that didn't want to be found, it would prove to be a difficult feat.

He debated satisfying her curiosity for a moment. The witch had always been protective of his privacy as a loner, but now as an Ashen, he'd found comfort in opening up to a close knit few around him.
She wasn't a pack mate, but he didn't take her as the kind to use the information against him, especially with a whole Gang behind him now.

Oui, I'm from Del Cenere Gang, jus' north of he'a a bit. The coywolf gestured his free hand toward the direction as he spoke.

Sugabear could have laughed at her command. He was familiar with substances that smelled pleasant but were best left for treatment, but he knew she'd have no what of knowing his proficiencies.
I'll resist da tempation. He grinned back, before extending his other hand out to her, Non-mwen sè Sugabear Perrin du Lac. Mèsi... Thanks for patchin' me up. He finished in English, still hopeful to find another outside of his family to understand their French-influenced Creole, but also aware of the low chances of that encounter.
[Image: mJXdmtx.png]
Lover indeed they have covered with weeds
↞ My body but my soul remains 
So play louder, and faster, and stronger
Make this soil break
To the promise of taste, there were a few things on her tongue, but she chose smartly to give him a wry smile. It was easy to let things flow until the words ran out, and with some people, that was when it got truly interesting.

Lottie wasn't ready for that just yet, even if the thought crossed her mind.

His next question was a little more innocuous. Glancing up at him, she answered, "Ah, well. Hard to say." Holden was gone, and he'd left her with few hints about his homestead. Whenever they had conversed, it had been about the nature of good and evil, or the ebb and flow of seasons, the way he looked forward to seeing the return of elk in the spring and the gold-green wheat in the summer. He used to talk with such fondness for his simple life that Lottie began to want something like that herself, and only later realized she'd wanted it all along. For those who'd lived their lives at the mercy of storms, it always took a lot of convincing. "I think they have a farm somewhere near a place called...flounder fields? Not far from a big old pack. At this point, even a simple north or south would help."

Her ears flicked when she heard the word gang. Without betraying the hitch in her pulse, she finished up her ministrations. "Del Cenere Gang, huh?" She breathed. "You all troublemakers then?" She smiled like this was a joke, but no matter what he told her, she would try her best to keep out of their way. Last thing she needed in her life was another old habit to fall back into.

She tucked the supplies back into the saddle bag, and when she turned again, it was to an outstretched hand. Lottie took it with a firm shake. "It's the least I could do. I'm Lieselotte Temple, by the way. I mostly go by Lottie." She smiled, "What's that you said before? I didn't quite catch it."
Thus strangely are our souls constructed
and by slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity and ruin

Character Wiki | Player Wiki

Had he been his mother, or perhaps an older sibling, he could have easily helped point her in the right direction.
They have lived in Fellmoor before the sky came crashing down. They would not had been too far from where she'd destined to go, and they would have had that knowledge.
However, he was not his mother or brother or sister.

But he was absolutely clueless.

Sugabear had only known the watershed, and while the family definitely made trips out and explored the area, it would be foolish of them to travel too far from their home as loners.
Not only were they at risk in neutral territory, as witches they were often seen as unpredictable and dangerous. Surely those who had experience any sort of interaction with Sabine were driven away by her bluntness and insults.
The family had no friends, and the only member who'd gotten to be a part of something more seemed to quickly return back home with the pack had disbanded.

Though, the Prince had already made himself look silly stepping int he way of her lemming-bound arrow. Admitting his ignorance would only worsen his image.
He was born here. He had to have at least some sense of where things where, right?

Well, dey ain't much north 'cept where I'm comin' from, so's I'd say south. The coywolf said with a confident nod. It was the simplest of direction he could give, and a guess at that, but he felt at least somewhat helpful.

The swampy mutt stifled a laugh, Oui, ya could say dat! The Gang wasn't rowdy in the sense that they went about causing trouble with others, but there was definitely enough going on now that he considered troublemakers fitting for a select few members.
That was why he'd rather not involve himself with the pack troubles. He'd help if summoned, but otherwise, he had his own business to mind.

Lottie, how sweet. He grinned, enjoying the warmth of her touch while it lasted. Bear realized in that moment he'd kept to himself since even before his trek up to the Ashen territory and his desire for affection was becoming embarrassing.
Quickly, he took his hand away waved it as if shooing something away, Ah, no worries 'bout dat den.

He cleared his throat and offered a nickname of his own, I go by Bear m'self, but most end up callin' be Suga. Guess I really don't mind neitheh. Hell, I answer to whateveh sounds least insultin'. Considering who his mother was, there was honesty in that claim.
[Image: mJXdmtx.png]
Lover indeed they have covered with weeds
↞ My body but my soul remains 
So play louder, and faster, and stronger
Make this soil break
"South it is, then," she decided with an appreciative glance. It wasn't just a figure of speech; a cardinal direction was better than vague notions of a field. She had been following the trail she and Holden had been on before he succumbed to his illness, and that had come to an end some time ago.

The man went on to confirm her suspicions about the gang, and she responded with a bemused, "Ah, thought so." She was glad that she'd chosen to patch him up, and that the mistake hadn't been worse. There was something to be said for Holden's pacifist approach to things, she supposed.

It'd been some time since Lottie had felt the warmth of another, but she didn't miss this much. Handshakes didn't even register as touch at this point, and she was aware of it only to the extent that she was vulnerable for a split second before he let go.

Sometimes people said things that took her outside of herself, and for a moment she just smiled. What did it take to be as sweet as her name? Holden seemed to believe she could be good, but there was a lot more bad behind her than anything else. How did anyone really start over, when they'd spent so much time being a certain way?

"If you say so," she gave him a wink to play off the edges.

He gave clarity to his name, leaving her to wonder about the language he'd spoken. They moved on just the same, and she laughed at his remark. "You won't have to worry about that. I like Bear." The archer began to move toward the bushes where the river prince had just been, and began to search for the arrow she'd lost. "My old town had a pact with the bears. They'd leave half their kill, and we'd leave half of ours. Everyone was happy." Not for long, but for a time.

Part of him wished he could offered more assistance in her search, but short of drawing out a map to some location he was himself unsure of, a vague direction was all he could give her. Thankfully, that seemed to be better than nothing.

Oui, but don't let d'at worry ya none, mon cher. Most of us are harmless. He couldn't speak for all the Ashen, but so far the members he'd met were friendly enough. He and his sister were anything but intimidating, when one looked past their unique appearances; they prefered to be hospitable and that suited them well.
The witch was sometimes overly generous at first, but always expected something in return.
Maybe that made him trouble.

The Prince smiled at the name she chose to call him by, as well as her reason for doing so. A pact wid bears. He muttered, intrigued by such a concept, Sounds like an interestin' town ya come from, Lottie. Bears were more trouble than the folk of Del Cenere. If she felt comfortable around those creatures, Sugabear doubted even the grouchiest looking brute from the northern pack could make her wince.
He laughed softly to himself as the first member that came to mind at the thought was their one-eyed leader, Nazario.

The Perrin du Lac mongrel watched for a moment as she went looking for her arrow, and he took the time to turn back to his business and pick up the load of berries he'd picked from the bushes.
He dusted them off as he picked them up, but they'd be cleaned properly before they were used in his sibling's attempt at cranberry wine.

So... He called out, cleaning up the last of the berries that had scattered on the ground, Ya really out he'a lookin' for some family by yaself? Seems dangerous.
Not because she was a female, he wouldn't dare say something so foolish. If he knew anything, it was how powerful and independent women could be. But travelling alone, especially through neutral territory without knowing the land that well, was risky. That's why he'd opted for bringing Bugaboo along when they'd made their trek up to the Ashen community, and that wasn't nearly as much a trip as what he was sure Lottie had in store.
[Image: mJXdmtx.png]
Lover indeed they have covered with weeds
↞ My body but my soul remains 
So play louder, and faster, and stronger
Make this soil break
She realized how strange it was by his reaction, and for a moment Lottie found herself in the odd space of feeling both embarrassment and a kind of self assurance that it didn't matter. Weird as it may have been, it was all in the past now. "And that was the least interesting thing about it," she said over her shoulder, grinning at the Prince.

Spotting the bright red fletching, she shuffled over to the space near Sugabear's feet. "Pardon me again, Bear. Here you are," She grabbed up the arrow and inspected it with deft fingers before setting it back in the quiver at her waist. It seemed a stingy thing to retrieve launched arrows, but the road gave her little time to craft new ones. Everything counted, and Lottie wasn't about to take any risks where she didn't need to.

Sugabear seemed to pick up on this and voiced his inquiry, but Lottie did not rush to respond. Noticing the berries for the first time, she collected a few of them into her hands before rising up. "Living's dangerous, isn't it? But we do what we must," She said with a small shrug, and offered the ones she'd gathered to him. It struck her that he was there doing an activity that could not have been any more peaceful, and she was the one shooting without a care.

People like him were better off far and away from people like her.

"And sometimes going alone is the safer option." She felt a twinge at her shoulder. Ignoring this, she smiled at Sugabear and then turned back to Bill. She hopped up into the saddle and thought, a little sadly, how it felt to return to the comfort and the freedom and the loneliness of nomadic life. "I should be on my way. You think you can make it back to your gang in one piece?"

(---) | NPCs: Bill
Wanna wrap up here and then start a new one? :B
Thus strangely are our souls constructed
and by slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity and ruin

Character Wiki | Player Wiki
(300+) Sounds good to me! I can start up the next one, if you'd like.

He smiled back, an expression that always seemed to look mischievous on the marshy male, even when his feelings were sincerely mirthful. I believe dat. The witch claimed with a nod. This encounter was only proving to be more and more intriguing to him with her statement.

Oh, of course. He muttered, before moving aside to allow her more space. Swamp green eyes locked onto her as he grew curious as to what she was retrieving.
To see it was her arrow, the Prince let loose an amused laugh.
Well, maybe dis whole charade added a little more sentiment t' it den. While he was certain she wasn't emotionally attached to the arrow as some sort of trinket (not like himself, who fussed over the possession of his belongings), he found it entertaining to jest.

Sugabear cocked his head at her point, but it was one well made. Oui, I guess it is. He'd been through his share of dangerous experiences, growing up as a loner in the middle of a watershed. His family wasn't well known and they had met plenty of preduce strangers who assumed their worst, based on the Perrin du Lacs spirituality and appearance.
That was part of the reason he'd moved up north with his sister, searching for a pack to make their lives a little less drowned in risk.

He took the berries and gave another nod in thanks. The Ashen had picked plenty now, he was sure, to satisfy his sibling's request. He only hoped the wine she would attempt to make from it would be worth nearly getting shot.
At the thought, he grinned.

While he didn't wholly agree with Lottie's next claim, he wouldn't argue. He felt it was almost always foolish to travel alone, and he always made it a point to bring somebody along on his distant excursions. A trip out to pick berries was one thing, trekking through land you weren't familiar with was another.
But, maybe she had nobody to trust. And in that case, maybe this was better for her.
I t'ink I'll manage. Sugabear replied, motioning to his bandaged arm. Ya be safe now, ya 'ea?
Maybe it wouldn't mean much to her, but as a religious individual, the Prince's blessing was genuine.
[Image: mJXdmtx.png]
Lover indeed they have covered with weeds
↞ My body but my soul remains 
So play louder, and faster, and stronger
Make this soil break

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