[P] No one's fool but your's
Set after this thread
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Duncan had been the one to run into the Striker. The guard had quickly relayed a brief message that had been, perhaps, somewhat rushed. But the urgency and the actual meat of the message had spurred the Thistle Kingdom's scout along regardless.

Though he had been out scouting - obviously opposing Duncan and Lace's own paths - he had not encountered the woman that Duncan described. There had been the smell of loners nearby (sort of) but that was hardly out of the norm when one considered how often Outsiders traversed the unclaimed.

But a loner met at the borders with warnings of some sort of doom? That rankled and concerned them all, especially since the woman had fled from the borders and the Erilaz's interrogation. Obviously. Krios would have run from the man, too, in her position.

That left them in a sticky situation. Kamari needed telling. So, the Striker sought out his wife and found her playing with the stupid bird that was about as useful as his name. With some hushed tones and some hurried planning, the pair quickly grabbed their things, disguised scents, and disappeared past the borders with as much practiced haste as they could muster.

They had trained for those sorts of things often enough.

It was tricky to do it right, especially when they found the woman's scent and the lingering, sickening, scent of O'Riley. Surely enough, she had slowed down and wasn't running as they were. A good spot was found and Krios quickly hid himself in a rather bushy tree. His bow was drawn.

There was no way another loner was going to get the best of another Salsolan noble.

Optime | Wabanaki Coast | Dated: Before September 12th | bNPC: Nelli Silva

Related to [SL] September Newspost.

Kamari’s scent is disguised.

bNPC has left the thread.
She’d been working on familiarizing her young raven, Bones, with Optime combat techniques when her husband had found her. He informed her quickly of the troubling news that had come from the Garrison, as well as orders to confirm the consistency of one’s story. With a bit of hasty preparation—they had many, many miles to make up for if they were to catch the wandering Loner—the Shield couple departed from the Kingdom atop Kamari’s steeds, sending one of the cats off to inform Velimir to check in on Seduction and her foal while they were away.

The woman’s scent trail was easy enough to pick up on. As with many outsiders, she made no attempt at hiding her path, as she likely had no reason to. Plans were drawn up on how they would approach the situation, and the pair split, setting themselves conveniently along the woman’s general heading. It was along one of the main trading roads. From their tracking, the wolfdog Loner had been using the precut paths, likely because of their ease of travel. A Loner with nothing to lose and only distance to gain, it was a simple choice.

With Krios hidden and carefully stagged up in a tree, Kamari had positioned herself in a small clearing along the dirt path. Their mounts—Cedar and Walnut—had been carefully placed elsewhere. Kamari had a small fire going with fish roasting on angled, sharpened sticks, creating an inviting aroma for any passerby. Anytime now, the woman should have been coming up the roa—there was a flap of wings, and Kamari’s eyes shifted.

Bones glided low through the area, stalling and letting out a crow-ish caw, before it left. Not long after, their target appeared just up the road.

Wolfdog female with a silvery coloration, average height, and dressed in simple clothing, just as had been described. In Optime, the woman’s gait was leisurely, like she knew she had miles to go and was conserving her energies for a long road ahead. Kamari pretended to not notice the Outsider’s gradual approach, knowing Krios’ arrow would prevent anything nefarious from befalling her.

The wolfdog woman noticed her easily enough, and her nose twitched and angled as she caught the scent of cooking fish permeating through the earthy smells of the forest that surrounded them. Expectantly, her pace slowed as she came closer to where Kamari was camped, and—pretending to sense movement out of the corner of her eye—Kamari’s attention flicked up to the woman.

“Hail, traveler!” Kamari greeted with a friendly yap and casual wave of a hand.

Reading into her friendly body language and tone, the wolfdog responded in kind, relaxing a bit and detouring purposely towards Kamari’s small campfire. “Hello!” The wolfdog’s tail began to wag behind her as she offered a much more exaggerated wave. “Your food smells good.” She complimented with a wide smile. “I could smell it all the way from the creek back there.” She thumbed over her shoulder in the direction from which she had come from.

Kamari nodded, offering a smaller, more subtle smile. “I caught them from that creek. Just a bit up stream, actually. The water’s richer there.” She eyed the woman. “What brings you out here? You don’t look like much of a trader.” For emphasis, Kamari patted a sack near where she sat.

The Outsider’s response was unnecessarily animative, her hands gesturing wildly as she spoke. “Oh, no!” The woman laughed. “Definitely not. I’m searching for a new home, actually.” She moved in closer, breeching the edge of the camping area.

The Shadow eyed the woman’s feet as she came closer, though, chose to not speak on the matter of the woman’s closing proximity to her. Instead, she quirked a brow before poking one of the skewered fish. “What happened to your old one?”

“It’s gone, or, rather, it’s become too dangerous to live in any longer.” The woman began to comb her fingers through one side of her shoulder-length hair as if to comfort herself.

Grunting, Kamari asked, “Running from a pack?”

The woman waved her hands wildly again in a dismissive motion. “Oh, heavens, no! Nothing like that!” She dropped down into a squat next to Kamari, and, the Emissary quieted her internal desire to put space between them. Did this woman have no respect for personal boundaries? Especially with Luperci she’d only just met?

The Outsider either didn’t seem to notice or didn’t care.

Her arms wrapped around her bare knees in a distinctly “feminine”-like manner. “I don’t know if you’ve been around here long, but, there have been a lot of earth shakes lately.”

Kamari nodded. “I’ve felt a few.”

Spurred on, the wolfdog continued, “Well, east of here—” She pointed. “—beyond the Halcyon Mountains, it’s been getting worse over the past few months. Trees falling, boulders coming loose, great fissures opening up in the ground.”

“Yeah, that definitely sounds like a pretty hostile place to live,” Kamari commented with a grimace.

The Outsider’s eyes bulged. “I know, right?! I almost got smashed by a…by a falling tree.” She trembled at the memory before shaking her head. “Anyway, my companions—” She paused over the word, as if reminded of something, before she continued. “—and I had no idea why the tremors kept happening, until one of us happened to look to the northeast. There used to be a single mountain there, and—and we thought our minds were playing ticks on us at first. It started to look different, little by little, until, one day, it was just…gone.”

Scowling, Kamari look at her with, understandably, disbelief. “I think you’ve been on the road too long. Mountains don’t just disappear.”

So the reports were true about this woman. No wonder the Erilaz wanted a second interview. The news she brought didn’t make any sense. It had been hours since the Loner had come across the Garrison, and—sniffing subtly at her—the woman didn’t appear to be on anything in that moment. She didn’t smell of any smoking herb or alcohol, didn’t have a jittery demeanor or overly dilated pupils. She looked like a normal, functioning Luperci. The news she spread was anything but though.

The woman reached out towards Kamari—likely to grab her shoulders—and the Shadow’s reflexes reacted before she could stop them. With the stick she’d been using to poke the skewered fish and small fire, she slapped the wolfdog’s wrist, causing the older female to let out a startled yelp before pulling her hands back to her person. With ears pulled back, the Outsider pleaded, “I know it sounds crazy, but, it’s true! I swear it! You have to believe me!”

Kamari shook her head.

“The earthquakes have changed the land beyond the mountains, I’m telling you! Please believe me. I have nothing to gain from lying about this.”

Kamari continued to shake her head. “Sorry, I can’t, not without seeing it with my own eyes. It’s just…too unbelievable.” The wolfdog looked crestfallen, and Kamari sighed. “I’ll warn others if they’re headed that direction, but, they’ll probably be as doubtful as I am about the mountain.” Reaching over, Kamari plucked one of the three skewers from the ground and handed it over to the woman. “Here, take a fish. You probably need it.”

Miraculously, the woman seemed to pick up on the dismissive cue. She nodded solemnly, taking the offered food. “I…thank you. Are you sure?” She lingered.

The Shadow let out a dismissive snort. “Us Loners have to stick together. I can get more, don’t worry.”

With a nod, the woman stood and turned to continue on down the road. She paused just before her paws met the main road again though. “Thank you, for listening.” She held up the skewer. “And for the food! If you…come across anyone who is looking for Nelli, could you tell them I came by this way?”

Kamari gave a single nod, and the wolfdog left with an enthusiastic wave of goodbye.

Turning back to the fire, Kamari continued to poke the fire and fish and mind her own business. Eventually—once enough time had gone by to ensure the woman wouldn’t make a sudden reappearance—she was rejoined by her husband. Flicking her eyes up to him, Kamari removed the remaining two fish from the fire’s warming edges. Handing him one, she quirked a brow. “Well?”

Kamari Kaiser
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Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
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[Image: d5V6ZhkI_o.png]The loner came, like they figured she would, but there was nothing else particularly impressive about her from what the Striker could tell. She was a simple looking woman with nothing terribly outstanding about her besides the story she told. Krios gradually lowered his bow as he listened to her and eventually simply affixed it back to his back with a nearly silent sigh. There was no danger to them from her and her story had not changed based on what they had known from O'Riley and Duncan.

It was the story that was the main problem, not the woman telling it. He watched his wife work, admiring the way she handled the conversation even if she was wildly uncomfortable with the woman's proximity. Kamari was not the sort to like being close to others, especially strangers. Her way of handling Outsiders was rather different than his own, but that just meant they could easily balance one another out. As with all things, he waited for Kamari.

The stranger, Nelli, eventually got the cue to leave and did so without much hesitation. The woman was polite and probably still somewhat shocked if the tale was to be believed, but the threat was nonexistent. Krios watched her leave through the trees until her scent began to fade and his impatience recalled him from his shadowy perch.

Krios emerged into the light of the fire when Kamari looked at him, her question very much the one he thought she'd give him. He could only shrug as he undid his bow again and settled down beside her. The bow was within easy reach but he felt worn after the breakneck pace in which they had fulfilled their duty.

"Fuck, I don't know. It sound so ludicrous to me, but she wasn't lying. Did you smell anything off about her? I couldn't get a good enough scent from where I was but she seemed all together," he added with a small tap to his temple. Nelli was not insane, not from where he had sat.

The fire crackled as a log or twig or something split and a puff of smoke wafted up. "We have been getting a lot of shakes. And the Red Star did cause so much change. Land rose in the bay, so I guess it would make sense that maybe land fell elsewhere," he mused slowly, brows furrowing as he stared at the embers, absently scratching at the dirt with a nail.

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