east of eden

”Papa?” Brocade was tying the knot of his hair behind his ears whil gazing into a broken mirror, <”Yes Vivi?”> The little smoke-colored girl had begun to turn auburn at her cheeks, <”Where are you going?”> Her French was getting better, and it made Brocade smile as he turned to face her. Tafetta sat nearby, her shoulders hunched sadly as she realized that the pair of them were not to join their Father on his patrol. 

<”Kamari and I are headed East.”> Brocade reached for his leather armor to slip it over his tunic, <”You are both to stay here with your Mother and Tate.”> He silenced both of them before they could whine with a raised hand, <”I won’t be long. I will bring something back for each of you.”>

Velour huffed and leaned on her sister, <”Fine.”>

Tafetta nibbled on Velours ear and giggled as their Father scooped them up to kiss good bye.

Torin had prepared his horse, and with a wave he left his family behind to seek out Kamari and begin their journey. In the wake of Intarsia's death Brocade had sequestered himself to his family; setting new boundaries that would exist for the duration of his young families time together. He had placed responsibility in his son and in the lessons that they had started - and each night as he fell asleep curled around Morgana he cursed the niece who had forced them to experience such loss so soon. 

The woman who had come to their pack had shared stories of the East - how the mountains had changed in the wake of an Earth Quake. Lace had collected what she could before presenting it to her brother, and Kamari had followed soon after. Together the horses that they rode covered the ground easily, galloping in places where the earth lay flat and even. They slowed only when the sun began to creep to its zenith, and Brocade glanced at the jackal with a grin that managed to reach his eyes.

Being out here allowed him to forget all that lay behind him. 

He knew somehow that his friend would understand. 

"How much further?" His nostrils flared as the scent of the trail they followed changed, and he cocked a brow at Kamari as she drew alongside him. 

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Optime | Northeastern Sticks and Stones (Previously Eastern Realms); Dated: September | NPCs: Cedar & Bones

Kamari’s scent is disguised.

Thanks for starting! Sorry for the wait! Dx
It had been two years since she’d ridden out so far east with Brocade.

The season had been warmer then, and Inferni had been only recently disbanded and splintered across the land. The traveling Salsolans had been a sizable scouting party, with three trained fighters and two eager teenagers in tow. This time, it had just been the two of them. So many other things had been different back then. Brocade and she, they had both been Shield Apprentices back, and Symre had not had a bounty put on her head.

They were older now, and with a few more scars on their souls.

The Director and Emissary had managed to make quite a bit of headway with just the two of them. Having made the journey before, they remembered where to find what they needed without much delay or diversion from the quickest path to their destination. The first leg of the journey had been quick and efficient, having hardly made a dent in their supplies. They would be back in the Kingdom in record timing depending on what lied at their destination point.

It had been Brocade that had broken the silence between them this time, and Kamari directed her mustang to walk closer to Brocade’s larger Tonnerre. “Don’t tell me that you’re tired already, vieillard,” she teased with a judging once over. A ghost of a playful smirk played at the edges of her lips before she continued with a more serious answer, “The Concrete Jungle should be just up ahead, and we can follow its edges to takes us to where the foot of the mountain is.”

Or, used to be, anyway. Following the edge of the cold, human ruins would be the most direct way through the eerie woodlands. Had the pair taken a route through the Halcyon, they might have been able to clearly confirm or deny the Loner’s claims from a distance. However, since they’d used horses to cut down on timing, they’d been forced to take a flatter route, which meant no high ground to easily take advantage of.

Kamari Kaiser
— The Shadow —
[Image: k4f73A1.png]
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Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
Tonnere made a sound as something small skittered across the riders path, and Brocade lifted his teeth as he leaned forward to reassure the animal. It seemed impossible to think of a time that the horse had not been a part of his life, but already he could see where the whiskers around his mouth had begun to fade. He was not yet an old horse, for horses far outlived their masters, but Brocade could see himself mirror in his companions’ changes.

There was far more silver in his temples, new scars laced upon his arms and knuckles from fights that had all been in the name of his Kingdom.

Kamari too, was no longer a young spy. She had grown to be a woman one who was highly respected, a general amongst their Faction. As they rode and teased he found himself barking a laugh, his eyes narrowed in her direction. ”You call me viellard?!” He laughed again, adjusting himself in the saddle, ”You must have poor eyes, petit espion,” He held up his arms and flexed so that his muscles bulged for a moment before deflating, ”I am living my life in peak condition, don’t you see?”

Their horses carried them onward, towards the Concrete Jungle.

”So much has changed.” Brocade picked absently at a leaf as they passed, tearing it between his fingers before discarding it. ”I wonder what it will be like long after we’re gone.”

The soldier suddenly flared his nostrils, his expression immediately at attention.

”Do you smell that?”

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Feel free to adlib! We can discover anything; a camp destroyed by earthquake, smoke, dead thangs - whatever you want ! ;D
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NPCs: Cedar & Bones

Sorry for the super long wait! Last month turned out to be a super busy month for me @___@
Kamari scoffed at his flexing, eyeing his biceps as she was unimpressed with their definition. “I would say that you’ve already peaked, and are now on the downward trend,” she said with a teasing smirk. She meant no harm by her words. Despite recent loses in his household, she knew full well that Brocade likely had another year or two left of his prime years. By such time, Kamari imagined that they might see one of his children entering the Faction ranks.

Eventually, they reached the edges of the human ruins, and they altered their course to follow the perimeter. The Shadow kept her senses on alert, scrutinizing the changing landscape as they went. When they had passed through the area before—soon after the fall of Inferni—it hadn’t been very impressive, and it was only marginally better now. Despite the years’ gap, there were stills signs that showed proof in the tales of a great fire scorching the land. Larger trees were still barren, and the land still had a noticeable, empty, eerie feeling to it despite the massive amount of regrowth. The forests here were nothing like the ones south of the Halcyon, and Kamari doubted that they ever would be.

She flicked an ear when the Director spoke, and had opened her mouth to reply when a sharp scent reached her nose. It smelt like a campfire. Brocade smelt it too, and the relaxed nature of their traveling gait was instantly traded for something more alert and battle-ready. “Must be a camp nearby. Maybe we can ask them questions,” she suggested, her eyes shifting to peer through the thick, colorful woodland.

The Shadow sniffed the air again and honed her senses to read a wind direction, trying to pinpoint which way that the smell might have been coming from. While the scent of burning wood was strong, she could also smell…a distant scent of an ocean breeze? Her brows furrowed. Surely not…unless the rumors were, indeed, true. “Act casual, Bastian. I think we’re about to find the truth we came out here for.”

Kamari urged Cedar into an easy trot in the general direction of the smell, easing her posture into something more unbothered and lax. The trees thinned, and the distant roar of an ocean reached her ears. And as Cedar came to the edge of the forest, Kamari’s brows furrowed.

The mountain…was gone.

Movement out of the corner of her eye drew her attention away. Some twenty or so feet from the edge of the cliff—Kamari guessed, for, she could not see any extension of land beyond the edge’s lip—was a simple campfire, and, sitting around it were two coyote Luperci. They paused in their meal, their golden eyes looking up at the horse and rider.

“We have nothing of value,” one of them blurted immediately with rounded eyes.

The other took a second longer to swallow their mouthful before they added, “And we’d like no trouble either.”

Kamari Kaiser
— The Shadow —
[Image: k4f73A1.png]
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Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
Some would wonder what it was that kept the Director in such jovial spirits. He was a man who enjoyed play just as much as work, though he could snap back with the best of them when pushed to react. Loss had changed him just as his family had, and whereas a Bachelor he may have willingly thrown himself into danger – now he thought of Morgana and the children as his anchor. It made him tactical where in his youth he would have forced brute strength and intimidation.

He could see it already in the way that Tattersall practiced, relying entirely on instinct to carry him through the tussles with his sister. Velour was thoughtful, but allowed her emotion to get the better of her. She was vindictive and rash – lashing out when goaded just so. They were young and would learn what it meant to become patient in a fight.

Taffetta would learn to sew. There was no place for her anywhere close to the arena.

Brocade managed a terse growl before tipping his face into the breeze, his expression bunched with stern concentration. He could see the change in Kamari – the way she stiffened in the saddle and turned in the same direction. They slipped from casual conversation to stiff lipped attention immediately. The scent of smoke wafted ever so gently, tugging at them as if to reveal the location of the camp.

”Lead the way Birch.” They kneed their horses forward slowly, and Tonnerre snorted as they passed beneath the colorful foliage – the rust reds and burnt ochres flanking them as they passed under the dying leaves.

Salsola was always on the market for information. Brocade had never been one for spying. It took a certain level of mystery that the greying man had never been able to cultivate fully. Shadows were no place for one of the travelling people, and he did better on the frontline or organizing the strategy behind the scenes. Kamari had been born for her duty – and he could see the way she repositioned herself as if she were honed of clay.

She wore masks easily. In another life perhaps she could have been an actress instead of a well-tuned spy.

Brocade imitated her and slouched in his saddle, tugging the front of his scarf before tossing it lackadaisically over his shoulder. Luckily his hair was mussed from their ride, and so he appeared every ounce as a wandering errant soul. The horses silently twitched their ears at one another, and Tonnerre lashed his tail as they stumbled at last upon the lonely campground.

Where had the mountain gone?

The coyotes took them in with the shiny eyes hooded over their snaggle toothed jaws – and Brocade felt himself internally bristle as they inspected one another in silence. He had his own opinion of coyotes; one that was tainted by war and a long history of disdain.

They had obviously interrupted a meal, and as one of them swallowed Brocade lifted a hand as if to greet them – his jaws splitting into an over eager grin.

There were rules to the road, as much as he was loathed to admit.

Good travellers would share their fires. Great travellers would share news from along their routes. The pair of coyotes appeared nervous, and chanced the occasional glance at their belongings. They expected to be robbed. Why? Did they have something so valuable? Brocade whet his lips and smoothly became Bastian.

”Hola!” Bastian was not a far throw from Brocade, though he had a spanish inflection and ease to his movements that was a throw to the gypsies Brocade had grown up amidst. He blinked his eyes and laughed, ”Trouble? Who said anything about trouble?” He made a tchk sound, ”We caught wind of your fire and thought perhaps you’d be willing to share.” He pointed with his nose, ”We’ve been on the road awhile.”

One of the coyotes seemed to struggle with tearing their eyes away from Brocades scars.

"What, you like these?" Brocades grin grew and he chuckled, "I pissed off the wrong woman."

The slant of their shoulders changed, and Brocade could see how they settled more comfortably against the logs they were perched upon. He flicked an ear inquisitively towards Kamari and went silent.

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NPCs: Cedar & Bones
Kamari made a show of rolling her eyes at Brocade’s explanation of his facial scars. “You’re going to scare them if you keep that up,” she scoffed, smirking over to him. His friendliness and their banter seemed to reassure the coyote pair that they were not about to be robbed or held at knife point, however, even with their relaxed stances and glances, Kamari could still see a wary edge to them. Rightly so. The Loner life was a constant game of who one could and could not trust. A poor judgment call could mean the difference between life and death.

“We don’t have any extra food,” the broader of the two coyotes stated. “So, if you’re looking for a free handout, wolf—”

His companion made a face of mild panic as he hissed, “Milo.”

The coyote’s eyes snapped to his companion. “—what? We don’t, Meelo!”

“Just the warmth of your fire and some information would be fine,” Kamari interjected with a nervous chuckle. This silenced the pair, and, after a shared look between them, the broader male, Milo, scooted closer to his companion while the Meelo patted the ground invitingly.

She glanced at Brocade and dismounted, straightening her cloak once her feet settled onto the ground. “We were looking for a pass through the Death Mountains,” she explained as she stepped towards their fire. Her eyes flicked between the two of them. “I think we may be lost though.”

Meelo looked down at his food while the Milo let out a soft snort. “You missed it by a moon or two,” Milo stated, taking a generous bite of his food and chewing.

Kamari’s brows furrowed to mimic someone that was confused. “Sorry?”

“The mountain is gone. The edge of the cliff over there—” he jerked his head, “—was where it used to be.”

Meelo eyed Brocade. “You two must not be from the area if you didn’t know about it already,” he mused quietly. “You didn’t have anything important beyond the mountains, did you?”

Kamari Kaiser
— The Shadow —
[Image: k4f73A1.png]
Player Wiki · Character Wiki

Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
Despite his background, Brocade was most often known for his amiable nature. He had a way of putting those around him at ease while maintaining his wits. Kamari impressed him on each of their missions, for she could fold herself to fill any space. Out here she was larger than life, a sponge that eagerly collected information and blotted out portions of herself for the greater good of the Kingdom.

”You both look pretty plump to me for a pair of travellers – though I suppose you might just be big boned.”

Meelo grumbled, but his companion couldn’t help a short laugh that escaped him.

Brocade tapped the side of his nose and offered a throaty chuckle before sidling up closer to their fire. He extended his hands and fanned his palms against the flames. ”Don’t worry boys, we’re not here to share any of your food.”

A log in the fire snapped, collapsing on itself to spew sparks up into the air. One of the men flinched at the intrusive sound, and Brocade took note of this silently. Kamari asked more questions, and the pair mentioned that the mountain was gone. ”We missed it?” Brocade scoffed, stretching as he raised his hands above his head.

”It must have gotten tired of always sitting in the same place.”

His brows furrowed as he twisted to peer off in the direction that Meelo pointed, the cliff side empty.

”Just the calling of a wandering heart,” Brocade shrugged his shoulders, ”But it would seem we will be forced to head a different direction now.”

He shook out his ruff, "You ought to be careful camping so close to a disappearing mountain."

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