[P] Scuttling crabs
Optime | Ethereal Eclipse (Oglethrope) | Dated: November 14th; afternoon | NPC: Walnut

Kamari’s scent is disguised. Follows this thread.

For Krios and Kiri!
Their scouting mission had taken a slight delay with what O’Riley had discovered while out exploring the morning before. The Eternity had returned to their meager camp retelling an encounter with a doggish individual named Finn, who, apparently, claimed to be part of a “crew” that had arrived by boat. Though their encounter had been brief, something about it had sparked the Erilaz’s curiosity to learn more, and the trio had come to agreement to spare the extra day to see if they could gather more information on the mysterious “crew” that had arrived on the peninsula’s shattered shores.

A plan had been drawn up, and Kamari and Krios had left with her mule, Walnut, in tow. The mule had been packed lightly with goods and items—blankets, dried meats, a few extra furs and other carriable by-products from the boys’ kill a few days prior, along with other common travel items—that would help make the couple’s story believable as mere travelers. They had taken a route that purposely avoided O’Riley’s previous one, though, had done well to keep his directions in mind of where this supposed crew’s camp might have been.

Kamari had the hood of her cloak up, and her fingers wrapped loosely around her shouldered bow to keep it in place. She padded beside her husband, letting him hold Walnut’s reins as they traversed the worn game trail. Her cornflower blue eyes watched the passing scenery, searched it for any signs of this mysterious “crew” lingering about. They had come across a few distinctive, fresh scents, an indication that they must have been getting close to wherever the camp and the Loners’ boat must have been.

Movement caught her eye up ahead of them, and Kamari grazed Krios’ elbow with a featherlight touch. “Ahead to the left,” she warned in a soft whisper in case his eyes had been busy surveying elsewhere. She left him to decide whether to announce themselves with a shout or to wait until they were closer.

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

Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
Wasn't sure if you wanted Krios to reply first, but TOO BAD if ya did!

Bluebonnet was largely ambivalent to horses, but it was difficult to deny that not needing to make a pack animal out of herself was a nice proposition. Hauling canteens of fresh water from the lake to the camp every day would be less of a chore if they could load up a horse with everything in one trip. Finn had been unable to find any small streams or other fresh water sources, so for the time being, she was making two or three trips out to ensure their supply was plentiful.

The dog took her time returning to the lake this time, shuffling her feet through the fallen leaves to scratch at the grass and dirt below. If she had to pick out one good thing about landing in winter, it would be that it was much easier to wear down paths when the underbrush wasn't too overgrown. Here and there, where the grass was higher, she'd set down blankets of rocks to deter the growth. They'd have to put down a lot more when spring came, but in time, they'd be able to wear down roads, and then maybe they could trade for or build some carts -- that would make hauling things even easier.

Shuffling along, Bluebonnet half-thought at first that it was just her wishful thinking. She looked up at the sound of hooves crushing grass and perked her ears. Then, squinting through the trees, she grinned. "Hello!" she called, waving.
hello I'm gen and I suck
Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
Krios had been somewhat curious about a mysterious assortment of canines that O'Riley had implied existed out there in the wilds. To him, it just seemed like another loner band that was likely looking to find a decent place to live in the abandoned lands of former packs. There had been little concern for all of them, it felt like, since they were so, so far from Salsola and unlikely to be any kind of threat. But if anything could be said of the Thistle Kingdom, it was that it would always seek opportunities for more wealth and prestige.

Scout and Spy went along, their ruse a minor one as they had very little to lie about with their traveling south. They were travelers, after all and the only falsehoods would be their names and origins. Otherwise, who would find the two of them suspicious at all? Even if there was no reason besides that "crew" to head to the tip of the peninsula. There was nothing of any value left to scout out. But the Erilaz wanted to know and see, so they went to know and see for him.

Plus it was nice to pretend like everything was all honky dory with his wife beside him and the ability to schmooze his way into public displays of affection where she couldn't rebuff him.

Her fingers brushing his elbow made him pause, dropping from his reverie of cute thoughts and gestures that simply never could have been. His eyes shot in the direction she suggested and his eyes honed in on the figure between the trees. She -  probably a she, at least - did not skulk or sneak, and did not seem to notice them right away. Before Krios could put together a decision, though, the woman called out to them and waved.

"Smile, Birch," he whispered from the corner of his mouth as he raised his arm and waved at the woman with water.

"Hello! Do you need a hand?" he offered despite the distance between them and the absolutely lack of any kind of familiarity.
NPC: Walnut

No worries, Gen<333
The stranger was a doggish individual, judging by their floppy ears and tri-colored fur that looked more plush than any coyote, jackal, or wolf’s. From their distance, Kamari could only make a guess at their gender. Dogs and dog-heavy hybrids were harder to judge because they came in so many different shapes and sizes. They had light grey hair that stopped short of their shoulders, though, Kamari had known many men—her husband included—who had longer hair. Wearing a high-collared jacket and sporting a somewhat sturdy build didn’t help matters either. It wasn’t until the Other spoke and hailed them that Kamari felt more confident in her guess that the dog was a woman.

An ear twitched at Krios’ whisper, and the Kaiser reached a hand up to pull her hood down to reveal her face. Revealing her face would make her seem less intimidating, more approachable, something the two Salsolans wanted if they were to get the Erilaz the information he desired. The woman seemed friendly enough, and obviously didn’t appear to see any need in hiding her presence in the area. Though she didn’t fit the description of the individual O’Riley had run into the day before, the likelihood that the dog was part of this “crew” was high.

Kamari moved towards the Other. “Those look heavy,” she agreed with her husband, eyeing the burdens that the woman carried. “Please, let us help you—” Kamari insisted, glancing back at her husband from over her shoulder. “—Apollo, bring him over, would you?” She nodded to her mule whose reins he held.

She offered a small, warm smile before bowing her head to the woman. “I’m Birch,” she introduced kindly. “And this is my mate, Apollo.” She gestured with a hand to Krios.

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

Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
Occasionally, her mother's voice floated back to her, suggesting caution as a default, but her mother's voice was rarely alone. Her father and her aunt had both favoured optimism and almost aggressive friendliness. They needn't be mutually exclusive with caution, anyway. She could have her wits about her and still assume the best of strangers. Even those who might conspire harm could be won over, and if she could help someone, she would -- they didn't need to take the help they needed.

"Oh!" Bluebonnet laughed, then waved a hand towards the man -- Apollo -- apologetically. The pair of strangers were leading a handsome mule, mildly laden with supplies. "No need, no need," she said. "These are empty right now, so I'm all right, really!"

The dog smiled at the pointed-looking woman. "Can't say I wouldn't appreciate the help once they are full though," she added. "Do ya'll need some fresh water? Don't look too travel worn, but there's a lovely lake nearby!" Bluebonnet looked back to the male, who had brought the mule closer. "Are ya'll heading somewhere particular? The land ends at the sea not too far from here, so heading west may be a bit fruitless, but oh-- I'm babbling. My name is Bluebonnet. Please to meet you both!"

Remember your youth, in all that you do, the plank and the passion
Krios watched his wife settle into the persona, the name that she took whenever she strayed from Salsola's borders. She really was no different to him, but whatever she was as Birch was not who she was as Kamari. He wondered how much she loved the freedom of an unbound name. He had loved it for the ability to protect himself from embarrassment or to just savor a different name for a while. Apollo was a very different sort of god compared to a titan of stars. Two different gods, something that hadn't escaped him when he chose to return to the name when he shed Magnus.

Magnus was a stupid name.

Krios grinned at the woman, nodding at Kamari, and leading the mule forward with the reins firmly in his grasp. The mule was well trained and came without much fuss, especially since there was no tension or fear spiking the air with its malodorous stench.

"We'd be happy to help," he offered generously, bobbing his head slightly toward her. He was still grinning, ever the gentleman. "A little break by the lake wouldn't go amiss, would it, my dear?" he cooed at Kamari, latching onto the pretext of being married. Well, they were married but it wasn't often he could practically vomit out his affection in the public sphere.

"And you said the sea was nearby? Oh, I thought it was much further away." He looked perplexed toward Bluebonnet, though he knew that the shaking earth had changed much of the landscape since he himself had been there last. But did the Other woman know that or was she part of that newcomer gang?

NPC: Walnut
The dog woman quickly reassured her that the buckets were empty, and, though Kamari’s pace slowed with the new lack of urgency, it did not stop her from meeting with the stranger. She nodded in agreement to her husband in that they would be willing to help the woman once the pails were full. Water was heavy when one had to carry it over a great distance. Using Walnut would turn a stop-and-go trip into one easy, seamless venture from one point to another.

When Krios addressed her, she shook her head, agreeing, “Certainly not.” Mentally, she had gone over what she remembered of the area’s geography, recalling what fresh water sources were nearby. Rabbit Lake was close, though, there were quite a few ponds and other sources that could have easily been referred to as a “lake” as well. “After all, it’s not often we come across such pleasant company.” The neutral lands were a lawless place for a Loner, and a chance meeting could easily spell disaster and misfortune.

“The pleasure is ours, Bluebonnet,” Kamari returned with a smile. She glanced at her mate as he commented on the ocean, and she continued from where he stopped to tie it back to the woman’s inquiry. “We sort of just travel wherever the road—or interest—takes us. We heard of an old human town being somewhere out here, but, we’re in no hurry to reach it though.” There were many in the area that were yet unclaimed by a pack, and many more that sat in ruin overtaken by Mother Nature herself.

“But, anyway! Lead the way to the lake, Bluebonnet, we can chat and walk at the same time,” she urged with a laugh. “Our mule gets less compliant once the sun sets past the horizon.”

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

Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
"It might be that it used to be further away," Bluebonnet mused thoughtfully. If mountains could fall into the sea, then mere flat land surely could as well. Forest and Gemini couldn't tell them much about this side of the peninsula, but it stood to reason that something as crazy as the earth shaking would affect a wide region.

Truthfully, the dog wasn't quite sure she believed all of it, but she at least believed that their visitors believed. There was no reason to mislead them, and at the very least, she thought the white wolf's nervousness at some unknown force was real. "Have ya'll been traveling in this region for long? My crew and I have only just arrived, but we've heard some crazy things about the land changing shape." More witnesses to corroborate the idea would force her to more seriously consider it, but maybe it didn't matter in the end.

They had already decided to stay. Melrose and Hurricane both thought it was the best path forward. Finn and Dawnsong seemed largely ambivalent, but they didn't seem too concerned about the idea that their fledgling outpost would sink into the sea. Bluebonnet didn't think they quite believed, either. Tobi complained constantly about their present situation, but he never suggested or pushed for their alternatives. He didn't want to go to Portland and he didn't want to go home. And even Forest and Gemini seemed to have settled into their routines, even if they would not commit to staying just yet.

She led the way to the top of a short hill. Beyond it, the meadow descended towards the lake, which rippled with a wind that they could not feel just yet. "There are human ruins on the other side, but most of the buildings are damaged beyond use." She sighed. "It would've been great if we could use them for shelter, but the roofs are all collapsed and many of the walls are, too. I think these used to be fields and maybe some farms, like back home, but not much seems to still be usable."

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