[P] live like legends
For Cent!
He had spent so much of the last year huddled away in the warm embrace of the Salsolan Nobility. It was difficult sometimes to separate his duty from his family. As a Vedetto he explored very little, instead content to complete patrols that saw him whirling through familiar woods and hidden holes where danger could easily linger. With his children grown there was little need for him to remain so close and he refused to leave all of the work to Kamari. Not now, not when he knew the truth of her tale.

And so it was that he saddled Tonnerre and went further afield. Scouting and taking mental note of the landmarks that had changed. Soon the snow would come and travel would be made more difficult – already leaves were changing in places to match the goldenrod of his eyes.

Tonnerre was happy for the work, the old war horse tired of being left behind while Brocade completed his patrols on foot. The animal made work like this easier, for though Brocade had never considered himself a spy there was something to be said for travelling on horseback. Travellers anticipated traders to have them and were often not so filled with suspicion, though the Director was careful to not allow any gleaming silver to show.

Blades caused problems. Spears even more so.

The Coyote Gang (for they were no longer a Clan) meant little to him in the grand scheme of things, but some part of him was curious.

He turned his horse and headed in the Gangs direction, his wolfish features accentuated by the dim light of dawn.

(///) | NPCs: Tonnerre, Brocades Gypsy Vanner Stallion (Black and White)

Dawn-ish and Broc is heading out towards Del Cenere!

NPC(s): Dinar (cNPC), Unnamed mule (mNPC)

It had been a cool morning, frosty, like winter's little sister. It was refreshing, sobering, mostly because Cent had the warmth and staleness of her new home to compare it to, and her home was the reason for her nightly departure. 

A house all her own: what a novel idea and lovely thing! What could be repaired was repaired, the interior was cleaned and decorated, but it still wasn't a building properly equipped for accepting guests. Cent spent a while asking around for any craftsmen or traders who dealt in furniture or plates and cutlery, and while she did get a couple promises and reassurances, she needed this dealt with now.

How was she supposed to throw a party if people had nowhere to sit?

So she woke up while it was still pitch black outside, put on her work shirt, her split riding skirt and her cowboy hat (but left her hair unbraided and wild, as it was truly too dark for anything to be done with it), grabbed the bow and quiver she borrowed from the storage (after neatly writing down her usage, as her occupation as quartermaster required), roused Dinar from his slumber and hurried out to the stables to fetch her nameless mount. Sun had yet to rise when they departed Charmingtown.

It was that grey time between night and dawn when her mule, champagne coloured and light of step, carried her past the sparse skulls marking the eastern border, and out into the unclaimed mountains and woodland. Dinar, still yawning, followed them close by, and merely having the large dog with herself considerably calmed the young woman. The events of the raid were still fresh in her memory and oh - were they quite so sure that there weren't more members of the Calloway crew, hiding in the hills, ready to ambush unsuspecting travelers?

But somehow, she relaxed, and somehow, as the Sun rose, so did her spirits.


She wasn't quite sure when was it that she began singing. It started as mumbling, then breathy reciting, but soon escalated into a hearty song, echoing trough the woods. It felt freeing, to sing. So engrossed was the foreigner in the Serbian lyrics, and so much enjoyment was her companion deriving from hearing his posestrina's voice, that neither heard the horse nor rider until they appeared around a bend in the road.

Cent went silent instantly, for she needed only take in the silhouette for unease to settle over her.

Even before she paid attention to the stranger, she could guess their species just from their horse. It was a large, strongly-built animal, the kind that could carry a big luperci with ease. It told her the rider was a wolf-blooded creature, and a shiver went up the dog's spine. She, with awkwardness that showed both her nervousness and horsemanship inexperience, halted her mule. Dinar, suspicious, stepped in front of Cent and her animal, tail and head raised high. 

It was Cent's intention to remain still, silent, perhaps raise a hand in greeting, then leave once she could no longer smell the stranger - but she was surprised when Dinar, her ever-quiet companion, spoke up. "Vat brings yu heer?" His thickly accented voice rose with a sense of authority that in on itself said "we have more right to be here than you do".

Cent's hand slowly went to the bow slung over her shoulder, and rested there, on the string.

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He had forgotten the lure of the road. In Ame Rouge it had hung like a lure; a promise for adventure. He had dreamt of his own caravan with a pair of wide-chested horses to lead them. Instead of becoming one of the travelling people, he had become a soldier. Protecting his family’s land became his primary objective, and along with the other members of his squadron they cut through any who stood in their way. It had been a difficult life, but it had helped build him as a soldier.

Horse and rider noticed the others at around the same moment, the war horse slowing his gait to cautiously inspect those who approached.

Brocade straightened in the saddle, holding one hand up to shield his eyes as the wolf-dog called out to him.

”What brings you here?”

It was an accent that reminded him of Igor and his Father. Thick and guttural, a sure sign of a language that Brocade would not understand. His own voice was only lightly accented, a whisper of French hidden in his vowels – though he did his best to mask this when he travelled as the charismatic Bastian. As the so-called Spaniard he did his best to channel himself as an enigmatic traveller, a riddle that was ever to be unsolved.

He dropped his hands and slipped into an easy smile. As Bastian it all came as second nature.

”Fellow travellers,” He greeted, pressing his knees to Tonnerres sides so that he came to a complete standstill. ”A warmest of greetings to you both – I was hoping to find someone to trade with… Rumor has it there’s a gang nearby.” His teeth gleamed, ”Best be careful.”

He pressed a hand to his chest, ”I am Bastian Montgomery. Who may you be?”

(///) | NPCs: Tonnerre, Brocades Gypsy Vanner Stallion (Black and White)
NPCs: Dinar (cNPC), Unnamed mule (mNPC)

[ Dinar ]

He maintained his posture as the stranger spoke, his brows furrowing as he noticed that the he-wolf had an accent. He was reminded of the jackal he killed on the night of the raid. Weren't many of the crew foreigners? And then there were those blackened scars, which spoke of a violent past. There was something shifty about this luperci. Dinar just had to check.
The doggish male inhaled deeply, taking in the stranger's scent, but there was only the strong smell of pine needles. It didn't match what he smelled on the bodies of the dead raiders. Still, he lifted his chin and demanded to know: "Vhere do yu kom from, stran'jer?"

[ Cent ]

The she-dog's hands had wandered away from the bowstring and now absentmindedly rubbed the reins between her fingers. She bit her bottom lip as she thought, her mind performing a precarious balancing act, having to pick between being unfriendly to the wolf - as she was taught to be - or answering his question's sincerely, as she was persuaded to do by his amicable words and easy smile. She weighted his demeanor against his bulky figure and the black scar gracing his face, and her natural want to assume the best about others -  even if they were uncomfortably wolven - won out in the end.

The female relaxed, if only slightly, if only enough to smile back at the stranger with sincerity.

"You're following good rumors, Mista' Montgomery. Go along them mountains -  them which we call Burnt Church Mountains..." The dog twisted in her saddle to point at the unimpressive peaks. "... an' you should find skulls, painted wi' ash and all creepy like. They mark the borders o' Del Cenere Gang, an' they might be a morbid first impression, but trust my word, Ashen're the finest, trustiest folk you'll find in these here lands." Her vernacular was distinctly southern, but her Slavic accent broke trough in certain sounds, creating an interesting vocal collage. "Just follow the edges 'til you get to a clear road. That'll take ya to Charmingtown. That's the part o' the packlands open to the likes a' you. Good trade be found there."

The woman turned her body back towards the male, then cocked her head to one side. "What kinds'a trade you looking to make? Coz I been looking out for some kind'a craftsperson, some sorta carpenter or such. Don't suppose you've ran into any comin' from your direction?"

// 420

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”Been on the road a long time. I came from the East – you ever heard of Grand Est?” A fictional town to be certain, but Brocade filled in the blanks with ease. He had forgotten how much he enjoyed telling stories, slipping into a life that was far removed from his own. ”I left to scout before winters come – but I will have to return before the snow comes.” He wagged his bushy tail and turned from the man to the little dog who sat perched atop her mule.

She had a pretty face that peeked out beneath the swooping edge of her cowboy hat, her short muzzle marking her as a dog hybrid.

”You say I’ll find skulls?” He has forgotten that the Del Cenerens had adopted this tradition from Inferni, ”I’ll watch for them – I’m on the hunt for a dagger or two, and my sister is looking for wool.” Morgana had been carrying on about knitting scarves for the family – it was the least he could do for her. The red scarf which so often accompanied him on his patrols had seen better days.

If Morgana knew he called her his sister on the road she would surely shank him with a knitting needle.

”What do you need a carpenter for? I’m no expert, but I have been known to whittle every once in awhile.”

He smiled and it showed all of his teeth, ”Is that where the two of you were headed? Off to find a carpenter?”

(///) | NPCs: Tonnerre, Brocades Gypsy Vanner Stallion (Black and White)
NPCs: Dinar (cNPC), Unnamed mule (mNPC)

The two dogs shared a look when the wolf disclosed his place of origin. Dinar cocked an eyebrow, and Cent shrugged, thus they communicated to each other that neither heard of the mentioned town. This lack of knowledge both attributed to being relatively new arrivals to the area. 

With the stranger being only amicable and not showing any signs of aggression, Dinar allowed himself to relax, his tail dropping. He moved to stand on the side of the champagne mule, letting Cent take charge of the interaction, as it did seem that she was in a social mood. Still, the large male kept his eyes trained on this "Mister Montgomery", wondering where the loner kept his blades, and how quickly could he draw one. One could never be too careful...

"Hm, daggers I guess you could find, as we do have a couple herr- er, blacksmiths. Even if none of ours are trading, there are usually some loners passing trough with their wares. And if it's wool you're looking for..." Cent leaned forward in her saddle, the mule conveniently reading the shift in weight as instruction to take a few steps towards the larger equine. "...I do know this fella, named Morris, offerin' wool and yarn. He's this coydog fella, got a smooth, splotched grey coat and a coyote's ears. He lives within Charmingtown, so you should find him if you ask around." Cent mentally patted herself on the back for managing to slip in a good word for Mr. Morris, who had been nothing but a darling to her, despite their initial deal falling apart due to her own juvenile nature. 

"Ah, thank you Mista' Montgomery, but a mere whittler's not what I'm on the hunt for." The she-dog chuckled, absentmindedly patting her mule's neck, which surprised the pale animal, who was under the impression that something about his existence had gravely offended his new master. "Yeah, we're looking for a carpenter, a furniture-maker, to be specific. Our house's a barren shack, so we're in need of furniture - or at least I am, my companion," She gestured downward at the he-dog. "Can manage without. A table, some chairs, maybe a couple stools, that'd be enough. Would be even better if I could find someone willing to teach me how to make my own, but eh, that's a dream. I take it you  don't know of none in the area?"

Cent realised she'd been scratching the mule's neck, and hastily retracted her hand, else the animal think it meant anything positive. Then, to the Ashen's mind came the Gang's very particular policies regarding wolves. Again, she bit her lip, wondering is she should tell the wolf about them. There was a waging in her head - Mr. Montgomery's demeanor versus his features - but again she assumed the best about the stranger. Even if he was of wolf blood, he seemed like a nice older male, and she wouldn't be telling him anything he wouldn't learn upon reaching Charmingtown.

"Uhm, you should know, Mista', that the Gang's a... uh. Coyote pack." She was back to toying with the reins, her splotched pads rubbing against the leather. "And dog, to be fair. Jackal, too, from what I've seen. But wolves are a tad... well. Let's just say you won't be able to stay in the ganglands long. Two days, tops. But you could get a room at the inn, so at least you'll have a roof over your head."

// 604
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”Charmingtown?” He mused, canting his head with interest at the mention of the small trading town. ”Coyotes? Would they trade with the likes of me?” He tapped his chest and offered a signature grin – full of teeth and well-meaning mirth that glittered in his eyes.

Her explanation had him nodding his head. He had expected barriers such as this, a coyotes suspicion wrapped about the town like a fog.

Cent and her companion seemed kind enough but like with all Outsiders it was difficult to know for sure. Brocade ran his tongue across his mouth, ignoring the questions that buzzed around his mind like flies.

”Down South I was run out of a few towns – can be dangerous business sometimes, being a wolf.” He allowed his brows to fall, ”No offense meant Miss.” His horse nudged at his shoulder and he shushed him softly, stroking the end of his pale nose.

He frowned, "I'm sorry I don't know someone to refer your way. If I come across a carpenter i my travels..." He shrugged his shoulders, "There must be someone out there."

He clicked his teeth, "Sometimes some of the abandoned places have stuff inside - but moving it is hard work." He smiled at the mules large ears, "Might need a bigger animal."

(///) | NPCs: Tonnerre, Brocades Gypsy Vanner Stallion (Black and White)

NPCs: Dinar (cNP), Unnamed mule (mNPC)

"Oh yeah, 'm sure you can find trade." She half-muttered, not looking at Mr. Montgomery. At some point, her eyes wandered away from the wolf and down to her pobratim. The large male seemed restless, his tail at half-mast but still wagging in an uneven rhythm. She wished she could speak to him trough her mind, hear what it was he was seeing that she wasn't. The luperci male was a wolf, true, and a wolf was a dangerous creature by nature (also true) - but he was also rather charismatic, in that way older people not yet gripped by failings of old age could be. He seemed like an interesting conversation partner - but he was still a wolf. But - but. But. But But.

"Mista' Montgomery, that's real awful!" Her head whipped around, offering sincere sympathy to the stranger for a, unbeknownst to her, made-up experience. She shook her head and clicked her tongue in disapproval of the actions taken against him. "No offense taken at all! Real shame to hear good folk treated bad." And you are good folk, aintchu, Mista' Montgomery?, in an unintended mimicry of the stranger she licked her teeth and tilted her head. It was a severe shame she hadn't interacted with a wolf in so long. Maybe if she had, she would know how to treat this one. How do you subtly show that the two of you couldn't be more different if you tried, and that it took real heart to treat a wolfborn with common decency?

But then again, who was to say he wasn't being nice to her in spite of whatever misconceptions he had about dogs?

"...hm? Oh yeah, yeah, we did think to check the ol' places, but them's been ransacked long ago. 'sides, most the stuff's too uncomfortable or rotten. We'd have better luck looking for a craftsman. By the way..." 

She dismounted. Dinar made a small woofing sound, a show of disagreement with the action he knew Cent was about to perform. The brunette closed the distance between the travelling parties, leading her pale mule by the reins. She stopped a few steps away from the towering male and extended a dark hand.

"Name's Cent; the fellow over there's Dinar. We're part o' Del Cenere. Don't really got enough to our names to be o' much importance, but we can swear Mista', the Gang'll treat ya nice." She spoke with a smile.

yo, seeing as you already started a thread of broccoli brocade arriving in dcg and cent has to be on her way, how about we wrap this up in a post or two? // 420blazeit
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