[P] {M} Here we are now, entertain us

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Specifically, this thread is marked mature because of: .
It was a fair day for the winter season, Chione had grasped the land in her claws and her element could be seen through the lands. The remnant of the fallen race stood, the decades of abuse from the elements still standing but in disrepair. The concrete and metal structures were in the process of being absorbed back into nature but the hand of winter ripped away the green leaving only dead plant matter behind.

A beautiful woman led her mount through the city's suburbs. She wore a blue dress under a black cloak that was pulled over her head, her ears poking through the slits in the hood. Her dressed had been hitched up to her knees as to not catch on the rocks. She stood in her Optime form, dwarfed by the stallion following behind her. Her steel blue eyes studied the city. A belt was worn around her waist as a satchel was worn over her shoulder, hidden under the cloak. The satchel was black leather and held close. Her horse was a heavy draft, massive in size with an ebony coat. A pair of black birds perched on the beast's back.

Anactoria came here in search of shelter. She hated sleeping in dens that were too cold for her. And were simply too primitive for her liking, not to mention below her. She was an heiress, she had been promised greatness by the gods! She wanted to badly to find somewhere to call home. Thieves had threatened her and it was only by Chernobog's aggression and her screamed threats they had been run off. She hated having to catch her own prey. She absolutely abhorred having to care for her own horse. Chernobog was a beauty but the witch hated having to get herself dirty to care for the creature.

The gods had promised the sorceress greatness, for why else had they sent her a prophecy? Her bitch of a grandmother had stolen it from her and betrayed her! She was angered by her grandmother's betrayal, some Crone she was. For what, her sister whom had just been born? What had made the firstborn unworthy in the Crone's eyes? She had her first prophecy when she first shifted! What had been going through Ajak's mind to pull such a trick? And how her mother had not defended her and the people she had devoted herself cast her out! The Cersine heiress couldn't believe it when they turned on her,

The tricolor was aching for a cigarette but she needed to set up camp first. She looked for somewhere she could start a fire and house her horse. Her horse was valuable and while a mean-spirited stallion, he never tried to harm her. He protected her since she  owned him, although left care of him to her slave. She wondered what the slave was up to now. She had purchased the wretch when she was young and transformed him with her blood. In her eyes, she had been bonded to him! And her so-called people stole her from him! She continued walking through the city, looking around for somewhere to set up camp.

OOC→ Dated for January 12th
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The still dark had blanketed the early morning, Evelyn peered out into the darkness as the shadows felt heavier with the waxing gibbous moon above reflecting off the alabaster powder that had clutched the forest in its grip. Sleep had eluded her, there was no denying a lot was on her mind, there was too much that had happened as of recent and she had hardly a minute to herself to actually take it in and mull it over. This lead to sleepless nights, tossing and turning, before she eventually gave up and get a head start on her chores for the day. What she felt could not even have compared to how her sister must have been doing.

They had only returned back to the Thistle Kingdom, the whole battle a blur in her mind, as well as the nights after spent in a warm embrace. At least she had gotten one or two nights of decent sleep, but her bodied pained her from the exertion of battle, and she had wounds patched up that had crusted over with blood hidden amongst the folds of her furs she had worn in the frigid early morning. Rubbing at her muscles, she had decided to go for a ride, letting Icarus carry her across the lands of Salsola until she was just outside the borders. The cool air revigorated her, maybe some fresh air was all she needed to put her to sleep this evening. Her thoughts were a whirlwind and she needed a distraction right now, and what better place to find it than the small city that sat just outside their borders? Evelyn had spent some time scavenging there when she was younger, and now it was probably picked over, but it did not stop her from trying.

The sun had risen high into the sky by the time she had broken the borders of the small town of Amherst, there was little snow here with the broken up concrete holding warmth longer than the forest floor did. They had stayed to less well worn, dirt paths that crossed in and out of the houses so that they would not end up with a freak accident of some sort and breaking Icarus' leg. Did bad things not come in threes? Evelyn could have sworn she had heard that expression somewhere, but was not overly the superstitious type. Just as she turned a corner, she unexpectedly spotted an unfamiliar Luperci. Strange that she found anyone here, but she supposed it was not claimed land no matter how close it lay to the borders of her home.

Evelyn could not help but admire the great beast that followed along behind the other woman made up of earthen hues. Her ears pressed forward as she watched the pair, curious but not feeling overly friendly given the circumstances. Honestly, she had come out here in search of clues of Aani, but she knew that the borders and surrounding areas had been scoured prior to their trip to New Caledonia to save their friends. Evelyn made a mental note to continue her search here and let the woman come to her if she so wanted. Her wariness of strangers was new, but who could have blamed her?

(543) | NPCs: Icarus (stallion)
Thank you for starting!
Anactoria led Chernobog through the city, unaware for a moment she wasn't alone. She wanted a cigarette but she would need to stop and set a small fire in order to light it. She needed somewhere to settle down and to find the kindling to light a flame. She could also use some other substances, but she needed to ration what she had. She didn't have much as thieves had been a pain in her ass and she hadn't been able to grab much when she left the Coven. And then her stallion snorted and the witch was at least knowledgable enough about horses to realize it meant something. The Cersine scion stopped and looked around, catching sight of another Luperci.

The first thing that struck the sorceress was the stranger's beauty, a simple beauty but a beauty nonetheless. The woman's pelt was a mix of light earthen tones. The hybrid's steel blue eyes searched for an omen upon the woman's canvas but saw none. Her horse was a rather unique specimen with his painted hide. A slight amount of envy welled within the woman but she welcomed the sight of another woman. She valued the presence of women over men. Men had their purpose, yes, but she had been surrounded by mostly women for most of her upbringing. She was rather interested in the stranger as she did seem pretty. And powerful as well. The blue-eyed woman liked powerful things.

"Hello there," the tri-colored woman said, turning to face the woman. She couldn't help but wonder of the stranger's purpose. The witch believed in fate and destiny, she felt nothing was random and everything was a sign. She had been raised to believe in the gods, a witch or a priestess; she felt she was both. She chose to devote herself to the gods as her people did. But she felt her former Coven turned away from the gods' will, following their Crone as she bastardized a sign to put another in line for the throne when the gods sent the youth, a newly-shifted child, a sign of her future greatness. It made her wonder why the supposed faithful speaker of the divine hadn't been smote where she stood. But she had to believe there had to be a reason why. Perhaps her journey to these new lands was guided by the gods.

The witch wondered where she was. She wanted to know more about this woman as well. And from her experience, she learned that in order to gain information, one most be willing to divulge information in order to gain information. "Are you of this land?" Her words were somewhat vague, for all the stranger knew, the priestess could be from lands close and simply never ventured to this city. But the woman would hold off from offering her name until she was sure. She still had a hint of paranoia and she didn't know if she could trust the hybrid. But she didn't like being alone, for she had grown up surrounded by others. She needed to figure out where she was and if there were other settlements here.

OOC→ Hello! Sorry for the wait!
Anactoria is blind, Evelyn's design is the pretiest I ever did see
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Her whole body was aching, her muscles felt weak from the events of the last two weeks. There had been so much to process, but she just could not stop yet. This morning she had not intended to stray too far from home, but when she thought she had caught Aani's scent she was quick to ready herself to leave the pack lands, covering her scent in case the Pentiti had scented her on the wind and avoid capture once again. If Evelyn had not have been hurting so bad from the battle, all of her scrapes and injuries bandaged as best as she could with a little bit of a painkiller that Eden had given to her when they arrived back in the kingdom, maybe she could have followed the scent on foot. Instead, she had tried to follow it from horseback and that was proving very difficult.

Now, as she moved along on foot her pace had considerably slowed and the scent had dissipated into nothingness and she could not even find her way back to where she had lost it. She had been in such a daze Evelyn could not even be sure if she had truly found something, but it had managed to rouse just enough alarm that adrenaline overtook her and now she found herself out of the pack territory in bad shape - although she hid this fact as she straightened herself out when she noticed that the woman she was looking at noticed her as well. Tall ears flicked forward as she began to approach, feeling a bit uneasy at a stranger being so close to their borders. It was not uncommon though as Salsola was a terribly hidden little secret on its own peninsula and could be easily missed until you actually hit the border. The little town that was just outside could have easily been claimed by the pack, but they had yet to expand into it as it brought some good trade to the Queensgate Garrison.

The small town was busy enough to attract outsiders, but one could usually go about their business without running into anyone else. Evelyn cursed her luck as the other hailed out a greeting and she could not help but feel her lip twitch in annoyance. While she had more than enough patience for those she was close to or within the Queendom itself, today of all days her patience ran a little thin as anger and wariness overtook her normally calm demeanor.

"Good day," Evelyn nodded curtly, blue eyes rising to take a look over the woman again. They were built similarly, as she was evidently a hybrid with her coyote-like features, Evelyn too carried a pointed face and tall ears that spoke of her own heritage, although it was so muddied she did not even know the half of it. Weren't they all hybrids at this point as canines ran amok from all parts of the world? Not giving the thought another chance her eyes shifted back to the stallion that followed along behind this woman. He was a beautiful beast and would have made a good addition to the Thistle Kingdom's stock by the look of him. He was well taken care of, if only she could get her hands on him, he clearly came from good stock by the size of him as well as what she could gauge of his temperament. Her fiery blue eyes looked him over thoroughly before returning back to the woman that had clearly owned him, also noted was the way she carried herself, she considered herself some type of nobility.

The de le Ulrich woman drew in her scent as they closed the distance between them enough for conversation to flow easily without being within each other's personal space. There was the smell of others, from what she could tell, but it was very faint if barely there at all. There was no other pack smell attached to her, but she could smell the horse on the woman, which Evelyn's eyes briefly glanced back to before deciding to answer her question, "I am a drifter, but yes, I know these lands fairly well. Can usually find some traders in these parts," she stated easily, wondering what exactly this woman wanted. "Are you from these lands? What brings you to this little town?" she asked, the curiosity getting the better of her, but maybe, it was because she was wary of the recent battle as they had freed the Caledonian's from the monsters that had plagued them. Could this have been a defector looking to finish what they had started?

(773) | NPCs: Icarus (stallion).
Just thought I'd mention, Evelyn covers up her scent when leaving the pack lands so she won't smell like a pack!
Anactoria observed the woman carefully, her observant nature taking into account the condition of the woman. She noticed there was some sort of stress upon the woman, not just from the state of her body. Or at least she seemed to be in a mood, considering her curt greeting. Though the scion was used to others greeting her as an heiress. She noticed the stranger's eyes admire her horse. She could admit the stallion was an excellent specimen, but she didn't know all that much about horses outside of the basics and even then her knowledge was lacking. So for all she knew, Chernobog was good for nothing, though he did serve as a worthy mount. She didn't enjoy caring for a horse, missing the days when she used to have a slave attend to her horse. But this was one of the things that her grandmother had stolen from her, very low on the long list of transgressions the Crone had wrought upon the tri-colored hybrid's life.

The woman said that she was a drifter but knew of these lands. That would be much appreciated by the witch as she needed help figuring out where she was. The stranger reflected her questions, asking the Cersine heiress where she was from. The woman took a second to figure out her response. She wasn't sure how to describe herself now, for she had been all but disgraced to her people for a false prophecy from her grandmother. There was much that could be said about herself, how should she present herself? She was a witch first and foremost but she was also a craftswoman. And that thought also made her wonder how much she should tell the stranger. One could not gain information without offering something in return. That was what the blue-eyed woman had been taught, for trading items wasn't much different than trading information.

"I am new to these lands," the enchantress responded. "I hail from a Coven far from here and I'd be appreciative of any information you would be willing to share about this new land." She spoke politely as she placed a mask upon herself. She wondered for a moment and decided to ask. She wished to perhaps find a group to join but she wouldn't tolerate any non-believing heretics. The godless were no better than the uncivilized, feral  Non-Luperci. Although saving them was a lot harder than simply exchanging blood. No, they were much harder to sway into the light of the gods. But she knew the gods had a plan for her. Why else would they have sent the ex-heir a vision?

"Is there a witches' place here?" she asked, speaking in terms of a Coven as "pack" was the last thing to come to mind. Her words were cryptic as she heard of those who persecuted witches. She had heard stories from her "aunts" and other coven members who had tales of their forebearers coming to Salem to flee those who distrusted the arcane. Fools and damned creatures those persecutors had been. But the woman had no protection outside of her horse. So she kept her language vague and easy enough to twist.

OOC→ Hello!
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While her heart still ached she tried to push the thought of their losses they had accrued recently. The only thing that may have suppressed her attention at the moment was the pain burning through her muscles screaming for her to just stop and rest already. She had spent a few days recovering within the Kingdom they had rushed to save and once she was able to hop on a horse without too much trouble she left with the last few of the Salsolan members that had lingered. It was with a heavy heart, but she needed to return home with Eden, she would not forgive herself if anything happened while she was gone.

Her mind lingered for a moment on another thought of the night of the battle, but she quickly swatted it away as she could not become careless and speaking with the stranger in front of her needed her full attention. While Evelyn did not relax in her presence per se, she did ease off her stance a little to offer her body some relief. The muscles that were sitting taught along her shoulders slouched ever so slightly and her blue eyes warmed a tinge as the woman explained her situation, without giving too many details the de le Ulrich could not help but notice. A coven? While Evelyn was not into Witchcraft herself, there were many members within Salsola that did - primarily her father and grandfather. There were others too that stood out in her mind and Evelyn had attended her fair share of ceremonies. She also had her own experiences and attachments to the spiritual realm and it pained her heart to think of her mother as she had not felt her presence in a little while - it was always stronger around Eden.

But, what stuck out to her the most is that this woman was no longer with her coven, and was now here searching for a new one? Her eyebrow arched slightly as she looked the woman over again, attempting to find any threat that she may be to her pack. She had wandered awfully close to one of the only packs with a practicing coven that Evelyn was aware of at least. Maybe this woman knew more than she was leading on or maybe it was mere coincidence. Evelyn was on the fence about coincidences being true or not, so she thought she would try and pry a little further. She wrapped her hand around her bruised rib and cradled it as she pondered the woman's question before giving her a reply.

"If you are from a... what did you call it? A coven? Why are you trying to find a new one?" she asked with a face of full curiosity. There was something amiss with her short tale, most likely a lot more to it given her clothing she wore, the great beast of a mount she had tagging along with her as well as being far from home when winter was about to get deadly. There was something wrong. Now, Evelyn needed to find out if it was at the fault of the woman herself for her assumed banishment? "I know a little about the packs around here. Are you looking for an enemy or a home?" she pushed, blue eyes lighting with interest as she watched her every movement for any sign that she may be lying to her and in that case Evelyn would quickly lead her far away from the pack lands of the Thistle Kingdom. They just finished dealing with one threat, there was no need to bring them another no matter how small it could be.

(611) | NPCs: none.
Anactoria noticed a slight change in the stranger as the witch revealed more of herself. Luperci were fickle things as were any, but strangers were the hardest to figure out by their nature. For a moment, the hybrid could breathe easy, considering that the pretty stranger didn't seem to have an adverse reaction to her stating that she was from a Coven. She heard whispers of persecution and had experienced some discrimination against her fellow witches when they went to the ports to trade. Some simple-minded traders accusing them of "witching things". Oh, pray tell, why would they waste time enchanting something when there was no reason to. That was a waste of time and energy. No, the Coven was smarter than that.

Then, it seemed like the stranger was looking at her more closely. And then she asked that question, the damned question. The tri-colored Cersine noticed the slight unfamiliarity with the word "Coven". How strange was it for others here to not know of Covens? Nothing on the enchantress's face would betray her feelings as she was thinking for a moment on how to respond. How could she tell her story? To non-believers -- which she would hope this beauty wasn't -- they would possibly blame her. Others may wonder why her grandmother decided to turn on her. She considered her options carefully, wondering why that might be the woman's first question. What could the woman say on the matter?

The plain beauty also noted that she knew of the packs around here. Packs? How strange indeed! The blue-eyed sorcererss had heard of packs before, whispers of the old ways of their forebearers that the woman had never witnessed, being from such a developed part of the world. She lived in a town, a Coven, which had ties to a trading port. She had never known such things as a pack which made her scrutinize the woman internally but not externally. The calico woman couldn't afford to be picky, could she? Most likely not considering that "packs" might be all this place had to offer.

The mention of home or enemy made her brow raise ever so slightly. There were boundless questions the woman could ponder about the reasoning behind those words. The witch didn't think of enemies often, though one could consider the woman's former Coven to be her enemies. And possibly the non-believing heathens, though she figured they were enemies to all with belief.

"I foretold of a blood moon happening when I was younger. When the event did happen, my grandmother took credit for my prophecy and accused me of being a false prophetess. The Coven believed her and they forced me to leave." She spoke with conviction, although it was a half-truth, she spoke it well. She wasn't going to tell her full story to a woman she just met! "I look for a home where I can continue to worship my gods and practice witchcraft." Now this was the judgment time as she claimed she was a priestess and a witch. "Do you know of a place like that?" She hoped to not find a pack of heathens.

OOC→ Hello!
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There was so much to consider, this woman seemed earnest in her request, but who would not be needing the shelter and protection of a pack when they were in the death grip of winter. The snow was accumulating fast, sometimes it felt like it snowed every day, just slowly adding more and more to their issues around them. There were a few odd thaws, but nothing was for certain that was for sure. It could all stay frozen by the next day and they would have nothing left to do other than to try and survive the rest of the months until Spring thaw came once again. For someone who was alone, that could be a matter of life or death.

Evelyn felt a little doubtful that the woman was giving her full story, yet she felt like she could trust her that she had nothing to do with the recent battle that Salsola had engaged in. Those monsters would have been easy to pick out of a crowd, and something did not strike her that this woman had come from that. Her ears tipped toward the other slightly as she explained a little further of herself, well that could definitely be a good reason why she would not want to share any further. Depending on her company - she got lucky that Evelyn had been the one that had stumbled upon her - she could have been kidnapped and burned at the stake, thankfully Salsola embraced witches of all kinds.

Her experience with the Thistle Kingdom's coven had been a little given some of her families particular interest towards it - her father and grandfather springing to mind. Maybe bringing this woman in would prove to be useful? Deep blue eyes looked back to Icarus as he shifted his weight around, letting Eve lean lightly against his side as each second that passed she could feel the painful throb in her body from pushing herself too hard from the day today.

"Well, I am not sure off the top of my head, to be honest," she said while not being entirely honest. She felt a little odd as Evelyn had never recruited for the Thistle Kingdom before, mostly because she had never had a chance. It was not often she left the lands, and when she did she never stumbled upon anyone of interest enough to bring them home. Perhaps, just maybe, this woman would prove useful, but the de le Ulrich had not even known her name. "You haven't even told me your name," she said with a raised brow. "Listen, meet me back here in a few days time, we can meet on the edge of town. I have to finish a little business, but I will be back," she promised, thrumming her finger against her lip, with her other arm still folded across her chest. "You will need to bring a gift of value, I can't give you much more than that, but it should be useful to say the least. Some of the canines in this area are secretive and don't accept just anyone. I may know of one that could be of interest to you," she said, hoping it would appease the woman, but Evelyn wished to learn a little more about the other before she gave away too much.

"Three days," she stated firmly, not leaving any room for the other to argue.

(568) | NPCs: Icarus [stallion].
You got your finger on the trigger, but your trigger finger's mine
Silver dollar, golden flame. Dirty water, poison rain

Anactoria realized she hadn't told the woman her name. Though the plain beauty hadn't revealed hers. The woman was knowledgable about manipulation and obtaining information. She knew one didn't get something without giving something. The stranger was intriguing, in the sense that she had spoken little about herself yet the witch gave her more personal details. But, then there was an offer. Meet back in a few days at the edge of this town. One might be suspicious, but the witch believed that the gods had a plan for her and nothing happened by chance but fate. And maybe she believed too heavily in her supposed divinity as the gods' prophetess and priestess. Or maybe she was desperate and would take a risk. But the woman's behavior intrigued her, being mysterious.

And then there came more from the trader's lips, an instruction that made the blue-eyed hybrid's interest pique even higher, though she kept her true thoughts hidden within a facade of calmness with a hint of intrigue. She told the woman to bring a gift, one of value, something that could be used. The witch was a craftswoman and her eyes sparked as she considered what she might make. Curses, she didn't have much supplies and had little time. The mention of secretive canines who were selective in recruitment was enticing to the woman. The woman said they might be of interest and they were of interest. She could admit, she was desperate to find a place to live instead of this nomadic lifestyle that she hated. But her beliefs whispered that this was fate, she came across this woman. And if this was the gods' design, she would not take it for granted.

The three days would be a bit of a problem. But the calico hybrid was resourceful and she would be willing to use from her own stores she was holding onto for so long. She would need to think about what would be of value and use, what she could craft. She took pride in her work. She figured she would stay in this city. For there was much that one could find in the ruins of concrete if they were resourceful enough. And well, the enchantress was nothing if not resourceful. She considered carefully, making it seem like she was thinking about it. She couldn't look too desperate or foolish. She knew she should ask questions, but the woman already said that that was all she could tell.

"Three days," the sorceress repeated, attempting to meet the woman's gaze with a firm nod. "And my name is Anactoria Cersine," she added. Sometimes, she wondered if she should shed her family name as her grandmother and by some extent her own mother had forsaken her. But, it brought a certain satisfaction to claim it, imagining the reaction of the lying crone. So far away, she doubted that anyone had heard of the Coven or of her bloodline. That gave her the chance to make it her own.

"Will I learn your name at our meeting?" the woman asked, her voice neutral. She had offered her name, but with all the secrets the stranger seemed to hold, it would seem the name of her acquaintance wouldn't be shared. All the more intriguing,

OOC→ I might write Ana's exit when Evelyn leaves?
Call me calloused, call me cold. You're italic, I'm bold. Call me cocky, watch your tone
You better love me, 'cause you're just a clone. Sorry I'm the one that told you so
Image from Pixabay | Table by Silverfrost
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