[AW] winter-kissed
More snow had fallen since she arrived here. It would be easier to get around via mount, so Tallulah unhitched Rusty from the tree he had come to know as his own. For a few days now she had lived on the outskirts of Charmingtown. Not a resident of Del Cenere but also not a stranger, she had been welcomed in past the borders. Most would come across her tent on patrol; a thing given to her by Pa along with other items for travel and survival. Her bow clung to her back, arrows at the hip. A dagger did not gleam for it was sheathed. The people of the Gang were rough and tumble; she liked that. But it did not mean she could not defend herself if the need arose.

Pa had made sure his little girl could fuck shit up if given the chance. "Slow pace, Rusty" she leaned forward to utter in her companion's ear. The large Clydesdale immediately paced himself, going into a steady walk into town. Upon the saddle with the rest of the tack, the pair made their way into town to trade. She had hunted the previous night. A bit extra, if only for the fact her supplies were low. Tallulah had come here with naught but the clothes, equine tack, and a few other items. She would slowly build a rapport along with storage - in due time. Hopping off at the Trading Post, she hitched Rusty and entered. The trade would be all of a few minutes.

She came out with a bottle of whiskey, some dried meats, and food for Rusty. She'd haul the bag of mixed foliage onto her horse's back and lead him deeper into Charmingtown. Rusty was always a quiet and dutiful animal, so he did not make for good company. The rare times he spoke would only be in warning or caution. He was like another Pa, which suited him since he had been Pa's mount until he was gifted to Tallulah. "Reckon we'll do something worthwhile today?" she asked him, to which the massive horse nickered quietly. The rank did not suit the young woman. Unkindled. She wanted to do more. Be more. Prove herself.

"That's what I thought" she chuckles at his lackluster reply. She hitched him at a random pole and left to wander. Rusty would shuffle a bit to get comfortable, neighed a farewell, and left the woman to her own devices. Tallulah walked among the other folks that were out at this afternoon hour, huddled together for warmth. She huddled with no one. Rounding a corner, she felt her shoulder collide with another's. She immediately recoiled, placed space between them with a hand out. "ah! Sorry 'bout that. You okay?" Concern laced her blue eyes as she looked the other one over.
(471) | open
NPC; Rusty, the Clydesdale

It wasn't uncommon to see him about town, despite the location of his living space. While he and the rest of his growing family lived out near the swamplands, the sharpshooter still dropped in to make visits to the Ugly Coyote, make sure the trailheads in the area were well marked, and spend time among the visitors. He enjoyed meeting new faces, and was happy to offer himself as a resource to those inquiring about Del Cenere or already grasped by its allure.

He also liked to come by and practice his archery in the range he'd set up upon his own arrival almost two years ago now.
Damn... He muttered under his breath, a sigh visible against the chilly air. Had it really been nearly two years? There were time when it felt like he'd been among the Ashen forever, especially with his high rank and close knit connections.
But there were other moments still were he felt new to the place, as the land always offered new surprises and young faces along with it.

The Courtright mongrel had just spent his time firing at wicker baskets, arrows collected and replaced in their quiver before he'd leaned up against the building nearby for a smoke.
It was his typical routine when within Charmingtown limits; shoot, smoke, perhaps a quick drink of whisky at the bar before he headed off back home to Peony.

But just as he was pulling away his cigarette to exhale another sigh accented with chill and smoke, a force threw him off guard. Hosea stumbled some, but was quick enough to regain his footing before making a complete fool of himself.
Honey brown eyes looked over the other and he couldn't help but offer up a friendly smile, after realizing it was a simple accident.

She was a pretty young thing, very doggish and with eyes of icy blue. Had he been a less faithful man, she could easily tempt him into anything she pleased.
With a sheepish laugh, Hosea dusted some ash off of his serape, before waving a hand, Oh, no worries, dear, ya didn't hurt me none. The Palisade native assured her, before adding on a greeting.
Haven't seen you 'round these parts. Ya new in town?
[Image: M8AUygW.png]
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
The man would be quick to wave her off. She smiled thinly, gladdened she had not hurt anyone by pure accident. 'Dear', though? Would she be hearing more of that around as a moniker? She didn't like men calling her 'dear'. Especially men she did not know. He even smelt like another female - his wife? As much as the woman would have enjoyed correcting his nickname, she passed it over her head. She allowed it to slip from her mind. It could be just meant as an innocently affectionate way of addressing another Luperci here. Her eyes squinted somewhat, still not liking it.

"I'm glad" she uttered instead and chose to focus, latch onto the next part of the conversation. She was being too judgmental. He was just being nice, hopefully "aye" she added and gave a nod of her head. She gestured to her horse, a little (or huge) speck in the near distance "Rusty n' I just joined the pack a few days ago" The equine shuffled again, his ears piqued. "name's Tallulah Colt, sir." She, too, would shuffle. Uncertain how the Ashen greeted each other or even exchanged pleasantries, the young woman raised a hand to him. Pa hadn't taught her to 'curtesy' like a lady - that had been her Ma's job if she was still alive.

"It's nice to meet ya" she added politely. Tallulah had been raised a tomboy, aye, but she also had been raised nice. Manners existed, so why not use them? If she was to live here, she might as well get to know the people. It'd be difficult otherwise. Rusty nickered from his hitch, loud enough for the man to acknowledge his manners as well.
(284) | hosea
NPC; Rusty, the Clydesdale

Though he was no expert in reading expressions, something another the stranger's seemed... off. Perhaps he'd offended her in some way by his inquiring, or maybe she was simply thrown off still from their little collision. He wasn't going to focus on it long, shrugging it off as a minor misunderstanding before bringing his attention back to their impromptu conversation.

Oh, now ain't that nice! Hosea said in a celebratory tone. He was always excited to see new blood, especially somebody with high dog heritage like himself. Being a mongrel was grounds for judgement in Palisade, even more so among the high class families like the Del Mars and Braithwaites. But here, he fit in just fine.

Rusty (her horse, he assumed) was an impressive beast, much larger than his own mare. He wondered how such a petite canine handled the creature, but obviously she managed well based on their connection.
Rusty's a fine lookin' horse. Ain't seen too many 'round these parts as big as him. It was almost intimidating, had he still been new to riding. Thankfully, Voodoo had granted him some experience in feeling more comfortable around the mounts.

Well, the pleasure is mine, Miss Colt. The Caballero nodded, offering his own hand in return for a shake. He'd met other females before who preferred a handshake over something more ladylike, so the gesture wasn't too foreign to him, but he inwardly was surprised that somebody as well-kept hadn't opted for a curtsy. That's what one got for assuming off of appearances though, he realized.

The sharpshooter offered another grin and introduced himself, I'm Hosea Courtright. El Caballero 'round the parts, the Gentleman. He translated, though the Spanish still sounded strange on his tongue. He flicked a bit off ash off the tip of his cigarette that had been still burning in his free hand, something he realized only after their exchange.
Oh, pardon me. He muttered, before putting the thing out and wiping his hand off on his black trousers.

So... He said, turning back to Tallulah, Hope I ain't keepin' ya from anything. Ain't often I get to greet the new comers. Hopefully it was understood that he was well established in the pack and eager to offer any assistance or knowledge. He feared a more outright initiation would sound bold, and only wished to be polite.
[Image: M8AUygW.png]
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
Yeah, she was most likely being too sensitive. Anytime someone back home had called her 'sweetie' or 'dear' that weren't her kin - they got knocked in the fucking jaw. Most of 'em had been boys that thought a pretty face needed to be owned. Tallulah smirked at the thought, accepted Hosea's hand regardless. "I reckon I'll learn enough Spanish if I stick around these here parts" she joked lightly "until then, aye, the translation is welcomed." She let go of his hand and placed it on her hip. She would wonder what The Gentleman did - it seemed a very odd name for a title.

The man complimented her friend. The blonde woman smiled. "Rusty was one of the first horses my Pa raised" she explained as she looked proudly back at him "he was a gift" She crossed her arms briefly as she gave a nod "though he's more a caretaker and honored family than an item." Some Luperci saw them as beasts of burden. She felt they were useful for more than such basic tasks. Rusty was her friend.

Hosea would be quick to put out his cigarette. Tallulah shook her head. "We all have our vices" she uttered, not really caring. Pa hadn't been a drinking man, but he had smoked tobacco when they could afford the luxury. As far as she was concerned, there were worse sins out there. "and no, ya ain't" she flicked her long braid from her neck so it hung behind her instead "I just got done at the Trading Post. Wanted to walk 'round until I went back to camp."

She had... a small wooden fence to build. Keep rodents and vermin out. Predators too. A few traps might be good too. So much potential to grow her stead into a place of residence - even if most Unkindled stuck to the Inn. Tallulah wanted the full experience of being a frontierswoman. She ain't built for long stays inside. "Been a steady amount of newcomers?" she asked Hosea as she tilted her head in thought "or is the Gang more of a... family community?"
(351) | hosea
NPC; Rusty, the Clydesdale

Ya very well jus' might. Can't say I've picked up on much of it myself, but I never was good at that sorta thin'. He smirked, referring to his lack of skills when it came to speaking Spanish. He was sure if Meredith Braithwaite were here, she'd make some snobby comment about how he barely knew English, let another another tongue. He laughed softly to himself at the thought, but quickly shook it from his head. Peony knew a greater deal more than him, and spoke it more often than he heard from most others around the pack.
Still, had hadn't caught on, not that he was trying too hard to do so.

The Courtright male gave a nod in understanding; though he hadn't had much experience with horses before gaining possession of Voodoo, he'd grown close to the mare now, and definitely sympathized with the idea of mounts being akin to family.
He's a right handsome one, he is. He said with another nod, An' good too, t' be a loyal companion t' ya. He was sure a large horse like Rusty could offer much when it came to reliability. His own beast of burden was growing old and was generally timid, but even she could be depended on to at least try her hardest at the task she was given.

He laughed a little sheepishly about being called out about his smoking. It was something Peony had initially detested, and another that others stuck a nose up at him for. His Pa had always taught him to be a gentleman, and putting it out while in company seemed the most polite outside of a tavern or his own residence.
Ain't no bother. He muttered about it, before carrying on.

That's good then, wouldn't wanna keep ya from anythin'. I know there's a lotta places t' be, ain't always anybody's business what. The sharpshooter said with another soft chuckle, Sounds a fair way t' pass the time. Find myself wanderin' 'bout plenty. It was something he did quite often, actually, despite having been around for so long. He liked to step away from the usual scene, walk aimlessly and lost in thought until he was someplace he hadn't planned to be.

In responce to her inquiry, the Palisade native gave a small shrug, Yep, least from what I've noticed. Been seein' a lotta fresh faces 'bout town but ain't had much time talkin' t' anybody new. But, always good t' see others takin' interest in our lil' home. Hosea added proudly.
We gotta couple families here that make up a good portion of Ashen. Some of the youngin' you'll notice runnin' 'round are kin of some of us older folk. He grinned, I got two 'round here myself. But whoever ain't family by blood still gets treated like family. We Ashen stick together, tight-knit. The freckled mongrel almost muttered, dusting more ash off the wool serape wrapped around his shoulders, An' it's good t' know ya got somebody watchin' yer back.
[Image: M8AUygW.png]
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
"He already is one" Tallulah glanced away from Hosea to view Rusty. The large equine flicked his tail but said nothing; his cheeks heated at all the praise. As he was a humble young thing, he felt no need to soak it in. She looked back with a tiny smirk as if she felt the horse's embarrassment. He had been like a brother to her thus far, and it would only grow - their bond knew no hardship yet. She shrugged at the man's assessment. "not many places to be in Charmingtown" the young woman could not help remark with some slight irritation. Still, she kept it hidden from view and continued "think I'm a bit too comfortable here."

Hosea would know what she meant. Stark raving mad is what Tallulah felt like, doing her daily duties with no formal invitation to explore beyond the town. She understood the need to protect the folks already here, but she wasn't a threat to them. She had approached them to join. Perhaps it was another thing altogether? They didn't trust her. She had to earn her mark in the gang. "I'm gonna run out of things to do soon enough" she added with a chuckle. But she supposed there were worse things than being comfortable "so if ya have any recommendations on what to do, I'm all ears."

The man continued, explaining it was both tight-knit, family and new faces combined. Her blue eyes filled with thought before a nod was given to Hosea. "So the Ashen is what you all call yourselves?" she had heard the term when she approached the border days ago. She was not sure how to put it; did they call themselves that if they were more coyote - or pure coyote? Or even 'one of the Gang'? She resisted asking more since it would be rude to point out someone's species so blatantly. Tallulah gave a gentle 'hmm'. "is it a nickname for the pack or reserved for long-standing members?" The last thing she wanted to do was insult someone.

Especially with their own terminology. "I used to live down South," she said to Hosea "we ain't heard the term before, used around." A brief explanation. Plenty of other 'terms' roamed but she'd resist letting the man know them. Most were slurs or not quite polite to say in the company of others. Her Pa used to say they were used in bar talk.
(406) | hosea
NPC; Rusty, the Clydesdale

It had been some time now since the Courtright mongrel moved from Charmingtown into the rickety old Lookout Hall in Broke-Leg Marsh. It had been Peony's place, initially, a building designated for her and her husband-to-be at the time. Hosea felt a little awkward now remembering how he helped her move her things from the inn, arguing something awful and leading to their break as friends.
Though it was short lived, only lasting a month or two, back then he'd been convinced that he'd just be forced to move on without her.

Thankfully, though, that had not been the case, and he didn't regret finally admitting his feelings at all.

While he was in the town, however, at least he had company around to keep him occupied. I reckon it's less 'bout the places t' be and more 'bout the crowd yer hangin' with. Even tavern wouldn't be as alluring if it was just one lonely patron and a bartender. I'm sure once ya get 'round an' start t' know the folk 'round here a lil' more, you'll find it more charmin'. He said with a cheeky grin.

But, that would take time and didn't solve her issue now of having nowhere to go.
Unkindled and visitors were confined to the hub, but they could be allowed elsewhere with an escort. Considering his rank, his knowledge of the pack, and his own lack of something to do, the Palisade native figured he'd be just as good a guide as anybody else in Del Cenere.

Though, if'n ya are itchin' for somewhere else t' go... Hosea shrugged, I could show ya 'round some. The Ashen claims are vast, but we could start someplace close by, 'specially on horseback. They could visit Irving, or some of the beaches. Perhaps a ride to the Burnt Church Mountains.
With as much time as the freckled mutt had spent marking the trails, he might as well utilize the commodity he'd set up.

He rolled his shoulders, adjusting his serape afterward, An' it ain't gotta be today, jus' an option for ya, bein' restless an' all.

He hadn't considered as a new comer that she may not be aware of their customs. To those new the lands, their demonym of ashen probably sounded strange, but to the sharpshooter it was a identity he was proud to have.
That's right, Ashen. He answered with a nod, Any folk part of Del Cenere can use it, jus' a name for members. The name made him feel included, a part of something bigger than himself.

Makes sense, can't imagine our reputation gets too far down that way. The Gentleman laughed, only knowing the term before because of his growing up in Palisade, the outpost of Del Cenere. So then, Miss Colt... Hosea finally inquired, What drive ya up so far t' Del Cenere then?
[Image: M8AUygW.png]
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
She did not expect Hosea to offer his services as a guide. Her floppy ears piqued with interest. "Aye? That's mighty good of ya to offer" perhaps it wouldn't be as dull as she thought. Tallulah would like to explore her new pack, but she had never heard of a pack beyond Del Cenere that confined the unranked to a central area "I'll take ya up on that soon" she nodded her head to the man, grateful. Yes, she was more or less restless. He had her pegged. "I suppose I should start finding a little group for myself in the meantime." She wasn't very much for cliques but if she was forced to remain in Charmingtown, she might as well find some friends to spend time with.

He inquired something back though. She chuckled, shaking her head. "Nothin' fancy, I assure ya" the dog hybrid replied, "my Pa ran a ranch down south, and I'd like to have stayed but" she paused, frowning "a gal has to make her own trail" as much as she missed her Pa, the other horses, and the area "and I'm gonna blaze it best I can" Her chin raised a bit defiantly "if ya keep in the same circle for long, ya never can put down roots elsewhere. In short? I grew up, I wanted to make something of myself. Prove that my folk raised me good enough to take on the world." She placed her hands on her hips as if jokingly asking him to acknowledge it was foolish of her.

She really didn't care if he did think it was, but she wanted to gauge what he thought of her aspirations anyway. There'd be time to grow into the gang, but first, she had to start with the people in it. Hosea was one of them, a high-ranked member that was offering to take her outside of Charmingtown. Somewhere she hadn't been before. He didn't have to but did so anyway out of the goodness of his heart. Yeah, she could stand to give him the benefit of the doubt. Packmates trusted packmates. She had to let go of suspicion eventually.
(360) | hosea
NPC; Rusty, the Clydesdale

Del Cenere was a large community with plentiful hidden treasures strewn throughout the land. There were dangers that came along with travelling blindly, as well, another reason it was best to be shown around by somebody so familiar with the land. He had been given a tour before by Lyssa, and he felt pleased now to pay that same generosity forward.

Though the invitation was made mostly with selfless intent, finding it only appropriate as a higher ranking member of the pack, Hosea was also looking forward to the task to pass the time. He worked around, hunting with his family or offering assistance to other Ashen for any task they may need done, but the winter and the heavy blanket of snow that came along with it lessened his work load.
This would give him something to do, as well as give him a chance to get to know some of the newer members making their way to join their dusty family.

Should be easy 'nough, I'd hope. The Courtright mongrel nodded, in response to her idea of finding a clique. That is, ya seem a pleasant young lady, an' we got plenty other fine folk 'bout who would 'preciate good company. Perhaps she could get along well with other new members, joined together in their shared Unkindled status. Or maybe she could bond with somebody experienced in particular hobbies or occupations she found herself interested in. With the variety of members, it wouldn't be difficult to find friends among the masses.

He would have inquired then about her interests, what she planned to do while in Del Cenere, but the sharpshooter didn't want his company to feel interrogated, and it would prove better banter for their awaited tour of the land.
Instead, he stayed focus to the conversation currently going on.

I understand that well 'nough, ain't far off from my own reason for comin' this way. The Palisade native claimed. The Courtright bisness was a lucrative one, and he wasn't morally above being involved, he wanted to set his own route for the rest of his life. He loved his father, but he didn't wish to become a carbon copy of the old man, just doing what was expected of the doggish family.
Now that the Del Mars had been cut back from their stranglehold on the community of Palisade, though, perhaps things had changed and his kin's reputation bettered... But with Braithwaites still around and loud, he doubted it.

Hosea had settled in just fine on his own, anyway. He had a mate now, pups, and friends among his new found family.
Well, I think that's a pretty good reason. Ain't never gonna know what yer ready for unless ya take some risks, throw yerself at a lil adventure. He said with a shrug, I think you'll fit in might well here, Miss Colt.
[Image: M8AUygW.png]
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
Tallulah was a humble being, and she knew Hosea's - or rather guessed - words were meant innocently. She blinked once. "I hope yer right" she replied to him, having not found many thus far to consider them a niche circle of friends. One of the first had been Cent, whom she assisted in weaving, that welcomed her to Del Cenere. There was also Frederick, who was a pleasant enough young man holding a good rank. But she could not yet count them as friends. More like allies at this point. Perhaps she was being cautious, in a new place and new faces. She wanted not so much to fit in but to prove herself acceptable to the Ashen. Unkindled was a joke rank to the ambitious woman. She wanted to reach at least one higher-ranked title. "it'd be nice to find me niche here."

Hosea continued, proclaiming her reasons were similar to his own for being here. Tallulah listened politely but he didn't elaborate. He finally shrugged, saying she'd fit in nicely at the gang. All she could do was hope for the best at this point. It was too soon to behave aggressively - if she even had that in her - and demand promotion. No, she was not the type to rank-climb for any reason but to prove herself capable. She didn't want nor need power. All she desired was to be one of the folks here, someone that another could depend on and come to for their troubles. "Aye" she agreed to his words "until I'm about to leave Charmingtown on me own, I should map the area outside the Gang..." her voice turned thoughtful

"Plenty of caravans need a good map. It'd be good to stock the store with traded goods" She had every intention of helping through the winter. Tallulah wasn't going to sit on her arse and let others do the hard work. She flashed Hosea an amused grin before continuing "so any areas I reckon to avoid? Other packs?" She did not know the plight this land could be in, how war or conflict easily knocked.
(350) | hosea
NPC; Rusty, the Clydesdale

You'll find one, soon enough. At least, he had. It had helped running into an old friend, a former resident of Palisade, same as him. It made it easier, as well, that the friend was none other than his puphood crush, Peony Braithwaite herself.
There were others from his hometown around, most now come and gone, but it'd made fitting in a breeze for the mongrel.

While it didn't seem that Tallulah would have that same luxury of having connections already established in Del Cenere, Hosea knew the Ashen well enough to trust their kind and welcoming nature. At least, the majority that he knew with warm hearts and sunny dispositions.
Though, if the Unkindled was more into those more rascally, there was a handful of those to go around as well, but the sharpshooter secretly hoped she was of finer folk, just eager to join a tight-knit found family and climb up the ranks.

They had a similar interest, mapping out the area. Though she seemed curious about the surrounding lands, where Hosea better kept track of the trails within the pack lands. He knew of Rafaela and Lyssa being wayfinders, either of which could lead Tallulah in the right direction when it came to checking out surrounding locations.
Gonna need an escort for that, jus' in case there's any trouble. He shrugged, yet again offering his services, I wouldn't mind comin' along jus' t' keep an eye out. Though, she was free to ask anybody she found comfortable with; he was by no means pressuring her to come to solely him for assistance. Any of us Ashen would be more than eager t' help. There's safety in numbers, an' we look after each other. He added with a nod.

He tried to think of any warning he'd gotten about the surrounding land, but unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately in the case of having danger around), there was nothing of importance that he could recall. Most dangers to Del Cenere had come from loner bands, strangers connected with other members, or the damned Del Mars.
Sorry t' say I don't know much 'bout what goes on outside here. Hosea admitted, offering a small shrug, But I'm sure if ya inquired 'bout, somebody could have some answers for ya.

Suddenly, the Courtright mutt smiled brightly, Well, now, in fact... I know jus' the gal for the job! he announced proudly, My mate Peony goes back n' forth all the time, establishin' relations with other packs and what not. I'd be happy t' introduce ya two, let ya have a lil' talk 'bout that sorta stuff.
[Image: M8AUygW.png]
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
She nodded, soaking the information in. Hosea was right; she was new, even if he didn't voice it out of politeness. Tallulah could stand to ask someone to escort her around and point out the locations. Landmarks and mapping aside, she gave a gentle blink of her blue eyes when he offered. His rank title seemed to suit his behavior; a gentleman through and through. But the point about being family, looking out for each other... "I'm glad to hear it," she said with a fleeting grin "wouldn't want to stack up with any old pack, where survival of the fittest reigned." Her grin faded, knowing her Pa warned her about such communities.

A name was dropped. Hosea's wife, Peony. Tallulah's floppy ears piqued with interest. "She a trader, or a diplomat?" the woman asked, curious and interested "part o' living on a ranch meant we farmed... I've no stranger to merchant work" Maybe she could even help Peony one day? Join her when she traveled. Hosea was right; safety in numbers. She was about to agree, to ask Hosea to introduce the two when Rusty nickered from behind. He shifted on the spot, clearly a bit cold just standing there. "another day, aye" his friend voiced back to the other Luperci "I've still got to settle in." While the equine didn't voice his discomfort, she knew enough.

"Maybe I'll find ya at the 'Yote later, Hosea" she added to him with a gentle shrug "ya can tell me all about the folks 'round here then. And I'd like to meet yer wife eventually. She sounds lovely" This was added politely, even if the man hadn't told Tallulah much about Peony. It had been brought up casually, but she could tell Hosea was proud of her. "see ya around!" she added as she turned, lifting a hand to wave behind her as she marched back to Rusty.
(317) | hosea
NPC; Rusty, the Clydesdale
old thread is crusty so i'm ending it! lemme know if you want another!

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