[P] learn to hate which does not heal
[ bellad, jan 17th, city square ]
everybody wants to be my enemy
[Image: qttBzd.png]
It was almost laughable how soon everyone went back to their regular lives. A sliver of them could not due to what transpired in the war, and a few more out of those still couldn't shake the feeling it was just too soon to go back to normal. The large majority of them probably wanted to forget what happened. They wanted normalcy to return to New Caledonia. Baelfire was part of that feeling sliver and wishing for normalcy. While he had joined when suspicions were high, he tried desperately to let them all know he was not a spy. That he remained with them during the siege proved that somewhat. Still, he couldn't please everyone.

One of the first folks that he had come across was Bellad Songthorn, mate of their queen. Bae had interacted little with the Songthorn folk, apart from socializing with Atica one day. If he was being honest, he tried to avoid them. Bellad had rubbed him the wrong way when he had been asking questions. Suspicious of Bae's intentions even if the scarred Luperci tried to learn more, Bellad was a hard shell to crack. Calan and others had nothing but pleasantness and good words toward the older healer, so where did Bae fail? He had won some others over, but did Bellad still think he was suspicious or even... did Bellad simply not like Baelfire?

He could live with that, he really could. But if he was trying to get into the Circle, Bae should make an attempt at interacting. All this flashed through his mind when he spotted Bellad Songthorn across the City Square. He knew Torabera and the other healer had been annotated Councilor; or did his rumors fail him? He hadn't been wrong about Torabera, so it stood to reason the other man had been promoted too surely? "Hello," he said quietly, trying to approach the man now. His movements were slightly on edge, as if expecting Bellad to snap or snarl at him "do you need any help, sir?" They were all just picking the pieces up from the attack now.

If the new Councilor and head of the Circle needed help, Bae was there to assist in any way possible. With him was the smell of meat, for Bae had hunted the other day outside the territory. He had made a fire and dried some of the meat, donating a few to some hungry-looking folk. He had a fleeting wonder if Bellad had any time to eat. If he was like Bae, he didn't think of it at all until his belly rumbled in pain. Most of the dried food was at his cottage - thankfully still standing - but he did carry some in his leather satchel.
(457) | tagging bellad
ooc [+624]
The wake of the war was like a distant star that finally came closer to him but one that he was afraid to touch. Distrustful of its glow for fear that it was merely a snowflake that would melt as soon as he tried to hold on to it. They were free in their own Realm again, as they should have been, but for a while it was as though Bellad couldn’t walk steady. He’s had a chance to eat. He slept again, though the first attempts felt more like blacking out from a leaden weight of exhaustion gathered over the siege. The latter were tinged with the nightmares that lapped at the edges of his consciousness eagerly like greedy waves of deep red.

Assessing the damage of the district that, as of his ascent to Councilor, was “his” was part of the job, though one that he knew far worse than his typical trade. He never felt an impostor complex where it came to healing, and his guidance of the Circle was only a source of a brief one. But this new role in the wake of casualties and destruction? It almost seemed insurmountable, but then, when has Bellad ever not tried to prop the weight of the world on his shoulders?

He did not know how to mend the buildings, though at least in some part he found relief at most of them seeming salvageable. He briefly thought back to the assessment Torabera had given the building of the Circle however. According to him it was something of a hidden disaster even before the bombardment. Now? It was becoming abundantly clear that it’d take time before it could accommodate them again.

Now where to relocate? And where to remake the garden? Were what supplies their Salsolan allies had brought, hopefully donated, but possibly sold for whatever could be spared, going to serve them well enough? Would they be able to administer treatment to those still injured or wounded? Could a belated act of aid be helpful and improve on what they’ve had to improvise while inside the Bastion?

There was no shortage of unanswered questions. Bellad could scarcely stifle a groan. It wasn’t so ill-timed as to come after Baelfire’s quiet greeting, so at least it probably wouldn’t come across as a frustrated response to his approach. The Songthorn’s moves were sluggish and he turned a pair of eyes that hadn’t yet drained all the fatigue from them at the man. He smelled of meat. Bellad wondered if his appetite was because his stomach was now convinced every opportunity to feed was to be relished and embraced, or else a genuine need of nourishment.

“Baelfire.” Bellad uttered the name with a respectful nod. “I…” It came to him slowly that he was in a position to ask for help, perhaps even rightfully demand it. Perhaps he could have even ordered somebody else to do this task for him. It was difficult to relinquish control and entrust those who may well have looked up to him, willing to be directed. Whatever the case, he couldn’t come up with a productive means of asking Baelfire. Turning down help however? No. Where he was undecided on whether to accept a meal, he was fairly certain help was warranted. For all of them, not just for Bellad.

“I am surveying the City Square. We need to find where we can start a new infirmary, unless we are to stay in the Bastion… We might, depending on the damage. Walk with me if you like. Say your piece. A place might catch your eye.” He suggested, too vague to be an order, too much variance to dictate authority. An attentive ear was something in the cards instead.
everybody wants to be my enemy
[Image: qttBzd.png]
Bellad acknowledged him but seemed to hesitate. Bae waited, becoming sympathetic as the words trailed off. He understood that not many could hold a title as Bellad had earned. Even with authority handed to them, people sometimes felt the weight. So he didn't fault the hesitation. It seemed Bellad was struggling with the power he knew he had. "Very well," he said, walking closer to the other man "I had to make a little second infirmary during the siege, but it's been picked dry of all use" he withheld a deep sigh "it'd be nice to have a new one." As the pair walked, he was reminded of his project. He looked at Bellad before quickly realizing his rank. His eye dropped.

"I also have begun to make a garden near my cottage. Two spots of land" he added quietly "we could grow herbs there come spring. I plan to. I don't mind sharing the patches with other healers, i-if you wanted." While not a grand garden by any means, it was modest and simple enough. As the head healer, Bellad deserved to know if more was being done for their chosen craft. Even if Bae was not part of the Circle, he would gladly share it with those that were part of it. Every little scrap of land counted in rebuilding the area. He had a vague idea suddenly and voiced it. But it held no boldness and only suggestion.

"I don't know how many healers you have but I did have a thought," he said "it could be wise to leave little emergency kits at landmarks. Like the Fort's Edge. If you did that, the healers wouldn't have to run back to the Circle all the time... It could even save lives and time. You could hide them, mark them specifically so prey or enemy couldn't find them. O-Of course, we risk being short-handed right now... but something to consider, sir." It would be useful if another event like this happened, for if they stashed kits somewhere then medics could work on a patient right away.

Bae sounded uncertain, not sure how his suggestion for the Circle would go. Honestly, he was still a Commoner and not part of any Guild. Still, Bellad asked him to speak freely and so he did. Even if it wasn't part of the infirmary problem. He fell silent, not wishing to overload the healer with his ideas right away.
(407) | tagging bellad
ooc [+557]
“As have been most things. The curs left few stones unmarked.” Bellad responded to the mention of a raided infirmary. His voice was cold, words spat with unexpected vitriol, which most likely didn’t help his presumably frigid disposition towards the recent New Caledonian either. As of late the Councilor has repeatedly surprised himself with the amount of contempt he could feel for the Souls who did this to his pack. Sometimes it even seemed to outweigh the guilt over the lives that couldn’t be saved. But only sometimes. When seen expiring up close even single digits left lasting marks.

To spout warranted hatred towards the invaders was far from the true purpose of Bellad’s interaction. He certainly hadn’t invited the man to come along just so he could vent his frustrations. He steered himself past this spite. Instead, all the more as Baelfire voiced his view of the situation and his suggestions, the Councilor walking by him focused his hearing and his thoughts. For a time Bellad maintained his attentive silence. One could think it may have been out of fatigue or actual lingering bias towards Baelfire. In truth, there was little if any left of the latter. He’s had the opportunity to study the scarred coywolf, though basing it mostly on instances caught in his peripheral vision. There hadn’t been time for more direct scrutiny in New Caledonians’ besieged fortress after all. Nor had he the luxury of being overly fastidious.

“I have… misjudged you.” Bellad conceded in a low tone. “I had been suspicious, though I welcomed your eagerness to learn.” He’d given him a page back then at the Circle building. A note that was only complete to the point of informing the shape of the herb in question, but chosen to be one that Baelfire wasn’t intimately familiar with. He was to find it. As much a test of the newcomer as a test of the reference material Bellad had started to work on some time ago.

“You have proven your worth since then. And what you speak of now? It is right. We do need our own garden. Perhaps several. Because we must have the means to produce our own stock. And these… emergency kits you speak of… A wise suggestion. This counsel will be thoroughly considered.” Bellad stopped, turned to face the Commoner directly and looked at him firmly. Both Songthorns had a tendency of being rather solemn, and to receive this somewhat archaic manner in stride was to many an acquired skill.

“You ask how many healers we have? I say to you that we need more. That we may grow with the pack and serve its needs. In my eyes, you have proven deserving of trust and of aiding in the healing of the pack…” Bellad placed an open hand slowly to his chest, then extended it, palm upwards to Baelfire. “You are not yet Enda. Not of the Privileged and Distinguished. But if you rise and if you would enter the Circle then you would know more ways of healing, more of what grows and how it can mend life. I am Councilor of Osta and head of the Healing Circle of Athelas. I will see to it that you are taught well. Will you come to us then, when the time is right, Baelfire of New Caledonia?”
everybody wants to be my enemy
[Image: qttBzd.png]
This was... not how he expected the conversation to go. Bae grinned a bit despite Bellad's words. "The invaders didn't pick it clean" he corrected quietly "I think some Caledonians went there for supplies when I was resting, took them... I don't blame them. It was a chaotic time, and they wanted to feel like they were helping others. I just hope we can all restock inventory back to good health when this is over." But Bellad did something surprising to the scarred man. He apologized, in his own way. Hearing the other concede he wasn't suspicious or a threat made Bae relax.

His words did not fall on deaf ears, taken into consideration. "Maybe we could put effort toward making a large garden near the new infirmary?" he ventured, trying not to feel too smug about the man's words. He wanted to say something to shrug off the healer and his admission, but couldn't really think of anything but saying 'I told you so'. That'd be rude. Bellad would stop and turn, look Bae right in the eye. The scarred Luperci held his gaze, refusing to drop it this time. Rank was spoken about. The lack of his was what refused his entrance into the Circle. Bae felt himself blink back some emotion.

"You needn't grovel, Councilor" he joked wearily "I had every intention of joining the Circle when the time was right" Rank, trust aside... "I just wanted an invitation, that's all" he added quietly to Bellad. The man didn't need to have it pointed out, that Bae had been hesitant due to his attitude toward the newcomer. Poking at old wounds didn't close them. It made them scar and fester. Maybe this was what it was like, to be accepted by the realm now. He felt a huge weight lift off his back. "I would be honored to join the Circle of Athelas and work alongside you and the others."
(323) | tagging bellad
I think this is a good point to end the thread. Thank you! [+455]
For all his pathos and the utterly formal appeal to the Commoner to strive for greater heights, Baelfire’s tone seemed to put something of a dent into his look of unshakeable authority. He was no longer the kind of living antithesis to sarcasm that he had been years ago, but still had some genuine considerations come to mind. Did he push a bit too much? Was this taking Councilordom somewhat too far? At least he didn’t take Baelfire’s suggestion he was groveling at face value. Not even a cut off “I wasn’t-…” left his mouth.

Regaining his composure over this little exercise in reading his company and accordingly tailoring his social graces, he turned to walk again. “Well… You have the invitation. It pleases me that you would take it.” Baelfire struck him as an earnest man. It likely wouldn’t take him all that long to make what journey was required of him to become eligible for the ranks of the Circle.

“Depending on the arrangement of the garden.” He mused while he walked. “Not all plants grow well when placed close to one another. We would benefit from spreading them out. This either means scale, or it means distribution…” He breathed in the cold air, exhaling it in a small huff of vapor as though to visualize the chill for them both. “And we’re past the point where anything that grew would be found close by the City Square…”

None of what he was saying was, by any means, an invitation towards idleness. It was more an attempt to tally what they would have to do. “If you are bothered by no pain from the invasion, you could join forays into the wilder areas. I saw you scavenge before. You are capable of this. And Salsola…” He paused as though considering the other pack was a perplexing subject to him. “Perhaps they had seeds for trade. Something to store for the warmer days if not plant immediately… In any event…”

From there, he continued. Often he would muse on his plans for the Circle and recovering the Realm’s supplies. His focus was not solely on plant life. He touched upon matters of hunting and refilling their food stocks as well. He considered, also, the restoration of certain buildings. More importantly, by this point, he would make pauses to listen to Baelfire. He never quite asked for anything directly, but saw that the man was proactive enough to make suggestions with little prompt other than some room left to place his words. Not unlike a plant. He wondered how he would help if provided with proper soil on which to prosper.

One thing was certain. The man no longer had to fear the Councilor’s apprehension.
everybody wants to be my enemy
[Image: qttBzd.png]
Oh, good. Bellad hadn't been offended when Bae joked with him. He even felt he was going too far, but the man said nothing. He moved on and proclaimed the invitation stood, and the scarred Luperci nodded. "I found a few seeds but I'm not experienced with growing things. I'll have to bring them to you to identify" he said "it seemed my cottage was collecting dust and items until I resided there. I have more than enough tools to do a garden near my home." The City Square would not be his choice to start, but his cottage was there and he could rope off the area.

"I've not been hurt, so I can pick up the slack" Bae assured the other man "I'll scavenge and hunt at the same time. A few have approached me outside the borders before to trade. I can even go to Charmingtown; I've sold medicine there before" Laird would be useful to meet up with again at Del Cenere. His high coyote heritage made Bae a potentially good Luperci to go to the coyote-centric gang "I've also met a few from Casa di Cavalieri" he told Bellad now "and my friend, Valkyrie Savoy, has begun keeping bees. We could use the honey from the hives in spring for medicine and trade too."

There was so much to do before them. So much before spring hit the earth again. "I've not had dealings with Salsola, even if they did help us" he confessed quietly "but I can go to Del Cenere and Casa. Of course, I'd not tell them what happened to us" he added "the loner bands could also be useful to get seeds from. I've got a need to pay Nyx Greyfire a visit again." To thank her for her hospitality, upon a time.
(302) | tagging bellad

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