[P] Well I bit my lip, drew blood from it
P. Morris | Charmingtown
Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

In the days and weeks since returning home from her time in the lawless lands with Bennett, scouting out the wild horse band and observing their behaviors; setting snares and sharing warmth by the campfire; conversing and bantering and building their friendship, Rafaela found that she missed the quiet and the simplicity of being outside of Del Cenere. With only her horse beneath her and the sky above her and nobody to worry about but herself the experienced had been liberating.

She would be remiss if she didn't remind herself of all that she had, though. In the Gang, Rafaela had comforts and safety and status the likes of which she would have found unattainable out in the great beyond. She may have been free from the oppression of her family's inner turmoil and relieved of the many duties that her rank and her expertise demanded of her, but at least she had a family; at least she had her reputation.

In the end, as freeing as her excursion had been, she was grateful to be back. She could look back at those several days with fondness and longing, there was nothing wrong with that, but she knew her place was here among the Ashen of the Del Cenere Gang.

And so she had jumped straight back into her duties, checking in with the other Gauchos and Caballistas about how things had gone while she was away and if there had been any troubles or surprises she needed to be made aware of. She returned to her training routines and assisted in mucking stalls and took stock of their supplies and feed. And all the while, she wore the cloak that Bennett had gifted her. It was warm and allowed her to carry the memory of their time together alongside her wherever she went.

As a result, it was also subject to the occupational hazards of working with horses and livestock.

When she slipped her cloak on that morning, ready to move along with her day, and her fingers had found the hole, Rafaela was immediately horrified. There was little time to spend wondering about how it had happened or for how long it had been there, but one thing was clear: it definitely needed mending.

La Carne went about her responsibilities without her cloak and by the time she had completed her chores, she had formed a plan in her mind. There was absolutely no way she was going to show her face to Bennett and ask him to mend his own gift to her and she didn't know Trelawney or Notch or Anya enough to feel as though she could trust them. But she and Morris had worked together one more than one occasion, first in their search for Freddy and Dynia and again while tracking that mysterious creature through Deadwood. She was aware that he had skills that fell in line with what her garment may need to patch it up and thought that he would be a good person to start with.

When she found him, Rafa lifted her free arm, the other hidden beneath the folds of the cloak, and closed the distance between them.

"Morris," she called firmly but without drawing unwanted attention. "You got a moment? I reckon I got need of your skills."

[WC -- 554]
OOC: For Morris' Outfitter I Occupation!
Morris looked up at the call of his name, surprised but not displeased to find Rafaela to be the one calling him. She quickly made it clear that she needed his skills, and after a quick look over her, he guessed it had to do with his repairs of homes or other damaged buildings. At least, he didn't spot any wound that would need his skills as a healer... "Of course, lass, just let me know where to go and what to do." Luckily, he wasn't too far from his tent, so he could easily grab whatever tool he may need. No sooner had he said he would help that he was handed some cloth. Morris took hold of it while also looking at it in surprise. 

Though it was true that he could mend some cloth, no one had asked him too up until now. Moving the cloth carefully until he found the hole, he looked it over thoughtfully. "This is an easy enough fix" he claimed with a small nod. At least it wasn't as bad as some sails he had mended in the past. Thankfully he also had a bit of thread and a needle that he had taken from the storage room to fix a scarf he had messed up on a little earlier that week. The scarf in question was for Asher, seeing as the white coyote was leaving in the middle of the cold winter. At least his friend wouldn't be traveling alone. In any case, he had what he needed to fix Rafaela's clothing, he just had to go to his tent to get it. "Ya can come and watch me fix it, or I can bring it to ya when it's finished."

296 words; pp of Rafaela handing over the clothing item granted by Mandy
Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

He seemed surprised when she handed over the cloak and Rafa wondered if he thought she had had a different task for him. For a worrying beat, the Caballista feared that this had been a mistake; that she had inaccurately surmised that he had skills with sewing and cloth-making. But the way he handled the cloak, his eyes looking the fabric over and his fingers exploring the offending hole, suggested to Rafaela that he knew what he was doing. When his assessment of the damage was complete and her suspicions were confirmed, the Tejada woman released a breath and allowed herself to relax. It would have been awfully awkward if she had been wrong about him.

"You reckon so?" she replied, her eyes searching his face. She saw nothing to suggest that he was leading her on or pulling her leg. Satisfied, she nodded. "I'll join you if it don't bother you any."

Admittedly, Rafaela didn't know where Morris lived and thought that this would also serve as an informative trip for her role as an Ashen Ring member, too. She was no El Camino, but it was still important for a higher ranked Ashen such as herself to be familiar with the living arrangements and the skills of those in the lower echelons. Most importantly were the skills. As the Kingpin of the Drunken Tusk, knowing who they could work with to see that saddle blankets were darned or that saddles were kept in tiptop shape was imperative.

"Supposin' you fix this on up for me, what'll be your price?" she asked Morris, the tone of her voice and the expression on her face making it clear that she would not accept his help for free. This would be an exchange of services and Rafa would refuse anything less.

[WC -- 305]
OOC: Feel free to PP Rafa following Morris back to his tent.
Morris nodded again when asked if he was sure. The hole wasn't too large, so it wouldn't take terrible long to mend. When Rafaela said she would join him, he smiled a little and then turned with a motion to follow him. Currently his tent was near the Ugly Coyote, but far enough away to not be in the way of the common passerby. It wasn't a very large tent, but nor was it small, there was enough room to fit him, Asher, and the tools that either of them commonly used. The tools were small really, the biggest thing that stayed with them was Asher's harpoon. Even that was only when Asher was in the tent with it. Morris led the way with the ease of knowing exactly where he was going. 

When they got to the tent, he glanced at Rafaela before pulling the flap to the side. Asher was gone, meaning there was plenty of room for two canines inside. "We can sit in here, or I can get a quick fire going and we sit outside." There was a spot for a fire already, dead now of course since neither of the tent's occupants had been around to use it. It wouldn't take too much effort to get something going, if Rafaela didn't trust him enough to stay inside of the tent itself. 

234 words
Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

Catching his gesture, Rafaela nodded and fell only a step or two behind him. Their passage through Charmingtown towards the Ugly Coyote was quiet, something that the Tejada woman respected a great deal. It suggested that Morris, like herself, cared little for small talk and was comfortable in the absence of conversation. That was something that she could appreciate and which struck a positive impression upon her. This was a man who you could ask to do a task and he would do so with only the words necessary to complete it. Thinking back to the previous two campaigns they had been a part of, Rafa thought she could remember this to be true then as well.

She passed a cursory glance at the Ugly Coyote as they passed it by and watched as some idiot who appeared to have drunk his weight in liquor staggered out of the establishment and fumbled with his waistband. With a sneer, Rafa looked away before she would have to bear witness to whatever disdainful thing he was about to do. The sound of liquid burbling in the snow suggested that he needed to relieve himself and she wrinkled her nose in scorn before it disappeared from view.

Drunks were all the same: they only thought about themselves.

Slipping inside Morris' tent, Rafa assessed his quarters quickly before turning her eyes upon the man himself. It was warmer inside the tent that it was outside and she wasn't especially keen to catch any more sights, smells, or sounds coming from the Ugly Coyote than she already had.

"Nah, it ain't too bad in here. Don't rightly need much use of a fire right now," she said before making herself comfortable. "Be glad t' fix you up a flame if you have need of it, though."

He still hadn't answered her question about payment, so Rafa suggested this in case he thought that would be good enough to him. She didn't think so herself, but maybe it would get the conversation started.

[WC -- 342]

Morris shook his head and sat on his bed, which was really just a few furs and skins laid out on the ground. Then he turned to his few tools, quickly finding the thread and needle that he had procured. As he threaded the needle, he thought about what to do about Rafaela wanting to pay him. He didn't mind mending this for nothing, it wasn't like it would take a lot of effort. There was only one task that came to mind that he would like help with...but it was much larger than this simple mending. It would be like taking more than he got. Perhaps he could tell her that he would owe her another favor to make up the difference of effort and labor? "I need help choppin' down a tree, if ye really want to pay me lass." For him a service for a service was payment enough. 

Still...chopping a tree and fixing a bit of cloth were vastly different things. "Ye could call me for another favor even...after the tree is taken care of." May as well just mention that now and have all his cards on the table as it were. While waiting to see if that deal was amicable, Morris adjusted the cloth on his lap then carefully started to stitch the hole closed. He could guess that Rafaela didn't want the mended part to be noticeable, so he did his best to keep his hand steady. Thankfully he was quite good at keeping a steady hand, even if it had been a while since he had any cause to take a needle and thread to cloth. The stitches might be a little crooked, but he was making them small enough that it shouldn't be spotted. Unless of course, another tailor of better skill took a good look at it. 

314 words
Location: Charmingtown || NPCs: -- || Form: Optime

Rafa's sharp, verdant eyes followed Morris as the mottled hybrid lowered himself atop his bed of furs and pelts before swiveling to pick through his meager tools. Just the act of getting the thread through the eye of the needle looked like a monumental challenge on its own, never mind what he would need to do to ensure her garment was appropriately darned. He was quiet as he did this and Rafaela kept her silence as well, not only out of her disdain for small talk but also so as not to break Morris' concentration. She wondered how Bennett did this. Big as his hands were, it seemed to her as though it would be even more of a challenge for him.

Once needle had been threaded, her question of repayment was at last regarded and responded to. She lifted her brows slightly, surprised by the price, but otherwise kept her face neutral. Rafaela could do a good number of things that required hard labor but most of them revolved around horse training, animal husbandry, and livestock rustling. She had absolutely no experience chopping down trees, but if Morris could provide the tools and the instructions then she supposed that she could provide the muscle.

After a moment of consideration, Rafa nodded. "I don't know a thing about choppin' down trees, but if you reckon that's payment enough then I'm happy t' take you up on that offer." Of his addition that she could call on him if she ever needed favor, she gave her wrist a subtle flick. "How's 'bout we jest wait an' see how I do afore offerin' yerself up for a favor."

And then she adjusted her weight and settled into a more comfortable sit, her eyes watching as Morris guided the needle and thread into and out of her cloak with short, frequent increments, again allowed the companionable silence to surround them once more as the mottled man worked.

[WC -- 329]

Morris smiled a little and nodded. Rafaela's counteroffer was fair enough, but he bet she would want something else in exchange for helping with the tree once they were done. It would be hard and sweaty work, even in this kind of weather. That of course, was something to face when they could, and for now he would focus on her clothing. The merle male worked diligently on the stitches, doing his best to make it so they might be covered by the natural folds of the cloth, but he wasn't an expert at such things, so he was likely missing the mark a bit. If the lass had any complaints, he could tear the work out and try again. It was no hair off of his skin to start it over again...though that might ruin the cloth. 

Best to try and get it right the first time then. Morris stopped and looked over his work so far and nodded before picking up the easy task of driving the needle in and out. A sound outside had him moving briefly and drawing the flap aside just to check on the errant gull that was now outside. And of course, the blasted bird had something shiny in her beak. Rolling his eyes, and shaking his head, he let her hop in and go to her little area, where she had a collection of all sorts of trinkets built into a nest. Why she chose to stay inside the tent was beyond him, but it wasn't like he could tell her to settle elsewhere. The gull gave a loud cry just as Morris went back to his stitching and he huffed at the bird "Quiet, this is just Rafaela." He heard the bird settle down some and ignored her in favor of focusing on finishing the last bit of sewing. 

312 words

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