[AW] 100 Miles
Thread Prompt - Docks. AW for whoever can put up with Wrath
#1

Thread Prompt: Point of Interest

Included NPC Bogdan Kotovo
Form: Secui
WC:500
OOC: If anybody would like to show Wrath the correct way to talk to people, that would be great!

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Wrath walked north along a well-beaten track, high along the western coast. Despite his dark colouration, he luxuriated in the sun's heat; it was noon, and a gentle easterly wind blew in across the water, sifting between his long, sable fur, while the loch's water lapped at the short throw of sand at the base of the steep embankment to his left.

He had no responsibilities, nowhere in particular to be. It seemed that if he joined the odd hunt, killed a few trespassers, and attended the correct gatherings, he was mostly left to his own devices. 

Though he kept himself away from Salsola's general population, he had begun feeling drawn more often to Eden's residence, though he hadn't yet made it all the way to the door. Despite the fact he'd asserted his desire to be involved with his son, Syrus, he found himself about-facing the last few steps before reaching the threshold, and then walking what felt like a hundred miles in the other direction. This was how he ended up so far north, so far east, and so uncertain about his next move.

Like the physical terrain before him, his new emotional landscape was equally uncharted. The latter was going to take more than a hundred-mile hike to solve, whereas the former was almost wholly mapped. 

He continued until his interest was piqued again by a decent size sloop tied to a well-weathered jetty. This had happened once before ([M] The Balancing Act (Wrath and the Raft) (soulsrpg.com)), ending with Wrath almost drowning and being saved by a minute hero, who turned out to be a rather high-ranking Salsolan and a cunning little liar.

This boat was better than the last. It was longer, newer, and the sail, though neatly stowed against the mast, appeared in better condition. Wrath edged out onto the jetty for a closer look. He found all boats fascinating, though the ageing wolf decided against leaping aboard this time, recalling the scenes of his previous encounter with such a vessel. 

"Vot iz you do-ing?" A low voice rumbled behind him.

Wrath turned on the narrow jetty and appraised the man by dragging his gaze slowly down his form and frowning at his wooden leg. He then cocked an eyebrow. The well-weathered wolf had somehow sneaked up on him despite his obvious malady.

"Let zis not be fooling you. I still cut off your head ven you pis-sing me off."

Wrath was so perplexed by the injury and the fact he hadn't heard the man get so close that he actually laughed.

"Don't let my scars fool you, either, shtumpy." 

Wrath was as permanently disfigured as the old sailor; therefore, Bogdan Kotovo did not take so much offence to be labelled stumpy by the stranger. He laughed as well, but it was a dry and cracked sound.

"O-kay really, vot ze fuck are you do-ing?"

Wrath didn't have an answer, so he looked at the boat again. 

"You vant to sail zis? Payment upfront, I don't be trusting ze look of you."

"Payment?" The notion was practically foreign to Wrath. He lived in a hole he dug, stole whatever clothing would fit him for the few times he needed to wear it, and just took whatever else he wanted from others. "My payment can be not ripping off your leg and ushing it as a chew-toy. How doesh that shound?"


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#2
Whisper had a routine to her life that was, for the moment, acceptable. She had duties at the stables, a responsibility to upkeep her home, and the time between then was to be used at her discretion. By and large she trained – either with Tanya, whose groundwork was nearing perfection, or using one of the communal horses. On days when it was too hot for either she would swim or busy herself with crafting. While tanning leather was still a skill beyond her comprehension, manipulating it into useful objects or pieces of artistry were highly rewarding. Salsola was often flush with leather, but for certain aspects of her work, she needed to trade. That was what had brought her to the Marketplace, though she found the day a wash early on.

Dissatisfied, the young woman prepared to leave. She might have done so without noticing the commotion coming from the Docks but spied the two men with a passing glance. Wrath was an unmistakable figure: huge and dark. Bogdan was not small either, of course.

Uncertain as to the reason that such a recluse like the black wolf might have to be on the water, Whisper went to investigate. She caught only the tail end of their discussion, and presumed they were in negotiations for a trip out onto the Loch.

“Hello,” she barked flatly as she arrived. “Are you taking the big boat out?”

Bogdan, only mildly surprised by her appearance, snorted bullishly. “No von sails if this –,” he used a word here Whisper did not understand, but assumed was an insult – “, thinks he can snap his teeth and get his vay.”

Whisper frowned and looked at Wrath. “What are you doing? Do you want to go? Confidant Kotovo is the only one who knows how to use the big boat, we can't go unless he agrees to it.”

“See? She understand—”

“Are you going? I will go if you are,” Whisper interrupted. “I have some of my leather goods if you need any of that. If you don't need anything, I am willing to work or bring you food.” She glanced at Wrath. “That's fair.”

[+ 3]

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#3

Wrath was smirking, snarling, and seriously considering playing a solo game of fetch with Captain Kotovo's peg leg when a familiar—and moody—face arrived at the scene. 

Despite her haughty attitude and connections to the upper echelons, she had no trouble getting wet, cold and muddy while joining Wrath on an impromptu hunt. Despite his early reservations, he left the encounter with a new level of respect for the young woman. 

Both men stopped bickering on her arrival, but the man with the wooden leg complained about Wrath's approach to the situation. Wrath rolled his eyes.

"He ashked for payment!?" Wrath appeared incredulous at the idea. "I was offering an alternative sholution." He shrugged.

Whisper had stormed in with conviction, and an even stronger personality than Wrath recalled. The burly black wolf frowned; confusion knitted his thick brow. As she spoke, this expression only doubled in intensity. Whatever she said seemed to instantly make the ill-tempered captain more equitable. 

"Yes, I want to . . ." He began, only to be cut off by Whisper turning her questions to Bogdan.

For a long while, Wrath looked slowly between them both. Whisper's interaction seemed so effortless. She wasn't the friendliest wolf, yet she seemed to get the captain on her side without showing a hint of submission. 

Her approach was different, but the result didn't make sense to the more primitive wolf. If you could take it by force, why wouldn't you? The captain should have just rolled over and done as he was told. He was big, but his leg would be a considerable hindrance in a fight against the might of the black wolf. 

Whisper had achieved Wrath's goal more quickly by another means: Offering him something in return. Wrath still believed that not brutally maiming the captain was a nice gesture, so what else could he offer?

Wrath looked over his shoulder, then all around. Nobody was in sight, yet he still spoke quietly as he mirrored Whisper's approach.

"I want to go on your boat, now. 

I'll . . . help with shomething. What do you need? If you have a debt that you owe or if shomeone owes you, then I could fix that . . permanently.

Or shomething elshe, erm . . . Captain?"

He flashed his teeth in a grin to the captain, then looked to Whisper as if for some affirmation that he was doing it correctly.

As if Wrath was certain his proposal would be accepted, he began shifting while the captain made up his mind about what was going to happen. Wrath was enormous in Optime form, even despite the significant hunch to his neck and shoulders. 

-----

WC: 400+
Form: Switched to Optime

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#4
It occurred to Whisper, suddenly, that Wrath had perhaps never been exposed to the concept of trade before. She was taken aback by this thought at first – for surely, they lived in a civilized world. Still, as she regarded the way his ruined face twisted and how puzzled he seemed by the whole ordeal, the thought took hold. He was an Outsider before this, after all. By and large she saw him in his hulking Secui form, and even when he was not, he did not wear clothing or behave in a fashion she saw as normal. This primitive living struck her as peculiar, but she did not find fault with it. After all, the world beyond their borders was a savage place. How could he be expected to be anything greater than that?

While he took her cue, the wolf's proposal was likewise a savage one. Whisper saw Bogdan make a face at this, and then smirk. Perhaps he found the offer amusing, she thought. The grizzled old sailor was another man of whom she knew very little.

As Wrath took to shifting, she looked away politely. Bogdan did the same, and rubbed his chin with his thumb and pointer finger.

“Hmm...vell, I am lacking in need of your, ah, talents,” he snickered and flashed his teeth. “But you are strong, yes? I always need strong hands. Ve go now, but later, you help me vith wood. You cut down trees, move, and chop. You,” he turned to Whisper. “You have horses, yes? Bring your horses, move trees he cuts down, bring them here. But first, you both help me fish.”

He clapped his hands together and muttered more of his funny language. As he moved towards the boat, Whisper turned her attention to Wrath. He was tall on two legs and she had to look up to meet his gaze.

“That's fair,” she repeated, so he understood that she was accepting the terms Bogdan had provided. “I haven't been on the boat yet either,” Whisper added. “Velour said it goes very fast.”

You can feel free to get them onto the boat and out onto the Loch in your next post!
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#5

The black wolf returned the captain's wry grin, having figured the older man would have no issue enforcing his own credit control. He was an older Lurperci, strong, experienced, uncompromising, and Wrath liked him more as the conversation continued. 

Wrath lifted his head, raised his brow, and perked his ears as Bogdan suggested some other way he could repay the experience. He was not short on time, and though the great wolf kept himself in decent condition while sporadically patrolling the borders, he welcomed any opportunity to push himself physically.

"I'll chop your trees down, of courshe."

He looked across to the boat. A single-masted cutter with two furled headsails and a single, triangular mainsail. Wrath didn't know this information; he just knew ships intrigued him. They played on his perpetual desire to explore the unknown. He stood silent for an unsociable amount of time before glancing back to Whisper and belatedly processing what she told him. He blinked.

"Yeah, it'sh fair. And you're going to . . . help." The statement being purely rhetorical, Wrath couldn't help but shake his head slightly, continually surprised by the young woman. He was about to say so when she cut in.

Although Wrath could easily imagine being aboard anything that could float, just drifting out across the horizon to see what lay beyond, he hadn't actually thought about the experience, how it would feel.

"Fasht." He glanced at the vessel with a degree of uncertainty. "How fasht?"

"As fast as vind! Faster zan vind viz me sat on helm!" Bogdan's enthusiasm was infectious, and Wrath found himself quite eager to discover what the captain was so excited about.

Bogdan led the way along the pontoon and despite his glaring handicap, he stepped with ease onto the side deck.

"Everyzink ready for catchink fish! Climb aboard!

Not you! You need untie ze lines!" He called to Wrath.

Wrath stepped aside, letting Whisper climb aboard. He watched the boat's movement as they climbed on separately and stood idly on the pontoon. 

"Ok-ay. She's being wind-on pontoon! The vind she blowing her to ze jetty. Zis being vy only Captain Bogdan Kotovo sailink boat! Ve springing off!"

The captain turned his attention to Whisper. "Hoist the main! Zis, here! You pulling zis! Ze Halyard!" He pointed to the rope connected to the top of the mainsail. "Pullink hard, now!" 

The mainsail luffed loosely as Whisper began pulling. As the sail reached its zenith, with a deft flick of his wrist, Bogdan partially loosened the main sheet, and the boom clunked into place. The sail tightened into an impressive wing shape.

Bogdan shouted for Wrath to unfasten the spring line, then the stern line, which, under the slight power of the sail, angled the boat perfectly away from the jetty. He did so, but almost too slowly. The wind tightened the sail, and the boat began to push slowly through the water.

"If you iz comink, jump now!" 

Wrath gauged the distance between the jetty and boat, had a momentary flashback about the last time he fell into the loch and then decided it was now or never. He leapt for the ship and just made it. Half landing, half falling onto the side deck.

He frowned, thinking that had he remained in his four-legged form, he would have been able to make such a jump with ease.

"Nexsht time, more information would be usheful."  Wrath stated, pulling back the fur from where he had cut his shin. Blood seeped from the wound, but it would stop soon enough. He looked at the captain, who used the tiller to coax the ship to a close haul against the wind.

It was at that moment Wrath suddenly realised that he was moving, no they were gliding, across the water. The rhythmic bubbling hiss of the water against the hull tempted him towards the edge, and Wrath peered down at the frothing water of the bow wave, then back over the stern at the foaming wake.

It accelerated again when Bogdan allowed the jib to unfurl. Two of three sails now open and the sleek cutter carved effortlessly through the small waves.

"How can it be sho heavy? Sho fasht!?" Wrath stated, grinning, possibly even smiling, as he looked at Whisper with a shine to his eyes that was genuine excitement, which had been an infrequent sensation over the last few months.

-----

WC:700+


 
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#6
It was fast.

Though she did not understand all the terms Bogdan threw her way, Whisper was a dutiful worker and fulfilled his requests as best she could. Rope was nothing new to her – they often employed it around the horses, though not in any capacity like this. She was impressed with how everything seemed to function as one unit despite being many parts.

The wind took them away from the coast, and as Whisper looked back, she saw the Docks and Amherst shrinking behind them. While she had grown up in Salsola's territory, seeing it from a new perspective brought a new appreciation for the thick woodland and rocky shoreline that made up their eastern border. It was an impressive site: towering stone faces lined with all shades of green, muted browns, and shadowy night in what was certainly the Blackwoods.

She turned away to look at the Loch itself. While she had always known the lake was large, being upon it suddenly impressed upon her the vast space upon which they now sailed. There were smaller islands closer to the shoreline, but from where they were there was little more than water and the whitecaps caused by the wind. Without trees to break this, it blew strong.

Delighted, Whisper leaned over the edge of the ship and opened her mouth to breath in the new smells and tastes. Wrath's enthusiasm was shared, and indeed, multiplied by her own.

“I don't know!” She barked with delight. “I like it!”

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#7

The sun cast glittering shrapnels of light over the lake, and the wind worked over the vast surface to create a decent chop. Along with the increasing speed, the boat rose and dipped on the larger waves. Wrath grinned as he watched Whisper. She was transformed in a moment, her naturally dour visage suddenly rather fetching in her excitement; her more delicate furs and whiskers dewy from the spray thrown up from the lake, and her teeth bared with a smile.

As Bogdan got a feel for the relative wind, he finished trimming the sail and slowly, the boat began to heel onto its port side. The fishing nets and loose lines slithered across the deck as the ship leaned enough that the water threatened to spill over the side.

"Zis vay zis vay! Unless you vanting to be swimmink with ze fishies." He said, gesturing for both of his inexperienced passengers to move to starboard to act as a counterbalance.

Wrath moved cautiously. He was not clumsy, but he was large and used to operating on solid ground. He scrambled up to the raised side, holding on to the low rail with one hand and ready to assist Whisper if she lost her footing. He did pause for a moment when he found himself doing that, and stared at his available hand. The gesture had come naturally as if to stop her from falling in. He shook his head, frowned and pulled back his hand, wondering what part of her falling in wouldn't be funny.

Bogdan unlocked the tiller and brought his ship around onto a broad reach. "You lowering ze main! Opposite to how you beginning." He demanded tersely of Whisper. It was not from a lack of reverence but simply because the old sailor knew all too well that there could be only one captain upon a ship at all times and that a wasted word may induce a severe accident. "And you! Release ze main sheet. There, there, the rope there! Stop that is being enough!" He commanded of Wrath, as the boom was eased to one side, then later fastened to keep from flying back across and knocking someone out cold.

Bogdan skipped so effortlessly across the deck that Wrath had to double-check he had not been mistaken about his false leg. He blinked, shocked at the dexterity of the old captain.

"He'sh good." Wrath uttered to Whisper. He watched in awe at how the man came to life upon the water. Everything had been executed with precision, not one mistake, and not one order given that had not been achieved. 

Wrath often stared longingly over great bodies of water, and he stopped to look around as the boat slowed to just one or two knots, less than walking speed. There was just the soft luff in the loosened sails, the tinkle of the lake against the hull, and the sound of squawking gulls circling overhead in anticipation of any discarding fish that might be thrown aside.

Bogdan relentlessly issued jobs that could be achieved by his new crew, and they set about casting the nets by attaching them to swivelling spars on the stern. 

There was calm for a while, and Bogdan sat at the helm, grinning almost maniacally at Whisper and Wrath as they trawled the lake slowly.

"Tonight ve be eating vell!" He said.

"I could think of better thingsh to eat." Replied Wrath.

"Better than fish?" Bogdan asked, shocked to his core.

"Mmhmm, but let'sh just keep with what we know." 

Bogdan cast a sidelong glance over the black wolf, then laughed. "I know fishing!"

Wrath nodded, opting to sit on a fixed locker. He gazed around, enjoying the silence, being out upon the water, at one with something previously so forbidden and unreachable. He sought more than anything to conquer the unconquerable. Perhaps it was the contrarian in him. He appeared very content at that moment, and the tone of his voice implied the same.

"That you do, captain. I have enjoyed this."

"Vell, you both paying heavy price later!" He said, with a cackle.

Wrath cocked a brow but couldn't help but grin, shaking his head and glancing at Whisper to see what she made of the eccentric fellow.

-----

WC: 700+
OOC: Sorry it's so long, I just love the water stuff. Feel free to bring back to land whenever you're ready.
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