[P] I've heard since I was younger that oil and water don't mix
p. Angora Valentine | The Waste
OOC: Backdated to April 12th.

Note: Tokka is a headmate in a plural system: an additional consciousness that occupies the same brain. It is Tor and Tokka's personal belief that he is the ghost of her “dead” brother.

The blankets were far too comfortable to be woken up as early as she was, but as Tor blinked the sleep from her eyes, she remembered the deal she’d made with her new friend. Nahla had taken pity on her travel and tumble-weary body and offered to let her sleep as long as no one else needed the comfort quarters. Apparently someone did, which forced Tor out of bed and out the door.

Tor shrugged her bag back on her shoulders, resolving to double check that nothing unexpected was missing once she was back on the nonexistent road. She didn’t think there’d be, but she also wasn’t going to cause any trouble if there was; it was easier to just check later.

Yawning into her elbow, Tor waved goodbye to the bartender and the rest of La Estrella Roja’s waking staff before stepping out into the glowing, yellow light of sunrise. Wow. It seemed to set the young grass plains around the parlor aflame, the wind making the stalks move like tendrils of pale fire.

While Tor knew that the shores of Folly Lake were just southwest of here, she wanted to wash in running water. Her journey was supposed to take her east anyway; she was sure she’d find a river coursing down from the mountains toward the coast before the sun rose too high.

Tor and Tokka didn’t talk much as she left La Estrella Roja behind, neither really having much to say to the other. Not in a bad way, just in a… Well, a “my sister just had sex with a stranger” way. It wasn’t a choice Tokka would have made, but he didn’t judge her for it. It was easier to enjoy each other’s quiet company than try to make small talk around the boulder in the room.

When Tor finally found a river, arriving at its twisting, muddy banks as dawn turned to cloudless morning, she was happy to be able to wash the scent of new experiences off her body. Her night of experimental revelry made her smell a bit conspicuous for a future scout. Once Tor had cleaned herself as much as she could, she propped her arms up on a dry patch of shore and let the running water soothe all her sore spots. It was cold from snow melt, but not so cold that she couldn’t soak in it for a little while.

Tor let her head fall back and smiled, before brushing her wet bangs off her face. Her thoughts drifted away on the wind; this was a really good way to start her morning.
(word count: 500)

Gora had found herself visiting La Estrella Roja on occasion to pick up on gossip and meet new folks. It was also a good place to trade some of what she considered to be her lesser wares that weren't quite up to her standard for Salsola but were still passably pretty items. Things an Outsider could wear and she could get something in return that mattered more to her. Usually materials for better things or occasionally some alcohol. That was also very useful. Either she could use it or gift it later to someone. There were always reasons for wine in the Thistle Kingdom.

She had gotten a couple of bottles in trade the night before and they sloshed around as she walked. Luckily she had brought a satchel for her prizes. For once, she hadn't taken a horse because she had wanted to take her time traveling to La Estrella Roja and then back home. There was still the gaping hole left behind by her family's absence. Sure, Grenfell was there, but that was only a fraction of who used to be in the home. She wondered if her sister felt even stranger being there alone a few nights while Angora traveled. The Arbiter hadn't bothered to ask. Maybe she would later if they crossed paths and it occurred to her.

Her walk led her near to a river where she sometimes bathed and she was unsurprised to find someone else there bathing. It was a bit early in her opinion - and she didn't want to wash off before she finished her trek home - but she could appreciate someone who enjoyed the act of washing up. The Valentine wolf didn't intend to be a creep watching from behind a tree, yet found herself pausing to watch as the stranger washed herself.

The wolf she watched was pretty. Pale fur, pale skin, pale eyes. The image of the moon come to life. She had thought Nindari had shone with the moon's light when she had met the then-Caledonian, but this... this was a real moonlit daughter. Nin had her own appeal, but there was something more liquid than lunar about her. It might be that her name was related to a water goddess that made Gora think that.

Eventually, the bathing girl seemed to settle and just start enjoying the water instead of actively using it to clean. Angora walked forward then, her tail wagging once from side to side as if she had just stumbled across the scene instead of having watched it for a little while in the shadows. "Hi! I hope I'm not interrupting, just was going to stop and drink some water then rest for a bit. I can totally be on my way quickly, though, if you were looking to be alone." she had given some distance between them - she knew nothing of the other girl, she wasn't about to come up close to her - but not so much that it was awkward to talk.

Don't wanna live as an untold story
Rather go out in a blaze of glory
Tor tensed at the sound of footsteps, the plains less picturesque without the wan light of dawn. The string of friendly faces she’d met would end at some point, on this trip or another. Someone would, inevitably, try to hurt her.

It just probably wouldn’t be the young woman walking toward the river, her tail wagging gently behind her. She stopped a respectful distance away, her pale fur accented with streaks and rims of red, and explained herself. Getting a drink and taking a rest before being on her way. That all seemed reasonable to Tor, though she turned her body toward dry land just in case; if she needed to make a run for it, it would be easier to hoist herself up onto the riverbank that way.

”You’re not interrupting, don’t worry,” Tor said, smiling at the older girl. ”I don’t like, own the river or anything, you know?” She glanced at her bag and licked the back of her teeth nervously. It was lighter on valuables than the previous morning — Tor would have to come up with an excuse for the missing parchment — but she wished it wasn’t between her and the girl as they talked.

Tor tilted her head to one side, taking in the stranger’s distinctive coat, intricate clothing, and pretty blue eyes. ”Are you from around here?” She asked, knowing there were small bands throughout the area who might be able to keep a luperci clean and clothed. The girl could also just be a very fastidious traveler, or be more coyote than she looked, or…

Well, she could be a Salsolan. At which point, anything she told Tor would be at least, in part, a lie.

That realization made Tor a little more protective of her belongings, even though they were only a few yards away. She walked along the slope of the riverbed until her bag was close enough to pull toward her, fumbling for the strap for a few seconds before her fingers found purchase, and reached inside for a piece of salt-cured meat to chew on. Maybe she’d even offer some to the stranger if she came close enough.
(word count: 337)

The other girl was merry and calm, two things that Angora could appreciate in a stranger. There was also a lot to be learned from those with gently wagging tongues or with very little they thought to hide. It didn't mean that they shouldn't hide those things. Just that they didn't. A wolf such as she could take great value in such information. Not that she intended harm for this wolf or any other wolf without good reason; just that she had no reason ever to protect an Outsider's information.

"Oh, totally, I just didn't want to disrupt your solitude too long if you were enjoying it." she said with a smile, dipping her cupped hands in the river and lifting them up to her mouth to drink. The water was cool and refreshing; she could appreciate the quiet peace of the place.

The pale girl asked if she was from around there and Gora shook her head lightly. As always her story was, "I travel a lot with, like, my parents. We trade goods. Our home location would be Portland but we've traveled around quite a bit otherwise." she was thinking about changing that story a bit next time she told it. Though she knew enough to get by about Portland's ways, she couldn't very well tell someone about areas she hadn't visited. If they were well-traveled they might see through her farce if they dug too deep into where exactly her family traded.

She sat down and then leaning back to rest for the moment. She considered if she wanted to bathe herself... but the journey home would be long enough that she would get dirty again. Best to wait until she was back within her own borders before she washed up. "Are you, like, a local?" the other girl looked too wolf to be from Del Cenere Gang, but perhaps Casa di Cavalieri or one of the bands that existed in the area. Certainly not Salsolan; Gora was pretty sure she'd have noticed her.

Don't wanna live as an untold story
Rather go out in a blaze of glory
Tor nodded. Even though she’d never been to Portland, she understood it’s importance as the region’s largest trading hub. ”My aunt was a scavenger in Portland for a while. She mostly dealt in metal scrap, I think,” she explained. Aunt Naya had a really good eye for it, and while Tor and Tokka had gone to Halifax a handful of times to help, neither had the patience for it. That was why Tor was working so hard to become a scout!

She breathed out her nose as the pale stranger sat down, relaxing in the early morning sun just like Tor was. It put them on more even footing, even with one of them half-submerged in the river — hopefully.

Despite the other girl’s friendly demeanor, Tor didn’t want to be too honest. ”I guess my family is local-ish. We’re from all over the place, but I’ve lived here my whole life.” It wasn’t a lie, but it was too vague to be the whole truth; the sky-eyed merchant would probably notice. Ghurama had been born out west, her Terokla to the far north, and her own mahna at the Portland outpost — they’d all been Cavaliers in the end.

”My name is Tor,” she said, dropping her family name from the end as if she didn’t even have one. ”What’s yours?” Whether the name she gave was real or fake, Tor didn’t care; she just wanted to stop thinking of her as “the pale stranger.” It might give her some clue to the girl’s origin, even if she was just from Portland; there were a few big families that she might recognize, their names popping up in conversation with her aunt over the moons.

And even if she didn’t, she could ask Aunt Naya and her cousin when she got home.

”Oh, want some jerky?” Tor asked, holding out a piece before she mimed tossing it over.
(word count: 403)

"Oh, she might've like, met my family then. If we were around Portland at the same time we definitely would've been interested in metal. Always valuable." it was hard enough to find good pieces to use. Angora remembered that from when she was searching for ones that Serac could use. That wasn't Portland, of course, but any large city was likely to have been scraped clean long ago of all its best metal.

Her family was local-ish. It was vague enough to leave Gora wondering what the truth was. A pack member? A loner? Someone who just came around for some of the seasons? Evidently not a member of a loner band like the Midnight Krewe that ran La Estrella Roja. Someone from one of those places would want to advertise their home in hopes of more business. The red-earred wolf started to unwind her hair so that it could fall freely about her shoulders for a bit. The tension of its braiding was getting a bit annoying and she planned to sit for a bit. Maybe she'd even go in the water soon. It did look tempting. She didn't need to fully wash herself to just enjoy the coolness of the water before continuing her journey...

Tor, a name that was short and sweet. It suited the other pale wolf. Angora liked it. "It's good to meet you, Tor. I'm Asphodel." a lie that slipped as easily from her lips now as it ever had. The fact that it was a false name didn't even really occur to her when she was pretending to be Asphodel. When she was playing the character, in some ways she really did feel like it was her. At least for a little bit.

The other wolf offered her jerky and she laughed. "That's, like, so kind of you Tor. I'd love some." she raised her hand to catch whatever was tossed her way. She had a deft hand and didn't think she'd have trouble catching it. Though if she didn't, it wasn't as if Asphodel cared about looking a bit silly.

"Do you ever, like, wonder what it's like to be a bird?" she asked rather out of the blue, looking up at the sky as a cardinal flew overhead, its bright red breast flashing a signal in the sunlight. The girl turned to look at Tor again with curiosity, wondering how she'd take the question.

Don't wanna live as an untold story
Rather go out in a blaze of glory

Forum Jump: