always from the pulpit during service leaned the devil

POSTED: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:56 pm

Ravenswrest.

Black shadows crossed the water's surface, and feathers fanned through mist. Croaks and cackles echoed in a dark and cold wood, interrupted by excited warbles when a skinny, brownish shape reached the edge of the lagoon.

I don't have food, you lot, go pester someone else.

Vesper was ignored as a pair of ravens all but tackled her, feet grasping for purchase in her tousled coat and beady eyes peering into hers. She was bowled over by their weight and flailed in the snow, while shrieks of "Boss! Boss!" mocked and delighted her all the same. She was breathless by the time she found her feet, and found more young ravens alighting on pale branches to stare down at her.

Boss, y'allrigh', Stormeye said loudly in her good ear, while runty Sheker fussed at a mat on the underside of her bushy tail.

Yeah, get off, Vesper growled, and rolled. Sheker hopped on her tail. Stormeye squawked and flew up into the branches, bullying some of the observers; roughly half of them took off and began to swoop over the water again, while the remainders blinked hopefully down at Vesper despite her announced lack of food. Some of them were scrawny things, raggedy-feathered; meals could hardly be spared to them during these harsh winter weeks.

Her fault, she supposed, just as the death of their comrades was her fault. What joy surged in the old coywolf at the ravens' hearty greetings curdled.




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Raze
Luperci SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2018 Champion!
tatter-winged phoenix
cunning linguist

POSTED: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:37 pm

Optime | cNPC: Scuttle (Lupus) (+434)

Gettin’ my boy, Twitchtail back!

Shikoba grunted as he readjusted the sack of scraps he had managed to gather despite the scarcity of food that was to be found in recent days. The ravens were as much of Inferni as the clansmen were, at least, in the coymutt’s mind, they were. They needed to be fed and taken care of too. “Trust me, kiddo, you’ll like ‘em as much as ya’ do Eidolon.”

Behind him, Scuttle made a skeptical noise. “Why’d they have to pick such a creepy place though?” Her golden eyes shifted about the gnarled skeletons of trees and their much younger, winter-bare counterparts. The whole place felt “off,” and the coydog paced closer to her guardian as a precaution should some monstrous creature suddenly awaken from one of the thick snowbanks.

“Ain’t got nobody to bother ‘em out here.” He was taking her to see the ravens, a trip he had promised her long before re-joining the Clan, but, it had been a promise that he had yet to be able to keep with the war and then subsequent move. Of course, upon settling into their new territory, the dark birds had chosen a new roost, and, of course, it was somewhere completely out of the way to get to. Must have been a bird thing.

The sounds of the flock reached their ears, and Shikoba turned to give the Quintus a wide smirk over his shoulder. “Come on, they should be close.” Scuttle’s tall ears pricked, but her unsureness of their surroundings muted her excitement. It wasn’t long before the ravens’ calls grew louder and louder, and, as he said he would, Shikoba had led them right to the new Ravenswrest.

To their surprise though, another was already there. Shikoba blinked, his feet stalling as he recognized the familiar pelt of the previous Chieftain. “H-hey ya’, Chief,” he greeted her by her old title. Shiiiiit. “Visitin’ the birds again?” The clan was short on food, and he’d probably get his ass chewed by the battle-worn woman if she saw the bulging sack slung over his shoulder.

There was no use in hiding it though, the ravens in their number spotted the familiar sight immediately and became loud in their excitement. Some took flight, making passes at Shikoba, others moved to the lower branches or on the snow-covered ground, eagerly waiting for the handouts to be given.

Scuttle, having not expected to see so many giant, black birds, had pressed her body as close to the back of Shikoba’s legs as she could.

Shikoba Whiplash


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Songbird

Break me down

POSTED: Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:58 am

The chaotic tzimmes of Ravenswrest faded to dim static in Vesper's ears. She hunched and looked down at the water while Sheker fussed with the bushy, bedraggled thing that lay behind her. The reflection of slanted paper birches rippled with wind, and she thought the dark and light flecks of bark looked like motes of burned paper on the wind.

Then voices rose up louder, a chant that pierced through her thoughts: Food! Food! Food! She wrinkled her lips back to show her yellow teeth and explain that no she didn't have food no one had food when she spotted Shikoba and his sack of meat. Surprise flickered in her pale eyes, and she didn't answer him at once.

The ravens did. They called out to him, some with wordless shouts, others with eager requests, and flew around him or leaned from skinny branches. Even Sheker abandoned her perch on Vesper's tail and hopped sweetly toward the man. Vesper watched them, some sour emotion twisting her face, but she shook her head to clear it. She fought briefly to remember when she was then got to her feet, too.

Thank you for bringing them food, Vesper said flatly. Despite her tone there was no suggestion of sarcasm or disapproval in her scarred face. The birds needed it if they were going to kep their health and their loyalty. Perhaps it was because Shikoba didn't have family (besides the coy-collie at his ankles) that he thought to spare a meal.

She stood there awkwardly for some moments while the ravens whirled around, then flicked her eyes upward at a branch. A shivering little raven nervously sidled farther along the twigs, peering at the man almost with disbelief.

A genuine smile quirked Vesper's mouth once again.




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Raze
Luperci SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2018 Champion!
tatter-winged phoenix
cunning linguist

POSTED: Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:07 pm

(+472)

Awwwwwww, Twitchtail ;O; @ your post

Despite the birds’ demands and pleas, Shikoba did not relinquish his tight hold on the sack thrown over his shoulder. He dared not to with the old Chieftain standing before him. Even though Vicira had taken over the Clan, to him at least, Vesper still had some power over the collective. He silently awaited his judgement, hoping that she might have mercy on his soul with young Scuttle there. The Quintus would never let him live it down if he was scolded by the older coywolf.

Her tone was not exactly welcoming, however, Vesper had thanked him nonetheless. It was enough to lift the weight that had suddenly pressed down upon him at her being there. He let out an awkward, nervous chuckle, trying to pass off his previous, oh-shit expression. “Hahahah, no problem, Chief. They gotta eat just as much as we do. And, besides, figured them picky ‘yotes wouldn’t miss a few scavenged table scraps.”

Taking her lack of ridicule or disapproval as her in an off-handed way approving that he share what he had brought, Shikoba hefted the bag around to his front, dropping the bag and undoing the chord that kept it fastened. His action seemed to cause a stir, as the ravens grew louder in their chorus. Shikoba chuckled, oblivious to the fact that one of the ravens watching him intently was his old partner.

“Alright, alright, hold yer horses.”

Meanwhile, Scuttle peered over at Vesper, her tail wagging and head and ears low as she seemed to contemplate whether to try to go over and lick the elderly woman or stay by Shikoba’s side. She wasn’t sure of the ravens, at least, not of them in mass as they were. Eidolon was a large bird, but, she was also only one. The ravens, they were huge, and they were so loud and kept moving around!

From her distance, the coydog tried to speak to the old Chieftain over the din. “Do you stay with the birds often…Chief?” She knew not what was proper to call Vesper now. “Ex-Aquila” certainly didn’t sound right. So, following Shikoba’s lead, she hoped the term was safe to use.

Finally undoing the knot, Shikoba reached in and tossed out a handful of food away from the Clansman. The birds swarmed, crying out in their excitement. He laughed, his wasabi eyes moving to Vesper as he made to toss out another handful in another direction. It was then that he had spotted the shivering body of Twitchtail, who had flown to the ground before him and let out a needy, excited squawk.

“’Koooba!” The raven rasped, his voice scratchy and coarse.

Shikoba tossed the handful away, a wide, bright grin on his lips as he turned his attention to the raven. “Ayyyye! Twichtail!”

Shikoba Whiplash


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Songbird

Break me down

POSTED: Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:18 pm

Wrote w/ assumption Scuttle would come over but I can change!

Shikoba laughed nervously, and Vesper remembered the last time he'd snuck a bag of food to Ravenswrest -- another Ravenswrest, another time. She sank back down onto her haunches, her bad leg sticking out at an awkward angle, and watched the ravens swoop. She became aware of the young coydog's stare, too, and glanced at her curiously.

I used to, Vesper replied, then hesitated and jerked her head as invitation for Scuttle to approach her. If she wanted to try to avoid the birds, then standing by Shikoba was probably not her best bet. They won't hurt you, she added maternally. They're like kids who never grow up. Or most of them were, anyway. Her heart ached for Stark -- the reason she had avoided the others all this time.

She grinned as Shikoba recognized his ragged little partner, and nudged Scuttle. Some of them make good friends, she said.




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Raze
Luperci SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2018 Champion!
tatter-winged phoenix
cunning linguist

POSTED: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:21 pm

(+563)

Hopefully gave you enough to post to if you so desire! Left it pretty open so we could end the thread either with my post or yours!

The shivering raven hoped closer at the coymutt’s greeting, warbling quickly in his native tongue as if he were trying to tell Shikoba something. The Whiplash quickly tossed out a few more handfuls to keep the other ravens at bay, doing his best to search the bag with each handful for a particular piece of food. “Sorry for leavin’ ya’, buddy. Figured it was best to let ya’ stay with the flock than go roamin’ the wilds with me. Guess I should’ve come and seen ya’ at least once since I’ve been back but…y’know, the war n’ all.” He explained, tossing out another handful as the raven came to stand by his feet.

Twitchtail unleashed a storm of incoherent Low Speech upon the coymutt, likely expressing his frustration with how things had gone between them, from Bronx’s fall, to Shikoba’s departure, to the dangers of the war and the ravens being systematically hunted down by their Thistle Kingdom enemy. Shikoba suffered through it, knowing the low-ranking corvid to have every reason to be upset. When Twitchtail seemed to come to the end of what he had to say, the Whiplash squatted down and let the bird step up onto his offered hand.

Shikoba pulled the bird in close, giving him as much of a hug as one could give a bird. “Hey, I’m sorry,” he told the raven softly. Twitchtail fought him at first, grabbing tufts of Shikoba’s thick neck fur or yanking on his braid. Eventually though, the bird seemed to accept the hug, and he stilled, clacking his beak. “I shouldn’t’ve left ya’, but, I thought what I was doin’ was for the best.”

He reached into the bag, pulling out a sizeable chunk of cooked meat. “Forgive me?”

The raven eyed the offering for a moment before quickly gulping it down. Whether the bird was simply being gluttonous or if it had been on purpose, Shikoba couldn’t help but to hiss when Twitchtail nabbed a bit of skin too. “Guess I deserved that, eh?”

Twitchtail squawked indifferently, pleading for more food.




Meanwhile, Scuttle perked up a bit at the Evocati’s invitation that she come over to her. She glanced at the darting black masses hesitantly before finally making a break for it. Low to the ground, she slunk over to where Vesper was, being sure to give the older coywolf a few appreciative—and submissive—licks at her chin and jawline. Her senses told her to not question about why Vesper no longer visited Ravenwrest as often, so, she focused instead on what else the Evocati had to say.

“Sorry,” she apologized sheepishly, “They’re just so big…and loud.” Her gaze shifted to where Shikoba and the raggedy raven were conversing. “’Koba told me that Inferni and the ravens have a history with one another. That they work with the Clan and help us on patrols and stuff.” Scuttle’s golden eyes moved back to look at Vesper. “Does that mean I could have a partner in one of them someday?”

“Ah, fehk, Chief! Little help ‘ere!” Shikoba suddenly yelled over the din of squawking ravens. He was surrounded by the dark birds as they swooped in to gorge on the bag that had somehow gotten turned over, leading to a mass free-for-all.

Shikoba Whiplash


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Songbird

Break me down

POSTED: Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:53 pm

Last post from me!

Twitchtail had a lot to say to Shikoba, warbling and croaking, and Vesper watched this with half a smile as Scuttle slunk up to her. She wagged her tail as the coydog greeted her with little submissive kisses and turned her eyes away from the personal conversation, thinking. Some of them are smaller and quieter, she said. She pointed her nose up at Sheker -- a runty raven who even now nibbled contentedly at a stringy piece of fat on a branch.

He's right about all that, though. I work to train them too. She flashed Scuttle a crooked grin, some of her old mischief and energy resurfacing. I'd help you if you did want to partner with one. I've made a few matches in my time. Very little would make her happier in a world where she suddenly lacked purpose. If she could do this small thing, see a clan tradition continue on -- it would please her, she thought.

Shikoba shouted in alarm, and Vesper looked up to see a swarm of ravens on the ground, gobbling meat and winter berries and other things. She laughed -- then she winked at Scuttle and, with all the speed and strength she could muster, hobbled forward into the midst of black birds and let out a mighty crow.




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Raze
Luperci SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2018 Champion!
tatter-winged phoenix
cunning linguist

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