[m] boats and birds

POSTED: Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:32 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Frogs croaked, their yellow throats swelling, as the watercolors of dusk played across the sluggish river. A dragonfly veered past Willow's nose as she settled on the shore and listened to them, her ears swiveling, relaxed and curious. Though there was more work to be done, especially in the nascent pack, she had set up some of her fishing lines for the evening and could afford to rest. There was a lot to absorb in New Caledonia – a new home.

She smiled and admired the river, appreciative of the kingdom's connections to parts of her old life. It would not have been as easy without them, or without family; she was overjoyed to build this new place alongside her youngest siblings. With the peeping frogs and gentle babble of the current, it seemed that the Goddess watched over the former Krokarans, too.

The dragonfly skimmed the surface of the river then hovered upward, alighting at last on a reed that bent under the insect's weight. Willow canted her head as her blue eyes studied the blue bug, and then she rose to her feet, approaching the water's edge. Pieces of broken reed, tangled and slimy with algae, floated along the weeds gathered at the riverbank, and Willow's fingers plucked them free.

Heart full of devotion and inspiration, Willow began to gather the reeds, and soon other things too: feathers lost in abandoned nests, pebbles smoothed by the current, bulrushes, pieces of eggshell.

For Priest co-rank! Learn about one of the Clans' gods from a past-member of Old Caledonia; if an old Caledonian yourself, teach!

[247 words]

Last edited by Willow Cormier on Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

I took the time to breathe
Among the rootbuds and the weeds
But the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
Privileged
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:20 pm

Priest co-rank prompt (bronze): Learn about one of the Clans' gods from a past-member of Old Caledonia; if an old Caledonian yourself, teach!

(452)

The prayers had been said, the offerings given of willing hands, words uttered from dutiful lips. Piety and pride were well established traits of House Eryn. The forest lords counted their legacy among the first of Taur’s, perhaps the first. And their son-— the last living branch of a once great and flowering tree— was no different. He held Nanin in the highest regard and exalted the verdant stag with gifts of bone, dried flowers, fungus, fragrant leaves for these were what Nanin loved best. Athras touched upon each of these murmuring the wisdom of ancient tongues, before pale fingers reached for the idol crafted of his own two hands. He touched its cloven hooves wrapped in twisting vines then his heart as he bowed his dark head. Hair like the darkest smoothest silk tumbled over his shoulders as he retreated, exiting the dark earthen shrine, gaze firm upon the idol until it fell beneath his sight.

A soft whinny bade the half-shadow to turn, and all at once the lord smiled. The stallion Hasufel tossed his fine head and walked toward his master to blow softly at his hair. Athras chuckled and turned the horse’s head aside. “Restless, are we?” Lenan’s horse had been a fine companion in his travels thus far, bred by the horse lords of the clan Menel for swift pursuits Hasufel was truly a fair beast to behold. The horse nudged his shoulder, “I’ll take that as a yes.” He rounded to his back, hand smoothing over the horse’s muscular neck down to his withers which he grasped and hopped smoothly astride.

Once they’d left the treeline Hasufel, free of reins and restraint, gave chase to the very wind. The river valley stretched out before them tranquil and inviting, the air filled with a symphony of sound. Crickets chirped, frogs croaked, and dragonflies sped through the air in an array of bright colors. Fireflies illuminated the dusk around them like a cascade of falling stars. And a figure bent at the river’s bank.

All too soon the shadow’s keen eyes beheld familiar chestnut, her dark wiry hair tumbling down her back in tight waves. Horse and rider changed their course and soon began to slow, though not without protest. The great stallion tossed his head but with pressure and insistence brought the beast to heel. He snorted indignantly and held his tail aloft but walked where the shadow bade, coming up behind the woman who stooped and bent, reverence in her lake blue gaze.

“I’m not interrupting, am I?” Spoke the lord, without the slightest hint of genuine concern, though his teal-lined eyes sharpened with a certain curiosity as he slid from the stallion’s back.

Athras
New Caledonia
The Lord-Regent
User avatar
Stormie
Luperci Priest I

POSTED: Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:03 am

Willow looked over the things she had gathered, gifts from the river, and idly began to arrange them into an aesthetically pleasing array. With twine, she might be able to bind the reeds and cattails into a bouquet, but now she only spread the items out and enjoyed their color, their texture – eggshells speckled or plain white, little mussel shells with bumpy ridges, frayed feathers brown and green. There was so much life in the river, and everything with a spirit.

She wondered – was this a different river spirit than the one in Krokar? Was this the Goddess of her home, or someone new, or were all rivers her rivers?

She pondered this as she rolled the soft sausage of a cattail between her fingers, then glanced up finally from her idle "work" when the muffled plod of horse hooves approached along the riverside. She'd heard him coming before then, of course, but it wasn't enough to pull her from this curious worship. The luxury of a pack was safety, trust that no ill would cross its borders, that everyone was a friend.

His voice made her smile, and Willow shook her head. She leaned over and adjusted the fragment of a shell so that it mirrored a dull pebble in the opposite corner, then wiped her hands on her thighs. She did not speak for a moment.

Then, her tone even and volume level like the rush of the current, her hands and fingers gesturing with subtle movements: We believe in a River Goddess, my fam'ly. Iomair said you had one, too.

An unspoken question. She looked back up at him, her lake blue gaze soft and earnest, hopeful.

The tranquility of her expression shifted briefly into a little smirk, thinning her eyes as she reprimanded, Last time I asked ya about th' other gods, ya got distracted. She picked up a reed and tapped it thoughtfully against her lip.

[324 words]


I took the time to breathe
Among the rootbuds and the weeds
But the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
Privileged
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:41 pm

[318] • before I nit-pick this anymore!

Athras was assured he didn’t need an invitation, but he saw the things for what they were: things of reed and eggshell, pebble and bullrush and proceeded after the nod. It was Willow that first asked him of Nanin, and as he held the verdant stag in superiority above all others this had only cemented her in his good graces.

But these gifts, these offerings were not for his Lord, who preferred the trappings of death and new life that sprung from fertile soil: bones and fragrant blossoms. Here he saw reeds and pebbles, shells, and cattails. He frowned pensively and lowered to her side. The answer presented itself in due time. “Hm.” He hummed softly, “there is one, but I am not of Her Realm. You’d have much better luck asking the queen. Tristin, perhaps?” The Regent’s eyes were guarded, gaze narrowed, lips pulled into a subtle frown. One which cracked smoothly, easily exchanging smirk for smirk.

His voice dropped low, uttering slow and sensual, “fine women distract me.” As he leaned forward to tug the end of the reed with his teeth. He need not mention the rest, she knew by now. He thought back to the since abandoned camp, musing.

There’d been a purpose to his actions then. If he’d revealed everything, told her all she wanted to know would she have come back? And what love did he bear Nín? He was not of the river clan. His parent’s poor trade had nearly made a mockery of him. Son of the highest order of Druids: wed to some lesser nobleman’s daughter. No, he bore them no love and resented the match to this day— the woman no less. What did he know of Nín...what did he care…

Hmm.

He sighed, relenting before a slippery sort of smile smoothed along his lips. “Keep me entertained and I’ll tell you all you need to know…”

Athras
New Caledonia
The Lord-Regent
User avatar
Stormie
Luperci Priest I

POSTED: Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:19 am

(303)

The woodsmoke lord settled at her side, frowning as he explained that he was no follower of this river goddess. "But y'know of her," she argued back, her eyes bright. "I'll ask 'em, too, but I wanted t' know what you thought." Left unspoken was the insinuation that she trusted his word, which might have been a dangerous thing – but Willow did honestly intend to find a worshiper, too. She wanted to know more about the culture of Old Caledonia, and Athras seemed to take great pride in his heritage. She felt less a fool coming to him than approaching the queen without even knowing anything about her goddess.

Willow tapped the reed against her mouth again, then laughed when he leaned in, teasing with teeth. "Wouldn't call myself a fine woman." She poked him in the nostril with the reed if he relinquished it, her grin lighting her blue eyes. No, she wasn't one of his fine ladies of a noble house, but the daughter of fisherfolk, wild and earthy and clumsy of tongue.

She wondered what he saw in her. She didn't ignore the possibility that this might be some cruel trick. She was optimistic, but not foolish.

Athras sighed then smirked, sly. He set his terms.

Willow puffed air through her jowls, glowering sidelong at him as she placed another reed down in the arrangement. "Last time y' got distracted so y' wanna be distracted again this time? En't no proper way t' teach." She maintained her indignancy through each racing leap of her heart, turning a cold shoulder as she pretended to focus on the coming-together offering.

But she watched him out of the corner of her eye, and one hand lazily gestured, the sign at odds with her admonishment.

It invited.


I took the time to breathe
Among the rootbuds and the weeds
But the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
Privileged
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:40 pm

(756)

The Lord debated with a soft contemplative hum, ears twitching forward at the earnesty of her plea, until he decided it’s worthiness. He regarded her carefully, his eyes lingering perhaps overlong. He could tell her anything, make it up as he went along, but instead Athras thought over what he knew: from the verdant stag came the seed of Nin planted, perhaps by accident, in the murky waters of Caledonia’s riverlands. The two clans Taur and Lorn were not always so dissimilar but overtime their differences grew, breeding more and more resentment as the gap lengthened. But perhaps, the King was right. With the clans dissolved now was the time for unity and a new beginning. He and he alone could bridge the gap and they might all be better for it.

He would teach her all he knew.

Athras’s nostrils twitched, he dodged the reed a little too late and narrowly avoided a sneeze, then grinned. Laughter followed, a soft indulgent chuckle accompanied by narrowing eyes. He reached out again, teeth clicking as he snapped it up and tugged firmly attempting to pry it from her grip altogether. And if he should pull her towards him, it was all the better.

There was a beat before he answered, a pause as their play wound down. “Not yet, perhaps.” he said softly, pensively then his gaze lifted to her own, “but I could make you one.” Athras held her there, held her stare soft blue to vivid cyan promising everything and nothing. An enigmatic smile followed and revealed precious little more. His mind traveled similar paths. He couldn’t deny the obvious, Willow was no lady, in his heart of hearts he knew this. The Lord reveled and reviled it in equal parts. But this was not Caledonia proper, there were no clans. Families were relevant but their importance would diminish over time. And here, he made the rules. The Realm was ripe with possibility.

He did not deny he cared for her and maybe that was odd. Her demeanor was casual, her words plain, and she possessed an enthusiasm that pushed the boundaries of the careful collected etiquette of the upper class. But perhaps that was just it. She wasn’t the demure daughter of some stodgy noble house who could trace her lineage back to the beginning of time. She was exciting, she was radiant, and he greatly enjoyed her company.

Willow was the reason he found his eyes so often trained on the verdant green of Lebennin. Of course he could do without some things... Now, her moral compass was a fine thing, but it was something he found to be a little inflexible. Although he did enjoy the challenge of finding the words that would turn her thoughts to favor his own. And if only, if only he could teach her how to hold a conversation without setting his ears to ringing! Then, she would be perfect.

He chuckled again at her suspicious sidelong glance, the soft puff of breath as she scoffed. “But you did learn.” The Lord grinned and slowly shifted until his long sighthound muzzle came to rest on her shoulder. His hand came to smooth down her upper arm until it rested on the one that corralled the offerings just so. He nudged the fingers encouraging the items into a new shape. “Arrange them in a circle.” He whispered. “It’s an iconography our priests share— the circle represents the never-ending cycle of life.” Athras let go of her hand and watched as she made the adjustments, nudging the offerings every so often until they made a shape he found satisfactory. He continued. “Her name is Nín, but she goes by many more.” He swept a long lock of Willow's thick wiry hair down her back, “Silt-speaker, they call her. And say she began as a seed within the dark hollow of the great stag’s chest. A seed which then fell into the still waters when Nanin stooped to drink. There she grew and grew, a beast neither bird nor fish.” The tips of his nose buried itself into the wiry hair of her throat and there he breathed of her scent, filling his lungs before his muzzle traveled upwards back to her ear where he paused to nip ever-so-gently at its edge.

"Those that pay heed to the balance of life, who protect it may earn her favor, but it is not freely given." Cyan eyes cast out to her offerings, now in the appropriate shape, "this is a start."

Athras
New Caledonia
The Lord-Regent
User avatar
Stormie
Luperci Priest I

POSTED: Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:28 am

The hint of promise in Athras' eyes intrigued her – and worried her, too. She wondered at his motivations, wondered if this might be a ploy, treading close to concepts that the fisherwoman didn't understand. She chose to glance aside, interpreting his words in the plainest sense: that he would help fashion her into someone with proper Caledonian etiquette and finery.

She said, Don't need anyone t' change me.

Willow didn't mind playing his games, exploring these deep and dangerous waters for the thrill and beauty she might find, but she was an experienced enough woman now to set clear boundaries. Athras could toy with them, as long as he did not cross them, which was why she allowed him to slink closer now.

His long muzzle settled on her shoulder, his fingers trailing down her arm to her hands, as he helped her arrange the simple little offerings into the proper shape. She did so earnestly, focused on the circle: the eggshells of birth, life in its many forms from feather to reed, to the stone of death as all things became ground. It wasn't until the lord spoke of Nín that her attention drifted with his hand in her hair, pushing it back from where it hung in her concentration.

He pressed his nose to her throat, and if he lingered there he would be able to feel the jump of her pulse.

She thought of his proximity and thought of how others had been close to her in the past and thought of their differences: Nalluk always holding her hand, their fingers interlinking with hers, afraid to leave her touch; O'Brien and the way he smoothed the fur of her cheeks back with his thumbs, staring at her with his brown eyes as if committing her every expression to memory.

Willow kept still, listening to the druid's words and smiling at last when he said this offering was a start. Her hands retreated from the arrangement, and she leaned back into him a little bit, contentedly.

She was born of Nanin in a way, then. He has the forests 'n' she has the rivers, but what about the places they share?

There were trees whose roots branched into deep puddles, creatures who graced the woodlands but swam too in the creeks that crossed them. Athras already taught her about the balance of life and death, how each were part of one another in a cycle of decay and rebirth, and it seemed that Nín and Nanin's domains overlapped in this aspect too. She wanted to know how much.

[WC: 439]


I took the time to breathe
Among the rootbuds and the weeds
But the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet
New Caledonia
Privileged
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

New Caledonia