I am a one man band

POSTED: Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:31 pm

calan brecours
The images are for general reference. All welcome, regardless of whether you know Calan or not! [+1126]

Some, Calan surmised, would call his home ‘unique’: one word, carefully neutral, often with a pause leading up to it. They’d say it in the same tone as when they described someone else’s child as ‘creative’, or a botched piece of craftsmanship as ‘well… something’. Careful not to offend. Calan didn’t care. He thought it was perfect.

Box-car like, his house stood long and narrow, with one door placed on either of the short sides. It was pretty obvious to passerby which door was the one to enter: one, freshly cleaned, was easily accessible from a cracked-concrete path, while the other, speckled with mildew, required a walk through the overgrown grasses and weeds. Rough stone walls and a semi-thatched roof completed the idyllic picture of slightly-precarious comfort.

From the outside, the structure as a whole somehow managed to look both completely unassuming and instantly recognizable. The merchant had made a point of picking something closer to the middle of the residences, knowing that it would be best for business. While the overall size and colour of the building looked just like his neighbours’, its odd proportions caught the eye. That, plus the honest-to-gods scarecrow he’d managed to stake into the front lawn, was enough to draw attention.

Inside, he’d attached shelves made of old wooden crates to the stone walls and filled them whatever he’d found and bartered for in his travels - bolts of fabric, pots and pans, the odd book or two. Rugs of all shapes and sizes littered the floor, a trail of textural breadcrumbs that lead to a small pile of them folded neatly in the corner. In another corner was a collection of plastic beer crates, some cracked with age, holding a hodgepodge of unlabelled dark brown bottles. It was hard to tell from sight alone what each corked vessel contained, but the way the crates were stacked suggested that someone had put some thought into their location. Tea canisters rested on the windowsill, showcasing dried assortments of flowers, lemongrass, and tobacco to anyone passing by.

The air had already taken on that slightly musty tinge of old things - a combination of warped wood and mothballs - but it wasn’t overpowering, and mingled pleasantly with the sweet scents of mint and woodsmoke. While it still felt oddly minimalist - there were no large pieces of furniture, and more gaps than actual product lined the shelves - it showed the distinct promise of a hoarder’s house-to-be. It was, subjectively, quite nice.

Calan’s ‘home’ - rather, the half of the building that hadn’t been designated as a shop - had been half-curtained off in an illusion to privacy. The theme of repurposed materials and rugs continued from one space to another, as various piles and hides layered on top of one another kept the stone floor above from leeching all the warmth from underfoot. Here, too, the furniture was sparse: only a small futon bed, a wooden chest, and a waterlogged table adorned the space. The collection of objects on the third piece of furniture was perhaps the most unexplainable: a wooden box carved with roses, a rusted set of scales that looked like they only questionably worked, an incredibly small set of hammers, pliers and screwdrivers, a small brass rooster, and an old globe, its map mostly invisible from sun bleaching.

The main feature of this room was a large stone fireplace, big enough for cooking, that took up a significant portion of the wall opposite the door. That was where the blond was currently focusing his attention, aquamarine eyes glazing as they stared on the hot white ashes. The warmth of it didn’t seem to touch him. Though shivers wracked his feverish body, he made no move from where he was seated to rekindle the dying fire. The merchant only clutched his blanket closer, blinking slowly, lost in thought.

He’d almost drowned. There was no gentle way to put it. One moment he’d been going about his normal, naive life; the next, he’d come face to face with one of his greatest nightmares. He felt like just yesterday that he’d felt cold water snatching his breath as he went under, the fierce burning in his lungs, and the frightening calm he’d felt when he’d realized this was probably the end. The acceptance of it had scared him the most. But then he’d made contact with Wither’s arms, and the desire to live had been strong enough to bring him back.

Whoever said that facing your fears made you stronger deserved to rot in Hell. If anything, he now just had a more acute awareness of what to fear.

Shit. He grit his teeth together so tightly, it was a wonder they didn’t crack. It had been a week since and he still wasn’t back to his normal self. Honestly, it was getting hard to remember what normal even was. His head was still pounding as the mild fever worked his way through his body. Every so often he’d stop to let out a body-wrenching sneeze, or a dry hack that inflamed his whole chest. Calan had lost all sense of appetite, too; he’d switched to an ‘all liquid diet’ of tea and moonshine, with the occasional piece of jerky to tide him over. It wasn’t optimal, sure, but he could manage.

The nightmares were another thing altogether. He’d given up on trying to sleep unaided, chugging back a quick nightcap - or three - but it didn’t stop them from coming. As sleep evaded him more and more often, they started to evade his waking hours: any moment he happened to drift off was a prime opportunity for fresh horror. They wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t change all the bloody time, morphing grotesquely from one fever dream to another: the ceiling crashing down above him, revealing a sky of fire; the lovely lady Fennore, fresh for the ball, her hair turning into snakes; his mother dying, over and over, bloody foam spilling from her parted lips. And all the while - water forcing itself into his throat, the shock of his muscles, the darkness.

He blinked. The visions cleared, revealing the fire once more. The Sitsina sighed, finally deigning himself to stand up. Nimble fingers threw another couple logs onto the fire, while distracted eyes looked around for a half-empty bottle. As he poured another generous, hearty splash of whisky into his teacup, he didn’t notice that the door to his shop - and therefore, the door to his home - remained unlocked. Anyone could step in and catch him in this state. But ignorance was bliss, and the blond only flopped himself down once more in front of the fireplace, scowling.

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Nocturne

POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:08 pm

( ̄^ ̄ )ゞ [+1100]

As time passed, he took more and more to exiting their house and spending some time among those of New Caledonia. He was, of course, still as slow to engage as ever. But to make himself available seemed a right step. What with the growing dedication to actually providing the aid he’d promised. Frequent encounters with the Moonwraith, strides in Ierian’s recovery, the frank conversation shared with Iomair. All these and more made the healer slowly come out of his shell, even if, at times, he would take two steps back for every one step made forward.

Yet, once again, he found himself walking through the pack-inhabited settlement, steeped, as always, in his thought. His black pelt remained uncovered, including of course the ever present burn, worn on his left shoulder like a pauldron forever sewed into his skin. He remained confident enough in his gait, yet he knew little of what he would do if he actually encountered someone. What was right to do in the first place? Strike up a conversation? What about? Another idle mention of the weather? More lamenting, no doubt shared by them all, of the cruel Winter, that could no doubt be followed by swiftly invoking the hope for a more bountiful Spring? Predictable, formulaic. At least with those he knew he could have called their name and seen where it would go from there.

Thus preoccupied by pondering his own lamentable social skills, he would not have paid that much more mind to the house than he did to any other. Living in houses at all was an acquired taste, if one that he discovered to have certain appeal. There was some odd effigy before it, perhaps meant as protection from something. Another worshiper of the spirits, perhaps? He attempted to draw a parallel between this vaguely humanoid figure and the shrines he’d seen erected for Nanin. Different. Well, perhaps New Caledonia had many to speak of and require specific worship. Bellad did circle the effigy at least once with some degree of careful suspicion. It was from the viewpoint of the scarecrow that he noticed the door.

An unlocked door presenting a slit through which to slip in still wasn’t all that inviting to him. He would have appreciated people not barging into his own dwelling, though he’d made it a point to check and afford no blunders while Ierian still rested in bed, gathering strength. Surely, undone as it was, this was no reason for him to simply invite himself in. He drew in air through his nostrils and perked up his ears. There was sound and scent to suggest this wasn’t one of the still unoccupied dwellings. There was fire inside, though the smell was growing faint. There was also an occupant, at least one. His hearing was what provided the biggest clue, and with it – the biggest incentive to enter. He heard a loud sneeze.

Very well then, so be it. Were it merely someone who cared little for their privacy he would have let it slide and let others take care of it. As, however, they seemed to care little for not just their privacy, but also their health, they entered his purview. One that he was not about to ignore. Still, it wasn’t that he tossed himself at the door and threw it open with demand to take him to the ailing luperci, or a yelled prayer upon the spirits to keep one healthy. His approach was still slow, wary, giving the sneeze a chance to recur if need be. Yet no one stopped his advance or barred it by shutting the door in his way. So he placed a hand on the, as he only now noticed, deliberately tidied up door, and opened it, taking a careful step inside.

As with the effigy outside, the first thing he felt was confusion. The place was quite packed, though not with any objects one should care to have in their home, unless one were a consummate hoarder. Had he wandered haplessly into one of the warehouses of New Caledonia? If so, it was not a very organized one. The aged scents mingled and hit him in the nostrils, urging him, for a moment, to try and undo the braid of sensations into single strings of information. What was in that corner? What was that on that shelf? What manner of material was this holder from which bottles, glistening where they weren’t covered in dust, made of? None were answers the black-pelted healer could provide on his own. He would have to seek those from the keeper of this warehouse. Or else an eccentric collector most assuredly. His fiery-orange eyes scanned the room, quickly finding the one life-bearing object in here. One that was, to be sure, in a sorry state.

To call the man a fool for having let the room run this cold while clearly suffering from it would have been a bad conversation starter, so Bellad stilled the first breath that he’d just about let out on sheer impulse. Instead he drew in a new one, exhaled it, perhaps more audibly than he'd intended, and on the third finally seemed to have enough in his lungs to produce speech. Speech he could keep controlled and render in his typical calm, somewhat ceremonious tone. His speech, while similar in language to most of Caledonians, seemed strangely archaic. “Pray, forgive my intrusion. I heard signs of… illness from you. Signs you may require aid.” He couldn’t help his glance wandering somewhat throughout the interior of this unusually packed dwelling. So many objects, and yet none to guard the poor fool from the cold, save perhaps for the blanket he was huddling in. Well, at least he was not pouring buckets of cold water over his head, or otherwise facilitating his seeming disease.

That said, it would not be surprising for the owner of the dwelling itself to find Bellad himself peculiar. After all, he still hadn’t begun wearing clothing like most of New Caledonians did, deviating from mere bipedal beast only thanks to the water skin off his shoulder, and a group of mismatched medicine pouches hanging in front of his chest from his neck. It occurred to said intruder, that the sick warden of this stockpile had little way of telling just what aid he could provide. Or indeed why the tribal wolf had allowed himself in based on naught by the sound of a sneeze. Preempting a possible question, this earned him an introduction, brief as it was. “I am Bellad Songthorn. I keep the health of the pack.”

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POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:05 pm

calan brecours
this romp was on repeat while i was writing this! [+738]

The telltale creak of the front door jolted the poorly merchant out of his little reverie. Calan’s body physically jerked at the sound, adrenaline coursing, while his mind raced to make sense of the unexpected intrusion. Then he cursed, his mind catching up to the present. Merde, he grumbled, tightening his grip on his teacup. Of course he’d leave the door unlocked. To be fair to him, the blond was still getting used to having random strangers traipse up to his home unannounced; the shop had only been open for a couple weeks, and most still just searched him out in the town square when they were in need of something. He hadn’t been thinking, but that was nothing new, nor was it surprising in his sorry state. Now he just had to figure out how to get this unwanted arrival to leave as soon as possible.

Despite the sounds of feet against carpet, Calan made no move to greet his new customer. A part of him hoped that, if he were fortunate, they’d notice that he wasn’t around and leave. He honestly could have cared less if they lifted something in the process - if they were that desperate for a smoke or a drink, they could just have it. It would beat having to interact with anyone in his less-than-perfect mood.

Of course, hope was for optimists. Reality was never so lucky.

Not only did the stranger refuse to leave, but he - and the intruder was a he, as Calan soon saw - even had the gall to snoop around to his back room. The flaxen-haired man was soon faced with someone he would normally determine to be quite handsome; tall, well-muscled, and dark of fur, with the kind of eyes that betrayed his cautious nature. The kind of wolf that could sweep him off his feet, physically and metaphorically - or the kind that Calan would have fun seeing what words he’d scream in bed. Instead, Calan could only close his eyes and take a deep breath, trying to save himself from outright snapping at the blundering idiot. Couldn’t he see that he was closed for business? What happened to those old notions of common courtesy? He frowned deeper. If the man was still this oblivious, he deserved to have his head chewed off.

And he sure took his sweet time to speak, that was for certain. Calan could only raise one eyebrow in thinly veiled disbelief, his patience thinning, as the man stalled. He decided to cut off the dark stranger before he launched into whatever plea he’d dredged up. We’re closed. His tone made it clear that that wasn’t about to change. Lanky golden hair, usually so carefully brushed and plaited, fell out from where he’d tucked it behind his ears.

But then the man spoke - and when he did, it was to offer… help? That was unusual. The golden dog wrinkled his nose at the man’s peculiar idiolect. He hadn’t heard someone that formal since his days under his father’s wing. Who was this guy? Even when he offered his name, Calan’s confusion didn’t lift. Since when had they had a healer here? That was news to him, and Calan - someone who prided himself on knowing everything - wasn’t in the mood for surprises.

He’d heard 'signs of illness', he'd said? Calan’s azure eyes flitted briefly towards the shop door, then back to the tall wolf. Looked like he’d have to find some way to do better soundproofing. It didn’t bode well that someone could hear his conversations from the outside. Privacy was mighty important to him.

He didn’t offer his name in return. Any other day he’d find that kind of behaviour rude; but today, his head throbbing, every word felt like a dagger straight to his spinal cord. His normally golden tenor voice was rough and scratchy with illness. The merchant swallowed audibly, the pain visible on his face, as he tried to clear some of the phlegm. And I don’t need your help. Now, you know where the door is. And with that, the blond turned his head back to the flames, tucking his hair behind his ear as he did so.

Of course, he’d just have to sneeze again, right at that moment. Calan cursed aloud as another fresh wave of pain flooded his sinus-stuffed face. Fucking annoying, he snuffled, reaching for a handkerchief.

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POSTED: Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:59 am

( ̄^ ̄ )ゞ [+700]

This was not quite the welcome he’d been given so far, but, given the circumstances, wasn’t quite one that he wouldn’t have expected. He did intrude uninvited, even if he was going to help. Many possible answers moved through his head, including just dragging the indignant man by the ear and pulling him wherever it was warmer. Some of his elders back in the day did no less when a cub would ignore an illness. This one was no cub, or else a very large one. And what did “we’re closed” even mean? The door was unlocked. We? Was there someone other than him here?

A repeated sneeze put a rather unconvincing stop to the fair-haired luperci’s statement. Were it merely the sound, it would not seem so grave, but the pain apparent in his expression inspired less confidence in his well-being. This man, most assuredly, truly was a fool. It would probably not kill him. Probably. It would simply pain him, and perhaps keep “them closed” a while longer, whoever “they” were. In a less physical sense, he certainly was closing himself off, more so when the man uttered curse. Charming really, especially with the nasally undertone.

“Yes, well, you certainly seem to be thriving…” The words were so full of chilly vitriol it’s a wonder the fire hadn’t been snuffed out by his breath. Not the best bedside manner to be sure, but he found it hard to hold back at the canine’s harsh rebuke. The gaze of his fiery eyes steeled, and for a moment, had the owner of this dwelling looked at him, it would almost seem as though he was about to stare the ailing hoarder down in his own home. As if realizing the potency of this stare, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He smelled dust, age of the items around him, fire, the man before him, who, at his own unspoken insistence, remained a stranger. As it often happened, pulling apart the jumble of smells and focusing on each item in turn calmed his nerves.

“Listen well…” He began, eyes still closed as he tried to maintain his sense of decorum and spare his unwilling host the pain of having to look into his eyes. The way he looked now, with eyes obscured, and the way his speech slowed and quieted down, were oddly mesmerizing, almost as though he was relaying words from elsewhere. This, of course, was not the case, and Bellad was merely keeping his temper on a tight leash to convey a desire to help, rather than further diminish this already miserable-seeming custodian of odds and ends. How did Ierian do it? He was so much better at convincing unruly patients to succumb to treatment and let their pains be eased. The healer of the pack had to speak while he'd hopefully won himself some attention.

“Say the word, and I shall step out the door. You will be able to seek me out by name when next you head outside and should your ailment still grip you then. You will not see me uninvited till then.” Likely an alternative the host would have preferred at this time. He raised a hand and continued without pause as if to intercept a knee jerk “yes please” that would prevent one from hearing out the alternative. Perhaps there would even be far harsher words, considering the initial exchange and the healer's failure to be immediately repelled. Bellad's eyes finally opened, the fire in them somewhat softened. They were now more calm and inquisitive than piercing. “Permit me, and I shall give you the barest minimum to at least free your breath, make it less labored. The method is simple, and you would be able to reproduce it on your own, unattended. I shall show you once, and leave you to your…” Junk? “… privacy. What shall it be?”

The question left room for either answer, and he by no means expected only the one he himself considered most natural. The black pelted healer stood still, hands lowered, his muzzle in an expression of a patient calm, intelligent eyes focused on the would-be patient. Last thing he wanted now was to look threatening, thus he did what he could to even out his tone to the usual dignified manner. Even softer now, in admiring mimicry of his older brother. So what was it going to be?

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POSTED: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:58 pm

calan brecours
I swear he normally talks more! [+691]

So the idiot also had a death wish, did he? He certainly seemed to, if his sarcastic tone implied anything. Either way, it wasn’t winning him any brownie points with the sick trader. Calan could only snort in disbelief, raising his left hand to give him the bird, while he blew his nose with the handkerchief in his right. A quick glance over his shoulder revealed that the man had closed his eyes, missing out on his uncouth response. Too bad. He rubbed the bridge of his long nose, hoping to return some sort of feeling to his sinuses, as he waited to hear whatever drivel this guy wanted him to listen to.

As the stranger - Bellad, he reminded himself, he has a name - dredged up whatever he wanted to say from the bowels of his mind, Calan took the opportunity to study him in more detail. His rheumatic eyes skirted first to the large burn that wrapped the entirety of his left shoulder, easily his most noticeable physical trait. The skin had toughened in a way that told him it had long since healed; however, it didn’t take a healer to realize that the fur would never properly grow back again. It looked gnarly. Absently, Calan wondered if it still bothered the man from time to time. His eyes trailed down to where the burn continued onto his hip with almost guilty curiosity, grateful that he wouldn’t be caught staring.

Then again, the blond realized, Bellad had had every opportunity to cover the affected area up with some kind of clothing. Even a simple cloak would do the trick. But he’d chosen not to. The dark wolf probably didn’t mind at all if people looked. Why? Was he proud of these burns? Calan bit his lip in thought, but couldn’t fathom his reasoning. If he had had anything similar, he’d have never let it see the light of day again, no matter how heroically he’d earned the scars. He’d never want to have that much of a walking conversation piece attached to his body at all times, practically begging people to ask him about it.

The merchant shifted his attention upwards again. He took note of the small pouches of various sizes and materials that dangled from his neck, the only accessory the black-pelted man seemed to otherwise entertain. What did they contain? Calan could see the glint of a bead attached to one, but it did nothing to alleviate his curiosity, nor his confusion. The only one he could vouch for with any certainty was the water pouch, not unlike the one he’d once had.

The one at the bottom of a river now, along with all of his other belongings. Right.

He let his aquamarine eyes draw once more to the fireplace, pensive. The logs he’d thrown on moments before finally started to catch fire, letting out a hot, cedar-sweet aroma. He’d disconnected by the time the dark-pelted wolf raised his voice to speak once more, having finally collected his thoughts. Calan breathed in as he listened to Bellad’s offer, noting the way he raced through the pauses, clearly expecting him to interrupt. Clever man.. But he was too tired to find it as amusing as he normally would. The acrid smoke scratched against his throat.

Then it was his turn to answer. He was right: what would it be? The offer was tame enough, and still came with the caveat that the man would get out of his house as soon as possible. And if he could breathe better? The tickle in his throat grew, forcing his eyes to prick with tears. Well, that suited Calan just fine.

…And what do you want in return? he asked, talking over the growing discomfort. Though he truly doubted the man would feed him a bunch of voodoo mumbo-jumbo, he had no intention of going into this deal blind. In Calan’s opinion, anything good had a price - and no one was this nice if they were actually good at their job. His eyes flitted uneasily to the pouches once more, hoping they would solve this mystery.

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POSTED: Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:39 am

( ̄^ ̄ )ゞ [+600]

This was neither an agreement, nor a rejection. But at least a sign that the suggestion had entered the stranger’s mind and elicited some sort of response, made him consider. Silence would have been far worse retaliation, and Bellad took this for an opportunity to continue. For what some might have thought, instant altruism was not the truest path for Bellad to take. He remembered as much from his past, from since before he or Ierian had their burns, when their pelts were an untarnished black and their dreams were void of ashes and flares.

The tribe was merciful, and rarely would they turn one away when in need. They knew those who came to them ailing rarely knew how to help themselves, thus rarely would they know what to bring the tribe in advance with which to permit them to heal illness. Many a way to pay back was devised, some more practical and yielding more resource than others. Often the patient, deemed capable of course, would be put to a form of labor. Some would be put to a hunt, some to scavenge with members of the tribe. An act to replenish their stocks, if only a little. When rumors, scarce as they were, of the Slave Lake healers came to spread, some would come with gifts prepped in advance. Fabrics and foodstuffs and, most valued, were seeds and herbs. Not all had either to offer, in which case they’d leave tokens. By far the most ritualized act of reciprocation, a possession left behind, sometimes purely sentimental, sometimes bearing some manner of practical application.

Bellad saw the man’s mismatched collection, if only briefly. From their exchange so far, he felt he wanted little in the ways of a token from this person. Although, disorienting as this luperci's stockpile was, there still may have been herb, with which he could do much good for the Realm, but to take it as payment for what he has planned in aid of the canine’s health would amount almost to trickery. At least in his mind. He would spend naught but time. Perhaps some other time he could bargain for those with his for now nameless host. For now, he would not. He’d asked nothing in return for what he’d spent before, whether on Fennore or else on Thyri. The latter still lashed at him with occasional pangs of regret. There’ll be a different time for tariffs and tithes. Thus for now his response was…

“Naught.”

The remark was uttered with absolute brevity, eyes never shifting away from the ailing assembler of bric-a-bracs. Fixated as he was, and listening closely, there wasn’t much difficulty in identifying the man’s tension. Putting on airs to hold back the very signs of illness that had brought the healer through the recklessly unlocked door. Pointless really. What was there left to hide now? It is not as though Bellad could believe the nameless man to just swallow the illness and pass it for a momentary fluke. Not now, not with the look on his face, and not even with minute signs in his scent.

“You will merely provide me with means that I’ll show how to use. A cloth, much like your blanket, or perhaps a Caledonian cloak. Water and a way to boil it. A bowl, whichever you can afford, in which the water is to be placed. That is all, bar your patience and agreement to be treated.” To be fair, something told me the latter were of most scarcity in the sick man’s abode. His piece said, Bellad stood patient once more, and awaited the decision of one yet unnamed.

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POSTED: Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:44 pm

calan brecours
>.< [+684]

Naught? What kind of answer was that? Calan’s eyes squinted even further, growing more dubious of the man’s offer. Still, the dark wolf sounded knowledgeable, if a little stuffy, and the calm and orderly way that he presented his supply needs helped to swing him more in Calan’s favour. Perhaps he really was this nice - or he just thought a couple tips wouldn’t be worth much in trade. Even then, it still made the blond unsettled. He didn’t want to be in debt if he could avoid it, and was used to be being ‘the generous one’. So to owe Bellad anything, even if it was just a little bit of guidance… well, it didn’t rest well on his stomach. His anxiety, heightened by his groggy mind, yelled at him to keep everyone else away. He was supposed to trust no one else but himself in his inevitable failures. It was his fault that he was sick, after all; so, it made sense that it was his responsibility to get better.

More than anything else in the world, Calan just couldn’t stand being a burden.

But something in the way that Bellad looked at him - whether it was his unwavering gaze, or his nonchalant delivery - helped him to ease, allowing him to acknowledge his self-destructive thoughts. He wasn’t going to get out of this alone, and definitely not without any medical help. So the flaxen-haired dog sighed, breaking eye contact, and allowed himself to be won over.

…Alright. I’ve got a cloth and bowl here, easy peasy. As for water… there’s a crate of the stuff out front, in some dark green bottles - he huffed with the effort it took to stand up, bumbling his way over to his storage chest - right by the front door. They should have a vee marking in chalk on the cap. The blanket that had so carefully swaddled his body had been left behind in his abrupt rising, and he shivered violently in his unclothed state. When in seven hells had it got so cold? He swore he’d been sweating just a moment ago. It didn’t make any sense.

Wavering ever so slightly, the golden dog undid the latch holding his chest secure. Then he paused. Er. Should be a vee. Might be an aitch…. He shook his head, hoping in vain it would clear his scattered thoughts. His sinuses screamed bloody murder as he leaned over to rummage through its contents, searching out the cloth wrap he knew he’d find.

The trader bit his lower lip, fighting the whimper that wanted to flee, unwarranted, from his mouth. Gods, he felt like shit.

It usually took a lot for Calan to get sick. Though the blond couldn’t pride himself in much, he at least had a strong constitution that never let him down. It had served him well through countless all-nighters and stupid situations in his younger years. At most, he’d have had a cold for a day or two. Nothing worse than particularly troublesome hangover -- and that was an illness that he was more than a little familiar with, no matter the age. Now, he couldn’t remember the last time that he’d been sick - really sick, like he was now. He scrounged around for memories as his hands scrounged for fabric.

Just as he found what he was looking for - and narrowly missed hitting his head on the lid of the chest as he reared up to fully standing - he took in the man still staring at him. His cream-and-white form stiffened at what he interpreted as the man’s confusion. Calan ran back what he’d said, realizing that the directions had been more than a little unclear, and responded by reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. It wasn’t worth explaining his horrid sense of organizing - not when he could, on a good day, barely explain it to himself. Never mind, I’ll just grab it, he muttered, the cloth wrap still in hand. With that, he started to make his way towards the shopfront.

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Nocturne

POSTED: Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:40 pm

( ̄^ ̄ )ゞ [+700]

At least he refused him no further, and would not dismiss the Songthorn’s offer as insincere. That much was well, and allowed for further steps. The canine stood, he was still nameless to him, yet spoke to him without interjecting expletives. They were making progress, albeit slowly. It was the directions that this strange man gave him that made Bellad pause. It was water that they lacked in this very room, and the luperci in charge of this warehouse of a dwelling seemingly implied it was to be found among the cornucopia of the less lived-in room.

Was the language they were speaking the same? A "vee"? What manner of thing was a “vee”? His mind tensed and rummaged through words of a similar sound. Was the stranger rendering the word “bee” differently from the rest? Could that be what he implied? Now he insisted it could be an “aitch”. This Bellad struggled with further. It was even more scarcely comparable to any familiar term. Besides, how would one even begin to turn an itch into a sensible marking? Or an ache? Or whatever it was that the golden-pelt was implying unbeknownst to Bellad.

He was at once slightly ashamed and relieved that his would-be patient headed out on his own. But at least it would spare him the need of seeking out any ache itching bees on the caps of unknown bottles. When the owner of the overflowing shelves finally returned with a bottle, Bellad took a whiff of the contents. For one, if there were so many, and not all were marked as the man had intended, he could have fetched the wrong one. Furthermore, with his nose as challenged at the moment as it was, he doubted his unwilling host could make the test on his own. He might have chugged it, the healer imagined, but that, as far as checking the nature of any liquid, would have been most unwise.

Water, a bowl and suitable cloth. With all elements now in place, Bellad ushered the canine to return to his chair, though he somewhat removed it from the fireplace, instead feeding the flame another log. The actions Bellad next performed were far from cryptic. He filled a kettle with the water provided and set it to boil. The wait for the water to heat created between them a void of silence that one could, perhaps, find awkward. At least the burn-marked luperci did not drill his host with a stare while they waited.

Minutes later, there was still no immediate strangeness about his actions when he poured the water into the bowl provided. With the bowl filled with boiling hot water, the healer set it on a small stool, placed close in front of the canine luperci, where his lap would have been had Bellad not told him to spread his knees and make room. The bowl was most surely positioned far too low for the patient to drink from. Then came the time for further instructions. “I ask you but to breathe through your nose, much as you can. For the heat of the water shall rise to meet your breath. Inhale, exhale, gradual, slow as you can afford. This cloth I shall throw over your head and the bowl. It must form a cover to keep the heat to your face. Warm your breath till it comes through easier. Whilst you feel the heat – breathe.” True to his words, which mercifully preceded the action itself, he tossed the cloth over the head of the nameless, like a makeshift tent to house only him and the steam from the bowl.

To be sure, the healer was now hidden from sight, yet he made it a point to kneel on the floor close to the one being treated. Then, however briefly, he spoke, if only to reinforce is proximity rather than make it seem as though the guest would simply walk away, leaving the hoarder a cloth-blinded fool with head bent over a bowl of hot water. “If you feel a sickness save for one in your breath, speak whilst I’m close at hand.” And close at hand he remained, vigilant for a sign of further aid being required.

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Howlykin
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POSTED: Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:18 pm

calan brecours
how i imagine him looking [+612]

Silence descended over the two gentlemen as they waited for the water to boil — which, as one could imagine, was riveting stuff. Easily most entertaining part of his day, here. The Sitsina only just managed to hold his tongue from making a less-than-kind remark. Was Bellad going to teach him how to make tea? Calan knew how to steep some hot leaf water, thank you very much; he wasn’t totally useless. But the medic didn’t seem to want to explain - nor make any kind of small talk, for that matter. The merchant’s blue eyes kept flickering over in the direction of the Songthorn, hoping he would say something - anything - only to be disappointed. It seemed that the dark pelted wolf found the kettle much more interesting than anything Calan could contribute. He shifted in his seat. Should he say something? The silence grew more awkward the more that he thought about it.

The directions were simple enough, he supposed, though the blond did have to run them back once more to make sure that he properly understood. His healer seemed to have a way with words - and by that, he seemed to thrive in making things sound as needlessly complicated as possible. Or maybe it was the illness clouding his brain. So, like…this?… His fiery hair fell forward as he leaned his face towards the steaming bowl, strands falling into the bowl of hot water. The man paid it no mind; he had needed to wash his hair eventually. Best to hit two birds with one stone, right?

But instead of an affirmation, Calan was blinded. Not literally - but gods, did he not almost upend the bowl of hot water right then and there into his lap. As it was, he stiffened. With one sense already impaired, losing a second felt like a leap of faith, no matter how much prior warning he’d been given. However, as his eyes adjusted to the hazy world under the cloth, he found the experience rather soothing. Soft light trickled through the white of the fabric, gentle to his rheumatic eyes. The heat rose to tickle his long muzzle, pores opening. He adjusted his distance to the steam to avoid overwhelming his nose.

In, out. In, out. His world narrowed to focus solely on the speed of his breaths. It became easy to let his thoughts float freely, latching on nothing in particular, as he meditated. When Bellad spoke, Calan only nodded his head to acknowledge that he’d heard him. It felt blasphemous to interrupt his little bubble of serenity with speech. His dark-pelted healer didn’t try and ask him anything further, as if sensing his mood — or maybe he really was this quiet all the time, thinking back to his earlier observations. As the seconds passed, however, he found it more difficult to breathe through his nose, not less. His sinuses were clearing, if the amount of mucus buildup proved anything. Still, he did his absolute best to hang on for as long as he possibly could.

When he couldn’t take it any longer, the lean sheltie rose to his normal sitting position, only too aware of his tense lower back muscles. He looked a sight for sore eyes: the cloth still shrouding his head, while water-dipped hair ran rivulets down his tawny chest. The blond made no move to remove the cloth from where it blocked his view. Instead, he turned his head in the general direction he’d heard Bellad’s voice, hoping that he hadn’t shifted around too much in the last minute. Do you have a tissue? he honked, the snot buildup reaching new, unbearable heights.

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Nocturne

POSTED: Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:52 am

( ̄^ ̄ )ゞ [+600]

The healer was thankful in part for having had the silence filled with nothing but the crackling firewood and the bubbling of water. Preparation for his treatment was not questioned, nor his experience scrutinized. Internally, Bellad had been bracing himself for possible misinterpretations of his instructions as he carried on with the process. For his ailing host to attempt to sip the hot water, to turn his nose from it, any number of acts of defiance or else attempts to somehow do better than the healer advised. Mercifully, the man figured to lower his head, even as his hair touched the water, and the blocking of light did not cause him to thrash his head or panic and upend the bowl.

Unbeknownst to the unseeing canine, Bellad stayed by his side throughout, watching his back rise and fall with deep breaths. This was not a process to be maintained indefinitely. Pause was needed, if only to change the water and provide more vapor to breathe in. Soon enough he saw some more overt motion from his patient – a turn of shrouded head to face him. He took a few moments to look around and identify some misplaced patch of cloth to offer the canine. Fabric in hand, Bellad reached forward, carefully picking the bottom of the cover over the stranger’s head and lifting to expose him, movements careful, deliberate. Surely enough, his sight fell on a muzzle smeared in mucus. His temporary host still looked rather void of spirit. But the healer’s vivid eyes were attentive and calm, showing no sign of derision at the sight. Perhaps he wasn’t easily impressed by appearance, at least not when his mind was set on the task of treating disease.

“Here, use this. You may blow your nose into the water before I replace it.” He suggested, having admittedly paid little mind to the specifics of the cloth he was offering. Mere fabric of no shape in particular, but sufficient in scale for the intended purpose. With the water somewhat cooled and now muddled with snot, Bellad saw fit to carry the bowl out, voiding it behind the building and, for a brief time, leaving the man to his own devices. This time was not long, and he came right back in, methodically adding more water and setting it before the ailing luperci.

“You may resume. Keep your eyes closed whilst you breathe. You have done well so far.” Showing some dedication, he lowered himself once again to the floor, eyes on the stranger even should his face become once more obscured. It seemed he was not about to leave having only displayed the process once. In fact, he proved capable of speech whilst still working, though how good a conversation starter it was remained up for debate. “Had I more herb, I would have considered it for your treatment.” He confessed. “Chamomile perhaps, or else honey for your… tea.” The latter word came from his mouth as though it was recently learned, certainly spoken with less familiarity than the name of the plant he suggested, as common as it may have been. True, since it was thanks to Fennore that he discovered the title of the brew.

“And of course…” The phrase came while he was out of sight, interrupted accompanied with a sound like a brief sniff, then a grunt of displeasure. “This won't do… This you should not consume for a time… No liquor. But drink plenty of liquid.” Had the Songthorn permitted himself to sniff at the stranger’s cup? Looking at him now, he could truly be discovered seated on the floor, with his host's cup of booze held in hand, one that he's clearly examined already.

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