you're walking into victory, even in your darkest hour

POSTED: Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:38 am

Word Count → ??? :: Troupe Only please! Welcoming the new kids, can't wait to give them my whole entire trust and definitely not at all have it be misplaced ;)

The days were long. Beneath a volatile sun the air shimmered and baked. The old man's sprouts grew new bright green leaves, unfurling like a woman showing off the silks of her wares. Mondo dozed in the shade of a thick mountain ash, the biggest in a stand of narrow gray birch with dark knots in the wood like eyes. His white flank rose and fell steadily, the only enduring snowmound to last the whole summer long.

It was quiet in the camp but for the droning of many insects and the sounds of Cookie fussing over his crop. On a different morning, it might have been accompanied by the sweet serenade of music - All of winter past it had hummed over their tents, each strummed cord bursting fresh as birdsong. But for weeks now the lute was quiet, and the Bard was quiet too.

Every day he took its slender wooden neck in his hands and turned it over lovingly so the strut wouldn't warp - and his fingers would hover above the place where the broken string had been, and pluck the air wistfully before retreating.

Cal had tried to talk it out of him, but the words wouldn't come; And when the thief was around, Mal found ways to busy his hands and his eyes. Some things couldn't be said aloud.

Today, tired of sulking, he'd rolled up his sleeves and taken to scrubbing the vardo clean. With a barrel of water drawn up from the nearby creek and a rudimentary scrubbing brush made of pine needle and fir, Malik set onto the caravan with great zeal. For a little while Cookie had kept him company, chatting as he pruned and planted, but an hour or so in the old dog had dozed off. His snoring didn't make for good conversation; Neither did the mutt he'd brought into their fold, who sat nearby but offered no assistance, fiddling instead with something out of view.

Adri's pleasant banter might have lifted his spirits - she was the honey to their pot, after all - but it seemed she had women's business to attend to, or else the idea of helping with domestic chores held no allure. Mal couldn't blame her much for that.

So it was that Mateo's slurred voice, when it came, was the loudest thing for yards around.

Pausing in his work, Mal lifted one hand to shield his bright eyes from the glare. As the poet and two strangers came into view, he frowned.

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Alaine
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POSTED: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:43 am

Had he always been so impulsive?

Jethro could not remember if this was the case. He no longer had his sister to help him recall things that seemed unimportant. So much of his time had been spent trying to let go that it became indiscriminate. He struggled to remember his dead brother and the sound of his mother's laugh. Each memory was tainted by darkness, like the ash on his face.

Hiding behind the paint helped. Being with Marlowe helped, even if he was still pissed at the older man. The drink had worn off while he slept but left his mood soured, tainted by hurt feelings and the sense of their situation being entirely the fault of his companion.

Would he have been happy with all the other coyotes? Would he have fought alongside them and thought nothing unusual of it?

He found his morals on precarious ground and his equilibrium off. Jethro was finding himself at odds with his faith and his deeds, and worse, the actions and consequences of others. So Mateo, with his bright face and colorful eyes, had been the sort of threat he had not understood until now, when it was too late.

Now they were here, at this sprawling campsite bursting with life. There were more people looking at him than he liked. He glanced towards Marlowe, who was conveniently hidden by his horse, and turned back to Flea instead. The orange cat was perched atop the saddle. He looked regal and handsome...right up until he meowed loudly, trilling with delight. Amused by this, Jethro took some comfort in his enthusiasm. If there was one consistency in his life, it was that the stupid cat was never quite scared enough.

No los creo, Jethro heard Marlowe say, but quietly enough that their host – already far ahead of them and rushing towards the thick of the campsite – did not hear.

¿Que pasa?

Marlowe pretended not to hear him.

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Mel
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