in proportion to the importance

POSTED: Tue May 21, 2019 3:59 pm

The rain finally ceased as the temperatures began to rise. As the ground hardened, Morgana prepared for her departure.

As a trader, she had done this many times before. Often it was without proper names, though she was always eager for connections as much as she was valuables. Wealth was something she carefully positioned around herself, trusting in careful investments and partners who had her best interests in mind. These complicated relationships could flourish or flounder if she ever pushed too hard or showed her true hand.

They had to be liars out here, because the world of Outsiders – a world Morgana had been born into – was a place where their superiority could be seen as a threat by neighboring groups. Salsola's protection could stretch only so far, though it's wrath extended far further than this.

It was for these reasons that they had brought the horses, and the hawk, and the man. He was chosen for his fighting skills and Morgana quickly found herself pleased by his quiet, perhaps even stoic nature. She had been less impressed by his desire to remain on foot, but brought the third horse anyway for use as a pack animal . If this man they were meeting had anything they could return with, Morgana intended to make the most of their journey.

Even if he didn't, she could gather other things along the way. Flowers were beginning to blossom under the sunny skies, and the air was thick with pollen and sweet-smells not unlike the ones she had rubbed in her fur and smudged in her clothes.

Lying was a matter of preservation.

I suppose here is as good as anywhere, Morgana said as they looked out towards the borders. It had been a long ride, and one split into two days. They had camped uneventfully in the forest, disturbed only by the sounds of frogs and buzzing insects after their fire had been doused. This was a good sign, Morgana thought, but nevertheless thought of her gods and her faith each morning she woke and attributed some credit to them for her safety.

The horses helped, certainly, as did the man and the girl riding alongside her.

When Morgana howled her purpose was implied. Her strange, yodeling voice summoned first the hawk from the sky, though it settled in the shady boughs of a tree not far behind them.

Pleased by this, the red-haired woman turned her attention forward once more, awaiting a response.

Salsola
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Mel
Luperci Witch Silver Scales & Silver Blood
light as a feather
stiff as a board

POSTED: Thu May 23, 2019 11:22 pm

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Her presence—or lack thereof—had likely been noted by those ranked above her, aunt(s) included. Those studies deemed appropriate continued, but her focus sharpened. As she grew her free time lessened, and it became important to pick and choose only those areas where she might excel.

For this reason she had begun to spend time gathering late spring seeds and feeding some of the birds. Common as they were, their uniformity served a purpose. Above all else, Clementine desired knowledge. It was a powerful asset within Salsola, a place build on secrecy.

Her relative silence during the meeting between Morgana and Idrieus was telling where this was concerned, for she was learning to listen and allow others to permeate the silence. Where this failed, a charming smiling was just as effective.

It was just another way to lie.

There were smaller things, too, such as the careful selection of plants and herbs she disguised her scent with. Having never had the need before, she’d begun making preparations for this trip with more than enough time to spare.

The trip was grueling not for its pace but the rise in temperature. Coming to Salsola, her mother had pressed their horses hard and they’d slept soundly in the evenings due in large part to their exhaustion, but for all that the copper hues of her fur made her out to be some sort of summer-child, she preferred the cool depths of winter.

Fingal didn’t mind—he didn’t seem to care about anything other than other horses—and this was made more obvious by a slight sideways prance as they stopped near some trees. It was unfortunate they couldn’t linger among the shadows, but such was the curse of trade, where opaqueness served less of a purpose than it might elsewhere.

Morgana made the call and Clem watched her intently; how she looked, moved, the way her throat moved to make the noises. She understood much about the basics of this, but less so about finer points like the subtlety of one’s conduct.

Have you met this trader before? She asked her aunt, trying with some success to quell the uncertainty rising in her voice. Whatever she sounded like, it was nonetheless nerve-wracking to commit oneself to a path for the first time.

Sparing a glance for Aidan, she hoped his presence proved (more or less) unnecessary, for violence bode ill with regard to trade.


Salsola
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Lorraine
Mercante light of the North
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towering citadel

POSTED: Sun May 26, 2019 7:16 am

Aidan’s own preparations for the trip had been relatively minor. He was required as additional protection, a role which didn’t necessitate sparkling conversation, which was fortunate as he had none. So Aidan prepared by continuing to train, as he had every day since he’d arrived in the pack. Even before joining Salsola, Aidan was aware of how important the need to reveal as little as possible to an opponent was. He’d masked his own scent with mundane, earthy tones. Leaf litter, dirt and sap. It was a process he continued as they travelled, melding the scent of the area with his own.

The Massacre male possessed little ego, confident in his abilities as he was. There were those who enjoyed trumpeting their prowess, but Aidan was not one of them. Until he had joined Salsola, the coyote had known he was the best fighter by the fact he was still alive. However, it was a certainty he was disabused of after training with members of his pack. The fact did not frustrate him, he had merely requested training, to improve. On this trip, it was important that Aidan seem dull, background noise, but not so unprepossessing that loners would attempt something foolish.

Aidan had never ridden a horse before, and the prospect of defence while attempting to control an unfamiliar beast, was not one he relished. He kept pace with his pack mates, and made no complaints over the pace Morgana set for the group. The silence the small group travelled in gave Aidan the chance to watch his pack, how they behaved, as well as making it easier to focus on their surroundings. When they had set up a camp, Aidan had spent time walking a perimeter, and keeping watch for a time.

Now they had arrived, it occurred to the coyote that perhaps such a taciturn group may not make the greatest of traders, but he accepted his understanding of these matters was limited. When Morgana announced their presence, Aidan felt an alertness sweep through him. Quickly he made sure his knife was loose in its sheath, and his gaze moved all about them. Looking at the hawk, Aidan idly wondered how much easier this might be were he able to fly. At Clementine’s words, the coyote’s ears swivelled back, but his gaze did not follow them. Aidan maintained his watchfulness.
Salsola
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Draiko
Luperci

POSTED: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:07 pm

Word had been sent long enough before the day had come by Sehkmeht's messenger in Amherst. While she wasn't able to come alongside those that she had sent, the fact that she had sent others in prospect of trade for her, meant a great deal to the newly dubbed Vale Merchant. Nevertheless, there couldn't be a perfect trust between strangers. Not until he had the ability to meet them and gauge what their intentions were. Even a best friend had the opportunity to lie, so it was best to be secure.

The dagger lived in the waist of newly made, corseted trousers and a thin, vanilla spun top hung and billowed from his shoulders. Beneath him, Fantasy rooted through the foliage at the front of the church home as Ezra put the folded pack atop her back. The time was right, and if word was true, they'd be here any time soon to come and see his wares. If he was fortunate, then he'd have a contract to pursue as well, but best not to count his contracts before they're made.

A peck was given to Fiora and a wave to their two housemates was his farewell. Hiking himself atop the aging mare, who was always more than happy to see him. A lazy trot carried them through Winterwynd and pace lifted to a steady canter as they headed to the edge of Mistfell Vale. It was familiarity in the new land that he needed. Trading had become his life while Fiora was gone, and the connection to himself as an individual for all that time, alongside Fiora's presence again at his side, made him feel more whole. He'd fit into Mistfell Vale soon enough, but until then, this was enough for him.

He wasn't far from the boundaries inner border when the call rang high. They were here! A whisper of low-speech into Fantasy's ear brought her gait to a gallop, and the smile on Ezra's face was matched by the spirit in her skylight eyes. The wind whipped around them, whistling in their ears and tousling their hair, and they made fantastic time.

Barreling past the border, they didn't break pace until the outlines of three souls beneath the shade of a tree came into greater detail. From a gallop, to a trot and finally a saunter, Ezra gave them the space they needed, and awaited introductions before he would dismount. Three was a great disadvantage for him, so he'd keep his escape route for as long as he thought he might need it.

Marbled gaze passed over them one by one, dipping his muzzle in polite greeting, but also absorbing every piece of them that he could. The first woman, the eldest, seemed to be the one in charge. The second, much younger, he couldn't grasp truly just yet. He'd need more time to watch her to gather what she was about. The third, a man, was the one he felt the urge to look out for. The man looked like a bruiser, and while it wasn't uncommon for a bodyguard to accompany a trade, Ezra knew to keep an eye out for the roughest looking person in the bunch. If he was going to be crossed, usually, it was the bodyguard that would be doing the dirty work.

“Hello, my friends,” He began,” I've received word of your party coming for trade at the recommendation of a good friend of mine. My name is Ezra Vahn, of Mistfell Vale,” His grin and his eyes did not play his hesitations or apprehensions. Charisma oozed out of his every pore with outspoken welcome for his current guests. He didn't want ill word getting back to his best customer and fine friend, and if their intentions were innocent, there'd be no reason to show apprehension,” I hope the journey has treated you well?” The question rose, and a time passed for them to speak their names and minds before he got right down to business,” What were we looking to take home, today?”


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Mistfell Vale
Elkenfrey
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Luperci Paper Miller I Mate to Fiora Jordheim They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:04 am

The man might have been a relative of the Quartermaster, with his long face and gangly limbs. They were strange dogs, these hounds. An older, curious remnant from when men had touched their wild ancestors and stretched and cut and formed them into monstrosities.

Pieces of the old world survived, she supposed. Salsola and its surrounding claims were not untouched, and ruins like those they lived in now were scattered throughout the world. She was thinking of home and her family, now that her engagement was made public, and half-distracted already.

Work was good. It gave her time to let Brocade breathe, if only for a few days.

Morgana smiled pleasantly as she took in the stranger. How alike he was, this trader, as to her fiance's horse. She almost laughed at the thought.

Then you are friend of our friend, Morgana returned, letting her drawl thicken. We found no trouble on our road here. It helped they had not gone terribly far, and that Aidan had agreed to accompany them so quickly. He seemed to take the role quite seriously, but he seemed like a serious person. Morgana could respect that in a man.

Pleased to meet you, Mister Vahn. Mai Meadows, was the false name Morgana provided, and she smiled to show that it was a funny name, as if her parents had chosen something ridiculous on purpose. Morgana turned to her companions. They had discussed using aliases the night before, and she was curious as to what her party might do.

Introductions all in order, Morgana dismounted. She was wearing a dress made of supple earthy brown leathers, belted at the waist and lacking sleeves. Dye had been applied to pieces of this, stitched together to form subtle patterns when it seemed otherwise very plain.

The gold and amber around her neck and wrist told a different story.

She pulled her satchel from the saddlebag, and from this, the missives Idrieus and Helena had entrusted her with. Morgana slung the bag over her body. The strap settled between her breasts, and the glossy red stone there, with his black flaw, stared unblinking against the evil-eye.

When she handed the reins of her horse to Clementine she gave the girl's hand a little squeeze, pleased by their little act.

From there, she approached Ezra on foot. When they were close enough, Morgana thrust the letters forward.

One on behalf of our mutual friend, and another our benefactor. We did hope to take what could be carried by our horses – whatever you may have available as to suit our friends, and what they've asked for. She cocked her hip to the side, and spared a glance towards her companions. I assure you we have plenty to offer.

Salsola
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Mel
Luperci Witch Silver Scales & Silver Blood
light as a feather
stiff as a board

POSTED: Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:19 pm

If Aidan held any opinion of the newcomer’s appearance, there was no sign of it on his face. His cool grey eyes watched impassively as the other approached, but his gaze was drawn to the knife at the stranger’s hip. It also did not escape the coyote’s notice that the other had not dismounted from his beast. The Massacre male had always eschewed clothing, though he never judged others for their choice. Indeed, Aidan had heard of fabric that if worn when being stabbed, would make it easy to draw out the knife or arrow head while keeping the injury clean; Aidan wondered if the Ezra wore such a garment. Only after his two pack mates gave their aliases did Aidan look to Morgana and then to Ezra.

”Chesk” Was the only word he spoke, in his usual flat tone.

So often in the past, Aidan knew that others had assumed him to be slow witted or simply stupid, in this instance he was content to allow that thought to be fostered. Aidan may well be new to the Kingdom, but it had already done more for him than his family ever head, and there was a burgeoning sense of loyalty within him. The Massacre male was no fool, he did not believe that either of his companions were incapable of taking care of themselves, but he would protect his pack, and if Morgana made the gesture he had mentioned to her on their journey, he would use all his skills to make sure he enacted the order that gesture represented. For now, he was content to watch and let those more skilled than he at social interaction do what was required. Aidan grew wary when the other did not dismount and yet Morgana did.

As his superior took down the pack though and walked forward, Aidan took the opportunity to move, as unobtrusively as possible into a position that meant their new ‘friend’ could either give his attention to Morgana or to Aidan, but not both at the same time. The Massacre male had never been one for the niceties, but he had no doubt that his pack mates would correct him were he breaching any protocol. Aidan was more interested in keeping Salsola members’ safe, rather than building relationships externally, that was someone else’s concern.
Salsola
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Draiko
Luperci

POSTED: Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:58 pm

“I am glad to hear,” The black strands of his hair shook freely as he nodded at the good news of their safe passage in her light and delightful tune, and it aided in an air of security between the lot of them. From there, the lady introduced herself as one Meadows, and following in her stead came the male called Chesk. With their names, another breath of safer air found the atmosphere around them. Her smile was met with a kind expression of his own.

As Mai came down from her steed, Ezra followed suit. He kept his playing field even between all of them, but as a rule of thumb he kept Fantasy well enough close to hastily retreat. Though, now, it didn't seem so much a necessary as it seemed more a security blanket for a 'just in case' moment,” A pleasure to meet you both, Lady Mai Meadows and Chesk, sir,” He was nothing but amiable with them all,” You as well, my lady,” He offered to the young female that took Lady Meadow's reigns. He finished with a small bow and did his best to keep his eye off the Chesk, whom moved around him in a circling fashion. What terms the man had for putting Ezra in a situation where he was surrounded, the merchant was unsure. He played well enough that he did not mind, and that he barely noticed.

“As agreed,” A dip in his muzzle addressed Lady Meadows as he turned to the rear of the indigo mare and plucked the folded package from Fantasy's back. It was a heavy pack, but it was shaped in such a way that it wasn't so awkward to hold. Rather than handing it to her for her to dig through, he did her the honor of placing it on the earth and unfolding it's layers so that she might view for herself what came in the goods he had currently available. There were different types of papers, bindings, two pots of the best ink he had in stock that was tried and true, as well as a few other goods to wrap up the order,” Feel free to inspect the contents of the order and we will discuss our trade further,” He was not so crooked a vendor as to not allowed them to back from this deal should they feel that Ezra's goods were not up to par. More over, if his goods did not fit the bill in quality, then he'd go above and beyond to ensure that they had not traveled all this way at Sekmeht's word for nothing.

With the items spread out a bit so that they might rifle through them, Ezra gave them a few steps of space and put Fantasy to his back. He wouldn't hover as they inspected the goods, and he certainly felt more secure with one hand on Fantasy's flank, gently petting her as she watched the strangers move about curiously.


507
Mistfell Vale
Elkenfrey
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Luperci Paper Miller I Mate to Fiora Jordheim They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:31 pm

Morgana was pleased by his presentation. A man who worked for a living as a trader understood that beyond the quality of the goods was the importance of showmanship and charm. Building a repitiour with customers ensured their return. For someone who liked things orderly but pleasing to the eye, the simple act of arranging his offerings placed him in higher esteem within her eyes. She quickly went to look over what he had produced once he had finished.

Each item was touched, felt, and thoroughly examined. She sniffed some, eyed others very closely, but did this all with such reverence and respect for the material that her meddling seemed less judgmental and greedy. She had to bring only the best back, but her superiors had spoken of this man with such high marks that Morgana found herself wanting to see what made his product so notable.

She soon found the quality to be as promised, and let her face burst into a radiant smile.

Well Mister Vahn, I do believe our mutual friend spoke nothing but honest truth. We'll take all of this – what's a fair offer for you, sir? A man like you must have plenty of things, but I want to ensure we help you find something worthwhile. She had yet to reveal what it was they had brought. Salsola had a collection of materials and products and as such their horses carried plenty of options. Morgana was more interested in finding what it was Ezra (and perhaps by extension, the Vale) sought.

Salsola
The Arbiter
User avatar
Mel
Luperci Witch Silver Scales & Silver Blood
light as a feather
stiff as a board

POSTED: Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:02 pm

Finding a position he felt comfortable with, Aidan fell into the familiar role of observer. Since before he had found his home in Salsola, the coyote had been surrounded by crowds, but always standing separate, this situation was no different. He watched as Ezra produced his goods, and almost fastidiously arranged them. Seeing that there were no visible dangers in the bag, Aidan let his eyes sweep the clearing again, once more checking his weapon.

The Massacre male’s gaze drifted back to the bartering. Trade had often happened around the various taverns he had visited, but seldom like this. Both buyer and seller demonstrated an aptitude, he had not seen when Aidan had watched others previously. Morgan’s deft inspections were thorough without appearing to be grasping, and Ezra gave just that little extra space. It seemed another social interaction that seemed almost a battle, or perhaps something even more choreographed.

In this scene Aidan played a supporting role, and one he was more than happy to undertake. He had either faded from their attention or was being ignored, either way, the coyote remained vigilant. While he did not know Morgana personally, she was a member of Salsola, a pack, the name of which, stirred a sense of….loyalty? Certainly, while Aidan could accept becoming a loner once more, there was a part of him that would certainly prefer to remain within the Kingdom. Aidan was aware of the contract between himself and the pack, and he took his duty of protection very seriously.
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Draiko
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POSTED: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:27 pm

Slender hands pet at Fantasy's flank as Marbled eyes watched her work through his good with scrutiny and high regard, as well. It was a mutual respect growing between them, as merchant and customer, but an added dash of trust that was slowly filling in the gaps of Ezra's hesitation. These were mannered folk, of Sehkmet's own approval, and they were proving it in their own words and actions.

The Merchant matched her mirth as she met him with a smile, his own eyes bright. He knew that she'd be pleased with his work, simply because he didn't allow himself to trade nothing but the best of what he could make. The notability of his product would precede him, if it hadn't already. With a few small steps forward from the Mare that turned to sniff at him curiously, he clasped his hands together delightedly,” Thank you, my friend,” The gratitude for her compliment was thick in his voice.

Now, for the second half of the trade. The barter.

“Well, Lady Mai Meadows, what have you brought?” Even despite being a fair trade at the beckoning of a long-time customer and friend, a merchant nor a customer should ever speak of what they need before what they see. It was simply a second nature, made to avoid over charging the worth of items based on the need of who sought them out. While that didn't necessarily belong here, he was nevertheless more interested to see what it was she had than to explain what he desperately needed.

He'd not forgotten about the man that stood away from the lot of them, but as trust grew, he felt that there wasn't any harm done by having a watchful eye amid them. If anything were to go down, Fantasy had enough in her to call warning to him. In the process of being mindful, despite, Ezra moved to kneel at the wares that had passed her inspection and neatly packed them up. It took a moment, but he was sure that in that time Mai would be working her own wares to be shown. When the pack was neatly finished and tied up, he left it to it's spot between them. The items were in limbo, essentially, but with a group of three and so close to the Vale, he was making a heavy assumption that they weren't going to run off with his goods, by this point.


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