Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:48 pm
Some fire and stuff
Virue had been practicing his painting for several weeks. There by Rialu’s tent he was hunched over a wolf skull, his paintbrush flickering over its smooth surface like the fire he was trying to emulate. His memory often jerked back and forth like a broken train car, and whenever he painted it seemed to focus in. Right now he could clearly recall staring at a candle on his desk in the mansion, before those flames brought the whole thing to the ground. Ironic how Inferni’s single most tragic villain was fire. Here he was repeating flames with colour, mixing orange and yellow and red, sometimes even murky tones to simulate smoke. All he wanted was to make those flames dance there in his lap. Then he would drag tens of skulls out to the borders on his toboggan, adorned with his painted flames the empty sockets would face out to the world. He wanted their burning stares to ward away another war, but Virue knew that was too much to ask of paint and canine remains.
Snow had fallen earlier that day, although too light to seek out shelter. Rialu had come by with a few pelts after a hunting trip, making a point of criticizing his strokes before going to work by her tanning rack. Virue appreciated her negativity more than anyone. He knew that was her personality—her way in a world she thought to be too cruel to be joyful for unless it was deserved. Meanwhile, the small scout had always been an optimist. He was always ready to raise the bar, to nod toward new opportunity and grin at a sunrise no one else could see quite yet. He wanted to believe joy was what made the world spin. To be sure, Virue had spotted countless mistakes in his technique, and his typical response was a silent huff before dipping a shredded cloth in his jar of water and wiping the flames and designs away. But he always knew those flames would rise again much hotter, much quicker. He could almost hear them fizzle as his cloth made them disappear.
The painter made a mistake that caused a sprouting tendril of flame to become blurred and lopsided, and he shook his head. “Crap,” he said quietly. His brush was set down in a tiny wooden case beside him. He brought his eyes level with the horizon and looked around to stretch his neck. Blue eyes caught sight of a familiar gray dog walking past a few tents. With a small grin the scout sprung to his feet and jogged toward her to catch up. He hadn’t spoken with his friend in some time. They needed to catch up. It seemed no matter where he stood he was always doing some kind of catching up. So he called to her with a quick wave. “H-hey, Clover,” his ears jittering a little too much in the cold air. Virue matched her step. Virue’s hands, and even his face was blotched with fiery hues along with other colours for his more unique designs. He was a colour-spotted anomaly in the winter world of barren trees and brown tents. Not quite a clown, but adorned in motley nonetheless. “Is th-this walk taken?” He joked, although it was a disguised request for permission. To be allotted time and space in her life. Virue was odd like that. He was reaching for real estate on a foreign stage. Perform well and you just might get a raise. He was too shy to think he might own whatever he decided to take.
Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:59 am
It was over and done with; the dogs were gone, dead or driven away, it didn’t matter and Clover hadn’t stuck around to find out.
In a heartbeat the big warrior had been snapped back to her youth: a helpless puppy growling under a rusted hubcap, all too aware of the big hands reaching for her and the stink of alcohol and other terrible stinking things. Choking.
Hands on her. Her throat, choked. And that voice again, chastising her for crying —
To others, she had frozen. She’d frozen on that street with barking dogs and snarling coyotes trading blows around her, and risked her friends’ lives because of her weakness.
She growled, and her shoulder clipped one of the hide tents; something collapsed within, and a surprised yowl sounded out. When a grumpy tan face peeked out at her, she ignored it, and marched onward through muddy snow. The least she could do was patrol the area around Inferni’s caverns and the little village Redtooth and Vicira were heading, even if she was too afraid to travel to the city again.
Her expression and posture might have frightened most away — even Laurel had given her space though he watched her with gentle sympathy — but Virue never seemed deterred. He was trotting up beside her with a friendly greeting, his ears wiggling, streaked with orange and reds that gave Clover pause.
She snorted at the mess, but almost smiled. “No,” she said. “I’ve always got time for you.”
Clover had found that she didn’t understand Virue, but even though she doubted she could get close to him in any meaningful way — she was too simple and direct, too impure — she felt like he was a spirit who needed appreciated.
Walking with him, letting his gentle stuttering voice fill the silence, felt like the least she could do.
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:26 am
Virue didn’t really know what to say to a statement like that. Clover had decided he was welcome to join her on her walk through Inferni’s little camp. It frightened him a little, hearing something he hadn’t expected to hear. He felt a tightness in his chest. “Y-yeah...um, o-okay,” he replied. The Sciens fidgeted with a string on his sweater for a moment, and his eyes glanced elsewhere just trying to ride it out, but something just wanted to click in his head. Instead he stayed in that funny place for a little too long, and his foot hit something and he stumbled, falling on his back. But Virue was an expert at falls, and he was quick on or off his feet. He pulled himself up almost immediately and sprung forward as if nothing had happened at all, though his ears were a floating mess of embarrassment there for the world to see. His eyes shone and he smiled, looking down and shaking his head. “Wow, I th-think o-one of the first things my mom w-wrote to me was ‘Virue, w-watch where you walk’. Sh-she’s gotta be psychic or wh-what have you.” Although he retained his forward motion, he twisted his body and glanced at his snow and mud-covered back. He would have to wash his clothes for the second time in two days.
He looked back to Clover briefly, before stooping to scoop up some snow. He found a few pebbly chunks that he could crush in his hands, and the powder was moist enough to wet the paint that was now dry on his hands. It was relatively easy to remove from his pads, but it always clung to his thicker fur like glue. He scrubbed the wet snow on the backs of his hands and wiped the fire-hued snow away, leaving a trail of coloured snow alongside their footsteps. Virue looked back to ponder this for a moment as he rolled down his sleeves, and soon he was looking forward again, as if he wasn’t captivated by the trail of colour he’d just left behind. “Rialu h-has been hunting l-like crazy lately. I think sh-she thinks she’s the only hunter th-that exists sometimes.” He paused, removed his hat and scratched his striped head. It was the hat he wore most days now. It was decorated with three feathers now. A mallard’s feather he’d taken from the shores of old Inferni’s bay caught his fancy in particular. It reminded him of Mer Bleue, but now it reminded him of two different homes that he'd left behind. “I got her r-real good with a snowball earlier today, and I th-think she was a-about to load an arrow with m-my name on it,” he told Clover with a laugh. “L-lucky for me I can zig-zag better than she can aim...and that’s saying s-something.”
Virue thought back to Inferni’s bay covered in ice drifts days before snow had sailed from the sky. Days before that, the Boreas had rained their religious-fueled terror on the coyotes of Inferni. Rialu had been attacked the month prior. He’d been so angry that he had confronted the wildly obsessed wolf who’d hurt her. If it happened again would he still have gone out into the woods to get beaten? Virue had dragged a rock out as close he could get to the shoreline so Clover had somewhere to sit. He smiled just slightly, remembering what he’d done, and he didn’t know why. Getting bruised and dragging around rocks. That’s what he remembered from a time when everyone was fighting a war. He felt a little ashamed. Then and now, another war and more people Virue thought he’d get to know better were taken away. If heaven did exist, Virue thought the staircase leading there would have to have been wide enough for all of those faces to fit. Then again, maybe when you’re gone, you’re gone and there’s no coming back. A part of Virue took comfort in knowing that life was the only chance he got at living, because he would have to take risks instead of always running away. Because sooner or later someone or something will be faster than the odd little sprinter. It had been quite the race so far, and some might say the starter pistol had gone off as soon as Virue had seen his mother’s shining blue eyes. A crack and his feet hit the ground. ‘Hermes’ Rialu had called him. What the hell was a Hermes, anyway?
Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:24 pm
Her friend fidgeted when she welcomed him, and Clover frowned at that. He'd been through a lot over the past several months -- though he bounced back remarkably well, she had a feeling that there were thoughts troubling him that he didn't really reveal to the Inferni populace. He'd taken well to being a Luperci -- he dressed more than Clover did -- but from Vesper's talk it was a terribly traumatic thing to happen to someone.
Even then, how many wars did it take to ruin someone? She wondered if Virue could really ever be ruined.
He stumbled, and her hand began to shoot out to catch him, but Virue righted himself before she could properly react. She glanced at him in concern, until he mentioned his mother.
Her smile retreated back. She stopped, watched him rub wet snow on his paws and leave little pops of red and gold in the grounded frost. They looked like blood and piss to her, like the snow had been marked during the fight with the dogs, or when she was very small.
Virue babbled on, hat in hands. He talked about hunts and snowball fights, and his voice guided Clover back.
"Gotta hunt like crazy to find enough to feed us these days," the dog said, her voice small as if at a distance, but then she recognized the grimness in her words and nudged Virue with a fluffy elbow. "Though you're skinny, you don't eat much, do you?" Her eyes thinned gently. "Maybe we should start killing our prey with snowballs, what do you think?"
Silence again. Then, soft, uncertain:
"Your mother was a good person, Virue?"
Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:21 am
Clover responded to Virue’s worry with reasoning he couldn’t deny, yet still he found himself thinking about the burden Rialu put on herself every day. Never before had Inferni been so scarce to find food. Virue knew who Rialu was when she pushed herself, she was a monster, something that couldn’t be stopped. But that was the problem, unstoppable things sometimes strayed too far from normal boundaries, and what couldn’t be ceased suddenly ceases. “Yeah…” He agreed, his fingers working over the brim of his gray-flecked hat lightly, turning it in his hands. Colourful feathers flapped quietly in the winter’s chill. “I j-just, I-I’ve seen her like this b-before…” Though, a part of him believed that statement to be false—she had never been exactly like this before. Never had the boy seen her taking on so much all at once, and though she possessed remarkable focus and resolve, she was only one person, and she was still just a girl from Quebec with a bow in her hands. Virue had learned long ago what weight did. It snapped people, and it had snapped him. He didn’t want her to snap, and he felt these things coming sometimes from a mile away. The pressures, the feelings, the emanations from those he knew. It was only ever a glance and a heartbeat away, always tethered somehow to whatever he said and did.
“Ha, skinny, y-yeah. P-pretty sure that’s why I m-made it when I w-was on my own,” he told her with a smile. He didn’t want her to think too much about his past, as he tried to avoid that road now most days. It just didn’t seem worth it, not anymore after all the resolutions he made. His mother’s letters seemed to be enough to remind him of the lives he left behind, but sooner or later he knew he had to let it all go. Maybe that’s why he wasn’t as upsetted by Izual ruining some of those letters, because in that moment he decided he needed to leave it behind, and focus on Inferni and all that he knew in the present. “Death b-by snow doesn’t seem all th-that h-humane...maybe we sh-should stick to arrows,” he decided with a small laugh. Then, soon after, Clover had called back that old place that kept him awake. Virue stopped in his tracks for a moment, and his hands were still, frozen there on his cap, a claw gently tracing the shiny red ribbon, the band that held his colours high. He put it on again, making sure it did not cast his face too far into the dark before catching up. Virue knew he needed the newest version of himself to answer a question involving his younger days, and so the hat felt right being placed back on his head. It was the latest him all wrapped up to be put on display, but something he never could have worn without fingers and toes. Without all the scars that went with such things some called gifts. “Yes, yes she was,” the boy confirmed with a soft smile, eyes aloft with reminiscence. The sentence was just and true being said aloud, and it made him feel right somehow, though he knew he ought to elaborate for Clover’s sake. He thought back again. It wasn’t the person so much as the place he was reaching into, trying his best not to scoop up anything that might bite him, or her, or throw the conversation into a hole that couldn’t be climbed out from. It was the good mixed with the bad back then, but, then again, so was everything. “When m-my dad used to...well, be my d-dad, she was a-always there f-for me.” he reached up to scratch an eyelid, looking around before finding his place again. He chuckled, remembering something small and joyous that he thought should be put to words. “She used t-to, sing th-these s-songs to me when I w-was scared. I d-don’t really remember th-them, but I remember h-her voice.” Songs were in his head at a young age, and they’d floated about in a time when monsters of all sizes plagued his thoughts and his reality. They never saved him from anything, but Virue knew they’d made things just a little better, and that was good enough for him. Maybe his mother’s voice followed him around now, and that was why he wrote things that were begging to escape. It was just his mother Sarris, singing to him still, and all the boy did was channel those serene sounds onto paper for everyone else to see.
In an instant Virue’s eyes grew brighter, if that was at all possible. It was something of a whisper, perhaps an idea, that made him bring up a different subject from a similar era. “D-did I ever t-tell you of th-the time I f-fought a bear?! W-well, sorta.” His mind recalled snippets of the encounter now. It had been a youthful time for him, being on his own, a time of mistakes and suffering surely, but also growth and redemption. It was a place in his life he had been glad to rid himself of, but a place with hidden joys nonetheless.
873 ooc here
Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:58 am
She understood toiling for her people, the drive that led those capable to push themselves beyond their limits to help those who hadn't the strength. Clover was one of those individuals hunting day after day to provide for her family, especially now that Cartier and Jehan were gone. Thankfully the kids were all old enough to take care of themselves, but she still went out and came back -- bringing rabbits to Vesper who wasted away in a den, to Versace who nursed a newborn child, to Crucifix and Dahlia when the sisters were empty-handed.
Why shouldn't she exert herself? She was larger than most here, stronger. It was her place to provide. It was in her bloodline -- hunt, guard, protect.
That was why she said nothing when Virue implied concern for his friend. Had she been closer to Rialu, or perhaps seen how people broke, she might have imparted wisdom or assured him that she would make sure Rialu was okay, that the girl didn't waste away or become a machine during this hardship.
But it seemed to her like the right thing to do. Suffer, but feed your family. Cynical as she was in the rest of her life, Clover didn't see a downside. She didn't think they'd make it to spring if not for the Rialus.
They joked about themselves and laughed a little in the meantime, but Clover pierced that with a question, and Virue smiled. He mentioned his mother's voice, her presence when things grew tense, and just to see that Virue-like wonder and appreciation on his face calmed her a little. She expected to feel bitterness for what she'd never had, but... She only hummed acknowledgment.
"A bear?" Clover asked, and raised her brows. "Bullshit," she said, nudging him with an elbow then extending her hand in case the shove knocked him off balance again. She grinned challengingly.
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