I don't pay any mind to the dew upon the vine

POSTED: Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:19 am

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For its origins, the New Caledonian camp was humble.

Embers greyed in the old firepit, and on the flattened ground tents and other quick, simple constructions stood. It was quiet but for birdsong: a pine grosbeak warbling his mating song, a thrush fluting from the shadows of a maple tree. Tucking back some errant strands of hair fallen from her topknot, Willow studied the place—her face soft with empathy more than pity. It was not too different from the Shoal's camp, after all, though the fisherfolk had more time and familiarity with the place.

Toklo leaned into her leg. She glanced down at him, tracing the white stripe between his ears with a finger; he tolerated this for a second before shaking his thick ruff and puffing his chest out with masculine dignity. He pointed his muzzle back at Iomair, indicating that he was going to follow the king; Willow nodded.

They parted with a few kind words, and the Cormier woman was left alone, glancing at the ramshackle shelters and listening to the birds trill. She stood there for a few moments, linking her fingers before her, merely observing.

Then a wayward scent graced her senses, a breeze tickling her whiskers. She smiled.

It was not hard to find him, though he smelled of the earth: dead leaves and soil decaying beneath a layer of new growth, moss and fungi climbing up bark. It was a rich and pleasant smell, and Willow's nose led her toward the outskirts of the camp, among aspens and alders and an abundance of shade.

He sat with his back to her, the motion of his elbows and shoulders suggesting that he was working on something; wood shavings lay beside him.

There was no chance he didn't hear her footfalls, or smell her river-scent, but Willow advanced on him in some theatrical mockery of the creeping way O'Brien walked through the woods: a woman unashamedly loud playing at being a rogue.

"Miloooooord," Willow intoned.


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
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Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:47 pm

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Of course he knew of her presence, and in a great many situations he would have immediately stolen her away from most any company. However, when Willow came she did not come alone. A four-legged fellow of white and grey followed at her heels, then Iomiar- much to his dismay- got to her first. It stoked the darkness of his ire to witness. Willow had come for him after all. But he would not let their “fair and noble” king sully his good mood. Instead, he watched them tour their humble dwelling out of the very corner of his frosted cyan eyes and continued his work.

His fingers flicked deftly over the carving which became far less humble by the day. While he was not a craftsman in truth, Athras— like many of the clan Taur— found he had an affinity for shaping natural materials into many a fair thing. He took only what nature had discarded and harmed nothing. Though he sorely wished the other Caledonians would follow his example.

Wood shavings began to collect around him as he worked carving out minute details into the unliving ungulate’s flesh. It was unmistakable as anything but a stag now though the more details he made the more it’s features seemed to take on a strange otherwordliness. It’s horns were sharp- sharper than any living beasts, it’s hooves much the same though twisted, where tufts of hair normally grew leaves were carved instead. There were more oddities, deformities though they looked to the unenlightened. Instead of a tail there were two curved extensions almost branch-like, on it’s chest were two additional legs though they were much shorter and did not extend to the ground. Athras carved this almost lovingly and certainly with reverence, great care was taken with every stroke of the blade.

When Willow approached, creeping up like a caricature of the stealthy and the silent Athras let her, his lips pulling up into sharp grin. “For me?” He purred, his voice all at once dark and seductive. “You shouldn’t have.” He set down his carving, sheathed the knife, and turned to face her, wearing the same black robe with it’s intricate embroidery, the chest, as always, was partially open to disarm and tantalize with the smooth flesh beneath. With little warning he seized her hands and pulled her down.

Athras
New Caledonia
The Lord-Regent
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Stormie
Spotlight Soul Luperci Priest I, Diplomat I, Rogue I

POSTED: Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:52 pm

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Athras crooned if she were a gift, and Willow's fluttering stomach was inclined to believe his sultry words: oh, she shouldn't have.

She stopped in her tracks and straightened as he placed his carving down gently, her eyes making out the shape of a stag with wicked antlers, and then her gaze turned to that flash of narrow chest. She wrinkled her nose up but grinned at him in cheeky greeting, noting with warmth in her eyes that he looked better now—far less gaunt, if still lean owing to his bloodline and lifestyle; and reeking less of smoke.

She opened her mouth to say something clever (or just loud), but his hands seized hers and she emitted instead a shriek as she fell.

Willow pitched herself forward, so that rather than falling neatly into his lap as he intended, she sent him toppling backwards. She pushed him into the leaf-litter, his hands briefly pinned above his head, before she freed her fingers. Seated high up on his abdomen (almost to his ribs; she wasn't an idiot), she covered her mouth with a hand and laughed. (Any attempt to control the volume of said laughter was futile.)

"Yer a scoundrel," Willow said, as if she were some fine lady. Apparently content to remain sitting on his diaphragm, she stared at him casually then leaned over to pluck the carving off the ground, turning it over in her hands. "What's this?" Her fingers' movements were playful and light at first, rotating the object willy-nilly, but as she took in more of its unusual and otherwordly features, she held it still—her blue eyes focused on the leafy protusions and the dagger-like tines, somberness taking over.


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
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Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:01 pm

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Down they tumbled, leaves rustling as flesh made contact with flesh, warm fur, and flushed skin. Cyan eyes blinked as his back met the soft earthen bed, his hands pinned momentarily above his head and the chestnut woman astride him. It took a moment to process the altered circumstance but it was enough for his stomach to flip and his body to warm with familiar sensations. His gaze grew intent, narrowing salaciously. His hands once freed crept ever-so-gently up her sides, closing in a hold that was light enough it did not betray his covetous intent. When she laughed (too loud) he joined in merrily, breaking only to speak.

“Hm.” Athras murmured, half hum and half chortle. He wet his lips before replying in a soft sultry voice, “that doesn’t sound like a complaint.” A glance said all that needed saying as he looked down to the point at which their bodies connected, then up into her lake-blue eyes.”Comfortable?” He grinned.

His eyes were still locked on hers when she took the idol into her hands. Their gaze sharpened. “Hm?” The half-shadow hummed, blinking himself back into the conversation. He watched the jovial gleam in her eyes spark then fade as her inspection deepened with singular focus. He traced the paths her eyes took, lips parted slightly as reverence took hold. The wood darkened along the beast’s spine, stained a russet tinged crimson where his blood had fed the grain. He saw this and smiled, for it was good.

“That,” he said, tongue flicking briefly across his lips, “is Nanin.”

The forest lord shifted beneath her slightly, propping his head on his hand as he leaned back to view her with unguarded interest. “He is our god— one of them, at least. The oldest.”

“Magnificent, is he not?”

Last edited by Athras Eryn on Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Athras
New Caledonia
The Lord-Regent
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Stormie
Spotlight Soul Luperci Priest I, Diplomat I, Rogue I

POSTED: Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:58 pm

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Her thighs instinctively squeezed where his diaphraghm jumped with laughter, just so she wouldn't topple sideways, though Athras' slender hands grasped lightly above her hips as if to keep her still. It tickled, a little, but she didn't mind. "En't much of a complainer," she told him, then flushed a little at his salacious glance. Clever comebacks were not her forte*, so she huffed some wiry hair out of her face and gave her eyes a theatrical roll, recommitting herself to nonchalance.

It was totally normal to sit on pretty acquaintances.

The longer the dark pads of her fingers traced the wooden form of the stag, the more her gaze focused, and she paused as she took in the darker stain. When the Caledonian gave it a name, Willow glanced at him with wide, lake-blue eyes. His cyan gaze stared back, his head propped with a hand, and he explained that this was a god.

"He is," she replied, and stared almost reverently at the thing in her hands. Remembering their farewell, she smiled. "The Verdant Stag?" she ventured to guess, and when Athras affirmed this, she placed the idol down gently beside his head, so that Nanin could look at both of them.

Then she placed her hands on Athras' chest, leaning down with a little pressure, though what glimmered in her eyes was hunger for knowledge rather than anything else.

"Tell me about him."

* Upon brief reflection, she thought she might tell him he was too bony to be comfortable, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings.


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
Distinguished
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Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:25 pm

(235)

His grip tightened on her waist but this time without pretense. He explored the curve of her hips and up, grasping them with want, at the same time effectively steadying her. Functionally he anchored her. Wantonly he held her. “So I’m learning.” She rolled her eyes and Athras chuckled.

Both sets of eyes traced the curves of Nanin: the sharp points, the odd protrusions of branches and leaves, his lichen covered belly. Both were reverent, both in awe that such majesty could exist in this decaying world. But of course decay was Nanin’s element. As the years passed: months, days, hours, the world around them shifted and changed. Bodies were born and died, and in death seeded the earth to usher in life anew. An endless cycle that had begun long before they breathed their first breath and would continue long after they were gone. He nodded as she spoke the title. “One of many names, yes.”

She planted her hands on the bare plane of his chest where the front of his robes were open in a wide v. From his throat came the softest of growls, purr-like and pleasing to the ears. The hand on her waist released its grip, trading the firm flesh for a lock of her hair. He toyed with it idly, tilting his head ever-so-slightly to her question. The half-shadow wet his lips. “What would you like to know?”

Athras
New Caledonia
The Lord-Regent
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Stormie
Spotlight Soul Luperci Priest I, Diplomat I, Rogue I

POSTED: Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:59 pm

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He purred beneath her hands, a steady thrum in his bare chest, and Willow bit down on the inside of her cheek. At least his hand fell from where it pressed her hip; she could deal with the way he played with the spring of her dark-earth hair, distracting but far less so. She—ever the explorer and lover of culture—wanted answers, though she became aware when his tongue traced his dark lips that she didn't have questions.

"I dunno, everythin'," the Cormier replied childishly. How could she describe the way Nanin's appearance had captured her attention?

Athras seemed very content to wait and let her decide. She flushed.

She thought about her connection to the River Goddess, the prayer she said before she took a deep breath and submerged beneath the lake, the whims of the current and the fish that drove into her nets. She thought about the everyday, and tried to picture this stag seated in the center of a home, watching over his subjects.

"What d'ya pray to him for?"

Her eyes traced that dark blotch staining the wood.

"An' d'ya have to do that every time?" she asked, grinning and seizing one of his hands before it could roam too much. She turned it over until she could find the scab she suspected was there, then mischievously gave it a squeeze in case it was still sore. "Nice gods usu'lly don't ask for blood."


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
Distinguished
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Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:59 pm

(568)

Athras laughed in reply, a soft dark sound. “A little more specific.” He urged and coiled the tendril of hair around his finger. It sprung when he released it only for him to lazily repeat the process. His own lay splayed in a gleaming halo around his crown, similarly long but silkier and very well-tended. Athras was quite clearly a man who took great pride in his appearance. He saw no use in hiding the gifts Nanin had so graciously bestowed upon him. Her splayed hands upon the soft velvet of his chest evidenced this fact. The dark robe had enough material to cover him completely, conceal him if need be, and yet he chose to wear it otherwise. Deliberately so.

As she contemplated, Athras grew distracted. His eyes wandered, while his fingers continued to tug and twist the coil of her hair between them. He eyed her pale throat, tracing the smattering of soft freckles, and imagining what it would be like to do so with tongue and teeth. He followed them up her jaw to her chin with it’s banded tuft and thought of how he very much like to nip at it. These and a great many more possibilities— probabilities he promised himself— took the forefront of his mind until her debating ceased, drawing him reluctantly back to the present.

His attention shifted momentarily to the crimson stain along the back of the wooden idol. He lips parted, poised to answer when suddenly she seized his hand. With a sharp intake of breath his teeth grit together pearly white against pink gums and dark lips. It was not terribly painful but still fresh enough to sting when she squeezed. Recovering quickly he pried his fingers from her grasp to shake away the ache. “Now Willow, is that any way to play with your friends?” He tutted mildly though there was a certain gleam to his eye as he said it.

“And he did not ask for this tribute, I offered it freely.” Claimed the shadow, matter-of-factly though there was a steely edge to his voice as he said it. “I shaped the idol in his image and so, consecrated it with my lifesblood. It is the least I could give.” His gaze passed over the idol with a subtle sort of deference, a brief downturn of his eyes and head that was nearly imperceptible.

“As to what we pray for," for the moment Athras kept his hands to himself, perhaps dissuaded by her actions, though it was more than likely he wished to give the subject the time and respect it deserved. "We pray for fertility, of our bodies and the soil so that we might breed strong children, and so the common-folk may reap a good harvest. We pray for the dead, that they may seed the earth in their passing and thus be born anew. We pray for vengeance that our enemies may know our wrath. All these things Nanin provides. And thus the cycle continues as it always has, as it always will.”

"And for clarity: just like the forces of nature, Nanin is neither good nor evil. Nature consumes, it devours," his gaze flicked to her form as she remained astride him and for a moment it was evident what turn his thoughts had taken. He continued, however, "but so does it bloom, and grow."

"Does this answer your questions, Willow?"

Athras
New Caledonia
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Stormie
Spotlight Soul Luperci Priest I, Diplomat I, Rogue I

POSTED: Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:56 am

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Athras hissed an inhale, freeing his hand with a shake, and Willow fixed her lake-blue eyes on him with an innocent smile. "Aw, we are friends!"

He ceased playing with her hair, which left the woman both relieved and disappointed. She imagined what he might do with the long dark-chestnut tresses, how he might twine it in braids more intricate than her current mess, or how simply he could unravel the topknot and let it all spill down over bare shoulders. Nearly nervous and absentminded in her fidgeting, she began to coil the abandoned lock around her own finger as she glanced toward the "consecrated" idol.

Athras continued with reverence, and Willow imagined other things: claws digging into loamy earth, mushrooms sprouting from a damp gravestone, dark ivy strangling an old human-made tower until it toppled to the earth, flowers blossoming.

She found herself holding her breath.

The connection of their eyes brought her back to the present, and Willow moved so that she was no longer straddling him. She didn't go far, however, sitting at his side with her legs tucked under her, one knee touching his ribs. Her gaze dropped back to the carved Nanin, with his wicked antler tines and leafy fetlocks, thoughtful.

"Reckon so," she said. Her eyes softened as she glanced back at Athras. "Reminds me how new kinds o' flowers grow after a forest fire."

She didn't know if the sentiment would comfort or remind and upset him. Hoping to soften the words, she reached over and simply placed her hand on top of his, a well of empathy in her eyes and a careful smile on her lips.

"What other gods are there, if Nanin is the oldest?" she went on.


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
Distinguished
User avatar
Raze
Luperci Piscator I, Priest I druid the wilds where the caribou call They stole my dirty socks... :(

POSTED: Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:47 pm

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She removed herself from his abdomen, leaving behind what warmth his body had leeched from hers and her mossy lake-scent. It flared momentarily in her absence, deprived of the not unpleasant pressure of her body weight. Athras rose beside her, legs still long as he rested them on one the other, bent slightly to the side. He leaned back a little, supporting himself with his arms planted behind him, one hand a hair's-breadth behind Willow as he lounged.

He saw the change in her clear blue eyes and his chest tightened. Her hand rested on his to soften the blow, empathy seeping into the point of contact, warmth, understanding. Sympathy. He hesitated, staggered by the depth and sincerity...then he bristled. “No, Willow.” Said Athras. His voice was quiet and much too calm, the expression hard. Cyan eyes were locked in a distant gaze gleaming with contained malice. “Nanin does not forget.” His claws unsheathed slowly, digging into the soft earthen bed. “He does not forgive.”

The son of Druids was silent for moments more, his breathing shallow at first, chest rising and falling with cold, controlled fury. The tight set of his jaw softened, teeth unclenching. The hardness in his features eased away, the malice fading. His breath evened. He blinked slowly on an inhale, then turned his head towards her. Athras straightened to rest his other hand on top of hers, claws safely within their pads once more. “But it was a beautiful sentiment all the same. Thank you.”

She asked after the remaining gods, but Athras didn’t answer. His gaze flicked to her lips briefly then met her own. He leaned in and kissed her, reaching out a hand to the nape of her neck to draw her in.

Athras
New Caledonia
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Stormie
Spotlight Soul Luperci Priest I, Diplomat I, Rogue I

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