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[m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:07 am

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.


For Interrogante. Let me know if changes need made! <3

The campsite in the valley was a modest one: a singular hide tent, two mares, and two women organizing rope and other tools as they talked quietly.

"You don't truly need another cow, do you?"

"Milk's drying up. We need calves, and for that we need a bull."

"What about that hairy one you like?" A shake of the head. "You want new blood," Khael surmised. "Good blood."

Katinka smiled and shrugged helplessly as she looped the rope. "I wish we didn't need a bull," she said, and then began to laugh.

Khael laughed too, loudly enough to startle her wife, until she ached.

* * *

Hours later, Khael thought she could still feel a stitch in her side, but she knew it was psychosomatic. She patrolled the valley with Tink, where they spotted a small bachelor herd, then talked plans to split one of the bulls off in the morning. After ensuring that their campsite was well-hidden, the horses hobbled, Khael wandered without really understanding what possessed her to do so.

She wouldn't admit to weakness, vulnerability, though her restlessness spawned from thoughts and ideas familiar to her over the past couple months.

She walked a couple miles through the evening, to the drone of cicadas that silenced when her hands brushed their trees. The soil was warm. Sprigs of bright wildflowers beckoned her with bobs of their heavily petaled heads, steadily muted by the clouds of dusk, and she thought about turning around again.

Her nostrils flared at a stray scent: sage and woodsmoke, male and dominant.

Perfumed in her own spicy aroma, Khael inferred a lot, and began to follow that trail with cautious steps and dark eyes. When the iron tang of blood hit her nose, she unsheathed her wicked black dagger and lifted her head.

They were fighting when she found them, the snarling loner with wounds glinting wetly, the dark back of the large male she knew. Trampled by their feet, she spotted a spread of cards, brightly painted with runic symbols she'd seen in Salsola before but did not understand. The crumpled one she passed had a singlar line, an illustration of an icy river, treacherous and dark. Her gait was brisk but unhurried, her voice a cold purr.

"Would you welcome help?"

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Sat Jul 27, 2019 12:23 pm

It had been no accident that O'Riley roamed the far reaches. He was convinced that this was the area where he would find answers.

He could have ended the coyote menace now growing in the north if he had found them sooner. They could have purged all memory of the Clan and rewritten history to their own making. What had happened to Inferni was a lesson to their enemies, but in leaving little pieces of it smoldering they risked the fire rising all over again.

To extinguish all doubt from his people, O'Riley did what he had always done – he found an answer.

Misfortune, certainly, befell the young man who now backed towards the skinny trees. He was bleeding freely from one hand, clutched against his chest. The bristling form that faced him was not so tall, but on four legs looked a dastardly shape that betrayed his monstrous intent.

This perhaps was why the man, with his wounded hand and precarious situation, mistook Khael's arrival for salvation.

Yes! Get him away from me!

She's talking to me, you moron, O'Riley taunted. He lunged again, snapping, but did not get close enough to strike. The loner took a swipe at him, missed, and stumbled back. There were tangled roots and vines everywhere, filling the forest with obstacles the wolfdog sought to use to his advantage.

Leave me alone! I didn't do nothin'! He attacked me! The curly-haired dog moaned, still trying desperately to convince the impassive woman of his plight.

O'Riley finally broke his gaze from the stranger to look at Khael. There was blood on his muzzle. In the darkening sky above their heads stars were emerging. The area around them had gone quiet at the sound of their conflict, and when O'Riley barked, it filled the whole world with sound.

Those cards belonged to the Crone!

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:34 am

Leaves whispered overhead, like a secret, but one drowned out by the desperate bark of the bleeding dog as he called desperately to her. Her ember eyes gleamed, then narrowed with something like humor as the Erilaz mocked him, the wolfdog a massive dark thing whose claws raked up the earth beneath him. The soil was broken by roots, too, which the dog stumbled over, still whining desperately and begging belief in his innocence.

Whether he was innocent or not did not truly matter. The importance of the words O'Riley shouted in the dusk did not go amiss, but Khael had already been reaching for the obsidian dagger sheathed at her hip.

< "Wretched thing," > murmured Khael – almost soothing. The rasp of the tongue before the lion's teeth.

She lashed out for the young man's wounded hand, grasping it with clawed fingers until he cried out. She cut him once, high on the arm, to hear his yelp but not to wound him terribly. When he stumbled again, she caught him by his curls, a fistful in one hand as the other traced the black stone-hewn blade under his jaw. She could feel his throat bob beneath it.

You took a thing that does not belong to you, she hissed in his ear.

The loner's eyes moved to O'Riley, but he did not speak.

[613 of 1200]

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:22 pm

Gods, sometimes things felt like fate.

He didn't really believe in gods, though. Nothing about their role in the world beyond metaphors made sense to him. There were so many names for all these powers, and where had it gotten all the faithful? No power beyond his own had saved his life. No power beyond his own had led to these endings as he saw fit.

Khael moved fast when she struck, and when she had the Outsider held O'Riley almost lunged forward again. He restrained himself and stiffened, lifting his head and his tail high with an authority that matched the height of his wild hair.

The drone of insects circled them again and again. Their growing whine was almost as annoying as the sounds coming from the man with the knife to his throat.

Where did you get those cards? O'Riley demanded.

Wha—I don't know, please, I—

It's a simple goddamn question, the black-faced wolf thundered with slow measure, his muzzle twitching.

I don't know, I don't remember, their captive cried. He shivered violently and whimpered. Please, please!

I think you do remember.

The Outsider shook his head.

I don't believe you.

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:48 pm

851 of 1200 choppa choppa

The hapless man whimpered under her knife. It brought her no joy. She felt nothing, truly -- while sometimes these circumstances brough her pleasure, Khael acted now under a bored impulse and a curiosity as to O'Riley's intentions.

Khael could not be called a loyal soldier or an obedient servant, but she recognized power, and important people captured her interest. The Erilaz' grandmother had, her venom green eyes seeing through Khael's ginger mask. Though not deeply involved with the Kingdom's politics (sometimes to her wife's chagrin), Khael had noticed O'Riley too. She recalled Inferni's mansion bright with flame behind the trees.

The large wolf snarled his interrogation, while the dog trembled and pleaded, shaking his head and claiming ignorance. They would get nowhere like this.

Khael released his curly hair, only to grab him forcefully by the base of a floppy ear. She squeezed her fingers there tightly, then began to cut it off with the knife. The process was not quick, and it was not seamless.

The man wailed, sobbed, though each jerk of his head cut him anew. Khael flung the leather down at her feet and seized the Outsider by the back of his neck instead, where spine met skull and she could control its movements. His teeth chattered, but she directed his gaze toward O'Riley and hummed shortly, a wordless indication for him to try remembering again.

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:29 pm

He wasn't quite sure what he had expected her to do.

Hurt the man, yes.

Kill him, eventually, yes.

Khael surprised him with her ingenuity. O'Riley stared openly, fascinated by the display of savagery. So much of his life was spent hiding these brutal parts of himself in many ways, tempering just how and what his people knew him to be capable of. Secretly delighted (and wary yet, well aware of the danger Khael might present) the wolfdog's mouth opened little by little.

The bleeding, sobbing man was forced forward once more.

For a few too-long seconds, O'Riley let the stranger hiccup and whine. He was considering how necessary what came next might be.


I-I-, the Outsider choked out. They were a gift!

A gift?

I don't know where they came from, I swear, I don't!

Who gave them to you?

Smething strange and suddenly defiant crossed the stranger's face. He shuddered violently and strained against the pressure digging into his spine.

O'Riley's eyes narrowed.

See, he told Khael. He does remember. O'Riley let his gaze drift towards where blood wept as openly as the wounded man. It was an ugly sight. Nobody gets cut like that over nothing. I imagine you know exactly who gave those to you.

He didn't get an answer and knew he was right.

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:57 am

Pale lavender eyes studied her, but Khael did not worry about judgment from a man who'd set fire to someone's home in the dark of night.

There was only one individual's judgment that she feared, and so she tempered her brutality, made use of their cultural outlets; she would be recognized as Milite soon, and already she had saved the lives of some other Salsolans – this could not be disputed. One could frame violence in many ways, call it necessary, call it a tool. Tink already knew a lot of what she was capable of, but some things remained secrets – like her pretty little coyote friend with the new scar and shorn hair, or the Nocturne women who wouldn't soon forget their trip to the caves.

Most Salsolans were opportunists and monsters. It was naive to think otherwise, and Khael didn't think her wife was naive – just prudent.

O'Riley prompted the whimpering man again, who claimed the cards were a gift with no known origin. He lurched in Khael's grasp suddenly, and she tightened her hand until the pressure was painful, her ember eyes watching her superior. She took the mongrel's silence as a signal.

Her fingers came up to fondle the other ear, gripping it tightly. You have other limp things I can cut off if you think it's worth it, she said, then let her hand, balancing the knife, drift down. Almost embracing him, she rested her chin on his shoulder and skimmed the obsidian dagger down his abdomen. Answer him. She licked her chops and tapped the blade against his groin a couple times.

/sobs I need like one more post because I am incapable of writing long ones

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:58 pm

What was most valuable to a man? It became apparent to O'Riley, in the next few moments, that the stranger they had captured here had plenty of reason to do what he did. Men were weak, everyone reminded him. They were so desperate to boast of their own strength and might and yet how easily they came undone.

Sometimes, he hated himself with such fury that it took everything in him not to scream.

The Outsider, sniffling and looking terribly pathetic, let out an awful whine.

Oh please, stop, stop, he cried. My sister, my sister, she had them! I didn't know what they were, I swear I didn't, I don't know anything!

Where's your sister now?

She left, I don't know.

You don't know where she is or you know where it is that she left to?

I don't know!

You're lying again. You lie one more time and it won't end well for you, friend. You know where she is. It's near here, isn't it?

I don't know, I swear!

From the way he shrieked, O'Riley imagined Khael had hurt him badly.

Over the mountain, over the mountain! The stranger finally admitted. Just don't hurt her please, you can take them, I'll give you everything I have—

There was a moment where only those shuddering, awful sobs filled the dark. They were predators, Luperci, but some of them were no better than fodder.

Your life, O'Riley said, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world. His eyes turned to Khael. It's what la Familia would want.

Re: [m] ice is bark of rivers and roof of the wave

Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:33 pm

Blood seeped from the tattered ear, absorbed into the curly fur, ran in a line along his narrow jaw that dripped when he stammered and whined. Khael listened idly to his rambling, thinking it interesting how the mind forgot when one was terrified. Whether the dog truly didn't know or was scrambling to find an answer O'Riley wanted, she didn't know, but when she became tired of the repeated phrase, she used the knife.

His cry was short and keening, and more blood spattered the ground between his feet.

Her mouth tasted like iron from the proximity, and she licked her chops again, muzzle wrinkled, until O'Riley's pale eyes glinted toward her. His order was simplistic, and so was the way she killed the man, the obsidian dagger flicking across his femoral artery. The ground was nearly black now in the darkness, and the loner's body was growing limp, until she tired of supporting it and let it sprawl down at the Erilaz' feet.

"Do I tell people about this yet," Khael asked, her voice flat. Her head inclined toward the spread cards. Red had begun to blossom on one, a brighter color than the berry-paints the Crone had chosen for their whimsical hues.

She waited for his answer and said nothing more, but when she was dismissed she walked back into the fields until she found a lone sheep drinking from a creek, its wool dirty and overgrown. She killed it, bathed briefly, and dragged it back to the little camp, and when Tink woke up, said she had been hunting.

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