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Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:30 pm
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Khael pulled the strap of the harness taut, harshly enough that the donkey twisted its head toward her with a short bray. She hissed. "You bite me and I'll turn you into leather." The animal swung its head back away from her, ears pinned, when she quickly raised a fist in threat. She went back to adjusting the straps, a little more carefully this time, and tugged on the saddlebags attached to the simplistic harness to make sure they were secure.
They were not bringing a great deal with them, but their wares included several jars of goods she did not wish to fall and break. Balanced on the donkey's back, also strapped tightly, was a woven box with young, piebald rabbits inside. Most were communal Salsolan goods, though most of what they intended to bring back was meant to be for the Thistle Kingdom anyway.
"Are we ready?" came a singsong from down the trail. Khael turned to watch her wife walk through the briars, brushing down her dress, a plainer affair than the finely-dyed goods she wore to the Suppers. "Oh, that isn't too heavy for him, is it? Hello, sötnos," she cooed, coming over to stroke the donkey's muzzle. He pressed his velvety, whiskered chin into her hands while Khael snorted.
"He will be fine. I've seen smaller ones carry more weight in the desert." She handed the halter rope off to Katinka, who gave the equine one last pat before they set off along the path.
It was an unmarked road through the woods, twists and turns of asphalt. Any cars that remained were rusted husks grown through with bowed saplings, half-hidden by the bracken. They were already a good fifteen miles from Salsola, where the sparse forest was beginning to give way to marshier ground. The best way to stay dry was to keep to the old human routes.
Tink sang softly as they walked, and Khael took up the rear, her ember eyes shifting between the wolfdog and their goods, and the surrounding wood.
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:01 pm
Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:18 pm
When the masculine voice hailed them, Khael pricked her ears and dropped her hand to the short-spear tied to her hip. She didn't bother to conceal her weapon, hoping that its presence would dissuade thieves. (The knife on her person, meanwhile, was hidden under cloth). She turned to fix burning orange eyes on the stranger: a tall, shaggy wolfdog –
Carrying a lanky lamb.
Katinka turned quickly around, tense and alert, but the man's calm brogue and the young sheep in his arms brightened her at once. Oh, hello! she greeted back, and laughed a little at the sheep, a hand covering her mouth delicately. You look like you've been on a little adventure, haven't you? Dirt and debris, like burrs, collected on the lamb's dangling legs told a story – as did the man's rather damp pants. There was no unkindness in Tink's voice, only amusement, though her bright blue eyes sized the loner up with a sensible amount of caution.
Utterly unmoved, Khael put a hand on her hip and stared.
Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:08 pm
Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:44 pm
The charcoal-colored wolfdog grinned in response, and Katinka laughed. It's easy to recognize when you've done the same before, she said, smoothing her hands across her plain dress; while it wasn't dirty now, there were tiny tears and other stains from traipsing through mud and briars after wayward lambs and calves. Her bright blue eyes followed the lamb with amusement, but then she straightened and nodded when the man offered his name.
I'm Birgitta, she replied with a warm smile – more genuine than the name she offered the stranger; one could never be too careful. When Khael said nothing, she added with an apologetic blink, This is Cinder.
The jackal's lip finally twitched in something like a smile.
A devoted shepherd, remarked Khael. Most folk wouldn't consider one lost little lamb worth it. But I suppose you cannot afford to lose any of your flock, can you? Her eyes scanned over him, her nostrils flaring. He did not smell like he had a pack, though he wasn't the worst-off loner she'd seen. Still, guarding livestock without the security of pack borders was a full-time job.
Khael should know; she'd eaten many wayward sheep before.
Oh, stop leering at the poor man. Tink tutted and pushed Khael's elbow, while the donkey sniffed curiously in the lamb's direction. I chased a neighbor's ram through a rainstorm once. In the end, I was more scuffed up than he was – mostly because he hadn't wanted to be caught. You take care of your animals even if they're sometimes more trouble than they're worth.
What happened when you brought the ram back to your neighbor?
The wolfdog flushed. Well, Mister Campbell was so grateful he gave me the best cut of meat when they butchered him the next day.
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:43 pm
Returning her smile as Birgitta gave her name, along with her companions, he nodded slightly in acknowledgment. "Nice to meet you." He turned his attention to the darker female as she spoke for the first time. Her comments were true, even if they could be considered a touch rude. Still, Shamus decided not to make a big deal about it. "True enough, but if he puts me through this again I may just have to cut my losses."
The wolfdog cut in and scolded her companion briefly, before sharing her own story of wayward sheep. She was right, of course, his sheep might be an inconvenience most of the time, but they were still his and he would always put their welfare first. The humorous end to her story brought a chuckle from his lips, as he couldn't help but sympathize. At least she got something out of it in the end.
Softly stroking the top of the tired lamb's head as he leaned against him, Shamus couldn't help but think he had already put in much more effort for his old ram shortly after he left Talta Lake. The male had often beaten himself up for castrating this fellow when he did, right before he lost his father to a cougar. "I'd gladly lose this guy for a good ram, all he's good for now is wool and meat anyway."
Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:26 pm
Shamus acknowledged that he might have to cut his losses with the lamb, and Khael offered a sharp nod; he was not the overly sentimental type, at least. She could stomach others' folly as long as she sensed strength or a keen mind behind their indulgences. This was the case for most of the nobility of Salsola, whose wealth ensured they had they wanted for nothing and could dabble in such things. It was the hierarchy of needs demonstrated. It was why you could have a pet lamb until times grew lean and you grew hungry.
Tink tittered sympathetically, then paused in thought. A wether was indeed only worth its weight in meat and wool. She glanced at the lamb, which stared cutely back, then began to wag her feathered tail.
Khael gave her a look that said "don't."
Tink ignored it.
Well, maybe we could arrange a trade? That way the little fella has a home and a few good years of shearing. I could do that for you, she said, grinning – a nice way of implying that the lamb was worth nothing, and that this was an act of charity. We have some goods we could part with. A good jar of pitch, a rabbit with an interesting pelt. She gestured toward the saddlebags and the small hutch strapped to the donkey. What do you say, what kind of things do you need?
Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:55 pm
Softly running the fingers of his free hand through the wool on his almost grown lamb’s back, he wondered exactly why he had kept the little fellow around for so long. At first, he’d just been an extra source of wool, which is why he had decided to castrate him in the first place. Shamus had left his home and family behind with four ewes and a ram, so he had no reason to risk inbreeding by leaving him intact. Even now with no ram and potentially having to resort to finding a wild ram if he couldn’t manage to trade for stud service, he still remained certain that stopping the lamb from potentially breeding with his mother or half-sisters.
Speaking of his wether’s family, he had been gone for an awfully long time. Hopefully, the presence of Blue, his steadfast palomino mare, and the watchful eyes of Rós would be able to keep his small flock safe. Shamus might be a loner for now, but he had no intention of losing what little wealth they could help him build now that he was on his own. Hell, maybe he would be able to leverage them to eventually join a new pack. Still, it was going to take quite a bit of work to bring this fellow back to his camp, especially because he wasn’t worth a whole lot.
It was for exactly this reason that Briggitte’s rather charitable offer was greeted with a bright smile. The dark luperci had absolutely no reservations in taking advantage of another’s helpfull nature, especially not a pair such as this. They obviously had some wealth, perhaps even high status in the pack their well-kept clothing and pile of goods spoke of. "I’d be happy to trade with you!"
Letting a humorous smirk cross his face as he glanced at Cinder, he continued. "I might be dedicated, but I’m a better carpenter than I am a shepherd. Pitch could definitely be useful in future projects and I never say no to more furs at this time of year."
Walking his wether a bit closer, he added. "He’s tuckered out enough to follow along on your journey if you tie a bit of rope around his neck."