this is our salvation

POSTED: Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:43 pm


(390)

Corank thread (Vaquera): Observe the Bay Horses and inform the Equinest of any changes. If there is no Equinest, report to a member of the Sotto Capo or above.

_____________________

Evelyn had always heard about the wild horses that Salsola had been aided by another pack many years before in establishing within the Northern part of their territory and extending out further into the wildlands within the valley. The Bay Horses were made up of three groups from what she understood, but she had never actually had gotten to see them for herself. It was a little too close to the edges of the territory for her liking to be out there, but something today had her interests piqued in particular, and feeling a little more confident with going out of the territory borders - it was a good of time as any.

The girl had set out early that morning, dressed in the warmest garb as the days of late were growing much colder, and the wind almost ripped through one's fur without so much as a thought setting the young Ulrich to constant shivering if she did not keep moving. The sun offered some support during the day, but the nights were much too cold to be out without a purpose. Shouldering a large bag that had some supplies in it, she also had slung a quiver of arrows over her chest, as well as her new bow she was very proud to sport. A beloved gift from her grandfather for reaching her first birthday.

The first rays of sunlight were just breaching the Eastern border promising at least a clear day, albeit not a warm one. The child in the air had appeared to keep most animals in their nests and burrows, as the silence that hung in the air was refreshing as she made her way through the woods. Evelyn had hoped to tally up the numbers of at least one of the herds that made up the band of Bay Horses, but if she could catch a glimpse of one of the other bands, that would be most favourable. Either way, she was just excited to see them in their natural territory. It would not be hard to track them with her keen nose, but she did feel a little lonely on the crisp fall morning.

Picking her way through the rough strewn grasses of the Northern border, Evelyn tried to remain quiet on foot, as the snap of the frost stricken grasses threatened that notion.

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"Evelyn speaks."

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Last edited by Evelyn de le Ulrich on Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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POSTED: Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:40 pm

332

Beneath her, the leather straps of a cobbled together saddle creaked where she’d tied them. Blowing on her hands, which were overly cold from her frequent use of the reins, she contemplated the vicissitudes of her place within Salsola, which seemed only to be on the rise. She thought her parents were proud of this; this pleased her, but the rise in station itself left her melancholy.

She’d thought she’d feel something by now, a blooming, blossoming sense of patriotism for the pack of her birth, and yet she looked only forward to the steps she had left. Slowly, she was coming to realize the wisdom of Indra’s choice, that no accomplishment would ever be great enough and that refusing to play was the only way to win.

The gauntlet had been cast, however, and she could not withdraw it.

Nearing the border, and the alluring call of a warm bed in her own home, it was the scent of another that drew her head upright. Adjusting Fingal’s course, the forgot about the goods he carried on his back, or her original intent. As always, any potential opportunity for a bit of mischief was not a call she could ignore.

Letting the white horse pick his own way back across the borders, she guided him carefully when the snow became thick, eventually leaping from his back to break the ice by hand. His safety was less important than her own, but his use as a tool for travel and a beast of burden was paramount to her work. He was a beautiful creature of respectable bloodlines, not unlike herself, and she would not allow folly to be his downfall.

Ahead, someone was picking their way carefully toward the bay, silent footfalls giving away nothing. It was not the first time she’d discovered such a thing, but the circumstances had been different.

Defecting? Wondered Clementine with a teasing smile, her breath fogging. You break my heart, Eve.

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POSTED: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:40 pm


(512)

<3

_____________________

It was difficult traveling on foot now that she had her own horse to call her own. A special gift from her father and Papa that had been a little unexpected, although it may have had been hinted at as of late. It just did not seem like a good idea to bring the horse with her where she wanted to go exactly and therefore traveled on foot the entire morning towards the borders of the Thistle Kingdom. She rubbed her hands together, attempting to warm them as the cold of the winter winds that broke through her thick furs chilled her to the bone.

The thought of retreating danced in her mind momentarily as the call of a crackling fire was almost enough to turn the young Ulrich on her heels and start running, but the girl refrained knowing that this work here would prove her mettle as a future Equinest to the pack. The Bay herds were well known around Salsola, but Evelyn had yet to experience their glory for herself. She gathered as much information as she could about them and promised to return to Grievous later today or tomorrow morning with the information she had gathered.

The sound of a familiar voice disturbed her thoughts and her pointed nose whipped around to see who it was. A grin crossed her lips and she feigned surprise at being caught in the act.

"You caught me. The burden of my father's ambitions for me was too much to bear," she grinned, throwing her hands up in defeat at the red-headed woman that approached. Behind her was her own mount following through the footsteps that were broken by Clementine for easier passage through the crisp ice that blanketed the landscape. Dropping her hands back down to her sides, before absent-mindedly crossing them over her chest as a chill ran through her the woman eyed the well-packed horse.

"If I wasn't mistaken, you would look like you were more prepared to defect than I," a quirk of her brow in faux suspicion at the horse carrying a small load possibly for trade on the outside of the borders of the Thistle Kingdom. Travel was growing harder in these months as winter was beginning to settle in nicely around them. It sure made it more difficult to hunt when the prey animals did not want to be out in the cold any more than she did.

"Actually, what I was doing was going to see if I could find one of the Herds in the Bay, was hoping to get a tally of their numbers and see how healthy they may look and report back to Equinest Grievous," she mentioned, not wanting to outright ask if the woman wanted to accompany her. It would be a lot less boring and much more interesting to have her come with. Their last adventure found the two girls deep within the belly of the grotto hiding from similar elements such as this. It appeared they had a knack for running into each other in terrible precipitation.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

"Evelyn speaks."

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POSTED: Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:47 am

332

Evelyn’s feigned surprise pleased her for a reason (or reasons) she couldn’t quite explain or otherwise articulate. She enjoyed these little interactions that were both harmless and entertaining. So many Salsolans were insufferably serious, brokering no argument and avoiding humor as if it were somehow a mark against them.

In other words, they were boring, something Clementine thought was a worse crime than heresy.

Is your father very ambitious? Wondered the Merchant Apprentice, her broad smile indicating that this was just one more in an endless series of harmless jabs. In truth, there wasn’t a soul here who wasn’t industrious in some way. Even this pale, blue eyed creature before her understood that the climb was half the fun.

And necessary, but that was secondary.

It looks that way, doesn’t it? I must be careful, then, She paused to allow a flickering smile to burst across her face. otherwise someone might think I’m up to no good.

A truer statement had never tumbled from her lips.

She had been trading in Portland, which was known only by those she needed to inform; the members of her faction, for example, and the leadership, who knew everything one way or another. None of this bothered her, as informing them of these activities also acted as a show of contribution. No one could say she was lazy, whatever else they thought about her.

When Eve mentioned the Bay horses, her face turned contemplative.

Much of Ghost band’s territory had been eclipsed by Salsola’s various expansions north, and she wasn’t sure whether they’d been assimilated into either of the two remaining herds or moved elsewhere. With Inferni gone, everyone could have shifted east as well. She knew personally of one particular group, the Ash horses, having a personal taste for speed over strength when it came to horses.

I could show you where Ash is, She said noncommittally, knowing full well that she could invite herself on the premise of outranking the woman before her. Alas, she had so few friends as it was, she was reluctant to make more enemies unnecessarily. if they haven’t moved too much due to the weather, they should be directly east of us, across the Pictou.

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POSTED: Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:36 pm


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<3

_____________________

Was her father ambitious? Evelyn was not entirely sure as his growth within the ranks was stunted with the fact he had been so busy raising his two children over the last year she guessed it would be hard to be moving too high in the ranks. He seemed to be content most days where he was at, but Evelyn did not truly know the desires that lied within his heart. They had worked together with the horses, but nothing, in particular, screamed that he was an overly ambitious type in the way of wanting a role within the leadership. He busied himself with his family more than anything, at least that was her perspective which was a very limited view.

"I'm sure my father's ambitions took a backseat to raising us, I don't know what he will do with himself now that he doesn't have to worry about that," she grinned, her eyes flickering back to the red-haired woman her fiery tresses a bright light in the monochromatic painted backdrop of whites and greys. Winter had settled in around them making the scenery beautiful, yet maybe for some it made things more difficult. It would be hard to stay hidden with such a bright coloured coat, but the beautiful Salcedo woman did not need to worry about that within Salsola at least.

"You? Up to no good? I don't think anyone would believe that," she grinned, giving her head a shake at the preposterous thought. Having climbed so high within the ranks already, Evelyn was sure that the young woman was more than proving her mettle within the thistle kingdom with trade or something by the looks of how heavily she was packed for a trip away. Evelyn did not pry though and her eyes flicked back from the horse to the face of the woman. Her brows lifted in interest as she spoke of one of the other bands and that she could potentially show Evelyn there whereabouts.

"That would be very helpful, with our territory expansion I was a little worried we may have ran a few of the horses off farther, perhaps one day I can bring a few of them and assimilate them into our own herds," she grinned, her own ambitions farther reaching than studying the equines. "Lead the way?" she asked, motioning with her hand so that Evelyn could fall into step beside her.

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"Evelyn speaks."

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POSTED: Sun Dec 15, 2019 1:21 pm

571

Tying off Fingal in such a way that he would be able to pull himself free with effort, she gave a cursory glance over the items she’d brought back from the Outpost. It had been slim pickings due to the season, but she had managed to find a few small things of relative worth. Nothing great; no glorious weapons, no foreign spices, nothing extravagant.

Stagnation was something she understood all too well; she had experienced it herself over the course of a hot, dry summer. With the scorching sun blazing overhead, she had come to the conclusion that it was most certainly not her season.

Winter — despite her inability to hide amongst the white, the barren birch trees — suited her much better. She was not one for warm weather, greatly preferring the rain and the snow as compared to anything else. It was an odd thing, she thought. For one so concerned with appearance and predisposed to bouts of insatiable vanity, the pleasant days free of muck and mire were distasteful to her. This, the long slog through the snow, was where she excelled. Maybe it was just that she preferred it when everything was an unending struggle. A wiser creature might be able to make something of that, but she was not terribly wise yet. That, she thought, came with age… a tenuous thing at best.

Walking with Evelyn, she was reminded of this again and again; for some reason her brother, Eden, always seemed much younger to her. This was, perhaps, simply the nature of having brothers.

It was not the same with Lyra, she thought, who seemed at once ravenously ambitious and eternally frustrated with her lack of outlet. There was no progress to be made in Portland, and yet her blonde sister seemed reluctant to leave their mother and brother alone in that place. It had been her greatest hope, and her greatest fear, that she might accompany her on the return trip to Salsola proper. This was not, apparently, to be.

No? Wondered the Salcedo offhandedly, thinking privately that she found plenty of mischief both within and without Salsola. It was possible that Evelyn had not heard about the altercation with Symre, but then, such things were not casually bandied about. Due to the nature of it, Clementine had not been eager to rub dirt in the witch’s wound.

It was just business.

I don’t know where Ghost has run off to, She admitted; she didn’t often spend time with the communal horses of Salsola, nor did she often watch the herds. That was, generally speaking, up to the scouts and members of the Ranger Faction. Horses were terribly valuable of course, but her job was to make them marketable, not to oversee their well-being or their training. you should ask Equinest Grievous if he has any ideas about that when you get the chance.

Strange, she thought, to be giving what sounded so eerily like an order. It was only a suggestion, really, but her face had changed to something like surprise. This dissipated while they traversed the woods and the waterways that kept Salsola safe from Outsiders. The river acted as a natural deterrent, especially at this time of year when one risked freezing to death if they should attempt to ford it.

They should be just over this ridge. Commented the Apprentice as they came to a hill.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:54 pm


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Sorry for the wait darling! <3

_____________________

The sun slowly crept up into the sky and their short journey appeared to be hastened by the sun closing in on high noon. It did nothing to warm her bones as the chill of the day crept through her furs and settled into her joints. The days were terribly short, which made everything all the more difficult if one did not want to be trapped in the darkness that night brought. Although, with the amount of snow that blanketed the Thistle Kingdom, with a good, bright moon and a cloudless sky one could still see relatively well if they were prone to being awake all hours of the night. Evelyn was an early riser, and while not the greatest sleeper, she tended to retire early in the evening to get enough rest for her relatively strenuous tasks she set for herself during the day.

The woman beside her admitted that she was unsure of where the other band that Evelyn was initially in search of had run off to. Evelyn did not blame the woman either for keeping up with the Bay Horses as that was a the job of the resident Equinest and Gamekeeper - in one area they were certainly lacking at the moment. The girl was sure her mentor, Equinest Grievous would surely surpass his rank soon and take on the rank of Gamekeeper because he did so much for the pack, but she was young and was not sure if that's where his ambitions truly lay. It was difficult for her to read the man at times, even if they spent quite a bit of time together in the stables, but a lot of it was conversation on the horses and how Evelyn could best serve them.

While her suggestion did sound a bit like an order, Clementine seemed just as surprised by the words that came out of her mouth. Evelyn, not one to buck under any order given to her just smiled softly at the woman and nodded. "I will definitely inquire about their whereabouts of Ghost when I bring the information on the Ash band if we happen to find ourselves lucky to spot them," she nodded, her eyes turning back to the path ahead as the red-headed bird mentioned they should be just over this ridge. With her heart thrumming in her chest with excitement, Evelyn rounded the top of the crest her eyes falling on the small valley before them, nestled in between a grove of trees and the hills that lead into the northern border.

"Ahh, look! There they are!" she said with a child-like excitement that she tended to bury in order to placate those instinctual habits that would have her running and scaring the animals away. The band was not the largest of the three groups by any means, but it appeared maybe one or two had been added to their number this past spring. "Let's get a little closer, we can hide within that small thicket along the crest up ahead there," she murmured lowly so that only the other woman could hear, not wanting her voice to carry over the snowy plains. The horses were busy digging up what they could from under the freshly fallen snow, although one of them was on the alert for danger.

Remaining downwind, Evelyn lead the pair through the snow, remaining as quiet as possible in the crunching snow underfoot. At least she had much training in this department as she had been hunting quite a bit in her spare time so as to replenish the stores that she had taken from before she had refined her skill. She still had much to learn, but her stealth was impeccable. Creeping up into the brush that was now barren from the cold snap, Evelyn made way to lay out on her stomach, rifling through her bag on her back to pull out a small charcoal pencil that had seen better days, and a leather bound notebook that also had seen some wear. Opening up to a brand new page, the girl began dashing down some notes with poor penmanship, albeit readable to her at least.

"Anything you think I should mention to Grievous?" she asked, eyes drawing up to the Salcedo woman's face respecting her age and authority, and perhaps any wisdom she may share with the young Ulrich. In some ways Evelyn still felt like a child and thoroughly enjoyed having some sort of direction. Her independence was still shaky at best and she felt that there was much more room for improvement and therefore the critiques she received served her well in rounding out her abilities.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

"Evelyn speaks."

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POSTED: Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:32 am

It was worth the wait!

552 Words

Less and less these days were the comparisons between herself and her grandmother.

Perhaps they shared some traits, it was impossible to know, having only become familiarized with tales that had taken place long before her birth; how she’d been betrothed, how she’d become the youngest Sotto Capo ever, how — despite the Queen’s obvious influence — she had discovered her own path, created her own program involving horses.

There were less savory stories as well, but those were the ones the purple-eyed young woman refused to hear. It was childish ignorance, she knew, and neither she nor Evelyn would be young girls for much longer. Time would devour them, turn them into women, and thrust upon them the burdens that came along with their gender. What few Salsolan men of worth existed would look at them differently.

For now, she watched the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl forge a path through the freshly fallen snow with a certain element of contentedness about her face. Now was the time for ambition, not frivolity or snide jokes.

When they came to the hillside and crouched, the Apprentice stayed close, her shoulder brushing the other woman’s.

The striking smoky black stallion was one whose coloration Clementine envied; oh, yes, how she adored Fingal and the way his pure white coat dazzled, but the leader and protector of the Ash herd was a force to be reckoned with. If he weren’t vital to the continuation of the herd, if all other males of the band weren’t descended from him, she might’ve decided that he would be better suited for Salsola, for herself.

What few males existed in the herd would be coming up on a year of age; already, the two-year-old’s had been chased off, taken, or killed. Unlike Salsola, which revered its womenfolk and held them to a higher status, among horses it was the males who reigned supreme. From one came the rest.

At Evelyn’s question, her ears pricked, searching for something.

One of last year’s fillies is a nice smoky black, She commented, thinking about the Pauson horse Queen Salvia had designed. Compared to some of their members, Clementine greatly preferred speed over strength, endurance over desensitization. The latter had been her grandmother’s contribution, an attempt at breeding and training warhorses for the inevitable future when someone once again launched a hundred teeth toward Salsola’s neck. and at least one of the mares is pregnant, but I can’t see anything else from here.

The silver dapple mare was dominant, she knew, and half a decade older than the stallion who led ash. They didn’t function as packs did, but she thought this curious nonetheless. An older woman granting a young man power, only to take her own in turn.

There would be more babies come spring, little fillies and colts prancing about on the snow melt. It was from the ways of old, when children must be strong enough to endure harsh winters; some Luperci still abided by this, raising young only during the spring and summer months. Others, knowing that their strength and that of their pack would defend them, heeded only their own instincts.

Do you see anything, Eve? Clementine asked quietly, assessing the horses.

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POSTED: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:44 am


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<3

_____________________

Unfortunately, Evelyn did not have the time with her mother that most had and therefore, half of her was almost missing. Her aunt Dahlia had been a huge part of the first part of her life, but ever since she left neither Eve or Eden had seen her again. At least, not that she was aware of. Now that she was growing more independent and felt safe exploring outside the borders of Salsola, she made a mental note to visit the woman during the first thaw when it would be easier and safer traveling.

Half of her life and half of her heritage was missing, and she never really considered not knowing about the other half of her family before. Yet, watching the band of horses had her contemplating her history, but she knew better than to ask around as the other half of her blood had been apart of Inferni. While she was not alive during the conflict, she was well aware of the stories that came from it and the hatred that beget.

Her eyes followed the large stallion that lead the herd, it was hard not to have your eyes solely on him as he went about his business. He was large and striking in appearance, and his speed was unmatched by the mares in the herd which made him hard to beat by any wandering stallions looking to take over. Clementine scoured the herd with her eyes and noted the smokey black filly that was nearing a year of age that looked strikingly similar to the stallion. Eve went to jot down the little note in her book, and then continued to write as Clem noted one of the mares was pregnant and would be foaling sometime in the early spring by the looks of it.

"They look relatively healthy, despite the winter," she mused, tapping the end of her pencil against her lip as her eyes darted from one equine to the next. "I'm not entirely sure, but maybe the bay could also be pregnant. Still too early to tell though, and maybe she just put on some winter weight," Evelyn joked, chuckling at the thought of any of them having a little extra weight on from the winter. Usually, it went the other way, and her already slim frame would grow even slimmer until the snows thawed and they were able to hunt properly again.

"I'm only counting nine of their group right now, but my eyes could be mistaken, we are a little far," she murmured, as the horses were relatively dark in color and as they moved as a group it could be hard to count them at this distance. Either way, they had grown in number since the previous spring it seemed. Giving a shrug, she folded up her notebook and stuck the pen in the leather before putting it back into her bag. Although the afternoon sun was slowly sinking down towards the horizon of the trees, they still had quite a bit of light to see them back home even if they stayed a little longer.

"Equinest Grievous should be pleased, although I would like to get out later this week and see if I can't track the Ghost band," she confirmed, wondering if Clementine would have any interest in coming with her. If any colts had been born the previous year it would make sense for them to maybe take one or two to train as they would run off or killed by the lead stallion sooner or later. It would be interesting to train one seeing as they would soon be losing a few of their number.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

"Evelyn speaks."

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POSTED: Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:59 pm

We can probably wrap this up?

489

Evelyn joked, but the truth was far simpler. Luperci gestation was extremely short—two months or thereabouts—but horses, due to their longevity, carried their young for almost a year. It wasn’t unusual for a horse to be passed down through three or four generations from birth to death, and depending on one’s chosen profession, living a long life could not always be expected. Soldiers, she thought, didn’t often retire, but instead looked for a glorious end on the battlefield.

Despite her fear of deep waters, Clementine had never given much consideration to what dying would be like. She lived for the day, sought out hedonistic pleasures where possible, and cut her teeth regularly on those who threatened her ascent. Anything else was an added bonus, such as this pleasant jaunt out to see the Ash band.

It had been a fortunate day when she’d met Eve, though neither of them could’ve known it then, surrounded by the damp walls of caves and bat guano.

They’re like us, She said, not quite believing it even as the words tumbled from her mouth. only the strong survive.

Long before winter had bared its teeth, weak foals had been culled from the herd by unfortunate events. A snapped foreleg, a sudden illness, all of the manifold ways in which The Law operated. Salsola chose its members from the strong, making exceptions for some few children born with disabilities and the like, but most parents were wise enough to devour such offspring before they took more than a single breath. It was the merciful option in a place where strangling vines and thorns would come for anyone who wasn’t exceptional.

Ghost band, which Eve thought she might like to find, would be a difficult task. Salsola had expanded eastward along the river into what had traditionally been the horse’s territory, and their current location was unknown to even the Apprentice. Then again, she didn’t take much of an interest in horseflesh unless it was to trade. There were few among them who couldn’t make use of a horse or two.

Ash is one of the smallest herds. She tried to recall if their numbers had ever fluctuated greatly above what they were now and failed. Too much took its place; Salsola’s history, the traits of their rulers, diplomatic decorum, and myriad trivial details therein. Ghost has… well, more or less disappeared.

She grinned, finding this a little funny.

If Grievous plans on continuing the Pauson line, he might like to know about that smoky yearling, but I don’t see anything concerning.

They no longer cared for the herds in tandem with Inferni, and could take them as they pleased, but this came with its own share of difficulties. It was fortunate that the Equinest had such an astute Apprentice to assistance him, she thought.

Shall we head back for now?

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