triple six, five, forked tongue

POSTED: Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:09 pm

June Thread Prompt: Dead fish have begun appearing en-mass near some of our waterways. The strange cull is most obvious along our Southern Shoreline, and near the Pictou Delta at the low end of the realm. Over a number of days, the smell begins to reach our homes in the Ruins, carried up the high bluffs by a stern wind off the loch. What do you make of our stinky dead aquatic neighbors? Are you repulsed, or intrigued?

What in god's name was that smell?

He hadn't even been gone for that long; the better half of a month, but had something really catastrophic happened since the earthquake? Aside from the obvious devastation, anyway. This new development was a different animal entirely, making itself readily apparent as it wafted through his nose in a rude, foul intrusion.

Naturally, his first inclination was to snap at his slave and have them scramble for whatever spare herbs he had laying around. When that proved fruitless, he rolled his eyes heavily, cattily, before waving them away with a dismissive hand.

"I'll deal with it," he said, knowing full well that for anything to be done the correct way, the D'Angelo would have to pony up and do it himself. Tetrad had their uses, and admittedly they were still growing used to the idea of hands, but he was too irate now to be patient with them.

The Mercante knew for a fact there were spices and herbs in storage -- he had just replenished their stores, after all, with the favorable results of his Portland trip. Besides, this seemed a good use of them; if he was clearing suffering in some capacity, where was the harm? Perhaps hanging them about his Watchtower was not their intended use, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

All it would take was a sprig of mint or lavender thrown in his fireplace; from there, the smoke and airflow would take care of the rest. Or, at least, Khalifa was willing to make that bet. He had a hunch.

Dark legs strode briskly in the stickily-warm summer morning, and he didn't even try to hide his upturned nose, his lips curling back in disgust. Anyone that passed by would surely be able to relate if they had a functioning nasal cavity.

• • •
AW for one! salsola REEKS what in tarNATION
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POSTED: Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:27 pm

Hope you don't mind me!

“Merda,” Swore the Apprentice, wishing now that she had one of those bird-beaked masks the strangers had worn to stuff incense into. Glancing sideways at her companion, whose pace was calm if not lethargic, her disgust turned to exasperation.

“Even this,” She gestured to the world around them. “doesn’t bother you?”

Indra, her mismatched eyes sweeping the path ahead, gave a laconic shrug that was so familiar to Clementine that under different circumstances she might have been appeased. Everything smelled of decay, however, death incarnate, and even she—a woman firmly rooted in reality—was beginning to wonder if this wasn’t some karmic laugh at the sake of an unforgiving universe.

‘We need to find the cause.’ Her mother went on to explain.

She’d explained her months-long absence in about as many words as that, and the Apprentice still wasn’t sure whether she intended to press the matter. A month she could forgive, but three? Four? That was simply too much to ignore.

On the verge of mimicking those very words, Indra’s arm swinging in her direction gave her pause. Was she about to be smacked? No; it was a shield across her chest, the universal gesture to stop what you were doing immediately.

Stopping, listening, she heard it: footsteps along the path ahead.

Unlike Indra, however, Clementine knew who it was even at a distance. Shrugging off the woman’s arm with an ease that surprised even her, a perplexed surfaced and disappeared in the same instance. Was the ex-soldier getting weaker, or was she getting stronger?

“Warden Khalifa,” Called the redhead, lengthening her stride to catch up with him. Some half a year older than her, he was nonetheless something of a mystery; a merchant by trade, like herself, she supposed his ambitions were clear. Frowning for another reason entirely, she gestured to the woods around them, indicating the stench. “looking for the source of all this madness?”
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POSTED: Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:13 pm

He was honestly starting to consider finding some cloth or rag to wrap around his nose -- yes, he was that dramatic -- when the voice called to him, a pleasing song to his ears. Glancing over his shoulder, the D'Angelo couldn't help but smile, though it was obviously strained; certainly not because of her appearance, however. No, in that regard, Khalifa was almost a bit relieved there was someone else around to share in his misfortune.

"Merchant Apprentice," he returned, perhaps a tad jealous at having to say the title aloud. But it was a silly thing, he reasoned; Clementine surely had earned the right to it, after all.

Besides, there was room for more than one merchant in Salsola. It really couldn't function any other way.

"I suppose you could say that." He held her copper eyes for a moment longer before looking about them, clicking his tongue. "It's just about driving me mad."

He entertained the idea of breathing through his mouth to spare himself the headache before finding it rather haughty. Maybe eventually his nose would simply go numb.

"I was going to fetch some herbs from the stores, so I could at the very least remedy this... situation, at my house. It'd be absolutely dreadful to have to try and sleep with this" -- he gesticulated with his hands -- "all about."

In spite of it all, a chuckle rolled off his lips. "What do you make of all of this, Miss Clementine?"

• • •
of course not!! thanks for joining <3
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POSTED: Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:47 pm

For all that could easily recognize him from a distance, Khalifa himself was something of an enigma to the Salcedo. Tall and lean, he was more doggish than even she could pretend to be, though if she had to guess he was—like most of them—highly hybridized.

She thought to ask him how he was enjoying being a mercante, and then thought better of it, realizing he could find a slight if he looked into it too much. This was the danger of Salsola, she thought; even a genuine compliment could become barbed when offered to the wrong person. This was not entirely unusual, either; no one lived here without growing some thorns among the thistles.

“It’s quite unpleasant,” Clementine agreed, her amethyst gaze swinging to her side. Indra wasn’t there, exactly, but three paces behind. It was some perverse enjoyment of hers, standing in the blindspots of others.

Fortunately, it didn’t bother her.

“fortunately, I’m on the far side of the Ruins, and it seems a little better there.” There was, strictly speaking, no ‘far side’ of the ruins, but being near the Feasting Hall meant that most of what she smelled was related to food preparation. Only recently had the stench of dead fish become so repugnant as to drive her to seek either the source or a way to stop it, albeit temporarily.

His emphatic gesturing made her smile, though it wasn’t necessarily a kind one; following the path his hands took, she wondered if he was always this dramatic.

“The clinic or the gardens would be the place to go for herbs,” She reminded him gently, unsure if his use of the term ‘storage’ was more generalized, or if he meant the pack’s main storage. “there should be large enough stores and bayberry and meadowsweet at both that no one will mind if we borrow a little.”

There was a give-and-take element to this as there was in all things.
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POSTED: Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:23 pm

He followed her gaze when she looked over her shoulder; Clementine had a certain aura to her, one that Khalifa found himself fixating on, so much so that he hadn't noticed she had company. She hung back from them, so he simply rose his voice ever so slightly. "Oh," he said, then bore his polite smile, flashing teeth. "I'm not sure we've met before; I am Warden Khalifa."

The woman was older, with icy eyes and a chilly air. Still, he wouldn't forgo his manners.

His eyes returned to Clementine's, just as she gave him a bit of advise; and for a moment, Khalifa merely stared at her. Why hadn't he thought of that? Perhaps because he was so caught up in dealing with Tetrad and making sure their provisions were sufficient that his mind automatically traveled to the main storage. He certainly visited those much more than he had ever visited the gardens, and only on occasion did he accompany his sister when she frequented the clinics; though those trips had lessened now that her children were born.

His lips turned up again, out of obligation. "You're right, of course." He wouldn't admit any lapse of judgement beyond that, however. Salsolans had an affinity for sniffing out any inkling of weakness, and the D'Angelo was not keen to let anyone jump to conclusions from a momentary slip.

"Shall we, then?" Fresh herbs might would work a tad better than dried ones, anyway. "The clinic isn't too terribly far from here." Closer than the gardens, anyway; he'd save that trip for another outing, maybe send his servant there to gather plants on his behalf.

• • •

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POSTED: Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:34 pm

I PP'd, let me know if you want me to change it!

Indra’s eyes moved only slightly to regard Khalifa; in some backwoods, roundabout way, Clementine thought they must be related. It wasn’t necessarily in the way they walked or talked, but their names. The prolific D’Angelo’s were intrinsically tied to the Eternity family, of whom her grandmother had been a notable example.

Nonetheless, the ex-soldier gave him her cursory glance and moved on, staring straight ahead.

“Indra Winters,” Clementine introduced her rude mother. “excuse her rudeness; she seems to believe her sister will protect her from herself.”

Who her sister was wasn’t obvious when one only examined Indra’s coloration; brightly colored with one meteoric eye and the other a steely mint blue, there was no one left here who resembled the woman who had abandoned her familial name for one that gave her neither the glory nor the recognition she deserved.

There was a gravitas to the sisters though, a strength of presence they both shared.

Her own mouth remained a jovial, bouncing line with a mobility and changeability that even a chameleon would envy. Khalifa was charming, and would no doubt prove himself a valuable asset to the merchant tier if that ended up being his goal; the Salcedo with bright amaranthine eyes, however, was smoke, and every possible setting was the perfect stage for a magic show.

She’d already proven this, of course, and didn’t need to do so presently. Still, there was no limit to how many times she’d heard—and would continue to hear—that she was correct in one way or another. It was so very, very rare for anyone to tell her anything else.

“Of course,” The Apprentice agreed, presumptively looping her arm with his. She wondered if it’d make him uncomfortable, if he’d hate it. Secretly, she hoped so. “I’d hate for you to perish of bad smells.”
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POSTED: Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:10 pm

The other woman wasn't much of a talker, he observed. This was fine, though; Clementine was certainly the more interesting of the two, if he had to choose, and the younger female introduced her companion on her behalf anyway.

A strange introduction, though, and for a moment he was stumped. Her sister? She must have been related to someone far up in the ranks, then? It occurred to Khalifa that he still had relations and faces in the Kingdom to commit to memory, associations that were not as well-known as simply sharing a familial tie.

Then again, Salsola was a rather large pack, its influence reaching as far as Portland, so he supposed it wasn't entirely shameful that he hadn't every relationship and member's life story at the forefront of his mind.

At his prompting, the young woman found it proper to latch onto him, fitting him into the role of an escort with little room for the D'Angelo to argue. And he didn't resent this designation, even if Clementine seemed a tad over-eager -- no, no, that wasn't the word. Presumptuous, maybe. Docile, she was not, which both pleased him and reminded him to be acutely aware.

"As would I." And with that, he led them off, carting off the roseate wolfess in search of life-saving herbs.

He didn't immediately seek to make conversation, instead letting the silence settle comfortably -- or perhaps uncomfortably -- between them, before a probing question came forth.

"So, Merchant Apprentice," he began, glancing back her way, "you must have worked quite hard to get where you are now; where do you go from here?" As he understood it, they hadn't a chief diplomat or head merchant, and he wondered if she was gunning for either of those. Or perhaps something else entirely.

• • •
np!!
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