the legends must be acted out

POSTED: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:50 pm

[WC: 397]

He felt prepared now, with his fur freed of the scent of the southern forests, and dressed reasonably casual for what might have demanded formality from a lesser subject of the Kingdom. O'Riley certainly did not think this would flatter his grandmother and certainly didn't want Elphaba to think he was doing this in a showmanship sort of way.

No, O'Riley was terribly fixated on this thing he had decided upon. He would not risk offending anyone with presumed false-flattery. His dark clothing was yet unworn since he had returned from the Outpost, and on this night the simple but sharp cut of these garments seemed appropriate. It exposed his pale throat but hid the upper half of his arms and legs. The color was a deep, rich black. The woman who had made it would not inform him as to the enchantments she and his mother had put upon it, but she had been direct about how he should wear it, and what he should wear it with.

So the good-luck charms dangling from his hips and the bracelets served in this purpose, just as his trimmed hair and decision to invite them both to his home.

It suggested that he did not want to be dismissed.

The place cleaned up all right, especially with the slave-woman's help. She was pleasant with him despite the glances he often caught – ones which seemed shaded by old familiar fears.

By dusk, the house was spotless and lit by candles and a merry hearth. For the sake of business he had not invited them for a proper dinner, but by the few things he had carefully left out outside of the table nearest his long pantry (bits of jerky and dried fish accompanied a tall leather wrapped pitcher of cooled water) were available because he fretted about the matter. He hated the idea of being scrutinized but knew this was part of the challenge in rising to the positions he now saw as means to the sort of control he craved.

The wolfdog examined the room again, decided it was fine, and when Keenan came rushing to the door knew his guests were close.

O'Riley stepped out to meet them, lingering until both women had dismounted.

I hope the roads weren't bad, he called to them. I can see to your horses, if you'd like to come inside.

Salsola
The Erilaz
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
ECLIPSE

POSTED: Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:03 am

Word Count → ??? :: oh my god when did his avatar get so GOOD

It was an unusual summons, but not suspicious given that she accompanied her grandmother on the journey - O'Riley was more formal in his demonstrations when Salvia was involved, perhaps out of true admiration, or perhaps out of necessity.

When they were alone, just the two of them, he acted differently; Less serious, more given to gifts and jibes and wide easy smiles full of overlarge wolf teeth. Elphaba decidedly liked that O'Riley better, but as with most Salsolans he had a rotation of faces suitable for any occasion, and she did not begrudge him this.

The grey mare was hardly eyecatching when compared to the Boss' mount, but this was purposeful. Salvia had given the gift for a reason, one that had required stealth and levelheadedness; And where the horse lacked in flashy chrome or impressive bulk, she was quiet and clever and sound.

The kit perched precariously around her shoulders, its little claws digging in as they jostled down the worn pathways; It was too big to be left at home, but small enough that it could lay like a scarf about her throat and peek through the thick dark curtain of her hair.

Salvia had said nothing much about the familiar, but the witch knew that the older woman had made note of it well enough.

There were streaks of silver running through her gold, these days. Elphaba had taken to counting them; It felt very important to note such things, and to prepare for what they would eventually mean.

The two women were conversing easily with one another as they arrived, their voices low but casual and unaffected - Those who listened in as they rode past would hear snippets of one thing or another, but nothing decidedly juicy enough for greater interest. As her cousin strode out from the front of his home to greet them, Elphaba swung her legs neatly over the smoky mare's broad bare back and dismounted lightly. Unable to keep its balance, the little fox leaped free and slunk back to curl about her ankles.

"They were icy," She remarked lightly, and blew on her chilled hands to warm them, "But they will turn to mud soon enough, so I'll save my complaints for then." Lifting up on her toes to give his cheek a soft peck, she passed O'Riley the mare's simple braided reins. He was even taller than she last remembered; He'd been gone a fair while, and the differences made her regard him a moment longer than was necessary, admiring the broad shoulders and jauntily trimmed hair with a speculative slanted eye.

When he took the Boss' horse and stepped away, she trailed him with her inquisitive stare, breaking it only to follow Salvia dutifully into the cabin.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

POSTED: Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:06 pm

The initiative she saw some people making was obvious, burning bold and bright while other flames dimmed. This was the cycle of their world, this raging fire which had been stoked by ego and ambition and brought into life through magic and dedication. Salvia recalled their early years in this land, when it was still new and hostile. Dark forests stretched all around them. Now she owned these, and her influence reached further than any leader before. There would never be a time when Salvia's contributions would be forgotten – she had made herself immortal long before her children were born.

Her grandchildren now were adults, and behaved as such. Though younger than perhaps suitable, Elphaba had done nothing beyond her usual dramatics to cause any problems within Salsola. The pack went on functioning, and this only solidified her choice in the matter.

As they arrived she noted the same things her second-in-command did regarding O'Riley, who was pleasant and acted as a proper host. Her eyes lingered on him a beat longer, measuring his size next to that of her horse, and a brief wrinkle appeared in her brow.

They were inside soon after, Salvia and Elphaba and her little fox. It was a house Salvia could not recall clearly, though she saw signs of his mother's influence in the colors and décor featured within.

Have you named it yet? Salvia asked her granddaughter, eyeing the fuzzy thing hiding near her feet.

Salsola
The Regent (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Cazadora, Vaquera Mate to Stannis Ultra Mega Chikkun? NO. She is legend... I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children.
occam's razor
a wild beast or a god

POSTED: Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:08 pm

[WC: 379]

Once he had seen to their horses and satisfied himself of his decision, O'Riley joined his relatives inside.

He had always been a blue-blood in this place, with ties reaching to places of old power and twice-over formed from this earth. Despite carrying the name of their present ruling house it was a Helsi to which O'Riley most resembled despite the touches of tawny gold which had come from his paternal line.

This was most obvious in his dark face and pale eyes, which reflected the fire as O'Riley did his best to remember rank and the importance of things when in a formal setting. Even behind closed doors, he needed them to understand just how serious he was. The pressure of others gathering around him was becoming unbearable.

Thank you both for coming. I have food and drink, if you'd like – but sit when you're ready, both of you, he did not pressure either of these things upon them, and indeed looked mildly impatient for having expressed such formal hospitality.

Once they had done so, he stood where he was most centered between them both. Tall as he was, the high ceiling provided ample room for dark shadows to linger in.

Earlier this season, it came to my knowledge that there was a challenger to the leadership of Cour des Miracles, one of the packs to our south. They're the furthest south of all, he added, though supposed minor details like this were not as important as the overall story. What we've come to learn is that this is true – the previous King has been overthrown. It sounds as if they haven't killed him yet. They seem to still be in turmoil over the whole affair. I've prepared a dossier on the matter already, O'Riley said. He turned briefly to gather the rolled parchment and pass it to them. The carefully prepared parchment contained the details he had confirmed, those he had not, and further notes regarding the shift in landmarks and borders that he and Kamari had noticed during their travels.

Our maps will need changed, as I've indicated. It might be worthwhile to send some scouts down there when the weather turns.

The wolfdog fell silent, but his eyebrows lifted with expectation and curiosity.

Salsola
The Erilaz
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
ECLIPSE

POSTED: Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:36 pm

Word Count → ??? :: ---

The interior of the large central room was mostly as she remembered it, that day O'Riley had returned from Portland with her gift - Maybe he had added to the eclectic assortment of mementos since then, but the winking crystals remained the same. Comfortable in the familiar setting, Elphaba hesitated in sprawling across the couch only out of reverence for her grandmother - She would not sit until Salvia had sat, as this is how such a thing is done.

Their Laws wrapped silently around them, soft as silk and lover's hands; Dipping under the skin, weaving through the veins until they became inseparable from the flesh and blood.

The young woman followed Salvia's pointed gaze to the russet puff still attempting to hide behind her ankles. She shrugged indelicately. "I haven't had time to think of anything fitting," Did Oma know she hadn't named the grey mare, either? "Besides, I wasn't sure if it would survive till adulthood, so there didn't seem like much of a point in naming it until then."

Maybe something she'd said was curious, because Elphaba felt her grandmother's seeking look a little pointedly. She was relieved when O'Riley returned, the bulk and breath of him drawing all attention in the room.

She gathered some strips of dried meat and went to sit by the Boss' side, chewing them pensively as the young man spoke.

The story of the Southernmost pack was a curious one, and the witch was evidently curious, pausing mid-chew to regard O'Riley brightly and with a tilted head. She'd heard of the name 'Court des Miracles', but those people had seemed so far away and quiet that she'd almost supposed them devastated by the Red Star, unable to regain strength or numbers. If O'Riley was to be believed, not only had they survived such losses but grown enough to warrant a treasonous revolution, overthrowing one King to replace them with another.

Thoughts of such an uprising were of great suspicion to the ruling elite - Making an unladylike snort of dismay, Elphaba traced the symbol of an evil eye with her finger and, waving, banished it.

"I would be curious to hear word of the new King," She said, and pointed sharply at O'Riley with a remaining strip of jerky, "And why they rose to replace the old; How had the strength of the previous monarch's rule suffered so greatly as to allow a coup d'état?" It was deeply intriguing, and perhaps even more than this, an opportunity to learn from another's grievous mistakes.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

POSTED: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:18 pm

They relaxed in her grandson's home, which was large despite its modest décor. She imagined he would soon find reason to keep and collect things, having decided to settle in a space which would allow such a thing. It was no different than Elphaba, who had bound herself to her dragon's keep to spite the father who had left such a tower behind. She had lived there her whole life – let her have it, Salvia had seen told by Osrath's return to her fields and flowering home.

Things were settling into new roles. She could see it easily in these two young people who had been so carefully crafted into what could have been before. The shadows of their fathers would hang over them despite everything else she saw in the pair. Potential, certainly, as vast and unknown as it always was, yet touched by the doubt she carried in her secret heart.

It would have to be enough.

Names give things power, she advised the young witch, but said nothing more. Soon enough her grandson had returned, smelling of horse and the night air as it wafted through the door.

He looked bigger now, she realized. Even bigger than his father, made that way by the secret and terrible pact her children had made to one another. Her mind turned to her horses, and there found a point of contention worth noting.

O'Riley spoke plainly to them then, outlining the information gleaned from his expedition to the south. She been conscious of his absence and that he was not alone. The story he now wove put into perspective how little they had been able to learn of the peninsula's Luperci. She considered his words while her eyes tracked the neat little lines of his map. He had spent a great deal of time on it, she realized.

He wanted something.

Her gaze turned up at his suggestion, and drifted to Elphaba's wandering fingers. She looked at neither of them as she spoke, studying the landmarks now missing and wondering what else they did not know.

We can surmise, Salvia told them. Whichever ruler is stronger will lead in the end. You took plenty of notes, I see – here, you traveled to the Waste, the blonde woman looked to Elphaba, to whom she now indicated see the crude map O'Riley had drawn and make sense of it for her. This is nearly that distance, maybe more.

Salsola
The Regent (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Cazadora, Vaquera Mate to Stannis Ultra Mega Chikkun? NO. She is legend... I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children.
occam's razor
a wild beast or a god

POSTED: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:22 pm

[WC: 428]

They're an isolated people, O'Riley picked up. Daideó's told me this water is dangerous to sail in, so they must not have often traveled back to the mainland. Between Anathema and Inferni sounds like a difficult road, he grinned. Deep in his heart the feelings towards all those people who were not them had rooted with terrible hate. It was sensible to understand things in this way.

Strength was more than just muscle. It was a concept wrapped in things like loyalty and trust and faith.

I've laid out everything I know, you can make of it what you will, he told Elphaba, and winked at her when he saw Salvia was not watching. He had his own theories, sure, but Elpbaha was terribly clever in her own way. Sometimes it felt as if she carried the thoughts of two people, for as strange as they sometimes seemed. It made her cunning, and this was what had ousted her father in the end.

But now that Inferni has gone over the mountains, there's an easy way to travel. That makes us the nearest stop – we'll have to expect this now, without the coyotes to act as a buffer. It's never been like this before, so we ought to make sure we know what to expect.

That would be a long way to travel if they meant to make war, Salvia commented.

Anything could happen, he said, feeling terribly serious. They must have realized it too – the gathering of people around them, these settlements of Outsiders who grew in size and confidence and certainly might recall whispers of Salsola. How could they not, when graveyards and war-scorched earth was left in the places where conflict had found them?

I have a request, O'Riley added quickly. A strange sort of feeling rustled in his chest, but he did not recognize the anxiety for what it was and steadied himself in spite of this. We need to ensure that our records remain kept properly. I would like to do this – I can read and I can write, and I can't imagine that it's all too hard to find what I'd need. More importantly, what's happened here should be recorded. We have a history that's worth remembering, even the worst parts of it. I want to make sure that everything is recorded, his voice was steady in spite of the strange sensation in his fingers. Would that be all right?

To his surprise, Salvia laughed.

That's what you want? I suppose it's all right. What do you think, Elphaba?

Salsola
The Erilaz
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
ECLIPSE

POSTED: Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:40 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

Grandmother had aimed for perfection in many aspects of her life - she had crafted a perfect line of horses, had restructured a perfect Law, had even attempted to make perfect progeny from perfect bloodlines.

There was no way to live up to the impossible standards of the Ideal, and so early on Elphaba had decided not to try. Instead she strove for her own personal goals, and in turn Salvia seemed to approve of this. Maybe the path set before them had been laid by other hands - It did not matter, so long as she walked it in her own way.

They were not, and would never be, perfect; But they were all that Salvia had left to choose.

They had eliminated the other options, after all.

Sometimes she caught O'Riley's eye as he was talking, and they would share a hidden look; A glance that belonged to conspirators, kin who had shared the burden of secrets that belonged to them alone. With their newfound graces, their paths had temporarily diverged - Sometimes Elphaba found herself missing him, missing their dumb childish arguments or their more tactical and grandiose designs.

But he had his own goals to attain, and this was how it had always been. Each success delivered assistance to the other. Uniform but discreet, they climbed the ladder to its top.

The map was an intricate thing, but Elphaba was less interested in its details than her grandmother, and took the opportunity to return O'Riley's sly wink as Salvia studied the landmarks. Only when the older woman gestured did she obligingly lean in, squinting her eyes at the intricate markings on the parchment.

"We still hold most of the pass to the mainland; Inferni might be on the other side of the mountains now, but they'd have to pass over Halcyon if they want to trade or rally. I don't think we'll be seeing an army grow from weeds and scraps, not for now at least." She remembered the taste of ash in the air, the sound of the wailing and tearing cries; Inferni would be quiet as mourners in a chapel if they knew what was good for them.

Still, it was a relief to know that O'Riley had eyes on the ground, and on the Outsider groups who in turn would encroach on their illustrious borders.

Her attention was broken by her cousin's unexpected request. Looking up from the map, she tilted her head to give him a curious lingering glance; He was speaking excitedly, animated in spite of the desire to seem composed. Her brows spiked even higher at the unexpectedly rare sound of Salvia's laughter, rich and low.

For a moment her red eyes moved back and forth between them, and then she smiled. "I can't see as it's any harm - There's lots to be said about how much we've grown, I think, and a record of the trials we've overcome would be a good way to leverage some pride and patriotism every now and again." She wondered why he hadn't mentioned this to her before, but it seemed mild enough a request to be undeserving of suspicion. "You'll be the first official Historian of Salsola. Seems like you ought to know everybody's business if you're to be writing about it, hmm? Starting with our neighbors." The sharp tip of her claw tapped one location on the map pointedly.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

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