gold and silver

POSTED: Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:16 pm

The sun would be setting soon, and the need to settle down for the night increased with each passing second. Bacchus rode Chiron, while a line connected horse to bull, leading Silenus as he pulled the cart behind them. The wheels creaked and groaned, seeking purchase on cracked and overgrown pavement. Bacchus bore wedding gifts for his sister—among them clay pots of grape wine sweetened with honey and spices. Over the years his techniques had improved and Bacchus was quite proud of his wares.

He brewed wine, trading for himself and for Salsola, accumulating wealth and supplies. A ruff of silver rex rabbit fur adorned the collar of the forest green, foliage patterned cape that draped across Chiron’s rear. Leather bracers hid the Hand of Eris scarification on his inner forearm. His bow was within easy reach, ready to send arrows into anyone that dared approach too close. A knife was at his waist, adding protection. Amherst could provide shelter and protection, veiling them, but thieves and predators could also find sanctuary within the streets and alleyways.

Tomorrow he would continue on to Salsola alone, but tonight they would have to rest here, or near here. The sun touched a steepled rooftop, washing them in golden sunlight and darkness. His shadow stretched out behind him, elongated and grotesque. He slowed Chiron, pausing to look back toward the cart and the creature nestled there.

Salsola
The Tradesman
User avatar
crow
Luperci

POSTED: Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:18 pm

They were stopping again, finally.

The last leg of their journey had been marked by wet, rutted roads that were uncomfortable from purview of the wagon. Agonizing, almost, if he had wanted to be the slightest bit dramatic. But he knew what the slowing of the cart had come to signify, also took it as a sign that it was time to stop nursing at an hour-old slice in his thumb from the last great jolt the road had given their meager caravan. It'd be the last rotten time he tried to sharpen his dagger in a moving object, and he had plucked his thumb from the corner of his mouth just in time to catch the wandering gaze of his companion from the horseback ahead.

He pulled his foot away from the crate of wines he had been bracing, no longer concerned that the fragile wares would rattle too sharply together now, and leaned towards the wagon's front to survey their surroundings. This must have been Amherst, and clearly it had seen its share of better days. There were some signs that someone, or something had taken the time to try and look after it, but this section of the ruins bore little reprieve from the tolls of time. It was but one of many along the unfamiliar road he had seen now.

When he had seen enough—a feat that did not take long—the Blackpike man had wheeled his gaze back to his friend. They'd have to set up camp soon but where he left up to him; these were his old stomping grounds, not Roswell's, and he would know where best to tuck away. It was a bittersweet gesture as well, as Roswell was not yet keen to be freed from his friend's presence either, though it was a necessary evil. That discussion he knew would come too, just as it had when they had left Portland and entered into this arrangement.

Last edited by Roswell Blackpike on Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Salsola
The Family
resident possum
Luperci

POSTED: Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:18 am

The journey had been weighed down, slow with the cart and wares, ever vigilant to avoid thieves and scavengers. Alone, on Chiron or even on foot, Bacchus would have made the journey much quicker. His feral form was built to travel effortlessly across long distances. He was wolf and coyote, built lean and leggy, with a smooth gait that devoured the miles. There was dog in his blood, but it only showed in the deep reds of his coat. The Wild was stronger, overwhelming, and the forests still called to Bacchus. When the moon was full the trees and the earth called to him, summoning him, and he ran naked in the silvery light on both hands and feet. He killed then with tooth and claw, shredding animals and consuming their entrails.

By dawn he was man again, clothed and regal, bow in hand and knife at waist. There ran royalty in his veins, thistle and brimstone. He held himself tall and proud, with a sharp gaze that bore no warmth. He wasn’t unkind, but unlike his father he was not a welcoming creature with an easy smile. Even now, he did not smile as he regarded his friend.

“We can find shelter here for the night,” he said, stating what Roswell would already have concluded.

Bacchus had lived here before heading south—he knew the area better. He would have to guide him until he gathered his bearings. Bacchus dismounted, leading Chiron toward the hollow of a garage on the side of a building. The front door had been ripped off and now lay some yards away, hidden by tall grass, but three brick walls remained, providing them shelter from most sides, and from above should the weather turn. It had been an automotive repair shop once, decades before, but now only a weed-strewn structure remained. Painted letters could just barely be made out in the growing darkness above.

He secured cart, bull, and horse within, unhitched Silenus and made him comfortable, then gathered a clay pot to collect water from the wetland just beyond the road for the animals. He returned, fed and watered them, and ensured that they were content. The sun had nearly gone now and only the pink light of sunset remained. Both he and Roswell could see by starlight, so day’s end didn’t entirely hinder them.

Salsola
The Tradesman
User avatar
crow
Luperci

POSTED: Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:47 pm

He aided Bacchus where he could as they made quick work of setting up their camp for the night. Roswell wordlessly set to gathering kindling and timber, never quite straying far without some sort of spatial awareness to where his companion was. It was safer that way, keeping tabs on any others; even more so when he felt so keenly out of his element. Though there were striking similarities between Portland and here, the amount of wreckage and overgrowth where they were humored him. In the dying light as he worked, he took stock of his surroundings but did not make himself overly aware of them—he knew by daylight tomorrow they would be moving on again.

By the time his companion had finished with his tasks, Roswell had busied himself with the brick structure of their temporary camp. The paint long weathered and flaked did not appreciate the rough hand that went over them and the meaning of such a design on the wall fell out of his ability to comprehend. It was illegible at best, a relic of a past that many of them emulated through practice. He heard the earth turn underneath a well-placed foot, an ear turning to follow it a moment before the rest of his body turned to face Bacchus.

"Shall we hunt then?" Whether they did it in the way of the old gods or like civilized men he left to him. It was no difficult feat for Roswell to grab his bow, nor was it difficult to shed his clothes and run wild through the overgrowth like the creatures they really were.

Salsola
The Family
resident possum
Luperci

POSTED: Wed Jun 19, 2019 1:33 am

They needed food. With the sun’s departure the moon had begun to rise. Soon the night would be nearly as bright as day, and the streets would be awash in silver.

“Shall we hunt then?”

“Yes,” said Bacchus, as he began to strip off his outer clothing.

Bow and knife could take down and disembowel prey, but it was not the same as hunting on foot as their ancient ancestors had. The earth sang beneath their feet, calling to him, calling and calling until it became nearly unbearable. The closer he drew to Salsola, the louder old voices became.

He stowed away his clothing, feeling the night air on his skin where his summer coat was shorter. His bones creaked and popped, his skin distorted as his joints shifted positions. His hair withdrew into a jagged ruff that ran from scalp to spine—his back dappled like a newborn fawn with drops of silver. His toes were pale, his coat kissed by subtle flame, and his eyes sharp, narrowed, angled emeralds—cold as freshly mined gemstone.

He slipped silently away into the darkness, confident that his friend would stay close as they sought prey together.

Salsola
The Tradesman
User avatar
crow
Luperci

POSTED: Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:42 pm

They ran.

Wild and unbridled by responsibility, the pair moved swiftly across terrain every bit as wild as they were. It felt good to relinquish what had become so common, so proper, and simply run as it was intended. It was in his most primal form that he seemed a coyote; a pointed, long muzzle and large ears, the puffy tail that fit so well with spindly legs that carried him like he was feather-light. The deeper into the wilds they went, the more he seemed to be at ease and at home, blending in with the scenery like his fawn-speckled companion.

Per usual their arrangement, he led Bacchus take the lead. But he could not help the anticipatory feelings of a good hunt; his feet picked up their pace to pull himself closer to his companion, and he reached to tug after his tail in their run. Only then would he back off for the same anticipation—he expected a snarl to come his way, perhaps some teeth. He welcomed it, if nothing else. Let the play have its place where it did if it would, the night was young and full of life.

As the varied scents arose from the earth they toiled over, it was only a matter of choosing what to hunt. Brazenly he thought perhaps the two of them could take their chances with a deer, as their scents crossed through where they roamed in the open, but smaller game seemed promising as well. His muzzle hovered along the earth, parting the tall grasses as he halted; a pointed look to his companion was as much of an awareness thing as it was a suggestion.

If he had no objections, Roswell would guide them now while in his element.

Salsola
The Family
resident possum
Luperci

POSTED: Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:43 am

In darkness they moved. There was only shadow, darkness, and the wilderness beyond. Lope became a run, stretching limb and body to their fullest, feeling each muscle work beneath his coat. They could travel for days this way, for miles and miles. Energy coursed through his veins, livening him. Roswell reached for his tail, grasping and tugging roughly, enthused by play. Bacchus was no jovial youth, bidden by gaiety and humor—he was no Laufey. But even so, he could appreciate the diversion.

He whirled around toward the coywolf, snapping his teeth on the air beside his face—the sound an audible metallic click. A guttural snarl ripped from his throat, his lips pulled back and fangs exposed. Another poorly aimed snap, and Bacchus leapt back, his hackles lifted into a ridge. Adrenaline pumped through his veins and green eyes were fever bright. Breath exhaled sharply through his nose—a gesture of goodwill, evidence of the ruse behind his enraged expression.

Nostrils inhaled the night air, taking in the scents around them. Together, they could take down a younger deer. The season was correct for fawns. An experienced buck with a forked and deadly rack would be a tremendous risk—perhaps too great of one. The evolution of weapons—spears, bows, knives—had only enhanced the likeliness of their hunts being successful, but they had also become so far removed from the earth as time went on. They were all still beasts of flesh and blood born of the forests and plains. The finest clothing in the world couldn’t change this fact.

Roswell’s expression relayed his intentions, and Bacchus would follow.

Salsola
The Tradesman
User avatar
crow
Luperci

POSTED: Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:25 pm

In spite of his playful gesture, he was pleased to see that it did not deter his companion from their end goal. If anything, he wanted to believe that he helped to invigorate and power such energies they felt. A pair of reserved creatures in their own right, it was hard for Roswell not to feel as though he regressed in such feral forms. He reveled briefly in that camaraderie they shared, however fleeting, and felt a sense of content spread across him as they surveyed their surroundings.

Even so, to know that his companion trusted in him to make a decision was a bolster to his mood, and soon they were off again through the tall grasses and weary, crumbling buildings that now sporadically lined the way. Beyond them where field and forest consumed all did he go, following weathered game trails until the copse opened up to gentle sloping hills. He had been set on sussing out a warren of hares that they might feast upon readily, but as he neared the hilltop his eyes alighted on something else entirely.

Even meager as their number was, he could not resist laying his eyes on the deer as they lazily grazed and set to bed for the night. His coyish ears slid backwards against his head as he turned to find Bacchus in the growth, and he gave the man a questioning, quiet whine. Should they? If perhaps not to snare one then to give it chase, to see what would break loose. Had he been alone, he may have chased them on pretense alone. But together they operated as a team; a good meal rode on the success of them both, parts of a whole, rather than separate entities in it for fun.

Roswell licked his lips at the thought, but held his position once again.

Salsola
The Family
resident possum
Luperci

POSTED: Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:43 am

Bacchus was a hunter. Despite being the Tradesman for years gone by, he thrived when hunting. He came alive, prowling the forests and taking down prey. He was an apex predator—a beast, a creature of the wood. Even so, he could appreciate the skill of another. He and Roswell were a team, and together they would take down their target. Here, in the Wilds, neither reigned supreme. They were equals, and they worked together to survive. It hadn’t been long since they’d left Portland, but the laws of the wild applied nevertheless.

The air was thick, almost honeyed by the fragrances of grass and forest. They had left the city now, finding the fringes in search of food. The musk of deer was on the air, and his gaze fell upon them moments later. They paused, assessing. Roswell whined, questioning, and Bacchus’ mouth cracked apart into a feral smile.

Yes.

There was an older doe, decently fed by the riches of spring and summer, but weathered and worn from the passage of the years. Bacchus’ gaze fixated momentarily, scanning the the hills, scenting the air for hidden challenges. Once satisfied, he slowly began to slink closer, veiling himself in brush and grass, crossing the distance without allowing the deer to see or smell him.

The wind was to his face, carrying his scent away. He masked himself with balsam as it were, but the wind aided him further. They would need to cut her from the herd, separating her from the hoof and antler of her companions, and tear her to pieces.

Salsola
The Tradesman
User avatar
crow
Luperci

POSTED: Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:29 pm

On cue, he followed Bacchus for a spell as they sussed out an ungulate in its prime.

And when they did, Roswell lit up again at the premise before them.

It wouldn't be too difficult of a quarry to bring down between the two of them. He more than just believed that they could do it; it was not even a thought that crossed his mind as he surveyed the doe from the distance they kept her and the herd at. They were lax, lazing about the opening field unaware for the moment that two sets of hungry eyes watched them with mouthfuls of gleaming, sharp teeth. Teeth that in that very moment flashed eagerly, almost clicking together as he worked through one plan over another, and then once again. The options were many, but which would work best?

It came to him eventually—where and when to separate her from her herd. His gaze looked past them to where the land dipped and rose again sharply to another hill. Perhaps there they could lay in attack, or work her between them like pincers. It was only a matter now of how best to communicate such, or whether or not his speckled ilk had a better plan. Regardless, Roswell gently pushed ahead through the tall grasses and let the herd slip from his sight. A plan matter but not as much as his ability to adapt and thrive, and he knew that if an opening arose then they would seize it too.

He gestured once towards the hillock, a glancing look back to Bacchus was his only confirmation.

And then, they were off once again.

Salsola
The Family
resident possum
Luperci

Sticks and Stones