a handful of regret

porcupine hunting

POSTED: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:55 am

OOC: Location: Searsport, Mack Point Rail Yard. Set a few days after this thread.

There was a small waddling beast outside his home. Perched atop the overturned rail car, Abram could easily survey his domain. It was a good thing, too, because the little rodent so brazenly wandering past his perch would make a fine meal. Perhaps the gods had blessed him.

It must have noticed the eyes he was making, because it clacked its teeth in warning. Each hair on its body stood stiffly, the strands seemingly thicker than anything he'd seen. When the beast whacked its tail against the ground, each hair glittered. The tips were sharp and pointed. It reminded him of the needles he'd seen the weaver women in the city use.

Oh. Abram understood now why it was so unafraid of him. His eyes widened in frank envy, and he scooted away from the edge so that it might not touch him should it decide to climb or throw its needles at him. Neither of these things happened, though. It was only a warning, or perhaps it was incapable of climbing and throwing needles.

Greed tugged at the corners of his mind. Imagine what he could do with those quills. Imagine if he could use them to trap and kill an animal, so that its pelt remained intact. Imagine if he could trade the needles themselves. Were there seamstresses out here? Could he give them the needles and ask for new pants? Could he ask for something better? What did he want?

Abram's mind turned to the spear he had sharpened the day before. He was going to use it against one of the deer in a trap. He had not worked all the details out of it yet, but he thought that he might chase it and impale it somehow. Perhaps it could be used in a different way.

The wolfdog slid into the overturned rail car, which the rodent took as a concession. Abram shuffled about in his home until he found the wooden stick with the sharpened tip, and slipped it atop the outside of the rail car first. Then he pulled himself up. The needle-rat had only moved a little since he had left, and was still close enough that he might catch it.

The metal didn't allow him the luxury of complete silence, but he made sure that his shadow did not loom over the creature before he stuck the point of his spear down...

POSTED: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:53 pm

Her last trading excursion had been so fruitful (as her still freshly-pierced ears could attest to), that Elle was absolutely buzzing with the desire to go out again. Selecting another basket — this one much less nicer than the last — the curly-coated Cormier loaded up its base with a selection of items her mother and adopted brother had left behind — beads and jewelry; bone fishing hooks and twine; a small net and rope — and set out for parts unknown.

Deciding that her luck could be greater in a different area than the one she'd last had so much incredibly success, Elle decided to turn south this time rather than east. The cold air pressed in around her and she was glad for the woolen cloak that she'd chosen to carry with her — a gift from her well-meaning Uncle Milos — and pulled it closed around the neck before shutting the door behind her and beginning her way toward the edge of Krokar's vast territory.

The fact of the matter was that Elle had decided she needed something much greater — much more unique — that she could use toward trading for a horse. She had her sights set on Spruis, the appaloosa mare with the bad temperament, and hoped that the horse's attitude would be poor enough that Krokaran leadership would take anything to get the beast out of their hair and into someone else's hands.

She would be a lot of work, Elle knew. The mare had a tendency to bite and had few likes. And the things that she did seem to enjoy were things that the young Cormier knew very little about, but were both things that were easy to obtain — especially singing. Elle had a nicer singing voice than she realized, though she'd be apt to punch anyone who dared say anything of the like to her face. She didn't mind singing but she hated it when she knew, or even thought, that there were others around. And there were always people around in Krokar.

But could she get over it if it meant nourishing a proper bond with Spruis? Elle considered this thoughtfully as she traveled, her destination set for Searspoint. She supposed that she could, at least until she could get the mare to trust her enough so that she didn't have to rely on song or dried pieces of apple to appease her. Thoughts of the appaloosa mare demanded most of the young woman's thoughts as she made her way further south, the cloak ensuring her warmth and the basket of goods hopefully ensuring her success.

By the time the reached Searsport, it had been some time since she had departed from Krokar. Stepping through the Mack Point Rail Yard, movement and sound caught her attention and she paused, watching as a figure pulling himself atop a metal railcar and aimed his spearpoint toward a porcupine. Quills! she thought with eagerness, watching. She wondered if she could trade him some items in exchange for porcupine quills, which weren't easy to come by and could possibly yield great value...

Watching, Elle waited until the outcome was clear before she would approach the figure and his (hopeful) prize.

OOC: Hello! Welcome to 'Souls! :D

[WC — 541]

Krokar
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Mandi
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these rules are made to break

POSTED: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:05 am

The spear, although longer than his sword, was not long enough to reach the porcupine. Abram scooted precariously close to the edge to make up for the distance between the rail car and the ground, and it still was not enough. His actions had not gone unnoticed, though. The needle-rat whacked its tail against the rail car. To Abram this appeared as if it were throwing its needles at him, because several of them broke off with that action. Their trajectory was not upward, however, and they simply slid on to the ground. A fine surprise for the unwary paw, perhaps when this encounter was forgotten.

Abram pulled his spear away and set it aside. He slid back away from the edge, panting, and looked down. The little beast was running away now. Undeterred, Abram slid off the opposite side of the rail car and ran with his spear at hand. To his great surprise, the needle-rat moved backwards toward him with its quills high and exposed. A trap!

There was a flash of thoughts, too fast to keep track of, that considered turning tail and retreating into the safety of his home. The scent of a stranger was on the wind, however, and another thought told him that he would seem weak to concede to a rat, even one covered with needles. Abram darted to the right, and circled around until the rodent's unprotected head was facing him. He stabbed, and missed. The beast attempted to show him its backside and Abram circled again. He was too careful, and too far; he missed again. It charged forward. Hackles raised high and mouth open in the universal language of panic, he screamed and stabbed a third time...

The force of the blow was enough to pin the creature's head to the ground. The skull crumpled beneath the weight of the spear, and the beast was no longer moving. Its quills were still high and exposed to strike the unwary, but no longer could it threaten him by giving chase. Abram pulled the spear away and embedded its tip into the soft ground. He leaned, panting, on the butt of it. He was so relieved that it was hard to think.

POSTED: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:40 am

Standing some distance from the stranger, the rail car, and the porcupine, Elle watched with clear, verdant eyes. The stranger, at first, seemed intent on dispatching of the porcupine without exerting himself more than he had to — a good strategy when it came to just about anything in life, as far as Elle was concerned. So many people seemed eager to work themselves to the bone and then expected her to do the same. "Go above and beyond," they would say. "Be all you can be and more." Bullshit. As long as it didn't detract from the success of the end goal, Elle was perfectly content doing anything she could to make things easier rather than more difficult.

Unfortunately for the stranger, his spear was not quite long enough to reach the porcupine, who seemed to recognize precisely what the Luperci was doing and whacked its needle-filled tail against the metal hull of the rail car threateningly. Deeply entertained now, in addition to being interested in the potential trading aspect of the situation, Elle shifted her weight from one foot to the other and hitched her hand atop one wide hip. She watched as the stranger slid off the top of the rail cart and, what appeared a little recklessly to Elle, ran after the fleeing porcupine with his spear clasped between his fingers. With a gasp, the young Cormier watched as the porcupine took the offensive and prepared to use its long quills to inflict severe pain on its opponent.

This was good, Elle thought with excitement bubbling in her heart. So much better than sitting around in Krokar, twiddling her thumbs. Without realizing it, the curly-coated Cormier had padded a few paces nearer the action and was leaning in to get a better view of the show. The stranger darted around the porcupine and jerked his spearpoint forward. A miss! Elle's mouth hung open. Again, the stranger circled the dangerous prey, jutted his spear forward, and again missed. Elle's green eyes were wide. She watched, barely daring to breathe, as the porcupine charged the predator, who promptly screamed.

Elle blinked, putting her hand up to her mouth in a mixture of humor, amusement, and horror. Whether the third strike was a knee-jerk reaction to the creature's sudden retaliation or was a well-plotted defensive maneuver mattered very little to the porcupine, who lay, unmoving, on the icy ground with a spear buried in its head. "Damn!" the young woman said when she was sure that the thing was dead. "Tha' was quite th' show," she said, padding fearlessly up to him. "Elle Cormier," she introduced. "Wha' would ye say te a spot o' tradin', maybe somethin' here fer some o' yon quills?"

OOC: omg that was hilarious! :') Hover over Elle's speech for a translation if you need it! <3

[WC — 461]

Krokar
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Mandi
Luperci
these rules are made to break

POSTED: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:24 pm

Abram slowly turned his attention to the stranger. Her curly hair reminded him of some of the dogs he'd seen in London. He guessed the language he should use before she actually spoke, and was pleased to have his guess confirmed - although, that accent was strange and unfamiliar. It took a little bit of thinking to translate it.

When she complimented him for the show, he grinned and gave a deep bow, like the kind he'd seen the Gladiators use. He knew that the fighting there was more about show and entertainment than it was about fighting, even if he'd never been placed into the pit himself. "Welcome," he said, and gave a pause before his own name.

Quietly he judged the likeliness that this one would enslave him if he recognized what she was. No, too small, too young, too easily impressed. Would she tell someone else that would? He might have been wrong, but he did not think she would intentionally do such a thing. Now that he'd defeated the needle-rat, he was confident that he made a name in this stranger's mind. "Am Abram Borisov." If she should tell anyone else his name, perhaps it might be Junius. That he could live with.

"Trading?" He grinned wide, lolling out his tongue. What luck that he had killed the thing for that purpose, and already someone sought it out! It was surely valuable, just as he guessed. "What you have? How many you want?"

POSTED: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:24 pm

The black wolfdog, who reminded Elle vaguely of her Uncle, and Krokar's Quartermaster, Milos, bowed extravagantly before her. Amused, the youth smirked at him, her sea green eyes bright as they moved with his action. His greeting was a little unexpected and she wondered if he had claimed this area as his home or if he was simply being comical. But Elle shrugged it off, deciding that it didn't matter too much as long as the stranger was friendly and didn't mind her intrusion — which, it seemed to her anyway, he did not.

She nodded when the victor offered her his own name. "Good te meet ye, Abram," she responded pleasantly. When he had welcomed her after killing the spiny porcupine, Elle had thought that she detected a bit of an accent on his tongue. But now that he offered her more spoken words, she realized with certainty that he did have quite the accent himself. But she was not yet so worldly or knowledgeable of other dialects to recognize where it was it came from.

"Aye, tradin'," she confirmed, amusement still on her face when she caught sight of how wide his grin was. His pink tongue flopped out of his open mouth and lolled. Elle wagged her tail in response and closed what distance remained between them. She lifted her arm, where the basket hung, and tilted it slightly to show him the items within. "Ah've got yon basket an' some beads, fishin' hooks an' twine, a wee net an' roope, an' a few pieces o' jewelry, too. How many quills aare ye willin' te part with?" Elle thought that she'd like no fewer than five but would take more if he was willing to give her more for what items she had.

[WC — 300]

Krokar
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Mandi
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these rules are made to break

POSTED: Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:07 am

Abram stared contemplatively at Elle's basket, stroking the white fur on his chin. The beads he had no use for, nor the jewelry. He might be able to trade it to someone else for something more useful, but he didn't want to count on it. He didn't even know who or what was nearby to trade with. If he had been right that Portland was north, then it was a simple answer - but what if the jewelry was common there? Quills were more useful than jewelry, he decided.

The twine and fishing hooks caught his eye. He had heard of fishing, but had never tried it. Would it be easier than trying to hunt a deer? He was close to the water, and he might find another use for the hooks and twine if fishing didn't work. Put a hook in a rabbit hole, and catch dinner? It seemed reasonable.

"Hooks, twine." He put a finger up. The nets and rope, too, looked useful. The net wasn't large enough to catch a deer, but it might be able to catch something he could eat. "Nets, and rope."

Figuring out how much a quill was worth, and how much these items were worth in relation, was the harder problem. He wanted to be greedy and ask for all the nets and rope and hooks and twine, because that meant that he could try multiple ideas at once. However, that might mean giving up a significant amount of quills - and he still wanted to use those.

His eyes turned from the basket, down to the porcupine. It had more quills than he could count. Perhaps he could get away with being generous.

"All hooks, twine, nets and rope for ten quills?" His offer was a little low, he thought, but he expected to be haggled to a higher price. It was a skill Junius had employed - whereas Abram had been content to dump his stolen items on anyone who take them and give him something valuable - and perhaps he could learn from him. "How many you have?"

POSTED: Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:36 pm

Elle pursed her lips and considered the loner's offer. She had more of the items he was requesting to trade at home (small though that supply was), but she was hesitant to give them all up. With a flick of green, she glanced at the porcupine again. 10 quills. That was a lot of quills but for hooks that took time to carve and rope that took effort to twist and nets that took energy to knot? Besides, he would still have ample quills left over only giving up 10. Maybe if he increased the number of quills he offered, she would be willing to give up all of her stock.

She glanced back down at the basket. "Let's hev a look," she said, dipping a hand into the basket to count her items. "Ah hev three hooks, one ball o' twine, one net, an' one roope." Elle looked back up at the loner, her eyes sharp. "Nets an' hooks take time te make, ye knaa," she started, allowing him time to consider what she was going to say next. "25 quills an' ye can hev it aall."

Not wanting to look meek or insecure, Elle held her eyes upon the man's face and squared her shoulders. Young though she was, she came from a pack of traders and his felt about as natural as hunting. But still, she wondered if she wasn't aiming a bit high. Though, perhaps that was for the best. Even if he bartered a little lower, she felt that giving up her items for the quills would be worth it in the long run. "Wha de ye say te tha'?"

[WC — 279]

Krokar
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Mandi
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these rules are made to break

POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:09 am

Well, if she was playing that game, then -- Abram grinned. "Needle-rats must be killed first. Who you know kill a needle-rat?" He puffed up his chest, like a great bird, and lifted his snout ever-so-slightly to display his pride. He did not, in actuality, know if anyone purposefully hunted them. He imagined that most simply avoided them. Then again: Perhaps someone else had this idea. Perhaps someone else hunted it as he did. But then, if so, why was she here?

"All take effort, but mine takes risk." Having made his point, he paused to consider her counter-offer. Twenty-five quills was not a lot when compared to the endless amount he currently had, but now that the mention of effort had been added to the equation, Abram was reminded that by necessity, he'd have to pull them off the corpse and give them to her. That could be harder than it looked and if so, he'd have to haggle her down to a more reasonable price.

The wolfdog put a hand up, a staying motion, and then knelt down by the needle-rat's corpse. He narrowed his eyes in thoughtful silence. Then, carefully, he extended his hand and reached for a quill. His touch was delicate, like a man plucking a grape from a vine, and took care to make sure that he did not touch anything else around it. He maneuvered around the pointed tip.

To his surprise, the dead beast let go of its quill easier than any of the pelts he'd tried to skin. Good. That was a relief. Now -- Twenty-four more? Abram peered up, a single white eyebrow rising. "Fifteen."

POSTED: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:33 pm

He was proud, Elle noted with amusement tugging at one corner of her mouth, but she was stubborn. "Pfft. Anyone can kill yon beasts," she replied with a shrug. "Bu' ne jus' anyone can make nets an' hooks." Granted, she had never thought to hunt down a porcupine and kill it. It seemed to Elle that the risks outweighed the benefits and, if she wanted a collection of quills, she had figured that she would just have to get lucky and find the long-dead corpse of one.

But that was then and this was now and she could not argue against the loner's point. She nodded with some resignation. "Ach, aye. Ah cannae argue aginst tha'." She had more to say – that even though his took risk, her's took considerable time and resources, too – but before she could continue, the wolfdog put up a hand and knelt down to the porcupine's corpse.

She was surprised at how delicately he worked with the creature's corpse, as though the animal were still living and he was taking care not to harm it any more than he had to. Elle watched him curiously, thinking how strange this was but also finding it oddly... sweet, in a way. The quill came out in the wolfdog's gentle grip easily and suddenly she was looking into his eyes again. He raised a single eyebrow and Elle considered the offer that slipped from his mouth.

"Twenty, then," she replied. "An' this' aall yers." And the loner seemed agreeable to this offer. While he worked plucking nineteen more quills, Elle took the items that he had wanted to set them in a neat pile. Once done, she took the quills and grinned. "Ah thank ye fer th' business," she said, turning to go. "If ye want te de it agin, ye can find me up yonder in Krokar. Me name's Elle Cormier." And, with a final grin and a nod, Elle turned and started back the way she came, quills now in the basket that once held her other items.

OOC: feel free to reply once more or request archival after you see this. <3 Thank you for the thread!

[WC — 349]

Krokar
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