They're gonna have to deport me to the fiery deep

P. Santiago | Charmingtown

POSTED: Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:34 pm

A dim and dusty light filtered in through gaping window frames, hitting the pieces of metal that lay on the dirt floor. They shone dully against the light, their exterior darkly tarnished and kissed with minty patina. But what light managed to find the hidden interior of these various parts reflected a copper gleam so bright and beautiful that Evelyn, in all her stoic hardness, could not help but feel pride.

Of all her few possessions, this old still was perhaps her most prized.

Panting in the heat and humidity of early July, the Vicar eased herself around the large, empty stomach of the still and considered precisely how vigorous a cleaning it needed. Months of endless running had made cleaning the still difficult at best and impossible at worst which, in all truth, was more often than not. And then there was the issue of the wolves...

The bridge of Evelyn's burn-scarred nose crinkled and her eyes grew dark, the details of their unpleasant encounter with Solomon James and his ilk still smoldering in her memory. It had been since before then – since before Calhoun's murder and the wolf's bloody execution – that the still had last been properly cleaned.

Pulling her tongue in her mouth, the pregnant coyote closed her eyes a moment and listened to the banging and the pounding and crashing of the clean-up efforts that proceeded all around her. What buildings that were salvageable now required gutting and cleaning before newly built fixtures could replace what was too rotted or ruined to save. Slipping her hands instinctively to her swollen belly, Evelyn opened her eyes again and felt better focused.

"How is that work comin', Mr. Tejada?" she asked into the empty, dirty, promising structure they had chosen to house the still. With a mixture of vinegar and water, Evelyn began her own project.

OOC: Charmingtown Restoration Project ("Cleanup efforts are underway for what buildings remain.") and Occupation thread (Maestro Cervecero - "The still requires regular maintenance - enlist some help to clean it out!")!

[WC — 313]


Del Cenere Gang
El Elegido
User avatar
Mandi
Mate to Santiago Maestro Cervecero
Little Bandit They stole my dirty socks... :( Venerate savagery, Die savagely
don't look back.
don't blink.
don't die.

POSTED: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:16 am

And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

The mill was old, but its bones were good, save for the missing slats and the broken state of the water wheel that was sat, unmoving and jammed into place outside. There were holes in the ceiling, and through them pierced spears of dappled light through the trees outside, but it was as good a place as any for their still - cool, dark, quiet.

Cloth still hung in places, stiff with age and rot, and he tugged it out where he could, his bandanna pulled taut over his face while he hurled it out the window for pick up later. His knuckles knocked against old wood beams, still sturdy, still good, and he leaned in to sniff at them for any signs of getting eaten away from the inside by unseen molds, but there was little evidence to suggest it. His brow knit, and he glimpsed up to the holes in the roof, a hand splayed on a beam, before he heard her voice.

Pallid green eyes shifted to the Vicar, and he pulled down his bandanna; His face felt a little worse for wear, but it was still healing - the skin stretched and prickled with his smile, and there was slight wincing into the gesture, but otherwise, it was the same, gap-and-broken-toothed filled grin that the Tejada always had.

She was a little rounder these days. Santiago was smarter than to tease her for it.

"Comin' along just fine and well, Miss Escuella. And how about you?" He hopped down from his ledge, took a moment to adjust, his hock still feeling stiff, before coming to inspect the still she was scouring, spotting that familiar gleam again behind the minty glint of air-touched metal. The sharp scent of vinegar burned his nose.

-- | [wc — --] template by hilli, image from Wayne Stadler
Del Cenere Gang
Las Brasas
User avatar
Despi
Mate to Evelyn Venerate savagery, Die savagely

POSTED: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:58 am

With her belly round and full with the promise of new life, she was careful as she eased herself to her knees in front of her dismantled still. The bucket of vinegar solution, its smell sharpening the air around her, sloshed as Evelyn dipped her rough horsehair rag within. Bending over the edge of the still, she swiped at the bright copper interior with her cleaning solution and began the meticulous process of cleaning it. "Been an age since this was last done," she replied, her voice bouncing off the metal walls of the hollow drum. "But it's comin'."

She looked up when her ears catching the sound of Santiago's feet hitting the soft earth and stared impassively as he adjusted his gait. "That leg botherin' you still?" she asked flatly, returning to scrubbing the inside of the still. Though the vinegar burned in her nose and infused its acrid aroma into the fur and the flesh of her hands, it was a smell that Evelyn did not mind. It smelled to her like progress; like profit. A clean still produced better liquor and, with Del Cenere coming together all around them, she wanted nothing more than for their gang to be known for their superior product.

And what poor quality duds she happened to make would be those items she traded off as cure-alls and miracle tinctures. Because, good as she thought she was at her craft, there would always be batches that did not live up to expectations or appropriate quality. And Evelyn was not a wasteful woman.

Straightening herself up again, Evelyn laid a palm against the spine of her lower back and leaned away from the still. "Ain't the best job I ever will do," she admitted, but was staring at Santiago as though he were to blame. "But this is a great deal harder with a belly full o' babes." But it would be good enough, she thought. "What's left to be done on that mill before it's workin' proper again?"

[WC — 342]


Del Cenere Gang
El Elegido
User avatar
Mandi
Mate to Santiago Maestro Cervecero
Little Bandit They stole my dirty socks... :( Venerate savagery, Die savagely
don't look back.
don't blink.
don't die.

POSTED: Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:09 am

And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

"It's a little stiff," Santiago answered. Served him right, trying to tangle with the devil himself - he'd seldom seen the look that Solomon James held in his dark, amber eyes. It wasn't something he'd forget so easily, and he propped himself back on the wall by resting his hips against it, and he stretched his toes of the somewhat lame foot to work the pins and needles out of his flesh.

She set to cleaning her still - a precious commodity, one that shaped her life - her craft. Her, to an extent, and he smiled a little despite himself, watching as her palms pushed against her lower back to combat the stiffness. He, in turn, stooped to fetch some salvaged wood, and a hammer, and put them up onto the little landing he'd made into a makeshift perch.

"Now that," he started, hoisting up a little laboriously, before he went to hold the plank, worn and gray, over a hole in the wall, and he measured it up, staring at it speculatively. "I don't rightly know, Miss Escuella. I fear that bits out of my realm of expertise."

The slats could be replaced, he supposed - but he hadn't even the inkling of a clue what that big wheel was possibly used for, other than it had something to do with the big, pegged mechanisms further in the building he and Evelyn were currently occupying. He wet his lips a moment, and set to hammering the wood into place - it was a shame it came out just a little crooked, and he rumbled to himself, not quite pleased with that result.

"I ain't good at this homesteading stuff, Evelyn. How does that Ronnie guy do it?" he murmured, almost sounding sour.

-- | [wc — --] template by hilli, image from Wayne Stadler
Del Cenere Gang
Las Brasas
User avatar
Despi
Mate to Evelyn Venerate savagery, Die savagely

POSTED: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:06 pm

Evelyn lifted her eyes when he replied and considered him a beat, her gaze measured. "Hn," she hummed, returning to her careful scrubbing. There was a woman– no, their gang was fortunate to have more than one of them, she remembered quickly. There were women with knowledge of medicines (true and honest varieties, unlike those that the Vicar herself would be of the sort to sell) and skilled in herblore. They might be able to soothe Santiago's ache and loosen the stiffness that so afflicted him. But the only additional sound that came from the burned coyote was the soft scraping of horsehair against hard copper.

They were stubborn folk, hardened by a life of endless pain and frequent tragedy; they suffered silently.

It was not long before the Vicar's arm burned from her vigorous scrubbing and her lower back ached from the extra weight. But she pressed forward, encouraged by the shine of the sun against the bright copper within the drum, until she began to pant from the effort and the pain. And then, blowing a stray strand of straw hair from her face, Evelyn eased herself away from the body of the still and dropped the horsehair rag into the vinegar solution before, with only the mildest evidence of discomfort knitting her brows, she rose.

With one palm still flat against the base of her lower back, Evelyn gently stretched and then took to watching Santiago as he hammered away at the mill. She much preferred to watch him gamble, or work with the horses, but seeing him try to fix up the little mill they saw fit to call their own... well, it reminded her why she cared so damn much about him. "Well, you best get good, Mr. Tejada," she replied dryly. "Or find folk with a mind for that 'homesteading stuff'." Instinctively, her hands found the round, warm surface of her belly and were clasped together around it.

But as she looked at it, even with all of its imperfections and decay, Evelyn already thought of it as home. "I dare say, though: fixin' up them living quarters is more important right now," she continued, turning back to her still to resume cleaning. As useful as a working mill would be, she had to admit that they had other priorities to consider first. "Alls we need right now is someplace good and safe to bring these young'uns up in."

[WC — 408]


Del Cenere Gang
El Elegido
User avatar
Mandi
Mate to Santiago Maestro Cervecero
Little Bandit They stole my dirty socks... :( Venerate savagery, Die savagely
don't look back.
don't blink.
don't die.

POSTED: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:42 pm

And the stars will be your eyes, And the wind will be my hands

In truth, the best home was the body.

Between the two of them, Evelyn and Santiago, their bodies were burned, bashed, beaten, and broken - fit for a condemnation, but it was a home nonetheless; But when she said that word, young'uns, it brought him out of his shell. It made Santiago realize that he couldn't simply exist within his body with his responsibilities due.

The thought still made him giddy. Excited. Frightened. How many? He wondered - and such little thoughts kept him up at night. Evelyn was certainly the bread winner, with her concoctions and brews and the quality of her shine. Extra hands of the Gang meant they could extend their reach more easily. Santiago, of course, hadn't forgotten his promise. At moments there was wonder if he was nesting more than the expectant mother, gathering all manner of pelts and blankets and swiping even a few from the surly, dark-colored medic, to her chagrin, and he'd brought it all here, to the mill. He wouldn't dare make the Vicar venture further than she needed.

This was, partly, selfless - but, also, more importantly, potentially a tactic to avoid her ire. With his leg currently bummed as it felt, he wasn't about to carry her and the unborn brood from any further camp. It wasn't so much from a lack of desire, but the lack of capability.

"You're right," he answered, and hid a smile against his his sleeve while he brushed it rough over his nose, and felt the healing skin of his face pinch and pull with the gesture slightly. "Y'need a break down there, Miss Escuella? I could help pick that up before I end up smashing my damn hand with this hammer."

-- | [wc — --] template by hilli, image from Wayne Stadler
Del Cenere Gang
Las Brasas
User avatar
Despi
Mate to Evelyn Venerate savagery, Die savagely

POSTED: Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:18 pm

Pregnant as she was, Evelyn's idea of nesting was more focused on ensuring home and hearth, by manner of speaking, were in order before the pups arrived. Cleaning her still, tidying up their derelict mill, and rearranging all the various pelts and blankets that Santiago managed to bring home did the trick just as well as any feral den mother widening an old badger hole would attest.

The knowledge of her companion's role in their new journey together as expectant parents did not go unnoticed, however. And, though she showed her gratitude in ways other than useless words and wasted breath, Evelyn was, good and truly, grateful for his efforts.

After all, leaving the Ganglands in her condition, not with Calhoun gone and Santiago wounded, was not an option if it meant going about it alone. And the folk – most of them, anyway – that she now considered her pack were still a ways off yet from proving themselves enough to her to keep her unborn children safe out there in No Man's Land while she went about peddling her wares and elixirs.

"I know," she replied easily, but there was something in her eye that suggested mirth. Panting again now, Evelyn was glad for Santiago's suggestion and, after a moment's consideration, leaned back up and away from the still once more. Shielding her face from a ray of light that had found its way in her eye, the Vicar nodded. "A break don't sound half bad," she admitted. "Not to you, neither. You look 'bout as fresh as a cowpie baking out in a dried up pasture." But there was a hint of a smile at the corners of her lips. "Join me. Th' still ain't goin' nowhere."

Not any more. They were home.

[WC — 301]


Del Cenere Gang
El Elegido
User avatar
Mandi
Mate to Santiago Maestro Cervecero
Little Bandit They stole my dirty socks... :( Venerate savagery, Die savagely
don't look back.
don't blink.
don't die.

Dead Topics