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Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:31 pm
If Marlowe had known they went with his mother’s blessing, he would have flown as far east as the wind could carry.
Desperation had made him blind, and disdain had made him deaf. Maybe they would never find her, he thought—maybe she hadn’t thought to take her horse for fear of being found. For as skilled as the triplets were at tracking, they were equally skilled in deception. Hiding from Boreas had enforced this, and Scintilla’s patronage had turned a blind eye to such tactics.
They were soldiers, and they roared their cries so that God might hear.
God did hear them, Marlowe thought. It didn’t make Him any less cruel.
The figure at his side appeared, suddenly, and he was surprised by it. She hadn’t gone. If he had any doubt left, it might have held him back (as it had before, when he had been younger and very afraid).
A fellow Scintilla soldier had tried to stab him.
Fear had left his heart, and in its place had blossomed the black wings of rebellion.
“Gettin' some things,” he said, and looped the reins of Kali’s horse to his own saddle. Kastra’s tactic. Marlowe had learned his horsemanship from her, though he was lacking when compared to Agrippa’s knowledge of the beasts. “We were going to look for you,” he explained, and thrust the reins of the stallion at her.
He smirked, all hellfire and Puckish boyhood mingled into a strange mask that was his true face.
“You think we can outrun that fuckin’ vulture?” Marlowe taunted. Kastra might secretly understand what needed to happen, but her rank forced her to obey their laws and report them when they did not come home. Sedition made them traitors. Kastra, at least, had gone with the intent of returning.
Marlowe had no such ideas.
Either of you could reply next??? Marlowe is basically ready to roll.
Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:23 am
Marlowe had always been the brashest of the three siblings, and had learned well the gift of their nuncle's charm and wit. The young woman watched him now, with her flinty eyes much calmer than the firestorm of excitement that twisted in her gut. He was handsome, painfully so, like their father had been. Kastra had always said as much, and although her memory of Ezekiel grew less vivid with each passing day, she saw him in her brother's wily face and sullen eyes. Her thumb stroked the birch of the bow, a sign that the de le Poer girl was deep in thought as her pupils narrowed on the roguish young charmer.
She didn't know what specific event had happened to finally push her siblings into action; But Agrippa was not blind, and she could assume well enough. Her brother had some new scars, little things that indicated a scuffle won. Her mouth turned down into a grim line, thin black lips silent and pressed tightly in favor of what could have been a snarl. Of the siblings, the girl was easily the slowest to anger - Wrath did not come as quickly to her blood as it did her larger sister, nor menace such as Marlowe knew. But when roused, her ire was a mighty thing; Sinking sand that swallowed the foe whole.
He had been startled at her silent approach. Though she walked on airy feet, Agrippa faulted him for this. Her siblings had been training too much to be warriors, soldiers, and too little to be what they were - Creatures of the plains and the woodlands, ghosts that cried to one another in the night. She would never fight as well as the other two, but over the coming months she resolved herself to re-teach them the things the two had forgotten when they abandoned the wild for the sandy fighting-pits of their mother's birth. Perhaps in turn, they would endeavor to keep her alive once the fight came to within an arms reach. Agrippa had her daggers as well as her bow, but her fighting style needed distance for it to be successful, as did everything else in her war-weary life.
She did not blame Kastra, nor would she ever. The silvery coyote woman was above reproach. She had done all for her offspring that could be expected of her, and more; She had given them her love, a true love that had stopped them from turning into beasts. It was only love that had tied Agrippa to this terrible place, love for the three remaining members of her dwindling family. If it weren't for Kali's reluctance, and Marlowe's want to follow their sister's lead, she would have fled this place some time ago. It was them that held her here, them that made her return after days of solitude and search.
Once, she suspected Marlowe had been beaten for keeping her secrets. Disobedience was not tolerated among the militaristic ranks of the coyotes, nor were wanderers. The three had made targets of themselves without even trying to, but it was in their nature to be what they were, and try as her siblings had in the beginning, they would always remain themselves. She loved her brother for taking that beating, but was furious at him, too - Furious for allowing himself to be beaten, for not following her when she had begged.
She knew, too, that dire consequences awaited Kastra. Their mother would not be seen as a blameless party when her three children revealed themselves to be traitorous deserters. Wrath would fall upon her. Agrippa could not allow herself to think of it. She loved the silver woman with all her heart, but the look in Kastra's eyes when she had passed her daughter that leather bridle had been deep and apologetic, and most of all filled with understanding. We do not belong, so we must find another place where we will.
His words were met with a twitch of one large, charcoal rimmed ear. She reached out to take the reigns of the stallion, and breathed deeply of his desert scent and reassuringly exhaled into his flared nostrils while she took a moment to let her brother's words sink in. The excitement within her soared like the black wings of a raven, but all she did was stroke the akhal teke's satiny nose. They could celebrate when they were away from here.
She slung the bow over her shoulder and mounted in a smooth motion. Their mother had taught them each the ways of horsemanship, but Agrippa had taken to the saddle the way her brother had taken to the fighting pits. The movement was smooth and agile, and she sat well in the narrow leather saddle, perched there like a small tawny bird on the back of the tall, lanky stallion. He was not an aggressive beast, but prone to nervousness. Under her commanding hand, he was as calm as a slow-flowing river.
Her eyes lifted skyward as Marlowe spoke, the grim expression unshifting. Quick fingers untied the rabbit from her belt and strapped it to the pommel of her saddle instead. "No," Agrippa spoke softly and truthfully, her voice surprisingly gentle for one so serious of face. They would not be able to outrun the eyes of Scintilla - Soon enough, the generals would know of their betrayal. She shifted her weight in the small saddle to make herself more comfortable. "But it'll be no trouble, not for now. I know the path better than they do." That much was true. She had scouted far, sought out many weaving tracks and passes. The coyotes of Scintilla knew this land better than any other, but there were many paths the three could have taken, too many for each to be examined thoroughly by trackers. Agrippa had decided to lead her siblings along a narrow doe-trail that weaved southeast and southwest alternatively. It would take them longer than a direct flight, but it would be much safer, too.
And the vulture, well. Just yesterday she had shot a mallard out of the sky as it flew overhead; a clean shot, straight through the birds breast. For the first time, her thin black lips revealed a slightly toothy smile. The duck she had eaten before sunrise, and its feathers would fletch a nice new arrow as lethal as the one that had killed it.
The stallion began to dance underneath her, and behind them, the palomino mare snorted her displeasure. "Whistle her or something, 'Lowe, maybe she can't find us here," There was a burning sensation of dread that had begun to pool in the excitement of Agrippa's gut. Even though the spot was secluded well enough, the longer they sat here waiting, the greater the chance of discovery. Scintilla always had patrols out, and they didn't necessarily follow particular routes - harder for the enemy to predict, that way. And we are the enemy, now - Or perhaps we always were.
Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:32 am
This train is heading straight for Awesomeville and nobody can stop it >:3 (Kali's animals are on her wiki, also fyi.) Annnd, this accidentally got super long, and the end got super shitty because my brain got tired xD
Their home was deserted, as Kali expected, and she did not hesitate to shoulder the families' largest saddlebag and begin filling it with essentials. She collected a couple jars of preservatives and spice, tossed in several of their most useful daggers/knives -- Kastra would just have to find some others for her collection -- and neatly folded a blanket into the bag, finding herself briefly irritated that she would only be able to bring one despite it being three of them... They would simply have to make do.
She packed rope and flint and one of their canteens used for hikes. She wanted to take some books, but could not spare the room, and brushed past their miniscule bookshelf in favor of a small lantern and a bottle of oil, which they may need at some point. Kali retrieved bandages and some healing poultices Kastra made, then looked around to see what other small, necessary things she should grab.
She glanced through her mother's jewelry, but could not find the ring, which was irritating, but Kali moved on quickly enough. Her bag was pretty heavy before she put it down, remembering that she must leave Mother a note of some sort. Atop their hand-crafted dresser, she opened an ink-bottle, slapped down a piece of half-ruined paper while wielding an ancient bone-quill, and began scrawling in her lilting, half-cursive script:
She had just finished Agrippa's 'A' when the door swung open and Kali whirled around with the quill in her hand, poised to viciously pierce a jugular or two. But instead of bewildered eyes meeting soldiers coming to restrain and force servitude from the would-be deserter, it was Kastra, purple cloak billowing and arms heavy with meat bundles for the home reserves. Kali put her hands behind her back, dropping the pen on the desk and crumpling up the note behind her. She couldn't very well just pretend like nothing was happening now—although the look in her mother's eye said that she was well ahead of all of her children.
Instead of saying anything, Kastra strode past her daughter, who remained intensely still as she considered her next words -- writing the note had been so much more simple -- and deposited her packages onto their dining table, taking her time in separating the sacks as a deafening quiet loomed between them. Two full minutes went by before Kali moved, and as soon as she did, her mother spoke.
"I thought you all would've left sooner," she said gently, no accusing in her tone, only expectancy and sadness. She looked over her shoulder at her daughter, who gazed back at her and suddenly felt her heart go heavy with hatred for herself. How could she leave Kastra? She would die and even more willingly, kill, for this woman. How could she, in good conscious, leave her to the fate of these mad generals and fuck-faced troopers while she and her siblings ran off selfishly into the unknown? The fact that she was being so supportive about it, only made this harder for Kali, and she wished she'd never come to the house at all.
"I'll stay--" she began, but Kastra was surprisingly fierce in her refusal of the offer. "No!" Kali raised her brows as her gray mother turned to face her fully, and she watched as the small woman came up and hugged her daughter. "Leave," she murmured into Kali's dark fur, leaving it slightly damp, though if Kastra was crying, she was keeping it well hidden from her child. "Leave and be blessed."
She took her mother into her own arms now, and they embraced for a silent moment before Kali held Kastra at arms length and peered at her fully for the last time in Scintilla. "I love you... we each do." "And I, you three, my children. My beautiful children." She touched a hand to her daughter's cheek, tilting her head up at her and smiling lightly, forgetting her sadness. It was then she noticed her ring. "You've always had your eye on this ring," she said fondly, pulling it off her finger and handing it to Kali without further question. "I was going to steal it, if you'd left it," the dark-faced hybrid admitted, fitting it onto her right hand and admiring it with contended reverence. Kastra laughed as she turned. "Hah! My Kali. I will miss you, my stubborn bear," she said, gathering half of the smoked meat preserves and dumping them into her bag without invitation.
"Hurry now. Don't keep them waitin', or have them come looking for you," she advised, hoisting up the bag and handing it to Kali. "Tell Marlowe to be the best man he can be and to trust himself... and Agrippa, tell her to never stop followin' her heart; heart is the greatest asset a canine like us can have." Kali nodded, memorizing the words as if they'd been tattooed on her arm. "And to you, Kali... never be afraid to be afraid or to love. Emotion isn't always a hindrance, my dear." "Ma'am," the yearling agreed, but did not necessarily consent. She didn't share her mother's views on emotions, but her advice would stay with her for years to come.
They did not say goodbye, but kissed and Kali was gone, jogging out the back and cutting through more pronounced trails as she made her way to the rendezvous-point with Marlowe. Her thoughts lingered on Kastra long after she'd left, but they had turned to Agrippa by the time she was getting close. She wondered how long it would take her and her brother to find their wily sister. As adept at tracking as they were, if Agrippa in particular wanted to stay hidden, then it was nearly impossible for her to be found. Usually she left clues only her siblings would recognize, but Kali imagined that her sister was trying to be alone or get away if anything...
She felt like she was being followed, but each time she glanced discretely over her shoulder, she saw nothing. After twenty minutes of feeling this way, she fished a dagger from the bag and turned, holding it out lankly, but there was a relaxed and eminent threat there. "Alright, show yourself, fool, or be gutted like a fucking fish." She waited in silence for ten seconds before a small rustling sounded, and her gaze followed the noise to the source.
"Hydra!" Kali hissed, dropping the bag and crouching to accept her ruined cat, who meowed and gave a raspy purr as she came eagerly into her companion's hands. Kali rubbed over her cat's familiar scars, glad they no longer hurt her but unable to block the feeling of remorse she felt as she realized that she would have to leave her pet behind. "Stay, cat," she said softly, putting her down again. "Take care of Kastra..." She took up her bag again and began walking. Hydra, who never followed Kali away from the residencies, had not come to say goodbye however, and did not stop trailing her despite verbal protests. The feline seemed to know what time it was too.
Nearing the area, Kali was a little surprised to actually hear Agrippa's voice as she rounded the corner, bag slung on her shoulder, and cat plodding faithfully behind her. Her orange eyes were ablaze, and she looked first to her sister, as she had not seen the girl in too many hours. "I will always find you," she informed her, leaving no room in her tone for rebuttal. She smiled slightly, but was already moving towards her mustang (who stood aside on a long lead) after her brief pause, hooking the bag onto his saddle and looping her whip around the saddlehorn before putting Hydra on his back and hoisting herself up. She was afraid that she would have had to have gone bareback because he wasn't fond of being tacked by anyone but her, but it seemed Marlowe hadn't had any trouble with him today -- Hades probably having sensed his urgency -- and the only thing that might've caused an upset is if anyone besides Kali had tried to ride him, which everyone knew better not to because the stallion was violent.