placida è l'onda, prospero è il vento

[self thread]

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:25 am

(412) fillin' in some canon don't mind meee. november-ish?

The sword hummed through the air, abruptly ending its song with a wet ker-thunk. The crabapple fell into halves — not perfect halves, mind you — and the swordswoman curled her lip in annoyance. She whirled gracefully as she readjusted her white fingers on the hilt, and brought her slender weapon down with startling speed on the next target she had arranged for practice. The log splintered where the sword bit into rotten wood, though she lacked the strength to cleave it in twain. Yet.

The autumn air was crisp here, cold, but familiar. The young wolfdog had missed the northeast more than she cared to admit aloud. She had only been five months old when they departed the Acadia National Park, and she carried only a tiara as a memento of the mother she was leaving behind. (Without hands to hold it, she almost lost it countless times on that sea journey, including to the unscrupulous sailor who broke into her family's cabin one night — thankfully that dog had not counted on her big brother being awake.)

She wore her mother's tiara now with a sense of sad pride, knowing she was too practical for such sentimental attachments, and too old to think herself a princess anymore. Salvatrice thought of traveling south and seeking out Iniga now that she and her brothers were back, but the thought was only a passing fancy to appease her own heavy conscience. She just wanted her collie mother to be happy in her new life, and to have a mate who loved her and would not take her children away to Italy. Salvatrice would never regret having chosen her father when the mateship ended, but it did not mean she was guiltless.

The scent of sour apple saturated the air by the time Salvatrice had completed her dance. She was panting, narrow chest heaving, the orchard ground littered with cut branches and pieces of fruit. She knelt to wipe her blade clean on the grass — it would not do to have a sticky sword that could not be unsheathed in a hurry — and in a deft movement, plunged it back into its black scabbard. It felt natural to have the weight of the sword back at her hip. She could not wear it on the sea journey, not with such close quarters, and knowing how sailors talked. Her practices had to be conducted in secret. That was why she was so rusty now, the wolfdog added bitterly.

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:30 am

(563)

Hooves crunched through the carpet of fallen leaves at a steady trot. The chestnut mare plodded on with little effort shown in her sleek, well-fed frame. Her normally smooth coat was growing scruffy and thick from the oncoming cold, much like the canine rider in the saddle atop her withers. The dark wolfdog sat high and straight, with his spitz tail curled neatly in the small of his back. Solemn blue eyes regarded the passing landscape with unspoken concern, tracking any flickers of movement with unfailing vigilance.

Hati was two years old now. Four seasons had come full circle since the tragic passing of his mother and father, and the subsequent coronation of his sister. Some days he could introspect and pick out the details, the individual facets of his personality that had grown and improved at his own painfully slow pace. He was more independent now, in his opinion; quiet as ever, but willing to assert himself, politely, should something go against his conscientious nature. Even his pelt had changed subtly; he had noticed with scholarly curiosity as his winter coat grew in, there were more hints of grey and black dulling the slate blue. Perhaps in two more years’ time, he would be as grey as Kable, or black as his shadow.

Sometimes, though, he felt exactly the same as he had been a year ago, lost and broken without Ayita to guide him. He had not advanced his career nor his personal life, finding himself complacent to keep everything just the way it was. He was too cautious to try new things or to open his guarded heart to anyone since adopting Esperanza. His niece – no, his half-sister, since he could be honest with himself when no one else was around – was the light of his life, and he loved her like a daughter. He would never have a daughter of his own at this rate. He quietly ached for what Liam and Rio had, even with the misfortune surrounding their newborn son. Only Skoll knew Hati’s reasons for certain, though he wondered sometimes if the rest of his siblings suspected why Hati had not become the family man he so dearly wanted to be.

The Courtier leaned forward in the saddle and patted Asagi’s muscular neck, reassuring himself as much as the horse. The herd was his second family, Asagi and Luneth his precious mares. And he was brightened by the prospect of their equine family expanding – Luneth’s pregnancy by the Svantevit stud was coming along like clockwork, and he knew she would foal before winter’s end. He might as well be the expectant father himself given the way he obsessively prepared for the birth. Even now it was the motivation for his travels – he wanted to trade for the best of supplies to welcome the new addition properly, and he knew once winter’s curtain of ice overtook the land, he would not be able to reach the trading post.

He rode on at a comfortable pace, veering only from his path when he caught the scent of nearby freshwater. Asagi was afforded every opportunity to drink and rest along the journey; Hati was fastidious in caring for his hoofed companions. He could even smell wild apples sour in the air, and knew she would appreciate a reward for her good behavior. They would take a short break together.

Hati Catori
He is always seen wearing his moon necklace.
Hati may be accompanied by his niece, Esper.
(Art by Raze, Signature by Sie.)
My avatar rotates; credit here.


Freiherr (NPC)
User avatar
Miyu
Luperci Page Matchmaker: Romeo and Juliet Couple with Edgar!

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:37 am

(425)

Having completed her practice session, Salvatrice stretched her sore muscles and worked out the kinks in her limber frame. She was small even for a female, but her wispy collie fur hid the lean athleticism of her fencer’s body. Her main trouble was that her current sword was not a rapier – the hand-and-a-half was significantly heavier than what she first learned with. Her reactions were sluggish now, her control inconsistent, her accuracy shaky at best. It was frustrating to relearn the basics, but she was determined to persevere. She had been forced to leave the elegant rapier behind in Italy lest her craft be discovered, and had to barter for a new blade here in the north after her father departed for the Knight’s pack.

She did like the new sword, though – she had been unable to resist the understated but feminine curves of the gold-plated crossguard, which arched like the sweepings of the rapier she was familiar with. Her hand rested fondly on the pommel for a moment longer, before rising to untie her hair. The tight bun cascaded loose, and Salvatrice shook her head to let her long mane fall into place down her back. She strode purposely from the grove of crabapples toward the nearby lake. The water would be frigid, but she appreciated the shock of cold after getting her blood pumping from a workout. The wolfdog gasped aloud as she waded into the shallows, feeling less than appreciative at that moment. She stooped down to scrub her sticky hands in the lake water, and splashed her face quickly, yelping at the icy temperature.

Figlio di puttana! she swore when she could not stand it any longer, and ignobly splashed back to the muddy banks. Pale eyes flashed as she glowered at the lake and her teeth began to chatter. As much as she had missed the woodlands and the tranquility of the wild north, it was also taking her time to readjust and remember the details of her childhood here. Italy’s climate had been moderate – she was spoiled for their mild Mediterranean weather, and had forgotten just how cold the Atlantic coast could be. It would only get colder.

Her feathered ears fanned suddenly, and her posture tensed. She could hear hoof beats approaching. The wolfdog sank into a practiced stance with her hand on her sword hilt, ready to draw. Her arms and legs were still dripping wet, but her body was coiled and dangerously still. She was inexperienced in real combat, but it did not make her naive.

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:43 am

(415)

Tall ears flicked forward anxiously at a noise that did not fit the calm surroundings. Asagi halted, tossing her head uncomfortably and champing the metal bit. The placid mare only reacted when other canines were near, and Hati grew stiff and wary. Despite his height and his father’s legacy, Hati was not a fighter. The only instances he had tried ended in bloody noses and black eyes (courtesy of Skoll and Keldava) — and a horse thief could do much worse with ease.

Periwinkle fingers tightened on the reins, ready to crack them in the air and spur Asagi into a run. Still, he waited. It could just as easily be someone in need of assistance, and his chivalrous heart would not allow him to leave without knowing for certain. Then he heard a yelp and a foreign cry, and Hati knew he could not shy away. He dug his feet in the stirrups and Asagi surged obediently forward, hooves tearing chunks of sod which rained to the ground in their wake. In short time horse and rider burst through the apple grove onto the lake shore.

With wild eyes, Asagi rent the air with a whinny as she half-rose into a rear to halt herself. Hati quickly wrestled with the reins and pulled her back to earth before he would slip from the saddle. His shocked gaze was riveted on the strange Luperci, and the gleam of metal from her drawn sword aimed at Asagi's heart. His mare had nearly been impaled by the swordswoman with the steely eyes. A rush of protective anger welled in the Catori male, and his hackles bristled indignantly. Asagi was Ayita's horse before she was his; he would allow no harm to befall her.

Hati's heart skipped a beat in the split second he readied himself to react – to wheel Asagi back into the woods, or to dismount and grapple with the stranger coming at her. But the female was not moving further. She was small, dwarfed by his height and doubly so with him atop the thoroughbred. Her stance was defensive, her breathing fast. She looked to be about his age, perhaps a little younger. Hati's anger immediately fled his posture, and he visibly drooped. He had scared her.

I heard a shout, he explained awkwardly in a soft voice, -And I came to help. I apologize if we startled you. His heartbeat stuttered and raced from the tension, and he swallowed audibly as he waited for judgment.

Hati Catori
He is always seen wearing his moon necklace.
Hati may be accompanied by his niece, Esper.
(Art by Raze, Signature by Sie.)
My avatar rotates; credit here.


Freiherr (NPC)
User avatar
Miyu
Luperci Page Matchmaker: Romeo and Juliet Couple with Edgar!

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:48 am

(412)

Salvatrice found herself staring down a charging horse, and in one fluid motion, her sword was drawn and aimed at the beast attempting to trample her. It reared back to avoid her steel, and then she was afforded a glimpse of the rider: a tall wolfish male with hackles raised and animosity hardening his blue eyes into ice. She did not flinch or falter as the horse settled on the ground – she waited with her heart hammering in her chest for what came next. She would not yield to this stranger no matter the size advantage. Salvatrice was not intimidated by men who thought they could dominate her.

She knew how to handle men — she had three brothers, had been at sea with sailors, and had learned how to wield swords from city boys. She remembered well the brazen Italian boys who flocked in the city streets once they moved in – the sons of merchants who owned ships in the port, and the sons of the sailors hired by the affluent families. They would wait until Leonardo and Vedetta left to work their labor jobs, then they threw rocks at the windows of their building and jeered at Salvatrice. She tried to ignore them at first and remain the proper lady she was supposed to be, but once they learned they got a better rise by insulting her father, the adolescent wolfdog would fly outside in a rage and fight them with fists balled. She never knew how much of her mother’s fire she had in her until they ignited it. Her spirit and her temper were too strong to be broken by the likes of boys — they stoked it higher.

Now she had left Italy behind, and here was someone new: not a boy, but a man. She looked hard into this stranger’s eyes, and she did not see the glint of unsavory thoughts when his stare roved over her form. In fact, when he took in the lines of her pose, something strange registered in his expression and made him deflate. She had intimidated him, and as he spoke, she sheathed her sword and straightened. He would not be a threat to her. Salvatrice watched him raptly all the while, still wary lest he deceived her, and inwardly stifled a sigh of impatience as he swung his leg over the saddle and dismounted.

Then this is a misunderstanding. Your apology is accepted, but I do not require help. Good day.

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:55 am

(368)

The weapon was put away, and his apology was grudgingly accepted. Hati slipped to the ground, ears back and tail low. He turned his back on the stranger to open his saddlebag, and procured two horse blankets. He always carried spare supplies, especially when he knew he would be trading some of them away. The wolfdog swallowed nervously, and offered one of them to the small female.

You don't want to catch chill, he said simply with a nod toward her damp limbs. She accepted the blanket with a strange expression, and Hati took Asagi’s reins and led her to the lake’s edge. The chestnut mare had already calmed from her fright, and eagerly lapped up the clear water. He kept a careful eye on her intake to make sure she did not drink too much too quickly, and rubbed her sweaty withers with the remaining blanket. The Courtier was so focused on his routine that he almost forgot the stranger was standing there staring at him, until she spoke cautiously.

You ride a horse and smell of a pack from the east. Are you from Casa di Cavalieri?

He blinked in surprise, and a polite smile quirked on his lips. No, mademoiselle, but my pack is allied with them. I am from their neighbor, Cour des Miracles; we raise horses as well. Are you traveling to Casa?

Hati regretted asking the casual question as soon as he saw the guarded look settle over her countenance. He had no intention of prying into someone else's business. It was just habit to be conversational. His sickle tail flicked back and forth during the uncomfortable silence, but at last she frowned and spoke.

I am not, but some of my family are there now. I am waiting for their return.

He did not miss the way her hand tightened on the grip of her sword handle. She was tightly wound and in no mood to converse, so Hati merely nodded and pulled his focus back to maintaining his horse. Weapons unnerved him no matter who wielded them, and given his visceral reaction to the sight of blood, he was hardly suited for a sword fight. He wouldn’t press his luck.

Hati Catori
He is always seen wearing his moon necklace.
Hati may be accompanied by his niece, Esper.
(Art by Raze, Signature by Sie.)
My avatar rotates; credit here.


Freiherr (NPC)
User avatar
Miyu
Luperci Page Matchmaker: Romeo and Juliet Couple with Edgar!

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:03 am

(501)

Salvatrice never felt like she belonged in Italy, but she was at least adaptable and made the best of her time there. By the time Leonardo moved them in with Rizzo, she learned to recognize the glazed looks in the young males’ eyes not as derision, but as lust. She came to understand why they really wanted to tease her, draw her outside, and make her tackle them onto the cobblestones. It had nothing to do with her family, and everything to do with her gender.

She used their adolescent desire to her advantage — if they would teach her the skills she wanted to learn, she would let them kiss her and hold her for a negotiable number of seconds. The wealthy ones knew how to fence, and the poor ones knew dirty tricks with knives – and Salvatrice was a quick learner. Soon she found herself sneaking out of the house daily, and winning their sparring matches more often than not.

Whenever the overzealous males tried to paw at her longer or push her to go further than agreed upon (which they almost always did), teenage Salvatrice would strike them in all their tender places and make them regret it. She bossed around the European males with impunity, never once allowing herself to consider what would happen if they tired of her temper and decided to use real force. It never came to that, because she knew to never give them the opening. It was all about confidence.

Confidence was what she emanated now in this unfamiliar territory, even shivering wet by a lake in front of a stranger. She could handle this horseman without her father or brothers backing her up, and she did not need to worry that she had told him she was by herself. She had no desire to see the Cavalieri pack led by Rizzo's brother, because she was not a Knight wolf like Tennyson and Desiderio, and would not belong there. She was Auditore, and she would wait as long as she had to for her father to come back for her. She did not have to explain herself or her reasons to this man, and remained quiet as she waited for him to finish his business and leave. Most of all, she did not need his help.

In a strange way, though, this dark-furred wolfdog did seem different from the usual chauvinists she dealt with. He looked at her without lust or malice, and on some level his passiveness honestly reminded her of Leonardo himself. All of her fire, all of her swordplay and athleticism, it was all carefully hidden from her father. She had stayed behind to barter for a new sword to replace her old rapier, and now she was alone and missed him. Salvatrice felt her guilt exposed under this male's similarly calm eyes. Her grip tightened on the sword hilt, betraying the ache in her chest, though she stubbornly refused to speak to him any longer than she had to.

POSTED: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:08 am

(400)

The female did not speak again, nor did she budge from her spot. It was an uneasy truce. The interminably long silence dragged on until Asagi was rested and ready to set off again. Hati planted his foot in the stirrup, but before he rose to mount his steed, he looked over his shoulder at the swordswoman. He bit his lip, obvious concern etched into his expression. You don’t sound like you’re from around here — you should know it’s dangerous to be alone in these woods. Bad things happen… I’ve seen them.

He stood and swung back onto Asagi, who pranced in place and nickered in anticipation of heading off again. The stranger finally moved, backing several paces to give the horse wide berth. She was staring hard at him, and Hati cringed under the scrutiny. She had the same haughty look Esperanza gave him when she thought he was insulting her. That’s not to say… I mean, you seem capable of defending yourself, but… all I mean is, you’d be safer in a pack than out here. If you want to wait in Cour des Miracles for your family in Casa, I can take you there and offer you a place to stay. If you want, I… I’ll be back here in two days on my way home.

The loner pulled the warm blanket over her shoulders like a shawl, and after a moment’s hesitation, nodded. Hati wasn’t sure if she was simply affirming that she understood, or if she was agreeing to meet him there and accept his chivalrous offer to escort her. My name is Hati Catori, he added softly, not really expecting to be given a name in return. He had nothing to hide, although it seemed like perhaps she did. His instincts always cautioned him against loners, especially those with weapons, but it was hard not to want to trust a lonely female who acted like his Essie. It went against his nature to be anything but hospitable, especially after he frightened her.

The swordswoman straightened, and intoned carefully, Call me Lucina Salvatrice.

Hati bowed in his saddle, then turned Asagi to set off at a brisk trot through the crabapple trees. He did not know if he would see Lucina again, but he hoped she would be wise enough to swallow her pride and go with him, just until she found her family again.

Hati Catori
He is always seen wearing his moon necklace.
Hati may be accompanied by his niece, Esper.
(Art by Raze, Signature by Sie.)
My avatar rotates; credit here.


Freiherr (NPC)
User avatar
Miyu
Luperci Page Matchmaker: Romeo and Juliet Couple with Edgar!

Archive