Turn the white snow red as strawberries In the summertime

Clover, July 5th, Hellfire Hollow

POSTED: Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:09 pm

500+

The cave spoke of few sounds, and the damp walls exposed to the mouth glowed a torrid, waxing orange. The sun throwing out its flame in one final encore before setting, and casting less radiant black across everything she knew. Rialu had watched the pile of furs in the corner shudder, as if against terrible tempests for hours. When he mumbled again, and rolled ambly she heard his voice tell her everything would be fine. That was when she'd lost the will to watch. Rialu bit the side of her mouth and cursed, yanking her gear over her shoulder. She'd stood and began stepping quickly past, eyes focused intense straight ahead on where the horizon burned outside. Then she felt the tentative brushing of her calf and looked down to see Virue, his eyes half-lidded and foggy like glass. His cream paw was still outstretched, mere inches from where it had contacted her moments before, his mouth was open so his long breaths could come further into his lungs, far and wide like gentle breezes swinging to and fro. “B-bye,” he told her, smiling small before a heaving cough burst from him that caused his head to snap abruptly, and threw his body deeper into his blankets. Virue had turned away so as to not cough on his friend, but when he'd turned back round, to open his mouth to say another thing, something more that might make her laugh—the woman was long gone off to do what calmed her most; plunge an arrow into anything that dared sit still before scurrying back to their burrows for the long silence of nighttime. She could not sit still, and Virue knew she hated seeing hurt she could not control.

He stared out in the sun's direction instead, where Rialu had escaped, and though he could not see the brilliance directly, the light filtered across the walls and down toward where his feet were. He'd closed his eyes briefly, before they sprung open jerkily and he fought to sit upright. “P-paint, I n-need to paint ag-gain it's imp-p-portant!” He yelled as loudly as his weakness would allow, his hands grabbing in the air, feigning at his brush, eyes awash with the colours of the flames he forever dreamt. The flames lining Inferni’s borders now, more than anything else, the ones in the sun that warmed his feet. He coughed multiple times, phlegm making gravelly rumblings deeper down in his chest. His ears teetered and his eyes shut tight in each shot of hot air that swept from his lungs.

He turned, saw his favourite brush in an obtusely shaped jar of water, and there closeby blank canvas and some assorted containers of paints. The red, the orange, the yellow. Three was all he needed to make paper dance. All he wanted was those things and he could try to outdo the blazing ball that sat low in the sky outside, the thing that had taken Rialu away. “C-cloverrr, I need th-them…” he informed his nurse, “I...I need them…” his voice died off, feeling another round of coughs coming over.
gotta gotta be down because I want it all
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TWO GULPS

POSTED: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:09 am

Their stores were nearly depleted, despite Clover’s constant efforts to travel and find more herbs and supplies to use. Tletica helped where she could, spending most of her days outside of Inferni to hunt and forage, but it was miserable outdoors. Even when the rains stopped, the air remained muggy and hot – the type of air disease bred in.

Most patients came to her with bites from flies, and she used poultices and wet bandages to wrap the sores and blisters – but as livestock died and mosquitoes bred in the floodwaters, new kinds of illnesses appeared. It was all Clover could do to treat their symptoms. It made her miss her mentor, recalling all too clearly Harosheth’s last rasping coughs as she finally passed, as disoriented in her final moments as she had been the last several weeks before her death.

Coughs echoed trough the cave. Clover dully looked up.

“Hold on, I’m coming,” the shaggy dog said, ladling something into misshapen wooden cup, and hurried over. As she passed a tunnel, another small figure slipped down an earthy slope, perhaps startled by the shouting, but she didn’t make eye contact. She reached Virue, seating herself beside him and coaxing him to sit up.

“Drink this first,” she said, putting the tea in his hands. Then she looked dubiously toward the homemade paints, but she had learned not to question Virue. She usually didn’t understand his answers.

As she dutifully picked up the little containers and drew the canvas closer, Vesper finally limped into the den. She looked haggard, made worse by the welts and scratches around her muzzle.

“You look like shit,” Clover told her, but her exhaustion made her attempt at humor fall flat.

Vesper frowned and sat down, her eyes on Virue for several moments, motherly and distracted, then answered. “One of Vicira’s puppies died last night.”

The dog let out a breath. “Fuck.”

“Yeah.”
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POSTED: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:48 am

[A long poetic motha+]

He took the cup, wriggling weakly as he tried to sit up while trying not spill the tea inside. To no avail, and he looked to Clover blue eyes awash with embarrassment as she dragged over his little wooden canvas. With the legs lopped off so he could paint down there. He put down the cup, jerked his head to spray phlegm into his arm, eyes watering. Then Virue leaned over onto his elbow and pushed himself up with a few small grunts. He was never good at sit-ups anyway. They always made him feel sick and sore.

A wood brush clattered against the cave wall. Maybe because it had one too many strands of horse hair, or because he didn't need it at the time, or for the foreseeable future that was oh-so foreseeable. Regardless he felt the need to show his frustration in the flash of guilt that came when he'd heard of the Aquila’s passed child. Because he hadn't felt anything. Then again Virue wasn't feeling much those days, not as much as before. But he could have sworn it almost could have hurt. A wet thumb drawing near to the fire's scalding edge, that all felt too close, too real, like thoughts of him playing on the very soil where his siblings bodies had been left to turn to dirt. Where they'd been dragged out on that misty April morning, with him wrapped in the warm dry embrace of his mother's touch for the first time. He was the one that got to live and he was there and they were not, he was here and they were not. What if what if. Their spirits perched in the background of a childhood, lurking in the weeds of Mer Bleue. The possibility—that it had driven him an inch back of madness, his life always lived on the edge of delirium, of whimsical ideas and childlike wonder because children tailed him in the shadows of his thoughts. Could it explain why he cared every time a life tipped from the scale, why the weight fell on him and he found himself thinking about where it all would lead, what it was like to die.

Sometimes in his dreams that's exactly what he did. He just sat back and died. But this was reality, and here he lived and breathed, and he would paint in the company of whom he considered family. So a smaller brush he took up, quickly after the last sounds of wood echoed off the cave wall and cracked open a jar, then another. Familiar smells of the paint he knew would float about, invisible to the eye, and Clover and Vesper would know what it was somehow. But he didn't understand that. Bluethroat hadn't helped much in teaching him either. Bluethroat, whom he thought of then so suddenly before dabbing the finest strands of his brush and began something new. He didn't understand smell, but painting, he understood that, so that's what he would do.

But when he started, something kind of clicked down and in, which had Virue thinking. All the way out and across a tree limb to the edge of a leaf. He thought about the sun. How it burned, how it could leave and come back and never be the same but always be the same. Then he thought of a playing child, little legs carrying it through the green grasses of summer, the bouncing frolic so full of life before it was gone again. Virue turned his head with watery eyes, and plucked a small container of yellow from Clover’s fingers. But with the bright paint in his hand he felt a heat bloom out over his face and he frowned in spite of himself. Painting no longer mattered anymore. Did anything.

“The o-other, the other kid. He's fine.” He didn't ask. He just stated, projected a truth out so people could reach out and touch it more easily. It's what he did, wasn't it.

A fly buzzed around his twitching ears and landed on his muzzle. He pitched his head to the side and gnashed at its coattails as it flitted away. His hand snatched a deep purplish mixture, as close to black as possible in his small captured slice of spectrum, and wrote in big smeary letters “NO ENDE”. Virue didn't know why, but the thought of the mansion in a blaze, and that word turning to ash, it entertained him endlessly. And beside it—a tiny red line where art had once been the possible outcome for this canvas. He remembered thinking that he could be removed with a simple slash of red paint, stolen away from the world. But that was silly, almost idiotic now. Even now it was all being drawn out, out and around and over in circles, shapes and pretty, ugly dark bright colours. He had no real control. He was at the world's mercy from the beginning, and as soon as his eyes opened it had been the beginning of the end.
gotta gotta be down because I want it all
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TWO GULPS

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