There's no place I'd rather be

[P] Nuki with Mercy Nightshade

POSTED: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:44 am


The deep, blue lake glittered in the sun. Its surface was placid and the water lapped gently at the lakeshore. A weeping willow shielded Nayavota from the summer heat and a cool breeze tousled her choppy, silver hair. She'd tried to cut and style it, but she wasn't sure she did a good job. It fell to her jaw in uneven layers, complemented by straight, too-short bangs.

Staring down at her reflection in the water, Nayavota frowned. She wanted to look cool and, if she was lucky, maybe even pretty. Mission not accomplished. With a frustrated sigh, the silver girl picked up a small stone and tossed it into the lake. It sunk with a loud plop and ripples radiated out from where it hit the water. Whatever. Maybe she'd ask her Uncle Arlen for help next time; he was good at looking pretty.

She flexed her outstretched legs and stared at her twisted foot. Nayavota could wiggle each, pale toe and turn it every which way, but it never stayed straight. Picking up her cane, she twirled it in her hands and smiled. She was lucky Papa was such a good woodworker; it made getting around a lot easier. Nayavota wanted to be just as good, if not better than he was one day. That way, she could help people with her art, too.

A pair of blue jays squabbled in the branches overhead, catching Nayavota's attention. She couldn't tell what they were fighting over, but it was clearly worth squawking about. Maybe they were siblings, she mused, and one stole something from the other. Ooh, or maybe it was a lover's quarrel.

Nayavota couldn't speak bird, so she didn't know. Maybe it was better that way; then, she could imagine whatever she wanted.
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POSTED: Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:47 pm

Where Nayavota tried hard to look good and be cool, Mercy was just the opposite. At least, when it came to the try part. The epitome of cool teenage angst walked the bank of the lake, a look on her face that said she didn't care about anything and dared anybody to tell her otherwise. Mercy's hair was choppy, and she did it herself, too. But where Nayavota was just beginning to learn, Mercy had several months of hairstyling practice. The crazier and choppier the better. And every night she wetted the two long pieces that hung down to her breast with a mixture of water and sugar cane, and wrapped them around two wooden pegs so each morning, when she undid them, the long pieces had a perfect curly loop in each.

With her screw it all attitude, Mercy would also sneak to the borders or just outside and trade pilfered dairy goods with a loner who did occasional rounds as a tradesman. She would trade some of Howland's goats milk or cheese, or some eggs, in exchange for some cigarettes. She would purposefully be seen with them when she was out and about, but kept her little tobacco and paper supply hidden so one of the adults couldn't destroy it – every now and then that happened, though.

Now Mercy padded around the lake, smoking one of those cigarettes. She had on her red and white striped shirt and the black denim vest over it, her mini skirt, and her favorite red leggings. One finger was laced through her belt loop while the other flicked the cigarette. Her violet and crimson gaze caught sight of Nayavota staring at her reflection in the water, seemingly displeased with something. Puh, looks like the poor thing tried to do her own hair again, she thought with a snort. But in all honesty, Mercy didn't think it was half pad.

Exhaling a plume of smoke, Mercy stepped up behind Naya. “Hey kid, what's up?”

wc 332

POSTED: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:05 pm


The birds seemed to end their petty squabble, one jay flitting to a distant branch and the other settling on a nearby perch. Despite this, they continued to chirp and chatter at each other. It seemed they'd settled their differences after all.

Distracted by the blue jays overhead, the silver girl didn't notice Mercy's approach. The faint smell of tobacco smoke heralded the older teen's arrival, but Nayavota still jumped. She tossed her head back in surprise and nearly collided with Mercy in the process. The silver girl laughed awkwardly and shrugged. "Y'know, da usual. Just sitting around and tinking," she said, "What's up wid you?" Of all the things Nayavota was anxious about, her speech wasn't one of them. The idiosyncrasy had been pointed out to her before, but as she couldn't hear it herself, it didn't bother her.

Nayavota considered asking Mercy for a cigarette. The desire manifested itself every now and again. It seemed new, different, and most of all cool. She knew they were taboo—Mercy had her stash destroyed before, after all—but it still intrigued Nayavota. The pale girl reasoned that, though Mercy often smelled like smoke, a single hit wouldn't taint her. Bad breath could be covered up by all manner of strong-smelling herbs, a habit Nayavota enjoyed independently of any illicit behavior.

Of course, even as Nayavota stared at the cigarette between Mercy's lips, she knew she didn't have the nerve to ask. She looked up to Mercy as a role model and treasured her as a friend, for better or for worse. She was the epitome of cool and Nayavota... Wasn't. Mercy was fearlessly daring and effortlessly pretty. Nayavota feared her rejection, even for something as inconsequential as a drag of a cigarette.

"How's Rum?" the silver teen asked, dragging her gaze from the older girl's dark-rimmed lips. Anxiety crept up Nayavota's spine; how long had she been staring?
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POSTED: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:43 pm

If Nayavota was staring, Mercy didn't seem to notice. In truth, she did notice and she liked it. Sometimes people stared because she was the 'monster's daughter', sometimes when someone new came to the pack, either to join or to visit, someone inevitably saw her walking across the road and felt the need to whisper her story to the newcomer, getting ahead on the gossip and using Mercy as their means to get 'in' with that person. Sometimes people looked at her and snubbed their nose at the teenager who acted like an adult, drinking and smoking but not providing for her family. Sometimes people commented on her bad attitude, the chip on her shoulder, and in the same breath whispered about Mercy's father and her conception to somebody else. But what was worse was when she was with her brother, and people were staring at him, because he was the spitting image of Raine Nightshade. Mercy didn't care what they said, she and her brother had known what their father was like. He was loving and fun and doted on them. It was just because that bitch Night made up lies about him that they thought they could just murder him.

So when someone stared at her and she secretly knew it was a good thing, she didn't mind. That was one of the reasons she liked hanging out with Naya. Now, despite being angry at the world, Mercy was not actually a mean person, and her motives for hanging around the younger girl were not always selfish. But those few selfish ones sure helped.

She took another drag of her cigarette, then, as though she read the teen's mind, reached into her denim vest pocket and pulled out a small wooden box, holding it out to Naya. "Cigarette?" She waited for the girl's answer, abided by it, and then put the box back in her pocket.

"Rum's fine," she answered, smoke streaming out between her teeth. "We snuck into this traveling merchant's camp when everybody was sleeping and stole a bolt of this really cool material last week. He called the fabric... musli-something... so he's busy working on making a new pattern. He makes good stuff but I tend to not off when he's talking about all the details so," she shrugged, "I decided to take a stroll."

Without cuing Naya to follow her, she turned and started walking along the lake. She expected the girl to follow her anyway, and although she didn't ask her to, she was welcome. "I was thinkin' about going back out, see if the traders are still there. Wanna come?"

wc 438

POSTED: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:39 pm


As young as she was, Nayavota had heard murmurings about Mercy's parentage. Adults who saw the girls together, thinking they were out of earshot, whispered unfamiliar names and unspeakable crimes. The idea turned Nayavota's stomach, but she'd never confronted her friend about it. Mercy and Rum were good people; it didn't matter what anyone else said. If Mama and Papa were bad people, something Nayavota found near-impossible to imagine, she'd want to be treated fairly despite it.

She stared, wide-eyed, at the proffered cigarette. Before she could stop herself, Nayavota blurted out the first thing that came to mind, "Uh, can I try yours first?" Embarrassment struck her like a thunderclap. She blushed underneath her coat, face burning from her cheeks to the tips of her ears. "I mean I don't want to waste it, y'know? So uh, if I try um, yours..." she trailed off, her tongue having twisted itself into a myriad of complicated knots. Nayavota resisted the urge to bury her face in her hands. She was so embarrassing. The absolute worst. "Nevermind," she said, "I'm good." If Mercy tried to offer her the cigarette again, she'd refuse.

Avoiding eye contact, Nayavota listened as Mercy described her adventure with Rum. The Nightshade siblings were always doing something they weren't supposed to be. The silver girl was an incorrigible goody-two-shoes by comparisons. "Yeah, he does," Nayavota agreed, smiling awkwardly. Rum made the most wonderful things out of fabric. Clothing wasn't her thing, per se, but she was enamored by its creation nevertheless. "Is it soft?" she asked curiously; Nayavota liked soft things.

When Mercy turned and began to walk along the lake, the pale girl flailed around for her cane. "What if dey see us?" she asked as she struggled to stand. Her cane wobbled in the damp earth and for a second, she feared she'd fall. Nayavota caught her balance just in time and hobbled after Mercy. "What are we gonna say?"
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