There are no wrong turnings

POSTED: Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:25 am

Set in Drifter Bay, in sight of the Bay Horses. Vicira is riding Tigana.

A fly zipped by the mare, who twitched an ear back then flicked her tail with enough force to tickle Vicira's heel as she sat upright in the saddle, staring at the band of horses. Vici frowned and glanced at the back of her mount's head, reaching to brush a hand along her neck; Tigana snorted but tolerated the affection barely, as always. Her interest was more in her wild brethren -- the "Smoke" herd, the roving group that remained closest to Inferni and the sunflower fields.

The congregation of feral horses was precious to Inferni and Salsola both, far from vulnerable between the packs -- but without fences to contain them, they roamed far enough for Vicira to worry. As always, she was proactive in her worrying, standing sentry until time came for a dusk patrol back home. She didn't want a mutt from Cour des Miracles to get any ideas about poaching one of the horses.

A deep chestnut horse broke away from where some bays were grazing, spotting Tigana. She lifted her head and pinned her ears, steps deliberate. The dominant pinto side-eyed her and trotted away only at Vici's insistence, obviously irritated by the order, but Vici wasn't looking forward to getting in the middle of a scrap of pecking order when her horse wasn't even part of it.

You'll thank me later, she told her mare, who twitched an ear back at the sound of her voice then twitched it again when another fly buzzed by.


Inferni
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Luperci Multiple Co-ranks Level III Rex Chaos Star oderint dum metuant
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POSTED: Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:46 am

The horses had had a spectator all day, a pale-coated Luperci maintaining her distance but stepping around the herd and observing a its members. Hekat was wary of horses, not being particularly familiar with the large animals-- at least, not in the flesh. She'd met with horse spirits a few times, after inhaling certain substances and in dreams. But living, breathing horses were something she didn't really have any experience with, and so she watched.

This wasn't pack land, but these horses wore brands-- or, at least, some of them did. She hadn't spotted marks on all of them, but she wasn't very close. Who had been branding this herd? Who laid claim to here horses, outside of borders and, as far as she'd seen, without guards. Perhaps it was Salsola-- Hekat wouldn't want to try and catch a horse only to gift it to its owners. That wouldn't be very polite. It would probably be best to trade for a horse; such a creature would come trained, too, wouldn't it? Hekat didn't know how to train a horse, and she didn't particularly want to try her hand at it.

As she circled the herd for the umpteenth time, a Luperci upon a horse came into view. The witch sniffed the air-- a coyote?-- and regarded the woman for a long moment. She seemed to be watching over the herd; maybe her pack owned them? The witch decided to approach, putting on her least-unsettling smile, not that that meant much.

"Hello!" She greeted, making sure to keep a fair distance between herself and the feral horses. "Are these creatures yours?"
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Salsola
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POSTED: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:00 am

The scent of dog, of ash and salt and herb, announced the other Luperci's presence a few moments before the white hybrid approached. Vicira was wary of the stranger, and sat taller, pale blue eyes watching intently though she kept her hands and legs still. While sometimes she betrayed her worries, she knew how to compose herself on a horse; she didn't want Tigana picking up on her anxiety and becoming even more of a beast to handle.

The dreadlocked wolfdog greeted her, and Vicira let her gaze wash over the herd briefly. These horses are protected by Inferni and Salsola, yes, she replied. We've branded all but the youngest and newest. If you're looking for a horse, it's safer to look someplace else.

Her warning was mild-toned. There was no need to make an enemy of this loner, though she was proably doing her a favor. She was no warrior, but her mother had killed poachers before, and who knew what Salsola did to horse thieves.


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POSTED: Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:59 pm

Hekat's ears pricked at the mention of Salsola-- a good thing she hadn't tried to catch one, then. It would be awfully embarrassing and potentially fatal to present Salsola's leader with her own horse as a gift. Not that the witch had any idea how to catch a semi-wild horse anyway. It seemed awfully dangerous, not just for the threat of reprimand but also because horses were very large and had great big hooves that could cave your skull in. She didn't want to try her chances at that.

"Oh, no, no. I was merely looking. I am not terribly familiar with the creatures. Not to mention, don't you need saddles and all sorts of other accoutrements? I wouldn't know what to do even if I was so inclined." Hekat replied truthfully. She had never ridden a day in her life, and found the prospect somewhat intimidating. She would need a very, very gentle horse to try her hand at that. Not to mention, she didn't want to be killed by a coyote for trying to snatch a horse.

But a pack-wolf was an opportunity for trade in her experience, and the witch needed to trade for whatever valuable, practical items she could get her hands on. She put on a smile and tipped her head. "Now, tell me-- does your Inferni need medicines? For I have many a potion and poultice for trade, my dear, and I'd hate to traipse on my merry way if you have folks at home in need!"
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POSTED: Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:03 am

The white wolfdog admitted that she was unfamiliar with horses and the prospect of capture. Vicira smiled slightly, relaxing her guard a little bit. Talk of horses was the quickest way to her heart, or at least her opinions. It's easier to catch a horse if you're on a horse, or built a corral beforehand -- that's what we did when we rounded them up to brand them. She reached up and pushed back some of her thick, short hair. You can't just put a saddle on a wild horse, though, she added with a bigger smile.

The dreadlocked stranger put on a bright face suddenly, and Vicira was taken aback for a moment before she smiled mildly and wagged her tail. She knew an over-eager merchant when she saw one, but with the conflict looming in the back of her mind, she knew that this wasn't an opportuntiy she could pass up. She only wished Harosheth were here; hell, even Marlowe would know better than she what poultices and plants worked.

What types of medicine do you have? Vicira asked, sitting high in the saddle. What would you want for them?


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POSTED: Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:46 am

"Well now, you learn something new every day!" The witch was wary of wild horses, but she had no idea that you couldnt just slap a saddle on a wild one and ride off. The tending of animals wasn't a subject she knew very much about.

She grinned and flipped open her bag to display her many jars and bottles. "I'm seeking any sort of practical items. Blankets, rope, tools-- I have no pack storage to rely upon for such things." She began pulling things to show off out from their pouches. "This prevents infection if applied to a wound, this cures infection if you drink a little every day for two weeks, this is a pain reliever-- should only be taken in small doses!-- and this one is a sleep aid but should not, under any circumstances be taken by an expectant mother if she hopes to carry her litter to term! This tea soothes sore throats and upset stomachs-- also encourages a healthy love life if you share a cup with your partner." The witch gave a playful wink and a huffed laugh.

"Hm, this poultice is for rashes, and this herb soothes fevers when boiled. And these leaves keep your teeth healthy if you chew them!" She rounded off, completing her inventory of medicinal substances. "Anything catch your eye?"
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POSTED: Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:12 am

Obviously prepared, the white trader opened her bag to reveal a collection of bottles and jars filled with various substances. Vicira's ears stood tall with surprise, and she dismounted, hand still holding Tigana's reins, to look. The other's request was noted, briefly, before she began to pull out some of the poultices and salves and explain their purposes. All of them sounded useful, if they worked as advertised -- something Vici wasn't sure would be the case since she had no Harosheth to look over the medicine. A rope was a rope, and obvious if poorly-made, but anyone could extract oil from some plants and claim it cured blindness.

Ignoring the creeping heat in her face in response to the love life tea, Vicira slowly looked over the jars and reached out to tap three. Infections and pain relief. She imagined that this was what they were most in need of if it came to battle and wounds, though the others were certainly useful. What are they called? she asked, so she could confirm this with Harosheth. And would I be able to keep the jars? Those were as valuable as medicine.

She paused a moment, glancing at her horse. I do have a length of rope and saddle blanket on me, she said. If that isn't fair, you can come by Inferni for more -- if your medicine works.


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POSTED: Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:41 pm

Hekat gave a long, slow blink. "Their names? I have never given them names beyond their purpose, but I can tell you what is in them. Some of the ingredients are hard to come by here, so if you see some seafaring trader carrying them and you have a competent apothecary of your own, you should snap them up!" The pale witch made all of her medicines from scratch, but she didn't know what they might be called commercially. She had names for potions and magical oils, but somehow had never needed names for her healing items; what was a name when the dosage and effects were written on the label?

"The ingestable one for infection contains garlic, lemongrass, Saint Johns Wort, thyme, and a little honey. Not just loose in the jar, it's all been made into an oil and had the honey added, but there's some of the strongest stuff for infection that you can really make these days. The Johns Wort gives it a little of a pain relieving kick and soothes whoever's taking it, too." The witch counted through the ingredients on her fingers, making sure she didn't miss anything. "It doesn't taste like the nicest thing, but if you've got an infection in your blood then that's the least of your problems."

"The topical one for infection includes a liiiittle bit of cayenne, so it may or may not burn a little from patient to patient. But only for a minute, because cayenne tricks your body into feeling warmth rather than pain! Neat, hm? But, yes, it's also got calendula oil, a tiny tiny hint of peppermint oil, cannabis oil, and rose oil. And honey, again. Wonderful antiseptic, honey." She tapped the side of her nose as if sharing a secret. "Doesn't rot, either. Ever. Get your hands on as much as you can, it's a miracle. Beekeeping should come back into fashion."

"Aaaand for the pain relief we've got mostly birch leaves, some willow bark, dried and powdered cherries-- not the stones, those are just so poisonous-- aaaand a little bit of cayenne, again. To take this, you add no more than three spoonfuls to water and have the patient drink. Tastes vile, but it'll do them a world of good."

"I will let you keep the jars, yes." Hekat had a knack for getting her hands on more. It was no trouble. "The rope and the saddle blanket will cover most of it, but I will also require a favour. I do not yet know what, and it is, naturally, only claimable after you have seen my medicines in action. At some point, I may appear at your border and I will call for you. And then the favour will be specified-- of course, you are free to refuse anything truly outlandish, but I will need my jars back in such a case." Hekat rattled off her usual deal like a practised rite, and it was. Many a pack had bought her medicines based on her 'favour' system, and it had won Hekat many sheltered nights and hot meals, as well as protection from allies as she passed through areas less hospitable to her.

"How does that sound?"
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POSTED: Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:12 pm

The medicines seemed to be well-crafted potions, a mixture of herbs whose names she vaguely knew but whose purposes were unknown to the girl. She knew of Saint John's Wort (and her mother's occasional ingestion of such teas, much as Vesper hid it), and knew honey, too, though she'd been fed it when her throat was sore as a puppy. Perhaps it would make the medicine go down easier if it was as ill-tasting as the loner claimed.

The doggish woman rattled off instructions as well as explaining the ingredients, and Vicira noted them in her head the best she could, nodding. She would remember to pass on the knowledge to Harosheth and ask her of the ingredients, though the Inferni healer knew most herbs by their Spanish names. The girl reached for the jars to tuck them away into her own saddlebags, careful to pause and note each one by consistency and scent so she wouldn't mix them up by feeding a poultice to someone.

She pulled the length of rope from where it had been coiled around the saddle horn, handing this to the white mongrel. Retrieving the blanket would be a more difficult task. She began the practiced motions of unbuckling and toying with the straps on Tigana's saddle, eyeing the woman as she did so. A favor, she echoed; it seemed like something Vici could easily reject, with all of Inferni at her back if the loner did come calling, but she was more honest than that. That's fair. You'll want to be careful around our borders, though; we've had trouble with other wolfdogs and I don't want anybody mistaking you as a troublemaker. She smiled, setting the saddle in the grass and pulling off the blanket -- which stank strongly of horse, and would for several more days, but was well-made enough.

We have a deal, the coywolf added. She clicked her tongue when the bay pinto seemed to want to walk away from them, not wanting to try to catch her in neutral territory, then extended a hand for the witch to shake. My name is Vicira Tears, just so you know who to call for.


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