i was never innocent, i was only me

POSTED: Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:40 pm

The blueberry crops in Bass River have reached their peak, and harvest season can begin. An excellent source of antioxidants, these berries are quite delicious and can be eaten off the bush. If you're looking for more uses, berries can be dried, turned into jams, or even made into dye.

All-welcome for one!

In May, her first attempt at returning to her duties post-illness had resulted in temporary delirium and a path crooked from usual trail. Though the experience had left her blatantly aware of her inexperience as a scout and navigator for her clan, becoming lost in the clanlands that day turned out a blessing in disguise: Her scouting route was permanently altered to pass through Bass River and to the point she had seen and watched, over the course of several weeks, the slow progression of blueberry plants blossom green fruit to blue.

Their first summer as young adults, the Reverie siblings traveled northeast to view the Red Star’s aftermath as a team. Before Saffron’s passing, they had been friends; Dove held steadfast to memories of that summer, of fishing with River Lark and songwriting with Mint and stargazing with Gust. Of picking blueberries with Saffron, and crushing them into dyes they hoped to bring back home.

When the blueberries of Bass River matured, she found a patterned cloth in storage, tied it like an apron about her waist over her loose-fitting dress, and tied back her hair from her eyes with twine. She gathered the fruit into her apron piece by piece, wearing none of her memories on her features, relishing instead the late afternoon sunlight and summer breeze, as well as the company of Salvador, sprawled on his back asleep under a tree not a stone’s throw away.

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POSTED: Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:34 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

The slow-blossoming heat of the summer's sun was a blessing, a warm and welcome friend that baked the dark-painted pup's back and made him lazy and complacent, sprawled as he was in the grasses. Burgeoning independence was nice - adventuring just as well, though he could little to shake a persistent pest, a thorn in his side. It was frustrating, he couldn't bring himself to fully relax, and tension roiled in his young form before he rolled onto his belly and got up restlessly. Nazario was far too young to understand the intricacies of loneliness - though even in company, it did seem a constant and looming presence.

Too-big paws carried the whelp in that plodding and awkward gait aimlessly, merely nosing through grasses and muscling through thickets of brush until he could hear the soft babbling of water. The youth beelined towards it, curious, before he was met with a wall of foliage. With pip-brow narrowed, he wormed his way through the grabby branches until he met the water, looking up at the shrubbery abound, taking note of those odd little globes that hung off their stems. The pup moved to nose at a bunch - a few of which fell away at the prod and dropped down to the soil, to which he curiously lapped up onto his tongue.

The round things were odd, hard to manipulate towards his sharp, little teeth, though once he had, the sweet flavor was delightful and enticing. Nazario continued to pluck up stray, fallen berries about in the underbrush, before poking through the cover and chancing a glance upward, only to catch sight of a silvery form pulling his treats from the bushes.

He remained silent a good while longer, puzzled as she discarded them into a satchel, rather than eating them. Perhaps he felt slighted, like his secret had been exposed and was now being exploited, and with a deeply concerned look, he stepped forward.

"What are you doing?" came a lilt, perhaps unintentionally sharp and accusatory -- or perhaps it was so, seeing as how he had found these juicy little morsels.

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POSTED: Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:29 pm

Lost in her thoughts and in the warmth of summer, she noticed nothing of the pup’s approach and visibly jumped when he spoke up, though maintaining poise enough to spill only a few of the berries gathered into her apron. Like a rabbit in the eyes of a predator she froze and stared at him, uniquely shoved from her comfort zone in a way Dove hadn’t realized she could be: She had no idea how to talk to children.

“Gathering berries,” she said, and noticed then the hints of blue and black juice on his lips and teeth, "if you don’t eat them all. I’m going to crush them into dye later.” Between Micah, Ocean, and all the other variants of Juniper Peace, she’d seen a dozen ways to use picked berries and considered them an invaluable resource. She didn't quite remember the process for dyemaking, but Dove had enough berries in that field to figure it out one way or another.

Choosing to address him as one would address an adult, Dove hunched and continued picking. “Did you want something?”

Salvador, hearing voices, sat up beneath the tree, stretched, squinted at them, then hunted his pockets for a cigarette.

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POSTED: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:26 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

He thought this... Use of resources was irrevocably and foolishly wasteful, especially with such a sweet treat. The boy puffed his chest as she addressed him, nigh dismissively as she set to her work, and the fluff of his hackles prickled a little.

Nazario, though, was still too young to understand confrontation, especially with one much larger than himself, and so he merely huffed and pouted as he watched alabaster fingers pluck bounties from the brances, rolled delicately between pads of fingers and then deposited into her apron. He hadn't even noticed the man fishing about for his cigarette - no, Dove was readily available for his attentions, and so she was granted all of it, likely to her dismay.

Clumsily he got back to his feet, tripping over dirt and paws alike as he went to get a closer look at her harvesting.

"Why would you wanna make 'em die?" he asked, incredulous and perhaps a little exasperated. Of course, he had little concept of death, though he knew it was bad. "You're gonna kill 'em for no reason? Why not eat 'em? They're much better that way, I know."

The youth had it set in his mind that while he couldn't take on a full grown adult in a fight, he could certainly try to convince them otherwise, and so he impressed himself up on her space at her ankles, hoisting up to try and balance on that hock to bring the woman closer to his level, with a knit brow and a wrinkled muzzle.

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POSTED: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:01 pm

He clearly didn’t like her response, though for what reason why she was not certain. He was a child and his mother was long since passed; he had no reasonable claim to the berries, and neither had he hands with which to create something useful out of them, and...

The young woman realized she was rationalizing Nazario as she would an adult, and understood then one of many reasons children were so babied. Despite the revelation, her behavior did not change. Appeasing children was no way to harden the to the world around them, least of all a dark and bloody place as these parts were.

“You’re killing them when you eat them. Have you thought of that?” Aloof, she scarcely paused for him despite his posturing; the moment he began to try climbing her ankle, however, Dove yelped and leapt to her feet, and without meaning to spilled Nazario just as she spilled all the blueberries collected into her apron.

Her winter pelt stood like icicles. “Do not touch me—” she hissed, but was promptly intercepted by a tripping, sweeping Salvador between them. He mouthed a stern Walk it off, Dove, before turning on his heels to grin down at the boy in his best attempts to save face.

“Look at this mess,” he exclaimed, gesturing to the fallen berries as Dove gave herself space. “Bet I can eat more than you can, shorty.”

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POSTED: Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:29 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

This strange and wintery woman eyeballed the youth much as he eyeballed her, both sizing one another up in the grand scheme of how they fit with one another, which was decidedly not well.

In truth, he had not considered her words and he looked dumbfounded, almost wounded - no, to Nazario, he was tasting them, savoring these blue treats rather than killing them, but before he could collect more on such thoughts, the pallid, alabaster woman withdrew sharply from clumsy puppy paws and sent the orphan tumbling forward and bumping onto his chin.

The startle did not lessen as he attempted to recover, pushing himself up on his forelimbs as he was pelted with the tiny hail of her bounty, which promptly was warranted for the tight tuck of his tail between his legs, skittering away several paces and tripping over himself as downy hackles raised and the boy curled defensively on himself, bewildered and wounded and confused as he went silent, those large eyes dewy and filled with fright.

Dove hissed her demand, and eyes trained on the way lips curled up over sharp teeth, his rosy ears folding back against his dark neck as a tiny breath hiccuped and latched in his throat, his narrow chest rising and falling with quickened and deeply upset breaths as ire burned into him and impressed his lesson. A dark man ushered inbetween the duo, lips curled into a warm and welcoming smile.

Nazario was not so quick to warm up to the new stranger, his tail still tucked as he was instead offered a challenge - something to doubtlessly redirect him from the wound to his youthful pride as he was slighted, but instead he merely sniffled up breaths through his small, black nose, casting doe-eyes up to the man as his shoulders rolled, less tense.

"I-I dunno..."

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POSTED: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:40 pm

Far be it Salvador a family man—he hadn't the slightest paternal instinct or personal impression upon his character—but the man in the mask pitied the poor kid, wronged by a young girl with a forced demeanor far older than she actually was. He could blame neither of them for the outburst, for the child was a child yet to grow into his own paws, and Dove was, well, Dove. She meant well, but for all her flowery interests and flighty hobbies, the girl couldn't socialize appropriately if it meant her life. An outburst here, an overreaction there, a crippling manic episode and accidental tendencies towards self-harm—Salvador had seen and met many, many faces in his one-man-wanderings, and never had he met so tightly closed a shell as Dove's. Never had he seen one so terrified to willingly expose herself as vulnerable.

But the kid wouldn't understand that. Hell, he seemed young enough to be painfully impressionable. Dove knew this. Clutching her arms and breathing away the anger some paces away, she knew she'd messed up, but she did not know how to fix it. She still was, after all, little more than a child herself.

She would thank Salvador for his fast entry later. For now, Dove could only pray he knew how to calm the boy in her stead.

The Sadira rolled his shoulders and neck as if prepping for battle, then brushed the ground clear of blueberries and sat cross-legged across from the boy. Without speaking, he took a blueberry between his fingertips, squinted at Nazario, and popped it between his teeth. "One, nothing," he said.

He found a second, and tossed it in his mouth. "Two, nothing."

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POSTED: Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:05 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

Wide eyes could not focus on one single target, too pulled apart by his seams as he was and laid in some foreign and vulnerable bareness that he had yet the coping mechanisms to properly stitch back taut. Rosy ears were still pinned downwards, his tail tucked tight as he sat back on his rump, front paws gawkily splayed in front of him as gaze flit between ivory and ebony, the latter of which vied insistently for his split attention.

His chest heaved a little with recollected breath, the strange masked man slowly garnering more of his glances, drawn to the motion of him plucking up those blueberries to pop them into his mouth with a somewhat knit brow. He was counting.

Pink tongue darted out over his lips as fleeting eyes passed over the woman hugging herself and seething with whatever emotions she had been overtaken with, before Nazario decided with certainty that he took to the dark-pelted man much better, face skewing in a perplexed expression before finalizing his focus onto the man, well on his way to popping a third one of those berries into his mouth. This was met with great indecision, the youth's brow still knit as he turned his focus to the scattered berries -- it seemed a bad place to fit in a game.

Yet he absolutely hated to lose.

The whelp staggered up to his feet, his head dipping abruptly as he started practically scooping discarded berries imbetween needled teeth - far too many for him to properly eat, and so they spilled from his mouth - painted dark blue and purple as it was - only for him to stubbornly try to scoop it back in his mouth again with small and frustrated growls. Eyes cast sideways glances to his competitor, determined, and while he did not know anything of counting, he merely sought to scatter what he couldn't fit in his mouth in a feeble attempt to make the game more difficult.

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POSTED: Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:55 pm

The Sadira's efforts gained traction: Given enough instigation, the kid leapt to his feet and began sucking up stray blueberries with a passion Sally hoped would persist into adolescence and adulthood. Sally had not factored in the boy's size advantage in their competition, being that Nazario was four-legged and hardly taller than the ankle-height bushes. What began with a smirk and an intentional delay to let the boy win, eventually resulted in a grown man scrambling on his hands and knees in the dirt, tossing both berries and pebbles between his teeth in attempts to keep up.

Paces behind them, Dove looked on with folded arms and a shaking head. She didn't get it. Salvador sensed it would be some time before she developed empathy as a learned skill. Odd, really, considering her love for meditation.

Seeing the boy scattering any and all berries he could not fit into his mouth, Sally spit a mouthful of sand to the side and laughed, "Oh, we're playing dirty? Okay then." He began scooping fistfuls of berries and dirt into a pile, reaching even into Nazario's range, and hunched over his bounty to protect it as he picked out blue from brown and chewed them one by one.

"Give up yet?" he instigated, mouth full.

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POSTED: Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:49 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

He had been winning - or at least, so the youth had thought with his blatant advantage of being so low to the ground, listening every time the dark-colored man attempted to bite down onto a pebble with a dissatisfied clack of a noise followed by the disgusted little spit of air and the tiny thump of the rock back into dirt. This stoked the young boy's pride, merely quickening his attempts to swallow up berries he had scattered - yet he had not anticipated the advantage of dexterous hands when Salvador scooped armfuls of dirt and berries into his own space and guarded against the youth with the broad of a shoulder, making the youth prickle somewhat.

"What? No- that's no fair!" Nazario protested with a mouthful of berries, briskly nosing his way into the dark man's space to get at his bounty, his tail raised high as a flag as he couldn't quite discern between berry and stone, spitting out mouthfuls of dirt and lapping his muddled tongue against teeth as he was immediately sent recoiling, snuffling and scratching his snout with that paw to try and rid himself of the grime, before he set on scooping up what few berries remained, feeling sleighted by the larger Infernian.

"I can get berries, I can still get berries," he chided sharply, darting into bushes and plucking off clumps from the brambles and sending leaves scattering in his haste.

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you haven't met me
i am the only son
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won't stay down

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