[M] panic switch

POSTED: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:44 am

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

Neith minded the borders despite Elphaba’s continued protests. In such wartime and strife, the traps’ maintenance could have made a life-or-death difference, and already once Neith had witnessed and defended against the coyotes’ attack upon an inbound caravan. In his mind, an invasion beyond the Kingdom borders was only a matter of time. He checked their traps for signs of activity, a stash of herbs and heavy reeds tucked into a satchel slung across his back should he find wounded. He carried his rapier and his wits, all senses alert to the wind as he went about his task.

As the Heiwa made his way back south, delighted he had contributed to their pack’s safety, he veered suddenly to investigate a cry made in distress. Fearful the Infernian invasion he anticipated was already underway—particularly when a second howl was raised from another location—Neith found the slave Darijus at the source of a terrible bloodied smell, throat oozing and far beyond saving beside the river. He found a scent on Darijus’s body and questioned it, for it smelled not clan but Thistle, and it vanished without a trail to follow. He squinted at the body beside the water and disturbed grasses on the opposite bank, breathed deep, and forged his way across in pursuit.

Shivering and wet in the autumn cold, Neith followed the obvious path and discovered Silas catching his breath at the other end. He could not fathom why the slave clutched his half-brother Ask in his arms, but when the slave realized himself discovered he ran, and the Heiwa ran shouting after him.

They plunged far beyond Salsolan claim and into the neutral periphery between Kingdom and clan. Unaware but unconcerned the Confidant gave chase, heart pounding, fearing for the child tangled up in the wars of his parents.

Two strangers, a man and a woman, caught sight of them at distance. Without second thought Silas dropped the child and veered, pursued by the darker and heavier of the two figures. Infernian patrols, Neith feared. Without a loss in step, the Heiwa threw off his satchel, scooped up the pup, and scrambled away. The little white coyote howled, flinging arrows, embedding one into his back. Hissing, he left it. No time. (Was that what it felt like to be wounded, to need a medic like himself to intervene?) To his own surprise the coyote did not give chase, instead howling and yelping and screaming alarm into the sky where she stood like a songbird too panicked to move.

Bloodied, wet, and shivering, and with his vision blurring and sense of direction lost in the scuffle, the Heiwa pushed on.

whose eyes you gonna use?

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Lin
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THE GOOD DOCTOR

POSTED: Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:27 pm

The commander stuck true to her word, emphasizing caution and information-gathering over boldfaced attempts at revenge. She ordered the strike on the caravan reasoning that an overt show of strength and loss of goods might deter their enemy, rather than ignite further fury and need for vengeance—as much of Inferni howled for.

After all, this was a war of dead and injured sons. Pride alone might have sparked tensions between allies, but it was the loss of family that spurred them to action.

They did not need to give Salsola more reasons to fight, but convince them that fighting would be more trouble than it was worth. Careful preparations and decisive moves would win Inferni the war, a coyote craftiness they should be known for.

Vicira contemplated their next action from the back of her mount, drawing fingers gently through Nik’s flame-colored hair while sitting upright in the old western saddle, her eyes on the scraggly bushes dotting the plains and the blur of the range beyond. Somewhere out there, a pair of her Tirones patrolled; she had traveled a short ways with Salvador and Dove by chance, though kept distance between them. Only the occasional sniff revealed that she hoped to keep tabs on them now.

She didn’t need to focus hard to keep her clanmates within the realm of her senses and security, however. Yowls erupted over the grassland, and Kresnik galloped at once.

A silver-rust figure staggered, his garb bloodied, through the grass, an arrowshaft sticking out of his back and his arms around something small. Nostrils flared and Vicira recognized a strongly Salsolan scent, not the perfumes of herbs and smoke they so often masked themselves with. She curled lips and showed white teeth as the fire-colored horse thundered toward the man, and Vicira undid the straps of her longstaff and clutched this in both hands, reaching out to swing.

She realized a heartbeat too late that the thing in the enemy’s arms was a child, and fought to pull some of the weight from the blow, her eyes flying wide with panic.
their lips the secret kept, if in ashes the fire-seed slept

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Raze
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POSTED: Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:52 pm

They took to horseback; he had no reason no doubt it was in his pursuit. Teeth clenched, Neith hugged Ask to his chest and mumbled through heavy breaths that things would be okay, that he had nothing to fear, that Neith would protect him though the Heiwa thought it a lie. The horse rounded fast on his back, but it was not the little white coyote nor her dark companion but a woman with eyes as white and wild as the shine on her fangs, exposed. When he looked back at her, he saw her weapon move. He saw the shift in her eyes second, and a sky full of stars third.

Unceremoniously he fell and rolled, the pup tucked safe between his arms and chest, but the arrow further wedged into the flesh of his shoulder and snapped at the shaft. In fleeting consciousness he howled and writhed and did not rise, and within that spotty blackness Neith tucked in his knees and curled his body into a shield around the boy until he was certain the horse would not trample them. These savages had injured Krios, nearly as young; they would not do the same Ask, Embla, even Dirge while Neith still breathed in their defense. Unbeknownst to him, had the Infernian not pulled her swing at the last moment, there was no doubt she could have batted his consciousness away in full.

When he gathered the strength to do so, Neith drew from the shivering Ask and blinked starry eyes to check the child; he found torn-away hair and blood, Darijus’s blood, but no wounds. Then he hugged the boy close and pushed onto his knees, head spinning and a pounding in his temple where struck, worse than any of his migraines had dared.

The Heiwa looked up at her, his eyelids fluttering and his voice in lapsed slurs: “You'll go through me before you can hurt this one.”

whose eyes you gonna use?

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Lin
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POSTED: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:52 am

Though she reeled in, the firm wood connected with the Salsolan’s skull and sent him sprawling to the earth, body curled around the keening puppy Vicira had noticed a second too late. Beneath her, Kresnik snorted and half-reared, hooves stamping the grass as he blew, but she calmed him with a touch of his neck and dismounted. The butt of her staff tapped the ground as she stepped forward, her body tense and fur spiked along her shoulders and back.

The man looked up at her and groggily spoke.

I wouldn’t, Vicira almost said, but a coyote is an opportunist and she managed to twist her uncertain grimace into a pleased, snarling grin. “Would that be so hard?”

Closer she came, and crouched slightly. She’d seen a sheath on his hip, and tried to loosen the belt. “Luckily for you, my pack isn’t as interested as yours in killing boys. Give me this,” she said, tense and ready to leap back or strike as she tried to tug the rapier free, to cast it harmlessly into the grass. “What are your names?” she prompted coldly, and looked to the boy, who stared back with wide puppy-blue eyes before burying his neck against the cloth of his rescuer’s chest.
their lips the secret kept, if in ashes the fire-seed slept

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Raze
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cinder and smoke
ash in your mouth

POSTED: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:52 pm

Would that be so hard, she said, but these words made no sense to him in such a state. But he understood the tone and the smile, and instinctively Neith turned his shoulder to her, shielding the boy in his arms.

She worked at his belt with her eyes on the pretty rapier. In his bloodied and exhausted delirium was a lapse of judgment, and in the time he crawled through thoughts on whether to react or remain, she wrestled the rapier free and cast it aside. No matter, he decided. She could keep the rapier if it meant his and his half-brother’s lives.

“Killed?” he repeated, squinting at her as if his ears had tricked him. Neith shook his head. “I... I don’t know anything about that. One of yours attacked my nephew. A little kid who couldn’t defend himself, not unlike this one. He never hurt anyone.”

Head spinning, Neith looked at his discarded sword, breathed to straighten his mind, and committed. “You don’t need our names, and I don’t need yours. I mean you no harm. I only sought to capture the man who tried to kidnap this little one. Just let us go.”

“Vicira,” came the voice of the little white coyote, bow in one hand and raising the Heiwa’s discarded satchel in the other. “He dropped this. It’s full of medical stuff.”

whose eyes you gonna use?

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Lin
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POSTED: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:50 pm

Freed of his weapon and dazed, a babe in his arms, the silver-rust man posed little threat to her; Vicira relaxed her posture, if only just slightly. Each line of her body spoke of dominance, and her ears were high and alert as eyes flicked past his prone body to the grasslands beyond. Would other Salsolans come? He’d been breathing like he ran, and no fool would bring a child past the borders purposefully.

The man mentioned that a kid had been attacked on Salsola’s side as well, and Vicira curled her lip. “Yeah, well, be thankful your nephew is still alive.”

She glowered down at him, caught between irritation and curiosity, and blinked in surprise when the man mentioned rescuing the child. “Did one of yours mutiny?” she asked with a laugh that was more like a cough. “No. Tell me your names. Who are you in Salsola? Are you important enough for me to let live, or should I make an example of you to any other slavers that come traipsing this way?”

She lifted her head at Dove’s call and nodded. “Interesting. Hold onto that; we’ll need it.” Then she moved the staff, pressing its end against the man’s cheek. Her voice was even. “Tell me your names. Is this kid yours?”
their lips the secret kept, if in ashes the fire-seed slept

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Raze
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cinder and smoke
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POSTED: Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:06 pm

“I don’t know,” he answered her on question of mutiny, and left it at that. His opinions aside, Neith knew better than to paint a flawed image of Salsola to its opponents, and knew he needn’t mention the man in question was a former slave made from a Boreas captured during the war. Best not to lead Inferni into thinking Salsolans would do the same again with one of the fire-clan’s kin. Not that Neith could be certain they wouldn’t.

She coughed—a sound loud enough to stab like claws between his pulsing temples and shoulder—and she pushed for information. He considered his level of significance and came up with nothing, for he meant little to so very few, and wondered in that moment whether an absence would be of any alert at all. He could not tell her this. In the seconds the little white coyote interrupted them, Neith scrambled together something substantial enough to work.

He gestured at the bag with a wearied nod of his head. “I’m a medic, not a fighter. I mean you no harm. You spare me, you spare the little one, you can keep the supplies. No tricks.”

Neith then wavered in place and, head spinning, couldn’t remember what was said last. “No tricks. I’m Rust. The boy isn't mine. His name is...” He struggled in such state to summon a false name, and it showed amidst exhaustion. “It's...”

whose eyes you gonna use?

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Lin
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THE GOOD DOCTOR

POSTED: Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:56 pm

“You don’t know,” repeated Vicira, her voice low with scorn. She glanced at the puppy huddled in the man’s arms, staring up at her with confusion. Blood was spattered on his little gray-and-white head, and Salvador had pursued the other man in the foothills. Was this another fluke, like during the war with the Courtiers -- a kidnapping by a stranger’s hand? She doubted somehow that Salsola would be so foolish, but much of their audacity lately had surprised her.

Inferni and Salsola were wrath and pride at odds. Neither could back down now.

“You aren’t in the condition to trick me anyway,” the gray coyote pointed out, and snorted when the man blanked on a name for the puppy. She crouched again and reached for the whelp, grabbing at his scruff; he wailed at once and tried to bite her, but she pulled him from the man’s sluggish grasp and tucked the baby in her arms, nodding for Dove to intervene should the man rise in protest.

The wolf cub squirmed, but she shushed him like she would her own children; he was only a little bit older than Boone and Merari. Patting and bouncing and crooning, she calmed him down to mere whimpers then stared at “Rust.”

“We take him,” Vicira told Dove. “To Grimwell. A medic and someone’s child will make good bargaining chips.” She continued to stroke the pup’s head, though he was Salsolan; it was an instinctual gesture she could not help.
their lips the secret kept, if in ashes the fire-seed slept

User avatar
Raze
Luperci
cinder and smoke
ash in your mouth

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