the sedentary game

POSTED: Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:31 pm

Who are you in Salsola?

Nobody, he thought, flat on his back in the caves and dirt like some kind of mongrel, and bound behind his back as if his own worth amounted to the slave that took Ask away. Nobody. He was a vagrant of the outer circles, trying to stay the impatience of his kin until his medical studies paid off. He was a minder of books and traps, a tea-drinker, a cousin or a half-brother, a conspirator in the darkness. He was an embarrassment to some, and a friend to others.

Was that enough for the wards of the Thistle Kingdom to come for him?

He spent his time in captivity questioning this often, given he had little alternative. Neith made conversation with the cavern guards who allowed for it (that is, none of them) and spent the rest of his time simply waiting. If there was something to wait for, he did not know it. His ashen captor came and went at times, if only to show Neith that Ask was still alive between nursings, but she made no conversation and asked few questions.

He himself was fed sparingly, and only with bloody, unseasoned scraps. He was fed just enough to ward off fears that they planned to let him die, that they had little reason to maintain him, other than to use him as example. His death would mean little as example to his people. Ask’s death would shake their foundations, and the clanmen were justified in committing it. He struggled whether to believe a Salsolan had killed a coyote youth, while Krios was let live. He struggled, but a part of him did not doubt.

He waited. He thought hard about his station, his choices. When that became dull, Neith thought of the small pile of loose bones hidden in his Ruins home and explored their images in his mind.

He waited. There was nothing else to do.

For Briarblack. Neith's tucked away in the back of the Caverns.

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Lin
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THE GOOD DOCTOR

POSTED: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:47 pm

how pure, how sweet the love beneath it

She had heard word of the captures - and felt suspicion creep through her and grip her in its vice. The inflicted wound from that raid had been stitched, and while it was healed, it still hurt to stretch her shoulder, she could feel the pull of her slow-growing scar tissue with each roll of her arm with her archery practice, with each extend of that arm, even every time she tried to roll over to sleep. She wondered if this was as Goliath had warned her - not to use her meager training to attack others, but to defend herself.

But someone had to help defend the wounded Clan's honor - though Briarblack had to admit, she was woefully unprepared for the aspect of an actual fight. It wasn't supposed to end the way it did.

There was reassurances and precautions, things taken to ensure their prisoners of war were secure and unable to free themselves from their bondage, but a bow was held tight in hand just in case - a description matched the man with the rapier, and after a few words with Sally guarding the way, and shuffled her way into the caverns, maneuvering with practiced ease amidst the stone walls, before she saw his rusty figure slumped, and found her feet frozen to the floor as she eyed him from her deemed safe distance, momentarily feeling the stunned fright she had when he had sliced her with that weapon of his, and she could feel her pulse beneath the bandage.

"It's you." Words broke the silence flatly, plainly - uncharacteristic for her expressive features that felt stiff and cold and foreign to her, her lips tight and winter eyes focused.

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Despi

POSTED: Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:12 pm

Part of him regretted swinging the rapier that day. Neith focused on that part of him, depending on the hour. Depending on his level of patience with his station in life at the time that memory drifted back into his stilled, meandering, lonely consciousness.

His thoughts had found their way to Elphaba at the time his visitor arrived, and when her image reformed itself into a blue-eyed woman with a patched shoulder, he was startled and his heart sunk. She looked at him the way she had looked at him the day his blade found the flesh of her shoulder—the day she and her kin attacked the incoming caravan from the outpost, driven by people Neith found stronger kinship than many in Salsola proper.

Neith dropped his head and looked anywhere but her eyes. “If you’re here to threaten me, you’d best get on with it.”

whose eyes you gonna use?

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Lin
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POSTED: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:33 pm

how pure, how sweet the love beneath it

His eyes had lifted to her, slow and steady, before whatever he had seen had proved to be herself, and instead opted to look at the floor. The Salsolan was so... Proper. Placcid. He didn't want to fight - not that day, and not now. Her expression remained stiff, but she let the silence persist a moment, listening a while to the soft beat of her heart before she paced closer, let her legs fold beneath her, and while her brow remained furrowed, her blue eyes hard - a breath drew in long and slow through her nose.

"No." She had wanted to.

Briarblack had wanted to show Inferni's strength - an unruly and imposing might against the faceless form that was the whole of the Thistle Kingdom to the north, and yet, the brunt of her anger, her thoughts of the other blue eyed menace at their borders faded at the dandy bound in the cave.

It made her feel hollow, and once again a hush suffocated the cavern.

"How is your shoulder?" she asked, once again flatly, as she swallowed a lump in her throat, attempting to keep that stern edge as she regarded this silver and rust man with a blatant suspicion. "Is that child yours?"

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Despi

POSTED: Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:22 am

She had settled herself down before him and did not resort to jeers as he had expected of these uncivilized coyotes. Neith reacted little, though his eyes followed and analyzed her, in a way his own self-awareness did not catch. She had every reason to be livid with him, and every opportunity to lash out as retribution. Perhaps she was so soft not to, but why else had she came?

Questions were asked of him edged and unprompted, formalities tossed aside. Had he such energy, Neith might have avoided them and talked circles in terms of the child, but he hadn’t the spirit or tenocity to care.

“Terrible,” he replied, “and no, but I would seek justice for any who are kidnapped unrightfully.”

He looked at her quite pointedly, then let melt that accusation. The irony therein, in that Salsola kept slaves, did not occur to him in the slightest. Neith leaned back, grimacing in movement, putting space between them. “You don’t care about any of that. What do you want?”

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Lin
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POSTED: Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:07 pm

how pure, how sweet the love beneath it

The reasoning for why she had came remained yet to be seen, and lips drew thin as the agitated, apathetic man lowly hissed his malfeasance, and bitterly thought of her own healing shoulder, still stiff and aching, to the point that she felt to disregard his. Perhaps it was his sour and surly manners which prompted the waning of her empathy. Perhaps it was that she still wanted to hate him, still wanted to hate Salsola, and so she regarded this interaction with a cold distance. She could hear the rough disuse in his voice, the way dried tones rattled like the drying grasses outside, and lips pulled taut.

His self-righteousness and sense of duty were misplaced.

"Kidnapped unrightfully - like slaves?" she pressed a little, something insidious bleeding onto her words. "What about unrightfully killed?"

Ears folded into her raven hair, and she cleared her throats, reigning in her emotion before she swallowed the vile lump in her throat, before breath drew measured in the space between them, though the frustration edged into her muscles; for the first time she could feel the strings - perhaps her pride was not so different than her Aunt's. Her brow was low, stern, and she cleared her throat as he retorted to her with another question.

"I want to know why. Why Salsola broke pacts, agreements," it had started calm, but it was growing harder to talk, she felt her throat tighten around her words as she continued. "Y'know - I don't think you have the answers. I don't believe you even rightly know."

She didn't. The vast scope of things that she didn't know was frustrating, and Briarblack looked to struggle, before she drew another breath, slow and aching, before she cleared her throat, closed those winter eyes. It was hard to look at him, bound and bedraggled, the cut line of jaws tightened a little as she tried to shake the swell of her frustrations, her doubts.

She started again.

"I am Briarblack. What's your name - who are you? Not... What are you, back home, but who are you."

Why do you feel responsible?

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Despi

POSTED: Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:09 pm

He struck a chord, and he faced her disgust with hooded eyes and a tight lip. Pressed with slaves, Neith forced himself not to react and allowed the silence to speak for him. Her argument was valid; the Salsolan enslaved were not harbored willingly, though Neith was little more than a bystander to their way of life. He maintained no slaves himself, and had never given their station committed thought—not when their presence in Salsolan culture was standard fare since his birth. To Neith, they were like scenery, always present, rarely minded. Staring back at her numbly, he realized this a train of thought to follow once she made her departure.

Then she asked him for answers, and Neith allowed his eyes to wander at last. The young woman virtually melted into a mess of emotion before his eyes, one he could not take seriously if only due to his own lack of exposure. Were she Salsolan, he might have whispered for her to control herself. Here in Inferni he kept quiet.

“Rust,” he replied frankly to request of a name, regardless of her insistence for sincerity. She wouldn’t know better. “I don’t have answers for you. My little brother was attacked by one of yours, and your Vicira mentioned your clan lost someone to a Salsolan. You're right, I don’t rightfully know what is truth or lie. One of the slaves tried to escape with one of the pups, and I went after him. Now I’m here. I’m just a medic.”

“And you, you’re not a soldier.” Listless and impatient, he shrugged his good shoulder. “You’re not a diplomat either, evidently, so I can’t imagine why you helped attack a caravan of innocents, or why you’re here, either.”

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Lin
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THE GOOD DOCTOR

POSTED: Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:56 pm

how pure, how sweet the love beneath it

This man wove and slung words back at her quick enough to give her whiplash - winter eyes finally stared at him, wide in a moment of shock as he introduced himself, and promptly dragged her status out into the open between them, where it lay bare. It was true - she wasn't a soldier. She was hardly a diplomat. She wasn't a medic, either - so what was she?

Aimless.

Briarblack had tried diplomacy - or at least so she had thought, when she initially approached Salsolan borders with the intent to discuss, but with accusation in her heart. She swallowed thickly, and the dark coyote moved to lean her back into one of those dark walls, her pale points and her eyes proving the most visible signs that she was leaning there, and her lips remained tight.

"I tried talking, and... And one of yours shoved me in the dirt. Then attacks started - we wanted to end this before it began. I didn't intend to hurt anyone. If you hadn't shown up, it would've just been..." Simpler. Not bloodied, not burned. Briarblack scowled then, her tone more resigned. "No one's innocent in war. Not adults, anyway."

She thought again of why she was there, what she hoped to glean, and found her heart soured. "You sliced into my shoulder, I... Wanted to come down here, see you like this, in hopes it would make me feel better. It didn't."

Eyes lingered over him again, narrowed and spiteful, yet hollowed. "This is just... One big mess."

Another beat passed and she hung her head slightly. "You must be thirsty."

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POSTED: Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:46 pm

Quiet and still, he listened. He thought her troubles petty and childish at first, and recoiled at the start of an accusation she didn’t finish. He leaned back against the wall opposite her and watched her in the dim light, too wearied to make further observations beyond what was needed to survive.

This is just one big mess.

She asked if he was thirsty. “Why didn’t you move?” Neith said instead, more troubled than angered. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but you weren’t listening for someone coming, and you stayed there, you...”

He sunk back against the wall, grimaced, and gestured with a nod to the bandages for his shoulder, visible under the collar of his shirt. “One of your friends got me with an arrow. Consider us even.”

For a time, Neith tipped back his head against the wall and searched the dim roof. A sigh escaped. “Thirsty... yes, a little. Would you mind?”

whose eyes you gonna use?

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Lin
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THE GOOD DOCTOR

POSTED: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:15 pm

how pure, how sweet the love beneath it

Why didn't you move?

It was such a simple question, yet one she did not know the answer to, lips parted somewhat to speak her rebuttal, a dawning look of confusion on her features that he continued to fling his words back to her, tit-for-tat, but faster than she herself was able to process and jab back. This was personal - not product of one's upbringing, or at least she had considered; Rust reacted with just as much confusion as herself, and she sat in silence a moment, studying the silver man as he, in turn, studied the lines of the ceiling.

Heartbeats marked the passing moment between them. His words shook the air and her own sound - her recompense, was a soft one, leaning onto the heel of a palm to push herself up as she got up and took her leave to fetch a waterskin left alongside her bow, sidling past the dark-haired guard. Winter eyes cast a look Sally's way, nigh apologetic, when she left, and again when she returned, coffee fingers fidgeting against the leather strap of the skin, and she watched Rust with a weary and suspicious sense of uncertainty.

"If I temporarily untie your hands, will you try any funny business?" Briarblack asked, flatly, tersely, the edge of her unease bleeding through her words. "Or would you rather I just... Tip it?" Those fingers tugged and pulled off the stopper with a very soft pop.

"I'm... trusting you, alright?"

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