The winter can be a harsh mistress

p. Linden!

POSTED: Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:28 pm

ooc - I had Calia approach their temporary home in the morning with some gifts in hand. Let me know if any details should be changed <3

Calia

After a long, harsh northern winter, finally the Vale was blessed with lengthening days and shorter nights. While snow and frost still blanketed the lands, the prolonged hours of precious sunlight had stirred up some woodland creatures from their season’s slumber. It was these small hints of spring’s coming that had the Nightstag in a cheerful mood. This morning she had been greeted with the sweet sound of birdsong - birdsong!. Though her fellow Mistwalkers scarcely complained, Calia knew that all were relieved at the approaching warm season. Once the frost melted away and the earth turned pliable, then they would be able to focus their efforts on prettying up more of the Vale’s territories, as well as hopefully establishing communication with their neighboring packs.

With the Vale forming in the dead of winter, it wasn’t long before a steady influx of loners and travelers approached their borders with the hopes of joining their ranks. Calia had no doubt that the harshness of these northern winters contributed to the stream of newcomers. After all, one most appreciated companionship during times of great strife, and the cold season was a harsh mistress to any isolated wanderer. Most recently, Calia heard word of the Vale opening its borders to embrace a lone man and his two pups. Terrible thing it was, for those two mere babes to experience such hardship so young. At least they’re safe now.

Felix told her the Aatte man was taking up temporary residence in one of the more shabbier buildings available in Winterwynd, grateful for any sort of roof over his children’s heads, even if that roof was pockmarked with gaps and missing shingles. So Calia had packed a basket with some goodies that would hopefully aid the man and his pups during their transition into Mistfell Vale. They were humble offerings from her own production, merely some cuts of goat meat as well as a jug filled generously to the brim with fresh goats milk. Non curdled, should the babes want a lick. Nonetheless, the Nightstag hoped the produce would be well received.

Basket handle tucked in the nook of her elbow, and her crook held tightly in one grip, the shepherd raised her free hand to knock gently on the house’s door frame. ”You awake in there?” Calia called ”My name’s Calia, n’ I have some gifts for you to welcome ya!” The robust woman waited patiently, ears straining for any stir of movement within the humble abode.

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Mistfell Vale
Nightstag
User avatar
El
Luperci Drakehund Tier I
Baa Baa Black Sheep

POSTED: Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:07 pm

This little village was full of curious buildings not yet lost to time and the wilderness, but of those he had looked into thus far Linden had found nothing truly ideal. He needed space for the horses and the boys, though presently he couldn't imagine them becoming larger, sentient things.

The pack had saved them, Linden realized, for the milk he had left ran dry the night before. When he had remarked upon this to Walter, the tabby had scoffed at his doubts. As the cat saw it, things always worked out in the end. He had a very naive view, but he was still young. This was, as Linden understood it, the furthest the tom had ever traveled. It was not so unusual for a cat to leave home, he supposed – there had never been many when he was a child, not until Shiloh and her family came to the Court.

There was an unresolved matter to her death, in that Linden did not believe her family would so easily forget its cause, and this gave him reason to worry further over the boys.

He was glad, at least, that neither had come out looking like their mother.

Mornings saw Linden up early. The boys were (mercifully) still dozing in the warm pile to which Walter provided a third body, though the cat looked up as an unfamiliar summons came from the door. The voice was warm and friendly, and Linden hoped he looked more presentable than he felt when he came to open the door.

The woman outside was a shock of white so pale that Linden thought the sunlight fooling him, but up close he could see her skin was this way too, and her eyes a peculiar color. Remembering manners he did not stare too long, and indeed soon observed her words to be true. A bounty of goods waited in her hands.

Good morning, he returned. I'm Linden. Thank you for bringing those –, behind him, a low chorus of curious yips suggested the boys had realized something was happening beyond their bedding nest. Linden smiled tersely. Would you like to come in?

Mistfell Vale
Whalstray (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
Luperci
Saṃsāra

POSTED: Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:46 pm

ooc - My apologies for the wait!

Calia

There was some movement stirring behind the door, and Calia’s knock was answered swiftly with the opening crack of the door. At the Nightstag’s friendly smile, the door opened all the way for the woman to get a full view of the newcomer before her. Linden stood almost a full head shorter than her - though this was not terribly uncommon, the males in these parts were alarmingly small - with lean features and a sharp look about him.

”Yes, morning!” Calia replied cheerfully, still clutching the basket in one hand ”T’is my pleasure, truly! As I said, I’m Calia, the Nightstag of Mistfell Vale.” The yapping chorus of puppies interrupted their father’s words, ending them with a tired smile. The albino smiled sympathetically, she had never bore any children on her own, though she could imagine how exhausting raising them could be. Especially on your own, and with them so young.

”Sure thing!” Calia ducked inside, dipping her head a little as to not catch her forehead on the doorframe. The interior of the home was rather...modest, yes, that was the polite way of putting it. The Nightstag could imagine that after weeks on the road, the boys and their father weren’t too picky about where they lay their heads to rest. But they were Mistwalkers now, and Mistwalkers could afford some luxury beyond a roof over one’s head. Calia would be sure to fix this…

But first, gifts! ”Let's see here...it’s not much, mind you.” Calia shot an apologetic glance at Linden ”But I got some cuts of goat meat to see you through the next couple days, as well as some goats milk. Takes a bit getting used too, but the taste’s not too bad! “ Calia set the basket down on the floor, unwrapping the goodies as she spoke ”Yeah, there’s a jar of the stuff in here if you want to give it a taste. You’ll grow to like it, I’m sure!”

”Anyway, how’d you and the boys settle in so far?”

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Mistfell Vale
Nightstag
User avatar
El
Luperci Drakehund Tier I
Baa Baa Black Sheep

POSTED: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:58 pm

Nightstag was another curious title, given that she was neither male nor the sort of color becoming of the darker portion of the hours. Mistfell Vale was as curious a place as the man who led it – though this being his second-in-command suggested the tall, curly-haired woman more than a mere oddity like the others he had seen about.

He gestured the scarce floor-covering as if to provide her a place to sit, and soon settled nearer the nest where the orange cat lay staring. Walter seemed less eager to greet the stranger, a curious change from his earlier enthusiasm towards such events. They had reason to be this way now, he supposed.

That's what they've had for a while now, he admitted. I'm sure it will be better fresh, in any case. Their mother passed recently, and most of my supplies were stolen before we found our way here. I can't express how thankful I am for all this – I don't know what we would have done without aid.

Mistfell Vale
Whalstray (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
Luperci
Saṃsāra

POSTED: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:43 pm

Calia

The Aatte male gestured to the barren floor beyond them for the Nightstag to take seat, and the woman happily settled down. Linden sat opposite to her, nearby an orange tabby tomcat. The cat seemed none too pleased that Calia had entered their home, eyeing the large woman suspiciously from the safety of his master’s side. The albino was not bothered by this standoffish behavior, she was certain that she would win him over eventually. In the end, she always did.

”Well, at least they’re used to the taste by now, then.” Calia nodded, glancing over at the two pudgy balls of fluff that wiggled around in their makeshift bed. Once more, a pang of sympathy tugged at the woman’s heartstrings ”Goats milk should suffice for now,” Calia commented, her gaze returning to the Aatte’s ”Though some Luperci milk would be best. But I’m sure that we will be able to find a steady source soon enough.” The Nightstag spoke with confidence, for they had a young girl about to become a mother within the Vale. Calia didn’t want to pawn her milk away without her consent, however if she made plenty of it, the Nightstag would seek out her motherly side. And maybe, just maybe, things would be all right.

”I’m mighty sorry to hear that.” The Nightstag lowered her head respectfully as Linden revealed the passing of their mother, as well as the strife that their family faced on their journey to the Vale. As the male offered his thanks once more, Calia’s gaze returned to his sincere ones. ”There’s no need to thank us,” Calia responded gently ”The Vale will take in anyone who is willing to help provide for it, no matter how short or long the stay. Though,” The albino woman cracked a smile at this ”We sure do hope you guys decide to stay here for longer.”

”Have you thought of your more...permanent residence?” The Nightstag questioned politely, a kind smile gracing her features ”This place isn’t your only option, though you’re more than willing to fix it up, if that’s what you please!”

”There are some available houses in Winterwynd that were fixed up this winter,” Calia continued ”As well as some dens in the more wild parts of our territory, if that is more to your liking.” Though, judging from the male’s comfort in his Optime, Calia suspected that he would fall in the first category.

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Mistfell Vale
Nightstag
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El
Luperci Drakehund Tier I
Baa Baa Black Sheep

POSTED: Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:00 pm

I have been thinking about that, he answered, sparing a glance up towards the dusty cobwebs high above their heads. This was not a place which could be dwelt in for long without serious repair, and it simply did not look as if it would be worth his efforts.

He'd find something. He had before, and he could do so again.

I'll look around. Once they're bigger, I'll be able to leave them alone longer, he said this as if he did not truly like the idea. But we'll find something. My friend here is quite good at that.

Though the tabby looked as if he was not at all interested in the conversation, his ear turned. Linden smiled faintly. He was glad for Walter's companionship now more than ever. It was a shame Gaston had not waited around – then again, the old dog would certainly have taken no pleasure in seeing things unfold as they had. It had never been his intention for someone who did not deserve death to meet it, but the madness in Mistral had been something he could not cure without time.

They had not given him this. They had been too cowardly and too caught up in a grander move to consider that even an unreasonable woman might find cause to change.

I never thought about keeping goats, Linden went on conversationally, thinking it best to move away from less pleasant matters. Have you always raised them? I've only cared for horses – though those two out there aren't terribly friendly, unfortunately. He had a habit for minding things with ill-tempers and poor experiences in their upbringing.

Did you live here before? Or were you a traveler like Felix, before all this?

Mistfell Vale
Whalstray (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
Luperci
Saṃsāra

POSTED: Tue May 08, 2018 2:33 pm

Calia

A ghost of a smile came across the Atte’s face - which was good, for Calia had not meant to offend him by her comment on their current living space. The albino nodded, smiling at Linden’s remark. ”Hopefully it won’t be too long, then.” The Nightstag remarked, tucking a stray curl back in place ”I’ve never had pups of my own, but I hear they grow fast!” Cracking a grin at this, the shepherd stole another glance at the two pups wriggling about on the floor. While they were no more than squeaking balls of fluff now, it wouldn’t be long before their legs grew and senses keened.

Calia had never given much thought about having pups of her own, only that it would be rather nice to have them some day. But for now, the Nightstag was content with tending to her herd, as well as the Vale. Besides, from what she saw she knew that pups could be quite the handful. At the sudden change in topic, Calia blinked, distracted from her thoughts once more. ”Aw, yeah!” Calia grinned ear to ear, always happy to discuss her goats ”Been keepin’ em since I could shift! Family trade n’ all that.”

”You may not be able to ride em, but they’re pretty useful in other ways,” The Nightstag continued ”I rather like keeping them for their milk, as well as their meat n’ pelts.” She knew that while some Packs kept herd of livestock, such as their neighbors over in Krokar, a singular Luperci keeping such a herd was rather uncommon in these parts. To maintain such a group required enough dedication to make it into a lifestyle.

At Linden’s inquiry, the Nightstag nodded ”Came from across the seas, I did! Did a fair bit of wandering these parts too, before I came across Felix.” Calai admitted ”Felix has a way of convincing people to join him. Not that I needed much convincing, that is.” The Ravenking’s way with words was part of what made him such a good leader of the Vale, and it was a trait that the Nightstag greatly admired. ”It’s been really nice to be a part of something again. It’s real lonely out there, on your own.”

”What about you? Where’d you and your pups live before you came over here?” Calia inquired, her ears flicking forwards. Aside from knowing that Linden’s mate was deceased, the man remained an enigma to the Nightstag. And she was curious! Buts he also knew from the haunted look in his eye that he had a sad tale to spin, and that there would only be so much the Aatte would be willing to divulge.

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Mistfell Vale
Nightstag
User avatar
El
Luperci Drakehund Tier I
Baa Baa Black Sheep

POSTED: Thu May 17, 2018 6:33 pm

She reminded him, with her enthusiasm for the animals, of his uncle – but Alder had changed since he had lost his partner, and maybe even before that, when the sickness first came. Things had gone on without disruption, of course, for people minded their own business.

That was how women like Kalypso came about.

He listened to Calia's story with curiosity, and surmised enough from it to imagine that Felix had seen enough in the woman to appoint her his second. Without context, without a choice, Linden could only imagine that they shared qualities which made it easy for others to follow them. Thus far, he could understand this.

So when she inquired, as Felix had, about his own sordid past, Linden did not become defensive over the matter. He was a stranger in their midst, even if they had given him a place to stay. It was early enough that they could send him away as the Court had on nothing more than rumor alone.

Linden had the advantage of telling his side of the story first, though.

I'll tell you, he began, then sighed. I think it is important that both you and Felix understand, if we are to stay here.

Even now, this was part of the game. Here they were, a father and his refugee children, and here was a story spun about just how much they had lost – what Mimi had done, another thing.

I was born in the south, further down the peninsula. I lived with my parents and my sisters – my father was a knight; he was our kingdom's first knight, appointed by its first king. They raised us there, and I thought to follow him...but we can't all be knights, Linden offered vaguely. Instead I became a scout, and then something like a diplomat. I did that for a very long time.

He could feel Walter watching him, and imagined the cat curious as to what he might say this time.

Our first king was a wayward type of man, and after him came other rulers – but misfortune fell them, and while the pack went on it did not thrive as it once had. He paused. His fingers curled, ever so slightly. And there was a girl who thought she could change that.

His eyes refocused on the Nightstag's dancing gaze.

Their mother had a claim to the throne, and acted upon this. She was pregnant with them then. Before they were born, her rule had ended.

He spread his mismatched hands open.

We were allowed to leave. She was not.

Mistfell Vale
Whalstray (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
Luperci
Saṃsāra

POSTED: Tue May 29, 2018 10:48 am

Calia

Silence hung in the air following Calia’s question, and for a heart stopping moment, the Nightstag wondered if she had pushed the newcomer too far. After all, Felix had admitted the Aatte into the Pack, and above all else, the Nightstag trusted the Ravenking’s decisions. If Felix trusted Linden enough to accept him into the Vale’s ranks, then Calia did as well. Her inquiries stemmed from her own selfish curiosity, if she was being truthful with herself.

But just as the albino was about to excuse herself, Linden submitted. So the albino remained rooted in place, her ears perked forwards in interest as the slender male divulged his tale.

”A kingdom?” Calia spoke in a hushed whisper as to not disturb the man’s story, however she could not conceal her awe. There was much about these lands that surrounded the Vale that the Nightstag was a stranger to, and never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that royalty resided in the southern peninsula. The albino grew up in a humble home, one of farmer and nomadics, certainly not knights and queens. But Linden had been reared in a setting that differed greatly from Calia’s own humble beginnings, training as a scout and a diplomat.

Calia remained silent as the Aatte male divulged in the misfortune that fell upon the kingdom. At the mentioning of a girl, Linden’s gaze returned to the Nightstag’s own. ”And this girl….” Calia trailed off as Linden confirmed her suspicion. After that, Linden’s story was rather brief. The albino blinked as realization dawned upon her.

”They killed her?” This time Calia made no attempt to conceal the shock and horror in her voice. At this moment, the woman made no effort to sit back and consider that maybe, there was another side to this story. Right now, her heart ached for the loss that Linden and his children endured at the hands of a grand, yet corrupted kingdom. On impulse, the albino reached out and gently squeezed the older man’s shoulder, offering comfort through her embrace.

”Well, then,” Calai smiled tearfully ”I do think a change of topic will do us both good. I don’t believe you introduced me to your pups. What are their names?”

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Mistfell Vale
Nightstag
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El
Luperci Drakehund Tier I
Baa Baa Black Sheep

POSTED: Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:26 am

They had killed her – and he saw that this plight, skewed as his vision of it was, had struck the Nightstag.

Good, Linden thought. Eventually the story would unravel, he supposed. Other members of the Court had come here, and they could explain the truth about Mistral and her cruelty. They had fled before the end, though, like so many others, and not seen the fall of Mimi's unobtainable kingdom. She had wanted so much, but force could not manifest her will into being.

The picture he had painted to Calia was enough to keep her from asking more, and for this he was glad.

Linden turned and went to the bed where his children were, and there hoisted them into his arms. They squirmed and yapped but soon began sniffing curiously at the white figure sitting across from them.

It was obvious that Linden did not intend to let them go quite yet.

This is Florian, he indicated the darker boy. And Bennett. They are growing fast, though I'm certain staying here will help. Well, he looked up at the cobwebs and rotting wood. Not here, exactly, but you understand.

Mistfell Vale
Whalstray (NPC)
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Mel
Luperci
Saṃsāra

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