the law of the jungle

Pack Thread

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:23 am

It had rained for most of the day, growing heavy in the late afternoon but clearing before evening. The temperature dropped and the ground remained damp underfoot as the light began to dim. She considered delaying until morning, but they were running out of time.

A primal part of her realized this, for she was largely ignorant to the passage of days as they happened. It was easy to mark the position of the sun and stars, and to judge how these changed with the seasons but saw little purpose beyond these broader scopes. She wondered if part of this was because she had grown so old, and found mirth in the fact that such a thought came to pass.

For a long time, she thought, the signs had been all around her. Pieces of snowy white found among her shed fur, aches and twinges, days where she grew more and more reluctant to rise early.

This was the way of things. Time had tested this land and its people, and both had prospered.

Salvia rode while there was still light and set about seeing the area suitable for her needs. It had been cleared of debris following the rain, and now the Boss went over little things she found out of place. By nightfall, it was dark enough to require torches – but by then she had finished with the stubborn, wet wood and coaxed a smoky fire into life.

Too practical to believe in magic, Salvia was not surprised when her second-in-command arrived. Dressed in dark colors and framed by the long, heavy cloak, Salvia straightened and showed her teeth to the firelight. It glint keenly from metal there, and again where she wore it on her person.

You're late, she reprimanded.

Salsola
The Regent (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
Luperci Cazadora, Vaquera Mate to Stannis Ultra Mega Chikkun? NO. She is legend... I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children.
occam's razor
a wild beast or a god

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:26 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

The hours dragged on indeterminately. Beyond the courtyard of the tower, laconic rain did little to cleanse the air of its heady pollen-laden scent; Spring was upon them with great vigor, a season of violent renewal and change.

These, and many other signs, contributed to the young woman’s growing distemper. Alone in the central chamber she paced restlessly, composing herself once or twice to kneel before a little crude altar in supplication. She found the worship to be meditative; Although the stones were cold and hard beneath her knees, something about this monotonous pressure was reassuring.

It reminded her of her purpose. She lit a single lard candle and held her fingers poised above the dancing flame, so that it licked her claws. The heat radiated up her arm, a not-quite-pain.

By evening the sky was thick and dark. The clouds held their tears at bay, giving rise to the orchestral droning of many insects, and the percussive rasping croak of toads that sheltered beneath dripping, overladen flora. A pale moon rose, slivers of silver that laced between the overcast night sky like ribbons of celestial flesh.

It was the seventh anniversary of the foundation of Salsola.

The Hierophant dressed in darkness, her limbs long and sharp among the shadows of the room. When she reached for the dagger, its hilt caught a ray of moonlight and she paused. The silhouette of her claws groped blindly a moment, uncertain.

But the moment passed, and Elphaba took the dagger and hid it from view beneath the many folds of her cloak.

Salvia was already at the stone ship when she arrived. The air was still and precipitous. The Boss had built a great pyre with her own hands - the bright beacon of it could be seen for miles around. The heat of many secondary torches made Elphaba’s cloak feel clammy and too-close, pressed all against her skin.

She dipped her head in deference to the old woman. “Sorry, Oma.” Salvia was watching her with green Eternity eyes, the eyes Osrath had watched her with in her youth. At her grandmother’s back, the loch swelled, an inky wide blackness as far as the eye could see. Though no wind rose to stir it, the scent of salt and water clung to everything.

Elphaba folded her hands together neatly, and waited for her cousin to arrive.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit the queen is dead, long live the queen
hierophant
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:30 am

The night air tasted like smoke. He let this linger on his tongue as he stood at the base of an old pine, and found this mingled with what carried on the wind. It would be soon, he thought – expectant of the coming change, his skin prickled at the implication.

If they could do this, they could do anything.

He had thought long and hard about what would be wisest. It bothered him that he found himself wondering what they would do, but reasoned it not unreasonable to do this. Certainly it was what one did when facing an enemy (loathe as he was to use this word) and indeed the very thing they had taught him throughout his upbringing. Success depended on seeing a weakness and seizing upon it.

A familiar weight on his hip reassured him of this plan. Confident of his skills, his size, his destiny, O'Riley combed his hair through with his fingers and took a breath.

They were waiting for him, and he imagined a tension between the two women and wondered what he might have missed. This passed quickly, for soon enough other figures were arriving though Salvia had not yet raised her voice – their grandfather, Igor's one-legged old-man, a bright-eyed spy whose lingering gaze irked O'Riley for reasons he did not comprehend.

The Boss' summons rose against the night and carried to Salsola's furthest corners.

if the thunder don't get you
then the lightning will
Salsola
The High Inquisitor
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore & Cazador LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
caveat emptor
the magnitude of choice
∙ ECLIPSE ∙

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:32 am

Bit by bit, the world changed. She watched this from the highest peak but took an active role within the Kingdom she ruled, directing events and people and material with a greater design in mind. Over the years she had perfected the selection for horses, spread this knowledge to the lesser livestock, and indeed saw results both promising and surprising. Were that time was easier to control, she might have seen a future where her ideal was realized. Horses were slow to age, far slower than their own kind, and this delayed her results.

Other things happened faster, but not always as she had wanted.

As her voice fell against the wind, the Boss watched the pack gather. She looked upon each face and recalled names and moments in time which felt very important – things that she, as a leader, ought to share with her people. Even now this was difficult, for she had watched many of her peers grow from child to adult and parent themselves. It was a blessing, she supposed, that for everything Salsola had endured they carried on.

Finally, when she felt that there would be no one more coming, Salvia lifted a hand for silence. When she had captured their attention, this fell.

My Family, she called them, her voice rich with reverence. Many seasons ago, our founders came to this land and saw fit to claim it as their own. In the time since then, Salsola remained in spite of war, and plague, and even acts beyond the power of nature. To endure strife and sickness, to remain steadfast in the face of opposition, these are things which make a people strong. We have been chosen by one another – we have bound ourselves together because we are strongest when surrounded by those who embrace our shared vision.

Her gaze roamed, lingered, and finally met the one she had felt burning into her all night.

We go on because this is our way. Tonight, we remember these things, but more than that, we—

Salsola
The Regent (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
Luperci Cazadora, Vaquera Mate to Stannis Ultra Mega Chikkun? NO. She is legend... I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children.
occam's razor
a wild beast or a god

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:35 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

There was a legacy that existed in the fabric of this place. Elphaba could feel it even now, running in the earth beneath her feet. They made stories and legends out of men, things that lasted long after life and death. It was a kind of immortality.

It would belong to Salvia, too. The knowing of this didn’t make it any easier to bear.

Some things felt like betrayal, and as with O’Riley, the young woman had her reservations on their grand design. But she could do no less than stay the path. It was what she had been made for.

Salvia knew this.

Standing in the shadow that the pyre made of her grandmother, Elphaba watched the people come. They were an inheritance far greater than any wealth, any land. A king could not be a king without lesser men; Else he was just a madman, raving at a stretch of dirt. Each arriving individual added greater claim to Salvia’s power. She was the voice of the governing Law, and they Obeyed.

When the milling had settled, her grandmother began to speak. Her voice was a rich timbre that lifted the hair on the back of the neck, even speaking as she was about mundane traditions. Shuffling and silent, the civilians listened on - they were ready for the diatribe, for news from the trade port, for upcoming plans.

But they were not ready for Elphaba.

She met her cousin’s eyes just once, and as a single motion they stepped forward, abruptly interrupting the smooth flow of Salvia’s words. “Enough,” the witch said, and in the shocked and deafening silence that followed she took strength from the pyre and grew large on the realisation, the fruition, of all their promises and plans.

From beneath the folds of the cloak she withdrew the dagger, and pointed it at her grandmother’s heart.

“Revered Boss. You have served this place with every breath, with every drop of your blood. You have given it everything. Now, I think, you have nothing left to give.”

It chilled her that Salvia said nothing. She was unphased, her powerful stare as voracious and green as Spring’s most virile flourish. There was a great rustling through the crowd, and Elphaba sensed rather than saw O’Riley draw his sword.

The young woman lifted her chin. Her blood ran hotly through her veins, and she held the dagger evenly. “I challenge you to the throne. Will you fight me for it?”


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit the queen is dead, long live the queen
hierophant
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:37 am

A single voice rose up, and behind it, a shining blade.

Salvia watched with the muted interest of a woman who did not fear death. The blonde woman was unmoved, though she was well aware of many things happening at once. A tall, dark-faced young man, with his hand on the hilt of a sword. She saw others look as if they meant to move, heard a ripple like the coming of thunder, and before catastrophe tore through their reason lifted her hand once more for stillness.

The world held its breath.

Look, the deliberate act said. Do you see?

Then, remarkably, she laughed. It was a relieved sound. Her hand fell as if it might remove the knife from the air between them.

No, Elphaba. We have shed enough blood here already – no, listen, all of you, her voice rose once more, fierce with its demand. Listen to me now. I have put my life into Salsola, as I expect every single one of you to do. We are strong because we make ourselves strong – but there are things that we cannot control, and things which can risk us all. A single weak link breaks the chain, she reminded them, and drew herself to her full height.

I have led Salsola for more than half my life, Salvia went on. But new ideas and new energy is needed now. The time is right, and there is fair council to see this Kingdom and its new leaders forward. My final act as your Boss, Elphaba Revlis, is to pass this title onto you.

With one smooth, practiced motion, Salvia undid the clasp around her cloak. She slid this into her arms, and bid Elphaba turn. The girl hesitated a moment (and this was wise, for a less earnest ruler might have enacted treachery) but did so – and Salvia put her king's mantle onto the thin woman's shoulders and revelled at the strange weight lifted from her own.

Salsola
The Regent (NPC)
User avatar
Mel
Luperci Cazadora, Vaquera Mate to Stannis Ultra Mega Chikkun? NO. She is legend... I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children.
occam's razor
a wild beast or a god

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:39 am

Word Count → ??? :: ---

It happened very quickly after that.

There was a growing tremor in the gathered crowd that suggested they might riot. O’Riley, valiant and ready, would hold them back for as long as needed for her to get the job done - It wouldn’t take long, they’d both reasoned, speaking in normal voices as if their tongues weren’t blackened by the thought.

At her very center, Elphaba didn’t want to hurt Salvia. She admired the old woman; Salvia had been a god for as long as Elphaba had lived, a pinnacle on which her world had sat. It was a kind of love, respect that ran so deep it tempered certain things inside.

This had been Salvia’s intention, of course. Everything went according to some grander plan.

Even so, with the tip of the dagger resting lightly against Salvia’s leather-clad breast, both women - younger and older - knew that she would do it.

That was enough. She’d passed the final test.

Salvia’s hand rose, and the immediate thread of chaos died meekly, just so. Elphaba’s carefully constructed expression grew chilly with confusion. She hadn’t expected this soulless acceptance, this immediate release. She’d climbed a cliff of sheer adrenaline, unable to look down at the abyss waiting below. As Salvia spoke - As Salvia retired, relinquishing her rule - for the first time, Elphaba’s hands began to shake. After a hesitant beat, she let the dagger drop.

Her grandmother hid this singular flaw by sliding the great bearhide cloak, the symbol of a powerful legacy, around her narrow shoulders.

It was heavier than she had expected.

The new Boss turned to face her people. She did not smile, but the fire lit up one side of her pale face, marking it resplendent and radiant. The other half was cast in a shadow so deep that only the glow of a red eye could be seen.

“No ruler stands alone - as once I served you, grandmother, I now choose another to serve. O’Riley,” He was still holding the sword aloft and ready, as surprised as she had been by this swift and certain victory. “I title you, Erilaz of Salsola. Let us lead in a new age - a great age - together.” She lifted her hands, and the cloak lifted around her, spreading out like wings in the darkness. At her side, Salvia’s expression lifted in what could have been approval and pride.

“Familia Fortis Elegit!” The women said together, their voices one.


we need a forest fire
Salsola
The Boss
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci Witch she hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit the queen is dead, long live the queen
hierophant
burn the witch
↟ ↟ ↟

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 12:44 am

The moment he drew his sword he knew there was no going back. To draw a blade meant that one intended to follow through with it – this was the law of any weapon – and O'Riley knew too many folk carried upon them weapons and toxins meant for similar purposes. If they failed here, they would die.

This was unacceptable to him, as were a great many things in the world.

Yet the fight never came. Instead she laughed at them, like this was a joke, and so affronted and taken aback by the reaction was O'Riley that he thought his grandmother might truly had been mad. She wasn't, of course. No, she went on as if this was not a matter of revolution but one of expectation, as if they had been led into such an act.

This was what she wanted, though whether Elphaba or Salvia the young man did not know.

He could hear them behind him, but his eyes stayed on the crowd. Tonight he had shown his loyalties and his actions reflected these. Elsewhere they might have thought him craven to rise against the woman who had all but raised him, but what did they know? What did he care for the thoughts of lesser people?

They succeeded, as they had before, and all those doubts left his mind.

An old title, plucked from memories older than themselves, brought with it a promise of everything he had ever wanted. He held onto the sword even then, uncertain and unwilling to risk treachery, comfortable with this weight. It felt like they had gone too far too fast, but there was no going back. His heart was racing (had it been this whole time?) and he felt awash with power.

The women behind him cried out, and on the heel of this, it was Salvia – no longer Boss, simply his Oma – cast out a wolfsong so deeply moving that O'Riley, still holding his sword, couldn't help but join in.

if the thunder don't get you
then the lightning will
Salsola
The High Inquisitor
User avatar
Mel
'Souls Assemblage Luperci Informatore & Cazador LET ME IN
a tightening atrocity
caveat emptor
the magnitude of choice
∙ ECLIPSE ∙

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 1:01 am


Hello and thank you to SL Discord chat, who have been keeping us entertained while we break everything you know and love! As you're all probably aware by now, this is the beginning of the PACK THREAD that we have been hinting would take place on the anniversary of Salsola's foundation. This year, Salsola turns 7!

This thread is now open to posting. Please follow our normal Pack Thread guidelines - there is no set posting order, but we request you leave at least three posts between your own. This is a non-manditory thread, though we hope everyone wants to get involved with even just a single post. If you did not see our twitter or discord notifications: Please let us know if you do not want your character to have been present. For ease of plot, we have assumed the majority of the pack are present at the time of this thread.

Much love, and happy posting!
Team SL <3

Salsola
OOC Account
User avatar
Mel & Alaine

POSTED: Mon May 07, 2018 2:06 am

It was a time of change.

The man thought this every morning when he awoke to star spattered cheeks and sleepy silver eyes. Etoile was assimilating to their culture, and he felt his heart grow light with each passing day. Brocade had armor that was spun of thistles and thick vines; a sense of duty that ran through his blood like fire – and it was not something that he could pass on to the Montgomery woman unwillingly.

They patrolled together. Ate together. Slept together.

Their wounds were healing; the long marks along his shoulders stiff and red beneath the ceremonial armor he wore. She too took time – the gash beneath her ribs firmly wrapped. She trained less now, though he had caught her rummaging through her things. There had been tiny vials there, tiny vials tied with red twine… but she had laughed at him in a dismissive way, urging him to brew tea to soothe their aches and pains.

He thought too of her, and it brought him some solace.

Sometimes he felt the darkness roil within him – the frantically whispering voices would find him and reduce him to nothing, a hollow man with a hollow head – but she was always there to bring him back.

Sometimes there was another face transposed on her own, a pale faced darkling woman with sanguine eyes – but it was always her. Always her.

They went to the meeting when they were summoned, their expressions hard with expectation. Brocade walked straight backed with his hands clasped against the small of his back. There were gold cords roped about his shoulders and Etoile had pulled his hair into a neat club against the nape of his neck.

He wasn’t sure what he had expected of the meeting – but as Salvia took up her place before those that gathered there was a breath of silence that came from those that had followed her for their entire lives. She was resplendent, a golden tigress that lounged and governed a kingdom lined with teeth.

The man shifted his weight, pricking his tattered ears towards Elphaba and O’Riley – to the blade in her hand, the sword in his – and suddenly everything happened so quickly the soldier found himself struggling to keep up. The blade at Salvia's chest was an unanswered question, a show of strength that had the man prepared to rush forward, to defend...

But it was the laughter that punctuated everything.

Salvias silver-whiskered muzzle was smiling as his Hierophant emerged triumphant; her thin shoulders filled in with a bear-fur cloak that was done up at her throat. Then came the title, the realization that she and O’Riley had been gifted Salvia's kingdom.

It was a time of change.

Etoile squeezed his hand and he glared at her, shaking it free as he joined the feral song that rose through the copse of trees - his eyes trained on Elphaba, the new Boss of Salsola.

Fire burned red-hot across them all, the flickering shadows rising higher and higher on the great pyre that lay behind them.

Etoile was tapping her chin, joining the song after a heart beat of hesitation.

Her plan would need to move faster now.

Salsola
The Inquisitor
User avatar
Amanda
Luperci Vedetto, Milite
you forget I have a gypsy heart
listen to the wild

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