heard you tried to keep your hell on a shelf

POSTED: Wed May 09, 2018 8:43 pm

They found one another outside the city by chance; Neith, en route back to his home after a number of days spent abroad to clear his mind and gather supplies, and Salvador, hunting and scavenging for sake of a dozen young and reckless children who didn’t know one end of an elk from the other (and a handful of adults whom he suspected were barely eating for each their own reasons, anyway). They made light conversation. They discussed the status of Inferni on the other side of the mountains while Neith pretended to know next to nothing about it. They discussed how neither had heard from Dove, drawing no concern from the Sadira. After she’d left, she’d checked in every few months. She was not yet overdue.

But Neith was clearly nervous to discuss in public, regardless of how collected he considered his anxieties and poise. The Sadira could see through it, though he did not speak as much. “Heard there’s a bar cropped up in Amherst,” Salvador prompted. “Come on. I want to hear more about Salsola.”

“A what?” asked Neith.

“A bar. You know, with drinks? A woman was telling me last time I was up here about it. First drink’s always free.”

The Heiwa looked clueless. Salvador pitied him.

Whether he wanted to or not, the young doctor obliged. They discussed herbs, and Neith was animated and talkative; they talked carpentry, and he became very still and quiet. All Salvador could explain of basic level carpentry, when prompted by Neith about the Heiwa’s new home, seemed to bypass the young doctor’s comprehension altogether, and the topic was dropped by the time they arrived at the bar. Neith marveled at the structure like a child.

Sally drank, and for a second drink traded away one of the hares he had caught for Inferni (there would be plenty more on the way back). Neith stared at his first and wrinkled his nose at the scent. Sally drank it for him, so Neith wrinkled his nose at the noise of the other bar occupants instead.

In near whispers at the table furthest from the door, they talked Dove’s departure from Inferni. Sally tried to pry answers about Salsola with little success, although displeasure for his station read clearly across the younger man’s face. Something had changed as of late. It must have been recent, because it visibly choked in Neith’s throat when Salvador pressed. Still, there was nothing, and Neith only glanced at the door more often from that point on.

It was about when Neith asked about Briarblack that the little red-haired woman familiar to them both happened to arrive—and made her arrival strongly known, at that.

Last edited by Salvador Sadira on Thu May 10, 2018 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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POSTED: Wed May 09, 2018 11:58 pm

It was not the drink that had brought her, but the rumor.

She was sure that some of the travellers that passed along the border of the Court had been asked to see her there - for twice now she had been summoned by strange nomadic looking families who had asked for her by name. Odalis knew nothing of their people, but that had come with strange gifts that were to be delivered by a mysterious admirer. They had been beautifully carved pieces of wood, each piece oiled until it shone. She was certain that he had made them, and they had been sure to tell her with beaming innocent smiles that he had insisted on remaining anonymous.

Ciprian Tenebriso.

He was the only man she knew who would anonymously deliver something - but with the intention of being known. She said nothing ot Solomon, though the dark-backed man seemed to watch her more now, his expression deep and furrowed.

Lately she had discovered herself surrounded by men; a quiet pensive man of the south who had been eager to share the memory of wildflowers with her. Other men still gobbled her up like fire - and she found that she thought of Salvador late into the night, her cheeks scalding and umber.

She had set out for the tavern with every intention of confronting the misplaced Onuban scavenger - but his trail was long gone, the small camps she found along her way abandoned and quiet. The tiny dagger strapped to her hip seemed insignificant, but it made her feel better as she scouted for the oil-slick of a man. He had disappeared in the wake of the Winter of Tarnished gold.

The tavern was louder than she remembered - but she paused on the threshold with a curious expression to her lips. The whole place was filled with the low rumbling of conversation, and she was surprised when Spud approached her cautiously - smoothing his hair and tucking in his shirt. She curtsied to him, quietly tapping her fingers on the bar as he poured her a chipped mug of ale.

"What're you doing out here Miss?" She curled her lips, glaring, "I'm looking for someone... but it seems he's not here."

"Y'got stood up?"

She rolled her eyes, for the first time catching sight from the corner of her eye an unlikely pair. They sat huddled together; dark and light with their backs to her.

She took a long sip of her drink, and abandoned Spud without so much as a wave of her hand. The drink made her insides feel warm, and she realized belatedly that she hadn't eaten since the early morning.

She dropped her mug on their table loudly so that it sloshed messily from side to side.

"Well, well..." She grinned, "Fancy meeting the two of you here."

She gazed at Neith warmly and tipped her nose in the direction of the fiery eyed man, "You know this idiota?"

sorry I just gave you a whole lot of nothing LOL

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POSTED: Thu May 10, 2018 7:49 am

“Nice girl,” Salvador mused, scratching at his chin. “Hangs around Vicira’s kids, I think. Keeps busy, doesn’t say much.”

“But is she happy?” Neith blurted.

The Sadira looked at him sideways. “Happy enough, I’d say,” Sally replied, and Neith felt very much like he had volunteered himself for questioning.

For better or worse, a slamming mug halted their conversation. Neith merely recoiled, while Salvador leapt poised from his seat, teeth bearing, claws unsheathed. The Heiwa had admired how well the Sadira handled his drink, at least until that point. Neith knew nothing of the older man’s experiences, and found himself immediately enraptured by what might have caused such a reaction and whether it was biological, mental, or just plain intoxicated.

Once recognition set in, Sally sighed away the tension and sunk back into his seat. “I can tell what id-yo-tuh means, you know.” He struggled with an empty mug, but found a few blessed drops left to drink inside. “The hell are you doing here?”

“Hi, Odalis,” said Neith, meek and smiling. The doctor rose and offered her his chair, then carried a second from a neighboring table (carried, mind you, and not dragged, for dragging chairs was much too noisy). She smelled like drink. With hair the color of wildfire, how had they missed her? “He and I are... acquainted, yes. How are you? Are you lost?”

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POSTED: Wed May 16, 2018 1:11 am

She wasn’t sure what she expected, but for some reason she was not surprised as the dark man recoiled. He snapped like a drawstring away from her, his ember eyes flashing and bright – just as she remembered them. The Amaranthe couldn’t help the lazy smile that crept across her features, ”Calm down Sally.” She dipped her head and thanked Neith as he rose to offer his chair to her, ”It’s just me.”

He brought out a strange side of her, but she found that she revelled in it.

Odalis rolled her eyes, ”I know. I picked small words on purpose.”

She pulled at her sleeves, so that the lace hung perfectly around her wrists. It was a sharp contrast to the way she yanked on a piece of her skirt to wipe the table before she perched her elbows precariously upon the sticky edge – her expression settling eagerly upon Neith. The drink bubbled warmly in her throat, and she lapped at the mug before responding to the Doctors question.

Without thinking her hand danced across the place where he had bandaged her.

”Not this time.” Her head was spinning, but she could hear the trickle of laughter that slipped through her eager mouth, ”I was looking for someone… Thought they might be here.” Her tail thumped beside her, "Who knew I would run into you?" She blinked, gesturing with her now half empty mug, "Both of you!"

um wow the sasss?!?!? Where did it come from?!

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POSTED: Fri May 18, 2018 7:34 am

The doctor blinked and smiled and sat very still, and while Salvador was certain he could not have made it this long in life without witnessing the fine taint of drink with his own eyes, Neith behaved as if he were experiencing a demon and was not sure whether to pretend it didn’t exist or pull out his cross and holy water and begin shouting. The doctor was Salsolan. Sally knew about their Suppers (if they upheld that old tradition, anyway), and he knew the people liked to think themselves refined and cultured and pretty. Neith only partially fit that mold.

The Sadira shouldn’t have been surprised the two were acquainted—they were peas in a pod. Two dainty children thinking themselves masters of their society, as if they could avoid or halt violence in its tracks through their sheer and innocent force of will. If Odalis and Sally could accidentally acquaint themselves in ways of the flesh, the Sadira imagined these two were an inevitability.

He smiled bitterly at her sassing and said nothing of it, though.

“Well, I'm glad to see you. Who are you looking for?” asked Neith, glancing patron to patron as if scanning for spies. If he was so paranoid about Salsola even beyond their grasp, why did he stay with them? Sally had been traded away by their people and never hunted down for what little he knew of their secrets. Though, to think of it, he hadn’t shared that experience with Neith, either.

“Probably someone else she’s been familiar with,” said a toothy Salvador, the enunciation lost on Neith (bless his heart) but all too obvious between he and the redhead.

The doctor smiled small and puzzled. “Um. Someone I know?”

“Nah. Forget it, Neith.”

At once, the Heiwa's stare intensified tenfold, and Sally witnessed him more bewildered and angry than he thought possible for such a mild-mannered, good-hearted man. Where had he misstepped? 'Nah, forget it, Neith—'

“Rust,” Sally corrected himself as he realized, then burst out laughing. “I'm sorry. Rust. That's the one you want, isn't it?” He turned to Odalis and away and grinning from the Salsolan's wild-eyed stare. “Hey, you got any more of that stuff on you?”

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POSTED: Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:09 pm

For a split second she wished Solomon was there to meet the two men. Salvador made her smile suddenly and she couldn’t help the grin that washed over her face – stupid and wide as he mentioned the word familiar. He had opened up a whole new world for her, cracked it open with a non chalonce that had silenced her at the time. She punched his arm lightly as she had the first time they met, but the weight of it was different now.

Neith didn’t notice.

… Wait.

Odalis felt her head snap around as she inspected the Doctor, ”Wait, what?” She splayed one hand on the table, ”You mean to say your name is not Rust?”

Sally was chuckling, the deep sound rumbling in his chest as Neiths stare intensified, his silvery fur standing on end around his shoulders. She had never even considered that the named offered to her while she travelled were false – Rust had been Rust. Simple as that. Salvadors laughter still echoed in her ears and she dipped her head incredulously.

”Who are you?”

Without realizing it she sidled closer to the darker man, but offered him a raised brow. "You sure your name is Salvador?"

Wait you mean to say his name's... not.... Neef the Butt Thief!?!??!!

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POSTED: Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:48 am

Like a fawn caught bewildered in the eyes of its predator, the doctor stared back at her agape and panicked and furious all at once. What mattered more was that no one else had overheard the Sadira’s misstep. Judging by the sparse and drunken patrons whose neither eyes nor ears strayed their way, the secret was still relatively safe. Good. He breathed; with exhalation, relief, and with inhalation, utter apology.

“It is,” he tried, then looked at his hands, then glared at Salvador. The fucking Sadira had leaned his elbows on the table and was grinning with a loathsome and humored pride. It stopped abruptly when Odalis turned on him and demanded to know whether he was truly Salvador and not someone else.

“Uh,” Sally stammered, “yes?”

“Odalis, I’m sorry,” said Neith, hushed and drawing back her attention. “Forgive me, it’s... It’s a thing I have to do. I don’t like it, either.”

Sally leaned back in his chair, arms folded. “If it counts, I only found out because he wanted our help.” Now realizing the young Heiwa’s despair, he sighed and laid his hand atop that of the Courtier. “He’s being honest, he doesn’t have much of a choice. I can vouch.”

Neith straightened up, frowning at him. Sally wasn’t Salsolan. What the hell did he know? “It’s Rust, all right? For everyone’s sake, it’s Rust.”

There was a moment’s hostile silence, after which the Sadira deflated in his seat. “So no more of that good stuff from the city, I take it.” He stared at Neith a moment. “You’re a doctor. You know where there’s opium around here?”

“I’m sorry, what?”

For fuck’s sake... Forget it. Nevermind.”

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POSTED: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:15 am

He had saved her. She had to remind herself of that, had to remind herself of the spindly armed man who had tried to claim her. Tried to eat her. Odalis shuddered, noticing for the first time that Salvador had taken up her hand, and warmth radiated from him. Neith was good, was a man who had been brought to this earth to heal and do good. He was a doctor, not a danger.

She hissed softly through her teeth and settled her other hand atop the shadowy palm that cupped her own - it was comforting if anything else.

"... So I should still call you Rust." For some reason she was whispering, her long ears twitching, "Our help? Are you in danger?" She did not know where Neith was from, but something about the way his shoulders slumped as Salvador spoke had her expression grow concerned. She made a sound in her throat and considered asking where he was from, but decided against it at the last moment - her mouth opening and closing like a fish.

She squeezed a dark hand and settled back in her chair to toy with an unruly piece of Auburn hair. It flashed between her fingers like fire.

Opium.

The word hung between them like a dream. Odalis absently toyed now with the ruffle of her sleeve. She clicked her teeth and smiled sweetly from the edge of her seat, "What do you need that for Sally?"
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POSTED: Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:48 pm

“Yes. Rust, please.” Neith replied, trying to smile. “In public at the very least. And I’m fine, I promise.”

As fine as one could be while requiring a fake name, Sally supposed. There were far more layers and depths to Neith than he let on, though Salvador only suspected this following the young Salsolan’s behavior in captivity. He was a saboteur living among his own predators, playing their game, drinking their wine. At the same time, his sincerity and cluelessness spoke to a level of ignorance that hinted at a void beneath, and Sally didn’t care enough about the young man to decide he needed to know which was the truth.

Odalis asked what he needed opium for. He looked at her flatly, squinting, as if unable to tell if she was serious. “Makes my back stop hurting.”

At this, Neith perked up in his seat. “It’s a painkiller?”

“Painkiller and a good nap.”

“I’ve never heard of this.”

“I’m not surprised.”

“Well, how do you—”

“No,” said Sally, raising a finger and glancing between them both. “I told you, forget it.”

Neith slouched. “I’m a doctor. If there’s a type of painkiller I don’t know about, then I’d like to know more for my practice.”

“The stuff’s not easy to work with. I’ve seen addicts and overdoses. You don’t want to.”

“Let me make that determination for myself,” replied the Salsolan, stark.

Sally studied him a long moment, then sighed. “What the hell, I don’t care. I haven’t seen any yet this season, but there are tall stalks with pods about this big, with a little kind of flat flower shape at the top. They’re...”

Neith was digging into his bag. He produced a journal, thumbed through it, tucked it away, produced another, and did the same. Eventually, he opened it flat on the table between them and pointed at a rudimetary sketch of a poppy fruit in the page margins beside smudged and waterlogged text of an era long past. “This?” he asked.

“Yeah, looks it.” Unfazed and unsurprised by Neith’s drawings, Sally leaned back. He detailed what he remembered of the process (“cut down the side and wait till the juice turns black”) as well as a vague recollection of boiling opium, water, and alcohol for different effect.

“Laudanum. It’s been a couple years. I swore off that shit when a friend died, so I don’t remember the exact way he did it.” Sally leaned forward on the table. “The stuff from the pods is enough. Just as tricky. If you want to try it, be my guest. Ain’t my fault if you kill someone, though.”

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POSTED: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:07 am

The poppies on the page attracted all of Odalis’ attention. Neith had sketched them in billowing flowing lines, each petal intricate and loose. The Onuban was quietly amazed at the mans talent, though she said nothing of it as she clutched the dark arm of the man who sat alongside her. They were a flower that she recognized – and the gardener in her was sifting through the flowers that lay planted in wild rows in the Courts garden.

”Your back?” She squeezed his arm, flashing her teeth in a tease, ”How old are you?”

She blinked widely at Neith, listening as the Doctor went on about his healing methods – and the fact that the properties of the flower were something that was new to him. Odalis flexed her fingers around the mans arm, thoughtful as the word was thrown out between them. ” Laudanum?” She repeated it softly under her breath and shook her head to indicate she had never heard of the thing before.

Drugs were new to her – the mushrooms traded by the darkling woman of the North her first foray into mind bending territory.

She thought of Salvador and felt her body flush, though she dipped her head to hide this from him. ”Is it strong? Stronger than…” Her words disappeared as another patron slid passed their table. She shimmed her chair closer, her breath a defiant whisper, ”Stronger than the mushrooms.” She glanced at Neith, the previous gem eyes of his carefully inspecting the sketches that lined his note book.

Odalis sucked on her teeth, ”What did it feel like?”

<3

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