[m] do not let your spirit wane

POSTED: Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:58 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.


A red sun lay smoldering in the eastern sky as the town of Portland slept. It was a strange hour, when the quiet of dawn made talking feel improper, where two types of people could be found crossing paths for the only time they would - hustling to and from their beds.

There was not much to be earned by sleeping, but everything to make by day and night. Calrian did not belong to either world, but rather to the ever-flowing, ever-changing whims of potential. When there was time after the bar had closed and before the docks needed hands, he slipped out to the wilds beyond, in search of the bounty his father taught him to seek. It was honest work, a bow and arrow, and sometimes he could fancy himself a musician like his brother when the string would twang and the arrow whistled. More often than not he returned to the barn empty-handed, but Calrian was an optimist by nature, and knew that one day he would hit his mark.

That morning he did just that, and not only once, but twice. Twice was good; twice meant something. The signs did not end there, for when he went to fetch his quarry, he saw that the geese were large and round and even his arrows had remained intact. Nothing had been lost - he had only gained.

He rode home (strange that he started to think of it this way - home was so much less cozy than it used to be) fast as he could, racing against the hard edges of the rising sun. He couldn't wait to see the look on his brother's face, and imagined what it might be as he settled Idoia into the pasture and put away her tack in the stables. Although Calrian did not speak of it, they had been needing this sign for a long time. When everything went to finery (they had to look the part if they weren't going to live it), a decent meal was never in the books.

The door of the barn made a grinding shriek as Calrian pushed it open. Behind him, a chill wind swept inside, stirring the leaves and hay and dirt up into the rafters. The hush of morning had not yet lifted from their humble quarters, and his entrance had only woken a cat, who lept down from its perch and passed him, tail straight up. A devious grin crept across Calrian's muzzle, and he padded toward the bundle of furs and fabric nestled on a bank of hay, beside a sleeping steer.

Malik! He whispered, Look at what I've got! He threw his catch down beside his sleeping brother and beamed proudly. When Malik didn't immediately rise or congratulate him, the river prince leapt into the roughly shaped bed, sending up a spray of dirt and hay and dust. The great white whale of a creature bleated a complaint, which Calrian ignored. He obviously wasn't trying to wake him up.

Wake up, my dear sweet somnolent sibling, Lady Luck has smiled upon us! Tonight is the night!

Calrian rolled onto his back, and smiled at the ceiling whose knotted wood always seemed to be smiling back at them. This wasn't the life that their parents had planned for them, but it was a life that they had created themselves; whether or not that was something to be proud of remained to be seen. I hope you've got your flutey all tuned up, Mal, my King o' Kings, he said, wagging a finger and gesticulating into the air, as he so often did, because tonight we're taking our mistress of fortune to bed and making an honest woman out of her. This proves it. He leaned in closer to his brother's ear and whispered loud enough to be considered yelling, It's a sign.

Last edited by Calrian on Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
San
Luperci

POSTED: Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:40 am

OOC: And my mother told me son let it be; Sold my soul to the calling
sorry this is going to be super funky and rusty I have no idea who he really is yet sjhfsiufhsidhfs

↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟


In the black-blue bruise of another pre-dawn, Malik dreamed.

This was no new phenomenon. Privately, the young man thought that he dreamed more than other people; In bright effervescent colors more vivid than the waking thing, with sights and smells and a pantomime of the heaven that luckier folk believed in. So too the sorrows, a deeper blue the precise hue of woe, horrors and memories melding into nightmare.

Because of this, he slept deeply, and did not often rouse until a pertinent foot found his ribs. Today was no different, only this time Calrian had fortune ringing like the sound of metal pouring from a palm in his ears, the glimmer of prospector's gold caught in his wide eyes. Malik would have rathered the foot.

He attempted to return to those sickly-sweet stories of unconsciousness, rolling with a grumpy huff away from the sound and deeper into the scratchy, sneezy hay. It was a hopeless, halfhearted attempt, and soon enough Calrian's rousing provoked a curl-tongue yawn and a petulant grumble of complaint.

"Lady Luck has her foot up your ass," It was too early for cheerful, so Mal fixed his brother with a bleary frown and blinked each eye in separate discordant order. It felt like he'd been allowed to sleep for only minutes - which wasn't entirely far from the truth, as Mullen's crew played late and long, and the bard never shut shop until the tips stopped flowing. Even so, the docks waited for no man, and the hour could never be persuaded to shuck off its duties and crawl back into bed.

Calrian was better at adapting to this cheerless routine. Sometimes, his brother didn't even bother going to sleep; Those days would add a sort of manic light to his eyes, the same color as their mother's but twice as reckless. "It's not a flu-" There was no point; Calrian spoke over the grumbled correction, his voice warm and rich and truly unstoppable. It was a talent, as much as an irritant. That kind of pressed friendliness could persuade the sourest old fart to dig deeper into his pocket.

As the sound of his own voice bolstered the young man on to greater heights of self-exultation, Malik rubbed the sleep from his eyes and began picking rogue bits of straw from his long white-blond hair. Mondo chewed on one loose lock of it absently, the steer's soft brown eyes unfocused and steady as its jaw rotated in a monotonous circle.

"What's got you in such high spirits, then?" The acerbic note of accusation was softened by the way he companionably shoved at the taller boy's shoulder. "Did you finally get a squirrel or something?" Not that he wouldn't fall upon it with glee, if so - it had probably been a day or more since they'd eaten, and Mondo's fat rump was starting to look tasty. The loud grumble of his stomach agreed; Pressing one hand to it, Mal gave his brother a wry, knowing look. "Or did you finally persuade that barmaid from last night to check out your lucky charms?"
The Troupe
Bard
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci

POSTED: Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:55 am

Malik never failed to be delightfully dour, and Calrian never tired of it. It was delicious. It was as if every bad mood that was meant for Calrian had been absorbed by Malik. His brother had always been like water - deep, expressive, beautiful, and Calrian like the fat pelican who sat on top.

His brother nudged his shoulder hard enough to send him rolling with a laugh. When he rolled back, he reached over and delicately plucked Malik's hair from the oafish Mondo's mouth and shoved a wad of hay in there instead. That was him in his purest form; a person who liked for things to work in a certain order, the right order, and all his brainpower went to puzzling over these problems and coming up with solutions.

A gentleman never kisses and tells, he chirped brightly, as if he had ever had the option of telling anyone. Anyone who knew Cal knew that he'd immediately tell the entire world if a lady was foolish enough to peck a smirk off his face. It was a sad and well known fact in their circle that Calrian had not had the fortune of being kissed (although lady fortune made him kiss her rear quite often). If he ever did find a woman willing, whether beautiful or homely, he had the inexplicable and frustrating habit of rerouting her affection to someone else. Malik had once proposed that he try other types - a man, perhaps? - but that experience nearly lost Calrian and Malik their heads. He was content to admire women, he decided, and he was better at it anyway. Women liked a fun, extroverted man who wouldn't touch them.

Plucking the geese from their cradles of hay, he tossed one to Malik and hoped he was awake enough to catch it. A mighty big squirrel! Put that in your flute! He laughed deeply at his own jape, and leapt out of the bed before his brother could react either positively or negatively.

How should we eat them? Roasted? Raw? Remember the seasoning that father brought us once - how much do you think that cost? Do you think he got it here? Gods, he was wealthy for a ranger, He prattled on a moment of logistics and numbers until he suddenly remembered that Malik was still there, and then turned around to face him again.

I'm in a good mood, Mal, because I never catch anything. And this morning, I caught not just one, but two things. He waited for this significance to sink in, as long as his impatience allowed. And don't you see? That's us. You and me. One. Two. That's our Lady Luck, telling us that tonight, she'll be sending us a big fat prize, that we ought to bet double.


User avatar
San
Luperci

POSTED: Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:27 am

OOC: cal pls

↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟


The absolute lack of coyness was answer enough, if ever there had been question of the fact. There was little doubt in Malik's mind that the day his brother found someone else to sleep in the hay with would be the day Lady Luck herself appeared to congratulate him in person. It was a simple, laughable joke with an undercurrent so deep that even an ancient sailor would be loathe to navigate it; The fact was that romance remained a strange topic between the two otherwise conjoined brothers.

For instance, it was difficult not to mention how much more effort Calrian expended on their mutual behalf each day - wheeling, dealing and sticking his neck out for the mere whisper of a coin - so much effort that a pretty lady, however suitable her wares, was time and opportunity never warranted. Malik felt no small sadness at this (he was incapable of feeling sadness as anything less than wonderfully all-encompassing); His brother was a handsome, affable sort. If their situation weren't so strained, there was no telling how many pies Calrian might have a finger in.

In another instance, there were certain... Predilections... That set the two apart. It was the one small secret that Malik had never found a voice to share with his brother. Not yet, not when he could hardly speak it to himself.

For his part in the conversation, Mondo never ceased chewing from one instance to the next. Hair or hay, rain or shine, the world was easy when you were a big impassable bovine.

The goose hit Malik square in the face. Spitting feathers, he managed with great un-coordination to wrestle the limp thing away, and hold it up to inspect. It was a fat animal, surely the last of a late-season flock. It was an incredibly lucky find.

And there were two of them!

It was enough for him to let the flute comment slide.

As Calrian paced with great animation to and fro in the little stable stall, voice jumping with alacrity through a heady tumble of subjects, Malik took his time to inspect the bird; Turning it this way and that, admiring the sheen of its feathers, the delicacy of the structure of its wing. The tail-plumes would make a fine feature in a hair-piece, he thought covetously. But there was no room for that sort of thing. Whatever the brothers did not eat, they would sell. It was the price that independence had set for them.

Drawn out of an inward slump by a particularly telling phrase, Mal's seagreen eyes shot toward his brother with the speed of the lucky arrow itself. "Cal-" He started hesitantly, treading his way into the conversation as one might into particularly deep water, "We talked about the betting table, remember? Maybe this right here-" He gestured with two elegant hands - their father's hands - at the relative bounty, "Maybe this is all the fortune the Lady is sending us. Besides, I swear I saw that gambler pull three straights in a row last night, and at least five the night before. Unless he's in bed with Luck, the gig is rigged."

It was difficult to extinguish the spark in Calrian's eye. Some days, he reminded Malik so much of their mother that it made his chest feel all tight and tense. To soften the blow, he added: "But maybe you could sell one to chef and they'll take some debt off our tab?"
The Troupe
Bard
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci

POSTED: Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:53 pm

It would seem, at times, that Calrian was impervious to sadness. So great was his optimism that like a shield, he raised it against all that life had to sling at them.

The time for romance and nice things would come, Calrian was sure of it. Someday, someday, he and his brother would find love as passionate as their parents and want for nothing as they lived side by side or in a great mansion together, with fields and rivers and a brilliant sunset cast eternally across their idyllic lives. But before all that, they had to prepare the soil and lay foundations to their grand life plans. There was every reason and more not to get entangled, which is the excuse he saw for his brother as much as himself.

Until Malik was ready, Calrian wouldn't push him.

Somewhere along his rambling, he'd picked up a ring from Malik's bag and flipped it through his fingers. He thought better when he had something in his hands.

If he was a shining knight, then Malik was their father's shade, a man of sense and stealth. It didn't matter how carefully he approached the subject, because the feeling hit Calrian just the same. For a moment, it would seem that his brother's sobering words had pierced a hole in Calrian's armor. He turned away nodding, his face shrouded in a dramatic shadow, before he turned to look back at Malik with a creeping grin.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had someone like him on our side? He said this slowly, as the clockwork of his brain turned visibly in front of them.

Sadness was an artist's tool, one which he never found terribly lucrative. He had gladly passed this on to his brother, who seemed to make good use of it.


User avatar
San
Luperci

POSTED: Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:23 pm

OOC: nailed it

↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟ ↟


For a single moment he almost regretted the slip of sense that found purchase on his tongue. It wasn't that Calrian was a small child who needed scolding, or a pertinacious youth with no sense of wisdom; Recklessness was a measured thing, and it had paid the piper countless times. If their decisions had been left entirely to Malik, they would have stagnated long ago, trapped in a web of caution so sticky that it allowed for no growth at all.

This was why the brothers worked best together.

He could see the wheels turning behind the hazel-gold glimmer of Cal's eyes, and knew well enough to sit quiet and patient as the young man's genius stirred. The ring in his hands had been part of last night's pay, a tip from a dowager with more cleavage than good sense. It had looked like a crass, cheap sort of thing then, with a shanty on his tongue and a ballad in his heart.

But in his brother's hands it could have been a fortune, brimming with possibility and potential, greater than any fleet of ships to cross the narrow sea.

When Calrian finally let his suggestion free, Mal's severe brows (thanks, papa) rose steeply in thought. "You've been talking to that night-girl again, huh?" It wasn't the first time his brother had pulled little people in toward him; The working class were drawn to Cal like big lacewing moths to a ship-lantern. It was his effervescent, hopeful nature, the very spark of life that promised them something more than what they had, what they were born with. Something great.

Word had it Cal had been plucking particular strings for a while now. Some of the regulars at Mullen's were handy for that sort of thing - they all made a bigger haul when they worked together, milking goods out of the ever-shifting patrons with the habitual ease of a practiced farmhand. "Alright, well... Show him some native hospitality, then," The blond man shrugged, struggling to keep the little charming smile from growing on his lips.

A shadow of thought passed over him, and half-risen from the hay, Mal paused. "But be careful about it. I heard he came in on a big ship, the... Honey Hind? Golden Doe? Might be he's not staying in town long."

Standing now, the young bard brushed straw from his good pants, and reached out to close Cal's hand around the ring. It was an unspoken agreement. His brother often took from the little bag of pay that Mal accumulated, and hid under a floorboard in Mondo's stall when they were out - Greasing palms was as essential to their daily lifestyle as cheap ale and saltfish.
The Troupe
Bard
User avatar
Alaine
Luperci

Canon