running after time and I miss the sunshine

POSTED: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:29 am

Long time, long time! [000]


The grey hybrid had been several weeks on the road from Sonnerie when he crossed onto familiar land. Saut spent only a day venturing shallowly into old territory, since no one had responded to his summons at the western border. It was quickly apparent that nobody had been living there for a long while. He trekked north towards what he’d been told, long ago, had been old Inferni land, but he had no idea how to find it. So, he’d stopped in the foothills of the mountain range to rest and figure out his next move. Saut could also feel his horse getting weary. They could both use some time to settle. They followed the Musquodoboit River until soon before sunset, and then Saut brought the march to a halt in an old clearing nearby, dominated by the silhouette of a large boulder.

Saut slipped unsteadily from Lark’s back and took blurry, sleepy stock of the clearing. A former traveler had already done the work of gathering stones for a firepit, but for whatever reason they hadn’t actually started one. The giant boulder was situated against the wind as it blew then – Saut led Lark over there and began emptying her packs of the essentials. He left Dusty the dove where it was nestled in one of them, already half-asleep. Ten minutes later saw the clearing firelit in the fading dusk, unlikely colors shifting in the boulder’s lichen. The monochrome man settled down by the fire and leaned back against the mare, listening to the half-frozen tricklings of the water.

He half hoped the smoke would be spotted by any Infernian lurking nearby, but mostly he was just worn out and wanted to drift off. Worries about what had sent the coyote clan out of the home they’d held for so long kept his amber gaze wide and glowing in the firelight. Perhaps he'd revisit the old territory after a short rest and give it a more thorough look.

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Yzz
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POSTED: Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:17 am

Hi again, Yzz! Welcome back to ‘Souls! :D Hope it’s okay that I stole this thread. Skeleton was never a member of Inferni, but he knows of the disbandment and can tell Saut about it a little.

Also, I thought I’d pounce on the unlit fire and have it be Skeleton’s camp - let me know if you’d rather that be changed!

Lastly, Skeleton isn’t accompanied by his sister, Carnivore, but her scent would be easy to notice.

Skeleton and Carnivore had decided to set up camp at the foot of Halcyon Mountain. The general environs of the mountain were quickly becoming their stomping grounds, it seemed. He hadn’t meant to do that, and it wasn’t because he was waiting and hoping he’d run into Lucilla or River, but he had to admit that it would be convenient if he did. After Skeleton had met Canary, she’d told him a little bit about the disbandment of Inferni, but he was hazy on the details. Either way, his mother and sister were gone, and he didn’t quite know what to make of it. He was still processing the idea that Inferni could disband, but he would have to get over it eventually; he couldn’t mourn a clan he’d never joined, after all.

The problem, for Skeleton, was that he had always vaguely planned on making his way to Inferni, but somehow just never got around to it. Life as a loner was becoming increasingly dangerous, it seemed. He encountered one of two causes of danger: first, Carnivore always did stupid shit that got them in worse shit, and second, random attacks were infrequent, but violent enough to make him reconsider his loner lifestyle. He couldn’t figure out what Carnivore’s angle was — she could be surprisingly hard to read sometimes — but he knew he was growing tired of it. The problem was: what next?

He considered the question of what pack to join and what to do in a general sense almost every night when he hunted for wood to make a fire. He and Carnivore had found some smaller game to eat, but for the most part, today was a lean day. A fire would keep them warm, if he could manage to find enough wood. Carnivore had wandered off in another direction, so he knew she’d either find trouble or kindling. Worst, if she did find firewood, she’d somehow make it into a competition Skeleton hadn’t known they were playing and that she had then won. A bitter, jaded part of him hoped she ran into trouble instead.

As he began to draw closer to their campfire, he caught the scent of burning wood on the wind. He began to mentally prepare himself for a triumphant and belligerent Carnivore since, really, that was the only way she knew how to exist.

He stomped into the clearing, pausing as he noticed a few new scents. Approaching the fire with caution, he hoped Carnivore hadn’t made any weird friends with some sketchy traders. He gingerly peered around a tree and spotted a coyote and horse, but no Carnivore.

“Uh, hey,” he said, adjusting the various branches and sticks in his arms. “My sister invite you over or something? She’s Carnivore, I’m Skeleton,” he added, hoping that would address any confusion.


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POSTED: Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:30 pm

Hiya Tammi!! That would be great, thanks! Vesper and Clover are going to catch him up on the details in another thread, but anything Skeleton can tell him in general is perfect. [000]


As he watched the smoke curl upward, Saut’s thoughts drifted west toward Sonnerie. He was barely more than a lost boy when he joined the gypsies, bruised and battered as he was from the circuitous journey to them. The weeks after he left Inferni chiseled the monochrome man down to his bones and bitterness. He became dangerously thin, and ill. A small group of bachelor wanderers discovered his feverish body, four-legged, in an old hunting cabin that was among their rotation of dens just west of Nova Scotia. Poor luck, it turned out – the group healed Saut only to the point that he could keep up with them, and then they held onto him for his intimidating size as they stole and beat up their way across eastern Canada for a living. Saut convinced himself he belonged with them, deserved that life and nothing more. He did his fair share of the violence, too, but when a job on a caravan en route to Sonnerie left him with a concussion and severe clavicle fracture, the thieves left him at the caravan’s mercy. Mercy he received.

Saut chuckled softly. The caravan that adopted him and introduced him to Sonnerie was led by an old trapper – Winnie – and her five sons. She doled out his injuries with the end of her staff – punishment, she said later, for the attempted robbery and all those he’d succeeded in before. It was one of her hand-made smoking pipes he carried with him now.

Saut fingered open his pouch of dried herbs. It was nearly empty and would be for the rest of the winter when he finished it up, unless he could trade for some more. But he took a good pinch of sage anyway and put it gingerly into the bowl. Then he lit thin stick in the campfire and, holding it just over the bowl, took several drags through the bit in quick succession. When the sage was smoldering, he tossed the stick into the fire and leaned back again.

A sudden greeting out of the trees jolted him back into an upright position. Saut’s heartbeat quickened when he recognized the visitor’s coyote shape, but the firelight revealed a stranger’s features. Disappointed, he glanced at the wood in the coyote’s arms and realized he’d blundered onto someone else’s campsite – active, after all.

“Hey,” he said after the man’s words registered. “I, er, don’t know your sister. I’m sorry, I think I stole your campsite. I can move on – you’re welcome to the fire.” Saut held the pipe between his teeth and hauled himself to his feet. He was certainly tired, and he wasn’t looking forward to having to either gather more wood for another fire or sleep cold, but he also didn’t want to start trouble. Lark, behind him, considered the newcomer lazily. She’d be hard to get going after they left the clearing.

But then, maybe this fella knew something about Inferni’s whereabouts. Saut scratched under his chin and took a thoughtful puff on the pipe. Then, carefully, “I’m Saut. You happen to hear ‘bout a big group of coyotes living near here?”

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POSTED: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:42 pm

That works for me! Skeleton can get the ball rolling so Saut knows where to go. :D

As Skeleton approached, he noticed a new scent, distinct from the other coyote and his horse. It was a new smell, one he neither recognized nor understood. The coyote appeared to be smoking it, but the smell wasn’t marijuana or tobacco. Whatever it was, it smelled interesting, but Skeleton wasn’t sure if the meaning of it.

The other coyote said he didn’t know Carnivore, which meant that he must have just found the campfire they were starting and assumed it was abandoned. At first, Skeleton frowned, ready to be annoyed, but then he just laughed. It would be nice to have some company that wasn’t his sister.

“Oh, well, nah, just stick around,” Skeleton replied as the other loner got to his feet. He strode forward and bent down to deposit the wood by the fire. “And yeah, I do, Inferni, right? Just stick around and I can tell you what I know. I’m Skeleton, by the way. You’re probably better company than my sister anyhow, though don’t tell her I said that when she gets back. Real grumpy,” he explained. He scoured the area in the firelight searching for a good spot to sit. There weren’t any rocks or stumps to sit on, unfortunately, and it didn’t look like Saut had furnished the campsite with any since he arrived. Eventually, he found a spot where the wind wouldn’t blow the smoke into his face and he took a seat.

“Anyway, Inferni disbanded a little while ago. They moved up and over these mountains back to their original home. Apparently they moved down to these parts—” he gestured vaguely to the surrounding area — “after a fire or something. I don’t know much about it. My mom did, kinda. She said my granddad grew up in the old territory. Anyway, I dunno why exactly, but I guess they decided to head back to the original clan lands. I headed over there a while back, but I couldn’t find any clan anymore. I didn’t learn much, just that it’s gone, I guess.” He gave Saut an apologetic shrug. Canary hadn’t shared too much with him, just the basics.


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POSTED: Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:49 pm

[000]


A sudden chilly breeze coincided with an inviting crackle of the campfire. The Musquodoboit River babbled distantly in the moment it took the other coyote to reply, and Saut gave a mental sigh when he realized he’d probably have to leave the warmth of the clearing. He still didn’t want to venture too far from the river – he’d been looking forward to fish in the morning. But Skeleton invited him to stay, so the monochrome hybrid relaxed and returned to his seat while the other man deposited the fresh wood and found a spot to sit. The russet-colored stranger didn’t strike him as the thieving or murdering type, and it would be nice to have company after so long on the road, alone. “Thanks,” he said, and gave a soft laugh at Skeleton’s warning. “Don’t worry, I can deal with a grouch.”

He listened intently to Skeleton’s account of Inferni’s troubles. It wasn’t necessarily worse than he’d imagined when he’d found the old borders stale – the resilient coyote clan wouldn’t uproot itself for any reason that couldn’t be dealt with with a good fight – but his childhood home seemed to have had an unusual string of bad luck since Kaena Lykoi’s death. He hmmed softly to himself. No, it had probably begun long before then. Saut wished he’d paid more attention to clan politics while he’d been with the coyotes.

“That’s…shit,” he muttered, incredulous. He heaved a great sigh and rubbed his temple. “There was just, nobody? No one left? Maybe they just went somewhere else.” That was wishful thinking, he knew, but he just couldn’t picture it. The clan felt alive and cohesive when Saut’s eyes were closed, but when he opened them to look at Skeleton he looked on a reality in which Inferni was, evidently, just a memory.

Taking a deep inhale through the pipe, the grey man offered his companion a grim smile. “Shit,” he said again, and then for lack of anything intelligent to say in response he held out his pipe for Skeleton to take for a while, if he wanted. “Sage, and a few other herbs,” he explained, and then, “You said your mother and grandfather were Infernian? What were their names? Maybe I knew them.”

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