all the kings horses

POSTED: Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:26 pm

There were still pieces of the territory that cast him back to his time spent with Naji – the open fields frighteningly too vast for such a boy to navigate on his own. Ruckus did as he pleased, providing for The Troupe as they moved from place to place, his thin shoulders etched with designs that Mateo was still deeply curious about. Pulling bits and pieces from him was more difficult than the Onuban could have imagined, but each time they settled to drink together he snuck out another piece.

They were like shards of glass wiggled from a wounded palm.

Ruckus could keep his secrets as long as he needed to – but Mateo was curious of where he was always running off to.

Mateo rode Ombra with the reign pulled through his slight fingers, his thoughts muddled as he peered up through the canopy of trees. He rode alone in an effort to find his muse. He took note of all the beautiful things that surrounded him; the gnarled trees twisting together with broken branches that were lined white with ice and snow. Everything about him was glittering and bright, but the lack of life had the forest feeling heavy with sadness.

He passed through a copse of perfectly silver birch trees which leaned together as the breeze changed – their lengths striped with black as if smudged with his charcoal fingers.

Mateo reached for the notebook which hung in his pocket – sketching the scene with a quick hand. Ombra adjusted her weight to three legs and weight patiently as he attempted to capture the lonely beauty that hung between the leafless trees. The charcoal in his hands smudged his fingers darkly, and when he was finally finished, he kneed the horse to continue forward. She shook out her mane and launched into a smooth gaited trot.

The boy was still lost in the lines of his work when he realized that the mare had stopped moving.

Instead she was straight legged and trembling with curiousity, her ears pricked towards the figure which gazed at them between the trees.

Mateo lowered his notebook with a soft sound and couldn’t help the smile that slowly crept about his lips.

There, between where the treeline ended and an endless clearing began was a horse – its head held high as it inspected the duo. It was a beautiful, wild looking thing with nettles caught in its mane and a dorsal stripe which wound its way down its back between its shoulders. It was shaggy with winter fur, its hooves buried in the snow. Mateo blew a low whistle as he leaned over Ombras back to pat her reassuringly.

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POSTED: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:55 am

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

She had very little idea of how to handle a horse. It was a far cry from what he had picked up, what felt like a lifetime ago, within the safety of Inferni, trying to ride a large chestnut horse with the guidance of his mentor.

Nazario wondered if Vicira ever thought of them, even now.

The detour was long, through the snow, and he felt stern, wintery eyes on his back as he rode Riselka through the drifts, the filly still ever so fiesty and unweildy, trying to skirt away from his commands only for him to bring the reigns in tight, and squeeze against her ribs with his thighs until she was back in line with him again. Thankfully, the horse they had lifted from that drunk back in Searsport fitted Briarblack well - a well-broken bay gelding, who was more than happy to keep along the path set ahead of them, pausing to shovel his face into the snow to try and browse from dead grasses.

"Briar, you gotta pull his head up when he does that?"

"Why? What if he's hungry-"

"It encourages disobedience." The two stared at each other a good while, steely and measuring. "Oh, so, this is obedience?"

Briarblack's tone was derisive, on edge. "The goal was to push some of... That swill, that Santiago gave you in Amherst, and now we're venturing dangerously past that point-"

"I know. I know--" he interjected, perhaps a little too biting with his words, before he dragged a hand along his face. "I... Just need to be sure of something."

Somewhere.

Briarblack dropped it, expression certainly less than keen on her partner's decisions. The cold ached her shoulder, evident in how she rolled it, and they quietly trudged along until a swath of breeze shifted over the snows, bringing with it salt air and the scent of sea, horses. A stranger. The dark woman behind him patted at her horse's shoulder, trying to urge him forward, clumsily, until she got to tap against his ribs, and the gelding rode a rough and bouncy trot up alongside Nazario, jostling the poor woman who had a look of surprise, before she tugged her steed to a stop. His gold eye drifted to her, and he tried to mask his dry amusement, before that gaze lifted to horses in the distance, one feral, closer, the other with a rider.

"Do you think he sees us?"

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POSTED: Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:22 am

Mateo had been lucky in that being a member of the Onuban Nobility had afforded him lessons at an early age. Mateo had also been… unlucky in that his attention span was not known for its length, nor was his propensity to follow his Fathers expectations. As a boy he had buried himself in books and the scholarly pursuit of collecting the most beautiful words known to Luperci and weaving them into poems – and as his sisters had woven their way through the Court Mateo had instead spent time with the marvelled Amaranthe Andalusians.

He had no talent for riding – not in the way that some of the other members of his family did. He appreciated them not only for their utility, but for the beautiful lines of their bodies – the proud necks and the high-stepping feet, and when he had finally been gifted his own wonderful animal he had dedicated himself to learning what it meant to know how to ride. He was still known to fall or lose his balance – but since spending time with the women of Sharga he had grown more confident.

… thought had had thought Ombra was a stallion.

The mare beneath him twitched her ears curiously at her wild cousin, nickering lowly into the breeze. The feral animal pawed at the snow and flicked its matted tail – and Mateo wondered if it recognized another of its kind.

As the horses continued to gaze at one another he turned his head and was surprised to catch sight of another pair of riders who were much further afield. The wind shifted and silently the wild horse kicked off through the snow, its mane and tail streaming behind it. Mateo blew a breath through his nose and kicked Ombra forward – eager to intercept the man and woman who had interrupted his observation.

”Hola,” Mateo called as he came toward them, ”Did you see that?”

The woman was dark but her eyes bright like patches of blue sky, and the man had an eye patch that was all at once intimidating and cool. For a moment Mateo thought that this was the coyote that he had met along Inferni's borders all that time ago, but the set of his mouth was different along with the color of his mop of hair. Their horses inspected one another silently, and Mateo rested his hand on the pommel of his saddle.

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POSTED: Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:03 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

"Hola," Nazario answered back, though subtle suspicion edged its way onto the greeting - it seemed... Odd, to hear words he was familiar with, that wasn't from his home, and on the tongue of a dog. He shouldn't be so stingy with it. "The horse? Yeah."

What a strange gentleman.

Riselka's nostrils flared, momentarily haughty and equally perplexed, before she leaned subtly back, and propped up one of her feet. Briarblack's gelding, on the other hand, seemed more concerned over the new rider and his steed, and craned over his head.

"You know there's a whole mess of herds around here?" Briarblack murmured aloud, her winter eyes momentarily on the manner in which her horse, worked his velvet lips, and leaned forward to sniff apprehensively. Her eyes lifted to this man of obvious providence, and she let them linger a while, before glimpsing back to her companion, who in turn, traded a look back.

"You a... Trader, or somethin', maybe?" Nazario asked, softly. "Or a rustler?"

Why else would someone be so invested in the wild herds? "'Spose you should know that while they're wild, there's supposedly eyes on these groups."

Not that that fact had stopped the coyotes from pilfering from the group what felt to be ages ago, and took them across the mountains.

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POSTED: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:18 pm

It had been a complaint of every group Mateo had ever been a part of. He trusted others implicitly and believed in the goodness of others despite any stories that has been shared with him. Ruckus has tried to explain that the road was a dangerous place full of wolves and coyotes who sought to steal and ensure a better place for themselves in this world.

Mateo liked his place just fine - though the little dagger hidden beneath his clothes was just in case - a thing that Naji had forced him to plan for.

He pine for her sometimes the way a child would for their mentor, but he knew that she was spending time with her daughter and ensuring that they were prepared for a life with no more desert.

The coyotes that say astride their mounts reminded him of the woman's home land - their rich colors reminiscent of the sweeping hills of sand and sun. The woman was truly pretty, and Mateo found his eyes wandering back to her each time the conversation was met with a lull.

The Onuban shrugged, "I've never seen them before." His teeth clicked, "I'm more of a trader than a rustler - can't say that I am very good at working with wild horses. I wouldn't even know where to start to catch one." He chuckled softly and rested his animals reigns across his lap.

"What about you?" he gestured his nose between them, "Traders or Rustlers?"

He smiled at the girl, and bobbed upon his horse as Ombea adjusted her weight beneath him.

"I'm Mateo."
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POSTED: Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:59 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

"Depends who's askin'," Nazario replied back readily, his tongue ever a barb with its suspicion, before Briarblack had leaned over quickly in her own saddle and swatted his shoulder by means of scolding the young man. He fixed his lips, and let that gold eye linger long against the masculine lines of Mateo's face. The dark woman at his side, dismissed his surly words with a wave of her coffee hand.

She, perhaps, knew more about appreciating non-hostile conversation than he did.

"Briarblack," she started, placing a hand over her chest. "Medic - Nazario here is..."

She skewed her lips, and he gave her a pointed look.

"Jack-of-all-trades," he answered for her, and his stubborn pride took a little roughing at that. Was he a slacker? He didn't like to think so - recent history, however, would have told him otherwise. At least he wasn't nosy, a trait he noticed evidently in the way the woman sat forward in her saddle and let her pale blue eyes seemed to scour the dog on his mare. She looked like she was about to ask a question, before Nazario rapidly interjected.

"Ya got any interest in horses?" he suddenly pried, going to prop the heel of his palm against a saddle horn.

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POSTED: Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:25 am

It was a name that caught Mateo’s attention immediately.

Briarblack. She was dark all over, her small hands clasped delicately around the reigns of her horse as she twitched her ears. The inky hue of her muzzle spread from her nose up between her bright gem-stone eyes, disappearing into the chocolatey hue of her longer fur. She was clearly a coyote, with a long-tapered nose that matched the man with which she rode. Nazario was curious as well, and Mateo sniffed softly at the eye patch which was almost hidden before a swoop of the man’s hair.

The man shrugged his pale shoulders, ”I mean… I’m asking?” He chuckled softly, ”Just me.”

A lot of the loners he met in these parts were suspicious – with eyes that squinted and hands that never left the hilt of their weapons.

The noble man had no use for the same world weariness that came with some of his companions. Mateo sought all that was good, collected words and images that gave way to sweeping ballads and pieces of poetry that made his heart sing. Malik played to that, strumming the strings of his lute and putting music to the lyrics that Mateos muse gave birth to.

He hummed a note and canted his head. ”A medic? Where did you train?”

”I have my horse, one is good enough for me.” He patted Ombra’s pretty neck and smiled as she shook out her proud head. She had been a gift from the Amaranthe family on his name day – a time that seemed so far flung that he struggled to even remember it. ”I think they are wonderful to watch. So wild and free.”

He glanced at the girl, ”They’re beautiful as they are.”

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POSTED: Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:59 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

Nazario had passed a glimpse over to his dark-pelted companion, and rolled his eye with such severity at the almost spell-bound way she was studying this strange, easy-going man, pale and proud and rich with wonder atop his horse. As far as he had known her since war, they'd both grown humorless and stern - the medic looked utterly ridiculous with wide saucer eyes and those dainty ears high on her head. At a scoff, she finally glimpsed, brief and fleeting, towards the del Bosque, though it was quick, flustered, before she fluttered those dark lashes, recomposing herself as she adjusted her position in the saddle.

Perhaps he reminded her of something, of someone, of a vague concept - the whims of women were utterly lost on Nazario; and he clicked his tongue against his teeth, his face dry.

"I am self taught," Briarblack had answered, her voice unexpectedly thin, and soft. Rio could have outwardly groaned at this - he was an antsy sort, and didn't much like company outside his comfort zone, where as Briar had seemed somehow more sociable in this regard. He went to bundle his fingers in Riselka's mane, and the filly gave a low grunt while she shifted weight off a leg.

"So what, you just, go out? And look at stuff?" Nazario asked, incredulous. What lap of luxury had this man crawled from? "Ain't there nothin' else you could be doin'? How is it everyone is out here tryin' to survive, an' you just... Find peace lookin' at wild horses?"

The dark medic behind him looked ready to throw something his way. "Don't mind him, he's a calloused boy."

Lips set into a very stiff line, his expression indignant. "Calloused man," came a caustic murmur.

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