coffers full; we're starting over

brother!

POSTED: Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:51 am

Word Count → ??? :: I write you a story, but it loses its thread

They took the last full bottle of Mullen's cheap piss and walked together into the woods. The Troupe let them go and did not follow. They were each of them hardened in some other way, having lost something or someone, having left tragedy behind. The Amaranthe brothers were late to this party, but then, they'd never been good at showing up on time.

It took a particular sort of day to wear down Calrian's golden shine. Mal couldn't remember a time he'd seen his brother quite so derailed, or quite so quiet. Things hadn't been easy for a long time, but there was a difference between struggle and defeat. No amount of clever thinking could bring back Krokar. They had led the whole caravan on a wild goose chase, with disappointment as its final destination.

As the sun climbed so did the brothers, passing the bottle back and forth between them as they hopped the foothills and followed their instincts. Even Mal let the alcohol go down, resenting the way it burned, resenting the way it made his eyes water in response. It felt good when it hit the guts though - like a firm hand of reprimand, well deserved.

"Where do you think they all went?" There was a small prey trail that wound through the pines. Mal stretched his arms out before falling back into step.

They hadn't found any mass graves, though they'd been afraid to look for a while, and in the end Cookie had done it. The inhabitants of the little fishing village had just... Vanished. "Upcoast, across to the Peninsula? We'd have passed them otherwise, or - or someone would have seen them at port." Why didn't they leave a note? He wanted to ask. But it was a childish thought, and they'd grown up a lot since Ma and Father had left for Onuba.

His mind couldn't even begin to approach what had happened just yet.

Last edited by Malik Amaranthe on Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Troupe
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Alaine
Luperci

POSTED: Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:06 am

:( my kokoro is brokoro

It was strange. Growing up, they were always telling him to be quiet, to keep all that noise to himself, but now the words that filled his day were gone. They didn't live inside him, and he didn't know where they went. Malik had the good sense to bring a drink to fill some of that absence, but nothing could quell the silence that roared all around them.

Their feet took them the old way. Calrian didn't hope to find anything out there, but felt himself clinging to even the smallest shreds of familiarity now that so much of it was gone. He couldn't make sense of anything else.

I don't know, he replied. He couldn't even imagine an answer. When he tried to see too far, it all went dark.

He threw back his head to look at the sky through the canopy, as he had often done as a child. The drink made the world spin, and he careened on his feet until his brother's hand caught his elbow and righted his course. Unaware, he stumbled on.

Upcoast, downcoast, east, west - Does it matter? He said in an unusually sober voice, It's all gone. There was nothing left, not a single sign that anyone had lived there at all. Out of many terrible thoughts that day, he'd been struck by one the hardest: if nobody remembered anything, not the people, not the laughter, not the song and story, then did any of it matter? He wasn't prepared to let his home enter the realm of fantasy, even if he'd already left it behind ages ago.

He wasn't prepared for any of this truth be told, and for the first time he was understanding just that.

Though the sun was still splashing through the hands of the trees, the day felt late. He felt like they had already wandered through the incoming night, and the icy drifts that wet his cheeks were the summons of a morning that came too early, too eagerly. He didn't look up for the longest time, and didn't notice the way the path sloped or how the tree trunks began to bear the scrapes and marks of rambunctious children. When at long last he looked up, he saw the glint of light off the chipped white shutters. A dark, shrunken shape, the cabin seemed smaller than he remembered, yet still it stood against the march of time. The snows hadn't all melted up there, and they wouldn't for a while. Maybe it was this that preserved the structure so fully, against all odds, as it sometimes did for those who found rest one last time in the cold.

Something stirred awake inside of him. Is that...?


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San
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POSTED: Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:19 am

Word Count → ??? :: sad boi squad

"Of course it matters!" Shocked, Mal looked at his brother with disappointment. It didn't stick; Cal swallowed heavy and both brothers were lightweights, tipsy on the fumes that rose greasily from the bottle. The golden-eyed man wasn't hardly paying him attention anyway. Malik knew he didn't mean anything by it, and tried not to let the seed of hurt settle deeper into his chest.

In a couple days Cal would be his old self again, and they'd figure out where the Krokarans had gone, and they'd know where to go next. In a couple days. Just a couple days more.

It was cold enough up here that their breath hung phantasmal in the air, creating shapes and figures where there were none. Disoriented by this, the bard made a sound of dismissal toward his brother's invocation. Pssh! They'd been wandering in circles, he thought. There was nothing out there to find, not for a couple days-

The repetitive cycle of thoughts stuck up on the roof of his mouth, pressed flat by a tongue that had gone abruptly dry. Blinking to clear his eyes, Malik stared in disbelief at the four stick figures carved into the nearest pine - two taller, one with long wavy hair, and two shorter. A family. He followed Calrian's gaze down along the old path and felt the demanding urge to rub his face and wake up.

He ran his palms roughly over his cheeks, mussing the pale hair on his crown. The vision remained.

The cabin was a dream from their shared boyhood. That it still existed in a physical space, grounded in wood on this same mountain, felt unreal. "We're drunk," Malik said aloud, but in spite of himself his lips were curling up into a smile, and his sad droopy eyes shone brightly.

He took one step toward the cabin, and broke into a run on the second. "Last one there is the Lady's lackey!"

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Alaine
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POSTED: Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:47 am

His head shook. Of course it mattered - Mal was right. It was times like these that Calrian appreciated his brother's antithetical stances. They balanced each other, like earth and sea.

If Mal's words hadn't been enough to correct his course, the cabin sure did. Nothing could shake the clammy hands of sorrow from his shoulders quite like a good footrace.

Hey! He barked with mirthful indignation, as if he hadn't had the same idea just a second too late. Dashing headlong down the trail, Calrian was returned to his boyhood. The same twigs whipped and tugged at him as he went stumbling down the same rocky slope, as if to tear from him all that finery and treasure he'd been carrying for so long. He felt as if he were shedding the excesses of Portland, and all that mattered was how far and how fast his feet could take him. By the time he threw himself at the front steps and collapsed into laughter, Calrian had forgotten that there was any competition to their dash and that Krokar was just overgrown rubble. It was his strange ability, a super-ability even, to let all of his troubles fall behind him.

He tossed a hand out for his brother like a swimmer grabbing a buoy. He reached out sometimes, but it wasn't always just to affirm Malik was there with him. Sometimes he just wanted Mal to know he was there for him too.

When he'd finally gotten the chance to catch his breath, he stood up to survey the old cabin. It was smaller than he remembered, but he couldn't tell how much of that was due to his height now or the slump of the wood after bearing a few years of snow. He rubbed at his mouth, which was still poised for giggles.

You think anyone's taken up residence here? He mused as he ran a hand along the old windowsill. The wooden shutters were closed, and by the looks of it had stayed that way for a very long time. Throwing a look to his brother, he grinned. What are the odds, huh?


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San
Luperci

POSTED: Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:38 am

Word Count → ??? :: that's my son!! papa so proud

Calrian had always been the faster runner. That didn't stop Malik from trying - the head start gave him some ground, and then it was only the sounds of laughter, leaves and frost crunching underfoot, hands shoving and boys running, boys running home.

It could have been any number of days from their memories; Except it would have been summer then, the air hazy with dust and pollen, snowmelt babbling sweetly in the brook. Their mother standing on the stoop, her white hair growing long again.

Breathing heavily, Mal leaped the last few steps and slumped against the old porch beam. Calrian had won again, but it didn't matter, and neither brother remarked on it.

When their panting eased into contemplative silence, Semini's boys took in their surroundings once more. Clearer of mind, Mal noticed many unfamiliar additions to the Oromocto cabin. There were little icicles hanging from the roof, and one of the windows was missing its glass pane. "I dunno," The bard met his brother's curious look, "Only one way to find out?"

The old door resisted him initially. It had been closed for a long while, and the frame and the cabin had settled around it. Malik put his shoulder in and it finally relented, swinging open with a gentle sigh as though it had never been obstinate in all its life.

The interior was dark but inviting. Grinning - albeit a little nervously - at Cal, he gave a poncy flourish and bowed. "Ladies first!"

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Alaine
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