Face Freedom with a Little Fear

for Nat

POSTED: Thu May 16, 2019 3:52 pm

The blooms of a spring contorting into summer made the pale snow of Nova Scotia winters seem like an impossibility. How could it have ever been that icicles made a jagged crown along the edges of buildings? That every step sunk deep into snow that seemed it would never end? In truth, Theodora could only imagine Casa wreathed in snow: when Nayavota had led her here, spring had already begun its floral metamorphosis, and ice had found itself relegated to lurking in the shadows. Now it seemed that anywolf could not take a step without tender greenery blossoming underpaw, and chirruping birdsong could serve only to heighten the ambiance. Distracted as she was by a beautiful morning, Theodora had spent the morning with Morty again, though she had graduated from menial labor to basic tasks at this point, and was quite pleased to find that her skills hadn’t been a disappointment. Theodora had been stitching and bandaging since her first shift, after all, but it had been nice to hear that she hadn’t been trained incorrectly.

Without patients to see in the clinic this morning, Theodora had been loosed upon the world, and had decided to set herself to adventure. Well, at least the coward’s measure of adventure; she had thought herself plenty brave to ride the ship to Mistfell Vale with Nayavota, but Naya hadn’t been available today, leaving the girl to her own devices. Without the security of her dearest friend, Theodora hadn’t been brave enough to leave the packlands, but that still gave her plenty opportunity. She had been in the gardens enough to get to know the other wolves who toiled there, and had asked for their advice: there were two places she hadn’t been roughly nearby: the Steam Baths and Mirage Glade. Once a laughing gardener had told her that horses were present at Mirage Glade, it made her mind up more easily—her cowardice preceded her, and the large animals were possessed of their own wills in a way that Theodora didn’t quite understand, and she dare not press her luck with the untamed version when Casa’s own horses frightened her!

Thus it was decided that the Steam Baths were her best option. Theodora had gathered her belongings in a satchel, bringing a wineskin filled with water and some portable jerky as she went north from Fort Kingsbury. The walk itself was quite nice, but she soon found an unfamiliar scent tickling her nostrils. Theo gathered that it might be the sulfur from the Springs, for she had been forewarned they had their own aroma, and quickened her pace in hopes of finding them sooner.

WC: 441
Casa di Cavalieri
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Becky

POSTED: Thu May 16, 2019 5:14 pm

Aldora Knight
Word Count → +3 :: OOC

It was a cool spring day and the temperature itself was enough of an excuse for Aldora to seek out the comfort of the steam baths. The wound on her arm ached something fierce; luckily she had staved off infection, and the cut had granulated over with dark crusty flesh that itched terribly. She had kept it wrapped as much as she could to avoid the temptation of scratching, but today she had had enough.

Rather than reopen sliced flesh to bleed again, she instead felt that the warmth of the natural baths would help to soothe and loose the dead skin; she had hoped that through the healing powers of the warm waters she would find relief.

Even though it was deep within the territory, deep and safe, she had still brought her knife with her.

Aldora had been having nightmares of the fight from a fortnight ago; but she knew it was just because she had killed again. Aldora hated killing, but each time she had been forced to do so, it had been in defense of her pack and pack-mates. There was honor in that killing, as much as she despised it, most of those in Casa di Cavalieri would not look down at her for stabbing that trespasser in the back.

She shuddered and clasped her arms around herself; she realized she had been standing at the edge of the steaming pool of water staring at her reflection. She was suddenly transported back in time to her last visit here, when she had had her Vigil; that seemed like a life time ago.

An ear flicked towards the woods; the Lionheart recognized the sound of someone approaching. She turned, her hackles raised for but a moment, when she saw it was Theodora. Smiling, she released her arms, Oh hello! Nice to see you Theodora. She called, her crooked tail wagging.

What is, to you, the true test of strength?

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Nat
Luperci Artisan (Vocals), Hunter goose slayer

POSTED: Thu May 16, 2019 8:11 pm

Even a talentless hound like Theodora could follow a scent like sulfur, and along she pressed, until the trees thinned and the sound of bubbling assaulted her ears. It appeared even her internal compass had been functional today, for before her lay an impressive sight: the first of many of the Springs, rocks encircling its banks as its waters frothed invitingly. However, it wasn’t the water itself that came as a shock, but moreso the creature who stood along it, a familiar vision in chocolate brown and ivory. Aldora’s purple eyes met her own, and a broad smile cracked Theo’s maw even as Aldora called out a greeting.

“Aldora! My apologies for interrupting, I didn’t know anyone else would be here today,” she explained politely, the rest of her muted gray body following her liver nose as she made to greet her betters. Theodora remembered the woman fondly—it was she that had introduced her to Morty, after all, and had been so kind as to sit with her in her panic. Though Theodora still maintained a submissive air about herself (especially with a Lionheart like Aldora) she was unmistakably more comfortable than she had been before. Theo had been a quivering mess when they first met, apt to melt into a puddle at the first sign of confrontation—and though she wasn’t exactly a stalwart knight of Casa di Cavalieri, she at least had managed to make it feel like home.

As the distance between them shortened, Theodora offered a respectful dip of her head, but as her gaze came up in caught on something. “Oh, you’re hurt!” The words were preceded by a gasp, and her spider-like fingers crept forth with a desire to examine the wound, but she caught herself and drew her arms back before they’d gone too far. Her brow furrowed in concern, a million questions slipping through the forefront of her mind as she settled for appraising the injury from afar. Was it impolite to ask her what happened? Though she was fond of Aldora, it couldn’t truly be said that the two were friends by any means, and she did not wish to be disrespectful. She settled for wringing her hands together to employ them out of idleness, her smile gone odd. “Are… are you okay?” By all means, Theodora likely fussed for nothing—Aldora would have seen Morty or some other healer if she’d needed to, but it didn’t stop the lass from wondering.

WC: 412
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Becky

POSTED: Thu May 16, 2019 9:18 pm

Aldora Knight
Word Count → +0 :: OOC

The girl had blossomed in Casa since Aldora had first met her, the Lionheart had noticed she had been spending a great deal of time with Morty. This was a good thing, their experienced and off-beat healer was getting on in years, it was a good idea to start setting up the younger generation to take her place.

Theodora came over and submitted respectfully, Aldora stood dominant and relaxed as she had before. Then the light colored female noticed her wound, and tittered over it, her hands quivering to touch her.

Aldora allowed it, giving her arm for Theodora's inspection. It was clear that the cut had been fairly deep into her upper arm when she had first received it, and the fur around it was slightly bleached from the poultice Morty had given her. Otherwise, beside the crusty cover, it looked alright as far as Aldora knew, It’s okay, it’s healing mostly, don’t you think? I’m okay. She said, trying to relieve the girl’s fears.

She then gestured at the pool, I was about to take a dip to try and see if any of the hard parts slough off; do you want to join me? This particular pool doesn’t get too hot, it should be pleasant. She said. Some of the other springs got very hot at certain part of the years, but Aldora had learned that this specific one stayed at a good temperature year round. That, plus it had knobby mineral deposits in it that served as decent seats.

She stepped in, hissing slightly at the warmth, and then turned to Theodora to offer her a hand in. She was, after all, much taller than the lithe healer.

What is, to you, the true test of strength?

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Luperci Artisan (Vocals), Hunter goose slayer

POSTED: Wed May 22, 2019 11:23 am

Although Aldora’s permissiveness surprised her, it was with gratitude that Theodora was able to complete her inspection of the wound, fretting over the Lionheart much like a mother would her spawn. Luckily, her nervous fingers floating over the wound did reveal what seemed to be Morty’s handiwork (confirmed by a quick whiff, for it was Theodora herself who assisted Morty in the gathering and sorting of preferred herbs) and the druid found herself most satisfied; nothing malodorous, nothing portentous of infection seemed present by any of her senses. She released the arm with a large smile, and though Aldora’s words were likely used to soothe Theodora more than herself, the iron woman saw fit to agree regardless: “You’re right, Aldora. It’s healing quite well!” Though curiosity burned with how a woman as formidable as Aldora could ever be wounded, her superior did not seem overly concerned or fearful, and as always Theodora took her cues from that.

In fact, it appeared that the chestnut Knight had come seeking relaxation, not retribution for her wounds. It made sense, of course, to be visiting the hot springs for the purposes of actually trying them out—Theodora hadn’t bothered to dictate her own actions upon arrival with any precision, knowing herself enough to realize she may end up studying the flora around the springs more than relinquishing herself to their depths, but the invitation extended was not one she would refuse. A light blush colored her cheeks at it, though she had the good grace to be embarrassed about her excitement. It wasn’t every day that one was invited to sit with an idol, and Theodora had never forgotten Aldora’s kindness towards her. It was an empathy that continued, even now as a steady hand was afforded to cross the rocky boundary of the shallows.

Theodora accepted it, already making her tentative steps to follow Aldora. Though her cinnamon counterpart had boldly dipped in, the purple-eyed recruit was far more hesitant, lowering a toe daintily into the water and gasping at the heat. It sent a thrill up her spine, but worrying that Aldora might grow tired of assisting her in she did not dally in lowering the rest of the limb and then following it with its twin. Once she had acquired stable footing and could thus surrender her hold on the Lionheart, she was free to stand stupidly with wide eyes, marveling at the new sensation. “I’ve never…” She didn’t finish the statement, though perhaps it was obvious how she intended to finish, and bent low to tap the surface of the roiling springs with a curious finger. “I bet this could be useful for many health problems,” she mumbled, the academic in her already filing it away, considering the implications. When she straightened her back, a spritely smile had alighted on her face for Aldora. “Thank you, by the way.” As simple as the words were, they could be taken as merely an extension for the invitation, but Theodora meant more behind them. “Are… you supposed to submerge?” She couldn’t imagine putting her face under, but in all honesty, she could copy whatever the Lionheart did.

WC: 526
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Becky

POSTED: Wed May 22, 2019 4:18 pm

Aldora Knight
Word Count → +3 :: OOC

Aldora’s smile widened into a grin as Theodora took a tentative step into the steaming pool. The Lionheart kept a grip on her hand until she found her footing and only then released her. Theo seemed astounded by the natural phenomena, mumbling about its healing properties. She was a bright one, this Theo.

The chocolate pelted woman walked backwards into the water slowly, letting it submerge the lower half of her body. The Recruit questioned after her, Not if you don’t want to, it might be too warm for that now. She said, though recalled going under the night of her Vigil, the sound of the warm water rushing into her ears, making her head spin.

Moving deeper into the bath, Aldora found herself a smooth, mineral laced mound to sit upon and once she did so, the water came up just to her shoulders. Once the healing waters hit her wound, it bloomed with throbbing pain, but not so terrible to make her cry out.

Aldora placed a hand over the cut, This is a special place for us Cavaliers, it is here that those who enter into the fold of the Brotherhood perform their Vigil, a night of deep reflection. Then, she raised a hand out of the water, her arm dripping, and pointed a ways off then, Then we go to a cave near here, and find for ourselves a piece of fluorite, a purple colored stone that can only be claimed by the Brotherhood.

She let her arm fall back into the warm pool, It was not too long ago that I clawed my piece from the Earth, I’m sure that soon your time will come to pass. She gave the strawberry haired maid a smile. Theodora was doing well among the Knights, and was already beginning to make a name for herself as a healer. Between her, Minerva, and Morty, the pack would remain strong and healthy.

What is, to you, the true test of strength?

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Nat
Luperci Artisan (Vocals), Hunter goose slayer

POSTED: Thu May 23, 2019 1:06 am

Her eyes were owlishly round as she watched Aldora pull away, her body disappearing beneath the white froth as her legs bent, giving her the appearance of melting away into the heat. It was only Aldora’s placid face that betrayed her own safety, but Theodora did not miss the subtle twitch of her countenance as the waters consumed her wound. Others in pain, or causing others pain, had always been her least favorite aspect of healing—she had often aggressively pushed countermeasures to it, resulting in her affection of poppy flower. She had heard rumor that others had combined the oil with alcohol to make an even more potent tincture, but never having had access to liquor, it was something she hadn’t tried. Regardless, she hadn’t brought anything with her to ameliorate pain… unless one counted the distraction of company. She vowed to do her best work of it.

The stone beneath the spring was not as slippery as she feared, but Theodora moved slowly anyway, fearing that she might fall on her face and embarrass herself. It took considerably longer than it had Aldora, but she took found a spot to recline, her skin tingling at the sensation of submerging in the heat. Theo didn’t think she had ever been so warm in her life, not since she was a pup swaddled in her father’s arms at least.

“Was it hard to find?” She queried, imaging Aldora moving blindly through an unfathomable darkness, beset on all sides by strange beasts. She wished she could see the stone mentioned, though she was already smiling at the idea that she too might one day be worthy of it. Aldora’s compliment had caused a resurgence in her blush, and so she let her fingers tap the surface of the water in distraction, admiring the ripples dissolving into disarray. “And was it… hard to do? To become one of the Brotherhood?” The Cavalier seated beside her could spend the entirety of the day speaking and not lose Theodora’s attentions, and it was hard to minimize her questions to a more palatable size. “There wasn’t such a thing where I grew up. Everyone was the same…” The pack had been more like a large family than a formal organization, and it had seemed to work without discord—at least without anything that had been exposed to a pup as young as Theo before she had been whisked away.

WC: 404
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Becky

POSTED: Sat May 25, 2019 7:22 pm

Aldora Knight
Word Count → +3 :: OOC

Now that she was settled, the mineral laden waters seeped into her fur and soothed her skin, and she felt herself relax. Aldora was often tense, she seemed to store her anxiety in her limbs, so to release the tension was almost painful. Her cut strung wickedly when she released it from her palm, but she fought against the temptation to scratch it. The steam baths would do their magic and she would be well again.

Theodora also found herself a place to sit, her strawberry mane floating and her light fur darkening with the waters. She asked if it had been hard to find the fluorite, Not at all, you can see it glittering in the clay; some pieces are too small to claim, but it isn’t difficult to find a large piece worth saving. Aldora said with a smile. Many chose to turn their purple stone into elegant jewelry, or totems; the Lionheart had left hers raw and uncut; it was wrapped in a rabbit skin back home in her vanity.

The next question caught Aldora slightly off-guard but she answered quickly, Yes it is. All things worth accomplishing are difficult to achieve, but I see greatness in you. You’ll grow into a strong healer, especially under Morty’s tutelage. She said.

Aldora stood then, taking a moment to ring out her thick locks of hair before she transitioned over to sit a bit closer to the recruit, but still gave her a respectful distance. Theodora spoke of where she had grown up, where everyone was the same, Did you live in a very feral pack? Many of those in Casa still cling to the old ways, many of my family especially. There’s nothing wrong with it, but the world moves ever forward. She left the implications of this statement unspoken; the world belonged to Luperci now, there was not much room left for the wolves of times gone past.

To lighten the mood, Aldora smiled again, Not everyone may be equal here, but we all have a role to play. It all works in harmony, and for the good of the pack. That is why Casa di Cavalieri is so long lived; we have done well for ourselves. While she spoke, she reached up and gently ran a claw over the sensitive flesh of her arm, and winced.

What is, to you, the true test of strength?

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Nat
Luperci Artisan (Vocals), Hunter goose slayer

POSTED: Mon May 27, 2019 4:56 pm

At the mention of Morty, Theodora smiled fondly. Though the woman was quite opposite from Theodora’s reserved personality, she was a charming character, and had been since the first day she’d met her. “Well, that’s another thing to thank you for, Aldora,” she chimed in, remembering that first day in the gardens. “I do hope to prove worthy of your faith.” As she spoke, her fingers went for a plant growing on the edge of the springs, looking it over with careful inquisitiveness before turning back to the chestnut woman. Aldora rose like a siren from the steam baths, her long hair dripping as she adjusted herself, and Theodora wondered at the differences between them. Aldora moved with a confidence in form, her body an artwork of feminine curves—by contrast, Theodora was an angular, bony thing. Though Casa had done well by her, her collar bones less sharp and her hip bones less pronounced, she doubted that she could ever invoke the sort of presence Aldora did.

She let her mind drift back to Minnesota, and her father’s broad smile. “I think that would be an accurate term. It does seem a much simpler way to live.” Or do you just revere it because you have lost it? She had spent so long following a violet-eyed shadow… In time, perhaps, would she have come to dislike her father’s pack as well? Was it brighter only in comparison? “I am clearly in no position to judge. I am happy in Casa as well.” Theodora affirmed the statement with a smile, but it faded when she saw Aldora’s focus return to the pain of her wound.

“May I ask… how did this happen to you?” The query was tentative, her tone allowing Aldora to refuse to answer. “I do have medicine for pain in my quarters, if you’d like.” She inched closer, looking over the wound on Aldora’s arm again. Who, or what, would be brave enough to take on the Cavaliers of Casa in combat?

WC: 335
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Becky

POSTED: Tue May 28, 2019 7:09 pm

Aldora Knight
Word Count → +3 :: OOC

The way Theodora sometimes spoke to her made Aldora feel unworthy. The cream colored wolfess was new, she had not grown up in Casa di Cavalieri, she had not known Aldora in her youth and therefore only saw her as she was now, a flower at its fullest bloom. But of course the errors of the past weighed heavily on the Lionheart’s mind, and often… she had had to forgive herself more than once for misdeeds gone by, and she was sure she would have to many times more until she would finally be able to release herself from them.

Still, she smiled, and nodded in gratitude at the Recruit’s words. She also was well aware of Theo’s eyes on her body as she moved. Normally this would not bother her, but suddenly she felt self-conscious and therefore lowered herself deeper into the waters, the skin under the fur of her cheek’s growing warm.

But the awkwardness quickly passed as Theodora, ever inquisitive, asked about the wound. Aldora once again raised her arm to offer it to the budding-healer for inspection; now that it had soaked, the dead skin had mostly sloughed off to reveal tender and pink scar tissue that nearly glowed in contrast to the Knight’s dark fur. She realized then it would be a scar that she would bear for the rest of her life.

No, no, it barely bothers me at all anymore. Aldora said, her lavender gaze still trained on the cut, now unfocused. The next words out of her mouth were quiet and almost robotic, Trespassers came onto our lands in search of my brother. They attacked our Lune… I came to his aid and killed one of them who had ambushed him.

She stared a moment longer and then met Theodora’s violet eyes with her own, I stabbed him in the back more times than I could count. Her pupils grew small and her body shuddered.

What is, to you, the true test of strength?

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Nat
Luperci Artisan (Vocals), Hunter goose slayer

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