[M] maybe we have to break everything

to make something better out of ourselves

POSTED: Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:39 pm

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.

Set after this thread. Night, somewhere in Gaspesia.

Why didn't you tell me?

I did tell you.

Not enough, apparently! Not about whatever the fuck just happened! Jethro screamed. His voice threatened to crack and he threw his hands up in disgust.

Neither of these seemed to phase Marlowe, who stared at him so plainly and unbothered they might not have been fighting at all. Jethro certainly looked like he was ready to fight, with his fur all on end and his lips pulled away from his teeth. He was madder than he had ever been.

The way she had looked at him—

What don't you know about me? Marlowe asked him, blowing smoke into his face.

They had made camp long outside of the old city, having turned north, moving away from the other travelers and traders. The land was a place changed – more and more talk spread of groups of Luperci here and there, and indeed they had found plenty of company in Amherst. The rowdy dogs at Biff's Bar had decent booze and a noisy performance that Jethro enjoyed thoroughly. He had gotten rather drunk too, unable to process his feelings and thoughts, and had kept drinking after they left the bar.

That had a lot to do with why he was so easily able to expel his outrage now. Jethro was still inebriated and full of the angry vibrations of the dog's barking and music still ringing in his ears.

Exactly what happened when you were exiled.

I told you that already. You get that it's a power thing, don't you? Come on, Jethro, you gotta see that's what—,

Shut up, the blonde man hissed. He was bigger than Marlowe and sometimes when he stood with his shoulders held up and wide, and let his hair get all in his face, something weird happened with Marlowe like it did now.

A stranger might not have even realized, bur Jethro saw it all too plainly.

It got him to stop talking, anyway.

She hates you. You know who else she hates? Those Salsolan scum. The damn wolves. And you, goddamn it, and how the hell are we supposed to get over that, huh? What happened, really, you tell me what the fuck really happened, he spat, stumbling a little.

Jethro didn't notice the way Marlowe made little motions with his fingers to the cat watching them. He wasn't looking for these signals, focused instead on trying to read Marlowe's scarred face for signs of lying. By now, he thought he knew all the tells.

In the dark, Maya was another shadow, ready to pounce from where he waited, crouched against the ground behind Jethro's back. He was the assistant Jethro forgot about in his inebriated state.

You know how it started, yeah? Well things were just out of control, esé. We had a different Aquila then. She wasn't made for war. Not all of us were. Your father, he was. He was young, but he could fight.

It was hard to imagine his father as a young man. Antioch had lost himself to grief and abandoned responsibility (and his children) when they needed him most. He could have saved Inferni, or helped lead them elsewhere. Instead he had died, presumably, and his absence was an opened wound deep inside his eldest living son. Jethro felt his lip twitch.

The thing was, since it wasn't really a war, there wasn't really anyone leading it. Fights were just happening. If you saw someone, you fought them. They thought we had someone's kid, but we didn't, Marlowe said this forcefully, as if this was important. It was getting out of control. Someone started a fire down south, and they got real rowdy after that. No one was doing anything to corral these kids, so I made a deal, that's all. We all rumble, we see who wins, we end the bad blood. All I wanted to do was keep civilians out of it, especially after what happened to your dad's friend.

The one who died.

He was murdered. Brutally. We found him strung up near the borders. The poor kid didn't stand a chance – whoever did it made sure we got the message. Tore him open and set fire to him. It's a bad way to die, and we had to cut him down. That was the kind of shit that needed to stop. That's why I went behind that old bitch's back and did what I did. His voice never changed, not even when he was holding smoke in his lungs, not even when he finally made Jethro so uncomfortable that the younger man looked away. She was trying to kill me, that was her plan all along. Like you said, she hates me. The first thing she'd do is find a reason for someone to kill me if we even tried staying there.

Do you really think that? We weren't lawless, not back then, not—

Your cousin, he killed people just 'cause he wanted to. Seemed like if someone has something you want, you kill them and take it. Bet you they all do that. You okay with doing that again? You think we just walk in there and they forget about us leaving because we had to

I didn't have to do anything, Jethro snarled. He stumbled when he took a step forward, but found his balance.

First they're gonna make you do jobs no one else wants. It's gonna be small shit, things you don't even think matter, but they build up. Then it's real dangerous shit. Once you're not one of them you're threat, and you're gonna be all alone with them strangers if you go back. They ain't gonna trust you, just like they ain't gonna trust me. I'm telling you we don't need them. I told you, I got a plan, remember?

Yeah about your stupid fucking—

You're the one that came with me, Marlowe snapped. You didn't have to come with me, you never have, but I brought you in on this and went out of my way for you and you fucking owe me. You know you owe me, he said coldly.

Jethro showed all of his teeth with a snarl of rage.

Something snapped out in the woods. They both looked towards the sound.

Shh.

You shut up, Jethro muttered. He squatted and reached for his bow.

In the firelight, he saw Marlowe make a little motion with his hand. Wait, the gesture meant. The blonde grunted but did as his companion requested, while Marlowe – staring hard at where the noise had come from – called out.

Hola!

The Troupe
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Mel
Luperci Chaos Star stray arrows
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POSTED: Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:27 pm

Mateo awoke groggily, his eyes peeling open to the glittering firelight with a whine that had him burrowing back beneath the covers. The day had been filled with too much drink and vigorous dancing as their Bard plucked songs from his lute. Mateo had buried himself in his drink, eager to fit in with the other members of the troupe. Ruckus had goaded him, digging his elbow roughly into the dogs side each time a glass was raised or a drop of mead spilled.

There were more days like this, now that Theodora visited less and less – and Mateo wondered what it was that had him chasing women from his side as if he had the plague. There had been shadowy memories of women who had slyly slunk away and been nameless, but he always had his heart pining for someone that he would never see again.

Bubbles of drink still gurgled in his veins and when he forced himself upright there was a terrible pounding in his head that threatened stars in the corners of his vision. His hair was unkempt, his tunic tugged askew – but he readied himself with the laborious movements of someone who was only half conscious. Malik had had the brilliant idea of turning his songs into a drinking game and somehow Mateo had gone along with it at Ruckus’ urging. He wondered where the dirty mongrel was now and whether or not he had the same pounding head ache.

”Ruckus?” He mumbled lazily, wiping drool from the corner of his mouth, ”You there?”

But he was greeted with nothing and no one – the empty silence of the forest still too loud for his twitching ears.

They had camped out further afield than usual, though it was obvious that their tiny camp had been thrust together in some haste. The place where Ruckus had slept was a tangle of what could have once been a blanket and an uncomfortable looking bed roll, but the tattooed dog was nowhere to be found. The summer heat made it so that they had required very little, and the hound wondered if his companion had wandered off in search of water. Mateo tugged his clothes on and ambled off crookedly, abandoning the firelit camp with a wayward glance and a curious grin.

He did not move gracefully, and so when he came upon a pair of travellers whose voices rose just enough to be heard he found himself grimacing as he stepped upon a branch which immediately gave away his position.

”Mierde.” He muttered, for O’Brien would not have been impressed with his sneaking skills.

He took a moment to collect himself; running a hand through his curls and scrubbing his eyes with his hands. When he was ready he burst through the trees with what he thought was a charming grin, only to end up before a pair of wiley coyotes crouched around their crackling fire.

Their thin noses were a dead give away, that and the ashy colored fur that crept along their cheeks and enhanced the heated color of their eyes. Mateo blinked at the travellers, "Hola!" And offered a bow of greeting. "Your fire looks most inviting."

God Mateo you are SO DUMB


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Amanda
Luperci

POSTED: Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:51 pm

What sprung from the shadowy forest was unexpected – a dog with purple eyes and a pale face. He smelled like booze and smoke, but more than that too. From the distance, Jethro could only make out the strongest notes. It was enough to tell him this stranger who so pleasantly flounced into their midst was not alone.

The way Marlowe's whole demeanor changed happened within seconds. He tried to hide how he favored one side over the other, and he lifted his head with contemptuous arrogance, as if he was not an aging man plagued by old injuries and reliant upon others.

You make a habit of wanderin' into strange camps, amigo? The darker coyote smiled when he talked, but he had put his hand on his hip. He was trying to hide the fact he was armed too.

Seems pretty stupid, Jethro grumbled.

Marlowe didn't look in his direction, but his ears turned back.

Now that he was close to the ground, however, Jethro was less inclined to stand back up. He settled instead, pushing his bow next to him. Spread out on the ground were the horse blankets, both of them of similar make. They were new. Little by little, they lost and gained things.

Jethro leaned against his saddle as he watched the stranger suspiciously. He was having a hard time keeping his eyes open.

Especially in the middle of the night, Marlowe was going on. Seems like you'd be chancing trouble that way, don't you think?

The Troupe
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Mel
Luperci Chaos Star stray arrows
kismet
so it goes
lex talionis
pyrophoric

POSTED: Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:43 am

For a moment there were two fires. Mateo stood blinking stupidly as the two fires slowly merged. He resisted rubbing his eyes and instead took in the pair of coyotes who stared back at him. The smaller one, he had bright hoops of silver that glinted each time his ears twitched – and Mateo found himself gazing at them until the Spanish brought him back to the present. ”This camp doesn’t seem so strange.” He offered another one of his charming grins, ignoring the fact that he was entirely alone in an unknown forest, unarmed and uncertain.

When the fuzz dissipated from around his eyes Mateo took in the blankets, the way the younger man crouched like a snake – his expression distrusting.

The older man was dashed with silver, with choppy brown hair that sprung up at all angles between his ears. Mateo clicked his teeth, ”Maybe.” His shoulders shrugged and he scratched at his chin, ”I’m usually pretty lucky. The travellers I run into usually understand the rules of the road.” He made it sound like he was well travelled outside of the sea-venture that saw him from Onuba to Nova Scotia, as if his time with the Troupe had seen him harden to the life of a nimble footed rogue.

Or so he thought.

The pads of his feet were soft. His hands were soft. Even now as he stood before the scruffy coyotes it was evident that he did not know hardship. "I'm Mateo Salcedo." His tail flicked and he beamed again, gesturing at the bed-rolls and saddle bags curiously. ”...You ever heard of Lady Lucky?”

God Mateo you are SO DUMB


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Amanda
Luperci

POSTED: Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:08 am

The fur along Jethro's spine prickled. He was still drunk enough to hear a perceived insult in Mateo's words, as if he had insinuated that they had broken some unwritten code. What law was there, out here in the wild? What honor was there to be found among people who stole and killed?

Jethro didn't see Marlowe's expression. He didn't recognize that something peculiar was happening with his face, like the gentle cracking of a surface presumed still. When Marlowe smiled, he showed all his teeth and made another sacred sign with his hand. In the dark, ever-watchful eyes and the body carrying them grew motionless.

Boy, don't you sound like a preacher, Marlowe taunted. The way he said this didn't sound particularly favorable. What did you say your name was? You know I've heard that before, he finally looked back at Jethro.

In his not-quite-drunk state of being, the blonde struggled to remember.

Slowly, slowly, it came back –

like the fire, the man's voice rising above his people, the screaming

I know you, his companion's voice cut through the memories. Marlowe swore and laughed. Imagine that! Is that what your lucky lady brings? We've never met, he went on before Mateo could question his reaction. But you're some sort of..., he swore again, rattled off something in his peculiar language, and then concluded: A bard, that was it. Oh, we heard all about you from your friends, that big fella and his sister with the axe.

Too coincidental, Jethro thought. His head hurt.

He wanted to go back to the bar.

The Troupe
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Mel
Luperci Chaos Star stray arrows
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POSTED: Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:34 pm

”You… know me?” Mateo’s voice was incredulous, and he found that he replayed the moments spent in the tavern – to all the many faces who had peered up at him while he performed. The coyotes were foreign enough that he felt he would have been able to pick them out in a crowd… and yet… Mateo found himself staring at them with his mouth slightly agape, the violet of his eyes trailing along the older man’s scars.

”- his sister with the axe.”

Mateo felt himself bristle all over as if he’d been electrocuted. It had been weeks since he had thought of Tiamat, weeks dedicated to forgetting the lines of her face and the pretty way her eyes had darkened each time she pondered something important. His mouth was dry when he finally spoke, ”You mean… What? You know Tiamat?” Even saying her name made something flow through him, and he clenched his fists close to his sides.

”You should come back to camp with me.’ He smiled and wagged his tail uncertainly, ”The others will want to meet you.” His bushy brows cinched together as he glanced at their tiny camp, ”Where did you say you came from again?”

God Mateo you are SO DUMB


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Amanda
Luperci

POSTED: Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:57 pm

Just saying her name made Jethro's head ache. Everything about Tiamat had been difficult – she was the sort of woman who knew exactly what she wanted done and set out to do it. The people who gathered around her did so because they recognized something special in her, and Jethro had seen it too. He had seen her fighting. He had seen the absolute wreckage she and her brother could bring upon a place.

Mateo's excited bark jarred him from his memories.

Christ, he groaned and flung a hand to his face.

Shh, Marlowe hissed at him. He turned back to Mateo and flashed what might have once passed for a charming smile. We just came back from Portland. You said you got a camp? Slow down, we don't want to travel in the dark. Bad for the horses, he explained. Sit down.

Oh, are you serious? Jethro growled. He rubbed his eyes, smearing away more of the soot.

You're tired, maybe you should go to sleep.

You go to sleep.

Marlowe's smile tightened. He waited for Mateo to settle by the fire before doing so himself – he was stiff, Jethro noticed in spite of his haze.

We worked with her and a few others, the older man went on. Ain't sure where they wound up. Tell us about your camp.

The Troupe
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Mel
Luperci Chaos Star stray arrows
kismet
so it goes
lex talionis
pyrophoric

POSTED: Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:38 am

At the invitation Mateo curled his legs beneath him and sat stooped with his back against the dark. Like this the firelight flickered to catch at his pale cheeks and embellished the violet glitter of his eyes. Jethro and Marlowe circled the fire like sharks, their slick teeth flashing each time they opened their mouths to speak. Mateo was still toying with the concept that Tiamat was still out there somewhere, exploring and grinding adventures beneath her heel… without him.

It had been his choice, all that time ago.

Each time the tongue of flame lapped at the din he was reminded of the way the sunlight had caught at the tendrils of her wild hair as they had clung to one another in the bowels of their ship. That moment seemed a lifetime ago; the seaglass necklace, the moment he had asked her to be with him… and the moment where she had rejected him and sent him on his way, alone.

These men knew her.

He was prepared to listen for as long as it took to collect whatever pieces of her story they could afford him.

Mateo held his hands out to the flames and glanced at the younger coyote, his broody expression accentuated each time he smudged away the soot that lined his eyes. ”The others?” Mateo scratched his chin and glanced between them, ”Were they alright when you left them?” He hummed softly and allowed his chin to settle against his hand as he described the Troupe to his new companions.

”We’re a small collection of souls caught out here in the wilds. We’re looking to establish something more permanent before winter comes, but we’re still keeping our eyes open for a proper place.” His ears twitched, ”We’re lead by two Amaranthe brothers – Calrian and Malik.” He clicked his teeth, ”We call ourselves The Troupe.”

God Mateo you are SO DUMB


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Amanda
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POSTED: Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:19 am

For such a simple question, the answer was terribly complicated.

Jethro had not been alright when they split from their party. He had not been alright for a very long time, and therefore could not measure normalcy. Staying with a criminal like Marlowe was a choice that had not been made rationally. Getting caught up in the currents that surrounded his companion had been what taken him away from the people he knew and the land he knew.

Things felt different now. This was the way of the world, of course, but Jethro had never assessed the change.

Yeah, he offered in response to the dog's question. We all made it.

Marlowe cut him off before he could elaborate.

That so? He asked. He leaned forward, his yellow eyes bright. There's plenty of places that could make for a decent base 'round here, far as I can tell. Trouble with settlin' anywhere comes after, Marlowe turned his hands over to show his palms and made motions as he spoke. Mostly, Jethro noticed, he was repeating himself – signs that the blonde read as he watched Marlowe's hands move. We just got back to this area. Maybe we can help each other out.

The Troupe
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Mel
Luperci Chaos Star stray arrows
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so it goes
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