Follow where you lead

POSTED: Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:39 pm

(393)

This thread occurs several days after Calan’s threads in the Western Forefront. Minor expository information may be edited in this post at a later date to best serve continuity! (Open to 1).

”Darling, you and I both know that isn’t gold. Let’s stop with the ruse, shall we?” Calan demurred, looking the trader straight in the eye. “Now, here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to stop lying to your customers, and I won’t go ahead and tell the next ten towns I’m in that you’re selling fake product. Word travels fast, so I hear... faster than your little scheme can. Your reputation would be in shambles. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you got locked up.” He shrugged nonchalantly, toying with his light blond braid.

It was morning, and Calan had come across what felt like a sight for sore eyes; a trader, pack filled with wares. It had been so long since he’d seen anyone in his old line of profession - or anyone at all, for that matter - he seriously worried he’d been heading into the abyss. ‘Go northeast until you reach the meeting of two rivers’ was about as vague as it got, directions-wise. He’d gone up to the trader to see about buying some sort of water skin (and maybe a little alcohol - just a little, enough to last a couple nights), only to be met with laughably false goods and outrageous prices. He’d tried to haggle with him and was only met with lies about ‘rare, quality trinkets from faraway lands’. The fact that this hack thought he could get away with ripping off all of these innocent locals left a sour taste in his mouth. It honestly put the whole trading business to shame. He couldn’t sit by and let this happen.

And that’s why he was now putting this guy in his place. Not just because he didn’t have any vodka for sale. (Okay, maybe a little bit. Who carries ‘sacred energy crystals from Tibet’ - obviously glass - but no vodka?) “So what’s it gonna be?” He moved his hands to his hips, chest strong, stance authoritative. The blond loner hoped that by ruffling his feathers, the trader may be so compelled to lower his prices on his wares - the waterskin especially - and maybe even procure a little moonshine from a secret pocket for him to buy. It was at least worth a try.

Then the trader drew his knife. ”You think it’s going to be so easy, punk?” Calan cursed himself for his stupidity, hands already raised in the universal sign of ‘hold up’ . He would have scolded himself for his lack of observation if he wasn’t so scared shitless. ”W-W-woah woah woah! Easy there! Let’s not be hasty!” He laughed through a clenched smile, eyes wild. Even if Calan was armed - which he clearly wasn’t - he wouldn’t know the first thing about what to do with a weapon, besides ‘stick the pointy end in’. Knife fights were dirty work. He’d had people to help him with this part. Now, he was alone - and worse, he was going to die over a phony gold bracelet. Who would have thought blackmailing someone would mean they’d fight back?

Last edited by Calan Brecours on Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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POSTED: Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:27 pm

Being outside of Salsola felt strange. For months Brocade had allowed himself the luxury of wallowing inside of their watchtower and learning as much as he could about his new bride. Morgana was a shifty creature, one who constantly surprised him despite their close quarters. She buried him in trinkets, small talismans that were for luck and prosperity. They decorated his tunic and hung from tassels around his waist. Like this he appeared an exotic traveller, one who had escaped to the far reaches of the continent before returning home.

Brocade wandered on horseback, Tonerre’s soft sounds echoing through the trees as he kneed him to change his pace.

The sound of voices had the man pricking his ears and flaring his nostrils – his curiousity peaked as Tonnerre stamped his hooves against the moist earth. ”Who goes there?” Brocade called, the deep timbre of his voice a sharp order that cut through the air. When they came upon the pair of Luperci; a golden collie-looking dog with a pointed nose and eyes so bright that Brocade was forced to look away from them – and to a paltry looking trader who was pawing at his wares as if to claw them away from prying eyes.

Brocade growled softly and dropped from his horse, adjusting the dagger that gleamed at his hip as if to prove a silent point.

"Is there a problem here?"

Hi! Have a Broc <3

Salsola
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Amanda
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POSTED: Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:24 am

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I hadn’t even noticed this - absolutely my fault! Thanks for joining in <3

Just as things were starting to look ugly, a new voice called out from a few yards away. The tone was stern and authoritative - someone who commanded respect, or at least sounded like it. Calan let out the breath that he hadn’t realized he had been holding, carefully lowering his hands. Fate couldn’t have planned it better herself. He sent a silent thanks to whatever deity had decided his life was worth saving. It would have been tragic if the world had lost his beautiful face.

As quick as it had come, the knife withdrew back to some hidden compartment in the trader’s outfit. Calan could see the trader calculating his chances of escape: he was outnumbered, and - as Calan turned around he saw - out-horsed. There was no way he was going to be winning today. The crook had the gall to come stand next to him, raising his hands in platitude, as if this had been just a casual disagreement. “No problems whatsoever, sir!” the trader beamed, his smile saccharine. Disgusting. Calan’s nose crinkled. He could practically smell the desperation.

“We’re completely fine. I was just telling my friend here — “ he grabbed the trader’s arm for emphasis, grip tightening, “ — to be careful up ahead. I hear there are a lot of twists and turns in the road. Not that many friendly towns. And he wouldn’t want his precious goods harmed, would he?” The blond let go, watching as the trader scrabble away from him as if scalded. Calan sighed. He was so tired of this.

Luckily, the trader seemed to feel the same way. Fumbling with his packs, he took two steps backward, glancing behind him as he did. There was nothing but the open road behind him. “Ah, it seems you two have business together! I-I’d best be off, good gentlemen! Take care!” He stumbled away, looking as if he wished he could run if it hadn’t seemed so suspicious.

“Pathetic,” Calan tsked, watching the other man retreat. He turned to fully face his saviour again, his hand reaching up to undo his loose hair tie. “I can’t stand crooks. It’s hard enough for us as it is, yanno?“ He carded his fingers through his long hair, shaking his head dramatically to undo the braid. Truth be told, Calan was also a little concerned to encounter someone so well equipped and dressed on the road. He hoped that his nonchalant attitude would made it clear to this other luperci that he was no threat. ”You wouldn’t have something on hand to drink, would you? I’ve got a headache, the size of which you wouldn’t believe.” He sighed for effect, starting to rebraid his hair.

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POSTED: Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:35 am

The trader reacted in a way that was predictable – back pedalling away from the soldier with hands held open and useless. Brocade watched with a firm expression, his scarred mouth twitching as the mongrel yipped his excuses, the smile too well practiced for anything about it to be genuine. The horse grunted, stamping a wide hoof as Brocade waited. Outnumbered like this there was no point in fighting, and as the golden collie glanced at him Brocade offered a grin that was not directed at the fleeing trader.

”Its true.” He glared at the dog, ”There are many twists. I would be careful where I set your feet if I were you.”

He growled after the man’s retreat, before finally returning his attention to the loner. ”There’s always one, right?” He shook his head and held out his hand, ”I’m Bastian,” his eyes twinkled, ”We travellers have to look out for one another.”

”Let me check for you, I’ve always got something. He was about to take you on a ride-“ He paused in his searching and tugged a bottle from deep within the saddle pack, ”And you may be in luck.”

The piebald horse adjusted his weight and the leather creaked loudly as Brocade fastened the packs, ”You looking for something stronger than water?”

No worries!! I love Calan!<3

Salsola
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Amanda
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you forget I have a gypsy heart
listen to the wild

POSTED: Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:11 am

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And I love Broc <3

What had he done recently to deserve a knight in shining armor, rescuing him from his stupid big mouth? He wasn’t about to complain, mind, but it felt almost suspicious in how great the karma gods were treating him. The collie could only smile back in open gratitude at the good-natured ease of his new companion. ”Calan,” the blonde responded, tying off his new braid to take the proffered hand in a firm shake. When the wolf - Bastian - dared to suggest that his act of kindness was just status quo, Calan responded with a shake of his head. ”I owe you one. You saved my ass out there. That’s what I get for driving a hard bargain.” Yet again, he was struck with the open friendliness of the wolves he’d encountered since leaving Quebec. It was nothing like the closed-lipped, conservative French folk of his youth.

So friendly, in fact, that Bastian didn’t hesitate to act on Calan’s throwaway request. ”You looking for something stronger than water?” Calan could have whimpered in appreciation for the wolf’s astuteness, seeing the bottle emerge from deep within his packs. “Oh finally, an honest-to-God gentleman on these roads,“ he moaned, his eyes taking in the flask with hunger. He could care less if his desperation seemed rude - what mattered most to him at this moment was getting alcohol in his body, and fast. A man had needs, after all. ”I’ll take anything you’ve got, as long as it’s strong.” He fought the urge to hold his hands out in the universal sign of ‘gimme gimme’, but only just.

Instead, he tried to keep the conversation flowing, detracting from his base needs. ”So what are you doing, travelling on these roads? Surely it’s not for the great trading, I hope? If so, I’d say you’re fresh out of luck.”

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POSTED: Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:45 pm

His experience in the thistle kingdom had taught him that niceties could easily be twisted for benefit, and though Brocade did not consider himself a spy (unlike the emissary he so often travelled with), he did have a certain charm. Often he was able to pull small bits of information from a traveller, and the women in the tavern were pliable beneath his ministrations.

They told him anything he asked.

"The unwritten rules of the road... So few follow them these days." He held out the flagon to the traveller with an easy smile. For the briefest of moments he hesitated, though north glinted deep in his golden eyes. "A hard bargain? What'll you trade for it?"

He chuckled before releasing the drink to Calan, "I kid, please, drink your fill." He crossed his arms and settled to comfortably lean against the thick shoulder of his horse as he watched the man lap the drink down. "It's been a few weeks I think. My family is further north, and I wanted to scout and trade before winter blows in."

He canted his head and tugged at the fur on his chin. "You from one of the places nearby?"

Sorry for my slow!<3

Salsola
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Amanda
Luperci Vedetto, Milite
you forget I have a gypsy heart
listen to the wild

POSTED: Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:38 pm

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All good! This is super casual :) Though I have a feeling Broc will wish he’d found someone more useful...

Calan’s heart felt like it had dropped thirty feet at Bastian’s suggestion he pay for the drink. Just when it felt like the world was doing him a favour, it brought him back to cruel, cruel reality. He stared at the flask as if it were a ship setting off with the love of his life, fighting a whimper. How could he have come so close and yet so far?

He had half a mind to offer up his own body when the wolf broke out into a laugh. Calan tried his best to do the same, aware somewhere of how much more desperate his sounded. But it didn’t matter. He had the flask.

His hands made quick work of getting the top off. Then, he took one long, hearty swig, following the swallow with a blissful sigh. The liquor burned on its way down, but he didn’t care. Sobriety didn’t suit him. Without liquor, it had been a dreadful few weeks. He took another quick swig before responding to Bastian’s question, having hardly listened to his response to the question he himself had posed. Now that he had the flask in his hand, Calan had all he needed.

“Nope, travelling from west. Quebec. Part of the Brecours trading family.” That, at least, wasn’t wholly a lie - he still had the last name, after all. “I’m new here, still learning the lay of the land. Was hoping to trade with some of the groups near here, actually. What’re they like?” He wasn’t going to let on that he was hoping to bang on their door and ask for shelter, in case this guy said they were all assholes. Calan found that he trusted this wolf’s opinion, though he couldn’t be pressed to say why. He lifted the flask to toast his new companion, smiling, before taking another swig.

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POSTED: Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:57 pm

Brocades role as one of the packs Vedettos had once taken him far and wide to seek out information about Nova Scotia. Since finding Morgana (or being given Morgana as it were) he travelled less, but there was always the itch to wander lingering just out of reach. Calan was the perfect example of the sort of traveller Brocade enjoyed coming across – he was loose lipped and friendly, unintimidating and tied to seemingly no one.

Sometimes he envied that – having a tie to nothing and no one.

Responsibility always lingered, and Brocade knew that soon his life would change forever. Morgana continued to plan their wedding, snippets of the grand event slipping through each time she brought home some new piece of trimming. There were flowers and scraps of fabric strewn all about their tower, and Brocade couldn’t help but grow impatient – their lives were waiting for them on the other side of their wedding.

”The Brecours trading family?" He clicked his teeth as the man drank from the flask, "I've never heard of them. Whats your specialty?"

Brocade tugged on a loose thread of his tunic and grinned, "There are lots of groups about - some big, some small. Seems a new band of coyotes has popped up to the west, and further south there's a pack full of knights." Brocade shrugged his shoulders and allowed a frown to sully his features, "Further North I've heard that there's a place everyone should avoid called Salsola."

He collected the flask and took his own long dreg before continuing, "I hear they're cannibals."

Sorry for my slow!<3

Salsola
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Amanda
Luperci Vedetto, Milite
you forget I have a gypsy heart
listen to the wild

POSTED: Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:54 pm

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<3

“Mostly luxury goods. Silks, spices, freshwater pearls. We’re not peddlers, though,” he added quickly, gesturing to his empty personhood. “We primarily sell goods direct from the source. You know, for the well-respected, hoity-toity clientele. Exclusive shit.” This, too, wasn’t a lie; that’s exactly how his father preferred to do his business. No under-handed deals, no high-stakes hold-ups. Calan begrudgingly found it smart, even if it was mostly boring paperwork and shipment tracking.

The blonde allowed for his new companion to take the metal flask from his hands, conceding that he had no right to make a fuss over something that wasn’t his. His own face soured to mimic the wolf’s at the mention of an unfamiliar pack name. ”Salsola? What kinda tongue-twister name is that? he snorted. ”Sounds like a foot disease.”

Bastian was proving himself worthwhile for more than just liquor - he practically clarified all of Calan’s suspicions about where to go next in one fell swoop. West had already proven to be pretty barren and full of weirdos with eagles; south sounded like a lot of work and kissing ass to get a good rank; and north... well...

“Ew, no cannibals for me, thanks,“ Calan grimaced. ”Too sexy to be eaten. No idea how you can live up there with them so nearby. Or is that why you’re really down here scouting? The blonde raised his eyebrows conspiratorially. ”Trying to find somewhere new to set up shop with the family once spring rolls around? — No judgement, of course. Getting a new change of scenery’s always nice.” The loner was no stranger to sharing and receiving half-truths on the road; that, too, was part of the unwritten rulebook. That, and he didn’t set himself out to be a hypocrite. After all, they were just passing travelers - the odds of them running into each other again, from his past experience, were slim to none.

Yes, it seemed the best - maybe the only - way to go was east. Still, Calan waited for the man to elaborate more, fearing there was still more left unsaid. And, well. More free booze might still come his way.

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