homeless sirens sing

POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:07 am

"And this, what is this?" Salka's accented voice had started, pointing her slim finger at a necklace, the beads perfect, round, an odd, shimmery gray.

"Saltwater pearls," the merchant answered, tone clipped like unfortunate gamefowl wings, young and so brutally cut short. Salka reached curious fingers out, slow, and the vendor's own snapped out quick and struck the back of her hand. She withdrew sharply with a tiny yip, and clutched her hands together in her alarm. "I see no goods on you - you do not get to touch! Do not touch."

Salka's lips drew tight, indignant at the utter hawkish features staring her down.

"Oh, silly me, I must have forgotten them -- may I just look? I have fine rabbit pelts to offer-"

"No -- fox pelts, I will only take gray fox pelts. You are bad for business, go, go, you urchin, you beggar-"

"I believe you are being absolutely unjust! Who do you think you're talking to?"

"No one worth a damn, with nothing to her name."

Salka gasped, utterly wounded by the comment, and she cupped the hollow of her throat, thin brows arched.

"You abhorrent man! You boar--"


Last edited by Salka Huxley on Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Luperci By the Blood

POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:40 pm

[000] • B)

The market was not impressive, but that was to be expected out in the wild lands. Far from any hubs of commerce, traders only carried what could be hidden in their packs in the hopes of deterring the attention of thieves. Calrian could appreciate this sensible position, but could not himself partake in an abundance of caution. He was one of the rare few who straddled the line of merchant and thief, and this half-livelihood relied entirely on playing a convincingly wealthy individual.

Having managed to secure a few hares for dinner (he was sure the Troupe was tiring of hare) all for the price of one handmade bracelet which he'd convinced the merchant was a powerful good luck charm, Calrian was mostly done for the day. And then, like a siren song, a familiar voice drew him back into the fold.

"What's this about fox pelts?"

The merchant turned, and Calrian paused to appraise him. He had already given him a good look over earlier when he scoped the stalls (oddly, the merchant was berating a different female customer then too), so any redundancies were for show. And Calrian, well, he always liked a good show.

"There you are, my darling." He swept close to Salka as if to kiss her cheek, instead whispering in her small delicate ear, "Play along."

The merchant shifted to stand taller. Calrian turned to face him, which was truly a step down from a moment ago, but nonetheless necessary. He observed the way the man's mouth drew taut with distrust. He was right to be skeptical, of course, but Calrian wasn't about to let him think that.

"That's right," the merchant said, "Fox pelts. Gray fox pelts."

"You mean like this?" He pet the fine fur collar draped over his shoulders with an uninspired look. "Hm. It is practical, but fox fur is not the finest. We trap so many gray foxes where we come from, why, we've started to let them go!"

Calrian looked to Salka with a sweet, playful smile. "The rare moonsnow rabbit fur, now that is both practical and appealing. We only trade it for the most precious things. Isn't that right, love?"

The Troupe
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POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:47 pm

The voice had taken her by surprise, noted by an angle of her pointed ear, but otherwise she kept her expression schooled and terse, before it flickered a moment as that rather handsome not-so-much-a-stranger swept in, and gathered her up beneath his arm. Her seaglass eyes flitted to him, almost with momentary alarm, as he skimmed in for a kiss - the audacity - but had not fully planted it, merely leaving Salka with a ghost - the phantom-feel of whiskers grazing her cheek and tickling the inside of her ear.

She straightened herself, composing, and a flustered pink colored her nose as she shuffled out her surprise and returned her gaze back to the merchant, now squaring up Calrian, who had unexpectedly come to her aid.

"He has awful taste," she muttered beneath her breath to Calrian, out the side of her teeth, and falling in line to her role, settled her weight onto her leg nearest her company, shoulder pressing against his firm shape. She returned the smile with a flash, humored, delicate. The vendor had shot her a look, before looking at the Broker, and the rabbits in his hand.

"Moonsnow rabbits--" the disbelief was colored with something of a tentative curiosity, as though not quite ready to fully dismiss that idea. "I have never heard of such a thing."

"You haven't heard of moonsnow rabbits?" Salka answered in an incredulous tone. "Their coats, while sleek, are super dense - incredibly plush. Lavish, even." His eyes were lingering longer on the rabbits. Salka's drifted to the necklace, and with a well-practiced ease, and scarce a movement, she gingerly tugged the cloth it was displayed on closer to herself, and walked her fingers over the pearls until she could scoop it into her palm.


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Luperci By the Blood

POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:16 pm

[000]did we just pretty woman this guy

There were a handful of people Calrian could rely on playing into his schemes, and the beautiful not-so-stranger gracefully joined them. He looked at her with a dazzled smile, which to onlookers would seem like a man simply smitten with his mate.

While Calrian certainly didn't take pleasure in deceiving people (and was it really deception if it was for a good cause?), he did enjoy convincing skeptical people to believe in something fantastical. It was more than an exercise in showmanship; it was a chance to flex the full might of his creativity. And a man like the merchant, whose self opinion was far too high and who was far too quick to belittle others, was the kind of person Calrian found the most satisfying to outwit.

"Yes, and on cold moonlit nights, their pelts are said to glow," Calrian added with a whimsical flourish of his hand. "Hence the name. Not only this, but a cloak of moonsnow will keep you dry in the rainy season, much like otter fur, but better."

"Hm," the merchant grunted, neither convinced nor willing to dismiss a rare and precious item. He leaned closer, assessing Calrian's comely smile and the rabbits at his belt.

Seizing the moment, Salka shifted beside him, and Calrian unhooked the rabbits to redirect the merchant's attention. "I know how this sounds. I can tell you are a man with a keen taste. I too was skeptical at first. Would you like to take a look?"

"Yes, of course," the merchant scoffed, huffing impatiently as he handed them over. Calrian could tell right away that he didn't know what he was looking for, but for the sake of appearing smart, flipped and sniffed the carcasses as if he could detect a difference. With any luck, it would buy his partner enough time to take what she wanted.

"You can feel the texture in the hair, here, around the base," he guided the merchant to the hare's stomach, and the merchant felt it with a nod. "Ordinarily, this part is quite coarse. The trapper was careful to snap the neck to leave the most valuable area unsullied."

Finally, the merchant handed the rabbits back to Calrian. "What do you want for them?"


Calrian fastened them to his belt and then looped his arm around Salka's thin waist. His smile to the merchant turned sharp. "Frankly, sir, you have, what was it you said..." he tapped his chin. "Nothing worth a damn? Nothing to your name?"

As the merchant's mouth dropped open, Calrian swept Salka away as quickly as he could without rousing suspicion.

The Troupe
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POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:31 pm

Calrian was undeniably silver-tongued, the perfect pull of attention and quick on his proverbial feet to play the part of detractor for her quick and sticky fingers. He wove the details of this mystic rabbit with enough confidence to pull the wool over anyone's eyes, and as soon as her deed was completed, she returned with that previous weight to his side, nodding sagely as the young man shared such fine details. Water-tight, plush, glowing - this was truly a specimen to behold, and slowly, the merchant was wooed by the very notion of an exotic trade opportunity.

He asked how much.

And Calrian replied, echoing the man's earlier sentiment, and Salka had to school her expression all over again, utterly amused and surprised as she was scooped away by a guiding arm around her waist -

The moment they'd gotten some paces away, hardly out of earshot, Salka burbled with a thin little peal of laughter, reaching up to pat her palm over Calrian's chest, and opened her mouth to speak-


Salka's attention was drawn to the booming shout, and the merchant was clambering over his set-up stall. "Oh, shit-"

"Stop - get back here! Thief!"

Her fingers wound against the fabric of Calrian's clothes, through the downy fur of his capelet, and pulled him down the street. The Huxley woman beamed in her elation, thrilled and anxious all the same as the chase ensued.


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Luperci By the Blood

POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:15 pm

[000]I don't wanna always play nice

Although he was not one for burning bridges, it was no less satisfying to see the merchant's face drop in shock.

For once, he made an escape that went relatively smoothly. He leaned into her without thinking, laughing along as if they were old friends. Perhaps it was the high of adrenaline, but it was easy to feel this way with her. She opened her mouth to speak, and he could almost hear the words before she said them. We make a great team, don't we?

The thought would have to wait. His ears folded back to catch the sound of objects crashing with frantic momentum and a belligerent shouting that could only mean one thing. It was inevitable, wasn't it? He supposed he had underestimated the amount of time it would take for him to notice. One step ahead of him, his partner in crime brought him into a run with a firm yank.

Faces passed in a blur. Some were shocked, others annoyed; a hand reached out to try and stop them, and Calrian only narrowly dodged out of the way. All he could see was the elated smile on Salka's face, the sun dancing in the fiery red of her hair, and he couldn't help but think any trouble this caused was worth it.

Stealing a glance backwards, Calrian was surprised to find that the merchant was gaining on them. It wouldn't do to keep running in a straight line. "Over here!" He called to Salka as they reached the more crowded part of the market. Banking a sharp right around a popular stall, he tugged her along with him into the deep shadows of a narrow alley, hidden behind a decorative banner.

There was barely space for one person, let alone two, and it was a dead end. Not one of his smartest choices. If the merchant found them, Calrian wasn't sure how they would get out of it. A clamor erupted outside, bringing Calrian to tense and press the woman protectively against the wall.

Only after the rhythm of his breath died down did he realize how close they were, and just how loudly his heart pounded in his ears. His breath hitched as he looked at her as if for the first time. It was certainly just the adrenaline, but he'd never seen a more beautiful person before. Had her eyes always been so green?

The Troupe
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POSTED: Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:57 pm

People passed in smudged lines as the duo put on the brakes, dipping around and almost bowling over a number of passerby in their attempt at fleeing - Calrian dodged an outstretched hand, and Salka ducked to avoid smacking right into it, the two of them still connected by threads of tenuous touch and communication of direction.

Both figuratively, and literally, Salka clutched her pearls as they skirted, before the Broker reached out to the thief, and pulled her this time into the dark.

The fit was snug. She had little room to object, as a ruckus arose, and to keep herself quiet, she clapped a hand over her mouth for a moment, breath beating through the bars of her fingers as they listened.

The fiery Huxley couldn't hear nary a thing, between the erratic drum of her heart, high on the rush of adrenaline. Calrian tensed - his form a protective wall, and imperceptibly, her pulse fluttered. Certainly it was the running - nothing more, nothing more. His gaze was turned to the mouth of their haven, and Salka's eyes traced the lines of his face, pale, silvery stray beams of light softening the cuts of his cheekbones.

Her fingers fell absently from her lips and came to rest on the slope of his shoulder. He was warm - and belatedly, Salka realized that hers was not the only racing heartbeat, crammed together in their hiding spot.

All things considered, she should not have thought this endearing. Romantic. Inwardly, she scoffed at the notion - or, at least, there was want to, were the very sway not utterly distracted the second that gold eyes- not like coins, but like warmth, the sun, marigold and striking, checked back on her with a look of equal bewilderment.

Salka held her breath, stricken dizzy and dumb. There was a gravity; The magnetic pull was all but impossible to ignore, the two of them sealed in close, and her gaze dropped to his mouth, lifted again to his striking gaze where she hovered, on the cusp of something.

There was a pause, the moment hung in a precarious balance.

It was just the nerves. Just the adrenaline - what are you doing? What are you thinking? He doesn't want that-

Salka was making a fool of herself.

The internal monologue slowly ground her to a halt, leaving that space between their faces still and stifling with their mingled breath, now seemingly bated.


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Luperci By the Blood

POSTED: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:43 am

[000]I saw her for the first time and I was lonely for the last time

The commotion faded away. All he could see was the pretty thief, her copper hair twisting in alluring rivulets across her slender face. There was something captivating in the way her gaze wandered carefully at his contour, as if she were realizing the same things as him.

There were few moments that Calrian found himself fighting his impulses. Usually they never led him too far astray, but this one was dangerous. Griffin had cautioned him about dallying with thieves. "Trust me, kid," he had said after their first fateful meeting with Salka, "You don't want to do that."

But he did want that. Badly. Didn't they deserve to live as passionately as they pleased? Here they were, in a mess they'd made themselves, and there was no guarantee that they'd get out of it. Why shouldn't they enjoy their time while that was still an option?

He looked away only for a moment, heeding the chaos outside, and then back when he felt her hand alight on his shoulder, gently as though they were dancing. He couldn't help but smile. It was a soft and earnest kind, and one that he wore rarely, but in wearing, realized that it was less of a mask than the rest. When life demanded grandiosity of him, he was left with few opportunities to experience the subtle things, like a hand brushing against a shoulder, or the acute awareness of someone's breath. Here and now he couldn't help but bask in touch that was curious, that was quiet, a tenuous unknown that drew them closer together.

He leaned in, hesitant, his eyes flickering between her mouth and her gaze, which reminded him of the greens of spring bathed in a cool light. He had already decided that the trouble had been worth it, what was a little more?

She shifted just the slightest and he paused, his ears flicking forward then back. They were treading uncertain ground, and he was careful not to cage her into something she didn't want, as much as they could help it. A cramped alleyway was no one's first choice, but at least there was good company.

The Troupe
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POSTED: Fri Mar 27, 2020 2:08 am

Life was meant to be lived utterly recklessly, wholly, viscerally - It was a creed by which she'd never questioned; Why was it so scary now? Their equally perplexed, tepid expressions were shared with their shifting glances, tainted with hesitance as the world melted away, the worn brick of the wall at her back hardly as cold as it should have felt.

Matters of the heart's fancy were foolish things. Feelings were fickle.

But why had it seemed right? This little exchange, explorative and new. Neither of them spoke. Theirs was a silent exchange. The callousness she wielded crumbled back, however briefly, in the light of that tender smile. Salka was deigned to bring everything she touched to ruin. Greed, selfishness -

Perhaps it was the fear that this little moment would wind up sullied, pushed too far, as they lingered in that space-between that could not rightly hold either of them for long. Salka's vices were hard to stave off. Perhaps if she had more of a stick to reprimand them with - foolish fancies, she'd never quite been one to exercise self restraint.

There was no sense starting now, in the midst of chaotic mess. His gold eyes flicked down her face again. It was the incentive she needed to bolster her own confidence, dipping forward quick and gathering Calrian - that charming rogue, the dashing hunter - into a all-too-fleeting kiss, the pink of her inner ears and her nose warm and blushing like some carefree child.

She shouldn't have.

But it was so nice - loathe as she was to break it, she did not want to stay overly long, and she pulled away with a soft gasp, as though she were coming up for a quick breath of air after holding herself under a tide. Salka'd never shared so much as a name - sacred little motions in this transgression launched her headfirst into an utter mess, stuck in a honey-haze that clouded her judgement. It was a wonderful, terrible, amazing mistake.

In the momentary stun, the shock still floating on their systems, she spoke up.

"Salka -- by the way." It was soft. Hardly audible. "My name."

i'm about to rIOT, san. RIOT.

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Luperci By the Blood

POSTED: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:03 am

[000] • no talk only smooch

Knowing caution only when it came to things that mattered (if even), Calrian was surprised to find himself teetering in limbo here. There was nothing so special about what they wanted to do, so why was it so different? He searched her face for answers and found only that tentative and intimate question, as two people slow to trust were wont to carry. Already, they had wracked up the excuses: nerves, excitement, a zest for life, careless and reckless with everything so they didn't have to contend with what really did matter, that thing which beat louder than any commotion in the streets, and was the only riot between them now.

A beat. She drew close. Her eyes fluttered shut.

They shouldn't, but they did.

He didn't want to stop, although everything in him did stop, briefly, and then restart. It was nothing like the hungry kisses that seemed to take and leave all in ruin, rather the opposite; it was tender, immediate and real. His face grew hot, to the point where even his ears seemed to burn.

His grip around her waist had grown tight, but then it softened as she pulled away. For the first time in perhaps his entire life, Calrian found himself speechless. She supplied him with the words, and carefully he murmured, "Salka," as if this might chase the numbness from his mouth. The gravity of this revelation struck him, and the hazy look in his eyes slowly sharpened to recognition. He smiled again, "I like it."

It was pretty. He would have told her as much under any other circumstances. Instead, he brought a palm to her cheek, to the flowing ringlets of red like fields that caught too much sun, and kissed her again.

The Troupe
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