engines won’t turn and the train won’t leave

POSTED: Sun May 03, 2020 4:08 pm

Black River Reserve.

It happened fast. She’d strayed too far from the schoolhouse. The flowers on the coastline called to her again, their scents sweet and tantalizing, and Salem walked among their stalks at the coast and daydreamed of happier times, of days in and out of caravans and taverns, of nights four-legged and young spent nestled against her mother among the furs.

Then the skinny ghost with the bow and arrows found her again, and all Salem could recall as she caught her breath was the blur of sheer panic. One arrow had grazed her right calf, and a second tore the skirt seam at her hips and narrowly missed the elbow. The Fortune Teller did not realize either of these until she collapsed against a tree at who-knows-where, confident once again the archer had simply faded away just the same way as she did before—once the flowers she was protecting were far enough away. This time, however, the jackal-coy had been chased much further, and no longer recognized a thing of her surroundings.

Salem’s first reaction was of pure frustration, and the second of despair. There was a little blood, but the scratches closed up quickly and weren't likely to leave a scar. As she waited for her heart to calm down, Salem committed to learning some means of self-defense, whatever she could take. She’d ask Galilee or Jethro. Surely they could teach her something, anything, to better mind herself when drawn out alone.

At the riverside she rinsed herself clean and surveyed the damage to her skirt, then she walked the river for a time hoping to find her bearings. No success. When she found a pretty thing of doggish features in her wanderings, the Fortune Teller called out.

"Excuse me?" she shouted, maintaining a safe distance until she could get a good read on them. "Hello? I’m lost. Can you tell me where I am?"

life's a riddle, not a game of dice
The Troupe
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POSTED: Sat May 16, 2020 1:09 pm

It smelled like water, like damp, and Salka had crept to the water's edge, taken away from New Caledonia by her wandering heart and, more fittingly, her wandering feet. The water was brutally cold, sharp and panging as it wrapped her toes, and her fingers dipped into the current where she marvelled at the resistance against her fingers, and she pooled it into her palms before splashing up into her face.

The hiss of breath was abrupt. Droplets rolled down the smooth coat of her neck, dripping and settling at the hollow of her throat. Hackles prickled up somewhat at the utter chill.

A voice hailed over the rise of the banks, and Salka's ears pricked high on her head as she looked up, perplexed.

"Your guess is as good as mine, miss," Sakla answered, the Icelandic thick on her tongue, and she straightened her posture, shaking the droplets from her fingers. "I only know the basics of this place."

There was a pause, and she clambored across the water onto the opposing bank. Her pale, seaglass eyes lingered on the coyjackal woman, who was lovely, waifish, the sort of ethereal that fit well into poems - though there were small splashes of red that cut through her coat - dry, but still fresh enough to cause concern. Salka knit her brow.

"Are you in some sort of trouble?"

--

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POSTED: Mon May 25, 2020 4:38 pm

An interesting sound on the tongue of this one, thought Salem, and she observed nothing of the young woman’s demeanor that screeched of immediate danger. The stranger was seemingly and inconveniently lost as well; sarcastically in her mind the jackal retorted that a true diviner would preach of fate for such an occasion, and after a beat Salem realized it was more than appropriate to actually perform. "The fates have drawn us together, then," she said, trying and succeeding to sound airy and mystical, but then found the guise too exhausting to maintain thereafter given her previous frustrations and small but bleeding wounds.

"I’m fine. Just a few knicks." Salem moved the belt and furs at her hip to glance the slight bleeding there, only to abruptly snap what was left of a seam and detach the furs over her skirt. She bit down on her tongue to keep her cool and breathed out a long, frustrated exhale as she gathered the broken belt the furs were attached to into her arms. "I was attacked by an archer, but I lost them. Terrible luck, this. I’d like to go home."

She reconnected their eyes. "My name is Salem. I belong to a group called the Troupe, which is... somewhere around here. Where are you from? How did you get lost?"

life's a riddle, not a game of dice
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POSTED: Tue May 26, 2020 8:25 pm

This woman, warm colors like autumn, all manner of fantastical and waifish like a fae, started speaking a moment on fate, and just as soon as she had swelled with the heir of mysticism, it ebbed away, raw and exhausted all over again.

Salka held her private disbelief - her skepticism colored her outlook immediately, wary of being played for a pawn - wary of people who's heads were filled with clouds and the idea of spirits and greater powers - vultures, they preyed on context, and predatory practice of those with ill faith.

The Icelandic woman's smile thinned however slightly. Religion had steered her no where good in life. There was a blurry, poorly-defined wonder if her mother ever made anything of herself, in the end.

Her attention piqued and she gave a sharp little start at the snap, followed by the drawn-out and suffering sigh.

"That's terrible luck, indeed," Salka agreed, drawing near enough to listen closer to this tale of woe.

"Salem-" she echoed, considering - the fortune teller was too exhausted to put up a ruse, surely - and thus, the thief saw no benefit in layering on her own. "I am Salka - from New Caledonia, if you could even consider such."

Her wandering feet and prickly manners often put her off her neighbors, and out of the packland's bounds.

"Here, take a seat for a moment, we'll take care of some of those scrapes, and see if we can find your Troupe, hmm?" she offered, bundling up the capelet thrown over her blouse, and she fretted over it a moment, her materialistic nature telling her to turn the other way and combating with the almost gentle desire to help out a lady in distress. In the end, compassion won out, and she grabbed at the hem, and ripped to supply a makeshift bandage.

--

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POSTED: Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:18 pm

Salka, from New Caledonia. She’d heard of the pack here and there—once or twice with the Troupe, or was it back in Portland? Regardless, Salem knew next to nothing about it, and yet she’d evidently lost herself closer to their borders than the coastline where she made her home. For her own safety, she’d have to study up.

"Are you a medic?" she found herself asking, then regretted it. Her first response should have been a polite decline of her help—Salem wanted a complete stranger nowhere close to her, let alone during a time of vulnerability—but Salka had already torn the hem of her rather pretty capelet with intent to aid. Shoulders sinking, Salem took a deep breath and willed her too-jumpy instincts to comply.

As requested, she seated herself at river’s edge and, tensed by the stress of their proximity, watched Salka’s every move as she performed her treatment. Salem showed her where the blood eked at her hip and elbow, not to mention the scrape on her knee collected when she at one point tumbled.

"They’re just scratches. I hardly think you needed to ruin that lovely piece for sake of a total stranger." She sighed. "How can I repay you? I could take up the hem, for one. Salvage the poor thing. I would happily find New Caledonia and return it to you later."

life's a riddle, not a game of dice
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POSTED: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:16 pm

"Nothing professional," Salka answered readily. "But I've patched more than a few bumps, scrapes and cuts." She'd had a few of herself in her time, and, biting off the last bit of the hem, Salka hazarded dipping closer to Salem's vulnerable shape.

So fine, she was colored like the waning light on a horizon, warm and autumnal. Salka somehow felt homesick, and looked to where Salem had pointed to her wounds.

"Don't worry," she supplied, trying to keep a stiffness from her voice, and offered a brief, quick smile. "It's just things. Between you and me, I'd stolen it in the first place."

With a conspiratorial wink, she dipped some of her shredded capelet into the water and wrung it damp to instead dab and rub over grazed flesh and tender skin, her brow knit. "You're tense."

Her note was delivered with a flat, matter-of-fact tone, that she attempted to lighten with a soft laugh as she wrapped the snag at the coyjackal's elbow up with the hem-bandage. "Can't say I blame you. Plenty of suspicious folk out here, but some kind ones too."

--

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POSTED: Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:49 pm

So the capelet was stolen. The air caught in her throat, and Salem made every effort to stamp down her panic. It was too late. The woman was a thief, and Salem had allowed her in close. It was for reasons like this that she didn’t like to be touched or fussed over. Reasons like this she wore the mask and the role: to maintain distance, to ensure her own safety.

The diviner chuckled convincingly enough regarding the capelet. When Salka turned to wet the fabric, Salem unclasped her belt—"Oh, I should get this out of your way,"—and collected it into her lap. She’d be damned if a pair of pretty eyes swept away with her deck. "Don’t tell me you lifted that capelet right off someone’s shoulders and made away with it."

She hissed when the damp cloth made contact. It was no more than a scratch; why did it hurt so much? Too many, indeed, she remarked. "I’ve been fortunate to fall in with the ones I have, but nothing beats knowing how to protect oneself. Bows and arrows and spring attacks aside, of course. You can’t fault me for being tense."

"Surely I can repay you in some other way." Belt in her lap, her fingertips drummed on the pocket containing her deck. "Perhaps a reading when you’re done."

life's a riddle, not a game of dice
The Troupe
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Lin
Luperci

POSTED: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:07 am

(sorry for the mobile post ;v;)

"Oh, I could hardly be so fortunate," Salka started with a soft, arid laugh, pausing but a moment to hold out her slap-dashed bandage to watch as Salem relieved her hip of that belt, and all the contents of her pouches, safely away from the stray of sticky fingers. The dog eyed the action momentarily - though knew the lack of trust was warranted.

"It's always fortunate to find others we align with," she agreed, gently binding the wound as gently -yet as firmly- as she could manage. "I'm hoping I've found something similar, but, time will tell!"

Time, after all, had proven fickle in the past
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Sticks and Stones