And in this final hour

Tora

POSTED: Thu May 14, 2020 6:56 pm

Starlight
Set in Fort Cumberland area, May 14ish [270]

The earthquake had shook more than the world. Star found her faith in herself quavering. If the earth could simply move and change and break everything in sight, then what was going to stop it from changing her? Part of her could feel it already inside.

Star was not used to drama and excitement like this. She and her uncle had explored the landbridge together soon after the shaking stopped and had swiftly reported back home to their Lune and Sola. For Pushok, that may have been it, but Starlight had never been so easily dissuaded. With a pack full of enough meat to get by and things to trade if it wasn't enough, she wrapped her arm in its bandage and took off over the new bridge to see what else had changed.

She would be gone a few days, a week tops, and she'd told Leoris her path in case she was late in returning. Starlight did everything right as she always strived to do. It just wasn't always enough.

The life of one seeking perfection was futile and it was something that Star was late in learning. Her trading missions were going rather successfully, but at her current rate she wouldn't be able to successfully trade for more than a fleabitten half-dead nag until winter. Her training was going well in the blacksmith, yet even after a year she still couldn't forge a full blade. And though she sometimes one her spars, more often than not she failed horribly against her older opponents.

Maybe it was time to put some of her goals to rest or to find a different way to achieve them.

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Starlight Hushhowl

Casa di Cavalieri
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Kris
Luperci Stable Master Tier I Blacksmith Tier I

POSTED: Thu May 14, 2020 8:12 pm

The earthquake from a few months ago had been shocking, the ground shaking underneath Tora's feet and books being tossed from his shelves, but nothing more. No one he knew had been injured and what little damage he had seen from it had been minor. This most recent quake had been nothing like that. He had been riding Amherst when Jolie threw him , the screams of his horse drowned out by his teeth chattering in his skull.

He hadn't bothered trying to stand up, groaning from the impact of his head against a low fence. All Tora could was roll onto his back and watch as Amherst collapsed. Buildings of brick and stone crumbled under their own weight, the structural weaknesses brought on by years without repair rending the mighty structures apart with the help of nature. His terror was absolute, the wolf scrambling backwards as house fell apart all around him. A lump of brick wider than he was tall cracked the street where his leg had been moments before.

Tora had been sure that he was going to die, tried to resign himself to the fact that his children would never meet him or even be able to visit his grave. But through the grace of god or fate or just sheer luck he managed to survive, bruised and scraped from his mad crawl over the unpaved road but alive.

The sound was never going to leave him. The crash of glass shattering against pavement had mixed with the tremendous roar of the buildings buckling in on themselves to form a horrifying symphony of destruction that haunted him days as he rode past Fort Cumberland.

All he could do was try and push past it, Tora focusing on the scent of another person and following it to the source. "Hey there traveler! You looking to trade?

Business would be a good distraction.

Wordcount:316

Last edited by Toraberā Tanaka on Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
New Caledonia
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POSTED: Wed May 27, 2020 2:18 pm

Starlight
Set in Fort Cumberland area, May 14ish [275]

Without a horse to carry her and her things, progress had been slower than she was used to, but Starlight didn't let that deter her. It was better to travel without a steed right now in case the land was fragile after its shift. The last thing she wanted was to lose a valuable horse to a broken leg for her own foolishness.

Readjusting the leather pack on her shoulders, a voice called out to her from the distance. She twisted at her waist to get a look at him. Atop a mud-spattered brown horse, she couldn't help the twinge of envy at the sight of it. Her father had told her stories about how he and his brother had gotten themselves a horse at such a young age. Rapidly approaching her second year, Starlight was a young woman now. She was an adult, with nothing to show for it.

She waited for the stranger to come a little closer before she deigned to answer. It depends on what you have to offer. After all, she wasn't going to trade something for nothing.

Star was patient while the man responded, hopefully offering her something worth her while. He smelled not of a loner though and she couldn't help but ask, You're from a pack, right? I'm from Casa di Cavalieri. Even if they as individuals were displeased with their respective wares, as a Cavalier, she knew she couldn't turn down the opportunity for a decent relation with a foreign pack. It would also mean that they both had access to different items and services that could warrant even a temporary trade if nothing else.

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Starlight Hushhowl

Casa di Cavalieri
Second Officer
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Kris
Luperci Stable Master Tier I Blacksmith Tier I

POSTED: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:50 pm

I've got all sorts of things. Tora said with a wave of his hand, sliding out of the saddle and undoing the straps on all his various packs and bags. The wolf worked quickly, laying out his wares with practice ease as he evaluated what he'd be willing to give up. The dried herbs were honestly going to have to be a loss leader, bundled with something more expensive to make it seem like a better deal. No matter. There was plenty of burdock and coltsfoot and other assorted shoots and roots for him to dig out of the ground.

The swordsman nodded at the guess, taking a kneeling position behind his offered before explaining. That's right. Toraberā Tanaka of New Caledonia. Most people call me Tora but you can use whichever you'd like. There was precisely one person in recent memory who had bothered to use his full name but it was still polite to pretend. One day someone new would at least try and pronounce it and he'd probably buy them a drink. I've got pelts, arrows, a couple books, alcohol, jewelry, some wood carvings, a bit of fabric if you need it. A finger pointed at each item as he went down the list before pointing it at himself. And if you or your pack ever need a carpenter or a mercenary for anything I got you covered there as well.

The hand slipped into his robe to withdrew a match and cigarette, Tora lighting up before offering his prospective customer one as well. How about yourself? What do you bring to the table?

Wordcount:273

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POSTED: Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:23 pm

Starlight
Set in Fort Cumberland area, May 14ish [379]

The stranger removed himself from his mounted position and quickly releasing his bags from their hold in the saddle. He gave a long, somewhat repetitive name that Star was sure to forget in about twenty minutes, but she nodded as if it wasn't so. For now, Tora would do and in return, she would give her own nickname, I'm called Star because she didn't expect him to remember her rather long name either.

She chuckled darkly at his offer. Casa would not have need of a mercenary as all in our pack are trained in the arts of war from the time they are old enough to shift. We're a pack of warriors. It would be a sad day when we needed to call on the help of a lone mercenary, but I thank you for the offer. It would be far more likely that they would have a need of an allied pack rather than a single individual. And the former would only be requested if they were up against a strong military force.

A carpenter though, perhaps. She silently denied the offer of a cigarette, her nose wrinkling a little at the smell. Very few of Casa smoked so Star hadn't accustomed herself to the scent of it.

She twisted her own pack to where she could reach into it more easily. She withdrew a bag that rattled pleasingly to her ear. I have a bag full of beads that could be used for decoration or jewelry if you're so inclined. They are some kind of clay based and all different colors if you would like to look. She offered him the bag to rifle through before she turned to the rest of her wares. I have two daggers that are without dents or chips, she herself had mended them before she left. I also have leather scabbards for them, three rabbit pelts, one raccoon, and some dried venison.

Her pack had little to offer in the finer arts, but that was fine by Star. She preferred to live in a pack that valued the more natural ways of life such as hunting and eating meat. Rearing livestock made sense to her but plants, healing, arts? Those were all foreign desires to the more feral Hushhowl descendent.

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Starlight Hushhowl

Casa di Cavalieri
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Kris
Luperci Stable Master Tier I Blacksmith Tier I

POSTED: Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:49 pm

Star. What a wonderful name! His reaction was genuine, born out of his vested interested in celestial bodies. The stars were what guided him across barren deserts, snow-capped mountains and the frozen plains. They were integral to his daily life, the wolf orienting himself according to their position as he blazed new trail and rode across the land in search of deals to make and desperate people to loan to. It was nice to meet someone whose name paid the distant flames the respect they deserved.

Tora shrugged at the lesson in cultural, none too put out by the refusal. I heard as much about you guys. Most of my work is with loners any way, security for merchants and escorts through rough terrain and that sort of thing. The offered cigarette was returned to his pocket, Tora shifting downwind to spare her the smell as he dragged on his own. Tobacco was an acquired taste to be sure. Star should have considered herself lucky she hadn't yet been driven to it by the harshness of life.

If you or the rest of the Cavaliers need a woodworker feel free to look me up in Caledonia. Maybe something would come of that or maybe it wouldn't. Tora had put the offer out there and there was nothing more for him to do. He took the offered bag and inspected its contents, pinching individual beads between his fingers and holding them up for inspection. He wasn't much of a tinkerer but perhaps Kalypso could use them in her jewelry making.

The daggers were more immediately interesting, more useful than the beads and not as mundane as the pelts. Well for now, I can give you a couple more rabbit pelts as well as a few wooden charms for a dagger and scabbard. A starting offer to test the waters, see where her interests stood and what she valued.

Wordcount:307

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POSTED: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:12 am

Starlight
Set in Fort Cumberland area, May 14ish [330]

Star's brows lowered in thoughts as she examined his wares. They were much more varied than her own, though the usefulness of them was varied. How many arrows do you carry? Casa had very little need in more pelts as they were well stocked in hunters and in prey. Her immediate inclination was to pilfer the arrows and be done with it, but she sullenly remembered that the point of her trades were not to take what was most valuable to her but rather to another trader if she wished to trade up to a horse. That typically meant time spent in craft: books, jewelry, alcohol, cloth, etc.

She watched him tinker with the beads before turning his greedy eyes to the daggers. Of course. They were well maintained and valuable. She'd made sure of it before she set out. I have no need for your pelts, but I would throw in the beads alongside the dagger if you offered the wood carvings with a book and some of the jewelry.

She was as aware that this asking price was too high as well as she was that his offer was too low. This was a haggle. In the end, she knew he would likely end up with the dagger and beads alongside one or two more things, but she was determined to get what she asked for. Tora had no right to know, but she had paid next to nothing for what she was offering. The two daggers had been poorly maintained and damaged so she had fixed them herself as practice. The scabbards were gifts and the beads a trade for another dagger she'd mended. Regardless of anyone's offer, Star wanted to be certain she was always coming out on top. It of course helped that she could barter broken blades and metal bits for very little and fix them in the fort to advance her own knowledge of the craft.

Perhaps it wasn't fair, but life rarely was.

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Starlight Hushhowl

Casa di Cavalieri
Second Officer
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Kris
Luperci Stable Master Tier I Blacksmith Tier I

POSTED: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:29 am

Tora snapped his head towards the quiver hanging off his horse, lips moving as he silently counted his remaining stock. Usually I carry fifteen or so when I'm on longer trips but I'm down to ten right now. Three traded away, one dropped while traveling and the fifth snapping when it hit a rock instead of a rabbit. Tora was much less an archer than he was a swordsman. Tell you what, they're yours for the venison. He had his own food but the more stockpiled the less time he had to spend mucking about in search of game.

He raised an eyebrow at the counteroffer, unsure as to whether Star was aggressively mercantile or just lacked knowledge of the value of things. Books and jewelry aren't exactly cheap, you're asking a lot in exchange for a knife and some beads. As he spoke he was busy pushing forward the requested goods for her to inspect. A collection of information on edible plants, a tome of basic medical lore and little wooden carvings of deer and ducks and whatever had caught his attention at that particular moment laid alongside simple bangles and necklaces.

Beads and knife for the carvings and a piece of jewelry or the carvings plus a book. The man hours alone that had been invested in each item were considerable, Tora enough of a craftsman to understand the effort that went into piece together anything by hand. She wanted to get a good deal out of him but he needed to make sure he returned home with a profit. The more he spent the less he could tuck away for his children and his wife.

Thanks! Wordcount:283

New Caledonia
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POSTED: Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:07 am

Starlight
Set in Fort Cumberland area, May 14ish [308]

Star lifted her chin, a little surprised by the offer of arrows for venison, but she wasn't opposed to the ideas. Making arrows was tedious work that could be better spent elsewhere. Any arrows easily traded for with excess meat was a win for Casa. But silently, the offer was taken.

Tora was clearly not impressed with her counteroffer and Star silently reprimanded herself. There was a steep learning curve with social trade interactions and the Hushhowl woman was a slow learner on this front. Sheepishly, she thumbed through the books. She was grateful that she'd been taught to read as a child, but many of the words in each was still foreign to her. Luckily, one clearly had diagrams of plants that made that decision easy. She lifted it up to indicate her preference though she hadn't been made an offer and turned to the carvings and jewelry. Useless little trinkets in her eyes, but someone would find them valuable.

When he made his official counteroffer, the choice was an easy one to make. She lowered her head and spoke, "The book and the carvings." Carefully she pulled out the venison, knife, and beads one by one and handed them each to the Caledonian man. She hoped that the book would prove to be valuable. Part of her wondered if the Nightshade man could have told her. It was rare times like these that his absence reminded her of what the pack had lost.

Unfortunately, this trade didn't put her much closer to her end goal of a steed to ride, but perhaps the pretty wooden carvings could trade up for something a little better. They wouldn't aid Casa di Cavalieri very much the way that a book on plants would, but they could aid her quest.

"Is there anything else of mine that caught your fancy?"

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Starlight Hushhowl

Casa di Cavalieri
Second Officer
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Kris
Luperci Stable Master Tier I Blacksmith Tier I

POSTED: Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:33 am

It was nothing but pure laziness on his part, Tora's natural greed outweighed by his supreme lack of interest in hunting. He had more arrows at home for when he needed him and every bit of food he found was more time that he could spend resting with Kalypso instead of riding himself ragged. The wolf leaned over to pull the arrows from their quiver, binding them with a bit of leather and handing the bundle over with a polite nod.Thank you.

But there was still business to be done. Tora listened intently, curious to see how Star would take the rejection. Would she overcompensate by undercutting herself like many novice traders, try and sweet-talk him into it or double-down bullheadedly? So many possibilities, Tora considering the likelihood of each as his prospective customer looked through his books. He was grateful for the moment of silence, using it to tuck the dried meat away and finish his cigarette with a final cloud of smoke through his nose.

He was pleasantly surprised when she made her choice, having expected some amount of push-back but certainly not complaining when there wasn't any. Was he taking advantage of someone who might not have known any better? Maybe but his consciousness was not all burdened by it. This wouldn't be one of the reasons he lost sleep. You have yourself a deal. He slid over the book she had pointed at and wrapped up the carvings in their cloth covering for her to grab, tucking away his beads and meat before withdrawing the dagger for inspection.

Sharp eyes took in every inch of the blade, hand closing around its hilt to test the weight. A few empty swipes at the air behind him and he was satisfied with his purchase, scabbard getting tucked away inside his kimono for the time being. I think that's about everything I need. Shame he couldn't offload some of the jewelry but there wasn't really enough there for him to make such a trade in conscious.

Wordcount:347

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