Not like before
Her voice was stern as it echoed towards the nearby houses, an unusual for herself, "What did I say about going near the Great Fire! You could get hurt by it and it is disrespectful to the spirits!" The two children sat shamefaced before her, heads lowered and eyes averted. They had ignored her rule of staying away from the Great Fire and her caution that they would become hurt. As it was, Nate-River had only singed his whiskers and nothing more serious, Payne had not gone as close as her brother but still far closer than Gemma had dictated to them. Nate-River looked up at her with solemn eyes and pronounced regretfully, "A-ya uyo ayelvdi, Unitsi." I am sorry, Mother.

Payne two expressed her regret to Gemma in AniWayan as they knew their progress in learning it would please her and maybe make her a little less mad. Her expression softened as she looked at them and she sat down on the floor near them, the fire roaring behind her a short way away. They came to her and curled up between her outstretched legs. Switching into AniWayan she continued to talk,

"You know I don't do this to be mean. I don't want you to be hurt." Although they didn't understand all of the words just yet they got the general grasp of it.

hi my name is Mel and I suck sometimes D:

art by crypsis

Though Anatole frequented the village, he was not a resident and did not spend enough time within the place to time his arrivals when others were around. He would have done so (and likely avoided them as such) had he the mind to it—these days he was focusing more on the endless patrols and doing what he could to keep busy. Horseback riding was still remarkably difficult and while getting to know faces was becoming easier, he still had difficulty relating to people. Donoma had, in the vague and irritating way she often gave advice, told him this was part of the journey.

He was returning from a successful hunt, the corpse bent over his shoulders so that the deer’s legs hung at his chest. All of these were held taunt in both hands, making the trek easier. If he had still been living as a loner he might have eaten his meal then, but Anatole had been lucky and gorged on a fat and slow ptarmigan long before he had caught the deer. This part of his duty (though he was not a hunter and instead a scout) made him feel more accomplished and put him in high spirits.

These even managed to curve the desire to avoid the pale woman near the fire, but he was too close and recognized one of the children between her legs. Though still a fair distance away, he hailed her with one hand. It was a tentative request, and he certainly did not desire to impose upon her.

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Hi Mel. Don't worry, sometimes I suck too :3

Nate-River looked up at her with sad, black eyes, he was understanding now that someone had hurt his mother terribly and destroyed the left side of her face, he could remember quite a while ago when she had been covered in white strips that hid her face from view. Thankfully neither of the children could remember the scene of horror and rape they had both been witness to, for that Gemma was thankful. She could survive as long as they didn't know. The fire cracked and popped throwing generous amounts of heat against her back. The woman's scent had changed since she had first made her home here so many months ago, no longer did fear and desperation pour from her, instead she smelt heavily of woodsmoke and ash coupled with the vitality of motherhood, she was a fertile woman and it was a defining part of her now. She was strong.

A face she long remembered however made himself known, a man she had once been terrified of after seeing his short but vicious fight with Matteo. The scout had climbed up in his rank faster than herself, now a skilled male. Surprise tinged her though as he didn't ignore her and carry on by with his admirable kill but stopped to wave a greeting at her. Unlike before she didn't cower under his crisp apple gaze and although she did nod her head respectfully her whole and stump of an ear pricked, interested. She raised her hand back to him and her voice, welcoming him closer,

Osiyo. Hello Anatole."

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