a magician and a heritic

POSTED: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:56 pm

As a note, Ezekiel is speaking Low-Speech during this thread. +3
     The coyote crouched low, his body made up of sinew and well-trained muscles. In his hand the bow fit naturally, as if he had been born with such a thing. His fingers touched the fletching of his arrow, a bright red stolen from birds killed in the north, and he rested the point over his finger. Ezekiel’s bright fur would have betrayed him on a sunny day, but clouds had rolled in and obscured the sun. Thankful for this, he had waited and stalked the deer for hours. Now, as the young buck lifted his head to try and reach for his meal, the coyote saw his chance and took it.
     A bolt of pale wood and red feathers shot through the air, striking deep into the chest of the deer. It bleated once, turned to run, and fell. Ezekiel rose quickly, moving through the snow as if this too, was natural. Compared to the harsh weather he had endured in the west, this felt like nothing. He knelt and yanked the arrow out with a low-murmured thanks, as he had been taught by the natives.
     He cleaned the arrow in the snow before cutting into his meal. Ezekiel used a primitive knife to slice the belly open, hacking away the pieces he wished for himself. The heart he left, intending to bury. As he finished eating the liver, a familiar shadow passed overhead. Marlowe swooped low and landed on the buck’s antlers, cawing loudly in low-speech. My, aren’t you the astute hunter.” A smile brushed over Ezekiel’s face, though his eyes gleamed impishly. “And thus came the noble scavenger. You move fast, brother.”
     The raven laughed, cocking his head. And you speak much better. Something you learned on your journey, I suppose? Zeke tossed him a section of meat, beginning to cut apart the pieces he wished to save. “Among other things. I found a book in Toronto that had your name on it.”
     Ah, the bird swallowed, his eyes gleaming. The man whose name I made my own, yes. Which tale was it?
     Faustus. I brought it for you.”
     The presented article was a small paperback, worn but otherwise cared for. Marlowe hopped onto the boy’s shoulder to examine the prize. Remarkable. The boy laughed loudly. “Remarkable? Says the raven that taught himself to read and to speak the language of canines?” Though the bird did not reply to this, he ruffled his feather’s proudly. Ezekiel shook his head and lowered the book onto his bag, motioning for the raven to sit on the pile of things as he turned back to the deer.

POSTED: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:30 am

Hope you don't mind a Talitha. Still encouraging others to join, by the way! 3+

Her move from the manor to the caves had left her sober and solemn, walking the length of the Inferni border most days in order to clear her head of amassed thoughts that she really didn't want. This day was no different, her feet carrying her from the cave beside her father's into the snow of Inferni's winter. Days were starting to get longer once again, even if it was hardly noticeable, and that announced the presence of another year added to her life. Three since her father had taken them from the old lands to the lands she stood proudly on at that moment. She sighed audibly into the air, rubbing at the corners of her crimson eyes, redder from time spent crying alone in the back of her new home. Another year, and she was no farther from the pit she had been placed in.

The Inferni air helped her remember why she had returned. It smelled of comfort and eased her mind of all the thoughts that clouded it, bringing her smile back to her chocolate- and cream-furred muzzle. Though she had lived in many places, home had only ever been Inferni, a fact unclear to her during her youth. She had once believed that home could be anywhere, as long as it was something desired. The truth was clear that blood made a home, and her blood was tied firm into the wastes.

Each step brought her closer to an unidentifiable smell, something known but unknown on the air. She hadn't noticed it at first, not until she heard unfamiliar sounds in the background of her thoughts. Low-speech wasn't something she understood, or spoke herself, and she hadn't known that anyone apart from the animals who lived around the lands could speak it as well. As she neared, her eyes caught the sight of the blonde, muscular body of her brother, knelt over the body of a dying creature. A deer. The blood stained the snow around it, the scent hanging thick in the air.

She didn't approach, hanging back to simply study and watch him. His movements were different, far from what they had been in their youth. He moved with hunter's grace while he butchered the carcass he had brought down. A surge of pride flushed through her chest, fading into other vague emotions that caused her to pull the tarnished flask from under her skirt. It made only a brief appearance, tucked back into the band of torn fabric she tied about her thigh after Talitha quenched her stress with the shameful vice.

POSTED: Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:47 am

He worked as if in a trace, each cut a meditation, a ritual. There was careful thought in each movement. The people he had lived with, primitive in their ways, had given him a deep education when it came to the use of all things. Ezekiel had quickly been trained to identify plants and know the ones he could use for medicine. Skinning and tanning were skills he had no experience in, but after two years his talents were remarkable. While his fingers were not as nimble as some, he knew how to work leather and hide.

Each part could be used. The stomach was suited for holding water, though Ezekiel would not need such a thing now that he was home. Still, he gutted each part carefully. Even if he did not need a water sack, there might be use for such a thing. The singular knife he carried was more than enough for the other cuts, slicing the deer’s skin from its hide in a few select spots before he began peeling it away. He had to stop only now and again to cut sinew, but the folded hide was soon placed neatly near the raven.

Brushing his hair from his face with an arm, the golden coyote sighed and moved to the most important task. He cut the heart out of the animal, then dug a shallow hole near his kill. Speaking lowly, using a more subtle hand gesture to communicate, he offered an odd combination prayer to the spirit of the dead animal. Marlowe watched him do so, cocking his head. The low-speech was not lost on him. Ezekiel buried the thing and then paused, finally sensing eyes on him.

POSTED: Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:04 pm

3+

The whole process was mystifying to the woman as she watched her brother butcher his kill. His hands moved with a surety she herself never had, tracing invisible lines with a small blade that she would never be able to envision. He skinned the beast, folding the hide and setting it down, before setting out to remove organs and meat from the body itself. Parts she saw as useless were kept, for purposes she couldn't fathom; he seemed to know what was used and what wasn't, and most of it was used. Another separation in the mind of his sister, who was fast believing they were far too different now.

Her eyes moved from the carcass to him, watching his arm brush hair away from his face before setting out to bury what appeared to be a large and fleshy organ that dripped blood. The heart. For a moment, she felt nauseous, not often faced with evisceration on such a clean scale. After the item was put beneath the ground, he spoke words she couldn't understand, words that Marlowe and Ezekiel knew. And then he paused, stopping his movements. She knew that he knew she was there.

She still didn't step forward, but she let out a sigh. "Why do you do that?" she asked, voice filled with common curiosity as well as unease. It seemed religious, but she had never encountered such ritualistic things in her day-to-day life. If she were faced with the same project, she was certain she'd leave most of the animal behind for the birds, and would feel no guilt in doing so. But Ezekiel had a practice that he underwent at that moment, and she wondered if God smiled down on it or if he simply didn't care anymore.

Her feet finally carried her to his side, crouching low to the ground and wrapping her arms under her knees. She didn't ask anymore questions, but they filled her mind to the brim anyways. Instead, she reached out with a careful hand to touch her brother's arm, staring at the upturned earth that covered what had once pumped life into the now motionless animal remains.

POSTED: Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:25 pm

It was his sister’s voice that drifted over the wind, and Ezekiel turned to it. She was lingering in the tree-line, a umber-russet shape broken up by the clothes she wore. He found that an odd practice, but likened it to the ways that the hybrid clan he had lived with used such things. Decoration, usually, or simply for entertainment. Ezekiel did not practice such things, favoring his bronze coat and the freedom of movement it allowed him. Blood had stained his hands and many sections of his fur a deep red, closer to her own color, and this effect was not lost on him.

Marlowe ignored the girl and turned back to his book. The coyote looked back to the freshly disturbed earth and breathed out a cloud of steam. “To give thanks,” he explained, turning his back to her and resuming the task at hand. Sharp, short cuts continued to pull apart the sections of internal organs he would use. He had moved lower, and now worked on removing the bladder. “I don’t need the heart, and it will keep the spirits happy.” A jerk of the wrist slit the organ, spilling the sharply scented urine over the snow. If he had been intending to make white leather, he might have kept it.

“Do you want to share this with me? I’m going to cook some of it. I don’t know if you’ve ever had cooked food, it’s pretty good.” Marlowe made a cawing remark on this, to which the bronze coyote replied with the same croaking sound. He motioned to the head, and the bird fluttered to the young buck and began digging at the eyeballs. They were, after all, his favorite.

POSTED: Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:40 am

3+

His reasons were strange to the leggy fae as her eyes passed over each of his movements, remembering what he did. He talked of giving thanks and of spirits, and wonderment passed through her mind. She had only ever known God, and even He was transformed into the hulking beast they claimed as 'father'. Spirits seemed taboo in the mind of the woman, but her brother seemed to offer them an offer of peace, and she trusted his judgments. "I didn't know there were spirits who cared for deer," she replied. It was new concept, but not an unwelcome one. Anything to turn her mind from hell and damnation for one single day.

She paid Marlowe no mind, not caring for the bird she saw in the light of a pet to her father and brother. He was just another animal, albeit one that understood text when she didn't. A brief pang of jealousy entered her mind; Marlowe had skills she would never possess. It wasn't that she couldn't learn, but that she didn't care. Still, he wasn't a coyote. He was just a bird, and he was more intelligent than she. The Lykoi scoffed softly, turning her attentions back to her brother as he continued his work, slitting open the bladder with an oddly elegant gesture.

"Do you want to share this with me?" The words directed to her were followed by Marlowe's request, not that she could comprehend what was spoken between the two males. Ezekiel responded in turn and the mass of black feathers moved to peck at the eyes within the skull of the prey. Talitha grimaced in disgust. "Do you have to do that while people are watching, Marlowe? Really." A shake of the head and she leaned toward her brother. Cooked food was a luxury she had experienced during her stay in the Bay, at the camp of one Myron de Norte, but she hadn't learned how to do it herself. "Are you sure it wouldn't be a problem? I don't want to take your food if it imposes," she whispered. In truth, she simply didn't want him to know she was famished, and as a carnivorous creature who ate rarely, she was sure he'd notice when she scarfed down her dinner.

POSTED: Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:07 am

There was God, and then there were demons and spirits of the earth. Ezekiel knew many names for these, and recognized that the faith of the odd hybrids he had stayed with were not all that different than his own. He still placed God the Father first, but knew that he had made demons as well as earthly things, and that they were equally powerful. If he offended one spirit, it would open a hole for something evil. After fighting Corvus as a boy, a wolf he knew now to be a true demon, he was lucky to have survived. He had no desire to see such another beast.

“Everything has a spirit,” he explained, realizing it was a broad concept. He said nothing to her comment at the bird, which made a point to pull out the second eye messily. Marlowe cawed loudly, insulting her in his eloquent way, but he spoke in low-speech as to not offend her. The bronze coyote shot him a look, but said nothing on the matter. “Oh I couldn’t eat a whole deer if I tried,” he went on, unfolding the hide. He piled the organs and cut off meat onto it, taking several more minutes to cut away more sections. “Besides, I’m going to be making a lot of food.” It would be easier than hunting daily, but he did not mention this. After his last conversation with her, he was now more conscious of what he said.

POSTED: Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:17 am

3+

His explanation didn't quench her desire to know, about the spirits and whatever else he had learned in his travels, but it satisfied her for the moment being. She didn't want to make him linger in the snow any longer than he had to. Her eyes stayed far from Marlowe's private feast, but one ear swiveled in his direction as he crowed. She didn't understand what he said, but she knew it wasn't flattering; if Ezekiel hadn't been present, she might have swiped at the bird. One day, she was sure he'd insult the wrong creature, and though she might feel sorry for the men who had known him, she would think nothing of his death. The Lykoi washed away the thoughts of the raven with the thought of food, her stomach aching at the prospect.

Ezekiel reassured her, in more words than she expected, that he didn't mind her presence at his meal. He unfolded the hide, piled the pieces on top of it, and set out to cut off more while she studied his movements. Since her time with him at his den, she had tried to learn how to be self-sufficient. She had hunted more, though she hadn't eaten much of what she killed. She had studied animals in the forest and out in other places. None of it really stuck, but it made her feel better about what she knew. Watching Ezekiel added to her fading knowledge, but as he worked, she realized that hunting was simply not a strong point. The golden coyote's rusty twin was an artist who bled prismatic colors and dreamed in abstract concepts that littered the world around her. Killing wasn't beyond her capabilities, but she was sure she'd always lack finesse in creating death.

But she hoped she could be useful in other ways. "Could you teach me how to cook?" she requested, pulling herself up from her smaller pose to look down at the sight. "Maybe I could learn and then you wouldn't have to do it. I could cook for you." It wasn't a question, but her voice rose at the end regardless, as if seeking approval from the man. He lived alone, without a mate, and it gave Talitha ample opportunity to make a place in the life of her brother once more. She hadn't been taught 'roles', not like the creatures long since dead and gone had known, but she saw ways she might make the life of her brother easier. If he hunted, she could learn to cook. If he needed something, she could learn to make it. She could try and take the place of whatever woman he would later take into his home, at least for the time being.

POSTED: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:52 pm

Ezekiel had learned, but most of his talent was intuitive. He was a creature of instincts, tapping into the recesses of information that heredity had given him. Wolf and coyote flowed through his veins, each offering new and wonderful talents. Dominance grew from his grandfather’s blood, as Ezekiel believed that the right to rule was not earned but given at birth. The coyote told him how to scavenge and hide, to be fast and cunning. When he hunted he was an apex predator, using man-inspired weapons to take down animals he otherwise would not be able to. A wolf might kill a deer, but Ezekiel was mostly coyote—and while large for that breed, he was still smaller than any wolf he had met.

His sister offered to pick up the domestic half of the work, and while Ezekiel considered refusing, he was acutely aware of her desire to learn and to help. So he smiled that boyish thing that fell at odds with the scars over his eye. “Sure. Who knows, you might be better at it than me,” he added, winking at her. “If you want to help some more now, you could carry my things back while I carry this.” The deer hide, bulging with meat and such, was closed by its legs and hoisted across one shoulder onto his back. Near his feet, the bow, quiver and arrows, and bag still remained. Marlowe cawed again, which Ezekiel answered with an odd, rough sound not unlike the bird. He nudged the open book into his bag with a foot, shaking his head slightly.

POSTED: Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:39 pm

Lacking the same instincts that her brother garnered, Talitha was left relying on the teachings of others, though she didn't often ask for help in anything. Everything could be used as a learning experience, from conversation to simple moments that outwardly seemed to be amiable encounters. What she lacked in natural abilities, she made up in social ones. Ezekiel was a hunter, but his sister was an artist. Ezekiel seemed to prefer his life alone, but Talitha flourished amongst her family and friends. Or she used to. The self-important princess, who felt superiority purely because of ties to Gabriel de le Poer, was determined not to die alone or wither away into some poor and delicate flower. Because she was Gabriel's daughter, she was better than that.

Her brother's smile brought relief to cover her anxiety, and his agreement made her own smile widen. She felt comfortable with the idea to take care of her twin, preferring it to the idea of settling with some other man as a 'mate' or exclusive lover. Without additional people in her circle of loved ones, it left the weak walls of Luperci emotion that much stronger than those of others. To give back to Ezekiel for caring so much, it was only right to offer help in his life.

She laughed softly at the wink he gave, agreeing with a nod to carry the remaining items. Careful russet hands reached out to grasp the bow and quiver, tugging the latter over her back. Marlowe spoke, one of the obnoxious caws she was starting to hate, and Ezekiel replied. He pushed the book into the bag on the ground before Talitha reached over to pick it up. "What did he say?" she whispered, peeking into the open bag out of curiosity.

POSTED: Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:07 pm

There were still aspects of his life that were not flushed out. Ezekiel had never really made any tight friends, believing his place would never be permanent. His pride had led to many an unnecessary fight here and there. His strongest bonds were those to his russet sister and an aging raven. Yet he was happy with this life, living purely for the moment and focusing on himself alone. Inferni had not yet wound itself back into his bones, though Ezekiel knew the power of heredity and knew that he was bound to this place.

Ezekiel cast a glance to the raven, happily eating the exposed remains of the deer, and then back to his sister. “He asked me to take his book. Did you know he picked his name after a human?” The coyote began to head out of the forest, content his sister would follow. “I found a book when I was traveling that had his name on it so I brought it back.” He had read it too. While he did not do so during the days, often at night Ezekiel would devour books with as much hunger as he did food. He had made a point to ask his father for some, and had intentions of raiding the city in the south as soon as the weather turned. Only a few remained in his bag—a bible, Faustus, and The House of the Wolf. He had been disappointed when it had not been about wolves themselves, but found the humans ideas about werewolves somewhat intriguing.

POSTED: Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:26 pm

3+

Marlowe was a reader, and seemed to have taken his name from human literature. Though the woman had no respect for the onyx bird, she marveled at his abilities and wondered why he managed to outpace her in intellect. He could read when she could not, he could speak high speech to a recognizable state and she was incapable of communicating with animals she deemed 'lesser'. Ezekiel possessed more skills than she as well, but she was trying to learn. Still, the topic of the book hit a spot in her chest with stinging pain. "We have human names, don't we?" The princess wondered what books their names had come from, if Marlowe had selected his own from a book. The thought passed as quickly as it came, leaving the topic of names in the far reaches of the russet Luperci's mind.

Her ears flipped back against the auburn curls that wound down over her shoulders, eyes cast to the side as she sought out a topic of speech. Her hunter brother, the golden de le Poer prince and (in her eyes) heir apparent, was an invaluable resource to his darker twin. Each new encounter in their old home left her with the desire to know more, to learn more, and she wasn't hesitant to ask him to teach. "I don't read. Maybe...you could teach me how," she mumbled, slinging the bag over her shoulder. It had a few books within it, but her attention was drawn to the textured cover of the old bible rather than the other two pieces; as she drew it from the bag now at her side, she opened the cover and studied the small writing. She had never desired to learn how to read or write, but as days progressed, she realized how useful the former would be.

POSTED: Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:17 am

I just found out Talitha's name is also shared with two stars in Ursa Major. Hurrr.

Though Ezekiel did not know it, Marlowe’s remarkable intelligence was not uncommon for his breed. What was remarkable was the problem-solving that the raven displayed. He had learned to read in order to make himself better than the other birds. He had fought many other males for the position, but the ravens had respected his intelligence and backed him over the others. Marlowe, above all else, adapted—this was why he was as old as he was, given wild ravens typically live half of the lifespan of their vocal companion.

The answer to her question was within her hands, and Ezekiel found this little fact amusing. “Yeah, we do. From that book, actually. Dad told me he picked our names from stories he liked. Talitha was a little girl who had died, but God’s son brought her back to life.” He liked that story too, if only because he thought of his sister. She had the power to die and be born again, like the prophet-son. “I don’t know how many of them are true, but the stories in there are all about God and the people he chose to do great things.”

POSTED: Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:28 pm

Hah. Talitha's so awesome, she expands across the universe. -.- This post fails. I apologize.

The news of her own name, as Ezekiel gave no enlightenment to his, caused a spark in the back of her mind. Talitha. A little girl who had once been dead, but that was brought back to the living world through the hands of God's son. The russet woman turned her eyes from the religious literature to gaze at the golden face of her contrast-twin. Her father had given her a name that symbolized rebirth, but she had since failed to find her way back to the life she had always wanted. Still, it was there, and the name meant more to her at that moment than it ever had; in months before, she would have shrugged it away in an instant. An eerie calm spread through her thoughts. "Where does your name come from?" she whispered, clutching the bible to her chest and starting along the familiar path back to the prince's den.

While they walked, she flipped through the thin pages, searching for words she did recognize. They were all small, things like 'and' or 'if' or 'he', but some were names that she could spell. Gabriel, Ezekiel, Talitha. The familiar names were found and devoured by the crimson eyes of the rusty princess, giving her stronger belief in her father's divine rights to the world. It had to be that he was holy, and that his two coyote children were given special thought from their God. After all, they had been welcomed back with open arms, after leaving Inferni for selfish reasons. Gabriel had smiled and given them their place back within the halls of their family.

POSTED: Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:42 am

I suck too. ;-;

He had read the stories of the book, found names he recognized and identified with. His father was not simply an angel, but the angel. God’s Sword, his Scourge. Such a name fitted with his gruff father, with whom the gold-bronze coyote looked on with the same hero worship as his sister. Flicking an ear at her question, he recalled the stories told in that particular chapter. “The Ezekiel in this book was a prophet—he met God, and had a vision that this city called Jerusalem would be destroyed,” he explained. Such things seemed a little silly to him, but it was a story that he figured his father had enjoyed.

“If you want you can have that one,” he went on, trudging through the snow as they neared the caves. They reached his den not long after, and Ezekiel put the hide down outside of the cave entrance. “There’s some dry wood in there, so we can start a fire in that pit.” He pointed to a small circle of stones that was slightly dug out. “There’s apparently a lot of ways you can cook meat but I don’t know all of them. I’ll show you the way I do it though.”

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