Don't Blame the Moon

POSTED: Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:41 pm

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<p class="ooc">Set in Europe somewhere. :3 :: Word Count → 423</p>


<p>Drakien was beginning to get the hang of being a gypsy. It hadn't taken him long to be accepted into the caravan itself, but outside it, the Romani were treated with a certain kind of fearful respect, and he'd yet to earn that from anyone. He doubted he ever would; the others were cut-throat, vicious, and he simply...didn't have it in him. He stood apart from the others now, smoking a cigarette that had been handed off to him, and watching them dance and sing among each other. Even the children had some place in their society, were granted some kind of respect, and he felt...left out. Unwanted, alone; though he knew it wasn't true, he had his own friends in the caravan, sometimes it felt like he was just another outsider, just some <i>gorgio</i> peering in through the window onto their colorful lives.</p>
<p>He pinched the smoke between his first finger and his thumb, taking one last long drag before throwing it down and crushing it under his paw, wincing slightly at the burn. Then he tucked his hands into the waistband of his pants and began walking away up the lane, his head bent as though against a strong wind though it was a cool, crisp autumn evening, the skies clear and the air still. He was almost completely away from the circle of wagons when an old, deceptively frail-looking hand grabbed his elbow, and he was reeled around to face Baba Agnessa, the oldest woman in the caravan. Her face was drawn tight over her bones, and she was graying around the muzzle and under the eyes; but he knew better than to think less of her for that.</p>
<p><b><i>"You are leaving?</i></b> Her voice didn't quiver, and he stared at her for a long moment before looking away. <b>"<i>Nu</i>, Baba. I am only walking."</b> He promised, and he felt her grip tighten but didn't dare look up to see what expression rested on her face. <b><i>"Do not go too far, copilul meu."</i></b> She released his arm, patting it gently, before turning and wandering away, and he was left standing just outside the circle, feeling as though she'd blown icy wind over the fires of his soul, before he turned and continued on his way.</p>
<p><i>Copilul meu.</i> She'd called him her child. He felt a slow smile spread across his face, and paused when he was a good distance from the caravan, looking back at their dancing shapes. Perhaps...perhaps he wasn't such an outsider, after all.</p>

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POSTED: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:00 am

[html]<center><div class="Kadencat"><div class="ooc"><b>Word Count :: 441</b> Wrote some crap really quick. x__x</div><p>Wilson tossed his head as he trotted along the path, dodging the overgrown hooves pacing beside him. He shot a wry look up at his canine companion, long white tail lowered near to the cracked pavement. <w>“Looking to build your own bloody menagerie, are you, Lev?”</w>
<p>
<b>“Oh, hush,”</b> the Turkish wolf retorted, pausing for a moment and tugging lightly on the gelding’s lead; the creature snorted, ears flattening, but did not move once he had called the halt. <b>“I have a total of <i>one</i> animal following me around,”</b> he continued with a shake of his head, <b>“not a thousand.”</b> The cat did not count; the cat might as well have been a fellow luperci to the man.
<p>
<w>“That duff horse was a bad trade,”</w> the tom muttered as Levent clicked his tongue and led the trio onward again.
<p>
Levent frowned then turned once more to the nervous equine, reaching slowly to touch its cheek and make low, comforting, horsy noises. Those noises were, in reality, more to the effect of making the cat jealous, but they had the good side effect of easing the larger animal’s nervous gait. <b>“That mean ol’ <alt title="cat">kedi</alt> didn’t mean it, Umut. You aren’t a bad trade at all; you’ll be worth every trinket I gave up once you get healthy again.”</b>
<p>
Wilson did have his point; the trade had been terrible, in favor of the pompous and stupid dogs that had bartered with the well-traveled merchant. The sooty buckskin was underfed and had a flighty temperament and a case of thrush, but Levent loved the gelding all the same. Besides, he considered the trade less of a ridiclous <i>transaction</i> and more of a rescue. While Lev was not the poster child for morality, his heart did bleed for just about any sad-looking animal that looked his way. It truly was a wonder he <i>didn’t</i> have a menagerie of formerly abused beasties.
<p>
<w>“Where are we even going?”</w> the cat asked after a while.
<p>
Levent flashed him a small smile. <b>“Anywhere useful, arkadaş. Main thing is to find supplies to actually take care of this horse. He needs a farrier badly; it can’t be easy for him to walk.”</b> He stroked Umut’s neck and murmured to him again. <b>“Should probably trade for oats and whatnot, too, get weight back on him.”</b>
<p>
The feline brushed against his friend’s legs, his voice softening. <w>“Might just be easier to find ’im a good home, mate. I know why you traded for the horse, but we almost splashed out on him; not much left to trade.”</w>
<p>
<b>“<alt title="Probably">Galiba</alt>,”</b> the brown wolf sighed, and ran his fingers through the horse’s matted mane once more.

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POSTED: Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:09 pm

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<p class="ooc">Sorry 'bout the wait! Hover for translation. ^^ :: Word Count → 347</p>


<p>Drakien didn't really go far; just up the road. It was a good ways, though, and when he finally stopped to rest, the drifting sounds of laughter and music were only barely carried to him on the wind, and the scents and sights of the fires were far-off and dull. Drakien quietly dragged another smoke out of the pockets of his shirt, and lit it with an old lighter he'd found on the road. Then he tossed the nearly-empty thing, as it was becoming useless very quickly, and blew out a careful breath. For a while, he tried to make smoke rings, or swirls, or even some of the more creative shapes that the Elders could come up with, but all that came out of his mouth were clouds.</p>
<p>Well, clouds were alright, too, he supposed. He took another drag, and then glanced up as the steady clopping of hooves could be heard, along with the sound of two bickering voices. Steadily over the rise came a Luperci and his two companions, though Drakien had to do a double-take when he saw that the wolf was actually arguing with his <i>feline.</i> Sure, Baba Agnessa spoke to the lesser creatures sometimes like they could speak back, but they never actually <i>had</i>. Or maybe...</p>
<p>Well, it was an odd sight to see, nonetheless. At least to Drakien, who pulled the joint away from his maw and made sure to blow the smoke away from the oncoming trio, his curiosity getting the best of him as he stepped away from the rock he'd been leaning on and studied the group.</p>
<p><b>"<i title="Salutations.">Salutări.</i>"</b> He greeted, scratching the back of his head and eyeing the malnourished steed. The poor thing looked worse than a few of the cases the other horse traders in the caravan had passed on to him, and that was saying something. He couldn't help but feel his heart go out to the dear thing, and watched the Luperci warily, wondering if he was dealing with the <i>good</i> or the <i>bad</i> end of that particular stick.</p>

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POSTED: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:45 am

[html]<center><div class="Kadencat"><div class="ooc"><b>Word Count :: 446</b></div><p> The trio had the road all to themselves for a while, and though he was a creature who fed on social interaction, Levent preferred this. Umut seemed to startle around unfamiliar canines, and with most of his attention set to comforting the horse, he knew he wouldn’t be as able to defend himself if brigands attacked. A free hand drifted up to the pouch attached to his shoulder, one that contained a few good throwing knives in case he did need to scatter foes at a distance. He tried not to follow that train of thought for long.<p>
Wilson scampered ahead at one point, ears pricked and white tail sweeping barely off the ground behind him. He returned, his tail raised high with confidence as a mouse dangled from his jaws, and the wolf glanced at him with good humor. However, before doing anything else, the cat twitched his tail in the direction ahead of them, indicating that someone else was there. And, sure enough, it was not long before the scent of cigarette smoke burned Levent’s nostrils—not entirely unpleasant, since he smoked socially.<p>
When they approached the other wolf—a muscular silver-rust male, pleasing to the eye—Levent slowed down to buy enough time to gage the other’s reaction. The Eurasian trading routes were full of many types of characters, some violent and others friendly. His main concern was whether the stranger would chase his friend—but few who showed signs of civilization such as clothes would devolve into a slobbering cat-chaser without very fair warning. Nevertheless, his cream fingers flicked, and Wilson stepped close to his legs.<p>
The tall stranger pulled the cigarette from his lips and greeted them in a language that Levent understood only smatterings of. Even so, he could be speaking Chinese and the intention of the greeting would come across.<p>
The Turkish merchant flashed a bright grin at the other wolf, dipping the front half of his body in a low bow. It might have been seen as mocking to those who actually held authority in these lands, but the exaggeration was a move of playfulness on the part of the brown male. He never took anything seriously, after all—at least on the outside.<p>
<b>“<alt title="Hello">Merhaba</alt>,”</b> Levent Kartal returned in his own tongue, rising and quickly putting a comforting hand on the sooty buckskin when Umut tried to back away from the newcomer. <b>“What is a Romani doing away from his caravan?”</b> he went on, though the lightness of his tone suggested no prejudice or disapproval. He had dealt with the gypsies often through trades, though it had been a while since he’d last seen a group pass through.


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POSTED: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:20 am

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<p class="ooc">OOC here! :: Word Count → 378</p>


<p>The merry band got closer, the cat appearing first with a mouse in its jaws before quickly disappearing again back to his...companion? Drakien wasn't quite sure what to call an animal who spoke back to him; they couldn't be a pet, that would be rather like owning another person, and while that was perfectly fine to some people, he didn't quite know how to treat such an ideal. Ah, well. The strangers were getting closer, now, and he brought the joint back to his mouth, sniffing slightly. He felt incredibly relaxed after smoking, and that was perhaps why he wasn't more cautious of meeting strangers without the caravan around him--on the road, no less, where vagabonds and highway men were abound.</p>
<p>The horse seemed incredibly wary of him, and Drakien made a low, soothing noise in his throat, somewhat like a whicker--a trick that Baba had taught him, when he'd followed her into the horse trade. He didn't know if it would help much, but he didn't like when horses were afraid of him, particularly when they looked so beaten up and abused. The Luperci man greeted him in return, though Drakien didn't understand what, exactly, he'd said, only gathering that it <i>was</i> a greeting, and continued speaking, making Drakien grin a bit. <b>"Only out for walk, <i title="friend.">prieten.</i> Caravan is not far,"</b> He added, in case the man got any funny ideas, though he supposed the other should be more worried about that from <i>his</i> end. After all, that was what they were known for, wasn't it? Some of them, at least.</p>
<p>Shaking his head to clear it of his confusing thoughts, he eyed the horse again, and added hesitantly, <b>"Your horse, he is not looking so well. Too skinny."</b> And he could see there was some sort of infection around the mouth, though he wasn't well-versed enough in diseases to tell which it was. A frown crossed his face, and he glanced curiously at the Luperci man, adding cautiously, <b>"I have supplies I can part with, yes?"</b> He didn't like the look of that animal, and though Baba would be upset with him for giving things away--as that was what he intended--he didn't rightly care. It was his to give, anyway.</p>

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POSTED: Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:37 am

[html]<center><div class="Kadencat"><div class="ooc"><b>Word Count :: 446</b> Hour long wait while trying to spree... I fail, sorry. :c</div><p>The soft whickering noise the wolf made caused Umut’s ears to swivel forward, and Levent grinned in approval at the stranger when the gelding seemed to relax. Truth be told, he knew he would be far less skilled with animals like horses if not for his own vast knowledge of low speech. Rather than needing to verse himself on all the aspects of caring for the creatures, he simply had to ask and be told what they required. Of course, each individual animal was different, and it had taken a lot of observation and questioning to get to the level he was at, but having that good basic knowledge allowed him to quickly understand the creatures he met.<p>
These thoughts passing lazily through his head, he reached up to curl his fingers in the buckskin’s dark matted mane. The smile that came to his lips was a soft one, a far cry from the flamboyant and theatrical grins that normally adorned his expressive face. But its subtlety only made it more genuine.<p>
Sensing his companion’s gentle mood, Wilson chose to wind through his legs, tilting his chin up and blinking once, slowly. His mouth then dropped open playfully, and Lev realized then that the stranger had been speaking to him. He ran his fingers through his dark hair, sheepish, and nodded at the Simien wolf. There wasn’t much else to say on that subject, though he made the mental note in case they were to wander back toward the caravan for some reason.<p>
Bright amber eyes flicked to the horse, and tentatively he pointed out the animal’s terrible condition. Alarm flashed in Levent’s face for a moment, though it was only worry that the man thought <i>he</i> had neglected the animal to its ruin. The hand that had been stroking the gelding’s neck dropped to the rope again, and he gave his head a small shake.<p>
<b>“<alt title="Correct">Doğru</alt>,”</b> the brown wolf murmured. <b>“Too skinny, too fearful, and too ungroomed.”</b> He gestured toward the overgrown hooves and their apparent infection, the thrush he hoped had not set in so deeply as to lame the animal. <b>“I was lucky that I found him when I did, though it was a poor choice to give so much away in return.”</b> He half expected for Wilson to let out a smug little purr, then felt guilty for assuming something like that; the tomcat was being quiet and polite for once, too busy purring at his feet to make wry comments or glare warily at the stranger. <b>“And so I’m left with few supplies of my own—I would be grateful if you could spare anything.”</b> His dark ears lowered into the wild mess of his hair, and his pale eyes took on a pathetic quality: as if Umut’s state wasn’t pathetic enough. Perhaps, if he played his cards right, he could leave the gelding with the gypsies to be properly cared for—though he had already grown attached.<p>
<t><alt title="Damn my bleeding heart.">Lanet olsun benim kanama kalp.</alt></t>



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POSTED: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:00 am

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<p class="ooc">No worries! I'll probably be pretty slow anyway, considering I've got so many sprees going on tonight. xD <3 :: Word Count → 300</p>


<p>Drakien nodded in agreement, and then stepped forward, glancing for permission to the Luperci, and moved to rest his hand lightly on the gelding's long nose. The creature seemed to be in immense pain, and if the overgrown hooves were any indication, it was in a sore state indeed. He was only a junior horse trader, though, not well-versed enough to cure the animal--only ease its pain a bit. He was still very new to the whole thing, and after a moment, he looked at the Luperci and offered a one-shouldered shrug.</p>
<p>He was glad to hear that this man was not the one who'd done this to the poor beast, though the fact that he'd been robbed blind for the animal made Drakien's mouth curl in anger. Even if he were one of the more ruthless members of the caravan, Baba Agnessa would no doubt understand the man's plight, and she <i>was</i> the Matriarch, after all. Drakien didn't feel too terribly for offering to help behind her back, though. Even if she'd called him one of her own only an hour earlier, he was still an outsider for the moment, and he didn't foresee any of that changing any time soon. They couldn't fault him for following his heart.</p>
<p><b>"I have few supplies, yes."</b> He agreed, and then added, <b>"They are kept with caravan. I can take you back, or you can wait. Either way, will only take one moment."</b> The wagons weren't stationed very far, and his own small tent was on the edge of everything. It wouldn't be too difficult to sneak in and grab a few things--a bag of oats, yes, and perhaps take a moment to ask Baba for one of her poultices. They were said to be good for anything.</p>

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POSTED: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:23 am

[html]<center><div class="Kadencat"><div class="ooc"><b>Word Count :: 376</b> Haha. Well, once I meet my quota for the night</br> I'll probably just head to bed. Congratulations on winning!</div><p>
Levent smiled and stepped back lightly to allow the larger man to touch the poor horse. He had to give the animal credit for coming all this way after its rescue, proving that its soul hadn’t been destroyed yet. More evidence of the carelessness of its former owners shown in traces of dark scars along its back and haunches, saddle sores and others. As cowardly a beast as the wolf was himself, he did not know if he could have done it.<p>
<b>“Umut,”</b> the Turkish man said suddenly. <b>“Umut is his name.”</b> It was a name that meant “hope” in his language. And hope was all he could offer the beast at this point.<p>
The black- and rust-streaked man mentioned the supplies with the caravan again, and Lev nodded quickly. <b>“I would like to go with you,”</b> he suggested, both out of concern for the horse and for his own curiosity about what the Romani had been up to these past months. Perhaps, if they had leisure time to stop and talk, he could trade some of his pitiful remaining stores or make his suggestion that they keep the horse. But that question would be asked when it was time; for now the immediate worries about the animal’s pain and hunger were forefront in the man’s mind.<p>
Murmuring once more to the animal, he came around to stroke its muzzle, letting his fingers rest on that sweet spot in the center of its forehead. He expressed regret and promised safety with the quietly flowing words and facial expressions, and Umut bumped his hand lightly with its nose, looking weary. He hoped they could make it at least to the caravan; there wasn’t much else he could do, and he was afraid the horse wouldn’t get back up if it lay down to rest.
<b>“Ah—you should probably have my name if I’m to come along.”</b> The blue-eyed man grinned lightly and offered his hand to shake. <b>“<alt title="My name is">Benim adım</alt> Levent Kartal,”</b> he said, putting emphasis on his actual name though the rest of the Turkish words had come out of their own accord. <b>“And this is Wilson,”</b> he added, flashing another grin down at the feline, who lowered his ears hesitantly but offered a mew of greeting.

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POSTED: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:18 am

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<p class="ooc">Alrighty! <3 And thanks, haha! I'm so gleeful. xD :: Word Count → 386</p>


<p>As he was allowed to touch the horse, he also did a quick look-over, trying to see if there was anything else that would need doing. There were a few sores and scars that he felt could use a dab of medicine, given the horse actually made it back to his tent, but over-all they looked mostly healed, things he could do nothing about. He wondered how long the abuse had been going on before this male had come along, or if it were simply that the idiots were sensible enough to let the wounds heal before creating new ones.</p>
<p>The Turkish man spoke an odd word, and Drakien looked up, somewhat confused, just as he elaborated, and then the young male smiled, turning back to the horse. <b>"It is lovely name, for lovely horse."</b> He said, and stroked the long muzzle gently. The stranger said he'd like to come with him, and Drakien nodded agreeably, releasing the dark gelding's muzzle gently and turning back up the road. <b>"Is this way."</b> He said, and pointed toward the distant lights of the fire, only about fifteen minute's walk off the beaten path. He glanced worriedly only once at the horse's hooves, but he thought that, if it had managed to get this far on the road, a few minutes' off-road walking wouldn't hurt too terribly.</p>
<p>Moments later, however, the male proved even more surprising, as he made sounds Drakien had often heard merchants make when they sold animals. Hesitantly, he attempted to stretch his imagination further, and tilted his head curiously at the wolf, looking disbelieving and uncertain at the same time. <b>"Will Umut be able to walk off path?"</b> He asked, both to test his theory and because the stranger--Levent, he introduced himself as a moment later--had known the horse longer. He nodded to the Luperci, and then as the cat was introduced, looked down and nodded to him as well, his face completely serious though still somewhat disbelieving. He was almost certain he'd heard the cat talking before, but now it only meowed; maybe he'd been smoking too much.</p>
<p><b>"I am Drakien Lusk,"</b> He said, taking his own little bow, and then turned, tilting his head. <b>"The caravan is not far. Baba will have something to help Umut, I'm sure."</b></p>

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POSTED: Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:52 pm

[html]<center><div class="Kadencat"><div class="ooc"><b>Word Count :: 364</b> Oh my gosh almost done with SoSu. D<</div><p>
The taller male smiled and complimented the horse’s name, which caused Levent to want to simply throw his arms around the Romani man in gratitude. It was a small gesture, showing such kindness to the horse in the gentle petting of his muzzle, but the care of animals was an important factor in how the Turkish merchant saw others. Someone could appear to be a murderer, a cheat, but if they had the same soft spot for the so-called lower creatures that Lev had, he could overlook anything else about them. For one who had no kin other than his parents, one dead and one far off in London, a fellow animal lover in this forgetful world might as well have shared blood with him as far as he was concerned.<p>
Pale blue eyes followed the other’s gesture toward the distant spots of light in the distance, campfires for the caravan the silvery-reddish man had left. It looked like it would take a while to reach the gypsies, but at least it was still visible on the horizon.<p>
After he had comforted the gelding, he looked up again to notice that the other man was glancing oddly at him. Dark ears tilted down into the mess of his hair, but when the question was asked, the short brown wolf merely turned back to Umut. Stroking his cheek gently, he let his tongue fall into the equine low speech and tried to gauge how the animal would hold up. Ears still drooping with exhaustion, the sooty bay snorted, resigned, then bobbed its head in the affirmative gesture it had learned from watching the luperci.<p>
<b>“<alt title="Yes">Evet</alt>, I think so,”</b> Levent said, glancing back at the tall Ethiopian wolf. He hoped so, truly, or that if he did fall, they would be fast enough to help him.<p>
He grinned and nodded as the man introduced himself as Drakien, the grin fading only slightly in puzzlement as the other mentioned a “Baba.” The word meant “father” in Turkish, and so he could only make that assumption, though he had no comment other than a nod and a humble lowering of his ears. <b>“<alt title="Thank you">Teşekkür ederim</alt>; we are grateful, really.”</b>


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POSTED: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:36 am

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<p class="ooc">Gah sorry this took so long! x_x :: Word Count → 666</p>


<p>The male was an odd one, that was for sure. Drakien couldn't really think much else of him, though he studied the man curiously as the horse bobbed its head in an oddly recognizable gesture, and then the male went on to say that he thought the horse would make it. Just to be on the safe side, Drakien moved to walk on Umut's other side, ready to catch him and break his fall should his legs give out. The horse wasn't as big as the Vanners that the caravan bought and sold, but Drakien thought that worked in his favor, as it would be easier to lower the animal without hurting anyone. At Levent's gratitude, Drakien shook his head, a small smile on his face. <b title="No,">Nici,</b> <b>it is nothing. Save your gratitude for greater deeds,"</b> He suggested, and lead them off the path, toward the caravan.</p>
<p>The fires were actually not so distant as they appeared; they were doused somewhat, hidden by the circle of wagons to make them appear smaller from betwixt the cracks. It really only took them perhaps half an hour to move at the horse's pace toward the camp. His tent was just inside the circle of wagons, but outside the firelight, close to Baba's <i>vardos</i>. When they finally reached the area, he turned to Levent, and smiled somewhat apologetically. <b>"Ah, you can wait here, please? Baba will not be pleased with me if I allow you further."</b> He explained, and left them just outside the circle, glancing worriedly at the horse before he ducked between two of the larger wagons and made his way toward his things.</p>
<p>He found his own white tent quickly, and found the small bag of oats. Then he searched among his things for any leftover medicine, and found a bundle of herbs usually used for toothaches, as they lessened pain and made you somewhat soft in the head, and gathered those as well. He left the tent, glancing toward the dancers around the fire worriedly in case he should be found and punished, but no one noticed him. He'd need to make himself known to Baba, though, and that wasn't something he was looking forward to.</p>
<p>There was no helping it. With a little sigh, he sidled up to the small, two-horse <i>vardos</i>, stepping up onto the door and knocking lightly. There was a moment of silence, and then the door creaked open, and glittering silver eyes gazed up at him. <i><b title="Drakien, come in.">"Drakien, vin inch,"</i></b> She invited, and he stepped inside, his ears lowered and his gaze on the floor. She moved past him to sit in her rocking chair, and he shifted out of her way, standing awkwardly a moment before she began speaking. <b title="What's the matter with you, boy?"><i>"Ce e cu tine, băiete?"</i></b> He blinked, his gaze lifting, and then shifted again, uncomfortably. <b title="Ah...I came across an injured horse, Grandmother. I'd like to help him.">"Ah...Am dat peste un cal rănit, Baba. Aş dori să-l ajute ..."</b></p>
<p>There was a long moment of silence, and then the sound of the chair creaking. When he looked up, she was bending over, reaching for one of the jars beneath her chair. It creaked again, and a small white pot was selected. She handed it to him without a word, her eyes unreadable. <b title="This is medicine for ache and infection. Spread it over the affected areas."><i>Acest lucru este un medicament pentru durere si infectie. A intins-o pe zonele afectate,"</i></b> She instructed, and then turned away, her gaze settling on the wall across from her as she sank into her chair. He murmured quietly his gratitude, glad she seemed to understand his soft heart and wondering how she'd known which of her mysterious medicines he'd needed, before backing out of the <i>vardos</i>, shutting the door of the live-in wagon quietly behind him.</p>
<p>He returned quickly to the stranger and his horse, and handed over the medicine, his ears still plastered to his head. <b>"For infection,"</b> He explained as he handed the white pot over, and then held out the bundle of herbs and smiled a bit weakly, adding, <b>"And for pain."</b>

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POSTED: Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:45 am

[html]<center><div class="Kadencat"><div class="ooc"><b>Word Count :: 602</b> Mrr I can understand if you don't want to continue this. xD</div><p>
The unlikely quartet walked along the road, the horse huffing with the weight placed on its thrush-inflicted hooves, one wolf on either side and the cat trotting in front of them with white tail raised like a flag. Luckily, the journey was not a particularly long or arduous one, and only half an hour passed when they came to the camp. Levent reached up to grab the gelding’s halter as it strained its ears toward the sounds of the gypsies moving and breathing and watching the dying fires. His nostrils flared with the scent of the nomadic people and their food and wares, and he was fighting off the urge to investigate when Drakien informed him that he would have to stay behind.<p>
The brown wolf only shrugged in understanding, watching the taller male move past the wagons for the tents. Then he sighed loudly and nearly jumped at the weight of the cat standing on his foot. He glanced down at Wilson with brow quirked, but the feline was looking at the wagons and fires silently.<p>
<w>“Makes me miss the normal trade routes,”</w> he mewed finally, and Lev chuckled.<p>
<b>“Makes you miss the food,”</b> he teased, and the cat purred. Blue eyes grew slightly more somber as the merchant patted the bay’s dark shoulder. <b>“Once we have this poor creature taken care of, <alt title="friend">arkadaş</alt>, I promise we can head back with a group on our old trails. It’s just easier to be alone sometimes, y’know, the two of us.”</b> He grinned down at the white tom. <b>“Less people who want to eat you, for instance.”</b><p>
Wilson agreed then started to list off and complain about all of the wolves and dogs and jackals that had ever looked at him funny; the pair chattered in this fashion until the silvery-rust shape of the Ethiopian wolf appeared, coming out from the wagons with a pot and a couple other small bundles. These he offered to Levent, explaining their purpose, as the horse sniffed the oat bag and attempted to thrust its head into it.<p>
Smiling sadly at the emaciated equine, Levent accepted the medicines—but did nothing to pocket them or set them aside. He only held them, staring at them intently, deep in thought, and looked up with dark ears falling back and blue eyes growing pensive. <b>“I am grateful, Drakien, and you have a good heart. But—I must ask more of you anyway.”</b> He looked sincerely sad for a moment, which caused Wilson to paw at his leg with concern, but he shook his head at the cat then back at the gypsy hesitantly.<p>
<b>“You probably don’t need another mouth to feed, another beast to look after, especially one in as poor condition as this one. I just… I don’t think I have the means to look after Umut like he deserves. It’s only—only the two of us.”</b> One paw gestured at Wilson. <b>“I didn’t know if you would be willing to look after him until he recovers, <alt title="sir">efendim</alt>, and I can understand not wanting to.”</b> He frowned and scratched the back of his head, rubbing the cloth around it. <b>“I’m just not sure what else I can really do other than beg.”</b><p>
It took a lot to admit this. Levent knew it would be difficult to part with an animal he’d bonded with, but especially one as in need of treatment as Umut. He trusted Drakien to be kind, however, and at least consider the offer rather than deny the horse a place to recuperate right off the bat. It was only a matter of the Romani’s resources…


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Dead LASKY

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