Court-less

Court-less

Postby Dejicide » Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:05 pm

There was a second lie the half-dragon was thoroughly good at keeping; however, its success was based more on the lack of inquiries than anything else: he did not hoard. People would assume this way or that way and he would never offer comment either way or else betray said secret. His self-awareness regarding his inability to tell a convincing lie was intact.

Under the wooden planks of the cabin he had created were buried two large chests of iron of wood, securely locked despite the chances of some random passerby prying up wood and digging them up. One could never be too sure, too secure, when dealing with sentimentality. The coins could be taken for all he cared, or so he had convinced himself, but the rest of the things were for him to deal with. These things that were material objects once scattered and buried throughout the forest and had been collected and moved here only months ago when he built this place. He had convinced himself it was if he needed them. In case the dead rose from their graves. In case the darkest depths of the forest decided to take Myrkentown by some unrelenting storm of blood and thew. He was good at lying to himself, at least, for some time. For someone that would consider going so far to find closure he was always so reluctant to discard the things close to him that he kept as reminders. Then again, wasn't he supposed to use them when he took his pilgrimage?

“Although if I believed for even two heartbeats together that you were leaving with the idea of getting your silly arse killed, I’d hamstring you in your sleep.”

Those words weighed far heavier than he'd admit because she had read him far too accurately. It wasn't so much suicide as a suicide mission, something he would be foolish to believe he'd come back from in one piece. The worth she put in him that day nearly erased the concept from his mind. Apparently he was more than what he was and the violent trip for closure became such a moot point he hadn't given it another thought until he considered preparing for a different journey. These things he had sorted through and pulled up from the chests were sold to merchants and smiths in town with the promise of smelting the steel down to scrap over the last week. Remnants of his time as a man with martial needs they were and while he wasn't quite sure what he was these days, what he is, he sure it didn't have anything to do with these any longer.

Discarding the reminders and lies to himself was an odd feeling that wasn't unwelcome but only time would tell if it would make a real difference. There was no guarantee but in the end there wasn't any regarding the pilgrimage he had previously considered either. Did this count as closure? It was a question only he could answer: he wouldn't tell anyone else of what he had kept over all these years. Was there shame in hording or that sort of sentimentality over something he disliked so much? Perhaps, he felt, and had no intention of sharing. Regardless, the only material things that still existed from his previous life were the robes he had worn to court: donated and transformed into something entirely different by the woman he was coming to rendezvous with now.

It was early morning; his idea in spite of his preference for travelling at night, for what he silently assumed was for her sake. The spring sun would give some discomfort but he would do his best not to mention it until it was absolutely necessary. The half-dragon was dressed a commonly as ever in dark leathers that had seen recent and thorough cleaning for the trip with a pristine and new cloak of forest green wool to offer perpetual shade. He was not armed with his bow in case they came upon Catch on the way out of the woods. A temporary one could be purchased later. He expected interference from the addled giant and knew better to agitate him by having the thing with him. Over each shoulder were similar satchels: one heavy and full of coin for the journey, the other packed tightly with rations and a change or two of travelling garments. It was more than he needed but with some time to prepare what was the harm in over-preparing?

Hood up to comfort his eyes from the rising sun the half-dragon had stopped just shy of the brambled entrance he had become familiar with over the past months and slipped a satchel from his shoulder to shake quietly before it. He wore a mischievous sort of grin in his curiosity of the occupant's reaction to the alien noise out here in the woods.

Jingle, jingle.
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Re: Court-less

Postby Niabh » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:31 pm

The prickle of the welcome wards snapped her cleanly from a cat-like doze to wide awake with little transition between. Mother once said that for all so many wardings as she had rigged through her life, she still could never predict exactly where a ward would tap you until the final set. These ones always yanked right in the armpits, a sensation between a tickle and a hard pinch, impossible to sleep through. Which was the entire point, she reckoned.

Since she guessed by the size and the direction and by sheer familiarity who it was, she had a little time to untangle herself from her sweaty blanket, yank yesterday’s sour tunic down over her head, and slap some water on her face. Her internal timepiece was a good judge of dawn and dusk even when she couldn’t see them through these earthen walls, and she assumed he had just coming back from hunting and was bringing her breakfast. Sometimes if she caught him before he slipped off, she could persuade him to stay and share it with her. Well. Persuade. She grinned to herself as she scraped back her hair with both hands in the usual doomed effort of getting it into some sort of order, which ended with it being constrained away from her face and left in a frizzy explosion at the back of her head.

The jingling caught her with one foot on the ladder and her hand reaching up to push open the trapdoor. The only association she had for that sound was bridle bells. Had that man brought a horse? More accurate question: had that man gone tracking all over the country to find the only living horse that wouldn’t break its own leg trying to get away from him? Nothing to do but pop her head up—a bit rabbitish, given her ears and her inquisitive expression—and see. “Morning, my airgead.”

Catching both hands on either side of the opening, she pushed herself up and plopped down on the edge of the round hole. “You’ve caught me on the eve of the weekly grooming,” she said wryly as she touched the wad of springy curls. “I think I lost last week’s comb in it. What have you got there?”

Swinging her legs out of the hole, she ambled easily through the maze of thorns, a path that looked particularly perilous for one bare-legged and bootless, but which was no real effort when you knew which ones were real and which were glammed. She touched his chin in the affectionate greeting that had to pass for a kiss, considering he loomed a full foot taller than she. As soon as the fresh clothes and new cloak registered, her stomach dropped simultaneously with the huge grin spreading over her face. “Now? Today?”
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
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Re: Court-less

Postby Dejicide » Mon May 01, 2017 9:53 pm

Hokwing was, as usual, obviously pleased to see her no matter her aesthetic. It didn't matter who's form she took, state of cleanliness, or demeanor. Downplaying the simple smile that spread across his muzzle and the swaying of his tail would have been a disservice to the both of them and earnest sincerity. Besides, even if he had the ability to hide such things Victoria was sure to see through him at this point. Still, a single silvery brow raised at the woman while she emerged from her home as he noted her casual comfort around him.

He greeted her simply by the use of the name she had given him in turn, dissuaded many a time from exploring alternatives. Hand shook the satchel once before resting it upon his hip along with the sound of shifting metallic currency, waiting until she had pulled herself up and a moment longer before answering. All in good time with plenty of patience: he was in no hurry for explanation. He hand was deserving of a friendly nuzzle anyhow and her brow was given a quick little greeting of a kiss.

"This is for travel expenses: ship fare and other whims in case we decide on spending time in claimed territory. Perhaps some combs and a wash basin as well," he teased with an air of nonchalance. Then the confirmation came with a grin that beamed down at her. "Today, unless you have other plans?"

The woman having other plans would surprise but not disappoint him. Nothing short of a cancellation of their mutual escape from civilized Myrken would upset him now that she had committed to the long retreat. His expression shifted to curiosity and expectancy for what he foresaw was just a request for some time in final preparations and perhaps her mentioned weekly grooming- unless she were to simply glam it away. It occurred to him then there was a condition to her having the self-appointed freedom to slip away suddenly and his eyes scanned the immediate vicinity. He was aware that what or whom he was looking for had a name, he knew the name. Some time ago he had stopped actively trying to respect the beast, though, as it showed him nothing but disdain and his words regarding it were plain.

"Oh, your horse?"
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Re: Court-less

Postby Niabh » Wed May 03, 2017 3:27 pm

“What, all of that?” She regarded the heavy satchel with new respect, her tone thoroughly awestruck. “Lugh’us Danaan, you can’t just walk around with that kind of cash!”

Then she remember who she was talking to, and stepped back to take a long silent look at him, from tips of his horns high over her own head to his taloned feet. “Well, maybe you could,” she admitted. Anyone fearless, foolish, or desperate enough to try to separate a dragon from his silver deserved whatever they got.

“Toirneach’s boarding at the Dagger.” It amused her greatly that the shire’s dislike for Hok now appeared to be mutual. “So I don’t have to worry about you two squabbling all the time. Oh, dash it all, I wish I’d known this yesternight!” She gave a mock-indignant stamp of her foot, even as she smoothed the cloak across the tops of his shoulders and tugged its edges straight along his chest purely as an excuse to fuss with him. “You’re all put-together and organized and I just rolled out of bed. I could have been packed already and not have to keep you waiting.”

As light-hearted as she made it sound, a good solid chunk of her mortification was not purely for his amusement. The clan was not tolerant toward stragglers. If your gear wasn’t together when they started moving, you had your choice: lose whatever wasn’t ready to move or be left behind yourself. This journey, by comparison, seemed shockingly casual.

With a final pat, she slid her hands down his shoulders and away. Her eyes sparkled with excitement. She backed away from him toward her door, as if he might grow impatient and go without her should she take her gaze off him for more than three heartbeats. “I won’t take long. There isn’t much.”

In fact, there was little enough that she was almost ashamed to let Hok see the place with its glam down—so little that there was no real question of what she would take with her. Her bow, of course (and now she felt glad that she had decided to make new arrows as soon as she had accepted the offer to travel) and her dagger, her red cloak, her wraps, and the five or six articles of actual clothing that formed a base for whatever she chose to glam herself into. Her leather skully-pot, now sadly shriveled from being pressed into more cooking than any skully could be expected to survive. A little cloth packet of sewing things. Her hand-stone, which served as both axe and hammer. Down at the bottom, one tiny precious packet of tarrtháil, perhaps enough for seven doses, now dried to sulphur-yellow powder.

That troubled her some. She couldn’t be certain it was too old to be potent, and one of the ingredients was the bladder of some fish that only swam in the sea, not inland. Even if she had all the parts, she doubted she could make more of it.

But for the bow and the new arrows, it was exactly what she’d stepped on shore with three years ago, back before she’d any real concept of what a “town” was…or even how trade worked, really.

Sitting on the edge of her table, she wriggled into trousers, tugged on her boots, and glammed her hair into its more usual smooth, heavy braid.

The only real issue was whether or not she needed to take part or all of the ransom. It wasn’t like home, where she could simply wear it; she’d have every cutpurse in the country circling them like crows around a ripe corpse. And getting to some of it would involve kicking down her fireplace. She didn’t like the idea of being beholden to Hok, nor that she might be caught flat in an emergency if the two of them should be separated. Her true discomfort went still deeper, back to the ingrained belief that what you left behind was gone, forever, no going back to retrieve it. The ransom’s value was greater than the weight of its gold, verging on the spiritual. It, more than anything else, was Home. The idea of leaving it, even glammed and safely sealed in a block of clay behind the fireplace, terrified her. But they were coming back. It would only be out of her sight for a season.

She’d spent longer mulling over the matter of the ransom than she had packing everything else, and it was rude to keep him waiting.

With a quick, decisive sweep, she brushed a tangled heap of gold chain and jeweled brooches and bracelets into the flat, secret panel of the satchel—a panel that was not particularly secret when the thing was empty—and covered them over with a glam. Certes, someone who went rummaging might wonder why a grown woman carried so much worthless trash on a long journey, so many polished wooden buttons and pretty but common seashells and tiny clay dolls. At worst they would think her a silly, sentimental girl who couldn't bear to be parted from all her trinkets and keepsakes…which was precisely what she wanted them to think.

She snatched from her mat a blanket suspiciously the same color and pattern as the blankets at the Dagger, folded it into a square, and tucked it atop the rest. And that was that.

At the last moment, she lingered beside the ladder, staring and considering, before she took down a long narrow bundle from its shelf. With superstitious dread, she peeled away the double layer of sacking around it. She had put the thing (which she actually thought of as the thing out of reluctance to give it the power of another name) as far away from her bed as possible, unable to shake the eerie thought that it might come alive while she slept and, with a silent snick, jab itself into her throat or her eye. The thought of using it made the palms of her hands instantly cold and clammy.

But it was a weapon. And if she never used it for anything else, it was a walking staff.

The walking stick came flying straight up from the open trapdoor and dropped with a clatter into the trampled spot in the blackberry hedge. She popped out after it, scooped it up, and kicked the door shut with her heel as she started back to him. As she moved through them, the vines twined like so many spiny black serpents intermeshing to seal off the path behind her.
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Re: Court-less

Postby Dejicide » Sun May 14, 2017 7:20 pm

Indeed he could get away with carrying that much unspecified coin. Hokwing was confident they would not be waylayed: he had made many similar trips alone in the past all with uneventful journeys. There were exceptions of course but never did an individual or party ever try to rob him through force or intimidation. The reasons were obvious simply upon laying eyes upon him. Besides, it was all disposable, what did a wanderer need of enough coin to settle down with? He would be happy to spend or lose it all on the trip. Any further inquiry would have him admit that he didn't want to return with any of it.

A quiet and approving huff of cool breath in the contrasting spring air was given at her mention of the horse, afterward folding his arms across his chest in mock impatience. He could have happily waited for days and had little expectation to leave this quickly but the woman was going to hustle and do as she felt regardless of his casual approach to departure. So he waited as-is until she emerged with staff in hand, smiling another greeting to her as she approached. Only then did he explain his apparently abrupt arrival.

"You made it sound like you could be ready once Catch was informed. He confronted me in such a way that it was obvious you spoke with him so here I am."

As much as he preached about treating the unhingable giant-man with the respect and expectant understanding you would give to any peer he would admit he treated Catch like a child when it came to this departure. He would, for the time being, default to vague explanations and half-lies regarding his relationship with this Victoria as long as the man couldn't seem to grasp anything but a platonic acquaintanceship on the fringes of sincerity. That and seeing a glimpse of sheer jealousy well up in him did a good job of keeping Hokwing tight-lipped even when confronted directly.

"I was in no hurry," he added in spite of his earlier pose that melted into an easy and casual stance as he moved to greet the woman in red with an offered hand and ducking down a bit to offer a proper kiss that was delayed from earlier. "But I'm glad you're not asking for the days I would be willing to wait. I've been looking forward to this."

A moment passed and he was eager to turn his attention north-west through the trees, his jade eyes seemingly piercing through miles of trees as the crow flies towards the Sikasoon Mountains. He was thoughtful as if he hadn't planned how to get from point A to point B yet and gave a bit of a shrug of his wings, confirming any suspicion she might have gathered about his lack of true planning with a tone in his voice that inflected he was asking her opinion on the matter when he should have been the expert and navigating the forest.

"I was thinking we leave Myrken by heading across the road to East Weald and through the darkest parts. The Iron Mountains pass will suit our goal well enough into New Dauntless and by then, perhaps, where we'd like to end up. Edirne could be interesting but I've not seen the islands north of the Straights yet."

There was little expression change upon planning on going through the darker parts of the forests near Sikasoon, places he had admitted he usually avoided for reasons that mostly boiled down to territorial respect. The Myrken whispers of threats and eldrich things mostly came from that specific region and only just spread close enough to civilization to be rumors at that point. For what it was worth it seemed like the half-dragon was aware and still chose it as his route for whatever reason.
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Re: Court-less

Postby Niabh » Mon May 15, 2017 8:58 am

“Ah, gods, I’m sorry. I didn’t think he’d seek you out over it.” That information send a troubled shadow across her face, her brows drawing together. “Was he very upset?”

Was he very upset? roughly translated to did he take a swing at you? It was Catch’s way to wax wroth in the moment, then forget. She was honestly taken aback that he remembered long enough to confront Hok over it. She had debated some over whether it would be kinder to tell him, or to simply slip away and pretend she never left. Both would end the same for him, save that the first way would hurt him in the moment. Betimes Catch was a frustrating amount of work; she always ended up struggling to hold up both ends of the ordinary niceties of friendship, but be damned if she’d give him less courtesy than she gave her own horse. Even Toirneach had gotten an explanation.

Still a little troubled, she eagerly enough raised herself to the balls of her feet and slipped both arms around his neck for a kiss, her fingers playfully tangling in the close-cropped silver hair near the back of his neck before she let herself drop back to firmer ground to listen, with what she hoped was bright, attentive interest, to his itinerary. Almost from the first place name, her brain hopelessly fogged over. If he had a hint of trepidation, she could not sense it. For the first time, she felt a bit daunted in the face of his greater experience.

“I’m afraid I’m going to be terrible at this,” she admitted, then chuckled at her own doubt. “An you dropped me in the middle of a forest, I’d find my way to the edge eventually, but I don’t know where many places are Here, really, or what they are. I only know directions—sea’s this way, mountains that way. I trust you know where we’re going, of course, but I’m not going to be much help in that respect.”

She squared her satchel against her shoulders, took up the walking stick, lifted her chin, and spoke with optimistic confidence: “I shall have to be Chief Water-Bearer and Fire-Builder instead, and strive to be cheerful and uncomplaining to make up for my other lacks. Do you sing? I feel I should warn you: I sing.”
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