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Offline .Harper.

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sticks and stones [prp]
« on: December 12, 2014, 01:35:36 PM »
She was scruff and blood and toothy grin - the coyote looked like a walking corpse. Her face was spattered with blood, as were her flanks, and one long tear found its way down a foreleg. She had kept walking despite the pain (it wasn't nothin') but after a while the stepping sent a little wobble up her leg, and soon enough, she was trying to keep her weight off of it. And limping was more tiring than walking.

So she stopped to take a rest, finding herself a nice pile of leaves sticking up from the snow, and plopping unceremoniously onto her belly, where she could lick her wound. The blood on her face wasn't hers, so it was really just the laceration she had to worry about. She figured it'd heal alright if she kept the infection down.

She could tell she was near to some pack, there was strong scent nearby marking a border, but she hadn't heard of any crapty hellscape nearby, so she figured she was probably safe. This wasn't the marshlands, she didn't smell blood in the air. If someone tried to take her, she figured she'd be able to fight 'em off, probably, or at least escape afterwards. She could be really fast when she wanted to be, but her real talent (what had really protected her from slavers and bullies) was the fact that she was way more trouble than she was worth. 

Offline Kashmir

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2014, 03:02:47 PM »
A scent of blood in the air; he pursued it like a fox pursues a rabbit.

Freshly awake and on patrol as the sun begin to rise somewhere off in the east, Kashmir hadn't been to this area in what felt like years, owing to it a number of bad memories. Wraith's challenge had a profound effect on him however, an ugly effect, something he chose to repress in favor of redoubling his efforts to maintain safety... and so here he was, here he came, pacing silently on long thin legs, his scissory jaws parted slightly as he moved closer to the downed coyote.

He encircled her makeshift bed of leaves, striped spine flexing catlike and neck inclined to observe the slash on her leg, awarding Harper a wide berth in case she might decide to snap as wounded animals will. "You -- don't look well," rasped the jackal. Oh, captain obvious, striking again. He ceased his circling at Harper's front, sitting neatly, cat-yellow eyes staring coolly down at her.

If there was sympathy in him then -- and there was, no doubt, he'd never been that far gone -- it was buried beneath the cynical knowledge that just because someone was lying there bleeding and pathetic did not always mean they were the innocent victims. "Tell me what happened," was his request, given to the spitfire in the severe, dissonantly polite way he had of speaking to foreigners.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 05:03:08 PM by Kashmir »


Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills
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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2014, 01:12:45 PM »
She smelled him before she saw or heard him, he'd come up so quietly. He'd approached with open jaws and suspicious eyes and the coyote met him with the same - ears pinned backwards, she scrambled to her feet, lifting the bum forelimb tenderly. She was prepared to bolt - but then again, the approaching stranger was small, like her, so maybe he wasn't too much of a threat.

He circled around, observing her, and she bristled but didn't growl. "You -- don't look well,"

"I didn't cross any borders." She said. He smelled like the nearby pack, and it set her on edge. "Just seemed like a safe place to stay, your pack scares off the bad guys, I get a nap and don't bother you any." Her ears swiveled forward. "That was my plan, anyway." When he stared at her, his dissonantly polite persona giving her the creeps, she added. "You should see the other guy."

"Tell me what happened," This weirdo and his messed up voice seemed to think he was in charge.

"I don't owe you explanation." She snapped, giving her scraggly tail a quick swish. But she continued anyway. "Slavers. Out in the wastelands. Saw a bunch of male wolves with a dozen pups in tow, so I uh.." She cocked her head and gave Kashmir a sarcastic grin, though her stance was still defensive. "Asked 'em what was up." They hadn't taken kindly to her. She was used to having backup when she picked fights, but as of late, she'd been on her own. She'd torn off most of a face before the group got away.

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2014, 02:44:04 PM »
Even now, his observation was somehow predatory. The vulnerable sight of Harper -- and how long had it been since he'd seen another not-wolf? -- the cagy smell, the defensive bite with which she spoke... he saw everything, missed nothing, ripped her apart and put her back together in seconds.

No, she hadn't crossed any borders. But she was close enough to at least arouse the interest of a most unconventional marquis of Inaria. Speaking of those who don't owe anyone an explanation.

"Slavers," he echoed her soberly. Ah, so that had to be who'd done the number on her leg. The pity he felt for her then, a victim, warred with the paranoid belief that this could still just be a lie and she a decoy of some sort. But was there a great chance of that? He could say the same, loath as he was to admit, of any recruit they took in, couldn't he?

... They needed to strengthen their army. That much was clear. A truly powerful nation did not have these kinds of concerns about bleeding women on their borders.

"You can rest here," said Kashmir, still in that distant tone, as he stared down at her. Not the most comforting image, incongruous to his show of mercy. "But you won't get far on that leg." She'd be a sitting duck for more slavers... or predators to whom an injured coyote might look delicious.

The jackal turned away, gesturing to the boundaries of his kingdom with a flinty snout. "I -- invite you to come have it mended. Before your leave."

Unless she decided she wanted to stay. Far be it for him to blame her.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 02:49:05 PM by Kashmir »


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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2014, 06:28:47 PM »
The olive-pelted jackal might have torn her apart with his gaze, but try as he might to analyze her, Harper would only gaze back defensively. He didn't know her, he didn't know her story or her motives. Whatever he saw was just that - what he saw, and it was hardly a complete picture of her as a whole. She was more than a wounded coyote in the woods, she was a effing freedom fighter! And she'd seen worse than him a hundred times before.

"Slavers," He answered back after that heavy moments pause. She stared at him slightly incredulously, yes, slavers, had she stuttered? He seemed to appraise her, as though deciding whether or not to trust her story, but it didn't much matter. With her life on the line, Harper figured she'd be able to get away from him if he decided she was an enemy. Stumble away at least. She just kept her fiery stare matched on his - go on then, decide my fate.

"You can rest here," His voice still seemed eerie, but at least his news was good. Harper turned her gaze away coolily, returning to licking her wound for the moment. This wasn't anyone's land, the only authority he had over her here was the authority in his teeth and claws. "But you won't get far on that leg."

"I'm full of surprises." She answered with a bitter sort of grin. "I've gotten farther feeling worse before." Still, he had a point. It hurt.

"I -- invite you to come have it mended. Before your leave." He said with a gesture towards the smell of his kingdom. She looked at him suspiciously. The scent of lilacs intermingled with lavender that direction. She could see the purple of the trees from here. It seemed unreal.

"Well, that's awful nice mister." She said suspiciously and with a note of sarcasm. "And what do you want from me in return?" It'd be ironic for her to be licking slaver's wounds just to be taken in by more slavers, if that was his goal. She'd survey him for another long pause, deciding which was riskier, going in or staying out. If he wanted to answer her rhetorical, he could.

"Hope your healer knows what he's doing. With neutral-lands healers you never know what you'll get." She struggled to her feet, wobbling a bit. "My name is Harper. I'm assuming yours is....Sir Creepy Stare or some crap?" Her humor would likely fall flat with this audience, but she had never been good about self-editing the thoughts that came into her head and out of her mouth. "I promise I'll be good while I'm here, if you promise the same."

And she gave him her best sugary sweet smile, to convince him of her sincerity. It might have been more effective had her face not been covered in blood.

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2014, 02:18:16 PM »
The stranger was defensive and acerbic, every other word out of her mouth a smart remark. Kashmir was not at home with this type of personality, with sarcasm and silliness and free spirits, spending the majority of his time among those who tended to mirror his severe nature. Or was this just what happened when one took a very young jackal, robbed him of siblings and playmates, threw him into a hot barren wasteland, and surrounded him with vicious, starving, larger inhabitants?

(Not that we're bitter or anything.)

"If I wanted something, I would have already said so," reasoned the marquis quietly, the words bare but unintentionally condescending. There was definitely a reason Kashmir had never been sent on any ambassador missions by his superiors. Maybe it pinched a little, being called creepy, even if in jest... though mostly his reaction to that was summed up in a half-lidded sidelong glance at... Harper, as she'd introduced herself. Yes yes, how hilarious. "Kashmir is fine."

He observed as she pushed herself unevenly to her paws. Winced internally, thinking for a moment that she might try to walk on the broken one. "Careful -- oh, our healer... Lotus, she's very skilled." Though some wounds of course were beyond any healer's abilities. "She... helped my friend with a hurt leg once."

"I promise I'll be good while I'm here, if you promise the same." Followed by a blood-smeared dazzling grin in his direction. You know, just to complete the charming family-friendly picture here.

"Deal," said he simply, and if all else had been said, he'd lead her into Inaria, keeping close by in case that leg knew Harper's condition a little better than she did. One eye drifted from said gimp whether or not they walked now, tracing secretly over the rest of her once more, as if seeing her for the first time --

"... It's been a long time since I've seen another like us." He indicated her with a jut of his muzzle. Very faint intrigue colored his damaged voice. "You know. Not wolves."
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 02:21:19 PM by Kashmir »


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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 03:03:22 AM »
Bitterness didn't accomplish much, in Harper's mind, though of course, like so many things, it was unavoidable sometimes. The same category of woe-is-me backstory that made Kashmir bitter, entrenched in his past, had made Harper dismissive, doing her best to shrug off the bad stuff because frankly, eff that noise.

"If I wanted something, I would have already said so," He said quietly but grouchily. Harper couldn't stop herself from letting out a light but rich laugh, her voice as lovely as a ringing bell. She could barely believe this guy. Everyone always wanted something. If he had thought about it, he had to admit he'd been thinking of Inaria's army.

"If you say so." She chuckled. Bitter? Who was bitter? Anyway, she shrugged and returned to her cheerful smile, even as the stinging of her leg made her lightheaded.

"Kashmir is fine." He answered, obviously a little irritated at her suggestion for a name. Man, this guy really had a stick up his butt. Still, he seemed alright, at least in the "trying to help me" sort of way. She guessed.

 "Careful -- oh, our healer... Lotus, she's very skilled." Harper didn't say anything about that. She respected healers and all, their kind could be useful if they were good, terrible if they were bad, but they tended to avoid fights, which made them cowardly. So all in all, she felt ambivalent. "She... helped my friend with a hurt leg once."

She raised an eyebrow. "Leg wounds common around here?" She still didn't know what kind of pack this was. Curiosity and cats and all, but no one ever mentioned coyotes being hurt for a little extra knowledge.

He agreed to her deal, and she hobbled cheerfully enough alongside him. She saw his eyes on her wounded leg, but also caught him taking glances at the rest of her. For a second she thought he might be, ah...interested. He was certainly a strange one. She was about to comment on his wandering eyes, when he commented first. "... It's been a long time since I've seen another like us." He gestured to....all of her and and she grinned curiously, wondering what he was about to say.

"You know. Not wolves." Ah. So this pack was an all-wolf one-jackal pack. Well, outsiders always managed to find each other, she guessed. At least, that's who she always seemed to end up with. She guessed she was an outsider in most situations, somehow or another. Coyotes weren't as big on packs as wolves were. She wasn't as familiar with jackals.

"Yeah, we're both special snowflakes alright." She said sarcastically as she hobbled, crossing over that invisible line that marked pack boundaries. "What made you wanna stick around with a buncha wolves?" She asked. In her experience, wolves tended to be more concerned with ranks and heirarchies than Harper tended to care for. There were lots of bad ones, lots of good ones, but mostly just average ones, but they all seemed concerned with dominance and displays and crap, and that got tiring after a while. "Ranks" right? But what could a jackal benefit from a bunch of wolves, all of whom were probably bigger than him. And the real question - were all the wolves here as insufferably stiff as their jackal borderguard?

Offline Kashmir

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 01:51:04 AM »
She laughed, an incredulous sound that had the slightest stroke of contempt to it. Asked him soon after exactly how common leg injuries were here. This too failed to budge the stick secured firmly where the sun didn't shine (as Harper had so graciously put it) and Kashmir shook his head mildly. "Not very. It was an unusual situation. Watch your step..."

They breached the border, and the jackal started his way up a hill, the canopy closing above their heads. A roaming sentry peered up at the twosome in passing, nodded at them both, went back to patrol. Kashmir thought on her question, a little wearily for this had in no way been the first time he'd heard it, ended up replying --

"Ah... I guess I just... don't notice much anymore." Which was a blatant lie since the fringe dires had been reintroduced to their population. "I don't mind that they're wolves." He flicked his muzzle dismissively, a little uncomfortably. "Just -- it's nice to see someone that looks like me. I guess."

Okay, anyway... moving on...

"Where are you from, Harper?" Hopefully that wasn't too nosy. He'd never been superb with boundaries.


Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills
Who battled for the True, the Just
Be blown about the desert dust
Or seal’d within the iron hills

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Offline .Harper.

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2015, 03:28:16 PM »
"Not very. It was an unusual situation. Watch your step..." She shrugged, as best as she could shrug given her limping, and followed his advice to some minimum requirement. She'd never really been good at listening. She could sense the change - they had passed the borders, and it set her slightly on edge. She knew that some slavers lured their victims in with friendliness. But then again, she needed healing, and Kashmir wasn't being so friendly as to be creepy, so whatever.

"Ah... I guess I just... don't notice much anymore." He lied, and Harper looked at him skeptically. Wolves, dire wolves especially, would tower over either of them. It'd be hard to "not notice" when a bunch of hulking beasts were constantly looking down on you.  "I don't mind that they're wolves." She almost chuckled, he seemed so defensive. But she managed to contain herself to a simple smirk. "Just -- it's nice to see someone that looks like me. I guess."

"Whatever you say." She chuckled softly. "But lucky for me, I don't look THAT much like you." That was a lie - they were both small, wirey, gamey things, with pointed muzzles and long ears and scraggly tails. If not for their respective colors, they might have looked very much alike. But, she'd wanted to throw in another mild insult, just to see if she could get a reaction out of him. If he looked over at her, she'd give a wag of the tail and a smile to indicate that she was joking. Really, even a blatent insult about his appearance was less awkward than him trying to convince her that he wasn't racist.

He changed the subject. "Where are you from, Harper?"

She answered his question nonchalantly of course. "Citizen of the world, buddy." She said with a flick of an ear and a wobble on her leg. "Don't remember where I was born. Mostly hanging out in no-man's land. Hung around a man camp for a bit, then joined a wandering band of weirdos like you and me." It had been non-wolves. Dogs, mostly, but some others too. "Ended up having to leave the bunch." She honestly didn't feel like talking about that recent separation, but her brain was crap at censoring stuff. Kashmir's delicate nose would like her - when she wanted to obscure the truth, she didn't lie, she joked. But mostly she just said what she was thinking. "Lover's quarrel, you know. Couldn't really hang around after that. And then I bit half a slaver's face off." An involuntary tail wag at that happy memory. "And now I'm stumbling around next to your grim ass."

There'd be a moment of silence then, and if Kashmir didn't comment on the effing life story she'd laid out in front of him, she'd turn the tables back on him.

"So you're originally from here then? Or did you leave somewhere, too?" This forest looked to pretty to have created something so hoarse and pinched and wounded as this strange guy.


Offline Kashmir

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 02:08:42 PM »
Harper didn't believe him, likely for good reason; the claim had been a little transparent. Maybe when years ago he had come here, he imagined in solitary moments that he was one of them. A little timber perhaps. But at the end of the day, his ears were too large, his face too pointed, his body too thin, his stature never quite measuring up to any but the most diminutive of citizens... he was a jackal, despite some of his wishes, despite most of them never going out of their way to remind him.

"Don't you?" he remarked back, recognizing the playful barb and actually trying for once to joke back, the barest hint of a smirk on his lips. Good effort, sort of. Now if only he'd learn to move his eyes when he smiled... baby steps. "If -- you had some stripes, it'd be pretty uncanny."

He listened to what she'd mentally described as a life story. Didn't find it particularly long; he'd sat in for much longer at the discretion of various higher-ups, who really did like their own voices at times. Nodded politely at the appropriate intervals, attentive though he still watched the path ahead. How adventurous it sounded.

"I've never seen a dog," said the marquis thoughtfully. That was also a lie -- he'd met a vicious husky mix years ago in the neutrals for a very specific purpose. But that wasn't the sort of incident you brought up to new faces. "What are they like?" A pause, coupled with a long-suffering roll up his eyes up toward the sky. "Not -- as grim, hopefully?" Oh ho ho.

"Ah -- no, I was from a savannah. Born there, I mean. Came to Inaria once I was grown." Aaaand we have lie number three, ladies and gents! There was a joke somewhere about sticking out like a double sore thumb now; what jackal lived in a forest? Not that wolves typically lived in swamps or jungles, but that was beside the point. "I've been here ever since."
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 02:11:53 PM by Kashmir »


Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills
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Be blown about the desert dust
Or seal’d within the iron hills

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2015, 04:07:13 AM »
She knew that he was an outsider. The way he carried himself, the way his face moved when she called him out on his lie. She knew the expression because she'd felt it too, she knew what it was like to be the one on the outside looking in. To ally herself to a cause that wasn't truly hers.

"Don't you?" He returned the joke, and Harper gave a nasal exhale, the smallest of chuckles. "If -- you had some stripes, it'd be pretty uncanny."

"At least I'm not green." Her voice had become more playful, she obviously meant no insult by it. He listened politely to her story, nodded when it would be polite to nod, and when she was done, asked a question or two like a polite person would to show that they were listening.

"I've never seen a dog," He said, that raspy voice so strange in such normal conversation. "What are they like?" And after a pause, another attempt at a self-deprecating joke? "Not -- as grim, hopefully?"

"They're just as dumb as the rest of us." She said, almost involuntarily shrugging, but remembering that she was still limping and needed those legs. "Most of them are a little stockier than us, but some aren't. A lot of them have floppy ears one way or another. Thin tails sometimes." Some of the memories of her times with them tugged at her a little bit, but she quickly brushed them off, refusing to linger. "They're just as dumb as the rest of us." She concluded again, perhaps a bit defensively. "And yeah, sometimes they can be grim, too."

"Ah -- no, I was from a savannah. Born there, I mean. Came to Inaria once I was grown." He told his lies with his quiet, raspy, voice, and this time Harper was the one who listened. "I've been here ever since."

"Why'd ya leave your savannah?" He'd had to have either known that Inaria was better, or known that where he had been was worse. "Guess it wasn't as pretty as these tall trees and hills and whatnot?"
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 07:51:10 PM by .Harper. »

Offline Kashmir

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2015, 11:38:33 PM »
"... Green?" Her last remark, for whatever reason, actually managed to lend a note of unmistakable incredulity to his perpetually hushed voice. A dainty breath huffed from his nostrils; it might have been a snort in a crasser creature. "The grass we're walking on is green... I'm not. I'll ask Lotus to check your eyes once she's through with your leg."

What was that sound? Could it have been the great stick of eternity coming out of somewhere it ought not to have been? Hmm... probably not, but a joke was a joke. Take what you can get, Harper.

"Well," he offered politely, "they sound interesting. Dogs, that is. I know Inaria welcomes them, they've just never come." Maybe they had it too well partnered with their human companions (a species that, for sure this time, Kashmir had never seen) to bother with the brutal wilderness. A pause of consideration, before he rushed to fill in a blank he'd left. "Oh -- Inaria. That's what this kingdom is called. I should have said that before."

He'd always been such an apologetic, self-deprecating sort. A fancy high rank would hardly change that. They continued on, the jackal's nose working a little harder at the end of his snout the further they moved past the outskirts... tracking, no doubt. "Yes... pretty." Sighed with sincerity despite its trailing nature. "Ah -- well. The savannah was only somewhere I lived. Once I was grown... there wasn't much reason to stay."

Kashmir stopped short, motioning the coyote to do the same. He nodded to himself, approached something in the distance... something colorful and lively, a variety of herbs and flowers and all sorts of plants, some of which he was certain were not native to Inaria, sprouting and nestled in dirt from which they'd been sown.

"Her garden," was all he said. Throwing back his head, he'd call for the little gold she-wolf with a cry that had once been more a shrill, blood-curdling rebel yell than the low, troubled, eerie wail it was now. Stepped away as the echoes of it faded into the trees. "It shouldn't take long..."

He didn't leave her alone, in the meantime. It felt wrong to dump her off here with an awkward "well bye," as a foreigner and just as someone injured and relatively helpless to attack. "I want to learn more about this," murmured Kash suddenly, breaking the silence. His sharp eyes were settled gently on a particularly dark blossom in the garden, its petals a blue so dark they were nearly black. "It's hard to find the time. ... I guess."
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 11:39:19 PM by Kashmir »


Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills
Who battled for the True, the Just
Be blown about the desert dust
Or seal’d within the iron hills

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Offline .Harper.

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2015, 01:03:35 AM »
"... Green?" He asked incredulously. If Harper had given more of a crap she might have noticed a huffiness in his voice that hinted at the offense he'd taken, but her leg was hurting and she had never really been bothered by that sort of thing anyway. "The grass we're walking on is green... I'm not. I'll ask Lotus to check your eyes once she's through with your leg."

The coyote grinned as incredulously as Kashmir had huffed. She suspected that this joke was about as much as she was going to get out of Kashmir, but she was pleased she'd goaded him into some humor nonetheless.

"HA." She belted out. Her laugh was probably the most sincere thing about her, despite being sarcastic as hell. "Perhaps the healer is a psychiatrist? Because you're in DENIAL." Giggling. "crap." Her leg hurt.

"Well,"] he said, the traces of the joke dissipating from his voice. "they sound interesting. Dogs, that is. I know Inaria welcomes them, they've just never come."

"To be fair - " She said snarkily. "Your border patrol could be a little more welcoming. Maybe you have a public relations problem?" Was there ever anything of substance underneath that constant snark? She laid it on a little thick sometimes, she'd admit. But people did what they knew how to do, you know? Anyway, she'd be happy when they were done talking about dogs, and she actually felt a little relieved that there weren't any here.

"Oh -- Inaria. That's what this kingdom is called. I should have said that before."

Pretty name. She couldn't even think of a snarky response, the name fit the landscape. She didn't notice his self-deprecation, that sort of thing was typically lost on her. In Harper's world, feeling sorry for oneself was pretty unproductive...as was feeling sorry in general. Better to just forget about mistakes. Not like you could change them. Aggressively ignoring problems was the exact opposite of dwelling on them.

"Yes... pretty." He said, as though he'd read her thought about the name. But he was talking about his old home now. "Ah -- well. The savannah was only somewhere I lived. Once I was grown... there wasn't much reason to stay."

"I can understand that." She said. She gave him a cynical smirk, her toothy grin tamed somewhat. "I haven't ever found a reason stay anyplace for too long, to be honest. Staying just isn't my tune." Still, this place was pretty. This was a wonderful scenery for a brief stop. Briefly.

And then he stopped, and she stopped with him. She looked around, noting all the weird plants. God, she'd eat any of them if it helped out this pain a little bit. "Her garden," He said, followed by a ghastly wail. Harper looked at him skeptically. What a weirdo. Her discomfort at his eerie howl was apparent. "It shouldn't take long..."

There was an awkward pause, Kashmir considering leaving but ultimately decided that she was both too dangerous and too helpless to leave. Harper wasn't bothered in the least by lack of talk, but to Kashmir it must have weighed more heavily, because after a moment he said quietly "I want to learn more about this," She looked at his face, his gaze was strangely intense, but it had been that way since she first saw him.  "It's hard to find the time. ... I guess."

"Sounds like excuses to me." She joked, but there was a note of truth in her voice. if you wanted to do something, just do it, you know? "Next time a wounded coyote comes to borders, you can help her instead of making her walk across hell and creation."

Offline Kashmir

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Re: sticks and stones [prp]
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2015, 10:17:15 PM »
There were perhaps many reasons the jackal could benefit from a good psychiatrist, or some anthromorphized wolf version of one anyway, but denial about his (ambiguous, oft-disputed) coat color was not one of them. Kashmir side-eyed Harper with a dry expression that was almost funny in its muted exasperation, eyes half-lidding as black lips stretched out toward the cheeks. Oh, you.

"Welcoming?" he repeated, a little skeptically. "We're doing you a pretty decent favor, aren't we?" The marquis didn't think she needed him to lecture her on how unwelcoming other packs out there were to some bite-sized loudmouth hanging out near their borders. Had she done that to that collapsed swamp anarchy he and Acheron had infiltrated some time ago... well, they certainly wouldn't be offering her asylum and medicine. This world was mostly evil.

"... Do you ever miss them when you're gone?" A bit of a random question, quiet and genuinely curious. If only because he was so unlike her in that way, because he craved safety and stability and home above any adventure. "The places you've been? The people?"

He missed her unease at his broken call, having had his back to her as he loosed it. Which was probably a good thing, truth be told. It was a creepy, unpleasant sound, but that didn't mean a fellow couldn't feel self-conscious about it all the same. In any case, they both spoke of the plants as they waited, and she accused him of making excuses. Kashmir nearly defended against that automatically, there was a lot to do as beta, so on and so forth, but instead --

"I suppose so." A humble reply that was nearly a sigh. "I... know there's one kind of tree. White and green. You can make medicine from the buds that stops bleeding. And then there's these blackish berries... ah, wait. No." Shook his head sheepishly. "Those are poisonous."

Another awkward pause, the jackal glancing over to the left as he smelled in the distance the familiar floral scent of a certain someone approaching.

"Well, anyway. Here she comes."


Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills
Who battled for the True, the Just
Be blown about the desert dust
Or seal’d within the iron hills

Played by Kotake