Author Topic: Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]  (Read 1632 times)

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Offline .Harper.

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Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]
« on: August 19, 2015, 02:06:16 AM »
She had crossed the borderline yet again - she crossed it like a bird, not even acknowledging that it was there. Her wounds were healed now, at least mostly, and she'd managed to spend this whole time in Inaria without getting attached to anyone (well, okay, Lotus a little bit). Anyway, it was about time that this coop was flown. Places to go. People to see.

The little coyote had heard about the refugees. At least, heard some things. The whispers were everywhere now, Inaria was going to prepare for war. Soldier recruitment? The big group of wolves suddenly leaving, without any logical reason? Something was going down. Curiouser and curiouser. If there was going to be a war, Harper was pretty sure that Inaria wasn't on the bad guy side. She took a moment to entertain the idea of helping them fight - but Harper wasn't a soldier. She didn't follow orders, she didn't fall in line. She doubted Inaria would appreciate her contributions. That was fine. A brief rueful smile upon imagining how that would go, a little coyote standing line in line with those big dire wolves, giving them sass. Ha!

She'd find some other way to get involved. Being nosy and instigating crap was a strength of hers. She'd follow the trail of the wolves that left. Maybe they'd give her some answers without Inaria's golden and silver-blue royalty breathing down their necks.

Anyway - the coyote crossed the border. The sun beamed down hot and bright and the grasslands that stretched before her looked inviting, another step in an adventure. Harper could taste the blood already.

She hopped forward and didn't bother looking back.

Offline Kashmir

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Re: Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2015, 04:42:53 PM »
War, on Inaria's doorstep. Assault not by a rogue band but by a barbaric empire.

He was a rather nervous animal at his best, but the council meeting had left him a pacing, hyper-vigilant time bomb in striped olive clothing. Defensive aggression boiled slowly in his chest; any outsiders who ignored his declared lockdown and tried to weasel past the borders would encounter not the usual cold politeness, but a small wiry missile all needlepoint teeth and hellishly yellow eyes attacking vital points, crying out for backup, demanding all too clearly this: get out or die. Kashmir was not playing games.

Maybe it was Harper's poor luck that saw her intercepted by the stressed-out marquis as she hopped the border out of Inaria (more likely), maybe he'd been tracking her (less likely), but either way he'd slink up behind her, a rustle of underbrush and a disagreeable chuff of breath announcing his arrival.

"Harper," called Kash, "where are you going?" He took a step forward, not menacing but emphasizing his seriousness. The awkward, timid jackal who'd invited her in to see Lotus about a busted leg did not seem to be present anymore. "There's been a lockdown. You'll need to stay here."

He meant what he said... but she was a wily woman, and he could very much be reasoned with, should she be wily enough.


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: Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2015, 04:07:39 AM »
It's true that Harper's luck wasn't so great, but it was also true that she would have been really pissed off had she been followed. But then again, she'd always believed that what people don't know won't hurt 'em. And if Kashmir had been skulking about, she hadn't noticed. She stood among the grasses and sunlight now, ears turned back at the sound of his voice, stopping in place. Still looking out into the horizon. Half debating whether or not he warranted a response.

Eh, what the hell.

"Harper," he'd said in that raspy voice of his. "where are you going?" He seemed very serious indeed, which of course only prompted Harper to turn her head to him and raise a challenging brow. Was this polite, timid jackal seriously going to gun her down for leaving? "There's been a lockdown. You'll need to stay here."

Harper could be wiley, when she felt like it, but she was also combative, acerbic, and lacking any sort of filter and most kinds of better judgement. She heaved an overdramatic sigh as she faced him, looking at him with a mixture of pity and amusement.

"Oh, Kashmir" she said, even a little endearingly, like you might say to a beloved but kind of slow relative. "You can't stop me from leaving." It wasn't said aggressively, and certainly not with any sort of threatening tone. "I'm not Inarian, I never pledged anything to this place. How can you keep me there?" She met his sharp gaze with one of her own. "Unless Inaria drags unwilling people in by force and holds them captive even when they've committed no crime? That sounds kind of like slavery. I didn't get the impression that you guys did that." She cocked her head with an expression that blatently asked 'whatcha gonna do?'

She gave him a moment to process what she was saying. Of course, if he actually tried to drag her back, she'd fight him tooth and nail. But what she said was also true - if your country is so great, then prove it by letting me walk free. Put your money where your pretentious, polite little mouths are.

"Besides." She said. "I'm gonna do you guys a favor. Since you helped me and all. Those refugees, the ones you kicked out? I'm going to go talk to them, find out more. Check to make sure that they were who they said they were. Their trail is still pretty noticeable, at least for the next few days, since there were so many of them." And she turned her head back to the horizon. There was so much out there. This was just one thumbtack destination on a huge map.  Harper could go wherever she wanted.

"I could use a good nose though. I heard yours is the best around...." She tried to give the compliment sincerely, but she couldn't help but smirking a little. He wouldn't be able to see her expression unless he came to stand by her, so it probably didn't matter, but the thought of this weird little jackal with a magic nose was pretty funny. "You can come if you want. More useful than sitting around waiting. Unless you enjoy wasting time worrying, rather than actually trying to solve problems."

Either way, she'd take a few more hops cheerfully forward before turning back to see what he'd say. She wanted him to come, it would be nice to have company, but she wasn't holding her breath. She'd carry on alone before she allowed herself to feel pinned down anywhere, even in what was a virtual paradise.

Offline Kashmir

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Re: Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2015, 04:32:48 PM »
She affixed him with a defiant eye, blatantly challenging. A lesser creature would have lain back its ears and snarled terribly... but Inaria bred nothing if not dignified stoicism. The jackal simply stared back, cat-yellow gaze unblinking.

"Oh, Kashmir. You can't stop me from leaving." So condescending. The nape of his neck bristled in soft, blade-edged menace. Yet he allowed her to continue, saving all his interruptions like cards up a crafty sleeve, sensing that there was more he ought to hear than just the usual sass. "I'm not Inarian, I never pledged anything to this place. How can you keep me there? Unless Inaria drags unwilling people in by force and holds them captive even when they've committed no crime? That sounds kind of like slavery. I didn't get the impression that you guys did that."

Don't test me, hissed some incorporeal voice somewhere deep in him where the general mien of him did not reach, words from a lockbox in which that old murderous fanatic had been sealed like a deadly pox in thawing ice. Fear could be every bit as dangerous as hatred; it permitted monstrous things in otherwise benevolent individuals. Tread carefully, coyote.

"Besides. I'm gonna do you guys a favor. Since you helped me and all. Those refugees, the ones you kicked out? I'm going to go talk to them, find out more. Check to make sure that they were who they said they were. Their trail is still pretty noticeable, at least for the next few days, since there were so many of them."

This captured his attention. Didn't distract from the potential conflict, but elicited a tilt of that foxlike face, very subtle, in contemplation. Yes, the refugees, who'd vanished before the elites had known they were linked to enemy Saboro, that they were worth detaining and interrogating...

"I could use a good nose though. I heard yours is the best around... You can come if you want. More useful than sitting around waiting. Unless you enjoy wasting time worrying, rather than actually trying to solve problems."

The lingering quiet on his end didn't seem promising. He didn't seem to acknowledge the (insincere, though he wouldn't know it) compliment as he might have had he been prouder and more... neophyte. He broke it with a long-suffering sigh through his praised little nose. Here was a chance, to investigate a crucial link, to accompany Harper on her travels and assure that she was not up to anything untoward, and the marshes were not far from Inaria, and this was his new way, trying to create good in ways other than destroying evil --

and yet -- the last time he'd left these land in a time of crisis, he'd --

Kashmir hesitated momentarily, a break in the cold facade.

"As -- repayment for your leg?" A question of clarification. Maybe it was too cynical on his part, expecting most folks to greedily drink up their resources and then split without so much as a thank-you.

"... You'll need an escort." Because it was far too honest to simply say he wanted to accompany her for his own reasons. Oh, Kashmir. "And I'll need permission from the king and queen."

Hello, stick in the mud, we've missed you so.

"We'll leave tonight."
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 04:39:32 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: Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2015, 04:33:06 AM »
If there was one thing that never failed to amuse the coyote, it was dignified stoicism. He stared at her, unblinking, and she smirked back with just as much conviction. She flicked an ear an waited for the inevitable response, she'd given him the provocation and was just waiting to see how he reacted. She could see the fur on his nape rise, to which she gave a small wag of her scraggly tail. It was fun to push his buttons. She couldn't possibly know of the fire and fury that were contained in that small little frame. She didn't know the horrors he had been through. If she could see into the darkness of that mind, would she still poke and prod at him?

Don't test him? You have to test people if you want to see who they are. Especially when they wear a nice polite little mask, like Inarians seemed so fond of doing. When they lie by omission and lie by politely keeping their feelings all neat and tidy and pressure sealed. So fake. Kashmir didn't say a word, just stood silently fuming. And Harper let him.

He was unphased by her sarcasm, but paused to consider her offer. For just a moment, his nice little proper mask slipped, there was something vulnerable. Harper didn't know what it was, but her expression made it clear that she'd seen it. A raised brow, perhaps even an unexpected softening of the usually acerbic smirk. But just like that, it was gone, and the jackel finally responded.

"As -- repayment for your leg?"

Harper looked at him, perhaps a bit incredulously. "Yeah - for my leg, that's what I said...."  Duh. A pause. He was trying to read her and she wasn't going to have it. Enough with the staredowns.  "Okay, I may be an asshole, but I'm not a bad person. I'm not the bad guy." And even in her sarcastic voice, there was a note of sincerity. She wasn't the bad guy. At least not in her mind she wasn't. She was just a free spirit who didn't buy into the bullcrap and wanted to make the world a little less crapty.

"Look, you guys seem nice." She said. "Dumb. Stuck up. But nice." She was just being honest. "And I don't like bullies. My motives aren't complicated." She turned back to the jackal. 

"... You'll need an escort."

"So you admit you want to come?" She smirked. "I knew you secretly wanted to get out of this stuffy-ass place. Only so much gentle lilac breeze one can take."

"And I'll need permission from the king and queen."

The coyote gave an audible groan. Stick in the mud indeed. She stopped her hopping forward to turn around and give him an incredulous look.

"We'll leave tonight."

There was a pause, a part of her thinking that she'd be better off just leaving now, hitting the road, but she honestly wouldn't mind some company to banter with, and she was half-concerned that Kashmir might foolishly try to fight her if she didn't accept his "help". So she gave a huge shrug and a smile, tongue lolling out.  "Alright." She said. "Alright. We'll leave tonight. Go get your boss to loosen your leash. 'Meet ya at sunset."

She gave another longing glance to the horizon before turning back to wait at the borderline. Fine. Just, fine.

Offline Kashmir

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Re: Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2015, 11:57:38 AM »
Whoever had coined the phrase unstoppable force meets immovable object must have been thinking of these two. They were the essence of law and chaos, the merits and downfalls of both philosophies, cold passivity and hot aggression. Surely a pair of animals such as them could not possibly get along, let alone withstand each other long enough to brave the vile marshes in a trek for information -- right?

Harper poked at him -- react, falter, have a goddamn /emotion/ already -- but in her defense, he'd started it the moment he'd tried to scrutinize her in his analytical way (imagine that, someone trying to analyze this anarchic firecracker!) when they'd first met back on the borders, her with a busted leg and him with a curiosity to sate. Kashmir kept his seemingly endless temper regardless and huffed out that aforementioned sigh.

"I know that..." relented the jackal, as she laid it all out for him, told him she was not a bad person. But I'm afraid, don't you see? were the words unspoken she'd never get out of him. I'm doing this the only way I know how.

Internal scowl at stuck-up dummies remark, but still no interruption. Her opinion of Inaria predictably irritated him, but he dismissed it just as easily, swatting it away like a fly. Maybe it spoke to his growth that he didn't counter it zealously, or maybe to the chink in the blind faith he didn't even know was there... or maybe both.

(A little unconventionality, a little challenge to those ironclad ideals of yours may be what you need, marquis. Go with your new buddy to Gemini. Try not to strangle her.)

"If you say so," was all he could think of to retort. Turned on his heel, casting an eye back on Harper briefly -- she could be trusted to keep her word, right, since he was modifying his own? -- and would leave a moment later. "I'll be back."



The jackal returned at sunset, the red-gold glow low on the horizon, and peered around for his... counterpart. He was both a little surprised and actually a little pleased to see her presumably waiting for him as well, and on quick paws, Kashmir trotted over.

"Consider my leash loosened," he deadpanned. Pointed muzzle indicated the borders with a flick. "Ready to go?"
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 11:59:13 AM by Kashmir »


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Be blown about the desert dust
Or seal’d within the iron hills

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Re: Accelerate. [prp Kashmir]
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2015, 08:49:05 PM »
Kashmir's narrator was right - he had started this whole thing. By having that judging gaze, that nose so sharp that it seemed constantly upturned in derision. Analyze Harper? GOOD LUCK. The girl didn't want to pause long enough to be analyzed, she had to keep moving so there would be no understanding her. She was a smart girl, she knew enough of nets and ropes, snares and cages, weapons both melee and ranged. She knew of them as objects and as metaphors, too. Whether it was a choke chain or a dissecting stare, she wasn't having it. Here's the deal - Kashmir, you'll get no clear or easy answers here. You have a choice, you can trust her, or can not. Up to you!

So yes, they were law and chaos, axiomatic and anarchic, opposite ends of magnet-poles. But there was another divide where they fell out on the same side - they were both trying (though often failing) to be Good. Maybe they smelled it on each other, that aura of trying so hard.

"I know that..." Kashmir said at last, though he was not particularly convincing. Harper gave him a crooked, utterly charming smile.

"Ah, glad to know that I have your total and complete endorsement of my ethical worthiness! I've passed a great test." A wag of the tail. The statement was too ridiculous to be anything but sarcastic. She hadn't done anything to earn his suspicion and yet it lingered all over the both of them. She responded the only way she knew how, cracking jokes.  Making light of it. Maybe eventually the suspicion would evaporate into the air. If not - at least she had been hilarious.

"If you say so," He responded to her critique of Inaria patiently. He said he'd be back. Well how was she gonna waste several more hours? (Hint: eating more of Inaria's food.)
------

She'd laid in the thick grass at the border, full and fat and cheerfully dozing as the last light of the day settled among Inaria's ancient trees. The shadows they cast fell right over the coyote's face. Her eyes were closed but she was only barely snoozing, so when she heard Kashmir's voice she jolted upwards. It was obvious she was a creature who was used to sleeping out in the open, and getting quickly to her feet at the first sign of danger. The neutrals were not a safe home, and she never stayed anywhere long enough to become familiar with the other inhabitants.

"Consider my leash loosened," Kashmir said in a voice that held absolutely no fun in it at all. But neither did it hold any threat. Harper's expression was clearly both playfully irritated at the disruption of her sleep, and also relieved that it had only been him and not something scarier. He offered a quick gesture to the horizon "Ready to go?"

"Going is probably what I'm best at." She said, giving her her whole body a shake, tossing off dust, nerves, and sleepiness. She hopped forward again in the very "coyote" way that she had, lightfooted and with seemingly boundless energy gathered at a moments notice. "Say goodbye to purple trees for a bit." She said as she took several more large bounds past the borders. "We've got some adventures to have!"

She didn't say it like a naive newcomer to the sport of adventuring. As the mostly-healed wound on her foreleg clearly showed, Harper was a pro and knew exactly what could be out there. They launched from their safe harbor. The temperature was dropping as the sky turned purple and gray, but the air kept it's humidity.