Author Topic: The Tailor and the Pup  (Read 519 times)

Facilis

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The Tailor and the Pup
« on: March 28, 2023, 07:39:16 PM »
The thought of the decrepit old memory trap came to her as she rocked, hours whiled away at the cabin that was her little slice of Edrigan.  The chair's legs just a little bit too short for her, she had been blessed with a slightly longer body after all.  The woman despite her actual age, looked worn and tired, yet she still looked quite beautiful.  Green eyes dotted with crow's feet at their edges, a soft tan on her skin, a light auburn hue to her hair that was long and wavy.  Her body is slightly toned from years of toil and her hands calloused and fingers awkwardly bent from what one might guess is years on the spool.  A copper band rested on her ring finger.  As she looked out into the quiet forests, broken by the occasional bird chirp, she felt a kiss on her right cheek, looking to the right to see the man who had given her this token of affection.  The man was a little tall, had striking blue eyes, fair skin, short dark blonde hair, and a more toned build from years of toil when compared to his counterpart.  His hands matched hers, both in the toil they showed and the copper matrimonial bands they sport.  He smiled down to her before pulling up a stool to sit beside her, enjoying the sounds of nature together.  Francis Anciaux was the man's name and Nevena (Now Nevena Anciaux) was hers, but before she was ever in Dementlieu, she was Nevena Wihtlaeg.  A hardened woman born in the harsh forest dotted lands of Verbrek, in a small settlement known to all those that live there as Vertus.  This is Nevena's story.

Facilis

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Re: The Tailor and the Pup
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2023, 03:56:16 PM »



It was such a beautiful and breathtaking day in Vertus.  The birds were singing, the rabbits nibbling, and the foxes hunting.  Nature for just that moment in time, was peaceful.  Times of calm were both a sign of relief, but also a sign of ill things to come.  Yet for Nevena, she remained quiet and calm this day, for today she was expecting her suitor to come through the small town's wooden gates.  A wall of wood of iron separating civilization from the dangerous, sparsely uncharted woodlands and her suitor was going to need all the luck and skill in the world to make it here.  For the Long Walk, which every young man had to do eventually, was a treacherous and long journey.  In the meantime however, Nevena had errands to run.  But before that, she made sure her amulet was around her neck.  A symbol of Ezra lay on the front and a snarling wolf on the back of the silver pendant.

Nevena had just left her family's home to go see about heading to the village square, a clearing where a three benches where arranged in a triangle facing away from one another.  One of the few pieces of furniture for comfort outside of the homes used by all the families, a grand total of twenty-five to thirty families called Vertus home.  Waiting in the village square with a small stall set up was Ingvild, who was one of Ansell's daughters.  Ingvild greeted Nevena with an easy smile.  And Ansell being a shepherd, let his daughter sell the families cheeses, sheep cheese to be exact.



"Come to trade me your father's game of the day for my father's delicious cheese, dear?"  Speaking in Low Mordentish mixed in pleasantly with hissing, a strange Verbrekian addition to the Mordentish language, at least in Verbrek.

"No, Ingvild, I've come to see if your mother, Kaja, was around selling with you today, but perhaps later!"  She hastily added, not wanting to seem dismissive of the woman's kindness

"Oh!"  She exclaimed.  "Well, she's just out by our farm.  Taking over while father rests from waking up to herd and milk the stubborn things."

"Thank you!"  And off Nevena went, humming quietly and snapping her fingers as she walked towards the farm.



Vertus was a sizeable settlement, yet in spite of this in wasn't terrible busy most days.  In the mornings to the early afternoon, the hunters head out in small groups to hunt game.  So that leaves whomever is left (typically children and their caretakers) to do the errands for the day, though calling it day may prove a touch too much, as most days the forests block out so much light that it's hard to mistake mornings for evenings.  Typically leading to an untrained hunter's quick demise by the hands of wolves.  There was always something to do in Verbrek and even if all had completed their chores, most would take to wood-carving, talking, quilting, or visiting the local (More often than not, only) brewhouse to drink with friends.  Today in Vertus, however, it was a busy day, children running around making deliveries, bartering, chopping wood, leading cattle, slaughtering cattle, getting ready to fish.  It was indeed, bustling!



Nevena had finally come to a stop at Ansell's and Kaja's farm, a small little hovel just at the edge of Vertus, guarded by the town's fortified walls.  Kaja was busy watching the sheep graze, it would look to be as though she had five.  "Hello Kaja!"  Nevena greeted.  Kaja turned, the woman was tall and wiry from days of chopping wood and lifting children.  "Oh hello, my lovely Nevena!"  Squealing with joy as she heard and saw Nevena.

"What's brought you down here today?  Come to say hello to an old woman?"  Kaja looked to be in her mid-thirties, versus Nevena only looking to have just turned twenty.  "No, I've come to see about that old bow my father lent your son, do you have it?"  Nevena looking over to see a sheep headbutt another sheep, wincing at the display.  Kaja turned, yelling.  "Stop it, you morons!"  Getting her shepherds staff in between the two, separating them.  "Sheesh.. those two are going to be the death of me."
 She groaned.  "And no, neither I nor Ansell have the bow, Laurent just went hunting with your father, Cadoc."  She said puzzled, as though expecting Nevena to have already known that.  "Oh... well that explains annoyed look when he said he was going hunting."  Nevena tapped her cheek as she recalled the early morning discussion.  "Think he said he was going to hunt rabbits, that sounds like something he'd say if he were taking out a greenhorn, though he took out to kill a fox once."  Kaja shook her head after Nevena spoke.
"I just hope those two make it home in time for supper, I've got a nice hearty fish stew planned!"   Nevena stopped to look off into the ominous, hazard-filled forests of Verbrek, briefly rubbing her amulet.  "I hope so too..."  A worried expression on her face before it was quickly replaced by a smile to Kaja.  "Well, see you around then, Kaja!  On and those two are at it again."  Pointing behind Kaja, before walking back to the village square.  A slew of curses could be heard from Kaja's mouth as Nevena walked off.




And slowly, darkness crept upon the day, a sign of disaster for the two out hunting now.

Facilis

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Re: The Tailor and the Pup
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2023, 02:47:35 AM »
The forests were quiet today, beyond the occasional bird chirping.  A man and a boy could be seen trudging through the treacherous forests, light only occasionally piercing the canopy of the huge trees that shared this forest with the two hunters.  Somedays, might one even think it was night, when it was only the afternoon.  The two hunters slowly crouched low, having spotted a couple rabbits by a small pond, deep in the woods.  The silence now broken up by a frog croaking again and again and the buzzing of gnats.  The larger hunter pointed at the rabbits to the boy and then whispered to him.


"See those two, alright I want you to pull the string back just enough, it'll be a pain to pull, but I know you can do it.  And aim with your thumb, just above, you want it to completely cover wherever you want to hit with your thumb at this distance at least.  When you're ready, stand slowly, straighten your back and let it fly."  The man spoke in a gruff voice, hardened by years of hunting.  The boy meekly nodded before slowly rising.  The older, grizzled hunter aiding him only slightly, making sure everything was in place.  "I-I'm ready."  The boy sputtered out nervously and quietly.  "Good, now let it fly."  The elder hunter answered.  As soon as approval was given, the arrow flew, joining its intended target at the neck.


The elder hunter rushed through the brush like a dexterous old fox, his movements betraying his age.  He looked down to the rabbit as it lay there dying, choking slowly.  Its kin had hopped away in fear of its life, leaving the other to die alone.  "Laurent, you need to twist this one's neck to end its misery.  Remember we do not hunt for the sake of fun, we hunt game so that our families might eat, is this understood?"  Laurent straightened his posture, puffed his chest, and then answered quietly.  "Y-Yes, I understand, Cadoc."  "Good."  Cadoc said in a stern voice.  Laurent gingerly held the struggling rabbit's head, fear in its eyes as it looked to its killer, before Laurent attempted to snap its neck, struggling the first time, but finally put the rabbit out of its misery on the second.  The poor thing flopped over, now free from those terrible, racking minutes of pain. Cadoc then lifted the rabbit, broke the arrow still stuck inside, and took both ends out.   Before placing it in a small brown sack, offering it to Laurent.  "Good, we've caught our quarry, but I believe we should head back home now."  A nod from Laurent before he took it and the two began their walk back.



The forest was again quiet after they had left the site of Laurent's first kill, Laurent looking a little proud of himself.  Upon closer inspection, the boy was probably no older than eleven.  Cadoc on the other hand looked to be in his forties.  The old man beside him, had a rather robust build, a full head of hair, and a thick beard.  Though unlike his daughter, he had a more fair complexion.  He looked down to the boy beside him with a hint of admiration, patting Laurent on the back as they began their journey back to Vertus, before suddenly their journey was interrupted by a young man falling down on the ground a few feet in front of them.  The man quickly scrambled up as Cadoc and Laurent looked over at him, dumbfounded, but cautious.  The man looked rather handsome, had beautiful green eyes, and brown hair tied back into a ponytail.  Upon closer examination, there was a wound on his right forearm that looks vaguely like a bite mark of some sort.  His clothes looked quite worn and had some visible tears.  He then spoke to the hunters before him.



"Didn't think I'd find other men here!  Just got into a bad tussle with some wolves a couple miles back!"  The exhausted man looked like he hadn't had a second of sleep.  Cadoc replied.  "Mmm, just teaching this boy here how to hunt, there's a town not too far from here, can probably lead you there."  Cadoc said in an impassive tone, before smiling softly down to Laurent, clearly proud of the boy for his first kill.  "Yeah!  Look here!"  Cried Laurent before showing off his trophy.  A weak, forced smile at the trophy, whatever wolves he had run from - had run this man down to the bone.  "Name's Reidar, I'd happily welcome the idea of a roof over my head, traveling for so long for the Long Walk has been so taxing."  Cadoc however remained a little suspicious of the bite, cutting the man off.  "What's with the bite?"  He barked.  Reidar painfully smiled, replying.  "Just a wolf bite, not a freak of nature."  Cadoc squinted, but noting the darkening skies from what little light pierced the canopy, he decided to let the man along.  "Come on, the sun will be down soon I wager, let's hurry."   And now the trio began their journey back home.


The nights in Verbrek were dangerous, rarely a man or woman left alone in the wilderness could survive.  Either the cold would get them, the wolves, disease, or the fauna.  Men like Cadoc were hardened from years of hunting, seeing everything from carnivorous plants eating both wolves and men alive.  Giant insects and even... wolves that walked, yet most men that saw them, were either eaten alive or used in whatever dark rituals the beasts might do in the deepest, darkest parts of Verbrek.  Such horrors were something most men and women hoped couldn't actually exist.   Yet this night, the Wolf God demanded that his hunger be satiated.



Facilis

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Re: The Tailor and the Pup
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2023, 03:09:49 PM »

The wolves howled loudly tonight for they had caught the scent of prey.  The moon was full, their prey in sight, and their leader was with them, a large black wolf with amber eyes.  Their leader growled before nodding towards the direction of their prey.  And the pack sprinted after them, evading the obstacles of trees, rocks, and crevices with ease.  The Wolf God smiled now.


A series of slurs as the trio bolted towards the lights, the gates slowly creeking open as Cadoc yelled at the guards to hold it open just a little longer.
"Run faster, Reidar!"  Cadoc screamed as he huffed and puffed, yanking Laurent up by the neck of his clothing, throwing him over his shoulder.  But Reidar had suddenly stopped, crouching down low, breathing heavily.  Cadoc had backpedaled to see the struggling Reidar before he had realized what he had brought along with him, a werewolf clad in black fur ...   Leaving the man to his fate worse than death, Cadoc closed his eyes painfully and turned back towards Vertus, again breaking into a mad dash with Laurent over his shoulder.  Reidar meanwhile had to feel every bone in his body snap and be moved, the wolves, colored gray, ran past him, eager to get the other two sacks of flesh.  Reidar's skin slowly tore open, blood pooling on the ground below from the hideous transformation.  His eyes bulged before the pupils changed to that of a wolf's.  His teeth falling out in a bloody mess, before canines forced themselves out.  He grew and grew before it suddenly stopped and something whispered in his ear.  "Go... feast, my little beast."  A wolf with black fur and amber eyes had said before bolting past him at an inhuman speed, transforming with ease into a werewolf.  A claw was raised just as Cadoc had looked over his other shoulder. 


A spray of blood and a yelp of pain, Cadoc was on the ground, but was uninjured.  Him and Laurent were not just ten feet from the gates, before the other wolves following the black werewolf had surrounded him.  Laurent was nowhere near Cadoc though!  A panicked Cadoc looked for the boy before seeing him dangling from the werewolf's claws, held up just like his little rabbit.  "Are you worried about.. this piece of meat?"  The werewolf had spoken.  Its voice guttural and harsh, filled with malice as it slowly crushed the boy's arm.  A loud, sickening crack of bone radiated as the boy screamed in agony, pleading eyes looking to Cadoc to save him, before Laurent was tossed aside like a used toy into the pack of wolves.  Laurent reached his other hand out for Cadoc as he was flung, Cadoc was weeping, crying out as Laurent was tossed aside.  "We can still use the boy, just not here.  Do not kill him."  The werewolf barked at the wolves behind it.  "But feel free to play with him until he gets there."  Two wolves latched onto the boy's arms, dragging him into the darkness.  "Keep that face...I want to see that until you are nothing but a pile of blood and bones!"  The werewolf then sprinted after at an inhumane speed towards Cadoc, who was still prone.  Cadoc tried to scramble, but he found his foot slowly being crushed.  "No no... we're not done!"  Reidar, who had now fully turned into a wolf, stopped in front of Cadoc, preventing any hope of escape.  The black werewolf had pivoted so that he could jam his claws through the man's chest.  Cadoc's life had flashed before his eyes.  Yet the fear of death was something that both pleased the Wolf God and kept the humans alive in these times of utter despair.  Fueled with adrenaline and bitter rage from seeing Laurent die, he reached for his silver clad dagger, and jammed it into his would-be attacker's eye.  The werewolf screamed in agony, before swiping at Cadoc blindly, slashing open his shoulder, before the black wolf retreated to lick its wounds.  Reider latched onto Cadocís bloody shoulder, his teeth digging into the bone.  The other wolves however, were not so cowardly, lunging after the barbarian!  Cadoc screamed bloody murder, reaching for his other dagger and screaming at the top of his lungs.  "I will not die here! I will drag each and every one of you damn dogs into the depths of the earth, you damn dirty mutts!"  Before suddenly a silver spear had pierced Reidarís heart from behind, The hellish hound fell over, shifting back into a human.  The militia ran out of the gates with fear in their eyes, but with the will and desire to save Cadoc.  With Cadoc now free from the jaws of the other werewolf.  Cadoc had kicked, cried, slashed, stabbed, bit, punched and did whatever he could to put the dogs down while their leader was gone.  He had suffered a bite to his free hand, but he didn't care, merely headbutting the wolf that dared touch him.  The wolves scrambled in fear at the terrifying man before them, yelping as they ran into the darkness.  Seeing the other werewolf and his pack gone, the guards yanked Cadoc back and took him within the village.  Cadoc saw his daughter running towards him, before he collapsed in the arms of the guards, bloodied and close to death. 


The Wolf God was pleased tonight.  For the cries all over Verbrek and the death had fueled it, bringing a smile to its revolting maw.



Facilis

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Re: The Tailor and the Pup
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2023, 10:37:41 AM »
Pitter patter... pitter patter... the sounds of rain against the thatches
that protected Verbrekian folk from the elements and the savage wind outside.  Cadoc stirred in his sleep,
plagued by nightmares of seeing Laurent tore apart limb from limb by the wolves last night. 
The revolting image of the boy being slowly picked apart like a doll.  Bones, flesh, and skin all meticulously 
torn away from the boy, as Laurent screamed in bloody agony.  The wolves were not merciful creatures, creatures
that took great pleasure in their own malice and bowing to their despicable masters.  The nightmare finally
came to an end as Cadoc suddenly sat up at the sound of thunder.
 

A wince at the sudden movements, his wounds still required much tending.  Especially the rather grievous wound at his shoulder, from the black werewolf's claws.  The bite at his right hand and various small scratch marks from fighting the beast's ilk had mostly healed.  Cadoc looked around the room, seeing the room lit up by a small candle at his left, before turning to his right - to see his daughter, staring daggers at him.  "You're finally awake after all this time, father."  Nevena looked exhausted, worried, and furious.  "How long was I out?"  Cadoc said groggily, wincing as he moved to touch his injured shoulder.  "A week, we summoned one the Halans hidden nearby and she tended to your wounds, but advised us to let you rest."  "I see."  Cadoc replied  "And Laurent - "  "Dead."  Nevena curtly replied.  "Ansell and Kaja are devastated by the news, they haven't spoken to anyone since your return and I doubt they'd like to see you no less during their time of grief."  Cadoc sighed, holding his head in his hands, tears slowly trickling down to the blanket he lay under.  "I didn't want the boy to die, I would have done anything- but then... snatched up."  Nevena consoled her father, patting his back.  "There there, I'm sorry you had to deal with such a terrible wolf, but don't worry.  You always prevail, no matter the burden I've always seen you stand with the confidence of a hundred men.  I'll be here while you process it all."   And Cadoc weeped for a day, his wailing heard throughout the town, but at the very least his daughter was there to comfort him.




 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2023, 10:40:41 AM by Facilis »

Facilis

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Re: The Tailor and the Pup
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2023, 07:11:12 PM »
A month had passed since that day, since Laurent was snatched up.  A month since his family grieved and wailed.  A month since Cadoc was recovering from the nightmares of wolves and Laurent's death.  Time and time again, Cadoc was hammered by Laurent's screams and begging for Cadoc or something to save him.  And nothing came.
Yet some resolve had been building as he was pieces of him were torn away.  For while the nightmares had plagued him, he had mustered his strength and grit.  Cadoc would never let that same fight fall upon his daughter and his daughter's children.  No, the death of his beloved had already broke him down, but he could not stand, could not stomach the idea of his daughter being torn apart by the devil wolves.  Enough, was enough.  In the dead of night, with a pained look in his eyes, he had taken out a hidden lockbox.  A lockbox filled with a wide selection of various gem and two silver ingots.  This was enough, enough to buy passage.  Enough to smuggle his family out of this hellish den of wolves.

After hearing a couple of heavy knocks on her bedroom doors, Nevena stirred from her rest, before her father slowly opened the door.  "Father.. it's early...wh-"  "Get your things, whatever you treasure most.  I've a plan to get us out of here, I cannot see you meeting the same fate as Laurent.  You will do as I say, for it is for your own good."  Cadoc had said plainly, although a part of him could not believe what he was saying.  Nevena nodded, quickly stuffing any spare clothes and her mother's jewelry; a worn amulet of Ezra, one side a wolf, the other was an image of her grace.  And one dagger.  "I'm r-ready...."  "Then go while the night is still dark, grab your sister, her husband, and her family.  We are all leaving tonight."  And away Nevena went just as the first signs of sunlight pierced the dark, ominous sky.  They couldn't believe what Nevena had said, but after all the death they had witnessed over the course of their lives, enough was enough.  And as the sun came up, Cadoc and Nevena were leading their family towards the Musarde.

« Last Edit: May 06, 2023, 07:15:13 PM by Facilis »