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Everything posted by Rakashua

  1. "When I dream I dream about a life in which I'm with someone, until I meet her the dream has already been halved, and the other is required to complete it." Matthias replied, glad to hear the curiosity in her voice. She actually seemed genuinely interested in his thoughts, which was refreshing considering that it was hard to find anyone who would talk about this sort of thing much less be interested in it. "If they shared the same dream then I would be fulfilling their dream as they were mine, however, I don't expect to find anyone with the same dream, it would work better if I found someone with a different dream. After all, if the only dream was to find another then both would be left without a dream, their goals complete, but if I were to find someone with a dream of their own who wouldn't be opposed to filling mine, then my original goal would be complete, my dream fulfilled and the rest of my life could be dedicated to coming along with them to complete their dream. I think in that I would be perfectly contented." Then she mentioned protection and upbringing. For a moment a dark look crossed his face, he didn't like to remember his childhood, too many bad memories, too many good ones never to come again. But the look was gone like the morning mist when it got that warm in the summer and his face reverted to his interested and semi-curious look. Her question was a hard one to answer, yes he had been raised on the principles of protecting the helpless, being a good person, but he didn't count that as his motivation for his current actions. "No, I don't believe you become a good person I think you are one or you are not and that your actions come out of that truth, not the other way around. As for what I would do, it depends. I do not go out of my way to help others, even in your case. I never like to keep excess, whether it be meat, fur, coins, whatever. It's always been my practice to get rid of what was left over after I had what I needed. I gave it to you because you were the first person I'd seen, and I will admit I admired your determination and didn't want to see an injury set you back." Matthias was silent for a moment, "the more noble of the animals understand the duty of the strong to protect the weak, a wolf pack keeps its own, weak or young, strong or old, because it is in their nature. For me I am not part of any human pack as it were, I'm not responsible for the well being of someone getting mugged. However, if it was a child or a woman I would intervene. Men may settle their differences with violence but that same principle should never be carried over to women or to children, that is my belief take it as you see it." Matthias shrugged. He had stopped a mugging at least twice, and both times it had simply been a compulsion that beating a woman or a child was wrong on an innate level. What was the difference between a man who beat a woman or child and one of the raiders that everyone hated? There was no difference, one was in the town the other was with a group of like minded ruffians in the wilderness. There was no place in Matthias' heart to pity either of them. The drifts of snow had long buried their corpses. Had it been right? Had it made him a good person? No he reckoned perhaps it hadn't. And suddenly he was thinking out loud again. "Did it make me right? Did it make me a good person?" He glanced up at Indigo, "no perhaps not, but it made me who I am, and who we are is all any of us really has."
  2. Matthias considered what she said for a moment. From a larger perspective it was true, he was connected with the rest of humanity at some level in that he couldn't simply avoid everyone all the time and still survive, neither, he mused, should he. "Perhaps that is what makes us human, that we cannot lose that connection..." he didn't say it as a question or even a response, it was just a member of his thoughts that managed to slip through the surface and come out, but that didn't bother him a great deal. This woman had an interesting perspective on life, so large and far reaching, as though she thought about this every day as she wandered about looking for treasure, perhaps she did. Her thought about his own path caused him to pause and think, what was his own path? He could survive, and that's what he did, there was no glorious hunt to named after, no kill worthy of dedicating one's life to. And if not that then what else could his path be, alone it was all he did, hunt, tan hides, hunt some more, and to him it seemed less a path than simply survival. In his mind it had always fit that his path would be to provide for someone else, a wife, so that she would be free to walk her own path. His only skill was just that, to provide, to protect, but when it only involved himself it felt empty somehow, and there was a part of him that took great joy in providing for others, even the small gift he had given to this woman had seemed more purposeful than the dozens of hunts used to bring in the coins he purchased it with. "I am a hunter, there is little else I know, though I play the philosopher from time to time. I provide for myself, for Rip, and I'm very good at it. But what path is there in that save simple survival? To me it has always been half empty, an accomplishment only half earned. Mere survival is less and less worth while to me. I do dream... now and then. A small cabin, out in the middle of nowhere, a home, a family of my own, no need to connect with anyone else, passing on my skills to my children. But in times like these it is a dangerous thing to hold on to." Matthias paused, "I don't believe I will ever find anyone who shares that dream, so I've settled for a lesser dream. And that is to provide with my skills not only for myself, but for another who can carry out their dream without fear because I can provide food and protection. There is little else I can do, but I know that I would be happy even in that lesser dream, more happy than being on my own." Matthias gave her a wan smile, "the desire to be independent completely you may find is less strong in men. At least in my experience and my case. The desire to provide for another, to be a protector with a territory, to be a lover, whatever all of that entails, to me that's a far deeper instinct than any glory I could find for myself." He shrugged, "what would you say to that?"
  3. Matthias nodded in response to her mention of the storms. There had been several in quick succession over the past few weeks, a few he’d been caught in without shelter and ended up sleeping under the snow with Rip, something that while possible was best avoided due more to the potential for suffocation than freezing to death. “Strength can be many things and each person finds it. You credit yourself with too little of it for someone who dares to venture out into the white world at all. ” Matthias allowed her to finish before responding again. He considered her comment, “interesting, ” he broke her gaze and looked back down at the table, leaning back in his seat and slumping just in the slightest. “A companion will certainly shape the path taken, but what is a path at all worth walking if it is walked alone? ” He shrugged, “I have no glorious path to walk. I do what I do to survive, every day is similar to the last, every morning or evening may be the last. There is little purpose in such an existence, there is the danger of becoming a non-person, just another survivor with no purpose but to survive. The loss of hope, the emptiness of soul, the lack of a story. ” For a moment Matthias appeared not as a strong man, a wise hunter, a fearsome warrior, or even a young man… for a moment he appeared tired, aged, and even… sad. “My purpose is to find a woman to whom I can devote my life and find purpose in providing for, it is a longing at the core of my being even at the level of instinct. But I doubt I will find one, I’m too odd, as my brother would say, and I know it won’t be long even before I die. Rip is already getting old, he won’t live more than three years longer, and this life is harsh, I won’t avoid death forever. Still, I can’t live here, like these people, and so I search for someone else who shares my path. ” Matthias said all of this as if there was no social norm to be violated. He honestly didn’t see anything wrong with sharing this with this woman who he’d only just met. It was who he was, he would share it with anyone who asked, what they decided to do with it was up to them but he could only be himself, and he had always been this way ever since the day he left.
  4. “Yes-” Matthias said simply, glad that she hadn’t been even more intimidated by the number of words he’d used, from wherever they came “-Indigo. ” He rolled the name around in his mouth like a savory sweet candy. It was a color; he remembered it that way at least. Purple, but not bright, the dark purple that the sky became in the late evening, what little color there was in the constantly grey sky. She seemed much more at ease, in some ways Matthias could see some of his own posture reflected in her form, something that made him even more curious about what it was that she was really thinking. “I’m Matthias and this is Rip, ” he motioned to the wolf, who stopped whining and sat up at the sound of his name spoken in a strong calm voice, a sign that he was forgiven for whatever he had done. “And yes, my ways, my words, my wolf, they all make me stand out here, in this place, out of my element as some would say. ” Matthias motioned to his surroundings, “this suits me about as well as I blend in here, I avoid coming to settlements as often as I can, except to trade. I prefer the animals and the occasional kindred spirit…” he paused and met her gaze for a brief moment as if trying to judge for himself if she was in that category or not, “… to the goings on of society. ” “Not many people ask me my story, but I’m not opposed to sharing it. For one reason or another I left my parents bit by bit as I became more self-sufficient, once upon a time I tracked a pregnant wolf to her den and made a mental note of it. A month later I saw her no longer having a swollen belly. Perceiving that she had gone out to hunt I made my way to her den and stole a pup some time later when it had developed the ability to eat solid food. She tracked me and I eluded her and ran from her for three days and the pup was not very cooperative either. Soon thereafter I left my parents and he has been my traveling companion ever since. ” Matthias paused, a quizzical look on his face. “As to why… I suppose I’ve always admired wolves and found myself adopting many of their social habits simply on instinct, it makes more sense to me than the way people communicate. A wolf or dog is hard to find but an invaluable asset when alone in the wilderness, they provide warmth to sleep with and protection from the hidden dangers of thin ice, flash blizzards, and other predators. Rip told me about the blizzard two days ago, before I could pick out the signs, that is another reason I ended up here at this time. ” Matthias nodded in consent, “but yes, trouble comes. Usually I see it coming, mostly I try and avoid it, when I can’t I settle it. I would argue that it’s no safer or dangerous than hunting for scrap on your own as a female. Not to make little of your own self sufficiency for we are very different and perhaps very alike, but to be sure, my ways of protecting myself would little suit you as yours would little suit me.” Matthias looked her in the eye “why do you travel alone? ” Normally he wouldn’t pry into the business of others, but in this case, and in all cases similar, he always asked this question. He had begun asking only a year after he himself left, questioning if what he was doing was accepted, and why others chose to do it. He had never really lost the hope that he would find someone of a similar mindset to himself, though he never vested much hope in the matter.
  5. Matthias watched as the woman picked up the leather and walked over to him. Immediately he was angry, furious in fact, with himself. Her gait and manner told him that he had scared her. She could have been an omega coming up to an alpha after having done something wrong, the way she walked over to his table and sat down, not making eye contact. Did she expect him to harm her, or someone to? Was that normal in her life, to be harmed or in fear of being hurt? The thought of someone living like that, under that kind of mindset made Matthias' blood boil, but he let the anger go, it had no place here, it certainly wouldn't help. He remembered being that way, when he was younger, not self sufficient, beat up on occasion, always worried about doing something wrong, being too small, helpless. His fear had motivated him to become stronger, the strongest he could be, and it was the memory of those days that motivated in part his avoidance of others. Rip, however, was excited to meet a new person, the last one had played music and this one had just tossed a piece of leather to him so that he could eat it... in his mind. The wolf began to move forward to grab the leather or greet the other woman, Matthias wasn't sure which but he caught the movement almost before it began. He snapped his head around to stare into Rip's eyes, glaring death at the wolf who hadn't caught on to the woman's body language. Rip did, however, have a decent understanding of Matthias' body language and immediately realized that he was one decision away from a beating and immediately lay down on the seat, tucking his tail and whining in apology for whatever it was he had done wrong. Good, that took care of one of them being intimidating. "Please don't be afraid," Matthias spoke in reply. In his own way he did what made sense to him to put her at ease and make his intentions clear and sincere. He took out his knives, all seven of them currently on him, two form each bracer, two from each shinguard, one strapped to his left boot, one on his belt, and the one holding Rip's leash to the table. He set them to the side of the table, out of his reach and closer to her than himself. Then he set his hands on the table, palms up but not toward her, simply in proof that he had nothing in them and no intention to use them for fighting. If someone had did this in front of him he would have understood it completely, but he also knew that according to Rune he was not normal and people didn't understand him the way he did them. Matthias looked down and slightly away from the woman, not attempting to make eye-contact, and shifted his body so that he was facing to her left not directly at her. "I know if I had to, I could escape this place, even if every man here were trying to kill me, but that is because I'm a hunter in mind and body and it is simply what I do, in that way I am more similar to my wolf than to most people. You picked up on that, not many people do, you know I could kill you if I wanted to, you reacted to my presence as if you saw yourself as prey." Matthias paused, still not looking at her, "I am not hunting you, and you have nothing to fear from me or my wolf and while you are here talking with me, all harm that would come to you would have to get through me and that is a no small promise." Hoping that he had set her somewhat at ease, Matthias turned toward her again, but still looked down at the table and his own hands instead of at her, though he did keep an eye on the other patrons in the bar in his peripheral vision, just encase she really had a good reason to expect one of them to hurt her. "I was careless, I didn't expect you to recognize me for what I am, very few people can do that with just a glance, obviously you are used to having to size people up to survive. Please accept my apology for not reading you as well as you read me and approaching you as I did. I only wanted to know if you'd received my gift." Matthias continued, "if I had wanted to harm you I would have done it when I followed you back to Winterbury and saw you fall and hurt your leg. Instead I admired you from a distance, alone, facing the elements and the danger of that kind of life, seeing the determination and will in your steps that kept you alive until you reached the settlement. You were exhausted and hurt, and still you stopped to collect a metal scrap, I admire that, to me, you were a real person who existed, unlike most others. So when I had extra coin from my own trading I gave the gift to you, having already followed you back to where you spent the night, not because I pitied you or thought you were needy, or wanted anything in return, but because you were a real person who wasn't afraid to exist, and that is worth far more to me than the few trinkets and candies I gave out of what I did not need." Matthias finished speaking, now willing to look at the woman. He didn't attempt eye-contact himself, but if she made it he would meet it with a gaze of steady sincerity. He only hoped that she understood what he had tried to say. It made sense to him perfectly, but she was already timid and he had used more words than he had intended to try and allay that fear. He wasn't sure if they had come out right or not, they simply had come out like a spring of flowing speech, intent on passing around the fragile canoe of her perception to calm the lake of uncertainty on which he tread.
  6. ((EST)) Matthias could tell that his brother was originally sarcastic, then surprised, then curious as he suspected he would be. Rune was odd, he thought odd things, and he did so often. Matthias could see the thoughts in Rune's head, strange, distorted images that seemed to make the world a more complicated place. It was curious that the two of them tolerated one another so much. But in the end Matthias didn't think Rune was a fool, simply different, perhaps overly burdened with strange thoughts, but smart and reasonable once he was done with his strange thoughts and spoke his mind at least. "A pack, no." Matthias replied, "people don't understand a pack, and I don't want to have to explain it to them." Matthias continued to listen about the patient Rune had acquired. He didn't comment, somethings were his brother's business and he would refrain from imposing his views over such things. It wouldn't be a big deal, especially if more people would be coming anyways. End of ends, the patient owed Rune, so if he was a good sort he would be useful at least that far. "Maybe she would, I'll leave that to you to ask since you're better at those things." Normally Matthias would absolutely not have Rune speak for him. He had a habit of making it clear that he would do his own talking, he wasn't dumb, he just preferred a life of little to no social interaction with others humans. His brother was admittedly better at such things, but Matthias never asked Rune for his help and very rarely accepted it in such circumstances unless they were very important. Apparently he must be including this in the important category, though he wasn't particularly sure why. Perhaps, he mused, it was because she had demonstrated her life and her music, now he wanted to show her his music, the music and dance that was hunting. The thought itself was nonsensical, but to Matthias it seemed perfectly reasonable, he just wasn't sure how to put it into words or express it as such, therefore he opted to allow Rune to do the talking. Besides, it was good to have Rune speak to people that Matthias had spoken with earlier, he had discovered this as a general rule over the last few months. People tended not to get as angry with him, or chase him, or throw him out, or start fights, when Rune spoke to them. Rune was correct in saying that he always found himself apologizing for, explaining away, or otherwise interpreting on Matthias' behalf. In that respect he was very useful to have around. See, Matthias knew when he angered someone, or saddened them, or said something wrong, the problem was he had no idea what to do about it to fix it, Rune was good at that in a weird sort of way. Maybe it would be best if he spoke to the bard woman. Besides... then he'd stop asking dumb questions to Matthias and ask them to her instead. "Yes I did," Matthias responded, answering it as though that was all that his brother was asking or implying, which, to him, it was. It was then that Matthias saw another woman in the Throne that caught his eye which normally no one did. It took him a split second of observing her to realize why his mind had picked her out, she was the same woman he had seen on his way to Winterbury, the one who had been limping and to whom he had attempted to give away his excess. It would be interesting to find out if he had been right in all his assumptions about her based on the few minutes he followed her on her way back. It was also on his mind as to whether or not she received his gift. Still, Matthias was not too keen on going over and engaging her in conversation. Another approach, however, had already crossed his mind. He allowed a knife to slid out of his sleeve and into his hand as he took a piece of leather out of his pocket. It was rough leather, something that had to be chewed on or constantly pummeled to be made soft and useful in clothing repair. Matthias kept many of these in his pockets, chewing them was a pastime of his and Rip enjoyed it too, though he had to take them away from the wolf after a bit or the beast would just eat them completely. Usually Rip was given a day or two depending on how tough the leather was, then Matthias would chew on it for a few days as well and give Rip another piece. This one, however, had yet to be chewed into at all. Matthias lay the piece down on the table and carefully cut his mark into the leather as he had done a hundred times before. Then, taking it in hand and assuming his conversation with his brother was at an end, he strode over to where the woman was leaning against the wall, waiting for something by the look of her, and stopped about three feet away. He held out the marked leather to her and let it drop to the floor, then he turned without a word and went right back to his table with Rip and sat down, watching the woman's reaction from under his wolf-head/skin cloak (see picture in description). What the woman did would tell him a lot, if she had received his gift, if she was interested in talking, if she was here to meet someone or to trade, it might even tell her if she was a loner or... well as Rune would say... normal.
  7. Matthias slept well that night, the wind was howling, the boards creaking, none of it bothered him, it was natural, like a lullaby sung by nature herself. Someone apparently stepped on one of her toes while she was vocalizing a high note because suddenly a peal of thunder like the sound of a thousand cannons and the force of a minor earthquake, shakes the building and the insides of everyone inside it and likely anyone for a mile or two. That was when Matthias woke up along with Rip, and he assumed, as his groggy mind was set into blazing action by the sudden kick of adrenaline, that the whole town must have all jumped out of their beds as well. Matthias smiled, waiting for the chorus of echoes to end. Rip, fur standing on end and making him appear at least twice his size, pressed his body against Matthias' chest and didn't stop whining until the chorus had ceased, though he did seem to take some comfort in the fact that Matthias didn't seem phased by the noise. In truth, lightning was not all that scary, at least in Matthias' mind. You couldn't outrun it, you couldn't see it coming, it either hit you or it didn't and if it didn't then there was nothing to worry about, and if it was going to hit you... well there was nothing you could do about it so you might as well enjoy the show, at least that was his reckoning. "Go back to sleep, both of you," He idly commented to Rip and Jasmine who was no doubt also awake, "some angel just accidentally dropped a glass and it broke is all." Matthias forcefully pulled Rip back down from his standing position. The wolf whined still but eventually lay still and seemed to be making an effort to fall asleep. Admittedly Matthias was a very light sleeper, however, he had the unique ability to seem to be able to fall asleep whenever he wanted, regardless of what was going on around him. Find a spot to rest and boom, pass out, it was one of the only reasons he could tolerate visiting a town at all, it didn't affect his sleep much. Rip of course was another matter, the poor wolf awoke to every strange sound or stray bark of a dog. The wolf would get very ornery and snappish if they stayed more than two nights. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The door to the front of the Inn opened and shut for the first time that morning. Matthias' eyes snapped open, it was time to wake up. Quietly he crawled to his hands and knees and then to his feet, nudging Rip to wake him as well. It didn't appear that Jasmine had been awakened but then he couldn't really tell in the dark and decided to leave her sleep if she was still asleep. Matthias rubbed his numb hands in Rip's fur until they were warm again. He packed up his gear and strapped the bag shut, leaving the room quietly and heading downstairs. Fortunately there weren't as many people as there had been last night, that was to be expected. Matthias had no difficulty finding an empty table near the wall and tying rip up to a knife again. Matthias wasn't surprised to see Rune up as well, sipping a cup of water and staring off into space. Matthias considered going over to him and interrupting his thoughts, but in all honesty there was nothing to say, well, except for the obvious 'when are we leaving' that is. Another man was sitting two tables over, and unfortunately attracting a crowd, Matthias had half a mind to move to the back again when the man's story caught his attention. He'd been out in the blizzard, idiot, being chased by wolves, careless, and running for his life, foolish, and had managed to lose his only weapon, unlucky... Matthias immediately decided that this man was not worth his time, he would have zoned out like his kid brother until the man mentioned the fireball falling from the sky... Maybe an angel did drop the dishes... he mused. Then he sat, ignoring everything else for a few minutes while he thought. Fireball... heat... in the city... scavengers.... animals... attraction.... raiders... lurkers.... wolf pack... If it was something real that landed in the city and it was on fire, that meant a lot of things. It meant sustained heat, at least for a while, and that would draw every reptile within a few miles along with tons of other animals who would be curious both about the light and the heat. No doubt dozens of scavengers would be on their way there to see what damage had been done to the city and what new treasure troves had been opened by whatever this thing was. Raiders would be less of a problem, even though they were so drawn they usually weren't excellent hunters, the lizards would keep them thinking twice about venturing out in the open. All those people, animals, hunters and prey, so many. Matthias could feel his blood heat up at the thought. The entire thing was a delicious thought, hunters hunting hunters, and prey to abound. People hunting animals, animals hunting people, people hunting people, animals hunting animals, and the lure of treasure. It would be a glorious thing to watch, a game, entertainment. The chance to observe many hunters in action all at once, and perhaps even to participate, to gather more hunting equipment from the bodies of those who didn't survive. If nothing else it would be unique and interesting to watch, even if that's all that Matthias chose to do. Now he had something to say, and therefore didn't mind coming up behind his brother and ruffling his hair like he used to when they were much younger. He supposed that Rune probably hated it as much as Rip hated being pet... so why do it? Matthias supposed it was the same reason he did it to Rip, to she he was in charge, he was after all, at least in his mind, so long as his brother chose to stay with him. "Let's go watch once the calm hits. I want to see all the people and the animals if there's really something hot that fell from the sky into the city. I'd prefer to just watch, but if there's a group forming to check it out, made up of good sorts of people not raiders and ruffians, then I'm not opposed to joining them if you're curious too, won't promise I'll behave though." Before Rune could respond, Matthias added, "and I'm sure lots of people will get hurt and be in need of your skills, could be a nice opportunity to get some more of those weird things you collect." And by weird things, Matthias was referring to Rune's tools, his surgical instruments and so forth, things that Matthias simply referred to as "those weird things you have," since they had no real names that he cared to remember.
  8. Matthias paused as the stranger explained himself. The compliment felt confused coming from someone he knew so little about who volunteered even less. Was it a compliment, honestly, or not? In truth Matthias wasn't inclined to believe the man to be insincere, then again, he was tired of socializing for the night. He could have had a lengthy conversation, explaining in detail why a "wild man" such as himself, had such an extensive vocabulary, especially considering his lack of and dislike for social interaction. The explanation would have involved his mother and her focus on his education, his father and the connections the man had kept up with the rest of anyone who knew anything in depth throughout the farming community from whence he had come. Then of course the question as to why such social skills hadn't been lost over the years would have arisen. Then would have followed an explanation of the fact that Matthias spoke to Rip constantly as if he could understand him completely. They would talk about day to day events and even philosophical ideas, though it was a one way conversation. It was a way to pass the long days and cold nights. But all of this was more than Matthias either was inclined to or had the energy to explain to the man. These thoughts passed through his mind as the man finished speaking and he simply replied with a nod, leaving the room and exchanging 'goodnights' with the man before venturing down the hallway to Jasmine's room. She opened upon his knock and Matthias was glad to see that Rip, while excited, hadn't done anything noticeably wrong and Jasmine wore an expression of welcome not distress. Matthias nodded in greeting and after she refused to sleep with Rip, which was understandable, it took some getting used to and to the average person it probably wouldn't have been an appealing offer to begin with, Matthias simply didn't want her to get cold. In a few minutes she was lying down and her breathing lengthened, she was asleep. Matthias lay awake with Rip for a few minutes, considering everything that had happened that day. The new environment, the new people. His thoughts drifted idly to the injured woman he'd seen earlier and he mumbled a silent prayer for her rapid healing, wondering in his mind who she was and if she had received his gift. Some might find it odd that he gifted his earnings to one stranger and his time to another, but in his mind it was very simple. He had extra that he wasn't using and didn't need, and people had happened into his path who could use his excess more than he, giving it away was just natural. Matthias laid an arm across Rip's neck, scratching around the collar, one of the few ways that Rip actually enjoyed being touched. "We're leaving as soon as the blizzard is over, until then I will let you make friends, maybe I'll even give it a try... but everything is short in this life for you and I, even living is short, so don't expect anything more to come of it..." Oddly enough, Matthias found that he was lecturing himself against false hopes more than he was Rip. He sighed, rolling onto his side and hugging himself up to Rip, the combination of his furs and their combined body heat quickly brought his body to a comfortable sleeping temperature and he allowed himself to fall from the conscious realm... he was asleep.
  9. Matthias nodded in thanks to Jasmine and offered even a small smile, things couldn't have worked out better, though he would never have guessed at this outcome, it suited him fine. The stranger spoke again, he accepted, good, then what was done was done. Suddenly the building shook slightly as a gust of straight-line wind slammed into the settlement. Rip, who up to now had been waiting none-to-patiently to be allowed to join the interaction, took the shaking of the building as a perfect excuse to pull the knife out of the wall and rush over to Matthias' side, toting it in his mouth and whining slightly.' Matthias bent down and took the knife, sliding it beneath the fur bracer from whence it had come. The temperature dropped noticeably as the strong wind pushed cold air faster and further into the inn through the many tiny passages that air finds in buildings. Rip immediately went up to the stranger and sniffed him, growling lightly in warning and then positioning himself on the floor, sitting between the stranger and Jasmine. Matthias smirked and ruffled the wolf's ears, causing Rip to move his head out of the way and snap at Matthias' hand, not intending to bite him but making his point clear, he hated being pet... Even so, Matthias couldn't help but smile at the animal, he was taking Jasmine as his territory, which, for all intensive purposes meant very little, they would be staying with her tonight anyways. Matthias made a mental note to keep an eye on him though, it wasn't like Jasmine would be around for long and Rip making an attachment would make him dangerous and aggressive when they parted ways. But for not, it was harmless and just a little cute. Matthias peered down at Rip, "you want to stay with the nice lady while I move our stuff? Fine..." Without any shift in tone of voice or changing of his stance to give himself away, Matthias suddenly dropped to one knee, catching Rip in the side of the head with his leg and snatching the big wolf's scruff up in both hands, slamming his head into the floor with enough force to get his attention, if not injure him in any way. Considering that he was a wolf, the average person would have expected a tussle and a fight to ensue, and if Rip believed himself to be above Matthias in pack ranking (pack or two or not), that's what would have happened. But instead the large wolf whined, tucking his tail and rolling onto his back. Matthias held him there for a moment longer, staring him down before standing up again, Rip remained in the same position on his back. "Alright, up." Matthias commanded and Rip rolled and leapt to his feet. Matthias pointed at Jasmine, "stay." Rip was only too happy to do so and pranced excitedly over to Jasmine's left side and sat down next to her. Matthias turned his attention back to Jasmine, "if it's alright with you, he wants to follow you around till I'm done moving our stuff, I told him he could and warned him to behave himself, he shouldn't be any trouble." Matthias then turned back to the stranger, "I'll show you the one, it will only take a second for me to move my equipment." Matthias led the man back to his former room, packed up all his gear once more, donned his newly cleaned clothing, and took his ruck and gear out, wishing the man a warm sleep, and found Jasmine's room. He knocked twice, waiting for response. ((Didn't want to drag out the entire scene, if we let LN and Pack finish up their thing then we should be set for allowing the night to pass (if that's alright) as it would give others a chance to interact again in the morning (for those who are not yet in the inn and have no reason to go there at the moment) is that acceptable Artic? If so, then Narvix you can GodMod for Matthias if you want to make one final post in response or reaction to decide how they went to bed (Matthias will ask to sleep on the floor near the door, and offer to let Rip sleep with her if she wants the extra warmth) But I'm not opposed to interacting once more before they go to bed if she wanted to talk further, that's perfectly fine, please go ahead... anyways, goodnight all and happy thanksgiving!))
  10. Matthias listened as Jasmine spoke, immediately accepting in his mind her offer, but more interesting to him at the moment was the man before him. His gaze was even, his body-language and posture was easygoing, even his tone was moderate. If the man was an open book then he was apathetic and lacked everything that made a man a man, ambition, dreams, emotion, and Matthias surmised from what he had said prior that this couldn't be the case. That meant the man was lying, but not lying, to lie would be to mislead on purpose, he was simply not sharing information that Matthias was looking for. Some people would, perhaps most, would fins this suspicious, even a reason to retract kindness and avoid the man, but Matthias was not such. While he didn't approve of lying or see the use in it, he often withheld information when he didn't want to share it, if this man didn't feel like sharing, then that was his business and since Matthias didn't feel threatened by that lack of knowledge, he let it stand. But by the same token however, Matthias was interested in sharing information now as the man sized him up in return. If the man wanted to he could have seen a few levels of Matthias' feelings that he didn't otherwise broadcast. At the surface, strength, confidence, and even ferocity, deeper there was care for Jasmine, respect for the man before him, and even deeper, loneliness and even a certain sadness. Then the man spoke in response, curious, it seemed everyone was suddenly concerned with his plans. But, as most everyone else had left by this point and the room was far more empty than before, he was less self conscious about sharing, even so, he would have preferred not to. More curiously, however, the man had called him a 'wildman' and while Matthias understood why, he had a negative connotation for the word. Most people defined wild men as being those that lived in the remnants of the cities or the deep wilderness, men that were men but acted like animals, had little morality or care for their fellow man, and were generally a nuisance or perhaps a danger. On the other hand, the man hadn't inflected the word as to give away his personal connotation with it, he could simply be referring to the technical definition, a man who lives in or off the wilderness, in which case he was correct. But Matthias allowed a look of disdain to cross his face in a flash from his eyes to the twitch of his lower lip. "I would not purpose to sleep in a blizzard unless I had no choice, while nature and I may be close acquaintances, she still has no qualms with freezing me to death. With that said, I'm not unfamiliar with that necessity." Matthias regarded the idea as foolish and allowed it to show, though he didn't direct the emotion at the man or his question. "You ask a lot and give little, but such is your prerogative." Matthias turned to Jasmine, "I would prefer to let every good thing be done in secret, but since my desire not to say anything has lead to a misunderstanding, let me say it all and plainly." Matthias glanced at Rip before beginning. The wolf was sitting, obviously not happy being so far away, but he hadn't reached the point that he was going to pull free and come racing over to be involved in the conversation, so it was probably safe to leave him there for a while. "As soon as you came in and became playing, miss Jasmine, I determined in my mind that nothing ill would befall you so long as we were staying in the same place. As this man suggests, I'm a man from the wilds and unaccustomed to living amongst so many people or in such... comfort. My body can find no rest in a bed, and therefore, if you were without a room I had determined to offer you to share mine, for I would be sleeping on the floor regardless. If you refused and had no room, I had determined to stay in the common room, awake, and watch-over you as you slept that nothing might be stolen or taken advantage of. And if you had your own room I had determined to sleep in the hall outside your door and leave my own gear with my brother, effectively guarding you with no inconvenience to myself." Matthias turned back to the man, "so if it is all plain and clear to you now, I will be staying with miss Jasmine here as per her offer. As for payment, while you say very little, what you have said and done has given me reason to repay your kindness even if not to myself, if pride allows, please accept my room free of charge, if not then I will accept three copper pieces." Matthias preferred the man not pay him anything, especially copper, because he always ended up losing it or forgetting about it, but he was a man who knew things, who had secrets, and Matthias respected him. It would be rude and disrespectful to not allow the man to pay if that is what the code that he lived by demanded of him. Matthias turned back to Jasmine, "so I accept your offer, if you still extend it after hearing me out. I know my ways to be odd to most and my reasoning strange, but I mean you no harm by it, nor any special favor, it's simply what I must do, because it is within my ability to do it, and it is right to do." Matthias paused for a moment allowing what he had said to sink in, before finishing. "And that is that, all that was to be left unsaid is said and in plain truth, judge it as you may, wild man or no, I will be true to my own conscience whatever you decide." And in saying that, Matthias had explained something about himself that even his brother didn't yet grasp fully. He was driven by his conscience, right and wrong was not a matter of laws and rules, in the end you lived with your decisions from the moment you chose to act, till the moment you died. Matthias could not read, and therefore did not know the Bible well, but what he had heard read had resonated with him, the morals and justice he found in those words reflected his personal beliefs and strengthened his own conviction to follow his conscience. Was it wrong to kill a man? Well that depended, what had the man done? Matthias had killed a number of men and didn't feel regret for any of their deaths, though by no means did he deal in death lightly. Many things he learned and lived by came from observing nature, animals. The wolf pack protected its young, its sick, and its females viciously, honor was given to the alpha and in turn the alpha served the pack and assured that everyone of them was taken care of. Men were different, they didn't need alphas though they often chose to elect them. Matthias didn't consider himself under any man, but felt that as a man, it was only right because he was a man, to do his part to protect the weak, the sick, the defenseless, not that he would ever go out of his way to seek such people out and be their champion, but when he found himself in their circumstance by chance or fate, he was determined that his presence would lead to their betterment in some fashion. So as he gazed into Jasmine's eyes, the only thing that rang through was sincerity and determination, he believed what he planned to be right, and nothing would steer him from it, no matter how odd others might thing it. If she accepted him for it then he was accepted and would be pleased. If she rejected him for it then she couldn't stop him from falling back on one of his other ideas for that was his right and she would be protected either way, in the end, he lost nothing that mattered to him, and stood to gain a great deal, her respect.
  11. By this point, Mattias had nearly made up his mind not to share his room with the man even though he looked to be declining (he was thinking this as the man was speaking). The man seemed to be saying 'no thank you' out of... what? Pride? Care for Jasmine? Respect? Two of those three would mean that to make him a second offer could come across as demeaning. Matthias admittedly didn't know much about socialization and social norms, but he understood the male psyche well enough in his mind, to avoid offending people or stepping on their territory without meaning to. As it was he was stuck, unable to decide if the man was acting out of charity or for personal reasons that Matthias didn't wish to broach. However, the man then gave Jasmine a few coins, and that closed the matter in Matthias' mind as to why he was refusing. It seemed he had simply judged his situation and hers and decided which was better for them both, and in Matthias' judgement, he was right. That also meant, however, that if Matthias offered him a deal that made equal or better logical sense, he would probably agree to it. And it did appear that he would be the last person Matthias would be associating with that night so the urge to ignore that the man existed was mostly deflated. On top of that, he had just shown kindness to Jasmine, which meant he couldn't be all that bad. Matthias hadn't picked up anything hostile or devious in his body-language, so, in all truth, the excuses in favor of not talking to him were dwindling. "Excuse me," Matthias stepped past Jasmine and caught the man firmly by the shoulder for half a second before withdrawing his hand and stepping back, he meant to get the man's attention, not initiate a fight. Matthias withdrew his key from his pocket, "my plans have changed, I won't be using this tonight, you're welcome to it. I simply need to gather my things gear and it's all yours, I won't be using it tonight." Matthias didn't explain why, not to the man or to Jasmine. The man didn't need to know, and Jasmine might find it weird to know that he would be spending the night outside her door, besides, it was better to do things for people that they didn't know about, so as that they might not feel indebted to you, than to do them openly and play the braggart. Rune wouldn't mind him leaving his stuff in the room, and if he did he would still let him. He didn't need to know why either, but if he asked Matthias supposed he'd tell him, there was no real reason not to. Of course this all depended on the man's response, which Matthias turned his attention back to, meeting the man's gaze, but not in a confrontational way. Looks told many things and if Matthias was well rounded in any area of communication, it was with eye contact, even animals had emotions and it could be read in their eyes. The fear that told you the prey had picked up on your scent, the defiance in Rip's eyes in the days that lead up to their yearly confrontation, or the guilt Matthias could find there if Rip had stolen food from him without permission. Men were the same, though they were harder to read, men had a way of hiding what they were feeling, even in their looks. Animals couldn't do that, as far as Matthias was concerned, they simply felt whatever they felt and it showed, that was how the existed. Matthias attempted to communicate an air of thanks in his gaze for what this man had done for Jasmine, almost an air of mutual respect, for he had thought well of her as few others in the bar had, and he was the only to act on it aside from Matthias himself. At the same time, Matthias tried to read the stranger's eyes and see what lay behind them.
  12. Matthias considered what Jasmine said, she was in the middle of giving him the answer that he deemed important... when the bartender broke through the solace Matthias had found in pretending that Jasmine and he were the only two people in the inn. Apparently it was time for bed, odd, that people had a bed time, some time designated for sleeping. The clouds and ash made day and night not all too different from one another, one was distinctly darker, but temperature wise there wasn't much of a difference at least to him. Matthias just went to bed when he was tired and stayed awake as long as he didn't feel the need to sleep. Did Jasmine have a place to sleep? He wasn't sure if her playing covered both food and a room, and he'd rather die than see her sleep outside and lose a finger to frostbite, that would mean she couldn't play, it would be like taking away his ability to hunt, it wasn't going to happen. But before he could ask of she had a place to stay, she was up and moving. Rip raised his head, wanting to follow but looking to Matthias for instruction. "Stay" Matthias went after her himself, following her through the crowd who were headed to the door. He was about to stop her and say that she didn't have to go, she could use the bed in his room since he wasn't going to, he hadn't been able to fall asleep in a bed for years. But the woman surprised him again, she wasn't leaving, she was offering her room to a stranger. Matthias vaguely remember the stranger asking the bartender for a room a moment ago and being denied it. Now she was offering him the room that she had been given as payment, that meant she would be staying in the common room that night. Matthias barred his teeth but held back a growl, he didn't like that idea one bit. She might not have much that could be stolen, but if anyone stole her instrument, or laid a finger on her, Matthias was already committed to gutting such a person and letting Rip clean up the body. But he didn't say anything, he waited none-to-patiently for the man to respond to her offer. If he accepted, then Matthias would insist that she have his room, he was sleeping on the floor either way, and Rip could keep her warm if she wanted and if he would tolerate it. If the man declined, then Matthias would offer the man his room, give his equipment to his brother to keep for the night, and sleep outside Jasmine's door, that way she was safe. On the other hand if the man accepted her offer and Jasmine declined Matthias' offer, then he would be staying in the commons room, keeping watch over her all night, he wasn't that tired anyways. Yes, it all made sense to him, whatever happened, nothing bad was going to befall this woman tonight, not as long as he was here. Matthias didn't act this way out of some sense of chivalry or duty, he simply felt that he owed the woman something for her music. And he had trouble sleeping in inns anyways. He wasn't loosing anything no matter which way this turned out, in the end it was just something he was going to do, period. Like buying all that stuff with his furs and giving it away to that other woman he hadn't even met, the one with the limp. He didn't need the extra, and it was something he was going to do. When Matthias set his mind to something, especially if it involved helping someone, he committed to it with a single minded determination to the extent that he would even risk his life. For him, if he couldn't even do that, then life wasn't worth living to begin with. His thoughts drifted away for a moment as he continued to wait. Who was the other woman? Why was she out alone? Did she like to be alone as much as Matthias preferred it? Was the wilderness home to her? Would she marry him? Matthias didn't think it weird to ask that last question to himself, he considered every female he came across in that way. There were remarkably few people, let alone women, who would choose to life as he did, and he didn't want to risk missing one that would for that would be a terrible loss. Life was short, and he didn't waste on opportunity, even if he didn't expect to actually ever find someone before he inevitably died.
  13. Rip stared at her hand, drawing a sidelong glance from Matthias, making sure he wasn't considering biting her. Rip glanced at Matthias and then back to the hand, unsure of what he was expected to do with it, it didn't seem to be offering him food. His curiosity seemed to win out over his caution. Rip scooted his neck and chin closer until his nose was touching Jasmine's fingertips, drawing in their scent and adding it to the wolf's endless registry of things he'd smelled in his lifetime. Matthias was a bit wary if not surprised, Rip hated being pet, even by him. Of course, Matthias couldn't recall an instance where a female had tried to pet him before, Rip did seem to react to them differently, probably because he didn't expect them to challenge his position in the pack... even if it was a pack of two. "Hunting," Matthias finally spoke, "I don't daydream I hunt, for me it's the same." He repositioned himself so that his left hand was close enough to grab Rip if the wolf did decide to bite her, he doubted that Rip would do so, but one thing he'd learned about the wolf is that he could be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. "When I've put my mind into the hunt I become friends with the snow and the cold and the darkness, the trees become my companions and the rocks my playmates, the snow is my dance partner, and Rip becomes an extension of my arms. Everything moves together, all the players play their parts, and whether the prey gets away or I take home a kill, the game is played and in that moment, I'm free." Rip cautiously stuck out his tongue and licked two of Jasmine's fingers, adding her taste to his mental registry. "But sometimes... when there is enough food, when I have shelter, when the threat of death is temporarily abated... I do dream. A life beyond the white, a small cabin, mountains, lots of game, Rip is gone, released, but he visits sometimes with his pack, we fight of course, but in a friendly way. I'm there, my wife, maybe a child or two, tucked away in the middle of an undiscovered corner of the world, living a simple life, listening to music, telling my children stories around the fireplace, teaching my son to hunt, teaching my daughter to sing, loving my wife." Matthias wasn't ashamed of what he said, it was truth, his fantasy, life if it were perfect. It wasn't much to ask, was he mad in believing it could be possible? He dared not entertain the thought for fear of losing the dream. It did cross his mind that he hadn't ever shared this with anyone before, then again, why should he care who he shared it with? "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today... I don't remember where I heard that, but I try to live by it. A life without a dream is no life at all, its just going through the motions of living but really being dead, a dream is what makes us human, and music, and hunting, I certainly wish I could do all three." Matthias smiled, it felt good to talk after months of only having his brother for conversation. In truth it was relaxing, he'd nearly forgotten about the hustle and bustle of all the other patrons in the bar. "I wonder if you would like my dream..." Matthias could have bit off his tongue, it was a thought again, something he didn't mean to say. He wasn't used to having to differentiate between the two. He always spoke his thoughts allowed to Rip, Rip didn't care and there was no one around anyways... this was quickly proving to be an annoyance. "Of a simple life I mean, not having to travel and sing, or hunt, not having to worry about where your next meal will come from, or if the next time you set out from a place will be the last time..." His voice trailed off, making it even more obvious that he hadn't actually meant to say something out loud. It was his turn to blush slightly, grimacing at his own lack of socialization.
  14. ((note: for those of you who might not know, the actual definition of the word "*" is "female canine" (just saying so because I use it in that manner once in this post)))((lol it looks like it gets censored anyways, oh well, it would be nice to see it used properly for once...)) "Thank you for your invitation." Matthias nodded slowly, not sure if she meant this as a way to say goodbye, or if she intended to accept. Her eyes told him she was sincere, then again, Matthias wasn't used to reading people's eyes and suspected he may have it backwards. Yet a moment later she scooped up her bowl and moved to follow him back. He turned to lead her, smiling to himself in relief and perhaps joy, but the latter of those emotions he rarely entertained. It was a new game then, leading her through the crowd. This time he didn't care who he touched, but he created a path for her, gently moving those in front of him to the side or waiting for them to take the hint and move themselves. It would be a shame if she spilled her soup, he wouldn't allow that. Finally the made it to the table. Rip looked up at the woman and Matthias locked eyes with him, concerned, he didn't take well to others. But the wolf's eyes seemed to be more curious than anything. Perhaps it was because she was a woman, perhaps Rip was taking his Que from what he read in Matthias' own body-language. Either case, Matthias was glad Rip wasn't so flustered by this place that he couldn't be in a good mood, it must have been the music. Matthias slid into the booth on the same side as Rip as to best keep an eye on him, allowing the woman to take the other side. She did so and spoke at the same time. "If I may ask of it, sir, what is your name? Mine is Jasmine," For a moment Matthias didn't answer. In that moment the woman, Jasmine, managed to get out another question. Normally the excessive conversation, at least in Matthias' mind, would have bothered him. But for some reason he was not bothered. The woman's voice was soft and firm, thoughtful, but genuinely interested, at least that's what he was getting out of it. "Your canine companion interests me. I've hardly seen any sort of hound or similar creature while traveling. What breed is he? He is a remarkable sight." By her glances and tone, Rip seemed to understand that she was talking about him too and in response he puffed up his fur and growled gently. Matthias smiled, "I'm Matthias, and don't mind him," He gently elbowed Rip to get him to stop growling. "He's a wolf, not a mix as far as I know, in all truth I only ever knew his mother, persistent *, she tracked me all the way back to our farm when I stole him." Matthias indicated Rip with the twitch of his neck, "he's actually pleased to see you, not every growl means the same thing, but you'd have to live with him a while to tell the difference between them." Matthias paused, he had just said a lot. Interesting, he wasn't usually so free with his speech. Still, what harm was there? What else was there to do? There was no game around that would be scared away, there was nothing that needed doing in order to survive the night. Everything was prepared, so why not talk a little? I did invite her over after all. He noticed her noticing his scars and that brought an amused smile to his face. "If you're going to ask how I got them... don't bother." He continued, his tone as amused as his smile, "All of them have stories, but most I can't remember. Still, if you're quite curious, perhaps point one out and I'll be able to relate what I got it from." It occurred to him that she might think the idea completely weird or even repulsive, but his thoughts about what he said rarely beat the words out of his mouth, the mostly came later, and not in time to properly adjust one's speech to. Deciding that she might have taken it this way, but not knowing entirely one way or the other, he added something else quickly. ((if you do want to ask about a scar, don't worry about God-Modding, just make one up and describe it, he has enough of them that I really don't mind, and it makes for a better mental image for the both of us, if she intends to do that at least)) "We really liked your music. Well, I don't know if a wolf can be deeply moved in spirit..." He shrugged, turning back to her and locking gazes with her, "but I know a man can. So even if you decide us overly strange and desire to go back to the bar, at least let me say that I did cherish it. For just that moment I almost imagined myself free of the snow and the cold, of the need to survive each day, and that is something worth far more than that soup you were given for it, worth far more than the meager attention that was paid you." Matthias dropped his gaze, "and now you probably think me mad..." He bit his lip, that had meant to be a thought... not words... oh well, there was no catching them mid-air and stuffing them back down his throat, though so many times he wished he could. What did it matter? If she thought he was too odd to be around she would leave, at least it was the truth, he always told the truth, or if not he didn't speak one way or the other. Rip dropped his chin onto the table, staring up at the woman, wondering why the music wasn't coming out of her anymore and sorely wishing that it was, if wolves could wish that is.
  15. She noticed Matthias thought, watching the woman play. She had glanced at him and smiled, interesting, perhaps a thanks for paying attention, everyone else seemed busy with whatever consisted of their daily lives. Matthias would have liked nothing more though than to sit and listen, even if he didn't let it show outwardly. There are so many things to do, to repeat, survive, kill, eat, drink, sleep, survive, day in and day out. He mused over what consisted of most everyone's existence music is not something to add a backdrop to such an existence like here, music should be the main event in life, whenever it comes alone, for it might be the last time you hear something that isn't affected by the cold of the world... Matthias smiled to himself, he hadn't had reason to think deeply on any subject in some time, it was a nice change of pace, if unfamiliar. Suddenly it was over, and the air seemed to fill once more with the dreary day to day existence that most everyone called life, though in Matthias' mind, the life had just vanished along with the song. He allowed his thoughts to return to the forefront of his mind, picking out the woman as she received a bowl of soup and began to eat it at the counter. Of course she does it to live, he scolded himself for thinking less of her for it, that wasn't fair. It was clear to him that she played not simply to survive, but because the music meant something to her, it meant a lot to her. "Stay." Matthias had spoken the command to Rip before he realized he was leaving, but he was, snaking his way across the room with the fluidity of a hunter, making an apparent effort to not touch anyone else on the way through the crowded room. It was a challenge, people's movements were hard to predict at such close range. Still, it kept him sane. If he didn't think of these people as obstacles, if he didn't set himself partly in the mind of the hunter, then he'd likely go insane with all the useless babble that filled the air like a swarm of locusts. It was a game, something he invented to keep himself from having to think about the fact that there were so many people around, and he always won, even when he had to tuck and roll to get between to men who backed into one another by accident, barring his way. Do they think me strange for it? Rune does, then again, Rune thinks many strange things, like that the sky is blue, whatever that means. "Excuse me," Matthias finally reached the counter, not sure if the woman had detected his approach, he'd been to busy dodging bodies, some of which were obviously drunk. "You are the only real person here and yet you are surrounded by this crude lot." Matthias barred his teeth at a man who he had moved to the side in order to occupy the spot at the bar next to the woman. Several of the men seemed to take none to kindly to his barging in. Perhaps they were only angry because he was the first to speak to her directly. Such social norms and nuances were nonexistent in Matthias' mind. He only knew what he saw, these men were animals to him. They didn't appreciate her music, they couldn't comprehend it. To them it was background, or perhaps entertainment, to them she was entertainment, a prize, a target even, not a soul. Less than animals, Matthias decided, even my wolf is more moved by music than these ruffians. Matthias indicated his table in the corner with a jerk of his head. "Join me." It wasn't a question, it wasn't a request, but it wasn't a demand or a command either. In Matthias' mind, he and her were the only two real people in the inn, it only made sense that she sit with him and talk. Aside from that, if another one of the near drunk men at the counter bumped into her from behind on accident one more time... Matthias was quite sure he'd get kicked out for breaking such a man's jaw, and that was only if Rune reached him in time to keep him from killing the man. He locked eyes with her but quickly broke contact and looked down, mentally kicking himself. She wasn't a predator, she wasn't prey, there was no need for that sort of thing. He returned his eyes to hers, this time the ice they usually held was gone, replaced by a look of near begging as he flashed icy glares at those closes to her. "If not then invite me to stay and be your shield against the insanity of this place as your music has already been for me."
  16. Matthias' eyes snapped open and sat up abruptly, throwing his knife out in front of him. He would have let it go if he hadn't held it for a split second more than was required for reflex, allowing his eyes to see that there was no intruder before him. So what had awakened him? Rip growled from his position next to his master, he wasn't bothered by the music he sort of liked it, and Matthias was interrupting his intent listening. Matthias grumbled back at him and stood, only now catching the sound that had drawn him out of his light slumber. He had always been a light sleeper, it had kept him alive. On the other hand it meant he rarely could fall asleep in a place such as Winterbury, not at least, without placing wax in his ears, a dangerous proposition. He heard it more clearly now, the sound of music, an instrument, something of the wind of the lips, like a whistle, but far more beautiful. For the life of him he couldn't remember the name of the instrument even though he knew he'd heard it before, many times if not often. It wasn't something he would ever tell his brother, but Matthias truly loved music, both that of an instrument and the raw music of nature. Many nights alone he would sit up and watch Rip howl at the moon, often wondering if wolves had a secret language of their own, a secret song they all knew to sing from birth. Staring up at the brightish spot that must be the moon... Matthias could fee the same intense pull of something, moving him to music, but he knew only one song, and while he had a good voice... singing meant giving away your position and so he didn't often sing, while it might be relaxing, it wasn't overly useful. Rip whined, pawing at the door. "Yeah right..." Matthias stood and stretched, "like you would behave, one missing scrap of meat and you'll get me kicked out of here, and I'd prefer not to sleep in the middle of a blizzard." Rip continued to paw and whine, he usually wasn't this persistent, this was borderline not accepting Matthias' established leadership. But when Matthias stared at the wolf, he decided it wasn't rebellion or dominance that was the issue, the beast simply enjoyed the music and wanted to be closer, he certainly hadn't reacted this way to anything else in the inn earlier so that must be it. Matthias sighed, "alright, but we compromise, you wear the leash." Matthias stretched and pulled a long leather chord out of his pack and held it out toward Rip. If there was one thing the wolf hated more than anything else, it was being on the leash. But after staring at one another for a moment, Rip lowered his head and Matthias attached the leash. The leather chord served two purposes. It wasn't strong enough to hold Rip if he truly wanted to get loose, but it represented Matthias' authority to both of them, meaning, Rip wouldn't try and get away unless Matthias needed him to. That made Rip extremely useful. If he was tied up he'd stay, but if Matthias needed him badly and called for him, he'd break free to get to him, very useful. Matthias glanced down at himself, he hadn't changed out of his furs, not that he had anything to change into, but they could use a cleaning, and his feet could use a rest from the special boots he wore. Matthias took a moment to unfasten his boots and pull them off, allowing the cold air to kiss his feet. He also took off his wolf-pelt headpiece and his outer two layers of furs, leaving him wearing only a white, wolf-pelt vest that draped over his shoulders and was held together by leather strings on either side (like a life jacket), his fur bracers, also white wolf's fur, covering his upper and lower arms with a break that left his shoulders, elbows, and hands exposed. He also took off his leather pants in favor of short pants made of similar white fur that went only from his waist to his knees. With every piece of clothing he took off, he wiped the inside down with a bar of homemade soap, sterilizing it, and spread it out on the bed, allowing it to air out so the bacteria would die. Matthias took out a second set of linings he had for his boots. Alone they acted as thick, furry moccasins, when in the boots they provided padding and warmth. Matthias took a moment to look at himself, noting new scars he hadn't had before, not surprising, he couldn't possibly remember every scrap, cut, or case of frostbite he acquired on a daily basis. He frowned, the scars always drew attention, so did the furs, so did the wolf. He sighed, but there was nothing to be done about it, he'd just growl at anyone who asked too many questions. Feeling rather naked, Matthias grabbed two knives and stuck them underneath either fur bracer. Finally prepared to venture into the world of social contact that his kid brother seemed to find so appealing.... Matthias opened the door, holding tightly to Rip's leash, and shut it again, walking down the stairs and into the lobby. As he predicted, more than a few heads turned, first it was the wolf, or dog if the people weren't very experienced with wolves and couldn't tell, then it was the man holding the wolf, then the scars. Matthias watched as each person noticed him in their own way. Ignoring them as best be could and ignoring the bartender who asked him if he wanted a drink, Matthias moved through the room towards the corner furthest from the door. A man was sitting there, but, seeing Matthias' intent expression and the way he walked, as though ready to leap on anyone that might make a move against him, the man just shrugged and moved to a different table. Matthias made eye contact with everyone who looked at him, just for a moment, most looked away, a few did not, those he would watch, the others were nothing more than prey, if it came down to it. He sat at the table and flicked his wrist, catching one of the knives as it shot out of the bracer. He wrapped Rip's leash around the handle, tied if off, and slammed the blade deep into the thick wooden beam that supported that corner of the building. That business taken care of, Matthias sat atop the table, ignoring his brother's presence, and stared at the woman making the music. She had long, dark brown hair and her eyes were a deep, maple color, reminding Matthias of fresh and healthy wood, or the dirt that you rarely saw during the spring. She had a far tanner shade of skin, by decent not contact with the sunlight, and glasses. Matthias stared directly at her as she made her music, examining every detail that his eyes could see. He paid close attention to how she moved, how she carried herself, whose eyes she met and whose eyes she avoided, and how regular her breathing was. All of these things told a story that was this woman. She was young too, but not a hunter. Her eyes were kind and wide open. There was something about her that gave Matthias a feeling of freedom, it was something he only felt when in the middle of the forest, no one around, staring up at the sky while Rip howled at what was possibly the moon behind all the ash and snow. I wonder if she'd marry me... Matthias thought to himself, watching her intently, never breaking his gaze. As far as he was concerned, she was the only thing in the lobby that merited a second glance. Rip was content to lie down on the bench, his dull yellow eyes joined the piercing blue ones of his scarred master as he too watched the woman who made the pretty sounds.
  17. ((I interacted with you Emeraldmay but indirection (with Indigo that is), this post doesn't really interact with anyone else directly so you can skim it if you wish, short version, Matthias is asleep in the inn)) Let's go to Winterbury Matthias. Rune had made the suggestion. His messy black hair and beady brown eyes made it clear that he wasn't going to take no for an answer... again. Matthias, William hated that name, oddly enough, it was his. Everyone always called him by it and he never expressed his feelings on the topic, still, everyone used it. It was his first name, as if order made some magical difference in the world. William, or Will, now those two he liked, names that rolled off the tongue like liquid glass. Matthias as a warrior, or a lord, a king, or a guardian, something upstanding and social, disgusting. William was cool, was he a friend or a foe, was he a hunter or prey, would he shake your hand or stab you in the chest? William was strong and silent, Matthias as loud and social. Rip growled, wrenching Matthias out of his thoughts, the wolf never liked it when his master zoned out, it made him uneasy. Matthias scuffed the wolf's ear, testing his mood. Rip shook his head and lowered it, good, it wasn't Spring yet. The seasons normally wouldn't have mattered much to Matthias, the cold of winter was little different than the cold of summer. For some old traditional types the seasons and days might have a deeper meaning, but as Matthias continued packing his ruck, he could have cared less. In fact, he wouldn't have cared at all if Rip weren't so beasteously affected by spring time. The wolf was worth his weight in copper coins as far as Matthias was concerned, but having a wolf had it's own set of unique challenges, including the fact that every spring, without fail, Rip would make an all too serious attempt on his owner's life. It was the dominance game that Matthias played every year, and so far, he'd won, he was still alive after all (if not scarred from past bouts). Rip growled again and Matthias smiled, stroking the wolf's head, something Rip hated. "Yeah yeah, alright, I'll stop zoning on you. It's not like we're in the middle of a hunt." They weren't in fact they were at the very end of one. Rune had left a few hours ago, making his way towards Winterbury and while Matthias had no desire to travel into the settlement, his brother's hasty departure was bound to scare up some game as he bumbled around in the woods on his way there. Matthias zipped up the rucksack and tightened all the fastenings, tossing it onto his back and strapping it across his chest and waist. The sack was old but sturdy enough, at the moment it was filled with furs from many many successful hunts. Rune had said it was high time to trade them out, they'd make a tidy sum. Matthias didn't care about that though, he'd just as soon toss the furs into a snowdrift as trade them up at the settlement, he wasn't low on anything, he didn't need to trade. The success of the last few weeks in this area near the abandoned city meant he could live without human contact for that much longer, why trade now? He sighed, lying on his back and placing his hands under the front legs of the elk he had killed an hour ago. His brother had scared it up, he's shot it, and rip had brought it down. By now all the blood had drained, fresh meat, it would sell. Matthias grunted, heaving the small animal onto his shoulders, resting it's midsection on the top of his ruck and adjusting it so that he was balanced. The elk wasn't full grown, but it hardly mattered, meat was meat, and the younger the more tender. Matthias stood for a moment to adjust the wolf-pelt he wore on his head which had been messed up in his effort to stabilize the elk. "If you decide that we need to have a little fight on the way to the settlement, while I'm carrying all this, and I survive long enough to drop the elk..." he glared down at Rip, "I'll gut you and make you my hew hat, got it?" Rip barked at him, obviously having no idea what it was he was being told but eager to respond. Matthias nodded, "good, I'm glad you understand." Of course, Rip understood nothing, but Matthias treated him as if he understood everything, he was well trained but that wasn't the reason. It seemed that even he, anti-social as he was, needed someone to talk to, Rip had filled that gap. That is until his brother had showed up six months ago to remind him why he didn't miss being around people. Matthias made his way out of the woods, walking steadily towards the settlement. He kept a close eye on the ground and on Rip. A tiny deviation in the contour of the snow told the difference between a three-foot drift and a three inch dusting. He wasn't interested in falling with this much weight on his back. He kept an eye on Rip because the wolf would pick up anything predator in the area attracted by the blood before Matthias ever would. Also, the wolf was acting antsy, whining and prancing around, that meant a blizzard. Maybe it is wiser to be indoors tonight... he mused, cursing his brother's eagerness to be amongst humans again. He wasn't far from the treeline when a figure, also heading towards the settlement, piqued his interest. It was immediately identifiable as human, and the normalized clothing meant it wasn't a stray lurker. The small frame and gait told Matthias one thing female. Rip whined, spotting the easy prey. Matthias growled back at him, an obvious no. He didn't hunt humans... often, and never females. She didn't notice him, it would have been difficult to notice him though so Matthias wasn't surprised. He was still at least three hundred yards to her rear and his whole body was covered in white fur, the only distinctions being the elk and Rip, who was a dull gray and white mix. His eyes immediately picked something else out, even at this distance he recognized her limp. His gut told him easy prey, and he reminded himself that this wasn't a deer or a wounded raker, it was a woman and therefore not on his list of things to hunt, but he understood Rip's compulsion, she would have made an easy target. She continued toward the settlement, limping slightly, carrying something, a bag of some sort. She was probably a scavenger. Still, she intrigued him. She was out here, alone, limping, small, not obviously armed, everything about her said 'come kill me' in any predator's language. She pressed on with such tenacity, even though it was obvious that she was in some pain. Matthias decided not to make contact but simply to follow her. She was hurt and obviously headed toward the settlement, he would make sure nothing bothered her before she got there. As she reached the gate she stooped down and opened her bag. Not wanting to make contact, Matthias turned sixty degrees to his left, positioning a moderate snowdrift immediately behind himself, and allowed himself to fall backwards into the soft snow. He sat up, head barely above the indentation he'd made, and watched the woman. She was doing something, he couldn't tell what, seemingly through though she stopped, looked about, and entered the settlement. Matthias heaved the elk back onto his shoulders and returned to the moderately shallow snow of the road that lead to the settlement. No longer having her in sight, he jogged up to the gate and nodded at the guards. Nodding, it was the slightest of gestures, but if you nodded at someone and just walked in, like you had lived there all your life, people tended not to ask questions. It helped that he had Rip with him, and that he had no firearms on his person. They didn't stop him, so he kept on going, continuing down the main road until he caught sight of the woman again. She was the most interesting thing he'd seen all day and was determined to find out where she was from. Matthias was no longer worried about her spotting him, there were enough people around that it didn't look like he was following her, even though he stood out what with the elk and the sack bursting with furs. Rip growled at just about everyone though so he was given a good berth. In Matthias' mind... that was Rip's most useful feature, the distinct social bubble the wolf gave him when walking amongst others. The wolf may have been seen as a a threat and done away with if not for the thick black-leather collar that Matthias had him wearing, obviously marking him as anything but a stray. There she was, pausing now at a crossroads, she finally turned off the main road and up a side street. Her gait seemed to shout out to Matthias that she was exhausted, near passing out it seemed. She was too tired to watch for anyone following her, did normal people do that? Matthias wondered as he turned down the same street, checking to see if anyone was following him. No one was. The woman, or was it girl? He couldn't tell past all the clothing she wore to stay warm. She opened a door and pushed her way inside. It wasn't an inn, so this must be where she lived, or at least someone she knew lived here. Husband? Matthias' gut told him no, she wouldn't have been out alone if that were the case. Good. Matthias turned and whistled for Rip to follow him. He would remember where the house was for later, for now he needed to get rid of this elk... the extra three-hundred pounds were starting to wear on him, even with the ruck sack balancing it. Five minutes later he was walking into the trading post. The doorway was large and he had little trouble fitting through it. The elk immediately drew attention as William set it down on the floor. Two men came out from behind the counter and began to inspect it. Meanwhile Matthias set the rucksack down and pulled the large bundle of furs out from the ruck, quickly closing it again to hide his bow and other items he wasn't interested in broadcasting that he owned. "The elk is fresh, only an hour old, the furs are all good quality, they're all up for trade." Matthias spoke, "the dog is not," he said as one of the men eyed Rip keenly. With a shrug the man went back to inspecting the elk and the furs. Eventually the two men left the room with the elk leaving only the man behind the counter who was writing something down. Matthias pretended to read what he was writing. The man took the furs too and placed them behind the counter, it was time to find out what he could get back. "Alright, seems to be in good order, what are you looking for." "Scrap," Matthias found himself saying, "metal, computer parts, the like, the more sophisticated the better." The man frowned, "we don't get a lot of that, but you're in luck, a fellow stopped by not too long ago with a computer chip." "Tools, blades, magnets, tinder, salt, sugar, candy, yeah, candy." Matthias replied, indicating what he was interested in. The man nodded, leaving the computer chip on the table and fetching a few rough blades the nicest of which was a multi-tool like leatherman. More interesting was a bunch of hard candies as well as a sack of sugar and one of salt, and interestingly enough, a large magnet. Scavengers love magnets, girls love candy, it was a perfect trade. After several minutes of bartering, Matthias walked away with the magnet and the computer chip in exchange for the elk, and a half pound of sugar, a pound of salt, a handful of candies and thirty copper coins for the furs. Matthias kept a small patch of black wolf-s fur that he'd sewn into a bag and deposited the computer chip, the candies, the magnet, and the multitool. Satisfied that he'd finally found something to do with his earnings, he left the trading post and walked back down the street to the same house he had seen the woman enter. Matthias knocked on the door, moments later a man came to the door, but not the woman's husband, this man was older, a father perhaps? Good. "I'm sorry to intrude, but there was a young woman who came into the settlement recently and she dropped this," he handed the man the wolf-fur pouch that was tied shut at the top, "my dog lead me here so I assume this is where she is? She was about this tall, thin, limping slightly." Matthias described. The man, seeming suspicious, nodded once, "I'll see that it gets back to her." Matthias translated the words in his head thank you now go away and so he turned and left. Hoping that his gift made it to the curious woman he'd seen earlier. While he couldn't write, the pouch contained not only the gifts, but also a simple patch of deer-leather with a large "W" sketched in the middle of a wolf's paw, the mark that Matthias had used for some time now to identify his furs, maybe he would see her again, he could always prove it was him who had sent the gift because of the mark. Either way, he wasn't betting on it making a huge impact, he didn't even have any intention of seeking the woman out to meet her. She simply seemed like she was probably having a bad day, and in truth Matthias didn't have anything he wanted to trade for the elk, it had been a surprise and blessing. Giving away his trade didn't register with him as strange or as a sign, it just felt good, so away the black fur pouch went, up the stairs, and into the room in which Indigo was sleeping. There it rested, next to the door, awaiting it's new owner's waking. Matthias headed to the Throne, the inn he had only visited twice in the past four years. It was time to get some sleep, and maybe some alcohol, depending on how he felt. He walked into the inn and showed his mark to the man in charge who directed him to a room. Looks like he's useful for something, Matthias mused, slipping into the room Rune had prepared for him. The room was simple and though there was a bed, Matthias opted for the more familiar feel of the hard floor. He shut the door and slid the latch into place, tossed his rucksack down on the middle of the floor and lay down against it, Rip shuffled over after sniffing around the whole room and lay next to him. Matthias closed his eyes, gripping a seven-inch military blade in his right hand as he drifted off to sleep, one could never be too careful...
  18. Johan took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He felt the creature's words reach out and touch his very core, the part of him that wished to die, to cease existing. He had stopped living for himself a long time ago, and not because of any higher sense of altruism, simply because he felt no need to live, if only for himself. His thoughts turned to Eve, and home, England and the mansion, and the hundreds of people who bore the last name, Hawkthorne, all people he had rescued, or their children, or grand children, most didn't even know anything about him, such knowledge was reserved only for the first generation. And Eve... she had agreed to marry him, they couldn't have children of course, not biologically, he'd never turn her into a vampire, but Jonathan, they could adopt him. "Be a full time parent..." Johan remarked in his thoughts, switching off his suit's auto destruct. "I'm tired... so tired of... living." He paused, "Yes, I can do this for you. I will be turning my responsibilities over to Marcy within a few years, then I'll disappear, raise Jonathan as my son, let the world worry about itself for a few years... You have my word." Johan paused, "And I'll do better, I'll speak to the ancient ones, older than me, who run the school, see if they will take in some of those you are releasing who need help adjusting to the regular world." Johan bent forward and kissed the creature's forehead gently, "die well old friend, you honor your principles now in death that you fought for in life, there is no shame in that." Johan turned and placed his helmet back onto his head. "Have Jonathan meat me at the entrance, I'll take him from there... goodbye..." Johan turned and walked slowly out of the room, leaving behind a long standing enemy a close friend, and one of the few beings he had ever met, that he believed could understand how he felt, every day. "Yes... this is goodbye..." He said softly, taking a moment to remember the man he was leaving behind, before his mind shifted back to other things, protecting Marcy and Kanthaya from Carmandy came to mind... and meeting with an assassin, and organizing a truce with a werewolf pack.... "Just another ordinary average day..." He smiled viciously under his helmet and drew his sword, gripping it tightly as he enjoyed the weight in his hand, "Look out big bad world... here I come... for the millionth time..."
  19. waaaahhhhhh... me wanna know what happens next! Can't leave the RP hanging at a moment like this! We must posteth morez! Johan still needs to get back to the others and find out what's going on with Marcy, be introduced to all the werewolves and vampires... and he's got to resolve this situation with Rals... oh boy... he needs to be a lot of places at once right now.
  20. I posteth I posteth! sorry, yes I've been quite busy. I'll pay closer attention though.
  21. Kai held tightly onto Noe's feathers, the idea of thinking of her as having feathers as still something he would need a little time to get used to. Suddenly his mind was filled with images, painfully at first because he'd never experienced it before. But as it continued, he was able to precess it, and realized that Noe was trying to send him a message, and immediately he understood. He leaned forward, running his hand through the feathers on her head and whispering in her ear against the howling wind. "It's not your fault." He said, but knew the words meant little considering all that she had been able to do in showing him pictures and emotions. "I called it down on myself, I knew the risks. And so did he, and I won't watch you beat yourself up about it." Kai sighed to himself, "you followed me orders, Aketsu's orders, all of you did. Loren knew the risks, I knew them, and so did everyone who we lost." Kai paused for a moment before continuing. "When I was younger, only fourteen, raiders attacked the monastery in force. It had been a hard summer, dry, even for the desert. They were after our well water, it wasn't something we guarded, we gave it freely to everyone who came for it, honest folk, small tribes, villages. Sometimes we would make the journeys ourselves, when the villages were desperate Master Wu would send us on caravans to bring water." Kai paused again. "I was in charge of our defenses. We were a peaceful order, but we were prepared to defend ourselves. Three of my friends died. We did everything according to the plan, fought well, defended our home and our brothers, just like we did today. Noe... there are always losses, and you can't blame yourself for them. None of us can. And none of them would want us to be doing that to ourselves. All we can do now is the best we can with what we have left, so that they didn't die for nothing." Kai pulled gently on the feathers on the back of Noe's neck, "so that's the last I want to hear of it, mmm?" He hugged her as best he could. "Let's go find Loren."
  22. Kai stood still for a moment, coming to terms with the phantom pain. He turned to Noe as she spoke, and even on her griffin features, he could read another kind of pain, the pain of guilt. But he let her go, and didn't reply, instead he turned back to the camp and quickly began to eat his share. He had finished a few minutes later and noted that Noe was returned and ready to go. "Yeah... I'm ready... just... give me a moment." He grunted, lying on the ground for a moment. When he stood up, the ground rose up to meet him, forming an arm of stone onto his shoulder. The stone shifted, covered with sand, and changed color until it matched his other arm. His forehead shifted as well, covering his earth elemtarian marking and revealing the lightning one. At the same time, sand formed over part of his face, covering his left eye, the earthen colored one, and turned black, like an eye-patch. "I'm ready, let's go. But I warn you," he said as he climbed on. "If you're going to appologize for something that clearly isn't your fault... the whole way there my dear... I'm going to fall asleep and fall off, then it really will be your fault." He managed a weak smile and ruffled Noe's neck feathers.
  23. yeah sorry about that, I've been extremely busy recently, I'll get a post in soon here.
  24. replied, we'll see how this goes. It's pretty incredible. Two of the most unknown powers in the world, mortal enemies in a way, but also so similar in what they've gone through. Both relics of a past era, but can they move beyond themselves, or will they fade from existence.... Johan doesn't want Jonathan to grow up without a father, but he also doesn't want the boy to be made into a monster because of his father's obsession with vengeance. That was the reason that Johan did not attempt to be married until now. He wanted a lot of experience with adopted children before he trusted himself with any of his own children. But he's healing... slowly... funny for a vampire to say that after living 1800 years, to finally be healing. lol
  25. Johan entered the room slowly, and moved about carefully, knowing full well what a privilege it was. He didn't have a reverence for the creature, but he was polite, even to such a being. He entered and read, slowly and carefully, because the information was private and important. It took a full twenty minutes to read and then he took longer to think it over. "No, I'm sorry, that's unacceptable," he replied with a sigh as he put the documents down. "The school is not under my ownership, I've marked it yes, and I'm working there, and I do have at least two beings I care for. But I can't trade two lives for hundreds." Johan knelt beside the creature, being sure to stay a foot away and not look threatening, who knows what the room might do if anyone got the wrong impression. "Thomas..." Johan sighed, "I've never had a wife, but I have a fiancee, and I had a mother. What was done to her, by my father, a vampire, was terrible, she was a human when he took her, and..." Johan closed his eyes and reopened them a moment later. "That was almost two thousand years ago. Thomas, what you're asking me to do, I've done that. I raised an army of the poor, the oppressed people my father and my... brothers and sisters ruled in tyranny over. I slaughtered... my family, and finally my father." He took a deep breath and continued, "I took revenge on her death, and the death of all the unborn brothers and sisters I watched her be forced to abort, my family, I killed them all for it, and do you know, what I've learned, in the last eighteen hundred years of my life... that there is nothing good, I can do, to make up for that action. I didn't bring me peace, it turned me into the same thing that I had killed, worse, because I thought I was doing what was right." Johan took his helmet and set it beside him on the floor. He noticed that he had a message, but now was not the time for that. "I cannot give you back your wife, your children, any more than I can turn back the tables of time. But, my life, and the suffering of those who love me, I do not count more important than the suffering you will cause the grand children, of murderers and savages, who died long ago. I would not see you make my same mistake, or burden your child with it... I never did... remove the self destruct devices you use in your suits, however, only I can trigger mine." Johan gave the creature a sad smile, "I will get rid of the relics of a long dead era, our lives, our hatred, our love, everything about us," he snapped his fingers, "because the children of this age, do not deserve to suffer for my mistakes, for your mistakes, the suffering caused to us must not be allowed to grow and spread and consume even more lives." Johan's mask turned red, "I won't do this unless you give me no other choice. I will take you to meet Rals Jackson, and you can speak with her. But I will not do as you ask. If I thought you would listen, I would suggest you do what I did, find faith in God, interestingly enough he forgave me, even though, and though it may be a sin, I still don't forgive myself." Johan held out his hand above the creature, "come with me old friend, let's end this war we've both been fighting with our pasts, my blood will sustain you, and I will protect you, I know where to find them. You have my word."