Snowbound

Description:

Josephine Solene

    White to Rose
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Kaeleer Terreille
    42 Posts    160 marks
Snowbound
« on: April 01, 2019, 04:34:55 PM »

”I know.” Josephine commiserated, mittened fingers working at the mule’s long ear. Ice crystals broke free as she rubbed. ”You were not meant for this weather, and I was very sure the town was just over that hill.” The town she had meant to find boarding at. And a room for herself, because Josephine wasn’t built for this weather either. She had grown by the sea, in clement weather, and while her travels had made her hardy, she had not been prepared for a Glacian winter.

She hadn’t even been planning to live through one. Caught in a village longer than she’d meant to be, Josephine had fled for the border too late. Snow already moving in. Slush turning to ice slurry and then the world froze over. Worse, she was beginning to suspect she was lost. A line of skinny, snow stripped trees to her left. A hill behind her. She shivered hard and broke the ice away from her mule’s nostrils and wondered if she would have to abandon her cart.

It would probably be easiest on the animal. They had been following a rough sort of road, and the last homestead they had passed had promised the next town was just over the ridge. A town equipped to handle two extra mouths for the winter. But the town was not there. Josephine sighed and began unhooking the wagon. She would just have to store as much as she could in her cabinet. ”Alright. We’ll leave this here. Maybe come back for it in the spring. If we go up, maybe we’ll see something on the horizon.”

A dozen maybes. And very little hope.

Trygve Fur Trader

    White to Rose
  • Warlord
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    13 Posts    421 marks
Re: Snowbound
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2019, 09:55:25 PM »
More fur than man Trygve trudged through ankle deep snow. He was wrapped tight against the frigid north wind. Bearskin for an shield, seal skin closer to his own to keep out any dampness. The weather was mild for winter, but they were early in the season yet. It would come. And he wanted to be home in time to spend the long months indoors with Siggy. What had driven her from the orphanage he did not know. She said little, and was at an age that made him fear the answer would be awkward for a father to hear. So it was not to the east of Odense he traveled, but to its southwest. A fortified village where he was able to buy a house big enough for two.

At twelve he thought her capable of staying alone for a few days at a time. It made his hunting harder. Having to hurry home before his paternal drive sent him into a panic. Most of the northern province was quiet, which he appreciated. The roads being empty saved him a lot of time. He wished, as the frost ate on his nose, that he could work the Winds. Even just for a short trip to cut his time in half.

Today it seemed the road as empty as usual. Unsurprising since a dark sky overhead promised a blustering storm. Then he came around the hump of a low slop and spotted something off in the distance. A dark mark against the icy landscape. Dark and large. Relaxing into a hunter’s stance he swept the fur from around his shoulders, vanishing it in an instant so that he was both freer to move and less noticeable doing so. In a crouch he teased the ground with probes. Squinting through the falling snowflakes as the the something moved.

Then parted into two somethings. One of them smaller, and human shaped. His probes turned warm. Ushering over a greeting that would have only been lost on the wind had he tried to speak it. They tasted a bit of worry, and womanliness. Pulling his fur back from his cabinet he walked a little faster. Calling out once he was close. ”Well met, friend. Do you need a hand?”

She was a shivering thing with blonde hair and not enough coat on. The mule she labored over shivered even harder. This was too open a place for an animal without an undercoat. He moved to pat the beast’s rump and found his foot stomped on with gusto. ”Son of a-” Trygve jerked away with a groan. Then a tense laugh. Balancing on the foot that was not throbbing so hard his eardrums vibrated with it, he gave an exaggerated shrug so that she could see it through his fur cloak. ”Sorry. Guess I spooked him. What are you two doing on this old road? There’s a storm coming.”

Josephine Solene

    White to Rose
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Kaeleer Terreille
    42 Posts    160 marks
Re: Snowbound
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2019, 05:58:46 AM »

Josephine paused. Fingers trying to pull the rod that kept the cart attached to her mule’s harness through the thick wool of her mittens. She didn’t know if it had all frozen together or if her fingers had just become that incapable. Worries that night cease to matter as she felt a like of craft move under them. The mule’s ear twitched, turning toward the hill behind them along with one baleful eye.

Taking a deep breath, Josephine turned too. Some sort of creature came toward them. Bear, was the first thought to cross her mind, but the fear dissolved before it could fully form. Bears did not talk. Not even the craft wielding kind, of which she had heard rumors. ”I do.” Josephine admitted without shame. He still looked like a bear. Body covered in animal fur, and his face half hidden by his own. But just then Josephine was willing to take help from anyone, bears included.

”I wouldn’t-“ She tried to warn him, welcoming smile shifting to a concerned frown before becoming a sympathetic smile. ”He’s terribly unfriendly.” His hurt was a very good excuse to set probes on him, however. The noisiest of which she set on his foot, the other having a peek at what could be gleamed. ”Are you alright? I’m a healer if it needs mending.” She explained, nearly talking right over him. Looking around them, Josephine saw little evidence of a road anymore, but was very glad they hadn’t wandered off it. And that the man had come along.

”We were trying for the village. Which was supposed to be here.” She gestured to the emptiness around them. Trees and snow shrouded landscape, but certainly no village. ”I was beginning to think we were hopelessly lost.” And likely to freeze to death. She wasn’t skilled enough to keep them both warm and find a village or homestead. While talking, Josephine tried unhitching the cart again. This time she applied a little craft to knock the thing loose. Familiar instinct moving her out if the way of a stomping hoof.

”Stop that.” She chided, pulling at her coat and moving to the other side. ”Are we very far?” She asked the bear man over the mule’s back. The wind was gentler between the beast and the trees. So much so Josephine almost sagged in relief, surprised by the distance.  ”I figured I would take whatever I could carry and leave the rest.” It wasn’t a big cart anyway. She could probably get most of it in her cabinet, and maybe carry the blankets over the mule’s back for extra warmth.

Glancing at the sky, Josephine wondered if it would be a very bad storm.

Trygve Fur Trader

    White to Rose
  • Warlord
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    13 Posts    421 marks
Re: Snowbound
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 07:39:50 PM »
The woman, healer his probes told him, did not seem afraid. Accepting his offer without any hesitation. Although she might have just been too cold to care if he was there to cause trouble. Her mule had a very different view, unfortunately. Hobbling Trygve before he could really even get acquainted. Chuckling at his own mistake the warlord lifted his shoulder in gentle dismissal while he hobbled a few paces away to give the animal space. ”I think it’s just bruised, Lady, thank you for offering.”

He watched her glance around at the countryside sprawled around them. Nothing but a sparse treeline to be seen. Eyebrows creeping toward one another he shook his shaggy head. ”Not hopeless. But definitely lost. Sounds like bad directions.” It happened in a land with sparse landmarks. The tree you told someone to turn at could have fallen in the night and been buried by snow. A pond frozen over until it looked like solid land. Made navigation tricky, but they taught astronomy in school so that Glacians were never unsure of the way home.


”My village is two miles back in that direction,” He pointed the way he had been heading with a hand since his fingers were all clustered inside a thick mitten. Woven with care and traded for a slab of seal fat. He came closer again, only to scoot away when the mule huffed in warning. A foot stomped out at its master this time. There was no real road, and he looked at her wagon with a bit of pity. It would slow them down. She was a smart lady that had already thought of that problem, though. ”I can help with that. And in a few days we can come back to get it. That thing is going to be a pain to get south, though, Lady.”

From his cabinet he called in a thick cloak made from wolf fur. Double layered for extra warmth. ”Here. Wrap up in this. I’ll get the hitch loose.” He warmed the wood and metal with Craft until it started to ease apart. Finding it hard to grip in his covered hands but unwilling to risk frostbite. With a groan the wagon left the Mule’s back, freeing the creature who was no more appreciative of Trygve’s presence than he had been a moment before. Big blunt teeth nipping him in the ass. ”Ouch!” He warned, even though it was no more than an unpleasant pressure through the thick layers.

”I'm not a bear, mule, no need to get nippy.” Trygve told it with a grin. Turning his attention to the wagon he pushed it a bit off the road. "If you have any cleansing craft I'd suggest a quick scrub over the door and whatnot. Otherwise this thing is going to stick out like a sore thumb if anyone passes a probe. I can help you carry whatever you need." There were a lot of furs in his cabinet. And a few household necessities like a bar of soap and milk jug. But he had some room to spare.

Josephine Solene

    White to Rose
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Kaeleer Terreille
    42 Posts    160 marks
Re: Snowbound
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 08:49:12 PM »

”Its a healer thing,” she joked dryly, casting a quick frown at his foot. Just bruised. Her probes agreed. Telling her too that he was a warlord, his depth felt similar to her own. She was glad. Meeting higher castes on the road did not always turn out for the better. Too much arrogance under their skin. It couldn’t be contained, and so had to be inflicted on other people.

”Lost doesn’t sound very hopeful.” Especially out here. The warlord did not seem terribly grim, however. Just mildly concerned, so Josephine decided not to fret over what could have been. She was not hopelessly lost. Help had arrived just in time. ”So far.” She slumped, following his hand. Two miles. It wasn’t a terribly long distance, but in the snow, with no direction, it could have been a deadly distance.

”I wonder where we went wrong.” Patting a hank of mane, Josephine circled the mule and began working on the other side. The man approached and then retreated again as her mule reacted poorly. Josephine rolled her eyes at the beast. Her donkey had been much kinder, but very ill suited to Glacia. Josephine had left her on the border with a kindly family. ”I know. I was trying to beat the snow but I’m afraid it was far faster than I.”

More she hadn’t been able to leave her patients even though she’d needed to.

”Thank you.” For more than the cloak, Josephine meant. But she was too busy wrapping herself in it to elaborate. While she hid in the warmth of some other animals fur, the warlord finished unhooking her mule. Josephine let him, rummaging through her cart and vanishing what she could and making a stack of what she couldn’t, but wanted to take anyway. Including the blankets to stack on the mule.

”Again?” She made a sharp hiss and yanked the mule’s head around by the reins. ”Really now, you brute.” She piled the blankets over him, cinching them with a length of extra rope she kept in the front of her wagon. ”If you could, those things there?” She asked, gesturing to the small stack of boxes. ”Supplies I’d rather not lose.” She had done good trade in the territory, and discovered new alternatives as well. Locking up her wagon, Josephine washed it over as well she could, not willing to use her Rose for such needless work.

”Well, here’s hoping its here in a few days time.” She had done without before. She would do again. She wrangled the mule back onto the road, feeling the damp seeping down into her boots. At least the fur hr had given her helped cut down the wind’s bite. ”Two miles?” She repeated, promising herself she could do it. But she was used to riding in the wagon, not slogging through snow on foot. She hung heavy to the mule’s bridle and trudged listlessly beside the warlord, praying he hadn’t shown up just in time due to some elaborate set up.

”What’s your name?” She asked him, pushing away the mule’s mouth and knocking ice from his whiskers. How many more miles?

Trygve Fur Trader

    White to Rose
  • Warlord
  • Played By: Jones

    Glacia Kaeleer
    13 Posts    421 marks
Re: Snowbound
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2019, 01:16:49 AM »
Lips parting Trygve gave her a reassuring smile. Voice pitched to be a gentle tease he told her, ”Couldn’t have been to hopeless, you’re not lost anymore. I found you.” It had probably felt pretty hopeless. Poor lady. As a man, and a Glacian, he would see her safe. And with a bit more luck- because Mother Night had smiled on her for him to come along at the last minute-this would all be an interesting anecdote for her to tell her friends when she got home. It made the old hunter wonder where her home was, accent foreign but he didn’t know from where.

”Don’t worry. We’ll get you there.” He tried to encourage as she seemed to weigh under the distance. It was a long way if you were already tired. The mule didn’t look very eager to make the trip either. ”It’s that or hunker down for who knows how long. I have a good strong tent but I don’t know how you’d protect him.” He said with a thumb hitching towards the mule’s long ears.

If worse came to worst then he would find a way. They would be cold and miserable but he was sure he could keep them alive. The lady was willing to give it a shot, though. He raised his shoulders at her wondering. ”No telling. The road’s are hard to follow in the snow, and the landscape changes overnight. It’s a dangerous trip this far north on the hinge of winter.” He was careful to say dangerous and not foolish, though he was of the opinion it was that too. At least for an outsider.

He turned from impending thoughts of Sigrid spreading her wings- with or without an escort. They had been studying the stars in school, she said, and he remembered his own lessons. His baby girl would be alright when the time came. He just wasn’t in a hurry for it to get there. Ever.

”Weather has a way of doing that around here. Rides in fast on the ocean currents and whisks right over the fjords.” Everything was open and flat for hundred of miles around Odense. No mountains to slow a storm or deserts to dry it out. Just the fury of the clouds and the hands of the wind. You had to know how to bow to it because outrunning it was rarely advisable. Today he was going to try. ”I think we stand a chance still if we get going.”

Ignoring the ‘brute’ as she called him, Trygve turned in the direction she pointed. He was handy at stuffing his cabinet. Mostly with furs, though he had never actually filled it to capacity. He didn’t know either. Sweeping up the boxes she wanted to bring without having to touch them. ”Happy to help.” He considered asking if she wanted to bring anything else, but he didn’t want her to worry he was trying to rob her blind. A lady, all alone out in an unfamiliar and unforgiving territory… She was sure to be on guard.

And rightfully so. ”As soon as the storm slacks off I can borrow my neighbor’s pony and pull it back to town. He won’t mind the snow the way this fella’ does.” Trygve told her with a glance at her naughty mount. There was a chance she might lose the wagon, but that was better than losing her life. Or the mule. ”Would be might hard to take it without leaving a trail to follow anyway.” Trgyve was a good tracker too.

Calling his White to life Trygve offered them a bubble of warming Craft. It meant walking a little closer to her mule than he preferred, but the beast seemed aware that the heat was coming from Trygve. He kept his muzzle low, slogging along with them quietly. ”Two miles. And a warm fireplace waiting when we get there.” It was a small village with no inn to boast about. Not even a tavern. She could take his bed for tonight and ask around with the neighbors if she was uncomfortable in the morning. Perhaps the fact that Siggy would be there might keep it from being too intimidating.

Testing her depth with an airy probe he chuckled at her question, ”Sorry, I should have said already- Trygve the fur-trader. And you, lady?” He gave her time to answer before tacking on another question. ”What brings you to our corner of the world, Lady? Not the weather, I reckon.” The walk was not a difficult one despite the distance. And Trygve had no way of knowing the crossed right over the buried ruins of a village that had burned to the ground over the summer. Sitting not far from the ridge the Homesteaders had described, but reduced to ashes before being covered now by a foot of snow.

Josephine Solene

    White to Rose
  • Healer
  • Played By: dergon

    Little Kaeleer Terreille
    42 Posts    160 marks
Re: Snowbound
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2019, 07:06:38 AM »

Josephine judged his smile, not its attractiveness, but its honesty. Looking for telltale hints that it hadn’t been good fortune or good Mother Night to send him to her in the snow. But something sinister. She was not rich but her things were useful. Nor was she ugly or unskilled. There was always risk, but Josephine had found the pleasure and relief of the road had always outweighed those risks.

”And I’m glad you did.” She didn’t know if she could have spotted the lie if it was there, but she saw none. Just a man, bristling with beard and animal fur. Affable in an unexpected way. Josephine released her worries and let him help her. She preferred approaching strangers with an open mind, even if she did not greet the world with an open heart.

”That won’t do, even if he comes across as unappreciative.” Road nought muscles and clever fingers soon had the mule unhitched, especially with the warlord to help. Josephine couldn’t blame the mule for balking. The man looked wilder than anything in his furs. And she probably looked much the same once she was shrouded in her borrowed cloak. She certainly just missed having her shin knocked in. ”Come, you. Stop that nonsense.” Josephine missed her donkey fierce, but she was the little animal hadn’t been subject to this.

”As I’ve learned.” She admitted ruefully, making no excuses for herself. There were none, but it also could not have gone any other way. She had a healer’s inability to leave a patient. A proud woman’s inability to stay in a village that obviously couldn’t support her. It had still been damned stupid. ”I should have asked for an escort.” She said sourly, vanishing a tidy stack of wooden boxes into her cabinet.

”Well. Then we better get going.” Thanks nodded as he vanished what Josephine couldn’t fit. The rest would have to stay with the wagon. All of it the easiest to replace and so the least loss. All except her cart. Josephine’s face grew more impassive as her worry mounted. She hated to lose anything, so she tried not to think on it as she made sure the wheels were blocked and the blankets strapped tight to the mule, who nearly bit her fur cape right off her shoulders.

”Its amazing how different one beast is to the next.” She was beginning to suspect she’d been swindled by the man she’d bought her mule from. A little kernel of anger keeping her from freezing completely through as they started down the road. ”That’s kind of you. And your neighbor.” She wouldn’t let them go after her cart if it turned up stollen, however. Josephine respected and understood the violence of the Blood, but she would let no one charge into it on her account.

Two miles. The mule blew as craft created warmth dulled the frigidity of the air around them. Josephine sighed too, finger wiggling on the mule’s lead rope. Her toes felt like ice in her boots and the rest of her was a different sort of uncomfortable. Not frozen, but stiff and heavy. Tasting the inside of her lip, Josephine met his probe with one of her own. Rose for Rose. No wonder it was so easy to trust him. She always felt a sort of kindred connection with others who shared her Jewels.

”Josephine Solene.” If she died, at least someone else along the way would know her name. She kept a letter with her things, addressed to her parents, as well. Josephine knew what it was like to be left behind waiting. And to be greeted by the worst sort of news. ”I hadn’t been here yet.” She told him over the back of the mule, head tipping toward the pile of blankets. ”I’ve been most places in Terreille, but there is still a lot of Kaeleer left to explore.”

Two miles. Josephine hugged the mule’s head. At least the path he took seemed a steady one. And flat. She didn’t think she could climb another hill. Or what passed for hills in this place. ”I’m a healer, by nature, and a wanderer by perversity. It works out in the end. Usually.” Her shoulders managed a shrug beneath the fur. She brushed ice from the mule’s face again and tried not to count her steps.

”I thought you were a bear at first.” She still wasn’t used to seeing men with facial. She understood why so many grew it here though.

 

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